Apple introduces tool for deregistering iMessage, even if you no longer have an iPhone

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Apple has added a page to its website for deregistering and turning off iMessage for users that have switched from an iPhone to an Android device or other non-Apple smartphone. The new web-based tool arrives after Apple faced a lawsuit over Android users having undelivered text messages from other iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users still using iMessage. Read more

WhatsApp update shows read receipts, leaked image suggests future VOIP feature

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Although this isn’t an actual update to the app, WhatsApp is now sporting a nifty new feature that—although small—might make a big difference in how users of the messaging app stay in touch with their friends. The Facebook-owned app, which would previously show double check marks if a sent message had been received, now goes one step further and turns those check marks blue if the message has been read.

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Disney’s ‘Movies Anywhere’ app comes to Android, brings cross-platform purchases to iTunes, Google Play, and web

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Back in February, Apple and Disney teamed up on a new app called Movies Anywhere that allowed iOS users to access their library of purchased movies—whether bought on the iTunes Store, DVD, or other media (with the appropriate redemption code in the box).

Today, Disney has launched the same service for Android users. Movies Anywhere owners will now be able to access their movie library featuring titles from Disney, Pixar, and Marvel from any of their devices. Because this is a cross-platform solution, movies previously purchased on the iTunes Store will now be available to users on Android devices, and iOS users will be able to watch Disney movies they’ve purchased from the Google Play Store.

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Starwood Hotels begins rollout of iPhone/Apple Watch virtual room keys, Hilton to follow (Video)

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Starwood Hotels has officially launched its SPG Keyless service, allowing guests to use their iPhone (and, in the Spring, Apple Watch) to unlock their hotel doors, bypassing the front desk. The boutique hotel group first announced the project back in January.

1. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless and register their phone through the SPG App.

2. Approximately 24 hours before arrival, the guest receives his/her room number and Bluetooth key via the app.

3. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can completely bypass the front desk (where available) and go directly to his/her room.

4. Then, after ensuring his/her Bluetooth is enabled, the guest simply opens the SPG App, taps the smartphone on the door lock, waits for the green light and enters the room.

The service goes live today at three Starwood brands: Aloft, Element and The W. Read more

Inbox for Gmail: hands-on and first impressions

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Google this afternoon announced Inbox for Gmail, its all-new emailing solution that is intended to coexist with the regular Gmail platform (Think Paper for Facebook?). Inbox for Gmail is available on an invite only basis for Android, iOS and Chrome. I am fortunate enough to have received an invite to Inbox for Gmail, and I have been giving the iPhone app a rundown to see how it works. For the most part, Inbox is everything that you know and love about Gmail in a sleeker package.

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Apple adding ability to track what you do inside retail apps to serve targeted advertising

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Apple is reportedly adding the ability to track what users do inside certain apps in order to present them with targeted in-app ads across iOS devices, reports digital media site Digiday.

Say, for example, a visitor to a retailer’s iPhone app adds a pair of shoes to his cart but ultimately decide not to buy it. In this scenario, the retailer will now be able to retarget that user with an ad for that exact pair — even in another app on his iPad. When tapped, the ad would direct him back to his abandoned checkout page and automatically add the shoes to his online shopping cart.

Ad agencies say that Apple has been pitching the new capability since last month …
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Microsoft latest to mimic Snapchat with new Skype Qik ephemeral video messaging app

Microsoft has just joined the ranks of companies looking to capitalize on the success of ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat. Through its Skype division, the company has launched a new cross-platform app for iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows Phone called Skype Qik. The premise of the application, as can be seen in the video above and screenshots below, is simple: you can record a quick video, and then share it to either one person in your address book or multiple groups of people.

Differentiating itself from some of the other players, the Skype-based solution is video-focused, and Skype is positioning it as a communication tool for in between full-scale Skype video chats. Notably, the whole service is connected to your phone number and existing contacts list, so it doesn’t require signing up with a standard Skype account. If you send a message via Qik to a user without the Qik app, the other person will be sent an SMS text message with instructions for downloading the Qik app to view the video message. This app is based on the technology from startup Qik, which Skype acquired a few years ago.

By default, videos will expire after two weeks, and you can also un-send messages at any time. A cool feature of Skype Qik is the ability to pre-record various 5 second GIFs that you can send as instant replies. So, if you don’t have the ability to send a live video reply, you can just choose one of your pre-record defaults. The app is free today on the aforementioned platforms, and Microsoft says that updates, such as one for blocking iPhone contacts (that feature is available today on Android and Windows Phone), will come often to enhance the feature-set.

You can view some screenshots of the iPhone app in action below:

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iPhone 6/Plus cameras ranked joint 1st in highly-respected DxOMark Mobile tests

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The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cameras have taken joint first place in the influential DxOMark Mobile ranking of smartphone cameras – three points ahead of the two Android smartphones which previously headed the list, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z3.

DxO Labs tests the image quality of literally thousands of cameras from entry-level smartphones to professional DSLRs, and is considered by many in the photography field to be the definitive database. The company said that Apple has “set the gold standard for smartphone image quality” …  Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google’s executive chairman challenges Tim Cook on privacy citing Chrome’s ‘incognito mode’

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In his letter on privacy shared last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook contrasted the business model of Apple against that of its competitors while strongly taking a shot at Google, Gmail, and Android without actually naming the company and services. The infinitely entertaining executive chairman of Google and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt was recently asked by ABC News about Cook’s open letter on the company and privacy.

In short, Schmidt, who is making the media rounds to promote his upcoming book How Google Works, said Cook’s description of Google and privacy is incorrect, which you would expect from the Google chairman. But his first shot at debunking Cook’s claim was sort of out of left field (okay, as you also might expect): Read more

Review: T-Mobile’s $25 Personal CellSpot is a no-brainer for Magenta customers and handover Wifi calling may even win some converts

In all of the hoopla over the new iPhone 6/Plus, T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK got themselves a pretty big exclusive (for now). T-Mobile has been offering Wifi calling for years but it’s recently come to the iPhone – and with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, gets even better with cell/wifi handover. (T-Mobile partnered with Gogo to enable texting and voicemails on participating airline journeys as well).

Wifi calling, for some, may be the type of feature that makes or breaks a carrier relationship. With it, you can make calls anywhere there is a wifi signal. That means basements, country homes and even foreign countries are all now open to making and receiving calls from your carrier phone number… Read more

Samsung releases new set of ads taking jabs at the iPhone 6’s battery, screen, and more

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Samsung was already taking shots at the iPhone 6 this morning with some new ads, but the Android handset maker has gone even further by releasing a set of new videos on YouTube today mocking everything from the iPhone 6 livestream problems to the device’s hardware (via Engadget). The ads are part of the “Note the Difference” campaign, and these specific videos belong to a playlist called “It Doesn’t Take a Genius.”

The ads feature two guys in blue shirts—the titular Apple Store “Geniuses”—discussing the upcoming device’s features (and lack of a stylus) and the companion Apple Watch. Each ends with a promotion for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. You can check out all six ads in the playlist below:

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