Two interesting app updates out today that make enjoying media from your iOS device even better.
On the reading front, Amazon has updated its Kindle for iOS app to include a font called Bookerly that it says was designed especially for reading on a digital screen. The font, which was first made available on its Kindle Fire devices, is described by Amazon as “warm and contemporary.”
Amazon adds that the font was “inspired by the artistry of the best fonts in modern print books but is hand-crafted for optimal readability at any screen size.” Bookerly should be a font option for “most” Kindle books starting with Kindle version 4.9.
In the video space, HBO has released a minor update to its recently redesigned HBO Go app for iPhone and iPad that could have a big impact on how you watch content on your TV. Along with a fix for Bluetooth audio streaming and the usual bug fixes and improvements, HBO Go version 3.0.1 adds support for playback through HDMI output.
This means you can connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your HDTV using an adapter like Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter and watch your movies and TV shows from HBO Go on your iOS device through the big screen. This is ideal for sets without an Apple TV or Chromecast in the middle if you already have the adapter handy.
The update is available for HBO Go subscribers through the App Store. If you don’t subscribe to HGO through a cable package, don’t miss HBO Now, the standalone subscription version of the premium network that launched in April.
Filed under: Apps Tagged: Amazon, HBO, HBO Go, HDMI output, Kindle
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The Bellabeat Leaf is, as the name suggests, a leaf-shaped activity-tracking wearable that can be positioned as a clip, necklace, or bracelet. Depending on where it's worn, it's advertised as being able to track metrics like activity level, sleep quality, stress level, and ovulation.
Described as a wearable "you'll actually want to wear," the standard leaf is made from a light maple-colored wood and accentuated with a steel leaf plate that's available in five designs. Bellabeat is also introducing a new limited edition gold version that's made from a dark marshwood and accompanied by a gold-plated leaf, plus the company is selling a range of bracelet and necklace accessories to pair with the Leaf.
The Leaf is designed to be worn all day, tracking activity, sleep, and stress. It works in conjunction with an upcoming Leaf app, which is able to track information on menstrual cycles to provide a complete picture of health. Leaf will also deliver vibration-based notifications on activity level throughout the day.
Receive real-time feedback in the form of slight vibrations, notifying you to increase or decrease your activity and reminding you about other aspects of your health, such as getting more sleep. The LEAF app even helps to monitor your monthly menstrual cycle by tracking expected days and providing information based on your activity, sleep and stress levels.Tracking activity and sleep is a function included in most smart wearables, but stress detection is relatively unique. When worn as a pendant or a brooch near the chest, the Leaf monitors breathing and uses that along with user-provided information as a metric to determine stress levels.
As you continue to use the LEAF, it becomes smarter by learning your personal habits and tailors feedback accordingly. The LEAF is truly unique in that it allows you to cross reference your cycle with trends in your daily activity, all easily viewable in your app.
The Leaf ships with a necklace chain, but it can also be added to existing jewelery and paired with the aforementioned accessories Bellabeat plans to offer. It includes a standard watch battery, so there is no need to charge it on a daily basis, but the battery will need to be replaced after approximately six months.
Bellabeat previously accepted pre-orders for the standard edition of the Leaf, but those quickly sold out. Today's sales of the Leaf and the Limited Edition Leaf mark the official launch of the Leaf, which will begin shipping out to customers on June 15.
The Leaf and the Limited Edition Leaf can be purchased from the Bellabeat website beginning today. The standard Leaf is available for $119, while the limited Edition Leaf is available for $250.
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Meet BlueLink, a Hyundai cloud-connected service that provides cool remote access features for select vehicles. I recently had a chance to test BlueLink with the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In, and now I’m convinced that connected cars are the future.
BlueLink links up to your vehicle using its VIN number, using the Internet to relay information to and from the car, wherever you may be. Connected apps for cars, homes, and other smart accessories are cool and all, but what if you could start your car or unlock your doors from an Apple Watch, without taking a step? Welcome to what’s next…
Hyundai’s BlueLink app works with iOS and Android devices, and looks very similar across both platforms. The functions allow you to lock and unlock the doors, start and stop the car, flash the lights, honk the horn, and even locate it from a distance. BlueLink also provides current statistics on the vehicle’s battery charge, and other important data.
Beyond supporting phones, BlueLink also features smartwatch integration with both Apple Watch and Android Wear. You can easily launch the watch companion, choose from specific functions within the interface and perform any action. There’s even voice control support within the smartwatch app that will utilize Google Now or Siri dictation to take your command and make it happen.
Check out our first look video below to see BlueLink in action:
How will this be practical? Well, let’s say it’s cold outside and you want to warm up the car for a bit before leaving the house. All you’d need to do is launch the app, tap the remote start icon, pick a running time duration, and set the temperature you’d like the car to be at when you get in. The app will send your request wirelessly to the vehicle. The same remote access works for unlocking or locking the doors, locating your vehicle with Google Maps, or even flashing the headlights and honking the horn to help you find the car in a packed parking lot. It’s pretty cool stuff.
Each time you send a command, you’ll be required to enter in a four digital PIN code which can get annoying at times, but it’s there for security reasons. I’d love to see this integrated with Touch ID on the iPhone or the simple “on-wrist” protection that Apple Watch offers. Unfortunately, at the moment, you’ll need to enter this PIN each time you’d like to control the vehicle.
BlueLink is a very cool service that Hyundai is putting together, and I’m looking forward to the future of connected cars, smart integration, and remote access. Connected cars are definitely the future, but are they worth buying right now?
Unlike smartphones, most people don’t upgrade their car every year, so it’s important to get in at a point when the technology is readily available and stable. I think that moment in time is coming very soon, and I’m definitely looking forward to it. It’s also important to note that BlueLink is a subscription service through Hyundai. What Hyundai is doing with this technology isn’t exactly new, since Tesla has been working on similar functionality for a while, but I’m glad to see more cars adding cloud-connected features. For a closer look at BlueLink and its smartphone/smartwatch integration, check out the video above.
Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: Apple, Apple watch, bluelink, Cars, Hyundai, iOS, iPhone, Smartphone, video
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Patently Apple notes that the trademark categories are broad, spanning everything from sporting events to wine sommelier services, reflecting the hugely diverse range of content covered by the two services.
Filed under: AAPL Company, Apps Tagged: App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, Apple trademarks, iOS, Siri, trademarks
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"With a 67 percent rise in Brand Value to $247 billion, Apple returned to number one in the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. Success of the iPhone 6 and the related excitement surrounding the Apple brand drove the increase. Apple also led in the rate of brand value growth over 10 years – 1,446 percent."
The top ten most valuable global brands in the report is made up almost entirely of technology and telecom companies, with Microsoft, IBM, Visa, AT&T, Verizon, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Marlboro rounding off the top ten after Apple and Google. Other notable technology companies on the list include Facebook (12th), Amazon (14th), HP (39th), Oracle (44th), Samsung (45th) and Twitter (92nd).
Millward Brown explains that its brand valuation methodology is based on three million consumers and more than 100,000 different brands in over 50 markets, with brand appeal measured against actual sales performance. The overall brand value of BrandZ's index saw a 14% year-over-year increase and 126% growth over the past decade.
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Millward Brown’s full report on its 10th annual brand equity ranking sheds light on why Apple regained its #1 ranking from Google. The company bases its rankings on the perceptions of more than 3 million consumers across 50 countries.
With a 67 percent rise in Brand Value to $247 billion, Apple returned to number one in the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. Success of the iPhone 6 and the related excitement surrounding the Apple brand drove the increase. Apple also led in the rate of brand value growth over 10 years – 1,446 percent.
The company noted that Apple’s remarkable growth in long-term brand equity was evident in the fact that it didn’t even make the top 100 brands when Millward Brown began its BrandZ measurements just ten years ago …
Apple’s ranking reflects the strength of both consumer loyalty to the brand, as well as trust in the company, says the report. It also notes that other brands have benefited from the popularity of Apple Pay.
Apple was buoyed by not only the iPhone 6 launch and news of the hotly anticipated Apple Watch, but also by the launch of HealthKit and Apple Pay. The latter in particular had spillover effects beyond the technology category – its launch partners like Bank of America also enjoyed a dose of consumer appreciation in connection with the product.
The full report suggests that Apple’s use of the Watch to reposition itself from a premium tech company to a luxury brand would help it stave off competition from Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi, which have been moving their products upmarket to compete with flagship models from established smartphone brands.
Having always sold premium products, Apple became more explicit about its luxury positioning with the introduction of the Apple Watch, and announced plans to refurbish Apple stores with sales counters and displays suggesting department store exclusivity. At the same time, premium positioning also presented Apple with one of its fundamental competitive challenges, as Chinese brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi and Indian makers like Micromax offered quality smart phones at much lower prices. Apple’s Brand Power remained a major advantage. Consumers were drawn both to the efficacy, ease of use and design of Apple products, and to the allure of the brand itself.
Apple of course tops many rankings, Forbes also naming it most valuable brand, Barron’s ranking it the world’s most respected company, and Berkshire Hathaway consistently ranking Apple as the world’s most admired company.
Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: AAPL, Apple awards, Apple Inc, Apple rankings, BrandZ, iPhone, Millward Brown, World's most valuable brand
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