How-to tip of the week: Make your iPhone read anything out loud

04/11/2014
Apr 11, 2014
Wouldn't it be nice if your phone could read stuff out loud when you don't have any hands? The iPhone can actually read almost anything out loud. VoiceOver and Speak Auto text are features on the iPhone that makes your device say anything you touch. Having your phone read the features of your phone out loud comes in handy in a multitude of ways, and it's extremely easy to set up.

To get to these awesome features just go to settings, general, and accessibility. Once you've turned on the VoiceOver settings, switch it on. After this you will hear a female voice read the names of the controls on the screen. You can also adjust the rate as well as the voice. To hear something, just tap it; words, icons, and statuses can all be read out loud. Your fingers can walk through everything on your screen from top to bottom. However, if you want to open something you must double tap it. For example, if you want to open something that you've just heard about your favorite app out loud double- tap on the icon to open it.
Another cool feature to read our information out loud is Speak AutoText. This feature makes your iPhone speak recommended words as you type. Speak Auto Text has many benefits for all iOS 7 users. This feature can help blind people know what they're typing. You don't have to take your eyes off the keyboard, which is great for speed and concentration. Also, if you aren't paying attention to the suggested word you can still hear it without zooming out.

// [Author: Ingrid Tall]

App Category of the Week: Budgeting your Lifestyle There

04/11/2014
Apr 11, 2014
There are a lot of ways that you can spend your money without knowing it. Maintaining a budget isn't always easy, especially if you're always on the go or managing work and a family life. There are many apps available on the iPhone and the Andriod to help phone users of all kinds to budget their lifestyle. In this week's app review, we review different apps that can be used to mediate your impulses and make sure your money stays where you want it.

Mint Personal Finance


Mint is a free iPhone app that helps you budget your lifestyle with very little effort. This app analyses your bank account and breaks down your spending into different categories. To realistically keep up on your budget you should check the app throughout the week. Mint even helps you make short and long term goals. This app is amazing for seeing where your money goes and budgeting accordingly.

Pocket Money



PocketMoney is another great app that helps iPhone and Andriod users budget their money. There is smart technology that makes it easy to enter all of your information. This app also has a desktop counterpart that helps you budget on more than one device. This app also integrates other budgeting and money apps that can help you keep track or receipts and checks. However, try not to do in-app purchases so you don't spend money excessively.

Home Budget w/ Sync



Homebudget with Sync is an essential budgeting app that makes keeping track of a family budget simple and easy. You can setup recurring bill payments, attach receipts from restaurants, and get reminders about upcoming bills. You can setup different accounts, credit cards, and cash deposits. There are many other fun features that can make budgeting a no-brainer as well. This app is great for all phone users.
// [Author: Ingrid Tall]

Insiders Leak! Fully Redesigned iPhone 6

04/11/2014
Apr 02, 2014
Although there are many rumors on what the iPhone 6 looks like, there are very few credible sources. Apple expert, Ming-Chi Kuo, is known for accurately predicting apple products before they come out. When Kuo releases new research about Apple's plans, people tend to pay attention. Early this week, he sent out a detailed report covering what he believes there is to know about iPhone 6. Kuo, a KGI Securities analyst, gave information to investors regarding the next-generation iPhone launch.

Starting with the model design on the iPhone, Kuo states there will be a 4.7-inch display panel. The Retina panel will also have a resolution of 1,334 x 750 pixels, which comes to a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. Kuo also reveals that iPhone 6 will have a new Apple A8 processor along with 1GB of RAM. Although competitor's phones have 2GB or 3GB or RAM, Apple does not seem to experience any problems with small memory so far.
The iPhone 6 will also have a much thinner design, and the bezel on the sides will be reduced between 10%-20% so the phone can still be used comfortably with one hand even with a larger screen. Kuo also thinks Apple will add NFC chips to the new phone model. The new iPhone phablet will feature a full HD 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display that measures 5.5 inches. This means the pixel density will be 401 ppi. The sports specs will include A8 processor, NFC and Touch ID. The battery will be larger than before, between 50%-70% bigger than the current iPhone 5 battery.

The power/sleep/wake button on the iPhone 6 model will be moved to the side of the phone so it can be reached more easily. Kuo also claims that Apple will switch from Gorilla Glass to sapphire crystal for the phone's display, but potentially only on the high end models. Although ultimately Kuo states that Apple will move all iPhone models to sapphire displays. The reason for this shift is that the Touch ID may soon be embedded in iPhone display panels rather than home buttons. Sapphire is needed to ensure fingerprint accuracy. Kuo states that Apple's new 4.7 inch iPhone 6 will launch late in the third quarter.
// [Author: Ingrid Tall]

Product Review of the Week: Five best iPhone Car Holders

04/11/2014
Apr 11, 2014
Koomus Dashboard Windshield Universal Smartphone iPhone Car Mount Holder
Looking for a way to make sure your iPhone stays put when driving or traveling? A car mount is the perfect way to use your iOS 7 device for GPS, calling, and music without taking your hands off the wheel. We have reviewed the top 5 car mounts that will hold your phone in place on your windshield, cup holder, or dashboard. These car mounts are simple to use and convenient for someone who is constantly on the go.

Koomus K2 Car Mount



Koomus has a car mount that can stick to either your windshield or your dashboard. This car mount offers you a 360-degree rotation when in place. You can also move this car mount to a different location if you change your mind about where you want it to go. The 3M gel pad can be cleaned with water and re-positioned to whatever convenient location you choose.

Nite Ize Steelie Car Mount Kit



This cart mount kit is another favorite. This kit has two components; a phone socket and a ball mount. The magnetics make sure that the two pieces cling together without coming apart while you're driving. This kit is easy to use and very secure, great for ensuring your phone stays where you need it to.

Kenu Airframe



The Kenu is a durable car phone holder that is great accessory for iPhone users. This car holder has been described as the "world's most portable car mount for smartphones". This car holder weighs less than an ounce and can attach to any car vent. You can safely clip your iPhone to your car without worrying about it coming undone.

Griffin WindowSeat 3



The Griffin WindowSeat 3 is another wonderful car mount that any iPhone user can assemble the lever-action suction cup grips to either your windshield or your dash for eye-level iPhone viewing.

Montar Car Mount



The Montar is a durable car mount that has patented suction cups that claims it has "supersecure suckage" This is great if you want to use your phone when driving in extreme conditions such as off-road or driving through snow.
// [Author: Scott Howard]

Product Review Category Of The Week: Mophie Space Pack Phone Charger

04/02/2014
Apr 11, 2014
Amazon: Mophie Juice Pack Air made for iPhone 5s / 5 (1700mAh) Protective Battery Case
One of the only drawbacks to having a cool iOS 7 device (as you know per our battery savings tips article!) is a short lived battery life. However, this problem can be solved by buying a cover that charges your phone while you use it. Mophie has introduced a new phone cover that charges your battery, as well as add extra storage. Not to mention, the case isn't half bad looking. The Mophie Space Pack is a dream come true for iPhone users. If you're tired of running out of battery and don't want to get rid of any of your storage space, a Mophie phone cover is exactly what you need.

If you download lots of apps, love to take pictures, need your music, and watch movies on the go, the Mophie phone charger is just what you need. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could use your phone for a long trip without having to constantly check the battery life? The Space Pack offers up to 32GB of extra storage plus a near full charge of the battery.

Mophie states how it will give a dying iPhone battery another full 100 percent charge. The Space Pack has four LED Lights that will show you how much battery life you have left. You can control when you are charging your iPhone and you can use a green/red switch to turn this feature on or off. Like most battery cases, charges your using the micro USB cable. This product comes in both black and white colors, both of which are extremely sleek sophisticated. Overall, this product is more than handy and perfect for any heavy iPhone user.
// [Author: Scott Howard]

iOS - More Quick Tips You Should to Know About!

04/02/2014
Apr 02, 2014
It's been a hot minute since we gave you all some more tips on using your mobile iOS device, so here are a few quickies! From letters for your password to understanding which flights are directly above you to quickly undoing a text message to the amazing burst mode camera feature! iOS provides it all and we are here to help you utilize and play with them!

Letters for your Passcode



Do you want to input a normal password instead of a passcode when you unlock your phone? Follow these easy steps: Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock. Then turn off "Simple Passcode" and a screen will appear with a keyboard that allows you to enter a new passcode with letters! Viola!

Up Up & Away



Ever wonder what is above you right now? No, not in a religious or spiritual sense, in a literal sense. As in, what airplanes are flying above your head right this second. Well, if you're strange like we are and have wondered this, as Siri! Ask "What flights are above me?" or "Planes overhead," and Siri will show you a list with airline, altitude, and other cool statistics!

Shake and Bake



Ever notice that your phone sometimes brings up the "Undo Typing" box while you're drafting a message? Ever wonder how it pops up? Well, if you shake your mobile device it brings up that window! In other words, shake your phone to delete text.

Burst Mode



If you want to capture something with your camera in only the way that burst mode can capture it, simply hold down the shutter button on your mobile device's camera to automatically activate burst mode!

Custum Vibes



Here's a cool, and useful, tip for setting up unique vibration patterns for your contacts. Go into your contacts and select the contact you wish to give a custom vibration pattern and set it in the contact. Now when you phone vibrates in your pocket you'll know whether it's nanna or a work email (maybe you don't want to answer either?).

// [Author: Scott Howard]

App Category of the Week: Sports!

04/02/2014
Apr 02, 2014
In honor of the 2014 sports season starting we will be covering the top sports apps that help you stay on top of all your favorite sports teams. These apps cover sports stats, stories, live games and so much more! Not only are we covering the domestic United States but we are making sure that EU is getting some love! Don't freight soccer fans, we have it covered for you as well! Good thing you don't have to pick just one to stay up-to-date!

MLB @ Bat



MLB.com is the iPhone's most popular app right now, and it's no surprise considering all the things you can do on it! You can listen to your favorite live baseball game, get notifications about games you're interested in, hear game highlights, and even read up on player stats. You can also put the game on as background noise while you do other things on your phone. This free app tells you more than everything you would need to know about baseball.

NBA GameTime



NBA Game Time is the perfect app for all you basketball fans. This app tells you live scores, states, updates, and standings for every basketball game. You can also watch NBA recaps on TV, a great feature if you want to see the live action you might've missed. You can also organize the apps features anyway you want by sorting teams and games; an amazing app that packs everything you'd need to know about all your favorite basketball teams.

Nascar



NBA Game Time is the perfect app for all you basketball fans. This app tells you live scores, states, updates, and standings for every basketball game. You can also watch NBA recaps on TV, a great feature if you want to see the live action you might've missed. You can also organize the apps features anyway you want by sorting teams and games; an amazing app that packs everything you'd need to know about all your favorite basketball teams.

Eurosport



The Eurosport app is good if you are interested in international sports and European competitions. This app gives you updates and scores on cricket, tennis, rugby, snooker, and many more European leagues. You can customize this app to show you updates on your favorite teams and leagues, as well as share interesting stories on social media. Although this app may not benefit US sports fans as much, it is good for global sports fans who want to see what's going on in sports all over the world.

SportsTap



This app is ideal if you are interested in many sports all over the world. This app covers all the world's most popular sports. It gives news, stats, leagues, and scores for over 10 different major sports associations including soccer leagues for England, Brazil, and Germany. You can also customize this app by putting your favorite teams on the front screen when you open it up. Definitely ideal if you're more of a fanatic than your average sports fan.

// [Author: Ingrid Tall]

iPhone 6 "Air" - Glass is back concept!

04/02/2014
Apr 02, 2014
Another slew of iPhone 6 concept designs have hit the internet recently and we decided to break down one of the more appealing versions - the iPhone 6 "Air." This iPhone Air is rumored to boast a much thinner design (obviously), a larger screen, and other "next- generation" features. What is a next-generation feature? We don't know either. But, it is sure fun to speculate until the almight Apple conference at headquarters! From what we hear in the industry, Apple's work environment is similar to that of a defense company. Super tight lipped, super secretive! We're gonna try to give you the latest and most up to date!

As you can see, the huge design allure here is the matte metal edge, return of the glass back, and the edge to edge screen. Many have commented that it is a mix between the iPad mini with Retina and the iPhone 4/4s - we tend to agree.
When it comes down to it, the majority of rumors are that a bigger screen is all but 100%, whereas the thin design is more of a hopeful concept. As always, we can only wait until Apple releases iPhone 6 later this year and cross our fingers until then!
// [Author: Scott Howard]

How To Make Your iOS 7 Device Better!

03/25/2014
Mar 25, 2014
We have 3 tips that we believe will truly make your iOS device even better! From photography tips to simple reminders, the iOS device can help and we are here to show you how! We're slowly trickling in more of these awesome tips, so please feel free to come back and visit! Theres so much you can do on your iOS device, we want you to be as efficient as possible! :) Read on!

iPhone Burst



Trying to capture a special moment in one shot can be tough if you're not an experience photographer. However, with the iPhone burst application you can capture many photos in just a few seconds. By holding down the middle button you'll automatically activate burst mode. You can rapidly capture multiple movements and save to a separate location to sort through later. This way you can be sure that you don't miss any of the moment you wanted to cherish.

Location Based Reminders



Like most people, sometimes it's easy to forget about bringing important items with you when you need them. For instance, forgetting to pick up milk from the store or leaving your briefcase at home before an important meeting. Need a way to remember before you leave? Just set a reminder on your phone as normal, but then tap on the information icon and activate the location feature. This will use your iOS device's GPS to notify you when you go to the location you programmed. Very convenient for all of those forgetful moments!
Want to stop annoying telemarketers or just make sure certain numbers can't reach you? The iPhone has a feature that allows you to block certain numbers you don't want to get ahold of you. By going to the phone menu and adding numbers to a blocked list, you can make sure that certain numbers never reach you again! If a person has called you recently, then click the "I" next to the number, select "Block this caller." You can do this to block any number you want, and only allow those you want to contacting you through.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Top 10 Battery Saving Tips for iOS 7

03/25/2014
Mar 25, 2014
Having an iPhone gives you access to some of the most exciting and fun features of any mobile device. However, this comes at a price: shortened battery life. If you've been an iPhone user for more than a few days then you know that the battery life for is less than some of their competitors. However, there are ways that you can extend battery power on your iPhone without changing the way you use it. By following these easy guidelines you can maximize your battery life without compromising all of the cool apps that come with an iPhone.
  1. 1. One thing all iPhones have is a reliable GPS. Using location services allows you to find new restaurants, directions to your favorite hangout, etc. However, constantly having location services on drains your battery life. If you know you aren't going to be using this service, turn it off to conserve battery power. Find this in your settings, open the privacy setting, location services, and slide to off.
  2. 2. Having Wi-Fi is a way for your phone to access high-speed networks that speed up application and other services on your iPhone. Turning off your Wi-Fi when you're not in a hot spot location can conserve battery life in a big way. So unless you are near a hotspot connection, turn off your Wi-Fi. Find this in your settings, under Wi-Fi and turn off.

  3. 3. A bright iPhone screen requires more battery power than a dimmer one. By controlling the brightness of your screen you can keep the iPhone from using more battery life than is necessary. If you can see without it, try turning the brightness down. Find this under settings in brightness & wallpaper.
  4. 4. Don't want to constantly change adjust the brightness on your phone to conserve battery? Good news; you can turn on the auto-brightness feature which automatically adjusts to the light around it. This ambient light sensor that changes the brightness of the screen to fit the environment it is in. Find this under settings, brightness & wallpaper, and switch on auto-brightness.

  5. 5. One newer feature on the iPhone is the background app refresh. This feature knows which apps you use the most as well as when you use them. It then automatically updates these applications so that when you use your iPhone it has the most current information available. As cool as this feature may sound, it needlessly drains your battery life. Turn this off under settings, in general, background app refresh, and turn it off for some apps or turn it off altogether.
  6. 6. The iOS 7 has a unique equalizer feature that can adjust music to decrease bass and adjust other music settings. These adjustments eat up a lot of battery life and by turning this feature off you can conserve your battery power. To do this open up settings, music, open up EQ and turn off.
  7. 7. One of the coolest thing about the iPhone is it automatically updates your apps for you. However, this can be a significant source of your battery power. If you want to save battery power, try manually updating apps as you want to. Enable this by going under settings, iTunes & App Store in updates turn the setting off.
  8. 8. You can also do things that require less battery on your iPhone. If you would like to conserve battery at specific times, try limiting your web-browsing, game playing, or movie watching. Also, if you know you aren't going to be using your phone for a long period of time turn on Air-plane mode. This will conserve battery until you are ready to use your device again. Find this under settings, and switch airplane mode on.

  9. 9. One of the easiest ways to conserve your battery for your iOS 7 is to make your phone go to sleep after a certain period of time. By making your iPhone sleep, less battery is used on apps and features running when you aren't using it. Find this under settings, general, in auto-lock, and change to your personal preferences.
  10. 10. If none of these tricks help conserve battery (or you don't want to disable any of these features) then you can always buy more battery life. Some companies such as Mophie offer both Space Pack and Juice Pack which can extend battery life for the iPhone. By getting a new battery you don't have to compromise any of the features you may be used to and still maximize your iPhone use.
// [Author: Julie Franklin]

I see you when you're charging... I see you when you're gaming...

03/25/2014
Mar 25, 2014
Part creepy play on a holiday song and part foreshadowing of Apple's new patent. Apple recently obtained yet another patent and this one aims to enable your phone to be "smarter" about its battery usage and charging. Does that mean your mobile device is going to take over the satellites like Skynet and rain missiles down upon our planet? No, absolutely not. Instead, the idea behind this new technology is that the mobile device will track your usage patterns and charging patterns. In other words, your phone will start to identify the time of day that you typically use your phone the most (the time when the most battery power is needed), when you typically charge your phone (the time when the least battery power is needed), and whether you charge your phone all day long or simply when it is almost dead (planning of battery power).

Apple has used the term "long-term power budgeting" to describe this approach. Essentially, when the mobile device identifies the patterns it is then able to turn off certain features, dim the screen, etc. in order to save power when needed and boost it when needed. Or, at least when it is anticipated to be needed. Another patent that was published aims at saving battery by monitoring usage of apps, rather than the phone overall. Combined, these two patents when implemented could actually extend battery life significantly.

Of course, this is another piece of technology that big brother conspiracy theorists will be up in arms about. Another way to monitor our mobile device usage!? Yup, get used to it people, monitoring our usage of anything connected to the internet is here to stay!
// [Author: Scott Howard]

March Madness... On Your iDevice!

03/25/2014
Mar 25, 2014
It's that time of year again where half of the population goes crazy for two hour periods of time on a daily basis while the other half of the population can't figure out why everyone is screaming during the work day. If you're part of the latter camp, we're talking about the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament. And boy, this year has already been a doozy.
What? You're not up to speed, you say? Because you've been commuting or you've been at work when your team's stud shooting forward hit the game winner with 0.3 seconds left on the clock? Well, we certainly have a few solutions for you! Check out these apps for keeping up with what we sports fan affectionately know as March Madness.

NCAA March Madness Live



This is a free app AND the only app in this article that allows you to stream the games live. That's right, live action on your mobile device. You won't miss another buzzer beater, ever again! Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but this app does allow you to watch for three hours before even signing in through your cable provider. Also, this app features highlights, scores, and a bracket picker to keep up on those office pools.

Tunein Radio



This is a similar app to the NCAA app above, with the distinct caveat that this is only radio live streams. In other words, if you're driving you shouldn't be WATCHING any games anyway and this would be a better way to stay up on the tourney. This app provides live audio steams of all games, check it out if you're into that whole safety thing on the road.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Music Streaming... Unlimited Options!

03/17/2014
Mar 17, 2014
Once upon a time there was only Slacker Radio and then Pandora. Well, this was after Napster...and after Kazaa, too. Which all came after FM radio, and that was after short wave radio. Okay, we got carried away but you get the point. The streaming music landscape is even more saturated these days, as you probably know. The list of players continues to grow, but as of late the big ones include Pandora, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Spotify, Google Play, and Beats Music.


Which one do I choose? Well, that's not the focus of this article and quite frankly, that is a matter of personal preference. Spotify and Beats Music are libraries and offer different features than you would find with iTunes Radio or Pandora. Plus, Pandora is free (or $3.99/mo without ads), iTunes Radio is free, whereas Beats Music and Spotify cost money in the form of a subscription fee. Some features of these different services overlap, some don't. The point is that there is a plethora of streaming services out there and you should check each one out to find out what you like best.

Lastly, should you take a side? Remember when there were several computer companies out there before it became Microsoft vs. Apple? We do. Remember when there were all kinds of coffee shops before it became Starbucks vs. Mom and Pop? We do. Remember when it was Nokia, Samsung, Panasonic, Kyocera, etc. for cell phones before it became Android vs. iPhone? We do. What's the point of these outdated comparisons? Why, simple, we are insinuating that eventually there will be two big players in this streaming music market and posing the question of whether it would be wise to choose your side, now. In our humble opinion, it is too early to make that call. Heck, maybe some service will come along and blow the rest of out of the water (we doubt it).

For now, stick to the one you like or find one that you like and enjoy it. Maybe we'll tell you to pick a side in a few months when Beats Music has been on the scene longer. Maybe not.
// [Author: Scott Howard]

Hello? Don't Hang Up!

03/17/2014
Mar 17, 2014
Remember when someone called your house phone, yes, a land line, and started to leave a message on your answering machine, yes, an answering machine - not voicemail? There's a very real possibility that some of our readers do not actually remember these relics of yesteryear. Fear not, this article is about a modern version of these phenomena and no prior experience is necessary.


Apple recently acquired Nortel, and with it acquired a bevy of intellectual property. One of the results of this acquisition is the recent patent approval for Apple of voicemail screening. What is voicemail screening you ask? It's almost identical to the old timey landlines that had physical answering machines attached that would allow you to listen to the message being left and even interrupt and answer during the message. The new Apple patent is the exact same, but with remote voicemail servers. No longer is call screening confined to simply deciding whether to answer based on the number calling. No, no, now you can listen to a voicemail as it is being left and decide whether or not to answer.

It's a pretty cool concept and a definite improvement on visual voicemail. We don't know about you, but we're looking forward to implementation of this feature!
// [Author: Scott Howard]

Sleep Tracker Apps - The Contenders

03/17/2014
Mar 17, 2014
By now you've either seen a pop-up or banner ad for some sort of sleep timer or tracker. But, how do you choose, right? We've put together this handy little guide to assist in your decision to snatch up one of these apps and put it to work tracking your dream states. We all know that the more rest you get, the less grumpy and better the day is! Check out the latest and greatest sleep help apps, we've tried and tested!

Sleep Cycle



While this app costs a whopping $0.99, it may be the best of the bunch. The app is pretty comprehensive with the analysis it provides of your sleep patterns. For instance, the app will record the time you go to sleep, the quality of your sleep (based on your movement, which is an indicator of REM sleep), and the time you spend asleep.

The longer you use the app, the more data is collected and the more detailed your averages of these statistics become. Further, you can add notes for when you go to sleep on medicine, or maybe after a few drinks, and the app will record that so you can see the differences in your sleep pattern when altered by medicine, etc.

Lastly, the feature Sleep Cycle boasts that is the selling point, apparently, is the ability to be woken up only when you are in a shallow state of sleep so as to not interrupt a REM cycle. This means that you will awake feeling more rested and energized than if your REM cycle is interrupted.

Sleep Time - Alarm Clock



Sleep Time is, essentially, the same as Sleep Cycle. Surprise Surprise! Now, the differences lie in the layout and design of the apps (mostly). The clock designs are different and the way your sleep cycle is recorded looks different. Sleep Time shows your night of sleep with colors on a graph, orange indicating when you were awake, green when you are lightly sleeping and blue when you hit REM. Whereas, Sleep Cycle uses a line graph that shows spikes as when you are awake. This is merely a matter of aesthetic preference.

One of the really cool features of Sleep Time, however, is the sound options to lull you to sleep. Yes, you read it right. This app plays ambient sounds like a stream or a forest when you go to bed to help you fall asleep more quickly. After testing these sounds, they are quite pleasant and do in fact help you get to sleep. This is a great feature for those restless sleepers! Lastly, this app, like Sleep Cycle, boasts the ability to wake you up gradually and while you are not in REM sleep, thus creating a more energized and less tired you. Now, folks, for both of these apps you should certainly take this with a grain of salt. Sleep scientists did not create these apps and probably don't even approve of them. If you have serious sleep issues, this probably won't make you sleep like a baby. But, hey, I just write these articles so what do I know!

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Apple TV: Apple's Most Successful Side Project

03/14/2014
Mar 14, 2014
Amazon: Apple TV
When most people think of Apple's successful projects, the iPad and iPhone usually comes to mind. However, in a recent shareholder meeting, Apple reports that total sales for Apple's TV surpassed $1 billion in 2013. Analysts report that Apple TV sales have increased over 80% over the last year. Not bad considering the Apple TV was considered a "hobby" by CEO Tim Cook. This device that streams live, high-definition internet content to television is Apple's fastest growing hardware product. Since its creation in 2007, the Apple TV product has sold over 28 million units. Overall , Apple Company has generated over $170 billion in revenue for 2013. Although there haven't been any updates to the television device since 2012, rumors are circulating that the company plans to release a new version of Apple TV by April. Apple plans to add new features to the Apple TV product over the next year. Reports claim that Apple will be adding enhancements to the device such as a gaming center, new channels, and an app store. The Apple Company has also recently launched a sales deal for both online and retail outlets, giving away a $25 iTunes gift card with the purchase of any Apple Television.
// [Author: Scott Howard]

The Top Accessories which get the BEST sound out in your iOS device

03/03/2014
Mar 03, 2014

Buy It Now @ Amazon: Bowers & Wilkins Z2


Best Speaker & Docking Station - Bowers & Wilkins Z2

With its elegant design and lightweight portability, the Bowers & Wilkins Z2 provides a perfect place to dock your iOS device. This sophisticated wireless speaker system produces brilliant audio sound with remarkable clarity. The Z2 is also light, making it easy to charge and listen to your iOS device throughout every room in the house.

Best Ear Buds - Bose QuietComfort 20i

Want to enjoy noise-free audio from your iOS device without carrying oversized headphones? The Bose QuietComfort 20i is a comfortable way to enjoy your music device in almost any situation. These noise-cancelling headphones are compact and permit an easy listening experience on-the-go. A long lasting battery life guarantees up to 16 hours of quality sound, allowing for long lasting peace from the outside world.

Best Headphones - Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

If you want multi-purpose headphones that make it easy for iPhone users to listen to audio in every situation, look no further. The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro offers quality and beautiful audio sound for iOS device users everywhere. Comfortable, powerful, and easy-to-use these headphones are a great tool for ordinary listeners to professional audio producers. In addition these headphones provide durability, making them a sensible investment for an iPhone user.

Best Bluetooth Headphones - Harman Kardon BT

Although the Harman Kardon BT seems different from traditional headphones, they are no less effective and just as powerful; making them an excellent accessory for your iOS device. This headset embodies an incredibly distinctive look which is accompanied by superior Bluetooth technology. In addition, an integrated chargeable battery allows you to charge the headphones without interrupting your music experience. The Harman Kardon BT with its unique design and comfortable fit produce quality sound for all audio on your iOS device.

Best Bluetooth Earpiece - Jawbone Era

Looking for an easy-to-use Bluetooth earpiece for your iOS device? Look no further; The Jawbone Era Bluetooth earpiece has a distinctive design with quality HD audio. The Jawbone Era Bluetooth earpiece includes many features that allow for high functionality and amazing audio sound, not to mention its stylish and innovative design.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

App Spotlight - Samba

02/26/2014
Feb 26, 2014
Have you ever heard of Snapchat? Of course you have. Well the popularity of Snapchat's video messaging platform sparked a flurry of other video messaging apps in the tech start-up world. One of the apps resulting from this trend of video messaging was React Messenger, which attached a selfie with every message. A newer take on this trend is Samba. Essentially, Samba is like Snapchat in that you receive videos or pictures from your friends. The difference comes in when you view the messages from your friends. When you open up that playful selfie or video message, Samba automatically records your reaction to what you are viewing with Vine. You then have the option to share that reaction or simply reply with the video of your reaction. As the Samba team noted, "No word or emoticon can compete with a genuine facial expression."
// [Author: Scott Howard]

iOS 8 ;)

02/25/2014
Feb 25, 2014

iOS 7 was released and created a media storm, both good and bad. But what about those features that we iOS users seem to be perpetually waiting for? Here's a round-up of the features most of us are hoping to see when iOS 8 rears its inevitable head:

Group FaceTime

Yes, iOS 7 brought with it free voice FaceTime, and yes, it is awesome. The next thing we hope to see is a group video call feature that rivals Skype and Google Hangout platforms. Strength in numbers, right?

Healthbook

What is Healthbook, you ask? Why it's rumored to be the new Apple, iOS 8 accompanied, fitness tracker. Duh. This is a conveniently timed rumor given all the buzz on an iWatch right now and seems fitting to debut a health tracker alongside the first piece of wearable Apple tech. Either way, huzzah to not having to purchase fitness trackers if one comes stock with the new iOS!

Go Away Default Icons

Sick of staring at the Notepad? Or the Contacts icon, or the Safari icon, or the Reminders icon? We know that we are. There are many out there hopeful that with iOS 8 will come the ability to remove these bothersome apps once and for all! Time will tell.

Enhanced Do Not Disturb

For many of us the Do Not Disturb (DND) feature allows us to avoid notifications during business meetings or while we are trying to get that small amount of sleep we get every few days. It's useful that we can allow only certain callers to get through this feature and that multiple calls will come through for emergency reasons. The DND functionality, however, leaves something to be desired. While this is a little known feature, it could be significantly enhanced if Apple paid it some attention before releasing iOS 8.

Control Center Customization

We here at iDrop News love the Control Center that was introduced with iOS 7. Yet, we can't help but wonder how much MORE we would love it if it allowed us to customize what options were present in the Control Center. In other words, not everyone uses wifi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, etc. Which means allowing the users to select which buttons will be in the Control Center (maybe allowing you to select 3G, or other options) would appeal to a broader user base.

Default Apps

Have you ever noticed that you are unable to set any app you have downloaded as a default app? Yes, us too. It would be great to use Google Chrome as the default browser or Google Maps as the default map application. Cross your fingers that this comes to fruition with iOS 8.

GPrint to PDF

It's great to be able to print from you iOS device, sure, but what about if we had the option of printing to PDF and saving that file to print later? We hope to see this feature show up with iOS 8 also.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Updates Here, Get Ya Updates!

02/25/2014
Feb 25, 2014
The time has come for yet another update to the hated beloved iOS 7. iOS 7.0.6 is now available to download OTA when connected to a wireless network, or if you connect your iOS device to a PC or Mac by way of iTunes. This update is only one month after 7.0.5 (mainly aimed at users in China). Apparently iOS 7.1 is still in the beta testing phase, so we aren't expecting to see that update anytime soon, meaning that this 7.0.6 will have to do for now. Of course, 7.1 will be much more of a full feature update, and will include many more tweaks and fixes. For now, all we are apparently getting with this update is a few bug fixes to SSL and other minor tweaks. Looks like we all need to exercise some patience until iOS 7.1 is released (hopeful date is mid-March)!
// [Author: Scott Howard]

Tesla + Apple = ????????

02/25/2014
Feb 25, 2014
It's no secret that Apple has been on an acquisitions tear over the last year and a half. That may be why it comes as no surprise (or does it?) that Apple's chief mergers and acquisitions officer, Adrian Perica, recently met with the Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. Conveniently for those of us in the rumor business, German analyst Adnaan Ahmad recently wrote an open letter calling for Apple to acquire Tesla. Allegedly, the Apple/Tesla meeting took place six months BEFORE that open letter was even written.

Don't forget, too, that Apple has been said to be looking at the medical industry as another potential area of expansion and innovation. Don't get it twisted, Apple could potentially scoop up Tesla and a few medical companies in a couple more mega acquisitions.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Health Tracking... Headphones?

02/25/2014
Feb 25, 2014
A recent patent application from Apple was granted, which essentially details a set of headphones that will have sensors detecting heart rate, temperature, perspiration and other health-related information. This is an interesting development given the recent rumors about Apple focusing more on health and fitness for its upcoming iOS 8, including rumors about a fitness tracker tentatively named Healthbook. Now, don't jump for joy just yet. The rumors about an iWatch seem to be at the forefront of Apple development rumor mills and this type of health tracking headphone would be at odds with the iWatch, which would perform the same functions. Either option would be Apple's first dip in the wearable tech realm, but it is unlikely that the two will be released at the same time. From what we here at iDrop News are hearing and seeing, these headphones are more pipe dreams than the iWatch. But, hey, you just never know with Apple!

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Top 5 iOS Accessories

02/18/2014
Feb 18, 2014

Buy It Now @ Amazon: QX & QX100

It's been a little while since we're dropped some knowledge on you about what accessories you should be scooping up. So, happy birthday, here are the top five out right now in no particular order (stay tuned for more next week!).

Sony QX10 and QX100

These Sony lenses may or may not be the coolest thing to happen to mobile photography, ever. With these lenses you have the option of attaching to your iOS device and using the device as a camera (like a normal piece of camera hardware), or you can use the lenses independent of the phone - the phone acting as a live viewfinder and showing you what the lens is seeing. If that is confusing, it's because it is incredible. You can literally set the lens down next to what you want to shoot or even give it to your friend to hold and then use your phone to see what you are shooting and take the picture.

A few tech specs for you: the QX100 boasts a 20.2 megapixel sensor, which equates to 4x bigger than your iPhone! Also, up to f/1.8 aperture is included for low-light photos and shallow depth of field shots, not to mention manual zoom, allowing for superb control over shooting depth. Even the compact QX10 boasts a 10x optical auto-zoom, thus preventing the pixel damage that your iOS device digital zoom leaves behind. If you want DSLR capability without spending $500+ on a DSLR camera, try these lenses on for size. We don't think you will be disappointed.

BoxWave Keyboard Buddy Case

Did you have a Blackberry? Or maybe you just reminisce about the days of tactile keyboards. Whichever camp you fall into, if you want tactile keys, this is your solution! This is actually a case for your iOS device that feels pretty natural without any bumps or odd protrusions. What's even better, the keyboard is a REAL keyboard and even has backlit keys. Lastly, the case is designed not to interfere with the iPhone camera. To some, this is awfully familiar, a la the Sidekick 2 back in the day.

Magnetyze

So this category is not necessarily an accessory singular, more like a new line of iPhone accessories that are closely related. For instance, if you buy the Magnetyze case, you will now be able to charge your phone simply by setting it on a magnetic circle instead of plugging in the lightning cable.

Or, even better, you can simply stick your phone to an upright magnetic platform that simultaneously charges and holds your phone conveniently up for Facetime calls.

Further, Magnetyze also offers an extended battery that simply attaches to the back of the case they make (magnetically) and extends battery life up to 8 hours. Essentially, if you hate plugging in cables and you love magnets, this is the brand of accessories for you.

Moshi SenseCover

Do you get jealous of the people who have that android phone with the cool cover showing the clock through a window? No? Yea... we don't either. But in the event you do get jealous of those cool covers, Moshi has a solution for you and your iPhone.

This cover is essentially the same as you will see on those android phones, but with an added feature that makes this a cut above, if you ask us. That feature is the ability to unlock your phone (if you don't have TouchID or a passcode set) with just a swipe of your finger over the cover, just as you would over the screen. Of course, the cover has the added feature of protecting your phone. But let's be honest, we just think it looks cool.

Celluon Projection Keyboard

This last accessory is pretty much the future happening in front of our eyes. This little gadget allows you to set your phone down on top of it, while it projects a full size keyboard out in front of you. Yes, you can type on the keyboard. Yes, it works. The device pairs via Bluetooth, has 2+ hours of battery life, and doubles as a virtual mouse. Pretty much the coolest and most compact innovation we've seen for typing on an iPhone in quite some time.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

iPhone 6 Rumors!

2/14/2014
Feb 14, 2014

We know, you were disappointed when you saw the "rumors" part. But, let's be honest here, you know Apple only releases its big products in the fall and it is clearly not the fall. So don't blame us for the disappointment.
Anyway, how about we actually tell you about the iPhone 6? First things first, the big splash in rumors is the SIZE of the screen. Apple is rumored to be releasing two new iPhones, one with a 4.7 inch screen and one with a 5.5 inch screen (current iPhone 5 models have a measly 4 inch screen). Next up, the actual display will be made of entirely sapphire, which is the same material Apple uses for the camera covering and the TouchID on the 5s models.

Now, there have been rumors about Apple's sapphire factory that would seem to support this information and this isn't the first time a larger screen has been the subject of rumors. Nonetheless, there has been no official confirmation from Apple (per usual). Additionally, the most recent rumors were reported by South China Morning Post... clearly not the New York Times or Huffington Post of media. Ultimately we really have very little idea what the new iPhone will look like, other than looking like an Apple product. Maybe it will be one of these curved, clear, display edges concepts, or maybe not.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Facebook.... Paper!

2/14/2014
Feb 14, 2014

Unless you live under a rock, you're aware of the new Facebook app that was released this week, called Facebook Paper. An app that you may not be as familiar with, called Flipboard, is a very similar concept and design to this new Facebook Paper app. For those of you unfamiliar with Flipboard, it's essentially an app that compiles the news and media that you indicate is interesting to you, and it presents that news in a beautifully designed, magazine like display accompanied by intuitive gestures for navigating the app. Facebook Paper is essentially the same deal, but with the inclusion of your Facebook News Feed AS WELL AS all the news that interests you.

What does this mean for you? It means a new, beautifully designed Facebook app with much, much less distracting nonsense. However, the gestures are what make this app exceptional. Instead of finding a button to navigate back or between stories, you can merely swipe down with your finger to get rid of a story or photo. More innovative still is the ability to pull up a photo and then physically move your mobile device from right to left to scroll from right to left on that photo. Yes, you read that correctly, you turn your phone to see each side of a photo.

Now, as beautiful and intuitive as this new Facebook Paper may be, there are some downsides that are surfacing among the reports out. One of which is the long load time when you open the app. With great design comes great load time.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Apple... iWatch?!

2/14/2014
Feb 14, 2014

Yes, we are revisiting the Apple rumor mill today with the ever-anticipated iWatch. It's just sort of understood these days that Apple enters into a new product market every so many years, and if history is an indicator, 2014 should be one of those years. Of course, the prevailing rumors are an Apple TV and an iWatch. We know how rumors sometimes don't pan out.. but we've got a good feeling about this one.. :) We'll be talking iWatch rumors, only, today.

One of the focal points of the rumors out there is that Apple has, in one way or another, hinted to an iWatch for years. Whether it be Tim Cook dismissing Google Glass because most people only wear glasses because they have to, or because Apple board members have simply mumbled the word "watch." Plus, there has apparently been movement by Apple to patent iWatch in countries like Japan and Russia, among others.

And there is that whole Nike connection, too. If you were unaware of how closely Apple and Nike are affiliated - Tim Cook sits on Nike's Board and wears his Nike Fuelband daily. Additionally, Apple recently hired (reportedly) two people involved with Nike and their Fuelband previously.

Now, what would the actual iWatch look like and what will it do? We have no idea. We could try to draw comparisons the iPod Touch that included watch faces and that you could purchase watch bands for, but, that is just simply not the same and you know it. We could say it's like the Pebble watch or compare it to the new Samsung watch, but, those are simply just not the same and you know it. What it boils down to is that Apple is the company that brings the "wow" factor and if they jump into the wearable tech space, expect to be wowed.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Tips and Tricks Every iOS User Should Know!

01/23/2014
Jan 23, 2014

Prepare for your mind to be blown. Some of these tricks you may know, most probably not, and they are all amazing. Check it out!

Got Kids?

There's a feature on your iPhone and iPad called "Guided Access." Once this is turned on, the feature keeps users (hyper kids) from clicking around erratically and either ending up where they shouldn't be (we don't judge you on the apps you may have) or deleting things they shouldn't.

To set this up, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access (turn it on). Additionally, turn on "Accessibility Shortcut," which will allow you turn this feature on in certain apps and not others. To turn this on in an app, triple tap the home button, then select which buttons/links you do not want to be clicked by those tap happy youngins.

Calculator - Fat Fingers?

Did you input an extra zero accidentally because you have giant thumbs? Okay, we're sorry; maybe your thumbs aren't fat. Either way, we have a quick way to get rid of that extra zero. Swipe left to right on the calculator screen, and voila! That zero is gone. You're welcome.

Save Some Money, Cache Your Maps

This trick is particularly helpful when you are out and about and roaming, or don't have internet access at all (when traveling, for example). While you still have internet access, go to any areas you anticipate needing a map later (when you will not have internet) and type into the search bar "ok maps." This will cache the map for offline use! It's that easy and is also helpful for those iPads that only have Wi-Fi.

Quick[er] Charging

If you want your phone to charge fast, set it to Airplane Mode. You can set Airplane Mode with the Control Center or in Settings. You're welcome.

iPad Thumb Keyboard

Yes, you read that right, you can change the standard keyboard to one designed to be used with just your thumbs! Trade in this:

To a much better keyboard for typing with just your thumbs, which looks like this:

If you're anything like most users, typing with thumbs is the status quo. So, up your keyboard game to fit your M.O.! All you need to do is swipe two fingers across the standard keyboard to bring up this keyboard. Easy!

Ear Bud Selfies!

If you don't know what a Selfie is, then we praise your ability to stay out of this dreadful photography trend. If you do, however, know what a Selfie is and you embrace it like 90% of us do, this is a super easy way to take them without that weird arm angle in the photo! Simply click the "+" (volume up) button on your ear bud remote while in camera mode on your iOS device and boom, selfie snapped.

Get That Photo -- Quick!

So you have your iOS device out, or maybe it's in your pocket even, and you see the most absolutely phenomenally perfect picture opportunity of your life. How can you possibly get your iOS device out, unlocked, and camera ready in time?! Simple, just slide the little camera icon on the right-hand side of the unlock-bar up and presto, camera is ready. Again, you're welcome.

DIY Handyman?

Open the compass app that comes with iOS 7, swipe to the left, and behold the level tool that will undoubtedly help with everything you hang from now on.

Quick Scroll to Top

This one is so simple that a picture would just be over the top. When you're way down in a list that you've scrolled, simply tap the top bar of the app and it will return you back to the top. No thumb cramps here.

Nighttime Inversion

Sometimes you're looking at your phone at night and it feels like you are staring at the equivalent of the surface of the sun. Well, fear that brightness no more. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > and turn on "Invert Colors."

iPad App Dock

Another brilliantly simple trick: You can add up to six apps OR folders to your app dock. Yes, you read that correctly, you can add app folders to your dock. You're welcome.

Double Tap Space Bar to End Your Sentence

It's a pain sometimes to hit the numeric button in order to pull up all the punctuation when you simply need a "." to end your sentence. At least, we think so. An easy solution for this is to double tap the space bar when you finish typing the last word of your sentence. The end result is the addition of a period to that sentence without all the extra button tapping.

Easy Numeric Keyboard

Another painstaking part of typing up messages on your iOS keyboard is bringing up the numeric keyboard when you only need an apostrophe or just one number, and then have to switch back to the alpha keyboard. Well, if this resonates with you, you are going to love this: instead of tapping the "123" button to switch the keyboard, simply press the button and slide your finger up the character you want, then release, and the keyboard will revert back to alpha automatically. We here at iDrop actually love this feature and have a feeling you will, too.

More Ear Bud Awesomeness

The picture says it all, but in case you're less visual and more text oriented, here's the scoop: you can double tap the center button of your remote (usually play/pause) to skip to the next track and triple tap to go back to the previous track. This one revolutionized our music listening and we hope it does the same for you!

Quick Web Addresses

As you may have noticed, this article is in the business of saving you time and making your iOS usage more efficient. This trick is no different. Instead of typing out ".com" or ".net," you can simply hold down the "." button on your Safari browser keyboard to bring up common web address endings. Easy peesy lemon squeezy.

Outsmart Autocorrect

This last one is pretty awesome and amazingly simple. All you have to do when you want a contraction to autocorrect is type an extra letter at the end and poof, contraction autocorrect. Thank you and you're welcome.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Top 10: Photo Apps

01/21/2014
Jan 21, 2014

No, these aren't going to turn your photos into something you get when you use a DSLR. No, these apps aren't going to replace hours of painstaking Photoshop work. But, yes, these apps will spruce up your boring Instagram photos and possibly get you those extra followers or likes or comments, whatever you're into.

GoldfrApp [$0.99]

Have you ever heard of Double Exposure? What about Goldfrapp? Well the first is a type of photography that overlaps two photos to create a pretty cool final image. The second is an English electronic music duo. For some odd reason, Goldfrapp released this app in anticipation of their new album and for the price it offers a really cool and really easy way to create double exposure images.

Paper Camera [$1.99]

This isn't your standard "add a filter to my photo" kind of app. Instead, Paper Camera adds the filters to the images real time as you are snapping your shots. This is pretty neat because it allows you to decide which filter works best while you're trying to capture that perfect image.

Photoshop Touch [$4.99]

$4.99!? Are you crazy!? Not at all. In fact, we may have lied a bit when we said that the apps listed here won't make your photos awesome because this is the official mobile device version of the real Photoshop. This one is worth the price, even if it is a little limited compared to the desktop version.

Facetune [$2.99]

Did you just have a birthday? Congrats! Oh, what, you're obsessed with how you look in pictures because you're getting older? Problem solved. This app allows you to remove unwanted freckles, blemishes, hid bags under eyes, whiten teeth, and so on. Have no fear, it will be your 25th birthday in pictures from here on out!

SnappyCam Pro [$0.99]

The most useful feature, and the biggest selling point, for this app is the burst photo feature. No longer will you miss that amazing, life-changing, perfect photo. You can now snap MANY photos of a scene to ensure you got that magical picture.

Sktchy [Free]

This is an app that offers a slightly different user draw. Sktchy allows you to browse its worldwide user network of people that uploaded photos of themselves. But, why, you ask? To then sketch that portrait of the person, of course! That's right, this is an app that allows you to connect to people all over our interconnected world and create art using their likeness.

PicLab HD [$1.99]

Have you browsed your Instagram or facebook feed recently and noticed pictures that have pretty fonts and cool clipart slapped onto them? How did they do that, right!? Don't worry, you don't have to be some kind of graphic designer to make it happen. Just download this app and start adding all the inspirational quotes and cool dog footprint clipart your heart desires.

Photochop [$0.99]

Maybe you're one of the people that thinks all of these super-groomed and photoshopped photos are too darn perfect. If you are, you may get a kick out of this app, which allows you to mashup and skew your photos into creepily awesome distorted versions of the same photo.

FxCamera [Free]

So this app is not new, and they haven't really done anything drastic to update this one. However, this app has been branded as the camera app that will make you creative. Another feature, and the reason this app made our list, is the ability to add a voice message at the same time you are taking photos using the "Voice Picture" feature. It's pretty neat.

Camera360 [Free]

Do you hate seeing ads all over your apps and popping up as you try to get something done in an app? We do, too. This app boasts a ton of features that you'll find in paid camera apps, as well as the added (priceless) benefit of no ads pushing products or paid services on you while you use the free app. Check it out.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Apple Rules the Day...

01/21/2014
Jan 21, 2014

Based on a study done by the research firm NPD (recently cited in another market share article), Apple grew its share of the smartphone market by seven percent from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. Interestingly, Apple's market share in other regions outside of the US is remarkably low. For instance, for the European and Chinese markets Apple only holds a 15-20% share of the mobile device market. Somewhat surprisingly still, is that in Spain Apple barely even registers in the market because of how small the Apple market is there. Anyway, back to the market in which we consume electronics, the United States. During the same period of time that Apple grew its share by seven percent, Samsung also grew its share in the mobile device market. Samsung, however, only grew its share by four percent, from 22% to 26%.

01-21-1.jpg

What does this ultimately equate to regarding the overall market share of each company? According to NPD's data, Apple holds the largest market share at roughly 41.2% to Samsung's 26.0%. Recent trends studied by Asymco's Horace Dediu indicate that Apple will peak at a 68% market share in the year 2017, the same year in which the United States will hit a 90% smartphone saturation of the population. This is an intriguing point because while Apple has enjoyed steady market growth over the years, Android has seen significant growth (relative to its market share, of course). Perhaps we have an Android vs. Apple vs. Samsung super battle looming? An interesting note regarding how NPD collects this information is that the surveys track the user base that is installed on the smartphones included in the data, rather than smartphone sales. In other words, NPD uses the number of smartphones using iOS vs. Android vs. Samsung, etc. user software rather than simply tracking which phones sell more.


12.9" iPad Pro?

01/21/2014
Jan 21, 2014

Yes, you read the headline correctly, this article is about the [rumored] release of an "iPad Pro" in late 2014. Of course, take these media reports with a grain of salt since they are merely reports. Nonetheless, the idea of a new iPad that has a 12.9-inch screen, Retina display, resolution of 2732 x 2048 and 265 ppi is pretty exciting... if you're into tablets, of course. As you can see, the 12.9-inch iteration of the iPad would be significantly larger than the iPad Mini and iPad Air pictured above next to the mock-up of an iPad Pro. Potentially more intriguing are the rumors about why Apple would be releasing the iPad Pro in late Q3 of 2014: to challenge the reported Samsung tablets being released roughly the same time that are 12.2-inch in size. Now, if you're an Apple supporter, or even pay attention to the Apple business model, you know better than this, right? Apple never rushes its production to compete with industry competitors. Apple takes its time and creates the product it planned to create and continues development until that product is perfect. Well, that is traditionally Apple's business model. Is Apple taking a left turn and starting to fall into the competition it faces in the mobile device market? Maybe. There are several reports out there that Apple is accelerating development on this iPad Pro device. Couple that rumor with some of the part leaks and other evidence of the timeline for Apple's release of an iPad Pro, and it appears that left turn is in process.

01-21-1.jpg

Interestingly, other rumors point to the release of a 7.9-inch and 9.7-inch iPad during 2014, as well. These would replace the current Retina iPad and the iPad mini. Given the fact that Apple has been selling 80-90 million iPads annually, don't be too surprised by a whole line of new iPad models. Or, in true Apple fashion, none of these will come to be and we'll be blindsided by some other incredible Apple iPad innovation (fingers crossed)!


Stream Your Mobile Mail!

01/16/2014
Jan 16, 2014

Not a huge fan of the native mail app on your iOS device? It's okay, most people aren't either. Enter Evomail+ for the iPhone, a simple and fluid mail experience that many find to be the mail app of the future (or the present?). The reason this app is gaining so much momentum and is apparently so beloved by its users is due to two things: 1) the updates to the app are based largely on user feedback; and 2) a unique feature utilizing a single button within the app that evolves to offer you options that are specific to what you are doing in the app, at that moment.

The "One Button" feature, as seen above in the app screenshots, is an ever-present button that adapts to fit the context with which you are working while in the app. What does that mean? It means it can be a button to compose an email, to go back to the previous menu, to copy text, whatever your needs are at that time (that's the idea, at least). Another great feature of Evomail+ is the ability to archive or delete a piece of mail simply by swiping one direction or the other within the app. This is a much more difficult (read: cumbersome) task in the native mail app. This coupled with the more conversation based approach in this app makes for a more personalized and much more fluid user interface.
01-16-3.jpg


Which iPhone Do You Have?

01/16/2014
Jan 16, 2014

If we're going off of the market share statistics, it's likely you have an iPhone 5S, which had a 59% share of the iPhone sales in the last quarter. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP), the 5S took the 59% share, the 5C only 27% of the iPhone market, and 4S with just 14% of the share. Granted, this study was based on a very small sample of Apple customers (only 500, reportedly), but the release of Apple's final 2013 quarter numbers later this month will elaborate on these findings. CIRP's results back in 2012 were pretty darn accurate, so we expect this representation of the market share to be relatively accurate. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that everything Apple will be releasing is going to be geared toward the 5S, of course. We think everyone can get away with having a regular old iPhone 5, but if you want to be one of the cool kids you might want to go get yourself an iPhone 5S.

Get Your News Here!

01/08/2014
Jan 08, 2014

Well, get your news on an app from your iOS 7 device, actually. We've compiled the best news apps out there right now and provided the important deets below. This list includes traditional news apps and RSS feed apps alike, check it!

Reeder 2 - $4.99


This is a great app because it is not only fully customizable, but it has a very simple interface that makes it easy to use. Whether you're a seasoned vet in the RSS world, or you still have no idea what RSS feeds are and how they work, you will have no trouble navigating Reeder 2. In fact, for those professional RSS people, Reeder 2 offers many options to adjust settings so it'll be just right. Both manual adding of feeds as well as syncing are available.

Feedly - Free


Clever name, right? Feedly is also a service with which you can have an account to receive the news you're seeking, but you don't need the account to use this app. The benefit of utilizing a Feedly account is that your news stories and feeds will sync across your devices with an RSS feed app. The main benefit to this app, which is not very customizable, is the potential for discovering new content through Feedly. And, of course, the clever name.

Feed Wrangler - Free




For this particular app, you will want to be a Feed Wrangler subscriber. If you are, and you download this app, you will benefit from an incredibly simplistic app that allows your feeds to be the focus, not the interface. The app supports Smart Streams and full article views alike. Not to mention, this app seems to offer the quickest syncing of feeds of all the apps listed here!

lire - $.499




The second paid app on our list, lire offers something that some people would die without - the app loads full article views and that means no more appending articles! Some of you are saying, "who cares?" Trust us, there are some out there with pet peeves about the appending of articles and it drives them CRAZY... we here at iDrop News get it. Another cool feature of lire is the ability to automatically send articles and eBooks to your Amazon Kindle. While having articles that are not truncated is super cool, and integrating with your Kindle is also very neat, this app only offers manual adding of RSS feeds. If you can take the trade offs here, this is a solid app for the price tag!

Faast - Free




This may be the best app featured today, hence its place as the last app featured today. This app goes far beyond the standard news article viewing or RSS feed subscriptions. In fact, Faast allows you to sync your Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts to provide you with a complete notification center that also alerts you when news stories you've subscribed to are available. If you have one of those new fancy Pebble smart watches, you can even have real time notifications set up on the watch from Faast. This is where it's at if you want a one stop shop notification center and news reader!

Scavenger Hunt!

01/06/2014
Jan 06, 2014

If you were not aware, CES 2014 is nearing and always proves to be one of the coolest tech exhibitions every year. This year, for the first time, Apple's iBeacon feature is being utilized for both iOS and Android devices. For what you ask? Why, for a scavenger hunt at the expo, of course! Still confused? Read on: A little background on what the iBeacon feature is may be helpful. Essentially, iBeacon sends short range transmitters that notify mobile devices when the device comes within 100 feet of any beacon. This is obviously of great application moving forward for things like indoor navigation, automatic ticketing, and even location-dependent advertising and promotion. iBeacon also works on low-energy Bluetooth, created by Radius Networks who partnered with the Consumer Electronics Association to create this scavenger hunt for CES 2014. Since we're on the topic of iBeacon and potential applications for the feature, we're going to lay out the possibilities we here at iDrop News are excited about. First, the ability to connect digital information and digital media to your physical surroundings is innovative and exciting. This is in the same vein of the currently popular "augmented reality" trend. And, if you ask us, reminiscent of that movie Minority Report.

Second, seamless integration of ALL devices. The iBeacon technology basically gives your mobile device real world awareness of the beacons and devices in your physical surroundings. This affords the ability to allow your mobile device to automatically send information and settings to other devices without having to manually do so and waste time with the set up. Instead, you walk into a room and your enabled television is automatically connected to your iOS mobile device, synced, and ready to use with all of your settings and information. Again, we're picturing Minority Report and future scenes in our heads.

Third, the retailers out there are already salivating and even instituting use of iBeacon for their shoppers. The idea is that iBeacons will be set up inside retail locations allowing a shopper to receive an alert about a sale on items they are standing near in the store. Excitingor annoying? Time will tell. The even cooler application for retailers, however, is the ability to checkout and pay for a good without dealing with a register or a person at all. Think Uber, but for your shopping. Lastly, iBeacon application in the real world can create a new way for your phone to position itself without using GPS and draining your battery while pinging satellites. In other words, your phone can use the iBeacons all around it to know where it is and how to give you directions " instead of using satellites to accomplish this. What's very crazy is that all newer iPhones and Androids can function as iBeacons themselvesthis can mean anything from in the club hook up apps to games you can challenge people to while you both wait for your flight. The future brings endless[ly creepy] possibilities, people!

Archos Devices Meet iOS

01/03/2014
Jan 03, 2014
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If you aren't familiar with the electronics maker Archos, you will be in 2014. Archos recently announced that it is branching out from making Android mobile devices and tablets, and will be releasing a whole bunch of iOS compatible devices. One cool aspect about all the products Archos is making for iOS devices is that they will connect via Bluetooth Low Energy (yes, low energy = battery saving). The devices have been broken down into two categories: Connected Self and Connected Home. We'll cover both in this article, so read on!

Connected Self

One of the devices Archos will release is in line with the popular "wearable" device trend right now and is a smart watch / fitness tracker. Archos stated that the watch will be of a "pebble-like design," which is another smart watch competitor out there. Surprisingly, the price tags that these Archos watches will start at only come in at around $50 each, noticeably cheaper than the vast majority of smart watches currently available. Also from Archos, connected scales and blood pressure monitors. These can/will all work together via the Connected Self App for iOS that Archos calls the "backbone" for all connected-self devices. The Blood Pressure Monitor, for example, will keep track of your blood pressure and heart rate readings over time. This is a cool innovation for monitoring your health via connected devices. The Blood Pressure Monitor automatically updates readings to the iOS app over Bluetooth, so no fussing with the monitor and the app necessary! The Connected Scale is also an innovative design and product in the connected-device industry. The Scale also updates over Bluetooth, allowing you to track your weight and your family members' weights, which can be segregated on the app. The Scale also allows you to enter your body measurements via the iOS app, thus allowing the Scale to calculate your Body Mass Index also. Overall, these Connected Self devices are a pretty affordable and cool step in the direction of automating health monitoring via iOS and mobile devices! The Connected Home devices (below) take it to a whole different level:
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Connected Home

Unlike the devices already discussed here, the Connected Home devices are utilized through a different iOS app, called Archos Connected Home. Of particular note is the Smart Home Cameras that are said to be the size of a ping pong ball and due to the Low Energy Bluetooth, have a very long battery life span. It's up to you, however, how you want to use the cameras....whether that be for spying on the nanny or just keeping tabs on the little ones. The Motion Ball that is set to be released by Archos is another device that monitors the going-ons in your home, but by tracking any movement on windows and/or doors. Simply place the movement tracker on the window or door you wish to monitor, and when there is movement you are alerted via the Archos Connected Home app! One of the products being release by Archos that has potential for tremendously varied use is the Smart Plug. The Smart Plug essentially allows you to control anything you plug into a wall outlet through the Smart Plug. Not only does the Plug track energy usage of the plugged in appliance (lamp, refrigerator, etc.), but it also allows you to shut it off or turn it on from anywhere via the Archos app. Lastly, the Weather Station device from Archos will provide indoor climate information, as well as outdoor. As you can see from the devices discussed in this article, Archos is really taking aim at automating and controlling all aspects of a connected home. Not only can you monitor everything happening in your home, but you can control it as well. Maybe an automated home leaves more time to exercise and use the Archos Connected Self devices? We'll let you be the judge!

Apple Gift Ideas: Part II

12/20/2013
Dec 20, 2013

Time for the second installment of our gift ideas series! We know you've been eagerly awaiting this article so you know what to buy your friends and family, so, here it goes:

Nike+ FuelBand SE

You may be familiar with this little piece of wearable technology from our previous articles, but it's worth a second look during this giving season. Working in conjunction with a free app for your mobile device, the Nike+ FuelBand SE not only keeps you active by setting daily goals, but keeps you motivated to stay active by offering the ability to create challenges with your friends. Not to mention, it's a pretty slick looking band for your wrist that won't leave you looking like one of the early Power Rangers. Price Tag: $149.95.

Mophie Juice Pack(s)

If you aren't familiar with Mophie and their charging cases for your iPhone, get with the program. Seriously, these are the beesknees when it comes to the current selection of charging cases out there. Mophie offers three models for the different 5 series iPhones, including a "Plus" version (most charging capacity), a "Helium" model that is essentially the base model (thicker, less charge), and our personal favorite the "Air" model (almost as much charge as the Plus, but thinner). All of these cases, except for the Helium, have button overlays and the ability to simply press a button on the back and begin charging your phone. Also, the case charges both your phone and the case itself when plugged into a Micro USB. It might be time to give up that purple polka dotted case and step up to the big leagues. Price Tag: $79.95 - $119.95.


Beats by Dr. Dre

If you haven't been living under a rock for the last 1-2 years, you've seen the rise of Beats by none other than the beat grandfather Dr. Dre. The firs models of his new headphone line were the over the head type, which have recently branched out into being wireless. In addition to the over the head sets, the Beats line recently added in-ear headphones called the Powerbeats. These boast an over the ear piece that helps keep the buds in your ear and, of course, the crazy beat pumping sound of Dr. Dre's Beats. The Beats line run from $149.95 up and beyond $299.95 depending on the model.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Apple Gift Ideas: Part I

12/18/2013
Dec 18, 2013

If you're like all of us here at iDrop News, the holidays were very sneaky this year and all of a sudden it's time to buy gifts! Don't worry, we've got you covered with some of the top gifts from Apple or that work with your Apple devices. Check it out!

Apple TV

Not only does Apple TV boast the ability to display content from your iOS mobile device of Mac on your home television, but it also gives you the power to access tons of 1080p HD content (movies, hit TV shows, sports, etc). As the Apple website puts it, "Now there's always something good on TV."

Anki Drive - Starter Kit

This little set up was covered in one of our recent articles, but warrants a second look here. Essentially this is the modern day track racing that was a beloved staple of many of our childhoods. Of course, the modern day part of this is the ability to drive the cars with your iOS device! And the fact that the cars come with their own personalities and drive according to profiles that develop as they race more. Pretty cool, if you ask us.

Nest Thermostat

I'm pretty excited about this particular gift. The Nest Learning Thermostat (2nd Generation) is an amazing device that utilizes some innovation and the desire to plan for our future. How does a thermostat do that, you ask? By becoming a smarter thermostat than those clunky analog devices on the walls in all of our older homes, that's how. This device does a number of relatively futuristic things, including: Auto-scheduling, auto-away for when you leave and it knows to automatically shut off, remote access via your mobile device to set temperatures from anywhere, energy reports on your usage and statistics, and it's easily installed! Trust us when we say this one is worth checking out, even at the hefty price tag. We know that's only a measly three gift ideas (hey! Beggars can't be choosers!), but if we gave you EVERY awesome gift in one article why would you read our next article? That's right, we'll be doing a few more gift idea articles! So if these gifts didn't necessarily float your boat, keep coming back to get a few more ideas before the holidays are over!

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Games: The Easy & Fun Variety

12/17/2013
Dec 17, 2013

This article isn't about the type of game that requires you to lock yourself in a dark room and shut out the world for hours, or even days on end. No, this list of games is here for those that like to download a free game and play it at their leisure. In fact, these games award you just for starting the game! If you're into casual gameplay and fun little adventures that don't require intense focus, read on!

Battle Nations

This game offers up pretty hilarious dialogue as well as pretty fun animations and graphics. It's basically your typical military campaign type battle game, but does offer the ability to play player vs. player combat with your friends. However, we would recommend diving into the single player mode for a little while and building up your prowess first. Pretty awesomely, in fact, the game produces the resources you need to collect to move on while you aren't playing, forcing you to check in every so often. Check it out now, it's free!

Clash of Clans

Next up is the Clash of Clans, which is surprisingly engaging colony and battle game. There are single player options, but the main gameplay is found by joining colonies, raiding other colonies, mining for resources, building up the colonies, and of course, battling other online users. Yes, that's right, online gameplay allows you to find and pillage the colonies other users have built! Get started building your empire now, this one is also free!

Galaxy on Fire: Alliances

Amongst the games we are presenting to you in this article, this one possesses arguably the best graphics, especially for a casual game. You start out by building up and developing your home race's planet (you can choose from three races / species). After you've got your home base built up adequately, you venture out into the vastness of space to scour for resources, bring those resources back to your bases, train soldiers and then go conquer! Another free game worth checking out, especially if you dig space and cool graphics.

Hay Day

Do you miss the days of getting up when the rooster crows and plowing the fields before feeding the livestock? Oh, you're from California and don't know what farming is? Okay, well here's your chance to get a taste of the farming life, albeit virtually. Hay Day offers a full farm simulator, complete with raising livestock, harvesting, and even selling your farmed goods! Think The Sims, but for farming... The Farms would be a better name we think. Check it out for free right now!

Pixel People

Speaking of The Sims, Pixel People is basically a mix between that old classic, the real estate profession, futuristic cloning, and talent management. What? Yea, sounds confusing and slightly boring but it is actually a fun game where you clone people for their skills, build workplaces for them, and watch as the society you built in this strange future thrives (or collapses)! Make sure you're planning your next building project prudently, otherwise be prepared to see your city collapse!

The Simpsons: Tapped Out

Do you like donuts? Well this game's currency is, in fact, donuts! This is just one of the many fitting characteristics of this Simpsons themed game. The gist is that you get to build and maintain your very own Springfield, complete with going on missions for the various beloved characters from the long time running show. The reason you are building Springfield, of course, is because Homer was playing on his iPad and the nuclear plant blew up! So Homer must rebuild his hometown with your help and find all of its lost inhabitants! And don't worry, you'll find several laughs during your gameplay afforded by the witty humor of the characters. It's just like you're watching the show! Or, maybe even directing it? Check it out.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

How To: Everything Siri

12/09/2013
Dec 09, 2013

Remember the days BEFORE Siri existed? If you don't, you aren't the only one. In fact, many people have become so accustomed to Siri that it seems like she (it?) has been around since the birth of the iPhone. If, on the other hand, you are one of those people out there that still doesn't really know what Siri is good for, or just can't figure out how to get Siri to work for you, check out these tips on the omniscient Siri:

Siri Can Change Your Settings For You

If you're like us, you like shortcuts. One of the great new features of iOS 7 is of course the Control Center, wherein you can toggle your settings like Bluetooth, Wireless, Airplane Mode, turn on the flashlight, etc. But if you want things to be even easier, you can tell Siri to do all of those things for you! Yes, you read that correctly, Siri can be your personal settings assistant and it's surprisingly simple. Cue Siri up and say commands like "Turn on Wireless," or "Turn on Bluetooth." Poof, Siri does it for you. No more tiring out those fingers of yours by swiping up the Control Center and toggling switches, it's exhausting, we know.

The Name "Zach" is not Pronounced "Sack" or "Sash"

Have you noticed that Siri does a pretty good job pronouncing names, but encounters the occasional name that Siri just absolutely destroys? We have, too. And apparently Apple noticed this problem since they have included with iOS 7 a new Siri feature where you can teach her how to pronounce names correctly. Simply cue up Siri and say "pronounce ____[insert name here]___." You then follow the prompts that Siri gives you to assist in the correct pronunciation. Siri will identify the contact you are referring to, then ask you to pronounce the name correctly, then give you options of how it will be saved for future pronunciation. Once you select and save a pronunciation, you will no longer have to say Sash when you're trying to call your friend Zach (personally, we blame the parents for giving someone a name with 'ch' in it, right?).

Too Lazy to Tweet

Are those fingers of yours tired from excessive tweeting or tweet scrolling? Have no fear, Siri can handle your Twitter needs with impressive functionality in iOS 7. You can ask Siri to check a specific Twitter User's tweets by saying "What's ____[insert user name]__ saying?" and can also search all of the Twitterverse for a specific hashtag by asking Siri "Search Twitter for hash tag __[insert hash tag]__."

Read to Me, Siri

Okay, so maybe your fingers aren't tired of scrolling and typing, but your eyes ARE tired of reading. No problem, you have Siri to whisper sweet nothings to you, err, we mean read your emails back to you! That's right, you can prompt Siri to "Read my email." With this command, Siri will read to you the sender's name, the date/time of the email, and the subject line. You can use Siri to also read "my latest email" or even ask "do I have email from ___[insert contact name]__," if you are waiting for a specific person to shoot you an email. To have Siri read the full message, just tell Siri "Read the third one," or second, or first result on the list of emails displayed.

Stop Bossing Me Around, Siri

We here at iDrop News frequently use our Apple Maps GPS Navigation to get around (how the heck did people get around before GPS!?), but often times we reach a part of the route that is familiar to us and we no longer need the GPS. Instead of looking away from the road and becoming distracted by trying to turn off the GPS Navigation, you can now tell Siri to "cancel navigation." Ta-da! Siri will stop your navigation for you, no distracting finger swipes needed.

Let There be Music

Want to fire up some jams? Feeling like something in particular? Don't worry, Siri has your back on the tunes. Just tell Siri to "Play iTunes Radio ____[insert artist here]__," and Siri will bring up the iTunes Radio station based on the artist you request!

Say My Name

One last quick tip for you Siri lovers out there. You can change your name in your contacts to whatever you would like Siri to call you! Or you can simply tell Siri to call you something specific, such as Big Dog, or even Big Daddy Ginger Snaps (whichever you prefer, of course).

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Facial Detection vs. Recognition

12/6/2013
Dec 6, 2013

Apple was just awarded yet another patent (No. 8,600,120) for facial identification and recognition technology....Cue thoughts of Tom Cruise in Minority Report and flashes of The Jetsons. As with the many other recently acquired patents for Apple, no one is quite sure when or even if, the new technology will be incorporated into mobile devices soon, but there certainly are some exciting possibilities for this particular patent. It may help to start this article with the distinction between facial detection and recognition. It may seem like the two are the same, but in fact the two are separate steps of what we think of as one function. Apple's new patent includes technology for detecting a face, and additional technology for then recognizing that face (there is also another piece in the patent that allows the recognition to trigger functions, more on that below). Essentially, what Apple patented is the ability to first detect that a face is present in a given field of view for the camera. This might be related to Apple's recent acquisition of Primesense, which is the company that developed the Xbox Kinect technology. Once your mobile device detects a face looking at its screen, it then pulls information from a stored database of facial features to recognize (or not) that face. You may be thinking, hey that already exists on some of the Apple competitor smartphones! Well, yes, you are right. But as Apple typically does, we expect Apple to take that technology and with this patent, perfect that technology. For instance, this patent states that the technology takes a variety of features into account when recognizing faces, including the relationship between your facial features and identification of your facial feature and structure like skin tone, shape, and skin texture. The last part of the patent is a unique algorithm that uses all of the data, features, and facial structure information to further refine and "learn" the user's face. Pretty futuristic, if you ask us.

Applications of Facial Recognition

What's the point? The idea behind this new patent, at least what is rumored thus far, is to allow recognition of your face to automatically perform, or cease, certain operations on your mobile device or computer. For example, if your mobile device rings and it isn't your face staring at it, the phone could withhold the caller information and the ability to answer the call. This means that the only time you would see the standard answer call screen is if, and only if, your face is the face in front of the mobile device when the call comes in. Another application of the recognition feature, for computers, would be to disable any screen saver or sleep functions as long as your face is within the field of detection. This is a cool feature for those that read on their computer or tablet and have to tap or click occasionally to stop the sleep or dimmer functions. This is also a useful technology for those that want to hide the messages that pop up in their lock screen since the content of the messages would only be displayed when the user's face is detected and recognized. 12-2-2.jpg

iPhone 6 Facial Recognition?

Again, and as we did in our last article, pump the brakes. Facial recognition is gaining some momentum in the electronic industry, sure, but we don't know how soon it'll be incorporated into Apple's devices. For now, lump this into the category of "rumored features of iPhone xyz." 12-2-2.jpg

// [Author: Scott Howard]

What Does Plenoptic Mean?

12/2/2013
Dec 2, 2013

Plenoptic is essentially a type of camera that stores extra information related to the light-field in which you are taking a picture. Still unclear? We are too. The easiest way to think about a Plenoptic Camera (also known as a Light-Field Camera) is to imagine taking a picture with your mobile device's camera and then trying to refocus the picture AFTER it is taken. If you're thinking, "hey, I can't do that though!?" - you're right. Enter the Plenoptic Camera, which stores additional 4D light field information, thus allowing you to refocus a picture after it was originally taken. Why are we telling you about some futuristic camera that sounds too technical to operate? Because Apple was recently awarded yet another patent and it was for one of these techno-gizmo cameras we are talking about. But why do you care, you ask? Because it will take your mobile iOS device camera from pretty great to game-changing photography level status, that's why.
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Microlens Array Technology

The key to this advancement in camera tech is the microlens array that is included in plenoptic cameras. The microlens array can be used to create low resolution images that can be refocused later. Specifically, the microlens array captures the ENTIRE field of light around the camera, not just the field of light you focused your camera on (this is the 4D light-field information we confused you with above). When you wish to re-focus your photograph later, the mircolenses are used to break up that entire field of light and create a focused image as you decide. Check out this technical image from Apple's patent application for a visual representation of this microlens array. The first consumer plenoptic camera that we saw hit the shelves was the Lytro Light Field Camera (it was very unenthusiastically received by the public). When it was released, however, it is rumored that Steve Jobs himself called the founder of Lytro to explore possible joint projects between the two companies. This further prompted rumors that Apple was to acquire Lytro - none of these things ever materialized. This patent, on the other hand, was filed only months after the rumored conversation with Steve took place and was finally just awarded to Apple. 11-19-3.jpg

Light-Field Camera on the next iPhone?

Pump the brakes. We didn't say this was going to be standard issue from here on out, but it is a possible addition to upcoming models of the beloved iPhone. The problem is that the initial release of the Lytro model was far from encouraging. This means that Apple could perfect and then release this technology as it does so often with other pieces of tech. Or, it could just be another notch on the bed post for Apple, which appears to be collecting patents left and right. Stay tuned to find out! 12-2-2.jpg

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Apple Store... App!

11/26/2013
Nov 26, 2013

Yes, we know that there is already an Apple Store App for your iPhone. No, this isn't an article discussing the iPhone App. Why? Because the iPad version released this week is by far one of the best shopping apps out there, and is catered to the iPad. This means that not only is it very well designed as far as apps go, but it is so customized to the iPad that it almost presents an entirely new shopping experience and interface.
As you can see, the design is very clean and fits well with the new and sleek iOS 7. The interface seems very minimalist, but does not lack functionality (Apple nailed it with this design). You can see the toolbar at the top of the app, much like the toolbar at the top of the Apple homepage online. This app toolbar allows you to navigate quickly and easily between the different products that Apple retails, as well as allowing you to identify and select the nearest Apple Store (the brick and mortar kind, not the one you're looking at on your iPad).

Once you figure out where you are (hopefully you didn't need the map for this), you can select your closest store to get directions, hours, and to sign up for the classes and workshops offered at that location.
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Okay, so maybe you just want to shop from your iPad, and we don't blame you for shopping comfortably from your couch in your PJs. The Apple Store App is great for shopping and can really eliminate going to the physical store altogether. The app allows you to browse many products and even filter your search to narrow down the products you are selecting from.
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Once you've selected a product to view more information or pictures, the interface is pretty much perfect. You get large, detailed, and varied pictures to help you make your shopping decision.
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In addition, you can then bring up the menu for the item you are potentially about to purchase. The menu includes many useful pieces of information about the product, including reviews, questions and answers, tech specs, what comes in the box, your shipping options, and even the ability to change the color right there to see if another color would be more to your liking.
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So what does all of this talk about an amazing interface and great features mean? Why, it means you're going to empty your bank account on Apple products without being trampled during Black Friday! Duh. And let's be real here, you were going to drop a ton of cash on Apple products for your loved ones anyway, might as well do it with those zebra footie pajamas you've got on.
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// [Author: Scott Howard]

Do You Miss RC Toys? Try These iOS Remotes!

11/22/2013
Nov 22, 2013

If you're like we here at iDrop News, you loved your remote control cars, airplanes and helicopters growing up. Heck, I still remember my favorite helicopter flying away during my ill planned outing during a wind storm (it was never recovered). If you're looking to relive your childhood days of remote controlled vehicles or need a gift idea for the kids, check out these awesome toys that use your iPhone or iPad as the remote!

iLaunch Thunder

You know those missile turrets you see in all the war movies that shoot down the enemy aircraft? Do you think they're pretty awesome? Us too. And now there is a miniature version by Dream Cheeky that shoots foam darts and is controlled by your mobile device! This bad boy rotates approximately 270 degrees, can move up or down another 40 degrees, and launches those foam darts up to 25 feet! Yes, this is your co-workers worst nightmare. Plus, it runs on a rechargeable lithium battery so you'll never be lacking firepower again! The iLaunch Thunder retails for $50 - $60.

BattleTank

All riled up and in the mood to shoot missiles or other projectiles from reading about iLaunch Thunder? Us too, so we have a fun little BattleTank remote control to tell you about next. A company called Desk Pets makes this little gem and has been making similar mobile device controlled machines for quite some time. We think this is the one that puts them on the map. Not only do these little tanks have a battle mode where you can fight against other tanks, but they have a solo mode for exploring your desk (or your coworkers desk when they aren't around). The tanks include a flip down USB for charging purposes and are controlled with a free app you can download from the App Store. These gems come in with the cheapest price of all these toys at around $30 per tank.

Rover 2.0 Spy Tank

Now, this next remote controlled tank is a bit different than the toys we've discussed above. In fact, this one borders on NSA spy machine more than it does everyday toy. Don't be scared. This one operates over whatever Wi-Fi network is present, rather than Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it only works over Wi-Fi and can only be used when you have a Wi-Fi network up. If you can get passed the Wi-Fi thing, you will love this remote control rover. Did we mention this thing has night vision, streams video that can be recorded and shared over social media (think: driving into your roommate's room and catching them sleeping with their favorite stuffed animal and blasting that on Facebook), and even has headlights! This thing really is the next best rover to those on Mars and it retails for only $119!

Mercedes-Benz

No, you can't control a Mercedes with your mobile device (not yet, at least). But yes, you can control a remote control Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG that looks pretty darn similar to the real thing (only smaller). If the Rover above is a little too aggressive, this is for you, especially if you're fancy. Silverlit is the company making these roadsters and they know what they're doing from what we can tell. For instance, take a look at the controls you get on your iPhone or iPad! This is in addition to the extremely detailed and exact replica of the car itself, including the "gull-wing" or "lambo" doors that even open up. This sweet ride retails for $100-$130.

Anki Drive

Okay, so these larger remote control rides might be too much for you, we get it. Or hey, you simply don't like the solo approach and want more racing or interaction. We got you. Check out this racing game / set of miniature race cars by Anki Drive. The unique feature on these little racers is that each vehicle has its own "personality," meaning they operate differently when they are on the offensive or the defensive. Yes, offense and defense means it's almost like MarioKart in a way. Additionally, these cars and their accompanying app learn about your habits and driving style and then adapt to it! Crazy, we know. If you want to get your hands on these beefed up micro machines, they run around $200.

Sphero 2.0

This one was new to us (and we are devastated that we didn't know about it sooner). It is not easy to describe so we recommend watching the YouTube video on it. But, here goes for a description: It's an LED disco ball that contains a powerful motor that propels the ball around many types of surfaces, does tricks, and pairs with tons of apps that augment reality. What? Just think of a remote controlled ball that lights up and does really cool things using your iOS device. This magical orb retails for roughly $129.

AR.Drone 2.0

Although this is last, it certainly is not least. In fact, I firmly believe that if I had been flying this beast around instead of my beloved childhood helicopter, I would not have tragically lost said helicopter. Anyway, the AR.Drone 2.0 in by far the most sophisticated remote control on this list. The Drone comes with carbon fiber parts, color customizable propellers, better stabilization and better motors than previous models. Additionally, this incredible flying machine boasts a 720p HD camera with a wide angle lens. With built-in storage capacity, this Drone can you be your go-to for spying, flying, and just simply robo-fying your iOS device (that last rhyme was a stretch, we know). This piece of electronics is priced a bit higher, but you can see, it is for good reason ($370 retail).

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Music For Your Ears

11/19/2013
Nov 19, 2013
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Pandora, iTunes Radio, Google Play, Spotify, oh my! By now, you've (hopefully) realized that there are many music streaming apps out for your iOS 7 mobile device. Obviously, Pandora is one of the mainstays and has been a player in the streaming radio space for some time now. With the release of the new iOS 7, we Apple user were also introduced to the iTunes Radio (thought by many to challenge Pandora). And for those of you with deeper pockets, there is Spotify, which offers a vast library of music to stream as well as a radio option (not as good as the others, in our humble opinion). But what about Google Play? Never heard of it, you say? Read on to find out what you're missing:

Official Google Play Music App

If you aren't familiar, Facebook has its app to browse the social media world it created and also has an app specifically for the messaging within Facebook. The app allows you to chat without opening the aforementioned Facebook app, and allows you to include photos, stickers, etc. With the update, the app now appears more streamlined to fit with the iOS 7 design and also allows you to message anyone in your phonebook, not just the people you are friends with on Facebook. Check it out (it's free)!
If you aren't at all familiar with this (traditionally Android based) app, let us give you a little context. Google Play is similar to Spotify in that it provides access to tracks from major music labels if you pay the monthly $9.99 subscription fee. What sets this particular music app apart, on the other hand, is that Google Play will upload your entire music library from your home (whether on your external hard drive, laptop, etc.) to the cloud. Once there, you have instant streaming access to ALL of your music, wherever you go (assuming you have an internet connection on your mobile device).
11-19-3.jpg Additionally, and similarly to Spotify, you can also set up radio stations with Google Play. And here's a little tip, there is no limit on the amount of skips you can make during your radio listening with Google Play! Yup, that means you can skip away to your heart's desire without being told that music rights limit how many skips you can make (awesome, we know). While this app was rumored to be released many, many weeks ago - it is finally here! And, bonus, if you are a new user you can have one month of the all access subscription (access to tracks like with Spotify) for free! Check it out in the App Store, where is available for free.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Latest iOS 7 Updates

11/15/2013
Nov 15, 2013
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We here at iDrop News, like anyone else, have apps we love. Of the apps we love, some are still in need of an iOS 7 revamp. Take a look at the latest apps to receive that much needed update:

Facebook Messenger

If you aren't familiar, Facebook has its app to browse the social media world it created and also has an app specifically for the messaging within Facebook. The app allows you to chat without opening the aforementioned Facebook app, and allows you to include photos, stickers, etc. With the update, the app now appears more streamlined to fit with the iOS 7 design and also allows you to message anyone in your phonebook, not just the people you are friends with on Facebook. Check it out (it's free)!

Day One Journaling

This is an app that was already phenomenal (award winning, in fact) and just got an iOS 7 update to put it over the top. Not only does the app look great with the new iOS 7 look, but the update added a few features as well. Included in these updates are a step counter to track movement, a background refresh to sync with other apps like Dropbox, and also tracks what music you are currently listening to so it can be linked up with your journaling (pretty sweet). For the new iPad Retina Displays, there is optimization built in for that, too. And lastly, if you have a shiny new iPhone with the M7 processor, the update to Day One allows your location and time to be linked to your journaling! All in all, this is a pretty comprehensive app for the low price of $4.99!
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Camera Plus

This is an app that we here at iDrop News loved, and then sadly, it seemed to be neglected by its developers and was not updated for a lengthy period of time. Apparently, however, iOS 7 gave those developers the push they needed to get this app back in the mix. The updated interface is not only iOS 7-ish, but it is much more intuitive and allows for great photo editing options. While the editing options are pretty standard and comparable to other camera / photo editing apps, the ability to change the focus while taking a picture is a great innovation. You can tap the plus sign next to the focus and choose between far modes, macro, and normal focus. If you aren't thrilled with the native camera app's focus settings, this one is for you. Another interesting feature that is included with this update is the ability to "lock" your photos from unwanted prying eyes. Yes, that's right, you can lock specific photos and prevent them from being viewed (we don't encourage selfies, but if you must, at least lock them out of sight). Here's to hoping the app will remain updated and continue to evolve and remain an awesome alternative to your native camera app. And hey, it's only $1.99!
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Native Apps

Included in this week's updates are a few tweaks to the native apps iTunes U and iBooks. Neither app has been significantly revamped, but both are now redesigned to fit better with the iOS 7 look and feel. This is huge news to people that dislike the whole "skeuomorphism" thing, and just ho hum to others that are indifferent. Check it out and see for yourself!

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

11/14/2013
Nov 14, 2013
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With another week comes more Apple rumors, naturally. Typically we do not post too many articles focused on rumors in an attempt to provide you with more tips and useful secrets instead. The rumors below; however, are rather exciting! Check it out!

Pressure Sensitivity

Remember that phone that came out a few years back and was expected to be the iPhone challenger? Oh, wait, there's been several dozen "iPhone Killers", our bad. We were referring to the Blackberry Storm that had a tactile touch screen. If you have no idea what we're talking about, it would be because that phone was largely an epic failure. In fact, it could be said that it was the beginning of the end for Blackberry. What does Apple do best? Apple waits, develops, and perfects the other products on the market. This has been true for decades now. Apple lets the other companies like Samsung, Blackberry, LG, etc. rush to release the hot and new technology. Then, Apple perfects that new technology and releases it a little later (see: iPhone after the Palm Pilot, iPads after tablet readers, etc.). So what is the newest perfecting that Apple is hard at work on? Pressure sensitive touch screens, of course! Apple was recently granted yet another patent, this one focusing on a "button" that can detect multiple levels of pressure. And by button, Apple means screens, according to a very subtle note in the patent application (U.S. Patent No. 8,581,870). Not only would this create functionality well beyond anything available right now, but it could additionally revolutionize mobile device battery life. The idea is that having a pressure sensitive screen allows the screen sensors to "sleep" or stay in low-battery mode until the threshold pressure is sensed, and then operate normally. This could save a large amount of battery life that is usually drained as a result of inadvertent touches to the screen of your mobile device.
11-14-2.jpg Additionally, a pressure sensitive screen provides drastically more functionality than your typically, multi-touch screen. For instance, the pressure sensitive screen could follow your gestures almost like a mouse, or like the Track Pad on a Macbook, and then allow you to perform more functions with a little more pressure. Think about using the first level or pressure to unlock your device and open the mail app, then pushing a little hard composes a new message and even more pressure sends it. Essentially, it would be like having a mouse on your touch screen device that mimics the Track Pad on your laptop.
11-14-3.jpg As of now, remember, this is just a patent that Apple was recently granted. We could see this technology implemented soon, or it could become folklore like an Apple Television has become. Then again, what if there are other rumors about a new type of iPhone that could potentially incorporate this new technology as early as Fall 2014...

Enter the Curved iPhone

Curved? Larger? Pressure-Sensitive? Say What!? According to a few reports out this week, Apple could be releasing an iPhone that is near the size of the current 5.7 inch Samsung Galaxy Note and could include a curved glass screen. We'll admit, there have been rumors of curved glass screens on mobile devices dating back many years, and we are still skeptical. Additionally, we are still skeptical of what value or utility a curved screen would bring.
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As you can see, we are not entirely excited about the prospect of a new curved iPhone. However, the rumors of this potentially new iPhone model also include the swirling rumors of the new pressure sensitive touch screen discussed above. We are pretty excited about the pressure sensitive touch screen, and are intrigued by the idea of it being release as early as Fall 2014. As for the curved design, we'll reserve judgment until it actually exists.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Filter, Be Gone!

11/11/2013
Nov 11, 2013
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With the iOS 7 upgrade we were (finally) given the ability to add filters to our photos by simply applying them in the camera. The feature has been called for by Instagram users for some time now, and it actually works pretty well with the new camera functionality. What happens when you forget to remove a filter (iOS 7 does not automatically remove the filter setting after taking a photo or exiting the camera app) or simply get sick of the way that filter looks on your beloved photo? Read on to find out how to remove filters from photos on iOS 7.

Step One

Open up your photos app on your mobile iOS 7 device and select the photo you want to remove a filter from, and then tap Edit (top right corner). 11-11-2.jpg

Step Two

After tapping Edit, you will be presented with a tool bar at the bottom of your photo with a few options (See how to crop in our previous article), including the filter option that looks like three little circles (a venn diagram, if you will). Tap the little venn diagram. 11-11-3.jpg

Step Three

After you tap the little filter button you'll see all the filter options that you originally viewed and selected to set the filter in the first place. Simply scroll all the way back to the left and select None. 11-11-3.jpg

Step Four

Click Save. Then enjoy your photo in all of its filterless glory.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

iOS 7 Secrets and Shortcuts

11/07/2013
Nov 07, 2013
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We did a small article on the little known tips and tricks when iOS 7 was first released. Think of this as the redux version, but more robust (you're welcome). Check it out:

Failed Passcode Erases Data

Do you live in constant fear of someone getting a hold of your mobile device, somehow bypassing the Passcode Lock, and having access to all of your information stored on the device? Well, most of us do. One way to prevent this is to enable the Erase Data function when the Passcode is failed 10 times. Yes, that is correct; if the Passcode Lock is failed 10 times your phone will wipe and leave no data for the perpetrator to find! Be careful with this one, you don't want to forget your passcode.

Block Em

Have you ever wanted/needed to block someone from calling or messaging you but didn't want to deal with contacting your service provider to accomplish the task? Maybe you should stop hanging out with such shady characters! Just kidding, we all have people that need blocking from time to time and Apple finally took steps to allow you to block directly from your device! Go to Settings > Phone and/or Settings > Messages and then tap the Blocked section located toward the bottom. Simply add the contacts you want blocked and that should do it! Of course, they will probably still harass you on Facebook or elsewhere.

"Read" before Reading

Have a bunch of unread emails that you don't want to sort through individually? There's an app for that. Well, not really, but there is a function now that allows you to mark ALL of your emails as read at once. Tap the "Mark All" button at the bottom of your screen and select Mark as Read - good to go!

Use WiFi to Call

Remember how FaceTime uses wireless internet and not your minutes? Well now you can call someone using FaceTime, but only audio. Yes, that means you can make a basic call using WiFi under the guise of FaceTime but not use any of your minutes for that call. This is a small innovation, but one that has a lot of utility for those that burn through their minutes on a regular basis!

Auto-Join

Want your phone to automatically join WiFi networks you trust? We certainly do, and you can make this happen with iOS 7. Now, when you come into the trusted WiFi network, your iOS 7 mobile device will automatically join without asking and without you doing anything.

When Did I Text Them?

Need to know how long ago you texted someone that you were on the way? Especially since you weren't on the way and still haven't left? Yea, we do that too. Now you can swipe from right to left in your message conversation and it will display the timestamps of all the messages. This is great for calling out people who are late!

Crooked Pictures

How many Level apps have you downloaded to help you hang things in your home? Too many we would wager. Now you can bypass the third party level apps taking up space on your device and simply use the built in Compass App! Just swipe to the often overlooked second page of the compass and there you have a fully functional and pretty useful level. You're welcome home improvement enthusiasts.

Traffic Tickets

Have you fallen victim to using the Maps App while driving at night and due to the screen being brighter than the sun itself gotten a ticket for using your phone while driving? Many people have. Apple decided to make Maps dim and invert colors while driving at night to avoid this problem. An example of another small, but ingenious, innovation.

Hands-Free Call Backs

Let Siri do the work. If you missed a call and want to return that call quickly and without fumbling around with the phone app, simply tell Siri! Just fire up Siri and make the request to return last missed call. You can even have Siri play your voicemails for you, among other things.

Say My Name

Siri is terrible with names. Now, however, she can be taught to learn the correct pronunciations. Fire up Siri and tell her "That's not how you pronounce _______." From there, Siri will walk you through her learning the correct pronunciation. No longer will names be butchered by your mobile device.

Snap a Photograph

We all know the story of asking someone to take a picture of you and your friends/family and the person just can't seem to take a good picture because they have to distort their hand to hit that little button on the screen. Or, maybe you just can't seem to get the hang of that dang button. Either way, Apple heard us and upgraded your camera's functionality (hooray!). You can now take pictures with one hand and don't need to mess with the onscreen button! How, you ask? You can now push the + volume button on the side of your device and it will snap that photo. Another, lesser known feature, is that you can use the same + button on your headphones (or any Bluetooth device) to snap a photo - this is great for using a tripod or other camera mount.

Edit Photographs

After you've mastered the one-handed picture taking, you can step your game up to actually editing your photos! Don't be scared, it's pretty straightforward. When you are viewing an image in your library, simply tap the Edit button in the top right and you will be presented with a few options on the bottom menu bar. Included in your options is a red-eye reducer and a crop function. The crop function is great for tailoring those screen shots that include this or that.

Acronyms

Do you frequently use phrases and even sometimes abbreviate them? This tip is a good one to check out! Go to Settings > General > Keyboard and select Add New Shortcut Here you just type in what shortcut you want your phone to automatically correct! Behold, the only way to use autocorrect to your advantage! For instance, you can type "get with the program" into the phrase field and "GWTP" into the shortcut field, and every time you type GWTP after that, it will instantly be corrected to the full phrase of get with the program.

Emoji

If you don't know about Emoji, you need to. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard and add the "Emoji Keyboard." You are now able to use roughly 100 awesome smileys and symbols. It can be addicting, so don't say we didn't warn you.

Location Based Reminders

One of the unique updates to the Reminder app that is native to your iOS device is that of location based reminders. You can set up a reminder in the app, and under the edit function, can set it up for an alarm at a certain time OR at a certain location (you will need your location services to be functional when you expect the alarm). This is pretty cool for things you need to remember when walking into the office or home and being distracted by whatever is going on when you arrive!

iCloud

Do you store a tremendous amount of information and backup data on your iCloud? If you're like us, you do, and you are running out of room. Not many people know that you can not only alter your storage and backup settings, but you can also order more storage space! Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. Once there, you can select different plans with greater storage or you can just de-select certain apps to lessen the amount of data you are backing up. Sadly, the pricing is pretty high if you want more space, so we would recommend altering your storage settings first and ordering more as a last resort!

Background Refresh

As of the iOS 7 release, you can now set specific apps to update in the background without even being open. This is awesome for some apps, but a battery drainer if you aren't careful! Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and then toggle the switches on which apps you would like to update in the background. Remember also that this can use up your data, you have been warned!

Flashing Alerts

You may have seen this on a friend's phone by now and wondered where the UFO was at. It's not a UFO, it's actually just the camera flash on their phone lighting up when they receive alerts. If you want to jump in on this action (we don't get it), you can go to Settings > General > Accessibility > and toggle the switch for LED Flash for Alerts. Next time you receive any kind of alert (Facebook, Twitter, iMessage, etc) you will not only have the vibration and tones going off, but also your camera flash. Again, watch your battery drain with this one!

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Nike+ Move App

11/06/2013
Nov 06, 2013
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Alright fitness nuts, this one is for you. As of this week, the Nike+ Move app is available in the App Store on your mobile device. Why is this different than the already-existing Nike+, you ask? Because it utilizes the new M7 chip of the iPhone 5s to track your activity, instead of another device your shoe or the Nike Fuel Band. And yes, that does mean that if you do not have the new iPhone 5s, this app ain't for you and you'll get this notice: apple-event

Why this is so cool: you don't need to buy anything new and you don't have to alter your routine or lifestyle in any way. That's right, you just download the app, set it up, and voila! You have a fitness tracker that is constantly recording your every move using the M7 motion coprocessor. This is also great because the M7 chip continuously uses your mobile device's gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass without the app even being open (make sure to allow the app to run in the background from your Settings). And get this, when you download and install the app, it will tap into this database of movement already stored on your device from the M7 chip and your data will go back 10 days before you downloaded Nike+ Move! We know, it's pretty cool and like a mini-time machine.

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One last perk to this new App? You don't have to wear that silly wristband that is required by Nike Fuel.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

Forget to Turn Off Your Lights?

11/06/2013
Nov 06, 2013
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Not anymore you didn't! Widespread reports over the last few days have stated that Apple just got approval for a new patent on a form of location-related technology. What the heck does location-related technology mean? It means you can control everything in your home, without doing anything. You may or may not be aware of the various services out there that allow you to turn off lights, lock doors, etc. from your mobile device. While these are great, they still require YOU to do something. Yes, it may only require you to open an app and tap a button, but what if your phone learned your behavior based on your location and you no longer had to do anything? That's exactly what Apple is trying to achieve with this latest patent. Apple already began down this path when it added the feature to iOS 7 that learns your frequent locations, commute, etc. Google Now (an app available in the AppStore) also remembers your locations and the routes you take in order to tell you weather, traffic, or suggest alternate routes. What Apple wants to do is allow your mobile device to take certain actions, on your behalf, based on your location, without you doing anything. Think of these basic examples:

1. You're driving home (on the route that your phone has learned is your commute home) and when you get down the block from you home your mobile device opens the garage and turns on the hallway light.
2. You're driving home (same scenario as above) and your mobile device fires up your heater when you're 15 minutes from home, leaving you with a nice toasty welcome.
3. When you leave your living room to go to bed at night, but your hands are full with a glass of water and your book, your mobile device will turn off the living room light for you and turn on the hallway light, then turn off that hallway light when you reach your bedroom and turn on your bedroom light.

While these are only a few examples, the possibilities are pretty exciting. Of course, this is a general overview of this patent and the idea Apple is pursuing. When you really get into the technical aspects, it does get a little "Big Brother," since the data used to perform these actions without user input also includes what you are doing when you are where you are. If this freaks you out, have no fear, most of the information available thus far reports that Apple devices lack the infrastructure to launch this...right now... stay tuned.

// [Author: Scott Howard]

BBM on your iOS Device

11/05/2013
Nov 05, 2013
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Yes, it is true. The long awaited release of Blackberry's BBM (Blackberry Messenger) messenger service happened and since that time 20 million new users have signed up for the service. This doesn't mean that the release of BBM on Android and iPhones resulted in the 20 million new users, but sure is a coincidence. If you're unfamiliar with BBM (sucks for you), then think of WhatsApp or other, similar, cross platform messenger services. BBM enjoyed a HUGE cult following back when Blackberry was actually able to sell their phones. We here at iDrop News may or may not have been included in that vast number of people sending pictures and emoticons from their BBM PIN.

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What's a BBM PIN?

Think of your BBM PIN (Personal Identification Number) as a username, just like you would use on Skype or AIM. BBM uses a PIN and barcodes to add/remove new BBM contacts. Chances are you still have a BBM PIN from when you had a Blackberry device, if you did. You can use your email address to sign in with this old BBM PIN. If you are a total stranger to the BBM thing, you'll need to create new BBM ID and PIN (this process is the same as creating a username for any other messenger service). Once established, you can then start adding contacts!

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You have the option of adding people by sending invites to your phonebook contacts, your email contacts, or sending your PIN out to potential contacts. Other ways to add contacts include scanning their barcode or them scanning yours:

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BBM User Interface

The BBM interface is actually pretty darn good. Not only does it look and run well on iOS 7, but it is simple and functional. Swipe from the left side of the home screen to display different menu options and tap the three dot button on the bottom menu bar for others. Swipe from the left and you see an inventory of your chats, contacts, groups, updates, and invites.

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Tap the three dot button on the bottom left and you will see the help section, settings, invitation options, multi-person chat options, broadcast message options, start chat button, and you can even add categories to this particular menu.

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More Help

Of course, if you don't find this little article helpful enough for your BBM usage, you can always check out the in app tutorial:

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// [Author: Scott Howard]

5 Days = 200 Million

11/04/2013
Nov 04, 2013
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As you likely know by now (unless you live under a rock), Apple released its newest mobile device operating system a little under a month ago. Yes, it's already been a month. And during Apple's October 22nd Event, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) discussed the number of users who have adopted the new, strikingly different, iOS 7. And that number? Well, according to the reports during the 10/22 event, 200 million users downloaded and upgraded to iOS 7 within the first five days of its availability. Even more impressive, it is speculated that at this point, more than 72% of mobile Apple devices are now running iOS 7. Granted, this includes a couple of bug fixes, which is the topic of another one of our articles. This suggests that even given the massive amount of criticism and complaints that Apple is fielding regarding their new, "re-designed" iOS 7 - it's been almost unanimously adopted by their users. In the end, isn't that what Apple wants?
// [Author: Scott Howard]

OS X Mavericks - A Second Look

11/04/2013
Nov 04, 2013
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Hey you! Yes you, the reader, don't skip this article it is NOT the same as our Mavericks article written recently. This is, in fact, a first-hand review of the new OS X Mavericks after using the operating system for a few days. Read on for the good, the bad, and the ugly:

Speed

One of the biggest and most anticipated benefits of the new Mavericks is that of maximizing your machine's processing speed, without upgrading the actual processor. But, can a software update really accomplish this feat? So far - not so much. In fact, we've noticed a significantly slower machine since updating to the new Mavericks! Apps take longer to load, switching between screens and apps seems delayed, and the all-around performance of the machine seems slowed. Tragic? Yes. Permanent? We think not. After scouring the internet boards for similar experiences and suggested fixes, it appears that the new Mavericks has a learning curve, so to speak. Initially, Mavericks will perform slower because it is indexing and reorganizing your machine to be optimized for Mavericks. The expectation, confirmed by completely unreliable message boards, is that after a few days or weeks the new Mavericks learns about your machine and how you use it and the faster processing and optimization is finally realized. We'll have an update for you if/when this happens. The frustration will endure in the meantime.

Notifications

For those of you who stay up to date on the new OS as they come out, and therefore bought Mountain Lion or Snow Leopard, you're familiar with the desktop notifications. We here at iDrop News updated from a standard OS X 10 to Mavericks, and are now experiencing the notifications for the first time. We must say, this is a useful feature. The new Mavericks also includes the ability to click "reply" on a notification, thereby taking you to the mail app and opening the message for you to reply. We've found that this is a tremendously useful tool for productivity and keeping up with your email and other notifications. Don't forget about the notification center! The what? Exactly. There is another feature that is quite useful on the new Mavericks. We're talking about the notification panel that you can expose by sliding two fingers from the right side of your Track Pad, of course. (Check your Track Pad settings, it may be set to something different than the two finger gesture) When you open the notification center it includes any messages or notifications you may have ignored and also includes your calendar appointments and notifications. It's similar to the pull down menu on the new i.OS 7 on you mobile devices.
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All in all, the notifications are a great feature accompanying the new Mavericks and go a little ways in lessening the frustration of the reduced speed.

Track Pad

Not sure about you, but we here at iDrop News absolutely love the interactivity and usefulness of the gestures on the Track Pad. To our surprise, when we updated to Mavericks the Track Pad gestures were completely different. First, the scrolling was changed to "natural," meaning it followed the movement of your fingers. We changed it back, but you can make up your own mind. Second, showing the desktop and pulling back to show the open apps and other windows was changed. There is now a combination of the four finger swipe and a pinch with your thumb and three fingers to accomplish these functions. We're still getting adjusted. Of course, all of these can be changed to varying numbers of fingers and gestures, with some flexibility, and you may have already had different settings.

So?

So, this is partly a complaint about the changes and partly an informative article so those of you thinking about updating can wrap your head around what is in store for you if you do. We'll be posting an update on our Mavericks experience late next week, so stay tuned to see if the speed picks up and if we notice any other changes that are good or (hopefully not) bad.
// [Author: Scott Howard]

iOS 7.0.3 - Yes, it Does Exist

10/25/2013
Oct 25, 2013
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Since the release of the much anticipated and vaunted iOS 7 there have been as man detractors and critics as fanatics and proponents. Regardless of where you fall within these camps, check out today's quickie article informing you about the most recent update and what bugs it fixes:

List of Fixes

The official release lists the following bug fixes and/or improvements to iOS 7:

  • Adds iCloud Keychain to keep track of your account names, passwords, and credit card numbers across all your approved devices
  • Adds Password Generator so Safari can suggest unique, hard-to-guess passwords for your online accounts
  • Updates lock screen to delay display of "slide to unlock" when Touch ID is in use
  • Adds back the ability to search the web and Wikipedia from Spotlight search
  • Fixes an issue where iMessage failed to send for some users
  • Fixes a bug that could prevent iMessage from activating
  • Improves system stability when using iWork apps
  • Fixes an accelerometer calibration issue
  • Addresses an issue that could cause Siri and VoiceOver to use a lower quality voice
  • Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the Lock screen passcode
  • Enhances the Reduce Motion setting to minimize both motion and animation
  • Fixes an issue that could cause VoiceOver input to be too sensitive
  • Updates the Bold Text setting to also change dial pad text
  • Fixes an issue that could cause supervised devices to become un-supervised when updating software

Extra

After downloading iOS 7.0.3, there are a few other modifications to iOS 7 that aren't listed above. One of which is the animation that was such a hot button topic initially. Gone is the zoom in/out animation when switching from an app to the home screen (haters rejoice!). The zoom animation is now replaced with a type of fade in/out instead. We here at iDrop News are still deciding whether we like the change or if we want the zoom animation back (it was starting to grow on us).
How To To update your device, follow these easy steps:
  • Open Settings;
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  • Select "General";
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  • Select "Software Update";
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  • Click Update (we already updated, which is why this screen will look different for you).
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// [Author: Scott Howard]

The NEW iPads - What's What

10/23/2013
Oct 23, 2013
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Apple's October 22nd Event introduced two "new" iPads to the market, with some expected updates and changes. However, much to the surprise of the Apple rumor community, there are a few iPad tweaks that were unexpected. This article will give you the run down.

Size Matters

One of the new iPads released is the iPad Air. Keeping in line with the other Apple Air products, the iPad Air boasts a reduction of 1.3 mm in size from the iPad 2 and is 130 grams lighter. While introducing the Air, Apple's marketing chief said that "when you hold it, it will be a dramatically different experience from the previous iPad." Interestingly enough, the iPad mini still remains lighter than the iPad Air and is obviously shorter and narrower than standard iPad sizes. Both the iPad mini and iPad Air lack the Touch ID now present on the new iPhones. The main takeaway here? The iPad Air is similar to the mini, but has a larger screen! Long walk for that main point, we know.

Power

64-bit A7 Application Processor. The proof is in the pudding, or so they say. Apple is including this processor, which is in the new iPhone 5s, for both the iPad Air and the new iPad mini. Considering this increases the computation power of the mini by four times, it was rather unexpected for Apple to do so (not that anyone is complaining). Oh, did we mention that the new mini ALSO has the Retina Display? Well, it does and the new processor makes for a very efficient use of the Retina Display that doesn't kill the battery life of the mini. apple-event

Drop it like it's hot

No, really, you can drop your new iPad Air or iPad mini and not have to immediately get in line to purchase a new one. Yes, it sounds crazy. But Apple showed a video depicting the new Air being dropped and simply bouncing around on the floor. That's right, no cracked glass, no shattering, no breaking. This creates a much more durable range of uses for your new iPad if it holds true. Considering how sweet these new iPads are, we will not be testing the durabilitybut hey, feel free to report back to us if you do!

Free!

All this talk about powerful processing and amazing displays, shouldn't there be some way to take advantage of these upgrades? Why, of course there is! Apple has totally revamped Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband. If you purchase one of these new iPads - guess what? - all of these Apple apps are FREE! Hurry and swoop them up. The iPads themselves, not so free:
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// [Author: Scott Howard]

What's New on OX X Mavericks?

10/23/2013
Oct 23, 2013
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If you're like us here at iDrop News, you love your Macbook. But aren't there a few little annoyances here and there when dealing with the current operating system? You may disagree, but Apple's new OS X Mavericks seeks to correct a few of these minor issues. Check it out:

Multiple Displays

These days, the idea of working from one monitor is as outdated as playing your music from a cassette tape. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you catch our drift. Up until this new operating system, the multi-display mode for your Macbook was basically one, connected display. This left users with a toolbar or menu bar on one screen when the application being used is on another (unnecessary moving between the two displays with the mouse #firstworldproblems). This is the biggest difference, and the typical functionality of Mission Control, the Trackpad, and Apple TV benefit from the changes. So, get out there and get another monitor! Or two, or three

Notifications

No, OS X Mavericks doesn't change the notifications you receive on your iPhone or iPad, that would be silly. But what this new OS does do is allow for interactivity with the notifications you receive on your Macbook. What does this mean? It means that any email notifications, Facebook updates, Tweets, FaceTime calls, or iMessages you receive while working will have the option to reply (or otherwise interact with the update) right there on the notification. In other words, when you receive an email and the notification pops up, you will have the ability to click reply and start drafting your response right from the notification! Better multiple display options and quicker response to notifications? You're going to be running a Donald Trump status empire in no time.

Tag, you're it

No, you cannot play tag with the new OS X Mavericks (our apologies if the heading got you excited about such a possibility). You may or may not be aware of the ability to use labels with your files and folders using different colors. This allows the user to then create smart folders using the labels. Now, however, you have the option to add "tags" to the files and folders and these tags are not limited to the color options that labels are! Even cooler, when you begin adding a new tag the drop down will bring up existing tags, just like recipients when drafting an email. This is yet another example of this new OS streamlining your user interaction and ultimately making you more productive.

Tabs Tabs Tabs

Last, but certainly not least, is the new function of OS X Mavericks that allows users to tab their Finder windows just like you would use tabs in Safari. Yes, exactly like that. Essentially, all of the commands you know for Safari (Command + T, Shift+Command+arrow, etc) will now work to create multi-tabbed Finder windows. No longer do you have to open several Finder windows or switch between folders in one window! Now, of course, if you prefer to kick it old school and have multiple finder windows, you can do that too. You can even merge all windows into one, tabbed, finder window when you reach the point of evolving from your old school status.
apple-event This is by no means an exhaustive list of the new features the OS X Mavericks brings to the table. What fun would it be if we laid it all out for you? Go download it, explore, and enjoy!

// [Author: Scott Howard]

HOW TO: AirDrop iOS 7

10/22/2013
Oct 22, 2013
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What is AirDrop?

First things first, AirDrop is essentially a way to share photos, contacts, videos, etc. with people in your immediate vicinity. And by immediate vicinity, we mean within Bluetooth / Wi-Fi range of you and your device. The basic idea is that AirDrop creates a mini wireless internet connection that allows you and other AirDrop users to share files between your phones without any physical connection. Think concerts or sporting events where you want that sweet photo your friend took.

How Do I Use AirDrop?

To turn on your AirDrop function, swipe up from the bottom of your screen to bring up the Control Center (also a new feature of iOS 7 that we here at iDrop News really like). Once you're looking at the Control Center, you'll notice a bar labeled AirDrop above the flashlight, timer, calculator, and camera buttons that make up the bottom of the Control Center. The little circle made up of lines with a triangle carved out is the universal AirDrop symbol (remember this).

Follow These Steps to Get AirDrop on and Ready:

1. Using Control Center: turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth by tapping those buttons at the top of the Control Center (the buttons will glow white once turned on);

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2. Tap the AirDrop bar described above (which will bring up the menu below);
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3. Select whether you want to be able to receive files from "Everyone" or "Contacts Only" (we recommend limiting only to Contacts - who knows what strangers might send you, right?);
4. Now you're ready to either receive files OR send files via AirDrop.
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How to Send Files Using AirDrop:

Sending files using AirDrop is actually quite similar to sending files by message, email, or otherwise that you are already used to (unless you don't send fileswhy do you have an iOS device?). For instance, select your Photos App from the home screen, open up one of your albums, and select a picture to share. Click the share icon in the bottom left corner of the photo and voila!
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Any AirDrop users that are nearby will show up directly below the pictures (it will show anyone around if you have AirDrop set to "Everyone" and it will only show your contacts if set to "Contacts Only" - but we're sure you've already deduced that, Sherlock).
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If you don't have anyone in range (make more friends) it will only say AirDrop and there will be no option to send your photo! apple-event
Now, once you tap the contact you would like to send the photo to, they will receive a pop up on their phone with a preview of the photo. They can opt to Accept or Decline. Once Accepted, the photo will be stored to you camera roll! Is this the easiest way to send files since that weird "Bump" app that Androids used where you had to physically bump the phones together? Yes. Are you incredibly stoked we just gave you a short and super sweet tutorial on how to use it? We hope so! Remember, you can use AirDrop for all kinds of files like your contacts and videos AND apps are developing support for AirDrop every day! Get out there and share some stuff!
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// [Author: Scott Howard]

HOW TO: Search For a Word(s) on a Webpage Using Safari iOS

10/17/2013
Oct 17, 2013
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Oh, you heard about the new OS X Mavericks that Apple may or may not be releasing soon? And you want to look it up on your iOS device as soon as you hear about it so you can tell more people about it? Easy enough, you just open Safari on your device, tap the address bar (which you know by now is also a search bar) and enter "OS X Mavericks" to display the search results. Naturally, you'll choose to visit iDrop News:

But what happens when you pull up our page and it talks about OS X Mavericks plus 50 other Apple products and services (thanks, we know we're comprehensive) but don't want to read the entire page? You search for "OS X Mavericks" on that webpage, of course! Here's how you do it: While viewing the webpage you wish to search, double tap the address bar (yes, the same address bar you used to search to originally find the webpage) and enter "OS X Mavericks."

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You'll then see a list of results, similar to the results you saw when you searched for pages the first time. Scroll to the bottom of the results and you will see "On This Page (5 matches)." Okay, maybe it won't be five, but we needed an example. Anyway, select: Find "OS X Mavericks" (bottom option) and Safari will automatically take you to your first search result on the webpage you were viewing already!

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Note that if there are several instances of "OS X Mavericks" on the page, there will be a bar that appears at the bottom of your screen with arrows that you can use to navigate between the search results. When you've found the portion of the page that you want to read containing your search term "OS X Mavericks" simply tap "Done" on the right side of that navigation bar. Boom, pow, surprise! You've successfully searched and found "OS X Mavericks" on a webpage in Safari iOS!

// [Author: Scott Howard]

What Does Apple Plan to "cover" Next Week?

10/16/2013
Oct 16, 2013
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According to the most recent announcement from Apple, arguably the ruler of our modern electronics, there is more to come. The photo below accompanied Apple's announcement and reads "We still have a lot to cover." But, what exactly should we expect?

iPads

Much of the buzz around Apple's fall campaign focuses on their version of the handheld tablets we all have, or wish we had. Will there be a new iPad Mini release? Will Apple simply upgrade the iPad Mini to have a Retina Display? What about a totally new, redesigned iPad? Or will Apple take the easy route and merely makeover both the iPad and iPad mini with new, smaller, and lighter casing that includes a smaller bezel?

MacBook Pros

Do you love your MacBook Pro? We do. And now it appears that Apple has upgraded the new MacBook Pros with their Retina Display and extended the battery life! Some of the chatter puts the new battery life of the MacBook Pro at 12 hours (that's enough time to watch six moviesor maybe watch three movies and actually get some work done).

OS X Mavericks

Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, and now. Mavericks! Possibly named after the infamous Tom Cruise character from Top Gun or maybe named after Tina Fey, wait, we mean Sarah Palin. Either way, this new OS is reported to have much better multi-screen support as well as tabbed Finder browsing. You'll be pulling up old photos in one tab while organizing work files in another! OS X Mavericks is expected to be pre-installed on the new MacBook Pros, as if we didn't already expect those to sell like hot cakes.

Mac Pro

Remember those super computers that took up an entire office building back in the day? Of course you don't, you live in 2013 and have an iPhone that does more than those computers did. Anyway, the new Mac Pro is basically alien technology compared to those old super computers it's so advancedseriously. A few of the reports state that it will have double the memory bandwidth of the current Mac Pro models and, fear outdating no more, expansion! With the new Mac Pro, you chose what you want to build a workstation totally customized to you. Did we mention it sort of looks like a sleeker version of the Arc Reactor powering the Ironman suits?

Apple Television? Apple Spaceship? .What?

A few of the reports and rumors out there seem to hint at something more more than the awesome products discussed above, you ask? Yes. The whispers about an Apple Television have persisted for ages. Maybe this event is finally the Apple Television announcement that we're all so eagerly awaiting. Will it revolutionize TV as we know it? Or will Apple simply makeover the existing Apple TV device that we already know and love?

What about the reportedly 2.8 million square foot spaceship, err building, that Apple is going to build in Cupertino soon? Apparently construction on the new headquarters of the electronics giant is set to begin this fall, pending formalities. Apple CEO, a rare tweeter, was so excited about this new spaceship building that he took to twitter recently to announce the project. Is anyone up for a road trip to Cupertino, California?

The event will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, and will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific. All of these questions are rumored to be answered next week, so if you're like we are and need to know which device will be on your holiday shopping list, check back with iDrop News next week to find out!

// [Author: Scott Howard]