With iOS 8, we finally got the ability to customize the interface by adding widgets to Notification Center. Now when you swipe down from the top of the screen to see the Today view in Notification Center, you have the opportunity to see many new items in addition to the standard ones that had been available in the past. New widgets you can add include sports scores, news, travel guides, calculator, dictionary and thesaurus, package tracking, task management, photos, and much more.
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 December 1! We are raffling off tons of great accessories for FREE.
As new iOS apps flood the App Store every day — recently topping 1,200,000 — 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, AppieDay, AppShopper, and more.
Hurry! Get 'em while they’re hot!
Like Walmart, Best Buy is already beginning to offer Black Friday deals, notably $80-$85 off the WiFi iPad Air for the 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB models. That means you're paying $320 for the 16 GB iPad Air, which isn't quite as good as Walmart's offer of a $100 gift card with the purchase of the $397 16 GB iPad Air.
Many people are waiting until the great deals available on Black Friday to make their purchase of an Apple product. And if Walmart's deals on the iPhone and iPad interest you, you won't have long to wait. According to AppleInsider, Walmart is kicking of their Black Friday deals on Friday, November 21. As I noted in an earlier post, those deals include a 16 GB iPhone 6 for $179 plus a $75 gift card, meaning that your final price is effectively $104 (with a two-year contract). They'll also have the new 16 GB iPad Air 2 for $489 with a $100 gift card. You'll be able to get an iPhone 5s for $79, with a $75 gift card. Also, if you're an AT&T Next or Verizon Edge customer, you can get the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s for $0 down.
What a difference a word makes. The European Union objected to Apple's use of the word "Free" for apps that have In-App Purchases and ordered them to change it. Yesterday, they did. But Apple changed the "Free" button to "Get" for all no charge apps, even those that don't have In-App Purchases. I would have preferred that they left such apps as "Free," but at least they have text, in gray, below apps that say "In-App Purchases" if applicable. The headlines still read "Top Free Apps" so they haven't eliminated the word free entirely. The change in verbiage may not do much to stop users from downloading such apps, and eventually making purchases. After all, the top grossing apps tend to be "Freemium" apps with In-App Purchases.
The first Steve Jobs movie, released shortly after his passing, didn't pass muster with a lot of Apple followers, including Steve Wozniak. Admittedly, it wasn't based on the official biography by Walter Isaacson, and the making of it seemed rushed. It also didn't cover modern day Apple, just ending upon Steve's triumphant return to the company he founded, after being kicked out, much like Moses in the wilderness. The "official" movie, based on the "official" book was expected to get the full Hollywood treatment. Christian Bale, fresh off success as Batman and coming soon as Moses, appropriately, was slated to play Jobs. He has the build, face, and occasional beard, not to mention temper, to pull it off. Seth Rogan would take on the role of Wozniak. I loved that the guy who played Batman was going to team up with the guy who played the Green Hornet, since those superheroes teamed up occasionally.
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.