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#174: Best in Showroom | February 2014


Best in Show: February 2014
By Jonny Wanser

The month of February is a brutal one in particular for us veteran Vermonters. While we like to gloat about how we can take on any sort of weather and laugh at other states freaking out about an inch of snow, by February, we’re all just about sick of it.

Luckily, we live in 2014 and we have electronics to temporary cure our modern day cabin fevers. February is typically a slow month for exciting Apple news, although this February in particular does not fall short of interest for you technophiles (this word was in my spellcheck, haha).

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Apple Macintosh. The Mac line has certainly come a long way, and continues to grow into exciting new paths. Fusion Drives, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular inside said machines. Also on the Apple rumor horizon, there has been word of a new, beefed-up Apple TV around the corner, which I’d be totally stoked on if any of those rumors are true.

Also, last month, Don, Hapy and Jason attended the 2014 CES. This year’s focal point was on the automated house. In honor of the growing interest, we’ve decided include a deal on our favorite iOS automated devices — the WeMo line from Belkin. Both the Wi-Fi-enabled Power Switch and Light Switch are $10 off at $39.99!

Finally, we have some product specials this month for you and your loved one. Strut your device around in a new flashy case from Hammerhead, Kensington or Speck, some sweet new Beats headphones (on sale for a limited time!), and more. Take a look at our double issue of deals to the right!

What is a Fusion Drive Anyways?
By Veronica Kovacs

During their event on October 23, 2012, Apple announced the Fusion Drive as a new form of data storage available for the iMacs and Mac minis. Fusion Drives are composed of one part hard disk and one part solid-state drive. Combining the two drives gives the computer and the user the best features of both storage technologies.

The hard disk provides a large capacity of storage while the solid-state provides the fastest speeds; all at a fraction of the cost of a fully solid-state drive of the same capacity.

The software of the operating system also plays a role in utilizing the most speed out of your Fusion Drive. The OS recognizes frequently used data, files, and applications and stores them in the solid state portion of the Fusion drive.

The items that are accessed less frequently are stored in the larger capacity RPM hard disk drive. During times where the machine is in idle mode, the data is moved to and from the solid state portion so users only notice the fastest speeds from their machines.

The House of Today
By Matt Vesecky

A few years ago, a “smart” home was something of a concept that was more practical in sci fi movies and old cartoons than in real life. Over the past two or so years, a new wave of smart home devices have been flooding the market to great success. What’s awesome about this influx of smart home technology is that it can be applied at pretty much any budget or level of integration at this point.

On one end of the spectrum, we have whole home systems that can go so far as to light the pathway that you walk down at night, to the more budget- and apartment-friendly options that just turn your living room light on before you get home.

For consumer-level options, we have the Belkin’s Wemo home automation line which either automates a light switch or a wall outlet. These devices, and anything they are attached to, can be controlled from your phone or set on a timer. Another consumer-friendly product line is by a company called Nest that has created smart thermostats and fire alarms that integrate with your phone, giving appliances that have typically been ignored a makeover both conceptually and physically.

Making its debut at the 2014 CES trade show was the Canary, billed as “the world’s first smart home security device for everyone.” The Canary sits in an optimal position in your house or apartment and takes diagnostics which you can view from your phone. It tracks motion with an HD camera that can save or stream video to cloud storage.

It will notify you in the case of drastic change in temperature, humidity, and excessive movement or noise when you are not home. You can even track air quality trends or watch your pets at home. Advertised at $200, it is certainly one of the most affordable smart home security options available at this time.

Smart home devices are unquestionably one of the next big things for technology. Nest was originally crowdfunded and has been since purchased by Google for 3.2 billion dollars. Not only are the technology giants getting in on the trend, but average people are now invested in making their lives and homes more connected and efficient.

Join the movement — grab a WeMo on special this month and get automated!

Rumor Mill: New Apple TV This Spring?
By Marian Hangebrauk

After being slightly disappointed by the lack of update for the Apple TV in October, hope is in the air again. Apple recently revamped their website bringing the Apple TV into a full product section rather than residing in its previous subcategory in the iPod section. What this means is that Apple is graduating this device…but to what, we have yet to find out.

Luckily for us, there are rumors!*

The most popular rumored Apple TV redesign is the addition of a game or app store. We’re unclear as to how intensive the app store will be, but signs look good with the company recently streamlining the development of Apple TV apps.

In addition, it’s rumored that Game Center will be integrated with your current iOS devices while also allowing you to use those existing devices as game controllers. Many people believe that these will use a similar configuration as the MFi controllers that were released earlier in the year.

Additional rumors for the Apple TV are talks of integrating the AirPort Express into the device. This would eliminate connectivity problems with the Apple TV and simplify the home experience significantly. Last but not least, there are rumors of a built-in TV tuner component for the Apple TV.

This would allow users to control their existing stations using an overlaid Apple interface. Overall, it sounds like Apple is ready to revamp the Apple TV into the main face of your TV, rather than being just another great addition.

*Rumor disclaimer: We don’t know anything before you do, so speculating on any new devices is just that — speculation. We’ll let you know as soon as something new is announced so you can come in and grab it!

30 Years of Mac
By Patrick McCormack

January 24th marked the 30th anniversary of the original Macintosh debut. Apple’s website features an interactive history of their revolutionary product line, starting with the 1984 Macintosh, all the way up to today’s current models.

I strongly encourage even the mildest Mac enthusiast to visit the site, and participate in their “What was your first Mac” survey. This simply asks, “What was the first Mac you owned? What year did you buy it? What did you use if for?” Upon reviewing the survey’s results, it’s amazing to see how Apple’s imprint on the professional world has shifted so dramatically since the beginning.

Initially, these machines were primarily used for Education and Desktop Publishing. As you scroll forward on the timeline, you see the Education category shrink, and as the Internet/Email field appears, it rapidly takes over the majority of the spectrum.

There’s an interesting influx of Graphic Designers who adopted Mac in 1997, and this is the only year after 1994 that you’ll see anything trump Internet/Email. Certain categories such as Desktop Publishing, will disappear entirely as the 1990’s progress. These results are subject to change as more users interact and submit their answers.

Of course, Apple’s “Thirty Years of Mac” campaign video focuses on the ground breaking artists who rely on their systems today, especially those who adopted early. The incredible thing about Apple is that they have never stopped expanding, always reaching new markets while improving the creative industry every step of the way.

As a musician and photo enthusiast, I have yet to find another suitable computer solution. For that reason and many others, I look forward to seeing the next thirty years of Apple’s history.


Valentine's Specials!

// 2/01 TO 2/15 //
(Note: These exclusive Valentine’s Day specials will expire in two weeks, so act fast!)

Hammerhead Capo Case for iPad MiniHALF OFF! – normally $29.99, now $14.99!

Hammerhead Folio Case for iPad miniHALF OFF! – normally $29.99, now $14.99!

Belkin WeMo Power SwitchSAVE $10 – normally at $49.99, now $39.99!

Belkin WeMo Light SwitchSAVE $10 – normally at $49.99, now $39.99!

// 2/03 TO 2/14 //

Audio Specials

Beats PowerBeats - SAVE $50 (normally $149.99, now $99.99)
Beats Solo HD - SAVE $40 (normally $179.99, now $139.99)
Beats TourSAVE $10 (normally $99.99, now 89.99)
Beats Studios (1st Gen)SAVE $70 (normally $249.99, now 179.99)
Beats PillsSAVE $30 – (normally $179.99, now 149.99)

Hammerhead Chill Pill [RED]SAVE $15 – (normally $39.99, now 24.99)

iPhone Specials

Kensington Portafolio Duo Wallet for iPhone 5/5s [RED]SAVE $15 – (normally $39.99, now 24.99)

Hammerhead Jacket Case for iPhone 5/5s [RED]SAVE $10 – (normally $19.99, now 9.99)

Hammerhead Bumper for iPhone 5c [RED]SAVE $6 – (normally $12.99, now 6.99)

Hammerhead Crystal Clear Screen Protector for iPhone 5/5s/5c [RED]SAVE $6 – (normally $9.99, now 3.99)

iPad Air Specials

Griffin Slim Keyboard Folio for iPad Air [RED]SAVE $20 – (normally $79.99, now 59.99)

Hammerhead Folio Case for iPad Air [RED]SAVE $20 – (normally $39.99, now 19.99)

Hammerhead Bubble-Free Screen Protector for iPad Air SAVE $12 – (normally $24.99, now 12.99)

iPad Mini Specials

Hammerhead Bubble-Free Screen Protector SAVE $10 – (normally $19.99, now 9.99)

iPad 2 Specials

Hammerhead Bubble-Free Screen Protector SAVE $12 – (normally $24.99, now 12.99)

Hammerhead Premium Leather Case [RED] SAVE $30 – (normally $59.99, now 29.99)

Hammerhead Folio Case for iPad 2/3/4 [RED] SAVE $20 – (normally $19.99, now 39.99)

Computer Specials

Speck SeeThru Satin Cases for All MacBooks SAVE $15 – (normally $49.99, now 34.99)