2011 will come to an end in just a few short hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but the HTC Thunderbolt gets two of the top spots, as does the Motorola Xoom.
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 2011!) 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:
We know a ton of you got some new Apple gear over the past few days, and we want to make sure you protect those items appropriately. Whether it's a new iPad 2, iPhone 4, MacBook Air, or even an old-school iPhone 3GS, we thought it would be prudent of us to recommend you get AppleCare for the devices you’ve acquired. Here’s the trick though—don’t buy AppleCare from Apple. If you buy it from Amazon, you can get up to 30% off of the price that Apple will charge you for the same 3-year warranty. Even better, when you go to resell your Apple hardware, if you have an AppleCare Protection Plan attached to it, you get a higher resale value. We’ve compiled a list of the different AppleCare Protection Plans available for the entire line of Apple hardware, check it out:
Apple Mobile Devices:
- AppleCare Protection Plan for iPad
- AppleCare Protection Plan for all versions of iPhone
- AppleCare Protection Plan for iPod touch/classic
- AppleCare Protection Plan for iPod nano and iPod shuffle
Apple Mac Computers:
- AppleCare Protection Plan - Mac Laptops 13-inches and below
- AppleCare Protection Plan - Mac Laptops 15-inches and above
- AppleCare Protection Plan - iMac
- AppleCare Protection Plan - Mac Pro
- AppleCare Protection Plan - Mac Mini
Apple has been busy updating their Dev Center with another iOS 5 beta update, and today developers can go and grab iOS 5.1 beta 2. If you are already running iOS 5.1 beta, you can just do an OTA update and be done with it. If not, you'll need to download the update and connect to iTunes to install the beta. You can now grab iOS 5.1 beta 9B5127c for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, alongside Xcode 4.3 Developer Preview 7 for Lion (4E57a)
Apple has been busy updating their Dev Center with another iOS 5 beta update, and today developers can go and grab iOS 5.1 beta. Even if you are already running iOS 5 or later, you'll still need to connect to iTunes to install the beta. You can now grab iOS 5.1 beta 9B5117b for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, alongside Xcode 4.3 Developer Preview 7 for Lion (4D1002)
Apple is set to discount some of its most popular products for Black Friday 2011. No word yet on if the stores are opening early, but you can get all the deals online as well as in-store, which is nice. Discounts on items like the iPad 2, iMac, MacBook Air, and iPod touch are just the tip of the iceberg, as Apple is also discounting a bunch of third-party accessories, including the Jawbone Up. We've got the best of the sale listed after the break, along with links to take you directly to the products!
The Amazon Kindle Fire is the first small tablet that average users can pick up and immediately use, with a simple, clear interface. Then there's the price: Android along with amazing specs for just $199. It's open enough to attract geeks, too. While the user interface occasionally gets sluggish, we're willing to have a bit of patience to get a first-rate tablet for half of what most competitors charge, thus the Kindle Fire is our first Editors' Choice for small tablets.
A solid little brick at 7.5 by 4.7 by .45 inches and 14.6 ounces, the Kindle Fire looks and feels a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the Fire is smaller in all dimensions. There are no slots or tabs; both the memory and battery are sealed in, and the only interruptions in its smooth, black form are the headphone jack, Power button, MicroUSB jack, and dual stereo speakers. There's no camera, but I've never been sold on the value of tablet cameras anyway. It uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networks to get online; there's no cellular radio or Bluetooth connectivity.
Turn the Fire on and the 7-inch 1024-by-600 IPS LCD screen lights up. This display is very sharp and clear, but it's also rather reflective. Just like on the Apple iPad 2, you may have trouble reading in bright light because of the screen's sometimes mirror-like gloss. While this is par for the course with tablets, I expected more given the Kindle name. This isn't a dedicated e-reader by any means.
Apple has just released iOS 5.0.1, which is aimed primarily at fixing the battery drain bug introduced in iOS 5. Many iPhone 4S owners have been complaining of extremely poor battery life (here we were seeing the battery drain as much as 10% per hour,) and we can confirm that 5.0.1 fixes that right up. Here are the rest of the release notes:
iOS 5.0.1 Software Update
This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:
- Fixes bugs affecting battery life
- Adds Multitasking Gestures for original iPad
- Resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud
- Improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation
Edit: Be sure to check out our iPhone 4S review as well!
Back in June, I detailed the nine features that I wanted Apple to include in iOS 5—features that would fix obvious OS flaws and expand upon its already rock-solid foundation. Days later, at WWDC 2011, Apple revealed a handful of the "200 new features" that would comprise Cupertino's latest mobile operating system—many of which were what I and droves of other iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users had desired for some time. Fast forward to today: iOS 5 is now here, and it surpasses iOS 4 with its overhauled alerts and notification system, wireless syncing, the ability for users to activate iPads without first connecting them to a Mac or PC, and many other much-welcomed features. No operating system—be it mobile or desktop—is without flaws, but Apple iOS 5 manages to keep the dings to a minimum and retains its place as the best phone and tablet operating system. Note: iOS 5 is only compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch 3rd Generation, iPod touch 4th gen, iPad, and iPad 2.
Now, let's get to the review, shall we?
Monster Costume, an iOS developer focused on recreating the way children interact with books, has released Bartleby's Book of Buttons Volume 2, and it's got some nice AirPlay surprises packed in. When using an AirPlay mirroring-capable device like the iPad 2, iPhone 4, or iPhone 4S, you can send the story to your Apple TV in high definition, while the device then become a controller for progressing the story. We've been fans of Bartleby since Volume 1, and you can pick up Bartleby Vol. 2 now on the App Store. Full release after the break.