Apple

Vegas Diary – Day 1 – CES Unveiled

Nothing can quite prepare you for Las Vegas. The sheer size of the place, the all day gambling, the Lycra – it’s completely bonkers. Sin City is to be my home for the next five days so to get into character I’m writing this post from my hotel room in a floor length ballgown surrounded by poker chips (sort of).

Today I attended the pre-CES event called CES Unveiled at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. CES Unveiled is the official media event showcasing nearly 100 exhibitors from around the world, including CES Innovation Award winners. Key trends from Unveiled included curved smartphones, fitness technology, sound systems and smartphone accessories.

LG’s forthcoming LG G Flex was on display. LG informed us that the G Flex is the world’s first flexible, curved phone and will sport a self-healing back – ideal for those of us who scuff our phones on a regular basis. The launch date and price tag are still to be confirmed but I feel quite sure that this won’t be the last curved phone I see in Las Vegas. Curves are in!

LG G Flex

Fashion and function met in a very stylish way on the Boostcase stand. The firm’s power boosting cases, available in Selfridges and Harrods, incorporate battery packs for the iPhone with stylish designs and additional features such as pouches for your lippy and cash.

Boostcase

In the fitness realm Fitbug, the movement and sleep tracker, unveiled KiK. KiK works in association with the new Fitbug Orb to essentially become your own digital coach. KiK offers a series of 12 week plans with titles such as No More Baby Belly, Diabetes and Salsa to Fitness, that you load onto your smart device via USB and subsequently provides you with video tutorials, goal setting, monitoring and expert advice.

Other eye-catching innovations spotted at CES Unveiled included the brand new Zepp – a small device that attaches to your tennis racquet or golf club and then tracks and plays back your swings allowing you to analyse and improve your game. For those conscious of the impact of UV on the skin – France’s latest beauty device ‘June’ is a bracelet that monitors how much UV you are exposed to and offers advice on how to limit the signs of ageing with recommended sun protection factors.

This was only a taster of the tech mecca that is to follow over the subsequent days and the array of gadgets to come, like everything else in Las Vegas, is going to be huge!

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Return of the Mac…

Two thirds of us will excitedly unwrap a gleaming new gadget on 25th December, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. It’s been a bumper year for big technology launches from Nokia’s Lumia 800 Windows phone to the beautifully retro Fujifilm Finepix X100 camera, but as all sharp eyed tech fans will know, it’s Apple’s competitor-trouncing line up of iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the incredibly slim MacBook Air which have topped Santa’s wish lists for 2011.

So, for all these new Apple converts, how do you make the leap from Windows to iOS with minimum effort? And how do you transfer your beloved pictures, videos and content over from your battered PC to your nifty new iPad?

A crafty piece of software called Parallels comes in handy here. Getting new tech to sync is much easier than dropping those extra Christmas pounds, with a little help from desktop virtualisation software.

Software such as Parallels Desktop 7 Switch to Mac edition helps when changing from a Windows laptop to Mac or iPad, by transporting files and programmes from one laptop to a Mac – it will even remember things like webpage favourites and book marks or your stored downloads. Rather than struggle to check your post-Christmas bank account on Safari, which many online banking sites don’t support, Parallels can create a virtual machine on your desktop so Internet Explorer can be used on a Mac.

Parallels is really simple to use and compatible with Mac’s, iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch. The Parallels mobile app allows users to access everything on their Macbook remotely – that means films stored on your Macbook at work can be watched on the sofa at home and music libraries can be accessed wherever you are in the world. Perfect!

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Nine things to know about the new iPhone 4s

Apple has announced the new iPhone 4S packed with loads of new features including Apple’s dual-core A5 chip for super fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. Check out my nine things to know below:

  1. All new camera 8MP
  2. Full 1080p HD video recording
  3. Siri intelligent assistant, ask it “what is the traffie like around here?” 
  4. iOS5 advanced operating system
  5. Dual core A5 super fast chip
  6. iCloud free cloud services for iPhone
  7. iMessage new messaging service for texts, photos and videos between iOS5 users
  8. Built in Twitter integration
  9. Extended battery life – 8 hours of 3G talk time

iOS5

iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, which includes over 200 new features including Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption and iMessage, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users.

Siri

iPhone 4S also introduces Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. Siri understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions, for example, if you ask “Will I need an umbrella this weekend?” it understands you are looking for a weather forecast.

Siri is also smart about using the personal information you allow it to access, for example, if you tell Siri “Remind me to call Mum when I get home” it can find “Mum” in your address book, or ask Siri “What’s the traffic like around here?” and it can figure out where “here” is based on your current location.

Siri helps you make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, make notes, search the Internet, find local businesses, get directions and more. You can also get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking. It texts, writes and send emails and even speaks back to you!

iCloud

iCloud is a breakthrough set of free cloud services, including iTunes in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that work seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. When content changes on one device, all your other devices are updated automatically and wirelessly.

Camera

iPhone 4S includes an all new camera with the most advanced optics of any phone. The 8 megapixel sensor has 60 percent more pixels so you can take amazing high quality photos with more detail than ever. iPhone 4S includes a new custom lens, a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid IR filter that produce sharper, brighter and more accurate images.

New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. The new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organise your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go.

iMessage

New iOS 5 features include built-in Twitter integration and iMessage, so you can instantly share your photos via Twitter directly from the Photos app and send photos via iMessage to individuals or groups. And with iCloud’s innovative new Photo Stream service, a photo you take on your iPhone is sent to iCloud and automatically pushed to your iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. You can even view your Photo Stream album on your Apple TV.

HD Video

iPhone 4S can also now record video in full 1080p HD resolution and with the new video image stabilisation feature, you can take richer, smoother videos. Other iPhone 4S video camera improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions. With the new iMessage service in iOS 5, you can now instantly share videos with family and friends.

A5 Chip

Apple’s dual-core A5 chip delivers up to twice the processing power and up to seven times faster graphics than iPhone 4, all while maintaining incredible battery life—now up to 8 hours of 3G talk time.

Pricing & Availability

iPhone 4S comes in either black or white and will be available in the UK on Friday, October 14 and customers can pre-order their iPhone 4S beginning Friday, October 7. iPhone pricing will be available closer to launch.

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Gadget of the Week: iPad foldup keyboard

The Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2 is ideal for typing on-the-go. When closed the keyboard rests securely underneath your iPad 2 and when open, it holds your iPad 2 at the perfect angle for typing and taking notes. Run from meeting to meeting or class to class without missing a thing. Charged by USB the keyboard wakes up and is ready to go as soon as you unfold it and automatically turns itself off when it’s folded.

Available from www.logitech.com

 Price £ 89.99

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iPad 2: thinner, lighter, faster, facetime

Apple have just officially announced the second generation iPad. Steve Jobs and a couple of other senior Apple executives presented the new, much anticipated, iPad, displaying it’s new features live on stage.

The iPad 2, which will run iOS 4.3, has been given a release date of March 11th. It has a brand-spanking new 1GHz A5 chip, which is reportedly, twice as fast as its predecessors. It also comes as somewhat of a relief to see that Apple have, finally, after much public outcry, decided to put a front and rear camera on the iPad 2.

Another major talking point is that the iPad 2 looks like it’s been on a rather successful crash-course diet, as it is now 33% thinner, measuring in at a super-thin 8.8mm (slimmer then the iPhone 4) and weighing only 600g.

Impressively, Apple claim that the iPad 2, which is set to be available in either black or white, will, just like its older sibling, maintain a 10 hour battery life despite the improved performance and additional features.

As well as now having FaceTime compatibility and a larger speaker grille, the iPad 2 also comes with HDMI output. However, you will need to shell out a further $39 to buy the required HDMI lead as Apple do not supply it with the iPad, the sneaky sods.

There are also additional ‘add-ons’ in the form of new, iPad exclusive, apps.

iMovie and Garageband, two flagship pieces of Apple software, have been made iPad compatible. These two new apps looked great as they were thoroughly demonstrated on stage, during the press conference.

The apps will be available for $4.99 each, a bargain in Steve Jobs’ eyes, “I cannot tell you how many hours teenagers are going to spend making music with this.” His words, not mine.

Mr Jobs has also been busy working on another project, a new cover. Not to take anything away from Mr Jobs’ hard work but the cover is, essentially, some thin magnets wrapped in your choice of coloured poly ($39) or leather ($69).

Don’t go thinking it’s just some expensive piece of material though, oh no, when the cover is placed on the iPad 2 it puts it into sleep mode and it is then awoken when the cover is removed.

Jobs is probably rather smug about the fact that his new cover can also be folded into a triangular stand, on which you can prop up your iPad 2 at an eye-friendly angle. It means no more having to burn all those calories by holding your iPad when you play Angry Birds!

Prices start at $499 for the WiFi 16GB model and $629 for the WiFi + 3G 16GB model.

Pre-orders are not yet being taken but in the meantime first generation iPad prices have been slashed to $399.

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