The Mac Observer's CES 2019 coverage sponsored by:

  • TextExpander
  • Bombich Software
  • Other World Computing
  • CES

CES - Mophie Announces Juice Pack Access for iPhone X/XS, XS Max, XR

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Mophie announced Juice Pack Access, a new line of wireless-charging battery cases for iPhone X/XS, XS Max, XR, The “Access” in the name refers to access to the Lightning port on your iPhone (for headphones). The case includes a 2,200mAh chargeable battery, and you can QuickCharge the case, too, making the whole thing wireless if you so wish. Combined with your iPhone’s internal battery, the company says you can get up to 25 hours of charge time on the smaller iPhone models, and 31 hours of charge on iPhone XS Max. That’s with a relatively slim footprint, too. It’s priced at $119 and scheduled to ship later in the 1st quarter of 2019.

TV's Role in Apple's Services Strategy

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The announcement yesterday that Samsung TVs will get a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps is a big deal. As is the news that Samsung, VIZIO, Sony, and LG are going to integrate AirPlay 2 into their TV offerings. I made that case on TMO Daily Observations on Monday. Pete Kafka at Re/Code has a really incisive piece of analysis looking at the fallout of the Samsung announcement. He lays out how Apple is moving into becoming a services company, or at least how it is making its services business more important, and how TV is part of this strategy.

The obvious and accurate takeaway is that Apple has conceded that Apple TV, the device that was supposed to help it own the living room, isn’t succeeding — it trails Roku, Google and Amazon in streaming market share — and that Apple needs to be on more devices if it is going to sell more services — which is its plan to combat slumping iPhone sales.

New Sony Wireless Vinyl Player Unveiled

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I love vinyl records and continue to collect them, even the in the age of Apple Music and Spotify. Sony announced a new wireless turntable at CES 2019 and, basically, I want it. It is called the LX310BT and integrates with any wireless speaker, soundbar or set of headphones via Bluetooth. The turntable has three gain settings – low, mid, and high so listeners can match the audio level of a record. It also contains a built-in phono pre-amp for use with amplifiers that only offer an in-line connection. In addition, it has a USB connector, which means you can transfer vinyl records into digital form. The turntable will be released in spring 2019 and cost $199.

New Sony Wireless Vinyl Player Unveiled

CES - Toyota Working on Fighter-Jet Inspired Safety Tech for Cars, Wants to Share it

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Toyota Research Institute Lexus autonomous vehicle

I’m not sure what to make of this yet, but it’s super interesting. The Toyota Research Institute—a research arm of the automaker that dabbles in AI, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and other things—thinks it has a way to use technology from the world of fighter jets to make cars safer, and they’re calling it “Guardian for all.” That’s crazy cool by itself, but TRI says it wants to share it with other automakers. In a crazy-competitive market, that’s unusual, too. That said, it’s not ready for market, and even TRI doesn’t yet have a plan for deploying it. Here’s a description from TechCrunch:

The inspiration was modern-day fighter jets, which use a low-level flight control system to translate the intent of the pilot and keep the aircraft stable and tucked neatly inside a specific safety envelope. TRI calls it blended envelope control, an approach that lets its “Guardian” driver assist system combine and coordinate the skills of the human driver and the vehicle they’re driving.

Apple's Public Billboard at CES: 'What Happens on Your iPhone, Stays on Your iPhone'

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What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone

I heart this so much. There aren’t enough emojis in the world to describe how much I love Apple’s giant message to CES: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” It’s on a massive outdoor sign hanging on the side of a ::checks notes:: Marriott…wait, is Apple trolling Marriott, too? Fitting, if so. Whatever, the target is ostensibly Google, Facebook, Amazon, Android, and the myriad of companies whose customers are the product. And that message is being delivered to CES in Las Vegas, a show Apple doesn’t bother to attend. Chris Velazco of Engadget tweeted the first image I could find (below), and Mashable‘s Adam Rosenberg pitched it as, “Apple spent money to publicly troll everyone else’s privacy issues at CES.” Again with the feels, Apple. Thanks for brightening my day.

Add Four Displays To Your Mac with Targus USB-C Universal Quad HD Docking Station

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The beauty of our new USB-C docking station world (don’t say dongles!) is the flexibility and expandability it provides for our Macs. Targus highlights this perfectly with their new USB-C Universal Quad HD Docking Station that they were showing off Sunday at CES Unveiled. In addition to four USB 3.0 ports, an audio in/out port, and a USB-C port with 15W of power, this dock includes four (yes, 4!) HDMI ports, each connectable to a 1080p display. MacOS sees each of these connected displays individually, meaning you could just as easily have four separate screens for your day-trading delights as you could build a multi-screen video “wall” and spread your image across all four of them simultaneously. At US$275 this is a no-brainer if you need those kind of display options. A unit supporting four 4K screens will be out later this year, due to be priced at US$375.

Add Four Displays To Your Mac with Targus USB-C Universal Quad HD Docking Station

Speck's GrabTab Offers Wireless-Charging-Friendly One-Handed iPhone Grip

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Speck was showing off GrabTab, their latest iPhone accessory, at CES Unveiled in Las Vegas on Sunday. Think of GrabTab as serving the same function as a PopSocket — allowing you to get a better one-handed grip on your iPhone — but GrabTab collapses much flatter to allow for better Qi charging, car mounting, and travel in and out of pockets. For US$9.95 this is a no-brainer. Buy one, stick it on the back of your iPhone, and you’re good to go. Bonus: you can slide it open to use as an iPhone stand for watching all of your favorite videos, too.

Speck’s GrabTab Offers Wireless-Charging-Friendly One-Handed iPhone Grip

Nahimic Brings Enhanced 3D Audio To Your Mac’s Movies and Music

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Nahimic, long-time makers of enhanced audio for video games, on Sunday launched Nahimic for Mac. Built to enhance music and movies, Nahimic brings real-time processing of your Mac’s audio from any app. They demoed it with movies and music and the results were impressive. Their 3D Sound truly made a noticeable difference out of MacBook Pro speakers at CES Unveiled, a very noisy environment. Tests on our own back at the hotel confirmed what we heard earlier: this sounds fantastic, there’s no noticeable latency, and the app performs well. A free trial is available and one-year subscription will set you back just US$35.

Nahimic Brings Enhanced 3D Audio To Your Mac’s Movies and Music

New Ring and August Smart Home Products Could be Set for CES 2019 Launch

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august smart bell

It is nearly CES time, so that means lots of product leaks and rumors! 9to5Mac brought together reporting by Dave Zatz on some interesting leaks from August and Ring in the smart home security space. It looks like August is preparing to launch a new smart doorbell, with an updated design. Meanwhile, Amazon-owned Ring looks set to launch a set of smart security lights.

In a nice change from the blocky square design that August currently uses with its current Doorbell Cam Pro, the View takes a more minimal, rectangular form factor. It also brings a space gray color compared to the silver finish on the existing Doorbell Cam Pro. The new rectangular design of August’s View also matches the hardware of its main competitor Ring (now owned by Amazon). No pricing or release details are known yet, but we could hear more about View next week at CES.