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The Apple Smartwatch

March 11th 2015

The countdown is on for the release of Apples Smartwatch, with pre-orders beginning April 10. The watch will start selling on April 24 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Like most of the Smartwatches currently available, the Apple watch will be able to make calls, read email, control music and manage Instagram photos. But unlike those currently available, the Apple watch will also present news, pay for groceries, open your hotel room door and keep up with your workout. It will have a heart rate monitor and accelerometer, and an internal motor that can signal the wearer with a subtle "tap" on the wrist. The fitness features include a reminder to start moving when you’ve been sitting for too long. The watch has an 18hour battery life across a range of activities and charges with a magnetic charger that clicks into place when it’s near the back of the watch

 It also comes with Siri and Apple Pay built in. Apple Pay mobile-payment service has expanded to 2,500 banks with six credit-card issuing banks in the U.S. While the number of merchants accepting Apple Pay has tripled to nearly 700,000 across the US.

There are three variations of the watch available. The cheapest being the Sport model, aimed at fitness enthusiast. It will cost $349 for the smaller, 38-millimeter model and $399 for the larger, 42-millimeter model. There will be choices of colours and bands. The next tier is the stainless steel edition starting at $549 and going up to $1,049 for the smaller model, depending on the selection of watch band. The larger model will range from $599 to US$1,099. And for those with money to burn, there’s the Apple Watch Edition - the luxury model with 18-karat gold - available in limited quantities at select retail stores, for a price of US$10,000.

Apple also is releasing an update to its iOS software for iPhones on Monday that includes an Apple Watch app. But you won't be able to use it yet, you can however, see some of the customization options and other features to come.

The watch will be the first brand-new device Apple has launched without the late Steve Jobs.

How the Apple Watch will do on the market is in hot debate. Those in the know are saying most smartwatches - including Apple's - only work with a smartphone nearby, so you can't swap one expensive gadget for the other. But with the Apple brand name, it could mark the beginning of a Smartwatch takeover.


Are you concerned about in App privacy?

September 10th 2014

Do you have privacy concerns when it comes to Apps? A recent survey of 100 mobile users by app developer Apadmi, shows four out of 10 people admitted they would not download an app if they had privacy concerns.
37 per cent of respondents would not download an app if it posts updates on Facebook or Twitter, operates their phone without their knowledge, collects personal data or invades their privacy.
Co-Founder and Director of Apadmi, Howard Simms, said that it is becoming more difficult to market apps as users are getting more concerned about how their data is being used.
Users seem to be using apps for more practical tasks rather than entertainment. Around 42 per cent said they mostly download apps that help them to complete an everyday task, whereas 37 per cent said they mostly download games and novelty titles including puzzles.
The research also looked at app discovery, showing that 40 per cent of responders discovered apps by searching for something particular in an app store. Whereas 19 per cent heard about apps from family and friends, 15 per cent app charts, 14 per cent reviews or articles, 9 per cent social and 4 per cent online of TV advertising.


Introducing Apple Watch and iPhone 6 and 6Plus!

September 10th 2014

As speculated, Apple are indeed going to be bringing out a Smartwatch. The much anticipated announcement was made at the Apple product launch yesterday, along with the two new iPhones.

Apples Smartwatch, aptly named Apple Watch is much the same as most other Smartwatches available, although Apple think they’ve done it better!

Apple have introduced a new interface, because simply shrinking a phone wouldn’t have worked. Much of the interaction will be through the dial on the watch, which Apple call the ‘Digital Crown’. Apple have worked with app developers to create new functionality; from unlocking room doors at Starwood Hotels to reminding you where you parked your car with the BMW App. HomeKit and HealthKit systems, which will be able to do everything from monitoring a person’s eating habits to exercise and even turning on the coffee maker in the morning!

The Apple Watch will be able to work with iPhone 5 onwards, but it won’t be available until early 2015 and will cost around US$349.

The iPhone 6 and 6Plus, bring Apple into the large screen market, with the 6 at 4.7inches and the 6Plus at 5.5inches, a whole 1.5inches larger than the 5 at 5inches. The larger screen size isn’t the only thing that Apple have made bigger and better. Both have increased resolution up from the 326ppi (pixels per inch) on the 5, to 426ppi on the 6Plus and Retina HD ppi of 326 on the 6. The 6’s also come with new horizontal viewing mode, allowing app developers to design apps to be viewed differently when the phone is held horizontally.

Upgraded front and rear cameras, as well as videoing capabilities mean the new iPhones can record HD 1080p video at 30fps (frames per second), as well as shooting modes such as burst-selfies and slo-mo video. Where the 5s comes with 16, 32 or 64GB of solid state memory, the two new phones will be available in a 16, 64 and 128GB flavour. The iPhone 6 is powered by Apple's latest A8 processor, which gives it 25 percent faster processing power than the previous iPhone. Now you’re thinking about the amount of time you’re going to spend charging this new beauty? Well not long, with a battery life that is 65percent more efficient than that of the 5s. While the 5s has a measly 250hours standby and 10hours chatting, the iPhone 6 will have 50hours audio and 11hours video, and the 6Plus 80hours audio and 14 hours video.

And as a bonus Apple have redeemed themselves after omitting NFC (Near Field Communication) from the 5s by including it in both the 6 and 6Plus, allowing users to securely pay for goods using Apple Pay.

Both new iPhones will be shipping in the US from September 19th 2014.

Apple will also be releasing their new operating system iOS8 on September 19th, it will be available to all existing iPhones and iPads as a free upgrade.


What will Apple bring us next?

September 3rd 2014

According to the financial times, Apple and Dutch firm NXP; the world’s leading NFC chipset vendor, are working to include the short-range wireless technology into the next iPhone.

The NFC-based iPhone will allow users to tap and pay for goods in shops as well as buy tickets on public transport. This isn’t the first time that is has been suggested that NFC will be adopted by Apple, but the mention of NXPs involvement adds more fuel to the fire than previous speculation.

It is unclear whether an NFC-based smartphone will be showcased at Apple’s forthcoming September 9th product launch. The September 9th event is expected to introduce two new iPhones.

There has also been rumours that Apple will launch a wearable, such as a smart watch at the September 9th event, as Apple CEO; Tim Cook, has said Apple will break into a new category this year. A wearable would showcase updates such as Homekit and Healthkit that are due with iOS8.


iPhones, Apples biggest money maker

July 30th 2014

Apple is under a lot of pressure to deliver on its next generation of the iPhone; the iPhone 6, if they stick to the naming scheme. This is not only down to customer pressure to wow with the next iPhone either.

The iPhone is the most important piece in the Apple arsenal. Since it was first released in 2007, the iPhone has accounted for 57 per cent of its revenue as of April, up from 2 per cent in 2007.

This week, Apple posted a profit of $7.75 billion, up 12 per cent from last year. Apple finished the quarter with a staggering $164.5 billion in cash and investments. International sales made up 59 per cent of its revenue.

And there is nowhere in the world that Apple is growing faster than in China, bolstered by recent lucrative deals with China's largest wireless carriers. But that’s not even where Apple has the biggest revenue.

Sales of the iPhone and iPad were up about 50 per cent from the same period last year. With the strongest category of growth this past quarter in the section that contains the App Store.

The next generation iPhone launch is particularly important because many Apple devotees held onto their iPhone 4 or 4S models, skipping the upgrade.

That new model is expected to have a larger screen than its current 4-inch display, to keep up with consumer appetites for watching video.

Apple has asked its suppliers to produce at least 70 million phones for the fall, as opposed to the initial 50 million to 60 million order the company placed for the 5s and 5c.


Unlocking US handsets to become legal

July 30th 2014

The House of Representatives passed legislation to give US mobile phone users the right to unlock their mobile devices, and now all that remains is for President Barack Obama to rubber-stamp the bill and make it law.

“The bill congress passed… is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget,” Obama said.

The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress – in 2012 – reversed its longstanding position and stated it was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for consumers to unlock new mobile phones without their wireless providers’ permission. This even applied to customers outside their contract periods. As such, those who did unlock their mobile phones faced criminal penalties.

In December the biggest US operators committed to a set of voluntary industry principles related to device unlocking.

The US regulator’s concern was related to a lack of support for the automatic notification of customers when devices become available for unlocking – which is now on the list of principles the operators are supporting.

Legislation, however, was clearly seen as necessary to make sure all operators played ball.


Australian and New Zealand Apple hack

June 4th 2014

In the last couple of days Australian and New Zealand iPhone, iPad and iMac users have been locked out of their devices after a mysterious message appears demanding a ransom to be paid.

Users are no longer able to access their iPhone, iPad or iMac as it is locked by the same “find my iPhone” technology that you can use if you have your device stolen.

No one is quite sure how the attackers mange to lock the devices or why it appears to have only targeted Australian and New Zealand users. The theories vary from hacking Apple users’ accounts to trigger the “lost iDevice” process, stolen database of usernames and passwords, simple and easy to crack passwords, Malware, and phishing campaigns, to a popular service being hacked. But none of the theories explain why only Australian and New Zealand users seem to be affected.

While it sounds like the attackers are attempting to get users locked out of their devices, to electronically transfer money to their email address; in return for their device to be unlocked, no one is sure who is behind the attack, although the message demanding a ransom appears to be from Oleg Pliss and contains an email address, it is very likely this is not the real name of the criminal. A posting on Apple Support shows the message to be:

“Hacked by Oleg Pliss. For unlock device YOU NEED send voucher code by 100 $/eur one of this (Moneypack/Ukash/PaySafeCard) to [email address] “.

Apple Support suggest using a two-factor authentication to protect their Apple ID accounts from being compromised. This two-step verification makes it harder for hackers to gain control of your accounts and devices, as it means they require more than just your user name and password. Users can also set up a 14-digit recovery key that you can print out and keep in a safe place; you can use the key to regain access to your account if you ever lose access or forget your password.

For those affected by the hack, Apple suggest most importantly not paying any money, as it is not guaranteed they will unlock your device and will only encourage further attacks.

Instead, users should erase their device using Recovery Mode and restore from a backup:

Disconnect all cables from your device.Turn off your device.Press and hold the Home button. While holding the Home button, connect your device to iTunes. If your device doesn’t turn on automatically, turn it on.Continue holding the Home button until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.iTunes will alert you that it has detected a device in recovery mode. Click OK, then restore the device.


Lookout mobile security launches "theftie"

May 30th 2014

Lookout, a mobile security start-up, is turning smartphones and tablets against gadget thieves with its new feature referred to by Lookout as taking a “theftie” will take a picture of the culprit.

The new alert was added on Wednesday to the premium service for Apple and Android mobile devices and sets out to pinpoint where a gadget might be and, if possible, take the thief’s picture!

Greg Lou, Lookout product Manager, said: “We are not providing this information for you to go out and find the device yourself. It is so you can give it to the police so they can find it for you."

The premium version currently costs AUS$3 a month or AUS$30 annually and provides features such as backing up data and finding lost phones.

The new function lets users tell smartphones to fire off theft alerts if anyone botches a lock-screen code, turns the gadget off, pulls a SIM card, or puts the device in ‘airplane’ mode to block network connections.

Android devices theft alerts also signal front-facing cameras to take photos in the hope of capturing images of culprits. However this feature is not available on Apple devices because the operating system won’t allow it.

Lookout launched in 2007 and reports that 55 million people worldwide use its mobile security software, a version of which is free.


Spotify security breach prompts Anroid app update

May 30th 2014

Spotify has warned its Android users to upgrade their apps, after it discovered unauthorised access to its system.

The company said that while all users are being asked to re-enter user names and passwords, as an extra safety step Android users are being directed to update their apps. Andriod users have been advised that, “Spotify does not recommend installing Android applications from anywhere other than Google Play or Amazon Appstore”. While no additional action has been recommended for iOS and Windows Phone users.

A Spotify investigation indicated that, currently, only one user had been affected, the effort gone into this implies that others could also be at risk; “only one Spotify user’s data has been accessed and this did not include any password, financial or payment information”.

CTO of the company, Oskar Stal, said: “We have taken steps to strengthen our security systems in general and help protect you and your data – and we will continue to do so. We will be taking further actions in the coming days to increase security for our users.”


Apples deal with Beats

May 30th 2014

Apple CEO, Tim Cook confirmed its acquisition of Beats Electronics in a $3 billion deal. He said: “Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple. That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world”.

Apple’s SVP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, said: “The addition of Beats will make our music lineup even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years.”

The deal will see Beats’ co-founders, Jimmy Lovine and Dr Dre joining apple, with $2.6billion of the purchase price to be paid immediately and approximately $400million over time.

Notably HTC, until last year, held a significant share in Beats, with Beats branding featuring in its high-end smartphone portfolio. And while initial reactions have been mixed, with Beats’ not a market leader and the majority of its strength largely down to branding and marketing rather than technical prowess the music service will complement Apple’s own proposition and provide an additional hardware revenue stream.


Vodafone partners with Netflix in the UKs 4G battle!

May 26th 2014

Vodafone has partnered up with Netflix in an exclusive promotional partnership in the hope of clawing back lost ground in the UKs 4G market.

Vodafone’s Red 4G plan subscribers will be able to watch a range of movies and TV box sets on their smartphones, tablets or other Vodafone devices for a period of six months from July.

Vodafone already has Spotify and Sky Sports on board, so far focussing on content as it seeks customers for its 4G network. While major rival EE has focused on pushing its network coverage and speed.

EE’s approach so far seems to be working as it was announced this week that it had hit 3.6million subscribers, with the target of hitting six million of end of 2014. Meanwhile Vodafone announced results that it had attached 637,000 4G subscribers in the UK.


Want to add sound to your Facebook status updates?

May 26th 2014

Facebook has yet again come out with upgrades, but we have to say we’re pretty impressed with these upgrades!

Over the next few weeks iOS and Android users in the US will have the new feature which allows users to tag their posts with relevant songs, TV shows or films with the new sound recognition capabilities on its mobile app.

Users will not be able to turn on the feature which enables the smartphones microphone to detect music or dialogue in the background and to share the information on Facebook. If the functionality is enabled, users will see an audio icon moving on their screen when they write a status update. If the service if able to match the sound it picks up with content it will this to the status. A users Facebook friends will be able to see a 30second preview of shared songs, and news feeds will show which season and episode has been tagged for TV shows.


Germany's first prositution app launched

May 20th 2014

A new App has launched in Germany, connecting prostitutes with prospective clients.

The app; Peppr, came to founder Pia Poppenreiter after walking through Berlins red-light district. "It was chilly and I saw the poor girls on the streets, and I thought, why isn’t there an app? It’s not efficient to wait outside," she told The Local. "We’re trying to revolutionize the image … We’re trying to get it away from its shabby image."

Ladies of the night are able to list their services for free, while clients pay around 10euro to use Peppr. It allows prospective clients to browse by gender, proximity, price, services, preferences as well as body types. Peppr has deals in place with reputable agencies and speaks to individual workers before listing them to make sure they’re working voluntarily.

The app is the first of its kind to list services in Germany’s lucrative prostitution industry; where prostitution has been legal since 2002.

The app is already live in Berlin, and will roll out across the rest of Germany in the coming months.


Want a Smartphone battery that takes 30 seconds to charge?

April 11th 2014

What’s new in the world of mobile technology today? How about a smartphone battery that only takes 30 seconds to charge?

StoreDot; an Israeli start-up have created a device that does just that!

The prototype battery is currently the size of a cigarette packet and requires a special power source, but the creators say that they’ll be able to fit the technology into a regular smartphone in a years’ time and plan on producing a commercial device in three years.

The battery’s incredible charging time is down to the use of self-assembling nano-crystals made from peptides; a type of amino acid. These tiny, conductive structures have unique properties that make them useful to electronic engineers.

StoreDot founder Dr Doron Myersdorf, said that this sort of "bio-organic" technology could disrupt a number of industries, but that so far the electronics world "is not ready".

"This is a new type of material, with new physics, new chemistry, that is actually coming from nature." "Everything we do we try to imitate and to follow and to let nature take its course. To create these nano-crystals we don't need a huge fabrication facility. We mix some basic elements - like hydrogen, nitrogen, helium."


Why Hawaiians don't like 'Hula' app

March 27th 2014

A new dating app has hit a nerve in Hawaii. Hawaiians have taken exception to the new app ‘Hula’, a dating app that is designed to provide proof someone is free from sexually transmitted diseases.

So far over 700 people have signed the petition to have the ‘Hula’ apps name changed. While the three college students who started the petition don’t have a problem with app and are all for promoting sexual health, they don’t want to see their beloved cultural dance exploited.

The petition notes that the arrival of Europeans exposed Native Hawaiians to diseases such as gonorrhoea and syphilis. "It is more than a place to go for the summer. It's more than just sexy hula girls on the beach. There is a culture there,” said Kelly Luis, a student at Columbia University.

It's not clear why the app is named Hula. It was originally called Qpid.me, but the name changed about six months ago. Will there be another name change in the works for ‘Hula’.


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