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.”

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.

Lenovo shows off FLEX and Yoga 2 multi-mode touchscreen laptops

lenovo flex multimode laptop somegagetguyLenovo is waging an all out war on Windows 8 touchscreen laptops. Yogas and Twists for more portable, tablet style laptop computing, now they’re introducing a new line of bendy notebooks for people wanting larger screens.

The Flex will come in 14″ and 15.6″ flavors, and comes with the neat hinge trick of swiveling 300 degrees around to prop the screen up in “Stand Mode” to focus on touch apps. It’s a set up I use a lot with my Twist, especially when I’m eating to prevent junk landing on my keyboard. Maybe I Reddit too much, and should take more breaks. Who knows. Prices start at $629 for Flex Laptops.

Also, the Yoga is getting a refresh! Yoga 2 will now be sporting a QHD+ screen. At 3200×1800, it’s four times the resolution of the original Yoga in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s disturbingly close to a 4K screen, shocking at only 13.3″. It still retains the keyboard flip, where the base folds behind the screen to offer a tablet mode. All new tech, and it’s also thinner than the previous Yoga.

Lastly, a new version of Yoga will sport the ThinkPad moniker. For business folks looking for an ultra mobile touchscreen solution, a 12.5″ 1080p version of Yoga clad in classic Lenovo black will also be available. Along with Lenovo’s business grade tools like the fantastic Thinkpad keyboard, it’ll also have NFC on board for better connectivity with phones and other accessories. Expect to see Yoga 2 start at $1099 and ThinkPad Yoga around $949.

All of this new Lenovo gear is expected to be available Later this month.

Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading “Lenovo shows off FLEX and Yoga 2 multi-mode touchscreen laptops”

HTC profits down 45% from a year ago. What does recovery look like?

Man. HTC just can’t catch a break here.

Last week, shares fell almost 5% on the news that HTC only pulled in $443 million this August, which is down 45% from a year ago. It seems that the critically acclaimed One and One Mini handsets aren’t quite motivating consumers to part with their cash. Investor confidence is also a little shaken by news of high level executives leaving the company. Some of those execs under investigation for allegedly leaking company secrets. In all, not a great position for the phone maker to be in given how competitive the phone landscape is.

The one resource HTC most likely needs to turn around its market image is likely the one most difficult to come by: Time. HTC’s recent moves have largely been celebrated by tech pundits. The HTC One marks the first handset by the company which isn’t hamstrung by carrier branding. Even the older One X was billed as the “Evo 4G LTE” on Sprint, diluting HTC’s presence. Future HTC phones will likely not be plagued by this consumer confusion.

HTC heres to changeAlso, we recently saw the first fruits from HTC’s $1 billion ad campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr. and “Hipster Troll Carwashes”. This is a long term brand identity move, which should net positive results, but HTC is also in need of some short term sales to help boost confidence internally and with potential customers. They need evangelists and fans who will tout the company line, and be a grassroots first line of attack when new handsets are released.

Recent moves have been smart, HTC is trying to build a presence on sites like Reddit, and they’ve been more active on social media sites. It’s a tough road to build that kind of loyalty however. Their 716,000 Twitter followers are nothing to sneeze at, but pale in comparison to Samsung’s 4.4 million, and comparing recent tweets, actual engagement with likes and retweet action mirrors those follower numbers.

So while their long term strategies look sound, this isn’t a market known for patience, and that magical recipe for pairing good products and actual sales has been eluding numerous companies of late.

See my hands on reviews for the HTC One and the HTC One Mini.

(via WSJ)

Second successful flight for Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo!

SpaceShipTwo_technical_diagramVirgin Galactic looks to be on track to deliver commercial space flight next year!

SpaceShipTwo completed its second test flight today at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The little spaceship which could was ferried up to 40,000 feet where it’s boosters took over and it climbed to 69,000 feet and hit a top speed of Mach 1.4. Seriously impressive numbers for a commercial craft.

Hit the video below for some “science fiction becoming reality”.

Former Nokia CEO to build Newkia Android handsets, restore Nokia’s “glory days”.

nokia running android newkia somegadgetguy lumia 1020Here’s the deal. It doesn’t matter how good a phone is. A single handset, or a couple of phones, the mobile phone market is viscerally competitive. Without an ecosystem surrounding your products, and an established reputation in the market, consumers will be wary. We’ve been burned too many times before. I still mourn HP/Palm for example. Poor webOS…

Anywho, Thomas Zilliacus speaks openly and candidly about his plans to form a new company to utilize Nokia talent to build Android handsets. Following a failed Nokia takeover, Mr. Zilliacus  is forming Newkia with plans to marry Finnish hardware design with Google’s operating system.

I welcome more competition, but pairing good or great hardware, even while piggybacking on Nokia’s build reputation, isn’t a sure-fire recipe for success. Any company walking into the smartphone arena has to demonstrate their ability to compete over time as well. That said, I’m tentatively very excited to play with a Newkia if and when they actually arrive.

Thomas Zilliacus on Channel News Asia, to form Newkia (video interview)

MyGlass updated to control Google Glass from Android phones and tablets.

myglass google glass app update somegadgetguyPretty straight forward folks. If you’re lucky enough to be rocking Glass, then you’ll want to update the MyGlass app. The update allows you to control Glass using your phone.

Apparently, controlling Glass through taps and head tilts isn’t always ideal, and now utilizing Glass’ screencast capabilities, you can spread out the Glass UI on an Android handset instead.

Plus there are “Bug Fixes”. So. You’ll probably want those too.

MyGlass on Google Play