We are about half-way through the iPhone 5 product cycle, and that means it's time for iPhone 5S parts to start leaking. Today, iLab factory is showing what is purported to be flex cables for the iPhone 5S home button, vibrator, volume/mute buttons, and the front camera. Interestingly, the mute switch seems to have gone away, replaced by a mute button instead. As always, these should be taken with a grain of salt, but Apple is definitely set to start ramping up production of the next iPhone since it won't be long before it's introduced to the masses. These parts may also be reserved for the rumored lower-cost iPhone, rather than the iPhone 5S. Time will tell.
Read More | iLab
"It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it." - Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The same statement rings true for Google. If others are reaping the rewards, and little to nothing is left for oneself, then what's the point? If a product does not meet the expectations set before it, then developing for it doesn't make much sense. If any given product is not self-sustainable, then it is not cost effective and eventually becomes a burden to the maker--even if users appear to enjoy using it. Make no mistake about it, Google is in the business of making money, and everything else is secondary (including good will.)
Google's co-founder and now recently-minted CEO, Larry Page, bought Android in 2005. He also brought along Andy Rubin, one of its creators, over to Google, who recently renounced his post as Senior Vice President of mobile Digital Content. Basically, the guy who was leading Android. It has been said that Sergey Brin, the other tandem co-founder, was not enthusiastic about the purchase. Former Google CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, now Chairman at Google had a similar reaction. These somewhat pessimistic receptions were also shared by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering. However, he recanted these thoughts at Google I/O 2010.
During today's Facebook Home announcement, HTC and AT&T announced the HTC First, a new smartphone set to launch in just over a week that was built from the ground up to run Facebook Home as its main interface. Aside from being the, um, first phone to launch with Facebook Home built-in, it'll also be the first smartphone to ship with Instagram pre-installed (although the Samsung Galaxy Camera does, too, but it isn't technically a phone.) The phone itself is a beautifully simple device from a design perspective, and on the inside runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor keeping things humming along, and status updates flowing across the 4.3-inch display. It also runs on AT&T's 4G LTE network, which Ralph de la Vega made sure to pimp as the fastest LTE network in the country. You'll be able to pick up the HTC First on April 12 (hey, the same day that the iPhone 5 hits T-Mobile!) for $99.99 in the US, and you'll have a choice of four colors: black, white, sky blue, or red.
Read More | HTC First
This morning Facebook revealed a new Android-based mobile initiative called Facebook Home. Mark Zuckerberg was on hand to talk about what would happen if your phone was made to be about "people, not apps," and the result is Facebook Home.
While many assumed that Facebook would be releasing its own hardware device (despite our assurance that it wouldn't!), Home is, instead, a suite of Facebook apps that work together to put Facebook front and center across your entire Android device, making it feel like a "Facebook Phone." For example, in the Coverfeed app, it takes over both the Android homescreen and lock screen, and then provides a regular stream of updates from your friends--all without you tapping a Facebook app icon or even swiping to unlock. From the home screen you can even comment and like the updates that flow across your display.
T-Mobile, the fourth largest US carrier, has officially announced that it will carry Apple's iPhone, beginning on April 12 with the iPhone 5, 4S, and 4. T-Mobile was the the last remaining holdout of the the big four, that includes Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, to sell the iconic smartphone. The delay was due to a variety of reasons, one being the economic ramification of the iPhone potentially outselling other handsets that are heavily branded by T-Mobile, which the carrier heavily relies on. The iPhone 5 will be able to run T-Mobile's LTE which, coincidentally, finally went live today in 7 cities: Washington DC, San Jose, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Houston, and Baltimore.
The unique twist is how T-Mobile will manage to sell both the iPhone and the other handsets it carries. T-mobile will allow customers to pay the full price or pay $20 installments over 24 months with a down payment of $99 and will not be requiring a two year contract. Along with this announcement, T-Mobile will also sell the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in certain markets with HSPA+. Despite its small LTE markets, T-Mobile boasts very competitive service plans that might entice new customers to defect from other carriers. Example, $70 for unlimited calling, data and text. One perk for the switch is that T-mobile is marketing that it will be the only carrier with HD Voice deployment on the iPhone 5. Now the iPhone 5 will officially sell on an equal playing field in the US. Pre-order starts now.
Read More | T-Mobile
As we reported months ago, Pandora has finally come to Windows Phone 8. Even better, Windows Phone 8 users get free ad-free listening for the rest of the year, a feature that typically costs $3.99 per month, or $36 per year, known as Pandora One. A few weeks back, Pandora also announced a monthly 40-hour listening cap for free users, so this makes Pandora on Windows Phone 8 the best bang for your buck--provided you want to use a Windows Phone. One other cool feature is that Pandora integrates in with the Windows Phone Kid's Corner feature. When in Kid's Corner, Pandora doesn't show or play any explicit content. You can download it now.
Read More | Windows Phone
Samsung made the Galaxy S 4 official at an event held at Radio City Music Hall. Led by JK Shin, head of Samsung mobile, the company showed off its new flagship smartphone--and it's exactly what we've already seen in the multiple leaks.
Front and center on the Galaxy S 4 is the 5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p display, using the new Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and sporting a whopping 441 pixels per inch. Stunning, to be sure. Additionally, this smartphone is the first to sport 802.11ac Wi-Fi support, the fastest you'll be able to find in any home at this point--also compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n as well, alongside Bluetooth 4.0. An IR blaster is included, similar to the one found on the HTC One, and you also get a removable 2,600 mAh battery. Other important specs include 2 GB of RAM, and the choice between 16, 32, and 64 GB of built-in storage. Naturally, the phone supports LTE.
Read More | Galaxy S 4
Last week we hit you with our Sonos Playbar review, and we let you know that we would have the Playbar unboxing video up shortly. Well, here it is. As you know, we got an early look at the Sonos Playbar, and we open it up and give you an overview review in this episode of Unboxing Live! The Sonos Playbar fits right in to your home theater setup, providing you with 3.0 sound. Add in the Sonos SUB for 3.1, or a SUB and two PLAY:3 speakers for full 5.1 surround. The Playbar is the best soundbar out there as far as features go.
You can buy the Sonos Playbar for $699.
The big rumor today is that Apple is set to launch the iPhone 5S in August, with a new 5th generation iPad and 2nd generation iPad mini appearing in April. Rene Ritchie at iMore has received reports that Apple is seriously considering the launch of the next iPads next month, including a redesigned iPad, and an iPad mini that may possibly see a Retina display. Meanwhile, the iPhone 5S will carry the same outer design that the iPhone 5 sports, but with a faster A7 processor, and improved camera (we're hearing 13 megapixels.) One rumor also says that the iPhone 5S may also coming in multiple colors, similar to the iPod touch. For now, iPhone 5 users need to rely on services like AnoStyle to get custom colors on their smartphones.
Read More | iMore
The Sonos Playbar is a product that filled us with excitement when it was announced, and we are back with our Playbar review. With the Playbar, Sonos enters the home theater market with a pretty sound strategy--provide a soundbar that puts out a 3.0 sound signal, and allow it to be paired with the Sonos SUB for those who want 3.1 sound…then, make it even better by allowing two Sonos PLAY:3 speakers to be used as a full on 5.1 surround sound system.
Of course, for the ultimate Sonos 5.1 setup, you'll have to pay an additional $699 for the SUB and $598 for the two PLAY:3 units, an additional $1,397 above the $699 price of the Playbar. So, while we will touch on the 3.1 and 5.1 configurations, we are here to bring you a Sonos Playbar review that focuses on the standalone abilities of the ambitious soundbar. Has it been worth the wait? We explore the answer in our full Playbar review--read on.
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