January 27, 2012

English-Speaking Countries Usually Get The Best Prices On Earth On New Apple Products

English-Speaking Countries Usually Get The Best Prices On Earth On New Apple Products

If you are looking for the best online deals from an Apple Store, it would pay to head to the United States, or any English-speaking store, a new analysis finds.

The analysis found both the U.S. and Singapore Apple Stores offer the best deals, considering the countries’ economies. The USA, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia all rank in the top eight Apple Stores, according to price comparison site siteidealo.co.uk.

The United Kingdom has the worst Apple Store prices of all English-speaking countries. Only the heavily-taxed Scandinavian Apple stores are more expensive. Apple prices in Brazil, the Czech Republic and Thailand are most expensive despite their economies the world’s three poorest.

However, Anglophilia is not the rule when it comes to great Apple prices. The best deal from any online Apple stores on the planet can be found in Malaysia, the analysis reports.

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Ed Sutherland

Ed Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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Cult of Mac

This Is Microsoft’s Best Product Of CES, Hands Down!

This Is Microsoft’s Best Product Of CES, Hands Down! [CES 2012]

This Is Microsoft’s Best Product Of CES, Hands Down! [CES 2012] LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – There are some really awesome products on the showroom floor of CES this year, but we think we’ve found the greatest Microsoft product of all time. OF ALL TIME! Microsoft lipbalm. Admit it. You’re jealous that you don’t have your own stick yet aren’t you?

To make up for your absence at CES, we’re going to have a caption contest, and the winner gets a bag of CES swag that we got from the floor today.

To enter the contest, just comment on this article with your caption for the Microsoft Chapstick picture. Funniest caption wins and we’ll announce the winner on Friday, Jan. 13th at 12pm PST. Good luck.

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Buster Heine was born and raised in Roswell, NM, but lives in Phoenix where he spends his hours as a student/writer/seeker of epic fun. Generally speaking, there are three major loves in his life: Apple products, burritos, and himself (because narcissism is the new black). Website: bust3r.com; Twitter: twitter.com/bst3r.

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CES 2012 Proves That Verizon Is The Nation’s Best iPhone Carrier [CES 2012]

CES 2012 Proves That Verizon Is The Nation’s Best iPhone Carrier [CES 2012]

CES 2012 Proves That Verizon Is The Nation’s Best iPhone Carrier [CES 2012]LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – In the aftermath of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, there’s going to be hundreds of awards — some official, some decidedly not-so — declaring the best product of CES.

Why wait? We can already tell you what we think the best product of CES is: Verizon Wireless’s network, which is the only one that has not been frickin’ smeared into jelly by the insane data and voice demands of the show’s technical elite.

If you’ve never been to CES before, here’s the thing. Every January, tens of thousands of exhibitors, industry analysts, buyers and tech journalists push themselves into Las Vegas… and crush the nation’s wireless carriers’ data and voice networks like they were made of string and rusty old tin cans. The networks just can’t cope with the locust swam of the technical elite, consuming their network at a frightening rate: the buyers calling back to HQ, the journalists trying to upload 720p video to their blogs, the reporters filing copy to Tokyo, the live-streaming, and the mad chaos of a million different text messages, emails and phone calls ricocheting about the showfloors every second.

Consequently, most of the time, if you’re on the CES showfloor or at one of the industry events like Showstoppers or Digital Experience, your phone simply doesn’t work. You can’t get your email. You can’t check your Twitter. You can’t receive or make calls. Heck, you can’t even send text messages.

Every year we’ve been at CES, what has happened is that our team’s AT&T iPhones have just become non-functional for the majority of the day. And this year, that’s the case too: Leander, Eli, Erfon, Traci and Buster have all found their iPhones unable to access data + voice most of the time during the show.

But you know who’s iPhone is working just fine, all the time? My Verizon iPhone 4S. Data works. Voice works. Text messages work. Hell, tethering works: I’m filing this story using the Verizon Personal Hotspot. That’s a goddamn miracle at an event like CES, where working Internet is as precious and unspillable as a cup of water carried through the Sahara.

Everyone already knows that Verizon is the iPhone’s most reliable carrier, but if you’re in the market for an iPhone or thinking of jumping carriers, CES proves it. This conference is like a Will It Blend test, and where every other iPhone carrier has already been turned into confetti, Verizon’s network just broke the blender’s blades.

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – It’s day one at CES. The show floor just opened. We ran down to check out the goodies. We’ve got Snooki doing a duck face; cool Aviator headphones form Skull Candy; and plenty more.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

These Skull Aviator headphones are designed after the iconic aviator glasses, hence the name.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

This is the Emperor 1510 computer workstation for the home office. The $ 6,200 price tag may seem high but you can’t put a price on comfort or style. Your c0-workers will be so envious.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

Celebrities in the house! Look carefully, and you can see 50 Cent at the SMS Auio promoting headphones. We could;t get any closer – it was a mob scene!.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

This is the Bodydock. A magnetic docking system for your iPhone with magnets that attach your iPhone to your clothes with  two magnets. The case and and magnets combined cost around $ 70.00. Keep your beloved iPhone close to your heart.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

The iBrag iPad ($ 49.95) and iPhone ($ 21.95) cases from Braggables is a unique way to proudly display your pc. (precious child) This unique case is available in six fun colors.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

The Cushi is a soft foam pad for your iPhone from the company id America. For $ 15.00 you can give your iPhone a 3-D look that screams cute. Colorful and fun to fondle too.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

Listen up party girls. The iKeep from Poldera is your product. Latch it on to your purse or belt and the retractable cord will keep it close and safe. Never lose your iPhone at the bar again! Apple should have used this.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

Bolle Photo makes a smartphone photo printer for $ 150.00. This small and easy to use printer is compatible with the iPad, iPod and iPhone. This would be fun to have at a party.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

The $ 111.11 XYBOT gives new meaning to the mobile phone. It  turns your iPhone into a robot.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

The Miniwinder is she smallest winder on the market. It costs $ 14.95 and comes in eight designs.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

The $ 69.95 Miveu turns your iPhone into a powerful POV camera. It straThe custom wide angle lens gets up close to the action.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

These OmniStand iPad cases is a stand that can also be held like a handbag. It’s colorful and cool. It comes in eight colors and costs $ 60.

Best of CES, Day One [Gallery]

These Road Mice computer mice cost $ 39.95 for Ford and GM models, but the Jaguar and Lambourghinis cost $ 59.95.

Cult of Mac

Toshiba Brings The World’s Lightest, Thinnest Tablet To U.S. — Can The iPad 3 Best It? [CES 2012]

Toshiba Brings The World’s Lightest, Thinnest Tablet To U.S. — Can The iPad 3 Best It? [CES 2012]

Toshiba Brings The World’s Lightest, Thinnest Tablet To U.S. — Can The iPad 3 Best It? [CES 2012]LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Toshiba’s Excite X10, a tablet the company calls the world’s lightest and thinnest, is finally landing on U.S. shores, and we got our first hands-on experience with it at CES last night as Toshiba readies to release it here in a few months.

Man, is this thing ridiculously light. It sports a metallic back made of strong, light magnesium, the same material used in high-end DSLR shells.

It really is fantastically light — so light that it actually feels like it’s made from plastic; but magnesium is also incredibly tough, with a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Of course, magnesium is also highly flammable, which is one reason you don’t see it around very often.

Toshiba was able to jam an astounding number of ports into the thing — especially impressive considering how thin it is. A mini-HDMI port, micro-USB port and a micro SD card slot are all carved into one side of the tablet.

The Excite X10 we played with was also very fast and smooth, thanks to a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor supplied by Texas Instruments and 1GB of RAM. It was running Android’s Honeycomb OS, but when the tablet ships Toshiba says it’ll have Android’s new Ice Cream Sandwich installed, which should be a big improvement over the problematic Honeycomb.

So it’s slightly larger, lighter, thinner, has slightly higher resolution (1200×800 compared with 1024×768 for the iPad  2) and has way more ports. And no, this isn’t the whole story, and it doesn’t mean this tablet is better than the iPad 2. But it does seem to have the iPad 2 certainly beat in a few arenas. Then there’s the price: The 16GB version at $ 530 and the 32GB at $ 600.

Any bet that Cupertino will make this tablet look like an abacus when the iPad 3 comes out?

Cult of Mac

TUAW Best of 2011 wrap-up and editor picks

It’s January 6th, 2012, and today marks the end of the TUAW Best of 2011 awards. This was a massive undertaking, with 25 separate categories all requiring their own nominations and voting from our readers. We’ve learned some lessons for next year’s event — start earlier, watch for astroturfing in the nominations, drop some unpopular categories — and the Best of 2012 will be even better.

The editorial staff here at TUAW agreed with many of the reader picks, but we had our own opinions on some others. We want to thank all of the thousands of TUAW readers who took time to consider their favorite accessories and apps, nominate them for an award, and then vote in the competition.

Without further ado, here’s the full list of winners as well as our picks for the TUAW Best of 2011:

Mac Categories in the TUAW Best of 2011

Best Mac Hardware from Apple: 13″ MacBook Air
Editor picks: 13″ and 11″ MacBook Air, 13″ MacBook Pro

Best Mac Peripheral or Accessory: OWC Data Doubler and OWC Mercury 6G SSD
Editor picks: Magic Trackpad, OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD

Best Mac Utility App: Alfred
Editor picks: Growl, 1Password, Grand Perspective

Best Mac Productivity App: Evernote
Editor picks: OmniFocus, Scrivener, Evernote

Best Mac Game App: Machinarium
Editor picks: Civilization V, Full Deck Solitaire

Best Mac Music App: Reaper
Editor picks: Simplify, Rdio, djay, Capo, GarageBand, iTunes

Best Mac Photo App: Flare
Editor picks: Pixelmator, Aperture, Adobe PhotoShop, FotoMagico

Best Mac Video App: Final Cut Pro X
Editor picks: Wirecast, Video Monkey

iPhone Categories in the TUAW Best of 2011

Best iPhone Accessory: Apple TV (2nd Generation)
Editor picks: Mophie Juice Pack Air, Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation, iChair

Best iPhone Game App: Jetpack Joyride
Editor picks: iMAME, Infinity Blade 2, Mage Gauntlet, Dungeon Raid, Jetpack Joyride

Best iPhone Photo App: 360 Panorama
Editor picks: Camera+, Instagram

Best iPhone Video App: iMovie
Editor picks: FiLMiC Pro, Reeli

Best iPhone Social Networking App: Tweetbot
Editor picks: Tweetbot, Instagram, Twitter

Best iPhone Productivity App: Dropbox
Editor picks: Siri, CardMunch, CalenGoo, OmniFocus, Mint, 2Do, Reminders

Best iPhone Utility App: 1Password Pro
Editor picks: LastPass, Groceries, Grocery IQ, Find My Friends, 1Password Pro, TripIt

Best iPhone Navigation App: Navigon
Editor picks: Navigon, Waze, MotionX GPS Drive

Best iPhone Music App: Spotify
Editor picks: Guitar Toolkit, Radio Paradise, Pandora, Shoutcast, Rdio

iPad Categories in the TUAW Best of 2011

Best iPad Case: DODOcase
Editor picks: Apple Smart Cover, AViiQ Smart Case,Twelve South BookBook, ModulR System, OtterBox Defender

Best iPad Accessory: BubCap
Editor picks: Apple TV, iCade, Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation

Best iPad Game App: Osmos for iPad
Editor picks: Battleship, Anomaly Warzone Earth HD, Jetpack Joyride, Sword & Sworcery, Scribblenauts Redux

Best iPad Photography App: flickr hd
Editor picks: iStopMotion for iPad, Photogene, PhotoSync, Snapseed, iMovie

Best iPad Social Networking App: Skype for iPad
Editor picks: Twitter, FaceTime, Skype, Zite

Best iPad Productivity App: OmniFocus for iPad
Editor picks: OmniFocus for iPad, 2Do, Pages, Pocket Informant HD, Evernote

Best iPad Utility App: 1Password Pro
Editor picks: AirPort Utility, Skitch, Air Display, Codea

Best iPad Music App: GarageBand
Editor picks: Planetary, 5-0 Radio HD

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Garage Band: TUAW Best of 2011 for iPad music apps

It’s been a long haul, but we’ve finally come to the end of the TUAW Best of 2011. The last category in which readers nominated their favorites and then voted for the top five finishers was iPad music apps. This was a huge category — music apps cover the landscape from applications that turn the tablet into a musical instrument to apps that make it easier to organize and listen to your music. The winner was Apple’s Garage Band (US$ 4.99), grabbing 44.1 percent of reader votes.

Garage Band, of course, started life as a Mac music app. But it has really come into its own as an inexpensive iOS app, allowing musicians and would-be musicians of all ages to create and record their own music. Smart Instruments and pre-recorded loops make it possible for anyone with an iPad to generate professional-sounding music.

What was the runner-up? Tango Remote Control Media Player HD ($ 4.99), an amazing app that can “wirelessly control music and video between iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.” With one device connected to a stereo or TV, you can use another as a powerful remote with multiple playlist support, audio and video scrubbing, and more.

Congratulations to Apple’s software team for winning the TUAW Best of 2011 award for the best iPad music app of the year.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Withings WiFi Body Scale: Quite Possibly The Best Way to Live Longer [Review, Fitness Special]]

Withings WiFi Body Scale: Quite Possibly The Best Way to Live Longer [Review, Fitness Special]]

Despite all our 21st-century technical wizardry, one of the easiest and least expensive ways to get a very basic idea of physical health is through a metric that’s been used for a very long time: body weight.

The Withings WiFi Body Scale ($ 160) takes this concept to the next level in many ways, including allowing you access to all your data on a gorgeously designed iOS app. It also adds an even more important metric, body fat percentage, and goes a long way to erasing many of the pitfalls using a simple scale can lead to — and it does this all while remaining incredibly easy to use. In fact, it might be the most effective tool I’ve used to keep healthy.

The Good:

The secret to the scale’s effectiveness is its link to the Internet. Once you setup your Withings account online and connected the scale wirelessly over your home network — which like everything else about the Withings, took about five minutes and was practically effortless — the scale will begin sending data to your secure account every time you weigh yourself. This has two big payoffs: a) you no longer have to track your weight by hand, which can be time-consuming and, frankly, too much of a bother if you’re as lazy as I am, and b) it allows Withings’ sophisticated, web-housed algorithm to crunch the numbers and create an easy-to-grasp trend curve.

That trend curve is key, because it shows you where your weight is headed in a much more useful way than single measurements or plots on a graph — which, because weight can fluctuate dramatically from day-to-day, makes you less apt to freak out when you hit a heavy day, and gives you a better idea of whether or not your diet and/or exercise regimen is having the desired effect.

Another key feature is the Withings’ ability to measure body fat percentage, actually a more accurate metric of health than simple weight (again, there are other scales that measure this, but this time we’re getting much closer in price to the Withings). That metric is also uploaded, and can be graphed alongside weight.

Almost all the information is available through Withings’ Universal iOS app. It’s a gorgeous app: hold the iPhone in portrait mode and you’ll see individual entries — which you can scroll through via a virtual dial — with weight, percentage body fat and body-mass index; tilt the iPhone to landscape and the slick, clearly illustrated graph appears. It looks great on the iPad too, but I was impressed at just how well they managed to make the UI look and work so fabulously on the iPhone’s comparatively tiny screen.

Everything smacks of quality and looks well-finished. The scale’s display is bright and easy to read, and I was a little taken aback at how much I admired the good looks of the scale’s polished glass surface. Let’s face it, this is a major bathroom appliance, a little eye candy doesn’t hurt.

Even multiuser households are easily handled. If there are several people using the same scale, you can set up a separate account for each, and choose whether the data is private or not. when someone steps on the scale, it’ll make a good guess as to who’s being weighed and assign the weight to them (it’ll display who it’s assigned the measurement to). It’s very intuitive; my ex-roommate and I are of similar height and build, and the scale surprised us by only very rarely confusing the two of  us. Whan that happened, the scale simply asked whomever was being weighed to step on one side of the scale or the other to attribute the measurement. And measurements could always be easily re-attributed later through the account.

To top it all off, data can be easily shared with friends and family or healthcare professionals. There’s also the ability to take the entries and plug them into other services like RunKeeper, which allows tight integration of cause (calories expended through running) and effect.

The Bad:

About the only thing negative we can say about the Withings Scale is that its price. But taking into account its effectiveness at one of the most important aspects of our lives — our health — it’s worth the plunge.

Oh, one other thing. Because the scale sends a tiny current through your body to measure body fat percentage, it’s not suitable for people with pacemakers or anything that an electrical current could interfere with; if you’re in doubt, check with your doctor first. If you’re not augmented with anything like that, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about and you won’t feel a thing.


The Withings Scale is well-designed, looks good and just works — and therefore fits in perfectly in any Apple adherent’s life. More importantly though, its brilliant combination of features make it a highly effective tool for healthy living.

Rating: ★★★★★

Withings WiFi Body Scale: Quite Possibly The Best Way to Live Longer [Review, Fitness Special]]

I lost something close to ten pounds with the help of the scale. The pink area represents the range of plot points, the white line is the trend plot. In the lower right corner is an individual entry.

Withings WiFi Body Scale: Quite Possibly The Best Way to Live Longer [Review, Fitness Special]]

Withings WiFi Body Scale: Quite Possibly The Best Way to Live Longer [Review, Fitness Special]]

Withings WiFi Body Scale: Quite Possibly The Best Way to Live Longer [Review, Fitness Special]]

In the box: WiFi Scale, USB cable (for initial setup), batteries, feet (for stability if using on carpet) and measuring tape.

Cult of Mac

OmniFocus gains TUAW Best of 2011 award for iPad productivity app

“What? I thought you already named a winner for the TUAW Best of 2011 in the iPad productivity app category!”

Yes, yes we did. But there were some nomination and voting irregularities, not to mention that a number of TUAW readers let us know that our previously named winner had some serious issues. As a result, we’re doing the right thing and giving the crown to its rightful owner — OmniFocus for iPad (US$ 39.99).

Not only did OmniFocus for iPad capture 26.9 percent of the reader votes fair and square, but the app has garnered a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on the App Store with almost 1,100 ratings over several versions. It’s been a favorite of many of our bloggers as well, and received a nice writeup by Erica Sadun when it first arrived on the scene in 2010.

Belated congratulations to Omni Group for their win for a stellar product.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

1Password Pro grabs the TUAW Best of 2011 iPad utility app award

The latest TUAW Best of 2011 award should come as no surprise, particularly since the winner also topped the iPhone utility app voting. 1Password Pro (US$ 14.99) was voted by TUAW readers as the best iPad utility app of 2011, pulling in a whopping 56.6 percent of the votes.

Why has this app captured the attention of TUAW readers? It’s because 1Password works consistently on all platforms, keeps information securely stashed away, and is constantly being updated to stay in tune with OS upgrades and provide new functionality.

The runner-up, in a distant second place with 17.1 percent of the votes, was Apple’s own AirPort Utility (free). It’s a very useful tool for anyone who owns an Apple AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express.

Congratulations to the AgileBits team for their cross-platform wins with 1Password Pro, and stay tuned tomorrow as the TUAW editors pick their cream of the 2011 crop.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog