All posts by Juan Carlos Bagnell

Juan has been obsessed with consumer electronics since before computers had GUI’s. Out of college he worked on a JIT computing contract which supported DOE facilities in New Mexico. He’s been featured on numerous podcasts and radio shows lending his tech insights. You can also find him in LA directing voice over actors and producing spoken word recording.

Apple Officially unveils iPhone 5S & 5C. Available September 20th.

iPhone5c_34L_AllColors_PRINT“In the past, when we’ve launched a new iPhone, we lowered the cost of the old iPhone, making it more accessible to new people. But this year, we’re not going to do that.” – Tim Cook

Yes, they’re officially official! The iPhone 5S will reign as the new premier handset and the iPhone 5C will replace the iPhone 5 as a mid range offering. The iPhone 4S will remain as a “free on contract” option for frugal buyers.

The iPhone 5C is largely an iPhone 5 in a candy colored polycarb plastic shell. Inspired by phones like the Nokia Lumia, Apple is releasing the iPhone 5C in green, white, blue, pink, and yellow. Pricing will be very reasonable, coming in at $99 for a 16GB version and $199 for the 32GB model. This is a smart play by Apple, as it provides a much needed mid-range which wont be as expensive as the uni-body aluminum iPhone to produce. This should also help open up some Asian and African developing markets where consumers might not be interested in paying the Apple premium for the 5S.

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The iPhone 5S will retain the aluminium shell of its predecessor, meaning in the wild it will be difficult to see whether someone is carrying the latest and greatest. In part to address that, the color options for the 5S have changed. Silver remains, but instead of Black, the 5S  will come in “Space Grey”. This may also be a response to complaints that the black iPhone was easily scratched. Also, for those wanting a bit more bling, a Gold version will also be available. I would expect this to be the top seller for this generation of iPhone, as even I can be guilty of wanting other people around me to know I have a bleeding edge phone. And yes. I did just say “bling”.

iphone 5s camera rear goldWhile the 5S wont be visually much different than the iPhone 5, it is packing new equipment under the hood to improve the iOS experience. A new camera is on board, marking the first improvement in two generations of iPhone. The resolution remains the same at 8 megapixels, but the new sensor is larger allowing more light to hit individual photo sites. When paired with a new f2.2 aperture lens, this should improve low light capabilities. The new camera app will also be capable of shooting continuous 10 frame per second stills. A new slow-motion video mode is also included which can shoot at 120 frames per second to catch all those great sports and pet moments in delicious slow motion detail.

A new processor is on board. The Apple claims the A7 is up to twice as powerful as the A6, though details regarding actual performance are thin. Interestingly enough, the new A7 is a 64-bit chip. I can’t really understand why Apple made this jump now, as the move to 64-bit on desktops was to facilitate more than 4GB of RAM (which the iPhone does not have). This could perhaps be a preemptive move towards unifying OSX on the desktop and iOS on mobile devices? We’ll just have to wait and see…

The new chipset does feature improved graphics processing thanks to OpenGL ES 3.0. Apple showed off a preview of Infinity Blade 3 which demonstrated dynamic lighting, improved texture mapping, and larger playable areas.

For those active smartphone users, the 5S packs a new sensor co-processor dubbed the M7. It’s a small mini-brain responsible for driving and collecting all of the data from the various sensors, gyros, accelerometers, and the compass. This is a cool piece of tech, as all that info can be collected and sorted by apps without the new A7 processor turning on. This should help battery life, and open new doors for tracking and location apps with the new M7 API.

Speaking of power, Apple claims 10 hours of LTE browsing, 40 hours of music listening, and 250 hours of standby time. No word yet on whether the battery can sustain real world use through dinner time…

iphone 5s touch id home button fingerprint sensor somegadgetguyLastly, for those a bit more security conscious, Touch ID was introduced, which builds a capacitive fingerprint scanner into the Home button on the 5S. Apple demo’ed the feature, which should make unlocking an iPhone near invisible to the person who owns the iPhone, just by tapping the Home Button. This should be of interest to corporate and government IT departments which have to force smartphone users into using alphanumeric passwords which can sometimes be difficult to enter on a touchscreen display.

iPhone 5s will follow in the footsteps of previous iPhones launching at $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for a 64GB version. The iOS7 update goes live September 18, and iPhone pre-orders start September 13. The phones will be available for purchase September 20 in the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and China. That last is very important for Cupertino, as this will be the first time an iPhone will include the Chinese market at launch, and offering that mid-range iPhone 5C could help open up Asian markets which haven’t warmed to Apple’s mobile offerings in the past.

Watch the keynote at Apple.com. Full Press Releases after the jump! Continue reading Apple Officially unveils iPhone 5S & 5C. Available September 20th.

Reactions to Apple’s Keynote. Enobong Etteh from BooredAtWork joins us to talk iPhone 5C and 5S

enobong etteh booredatworkEnobong Etteh from Boored At Work joins me to talk about the Apple September 2013 Keynote which introduced the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C and iTunes Radio. We’ll also take a stab as to why the stock market wasn’t very excited by the news, with Apple stock falling 12 points after the unveiling.

Boored At Work on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/booredatwork/

Apple Intros iTunes Radio to compete against Pandora, Spotify, Google, Microsoft, etc…

itunes radio announced somegadgetguy streaming internet musicThe iTunes Radio announcement was one of the first things discussed during Apple’s keynote today, but Tim Cook ran over it so fast, I think you can still see tire tread on its back.

What should have been one of the more interesting services announcement for Cupertino was largely ignored. Apple created the online music sales market as we know it today, yet even with that legacy, very little was said about iTUnes Radio. With a nod and a collective shrug, we just took it for granted before moving on to hardware announcements.

Simply billed as “coming soon” on the official iTunes site, Radio will be another streaming service designed to compete with offerings from Pandora, Spotify, Google, and even Microsoft. It will allow you to build “stations” for your favorite music, and those stations will be synced across all of your devices via iCloud, so iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV can all get in on the act.

On a personal note, it’s a little shocking that even Microsoft was able to beat Apple to a service like this. Plus, it’s uncharacteristically tame of Apple not to work being late into more of a consumer oriented selling point. In the past being late to a service, Apple would’ve boldly claimed that they waited to perfect the offerings which were obviously inferior or confusing to consumers. There was no such bravado on display here today, and lacking that confidence is a dangerous place for Apple to be in this viscerally competitive market.

Full deets on Apple.com

Apple stock drops 12 points following iPhone 5S & 5C announcement.

apple stock down following iphone 5s and 5c announcement somegadgetguyDamn stock market. I haven’t even finished writing up what was announced at the Apple event today, and you guys already jumped into some trading.

It would seem investors weren’t impressed by the new offerings on display from Cupertino. Following the unveiling of the worst kept secrets in tech, Apple’s stock is currently down 12 points, trading at around 494 a share. Not a great position for this company to be in as the last several product announcements from Apple have been viewed with some cynicism. Apparently a revised iPhone 5 and a new plastic mid-range iPhone wasn’t what the market was hoping for to drum up some excitement.

From a business perspective I’m a little surprised that adding China to the list of countries receiving the iPhone at launch wasn’t met with more celebration. China will be a huge potential market for Apple, and those people concerned with the profitability of iOS should be optimistic that we’ll see increased revenue from these Asian markets.

Live-Tweeting Apple’s Announcement today: @SomeGadgetGuy

8da6092d74e03c349d0da576ef22f54cJust a quick heads up folks.

If you’re going to be following along with the Apple keynote today, and would like some up to the second commentary, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Twitter as @SomeGadgetGuy. I’m hoping to be impressed with some new Apple gear, but it’s also just as likely that I might bring a little snark to my commentary.

Who knows? Anything could happen. Join me on Twitter to talk it out!

Glendale School District tracking 13,000 students social networking activity.

geo listening social network monitoring service, glendale public schools somegadgetguyWont someone please think of the children!

Administrators for Glendale public schools in California are facing some heavy criticism following announcement that they are retaining the services of a company called Geo Listening to track the public activity of some 13,000 Glendale students. This is of course being done in the name of student safety, though it’s always going to feel invasive finding out about a monitoring program after it’s been put in place. This program was actually instituted last school year, and parents are only just now finding out about it. I’m sure that lack of transparency regarding which companies are actively monitoring their offspring’s online activity wont ruffle any feathers…

After collecting information from students’ posts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, Geo Listening will provide Glendale school officials with a daily report that categorizes posts by their frequency and how they relate to cyber-bullying, harm, hate, despair, substance abuse, vandalism and truancy.

And if this really is for the public good, one has to question what criteria Geo Listening is ranking this publicly collected data. What exactly are they looking for, and what are they doing with the information they’ve collected after it’s been deemed “safe”?

Supposedly, they’re only monitoring public posts, so you can be sure a couple thousand Glendale students just figured out how to set up their privacy filters.

(via TechDirt)

App review: 6tag brings a near perfect Instagram experience to Windows Phone 8

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguyThe lack of an official Instagram app for Windows Phone has long been held as proof of the lack of quality apps for the WP8 ecosystem. “I mean, windows phone doesn’t even have Instagram? AmIRite! High five!”

The problem with not developing an app for a popular service? Someone might develop that app in your absence. There are a couple different solutions for getting pics off of your gorgeous Lumia camera, and on to Instagram’s servers. As of today, my favorite is now 6tag.

Developed by Rudy Huyn, who has produced a number of popular apps for Windows Phone, including mobile 9Gag and Wikipedia clients, 6tag offers up every feature and filter of available on Instagram with a Windows Phone twist.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy screenshot 1

All of the favorites are here. Upon logging in, you’re presented a page full of square pics from all the people you follow. The same interactions are available, being able to like by double tapping the pic for example. To leave a comment or tag someone in a photo, you swipe across the photo to get access to these other options. It keeps the photo stream a little more focused on photography, and it looks a little less cluttered. Plus lateral sliding squares is just so Metro.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy screenshot filters

Pics and videos can be uploaded and edited using the same tools and filters as you would find on the official Instagram app. Happily, all of the sharing services are also included, giving you one touch sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Flickr. Unlike the official Instagram app, Huyn also included sharing support for VK, the second largest European social network behind Facebook.

You can also access your likes and lists of people who have liked and commented on your pics. If I have a complaint here, it’s that the live tile doesn’t seem to update those likes very often. I’ll jump into the app and be surprised that my pet picture recently got a dozen likes. It’s a small smudge on an otherwise great experience.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy profile

6tag is free to use, but ads are served on certain screens like your profile or when commenting.

It really is unfortunate that Instagram continues to ignore Windows Phone. Some of the most camera phone passionate consumers are Nokia fans, and Instagram is excluding a base of potential users who have sided with a company producing some of the best cameras ever built into smartphones. Seriously. No Lumia 1020 pics?

Of course, this means an industrious developer can step in to fill the void. Until we get that official app, 6tag will do just fine. Plus if you use instagram, you can find me there as SomeAudioGuy.

6tag on the Windows Phone app store.

PSA: The LTE version of the New Nexus 7 (2013) now available on Google Play

nexus 7 2013 lte version google play store somegadgetguyJust a heads up for you tablet shoppers looking for a mini tablet with LTE capability. FourGees is now available as an option on the 2013 edition of the Nexus 7!

This little tab is rocking the most current version of the Android OS, and it’s completely unlocked and ready to jump on T-Mobile’s small (but growing) LTE network. As expected, the price is $349 out the door with 32GB of storage on board. This is a pretty killer hardware deal as the 16GB WiFi-only version of the iPad Mini is currently selling for $329. Google is offering quite a bit more tech for only $20 more.

Check out the Google Play store for more info!