Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts

Friday, June 26, 2015

Apple Watch is coming to the Netherlands, Sweden and Thailand on July 17

As Apple releases the Apple Watch in a number of new countries today, it’s also quietly added dates for a number of other countries.
The Apple Watch will be available for purchase in the NetherlandsSweden and Thailand on July 17, as spotted by 9to5Mac.
The July release date was quietly added to local Apple stores as the Apple Watch goes on sale in Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan from today.
Read More - Android M vs iOS 9

Friday, June 12, 2015

Android M vs iOS 9

iOS vs Android M All Features Release

With Google and Apple already having released the developer previews of their upcoming software products, it is, naturally, time to put them against each other and compare them, just like we will do once the final releases are out. Google's I/O 2015 gave us a pretty extensive sneak peek at the features that Android M will introduce later this year; meanwhile, Cupertino showed us some of the additions that will arrive with iOS 9.

To be completely honest, both Android M and iOS 9 are certainly not oriented at visually overhauling the platforms; on the contrary, both are centered around under-the-hood improvements that aim to enhance the user experience on a more basic, fundamental level by focusing on things like performance, battery management, and general feature polishment.

Still, being as curious as we are, we decided to devise a quick visual comparison between the two soon-to-be-polished rivals. All set? Okay, let's go!

Lockscreen, homescreen, notifications

Just as we said, there are very few changes in the UI section. First things first, we should mention that iOS 9 has scored a new system-wide font, San Francisco, which will replace Helvetica Neue, while Android M is still relying on the good ol' Roboto. This is one of the more striking differences, but it mostly concerns longtime iOS users who will probably be in for a surprise later this year. 

 Both the lockscreens and the homescreens of iOS 9 and are very much like you'd expect them, with a few small, but not so minor changes. For example, unlike Android Lollipop, Android M Developer Preview doesn't come with a dialer shortcut on the lockscreen; instead, we get a shortcut to Voice Search. iOS 9 will also score a more "proactive" Siri that will put a shortcut on your iOS lockscreen.

Swiping down from the top on both platforms shows us a familiar view - the ever-so streamlined iOS philosophy and the relatively new notification shade, which debuted with Lollipop. The iOS 9 has scored little to no changes in its notification dropdown menu, while Android M comes with a new toggle - a dedicated one for the Do not disturb mode.

Search - Siri vs Google Now 

"Search" was one of the keywords during both Google's and Apple's events, as the upcoming features of Google Now and Siri got demoed extensively on stage. Most of them are not out yet, because we're dealing with early developer previews here, but from the looks of it, fans of Google Now and Siri will have a lot of reasons to rejoice later this year.

Among the notable new changes in both platforms that are now live are the new search page in iOS, which makes a comeback and is accessible by swiping right on your default homescreen. It gives you access to a search bar, Siri, your recent contacts (which have are no longer located in the task switcher), and a handful of recently-used apps. 

In Android M's camp, we currently have an improved search functionality. Tapping on the search widget straight on your homescreen now also provides you with four recently-used apps, just like in the iOS 9 beta preview. Apart from this new feature, there aren't other additions to Android's search functionality. We should also mention that Google Now On Tap is not yet available in the beta release, but once it arrives, it will most certainly greatly improve the user experience of those users that swear by Google Now.

Task switchers

With Android Lollipop, Google introduced a much more visually-appealing, carousel-styled recent apps switcher that overhauled the previous one. Well, it's now time for iOS to receive some love in this department. Unfortunately, iPhones won't get the split-screen mutli-tasking feature at this point (it's iPad-exclusive as of now), but at least the iOS switcher has been revamped.

In iOS 9, we get a revamped task switcher that ditches the favorite contacts displayed on top(seriously, does anyone use these?) and employs a bit more blur than before. The new app switcher now displays the app cards in an overlapping fashion; scrolling around also seems a bit faster, but this might be your usual "placebo" effect.


There's a lot happening in the settings menu of Android M - the upcoming Android release will score a dark UI theme, customizable tiles, improved RAM usage screen, as well as an ever-so slightly revamped menu hierarchy. In the meantime, Apple will also improve the arsenal of iOS. Apart from a handy search feature in the Settings app, iOS 9 will come with a revamped menu hierarchy - among the new features that got introduced are a dedicated battery menu (which is also home to the newly-introduced Low-power mode for iOS), better notification control, and many, many others, which are detailed in our official preview of iOS 9.

Permissions are yet another aspect in which both platforms are getting more alike. iOS has required users to grant certain app permission immediately they're used for the first time, but Android's solution has just recently gone down this road. It's also scored a similar app permissions screen that allows you to explore what apps have access to what components of your device.


Whereas the stock Android camera app has not been updated recently, it looks like iOS 9 will bring some visual changes to the standard iOS one. They are pretty minor, mind you, but we still tend to like them due to their improvement of the user experience. Now, when you disable certain features, like flash or HDR, the iOS camera will strike them through for you, hinting you that they're disabled; turning on auto mode will make them go white, whereas forcing them to remain always on will paint them yellow, providing you with a easy way to tell what's going on. Alas, certain features like the fps selector in slow-motion mode has been nixed, but here's to hoping that they'll get re-introduced with the final release of iOS 9.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Apple will release a native Watch SDK preview at WWDC, with a full kit coming this fall

Having just shipped the first few rounds of the Apple Watch last month, the company is now amping up more news around its latest device. Apple’s senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams today confirmed that a preview of a native Apple Watch app development kit will be released at its Worldwide Developer Conference on June 8.
Speaking at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Williams says the kit will allow developers direct access to the Watch’s sensors, digital crown and microphone, among other hardware information.
At the moment, most Apple Watch apps are ported over from their iOS versions. This means they also run on the iPhone in order to transmit content for the Watch to download.
With the native Watch SDK, developers will finally be able to build apps that actually run on the Apple Watch so users can continue running them even if their paired iPhone is out of range or runs out of battery. This should also improve app performance as it will no longer need to communicate between two devices.
The native Watch SDK preview is expected to launch at WWDC, with a full kit coming this fall. The news comes after Apple updated its own Watch app ahead of its big event.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Here’s how to use those new, diverse emoji in iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3

New emoji are finally here! Now you can select the skin tone of your choice from the updated emoji picker in iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.
Here’s how to do it: first, make sure you’ve updated your phone. Then, bring up the new emoji keyboard by tapping the globe.
From there, it’s as simple as tapping and holding on the emoji you want — not all of them work, just the ones with human elements in them — and dragging your finger across the screen to select the tone you want.

Just a warning: if you change the skin tone of an emoji and send it to a friend that’s not on iOS 8.3 or OS X 10.10, it’ll show up as an alien.
How about on your Mac? Easy. Just bring up the emoji keyboard with ⌘ + CTRL + Space, then tap and hold on the emoji you want to bring up the selector.

That’s it! Now you’re an emoji pro.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

WhatsApp for Android now allows all users to make voice calls, iOS coming soon

 If you’ve been wondering when, oh when, someone will ring you via WhatsApp so you’ll get its new voice calling feature, you won’t have to sit by the phone any longer.
Updating to WhatsApp version 2.12.5 via Google Play does the trick. Once you’ve got the latest version, you’ll see a revamped interface with three tabs for calls, contacts and chats.

WhatsApp for Android now allows all users to make voice calls, iOS coming soonWhatsApp for Android now allows all users to make voice calls, iOS coming soon

Alternatively, you could download the APK installer from WhatsApp’s site and install it yourself. The version on the site reportedly brings voice calling too.
To place a call, tap the Calls tab and then the new call button at the top of your screen. Then, select a contact to ring them over WhatsApp.
The feature is slated to arrive on iOS in the coming weeks, said WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton at Facebook’s recent F8 conference.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New uploader app lets you send photos to Instagram directly from your Mac

There are quite a number of apps out there that let you interact with Instagram on your Mac. While elegant apps like Grids for Mac, Instagram’s own desktop interface and others let you organize, like, sync and download images from the service, uploading photos directly from the computer has proven elusive.
That’s because Instagram was designed as a mobile app, to capture the world via your phone, and was not intended to be used from a computer. A few flawed online and emulation workarounds have made the rounds over time, but a new app for the Mac platform, Uploader for Instagram by Anobot LLC, works as advertised.
Developed by 17-year-old Caleb Benn, an extremely sophisticated 12th grader who already owns two software companies, this app launches from your menu bar. It is elegantly designed, and when you launch it, it tells you exactly how to access it.

The app is super easy to use. Just find the image you want to upload to Instagram anywhere on your hard drive or Dropbox folder and right-click the mouse. Then, scroll down to the Services menu until you see the Share to Instagram command (alternately, you may just see the share command on the menu right away).
But the enterprising developer did not stop there. When you click the share command, the picture loads into a small window with additional controls. With the Camera control, you can resize the image and move it around in the window. The app includes a set of 47 Photo Booth-style filters, and you can use your iSight camera to take pictures.
When you’re finished tweaking and saving the image, you are taken back to the menu bar where you can write a caption and send it to Instagram. You will get a notification of its arrival.
Benn knows that Instagram is not exactly welcoming apps like his, but he is not worried that anything bad will happen. “I am aware that Instagram and the developer community [who] utilize 3rd party APIs can have a sour relationship at times. Notwithstanding that, since Instagram’s being acquired by Facebook, the company has not directly come into contact with developers of these products,” Benn told TNW in an email.
“After the acquisition and migrating over to Facebook infrastructure, Instagram became more lenient with the developer community regarding third-party APIs,” Benn said.
I sent a query to Instagram seeking clarification of its current policies regarding desktop uploads but have yet to hear back. I’ll update the story if and when there’s additional information on that.
Benn says people can relax about security, too. “All posts are sent via HTTPS and nothing is sent to a server owned by us. The app doesn’t store the user’s password on the machine, only a cookie (which is encrypted–this is what Instagram does.”

Meantime, Benn is continuing to tweak the app. He says he’s working on adding PNG upload capability to the JPEG upload already available, as well as video uploading and higher-quality filters (like VSCO filters) in an update a few months from now. “It’s just that with my school workload, I can only work on these features slowly over the weekends.”
Uploader for Instagram costs $4.99 and is available now on the Mac App Store.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Arrange your iPhone’s icons any way you want with Makeovr

One of the biggest gripes I have with the iPhone 6 Plus is that there’s no way to permanently bring my homescreen icons closer to the bottom of the giant screen. With Makeovr, a new web app, there’s finally a way.
Makeovr is fairly straightforward; take a screenshot of an empty page of your homescreen and upload it, then it’ll help you create empty icons that match the wallpaper so that you can arrange your icons in any format you like.
It’s a total workaround of iOS’ limitations, but provides a decent enough way to create custom icon layouts on your phone without needing to jailbreak.
The site also offers a number of backgrounds that work well for custom layouts, or you can use your own.
If you’ve always wanted a way to make crazy icon layouts for your iPhone 5, 6 or 6 Plus, here’s your chance.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Apple - #Homescreen now lets you discover trending iPhone apps

Remember that nifty #Homescreen app fromBetaworks that let you create an interactive screenshot of your iPhone’s start page to share your apps? It’s now launched a new tool to help discover trending apps.

The tool already let you see which apps were most popular on people’s phones, but now it shows which new ones have been recently growing in popularity. The company points out the rise of the Meerkat livestreaming app, for instance, as well as the new Outlook app‘s popularity.
The hub shows whether apps are free or paid, as well as their category and the number of homescreens they show up on. #Homescreen is still a relatively new tool – some of the “trending” apps only have 3 installs – but it will be interesting to see what cool apps the platform surfaces as it grows.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Apple Pay on the Apple Watch will be smarter than you think

A new report this weekend from CNET details just how Apple Pay will work from your wrist.
CNET talked to Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, at a sports game. He told them that wearers will have to type in a PIN or use Touch ID to unlock the watch and make payments the first time, but until it’s taken off it won’t require authentication again:
“You can [type a password] if you want to, but you won’t normally have to,” Cue said. “Right now the watch is unlocked, and I could do all of it without having to type any code. If I [took it off and] handed it to you, now you’d have to type in a security code or unlock it from your phone.”
Cue also said that owners of the Apple Watch who don’t have an iPhone 6 will be able to use Apple Pay directly from the device without upgrading their phone.
It was previously reported that the Apple Watch will detect if it’s been removed or not by using an infrared sensor on the back.
The details come ahead of Apple’s event on Monday where it’s expected the company will unveil further details about the Watch including pricing and availability.
What’s interesting is that Apple has been drip-feeding details out about the Watch over the last few weeks, rather than keeping it all a secret for the announcement day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pebble’s smartstraps are a big deal and bad news for Apple

One of the biggest criticisms of the Apple Watch, even before its officially launched, is the limited number of sensors built into the device. That’s why I suspect there’ll be some sore heads in Cupertino today after Pebble announced its plan for smartstraps.
After launching its color screen Pebble Time smartwatch last week and breaking Kickstarter records in the process, the company dropped another bombshell today with details of how its new charging and data connector will work.

The connection can send and receive power and data to the device which opens the way for smartstraps. They’ll be able to replace the normal watch band and offer extra features via dedicated APIs.
Pebble says those APIs won’t be available to developers until “several months” after it starts shipping the Pebble Time in May but when they are, it’ll make a huge difference to how the device works.
The APIs will allow developers to read and write to the port, have the device detect when a smartstrap is attached, and automatically launch apps and functions.
Developers will be able to create accessories that extend the Pebble Time’s functionality beyond the sensors built in to its main body. The company uses the examples of adding GPS, a heart rate monitor, NFC and greater battery life but the potential is huge.
As long as smartstraps are as easy to swap as Pebble tells us they are, the smartwatch has suddenly become a lot less limited. Rather than having one restricted device, you’ll have a platform that can support a huge range of different sensors.
The smartstraps will also be able to expand the real estate the device has for showing notifications and offer them in interesting new ways.
I’m willing to predict right now that the second generation of Apple Watch will arrive with its own version of smartstraps but, in the mean time, Pebble could have a significant edge over its competitors.

In addition to the smartstraps news, Pebble’s announced an even newer design of its smartwatch – the Pebble Time Steel. It uses the same system as the Pebble Time but features a stainless steel case and a larger batter that promises up to 10 days of normal use.
Another difference is that the color e-paper display is also bonded directly to the top lens. The Time Steel will be available in Gunmetal Black, Silver Stainless and Gold with a choice of two standard straps – leather and steel.
Backers of the Pebble Time Kickstarter campaign can change their contribution to upgrade to the Steel without losing their spot in the pre-order queue. It costs $250 – jumping to $299 when it hits retail – versus $169 for the Time, and will ship in July.
Introducing the Time Steel is another smart move on Pebble’s part. It followed the same pattern with the original Pebble and the more high-end finishes will allow it to catch fashion-conscious folks whose eyes may been caught by the Apple Watch.

I thought the iPhone 6+ was too big; I was wrong

The iPhone 6 lineup has introduced iOS users to new smartphones with bigger (and bigger) displays. I was ready for a larger screen, so quickly opted to buy an iPhone 6 last month, thinking it would be the best match. And indeed I found the iPhone 6 to be gorgeous and well-built, and felt that the 4.7-in. display was right at the edge of what was comfortable for me.

But after spending a week with an iPhone 6 Plus, I'm now not so sure. The only thing that's clear is that my next iPhone purchase won't be so easily decided.

A month after hitting shelves in the U.S., the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have proven to be enormous hits. Apple sold a record-setting 10 million phones during the first weekend they were available, and the company reported on Monday that it sold a whopping 39.3 million iPhones in the last quarter ending Sept. 30.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus feature slick, thin aluminum housings built around the largest displays ever included in an iPhone lineup (the aforementioned 4.7-in. screen and the larger 5.5-in. screen in the 6 Plus). Both iPhone 6 models feature a second-generation 64-bit chipset, a second-generation motion processor called the M8, updated camera systems, a new sensor for measuring air pressure, and hardware support for Apple Pay. The new iPhones come in three colors -- gold, space gray or silver -- and in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB storage capacities.
I really love my iPhone 6, which I've had now almost a month. But when given the chance to use a 6 Plus for a while, I jumped at the opportunity.

First impression: This thing is a monster. I was just growing accustomed to the iPhone 6 and its feel in hand when the 6 Plus arrived; this model absolutely dwarfs my iPhone 6.

Why I disliked big phones

Some background: I was never a fan of larger phones. I thought them bulky and unwieldy, and found them ridiculous looking when using them for phone calls. But, in my defense, that's only because most bigger phones were actually bulky and unwieldy, especially the first ones to hit the market a few years back. Despite the better specs in the 6 Plus -- battery life and upgraded camera -- I opted for the iPhone 6 largely based on size.

Read More - Apple’s new ad campaign shows the only camera you need is the one in your pocket

The 6 Plus shares the hallmark iPhone look, with the Touch ID-equipped Home button centered below the display, and the FaceTime camera, sensors and speaker centered above. The volume up/down and mute switch is still on the left, but, just like the 6, the sleep/wake button has been moved to the right side of the device. The flat sides and chamfered edges of the iPhones 4 and 5 have been replaced with a sleek, thin aluminum chassis that seems to form itself around the phone's display; the curves influence all of the materials, including the glass, giving the new iPhones the look of a science fiction movie prop.

The 6 Plus measures 6.22 inches high, 3.06 inches wide and it weighs just over 6 ounces. But the case design allows for a phone that, despite its size, does not feel bulky in hand. In fact, the thin aluminum and glass materials makes the iPhone 6 Plus feel luxurious. The only drawback: I grip these phones a little tighter than before. The  sleek aluminum at these sizes gives the impression of a slippery surface, even with a two-handed grip.

To compensate for the screen size, Apple has implemented Reachability. It scrolls the top-most onscreen elements down closer to your thumb after you lightly touch the Home button twice. Despite my doubts, I've grown quite accustomed to one-handed operation on the iPhone 6 Plus with Reachability. Of course, getting the phone to sit just right in your hand takes a little maneuvering, and using Reachability adds an additional step or two. But it's clear to me now that the iPhone 6 Plus's size becomes something you notice less over time.

Read More - Sony launches €299 Xperia M4 Aqua with Android Lollipop and octa-core processor

Impressive screen

Now, about that big display: I thought the iPhone 6 screen was impressive -- mostly, because it is -- but the 6 Plus is flat-out better. Apple calls both iPhone 6 displays Retina HD, and the 6 Plus is the best iOS device available if you want to show off that feature. Featuring a full 1080p resolution, the 6 Plus screen has 401 pixels per inch, a 1300:1 contrast ratio, and, like the iPhone 6, dual-domain pixels that produce wider viewing angles.

It's not just the hardware, it's also how the software reacts to changing conditions. One thing I noticed in the new iPhones is that Apple's software does a great job compensating for display brightness based on ambient conditions; the display looks great in low light or even in direct sunlight, with the adjustments made on-the-fly. iPhones have always done this, but the new models respond to changing conditions remarkably well. Overall, images are sharp and bright. As with my iPhone 6, I had to dial back the brightness setting on the 6 Plus a bit more than I did with the iPhone 5S in low-light situations.

I loved the enhancements to the rear camera of the new iPhone 6, and the same applies to the 6 Plus. There's the 8-megapixel camera with 1.5µ pixels, ƒ/2.2 aperture, True Tone flash, burst mode, geotags, panoramas up to 43 megapixels large, image stabilization, five-element lens with IR filter, on-the-fly exposure control, and more. The one thing you don't get on the iPhone 6 that is featured on the 6 Plus is optical stabilization, which really helps when shooting photos in low-light situations by reducing handshake. The result: sharper photos.

Read More - BlackBerry unveils its mid-range 4G all-touch Leap smartphone

A great camera made better

The iPhone 6 Plus also has the same video capabilities of the iPhone 6. You can shoot 240-frames-per-second slow motion, 1080p footage captured at 60 frames per second, continuous autofocus in videos, time-lapse abilities and the cinematic video stabilization, which helps videos look smoother. They're not quite steady-cam silk, but much smoother than without this feature in place.
The only drawback to the rear-facing camera is that it isn't flush with the casing, protruding just enough to cause slight rocking when the iPhone is lying on its back. The lens is made of sapphire, though, so the chances of it getting scratched are pretty slim.

The front-facing FaceTime camera has also been improved, and is now capable of 1.2-megapixel photos. It featrures a ƒ/2.2 aperture, 720p video recording, burst mode, on-the-fly exposure control, and HDR for photos and videos. The sensor has been improved, as the FaceTime camera now sports a backside illumination sensor similar to the better-specced iSight camera.

Read More - You can now try Apple’s new Photos app for yourself

Battery life bump

Another area in which the 6 Plus outshines the iPhone 6 is battery life. Apple says the bigger phone will get 12 hours of use for Wi-Fi, LTE, and 3G web browsing, 14 hours when watching HD video, 24 hours of talk time over 3G, 80 hours of audio playback and 16 days of standby. In my use, the iPhone 6 Plus lasted several hours longer than the iPhone 6, which lasted a couple of hours longer than what I typically got per day with the iPhone 5S. I've been traveling with the iPhone 6 Plus, specifically using GPS and the camera features, and using it constantly to stay in touch with friends and family via messaging, social media and email. I also spent a lot of time making video clips with my eight-year-old niece and editing them in iMovie for iOS.

(In a short time, the Plus has also become my niece's favorite gaming device, and she often reached for my phone even when iPads were within grasp. "It's perfect," she told me. "It's a mini iPad mini!")

Through constant use, I've had the Plus nearly last an entire day without plugging in; I suspect that for many people, the Plus will last much, much longer. There are reports that some owners managed two days straight without a recharge, which is pretty good for an iPhone.
The iPhone -- despite its gorgeous and fast hardware -- still relies on iOS 8 to work well. In that sense, Apple has optimized iOS for the iPhone 6 Plus display, which uses the additional screen real estate to support iPad-like flourishes when the phone is held horizonally. There's split-pane view in apps like Mail, Notes, and Messages, a non-fixed and rotatable Home screen and a Safari that mimics features found on the iPad and Mac, including pinch-to-zoom-out to tab view, and a tab menu you can swipe through. The experience brings a bit of iPad functionality to the iPhone.

The keyboard also uses the additional real estate in landscape mode to display more characters, including dedicated cut, copy, paste buttons.
About iOS 8...

Read More - This app makes encrypting calls and messages easy for everyone

About the software -- when I reviewed the iPhone 6 two weeks ago, iOS 8 was new and buggy and Yosemite had yet to be released. Therefore some great features like Continuity hadn't yet arrived. Since then, Apple has officially released Yosemite as well as iOS 8.1. That iOS update included numerous bug-fixes and went a long way to improving the stability and overall experience of using the iPhones. iOS 8.1 also enabled all of the Yosemite features of Continuity, including SMS relay. I've been recommending the 8.1 update to anyone who asks.

iOS 8.1 also introduced Apple Pay, which I was able to try just hours after upgrading the iPhone. I admit that I drove to a McDonald's and ordered a couple of hamburgers, just to see how ApplePay works. The process was dead-simple: When I went to pay, I held up my phone and the attendant reached out with a rather bulky NFC reader. I held the top of my phone to the terminal and the iPhone's display awoke to the Lock Screen and showed a graphic of my default card. I touched my thumb on the Home button, a TouchID fingerprint graphic on the screen filled in -- indicating transaction in progress -- and a second later, the fingerprint graphic showed a checkmark and the phone vibrated to let me know the payment succeeded. (It takes longer to describe the process than it takes to actually make a purchase.)
Simply put: Apple Pay is as easy to use as Apple said it would be. This is going to be a big deal.

I've now spent time with both the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus, and what I wrote between deciding the two still stands: the iPhone 6 Plus has the better specs, but the iPhone 6 is still a bit more totable. However, what has changed in my time with these devices is my sense of priorities regarding my smartphones. After spending time with the 6 Plus, I can absolutely see the appeal of a larger screen device, and better understand the perspective of Android users that have been touting larger screens for years. It was the 6 Plus that changed my mind, because the larger display, as implemented here, makes the size of the devices less intrusive than I expected. The iPhone 6 Plus balances out need for portability with the usefulness of a big screen really well. Trust me: I packed my fitted jeans for my trip, and the iPhone 6 Plus had no problem fitting in my pocket.

The iPhone 6 Plus is no monster; it's a beautiful big phone with great battery life and an unmatched software and hardware ecosystem. I wasn't sure I could get used to a device with a display this size, but the Plus has won me over. I'm happy with my iPhone 6, but the next time I upgrade, the iOS device with the larger screen won't be easy to avoid.

Apple, like Google, to hire full-time security guards in Silicon Valley

Apple will replace a number of contract security positions with direct hires for its Silicon Valley operations, amid widespread demands from contract workers like drivers and security guards for better working conditions at tech companies.
The move by Apple comes in the wake of growing concerns about inequality in Silicon Valley, arising largely from the gentrification and high-costs in the area driven by the influx of hi-tech employees.

In October, Google said it would employ on its payroll security guards, rather than have them placed by a contractor, shortly after a report in August by community labor organization Working Partnerships USA that highlighted the poor working conditions of janitors, security guards and other contract staff, supplied by third-party companies, that are used extensively by tech companies in the valley.

"We will be hiring a large number of full-time people to handle our day-to-day security needs," an Apple spokeswoman wrote Tuesday in an email. "We hope that virtually all of these positions will be filled by employees from our current security vendor and we're working closely with them on this process."

Apple has been under pressure previously to improve the working conditions of contract workers. The decision to hire people directly for key onsite security roles was the result of a comprehensive, year-long review of its security program, according to the company. It did not comment on why it had changed its policy on hiring security guards.
The company's decision was welcomed by United Service Workers West, which described it as "a victory for Silicon Valley security officers who are rising up to fix the imbalance in our economy by securing dignified, full-time work and respect on the job." The organization, a part of the Service Employees International Union, claims to represent over 40,000 janitors, security officers and other property service workers in California.

Apple, Facebook and other tech companies are also facing demands for better working conditions from shuttle drivers. Drivers of Compass International, the contractor which has service agreements with tech companies like Apple, Yahoo, eBay, and Zynga, last week decided to unionize with Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro.

Last month, Loop Transportation drivers, who transfer Facebook employees to and from the company's Menlo Park campus, reached an agreement with the contractor that, besides other benefits, could increase their average pay to US$24.50 an hour from the current $18 an hour. The agreement was sent to Facebook for approval as the paying client. They drivers had in November voted to be represented by the Teamsters.

Silicon Valley's 'invisible' workers do not share in the success of the tech industry, which they labor daily to keep running, the Working Partnerships USA report said. Tech companies in the valley were charged with using underpaid black, Latino and immigrant contract workers as landscaping workers, janitors, cooks and security guards.

Read More - Elliptic Labs unleashes faster touchless gesturing for mobile devices

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

You can now try Apple’s new Photos app for yourself

Apple’s new Photos app launched last month to developers for testing, but many were left disappointed as it was only available to try for those that had paid the $99/year fee to be a developer.
Today, Apple has made new preview of Photos for Mac available via the public beta channel of Yosemite. Those who have signed up to download public beta builds can update to OS X 10.10.3 now and try the new photo-organizing app.
It’s important to bear in mind that Photos for Mac is still in beta mode and may contain fairly large bugs, but it seems solid so far for me.
If you’re not part of the public beta program, you can apply to join here.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Apple Watch will launch outside the US in April too

When Apple first released the iPhone and iPad, their launches were limited to the US before rolling out to other countries over the following months. It appears that won’t be the case with the Apple Watch.
While speaking at an Apple Store in Berlin last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees the new wearable will launch in Germany during April, according to9to5Mac.
In January, Tim Cook said the Apple Watch would be shipping in April, but it was unclear which countries would be included in the initial launch. Cook’s statement suggests a wider initial roll-out than we’ve seen before for new product categories from the company.
It’s possible the Apple Watch will launch in the US first with other countries coming later in the month. In any case, it seems Apple fans outside the US won’t have long to wait before they can get their hands on the wearable.
Apple has its next event set for March 9, so we’ll likely find out all the launch details then.

Apple’s new ad campaign shows the only camera you need is the one in your pocket

Apple today launched a new advertising campaign — during Samsung’s Galaxy S6 keynote — that highlights photos shot by users around the world on the iPhone 6.
Instead of using marketing images, Apple went out and found the best shots taken on the iPhone 6 by everyday people. It gathered pictures from around the world shot purely on the iPhone 6 into a beautiful gallery and details what apps were used to capture the shot.

According to Buzzfeed today, Apple approached users who uploaded the images to places like Flickr and Instagram and asked for permission to use them. Some images will be turned into billboards around the world.
The pictures Apple has chosen show just how powerful phone cameras have truly become. Gone are the days where you had to carry a real camera to capture moments in great detail, now all you need is what’s in your pocket.
The iPhone’s popularity on Flickr has shown just how quickly this idea has become mainstream. iPhone 5s still tops the most popular camera over DSLRs, while the iPhone 6 is quickly gaining steam.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Apple to launch Watch on March 9, sends invites

Apple Inc sent out invitations for a media event in San Francisco on March 9, about one month before the much-anticipated launch of the new Apple Watch.

The world's largest technology company did not specify what the event will be about in the invitation which reads simply "Spring Forward," a word play on the resetting of watches for daylight saving time.

Chief Executive Tim Cook said last month that the company plans to launch the smartwatch in April. The watch, which will let consumers check their email, pay for goods at retail stores and monitor personal health information, represents Apple's first major new product introduction since the 2010 launch of the iPad.

Read More - How Apple Watch changes Apple Retail