Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Unofficial Apple Weblog Shutting Down Next Week

A well-known Apple blog, The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW), is shutting down operations next week according to The Verge. This blog has been reporting Apple-related content since December of 2004. It is owned by AOL currently. As a result, this is cause AOL to layoff about 150 people.
"As we look out to 2015, our strategy and decisions will be driven by the following organizing principles. Number one, we’ll focus our capital allocation resource management and management time against scaled assets and platforms. Two, we will organize our asset portfolio around scaled value and scaled growth assets. Three, we’ll simplify everything that can be simplified."
- Tim Armstrong 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Control A Tesla With Apple Watch

Now that developers can make apps for Apple Watch, Teslas can now be controlled with an app for Apple Watch. This is pretty cool. You can adjust when the Tesla should stop charging. You can unlock and lock the doors, sound the alarm, and turn on the lights. This is all from your wrist! Check out the video below!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

iTunes 12.1 Update Comes With New Widget

With OS X Yosemite came widgets. These widgets are accessible through Notification Center in OS X Yosemite. Today, iTunes now comes with a widget that allows you to have music controls in Notification Center. This is useful if you don't want to have to worry about where the MiniPlayer window is at or in which desktop. That's a huge step up for me. Anyways, you can get this update by going to the Mac App Store > Updates > and find the OS X update. A restart is required.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Apple Removes 2012 Mac Mini From Apple Online Store

After strangely appearing on the Apple Online Store yesterday, the 2012 model Mac mini has been removed. There has been no statement on the matter. It may have been a miscommunication or, for all we know, a hack. Since these models are sold in the refurbished section of the store, it may have been an accident. Many people would've been pleased to see a quad-core Mac mini available for purchase, but it was strange that it shipped with OS X Mavericks, an operating system that is outdated.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Apple Sells 2012 Model Mac Mini On Apple Online Store

In a strange move, Apple has decided to sell a 2012 model Mac mini on their online store. Although it does have a quad-core Intel i7 processor and Intel HD Graphics 4000 (unique to this model), it only has 2.3GHz (gigahertz) and 4GB of RAM. What's more, it comes with OS X Mavericks. I've never seen Apple intentionally ship a new Mac with an old version of their software. It costs $699.99. You can find it in the Apple Online Store. It's not known if this is a mistake or a way to get quad-core processing back to the Mac mini.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quickly Swipe Between Tabs on iPad

In Safari for iPad, you can quickly switch between tabs with a flick of the wrist. Just take two fingers and swipe up or down. Depending on the direction you swiped, you will see another tab. I'm not sure which versions of iOS support this, but I tried it on an iPad Air 2 running iOS 8. Anyways, I hope this helps!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Apple Watch To Ship In March

According to KGI Securities, Apple Watch will ship this March. Apple's last words on the subject said that it would launch in early 2015. This is Apple's first jump into wearable technology. Although it ships in March, we don't know its release. We can assume that the release date will be not far after the ship date.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Problem With Nintendo and amiibo

With Nintendo out of the toy making business for 30+ years, their new amiibo figurines may be a bit of a flashback for people who are old enough to remember. However, it seems as Nintendo's skills have rusted over these years as their stab at Skylanders takes a turn for the worse. For those who don't know, amiibos are NFC-equipped figurines that allow gamers to use them for new game content or new ways to play, depending on the game. They run for $12.99 each, which is a good deal considering they sell their Nintendo Nunchuck, an accessory to an accessory, for $20, which requires a Wii Remote (not included with a Wii U), for $40. That's $60 right there just to make the console run as advertised. What's nice about amiibos is that they are well-made and durable. You won't find battery acid leaking out of these things anytime soon.

So, that's all fine and dandy... What's the problem? Simple: Nintendo is doing a horrible job as a supplier and a horrible job informing their customers on how they will address it. If you walk into a store that sells amiibos, many will be sold out. These sold out characters are usually from not-as-popular franchises, like F-Zero or Fire Emblem. This shows Nintendo's awful job at suppling. What's worse is their communication to their customers. When fans asked Nintendo if certain characters would return to store selves, Nintendo gave the most vague response of all time.
"We will aim for certain amiibo to always be available."
By "certain amiibo", I can almost guarantee that they mean characters from Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Metroid games will be available for long-term. So if you were hoping to get that new Ness amiibo, I wish you the best of luck. What's worse, retailers don't have great communication with Nintendo on this matter. Because of this, retailers can't guarantee pre-orders will be filled. You walk into the store, show the cashier your pre-order confirmation slip, and like a classic Seinfeld gag about taking reservations, the retailer is out of stock. It's not their fault. It's Nintendo's. Take a look at the Skylanders or Disney Infinity section of that store, and you'll find a plentiful supply. Now, stores can't take pre-orders.

I can understand that all 49 characters from Super Smash Bros. 4 won't fit on store shelves, but there's a simple solution: online stores. If you've seen the inside of an Amazon warehouse, you know what I mean. Club Nintendo, which recently announced that it's closing, could've easily sold these amiibos as gifts.

Another thing, Nintendo doesn't understand the phrase, "The customer is always right." If you post a let's play of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4 will no longer has a Subspace Emissary story mode because of that. If you buy a new 3DS, you have to move all of your games from one to the other. There's no continuity. All the games on the old 3DS will be deleted. Personally, I think Japan-based companies don't like having things in two places at once. That would explain why there are so few eBooks in Japan. Anyways, same case here. If Nintendo fans want a Rosalina and Luma amiibo figure, and some guy who lives in his mother's basement purposely buys 100 to diminish stock, Nintendo should make more and consider selling it at more than one store. Here's the thing, Nintendo has customers eating out of their "Master Hand" with these figures. They can easily make $10 profit from each one. There is no reason why they should stop production of lower-tier figurines.

I feel bad for any collector who can't get their hands on these figures. What's more, I feel worse for the EarthBound fans who won't be able to get their hands on the Ness amiibo. This is the first official EarthBound merchandise to be released in decades. These amiibo have created their own artificial economy. Sold out amiibos can go for at least $30. I've seen some go for $60! Which brings me to my next topic.
No Iwata... I don't understand...

Scalpers, in this case, are people who will buy insane amounts of amiibos just to have them go sold out. They might do it for profit or just because they don't like certain characters. I don't have anything to say about them. Nintendo knows they exist, but they don't do anything about it. They don't even put a limit on how many someone can buy. The discontinued amiibos are rumored to be turned from durable, well-made figurines into flimsy NFC cards. Probably for the same price too. Nintendo is just asking for a bad reputation.

Anyways, those are my thoughts... Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Let's hope this situation gets better for us fans and Nintendo.

Friday, January 23, 2015

50% of Phone Activations in Q4 of 2014 Were iPhones

Apple took half of phone activations in quarter four of 2014. Trailing behind at 26% was Samsung. At the end of this train, we find Blackberry with 0% of phone activations, lucky enough to even be acknowledged. This was conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. To learn more, check out their report.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

iPhone Usage Most Popular in Alaska and Montana

Chitika Insights conducted a new study that shows iPhone usage by state. It notes that iPhone is most popular in Alaska and Montana. This study was taken from December 25 through December 31. If you're wondering, Michigan, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana have the least amount of iPhones. These states only have 40-44% of people using them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Top 10 Worst Passwords of 2014

SplashData has compiled a list of the most used (and thus, worst) passwords for the year of 2014 from a list of leaked passwords. Here's the ten most popular:

10. football
9. dragon
8. baseball
7. 1234
6. 123456789
5. qwerty
4. 12345678
3. 12345
2. password

And, the worst password of 2014 is...


If you have any of these passwords, I highly recommend you change it ASAP to one not on this list.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Audio Hijack 3

Here's a great app that I've been needing for a long while. It's called Audio Hijack 3 and it lets you capture the audio from your computer's output and push it to an app like Skype. It can be used to record VoIP calls (Skype and similar services). You can record audio from DVDs. It can also set the volume past 100% if your built-in speakers don't cut it. You can get Audio Hijack 3 from the Rogue Amoeba website for $49 for new users, upgrade for $25, or, if you purchased Audio Hijack Pro since February 2014, you get it for free.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Apple Honors Martin Luther King Jr. On Their Front Page

Today, Apple has updated their front page to have a memorial for Martin Luther King Jr.
"Today we reflect on the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the work that continues in service of the broader concerns of humanity."
In addition, Apple will donate $50 for every hour an Apple employee works voluntarily.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

iPad Pro May Have A Stylus As An Accessory

The rumored iPad Pro, a 12.9" version of an iPad that could potentially run OS X, may feature a stylus as an accessory. This could bring touch screen capabilities to OS X. Ming-Chi Kuo reports:
"Given that it’s more precise than a person’s fingers, a stylus can be more convenient to use than the combination of keyboard and mouse in some cases. Therefore, we believe Apple’s stylus will improve the user experience of 12.9-inch iPad."

Apple's Patent for a Haptic Stylus from 2010 (Should be regarded as a deprecated rendering)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Water Damage Checker

In certain models of iPhones, there is a special indicator in the SIM Card slot that will indicate how severe water damage is. Just open the SIM Card slot (on the side of most iPhones) and shine a light into the port. If you see red, purple, or blue, there is severe, moderate, or light water damage respectively. If you don't, either there's no water damage or your iPhone isn't equipped with one. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

iPhone 6s May Have 2 GB of RAM

Following footsteps with the iPad Air 2, the iPhone 6s, the unannounced next-generation iPhone, may have 2 GB of RAM. This would be a vast improvement of the iPhone 6's 1 GB of RAM. Combined with the iPhone's 64-bit architecture and A8 (probably A9 by the time the iPhone 6s comes out), I'd like to see the awesome demo Apple would use to demonstrate its power. Anyways, we can only wait.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wi-Fi Calling

If it works with your carrier, you may be able to have Wi-Fi calls. This lets you get much better signals for calling from a Wi-Fi network. Just go to Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling > and switch the switch to enable it on an iPhone. I hope this helps!

(I don't have a carrier that supports Wi-Fi calling, so I couldn't get a screenshot! Sorry!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WeMo and HomeKit: Update

Several months ago, I talked about Belkin's plans to integrate HomeKit with their home automation product line, WeMo. Now, we know that this will be a reality thanks to MacObserver.
"WeMo will continue to evolve as we deliver on our promise of being the most approachable entry point to the connected home, and it is a natural progression based on Belkin's long-term partnership with Apple that compatibility with HomeKit will be a part of that evolution.
We are currently in conversations with Apple, but no specifics have been finalized at this point. Though our primary goal will always be to create a robust WeMo platform and unparalleled user experience for both current and future WeMo users, we are actively engaged in bringing HomeKit compatibility to fruition in the very near future. Stay tuned."
Note how this spokesperson says "very near future." We can only hope we'll get more information on this as soon as they say it will. As for how this update would apply to existing WeMo products, I don't know. I'm sure myself and many other people hope that it's a software update. Otherwise, people would have to buy all new WeMo devices. At $50 a pop, that's an expensive update. It should be noted that WeMo devices are capable of receiving software updates. However, it should also be noted that HomeKit devices use a chip for their capability. Of course, because Apple and Belkin are in talks together, they may allow Belkin to make a software update with the chip's code on it. I assume the chips are mostly intended for new home automation products from new brands. I could ramble on about this all night. Anyways... Let's hope for a software update.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Apple Ends iTunes 'Single of the Week'

After 11 years, Apple has ended their "Single of the Week" promotion, which would allow any iTunes user to get a free song every week. Business Insider reports that an Apple Support employee told an Apple forum member about this.
"I contacted iTunes Support and they told me the decision was made to drop the free Single of the Week. Seems they don't want people browsing the Store anymore. I told them that the free single each week got me to the Store and I usually bought a few songs. Now, there's less reason to go. They've stopped the free single in other countries too."
- Bob Foss 
This comes after iTunes not participating in its annual "12 Days of Christmas" iTunes Store giveaway. It also makes people worried that Apple will stop their "App of the Week" promotion, which gives away an app each week.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Auto-Delete Messages

If text messages are clogging up your phones storage, you might want to consider having them auto delete after a month or a year. Just go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages and select your preference. I hope this helps!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

HomeKit Will Require Apple TV For On-The-Go Siri Control

With CES out of the way, we have a lot of home automation devices that want to get on board with HomeKit, which hasn't been given much spotlight lately. However, The Verge notes that use of HomeKit with Siri will require a third-generation Apple TV or later to control over cellular data. This Apple TV will act as a hub. It should be noted that operations over cellular data inside of the smart device's app, will not require an Apple TV. I hope to see HomeKit devices on the selves soon, but we'll have to wait for Apple to polish their plans. They've shipped HomeKit chips to device manufacturers, so we could see these devices very soon. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Flyover City Tours

In iOS 8, you can now get Flyover Tours. It takes you around different landmarks of certain cities. Just open Maps in iOS and search for a city. If it has a tour, it will have a button for it at the top of the screen. Try out the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower for starters.

Friday, January 9, 2015

iPod Shuffle Won't Be Discontinued Anytime Soon

During the week, Apple was running out of iPod Shuffles, which made people think the iPod Shuffle was going to be discontinued. It would make sense as they haven't been updated since 2010 and that iPods are a diminishing market with iOS devices. Billboard says that the shortage is due to a supplier change.
"Rather than being discontinued, however, sources with knowledge of the situation tell Billboard that Apple is actually going thorough component supplier changes that have interrupted production of the Shuffle. 
Apple declined to comment." 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fake Apple Watches Sold at CES 2015

Fake Apple Watches were sold at CES by the Chinese company Hyperdon. These watches feature a similar interface to that of the real Apple Watch, except they're "screen-shotted, pixely" renditions of the real Apple Watch's interface. Despite this, it can make phone calls, play music, and vibrate with a phone call. Mashable got their hands on this watch for $27. So if wake Apple products are you're thing, you'd better book a trip to Las Vegas and fast...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Quickly Access Files In Prompts

Let's say you're opening a file in an application, but the file you're opening is buried deep down in a downloads folder way down in Magicant... However, if you have a Finder window open with that file in it, you can quickly access that file without navigating to it in the "Open File" prompt. Just drag the file you want from the Finder window into the prompt. This will quickly navigate to the file and highlight it so it can be opened. I hope this helps!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Unlocked, SIM-Free iPhones Are Now Available

For U.S. customers, you can now get the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus unlocked with out a SIM card starting at $649. This allows you to use your phone without a contract, which means you don't have to pay for a plan (even though you don't have any cellular access) and you can choose a carrier. It's perfect if you want short-term plans. For example, if you travel internationally a lot, this model may be for you. You can check out the pricing at the Apple Online Store.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Monday, January 5, 2015

Request Desktop Site: iOS 8

If you're on an iPhone, you may want to view the desktop version of a website instead of the mobile version of that site. To do this, go to a site (in Safari for iPhone) that has a mobile version of their site (not to be confused with an app). Tap the address bar at the top to show all of your favorite sites or bookmarks, and swipe down (in the direction as shown in the picture). This will reveal two new buttons. Tap the one that says "Request Desktop Site." This will get you a desktop version of the website. I hope this helps!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Disable Zoom on iOS

Many of my friends have been having a problem with the zoom feature of iOS. For some reason, zoom is enabled by default. This can lead to people inadvertently zooming their screen and they won't know how to get out of it. The fix is simple! Just double-tap the screen with three fingers at once. To disable this feature, just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom > and switch off the "Zoom" switch. I hope this helps!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Send Last Location To Find My iPhone When Battery Is Low

When the battery of your iOS device is low, that's the worst possible time you want to lose it. However, in iOS 8, you can have the last location of your iOS device sent to Find My iPhone automatically when its battery is critically low. You can enable this by going to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone > and switching "Send Last Location" on. It should be noted that this is disabled by default. I hope this helps!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Apple Launches 'Start Something New' Campaign

Apple has launched a new Apple campaign called "Start Something New." It highlights real masterpieces from real people made on iOS devices and Macs. They're quite amazing. Each story shows what device the story was made on. In addition, the app used to make the story is also shown. Be sure to check it out!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Couch to 5K

A tradition to the coming of a new year is the "New Year Resolution." This is when people try to improve something about themselves through the new year. For people who want to exercise more or run a race of some sort should try Couch to 5K. It's a cool app that has a simple objective. To get you to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week, for 9 weeks. Done. You're 5K ready. Check out this app on the Apple App Store ($1.99) [Direct Link] or on Google Play ($1.99) [Direct Link].