Archives For Apple

dish-explorer-app1

The “second screen” onslaught continues as DISH unveils a brand spanking new Explorer companion app to kick off their CES festivities. Available to Hopper owners tomorrow, the iPad app opens to “What’s Hot” as a launching point to social television discovery and DVR control. Of course, the requisite Twitter and Facebook interactivity is present. Interestingly, DISH has also licensed a variety of real time sports-related data to incorporate into the experience. Continue Reading…

While I’m the CTO of the Zatz household, my wife Melissa is also capable of making tech purchasing decisions… and living with the consequences. What follows are her thoughts on swapping the iPad 3 for an iPad Mini.

Living with a tech expert I’ve come to appreciate (and depend on) the latest gadgets. Dave understands what we all might like or need. And when the iPad Mini was introduced, he knew that the smaller size was going to be more comfortable for me (yes, size does matter!). While I enjoy taking my tablet to Starbucks or Panera, I also love lounging on the couch with it. My iPad 3 was incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to hold in this position and I frequently found myself putting it down – reaching for my iPhone instead.

So Dave took me to see the iPad Mini, thinking Apple’s newest product addressed my need for a smaller device. Dave was confident I would walk away with a new toy (and maybe secretly hoped I would want one so he too could play around with it while he decided what gadget changes to make). While I was impressed with the Mini’s form and size, I was disappointed in the quality of the screen. I recall removing my sunglasses thinking that maybe they were dirty, causing the screen to appear blurry! Unfortunately, my specs were not to blame. And I walked around the display table comparing units hoping that first one was defective. The Mini’s screen resolution is just weak compared to my iPhone and iPad 3, fuzzy-looking and not sharp or gorgeous like a retina display. We walked out of the store empty handed. Continue Reading…

Add Gift Card To Starbucks App

Dave Zatz —  December 25, 2012 — 18 Comments

starbucks-gift-card

Like many this season, I’ve received a Starbucks gift card. Three to be exact. And instead of bothering with the Starbucks website, I figured there must be some way to add the balance to my existing virtual card/account via the Starbucks iPhone app. Indeed there is…

  • From within the Starbucks app, bring up your current balance via the lower Card button
  • Ignore the deceptively labeled “Manage” button and click the + in the upper right to begin Continue Reading…

lifeproof-fre-backAfter much anticipation, the Lifeproof frē ($80) arrived at Best Buy last week. Like its predecessor, this iPhone 5 case is designed to protect your smartphone from dirt, water, and drops… in a much more svelte form factor than the fairly well known ruggedized Otterbox line. Yet, while Lifeproof’s marketing materials are compelling, I don’t have much confidence in the reality.

My case survived the recommended one hour water test, sans phone, and I expect it would have done fine job protecting from splashes at the kitchen sink or in the rain. But there’s no way I’d be comfortable fully submerging the iPhone 5 — given the case’s construction, including an issue with the bottom corner that didn’t have a flush seal (below right) despite realigning the O ring. Also, speaking of construction, while the frē is certified to survive 6′ drops it’s less rugged feeling and thinner than the competition — so they’ve presumably achieved this feat via superior engineering, Continue Reading…

Cyber Monday Streaming Deals

Dave Zatz —  November 26, 2012 — 12 Comments

streaming-boxes

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again where we give thanks for deeply discounted gear. Fortunately, Cyber Monday online sales provide relief from the Black Friday mall riots and we’ve spotted bargains on some of our favorite streaming boxes.

Roku HD
Roku, one of our perennial favorites in this category, sees a $10-$20 discount across its line. Despite a much-needed UI refresh and lack of YouTube, Roku retains the broadest selection of streaming content  -including staples such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Pandora. I’d say the best bang for the buck is the Roku HD, which caps out at 720p but clocks in at a mere $40. For comparison, the competing Apple TV runs $99 and adding streaming services to an Xbox runs $60/year.

Refurbished Apple TV
Let’s say you’re deep into Apple’s ecosystem and would appreciate streaming your iTunes collection and beaming content from your iPhone to your television. And maybe you’d like one of the more polished appearing interfaces and YouTube to go along with Netflix and movie rentals. Well, the refurbished 1080p Apple TV is 15% off list at $85. Gifting a refurb might be a bit tacky, despite Apple’s full warranty and pristine hardware, so this would be best for close relatives… or yourself. Continue Reading…