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Dashcams reveal horrors of teens texting and driving

Today, 10:01 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
We all know that teens are crazy drivers. But when you put phones in their hands, things get really bad. AAA conducted video analysis of teenagers on the road and discovered that “distraction was a factor in nearly six outmf.gif


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First wave of Apple Watch apps lands on iTunes

Today, 08:38 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple Stores won’t have the Apple Watch on display for a few weeks, but anyone eager to see what the world of wrist apps will offer can already download them to their iPhone. The first wave of Apple Watch-supported apps startedmf.gif


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10 reasons why Apple is to blame for the decline of iPad...

Today, 07:47 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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It has been a tough slough for Apple’s iPad since the height of its popularity in 2013. Facing its second straight year of negative growth, there isn’t a consensus on why iPad sales have declined. I believe the slump is attributable to a combination of factors.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called the declining iPad sales a “speed bump” last year before the launch of the 2014 models, but we haven’t seen what Apple plans to do to rejuvenate the product. From my point of view, Apple itself has done more to hurt iPad sales than any external factor, such as Microsoft or Google.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s a full explanation of my theory…

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1. Apple’s bigger iPhone 6 Plus phablet has made the once popular iPad mini all but pointless. That’s not entirely true – there are significant cost differences and over 2 inches of additional diagonal screen real estate – but having a huge iPhone makes having a small tablet a lot less desirable. Combine that with the fact that most people buy their phones subsidized, and a much faster, sleeker iPhone 6 Plus costs about the same as an iPad mini up front.

Below the cannibalization of the iPad is shown in a chart from Credit Suisse. Characterizing phablets as “4+ inches” seems a little out of date, but the point is clear, phablets like the iPhone 6 are eating into tablet share across the board.
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2. This year’s iPad hardware updates weren’t terribly magical. The iPad mini got Touch ID (at a $100 price premium). The Air 2 got both faster and lighter, which is always great. And both became available in gold. But for people like me who are very content with the iPad Air – discussed in point 10 below – adding Touch ID or a golden housing wasn’t a big enough incentive to upgrade. Would sales have taken off if Apple offered more storage on the lower end, more laptop-like features, or lower costs?

3. New tiny 12-inch MacBook sales will impact professional/luxury iPad users. The 2-lb light weight and super portability will bring over folks who can spend a lot to get the latest technology. In fact, lowering the prices on the very popular MacBook Air to near cost parity per GB basis also makes a MacBook Air seem like the better deal (128GB MacBook Air: $899 retail, but often lower, versus 128GB iPad w/cellular: $829).

When I go to bed at night and have my iPad Air for consumption, there is often something important that I can only do well on my Mac (like adding something important to this post). This has happened so many times that the iPad doesn’t get picked up at bedtime much anymore. If I lost my iPad Air this week, I’d probably replace it with a MacBook.

4. Split screen iPad support and other laptop-like functionality is late in coming. If those features come out this year, and I think they will, a lot of professionals will jump on board. Currently functionality that makes an iPad a better solution to a problem than a laptop is often lacking.

5. Microsoft and its ecosystem have been making inroads into the professional ranks. You have to admit some of the hardware the Windows folks are putting out isn’t bad, especially when a hybrid computer can go from a MacBook Air form factor into a tablet form factor with a swinging hinge. Yes, I know Apple’s philosophy is not to marry toasters and refrigerators, but tablets and laptops aren’t that different anymore.

Even if they aren’t right, many folks will choose a convertible laptop-tablet PC over an iPad or a MacBook for that matter.

5. 16GB is not enough space on the low end. Apple can afford to pop in 32GB of storage on the entry-level iPads and I think they will go up to this amount this year. 16GB isn’t enough for even a base model iPhone in my opinion, and with the bigger display, iPad apps need bigger files.

6imgres.jpg?w=704. Chromebooks in education. Google Chromebooks have been eating Apple’s lunch in education and ironically the iconic appeal of the iPad is partially responsible. A sysadmin for a large school district tells me that the iPad trials went something like this: 100 iPads were given out to 4th graders. Within a month, over 50% of them went missing, and a few of them broke, while 10% of them were jailbroken or hacked. At the same time, with a similar Chromebook rollout, only 10% went missing, a few of them broke, and none of them were hacked (though it is certainly hackable). Give kids free iPads and they’ll have a tendency to disappear or get subverted for personal gain.

Apple has done some work in getting its iPads in schools with some noted success and other spectacular failures.  A new initiative may really help but the fact that most schools either have Microsoft or Google email/apps on the backend means it is going to be tough.

7.  Pricing. Apple could sell iPads at lower price points if it really wanted to. In fact, we’ve seen major retailers cutting as much as $130 off the price of new iPad Air 2s, and up to $200 on the high-end models. Subsidies are another option. Apple was able to stave off any encroachment from the Amazon Fire Phone because it offers iPhones at low price points (including “free” with plan). Apple, however, has no protection for its iPad line when Amazon comes in at $100 or less for a new Fire tablet. Fire tablets continue to be popular though Amazon won’t let you know any numbers.  Spotting a Fire Phone is harder than finding a Sasquatch.

8. Killer App? You need a smartphone for certain things. You need a computing device for other things. There are very few apps that need an iPad, especially when you have a big iPhone in your pocket and a 2 lb. Mac next to your bed.

9. Marketing and the Apple Watch. iPad hasn’t been getting the marketing spend it got in its first years for a variety of reasons. Last year Apple had the big iPhones to explain to the public. Before that it was iOS 7’s new look and feel. This year it seems Apple is focusing its attention and every extra marketing dollar on the Apple Watch.

But Apple Watch isn’t just hurting the iPad from a marketing standpoint. Those of us who have a yearly Apple discretionary fund of $500 or so bucks aren’t likely going to put it towards the iPad this year. And Apple announced the Watch right before the holiday shopping season. Sure, that was mostly to dissuade people from buying other watches, but some folks also probably held off on Apple purchases.

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On a higher level, it also makes me wonder if Apple’s got a new paradigm. Instead of iPhone|iPad|Mac, is Apple now promoting: Watch+CarPlay+Apple TV+Accessories|iPhone|Mac in its “3 screens” paradigm? Where does iPad fit?

10. Perhaps this is unintuitive, but Apple’s incredible build quality coupled with genuine efforts to update old iPads to the latest version of iOS has made the decision to purchase a new iPad a difficult one. My old iPads still look, feel and work great. My son can still use our original iPad and a lot of the apps he likes. I bought an iPad Air last year, and it is hard to justify the purchase of a new one (even though retailers are discounting the heck out of them). My wife uses an iPad 3, and for what she does on it, there is no reason to update.

The good news here is that much of the iPad’s sales decline can be fixed by Apple, because it’s responsible for most of the issues above. An iPad Pro, price drops, a better iPad iOS version with split-screen support, and better integration with keyboards are all ways Apple could stop the decline in iPad sales and get the platform growing again. More and more engaging marketing wouldn’t hurt, either.

Perhaps Apple can fit iPad in between the Apple Watch launch and the launch of the new Apple TV?


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices, Opinion Tagged: Apple Inc, Apple watch, decline, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Market share, Microsoft, Revenue 370800 370800 370800 370800 370800 370800 370800 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Apple Watch Apps Begin Showing Up in the App Store Ahead...

Today, 07:17 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Ahead of the Apple Watch's upcoming April 24 launch, apps that include Apple Watch support are beginning to be released in the App Store. As of today, several popular iOS apps have been updated with built-in Apple Watch apps, including Evernote, Dark Sky, Things, and Target.

Additional apps with Apple Watch support will be rolling out over the course of the day, giving us a first look at how many of the apps on the device will function. We'll be updating this post with a list of Apple Watch apps that are available as they come out in the App Store.

According to Evernote's app description, for example, users will be able to dictate notes into the Apple Watch, which will be transcribed and synced to Evernote. Users will also be able to see recently created, updated, and viewed notes, and get reminders about items that are due. Dark Sky's weather information will be brought to the wrist, and according to the app release notes, it's been designed from scratch to fit on the smaller screen of the Apple Watch.

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As we've mentioned before, Apple Watch apps are bundled into existing iPhone apps because the iPhone powers the app while a UI is extended to the Apple Watch. This helps to preserve battery and it controls the amount of access developers have to the watch. Apps that run fully on the Apple Watch are coming in the future, but are not available yet.

The Apple Watch will be available for pre-order and try-on sessions at Apple retail stores beginning on April 10. Third-party Apple Watch apps have likely started popping up today to allow Apple Store employees to install content on demo Apple Watches that will be shown off to customers.mf.gif


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Apple begins releasing the first set of third-party Apple...

Today, 07:03 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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The Apple Watch is still almost a month away from shipping and 15 days away from being available to preview in Apple Stores, but a select few apps selected by Apple to be available for the Apple Watch have started hitting the App Store today. These app updates that add Apple Watch support include Twitter, Things, Target, Dark Sky, and Sky Guide, and many more apps are continuing to roll out with support.

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While most developers working on Apple Watch apps ahead of the device’s release next month still cannot submit their Watch-specific updates, Apple has clearly flipped the switch on the select apps being promoted alongside the Apple Watch.

The apps are likely being released publicly now to allow the inevitable Apple Watch reviewers to access third-party Apple Watch apps. These apps will likely also be included with the Apple Store Apple Watches to show customers how familiar third-party apps from their iPhone can work with the new device.

Apple Watch support has been added to a number of existing App Store iPhone apps including:

More apps are continuing to roll out now. You can update to or download these versions of each iPhone app now, although obviously the Apple Watch functionality won’t work until your iPhone is paired with the new device.

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Closer to the Apple Watch’s actual debut, the now included Apple Watch app on iOS 8.2 for iPhone will feature a dedicated App Store for Apple Watch apps. Earlier this month we showed you the dozens of App Store apps which will support the Apple Watch. Apple also has a microsite dedicated to upcoming Apple Watch apps, many of which are shipping now.


Filed under: Apple Watch, Apps Tagged: App Store, Apple watch, Apple Watch App Store, Apple Watch apps, Apps 371658 371658 371658 371658 371658 371658 371658 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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How to Digitally Sign a PDF Using Preview on Mac [Mac Blog]

Today, 07:01 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
When you receive a PDF document by email that you must sign, the process of printing out the file, signing on the dotted line with a pen, scanning the signed document and sending it back can be a rather tedious task. Fortunately, Apple introduced the ability to digitally sign a PDF document using Preview, a program that comes preinstalled on every Mac, on OS X Lion or later.

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The steps involved to digitally sign a PDF using Preview on Mac are quite simple and will save you valuable time, especially if you have multiple documents, contracts, forms or other paperwork to sign. If you are worried that your digital signature will look bad, rest assured that you can create your signature by using the trackpad or holding up your signature on paper to a Mac's built-in iSight camera.

Steps to Digitally Sign a PDF Using Trackpad
  1. Open the PDF file you need to sign in Preview.

  2. Click on the briefcase icon (Screen-Shot-2015-03-26-at-1.28.36-PM.png) and then the signature (Screen-Shot-2015-03-26-at-1.28.51-PM1.pn) icon.

  3. Click on Create Signature > Click Here to Begin. Draw your signature on the trackpad. Click any key when finished. Click Done.

  4. Click on the signature created to insert it into the PDF document. The signature can be moved or resized like a regular image.

Steps to Digitally Sign a PDF Using Camera
  1. Open the PDF file you need to sign in Preview.

  2. Click on the briefcase icon (Screen-Shot-2015-03-26-at-1.28.36-PM.png) and then the signature (Screen-Shot-2015-03-26-at-1.28.51-PM1.pn) icon.

  3. Click on Create Signature > Camera. Sign your name on white paper and hold it to be visible to the camera. Preview will draw a digital signature. Click Done.

  4. Click on the signature created to insert it into the PDF document. The signature can be moved or resized like a regular image.

Tips
If you are using the trackpad to create your digital signature, it is recommended that you look at Preview and go slow and steady with your finger to achieve the best result. For an even more precise signature, you can use an iPhone or iPad stylus, preferably one with a fine-tipped ending, to draw your signature on the trackpad. Signing a piece of white paper and holding it up to the camera is the easiest way of creating a digital signature in Preview, although this method does not always yield the best results. The signature will appear inverted when you hold it up to your Mac's camera, but Preview will automatically ensure that it reads properly from left to right. You can create a digital signature in Preview by following steps above even if you do not have a PDF document opened. By default, all digital signatures that you create are automatically stored in a list on Preview so that you can insert them into future PDFs documents and other files without needing to repeat these steps. Preview can store multiple signatures at once. Apple also provides a markup tool in the Mail app on OS X Yosemite to create digital signatures that can be directly inserted into emails.

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Classified thermal imaging and night vision goodies land...

Today, 06:20 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
If you search long enough, you can find anything on eBay and Craigslist. That includes lost expensive military equipment that helps soldiers find roadside bombs. The Intercept, an investigative reporting website founded by Glenn Greenwald, obtained a Navy intelligence documentmf.gif


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Review: August Smart Lock provides smart home security fe...

Today, 05:54 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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I’m always in the market for new smart home stuff. Just about every room in my house has some gadget or accessory to make things a bit easier. Recently, I moved this smart home mission outside with the addition of Ring Video Doorbell, but now I’m tackling the front door with the August Smart Lock

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I’ve always been interested in smart locks, but there was something about August that caught my eye from the moment it was announced. This lock pairs up with your iPhone via Bluetooth and can unlock the door with the tap of the screen or by utilizing its location-based feature, but more on that later. I’m a big fan of the industrial design and it also leaves the front side of the door untouched. The only thing required is that you replace the thumb latch on the inside with the August Smart Lock. August Connect expands on the basic functionality by giving you remote access from anywhere, which will allow you to unlock the door for someone without actually being there.

Inside of August’s box you’ll find everything needed to get August installed and running (even the batteries). Some standard documentation (quick start guide), the August Smart Lock unit, and three mounting plates with adapters for installation are all included. With the August Connect, you’ll just find a small box with a square plug inside.

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I was able to get everything put together and installed in about 10 minutes using the short installation guide provided, but August also has an official installation video that you can check out as well. Installation involves removing the old thumb latch on the inside and replacing it with one of the included mounting plates and color coded adapters which are specific to your current lock’s brand. Different manufacturers correspond to the different numbered plates and color adapters, which are all listed in the installation guide. From there, you just mount the August Smart Lock on the inside of the door and secure it with the latches on each of its sides.

Check out our August Smart Lock + Connect video below:

August is powered by four included AA batteries which are rated to last up to a year. When the batteries are running low, the August app will notify you within enough time to replace them. By itself, August pairs with your iPhone via Bluetooth, but the optional Connect accessory will communicate with August while connected to your Wi-Fi network to receive remote commands from your phone as mentioned.

Because nothing changes on the outside of your door, you’ll still be able to use your existing keys in case you’d like to ever use them. August can also be used in manual mode by simply twisting it to the left or right (kind of like a giant door knob) to lock or unlock the door. That’s not exactly the point though. Once August is installed, you can download the free app, create an account, and get everything calibrated to take advantage of its core features.

The lock’s status is shown with a red circle (locked) or a green circle (unlocked). Tapping on this circle will perform either a lock or unlock action. Swiping to the left panel within the app will reveal the lock’s activity log and guest book for comments, while the right panel will show the existing users/guests of the lock. You can add as many guests or owners as needed by inviting them within the app and filling out a few simple details.

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For each guest you can specify a permanent, reoccurring, or temporary key. August also has the ability to send you notifications (per user) when someone enters the house. This feature can be enabled/disabled in the guest/owner settings. Any owner will have full control of the settings for the lock. The only downside is that guests will not be able to take advantage of August’s Auto Lock feature (explained below), so they will need to launch the app in order to unlock the door. Owners have full access to everything, but I wish there was a middle point between guest and owner that would allow use of certain features without access to all the device’s settings.

One interesting feature is called Auto Unlock. This will utilize a geofence and use your iPhone’s location to detect your proximity to the lock. When you’re arriving home, August will unlock the door as you approach it. After some extensive testing, I only found that this feature worked roughly 6 out of 10 times. Ideally, this should work 100 percent of the time. Hopefully future software updates will fix this, but for now I was a bit disappointed.

Ever Lock is another smart feature within the app that will automatically lock the door after a specified amount of time has passed. I found this feature to be extremely helpful and never had a problem with it. I understand that it takes a great amount of confidence in a product like this to just leave your house without locking it. I’m still a little skeptical, but for now, I have the ability to remotely check the lock’s status within the app using August Connect. Either way, any smart home system like this is hard to trust initially.

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The Connect accessory is an add-on (purchased separately) that connects to your Wi-Fi network and talks to the Smart Lock via Bluetooth. While it does take a little while longer to operate the lock remotely, August Connect worked reliably in my testing. One benefit here is being able to unlock the door for someone without inviting them to be a guest, which admittedly is a lengthy process overall for a small temporary situation. I’d rather use the Connect module any day rather than going through the invite process for my guest’s temporary entry needs.

August also features integration with the Nest Learning Thermostat. If you have one, you can connect a Nest account and each time you leave August will ask if you’d like to set the thermostat to away in order to save energy. The notification each time is kind of annoying and I wish there was a default option that could be specified, but I appreciate the cross platform/product integration. Hopefully, future software updates will improve on this as well.

Overall, August and its Connect accessory is great as a pair. With August alone, you shouldn’t experience any issues aside from the few mentioned above, but I prefer the ability to check in on things remotely. I guess we can thank my smart home trust issues for that. At the same time, can we ever fully trust something like this to perform with 100 percent accuracy?

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Computers/electronics/software fail over time. I’m not saying that a smart lock is a bad idea because I’ve been enjoying my time with August, but your security is always at the hands of the product’s reliability and the software developers behind it. I will continue to use August, but I’m not sure it’s something that I can just install and forget about. A smart lock’s functionality and reliability will always be in the back of my mind.

If you’d like to find out more about August or the Connect accessory, you can visit the product’s website. August Smart Lock is available for $249.99, while the optional Connect accessory can be had for $49.99. Definitely not the cheapest smart home accessory out there, but its convenience may make up for that.

I’m a fan of smart home technology and August provides an easy way to lock/unlock your door without keys. Free guest/owner keys are definitely a plus side and there were only a few occasions where it was necessary to pull out my phone and use the app to unlock the door. It has officially replaced my traditional house key, but that key isn’t leaving my key chain just yet.


Filed under: Reviews Tagged: August, August Smart Lock, connect, review, smart home, Smart lock, video 371633 371633 371633 371633 371633 371633 371633 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Friendly indie dev wants to teach kids to think like a pr...

Today, 05:45 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Daryl Hornsby is an affable guy. As the lead designer of the independent educational game, Machineers, he was on hand at the Game Developers Conference in March to give us a quick tour of the team’s puzzle adventure game thatmf.gif


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10 surprising things we learned about Tim Cook today

Today, 05:22 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Tim Cook had enormous shoes to fill when he took over as Apple CEO. With Steve Jobs’ sudden death in 2011, doubters questioned whether the Southern engineer could keep Apple relevant, but after leading Apple to become the world’s mostmf.gif


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