Apple's Best of 2014 Awards have been posted. This annual event helps guide you to the best apps, podcasts, ebooks, music, movies, TV shows, and more. You can view the lists by using the iTunes software on your computer or by using the App Store, iTunes Store, and Podcasts apps on your device. Apple has selected Elevate - Brain Training (free) as app of the year, and Hyperlapse from Instagram (free) as runner-up. Elevate uses mini-games to help you improve your memory, focus, and other cognitive skills. Hyperlapse is a tool for creating time-lapse videos. Game of the year is Threes ($2.99), a number puzzler. Runner up is Leo's Fortune ($4.99), a platform adventure game. In addition to these winners, Apple also gives a list of the 25 best apps and 25 best games of 2014. The listing of apps includes a number of long-time favorites, such as Star Walk ($2.99) and Camera+ ($2.99), but there are also many other titles that are new to me. Definitely worth checking out.
Did you miss out on a great iPad deal during the Cyber Monday madness? Have no fear, Best Buy is here, and the savings are from $50 to $100 on the new iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2. The more expensive the device, the better the savings, so Apple's newest, most powerful tablets cost about as much as last year's models. For example, a 128 GB iPad mini 3 costs about $500, which is the same as a 128 GB iPad mini 2. Going big is a no-brainer.
In theory, it's a great idea: having patients use their iPhone or Apple Watch to track their health data and make it available to their physicians, who are then in a better position to treat them. And now it's clear that major medical providers are seeing the utility of this and are jumping on board. According to GovernmentHealthIT, Duke Medicine and Ochsner Health System are integrating their electronic health records system with HealthKit. They will be among the presenters at the mHealth Summit that's taking place this week in Washington, DC. Mobile health is becoming a hot topic, and doctors are finding that mobile devices can be a real boon.
AppleInsider reported on a new patent picked up by Apple that might save your iPhone from a cracked screen. If you drop your phone, a motor and sensors determine the point of impact and shift the positioning of the device in midair to save sensitive areas, like the screen and camera.
The following dozen games are either ports of popular console titles, or iOS games that shine in their own right as being console quality. To be included on this list, a game must either be a new release as of this year, or it must have been updated recently to support iOS 8 and Apple's advanced new programming interface known as Metal. With the introduction of iOS 8 and Metal, alongside the powerful A8 and A8X processors that are inside the latest iDevices, Apple has leveled the virtual playing field. It would be ignoring the facts for a core console gamer to say that iOS can't support video games that are on par with console or PC titles, especially if you indulge in iOS' streaming capabilities that allow us to play these great games on a large screened TV. With the graphic capabilities of iOS 8 and the exciting titles currently available for the platform, it's easy to see how Apple's iOS is leading the way in a mobile eSport industry that is on track to bring in a revenue of over 24 billion dollars this year, and set to overtake PC and console gaming's revenue in 2015. As the holidays are upon us again, don't forget that you can gift any of these apps to your favorite gamer via the App Store.
Sony made Walkmans for years. I owned several, and recently impressed my daughter when I dug out one of my trusty Walkmans after watching Guardians of the Galaxy, which featured one prominently. Then Apple introduced the iPod, and soon, the Walkman became irrelevant. Likewise, Sony, along with Ericsson, made cell phones, but Apple introduced the iPhone and Sony is losing money on their smartphones. Sony makes videogame consoles and handhelds like the PSP, which are threatened by mobile gaming on Apple and Android gadgets. And there's always the ongoing rumor of an Apple TV which could threaten Sony's bread and butter. Sony also made and still makes smartwatches, but with the Apple Watch on the horizon, that's another market that could slip out from under them.
Apple has always been a strong player in education. They believed that if a student's first computer is an Apple, then that could influence their future purchases. It certainly did with me, as I first used an Apple ][ Bell & Howell (the black one) in high school, and while I purchased an Osborne 1, a Radio Shack Color Computer, a Sinclair ZX-80, and an IBM PC, I always had a special place in my heart for Apple. So when it was time to go to college, I picked a school (Carnegie Mellon University) that had a deal on Macs, and bought one the day I arrived on campus. I even applied for (and got) a job at the school's computer store, and became Apple's Campus Representative. I was at CMU when Steve Jobs came there to acquire the Mach Kernel for his NeXT Computer company, and I got to see him speak. So that first Apple computer set my career in motion.
Many rumors have now suggested Apple will be coming out with a larger iPad next year, with the most recent courtesy of the Japanese magazine Mac Fan, as reported by the website Macokatara. The magazine's January issue, which came out November 28, has published a schematic of a 12.2-inch iPad that it calls the "iPad Air Plus." The report says that it will ship sometime between April and June of next year. It will be powered by a new A9 processor and will have four speakers, one on each edge of the casing. The placing of the speakers will allow for stereo sound even if the iPad is rotated. The size is expected to be 305.31 x 220.8 x 7 mm.
A new survey by UBS reported by Business Insider found that 10 percent of the 4,000 consumers they surveyed expected to buy a smart watch next year. Extrapolating that figure of 10 percent to the number of iPhone users, UBS estimated that Apple will sell 24 million Apple Watches by the end of their fiscal year on September 30. Based on an average price of around $425, that would generate over $10 billion in revenue and would likely add over $3 billion in profit for the company's fiscal year.
Black Friday is behind us, and thoughts turn to what's next to come out of Cupertino (and China) from Apple. Obviously, the Apple Watch is expected in early spring, but rumors are already swirling regarding the next iPad. A larger screen version has been discussed for some time, but it wasn't ready for this season. Sources in Japan, as reported by Apple Insider, have given us a peek at what to expect from such a device. They are calling it the iPad Air Plus, but I think that's too long a phrase and iPad Pro is a more likely moniker.