Turn Your iPhone into an Amazon Echo with Astra

· · Cool Stuff Found

Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot are pretty cool, but what if you don’t have one yet—or aren’t home to use yours? That’s where Astra comes in. It’s an iPhone app that links to your Amazon account so you talk talk to Alexa just as if you’re right in front of your own Echo. The app lets you do pretty much everything your Echo or Echo Dot can handle, except for music playback or reading audio books. You can also remotely control your Echo-aware smarthome devices with your voice, which is worth the app’s US$0.99 price tag all by itself. You can get Astra at Apple’s App Store.

Turn Your iPhone into an Amazon Echo with Astra

Amazon Go Shopping, iPhone as a Desktop Computer – TMO Daily Observations 2016-12-06

· · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations

First Amazon wanted to be your go-to online shopping destination, and now the company wants to be your local brick-and-mortar store, too. John Martellaro and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to look at Amazon’s planned cashier-free grocery store, plus they dive into the possibility of our iPhones becoming our only computing device.

Amazon Go: a Retail Store with No Checkout Lines (Kind of Like Apple)

· · Analysis

Woman shopping at Amazon Go with

Amazon has taken a page from Apple’s book and maybe one-upped it, or at least brought it closer to home. The company announced Amazon Go, a combination retail store and app that allows you to walk in, scan a code, and walk out without doing going through any form of checkout line. Apple’s been doing something similar for years.

Amazon Snowmobile is a Giant Truck That Can Move 100PB to the Cloud

· · Cool Stuff Found

Amazon’s servers provide the backbone for much of the Web, and while upload speeds are improving, what happens when you need a few dozen petabytes backed up to the cloud? Enter Amazon Snowmobile, literally a giant truck with a mobile data center capable of physically moving up to 100 petabytes of your data to Amazon’s cloud servers. The concept is the evolution, both in name and function, of the company’s “Snowball” service, which ships customers data units with capacities up to 80TB. As for price, it’s in the “if you have to ask…” category, although Amazon says it aims to make the Snowmobile cheaper than any network-based data transfer which, even at gigabit speeds, would take a while.

Amazon Snowmobile is a Giant Truck That Can Move 100PB to the Cloud

Amazon Plugs Ecosystem Hole with Streaming Music Service

· · News

Amazon Music Unlimited streaming music service

Apple Music, Spotify, say hello to Amazon Music Unlimited. Amazon just launched its own streaming music service, and here’s the kicker: It doesn’t need to be better than Apple Music or Spotify, just more convenient. That’s enough to keep more people in Amazon’s ecosystem.

Evidence is Mounting: Apple Will Convert the Macs to ARM CPUs

· · Particle Debris

RIP Intel Inside

The time since most of the Macs have been updated can now be described as geologic. Is that because Apple doesn’t care about the Macs? Or, more likely, could we be in for another major architectural change? Evidence is mounting that Apple will abandon Intel and take the Mac lineup to ARM. John looks at the evidence and makes the case.

Senator Warren: Apple, Amazon, Google Killing Competition

· · Analysis

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Apple, Amazon, and Google are abusing their market strength to block competition from smaller companies, according to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). In a speech  at the America’s Monopoly Problem on Wednesday, she said the three companies are using their size to “snuff out competition,” and she’s at least partly right.