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.

pebble-ios-app

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.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Сapture your memories with Instagram and Fotobit frames

Are you a digital photography enthusiast who love using Instagram to capture your memories? Well, there’s nothing better than the nostalgic feeling you get when reliving a memory through a photo. Fotobit is an amazing creation! It is a modular photo framing system that allows you to easily install multiple frames simply by mounting a base frame to then create custom configurations.

Fotobit frames are equipped with an durable clip system and can be used in limitless possibilities and combinations. It is you, who use imagination to create unique patterns, breathe life into your room and share your beautiful masterpieces with friends and family.

“Traditional photo frames made the task too daunting, so that’s when I came up with Fotobit, which I hope inspires people to get photos out of their phone and onto their walls,”-says Alan Yeung, Fotobit co-founder.4

Lightweight photo frames hold 4” x 4” prints protected by a clear acrylic window. You can start your exposition with a single photo frame mounted to the wall and then attach to it more ones, to get small or large-scale photo compositions. It is easy to arrange and rearrange your frames, grouping your images by event or themes.5

Fotobit itself is a 4.25 x 4.25-inch frame designed for wall-mounting your Instagrams. The frames consist of several components: the front, the back, a matt and a clear acrylic window.6

Fotobit was designed and developed with the award winning product design team at CRISP^YHKG in Orange County, California. Their frames have been tested for durability and each clip can withstand a weight load of over 30 pounds.

It’s also $40 for a three pack, which includes nails, frame clips, bubble level, optional white matting, optional double stick foam Pads.

According to the developers, they have already reached the stage where they can make Fotobit a retail product for everyone to enjoy. And if they meet their initial goal of $16,000, final retail products can be shipped as early as late May/early June 2014.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Twitter adds photo tagging and multiple photo uploads per tweet

Twitter is getting a little more photo-happy, adding a new feature, allowing users to tag up to 10 Twitter users in an image. Additionally, it’s also updated with the ability, that lets iPhone owners upload multiple photos – up to four – in a Tweet and plans to bring the capability to the Android app and to Twitter.com.

The tagging feature means anyone can identify someone in a photograph they post, unless you realise it’s happening, log into your security settings, and turn tagging off. Twitter says that tagging won’t be counted in the 140 characters of a Tweet: “tagging doesn’t affect character count in the Tweet — you can tag up to 10 people in a photo and still have all 140 characters at your disposal, making it easier to connect with your friends.”

Users will be sent a notification when they are tagged in an image, though alerts can be customized in app settings. They are also allowed to adjust privacy options and set restrictions on who can tag you. Twitter is not the first who offers such feature, competing social platforms Facebook and Instagram have already included similar photo tagging option for years.

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And finally, users are now free to add multiple images to a tweet – up to four at a time. When attaching multiple photos, the app automatically arranges them into a grid-type collage that can be viewed in full quality using tap-and-swipe gestures. The feature is only available on the iPhone right now, but it’ll roll out to the Android app and to Twitter.com in the near future.

Twitter is also reportedly planning to offer “bite-sized music videos,” which could tie into the video service the company has been working on recently. The exact date of when those changes will be made is unknown.

Twitter for iPhone is a 16.3MB free download from the App Store.

iOS

Apple to add more diversity to emoji character set

According to Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications, Katie Cotton, the company is looking to expand its emoji set to include emojis that are non-caucasian. Apple states it is in talks with the Unicode Consortium to add more characters to its emoji offerings.

Here’s Cotton’s statement to MTV Act (via The Verge):

“Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

Emojis first appeared in Japan and were used as an alternative to text-based emoticons. Then users started adding them in messages as the icons help quickly convey feelings with a picture instead of words. Incorporated into Unicode, emojis can be used on multiple platforms. The character set has included caucasian icons, however, which Apple plans to change. Emoji

Apple’s current list of emojis features different smiley faces, foods, plants and symbols, some are concerned at the distinct lack of diversity when it comes to ethnicities. They include such races like Chinese, Indians and Russians, but more are expected to be added to the platform.

Apple has changed emojis with iOS 6, increasing a number of new characters and made emoji available for all users. Previously, users had to have special apps to access emoji on iOS. Those emojis, which came with OS 7 in late 2013 did not bring a lot of new ones, but the company is expected to make some changes to the characters with iOS 8 later this year.