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New Roku's Remote Control Could Save Your Marriage

Jason Gilbert   |   March 5, 2013    9:00 PM ET

You're probably familiar with this scenario: You're lying in bed with your husband, wife or significant other, and he or she is snoring and roaring away like a fat, dyspeptic bullfrog. You're not tired at all, so you pick up the remote and turn on the television to distract yourself; but as soon as the sound from the TV kicks in, your dozing lover wakes up and curses your noisiness with much anger and groaning. You sigh, turn off the television, shut your eyes and try to will yourself to sleep.

The Roku 3 -- the latest Internet-connected streaming media box from Roku, officially announced on Tuesday night -- offers an innovative solution to this all-too-common bedroom problem. The Roku 3's remote control features a headphone jack and volume buttons on the side, so as soon you plug in a pair of earbuds, the sound from the TV mutes and plays through the remote.

This works for any content you watch through your Roku: If you pop your headphones into the remote, you'll be able to hear your program in your ears without disturbing your sleeping spouse (or anyone else in your home, either). The Roku 3 will ship with purple earbuds and will cost $99 on either the Roku website or Amazon.com.

In a landscape where many streaming media boxes feature the same basic video services, Roku's addition of a "private listening" mode could differentiate it from the herd.

Indeed, the small Saratoga, Calif., upstart is at war with a much larger Californian counterpart for sales in the United States. Roku executives say sales are neck-and-neck with Apple, and combined with the Cupertino giant's Apple TV make up about 90 percent of the media streamer market. With Apple's acquisition of HBO Go for Apple TV earlier this year, Roku must now distinguish itself with its larger channel lineup; its offering of video games, including Angry Birds, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy; and, now, the new remote control with a headphone jack.

apple tv roku

The Apple TV, on the left, and the Roku 3, on the right, will do battle again. All hands on deck! (Apple/Roku)

Apple, meanwhile, continues to fight against Roku with its elegant hardware, its exclusive connection to the widely-used iTunes store, and its easy configuration with iPhones and iPads, which allows for streaming movies from a device to the television without an app download.

The newest Roku didn't just add earbuds, of course. In addition to the nifty remote control, Roku has also updated its media streamer with a faster processor and stronger Wi-Fi for more reliable performance. The interface has also been redesigned and simplified, supplying what Roku execs said was faster and more intuitive discovery of content than on any other device.

"Some of our competitors are about as graceful as a duck-billed platypus," said Ali Vassigh, the chief designer of the new Roku interface, in a meeting last week in New York City.

You can see a screenshot of the new Roku interface -- which is presumably far more graceful than a duck-billed platypus and will also be heading to older Roku boxes through an update soon -- below, and we have many more at the bottom of this post.

roku channels software

In other ways, the Roku 3 is much like the Roku boxes that preceded it: a hockey puck-sized box that connects to your Wi-Fi or ethernet connection and gives you access to several different television and movie streaming apps, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and about 750 others. The remote of the Roku 3 also contains a motion sensor, so that you can use it to play games like Angry Birds using your remote as a tool, much like the Nintendo Wii's Wiimote controller.

The Roku 3 will also work with the Roku app for iOS and Android, which allows a user to control the Roku via smartphone or tablet, just in case you lose that little remote. That app also lets you play photos or music (but not video) from your device through your television, similar to the way iOS devices allow you to "mirror" your content from iPhone or iPad through the Apple TV onto the big screen.

From my brief time with the Roku 3, there seems to be little reason that the newest device won't continue the company's forward momentum and solid sales against juggernauts like Apple and Google. The redesigned software is fast and easy to use, and the idea of a remote control with a headphone jack seems appealing for several non-ideal TV-watching situations, both marital and non-marital.

Those are just first, fleeting impressions, however. HuffPost will have a full review of the Roku 3 in the coming days; until then, you'll just have to watch the TV with the volume really, really low (and pinch your husband's nose if his snoring becomes unbearable). Or, if you're feeling lucky, you can order a Roku 3 for $99 from the Roku website starting now.

For more photos of the Roku 3 and its new remote control and interface, scroll through the images below:

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Roku was a Canadian company; it is, in fact, an American company founded and based in California.

How Do You Get Netflix Onto A TV? Apple TV, Roku, Console Or Cord

Jason Gilbert   |   March 5, 2013   12:17 PM ET

Netflix's streaming library might be nearing peak excellence. The political drama "House of Cards" has proven a bona fide smash hit show; the fourth season of "Arrested Development" has American workers planning vacation days; and full seasons of "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men" and "The West Wing" have launched a thousand lost weekends of binge viewing.

It's a back catalogue that would make any television network envious -- a feast of full seasons of hit shows that are perfect for your living room set. Yet, many of the 20+ million Netflix subscribers are still watching Walter White and Buster Bluth on comparably tiny tablet screens.

You might be wondering, then: How can you get Netflix onto your television? What's the best way to get that content from your 10-inch iPad or 11-inch laptop to your 50-inch TV set, where it was meant to be viewed?

Your most common options are below. None of these gadgets exists solely to stream Netflix on a television, of course -- they can play video games, access other websites and video and generally do much more than simply zap Netflix onto your LG or Bravia.

If your Netflix has been too long confined to your laptop or tablet, though, this list can serve as a launching point or shopping list for a much-needed purchase. Here are your most practical, widely-used options to stream Netflix on your TV set:

THE BOXES

A streaming media box is a small, Internet-connected device that hooks up to your television set and your Wi-Fi and gives you access to web television services like Netflix for no extra charge. The largest immediate difference between all of these boxes -- which include the Roku, Apple TV, Boxee TV and several different devices running Google's television-based operating system, Google TV -- is channel availability, or which web services each box can run. You can see a comprehensive chart comparing all of the boxes here, and a nice, critical article from Wirecutter here.

The Roku and the Apple TV represent the two most popular media streamers in America. The Roku starts at $50 for the most basic model, though $100 gives you several additional features including a USB port to play media from a USB stick and a motion-sensing controller to play a Wii-like version of Angry Birds. A smartphone app for iPhone or Android allows you to control your TV with your phone and lets you stream some of your downloaded music and movies onto your television. The Roku also offers a sizable library of third-party apps made especially for television.

The Apple TV, meanwhile, only comes in one flavor and costs $99. There are no games, but the Apple TV does let you stream your video content from your iPhone or iPad straight onto the television, through a technology called mirroring. Apple TV offers relatively few apps, though one could argue that Apple is offering only the apps that people actually use. The box also offers downloads through the iTunes Store, which many are already familiar with.

Apple TV and Roku might be the two biggest players, but others are attempting to make some headway with unique features that go beyond just streaming movies. The Boxee TV, for example, can also hook up to your cable television and replace your DVR, giving you unlimited web storage for your recorded shows for $15 a month. Google TV boxes, like the Vizio Co-Star, also give you access to the Google Chrome web browser on your television, for real Internet surfing.

THE CONSOLES

Gaming consoles aren't exclusively for video-gaming anymore, as more and more console owners are putting down the controller to watch video through their machines.

Consoles are more expensive than boxes, but they offer much better gaming experiences than any box; the Netflix part is really just a bonus feature or sweetener of purchasing a console.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will both be replaced by newer consoles by the end of 2013, so now is not the best time to buy them. Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, was just released in late 2012, however, and offers some interesting applications for TV watchers. Most notably, the GamePad controller for the Wii U functions as a tablet, so that if you don't want to watch Netflix on the TV anymore, you can send the show to the GamePad and continue streaming your Netflix show on the controller from anywhere in the house.

THE SMART TVS

If you don't want to plug anything into your set, you can buy what's called a "Smart TV," which is a general term for an Internet-connected television which runs apps like Netflix. TechRadar runs down its favorite Smart TVs here, though note that some of these televisions may have been updated since the December publishing date.

This is obviously the most expensive option to view streaming video on your TV; but it does eliminate the need to buy another box and deal with extra cords and cables. If you're in the market for a television anyway, it's not a bad option, though it's still wise to purchase based on screen quality, size and cost -- rather than availability of Internet apps.

THE CORDS

Finally, the penny-pincher's solution to this conundrum. If you're a real cheapskate, you can purchase a cable or cord that will connect your laptop to your television and project whatever is showing your laptop's screen onto your TV. It's the cheap and dirty way to do things, but it works, and you can stream whatever you want on the Internet, without needing to download an app from the app store of your box, console or Smart TV.

Best Buy actually has a fairly thorough guide for connecting televisions to computers for newbies; you'll need to figure out what kind of cord connections are available on both your computer and your television set before you make a purchase. Once you figure it out, shop around online for the best price, perhaps using our own handy guide for finding the best online prices when you shop.

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Again, these four categories do not encompass every method for beaming Netflix onto your television; they are simply the most common and practical for the average home viewer. Now, let us know: How do you watch Netflix and other streaming services on your TV? What did we miss? Which of these options works, and which will leave you wishing you had purchased something else? Let us know in the comments below.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Netflix was streaming "Dexter." Showtime announced it was pulling its shows from Netflix in March of last year.

Is The iPhone 5S Coming Out In August?

Jason Gilbert   |   March 3, 2013    9:56 AM ET

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to This Week In Apple Rumors, our regular look back at all of the week's unconfirmed gossip, questionably sourced reports and blatant speculation about future Apple products from around the Web! Let's take a look back at what the various Apple blogs and websites were excited about in the past week, from Feb. 23-March 1. Check out our previous edition of Apple rumors here, and for all the latest you can follow me on Twitter right here.

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1. Yet Another Analyst Predicts The Next iPhone Will Debut In August/September 2013

iPhone shoppers wondering when the next model will be arriving: It's looking a little more likely that yo' Christmas will be coming early, as yet another analyst has predicted some heavenly light in August for Apple fans.

Welcome back to This Week In Apple Rumors, where we're cramming nonsensical Faulkner puns into the first sentence and transcribing yet another prediction that the next-generation iPhone -- the iPhone 5S, we'd guess -- will be appearing in August or September (or about a year after the introduction of the iPhone 5, on September 12).

light in august

This time around, it's Barclays analyst Kirk Yang that's landed on our radar, for predicting that the next iPhone would land in August or September, along with a cheaper iPhone aimed at emerging markets. Yang didn't have any other juicy details about the phone itself; the release date is the thing to watch here. That August/September prognostication puts him in line with a growing squad of Apple-watchers calling for a July/August/September release, including Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster and Peter Misek of Jeffries.

Kuo and Horwitz are the two prognosticators-to-watch: They've proven to be accurate in the past, unlike Misek and Munster. (M&M, as they are known in the Apple community of my mind). By June, we should be getting a very clear sense of Apple's timeline for the iPhone 5S; if you can hold out that long without upgrading, it's probably worth waiting.

2. Will The "iPhone Mini" Prove To Be A 4.5-Inch Screen Monster?

Since the dawn of man (or, since the first iPhone was released), Apple has been rumored to release a cheaper iPhone along with it, to entice buyers in emerging markets like China. And like the long-awaited third movie in the Mortal Kombat film trilogy, it hasn't happened yet.

There's been a ton of renewed chatter about such an "iPhone Mini" or "iPhone Nano" in the past couple of months, though, with several analysts convinced that Apple is finally going to put one out this time around. "2013 is going to be the year!" they cry, their eyes full of hope and innocence. We've heard rumors about how such a phone would cut costs -- a plastic body is probably the most popular suggestion -- and what it might look like.

Here's a fresh one: The Japanese Apple blog Macotakara claims that Apple is pushing its cheaper iPhone back to 2014; and that rather than a smaller phone, its "iPhone Mini" will actually contain a 4.5-inch screen, or 0.5-inches larger than the current iPhone 5 display. AppleInsider has more.

Obviously this conflicts with the C.W. surrounding the release timeframe and the size of the iPhone Mini; also obviously, the C.W. on the iPhone Mini has been wrong every year dating back to 2007. We're still waiting for more solid information (especially given Macotakara's somewhat inaccurate past).

3. Are We Going To See The First iPhones In Color This Summer?

Leaving this here as a mere curiosity, but a persistent rumor about the cheaper iPhone is that Apple is going to make it available in different colors, similar to what Nokia does with the Lumia 920 and what Mars Inc. does with Skittles. This week Apple Bitch (real website name!) noticed that Apple posted a new job (who says we're in a recession?) looking for an anodizing engineer -- or, a lady or gent who could add color to aluminum. The job posting is here, and there's no mention of the iPhone; Apple could be looking to replace someone in the iPod division. (The iPod already comes in many colors, like the coat of Joseph).

So, this is pure, unsourced, irredeemable speculation. But isn't it fun? Especially when we have MOCKUPS of what a colored iPhone might look like below??

iphone 5s colors

Moving on.

4. 'iPad 5' Cases Already Popping Up In China

One of the quirks of the Apple rumor mill is that cases for non-existent products often leak months before the product's actual release date, as the factories that work on those products leak internal specs to case-makers in China. These case leaks have proven accurate before, so let's not write this one off too quickly.

Supposed cases of the next-generation iPad -- which Apple will call the iPad, and which everyone else will call the iPad 5 -- popped up on international marketplace AliBaba last week. You can view them below. What can they tell us? What do they whisper into our ears about the future iPad?

ipad_5_cases_rainbow

Once again discovered by Apple Bitch (twice in one column I get to mention Apple Bitch, and there is nothing -- NOTHING -- my editor can do about it!), there's nothing particularly revealing about these cases. There is a slot for the Lightning connector, and the width and height appears to be about the same as the current generation of iPad. The one potentially-intriguing aspect of the cases is the reduced bezel size: The iPad will reportedly take design cues from the iPad mini, which has much thinner bezels (or bevels).

Again, not exactly David Beckham Super Bowl commercial sexiness here. But it's something.

The presence of these cases doesn't really tell us anything about a release date timeframe for the next iPad (though it is generally assumed it will arrive in the second-half of this year).

It is with my deepest apologies that I inform you that I lack a Faulkner pun to drive home this final bit of non-news. If only there were some quote associated with Faulkner to describe a loud, flashy event that, in the end, signifies very little.

Ah well.

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That's all for this week's edition of This Week In Apple Rumors. Make sure you join us again next week; or, if you want to get Apple rumors as they break, you can get all the latest by following me on Twitter right here.

The U.S. Government's Horrifying Four-Legged Robot Can Now Throw CINDER BLOCKS

Jason Gilbert   |   March 1, 2013   11:46 AM ET

In news that foreshadows the end of our country and probably civilization as we know it, BigDog -- an enormous, horrifying four-legged robot that is funded by the U.S. Army's Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (RCTA) -- can now pick up cinder blocks and throw them at great distances.

What could possibly go wrong?

Watch the video below, and perhaps get an early glimpse of the way your home will be destroyed in 2027, the year BigDog becomes sentient.

The stated purpose of the RCTA, by the way? To "bring together government, industrial, and academic institutions to address research and development required to enable the deployment of future military unmanned ground vehicle systems ranging in size from man-portables to ground combat vehicles." Look for it to play a prominent villainous role in the next Michael Bay movie.

GizMag has more on BigDog and its new cinder block-tossing arm. Boston Dynamics, the robotics firm behind BigDog and several other equally-terrifying robots, has an extensive video playlist of its 'bots in action on YouTube that is recommended viewing.

Jason Gilbert   |   February 27, 2013   11:59 AM ET

Turns out that 2013 is, indeed, a Leap Year.

Leap Motion, the company that makes the hotly anticipated gesture-control device of the same name, announced Wednesday morning that the first Leap Motion units would ship to pre-orderers around the world on May 13, and that everyone could get their hands (and fingers) on one on May 19.

If you want one, you can order on Leap Motion's website here or, somewhat curiously, on BestBuy.com right here. The Leap Motion Controller costs $80 at either outlet.

For a refresher, the Leap Motion controller plugs into almost any newer laptop and allows you to manipulate the screen via a series of hand and finger movements in the air. It's sort of like having a touchscreen computer, but without actually touching the screen. Watch this video below, made by Leap Motion, to get an idea of how the small device can wholly transform your computer:

Previously, Leap Motion announced that it was sending 10,000 of its controllers to developers, so that there would be apps specifically built for gesture control; earlier this year, the company announced its app store, Airspace, and we've already seen one of those apps, by the developers behind the to-do list Clear, shown off.

In general, though, Leap Motion works with your existing operating system (Windows 7 or 8, or OS X 10.7 and 10.8), via zoom, scroll and zoom functions baked into the hardware, which you plug into your USB port. Wired's Roberto Baldwin wrote that the Leap probably works best as a secondary controller, after your trackpad or mouse, and for specific apps or games written for it; but, like most reviewers, he came away very impressed by the little gizmo's accuracy and speed.

For more on the Leap Motion Controller, and to pre-order, you can visit the official website right here.

A Two-Second Tip To Make Your iPhone Password SUPER Secure

Jason Gilbert   |   February 26, 2013   11:41 AM ET

If you own an iPhone, you should definitely secure it with a passcode. That's a no-brainer, and I hope all of you lovely people have done so.

But how strong is your passcode, really? By default, your iPhone password is what Apple calls a "simple passcode," which is a combination of four numbers entered in on a keypad. A couple years ago, Apple also added the ability to turn your passcode into a combination of numbers and letters, from 5 to 12 characters in length. Both of those options create strong passwords, but -- like my memory, dancing skills, and biceps -- your password could still be stronger.

How's that? Well, a handy tip we spotted from Digital Inspiration can elevate your iPhone's passcode security to a very high level. Instead of confining yourself to the numbers and letters that are immediately visible on your keyboard, try using the accented characters that appear when you press and hold a letter down.

It's quick, it's easy and it's tougher to crack than whatever you have now. Here's how to implement it.

First, you'll need to know how to access those accented characters. On the iPhone keyboard, if you press and hold down certain letters -- the letter S, for example -- a menu pops up with several alternate, S-like characters. Go ahead and try it with the letter S. You should see this.

photo

It works with several other letters, too. including A, E, I, O, U and (always) Y. You can take these diacritical and otherwise accented characters and intersperse them into your password to create a Frankenstein of a code that would be difficult for anyone to guess.

Basically, we're asking you to take your current password and throw in a couple of these characters where normal letters would be. Perhaps you can change your first letter, or your last letter, to one of these characters. Because, believe it or not, "pássword" is a much better password than "password." (But you still shouldn't be using "password" as your password because everyone uses "password" as their password).

Obviously, this is going to mean a teensy bit more time to unlock your iPhone. But if your phone gets swiped -- or if you suspected a nosy BF or GF of spying on your phone -- you might find the extra two seconds was worth it.

So, once you've chosen your super-strong passcode, you can set it by following these simple steps:

1. Open the "Settings" app. (It has a gear on it).
2. Go into "General."
3. Go into "Passcode lock."
4. Make sure "Simple Passcode" is switched to off. (The Simple Passcode is the four digit combo described above).
5. Select Turn Passcode On and enter your passcode (with accented character(s)!) twice.

Voila! There's your new, tougher-to-guess passcode. Your husband, child or iPhone thief will have no idea what hit 'em.

Could Apple's 'iWatch' Take The Form Of A Futuristic Slap Bracelet?

Jason Gilbert   |   February 24, 2013   11:59 AM ET

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to This Week In Apple Rumors, our regular look back at all of the week's unconfirmed gossip, questionably sourced reports and blatant speculation about future Apple products from around the Web! Let's take a look back at what the various Apple blogs and websites were excited about in the past week, from Feb. 16-22. Check out our previous edition of Apple rumors here, and for all the latest you can follow me on Twitter right here.

Bad News For Fans Of The Dildomaker

Jason Gilbert   |   February 20, 2013   11:22 AM ET

The Internet world was tittering and titillated this past weekend with the unveiling of the Dildomaker, but anyone who prematurely added the innovative gadget to their Christmas list is in for some bad news.

Over the weekend I got in touch with Francesco Morackini, the deisgner of the Dildomaker, to talk about his wondrous creation. WARNING: What follows might be a crushing disappointment to a certain subset of individuals.

dildomaker

(For those who missed it, the Dildomaker is a mysterious, conceptual device created by Morackini that would allow owners to carve dildos out of almost any material of sufficient length and girth (cucumber, candlestick, etc.) from the comfort of their own homes.)

In an email, Morackini first emphasized that he's a graphic designer, and not a tinkerer, first.

"[Maybe] it would have been more appropriate to put it in the Art column," he joked.

An industrial designer by day, Morackini wrote that he "us[es] using industrial design as medium to produce art pieces."

"Some artists use paint, videos, poetry, performance, installation, photography etc...," he wrote. "For me, my tool is industrial design. I don't have a brush, I have a computer and manufacturers, craftsman, suppliers... At the end of the process, like other artistic disciplines, you end up with a useless object."

Now, you might debate whether the dildomaker is indeed useless -- indeed, its end-product would seem to have a very specific use -- but Morackini doesn't see it as a lasting business or career path. He stated outright that while he would like to create a prototype, and perhaps show it in a museum or gallery, he was not interested in mass producing and selling the dildomaker.

There is still a glimmer of hope, however.

"I can bet you a beer," Morackini concluded, "that if I don't develop the product, anytime soon, someone in Asia will copy it and put it on the market anyway."

Anyone want to bet Morackini a beer?

Read our original report on the Dildomaker here.

How HTC's New Superphone Stacks Up Against iPhone 5 And Galaxy S3

Jason Gilbert   |   February 19, 2013    6:31 PM ET

On Tuesday morning, HTC outed its newest Android superphone, the HTC One. This latest development in the smartphone wars has set up an epic clash that is, at its heart, a battle of numbers, between the odd integers 1, 3 and 5.

That is, the HTC One, the Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5.

In this clash of titanic superphones, does the old adage that bigger is better hold true, with Apple's 5 taking the crown? Or is this more like a game of golf, where the lower your number the better, and a Hole in One heralds an HTC resurgence? Or does the number three somehow trump one and five -- like the "Star Wars" films, perhaps? -- with Samsung retaining its momentum in its takedown of Apple and all the other Android makers?

Numerology aside, which do you like: The all-aluminum, redesigned Android flavor of the HTC One; the smooth moves and good looks of Samsung's Galaxy S III; or Apple's super-slim iPhone 5?

We've got all the specs below. What's your lucky number?

You can read more about the HTC One here.

htc one iphone 5

Mac Owners Should Go Download This Security Fix Right Now

Jason Gilbert   |   February 19, 2013    6:24 PM ET

On Tuesday morning Apple revealed that some of its computers had been infiltrated, perhaps by the same Chinese hackers who had also attacked Facebook, in what Reuters described as the "widest known cyber attacks targeting Apple computers used by corporations." Later Tuesday afternoon, responding quickly to the hack, Apple released an update for Mac computers that closes the security hole those hackers exploited in their attacks, making the patch available for all Mac owners.

Needless to say, if you own a Mac computer, you should probably go download that update right about now.

The update, which you can read about on the Apple website here, disables the Java plug-in on all Mac browsers. Hackers used a hole in Java to infect the Apple computers, according to a Reuters report.

To download this update, open up your App Store, click on the Updates tab and install the Java for OS X update. Apple has also made the critical update available for download from its website right here.

You'll need to shut down all of your web browsers before you install the update; but don't worry, HuffPost will still be here when you get back (and the web will be safer for you, too!).

Here's What One Designer Thinks The Fabled iWatch Could Look Like

Jason Gilbert   |   February 19, 2013    2:43 PM ET

By now you've probably come across rumors of the iWatch, a "watch-like device" that Apple is said to be working on. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have all weighed in with reports that Apple is indeed moving forward with the smartwatch project, though no specs, features or release date have yet been offered.

In the absence of solid facts, then, there's plenty of room for speculation! Freshly arrived in the Captain Gadget inbox, we have two cool mockups of the iWatch from graphic designer Nickolay Lamm. Lamm -- whose work you might have seen on Gizmodo and Wired, among other tech sites, and who created these images in a post for the British blog MyVoucherCodes -- based his design on a couple of key Apple patents from 2010, namely this patent that shows a possible desktop-based icon interface for an Apple watch.

As the guide for his take on the iWatch, Lamm used the above patent, he told me in an email, as well as a bit of detective work he conducted. Lamm found that lead Apple designer Jonathan Ive was both friends with and inspired by the acclaimed designer Marc Newson, and so Lamm used Newson's watches as an inspiration for a hypothetical iWatch. Though some previous iWatch mockups have focused more on curved glass -- mentioned by the New York Times as a material Apple was indeed working with for its iWatch -- Lamm's rendering features a far less dramatic curve and appears more like a wristwatch we're accustomed to seeing today.

iwatch

As you can see, Lamm's iWatch packs in several different app icons into a revolving semi-circle; it's inspired by the aforementioned patent, which addresses display "views [that] can be used to arrange a large number of icons for selection by a user."

Below, Lamm gives us another tantalizing possible feature of the iWatch: syncing with and control by a connected iPhone. In this view, Lamm imagines launching an application on the iWatch using an iPhone connected via Bluetooth or NFC. Connection between an iPhone and iWatch is one of the more common features expected by pundits for an iWatch; the Pebble smartwatch, released earlier this year, has already accomplished this, allowing an E-Ink wristwatch to display many iPhone notifications on its wrist-worn display.

iwatch iphone interaction

Again, no one who is willing to talk to the press really has any idea what this thing really looks like, nor whether it will actually be released. As with most hypothetical Apple products, we are in the early, rampantly-speculative period of rumors. But it sure is fun to dream, isn't it?

For more mockups, Mashable has a neat slideshow of over a dozen different iWatch renderings from graphic designers around the world.

HTC Unveils Its Latest Shot At The iPhone 5 And Galaxy S3

Jason Gilbert   |   February 19, 2013   10:20 AM ET

HTC has unveiled its newest hero smartphone, the HTC One, at an event in New York City. The company has drastically redesigned its Sense interface and has added an improved "UltraPixel" camera to its latest device in its latest attempt to take on Apple and Samsung and reassert itself as a major player in the global smartphone market.

Though the HTC One retains the name of the company's One series from 2012, much has changed from those disparate smartphones. For starters, it appears that HTC will be attacking the market with just a single model, and a single name, unifying its brand rather than releasing several different phones across different carriers.

Though this gives consumers fewer choices, HTC is betting that it has made a device that will please everyone.

"One," then, is a fairly poetic name for HTC's singular smartphone, a 4.7-inch, Android Jelly Bean smartphone that drastically reimagines the smartphone homescreen. Rather than the rows of icons familiar from iOS and most Android phones, HTC has invented a new interface called "BlinkFeed," a pinboard-like design for its homescreen that will deliver a newsfeed from over 1400 news partners, plus Twitter and Facebook, in a constantly-updating feed.

"BlinkFeed" (which you can see in the photos below) greets the One user upon startup; swiping to the side, or pressing the Settings button on the front center of the phone, takes the user into the more familiar view of icons and apps. Imagine if a news aggregation service like Zite or Flipboard were your homescreen, and you get an idea of what HTC is going for with BlinkFeed.

The phone's owner can choose which news services and social networks he or she wishes to include in the feed, selecting by either publication title or area of interest.

HTC's previous campaign attempted to define itself as the leader in audio (with its partnership with Beats) and photography, and those two aspects are also front and center on the HTC One. The One ships with what HTC calls an "UltraPixel camera," which HTC claims captures 300 percent more light than a typical megapixel camera on a smartphone, for better low-light and action photography. There is also an intriguing new photography feature called Zoe, which automatically captures a few seconds of video before your photograph, similar to the app Glmps. Zoe then creates an automatic video montage of your day, stitching together videos and photos from different events, with filters and a musical soundtrack.

The photo gallery has also been redesigned and thought out anew, with a constantly moving, filtering view of your cameras and videos appearing when you open your photo view.

Another new feature: BoomSound, with two stereo speakers on the front face of the device, which deliver "sound you will not believe comes from a phone," per an HTC exec. BoomSound also comes with a new visualizer for your music, which features a lyric display that scrolls along with the song as it plays.

Finally, the HTC One could be your new remote control, thanks to a new feature set wrapped under the umbrella label of Sense TV. The One includes infrared technology to sync with your television and act as your remote -- to change the channel, power on and off your television and adjust the volume. Within the Sense TV app, too, you can load in your cable provider to view your local listings and; tapping on a television title will change the channel on your television set to your selected program.

Spec-wise, the HTC One features a 4.7-inch 1080p display in an aluminum body; a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor; 4G LTE; 2GB RAM; and Android 4.1.2 "Jelly Bean," with HTC's Sense interface layered on top.

The HTC One will be available on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile and will ship in March, in either 32GB or 64GB varieties.

htc one

The HTC One, HTC's latest hero Android smartphone, is introduced by HTC President Jason Mackenzie at an event in New York City.

Updating...

The Dildomaker Is A Conceptual Pencil Sharpener-Like Gadget That Turns Any Object Into A Dildo (NSFW)

Jason Gilbert   |   February 15, 2013    4:29 PM ET

Just in time for the Day After Valentine's Day comes this: A pencil sharpener-like device that transforms any long, cylindrical object into a dildo.

Francesco Morackini, the device's creator, calls his dildo-making gadget "the Dildomaker." On his Cargo Collective website, Morackini lists as his inspiration the original hand-cranked Loewy pencil sharpener that might be familiar to you from your school days. You know the one: That old-fashioned sharpener mounted on the wall whose crank you would turn in order to shave your pencil to a sharp point?

Morackini's dildomaker is just like that, but instead of sharpened pencils, the dildomaker churns out homemade dildos:

dildomaker

Now, before you get too excited and run out to Trader Joe's, you should know that the Dildomaker is at this point nothing but a concept, nor is there any indication that the innovative device is going into production any time soon. Right now it appears that the Dildomaker is but a beautiful exercise in creativity and graphic design.

We've reached out to Morackini in Austria to find out if he has any plans to release a Dildomaker, or if he's built a prototype. We'll update this story when we learn more; for now, however, you can bask in the world of possibilities that the Dildomaker foretells, and the Brave New World of homemado pleasure devices that we may soon find ourselves living in.

Read (and see) more at Morackini's Cargo Collective.

dildos

Hat tip: Incredible Things.

Here's The Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Order Ever

Jason Gilbert   |   February 13, 2013    1:10 PM ET

Last February we wrote about what was then the most expensive single-drink Starbucks order ever: A $23.60 caffeine monster that the orderer described as "tolerable, but not good."

Now, one Washington man claims that he was rewritten the record books with a $47.30 order from Starbucks. It's loaded up with add-ons, fruits, whipped cream and more, all poured in to a 52-ounce mug. Check it out below, via Geekologie:

And how'd it taste? According to Beau Chevassus, writing on YouTube:

It was rather delicious and extremely sweet. However I must confess the bananas made it awfully fragrant. But they were $1 each, so we had to just to up the price.

So, there you have it. If you have a $47.30 burning a hole in your pocket, you can order up an absurd amount of "delicious, extremely sweet Starbucks coffee" for the entertainment of the YouTube hordes.

Either that, or you can donate that money to charity.