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Apple News: Amazon Fire Phone Brings the Heat for Apple

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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.]



Top 4 iOS Game Controllers Introduced at E3 2014

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Mobile games usually come in second behind console and PC titles at E3. Fortunately, iOS gamers weren't completely forgotten. And while the focus of this year's expo still didn't rely heavily on the iOS platform, there were a few gaming accessories on display that may be of interest to iOS gamers, including several MFi controllers. Companies like Mad Catz and Razer had styles that fit the iPhone, while others had controllers large enough for the iPad. Here's a look at a few of them:



What I played this week: Mostly Free Games

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This week, starting on Father's Day, I discovered a veritable trifecta of great and mostly free games. First is the momentous Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous ($2.99 now, but was free), which is so awesome, it should be an iTunes Gaming Essentials! Next up is Semi-Automatic (free), a kookie retro time-stress zapper. Tap, slap, and spin to stay ahead of a pixelly robot attack. Last but not least is Pure Pinball ($1.99), which brings realistic pinball action to your idevice. Read on for the low down.



Apple Releases Update to iOS 8 Beta

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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.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 9: Sending Messages

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Do you have an idea for an app but lack the programming knowledge to begin building it? In this weekly blog series, How To Unleash Your Inner App Developer, I will take you, the non-programmer, step by step through the process of creating apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Join me each week on this adventure, and you will experience how fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 9 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to iOS 7.1.)

In my previous post, I taught you how to write your very first line of code. In the process, I touched on the concept of passing messages in Objective-C. In this post, we're going to take a closer look at the important concept of passing messages, and we will also work on converting the prototype iAppsReview into a fully-functional app.



Tip of the Day: How to Quickly Invert Colors for iPhone Use in Low-Light Situations

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A few days ago I was on a late night stroll with my dog, when I received a text from my daughter that needed a reply. During the exchange that followed, I dictated my texts instead of attempting to type out a reply while walking or holding an energetic puppy still; but even so, I had to take a moment after sending each message to stop and let my eyes readjust to the darkness.

I could have gone in to my settings and selected Invert Colors, but I didn't feel like stopping and taking the time. "If only there were a way to quickly invert the colors of my screen," I thought as I squinted into the glare of my iPhone's screen.



Stressed Out? 5 Apps to Help You Relax

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In times of stress, you can turn to your iPhone.

Your body’s natural reaction to stress — known as the “fight or flight” response — can negatively affect your health, according to the American Psychological Association, and can make already existing health problems even worse. And while it’s normal to experience some stress throughout the day, even just a little bit can have an effect; for instance, you might get a stomach ache when you’re nervous for an exam at school.



Use Your iPhone to Build a Successful Business

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In this article you will learn how to connect to your purpose and manage your time, two critical critical components of building a successful business. The apps you need for the exercises in this article are Pic-Collage (free) and Producteev (free) (or a similar task management system.) 



Apple Updates App Store Sales Tracking Tools

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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.



WINNERS of the iPhone Life June 16th Biweekly Giveaway

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Thanks to everyone who entered theJune 16th iPhone Life Biweekly Giveaway! Every other week we give away three amazing prizes, so if you didn't win this time, make sure you enter the June 30th giveaway and tell your friends to enter too!

And the winners are... (drum roll please):



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 8: Code Writing First Steps

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Do you have an idea for an app but lack the programming knowledge to begin building it? In this weekly blog series, How To Unleash Your Inner App Developer, I will take you, the non-programmer, step by step through the process of creating apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Join me each week on this adventure, and you will experience how fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 8 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to iOS 7.1.)

In my previous post, I mentioned Objective-C, the language of iOS Apps, is an object-oriented programming language. This means when you write code, you are mostly interacting with objects—both visual and non-visual. Working with an object-oriented language is a great advantage for non-programmers who want to learn programming. In this post I'll talk about these advantages, and we'll even get you to write your first lines of code!



Tip of the Day: How to Create Custom Reminders in iOS Reminders

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When you set up reminders in the iOS Reminders app, you have six options for repeating:

  • Never (default)

  • Every Day

  • Every Week

  • Every two Weeks

  • Every Month

  • Every Year

But what if you need to repeat a reminder at a different interval? Maybe you want to be reminded every three weeks or every six months or weekdays only.



Analysts Predict iWatch to Outsell iPad in First Year

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Stock analysts that cover Apple predict that the rumored iWatchwhich is expected to be announced in Octoberwill 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.



Photos of iPhone 6 Mockups Posted; NY Times Says iWatch Slated for 4th Quarter

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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 Debut Overseas

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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.



Apple News: Cleaning up App Store Reviews

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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.



Recognized Gives Rewards for Users Who Share Employee Reviews

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Your waitress retained her radiant smile the whole 30 minutes you spent making up your mind, never showing any hints of impatience after you changed your order for the umpteenth time and was absolutely helpful with your two-year old in the high chair.



Mind-Mapping Roundup: 3 Apps to Map Your Thoughts

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I naturally mind map as a way to organize my thoughts; but over the years, I've become accustomed to just taking notes on my computer, which goes with me to every client meeting and planning session. I've recently been in pursuit of the perfect mind-mapping software. My search has been frustrated by unintuitive and unwieldy designs, or simple systems that just don't allow me to do all I would hope to do with the software.

As the owner of a busy PR agency, it's often very late at night or quite a few days after a meeting before I have a chance to sit down with my thoughts and get them organized. So I wondered if mobile mind mapping apps might be the better solution. In fact, it struck me that I should just mind map as I took my noteson the fly, in a system I could show my clients while we brainstorm, and easily send to them when we finish.



Sky Force is Back!

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Some retro (that funny word) games are just too awesome to stop getting updates and everyone knows that Sky Force is one of them! And now the inimitable top-down blasting game that seemed to go on for infinity is back in 2014, and looking just plain gorgeous (don't know how it plays yet, but some app reviews look positive)! 



Five Apps to Help Bored Travelers

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My family will soon be headed for vacation. We are flying to our destination with several connecting flights, so there will be plenty of sitting around in airports and on the planes.

I'm happy to be going on vacation, but I have to admit I absolutely hate to travel. I am not crazy about flying (which is unfortunate because I'm married to an airline pilot).

I get bored sitting for long periods of time and I'm not much of a people watcher.

My kids are now teenagers, so it's not necessary for me to entertain them anymore.

So what's a traveler, who dislikes traveling, to do?



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