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.
Apple took center stage this week. At a special event the new iPad Air, iPad mini, Mac Pro and a raft of free software were all revealed, and we liveblogged through the whole thing. Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Apple decided to give Mavericks away free of charge along with iWork and iLife. But it was the iPad Air and mini that stole the show, sharing the same innards as the recently announced iPhone 5s, but boasting a redesigned exterior -- at least in the case of the Air.
Of course, no tablet launch would be complete without matching cases. There was also the interestingly designed Mac Pro which looks delightful and is a serious powerhouse, but has a price tag to match. After the big launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple showed off the latest addition to the iPhone range in a TV commercial.
When you spend a sizable amount of money on a device, it's understandable that you wish to have a bit of insurance on your investment, and a fair amount of us do that by purchasing a protective case. Apple is no stranger to the accessory market and today pushes it a bit further, announcing new offerings for its latest iPad devices.
These protective wombs for your tablet are available in a range of colors. The Smart Covers for iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display will retail for $39, and hit the market in a choice of blue, green, pink, yellow, black and red.
Despite being billed in the press as an iPad event, Apple announced much more than just the iPad Air and new iPad mini today. As well as improved hardware it revealed its OS update Mavericks would be free, and the giveaways didn’t stop there.
Its iWork productivity apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- and its iLife creativity apps -- iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand -- have been redesigned to take full advantage of OS X Mavericks and iOS 7, updated to 64-bit, integrated with iCloud and made entirely free. They’ll come bundled with new Macs or iOS devices. If you’re an existing user, and running Mavericks or iOS 7, you’ll be able to update to the new versions. Not planning on buying new hardware and not an existing user? You’ll still need to pay to get them, I’m afraid.
It was a feature-packed morning of announcements where it seems as though Apple was going to give away everything for free. Sadly the freebies are limited to software and the new range of hardware has to be purchased in the regular way. The big news for tablet fans is the iPad Air. Borrowing its name -- in part at least -- from the MacBook Air range, thinner and faster are the adjectives of the day.
Phil Schiller said: "Thinner, lighter, more powerful than ever before, and incredibly, excitingly new that it deserves a new name: iPad Air". Boasting the same A7 processor as the recently announced iPhone 5s, the iPad Air is just 7.5mm thick and weighs 1 pound -- compare this to 9.4mm and 1.4 pounds for the previous model. Despite the thinner design and smaller battery size, we can still expect 10 hours of usage from the tablet which offers up to eight times the performance of the original iPad, and up to 72 times the GPU performance.
BlackBerry has relaunched BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for Android and iOS, almost a month after its previous attempt was derailed by a leaked edition.
This time the company appears to be keeping more control over events, in particular by making some users wait for an official notification email before they can use the app.
Back at the start of this month, Hulu Plus for Chromecast made an appearance, but aimed only for Android phones and tablets, as well as iPad customers. Those using Apple's platform as a smartphone device were feeling a bit left out, but today the streaming video service aims to right the ship.
"Today, we are excited to add the Chromecast integration for Hulu Plus to your iPhones", announces Hulu's Karan Nischol. "The Hulu Plus integration with Chromecast will convert your app into a custom remote letting you control video on your Chromecast connected TVs, while allowing you to browse the Hulu Plus app directly from your iPhone", the statement continues.
More and more business users are shunning a traditional desktop or laptop for tablets and smartphones. While tablets are great for consuming information, with the help of keyboard attachments, they are sufficient at creation too. However, tablets and smartphones are very personal devices; they are not optimized to handle a conference call for multiple users. Today, Logitech announces a product designed to solve this dilemma -- the Mobile Speakerphone P710e.
The company says, "with the Mobile Speakerphone, you can be more productive with hands-free access to your mobile device of choice and an integrated experience for video conferencing and conference calls. Whether you’re hosting your noon conference call using your mobile device in a hotel room or joining a call from a conference room in your local office with your PC, the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone is the ideal travel companion for the mobile employee or small business owner".
Apple's first TV ad for the iPhone 5s shows off the gold version of the phone, but fails to mention the existence of the space gray and silver models. Backed with Goldfrapp's Ooh La La, the commercial seems to draw inspiration from the liquid metal effects seen in Terminator 2. There have already been ads for the cheaper iPhone 5c but this is the first time the premium version of the iPhone has been showcased on television.
In the ad, ribbons of liquid gold swirl and intertwine before converging and melding together to form the body of the iPhone. Shortly after airing, the advertisement was also uploaded to Apple's YouTube channel. As is the norm with Apple, comments are disabled, but it's likely that views and shares will rocket over the coming day.
This was another week in which Microsoft managed to steal the show, this time with the public release of Windows 8.1. Here at BetaNews we were fully prepared for the upgrade and showed off what's new. While we're generally impressed with the update, there's still a little room for improvement. Of course the Start menu (or lack thereof) is still a sticking point, but you can get this back. The operating system update was preceded by a raft of updates to Window's built in apps.
Windows 8.1 may be where it's at right now, but there are still plenty of people running Windows XP. Google announced that Chrome users on XP would be supported for a year after the OS is retired.
Microsoft's big release of the day may be Windows 8.1, but it doesn't end there. The desktop operating system may have stolen the headlines today, but Microsoft also recognizes the importance of mobile devices. The company is not only concerned with its own devices, realizing that Apple and Android still dominate the mobile arena. But this does not mean that mobile users do not need access to Windows PCs -- hence the release of Microsoft Remote Desktop for iOS and Android.
The prospect of running Windows on an Android or iOS device may be a little way off yet, but it can be achieved via remote access -- which has the handy side effects of making it possible to access files, apps and anything else that might be needed whilst away from your computer. There is no shortage of remote desktop apps in the App Store, but Microsoft's offering aims to keep things simple. As you would expect, this is an app -- free of course -- that can be used to control a Windows PC from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device.