Lockitron Introduces New $99 App-Enabled Smart Deadbolt Lock ‘Bolt’ [iOS Blog]

Lockitron today announced a new product in its lineup of smart keyless home locking system devices, the $99 Bolt. Lockitron previously entered the market a few years back with the somewhat rocky launch of an earlier smartphone-enabled deadbolt lock, and the company is now shifting gears to focus on Bolt.

The basics of the device allow users with the free-to-download app to unlock and lock their home deadbolts via Bluetooth Low Energy, meaning a user must be near the lock to interact with it, but the lock will keep working in event of a power outage.

As reported by TechCrunch, Lockitron co-founder Cameron Robertson assures customers the company has learned a lot from the problems faced with its last product. The team simplified component costs by sourcing high quality parts elsewhere, and subsequently got both the lock’s price and size reduced.

Bolt is smaller, more elegant and more robust than the crowdfunded Lockitron. It has a better battery life, more fault tolerant embedded architecture and includes Lockitron’s most popular features like sharing access, activity logging and Sense. Most importantly, however, Lockitron Bolt has been designed with mass manufacturing in mind from day one.

The Bolt also features sharing access to other smartphone users, activity logging to track when someone interacted with the lock, and „Sense,“ which either automatically unlocks the Bolt when you walk up to the door, or prompts the user with an easy-to-confirm notification. Lockitron will also sell the Bolt Bridge, which connects the Bolt to the internet and acts as a middle man to send a Bluetooth signal via a user’s phone to the Bolt itself, meaning customers could unlock the deadbolt for someone else while away from home.

The new device replaces a deadbolt on a user’s door altogether, versus the original’s attempt at universality in fitting over an existing deadbolt. While the company’s aims were admirable, many users found difficulty in setting up and properly using the slotted-on device. Lockitron decided to look to learning thermostat Nest as an example of a product that requires a signifcant amount of setup but leaves its users with a far more agreeable experience upon completion.

“Basically, as long as we could break the setup down into 20 tiny, doable steps, it didn’t really matter that it required removing the old deadbolt,” Robertson told TechCrunch last week.

The Lockitron Bolt can be pre-ordered from the company’s official website. A Preview Edition, with a limit of 1,000 units, will begin shipping in March. A final consumer-ready edition is slated for „late Spring“ and will arrive in a variety of finishes to match a user’s door.

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Apple Acquires Media Analytics Company Semetric Ahead of Beats Music Relaunch

Apple has acquired British media analytics company Semetric and will look to roll in the company’s Musicmetric tracking service into its relaunch of Beats Music later this year, reports The Guardian.

In documents filed with Companies House earlier in January, Semetric’s registered address was changed to 100 New Bridge Street in London – the office of law firm Baker & McKenzie, which is also the registered address of Apple Europe Limited.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plan,” said Apple in a statement provided to the Guardian, although Semetric declined to comment.

First launched in 2008, Musicmetric is known for its expansive tracking of music sales, downloads, and social networking statistics for artists and labels. In 2013, the startup also struck a deal with streaming service Spotify to integrate its data into Musicmetric’s profiles for users.

Last year, it was reported that Apple would be revamping the Beats Music streaming service for 2015, and was even said to be pushing for an industry-leading $5 monthly subscription cost. Apple could look to offer musicians and music labels a way to track their iTunes and social networking statistics with Musicmetric, although both companies have yet to specify their plans.

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Mac Pro Models Now Available From Apple’s Online Refurbished Store

Apple has recently added the Mac Pro to the refurbished section of its online store, giving customers the opportunity to purchase the professional-level desktop at a 15 percent discount compared to a brand-new machine for the first time since the computer’s December 2013 release.

There are several different configurations available, ranging in price from $2,549 for the 3.7GHz quad-core machine with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage to $7,479 for the 2.7Ghz 12-core machine with 32GB RAM and 1TB storage. All available refurbished Mac Pro models ship within 3 to 5 business days.

All of Apple’s refurbished products, the Mac Pro included, have been thoroughly tested for reliability and come with the same one-year warranty offered with standard products.

Apple’s 2013 Mac Pro made waves when it was released, due to its radically redesigned cylindrical form factor and the fact that the machine is the first to be assembled in the United States. It features Ivy Bridge E processors, dual GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, and fast PCI Express-based flash storage.

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Patent troll threatens Apple with court action over FaceTime

When you’re a company with the kind of bank that Apple has, it’s no wonder that you’d be the target for patent trolls. Well, it seems that the trolls are out from under their bridge again, because Secure Web Conference…Read more ›

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New 12-Core Mac Pro Once Again Shows Up in Benchmarks

Back in June, just days after Apple teased the new Mac Pro at its Worldwide Developers Conference, a Geekbench result appeared for a version of the machine using Intel’s 12-core Xeon E5-2697 v2 Ivy Bridge-E processor running at 2.7 GHz. Entries for 8-core and 6-core models followed in September and November respectively, but with those benchmarks coming under Geekbench 3 and the original 12-core model having been tested under Geekbench 2, the results were not directly comparable.

Still, John Poole of Primate Labs, the company behind Geekbench, outlined the likely processor performance options under Geekbench 3 for the new Mac Pro based on the tested Mac Pro machines where available and filling in the gaps with data from Windows machines running the same processors destined for the Mac Pro.

Now, with the Mac Pro launch likely very near, new sets of benchmarks from the 12-core Mac Pro running Geekbench 3 have surfaced, offering a better look at the performance of the high-end custom configuration. MacRumors and Poole both believe the results to be legitimate.

Three sets of Geekbench results have been posted, two run in 32-bit mode and a third in 64-bit mode. Averages for the two 32-bit runs (1, 2) yield scores of 2909 for single-core testing and 29721 for multi-core testing, fairly close to Poole’s predictions based on results from Windows machines running the same chip.

As predicted, the single-core score for the high-end Mac Pro is actually lower than seen with the other new Mac Pro models due to the lower maximum clock speed of the 12-core chip, but multi-core testing obviously shows a significant boost in performance compared to the Mac Pro model carrying the 8-core processor. The new 12-core Mac Pro unsurprisingly also compares favorably to the 12-core Mid 2012 Mac Pro and high-end models of the current iMac and Retina MacBook Pro.

Comparison of high-end models using 32-bit multi-core Geekbench 3 scores
The third Geekbench result for this machine uses the 64-bit version of the testing suite, which yields scores roughly 10-11% higher than their 32-bit counterparts for both single-core and multi-core testing.

As with previous Mac Pro benchmarks believed to be legitimate, this latest 12-core Mac Pro is running a custom build of OS X Mavericks, the same 13A4023 build seen on the 6-core model last month.

Apple has announced that it will be launching the new Mac Pro sometime this month, but has yet to offer a more specific launch date or publicly outline full pricing details beyond the $2999/$3999 stock configurations. According to a price quote provided to one business customer, maxing out the new Mac Pro with the 12-core CPU, 64 GB of RAM, 1 TB of internal flash storage, and high-end dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics chips could bring pricing to roughly $10,000.

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