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If You Want Unlimited Power, Visit Kickstarter, Pronto!

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I don't like to recommend Kickstarter projects too much, because I've been burned and I hate to let others down. But once in a while a project comes along, like the Pebble watch I backed on Kickstarter, that makes it worth it. That was an example of an existing smartwatch firm, with a good design, and experience, and enough money already raised to make the product a reality (eventually.) There's another project, the Pronto power pack, from a group who has experience in the field, the backing of Shark Tank's Mark Cuban, and way more than the $50,000 they sought already raised. So the signs are good.



Tip of the Day: See Only the Widgets You Want in the Order You Choose

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Thanks to iOS 8, Apple lovers finally have access to widgets on their iPhones. But users will find some widgets more useful than others. Maximize their utility by deleting widgets you don't need to see in the Today view in Notifications and arranging the rest in the most convenient order.



A Windows Watch that Works with iOS

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While all the attention in the smartwatch arena was on Apple, Microsoft snuck in a wearable that looks more like a fitness band, but offers some smart tricks. Most notably, while the Microsoft Band works (best) with Windows Phone, it also works with Android and iOS. When you're in third place, you have to acknowledge the leaders, and Microsoft made sure their wearable worked with the top two platforms. However, Cortana, Microsoft's answer (and some might say a superior one) to Siri is the only voice command option. This could be a Trojan horse to get people to try the band and then migrate to a Windows Phone to take full advantage. But the Apple Watch should be out soon enough.



Piper Automates Your Home

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I've used the Lowe's Iris home automation system for quite a while and though the technology is decent, the interface is lacking. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to try the Piper from Icontrol for an extended amount of time, and I really like it. It addresses many of the deficiencies in the Iris system. For starters, it's compact and integrated whereas there were a lot of pieces in the Iris system. Instead of a separate motion detector, environmental (temperature, humidity, light, and sound) sensor, hub, and camera, the Piper has that all in one sleek unit.



Last Chance to Enter Our November 3 Biweekly Giveaway – Award Winner Edition!

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The Biweekly Giveaway – Award Winner Edition features prizes from companies that won iPhone Life awards at the recent Super Mobility Week powered by CTIA 2014 trade show! Be sure to enter the giveaway at iPhoneLife.com/giveaways to win prizes, which we'll announce November 3! We are raffling off tons of great accessories for FREE.

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



Tip of the Day: How to Hide Your Private Photos

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You know the feeling—you hand your phone over to a friend or family member, intending to show them a single picture, and suddenly you’re watching in horror as they begin swiping through your 50+ selfies or stumble across your hoard of risqué photos. Thankfully, iOS 8 has introduced an easy way for you to hide your shots from prying eyes with its new "hide" feature.



This Week's Gaming Distraction: Find the Line

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Sometimes you want a game that tests your reflexes and makes your fingers fly; other times, you want a lazier, more Zen-like experience. If swiping back and forth through your iOS home screens isn't quite stimulating enough, then you might want to give Chillingo's Find the Line (Free) a try. While you don't do much more than move your finger, you're rewarded for your efforts with an enjoyably unique puzzle style. It's got its problems, but it's definitely worth a look.



Does Your Smartwatch Need a Data Plan?

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When Apple preannounced their Apple Watch, some naysayers complained that the watch doesn't work as a standalone device. It requires an iPhone to be fully functional. But those critics should be careful what they wish for. There are competing smartwatches that can accept a SIM card and access the Internet directly via a cellular carrier, but those wearables may require a data contract, and that can cost as much as a phone or tablet would cost.



Review: New Case Designs Still Arriving for iPad Air and Mini

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With the advent of the iPad Air 2, this will probably be my last review of iPad Air cases, although I remain surprised at the number of variations available and how many suppliers continue to ship new products late in the game (though with the Air remaining in the line-up, they can still find revenue for cases despite a smaller market for the original Air.)



Tip of the Day: Get Notified When the Email Reply You're Waiting for Arrives

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Stop checking your inbox every five minutes for that reply to the email you sent. Enable reply notifications instead so you receive an alert whenever a reply in an important email thread arrives.



Game Centered Special Edition: 5 Ghoulishly Gruesome Games for Halloween

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. This week we have a special Halloween-themed installment featuring some of the best horrifying and fear-inducing games the App Store has to offer.



Last Chance to Enter Our New Year's Challenge!

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Plan ahead for the new year and win a $50 iTunes Gift Card with iPhone Life's iTunes Gift Card Challenge! It's your last chance to enter before Nov. 3!



Apple Pay Blocked by Bad Contracts?

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Recently, I wrote about how some retailers like CVS and Rite-Aid are blocking Apple Pay, even though they already had the equipment in place to accept it. They are favoring their own digital payment system, CurrentC, developed by a consortium of retailers. Even though CurrentC is in beta and uses inferior technology (QR Codes vs NFC) and requires linking to your bank account or a gift card (causing customers to forgo credit card protection and benefits like points), these retailers are sticking to their guns. And CurrentC is getting hammered in App Store reviews.  And it's already been hacked, leaving many users worried.



Tip of the Day: Mute Group Messages Without Leaving the Conversation

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You don't have to leave a group message just because you want your iPhone to stop buzzing with new message notifications. Instead you can turn on Do Not Disturb for that message thread and read all the messages about planning your brother-in-law's birthday party later.



Flashcard Languages - Brush Up Your Language Skills Anywhere!

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I have crammed for many a test using flashcards, and can attest to the timeless effectiveness of using them as a study aid. I have attempted to learn Spanish since high school, which has so far proved largely ineffective. Flashcard Languages ($1.99) cuts out the fancy app embellishments and focuses on the key words and phrases you need to make real progress in expanding your vocabulary.



Apple TV Could Learn from Apple Pay

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Apple CEO Tim Cook recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal at their WSJD Live event and discussed the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, with a brief mention of Apple TV. He approved of HBO's plans to unbundle HBO GO from a cable subscription, allowing new customers to get HBO without requiring cable, similar to Netflix.



Swift Programming 101: Mastering Protocols and Delegates (Part 1)

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Protocols are a powerful, advanced tool that help make your apps easier to design and extend. They define standard behavior in classes that are not necessarily related. Protocols used together with delegates allow you to create classes with a well-balanced load of responsibilities.



Tip of the Day: Find Your Lost iPhone, Even if the Battery Is Dead

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Using Find My iPhone can significantly increase the odds that your lost iPhone will be returned to you. But it won't work if the battery is dead. With iOS 8, you now have the ability to have your missing iPhone send its location to Apple just before the battery dies. This is probably most useful when looking for a lost iPhone. A stolen phone is more likely to be moved after the battery dies.



The Customer Is Always Right, Unless You Want to Use Apple Pay at CVS or Rite-Aid

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In a remarkable display of tone-deafness, a pair of pharmacies are not only choosing not to accept Apple Pay, but they are disabling their existing NFC (Near Field Communication) registers specifically to stop Apple Pay from working. CVS and Rite-Aid already had NFC terminals that accepted Google Wallet, and could also accept Apple Pay, but they have turned them off.



Apple Giveth and AT&T Taketh Away

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The good news that was buried in the iPad Air 2 (and iPad mini 3) announcement was that the cellular models would ship with a carrier-independent SIM card. This meant that users could decide which carrier to activate without being locked in. Unfortunately, the reality isn't quite as straightforward. As we wrote earlier, Verizon still requires their own SIM. But now we're learning that AT&T will "lock" the Apple SIM to AT&T's network the first time you activate it.



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