Moscone readies for WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 29th, 2014, 08:10
Category: Apple, conference, Developer, iOS, OS X, WWDC

wwdc14 crop2WWDC is only 4 days away and San Francisco’s Moscone Center is already dressing up the place in preparation. Given that I’m downtown all the time, I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t remember to swing by and take my own pictures, but the web site RazorianFly is on top of it and has a bunch showing numerous banners already going up on interior walls of the convention center. Actually, it would seem that RazorianFly has some kind of insider arrangement, since I can’t imagine any other way one could get these kinds of photos inside the building. Typically the first signs are…well, “signs” going up on the outside of Moscone Center. Anyway, here’s a couple from the site, and maybe I’ll get some myself to add later.

Apple announced Wednesday that they will be streaming this year’s WWDC keynote on June 2 at 10 AM PT (1 PM ET). Several insiders say there will be no hardware announced or discussed, but that Apple will instead concentrate on software including iOS 8, Mac OS X 10.10, and possibly some of the software planned for the iWatch such as HealthBook.

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Energous developing wireless Wattup technology, could allow for gadget charging across a room

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Date: Friday, May 23rd, 2014, 14:23
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News, wireless

wireless.rechargingx299

We’ve all dreamed of charging our devices from across the room.

This may soon be a reality.

Per the MIT Technology Review, startup Energous is developing a technology called WattUp that will allow you to charge smartphones, tablets, and other small gadgets from across a room without wires.

Energous hopes other companies will license this technology and build it into all kinds of products and places, so you can easily power your iPad while sitting on the couch or top off your phone while buying a coffee in an airport. It will face competition, however, from a startup called Witricity that uses a different method, and already has the backing of some major electronics companies.

For now, WattUp’s technology is still in the demo stage. But it works and devices can be charged wirelessly if they are connected to an external receiver, or slotted into a special protective case.

During a recent demonstration, an iPhone was plugged into a white device shaped like a smartphone atop a little stand. Another iPhone sits on the table, wearing a bulky Energous case. Across the table, a briefcase-sized wireless energy transmitter sits on another tripod and a plug dangling from that was plugged into the wall.

The demonstration showed the iPhone’s charge progress, as measured via an app on a nearby iPad, the wireless energy transmitter being controlled via an app on the iPad. A small beep indicated that the iPhone’s charge cycle had begun and recharging works more than 10 feet from where the power is emitted, and you can move the device around while it’s charging.

The most common wireless-charging technology currently available is magnetic induction, which uses coils to transfer power over small distances via a magnetic field. This is the method used to recharge electric toothbrushes, for example.

Energous’s charging method uses a transmitter with lots of small antennas to send radio waves to a receiver connected to the gadget being charged. The transmitter uses Bluetooth to scan for nearby gadgets that are authorized to receive a charge. Once it finds one, the transmitter directs radio waves toward the receiver, which collects them and converts their energy to DC power so it can charge the phone.

The transmitter and receivers Energous brings to my office can send power to two devices that require less than 10 watts of power at a distance of up to 15 feet; eventually, Energous says, it will be able to charge more gadgets at a time.

The company expects the first products using its technology—such as smartphone cases that can deliver wireless power to the devices—to be shown off by partner companies at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January and go on sale later in the year. Company representatives had predicted that a phone case would cost about US$75 to US$125, which is within the range of what you’d pay today for a case that provides extended battery life, though the transmitter for charging things probably would cost around US$300.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

No new hardware at WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 6th, 2014, 09:09
Category: Apple, Apple TV, Developer, iOS, iPhone, Mac, News, OS X, Software, WWDC

wwdc14 crop

We you eagerly anticipating a first glimpse of new Apple TV and iWatch hardware at WWDC? Hopefully you can settle for peeks at iOS 8 and OS X 10.10, because it sounds like that’s all we’re going to get. Sources have told Code/red that Tim Cook has no intention of parading out its upcoming hardware, or software associated with it, at the convention.

Healthbook-appicon

What you will probably see is a lot about Healthbook, Apple’s new health and fitness tracking app, which many speculate will tie in closely with the hardware of the iWatch. You can get a ton of info on Healthbook over at 9to5Mac with this article which covers it in quite a bit of detail.

How disappointed are you about the news? Will new iOS and OS X goodies be enough? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

 

 

ComiXology removes in-app comic purchasing

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 1st, 2014, 14:08
Category: Amazon, Android, App Store, Apple, Apps, Google, iOS, Software

Comixology_biteI think it’s safe to say that it was Amazon that did the removing, but the fact remains that a major feature of the iOS app was removed. For the Android version, there were also some changes, but not as drastic. Comic purchases are now routed through comiXology instead of Google. The move is intended to avoid paying Apple and Google a premium for making purchases through their systems.  For Apple, that means loosing 30 percent of each purchase, something it has charged for in-app purchases since 2011. Instead of buying within the app, in the iOS case, customers will now have to make purchases via the comiXology website. Purchases will then be downloaded to the app once the user opens it, much like e-books do on Amazon’s Kindle for iOS app.

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iOS updated to 7.1.1

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Date: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 08:01
Category: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

ios7logoApple released the latest update to iOS for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The update is 26.1 MB and requires 1.2 GB of available space to install it on your device.

 

WHAT’S NEW

Version 7.1.1:

  • Further improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition
  • Fixes a bug that could impact keyboard responsiveness
  • Fixes an issue when using Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver enabled

REQUIREMENTS

Version 7.1.1 supports:

  • iPhone 4/4s  5/5c/5s
  • iPad Air / iPad 2 / new iPad
  • iPad mini / iPad mini with Retina Display
  • iPod touch 5th gen

 

 

Software Update Rundown for April 21st, 2014

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 21st, 2014, 09:54
Category: App Store, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software

software-updateWe’ll be posting info on updates of some of our favorite software along with some high profile apps that are pretty essential to anyone on a Mac or iThing, just in case you missed them. This information is brought to you by updates I get from developers and my own software use, but mostly by MacUpdate, although not officially, because that is what I use to keep all my apps up to date. I also like to add some value by throwing in some extra notes from my experiences. So let’s get to it!

 

Mac

calibre 1.33.0

This app is great if you want to access PDF documents, ePub books, or other readable, in different formats. Excellent for managing books on a Kindle from your Mac.

New Features

  • Edit book: Add a tool to check spellings, access it via Tools->Check spelling…. The calibre book editor now has builtin spellcheck. You can install new dictionaries via Preferences->Editor->Manage spelling dictionaries. It comes with builtin dictionaries for English and Spanish. You can add OpenOffice dictionaries (in .oxt format). The tool checks spellings in all HTML/OPF/NCX files in the book, taking into account any language declarations in the book, so that it will work correctly on multi-lingual books as well. The code is very new, so there may well be bugs. As you type spell checking is not yet implemented.
  • Kobo driver: Support firmware version 3.3
  • Device driver for Tolino Vision on windows

Bug Fixes

  • Amazon metadata download: Fix Editorial Reviews not downloading into the comments section for some books
  • DOCX Input: Fix some text highlighting colors in the DOCX file not being correctly translated during conversion.
  • Wireless device driver: Fix incorrect syncing behavior when book matching is run for a second time while connected. This happens when the user changes the library or selects ‘Update cached metadata on device’.
  • Searching: Fix searching by date not using the system locale to interpret dd/mm vs mm/dd dates on windows

New news sources

  • Various new and updated Spanish news sources by Marc Busque

Improved news sources

  • Barrons
  • Creative Blog

 

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Amazon grabs a new demographic…comic book readers

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 11th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Amazon, Announcement, Business, iPad

comics-by-comixologyIf you love comic books and love reading on your iPad, you’ve probably heard of comiXology. The company (and app) are responsible for bringing comic books into the digital age of online purchasing and reading content on a mobile device. So it was only a matter of time before it attracted the eye of the largest online source for purchasing reading material. ComiXology’s CEO, David Steinberger, posted the news on their web site Thursday afternoon that they had been purchased by Amazon.

 

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WWDC confirmed for June 2nd-6th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 4th, 2014, 09:59
Category: Announcement, Apple, conference, Developer, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software, WWDC

wwdc14 crop

It was announced Thursday that Apple’s yearly developers’ conference will be held June 2nd through the 6th at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. However, this year Apple has decided to “think different” (I had to) with its handling of ticket sales. According to Engadget, Apple has already opened ticket sales on its website, but will now select attendees randomly instead of a first-come-first-served basis. The WWDC web site states;

“The opportunity to buy tickets to WWDC 2014 will be offered by random selection. Register by Monday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. PDT for your chance to attend. We will let you know your status by email on Monday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.”

Once selected and notified, you will then be able to purchase your ticket. Tickets are selling for $1599 and in order to be selected, you need to be a current member of the iOS Developer Program, iOS Developer Enterprise Program, or Mac Developer Program as of the announcement of WWDC (April 3, 2014 at 5:30 a.m. PDT).

Rumors have it that Apple plans to unveil iOS 8 at WWDC, but that seems a little soon to me. What do you think?

 

 

Macworld/iWorld 2014 Session wrap-up

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, 08:49
Category: Apple, conference, Features, iPhone, Mac, Meetup, Software

Macworld_sessionSessions have always been a big part of any Mac Expo, but especially in recent years in response to the absence of Apple’s Steve-notes and daily product demonstrations and tutorials. While I miss the Apple presence, as a power-user I welcome the fact that the bar for session topics has been risen. Past “standard” sessions (non-IT) focused primarily on the average consumer, giving tips on using iPhoto for organizing and improving the quality of photos, using standard utilities to execute basic maintenance, or creating ringtones with GarageBand. These are all worthy topics, and the average user is an important demographic for Mac, but it was frustrating that there were few opportunities for the average power-user to learn something new or push their learning experience to the next level. While there has been some improvement, I think there could be more done for power-user education, however, that is not to say there have not been some great additions to the session agenda to improve the experience for all types of Mac users.

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Macworld/iWorld 2014 Expo Hall wrap-up

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Date: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014, 09:01
Category: Apple, conference, Developer, iPhone, Mac, Software

2014-expo-floorLast week was a bit of a whirlwind as Macworld/iWorld took over a large portion of my week. Now that I’ve had some time to put together some of the things I saw, I thought I’d provide a brief recap. This year, the convention was held in Moscone Center’s North Hall. The first day, Thursday, was my traditional walk around the show floor which I always do on the first day so I can make some mental notes about what I want to go back and see later. This makes it easier to go straight to the important stuff when you only have about 45 minutes between talks and demos. There wasn’t much that was unique about the Expo Hall this year, except for possibly the two live stages (I only recall one in the past).

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