Not usually known for its technological offerings, IKEA released a video spotlighting the "amazing" BookBook for 2015, featuring high definition photos, a touch interface you can feel, and amazing eternal battery life. It also features "instant loading" on every page! Amazing. This is one of the more clever Apple spoofs we've seen, and it wasn't done to denigrate Apple (as is the case with most such spoofs), but rather to highlight Ikea and extoll the virtues of old-fashioned print catalogs. Discovered via The Loop. Note: You may need to watch it twice to catch everything, it's very clever.
IK Multimedia announced on Thursday iRig Mic Field, a digital stereo microphone for Lightning-equipped iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. This device is designed to capture high-quality audio using two high-quality cardioid electret condenser capsules, a 24-bit audiophile-grade A/D converter (with 44.1/48kHz sample rate), a 115 dB maximum SPL rating, and a built in low-noise, high-definition preamp. Because it uses the Lightning port, it can be used for either standalone audio or for capturing audio for a video, too. It works in conjunction with iRig Recorder, the company's audio recording app for iOS, but it's also compatible with Core Audio and Core Video-enabled apps, including Apple's GarageBand, Voice Memo, Camera, and iMovie. iRig Mic Field is US$99.99/€79.99, and it ships in October.
Samsung released on Tuesday a rather entertaining commercial for its (lolbecauseapplehomekit) smart home effort. I'm not sure what exactly the commercial is pushing, but it features David Hasselhoff and his Knight Rider legacy, as well as William Daniels, reprising his role as the voice of K.I.T.T., Mr. Hasselhoff's "smart car." Of particular enjoyment is Mr. Hasselhoff's attempt to smooth talk a hot young member of the crew, who is plainly unimpressed and mentions her father might have talked about Knight Rider. Maybe. As I said above, it's very entertaining. One other note: that this commercial is devoid of specifics could suggest that Samsung has at last learned it lesson, and will wait to copy what Apple unveils after the unveiling rather than release a sad, pathetic excuse of a "FIRST POST!" product beforehand that it then has to apologize for later. We'll see. [Via Mashable]
The FLIR One camera is a very cool personal thermal imaging camera that attaches to your iPhone. That's cool. I love this thing. It makes thermal imaging inexpensive and highly portable. It turns, out, however, that it also makes a long-known method of stealing a PIN code much more accessible, as shown in the video below. Mark Rober posted a detailed video to YouTube explaining and demonstrating the problem. Better still, he also shows you how to protect yourself against this method (touch all of the keys while you're entering your PIN). Show this to your friends and family and get them to spread the word. The screenshot I included shows the problem at a glance. Watch the video for the full story. [Via TheLoop]
Check out this very cool video of Apple's spaceship campus construction site, shot through a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition mounted on a drone. We've seen several great photos from KCBS reporter Ron Cervi, but YouTube member jmcminn's high definition video is a feast for the Apple-obsessed eye. The video, which was shot on August 24th, shows more progress on the building's structure, including some slab work (or whatever futury thing Apple is doing for its foundation). Also, while we're here, think about the number of drones that could be flying over corporate HQ's everywhere sooner, rather than later. For company's like Apple whose stock in trade is built partially on secrets, drones are part of a brave new world. [Via Fortune -> @applespotlight]
Everybody has their complaints about the iOS (and Mac OS) Contacts app. They're all different, but I don't know a single person who LIKES it, but we all grit our teeth and get by. Now Contrast, the folks behind Launch Center, are taking on the challenge of using contacts with a new app called Contact Center. It has shortcuts that can be customized per contact, making it easy to interact with your contacts in the ways that make sense for each of them. It's a free app in the US App Store now. I can't wait to spend some time with this, Launch Center is a wonderful utility so I'm betting their contact interaction will also be pretty great. See it in use below.
Smile Software announced Wednesday that TextExpander touch 3 was being opened to a public beta. This will be a keyboard replacement for iOS 8 (via Apple's new keyboard extension) that allows you to use your TextExpander snippets in every iOS app—even Apple's own apps. Smile also said the keyboard will include full VoiceOver accessibility support. If you want to participate in the public beta, follow Smile's special Twitter account @SmileTEBeta.
Seagate announced Tuesday that has shipped the first 8TB hard drive, a 33 percent increase in capacity from the 6TB enterprise monsters that were announced just last April. The devices come in a standard 3.5-inch form factor, and it doesn't use helium to increase capacity, a concept being pursued by Western Digital. Instead, as noted by Computerworld, Seagate is using a technology called shingled magnetic recording (SMR). The company hasn't announced pricing, and said that it was shipping the drive to "select customers," with wider availability starting next quarter. The 6TB enterprise drive shown below can be purchased for US$599. Now, if I could just get an iPhone with more than 64GB of storage.
TiVo has taken a big step into the world of cord-cutting with the introduction of TiVo Roamio OTA, a DVR for over-the-air (OTA) TV signals. With this device, cord-cutters can go back to the future and digitally record SD and HD broadcasts from local TV stations and watch them like they would with any other DVR. Cool, eh? TiVo Roamio OTA can record up to four programs at once, and it has a 500GB hard drive for up to 75 hours of recorded HD content. If you have a broadband connection, the device also has apps for Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, "and more," plus it supports TiVo's own TiVo Stream for watching your recorded shows on other devices. It's a brilliant move that could allow TiVo to expand its business outside of the cable and satellite industries where it started. Better yet, the box is only US$49.99 (available exclusively at Best Buy starting in September). It also requires a $14.99 monthly subscription to function, which is where TiVo actually makes its money.
Week of Who concludes today with The Curse of Fatal Death, a special produced as part of a telethon for the Red Nose Day charity. This is a notable piece of Doctor Who history because it makes more than a few connections between the old series and the new, notable among them being that the "episode" was written by now current executive producer of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat. It was part of the Red Nose Day telethon in 1999, and has been affectionately adopted as part of the Whoniverse. Like a ridiculous, but lovable uncle, if your uncle was Rowan Atkinson. Enjoy the new series!
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