Saturday, November 29, 2014

Apps on App Store No Longer `Free’

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 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

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

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 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’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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Project Management Software from a Reputable Company: Project Management, rather a smooth ride!

Comindware Project is a fresh new addition to the crowded market of Project Manager Software products vowing to take forward the benchmark, for such software, to a whole new level. The software by Comindware chiefly focuses on collaboration and features that will help you keep yourself organized, and with its own unique design it has got the look and feel of a winner.

Whenever someone considers purchasing project-managing software, they expect the product to be the best way to achieve their project management plan, tracking, reporting and collaborating. It is that dynamic software that one could look out for to serve their purposes right from the time of your WBS creation – identifying your tasks and subtasks - allocation and management of resources – defining priorities including task viewing pinned to a predictive Grantt Chart. You can export reports that can be used for client updates as well as invoicing depending on the employee time spent.

Ease of Implementation 

The cloud-based product for trials is easy to access and appears seamlessly without bugs. You will get tutorials available that will help you get familiar with this software. There are discounts offered on purchasing the product, like - 5 percent off on your first month’s payment or 10 percent discount on your first year’s payment.


You are able to set up as many tasks as you want, but when you assign to anyone other than yourself, you will need to add him/her to your list of resources. Besides creating tasks, you can add deadlines to it as well and assign a person who will finish the task in future.

About People 

You can easily track your resources by just clicking on the People option in the software menu and select from the names of the people appearing in the list generated. Project management app-Comindware Project takes care of your resource allocation so that nobody is over scheduled and shows who are available to be assigned a task.

Charts and Teamwork 

A project manager software is always incomplete without a Grantt Chart and this version of the project software has not failed to provide that.

Optimized Team Collaboration 

This product is able to facilitate the most exciting aspect of getting your whole team involved in a particular task. It boosts employee engagement that automatically guarantees you of an increased productivity. Every person connected on a project will be able to communicate in a single room. You can even create private rooms in case you and your deputy need to exchange some private communications.


The company’s focus on collaboration reflects in the company’s pricing of such a highly recommended product and this company has a natural feel for the logistical parts of any project manager’s map. You can purchase it for about $300 a year for one user only. The prices decrease on addition of licenses. It would be really great thing if you buy it for 10 managers as your designated users will be able to use the product as well. All these features position this software as an affordable team collaborative project management software. The on premise product costs slightly more reasonably.

Swype Keyboard – Updated Version of App

Nuance Communication, Inc. has announced that its famous Swype keyboard for iPhone, iPod and iPad touch users with iOS8 would be available now in over 20 languages. Those iPhone and iPad users preferring Swype’s iOS keyboard will find more to tap into, in the updated version of the app.

Other features also include new intuitive emoji support besides the new keyboard layouts. iPad users can access all available Swype themes and its continuous touch technology will bring about a change in the way people feed in text on the smartphone which became the top paid third party keyboard within 24 hours of its launch on the App Store.

Swype is one of the many third party keyboards which have come up since Apple opened support for them in iOS 8 and though the built-in keyboard of Apple provides predictive typing as well as other features, some of the third party keyboard provides additional functionality like gesture based type and Swype is one of them.

Version 1.1 of Swype was released recently adding a number of features and tweaks for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users and one have the option of choosing from 21 languages which include 16 new ones which are available for download.

New Keyboard Layouts

Nuance Communication. Inc., has been a leading provider of voice and language solution for all businesses as well as consumers across the world and its technologies, applications and services has provided the users with enhanced way in interacting with devices and system.

Swype is a part of Nuance’s portfolio of touch, voice and natural language understanding innovations which defines new generations of smart systems and personal assistant technologies. People can experience more human conversation with the world’s most updated phone, computers, tablets, cars, TVs apps and service through Nuance technology, from leading manufacturers and operators.

 The app owned by Nuance has added new keyboard layouts which supports AZERTY as well as QWERTZ besides the tradition QWERTY style. `Sound on keypress’ enabled will help to hear a sound while pressing a key or one could opt out of it according to the user’s preference.

New Swype Features

The features for new Swype for iPhone and iPod touch includes –

Expanded Language Support besides English, Italian, German, French and Spanish, Swype has more than 20 languages which include Czech, Dutch, Danish, UK English, Finnish, Greek, Hinglish, Hungarian, Irish, Norwegian, Polish Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Swedish and Turkish.

It has intuitive Emoji input wherein when a message is send to a friend in anexcited mood; Swype automatically suggests the right emoji.

It predicts emoji based on the words entered and if the sender is feeling happy or confused, tenacious or satisfied, Swype tends to get the right emoji to suit the mood.

The Qwerty, Qwertz and Azerty keyboard layout for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch user with iOS 8 and new layout especially for iPad makes it easy to Swype whichever way it is held. All of the Swype’s built in themes are made available for the iPad and users of tablets could choose from the choice of Dark, Light, Sand, Earth and Sun for a different look and feel to the keyboard while other third party keyboards for iOS 8 include Fleksy, Ginger, and SwiftKey keyboard. The app is available at $1 in Apple’s App Store.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Apple/Barclaycard - New Co-branded Credit Card

Apple Pay
With the launch of Apple Pay last month in the US, Apple and Barclaycard have come up with a new co-branded credit card with embedded EMV chip and pin support together with revised rewards and financing options.The latest Apple Rewards cards comes now with three points on each dollar spent at the Apple Store, one point for a dollar on all purchases and two for restaurants.

When a user reaches the threshold of 2,500 points, they are eligible to receive a $25 Apple Store Gift Card. Barclaycard recently announced a revamped version on its credit card partnership with Apple and the Barclaycard Apple Rewards Visa, offering new Apple rewards program as well as financing deal through AppleInsider.

Moreover, the cards also provides a privilege to the customers with the ability to finance purchases that are made through Apple with no interest for purchases made in the first thirty days, on opening an account and the purchases made under $498 could be financed for 6 months while purchases under $998 for 12 months and over $999 for 18 months.

The new card is an improvement from the earlier Barclaycard with iTunes Rewards whichdid not offer a triple points rewards for their consumers and started off by paying only two points on every dollar spent at the Apple Store or iTunes Store with one point on every dollar spent anywhere else.

Stronger Security Support – Chip & Pin 

The pay-out at 2,500 points was at iTunes gift card instead of an Apple Store gift card and reaching that threshold seemed a bit difficult for several customers without the option of the triple points.However, though the card is not confirmed yet to work with Apple Pay, it is expected since both Visa as well as Barclaycard is participating partners.

Moreover the new card also includes a stronger security support of Chip & Pin security and not Chip and signature as in the case of most of the other latest cards in the US, with embedded EMV Chip for the purpose of security.

Barclaycard Apple Rewards Visa can be applied for, at present on Barclaycards’ Official website and Apple is also promoting updated card with its reward and financing options on the online store of the company.

Though as of now, the new Barclaycard Apple Visa Rewards does not work with Apple Pay, support for Apple’s mobile payment system is expected keeping in mind that Barclaycard is a supporter of the system together with Visa.

Apple to Enable Apple Pay 

Users could apply for the Barclaycard Visa with Apple rewards wherein they can receive a reply within a short span of time of around 30 seconds and if the same is approved, a new account can be activated for immediate use at Apple.

Apple, it is said is planning to enable the card for Apple Pay soon, given to understand that Barclaycard is one of the participating Apple Pay partners as well as Apple’s long standing retail partner. To get to know on more details, users could check with Barclaycards which has a new FAQ at its website providing details on the specifics of earning and claiming rewards.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apple’s Web Tool to Deregister Phone Number from Apple’s iMessage System

Deregister iMessage
Latest Apple’s release is a new tool that helps to switch between iOS and other smartphones with ease wherein the new web tool enables to deregister instantly the phone number from Apple’s iMessage system.The website helps to simply edit a phone number and Apple sends you a code through text message which can be entered into a field on the same site to confirm your consent to remove the number from iMessage.

The site first identified by a poster on Reddit, could help to resolve the problem of disappearing text messages. Several former users of iPhone had reported that they had not been receiving text messages from their friends where the problem had cropped up by Apple continuing to route messages through iMessage inspite of users moving on to other devices and since iMessage is proprietary to Apple’s platform those who had switched from iOS and had not disabled iMessage, could not view messages sent from friend with Apple devices.

Several of the users, who experienced this problem, had one option that they had to entirely deregister the old device from their Apple accounts.

Helpful – Switched Platform

This system could now help users who had switched platforms to Android devices making sure that their phone number was not registered to iMessage and that could solve the problems of users who moved away with their iPhones missing messages and still made their way to iMessage though they did not end up on any targeted device.

Many people have been facing this problem who has switched over to Android without completely deactivating iMessage, which was often reported to Apple and also ended in a lawsuit from users facing these issues.

Apple, it is said, has promised software to fix it back in May. The new website of Apple provides instructions for deregistering the phone number prior to divesting yourself of the iPhone which involves going to Setting > Messages and then toggling iMessage to the off position and the new web based tool could be a big help for those who have migrated already and could be facing problems on loss of missing messages.

Two Steps Procedure to Deregister

It could also be helpful for user who would switch between platforms for instance while travelling, or developing and testing mobile software. Should the user face a situation of not having an iPhone but need to remove the number from the iMessage server, then the following two steps procedure could be followed to resolve the issue:

1. The Phone number to deregister from iMessage should be provided and a confirmation code will be sent to the user.

2. On receiving the confirmation code, enter the 6 digit number and submit the same.

If the devices are not switched often, the updated tool may tend to be insignificant though for those users who may swap SIM cards often in different device for the purpose of work, it could make the transition easier. The company had to face a lot of problems earlier this year, due to the disappearing iMessages wherein some users had even gone to the extent of filing a lawsuit against them.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Apple Malware Affects Chinese Users

New Type of Malware - WireLurker

A new type of malware has been discovered by Palo Alto Networks which can infect Apple desktop and mobile operating systems, highlighting the increasing attacks on iPhones as well as Mac computers.

The malware tends to target Mac computers through a third party store before it can copy itself to iOS devices and researchers warn that the malware steals information and is capable of installing other damaging apps.

`WireLurker’ as it is called, is unlike anything that is seen with regards to Apple iOS and OS X malware, according to Ryan Olson, Intelligence director of Palo Alto Network and `the technique in use suggest that bad actors are getting more sophisticated when it comes to exploiting some of the world’s best known desktop and mobile platforms’.

 It also has the potential to transfer from an Apple Mac computer to mobile devices with the use of a USB cord on regular, non-jail broken iOS devices and hop from infected Macs to iPhone.

Attackers – Chinese

Recent statement from Palo Alto Networks report that it has seen indication that the attackers were Chinese and the malware originated from Chinese third party apps store and seemed to affect users in the country.

As per the security firm, the malware can steal a variety of information from mobile devices, it infects and regularly request updates from the attacker’s control server. The company states that it is under active development and its creator’s final goal is not known.

It was first noticed by Palo Alto Networks in June when a developer Tencent a Chinese firm, realised that there were suspicious files and processes occurring on his Mac and iPhone and on further inquiries it was revealed that a total of 467 Mac programs listed on the Maiyadi App Store had been compromised to be included in the malware where they were downloaded 356,104 times till 16th October.

The software that was infected was popular games inclusive of Angry Birds, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, The Sims 3 and Battlefield – Bad Company 2.

Communicates with Command & Control Server

The malware spreads via infected apps that are uploaded to the apps store which in turn were downloaded on Mac computers. Once the malware gets on the Mac, it communicates with a command and control server to check if there is a need to update its code, waiting till an iPhone, iPad or iPod is connected.

If an iOS device is connected, the malware checks it was jail-broken which is a process utilized by some in order to remove some of Apple’s restrictions and if jai-broken, WireLurker then backs up the device’s apps to the Mac, and repackages them with malware, installing the infected versions back on the iOS machine.

If it is not jail-broken, in the case of most of the iOS devices, WireLurker takes advantage of the technique which has been created by Apple to enable businesses to install special software on their employee’s tablets and handsets.

 To reduce the risk of attack, Palo Alto Network have suggested the following: not to download Mac app from third party stores, not to jailbreak iOS devices, not to accept request for new `enterprise provisioning profile’, unless it comes from an authorised party for instance the employer’s IT department, not to connect the iOS device to unreliable computers and accessories to either copy information or charge the machines.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Apple HomeKit-Enabled Chips

Apple HomeKit
Apple HomeKit Firmware

Apple had announced its program at the developers’ conference for hooking smart home devices in iOS with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth though in order to get the device makers on board, they would need the Apple certification wherein one part of the certification process would be to buy their Bluetooth as well as the Wi-fi chips from Apple approved chipmakers.

Chipmakers, Broadcom and Texas Instruments have already begun shipping out Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip that have been installed with Apple HomeKit firmware to manufacturers and the HomeKit enables devices would be hitting the market very soon.

Though Apple has not yet made an official launch of the HomeKit, device makers could start putting together their gadgets since they now have the wireless chip which has been equipped with the HomeKit firmware. Senior director of embedded wireless in mobile and wireless group at Broadcom states that `everyone is getting ready and expecting to see the new product launch in the next cycle of product releases’.

 The HomeKit protocol ascertains how the devices are identified in iOS depending on defined device categories as well what type of action could be taken for instance, `turn on or turn off a light’. The will enable the interactions between devices to be more consistent and reliable than with the earlier wireless interaction in a home automation technology.

Communicate & Control Products in Connect Home Ecosystem

HomeKit, within iOS 8 framework enables iPhone and iPad owners to communicate as well as control products in a connected home ecosystem. Manufacturers and developers could build in support for task macros or groups of action and invoke functions in the device utilising the Siri virtual assistant.

According to Bedrosian, he states that `one thing HomeKit provides is the bridging protocols for various devices to connect simply by Wi-Fi to the cloud. Broadcom, so far has been shipping its Bluetooth Wi-Fi combo chip loaded with HomeKit firmware to several device makers which also includes makers of connected climate controls, security cameras, lighting and door locks.

Broadcom has been doing great business in selling its wireless chips to Apple and its silicon is found in the iPhone as well as its upcoming Apple Watch and its focus now is on smart home business.

Better Consumer Experience – Controlling Home Devices 

Since Apple is still in the process of finalizing the protocol, there is a possibility that the firmware on the chips that would come out would probably be updated. The firmware is in the beta versions of HomeKit according Broadcom’s Bedrosian though device manufacturers would be capable of updating the firmware remotely as HomeKit software develops gradually.

Device makers who tend to manage to get certified, Apple’s entrance could be a great achievement for them since by marketing and labelling a connected thermostat or light bulb as Apple friendly, companies could promise easier installation process as well as more interoperability between the devices.

Bedrosian informed that Apple has been widening access to their ecosystem and more products would be seen. He further states that `the goal is to create better consumer experience for iOS ecosystem to provide simple and unified approach in controlling home devices and this is the first wave of several products’.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Apple Erasing Samsung’s mobile Profitability

After its years long legal battles over patent infringement, Apple has rapidly erased Samsung’s mobile division profitability, making it very much unprofitable since every other Android or Windows licensee has reduced its margins in the phone, tablet and PC market.

According to MacDailyNews, an iPhone having a larger screen option could hurt Samsung immeasurably more than myriad, unending traipses through the legal morass. According to Daniel Eran Dilger, he reports that while Apple’s critics have been giving the credits to Xiaomi for Samsung’s unprofitability, the South Korean giant’s plummeting profitability is not due to the drop in its low priced, high volume tablets and phones but an implosion of Samsung’s profitable, high end Galaxy S and Note models which directly have been competing with iPhones’.

Samsung had made an announcement of its 73.9% drop in its mobile division profits for the Q3 and analysts have been keeping tab through 2013 on the company’s increasing competitive pressure from Apple on the high end as well as from high volume sales of lower end models being increasingly produced by Chinese companies especially Xiaomi.

Tough Battle for Samsung

Samsung is going through a tough battle on both fronts though based on the numbers which the company has reported, the drop in profits that Samsung has suffered in the Q3 has been the outcome of the thermonuclear assault by Apple focusing on its core revenue and profit generators.

Moreover Apple’s damage to Samsung will tend to get worse for the company as it remains are ravaged by the other Android licensees. Though Samsung’s profit has collapsed, IDC has reported in its smartphone market estimates that Samsung continues to lead the world in shipments as well as market share by a huge margin by shipping 78.1 million units, a YoY decline of around 8.2 percent.

Samsung had also reported that there was a slight growth in shipment in its earnings release though the earnings declined QoQ since ASP decreased due to weak smartphones product mix with the sales decrease adding pressure on the cost structure.

Samsung Yet to Pay Apple for Patent Infringement

The profits reduced due to average selling prices going down since it was selling less profitable phones and it was getting expensive to build its most expensive phones due to reduction in economies of scales.

Samsung stated that in the quarter, its phone shipments were driven by mid to low end products. As a result Samsung missed out on high end sales and while it was estimated that its total sales went down by 8.2 percent, analyst Ben Benjarin reported that its premium phones went down by almost fifty percent in the third quarter.

It is said that Samsung has still not paid Apple the almost $1 billion judgement which they were ordered to pay back in the year 2012 for patent infringement though it was reported of a much larger $4.7 billion YoY drop in quarterly profits within its IT & Mobile Communication group which is a rough comparison to Apple’s operation and the outcome of this decline in profits is not a mystery.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Apple SIM – Switch Carriers

Apple SIM – Switch Carriers
Apple SIM – subscriber identity module had promised the possibility of switching carriers with a few taps on the tablet rather than to physically switch out SIM cards but in several instances, the Apple SIM is not available in the new iPad Air and iPad Mini or it is locked to specific carriers.

The new Apple SIM card in the updated iPad models was to make it simpler to bounce around various wireless carriers which did not seem to last long. It was confirmed recently by a spokesman that it would lock down the SIM cards found in the updated tablet. A source familiar with the carrier’s plan states that, a new iPad purchased at a T-Mobile store would be having a SIM pre-set to the carrier.

According to Apple the tablet purchased at a Sprint store would not have the Apple SIM at all though it will be fitted with a Sprint based SIM. In any of these cases, if the user needs to switch, they would have to physically change the SIM card like the earlier iPad models. Apple wants to make the process of choosing and purchasing an iPad as well as the carrier partner, an easy option though carriers are keen on maintaining some control over the consumers.

T-Mobile/Sprint/AT&T- Part of Apple SIM Program

The back and forth on Apple SIM points out the differing priorities between the carrier and Apple. iPad purchased at an Apple store or any other third party store like Best Buy on T-Mobile’s network will remain open with users having the option to switch to another carrier on the fly. Sprint too has similar policy while an AT&T, iPad purchased at an Apple store would not remain open. T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T have been listed as part of the Apple SIM program, which is considered to be a single SIM that can manage all three carriers.

At the Apple store, the buyer and the seller has the option of choosing between the three carriers. Verizon Wireless on the other hand is not a participant in the program and utilises its own SIM cards. While AT&T seems to lock down the SIM, the carrier debates that it remains easy to change services. According to Mark Siegel, AT&T spokesman, he states that users have always been switching but the issue lies in how you switch.

iPad – Unlocked Device, on Multiple Carriers

He further stated that the iPad is an unlocked device which has been running on multiple carriers for long. The Apple SIM cards in the cellular model of the latest iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 are different from the older iPad wherein the buyers needs to choose their carriers while purchasing and physically swap the SIM cards if intending to switch to a different carrier.

Apple SIM card could be of some help in saving users money in providing them with some convenient way on the option of buying a new SIM card and physically swapping it in the tablet for the purpose of changing services though it does not seem to be in this case.