Apple Makes the iPhone 5 Irrelevant Too Soon With the New iPhone Unveilings

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Remember that old “Animaniacs” segment ‘Good Idea/Bad Idea’ where the narrator would show a similarly themed idea and the good idea and bad idea versions of it? Let’s play that with Apple’s newest iPhone announcement.

Good idea; the iPhone 5S.

The 5S looks to be the most powerful smartphone ever, and everything about it (including the gimmicky, but soon to be standard, fingerprint scanner) fits perfectly in line with the Apple model of releasing a new model that isn’t quite ready to be distinguished as the next build (i.e. the iPhone 6), but represents a nice leap forward when compared to what came before.

Bad idea; the insulting, low down, no good, dirty rotten, laughably greedy idea now known as the iPhone 5C.

You know how Apple usually lowers the price of a previous model of iPhone when the new one comes out? Yeah, well this time they’ve decided to release a “new” and cheaper version of the iPhone 5 called the iPhoneC instead. Though there are some minor differences between the iPhone 5 and the 5C, the biggest ones would have to be the extremely low price point ($99, no contract required), the all plastic body, and the shiny, shiny, colors it is available in.

By itself it wouldn’t be such a bad idea (essentially a really cheap iPhone 5), but what makes its unveiling such a slap in the face is that Apple has also made the decision that they will discontinue the iPhone 5 starting immediately. That means that everyone holding an iPhone 5 right now is essentially dead to Apple, as they are clearly expecting all of their customers who want to retain basic service and be able to purchase accessories to either drop a fresh ton of cash on the 5S, or to purchase the near identical 5C model for an unnecessary $99 fee.

This is simply inexcusable, especially considering that a 64 GB model of the iPhone 5C is not even available like it is for the iPhone 5. While Apple could have released the 5C as a cheaper alternative, they’ve instead chosen to enhance their nefarious image as the absolute greediest company in the tech world, by turning their most loyal (and recent) customers into nothing but suckers who will accept a financial reaming from a major corporation so long as the offending apparatus is in shiny new colors.

In a way I feel bad for iPhone 5 owners, as they are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the new releases given the discontinuation announcement. On the other hand, anyone that submits to this billion dollar cash ploy and continues to give their financial and spiritual support to Apple, deserves to receive the sub-human consumer treatment that Apple has started to package along with every iPhone sold.

Rumors Have Google Planning to Open Nationwide Retail Stores

In their constant bid to do what they do every night and try to take over the world, Google is reportedly planning to open their own chain of brand specific retail stores.

Usually reliable Google centric blog 9to5 Google broke the news, saying their sources claim the web giant will be expanding past their occasional Best Buy and special event pop up Chrome stores, and will be looking at a nationwide retail store model similar to that of competitor Apple. The stores would also be used in much of the same fashion as Apple stores, as Google would use them to show off their latest and greatest gadgets, and also offer technical support.

While a reasonable, even sane, argument can be made that Google looking to get into a dying industry late is a costly business failure waiting to happen, the truth is that Apple still does very well at their retail locations, and Google is consistently cited as being at least as popular, if not more so, than Apple is. The real reason this could work though is Project Glass, as Google is set to launch what could potentially be the next great invention, and a physical retail store that lets people practically try it, could be a big draw.

We’ll know more as the rumored holiday 2013 US openings of these stores draws closer, but the one thing we know for sure is that if Google has as much fun designing the stores as they did their offices, we’re all in for a treat.

From the “About Time” File Comes a Sink…That Also Dries Your Hands

With necessity being the mother of invention and all that, how the hell has a sink that also dries your hands not been introduced before?

Thankfully the good folks at Dyson are a step ahead of the game and have introduced an all in one bathroom sink  called the Dyson Airblade tap that allows for you to wash and dry your hands via one convenient fixture. It’s not exactly rocket science either, as the setup simply includes the traditional motion sensing faucet, only equipped with wing jettisons that also respond to movement, and dry your hands when you’re ready with little more than a simple flick of the wrist in either direction.

More than just a handy case of common sense inspired design though, the hand dryers themselves are much improved over the classic models as they blow cool air which actually disposes of the water naturally instead of evaporating it. Not only that but the air is more purified for less chance of potential germs, and the Dyson powered motor shoots out air at 430 mph, ensuring a drying time of around 12 seconds.

There’s not much more to the new Dyson design, and that is, of course, a big part of its brilliance. Not only does its simple ingenuity help to eliminate the mostly hated paper towel use, but also does away with the incredibly inefficient traditional blow dryer and cuts down on the amount of awkward bathroom lines you’ll have to face in your lifetime.

Truly, for us public bathroom aficionados, this is a case of heroic design.

Alarm Clocks That Don’t Have Time for Excuses In the Morning

Between the chilly weather, my fondness of sleeping, and preference to not work as opposed to going to work, It’s been harder and harder to get going in the morning.

Is the problem a lack of motivation and general laziness? No, I’m sure not. Instead it must be my simple alarm clock, which just isn’t capable of besting my urge to stay in bed. If you share that same problem, then allow me to present you some more intense alarm alternatives, all of which have ways beyond an annoying beep to force you to get up in the morning.

Electrifying Alarm clock

Taken in aesthetically, the singNshock alarm is just a well designed and good looking alarm clock, with a soothing music playing wake-up feature, and multicolor LED display. On first glance, it’s actually very welcoming.

But once it’s time to get up, the singNshock immediately ceases all notions of friendliness, and straight up shocks you into waking up. The moment you try to turn your alarm off, the alarm sends a small millivolt (1 thousandth of a volt) electrical charge through your body. It’s not enough to make your hair stand on end, and can actually be turned off, but it will get your attention when it’s most needed, which is kind of a theme on this list.

Gun Alarm Clock

Most of us have aggressive tendencies towards our alarm clocks and, in moments of sleep deprived frustration, you may have even fantasied about shooting it.

Don’t suppress those darker urges though, but rather encourage them with the Gun O’ Clock. Whenever the alarm goes off in the morning, a target pops up from it and requires you to use the light gun accessory to shoot it down via either quick shot mode (5 perfect shots in 3 minutes), a quick draw speed shot, or a random mode. It’s not a beat you over the head school of alarm clock design, but it does require a little hand eye coordination, and provides a bit of entertainment to get you started with the day.

Carpet Alarm Clock

We now get more into the idea of motion based alarm clocks, as the toughest part of any morning is getting out of bed.

The carpet alarm directly addresses that issue, as you are required to stand up and step on the carpet in order to turn it off. There’s even a nice LED pressure sensitive clock built into the otherwise normal rug, bringing it closer to the traditional alarm clock look. While there are quite a number of cheats for this such as placing it right by, or even on your bed, and then going back to sleep, purists will put this on the other side of room and force themselves out of bed every morning.

Rolling Alarm Clock

Like the carpet alarm clock, this one is based on the idea of you moving to wake up in the morning. Unlike the carpet alarm, this one presents few cheats to counter it.

One of the oldest and most effective of the tough alarm designs, Clocky is equipped with wheels so that when your alarm goes off, so does the clock. As it rolls around, you’re forced to chase it down in an effort to turn it off. The clock moves with good speed, and in random patterns, making it an effort to pursue it, and providing you with the necessary amount of motion, and a healthy bit of early exercise, needed to get you going.

Weight Alarm Clock

Then again, if a little exercise isn’t enough to get your day started, you should probably consider an alarm that demands a full amount of reps.

Modeled like a dumbbell, the shape up alarm has no problem turning off in the morning, so long as you are willing to do a few curls. Specifically it requires 30 curls done in succession for the alarm to deactivate, which is a healthy amount designed to make sure that you are using more than a quick motion, or hazy chase down, to try to get moving. Instead it takes a concentrated physical effort to overcome this hardcore alarm.

IQ Alarm Clock

Of course, there are more important parts of your body to work out in order to have a productive morning than your biceps, one of which would be your brain.

In fact, more than your limbs, it’s usually your brain that’s the last thing to start working in the morning, and the IQ alarm knows that. That’s why it ditches the snooze button, and comes equipped with an extremely difficult battery compartment, ensuring that to stop the alarm you will have to answer 1-3 (the required number is changeable) IQ test level questions. It’s a clever design, as it requires you to be equally clever to best it.

Sonic Boom Alarm Clock

When you don’t want to trust to gimmicks and novelties to wake you up, you need an alarm clock that has no interest in, or ability to, play games.

The Sonic Boom is a standard alarm clock in that it displays time, makes a beeping sound, and even has a snooze button. The difference is the main alarm on its top setting can achieve a level of 113 decibels (the equivalency of a jackhammer or rock concert). Not only that, but it is equipped with bright flashing red lights, and a disk that fits under your mattress and shakes your bed with extreme authority until you turn the alarm off. There may be no additional features to assure you won’t roll back to sleep, but the ruthless aggressiveness of the Sonic Boom may just put you into fear of disobeying it by even suggesting you rest your eyes. Such is its authority.

And the Dumbest Gadget at CES 2013 Is…

Trying to nitpick, analyze, highlight, and discuss the Consumer Electronics Show with any kind of totality is a maddening proposition, unless you’re willing to devote a significant amount of research time and several posts to doing so. I considered doing just that briefly, before I decided to step back and remember that the CES is really supposed to be fun. And while part of that fun is seeing what we’ll be able to buy in the coming year (and what we’ll never, ever afford), another, more entertaining, part is mocking the most absurd inventions that had no business on the show floor in the first place.

It’s those that I wanted to focus on, and specifically I wanted to find the most ridiculous of them all. For a moment, I thought it would be the iPad training toilet (not only because it teaches kids they don’t need to stop using their gadgets, even while on the toilet, but makes me realize there are kids who can’t even stop pooping their pants that somehow have iPad access and knowledge), or the Motorhead sponsored headphones designed to more or less be dangerously, annoyingly loud.

In the end though, there was only one clear winner.

A fork? Yeah, but of course it’s a smart fork. How can a fork be smart? When it’s designed for stupid people of course.

In this case, the Hapifork (as its known) measures your eating habits (particularly how fast you are eating) and through an app (of course it has an app) allows you to monitor statistics like how long your meal was, how many fork servings you had per minute, and the time between bites. The data is then analyzed to help you find ways to become a healthier eater. It can also provide visual cues while eating to let you know when things are getting out of hand.

Now, I am aware that obesity and over eating are huge problems, particularly in America. However so is stupidity, and it’s frightening to believe there are people speaking of this fork like it is somehow a good idea, or noble weapon on the war against not eating so damn much. It’s neither. It’s a device that attempts to eliminate common sense and reduce personal responsibility in a field (dieting) that requires a great deal of both to be successful.

So instead of considering spending the $99 on the Hapifork when it is released (or put on Kickstarter), allow me to present an alternative. Hire me. Seriously, if you must have an eating tattler, rent me for $5 during your meal, and when I see you attacking a plate of pasta like it violated a peace treaty I’ll say “Dude”. You’ll say “Oh, right” ,slow down, and hopefully, neither you, me, or any of us will have to hear about this smart fork again.