Archives For Apple
What if the smart devices around your home could all interact with each other, even if they were from different manufacturers or different systems? Say your front door sensor could trigger a light to turn on in the living room when you get home. Currently, to get this kind of interoperability, you either need to acquire all the components of the same system (like Insteon), or have one agnostic hub that tries to “talk” all the different languages of the smart home landscape (like Staples Connect, SmartThings, and the dreadful Wink).
What if there was another way? What if each of your home devices could speak the same langauge independent of manufacturer? An Elgato door sensor that opens when you get home could tell an Ecobee thermostat to turn house temp to 72 degrees. Or turning off a specific Lutron light switch in the bedroom could tell the August front door to lock? That’s the promise of Apple’s HomeKit.
Much has been written already about HomeKit. But now that Apple is officially allowing vendors to start selling devices, we are finally starting to get a better understanding of what can and can’t be done with HomeKit. At first, my thought was that the iPhone now becomes the “hub” to control the devices of your home, but that was the wrong way to think about HomeKit. HomeKit is much more far reaching. Continue Reading…
SmartThings iOS app adds Apple Watch capabilities
The fact that this update is coming to the iOS app for Apple Watch “further highlights SmartThings and Samsung’s commitment to an open platform,” The team behind SmartThings have released the SmartThings iOS app version 1.7.3 with Apple Watch integration.
Cable Cozies Up to TiVo & OTT
What a difference a few years makes. Former upstart TiVo was shunned by the cable industry for the better part of a decade, and Netflix has often ranked as enemy number one both for producing scads of Internet traffic, and for offering a competitive service to cable’s video-on-demand (VoD). Fast forward to today, however, and the cable industry has decided to mend fences all around.
Apple TV Remote Expected to Add Touch Pad in Redesign
The touch pad can be used for scrolling around and there will also be two physical buttons, the person said. The remote’s thicker size is comparable to the remote control for Amazon’s wireless speaker, the Echo, the person added.
Comast unveils Xfinity Share
Through Comcast’s new Xfinity Share app, X1 customers can live stream or send photos and recorded videos to their TV, or to the TV of another X1 customer, as well as live stream and share content to mobile phones.
For having been a pioneer of over-the-top video space, the Amazon Instant iPhone and iPad apps have been something of an anomaly in this space — only streaming over WiFi and in standard def. On a smaller screen, the resolution issue hasn’t bothered me as much as you might imagine, but there have been times I’ve been mobile and sorely aware of that missing cellular coverage. Well, both issues have been corrected this week as Amazon brings HD and 3G/4G streaming to iOS. Now if only we could get Prime downloads, like Amazon provides on their own Kindle Fire hardware…
After a couple month absence, with the ports reopened and another production run under their belts, TiVo Stream ($130) is back in stock. And, along with it, comes a TiVo Stream software update that enables “premium sideloading” for iPad and iPhone as first referenced at CES. However, it’s not actually the act of sideloading or downloading that’s “premium” — rather, it’s the ability to get at content that’s been flagged as ‘copy once’ via the CCI Byte. When appropriately applied and for most providers, we’re talking premium cable content like HBO… versus, say, the misguided Time Warner Cable approach that flags just about everything other than the locals. Whereas these recordinings were previously inaccessible from iOS, they can now be transferred for offline viewing… assuming you’re OK in deleting it from the source DVR. Presumably, this functionality has or will also make its way to Roamio devices. Indeed, it seems like an incremental post-OnePass update is already rolling. With Android downloads on the horizon too, it’s all looking pretty rosy for TiVo owners with a penchant for mobile.
(Thanks John R and JWhites!)
Let me preface this post in saying that for the majority of the last decade, despite the occasional Chromebook or Windows aberration, a MacBook of one flavor or another has been my primary computing device. (Some examples: MBP, MB, MBA) So I clearly have both appreciated and invested in Apple’s take on portable computing. But the newly introduced “Macbook” ($1300 and up) appears to be something of a compromised curiosity (which, incidentally, is how I responded to the original MacBook Air).
In whittling away a laptop to a mere two pounds, the MacBook is an engineering marvel. Stunning, really. I mean, just look at the pic above – the brains of the computer reside on that small board, with the rest of the space dominated by the laptop’s structure and molded battery. Beyond the guts, the laptop is a beaut. Which probably means more to me than it should – guess I’m shallow like that. However, as a laptop’s primary interface remains keyboard and touchpad, these redesigned elements concern me. Like most, I haven’t actually touched the new MacBook yet… but, based on the visuals and early reports, I certainly won’t be pre-ordering. Further, it seems the MacBook’s processing power will be equivalanent to my 2012 MacBook Air. For most of what I do, most of the time, that wouldn’t really be a problem. But it does seem a step backwards to save a marginal amount of size and power consumption. Lastly, we’re provided just a single USB-C port to cover both charging and any peripherals (beyond headphones) for a fee … that runs more than Apple TV. Continue Reading…
While the Apple Watch was announced for a second time this week, one of the more fascinating aspects of the 90 minute press event was Apple TV-centric. And the three-year old streaming hardware sees an immediate price drop from $99 to $69, undercutting both the Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV. Despite the discount, I’d still recommend the Roku 3 to most given a much larger app catalog and their unbeatable universal search. Yet, the dynamics may shift … for a bit, anyway.
Beyond the highly compelling Airplay and iTunes integration, for those deep into Apple, HBO NOW will be an exclusive Apple TV offering when it launches in April for $15/month. Unlike HBO GO, the streaming service bundled with many cable and satellite providers, HBO NOW will be available to anyone with an Apple product and an Internet connection. I’d strongly suspected the foreshadowed service would launch exclusively with ISPs to largely preserve the status quo. But HBO is moving forward with a clearly agnostic, tho still strategic, approach… that may yet involve our Internet providers: Continue Reading…
While I’m the CTO of the Zatz household, my wife Melissa is also capable of making tech purchasing decisions… and living with the consequences.
After years with Blackberry, I’ve truly become an Apple fan girl. For the less tech savvy, such as myself, I find Apple products quite intuitive, making for a fun and effective user friendly experience. When I gave up an iPad and iPad Mini to try the more economical Kindle Fire HDX, I was ultimately frustrated with its quirky operating system and lack of software polish. From what I can tell, these issues continue and I’m betting Dave will imminently return his recently purchased Fire. (Dave disputes this but he hates it when I’m right!). Like many others, my motto is “why fix what isn’t broke”? Apple has figured out a way to make technology easy, enjoyable, and super sexy looking.
As soon as the 4.7″ iPhone 6 was released Dave encouraged me to upgrade from my 4″ 5s. I use my smartphone for the majority of my web surfing and Internet needs. I actually use it more than my laptop — thanks to apps like Scanner Pro and eFax, I can even handle many work-related tasks on my phone. Dave and I also travel frequently and I’d rather not tote multiple devices. I want one gadget that will serve as my phone, my Kindle, and my web browser. As such, Dave believed I would enjoy the larger screen from my “all in one” device. I wasn’t easily convinced that we needed to spend $750 on a new phone when my 5s, although lacking in storage space, was seemingly meeting all my needs. Dave prefers I sport the newest product because it usually means a better or more efficient experience. I eventually gave in to his encouragement and I’ve been using he iPhone 6 for a few days now. I cannot say I’m in love just yet but I’m definitely interested.