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Apple innovation

The day after Apple's latest earnings call, I got an email from a reader that asked if the days of Apple leading the world in consumer electronics innovation has come to an end, and if the playing field is leveling out:

Q: What's up with Apple? It seems the stock is down, profits are great, and products are stagnant, only seeing revisions rather than new product categories. Have they gotten too big to be as nimble as they used to be?

Coincidentally, I was browsing Facebook earlier, and I came across a post where a friend was very unimpressed by Apple's announcement of the 128 GB iPad:

Maybe it's the jet lag, but the latest 'New Thing' is a 128GB iPad?

This is it?

Where's Apple innovation?

I dunno, it seems that people expect way more from Apple than any other company. They update their iOS products on a yearly cycle, and they even updated the iPad mid-cycle last time (which people got upset about too, because it was too soon. Wait, what?)

Do people forget that the original iPod was released in 2001, and then the iPhone 6 years later, and then the iPad another three years after that? The iPad isn't even three years old yet, and people are saying Apple has lost something. Big, game-changing products like this take time.

Click to continue reading Ask Andru: Where is Apple’s innovation? It takes time


PC Productivity tips

When it comes to using a PC, most users prefer to complete their tasks as quickly and easily as possible. Although most computers are designed to handle multiple tasks, there are still options available for users to allow them to work more efficiently. Here are five easy steps that you can take to add extra productivity when using a PC.

Click to continue reading 5 ways to tweak your PC for extra productivity

iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S vs iPhone original

We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2012!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:

iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S vs. iPhone original:
iPhone 5 certainly got a lot of attention this year, and our image gallery comparing it to previous iPhone designs served as our most popular post in all of 2012.

Click to continue reading Top 10 Gear Live stories of 2012

SIM, micro SIM, and nano SIM

What you see in the image above is the evolution of mobile phone SIM card design over the past four years. The largest in the image, known as the mini-SIM, was used for quite a while as the standard in GSM cell phones. However, as smartphones began to rise in popularity, drop is cost, and brought increased functionality, it was determined that the mini-SIM just wasn't mini enough. It took up too much of the precious real estate that mobile phone manufacturers needed for other things. Thing like a GPS radio, Wi-Fi, larger batteries, dock connectors, graphics chips, and more. And so began the start of the shrinking SIM card.

Click to continue reading The ever-shrinking SIM card

Apple Maps Hanscom Air Force Base

In the latest Apple Maps saga, The Verge is reporting some security concerns regarding sensitive military installations that appear on mapping solutions by Apple. as compared to Google Maps and Nokia Maps. The picture being portrayed is that Apple is showing more information than the other companies. While it may appear accurate on the surface, it lacks transparency and fairness. Case in point, we all can agree that Area 51 is one of the most secretive government military installations in the world. Coincidentally, or ironically, The Verge failed to report that Google's map offering shows a much more pristine image of Area 51 than Apple's map of that particular base, nor is it pixelated for security. I went out of my way to tweet the author of the post to get an explanation for the discrepancy. There are definitely more examples of similar discrepancies, this isn't limited to just Area 51.

Read More | The Verge

Gallery: Apple, Nokia, and Google Map security brouhaha: fact or hype?

2013 Chevy Volt black and ceramic

Remember our 2012 Chevy Volt that failed while driving and almost got me in an accident? We updated the story with the details about trying to work with Chevy and GM to get a replacement Volt since we no longer felt safe driving the one we had. After all, it had been in the shop for repairs every two weeks since we had picked it up the first time. Well, we are please to report that Chevrolet and General Motors did right by us, and agreed to replace our 2012 Volt with a newer, similarly-equipped 2013 model. Since this was a lease, it was a bit more complicated than a simple trade. Instead, we did what's called a VIN swap. The result? We keep the same lease terms and paperwork, with the VIN being the only change on the documents. It took a while since the 2013 Chevy Volt wasn't available until very recently, and once it arrived, we needed to wait for all the paperwork to be completed. Still, it was worth the wait. Stay tuned for our 2013 Chevy Volt review.

FaceTime HD iPhone 5

Disclaimer: this is pure speculation based on rumors, track record, and wishful thinking. So, no hurt feelings if it doesn't come to pass.

The way we see it, Apple methodically has been updating its entire Mac lineup with HD front facing cameras. The first to receive it was the iMac in mid-2011, quickly followed by last year's Macbook Pro lineup and subsequently the newly refreshed generation of MacBook Pros and Macbook Air; the lineup includes the 11-, 13-, and 15-inch as well as the flagship Macbook Pro with Retina display. The result is 720p high-definition video chat. The missing ingredient is the inclusion of HD FaceTime chat for iOS devices. Sure, the back of an iPhone 4/4S, iPad 2, and new iPad are technically HD cameras, and one could switch to that camera with a quick toggle, but it's still not ideal for most video chat interactions. I'm postulating that Apple could potentially introduce its first HD front-facing camera for iOS devices with the iPhone 5.

Click to continue reading Will FaceTime HD come to the iPhone 5 by way of a high definition front camera?

Wi-Fi Plus Cellular

With iOS 6, Apple will be introducing new iPhone functionality that's aimed at alleviating the frustration many feel when connected to a weak WI-Fi hotspot. The feature is called Wi-Fi Plus Cellular, it helps keep the data flowing, and it can end up costing you some unexpected cash if you aren't careful.

Click to continue reading Be careful with iOS 6 Wi-Fi Plus Cellular feature, it could mean unexpected overage fees

AT&T FaceTime over Cellular

With the release of iOS 6 beta 3 yesterday, a disturbing "feature" was uncovered. Some users on with AT&T iPhones are reporting that, when they attempt to enable FaceTime over Cellular, a prompt pops up that tells the user to contact AT&T in order to enable the feature. Many are assuming that this means that AT&T will be looking to charge a premium for customers to use FaceTime over its data connection, and if that is the case, it is straight up consumer robbery.

Click to continue reading AT&T charging for FaceTime over Cellular is double-dipping consumer robbery

Chevy Volt malfunction danger

In case you missed it, earlier this week we detailed how the Chevy Volt malfunctioned and nearly caused a high-speed collission while we were driving it. We've had plenty of readers writing in to ask for an update on the Chevy Volt fisaco that we've found ourselves embroiled in. We definitely planned on hitting you guys with an update on how Chevrolet and General Motors address the situation that we're facing once all was said and done, but since it's taking a bit longer than we'd hoped, and since there have been a couple of new developments, we figured we'd do an interim report.

Before we get into some of the good, we've gotta say right up front that dealing with Chevy/GM as a corporate entity has been frustrating. It seems that it's goal is to tell us that there is nothing they can do, with the hope that this will just go away, rather than doing whatever it can to ease the concerns of a customer who's done nothing but praise it's flagship product all the way up until it put us in harms way. More on that later.

Click to continue reading Update: Dealing with Chevy for resolution on faulty Volt that put me in harm’s way