A quick look at Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch

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Date: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 09:50
Category: Accessory, Android, Hardware, Wearables

People were pretty disappointed to hear that Apple wasn’t planning to introduce or speak about any new hardware at WWDC, so an iWatch may still be a ways off…or a complete surprise. With no signs of an Apple smartwatch on the horizon, other companies are trying to get the jump on the watch market. Among the contenders is Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch. The Toq (toke…tock…not sure) so far only works with Android devices and presents a set of the typical features we expect from a smartwatch such as access to calendars, calls and texting, notifications from social services, music control, etc.. Information-wise, it doesn’t provide any more than a Pebble, but it does have some other nice features.

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Apple Stores moving towards becoming 100% Green

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Date: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 08:21
Category: Apple, Environment, News, Retail Store

apple_chrome_logo_leafIn a recent Fortune interview, as part of the Brainstorm Green conference, Apple’s VP of Environmental Initiatives spoke about Apple’s continued drive towards using 100% renewable energy. During the interview, Jackson touched upon Apple’s use of renewable energy for their data centers (100%), their corporate facilities (94%), and plans for the new “spaceship” Apple campus. Jackson said that Apple’s next big challenge is to convert the hundreds of Apple retail stores around the country to 100% renewable energy, something that is likely to be a little more complicated as she explains;

“In some places they’re in a mall … literally a shopping center. In some cases, they’re standalone stores. But where they are in the grid and where they are in the world, the access to clean energy may or may not be a trivial exercise.”

Jackson’s previous role as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, makes her a good choice as their top environmental advisor, which she began in May 2013. For the entire video of the interview, hit the jump…

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Is Apple doing anything about iCloud breach?!

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Date: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 08:16
Category: Apple, Hack, iCloud, iOS, iPhone, security

icloud-iconUnfortunately, Apple has not acknowledged the supposed hack into the iCloud systems, and rarely comments publicly on such matters, so we’ll just have to hope they are working towards protecting users’ accounts. The incursion was claimed by two hackers going by the handles AquaXetine and MerrukTechnolog, who form Team DoulCi (derived by spelling “iCloud” backwards-ish). The hack exploits an iCloud security flaw that allows someone to bypass Apple’s Activation Lock system to unlock a lost or stolen iPhone. By utilizing the DoulCi web site, and making a simple change to a file on your computer, the iPhone can be fooled into thinking DoulCi’s site is actually Apple’s iCloud servers.

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Online version of iWork gets some improvements

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Date: Thursday, May 22nd, 2014, 08:56
Category: Apple, Apps, Features, iCloud, Software

 

iWork iCloud app icons

It looks like Apple has been giving the iWork apps on iCloud some new features. The entire list, including those made to iWork for the Mac, and the iOS apps can be found here. Many of the updates apply to all three apps, rather than specific functionality change to each.  Document handling, text formatting, and collaboration seem to be areas of focus. A few examples are;

  • Add passwords and share password-protected documents
  • Export documents to ePUB format
  • Print your documents directly from the Tools menu
  • Collaborate with up to 100 people at the same time
  • See cursors and selections for everyone in a document
  • Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around
  • Almost 200 new fonts
  • More color options in the format panel
  • Folders
  • Edit documents up to 1 GB in size
  • Support for Retina display

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Is peace on the horizon for smartphone rivals?

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Date: Tuesday, May 20th, 2014, 08:20
Category: Apple, Business, Google, Legal, News, Opinion, Patents, Samsung

gavel_transI’m not holding my breath that the Apple vs. Samsung patent war will end any time soon, but perhaps there is hope that one day in the future, we won’t have to read any more posts or articles about the never-ending ruling appeals filed by Apple or Samsung, or at least not as many. As of last Friday, Apple and Google have agreed to drop all current patent infringement lawsuits between them and move on with their lives.

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Apple fixes disappearing Users folder “bug”

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Date: Monday, May 19th, 2014, 08:40
Category: Apple, iTunes, Mac, Software

blueitunes11logoThere was quite a bit of online discourse when a recent set of Apple updates rendered people’s Users folder invisible in OS X. The Mac Observer’s observations concluded that it was the iTunes 11.2 update rather that the 10.9.3 update as many initial thought, which seems to be confirmed by Apple’s release of iTunes 11.2.1 which fixes the problem. What confused the matter was that there were reports of Apple representatives telling people that it was intentional. After all the hacks and fiddling to restore the folder visibility, it seems that patience won out as Apple’s latest iTunes update restores visibility of the Users folder. Initially I was annoyed at the possibility that Apple was “dumbing down” OS X again, as it did when it made the user’s Library folder invisible, but as I thought about it, unlike accessing the Library folder (as an IT consultant and power user), I rarely if ever access the the Users folder. Fortunately that’s not the case and was just a “whoopsie”on Apple’s part, unless they are just backpedaling on their initial decision, so go out and update without worry.

Is Apple getting a bit slack about vetting software updates, in spite of the new beta program? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

 

 

Swarm hits the iOS App Store

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 16th, 2014, 08:58
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Software

Swarmapp_logoWhat is Swarm, you ask? Swarm is the new iOS app from Foursquare that aims to separate the check-in functions of Foursquare that we all know and love, and stick them into a new app. Here is the App Store blurb explaining the app;

With Swarm, you can easily see who’s out nearby and who wants to hang out later.

Features:
- Want to meet up with friends? Quickly open up the app to see who is out nearby. 
- Want to share what you’re doing? Checking in is faster and more fun than ever.
- Got an idea for something fun to do? Easily message all of your nearby friends.

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Google Glass is back in the public’s shopping cart

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Date: Thursday, May 15th, 2014, 08:23
Category: Accessory, Gadget, Google, News, Wearables

google_glass_headsetEarlier this week, Google put Google Glass back “on the shelves”, so to speak, as it made the wearable device available for public purchase again. Still at the premium price of $1500, Google hopes it can get its Explorer program to expand by making it available again. Google posted the following on its Google+ account;

“We’re still in the Explorer Program while we continue to improve our hardware and software, but starting today anyone in the US can buy the Glass Explorer Edition, as long as we have it on hand: google.com/glass

We’re ready to keep meeting new Explorers, and we can’t wait to hear all your experiences and feedback to continue to make Glass even better, ahead of our wider consumer release.”

That last part is of particular interest as 9to5Google suggested a month ago that maybe a more affordable version is down the road;

“In addition to the insane price tag ($1,500 for Galaxy Nexus specs is crazy, Google), a consumer release of Glass is still expected to take place this year. That means improved hardware and a far cheaper price should be on the horizon.

That release should come this fall, with Glass news hopefully being a major point at the upcoming Google I/O developer conference.”

Hopefully soon, we’ll also see some kind of development toward the ongoing privacy concerns regarding wearables in general, of which Glass is in the spotlight.

 

 

Google is creeping onto your desktop

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 13th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Apps, Features, Google, Software

Chrome canary logoThis isn’t the first time Google has invaded the desktop space of other operating systems. Who remembers the train-wreck that was Google Desktop? However, this time Google might have it right…or at least close. Some of you may be aware of Chromium, the open-source project behind Google Chrome, which has nightly builds of the app which may squash bugs, introduce new ones, or add new “cutting-edge” features, which may not be ready for the general public. When a particular stable version gets the ok, Google cleans it up and releases it as an update to Google Chrome.

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Apple’s iPhone upgrade promotion starts today

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 8th, 2014, 08:33
Category: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, News, Promotion, Retail Store

iphones-5s-5c

According to 9to5Mac, sources close to Apple say that starting today (May 8th), Apple will begin contacting upgrade-eligible iPhone users with older iPhone models via email this week, inviting them to come into their local Apple Store to upgrade their device to a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c. No trade-in prices have been mentioned, but it’s expected that this is an extension of Apple’s iPhone hardware trade-in program which allows customers to turn-in older iPhone models to purchase a new model at a discounted price. Reports from outside sources have said that Apple has recently increased the buyback prices for iPhones in its trade-in-programwhich it may be leveraging in the promotion in an attempt to increase iPhone sales.

Back in January, Apple posted its first quarter iPhone sales and analysts were disappointed that it didn’t meet their expectations. Even though Apple sold 51 million iPhones during the quarter, up from 47.8 million a year earlier, Wall Street analysts were expecting closer to 57 million iPhones to be sold. These “disappointing” numbers may be the impetus behind the upgrade promotion which will hopefully bring up sales numbers for the current quarter.

What about you? If Apple knocks on your door, are you inclined to run to your nearest store to upgrade your iPhone? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.