Richard Padilla



Apple to Begin Offering Unlocked, SIM-Free iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Models in the U.S. Tomorrow

Apple will begin offering unlocked, SIM-free versions of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus starting tomorrow on its online store and at its retail locations, reports 9to5Mac. Pricing will remain the same alongside the other unsubsidized iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, with 16/64/128 GB versions of the iPhone 6 selling for $649/$749/$849 respectively, while the 16/64/128GB versions of the iPhone 6 Plus will be available for $749/$849/$949. Notably, many of the carrier-specific iPhone 6 models sold by Apple have been unlocked since launch when purchased at full retail price, although the company has not been specifically marketing them as such. As with other unlocked devices, the unlocked versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will allow users to insert a nano-SIM card from a compatible GSM network for cellular voice, texting, and data connectivity. Apple launched unlocked versions of the iPhone 5s last year in November, which followed the release of carrier-specific models in

CES 2015: 'Narrative Clip 2' Wearable Camera Debuts with Improved Optics, Automatic Photo Capture

This week's Consumer Electronics Show has brought the unveiling of the Narrative Clip 2, which is the follow up to the popular portable wearable camera now featuring an improved camera, enhanced light sensitivity, and wide-angle optics. The Narrative Clip 2 features a new 8-megapixel camera system with a range of 86°, along with a built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth radios that allow for a user to access recent moments on the Narrative app for iOS. The camera also contains a new automatic photo capture feature that works with the Narrative Service to automatically sort photos into collections of moments for easy organization and access. The Narrative Clip 2 comes with 8 GB of storage, but can also automatically upload photos and videos when connected to Wi-Fi to free space quickly. Narrative says that the device's battery life lasts for up to 30 hours on a single charge and comes with a removable mount for multiple clip options. The Narrative Clip 2 will ship later this year and will sell for

CES 2015: iSketchnote Transfers Pen and Paper Sketches and Notes to iPad Instantly

iSketchnote demonstrated its iPad note digitization product at CES 2015, showing users a way to automatically transfer notes and sketches created with a real pen into digital files that can be edited and shared on the iPad. The note digitization is mainly handled by the Slate, which is a Bluetooth-enabled writing platform that allows users to place their favorite notebook or a piece of paper on top and draw or write as they normally would with real-time conversion. The Slate's writing surface contains a coating that holds the paper in place and is scratch-resistant, and weighs less than 14 ounces while providing up to 10 hours of battery life in stand-alone mode. The surface also features ports for a micro SD card and micro USB for charging. Once digitized, users can access their sketches, drawings and notes on their iPad with the free iSketchnote app, which allows for color and pen tip customization along with layer creation for more complex drawing. Users may also share digitized creations with their friends, and can even send them back and forth with enhancements and enable a video replay to share the process of a piece of work. iSketchnote is also offering pens optimized for the Slate and paper, which naturally glide on paper and contains a permanent magnet ring that is embedded within the base. The pens contain refillable cartridges with high quality ink and are offered in blue, black, and red. iSketchnote is offering the Slate, two pens, and a premium kickstand-enabled cover for $179.99 in an iSketchnote Pack, which is available for the iPad 3 and

CES 2015: Netatmo Debuts 'Welcome' Smart Home Camera with Family Face Recognition Technology

Connected products manufacturer Netatmo showed off its new Welcome HD smart home camera at CES 2015, which features the ability to recognize individual members of a family and inform other users as to who is home. The camera, which features a 130 degree field of view, also offers a live video feed with audio that is accessible through an iOS app to monitor a current home situation without the need for cloud storage or subscription fees. Netatmo's Welcome smart home camera Netatmo has also included a number of privacy settings with its Welcome camera including the ability to not receive notifications or store footage when specific people are recognized. Recorded videos and identification data are also kept entirely on the camera's included SD card, as the camera itself cannot access any data of its own. The Welcome app for the iPhone contains other options for privacy and displays every person recognized as being home, and lists past events and people on the timeline screen. The Welcome (left) and a Welcome Tag (right) which extends range Aside from facial recognition and privacy features, the camera offers night vision thanks to a powerful infrared LED and features an exterior comprised of anodized aluminum. Netatmo's Welcome camera will be available in the second quarter of 2015, and the company also says it will be releasing an accessory known as Welcome Tags that extend that camera's reach.

CES 2015: Connected Cycle Reveals Smart Bike Pedal with Location and Fitness Tracking Features

French startup Connected Cycle has introduced its new smart bike pedal at CES 2015, which is able to track a bike's exact location in the event of a theft and a number of distance and fitness statistics during biking activity. The aluminum pedal works with a companion app on iOS to track where a bike is located, and can send a push notification if the bike has been moved or give a location as to where a bike was last parked. The pedal and the app also automatically record metrics like the speed of a bike, the incline of a given location, routing info and even calories burnt. Connected Cycle notes that the pedal generates its own energy and that installation takes less than two minutes without the need for mechanical skills, although removing the pedal requires a specialized key that comes in the box. The Connected Cycle comes with two pedals, with one pedal containing smart functionality and the other pedal sporting a similar look for aesthetic purposes. Connected Cycle has yet to announce a price or release date for its smart pedal, but does note that it will come in colors including black, red, green, blue, and

CES 2015: Parrot Unveils RNB6 In-Dash Entertainment System with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Support

Drone and headphone manufacturer Parrot has unveiled its new RNB6 in-dash car entertainment system at CES 2015, which features a 7-inch, 720p touchscreen with built-in support for Apple CarPlay and Siri Eyes Free as well as Android Auto and Android Auto Voice. Parrot's RNB6 system also boasts a number of internal specs and features including Bluetooth 4.0 and configurable 5GHz Wi-Fi, as well as rear ports for GPS, HDMI, microphone input, ethernet, onboard diagnostics and USB devices. The in-dash system features a built-in dash camera with a wide-angle lens and full HD support, and also supports steering wheel control for UI navigation. Parrot did not give a suggested price for the RNB6, but noted that it would be shipping during the latter half of 2015.

CES 2015: Blue Spark Introduces 'TempTraq' Wearable Thermometer and iOS App

Blue Spark Technologies has unveiled its new TempTraq wearable Bluetooth thermometer at CES 2015, which pairs with a companion app to give live updates and alerts on body temperature. The company notes that the thermometer is great for parents who want to measure their child's temperature without disturbing rest, as data can be viewed and shared in real time. The TempTraq contains a patented flexible battery and can measure temperatures between 86.0°F and 108.3°F, providing both real time and historical data in graphical or tabular view. Caregivers can receive real-time data from the thermometer from up to 40 feet away, and simply press a button on the thermometer while typing in a unique access code on the companion app to start using it. Blue Spark also details how it simplifies the temperature reading process on the app with the thermometer: TempTraq further simplifies the temperature reading process by providing easy-to-follow colors that indicate temperature levels: Green, less than 100.4°F; orange, equal to or greater than 100.4°F; red, equal to or above the user-set temperature level. Caregivers can even receive alerts when a child’s temperature enters this designated red zone. Blue Spark's TempTraq wearable Bluetooth thermometer is pending FDA approval and will be available in the near

CES 2015: Griffin Unveils Line of New Charging Accessories Optimized for iOS Devices

Accessory maker Griffin Technology today unveiled four new products at CES 2015, including its five-slot PowerDock Pro charging station, its three-port PowerBlock 3 wall charger, its PowerBlock Wall Dock for holding a device up on the wall during charging, and its 12-volt PowerJolt Premium car charger. Griffin's PowerBlock 3 wall charger allows users to charge up to three devices at one time with 10 watt ports, and features a space-saving design with ChargeSensor technology that can detect and optimize charging for smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and more. The PowerBlock 3 will be available in Summer 2015 for $39.99. The PowerDock Pro charging station contains five slots and ports for users to store and charge their devices from one power source, and offers 12 watts of charging power with ChargeSensor circuitry that optimizes charging for every device. Each charging bay is designed to accommodate devices without having to remove them from a case, and the PowerDock Pro contains a built-in cord management system and a hidden compartment for cable storage. The PowerDock Pro will be available in Fall 2015 for $129.99. Next up, Griffin's PowerBlock Wall Dock is a charging accessory for propping up and holding a device when it's charging on a wall, leaving the touchscreen fully visible for information. The dock features 12 watts of charging power and a four foot long Lightning cable that detaches. The PowerBlock Wall Dock will be available in Fall 2015 for $34.99. Finally, Griffin's PowerJolt Premium is a 12 volt car charger that features a four foot long

CES 2015: Withings Reveals 'Activité Pop' Watch with Activity and Sleep Tracking Capabilities

Withings today revealed its new Activité Pop wearable at CES 2015, which is an analog watch that contains advanced activity and sleep tracking capabilities. The Activité Pop is a follow up to Withings' Activité watch which was revealed last year, and comes with a lightweight design that features a swappable silicone strap, a body that is water-resistance for up to 30 meters, and a battery that lasts up to 8 months. The watch contains two hand dials, with one hand dial showing the current time and a secondary hand dial tracking activity and progress as determined by Withings' Health Mate companion app. For example, if a user sets 10,000 steps as a goal in the app, the secondary hand dial moves as steps are made, and the watch vibrates when a goal is achieved. During the day, the watch can automatically track swimming and running and tracks sleep quality at night with all info available through Health Mate. The Activité Pop will be available to purchase online in the United States from BestBuy.com on January 5th for $149.95, and will be available at Best Buy stores in March 2015. The watch will come in three color choices including "Azure", "Shark Grey", and

Internal Foxconn Sketch Said to Be of Apple's 'iPad Pro' Surfaces

A new internal sketch of Apple's larger-screened iPad Pro has surfaced by way of a Foxconn worker (via Nowhereelse.fr, Google Translate), showing what may be our first look at the large tablet and its physical features. The employee who captured the sketch notes that initial testing phases for the larger iPad were halted last summer after Apple received new prototypes, but adds that mass production on the device will begin soon. The source also notes that the tablet will be between 6.9 and 7.5mm thick, and feature four integrated speakers with two on the top and two on the bottom. Previous rumors have suggested that the iPad Pro is expected to feature a screen size between 12.2 and 12.9 inches along with an A8X processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Most recently, Japanese magazine Mac Fan published possible schematics of the upcoming device, which suggested that the tablet would carry a 12.2-inch LCD display and carry the name "iPad Air Plus". It is currently unknown as to when Apple would launch its larger-screened iPad, with reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggesting that the tablet would not enter production until the second quarter of 2015 due to increased attention on iPhone 6 Plus production. However, with the supply of its larger phone greatly improving as of late, it is possible that Apple is now ready to put its full production efforts towards its larger iPad for a launch later this

Japan Apple Stores Kick Off 'Lucky Bag' Sales with MacBook Air, iPads, iPod Touch Featured

Apple's retail locations in Japan have begun sales of the "Fukubukuro", also known as a "lucky bag", which offer an assortment of products at a steep discount. Japanese blog Mac Otakara (Google Translate) was present at the Apple Store in Nagoya to discover the exact content of the various bags among customers, with some shoppers receiving big-ticket items like iPads and MacBooks. MacBook Air Lucky Bag (Source: App Bank, Google Translate) This year's lucky bags sell for 36,000 yen ($300) and come in four different configurations, with common items including an Apple TV, a 4000 mAh Mophie Powerstation external battery pack, an Incase Icon backpack, an iTunes gift card, and Beats by Dre Powerbeats2 wireless earbuds. For the most valuable Fukubukuro bag, Apple included an 11-inch MacBook Air with a Power Support Air Jacket and a Twelve South PlugBug dual charger along with the common items. iPad Air 2 Lucky Bag (Source: Mac Otakara) Other variants of the bag offer a fifth-generation 16GB iPod touch, a 16GB iPad mini 3 or a 16GB iPad Air 2 alongside the common items. The iPad lucky bags also feature Logitech's UE Boom portable speaker. iPod touch Lucky Bag (Source: App Bank, Google Translate) Apple's grab bags are sold as is, and returns are not allowed unless a product is defective. The promotion is limited to Apple Stores in Japan, although they are usually met with long lines of shoppers hoping to purchase their own lucky

PDF Reader 'GoodReader' Removes iCloud Drive Functions to Comply with 'Mandatory' Apple Policy [Updated]

PDF reader app GoodReader has removed a number of operations related to iCloud Drive to comply with Apple's guidelines. Specifically, developer Good.iWare has disabled GoodReader's ability to create and delete new folders inside iCloud along with the ability to move iCloud files. The developer called the iCloud usage policy "mandatory" and also included VoiceOver compatibility along with a big fix for opening iCloud containers. Important iCloud functionality change: - to ensure the compliance to Apple's iCloud usage policy, the following operations have been disabled: creation of new folders inside iCloud, deletion of folders inside iCloud, moving of files and folders inside iCloud. We apologize for the inconvenience, but the iCloud usage policy is mandatory. The changes to GoodReader come a week after Panic's file management app Transmit was forced to disable its send to iCloud Drive feature which also led to the removal of all Share Sheet file transfers to other third-party services. However, Apple later reversed its course on Transmit as the app reinstated its sending feature in an update shortly after. While Apple introduced a number of new features with iOS 8, a number of developers have been forced to remove key features from their apps for reasons that are unclear. For instance, Notification Center widget Launcher was removed after the launch of iOS 8 in September, and Apple has also asked apps like Drafts and Neato to remove widget functionality. Apple also asked calculator app PCalc to remove the calculator functionality from its Notification Center

New York City Considering Apple Pay for Future Parking Ticket Payment System

The city of New York is considering new measures (PDF) that would allow drivers to pay their parking tickets with alternative payment methods like Apple Pay, PayPal, and Bitcoin, reports MarketWatch. Currently, the city says it is collecting roughly $600 million in parking ticket revenue each year, as the region's Department of Finance is looking for a "convenient way for motorists to expeditiously pay their parking tickets via a smartphone or mobile device." The primary objective of this RFI is to identify and assess mobile platforms that support the payment of parking tickets and learn about their current use and future viability. A secondary objective is to identify existing mobile platforms that support the request for a hearing of parking tickets and learn about their current use and future viability. New York City's Department of Finance also outlined its requirements for the new payment system, noting that it should allow users to take a picture of a ticket or scan it in to see the details of a parking violation. The city also notes that the graphical user interface (GUI) of the mobile payment system should be "simple" and allow for quick payments that meet payment-industry standards for security. New York City drivers are currently able to pay for tickets online, via mail or at a courthouse, but the current online system is incompatible with mobile devices and subjects credit and debit card payments to a 2.5% fee. The city hopes to gain more knowledge on a new mobile parking ticket payment system by January 15 through its formal Request for Information,

Chaos Computer Club Demonstrates How to Reproduce Fingerprints Using Public Photos

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) claims that it can reproduce fingerprints to overcome security measures from simple photos of a user's fingers, reports VentureBeat. CCC member Jan "Starbug" Krissler presented his method for recreating a fingerprint at the group's annual convention in Hamburg, Germany over the weekend, as he generated the thumbprint of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen by using a public photo and computer program VeriFinger. Image credit: Gizmodo Instead, he explained how fingerprints can be snatched from persons at public events by simply using a “standard photo camera.” The main source was a close-up picture of von der Leyen’s thumb, obtained during a news conference in October, along with photographs taken from different angles to get an image of the complete fingerprint. The CCC demonstrated last year how it could bypass Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor with a photo of the original user's fingerprint. The newest method presented by the group does not require a hacker to obtain a physical object to recreate the fingerprint, although Krissler notes that other security methods like facial recognition can also easily be fooled through similar means. The group and Krissler hope to highlight the potential exploits in newer technology, and also noted that additional security layers like passwords should also be activated to secure information properly.

Apple Japan Debuts 'Start Something New' Campaign on Website Highlighting Products, Apps, and Artists

Apple today debuted a new campaign on its Japanese website called "Start Something New" (Google Translate) which showcases individuals using its latest products and apps to create art and take photos. Among the products highlighted include the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iMac, as apps like Procreate, VSCO Cam, and iDraw are also highlighted. The new section includes entries on individuals like digital artist Roz Hall, who primarily used the iPad and illustration app Procreate to create a set of university portraits with Apple's tablet. Apple also spotlights media artist Matt Pyke who used the iPhone 6 and iMovie to create an entire film project on a mobile device, and brings attention to others like art duo Craig & Karl who illustrate in Waterlogue and exchange sketches through iMessage. Apple also highlights a number of its own software features, including exposure control on the iPhone 6 and burst mode on the iPad Air 2. "Start Something New" appears to be a section exclusive to Apple's Japanese website, possibly indicating that the company is beginning a renewed push for its products in the region. Apple is also beginning its annual Fukubukuro "lucky bag" promotion in Japan beginning January 2, which will allow customers to purchase a grab bag filled with an assortment of products at a steep

Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine Meeting with Musicians Over Exclusive Beyonce-Like Album Releases

Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine has been meeting with a number of music artists over doing exclusive album releases similar to Beyoncé's incredibly successful iTunes album last year, reports the New York Post. Citing sources close to the matter, the paper notes that Iovine is using his close connections with popular musicians like Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, and Gwen Stefani to create new side deals that would bring exclusives, with Beats also said to be negotiating additional promotional deals after a successful campaign with AT&T earlier this year.It’s been almost a year since Beats Music launched with a brace of Super Bowl spots starring Ellen DeGeneres and a big promotional backing from AT&T.The promotional relationship ended a few months ago, and parties are discussing future deals. "They outperformed expectations in terms of the upsell," said one source of AT&T. In February, it was reported that Apple's iTunes chief Robert Kondrk met with record label executives during Grammy Week in January about the potential of more exclusive album releases similar to Beyoncé's. Kondrk emphasized sales through digital storefronts like iTunes in those meetings, and asked executives if they could lock down individual track sales after a certain window of time to create greater attention for artists and their music. Beyoncé's self-titled album broke a number of records after its exclusive release on iTunes last December, selling over 828,000 copies in just three days to become the fasting selling collection of music in the service's history. The album was backed by significant promotion

Apple in Talks with Major Banks to Launch Apple Pay in UK During First Half of 2015

Top banks across the UK are currently negotiating with Apple to launch Apple Pay in the country during the first half of 2015, reports The Telegraph. Sources close to the matter note that the major banks have cited privacy concerns over the personal and financial information of users, but admit that they are positive about the impact the service has had in the United States. It is understood the bank is uncomfortable with the amount of personal and financial information Apple wants to collect about its customers. Some executives fear Apple Pay and the data it delivers to Apple could serve as a beachhead for an invasion of the banking industry. Sources accepted no major bank will want to miss out on Apple Pay, however, as early signs from the United States suggest it may be the service to finally convince consumers to pay with mobile phones. The news comes after Apple posted a job listing for an "Apple Pay Intern" earlier this month, which revealed that the company is "working hard" to expand its payment service across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa. Visa also said in September that it would be working with Apple to roll out Apple Pay across Europe in 2015, and e-commerce giant Alibaba has also been in talks with Apple over a potential partnership that would bring the service to China. Apple Pay has seen impressive early adoption numbers since first launching in October, with ITG noting that the service accounted for 1% of all digital payment dollars in November. Apple Pay has seen adoption at a number of popular retailers and restaurants in the

Apple Said to Have Declined Offer From Sony to Host 'The Interview' on iTunes

Sony Pictures recently attempted to enter talks with Apple over distributing its highly-anticipated film "The Interview" on iTunes, reports The New York Times. The report notes that Apple showed no interest in the offer, which came shortly after Sony Pictures announced that it would be canceling the wide theatrical release of the movie after being threatened by hackers. It remained unclear, however, whether any on-demand service would take "The Interview." According to people briefed on the matter, Sony had in recent days asked the White House for help in lining up a single technology partner — Apple, which operates iTunes — but the tech company was not interested, at least not on a speedy time table. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Sony announced yesterday that it would be showing "The Interview" at select independent cinemas, with Sony Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton noting that the company is "continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.” The movie has been the subject of controversy throughout the later half of 2014, as it depicts two journalists attempting to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un under the guidance of the CIA. The hacking of Sony Pictures and the movie's cancellation prompted widespread reaction, with U.S. President Barack Obama calling the latter move a

Walt Disney World to Begin Accepting Apple Pay Starting December 24

Walt Disney World will officially begin accepting Apple Pay starting this Wednesday, December 24, reports WDWMagic (via iMore). The inclusion of Apple Pay will allow users to make purchases at the theme park with an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus, and is a part of Disney's initiative to accept more contactless payment methods rolled out with its MyMagic+ program. Leveraging the RFID infrastructure deployed as part of MyMagic+, Walt Disney World will also accept other contactless payments, such as Google Wallet and contactless RFID credit cards. Initially, most stores, quick service restaurants, bars and ticket sales booths will be included. Any locations that use portable payment terminals, such as table service restaurants, will be added later. Walt Disney World was listed as one of the first partners for Apple Pay alongside retailers like Macy's, Walgreens, Subway, McDonalds, and Whole Foods. The report also states that Disneyland will begin accepting contactless payment methods like Apple Pay in 2015. Apple Pay has seen impressive early adoption numbers since launching in October, making up 1% of all digital payment dollars in November with Whole Foods being the most popular location for the payment

Apple's Ultra-Slim 12-Inch MacBook Air Rumored to Enter Mass Production in Early 2015

Apple's 12-inch MacBook Air and the Apple Watch are expected to enter mass production in 2015 as the company's supply partners have accelerated component production for both products, reports Digitimes. Supply chain sources note that the 12-inch MacBook Air will feature Intel's Broadwell processors and a new ultra-thin design. The new notebook is also expected to be available in limited supply when it launches due to yield issues with components, and will be primarily manufactured by Quanta Computer. This information about the 12-inch MacBook Air provided by Digitimes lines up with previous reports, as Apple was rumored to be developing a new form factor complete with a buttonless trackpad and a fan-less cooling system for the laptop. Intel launched its new ultra low power Broadwell Core M processors this past November, which will likely power the 12-inch MacBook Air. Aside from an ultra-slim design and a new processor, Apple will also look to offer the 12-inch MacBook Air in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray options when it launches in