One of the great features of iOS 8 is the opportunity to use third-party keyboards instead of Apple's onscreen keyboard. Swype (free until 11/14/14) had long been extremely popular in the Android world, and many users rejoiced when it became available on the iPhone and iPad. It greatly speeds text entry. Instead of tapping individual characters, you simply make a continuous swipe around the keyboard. In addition, the more you use it, the more it becomes familiar with the words you use — and anticipates the words you're entering. Whether you swipe or type, your text entry will likely be faster.
The release of iOS 8 (and subsequent updates through iOS 8.1 so far) brought about the usual dilemma for owners of older iOS devices. Should they upgrade or stay at iOS 7 (and even iOS 6 in some cases) and only run iOS 8 on any newly acquired devices? Personally, I've chosen the latter, and running iOS 8 on my new iPhone 6, but running iOS 7 on my iPad Air. Today, that changed. It wasn't by choice, but rather necessity, as I had to do a Keynote presentation which had been created on my MacBook Pro running Mac OS Yosemite. That required upgrading the iPad Air to the latest version of Keynote for iOS, which also required iOS 8.
When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, with gold as one of the color choices, and the many colors of the iPhone 5c, many naysayers commented that when you resort to color choices to differentiate your product, you've lost. Still, demand for the gold model outstripped supply, and sales of the iPhone 5c, while not as popular as the iPhone 5s, would be the envy of most Android handset makers. So it's interesting to see what LG has announced to differentiate their latest Android phone.
If you find it more convenient to listen to some text on your iPhone or iPad rather than read it, you can easily enable that capability. You might, for example, want your device to read a web page or ebook or other document to you as you drive. While this feature has been available for some time, note that iOS 8 gives a convenient new option for invoking speech.
If you're so devoted to your iPhone that you know you'll never ever use a different platform, then you don't need to read this post. But if, someday, you were to forsake your iPhone and switch to Android, then Apple's new web tool will be of interest to you. It's intended to address a problem that arises when one makes the switch. What had been happening is that when people switch to another platform, when their contacts who still use iPhones send them a text message, it automatically gets sent as an iMessage. Because iMessages can only be read on iOS devices, a text message sent to the new Android user doesn't get through.
Microsoft is having a hard time getting mind share for their Surface tablet, which has really struggled in the marketplace. In order to change that, they did a deal with the NFL for all the teams to use Surface tablets as their playbook. (Something that some teams had already been doing on iPads.) Unfortunately, it backfired somewhat, when announcers kept referring to the tablets as iPads.
Last Wednesday, Google announced a new version of Google Maps (free) that gives it a new design and a more intuitive interface. Google refers to the new style as their "Material Design" with brighter colors, bolder textures, the use of surfaces and shadows to emulate the real world. Their announcement says that "layers and buttons come to life so you know just where to touch to get directions, recommendations, and imagery."
I first witnessed the MyScipt Calculator at the Mobile App Showdown a couple of years ago at CES. Iwas frankly blown away by the fluid math solving prowess of this app, and it was not surprise when it won the top honors that year. MyScript did not stop there. They kept right on creating innovative extensions of this technology, particularly the hand-writing recognition now baked into a number of MyScript apps. I do not exaggerate when I say that MyScript Smart Note (free), is an amazing note-taking application for iPad See it in action in the embedded video following the break.
You know when you're entering a long number in your iPhone's Calculator app and you mistype a digit or two? You don't actually have to hit clear and start over.
You can easily adjust the voice navigation volume in Maps up or down while using the navigation app by pressing the volume buttons on the side of your iPhone. But you probably don't want to discover you can't hear the voice navigation in Apple Maps and then have to mess with your phone while you're barrelling down the highway. A safer way to make sure the voice navigation is always at the right volume is to change Map's default volume.
Amazon may have stumbled with the Kindle Fire Phone, due to pricing missteps and other issues, but they're not done innovating and working on integrating their technology into our daily lives. Today, Amazon preannounced the Echo, an unassuming speaker that does a lot more than play music. The cylindrical device sits in your home and is always listening for verbal commands. Similar to Siri, you can ask Echo for weather reports, to play music, etc. The gadget has omni-directional speakers and microphones that can listen to commands even if they come from far away.
Whether you are stuck in traffic, anticipating a long wait in the dentist’s office, or simply bored while lining up to pay for your groceries, this new puzzle game can help you kill time.
When it comes to editing your images, the Photos app has always been a bit of a disappointment, even for the most basic of editing tasks. Thankfully, Apple has added a slew of new features to its Camera and Photos app, including an improved cropping tool.
I try not to generalize, but when folks besides Big Fish Games or G5 put out hidden object games they tend to be not much more in-depth than moving from scene to scene to find a list of objects. Lost Civilization ($4.99) fits right in with the best titles from the two aforementioned companies, with a strong storyline, interesting characters, and game play that goes far beyond simply uncovering a bunch of items in a few panoramic scenes. Phoenix Online Studios already made a strong stand in the iOS adventure game world with the Cognition series, and now they’ve shown that they know a good hidden object game when they see it as well.
Last spring Microsoft brought their Office suite to the iPad, but unless you paid for a subscription for a Microsoft home or office product, the apps could only read files, not edit them. That has now changed. This week Microsoft released a new version of their Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) that includes editing capabilities in the free versions. In addition, the suite is also now available on the iPhone. Plus, the apps now support Dropbox. This is a welcome change. However, if you want the full feature set, you'll still need an annual subscription.
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 17! We are raffling off tons of great accessories for FREE.
If you share an iDevice with others, you may wish to keep parts of your web browsing history private. But what if you forget to turn on Private Browsing? You could clear your entire browsing history, but nothing says "I'm hiding things from you" more effectively. Fortunately iOS 8 offers more options for clearing your history more selectively.
Unlike the usual rumor cycle for a forthcoming iPhone, in which the details are unknown, the Apple Watch rumor cycle is different, since we know many of the details and exactly how it will look. What's unknown is when it will arrive and how much the various models will cost. So let the Apple Watch rumor cycle begin, with blog posts on Tuesday repeating information from a French website about cost and arrival date. According to a post on AppleInsider, the website iGen (which had accurately reported the dimensions for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus before their release) has reported that the 18-karat gold Apple Watch will sell for between $4,000 and $5,000. The steel model will come in at $500, and the Sport model will be the one that will start at $349 — the price Apple gave during their announcement. In addition, the website reported that Apple is targeting February 14 for the release date.
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! This weeks prizes are worth $265.00 so you definitely don't want to miss out on a chance to win!
I get pitched a lot of Kickstarter projects for "the slimmest portable charger ever," but I'm hesitant to recommend Kickstarter projects that might never see the light of day. Fortunately, today at Stan Lee's Comikaze, I was able to try the Slimz by MobileJuice.com. This is a credit card size charger with a twist. Many such chargers offer a USB port and expect you to add a Lightning or microUSB cable. The Slimz includes a pull out microUSB cable and a tiny converter that turns the microUSB port into a Lightning port.