Archive for June, 2011

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Confirming rumors that surfaced over the weekend, Apple has started selling the unlocked version of the iPhone 4 in Apple retail stores. Only the GSM model of the iPhone 4 is available for purchase without a carrier contract, while the the CDMA model is still tied to a Verizon contract. Carrier-independence comes with a price, though: the 16 GB version of the iPhone 4 will set you back $649, while the 32 GB model costs $749. With this move, Apple caters to U.S. users who often travel internationally and who don’t want to be locked in an AT&T contract, which means they can swap SIM cards and save money on roaming fees. Furthermore, international buyers will definitely want to get the contract-free version, whose price can be significantly higher in other countries (for example, an unlocked 16 GB iPhone 4 costs €629 ($909) in Germany, much pricier than the unlocked version in the U.S.)

HP’s WebOS 3.0-based tablet, the TouchPad, is coming to the U.S. on July 1. HP wasted no time over the weekend, posting nine videos that highlight some of the device’s capabilities.

HP’s WebOS 3.0 features a neat notification system, along with the ability to multitask with a card-based method to switch between open apps, group related tasks in a stack of cards, and flick apps off with a simple finger gesture.

The device itself has a very capable dual-core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon processor, 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls.

The 16 GB version of the device costs $499.99, while the 32 GB version will set you back $599.99.

Check out the TouchPad videos below:

Projection mapping has been around for a few years now, but it is starting to come into its own with some high profile stunts. Projection mapping software looks at the shape of an object and creates a 3D map of it, allowing an artist to overlay imagery — usually on a large surface or structure. Why is this interesting? Because it provides the ability to change the experience of a physical object creatively, so at one point the object was one thing, and then right in front of your eyes it appears to be another. Ralph Lauren made a recent splash with this tech at a high profile event, projecting a 3D spectacle on the facades of flagship stores in New York and London. Infiniti and Toyota have used the technique effectively to make their cars defy the laws of nature at private events. Others have used it to augment architecture and living spaces in such dramatic ways that you would have to touch them to see if the change was real or simply a visual trick. If all the structures around us were a canvas, imagine what we could do with them.



Waiting for your bus can sometimes seem like slowly dying in a desert as you watch vehicle-shaped mirages glimmer on the horizon. As a remedy for that transit-parched feel, Google is integrating live transit updates into Maps for mobile and desktop.

Before you get all excited, the update is only available in four U.S. cities (Boston, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco) and two European cities (Madrid and Turin), and for Google Maps for mobile on Android devices (although it will work on mobile browsers, and it doesn’t require any downloads to access).

Residents of those cities will be able to see delays and alerts when clicking on transit stations or planning routes, as well as “live departure times.”


The latest version of iOS 5 has finally been announced, and it has a bundle of new features — more than 200, by Apple’s count.

Several of the new features were poached from the best of Apple’s own app store, including reading queue apps like Instapaper, group messaging apps like GroupMe and photo editing apps. There’s also a lot of integration with Apple’s new cloud service iCloud.

The iOS 5 beta software won’t be available to users — at least, those who aren’t in the iOS Developer program — until this fall. At that point, it will be free to download for owners of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, or the iPod touch (third and fourth generations). We’ve highlighted the most exciting new features below.

Notification Center

With iOS 5, Apple has essentially added a personalized news feed to all of its devices. The feed, which Apple calls the “Notification Center,” can be customized to display things like the current weather, a stock ticker, new emails, texts and friend requests. The feed can be accessed by swiping the top of the screen. You’ll be able to view it while the device is lock mode, much as iOS 4 displays the time and push notifications while locked.


iMessage is BBM for Apple products. Like BlackBerry’s once distinguishing feature, it allows you to send unlimited instant messages to other users and to see whether recipients have read them or are typing a response. The new feature allows group messaging as well as photo, video, location and contact sharing. It’s expected to put a dent into the thriving group messaging app startups. The advantage that those apps still have is the ability to instant message phones with multiple operating systems. For now, Apple’s messages can only be sent to others who are using iOS, on iPhones and iPads.


Newsstand is a folder that holds your magazine and newspaper app subscriptions. All purchases go directly to that folder, which displays them on a virtual newsstand, and new issues are automatically downloaded and delivered there. Your newspaper subscriptions will arrive in time for breakfast.


Reminders is iOS 5′s to-do list app. The feature includes an option to make items location based. Your phone will, for instance, remind you to pick up the milk when you are at the grocery store. You can sync reminders with iCal, Outlook and iCloud so that a change in one program automatically updates the others.

Deep Twitter Integration

On iOS 5, you can directly tweet from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube or maps. Twitter will also work together with contacts in the operating system, making it easy to find a friend’s Twitter handles when you start typing a name. This level of integration is still notably missing for Facebook.

Camera and Photos

Apple iOS makes the iPhone a better camera. You can now open the Camera app directly from the lock screen, which makes it easier to point and click quickly. The app also has more of the features of a regular digital camera: grid lines, single-tap focus and exposure locks. The volume-up button now works as a shutter button.

Apple has also built photo-editing capabilities into its Photos app. This means you can crop, rotate, enhance, and remove red-eye without leaving your camera roll. With iCloud, it’s also possible to automatically load new photos to your desktop, if you prefer to edit them there.


Apple’s mobile web browser now includes a feature that mimics the capabilities of popular reading queue app Instapaper. Its “Reading List” lets you save articles you want to read later. iCloud pushes these articles to all of your iOS devices, much as Instapaper’s separate desktop and mobile apps allow you to read articles that you save on the go.