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Apple’s Newest Map Competition Acquisition: WiFiSlam

According to an article published yesterday by Reuters, Apple has acquired mapping application company WiFiSlam for “around $20 million.” An apple spokesman told Reuters that “Apple acquires smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” While that statement is 100%, how hard is to say that Apple may be making another attempt at a maps application? Their last attempt was a complete disaster, so much that Tim Cook himself recommended Google Maps.

What is WiFiSlam?

It appears that at one time WiFiSlam did have a website at www.wifislam.com, but it has since then been removed, probably due to the acquisition. We were however, able to find some information on company information site AngelList. WiFiSlam is listed as a product that allows your smartphone to pinpoint its location in real-time using only “WiFi signals that are already present in buildings.” If I’m interpreting that statement correctly, you in theory wouldn’t even need to be connected to WiFi for this application to pinpoint your location, but I could be wrong. Obviously this pinpointed location is most likely not longitude and latitude, but rather location information that would be tailored perfectly for indoor navigation, something that Google is working fast and furiously to deploy in large malls and museums.

If Apple were to jump back into mapping, indoor navigation would actually be the best place to start, because frankly it would be a huge source of revenue for whichever company can make it work the best, and so far Google’s system is still mostly in Beta. Large venues would be willing to pay a lot of money to have indoor navigation, and if they aren’t, the ad revenue potentials are possibly even greater.

Can Apple be successful at mapping? So far, they haven’t had any luck. However, if they get into indoor navigation soon and do it right, they might have a chance.

Sources | Reuters, AngelList,

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Apple’s new Podcasts app

If you didn’t know the Podcasts app from Apple has been updated. This might be the first step of the elimination of Skeumorphism in iOS. The podcasts app that existed previously had an analog representation of a reel to reel player when the “Now Playing” screen was flicked up. That is now gone along with the addition of a nicer looking interface with new features. I didn’t mind the old Podcasts app but I’m definitely loving Apple’s new Podcasts app so far.

One of the new features is the option of making your own station of podcasts. So I can create stations of my favorite  podcasts grouping them in whatever way I choose. The podcasts will also update automatically with new episodes and are stored in iCloud so that they are updated on all iOS devices. This means that you will only change the settings once on one device and whatever stations I create will only be done once. I have always wondered why the Podcasts app either had to be running all the time in order to get new episodes when they are available or would download when the app is opened. It seemed silly to me because I want the device to just check whenever the device wasn’t in use and connected to Wifi. It would find new episodes and automatically pull them in.

Now that it has these features I’m going to look forward and think that this app is going to be coming to the Mac OS. I think eventually Podcasts will be ripped from iTunes and this is the first step. I think it will be in the newest Mac OS version and as more people start to use the app on their mobile devices and on the Mac. Then Podcasts will slowly fade away from iTunes making it a little lighter. I wont go into the whole Skeumorphism issue beyond saying that in the Podcasts app it’s gone. In this case it’s not missed but it also wasn’t noticed by me. The new interface is nicer and functions more clearly to me. Like I said I like it so far and I’m just looking for it to come to Mac OS.

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Apple Finishes Switching Data Centers to 100% Renewable Energy

It took nearly a year, but after a scathing report released in early 2012 by Greenpeace ripped Apple apart for using unsustainable energy sources to power their data centers, the company knew they had to do something to regain the public’s trust. Thankfully, instead of paying for some elaborately veiled PR campaign to minimize the damage, Apple actually went out and did something about it.

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The Maiden, Oregon facility map

With the exclusion of their North Carolina plant (which is facing an uphill battle against local power company lobbyists), Apple is now running all of their servers and even their home office in Cupertino off 100% renewable sources. In regards to the chip on Apple’s southern block, they had this to say:

“This 100-acre, 20-megawatt (MW) facility has an annual production capacity of 42 million kWh of clean, low-carbon, renewable energy. And we’re currently building a second 20-MW solar photovoltaic facility on nearby land that should be operational in late 2013. In addition, we’ve built an onsite 10-MW fuel cell installation that uses directed biogas and provides more than 83 million kWh of 24/7 baseload renewable energy annually — it’s the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country. All told, Apple will be producing enough onsite renewable energy — 167 million kWh — to power the equivalent of 17,600 homes for one year.”

On Apple’s new solar farm, Greenpeace International senior IT analyst Gary Cook has been quoted as saying, “Apple still has major roadblocks to meeting its 100 % clean energy commitment in North Carolina,” noting that renewable energy policies are “under siege”. He claims the the local electric utility, Duke Energy, is “intent on blocking wind and solar energy from entering the grid”, although Apple still plans to build a second 20-megawatt solar energy facility near the North Carolina data center, set to be operational in late 2013.

They may still be facing serious labor allegations in China, but its clear that Apple is doing everything they can to curb the impact of their meteoric rise in the world of gadgets over the past 10 years.

Source| ArsTechnica

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How to Setup Apple Two Step Verification For iCloud and Apple ID

Apple has finally come up with the two- step verification process for Apple ID and iCloud users. It is the same as with Google and others. It has to be first enabled on the Apple ID website after which the user can use their mobile device to receive verification codes either via text message or call in the Find my iPhone app to sign into various Apple services. In the event of losing your phone or do not have access to it there are already recovery keys which have to be printed and kept some place safe beforehand.

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It is available in the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand at present but will be available to the rest of the world soon.

How to set up Apple Two Step Verification

Step 1

Go to appleid.apple.com and hit “Manage your Apple ID”

how to setup apple two step authentication

Step 2

Enter user’s login details and sign in.

Step 3

On the left there is a “password and security” tab. Click on it. Enter the answers to your two security questions.

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Step 4

Under the two – step verification banner click on “get started” , the user will be directed to a screen showing three images of what are the next procedures. Hit “continue”. Read all the warnings, proceed to next step.

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Step 5

There will be a list of devices that are trusted, if they are not updated, set up the “Find My iPhone” or “Add an SMS capable number”

If devices are listed correctly then only verification is required. Hit “verify” next to the device that are trusted. A 4 –digit code will be send to the chosen iDevice, which will have to be entered during login.

setup apple two step verificiation

A set of recovery keys are available in case of emergency. This has to be saved and kept secure.

There are a few issues at the moment like frequent time –outs, even after registering a device, verifications are not sticking within the Apple ID account. Apple will probably fix the annoyances soon.

Recently there have been multiple hack attempts of Apple accounts and instances where hackers completely wiping out data from the owners gadgets. And it was not just any user who was targeted, but a technology blogger! The issue was that Apple previously used the last 4 digitals of the credit card for verification which was easily available from any other sources online including Amazon.

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How to have more than a 4 digit passcode on an iPhone

How to have more than a 4 digit passcode on the iPhone

This tip will actually work on more than just the iPhone. It will work on any iDevice running iOS, so iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch, etc. A user can secure their iDevices by instituting a passcode. When the device is locked in order to unlock it the passcode must be entered. The security can be further enhanced by having the device delete all the data after a number of un-successful attempts entering the passcode. When using this security feature the user can use a simple 4 digit passcode or by setting the simple passcode option off they can enter a more complex password. These two options are at opposite ends of the spectrum. A 4 digit passcode can be broken or memorized by anyone looking over shoulders. While a password is going to be annoying to type in everytime the device is unlocked. So how about a happy middle ground, well here is how to have more than a 4 digit passcode on the iPhone.

Using this tip you will be able to use a longer string of numbers for your passcode. You can use 6, 8, 12 numbers or as many as you can easily remember and input when unlocking your device. I got this tip from one of my favorite podcasts “iFive for iPhone” if you don’t already subscribe to the podcast I recommend you check it out. Anyway this was a user tip sent in to the show and it is a really good tip. It allows a user to use something a little more complicated than a 4 digit passcode but not so complex that unlocking the device every couple of minutes becomes a pain. So here are the steps on how to have more than a 4 digit passcode on the iPhone.

- On the homescreen tap “Settings” (Circled Below)

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- In Settings tap on “General”

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- Scroll to “Passcode Lock” and tap it, if you already have a passcode you will be required to enter it

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-In the passcode settings turn off the “Simple Passcode” toggle and tap “Change Passcode” or “Set Passcode”. The “Erase” option is circled in red for your info

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-When the passcode screen comes up simply switch from letters to numbers on the keyboard

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- Enter your longer passcode using all numbers, you may need to enter it twice

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When you are done you will have a 6 or 8 digit passcode made up of numbers.

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Source: User tip on iFive for iPhone podcast

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6.1.3 Update Available for iPhone

Apple has rolled out another update for its iOS software to counter a security flaw that had been uncovered putting owners of its devices at risk. Today Apple released yet another update to bolster the security of its iOS 6 operating system, rolling out their answer to a vulnerability that enabled users to bypass the lock screen and access the phone if done in a specific way.

The exploit went on unchecked for almost a month and a half until today, and according to Tim Cook the exploit should now be closed. When the emergency call screen was accessed and canceled a certain number of times while holding down the power button, the home screen would eventually come up without having to know or enter to the PIN. A number of agencies have proven the method as viable, and alerted the mobile giant to the threat all the way back in February.

Apple iOS 6 security update

 

There’s also a small update to the Maps software in Japan, which is apparently running as poorly there as it is in just about every other region on Earth right now. Apple is losing their grip on the title of “most secure”, and if they aren’t careful they could end up like Android in China before they know it.

 

Source| Forbes

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Doubles iPhone 5 Benchmark

Earlier this week at the Samsung  Galaxy S4 launch event, Android Authority was able to get their hands on a unit and test it at its full capacity against a number of other devices including the Xperia S, HTC One, Galaxy SIII, and iPhone 5. Although it should go without saying, the others phones were SMOKED by the eight-core behemoth, and Samsung has proven that when you use the right people to engineer the right technology, the best gadgets are what come out on the other side. They used the same version that will be available at launch with identical specs and software, and averaged about twice the speed as its competitors.

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To verify the results, John Poole of Primate Labs performed the same test on several other top-tier smartphones and published his results.

For the original test at the event, the Galaxy S4 received a benchmark of 3,163. The iPhone 5 only marked a mere 1,596, which means the GS4 is about twice as fast as a phone which was just released 6 short months ago. The GS4 is also twice as fast as Samsung’s last flagship phone, the Galaxy SIII, which means that even at its peak the iPhone 5 was the same speed as a phone that had come out half a year before. Samsung is gunning for Apple’s head with benchmark posts like these, and if the shift in the market is any indication, Apple will have to rebound with a serious speed contender in the next release cycle if it hopes to stay relevant.

Source| BusinessInsider

 

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How to get better iPhone battery life

Now that most smartphones will do most of the same things battery life is really what has become the deciding factor. Along with doing more a smartphone has to do more for longer. In order to get better battery life there is a mixture of settings and the usage of the smartphone that will help squeeze a little more life out of that battery. So here are a few settings you might want to check in my tip on how to get better iPhone battery life.

Every person’s battery life will be different because the way they use the iPhone will be different. So keeping this in mind there are a few things that are big drains on the battery life and using these things will result in a quick need for charging up your device. The first of these is the screen, the biggest part of the interface with the device. However it takes a lot of power to run the screen so the longer it is on the more of a drain it is on the battery. The next thing is the radios inside the iPhone, which provide data(3G,LTE) and Wifi. Browsing the web or using social media apps for an hour on LTE will definitely gobble up battery power in the 10-20% range. So keeping this in mind any setting that causes the screen to be on longer or the iPhone to connect to the internet will drag down battery life. So it is a balancing act and everyone will need to decide which is more important. I mean what is the use of having a smartphone if you don’t use the internet, check emails and your screen brightness is so low you have to squint to see the screen? Sure it may last an hour longer or more but what use are you getting out of that time?

On the other hand there are settings that are on by default which a user may not use that could be robbing little bits of battery life. So I personally put my settings at a point where I get the most use out of my iPhone for the things I need to do. When battery life gets low I charge it up but even though I would consider myself an advanced user there were two settings I hadn’t checked and updated even after doing updates of the Operating System(OS), iOS. As a result I was using a pedometer app and by the end of the work day my iPhone which would usually be at around 60-70% was at 34% a huge difference. The reason was beause the pedometer app was using the location services of the phone which uses both the radios(data and Wifi) to calculate my location. I didn’t need that I just wanted to know how many steps I took that day. So it was draining my battery by using a service I didn’t even need.

So if you’ve updated your iOS version recently and find that your iPhone battery is draining faster than it used to try checking and adjusting the following settings I’m about to show you.

Notification Center

This is where you can set which apps are included in the Notification Center and will send you notifications. The notifications will cause the screen to wake up and when they come in a user will spend time checking the notification to see what it’s all about. When an app is installed it is added to the notification center even though the user may not want or need to get notifications from the app. You can see which apps are in the Notification Center by:

Tapping “Settings” on the home screen

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Then tap “Notification” (pictured above)

There will be a list of all the apps in the Notification Center. You  can tap each app and there will be sliders to remove the app from the Notification Center as well as prevent the app’s notifications from being viewed on the lock screen. Remove any apps that don’t need to be in the notification center and don’t need to have notifications on the lock screen.

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Privacy

Next you will want to check under Privacy which is where you will find Location Services.

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This will be where all the apps that use location services will be listed along with device settings that you may also want to change. In the screen shots you will see that in the System Services I have turned off all the options except Cell Network Search and Setting Time Zone. That is because these are the only things that would be needed in my use of the device. So adjust the settings accordingly to your use of the device.

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Blackberry calling the kettle black

Blackberry calling the kettle black

The CEO of the company formerly known as RIM, now Blackberry, Thorsten Heins claims that Apple is trailing when it comes to innovation. He also basically called iOS the Operating System(OS) that iDevices(iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc) run on old. Now to me aint that a little like the Blackberry calling the kettle black. Yes pun intended, but really it wasn’t very long ago that Blackberry was on the brink of destruction as their marketshare in the mobile space eroded with their dated offerings. So if anyone should know about old, outdated and quickly becoming irrelevant it would be Blackberry. The new BBX isn’t even a smash success yet so does Mr. Heins really feel justified in talking about a competitor whose device has more market share and makes more profit than his company does right now?

You can read more about what the Blackberry CEO had to say to The Australian Financial Review in this iMore post. Now before anyone claims that I’m getting deffensive because of my Apple Fanboyism. Go back and listen to some of the old T3kd podcasts where we argue and wax poetic about RIM and it’s future. I have been a supporter of them turning things around and being a player in the mobile market for awhile now. I have even written posts, which were destroyed when the site was taken down last year, about how Blackberry could claw their way back to relevance. I’ve done an iOS 7 wishlist post where I went through the things I hope Apple will impliment in their next OS refresh sometime this year. My issue is that by Heins saying what he did there is now an intense spotlight on how successful the BBX platform and devices will be and even the company and Heins himself. Why would he want to do that when BBX hasn’t been a runaway success and isn’t going to immediately reverse the abysmal market share Blackberry devices now hold?

I just feel that he has now put un-needed scrutiny on the new Blackberry devices, how the BBX OS will function and how well the devices will sell. The iPhone and along with it iOS might be long in the tooth but the benefit of that is also familiarity and ease of use. While it might not be cutting edge Apple is not in the position Blackberry was just in of having to fire employees and whittle their staff down in an effort to “Streamline operations”. Perhaps Heins’ comments were instead meant to goad Apple into rushing out new features tripping up the iPhone and iOS in the process. This still would be a pretty silly move since most people know that Apple in the majority of cases will wait and put out a polished product rather than hurry to put out a half baked product instead. Well no matter what the intentions were everyone is entitled to their opinions but as CEO of a company sometimes things that are said have a really bad way of coming back to bite you in the ass. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when iOS 7 or for that matter iOS 8 comes out since Blackberry’s new devices still have quite awhile to prove themselves too.

Source: imore.com

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Retina display leads to Apple class action lawsuit

Apple Class Action Lawsuit over Faulty MacBook Pro Retina Displays

Apple class action lawsuit over fraudA group of irate Apple adopters are planning to sue the computer manufacturer over defective MacBooks. The Apple class action lawsuit was launched in response to fraud and deceptive marketing charges are leveled against the company in response to problems with certain laptop displays. Apple has faced criticism over defective retina displays in some of its most popular MacBook Retina models but now it looks like the battle will be going to court if the company doesn’t settle first — which it’s likely to do.

Apple Class Action Lawsuit Claims Fraud and Deceptive Advertising

The Apple class action lawsuit claims that the company actively defrauded its customers and failed to notify individuals of the specific problem in time to prevent purchases. The issue stems from defective Retina displays manufactured by LG. These displays exhibit ghosting (temporary image burn-in) that makes the user interface nearly impossible to navigate – not a good thing for a piece of equipment for which consumers had to shell out thousands of dollars.

Though the displays did eventually revert to working order, the problem persisted each time an image was shown on-screen for too long. Sources state that as little as 15 or 20 minutes was allt hat was required to burn these temporary ghosts into the MacBook’s display.

The specific models of MacBook were shipped with either the defective LG display or a working Samsung display. However, there was no way for consumers to know which display was in which model without ripping the machines apart. The problem arose shortly after the MacBook Retina’s launch but the Apple class action lawsuit states the company didn’t do enough to protect consumers.

No word on the company’s official stance on this Apple class action lawsuit, however, it’s likely they’ll pursue alternative routes to settling these claims, as most large corporations do, in order to save money and avoid having their brand image dragged through the mud. The suit was filed in Californai courts by Beau Hodges who said Apple should never have marketed the different models of MacBook pro as the same thing.

Info Source: ArsTechnica | Image Source ArsTechnica and AnandTech

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