Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Adobe announces ‘Lightroom Mobile’ for iPad with on-the-go photo editing

Adobe finally revealed its new Lightroom mobile app for the iPad, giving photographers who use the desktop version of Lightroom the ability to edit and organize images from anywhere. Lightroom mobile is not a standalone app and requires both a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Lightroom 5 to function.  You log in to the app with your Adobe ID and sync your photos between your tablet and desktop using Adobe’s servers. The app allows users to download Smart Previews of files from the desktop app, offering very fast content transfers between the desktop and the mobile app. Smart Previews require an ongoing Internet connection to sync back and forth between Adobe’s servers to prevent iPad users from having to download too big files, but files can also be downloaded in full for offline editing if preferred. You get the ability to edit and make adjustments to these mobile-friendly photos and sync them back to your desktop while retaining the same, RAW quality without missing a beat.

With Lightroom Mobile, you can collect  pictures from multiple places, meaning all the changes made on the iPad’s app will be reflected back to the desktop in the original, high quality version.

Similar to the desktop version of Lightroom, the mobile app provides much of the same functionality, giving access to metadata and a basic editing toolbar that includes desktop presets and adjustment tools for altering shadows, clarity, contrast, and more. The app also offers crop and rotate tools and a simple three finger tap on the screen displays before and after when editing.

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To add photos to Lightroom Mobile for editing, you can also use the iPad’s built-in Camera Roll. The images can be brought via Apple’s Camera Connection Kit or the iPad itself to capture photos intended for Lightroom Mobile. Lightroom Mobile allows also to make a copy of any images imported from iOS’s Camera Roll.

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Adobe’s Lightroom mobile has intuitive gestures, allowing to easily control a number of various functions.  Tapping an image results in full screen view and a simple swipe up or down allows it to be flagged for editing or rejected. Additionally, you can sort photos by different aspects like capture time, file name, modification time, and more.

Lightroom Mobile is available exclusively on the iPad and is expected to hit iPhone later this year.

News/Rumors

Google readying Android TV set-top box with easy-to-use card interface, voice controls and more

Google is preparing to announce a new Android TV set-top media box with a simple card interface voice controls, push notifications and more.

According to new documents obtained by The Verge, while the box is powered by Android, the interface comes in with a number of “cards” representing various channel options, such as movies, shows, apps, and games. Users will get the ability to scroll through the interface with a four-way directional pad that includes Enter, Home, and Back buttons, with the set-top box reportedly featuring optional game controllers.

According to the earlier reports, Google was planning to rebrand Google TV under the Android moniker. But the new platform is said to differ from the company’s Google TV flop and will be more in line with offerings from Roku, the Apple TV and the new Amazon Fire TV.

In addition to these features, the company is reportedly asking select developers to create games and apps for its new set-top box with optimized interfaces for the TV, as apps for Vevo, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora are planned to ship with the product. Google will also work on its own apps including Play Movies, YouTube, and Hangouts.

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“Android TV is Android, optimized for the living room consumption experience on a TV screen,” writes the company, but the focus is on simplicity for now. Google is stripping away unneeded features like telephony, cameras, touchscreen support and near-field communication to keep developers focused, and handing them ready-made interfaces where they can hopefully just plug in shows, games, photos, music, and films.”

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The release date is still unknown, but it is clear that Google’s Android TV will appear on a growing market of set-top boxes pretty soon and bring strong competition with other devices like the Apple TV and Roku.

Finally , Google is said to keep the Chromecast platform as a separate product offering,  with The Verge noting that developers will be required to build two different interfaces for the two different devices.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Fingerprint scanners: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S Touch ID

Following the debut of the iPhone 5s and its Touch ID fingerprint scanner in October last year,  Samsung followed with its own version of a fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S5, which is scheduled to be released on April 11.

A new YouTube clip from Tanner Marsh offers a comparison of Touch ID on iPhone 5s with the fingerprint scanner of the upcoming Galaxy S5, showing the process of setting up fingerprint recognition on both products and comparing and contrasting some of the available functionality.

Both systems are embedded in the home button and both serve as an easier way to secure a device, but that’s the only similarity.

While Apple’s Touch ID utilizes a round home button that captures a motionless fingerprint, Samsung’s sensor requires a swiping motion to scan the finger from base to tip using a rectangular home button.  As mentioned in the video, the method used by Samsung may inhibits one-handed operation and owners with smaller fingers can be limited to the digits they can register due to the sensor’s size.

Both devices have not only pros, but cons as well. While Samsung’s fingerprint sensor faces a number of issues, Apple’s Touch ID suffers from its own problems, such as “fade,” or the increasingly erratic performance of the fingerprint sensor over time. The updated version of its iOS helped to solve the issue, bringing several improvements to Touch ID’s fingerprint recognition capabilities.

As for speed, both devices work pretty fast.

Notably, that in addition to unlocking the device, the S5′s scanner can also authorize PayPal payments and be accessed by 3rd party developers. Apple also has plans to include payments with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner, but has yet to do so.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Pebble Smartwatch iOS app updated with sharing options and more watchapps

Pebble on Wednesday pushed out a new version of the title that offers users all-new apps and sharing capabilities. The most notable feature in the latest version is a bug fix for version 2.1, which was  released on Monday and pulled from the iOS App Store after users complained of crashes that prevented them from managing their Pebble smartwatch from the application.

With the latest release, Pebble Smartwatch for iOS hits version 2.1.1 and makes the Pebble app bug-free and safe to download. The app launched for the smart watch back in February, and has a goal to provide developers and users with a dedicated space to distribute and download applications created for Pebble.

In addition to the aforementioned problem, a couple of new features have been added to the application.

With the updated version, Pebble users were given the ability to share Pebble appstore apps with friends via email, Twitter, Facebook and text message.

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According to the release notes, the Pebble team made the following changes in the updated application:

  • Share apps with friends via email, Twitter, Facebook, and text message.
  • New apps added to the appstore.
  • Fixed issues with version 2.1 (released 31-Mar–2014)
  • Bug fixes.

Pebble smartwatch owners can download the latest version of the iOS software from the App Store for free.

News/Rumors

Cortana-Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri

Microsoft  announced Windows Phone 8.1, which comes equipped with the company’s digital assistant, Cortana, a kind of Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri.

Cortana is dubbed for an AI character in the popular Halo video game series and as in the game, the assistant is voiced by actress Jen Taylor.

It is powered by Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, and tasked to give Windows Phone users the ability to schedule meetings, send text messages, and search the web using their voice. According to the company, it will learn from users, using heuristics in an effort to return more relevant information.

Cortana is a core function of Windows Phone 8.1 and a replacement for the existing search function. In addition to its ability to schedule reminders, Cortana also allows reminders to be tied to people and locations.

Windows Phone 8.1 also has a new Action Center that combines the functions of iOS’s Control Center and Notification Center into a single feature. Action Center shows situational information, including battery percentage and notifications, and gives customizable shortcut buttons. cortana

Among other features is the ability to set custom backgrounds and a “high density” option, which allows to add more tiles to the home screen. The company also provided with a new keyboard input method, which lets users swipe across the keys to type.

According to the Microsoft’s statement, the update will be available to Windows Phone users in the “next few months” and will start shipping on new devices later this month. The company also added that it is making Windows licenses free for mobile phones and tablets with screens less than nine inches.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Safari updated with enhanced push notification, security improvements

Apple has released a number of updates on Tuesday. The company has updated its web-based iWork for iCloud suite, Pages, Keynote and Numbers for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and its Mac and iOS counterparts. Apple has pushed out a new Safari update as well.

The new version is 7.0.3 and contains new features like enhanced push notification settings coming to users of OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Perhaps most significant among Safari version 7.0.3′s new features are changes to push notifications and the way URLs are handled.

If you don’t wish to be asked about push notifications from any site, simply uncheck a box for “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications,” which disables all incoming push attempts. Additionally, the updated version comes with a fix to an issue that could block the receipt of push notifications.

The second big change is a support for webpages with generic top-level domains, like “.cab” and “.clothing,” allowing Safari to move directly to a webpage instead of initiating a Web search.

Safari

What’s new in Safari 7.0.3.

  • Fixes an issue that could cause the search and address field to load a webpage or send a search term before the return key is pressed
  • Improves credit card autofill compatibility with websites
  • Fixes an issue that could block receipt of push notifications from websites
  • Adds a preference to turn off push notification prompts from websites
  • Adds support for webpages with generic top-level domains
  • Strengthens Safari sandboxing
  • Fixes security issues, including several identified in recent security competitions

Safari 7.0.3, or Safari 6.1.3 for those running older OS X versions, is available for a free download from the Mac App Store or Software Update.

iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 6 displays go into mass production in May, 5.5″ model delayed

According to a new report from Reuters, Apple is preparing to begin mass production of the 4.7-inch display to be used in the iPhone 6 this May.

Previous reports indicated that the iPhone 6 would go on sale in two various sizes: 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Citing supply chain sources, the report also says that the much rumored 5.5-inch model of the device could be delayed due to difficulties with in-cell production technology, and is probably to commence a few months after the initial production of the 4.7-inch displays.

To push production forward, the company could initially fall back on older thin film technology for the 5.5-inch display, then switch to in-cell at a later date, sources said.

The both new iPhone versions were expected to use in-cell touchscreens, a technology that slims down the overall thickness of a smartphone’s touch panel by incorporating capacitive touch sensors into the LCD array. The company first applied the tech in 2012 with the iPhone 5.iphoneplus-130205

A last week report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei stated that the iPhone 6 could be presented “as early as September”, and will be available in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes. However, according to the claim from UBS analyst Steve Milunovich, the 4.7-inch version of the new device might be the only model to appear later this year, with a timeframe for the larger 5.5-inch version unclear.

In addition to a larger display, Apple’s next-generation iPhone will likely come with a durable, sapphire screen, and a thinner, bezel-free design in addition to expected camera and processor upgrades.

Along with the reported bump in screen size, there are still tons of rumors surrounding Apple’s next flagship handset.

Accessories, News/Rumors

BlackBerry wins injunction, banning iPhone keyboard

A U.S. district court judge last week granted BlackBerry a preliminary injunction against the Typo iPhone keyboard case for infringing on certain patents, effectively banning sales of the Ryan Seacrest-backed device.

The smartphone maker sued over the design of the case earlier this year, stating that it infringed on a number of the company’s patents and its “iconic” keyboard design. The case is designed to add a BlackBerry-like keyboard to the iPhone 5 and 5s. The case features a built-in battery, and a physical, backlit keyboard that looks almost identical to those used in BB products.

According to the initial press release, “BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations.”typo-iphone-keyboard

The Typo team commented on the following :

“We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research.  The Typo keyboard has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the public.  We are also looking forward to our product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and remain on track to begin shipping pre-orders at the end of January.”

The injunction doesn’t allow the sale of the Typo, as the case maker could not prove that its product didn’t infringe on BB’s patents.

“BlackBerry is pleased that its motion for a preliminary injunction against Typo Products LLC was granted,” BlackBerry stated. “This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo’s blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology.”

Meanwhile, Typo said, that the company would continue to develop and sell innovative products “that busy people can’t live without.”

iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 6 reportedly coming as early as September, likely in 4.7-5.5-inch sizes

Apple is reportedly working on two variants of the so-called iPhone 6 with significantly larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. According to a new report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, the company’s iPhone 6 is expected to launch “as early as September”.

“Manufacturers have apparently begun making such components as fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers.

Mass production of LCD panels will start as early as the April-June quarter at Sharp’s Kameyama factory, Japan Display’s Mobara plant, and at other facilities, according to sources. LG Electronics will supply panels as well. The new handset’s display resolution is expected to be significantly higher than that of current models.”

A lot of the information, provided in the report, matches up with previous rumors. According to  Macotakara last fall, iPhone 6 will get display panels, manufactured by LG Display and will have a resolution of 1920×1080 and a ppi of 440. Earlier this month, a popular supply chain insider Sonny Dickson shared the similar expectations.iPhone-6-concept-ConceptsPhone-004

There is still too little known about Apple’s new device, however, it’s believed to receive a slimmer and refreshed design and an A8 processor. The new handset is also rumored to come with an 8MP rear camera, 2GB of RAM and more.

Apps Lists, iPad, iPhone, News/Rumors

Microsoft makes Office Mobile for iPhone free for everyone

Microsoft finally took the wraps off of its much-rumored office for iPad suite, which means a $99 subscription to the Office 365 service for most of its functions.

“Indeed, Microsoft does offer Office 365 subscriptions within the just-released Word for iPad and the other Office apps and, yes, it is paying the 30 percent cut, Apple confirmed to Re/code. Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.
Apple has taken a hard line with all manner of publishers that want to sell things, even subscriptions that go well beyond the iPad content — if anything is sold in the app, they have to use Apple’s method and hand over 30 percent.”

In Twitter, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, that the company is glad to have Office for iPad in the App Store, with Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, responding that Microsoft was “excited to bring the magic of Office to iPad customers”.iPad

Microsoft Office for iPad is available as a free download from the App Store, with Office 365 Home Premium available for $10/month or $100/year good for five tablets and five computers, with an Office 365 Personal subscription good for one computer and one tablet coming later this year for $7/month or $70/year.

While most media attention was paid to Microsoft’s Office for iPad debut, the company also presented an update for its Office Mobile app version for iPhone, making the software free for home use.Office_Mobile

The change was announced in a post over at the Office blog: “With Office Mobile, you have the ability to view and edit your Office content on the go.”

The new version of Office Mobile for iPhone also brings several bug fixes and stability improvements.