DID YOU READ

iPhone 4S and iOS5 debut at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” Event

iPhone 4S and iOS5 debut at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” Event (photo)

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For almost three hours today, the entire internet ground to a screeching halt as Apple put on its “Let’s Talk iPhone” event – the first one hosted by new CEO Tim Cook. But since your boss probably wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of you taking a few hours away from your spreadsheets to monitor tech site live blogs, we figured we’d go ahead and round up all the interesting bits. Why? Because we like you.

First up is the new iOS 5 for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It features more than 200 new features – way too many to run down here – but below are some of the highlights:

• The Notifications Center, which is a less grating and obtrusive way for Apps to yell at you than the traditional pop-up notifications. You’ll be able to open it up with a downward swipe.
• iMessage is basically Blackberry Messenger for iDevices, allowing you to send text, photos and videos to other iUsers. Apparently, the only thing that makes this difference from a regular text is that messages get pushed to all of a user’s devices, which sounds well more irritating than pop-up notifications.
• Reminders sounds more or less like an appointment entry in Calendar, which isn’t tied to a specific time. Instead, you can tether reminders to locations so your device tells you to do stop by the bank when you’re nearby.
• Twitter will now be completely integrated into your device, meaning no re-logins and the ability to Tweet from most of your standard Apps. Interesting, but seems like it might be irritating for people who share an iPad.
• There are several upgrades to Safari, including the Reader, which can save stories and pages to read later, which are then synced across device. Most exciting to us, however, is the introduction of tabbed browsing on the iPad.

After going over the new iOS features, the focus moved to hardware, with new versions of the iPod Nano available today in seven colors and two different versions: 8 GB for $129 and 16 GB for $149. The new devices are said to include improved functionality for Fitness, as well as 16 additional clockfaces for people who wear the player as a watch.

Apple’s most popular iPod, however, is the iPod Touch, and with the new iOS 5, it will also experience a price drop. The new iPod Touches will be available on October 12, in 8 GB ($199), 32 GB ($299) and 64 GB ($399) versions.

Of course, what everyone was waiting for was news about a new iPhone. While rumors had swirled around about a massive upgrade in the form of an iPhone 5, Apple is only taking what amounts to a half-step forward, introducing the iPhone 4S. The new device looks exactly like the pre-existing iPhone 4, but has completely new innards which makes it up to seven times as fast as the previous version. Here are some other highlights of the new iPhone:

• The phone has an Apple-designed A5 processor, which allows it to run monstrous Apps, like the all-new “Infinity Blade II,” which will hit the App Store on December 1 of this year.
• The device has two internal antennas, which the system will switch between during calls and regular use to get the best speeds, achieving 4G levels of performance.
• The iPhone’s camera is also experiencing massive upgrades, with 60% more pixels a five element lens (compared to four in the previous version) and more, which results in a 30% sharper image. Just as importantly, the device is also 33% faster at taking pictures than the iPhone 4.
• Video recording is also getting a shot in the arm, as the device can film 1080p HD footage.

By far the biggest news out of the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, however, was the introduction of Siri, a digital assistant hardwired into the iPhone 4S. To summon Siri, users will hold down the home button, and can then ask the digital assistant to do pretty much anything the phone can do: Tell me the weather, play a particular song, set a new calendar entry, etc. Siri can even read your text messages, recite information it found on the internet and just generally make you feel kind of stupid – so basically Siri is like a new annoying girlfriend who you don’t even get to ogle.

The new iPhone 4S will be available on October 14, with pre-orders beginning this Friday. With a two-year contract, you’ll be able to get a 16 GB for $199, a 32 GB for $299 or a 64 GB for $399. If you’re bargain shopping, however, you’ll soon be able to get an iPhone 4 for $99 with a two-year contract, or even pick up the somewhat dated iPhone 3GS for free with a new two-year contract.

What do you think of the iPhone 4S’s new features? Will you be ordering one this week? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.