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Tag Archives: iTunes

Moshi for iPad
  • Fans all over the world have been bombarded with speculation about this major update to Apple’s mobile platform, and now we all have a preliminary look.  Last week, Apple finally revealed the details for its iOS 6 with the low-down on over 200 new features, services and user interface upgrades.


    What is Apple thinking with its iOS 6?


    Apple has less than three months to get iOS 6 ready for release.  Here’s the low-down on one of the first reviews.


    First Impressions


    The beta release is available to developers, getting the new code into the hands of those who produce the apps in the crowded App Store. This evaluation is based on testing with the iPhone 4S, so if you have a different mobile device, your results may be different.


    Two hundred tweaks may sound like a lot (and it is), but there are a few key additions, updates and changes with iOS 6 that deserve a closer look. We’ll highlight the biggest upcoming changes that could have even Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone loyalists thinking twice about Apple's iPhone.


    Siri


    Siri capability is added to the iPad 3 (but not older iPads or the iPhone 4 and earlier.) Siri has only been available on iPhone 4S until now.


    • Siri answers sports questions that go beyond just game scores including history, stats, player bios, and records without switching over to the browser.
    • Siri answers questions about movies like actors, directors, awards and movie stats, and shows status of premieres, reviews, trailers and tickets. It will bring up nearby listings and enable ticket purchases through Fandango.
    • Siri understands more languages Canadian English and French, Spanish, Italian, the varieties of German, Italian and French spoken in Switzerland, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese. These are also supported in the satellite navigation app.
    • Siri finds the restaurant you are looking for and filters the results based on user reviews. It provides for detailed searches based on food type, location, outdoor, pool, price range, ratings, and more. (This feature is not available in every country.)
    •  Nine automakers (BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda) have promised to integrate Siri. Hitting the voice button in your car will activate Siri if your iPhone is connected to your vehicle’s infotainment system.
    • Siri launches apps by just saying their name.

    What is Apple thinking with its iOS 6?


    Facebook integration in Siri


    Twitter became integrated into iOS 5, and now Apple is doing the same with Facebook in iOS 6. Everything you can do now with Twitter, you'll be able to do with Facebook.


    • Use Siri to post Facebook updates and tweets.
    • With the link to Facebook you can update your contacts’ pictures, addresses, important dates, emails, phone numbers and websites. You will also get a new Facebook field with a shortcut to your contacts’ Facebook profile. It will load in the Safari browser, not the dedicated Facebook app.
    • All Facebook events will appear in the Calendar.
    • Facebook integration extends to the App Store and the iTunes Store. Whenever you tap on an app, song, movie, TV show, and more three tabs pop up: info, reviews and related.
    • Share photos on Facebook from inside the Camera or Photo apps.
    • Share addresses with a pin in Maps.

    In another blow to Google, there’s no Google+ integration. Then again, there's no Google+ integration in Android either…


    Apple Maps


    Google has been providing an Apple version of its Google Maps since iOS was born. But iOS 6 kicks Google Maps to the curb. While the Google version may still be available in the App Store, Apple’s iOS 6 Maps provided by TomTom will have the default position. Here are a few of the highlights:


    • iOS 6 Maps uses TomTom for all mapping and traffic data.
    • Siri connects to these maps, and turn-by-turn voice navigation is included for free.
    • You can access crowd-sourced traffic information for (almost) real-time traffic alerts.
    • 3D "Flyover" maps are available on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the New iPad/iPad 3 (older models won't support the advanced graphics.). Zoom, tilt and rotate the landscape to explore 3D landmarks in real time.
    • Access local search and Yelp reviews.
    • Navigation even works in the lock screen mode and behind other apps. This is ideal for use in car mounts.
    • Offline mapping capability should be available in the coming weeks.

    PassBook


    Passbook is a single app that collects and intelligently displays boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, and loyalty cards.


    • Any travel changes (like gate changes and fee differences) are displayed in Passbook in real-time as long as you have a data connection. This is a airline carrier partnership deal. So far the only airline to sign up is United. A lot more carriers will have to join to make this one worthwhile.
    • The location-aware app makes the right coupon available in the right place and at the right time.
    • The PassBook will report the balance on coupons and cards, let you check your ticket seats and can even show you relevant notifications (e.g. gate or terminal change for a flight).

    Safari browser


    The Safari browser has gotten a few minor updates:


    • It’s faster than it was on the iOS 5. Its benchmark scores for SunSpider, BrowserMark and HTML5test.com show significant improvement over iOS 5.1.1.
    • A full-screen view option is available from a dedicated button on the taskbar. It works only in landscape mode.
    • iCloud tab syncing is enabled, along with offline reading.
    • You can access to your multimedia content without exiting the browser.

    Email


    Good old email got some updates too:


    • Set up friends’ emails in a dedicated VIP mailbox, and it will appear highlighted in the regular inbox. Designate where you want to be notified of VIP emails (for example, put them on the lockscreen.)
    • Flag important emails and they’ll be placed in a Flagged mailbox.
    • Use different mail signatures for multiple email accounts.
    • Insert pictures or videos in emails just by tapping and holding on an empty space and accessing them from a pop-up menu.
    • The update button is now gone and there's a pull to refresh instead.

    Phone app


    Apple is adding some much needed calling features:


    • When you decline an incoming call, you can reply to it with a text message or set a callback reminder.
    • Use the Do Not Disturb setting to bypass calls and texts, except those from callers on your VIP list.
    • If the Repeated calls feature is activated a second call from the same contact within less than three minutes will not be silenced (it might be an emergency.)

    App Store and iTunes Store


    With iOS 6 Apple has updated the App Store and iTunes Store and content handling:


    • Featured pages have scrollable rows rather than lists.
    • The App Store won't prompt you to enter your password when you’re just updating apps.
    • You can see the change log in the Updates screen without opening the info screen.
    • After you buy or update apps you can continue browsing the store. You can also launch apps you've already installed from within the store.
    • The Game Center gets Facebook integration and supports challenges.

    FaceTime


    FaceTime for 3G is finally here, allowing FaceTime to work over cellular networks, not just Wi-Fi.


    • FaceTime now supports video chatting on data networks, but be warned; these chats run through around 3MB per minute and will chew through your LTE data plan in short order.
    • The unified FaceTime/iMessages ID lets you receive calls on an iPad using your phone number.
    • Other FaceTime improvements include updated Stores and system apps, new icons, and revised settings.

    What is Apple thinking with its iOS 6?


    Guided Access and Lost Mode


    Apple is working hard to bring iOS to people with disabilities through its Guided Access.


    • It helps students with disabilities remain on task and focused on content.
    • It allows a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit an iOS device to one app by disabling the Home button as well as restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen.
    • VoiceOver, a screen reader technology for blind and low-vision users, is now integrated with Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom.
    • Guided Access could be useful as a kid- or test- mode. Loan your Apple device to your kids without being worried that they will access inappropriate content or change your settings and apps.

    Lost Mode is part of the former Find My iPhone service. If you lose your gadget, you can lock it remotely and send a message with your contact information. Lost Mode doesn’t have data wiping capability.


    Miscellaneous mentions


    Right inside the Photo app is a sub-social network for pictures called Shared Photo Stream. By choosing what pictures to share and which people to share them with, those you send them to will be able to like them and post comments.


    The Bluetooth toggle has more prominence with placement next to the Wi-Fi toggle.


    The Camera UI is now black.


    In the settings menu brightness is now in the wallpaper screen.


    In the auto brightness mode, your device will be in full control of the brightness and will move the slider above the toggle to show the currently selected setting.  You’ll be able to see exactly how bright the screen is, but you won’t be able to adjust it in auto-mode like you could in past iOS versions.


    The Settings and Clock apps have updated icons. The Clock app now allows you to access the iPod music library and assign any song as an alarm tone.


    Compatibility


    Not all Apple iPhone and iPad generations will get the upgrade. iOS 6 is compatible with iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S; iPad 2 and 3; and the fourth-generation iPod Touch. The first iPad has been left behind.


    Siri access is expanded beyond the iPhone 4S, but only as far as iPad 3. The turn-by-turn navigation and the Flyover mode in Maps is only possible with the dual-core devices - iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad 3.


    Wrap up


    The iOS 6 changes will make a difference for every Apple device that it’s made for.


    The big deal is Maps. While much of Maps looks similar to Google Maps, it integrates 3D and voice navigation. The integration with Siri is most of what will make Apple’s Maps a winner with most users.


    iOS 6 won’t inspire a mob of new customers, but we’ll see if the new iPhone 5 package makes the iOS 6 greater than the sum of its parts.




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    Google’s possible response to Apple’s Open Street Map


    The rumor that Open Street Map will be replacing Google Maps as Apple’s default mapping application looks inevitable.  Given the symbiotic relationship that Google and Apple have enjoyed for so long, you can’t help but speculate about what this means to the future of Google’s spirit of cooperation on the app front.


    Google has always been willing to develop Apple-friendly app versions of their products, but now Apple appears to be invading Google territory with Open Street Map.


    It looks like Google has a couple of ways to respond. They can take their apps and go home, or show Apple they ain’t seen nothing yet for iOS. Of course, as a third option, Google could keep letting Apple decide where their apps are welcome and where they are not. That just doesn’t sound like Google.


    Here is some speculation (with a heavy dose of opinion) about how Google might be able to create a little independence from Apple and give Apple users Google alternatives.


    Google Maps


    Google’s possible response to Apple’s Open Street Map


    Google might want to take this opportunity to develop its own third-party iOS-compatible map application. It would give them complete control over how their product is used and what goes into the iOS version. Google’s balancing act would be to provide a map app that Apple users want to use more than their parent’s version, and be just short of what they’d get with Android so they’d consider making the switch. Of course, Google has to walk the thin line of keeping Android users at home, too.


    The opinion around here is that Google should show up Apple. Google would have more control over their maps app on the iOS platform, and not lose advertising dollars. Google should give its Android users an app that has better navigation than anything Apple’s loyalists can expect.  Android losing users to iOS has been the trend for too long. It’s time to show Apple how good they really are at maps.


    Google Drive


    Google’s possible response to Apple’s Open Street Map


    Google Drive is a strong competitor for Apple’s iCloud and Dropbox combo, but all Google seems to have done is rename Google Docs as Google Drive.  Regardless of its name, if Apple wanted to create some competition for Google Drive, they’d have to at least marry iCloud and iWork.


    Google has an iOS version of Drive in the works. Again, the challenge is how to design the app to entice Apple users to use it, and get some of them to switch to Android because of what they can only get with Android. It would come down to Google being able build a better Drive, something we haven’t heard is on the agenda right now.


    There’s another twist to Google’s dilemma. Unlike Maps, Drive has a lot of competition. Although Drive is a nice all-in-one package, other apps have features that Drive doesn’t.  Google has to give Apple users the full-featured Drive; otherwise they already have other places to go.


    Google Music


    Google’s possible response to Apple’s Open Street Map


    There is nothing else out there like Google Music. Upload your entire music collection right from iTunes, and access it from anywhere you can get on the Web – your phone, your tablet, your computer, or someone else’s computer.  Really it’s more of a question of where you can’t access it.


    Now that we’ve established that Google’s product outshines anything Apple offers, would it be worthwhile to Google to design an iOS version?


    Consider first what being a Google Play user means. When you want to buy new music, you press the Google Play button in Google Music and go right to the Google Play Store.  While you can upload the music you purchase on iTunes to your Google Music account, Apple isn’t going to make it easy to buy anything from the Google Play Store. There’s no referral money in it for them, and they’d lose their own iTunes sales.


    If Google were to release a Google Music app for iOS, instead of buying their music in iTunes and transferring it, Apple users would buy their music from Google via the Web. Besides, while Apple charges a subscription fee for iTunes Match, it’s free to sync your music to you Google Music account.  There’s no reason to make the extra effort to buy music on iTunes, and only to transfer it to Google Music.


    There is the loss of ad money to consider if they create a Google Music client on iOS, but we’re sure Google is taking a hard look at its options on this one. 


    Google Chrome


    Google’s possible response to Apple’s Open Street Map


    There is really no competition out there for Google Chrome. It’s the best browser choice on any platform.  Other competitors have tried to topple Google, but no one has come close. When you want to do a search, you “google it”, you don’t “bing it” or “yahoo it.” Does Apple (or anyone else for that matter) have any hope of competing with Google on the browser front?


    Google has been cranking up their investment in Chrome. What Google created on the Web, they’ve duplicated for mobile with Chrome for Android.  Now, with their minimalist approach to operating system design, Google has got Microsoft looking over its shoulder with Chrome OS for devices like tablets and netbooks.


    Google defined “search engine”, and it’s doing that very successfully for other platforms.  There just doesn’t seem to be any reason for Google to share it with Apple and iOS.


    Google could consider going after Safari Mobile with a Chrome iOS that is as full-featured as the Android version. There’s an inherent problem with making this effort though. With Android you can set Chrome OS as the default browser. Everything you do with the web will be done through Chrome if you want it that way. With iOS, Safari would be the default and the user would have to make the manual switch to Chrome with each search.


    Again, Google knows its stuff when it comes to this product. Google is probably already in the game on this one.


    Final words


    We’re probably not telling Google anything they don’t already know. They have had a good thing going with Apple for awhile now, but the app game is changing very quickly. Hardware and software keep out-doing one another, so there is plenty of room for new directions. One of those might be making a bigger effort at crossing platforms with some of Google’s mainstays like Maps, Music, Drive and Chrome. They are all well-designed products, and a couple of them have no serious competition.


    Go for it Google. We like choices!




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    Users of Apple’s Mac line of desktop computers are pretty disappointed by the lack of attention being given to the Mac Pro and the iMac at this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference.  The Mac Pro only received a minor spec update, and it even lost its designation as “new” in the Mac Pro online store. The iMac didn’t even see as minor an update as the Mac Pro’s.


    Apple asks for patience – iMac and Mac Pro updates coming in 2013


    Pre-conference rumors had suggested that both the Mac Pro and the iMac were in for some big changes, including a Retina-fueled refresh.


    Apple the manufacturer of iPhone 4S and iPad3 seems to be making a big effort to quiet the mob that fears for the life of their desktop computers. One concerned user emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook who responded: “Our pro customers are really important to us...don't worry as we're working on something really great for later next year.”


    Reports by Forbes and New York Times columnist David Pogue corroborated the news that Mac Pro and iMac updates are coming next year. The information was provided directly by an Apple spokesperson who said that new models and new designs of the Mac Pro, as well as the iMac desktop, are in the works and will likely be released in 2013.




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  • By Adhurim Murtezai


    All music stored in your Cloud Drive can now be played on both your iPhone and iPod with a dedicated app just released by Amazon. The free app allows users of iOS devices to stream or download music stored online in an Amazon Cloud account.


    Cloud Player lets you manage and create playlists, and play music already stored on your mobile devices. This initial version allows you to transfer your iTunes purchases. It won’t let you buy new tunes through the app just yet.


    Amazon Cloud Player available to iPhone and iPod users


    Amazon customers get 5GB of free cloud storage and can buy additional space, including 20GB for $20/year or 50GB for $50/year. Users who buy a storage plan receive unlimited space for MP3 and AAC (.m4a) music files at no additional cost. According to Amazon, this offer is scheduled to end soon.




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