It’s that time of year again, when we’re all scrambling around trying to find that perfect gift for the loved ones in our lives.
If you’re anything like me, you revert to type and try desperately to find something with a technological bent. Be it earphones, an iDevice stand or some fancy software; gifts are hard enough to buy at the best of times, let alone when you know nothing about the subject matter.
Here I’ll showcase a handful of handy gift ideas across the world of tech and specifically, Apple. Some are cheap. Some not so much. But hey, it’s Christmas… Read More
The App Store on iOS 5 and below had an interesting feature I really used to love a lot, the ability to send your friends the gift of apps.
You’d just pick a piece of software in the App Store, hit the Gift This App button and Apple would send a nicely formatted email message to a lucky bastard along with a link to download an app, just like that.
With iOS 6, the feature was removed with seemingly no apparent reason. Now, app gifting has been available on desktop iTunes all this time. Fortunately, the company’s quietly updated iTunes backend to re-enable app gifting on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, just in time for the holidays… Read More
Following Instagram’s update that added a new Willow filter and yesterday’s big refresh of Twitter’s iOS client that now lets you crop a photo and apply up to eight brand new filters before tweeting it out, Yahoo too has joined the fray by revamping its aging Flickr iOS client this morning. And guess what? The redesigned app also touts filters as Yahoo attempts to stay relevant in the social photography space. There are sixteen unique camera filters to choose from, twice as much as in Twitter’s app (and also powered by Aviary). More features and screenies right after the break… Read More
Shazam, a music identification service popular with smartphone owners, today issued a nice update to both its free and paid iPhone apps. For starters, Shazam version 5.5 integrates better with iOS 6 by invoking the standard system sheet when sharing tags to Facebook (really, what took so long?). More importantly, you can now record audio snippets offline for later matching, something I’ve been yearning for since the dawn of time.
Google+ sharing is also supported, as is searching by name, title, tag date or location. Last, but certainly not the least, the app’s fugly interface has been overhauled with larger artwork for music, TV ads, or shows, a prettier listening screen and generally nicer-looking interface that’s easy on the eyes and more in line with Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines.
These features are in addition to September’s update (when Shazam raised $32 million in funding), which has brought out the interesting ability to tag any television show on any channel in the United States… Read More
A small but noteworthy update to Apple’s Find My iPhone software has just surfaced on iTunes. The iPhone and iPad app which lets you locate stolen or misplaced devices on a world map has gained ability to provide driving directions to your lost gear. This capability requires the new Find My iPhone app version 2.0.1 or later and iOS 6 or later. Apple has also enabled another tweak where Play Sound, Lost Mode and Erase buttons appear separately from the main map view. Unfortunately, the repugnant stitched leather theme is still all over the app… Read More
Surely you must remember Yahoo! Mail? The more than 310 million people who still use it swear it’s the best webmail service out there, bar none. If you’re a fan of Yahoo’s email offering, you’ll be delighted to learn that the search firm today released a brand new iOS email client. It’s got the basic you’d want from an email app nailed: the clean inbox view with infinite scrolling, auto-complete for email addresses you type, notifications for incoming email messages, multiple message selection, swiping left and right for quick access to options, in-line images, search across folders and more… Read More
BrightVol is a new jailbreak tweak, which allows you to adjust the brightness settings of an iPhone or iPod touch using the device’s hardware volume buttons.
While similar tweaks have been created in the past, none of them, to my knowledge, allows you to dynamically switch between brightness settings and traditional volume settings as easy. BrightVol allows you to do just that, and that’s what really separates it from the rest of the pack. Take a look inside for our full video walkthrough… Read More
Notification Center, a feature Apple borrowed from the jailbreak community, continues to be artists’ favorite playground, if numerous concepts are anything to go by. I’m especially liking a new concept by Alex Saretzky, a designer who is proposing a better use of the screen real estate in Apple’s implementation of the Notification Center.
The redesigned feature helps convey more information compared to Apple’s version of the Notification Center. Specifically, Alex says Apple should drop the linen background (we’re looking at you, Jony Ive) and re-think some of the design decision that clash with its own Human Interface Guidelines… Read More
As we barrel into the holiday season at an alarming rate, I am assuming that you, like I, have not finished purchasing gifts. As an iDB reader, you know that tech gifts are the best gifts and we are hoping to make choosing a little easier. When I was little, I always preferred something cool and new under the Christmas tree. Thanks to iOS devices, there are many new ways to pick up a new innovative or interactive gift for the kids or kids-at-heart.
My guide is split between age groups and all suggestions fall into the stocking-stuffer category, thanks to their sub $75 price tags. Why spend huge bucks when there are decent options for less? With the bargain shopper in mind, the following might not be the best toy or accessory money can buy, but they are great deals for the dollar… Read More
Square Enix announced it will be bringing Final Fantasy IV to both iOS and Android. Apple’s platform will enjoy a preferential treatment with the Final Fantasy IV release on Thursday, December 20, just days before Christmas. As for the Android build, it’s gonna arrive some time in 2013. Final Fantasy IV is a remake of the 2008 Nintendo DS game, with visual improvements and a few nice mini-games, among other perks, which should be enough to keep fans of the franchise glued to their devices… Read More
As crazy as things have been getting between Apple and Samsung in their ongoing patent war, you knew it was only a matter of time before the fight spilled outside of the court room. We continue to hear rumors and reports that Apple is looking to move away from the Korean company as a component manufacturer — it’s already doing this with displays, and could soon start doing it with processors… Read More
A city-slicker that fancies himself an outdoorsman, I had been on a quest to find an iOS device solar charger for a couple months. After stumbling into an REI, the GOAL ZERO product line piqued my interest. When hiking, camping, hunting, traveling, or when the world ends, finding a power source may be difficult. If we are all Denzel Washingtons, rocking out to our iPods while we hunt for the Book of Eli, then a consistent source of USB power is as important as our favorite post-apocalyptic weapon… Read More
Following the official release of iTunes 11 for Mac and Windows and an incremental Apple TV firmware update, today’s update bonanza continues with the release of a minor update to Apple’s Remote iOS app. It now plays nice with iTunes 11, of course, and includes a redesigned interface on iPad tablets that takes design cues from the new iTunes, just as the previous version was reminiscent of desktop iTunes. As for iTunes 11 support, the updated Remote app now includes overhauled library views, an expanded view for your media, improved search results, the new UpNext feature and more… Read More
As promised, Flexibits today launched Fantastical for the iPhone. The app makes a leap from the Mac, where it’s been deemed the most popular calendar software for the platform. And one of its trademark features – the natural-language engine which parses entries, allowing one to just type in full sentences to create events – is now available on the iPhone and is just as effective as on the Mac. And for those that don’t like to type, Fantastical also supports dictation so you can speak the details for your event… Read More
Google’s cloud-storage iOS client has received a nice little update today which brought out useful editing capability to Google spreadsheets. Google Drive version 1.2 arrives a little more than a month after the previous release brought us native Docs support and collaborative editing.
What’s more, the software now finally allows for rich text copy-paste within a document and registers itself as a system-wide handler for uploading to Drive from other apps using the “Open in…” prompt.
The Android client was also refreshed with the ability to edit text within tables in documents and add a shortcut on the homescreen of your device to any specific file in Drive… Read More
But as Apple increasingly sources major components from other suppliers, it has yet to make a switch to a non-Samsung silicon foundry. According to the latest chatter from Asia, Tim Cook and Co. remain adamant to take Apple’s chip making contract to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as early as possible.
But though TSMC, the world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, has enough capacity to make the 200 million+ processors Apple needs annually for iPhones, iPads and iPods, such a move bears a significant risk of upsetting TSMC’s major buyers such as Nvidia and Qualcomm… Read More
Skype was recently updated with a taller UI tailored for the iPhone 5. Today, Microsoft pushed another update, bringing a few new features to the popular communications client. For starters, you can now merge your Skype and Microsoft account, which also enables the software to connect to Microsoft’s other messaging properties. Most notably, this means you can now chat with Messenger, Hotmail and Outlook.com contacts right from Skype… Read More
Moving toward a more connected world, we need our digital stuff more frequently and certainly when we are on the go. Whether you are a jet setter that hops around the world or a family man that needs to share the family pictures with dear old mom, size and portability matter greatly. Combine that digital need with the post-PC era, where the jet setter sized down to an iPad for space, convenience, and weight, and dear old mom just cannot figure out how to use a computer. Shake that up and you get a USB-less conundrum and, oh yeah, optical drives are out now too – check out Christian’s article to approve it.
That leaves us with a need to move large quantities of data with us, including documents, movies, photos, music, and other digital necessaries in a small device that connects wirelessly. After reviewing a competing Wi-Fi enabled external hard drive, you, the readers, called out for a larger, yet similarly mobile storage option. Today, I am happy to review the Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage 500GB external hard drive. And, because I aim to please, I teamed up with Seagate to give one away… Read More
If you’re fond of retro gaming, keep your eyes peeled for Vectrex Regeneration this week on the App Store. This universal iPhone and iPad game strives to emulate the popular Vectrex game console that famously made waves in the early ’80s. Developer RantMedia Games announced on Twitter yesterday that Vectrex Regeneration should land on the App Store “in just three days”. A teaser seen above depicts gameplay that promises to emulate the original console, along with an interesting 3D interface to spice things up a bit… Read More
Cloud-storage startup Dropbox has quickly become my favorite solution for storing and sharing files in the cloud, collaborating on projects, backing up my photos and more. Today, an update to the free Dropbox iOS client has been issued, bringing with it a couple new features and tweaks. For starters, streaming of video files from your Dropbox is now improved. Another nice-to-have: Dropbox finally features support for password-protected Microsoft Office documents, an iOS 6-only capability… Read More