GIFT GUIDE 2014 – The TrackR bravo

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Date: Friday, December 19th, 2014, 14:03
Category: Accessory, Bluetooth, Gift Guide, iPhone

GIFT GUIDE 2014 - The TrackR bravo - Jason O'Grady

Have you ever said “I wish there was a way to call my keys.” I used to say it all the time while scrambling through my couch cushions looking for my car keys (usually making me late to get somewhere.)

Enter the Bluetooth tracking tag. Introduced in 2009, these small Bluetooth ‘fobs’ can be attached to anything from keyrings, to bags, to kids. Once paired with your smartphone you can find them using the Bluetooth feature on your smartphone via an app. They’re undeniably handy.

My favorite tag – in an overcrowded market – is The TrackR bravo ($29, pre-order).

[I've been testing a pre-production of The TrackR Bravo design and it has the potential to be the best Bluetooth tracker on the market. If you can't wait until Bravo ships in January, keep on reading to find out about TrackR's other tags which are available now.]

TrackR started as Phone Halo in 2009 and introduced its Bluetooth tracker at the Demo conference in spring 2010. The company offers three models, the Sticker and Wallet are shipping now and the super-small Bravo (which raised $1.2M on Indiegogo) and will begin shipping in January 2015.

Read the rest of my review of the TrackR lineup after the jump:

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Apple drops ship time for iPhone 6, 6 Plus handsets to one day, Retina 5K iMac back in stock

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Date: Friday, December 19th, 2014, 09:35
Category: iMac, iPhone, News, retail

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Apple is catching up with demand and you might be able to snag an iPhone 6, 6 Plus or Retina 5K iMac for Christmas.

Per AppleInsider, Apple appears to be catching up with demand for its latest devices as the Online Apple Store on Thursday shows one-day ship times for most iPhone 6 Plus storage configurations, 1 to 3 days for iPhone 6 and immediate availability for the Retina 5K iMac.

Apple’s online storefront has been updated to reflect iPhone 6 Plus shipping estimates of one day for 16GB and 64GB models in all three colors and major U.S. wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Ship-by times for iPhone 6 models in the same capacities also dropped to 1 to 3 days.

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djay Pro hits the decks with huge OS X update

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Date: Thursday, December 18th, 2014, 13:42
Category: Mac, music, OS X, Software, Uncategorized

djay Pro hits the decks with huge OS X update

Much of the innovation in DJ software has centered on mobile over the past couple of years. The white-hot iOS market has exploded with DJ software lead by Algoriddim‘s revolutionary djay app for iPhone and iPad, which have changed the way DJs play music live.

In additional to its popular iOS apps Algoriddim also offers djay for OS X (first launched in 2006) that today got a major reboot as djay Pro ($49.99, Mac App Store).

djay Pro is a complete rewrite of Algroriddim’s popular DJing application for Yosemite that leverages modern OS X standards like 64-bit, 60 FPS, and native sandboxed iTunes access plus everything they’ve learned from their iOS apps.

I’ve been using djay apps since day one and they’re hands down the best DJ apps on iOS and OS X. Whether you’re a bedroom DJ, spinning the hits at a holiday party or an aspiring club DJ, Algoriddim’s djay is the way to go.

Here’s a video of djay Pro for OS X in action:

Apple puts forward 64-bit requirement for iOS application developers, cites June 1st, 2015 deadline

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Date: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014, 18:06
Category: Developer, iOS, News, Software

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It’s time for iOS developers to go all-in on 64-bit come next June.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday alerted members of its development community that existing applications on the App Store will need to include 64-bit support for any updates submitted after June 1 of next year.

The clarification from Apple comes after developers expressed confusion regarding the company’s 64-bit app update policies. With Wednesday’s announcement, developers now have more than six months to prepare for the switch.

All newly submitted apps will require 64-bit support beginning on Feb. 1, 2015. They must also be built with the iOS 8 software development kit as of that deadline.

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Apple halts Russian online sales after dramatic fluctuations in ruble

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Date: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014, 10:35
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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If you’re in the Russian marketplace, you’re going to have a harder time buying Apple products online this holiday season.

Per MacRumors and Bloomberg, Apple has temporarily halted online sales in Russia due to fluctuations in the value of the ruble. The online store will be down until Apple is able to revise its prices in the country.

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Contrast launches Group Text+, Email+ apps for iOS

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Date: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, 13:02
Category: iOS, News, Software, Uncategorized

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It’s neat stuff in a road warrior kind of way.

On Tuesday, Contrast, makers of Launch Center Pro, launched a pair of shortcut programs for iOS.

The first app, Group Text+, makes it easy to message the people you care about using iMessage and SMS. Users can mix and match contacts, groups, images, and text snippets to quickly compose messages. The second app, Email+ does the same, but with email. And they both have handy sharing extensions for use in other apps.

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GIFT GUIDE 2014 – HiRise Deluxe stand by Twelve South

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Date: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, 09:37
Category: Accessory, iPad, iPhone

HiRise Deluxe stand by Twelve South (Jason O'Grady)

What do you do with you iPhone when you sit down at your desk? You probably plug it in and leave it sitting flat on the surface of your desk. The problem with doing this is that your iPhone is practically invisible when it’s laying flat and not really that useful. If an alert comes in you need to pick up your iPhone to read the screen.

The HiRise Deluxe stand from Twelve South ($60) is a sleek stand that elegantly solves this problem. It allows you to dock your iPhone (or iPad) at a comfortable viewing angle making it more accessible while charging on your desk. It’s perfect for keeping an eye on push notifications while you get your work done, but it’s also convenient for making phone and FaceTime calls.

The new HiRise Deluxe stand features and easy-to-adjust rear support, making it easily to switch between an iPhone and an iPad of different thicknesses. The cable height at the bottom of the stand is also adjustable allowing you to use it with or without a case. If you’re using a thicker, impact-type case on your iPhone simply raise the height of the cable so that it reaches inside the case opening to properly charge the device.

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Google app for iOS, Android adds Google Nest controls

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 15:02
Category: Android, iOS, News, Software, Uncategorized

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This could prove nifty.

Per VentureBeat, Google has announced that its Nest thermostats can now be controlled with the Google app for iOS or Android. Users can also speak voice commands to ask Google to change or set their temperature.

To help users better manage their home’s temperature, the Google app brings up Now cards (suggested actions and settings based on time and location relevancy) they can use to adjust their temperature before even getting home.

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iPhone 6 optical image stabilization, NFC systems may be vulnerable to interference from strong magnets

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 11:37
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

senoriphone6

A powerful magnet can still screw up your day.

Or your iPhone 6′s camera stabilization and NFC systems.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of users have noticed issues with the iPhone 6 Plus camera and NFC on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but the cause of the problem — interference from magnets and metal components in accessories — isn’t well documented.

The cause of the issue has been noticed by a small number of users online, and Apple does briefly warn users to avoid accessories that use magnets or metal components in a support document that was quietly updated in the months following the launch of the new iPhones. But it’s not something most users are aware of when purchasing accessories that might end up causing problems for their new iPhone.

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How Apple blew it with Bluetooth

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 08:32
Category: Accessory, Bluetooth, iOS 8, iPhone

How Apple blew it with Bluetooth - Jason O'GradyI use Bluetooth every day.

Bluetooth was rock solid on my iPhone 5s running iOS 7.x. I never thought about about it. It just worked. Every day.

Now I hate all of my Bluetooth gear.

Bluetooth is crappy with my iPhone 6 and iOS 8.1.x. Every one of my Bluetooth devices cuts out, drops out or starts warbling within a couple minutes of use.

After upgrading to an iPhone 6 (and iOS 8.1.2):

  • my BT speaker starts cutting out after a minute or two of streaming
  • my BT earbuds drop out after a song or two, or during app switching
  • my BT headset disconnects one minute into every call

While this is my specific story, I’m not alone. Other people are having trouble with Bluetooth as well, especially with the newest iPhone hardware and iOS 8. I don’t use Bluetooth in my vehicle, but that’s another problem spot for iOS 8 users. The Apple discussion forums are littered with complaints about the iOS 8 Bluetooth stack and some users are having trouble with it on Yosemite (OS X 10.10) too.

I was hoping that iOS 8.1.2 would fix things with Bluetooth but the update did nothing to address my specific issues.

I’ve spoken with several OEMs that are patently furious with Apple over the Bluetooth fiasco, but most won’t speak out publicly for fear of losing access, distribution, etc. The hardware vendors probably have Dan Riccio and Craig Federighi on speed dial because Apple’s poor Bluetooth performance is making their products look bad.

Further reading:

(Blue tooth icon: TrySoda)