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Now with Streaming Stick, Roku isn't sweating the blitz

It's barely March, and Roku is already having a big year.

In January, the device maker unveiled partnerships with TV manufacturers TCL and Hisense to integrate Roku streaming right into their televisions, without requiring any of the streaming-media set-top boxes the company is known for. On Tuesday, it detailed its new Streaming Stick, a clear response to the popularity of Chromecast, Google's low-price, thumb-sized streamer. With Streaming Stick coming in April and Roku TV slated for the fall, the company has a lot in store for 2014.

However, so do others. Amazon, Apple and possibly even Google are … Read more

Corning exec slams sapphire -- rumored for Apple device

A Corning executive launched a blistering critique of sapphire crystal, used as a protective material for displays, on Tuesday. The subtext was obviously aimed at Apple.

In defense of its Gorilla Glass, Tony Tripeny, a senior vice president at Corning Glass, was asked the following question at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, via Seeking Alpha, on Tuesday. The question came from analyst James Fawcett of Morgan Stanley.

Note that the "one large handset and device maker" is unmistakably Apple. Apple is expected to use sapphire crystal in some way for future devices, possibly including a … Read more

Will Apple's iOS 7.1 launch by next week?

Those who have been waiting for the newest iteration of iOS 7 may not have to wait much longer.

At least that's what Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball is suggesting. Apple is hosting its iTunes Festival -- featuring the likes of Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and Pitbull -- starting March 11 at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The performances will be streamed to iOS devices via an app, but Gruber cites a source that tells him the app needs to be running on iOS 7.1. Thus, he concludes the update must be coming out sometime before … Read more

Upgrade or replace the hard drive in a Mac Mini

The Mac Mini is like Apple's forgotten stepchild. Since it first debuted in 2005, the small computer has only seen one major redesign in 2010, and is often left out of the company's dazzling press events. In fact, the latest model hasn't even been updated to include Intel's newer and more efficient Haswell processors, despite the iMac, Macbook Air, and Macbook Pro receiving updates.

Given that Apple doesn't give Mac Mini owners many reasons to upgrade, there are a still a good amount of happy customers using older models. We were one of them, but … Read more

Apple CFO role to change hands in June

The CFO seat at Apple will soon have a new occupant.

Apple announced Tuesday that Peter Oppenheimer, its current chief financial officer and a senior vice president, will retire at the end of September after 18 years at the company. Taking his place will be Luca Maestri, Apple's vice president of finance and corporate controller.

Maestri will take over the CFO duties in June and pick up the balance of Oppenheimer's responsibilities over the following several months.

"Peter has served as our CFO for the past decade as Apple's annual revenue grew from $8 billion to $… Read more

Apple shifts gears with CarPlay, its response to Google Now

One of the great boons that Google had long-reserved specifically for Android users was access to Google Now, the popular artificial intelligence platform that anticipates a person's actions based on contextual information like location or personal data such as e-mails or appointment reminders.

There is, of course, now a watered-down version of Google Now for iOS users. And there are some bifurcated iOS apps that try to replicate the experience, but so far, nothing officially from Apple.

Until now. And it doesn't come on a handset. At the Geneva International Motor Show on Monday, Apple unveiled CarPlay, an … Read more

Apple CarPlay lets iOS take over a Mercedes-Benz

GENEVA -- Apple's much anticipated CarPlay feature, formerly known as iOS in the Car, got its first public airing at the 2014 Geneva auto show this week. Volvo and Ferrari were offering demonstrations, but I took advantage of Mercedes-Benz, which had CarPlay implemented in a C-class.

CarPlay is a means of mirroring an iPhone's apps and functions through a car's dashboard. Although the CarPlay screens look the same from car to car, the control paradigms can vary. For example, the Volvo concept car at the show with CarPlay used a touch screen, but the C-class had Mercedes-Benz'… Read more

2014's battle for dashboard supremacy: Apple's CarPlay vs. Google's OAA vs. MirrorLink

There's a battle ahead, one that many may not have seen coming. Perhaps because it's starting for an odd reason. You see, the auto industry has, more or less, ceased making bad cars. These days they're all pretty good. They'll start on a cold morning, idle happily in traffic on a hot afternoon, protect you in a crash, and look pretty good while doing it. Sure, that last point is always debatable, and certainly some cars are better suited for different tasks than others, but the key is that it's genuinely hard to buy a &… Read more

Apple's hiring binge could point to more iPhone development

With a massive hiring binge in China and Taiwan, it looks like Apple is working to boost product production.

The tech giant has reportedly poached engineers from smartphone maker HTC and other companies to create new Apple teams in Shanghai and Taipei, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's said that the company now has more than 600 engineers and operations staff in China.

The Journal reports that the hiring push is due to Apple's focus on developing components for the iPhone and iPad, which could lead to more product releases more often.

"Apple is building an … Read more

Apple CarPlay ready for the road ahead

CNET Update lets Siri take the wheel:

In this episode of Update:

- Get a glimpse of how Apple CarPlay will work in upcoming vehicles. It only will work when an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S is plugged into the car. The first manufacturers to offer the capability include Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

- Score $500 worth of free apps and subscription services when you buy the new Samsung Galaxy S5, arriving April 11.

- If you still use Windows XP, don't be surprised to see pop-ups from Microsoft nagging you to upgrade starting this Saturday. … Read more