Microsoft outs upcoming fitness ‘Band’ with premature Mac and iPhone app releases (updated)

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Update: Microsoft has now announced the Microsoft Band, a $199 fitness band that does everything described below. It goes on sale Thursday.

Microsoft hasn’t officially announced its wearable device, but it seems the company has accidentally published its desktop syncing client to the Mac App Store early. Whoops. The device is called the Microsoft Band (possibly Lumia Band, according to some currently non-functional support URLs) and sports a 310 x 102 resolution display.

The Microsoft privacy policy for the app lists some of the Band’s features: “Microsoft Band sensors help you keep track of things like your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and sleep.” Links in the document claiming to lead to a page with additional data, such as a list of sensors, currently lead to a 404 page.

Other key feature include the ability to get phone notifications on the Band, create reminders using Cortana, and more:

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Microsoft OneNote for iPhone and iPad updated with iOS 8 support, iPhone 6 design, and more

Microsoft has pushed out updates for its OneNote client on both iPhone and iPad, adding support for new features added in iOS 8 and a design that’s optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Users can now password protect sections of documents directly from mobile devices (a feature that used to require a Windows PC). Those with an iPhone 5s or newer will also find that they can now unlock password-protected sections of documents using Touch ID. That feature isn’t mentioned in the iPad change log, so users on the iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 might need to wait for a future update to enable it.

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Phone 2 Go app brings Time Warner Cable home phone service to mobile devices for no additional cost

Time Warner Cable today announced a new smartphone app that will let its customers use their home phone service on mobile devices for no additional fees. That means that users with a Time Warner Cable home phone service, which starts at $10/month, can now text and call through the new Phone 2 Go app on smartphones and tablets. The service requires a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection and will also work for international calling and texting: Read more

Creators of ‘Room’ say Facebook copied their chatroom app, threaten legal action

Facebook’s new ‘Rooms’ app                              Room Inc’s ‘Room’ app

Following the launch of Facebook’s new “Rooms” app for iPhone, the company behind a similar piece of software called “Room” is claiming the social media outlet copied its intellectual property. The Room application, which like Facebook’s app allows users to create and invite others to chatrooms while remaining anonymous, was first released on the App Store back in September.

The company’s Damien Rottemberg, Co-Founder and CTO of Room, sent over the following statement on the situation: Read more

Review: Pixelmator for iPad out now, a desktop-class photo editor for a mobile device

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Note: The app is still rolling out worldwide. Check back soon if the links don’t work for you!

Announced during Apple’s October event, Pixelmator for iPad ($4.99) is an important stepping stone in the iPad’s history. The Mac app is regularly featured by Apple as an exemplar app in the Mac App Store and it is clear Apple wants to use Pixelmator as a ‘trophy’ app in the same way. No doubt this app (aside from games) is one of a handful that will directly benefit from the A8X performance gains.

I tested the app on an iPad Air, although the app technically supports all the way back to iPad 3, even some operations on the Air felt slow. I would be a bit cautious if you intend to install it on one of Apple’s older tablets.

As a 1.0 release, the depth and breadth of this app is staggering. There are a myriad of effects, painting brushes, color adjustments and other features to help edit and create images. The vast majority of the Mac app’s functionality have been ported across to the iPad with a touch-friendly interface, including advanced editing options like layer styles. There are also some template options that aren’t currently included in the Mac app to appease the ‘Photo Booth’ selfie crowd.

Read on for 9to5Mac’s full review of Pixelmator for iPad …

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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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Dropbox app updated with iPhone 6 optimizations, Touch ID unlocking

Popular file-sharing / file-syncing app Dropbox has updated its iOS app to version 3.5 today, with some nice improvements. The app now takes advantage of all available resolution on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, rather than in a scaled iPhone 5s form. Dropbox doesn’t do anything novel with the additional space, but there is benefits to being able to see more items in a folder list at a time. The quality of file previews are also noticeably improved because of the additional screen size, with photo viewing mostly affected.

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iCloud Photos on the web goes live leading up to iOS 8.1 release

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While iOS 8.1 isn’t officially going to be released to the public until Monday, several reports across the internet are saying that Apple’s Photos app within the web-based iCloud website has now gone live for those using the iOS 8.1 beta. The interface looks a lot like that of the Photos app on iOS, letting you view your library as organized by either Moments or Albums.

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1Password 5.1 released with iPhone 6 support, third-party keyboard settings, and much more

1Password, the powerful and popular password manager for iPhone and iPad, has been updated to version 5.1 today, introducing a host of new features and improvements. First on the list is support for the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with full 3x image support on the Plus model.

Touch ID support has also been significantly improved, with the app’s security settings now simplified to avoid the confusing and unnecessary differentiation between the Master Password and PIN code, and Touch ID is now more reliable. You can also create new tags to add to your stored data, allowing for easier sorting on-the-go.

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Facebook Messenger may soon let you pay your friends, code leaks reveal

A modified version of the Facebook Messenger has revealed that person-to-person payment interfaces and other elements are already integrated into the app. The discovery was made by iOS developer Andre Aude.

Just like sending a message or sending a photo, Facebook’s payments implementation is integrated into the chat window. The idea being, that if you talk to a friend about getting coffee, you can pay your half of the bill in the same place. A history of payments appears in the settings pages.

Facebook has not confirmed that the feature is coming any time soon. Zuckerberg has floated the idea of Facebook tying mobile payments before, but warned it was a long way off.

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iHealth’s nine iPhone-connected healthcare accessories now work with iOS 8’s Health app

iHealth, maker of various iPhone connected healthcare accessories, today announced that its iOS apps are being updated with HealthKit integration. That means that the users of the company’s Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors, Blood Glucose Meters, Wireless Scale, and other health tracking accessories will be able to sync data with the new iOS 8 Health app. Read more

Can’t wait for Photos for OS X? Photos app likely coming to iCloud.com for desktop viewing

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With Photos for OS X not being released until early next year, it seemed like there would be no way to view your photos backed up in iCloud Photo Library away from an iOS device for Mac customers. However, screenshots and error messages from iCloud.com show that a Photos app is in development for the website, so that users could access their pictures in some fashion on a computer. This will likely act as a stopgap before the official native client is ready.

The above screenshot is captured from an Apple help page, clearly showing a Photos app in the menu, which is currently absent from the public site. The app features the same icon as the Photos app, but its unclear what exact functionality it will bring. Poking around a bit, we discovered something that means it is unlikely the screenshot is simply a Photoshop mistake.

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