Tag Archives: iPhone

The “Flattening” Effect

Messages Icon Before and After

The iPhone and iPad user interface is expected to change dramatically by making it “flatter,” putting it in line with many already similarly-styled apps available for iOS.

Since lead Apple hardware designer, Jony Ive, in control of the look and feel of iOS, it’s more than likely that the hardware chief will also see major changes to the user interface aesthetic and design as well. According to reports, the “flat” design will more specifically simplify the icons and user interface.

Some experienced Apple watchers expect iOS 7 to take an ‘refresh’ approach in terms of user interface changes, as the company did with OS X over the years. The design was tweaked version-on-version, rather than being significantly overhauled.

Exactly how far these changes will go remains to be seen. Designer Tim Green created a mock-up that gives an idea of what the new user interface could look like.

iOS 7 App Icon Mock Up

iOS 7 also appears to be adding additional sharing options and deeper integrations with social apps like Vimeo and Flickr. At some point next week, we will have a better view of what to expect.

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WWDC Announced for June 10-14

WWDC Logo and Date
In case you’ve missed it (and I know I’ve been gone for a long time) but Apple announced way back in April that their annual WWDC (Worldwide Developes Conference) is going down from June 10 – 14, 2013. Can’t wait.

Besides the fact that this event is mainly focused at bring together app/software developers from around the world, Apple has in past used this event to unveil some new products and tweaks to existing products, but mainly OSX and iOS in recent years.

Here’s a quick run down of what to expect and what could happen.

FOR SURE

iOS 7 IconiOS 7This will be officially announced and previewed at the week-long event. Apparently we’re in for a “flattening” affect when it comes to the entire iOS interface and experience. Apps going from ‘bubbly’ to flat and simple. Combine that with a slew of other updates, this update appears to tweak rather than WOW anyone.

OS X 10.9
As is the case with the last two years at WWDC, there’s a new version coming… but not public yet. Things that could be making an appearance in the next generation of OSX included things like Apple maps, Siri and even more iOS-like options. They’re slowly blurring the lines between the mobile and desktop operating systems.

MAYBE

Fingerprint recognition and security features in the next software update
Considering the fact that Apple applied for a patent of this technology a few years ago, there might finger print recognition software or some other variable that allows user more security when using their mobile devices. Heck, we could even see the first announcement of NFC coming to the next generation of iDevices.

iRadio
This is one of the ones that seems most likely to happen than any of the others. I’ve even seen a few leaked images of possible logos for iRadio coming to all iDevices and possible built right into iTunes. Not entirely sure on the details of this one, but I personally stopped listening to Radio 3-4 years ago. It’s boring. Maybe this will bring it back.

iWatch
For months (actually years) people seem to want to believe there’s an iWatch out there somewhere that people would like if you could integrate it with your phone so you can see who’s calling before you look at your phone to see…. who’s calling. I don’t know, but let’s see if this happens.

Cheaper-priced iPhone
Tim Cooke mentioned something that would appeal to vertical markets… Whatever that means, maybe a cheaper price point iPhone? Not sure if this is legit yet, but might happen.

New Mac Pro debut
While there hasn’t been a major update in two years, Apple still claims that this market is “very important” to Apple and they have something really cool to show the world.

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Next iPhone May Have a Smaller Dock Connector (Rumour)

Smaller Dock Comparison

Recent reports suggest that Apple has developed a smaller dock connector that will be used on the next generation iPhone (set for announcement and release this fall). If those rumours are true, the dock connector could become a 19 pin connect as opposed to the 30 pin connector we’re used to with all iDevices to date.

Some of my other sources report that aftermarket car audio manufacturers, such as Kenwood and Alpine have started developing a new line of connecting cables that will be compatible with a smaller dock connector.

While none of this has been confirmed by Apple, theres plenty of proof to suggest that this is the next step, including claims that Apple wants the next generation iPhone to be thinner and have a larger screen… and in order to make that possible something’s gotta give. A smaller connector would allow the earphone to be moved to the bottom of the device, allowing more room in the top region for possible NFC technology, larger screen or something else?

Does this spell great news or terrible news for users that already own docking system that support the old 30 pin design? Well, if this slimmer dock connection is true, you won’t be able to use the new phone on those older devices – at least not without an adapter.

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Apple Orders Larger iPhone Screens For Next Generation (Rumour)

Larger Screen iPhone Mock UpA mocked up image of a larger screen iPhone! According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has ordered screens from a supply chain in Asia that are the biggest yet seen on any previous iPhone device since launching in 2007. Reports suggest that manufacturing of the 4-inch diagonal screens is set to begin next month.

The current iPhone 4S has a physical screen size of 3.5 inches. The source reports that the larger screen is Apple’s way of keeping up with increased competition, from devices like the Samsung Galaxy, which has the largest smartphone screen on the market – 4.8 inches.

Of course, Apple hasn’t confirmed nor denied these claims, but experts love to speculate. I think a larger screen should be in order for the next generation iPhone, but they should (and likely will) consider that making the screen too large could jeopardize comfort of use. If the screen goes too large, we may not be able to use one hand when using the on screen keyboard. I can still comfortably use one hand, and one thumb to navigate the entire screen surface area as it stands, and would be bummed out if that wasn’t possible once the screen get larger.

The benefits could be things like 5 icons wide on the home screen, and less scrolling when you’re using your phone to view websites and/or using apps. There’s some food for thought.

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iPhone 4N May Be Next (Rumour)

iPhone 4 Side Hero Shot
If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next generation iPhone (most have called it “iPhone 5”) you may have to wait a little longer. On a recent domain name registration that has leaked online, it seems as though Apple just revealed the name of the next Apple iPhone, the iPhone 4N; Based on whois record below:

Apple iPhone 4N Domain Registration

What is interesting (and perhaps suspect) is that this domain name, iPhone4n.com, was registered through Godaddy, and not MarkMonitor. A review of the Apple iPhone.com domain name shows that the registrar is MarkMonitor and not Godaddy. This might just be a formality, as once you purchase a domain name it can be transferred to another registrar in the future.

The timing of this new registration is interesting, with this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in June, it would make sense to secure this domain ahead of any formal announcement.

And because the latest iPad went from the iPad 2 to the New iPad, not the iPad 3, The iPhone 4N name would be inline with what we saw in March with the New iPad.

While it’s all just speculation, I believe we can confidently say that if the next generation iPhone keep the “4” in the same somewhere, that we won’t see a complete redesign of the phone itself, rather we’ll get the same physical device with more upgrades – maybe even NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. Making it possible to pay for everyday purchases from your iPhone. No need for physical credit or debit cards cards.

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“iPhone 5” LM Concept (Mock Up)

Before anyone yells “fraud” – I should preface this post by saying that the following pictures are not official and are just renderings by Antoine Brieux’s and his perception of the next-gen iPhone.

iPhone 5 Mock Up Rendering

I had to share, because his view is so enthusiastic and definitely included elements I hope (and wish) for in the next generation iPhone, set for announcement this summer – if we’re lucky at the WWDC in June. The neatest idea is that of a virtual ‘Home Button’ that would replace the physical one we’ve gotten used to. It’s always good to dream – and dream big.

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iPad 2 vs. The New iPad: What’s New?

iPad 2 and The New IPad Side by Side

So a little under a month now since the release of The New iPad and I get asked a few of the same questions, “Should I buy the iPad 2 for $399?” and “Is it worth getting rid of my iPad 2 to get the new iPad?” – So to answer those very two questions, I’ve summarized the main features that stand out when it comes to shopping for a new iPad.

Outside.
The iPad 2 and new iPad have the same outer design with slight modifications that wouldn’t be noticeable unless you compared them side by side. The New iPad is 0.03 inches thicker than the iPad 2 and 0.11 lbs. heavier. So any case/holder that you had for your aging iPad 2 won’t fit The New iPad. Sorry.

New iPad Retina DisplayDisplay.
Apple’s main landing page has the headline: “RESOLUTIONARY”, and that it is. The physical size of the screen hasn’t changed (Still 9.7″ since the iPad 1) but there are many more pixels in that same area. 3.1 million pixels in the 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina Display on the new iPad is pretty sweet. The higher resolution makes it look as if you are holding an HDTV in your hand; pictures look incredibly crisp, video even crisper, and text is much sharper – If clarity is a major factor, this is for you.

iPad 2 vs. New iPad Screen Comparison

Inside.
The new iPad’s A5x processor with quad-core graphics is faster the previous iPad’s A5 processor. The new processor helps make beautiful graphics possible. When I compared a game like Infinity Blade on the new iPad and the iPad 2, the difference was clear (and sharper). The game on the new iPad was more vivid and more responsive, actually felt more like a video game console as opposed to a tablet.

Things like web browsing, checking e-mail, reading books and standard apps performed at the same speed they did on the iPad 2. No noticeable improvement there.

New iPad Dictation IconDictation.
Introduced exclusively for the new iPad you can now speak your notes in to the new iPad’s mic and it will translate your speech into text entering directly into a new note, email, iMessage. Originally rumoured to be Siri on the new iPad – it’s not. Great concept and idea, but nothing something I’d personally find THAT useful. I’m sure there’s lots of people out there that were just waiting for this feature. Who knows, we may see Siri in a future generation iPad, but not this time around.

iSight IconCamera.
The new iPad comes equipped with an iSight 5.0 megapixel camera. Let’s face it, the iPad 2’s camera wasn’t that great, often taking grainy and blurry pictures. Not as great as the iPhone 4s’s 8 megapixel monster, it does take noticeably better pictures.
Ask yourself – how often will you be using your tablet to snap pictures?

LTE 4G.
The new iPad is equipped with LTE (4G) wireless cellular network capability. Which means that if your mobile carrier offers LTE, it will perform faster than older technology 3G. This ‘upgrade’ will be most noticeable for someone that’s constantly on the go and not often connected to a wifi network.

Below is a side-by-side chart with the numbers so you can have an table of the differences.
iPad 2 vs. New iPad Comparison

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OS X “Mountain Lion” Preview

Mountain Lion IconIf you just got used to OS X Lion and how it works, get ready to expand what you’ve learned, Apple has released a developer’s preview of the next cat-themed operating system for the Mac; “Mountain Lion”. Just like the previous version, this new version has taken more bits out of iOS in appearance and functionality. Features included in this revamped OS will include iMessage, Game Center, Reminders and even Notifications right into the operating system.

Starting today, Mac developers are able to begin testing this latest version with an expected public release in the second or third quarter of 2012 – I’m going to guess it will be available in the summer 2012. While price has not yet been established, you can expect this to be readily available for download from the Mac App Store. Considering the OSX Lion was available for $30, I’m going to assume that the upgrade price will be fairly reasonable, if not free for those that already paid for the Lion update seven months ago.

In case you were paying attention in October 2011 when Tim Cook took centre-stage at the keynote address which unveiled the iPhone 4s, he was serious when he said that iCloud will be the company’s strategy for the ‘next decade’, and that’s clearly more evident with the iOS integration of this desktop OSX release.

Mountain Lion on Mac Devices

Here’s a short list of features you can expect from Mountain Lion:

Built-in iCloud integration. Setting up iCloud will be the second thing you do after setting up a new Mac with Mountain Lion. The big new thing in this version will be the ease with which you can access Documents in the Cloud, which will allow your documents created in Pages (or some other third-party apps) to be available on any Mac OS or iOS device.

iMessage on Mac. Many people have been asking for this, and finally we’re going to get it. The Messages app, which will appear very familiar to iOS users, replaces iChat. It’ll let you start a conversation on a Mac and continue it on a different device, like your iPhone or iPad.

Notes and Reminders. Any notes you make on a Mac or iOS device, along with any reminders you set for yourself, will show up on any of your Mac or iOS devices. Both apps can be searched and look easier to navigate with the additional screen space of a desktop. Notes can be “pinned” to your desktop.

Mountain Lion Notification CentreNotifications. Just like the drop-down Notification Center on iOS, the Mac is getting its own version in the top right corner of the screen. All reminders, app alerts, calendar appointments will appear there. And just like iOS, Mountain Lion Notification Center has its own swipe to bring up the window — two fingers right to left from the right edge of the trackpad.

Mountain Lion Sharing OptionsSharing from apps. That sharing arrow that appears in iOS apps? Apple has inserted it in many Mac applications and dubbed it Share Sheet. That button will let you share web pages, notes, videos, Quicktime files, docs and photos via email, Messages, AirDrop, Twitter or post photos or video to Vimeo or Flickr.

Twitter integration in the OS. This is kind of a big deal for Twitter. When you share something via Twitter in Mountain Lion, a Tweet Sheet pops up, which looks like an index card with whatever it is you’re tweeting attached via paper clip.

GameCenter. Apple’s social gaming network comes to the desktop, and brings with it a new opportunity for developers. With a new set of GameKit APIs, game creators can develop games for both Mac and iOS, so players can compete whether they’re on an Apple desktop or mobile device. Current Game Center-compatible iOS games will have to be converted to appear in the Mac App Store.

AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV. Just like an iPad or iPhone 4S, you will be able to mirror your Mac desktop on your TV via an Apple TV (as long as your Mac has an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor).

New security features. Gatekeeper lets users select settings to control which apps can be downloaded to a computer. You can choose to allow all apps, or only apps with a developer-signed ID program (run by Apple) to be downloaded. Or, for the most conservative choice, only apps from the Mac App Store.

Mountain Lion on IMac and MacBook Air

As you can see from all the feature seeing added, the heart of this newest OS X will be iCloud – it doesn’t matter where you start a game or save a document or note, it will be available for you anytime, on any device. Sounds a lot like the iPad or iPhone, now in desktop form. And why not? … This is strategically the way Apple plans to get more and more non-Mac users to make the switch and come on over.

Siri App IconOne glaring omission on this latest release is Siri; the personal assistant unveiled as an iOS standard app for iPhone 4S users, hasn’t been announced as part of this release. Likely since Apple feels like Siri is still in beta mode on the iPhone. I’m going to say that while Siri isn’t ready for a release in OS X yet, she will be making an appearance in the near future.

There you have it. Get ready for all this to be officially announced in March and/or June at Apple’s annual WWDC.

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App Review: Evi Personal Assistant

Evi iPhone App IconIn case you missed the news, (or haven’t upgraded to the iPhone 4S yet) there’s another personal assistant that fills the void left by those that don’t have access to Siri. Enter Evi; a 99-cent app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Evi is strictly an information gatherer, grabbing you Internet search results or links to answer your varying questions, which you either speak or type.

While Evi is an interesting app that seems to have the potential to be a viable substitute for Siri. During its release, Evi received a lot of negative reviews as the application frequently failed to connect to its servers due to poor forecasting of traffic. This has seemingly been improved with upgraded servers as the application is much faster and responsive than it was at release. Evi’s voice recognition has yet to fail at identifying commands it’s given and like Siri, Evi provides the user with witty replies for questions asked of it that are not common place.

The primary shortfall of Evi is in the resources utilizes for it’s responses. Evi constantly directs the user to websites that have mediocre content. For the sake of example, the user could ask Evi where to buy pants and Evi would reply with a retail store close to the users GPS position. The issue with the resources, is rather than provide the user with a large and reputable store, the resource it pulls from would provide a company never heard of before.

Evi is also a stand-alone app that has no integration into the other apps in iOS. When given a command like “Compose e-mail”, Evi will provide you with a link to Yahoo mail website rather than open a new message from the e-mail app. This again touches on the poor resources Evi utilizes because lets be serious, who uses Yahoo these days?

Overall the functionality is there with this app and it has huge potential for its use. The development needs a lot of work and with the right attention to detail this app could be incredibly successful. As it stands today, for $0.99 it is still a fun app to mess around with and deserves credit for its effort. With the right implementations this app can be just as good if not better than Siri.

*A special thanks to kevolove for his contributions on this review.

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iRecognize You

Face Recognition ImageAbout a year behind Facebook’s application towards facial recognition for auto-tagging the photos in your albums, it’s Apple’s turn. Reports on appadvice suggest that they’ve applied for a ‘face detection patent’ that is intended for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and MacBook.

Such a feature already exists in devices like Google Nexus, but as we’ve come to know Apple has a bigger plan for such a feature – security. With the iDevices forward-facing camera already standard on the devices listed above, you won’t have the ‘slide-to-unlock’ anymore or have to be bothered to enter a passcode. Your device will scan your face and grant access once it detects a match. Cool!

Of course there’s many things to consider – such as twins, or a buddy that has similar facial features – until Apple makes an official announcement, we will have to see how they plan on ‘perfecting’ it.

Apple Face Patent Rendering

Apple's Facial Recognition Panent Rendering

This reminds me of years ago, when movies would show you advanced security systems with hand/fingerprint scanners to verify identities. This face recognizing stuff will blow that away though. Without physical contact, your device will know if it’s you or not. On the coolness level this is pretty high, but now to wait and see how, if it all.

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