by Oliver Haslam on Mar 29, 2014
Wireless charging has long been one of technology’s Holy Grails. Being able to charge your devices without them having to be tethered to a power outlet would undoubtedly change the way we work, but seeing as we’re still quite some ways away from having electricity beamed to our smartphones and tablets, we’ll have to make do with the next best thing – charging plates.
Many phones support what they like to call wireless charging, but as the pedantic amongst us would point point out, that’s not strictly accurate. After all, that charging plate still needs a wire! Get beyond that hangup though, and wireless charging is actually pretty cool even in its current state. Putting your tablet or smartphone on a pad and having it start charging is impressive enough, but unfortunately Apple still isn’t up for it. Neither the iPad nor iPhone support wireless charging out of the box, and existing third-party solutions need big cases that come with the required technology built-in, which is far from ideal. Wireless charging should get out of the way, not make itself unmissable.
Enter the iQi wireless charging adapter… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Feb 24, 2014
As part of Microsoft’s rebranding of its SkyDrive cloud storage solution to the arguably much better “OneDrive,” the Redmond firm has set about something of a charm offensive. In an attempt to try and take users away from the hugely awesome Dropbox, Microsoft has already given away 100GB of free storage to the first 100,000 people to sign into the new OneDrive, but if you weren’t in on that action then fear not, because you can also snag 3GB of space for absolutely nothing. And that’s on top of the 7GB that they offer up right out of the gate.
In order to get your slice of the free cloud-based pie, all you need to do is install one of Microsoft’s OneDrive mobile apps – the iOS one, preferably – and enable one little feature. In all honesty it’s a feature you’re going to want to enable anyway, because Microsoft is giving away 3GB of free storage to anyone that turns on automatic uploading of their Camera Roll.
Now you may be saying the same thing that we said. Why would you want to do that if you already use Dropbox? Well, here’s why… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jan 25, 2014
Time was once when Apple was infamous for not giving its users choice. Steve Jobs himself famously said that consumers didn’t know what they wanted, and that it was Apple’s job to tell them, and he was often right. It was this confidence, some may say arrogance, that made Apple so sure of its designs. So absolutely convinced that it was on the right path. And arguably, it’s why it has been so successful over the last ten or so years.
But things are changing inside Apple. Since Steve Jobs’ death and the handing over of the reigns to the unflappable Tim Cook, Apple has been going through something of a metamorphosis, and everyone has seen how the company has changed. Countless people have written about how Apple isn’t the same company since its co-founder and visionary left it to somewhat more pragmatic minds, and the evidence that they’re right simply keeps on mounting. Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jan 1, 2014
Games are fun. Judging by both the paid-for and free app charts in the App Store, they’re also extremely popular. A look at the top-grossing apps on the iPad shows that 9 of the top 10 (in the UK store) are games. The odd one out is a newspaper, oddly enough. If you look outside the top 10 list, the trend continues throughout the chart.
With gaming clearly so popular on the iPad, and indeed the iPhone, developers are rightly beginning to throw considerable resources at creating some truly impressive iOS games. The likes of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Oceanhorn are effectively console or handheld games that run on a smartphone or tablet. Both are a far cry from the games we used to play on our mobile devices. Does anyone remember Snake on the Nokia phones of old? Ahh, fond memories indeed.
For all the increased attention that game development on iOS has received over the last couple of years, and with both big names and smaller independent developers bringing some excellent titles to the platform, there is still something lacking. We’re being treated to games that look absolutely stunning on the latest hardware and voice acting as well as story building have both improved dramatically of late, but there’s one issue remaining. One that’s become all too apparent to me as I’ve started playing games on an iPad mini (with Retina display, of course) as well as my iPhone. That issue is syncing.
The syncing of game progress, to be precise… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Dec 18, 2013
We’re now firmly into that time of year where we all start panicking. Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time. A time for bringing family and friends together for a good party and far too much eating. But alas, before all that can happen there’s the hard work that comes with buying gifts, and that’s why we at iDB are doing our utmost to take the stress out of buying gifts for the geek in your life.
As Cody has already pointed out, this is the second annual gift guide, and we’re hoping that it will be as useful for you reading it as it was for us as we wrote it. I may not be the first to share my gifting tips here, but hopefully I’ve still got a few ideas up my sleeve that haven’t already been chosen.
Let’s find out, shall we? That sounds like a plan… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Dec 18, 2013
Apple has a problem. It’s not a problem that pertains to its high-end iPhone 5s, and it’s not even a problem with the mid-range, somewhat superfluous iPhone 5c. It’s actually the iPhone 4S that is an issue for Apple. Sitting at the bottom of the company’s smartphone range and being offered for peanuts if not free, the iPhone 4S was previously thought of as a rather capable budget handset. And it still is.
The problem that Apple now faces is that all those cheap Android phones that we’ve all laughed at over the years are starting to get a bit big for their shoes. In fact, some are downright great handsets, with one in particular doing its best to shake up the way we think about smartphones and what we should be paying for them.
I am, of course, talking about the Motorola Moto G… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Dec 17, 2013
We told you last week about a Facebook for iOS update that gave the social network the ability to automatically play videos right inside our timelines. Similar to how videos begin to play in Instagram as soon as they’re scrolled to, Facebook has decided to bring the feature to Facebook proper, and as Cody has already told us all, there’s no way to stop it.
Which we thought was a bit odd. That is, until the other shoe dropped and Facebook’s master plan fell into place: video ads.
Now Facebook has published a post on its “Facebook for Business” news page in which it explains how auto-playing videos – and ads – work, as well as offering up an example for those of us yet to be (un)fortunate enough to witness them in our timelines… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Sep 22, 2013
It’s a situation we seem to find ourselves in with each iOS update, yet we always seem to be surprised when it happens. Alas, it seems that iOS 7 has left many of us with the same battery problems that plagued almost every other big point-0 release of the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad.
Anyone with a long memory will remember that we had your back when iOS 5 was causing chaos with iPhone 4S batteries a couple of years ago, and with iPhones the world over seemingly unable to hold a charge as long as they used to, we thought it might be time to offer one or two tips on trying to eek as many hours out of a charge as possible.
So, without further ado, let’s get started turning things off… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jul 7, 2013
There’s no argument that the Mac Pro was in need of some love and in fact, we’d argue that it’s been overdue some attention for quite some time now. We’d hoped that Apple would offer some signs that the Mac Pro was still in their hearts at this year’s WWDC, but we never invisaged something like what Phil Schiller finally announced on-stage. It was a wow moment the likes of which we don’t recall since the original iPhone introduction.
Which got us thinking.
With iPhones being released each year, and with leaks almost commonplace when it comes to Apple’s suppliers, are we in danger of growing bored with Apple’s iPhone? Perhaps more accurately, are we no longer capable of being surprised by a newly announced smartphone from Apple? Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jul 6, 2013
It’s arguably the worst kept secret in modern technology. In fact, it’s hard to really call it a secret anymore, because anyone with even a passing knowledge of smartphones will know that Apple tends to announce and release new iPhones around August/September/October time.
That’s why rumors start to really heat up around now, and photos of supposed screens, random cables attachments and claimed rear covers begin cropping up with increasing frequency. It’s as predictable as night turning to day, and we love it.
One of the perennial questions though is one that I’m being asked on a regular basis, and not just by techy types. The question is a simple one: what will Apple announce and will I want to buy it? Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jun 19, 2013
I was going to write this post when everything was raw, soon after the news had developed and the internet was awash with people seemingly frothing at the mouth. Frothing, apparently, for one of two reasons.
Firstly, we had the people frothing because “ZOMG, 20 dollars for an iPad game!!!!.” Apparently anything the wrong side of free is just about the developers trying to squeeze money out of their hard work. Because, well, it’s their living.
Then secondly, there were the polar opposites. People screaming back, apparently oblivious to the fact they were wasting their time, claiming that developers deserve to be paid and that free to play games have ruined the App Store, caused world hunger and possibly even kicked a kitten once.
The truth though, as is so often the case, is somewhere in-between… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jun 15, 2013
Now that Apple’s iOS 7 is out of the bag, everyone seems to have an opinion on whether it hits the mark. If there was one word we would use to describe Apple’s latest version of its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch software it would probably be ‘polarizing‘ and with good reason. After all, iOS 7 is undoubtedly the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone was introduced all those years ago.
But one thing does appear to be getting lost in all the hysteria surrounding iOS 7. One thing that people do seem to be forgetting not just when forging their opinions on Apple’s new direction, but when condemning existing App Store apps with poor reviews due to compatibility.
Calm down dear, it’s only a beta… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jun 15, 2013
All the talk about iOS 7 is, rightly or wrongly, revolving around the aesthetic changes that Apple has made, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of alterations under the hood. Game Center, a feature often ignored by many, is receiving some much needed love with this update and those pesky cheaters are top of the agenda.
Whilst adding new Game Center features that aim to make recognizing cheaters as easy as possible for developers, Apple is also adding other development tools that will make the whole Game Center experience better as a whole. Improved leaderboards and challenges are just two of the changes coming in iOS 7.
With rampant cheating and high scores that have obviously tampered with, Game Center is set to receive its biggest overhaul yet, and most people won’t even notice what’s changed… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jun 15, 2013
In a dose of irony that shouldn’t be lost on anyone and at a time when Apple’s Eddy Cue is being hauled before the U.S. Department of Justice in Manahattan, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services has admitted that Apple co-founder and then CEO Steve Jobs didn’t even want to sell e-books in the first place.
Speaking whilst testifying during the ongoing price fixing case yesterday, Cue said that when first approached about the idea of launching iBooks, Steve Jobs was not keen on it, leaving Cue to bide his time before broaching the subject again.
In fact, it was only with the release of the iPad fast approaching that Jobs realized that iBooks may be a good idea after all, and the rest as they say, is history… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Jun 1, 2013
It seems like every time I post a screenshot of my Lock or Home screen, I’m inundated with tweets, Facebook messages and even the odd Google+ message asking how I created the minimalist, clean effect. It looks very different to the stock iOS experience, and offers some features that Apple refuses to offer, and I rather like it!
After the most recent flurry of questions I thought it best to put together a short blog post together detailing what apps or tweaks I used, along with the important settings required to recreate my Home or Lock screen.
So, without further delay, let’s get started… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on May 12, 2013
SEGA has been known to put its iOS apps on sale every once in a while, and this weekend is one such occasion, with three of the Japanese company’s games having a couple of dollars slashed from their App Store price.
The three available games have been around for a while, but if you’ve not picked them up yet, or have perhaps been on the fence about picking them up at their normal price, then now’s the time to bite the bullet and get the credit card out.
So which games are included in the sale? Well, if you’re into some of SEGA’s classics, then you’re going to love the games Sega has included in its promotion… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on May 12, 2013
T-Mobile subscribers are still getting used to having access to the iPhone, and those with existing AT&T unlocked iPhone 5 received a carrier update to add LTE support for T-Mobile’s frequency. Unfortunately, that’s not all it did.
Turns out that update may have also limited the bandwidth available to T-Mobile customers using one of those unlocked handsets, leaving them with something of a gimped LTE service. Bummer, right?
Well, remember the guy that worked out how jailbroken iPhone users could enable T-Mobile’s LTE before the aforementioned carrier update? That same clever man has also worked out how to give T-Mobile the bandwidth you’d expect from one of the hottest LTE handsets on the market. And you don’t even need to be jailbroken for it to work… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on May 10, 2013
Instagram may be the top dog when it comes to fancy photo sharing, and it may have Facebook behind it to make sure it stays there, but it’s not all been plain sailing. Instagram’s had more than its fair share of privacy issues, and its own terms of service have been less than clear on who owns the photos posted to it.
Such goings on have led many to at least consider dumping Instagram, but where do you go instead? We’ve wondered that too, and Tadaa may be a good alternative especially when its latest update is taken into account.
If you’ve ever wanted an up market Instagram, then we might just have something right up your street… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Apr 6, 2013
Without a doubt, one of the biggest differences between iOS and Android is its fundamental handling of information. Google decided to allow widgets onto a phone’s Home screen so that, theoretically, users would have the information they need right at their fingertips. Apple, on the other hand, has doggedly stuck to its guns over the years, with iOS remaining a collection of app icons rather than live widgets.
Over the years there have been plenty of arguments amongst those in the tech community as to which was the best way to go. Android users will repeatedly point to widgets as one of the main reasons they prefer their phones over the iPhone or even one of the Windows Phone handsets. Sitting halfway between iOS and Android, Windows Phone features live tiles that offer up information from the phone’s Home screen a la widgets, but that’s just not enough for some. It’s widgets or nothing, man, and that’s the way it is.
But iOS users can have their cake and eat it. They can have widgets on their home screens just like Android users, whilst still having that iPhone they so love. But the real question is: should they? Even if they should, I’d argue that fewer people actually would than we might think… Read More
by Oliver Haslam on Mar 13, 2013
If you’re a YouTube user, or dare we say “power user,” then you’re no doubt already acutely aware of YourTube. A jailbreak tweak from the folks over at CocoaNuts, YourTube takes the already impressive YouTube app and turns it into the app Google would no doubt like it to be, if it wasn’t for all manner of licensing issues!
Amongst other features, YourTube allows users to download their YouTube videos for playback later, with adjustable quality settings and the option to have the downloaded files added to their iPhone’s built-in media apps. Oh, and they’ll get synced back to your computer that way, too.
That’s just scratching the surface of what YourTube can do, so here’s a handy bullet point list of features for your easy perusal… Read More