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Expert Blogs

Find Your Killer App for the Apple Watch

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In preparation of worldwide availability of the Apple Watch, Apple has published a web page showing some of the third-party watch apps. The iPhone-based Apple Watch app also lists such apps. With 3,000-plus Apple Watch apps available, Apple is focusing on the brand-name apps that will appeal to most users.



Screen Shots and Over 2,000 Demos of Apple Watch Apps

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Developers have seized the opportunity to add Apple Watch functionality to their apps, and thousands of apps with Apple Watch compatibility are already available. You don't need to have an Apple Watch to get a sense for what's available, thanks to two websites that are posting screen shots and interactive demos. A developer has figured out a way to take screenshots of Apple Watch apps, and 9To5Mac has posted a gallery of them (with the intention of continually updating it with more screen shots). The screenshots include Twitter, Uber, Instagram, ESPN, Flipboard, Microsoft PowerPoint, Pandora, Yahoo Weather, and many more. 



Controlling Your Presentations and Other Great Apple Watch Apps

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It's amazing how many apps have already been tweaked to include Apple Watch features, and helpful websites are now cataloging some of the most useful. One really handy use of an Apple Watch is to remotely control your Keynote and PowerPoint presentations. Apple has now updated Keynote ($9.99) with this feature, and Microsoft has updated Microsoft PowerPoint (requires a subscription) to control the iOS version of PowerPoint. These are must-have Apple Watch apps if you give presentations. Four other must-have productivity apps for getting work done from your wrist that are highlighted in a useful Macworld post include Slack (free, chatting and sharing documents with your work group), HipChat (free, group chat and video and file sharing), Evernote (free, note-taking), and Trello (free, project management).



MobileWeek Kicks Off in NYC

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I am attending MobileWeek in New York City this week, and learnng about some great new startups and apps. As a developer, I even got a chance to play with some of their new APIs (Application Programming Interface) that allow a developer to make an app even more powerful with little coding effort.



Wordflex Oxford Dictionary Now Free!

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The Wordflex Touch Dictionary (free) is the most beautifully rendered touch-based reference technology you will hold in your hand. I only barely exaggerate how amazing it is to use. The last thing I want to do when researching a topic or looking for word substitutes (like the word "amazing"—I so overuse that word) is have to crack open an actual dictionary or thesaurus. It's both boring and silly in 2015. Why not watch the English language and it's various phylum unfold in graceful symmetry on the iPad screen!? The new version is now available without the need to spend one's shekels to attain it. Witness the beauty after the break!



WWDC Tickets Raffled Off, Still Time for Students

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Apple developers who registered for WWDC are finding out if they "won" the raffle to pay $1599 plus travel and expenses to attend the annual code-fest. There are far more iOS and Mac OS developers who would like to go than Apple can accommodate, so they have had to use a raffle in recent years. There are still opportunities for students, however, as they can create and submit an app that highlights their expertise and creativity. 350 students will be selected to attend and get the chance of a young lifetime.



Microsoft Updates Office 2016 Preview for Apple Devices

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Microsoft and Apple have had an interesting relationship. In the early days, the two firms jockeyed for position in the nascent personal computing space. Apple leveraged the user interface and mouse design from Xerox PARC and Microsoft did the same from Apple. Later, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Bill Gates "rescued" Apple with a $130-million-plus investment and a promise to support Macs with versions of Office. This wasn't just a gesture of goodwill to keep Apple relevant. Apple was on the ropes and Microsoft needed an adversary to fend off antitrust regulators. Plus Office was a nice little revenue stream.



Are You Ready for Ads on Your Apple Watch?

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Ads are one way for developers to make money, as app prices drop to $0.99 or free. And advertisers are always trying to find ways to get in front of people. Advertisers consider devices like the iPhone and iPad the "Second Screen," after television. It looks like smart watches will be the "Third Screen" and may become targets for ads. A new report suggests smartwatch advertising could be a $70 million business by 2019.



WWDC 2015 Announced

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As predicted, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference will be held the week of June 8, 2015 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Tickets are $1599, not including hotel costs, which can be astronomical, and there are no guarantees of getting a ticket. Interested developers must first apply and then find out on April 20 if they were able to buy a ticket. The developer's credit card on file will be charged automatically. Last year, a developer would be notified that they "won" the raffle and then have a short time period to actually make the purchase. This new policy should cut down on people entering the raffle with multiple ID's or without definite plans to attend.



Apple Makes Apple TV More Affordable for Content Providers

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During Apple's Watch event in March, they dropped the price of the Apple TV from $99 to $69, and introduced HBO NOW, which lets cable customers cut the cord and still get HBO on their Apple devices. The HBO deal was significant because it is Apple exclusive, although just for three months, and users can get a 30 day trial for free. It turns out the deal may be even more significant because it foreshadowed that Apple is slashing the fee it takes from such content providers.



iRig Mic Field Review - Improve Your iPhone's Recording Quality!

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The iRig Mic Field ($99.99) is a simple way to capture better quality audio in vids, personal recordings or on-the-go interviews. The newly released external mic from IK Multimedia gives you the flexibility to tilt the mic to Portrait or Landscape orientation while filming and is a good companion for vbloggers, musicians, or just anyone interested in boosting the sound on their recordings.



Party People, Follow Your Favorite Bartenders with Hoozetending

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I've been using an app called Hoozetending (free) from Hoozetending, Inc. The idea is to let potential customers and partygoers know which of their favorite bartenders is working where and when, and what deals their favorite establishments have to offer. Of course, users can discover new places and bartenders, too. It's a bit like Pinterest for nightlife.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 13: App Architecture

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Do you have an idea for an app but lack the programming knowledge to begin building it? In this weekly blog series, How to Unleash Your Inner App Developer, I will take you, the non-programmer, step-by-step through the process of creating apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Join me each week on this adventure, and you will experience how much fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 13 of the series. If you are just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here(This post has been updated to Swift 1.2, iOS 8, and Xcode 6.3)

This post contains some of the most important information you need to know to build a well-designed app that easily adapts to changes requested by users, the constant changes Apple makes to iOS, and the ever-changing landscape of iOS devices. It all comes down to a solid app architecture. We're going to take a quick digression from the iAppsReview app this week to look at a simpler Calculator app to help us establish good architectural principles.



Make iPhone Calls Over Wi-Fi with iOS 8.3

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Apple just released iOS 8.3 with new emojis and other features, but the most important feature, for Sprint users at least, may be the ability to seamlessly use Wi-Fi to make phone calls. You need to edit some settings to make this magic work. Go to Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calls. T-Mobile customers have already been able to do this, and now Sprint users of the iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6, and 6 Plus can join in on the fun. And those calls do not count against your cellular minutes!



With HBO NOW, Watch Game of Thrones on Your iPhone, or iPad or Apple TV

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During Apple's March 9th Apple Watch event, some stage time was offered to HBO as they introduced HBO NOW. The service allows streaming of all of HBO's content. The service is similar to HBO GO, but does not require an HBO Cable TV subscription.



New Free App from Microsoft Turns Your iPhone Into an OCR Scanner

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On Thursday a new app from Microsoft that turns your iPhone into a versatile scanner launched in the App Store. Office Lens (free) lets you take a photo of a wide range of documents and convert them into to editable Word, PowerPoint, and PDF files. 



Leef iBRIDGE Mobile Memory Adds Storage But at a Price

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Leef gave me their iBRIDGE Mobile Memory (starts at $59.99) to try. I wanted to like it, but I have mixed feelings. It does the job, which is to provide extra storage for your iOS device, and allow for easy transfer between those iOS devices and a computer. But there are some deficiencies.



Skylink Offers Home Security for the Do It Yourselfer

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Skylink allowed me to try its SK-200 Alarm System Starter Kit ($149.99). This is a compact, easily giftable solution for anyone looking for home security without the contract and monthly payments. Because it is mostly wireless and compact, it could be a great solution for apartment or dorm dwellers looking to add a little security without permanently installing a wired system.



App Review: getAbstract

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In a world of digital content, publishersnow a wider range of publishers than ever— while continuing to create bound books, increasingly create digital-only publications. Combine all those books with economics reports from think tanks and talks on the TED stage, and business people looking for the latest insight could spend more time trolling, curating, and reading than they do working and living. So in a world of outsourced assistance and quick returns comes the app getAbstract (free), from getAbstract, the company that condenses the essential lessons from business books and makes them available in a quick-to-read format.



The Power of the Force Touch, and Emojis

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My colleague Jim Karpen has already revealed the rumor that Force Touch may find its way into the next iPhone. But what is Force Touch and why should we care? Apple Watch ambassador Christie Turlington-Burns has been blogging for four weeks now about her use of the Apple Watch in preparing for a marathon. Her latest missive discusses the use of Force Touch as she reveals her family has Apple Watches as well. She can send emoticons from her watch to theirs, and using Force Touch, change the image.



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