Hue Go has a rechargeable internal battery that lasts for up to three hours when removed from the base, and its bowl-like shape lets it be positioned in several different ways so it can serve multiple functions as an accent light.
Philips Hue Go can be moved from the garden to the living room to the bedroom without the worry of wires; letting you create and enjoy a new ambience each time. It can also be positioned in different ways to adapt to your needs; enhance a living space by positioning it to face a wall washing it with light, add ambience to an intimate dinner by placing it as a center piece on the table or focused on a piece of work by directing the light where you need it.
The light connects to an existing Hue Bridge and it can be controlled with the Philips Hue iOS app or any of the hundreds of apps that take advantage of the Hue API. Like the rest of the color-enabled Hue lights, there are 16 million color choices available. It works with Philips Hue and Friends of Hue products.
Hue Go also has a built-in control button that will let you change the color of the light to one of several included scenes even when your iPhone isn't nearby. Presets include Cozy Candle, Sunday Coffee, Meditation, Enchanted Forest, and Night Adventure, and Philips says each one of these color schemes features a unique mix of colors.
Philips Hue Go will be available in the U.S. at the end of May or in early June, and it will be priced at $99.95. Like other Hue lights, it will be available in the Apple Store, at Best Buy, and on Amazon.com.
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Over the past month, I spent several weeks testing the battery of an Apple watch. Not the Apple Watch, of course, but the first product Apple released with the option of being worn like one: the sixth-generation iPod nano. Back in 2010, Steve Jobs mentioned during the “instantly wearable” nano’s introduction (video at 26:30) that one of Apple’s directors planned to use it a watch. That brief aside directly inspired the creation of nano watchband makers Lunatik and Hex, as well as simple, cheap bands from Apple accessory specialists including Griffin, Incipio, and SwitchEasy. A year later, Apple updated the nano’s software to expand its watch functionality, adding “16 new digital clock faces and improved built-in fitness features.” The nano-as-watch test was at least somewhat successful; Hex even shared pictures showing Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber wearing its nano watch bands.
Today, Apple is three weeks away from releasing the “real” Apple Watch — a product that clearly shares the old iPod nano’s DNA, but was thoroughly redesigned from top to bottom. Yet despite including a battery that’s around twice as powerful as the nano’s, the Watch is promising only 18 hours of typical battery life, maxing out at three days if used solely as a watch in a low-power mode. So when I ran a “watch-only” test of my used four-year-old nano and found that it ran for just over three weeks, keeping perfect time without ever touching a charger (or synchronizing with an atomic clock), I was genuinely surprised. It turns out that Apple really optimized the nano to work well as a timepiece without requiring constant recharging. So what happened with the Apple Watch?…
Though this point has been obscured by the Apple Watch’s fashion-focused marketing, it’s true: the Watch is an iPod under a different name. It was developed by Apple’s iPod Software team, one of its code names was “Nano,” and — despite being based upon iOS rather than the iPod nano’s Pixo OS — the Apple Watch SDK contains numerous Nano references (as shown above). If the iPod name wasn’t synonymous with years of declining sales, and Tim Cook was less interested in launching “new product categories” than resuscitating old ones, the Apple Watch could easily have been called the iPod Watch. It still has the core features of the nano, albeit with a substantially new interface.
It’s also important to understand what Apple was and wasn’t attempting to do with the iPod nano back in 2010. At the time Steve Jobs introduced it, the new nano was pitched as the first wearable version of a popular, fitness-friendly media player. Jobs noted that the nano’s built-in pedometer and Nike+ support were bolstered by its built-in clip — “no more armbands,” he said — and could play music for 24 hours. Like every prior nano, this one was an iPod first and foremost, so even though Jobs pointed out the clock functionality, there wasn’t any discussion of the device’s lifespan if it was purely used as a watch. Instead, he just lit the fire of possibility under that one, letting watchband makers experiment with all kinds of form factors and price points. With the $130-$140 Lynk (now $35 to $38) at the top of its lineup, Lunatik was the rare developer willing to sell bands that were nearly as expensive as the nano itself.
Given Apple’s design heritage, it’s not shocking that the $149 square-faced nano actually has a lot in common physically with the $349 Apple Watch Sport. The nano’s aluminum body, glass face, and side-mounted, pill-shaped button all found their way into the entry-level Watch, as did its basic dimensions. At 1.48″ tall by 1.61″ wide by 0.35″ deep including its clip, the nano is pretty close in size to the 42mm Apple Watch, which measures 1.65″ tall by 1.41″ wide by 0.41″ deep without a clip. They look most different from the front because Apple shifted from a square screen to a taller rectangle, and from the side because wrist wearability, water resistance, and simple charging became design priorities.
Apple’s designers and engineers didn’t spend years of development time just to give the Watch softer, more organic edges and the ability to attach wrist straps — they actually changed almost every external component of the nano to something either better or more appropriate for a watch. For instance, the screen lost Multi-Touch, which was useless on the nano’s tiny display, and gained a more meaningful alternative in Force Touch. Two small hardware volume buttons gave way to the Digital Crown, which is a more natural and universal interface for the Watch’s various functions. Apple’s Dock Connector was replaced with a sealed magnetic charger, and the headphone port was dropped in favor of Bluetooth, both changes foreshadowed by the 2012 release of the Lightning- and Bluetooth-equipped seventh-generation nano.
The Apple Watch received an equally comprehensive overhaul internally. Even though the 8GB storage capacity is the same, the screen was upgraded from a square 240×240 display to a higher-resolution 272×340 display in the 38mm Watch, and a 312×390 display in the 42mm model, both using OLED rather than LED screen technology. While the sixth-generation nano had no wireless features, the Watch has 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4, and NFC inside — it’s purely wireless for data — plus both a microphone and speaker built in. And beyond switching from the nano’s Pixo OS to a stripped-down iOS variant called Watch OS, the Apple Watch ditches the nano-class CPU for a new S1 processor that rivals Apple’s A5 in performance. For reference, a similarly capable A5 is found in the current iPod touch, and can run the most current version of iOS. With a bigger battery and screen, the Apple Watch probably could, too.
Photos suggest that the battery capacity has jumped from 105mAh in the nano to at least 200mAh and likely more in the Apple Watch, part of the reason the Watch is thicker without a clip than the nano was with a clip. So if the battery’s bigger, why is the run time so much worse? Tally up the power consumed by some of the new components, and you’ll have part of the answer. Even if the higher-resolution OLED screen consumes just as much power as the prior 240×240 LED version, the Watch’s more powerful processor, more capable software, and complete dependence on wireless communications would be battery killers. As an iPhone-dependent product, the Watch has to keep its wireless chip waiting to receive notifications from an iPhone, and the battery will take additional hits whenever notifications are registered by the screen or Taptic Engine, with much heavier drain for active use. That’s why Apple says the battery will die in 3 hours if you use it continuously as a speakerphone, or 6.5 hours if streaming music over Bluetooth. (For reference, the larger current-generation nano can stream music with Bluetooth for over 9 hours.)
This is simultaneously the first-generation Apple Watch’s blessing and curse: it spends a lot of time (and energy) doing things in the background that the sixth-generation iPod nano simply couldn’t do. It will alert you to messages, and let you respond. It will wirelessly stream music and data, as well as letting you receive phone calls. It will track your heart rate, nag you when you haven’t stood up recently, and borrow iPhone Wi-Fi and GPS data to more accurately measure workouts. Much as the iPhone was not content to be merely an Apple-branded phone, the Apple Watch is not merely an Apple-branded watch.
And that’s why the iPod nano both is and isn’t a fair benchmark for the Apple Watch’s battery performance. If you take the words “Apple Watch” literally and expect Apple’s Watch to outperform a $20 Timex as a maintenance-free time-telling device, you’re going to be disappointed after the first day. Apple can do better — and demonstrably has already done better with the nano — at creating a wearable device that continuously and accurately tells the time. But to Apple, this design and engineering exercise has been about redefining the value of watches at a point when large numbers of people are discarding them, thereby reversing an industrial decline caused in part by the iPhone. Merely tweaking the old iPod nano with a larger battery and several watch straps probably wouldn’t have been enough to turn things around.
For now, the two big questions are whether the Apple Watch’s added features are collectively capable of getting people excited about watches again, and valuable enough to justify 18-hour typical battery life. If your answer to the latter question is no, and you’re just looking for a reasonably-priced Apple product to wear, the sixth-gen nano’s three weeks of continuous watch run time make it a solid alternative. It’s still being sold on eBay and Amazon, alongside plenty of fancy bands that are now dirt cheap. But if you’re willing to buy into Apple’s vision for the future of watches, and OK with nightly recharging as a consequence, pre-orders for the Apple Watch start April 10th.
Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch, Opinion Tagged: Apple watch, battery life, Hex, IPod Nano, lunatik, watch band
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Even though the device is not yet available, an early unboxing gave us a hands-on look at Apple’s upcoming 12-inch Retina MacBook this morning, and now Geekbench results from the device have emerged giving us a look at what kind of performance we can expect from it. The Geekbench process tested the performance of the entry-level 12-inch Retina MacBook, which packs an Intel Core M-5Y31 processor clocked at 1.1GHz with Turbo Boost to 2.4GHz.
The 12-inch Retina MacBook was put through its paces twice with Geekbench. The laptop received single-core scores of 1924 and 2044 and multi-core scores of 4038 and 4475. If you compare those scores to previous Apple laptops, they’re in line with the 2011 MacBook Air that featured a 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 processor. Comparatively, the baseline 2015 MacBook Air received single-core and multi-core scores of 2881 and 5757 respectively. It features a 1.6GHz Core i5 processor.
Of course, it’s important to note that the new MacBook should offer major graphic performance improvements over previous MacBooks. The 12-inch Retina model features Intel HD 5300 graphics and significantly faster PCIe-based flash storage.
Apple unveiled the redesigned 12-inch Retina MacBook at an event last month, although 9to5Mac gave you an early look at the device’s features and design back in January. The 12-inch Retina MacBook will be available from Apple online and in-stores on April 10th. The device starts at $1299 for the baseline model with a 1.1GHz processor and 256GB of storage. For $1599 you can get the slightly faster 1.2GHz model with 512GB of storage. Both models feature 8GB of RAM.
Filed under: Mac Tagged: 12" MacBook, 12-inch MacBook, Apple, benchmark, Geekbench, MacBook, Retina MacBook
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Apple is asking TV networks to handle the responsibility and cost of the streaming infrastructure associated with its Web video service, industry executives say. That issue is one of many unresolved questions about the proposed service, which Apple would like to launch next fall but can't until it lines up programming deals.Negotiations for the streaming service are reportedly being conducted by iTunes chief Eddy Cue, who has told networks and potential partners that Apple wants to concentrate on software and hardware, areas where it excels, while leaving infrastructure concerns in the hands of people who are better suited to handle it.
According to Re/code, the request isn't unusual because content that users stream from existing Apple TV channels and iOS apps is handled by the networks that provide the content, through partnerships with content delivery networks like EdgeCast. Though streaming services aren't overly expensive, at approximately 5 cents per hour per stream, the idea of dealing with the demand of an Apple television service available to millions has "given executives pause."
In addition to leaving infrastructure concerns to those with more experience, a source that spoke to Re/code believes that it's also possible Apple is hoping that if programmers provide the streams, Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon will be less likely to "penalize Apple's service."
Apple is rumored to be working with several partners on its upcoming streaming service, including CBS, ABC, Fox, Discovery, Disney, and Viacom. It may include around 25 channels, and pricing is said to be in the range of $30 to $40. The streaming service may make its debut in June at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference ahead of a fall launch.
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After downloading the app, anyone can begin a Riff video by shooting a clip and giving it a topic. From there, your friends will get a notification to watch what's been uploaded already and an invite to add their own clips to the topic, building on the video. As the video is passed along and more people add to it, it gets longer and longer.
Video must be shot within the Riff app, as there are no uploading tools, and to encourage people to submit their own videos to contribute, there's no liking or commenting. Because some of the Riffs can get long, there are fast forwarding tools, and original Riff creators can moderate new clips to delete portions of the video if necessary.
Anyone can start by creating a video. All you have to do is give it a topic, like #AprilFools, then your friends can view it and choose to add their own clips on that topic. Once a friend adds a clip to your video, your friend's friends will also be shown the video in Riff and will be able to add to it. The potential pool of creative collaborators can grow exponentially from there, so a short video can become an inventive project between circles of friends that you can share to Facebook, or anywhere on the internet, at any time.Facebook has an example video from Riff available on the new Riff website, created by the cast of An American in Paris on Broadway.
Riff is the latest app coming from Facebook's Creative Labs project, which has also produced apps like Paper, Groups, Rooms, Mentions and Slingshot. Of the apps that have been created by Facebook's Creative Labs, Paper, a news curation app with a magazine-style layout, has proven to be the most popular.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Riff's product manager Josh Miller said Riff was inspired by the videos that were shared during the Ice Bucket challenge, where thousands of people dumped buckets of ice water on their heads in support of ALS and then challenged friends to do the same.
Riff can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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Apple today published a new iTunes section that recommends apps, books iTunes U courses and other Apple educational content to educators using iOS devices.
The new online resource includes suggestions for teachers on apps from the App Store, books from iBooks, and courses from Apple’s iTunes U service.
In addition to organizing Apple’s content aimed specifically at educators in one place, it also provides other resources and editor’s picks for lesson ideas, courses, and links to content based on subject and curriculum level.
The new collection of content for educators is accessible via a new “For Educators” page in iTunes.
Filed under: Apps
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Apple today informed developers that, within 24 hours, prices in the Japan App Store will increase due to foreign exchange rate changes. Apple further tells developers that customers currently using subscription-based apps will be notified as needed of the shifts. This is not the first time Apple has increased prices in its App Store. Late last year, Russia prices increased, while pricing in Canada and some European regions changed in January of this year.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: App Store (iOS), exchange rate
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Philips Debuts 'Hue Go' iPhone-Connected Portable Light [iOS Blog]
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