The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus get all the press but Apple is happy to "sell" you the iPhone 5c at no cost (thanks to carrier subsidies), and that may be enough power for most people. In fact, the smaller size could be desirable to some. Even the plastic packaging is proving to be tougher than folks imagined, including standing up to a shotgun blast and saving the life of the owner in the process!
I'm looking forward to the June 8–12 developers conference, during which Apple is expected to show off iOS 9 and announce new products. Apple has already confirmed that new devices compatible with their HomeKit platform will launch in June, so many are expecting the Worldwide Developers Conference to feature this forthcoming platform. In announcing HomeKit, Apple said it would be used with devices that control a home's locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches, and more. Smart-home devices are becoming increasingly popular, and a platform that integrates their function and gives them a common interface would be a huge boon — and a big step forward for the industry. The timing is right.
Details of iOS 9 are continuing to leak as we get closer to the June announcement of this new version of iOS at the Worldwide Developers Conference. 9To5Mac is reporting that Maps in iOS 9 will now include transit directions — a feature that was rumored for iOS 8 but wasn't ready in time. Now it's said to be ready and will include subway, train, and bus information.
If you have an Apple Watch, you're using a new font developed by Apple dubbed "San Francisco." That font is only available for the Apple Watch and developers cannot use on the iPhone or iPad. That could change with iOS 9, expected to be announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The San Francisco font was designed to be more legible, especially on small screens, but that could also benefit the iPhone and even iPad.
If you'd like to save money on an iPad Air 2, Apple is now selling a long list of refurbished iPad Air 2 models at between 15 to 17 percent off the regular price. They come with a new battery and new shell, so cosmetically it should be in perfect condition.
Apple is still trying to meet the backlog of online Apple Watch orders, but 9to5mac asserts that Apple Watches will be available in Apple retail stores in June, per Apple CEO Tim Cook, during his China tour. This could be a curious situation for those who ordered a watch with delivery scheduled in late June. Of course "in June" could be June 30.
Ever since Steve Jobs was quoted in Walt Isaacson's Jobs biography as having "nailed" the television dilemma, and really before then, Apple watchers have been looking for an integrated Apple television set. I never thought it was practical, as the TV set market is pretty cutthroat, with newer entries like Vizio driving sizes up and prices down. It's hard for Apple to enter that market, make a difference, and charge a consistently profitable price. But where they could leverage their expertise is in user interface, remote control, home automation, and thanks to their acquisition of PrimeSense (the Israeli firm behind Kinect), gestures and gaming.
The Apple Watch has been in customers hands (or on their wrists) for less than a month, but that was enough time for Apple to learn what fixes and enhancements were needed and deliver their first update. If you are lucky enough to have an Apple Watch, open the official Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and under General, check for Software Update. Follow the directions to download the 51.6 MB update.
It seems like I have been waiting for an app-enabled smartwatch since my calculator watch days in the early 1980s. I'm still waiting, because while the Apple Watch runs apps as extensions of the iPhone's screen, those apps still run on the iPhone. Apple has said that developers will be able to write apps that run natively on the Apple Watch, but it hasn't committed to a date. Perhaps June's Worldwide Developers Conference will shed some light on this limitation.
Steve Jobs has been gone for years, but his presence is still felt. Apple CEO Tim Cook honored the Apple founder at a commencement speech at George Washington University this weekend. Cook, fresh off a visit to China, told the audience they shouldn't have to choose between a job that pays the bills and their ambitions to do good and make a difference.
Apple rarely comments on forthcoming products, but reacted quickly when the rumor began spreading late last week that HomeKit devices wouldn't be available until August or September.
As the tech world awaits an announcement by Apple regarding its expected subscription music service, Rdio on Thursday undercut the competition by offering a low-cost streaming music service called Rdio Select. For $3.99 per month, you can stream Pandora-like stations ad-free at 320 kbs, enjoy unlimited skips, and access 25 of your favorite songs each day.
Act fast, because until May 16th at 11:59pm (ET) only, PowerSkin is offering their PoP'n for just $10 shipped. Technically, it's a penny with $9.99 shipping, but however you slice it, it's a good deal, since it normally lists for $49.99 plus shipping. The PowerSkin PoP'n latches on to the Lightning port (or microUSB if that's what you order) of your iPhone and sticks to the back of the phone or case. Not all cases will work with it, as you need some clearance around the lightning port, but you could always remove your case if needed. Their website lists the iPhone 5/5s/5c, but it should work with an iPhone 6.
If you were lucky (and brave) enough to pick up an Apple Watch, you probably want to find some killer apps for it. Maybe you want to justify your purchase, or show it off to friends, or just get the most out of your new device. After all, the original iPhone didn't really strut its stuff until the App Store showed up a year later.
Some of Siri's specialized knowledge comes courtesy of WolframAlpha, a service that offers access to an extensive knowledge base. When you ask Siri how many calories are in a bagel, or what the square root of 128 is, Siri's answer comes from WolframAlpha.
It's always a good sign when one of the top companies develops an app for a new platform. Google has just launched their first Apple Watch-ready app: Google News & Weather (free). The app offers the top 10 news headlines, drawing upon over 65,000 publications. On the iPhone and iPad, the app, which was first available last fall, offers news in categories such as Technology, Sports, and Fashion. The Apple Watch content, though, is limited to the latest headlines, and doesn't include local news and weather. With each headline you can scroll down to see a photo. However, you're not able to view the full story or to see a summary. On the other hand, a Force Touch adds the news story to your reading list in Safari.
The Apple Watch may not be cheap, but it could actually be a practical alternative to a CarPlay or Bluetooth-enabled stereo system. I recently added Bluetooth stereo to my old car and it cost over $200 for an entry-level model. With the right car mount, you can use your Apple Watch as a hands-free speakerphone, complete with Siri integration.
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