12 people died in an attack on satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday. At time of writing, the situation in France is still unfolding, and technology companies have been quick to show their sympathy for the victims whilst voicing support for freedom of speech.
Google has donated €250,000 (around $300,000) to the targeted Charlie Hebdo title, which is expected to increase its print run more than tenfold for the next issue. The #JeSuisCharlie hashtag has spread across the internet like wildfire as people around the world offer support on Twitter, Facebook and other websites.
Mobile devices equipped with a kill switch are starting to become fairly common, in no small part thanks to Apple and Google, which have added this nifty security feature to their respective operating systems, iOS and Android. Now, US chip maker Qualcomm is also joining the party, albeit using a different approach, which, on paper at least, appears to be superior.
That's because Qualcomm has decided to go for a hardware kill-switch, which will first ship in its flagship mobile processor, Snapdragon 810. The main selling points? Users will be able to take advantage of it no matter which operating system runs on their Snapdragon 810-powered device, or whether the operating system offers such a feature or not.
We're only eight days into 2015, and Apple is already celebrating bumper sales in the App Store. Buoyed by impressive pre-Christmas hardware purchases, New Year's Day proved to be the biggest day ever for App Store sales. And in the first week of January, Apple enthusiasts spent almost half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases.
Sales and income are very much on the rise. Last year was a record-breaker for developers who managed to pull in more than $10 billion in revenue. iPad, iPod and iPhone owners have already helped to earn developers $25 billion, and spending shows no sign of slowing down.
Apple has filed a patent for a flexible phone (or more broadly a flexible portable device), which can be bent or even folded up without damaging its internal components.
Given the bendgate controversy of last year, whereby Apple’s new iPhone 6 models were found to bend slightly (as pictured above) in some cases -- but then, as was later proved, so can any thin metal phone -- there are bound to be a few jokes cracked about this one.
Power -- or running out of it -- is a perennial problem for mobile phone users. As handset screens grow and processors become more powerful, the demand placed on batteries is constantly increasing. It's quite common to hear people complaining that their phone won't last the day without needing a recharge.
Something of a cottage industry has sprung up in third party batteries and charging cases. One name that has been around for some time is Mophie, and at CES 2015 the company took the wraps off three new power cases; two for iPhone 6 and one for iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple is now finally selling SIM-free, unlocked iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus through its online and brick and mortar stores. The new models, which come nearly four months after the two devices launched, are available in all storage configurations, starting at $649 and $749, respectively.
Apple makes things slightly complicated for those looking to purchase an unlocked iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, as the company is advertising two "Unlocked and contract-free" models, for each of the two devices, on its site. The model that is available starting today is labeled "SIM-free", while the other one bears T-Mobile's logo. Be careful which one you buy, if you plan on using it in US or abroad.
Jump on the iDevice bandwagon and one of the first decisions you'll need to make is choosing capacity. This may be determined largely by budget, but what if you run out of space further down the line? Not many people are in a position to just invest in the same device with more space, but Leef iBRIDGE is a neat plug-in solution.
Just as you can expand the storage space of your computer or laptop with a USB drive, Leef iBRIDGE works in much the same way for your Apple device. Available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities, the little plug-in modules give you a little breathing room for more music and photos.
Do you remember the old Nokia bricks—even the Finnish manufacturer's early smartphones? They were tanks. They were the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of mobiles—handsome and rugged. Then along came iPhone, and beauty bested brawn. Eight years after Apple cofounder Steve Jobs showed off the first prototype during January Macworld, design ethics applied to the original curse millions of iPhone owners today. The mobile is too destructible.
In July 2014, I wrote about my 20 year-old daughter's breakage streak: Three shattered iPhone 5s screens in about three months. The photo you see, taken on Christmas Day, is what her newest replacement looks like today. What's wrong with this picture? Need I even ask? The mobile's delicate design features are lost in protective gear that shouldn't be necessary. iPhone is flawed by design.
Oh the irony! I got up yesterday morning planning to write a version of the post you read now, choosing instead to look back at readers' life-changing tech. The trigger: Motorola starting the New Year with a 64GB Moto X model and my previous day's personal tech devices wrap-up, which got me to thinking abut smartphone differentiation. Processing power, graphics chips, and the like are passé. Who really cares but a minority of gadget geeks? But storage matters to everyone, and Apple gets it—as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus capacities demonstrate.
My feeds are full of reports this morning about a lawsuit filed against Apple alleging that iOS 8 consumes too much storage and, as such, the company misrepresents the amount available. I would have looked so smart writing yesterday about how much Apple gives that competitors don't. That's okay, now my analysis has a news hook. The point, for people reading no more than two paragraphs of any story: iPhone 6 capacities outclass competitors, and the problem of operating systems consuming much of available storage isn't new or exclusive to the fruit-logo company. Just look to Google and Microsoft, for example.
It's at this time of year that many people start a diet -- and it's something that Apple might want to think about as well. Two US men are suing Apple because they believe iOS 8 is too big. Or, as the lawsuit puts it, uses an "unexpectedly large percentage of the storage capacity on 8 GB and 16 GB iPhones, iPads and iPods".
Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara complain that Apple failed to warn users that upgrading to the latest version of iOS could mean filling up to 23.1 percent of the available storage space. The lawsuit goes on to suggest that Apple is using the fact that users are likely to run out of space to push its iCloud storage service.
A new way of powering your smartphone has been released that can provide a week’s worth of charge using renewable energy sources.
Upp is a portable power solution utilizing hydrogen fuel cells that should charge any USB-compatible device.
Looking back on this last day of the year, I wonder how my daily tech changed so much since the first. On Jan. 1, 2014, my core computing comprised Chromebook, Nexus tablet, and Nexus smartphone. Midyear, I switched out to all Microsoft—buying Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia Icon. While commendable the effort, Windows poorly fit my lifestyle. Today, I'm all Apple—13-inch MacBook Pro Retina Display with 512GB SSD, iPhone 6 128GB, and iPad Air 128GB. I can't imagine using anything else.
Following the lead of my BetaNews colleagues Mihaita Bamburic, Ian Barker, Alan Buckingham, Brian Fagioli, and Wayne Williams, I review my year in tech, and unlike 2013 focus on products that released during the year. I present my 2014 personal tech alphabetically, from company name, rather than order of importance—because they all matter. Note: While the list looks like four, it's five because the first is two combined.
A new report has revealed that Apple devices were a hugely popular Christmas gift this year, trumping smartphone rivals.
Flurry’s annual Christmas report found that 51.3 percent of new devices activated on Christmas Day were manufactured by Apple, compared with 17.7 percent by Samsung and 5.8 percent by Nokia.
I'm not easily impressed. Lots of tech products see the light of day each year, but only a few I consider to be truly great. And by that I mean technology that I want to have in my life, that brings value, and, last but not least, that makes me feel good. The subjective factor is just as important, I believe, when it comes to the things that I have to look at and interact with on a daily basis. That's just the way it is, and I'm fine with it.
Because of this, a pretty long list can get really, really short in no time. My colleagues have already shared their favorite tech products of 2014 with you, and now the time has come for me to do the same. It's BetaNews tradition, after all. So, without further ado, here they are.
From now on, if you buy an app, music track or book from iTunes and change your mind, you can get your money back in the first two weeks, no questions asked -- if you are in the EU, anyway. Distance selling laws mean that a 14-day cooling off period is in place, so it is possible to get a refund on anything bought through iTunes in this timeframe.
It doesn’t matter if you don't like an app or album, something doesn't work as it should, or you just need your money back after an impulse purchase, the cash will be returned to you without question. One the face of it, this is great news for consumers, but the outlook is potential less rosy for app developers, authors and musicians.