Google Maps finds its way to your Apple Watch

By Sébastien Page on Sep 29, 2015

The Google Maps app received an update today that includes a handful of new features, the most noteworthy of them being support for Apple Watch.

Upon launching the app on your Apple Watch, you will be presented two buttons: one for directions to your home, another for directions to your work, two locations that can easily be set up from within Google Maps on iPhone. A list of recent routes is also displayed on the screen to quickly browse and access your latest requested directions. Read More


How to turn a Live Photo into a still photo

By Sébastien Page on Sep 29, 2015

Live Photos is one of the main features of iOS 9 and iPhone 6s. Some might see it as a gimmicky feature, others like me might see it as a great way to inject a little more life into photos.

The process of taking a Live Photo is pretty simple. It’s on by default, and you have nothing to do. Simply shoot a photo like you would normally do, and you’re done. Your device will capture an extra 1.5 second of video before and after the photo was taken, stitching it together and turning a frozen moment into a lively one.

But what if you want to turn a Live Photo into a still one? As with most things iOS, it’s actually pretty simple. Read More


Chromecast support, people labeling and shared albums coming to Google Photos

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

In addition to a pair of new Nexus smartphones and an upcoming $14.99 Google Play Music family tier, the search giant dedicated a few minutes of stage time at its media even this morning to the mobile Photos app, which launched on iOS and Android in May 2015.

An upcoming update to Google Photos, the company said, will add a few missing features to the software, like people labelling, Chromecasting, album collaboration and more. Read More


Apple seeds OS X El Capitan 10.11.1 beta 2 to developers

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Apple just seeded OS X El Capitan 10.11.1 beta 2 to developers. It follows up its release of OS X 10.11.1 beta 1 back on September 17. The timing for the new beta release is of interest, as Apple is planning on dropping the public version of the free OS X 10.11 El Capitan software update tomorrow. Read More


Google Play Music to offer new $14.99 family plan later this year

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Ahead of Apple Music launch tomorrow following its three-month trial period, Google at today’s event announced that its own subscription-music service, called Google Play Music, will offer a new family plan later this year.

Like Apple Music, Google’s service costs $9.99 per month. As you know, Apple Music also offers a $14.99 per month subscription for families up to six. While Google has yet to reveal a precise timeframe for upcoming family tiers, it did confirm the pricing. Read More


How to make your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad more secure with 6-digit passcodes

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

iOS 9.0.1 increases your security by defaulting to 6-digit passcodes on Touch ID devices. “If you use Touch ID, it’s a change you’ll hardly notice,” says Apple.

Compared to 4-digit passcodes which have 10,000 possible combinations, their 6-digit counterparts strengthen your security with one million possible combinations, meaning 6-digit passcodes will be a lot tougher to crack.

Non-Touch ID iPhones and iPads still default to less secure 4-digit passcodes, however. You can enable a 6-digit passcode with a quick trip to Settings, here’s how. Read More


Google announces two new flagship Nexus smartphones: The Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 29, 2015

As has been widely expected, Google revealed two new smartphones in its Nexus line today at a press event in San Francisco. The two new phones—the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P—are new flagship phones that feature the pure Google experience without any outside bloatware, third-party skins, or apps. Nexus phones are historically rated very high, and it doesn’t seem like that will be changing.

The new Nexus phones sport better cameras with low light performance being a key focus point. They also feature fingerprint sensors on the rear of the device that look similar in design to Touch ID. Both phones will run Google’s latest Android Marshmallow update.

The Nexus 5X is manufactured by LG and is a plastic body 5.2″ phone sporting a 1080p display. The larger Nexus 6P is made by Huawei. It features an aluminum body (frost white, aluminum, and graphite), and a 5.7″ screen with a 1440p display. Both phones are capable of shooting 4K video.

Pre-orders for the new Nexus phones start today. The Nexus 5X starts at $379 unlocked, and the larger Nexus 6P starts at $499. Read More


Zane Lowe is not sure Apple Music needs Beats 1, and neither am I

By Sébastien Page on Sep 29, 2015

Speaking to his former Radio 1 boss at the Radio Festival in London, Beats 1 head DJ Zane Lowe admitted that he wasn’t sure Apple Music needed Beats 1. In a moment of candor that probably made Apple’s PR department choke on these words, Lowe is saying out loud what I’ve personally been thinking for a while. Read More


Let’s Talk iOS 102: The Fast and the Siri-ous

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 29, 2015

Episode 102: Our in-depth thoughts on the iPhone 6s launch and hardware, plus commentary on watchOS 2.

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How to prepare for OS X El Capitan

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 29, 2015

Tomorrow, Apple is releasing its yearly update to its desktop operating system, OS X 10.11 El Capitan. It rightly caps off a long month of activity that started with Apple’s media event, and from there featured the release of iOS 9, followed by the release of the iPad mini 4, two new iPhone’s—the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and culminates with tomorrow’s launch.

It’s been a busy month of announcements and releases for Apple, and it just feels right that Apple ends the month with an update to the platform that really started it all—the Mac. Tomorrow, likely around 10AM PST, Apple will release OS X El Capitan. It’s the follow up to OS X Yosemite, and as its name suggests, it shares a lot in common with that release.

What should you do to prepare for the release? Follow our simple guide for more info. Read More


OS X 10.11 El Capitan software update launching tomorrow on Mac App Store

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

OS X 10.11 El Capitan is launching tomorrow and Apple just issued a reminder in the form of a media release alerting customers of the impending update.

“Apple today announced that OS X El Capitan, the latest major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, will be available on Wednesday, September 30 as a free update for Mac users,” reads the press release.

Will you be taking the plunge? Read More


Apple Music free trials expiring tomorrow, here’s how to disable auto-renewals

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Apple faces a big day tomorrow as free three-month Apple Music trials are set to expire on Wednesday, September 30. Just yesterday, the firm posted a series of guided tour videos to help new and existing users understand the various features of the service.

Ahead of the initial wave of free trial expirations, Apple is pushing notifications to those who signed up for a free-trial to encourage them to renew their membership.

If you signed up for your first three months of free services and have forgotten to disable the Auto-Renew option, you can still do so before Apple charges your credit card on file, here’s how. Read More


New patent points to lusciously animated Apple Maps with photorealistic visual effects

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Three-dimensional Flyover aerial photography in Apple Maps is cool, but wouldn’t it be great if things like water, foliage and other dynamic objects were animated based on touch, motion and sound?

That’s exactly what Apple appears to be researching if a new patent application uncovered by AppleInsider is indicative of future Apple Maps features. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday awarded the iPhone maker a new patent on “Non-static 3D map views.” Read More


Apple Maps Flyover coverage expands to new locales in France, Germany, Japan and more

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Apple has added a bunch of new cities and landmarks around the world to its three-dimensional Flyover views in Maps. The new locales in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia, Mexico and the United States are now available in Apple Maps on both iOS and OS X platforms. Read More


Apple details what it does and doesn’t collect in Privacy website refresh

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Apple on Tuesday refreshed the Privacy section of its website with new information on what “we do and don’t collect.” In a post titled “Apple’s commitment to your privacy,” Apple CEO Tim Cook explains the great lengths his company goes in order to protect your private data from prying eyes.

Among other things, Apple’s approach to protecting your privacy entails employing strong encryption and strict policies that govern how all data is handled. Read More


Semiconductor analysis confirms iPhone 6s ‘A9’ chip manufactured by Samsung and TSMC

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

An initial analysis of the Apple-designed A9 system-on-a-chip powering the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, conducted by semiconductor experts over at Chipworks, has identified both Samsung and rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company as manufacturers of the package.

What’s really interesting is that the A9 comes in two sizes, depending on who manufactured it, with the Samsung-built units being a bit smaller than those manufactured by TSMC. This is the first time an Apple-designed processor for an iPhone came in two different sizes. Read More


Mass Fidelity Relay review: stream music from your iPhone to your analog speakers

By Lory Gil on Sep 29, 2015

The one thing I detest about streaming music from my iPhone is the subpar audio playback. I come from the record player generation, when people listened to music on vinyl, of which I still have many hundreds. Digital music just sounds flat when played through most portable speakers.

The best way to fix the problem with tinny, flat audio is to invest thousands of dollars in speakers that will play your music the way it is meant to be heard. However, many of us already have a kickass stereo system and aren’t looking to buy a new one.

That’s where Mass Fidelity’s Relay comes in. It is a Bluetooth connected digital-analog converter (DAC) that connects to your existing speaker system for transmitting digital music to an analog stereo. That means, even if your stereo is 40 years old, as long as you can connect traditional RCA cables to it, you can stream music from your iPhone. We’ve got a hands-on review of the Relay for you today. Read More


Photo shootout: how the iPhone 6s compares to its predecessors

By Cody Lee on Sep 28, 2015

Photographer Lisa Bettany, co-founder of the popular iPhone app Camera+, on Monday posted a series of images comparing photos taken with the iPhone 6s with its predecessors. The comparison images feature identical shots taken with each of the 9 iPhone models (sans 5c).

The image you see above shows macro photos taken of colored pencils against a white backdrop. You start to notice more details with the iPhone 3GS, and furthermore with the 4s. After that it becomes harder to discern differences, but the iPhone 6s photo clearly looks the best. Read More


Apple Music guided tour series goes live prior to initial wave of free trial expirations

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 28, 2015

Just as the initial batch of Apple Music free trials are set to expire, Apple has posted over a half-dozen new guided tour videos on its YouTube channel. The aim of the video series is clear—to help new and existing users understand how Apple Music works.

Although over 11 million users have signed up for the free trial, the general consensus seems to be that Apple Music is more difficult to use than necessary. Apple faces stiff competition, primarily from the likes of Spotify, who’s service is fairly straightforward and easy to use.

On the eve of the first wave of free trial expirations, it’s a critical time for Apple Music. After giving users three months to test out its service, Apple must convince its trial user base that its monthly subscription service is worth paying for. The new guided tours are aiming to clear up misconceptions, answer questions, and serve as virtual how tos. Read More


You can finally send messages completely hands free with watchOS 2

By Sébastien Page on Sep 28, 2015

A new feature of watchOS 2 finally allows users to send messages completely hands free, and even though there is a catch, it’s a much welcome improvement to communicate via text message without having to physically touch the device.

The catch is that this new feature only applies to messages you create from the Home or Watchface screen using Siri. It does not work for replies to messages you receive, and doesn’t work if you go straight to the Messages app and tap Reply. Still, if used right, it can make the process of sending messages completely frictionless. Read More

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