Tag Archive for ‘TechCrunch’

Apple MagSafe Duo Charger Is Useful, but Expensive and Underwhelming ➝

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

But I’m sorry to say that I find the whole thing a bit underwhelming after the hype of AirPower and its eventual demise. Apple may very well have had this thing planned the whole time that it was trying to make AirPower happen, but the arc of that story landing on this device is sad trombone indeed.

The MagSafe Duo does work, and there are a couple of engineering bright spots. But you will not feel that it’s worth the money by the time you purchase the $129 charger and the $19 20W power brick to go with it, and there are many third-party accessories on the market that do this job just fine.

I don’t understand who this is for. It’s not actually great for travel because two cables plus a power adapter is more compact than the MagSafe Duo plus a cable and power adapter. And if you’re looking for a charger for home, there are plenty of great alternatives. I’m a big fan of the Nomad Base Station, but there are countless options that are less costly and at least as attractive as the MagSafe Duo.

➝ Source: techcrunch.com

Apple Cancels AirPower ➝

Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, in a statement to TechCrunch:

After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward

In all my years following Apple, I think this is the only product that I’ve seen them outright cancel before it sees the light of day. And it kind of stinks. I’ve been holding off buying any wireless chargers for my iPhone and even spent the extra $40 on the AirPods with wireless charging case last week. All because I was expecting Apple to eventually ship AirPower. But apparently that day will never come.

It seems a bit odd that Apple spent all this time on AirPower — first announcing it in Fall 2017 — and have nothing to show for it. I had even started to think that Apple might have made some major changes to the product’s design, scaling back their overly ambitious initial idea. Maybe AirPower would only be capable of charging two devices at a time or they’d drop support for existing Apple Watches — announcing a Qi-compatible Watch this Fall. Or maybe it would be even more drastic than that and AirPower would only charge a single device at a time.

If wireless charging truly is the future, you’d think Apple would want to make their own wireless chargers to sell alongside the iPhone. But I guess, like wireless routers, Apple is willing to give that market away to others. At least for now.

This cancelation has encouraged me to move on, though. I’ve finally ordered a wireless charger for my bedside table that I plan to use with my iPhone and AirPods. If you’re curious, I’ve ordered the Nomad Base Station Hub Edition. It’s not the fancier one with the built-in Apple Watch charger, but I don’t think that one will fit very well on my bedside table because of the placement of the Watch charger. Not to mention that version is backordered until nearly May.

Plex Plans to Offer Ad-Supported Movies and More Premium Subscriptions ➝

Sarah Perez, reporting for TechCrunch:

Media software maker Plex is preparing to take on The Roku Channel and Amazon Prime Video Channels, possibly as soon as this year. The company is in discussions with rights holders and content providers, with a focus on bringing free, ad-supported movies to the Plex platform – similar to how The Roku Channel got its start. It’s also talking to premium networks and content providers about offering their programming and subscriptions through Plex.

Although I’d prefer they focus their efforts on improving the music playback experience on iOS, I certainly won’t mind having access to more content. Especially since it will be available through a media application that I already use — if it’s not in YouTube, Plex, or the TV app, I’m probably not watching it.

Apple Is Rebuilding Maps From the Ground Up ➝

Matthew Panzarino, reporting for TechCrunch:

Maps needs fixing.

Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps.

It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 beta and will cover Northern California by fall.

Podcasts Are Coming to Plex ➝

Overcast has been my podcast client of choice since it first launched over three-and-a-half years ago. But after I moved all of my media to Plex, I never looked back. It’s an incredibly robust piece of software that I’m currently using to record over-the-air television, back up my photos, and host my movie, TV show, and music libraries.

I’ll certainly have to wait and see how the feature is implemented, but I’m open to the idea of dropping Overcast and moving my podcast playback to Plex as well. Having all of my media in one place that’s accessible from all of my devices sounds like a dream. Overcast is great, but having access to my podcasts on my Apple TV might be too good to pass up.

Apple Unveils Smart Home Experiences in Its Retail Stores ➝

Megan Rose Dickey, reporting for TechCrunch:

Now, when you go into Apple’s new retail stores, you’ll be able to use the Home app from either an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad to control devices like the Philips Hue light bulb, the Hunter ceiling fan and many others. If you tap to lower the shades in the living room, for example, you’ll see the shades lower in the house shown on the screen.

It’s disappointing that the devices aren’t controlling any actual HomeKit products, but building a mock living room inside each Apple Store might not be a practical solution.

Microsoft’s Answer to Chromebooks ➝

Romain Dillet, writing for TechCrunch:

Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS is called Windows 10 S. This new operating system is a streamlined and secured version of Windows 10. It runs sandboxed apps and doesn’t require expensive hardware.

And this is where Microsoft shines as it can talk with all major PC OEMs to convince them to build Windows 10 S devices. The company announced that Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba are all working on Windows 10 S devices.

These machines will start at $189 and will ship with a one-year subscription of Minecraft: Education Edition alongside free access to Office 365’s online apps for students and teachers.

The downside is, these devices won’t be shipping until sometime this summer. Many schools do their purchasing at the end of the school year — like, right now. And having to wait a few more months for these is a deal breaker.

Apple Acquires Workflow ➝

Matthew Panzarino, reporting for TechCrunch:

Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow today — a tool that lets you hook together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks. We’ve been tracking this one for a while but were able to confirm just now that the ink on the deal is drying as we speak. […]

Workflow the app is being acquired, along with the team of Weinstein, Conrad Kramer, Ayaka Nonaka and Nick Frey. In a somewhat uncommon move for Apple, the app will continue to be made available on the App Store and will be made free later today.

I couldn’t be happier for the Workflow team. They’ve built one of the most innovative applications for iOS and grown it into an absolutely essential piece of any iOS power user’s arsenal.

I would typically be concerned about the app’s future in situations like this. But Workflow will continue to be made available in the App Store, for free, and this has me hopeful. I expect subsequent versions of the app to have access to much more powerful actions with APIs that aren’t available to third-party developers.