Apple’s new Mac Pro available to order tomorrow, starting at $2,999

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

Apple’s new Mac Pro may look like a trash can, but its round case houses some serious hardware. And if you’ve got the cash, it could be in your hands soon.

Apple is finally opening up orders for the new Mac Pro tomorrow, with a base model starting at $2,999. It’s Apple’s first major revision of its pro-focused computer line since the massive Power Mac G5 tower debuted in 2003 (when Apple switched to Intel processors in 2006, the Power Mac became the Mac Pro).

So what do you get for a $2,999 work horse? At a minimum, the Mac Pro comes with a quad-core Intel Xeon E5 processor (a server-class chip), which can reach speeds up to 3.9 gigahertz with Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. It also packs in dual AMD FirePro graphics cards (which Apple says equals eight times the graphics power of the last Mac Pro), 256GB of…

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LG’s Chromebase is a Chromebook take on the iMac

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

If you can’t understand why someone would need LG’s Chromebase, then you’re probably not its target market.

The device, which is a cross between a Chromebook and iMac, takes Google’s Chrome OS and brings it an all-in-one, 21.5-inch screen. Unlike Chromebooks, which were prized for their portability, the Chromebase is made to stay in one place.

The device is, in short, unusual. But that doesn’t mean LG is tossing this out blindly. The Chromebase is “expected to be widely adopted not only at home, but especially in schools, hotels, call centers and other business settings,” LG says in the press release accompanying the news.

In other words, regular consumers are far from the core demographic with this device. It’s closer to a library kiosk than an at-home desktop.

What LG hasn’t announced — or even hinted at — yet is the Chromebase’s price, which might be a bad sign. One…

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A universal laptop charger standard is coming — but may never be used

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

To reduce e-waste and save consumers some cash, a Switzerland-based standards group is pushing for the adoption of a universal laptop charger.

But it’s unlikely laptop vendors like Apple, Dell, and HP will play along.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on Monday announced plans to publish a technical specification for a universal charger early next year. It’ll cover aspects like the connector and plug, as well as safety, interoperability, performance, and environmental considerations, according to a press release.

The IEC thinks a universal laptop charger could cut down on the total amount of charger-related e-waste, which the organization pegs at more than a half million tons annually.

“A single power supply covering a wide range of notebook computers is the next step in lowering e-waste and its impact on our planet,” said IEC general secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk in a statement.

Two years ago, the IEC helped bring about a…

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Dell May Have A Winner With Its Windows-Powered Venue 8 Pro

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

[tc_5min code="517955075"]

The most pleasant surprise to come out of Dell’s press conference the other day wasn’t its line of new laptops or the silly Android tablets it’s trying to foist on weary consumers. To my utter shock it was the Venue 8 Pro, the company’s first pint-sized Windows 8 tablet.

Let’s start with its looks. The lightweight, plastic body screams “generic,” and you’d be hard-pressed to differentiate it from the Android-powered cousins we looked at earlier. That’s not to say it’s completely devoid of nice touches, though: The back plate features a pattern of concentric circles that break up the monotony of an otherwise plain soft-touch finish and seems to help with grip. The Venue 8 Pro is unexpectedly light, too, as it weighs a relatively scant .87 pounds — that’s well within striking distance of the iPad mini.

That said, the Venue 8 Pro suffers from a distinct…

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Microsoft Reportedly Looking To Put Windows Phone On Android Devices, Starting With HTC

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Microsoft has reached out to HTC to see if the company would be interested in adding Windows as a second OS to its Android handsets, a new report by Bloomberg claims. It isn’t clear exactly how the two operating systems would share the handset, in terms of allowing dual-booting or making a user choose a default at device setup, but it’s a sign Redmond may be thinking about pulling out all the stops to get people using its mobile OS.

These talks are in very early stages, according to Bloomberg’s sources, and there’s a possibility that Microsoft may even reduce or eliminate its licensing fee for Windows Phone to make it more attractive to HTC. HTC seems to be a target because it’s a former partner that has already built both Windows and Android hardware (though it doesn’t seem to be too keen on delivering more on the Windows Phone…

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Many iPhone 5S Units Have Faulty On Board Motion Sensors

Originally posted on Alex Hood's Tech Blog:

Photo courtesy of Ars Technica
Many people have been reporting that their new iPhone 5s’ on board motion sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, compass) have been acting strange. Gizmodo has done some testing and revealed that they too are having problems and they appear to be hardware based. If this is in fact the case, Apple would have to replace your phone to fix it.

Having faulty motion sensors could potentially mess with your gaming and your phones ability to auto rotate from portrait to landscape and vice versa.

In fact this seems to be so common that some consumers are reporting that they’re returning their broken phones and getting another broken unit. It’ll be interesting to see if this goes over as badly as Apple’s past iPhone 4 antenna problems and that whole Apple Maps embarrassment.

-Alex Hood

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Hands-On With The Kickstarted Bohemian Guitar Company’s ‘Oil Can’ Guitars

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

In order to put our money where our hype is we like to take a closer look at Kickstarter products we’ve talked about on the site. Today we have the Bohemian Guitar Company’s “oil can” guitars, a Kickstarter project that raised $54,000 – $20K over their $32,000 goal. The company, based in Georgia, just started shipping their cleverly-designed gitfiddles and I got the chance to try one out.

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The guitars have a single pickup controlled by a set of volume and tone dials. A wooden bridge at the bottom and a nice maplewood neck that continues into the oil can body. The body itself is ostensibly recycled and repainted and adds an excellent bit of twang to your picking. The machine heads are serviceable – the ones I tested were a little tight – and the pickup, while simple, seems to be nicely placed for resonance and sound quality.

How…

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Meet The Woman Behind The Voice of Apple’s Siri

Originally posted on :

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Susan Bennett, an Atlanta-area voice actress, has revealed herself as the original voice of Siri. Though Apple won’t confirm Bennett as the voice, CNN reports, “Professionals who know her voice, have worked with her and represent her legally say she is Siri. And an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience has studied both voices and says he is ‘100%’ certain the two are the same.”

Siri

Though Siri didn’t debut until Oct. 4, 2011 during the unveiling of the iPhone 4S, Bennett unknowingly recorded voice samples for the virtual assistant in July 2005. Under contract with ScanSoft, Bennett recorded samples for four hours a day that month.

Bennett didn’t find out she was Siri’s voice until the iPhone 4S was released. A colleague with the new phone emailed Bennett, asking if she was Siri. Bennett checked Apple’s website to hear the audio. “Oh, I knew,” she said. “It’s obviously me…

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Confirmed: Apple Is Releasing A Gold iPhone!

Originally posted on Elie M. Chahine:

Gold iPhone 5S

Folks still holding out hope that the gold iPhone rumors aren’t true may want to brace themselves, the speculation has just been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal-owned blog AllThingsD. And given the site’s near perfect (perfect?) track record with predicting future Apple plans, and corroborating evidence, we’d say Apple is indeed going for the gold…

AllThingsD’s well-connected John Paczkowski reports:

“Sources in position to know tell AllThingsD that Apple, after years of offering the iPhone in either black and white, will soon offer it in a gold tone as well.

The new color option was described to AllThingsD as an “elegant” gold tone. “Think champagne, not ingot,” a source said, confirming what not seems to be somespot-on speculation from iMore last week. Sources say that the gold iPhone will feature a white face, with a gold-tone back plate and chamfered edging.”

Paczkowski’s report follows a number of others from credible publications. First there…

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The Oppo R819 lets you choose which version of Android you want to use

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Oppo, best known in the U.S. for its boutique Blu-ray players, announced the R819 smartphone on Monday. The R819 is one of the thinnest, lightest 4.7-inch smartphones available, but it’s more notable for its software than its hardware.

The Oppo R819 ships with Android 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean) preloaded, with some light customizations from Oppo. Oppo also gives users the ability to easily install its soon-to-be-released new Color ROM, which adds a thicker layer of customizations over Android. More surprisingly, users are also given the option to install a ROM that will load the phone with a completely stock version of Android.

Now, Oppo might be better known for enthusiast-level Blu-ray players than smartphones, but this is a very smart move that’s sure to catch the attention of dedicated Android fans. Enthusiasts have been asking for an option like this from manufacturers such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung for years. Only recently…

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