To be replaced with a Retina model
According to sources associated with DigiTimes, Apple is slated to be ending production of the base model, non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro (you know, the one without the Retina display and with a DVD drive) as the company continues their move to integrate Retina displays across their entire product portfolio. The company had previously discontinued the sale of the non-Retina 15-inch MacBook Pro display nearly a year ago.
According to Digitimes, Apple is planning on replacing the model with a Retina equipped model with a similar price point. In order to achieve that, Apple would need to drop the price of a Retina MacBook Pro by over $100 – something that may only just be possible as the production cost of these displays go down to a more affordable level.
If Apple were to truly discontinue the non-Retina MacBook Pro entirely, that would leave just a couple of products with low resolution displays across Apple’s entire portfolio. Notably, the iPad 2, iPad mini, MacBook Air, iMac, and Cinema Displays are still offered in non-Retina models.
Looks to make Windows more attractive
In one of the most unexpected pieces of news since forever, we’re hearing confirmation today that Microsoft will be participating in an effort to release dual-boot Android/windows Phone hybrid devices starting this calendar year. The root of this confirmation comes from Karbonn, an Indian-based smartphone manufacturer, Chairman Sudhir Hasija, who claims that his company has been in discussion with Microsoft about the project for some time now and that dual-boot smartphones will be coming within the next six months.
But before that will start, Karbonn will begin selling their first line of Windows Phone-exclusive smartphones by June. These phones should ship with Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box and will be the result of an effort by Microsoft to, as Hasija has said, ease “regulations and… open[ing] up its platform for other players.”
Microsoft has seen only limited success with its Windows Phone platform, capturing less than 5% of the smartphone market. This comes in stark contrast to the overall success of the Windows Mobile line prior to the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007, a product that largely dominated the marketplace in its time.
The PC is dead
IDC has released some data on just how far traditional x86 PC sales fell last year and the results aren’t pleasing. The estimates clock in at a 9.8% drop in PC sales worldwide and with an 11.3% drop in “emerging markets.” However, the drop was not as bad as they were originally expecting (10.1% drop) due to people migrating from Windows XP but the drop is still severe thanks to the popularity of smartphones and tablets.
IDC also expects PC sales to drop another 6% this year and continue to drop through 2018. Of course, Microsoft is rumored to release Windows “Threshold” in 2015 which is said to bring back the Start Menu. Perhaps PC sales will explode in 2015; perhaps they’ll drop even further.
"Was all this legal? Absolutely not!"
Chances are, the biggest deterrent against movie piracy in the mainstream was the general skill required to actually find a working torrent of quality, find a working piece of BitTorrent software, and actually completing the download. If that sounds familiar to you would-be-movie-pirates at heart, take notes: a new application, Popcorn Time, has just surfaced for all three of the major desktop platforms – Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux – that makes streaming pirated movies over BitTorrent as easy as clicking a single play button.
Torrent sources are found and curated by the developers behind Popcorn Time, assuring that movies streamed are not only of extremely high video and audio quality, but also stream fast and without any sort of ridiculous load times typically associated with movie piracy. As you may expect, Popcorn Time is currently streaming some extremely well known and award winning movies, some of which have yet to even be released on Blu-Ray, DVD, or other official sources – including Gravity, The Hunger Games, American Hustle, and much more.
Interested? The developers would like to kindly remind you that movie piracy is “probably” (ie.,almost certainly) illegal wherever it is in your country, so as per usual use this at your own risk and discretion. Download links are at the source below.
Source: Popcorn Time
Step up, step sideways
Good news, Chromebook fans – Samsung has just announced their new, next generation Chromebook machine. Called the Chromebook 2, the new machine boasts a modest spec upgrade alongside a whole new design.
Heavily borrowing from the company’s Note III design language – faux-leather and fake stitchings in tow – the Chromebook 2 comes in two sizes, an 11-inch model and a 13-inch model. The 11-inch model starts at $320 while the 13-inch model comes in at $400, however both share the same specifications otherwise. Both new models come with the same eight-core processor found on the company’s new Galaxy S5 smartphone, however instead of Android 4.4 running the show there’s – of course – Chrome OS instead.
Both models also come with 4GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, while the 11-inch version comes with eight hour batter life. The 13-inch model is a little improved with eight and a half hours of battery, making the thirteen inch model the clear winner in terms of value once you add in its full HD 1080p display.
The Chromebook 2 should be on sale sometime next month, while the original Samsung Chromebook will be sticking around at a new, lower price point – so if you’re eager to get your hands on one of three cheap, powerful Chromebooks, soon you’ll have more options than ever.
Image Source: @evleaks
Siri, drive me to the moon
Apple has today formally announced the upcoming release CarPlay, previously known as iOS in the Car, confirming the feature’s existence for the first time since WWDC 2013 last June. The feature essentially puts iOS in modern vehicle’s dashboard, allowing access to numerous built in and third party applications and services – such as Phone, Messages, Maps, Music, and Siri – without ever touching your smartphone.
To enable the functionality in supported vehicles, simply plug your compatible device into the car using a built in Thunderbolt cable and watch iOS take over your car’s dashboard. Third party applications will also be enabled, with popular apps Beats Radio, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Stitcher already confirming that they’ll be bringing their respective applications to the new platform.
Of course, not all vehicles will be supported off the bat, but Apple has announced partnerships with numerous big names for support with upcoming models, including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota. Some manufacturers, such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, will be receiving an update to enable CarPlay in existing vehicles this week.
CarPlay will be making its debut with an “update to iOS” coming soon, which may lead many to expect that the release of iOS 7.1, which Apple has been beta testing for quite some time now, may be imminent.
Get the latest before your jealous friend
Good news, fellow gamers – Microsoft has begun inviting some Xbox Live users to begin testing out Xbox One Software Updates ahead of their official release to the general population. Users have begun receiving Xbox Live messages like the one above inviting users to download a special Xbox One application that enrolls a console into the program.
We’ve known for some time now that Microsoft is working on updating the Xbox One with some much needed improvements, some of which rolled out to users just a couple of days ago, and it’s good to see the company is doing more to make sure that the company’s next generation console remains successful into the long run. As for when we should expect to see the first Xbox beta release, Microsoft has begun messaging those who were accepted into the beta program the following message:
Thanks for registering to preview Xbox One updates! The first preview wave will be coming to your console soon.
Not exactly a lot to go on, but hey – official world that there’s more to come is better than no word at all. Future Xbox One updates are expected to bring Twitch streaming support to the console, improvements to the way it manages Xbox Live’s party system, stability improvements, controller improvements, and more.
Gotta watch 'em all
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the size of the state of Texas for the past 25 years, you’re probably already familiar with the Pokémon television show – a Japanese anime by Nintendo that follows the wacky adventures of Ash, a forever-twelve-year-old kid who’s on an epic, seemingly never ending journey to be the best there ever was (whatever that means) and collect all nine million Pokémon while he’s at it. To date, there have been over 800 episodes of the show, and starting on March 1st, you’ll be able to watch some of the best episodes and specials on Netflix.
According to the internet streaming and DVD rental service, Netflix will have available to stream “the classic first season of the television series, Pokémon: Indigo League, the fan-favorite Pokémon: Black & White season, and two feature length Pokémon movies [Pokémon the Movie: Black-Victini and Reshiram and Pokémon the Movie: White-Victini and Zekrom].”
So while that may not be quite enough to appease younger fans of the series, that’s more than enough content to get some of the series’ older fans excited – I mean, the entire first season? Indigo League? Those are gems of the 90s! Sign me up!
Hello, is this thing on?
Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One will be getting one of the PlayStation 4′s best features – live game broadcasting to Twitch. Starting later this Spring, all you’ll have to do to show the world your mad sick Forza drifting skills or your Titanfall parkour antics is speak the words “Xbox, broadcast” and voila – it will be so. This will enable thousands of new, not before live streams to hit Twitch.
The new functionality will be coming soon, March 11th, and Microsoft will be hand picking a select number of Xbox One users to beta test the update before the general public has a chance to get their hands on it.
Samsung needed a reboot, was this it?
It’s no secret – despite humongous fanfare, nigh domination in the marketplace, and an insane amount of mindshare, the Galaxy S4 was a sales disappointment to the folks located on the top floor of the Samsung Headquarters in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Samsung themselves admitted in October of 2013 that sales figures were about “15-to-20 percent lower than expected,” and South Korean press claimed that the Galaxy S4′s sales figures were so bad that Samsung is “engulfed in a shock” over the disappointment last December.
A Samsung executive recently claimed that disappointing sales were because consumers couldn’t tell the difference between the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S4, which shared a very similar design, and that the company wouldn’t make the same mistake with the Galaxy S5. Expectations were high – this would be the change we’ve been clamoring for for two years now, this would be something wholly new that would immediately resonate with both the press and consumers. This would be the device needed to turn Samsung’s ill fortune around.
Well, today we got our first look at the Galaxy S5 – and, to almost universal shock and a fair share of disappointment, the Galaxy S5 resemble both the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S III that came before it. Most of the tell tale signs are here – the plastic construction, the physical home button, large screen, the cheap faux-metal border that encompasses the entire body of the device. Sure, the company switched out the sickly plastic back for a smooth soft touch dimpled one, but if you were to look, and not touch, you’d say the phone has remained largely unchanged.
To make that even more disappointing, while the Galaxy S4 was revealed last year with a whole suite of innovative new software features, the Galaxy S5 forgoes that spectacle for moderately updated software and impressive hardware. We’ve got a 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, an improved camera, a fingerprint sensor, etc. and so forth – but these aren’t things that sell smartphones. It’s what we can do with a smartphone that we base our purchasing decisions on, as a whole, and the Galaxy S5 can largely do pretty much exactly what the Galaxy S4 can do.
So, the question remains – is the Galaxy S5 a disappointment? It’s probably too early to tell, as we haven’t even managed to get our hands on one and likely won’t until April at the earliest. But Samsung sure needed a reboot – a clean slate, a new beginning, something eyepopping and new. Was this it?
Good marketing or desperation?
Oh, guys. What are you doing. Just minutes after Samsung announced their newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, competitors HTC and Nokia have begun throwing some pot shots towards their #1 competitor on Twitter. Both companies are pushing unsurprisingly “anti” Galaxy S5 messages, with the HTC tweet going so far as even suggesting Galaxy S5 owners will be getting a dose of “buyer’s remorse.”
Meanwhile, Nokia is going a more innocent, but no less snarky route, posting a banner showing a photo of a new Windows Phone based Lumia phone with the line “Not the Samsung ;)” next to it (yes, smiley face and all). Unfortunately for both HTC and Nokia, however, history is suggesting that Samsung is likely to sell a whole bunch more Galaxy S5 phones than HTC and Nokia will sell any of their phones, so it’s unclear who will get the last laugh.
Hello, nice to hear from you again
Just months after announcing the company’s first go at a true smartwatch solution, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, the company is in do-over-mode and back with two new efforts – the Samsung Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo. Both are lighter and thinner than the original model, with better battery life, better comfort on the wrist, and perhaps most importantly – come nary a sign of Android in sight.
That’s right, the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo may look similar, but inside this is a whole new beast. Android has been swapped out for Tizen, the company’s in-house mobile embedded operating system, however you’d never know; the company has virtually replicated the original Gear’s user experience onto the new Tizen platform. Samsung did take the opportunity to significantly beef up the watch’s internals, which now features more RAM and a faster processor for faster loading times.
So you may be wondering – what is the difference between the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo? In short, not much. The Gear 2 Neo doesn’t come wih a camera, and it’s made of mostly plastic whereas the Gear 2 is built with more high end aluminum. The Gear 2 Neo will be the cheaper variant this time around, though Samsung has yet to reveal pricing and availability for either of the company’s new smartwatches, nor the Galaxy S5 or the Gear Fit, which was also announced today.