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.
Apple’s so-called iWatch is still just a rumor, but at least one analyst thinks such a device would be a best-seller when released, with 21 million units expected to sell in the first year alone.
Now that iOS 8 has been introduced and is in the hands of developers, let’s take a look at how many of our wishes have been fulfilled. Since it’s still in development, we don’t yet know all the features. But so far it appears that we got some of the most-requested features, but no joy on some of the others.
Say "Bonjour" to the next iPhone, perhaps, thanks to French website NowhereElse.fr. The site has published photos of the alleged metal case for the next iPhone, with room for a 4.7-inch screen. Additional changes include moving the lock button from the top to the side. Apple has, to date, shied away from larger iPhone sizes because of concerns about usability in one hand. This change might be to address that concern.
If you're the type of person who likes the fact that marketers and retailers can easily track your every move and know your location at any given time of the day when your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi, then you probably won't be happy with this new, but little publicized, feature in Apple's new iOS 8.
Notification Center, which was introduced in iOS 5 and expanded in iOS 7 with several tabbed views (Today, All, and Missed), will now be greatly enhanced in iOS 8, with new customization features including the ability to add third-party widgets to the Today view. In the current beta, the default in the Today view is Today, Traffic Conditions, Calendar, Reminders, Stocks, and Tomorrow Summary. A new Edit button lets you somewhat rearrange this list and also hide items. Developers of apps can now also develop widgets associated with their apps that you can choose to display on your Today screen. You'll be able to add widgets such as weather, sports scores, and current eBay auctions.
Apple's Photos app and the approach to storage are among the biggest changes you can look forward to in iOS 8. The new iCloud Photo Library gives you the option of replacing the confusing Photo Stream, which is limited to your most recent 1,000 photos. All your photos and videos will now automatically live in the cloud if you enable this feature. Photo Stream is free, but with iCloud Photo Library you'll need to pay for this storage if you exceed the 5GB of free space. iCloud storage, though, will now be much cheaper, at just $0.99 per month for an additional 20GB and $3.99 per month for an additional 200GB.
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a very positive feature on Dr. Dre (aka: Andre Young) suggesting that his work ethic and demanding perfectionism are more similar to Steve Jobs than one might have ever imagined. While Dre declined to comment or be interviewed for the WSJ article, through interviews with some of his friends and associates, the article paints a picture of a visionary artist and a culturally astute businessman who shares a lot in common with Apple's original visionary influence, the late Steve Jobs.
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference has come and gone. While there were plenty of surprises, like a whole new programming language called Swift, new hardware was conspicuously absent. Indeed Apple's hardware chief, Phil Schiller didn't even take the stage at the WWDC Keynote. However, Eddy Cue has been on the record days before WWDC saying "Later this year, we've got the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple." All of this points to a flood of hardware releases in time for the Holidays. So what can we expect?
The blogosphere was buzzing with rumors about the so-called iWatch on Friday, with a news report on Nikkei Asian Review saying Apple was planning to come out with a wearable device and a report on Re/Code saying Apple's tentative launch date for the device will be October. In addition, the Nikkei report, citing industry sources, also said that Apple is confident in the market for the device and is planning to manufacture 3–5 million units per month. The design is currently being finalized and it will likely have a curved LED display. Plus, it's expected to have a focus on health, and will be able to track things such as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose, and blood oxygen levels.
Over the years I have literally taught tens of thousands of people how to write code in Objective-C through training classes, conferences, online forums, and my book series. Based on the mountain of feedback I have received, I can tell you some key points that make Swift much easier to learn than Objective-C.
If Objective-C is the only language you have ever coded in, I have one thing to say about moving to Swift. Welcome to the 21st century.
Welcome to this week's review of some of the most captivating Apple news stories. It's been a full week with lots of exciting headlines, many of which focused on Apple's impressive Keynote at WWDC 2014. We'll also take a look at some interesting developments concerning new MFi (Made for iPhone) peripheral devices. Let's jump right in!
With the addition of Beats and Dr. Dre, Apple continues to push the idea that they know how to party. Music and musicians have always been a part of Apple, going back to Steve Jobs' love of the Beatles and Bob Dylan. It was a major dream come true for him to have them finally on iTunes, and featured in a number of Apple commercials. Jobs wasn't the only "Apple Steve" who was into music. Steve Wozniak started the unprofitable (by design) but impressive US Festival in 1982 and 1983, like Woodstock with (slightly) fewer drugs.
Apple's Messages app will be getting many great new features in iOS 8, and it's likely the app that will see the most significant changes. One of the most requested features for Messages had been the ability to respond to alerts of incoming text messages from the lock screen or from within other apps, rather than having to open the Messages app. iOS 8 will now offer that feature.
Apple, notorious for its secrecy, has loosened up its restrictive NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for the beta versions of iOS 8, OS X, and Xcode 6. In the latest version of the iOS Developer Program License Agreement, they have added the following statement in the Confidentiality section under the topic 10.1 Information Deemed Apple Confidential:
As an app developer, I was pleasantly surprised by the WWDC announcement of App Bundles. A developer will be able to group together a set of apps and offer them at a special combined price. Think back to the old pre-Office365 days when a consumer might buy Microsoft Office versus buying Word, Excel, and PowerPoint separately, and get a better price by doing so.
Even if you had the opportunity to watch the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in Monday, you may be interested in watching selected segments again. You can now do that, as Apple has posted the video both on the Apple website and on their official YouTube channel.
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