That Time a Robot Was First in Line for an iPhone 6s

5:25 PM EDT, Sep. 24th, 2015 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

I love this story: a company called Atomic 212 has deployed a robot (of sorts) to wait in line at Apple Store Sydney to buy an iPhone for an employee.  Called Lucy the Robot, the device is actually a "telepresence device" with an iPad perched atop a motorized vehicle. Combined, the device is designed to let users represent themselves somewhere other than where they are. In this case, Lucy is representing one Lucy Kelly, an employee at Atomic 212. Lucy the Robot trundled up to the line, and will represent Lucy Kelly when Apple Store Sydney opens its doors to iPhone 6s sales any moment. (Via Mashable.)

Tom’s Guide Rates US Mobile Providers

4:23 PM EDT, Sep. 24th, 2015 · Kelly Guimont · Cool Stuff Found

Over at Tom's Guide (known as Tom's Hardware in the olden days), there is a report released that "grades" mobile providers in the US. Using factors including network performance, online help, and phone selection, T-Mobile was the provider that won the day overall. Notable items in the report include AT&T getting the highest marks on customer support, and Verizon leading in network performance. This guide also compared five discount providers, or MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators - a company which does not own the infrastructure it uses). Overall even the top discount carrier didn't fare as well as the major carrier in last place. With the new iPhone on the horizon and others with contracts expiring in the near future, this guide is an interesting read. If you're getting a new phone anyway, you might want to take a close look at a new provider as well. You can take a closer look at the overall grades below, but click through to the actual guide to get more detail on the conclusions.

KeySmart 2.0 Titanium Key Organizer: $29.99

4:00 PM EDT, Sep. 24th, 2015 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

KeySmart 2.0 Titanium Key Organizer

Check out the KeySmart 2.0 Titanium Key Organizer, a device that lets you keep your keys folded up all neat and tidy in your pocket. And it comes with a bottle opener. You can use a coin to tighten and loosen the screws that hold it together for changing out keys, and because it's titanium, its lightweight. You can get this device for 21 percent off through our deal at $29.99.

AT&T Welcomes iPhone 6s Buyers with Customized Video

3:12 PM EDT, Sep. 24th, 2015 · Jeff Gamet · News

AT&T offers up customized iPhone 6s purchase videos

AT&T wants to make sure you're ready to go when your brand new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus arrives tomorrow, so customers who bought directly from the carrier are getting personalized videos with details about their order and device activation. Assuming you bought your iPhone from AT&T instead of Apple, there's an message waiting in your email in your inbox with a link to your personalized video.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

If you want to stand out in the cell service market you need to do things that make your customers feel welcome. That's the idea behind AT&T's personalized videos.

TMO Daily Observations 2015-09-24: Streaming Music on the Rise, Apple Talks XcodeGhost

1:15 PM EDT, Sep. 24th, 2015 · Jeff Gamet · Daily Observations Podcast

Daily Observations Podcast

Streaming Music is on the rise and outpaced physical music sales in the first half of 2015. John Martellaro and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet look at the changing music market and how Apple Music may fit into that in the future. They also look at Apple's comments on XcodeGhost and the lack of an explanation as to how infected apps got past App Store screeners.

Apple: Developers Shut Off GateKeeper to Install Counterfeit Xcode

9:08 AM EDT, Sep. 24th, 2015 · Jeff Gamet · News

Apple says developers shut of OS X's security failsafe before installing malware-loaded Xcode

Apple has a list of the top 25 iPhone and iPad apps infected with XcodeGhost, and an explanation for how counterfeit versions of its Xcode tools were installed: developers in China intentionally shut off OS X's Gatekeeper feature. Without Gatekeeper running, there wasn't a failsafe in place to alert developers that they installed malware on their own computers.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

Developers downloaded Xcode from non-Apple servers and disabled Gatekeeper. How could they not expect to be writing malware-laden apps? Still, that doesn't let Apple off the hook for failing to catch the infected titles.

Fake Apple Stores Continue to Flourish in China

9:29 PM EDT, Sep. 23rd, 2015 · Bryan Chaffin · News

A fake iPhone 6s (or iPhone s) and a fake iPhone 6s Plus running Android skinned to look like iOS

Apple has struggled with fake Apple Stores in China for years. A new report from Reuters said that such stores are flourishing, so much so that secondary businesses have sprung up to supply the fake stores with shirts, signage, and the accouterments needed to make the fakes look real.

Home Wi-Fi Weak in Areas? Use TP-LINK’s Powerline

5:20 PM EDT, Sep. 23rd, 2015 · Chuck La Tournous · In-Depth Review

TP-LINK's Powerline Adapters

Wi-Fi is great -- until it's not. TP-LINK's new Powerline adapters promise to let your home's electrical wiring do double duty as a high speed wired network. Can they really be the solution for dead spots and out-of-range areas in your home? Chuck La Tournous takes one for a spin to find out.

iOS 9.0.1 Released with Setup Assistant, Alarm Fixes

2:04 PM EDT, Sep. 23rd, 2015 · Jeff Gamet · News

Apple fixes a handful of bugs with iOS 9.0.1 update

Apple released iOS 9.0.1 on Wednesday, only a week after rolling out iOS 9.0. The update fixes several issues such as Setup Assistant failing to complete, and alarms failing to play.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

It's great to see Apple releasing updates for annoying bugs so quickly after giving us iOS 9.0.

NYC iPhone 6s Deliveries May be Delayed Thanks to Pope’s Visit

10:35 AM EDT, Sep. 23rd, 2015 · Jeff Gamet · News

Pope's visit to delay iPhone 6s deliveries in NYC

Holy iPhone delay, New York City residents! Your iPhone 6s pre-order may not show up on Friday, September 25, because of traffic restrictions for Pope Francis' visit. Apple is notifying iPhone 6s buyers of the potential delay via email, and is promising to deliver their brand new smartphone on Saturday if roadblocks keep UPS away on Friday.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

The Pope. The iPhone was nicknamed "Jesus Phone." The jokes practically write themselves. Also, the NYC iPhone 6s delivery delays do kind of suck.

XcodeGhost Prompts Apple to Host Xcode Installers on China Servers

9:17 AM EDT, Sep. 23rd, 2015 · Jeff Gamet · News

Apple: We'll put Xcode on servers in China

After developers in China inadvertently exposed the App Store to a slew of malware-laden iPhone and iPad apps, Apple has confirmed it will start hosting copies of its Xcode installer on servers inside the country. Developers had been downloading unofficial Xcode installers from in-country servers to avoid the poor bandwidth the experience when trying to deal with China's Internet content filtering system.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

China's Great Firewall is a big problem: Not only does it filter news and other content the government doesn't want its people seeing, it also makes downloads from servers outside the country painfully slow. That led to developers feeling OK downloading what turned out to be a malware laced version of Xcode that ultimately exposed thousands of iPhone and iPad users to XcodeGhost. Well done, China.

RIAA Says Streaming Music Outsells Physical Media for First Time

10:01 PM EDT, Sep. 22nd, 2015 · Bryan Chaffin · News

RIAA Sales Chart

Revenues from streaming music services surpassed that of sales of physical media for the first time ever in 2015, and that was before the launch of Apple Music. The Recording Industry Association of America issued a mid-year report that said overall revenues were up, pushed in part by streaming revenues that made up for declines in other formats, including downloads and physical media.

T-Mobile Teases iPhone 6s Promo for $5, $10, or $15 Per Month

9:37 PM EDT, Sep. 22nd, 2015 · Bryan Chaffin · Product News

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

T-Mobile CEO John Legere teased an upcoming promotional offer for iPhone 6s that would let some customers get Apple's new newest device for as little as $5 per month. Part of the company's JUMP on Demand plan, Mr. Legere tweeted that users who turn in an iPhone 6 or other device can get an iPhone 6s for $5, $10, or $15 per month.

Circuit Scribe Basic Kit: $49.99

8:55 PM EDT, Sep. 22nd, 2015 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Circuit Scribe Basic Kit Example

I love the cool make-something-real-and-learn-while-you-do-it products all around us. Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and now we have a deal on something called Circuit Scribe. This technology allows you to draw a circuit with a special pen that you can then connect modules to for a genuine do-it-yourself piece of electronics. Our deal is for the Circuit Scribe Basic Kit, and you can get it for $49.99. Check our the deal listing for more information, images, and a video explaining how it works.