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From iPad at Check-in to Free Wi-Fi, This Hotel Gets Tech Right

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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 5.0 for iPhone Released, with New Interface and Speed That's 5 Times Faster

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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:



Swift 101 - New, Powerful Enumerations

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In this post, I'm going to demonstrate some of the powerful new features of enumerations in Swift.

Declaring Swift Enumerations

Just about every programming language has the concept of enumerations. An enumeration allows you to group a set of related constants together. It contains a complete list of all the possible values for a given type. 



Report: Production of Next-Generation iPad Air Set to Begin, with 8-Megapixel Camera, A8 Chip

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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.



Tip of the Day: How to Customize the Background on Your Home and Lock Screens

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Are you one of those people who takes so many photos with your iPhone camera that you're starting to feel like your iPhone is really a camera with a phone, rather than a phone with a camera? Why not enjoy your favorite photos by setting them as the background images on your Home and Lock Screens? Or if you are one of those people who actually forgets that their phone even has a camera, why not play around with some of Apple's stock background images?



Apple News: iOS 8 on the Big Screen... and Small Screen?

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Apple's WWDC 2014 brought a new version of iOS 8 but no new hardware. However, developers are talking about resizeable iPhone screens in the simulator. But that could refer to a "split-screen" feature, as seen on some Microsoft Windows 8 and Android devices. This feature would make it easier to copy and paste from one app to another, or just to view multiple apps simultaneously. Still, all signs point to larger screens (4.7-inch and even 5.5-inch) in the works, if only to keep up with the Android "phablet" trend.



E3 for iOS Gamers: Why it Matters, and Why it Doesn't

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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.



Analyst Sees Apple Selling 21M iWatches in First Year

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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.



iOS 8: What We Got. And What We Didn’t

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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.



Apple News: iPhone 6 Case Photos Leaked

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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.



4 Apps for Enjoying All of the 2014 World Cup

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This Thursday, fans of "The Greatest Game" will jump for joy as the 2014 World Cup begins play in Brazil. And you can be sure that technology will play a major part in bringing all of the action and commentary to viewers who can't get to their televisions or local bars easily. Smartphones will factor in heavily and the governing body of FIFA has already announced that for every game, the "Man of the Match" will be decided by Twitter users. Facebook will also have a number of features solely dedicated to the World Cup. For iPhone and iPad users, there's already numerous apps to keep track of all the matches and associated media. Here's four of the best on tap.



Last Chance to Enter our June 16th Giveaway!

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Don't forget to enter this weekend's Giveaway Contest! 

Here's how it works: Every other weekend we raffle off tons of great apps and accessories for FREE then announce the winners through iphonelife.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. To enter, go to iPhoneLife.com/giveaways. If you win an app, we will email you the promo code. If you win an accessory, we will ask you for your mailing address.

This weeks featured items are:



iOS 8 Will Make it Harder For Marketers to Track Your iPhone

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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.



Tip of the Day: Flick Away Unwanted Notifications

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This was billed at WWDC as a part of a new suite of features for iOS 8, but in fact you can already flick away notifications in iOS 7 that are intruding on your activities.



Swift 101 - Classes, Variables, Properties & Methods

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As promised, here is my first installment on learning to program in the new Swift language!

Defining Classes in Swift

The following code shows an example of a Swift class definition:

To declare a class in Swift, you use the class keyword followed by the name of the class. If it has a superclass, you add a colon and the name of the superclass. The beginning and end of the class are indicated by the opening and closing curly braces.



Notification Center in iOS 8 Will Be Customizable, Including Widgets

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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. 



It's Time for Writers to Embrace Creating With the iPhone

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As an aspiring novelist, I'm always curious to see what tools other writers are using to work on their manuscripts. In his introduction to On Writing Well, William Zinsser partly lamented the rise of technology, because it made it far too easy for bad writers to publish their work.  On the other hand, he liked that technology also made it easier for good writers to publish their work.



Big Changes for Photo Storage and Editing in iOS 8

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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.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 6: Finishing the Prototype

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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 6 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, you were introduced to several user-interface controls including the text field, text view, image view, and rounded rectangle button. We finished the main iAppsReview scene and added a new App Category scene.



Tip of the Day: How to Set Special Ringtones for Individual Contacts

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If you want to know which friend or family member is calling you without having to look at your iPhone screen, you can assign them each their own ringtone.



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