iPad Mini: A Timeline of the Rumor Mill


It looks certain: The long-rumored iPad Mini — the smaller-screen variant of Apple’s category-defining iPad — will be unveiled on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Apple sent out invitations to the press earlier today for an event because it had “a little more to show you.”

If that wasn’t enough, there have been no end to rumors and supposed leaks about the still-unofficial device. Discussion about a pint-size Apple tablet predates even the original iPad unveiling, but the reports have reached a fever pitch in the last couple of months. Below is a timeline, created by GimmiTech, of the most prevalent rumors about the iPad Mini in 2012, in graphical form.

Apple’s Asian suppliers have reportedly geared up production for the device, and at least one credible photo of a smaller iPad has circulated. On top of that, 9to5 Mac posted a screencap of what looks like a retail inventory that shows 24 iPad Mini models, supposedly showing it will come in three capacities.

Regardless, the move into the small-screen tablet market sees Apple play the follower to pioneers in the space, such as Amazon and Samsung. Google even shook things up earlier this year with its entry, the Nexus 7.

What features will the iPad Mini have, do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/16/ipad-mini-infographic/

Behold the World’s First Alarm Clock Toothbrush

Thought the Rubik’s Cube MP3 player was the most ridiculous gadget combo of all time? We have one that just might beat it: the world’s first alarm clock that’s also your toothbrush.

Yes, we know what you’re thinking: Gross. But the creators of the device, called Wayki, are way ahead of you. The clock part doesn’t include that actual brush — that’s still in your bathroom. The clock is essentially the electronic part of a sonic brush, and the clever twist is it doesn’t stop beeping until you insert the brush head.

There you go, lazybones — a surfire way to ensure you both wake up on time for that important meeting and and show up wearing a sparkling smile. Or so the theory goes. The product is currently seeking funding, with estimated ship times in three to five months and a target retail price of about $150.

Are you into the Wayki? Or is it, as Apple CEO Tim Cook once said, a refrigerator-toaster? Tell us in the comments.

Homepage image courtesy of Wayki

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/02/16/alarm-clock-toothbrush/

Sony X10 Headphones: Great and Irritating, Just Like Simon Cowell


Microsoft Tests Game-Changing Stylus


stylus-touchscreen-600Microsoft is testing a stylus that could, after a software upgrade, interact with almost any existing display or device. Researchers at the company’s Silicon Valley site designed the stylus to positive internal reviews and are waiting to hear if the company will continue its development.

While styluses are available that work with any touch-screen device, such as an iPad or iPhone, they are relatively inaccurate. True stylus support requires an extra layer of sensors built into a device’s display, which adds costs. If the new Microsoft stylus concept were to become available, it would allow precise stylus use on any display, even on those that aren’t already touch-sensitive.

The debut of the iPhone and other multi-touch phones and tablets in recent years caused a shift away from stylus input, which became associated with outdated mobile devices, such as the Palm Pilot. More recently, though, several phones have launched with stylus input (see “Review: Galaxy Note“), stylus accessories for the iPad have become popular, and Microsoft has unveiled a future tablet designed around stylus input. The company has also just launched a new version of Windows and of its Office productivity suite with design changes suited to stylus as well as touch input.

Andreas Nowatzyk and colleague Anoop Gupta hit upon the idea of using the grid of pixels that make up a digital display as a navigational system for their backwards-compatible stylus. In their design, a small camera inside the stylus looks down at the display and counts off pixels as they pass by to track its movement. That is fed back to the device via a wireless link, much as a wireless mouse reports its motion to a computer. The way the stylus tracks its motion is similar to the way “smart pens” such as the LiveScribe, a device for aiding note-taking, use a camera to track dots on special paper (see “Taking Apart the LiveScribe Pulse“).

The new Microsoft design has the camera looking out of the side of the stylus body at an angle, so it views the display aslant. That lets it infer the angle it is being held at based on how different pixels are in and out of focus.

However, for the stylus to work, it also needs to know precisely where on the screen it is at any time. The Microsoft researchers’ solution was to have the related software “massage” the color of the blue pixels in a display so that their pattern of brightness encodes their position; the stylus then knows where it is. “Blue is chosen because the human eye doesn’t have many blue cones in the fovea,” the area of the retina used for our central vision, says Nowatzyk.

In his design, the stylus needs to note the average brightness of around five groups of four pixels to learn exactly where it is. It can constantly report that back to the computer, which can update its display and react appropriately. Matched images of a Windows desktop with and without that tweaking of blue pixels shows that it isn’t noticeable. The software needed to alter a device’s blue pixels to include the location signal could be bundled with its driver, says Nowatzyk.

The design Nowatzyk and colleagues sketched out should be workable on stand-alone and mobile displays, he says, even very high resolution ones on tablets and phones.

However, researchers would need a new type of image sensor to actually test prototypes. A good quality wireless mouse now uses a compact image sensor with a resolution of 30 by 30 pixels. To work, the new stylus design would require one with a resolution of 512 by 512 pixels to see the details as small as a tenth of a millimeter and to capture images at a relatively high rate to track motion smoothly. “The next step [in development] requires making that chip,” says Nowatzyk. “It’s currently being looked at in other groups inside Microsoft.” He says no decision has yet been made on whether to develop the design into a product or not.

Nowatzyk and colleagues have built a working prototype of a different stylus design, albeit one that would be usable only with devices with special hardware. They added four radio antennae to the frame of a regular LCD display that allow it to be used with a stylus with coils of wire in. The coils distort the radio beacons from the antennae, giving multiple sources of feedback that can be used to track the location and motion of the stylus in three dimensions.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, adaszku

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/18/microsoft-stylus/

Your Most Mobile Friend Deserves the Wallee Smartphone Mount

Giftoftheday16x91Mashable’s Gift of the Day series highlights cool, interesting and fun products for that special someone on your holiday list.

Gift of the Day

You bring your phone everywhere — your desk, the kitchen, your car and, dare we say, the bathroom. Wouldn’t it be handy if you could secure that valuable device in each of the places you use it most?

Created by Studio Proper, the Wallee M smartphone case features a rare-earth magnet that attaches to a variety of branded mounts. Once you’ve fitted the case to your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S3 or Nexus, you’ll be able to secure your phone to all kinds of surfaces: virtually any wall, window or tabletop.

Studio Proper also manufactures a Wallee case for tablets (below), namely the iPad, Nexus 7 or Galaxy Tab 10.1. The only difference is that you’ll mount the case with a turn and click vs. a magnet. Attach this Wallee case to an even larger variety of mounts: a tabletop kickstand, a headrest or even a hand strap.

Give the gift of chic portability with the Wallee, ideal for your most stylish and organized friends and family members.

Price : Wallee M $29.95; Wallee for tablets $39.95

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/12/01/wallee/

That Time Dave Grohl Met Apple’s Jony Ive


Jony Ive’s cool-dude-o-meter ticked up a few notches Wednesday when he was spotted with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl at the iPhone 5 launch event. Not that the Apple product design mastermind needed any help racking up the cool points.

The Foo Fighters played at the Apple iPhone 5 launch party — or the Ping funeral — depending on your perspective.

During the band’s unplugged set, Grohl reportedly reflected on the significance of the event.

“One of the incredible things about being here is that you’re meeting people who are shaping our future,” he said, according to the Guardian. “And just like Little Richard, Tom Petty, Jimmy Page, these are just people who took it upon themselves to change our future, but you meet them and they’re people! And this one’s dedicated to all those people.”

BONUS: Photos From Inside Apple iPhone 5 Event

Buy a Jewel-Encrusted iPhone 5 Case for $100K


In the market for a spiffy case to go with your brand new iPhone 5? The Natural Sapphire Company is offering a jewel-encrusted covering — for those who have $100,000 to spare.

Crafted with 18-carat white gold, the case is set with 2,830 blue Ceylon sapphires that total 169.8 carats. It features an Apple logo set with 38 rubies totaling 2.28 carats, and a single marquise-cut green sapphire as the apple’s leaf. The stones are sourced from mines in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Thailand, according to the company’s website.

Customers can also personalize the design, with an option to include platinum and sapphires in other colors.

The New York-based jeweler markets its lavish six-figure case as a way to maintain the excitement of owning a new iPhone.

“Though you may be the ‘cool’ one who gets it first, in no short amount of time, you will be just another iPhone 5 owner,” it says.

The case, the company adds, is for “the one who wishes to remain unique among the masses.”

Analysts estimate that Apple will sell 58 million units of the iPhone 5 by the end of this year, according to Bloomberg. Pre-orders of the device started on Sept. 14.

Looking to save that $100K for your child’s college fund or the down payment on a new house? Flip through the gallery below to check out other, more affordable, phone holders.

What do you think of this jewel-encrusted iPhone 5 case? Great or gaudy? Share your take in the comments.

Here’s How Good Nokia’s 41-Megapixel Camera Phone Is


5 Tech Toys for Your Geeky Dog


Back-to-School Shoppers Eye Discounted Laptops and Tablets


The dog days of summer means it’s go-time to buy discounted gadgets. Despite savings, consumers anticipate spending more on back-to-school supplies including tech, according to a recent study.

Knowledgable consumers know summer is one of the best times to buy gadgets as retailers are slashing prices on older models to make room for new stock. About 50% of consumers will purchase a laptop or tablet for school, according to the PriceGrabber survey of 4,450 U.S. online shoppers.

Students and parents anticipate buying more mobile gadgets — only 10% say they will invest in a desktop computer. Even though schools actively ban cellphones, 28% of back-to-school shoppers have smartphones on their lists.

The survey also reveals more parents and students are shopping online for tech. Most shoppers, 79%, will scour the web for deals this year, according to the survey. Gadgets are on top of back-to-school shopping lists, along with clothes and supplies.

Exactly how much will they spend? About 63% of consumers say they’ll spend up to $500 for school supplies including tech. Some respondents, 20%, are willing to spend up to $1000 while 17% of study participants said they don’t have a budget.

Do you look at seasonal price trends when buying gadgets? Share your tips with us below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Kevin Dooley

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/12/back-to-school-discounts/