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.
One of the most-requested features for the iPhone and iPad was the ability to add third-party keyboards, and Apple responded to that request in iOS 8. Popular keyboards such as Swype ($0.99) and SwiftKey (free) add many features, and can speed up text entry.
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.
As promised, Apple has delivered its first version of WatchKit, which allows you to create apps for the upcoming Apple Watch. In a surprising move, Apple released information regarding its new WatchKit in a web page open to the general public.
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.
In a recent post I noted that iOS 8.1.1 is now available for download. This morning I added a sentence to that post reminding people to BACK UP FIRST. That's because it's not uncommon for something to go wrong when one updates. For example, when I updated to iOS 8, I encountered an error, and the only way to get my iPad out of it was to restore to factory settings. Doing so means that everything is lost. Fortunately, I had backed up first, so it wasn't a problem.
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:
In iOS 7, deleting individual emails from your inbox in the Mail app was a multi-step process. You had to swipe left on the email preview and then choose Delete from the options that appeared. It's much faster in iOS 8.
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.
I had the opportunity to interview Sumit Mehra, CTO of Y Media Labs, whose clients include PayPal, Salesforce, and Sesame Street. Y Media Labs helps businesses with their mobile roadmap, artwork, programming, cloud services, testing, and maintainence. As a large digital agency, they keep a close eye on emerging technologies and markets. The Apple Watch is just such a device worth considering, so I asked him about it.
When Apple announced that their keyboards would now have a predictive text feature in iOS 8, the general reaction was, "About time, Apple!" But it turns out there are some iOS users who find the feature really annoying. Fortunately it's easy to turn predictive text off in the native iOS 8 keyboard:
Apple has released the iOS 8.1.1 update, which is now available for download. It fixes some minor bugs, but more important, it improves the performance of iOS 8 on older devices, such as the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s. Many users of older devices regretted upgrading to iOS 8, especially those with an iPhone 4S. Hopefully iOS 8.1.1 will take care of the performance problems people had been experiencing.
For the next few months we are running a special Award Winner Edition of our iPhone Life Biweekly Giveaway featuring prizes from companies that won iPhone Life awards at the recent Super Mobility Week powered by CTIA 2014 trade show!
I have a good job. I get to review apps and accessories, often before they hit the market. But today that good job is a great job, as I had the opportunity to interview Jon Taffer, host of two of my favorite shows, Spike TV's Bar Rescue and Hungry Investors. Unlike most "reality" TV shows, Taffer's programs are truly real (although condensed for practical purposes) examples of bars and restaurants that need help, and get it, from one of the industry's most renown experts. Jon walked me through how the unscripted shows are produced, without his meeting any of the players in advance. The one thing we don't see is his crew of more than fifty working in parallel to rebuild each bar from the inside out, in less than five days. But this interview wasn't just about his TV shows.
There's a line from The Social Network where Justin Timberlake's character says "a million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A BILLION dollars." Apple could say the same thing to the makers of Pebble, the watch I wear, and the first to raise $10 million on Kickstarter. According to analysts, Apple should sell 20 million Apple Watches and earn $10 billion from those sales. That doesn't even count the inevitable apps that will be formatted and sold for the small screen. If you do the math (as I did) this requires an average sale of about $500, which assumes customers may choose more expensive bands, extra chargers, and of course, the $5,000 gold model. Plus, I've heard other analysts predicting 30 million sold, so this could be a conservative estimate.
If you do a lot of texting, your Message app is probably clogged with old messages. Before iOS 8 you had to manually delete conversations or individual messages. Now you can set the app to automatically delete all messages older than 30 days or one year. The default setting lets you keep your messages forever, which could be handy if everything you write is a gem of unparalleled wisdom. Everyone else, read on:
I spend way too much money on electronics, which explains why I have achieved "Elite Plus" status at Best Buy. But today that's a good thing, as Elite customers get early access to Black Friday style deals, from the comfort of their own homes. The brand new iPad mini 3 can be picked up for $75 off, without waiting until Thanksgiving and worrying about stock and crowds. In addition to the deal on the iPad mini 2, a 40-inch TV can be purchased for $180
You know when you want to show people that cute picture someone texted to you that you didn't bother saving to Photos? You don't have to scroll through endless conversations in Messages until you find it.
Orbeus, the company behind various image and video indexing tools, has added a new photo gallery alternative to the iTunes store. Using image recognition capabilities, PhotoTime (Free) identifies who or what is in the photo and groups them by keywords.
More Black Friday deals are coming to light, most recently from Staples, as reported by iDownloadBlog. The deals include the 16 GB WiFi iPad Air for $319, 16 GB iPad mini 2 (retina display) for $239, and the 16 GB iPad 4 (the model prior to the iPad Air) for $279. These prices represent discounts in the range of $30–40. Staples is also offering the Apple TV for $79. And they're giving you 15 percent off on any iTunes gift card worth $50 or more. And finally, they're offering a 10 percent discount on all Beats headphones.