Archives For Apple


Supposedly today is the day Xbox 360 owners will be treated to HBO GO. Unless you’re a Comcast customer. In which case you’ll likely be accessing HBO on demand content via the Xfinity app… as they apparently intend to own the experience. Likewise, while Comcast doesn’t offer a Roku app, they block HBO GO access on that platform out of hand. Apple TV, by comparison, features access to neither Xfinity nor HBO GO. Sort of.

Owners of the iPhone 4s, iPad 2, or new iPad are entitled to AirPlay mirroring capabilities — a feature Apple describes as allowing one to beam “everything” displayed on an iDevice to an Apple TV. Unfortunately, “everything” doesn’t actually include the iOS HBO GO app… which fails with an unclear error citing “HDMI video out.” However, a pair of Twitter pals (Bill, Mike) clued me in to a nice little workaround… for Comcast customers.

Via Comcast’s Xfinity app, subscribers with compatible iOS devices can beam any and all content — including HBO — to Apple TV. And, as you can see from the pic, it does work. To reduce distracting letterboxing, since your iDevice probably doesn’t share the same resolution and aspect ratio as your television, you’d want to employ your HDTV’s zoom function. No, this won’t provide anything close to Blu-ray quality. But I’d say it’s a reasonable hack for a subset of folks and various situations. For Android owners who’d prefer HBO GO on the big screen there’s always HDMI out.


Looking for a bargain on possibly the second best 10″ tablet? When Apple introduced the third generation iPad, they cunningly kept the prior generation base iPad 2 in play… by dropping its price $100. And, at $399, the iPad 2 is a decent deal. Yet, for many, the new iPad screen is worth the $100 surcharge despite the additional heft and heat. But at $350 or $360 the dynamics may be more compelling, especially for folks on a budget or those anticipating limited tablet usage. MicroCenter is currently blowing out their iPad 2 inventory at $359.99.  As you can see from the pic above, at least one Best Buy is willing to price match – and a friend picked up two on the cheap. Should these supplies run out, Apple is offering refurb iPad 2s for $349. While some may not be entirely comfortable purchasing a refurbished product, having bought several Apple devices this way, I can tell you they’ve all been pristine – including our former iPad 1. Further, refurb Apple iPads carry the same 1 year warranty you’d receive with a new device.

(Thanks, Ricky Tan!)


TiVo’s fine iOS “companion” app sees a rather significant update today. And, while it doesn’t yet feature iPad “retina” graphics (coming soon), the oft forgotten TiVo HD and Series 3 owners should be quite pleased with their newfound ability to manage Season Passes. Speaking of Season Passes, we’re now free to continue using the app while reordering occurs. Some screencaps and additional details follow and the free app is available now via iTunes.

New features for iPad:
-Graphical full-screen Browse experience that makes it much faster and easier to find new shows and movies
-Collapsible folders

Other new features for both iPad and iPhone:
-Added “Keep Until I Delete” option for shows in My Shows
-Added recording options for shows set to record in the To Do List
-Create WishList for shows that aren’t airing right now
-Added My Shows, To Do List, Season Pass manager capability in Away mode for Series4 DVRs
-Added To Do List/Season Pass manager capability for Series3 DVRs
-Make Away mode more resilient to network drops
-Can use app while Season Pass recordings are reprioritizing

Multiple bug fixes including:
-Guide scrolling ahead by days
-Allow background music to continue playing while using the app
-Added new icons to My Shows
-Add live TV padding notification when recording a live event on TV
-Added Facebook single sign-on for easier Facebook login

Multiple performance enhancements and bug fixes


I’m not the biggest fan of the 10″ tablet form factor, finding these devices can’t replace my  Kindle, smartphone, or laptop. In fact, I kept trying to turn our original iPad into a netbook… via Bluetooth keyboard. However, I do find that tablets make a great travel accessory and there is something alluring in having all of the Internet in one’s lap via such a minimalist package yet with a sufficiently large screen. But, in speaking of that screen, content displayed on iPad 1 was distractingly pixelated compared to my other devices. So when rumors surfaced last year that Apple would drastically bump the iPad’s resolution from 1024×768 I found myself quite interested… although highly skeptical. There hadn’t ever been consumer grade panels at these resolutions and I couldn’t imagine what it might do to iPad pricing. 9 months later we have our answer.

The “new” iPad, aka iPad 3 or iPad HD, features a fairly stunning 2048×1536 resolution – a pixel count significantly higher than our 1080p HDTVs… yet also in a significantly smaller package. Of course, Apple generally markets using more human terminology and they’re expanding the range of their “Retina Display” line to now include the iPad, as at normal viewing distances, most will not be able to discern individual screen pixels. Also significant is Apple’s ability to retain iPad 2 pricing, starting at $499. And I purchased the new iPad simply because I can comfortably afford the absolute very best mobile display. Whereas, the very best large screen television or projector remain out of reach for most. Driving home a point that, while historically the folks in Cupertino have been known to apply an “Apple tax,” the company has been so successful in recent years that they’ve hit a scale where they determine supplier pricing and drive down component costs – flummoxing their competitors who frequently seem to offer lesser products at higher fees.

The new iPad is quite functionally similar to its predecessor with the exception of the new screen and optional LTE connectivity. The rear-facing camera also sees a significant bump in performance but, for most, that’s wasted engineering and component costs – more attention should have been paid to the front-facing camera used for Skype or Facetime video communication. But, other than that (and a warm rear left corner), there’s not much to fault with the new iPad and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone in the market for a 10″ tablet. Not only is Apple’s hardware largely superior, their app ecosystem is unmatched. And, as I continue to wrestle with ways to use the iPad, I expect its utility to increase as software offerings mature. (In the 7″ space, it’s hard to beat Amazon’s $199 Android-based Kindle Fire and marketplace despite uninspiring hardware.)

As we’re all well aware, Apple introduced the “new” iPad yesterday. And, while I’m still not quite sold on the tablet form factor, I did place a pre-order. Primarily due the iPad 3’s integrated voice dictation capabilities and much heralded “retina” display — likely featuring more pixels than anything else in our homes. Although, I do wonder how long it’ll take app developers to maximize its potential.

During the marketing spiel Apple made several fascinating and dramatic proclamations. I’m not prepared to classify any as dubious, but it looks as if some could be comparing apples & oranges. For example, I was initially stunned when they said, “This new device has more memory and higher screen resolution than an Xbox 360 or PS3.” Yet, after thinking about it, the factoid isn’t so surprising… and what exactly does it mean?

Other interesting points to ponder: Nvidia has taken  issue with the characterization of their competing chipset, utilized by some Android devices, and what exactly is a PCContinue Reading…

The Minor Apple TV Updates

Dave Zatz —  March 7, 2012


Touched on briefly as an undercard leading up to the iPad 3 HD main event, a slightly refreshed Apple TV was introduced earlier today. And the primary differentiator between this diminutive streamer and its predecessor is an upgraded single core A5 processor that enables 1080p video playback. Related, select iTunes and Netflix video content will now be offered at those higher resolutions. Should your broadband throughput and data cap cooperate. The incoming aTV, expected on store shelves next weeks, sports the same $99 price tag of the outgoing unit. And that’s pretty much all there is to say.

Along with the new hardware, Apple TV 5.0 software has been unveiled… and is also being made available to prior generation Apple TV as you can see from these photos. Replacing text-based lists, is the more familiar presentation of icons as seen on other iOS devices, like the iPhone. But still no app store. Yet. Although it was our second most predicted (requested?) feature in the poll we recently ran, behind the obvious bump in resolution. Lastly, our iTunes video purchases will be permanently accessibile from various devices, on demand via iCloud. Continue Reading…


The Verge sat down with chip manufacturer ARM at Mobile World Congress to discuss strategy. But when confronted with an Apple inquiry, they responded:

We don’t comment on Apple. Full stop.

Of course, these days, this sort of reaction isn’t so unusual. Apple clearly prefers to tell their own story and they’ve got the muscle to insist. But it seems a far cry from the era when Apple raged against the machine and encouraged us to think different. Now they make the rules as every one of us eagerly anticipates their iPad 3. Yet, really, the main purpose of this post was as an opportunity to brush up on my Photoshop skills. Leave your clever captions below.

What Will The Apple TV 3 Bring?

Dave Zatz —  February 29, 2012

We’re generally not ones to speculate, yet given weeks without inventory it seems highly likely a new Apple TV is nearly upon us. Perhaps as soon as the March 7th iPad event. And adding fuel to the fire is a recent report that includes a new hardware model number. While we may end up with a slightly beefier Apple TV 2S or perhaps a dramatically enhanced Apple TV 3, and even if Steve Jobs did crack the code, I don’t think we’re quite ready for a full-on Apple HDTV. So place your wagers below – what sorts of goodies will the new Apple TV include? Continue Reading…