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Apple Celebrates Successful Year with Record-Breaking App Store Sales, Strong Job Creation

App Store customers worldwide set a new record in the first week of 2015, Apple announced today. According to the company, customers spent nearly half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases in the first week of January, with New Year’s Day marking the biggest day ever for App Store sales.

As noted by Apple, this opening salvo for 2015 follows in the footsteps of a successful 2014 that saw billings rise 50 percent to generate over $10 billion in app revenue for developers, pushing total developer earnings since the App Store’s inception to over $25 billion. The steady climb of user acceptance for iOS 8, along with the strong success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and App Store specials like the (Product) RED Holiday Campaign, undoubtedly contributed to the company’s App Store success of the App Store over the past few months.

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“This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We’re so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over $25 billion.”

The company points to innovations like the new programming language Swift, graphics technology Metal, beta-testing program TestFlight, and the introduction of HealthKit and HomeKit as major reasons behind the flourishing of App Store development in the past year. Outside of the U.S., the addition of UnionPay as a payment option for App Store customers in China was a significant move by the company in establishing an overseas presence in the country.

Apple Pay’s growing popularity in the U.S. has also been a factor in the App Store’s success, especially with its added integration in popular apps like those from Target, OpenTable, and Ticketmaster.

Apple isn’t just celebrating a successful monetary year, but a job-creating one as well. The company has created or supported 1,027,000 jobs in the U.S., 627,000 of which are directly related to the inception of the iOS ecosystem and the App Store. Apple directly employs 66,000 employees in the United States.

Beyond the App Store ecosystem and Apple’s own employment, the company calculates it supports 337,000 jobs at other companies resulting from Apple’s own spending and growth through the years. And with Apple Campus 2 under construction, the company expects to continue employment growth, supporting 41,100 jobs in the area upon its completion.


New fuel cell based kraftwerk charger promises freedom from the grid


A project on Kickstarter by eZelleron Inc. is trying to raise funds for production of a mobile electronics energy charger that uses gas instead of electricity to recharge itself. The kraftwerk power generator will enable users to be freed from the power grid by relying on fuel cell technology that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. The device can be refilled using standard camping gas or lighter gas, both of which should be readily available almost anywhere in the world. The kraftwerk also has the advantage of being refilled in mere seconds – 3 according to the project’s description – and will support the equivalent of 11 iPhone charges.

According to kraftwerk, besides using gas purchased at local stores, users can also use refill cartridges that will be made available. Part of the Kickstarter is to provide funding so production of not only the charger, but the fuel cell cartridges, can commence. The fuel cells will be quite small, smaller than a typical AA battery, and they are very light. This supports part of the kraftwerk goal of making a device available that can go anywhere without weighing down or annoying the user with bulk or weight. For example, 12 cartridges will weigh only 2.16 lbs. and yield the equivalent of 275 full iPhone charges, which should come close to providing power for an entire year for smaller devices.

The suggested retail price of the kraftwerk charger will be $149 when it ships in December 2015. kraftwerk will have three different options available when released – Urban, Outdoor and Glam. If you want to get in on the Kickstarter project, you can still do so as they are about 60% of their way to the $500,000 goal that has been established. If you want to be one of the first backers to get a kraftwerk, you will have to pledge at least $99, which is a nice discount from the full retail price.

Click here to view the embedded video.


source: Kickstarter

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Verizon finally releases the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

samsung galaxy note edge review aa (8 of 26)

It’s funny how a few weeks can make such a difference. When Samsung first launched its Galaxy Note Edge in Japan back in October, the device was essentially one-of-a-kind. In the past few days however, we’ve seen LG up the ante by doubling the droop and announcing its own curved creation. Samsung’s Note Edge is just so last year. Except for Verizon that is. Earlier this week we covered a leak that asserted Big Red would be mustering up its johnny-come-lately to the party and it has done just that (along with US Cellular!).

The Galaxy Note Edge is now being offered on Verizon Wireless for $399.99 on a 2-year contract, $33.33 per month on its Edge installment plan, and $799.99 full price for those who prefer their CDMA sans commitment. The product is listed as “XLTE Ready” for select cities, which is Verizon’s novel way of marketing faster LTE. One other point to be aware of is that the device is only available in black at the moment.

Despite the delayed dispatch, the Galaxy Note Edge is still a fantastic device, and one worthy of consideration for anyone looking to upgrade or simply slide into the slope style. You can find our video review here, along with some “post honeymoon” impressions.


CES 2015: Kensington Announces ‘KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus’ Battery Case for iPad Air 2 [iOS Blog]

Following on the heels of a recent announcement for its next-generation mobile security lock, security-focused accessory manufacturer Kensington also announced a new line of iPad cases for the iPad Air 2, called the KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus.

Building on Kensington’s similarly-titled products for the original iPad Air and iPad Air 2, the X3 Plus features a larger 4,500 mAh battery inside of its attached Bluetooth keyboard, alongside an integrated USB port that allows users to fully charge an iPhone up to three times or a 50 percent charge to an iPad. A free-to-download app lets users monitor how much battery the keyboard has left to charge their devices.

“Today’s iPad and iPhone users don’t want to risk running out of battery life. They want to know that they have the power they need to get the job done, regardless of where they are,” said Jim Murakami, Global Product Marketing Manager, Kensington. “With the new KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus, we’re taking power to the next level while also giving users the high-performance keyboard they want to be more productive. It’s the perfect mix of function, style and efficiency.”

The keyboard features six rows of scissor-switch mechanical keys, including a row of dedicated shortcut keys for improved productivity. The company promises secure protection as well, with “a sleek and form-fitting, hard-shell exterior” that’s also not bulky.

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Kensington has not given a specific launch window for the KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus for iPad Air 2, but did confirm the new case will cost $119.99.


Manufacturing Mold for ‘iPad Pro’ Rear Shell or Dummy Unit Shown in New Photo

A user on China’s Weibo microblogging site today posted a new photo (via Letem svetem Applem) simply labeled “iPad Pro”. The photo shows what appears to be a mold for the rear shell of Apple’s rumored larger tablet with a display in the range of 12-13 inches, although it is unclear whether this mold is supposed to be for an actual iPad Pro shell or for a dummy unit such as the one that surfaced in a photo last May.

Few details can be discerned from the relatively poor quality photo, although it does appear to show faint details that could represent an Apple logo in the center and perhaps a rear camera feature in a corner. Exact size is also unknown, but it certainly appears larger than an iPad Air.

The relatively simple design of the mold suggests this may be an unofficial mold being used create dummy units for manufacturers. Such units frequently, but not always, turn out to be accurately based on information leaking out of Apple’s supply chain.

Timing on a release for the iPad Pro has been in question for some time, with The Wall Street Journal reporting last October that Apple had pushed back production on the device in order to allow its suppliers to focus on the popular iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Reports have indicated the device could still launch in the April-June timeframe, but there have yet to be any apparently legitimate part leaks for the device.


Runtastic shows us what it’s like to do a workout wearing an Oculus Rift

One of the more experimental things that Runtastic has on hand at its booth here at CES is a demonstration of a workout trainer that used Oculus Rift to make exercise a little less boring. Unfortunately, at this superbly early point, it’s hardly the most refined or elegant system to use. Still, if you’re struggling to picture what it’s like to use a virtual reality device as a personal trainer, then you’ve come to the right place.

It’s fair to say up front that Runtastic has no current plans of announcing this as a product, since the Rift itself remains in development mode. In fact, the company would only countenance releasing a software service when the VR headset lost a lot of weight, as well as those wires that tether it to a nearby PC. With that in mind…

You begin in a black void, with a female avatar of a personal trainer staring back at you, offering you three location options. Once selected (I picked a veranda out on the shores of Lake Como), you then begin your workout. Essentially, this is the same as if you were watching a old-school workout video, with you copying the motions of the person in front of you. There’s no interactivity here, and the instructor is oblivious to your failings or successes. Thankfully, a camera mounted above the TV enables the hardware to track some of your movement, and a guide icon in the top right of my view turns green when I dip low enough each time I do a lunge.

When I’m bored of the veranda, I turn my head to a specific point on the left, and after holding my gaze for three or four seconds, we’re transported into the lounge of a spacious New England McMansion where the process begins again. After a while, it’s hard not to become self-conscious about behaving like this, and it’s not as if the experience is really that much better with a VR device strapped to my face. The Rift hardware is pretty bulky, and I’m constantly moderating my movement in order to not rip the cable out of the PC, or smack my fellow trade-show goers. In short: I feel like a stupid prick.

Admittedly, the company did say that this wasn’t intended to replace other workouts, but could be used as a supplementary device when the weather is bad. The fact that in Asian markets, a lot more workouts take place in the home was also brought up, suggesting that it’s purely the idea of transporting a person from their living room to someone else’s is benefit enough. I don’t want to condemn this system, since we’re still at least a year away from any sort of finished product being available, but it’s going to need a lot of refinement before I’m convinced that this is the future of fitness.

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Playseat Forza review – The ultimate gaming chair for Forza lovers

Last week we reviewed the Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel, the best steering wheel available for Xbox One at present. Racing wheel controllers are not meant to be used on the lap – just imagine if your car’s steering wheel shifted about every time you turned or moved your legs. The TX Racing Wheel includes a clamp for attachment to a table or desk, but that’s not especially sexy and might be tough for living rooms.

Thus your best wheel mounting options are a racing wheel stand or seat. Netherlands-based company Playseat has the gaming chair market cornered, offering more than 10 different gaming chairs for racing and flight games. Given that Forza Horizon 2 is one of my top Xbox One games of 2014, I jumped at the chance to try out the Playseat Evolution Forza Motorsport Edition. Read on for my full impressions, complete with exclusive video review and unboxing and assembly videos!


Philips Unveils Lightning-Based Fidelio NC1L Noise Canceling Headphones With No Need for Batteries

philips_fidelio_nc1lPhilips today added to its lineup of Lightning-equipped headphones with the new Fidelio NC1L. Similar to its predecessor the Fidelio M2L, the NC1L headphones use a 24-bit digital to analog converter to provide high-quality audio playback.

As detailed by The Verge, the Fidelio NC1L headphones plug directly into the Lightning port, providing a direct digital connection to the phone and a power supply for the headphone’s onboard noise cancellation technology. The Lightning connector power allows Philips to provide a valuable feature like noise cancellation without requiring the additional bulk of a battery.

Digital Trends went hands-on with a prototype of the new headphones and found they offered solid performance.

As for the performance, our initial audition of the cans impressed, as they blocked out an immense amount of ambient noise even at low volume levels. The set we tried out is only a prototype, and the final version will undergo some interior and exterior design changes. But even at the early stages, we’re excited about this technology.

Designed for usage in a variety of environments, the Fidelio NC1L headphones also include multiple noise profiles suitable for making phone calls and for allowing ambient noise when awareness of your surroundings is necessary. The Fidelio NC1Ls should launch in North America in April for $299.


CES 2015 Saygus V2 Hands-on: A smartphone with multi-boot capability, two microSD slots, IPX7 rating, and 60GHz Wi-Fi

If I had to describe the Saygus V2 smartphone in one word, it would have to be different, though definitely different in a positive way. Quite simply, it’s a specification beast – we know that the device has a 60GHz Wi-Fi chip, possesses an IPX7 rating (which guarantees it for 30 minutes underwater at a […]

The post CES 2015 Saygus V2 Hands-on: A smartphone with multi-boot capability, two microSD slots, IPX7 rating, and 60GHz Wi-Fi appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Accessory of the Day: Oontz Angle Bluetooth speaker, $31.98


Bring the power of Bluetooth audio into your home with this portable speaker from Cambridge Soundworks. The Oontz Angle is compact, features a 10 hour battery life, and has a ton of great reviews. You’ll find it difficult to narrow down a better Bluetooth speaker for under $35 (Prime eligible)!

Join Prime and get this deal with FREE two-day shipping!

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