Apple and IBM rolling out MobileFirst iOS enterprise apps localized for Japan

Apple-IBM

Following the release of the MobileFirst suite of iOS enterprise apps last year, the result of a new partnership between Apple and IBM, today the companies are rolling out the apps to the Japanese market.

The companies haven’t made an official announcement yet, but sources close to the situation say seven apps are arriving for Japanese customers today. Read more

Refreshed Apple Wireless Keyboard w/ backlit keys appears on Apple’s website

Apple Wireless Keyboard backlit keys power

Update: It looks like Apple removed the images of the refreshed keyboard after we published this story.

A refreshed version of the Apple Wireless Keyboard appears to be on the way as an updated model was spotted today on Apple’s Czech Republic online store (via letemsvetemapplem.eu).

While Apple appears to have let the image of the new keyboard leak early, it hasn’t updated the accompanying description for the product to mention new features. We can, however, make out a few changes including new buttons on the F5 and F6 keys indicating the new model may feature backlit keys. Apple also switched the CD eject button, which is all but useless for most people at this point, and replaced it with a power button the same as the keyboards on its MacBooks in recent years. Read more

“He could be a jerk, but never an a-hole” sums up Becoming Steve Jobs, says inner circle journalist

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The conflicting biographies of Steve Jobs, one authorized by its subject prior to his death, the other endorsed by Apple, paint quite different pictures of the man. Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs focuses more on his flaws, while Becoming Steve Jobs describes a softer, more rounded person.

A tech journalist who knew Steve well, Steven Levy, has weighed in with his own take in an interesting blog post, The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was. He said that one quote from Becoming Steve Jobs summed-up the view presented by Schlender and Tetzeli.

He could be a jerk, but never an asshole.

Levy says that many of those close to Steve shared the view expressed by Tim Cook on Isaacson’s biography, published soon after Steve’s death, that it did a “tremendous disservice” to him. Jony Ive said that his own regard for the book “couldn’t be any lower” …  Read more

Review: TrackR Bravo locates lost items with Bluetooth 4, and without requiring yearly replacement

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Two years ago, the Tile Bluetooth tracking device raised over $2.6 million in a crowdfunding campaign, thanks in part to an expansive ad run that seemed to blanket the entire Internet. Elegantly designed with a square plastic housing, Tile paired a low-energy Bluetooth chip with a battery, letting you track any attached item using a Bluetooth 4-enabled iPhone. Each Tile can track keys, a purse, or even a roaming pet for a year before the battery dies, at which point you are supposed to replace it. The first Tiles shipped last year, and can now be had for $20 each versus their standard $25 retail price.

I skipped Tile because I don’t like products that need to be replaced when their batteries die. Over the course of reviewing thousands of Apple accessories, I’ve watched some companies waste vast quantities of plastic, metal, magnets, and packing materials, and I try not to buy things that are designed to be worthless after a short period of time. (Note: Users are encouraged to recycle Tiles by buying discounted replacements and mailing old units back to the company.) So a new Tile competitor called TrackR Bravo ($29) appealed to me. Made partially from anodized aluminum, it’s shaped like a dog tag and designed to be kept rather than tossed away. The core functionality is the same as Tile’s, but Bravo’s battery can be replaced with ease. You can also use Bravo to locate a misplaced iPhone, and optionally sound a separation alarm whenever your iPhone and Bravo get too far away from one another…

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Pioneer’s second-gen CarPlay NEX head units are now available

Pioneer NEX 8100 CarPlay

Pioneer’s second generation NEX series of in-dash receivers with CarPlay support are now available through authorized retail channels, the company announced today. Apple’s CarPlay feature made its aftermarket debut last fall through a firmware update to several models of Pioneer’s first-gen NEX head units, and the improved models are the first from Pioneer to be designed with CarPlay support (and Android Auto) from day one. Read more

Apple says it participated in ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ book from a sense of responsibility to Steve

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In the first official statement about Apple’s decision to allow Tim Cook and other senior executives to be interviewed for Becoming Steve Jobs, company spokesman Steve Dowling said it was from a sense of responsibility to Steve’s memory.

After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew. We decided to participate in Brent and Rick’s book because of Brent’s long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.

Apple had initially refused interview requests by authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, the company taking 18 months to change its mind, reports the NY Times …  Read more

Elle magazine Australia offers fashion tips for making the Apple Watch part of women’s wardrobes

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Latest stop in the Apple Watch tour of the world’s fashion magazines is the Australian edition of Elle, where fashion editor Sara Smith models the watch and “shares her tips for making the watch work in your wardrobe.” The magazine’s editor in chief, Justine Cullen, also shares why she wants one …  Read more

Read an exclusive free sample of Becoming Steve Jobs in iBooks

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Becoming Steve Jobs, a new book by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli about Jobs’ life, comes out on March 24th and is available to download both in digital and print. As part of a strong marketing push by Apple in the run up to the book’s release, iBooks is offering an exclusive free sample of the prologue and first chapter that you can download right now. (Update: It’s unclear what countries the sample is being offered in — readers are reporting it showing it for some but not universally.)

Apple has been heavily promoting the book in the last few days, on its iBooks Twitter account as well as through iTunes marketing emails. iBooks describes it as the ‘only book about Steve recommended by the people who knew him best’. For comparison, in one of the chapters, Tim Cook describes the Isaacson biography as a tremendous disservice.

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iOS 8.3 includes settings to download free apps and iTunes content without requiring a password

A reader has spotted that iOS 8.3 includes some new configuration options for password entry in the iTunes and App Store. Labelled as ‘Password Settings’, the new view allows users to configure how frequently Apple should ask for the user’s iTunes Store password for purchases. This includes allowing users to choose to allow free apps to be downloaded, no password necessary.

The first option allows users to require passwords immediately or expire after fifteen minutes. This option has existed in previous versions of iOS, under the Restrictions settings. However, the toggle below — ‘Require Password’ for free downloads is an altogether new option. It allows users to download free apps (and other iTunes content) with no need to type a password. Paid content still requires authentication based on the options above.

The setting is currently disabled on iOS 8.3 devices we tested, although presumably it will activate by the time iOS 8.3 is released to the public.

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‘Hey Siri’ in iOS 8.3 allows for automatic speakerphone calls

Apple has made a small, but helpful, change in the way that iOS 8.3 can make phone calls via Siri. With the launch of iOS 8.0 last fall, Apple added a feature to Siri that allows users to activate the service hands-free by saying the phrase “Hey Siri” if the phone is plugged into power. However, if a user asked Siri to make a phone call via the “Hey Siri” hands-free command, the call would strangely not automatically transfer to speakerphone. Based on our tests, this will change in iOS 8.3. As can be seen in the screenshots above, if a user asks Siri to make a phone call through speakerphone, the call will actually be made on speaker phone…

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Review: Elgato’s Game Capture HD60 livestreams your iPad, iPhone, and console games at 1080p/60fps

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Over the past decade, video gaming became social, as voice chat, multi-player matchmaking, and live game streaming enabled gamers to share their experiences with friends and strangers online. Streaming game video was the hardest, requiring so much horsepower that consoles needed computer assistance. Elgato entered the market in 2012 with Game Capture HD, which was designed to record directly from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now there’s a more powerful version called Game Capture HD60 ($180), which offers professional-quality full 1080p HD recording support at 60 frames per second, plus one-touch live streaming to uStream, Twitch, and YouTube. It works with iPads, iPhones and iPod touches using Apple’s Lightning to Digital AV Adapter, and Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and PlayStation 4 game consoles with nothing more than an HDMI cable.

Elgato has years of experience making cutting-edge video recorders: back when Macs weren’t nearly as powerful as they are today, its EyeTV DVRs could record live TV while streaming video to iOS devices. Similarly, Game Capture HD60 lets you simultaneously enjoy lag-free gaming, stream live video to the Internet, and optionally include voice commentary with automatic audio level balancing. It also does all of these things with barely any need for user involvement. And although the price was just a little too high when it debuted last year, it’s now hovering around $150 — a great price given the quality of its video output. Read on for all the details…

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