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.