Monday, Dec. 1, is World Aids Day, and a portion of every product Apple sells will go to support (RED) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS. In addition, through December 7, 100 percent of the proceeds from the purchase of (or in-app purchases in) select apps will go to support (RED). You can see a list of the apps in iTunes.
More iOS users are running iOS 8 than those that are on an older version, as reported by Apple Insider and Apple. It took a while, by Apple standards, but it was still a lot faster than Android. And with Black Friday upon us, the numbers should go up, as more users pick up the next generation of iPads and iPhones, which require iOS 8. Indeed I just added an iPad mini 3 to my stable thanks to BestBuy's early Black Friday offering.
Three Apple products made Time magazine's list of Top 10 Gadgets of 2014, with the Apple Watch coming in at number one. (Which is a bit ironic, since it won't be available until 2015.) The iPhone 6 Plus ranked fifth on the list and the iPad Air 2 ranked ninth. Time described the watch as a "daring foray into the wearable market" and said that "Apple could be the first company to make wearable computers ubiquitous."
We have reviewed several Sonos wireless speakers and audio accessories at iPhone Life, and in this reviewer's opinion, there are few products that compare. The speakers sound astonishingly great, with solid wireless performance, and their streaming app and service library keeps getting richer and more refined. They don't often do sales or special offers, but the word on the street is they are offering gift cards and store promotions at select retailers for the Play family line.
Black Friday has come and gone, but the Black Friday coupon code that TYLT emailed their customers for 50 percent off on in-stock items is still good for Cyber Monday. Just visit http://www.TYLT.com and add items to your shopping cart. Enter code CYBER2014 through Cyber Monday and get half off on some great items.
Maybe it's a reflection of how we treat superstar inventors like Steve Jobs, or just the glut of superhero movies lately, but another actor in the running to play Steve Jobs has also played a superhero (or villain.) Michael Fassbender, the younger Magneto in the X-Men films, is taking over for Christian Bale, of Batman fame, as the title character in the Steve Jobs movie. The film has changed studios as well, from Sony to Universal, but it looks like Seth Rogen, who played superhero the Green Hornet, will serve as Jobs' partner, Steve Wozniak.
Black Friday is here, and Best Buy has a great deal: $100 off on all iPad Air 2 models. (However, according to AppleInsider, some WiFi models were aleardy sold out as of 7 am Friday morning.) In addition, their discounts include $75 off all iPad mini 3 models and up to $200 off on some cellular data iPad mini 2 models.
First there were reports that the new iPhones bent easily, and now there's a report that some users are complaining that their displays are easily scratched. It turned out that bending wasn't as much of a problem as first reported, and I'm hoping the same will be the case regarding the scratching. AppleInsider has posted an article about extended discussions (nearly 700 posts) on Apple's forums of the scratching issue. People say they are noticing scratching on the display after less than a week of normal use, and that these displays seem more prone to scratching than on other recent iPhone models. AppleInsider suggests the fault could lie with the new design of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which lack a protruding bezel "lip" that might have helped protect earlier models from brushing against surfaces. The curved-edge design leaves the glass more exposed.
Video games on iOS are huge right now. In acknowledgement and celebration of this fact, Apple's newest iPhone 6 commercial is all about gaming, specifically a new game entitled Vainglory (free). Vainglory debuted alongside the introduction of the iPhone 6 series of iPhones and was used at the unveiling to demonstrate the prowess of the new iPhone's gaming capabilities, and with good reason! Vainglory has absolutely gorgeous graphics as well as intense and fast-paced, strategic multiplayer gameplay, built from the ground up for iOS.
As a follow-up to my article on Apple changing the wording from "Free" to "Get," I noticed that the word hasn't changed everywhere. While iTunes and the App Store display "Get" for apps that don't have an initial price, the App Store preview pages, which are displayed when web sites link to an app, still show "Free" for such apps. Eventually, Apple may get around to fixing this, but it is a glaring inconsistency from a manufacturer that usually takes their entire web store down to make changes.
It's fun to see so many more details of the Apple Watch emerging as a result of Apple's releasing their WatchKit to developers who are creating apps. I summarized many of these details in a previous post, including the pixel dimensions of both sizes of the Apple Watch. An interesting article on The Verge also has a good summary, including some details that I missed. In particular, an interesting feature of the Apple Watch is that it will distinguish between "Short Look" and "Long Look" notifications. If it senses that you're just glancing at your watch, you'll get a single message, such as that your plane is boarding now. But if you keep looking at the notification, more information appears. In this case, the flight number, boarding time, and gate number.
Like Walmart, Best Buy is already beginning to offer Black Friday deals, notably $80-$85 off the WiFi iPad Air for the 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB models. That means you're paying $320 for the 16 GB iPad Air, which isn't quite as good as Walmart's offer of a $100 gift card with the purchase of the $397 16 GB iPad Air.
Many people are waiting until the great deals available on Black Friday to make their purchase of an Apple product. And if Walmart's deals on the iPhone and iPad interest you, you won't have long to wait. According to AppleInsider, Walmart is kicking of their Black Friday deals on Friday, November 21. As I noted in an earlier post, those deals include a 16 GB iPhone 6 for $179 plus a $75 gift card, meaning that your final price is effectively $104 (with a two-year contract). They'll also have the new 16 GB iPad Air 2 for $489 with a $100 gift card. You'll be able to get an iPhone 5s for $79, with a $75 gift card. Also, if you're an AT&T Next or Verizon Edge customer, you can get the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s for $0 down.
What a difference a word makes. The European Union objected to Apple's use of the word "Free" for apps that have In-App Purchases and ordered them to change it. Yesterday, they did. But Apple changed the "Free" button to "Get" for all no charge apps, even those that don't have In-App Purchases. I would have preferred that they left such apps as "Free," but at least they have text, in gray, below apps that say "In-App Purchases" if applicable. The headlines still read "Top Free Apps" so they haven't eliminated the word free entirely. The change in verbiage may not do much to stop users from downloading such apps, and eventually making purchases. After all, the top grossing apps tend to be "Freemium" apps with In-App Purchases.
The first Steve Jobs movie, released shortly after his passing, didn't pass muster with a lot of Apple followers, including Steve Wozniak. Admittedly, it wasn't based on the official biography by Walter Isaacson, and the making of it seemed rushed. It also didn't cover modern day Apple, just ending upon Steve's triumphant return to the company he founded, after being kicked out, much like Moses in the wilderness. The "official" movie, based on the "official" book was expected to get the full Hollywood treatment. Christian Bale, fresh off success as Batman and coming soon as Moses, appropriately, was slated to play Jobs. He has the build, face, and occasional beard, not to mention temper, to pull it off. Seth Rogan would take on the role of Wozniak. I loved that the guy who played Batman was going to team up with the guy who played the Green Hornet, since those superheroes teamed up occasionally.
It was long rumored that Apple was looking to use sapphire to replace Corning's Gorilla Glass for the iPhone 6. That didn't happen, and Apple's partner in sapphire production went bankrupt. Corning is taking advantage of the situation and promoting their next-generation product, Gorrilla Glass 4. While sapphire is still used by Apple, for camera lens covers and potentially the Apple Watch, the advantage is how difficult sapphire is to scratch.
As my fellow blogger Todd Bernhard noted in this earlier post, Apple has now released WatchKit to developers, enabling them to develop apps for the forthcoming Apple Watch. This is of interest even if you're not a developer because it has revealed details about the watch that Apple hadn't yet announced. According to AppleInsider, the larger 42 mm watch will be 312 x 390 pixels and the smaller model 272 x 340 pixels. However, AppleInsider notes that the dimensions refer to the case rather than the display size, so the pixel density is unknown.
It's a given that if Apple has a good feature, it will find its way into Android and vice versa. "Good artists copy, great artists steal" is the line Steve Jobs stole from Picasso, so we don't need to argue over who stole what. It happens. So I am hopeful that Android's new Smart Lock features (enhanced in Android 5.0 Lollipop) will end up in iOS in one form or another. This feature lets you determine when your smartphone should remain unlocked by more than just a time setting. Trusted Devices allows for unlocking via a nearby device, like a smartwatch.
Apple is encouraging developers to get ready for early spring when the Apple Watch is expected to ship. To maximize the number, and quality, of apps available on that date, Apple released their new WatchKit, along with a beta version of Xcode and iOS 8.2. This release is available only to developers, but interested parties can view a new video from Apple with more details. In the meantime, here's what Apple had to say on the subject:
When Steve Jobs lured John Sculley to run Apple, he asked the CEO of Pepsi if he really wanted to sell "sugared water" for the rest of his life, or change the world at Apple. We all know how that went, but ironically, in January 2015, Coca Cola will be releasing an update to their Freestyle app and dispensers that will allow users to customize their beverage, with 3 combinations of 100 different choices plus their choice of percentages, to create a unique mix. Living up to the Freestyle name, users can experiment with different flavors and find the perfect combination to soothe their tastebuds. The experimentation is likely to result in extra revenue given how many tries a user might have to attempt to get their personal favorite. They can then share that concoction with friends.
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