Foxconn could include Sharp in production of next-gen iPhone displays

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 16th, 2014, 11:42
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

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In spite of disagreements over the years, legal tussles and injunctions galore, there’s still money to be made in cranking out iPhone handset displays.

According to Electronista and the United Daily News, Apple’s main assembly partner, Foxconn, is in talks to use Sharp technology to help build iPhone and iPad displays. Sharp is presently one of several companies already involved in producing displays for Apple products, other partner companies including LG Display and Japan Display.

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Amazon introduces Prime Music – more value for your $99

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 13th, 2014, 08:49
Category: Amazon, Announcement, iOS, Mac, music, Opinion, Review, Services

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Amazon just announced the latest service in its Prime family, Prime Music, which together with Prime Instant Video and Prime Shipping will cost $99 a year. Earlier this year, Amazon increased the the price of a Prime subscription from $79 to $99, but at the time there was no indication that there would be any new features to offset the higher price-tag (unless you count the promise of a sky full of drones).

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Apple is pushing music downloading apps out of the App Store

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Date: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014, 08:38
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, iOS, iTunes Music Store, iTunes Radio, music

music-download-appIn what appears to be an aggressive move to promote iTunes purchases and iTunes Radio, and possibly a Beats-related subscription service, Apple has been systematically removing any music downloading apps from the App Store according to MacRumors. Any search previously for “music download” in the App Store would show a number of apps that could download music and audio files from websites such as Soundcloud and YouTube, obviously taking a bite out of iTunes sales. Now the same search displays a message inviting users to try out iTunes Radio, with the first few results for apps include those for streaming services such as Spotify and other music-based apps that lack downloading capabilities. Apple has also asked developers to remove audio downloading functionalities from their apps. 

 

 

Doctor sets the bar for Apple’s Health app

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014, 08:24
Category: Apple, Apps, Features, Health, iOS, Software

482887779JS023_APPLE_HOSTS_Do a search for “health tracker” in the App Store and you’ll get a list of 500 apps before the search truncates the list. Health apps are a dime a dozen. The apps track everything from diet (calories, weight) to activities (running, biking) to vital body readings (blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate), some integrated with hardware such as Withings Blood Pressure Monitor. When Apple finally releases its Health app, what will make it any different or more valuable than the other 500 apps? Well, according to Dr. Thomas J. Morrow who holds the position of Chief Medical Officer at Next IT, developers of virtual assistant technology for healthcare, Apple needs to include 3 vital functions if the Health app is to set itself apart from the crowd.

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Your next Apple headphones may have a Lightning connector

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 5th, 2014, 08:50
Category: Accessory, Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPhone, Lightning, music

iPhone5-lightningAccording to 9to5Mac, Apple has quietly introduced a new specification in its Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program that allows headphones that connect to iOS devices use a Lightning connector instead of the usual 3.5mm headphone jack. The ability to use such hardware doesn’t exist on iDevices yet, but a software update sometime in the future will likely enable this function. The advantage of using a Lightning connection would be to create “smarter” headphones.

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Apple introduces new programming language at WWDC

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Date: Thursday, June 5th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Announcement, Apple, conference, Developer, Software, WWDC

Swift_app_iconOne of the more unexpected announcements at WWDC, given the audiences reaction, was that Apple would be introducing a new programming language called Swift. Craig Federighi commented on how Objective-C had been the backbone of Mac and iOS development for 20 years, and with the phrase, “What it would be like if we had Objective-C without the baggage of C…?”, the developer crowd seemed to express its stunned approval in ooooooo’s and ahhhh’s until finally erupting in applause. According to Federighi, “It totally rules!”.

Continue if you are nerdy and excited by this sort of thing.

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Apple announces OS X 10.10, iOS 8 at WWDC

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Date: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014, 10:37
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, Software

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Even if Apple didn’t announce any new hardware yesterday, you can’t say Tim Cook’s keynote speech was uneventful.

The company announced OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the next incarnation of its OS X operating system, which will feature subtle window translucency for windows and the Dock, plus OS 7-style flat-looking icons. According to The Mac Observer, Apple added a Dark Mode to the operating system for developers and designers, and carried the theme’s look into applications, too. The company gave a little hat tip to coders and designers with a new Dark Mode view that changes many bright interface elements to darker colors, and improved font readability and consistency across apps and the OS.

OS X will be getting a more iPad-like Notification Center with a today view for easily checking your schedule and tasks. Notification Center also gained support for add-on widgets that let users customize exactly what information they see.

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Apple drops support for iPhone 4 in iOS 8

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014, 08:36
Category: Android, Apple, conference, iOS, iPhone, Software, WWDC

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He barely glazed over it in the WWDC Keynote on Monday, but Craig Federighi pointed to a list of iOS 8 supported devices, and it didn’t include the iPhone 4. Towards the end of the keynote, in particular after highlighting the many features that will be available to developers in the coming months, Federighi revealed that the beta of iOS 8 would be available by the end of Monday for all developers, and that the public would see iOS 8 in all its glory sometime in the Fall. Trailing behind that was a brief flash of the list of devices that the new OS would run on. Noticeably missing was the iPhone 4. Of course, this shouldn’t be much of surprise as older device models continuously get shaved off as iOS improves and the demands of features increases. Fortunately, it is only the one model that falls off the list as the rest of the devices seems to be the same as the one for iOS 7.

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Moscone readies for WWDC

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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

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

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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.