Category Archives: Apple

iOS 8.0.2 update with support for HealthKit apps rolls out.

Well after a few days of embarrassment for Apple, finally the latest IOS 8 patch has been rolled out.

As you may recall, when iOS went live a week ago Apple had to disable support for HealthKit app integration due to various issues. The iOS 8.0.1 patch had supposed to resolve this and enable HealthKit apps, but this was subsequently recalled due to it causing issues with signal and Touch ID, amongst other issues.

Well today iOS 8.0.2 is finally being rolled out and we can confirm that this has now enabled support for HealthKit applications. These third part apps are designed to integrate with Apples Health Kit suite and offer simplified interfaces and extra features. According to 9to5Mac, the only one currently available is FitPort which acts as a cool interface for your health stats.

To be fair on Apple, it has only taken a few days to resolve the issue and fans will be pleased to get to grips with the new health apps.

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Apple withdraws latest iOS 8 update

It seems its not all been plain sailing with the rollout of Apples latest iOS 8 update.

After the HealthKit fiasco Apple have now had another embarrassment in the form of the iOS 8.0.1 update which only went live earlier today. The update was slated as bringing some major fixes to the platform, but this has now also been pulled from the app store due to some user reported bugs.

Apple will clearly be feeling a little red faced in light of this further hiccup.

For more information check our source 9to5Mac.

Apple likely to shut down Beats music.

News just in via TechCrunch suggests that Apple is seemingly shutting down its its Beats Music streaming service. According to TechCrunch Apple has recently moved many engineers off the Beats product and on to several other Apple projects. Apparently inside sources confirm that Beats Music really does look likely to be scrapped, but what Apple is planning is unknown.

Beats was acquired back in May by Apple but what was planned for the streaming service has been a bit of a mystery. One thing we do know is that Apple are paying more attention to the iTunes platform so perhaps this will include some sort of Beats integration.

Who knows what will happen to Beats Music but this latest news comes as a bit of a surprise.

iPhone 6 first impressions

The first thing that strikes me about the new iPhone 6 is just how cool it is. The build quality is excellent and the design just oozes class. What is particularly striking is how light the device is. At first I found it a little off putting but now I’m totally used to it and it feels great.The all metal frame of the iPhone 6 is immensely thin and I love what Apple have done with the power button. If you didn’t already know then this has been moved to the side. It makes it much easier to access, when you consider the new girth!

Build quality aside, the device is lightning fast. Apple tell us it is 25% faster than the 5S but only time will tell wether this is strictly true. What I can say is that I have experienced no lag whatsoever and iOS 8 feels buttery smooth. I love how a light double tap of the home button reduces the screen size for single handed use. It just works and its simple to initiate. The new speaker sounds much better than on the 5S and kicks out some really cool sounding beats. It also placed in such a way that landscape gaming does not result in your hand sitting over the speaker.

Speaking about the screen, this is really stunning. I have never been one for pixel counts and Apples less than full HD resolution is absolutely noting to worry about. The screen looks great and the curved edges just add to the slick experience. Light levels are very good and I have experienced no pixelation when zoomed in. Pixel resolution means little really if your a secure kind of guy and the iPhone 6 shows that its all about the motion of the ocean…if you know what I mean 😉

If your worried about the 6’s size then don’t. Its super thin and fits easily in the pocket. One slight pain is that the new camera lens protrudes from the chassis. This is a bit annoying but as soon as you get a case on it its irrelevant. The camera is amazing by the way and the new slow motion mode is really cool to play with. I don’t want to go into too much detail but the camera focuses really quick and picture quality is ace.

My fist impressions are really positive and there is no doubt the iPhone 6 is set to become one of the best handsets of all time. Stay tuned for a full review.

Please comment below and let me know how you are enjoying your you iPhone 6.

Knock Knock review

Knock knock is a creepy atmospheric survival game by Russian developers Ice-Pick Lodge. Originally a PC game, it was ported over to iOS earlier in the year, and more recently Android. The game itself is wonderfully strange and very difficult to describe. Even now I am still not entirely sure what you have supposed to be doing.

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The game is all about the atmosphere that it creates. It recommends at the beginning that you use headphones and turn down the light. This is not your typical game so to get the best experience you need to really play in the right conditions. When you do, the game becomes wonderfully creepy with brilliant sound effects and plenty of jumps.

Basically the game follows a freaky little fellow called Lodger who is persistently kept awake by strange goings on in his equally strange house. You begin the game knowing nothing at all and are forced to explore the house and find your own way through the plot. There are no real instructions so you just have to experiment with the environment and see what happens.

Lodger

Lodger speaks in a creepy little foreign voice which just adds to the general oddness. Here lies a slight problem, however. With the game being a port it is ofter really difficult to read the on screen text. I found myself really straining my eyes in the dark and struggled to follow the onscreen text. This becomes increasingly taxing after a while of play.

In essence you task is to survive the night and make it through to sunrise. You are presented with a clock in the top left hand corner of the screen which counts down the hours but you can find clocks hidden around the house which speed this up. Controls are really simple and just consist of pressing the right or left of the screen to move Lodger, and clicking on things to engage with them. Climbing ladders can be achieved by merely swiping up on them. The same upwards swipe of the finger also activates lights in darkened rooms.

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After a while of getting your bearings you start to encounter ghosts and ghouls. You have to hide from them in order to progress through the night and If you don’t succeed then you will have to start the level again, or certainly part of it. This is the main gameplay element. You have no tools or weapons, you just have to hide or run away from the baddies.

The game itself is very interesting and does a fantastic job of scaring the crap out of the player. It achieves this aim very well. The gameplay itself is also simple but can get a little bit tedious after a while. I often found myself wondering what the hell I had to do next, and the game certainly doesn’t really guide you at all. That said it is really fun to play, providing you set the mood first!

Visually everything looks great. The lighting and shadow effects work really well and everything looks super sharp on your smartphone display. I have no complaints about the visual experience at all.

If you like games with structure and purpose the Knock Knock is not for you. If on the other hand you enjoy new experiences and get kicks out of laying on the sofa with the lights out, then this is certainly the game for you!

I have enjoyed playing Knock Knock and find it has enough intrigue to keep me coming back for more.

Score 4/5

Rival Knights review

Rival knights is a brand new jousting game from the popular developer – Gameloft. The aim of the game is pretty simple – knock your opponent of their horse. Its pretty addictive too. What is interesting is that Gameloft are allowing you to download the app and play for free. Its true that the developer isn’t exactly known for offering free games however and you can rest assured that they will be making money from it (more on this later).

Gameplay is dead simple. As you charge down the jousting range you have to tap the touchscreen at the right time to increase your speed. You are then presented with a slow motion sequence where you have to aim your spear at the designated kill zone on your opponent. This can be anywhere from the chin to shoulder. If your lucky enough to get a perfect hit then you will be rewarded with more loot.

Skill is only part of the battle however. You can be the best jouster in the world but if you don’t have good enough stats then you will likely not succeed. Players can spend their hard earned loot on new equipment and this directly effects three skills areas: Speed, defence and strength. The better stats you have, the more likely you are to succeed against your opponent. The skill areas are effected by what equipment you spend your loot on.

In Rival knights you can improve your speed by buying new horses, your defence by buying new helms and armours, and your strength by buying new lances. All these items cost gold or gems to buy and you can upgrade your equipment if you like.You will get gold for completing battles and gems are rewarded for completing particular missions. Gems are quite hard to come by however so you will struggle to collect these through missions alone. Progressing through the game will allow you to unlock new equipment in the store.

Rival Knights

Although the App is free to play there is the option for in game purchases. Basically you can purchase more gold and gems for real money. Obviously this means certain people will have an advantage in the game through purchasing better equipment. This doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the game for free however. You can still take part in all events and progress through the game, the only downside is that you will have to wait before you can play again. You need a seal (basically a token) to play every level and these only replenish over time, unless you buy more.

The single player mode is split into leagues. You start in league one and take part in different mission types on your way up. Some missions require you to merely beat the opponent but others will require you to perform to a certain level. For example you may need to perform a perfect start or a perfect hit to win. This adds a lot of variety to the action and the seal concept stops you from playing excessively and getting bored.

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The campaign is only half the fun however with the multiplayer mode adding a lot of extra content. Here you can take part in different tournaments and ranking as high as possible will reap better rewards. If you don’t fancy talking part in full blown tournaments however you can merely challenge similarly ranked opponents. You will be able to have a look at their stats and see how you stack up. Completing online battles also rewards you with gold and gems. Within the online environment you will require online tokens to take part. These are exactly the same as seals and replenish over time (or for a fee).

The game looks great too. Gameloft are renowned for creating beautiful and engaging game environments and Rival Knights is no exception. The battle scenes are absolutely gorgeous to look at and beating your opponent will result in a lovely animation sequence. I have been reviewing this using the Samsung Galaxy S5 and on this device the game runs flawlessly with no lag whatsoever. I imagine older devices may find the graphics a little taxing however.

Overall Rival Knights is an absolute joy to play and is utterly engaging. Its strikes a good balance between real money purchases and skill level and without the correct technique you are nothing more than a shiny punchbag. This is one of those games you just cant put down and as such I’m giving it a top rating.

5/5

iPhone 6 and Samsung GS5 size up

GSMArena.com are leaking a brand new image of the iPhone 6, this time sized up against Samsung’s flagship – the Galaxy S5.

The image shows The iPhone 6 and the GS5 side by side and further strengthens previous leaks surrounding the new iPhones design. The iPod-touch inspired design is tipped to have new curvier edges with the larger of the two rumoured models having a 4.7 inch display.

The image shows the iPhone 6 is almost as large as the GS5, with slightly smaller side bezels but larger ones to the top and bottom.

GSMArena suggest that the latest iPhone device will sport a new 960 x 1704 resolution display with a ppi or around 416. It is also tipped to include an updated 8MP camera and Apples new A8 mobile processor. The new device will also showcase iOS8.

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Source: GSMArena.com

Iphone 6 leaks….again

Pictures of the up and coming iPhone 6 have been leaked by the Taiwanese celebrity Jimmy Lin.

One of the pictures shows Lin holding up what he confirms to be a 4.7 inch iPhone 6. Having previously accurately leaked pictures of the then unannounced iPhone 5 and 5c, this new leak brings with it a certain credibility.

Lin leaked two pictures on the Chinese site Weibo. Another picture shows a rear view of the device next to the iPhone 5s, and Lin confirms that it still maintains its external antennas and that due to its size the power button has moved to the right hand side. He also comments that the device has good grip in the hand.

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Lin has a history of accurate leaks and there could be some credibility to this leak. The pictures could however be faked and we will have to wait and see what the iPhone 6 actually looks like.

 

Via GSMarena.com.

Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite preview

Apple’s new OS – OS X 10.10 Yosemite is the latest incarnation of the popular Mac Operating System. Announced at Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote speech in June, the new OS brings with it plenty of visual enhancements and a new focus on what Apple is calling ‘continuity’. The OS is due to roll out later this year and like Mavericks will be completely free.

The new OS will include a host of new features:

Design Overhaul.

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Inspired very much by iOS 7, Yosemite has received a major visual overhaul. Like its mobile sister, Yosemite has gone for a much flatter design with simpler icons and a translucent theme giving toolbars and sidebars a transparent frosted glass effect, much similar to that of Microsoft’s ‘Aero’ as showcased by Windows Vista. This all makes for a much more refined and simple design. There has been a number of aesthetic improvements with improved fonts and tool bar optimisations.

Seamless experience.

Apple have been talking a lot about creating a seamless experience between Apple products. Apple emphasised this much at the Keynote Speech and Yosemite has been heavily optimised to sync seamlessly with you iOS devices. Apple have put a lot of effort into this ‘continuity’ and it really shows. Now all of your i-devices will automatically detect the presence of each other and enable some pretty powerful features. For example you will be notified on your iMac of incoming mobile phone calls and actually be able to answer them or cancel them from your computer. This feature also greatly enhances the messaging experience by allowing greater control over text messages and iMessages.You will now be able to manage all your messaging needs from you Mac.

Apple’s sharing service ‘iDrop’ has also seen an improvement which makes your Mac compatible with you i-device. Previously files could only be shared between i-devices.

Another new sync feature is the inclusion of a cool little ‘Handoff’ button. In essence this allows you, for example, to compile a spreadsheet on your iMac and by simply pressing the handoff button, have the whole project instantly transferred to you i-device so that you can continue working on it on the move. This works with many apps including Safari and Mail.

Much improved notification centre.

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Apple have put a lot of effort into overhauling the notification centre. Firstly, a brand new ‘today’ feature has been added which is almost identical to what you will seen on your with your i-device. This displays daily information such as appointments and reminders.

Secondly Apple have now included the use of widgets into the notification centre. This will link in with stock apps such as Calendar and weather, but apparently there is scope for supporting many third party apps as well.

Spotlight.

The spotlight search has been vastly improved and also benefits from the new transparency theme. Launch spotlight and you will be greeted with a large window will will pull together relevant search results from sources which now includes Wikipedia, Maps and others. This also links in with the iTunes store displaying relevant movies and books etc.

Another cool feature is the ability to search for contacts and be able to message or ring them through Spotlight. Highlighting the relevant contact number will give a number of options to contact said person.

Safari.

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Like many of the other visual improvements, Safari has also received a good amount of polish. The toolbar has been much improved with favourites being incorporated into the URL bar along with the search feature which includes spotlight. For those of us who have dozens of tabs open at once, multiple tab support is also much improved. There is now the ability to scroll over tabs and the new super cool ‘tab view’ gives you a snapshot of all the tabs you have open, over all of you i-devices and in one place.

Other improvements include an enhanced ability to share content via mail, the ability to open up a separate window for private browsing and optimisations which give improved power efficiency. Apparently this means you can get an extra 2 hours endurance when watching Netflix!

Better Mail.

The male app has also seen some pretty nifty improvements. Sending larger attachments up to 5GB is now a breeze with the new ‘Mail Drop’ feature. Basically large attachments are uploaded to iCloud, in essence freeing up the email client. There is also a feature to annotate mail attachments within the app through a feature called ‘Markup’. The Mail app is even intelligent enough to detect what it is your drawing and convert it into a nifty rendered drawing.

 

OS X Yosemite brings with it a host of new and exciting features making for a pretty impressive, and valid upgrade to your Mac. The OS is stated to be released in the summer but developers will be able to take part in the beta from June 2. For the rest of us Apple has promised to allow the first million subscribers access to the beta. You can sign up for this with your Apple ID via Appleseed.

I for one am dead excited by the new seamless functionality between Yosemite and iOS8 and cant wait to get my hands on another iPhone. Apple are certainly very good at getting consumers to buy into their products and it will certainly be beneficial owning several Apple devices.

Dam you Apple, why do you make me want to buy all your products!!!

Foxconn confirms 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6

According to Apples manufacturing partner Foxconn, rumours surrounding the next iPhone coming in two sizes are true.  Foxconn has announced that it is in fact manufacturing a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6.

The 4.7-inch variant is due to start shipping in July this year, with the 5.5-inch variant set to enter production in August.

 

Original press statement:

 

Foxconn to Land 5.5-inch iPhone Orders

5.5 and 4.7 inch iPhone will be manufactured by Foxconn in 2014

MUMBAI, India – June 2, 2014

Foxconn, world’s leading manufacturer of computer components and systems, is going to manufacture both 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch iPhone in 2014.

According the sources, Foxconn will supply 70% of the 4.7-inch iPhone shipments for 2015. The 4- and 4.7-inch iPhones will be the main sales force of Apple for 2014. Foxconn’s plants in Zhengzhou, China are expected to start supplying the 4.7-inch model in July and start manufacturing the 5.5-inch one in August.

 

Source: http://www.bgr.in/news/foxconn-announces-it-is-manufacturing-apples-iphone-6-with-4-7-inch-and-5-5-inch-displays/

Apple in Beats takeover talks

According to recent reports Apple is currently in talks with Beats technologies in a deal that could result in a $3.2 billion dollar takeover. This would be the largest acquisition in Apple’s history.

Beats Technologies, which was founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre in 2008 is known for its funky headphones and popular music streaming service. According to the Financial Times the deal could be announced as soon next week.

What is very interesting is this change in strategy for Apples Tim Cook. Apple’s iTunes revolutionised the digital music industry when it was released in 2003 but in recent years has experienced a lot competition from the likes of  music streaming services such as Deezer and Beats. This latest acquisition likely shows Apples desire to offer its own music streaming service and maintain its current market dominion.

Personally I think this shows a big change in consumer habits. More people are streaming music than ever before and I think eventually music downloads will be a thing of the past. Streaming services offer a lot more versatility and enables people to consume as much media as they like but with minimal cost. Just like TV services are becoming more internet based, I think we will see a similar shift in the music industry. I don’t think people have a desire to own digital copies of movies and music albums anymore, and Apple’s acquisition of Beats could pave the way for a much less restrictive music experience.

I for one am pretty excited about what the future holds for Apple and the music industry.

Source: BBC

 

 

 

Why your iPhone isn’t automatically the best

What exactly is the best smartphone available today? This really is the million dollar question. A question which is intensely difficult to answer because the answer is totally subjective.

Not so long ago when purchasing a new phone we had to make a choice. We had to choose between high end optics and power. Smartphone vs camera phone. Fortunately all that ended with the introduction of modern day smartphones. All of a sudden you could buy a device which incorporated the latest internals with a half decent camera. There were still decisions to be made however and that is marginally still the case today.

The original iPhone was an excellent example of an all round device. It had some of the latest hardware under the hood, intuitive software and included a camera as a bonus. There were however other smartphones on the market with better optics and more power under the hood.

Today this isn’t such an issue however as the latest smartphones offer similar characteristics; the latest hardware, cutting edge optics, super displays and the latest and best in software. So what makes one device better than another? If there is no longer such a variation in hardware then what is it that makes us buy one device over another? What makes one device better than another?

This is going to sound controversial but all smartphones are the same. We have one simple choice, and that is one of Operating System (OS). Typically your either into iOS, Android or Windows mobile. All modern day device use the latest hardware from the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung etc. So really we are just buying into a brand. I have used both Android and iOS for years. They are ultimately the same and offer the same user experience. They are both very good in what they do. The newer OS, Windows mobile is also good at what it does in that it is fresh looking and relatively simple to use.

This all leads me to the conclusion that there are two underlying factors which dictate what our next device will be. The first as already mention is the OS. This is really the only ‘choice’ we make. The second is concerned with brand loyalty. brand loyalty however ultimately revolves around good marketing and this is what dictates what we think is the best device.It has little to do with anything else as ultimately we are all suckers to marketing.

So the question as to which smartphone is the best all comes down to brand and popularity. Lets be honest all those people who buy into brand Apple. Do you actually know what you are buying or are you just being told that your Apple purchase is automatically the best thing ever for no reason other than it being Apple? The same point stands with Samsung. People will buy into the Galaxy brand for example because Samsung is very good at telling the consumer that the Galaxy range of phones are awesome.

Fanyboyism is not a good thing. It prevents people from making balanced decisions and choosing the smartphone which is right for them. People who buy into brand Apple fanatically believe that the iPhone is the phone of Christ and that nothing else is as good as it. Not so long ago I glided into work with my new HTC One smartphone. It was an exceptional device and a very well rounded product. Upon showing it off to my colleagues somebody said “yeah but its not iPhone is it?” What does this even mean!? I don’t think she knew herself. She couldn’t tell me the difference between LCD and OLED technology, or tell me what processor was powering her iPhone. No of course she couldn’t. And this is the point, she just assumed that the iPhone was the best thing ever because that is what she is led to believe. So if you ask somebody like this what the best smartphone is, they would merely reply “obviously iPhone”.

So what is the best smartphone ever? My opinion is that this is an impossible question because the answer is entirely subjective. I think I got pretty close with the HTC One. It had brilliant build quality, a nice camera, cutting edge internals and a cracking screen. It worked really well and HTC Sense does a really nice job of bringing everything together. It was also a great size. I also love the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. For people who chew through video and media, and surf the net then its perfect. I currently have an iPhone 5S. I got it at release. Its a good smartphone. Build quality is second to none, its very powerful and it has a good screen. That said, the screen is way to small (I cant type on it with my sausage fingers), the finger print reader is temperamental and the prices of accessories are frankly extortionate. I also rather dislike Apple’s philosophy. Why shouldn’t I be able to use a third party car charger just because its not made by Apple!?

The point i’m trying to make is that there is no such thing as the perfect smartphone. It totally depends on what you want. People are fundamentally ignorant when it comes to purchasing their new smartphone. They are taken in by cleaver marketing and the occasional loyalty to a particular brand. Consequently this is not always helpful. When you look at the story of HTC you will see my point. HTC make some absolutely excellent smartphones and in fact have done for years. HTC Sense is easily the best OS skin available and the company have always been at the forefront of Innovation and design. The problem is however they just cannot compete with the popularity of Apple and Samsung, not to mention their marketing budgets. So you see most people don’t actually know what the ‘best’ smartphone is. They just get told. They follow like sheep.

Its drives me mad when I look on online forums and see people arguing over which operating system is best, which brand is best. Accusing each other of being ‘fanboys’. These people don’t actually know what they are talking about. These people are like brainwashed religious fundamentals. No amount of education and persuasion is going to change their mind. They will die for the cause. But there will never be any change because this is brand power at its best. Apple have been incredibly successful at creating the brand. Apple devices have gone far beyond the function for which they are designed and are now designer accessories. Sporting the latest iPhone is like showing off an Armani suit. Its the cool thing that everyone needs.

So again, and in conclusion there really isn’t a ‘best smartphone’, it all depends on what your opinions are. Personally I don’t care about brand and reputation. When I get a new smartphone I think really carefully about what I need and whats best for me. In hindsight the iPhone 5S was a bit of a mistake, I should have stuck with my head and got a Galaxy Note 3. I just get frustrated with the iPhone, its just not as good as what your led to believe. So please don’t accuse me of being a fanboy because I don’t have a favourite brand. I just buy the things which are most compatible with my lifestyle and my needs.

This is my opinion anyway. Sorry if this is a little controversial. If you disagree, or ever agree then please let me know.

Apple introduces 8GB iPhone 5c

In what will be considered a positive move for many potential iPhone owners, Apple have introduced an 8GB version of its colourful budget handset.

The iPhone 5c 8GB is now available to purchase in many markets including the UK and China. It will cost you £429 in the UK, £40 cheaper than the 16GB version. Strangely the device is not available in the US.

The 5c was released last year as a budget device aimed at competing with cheaper mid range phones from the likes of Samsung and others. It was also intended to crack the Chinese market as a more affordable offering.

Apple have been pretty quite regarding sales of the 5c and as such this drop in price may be a sign of troubling sales.