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CES 2013 and Apple – A Look Back

The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week seemed to come and go, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Or maybe just a collective, whispered “Meh”.  Silicon Valley titans such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft were mostly conspicuous by their absence, though their products were all over the showroom floor.  In fact, a Google search for “Apple absent CES” turned up around 2.3 million hits.

That said, the iconic computer and device maker cast its long shadow over the week-long conference, as vendors and bloggers alike were toting Apple gear to show off their own wares or cover the show itself.  Companies as varied as Otterbox, Ford Motor Co., Crayola and Belkin all had iPhone and/or iPad accessories to demo at the show.  However, as cool as all the smartwatches and cases and stands and kid-friendly iPad art and app accessories were, one item outshone them all:

The iPotty.

That’s right, the iPotty.  And it pretty much does just exactly what you’d expect something with that name to do.  It’s a toddler-safe iPad case with moisture-resistant screen cover – that’s attached to a front-facing potty chair.  Anyone who’s ever toilet trained a child knows how important it is to keep said child parked on the potty long enough for them to do their business.  This is where the iPad comes in. A toddler who’s playing Angry Birds or watching one of the umpteen episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba that Mommy downloaded from iTunes isn’t as likely to get bored or distracted before Nature has taken its course.

There’s an argument to be made, I suppose, that kids are already exposed to enough technology without it creeping into the bathroom too. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no “screen time” at all for children 2 and under. Not gonna lie, though; if this potty chair (and the iPad attached to it!) had existed when I was toilet training my son, I probably would have jumped on it.

 
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You Just Got an iPhone; Merry Christmas! (Sort of…)

One of the final viral stories of 2012 was about a middle schooler from Massachusetts whose mom gave him an iPhone for Christmas.  She also gave him an 18-point contract to go with it, and made it clear that if the young man didn’t sign, no iPhone for him!  Although I don’t know this family (and indeed live on the opposite side of the country from them), I have an interest in their story as the mother of a high schooler.

I’ve had wireless phone service with T-Mobile since 2006, and I started out with a family plan for my kiddo and me that continues (mostly unchanged) to this day.  We both began with “dumb” slider phones since it’s what we were able to afford.  In fact, we actually used more minutes than data back then, and I developed my habit of texting in full sentences as a way of setting an example for my then-preteen.  Honestly, I was more concerned about his spelling and grammar than the amount and type of messages he might have been sharing with his friends! How quaint such concerns seem now, in a time of sexting and cyber-bullying and stuff on the Internet that never goes away *ever*…

I never sat down to have the kind of talk with my kiddo that this mom had, and since I’e read her list I’m somewhat conflicted.  I agree with the vast majority of the rules she lays out, especially the ones about not being ruled by technology or missing out on human interaction, and especially about not using it to be mean or hurtful to others.  Honestly, it’s the first and the fourth rules that leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.  She starts the contract by saying “It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?”  While this is absolutely true (and I reminded my own kiddo of this a few times since he’s had a phone), the tone she takes here seems a little smug for my personal taste.  I’m not wild about her requirement that a 13-year-old has to hand in his phone to a parent every night at 7:30 pm either. (Full disclosure – this mostly rankles my inner teenager, who’s a little closer to the surface more often than I like to admit.)

Still, as the mom of a teenager, I’m glad to see another mom working to make sure that her kid isn’t going to be one of those insufferable little twerps I so often fantasize about kicking when I see them in public.  My own observation has been that far too many parents are far too unwilling to say the word “NO” to their children.  So on the whole, this contract is a good thing and far less extreme than many of the headlines about it would make it seem.  It may not be best way for every parent to go with every kid, but it’s certainly a great place to start a conversation. (By the way, NPR had a lovely interview with Janell Burley Hofmann about the contract on Tuesday’s Talk of the Nation.  It’s really worth a listen.)

 

 

 
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Apple iTV television possibly being tested by Foxconn

Apple iTVThere are rumors in the industry that Foxconn, one of Apple’s main manufacturers, is doing some beta testing on 46”- 55” Apple iTV’s. For those tech lovers and Apple fans who want to be the first to get one, you will all have to wait till probably the end of 2013 maybe even beginning of 2014.

Of course there are rumors all over the web about this, but if Apple does come out with a TV, most likely it will be called an iTV.   If the iTV is real, I would love to see an iPhone / iPad app to use as a controller and or making the iTV a touch screen.  I can see an app for the iTV but the chances of a touch screen is probably slim, however one can wish for it.

As far as cost is concerned, there are no real answers at this point.  However, one would think that they will want to stay competitive and not over price these things.  My guess would be that it would go from $1799.99 to $2999.99, of course this is just a guess based on cost of current nicer LED based TV’s.

Of course, there has been no official release of any information about the iTV, so everything you hear or read today are all rumors.  What does everyone else think about the Apple iTV, is it real? What do you think the specs will be like or what would you like to see come with a television set from Apple.

 
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iPhone 5 Sees Over 2 Million Sales in China in Just 3 Days

Published on December 16, 2012 by in Apple, Culture, iPhone, News

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, announced today (via The Loop) that the iPhone 5 launch in China has been more than successful, seeing over 2 million sales in its first three days on the market:

“Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China. China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products.”

If there is any doubt whether China is important to Apple’s future, these numbers should settle things. As one of the most important emerging consumer markets in the world, China represents one of the greatest opportunities for Apple’s continued dominance of the smartphone market, and judging by the reception of the iPhone 5, Cook and the gang in Cupertino are well on their way.

 
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No More Twinkies?

I usually like to write about Apple products, however I know many people are fans of the Hostess Twinkie snacks.    That’s right, Hostess is closing it’s doors and selling off all their assets.   at the beginning of this year they filed a Chapter 11.

Now I know what everyone is thinking… NO WAY, but yes its true.  I too cant believe it.    Well the good thing is that these Twinkies have a ultra long shelf life… so stock up now, because there may not be anymore Twinkies… unless someone buys the brand and starts to make them again.  Even if that happens, may not taste the same.

 
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