Recently, AT&T created headlines, raised suspicion, and set tongues wagging with its announcement that they are starting a new Sponsored Data program. This new plan will allow eligible 4G customers to access mobile content and apps without impacting their monthly wireless data plan. In simpler terms this would be like a toll-free service for wireless data where websites that sign up as sponsors will be free for AT&T wireless customers. As a result, no data will be deducted from a surfer’s monthly allotment of data. Data charges will be borne by the sponsoring company.
In Seattle, the Seahawks divisional playoff game was a big deal. So was the storm that arrived hours before the game. At 4:30 a.m. we lost power. The game started at 1:30 p.m. As the time drew near, it was clear that the power wasn’t going to return in time. What to do?
Let's face it, these days, you can't go anywhere without at least one smartphone being present. Especially if you're enjoying a night out on the town. It's getting so that your favorite happy hour might just feature one or two sad faces, upset that they can't get Wi-Fi access.
There were too many cool audio whatevers at CES to name in a single post, but will give it a feeble shot. I admit I did not get to even a smidgin of the great tech demonstrations out there at the 2014 CES in Las Vegas. The show is just too massive. We walked for miles and miles to bring you at least a glimpse of some great stuff, but alas there was much we probably missed. Here is a round-up of some new audio products worthy of note from iHome, Zagg, Velodyne, Pioneer, Nyne, and more, all coming in 2014!
There was no shortage of portable iPhone chargers at CES. It seems everyone has something to offer these days, but there were definitely some trends to be noticed. Shake to start options, built-in Lightning cables, color options, and rugged battery packs round out this list of CES 2014 portable charger trends.
Google yesterday announced a new version of their free Chrome web browser that has some great features. Plus, they launched a new app that lets you view movies and TV shows that you've purchased in the Google Play store. An important new feature of Chrome is an option for compressing data, meaning that you use up to 50 percent less of your data allotment when browsing the web. If you turn on this feature, the app uses Google's servers to compress the web pages that you're accessing before they appear on your iPhone or iPad. This new feature also enables Safe Browsing, which protects you from malicious web pages so you don't inadvertently download spyware or viruses. When you open the Chrome browser, it automatically explains this new option and presents you with a screen to enable it. You can subsequently toggle it on and off in the settings panel for Chrome. Tap the settings icon at the top right in Chrome, then select Bandwidth, and then Reduce Data Usage. You'll see a screen that lets you turn the feature on and off and that shows your data savings. (See screenshot.)
This is the official announcement of the iPhone life Biweekly Giveaway! Be sure to enter the giveaway at iphoneLife.com/giveaways to win prizes, which we'll announce January 27th! We are raffling off tons of great apps and accessories for FREE.
Here's how it works: Every other Friday we will announce the prizes we're giving away through iphonelife.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. To enter the giveaway, go to iphoneLife.com/giveaways. On the following Monday morning, we will randomly select the winners. If you win an app, we will email you the promo code to redeem the app for free. If you win an accessory, send us your address and we will mail it to you.
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!
Over the years I've had a strong love/hate relationship with the Infinity Blade series. It has been by turns, a highly rewarding, premium game experience and also a very disappointing one. My issues with the IB series go back to my experience with the very first Infinity Blade, which at one point refused to even open (using an iPhone 4 and iPad 2 at the time) for over six months (in fact, I was never able to resolve that issue before I moved on to IB II), to the present day’s scandal. The game series, for all of its amazing gameplay, strong storyline, and stellar graphics, seems to have been plagued with consistently recurring development problems, bugs, and glitches. But this latest fiasco takes the cake...
If you were hesitant to try the iGrill when it was first released at $80+, the new iGrill mini might make a believer out of you. At $39.99, the mini is an affordable tool to monitor the temperature of your expensive steaks and could pay for itself. In fact, the iGrill mini won an iPhone Life Best of Show award at CES. Unlike the big brother iGrill and the new $99.99 iGrill 2, both of which have four probes, the iGrill mini has one probe, which should suffice for most grillmasters. Unless you're cooking significantly different kinds of meat, like turkey and hamburgers and steaks, one probe might be enough.
I'm always up for learning how to get more out of my iPad Air and iPad mini, and so I read with interest a great post on BuzzFeed: "19 Mind-Blowing Tricks Every iPhone And iPad User Should Know." One that surprised me: if you turn on Airplane Mode, your iPhone will charge twice as fast. Another helpful tip is how to use Google Maps offline while you're traveling, in case you don't have an Internet connection. While you do have an Internet connection, load the map you want to save. Then type "ok maps" in the search bar to cache it for offline use. Another helpful tip is that you can take a photo or start video recording via your Apple or Apple-compatible earbuds. If you're in camera mode, press the volume + button to take a photo. In video mode, press the play/pause button. Another useful tip regarding earbuds: quickly press play/pause twice to go to the next track, and quickly press it three times to go to the previous track. (I had mixed success with this using my third-party earbuds, but it worked well enough to be useful.)
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest tech shows in the world, and it serves as a yearly marketplace for future and innovative technology. The iPhone Life team scoured the show floor—all two million square feet of it—for genius iOS-related gadgets, some of which are already out, and some that will be released later this year.
Do you have an idea for an app but lack the programming knowledge to begin building it? In this weekly blog series, I will take you, the non-programmer, step by step through the process of creating apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Join me each week on this adventure and you will experience how much fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is part 35 of the series. If you are just getting started, check out the beginning of the series here.
In my previous post, I discussed making your web-enabled apps scalable by outsourcing your web services to a third-party company, and I provided an overview of the services offered by Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. In this post, I'm going to dive into Google App Engine so you can get a detailed look at how to access web services hosted by Google from your iOS app. I'll provide an overview of Google App Engine's features, and show you how to set up and use Google's iOS sample app.
Not many people yet appreciate the iBeacon feature built into their devices. But you will. iBeacon continues to gain momentum, and more and more people will begin to use it this year. A post on AppleInsider yesterday reported the first use of iBeacon for mobile payments. This is likely the future: You've selected your items for purchase and as you walk out the store you simply tap your iPhone to confirm the purchase, and you're on your way. According to AppleInsider, iMobile3 has developed a system called PassMarket that will store your payment information for a particular retailer. The system interacts with your iPhone via iBeacon, so that when you approach checkout, iBeacon will sense your location and automatically give you the option of paying via your phone. According to the article, iMobile3 envisions that this will be readily adopted by retailers because the technology basically integrates systems they're already using. And for reasons explained in the article, this system is more secure than the system that was recently breached at Target.
CES 2014 saw a slew of protective cases for the new iPad Air in all shapes, styles, and colors. Finding a case that stood out from the crowd was no easy task. After looking closely at what seemed like hundreds of cases, the Pelican Pro Vault ($99.95) emerged as one of best cases for the iPad Air, and certainly the best case for the Air if you are looking for rugged, heavy-duty protection.
Once upon a time, if you wanted a rugged, waterproof tech accessory, it was going to look the part. Oftentimes that would include a bulky form factor and a militaristic look that, needless to say, wasn't everyone’s cup of tea. Nowadays we have far greater options when it comes to accessories that are both extremely rugged as well as stylish. The Fugoo waterproof speaker is one of those options.
I've attended dozens of CES (and COMDEX) tradeshows and every time I return, people ask me "what was the big thing this year?" Usually it's something straightforward like larger televisions, 3DTV, Blu-Ray, tablets, or smartphones. But this year, the big thing was "THINGS" itself! The phrase "The Internet of Things" refers to the increasing connectivity and intelligence of ordinary tools and appliances. Thanks to technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy, ubiquitous Wi-Fi, and IPv6, we have reached a tipping point where everyday devices like light bulbs, door locks, and thermostats can be connected to each other and to the Internet.
Thanks to everyone who entered iPhone Life's Biweekly Weekend Giveaway! We received entries from 641 people in 32 different countries this week! WOW! And are giving away 3 amazing accessories!
And the winners are... (drum roll please):
Currency Converter HD is available for free January 15 & 16. This popular app claims to be the most powerful currency converter in the App Store. It covers over 150 currencies and offers real-time currency conversion with up-to-the-minute exchange rates. The app has three different views: calculator, chart and list view. It also has an offline mode using saved rates, so that you can find the exchange rate when traveling abroad even if you don't have an Internet connection.
I recently realized why it took me over a year to start making real use of Siri. The reason is a bit embarrassing. It's just that Siri seemed so much like a person. I didn't consciously realize that, though. Let me give you a couple examples. I recall one time wanting to show a friend how Siri worked, so I held down the home button. Siri responded, "What can I help you with?" But my friend was slow to catch on that I was giving him an opportunity to interact with Siri. There sat my iPad on the table, with Siri waiting. And my friend wasn't saying anything. Subconsciously I was thinking, "Hurry up, ask her something. She's waiting."