Apple seems resolute in its desire to keep us from having an Apple wireless keypad with our Apple wireless keyboards, but Satechi has a device for that. The company introduced the Satechi Slim Rechargeable Aluminum Bluetooth Keypad in Gold, Silver, and Space Gray on Thursday. They look pretty spiffy to me, and the battery lasts up to 2 weeks on a charge time of 1-2 hours. They’re priced at US$39.99 and are available now.
IK Multimedia introduced bass modeling software for the Mac called MODO Bass. The company claims it reproduces a physical bass, including the way humans interact with the instrument, and that it can produce “virtually every electric bass sound.” Models out of the box include a Rick 4003, a Gibson EB-0, a 70s Fender Precision, a modern Fender Jazz, and several more. Each sound can be tweaked with effects and modeled amps. It looks really good, though I haven’t played with it yet. Retail is $299.99, but IK Multimedia has a pre-order price of $149.99. It ships in November.
“The iPhone 7 is said to be 120 times faster than the original 2G, which came out a whopping nine years ago—that’s a lot of progress in less than a decade.” So begins a terrific suite of tests on every iPhone Apple has shipped: boot time, speed benchmarks, camera quality (and low light performance), Touch ID response, camera launch times, operating temperature, sound output, and more. What a nifty video—and nicely narrated. Nine years of iPhone development before our eyes.
Focusrite released iOS Control Wednesday—note that it’s being listed on the App Store as simply Focusrite Control. This free app allows users of Focusrite’s desktop app Control to extend control of their audio interfaces to iPhone and iPad. Control works with Focusrite’s larger audio interfaces, from the Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) and up, as well as the company’s Clarett and Red lines. With iOS Control, users can control hardware inputs, software playback, panning, solo, mute, and preamp settings on your interface—all from your iOS device. It’s a free download, but is useless without the above-mentioned hardware and use of the Control desktop app.
Whoa, check this out: scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a way to turn CO2 into ethanol. This could have huge implications for the fight against anthropogenic global warming, not to mention the entire energy sector. Mind you, this is a new discovery and it’s still in the lab, but if we can capture CO2 and convert it into a fuel, it could be a game changer. The video below talks about how the method was discovered, as well as some of its practical applications. In a world where a steady deluge of depressing news has become the new norm, this is a delightful breath of kick-butt. Popular Mechanics has an article on the subject, too.
Quartz has a very interesting piece [Via 9to5Mac] on how Apple and other tech companies use a U.S. Patent & Trademark Office rule to register trademarks in semi-secrecy. The rule is designated 44(d), and the crux of the matter is that allows multinationals to more or less hide a trademark for 6 months. That rule gives a trademark filer 6 month-retroactive priority on a new trademark application to filers who can prove they already filed it somewhere else. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Intel have all used this method to keep a trademark under wraps, but Apple is king of this method. Quartz cited legal experts who said only companies with enormous legal resources can afford to do it. Check out the full article for more.
ecobee introduced the ecobee3 lite smart thermostat HomeKit support and a lower price tag than the standard ecobee3 on Monday. The lower cost model offers most of the features as its not-so-lite brother such as remote access and IFTTT support, alerts, scheduling, and comfort settings. It doesn’t, however, support room activity sensors. The ecobee3 lite is priced at US$169. You can pre-order today and it’ll be available on October 31st.
Pixar has a new short called Borrowed Time. Right up front, this 6 minute film is not for kids. It’s intense, emotional, sad, and—as SFist called it—lovely. Two of Pixar’s animators spent five years making it in their spare time, and according to a behind-the-scenes film, they made it specifically to dispel the idea that animation is strictly for kids. I’d love to know what you think about it.
Google is adding U.S. ballot information to search results in the run up to the presidential election in November. It starts with the ability to search for “who’s on my ballot” in the main Google search engine. Users who do so will be asked to provide the street address where they’ll be voting (i.e. it will be added to Google’s profile on you if that was somehow missing). Google Maps users will be prompted to use their Home address. You’ll then be given all the candidates on your ballot, as well as quick access to information on how to vote in your state and where to vote in your district. In my opinion Google is performing a huge service to the country with this feature. Watch the video for more information.
Facebook just made it easier to watch videos wherever you want by adding support for streaming to Apple TV. The change means you can use AirPlay to watch Facebook videos on your television while continuing to scroll through posts in the Facebook iOS app, or on the Facebook website. Video comments will show up on your TV, too, which means you can keep on top of what everyone is thinks during the next Presidential debate—assuming you’re into streaming that from Facebook. You’ll need to download the latest Facebook app update on your iPhone or iPad to stream videos to your Apple TV.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th, but we don’t have to wait until then to see a little more of what’s in store. Disney released a new trailer for the movie on Thursday that reveals a little of Jyn Erso’s background and taunts us a glimpse of epic space battles with X-wings and TIE fighters. We also get another Darth Vader tease, and there’s plenty more to get excited about, too. Based on the trailers we’ve seen so far, Rogue One is shaping up to be an awesome prequel to the original Star Wars movie.
After I posted the SHAPES Kickstarter on Wednesday, Father Gabriel Mosher tweeted me another cool cable organizer called Cloop XL. This is a different approach for cable management in that it’s a rubber strap with neodymium magnets that snap together and stay there. This particular Kickstarter is for a new, larger version called Cloop XL. It’s 115mm (4.6-inches) long, and can hold sturdier cables. This project has already raised $66,000, well over its $10,000 goal. Funding options that get you three or more Cloops, including a Cloop XP, start at $11 as of this writing, but you only have today to participate. There’s a ton of information there, too.
Check out SHAPES on Kickstarter. I’ve seen a lot of cable organizers and tamers and whatnot cross my desk. Most of them are quite clever and useful, but they tend to rely on me putting the end of a cable onto a magnetic base when I’m done with it. There’s a Kickstarter project called SHAPES that takes a different approach. Rather than being a catch-all for multiple cables, SHAPES is more of a holder for one cable, as shown in the video below. Each sphere or pyramid (I prefer the spheres, FWIW) holds one cable in place while allowing it to slide about when you’re using it. The company is trying to raise $20,000 with 28 days to go.
Check out this remarkable project Richard Clarkson is working on. It’s called Making Weather, and builds on Smart Cloud, a combination lamp and Bluetooth speaker designed to look like a cloud. As noted by The Verge, Mr. Clarkson is working with Crealev to turn this idea into an actual levitating cloud. Crealev has the levitation technology, which uses magnets to achieve the levitation effect. This isn’t a shipping product (yet), but the original Smart Cloud is ($3,360). But the demo video for Making Weather is intensely cool, and I wanted to share it. You can find more images and information on at Crealev’s site.
To the Bat-TV, Robin! Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders hit the iTunes Store on Tuesday. The 90 minute animated movie brings back the awesomeness of the 1966 television series, complete with Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their iconic roles as Batman and Robin, and Julie Newmar joins in as Catwoman, too. There are Bat-labels galore, plenty of campy jokes, and loads of fun. You can download Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders for US$19.99 so you can watch any Bat-time on your Bat-iPhone, Bat-iPad, and Bat-Apple TV.
Check out the GeeFi on Kickstarter. It’s a mobile hotspot its makers say provides unlimited 4G data in 100-plus countries. It will support up to 10 devices at a time, and it does this without you having to change out SIM cards are worry about local contracts. When the device is turned on, it displays a local wireless network with a password. Plug that into your laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and you’re good to go. They also say it provides 150 megabits down and 50 megabits up—for $10 per day. The data plan is separate from the cost of the device. Funding options that get a GeeFi currently start at $120. They’ve already raised $141,000 dollars out of a $20,000 goal, with two weeks to go.
Today Phish released “Big Boat,” their 13th studio album, and it turns out one of the songs was recorded entirely on keyboardist Page McConnell’s iPhone. From Alan Paul, writing for the Wall Street Journal:
[Producer], Bob Ezrin gave the band members specific instructions: Learn and play 10 folk songs, then start writing, beginning with a folk song. Mr. McConnell’s effort, “Things People Do,” not only made the final cut, but the version included is his demo. Phish made multiple versions of the song before agreeing that nothing topped the original low-fi version, recorded on Mr. McConnell’s iPhone, sitting atop a Wurlitzer piano in his living room.
OK, we don’t have flying cars yet, but jetpacks seem to be closer than ever. Check out this video from JetPack Aviation showing CEO and Chief Test Pilot David Mayman testing out the company’s JB10 jetpack. The flight took place on October 1st in Monaco. Come on, how cool is that? The firm said it was filmed on an iPhone 6s, too.[Via Digg]
I stumbled on this awesome little project on Instagram from @Instructions (via IG’s “Videos You Might Like” feature). It’s a do-it-yourself charging holder for your iPhone made from stuff most of us have lying around. Pretty clever, I think. I’d love to hear from anyone who makes it themselves.
Writing for Fortune, Polina Marinova has gathered up confessions from venture capitalists who passed on companies that would become massive successes. It’s a fun read (via The Loop), but it’s also interesting. Included are comments about Apple. BVP partner Neill Brownstein called the company “outrageously expensive” before Apple went on to what was then the largest IPO in almost three decades. Another VC at BVP passed on Ebay, saying, “Stamps? Coins? Comic books? You’ve GOT to be kidding.” And yet another to Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin: “Kid, haven’t you heard of Friendster? Move on. It’s over!” Check out the full piece, because there are lots more.