Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Nowadays our lives are dominated by screens. Whether it be your PC, Laptop, tablet or smartphone, we are all focused at some point in our day on them.

Although this seems like a bad thing, one thing is for sure, environmentally this is great, as paper is slowly becoming less of a part of our lives.

I am not sure if this is the same for you, but this does mean with all that finger poking at screens and mouse clicking, I almost feel like I have forgotten to hold a pen, as when I go to write a note it feels like I haven’t held one in years which I have to say I do miss.

But of course with most things recently, somebody comes along to bridge that gap and today we focus on OTM Technologies who have started crowdfunding Phree, the digital input device.

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This is the “write anywhere” device which lets draw, write, annotate on pretty much any surface. It will connect to all of your devices over a Bluetooth connection and is compatible with apps like Office, Evernote, OneNote, Acrobat, Google Handwriting Keyboard, Viber and more. So you can sketch or jot down ideas, thoughts or even take down details instantly.

phree

Personally, I can really see this being used in meetings, quickly jotting down notes and minutes to view digitally at a later date, but I have to say I do like the idea of being able to just pull this out and start writing anywhere.

One thing that really surprised us was the fact that not only is it an awesome digital input device, but it will also function to take calls as a headset and to briefly see texts and write to reply back to them…..now that is cool!

phree4

The carry case will charge Phree on the go. The cap attaches magnetically to the body of the case to form an adjustable stand for any smartphone. Just place your phone in the stand, begin writing or drawing off-screen with Phree – you have an instant mobile workstation that actually works. Phree can be ordered with or without a case.

The dimensions are as follows L x 142mm, W X 18mm and a Weight of 30 gr with a touch swipe display on board the pen. Phree at the moment comes in 4 colours, but the designers will run a survey to properly deduce what colours people want.

We love this and have not seen anything like it. It is is fully funded on Kickstarter and you can currently nab yourself one for $189 with a case.

phree3

Bluetooth is a wonderful thing, and since the likes of Apple have created AirPlay, our devices can connect to others to release our playlists from the palm of our hands. 

The problem most of us face, is having to move on with the times….yes we all have the iPod, iPhone or Android handset, but our sound systems do not connect wirelessly, pushing us to connect our lovely portable devices via AUX and leave them by the sound system’s side. 

OK, you could go out and buy a whole new sound system, plenty of Samsung, Onyko and Pioneer Amps now include AirPlay, but you will have to part with around £500 for the pleasure. 

In come the guys at Audioengine who bring us the B1. This little device is an adapter designed solely for Audiophiles (doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get involved), with high-fidelity output that directly connects into your sound system. It lets you stream audio wirelessly via Bluetooth from your smartphone or Bluetooth enabled computer with superb sound quality. 

The B1 is housed in aluminium which oozes quality and sets to warrant the price tag. It measures 1″H 3.5″W by 4″D and has an adjustable antenna on the front. On the back panel we find the RCA stereo output for your receiver, a 24-bit digital optical output, and a micro USB port for power through the included power adaptor. The RCA cable is included in the box. 

B1 Rear

Under the hood, the B1 includes a 24-bit upsampling DAC (digital-to-analog converter) which provides the high fidelity music. This device will work beautifully with high quality music files and will play them at their best. A lot of the other devices on the market tend to make your music sound worse, this device will never degrade what you have and that is the beauty of it. 

The B1 supports the aptX codec and both the A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles and is simple to set up, with the iPhone 5S taking just seconds to pair. Inside the box you get a small drawstring carrying pouch in addition to the USB cable and power adaptor if you want to travel with it. 

This device performs well, sounds great and is the epitome of wireless audio for 2014. If you like your music and find that nothing out there does your playlist any justice, then give the B1 a go…..this is a force to be reckoned with!

£140 here in the UK or $189 for the US. 

Audioengine-B1

As you can imagine TheTechSpy not only sees a lot of gadgetry pass in front of its eyes but also gets to play and review some of these products.

Of course, you get to see some of these wonderful devices appear on our blog, but not all devices we see cut the mustard when it comes to something we are passionate to talk about.

One of these products is the portable battery. It seems like everyone and his friend is queuing up to offer their take on portable power. We see such a variety of different types and quite frankly are bored of testing these products which basically are all the same and have now real definition to make them stand out from the crowd.

Most of the batteries sent to us lay here in TechSpy Towers looking very sorry for themselves as we really see no point of bringing these to your attention…..until now!

From the minute we started dealing with Zendure, I have to say the service has been impeccable. This aside, when we received the products you immediately see the difference between this and every other battery we have come across. The packaging has been thought about which quite often gets left when it comes to crowd funded products, so it shows an element of professionalism right from the start as the company displays no characteristics of a start-up.

Zendure kindly sent us not one, but two batteries to take a look at and we instantly fell in love. Firstly we were sent the Gridder One, which is an 8000mAh portable battery which is water, dust and shock proof. Straight from the off you can see with the design of the product and its packaging it is being aimed at the outdoor type with its IP65 rating. Like all of the batteries the company produces, they allow you to charge your device while the battery itself is being charged which is very useful indeed.

The Gridder One feels like a rugged product and even has little doors to protect the USB sockets within which do not feel like they are going to break at the first instance. The device has small LED’s on its side to show how much charge is remaining and to go with the rugged design, its LED can be turned on to perform SOS signals when you are in some real trouble.

gridder-group

The second battery in Zendure’s arsenal is the A2, which is the smallest of the range. Made with a ABS/PC composite for its reinforced shell the company demoed the device’s durability by driving a car over it and it withstood the pressure.

The A2 is a 6000mAh battery and looks like one of those cool Samsonite cases that you see at airports. Again, I could bore you with more talk of the effort put into the packaging, but I think this particular product speaks for itself. The battery has the ability to output 5v 2.1A which is enough to charge your iPad at a very reasonable speed.

The size and feel of this product is what makes it so desirable. You can charge this while it is charging your device via the USB socket and also turn the charging on and off by the button at the top of the battery.

a2

I have extensively tested both batteries and both seem to perform alike. the 2.1A allows you to charge an iPhone 5s from 60% to 100% in just over 40mins which in real life testing is probably the best we have seen.

The testament to this product is with all the devices that we have seen over 2013-2014, the A2 is the first I personally have wanted to own and use on a day to day basis. Its the one that I would have gone out and spent my hard earned cash on and not looked back. This battery takes pride of place in my bag I take to work and even sits happily in my suit jacket pocket.

This company is one to watch, get your orders in for Fathers Day as they are selling for around $60.

 

 

Apple today had the 2014 WWDC and it did not disappoint. The firm for the first time streamed the conference live which not only saw them run through the new updates to its line-up but also welcome Dr Dre to the companies employment force.

Here are the major updates:

OSX Yosemite

* Notification Centre – Now all of your apps will be able to appear here instead of just Apple’s own.

* Markup in Mail – This feature allows you to annotate and draw on a picture or PDF within an email to send to somebody without even leaving the app.

* Spotlight – Updated to sit front and centre of the desktop and now it can search through contacts, internet and all of your documents. Federighi showed off how the feature can now make recommendations for movie times, nearby restaurants and even offer measurement conversions. Apple’s even worked Spotlight into the address bar of the revamped Safari browser, again to give users a one-stop shop for search across the web and local files.

* AirDrop – Yosemite now works with iOS, so iPhone owners can easily transfer files to the Mac and back.

*Handoff – The OS recognises work being done on iOS that a user might want to continue on the desktop. Once an action is detected on iOS, Yosemite will create an icon on the desktop to remind the user to complete the task. This sensing ability also extends to creating a tethered connection, as a user’s iPhone will now appear as a connection option in the WiFi drop down.

* Calls from your Mac or iPad – Now tethered to your iPhone, the other devices can receive/reject calls and even create calls by clicking on contacts or even website contact details.

Yosemite

iOS8 – Due in Autumn but available straight away to developers

* Notifications – When you are in an app and your get for example an iMessage, you will see the usual roll down notification, but now without leaving the current app you are in you can answer the message. This will work across Facebook and Calendar and will be offered out to developers to use in their apps.

* Mail – Taking on a “Mailbox” style, allowing swipe to delete, tag or flag.

* Spotlight – As with the upgrade to the OSX, Spotlight on iOS has also been upgraded. Now allowing you to search for songs in the iTunes store, movie times and locations.

* QuickType – An improved keyboard which now guesses what you are about to type with no just spelling but full phrases.

* iMessage – Apple taking on Whatsapp with plenty of upgrades to the iMessage app. Now allowing you to remove others or yourself from a group chat, set do-not-disturb if you are in a group chat but don’t want to see it all now and messaging with audio and video straight from the app. You can also reply to an audio message directly from the lock screen by holding the phone to your ear to listen to the message and then record your own in reply. You can now also issue a self-destruct on messages to make them time sensitive like Snap Chat.

* Continuity – This allows you to receive calls across all of your devices, but also lets you pick up where you left off from on a different device. So for example, you begin an email on your iPhone but then decide that you wish to finish it on your iPad, you just flick the screen on the new device and there it is.

* Family Sharing – A welcome addition for most parents, this allows you to share purchases among 6 members of the family, from films to music and also allows you to share your photos, calendar and documents with each other. If your pride and joy decides to buy something, the app automatically messages your device asking for your permission first.

* Health Kit – Looks a little premature to release this, but this app will collect data from all of your health apps and collate them. Eventually they want to be able to share this with your doctor and probably integrate it with the iWatch.

* Siri – Last but not least, Siri has got Shazam support and will now be able to tell you what song is playing by just listening to it. Of course it will then link you to be able to buy it.

ios8-960

 

 

 

Have you ever lost anything? Then taken an absolute age to find it, only to wish that you had some kind of device that would find lost things (OK, that last bit might only be me).

Well, I think I can safely say that we have all been there, and like with other inventions, from this annoyance a solution has been found. Now these guys don’t claim to be the first to do this, but what they do claim is to be the first in the world to make each iFind tag to need no battery at all.

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This is a significant change, as the only thing more annoying than having to charge each individual tag from time to time is when you actually need to find the item you have lost, it has no power!

It connects to your device (either Android or iOS) via bluetooth and has a range of about 60m in open spaces. This should allow you to find items in any normal house.

In order to sync the tag with your phone, you simply put the free app into pair mode and bring the blank tag close to it. This will allow you to pair the devices and also name the tag. If you have a few, this will mean you can call up individual tags to find them instead of walking round your house like a madman going from tag to tag trying to find one in particular.

They do come in a range of colours to suit all needs and I could name so many different situations this device would be good for, but I am sure you have already done that yourself.

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The applications are massive and they even give the suggestion of using this to trace pets around the house or garden. You can pick these up from Kickstarter right HERE for $16 if you are lucky, but the twin pledge seems like good value at $30.

We think this is a superb product and once again keeps your phone at the centre of your life.

It is not often something like this comes along, but recently firms have been battling it out for control of your heating.

I am sure we have all heard of Nest, the thermostat which can intelligently control your heating, but just took what seems like a lifetime to arrive in the UK as the good ol’ Yanks were trying to work out our heating system due to the strange weather we have here.

Well, in the meantime tado° have been working hard, to not only perfect a device, but also get it out to the market which is basically what we all want. They are a German company and have had this working in Europe since 2012 so already have some miles on the clock when it comes to experience.

I have to say, from the minute we started conversing with the guys at tado°, an element of professionalism is immediately apparent. They are happy to help and even asked for a photo of our boiler system so that could check whether they would be compatible.

A couple of days after ordering, a very sleek, well packed tado° box arrived on our doorstep and quickly we realised that the firm is pushing for well made simplicity. Even the box has been thought about.

Tado Box

As soon as you open the box the simplicity is still apparent as the clean white devices are well packed in its environmentally friendly packaging. The company has catered for every eventuality with even the conductive screwdriver and screws included in the package. We opted for the charged installation which was well worth it, as for most people the installation may be a little challenging.

Tado open

The box comes with the controller which replaces your existing unit. It strangely has no screen, but although I thought at first they had missed a trick, again they are trying to keep it simple and all can be controlled from the supplied app or online.

A smaller box connects directly to your router and a third solar charged device is picking up the temperature of your room.

When installing, you need to log on to the website and it actually has a step by step guide on how to install the device in all different scenarios of house set ups. It even knows when your router device is online and when the thermostat has been plugged in letting you go to the next step to set it all up.

All in all, installation was very simple, but I would suggest that if you know nothing about your heating system, get a professional to do as its reasonably priced and they guys that tado° are using were very good. The whole thing took about 30 mins to set up and was ready to go almost instantly.

SetUP

 

The app itself is the heart of the whole thing and works very well as again it has been kept simple. We are running this on an iPhone 5S and it is all very slick. You are first presented with your house temperature and then a small animation of your house with you in it. This indicates that you are in the house and tado° is looking after you.

 

 

Tado home

As you can see, the app is pulling data from the internet knowing that today it is raining where i live. Cleverly using algorithms along with data, the app gets to know things like that if it is particularly sunny outside and it needs to notch the temp up a degree or so, it may not have to turn the heating on to get to the desired temperature which helps to save you money. It also learns how quickly it takes to heat your house to the temperature you need, so it may stop the boiler a degree or so away as it knows that the remaining heat in the radiators will heat the rooms further. At the moment the system is not compatible with Blackberry or Windows phone, but we have been told that the latter is in the works.

 

The flaw is the lack of BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone apps because, while tado can still be controlled via a mobile browser, the app is required to detect a user’s location and automatically adjust the temperature.We’re told a Windows Phone app is in the works.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/tado-smart-thermostat_Peripheral_review#1awEwPOGva2lIvWI.99
The flaw is the lack of BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone apps because, while tado can still be controlled via a mobile browser, the app is required to detect a user’s location and automatically adjust the temperature.We’re told a Windows Phone app is in the works.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/tado-smart-thermostat_Peripheral_review#1awEwPOGva2lIvWI.99Within the app, if you swipe from left to right you get the main menu, which allows you to set the system up. Here you can create schedules and let it know when you go to sleep on every day of the week. You can set it to work for either savings or comfort, but we have had this in the middle and it is working just fine.

Tado Menu

tado° does work if you have a separate hot water tank, but at the moment it works in the same schedule as your heating. For most modern houses this isn’t ideal as we would want it on a separate schedule as new tanks do not lose heat as much as they used to, so the ability to keep it at a desired temperature all day is not really needed. On talking to the developers, this will be addressed in an update next week where you will be able to set its own schedule.

But what sets this apart from the likes of Nest, Hive and Honeywell I hear you ask….well, it’s a nifty feature called “Presence Detection”. We especially like this as if for example your house is in the middle of a schedule where it should be heating up to a desired temperature and you leave the house forgetting to turn it down, tado° knows you have left. But the brilliance doesn’t stop there, if you are a mile away at the shops, tado° knows you are not that far away, so reduces the desired temperature down only a small amount in anticipation of your quick return, that way as you return back home it hasn’t got a huge amount of work to do.

On the other hand if you were to go to work and be more than a few miles away, the system knows you are a larger distance away and reduces the desire temperature right down so that you are not un-necessarily heating the house. You can add other users, so the device detects that someone may have stayed home one day, whereas old units would have just stuck to the schedule making you play with the thermostat, this device knows you are home so keeps a desired comfort temperature for you.

So far we are loving this device, but apart from the gadget excitement we get when we see stuff like this hit TheTechSpy’s doorstep, it still has to save you money as that is the aim of this kind of tech. The only way we can do this is by reporting back to you in a few months time for another update.

tado° 

£249 to buy or you can rent the device from them at £6.99 per month with no cancellation costs or minimum contract period. The cool thing is, if you decide to actually buy it, they will refund 6 months rental back to you during purchase.

Phone

 

So, iOS7 comes along with its shiny new buttons and moving themes….looking all fresh, but it has had its fair share of bugs. TheTechSpy has been asked on a number of occasions to help sort one particular issue, yep you guessed it….iMessage!

After the update, the phone starts to send messages as your iCloud email address instead of your phone’s number. One of the other bugs is that iMessages struggle to send at all, and just end up sending as a text message instead.

So here is the remedy….

The whole iMessage system on the phone has become a little off beat and needs to be reset.

Now, operating under the assumption that you can’t just turn the phone number back on, then you need to do the following;

1: Go into Settings/Messages/Send/Receive. (You should see the different address’ and number that you have set up

2: Press Apple ID which shows your main Apple ID

3: You will see 4 options on-screen now, press “Sign Out” – The iPhone will begin to log you out.

4: Now click on “Use your Apple ID for iMessage”

5: Fill in your Apple ID and Password in the boxes provided and press sign in

6: Once it has signed in, you should see all your details ticked, click “Next” and it will begin to verify your account.

7: Now go back to the Messages menu and turn off iMessage and then turn it back on again.

8: Power your phone off completely (Press and hold the sleep/wake key, then swipe to power off).

9: Power your phone back on.

10: Send a new message to a friend with an iPhone to verify that the issue is now resolved and iMessage is back to its former glory.

Hey Presto! You are sorted!

iOS7 Messages

 

So, the long awaited Doorbot arrived at TTS Headquarters just before the holidays and we could not wait to get this bad boy out to start reviewing it.

Let’s be clear here, from the second it is pulled out of its courier parcel, you do not think “Crowd-funded” product. This device would look completely comfortable sitting next to the first class products you ordinarily see in an Apple store.

On opening the box I was surprised to see the care that has been taken with this device. Firstly, not only are you given a screwdriver handle which also includes a screwdriver bit  to help you fit the device, but they also include a liquid level and drill bit with all wall plugs to ensure this can be fitted right from opening the box.

Open Box

Fitting is remarkably easy. Even those less DIY savvy of you will have no problem getting the device in place. The instructions show all the different places you may want to attach it to with a step by step guide and the camera can be angled quite freely to deal with most front door situations . We have ours directly connected to our old door bell wiring to power it but also wanted to have the door bell still chime inside when the Doorbot is pressed which is not actually functioning. We are currently waiting on the guys over at Doorbot to address the situation.

Once installed, setup was again very easy. It uses your smartphone app or can be accessed online via a laptop. My only gripe with the setup is that it only supports 802.11b when you would expect it to at least be N graded. We had trouble connecting the Doorbot to our Wifi and to get it to work we had to move the router much closer reducing the distance away from the router from 15 metres to 5 metres away (although the app still shows a very low signal).

After setup has been completed, using the device is relatively straight forward. The button is pressed and you get a notification on your phone. In this case we are using it with an iPhone so the notification is like all others and once opened you get the choice whether to answer the call seeing who is at the door (this took about 7-10 seconds to appear). We especially liked the walkie-talkie type push button to talk so that you get complete privacy inside the house when talking to someone at the door, but was not that impressed with the low quality video which is delivered to your device. We think this should be either your choice as it depends on your internet speed and wifi connection or an auto function depending on your connection.

All in all, this is a good product. The Doorbot team need to address a few issues which I am sure can be fixed in future updates delivered direct to the device. On viewing comments online their support is a little to be desired at the moment, but it will take them time to catch up with all support related issues as we cannot forget this is a small start-up which do not have the comfort of a whole department just to answer technical issues.

The Doorbot is an awesome product when you think of its roots, but they already have competitors close on their tails. Get yours for $199.

doorbot

 

 

So, yesterday we showed you the wonders of Piena, which promises to solve an issue that every parent has to endure, simplifying the sterilisation process for us all.

Call us the Mary Poppins of the Tech world, as we have something else for you on the horizon which we think again parents will love and in the end need!

One of the biggest fears in life is losing a child, which is so easy in modern day malls and super markets, but the guys over at BeLuvv think they have solved the problem. The idea was born after the founder himself lost his child in a supermarket and had to come up with an idea to keep track of him in today’s modern connected world.

Guardian, a small device which can be clipped to your child’s clothing or put into a watch type strap is used to communicate with your smartphone to keep track of your child’s whereabouts. When your child is in Bluetooth range, Guardian keeps track of them and notifies you if he or she approaches the tracking boundary which can be amended by the parent at any time from the app.

The device comes with an app to help you track your child in real time and it also creates a network of parents that grows stronger as more people join the system. Since every copy of the Guardian app can connect to central servers, when the child leaves the phone’s range, the cloud-based system can trigger an emergency network search, and you’ll get an alert with your child’s location if he or she is close to another person with the Guardian app.

Of course, this has to see a massive take up for it to become viable on a local level for the network search features, but as an out-of-range assistant will work extremely well. I cannot see any parent saying no to this, the wearable device can easily be worn by a child and at a pre-order price of $24.95 you cannot afford to not take a look.

320pd_2 320pd_4 app_02

 

The iPhone 5S and 5C are out today for general consumption….what do we think? So we have all had time now to have a play around with iOS7 and maybe even some of you are used to the new Window-esque colour scheme and font.

The Tech Spy has been testing this for just over a month now and we have to say that it is not bad at all. OK, some things are a little hard to get used to (Swiping left to delete in mail) but this is due to the fact the old style had almost become second nature to us and this is what Apple do best….making products an extension of ourselves.

One of the first things we thought about after using it and have had several people comment on the same situation, is will Apple allow a back to “Classic View” button which will take the iOS7 haters back to the old themes. Although we think this is not a bad idea, this really isn’t Apple’s style and feel they will not introduce this.

Leaving this aside, one of the features which really hasn’t received that much press and really must be annoying the carriers is the new FaceTime Audio feature. Think FaceTime, but without the Face!

Basically, this works as a VOIP service and goes over Apple’s servers and feels just like a normal call. You will need to be calling from an Apple device with iOS7 and the person receiving the call must also have it loaded. Over WiFi the sound is brilliant and much better than a normal phone call….oh and best of all….it’s free! So we are talking Skype-type calling from your iPhone to anyone else in the world with an iPhone/iPad for free.

When you go into the contact (shown in image below) you are wanting to call, under FaceTime you will see a little phone icon which shows that contact has loaded the new iOS and is able to accept this type of call.

Give it a try, we think this is a great feature which has gone a little under the radar….Let us know what you think.

Facetime_iOS7_pressimage