Apple's current worst-kept secret is the impending announcement and arrival of the iPad mini, a 7.85-inch version of the world's most popular tablet. What we don't know are all the details like price or specific features. The current rumor being circulated is that the iPad mini will be available in a Wi-Fi-only configuration, with no cellular option. We're on the fence on this one. On one hand, leaving out the LTE chip allows Apple to price these competitively without making the top-end model cost more than the entry-level new iPad. This keeps things more in line with the $199 price points of the Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 tablets. However, having cellular in the iPad mini seems to be the killer setup. Just slide one into your suit jacket pocket and you have portable tablet connectivity on the go. We know plenty of people who would happily pay the additional $130 above the iPad price tag for the LTE option. I guess those folks can always tether, right?
What’s your prediction? Will the iPad mini be offered with a cellular option? Apple has reportedly ordered 10 million iPad mini units from its suppliers, so it looks like the company expects this one to be huge.
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The next generation of Wi-Fi connectivity is 802.11ac, and routers are on sale now to provide the signal. The main problem? There are, literally, no laptops, tablets, or smartphones right now that sell with 802.11ac support built-in. Still, you have the opportunity to future-proof your wireless setup in anticipation for the arrival of the super-fast standard, and the Belkin AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router is one of the first available. We got one in for review, and we are in the process of putting it through its paces. In the meantime, while you wait for the AC1200 review, check out our Belkin AC1200 DB unboxing gallery, showing off the spaceship-like curves of the router. You can pick one up now on Amazon.
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We are hearing reports from users who have upgraded to iOS 6 today that are experiencing an odd Wi-Fi bug, and Gear Live has been able to replicate the issue on our iPhone 4S units. When attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi network, you get kicked over to a nonexistent Wi-Fi authentication page on Apple's website. Since the page doesn't even exist, you just end up getting a 404 error, and kicked off of the network that you tried to connect to. It remains to be seen how Apple fixes this, and if it is something that can be repaired in the back end, or if a new build of iOS 6 will need to be released. Either way, there are plenty of unhappy iPhone users right now who are having to resort to using their data connections since Wi-Fi is failing miserably.
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Apple has seeded the first build of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 to developers through its Mac Developer Portal. Interestingly, there are no known issues despite it being the first build, so we'd imagine that the 10.8.1 update will be released to the public in short order. Apple has focused on improving Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange in Mail, PAC Proxies in Safari, SMB, USB, and WiFi and Audio when connected to the Apple Thunderbolt Display for the first Mountain Lion update, which weighs in at just 38.54 MB in size. If you haven't upgraded yet, you can download Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store.
Belkin is set to release its new routers, compatible with the 802.11ac standard, at the end of the month. The Belkin AC1000 and AC1200 are both dual-band routers that support 802.11ac/b/g/n and each has four Gigabit Ethernet ports built in as well. The differences between the two? The AC1000 will sell for $139 and provides maximum throughput of 665Mbps on 5 GHz, while the AC1200 will cost $20 more and provide max throughput of 867Mbps. Only problem now is that, even if you pick one up, you'll have to get a compatible phone or laptop (only ASUS offers one at the moment) if you want the maximum Wi-Fi speeds that these things can provide. Just consider it an investment in the future.
Apple has released a redesigned model of its Airport Express base station. The new model looks very similar to the Apple TV, except that it's white. The new model sports a couple of features that the previous one didn't: dual Ethernet ports (compared to just one on the last one,) and simultaneous dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Airport Express is $99, available today from the Apple Store.
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Belkin announced the N900 DB router back at CES. The Advance N900 DB is a dual-band Wi-Fi router that supports 802.11a/b/g/n connections, capable of reaching 450 Mbps speeds due in part to its six MultiBeam antennas. The Belkin Advance N900 DB also sports a feature called IntelliStream, which automatically prioritizes video streaming, gaming, and VoIP data. The router also packs a 600 MHz multi-thread processor, and two USB 2.0 ports that you can connect hard drives to for access to that data from network devices. The Belkin Advance N900 DB is available now for $199--but is it worth your hard-earned Bejamins? We answer that question in our review.
Buffalo has just released the very first 802.11ac router in the $179.99 WZR-D1800H, alongside the WLI-HD-D1300 wireless media bridge. With speeds of up to 1.3Gbps, the new 802.11ac standard is three times faster than 802.11n, but the only problem is that there aren't any 802.11ac chips installed in any computers yet, so buying the router right now would just mean you are preparing for the future. Luckily, it's backwards compatable with 802.11a/b/g/n standards, so you're good there. The AirStation AC1300 media bridge allows you to connect up to four wired devices to your new 802.11ac network. You can grab both products now.
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Sprint has made the smart decision to move to LTE for its future high-speed mobile network, but in the meantime, it's got WiMAX and 3G to take advantage of while building out the faster LTE that's set for a limited summer launch. Rather than continuing to sell deprecated hotspots, Sprint is hoping tha the Tri-Fi will be a nice bridge. Set to launch on May 18th, the Sprint Tri-Fi is a mobile hotspot that supports its current WiMAX and 3G networks, as well as the LTE network as well, and comes to you from Sierra Wireless. You can pick this bad boy up for $99 after a $50 rebate, alongside a two-year contract.
Step aside, Bluetooth, as Koss has just unveiled a new line of headphones that stream music wirelessly over Wi-Fi. The new headphone line is called Striva, and they access audio channels delivered from the Internet that you organized and choose using the MyKoss.com dashboard interface. In addition, you can also use any device that has a headphone port. You just plug in the CAP (content access point) and the headphones can then tune into music from devices like smartphones, tablets, etc.
To start, there'll be two Striva models on the market--the over-ear Striva Pro ($450 USD,) and the in-ear Striva Tap ($500,) both of which include touch-sensitive gesture-based technology that lets you switch channels and manage volume by using swipes and taps. Check out a video explaining it all below.