Archives For Apple

Deal of the Day: $30 off Apple TV

Dave Zatz —  December 26, 2015

While it may be a few years before we once again “watch TV”, my new blessed reality clearly hasn’t slowed me from acquiring gadgets. So, although I missed out on Target’s limited Black Friday inventory, I just ordered Apple TV on sale from… RadioShack’s zombie corpse. This $120 deal drops $30 off MSRP and bundles an HDMI cable of unknown length and provenance.

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Of course, what sets the new Apple TV apart from its predecessors is a full-fledged and open (vs curated) app store along with a premium touch sensitive remote that also sports Siri voice control. Apple offers both 32GB and 64GB models, but the extra space doesn’t yet seem useful and the 32GB is probably suitable for most… for now. The Roku 2 (2015) is still the streamer I most frequently recommend given the broad app selection, simple but efficient interface, at a very attractive price point ($60-70). However, until or unless Roku migrates their platform to Android, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV offerings will potentially be richer and more capable.

(Thanks Bryan A!)

August is out with several announcements today as they now publicly transition from a singularly focused smart lock company into a home automation player. We’ve got service relationships, a smart keypad, a doorbell camera, and, of course, more smartlock. The existing August lock drops in price to $199 with a significantly updated model joining the fray at $229.

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While Philips Hue HomeKit-compatible gear isn’t officially expected until October 6, the A19 Starter Kit has begun appearing at various retail locations. Indeed, I literally got my hands on the v2 hub bridge. It’s smaller and squarer than the existing model, with a nicer matte finish and generally more tasteful presentation… that is entirely irrelevant since you’ll be plugging it into your router somewhere out of sight. There are three indicators, plus a glowing ring that surrounds the much larger pairing button.

As Philips moves the line to HomeKit, pricing of Hue bundles looks to remain unchanged (in the US, anyway). What’s not yet clear, but should be revealed within the next 48 hours, is the cost of a standalone HomeKit bridge to retrofit the bazillions of Hue homes that sport iOS (like mine). Also unclear, as I’m pretty sure an App Store update is required, is the extent of Siri voice control. For example, will it best Amazon Echo’s existing but limited (tho useful) Hue interaction?

UPDATE: The HomeKit replacement hub has popped up on Amazon for $60… But I’m waiting to learn more about Siri’s capabilities before making my purchase.

Plex Confirmed For New Apple TV. No Timeline, Probably No Universal Search.

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Unboxing the new Apple TV

Dave Zatz —  September 13, 2015

You getting the NEW Apple TV?

Dave Zatz —  September 10, 2015

As expected, a NEW Apple TV has been unveiled … clocking in at a comparatively hefty $149-199. Yet, with brand recognition and that shiny, shimmery interface, they’ll surely move many when they go on sale next month.

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Apple TV highlights include the redesigned remote, featuring a glass covered gesture area and Siri voice control, along with what appears to be a full-fledged App Store.

Neither of these features are unique to aTV, but Apple has more reach than most and the Siri interactions go well beyond Roku and Fire TV’s universal voice search in terms of opening apps, pulling up the weather, and natural language interaction (more akin to Xfinity, believe it or not). As to the newly introduced finger tip control, having directed my Fire TV, Xbox One, and even existing Apple TV via their respective gesture-based smart phone apps … I don’t particularly care for it, finding increased utility via discrete actions and tactile feedback. But Siri does look strong. Real strong. Continue Reading…

With announcement of the iPhone 6s just days away, it’s time for many of us to secure offers for our existing iDevices. And Gazelle is guaranteeing they will beat all-comers, including your existing carrier. My wife and I aren’t yet certain if we’ll be upgrading our smartphones (and/or replacing T-Mobile with Verizon), but we went ahead and locked in offers for my iPhone 5s ($171) and her iPhone 6 ($362), should we choose to ultimately pull the trigger.

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Word on the street is that Apple TV will gain Siri-powered “universal” search with a rumored new $149 model being unveiled next week. Which would be quite curious if they also deliver a more open app platform as, suddenly, Apple iTunes video could compete directly against the likes of Amazon and Vudu. Presumably, should both come to pass, Apple would be content to take a cut of app sales (as seen on mobile) to offset the video losses.

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Of course, others like Roku and Fire TV, have long featured universal search, with TiVo leading the pack — as both live and upcoming television programming are indexed, along with the ability to create a OnePass playlist from disparate sources. Apple’s search functionality would gain additional utility should their rumored streaming TV service launch… with live programming and hopefully an on demand library.