It's been several years since Apple updated the Apple TV, and we keep hearing rumors that a new box is imminent. The rumors have been wrong. Some people are getting impatient and are jailbreaking the second-generation Apple TV in order to add functionality they had hoped that Apple would make available. In fact, the second-generation Apple TV is so superior when jailbroken that it's selling for between $150–$200 on eBay — which is more than the $99 price of a new third-generation Apple TV (which can't be jailbroken).
A Chinese-language publication in Taiwan with sources in Apple's supply chain has reported that Apple will up the amount of RAM in the next iPhone to 2 GB. But even more important, it will be next-generation LPDDR4-based RAM. According to an article on Forbes, this type of RAM is twice as fast as the RAM in the current iPhone.
There's not much to go on, and not many blogs have picked this up. Yet I pass it along, given that I'd love to think that Apple may be offering a special event soon. According to Tgaap, Apple may be holding a special event on February 24. They aren't clear on the date, though, nor on what will be announced. But their "research" suggests that Tim Cook will revisit the Apple Watch and may introduce yet new features. Plus, at that time he would announce the availability dates and pricing for all the various models. According to Tgaap, Apple itself hasn't yet settled on a specific date when the Apple Watch will be available. Which makes sense, given that it often depends on how smoothly mass production goes. And production has only recently begun. The post also says something unknown will be announced, possibly Apple Watch-related. In addition, Tgaap says Apple will announce a new entry-level MacBook Pro with retina display.
The stuff on our iPhones and iPads tends to accumulate, using up valuable storage space. But if you're careful, you can use your storage space more efficiently. And one way to do that in iOS 8 is to enable a setting to automatically delete text messages after 30 days. This will be especially useful in saving space if your text messages include video and audio messages.
To have your iPhone or iPad automatically delete text messages, go the Settings > Messages > Message History.
Tap on the Keep Messages setting to bring up a screen that shows your options: 30 Days, 1 Year, and Forever.
On Wednesday Google released a new version of Google Translate (free) in the App Store that has some great new features. Most importantly, it now includes Word Lens: you can point your camera at some text in a foreign language, and the translated text will instantly overlay the image on your screen. You don't even need an Internet connection. According to the announcement on the Official Google Blog, the translation works between English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, with more languages to be added.
Now that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are out, and now that we're in a new year, it's time for the next stage of the rumor cycle: leaked tidbits about the forthcoming iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. According to AppleInsider, which cites a Taiwanese website, sources in Apple's supply chain have said that Apple is considering a dual-lens camera for the new phone — which would make it possible to have an optical zoom feature. It would also improve performance in low-light situations. Already the iPhone camera is excellent, with the iPhone 6 Plus featuring phase-detection autofocus and optical image stabilization. A dual-lens camera would certainly take it up a notch and put the iPhone even farther ahead of competitors.
Apple's Notes app has long been pretty basic, but happily iOS 8 added some new features. You can now insert photos in your notes as well as apply the text attributes of bold, italic, and underline. It's not real fancy, but it's great to have some more options.
This year is shaping up to be an exciting one for Apple enthusiasts. Both Apple Watch and HomeKit hold the potential to be revolutionary in the same way the iPhone was eight years ago. The Wall Street Journal has a great article on the Apple Watch. Bottom line: just as the iPhone freed us from the desktop and made communication and information more mobile, so too will the Apple Watch take things to another level by making information and communication more convenient and easier.
Fortunately I'm not addicted to an iPhone—but only because I don't have one. I do, however, tend to go through withdrawal if I don't have my iPad with me. It turns out, these gadgets have become so much an extension of ourselves that scientists have found that we suffer cognitive and physiological impairment if we're separated from them. A new study by University of Missouri researchers put iPhone users in a situation where they were separated from their phones while taking a cognitive test. Not only did they do worse on the test compared to their performance when they had their phones with them, they also had a significant increase in anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure.
The Accessibility features of iOS are useful to those who are visually impaired, but they can also be useful to others, such as those occasions when it might be more convenient to have your iPhone or iPad read to you. In an earlier tip, I showed how you can use the Speech setting in Accessibility to have your device read text to you. A reader pointed out to me that there's yet another way to do so: the VoiceOver feature. And once you get the hang of it, this approach may be the more convenient.