On Gear Live: Geared Up: Microsoft’s Mystery Foldable Surface Tablet, Updated Nintendo Switch Mini, & Apple vs Spotify Intensifies!

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The Death of the Xbox

On this week's Geared Up, we talk about the upcoming Amazon Prime Day, celebrating Amazon's 25th anniversary. I bring you my tips on finding the best Prime Day deals, while naming a couple of my favorite Prime Day launch deals (which you can find right now - the Anker PowerPort Atom III and the Jabra Elite 85h headphones!) This year Amazon is extending Prime Day to be a two-day shopping event, which means competing retailers are also preparing their own deals to steal away some attention.

High-quality video game streaming is nearly here, with early launches of both Microsoft Project xCloud (an Xbox streaming service,) and Google Stadia both taking place in the fall of 2019. A listener asked if the fact that people will be able to stream their games to any device - from web browser, to smartphone to smart TV and more - spells the end of the Xbox and PlayStation dedicated video game consoles as we know them. I weigh in with my thoughts, along with my impressions of using Project xCloud (which you can see in the video embedded below!)

Samsung sent out invites for its Galaxy Unpacked event, which takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on August 7th. This will be where the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 will make its debut, and we should likely hear news of updated launch plans for the Samsung Galaxy Fold as well. I discuss the expected features and specs for the new Samsung flagship smartphone.

Finally, I also talk about Jony Ive leaving Apple and what his departure means for the future of the company as many wonder if the iconic designs that Apple is known for will suffer as a result.

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LINKS MENTIONED IN THE SHOW

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Listen to the episode in the player below or subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app to listen on the go:

Listen to this episode of the Geared Up podcast for analysis of the latest from Amazon, Apple, and Samsung.

Gallery: Geared Up: The Death of the Xbox, Amazon Prime Day 2019 Deals, & Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Rumors!


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Nintendo Switch Mini vs Switch

This week on Geared Up, we talk about the latest rumors say that Microsoft is working on a new secret new foldable Surface tablet device that will be able to run Android apps and iCloud services, with a stripped down Windows Core OS - this will likely be more of a mobile device than a laptop, with LTE and 5G options available. This reminds me of the Microsoft Courier project from back in 2009 - take a look at the embedded video below!

Nintendo is ready to release two new updates to the Nintendo Switch lineup. First, a new miniature version of the popular Switch console that will likely be the successor to the Nintendo 3DS. In addition, there will be a more powerful Nintendo Switch "Pro" that will be 4K-capable when docked, with an upgrade to a 1080p display on the Switch unit itself.

Apple and Spotify's battle intensifies in court, with the two companies going back-and-forth in a public battle.

Finally, we also talk about the death of YouTube creator, Etika, and the state of mental health of content creators in this day and age.

SPONSOR: National Car Rental. Go National. Go like a pro.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THE SHOW

SPONSOR: National Car Rental - skip the line with the Emerald Club. Go National. Go Like a Pro.

Listen to the episode in the player below or subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app to listen on the go:

Listen to this episode of the Geared Up podcast for analysis of the latest from Microsoft, Apple, and Nintendo.

Gallery: Geared Up: Microsoft’s Mystery Foldable Surface Tablet, Updated Nintendo Switch Mini, & Apple vs Spotify Intensifies!


iOS 13 features WWDC recap

It was a huge news week in the world of Apple, as the company took the stage at WWDC 2019 to show the world what's coming next for all of its major software platforms. In this episode of Geared Up, we talk about all the big announcments coming out of WWDC. These include:

  • The new iOS 13 features (including the long-awaited Dark Mode!)
  • The future of macOS Catalina with iPad apps running on the Mac
  • How the iPad is becoming more of more of a laptop replacement with the dedicated iPadOS
  • How the Apple Watch will continue to help you become healthier in watchOS 6

In addition, we answer listener-submitted questions as well. If you're looking for news and commentary on the new Mac Pro, we'll be covering that on next week's show!

SPONSOR: National Car Rental - skip the line with the Emerald Club. Go National. Go Like a Pro.

Listen to the episode in the player below or subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app to listen on the go:

Listen to this episode of the Geared Up podcast for analysis of the latest from Apple.

Gallery: Geared Up: Apple’s new iOS 13, macOS Catalina, iPadOS, and Apple Watch updates!


iPadOS features

The iPad now gets its own dedicated version of iOS, which Apple is calling iPadOS - here are some of the highlight iPadOS features, announced during WWDC 2019:

  • You can now pin widgets to the home screen
  • Slide-over now gets a card interface for multitaking, similar to what you get on an iPhone
  • Split-View now allows for multi-window capability. So you can have two instances of the same app side-by-side. Examples shown were apps like Pages, Notes, and Microsoft Word. You can have multiple apps side by side within multitasking as well.
  • The Files app now supports folder sharing,SMB network shares, and thumb drive, external hard drive, and SD card support.
  • Safari on iPad is now a desktop browser rather than mobile browser, so you get the full desktop-class experience on the iPad. This includes 30 keyboard shortcuts, a download manager, and more.
  • Fonts management
  • Text editing is improved. Use the scroll indicator to drag directly to an area in a document. Text selection now works with a tap and drag. Three-finger pinch for copy, and three-finger expand for paste, with three-finger swipe to undo.
  • Apple Pencil latency has been improved from 20ms down to 9ms, making it even more responsive. Drag your pencil up from the corner of the screen to immediately go into markup mode no matter where you are.

Gallery: Apple announces dedicated iPadOS: The iPad Finally Grows Up


iOS 13 features

During today's WWDC 2019 keynote, Apple announced iOS 13, the next major release of its major mobile operating system platform.

  • iOS 13 is even faster and performance has been tuned across the board. This results in 50% smaller app downloads, 60% smaller app updates, and 2x faster app launching than in iOS 12.
  • Dark Mode was announced for iOS 13, a feature that users have been asking for for years. We saw Notes, Messages, News, Music, Photos, and other Apple apps in dark mode.
  • Swipe gesture support is added to the keyboard
  • New share sheet will offer suggestions when it finds people in photos, and offer people you typically share with.
  • Apple Music now supports time-synced lyrics
  • New apps - Notes gets a gallery view and shared folders, Safari, Mail
  • New Reminders app will recognize what you type, keep smart lists, allows for tagging people, and more
  • Maps are being rebuilt from the ground-up, completely rolled out in the US by the end of 2019. Collections allows you to save a bunch of locations in a folder. New Look Around feature brings Street View functionality to Apple Maps. You'll be able to share an up-to-date ETA with friends going forward.
  • Privacy: You can now grant apps access to your location just once. Wi-Fi & Bluetooth backdoor tracking is shut off. New Sign In with Apple allows you to sign into Web sites without being tracked the way you are with Facebook and Google sign ins - you can choose what info you provide to an app. If you give them email access, Apple will give them a fake email that forwards to your real email.
  • HomeKit: Apple announces HomeKit Secure Video - videos are analyzed in your home instead of in the cloud, using iPad, Apple TV, HomePod, and more.
  • Messages: You can share your name and photo in Messages, which lets you control who sees your name and picture.
  • New Memoji options let you add eye shadow, lipstick, piercings, teeth, earrings, hair, hats, glasses, AirPods, and more. Memoji Stickers will take your Memoji and add a bunch of expressions that can be used on any device with an A9 processor or later.
  • Camera: New High Key Mono portrait lighting effect. You can also move the lights closer or further away from your subject when in Portrait Lighting mode.
  • Photos: New photo editing tools in Photos allow you to adjust your pictures in new ways. Apple also says these same effects can be used with videos as well - filters and effects are supported. Browsing large photo libraries is now easier as Apple intelligently hides duplicates, receipts, whiteboards, etc. You can still get to them, but they won't show up right in the main library. Apple will also let you sort by year, month, days, and All Photos, making it really easy to browse the greatest hits of your photo library.
  • AirPods: Siri can instantly read you your new messages as they arrive, and you can respond with your voice right away. New Audio Sharing feature allows you to share audio with a friend.
  • HomePod: Apple brings Handoff to HomePod. Bring your phone near a HomePod to have it continue your music, phone call, podcast, etc. right where you left off. HomePod will also recognize who's talking and personalize its response, giving it multi-user support, including for apps like Music, Notes, Messages, Reminders, and more.
  • CarPlay: Siri will work with third-party apps like Pandora and Waze in the car.
  • Siri now sounds a lot more natural with cadence and emphasis, using Neural TTS. The voice is now completely generated in software rather than using clips from a voice actor.
  • You'll also be able to sent calls from unknown callers directly to voicemail.

Gallery: iOS 13 Announced: Dark Mode, New Reminders app, Enhanced Privacy, and more


Google Pixel 3a

The Google I/O 2019 keynote took place yesterday, and I bring you a recap of the news, including my thoughts on the newly announced Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL mid-range smartphones. Will Google's strategy of shipping a budget phone with one of the best cameras out there pay off?

We also talk about the leaked iOS 13 features report from Bloomberg, and we've got a lot to talk about here. If you've been wondering what can we expect from Apple's next major software release for the iPhone and iPad, this is what you've been waiting for.

Google announced new features coming for Google Duplex, and we talk about how the Google Assistant will be able to help you even more in the coming months. At Google I/O, we got a demo where the Google Assistant fills in everything on the web automatically and allows you to confirm and leaves you in control of the flow after asking “Hey Google, Book a National Car Rental for my upcoming trip.” The Assistant understood the dates of the trip and the vehicle preferences based on confirmations found in Gmail and the users Google calendar. Google Duplex on the Web is coming later this year.

This isn’t something that’s exclusive to National Car Rental or anything, but apparently Google used them as the example because their back end for booking vehicles didn’t require any extra engineering work due to National’s web and mobile platforms already being engineered to allow these newer technologies to work with them now, today. That said, you can imagine in the near future doing something similar with movie tickets, restaurant reservations, or really anything where you have to fill out forms and make choices. The Google Assistant can fill out the forms and make the choices that it knows you’d like based on the context it has about you already, and all you need to do is take a look at the choice it made and confirm them in a matter of seconds. It's cool and exciting, and we discuss it in further detail. All this and more on this episode of Geared Up!

SPONSOR: National Car Rental - skip the line with the Emerald Club. Go National. Go Like a Pro.

Listen to the episode in the player below or subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app to listen on the go:

Listen to this episode of the Geared Up podcast for analysis of the latest from Google and Apple.

Gallery: Google Pixel 3a Thoughts, iOS 13 Leaked Features, & Google Duplex on the Web - Geared Up!


Home is the Key Habitat for Humanity

I often spend time talking about smart homes and amazing smart home tech, voice assistants, and other ways to use new digital technology to control and manage your home from the palm of your hand or with the sound of your voice. It’s futuristic and fun, but it’s also a privilege. I’m fully aware of the position I’m in as a tech expert and reviewer as someone who gets to play with these fantastic toys early and often - but even more so, to be able to live comfortably without having to worry about having a place to call home, or how I am going to pay the next month’s mortgage or rent bill. However, this is not the case for many, many people, and that’s why I’ve teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to shed some light on the affordable housing crisis that we’re seeing here in the USA and to let you know about the Home is the Key campaign.

What does the word “home” mean to you? What thoughts and feelings does it bring to your mind? As I’ve been thinking about this over the past couple of weeks, I never settle on just one thought. First, I think of the home I grew up in as a kid with my family, full of love, great food, laughter, support, and plenty of harmless sibling rivalry to go around. It’s the home where I came from, and the place where I felt safe to try new things, fail at things, and plant the seeds of where I wanted to go as an adult. It was a very important place for me, especially, as a child who grew up in the foster care system to finally have a place - a home and a family - to call my own. I’d seen both sides of the fence - As a child I’d been homeless, I’d lived in poverty, I’d moved from place to place, and at the end I found that true “home.”

Click to continue reading Home is the Key: Helping America’s Housing Crisis #HomeIsTheKey

Gallery: Home is the Key: Helping America’s Housing Crisis #HomeIsTheKey


Apple TV+

Apple unveiled a host of new services at their March 25th event this week (be sure to check out my full wrap-up video of the Apple event!), and we take a look at each one in this episode of Geared Up!

  • Apple TV+ is the company's new original TV and movie subscription service.
  • Apple Card is a credit card from Apple that aims to change the way consumers use and view credit cards and their financial data.
  • Apple News+ is a new subscription news service that gives you unlimited access to over 300 magazines and newspapers for a flat monthly fee.
  • Apple Arcade is a subscription gaming service with 100 exclusive games for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac.

Listen to the episode in the player below or subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app to listen on the go:

Listen to this episode of the Geared Up podcast for analysis of the latest from Apple and its new services.

SPONSOR: National Car Rental - skip the line with the Emerald Club. Go National. Go Like a Pro.

Gallery: Geared Up: Apple TV+, Apple Card, Apple Arcade and the Rest of Apple’s New Services


What is Apple TV+?

Apple finally unveiled details about its subscription video streaming service, Apple TV+, at its It's Show Time Apple Event today. There were several components to the Apple TV+ announcement, starting with an updated TV app for the Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even smart TVs and competing streaming sticks.

The TV app is free to use, and aims to bring in content from all of your favorite channels and apps (no Netflix, though,) all into one interface. Part of this is a new feature called Apple TV Channels, where you can choose to add free and pay services like HBO, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access, and more and watch all content right there. Apple handles the actual video streams, guaranteeing picture quality and sound will both be top-notch. The new TV app, which drops in May, will also provide customized and personalized recommendations for shows it thinks you'll want to watch, based on your viewing habits. Apple says processing is done locally on your devices, and your viewing remains completely private.

As far as the content play, Apple TV+ will introduce a bunch of original programming that will be part of the service. Several Hollywood stars and personalities took the stage to talk about their prohects today, including Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa, Kumail Nanijani, J.J. Abrams, Sara Bareilles, Big Bird, and Oprah Winfrey. Apple is said to be spending roughly $2 billion on original content this year which it hopes will be able to set them apart from services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and similar.

Click to continue reading Apple TV+: Apple’s new video subscription service announced

Gallery: Apple TV+: Apple’s new video subscription service announced


Apple Arcade lineup

During today's It's Show Time Apple Event, Apple showed off its new video game service - Apple Arcade. Apple Arcade is a game subscription service that provides users with access to over 100 games that are exclusive to the service - that's right, the entire catalogue is not only exclusive to iOS and macOS, but exclusive to the Apple Arcade service itself. Rather than another game streaming service like Google Stadia, Apple Arcade users install their games through the App Store, so that they can be played anywhere without the need for an Internet connection.

Apple showed various games which include familiar franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog, and mentioned that we will see original titles from Will Wright, SEGA, Cartoon Network, Konami, LEGO, and more. More than just selecting games for the service, Apple is also helping with the development costs of the games as well.

Apple Arcade will launch this fall in over 150 countries, with pricing to be announced later (we assume at Apple's annual September event.)

Gallery: Apple Arcade: New video game service for iOS and Mac


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