The last two weeks have introduced a bunch of new stuff into the world of consumer electronics. Here is a quick, condensed recap for those interested:
Apple announced a new, taller and thinner iPhone, with a bit more screen real estate, a faster wireless connection, a better camera, and the new iOS 6. Most older devices will get iOS 6 as well. Releases next week. iOS 6 will remove Google Maps and YouTube from your phone. Google Maps will be replaced with the new Apple Maps, but YouTube will not be replaced. However, there is a new YouTube app from Google that you can download separately in the App Store. Apple also introduced updated iPods, and coined the term “EarPods” for their new in-ear headphones.
Last week the Kindle brand exploded into about a dozen shiny new devices: An updated Kindle Fire, a new 7” Kindle Fire HD, a 8.9” Kindle Fire HD, and an 8.9” Kindle Fire HD with 4G. Each model has different amounts of storage, ranging from 8GB to 64GB, and they now have tablet models priced from $159 to $599. The model that competes directly with the $499 iPad is just $299. They also introduced new e-ink Kindle with an integrated light, called the Paperwhite. All available in the next few weeks.
Nokia introduced a flagship Windows 8 phone that can take super high quality photos in low light. The camera is the big selling point for the phone, and it’s pretty sweet. No release date, no price… yet.
Sony will begin shipping the first 84” 4K (twice the pixels of today’s HDTVs) resolution TV in November for the low price of $25k. 4K is the resolution of most movies you see in the theater.
Valve, creator of first person shooters like Half-Life and Counter-Strike, is bringing their gaming platform Steam to the TV. The first step is a version of their existing PC client designed to work with a PC hooked up to a TV and a controller. According to rumors, they are also working on creating their own console and bringing it to the living room as a direct competitor to the Xbox and Playstation.
Not related to consumer tech, but still interesting. Virgin is running a contest for the next year to promote their frequent flyer program. The person who earns the most “points” (i.e. spends the most money) with Virgin America, Atlantic, or Australia wins a free flight to space on a Virgin Galactic flight.