Scott Johnson, Veronica Belmont and Allison Sheridan fill in for Tom on vacation and talk all about Apple’s big day.
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As expected, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the Apple Watch today. It’s a rounded rectangular smartwatch with a sapphire crystal display. The watch needs to pair with an iPhone. In addition to a touchscreen, the Apple Watch includes a “digital crown,” a small dial on the side of the watchface which is used to scroll through a list or zoom in on a map. Pressing the crown jumps you back to the home screen. The watch knows when you’re raising your wrist to look at it and activates the screen. The device measures force and provides haptic feedback through a “Taptic Engine”. A Digital Touch feature lets you ping friends, draw on the touch screen and share your heart beat. Sensors on the back of the watch track your pulse. There are six different interchangeable watch bands and three different ‘lines’: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and an 18k gold Apple Watch Edition. The watch supports iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5. Apple Watch starts at $349 dollars and will go on sale in early 2015.
Apple also revealed two new smartphones with larger displays — the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices are also thinner–the iPhone 6 measures 6.9mm–the Plus is 7.1mm. The larger phones feature higher resolution, and a landscape mode for the home screen, similar to the ipad. Under the hood there’s a new A8 processor– a 64-bit chip that features 2 billion transistors and up to 25 percent faster CPU performance, with 50% faster graphics performance, according to Apple. The 16GB iPhone 6 will cost $199, 64GB will cost you $299, and there’s a new 128GB version at $399 — all with a two-year contract. The new phones are coming to US and 8 other countries September 19th, and are available for pre-order September 12.
Apple ALSO unveiled Apple Pay, an NFC payment feature for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. It will launch in October as a free update to iOS 8, and it will be supported by 220,000 merchants that already support contactless payments. Apple Pay uses near field communication, along with a new chip called the Secure Element that stores payment information in an encrypted, secure fashion. All transactions will be conducted with a one-time code that doesn’t transfer personal shopping information to Apple (or credit card information to individual cashiers), and payments can also be immediately suspended by using Find My iPhone.
Home Depot confirmed that its payment security system was breached in a malware attack, similar to an attack on Target in 2013. Home Depot says the breach may have begun in April, and could affect purchases in all 2,200 US Home Depot stores. Home Depot says pin numbers were not stolen, but Brian Krebs of KrebsonSecurity reports that Home Depot customers credit and debit card numbers are for sale online, including the cardholder’s full name and the city, state and zip code of the Home Depot where they made a purchase.
Amazon announced it’s bringing its Prime Instant Video streaming service to all Android phones in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. Users will be able to shop from their phones and have access to the “tens of thousands” of TV shows and movies currently available on the Prime Instant Video service. It’s a little complicated to install though–users will have to download and install the main Amazon app, then go into the app and use in-app tools to download and install the Amazon Instant Video player app. You’ll also need to enable a setting on your phone that permits you to install apps from “unknown sources” – meaning locations beyond the official Google Play store. But hey, Amazon videos on Android!
News From You:
anotherjmartin posted the top vote-getter in the subreddit today: Ars Technica reports that AT&T and Verizon have asked the US FCC *not* to change its definition of broadband from 4 megabits per second to 10 megabits per second. The FCC periodically raises its definition of what internet service can be considered broadband. In a recent filing, AT&T claimed 10 megabits per second “exceeds what many Americans need today to enable basic, high-quality transmissions.” The lobbying organization for US cable companies also filed in support of the “it’s good enough, please don’t make us upgrade our infrastructure” position. The FCC is also considering whether cellular service can qualify as a “functional equivalent for fixed broadband.”
lionelhaverford submitted this little gem about the perils of branding. The Verge reports that Microsoft made a $400 million dollar deal with the NFL so that the Surface could be “The Official Tablet of the NFL“, which is why you saw Drew Brees reviewing plays on the tablets this past Sunday. Just one problem: Fox’s announcers, who are not a part of the deal, kept calling the Microsoft tablets i-pads or “these iPad-like tools.” To which Mr. Spacely responded, “JETSON!!!!”
Discussion Links: Apple Day!
Pick of the day: Tim’s Vermeer via Lisa Boban
Usually the pick of the day is a piece of tech,an app or website. But I’d like to suggest a documentary that appealed to me as a geek. “Tim’s Vermeer” follows inventor Tim Jenison as he attempts to discover and recreate the technology which may account for the ability of Johannes Vermeer to create paintings with stunning color accuracy. Art and Technology are shown as complementary disciplines, and not apposing forces. It’s a wonderful ride. It’s available on all the usual rental sites (iTunes, Google Play, Vudu).
Plug of the day: The Sword and Laser Anthology
The Sword and Laser Anthology collects 20 amazing stories from new writers in the Sword and Laser book club audience. 10 SciFi and 10 fantasy stories with an introduction by Patrick Rothfuss. Get a copy at swordandlaser.com/store
Breaking News after the show:
Microsoft is reportedly buying ‘Minecraft’ developer Mojang for $2 billion
Verizon offers free iPhone 6 in return for two-year contract, used phone
Tomorrow’s co-hosts: Patrick Beja and Jon Strickland!