Our “It’s Already Mid-December” Gift List!

We are down to nine days before Christmas, but don’t despair, there is still a full week left to finish up your Christmas list! Check out our list below of some of the hottest tech gifts to close out 2015. These are all easy to pick up on the fly, so there is no need to be rushing around on Christmas Eve.

1. The Amazon Echo: This little speaker that answers to the name “Alexa” is at the top of many Christmas lists this year, as it is quickly becoming one of the year’s most popular gadgets. First and foremost, the Echo is a speaker. Through this speaker you can listen to your Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and more. Alexa listens to voice commands, so you can tell her what songs to play, what to skip and when to be quiet. Over time Alexa will become more attuned to your voice, and she will easily understand more commands. Alexa has a plethora of other functions in addition to being a speaker. She will search the web, check the weather, write you a shopping list and keep your calendar organized. The Echo is also the perfect companion for folks that have eyesight problems and can’t enjoy reading as much as they once did, as she will read audio books out loud while you relax. Alexa retails directly through Amazon for about $189, but if you are a Prime Member, there are sales available.

2. If the loved one on your shopping list is walking around with an outdated phone, upgrade them this Christmas! Apple just released the iPhone 6s this fall, and it comes with a ton of cool new features. The new iPhone’s 12 megapixels make for beautifully clear photos that come with the new “live” photo option. You have the option of the iPhone 6s with a 4.7″ display, or the iPhone 6s Plus with a 5.5″ display. The new iPhones come in four colors to choose from: rose gold, silver, space gray or gold. Most mobile carriers offer the new iPhone for about $200-$300 with a two-year contract, depending on which model you decide on.

3. If the person you are buying for is already an iPhone lover, they probably have the newest iPhone. So pick them up an iPhone accessory instead! Apple’s brand new extended battery case that has been all the buzz this December. This case is the first that is actually manufactured by Apple. The new case is perfect for those that are addicted to their iPhone, it offers them 25 more hours of talk time and 18 hours of Internet browsing. The way it works is that your phone will take power from the case first, and once that is drained it will start taking juice from your phone directly. You can monitor the amount of power you have under the notification tab on the front of the phone. Some users have reported not having had to charge their phone for almost a week, but that all depends on your usage. The new case will hit your pocketbook for $99, and you can purchase it directly from Apple, or wherever Apple products are sold.

4. If your friend or family member is an Android user they can get in on the extra battery action too! Just pick them up an external battery pack, the one that we carry here at CableWholesale is slim and comes in a candy pink color. This battery pack features a 3.5mm connection that will work with just about any smartphone and other gadgets too. This charger is good for two whole smartphone charges. $29.36. http://www.cablewholesale.com/specs/30w1-50040.php

5. If losing weight is on your New Years resolution list, then you should check out the Situ Food Scale. This little scale works through Bluetooth to give you the nutrition facts of what you’re about to eat. If you place an apple on the scale, the sugar count, calories, fat grams and the total carbohydrates of the apple will display automatically. Through the Situ’s app you can track the amount of food that you intake throughout the day. Keep in mind that the Situ only works with iPad, iPad Air and iPad Mini models running at least iOS 7 (for now). Pick up the scale directly through Amazon for $120.

6. Apple TV, 4th Generation: The latest generation of Apple TV has just hit the market this year, and is all set-up and ready to be stuffed into a stocking. Apple’s newest set-top box has some great additions, including new games and apps that are going to be streamable through your TV via the App Store. The new Apple TV also comes with a remote that is enabled with Siri, so you can speak your demands rather than having to type them in. Siri will find you all of the movies and TV shows that you want to check out, all with a voice command. The new interactive remote will also allow you to swipe through selections instead of having to continuously punch a button. The 4th Generation Apple TV is available for $149 and can be purchased through Apple directly, or at just about any Apple retailer.

7. The Toshiba Chromebook is a great affordable gift that will work perfectly for anyone on your list that just wants a laptop with no frills, but that still meets all the basic needs. This 13.3” Chromebook comes has a 1080p full HD resolution and comes with SkullCandy speakers. The Chromebook’s battery will also last you up to nine hours on a single charge. You can snap one up for about $269 at Amazon.com or Best Buy.

Our Top Ten Christmas Apps to get You Through the Holiday Season

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we are finally gearing up for Christmas. This week we got a list together of our top Christmas apps to start your season off right.

1. Charlie Brown Christmas App: This app is so well done, you can play it over and over again for Christmas’ to come. Follow along with the Peanuts gang as they walk you through the whole Charlie Brown Christmas storybook. This interactive app includes pop-ups, crystal clear graphics and sticks to the original theme. Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown back in the 1960s, narrates the story. As an added bonus you can collect ornaments from each page in the story, and if you gather all twelve you get your own retro tree to decorate! $5.99. Available for iOS.

2. Christmas! Countdown to Santa: This cute Christmas app counts down the days till Christmas Day, letting you know how many nights of sleep you have left before the big day. The countdown is set to Christmas music to help get you in the mood. This app is free, and available for iOS.

3. OvenBreak Infinity: In this game you are a gingerbread man named “Ginger Brave” and your quest is to find eternal happiness by avoiding being baked in the oven. The obstacles include jumping and sliding over the hot flames. This addicting game is perfect for killing time in the holiday season. Free. iOS.

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas App: This interactive app tells the story of the original Dr. Suess favorite right down to the Grinch saving Christmas while his heart grows two sizes bigger. This app is designed with kids in mind, as you can tap on different words to have them highlighted. But if you are a fan of the Grinch, it is fun for all ages. $3.99. Available for Android and iOS.

5. Santa Tracker: Not only does this app have a countdown to Christmas clock, but it also has a Santa tracker installed. This is a great tool to show kids where Santa’s whereabouts might be. $1.99. Available for iOS and Android.

6. Christmas Advent Calendar 2015: This app has twenty-four puzzles and games that are designed to help you countdown to Christmas. You will be entertained for hours, and the app has sharp graphics and plays classic Christmas music. 99 cents. Available for Android and iOS.

7. Shelf Elf Reminder App: Based off of the popular children’s book “Elf on the Shelf,” this app follows along with the adorable Elf on the Shelf on his nightly adventures as he reports to Santa in the North Pole. The app will ask you to set an alarm every evening so you can find a new spot for him to hide. $1.99. Available for Android.

8. Christmas Rink Live Wallpaper: Watch the days before Christmas literally fly by with this moving wallpaper app. Every time you unlock your phone you can watch different Christmas themes as they pass by in the background. The crystal clear bright graphics will put you in the Christmas spirit. You can even decorate your own tree! Free. Available for Android.

9. Appy Christmas: With this app you can interact with Santa directly, and have him mimic what you just said back to you as he helps you count down the days to Christmas. You can also poke and prod at him, and transform him into a reindeer. There is also an interactive Advent calendar to keep you entertained too. Free. iOS.

10. ZCraft Nightmare Before Christmas: This game is a play off the Tim Burton classic “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” with 3-D graphics similar to the popular game “Minecraft.” Your Character’s mission is to troll around with your shotgun and save Christmas from Santa impostors, zombie snowmen and evil elves. With every Christmas saved you earn 100 points. This will surely keep you entertained throughout the whole holiday season. Free. Available for Android.

11. Santa’s Bag: This app will help you get your Christmas shopping list organized, and is perfect if you are gift shopping on a budget. The app allows you to input the amount of money that you have to spend, and lets you decide how much you will shell out for each person on your list. This way you can get your gift list handled while still keeping track of your spending.
Free. iOS.

Android Hacks

This year we saw some of the most innovative technology since the smartphone became a part of our everyday lives. Between the Apple and Android, it’s tough to say who came out with the biggest updates. Today we are going to focus on one of the most popular new Androids, the Samsung Galaxy S6. When it was released earlier this year, we fell in love with some of its cool upgrades and features. Below we have compiled a few cool hacks, apps and shortcuts to give you the ultimate Android experience.

First we will start off with some apps that will make your everyday life a breeze. It’s getting close to New Years, and if getting your life together is your resolution, pick up an app called “Evernote” in the Google Play store and get your life organized. This app will sync up with all your calendars in your phone, so that everything runs together flawlessly between your smartphone and your desktop. This app allows you to come up with a meeting idea, set a time and then invite people. You can also track your projects from start to finish, and keep track of your goals as you meet them. Evernote is a free app, and has paid options if you want to expand out what you would like to do. This is a great app for work, but you can use it for your everyday life too.

One of our new favorite Android features is the screenshot. Back in the day, this was the Android user’s biggest complaint: the inability to screenshot pictures and text conversations. This is one area that the iPhone dominated; iPhone users have had this ability for years. Now it’s just as easy for Android users, just press the power and volume button down at the same time, and voila: you have a screenshot. You can also download a screenshot app like “Shootme” which takes a screenshot with a just a few shakes of your phone. Easy as pie.

If you are tired of carrying around a garage door opener, there’s an app for that. Snap up the “Garageio” app in the Google Play store, and pretty soon you can open and close your garage door from just about anywhere. This app is great if you are the forgetful type that leaves the house and then spends the rest of the day wondering if you left the garage open. Now you can just check your Garageio app, and it will let you know if the door is open or closed, no matter where you are.

Although the Samsung Galaxy S6 already comes with a sweet 16-megapixel camera, there are some apps that you can download to make your pictures even better. Our favorite is “Camera 360 Ultimate,” which is available in the Google Play store. This app features over 200 filters and tools that allow you to fix your picture flaws and imperfections.

If you are over having to download apps from the Play Store, or sick of having the same apps as everyone else, you always have the option of hacking your own phone.
In the iPhone world this is referred to as “jail-breaking,” and in the Android world this is referred to as “rooting.” Once you have rooted your Android device you will have what is referred to as “superuser” permissions that will allow you complete control over the access to your phone and the applications that you want to use. When you root your phone, you can install some root-only apps that aren’t available in any app store. One reason that Apple is so against jailbreaking is that would mean that you have access to other types of apps that aren’t available for purchase on their app store; therefore they are not receiving the app royalties. Android is an open-source platform, and Google is much more liberal when it comes to their consumers hacking their own phones. Some problems with rooting your phone include not only voiding your warranty but also running into a shady root program that has backdoor loopholes, which allow other hackers into your phone. So you have to be careful which root apps you can trust. On the upside, if you choose to root your phone, you can choose to break free of your phone’s operating system altogether.

While some users were turned off by the Galaxy S6’s similarity to the iPhone6. It didn’t help that they also released the Galaxy S6 Edge, very similar to the iPhone6s and iPhone6s Plus. The physical appearances are not where the similarities end however. Samsung was quick on the heels of Apple’s mobile payment system when they came out with Samsung Pay earlier this year. This means that Samsung users now also have the option of paying quickly at the register by swiping your phone instead of your card. This is not an option that has caught on quite yet, despite how convenient it may be. Do yourself a favor and try it out at one of the thousands of retailers that are participating with Samsung pay. It’s quick to download, and will end up saving you time and hassle. If this catches on, you may not need to carry your credit cards on you anymore.

We are keeping our ear to the ground, as it is anticipated that Samsung will release the Galaxy S7 this January, which is a few months before their typical March release date.

Fresh New Phone Hacks

If you are the type of techie that loves the latest and greatest, chances are that you have either an iPhone6s or a Samsung Galaxy S6 in your pocket. It’s been a big year for smartphones, and there is a lot to catch up on. We took some time to compile some of the biggest hacks for both, if you are an iPhone lover check out our list below. We will post our list for Android aficionados next week!

iPhone 6s

The “live” photo is one of iPhone6s’s most talked about features. The live photo feature captures a few seconds before and after a picture, so your pictures will literally be brought to life with movement. A cool hack for this feature is that live photos can also be used for your home screen, so your wallpaper can be interactive. Just select a live photo for your background and watch as it comes to life.

If you are fan of FaceTime, the iPhone6s just upped their game in a big way. The new 5-megapixel FaceTime HD Camera makes for perfectly clear FaceTime calls. If you are one of those people who are a fan of taking pictures of yourself, otherwise known as a “selfie” – the 5-megapixels will work great for that too, and the retina flash that is included in the self-facing camera will light the area around your face. There is even a built-in photo album devoted for these “selfie” photos. If you really want to up your selfie game, make sure your surrounding lighting is good as well, this way the flash will naturally erase your flaws.

The iPhone’s regular camera is pleasantly clear too, with 12 megapixels this camera takes razor sharp pictures that are easily uploadable. You don’t even have to have Instagram or Facebook open, just simply press on the picture and upload right away from the options below. Quick and easy.

If videos are more your thing, the new iPhone will also let you shoot videos in 4K resolution, which is four times higher than regular HD, and allows you to upload that video to YouTube with a click of a button.

If you catch a bit of a song while you are out on the go, and you want to know who sings it, iPhone6s has you covered. There is no need to have the actual Shazam app open or downloaded, you can just ask Siri, as Shazam is built into the new iPhone6s. As long as there are a few seconds of the song available, just ask Siri “what song is this?” and she will use the app for you to get you song info.

In that same vein, if you are using Apple music, there are a few hacks for that as well. Ask Siri some off the cuff questions, like “play me the #1 song in 1994” and she will bring up a 1994’s chart toppers. Apple music comes with a free two month trial, so far it looks pretty similar to Spotify. If you are into a particular song that you are hearing on Apple music, you can tell Siri that you want to hear other songs like it, and it will pull up similar music a-la Pandora style.

This hack is a little older, but still not well known. If you need to get your phone charged up in a hurry, just simply put it on “Airplane Mode” and it will charge in a jiffy.

If you are in the middle of reading an article, but you don’t have time to finish it, just press firmly on the link and the iPhone will save your space for later by adding it to your reading list.

We will keep you updated with other new iPhone6s hacks as soon as they are discovered, stay tuned!

Yelping South Park

The big question that is looming over the Bay Area today: “Is Yelp suing South Park or not?” If you missed this week’s newest South Park episode, you missed out on some laughs. The episode depicts Cartman and his buddies as going Yelp-crazy, expecting discounted dinners in trade for their reviews. It is basically a really mild episode of South Park until the end, when they compare Yelp reviewers to members of ISIS. In actuality Yelp might have a leg to stand on in the slander department for that type of comparison. But would they really sue over this, and risk looking like they can’t take a joke? South Park has always been controversial, and others in the past that have taken their depictions too seriously have risked looking like they have no sense of humor. NBC broke the story this morning, which made the actual story seem true. The creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker even had a comeback:

“We’ve taken a hard look at the information presented to us, and after reviewing it, we have given Yelp and their lawsuit only one star. Their lawyers delivered us legal documents in a very unprofessional manner; not bothering to smile or even a quick handshake. The writing on the envelope was barely legible and in two different colors. It is our personal opinion that Yelp could do a much better job by not suing us for ten million dollars.”

There was an announcement later in the day that it was not true, and that Yelp thought the episode was funny. So which is it? Can Yelp take a joke or not? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Facebook “Reactions”

Facebook introduced their newest innovation this week, and those who were expecting a “dislike” button were disappointed. Instead Facebook revealed 7 emoji’s spanning different emotions ranging from anger to love. Facebook is calling the emoji’s “reactions,” and considering them an extension of the “like” button. Although the little emoticons are cute, some are questioning what the point of having them as a selectable option might be. These emoji’s would be placed at the end of stories in your news feed, as well as on friend’s statuses.

In reality, if you currently want to leave a comment on a post, you can use an emoji. Right now you would select it from your phone’s keyboard, so having the option of choosing one on the post itself just seems like a lazy man’s shortcut. Would a dislike button be a better option? While these emoticons would allow us to give an emotional response, are little cartoon character faces the best way to go about that? Looks like time will tell. Currently the emoji “reaction” option is still in test phase, with the testing audience set to both Spain and Ireland. As of right now there is no concrete date of when they will be available for use.

Google’s Fiber Takeover

Most of us use Google daily, whether it be looking up information on the browser, translating another language or using their navigation system to get around. Now Google’s next big venture is coating the underground of the United States in fiber cables, eventually offering us all Internet and cable.

Google started their fiber division as a concept back in 2010, and around 2012 they tested this concept in Kansas City. While Google is busy expanding their US fiber optic takeover, many hope that it may be finally hitting the Bay Area soon.

Five years after it’s conception, Google is now starting to push its fiber project, with plans to expand in California’s Silicon Valley, San Diego, San Antonio, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee and parts of North Carolina. Fiber is currently available in Provo Utah, Austin Texas and in Kansas City.

So what’s the big draw to Google Fiber services? One word: Speed. You know that annoying buffering signal you sometimes get when you are streaming Netflix? With Google Fiber this is supposed to be a thing of the past. Google’s fiber touts speeds of 1000 Mbps whereas typical speeds that is currently offered by Internet providers are between 10-50 Mbps. So that is an increased speed of 50-100% faster speeds, depending on what you are currently working with. These speeds also mean downloads averaging about three seconds.

So if and when Google brings fiber to your town, how much money are they asking you to shell out every month? Basic Internet is about $25 per month for 12 months, after that initial year, basic internet is free to Google Fiber subscribers. If you want one step up to the 1000 Mbps Internet, you are looking at about $70 a month with a one year contract. This is a comparable price to what large cable companies like Comcast currently charge for high bandwidth Internet. If you want Internet and cable together, the cost goes up to $130 a month, with 150 HD channels offered. So all in all Google is offering some affordable plans with their super fast Internet. So when might it reach your town?

It was surprising to many that Google chose not to unleash their first round of fiber in the Bay Area as they normally do. One of the reasons for this may be that Google has to go in and rip up a lot of roads in order to install these fiber cables. This task is a lot easier done in areas where roads are already in less than ideal condition, because roads must be ripped up to bury the cables. That means that once the roads are ripped up where cables can be easily buried, then re-paving is easy because it was already needed. In its conception city of Kansas City, Google states that they laid down around 7,000 miles of fiber cables throughout Kansas’ metropolitan area. So slowly but surely Google is making it’s way around the US. In the meantime we will be patiently waiting.

Breaking Up in the Digital Age

Break-ups have always been tough – it’s a tale as old as time – but there is something a little different about breaking up in the digital age. People going through break-ups in present day have it especially hard. Never before have we been able to keep such close tabs on our old flames as we are able to now. You can literally track someone’s steps, all digitally and without detection. There are social media apps galore that will give you the information that you are looking for. If you want to check statuses, new pictures and current moods, Facebook and Twitter are your new best friends. If you ever shared a Netflix account or password, you now know what they are watching, and when. If you want to find out with whom, check out their Instagram page. This is also handy for seeing how they are getting over their recent heartbreak. Maybe they are moping around at home. Or maybe they are out with friends having a blast and meeting new people. How will you know if you don’t look? Maybe your ex is dating again. Maybe they will even pop up on your Tinder app or Plenty of Fish page. If you literally want to find out where they are going, check your Waze GPS. If you ever befriended each other through the app, you can see when they are using it and if they are nearby.

It takes a lot of self-control not to peek every now and then to see what an ex is up to. In reality you are only causing yourself more pain, because nothing burns worse than seeing someone enjoy his or her life, especially without you in it. But yet we all torture ourselves from time to time. It’s natural to be curious, right? For some, self-control is hard, especially when you are heartsick. Luckily there’s an app for that.

The Problem Becomes the Solution

There is an assortment of apps available that are designed to help you get over heartache. There is The Broken Heart Guide: Accepting Breakup Reality & Start a New Life! app, the Heartbroken: A Man’s Guide to Recovery and Healing from the Breakup of a Toxic Relationship app as well the Breakup Text app available in your app store. The latter will construct a break up text for you in the event that you are having trouble coming up with one on your own. If closure is what you are after, but can’t seem to stop stalking, there’s an app for that too. There are a few apps available which will encrypt your ex’s phone number so you are unable to contact them. These will also hide selected social media pages so you are literally unable to look at them. When you come home from a night out trying to drown your sorrows, sometimes calling the source of your heartache seems like a good idea. Shooting a text sounds like an even better idea. That’s where the Ex-Lover Blocker app comes into play. When you pick up your phone and try to call or text your ex, the app will alert three pre-designated friends and inform what you are trying to do. Hopefully your friends will save you some embarrassment and pick up the phone instead to bring you back to reality.

iPhone 6S Highlights

So let’s see if any of our iPhone 6s predictions were true! As we thought, most of the notable changes are subtle upgrades. For starters, it looks like Apple decided to stay with the same dimension options as the 6, but the outer hardware is a little different. The new iPhone 6s will feature a brand new ion-constructed glass front and an aerospace aluminum back. In addition to the silver, gold and graphite that were already offered there is a brand new “rose gold” color that made its debut today.

Technical Specs

As predicted, the new phones will be a little faster, with a better battery life. The camera has also been updated and is now capable of shooting 4k video, and features a 12 megapixel sensor. In perhaps an embarrassing twist, the new iPhone will have a “selfie” option designed for taking pictures of yourself. This feature might speak more about the declining state of our society as a whole rather than Apple trying to keep up with the Joneses, but I digress.

Pricing Options

Per usual, the iPhone 6S will be offered for $199 and the iPhone 6S Plus for $299, both with a two year contract. While we are on the subject, what’s the new “payment program” all about? When you look up iPhone prices online, instead of the traditional costs that are offered, you will see a “$35 per month” in its place. Beware. Whereas previously you would be paying for your phone up front, now Apple has come up with an attractive “payment plan” that will cost you about $35-$45 a month, instead of paying cash up front. This type of plan allows you to upgrade your phone when the upgrade first comes out, which sounds great at first, but nothing is without drawbacks. In order to receive your upgrade, you will be required to turn in your previous phone. You will also be making payments on the price of the phone, which is more than the normal cost of the two-year upgrade pricing. User beware, sometimes this isn’t mentioned when signing up for these “Apple Plans.” You will also be signed up for the Apple Care Warranty, which is an option that the majority of Apple customers wouldn’t choose anyway though.

Final Thoughts

So in a nutshell, if you are looking for the latest and greatest iPhone, put in your order for the 6S. You’ll get a nicer camera, some cool new features and a pretty new color choice. Keep your eyes open when you purchase it though, and be leery when they offer you any type of payment plan. The iPhone 6S will be available beginning September 25th.

iPhone 6s: Last Minute Rumors

Word on the street is that news from Apple regarding the iPhone6S release is scheduled for tomorrow, September 9th in Cupertino, California. Apple hasn’t leaked too many details regarding their newest version of the iPhone, so there are many speculations circulating out there. We are here to try and clear some of that mystery up.

There has been some speculation on what the release date will be, and if history is any indicator, it may very well be tomorrow. Or they may wait till later in the Christmas season, just to throw a wrench in the game.

The Dimensions

We expect the sizing to remain the same. Most consumers seemed pleased with the current sizing options, so it’s doubtful that Apple would play around with that. This was also a huge change with the upgrade from iPhone 5 to iPhone 6, so they will likely keep the same size options until the 7 is released.

The Colors

There have been rumors about a color scheme similar to that of the iPhone 5C which would allow for a less expensive upgrade, as well as colorful options to choose from rather than the standard silver and gold. Rumor has it that pink might be a new option, as well as a retro teal color.

The Performance

Extended battery life and faster speeds are almost a given, as these two upgrades are almost always mimicked with every release. The material of the phone itself might also change, with speculation about a new, stronger aluminum back and a thicker glass on the front.

We will continue to keep our ear to the ground as we wait for the confirmed details tomorrow regarding the next iPhone release. This is also big news for those of you who are still waiting to upgrade your iPhone 5, as a new iPhone version release means earlier models will drop in price. So if you aren’t concerned with having the latest and greatest, this is the time for you to finally upgrade to that iPhone 6.