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Apple Invitations Sent for Oct. 4th: "Let's Talk iPhone"

clock September 27, 2011 23:27 by author Jeremy

Well, the title pretty much says it all...or does it? This may look like just a regular invitation picture, but all around the world, people are clamoring as to what the event will unveil. The past has shown that Apple likes to throw little hints in their invites, so perhaps there's more to these icons than what first glance shows us.

Most people immediately jump to the long-awaited iPhone 5, or possibly even the iPhone 4GS/4S, both of which make sense (the message does read "iPhone" at the bottom, after all). But considering there's only "one missed call", one would think that only one phone is being released.

Meanwhile, emphasis on the word "talk" may indicate voice-recognition services. Roughly 18 months ago, Apple acquired Siri, a start-up  that delivered voice-activated personal-assistance programs. This could be Apple's foray into voice-recognition.

No matter what gets unveiled though, there's no denying that Apple's simple invitation has garnered enough attention to keep folks interested until Oct. 4th.

Sources: ibtimes, wsj



WWDC 2011 - OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud

clock June 8, 2011 01:27 by author Jeremy

What's the best way to start the week? Probably with WWDC, if you're an Apple fan. In the past few years, we've seen new releases of products each time WWDC came around. Unfortunately, there aren't any new hardware products this time around, but the new software will more than make up for it.

Steve Jobs started us off with OS X "Lion", the latest build for Macs. This upgrade is available from the Mac app Store and can be downloaded straight to your Mac: no need for CD's anymore. It'll come with over 250 new features, but only 10 were previewed at WWDC. Lion will be available for $29.99 in July.

  • Multi-touch Gestures: How can you go wrong with this? Feel free to zoom, scroll and swipe to your heart's content. From what we saw, you can use up to 3 fingers for different commands and functions.
  • Full-screen Apps: Fairly self-explanatory there. Not only can you run the apps full-screen though, you can also swipe on your trackpad to switch between apps.
  • Mission Control: This will show all currently running apps or open documents in a sort of windowed-array. You can assign certain sections of your screen to hold specific windows in different sizes, and even zoom in on specific apps and windows for a preview.

  • Auto-Save: This feature can be toggled on/off, but when left on, it will not only automatically save your documents, but also load up your document to exactly how you left it. Auto-Save also includes the capability to see past "versions", allowing you a sort-of "timeline" of your file.
  • AirDrop: Files kept in this section can be shared with other nearby users running AirDrop. No need for flashdrives or cables, and no need to set up any programs. Simple!
  • Mail: A new version of Mail includes a favorite-folders section, which allows for easy viewing and searching. Speaking of searching, the search-bar can filter by people, subjects, or even dates. Mail can be viewed as a conversation, so that all messages show inline.

Next up, iOS 5 was introduced for all the iPhone fans out there. Features include:

  • Notifications: Hate those pesky push-notifications that constantly interrupt what you're doing? Then say goodbye to them. Apple is adopting an Android-like method of notifying users: a swipe-down menu can now be accessed from the top. During games and videos, a small animation appears up-top that disappears shortly after. Clicking on the animation will take you straight to the app, or you can ignore it and carry on. Notifications also appear while the screen is locked, and swiping to a particular notification will open up that app directly as well.

  • Reader View: Ever browse a website and the words are too small, or you have to keep swiping left and right to see everything? With Reader View, the OS will re-organize the screen to make everything readable in one scrollable page.
  • Reading List: Now you can save that website you're browsing for later without adding it to the bookmarks or leaving the window open! Just add it to the "Reading List", which can be accessed across devices (more on this later).
  • Reminders: This will allow you to set reminders based on the date or location. Feel like being reminded to stop by the bank the minute you leave your house? Just set it up accordingly, take one step out the door, and you're set.
  • Camera: The camera's been upgraded to include a button on the lock-screen for easy access. Also, the volume-up button now serves as a capture button, and you can edit your pictures directly (reduce red-eye, crop, rotate, etc).

  • Mail: Addresses can be dragged-and-dropped (from the To/From fields, for example). You can flag individual pieces of mail as unread, and search the contents of the messages from the search bar. Rich text formatting is finally included, as well as indentation control and a built-in dictionary (which, actually, works for all apps bought through the app store).
  • Game Center: For the gaming-enthusiast-on-the-go! This app will keep track of high scores made by you, your friends, and even your friends' friends. You can recommend games to them through here, and vice versa. Or, play a turn-based game with your friends from this app.
  • PC Free: Brand new devices can now be activated straight from the device: no need to go to a PC anymore. Software updates are OTA, and you can even sync iTunes without the wires! Which brings us to...

The iCloud! The long-awaited solution to everyone's hopes and dreams...at least when it comes to cross-device synchronization. And that's assuming all your devices are Apple products. But hey, brand loyalty pays, right? The iCloud is a free service that Apple is offering, which will hold all your content in Apple storage facilities. All of your content can then be pushed to your other devices.

So, what kind of content, you ask? Just about anything from your documents to your music, from your pictures to your videos. There are slight limitations though: for example, photos only last in the cloud for 30 days, but your devices can hold the last 1000 cloud-shared photos. Obviously, your PC/Mac can hold save these for as long as you want.

The music you bought is automatically uploaded to each device as well, assuming you have the capacity for it. And speaking of music...

iTunes Match was probably the most exciting news (for me, at least). This will scan your library and attempt to match your songs to anything in the iTunes Music Store's database. Songs that are matched are upgraded to 256Kbps AAC without DRM That's right folks: all those torrented CD's you've been listening to are now somewhat legit. iTunes Match is $24.99 per year, but Jobs promises that the matching-and-moving will take minutes, not weeks (which seemed like a swing against competitors Amazon and Google's music services).

So, no iPhone 5. Can't say I'm shocked, but it doesn't mean I'm any less excited. And you should be excited too! Don't you have some files to go prepare for the cloud?

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Verizon iPhone4: Return of the Death Grip

clock February 25, 2011 23:31 by author Jeremy

It's not as epic as Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but it's definitely causing a big ruckus nonetheless. An article from our friends ConsumerReports.org claims their testing of the Verizon iPhone 4 shows infamous "death group" issue is still at large, and is still eating your precious phone calls.

For those that missed the aptly-named "Antennagate", here's a recap" if you held your AT&T iPhone 4 a certain way, your call would drop. The claims were so frequent that Apple issued an official statement saying customers should avoid holding it that certain way; this response only gave birth to the infamous quote, "You're holding it wrong". All of this was followed with a statement by Apple claiming that it wasn't a design flaw, and that it's just a quirk that must be endured to enjoy the rest the iPhone 4 has to offer. They at least gave out free cases to those who experienced frequent dropped calls due to the antenna.

I know what you're thinking: how does placing one of the main parts of the antenna in an area where the hands/palms frequently are, not a design flaw? Your guess is as good as mine. Several websites made this point, but it fell on deaf ears. It even spawned this interesting picture, which is basically the epitome of irony/hilarity:

Fast forward to now. The Verizon iPhone 4 has just recently come out and yet the Antennagate issue continues, but now under the guise of "Antennagate 2.0" (see the creativity there?). While it's true that holding any phone a certain way can cause reception to dro, the fact that the antenna is located in a horrible place is still a little disconcerting to some people. And although the reports for the death grip are nowhere near as numerous this time around, just be wary in case you do experience it.

ConsumerReports' blog shows that the area-in-question is the bottom left corner of the Verizon iPhone 4.

Your best bet is to just get a case...or perhaps, replace your left hand with another right hand. Then your palm won't alway be in that bottom left corner! (Disclaimer: we are in no way encouraging or reinforcing people to actually get surgery done to their left hands.) Wanted to throw that last bit in there; you never know!

Source: consumerreports.org

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Toshiba Unofficially Names Their Tablet: the Toshiba Tablet.

clock January 24, 2011 23:47 by author Jeremy

Yes, that's right folks: an official teaser website from Toshiba themselves shows (mostly already known) specs and pictures of their long-awaited device. The website's URL? Why, it's thetoshibatablet.com ....thus indicating that the name of their tablet (unless otherwise changed in the future) is... the Toshiba Tablet. Wow.

In more exciting news, the specs on the website show that the battery of this particular tablet will be replaceable, but only for the "screwdriver-savvy people".

Keep an eye out for Toshiba's latest products, including their aptly-named laptop (the Toshiba Laptop) and television (the Toshiba TV). You know we love you Toshiba. :)

Oh, and best of all? It seems we're not the only ones with a sense of humor. Try going to the website on an iPhone and see what happens.

Well played, Toshiba. I applaud you for that one.

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Verizon's iPhone 4

clock January 11, 2011 23:11 by author Jeremy

Verizon customers have wanted the iPhone since 1300 B.C. (at least, that's how long it feels like with how much they ask about it). This morning, it was announced that they'll finally get their long-awaited version of the iPhone 4. Pre-orders start on February 3rd, with the real opening date on February 10th. But what are the differences, you ask?

First off: antennas. The antennas have had to be tweaked slightly, and Verizon's iPhone has even acquired a fourth notch (with one pre-existing notch moving to the side near the volume buttons). However, it's been confirmed that this was only done so that the iPhone would work on Verizon's CDMA network; no real upgrade there.

On the plus side, Verizon iPhone owners can use their iPhone as a WiFi hotspot, tethering up to 5 other devices to it. That's pretty nifty, eh? However, this pro comes with a few cons. Such as the fact that Verizon's CDMA network can't support both voice and data at the same time. Meaning, if you're chatting away and you feel the need to look something up online...well, good luck with that.

With how much Verizon's been talking up their new LTE network though, why didn't they just travel that route instead of keeping the iPhone 4 at 3G? Apple's Tim Cook explains, "The first gen LTW chipsets force design changes we wouldn't make."

And, as a minor downside, because the volume buttons have been moved down just a smidge (thanks to the new antenna notch), this iPhone may require a whole different set of cases. Let's just hope that doesn't get confusing.

Now we play the waiting game, and see if Verizon's network is enough to lure AT&T customers over, or if their non-simultaneous-voice-and-data-network will shy customers away.

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