Archives For Apple

Add Gift Card To Starbucks App

Dave Zatz —  December 25, 2012

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Like many this season, I’ve received a Starbucks gift card. Three to be exact. And instead of bothering with the Starbucks website, I figured there must be some way to add the balance to my existing virtual card/account via the Starbucks iPhone app. Indeed there is…

  • From within the Starbucks app, bring up your current card(s) by tapping “Pay” in the upper right
  • Swipe your screen to the right to reveal the hidden New Card screen on the left

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  • Enter the new Starbucks giftcard number and 8 digit pin, which you may have to scratch off
  • Click “Add” in the upper right and “Cancel” the Passbook prompt

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  • Once presented with the gift card, click “Transfer Balance”
  • Click on the card you’d like to move the funds to
  • Click “Transfer” then confirm the transaction and amount

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Optional cleanup…

  • Swipe over to the zero balance card and click “Manage”
  • Click on the small “x” located on the upper left of the card picture
  • Click “Remove Card”

lifeproof-fre-backAfter much anticipation, the Lifeproof frē ($80) arrived at Best Buy last week. Like its predecessor, this iPhone 5 case is designed to protect your smartphone from dirt, water, and drops… in a much more svelte form factor than the fairly well known ruggedized Otterbox line. Yet, while Lifeproof’s marketing materials are compelling, I don’t have much confidence in the reality.

My case survived the recommended one hour water test, sans phone, and I expect it would have done fine job protecting from splashes at the kitchen sink or in the rain. But there’s no way I’d be comfortable fully submerging the iPhone 5 — given the case’s construction, including an issue with the bottom corner that didn’t have a flush seal (below right) despite realigning the O ring. Also, speaking of construction, while the frē is certified to survive 6′ drops it’s less rugged feeling and thinner than the competition — so they’ve presumably achieved this feat via superior engineering, Continue Reading…

Cyber Monday Streaming Deals

Dave Zatz —  November 26, 2012

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Ah yes, it’s that time of year again where we give thanks for deeply discounted gear. Fortunately, Cyber Monday online sales provide relief from the Black Friday mall riots and we’ve spotted bargains on some of our favorite streaming boxes.

Roku HD
Roku, one of our perennial favorites in this category, sees a $10-$20 discount across its line. Despite a much-needed UI refresh and lack of YouTube, Roku retains the broadest selection of streaming content  -including staples such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Pandora. I’d say the best bang for the buck is the Roku HD, which caps out at 720p but clocks in at a mere $40. For comparison, the competing Apple TV runs $99 and adding streaming services to an Xbox runs $60/year.

Refurbished Apple TV
Let’s say you’re deep into Apple’s ecosystem and would appreciate streaming your iTunes collection and beaming content from your iPhone to your television. And maybe you’d like one of the more polished appearing interfaces and YouTube to go along with Netflix and movie rentals. Well, the refurbished 1080p Apple TV is 15% off list at $85. Gifting a refurb might be a bit tacky, despite Apple’s full warranty and pristine hardware, so this would be best for close relatives… or yourself. Continue Reading…

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TiVo’s fine iOS app has just been updated to version 2.1, bringing support to the new resolution Apple introduced with the iPhone 5. While I generally find content weirdly elongated on the 16×9 display, widescreen television video is a perfect fit – and those with the TiVo Stream are the prime beneficiaries. Having said that, all TiVo Premiere subscribers can make use of the additional screen real estate when perusing the guide or reordering Season Passes.  Continue Reading…

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Another week, another streamer? A year after introducing their Roku competitor, Netgear expands the NeoTV streaming line with “Pro” and “Max” models. And, as we’re wont to do, we picked up Netgear’s latest. Similar in form factor to that aforementioned Roku, I was prepared to dislike the NeoTV MAX ($60-70) given it’s sluggish response and pixelated fonts… as seen from many sub $100 streamers. However, a recent update has sped up the UI to mostly acceptable levels and Netgear offers a few compelling features versus the competing Apple TV and Roku devices.

The most obvious enhancement is the bundled QWERTY remote… which looks positively svelte next to Gigantor the Vizio Costar equivalent. However, it’s obnoxiously encumbered by “the bullshit buttons” — presumably paid placements, by the likes of Best Buy’s CinemaNow, that you’re bound to hit at inopportune times.

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Also on the value-add list is integrated Intel WiDi reception capabilities. Much like Apple’s Airplay, WiDi allows you to beam content from specific Intel-powered laptops to your television screen. Related, unlike Apple TV or Roku, NeoTV can also receive content via DLNA network resources.

On the appearance front, Netgear’s interface exceeds Roku’s simplistic approach. Although many of the NeoTV apps are really just aggregated feeds powered by Flingo. But, hey, at least they provide YouTube — still missing from Roku devices, along with a promised UI revision.

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Thus far, we’d say the 1080p Netgear NeoTV MAX is a solid and promising streaming player at a competitive price given the broad channel selection, including Vudu and Netflix, QWERTY remote, and integrated Ethernet (as we’re somewhat disappointed that Netgear chose to forgo dual band 802.11n wireless capabilities). Yet, while the space continues to expand, we find ourselves somewhat uninspired given overlapping features and lack of innovation compared to say the mobile industry.

A bird in the hand…

Dave Zatz —  October 23, 2012

Right on schedule, Apple unveiled the iPad Mini ($329). And, I suppose, there’s really not much to say. It’s a smaller iPad. Or, maybe, a larger iPhone. With a lesser DPI than either. But thinner than my recently returned Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Brian Lam, of The Wirecutter, was hopeful that folks attending Apple’s event might go beyond the press release verbiage in their coverage… to which PC Mag‘s Sascha Segan responded with allusions to the inevitable “in the hand” descriptions. My colleagues were only happy to oblige with nearly universal iPad Mini hand praise:

Continue Reading…

Thanks to our pal Khaled, we’re back with several unannounced Logitech goodies on tap this fall. While they’re probably not as unique as the WiFi webcam broadcaster, solid computing accessories are a necessity. And I’ve long been a proponent of Logitech’s keyboard and mouse solutions.

Touch Mouse (T620)
The Touch Mice are slated to arrive in both black and white and will retail for $69 according to B&H Photo. While there’s no description, one can assume that the touch mouse is, er, a touch mouse – and the logical successor to the M600. It’s my understanding this may be a PC model, whereas the Mac model will go by T631.

Zone Mouse (T400)
Unlike the Touch Mouse that is presumably covered by a responsive surface, the Logitech Zone Mouse  looks to have a very specific touch sensitive zone. And while I generally appreciate shiny things, I much prefer the T400’s black matte styling over the T620. MacMall has this one at $62.

Rechargeable Touchpad (T651)
The Bluetooth touchpad above looks to replicate what Apple offers. But as opposed to replacing those Duracels every few months, Logitech integrated rechargeable battery. Not to mention this is cross platform. MacMall has it listed for $94, but we’ve seen it as high as $110… and assume it’ll land somewhere in the middle upon release.