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Review: Yuneec E-Go, an iPhone-connected electric skateboard

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The Yuneec E-Go electric skateboard certainly is not your typical Bluetooth smartphone accessory, but this highly mobile mode of transportation is the most fun we’ve ever had using our iPhone.


The $699 E-Go is a 13.9-pound longboard featuring a rear motor that can propel the rider at over 12 miles per hour, with an advertised range of up to 18 miles per charge. It comes with a dedicated handheld controller for adjusting the speed, but users can instead opt to connect to their iPhone for a convenient and intuitive riding experience.

For this review, Yuneec provided AppleInsider with a test unit to ride, including the board, hardware controller, truck tool, and assorted charging cables.

We found that the hardware remote works great, and conveniently charges simultaneously through a USB port on the board. But for the purposes of our review, we wanted to focus on testing the Yuneec E-Go exclusively with our iPhone 6.

Hardware

The design of the E-Go is great. The longboard sports large 90-millimeter wheels that make it easy to ride over minor bumps in the road without incident. The E-Go is rated to support riders up to 220 pounds, and the deck itself is made of Canadian Maple Wood.

Riding and carving on the E-Go was easy and simple, and the motor had no problem getting us — and heavier users who tested the unit — up to speed.

The motor and battery are housed in the undercarriage of the board, with the propulsion being applied to one back wheel on the unit. Once you’re on, the electric engine’s ride is quiet and smooth.

Underneath, on the side of the battery, is a power switch, a power port with an attached plug to cover the hole, and a USB port that also has a removable rubber plug to protect it from dust, dirt, and the outdoor elements.

To switch the E-Go between the hardware remote and the iPhone controller, a switch must be flipped on the board itself. Unfortunately this switch is recessed, and requires the use of a provided special clip, though it could also be switched with the use of a pen or paperclip.

We can’t see riders frequently switching modes. And we do see why an exposed switch could be a problem, if a rock were to be kicked up and hit it. However, we do think a better future design would make this switch more accessible.

We’ll also note that the engine on the rear of the board did show some minor scrapes after a few days’ worth of use, presumably from riding over various terrain. These scrapes were entirely cosmetic, and on the bottom of the board, and did not affect the motor at all. Similar dings could be found on the wooden board itself, but hey, it’s a skateboard.

Yuneec advertises that that the E-Go offers up to 18 miles of riding distance on a single charge. While we didn’t push the board to the limits, we did find that the lithium-ion battery lasted an exceptionally long time. And conveniently, the connected iPhone app provides riders a total distance traveled and battery life.

The E-Go battery is advertised to recharge within 3 to 5 hours, and range and speed can vary on the rider’s weight, road conditions, riding style and more. The board can also take riders up an incline of up to 10 percent for a limited distance.

The board also features a regenerative braking system that recycles power used when braking to recharge the battery, further extending the riding distance of the E-Go. And at 13.9 pounds, it’s light enough to carry around for the day or attach to the back of a backpack that can hold a board.

Finally, in the event that you do wear out the battery, the E-Go can be self-propelled like a traditional longboard. While the motor does cause some slight resistance when pushing the board by foot, it’s still easy to get moving.

iPhone connectivity

When it’s set into Bluetooth mode, the Yuneec E-Go connects to and is controlled by the E-Go Cruiser app. Connection is a snap: Simply launch the app, select your board and go.

We’ll admit we were a bit wary at the thought of controlling a skateboard under our feet with our $850 128-gigabyte iPhone 6. And the lack of tactile controls on the iPhone’s touchscreen didn’t inspire confidence.

But we’re happy to report that the design of the E-Go app is as intuitive as it needs to be — that is, it’s a completely eyes-free experience while riding.

While the app does display a lot of valuable information, there’s no need to look at it. Users simply place their thumb anywhere on the screen and slide it upward to accelerate, without the need to correspond with any graphics on the display.

To brake, users remove their thumb from the display, then touch it again and this time slide their thumb slowly downward. That’s it.

With the app (as well as the hardware remote), users can choose between a variety of different modes. For riding, there’s an eco mode with a lower acceleration curve, and a sport mode that accelerates faster. Riding in eco mode helps conserve battery and maximizes range.

And the app also offers two different speed modes: A slow or beginner mode with a limited speed of 8 miles per hour, and a fast mode that goes up to 12.5 miles per hour.

The app also clearly notifies users of their current speed, the battery status of the board, the battery on their iPhone, and it even has a quick flashlight button for added safety when riding at dusk or night.

We did receive a phone call while testing the E-Go and the app simply stopped providing acceleration to the board. The board naturally slowed to a stop without incident.

Of course, riding with an iPhone might not be ideal for everyone. While we never fell off the E-Go, one small spill could ruin your expensive handset, so riders might consider a heavy-duty case if they do rely exclusively on their iPhone. Thankfully, the included hardware remote is also an option, and from our tests it worked great.

Conclusion

The E-Go is certainly one of the most interesting iPhone accessories we’ve ever reviewed. We came away very impressed.

Regarding the board itself, the E-Go is an easy recommendation for riders who live in an area where they can safely cruise to their destination. It’s lightweight enough to carry around without trouble, and its 18-mile range offers enough distance to make it feasible for a trip there and back on one charge.

It’s also easy to carve and turn and offers a smooth ride.

The iPhone app works great. It’s a quick, seamless connection that never caused us any problems in multiple tests.

As for the price, $699 for an electric skateboard might seem like a hefty price to some, but those who are in the market for such a board will know that it’s actually extremely competitive.

Take, for example, Boosted Boards, which start at $999 and do not feature a connected iPhone app for control.

If you do want your iPhone to connect to your electric longboard, an alternative to the E-Go is the Marbel, which is lighter at 9.9 pounds, has enough power to go 25 miles per hour, and offers over 12 miles per charge. But the Marbel board isn’t shipping yet, and carries a preorder price of $1,299.

Meanwhile, the $699 Yuneec E-Go is currently available direct from the seller. It also ships from resellers like Amazon, where it’s available with two-day Prime shipping.

Considering its relatively low price, ease of use, compatibility with the iOS ecosystem, and through-the-roof fun factor, the Yuneec E-Go is an outstanding iPhone accessory.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Easy and fun to ride, with different settings for speed and acceleration
  • iPhone app is reliable and well designed for eyes-free control
  • Great battery life, light weight, adequate speed and competitive price compared to other options

Cons

  • Switching between Wi-Fi (hardware remote) and Bluetooth (iPhone) modes is needlessly cumbersome
  • At $699, this is for serious riders only

    Where to buy

    The Yuneec E-Go sells for $699 direct from the manufacturer. It’s also available with Prime shipping from Amazon for the same price.

  • Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/41a1712d/sc/5/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C120C20A0Creview0Eyuneec0Ee0Ego0Ean0Eiphone0Econnected0Eelectric0Eskateboard/story01.htm


    Kate Winslet, others rumored to join cast of upcoming Steve Jobs movie

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    The cast of Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs film is apparently filling out, as the latest scuttlebutt has Kate Winslet in talks to costar and Boardwalk Empire actor Michael Stuhlbarg to take on a supporting role.

    Kate Winslet in Divergent. | Source: Summit Entertainment

    According to Variety, Winslet is in talks to play the female lead in Universal’s upcoming film penned by Sorkin and based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography. While unconfirmed, the actress could take on the role of Jobs’ daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, who is reportedly key to the storyline.

    With six Academy Award nominations and a win for Best Actress for her part in The Reader, Winslet is one of the more decorated Hollywood stars said to be in negotiations for a spot on the long-awaited Jobs movie. Previously, Natalie Portman was considering the lead female role, but ultimately declined.

    Earlier this week, Deadline reported that Michael Stuhlbarg of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire has joined the cast as original Mac operating system programmer Andy Hertzfeld.

    Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

    Along with Stuhlbarg, other talent attached to the Jobs picture include Michael Fassbender in the lead role, Seth Rogen as cofounder Steve Wozniak and Danny Boyle in the director’s chair. Scott Rudin, Mark Gordon and Guymon Casady are producing.

    A number of big-name actors have been in talks to join the cast at one time or another, including Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio and director David Fincher.

    Sorkin’s Jobs feature has seen a rough time on its way to production, however. Sony Pictures initially bought the rights to Isaacson’s biography in 2011, shortly after Jobs’ death, but the studio dumped the film last month. Universal quickly took over and production is slated to begin in spring 2015.

    Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/41a0aca4/sc/17/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C120C190Ckate0Ewinslet0Eothers0Erumored0Eto0Ejoin0Ecast0Eof0Eupcoming0Esteve0Ejobs0Emovie/story01.htm


    Apple bought back $56 billion worth of its own stock in 2014

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    This year, Apple spent three times more investing in itself than the next closest company in the SP 500, totaling $56 billion on stock buybacks in fiscal 2014.

    The New York Stock Exchange, credit Carlos Delgado via Wikipedia.

    Apple’s total buyback efforts for the fiscal year were calculated by FactSet, and highlighted by MarketWatch on Friday. The $56 billion spent by Apple well exceeded second-place SP 500 finisher IBM Corp, which used $19.2 billion on buybacks.

    In the last quarter alone, Apple spent a massive $17 billion on stock buybacks. When that sum was revealed in October, it was estimated that Apple had spent $45 billion on repurchasing stock in fiscal 2014, but the latest data from FactSet shows Apple went even beyond that.

    In fact, Apple also owns the top two buyback quarters ever in the SP 500 tracked by FactSet, since it began measuring the data in 2005. The $17 billion Apple repurchased last quarter is second only to the $18.6 billion it bought in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

    Apple first announced its dividend share and repurchase program in March of 2012, and at the time pledged to spend $45 billion on itself over three years. The company increased the program to $100 billion a year later.

    Then again this April, Apple announced it would once again increase its buyback efforts, and the company also revealed it would undergo a 7-for-1 stock split that eventually came to pass in June. Based on Apple’s current annual schedule, the company would likely revisit its buyback efforts once again, and take into consideration the requests of billionaire Carl Icahn and others, following its March 2015 quarter.

    Faced with pressure from the likes of Icahn, Apple has said it will review its share buyback program annually.

    Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/419f22a3/sc/1/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C120C190Capple0Ebought0Eback0E560Ebillion0Eworth0Eof0Eits0Eown0Estock0Ein0E20A14/story01.htm


    Led by Whole Foods shoppers, Apple Pay accounted for 1% of digital payment dollars in November

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    According to a new report from research firm ITG, Apple Pay’s first full month of service accounted for one percent of all digital payment dollars, an impressive statistic that suggests Apple’s payments solution is being used by general consumers, not just early adopters.

    ITG’s numbers point to strong consumer engagement, with 60 percent of Apple Pay users making multiple purchases throughout November, reports MarketWatch. By comparison, only 20 percent of customers who recently signed on to PayPal’s competing mobile solution used the service more than once over the same period.

    The average Apple Pay user clocked about 1.4 transactions per week, the report said. Apple first activated the service on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets with an update to iOS 8 in late October.

    On a per-merchant level, Apple Pay exhibited “stickiness” as customers who tried out the service continued to use it for future purchases at the same retailer about 66 percent of the time. After initially adopting Apple Pay, the average customer returned to the service for about 5.3 percent of all future card transactions and 2.3 percent of all future card dollars spent.

    Research also assigned numbers to top Apple Pay retailers, including Whole Foods and Walgreens, which accounted for 20 percent and 19 percent of all Apple Pay transactions in November, respectively. Whole Foods was also responsible for 28 percent of Apple Pay dollars, while Walgreens generated a lower per-transaction value to account for 12 percent of total dollars.

    McDonald’s and Panera Bread trailed with 11 percent and 6 percent of transactions, while Subway rounded out the top five with a 3 percent share.

    ITG labels Apple Pay a tangible threat to PayPal’s dominant position in the mobile payments sector, something analysts alluded to in September. While PayPal has a head start, Apple’s seamless integration with the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint recognition system is considered to be a more convenient and secure option for consumers.

    Apple Pay is currently limited to the U.S., but job listings in Europe and China suggest an international rollout is in the offing.

    Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/41a05e9f/sc/36/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C120C190Cled0Eby0Ewhole0Efoods0Eshoppers0Eapple0Epay0Eaccounted0Efor0E10Eof0Edigital0Epayment0Edollars0Ein0Enovember/story01.htm


    Watch ABC Apple TV channel update brings full episode viewing for all users

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    In an update to its Watch ABC app for Apple TV, ABC is allowing access to full-length episodes one week after they air, even to users who do not log in with TV provider credentials.

    The television network announced the change through its website on Thursday, notifying users that all Apple TV owners are now able to watch recently aired full episodes without logging in. Prior to today’s update, viewers would need to provide a cable TV or other appropriate login to watch full streaming content.

    In addition to serving up shows like Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Modern Family, black-ish, Once Upon A Time and Castle, the Watch ABC app for Apple TV received a UI makeover that places new content front and center, includes more short form video and introduces a continuous play mode, the company said.

    Subscribers of participating TV services who choose to log in are granted access to next-day episode streaming, while viewers living in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco have access to a 24-hour live feed. Certain providers also accommodate on demand features.

    Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/41986e64/sc/28/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C120C180Cwatch0Eabc0Eapple0Etv0Echannel0Eupdate0Ebrings0Efull0Eepisode0Eviewing0Efor0Eall0Eusers/story01.htm


    Apple could sell record 67M iPhones in December quarter, survey suggests

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    If Apple can build enough units to satisfy consumer demand, it could sell as many as 67 million iPhones this quarter, crushing the company’s previous all-time sales record, according to a new survey conducted by Morgan Stanley.

    The investment firm’s AlphaWise Smartphone Tracker compiles sell-through data using Web search analysis, and its latest calculations peg iPhone demand for the quarter at 67 million units. That’s ahead of analyst Katy Huberty’s projection of 62 million iPhone units for the quarter, as well as Wall Street sell-side consensus of about 63 million units.

    Morgan Stanley Asia tech analyst Jasmine Lu believes Apple’s supply chain may build between 65 million and 70 million iPhone units within the December quarter, suggesting Apple could achieve those lofty numbers.

    To put it in perspective, Apple’s previous all-time record came in the holiday 2013 quarter, when the company shipped 51 million iPhones, on its way to $13.1 billion in profit.

    Sales of 67 million iPhones would well exceed not only Apple’s previous record, but also market expectations. Huberty said Friday that Apple’s supply chain projections also bode well for Apple’s March quarter, as any channel inventory fill would need to be achieved beyond the December quarter.

    “Apple has said they plan to increase iPhone channel inventory from a target range of 4-6 weeks to 5-7 weeks, and that the company was below the 4-6 week range entering the December quarter,” Huberty wrote. “We estimate a two-week channel inventory replenish could add about 7M units on top of end demand.”

    Regionally, Morgan Stanley’s data shows that U.S. demand for the iPhone is tracking in-line with overall global trends. But in China, consumer demand for the new iPhones is tracking nearly three times greater than global year over year growth.

    Huberty also noted that Brazil is tracking significantly above global trends since the new iPhones debuted there on Nov. 14. But demand in France and Japan are somewhat lacking, which may be partially attributed to factors outside of Apple’s control — specifically, an increase in consumption tax in Japan, as well as regulators preventing certain carrier promotions.

    Morgan Stanley has maintained its “overweight” rating on AAPL stock with a price target of $126.

    Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/419cb605/sc/22/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C120C190Capple0Ecould0Esell0Erecord0E67m0Eiphones0Ein0Edecember0Equarter0Esurvey0Esuggests/story01.htm


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