Monthly Archives: January 2014

Apple’s iWatch and iOS 8 are reportedly fitness-focused

Apple's iWatch and iOS 8 are reportedly fitness-focused

We still don’t know exactly what Apple’s long-rumored smart watch is, or what it’s called — yes, iWatch is probably right — but a report today from 9to5Mac posits a whole heap of new information. First, the wearable works in concert with “Healthbook,” a new internal app intended to track various fitness (steps, distance, etc.) and health metrics (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.). Second, it looks like Healthbook — at least currently — is a crucial part of iOS 8, and when paired with iWatch (or whatever it’s called) the two are “able to monitor several other pieces of health and fitness data.” It’s unclear exactly what that means. Like it’s name, Healthbook is apparently pretty similar to Passbook, and you’ll be able to swipe through various “cards” with health information.

Of course, none of this should come as a tremendous shock (though it’s all still firmly in the rumor bin) — word of Apple working on a wearable has been floating for quite some time, and it’s past the point of coincidence. Between Apple hiring wearable electronics engineers (notable ones!), meeting with FDA regulators about “mobile medical applications,” and the competition already staking a firm claim in the nascent smart watch market, no one following the tech news beast should be shocked. That’s to say nothing of the dedicated chip inside Apple’s latest iPhone (seen above). Regardless, with nothing officially announced just yet, we’ve reached out to Apple for more.

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Apple files application for ‘iWatch’ trademark in Japan

Apple files application for 'iWatch' trademark in Japan

Evidence is mounting that Apple might out a smartwatch in the near future after Yahoo Japan noticed that the company applied for the “iWatch” trademark in Japan on June 3rd. Our Japanese editor noticed that several other companies have applied for that term as well, though this one (released on June 27th) is from Apple Inc. of Cupertino. That follows a patent application from Apple we saw earlier in the year for a watch-like AMOLED device that proposed a slap bracelet, kinetic energy charger and “end-detection” user sensor, among other features. In addition, other rumors from Bloomberg back in February suggested that 100 Apple employees were working on a smartwatch of some kind. If we don’t see a device after all that, Cupertino’s gone to a heck of a lot of trouble for nothing. Check after the break for a screen grab (in Japanese) of the trademark application.

Update: As it turns out, Cook and Co. have applied for the “iWatch” trademark in Mexico and Taiwan too. A Russian newspaper claims that Apple has also filed for the trademark in the country, but the official paperwork hasn’t surfaced quite yet.

Apple files application for 'iWatch' trademark in Japan

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Aereo stops taking new customers in New York

Aereo stops taking new customers in New York

Aereo launched in New York in early 2012 to let people watch over-the-air TV on their gadgets, but a recent hiccup means denizens of the Big Apple can no longer sign up for the service. The culprit? Aereo says it all comes down to capacity, or lack thereof. The service has hit a bottleneck, so it can’t take on more customers until it’s beefed up its network of tiny antennas and the infrastructure that binds everything together. Word of the situation started making the rounds early this morning, and it wasn’t long before Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia took to Twitter to confirm the bad news, though he remained awfully mum on when New Yorkers could start signing up again.

This isn’t far from the first headache that Aereo has dealt with since it launched two years ago. It’s been sued a by slew of networks that aren’t keen on the startup’s video-streaming mission, and the Supreme Court is getting close to passing a ruling on the matter. At least this time Aereo is a victim of its own success instead of just being a courtroom punching bag.

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Apple reportedly hiring new talent to solve iWatch design problems

Apple reportedly hiring new talent to solve iWatch design problems

Rumors, suggestions and trademark applications have been building a case for an wrist-worn Apple product for some time now — an official iWatch to fulfill the wearable potential of the iPod Nano. Now, the Financial Times says the company is “aggressively” hiring to help it get the product ready for release. According to the usual sources familiar with the matter, the new staff might have been sought out to help Apple wrap its head around wearable computing, moving the project to the next stage of development. The timing of the hires might also imply that the iWatch won’t be ready until late next year. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, you can always just make your own.

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Aereo puts TV antennas in the cloud, streams OTA broadcasts on the internet

Aereo puts TV antennas in the cloud, streams OTA broadcasts on the internet

We’ve all heard about SlingBox, that nifty bit of kit that lets you stream your cable or satellite television to the mobile device of your choice, and now a new company called Aereo aims to provide a similar service for OTA broadcast television. The service costs $12 dollars a month and will launch March 14th, but is only available to folks in New York City through Aereo’s HTML5-powered website. It’ll stream all the major networks, and also offers a cloud-based DVR service on the internet-connected device of your choosing, whether it’s a media streamer, phone, tablet or TV. Aereo’s powered by large devices containing tons of tiny, dime-sized TV antennas connected to the cloud, with individual antennas corresponding to individual users — giving each the ability to tune into one channel at a time. Intrigued as much as we are? Learn all about Aereo’s new service at the source link below.

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Apple hires Nike FuelBand advisor Jay Blahnik

Apple hires Nike FuelBand advisor Jay Blahnik

Apple clearly loves Nike when there’s Nike+ support across many iPhones and iPods, but that affection appears to be growing even deeper. Both 9to5 Mac and AllThingsD report that fitness expert Jay Blahnik, who consulted with Nike during the FuelBand’s development, joined Apple earlier this month. While the new hire hasn’t outlined his role, it’s easy to see him working on wrist-worn devices given Tim Cook’s professed interest in the category. We’ve reached out to the company for more details, and we’ll let you know if we learn more. Whatever Blahnik’s exact duties, his career move suggests that fitness plays an important role in Apple’s device roadmap — fans may want to lace up their running shoes.

[Image credit: Nggcali12, Wikimedia Commons]

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Broadcasters take their case against Aereo to the Supreme Court

Broadcasters take their case against Aereo to the Supreme Court

Fox may have been making an empty threat when it said it would go the paid TV route, if Aereo continued to stream its content online. But, that doesn’t mean the broadcasters were just going to stomp their feet and let the start up carry on with it’s plans to expand its streaming and cloud DVR offerings. Today, a group that includes not only Fox, but ABC, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, PBS and CBS petitioned the Supreme Court to hear their case. Lower courts have refused to grant an injunction against Aereo, completely tossing out claims of unfair competition en route to the steps of the Supreme Court.

The broadcasters’ case relies on convincing judges that streaming terrestrial television signals qualifies as a “public performance,” and as such is a violation of the Copyright Act. Aereo counters that its thousands of antennas that are assigned to each subscriber are no different than a consumer going out and purchasing an antenna themselves. Essentially, they’re claiming that customers aren’t paying so much for the stream itself, as the antenna and the location where it’s mounted. Much of Aereo’s case is built upon a precedent set in 2008, when Cablevision won a case regarding its remote DVR service.

Of course, the companies will have to convince the Supreme Court to hear its case in the first place. The 209 page petition (which you can read here) lays out its case and asks the highest court in our nation to make a decision whether or not the rebroadcast is, in fact, a public performance. It might be sometime before we know whether or not Chief Justice Roberts and crew will listen to arguments from the parties concerned, but rest assured we’ll be watching this story closely.

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US Cellular offers $50 unlimited plan with throttled data as a catch

US Cellular offers $50 unlimited plan with throttled data as a catch

You won’t have to endure data caps if you want cheap phone service at US Cellular. The carrier has just launched a promo plan that offers unlimited internet access, messaging and voice for $50 per month without a contract. There is a big gotcha, though — US Cellular will start throttling data speeds after the first 500MB, which rules it out for movie fans and others who need a lot of bandwidth. Still, it’s worth a look if you’re keen to both lower your bill and avoid those dreaded overage fees.

[Image credit: Vincent Desjardins, Flickr]

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iPhone 5s packs M7 motion-sensing chip, CoreMotion API for more accurate tracking

iPhone 5s packs M7 motion-sensing chip, CoreMotion API for more accurate tracking

Apple’s new flagship iPhone 5s is about to have much more detailed information about how much its users are moving, thanks to a new M7 “Motion co-processor.” Unveiled during today’s live event, it works along with the new 64-bit A7 CPU to measure motion data continuously from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass without draining the battery as heavily. It looks like the iPhone 5s will be ready to take over for hardware extras like the FitBit or Nike Fuel wristband, but with a new CoreMotion API, devs for those companies and others can pull the information into their apps. The CoreMotion API specifically works to identify user movement, and offers “optimizations based on contextual awareness.” Overall, it’s very similar to what we’d heard would be in the Moto X, although we haven’t seen all of these extra sensors used for activity tracking quite in this way. Nike was on hand with a new Nike+ Move app that used the M7 and GPS to track users’ activities, and we wouldn’t be surprised if others follow closely behind. Nike called the Move app an “introductory experience” to Nike Fuel in a tweet, so maybe it’s planning to upsell customers on (potentially?) more detailed tracking with its hardware add-ons afterward.

Check out all the coverage at our iPhone ‘Special Event‘ 2013 event hub!


Get active, stay active with the Nike+ Move app, an introductory experience to NikeFuel made to move with the iPhone 5S. Coming soon.

– NikeFuel (@NikeFuel) September 10, 2013

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Every iPhone 5s includes the new M7 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to offload work from the A7 for improved power efficiency. Developers can also access new CoreMotion APIs that take advantage of M7, so they can create even better fitness and activity apps that go well beyond what other mobile devices offer. The M7 motion coprocessor continuously measures your motion data, even when the device is asleep, and saves battery life for pedometer or other fitness apps that use the accelerometer all day.

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US Cellular officially jumps on the shared data bandwagon

US Cellular officially jumps on the shared data bandwagon

Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t US Cellular. The smaller carrier is getting into the shared data plan field with a bevy of options for both consumers and small businesses. As we’ve previously heard, customers can connect up to 10 devices to the same pool of data, with plans starting at $40 a month for 300MB, going all the way up to $560 a month for 75GB. Businesses get a slightly different deal, with up to 25 devices being able to share up to 100GB for $750 a month. All plans include unlimited voice, messaging and include tethering. Of course, there’s also a per device charge, with smartphones costing $40 per month, basic phones running $30, hotspots $20 and tablets $10. There are also plans specifically for tablets and hotspots that start at $10 for 1GB of data. There’s a few more details after the break, but you can also head straight to US Celluar’s site to purchase one of the new plans for yourself.

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U.S. CELLULAR UNVEILS SHARED DATA PLANS FOR CONSUMERS AND BUSINESS
Consumers can share data on up to 10 devices; businesses can share on up to 25 devices

CHICAGO (Oct. 14, 2013) – U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) is making it easy for customers to manage their data, voice and messaging services with its new Shared Data plans for consumers and small businesses. With these new plans, customers can build the plan that best meets the wireless needs of their families or employees without having to keep track of multiple plans or accounts. These plans are available now, and existing customers are not required to change to a Shared Data plan.

U.S. Cellular’s Shared Data plans include unlimited minutes and messaging and provide customers flexibility in choosing a data plan to match how they use their wireless devices. Customers can share a single bucket of data among their smartphones, basic phones, tablets, hotspots and wireless modems. U.S. Cellular offers the most Shared Data options of any carrier and its plans are the only ones in the marketplace that come with a valuable rewards program that recognizes customer loyalty.

“At U.S. Cellular, providing an exceptional wireless experience is our number one goal, and we strive to provide it through our high-quality network along with devices and plans that meet our customers’ needs,” said Joe Settimi, vice president of products, pricing and innovation for U.S. Cellular. “Our Shared Data plans are designed to simplify the way our customers manage their wireless usage and provide choice and flexibility when deciding what is right for them.”

Customers can start by selecting the devices, up to 10, that they want on their Shared Data plan. They can then choose the amount of data that matches up with their usage on those devices from plans that start at 300 MB for $40 and go up to 75 GB for $560 per month. Business customers can select up to 25 devices to share up to 100 GB of data for $750 per month. Tethering is included on all plans. Smartphones have a monthly device connection charge of $40, basic phones are $30, hotspots and wireless modems are $20 and tablets can be added for $10 per month.

The following chart shows a sampling of some of the Shared Data plans that customers can choose from.

Monthly Device Connection Charge
Minutes and Messaging
Shared Data Offering
Monthly Recurring Data Charge
Smartphone: $40
Basic Phone $30
Hotspots/Wireless Modems: $20
Tablet: $10
Unlimited on all plans

$50 1GB
$60 2 GB
$70 4 GB
$80 6 GB
$90 8 GB
$100 10 GB

Data only plans are available for tablets, hotspots and modems that start at $10 per month for 1 GB of data. The same monthly device connection charges as above apply. For customers with basic phones, U.S. Cellular is offering “Talk and Text Only Plans” that include 450 minutes and unlimited messaging for individuals for $50 and 1000 minutes and unlimited messaging for families at $100 for two lines and $20 for each additional line.

For a limited time, customers that add a tablet, hotspot or modem to their Shared Data plan get the monthly device connection charge waived until the end of 2013. For more information on U.S. Cellular’s Shared Data plans, visit uscellular.com.

Additional terms, conditions and/or charges may apply. See uscellular.com for details.

About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular rewards its customers with unmatched benefits and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by its high-speed network that has the highest call quality of any national carrier. Currently, 61 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds and nearly 90 percent will have access by the end of 2013. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Champion in 2012 for the second year in a row. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.
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