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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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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GIFT GUIDE 2014 – HiRise Deluxe stand by Twelve South

Posted by:
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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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

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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)

Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 11th, 2014, 14:30
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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If you live in Iowa, you’ll soon be able to use your smartphone as your driver’s license.

Per the Des Moines Register, Iowans will soon be able to use a mobile app on their smartphones as their official driver’s license issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The app, which will be provided to drivers at no additional cost, will be available sometime in 2015, DOT Director Paul Trombino told Gov. Terry Branstad during a state agency budget hearing Monday.

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T-Mobile offers cheaper family plans, other deals in promotional efforts to win marketshare

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Date: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, 14:23
Category: iPhone, News, wireless

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The wireless carrier price wars continue.

And maybe you can use it to your advantage.

Per Macworld, T-Mobile is rolling out yet another limited-time offer on wireless service, this time bringing the cost of unlimited data way down for families.

The carrier is now charging US$100 per month for two lines with unlimited 4G LTE data, down from a regular price of US$140 per month. Additional lines cost US$40 per month—same as before—and subscribers can have up to 10 total lines at this price.

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Apple holiday ship times improve for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Retina iMac

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Date: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, 10:30
Category: iMac, iPhone, News, retail

senoriphone6

You may be able to have that Apple device you want to give as a present arrive in time for Christmas.

Per AppleInsider, it appears Apple’s supply chain is making significant progress in catching up with demand, as all non-128GB iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models now show ship-by times of three to five days, while 5K Retina iMacs are listed as ready to ship in one to two weeks.

A quick check with the Online Apple Store confirms 16GB and 64GB iPhone 6 and 6 Plus versions in all colors are available to ship in 3-5 business days. Interestingly, all 128GB variants are showing slower 7 to 10 day ship-by dates, suggesting a shortage of high-capacity memory modules.

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Apple releases iOS 8.1.2 update, includes ringtone purchase fix, security changes (updated)

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Date: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014, 13:44
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, security, Software

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This could come in handy.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has released iOS 8.1.2 as an over-the-air software update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users running iOS 8. The latest release contains bug fixes for users as well as a fix for a problem regarding ringtones purchased from Apple being removed from devices. Other fixes include a fix for keyboards that may not appear in Safari, Maps, or other third-party apps in iOS simulator and it offers Siri support for Singapore English, Repairing a bug that caused Notifications to fail to open an app and a fix for an issue that caused WatchKit apps to stop working in iOS 8 simulator.

For users subject to the reported issues involving ringtones purchased through iTunes, Apple points users to itunes.com/restore-tones for recovering those purchases.

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