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'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.
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.
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!
The hot new thing on Kickstarter is a line of fashion-conscious, innovative, handcrafted, European-style messenger bags and sleeves made of high quality French leather and wool felt by Craftwerk. You might remember this company from their first successfully funded Kickstarter campaign to get the Aluminum Case for iPhone 5 into production. This new project is inspired by the long-standing European tradition of combining fine leather with soft textured fabrics to create a product that is as stylish as it is functional.
When I wrote about Apple's new CarPlay earlier, the post generated a number of comments from car owners wishing their late-model vehicle could be retrofitted with CarPlay. Today's good news, via Nikkei Asian Review, is that Alpine Electronics will release a CarPlay console this fall in the US and Europe in a price range of $500–700. You won't have to buy a new Ferrari, Mercedes, or Volvo to take advantage of Apple's new offering. CarPlay lets you use various iPhone functions in your car while minimizing distraction—you control CarPlay just by speaking. You can make calls, receive calls, listen to voicemail, use the Maps app, listen to music, and send and receive text messages. Siri even reads your incoming messages to you and lets you dictate responses.
So we seem to be entering the phase of the rumor cycle in which we start to get leaked photos. In this case, the photos aren't of the iPhone 6 itself but of the mold that's said to be used to create the back casing.
T-Mobile wants your tablet business. Already they offer the best deal on data: 200MB per month for free, forever. Now, starting this weekend, they'll sell you an LTE iPad for the same price as a WiFi-only iPad, saving you $130. Plus, if you're a T-Mobile voice customer, you can add their 1GB monthly plan for your iPad for FREE through the rest of 2014.
On Wednesday MacRumors published a roadmap of Apple's forthcoming product releases—and what a lineup it is: New iWatch, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, and MacBooks. The information comes from securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, whose 2013 Apple roadmap was very nearly perfect in predicting last year's releases from Apple. On the iOS side, Kuo says that things will start happening in the third quarter (probably September), with the release of a new iPad Air and iPad mini. That will be followed by the rumored iWatch and a 4.7-inch iPhone 6. Then he says that early in the fourth quarter (probably October), we'll see a new version of the Apple TV. Then he sees a 5.5-inch iPhone coming late in the fourth quarter. Not only does Kuo offer a roadmap, but also gives detail on each of the products.
The tech news this week has been dominated by the so-called Heartbleed security issue that could have serious consequences for many Internet users, exposing their data and passwords. In a nutshell, many companies use OpenSSL, an open-source technology, as the basis for the security of their websites. It turns out that a programmer made a simple error several years ago that left the code vulnerable to exploitation.
Apple just sent out a quick notice offering a mechanism to get a refund for unauthorized in-app purchases by a minor. It should have been sent to all iTunes users who made an in-app purchase, but it's easy to miss, so I've included the text below. Despite Apple's efforts to limit in-app purchases to a 15 minute window without requiring re-entering a password, a lot of damage can be done in those 15 minutes. I've written about my troubles with IAPs before.
Last fall Apple began making their popular iWork suite available for free on new iOS devices and Macs. Also, it's available for free to anyone in iCloud. If you have an older device, the iWork suite costs $10 per app. It includes Pages for word processing and page layout, Numbers for spreadsheet work, and Keynote for presentations. When I got my new iPad Air, I downloaded pages and was impressed with how intuitive the interface is while having good functionality. Last week Apple released a major update to the suite on all platforms: iOS, iCloud, and Mac. You can find extensive detail on the new features and improvements on Apple's website. One focus of improvement was compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. Pages and Numbers are now more compatible with Office 2013 files. In addition, various facets of importing and exporting Office documents have been improved.
Usually when you win the lottery, you get some money. But with Apple's WWDC ticket lottery, winning entitles you to pay $1,599 plus expenses to attend their Worldwide Developers Conference during the week of June 2. The lottery system for WWDC is new this year, although Apple used a similar system for their regional Tech Talk Tours last year. I have attended a few WWDCs in the past, and was able to see Steve Jobs in person. I just had to be lucky enough to read my email and register within a few minutes, much to the chagrin of potential attendees who were asleep when the emails were sent. The lottery system should make it fairer for those who live in other time zones.
Apple has said to expect new product categories this year, and many people think the most likely candidate will be an iWatch. Rumors out of China on Tuesday, reported on AppleInsider, say that the iWatch will be coming the third quarter of 2014, with Taiwan's Quanta Computer expected to make 65 million units in the first year. That's a huge number.
Adobe announced the release of Lightroom for iPad, joining some of Adobe's other mobile products like Photoshop Express and Adobe Air. However, Lightroom for mobile will function as an extension of the desktop version rather than a standalone app.
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference always sells out, and lately in less than an hour. So today, when Apple announced the even will be held June 2 through June 6, instead of selling tickets immediately, potential attendees have to register for a lottery ticket. A limited number of developers will win the right to pay $1599 to attend the event.
I'm finally back at the helm after attending last week's Macworld / iWorld 2014 conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco! My company had a booth at Macworld again this year, selling books in my iOS App Development for Non-Programmers series, and it was the best conference for us to date! There was a lot of positive energy at the conference and we met lots of great people who are interested in getting into iOS app development.
Here are some of the highlights of Macworld / iWorld 2014.
Apple TV has long been a "hobby" for Apple, with perennial rumors of something bigger. However, Google, Roku, and now Amazon have been putting out attractive competitors without waiting for Apple to get serious. The $35 Chromecast from Google brought smart TV features to the masses. Now the $99 Amazon Fire TV offers higher-end features, comparable and even superior to the Apple product.
Credible rumors indicate that Siri's voice may be getting a celebrity update, with the voices of your favorite movie, television, and musical stars soon to be available as in-app purchases. Sources say that Christopher Walken, Ellen DeGeneres, Gilbert Gottfried, Liam Neeson, James Earl Jones, Sean Connery, Morgan Freeman, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, and Mila Kunis have all signed on.
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