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:
As new iOS apps flood the App Store every day—recently topping 1,000,000—we know it’s tough to tell which ones are worth their salt. But thanks to our Weekly Scoop, you can have the best for free! Here you’ll find a weekly roundup of the coolest apps free or at a discount for a limited-time only. Each week features the best and brightest from websites like Free App Report, AppsGoneFree, appsfire, and more.
Hurry! Get 'em while they’re hot!
The Battstation Optimus by ibattz ($129.95) doesn't just have a long name—it has a long battery life. Eight iPhone charges, to be exact. If you have an iPad, you can expect two full charges using the Battstation Optimus. I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed.
You can easily mark, move, or delete an email in your iPhone's Mail app from within the body of an email using the menu at the bottom of your screen. You can also easily manage individual emails from within your inbox by swiping to the left over the email. But this is tedious and unnecessary if you have a large number of emails to deal with.
With the free availability of Apple's iWork suite, and its robust collaboration tools, you may not need to use Google's suite. But if you're a user of Google Docs, you'll be happy to know that on Wednesday Google released Google Docs (free) for word processing and Google Sheets (free) for doing spreadsheets. Plus, they'll soon be releasing a free Google Slides app for creating presentations. Google Docs and Google Sheets let you create new documents and edit existing documents. They also let you work offline. Whether you're working online or offline, all your changes are immediately saved. In addition to collaboration and sharing features, you can also read and respond to comments from your collaborators. Google Sheets lets you format cells, enter/sort data, perform various sheet operations, and more.
Paying your iPhone carrier bill every month can add up quickly! Here at iPhone Life magazine we have decided to eliminate that frustration for two of our lucky readers. We will be giving away up to $324.42 to each winner to cover their iPhone bills for three months.
Here's how the giveaway works: enter your email at the GIVEAWAY PAGE. Earn one additional entry each time you share the giveaway with a friend via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Get 10 more entries every time someone you shared with signs up. There is no limit to the number of additional entries you can get by sharing the giveaway; so if you go all out, your chances of winning will shoot off the charts!
Is Apple competing with itself?
They have done it before, but this time they have really gotten my attention.
TUAW just posted an article doing a side by side comparison of the just released 11" MacBook Air and a top of the line iPad. The MacBook Air is cheaper.
Apple released iOS 7.1.1 last week, and you'd be well advised to download it to your devices. You can do so over the air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can connect your device to your computer and do the update via the iTunes software. The update fixes important security issues as well as bugs. Most importantly for iPhone 5s owners, it reportedly helps to make Touch ID faster and more accurate. According to a detailed explanation on Cult of Mac, accuracy would decay over time. Quoting a Reddit user, the post explains how the update improves Touch ID: "With iOS 7.1.1 Apple now takes multiple scans of each position you place finger at setup instead of a single one and uses algorithms to predict potential errors that could arise in the future." In the past, if you didn't get a good scan during setup, it would later cause problems. The increased accuracy of the update results in a faster response because the phone needs to make fewer calculations while unlocking the phone.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it works by capturing three different exposures of the same image and then combining them into a single image. This can be really helpful when your subject includes a large range of lights and darks and you want the details in the darker parts of the photo to be visible without overexposing the lighter sections.
Last week I posted up a review on the Blumoo bluetooth entertainment system controller, a CES gadget for which I was eagerly awaiting release. This week, yet another cool accessory product seen at CES is now on Kickstarter (with an improved design, IMO.)
It's hard to beat free, and with FreedomPop, you get it all for free: 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages, and 500MB of data per month. If you want more, you can sign up for an inexpensive plan starting at $5 per month.
Like many iOS device owners, I am also a MacBook owner. But at this point I own more chargers than MacBooks, because they are prone to getting damaged due to the unique way Apple connects the thin wire to the charging brick. The folks at JuiceBoxx have decided to do something about it and via Kickstarter are offering a protective wrap that eliminates the stress that causes the cable to fray.
If you haven't already, you should take a moment to introduce Siri to your family. Once you have done so, you can quickly ask Siri to message or call your wife or your brother without having to say their full name. If your spouse's full name is a multi-syllabic mouthful like my husband's, this can be pretty handy.
But first you're going to have to introduce yourself to Siri.
Every time Apple ships a new phone or releases a new version of iOS the first thing most pundits check is battery life. And the news usually isn’t good, meaning that it’s about the same as it was in the previous version, or worse. During international travel, especially when one is on his own, a dead phone can be a very disconcerting thing. Apple’s battery challenges have created an entire market for external batteries to keep their kit going. I’ll comment on external batteries in a moment, but first...
For an interesting take on how two massively successful corporations operate, just take a look at Microsoft and Amazon. Both companies offer apps that rely upon users buying a subscription. When Microsoft released their Office suite for the iPad, they made it free, but users needed to buy an Office 365 subscription to access premium features. Amazon just bought the comic book reading app Comixology which also lets users buy and subscribe to new comic releases using the app. This is where the similarities end.
The rumblings began 10 days ago when Nike, as reported by CNET, laid off 70–80 percent of the employees working on their Nike FuelBand, one of the more popular fitness trackers. Plus, they acknowledged they would be stopping development of the hardware side of fitness tracking, though indicated they planned to continue selling the second-generation FuelBand SE. That move raised lots of eyebrows, and some even speculated that Apple's rumored iWatch was a factor. Then, last week GeekTime reported that Apple and Nike are gearing up for an announcement this fall of a "smart band." The website claims to have received this information from two sources in Cupertino, where Apple is located. According to the report, "Apple is looking to launch a smart band toward the end of this year whose collection of sensors will be able to be used not only to monitor the activity of the wearer, but also to operate other devices as a gestural controller."
If only Touch ID would work! Kamira/Shutterstock
Touch ID is so very convenient, allowing you to keep your phone secure while eliminating the need to enter your passcode every time you unlock your iPhone. And because you don't need to enter your passcode every time, you can use a longer, more secure passcode without any extra hassle, thus increasing your iPhone's security as well.
Touch ID is so convenient. Except when it isn't.
Because there are always those times when it just won't read your fingerprint, no matter what position your finger is in; and after multiple failed tries you are forced to enter a passcode to unlock the phone. If you have an extra-secure passcode, the inconvenience is multiplied.
At least, this was my experience until our CEO David Averbach showed me this cool trick that resulted in Touch ID working for me every time:
Last week Apple posted a new ad on their YouTube channel showing the amazing range of things an iPhone 5s can be used for, from making music and videos to launching model rockets and controlling stage lighting. The ad is reminiscent of earlier iPad commercials. The background music is "Gigantic" by the Pixies. The tagline of the ad is "You're more powerful than you think." I always enjoy watching their ads.
On my recent trips to London and Washington D.C., I had the opportunity to review several pieces of Briggs and Riley luggage. I found them all superbly crafted and well-suited for the life of the commuter. The lifetime warranty on all bags includes repair coverage even for damage caused by an airline (but it does not include cosmetic damage). Each bag includes a unique serial number so it can be registered, eliminating the need to find original proof of purchase should the bag ever need repair.