The week in gadgets: Asus partners with Leap Motion and analysts predict Apple’s wearable future

7 Jan 2013

iWatch concept by ADR Studio

A look at gadget happenings, as computer manufacturer Asus looks set to be the first to incorporate Leap Motion’s technology into its devices, an analyst suggests Apple will have some wearable tech goodies for us in the future, Samsung’s Chromebox gets an underwhelming new look, and Major Nelson gets us excited about an Xbox 720.

Apple to go wearable?

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Apple will soon be adding wearable tech to its many-stringed bow. Munster is confident that some kind of wearable Apple product will be with us by 2014 or later, specifically citing a watch that will act as a companion to the iPhone and iPad. Overall, he believes wearable tech as a complement to smartphones and other mobile devices will become increasingly common in the next decade, eventually leading to the decline of these devices.

Munster also reckons that Apple will expand its MFi licensing programme that allows manufacturers to create products that can connect to iDevices.

Be wary, though: analysts spent much of last year predicting an Apple TV that never came true. Munster now predicts this will surface in November this year, and that we will see a modest iPhone 5 upgrade in September, an iOS 7 preview in June, and an iPad mini with Retina display early in the year.

Asus takes a leap into motion control

San Franciscan start-up Leap Motion will soon see its 3D motion-control technology integrated into a range of high-end notebooks and premium all-in-one desktop computers from Asus. Users will be able to control and navigate what’s on screen using touchless gestures thanks to Leap technology, which claims to be capable of detecting motion as subtle as a finger flick.


Leap Motion’s technology will give the Asus devices a 150-degree field of view and they will be able to track individual hands and all 10 fingers at 290fps. A Leap app store will also come pre-installed on the computers, which are expected to arrive later this year.

Meanwhile, a peripheral Leap Motion device  that connects to computers via USB is expected to start shipping to consumers early this year and can be pre-ordered online for US$70.

Samsung’s new-look Chromebox

Samsung’s Chromebox, a small, cloud-based desktop computer running Google’s Chrome OS, was first unveiled at last year’s CES and began shipping in summer. Now, as we prepare for CES 2013, Samsung has updated the look of the device while keeping the specs intact.

The new Series 3 Chromebox has the same 1.9GHz Intel Celeron processors, Intel HD graphics, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD, Wi-Fi connectivity and range of ports as its predecessor, only this time the front-facing ports are covered by a plastic cover.

Samsung Chromebox

Ditching the boxy black and silver, the new model is all white with a more rounded design and, frankly, I think the previous version had a more sophisticated look. Though the white plastic casing looks good in the press shots, one early buyer posted images of his Chromebox on Google+, showing it to be much glossier and an awful lot like a kitchen appliance in real life.

Microsoft counting down to E3

While all eyes are on CES this week, Microsoft doesn’t want us to forget about E3 coming up later this year. Though the event doesn’t take place until 11 June, Major Nelson (also known as Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live) has already posted a countdown clock on his blog. The early hype has been speculated to signify the launch of something big from Microsoft at the event – namely the Xbox 720. We have just over 150 days to wait and find out!

Main image by ADR Studio

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.