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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Release The Lion

Apple released its long-awaited Mac OS X Lion operating system Wednesday, together with a lineup of new MacBook Airs, a refresh to the Mac mini line, and the world's first display using the next-generation Thunderbolt port.
A new MacBook Air with OS X Lion
A new MacBook Air with OS X Lion running Mission Control
Thunderbolt technology will offer up to 10 Gbps of access speed in each direction simultaneously over one cable.

King of the Mac Jungle

OS X Lion, the eighth major release of the operating system, has more than 250 new features, Apple said.

These include new multi-touch gestures; support for full-screen apps; Mission Control, which lets users view everything that's running on their Macs; a redesigned Mail app; and access to the Mac App Store built into the operating system's LaunchPad.

Other features include Resume, which brings apps back to where the user left off when a Mac is restarted or users quit and relaunch apps; an autosave feature; Versions, which automatically records the history of documents as they're being created; and AirDrop.

"The AirDrop feature could potentially pose a security threat," Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC, told MacNewsWorld.

That feature automatically sets up a peer-to-peer wireless network between a user's Mac and other nearby Macs to enable easy file sharing -- but that could also give hackers access to people's Macs.
Although users can disable AirDrop as needed, "Given the increase in security threats, Apple would be wise to be explicit and highlight all of the security features in its products and also provide users with configuration recommendations up front," DiDio stated.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Mac OS X Lion is available as a download from the Mac App Store for US$30.

The New MacBook Airs

Apple on Wednesday also released new 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors. The new mini notebooks also feature Thunderbolt input/output technology and backlit keyboards. These run Mac OS X Lion.

The new MacBook Airs have twice the performance of their predecessors, Apple said.

They use Intel HD Graphics 3000 processors and have up to 4GB of 1.3GHz RAM. Their multitouch trackpads support Mac OS X Lion's new gestures such as momentum scrolling, tapping, pinch and spread to zoom, and swiping.

The new MacBook Airs support Bluetooth and have two USB ports each.

The 11-inch model weighs less than 2.5 pounds and offers up to five hours of battery life, while the 13-inch model weighs just under three pounds and provides up to seven hours of battery life.

They are available now. Prices range from $1,000 to $1,600.

"The new MacBook Airs offer improvements on earlier models, which were stellar," ITIC's DiDio said. "And Apple's decision to hold the line on prices was a very sagacious move."

Mac Mini Redux

Apple refreshed the Mac Mini line, unveiling a new model in three configurations based around the Intel Core i5 and i7 dual-core processors.

These new minis don't have an optical drive but can access optical drives on other PCs and Macs, and they also work with the MacBook Air SuperDrive.

The lack of an optical drive may not have much of an impact on demand, Danielle Levitas, a group vice president of research at IDC, told MacNewsWorld.

"I think optical is one of those things most consumers don't want to give up entirely, but most aren't using the optical drives," Levitas said.

The lack of optical disks signals Apple's direction. "Apple is clearly moving away from optical," Levitas said. "Wireless is where they are pushing people to."
MacBook Air running OS X Lion
MacBook Air running OS X Lion
Or perhaps Apple was simply seeking to control pricing.

"[The Mac Mini] is a small form factor desktop, and Apple was trying to keep costs down," ITIC's DiDio suggested.

Whatever the case, consumers who regularly use their optical drives can always buy an external drive, Levitas pointed out.

The new minis have Thunderbolt I/O technology and run Mac OS X Lion. They are available now. Pricing ranges from $600 to $1,000.

The Mac Minis can be used with the 27-inch Thunderbolt display that Apple also revealed Wednesday.
This is the world's first Thunderbolt screen and was designed specifically for Mac notebooks.

It has 1 Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, three USB 2.0 ports and one Thunderbolt port that can let users daisy-chain up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.

The Thunderbolt display includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera, integrated speakers, an integrated MagSafe charger to charge Mac notebooks, and an ambient light sensor that adjusts the display's brightness according to external lighting conditions.

Pricing is $1,000. The Thunderbolt display will be available within the next 60 days, Apple said

Monday, July 18, 2011



Doesn’t it always seem like those Europeans get everything first?! No wait, that’s the Japanese and by everything we were thinking tech gear and oddly flavored snacks. One thing those guys over the pond and beyond (side note – good name for a pond store) did have was the awesome power of Spotify. Now that we’re getting our shot here there is definitely a reason to be excited. Basically think of Spotify as a jukebox that happens to be the size of a city.  You can listen on your computer to almost any track at any time you want.  Make a playlist and share it with friends and never have to keep hunting down music and doing something as silly as paying for it. You can upgrade to Premium for $5/month and have the ability to use Spotify on your phone & even listen offline to your playlists—oh and you’ll cut the line and get it first and then tease your friends who are waiting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spiral Wine Cellar

Spiral Wine Cellar
Unless you're building your home from scratch and have a serious wine collection going on, odds are you don't want to spend the space and/or dough on a traditional cellar. The Spiral Wine Cellar ($22,000 and up) gives you all the benefits of a normal cellar in a prefabricated, easy-to-install format. The watertight, pre-cast cylindrical system is made from concrete, laid into the ground — which doubles as insulation — and keeps up to 1,900 bottles in perfect storage conditions, hiding away under a trap door and ready to use in just 5-9 days.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Klipsch Mode Headphones

Klipsch Mode Headphones

Beat the constant buzz of public transport with Klipsch Mode Headphones ($350). These new noise-cancelling cans offer up to 45 hours of active cancelling on just one battery, and feature 40mm woofers, 15mm tweeters, two included cloth cables, leather ear cups, a foldable design, and high-end styling that won't leave you looking overly dorky on your next transatlantic flight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Zumreed Hybrid Speaker Headphones

Zumreed Hybrid Speaker Headphones

How many different ways do you have to get your music off of your cell phone into your ears? How about out of your computer? Between the earbuds or headphones with all the hyperneodidium dynamamic-super-hyperactive whosits and the speakers with the built-in bass whatsits, the number is astronomical. They’re all great in their own right, but is it so much to ask to have one go-to pair that does everything we want? We don’t think it is and neither does Zumreed. Their new Zumreed Hybrid Speaker Headphones are just that – a hybrid of speakers and headphones. These bad boys go from standard over-the-ear style studio cans with 40mm drivers and 104db sensitivity to speakers with the flip of one simple switch. The next time you wanna share the new Gaga track with everyone around you you don’t have to blow out your own ear drums in the process. $160

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jay Z and Kanye West: Watch the Throne

Jay Z and Kanye West: Watch the Throne

When we go hard as a motherf*@ker, it normally results in a day off of work to recover from a mild case of alcohol poisoning, nurse our wounds and potentially pray to the porcelain gods. When Jay Z and Kanye go H.A.M. together, legends are born. We’re not trying to downplay anyone’s (including our own) ability to get shitfaced, but these two icons just take it to another level. Watch the Throne is their forthcoming, as-of-yet-unreleased album. Other than the previously mentioned (and released) H.A.M., the only thing anyone knows about the album is the tracklist and that there’s a dope cover designed by Givenchy’s creative director. With Kanye and Jay Z’s names on it, is there any way it could suck? $12+

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beta Shell Lens Cases

Beta Shell Lens Cases

These cases look like they’re straight out of an action movie where some villain unscrews the top to reveal a glowing green piece of some highly radioactive element the likes of which “the world has never seen” and the mere dropping of which would result in the utter destruction of the planet earth.  We figure if such a case is worthy of protecting something like that, we feel comfortable dropping our SLR lenses in there when we are on the go.  If you’re going to spend a pretty penny on the lenses why would you store them haphazardly?  Whether you’re shooting with a Nikon or a Cannon you can hook up all your lenses with an appropriate Beta Shell Case.  They’re lined with high-density visco-elastic memory foam and are water-proof, shock resistant and will most likely survive a nuclear explosion involving Nicolas Cage (unconfirmed). $45-84
Beta Shell 4.180 Rigid, Waterproof Lens Case - for Lenses with External Length of 131-173mm and Maximum External Diameter of 87mm

Friday, July 1, 2011

Poppy Playground Sheets

Poppy Playground Sheets
Yes, we know what you’re thinking, and yes, we thought it too. Sheets? Poppy Playground? What in the hell are those doing on Cool Material? But then we looked closer. The poppy flowers that you most certainly notice at first glance are actually a playground for a ridiculous amount of buxom, topless, artistically rendered women. The 400 thread count, 100% Egyptian cotton sheets are just artistic and flowery enough to get the sign-off from your better half (hey, we can dream). This is also the easiest, least expensive way to get your bed covered like you’ve always wanted – in half naked women. $139