iOS 6.1: Siri Lets You Buy Movie Tickets, Now Ready For Download


Just a heads-up for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users: iOS 6.1, has is now available as a free download. According to the release notes, the update adds LTE support for additional carriers (36 for iPhone, 23 for iPad), the ability to purchase movie tickets through Siri (US-only) and last but not least, the opportunity for iTunes Match fans to download individual songs from iCloud. the update should be arriving on iOS devices every few minutes. Press release is below.

Brevity Review: HuMn Mini Wallet

HuMn Mini in Hand

Remember the HuMn wallet review? It’s an RFID-blocking, smooth aircraft-grade aluminum “wallet”, with a tough elastic band that keeps two metal plates together so you can place credit cards, IDs, and cash in between or in the front or back of the HuMn Mini wallet (pronounced “human mini wallet”).  There’s nothing that really has changed: the HuMn Mini costs the same amount as the original, bigger, edgier wallet, and basically is just an alternative for people who want to fit a wallet into skinny jeans or some other piece of clothing were storage is extremely limited.

The H.265 Video Format Will Help Your Network Watch Better Video

Galaxy S IIIs In A RowSo this is something that will work for the future, and the present. The constant problem of using HD video streaming on a smartphone is that it always buffers, even on a 4G LTE connection. The solution? Change the video format. So, as cool as that seems, it gets better: the new format is called High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), shortened as H.265, and it’s a standard that should make HD video streaming easier and could make even Ultra HD (formerly known as 4K) a possibility on a cellphone.

So when will you see it on your phone? Not immediately. First, the software encoders have to be developed (that’s in progress), then the hardware chips have to be built, but it is possible that current high-end cellphones could start running it this year. Seems promising!

Via: ITU 

Scientists Have Built A Microscopic Tractor Beam

Tractor Beam Mockup

What’s a tractor beam you ask? Something a fan of Star Trek (or alien movies)  would recognize: a beam that pulls something towards it. What’s so cool about this? Well, scientists have created a tractor beam that actually works: on a microscopic level, for microscopic distances. The Czech Republic’s Institute of Scientific Instruments and Scotland’s University of St. Andrews have created an optical field that can drag particles towards it, as long as they’re made of the right materials.

Tractor beams in space and for the air force, anyone? Via: Nature

Brevity Review: Samsung Galaxy Note II (Verizon)

Galaxy Note II Verizon

Reviewed once, twice, and now three times. The Samsung Galaxy Note II is a great smartphone, despite how humongous it is. Like its brethren on AT&T and T-Mobile, the Verizon Galaxy Note II has a 1.6GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD screen, an S pen, a large 3,100mAh battery, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Samsung’s Touchwiz interface, and an amazing 4G LTE reception, even in New York City. If you really want the scoop on how the Note II is as a successor to the Note I and a smartphone overall, then read the original AT&T model’s review.

All that aside, it’s once again more of the same: still awesome and somehow even fun to use.

AT&T Buying $1.9 Billion Worth Of Verizon’s 700MHz Network

LaptopMemo at AT&T Daybreak 2012 in NYC

Verizon has been doing plenty of business lately, selling off parts of its 700MHz spectrum (basically, towers and radio waves it has access to and operates). AT&T is perhaps the biggest buyer so far, buying $1.9 billion worth of 700MHz spectrum in 18 states which covers nearly 42 million people. The deal isn’t set in stone; AT&T still needs regulatory approval to close the deal by the second-half of 2013. The press release with the list of states can be found after the break.

Via: AT&T

Bah: Unlocking Your On-Contract Phone Will Be Illegal Next Week

DSC_0088This is rather unwelcoming news. In October of last year, the Librarian of Congress added new rules to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This new rule is one that’s very touchy: unlocking subsidized phones you bought on a 2-year contract with your carrier. Specifically, if not given permission or the consent of the carrier your phone was purchased from, it is illegal to unlock it and use it on another network. Most carriers lock their phones anyway, but under the new law, even if you’re able to unlock it, it would be illegal, unless you were already using an unlocked phone from the start; Apple’s $650 unlocked iPhone 5 and Google’s $300 unlocked Nexus 4 are legal examples.

Via: TND

AT&T Sold 8.6 Million iPhones, 1.6 Million Of Everything Else In Q4 2012

AT&TAs hard to believe as it sounds (or maybe no), AT&T’s amazing catalog of Android smartphones still are dominated by the bread-and-butter of phones — the iPhone. In the fourth quarter of 2012 8.6 million iPhones were activated, 16% of which were new customers. On the opposing end, AT&T only managed to sell 1.6 million phones from Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone combined. But the combined 10.2M in sales are still something to look at positively.

As for actual profits, AT&T built up $17.6 billion in wireless revenues, with the wireless income at a positive $2.6B. AT&T did have some losses from revised pension plans and the number of subsidies it had to pay out for all of the smartphones it during the quarter, including damages from Hurricane Sandy.

Still, AT&T did pretty well. Additional financial details are at the source.