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iPhone Life's 2014 Rugged Gear Gift Guide

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In this day and age it's become commonplace for us to do just about everything with our iDevices, which means that we need gear that can keep up with us on any outlandish escapades, as well as on our day to day grind. The items featured here represent some of the best in their respective categories; built tough and designed with integrity and durability to handle the  adventures that lie ahead. Many of the products featured here have impressive MIL-STD or IP ratings, which you can learn more about by clicking HERE.

Here at iPhone Life we love turning people on to great gear that fits their specific purpose and need and we're hoping that these reviews will make your holiday shopping that much easier. Whether as a present for yourself, or as gift idea for family or friends, this list of exceptional products will help you find the perfect accessories.



Dear Apple, Please Copy This Android Smart Lock Feature

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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.



Run a Bar or Restaurant? Jon Taffer to the Rescue with BarHQ!

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I have a good job. I get to review apps and accessories, often before they hit the market. But today that good job is a great job, as I had the opportunity to interview Jon Taffer, host of two of my favorite shows, Spike TV's Bar Rescue and Hungry Investors. Unlike most "reality" TV shows, Taffer's programs are truly real (although condensed for practical purposes) examples of bars and restaurants that need help, and get it, from one of the industry's most renown experts. Jon walked me through how the unscripted shows are produced, without his meeting any of the players in advance. The one thing we don't see is his crew of more than fifty working in parallel to rebuild each bar from the inside out, in less than five days. But this interview wasn't just about his TV shows.



iPhone 6/6 Plus Case of the Week: UAG's Folio

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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 large and larger models, with their increased real estate, slick, rounded edges, and extra weight. Rather than clump a bunch of individual cases together I'll be focusing on one great case each week over the course of the coming months. This week we'll be taking a look at the latest entry from Urban Armor Gear, which is a unique hybrid of rugged protection and fashion-forward style. Introducing UAG's all-purpose Folio case ($39.95) for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.



Walmart Black Friday Deals Include iPhone 6 for $104

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Black Friday deals are coming soon, and websites are beginning to post the details. AppleInsider has all the info on Walmart's deals, which include an iPhone 6 for $179 plus a $75 gift card, meaning that your final price is effectively $104. They also have iPad deals, such as the first-generation 16 GB iPad Air for $397 with a $100 gift card.



Keep Your iOS Devices Running the Same OS

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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.



Smartphones with Personality

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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.



New Tool from Apple Lets You Remove Your Phone Number from iMessages

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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.



Amazon Echo Wants to Be the Centerpiece of Your Smarthome

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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.



The Deals Begin: Sam's Club Reportedly to Sell iPhone 6 for $99

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According to AppleInsider, a leaked Sam's Club flyer shows that they'll be offering the iPhone 6 starting at $99 (with a 2-year contract) for one day only on November 15. Not only will it be a limited-time promotion, but also each location will be limited to selling 40–50 units. The sale pricing will only be available in-store. AppleInsider says that Sam's Club will also be offering $100 off the iPad Air (first generation) — both in-store and online.



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