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Astronest: A Universe of Possibilities Packed into Your iPhone

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Astronest (free) might be a familiar name to some of you. The original Astronest was a wildly popular browser-based MMORTS game, and many believe it represented the pinnacle of browser-based gaming. Reboots and sequels to Astronest failed to recapture the game in its former glory. So it wouldn’t be surprising if fans of the original view this new entry into the iTunes App Store with skepticism. It’s perfectly understandable. Thankfully, however, this time is different. Astronest on iOS is the game you knew and loved. If you’ve never played the original and you’re an RTS fanatic, you’re in for a treat.



Knomad Case Makes Me Sorry I didn't Keep My iPad Mini

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Buyers remorse. We've all been there. On Black Friday, I wanted an iPad mini with Retina display, but the deal on the iPad Air, with the same specs but a larger screen, made it the best buy (at BestBuy, naturally.) But I knew from my previous ownership of iPad minis and earlier iPads, that I was going to prefer the smaller form factor. Not only is the iPad mini $100 less (normally, except on that Black Friday!) but it's easier to transport. You can throw it in just about any bag or purse, even if it's in a case, whereas an iPad means I need a Man Purse, messenger bag, or backpack. I've dealt with my decision for almost a year, and I was okay with it. Until the Knomad mini arrived.



Linkedin Releases SlideShare for iOS 8

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In its mission to expand on an already substantial collection of mobile products, Linkedin launched a SlideShare app (Free) for iOS 8. The new app leans heavily on personalization and content that is relevant to you.

Personalization starts with a tailored feed. The feed algorithm picks up on your particular tastes, what your contacts like, and the popularity of presentations within your network.



Last Chance to Enter Our October 6 Biweekly 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.



Tip of the Day: How to Use iOS 8's Manual Exposure in Camera

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Automatic exposure (which determines how light or dark our images should be) is so convenient and accurate most of the time, but then there are those times moments when we end up with  overexposed or underexposed images that make us cringe. After all, our cameras are pretty advanced, but it's still impossible for them to recognize when we want our focal point darker (such when shooting silhouettes) or lighter. 



Hits and Misses in the iPhone Case Market

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I don't envy the life of a case manufacturer. On the plus side, when Apple redesigns their gear, millions of customers have to upgrade their cases. But when the old iPhone looks just like the new iPhone, such as the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5s, there isn't much need to get a new case. But now that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are out, with dramatically new form factors, new cases are a must.



Thinium Is Possibly the Slimmest Lightning Charger Available

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You can never have enough chargers or Lightning cables. Inevitably, when you need one, you can't find one. Thinium has released a remarkably compact charging unit for Lightning devices that collapses into the size of a couple of credit cards. Through Transformer-like technology, the unit expands to reveal two prongs to plug into a wall outlet, as well as a Lightning connector, and a stand which can support the weight of an iPhone.



Alto Delivers High Fashion for Your New iPhone 6

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Ah the dilemma of an early adopter... We get the latest gear, but when Apple introduces an entirely new form factor, as with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we lose out on some of our favorite cases. So I was very happy to see a new package from Alto Collective ($35-$45). They make beautiful etched-wood cases, by hand, in Canada. I've tried other wooden cases, but while they look and feel great, they don't have the protection and precision that Alto does. Alto combines a custom wood back with a rubberized, textured border. This provides grip and protection and it should last better than other wooden cases.



Tip of the Day: Use Reader Mode in Safari for Easier Reading

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Web pages are often cluttered with ads and menus, all of which can be distracting if you're just trying to focus on reading the text. Fortunately, Safari has a Reader Mode that removes all those distractions and presents the page's text and images in a simple and attractive fashion.



Teens Head to Apple Store and Bend the Display iPhone 6 Plus

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Yes, you read that headline right.

A pair of teenagers in England went to an Apple store and bent the display iPhone 6 Plus. Even with the force of teen hands, you can see the screen pop out of the front of the phone. 

The video has since been removed from the user's account, but since this is the internet, their attempt was recorded and put back on YouTube. Check it out below:



Using a Reliable iPhone Case Can Mean Cash Later

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I never, ever carry my iPhone without a protective case. While I would love to be one of those people (you know who you are!) who bares their beautiful gold iPhone for the world to see, I just can't do it. I'm clumsy and terrified that I'll drop it—even though I have a great insurance policy on it. 



iRig Mic HD Review

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Relying on the built-in microphone on your iPhone or iPad for recording audio performances is fine for quick stream of consciousness captures. But if you’re serious about audio fidelity and capturing high-quality recordings, you need a serious microphone for the job. Does IK Multimedia’s iRig Mic HD meet this demanding requirement? Read on to find out.



iPhone 6/6 Plus Case of the Week: Pelican ProGear Voyager

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It's that time of year again. Right after a new iPhone comes out there is the inevitable deluge of great cases to protect your new investment. This happens with every iPhone release, but perhaps never more markedly than with the introduction of the completely new form factors of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. If ever an iPhone needed a case, it is these larger models, with their increased real estate, slick, rounded edges, and extra weight. Rather than clump a bunch of individual cases together into one roundup I'll be focusing on one great iPhone 6/6 Plus case each week over the course of the coming months. This week's featured case is Pelican's ProGear Voyager.



Tip of the Day: How to Add a Third-Party Keyboard in iOS 8

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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.



Swift Programming 101: Demystifying Swift's Initializers (Part 2)

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In this second part of my two-part post on Demystifying Swift's Initializers, I explain the concepts of initializer chaining, two-phase initialization, and initializer inheritance using hands-on examples that walk you through some of these deeper concepts. You can read part 1 of this post at this link.

If you would like to follow along and perform the step-by-step instructions with this post (highly recommended) you can download the project we have completed so far at this link.



Tip of the Day: Keep Your iPad from Ringing Everytime You Get a Phone Call

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Apple's new iOS 8 is great, and one of those great new features is Continuity. With Continuity, users of multiple Apple products can take a phone call on one device and switch to another on the fly. I typically leave my iPhone docked at the entrance to my house and then I work upstairs on my MacBook. When the phone rings, I have to make a mad dash to answer it. Now I can take the call on my iPad. And soon, with Mac OS X Yosemite, I can answer the phone call on my MacBook!



Why Jabra's Revo Are My Pick for Best On-Ear Bluetooth Headphone

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Out of a crowded field, the Jabra Revo Bluetooth headphones ($199.99) get my vote as one of best pairs of Bluetooth headphones of this year. Specifically, within the on-ear category of headphones, the Revo's performance is unparalleled. They are masterfully designed and show a remarkable level of attention to all of the details that go into making an exceptional pair of 'phones; from their intuitive user interface to the extreme torture testing they go through before they are shipped. I realize Bluetooth headphones aren't everyone's cup of tea, but if you are looking for a top quality pair, the Revos are the best your money can buy.



Figure Out Tips and Splits Without an App with Tip 'n Split

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There are a lot of tip calculators and bill-splitting apps, but many restaurants frown upon patrons pulling out their smartphones. And now that iPhones are getting larger and larger, I long for the days of a truly pocketable phone. The folks behind Tip 'n Split have come up with a handy, dedicated device that makes dining out a little easier, especially for seniors. This rugged little unit includes a 2.5X magnifying glass, which makes reading menus and bills easier. There's even a flashlight button to light things up. Of course, the main point of Tip 'n Split is to make it easier to figure out the tip, and to split the bill among multiple diners.



The Best Rugged iPhone 6 Plus Case for Under $20.

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I only ended up with the Unicorn Beetle PRO ($19.99) by happenstance. I needed a rugged case for my iPhone 6 Plus as soon as possible, since I didn't want to use it without a case, but while most case makers had plenty of cases for the iPhone 6 ready to ship at launch, few were ready with cases for the 6 Plus, and even fewer had cases ready for the 6 Plus that were rugged options. With good reason I felt I needed a heavy duty case for this large and heavy iPhone 6 Plus, so I took to Amazon and before long these rugged cases from a manufacturer I hadn't heard of began coming up in the search results, and their rugged cases seemed, at first glance at least, to be almost on par with Griffin's Survivor All-Terrain ($59.99) or Otterbox's Defender ($69.90), two industry-leading, rugged case brands. So I took a chance and placed my order, figuring it was only $20 in the event that I hated it. I can now say that not only was I immediately impressed by the overall design and build of this sturdy case, I've been using it for almost two weeks now, and I've already drop-tested this case with hard falls from approximately three-feet high. It's safe to say that the way this case performs and feels in the hand is definitely reminiscent of the Otterbox Defender or the Survivor All-Terrain.



Tip of the Day: Answer Phone Calls On Your iPad

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Forget running downstairs to where you left your iPhone, take the call on your iPad or iPod instead (as long as you have later-model devices running iOS 8).



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