Watch English version of calligraphy video showing stunning Hangzhou store mural creation

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

Tuesday, Apple opened its first store in Hangzhou, the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. As part of launch festivities, the Cupertino company enlisted the creative talent of calligraphy artist Wang Dongling who hand-painted a stunning mural featuring an old poem.

Originally available as a QuickTime video through its retail website in China, an English version has just surfaced on Apple’s YouTube channel for everyone to enjoy. Read More

 

Tim Cook made a little over $9 million last year as Apple’s CEO

By Cody Lee on Jan 22, 2015

Tim Cook received compensation of $9.22 million last year for his work as Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, according to a new SEC filing by the company. Bloomberg points to the documents, noting that Cook was paid out $1.75 million and $6.7 million in non-equity incentive compensation for the fiscal year that ended in September.

The amount is more than double Cook was paid for his work in 2013, with much of the boon coming as Apple’s stock reached an all-time high late last year. Apple unveiled several new products in the fall, including long-awaited larger-screened iPhones, a new payment system, and a wearable that it expects to sell well when it launches in March. Read More

 

Apple names ‘Shades’ puzzler its free App of the Week

By Cody Lee on Jan 22, 2015

Apple has just named UOVO’s ‘Shades: A Simple Puzzle Game‘ its App of the Week for this week. This means that from now through next Thursday, you’ll be able to download the zen-like puzzler for both iPhone and iPad for free—which will save you a solid $1.99.

Released in September of last year, Shades is one of those puzzle games that’s easy to pick up and play, but tough to master. The premise should sound familiar to Tetris fans: move falling blocks into position to combine blocks, clearing rows as quick as possible. Read More

 

Get your weather and jokes all in one place with Funny Or Die Weather

By Lory Gil on Jan 22, 2015

The first time I had heard of the comedy website Funny or Die was after discovering Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s short film “The Landlord.” I’ve been a fan of the site ever since.

Today, the team that made famous such web series as Between Two Ferns and Drunk History has launched a weather app to bring a smile to your face, even on the cloudiest of days. Read More

 

New report sheds light on Apple Watch battery life

By Cody Lee on Jan 22, 2015

For its upcoming Watch, Apple is shooting for somewhere between 2.5 and 4 hours of active use and 19 hours of passive use, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. The site says sources with knowledge of the project have offered up new details regarding the wearable’s battery life.

Battery life was one of the many things left out of the initial Apple Watch unveiling last September, but Tim Cook has since said that the device will need to be “charged every night.” The vague explanation has left many users wondering how long the Watch will last in the real world. Read More

 

iOS port of Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride now available

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

Building upon its existing ports of the popular Japanese franchise, Square Enix has now released Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride on iOS.

The role-playing game is a direct port of the 1992 Super Famicom game that follows a story of a young boy who travels the world with his father, Pankraz. And when he becomes a man, the main protagonist resolves to continue his father’s unfinished quest to find the Legendary Hero. Read More

 

T-Mobile’s Smartphone Equality gives everyone access to best deals, no credit check required

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

The nation’s fourth largest wireless carrier, T-Mobile, is adamant to do something about the millions of people with less than perfect credit score who don’t qualify for some of its attractive financing options.

“Carriers spent billions of dollars advertising deals and plans that half of Americans can’t get when signing up for wireless service,” the carrier said Thursday.

Enter Smartphone Equality, a new initiative created to solve that particular customer pain point, kicking off for all customers on Sunday, January 25.

So, how does it work? Read on. Read More

 

This widget lets you play Minesweeper directly from Notification Center

By Sébastien Page on Jan 22, 2015

Minesweeper Widget Edition is a new app launching in the App Store today that, as you might have guessed, brings a playable Minesweeper widget to the Today tab of Notification Center. Developed by the same guy who made Overglide, another playable Notification Center widget, Minesweeper Widget Edition promises to offer short and quick gaming to make your wait in line at the grocery store ever so enjoyable. Read More

 

Amazon releases Kindle Textbook Creator for Mac

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

The online retail giant Amazon on Thursday announced a brand new application for the Mac which allows anyone to create and publish textbooks on Kindle. Currently in beta and available in English only, the applications can be downloaded to Mac or Windows PCs through Amazon’s website.

Similar to Apple’s iBooks Author app for the Mac, which debuted in 2012, Kindle Textbook Creator makes it easy to create textbooks and other educational material with by augmenting text with graphs, charts and equations and other graphically rich content.

In addition, the app can convert existing PDFs into a digital book, ready for distribution on the Kindle Store. Read More

 

BlackBerry calls upon US government to force Apple to port iMessage to its smartphones

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

Disregarding for a moment the fact that Apple has never actually made any promises regarding bringing iMessage to other platforms (unlike FaceTime, but that’s a topic for another story), the embattled smartphone maker BlackBerry wants Apple’s messaging platform on its smartphones so badly that it’s calling on the United States government to intervene and do something about it.

It’s not a joke: BlackBerry CEO John Chen penned a post over at the company blog proposing just that.

In a nutshell, rather than let the market dictate what any company should do, he’s demanding that the Cupertino firm make iMessage cross-platform. Read More

 

Apple Watch gets its first game, a cute word puzzler from NimbleBit

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

In case you had any doubts — yes, some developers are busy writing their first games for the Apple Watch.

But first, let’s get something straight: because Watch apps will initially run as extensions on your iPhone that stream image assets and UI back to your wrist, don’t expect to see graphics-rich shooters playable on your wrist anytime soon.

With that off our back, puzzlers seem like a really good fit for a wrist-worn device like the Watch.

And sure enough, as reported by TouchArcade, a developer that goes by the name of NimbleBit is planning to release Letterpad, an upcoming word puzzler for the iPhone and iPad, with support for the Apple Watch.

Wanna see how it’s going to look and feel like? Read on for the full reveal. Read More

 

Facebook Groups adds member search and three new admin features

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

Facebook’s dedicated Groups app received a major refresh Thursday, bumping the groups-management mobile software to version 5.0 while enabling several new features for members and administrators.

Both group members and administrators can now search for other members in groups. Additionally, members can now manage notifications more easily.

Admins can now take advantage of a trio of new features for better management of their own groups, including the ability to block users requesting to join. Read More

 

Twitter’s ‘while you were away’ feature rolls out to all mobile users, due soon on the web

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

First revealed as part of Twitter’s November 2014 platform update and formally announced on January 1, a new ‘while you were away’ feature is now officially available to all users of Twitter’s mobile app for iOS and Android, appearing at the top of users’ timelines.

The micro-blogging startup explained in a blog post Wednesday that the feature surfaces a few of the best tweets “you probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” as determined by engagement and “other factors.” Read More

 

Spotify introduces Touch Preview for songs, albums, artists and playlists

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 22, 2015

The leading music-streaming startup Spotify on Thursday announced a better way to preview music using new gestures in its iOS app. Dubbed Touch Preview, the feature allows music lovers to get a sneak peek of any playlist, song, album or artist by holding down their finger to start the music playing instantly.

“It means less time looking for the perfect music, and more time actually listening to it,” wrote the company. Read More

 

App Recap: notable discounts, updates and releases for January 21

By Cody Lee on Jan 21, 2015

The App Recap is iDB’s daily roundup of notable news from the crazy world of iOS software. Below you’ll find a list of discounts (deals!), updates and new releases we think are worth checking out. Today our selections include several major app updates and some great game discounts. Read More

 

Rdio app updated with New Music Weekly station, smarter sharing and more

By Cody Lee on Jan 21, 2015

Popular streaming music service Rdio posted an update for its iOS client today, bringing the app to version 3.1. The update brings about a new station for hot, just-released music, enhanced sharing capabilities and various other new features and improvements.

The New Music Weekly Station is a handpicked selection of the week’s hottest tracks from Rdio’s New Releases section. And as for the enhanced sharing, users can now quickly share music with a press-and-hold while listening to any track, album, playlist or station. Read More

 

Apple posts major Logic Pro X update with new sounds, AirDrop support and more

By Cody Lee on Jan 21, 2015

Apple released a significant update for Logic Pro X Wednesday afternoon, bringing the popular pro audio software to version 10.1. The update includes an expanded sound library, support for Mail Drop and Air Drop in OS X Yosemite, and a number of other new features and improvements.

The expanded sound library contains over 200 new synth patches and 10 classic Mellotron instruments. There are also 10 new Drummers capable of producing beats in a variety of hiphop and electronic styles including Techno, House and Dubstep. We’ve posted the full 10.1 change log below. Read More

 

Microsoft unveils 84-inch touch display and augmented reality headset

By Cody Lee on Jan 21, 2015

In addition to officially unveiling Windows 10 at its, Microsoft made a number of other interesting announcements at its Redmond, Washington event this morning. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for the first year, will play a lot nicer with Xbox One, and has a new web browser on the way.

But two of the most interesting announcements involved products that most people had no idea Microsoft was working on: the Surface Hub and the HoloLens. The former is an 84-inch 4K touchscreen display, and the latter is a futuristic visor that overlays holographic imagery onto your view. Read More

 

Google reportedly plans to become wireless carrier, will offer phone plans to customers

By Jake Smith on Jan 21, 2015

Google has plans to be a wireless carrier, selling mobile phone plans directly to customers, reports The Information. The company is looking at ways to change itself from its core businesses.

The new service is said to run on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks. Google is expected to reach deals to buy wholesale access to those carriers’ mobile voice and data networks, making it a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, according to the publication’s sources. Read More

 

Shadowmatic review: turn abstract shapes into familiar objects

By Lory Gil on Jan 21, 2015

When it comes to puzzle games, spatial reasoning 3-D titles will always grab my attention, especially if they have great graphics and plenty of puzzles to challenge my brainpower.

Shadowmatic is a puzzle game that asks players to think about the world in 360 degrees in order to turn shapes into objects. We’ve got a full game review of Shadowmatic for you today. Read More