Monday, December 29, 2014

Apple’s iCloud Photo Library

iCloud_Photo_Library
With Apple’s announcement of discontinuing Aperture and iPhoto for Mac, the iCloud Photo Library stores which was first introduced during WWDC, for photos and videos that a user takes in iCloud, will be available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch as well as Macs through iCloud.com. iCloudPhoto Library beta is made available with iOS 8.1, a new iCloud Photos app, available to all users within iCloud.com.

This will function with the Photos app which Apple is developing for Mac and is probably expected to come in early this coming year. Till iCloud Photo Library comes out of beta with proper OS X counterpart, next year, the prevailing photo experience on iOS as well as the Mac would be confusing and users have the liberty of turning on iCloud Photo Library – Beta, though they also have the option to keep Photo Stream which is likely to disappear at some point of time somewhere next year.

Should the user opt to leave iCloud Photo Library off, the old Photo Stream paradigm would stay in place which will save the last 30 days of photos to the cloud or atleast the last 1000 pictures, whichever would be more, that may not have been counted against iCloud storage and Photo Stream may have not saved videos.

Photo Stream – Compatibility on all Devices

The advantage of Photo Stream is its compatibility on all devices which includes Mac and any new photo that may have been taken on iPhone or iPad, would show up in the Photo Stream in iPhoto, Aperture or any other IOS devices that are associated with the account.

 Its limit is 1000 photo/30 day though if one remembers to open iPhoto and enable Photo Stream syncing;all the photos tend to get saved on the Mac and not just the previous 30 days. The present form of iCloud Photo Library would save all the photos as well as the videos to the cloud and is limited only by the current available iCloud storage.

Photos would tend to sync between the iOS device such as Photo Stream though will not show up in iPhoto or Aperture on the Mac and users could access their iCloud Photo library through the web and upload photos from the web interface. To enable iCloud Photo library, users could go to the Settings app on the iOS device and opt for iCloud and then tap on the Photos section beneath the iCloud Drive in the list.

Full Quality of Photo Saved to the Cloud/Device

Before enabling iCloud Photo Library, note that it is presently a beta product. Then move the top slider, enable iCloud Photo, which will update the photo library on the device thatwill take a few minutes. When the same in enabled, users could choose to have the full quality photo saved to the cloud as well as an optimized version kept on the device for preservation of space.

Should one continue to use Photo Stream on a Mac, enable `Upload to My Photo Stream’, on the menu and the Photo Stream can be viewed on the device though it will be available in iPhoto and Aperture on Mac. Once iCloud Photo Library is enabled, the Photos app on iOS device will tend to appear in a different manner.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Which is the right iPhone model for me?


iPhone_6
With millions of proud owners around the world, the iPhone is one of the most widely used smartphones on the market. Over 20 versions of the phone have been released since its initial introduction, and the most current models available, the iPhone 6 and 6+, both bring a slightly different set of features to the table. Although the iPhone 6+ may be the absolute best device Apple has to offer, the iPhone 6 is an extremely capable device as well and may be the perfect solution for some users.

iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 claims 14 hours of talk time along with 10 hours of music, making a single daily charge all a user needs for a typical day’s adventures. It also has a camera designed to function better in low light with improved auto focus and facial detection, so users largely satisfied with what the iPhone 5 or a similar device has to offer but looking for a superior camera will find an ideal answer in the iPhone 6.

The most talked-about difference in the iPhone 6 is the improved screen, which upgrades from the old 4.0in display to a 4.7in display delivering 326 pixels per square inch. The iPhone 6 is both slimmer and lighter than the previous version and includes enhanced 4G LTE support, making it an outstanding choice for those who want to keep things as similar as possible while still having access to all the current generation iPhone features such as Hey Siri and Apple Pay.You can grab an iPhone at iiNet, check out their site & read about their plans.

iPhone 6+

The iPhone 6+ adds even more features to the already ample package provided by the iPhone 6, making it the undisputed choice among users looking for the best from the manufacturer. The 4.7 inch screen of the iPhone 6 is replaced with an enormous 5.5 inch display capable of 401 pixels per square inch for images and video unrivaled in sharpness. This makes the iPhone 6+ an easy choice for those who enjoy videos or games on their devices regularly.

The biggest question concerning whether the iPhone 6 is right for an individual user concerns the size of the device itself. The larger screen and higher capacity battery create an unusually large smartphone, making it somewhat difficult to handle for some and inconvenient to store in many pockets. The large size of the battery does bring the benefit of 24 hours’ talk time and over 12 hours of Internet browsing, the fact that the device is simply much larger than other phones may make it unsuitable for some users.

Apple has gone to great lengths to ensure that there is a current generation iPhone for virtually everyone, and have done just that with the iPhone 6 and 6+. Those looking for the latest in iOS convenience and utility in an approachable form factor will probably prefer the iPhone 6, but for the ultimate in mobile entertainment, the iPhone 6+ is tough to beat.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Apple’s First Automatic Security Update


Apple
Apple has gone ahead with its first automatic security update for OS X to handle newly identified bugs which researchers have warned would enable hackers to control devices remotely. According to Apple spokesman, Bill Evans, the company has developed the software fix to deal with critical security issues which could affect Unix-based system including OS X and the issue was with the NTP – network time protocol, which is used to synchronize computer system clocks.

The bug was revealed to the public in security bulletins late last week, by the Department of Homeland Security and the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. Dozens of technology companies which includes Apple and whose products could be vulnerable were identified by Carnegie Mellon.

Apple had earlier, released security patches through its regular software update system which usually needs the user’s approval and introduced the technology to deliver the automatic security updates couple of years back though it had not been used till date.

Reuters was informed by a company spokesperson that it had made a decision in using the technology in order to protect the customers at the earliest, due to the severity of the vulnerabilities and the `update is seamless’ and `does not even require a restart’.

Attackers Executing Arbitrary Code Utilising NTPD Process

The update surfaced to address an issue which was focused by the U.S. Government on December 19 and earlier discovered by the Google Security Team where the vulnerability has the capabilities of enabling an attacker to execute arbitrary code utilising the privileges of the NTPD process.

Apple had earlier faced vulnerabilities during the 2014 the most recent being on releasing an OS X bash update in September to fix the `Shellshock’ security flaw. Current day’s security update could be downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Neel Mehta and Stephen Roettger, Google Security Team researchers had coordinated various vulnerabilities with CERT/CC with regards to the NTP – Network Time Protocol and as NTP is used widely in operational Industrial Control Systems deployments, NCCIC/ICS-CERT has been providing the details for US Critical Infrastructure asset owners as well as operators bringing about an awareness as well as to identify mitigations for the affected devices. Updated release on additional information, when available would be provided by ICS-CERT.

Mac Users to Install Security Patch

Products utilising NTP service earlier to NTP-4.2.8 could be affected and no specific vendor is specified since this is an open source protocol.

 Mac users should pay heed to the advice from Apple and install the security patch and users running OS X Yosemite – 10.10, OS X Mavericks – 10.9 and OS X Mountain Lion – 10.8 would find the available updates in the Software Update mechanism of OS X, which is accessible from the Apple menu as well as by opting for `Software Update’, which is only 1.4MB and also installs in a quick manner.

 If one has automatic updates enabled for system software and security updates, the NTP would probably be installed already, though checking manually could be done. According to Apple spokesmen, Bill Evans, comments that Apple though, does not know of any cases, where vulnerable Mac computers were targeted by hackers looking to exploit the bugs.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Apple’s New Position for ApplePay Site Reliability Engineer


Apple_Pay
The latest Apple mobile payment service was launched in October with a few official partners and has signed on around 500 new banks since the announcement of Apple Pay. It was reported that Apple has recently advertised a new position in Shanghai for an `ApplePay Site Reliability Engineer’ and the 40 hour per week role would need collaboration with the peers in the U.S as well as in Europe to what has been identified by Apple as a `follow-the-sun team’.

Since Apple Pay was debuted in the U.S, presently the NFC based contactless payment service remains only for America, though a series of new hires indicate that Apple would be planning a quick global expansion of the fledgling service. Besides the Shanghai based engineer position Apple Pay job listing of another kind for a London based intern was also reported where a core Apple Pay team for EMEIA operations had been set who are now looking out for support with more routine legal aspect of the project.

The advertisement revealed Apple’s plans to launch Apple Pay across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The advertisement reads `specifically to support execution of multiple NDAs and contract with third party partners’. It is said that the Shanghai post would be focusing on the `front line customer experience according to Apple as well as back end integration of systems with network and banking partners.

No Indication of Time Frame on Apple Pay Launch – Outside US

The position description states that `as a member of the Apple pay SRE team, one is expected to not just find the issues, but to write code and fix them. They will be in all phases and layers of the application and have a direct impact on the experience of millions of customers’.

The requirements needed for the post is a minimum of five years’ experience on engineering in Java or any other object oriented language as well as five years with relational databases and no-SQL. Besides this the candidate should have a degree of Bachelor of Science in computer science or an equivalent industry experience.

Though the company is gearing up for an international debut of its mobile payment system behind the scene, it has not indicated any time frame on when and where Apple Pay would be launched outside the U.S.

Apple Pay Compatible with Global Systems

Most of the focus is on China where Jack Ma, the Chief Executive of Alibaba is keen on pushing in for a partnership between Apple Pay and his company’s AliPay service. Since Apple is dependent on established near field communication technology, consumers have realised that they can use the capability internationally, at some NFC terminals though they may have found out that the tap-to-pay functions found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus can function only if the device is set up with American credit cards.

However the fact remains that Apple Pay is compatible already with global systems highlighting the fact that the international roll-out service of mobile payments system of Apples’ is not hampered by technology or point of sale system and Apple should forge an agreement with the banks as well as credit card issuers making it compatible all across the globe.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TAG Heuer – Plans to Bring Branded Smartwatch in Market


TAG_Heuer
TAG Heuer, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer has recently announced their plans to bring a branded smartwatch in the market with unnamed tech companies, which is a move to spur on in part with Apple Watch. It was reported how Tag Heuer had been pushing ahead to release its own smartwatch with the other Swiss watchmakers on the same track.

They had earlier dismissed the threat faced from smarwatches and have softened their stand since then. For instance, they had recently declined of planning to launch its own smartwatch though only a couple of months back, Claude Biver,LVMH’s Business Head, had informed a Swiss newspaper that the company had plans to launch a Tag Heuer smartwatch in the summer of 2015 though they could not afford to follow in the footsteps of Apple.

According to Reuters reports, during the press conference at the headquarters of TAG Heuer in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in Switzerland, Biver, had admitted that he had recently changed his mind on fielding a smartwatch after being dismissive of the `smart device’, sector. He had stated that they had started on the project four months back and had done several partnerships and would also consider acquisitions.

Smartwatch Represent a Challenge to Swiss Watch Industry 

When questioned as to whether the company had approached Google or Intel as their partners, Guy Semon, General Manager had refrained from commenting though the reports have been coming up that Intel would be supplying the microprocessor for Tag Heuer’s smartwatches. Semon’s comments clearly indicated his apprehension of losing to high tech and more user convenient smartwatches.

He further commented that `Smartwatch represent a challenge to the Swiss watch industry that is comparable to the appearance of quartz technology and that they cannot ignore this tsunami which is coming closer’. He gave no indication of any specific launch date for a Tag Heuer smartwatch though added that the company would be presenting one, only if they were `first, different and unique’.TAG did not disclose prototype design at the meeting though reports claim that the watch would be a hybrid digital/mechanical design which would be powered by an Intel processor.

Biometric Sensors to Measure Metrics of Heart Rate

Moreover, it was also reported that it had inclusion of biometric sensors to measure metrics like a user’s heart rate. Hewlett-Packard had used a similar design without the sensors in its Choronowing collaboration with designer Michael Bastion.

The present news is different from the news of September when Biver had slammed Apples’ recently unveiled Apple Watch stating that the product `had no sex appeal and that it was too feminine, looking too much like the smartwatches which are already on the market’ and later on, he reversed course.

Biver had commented saying that they want to launch a smartwatch at TAG Heuer but would not copy the Apple Watchor followthem. TAG seems to be the latest traditional watch maker to incline against a steadily growing smartwatch market which has been led by tech innovator.

Apple is ready to disrupt it with its Apple Watch probably early next year and some expectations on some high models which would be priced in the range of TAG Heuers’ present offers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Manage Your iCloud Storage and Backups


Backup
iCloud Backup – Feature Designed in iOS

Apple is aware that device backups tend to be useful when the process is regular and automatic; hence the feature is designed in iOS and managed by iCloud. Prior to iCloud, the prevailing backup method in iOS device was connected to a computer and synced to iTunes and as the other cloud services and streaming music became more prevalent, the need of syncing iPhone or iPad with iTunes became obsolete.

 iCloud is a better option than syncing with iTunes since it occurs automatically when a device is charging or connected to a Wi-Fi network. The iCloud backup comprises of information regarding the content that has been purchased and not the purchased content and when it is restored from an iCloud backup, the purchased content gets automatically downloaded from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store or App Store.

However some forms of contents do not get downloaded automatically in all countries and purchases done previously may not be available if, they tend to be refunded or are not available in the store.

Warns Users when iCloud Storage Full

The iOS device tends to warn the users whenever their iCloud storage gets full though managing iCloud storage could be a little different. Guidance is provided in managing the device from getting backed up regularly; manage iCloud storage, setting apps together with how to make the most of the current space without the need of upgrading to an expensive plan. iCloud being a primarily cloud service, one can manage storage setting on an iOS device or Mac and these options may not be available on iCloud.com.

One can navigate to the Setting app on an iOS device by scrolling down and tapping on the iCloud section. Next is the iCloud account which is associated with the device, with options for Family sharing available storage and what services can be presently synced to the iCloud account. With the use of toggle switches, one can opt to stop syncing Contacts, Calendars, Reminders etc. if other service is in use such as Exchange. To handle the iCloud space or upgrading to new plan, one can tap on the Storage heading.

Option to Delete Old Backups

Total storage is referred to the total iCloud space one has currently subscribed and if the storage available is less than 10 GB one would have difficulty in backing up the services. Apple had recently reduced the price of high capacity iCloud storage plan and to upgrade one can tap on the Change Storage plan option.

The plans are billed now on monthly basis instead of annually as earlier and the 200GB plan is appropriate if keen on having enough space to backup most of the content on the device. For the option to use iCloud Drive for increased number of documents or large content of photos, one could choose 500GB or 1TB.

The option to downgrade at any point of time is also provided if not intending in using the total storage amount. If one has upgraded recently, the iPhone or iPad, multiple iPhone or iPad backups tend to appear in iCloud’s list of backups and viewing these setting would indicate which backup file correlates to the device by showing `this iPad’ or `this iPhone’.

The user has the option to delete old backups of earlier devices to accommodate space while keeping the latest iPhone or iPad backups safe.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Redesigned YouTube App for Apple TV


Apple TV

Google recently unveiled a redesigned YouTube app for AppleTV along with a variety of new features while Apple too added four more channels including one from the popular mixed martial art league UFC to its line-up.

It is prominently a brand new YouTube app bringing the client updated with some of the various other platforms which reflects the design of other set-top box clients where the access would be easy to subscriptions as well as search functions. The YouTube app utilises the OAuth to login for security purpose instead of naïve password entry.

 However, the YouTube update would also mean that users of Apple TV would start to see ads for the first time on the platform and some of the users would be disappointed with this addition and it is impossible to opt out of the update.

The channels rolled are, for Conde Nast’s `The Scene’, `Fusion’, Dailymotion and UFC for premium subscription fighting and martial arts content. The Scene – from TheScene.com gather video content from Conde’s magazine and third party sites such as The Verge while Dailymotion seems to be more like a free-for-all video upload site a la YouTube.

No Subscription Essential to View Apple TV

None of these channels however, need a subscription to view on Apple TV. UFC has a pay-per-view or an annual `Fight Pass’, for a yearly subscription of $99 for mixed martial arts fans. Fusion on the other hand provides video programming for young and diverse audience with `unique mix of news, pop culture as well as satire’ and the network is a joint venture between Univision and ABCwhich is a digital news network with their focus at the millennial audience.

Dailymotion brings about most of the content from the web properties which include content from gaming network IGN to the Apple TV. The four channels and the YouTube are rolling out presently and would be appearing automatically on an Apple TV.

Apple will be highlighting the changes for the first time with a `New’ banner in the interface. Apple TV had added the new channels last in October with the addition of FYI and Feeln, which is A Beats Music app that had been added in September.

Refreshed User Interface 

Besides a refreshed user interface, the latest YouTube app also have additional functionality long missing from Apple TV incarnation and users can now subscribe to channel directly from the set-top box such as the app’s search function which uses a find-as-you-type configuration for quick searches.

With the YouTube update, Apple has now added this new content from UFC, The Scene, Fusion and Dailymotion bringing about their personalized recommendation to the latest version enabling users to browse through new content depending on their viewing history.

UFC which has been rumoured to be headed to the set-top streamer for some time now will enable viewers to access plenty of content inclusive of Pay-per-views as well as video from UFC Fight Pass. Meanwhile, The Scene brings about curated short form video content from brands which include ABC News, Epicurious, Forbes and GQ.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Apples’ – Free One Hour Coding Workshops


Hour of Code
Apple will be hosting for the second consecutive year, a free one hour coding workshops at its retail stores around the world, as part of the Hour of Code movement enabling accessible programming to children and newbies interested in building a career out of coding.

It is revealed that on Thursday 11, December, Apple will be participating in Code.org’s annual Hour of Code, conducting a free hour long coding workshops at its 446 physical locations all over the United States and though the one hour would not probably make everyone the next great app or game developer, it is aimed in helping individuals with little to zero knowledge with regards to coding enabling them to grasp the basics which could serve as a foundation for their future training, irrespective of participants opting to enrol in formal programming courses or through self-education.

This movement is the brainchild of the non-profit organisation – Code.org, as part of an initiative, encouraging girls as well as ethnic minorities to fuse some interest on the subject. According to Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, states, ` We are proud to be part of making computer science accessible to students of all ages across the world. Education is part of Apple’s DNA and we believe this is a great way to inspire kids to discover technology’.

Courage Youngsters in Coding Careers

The hour of coding is part of Code.org’s contribution to Computer Science Education Week with their focus in encouraging youngsters to develop in coding careers and as part of the week long activities, Apple has planned to host live events at its stores all over the world from December 8 – 12.

Theodore Gray, cofounder and chief creative officer of app maker, TouchPress, will be speaking in Apple’s North Michigan Avenue store, on how he got his start in computing and what inspired him to work on premium apps, like The Elements and Disney Animated while Mengting Gao and Fabian Lucas will be sharing their coding experiences with the video receipts app – The Kitchen Stories Recipe in Kurfurstendamm, Berlin.

Hideki Ogawa and Takako Horiuchi, down in Ginza, Tokyo would be talking about their start as makers on their success in Flask iOS app. Individuals interested could register through Apple’s site or visit their Apple local retail store for enquiries related to available slots.

Several Companies Holding Individual Hour of Code Programs

The workshop being a kid friendly form, children and teenagers considering taking up computer science as their career could get a head start on their careers if not already done. Several other technology companies, which include Google, Disney Interactive and Salesforce.com together with retailers like Best Buy and Target would be holding their own Hour of Code programs while Microsoft would also be involved in kid friendly Hour of Code workshops at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumberg, Illinois on Dec 8 at 4 pm and the Oakbrook Centre in Oak Brook, Illinois at 7 pm.Co-founder of Code.org, Hadi Partovi stated that the organisation is thrilled to be working with Apple for a second year hoping that the Hour of Code would continue to spark a creative fire which students could otherwise not discover.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Apple’s New iPad 2 Campaign


New iPad 2 Campaign
Apple has recently released a new iPad Air 2 campaign at the Sunday football showcasing various physical as well as software applications for the iPad Air 2. Featuring the title `Change’, the ad features a significant change in the marketing campaign of the company for its flagship tablet and is a departure from last year’s iPad Air which was focused on a single user.

Apple had previously promoted the iPad Air and iPad mini through its `Your Verse’, campaign and highlighted a single use case for the iPad in every ad of the campaign, in a particular field or discipline like mountaineering, sports training, marine biology, Bollywood choreography, music competition, travel writing and urban activism.

This new entry is not just the thinnest and lightest iPad created, but also the most powerful. From the studio to the classroom, the field to the garage, it helps individuals to identify new and improved ways to the various performances of their choice.

The original iPad when introduced four years ago set the standard for thinness and lightness and since then it has become even thinner and lighter which is due to its durable aluminium unibody. All Apple products are made from highly recyclable materials like aluminium and hence great efforts have been done to exclude harmful toxins from their components.

Colours Richer/Images Vivid & Sharper

The previous generation displays of iPads had used three separate components and iPad Air 2 has changed it all combining those three layers into only one which eliminates spaces between layers together with the internal reflectance due to those gaps.

The outcome is that the colours are richer, with great contrast while the images tend to get more vivid and sharper. The iPad Air 2 has a custom designed anti-reflective coating which reduces the glare by fifty six percent thus making it the least reflective tablet at present. Beside this, it is clearer and more readable in any kind of an environment such as office, classroom or even outdoors. Much attention is paid to the back of the iPad as it is done to the front with the anodized aluminium body of the iPad 2 which comes in three awesome metallic finishes which includes space gray, silver and gold.
Tagline `Change is in the Air’

Set to The Orwell’s - `Who Needs You’, this minute long ad which is similar to Apple’s `Dreams’ TV ad for iPhone 5s portrays a variety of instances across various settings wherein the iPad Air 2 is utilised in novel ways and the ad focuses on highlighting the device’s thinnest as well the lightness before summing with the tagline `Change is in the Air’.

Moreover the ad also promotes the webpage for the new campaign, apple.com/change and also features the iPad apps that are used in the ad which include Tayasui Sketches, AutoCAD 360, Post-it-Plus, iStopMotion for iPad, INSA’s GIF-ITI Viewer, OBD Fusion, Molecules by Theodore Gray and Animation Creator HD.

The TV ad of the new iPad Air 2 comes a couple of weeks after the release of the three TV ads for its Flagship smartphone, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus featuring the voices of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy  Fallon.

 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mozilla’s New Version of Firefox for iOS


Firefox
Mozilla is finally launching a version of Firefox and is trying browser foothold on iOS which is the operating system that powers Apple’s iPhones and iPads. According to Twitter accounts from many at the meeting, Vice President, Johnathan Nightingale of Firefox at Mozilla informed the Mozilla community members at the non-profit organizations’ Mozlandia event in Portland, about the idea.

 Lukas Blakk, Mozilla Release Manager stated that they need to be where their users were and hence they are going to get Firefox on iOS, probably relating an account of Nightingale’s speech in a tweet that TechCrunch spotted. Mozilla’s Manager of data science, Matthew Ruttley had added his comments in his tweet stating that `Firefox for iOS! Let’s do it’, while other community members of Mozilla chimed in with their accounts with regards to the news at the event quoting Nightingale as well as Mozilla President Li Gong.

This could be a move in changing the strategic direction for Mozilla one among many as the non-profit organization attempts of new system to retain its influence in the face of challenges comprising of the mounting popularity of Google’s Chrome browser with Firefox’s light presence in the smartphone as well as tablet market wherein users tend to spend more and more of their computing activities.

Mozilla’s Mission

Mozilla’s mission, a decade ago was to overtake the dominance of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and the top priority now is to bring an openness to the present to what the organisation envisages as the `jails’ of iOS and Android. Junior, a browser for iOS was showed by Mozilla in 2012 but the outcome of it did not bear much result and then in 2013, Mozilla decided that it would not build Firefox for iOS due to objections to the limits that Apple had placed on third party browsers.

The presence on smartphones as well as tablets is vital for Mozilla’s effort in remaining relevant in the present computing world and Firefox seems to be a significant presence on the Web and in charting standards which make the Web a viable competitor to Android, iOS, Windows and OS X though its share is dropping. As per figures from analytics firm StatCounter, Firefox has dropped to 11.6 percent of usage as a share of desktop and mobile browsing while on tablets and smartphones, its share of usage in November was around 0.5 percent.

Improvement for Third Party Browser Developers

Mozilla has diversified out to mobile with versions of Firefox for Google’s Android OS together with its own Firefox OS for lower end smartphones though Firefox for iOS is different which is due to the fact that Apple does not allow other browser engine on its mobile OS on the contrary third party browsers like Google’s Chrome together with Opera’s Coast, utilise Apple supplied engine.

As for Mozilla it is important since it undercuts the organization’s mission to use Firefox to encourage the use of open Web technologies rather than technologies locked to a single company’s computing platform. However, Apple has made improvement in conditions for third party browser developers wherein the browser engine supplies faster running of Web based JavaScript programs which mean that the third party browsers can be a better match to Safari’s own performance on iOS.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Apple’s Changes in Policies on Notification Centre Widgets


Draft
Apple seems to have ordered another developer to make changes in its nebulous policies on Notification Centre widgets, informing Drafts developer Agile Tortoise that the app’s widget is not permitted to be used in creating drafts or opening the Drafts app.

Developer Greg Pierce in his tweet stated that he has been asked to re-submit Draft without functionality for opening the app or creating a new one, which essentially removes all the features of the Notification Centre Widget. Earlier the indecisiveness of the company for widgets led to an app known as `Launcher being pulled from sale’, with a similar fate met by the popular pCalc widget till Apple changed it. The widget on focus today was created by Pierce which is part of the popular note taking app `Draft’, enabling users to create new entries in the app.

This is done by pressing a button in the widget that opens the app’s composer. The introduction of Drafts 4 in October is an update to the existing Draft app presently and helps users to post a variety of social networks as well as perform various actions with notes such as the creating of emails, messages, calendar event and much more.

Drafts Faced Confusing Restrictions and Rules

The Draft app widget like other several apps having Notification Centre app permits users to open the app directly creating new draft or draft from the clipboard. In fact it has very little function in the Notification Centre besides opening up the Drafts app which earlier was like an acceptable use of the Notification Centre.

Pierce states that he was told that the present view in the Notification Centre is `for information presentation only’, which could be a point of view in ruling out the almost all Notification Center apps and he draws the attention that there are many similar apps which offer the same widget function as Drafts, like the Evernote which enables users to launch the Evernote app together with new notes besides other content within the Notification Center.

Draft is one of the numbers of apps,which has come across confusing restrictions and rules that were delivered by the review team of Apple’s app. Apple had told pCalc developers in October that calculator functions were not allowed in the Notification Center before a change in decision a few weeks ago, informing Neato to remove the note taking functions from its Notification Center widget.

Apple’s App Extensive Guidelines

The Extension Guidelines of Apple’s App recommends that the Notification Widgets should have a `simple streamlined UI’ with `limited number of interactive items’, though the vague language could lead the developers in spending time and effort in the creation of a variety of useful functions which are eventually not permitted since Apple seems to refine how it needs the Notification Center to be used.

It is not known why Drafts has been removed out by Apple’s app review team since it offer similar functions as other widgets. However if the Draft widget is singled out, there is a possibility that several other similar widgets would be in danger of getting into violation of the Notification Center widget rules.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Apple’s Patent – Fall Protection System


Fall Protection System
Apple was recently awarded a patent which covered the futuristic iPhone protection system that can detect when a phone is dropped, calculate an estimated point of impact and move its centre of gravity to avoid striking sensitive components.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted the patent for `protective mechanism for an electronic device’, that seems to protect expensive computer hardware from dropping accidentally which has become a familiar problem with the latest slim iPhone designs.

Apple’s latest invention not only estimates where a device may make an impact but also actively shifts the unit’s centre of gravity in order to protect the sensitive components such as glass screens as well as the camera and save them from being damaged.

Apples’ system relies on sensors as mentioned in the patent text to physically monitor device activity and positioning with accepted embodiment leverage on-board accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS that are incorporated already in the new iPhone and iPad models though more advanced designs would be needed for ultrasonic sensors besides other things.

Generated by Positioning of Sensors

The data that is fed in is generated by the positioning of sensors to a central processing unit enabling quick and accurate device positioning determination as it applies to a state of free-fall and when such a situation is detected, the sensors and processor function together measuring the speed of the decent, the time to impact, together with orientation and other metrics.

The processor could then conduct an analysis of the fall by taking the gathered data into consideration against embedded information stored in the device memory. On completion of the calculation, the system then activates a protective mechanism designed to re-position the device in mid-air in order to provide the least damage to the fragile component.

The main example utilises a motor accompanied with eccentric mass which enables to impart a force on a falling phone’s rotational axis thus causing it to land on a preferred site like on its side or back.

Vibrator motor – Adequate to change Angular Momentum

The vibration motor of an iPhone is adequate to change the angular momentum of an iPhone spinning in a free-fall and based on the rate of the spin, angular velocity, time to impact together with other factors, the vibration motor could be powered at higher rotational speed than the normal, thereby effectively managing the momentum and eventually landing angle.

The recent iPhone 6 and 6 Plus of Apple incorporated bespoke linear oscillating motors which do not use eccentrically connected rotational mass while previous model did which means that the patent can easily be worked in to an upcoming variant.

Other exotic embodiments comprises of internal mechanisms which latch on or jettison headphone cables in a free-fall incident while some others involve motors capable of extending and retracting foils in the air or aerodynamic surfaces in controlling landings.

Moving ahead into unconventional are miniaturized gas canister which exert thrust forces in slowing down a fall and moving the weights along an internal track through linear motors. The official patent credit has been granted to Nicholas V King and Fletcher Rothkopf as its inventors.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Apple Watch Effect - Fitness Band Market Likely to Shrink

Fitness Band
According to reports released recently by Canalys and Gartner, top positions in the smart-watch market have been claimed by Samsung and Motorola while other wearable market would probably shrink by next year. The wearable device market is still in its development stage with over 17 million wearable bands forecast to be shipped.

As per Canalys figures it shows about five million smart watches together with smart bands were shipped in the third quarter and despite a 37% increase on quarter on quarter sales, Android Wear devices made up 15% of the market while Samsung claimed 52% more than Motorola and Pebble on smart watch market, including others like LG and Sony, claiming 21%. Fitbit and Jawbone seems to be the two largest fitness band makers at the moment.

 Gartner on the other hand has published figures which suggest that the total wearable market which includes wristbands, chest straps, and smart-watches together with other fitness monitors could shrink by next year. The figures forecast the overall market shrinking from 70.2 million units in 2014 to 58.1 million in 2015 prior to rebounding in 2016 to 91.3 million units, inspite of the release of the Apple Watch. As per the forecast smart watches growth, from 18 million in 2014 to 21 million in 2015 would be small than the slump sales for fitness band which was 20 million to 17 million while other fitness monitors from 20 million to 12 million.

Temporary Dip 

Though Apple Watch will not be launched till early 2015, it is already expected to cause a reason for worry for its rivals. Fitness wearbles shipped next year is likely to drop according to Gartner and the segment include smart wristbands like the Jawbone Up, sports watches, smart garments, heart rate monitor chest straps and other fitness monitor.

The tech research firm as attributed the declines known as a `temporary dip’, to `an overlap in functionality between smart wristbands, and other fitness monitors as well as smart-watches. Apple Watch in particular which has several health features will also affect sales of the fitness connected devices.

Gartner analyst Angela McIntyre informed CNET that half of the consumers who have purchased fitness wristband would buy smart-watch instead next year. She also noted that the companies will ship 40 million smart-watches by 2015 quadruple the number which is expected this year. She further added that Apple has the capabilities to make up as much as half of the shipment volume by next year.

Hold up Purchase of Rival Devices 

In September Apple had made it first progress in the hot smart-watch market by presenting its three designs for its first wearable namely the stainless steel cased Apple Watch, the aluminium cased apple Watch Sport and the 18 karat gold cased Apple Watch edition and the smart-watches would go on sale early next year with a price of $349. Moreover the devices must be accompanied with an iPhone, and are compatible with the iPhone 5 5C, 5S, 6 and 6 Plus.

Apple managed to accomplish two things by announcing its first smart-watch more than a quarter before it availability for purchase. It first put the rumour to rest by informing and showing what is expected from its wearable and secondly, Tim Cook, CEO and his team led by design chief Jony Ive, got the would be smart-watch buyers to hold off the purchase of rival device from Samsung, LG, Motorola together with other competitors from trying to grab a share of the emerging market for these smart devices.

Apple Macs with Latest Graphic and Processor Technology


Graphic card
Apple Macs are some of the most advanced computers in the market with the latest graphic and processor technology. Macs are excellent for gaming and besides Apple Store, there are a variety of collection of games on several high profile publishers who are committed to Mac gaming. When gaming on Mac one could check on all the Apple Mac models and opt for the one which is the best for playing games.

Choosing a Mac with the best graphics card is not a difficult task and it is the new Mac Pro with Dual AMD FireProD500 with 3GB GDDR5 which makes a good option. One can also upgrade the graphics cards to Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 5GB of GDDR VRAM with additional cost if interested in enhancing the game. MacBook Air, Mac mini, MacBook Pro – non Retina and Entry level iMac all use Intel HD Graphics cards rather than Intel Iris or NVIDIA. To get the right Mac for gaming also depends on other internal hardware besides the graphics card. Apple utilises two main forms of Intel chip in its computers namely the Intel i5 and Intel i7 with clock speed between 2.7 GHz and 3.4 GHz which are sold in either dual core or quad core configuration.

High End Video Card Graphics Performance

An interesting fact with regards to the game is that it does not depend on cores as raw processing power and most of the games do not take advantage on the availability of the cores but the CPU speed seems to be the important factor. Playing the new video games has a heavy demand on the computer in terms of graphics as well as processor performance and hence it is important to get a Mac with sufficient power.

Besides this, speed being the main factor across the boards, it is essential to have a fast hard drive or Flash Drive which is also known as solid state drive or SSD. Due to its visual medium, excellent display is also essential. Video games tend to have the latest in high end video card graphics performance and Apple utilises three varieties of graphic cards in its computers: Intel HD Graphic 4000/5000, Intel Iris/Iris Pro Graphics, NVDIA GeForce GT750M & GT750M, Dual AMD FirePro D300 and D500.

Intel HD Graphics 4000/5000 – Integrated Graphic Card

While the Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 5000 tend to be an integrated graphic card, NVIDIA card which is found in the higher end MacBook Pros and iMacs seems to be discreet together with the Dual AMD FirePro in the Mac Pro which means that the graphics card is independent from the main CPU. Hence it tends to act as a second card instead of drawing power from the main CPU and for playing the latest high end games one could opt for a Mac with a NVIDIA GeForce graphics card.

Once the Mac is chosen, one needs to know where to get the games and which ones to purchase which are direct from the Mac App Store and seems to have some of the best selection of various forms of options. Another option to buy games is from Steam which is an online portal developed and managed by Valve while Feral Interactive also distributes several Mac games having some of the most recent releases available.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Apps on App Store No Longer `Free’


itunes
Currently in the app purchasing world `free’, is not always free. Apple and Google have come under the scanner from the Federal Trade Commission – FTC, for in-app purchases in their respective app stores and Apple has settled a lawsuit earlier this year, stemming from children racking up large iTunes bills with in-app purchases on games.

Apple has ended up with over $32.5 million in refunds to customers in settling the matter and is now taking an additional step is bringing about an awareness among customers that `free’ app especially games is a rare occurrence. The company is not listing apps with a `Free’ label any more but has changed it to `GET’.

The Apps that have in-app purchases available will now be `GET’ with small subtext which states `In-App Purchases’. Apple is not marketing apps as `Free’, on its App Store because of the pressure coming from the EU on the issue of in-app purchases and has changed its way of labelling apps in its iTunes as well as Mac App Stores, in a ways that the apps which have no cost to download, are no longer marketed as `Free’.On the contrary, when a user navigates to an app’s page, they are presented with a new `Get’ button which enables them to download the app to their device without any charges.

Free Download – Not Free to Play

With no public explanation made,Apple has gone ahead and made this change, though the re-labelling is due to the European Commission pressure which had warned Apple earlier this year that they could face legal action if their app policies were not changed.

According to the commission, the problem is that games labelled as `free’, could misled consumers on the true cost involved and should not directly market in-app purchases to children or pressure them in asking their parent to fund for the additional features.

Their main concern was for children racking huge bills by making in-app purchases within the apps that were labelled as `free download’ though not free to play. The Commission had stated that more than half of online games in the EU have been advertised as `free’ with many hidden costs with purchases which automatically debits from a registered credit card. Apple does not seem to be the first company to make this change in its approach to market apps which are free to download.

`Get’ Them But Not `Free’

Google too, earlier this year, removed the `Free’ labels from the Play Store, renamed `Top Free Apps’ as `Top Apps and `Top Free Games’ as `Top Games’, though the changes were applicable only in EU countries.

Apple seems to decide on not making an EU specific change but has re-labelled all the free apps across its App Stores with `Get’ buttons irrespective of whether they offer in-app purchases or not which was probably easier than making regional adjustment and is also a little honest about the nature of some of the apps like `You could get them but they may not be free.

Apple’s Top Charts sections at this point of time tend to be unaffected and there are still Top Free Apps as well as Top Paid Apps which are listed in both the stores.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Apple’s Latest Virtual Reality Project


Apple Virtual Reality Project
Apple is known for developing technologies and is reportedly working on project that is related to virtual reality which has become obvious with the job listing posted for a virtual reality developer. Apple has focused on many tech markets right from phones to music players together with its upcoming smart watch and is now heading towards the world of virtual reality.

For the creation of the virtual world, advanced technologies are essential and the very basis of virtual reality is a combination of software, hardware together with electronics. Earlier this year, Apple had filed for a patent application connected to head mounted virtual reality goggles, and many are speculating on this issue.

According to the listing, the app engineer would be designing the `next generation software experience, creating high performance apps which would integrate with Virtual Reality system, for prototyping and user testing’ and would be working with the team in the firm’s Santa Clara Valley office. The tech company while developing technologies preferred a slow and steady way in being the first in its endeavor.

Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR

The iPhone was not the first smartphone though as Tim Cook, Apple CEO said, was the first modern smartphone. Apple Pay also was not the first payment platform but several believed that it could be the technology which will eventually bring about mobile payments to the mainstream. It is not clear whether the company is planning to develop hardware and software and an Apple headset would compete with Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR.

The patent which was published in December suggested that the firm did not have ambitions for a head mounted display and the patent first filed in May 2007.stated `goggle system for providing a personal media viewing experience to a user’.

Apple informed that the goggle system may resemble ski or motorcycle goggles and for enhancing the comfort of the user, the goggle system would include breathable components’, which included breathable foam which would rest against the user’s face.

Recent VR Firm Jaunt Release

VR firm Jaunt recently released its first cinematic virtual reality release a gig of Paul McCartney in San Francisco which was filmed during summer where the Jaunt camera system recorded simultaneously a 3D stereoscopic video in all directions coupled with 3D sound field microphones.. The computational photography algorithms was used by the team to process the recorded video by adjusting the angles and colours to make it appear more immersive and the footage is now made available as a free app from Google Play.

 It works with Google’s Cardboard and the gig will be available for Samsung’s Gear VR as well as Oculus Rift very soon. Apple could use its experience with iTunes if intending to enter the cinematic CR market as opposed the gaming VR industry. Right now it is not clear on what exactly Apple is trying to work on. Companies tend to file patents all the time but sometimes do not end in accomplishing it though it is clear that Apple is getting serious on its next venture on virtual reality and we need to wait and watch to know the outcome of their plans.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How To Make The Most Of Apple's Healthkit In iOS 8 With Compatible Apps


HealthKit
HealthKit Tracked Nutrition/Calories Burned/Activity/Biometric Readings

Before the debut of Apple’s HealthKit in iOS 8, individuals managed their fitness data through multiple apps, third party cloud services and web tools wherein some of the platforms such as Fitbit incorporated calorie counting as well as tracked activity into a universal solution, though it fragmented and worked with the company’s hardware.

HealthKit together with the Health app enabled users to track nutrition, calories burned, activity as well as took biometric readings through various apps which could be seen in one place. It has the potential of being used as a wellness and fitness tool with data on diet, exercise, activity and sleep from different sources together with serious medical tool to manage and monitor chronic conditions.

It could be considered as a dynamic platform which works behind the scenes providing a personalized experience to iPhone user, utilising the data from iPhone’s M7 or M8 sensor, enabling the user to view the health data in a single app. Being a medical tool, the HealthKit provides great values and can aggregate data from a various app or connected medical devices such as glucose meter or blood pressure cuff and consumer oriented fitness devices.

Platform More of Data Store on iPhone

Moreover it also provides the potential to automate the recording of medical metrics and if one is using connected devices, it maintains the accuracy of the data since it goes straight from the device to the associated app on the iPhone and to the HealthKit. Another possibility is that if your physician’s office tends to use electronic records system, which supports HealthKit, the data automatically is entered in the medical records.

The platform is more than a data store on the iPhone and apps can use the information from it or write information into it. There are some apps that do both though there are others which only retrieve data or input data.

The actual processing of the HealthKit data like comparing calories eaten together with the number of it burned through the course of the day or obtaining data from a fitness tracker or other devices, compiling information and then sending to the doctor is done by the third party app which sends the information to and retrieve it from HealthKit.

Medical ID Feature to Record Medical Information 

The Health app is pre-installed on the iPhone 4s or the latest running iOS 8 and helps to view all HealthKit data from all HealthKit compatible app. Besides this it also enables the user to manually edit data and includes a dashboard to visualize the data. It also includes a Medical ID feature which enables the user to record essential medical information, medications, conditions, allergies as well as emergency contacts.

The person has the option of choosing to have a Medical ID available from the phone’s lock screen in an emergency when unable to provide the same which can be accessed on tapping the Emergency button when prompted to enter a passcode and also enable the iPhone to make 911 calls when it is locked.
HealthKit is built to respect user privacy in part with permissions model which enables user to see what apps can access the data and has also barred developers from selling HealthKit information to data brokers for any purpose besides medical research, and in such a case, the data should be made anonymous.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Apple Just Revealed Lots More Info About the Apple Watch


Apple Watch
Apple Reveals Details on Wearable

Apple, who had refrained from disclosure on details about its first wearable, has now revealed some of the secrets of the apple Watch. The company which will be launching the Apple Watch early next year has revealed a few details about the device when it pushed out WatchKit.

 The detailed software development kit – SDK aims at many key aspects of the wearable which comprises of resolutions, screen sizes and the overall app experience of the Watch. The new set of tools has plenty of specification on the function of the Apple Watch once it eventually comes to the stores.

The most interesting details is the resolution of the Apple Watch where the smaller 38mm watch would be offering a 272 x 340 pixel display while the slightly larger 42mm option offers a resolution of 312 x 390 pixels which by comparison, the Moto 360 offers a 1.56 inch screen with a 320 x 290 pixel resolution and LG’s G Watch R provides a 1.3 inch 320 x 320 pixel display.

It also revealed how the Apple Watch would work and obtaining quick notification on the device would be simple as raising the wrist for short look though if one keeps the wrist up for a longer time, it would automatically get more information from any app which would arrest your attention which according to Apple is termed as `long look’. This offers developers more option for customization.

Smartwatch an Extension of a Smartphone 

According to the company, `a Watch app complements an iOS app and does not replace it’. The iPhone is a requirement if one intends to use what are Apple Watch’s most advanced apps which will essentially run on iPhone and the smartwatch would be an extension of a smartphone.

All are aware of the two sizes of Apple Watch which is their heights and not width and now are aware of their display resolutions. Apple states that these are good resolutions which can be labelled as Retina display and are said to be a feature of the watch though it is not known how sharp the displays would be.

Some are of the opinion that the Apple Watch screen clarity would be on the level of the iPhone 5, which has a more hi-res display than the iPads and MacBook Pros and in such a case, Apple Watch would have a better display than the prevailing smartwatch market leader, Samsung Gear S.

The Short Look/The Long Look

Apple has set the interface of Apple Watch like a website instead of a smartphone which would make it easier for the developer to adjust their apps to function on larger or smaller watches occasionally later on.

As per Apple’s developers site, San Francisco, the new font was `designed specifically for legibility on Apple Watch’ and the sans serif font seems a bit like Arial and is meant to utilise less horizontal space. Apple has provided users with a preview of how notifications would work during the unveiling of the Apple Watch, though we are aware of more details now.

There are two forms of looks – the Short Look which provides a brief discreet, minimal amount of information when the wrist is raised and the Long Look which provides more information if one taps on a Short Look notification or keep the wrist held up.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple’s Two Lens System – Next Generation iPhone


Apple’s Two Lens System
At the Daring Fireball’s John Grubers’ most recent episode of The Talk Show podcast, it was revealed that Apple has been working on a two lens system, incorporating it in the next generation iPhone. Gruber states that `the specific thing heard is that next year’s camera would be the biggest camera jump ever and that it is not known what sense it makes but it is some kind of weird two lens system where the back camera uses two lenses and somehow takes it up into DSLR quality imagery’.

The purpose of utilising multi lens imaging system in making up for a smartphone’s small form is the recent development. HTC had unveiled in March, the One M8 with the `Duo camera’ setup using a secondary imaging sensor for depth data. Corephotonics, an amazing start-up which was profiled by Engadget earlier this year has a different approach.

It developed a dual lens module along with two distinct focal lengths, negating effectively, resolution drops connected with digital zooming. While one camera is used for wide shots, the other is used for close-ups and as an additional bonus; the system also provides spatial data for a 3D imagery due to its lens offset.

The Corephotonics System – Two Lenses 

The Corephotonics system, with two lenses, compares images which are taken from both, opting for the clearest pixels for the best overall photo and utilising a lens which only snaps black and white images thereby improving fidelity and enabling additional light. With little information on Apple’s actual progress for its next generation iPhone, it is difficult to say whether a two lens system would be working in the same way as mentioned.

 Nonetheless, the two lens cameras are a new frontier which manufacturers are exploring to improve image quality keeping the devices slim.The most popular camera choice on image sharing site Flickr has been Apple’s iPhone for a long time since Apple has embraced iPhone photography. Individual new iPhone iteration includes tremendous camera improvements with its `S’ updates bringing about the tremendous improvements.

For instance, with the iPhone 4s, Apple introduced an improved 8 megapixel camera which showed a large jump in quality of the iPhone 4 camera and with the iPhone 5s, the company included an improved sensor an aperture of f/2.2, which is a True Tone flash feature with better autofocus along with a new `Slo-Mo’ mode.

Impressive Camera Improvements – iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

The company has also introduced some impressive camera improvements in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus which include a new Apple designed image signal processor along with Focus Pixels though there is a possibility that even better camera improvements are being saved for the introduction of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in the year 2015.

Recently, Apple supplier Sony had unveiled a new 21 megapixel `stacked’ sensor together with ultra-fast autofocus and 4K HDR video and while the 21 megapixel version would probably make its way in iOS devices, there is a possibility that Apple’s next iPhone would be incorporated in the upcoming Sony 16 megapixel sensor which would include the same features.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Next iPhone Killer Camera Will Come with 21MP Image Sensor Made by Sony


Sony
Apple Supplier Sony Unveils Updated Stacked CMOS Image Sensor


AppleSupplier Sony, has recently unveiled an updated stacked CMOS image sensor for smartphones, featuring 32 effective megapixels, on-chip phase detection AF and 4K video recording. The chip is said to be 1/2.4 inch type with square pixels which measures about 1.12um x 1.12um each with video of up to 4K resolution available with HDR function which is also available in still mode. Sony’s previously introduced HDR movie feature now makes its way to this chip.

The sensor utilises a backside illuminated configuration which was earlier introduced by Sony known as Exmor RS with layer of signal processing circuits beneath a layer of backside illuminated pixels and boasts of a total of about 192 AF points with signal processing which is incorporated in the image sensor.

The on-sensor phase tends to detect autofocus and processing eventually resulting in faster and a much accurate autofocus together with improved subject tracking. A mention is also made in a press release of another upcoming sensor, which is a 16 MP stacked sensor having phase-detection AF which would be coming up by the end of the next fiscal year and the IMX230 unit would be shipped by April 2015.


IMX230 Sensor – First CMO Sensor

Apple has been using Sony sensors for its iPhone and iPads and hence it is likely that Sony’s stacked sensor technology would be used in the iOS devices in the near future. The 21 megapixel Exmor RS IMX230 sensor is created with a chip which stacks a pixel section with a circuit section on top of one another enabling Sony to build improvements in each aspect of the individual sensor resulting in dramatic improvements.

Since 2012, Sony has been stacking sensor technology though the latest sensor would be introducing new autofocus together with HDR technology. As per Sony, the IMX230 sensor is the first CMO sensor for smartphone which has plane detection autofocus signal processing providing a much faster tracking of moving subjects which occur instantaneously.

The sensor which supports a full 21 megapixel HDR images and 4K HDR video results in improved lighting in high contrast scenes and the High Dynamic Range – HDR imaging captures images with different exposures together into one image which improves the detail and colour.


Sony’s Plan for 16 Megapixels Version of IMX230


High megapixel sensors are not used by Apple in its iPhone or iPad and Sony has plans in producing a 16 megapixel version of the IMX230 by 2015 which would be just right for iOS devices. There is a possibility that Apple would use the 16 megapixel version of the IMX230 in the 2015 iPhone 6s as well as 6s Plus though it could also be possible that the sensor would not be used till 2016 or later on since Apple tends to utilise older sensors in its devices.

The sensor used in the present iPhone and iPad is not known though camera experts are of the opinion that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have the Sony ISX014 sensor which is an 8 megapixel sensor that was first introduced by Sony in October 2012.








Monday, November 17, 2014

Apple Adds UnionPay Payment Option for App Store Customers



UnionPay
Apple has recently announced that App Store has now linked UnionPay debitor credit cards to Apple IDs as payment option for customers in China.

UnionPay in China is the most popular payment card which will provide App Store customers with the option of simple as well as a convenient way of purchasing their apps and customers could link their Apple ID with UnionPay debit or credit card for purchases.

This is significant for both Apple as well as Chinese customers due to the fact the China UnionPay, which is a bankcard network approved by China’s State Council together with the People’s Bank of China have a virtual monopoly and has issued over 4.5 billion cards in China which is available in all cities as well as in overseas markets.

According to recent fourth quarter reports, China with an estimated 100 million iPhone users is Apple’s most important growth market wherein the company generated around $29.8 billion or16% in net sales in the year 2014. Apple’s senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, states that `the ability to buy apps and make purchases with UnionPay cards has been one of the most requested features from customers in China, which is already the second largest market for app downloads and provision is made for users with an incredible convenient way to purchase favourite app with just one tap’.

UnionPay – Bankcard Network 

China UnionPay, as a bankcard network, functions as China’s national inter-bank clearing as well as settlement system, develops UnionPay card acceptance network worldwide, promotes issuance and usage of the UnionPay card and other innovative payment option in order to provide quality, safe payment and efficient services to cardholders.

This network has been extended to all cities as well as rural areas in China. Beside China UnionPay has also helped UnionPay card acceptance in more than 140 countries as well as regions by extensive cooperation with over 400 institutions across the globe. It is also the only interbank network in mainland China which is linked to ATMs.

As per Government regulations, all ATMs and Chines merchants need to use UnionPay in order to process payments in renminbi and foreign credit card companies such as American Express, MasterCard, Visa, which pays UnionPay, a fee for every transaction. Earlier, customers would make payments on the App Store through their telecom operation such as ChinaMobile, through prepayments, or with their credit cards.

Payment Option for the App Store 

The link between UnionPay and Apple seems to be interesting since it comes after reports that Alipay founded by the Alibaba Group with Apple Pay could be considering in striking a partnership and Alipay-Apple tie up could also provide the Cupertino based company a good leverage against UnionPay which is slow in striking a deal with Apple though rumours have been surfacing that Apple had reached a deal with Chine UnionPay which would probably enable users to make payment with what is now known as Apple Pay. However it has not materialized yet but Apple will now be adding UnionPay as a payment choice for the App Store.

Four Things to Know When Buying a Second-Hand Mac


Mac
Mac computers have many benefits over PC brands, not to mention the fact that there are plenty of fun things you can do with them. If you are looking for a new Mac computer, chances are you are aware that they can be very expensive. We previously did a piece on buying a Mac for Christmas.

One way to get your high-quality computer on a budget is to buy it second-hand. There are a few different ways to buy a second-hand Mac: direct from Apple, retail shops, and individuals. However, buying a used computer is can be cause for concern, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for. Keep in mind these four tips when you are shopping for you second-hand Mac.

The Exact Specs

When shopping for used computers online on Gumtree, or a refurbished machine somewhere like The Bookyard, it is very important that you pay attention to the descriptions. Vague listings aren’t necessarily a red flag, but the users that post the exact specs of the computer are much more reliable.

If you see a well-priced Mac but the description is not very enlightening, it may be worth it to email the owner and ask about the details. The most important things to know are the year it was made, the RAM memory capacity, hard drive storage, and information about the Mac’s graphics card. You can look these things up yourself if you have your hands on the actual Mac by clicking the Apple icon, clicking on “About this Mac”, and finally clicking on “More Info”. The box that pops up will lists all of these specs and more.

The Screen Condition 

Be sure to look closely at the screen of your potential purchase. Turn on the computer so that the light illuminates any potential cracks or dead pixels. If you have no way to check out the computer for yourself, ask for pictures that show the screen illuminated. If the screen is damaged, you will be able to tell just by looking at it. Replacing a screen can be very expensive, so unless you are getting a really great deal overall, you should seriously consider moving on to another Mac.

Quality of the Body

Whether you are buying a laptop or a desktop Mac, the body surrounding the screen can be indicative of the condition of the computer. Inspect every part of the metal body, looking for dents, scratches, or any other imperfections. Usually, small imperfections are not a problem unless you prefer aesthetically for your Mac to be pristine. In fact, little issues like this can often mean a deep discount. However, anything more than one or two tiny blemishes might spell out issues later and poor care of the machine in the past.

If it Can Be Charged 

Some people try to get rid of their Mac because it has lost the ability to hold a charge. Don’t fall into this trap! Always check for a good charging speed before buying. It’s possible that the issue could lie in the charger itself, which is a cheap fix. But you always want to be sure that it isn’t the actual computer itself.

By checking these things you are far more likely to end up with a good deal than a dud.

Apple Patent Reveals Method of Attaching Sapphire Cover Glass to iPhone


Apple
Apple’s Patent – Ceramic Cover for Electronic Device Housing

It has been reported that though Apple had not introduced the rumoured sapphire displays with its updated iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones the company is working hard in bringing about a solution for the future according to the latest Apple patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which describes methods of attaching sapphire cover glass to the iPhone.

 Though the patent focuses on attachment methods, it does not indicate potential use of sapphire in electronic devices. The patent describes the use of either sapphire or zirconia which has been titled `Ceramic cover for electronic device housing’, both in crystalline type, to obtain appropriate transparency levels.

 Past inventions of Apple’s dealing with sapphire usually dealt with material production, and the ceramic cover housing patent explains in details the methods of fixing the ceramic cover housing on the handset indicating that instead of using adhesives which add extra thickness to the overall build, an attachment like mortise and tenon joints could be used.

In a single embodiment , the laser ablation technique has been adopted to carve out recesses in a sheet of sapphire which is specified between -.3 mm and 1.0 mm in thickness and a jet of fluid enables it to cool the material carrying away ablated ceramic which could resettle into a freshly cut recess.

Need for Specific Embodiments

Fixing the sapphire to the device housing requires Apple’s usual shock resistant thermoplastic peripheral side members, the thin black buffer zone which is seen on all iPhone and iPad model. Specific embodiments is needed for the peripheral material to hold the housing, the similar design seen in iPhone 6 while others look to cover areas which would remain exposed like the iPhone 4 and 4S.

The sapphire cover has dovetail recesses ablated into it while corresponding angled tenons are integrated together with the peripheral side member and when joined or moulded together in some cases, the components tend to create mechanical interlock providing substantial gap free construction. The peripheral member is made of a ceramic strengthen composite probably using ceramic fibres or particles mixed with polymers wherein these peripheral bodies could be disposed in one or two layers.

Patent Application – Inventor, Kelvin Kwong

Detailed in its patent filing the tech giant company is sinking assets in its sapphire display cover for its flagship smartphone product line. As per the invention, the use of sapphire or zirconia in crystalline form is used though Apple is likely to use sapphire, keeping in mind bet on the material with failed $578 million investment in GT Advanced.

The patent also gives further details with regards to alternative processes in achieving largely a similar design together with moulding techniques, secondary designs and exemplary implementation. Credits of its sapphire iPhone cover patent application go to Kelvin Kwong as its inventor which was first filed for in May 2013.

As with all Apple’s patents and it application, it is yet unknown when and if the said technology indicated would be making its way to the final product. We could wait for more updates coming from these quarters.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beats Announces First Headphones under Apple


Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones
Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones 

Beats has recently announced its first new product, Solo2 wireless headphones, since its acquisition by Apple. Apple has agreed to acquire the acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beat Music and Beats Electronic, which produces the popular Beats headphones, audio software and speakers.

Beats co-founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre, as part of the acquisition, would be joining Apple who is acquiring the two companies for a sum of $3billion. The purchase price consists of around $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over a period of time.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO comments that `music is an important part of life and holds a special place in the hearts at Apple and hence they have been investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary team in order to continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world’.

 Jimmy Iovine adds that `he had always known in his heart that Beats belong with Apple and the idea started when the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, songwriters, artist and the music industry is something special’.

Largest Acquisition made by Apple

The deal is the largest acquisition ever made by Apple. Beats Electronics is the maker of a wide range of audio equipment, car audio systems besides headphones, audio software and the company is well known for its brand of high end consumer headphones and speakers.

The company had relationship with Monster and HTC earlier and its headphones as well as portable speaker line had a great presence at Apple Retail Store locations. In late January, the company had also launched a music subscription services to compete with Spotify, Pandora as well as Apple’s iTunes Radio though the service is young, had reportedly added about 200,00 subscribers since its launch.

The headphone can be connected to any chosen music player through Bluetooth and would be going on sale this month in the US for about $300 in black/blue, white and red. Besides the wireless capabilities, the updated headphones do not differ radically from Solo2 on ear headphones, joining Powerbeats2 earbuds and Studio headphones in Beats wireless products.

Headphones with Built-in Rechargeable Battery

The headphones come with a built-in rechargeable battery which can run up to 12 hours of wireless playback time and should one forget to charge the headphones or the battery goes off, all that is needed is to just plug in the RemoteTalk cable and use the pair wired while continuing with your music.

Moreover Users can receive calls, skip songs as well as adjust the volume levels with the use of the `b’ button and volume buttons on the ear cup, expecting good hours of wireless playback, according to the company. Beats President, Luke Wood has commented that `they are taking the most popular headphone in the world and adding wireless Bluetooth functions to it.

The Solo2 is a world class headphone lauded for its acoustics and it joins the growing family of successful wireless products’. It was reported that Apple has officially closed on the deal to purchase Beat Electronic for $3B where Apple had announced the deal in an official press release.