Tags ‘WiFi’

Why I’ll Probably Ditch My Carrier For Google’s Project Fi

One month ago, we tried Google’s experimental cell phone service. It was a disaster. But I guess the second time’s a charm. After spending two weeks with Project Fi in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m just about ready to ditch my old carrier.


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Sean Hollister

September 25th


New AT&T gadget turns your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot

AT&T Car WiFi

AT&T earlier this week unveiled a nifty new gadget that can even to turn your old clunker of a car into a mobile hotspot. Called Mobley, the gadget plugs directly into your car's ODB II (on-board diagnostics) port and is powered by the car itself once the ignition is turned on. In other words, there's no need to worry about charging it.

With a Wi-Fi connection enabled in just a few seconds, the Mobley will allow up to five separate devices to hop on and surf the web, play games, and watch videos all via a robust LTE connection. AT&T notes that the device will work on most vehicles manufactured in 1996 and onward.

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Yoni Heisler

September 12th


FAA Approves In-Flight Internet That Might Not Suck

Slow internet is the worst possible kind of internet, as anyone who’s sold kidneys to use in-flight Wi-Fi can probably attest. GoGo, the biggest player in the airborne Wi-Fi game, has been promising faster speeds since 2013 ; thanks to a FAA decision, the company is now one step closer to coming through. http://gizmodo.com/every-major-ai...


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Chris Mills

August 26th


If Our Eyes Could See Wireless Signals, Here’s How Our World Might Look 

Our lives today depend largely on systems and infrastructure that is invisible—a hidden landscape of webs and waves that come from cell towers, routers, satellites, and more.


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Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

August 24th


The clever design behind Google’s OnHub router

Google OnHub Wifi Router

Google yesterday unveiled a new Wi-Fi router dubbed OnHub that promises to solve all of your Wi-Fi related woes. While mobile technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, the routers we use today -- and their associated problems -- haven't really made similar advancements.

So in comes OnHub which features a unique antenna design, smart software for improved performance, and just as important, an associated app which makes adjusting router settings much simpler than tinkering around with a confusing piece of hardware with blinking lights.

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Yoni Heisler

August 20th


It’s About Damn Time: FCC Says Convention Centers Can’t Block Wifi

We’ve all been ripped off when paying for wifi. But now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is cracking down on companies that block you from using anything but their exorbitantly priced services. The agency just slapped a company with a $750,000 fine for blocking wifi hotspots at convention centers.


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Adam Clark Estes

August 18th


What will September’s new iOS 9-based Apple TV bring to the living room?


Apple plans to hold one of its annual fall media events on Wednesday, September 9th to introduce the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus with Force Touch, and after many fits and starts, it appears that the long-awaited next-generation Apple TV will also be unveiled. We’ve been reporting on this upcoming model since 2014, as Apple has been planning to update its set-top-box with support for an App Store for quite some time.

Earlier this year, Apple had locked in a June WWDC debut for both the new Apple TV hardware and software upgrades, but the company ultimately decided to delay the introduction until the fall. While some had speculated that the announcement was pushed back due to a lack of content deals, we are told that the delay was internally attributed to a concern over compromising iOS 9 engineering resources, as the latest OS release is focused at least as much on polish as on new features.

Why would the new Apple TV potentially take away resources from iOS 9? According to sources, this new Apple TV model, codenamed J34, will be the first model to run a full-blown iOS core. Specifically, the new Apple TV operating system will be a TV-optimized version of iOS 9. In addition to the new hardware inside, running iOS 9 will give the new Apple TV a series of benefits over the current model. Below, we explore what users can expect from Apple’s next-generation living room product.

New Device Hardware Design

After living with the same external look for over five years, a new industrial design for the next-generation Apple TV is a lock. We’ve heard that the new model looks like the prior Apple TV, but slimmer and slightly wider. As the Apple TV is a product that needs constant connectivity to wireless standard such as Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth, it is likely that a mostly plastic body will be retained in order for the best compatibility with routers and Bluetooth remotes.


New Dedicated Remote Control

Speaking of remotes, another lock for the new Apple TV is a brand-new remote control. As we first reported, the new Apple TV is planned to include a larger remote control with new and more tactile keys. In addition, as indicated by both our sources and findings inside of files hidden within recent OS X 10.11 El Capitan developer betas, the new remote control will include touch-based input and gesture support. With Apple’s integration of Force Touch across MacBooks, Apple Watches, iPhones, and future iPads, perhaps the technology will make an appearance on the Apple TV remote as well.

The files indicate that the new remote control will include both Bluetooth technology and an infrared sensor, which suggests superior control responsiveness as well as the potential for backward compatibility with non-Bluetooth home AV equipment. As our Jeremy Horwitz noted earlier this year, the introduction of a new remote control could help open up the door for improved gaming. With an integrated touchpad, in addition to the Apple TV SDK we’ll discuss later in this article, Apple could open up the remote to developers looking to bring gaming to the Apple TV set top box. Critically, this new remote will likely pack enough technology to deter users from losing the controller, which happens a lot with the older Apple TV remotes.

The aforementioned El Capitan files also indicate that some sort of audio technology wil be integrated into the new remote control, and we believe that this raises three possibilities. First, it is possible that the new remote integrates a small speaker to augment the sound experience of the new Apple TV, which could be important for gaming. Next, perhaps the new remote will include an audio jack to connect to headphones to enable private listening/viewing, similar to the latest Roku models. Last and most likely, the audio feature could refer to a microphone that enables Siri support.

Siri Support

We’ve been hearing for a while, as also reported by John Paczkowski at BuzzFeed, that this next-generation Apple TV will include support for Siri. Currently, there are two main ways to control an Apple TV: the Remote app on iOS devices, and the small aluminum remote that makes typing characters difficult. Utilizing a microphone in the new physical remote, the Apple TV could make searching for content or beginning playback simpler by using the voice-based Siri system. For example, users will likely be able to search up a James Bond movie by saying “Search for Goldfinger,” or begin playback of an Apple Music playlist by saying “Play my Party Mix.”

Improved Proactive-Based Search

Speaking of search, it sounds like one of the reasons behind making the new Apple TV software directly based on iOS 9 is for its new Proactive search support. In iOS 9, Proactive search brings new, more powerful and accurate system-wide search support. As Jeremy Horwitz also noted in March, one of the biggest omissions from the current Apple TV is system-wide search support. For example, a user cannot search for “James Bond” and see results across the iTunes Store, Netflix, the Crackle app, and the Apple Music library. Apple is said to be planning to fix that with the next-generation Apple TV software, but we are told that the company may wait to integrate the new search features until the Apple TV is populated with third-party applications.

App Store + Developer SDK

Third-party applications support plus a full Software Development Kit for the Apple TV will be two tentpoles of the new device. This means that developers, just like with the iPhone and iPad, will be able to build apps for the Apple TV. These applications will likely be able to be downloaded via a dedicated App Store accessible via the new Apple TV.

We are told that Apple’s focus on Apple TV App Store apps has been video-centric applications, which would allow media companies to release new channels on the Apple TV on their own schedule, and not on Apple’s. Apple has slowly added channels to the current-generation Apple TV on a sporadic basis, ranging from every few weeks at times to every several months. Of course, gaming apps, news applications, and others could make sense on the Apple TV as well, but don’t expect opportunities for content creation akin to the iPhone and iPad.

More Storage + Faster Processor

In order to support additional content, new search features, the new remote, additional wireless technology, and apps, the new Apple TV will include a new processor, a dual-core variant of the iPhone 6’s A8 chip in all likelihood. This will be a substantial improvement over the single-core A5 chip driving the current 1080P Apple TV that was introduced in 2012. In order to provide better caching for video content in addition to space for App Store apps, a big leap in storage space should also be expected. The current Apple TV features 8GB of flash storage and 512MB of RAM, but we would expect that RAM count to at least double to 1GB (if not to the 2GB from the next iPhone), and flash storage to at least quadruple to 32GB. Perhaps there will be multiple storage tiers like with the iPhone now that the current 8GB Apple TV sits at the entry-level $69 price point.


Refreshed User-Interface

To go with the new iOS 9 core and redesigned hardware, we are told that the new Apple TV will include a refreshed, more iOS-like interface. While the new system is likely to improve the current scrolling list of large icons, we are told that the general aesthetic will be similar to the current look. We’ve received one tip indicating that the new operating system looks somewhat like the mockup above, which is to say it will look more like an iOS Software product. When Apple launched the redesigned Apple TV operating system in 2012, it brought the new look to earlier-generation models, not only to the new 1080P box, so perhaps Apple will port over at least some new features to existing models. We are told that the new Apple TV iOS 9 builds internally run on both the current J33 Apple TV and future J34 model, but internal testing does not accurately forecast indicate public launch plans.

No Live Cable-Replacement Service (Yet)

Lastly, as we first reported early this year, the new Apple TV will not launch with Apple’s long-in-the-works Cable TV replacement service. Apple’s discussions with TV networks indicate that Apple wants to launch a $40/month plan for Apple TV users that allows customers to get their favorite channels without the need of a cable connection. The content would be streamed from the web and integrated with iTunes on the new Apple TV. Sources say that internal prototypes of the next-generation Apple TV are fully designed to unlock content via cable networks in the same manner as current and past Apple TVs, so it appears that the new TV service won’t launch until at least next year.

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apps, HomeKit, iOS, iOS Devices, Opinion Tagged: App Store, Apple TV, Apple watch, Bluetooth, force touch, gaming, infrared, iOS 9, iPad, iPhone, Living room, plastic, Proactive, remote control, Roku, SDK, set-top box, Siri, wifi

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Mark Gurman

August 17th



Slow and Expensive, Here’s Why In-Flight Wi-Fi Sucks so Bad

Airplane Wi-Fi

If one were to list out all of the things that make air travel so damn frustrating, it'd be hard to know where to even begin. From delayed flights and cramped seating to what is often an exceedingly long check-in process, air travel is rarely a seamless experience.

All that aside, the notion of accessing the Internet while mid-flight is certainly a surefire way to relieve some in-flight boredom and discomfort.

Or so you would think.

Unfortunately, in-flight Wi-Fi is not only pretty expensive, but it also has a tendency to be painfully slow if you're trying to do anything more intensive than checking a few emails. The end result is that many fliers often find themselves paying a pretty penny for shoddy service, a losing proposition on both ends.

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Yoni Heisler

July 7th


Portal Makes It Easy To Drag And Drop Files To Your Phone Wirelessly

Moving files between your smartphone and PC has always been kind of a pain in the ass. You have to navigate your device’s file system, sometimes you need to flip a switch in a hidden OS menu and, worst of all, you almost always need a USB cable. Want a better way? Check out Portal—a new app from Pushbullet that makes wirelessly transferring files to your phone drag-and-drop easy.


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Sean Buckley

June 16th


Review: Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter solves the WiFi dead zone problem for the 12-inch MacBook

Kanex USB-C to Ethernet

Adapters for adding thicker ports are nothing new for Apple’s modern line of notebooks. Even the high-end Retina MacBook Pro decidedly excludes a direct Ethernet connection, and Apple’s MacBook Air and new ultrathin 12-inch MacBook are especially too thin for a wired connection to the Internet without relying on an adapter in the middle.

While modern WiFi is fine for most everyday situations, even Apple acknowledges that a wired connection is necessary in some instances. To remedy this, it sells a $29 USB Ethernet Adapter and a faster $29 Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter. The 12-inch MacBook has neither port, however, additionally requiring Apple’s $19 USB-C to USB Adapter to work with the slower adapter.

Fortunately with USB-C being a new industry standard, accessory makers like Kanex are ready with solutions like the $29.95 USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter made for the new 12-inch MacBook and other USB-C computers…

Key Details:

  • Adds gigabit Ethernet to Apple’s 12-inch MacBook
  • Useful for WiFi dead zones
  • Plug-and-play compatibility, no setup required
  • Cable length measures 11.5 inches
  • Available in white like Apple adapters
  • Also works with Google Chromebook Pixel

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter 8

At first glance you may mistake Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter for some sort of mystical Lightning to Ethernet adapter for iPhones and iPads, but at its core it’s a USB 3.0 dongle with a super thin connector end met with a rather thick brickish end with an Ethernet port.

This is absolutely the first time my MacBook has been connected to a wired Internet connection since it shipped in April. That seems crazy but it’s handy to have a way to connect directly on occassion. Busy work days when streaming a spotty Apple live stream, when on the phone with technical support with my Internet service provider, and if I need to connect to another machine over the Ethernet line to name a few.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet

Kanex’s USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter looks very similar to Apple’s own adapters, although the plastic shell is a shade closer to gray than Apple’s bright white cables and adapters; my first thought is that this might combat discoloring over time. The RJ45 end of the adapter is a bit bulkier than Apple’s standard USB adapters, measuring 1.25-inches wide by 2.5-inches long by 0.25 inches thick.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter 6 Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter 7

The overall length of Kanex’s USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter measures 11.5-inches in total. In comparison, Apple’s USB Ethernet Adapter measures 8-inches long, or 12.75-inches long when attached to Apple’s USB-C to USB Adapter. The length of your data cable is what’s most important when connecting directly to a router or modem, but Kanex’s adapter lets the RJ45 end hang freely from the USB-C end with flexibility.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter 5

While most of the adapter resembles the USB-C Charge Cable bundled with the new MacBook, the RJ45 end of it makes it obvious why the ultra thin notebook doesn’t include an Ethernet port: it’s much thicker than even the thickest part of the entire MacBook. The thickness is comparable to two iPhone 6s stacked.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter 3 Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter 2

Not apparent until you see it in action, Kanex’s USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter hides two status indicator lights inside — something you won’t find in either of Apple’s USB Ethernet adapters. Both indicator lights glow soft green when connected. One presumably shows connection in general as it remains solid when connected, although it remained green when I removed the Ethernet cable between the modem and the router. The other indicator light pulses at various speeds based on data transfer speeds. A mostly idle machine shows a slower flash while opening multiple Safari tabs creates a constant flash until all the pages have loaded.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Kanex’s USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet works entirely as expected with the only surprise being the green status indicator lights. If flashing lights are too distracting and un-Apple for you, you can pay the premium and buy separate USB-C to USB and USB to Ethernet Adapters, but Kanex’s solution is one of the first available and provides a gigabit ethernet port for the same price that Apple sells its Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet adapter.

If you’re looking to add access to an RJ45 port on your new MacBook for frequent or occasional use, especially during conference season (and for quickly downloading new software betas), Kanex’s solution is a fine one for a reasonable price. The biggest issue comes when you need to use both ethernet and power, as the MacBook features only one port; a hub-style adapter like Anker revealed this week would be ideal in this instance, although it may be reaching edge-case territory.

12-inch MacBook

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, 12-inch MacBook accessories, Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet Adapter, internet, MacBook, MacBook accessories, MacBook Ethernet, MacBook Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C, USB-C adapter, Wi-Fi, wifi

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Zac Hall

May 23rd


October 2015
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