Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Pokemon Go hits iOS App Store

Nintendo and Niantic Labs are rolling out its anticipated augmented reality game Pokémon Go. The game is currently available for download in Australia, New Zealand and certain U.S. markets. 

Pokémon Go allows players to collect, train, and battle the game’s characters. Pokémon Go uses device camera and GPS hardware to create an augmented reality world.

Once the game first installed, players are asked to create and customize a virtual avatar that will represent them in the title. Then, they are offered a tutorial that walks them through the basic mechanics of the game. The game’s characters can be leveled up, traded and used for battle. They can also be assigned to defend Gyms from other users. Gyms, like Pokemon, can be found by wandering out into the real world.

“During gameplay, Pokémon GO players will be encouraged to join one of three teams and engage in Gym battles with other teams. Once they have joined a team, players will have the ability to assign their Pokémon to empty Gyms. Like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world, and because only one Pokémon per player can be placed at a given Gym, team members will need to work together to build a strong defense. A Gym claimed by one team can be challenged by the other two teams.”

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Users can also buy an optional accessory named Pokemon GO Plus, a wrist-worn item that syncs with the title and alerts players about in game events, such as nearby Pokémon sightings.

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Pokémon Go is available for free from the iOS App Store. The Pokémon Go Plus device costs $35 and is expected to hit the market later this month.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Google offering 4 month free trial for Google Play Music and YouTube Red

In celebration of July 4, Google is offering a four-month trial completely free of charge to new U.S. subscribers to its Play Music streaming service.

Play Music subscribers are allowed to choose from the list of over 35 million songss, which are usually available for $9.99 per month, so the offer amounts to a $40 saving and the subscription can be removed at any time. Once signed up you won’t be charged at all through early-November when the standard $9.99 monthly fee will commence. You are recommended to upgrade to the family plan once the trial is over.

Subscribers will also be given access to Google’s ad-free YouTube Red service, which offers original content, and enables offline and background playback of YouTube videos on mobile devices. YouTube Red is a relatively new service, available for $9.99 per month, however, it comes bundled with Google Play Music; if you pay for one, then you be granted the other. YouTube Red offers some exclusive premium content that is not available to standard YouTube users. YouTube Red gives its subscribers the ability to use the YouTube Music mobile app and allows the user to continue to hear the audio from YouTube videos when the app is running in the background, and even when their device’s display is turned off.

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Google Play Music membership brings access to a cloud storage locker where you can store up to 50,000 of their own songs. 

Make sure to remove the subscription before the end date to avoid a $9.99 recurring charge.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple gives away popular drawing app ‘Procreate Pocket’ through Apple Store app

Apple made popular drawing and sketching app Procreate Pocket available for free  for a limited time from the Apple Store app for iOS.

The sketching app is a “must-have” for artists and for ordinary enthusiasts, as it offers a wide range of painting, sketching, and drawing tools for making art on the iPhone. 

Procreate lets you generate high-caliber artwork at a blistering pace using  robust layers system, stunning filters, and thousands of importable brushes. A must have for serious artists and enthusiasts alike.”

Users of the iPhone 6s can also enjoy the app’s 3D Touch pressure sensitivity. Procreate Pocket can also be used with an Apple Watch for selecting brushes and tools, picking from color swatches and executing general app commands. The app includes 12 brush types and allows users to download and import additional tools. Like the iPad app, Procreate Pocket records a clip of an artist’s creative process in 1080p. The results then can be shared via iCloud Drive, AirDrop and AirPrint in .procreate, PSD, JPG and 24-bit PNG formats.

If you want to doanload Procreate for free, make sure you have the Apple Store app on your device.  Then, scroll to the bottom of the “Featured” tab and tap on the small banner that says “Download Procreate free.” 

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The deal ends on July 28th.

Apple started giving away paid software through the Apple Store app in 2013. Earlier this year, the company offered popular journaling app Day One 2 for free. Prior to that, Apple gave away the puzzle-based game Rules! for free in the Apple Store app.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Amazon updates Kindle apps with new Page Flip feature

Online retail giant Amazon has announced a new feature named “Page Flip” for its iOS and Android apps, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-readers.

The new feature provides users a digital approximation of skimming through a book, making “it easy to explore books while always saving your place.”

Page Flip allows to flip back and forth between pages to reference various parts of the book while you read, without losing track of your current reading position.

In addition, the feature makes it possible to turn one page at a time or zoom out to a bird’s eye view of your book to quickly choose the page you want.

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“Page Flip is a reimagined Kindle navigation experience that makes it easy to explore books while always saving your place

At a glance, easily recognize specific pages as you jump around. Pictures, charts, your highlights, and the layout of each page are easy to see with Page Flip’s pixel-accurate thumbnails that automatically adjust as you change your font and margin settings.”

The new Page Flip feature comes to the mobile Kindle app for iOS and Android. Amazon’s Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers can receive Page Flip through a free over-the-air update.

Apple TV, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple revealed new “Remote” app for the 4th-generation Apple TV

Apple revealed its new “Remote” app for iOS devices, which has been entirely overhauled. 

The Remote app has been designed to make it easier than ever to control a fourth-generation Apple TV with an iPhone. It will not only allow users to easily navigate the Apple TV interface, but also can be used as a controller to control basic games.

The new Remote app connects to an Apple TV via Bluetooth. If movies or music is playing, the Remote app offers a full “Now Playing” view for control purposes, as well a dedicated Menu button and a Siri button. The app is navigated via touch gestures. 

In addition to aforementioned possibilities, the new Apple TV remote app makes the following features possible via an iOS device:

  • Asking Siri to find something great to watch, listen to, or play
  • Dictating text, including usernames and passwords
  • Entering text with the keyboard
  • Playing games using the accelerometer and gyroscope on your iOS device
  • Game Mode with simplified game controls, available while holding your iOS device in a landscape orientation

1Available directly as an IPA installable via iTunes, the new app can be tested by registered Apple developers. The IPA lets them install the app directly to their iPhone via iTunes. The Remote app requires an iPhone running iOS 9.3.2 or later, and a 4th generation Apple TV running tvOS 9.2.1 or later. Once the app is downloaded on the device, it must be paired with Apple TV. Pairing requires that both the Apple TV and the iPhone be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Apple gifted rainbow Apple Watch bands to employees to celebrate the LGBT Pride parade

Apple once again celebrated the LGBT Pride parade in San Francisco and thanked employees who registered to take part in the event by giving them a limited edition rainbow Apple Watch band.

The Cupertino company gifted the bands with a card explaining the idea behind the Apple Watch accessory. The card reads:

Apple’s first Diversity Network Association, Pride, turns 30 this year and we’re thrilled to celebrate this tremendous milestone with you! As recognition for everyone who registered to participate in the Pride event this year we created something special.

 

This limited-edition band is a symbol of our commitment to equality and we hope you’ll wear it with pride.”

2Apple employees as well as CEO Tim Cook joined the annual parade on Sunday as a mark of the company’s support for equality and diversity, with many workers taking to social media to demonstrate the colorful bands. 

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Past years workers taking part in parade as individuals were provided official backing from Apple. In 2015, for example, the company supplied custom printed T-shirts, flags and banners to parade participants, and later shared a video showcasing its efforts.

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It is unclear if Apple will release this rainbow band as a public product, but it would likely sell well.

In addition to marching, Apple also activated a dedicated Pride section in the iTunes Store on Sunday. The category includes music, movies, TV shows, e-books, podcasts and other media honoring individuals who fought for equality “before, during and after the 1969 Stonewall riots.” 

Apple TV, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

New BitTorrent Now app coming to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV

BitTorrent announced a new app coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV that lets users stream different videos and music, mostly from generally independent artists and filmmakers.

The app doesn’t provide access to the illegal content available on various torrent sites, but rather on-demand streaming content that’s legal. In addition, the app, called BitTorrent Now, features a catalogue of free, paid, and ad-supported, on-demand content, including VR content.

Once users open the app, they will be able to choose from all variety of content uploaded by its creator. Meantime, use of BitTorrent’s Bundle format will allow content creators to ask users to register or pay for content distributed through the platform before viewing the file, and provide them more control over how their content is offered, presented, and shared: 

This is what happens when artists have agency: our shared culture becomes more diverse, more whole; more sustainable. And that’s why we started BitTorrent Bundle: to give artists options. Not rules. The freedom to share your story, no matter what form it takes. The right to know, understand, and reach your audience. The right to choose your business model.”

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BitTorrent Now doesn’t currently use peer-to-peer technology, but The Verge said that BitTorrent is working to include support. 

BitTorrent Now will be available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV and is already available on Android.

Apple TV, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

NASA launched official app for 4th-gen Apple TV

NASA has launched its popular app on 4th-gen Apple TVs, which was previously available for iOS, Android and Fire OS. The app was also downloaded over 17 million times. 

The Apple TV app allows users to enjoy high-definition live streams from NASA TV, as well as a real-time view of the Earth from the International Space Station. 

Users are also given access to as over 10,000 NASA videos and more than 15,000 photos, either individually or as a slideshow.

The app also lets users know when they can view the ISS and other NASA satellites next time as they pass overhead, based on user location. 

In addition, the app brings a number of other features, including 2D and 3D satellite tracking maps, NASA mission news, and the ability to listen to Third Rock internet streaming radio. 

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“The NASA app has been a fantastic way for the public to experience the excitement of space exploration from their mobile devices,” said David Weaver, NASA associate administrator for Communications. 

“Now, users with the latest Apple TV can explore and enjoy our remarkable images, videos, mission information, NASA Television and more on the big screen with the whole family.” 

The app is available for download from the App Store on Apple TV. The iPhone and iPad app can be downloaded from iTunes.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Ultimate Ears’ UE Boom 2 and UE Megaboom got Siri and Google integration

Bluetooth speaker company Ultimate Ears updated its firmware bringing Siri and Google Now integration to its UE Boom 2 and UE Megaboom speakers.

This update makes it easier for iPhone and Android users to play and control music on the devices without needing to access their phones. Users can now get access to Siri or Google Now by just pressing the Bluetooth button on their speaker and asking their voice assistant what they want to listen to. Siri integration for speakers works exactly the same as with smartphones.

“Music lovers can now truly stay in the moment, playing their favorite song from the middle of the pool or even while diving off a cliff with their UE speaker in hand,” said Charlotte Johs, general manager of Ultimate Ears. “No matter how wet, muddy or wild the situation, with Siri and Google Now voice integration on UE BOOM 2 and UE MEGABOOM, fans no longer need to pick up their phone to play DJ. Now, they can just say it to play it.”

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If you want to use Siri or Google Now via your UE BOOM 2 or MEGABOOM, you must install the latest version of your speaker’s app from the App Store. 

Ultimate Ears is well known for designing waterproof, shockproof speakers that can hold up to the elements for listening to music at home and while moving.

The UE Boom 2 and the UE Megaboom are available for purchase via the Ultimate Ears website for $200 and $300, respectively. Both the UE Boom 2 and the UE Megaboom can be ordered from Amazon.com at a bit lower prices.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Chinese company claims Apple copied its design for iPhone 6

A Chinese intellectual property bureau required Apple to stop the sales of its popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, after finding out that the Cupertino company infringed the patent right of a little-known local device maker.

Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that Apple and its Chinese distributor Zhongfu Telecom infringed the patent of Shenzhen-based Baili, which is suing the iPhone maker for copying the exterior design of its 100C device.

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have minor differences from Baili’s 100C. The differences are so tiny that the average customer could not notice. So, this case falls into the patent rights protection category,” the ruling reads.

Apple didn’t comment on the matter, but  according to some reports, the Cupertino company has already filed a lawsuit calling for the ruling to be annulled. Bird and Bird partner and IP specialist Ted Chwu noted that Apple has some legal options open to it.

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Apple has a problematic relationship with the Chinese government. In April, Chinese authorities abruptly closed Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movie just six months after they started in the country. There were no comments on the ban from authorities. In addition, this year the company lost exclusive rights to the “iPhone” name, and in 2012 it was required to pay out $60 million to settle a dispute over the “iPad” trademark.