Sunday, June 14, 2015

Apple is Going to Kill the Home Screen

Revealed - Home Screen – Centre of iPhone to Move on

The home screen is the centre of the iPhone experience and it has been revealed by Apple at WWDC that they are moving on. From birth, the home screen has been the iPhone’s face to the world and it was the first thing which popped up when on stage,in 2007, Steve Jobs had swiped his finger across the iPhone's screen when locked.

 With the iOS 9, most of the interaction will take place everywhere, spread among quick notification panels, powerful search tools as well as context specific recommendations which could put relevant apps a flick away. However, the reliable home screen will continue to exist though for the first time, it would be secondary. Presently, the home screen has more real estate with less gloss and beside that the two seems to be identical.

The home screen in its initial stage was vital to the iPhone’s appeal and for a gadget which seemed like several gadgets in one – a phone, an iPod and an internet communicator besides a map, a camera and much more. For users from the PC world, the home screen seems to be the desktop and Start button all in one and it was essential that it obtained its own dedicated button, irrespective of what the user does on the phone, if they tend to press the thumb sized disc beneath the screen, they are transported home.

New Options Provided to Move On 

Since we have gone familiar with smartphones, we tend to care less about the comforts of the home screen and Apple has gradually provided us with new options to move around. The multitasking choice offers a quick shortcut from moving between apps instead of returning to the central point of the home screen each time. Spotlight has become a quick way in finding the desired one, as iPhone users accumulated pages of apps.

Interaction shift to the lock screen has been envisaged recently wherein interactive notifications enable iPhone users to bypass the home screen and can go straight to the relevant app. An example is the shortcut for camera enabling them to access the lens by just swiping up on the lock screen. These alterations indicate one basic fact which is that mobile life is quite fast to be routed through the home screen.

The iOS next version portrays this reality and the tent-pole feature is Proactive Assistant. iOS 9, following Google’s Now lead would be trying to expectwhat the user need when the need arises. When the user tend to fire up NYT Now every morning on waking up, iOS 9 tends to attempt to make note of the habit, making the app available in the morning as a shortcut on the locked screen and when plugged in headphones, the new OS will also play up music based on the location without the need of finding the music app.

Features Accommodated on Lock Screen

All these features are accommodated on the lock screen’s present offering in evading the home screen grid. -The swipe-up control centre and swipe-down today window. Besides these shortcuts, the iOS 9 will also be offering new interactive hub like personalized search panel.

Towards the left of the home screen one will find shortcuts for apps and contacts which are filtered by context. It is like the Home Screen 2.0 rather than a dumb grid. It is worth observing that the Apple Watch tends to work in the similar way where on the wrist, notifications as well as messaging shortcut take priority over the home screen of apps.

While using the phone it could be most informative and search in iOS 9 could provide information as well as functions out of the apps itself, dropping it right into the results. For instance, a search for sports score could provide a live card with the score just the way Google does on the web.

API – Third Party Making Own Content Available

Due to the new API, third party apps have the capabilities of making their own content available for the user. In the meanwhile, Siri could achieve new powers such as the ability to deep link reminders as well as messages to certain packets of content within other apps. Information, answers and functions which existed early as icons on home screen will soon be baked in search through text and voice through Siri.

Should one need to look up a movie review, they could open the Rotten Tomatoes app or to open a favourite conversion app if needed to convert cups to quarts. Search could be the easiest option to do all these functions not by just accessing these apps but in fact to use them. When the purpose of checking a sport score or reading movie review is incorporated into search, one would be not just talking about the end of home screen but the end of apps themselves.

Presently the enduring home screen seems to be around right at the heart of the iPhone though there are chances of seeing less in future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Apple TV Usage is Surging -- At The Expense Of Mac

Apple TV
TV Everywhere on the Rise – Surpassing Roku

According to a report from Adobe, the computer maker’s streaming media box has envisaged its share of TV Everywhere viewings is doubled at the start of this year, surpassing main rival Roku. It seems that much of the growth is people changing in their Apple TV for online video which they previously watched on their desktops or laptops. Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Index stated that looking at the Mac access,it has dropped.

 For Apple, they are transitioning the lover of their computers into a lover of the Apple TV device. Online video is on the rise since several users tend to watch on the go from their mobile devices with more programmers putting in-demand content on the web.

This has given way in the creation of good benefits for maker of `over the top’ boxes such as Apple TV which catches up to television in order to play online video for the big screen in the living room. This quick growth may have hidden dangers for Apple which means that since demand is mounting for one of its lowest priced products at the cost of some of their expensive products, it could mean the services on streaming media boxes may grow in importance when compared to the hardware.

Traditional TV Industry’s Gateway System

Consumer video viewing and browsing behaviour from the first quarter of last year through the first quarter of 2015 had been examined by Adobe. The data had been aggregated from over 500 billion visits with more than 200 billion online video starts and 2.8 billion TV Everywhere authentications for premium video content.

TV Everywhere is considered to the traditional TV industry’s gateway system in putting shows online and the TV Everywhere authentication is when one has been asked to enter the cable or satellite service password before viewing a movie or a show. It was observed by Adobe that Apple TV signified 10% of TV Everywhere authentication during the first quarter which has increased by 5% in the final quarter of last year and surpassed Roku that had an 8% share in the last period and 1% up point.

Apple TV – Popular Holiday Present

According to Gaffney, the data indicated Apple TV to be popular holiday present and observed its share could rise once again when Adobe could examine the data collected after Apple cuts the price of the box to $69 from the $99 in March. A caution with regard to these standings is that TV Everywhere authentications are not the full image of online video viewing and does not include time spent watching free video as well as content that is delivered by subscription services such as Netflix. Other observations from Adobe are –

  • TV Everywhere viewing has quadrupled in the last year
  • Apple TV and Roku, over-the-top counter devices as well as gaming consoles like Xbox, has made the greatest impact in TV Everywhere share growth to around 24% from 6% from last year
  • Although Thursday night has been made traditional `must see TV’, evening for advertising dollars, the most popular for TV Everywhere viewing seems to be Wednesday nights
  • Popular online browsers for viewing has been increasing Google’s Android as well as Chrome and continues to grow more than Apple’s Safari, though by a mere few percentage points. Google’s overall rating is 18% and Safari up by 15% which is at the expense of Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Apple's Siri Has New Role in New 'Smart' Home Systems

The First Smart Home Gadget - Siri

Apple had announced its HomeKit project last year but now has taken over the home gadget wherein users would be able to talk to everything from light bulbs to A/c. The first smart home gadgets which will be controlled by Apple’s voice activated digital assistant will be on sale shortly just prior to its rival giant Google’s announcement of the building of its own software for Internet connected home appliances and other gadgets. It will enable firms to utilise the Apple’s Siri voice recognition in controlling their home.

The latest products would be important for the developing industry of smart or connected homes where thermostats, appliances as well as door lock tends to contain computer chips which communicate wirelessly. However, several companies are working on the same products, analyst state that Apple would convince consumers in trying them out to make it easy in controlling various products from familiar devices like the iPhone. The HomeKit certified product which will be hitting the market includes wireless hubs from two companies, Insteon and Lutron Electrons. The hubs which are about the size of a small home router or cable TV box tends to act as the central controller for lights as well as other gadgets.

Hub Handled With Smartphone App

The hub on the other hand can be handled with a smartphone app. For instance, Lutron Electronics is offering $230 for a starter kit with its Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge hub together with two dimmer units for wall switches or plug-in units for lamps which are controlled by the hub while Insteaon states that its hub would be working with compatible lights, power switches and thermostats.

In the coming weeks, it is presumed that there will be three other companies selling HomeKit thermostats, climate sensors and power plugs. Similar products could be purchased from these companies which tend to have their very own smartphone app in controlling them and the tie-in with Apple would mean that a user could control those apps with the voice activated digital assistant, Siri, on Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Users would have to link with an Apple TV box in order to control from outside the house.

HomeKit Software – Meet Standards for Compatibility

Apple is also of the opinion that products utilising HomeKit software need to meet standards for compatibility in order to function with HomeKit products that could be made by other manufacturers as well as for encryption in order to keep hackers from taking control over a system or to steal user information. As Apple wants Siri to play a leading role in smart homes, it main rivals also wants it. Google has recently announced that it would be creating Brillo software, asa common platform for Internet connected gadgets in the home or for commercial setting while Microsoft as well as Samsung is promoting software which would be capable of controlling home systems.

According to research firm International Data Corp, global market for `Internet of Things’, which is the concept of connecting household devices to the Internet, would triple to $1.7 trillion by 2020.It stated that `devices, connectivity and IT services would be making up the majority of the IoT market by 2020. Technology firms like Google Inc., Cisco systems, Intel Corp, Samsung electronics as well as telecoms majors such as Vodafone and Verizon have been betting greatly on Internet devices which are connected to home for the future profit and revenue.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

UN: Encryption Must Be Protected

Recently, the office of United Nation for Human Rights has released its press release by stating that online anonymity and encryption of one’s personal data are the basic human rights in the cyber space.

According to the David Kaye, who is author and presenting the special report to the UN Human Rights Council stated that Online anonymity, encryption and security concepts for privacy are necessary for the exercise of human right and the freedom of opinion in addition of expression in the era of digital age. The more he added that these securities can be essential for the purpose of exercise of other rights such as; privacy, freedom, economic rights and more.

The report comes from the debate that how government should access the citizens' private data and other personal information for which government authorities are claiming that they are doing it for nation security especially after the attacks such as; 9/11 bombings.

Backdoor to access the users encrypted data: 

Edward Snowden make the privacy issue more important when in 2013, he leaked the multiple documents which was revealing that NSA and GCHQ is spying on all communication which are through internet as millions of the people in all over the world are using that platform. Apart from that now these agencies are also monitoring phone conversations in US and they are also tapping the phones conversation of foreign politicians. In present NSA and the US government is bullying the tech giants to provide backdoor into their products so that they can access the encrypted data and personal information about citizens such as; Emails of Gmail and Facebook chat history.

The whole issue comes in lime light in 2014 when US government forbid the few of tech companies from letting their users to know that US government is spying on that, but apart from that NSA also planted the malware in most of the software’s to pay on the US citizens. In recent interview US government claimed that it’s necessary for their intelligence agencies to access the encrypted data and personal information of users as well.

Is it good to spying on the people? 

It can be difficult issue for government agencies, who are claiming that spying on the internet communication and telecommunication will make than enable to identify the terror plots, but on the other side the freedom of opinion and protection of personal data is also important as they are basic human rights in all over the world. But if it’s really essential so state or government agencies must demonstrate the limitations on security which they are getting in the form of encryption.

State must be transparent if they are using any backdoor to spy on the citizens. However; its law in most of the European countries to disclose the encryption keys to the government, judicial and other agencies who have power to investigate legally in order to decrypt the group’s personal information for the mass surveillance.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

iPhone Text Crash Bug Hits Twitter and Snapchat

Image Credit: The Guardian
Apple iPhone’s OS or the operating system which is known as the iOS, is one of the most popular operating platforms in the world. iOS is the most trusted operating systems as also the most widely used. iOS is used in phones, computers and laptops as well as the other gadgets of Apple.

iPhones go through software update every now and then, and recently it seems like the newest iPhone iOS 8 has developed a new text bug. This text bug is harmless in nature and does not cause any lasting damage to your phone. But what it succeeds in doing is that it crashes your phone down time and again and you have to wait for about some minutes to get your phone rebooted again.

While, this text bug had been affecting just through texts, recently it has been noticed that when that particular text is sent via third party apps like twitter and Snapchat, even that is getting affected as well and eventually causes the phone to crash down.

What is the text bug? 

The text bug is nothing but a group of non- Latin characters and is referred to as the Unicode. It consists of characters from mainly languages such as Chinese and Arabic and this whole faulty sequence is sent with a text called ‘power’.

Whenever this text is sent to an iPhone and you try to open it, what happens is that your phone crashes down and takes a few minutes to reboot again. This is also applicable in the case of third party apps and if someone sends the text to you from Snapchat or twitter, even then when you try to open it, the phone crashes repeatedly. It works on twitter in the event of direct messages or even if you are mentioned in one of the messages. When the notification pops up on your phone and you try and see it that is when the crash occurs.

Why does the text bug crash your phone? 

It is not exactly known as to why the text bug crashes your phone but it has been seen that it mostly tends to do so if it has been opened from the notifications. Actually the Unicode characters eat up too many resources of the iPhone when it appears as notifications on your screen and hence leads to the crash. The message can also be sent from any other OS based phone in order to crash and iOS phone. But when opened from the app itself, it seldom leads to the crash.

How to solve the problem? 

The only permanent solution to the problem is when apple brings forward a software update. But till then you can work your way around this bug. You can use Siri to text and after you have texted in the bug ridden message thread, you can easily open the message thread without it leading to the crash.

Once you open the thread, just delete that particular Unicode or the thread altogether. One of the best ways of avoiding this bug is to turn off the notifications of twitter and Snapchat which will prevent the crashing of your iPhone.