This Week In Tech: Apple’s “Really Great” Mystery

tim-cook-apple-ceo1

Tim Cook’s up to something, but he still won’t say exactly what. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cook says Apple is “closer than it’s ever been” to entering a new product category. “You want to take the time to get it right,” he said in addition to claiming the upcoming mystery product would be “really great.” It could be a smartwatch, it could be a games-centric set-top box, maybe even that rumored TV itself. Whatever it is, you’re probably going to want it. 

 

nike-fuelband-thumb

The Nike FuelBand has been a hit with consumers so confusion ensued when CNET reported that Nike had laid off most of their wearable team on Monday. That began to clarify on Tuesday when Geektime reported that Nike is instead teaming with Apple to launch their own wearable, iWatch be damned. Sources familiar with the new venture said that Apple’s band will use Nike tech for fitness tracking but will integrate with other devices for functions like gesture controls.

 

iphone battery

Battery troubles are nothing new for iPhone users, but now it’s a problem for Apple themselves. Taiwan’s Industrial and Commercial Times has reported that the new “phablet” iPhone, the 5.5-inch model being referred to as the “iPhone air,” is being delayed because the company can’t find a sufficient battery that fits in the device’s super-thin form factor. The 4.7-inch set will reportedly still launch this fall for the annual update, without it’s bigger brother.

 

amazon phone

We’ve discussed Amazon’s 3D phone before, but that’s not the only wild feature the handset will reportedly feature. Boy Genius Report reports that the phone will have tilt-activated gesture controls, with the screen displaying different information like icon labels or a Yelp rating. It’s not too wild of an idea, as gyroscopes have long been featured in smartphones, but by enabling a different way to display information they also enable new types of features we haven’t even thought of yet.

 

Netflix

It’s a good time to be a Netflix subscriber, but not so good for potential users. The leading streaming service the world over is going to be raising the price of new subscriptions by $1-$2 a month. CEO Reed Hastings said that the company would continue to improve the content library and their exclusive programs with the increased revenue. The streaming giant also hopes to boost growth in global markets, that currently account for around one-third of Netflix subscribers.

 

HBO amazon

There’s a Cold War going on between streaming media services and Amazon just fired a shot heard round the world. Beginning May 21 Amazon Prime will stream HBO content like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and more, as well as launching HBO GO on their new Fire TV. The deal is relatively good for cord-cutters, but there’s a hitch: new programs are going to be available on Prime after a three-year window. So no Silicon Valley yet, unfortunately, unless you’re using HBO GO. Either way, it’s a good time for a Larry Sanders Show marathon.

 

win8 startmenu

Users have been clamoring and by the end of the summer Windows 8 will have the classic Start menu back. Sources with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans have told The Verge that the second update to Windows 8.1 will land in August with the revamped version of the favorite button. At a demo earlier this month, the company demoed the update, a melding of the old menu and Windows 8’s divisive Live Tiles. It might not be the perfect option, but hey, at least they’re listening.

 

google time machine

“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” Just Google Maps, actually, Doc. Mountain View’s Street View team has done some wild things before but a new feature announced this week will act as a trip down memory lane, or any other street. The “time machine” feature allows users to view older pictures of the same area in certain areas, a sort of “digital timeline,” as Google put it. When can they get me on a hoverboard though? That’s the real question.

fcc rules

The future of the Internet will once again be up for discussion in May as the FCC will release the newest draft of their open internet rules. Chairman Tom Wheeler said Wednesday that the new draft would contain most of the same rules, just under a different part of the law. One glaring change though is the proposal to let Internet service providers sell other companies special, pay-to-play access for a “fast-lane” to consumers. After a quick backlash, Wheeler released a statement saying that the FCC is not “gutting” the Open Internet and “the same rules will apply to all internet content.” We’ll see about that, Wheels.

moves-flat

Facebook gobbled up another app this week continuing an unprecedented run so far this year. Moves, a fitness tracker app, is joining Team Zuck and like Instagram or WhatsApp will continue to operate as a separate entity. Moves not only counts steps, but tracks where you’ve stopped throughout the day, which could very well be what Facebook acquired it for. We’re at the point where Facebook could acquire almost any other company and it wouldn’t be a surprise. Why not buy Sega?

 

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