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Expert Blogs

Benefits of iOS 7.1.1 Update Include Faster, More Accurate Touch ID

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Apple released iOS 7.1.1 last week, and you'd be well advised to download it to your devices. You can do so over the air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can connect your device to your computer and do the update via the iTunes software. The update fixes important security issues as well as bugs. Most importantly for iPhone 5s owners, it reportedly helps to make Touch ID faster and more accurate. According to a detailed explanation on Cult of Mac, accuracy would decay over time. Quoting a Reddit user, the post explains how the update improves Touch ID: "With iOS 7.1.1 Apple now takes multiple scans of each position you place finger at setup instead of a single one and uses algorithms to predict potential errors that could arise in the future." In the past, if you didn't get a good scan during setup, it would later cause problems. The increased accuracy of the update results in a faster response because the phone needs to make fewer calculations while unlocking the phone.



Lunecase Makes it from CES to Kickstarter!

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Last week I posted up a review on the Blumoo bluetooth entertainment system controller, a CES gadget for which I was eagerly awaiting release. This week, yet another cool accessory product seen at CES is now on Kickstarter (with an improved design, IMO.)



FreedomPop Offers Free Voice, Data, and Text

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It's hard to beat free, and with FreedomPop, you get it all for free: 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages, and 500MB of data per month. If you want more, you can sign up for an inexpensive plan starting at $5 per month. 



Apple and Nike Rumored To Be Collaborating on "Smart Band" Wearable Device

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The rumblings began 10 days ago when Nike, as reported by CNET, laid off 70–80 percent of the employees working on their Nike FuelBand, one of the more popular fitness trackers. Plus, they acknowledged they would be stopping development of the hardware side of fitness tracking, though indicated they planned to continue selling the second-generation FuelBand SE. That move raised lots of eyebrows, and some even speculated that Apple's rumored iWatch was a factor. Then, last week GeekTime reported that Apple and Nike are gearing up for an announcement this fall of a "smart band." The website claims to have received this information from two sources in Cupertino, where Apple is located. According to the report, "Apple is looking to launch a smart band toward the end of this year whose collection of sensors will be able to be used not only to monitor the activity of the wearer, but also to operate other devices as a gestural controller."



Apple Posts "Powerful" New Commercial Featuring Many Uses of the iPhone

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Last week Apple posted a new ad on their YouTube channel showing the amazing range of things an iPhone 5s can be used for, from making music and videos to launching model rockets and controlling stage lighting. The ad is reminiscent of earlier iPad commercials. The background music is "Gigantic" by the Pixies. The tagline of the ad is "You're more powerful than you think." I always enjoy watching their ads.



Rumor: Curved Edges for iPhone 6

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on Wednesday, a report  on AppleInsider citing a Japanese blog said that the iPhone 6 will have curved edges.: That is, both a curved casing and curved glass. The blog is known to have generally reliable sources, so this rumor may have credence. And to help visualize what the iPhone 6 would look like with curved edges and glass, you can see some great renderings by Martin Hajek on the French website Nowhereelse.fr. The renderings show rounded corners and the glass of the display wraps slightly around the edge. In addition to the curved edges, the report says the back of the iPhone 6 will differ from the 5 and 5s, in that it will no longer have the glass-covered antenna windows seen on those models.



Apple News: See Where Your iCloud Data Is Located

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Apple learned a lot from their underperforming Mobile Me service, and doubled down on the data center to support iCloud. Apple's cloud service handles iOS backups, iMessages, notes, music, videos, photos, iWork documents, Siri, FaceTime, and more; and for the most part, it performs without downtime.



FŪZ Kickstarts New Universal Mobile Dock

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Customers loved the EverDock by FŪZ so much that they wouldn't let up until the creators relented and created a mobile version (called the EverDock Go) that will snug into the cupholder of your vehicle. Of course, it's on Kickstarter, so go give your support and love if you happen to be one of the fanatics who absolutely need to dock your phone 24/7. Though they have already met the Kickstart goal, you can still grab some of the gear for pre-order pricing of $35 and up (ships in September 2014). Read on for more specifics from the press release:



Apple's Quarterly Report Stuns Investment Community, Sends Stock Skyward

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Apple released their results for the March quarter yesterday after the market closed, and the news was all good, sending the stock up 7 percent in after-hours trading. Not only did Apple's quarterly results beat Wall Street's most optimistic estimates, Apple announced several stock-related moves that thrilled investors: an unusual 7-for-1 stock split, an increase in the quarterly dividend, and an increase in their stock buyback program. Apple's results set a record for a March quarter. Analysts were expecting Apple to report $43.5 billion in revenue, but Apple handily exceeded that, coming in at $45.6 billion. The iPhone led the way, with Apple selling 43.7 million iPhones, well above Wall Street's estimate of 38.5 million. Strong iPhone sales were attributed in part to strong demand in China and emerging markets—where there remains a lot of potential for growth.



iTunesconnect Changes Mean a More Refined App Store

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Apple has sent out notices to developers about changes in the iTunesconnect app management tool. Refinements include checkboxes for Medical/Treatment Information," "Gambling and Contests," and "Unrestricted Web Access."  



3 Great New Channels for Apple TV: History, A&E, Lifetime

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I don't have cable TV, so I'm always excited when Apple adds more channels to Apple TV. And those added today are the sorts of channels I might like to watch: History, A&E, and Lifetime. In all three cases, some of the content is free, and other content requires you to log in with the username and password that you use with your cable provider. My impression after checking them out is that there's a ton of free content available—more than I'd ever have time to watch. In some cases, there are only one- to four-minute clips from the various episodes, with the clips always being free. Sometimes for a particular show, some episodes are free and others require a log-in.



Presenting iPhone Life's 2014 Earth Day Mobile Tech Award

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In celebration of Earth Day 2014, we'd like to present to you the recipient of this year's iPhone Life Earth Day Mobile Tech Award. Today we are highlighting three environmentally-conscious tech brands (one winner and two runners-up) that are actively making a difference in how we live life in harmony with our home planet. Each company has made their own contributions toward making the world a “greener” place with their eco-friendly products and practices. Read on to find out who gets to take home the honors...



Is Apple's Predictablility Responsible for Lackluster First Quarter Revenue Projections?

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Apple may be one of the most profitable, most valuable businesses in the world (at least among those not based on oil) but that doesn't mean investors don't want more. Apple's revenue for the first quarter of CY2014 will be released on Wednesday and are projected to be $43.6 billion with about $9.5 billion in profits. These would be terrific numbers for any company, but for Apple, they were flat compared to the same period last year, which itself was their first decrease in profits in a decade.



Apple News: Possible new iPad Air photos leaked

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Alleged screenshots of a new iPhone 6 has been getting most of the attention lately, but the iPad Air was feeling left out! Now, thanks to AppleInsider.com's translation of the Netherland's OneMoreThing.nl rumor site, the iPad Air gets to join in the speculation game! I love my iPad Air, but as remarkably thin as it is, apparently it could be thinner, if the glass and LCD panel were bonded together. That appears to be Apple's next plan, if the photos are to be believed.



iOS 8 Could Add Shazam Functionality to Siri

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The next iPhone is getting a lot of coverage, but each generation of iPhone also sees a new version of iOS. With Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) coming June 2, it's logical that iOS 8 will be available soon. Hundreds of new features roll out with each new operating system, but one that caught my eye is a potential integration of Shazam's music recognition service with Apple's Siri, according to Bloomberg.



iPhone 6 Case Suggests Position of Sleep/Wake Button to Be Moved to Side

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In addition to leaked photos of molds and casings for the iPhone 6, we're now starting to see images of cases created for the device by Asian manufacturers. Of course, sometimes they make cases based on rumored specs that turn out to be wrong. Images of cases posted on AppleInsider show that the sleep/wake button, which until now has been on the top of the iPhone, has been moved to the right side of the phone opposite volume-up button. This detail was also recently relayed by securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has solid inside information and is usually accurate in his predictions. The move is apparently intended to make one-handed operation easier, though the AppleInsider post suggests it could also be indicative of a new feature that would require more frequent use of this button.



8 Smartphone Etiquette Rules Everyone Should Follow!

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Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Picture yourself having dinner with a friend. It’s a great evening and you are really enjoying yourself. You are in the middle of explaining this amazing thing that happened to you the other day. Then your friend's iPhone rings, he picks it up, and starts chatting about something completely different with someone else. In the middle of your story!



Apple and Other Smartphone Manufacturers Implement Anti-Theft Initiative

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Apple's iPhones have long been the object of affection for consumers and also thieves. New York City reports that crime has increased directly because of the iPhone. In 2011, iPhones accounted for 70 percent of all cell phone thefts and half of all thefts in New York City! As a valuable commodity, they can be resold easily, or at least they could before iOS 7's anti-theft capabilities. In addition to the preexisting Find My iPhone feature, iOS 7 added the requirement that a user's iTunes ID and password had to be entered after a factory reset.



Pioneer to Offer CarPlay Systems Beginning Early Summer

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Apple CEO Tim Cook said we'd be seeing new categories of products this year, and it looks like CarPlay is one of them. Initially it seemed as if it would only be available in new cars. But then a rumor emerged that Apine Electronics would come out with an after-market CarPlay console this fall. And now Pioneer, a leader in sound systems, has announced they'll be offering CarPlay in their dashboard receivers beginning early this summer. CarPlay will be available as a firmware update to Pioneer's five 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers. The price of these receivers, which have have large, in-dash LCD displays, ranges from $700 to $1,400. They can be installed in most existing vehicles.



Apple News: Alleged iPhone 6 Photo Shows What Your Next iPhone Might Look Like

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Hot on the heels of my colleague Jim Karpen's post on the molds for the iPhone 6 comes an actual photo of the alleged iPhone 6 front panel, courtesy of a Sina weibo user (via iPhon.fr) There are no "big" surprises, besides the panel being bigger, perhaps 4.7 inches. The folks at iPhone.fr broke out the old Pythagorean theorem to deduce that this could indeed be a 4.7 inch screen. There are rumors of another screen size in the future, up to 5.5 inches even!



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