For technology junkies, electricity is like crack cocaine. During a blackout, it can seem like users go through withdrawals without access to their precious internet and computers. Mobile devices are the best examples of this; when a user's smartphone battery is depleted, it is like the end of the world. They will sit on a filthy Starbucks floor just to charge their phone in an available outlet.
Sadly, more and more phone manufacturers are forgoing the removable battery option, making a battery swap an impossibility. Luckily, portable battery packs solve this issue, allowing users longer portability without needing to seek out an outlet. Today, Microsoft unveils its own such model.
If you cannot expand the storage capacity on a high-end smartphone, 16 GB of available space just isn't enough. Install all your favorite apps and games, maybe try a couple of new ones, add some music, use the device for a while, and you end up with an alarmingly-low available capacity. As someone who is using a 16 GB iPhone 6 Plus daily, I have to work around this restriction.
And I shouldn't have to, which is why I find Phil Schiller's arguments on why the company he represents as SVP still makes 16 GB iPhones to be disingenuous. Phil, at least be honest: it is all about the money.
With iOS 9, Apple is improving the mobile operating system in a number of areas. As well as optimizing battery life and storage efficiency, making Siri more intelligent and beefing up multitasking, Touch ID-enabled iPhone and iPad owners will feel the benefit of improved security.
When iOS 9 launches in the fall, the minimum length of passcodes increases from four digits to six. It is already possible to use passcodes of more than four digits, but enforcing a stronger policy from the offset illustrates the importance Apple now places on security.
It was not the industry's best-kept secret -- Sony let the cat out of the bag a little early -- but at WWDC today, Tim Cook officially took the wraps off Apple Music. Set to compete with the likes of Tidal and Spotify, Apple's new streaming music service sits neatly alongside iTunes and has the involvement of Dr Dre, Trent Reznor, and Jimmy Iovine to name but three.
Cook stepped into Steve Jobs' shoes for a moment, introducing the famous "one more thing" that has been missing from more recent Apple events. Not a company to hide its light under a bushel, Apple's Music service is not just a music streaming service, but "the next chapter in music". But there's more than just Apple Music; there's also Beats One, Apple's first ever radio station.
Expectations were high for iOS 9 news at WWDC, and Apple delivered. At the keynote speech at the developer conference we were introduced to the latest version of the operating system that will power iPhones and iPads the world over, with the promise that it has been "refined from the ground up".
What is there to look forward to? Lots. There are updates to Apple Pay, a new News app, updates to Notes, as well as an updated keyboard, split-screen app display, and even a picture-in-picture option. But the news that will get a lot of people excited is that there will be a public beta of iOS released.
Newsstand is set to disappear from the screens of iPhones and iPads all over the world. At today's WWDC keynote speech, Apple announced the Flipboard-inspired News. A customizable news aggregator, News presents users with a selection of content from media partners that include the New York Times, Conde Nast, and ESPN, and it will be built into iOS 9.
Like Flipboard et al, News learns from the types of media you consume and suggests content you might like to read. Noting the current levels of interest in privacy, Apple stressed that personal preferences and habits will never be shared with third parties. This is a theme that cropped up again and again during the keynote, with strong emphasis being placed on the fact that no data is shared externally and articles are not linked to other Apple services.
Pebble Time, the latest watch from the manufacturer, is beginning to slowly roll out, rewarding Kickstarter backers first. For those already sporting the wristwear, and who happen to be iPhone customers, Pebble has now released the official app to the iTunes store.
This will allow customers to begin setting up rewards, grabbing new watchfaces and getting apps for their new watch. Users can even manage software updates for the watch, contact support and drag to reorder the apps, a process that will sync to the watch.
If you are an adult that likes to visit Japanese porno websites on your iPhone or iPad, I will not judge you. It is your life and you can do with it what you want. Quite frankly, watching x-rated videos is safer than visiting sex workers, as you cannot catch a virus from your Apple device.
Or can you? While not a virus per se, Symantec has discovered a malicious app in the wild that is targeting iOS users that search for Japanese sex videos and visit certain spam links. Unfortunately, wearing a condom on your finger will not protect you -- here is how to stay safe.
Nine years ago, a NPR interviewer asked me about Google and other U.S. companies censoring search results in China. The question was one of morality -- to which I gave answer she didn't expect. That response, or my recollection of it, is appropriate for rather ridiculous and self-serving statements that Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly made two days ago.
"We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy", Cook said, Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch. "The American people demand it, the constitution demands it, morality demands it". Oh? What is moral? The answer I gave NPR in 2006 applies: There is no moral high ground in business. The high ground is quagmire, because all public companies -- Apple surely among them -- share a single, moral objective: Make profits for stockholders. Plain, pure, and simple.
All that it takes to mess with an iPhone user these days is a text message. Send it, and their beloved smartphone, along with its Messages app, will crash. You can do it from any phone, making this whole situation rather embarrassing for Apple.
Apple is now working on a fix for this annoying bug, which will be delivered in an upcoming iOS software update. In the meantime, however, the company has posted a workaround that should help iPhone users in case they encounter the nasty text message.
It does not take sophisticated software or advanced knowledge of iOS to cause an iPhone and its Messages app to crash, as a simple text message can do the job just fine. As an iPhone 6 Plus user, this is the first time that I am feeling vulnerable for using an Apple smartphone.
And I am not alone, as an increasing number of iPhone users are taking to Twitter to complain about this bug, which can be triggered with anyone who is also using an iPhone. The text that has to be sent contains a specific sequence, which triggers the crash.
I have a love/hate relationship with iOS. My iPad Air is a satisfying tablet; I enjoy using it, but I feel guilty. Why? I have some specific computing beliefs that Apple's operating system is at odds with. Namely, I do not like that users cannot change the default web browser. Even worse, I find it horrible that alternative browser engines cannot be used. While I am sure Apple has its reasons, it is an undeniably bad practice which harms users by limiting choice.
Firefox is not found on iOS for this reason. Mozilla initially refused to cave to Apple and release a neutered version without its own Gecko engine. Last year, however, Mozilla announced that it was bringing a version of the browser to the mobile operating system by saying, "we need to be where our users are so we're going to get Firefox on iOS". While I am still dismayed that browser will not use the Gecko engine on iOS, I've come to accept it as a necessity for Firefox to survive. Today, Mozilla announces that the project is still on track and a beta is on the way soon.
There has been another leak of an Apple smartphone -- far from an unusual event in itself, except this time Cupertino itself is responsible for spilling the image.
The Guardian spotted the picture which popped up on the Apple Store, advertising a new charging dock with a lightning connector. Inside the dock was an iPhone 5C with a difference – rather than a home button, it appears to have a fingerprint scanner.
Microsoft is reportedly planning another messaging app for the iPhone, this time utilizing Outlook contacts without all of the formalities on email.
Spotted by Twitter user @h0x0d, Microsoft has named the app Flow and is preparing to launch it in the coming months. Instead of sending an email with titles and signatures, Flow will allow Outlook contacts to chat like they would on Facebook Messenger or any other messaging platform.
I love my Nexus 6. This morning, while waking to the rush of caffeine from steaming coffee, I read headlines on the device. "I’m Phed Up With Phablets: They're too big to prevail" caught my attention. The short commentary, by Brian Rubin for ReadWrite, rails against the bigger-is-better-smartphone trend. Screen on my cellular is massive: 6 inches, and I forever promised myself to never use a phone so large -- until I did and converted. Much as I enjoy using the N6, for which I can still manage many operations one-handed, smaller would be my preference. Perhaps yours, too.
Here at BetaNews, we first raised doubts about ever-expanding screens four years ago. I still remember the discussion about the story, and more importantly the headline, before Ed Oswald wrote "Is that the Samsung Galaxy S II in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" In 2015, what seemed large then -- a 4.3-inch screen -- is puny. Even iPhones are bigger. Rubin rightly raises alarm about choice: "The real problem isn’t so much that there are too many phablets, but that there aren’t enough non-phablets these days -- at least none that are truly interesting".