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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today we received a question about Nintendo's upcoming console release, Wii U, with GeekWire reader Alex wondering why the company continues to release new peripherals for a console that's seen better days.
Question: What's up with the Wii U? Why is Nintendo releasing yet another expensive peripheral for the aging Wii?
Nintendo originally announced Wii U in June 2011 in a vague manner, leaving much of the pertinent details left to the imagination. Because of this, many assumed that Wii U was the name of the new tablet-esque controller, and that it would interface with the Wii console that originally hit stores in November 2006. Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth.
Earlier today, Facebook launched its new photo-sharing app, Facebook Camera. Since then, we've seen tons of comments on Facebook and Twitter from people who are making fun of the company for releasing a new app that competes with Instagram, the photo sharing app and company that Facebook just acquired for $1 billion. Really? I thought it was time that we took a closer look at why Facebook Camera makes perfect sense, and how it really doesn't compete against Instagram at all.