Apple didn't really make any hardware news during their Worldwide Developers Conference. Two weeks later they haven't released entirely new machines, but they have made some pricing moves. The iMac is now even more affordable, with the lower cost of entry starting at $1099 (and $50 less for Education customers.) Apple TV and the venerable Mac mini have also seen their price drop, overseas at least. Power users might scoff at the specs on these entry level systems, but for surfing the web, checking email, using iTunes, Netflix, etc., they could be ideal.
The always aggressive T-Mobile is adding more marketing programs to entice users to switch to their network. The latest campaign is a cheekily-named "7 Night Stand" that lets potential customers test drive a new iPhone 5s for a week. This should give wary users a decent chance to test the phone and the coverage where they live and work. I know Verizon and AT&T customers that regret their decision, based on coverage in their house or office. It's a neat idea that T-Mobile hopes will turn those one-week stands into at least starter marriages if not something longer!
Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition. Typically Game Centered features several different games, but this week we've got a summer blockbuster on our hands, so this edition is devoted entirely to the highly anticipated GodFire: Rise of Prometheus.
Competition is a good thing, and Amazon just raised the bar. Amazon's Jeff Bezos wasn't satisfied with just revolutionizing shopping for books, music, movies, or anything. Today he announced the Kindle Fire Phone, a 4.7-inch Android device that is more than just a phone. Like everything Amazon does, the Fire Phone is designed to make it easier to shop, for music, movies, TV shows, and physical products. Their integrated Firefly app recognizes over 100 million items, by image or audio. There's a dedicated button for Firefly. Amazon also has an SDK to allow third-party developers to integrate with this feature. [Full disclosure, I have developed an app called AllAccess.US that recognizes logos and launches that brand's info.]
WWDC was two weeks ago, and beta versions of Apple's new operating systems iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite and of Apple TV were made available at that time. Now, Apple has made updates to those betas, including an update for Apple TV that supports iCloud Family Sharing. The Apple TV can now access content from multiple iTunes accounts in a family. Apple requires that those accounts share the same credit card, which should help with piracy concerns. However, a lot of families that let kids use iPads, iPods, and iPhones don't want them to have a credit card on file. For those users, I always recommended an iTunes gift card with a finite value. That would put a limit on purchases, however it would make them ineligible for Family Sharing.
Apple has created an entire growth industry, thanks to the App Store. But as a developer, it hasn't always been easy tracking sales, which is important for marketing, planning and pricing. In the past, I've used services such as AppViz from IdeaSwarm, AppFigures, Flurry, Distimo, and App Annie, in addition to Apple's iTunesconnect, of course. Recently, there has been a flurry (pun intended) of activity on this front.
Stock analysts that cover Apple predict that the rumored iWatch—which is expected to be announced in October—will be a runaway hit and even sell more units in its first year of production than the iPad sold in its first year. That would make it Apple’s most successful product ever.
Case manufacturers use mockups in order to make cases and have them ready when new iPhones become available. Those mockups are dummy iPhones based on the specs of the actual device. Which means they can give a sense for what the new iPhones will look like. According to AppleInsider, over the weekend, Sonny Dickson, who has in the past been the first to post leaked photos of new iOS devices, posted to Twitter photos of mockups for the expected 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones. This is yet one more bit of evidence that larger phones are coming, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 expected to be announced in September. The mockups show styling continuity with the iPad Air and iPad mini, with the same sort of rounded edges. The similar shape of the two mockups suggests that the new larger phones will share the same aspect ratio—which would be expected from Apple, as they typically try to make it easy for developers to port their apps to differently sized models.
Counterfeit versions of the iPhone 6 are apparently already available overseas. Three months before Apple debuts the latest version of the iPhone, resellers on China's biggest e-commerce site, Taobao.com, are marketing what can be loosely translated as "models" of the iPhone 6. The "models" are believed to be made of old iPhone 5 and new iPhone 6 components.
This is not without precedent. Back in 2012, low-cost knock-offs of the iPhone 5 made it to market before the real product did as well.
Yogi Berra said "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." The App Store is great, because there are so many apps, but that's also what makes it a problem. It's hard to find good apps, and even harder for good app developers to stand out.
The video game convention that is E3 has come and gone, and despite a relatively scant showing of iOS games, at least compared to the deluge of console titles, there were still some great and noteworthy iOS games announced at this year's game conference. We've rounded up some of the best iOS titles unveiled during this years huge show, so read on after the break to find out what's in store for iOS gamers in the months to come.
I just bought a mophie charge case that turned my slim, light iPhone into a river rock that pulls my pants down and barely fits in my back pocket (I have loose pants)! No slap at mophie, as I love their chargers (the space pack case is insanely cool)! You could say I'm looking for something a bit less bulky that doesn't heat my phone up hot enough to fry an egg (I exaggerate).
An interesting article on 9To5Mac outlines how many of the new features in iOS 8 are well suited to the small display of an iWatch or other wearable device that Apple is expected to announce in October. The article says that the small app-associated widgets that developers will be able to create for the new Notification Center are just the sort of applets that would work well on an iWatch. The app could push the same content to both the Notification Center widget and to the wearable. In addition, the quick interactive notifications in iOS 8, without your having to go to the respective app, is just the sort of feature you'd expect in an iWatch. When a text message arrives, you'd like to be able to respond right from your wrist. And features such as QuickType and audio and voice messaging will make quick responses easy.
The dust hasn't even settled on Apple's mega-acquisition of Beats by Dre and Beats Music. The subscription service has been regarded as a better interface than iTunes Radio, Apple's internally developed answer to Pandora and Spotify. Now, Amazon wants to get into the act. Not satisfied selling music, books and movies, they now offer a streaming service called Prime Music. The service has over one million songs, including popular Grammy winners, so this is not a rehash of your father's old playlist.
Apple has launched an exchange program
in 37 countries for certain models of it 5 watt European USB iPhone power adapter. The company says that in “rare cases” the power adapter may overheat and “pose a safety risk.”
The power adapter, which Apple identified as Model A1300, was packaged with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4s shipped between October 2009 and September 2012. It also was sold as a standalone product.
Charming. Eclectic. Fanciful. And oh yes, very technology-enabled. Such is Hyatt’s Andaz boutique hotel in Amsterdam. As visitors enter the hotel they are met by giant bells sporting ornate chandeliers cascading from the bell's great white lips like crystal clappers. Proceed further and see a simple desk with a laptop, but the laptop remains fixed. Rather than standing in a queue at a desk, a greeter meets you at the door with an iPad, already querying you about your stay and readying your keys, which eventually accept their RFID programming from a nondescript circle in the middle of the round table that sits precisely centered beneath the cavernous bells.
Skype for iPhone 5.0 (free) was released Wednesday, and according to the Skype website, it has a new look and much faster speed. New features include the ability to send messages to people who are offline. The redesign gives in an appearance smilar to that on Windows Phone and Android devices. The app has been rewritten from the ground up. Here's how Skype describes this new version:
While we've had a lot of iPhone 6 rumors, not much has been said about forthcoming iPads. Likely that's because the new models coming this year will have the same design, but with some feature upgrades. According to a report on 9To5Mac, production of components for the next iPad Air is set to begin this month. The new model is expected to have an 8-megapixel, up from 5 megapixels, and could possibly sport a 1.5-megapixel front camera, compared to the current 1.2 megapixels. It's also expected to come with the new A8 processor, which is said to greatly enhance performance and efficiency, thereby extending battery life. Which is remarkable, given that the current A7 is already miles ahead of other smartphones and tablets.
As I sit here twiddling my thumbs waiting for some kind of last minute, major iOS game announcements from the giant video game convention that is E3, I've had a lot of time to reflect on what this biggest of video game showcases means to dedicated and enthusiastic iOS gamers. E3 has yet to become the primary forum for iOS games to make their grand debuts, though I anticipate this changing as more hardcore games make their way to iOS. But will iOS games ever carry enough hype to steal the show at major gaming events like the annual Game Developers Conference or E3.
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