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Rokform is quite a regular on the review stream around these parts and it should come as no surprise. Before you assume, no, this is not a sponsored post. Simply, Rokform makes extremely quality products and I am always impressed by them.
The most recent chunks of T-6061 aircraft grade aluminum that Rokform CNC machined into a usable hunk of metal is the RokDock. The heaviest accessory on my desk, the three pound dock is a hyper-masculine throne upon which my iPhone rests. The RokDock is just awesome, no need to complain about my open love affair with their products…Design
At first glance, the RokDock is a squatty, square hunk of metal that, to the casual observer, might not actually look like an iPhone dock. I appreciate the intrigue of the two-tone design that looks more like an active machine than a passive stand. The iPhone opening is wide enough at the mouth to hold your iPhone with any array of cases, even a thicker protective model. A rubberized bumper sits at the back, adjusting the viewing angle and opening size. If you are an iPhone purist, move it forward to prevent such an acute sitting angle.
To assist with operability, the cradle is tilted in a slightly backward direction to cock the iPhone at a more viewable position. The front of the opening is also slanted in the rear direction. The combination of double angled surfaces keep your iPhone completely still when pressing the Home button or tapping the screen.
Comprised of four individual pieces, the RokDock disassembles, screw driver included, to reveal a Lightning cable access point from the rear. In a dock, charging is important and the RokDock provides a way to install the cable manually. By disassembling the three aluminum pieces the cable opening becomes apparent and a set screw will hold the charger in place. The adjustable height provides users with varying case sizes the option to raise or lower the access depth.
Additionally, there is a chamber carved into the center piece, see above, that helps project sound from the iPhone speakers. Two speaker amplification channels are cut just above the chamber to project music from your iPhone, even if it is cradled into the dock. I really appreciate the amplification channels are bored to mirror the speaker grills on the iPhone 5.
Four rubber anti-slip grips adorn the bottom to prevent the dock from sliding around when taking your iPhone off or placing it onto the charging cable. More importantly, the hefty chunk of aluminum will not scratch the precious surface of your desk.Conclusion
It comes as no surprise, I highly recommend the RokDock. I first fell in love with it while attending CES in January. With all of these great features and a statue-esque design, what’s not to love? Well, unfortunately, the machining process, quality grade aluminum, and coloring are not cheap. To place an iPhone altar on your desk, it will set you back $99.00 (available in several colors).
The RokDock will, however, be the last stand you ever buy. I have a small museum’s worth of iPhone docks stacked across my house and office, but the RokDock easily earned its way to position number one, even beating out my Rokform Rokstand.Giveaway
What do you have to do to win?
We teamed up with Rokform to giveaway this awesome stand! One lucky winner who follows the next steps will be chosen to win a stand in the color of their choice:
Friend iDownloadBlog on Facebook
Follow @iDownloadBlog on Twitter
Let us know where you would use your RokDock and what you like most about it. Do not forget to include your Twitter handle!
Thanks again to Rokform for sending over the review unit and we look forward to selecting a winner by week’s end. You will be contacted via Twitter DM if you have won!Winner announced!
And the winner of our RokDock giveaway is @GGurudas. The winner has been contacted via Twitter with further details. Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, and of course, thank you to to RokForm for making it possible in the first place.
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Apple launched the iPhone 13 and 13 mini alongside the iPhone 13 Pro series at its California streaming launch event, and we know there’s not much hype around them. That’s because the standard iPhone 13 models don’t include a high refresh rate display or more cameras. But, for those looking to upgrade from an older iPhone to a more affordable latest option, we will compare the new iPhone 13 and 13 mini with their predecessors, the iPhone 12 and 12 mini.iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12: In-Depth Comparison (2023) Design and Display
The key difference that the iPhone 13 and 13 mini bring over their predecessors this year is the presence of smaller notches. Apple says it has managed to shrink the notch by 20 percent in comparison to the iPhone 12. Other than that, the design is mostly unchanged. If you take a closer look, you will notice that the rear camera’s arrangement is slightly different now. The cameras are placed diagonally instead of vertically stacking them, as seen on iPhone 12.
Unfortunately, the ProMotion display with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz is limited to the iPhone 13 Pro models. You will find the same 60Hz 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display on the iPhone 13 and a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display on the 13 mini. However, the display is brighter now, with a peak brightness of 800 nits. iPhone 12/12 mini only has up to 625 nits of peak brightness.Performance
Same as the Pro models, the iPhone 13 and 13 mini are also powered by the new A15 Bionic chipset. It succeeds the A14 Bionic chip found aboard the iPhone 12 series and is built on the 5nm architecture. The A15 Bionic uses a hexa-core CPU with 2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, 4-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine.Camera
Apple has used the same dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.6 wide lens and f/2.4 ultra-wide lens in the iPhone 13 and 13 mini. According to the Cupertino giant, the wide-angle camera can now capture 47 percent more light. However, the difference here is that the cameras in the iPhone 13 series feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization.
That said, the iPhone 13 series introduces some new camera features such as Photographic Styles and Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (1080p @ 30 FPS). Also new is Smart HDR 4, which now recognizes up to four different people in the frame and optimizes the contrast, lighting, and skin tones accordingly.Battery
In the battery department, Apple says you get up to 19 hours of video playback, 15 hours of streaming, and 75 hours of audio playback on the iPhone 13. To recall, iPhone 12 promised up to 17 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streaming, and 65 hours of audio playback.
Coming to the smaller iPhone, Apple says iPhone 13 mini would offer up to 17 hours of video playback, 13 hours of streaming, and 55 hours of audio playback. That’s an upgrade when compared to 15 hours of video playback, 10 hours of streaming, and 50 hours of audio playback on the 12 Mini.Price
Check out the official prices of iPhone 13 and 13 mini below:
128GB iPhone 13 – $799 (Rs. 79,900 in India)
256GB iPhone 13 – $899 (Rs. 89,900 in India)
512GB iPhone 13 – $1,099 (Rs. 1,09,900 in India)
128GB iPhone 13 Mini – $699 (Rs. 69,900 in India)
256GB iPhone 13 Mini – $799 (Rs. 79,900 in India)
512GB iPhone 13 Mini – $999 (Rs. 99,900 in India)
The iPhone 12 has received a $100 price cut (or up to Rs. 5,000 in India) after the launch of the iPhone 13 series. Here are the updated prices of the previous-gen iPhones:
64GB iPhone 12 – $699 (Rs. 65,900 in India)
128GB iPhone 12 – $749 (Rs. 70,900 in India)
256GB iPhone 12 – $849 (Rs. 80,900 in India)
64GB iPhone 12 Mini – $599 (Rs. 59,900 in India)
256GB iPhone 12 Mini – $649 (Rs. 64,900 in India)
512GB iPhone 12 Mini – $749 (Rs. 74,900 in India)iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12: Specifications Comparison
SpecificationsiPhone 12iPhone 13iPhone 12 miniiPhone 13 miniDimensions5.78 inches (146.7 mm) x 2.82 inches (71.5 mm) x 0.29 inch (7.4 mm)5.78 inches (146.7 mm) x 2.82 inches (71.5 mm) x 0.30 inch (7.65 mm) 5.18 inches (131.5 mm) x 2.53 inches (64.2 mm) x 0.29 inch (7.4 mm)5.18 inches (131.5 mm) x 2.53 inches (64.2 mm) x 0.30 inch (7.65 mm)Weight5.78 ounces (164 grams)6.14 ounces (174 grams)4.76 ounces (135 grams)4.97 ounces (141 grams)Display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display5.4-inch Super Retina XDR displayChipsetA14 BionicA15 BionicA14 Bionic A15 BionicGPU4-core GPU4-core GPU4-core GPU4-core GPUInternal Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB, 512GBRear Cameras12MP f/1.6 wide + 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide12MP f/1.6 wide + 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide12MP f/1.6 wide + 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide12MP f/1.6 wide + 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wideFront Camera12MP f/2.212MP f/2.2 with Photographic Styles, Cinematic mode12MP f/2.212MP f/2.2 with Photographic Styles, Cinematic modeColorsPurple, Blue, Green, Product Red, White, BlackStarlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, Product RedPurple, Blue, Green, Product Red, White, Black Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, Product RedOperating SystemiOS 14 (upgradable to iOS 15)iOS 15iOS 14 (upgradable to iOS 15)iOS 15iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12: Should You Upgrade?
The iPhone 13 comes with fewer changes than the iPhone 13 Pro lineup. If you have a functional iPhone 12 or 12 mini, there’s practically no point in upgrading to the iPhone 13 series. Even the improvements in the camera are negligible here, and if you truly need to experience the upgraded cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro lineup is what you should be looking at. The only tangible benefit here is the improved battery life, but we will have to wait to know if the new devices manage to deliver what Apple is promising. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the Pro models of the iPhone 13 series, check our iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro comparison for more information.
The purple iPhone 12 is lovely and frustrating
Apple promised that the purple iPhone 12 would be really, really purple, and it wasn’t wrong. Joining the color line-up on Friday, the new finish for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini is no restrained aubergine or subdued Byzantium. Instead, you get a love-it-or-hate-it lilac with hints of charming lavender, and that has me both excited and frustrated at the same time.
The design of the iPhone 12 lends itself nicely to this particular finish. The glass rear is slightly lighter in its purple, the toughened sheet leaving the hue looking almost creamy to my eyes. In contrast, the brushed metal sides are a shade darker. Purple is a tricky color to get right, but I think Apple has nailed it here.
You can order the new finish now, alongside the existing white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED versions. It’ll start shipping from this Friday, April 30, from $699 for the iPhone 12 mini and from $799 for the iPhone 12. There’s no functional difference, of course, to the phones we reviewed late last year: you get the same display, the same dual rear cameras, and the same 5G support inside.
More color options in smartphones has been a welcome shift in the market over the past couple of years. The purple iPhone 12 isn’t the first lilac lovely to arrive in 2023, for example, with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 arguably the most striking of its siblings in its Phantom Violet finish. Apple’s semi-regular (PRODUCT)RED variants of iPhones over the years have been another pleasant distraction from mainstream stalwarts like black, silver, and gray.
At the same time, though, not everyone has been able to enjoy that more experimental color palette. It’s still fairly common for high-end phones to slim down the number of finishes on offer considerably, and the latest flagships are no different. You can get a purple iPhone 12, or a violet Galaxy S21, but if you want an iPhone 12 Pro Max or a Galaxy S21 Ultra your options are fairly, well… boring.
Apple offers its most expensive handset in Graphite, Silver, Gold, or Pacific Blue. Pleasing finishes, certainly, with the combination of polished metal frames and frosted glass backs, but hardly as eye-catching as the purple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. Samsung’s hues are similarly sober: you can have your Galaxy S21 Ultra in silver, black, titanium, navy, or brown.
Perhaps there’s an assumption that those digging deep into their pockets for a four-figure smartphone are too serious to consider a more eye-catching color. Maybe, too, there’s a rational argument that such buyers are likely smaller in number, and so making too many color options needlessly complicates the supply chain. Samsung’s silver and black Galaxy S21 Ultra finishes are the only ones you’ll find in general circulation: the other three are special orders through its own web store.
I’ve no doubt that Apple has some excellent market research underscoring its decision to offer purple on its mainstream iPhone 12 family phones alone. Still, I can’t help but be a little disappointed at having to choose between the excellent array of cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max or a more playful finish. This may be one of those times where Apple needs to lead and show its users what they didn’t realize they wanted: more color and more personality in the gadgets we use most every day.
After the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the LG Aristo 3 comes in the second position before we have the iPhone 11 Pro Max in the third position. Samsung then went ahead to claim the fourth, fifth and seventh positions with the Galaxy S20, S10 and S20 Plus respectively. Google Pixel 4 is in the sixth position while Apple claims the last three positions. In the eighth, ninth and tenth positions, we have the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone XR respectively,
The list shows that the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra came out on top with a score of 86. LG Aristo 3 follows closely with a score of 84. However, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S10 all have the same score, 82.Top 5 popular smartphones in the U.S. market 1. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
This device comes with an Exynos 990 (7 nm+) SoC. It uses a 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED display that supports a 120Hz refresh rate and 1440 x 3200-pixel resolution. In addition, it has 12GB/16GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB/512GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage. On the rear, it has a quad-camera setup with a 108MP main sensor that supports 8K videos. Furthermore, this device comes with a 5,000 mAh battery that supports a 45W fast charge, 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. Samsung padded the Galaxy S20 Ultra front camera such that it is not much different from the S21 Ultra. Samsung designed the front camera of this device such that it can capture both cropped and full-frame formats. By default, it captures images in its cropped format but this format has images with a lower resolution.2. LG Aristo 3
South Korean manufacturer, LG is no longer active in the smartphone market after massive consecutive losses. In fact, for a long time, this brand did not do well in the global market. Nevertheless, it always had a small niche market in the U.S. This is the reason why its 2023 smartphone remains one of the most popular in the U.S.Gizchina News of the week
For protection, it uses a Corning Gorilla Glass that makes it very resistant to falls. Under the hood, this device comes with a Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with up to 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The camera department is nothing like we see today. This device uses the good old single rear camera setup. It comes with a 13MP rear camera as well as a single 5MP front camera.3. iPhone 11 Pro Max 4. Samsung Galaxy S20
The Samsung Galaxy S20 comes with a 120 Hz AMOLED 6.2-inch (1440 x 3200 pixels) Dynamic AMOLED display that supports HDR10+ video. The display also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for protection. This device draws its power from the Snapdragon 865 for buyers in the U.S. or China. However, buyers in Europe and other markets will have a Galaxy S22 that draws its power from the Exynos 990 SoC. Both versions come in 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There is a microSD card slot thus you can expand the internal storage.
The Galaxy S22 also comes with a triple rear camera setup. This device uses a 12MP main camera that supports OIS. It also uses a 64MP telephoto camera that supports 3x optical zoom and OIS. Furthermore, there is another 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera. It is interesting to note that two of the three cameras on the rear support Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). To keep its lights on, this device uses a 4000 mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.5. Samsung Galaxy S10
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is the company’s 2023 flagship series. This device comes with a 60 Hz AMOLED 6.1-inch quad-HD+ (1440 x 3040 pixels) Dynamic AMOLED display that supports HDR10+ video. Under the hood, this device comes with either the Snapdragon 855 or the Exynos 9820. As usual, in China and the U.S., buyers will have the Snapdragon 855 version. However, in Europe and other markets, the Exynos 9820 version will be sold. Both versions come in multiple memory/storage configurations – it has 6GB / 8GB of RAM and 128GB / 512GB of internal storage.
On the rear, this smartphone comes with a triple rear camera setup. Specifically, this device uses a 12MP main camera that supports OIS. It also uses a 12MP telephoto camera that supports 2x optical zoom and OIS. Furthermore, there is another 16MP ultrawide angle lens that supports Super Steady video. Under the hood, this device has a 3700 mAh battery that supports 15W charging, 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.Conclusion
We can see that the U.S. smartphone market is not very diverse and only a small group of brands claim the entire market. We have just Samsung, Apple, Google and LG on a list of 15 most popular smartphones. With LG out of the market, the list even gets shorter.
The Astro, Amazon’s home robot, powered by Alexa’s technology can interrupt your privacy.
Astro, Amazon’s first home robot , is powered by Alexa technology, Amazon ‘s smart home technology. When not at home, the robot – a tablet on wheels about the size of a small dog – may be remotely operated to check on pets, humans, or home security. It also monitors a house on its own and notifies users if it detects something strange. Astro is roughly 50 cm tall and has three wheels that allow him to move around. It can map your house and respond to voice commands, delivering all of Alexa’s features to a mobile companion that can follow you everywhere you go owing to its wheels. The robot , for example, can assist family members or the elderly in maintaining frequent contact with their loved ones via video chats or even organizing a beat-boxing party. The robot includes a periscope arm that allows it to interact with items like knobs and buttons in a limited fashion, as well as a system of cameras that allows it to navigate the house while avoiding obstacles. Customers may switch off cameras, microphones, and movements by pressing the microphones or cameras-off button at any time. Astro is unable to move or record video or audio while this button is pushed, and a dedicated red LED illuminates to match the red status indication on the screen. You can even use Astro as a surveillance camera to keep an eye on what’s happening in your house while you’re away, thanks to his computer vision. Astro doesn’t appear to be able to play with your pets just yet, but they can check to see whether your dog has trashed your sofa or if your cat is napping on the uppermost shelf due to a special periscope camera. Astro, too, has promised to safeguard your privacy, according to Amazon . Owners will be able to establish limits zones that tell Astro where it isn’t permitted to travel, as well as use “do not disturb” capabilities to limit Astro’s mobility during specific times of the day, in addition to all of Alexa technology’s regular privacy safeguards. Astro is not the first home robot on the market, but it is the first that has a chance of succeeding since it incorporates numerous characteristics that have been extensively tested in other Amazon goods. Amazon has given it a face in an attempt to persuade us that it is a pleasant AI companion rather than the data-harvesting dystopian nightmare bot that it is. This creature is wicked, and it must be exterminated. Astro’s icy, glaring synthetic eyes aren’t endearing. Astro is a sci-fi nightmare that comes true. Imagine turning around and finding it sitting there silently watching you, waiting for an order, with those enormous circular eyes piercing straight into your soul. A surveillance gadget with a face has a menacing aura about it. Astro is “awful,” a “disaster not suitable for release,” and “possibly hazardous,” according to developers who reportedly worked on the robot and spoke anonymously to Vice. According to one source, facial recognition technology is “at best inaccurate,” making the “in-home security offer ludicrous.” According to another source, the home robot is far more delicate than its high retail price suggests, with the camera mast regularly being stuck in position and it “almost definitely throwing itself down a flight of stairs.” Maybe, Astro is helpful to such an extent, but it can interrupt your privacy.
Microsoft has shipped eight million Kinect for Xbox 360 devices in two months, according to CEO Steve Ballmer speaking in his keynote address yesterday at CES 2011.
That’s the number shipped to retailers, not customers. Still, Microsoft exceeded by some unknown number the 5 million units they expected to sell to actual users. The early sales success of Kinect only hints at the monster hit they have on their hands as the capabilities and potential of the Kinect platform become clear.
Kinect is quickly turning into Microsoft’s “iPhone” — the small product that could grow into a monster, change the world and transform the fortunes and direction of the company that makes it.
The AppleiPhone was theoretically a mobile telephone. Instead, it turned out to be so much more: An interface revolution, a new application paradigm and platform and Apple’s probably successful attempt to invent the future. The iPhone interface drove sales of the iPad, and will probably show up on future desktop computers.
Kinect is supposed to be just an input device to a gaming system. Instead, Kinect just might become another interface revolution, a new application platform and Microsoft’s probably successful attempt to invent the future. The Kinect interface will probably become part of the PC interface of the future.
Kinect appears superficially to be nothing more than a Wii-like motion capture system. But it’s way more than that.
It’s a system that combines motion and gestures with voice recognition, face recognition and “environment,” or a computer-generated space — games, video, virtual worlds. It does all this in a very inexpensive, very accurate way that brings a long list of science-fiction like applications to the masses.
More important, it uses real cameras to capture motion, rather than laser, infra-red or other systems that don’t enable photo and video applications.
Out of the box, Kinect realizes a “technology of the future” from our childhoods: The George Jetson video phone. Microsoft’s Video Kinect app enables people to have video calls with family and friends. Of course, other video chat systems have existed for years. But Kinect is the first giant-screen system that’s deployed already in millions of homes. While nobody was paying attention, giant-screen, Jetson-like video calls have gone mainstream.
Kinect also has the potential to usher in other “technologies of the future,” including the gesture interface from “Minority Report,” deeply immersive virtual reality a la “The Matrix,” or “Star Trek,” and other technologies that we’re familiar with from science fiction.The Future of Kinect
Ballmer introduced at CES something called Avatar Kinect, a virtual chat environment where your body movements, voice, hand gestures and even facial expressions are captured and applied to a cartoon version of you. Let’s say three friends want to chat. They each launched the Avatar Kinect application, which shows all their avatars in a virtual environment on their TVs. Then, they just have a conversation. As they do so, their avatars interact with all movements and expressions on the TV.
Avatar Kinect appears to be a vastly superior version of the avatar-based chat idea that Google tried and failed with when it launched, then cancelled, Google Lively. With Lively, avatars were disconnected from users.
But with Avatar Kinect, the avatars mimic everything the user actually does. It’s also got hooks into Facebook, apparently enabling chat sessions to take place inside the social network.
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