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.
There are several trends in the consumer electronics industry. Smart home accessories are a big thing now. Bluetooth speakers are big. And convergence is big. So it was nice to see the convergence of both a Bluetooth speaker and an app-enabled lighting unit, all in one cool looking gadget from Yantouch.
I recently had the opportunity to try the Pencil stylus from FiftyyThree along with Paper by FiftyThree (free). Just as Apple is able to provide a seamless integration of hardware and software, FiftyThree has done the same with their elegant stylus and equally elegant sketching app.
Siri can be quite useful, but if you really want a "Jarvis" kind of experience, like Tony Stark in Iron Man, you need to be able to interact with Siri without touching a button. Fortunately, iOS 8 makes this possible.
The iPhone 5s gave us Slo Mo video capture, where images are recorded at 120 FPS (Frames Per Second) and then played back at 30 FPS. But now the iPhone 6 offers Super Slo Mo, which captures 240 FPS. This will allow for some incredible action videos. I played with this new feature at my daughter's softball game and was able to analyze her swing and running essentially in real time. This could be a great boon to coaches and athletes, not to mention a lot of fun! Here's how to use it:
It was a given that I'd buy a new iPhone. As an app developer, I have to test my apps on the latest gear, and writing for iPhone Life magazine means I need to be able to test and report on the latest cases, accessories, etc. But, like most of us, I had to preorder an iPhone that I couldn't physically try out beforehand. I knew the iPhone 6 Plus would be too big, and I already have an iPad. So I preordered an iPhone 6 on September 12, which wasn't a breeze, but at least one would be waiting for me.
Apple is great about making the latest operating system run on older equipment. But just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you should! There are reports from iPhone 4S owners that suggest they might have been better off without upgrading.
As an App Developer, every new release of iOS means a scramble to make sure my apps are compatible, and usually they are. But once in a while, Apple changes things just enough that old apps need to be tweaked to work with the new operating system. Making a living on the App Store, while difficult, is possible, but you have to keep your apps updated and add new features as Apple adds capabilities. The sad fact is, not every developer does that. Indeed some developers will be probably have apps in the App Store that simply won’t work on iOS 8, and never will. The developers may have shut their doors, and there may be no plans to fix incompatibilities.
I have to applaud Sprint for trying to deliver a multipurpose gadget that offers quite a lot in a compact 4.7" x 4.7" x 1.1" package. The Sprint LivePro is first and foremost a mini projector, useful for delivering presentations on the fly. Of course, since it comes from Sprint, you might expect it to offer something related to Internet connectivity, and indeed it does. The LivePro also acts as a password-protected Wi-Fi 3G and 4G LTE HotSpot, letting you go online with a non-cellular iPad for example. It supports up to eight Wi-Fi connected devices simultaneously.
Apple had so much to talk about on Tuesday that some new products didn't get mentioned. Apple first introduced bumpers with the iPhone 4, in part to help with the AntennaGate problem. Later, the iPhone 5c got a bunch of brightly colored cases. Now, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus customers can choose official silicone or leather cases from Apple. The cases also come in assorted colors, but they are more muted choices. There's a (PRODUCT)RED option with proceeds going to fight Aids in Africa. Silicone cases cost $35 for the iPhone 6 and $39 for the iPhone 6 Plus. For leather, expect to spend $45 or $49, respectively.