Posts Tagged ‘ios’

Give your iPhone 6/6+ an Android style back button with this ingenious screen protector.

Those of you in possession of Apple’s latest and greatest iPhone models will have experienced occasions when your hand just isn’t in the right location (or simply isn’t big enough) to reach the back button at the top left of the screen.

Sure, most apps now support the handy “swipe in anywhere from the left” feature added in iOS 7, but not all them do.

This is where Haloband has you covered. Launched on Kickstarter this month, the Halo Band is a smart screen protector that uses sone clever capacitive routing to link the area where the Back button normally resides to the empty area to the left of the Home button.

They’ve already smashed through their initial funding target but you still have time to get in on the Super early bird discounted price of $12 for a single unit.

Order yours at the link below:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/haloband/halo-back-make-your-iphone-perfect

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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.

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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!

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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.

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The big day is here. The Apple Watch is now in the hands of the lucky few who ordered one on release day.

Apple are currently experiencing supply constraints meaning that if you ordered one now, you won’t receive one until late June.

I went to the local Apple Store on the 11th April to try on a few models and see if they worked for me. Here’s how the 42mm stainless steel model looked:

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Demo Mode Activity App

It is gorgeous. The band is expertly crafted and compliments the watch face perfectly. As a luxury watch owner, I was expecting to see a big difference between this watch and the ones I own, but I just couldn’t fault it.The watch and straps look and feel to be made with precision and with an exceptionally high quality. I stood there unable to choose which strap combination I would buy and in reality thinking of how many of them I would purchase over time. The steel bracelet and Milanese Loop were particularly beautifully made.

I think Apple have hit the nail on the head here, you are buying one face and then get to choose multiple straps. Essentially you will have a watch for different occasions as the straps were so simple to remove with a click of a button but yet felt so secure. Imagine buying a Rolex or Breitling with a leather strap and deciding to buy a steel bracelet for diversity later. The luxury brand will charge you £600+ for that strap, where as Apple ask you for on average around £120.

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Milanese Loop

Apple’s appointment system allows for fifteen minutes to try on up to three different watch and band combinations. In reality, I tried on many more.

It should be noted that the watches they allow you to try on are locked into a demo mode which Apple staff tell me is to prevent people trying them on and running out of door. Fair enough, but it meant that I couldn’t test the digital crown for example to see how easy it is to operate. For actually testing the watch, they have one bolted to the table.
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Demo Mode iMessage

I tried using the Apple Watch’s various apps and found them to be of the typical iOS quality. I came away without ordering one as I came to a strange conclusion. When the Apple Watch was first announced I thought ‘I’d love a smart watch, but I’d want it to look like a normal watch’.
After trying one on, I had completely the opposite reaction. I don’t think I need any of the Apple Watch’s features, but I want one precisely because it looks so good. What a turnaround.

Our smartphones have come a long way when it comes to audio, but the problem is the thinner they become the less likely the audio quality will improve.

Take the iPhone for example, no one can argue that it is a superb phone and the audio output is pretty good, but it could be much better. Without a massive advancement in technology, this isn’t happening anytime soon.

Shure, the audio specialists, make some of the best earphones in the business, but even they think that plugging the Shure 535’s into the iPhone really doesn’t show off their potential. Try it, plug-in your best headphones into your iPhone and listen to a track, then listen to the same track with the same headphones on your computer with a dedicated sound card and you will very quickly hear the difference.

The only solution is a portable amp which magnifies the audio signal to amplify the sound. Otherwise without this, the louder you make the music the more distorted it will become. These portable amps need to be powered and are normally expensive and bulky and are aimed at the audiophile.

The guys over at UAMP want to change this with a Kickstarter campaign.

“We wanted to capture that premium sound you get from hi-end audio equipment and make it available on every device, without the complications, terrible interfaces, or exorbitant costs. Uamp provides the same hi-fi sound for a fraction of the price and size of standard amplifiers. The Uamp unit measures 43 x 43 x 9mm and weighs just 26 grams – we’ve crammed all the electronics of a hi-end amp into one tiny device. Its nano design means it can easily fit into the smallest of pockets, allowing you to carry it with you anywhere – walking, jogging and cycling, or travelling on the bus, train and plane. Combined with its ten hour battery life, Uamp is truly a portable device.”

The difference here is not only its size and ability to be recharged by USB, but also its price. With postage to the UK, this will cost you about £40 which for anyone who has spent £250+ on headphones it’s a small price to pay. UAMP have kept this simple and stylish, with little LED’s and a slick design. You simply plug-in your iPhone and then your headphones on the other side and away you go.

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With a 10 hour rechargeable battery and adjustable EQ levels, working with every device no matter the makers, this really is an amp for the budding audiophile. Priced at about £45 all in on this campaign, it really is worth a punt, especially if the manufacturer delivers as much as they promise.

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UAMP

A new physical joystick specifically designed to increase control precision in smartphone or tablet games could soon be winging its way to you after successfully achieving its funding goal on Kickstarter. The team behind ScreenStick say that it can be used on most touchscreen games with on-screen controls and is totally platform independent, meaning that iOS, Android and Windows Phone are all covered.

The package includes both a traditional joystick and a joypad attachment, so you can choose which is most suited to your specific game.

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Games that have been testing for compatibility so far include big titles such as:
GTA: San Andreas
FIFA 15: Ultimate Team
Minecraft

Real Racing

I love the idea of this as I’ve always found touchscreen controls in-natural and lacking in any form of feedback. Bluetooth joysticks and joypads compatible with smartphones are on the market, but the reason they haven’t taken off, I suspect, is that they add considerable bulk.

Smartphones games are now getting to a point where they are rivalling the last generation of console games, but are stuck with primitive touchscreen controls. This pocket sized accessory could well be what die-hard gamers need on the morning commute to give that home console feel.

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ScreenStick £8

TheTechSpy never thought he would be reporting on an item of luggage, but it is time to introduce this little baby.

It was only a matter of time before someone was going to do this as it is an arena which has been fairly untouched by Tech and in need of a shakeup.

Introducing the Bluesmart carry on case with some serious in-built features that you just wouldn’t expect. Let’s start off with the “smart” part of the case. This piece of luggage will connect to your smartphone allowing you to not only digitally control the lock, but also track its location. With this, it also has a built in proximity sensor which will alert you via your phone if you stray too far from your case or if it indeed strays from you.

Bluesmart Case Lock

The team are promising smartwatch apps which will show all the information that your phone would display but on your wrist. I would be particularly interested in this as when moving around the airport is not always convenient to pull out your phone.

You can tell the team behind this have really sat down and researched what is wrong with the current design of luggage. A great feature to show this is the digital lock which will tell you if your case has been opened, so you will always know if the authorities have been through your case. The lock is also TravelSentry approved and has a feature that when you move away from it, the case will automatically lock for extra security.

The case itself has an in-built digital scale that when you hold the handle and lift the case, will provide the weight information directly to your phone app, hopefully stopping all those unwelcomed airport charges.

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Inside, the firm have provided easy access spaces for your laptop or tablets and a hidden removable battery that can be connected to your phone to recharge on the move. We would have loved to have seen some kind of recharge of this batter via the rolling of the wheels. It would be cool to get a little charge back for the work you are doing pulling it around the airport.

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As a basic case, this has been built to a very high standard. The team have opted for 4 wheels to improve the way this case moves around and used anodised aluminium and polycarbonates to keep the case lightweight.

All in all this is an awesome smart suit case which you can carry onto the aircraft. But the things to consider here are firstly the ever changing rules of the airlines which at the moment here in the UK can force you to check the baggage in. Secondly, the company are yet to confirm the warranty details, which for the likes of Samsonite are set at 10 years and over. Last but not least is the August 2015 delivery via Indiegogo….these crowdfunding campaigns have a horrible habit of taking longer to deliver than promised so expect this to go over its target.

With all this being said, $235 + $40 shipping (£170ish) is a cheap punt to take on a product that could revolutionise this sector.

I have never been so excited by luggage…..take notes Samsonite, this case is a glimpse of the future.

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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.

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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.

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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 amazing the things you can do on a tablet nowadays. The games you can play and the uses are endless. From talking to your friend half way across the world for free to editing a hi-res photo with professional detail while on the sofa listening to music. It makes me think of what did we actually do when we were younger? How did we survive? How did our parents keep us entertained?!

As a parent myself, it worries me that my child uses the iPad far too much and sometimes we all rely on it far too often. I have even seen my son walk up to a digital photo frame and swipe to the right to see the next picture, but left feeling slightly confused as it doesn’t work.

The question is, are children nowadays too reliant on modern technology and is the imagination that I think we had, going to be lost to a processor? This question can only be answered as time goes by and we see what happens to the next generation.

All is not lost though…A company called Tangible Play (made up of old Google staff) have released Osmo, a new crowd funded app for kids that encourages ‘real world’ play. It allows the user to pick up things and build using their hands, thanks to a mirror attachment which turns the iPad’s camera to view the surface where your child is playing.

Recently I have looked around the App Store and failed to find anything that is different or breaks boundaries, but this app is very different and we should stand up and take notice.

All of the games to be used with this kit are optimised for ages 6-12 but each game has a varying range of difficulty. Take Newton, it’s a physics game, which uses the same concept as “Cut The Rope” where players can use any object, from lines on a piece of paper to a toy or even their own hands to control the stuff on screen. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pen to get started.

Tangram, is a game where puzzle pieces in the real world must be matched to the shapes on screen. The kit comes with an iPad stand and mirror connector and promotes your child’s creativity as suddenly the brain is thinking in many dimensions!

I do not only love this as a educational toy for my kids, but also as a concept in itself. It is not often you get something that comes along that breaks the mold and creates a whole new genre of games….this might just be that thing.

Available now on the Osmo Website for $49. This is a steal considering what you get and of course this will double once pre-orders have been fulfilled. The company is concentrating on developing the apps, but will eventually open this up to developers to create their own games….so watch this space.

Check out the Osmo video

 

 

Just as we thought that the next real estate to be conquered by the big firms was your wrist, the living room war stepped up a gear. All we have heard recently is new watches coming out that will connect to your smart phone, but the real money is to be made in your house with you sitting in front of your TV.

TV habits are changing. Sitting down and watching programmes live is a diminishing hobby where people’s lives have become busier and we just have no time to fit in with a broadcasters time constraints. The generation of streaming is here, where at a touch of a button we can watch most series and episodes of our favourite shows at any time WE want.

As internet speeds get faster, streaming is not such an annoying task. We will see no more “buffering” or “Downloading” messages as the speed of our broadband just excels. We were lucky enough to speak to one of the top people at one of the big Tech firms and the future they see for viewing habits is very different. We will be sitting watching shows and if you want you can hook up to see other people’s comments from services like Twitter directly on-screen. Whether this be for football cup finals or the finale of your favourite series, you will be able to see the opinions of the rest of the viewing community live as if you were sitting with them right in your home (of course you have the choice not too.

Amazon have been looking to get into this action for a while, and why not? They have the e-reader market pretty much cracked, so the TV side would have been obvious. The problem is, the competition for the living room is becoming pretty congested, as the likes of Apple, Samsung, Xtreamer, Xbox, Roku and Chromecast already sit comfortably.

The Amazon Fire TV is aiming to be a little different. It comes with a Bluetooth remote control, loads of apps (which includes Netflix) and also puts gaming front and centre with the option of buying a dedicated games controller for the box.

Amazon Fire TV

Inside a quad-core processor is the brain with a dedicated GPU and 2GB of RAM which Amazon says should make operation smooth and pretty fast. Dual band Wi-Fi, 1080p support and Dolby Digital Surround Sound via the HDMI are also included.

Controlling this power is the Android OS which means that lots of the existing Android marketplace apps will run on this unit along with the competitor Netflix. Amazon’s own streaming system Prime is also supported along with music services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn which are coming next month.

The optional controller is an interesting addition, as none of the others (other than Xbox and Playstation) have this and they will be looking to take of advantage of the Android eco-system. Having this library to call upon makes it a better buy than an Apple TV as the latter will only allow you to AirPlay devices from your other OS device and not run games of its own.

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Having a wider apps library to call on makes the Fire TV instantly a much better gaming companion than an Apple TV. With an Apple TV you can AirPlay a game from your iPhone to your TV, but it doesn’t have a games library of its own.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/amazon-fire-tv-vs-apple-tv#CJDDYbKQltwEEQOy.99
Having a wider apps library to call on makes the Fire TV instantly a much better gaming companion than an Apple TV. With an Apple TV you can AirPlay a game from your iPhone to your TV, but it doesn’t have a games library of its own.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/amazon-fire-tv-vs-apple-tv#CJDDYbKQltwEEQOy.99

Other than the controller, this is just another TV streaming device on the market, not offering an awful lot more than the competition. If you are trying to compare this with the Apple TV, then it is just another Android vs OS argument, so we would suggest sticking with what ever eco-system you are already in.

When launched, it will probably be around the £99 for us UK people, but at present it can be bought for $99 in the US.