As we head into the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Apple has circulated a press release announcing that 40 billion apps have now been downloaded, with almost half of those downloads during 2012. (Note that that figure consists of unique downloads and excludes updates and redownloads.) In addition, Apple's announcement said that there are now over 775,000 apps in the App Store, and that developers have earned over $7 billion on their apps.
I really like the ability to simply ask Siri for directions rather than typing in a destination, so I tend to use Apple's Maps app over Google Maps. But both are excellent. I want to point you to a couple detailed reviews, in case you're wondering which app you should favor, and also want to note the ability of Apple's Maps app to cache large areas of data, so that you can use the app even if you don't have an Internet connection.
A new biographical movie on the life of Apple founder Steve Jobs, starring Ashton Kutchner, will have its premiere as the closing night film at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27. It will reportedly have its theatrical release in April. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern and written by Matthew Whitely, the movie also features Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Matthew Modine. Titled "jOBS," it depicts Jobs's life from 1971 through 2000, focusing on the major events and individuals that influenced him.
It seems like the iPhone 5 was just launched, and already people are buzzing about the next one. Now there's a rumor that Apple is considering using a new display technology in the next iPhone. This would entail abandoning the sharper, thinner in-cell technology that appeared in the iPhone 5. According to AppleInsider, there are rumors that Apple is evaluating the new Touch On Display technology.
We're likely headed into another long season of rumors about the new iPhone, with developers saying that there's evidence appearing in their app usage logs that Apple is testing a new iPhone 5S running iOS 7. As reported by The Next Web, developers are able to track which iPhone models and iOS versions are using their third-party apps, and the iPhone 5 uses the identifiers 5,1 and 5,2. However, they've been surprised to see an identifier of 6,1 in their logs. And the device is running iOS 7.
Siri understands natural language, so on the one hand you might think that a guide to Siri might not be needed. But on the other hand, you may not be aware of the wide range of things that Siri can do. Plus, it helps to make requests in particular ways. I'm guessing that if you're like me, you're not using Siri to the fullest extent. And if you're like me, you'll find iMore's ultimate guide to using Siri a real boon. The guide covers every possible facet of using Siri, from asking for information to completing tasks to launching apps. The guide begins with several sections on setting up and configuring Siri. It then has sections on how to make calls and send email and text messages to your contacts using Siri. Other sections cover setting alarms and timers, setting reminders, updating tasks and to-do lists, creating and updating calendar appointments, checking stocks, creating and updating notes, checking the weather, playing and controlling music, searching a variety of search engines, finding movie information, looking up sports scores and information, finding restaurants and making reservations, launching apps, and shopping for Apple products.
I've seen a number of lists of apps recommended for those lucky individuals who got a new iPhone or iPad from Santa, but CNET's listing strikes me as being the most useful. They include a number of free apps that are my favorites and that I use every day. Let's take a look at some of their recommended apps.
Flipboard — This is likely the most popular aggregator of news and content ever developed for iOS devices. Its interface is gorgeous and intuitive, and very easy to customize to your interests. Many people find it to be their favorite window onto Facebook or news or entertainment or sports, or whatever your interest is.
Google Maps — When Apple dumped Google Maps in favor of its own maps solution, many were disappointed that Apple's effort was missing some of their favorite features, such as transit directions and Google Street View. Fortunately, Google eventually came out with a full-featured version of their app for iOS devices that has almost all the functionality of their highly popular maps app for Android devices.
As we head toward the New Year, rumors are floating around of forthcoming goodies from Apple. Many people think, and Apple has hinted as much, that wearable computing will be among the Next Big Things from Apple. It would be great to see Apple do something like Google Glass, which are essentially glasses with all the capabilities of a high-powered smartphone. Today's Apple rumor is that an iWatch is in development.
Christmas has come and gone, and the first hints are coming in that the iPad was the dominant tablet this holiday season. According to Barron's, a market analyst who called Best Buy and Staples stores found that the iPad was the most popular device among tablet buyers. Amazon's Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy tab also had some sales, but apparently there wasn't much demand for Microsoft's Surface tablet. Even more interesting is a clever search of Twitter posts for the 24-hour period over Christmas.