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What Apple Might Be Planning To Do With iPhone Fingerprint Detection

Jason Gilbert   |   January 22, 2013    4:01 PM ET

I was a guest on HuffPost Live this afternoon to discuss my previous This Week In Apple Rumors column, specifically the rumor that the next iPhone would include fingerprint detection technology.

To catch you up to speed, in mid-2012 Apple paid over $350 million for a fingerprint detection company called AuthenTec; this past week, the respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple's new iPhone would include fingerprint scanning technology underneath the home button. In the clip below, I discuss what that technology might mean for the next iPhone, and how it could revolutionize the smartphone as we know it.

We also discuss marijuana storage and phone sex, naturally.

Before you ask: Yes, I am wearing makeup; and yes, it does make me feel pretty.

7 Great Tools To Find The Best Streaming Movies On Netflix

Jason Gilbert   |   January 22, 2013   11:11 AM ET

On these long, cold days of winter -- and with the menacing Nemo headed for the East Coast -- many of you are probably planning on curling up with a loved one and a laptop to watch a movie or two on Netflix's streaming section. But once you cycle through the classics -- "Office Space," "Oldboy," the first two seasons of "Arrested Development" -- you might find yourself desperately searching for another Instant movie or television show to make your frigid, bed-ridden hours pass by just a little bit more quickly.

If Netflix's recommendations are getting stale, I've collected seven websites you can visit to find some fresh inspiration and flicks you otherwise might not have have found on the service. Because, really, how many times can you re-watch "Breakfast at Tiffany's" before you're ready for something new?

1. A Better Queue

A new website called A Better Queue has turned heads with a gorgeous, clean design and intuitive interface that makes finding new Netflix options a joy. The site is simple and brilliant: It combines the Netflix Instant library with Rotten Tomatoes ratings, so that you can sort movies based on their Tomatometer score. (The higher the score, the better the ratio of professional reviewers who liked the movie). You can set filters based on movie genre, minimum Rotten Tomatoes score and year of the movie's release, and A Better Queue will display your results in a Pinterest-like pinboard grid.

You can try A Better Queue here.

2. RottenTomatoes Netflix Filter

Speaking of RottenTomatoes: Did you know the venerable critical aggregator has its own section devoted to helping you find movies to watch on Netflix? Though not as pretty as A Better Queue, RottenTomatoes can sort streaming Netflix movies based on Tomatometer score, release date, genre and MPAA rating; you can also search within RottenTomatoes by actor or director. From your results, you can either add a movie to your Instant Queue or play it immediately, with RottenTomatoes linking you straight out to the Netflix site.

You can use RottenTomatoes' Netflix filter here.

3. InstantWatcher

The Holy Grail of Netflix sites is probably InstantWatcher. It's got an encyclopedia's worth of information about movies streaming on the 'Flix: new movies, the most popular movies, movies that are expiring soon (get on it!), New York Times critics' picks, as well as filtering via genre, RottenTomatoes or Netflix rating, MPAA rating and more.

It ain't the most well-designed website out there -- in a lot of ways, it recalls the halcyon Internet days of 1999 -- but it is likely the most robust set of information about Netflix's library out there. GIve it a shot and make sure you really explore the space.

You can try InstantWatcher here.

4. InstantWatchDB

Another simple, well-made website that brings a lot of sorting options to your search for the perfect Netflix streamer. You can filter by genre, rating or Netflix star count; or you can head into the excellent Lists section, which shows you Netflix Instant movies that made various critical countdowns, including AFI's 100 Best Movies and Roger Ebert's Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Check out InstantWatchDB here.

5. The Pivot View

If you're looking for an external Netflix utility that'll make your eyeballs pop out of your head, try the neat-o Pivot View of Netflix Instant Titles. It offers a huge grid of movie posters (which can be filtered by genre, rating, cast member, director and more) that you can flip through and drag around in almost any direction. Zoom in, zoom out, maybe find a new TV series to binge-watch.

It's not the most efficient way to find your next title, but Pivot View sure does look cool. You can try it here.

6. WhichFlicks

WhichFlicks is another cool, grid-based website to sort your Netflix recommendations. Again, you can filter by rating, genre, cast members and RottenTomatoes or Netflix scores, and you can also add iTunes, Redbox or Amazon filters, if you're willing to search outside the 'Flix.

You can try WhichFlicks here.

7. Streaming Soon

A specialty site, Streaming Soon mainly exists to let you know which notable titles will be arriving to Netflix in the coming weeks or months, as well as which streams have just been added. It also has a (great!) section of the most highly-rated titles currently streaming on the service.

You can't rank or organize or filter anything on StreamingSoon, but you can see an automatically-updating list of the highly-regarded movies on Netflix. Treat yourself to some cinema!

You can visit Streaming Soon here.

Did we miss a site that has driven your discovery of brave new Netflix titles? Let us know in the comments. And if you're totally over Netflix, and have truly watched every good movie and television show on the service to the point of boredom, remember that you can always try Crackle, Amazon Prime, Fandor, Hulu or any number of other alternatives delivering streaming titles straight to your warm, warm bed.

LOOK: The Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl Is All Kinds Of Depressing

Jason Gilbert   |   January 22, 2013   10:20 AM ET

Here, via CNET's Amanda Kooser, is what is likely the most depressing --and, let's face it, most useful! -- iPhone accessory you'll see all week. It's a Ramen bowl with a holder for your iPhone, poetically dubbed the Anti-loneliness ramen bowl, designed so that you can look at the screen while you eat alone at a table for one.

ramen bowl iphone

Tissues to wipe away your tears of sadness not included. MisoSoupDesign, the Taiwanese company behind the anti-loneliness ramen bowl, have not yet announced pricing or availability; at this point, the bowl appears to be a design concept rather than an actual product. In other words, you're going to have to master holding your fork with one hand and your iPhone with the other for a little while longer.

[Via CNET].

Could The iPhone 6 Have 'Fingerprint Detection' Technology?

Jason Gilbert   |   January 20, 2013    1:27 PM 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 January 13 -19. Check out our previous edition of Apple rumors here, and for all the latest you can follow me on Twitter right here.

These 13 Modern Day Problems Could Soon Be Obsolete Thanks To Emerging Technology

Jason Gilbert   |   January 16, 2013    3:27 PM ET

You want to turn off the light in your bedroom, but you are so comfy and cozy under your blanket. Your plants are always dying because you have no idea how much water to give them. You'd like to watch "Real Housewives of Atlanta," but your stupid boyfriend wants to watch "Real Housewives of Miami," instead.

Modern life is full of problems. Luckily, technology companies have devoted brilliant men and women to solving those problems and making these troubles nothing but quaint trifles of ancient life.

Below, we've collected 13 modern annoyances, difficulties and burdens in 2013 that may soon be obsolete, thanks to innovative technologies we've seen emerge in the past year or two. As the song goes: Enjoy your worries, you may never have them again.

LOOK: This Brilliant 'Smart' Inhaler Could Change How Parents Manage Their Kids' Asthma

Jason Gilbert   |   January 16, 2013    2:20 PM ET

In a tech landscape where we too often obsess over incrementally-improving speeds and specs of our cell phones and smart televisions, it's always refreshing to meet a company looking to solve actual, real-world problems.

Case in point: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier in January, we ran into Gecko Health Innovations, a young startup hoping to ease the difficulty of managing children's asthma with a simple, but brilliant, gadget. It's called the GeckoCap, and it's a small, Bluetooth-enabled rubber accessory that you can place atop your child's inhaler. The cap contains a tiny, colored LED light that starts flashing when it's time for your child to use the inhaler, and that will not stop until he or she does.

When pressed down, the GeckoCap transmits usage data to the GeckoCap website via Bluetooth pairing, so that a parent or doctor can see from anywhere that the inhaler has been used, and enjoy the peace of mind that the child has used the inhaler when he or she was supposed to.

Smart, right?

The GeckoCap was dreamed up by a team of MIT-associated pediatricians, engineers and designers, led by Dr. Yechiel Engelhard. The device is currently in the prototype phase, with a target launch date in September 2013. To reach that goal, the team has launched an IndieGogo fundraising campaign to mass produce the devices and to fund the registration process with the FDA and other regulators (which can be quite costly).

gecko cap

Dr. Yechiel Engelhard holds the GeckoCap. The former physician had the initial idea for the gadget after meeting parents who were concerned that their children weren't using their inhalers while at school or while they were away from them.

Once it launches, the device will cost $60, but those interested can nab one for $39 if they pledge funds to the Indiegogo campaign. In addition, it will also cost "less than $10" per month to access the accompanying web app, which helps you track your child's inhaler usage and also set the GeckoCap's schedule.

Here's a video put together by the GeckoCap crew, which should give you a better idea of how the device works, and why they think it's important for parents of kids who use inhalers:

The GeckoCap tracking system, available as a website, acts as a comprehensive catalog of inhaler usage and is the planning and analytic hub for parents of kids with asthma. The app displays the precise times the inhaler was used and the amount of medication left in the canister. On the site, parents or doctors with access to the app can input the reason for use (asthma attack, shortness of breath, allergy, etc.) and how the patient felt at the time he or she used it.

The result is a clean, comprehensive rundown of your kid's inhaler use over a day, week or month. Dr. Engelhard told me in an interview that the GeckoCap is aimed to both appeal to children (it comes in several different vibrant colors, and kids are awarded badges and trophies for consistent use) as well as parents. Dr. Engelhard noted that divorced couples have been especially enthusiastic about the GeckoCap, since it allows them to track their kids' inhaler use when he or she is with the other parent.

The biggest problem with the GeckoCap, at this point, is that it does not yet exist. Dr. Engelhard and the GeckoCap team hope to raise over $90,000 on Indiegogo in order to make their device a reality (without seeking out funding from a venture capital firm). $90,000 is a tall order, especially for a product that then asks backers to pay a monthly fee for use. Most buyers, however, will get a free app subscription of six or nine months, according to the Indegogo site. Dr. Engelhard added that he hopes the wide appeal of the GeckoCap -- over ten million children in the United States are affected by asthma each year, per GeckoCap's Indiegogo site -- will give his product a broad-enough customer base to push the innovative inhaler cap over the funding line.

If you're interested, you can pledge money and reserve your own GeckoCap at its Indiegogo page here. You can also learn more about the GeckoCap at its official website right here.


A rendering of the GeckoCap and its associated tracking application.

This Incredible iPhone Charger Fits In Your Wallet Like A Credit Card

Jason Gilbert   |   January 15, 2013    3:31 PM ET

You know the situation: You go out for the night, to a dinner party or a bar, only to discover that your smartphone is just about dead. You're not going to bring a charging cable and wall unit with you -- who can fit all of that in their pocket? -- so you just dim the screen, turn off email and hope that the slim sliver of red battery bar will last you the rest of your evening, or at least until that special someone gives you a call or a text.

The inventors of a new, cleverly-named device called the Charge Card think they have the anecdote to this all-too-familiar modern quandary: It's a portable iPhone or Android charger shaped like a credit card, designed to be slim enough to fit in your wallet. One edge of the Charge Card plugs into your smartphone -- there are versions of the charger that work with Android and both the old and new iPhone chargers -- and a small rubberized strip pops out from the center of the card and acts as a USB charger.

That means you can charge your phone, so say the entrepreneurs behind the Charge Card, in almost any laptop, computer monitor, USB-equipped car, Xbox, point-of-sale cash register, or, realistically, wherever you can find an open USB port. I charged my own iPhone using the Charge Card in a flat-screen television at the Atlanta airport, using one of the USB slots on the back of the set.

charge card side

A prototype of the Charge Card, viewed from the side. The rubber strip in the center plugs into any USB port, and snaps back into place when not in use so that the charger stays flat enough to fit in a wallet.

The Charge Card gained notice this past year as part of a super-successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $160,000 for the project, more than triple the $50,000 goal. Now, the Charge Card team -- three California twentysomethings named Noah Dentzel, Adam Miller and Brian Hahn -- are preparing to send the first units to customers, with the goal of shipping by the end of January.

The fledgling startup has already sold 9,000 Charge Cards, Dentzel told me in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, and they have begun to take fresh orders at their website. One Charge Card costs $25 and, for now, it is only available online.

That's a pretty reasonable price to pay for what is essentially a really fashionable USB charging cable-cum-conversation piece that also fits in your wallet, though there are some obvious drawbacks. Though Hahn told me that "you kind of gain a USB radar as you walk around" with a Charge Card, it's still true that there are far more outlets on the walls in public places than there are USB ports. You have to be prepared to get creative and courageous, to ask bartenders and maitre d's if you can use their cash register or televisions to plug in your phone if you really need to.

The exposed USB circuitry also gives me some pause -- will this thing stay safe, functional and attached over time -- though Dentzel assured me in our interview that it would. Besides, as Dentzel sees it, carrying around a Charge Card is better than scrunching up a charging cord into your pocket

"At the end of the day," he told me, "cables are just a pain in the ass."

Ready to kick out some of those old loyalty cards and stick something that's actually useful in there? You can preorder your own Charge Card for $25 at the official website.

charge card tv

Charging my iPhone from the back of a hanging television in the HuffPost newsroom. The Charge Card's charger grips the iPhone so that it doesn't fall when suspended from great heights (I hope).

Jason Gilbert   |   January 14, 2013   10:36 AM ET

On Sunday night, 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft investigated a pressing question for the coming decade (and century): Are robots taking our jobs?

The segment begins with the premise that the proliferation of robots in the workforce are helping companies maximize profits and productivity but are not necessarily creating more jobs, a troubling idea for a struggling economy saddled with high unemployment. Kroft spoke with MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who say their research shows that the rise of robots in the workplace is "absolutely" at least partly to blame for the curious shortness of jobs even as the broader national economy recovers.

"Technology is always creating jobs, Brynjolfsson told Kroft. "It's always destroying jobs. But right now the pace is accelerating. It's faster we think than ever before in history. So as a consequence, we are not creating jobs at the same pace that we need to."

"And we ain't seen nothing yet," McAfee added.

If you've got 15 minutes, you can watch the full 60 Minutes investigation below (better not to do it at work, though, lest your boss replaces you with a robot as you procrastinate):

For more on the impending robotic employment revolution, Sarah Laskow asked the question "Will a robot take your kid's job?" in the Boston Globe's annual Ideas issue earlier this January. Wired Magazine also has a provocative look at the subject titled "Why Robots Will -- And Must -- Take Our Jobs" from its December 2012 issue.

The 17 Most Insane Gadgets We Saw At 2013's Hugest Tech Show

  |   January 11, 2013   10:02 AM ET

Read More:

7 Jaw-Dropping New Televisions You'll Want In Your Living Room

Jason Gilbert   |   January 10, 2013    7:19 PM ET

LAS VEGAS -- Has television killed the mobile star?

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, at least, the focus seems to have shifted from the latest smartphones to advances in televisions; while in years past the show-stealers have included the ill-fated Palm Pre and Nokia Lumia 900, this year the biggest crowds -- and all of the excited chatter -- have surrounded increasingly high-definition, increasingly huge and increasingly expensive home TVs.

Choosing the absolutely best display can be a bit like telling the difference between Derek Zoolander's signature looks -- "They're all the same!" -- because the screens on these latest televisions are certainly uniformly incredible and almost definitely better than the one in your rumpus room.

Yes, Samsung, LG, Sharp and Sony are packing in conferene attendees, who herd in front of their latest televisions to drool at the displays that could one day show football or "New Girl" in their dens. The crowds are huge, and stationary, transfixed by screens whose colors pop like never before, thanks to a higher number of pixels.

(Side note: The big buzzwords you'll be looking for at Best Buy in the coming years will be "Ultra HD," "4K" and "8K." Gizmodo has a handy explanation of what this marketing gobbledygook means, but basically, 4K and 8K refer to the horizontal count of pixels on these super high-definition televisions. 4K televisions pack in about 4,000 pixels horizontally; 8K packs in about 8,000, and the higher the better. 4K and 8K top your typical "1080p" TVs, which featured (you guessed it!) 1,080 pixels as their measuring stick. The term "Ultra HD" then refers to either 4K or 8K screens.)

You're still probably a couple years out from owning an Ultra HD set, due to a combination of factors: price, difficulty of mass-production and a lack of television and movie content specially produced to take advantage of all of those new pixels. Sony has announced its first 4K Blu-Rays, but we're still waiting on Ultra-HD-optimized live television. The availability of that content, much like that of 3D content, could determine the future success of these TVs and their brilliant screens.

While we're waiting, though, let's take a gander at the most astounding, drool-worthy televisions we've seen thus far at the Consumer Electronics Show, the ones that have set the bar for TV beauty heading into 2013. Set your eyes to "envy" and dig in:

LOOK: This Amazing Machine Lets You Play Fruit Ninja On A Wall Of Water Vapor

Jason Gilbert   |   January 10, 2013    1:28 PM ET

LAS VEGAS -- Just when you thought Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds couldn't get any cooler: Now you can play them on a touchscreen made of misting water.

A Russian company called Displair has brought its bizarre, wholly innovative vaporizing projector machine to this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and the gizmo is unlike anything else at the enormous tech convention: Basically, you can connect a touchscreen device to a projector, which puts out a touchable image of your device's screen onto a constantly misting wall of vaporized water. You can then interact with the device by running your finger on that wall of mist. It's a strange and totally innovative way to interact with a typical tablet or computer.

Below, you can see how it works as I play a quick game of Fruit Ninja on the Displair's mist-screen:

I'm playing Fruit Ninja above, but hypothetically you can do anything you'd do on a touchscreen device on the Displair. In the video, a camera attached to the tablet powering Fruit Ninja is tracking my finger movements on the misting wall -- in other words, anything your fingers can do on a tablet, your fingers can do on the Displair. Games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds just happen to be perfect uses for the Displair, since gameplay consists mostly of simple gestures. You could also check your email, surf The Huffington Post or watch a YouTube video on this magical misting wall, should you really want to.

For now, Displair remains something of a curiosity, albeit an incredible one. One unit costs about $10,000 (plus one to two liters of water per hour). The product will be available for purchase in the second or third quarter of this year, but if you need one immediately, a company spokeswoman noted that the Displair is available for rent for about $1000 per day.

Displair is pitching its machine as a unique public presentation device or as an eye-catching display advertising unit -- a way to attract pedestrians or passersby into a store or a booth (kind of like a super high-tech wacky waving inflatable tube man. A Displair spokeswoman said that the machine will become available for consumers in about five years. For now, the company is focused on businesses.

That's a shame, because playing Angry Birds on a wall of soft mist is really a unique pleasure that no other business, large or small, can offer you. It's a curiosity, yes, but a delightful one.

You can learn more about the Displair at its website. here.

LOOK: A Simple Method For Getting Those Shoeboxes Of Old Photos On Your Computer

Jason Gilbert   |   January 10, 2013   12:09 PM ET

LAS VEGAS -- If you're one of those people who has shoeboxes and shoeboxes of old photos sitting in your attic and basement, Mitch Goldstone of has a warning for you.

"Get your photos scanned. If you don't scan them, the risk is really elevated. Fire, flood, hurricanes, all the natural disasters -- I just hear horror stories from people."

And the natural disaster that destroys the most Polaroids?

"Kids like to turn those old pictures to art," Goldstone told me in an interview in Las Vegas, at the Eureka Park section of the Consumer Electronics Show, cordoned off especially for growing tech start-ups. "Clipping, writing, using crayons and all that."

Goldstone has a reason to scare you into scanning, of course: He is the founder of, a website that specializes in digitizing old photos for safe computer-keeping, in what he says is the simplest way possible. For $245, ScanMyPhotos will send you a pre-paid box into which you can stuff as many pictures as possible. (Typically, that's about 2,000 photos, Goldstone said.) Then, ship that box off to Goldstone, where his machines scan the photos into digital prints within minutes.

Once completed, sends back your originals, as well as a DVD of your photos (or thumb drive for $15 extra), allowing you to post those old gems to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or your external hard drive, saving those memories before disaster strikes.

Since it was founded in 2007, along with Goldstone have digitized more than 100 million photos, and the company has signed partnerships with The Weather Channel and the United States Postal Service to advertise the service more broadly. In fact, made a commercial with the Postal Service, describing the mission statement of the company while also pitching the continued importance of the service: actually doubles as a success story of a company committing to digital. Goldstone's original company was a brick-and-mortar photo processing store founded in 1990; in 2007, realizing that the industry was going under, Goldstone retooled to handle digitizing old photos from anywhere in the country, rather than only those in a three-to-five mile radius of his store.

One hundred million photos later, that seems like a savvy business decision.

Granted, isn't for everyone. Goldstone concedes that $245 is probably too pricey for a family that only wants to preserve 10 photos or so -- for them, the purchase of a cheap flat-bed scanner will probably suffice. For families with thousands of legacy photographs, however, individual scanning can be incredibly tedious, and safeguarding those memories could be worth a couple hundred dollars.

"I want to unlock all of those photos so that people can share them online," Goldstone told me. He urges his customers to record audio tracks for their photo DVD, to preserve the memories behind the pictures before it's too late.

And what about Goldstone, who already has survived one shift of photography, from physical to digital? What will happen to his business when all of the Polaroids in the world have been safely archived on Flickr, Instagram and Picasa?

"I'll be long gone before that happens," he laughed. "There are over three and a half trillion images that still need to be digitized."

If you own some portion of those images, he said, don't wait: A toddler is always one crayon away from destroying them forever.

How Much Storage Do You Really Need On Your iPhone?

Jason Gilbert   |   January 4, 2013   12:52 PM ET

Do you really need a 64GB iPhone?

My friends, that is the $100-$200 question that you may find yourself asking one day soon, standing at the counter of the AT&T or Verizon store, clueless as to your iPhone storage needs. Choosing between the 16GB iPhone for $199, the 32GB iPhone for $299 and the 64GB iPhone for $399 can be a Goldilocks-style conundrum: There's no telling which one will be just right until you actually test all three options, live with a smartphone and discover how much storage you require through trial and error.

How can you decide beforehand, then, which one to go for? How can you know whether to go big and snag a 64GB model, or save some moolah and stick with the 16GB version?

What follows is a handy little guide that should help you determine which iPhone will best serve your needs. While there is no scientific formula, here are three questions you should ask yourself before committing to the 16, 32 or 64:


For many, the iPhone is the primary portable music player, and the device on which much of the user's music library is stored for on-the-go listening.

The quick-and-dirty way to determine how much storage you need for music is to assume that each four-minute song takes up about 4MB, or that 1GB of storage will get you 250 songs. That's not a scientific measurement by any stretch, as many songs can be larger or smaller than 4MB. Despite its obvious faults, however, it can help you roughly determine the amount of space you'll need to silo off for the tunes (Paul Simon, Ke$ha, et al.) you just have to have with you at all times.

The best method to make this determination? Create an iTunes playlist of the songs you want on your iPhone, and then check the file size of the list. If it's anywhere north of 10GB, you probably need something larger than the 16GB iPhone.

Space-saving tip: Spotify and Rdio give you unlimited access to huge music libraries for $10/month, and you can listen without an Internet connection by saving songs from the service to your phone. For $25 per year, iTunes Match lets you access your entire home music library from anywhere; Google Music lets you do the same for free. If you always have a reliable Internet connection, and have an unlimited wireless plan, you might be fine using one of these streaming services.


The iPhone 5 camera is one of the best on any smartphone, and you're probably going to want to snap a lot of photos and videos.

Again, there's no super-accurate calculation or algorithm that will tell you exactly how large a photo is, nor how many pictures you'll need to carry with you at all times. You can assume for simplicity's sake, though, that each iPhone 5 picture will take up about 2.3MB, or that you'll get 435 photos for every gigabyte on your phone.

This is a lot of photos: If you're backing up your photos regularly (and you should be!) to your computer's hard drive, or to a service like Flickr, Google Drive or Dropbox, you shouldn't ever run out of space on your iPhone because of your photo collection.

Videos, on the other hand, can really eat into your storage space. You can assume about 180MB for each minute of HD video you shoot. If you're an amateur Stanley Kubrick, you might need to upgrade your storage space.

Space-saving tip: Connect your iPhone to your computer and regularly transfer photos from your phone to your PC, or else backup using Dropbox, Flickr or a similar service to keep your storage uncluttered.


Apple recently claimed that the average iPhone owner has 100 apps, which sounds like a storage hog. Most of the essential apps you'll want to download to your phone -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube -- all start out fairly small. Facebook, for example, is just 19MB; Twitter is 10MB; Google Maps is 6.7MB.

As you use them, however, and feed in data, they can balloon in size. After years of use, for example, my Twitter app is taking up 339MB on my iPhone; other apps, which hold onto photos, videos and newspapers, can also clog up your storage if you don't pare them occasionally.

The exception to the small-app rule is graphics-intensive games, which can be gigabytes in size. If you're a gamer, you may want to opt for a slightly larger iPhone.

Space-saving tip: After you defeat a game, consider deleting it to make room for newer games. Also, if you see that an app is taking up a lot of space and you're not sure why, delete the app and then reinstall it. (Be careful, though: Camera apps might contain precious photos that you have to import beforehand!)


Unless any of the above scenarios -- carrying a lot of music, holding tons of photos or videos, or downloading a ton of huge apps -- seem likely, you can probably dial down the storage you require. Some people just like having all of their music, or all of their photos and videos, or all of their games and apps on their iPhones at all times; for them, a 64GB iPhone is a must, and worth the extra dough. For more moderate content consumers, a 32GB iPhone should give you plenty of space; and for those who just want a device to surf the web and read email, you'll never even come close to hitting your 16GB limit.

Again, it's difficult for any individual to predict what his or her usage will look like before buying a phone. The new handset might turn you into an amateur photographer, or music fiend. You never know. You'll just have to taste the porridge first to find out.

It's The 2012 Captain Gadget Awards!

Jason Gilbert   |   December 31, 2012    5:05 PM ET

Welcome to the 2012 Captain Gadget Awards! We'll be looking back on the Year That Was In Technology and doling out awards to all who deserve them -- for better or for worse. These are the best, worst, funniest, weirdest, dumbest, most pathetic, uplifting, inspiring companies, products, players and other miscellanea from 2012.

Pull out your Surface and gather the kids around the Galaxy Note: It's time to dive in and recall what we were all worked up about this year, and hand out some hardware to some deserving winners...

The "No, Seriously, What's It Called?" Award: To Apple, for the iPad, and also the iPad. After months of everyone assuming that the third iPad would be called the iPad 3, Apple surprised (and mostly confused) everyone by naming the third iPad "the iPad." Eight months later, when Apple announced the fourth-generation iPad, that iPad was also called "the iPad." So, do you want the iPad, or the iPad? I'm going to go with the iPad, unless you think the iPad would be better? I'll probably just go with the iPad.

The Worst Pun Of The Year Award: Also to Apple, for declaring in advertisements that the third iPad's high-definition display was "resolutionary."

The "I Heard He Also Listens to Hippity-Hop Music" Award: To investors who doubted Mark Zuckerburg was qualified to be CEO of Facebook -- not because he was a college dropout, nor because he had limited experience as an executive, nor because he had not yet figured out a way to turn market share into profits -- but because he showed up to an investor meeting wearing a hoodie.

The Hoodiegate Award For Stupid Fake Scandals: To Hoodiegate, for being a stupid, fake scandal.

The "I'll Take Three!" Award: To Nokia, for its Lumia smartphone. While suggestive of light or illumination for us English speakers, "Lumia" is rough slang in Spanish for "prostitute."

Unlikely Pundit Of The Year Award: To Justin Bieber, who for some reason was asked about the Facebook IPO by Bloomberg, in a segment called "Is Bieber In On The Facebook Fever?"

The Handheld Kaleidoscope Award For Emerging Personal Technology That Most Closely Approximates Psychotropic Drug Use: To Lytro, for its photos that can be focused and perspective-shifted after-the-fact in the most hallucinogenic way possible.

The Tyra Banks Z Snap Award: To Apple CEO Tim Cook who, when asked about the dual-desktop/touchscreen mode of Windows 8, replied that "[y]ou can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those aren’t going to be pleasing to the user."

The Tyra Banks Z-Snap-Gone-Wrong Award: Also to Tim Cook. When asked about the Microsoft Surface, he replied:

One of the toughest things you do with what product to make, is to make hard trade-offs and decide what a product should be, and we've really done that with the iPad, so the user experience is incredible. I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don't think it would do all of those things very well.

This response, supposedly a put-down, led many to wonder: If Apple can design a car that can fly and float, then WHAT IS WAITING FOR?!?!

The Deeply Depressing Look At Our Future Award, Part 1: To Tacocopter, a drone quadcopter built specifically to deliver tacos via the sky, which we could see in fleets at Chipotle in the coming years.

The Deeply Depressing Look At Our Future Award, Part 2: To Last Moment Robot, a concept human-like robot programmed to comfort you in the minutes before you die.

The Deeply Depressing Look At Our Future Award, Part 3: To Samsung, for its automatic smartphone diary concept. Essentially, Samsung filed for a patent that would allow your phone to track everything you do and then spit out a daily "diary" -- where you went, who you called, what music you listened to -- that you could go back and read like a journal. Creepy diary, or the creepiest diary?

The AOL Chat Room Memorial Award For Enabling High School Cybersex: To Snapchat, for Snapchat.

The Stepping On Your Own Feet Award: To Facebook, for releasing an almost feature-by-feature clone of Instagram just one month after the company paid almost $1 billion for... Instagram.

The Netflix/Qwikster Award For Universally Angering All Of Your Customers In One Fell Swoop: To Instagram, for its updated Terms of Service.

The "But When Is It Coming To T-Mobile?" Award: To the Ulysse Nardin Chairman smartphone, officially named the world's most expensive smartphone by the Guinness Book of World Records. The Chairman can run as high as $130,000 if you get it fully-loaded with all the available diamonds and gems.

The Mixed Messaging Award: To HTC, who began the year attempting to simplify the names of its smartphones, and then launched the One X, the One S, the EVO 4G, the Droid Incredible 4G LTE, the Windows Phone 8X and the Droid DNA.

The "Maybe It's The iMac?" Award: To T-Mobile, who announced that Apple products would be arriving in 2013 without confirming exactly which Apple products would be for sale. Everyone assumes T-Mobile means the iPhone, but who knows? Perhaps T-Mobile is getting into the all-in-one desktop computer business.

The Dec. 31 Sign of the Apocalypse, Part 1: Apple files a patent for a stylus, which Steve Jobs famously railed against in 2010.

The Dec. 31 Sign of the Apocalypse, Part 2: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian announce they have a baby -- and the news gets out via Twitter, where 15 Kanye's Baby parody accounts are created in under an hour.

The Dec. 31 Sign of the Apocalypse, Part 3: Microsoft is cool, Apple is the mega-corporation with the innovation problem and a Zuckerberg is complaining that her Facebook information was leaked in a privacy breach without her permission. Just as the Mayans foretold.