Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apple expected to introduce new iPod touch, iTV today

Apple, Inc, will hold its annual fall media conference Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST, and Steve Jobs is expected to announce a revamped Apple TV set-top box as well as introduce a new iPod Touch that will rival iPhone in screen resolution and other features.

The event will be streamed at apple.com and requires a Mac computer running the OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system and the Safari web browser, an iPod Touch or iPhone running the iOS 3.0 operating system or higher or an iPad.

Businessweek has reported that Jobs will introduce a new $99 Apple TV product that will stream movies and other content from Netflix. The current Apple TV costs more than twice that and is basically a movie and TV rental service that allows users to get content from iTunes and watch on their TV.

Other published reports have speculated that the new Apple TV will also allow users to download TV series for 99 cents per episode shortly after they air.

I think we can expect to see a new iPod Touch that will look a lot like the squarish iPhone 4. I think the new Touch will feature Apple's "Retina" display, front and back cameras and include FaceTime video chat. It will be interesting to see if Apple allows 3G over the device, which may include a microphone and would then allow users to make calls via services like Skype.

A new smaller iPod nano with a touch screen is also expected to debut.

Speculation is running wild about Apple TV and a new iPad 4.0 operating system that will bring features like folders to iPad. Apple may also debut a new iLife suite, which includes Apple's photo software (iPhoto), website creation tool (iWeb) and DVD creator (iDVD).

The wildest rumors claim we'll hear about the white iPhone 4 and the Verizon iPhone at the conference. Meanwhile, a Mexican carrier is claiming that we'll see a new iPhone 4 released at the end of September that has been redesigned to thwart the antenna issue that has caused some users to lose signal.

We'll have a full report tomorrow on what Apple does -- and does not -- do. As usual, the guys in Cupertino sure do know how to get the tech masses into a lather.

TW Cable promises new cheap, fast plans

Time Warner Cable, trying to answer improvements from competing services, has launched "SignatureHome," a new bundle that delivers some pretty powerful features.

For $179.99 per month (plus tax) for the first 12 months, customers will get unlimited nationwide calling and voice mail, cable TV services plus a whole house DVR. The DVR will allow customers to record or watch a show in one room and finish in another. The base plan includes two HD DVRs, each one allowing you to store a massive 150 hours of HD content. You can record four HD shows at once using the two supplied HD DVRs. Add more and your recording options -- and storage capacity -- grow.

Of course, if you have more than two TVs, those extra boxes are $7.34 per box. More good news? The boxes appear to be higher quality than the standard issue TWC DVRs that have caused customers fits.

There's even a feature that allows customers to go backwards on the guide for up to three days to see shows you missed. I had to read that one twice, and then I had to call.

But it's true.

If it's Thursday and you missed American Idol on Tuesday and forgot to tape it, well, just click back a few days on the guide, and boom, you've got Ryan Seacrest.

But the best feature here is TWC's new "Wideband" internet that provides download speeds up to 50 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 5 megabits per second. That's more than five times as fast as TWC's current speed king, Road Runner With Turbo Boost. A quick check of the local website shows 10 megabits download and 5 kbps up for that.

With so many new products and services being introduced that will use the internet, this kind of speed would be amazing.

Of course, the entry price goes up to $266 per month after 12 months, but the nice salesperson I talked to said you could sign up for another 12 months and get the original price.

Of course, real world pricing, by the time you added some extra boxes and movie services would probably top $200, but how many of you are paying that now for cable, phone and internet and not getting this much? Time Warner also promises priority customer services for Signature Home customers, including a two-hour technician window and 24/7 phone service.

TWC may have a winner here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Verizon plans to allow live TV streaming to iPad

NewTeeVee has an interesting report today about Verizon allow its FiOS subscribers to watch live TV on their iPad.

Customers can expect the new App early next year, though subscribers with iPad will only be able to watch linear programming in their own home.

For you and me, this means you can have a mobile TV. If you need a TV in the bonus room, just take your iPad. Want one one on the front porch? Just take your iPad.

So let us pray that all cable and satellite companies come on board with something similar.

Other companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast have demoed some iPad apps but they were more about using the tablet as a remote, not as a screen.

Google to give iPad some competition, launch tablet

According to the Download Squad, Google is planning to launch a tablet computer Nov. 26, just in time for prime Christmas shopping season.

The source claims the Chrome OS tablet will be built by HTC, the same folks who make those cool Android phones, like the EVO for Sprint.

It looks like the tablet will have 3G through Verizon. The Download Squad offers thoughts that the unit will be heavily subsidized (agreed) with a contract, and it might even be free with a data contract.

Think that might get Apple's attention?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Smaller, 7-inch iPads on the way by Christmas?

A Taiwanese newspaper is reporting that Apple is readying a smaller iPad with a 7-inch screen by Christmas.

The current model, featuring a 9.7-inch screen, has sold more than three million units since debuting in April.

A smaller iPad might sell for $100 cheaper than the current model, which begins at $499.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Subway and PlayStation team up to offer free gear with sandwiches

Next time you go to get your $5 dollar (five-dolla, five-dolla) footlong, you may be able to quench your gaming jones, too.

Turns out that Sony and Subway have announced a "marketing alliance" that will allow you to win PlayStation prizes, including some products before you can buy them in stores. Sony says the prizes will be worth more than $1 million in retail value and that it expects to award them at a rate of a prize per minute during the promotion period. Those prizes include a shot at the new PlayStation Move controller before they hit stores next month.

How to get some of that PS3 goodness you ask?

Buy specially marked items at Subway like chips, sandwiches and drinks and enter redeeming codes attached at subwayfreshbuzz.com or via mobile devices at subwayfreshbuzz.modi or via text to 87963. You'll learn instantly if you've won and how to redeem your prize.

And besides the anticipated Move controller, Sony plans to give away collector's edition boxes of Gran Turismo 5, LIttle Big Planet 2 and UNCHARTERED 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition. It will give away 3D and HDTV entertainment packs and PSP entertainment packs that include a movie and game.

The promotion starts today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DirecTV offers bonus coverage from PGA Championship

I'm starting to really like this bonus golf and tennis coverage we're getting from DirecTV. The sat-caster is again providing extra coverage from this week's PGA Golf Championship, the final major of the season.

Beginning at 1 p.m. today, DirecTV will offer the main broadcast feeds (TNT and CBS) plus a channel dedicated to a marquee group (think Phil and Tiger), another focusing on the day's most challenging hole and a channel featuring highlights and interviews.

These channels are offered in HD and standard definition for free to DirecTV subscribers beginning on channel 701.

PGA.com will also offer some additional coverage and there's a PGA Championship app available for iPhone and other smart phones that delivers live video, video highlights and instant scoreboard.

DirecTV will also offer an instant leaderboard option by pressing buttons on the remote control.