TIME Smartphones

See The $105 Android One Phone Google Is Selling in India

Only 10% of India's 900 million cell phone users have smart phones. The Android One's low-price could help change that

Google is launching a new smartphone in India that is only $105. The phone is part of Google’s efforts to expand their smartphone sales to emerging markets, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Android One has a 4.5-in. display, 1GB RAM, a rear and front facing camera, a built-in FM Radio, and a Quad Core processor. The Journal reports that an increase in smartphone sales in India should lead to more internet access and use of Google products. Google said it plans to expand to Indonesia and the Philippines by the end of 2014, according to the Journal.

[Wall Street Journal]

TIME Web

Net Neutrality Advocates Make Last FCC Push as Comment Window Closes

Net Neutrality Video Billboard Outside FCC
Namecheap

The Commission's proposed rule for "fast lanes" on the Internet that would cost extra has generated millions of comments since July

Net neutrality advocates mounted a large video billboard outside Federal Communications Commission headquarters Monday, on the last day for public comment on the Commission’s proposed Internet regulations. The laws, if approved, would allows Internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast to create “fast lanes” that users can pay extra to access, thus violating the principle of net neutrality.

The billboard will play user-submitted videos from net neutrality rallies from major U.S. cities, along with users’ webcam appeals on why they believe net neutrality is important, according to Fight for the Future, an Internet advocacy group that worked with domain registrar Namecheap to set up the display.

The FCC’s window for input on the proposed law opened on July 15 and has since generated millions of comments. The FCC has not yet set a date to vote on new rules, and does not face a deadline, according to Bloomberg.

Recent analyses have indicated that most Internet users support net neutrality. A report by the Sunlight Foundation analyzed the public comments collected by the FCC to show that less than 1% of comments clearly opposed net neutrality. Another survey found that two-thirds of Americans are opposed to Internet “fast lanes.”

Meanwhile, net neutrality activism has recently hit its stride with visible success: most recently, a phone campaign to Congress members, public relations campaigns by Internet businesses and politicians, and virtual demonstration by popular websites.

TIME Gadgets

Best Weather Apps for iPhone and Android

With our high-tech tendency to watch TV using DVRs, TV on demand and streaming media, there are some things we miss: like the local news. And though we get most of that news from our favorite online news sources, the local weather report is something we sorely miss—we just don’t miss it quite enough to remember to catch the local news for the forecast every night.

Fortunately, there are quite a few apps to keep us on top of the local forecast and help us remember to pack our umbrellas—or carry our sunglasses—when we need them.

Top Pick: AccuWeather

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AccuWeather

Our overall favorite weather app is the simple-to-use AccuWeather, from the company of the same name. Specifically, we love its MinuteCast feature. It predicts when precipitation will start in your exact GPS location all the way down to the minute. And if it’s severe weather you’re worried about, Accuweather has you covered with GPS location-based push notifications. You can get forecasts for other cities too, of course, but that’s not where this app shines. It’s for when you’re most concerned about a hyper-local weather forecast for your exact location.

You can download the free, ad-supported Accuweather app for iOS on the Apple App Store and for Android devices via Google Play. An ad-free version is available for $2.99.

Top Rural Pick: Weather Underground

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Weather Underground

Whenever I’m visiting my parents’ house out in farm country, I like using Weather Underground. The well-designed app delivers data from over 40,000 professional and hobbyist weather stations to provide highly localized data for out-of-the-way places. Besides a wealth of temperature and condition data, you get air quality data and access to local webcams so you can see the weather for yourself. Another great feature is the WunderMap, a simple TV-style map with a temperature overlay pulled from the stations nearest you.

For International weather info, check out Weather Underground’s separate iPad-only WunderStation app. It collects real-time data directly from 37,000 personal weather stations across the world. You can take a look at plenty of historic data, too. And if you have family around the globe, you can set severe weather alerts for any station to stay in touch.

You can download the free ad-supported Weather Underground app for iOS on the Apple App Store and for Android devices via Google Play. You can download WunderStation for the iPad on the Apple App Store.

Top Allergy Forecaster: Zyrtec AllergyCast

zyrtec-allergy-forecast-app-510px
Zyrtec

If you’re an allergy sufferer, you don’t need all the details of the weather: You just want to know what the pollen forecast looks like. Zyrtec AllergyCast—by the makers of allergy medicine Zyrtec, so it’s happy to recommend Zyrtec products to help your symptoms—gives you an allergy-specific forecast, including the current temperature and predominant pollens. Swiping to the right gives you an hourly forecast and swiping again gives you a weekly forecast.

If you’re looking for an easy way to track your symptoms, AllergyCast also includes a simple symptoms log where you tell it how you’re feeling (“great,” “okay,” “not well,” or “ugh”) and select any allergy symptoms you’re suffering. We especially like this log because it doesn’t require you to type anything in. Just move your thumb to set the dial on the screen and tap the checkmark to save. Easy!

You can download the free Zyrtec app for iOS on the Apple App Store and for Android devices via Google Play.

Top Hurricane App: Hurricane Tracker

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Hurricane Tracker

When it comes to hurricanes, one of the most important details is the storm’s path. Keep up to date on brewing and imminent storms with the Hurricane Tracker app. It delivers official bulletins and maps from the National Hurricane Center in real time, along with animated satellite maps. And if you want even more analysis, the Hurricane Tracker team creates its own maps to explain each storm’s impact. It may not be a perfectly polished app, but it’s certainly a useful one.

You can download the $2.99 Hurricane Tracker app for iOS on the Apple App Store. There’s no Android version of the app, but you can still access the info by logging in to hurrtracker.com on your favorite browser (fee required).

Top Tornado App: iMap Weather Radio

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iMap Weather

The fall may not be peak tornado season, but they can and do happen in any month. Stay protected no matter where you are with the iMap Weather app. We love that it’s customizable – you can draw an area for the app to keep watch over, and you’ll get push alerts for that area only. You can also set it to track your location and give you tornado warnings for your exact GPS coordinates.

You can download the $4.99 iMap Weather app for Android devices via Google Play and for iOS on the Apple App Store (it’s called Weather Radio, but it’s the same thing).

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Apple

The iPhone 6 Will Make or Break Apple in China

Apple Apple's iPhone 6 (left) and iPhone 6 Plus (right)

The biggest test for the company's biggest phone

When Apple CEO Tim Cook took one of many regular trips to Beijing in January, he wasn’t surveying the company’s many Chinese factories or hobnobbing with government officials. He was at a China Mobile retail store to mark the launch of the iPhone on the world’s largest wireless carrier. The two companies were joining forces to “deliver the best experience in the world,” Cook said.

The iPhone 6 will test how interested Chinese consumers are in the Apple experience. The newly announced phone, along with its big brother the iPhone 6 Plus, has already crashed the servers of Apple’s online store and are on back order for multiple wireless carriers in the U.S. But the launch of the devices is being delayed in China, and it’s not yet clear how the new iPhones will compete with a cadre of homegrown competitors which have rapidly gained market share over the last year.

Apple, no doubt, is on the rise in China. Sales jumped 18% to over $15 billion in the first half of 2014, making China the tech giant’s fastest-growing region by far. With the China Mobile deal now in place, the iPhone is available from all of the country’s wireless carriers, giving Apple access to 1.3 billion potential customers. Cook expects it to eventually overtake the United States as Apple’s biggest market.

But Apple’s competitors are rising too, some at an even faster clip. Xiaomi, often called the “Apple of China,” shipped about 15 million smartphones in the second quarter to surpass Samsung as the country’s largest vendor, according to research firm Canalys. Other Chinese manufacturers, such as Lenovo and Huawei are also beating Apple. There are literally dozens of other phone companies vying for customers’ attention in the highly fractured market. While Apple and Samsung pull in about two-thirds of all smartphone sales in the U.S., the top two manufacturers in China account for just one-fourth of sales, according to research firm IDC. Apple resides outside the top five.

The main issues holding Apple back in China are screen size and price. The company solved at least one issue with the iPhone 6 Plus, which boasts a 5.5-inch screen. The jumbo-sized display will help the latest iPhones be Apple’s most successful yet in China, says Ramon Llamas, a mobile analyst at IDC. “In the Chinese market, this is almost like a status symbol,” Llamas says of large-screen phones, also known as “phablets.” “All of these vendors, they are clearly playing in that phablet space.” Indeed, nearly 40% of smartphones sold in the country now have screens five inches or larger, according to Canalys.

Price may remain a prohibiting factor, though. According to IDC, the average selling price for an iPhone in China in the first half of 2014 was $539. Lenovo’s Android-powered smartphones sold for just $98 and are currently beating the iPhone in sales. The 6 Plus, while appealing to phablet lovers, will cost $100 more than previous iPhone models in the U.S., an extra cost that will likely translate to China.

Chinese carriers are also planning to drastically cut phone subsidies on the orders of the nation’s government. That will likely make consumers more price-conscious just as domestic competitors are figuring out how to make devices with iPhone-like features at a fraction of the cost. “It becomes a little bit more difficult [for Apple] when the specifications are close but the price is not,” says Bill Kreher, an equity analyst at Edward Jones.

There’s also a third, thornier wrinkle: the Chinese government seems less accommodating of Apple than in the past. Following Edward Snowden’s revelations about global surveillance by the National Security Agency, China’s state-run media called the iPhone a “national security concern” over a location-tracking feature in iOS 7. (Apple disputed the report.) Now the iPhone 6’s launch has been delayed in China because it has not yet been approved by the country’s Ministry for Industry and Information Technology, according to the New York Times. It’s part of an overall cooling toward U.S. tech firms in China, which has also included ongoing antitrust investigations into Microsoft and Qualcomm. “U.S. conglomerates will continue to have a difficult time in China, given heightened regulatory concerns,” Kreher says. “But Apple has done a better job than most in respecting the Chinese influence.”

Apple spokeswoman Teresa Brewer wouldn’t comment on exactly when the iPhone 6 might arrive in China. “China is a key market for us and we will get there as soon as possible,” she wrote in an email.

There is at least one broad trend-line moving in Apple’s favor. China’s carriers are racing to expand their high-speed data networks, and the iPhone is one of just a few phones currently on the market that is compatible. China Mobile has racked up more than 20 million 4G subscribers since it launched the speedier network in December in conjunction with the iPhone rollout. Predictably, the vast majority of the first 4G customers were iPhone users. Xiaomi, on the other hand, only just got around to launching a 4G phone last month.

With a wide range of homebred competitiors and a government that may be actively working against it, Apple certainly faces headwinds in China. But the company’s business there is still growing, and devoted fans are still lining up for new iPhones. “From an end-user perspective, a lot of folks in China still want the iPhone,” Llamas says. “We’re still seeing strong demand.”

TIME Big Picture

Why Apple Didn’t Use Sapphire iPhone Screens

Early last month when I was on my weekend hike, I accidentally dropped my iPhone face down on the cement.

As you might expect, the screen broke and made it unusable. Thankfully, I was able to get a Genius Bar appointment at the Apple Store that same afternoon and got the screen replaced for the hefty price of $150.

So in a column I did recently about what I wanted in a new iPhone, I lamented about my iPhone breaking and said I wanted a sapphire screen on any new iPhone I might buy in the future. I formed that opinion because of all the hype surrounding Apple buying $578 million worth of sapphire in way of partnership with GT Advanced, a sapphire manufacturing company. All of us assumed that this meant Apple would put sapphire screens in the new iPhones, but when it didn’t happen, I started digging into why this was not the case.

What I have learned about this issue and why Apple chose not to include sapphire in the iPhone 6 line is fascinating and reinforces to me why all of us need to be more careful before jumping to conclusions in areas like this.

Many have suggested that the decision not to use sapphire was the result of manufacturing issues – that with more time, Apple would have used sapphire screens for the iPhone 6. As I looked closer at the Apple announcement, and after looking more at the benefits and drawbacks of sapphire, it seems that Apple had good reasons to go with ion-strengthened curved glass (Gorilla Glass) instead of sapphire.

While sapphire has been hyped as an alternative screen cover for smartphones, the continued use of strengthened glass has less to do with production issues and more to do with what smartphone manufacturers know about consumers, their preferences and, more importantly, how people actually use phones and what they’re willing to pay for them.

By the way, some reports stated that up until a few weeks before the iPhone announcement, Apple was going to use sapphire but dropped it because of yield issues. This is not true. My sources tell me that sapphire was never targeted for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and its role in future iPhones hasn’t even been decided yet. Also, anyone who knows the manufacturing process knows that to make tens of millions of screens for an iPhone launch, the orders for those screens had to be put in place well over six months ago and planned meticulously into the final manufacturing of these new smartphones.

Here is what I was able to find out about sapphire versus glass by doing many interviews and looking at the current research:

Design

The trend in smartphone design is to achieve thinner, lighter devices, while making them bigger at the same time. That’s not easy to do. To increase the size of a smartphone and still keep the weight down requires thinner, lighter material. What we know about sapphire is that it is more than 30% denser than glass and would require a compromise on both fronts for widespread use in phones. Corning has shown that it can manufacture Gorilla Glass to be thinner than a sheet of paper and strengthened with a process that makes it more damage resistant. Design flexibility and adaptability are important. The latest smartphone designs from Samsung, Apple and others include sleek displays with glass that curves to the edges of the devices. Because glass can be manufactured to extremely thin dimensions and still be chemically strengthened, it’s more flexible and can be formed and shaped into the sleek designs you see in the iPhone 6 and others. Sapphire is bulkier and must be cut into shape, creating both cost and production issues on larger surfaces.

Cost

Cost is a big factor with consumers, and the smartphone category is hugely competitive these days. Apple is already pushing the high end on price as comparable devices are priced at or lower than the iPhone 6, and it would have had to charge even more for a sapphire-covered phone. The cost to produce a sheet of sapphire is estimated to be roughly 10 times that of strengthened glass. In fact, one source I talked to said that cost could be even higher. Our researched opinion early on was that if Apple did add a sapphire screen to the new iPhone, it would add at least $100 to the base cost. That could be a deal-breaker for mainstream iPhone customers.

Battery Life

By far, the number one phone-related complaint from consumers is battery life, so manufacturers look at every component that draws energy and work to minimize the impact of each. And one of the biggest drains on battery life is the brightness of the screen. According to Bernstein Research — which conducted research on the benefits of glass versus sapphire as a cover material — glass transmits light much better than sapphire. Therefore, to get the same level of brightness using a sapphire screen requires more energy. That problem can’t be fixed easily, as the basic properties of sapphire make it transmit less light than glass. This also impacts other things like glare. Glass can have an anti-reflective solution embedded into the material, reducing the effects of the sun when reading outdoors. To achieve anti-reflection with sapphire, it has to have a coating applied which, over time, will wear off. This issue alone may make it tough for Apple to ever use sapphire in future iPhones, since most people have their iPhones for at least two years.

Environmental Impact

Manufacturers know that consumers are starting to care a lot more about the impact that the products they buy are having on the environment. Sapphire requires 100 times more energy to produce than glass. The energy requirements alone make sapphire problematic as a viable material to use on a smartphone. None of the folks I talked to had any idea how they could solve this problem given the nature of the material itself.

Durability

This is by far the most promoted benefit of sapphire, and perhaps the most misunderstood. This is the area I got tripped up by assuming too much from Apple’s investment in GT Advanced. Sapphire is extremely hard, which is to say highly scratch resistant. That is why it is found on products such as luxury watches. It is largely untested on phone screens, though. In fact, sapphire is a crystal that is very hard, but inflexible and extremely brittle. Sapphire’s inherent structure makes it susceptible to flaws that can occur along the crystal plane. I was told by multiple sources that various field tests subjected sapphire to scratch and break tests against strengthened glass. It performs better on scratch resistance, but when you drop it, it is more likely than glass to break. Glass actually flexes and can absorb the shock of a drop more successfully than sapphire. Sapphire is prevalent on luxury watches and other products that don’t experience the same drop risk as smartphones.

Like many who jumped on the sapphire bandwagon without really understanding it, I had assumed that it was unbreakable. But in talking to various experts, they said that the way to look at this is to think of a sheet of ice (also a crystal); small cracks weaken the surface and it will hold together for only so long before some impact will cause it to break. Those small cracks add up like the normal wear and tear we put our phones through every day – knocking around in our purses and pockets with keys and change, or scuffing against the surface of a counter repeatedly. Current solutions, such as Gorilla Glass, apparently are reinforced with a chemical that alters its atomic structure and actually strengthens the area around scratches to insulates the glass longer against breaking. While surface scratches may be more visible earlier on, a glass screen will stay more intact over time than a sapphire one. Once sapphire is exposed to a scratch or a flaw, visible or invisible, its risk of breakage and eventual failure is high. On watches, this is less of an issue because they are seldom dropped and the watch surface is smaller. But in a smartphone with a larger screen and many usage variables, it’s difficult to guarantee that it’s less prone to breakage.

I don’t doubt that over time, there could be some breakthroughs with sapphire and new coating processes that could make it possible to use on a smartphone. However, from the research I did, it does not appear that it could happen anytime soon. Plus, sapphire’s less flexible and more brittle nature suggests, as least to me, that using it in large-screen smartphones would still be difficult — even if it was possible to coat it in a way to keep the screen from splintering. I now at least understand why Apple didn’t use it in the new iPhones — and the more I study this, it seems that it could be problematic for Apple to use sapphire outside of its smartwatch line anytime in the near future.

Bajarin is the president of Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to Big Picture, an opinion column that appears every week on TIME Tech.

TIME technology

Minecraft: Meet the Men Behind Microsoft’s New Game

With the software giant shelling out $2.5 billion for the game, see how it all began

Minecraft has been called up to the big leagues: Microsoft has purchased the franchise and the Mojang, the company that makes it, for $2.5 billion.

But, though Microsoft has said that they’ll maintain and grow the franchise that gamers love, it’s already clear that things are changing in the world of Minecraft. And it’s not just a matter of the size of the company: Markus Persson, who founded Mojang, has also announced that he’s leaving.

Last June, Harry McCracken traveled to Stockholm for TIME to meet the men behind Minecraft, and he made it very clear just how personal the project was for Perssen:

Four years ago, Mojang didn’t exist, and Minecraft was a personal project by game developer Markus Persson, whose personal site says, “You can call me ‘Notch.’” (Most Minecraft fans do, and so will I.) Notch, who would become Mojang’s co-founder, public face and resident visionary, created Minecraft for one simple reason: he wanted it to exist. “I designed the game for myself–that’s an audience I know,” he told me recently, when we met in an intentionally gauche, James Bond-inspired Mojang conference room decked out entirely in gold materials.

Bearded, cherubic and self-effacing, Notch looks like a gamer, though not necessarily the leader of gamers he has become. Like most programmers, he began young, writing an adventure game for his father’s computer at the age of 8. Now 33, Notch cheerfully admits that he didn’t summon the concept that became Minecraft out of thin air. He says he drew crucial inspiration from Dwarf Fortress, a famously innovative, idiosyncratic and opaque fantasy simulation released in 2006. (Tech site Ars Technica called it “the most inscrutable video game of all time.”) An even more direct ancestor is Infiniminer, a 2009 game that was much like Minecraft–except for the fact that its inventor lost interest in it almost as soon as it was finished. Unlike Infiniminer’s creator, Notch kept plugging away. At first he worked on the game in spare moments while continuing in his job at a Stockholm company that made photo-album software. But long before the game was finished, he found that people were willing to pay for it. “The idea was to be self-sustaining,” he says. “I started charging for the game a couple of weeks in.”

The trip from deciding to charge people for the game to selling it for billions of dollars was, in the scheme of things, a relatively short one — but short doesn’t mean uneventful. The story of how and why Minecraft has attracted so many fans, and the role Persson played in that journey, is now available free of charge in TIME’s archives.

Click here to read it in its entirety: The Mystery of Minecraft

TIME Video Games

Minecraft Is Now Part of Microsoft, and It Only Cost $2.5 Billion

The once indie sandbox-builder is now officially part of one of the largest companies on the planet.

Minecraft, the beloved indie sandbox-builder that went on to become the third-bestselling video game in history, is now officially part of Microsoft.

Microsoft confirmed the deal — rumored to be in play for upwards of $2 billion — with an Xbox Wire video and press release this morning. The studio’s few-dozen employees are now employed by one of the largest corporations in the world, save Mojang co-founder Markus “Notch” Persson, who confirmed that he’s leaving the company, along with the studio’s two other founders, Jakob Porsér and Carl Manneh.

In the statement, Microsoft says it will in fact pay $2.5 billion for Stockholm-based Mojang and the studio’s Minecraft franchise. Microsoft says it expects the purchase to “break-even” in the company’s 2015 fiscal year, and that the purchase should be completed by the close of 2014.

Don’t worry — yet: Microsoft says it plans to continue to make Minecraft available on all the platforms to which it’s beholden now. Here’s Microsoft Xbox honcho Phil Spencer:

‘Minecraft’ is one of the most popular franchises of all time. We are going to maintain ‘Minecraft’ and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future.

But parse that language conservatively and you’ll note the company’s explicitly not committing to carrying forward hypothetical sequels or expansion content for the existing version (much less alternative Mojang projects down the road).

That doesn’t mean we couldn’t see “Minecraft 2″ on PlayStation 4, iOS or Android (or whatever might have been: as tech journo Benj Edwards notes, Minecraft is really an ever-evolving sequel unto itself), but those once-certainties are now off the table. And even if we do, it seems unlikely that they’d appear before first gracing Microsoft’s Windows Phone handsets, Surface tablets, Xbox consoles or Windows PCs.

Curiously, recently-crowned Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella — presumed early on to be mulling an Xbox division selloff — is front and center in Microsoft’s press statement, calling gaming “a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year.”

For a detailed look at Minecraft‘s inception, check out Harry McCracken’s The Making of ‘The Mystery of Minecraft’.

TIME Smartphones

Apple: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Preorders Broke Records

The new iPhones are already selling at twice the pace the iPhone 5 did back in September 2012.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus appear to have broken all prior iPhone preorder sales records, moving a whopping four million units in just 24 hours. The new iPhones went on sale Friday, September 12.

Apple says demand has been so high that it’s outstripped supply, to the extent that while a “significant” number of folks should receive their phones starting Friday, Sept. 19 when the phone officially goes on sale, many will have to wait until October to see theirs turn up.

Apple notes that it’s set a certain quantity of the new phones aside for its Apple Stores, so that “walk-in customers” (Apple’s euphemism for “stand-in-line-for-days-fanatics”) have a shot at picking one up on September 19 at 8:00 a.m. local time. Apple’s encouraging folks to arrive early for the privilege, or to simply order from the Apple Online Store and secure a phone for pickup onsite. The company adds that it’s allocated an unknown quantity to carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless as well as “select Apple Authorized Resellers.”

How big a preorder record are we talking about? Two years ago, Apple said iPhone 5 preorders during the same initial 24 hour period were in the two-million range. Apple didn’t issue a press statement on iPhone 5s and 5c, both of which went on sale a year later in September 2013, but the iPhone 5s and 5c went on to sell nine million units during their opening weekend, breaking all prior initial weekend iPhone sales records.

TIME

You’ll Have to Wait Till October to Get an iPhone 6 Plus

High demand for the new iPhones leads to long waits

The mad rush to buy the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is leaving would-be customers without new phones for several weeks as models sell out and wait times for the new phones extend.

The iPhone 6 Plus model has sold out in the U.S., and Apple said both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus are in high demand. “Response to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been incredible, with a record number of preorders overnight,” Apple told the Financial Times.

As of Saturday morning, the wait time for a 16GB iPhone 6 purchased directly from the Apple store was seven to 10 business days. Want an iPhone 6 Plus? It’ll be three to four weeks before it even ships.

Delays for ordering the new iPhone models from some wireless carriers are even longer then ordering directly from Apple, CNBC reports, with the wait times for an iPhone 6 Plus from AT&T at 35 to 42 business days.

Every iPhone update so far has set a new high in purchases, in part by expanding the number of countries in which the device goes on sale at launch.

TIME Paycheck Friday

5 Unique Drinking Gadgets for Under $50

Come on, you're making some decent money now. Live a little! Consider blowing your paycheck on these worthy splurges.

Digital Beer Koozie ($20)

koolernaut
Beer Outlaw

So much real-time data in this world, and here you are drinking beer without knowing its exact temperature.

The Kool-er-naut brings the tried and true Koozie into the 21st century, with an LCD thermometer and a freezable ice puck that slips into the bottom of this newfangled apparatus for some extra coldness. As a bonus, there’s a chart on the back of the Kool-er-naut that tells you the optimal temperature for various styles of beer.

[Kickstarter (ships October-ish)]

Drink-Making Scale and App ($49.99)

perfect drink
Brookstone

What a time to be alive! Put a glass down on this scale, and its connected app tells you how much of each liquid and ice to pour into your drink (there are hundreds of drink recipes to choose from). If you overpour one of the liquids, the app will readjust the amounts of the remaining liquids on the fly. You can also tell the app which types of booze you have on hand and it’ll return only recipes that can be made with said booze.

[Brookstone]

BeerBelly Booze Smuggler ($29.49)

beerbelly
BeerBelly

I’m no mathlete, but it seems like this fake beer gut would pay for itself before halftime at any exorbitantly-priced sporting event. Simply funnel 80 ounces of your favorite libation into this wearable polyurethane bladder, slip it on under your shirt and waddle through the turnstile looking like any other overweight American. For the ladies, there’s this wine-holding sports bra, too.

[Amazon]

Spinning Beer Chiller ($29.99)

spinchill
SpinChill

Stick a beer into a pile of ice and spin the can around a bunch of times. It’ll eventually get cold. How? Scients. “That’s not how you spell science.” Eh, I’ve heard it both ways.

Now attach the can to this hand-held spinning doohickey that rotates the can much faster and — you guessed it – the beer gets colder faster. The SpinChill can cool a can in one minute, a 12-ounce bottle in three minutes, and a wine bottle in five minutes.

Tailgate-in-a-Box Kit ($39)

instagate
Instagate

Tailgates? Fun. Lugging all the stuff to tailgates? Not fun. Cleaning up all the stuff once you’re stumbling around like a toddler during an earthquake? The utmost in un-fun.

The Instagate one-time-use kit packs a grill, grilling tools, 60-quart cooler, lighter/bottle opener combo, beer pong set, 10 sets of utensils, 12 cups, 10 plates, 20 napkins, 20 condiment packets, and some garbage bags to clean everything up when you’re done. Oh, and the cardboard box folds out into three little tabletops.

[Kickstarter (ships November-ish)]

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