The Tech News Blog

June 4, 2014

Is the Amazon Phone on Tap for June 18 Launch Event?

Amazon Event June 18

Amazon is teasing a June 18 event that might finally include the launch of the company's long-rumored smartphone.

"Join Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos for our launch event," reads a page on Amazon's website. It invites Amazon customers, developers, and journalists to request an invitation to the big reveal, which will happen in Seattle.

An accompanying video (below) features people holding a device that is just off screen, who seem to be blown away by what they are seeing. Many seem to move their bodies with whatever they see on the device, suggesting that it might have some sort of 3D component.

"It moved with me," says a woman in the video.

"It's very real life and incomparable to anything I've ever seen," says another woman, a sentiment echoed by all those featured in the 50-second spot.

May 26, 2014

Report: Apple to Reveal ‘Smart Home’ Software at WWDC

WWDC 2014 275

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is only a week away, and the latest rumor tips a smart home-related announcement from Cupertino.

According to The Financial Times, Apple will unveil a new software platform intended to simplify the process of using your iOS device to control devices in the home - from thermostats to appliances.

The Times likened the option to the digital home version of "Made for iPhone," which lets third-party manufacturers develop products - like speaker docks and charging accessories - that work with the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Participating companies could slap an Apple logo on their packaging and customers would know that the gadgets will work seamlessly with their iOS device.

A big focus for Apple, according to the Times, will be privacy, which has been top of mind for many tech firms in the post-Snowden era.

May 21, 2014

Rumor Tips Apple Hardware Launch at WWDC

Apple WWDC 2014 Banner

Will Apple unveil some new hardware goodies at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) next month? Clearly, it depends on who you ask—and the company itself isn't saying.

Could the introduction of a new Apple TV or even a wearable device like the long-rumored iWatch be on the agenda? Earlier this month, word on the street was that neither of those rumored products would be unveiled at WWDC, but now there's some buzz building that they could be.

Apple on Tuesday released the schedule for WWDC 2014, which kicks off June 2 in San Francisco with an opening keynote that "will likely be led by Apple CEO Tim Cook with assistance from Senior VPs Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue," 9to5Mac reported.

The site also figured that the main focus of the event will be software, including a major update to Mac OS X and the unveiling of iOS 8. But unnamed sources also told 9to5Mac that "Apple is planning to unveil new hardware at this year's conference."

May 20, 2014

Report: Apple, Samsung Resume Patent Settlement Talks

Apple Samsung

Apple and Samsung will reportedly meet once again at the negotiating table in an effort to solve their patent dispute, according to the Korea Times.

Quoting unnamed sources directly involved in the case, the site said that "the key issue is how to dismiss all lawsuits."

The talks come shortly after a California jury awarded Apple $120 million in its most recent patent case against Samsung. That, however, was far short of the more than $2 billion it was requesting. The jury also found that Apple had infringed on some of Samsung's patents, and ordered Cupertino to pay $158,400, which likely made it easier for Samsung to get Apple into settlement talks surrounding their other cases, the Times said.

Recently, Apple and Google's Motorola Mobility agreed to end all litigation over mobile patents. That comes several months after Google and Samsung announced a cross-licensing deal that should cover the companies' existing patents as well as patents produced by either across the next decade.

May 18, 2014

Rumor: Microsoft to Unveil Surface Pro 3 Tablet at Tuesday Event

Surface Pro 2 Alt

What will Microsoft be unveiling at this Tuesday's press event? A lot of talk has been swirling around the possibility of Surface Mini tablets getting the grant reveal: Devices with a 7- to 8-inch screen designed to more closely compete with Apple's iPad Mini tablets.

However, Windows Phone Central has apparently gotten its hands on some key information about another product that Microsoft's allegedly going to be revealing Tuesday (for sure). It's the Surface Pro 3 tablet, an Intel Haswell-based tablet whose size is currently unknown — but could even run with a larger screen size than the 10.6-inch Surface Pro 2, so the rumors go. It's though that Microsoft will debut both this and the Surface Mini Tuesday but, as always, we caveat that all these whispers may or may not actually come true.

Nevertheless, here's what Windows Phone Central was allegedly able to find out. The Surface Pro 3 will debut in five different configurations: One with an Intel i3 chip, two with Intel i5 chips, and two with Intel i7 chips. The i3-based Surface Pro 3 will allegedly come with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage space — and, we would assume, support increase that storage via a microSD memory card that can be inserted into the tablet. The tablet itself will cost $799, the lowest-priced of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 offerings.

May 18, 2014

Rumor: Facebook Working on New Snapchat-Like App, ‘Slingshot’


Facebook might have killed off its Poke app for iOS, but that doesn't mean it's done trying to beat rival Snapchat at its own messaging game.

For those who never themselves poked, the iOS app allowed a person to send a message, photo, or video to a Facebook friend. Only, doing so came with a time limit — a ten-second countdown before said message disappeared into the digital ether forever.

If that sounds like a pretty basic clone of Snapchat's core services, you'd be correct. It's unclear just how many people ended up using Facebook Poke, but it didn't last that long on the App Store's top-25 list. Snapchat, in comparison, claims that its users send over 700 million different pieces of content each day.

Facebook officially pulled the app from the App Store earlier this month, but that doesn't mean that it's done with its adventures in timed-deletion messaging. A new report from the Financial Times indicates that Facebook has been working on a video messaging app called "Slingshot" for a number of months. The app appears to do for videos what Snapchat has done for pictures… and videos too, of course.

May 12, 2014

Google Testing Huge Gmail Redesign

Gmail Redesign

Google is allegedly testing out some big UI changes for Gmail — the desktop browser-based version — and there's nothing subtle or slight about Google's modifications.

The goal, we presume, is twofold: To more closely unify Gmail (desktop) with proposed UI changes to Google's mobile version of Gmail, and to make Gmail work friendlier with an expanded array of desktop sizes and resolutions without losing any functionality in the process.

Easy enough, right?

According to the report from, which we can only presume has fancy access to Google's Gmail test, a brand-new menu system that flies in and out of the browser window replaces Google's otherwise static sidebar of links — Inbox, Starred, Sent Mail, and all those.

May 9, 2014

Rumor: Next iPhone Could Arrive in August

Apple logo

For those of you eager to get a look at Apple's next iPhone, we have some potentially good news. The highly-anticipated handset could make its debut in August, one month earlier than expected.

According to a Friday report from Reuters citing Taiwan's Economic Daily News, Apple is gearing up to unveil the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (or whatever it may be called) a mere three months from now. Unidentified supply-chain sources reportedly told the Taiwanese media outlet that Apple is hoping to have its next iPhone on store shelves by August, while a rumored 5.5-inch or 5.6-inch iPhone model will purportedly go on sale in September.

In recent years, Apple has revealed its newest iPhones in the fall, so an August unveiling would be earlier than usual. Despite the report, PCMag's lead Mobile Analyst Sascha Segan cautioned users not to get their hopes up for an August release, since it's likely just a target date, not a firm date.

"There's still so much testing left to do, that no phone manufacturer would commit to a hard date that far in advance. I've seen phone launches moved as little as a few days before they were supposed to happen," he said.

May 9, 2014

Report: Apple in Talks to Buy Beats for $3B

Beats Music iPhone, Android

Apple is reportedly in talks to acquire Beats Electronics for $3 billion, a deal that would be Cupertino's largest acquisition to date.

The news was first reported by The Financial Times, and sources confirmed the news to the New York Times, too.

It's not a done deal, but if everything goes through, an announcement could be made in the next week, the Times said.

The news comes about seven months after Beats ended its partnership with HTC. In September, the audio firm announced that The Carlyle Group would make a minority investment in Beats, allowing Beats to reacquire the minority stake that HTC had in the firm for $265 million.

Beats, which makes the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, reportedly wanted to buy out HTC's stake in the firm so that it could team up with new investors and branch out beyond headphones.

May 7, 2014

Microsoft Tips Surface Mini at May 20 Event

Surface 2 Alt

Microsoft this week sent invitations to members of the media for a May 20 event in New York City, where the software giant is expected to unveil a scaled-down version of its Surface tablet.

"Join us for a small gathering," reads a message on the invite, which also includes a prominent Surface logo.

Rumors about a so-called Surface Mini with a 7- to 8-inch screen have been making the rounds for some time. The introduction of a smaller tablet would be a logical move for Microsoft, given that its 10.6-inch Surface and Surface 2 tablets (pictured) already exceed that of Apple's competitor, the 9.7-inch iPad.

Recent reports pegged the Surface Mini for a second-quarter debut, which isn't the first launch window that's been speculated for the smaller tablet.