News/Rumors

Google building keyboard with search functions for iOS

Google is reportedly working on its own third-party keyboard for iOS with gesture-based input and built-in Web search functionality.

There are no details on when or if the keyboard will be released, but the report from The Verge notes that the keyboard project has been in development for months and is currently being used or tested by a select group of Google employees.

The company’s keyboard is expected to be gesture-based, must like SwiftKey and Swipe, allowing users to slide their fingers across the keyboard to enter letters. Tap the Google logo and you can access traditional web search. It also likely to feature distinct buttons for pictures and GIF searches, both presumably powered by Google image search.  In addition, the keyboard will reportedly come with word prediction, much like the built-in iOS keyboard.

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Google Keyboard for Android

The keyboard is designed to increase the number of Google searches on iOS. Using publicly available numbers, journalist Charles Arthur argued in October that half of smartphone users perform zero searches per day.

Apple first opened access to third-parties with iOS 8 in 2014.

News of Google’s iOS keyboard appeared just a few months after images surfaced of a Word Flow Windows Phone-style keyboard Microsoft is developing for iOS devices.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple announced iPhone SE

The long-awaited iPhone SE was officially revealed alongside a new iPad by boss Tim Cook at Apple’s exclusive event tonight

The company’s CEO started by introducing two new initiatives around sustainability and health.

Tim Cook reinforced a commitment to make Apple’s production and products renewable and expanded HealthKit to include CareKit – a new way for patients to track their treatments.

The new iPhone SE retains the design of the iPhone 5s and has the innards of an iPhone 6s. The device still features Apple’s latest-generation A9 processor and 12-megapixel camera, capable of recording 4K video. The device also received a voice assistant Siri. In comparison with an iPhone 6s, the only thing missing from the iPhone SE is pressure sensing 3D Touch.

The new device comes with the recognizable anodized aluminum finish and is available in the same four colors offered across most of Apple’s newer product lineups: Gold, Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold.

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As expected, the iPhone SE will be available 16GB and 64B capacities with pricing starting at $399 and $499 respectively, which Apple notes is its most affordable iPhone yet. The smartphone will also be available for free on the usual two-year agreement with carriers or $17/month on installment plans.

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The device will first come to such countries like Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States.

The iPhone SE will be available to order from March 24 and begin shipping on March 31. 

In addition to the new iPhone SE, Apple announced the 9.7-inch iPad Pro with all of the features of the existing 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support. The company also released new Apple Watch updates, iOS 9.3 with Night Shift, new quick actions, app improvements and ‘1970’ bug fix.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Apple Store offline ahead of ‘Let Us Loop You In’ event

Ahead of Apple’s upcoming “Let Us Loop You In” media event, the company’s online storefront has been taken offline.

The event is set to be held at Cupertino campus, where Tim Cook’s executive team will unveil a number of new products related to iPhone, iPad, and the Apple Watch

Apple’s special event begins at 10 a.m. Pacific with a live stream available on Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV. 

As the stream uses Apple’s HLS streaming technology, you’ll need a web browser that meets the requirements for HLS, and the company notes these devices and software combinations will allow to watch the live-streamed event:

  • Any iOS 7.0 or later iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and viewed with the Safari web browser
  • Any Mac running OS X 10.8.5 or later and viewed with the Safari 6.0.5 or later web browser
  • Any PC running Windows 10 and viewed with the Microsoft Edge web browser
  • Any Apple TV running software 6.2 or later, or the Apple TV 4 with any version of tvOS

Apple-Store-Down-March-2016The slogan “Let us loop you in” is believed to be related to Apple Watches and more specifically, the Milanese Loop, while the colors in the event background suggest new colors are coming to the loops. Other products to be announced may be the long-rumored 4-inch iPhone 5SE, and perhaps even a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. IOS 9.3 is also rumored to be released after the media event.

Apple didn’t reveal a lot about its plans for the future, but the company will probably hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June, where it will provide both iOS 10 and OS X 10.12.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Ford launching 2017 Escape with CarPlay support in May

Car maker Ford announced, it will launch the 2017 Escape with support for CarPlay and Android Auto through its SYNC 3 Connect platform in May in Canada and the U.S.

The new Escape model will become its first vehicle with CarPlay and Android Auto integration. 

CarPlay will bring Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a set of third-party apps, including Spotify, to the 2017 Escape’s in-dash multimedia system. 

CarPlay allows drivers to control some iOS apps while driving without having to pick up their phone. The technology is currently supported by over 100 2016- and 2017-model vehicles from a number of major car brands, including Acura, Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Ferrari, Ford and others.

In addition to Apple’s own, the only compatible apps include iHeartRadio, MLB At Bat, Spotify, Stitcher, CBS Radio, Overcast, Audiobooks.com, Audible, Pandora, Slacker, VOX, and NPR One.

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CarPlay and Android Auto will also be available in 2016 Ford vehicles with SYNC 3 as an upgrade later this year. 

In addition to CarPlay and Android Auto, the new Escape also comes with a capable driver-assist technology and all-new Sync Connect that supports features like remote start and door locking through the new FordPass platform.

Ford said, “Escape will also be first to offer SYNC 3 featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.”

iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple shares new ‘Timer’ iPhone 6s ad featuring Cookie Monster

Apple revealed a humorous new iPhone 6s ad that features well-known celebrity guest: the Cookie Monster.

In the video, Sesame Street character bakes cookies and uses hands-free Siri on his iPhone 6s to time the baking of his cookies.

Both iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus include the A9 processor and M9 motion coprocessor, which allows Siri to continuously listen for the “Hey Siri” command without needing to be plugged into power. The older models of devices, “Hey Siri” is available, but only while an iOS device is charging.

Meantime, while Cookie Monster is waiting for the cookies to be ready, he is using “Hey Siri” to play Jim Croce song “Time in a Bottle,” and continues to pace around the kitchen.

The new ad demonstrates how perfect Siri understands the Cookie’s monster unusual accent, plays music playlists, sets timers and more.

The iPhone 6s “Timer” commercial featuring Cookie Monster is an addition to a number of iPhone 6s ads starring well-known celebrities, but it is the first one to star a character. Previous videos focusing on iPhone 6s included Jamie Foxx, Bill Hader, Jon Favreau, and Stephen Curry.

Watch the new ad below:

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Instagram will show posts out of chronological order

Popular photo sharing service Instagram revealed its plans to apply an optimization algorithm-based feed in the coming months, shifting from its current chronological-based feed. 

You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.”

The similar algorithm is currently used by parent company Facebook, which was doing this for years with News Feeds. In addition, Twitter recently introduced a similar feature for Timelines. 

Instagram claims that the new feed will be re-ordered to show moments the company says users will care about the most. The algorithm will mainly be based on a user’s relationship to the person posting and the timeliness of their post.

Instagram also said that the change will take effect soon, but added that it will continue paying attention to user feedback and tweak the algorithm over the coming months.

Instagram

Finally, the company is planning to optimize the order of posts, which means all the posts in a user’s news feed will be in a different order.

Instagram has not mentioned whether or not it will provide a setting for switching between a chronological feed and an algorithm-based feed.

iPhone, News/Rumors

New iPhone 7 case image depicts thinner body and new larger camera

The first image purports to show technical drawings for the iPhone 7 chassis appeared on French blog Nowhereelse.fr. 

The alleged images from Taiwanese phone case manufacturer Catcher Technology show the back of the iPhone 7, which is expected to be released by Apple this coming September. 

You can see that the rear camera is surrounded by a larger black orifice, which explains why the new design results in a “slight bulging outgrowth.” The opening also sits closer to the edge of the device.

According to the rumors, a dual-camera system will be reserved for the larger 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus, potentially exclusive to a version called ‘iPhone 7 Pro’.

The chassis leaker adds that the design “seems slightly thinner than the iPhone 6s, confirming in passing the lack of a headphone jack port”. 

iPhone 7

Source: NowhereElse.fr

Steve Hemmerstoffer has shared a full body rendering on the site, showing an artist’s conception of the rear of the upcoming iPhone 7. The new device is set to arrive this fall.

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Source: NowhereElse.fr

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

EA announces collectible card game Plants vs. Zombies Heroes

Super publisher Electronic Arts announced a new game in the popular Plants vs. Zombies series, called Plants vs. Zombies Heroes.

The title combines a lot of core principles of the Plants vs Zombies series, but introduces a new class of characters to the PvZ Universe, including a powerful peashooter The Green Shadow, Impfinity, a Zombie Imp Hero with the ability to create multiple Imp clones during battle. PvZ Heroes also features a number of new characters from Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 like Super Brainz, Z-Mech, Citron, and Rose. The game has a total of 300 characters. 

In the game, you need sun energy to make moves on the plants side. When you play a card, an enemy can attack. You always get a chance to attack back. To win he game, you have to defeat the enemy Hero and defend your own. You can buff your units to make them stronger. Some units can only be played in water or roof lanes. Once you reach a certain level, you can start playing as zombies. Zombies have their own advantages, like hiding played characters under gravestones so you can’t see their capabilities.

You can also travel through a single player adventure, real-time competitive player-vs-player mode, compete in tournaments, lower the pressure in casual mode. The game offers 20 unique adventures and five battles in each adventure, making for 100 battles on each side. You are provided with your hero unit and supporting units which are all familiar plants and zombies from the other games. You control your plants or zombies by using familiar mechanics where you’re taking turns drawing your different units as cards, then dragging them out on to the battlefield.  

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EA is rolling out a soft launch for the game in certain territories, before a worldwide release later on.

News/Rumors

‘Nerds’ Musical chronicling Steve Jobs-Bill Gates rivalry сancels Broadway run

January report revealed that Nerds, a musical about the rivalry between Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, would start its Broadway run on March 31, 2016.

Yesterday, producer Carl Levin said that the production would have to cancel its Broadway run. 

On behalf of my fellow producers and investors, it is with great disappointment that we will be postponing the Broadway opening of ‘Nerds’ due to the loss of a major investor,” he said in a statement.

Written by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner, “Nerds” was first staged in 2005 by the Philadelphia Theatre Company. The musical comedy was awarded with several prizes and had a limited engagement at the North Carolina Theater.

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The musical, which featured lyrics by Robot Chicken’s Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner and music by Hal Goldberg, was expected to include “an array of tech” that featured holograms and a companion app that allowed the public to select the show’s ending. The musical comedy would chronicle the rise of Jobs and Gates and the competition between their companies.

According to producers, a national touring version of the show is also in the works.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple aiming to debut OLED iPhone in 2017

Apple is reportedly planning to push up the debut of the OLED iPhone to 2017, which is a year earlier than previous estimates, reports Nikkei, who was among the first publications to report on iPhone’s rumored switch to OLED.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple has contacted LG and Samsung to talk about ramping up OLED production in time for next year’s handset launch.

If true, the company will debut OLED displays two years earlier than predicted by noted analyst Ming Chi Kuo. Last year, Kuo said that he believes Apple to continue using existing TFT-LCD panels until at least 2019.

Apple has long shown interest in OLED technology and even revealed a number of patents related to the tech. In addition, December report claimed that the company had opened a secret lab with at least 50 engineers working on advanced OLED and LCD projects.

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OLED displays are said to be thinner and more power-effeicent than LCD technology and will allow for deeper blacks. The iPhone maker currently uses OLED technology in the Apple Watch.