Author's Archive

Apple breaks form by announcing Watch far before it’s ready to ship

Apple Watch Release Date

Some might find it rather amusing that Apple generally makes things happen like clockwork, only to completely turn a habit on its ear when ushering in its new timepiece. While few things are ever certain in the world of consumer electronics, one thing seemed to be: Apple only ever made a product official when it was good and ready to ship it to the masses within a month. Usually, within one to two weeks.

Look no further than today’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus introduction — announced on September 9, available to pre-order on September 12, and shipping to nearly every country on the planet on September 19. Part of Apple’s strategy is to reveal a product very close to its ship date, which serves a couple of purposes. First off, it’s able to maintain a heightened level of buzz from launch right on through to ship. Secondly, it doesn’t give its competitors much time to react.

Considering just how well this has worked for it in the past, why did it deviate so severely with the premature launch of Apple Watch?

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Darren Murph

September 10th

Apple

Automatic trip tracker adds Web Dashboard for easier trip sorting, exporting

Automatic Trip Tracker Web Dashboard

We’re pretty big fans of Automatic’s savvy trip tracker ‘round these parts, but one of our primary gripes when reviewing it late last year was the dearth of accessible data. For those just catching up, Automatic plugs into your vehicle’s OBD-II port — a port that you may not even be aware of unless you’re mechanically inclined. From there, it syncs with your iPhone or Android handset via Bluetooth each time you take a trip, collecting data on mileage, fuel economy, hard braking, etc. It gathers oodles of useful information, but didn’t really go so far as to make a ton of it available to the motorist.

That’s changing somewhat with today’s introduction of Web Dashboard.

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Darren Murph

September 3rd

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An ode to turn-by-turn navigation: Making ‘lost’ a foreign concept

Turn By Turn Navigation iPhone

Last week, I drove for 11 hours in a vehicle during a single calendar day. I decided to take such an endeavor the evening before, and all told, it took around five minutes to scope out the plan. The morning of, I settled into the adequately posh driver’s seat of a trusty rental car, tossed my iPhone into a Kenu Airframe mount, tapped a few screens, and threw it in drive.

And I knew that absolutely everything was going to be just fine.

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Darren Murph

August 20th

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Our society’s view on commuting (and telecommuting) is still painfully warped

Telecommuting Policy

A Google employee peers down at an Android Wear smartwatch demo, and notices that — based on real-time traffic information — it would take him 55 minutes to get to work. “Commute’s not looking too bad!,” he exclaims, before swiping to the next card on the demo.

How severely damaged must our society’s state of mind be to make such a comment?

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Darren Murph

June 25th

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Free phones are a lie — is America getting over its smartphone subsidy addiction?

Smartphone Subsidies US

You’ve seen the advertisements, and you’ve seen them for years. New smartphones for nothing beyond a signature, with the latest and greatest running just $199.

It’s all a complete fabrication.

In a bid to lock customers into long-term contracts, America’s preeminent wireless carriers have had a history of subsidizing the phones that the masses want. What happens is a masking of the true price of a phone.

If you asked most folks what a new iPhone would set you back, you’d probably hear “around $200.” What you wouldn’t hear is the rest of that sentence: “…by committing to pay a wireless carrier hundreds or thousands of dollars over the next 24 months.”

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Darren Murph

May 22nd

Uncategorized

Free phones are a lie — is America getting over its smartphone subsidy addiction?

Smartphone Subsidies US

You’ve seen the advertisements, and you’ve seen them for years. New smartphones for nothing beyond a signature, with the latest and greatest running just $199.

It’s all a complete fabrication.

In a bid to lock customers into long-term contracts, America’s preeminent wireless carriers have had a history of subsidizing the phones that the masses want. What happens is a masking of the true price of a phone.

If you asked most folks what a new iPhone would set you back, you’d probably hear “around $200.” What you wouldn’t hear is the rest of that sentence: “…by committing to pay a wireless carrier hundreds or thousands of dollars over the next 24 months.”

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Darren Murph

May 22nd

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WARNING: Don’t waste your money on knockoff Lightning cables for the iPhone and iPad

Fake Lightning Cable Review

When Apple ushered in the Lightning cable with the iPhone 5, millions of folks groaned collectively. A new connector means new accessories and outdated doodads, but in this particular example, it also represented a serious shot against piracy. As it turns out, Apple detests knockoffs… even when it comes to cabling. So, with Lightning, the company included a chip inside of each plug that would be next to impossible to reverse engineer and ape. Moreover, Apple added yet another expense to reproducing the cable, which would no doubt cut into the profit margins for would-be knockoff artists.

Today, a three meter Lightning cable from Apple is priced at $20. Which, by all measures, is firmly in Monster Cable territory on the ripoff meter. Thankfully, quite a few “Apple certified” options do exist, including a smattering of $14 versions available across the web.

But, being the stubborn knucklehead that I am, I just couldn’t be bothered with paying such outrageous rates for a couple of spare cables.

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Darren Murph

May 19th

Apple

Review: Seagate Backup Plus Slim and Fast mobile hard drives

Seagate Backup Plus Slim Review

Fast. Fast and cheap. In a nutshell, that describes Seagate’s latest duo of mobile hard drives. In a world where SSDs are still (unfortunately) too pricey for most, mechanical hard drives are (mercifully) becoming increasingly affordable. The thought of carrying around 2TB of photos, videos, and love letters that you just can’t part with for under $120 would’ve been a pipe dream just a couple of years ago.

As the latest race to the bottom plays out, Seagate’s 2TB Backup Plus Slim is a compelling option. It strips away practically everything except a USB 3.0 connector, but fancies itself up on the software front.

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Darren Murph

May 16th

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Form meets Function: What Google’s Nest acquisition says about our technological future

Google Nest Acquisition
Nest. Outside of the hardcore tech following, and maybe one level beyond that, no one on Earth had heard of this company prior to January 2014. It matters not. Google just agreed to pay $3.2 billion in order to bring Nest Labs over to Mountain View, and for those paying attention, the general consensus is significantly more positive than when Google decided to spend around four times that tally to buy Motorola Mobility. As in, a company that everyone on Earth has heard of.

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Darren Murph

January 14th

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REVIEW: Ona Bags Lima and Presidio camera straps are a photographer’s dream

Ona Bags Lima Presidio Review
For those who’ve been following my reviews over the years, you’ll likely be well aware of how fond I am of Ona Bags. It’s a small, service-focused outfit that has expanded from building some of the world’s greatest camera bags to building some of the world’s greatest accessories, too. The outfit’s DSLR bags, backpacks, and shoulder bags are constructed from some of the most durable, stately materials found anywhere, and I’ve long since sworn by them. Sure, they’re more expensive than anything mass-produced with ho-hum threads, but put simply, Ona’s stuff is unequivocally worth it for those willing to splurge.

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Darren Murph

December 27th

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