Apple is a company that, generally speaking, likes to keep itself to itself -- but that's not to say it doesn't like to keep its finger on the pulse and learn about what others are talking about. This is demonstrated perfectly by the company's latest purchase. This time around Apple has invested a reported $200 million in Topsy Labs, a social media analytics firm that specializes in monitoring trends on Twitter.
Topsy has access to every single tweet sent since Twitter inception back in 2006, making it the most extensive database of the micro-blogging service. The information available through Topsy is the sort of data that would prove immensely useful to advertisers, but at this stage it is not clear just how Apple intends to use the information. Topsy Labs' tool can be used to monitor trends on Twitter, check the topics that are being discussed, as well as determining the success and impact of online campaigns.
Online backup and sharing provider Dropbox has released Dropbox for iOS 3.0, a major update to its app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. Version 3.0 debuts a new design, AirDrop support and streamlines the iPad user experience.
It also comes with improved sharing and exporting tools, promises faster performance and squashes a number of bugs, hopefully reducing the number of times the app crashes.
According to a new survey from Strategy Analytics, Windows Phone development is expected to ramp up significantly in 2014. Of the 1,600 interviewed devs, 32 percent plan to support the tiled smartphone operating system next year, a number that is twice as large compared to the current statistics for 2013. Android and iOS continue to rank as the top two picks, followed by HTML5 in third place and Windows Phone in fourth.
This is certainly good news for both Microsoft and Windows Phone users. The platform should receive more quality apps, an area where it is sorely lacking in numbers, and, as a result, gain more followers in the coming years. The third ecosystem dream, as Strategy Analytics says, is becoming real. The only thing that stands in the way is the developers' commitment.
Take a look at your wallet. How many debit cards, credit cards and loyalty cards do you have? If it's anything like mine it is probably bursting at the seams with an inch or more of plastic cards. Reach the checkout in a store and you may well have ended up red-faced as you rummage for the right payment and loyalty card. With Coin, all of this could come to an end. The idea of a catch-all replacement that combines multiple cards into one is not new, but thus far solutions have taken the form of mobile apps. Coin is different -- this is a real card that acts as many.
Coins have a tendency to weigh down your pockets, but this Coin is a single lightweight unit. The card features an integrated display which you can use to view the last four digits of a stored card along with the expiration data and CVV so you, and the person you hand the card to, knows which of your stored cards you are using. You may well have used a mobile app that replaces loyalty cards, and Coin is taking this idea to the next level.
While Microsoft has its own mobile operating system with Windows Phone 8, the company generously supports its competitor's products too. After all, with its own OS having such a small user base comparatively, it would be insane not to.
Back in June, the company's flagship non-OS software, Office 365, was released for Apple's iOS to the surprise of many. Today, while less of a surprise, Microsoft announces some major changes to its cloud-storage SkyDrive app.
I'm a Surface Pro user; that I won't deny. I also own an iPad -- it's an old iPad 2, but it still does the job. It may not have the fancy 'more pixels than you can see without the aid of a microscope' display of newer models, but it's perfectly functional. However I'd still pick the Surface over Apple's tablet for just about everything. I'll admit I was tempted by the idea of an iPad Air when it was launched, but after thinking it over a little, I decided to stick with the old model and continue to enjoy my Surface Pro.
But the time will come when I am in the market for a new tablet. Having had my attention flagged by the iPad Air, it would seem that it would be a toss-up between the Surface 2 (Pro or regular) and Apple's offering. However much I think about it, I still find myself falling on the side of the Surface. Why? Several reasons:
It’s been in development for a long time, but PC remote control app ROCCAT Power-Grid is finally available for iOS and Android devices. And so you’re now able to view your PC’s status, launch and control programs, monitor emails/ Twitter/ Facebook, play music and more, all from the comfort of your own smartphone.
This is just the start, though. You’re also able to create your own "grids", collections of tools which help you to control particular programs or perform various tasks. It’s possible to download and install grids created by others, too, and just browsing these will give you an idea of what Power-Grid can do.
Canadian maker BlackBerry is expanding the reach of its BBM service through the latest update for the iOS app, that now includes support for non-cellular Apple-branded devices. As a result, Wi-Fi iPad and iPod users can also communicate with their BBM-using friends, as the app no longer limits access only to iPhones and 3G/4G iPads.
BlackBerry has yet to bestow non-cellular Android devices with the same ability, as BBM is still listed as being incompatible with tablets like the Wi-Fi 2013 Google Nexus 7 even in the latest version of the app that arrived yesterday. Now let's take a look at what (else) the Android and iOS updates for BBM add.
There's nothing stopping tablet owners from making use of mobile websites, but apps are where it is at. Gmail has a perfectly serviceable website, but the app does make many tasks easier to perform. Today, Google takes the lid off a completely redesigned version of its iPad app which has been designed to make it easier to do more, whether you choose to work in landscape or portrait mode.
Despite the fact that this release is, based on version number at least, a small move forward -- this is version 2.7182 -- there are a lot of changes, some cosmetic, some functional. Landscape mode benefits from the addition of a new navigation bar that can be used to switch between accounts and categories. This is essentially an iPad friendly version of the tabbed inbox that has been introduced online.
Five words, 25 letters, all indicating the latest addition to Apple's growing iPad family. Let's try to skirt over the name that extends to almost Tolstoyan lengths before we get too bogged down in it. But it does bear mentioning that this is a name no one is going to use; this is the iPad mini, perhaps the 'new' iPad mini to help differentiate from its predecessor. However it's not just the official title that's big… there's that price tag too.
While the price is not a new revelation -- we knew about it when the new iPad mini was announced a few weeks back -- now that the latest model is actually available to purchase, it seems a good time to reassess it. Head over to the Apple website and you can pick up the diminutive tablet for $399. And that's just the base price.
Cloud storage service Mega arrived with a bang early this year, after its controversial founder Kim Dotcom revealed that users will get a whopping 50 GB of storage at no cost. The man's involvement with the defunct Megaupload certainly piqued people's interest, with more than three million users trying or relying on the service within the first month.
More than nine months after its launch, Mega has announced, via its official blog, the end of the beta stage. The cloud storage service now touts "significant improvements and optimizations" as well as a refreshed look for the site. Let's take a look at what's new.
Sometimes there is revolution in evolution. That's my surprising reaction to iPad Air, which Apple started selling on November 1. This is simply the best tablet I have ever used. Period. The fruit-logo company wisely chose to resist reinventing the wheel and build a vehicle around four instead.
For people who complain -- and there are many -- that Apple's newest 9.7-inch tab shows waning innovation, let me correct the record. You are oh-so wrong. iPad Air is an amazingly refined piece of art -- like a sculpture chiseled to perfection. iPad 3 and 4 are unpolished bricks by comparison. More importantly, anyone looking for a tablet to largely, or completely, replace a Windows PC or Mac, Air is it.
Google groupies make too much of third quarter tablet shipment estimates released yesterday. By IDC's reckoning, Apple's global share fell from 40.2 percent to 29.6 percent year over year. Meanwhile, Samsung soared from 12.4 percent to 20.4 percent share. The whole Android market grew at iPad's expense -- that's the popular contention smirked across the InterWebs. Yeah, right.
Apple apologists are quick to give the money rebuttal whenever market share tides turn against the products -- that the fruit-logo company earns more per device than rivals, sometimes all of them combined. The revenue rebuttal is exhausting for being so predictable but often also it's right and no truer than the tablet market. Q3 share numbers make lots of sense behind CEO Tim Cook's shocking decision to raise iPad mini 2 prices by $70 over the original -- that's about 22 percent. Profit share is his priority.
Flexibits has released Fantastical 2 for iPhone, a major new update for its popular calendar app (which, despite its moniker, also works natively on the iPad). Fantastical 2, which is also available for Mac, is designed to work with existing calendar services -- including iCloud and Google -- but adds a more powerful front end for managing and viewing reminders.
Version 2.0 has been redesigned from the ground up to blend in with the new flatter look of iOS 7, but also ships with a number of major new features.
I like unusual games, and the original Papa Sangre really appealed to me. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s essentially a sound-only game for iOS in which you listen for 3D audio clues as to where you are and the direction you need to be going in. The follow up, The Nightjar (featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch), added more of a story to the proceedings, and now in time for Halloween, Papa Sangre returns.
I was one of the beta testers for the new game, and I’m pleased to report Papa Sangre II is a massive improvement over the original. The rebuilt binaural processing Papa Engine does an amazing job of recreating a 3D soundscape in your mind and the addition of actor Sean Bean’s vocal talents, a choice of control systems and some inspired levels -- one moment you’re escaping a burning house, the next shooting ducks in the dark -- combine to create a very rewarding experience.