Calling Dick Tracy: Glide iOS app brings live video messages to Apple Watch

White Watch 2

Glide, the app that lets users send live video messages, today becomes the first to bring the feature to Apple Watch. With an update to Glide’s iOS app, users of Apple Watch will be able to receive live videos messages right on their wrist, although it’s a one-way experience for Apple Watch as the device doesn’t yet include a camera; your responses will be limited to text. Read more

Apple camera patent would allow high-resolution photos without sacrificing image quality

camera

If you were wondering why Apple has ignored the megapixel race and stuck to a modest 8MP camera in its latest iPhones when almost every other manufacturer is cramming in as many pixels as physically possible, it’s all about image quality. While more pixels allow you to blow up photos to larger sizes, that comes at a cost. Squeezing more pixels into a tiny sensor means more noise, reducing quality, especially in low-light situations like bars and parties.

A clever patent granted today could allow future iPhones to have the best of both worlds, allowing higher-resolution photos without squeezing more pixels into the sensor …  Read more

How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Part 2

techspecs2top

As I noted in Part 1 of How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Apple has designed the Mac purchasing process to be easy: pick a model, pick the good, better, or best configuration, hand over your cash, and enjoy your computer. Since most people get confused by tech specs — bullet points filled with numbers and acronyms — Apple downplays them in its marketing materials, leaving customers to sort through the details and figure out what most of them mean.

But these specs are really important when you’re shopping for the right Mac for your current and future needs. So I’ve created this How-To guide to walk you through each of Apple’s Tech Specs pages using clear explanations, hopefully enabling you to properly understand what you’re about to buy. Part 1 focused on the “big 5″ Mac specs you really need to know about, and this Part 2 looks at the rest — generally things that remain the same in a given model, regardless of the configuration you choose…

Read more

Review: Eyefi’s new Mobi Pro brings improved durability, capacity to wireless SD cards for iOS photographers

mobipro-1

As a photographer, I’ve been thrilled to see iPhones become compelling replacements for standalone point-and-shoot cameras. Our world has improved in both measurable and immeasurable ways from widespread, immediate access to quality photography; the images documenting our lives are more compelling and numerous than ever before.

But professional photographers toting DSLRs now struggle to stand out from amateurs with iPhones. The Chicago Sun-Times infamously fired its entire photography department in favor of using images from iPhones and wire services, a move mocked by other newspapers but embraced by some broadcast journalists. Fixed-lens, small-sensor iPhones can’t match standalone cameras in image quality, particularly in dark settings, but they’re hard to beat in speed and convenience.

The question is how to combine the immediacy of iPhone photography with the quality offered by superior cameras. For me, the answer has been Eyefi‘s SD cards, which wirelessly transfer a standalone camera’s photos to an iPhone or iPad for rapid editing and sharing. (See my How-To on transferring, editing, and sharing DSLR/point-and-shoot photos with an iPhone or iPad for more details.)

Eyefi’s first $100 card contained 2GB of flash memory and a Wi-Fi chip; since then, every Eyefi card has improved on the same concept, so the brand-new 32GB Mobi Pro ($100) isn’t so much a surprise as the culmination of everything the company has done before. It has the highest storage capacity, broadest file support, and easiest workflow of any Eyefi card I’ve tested. Most importantly, it brings a more durable enclosure that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any potential reader, originally introduced in Eyefi’s more affordable non-Pro Mobi cards. Read on for all the details…

Read more

Review: Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens for iPhone 6/6 Plus hangs wide-angle + macro lenses from your neck

olloclip-iphone6-1

Olloclip isn’t the only maker of lenses for iPhone cameras, but after testing options from a dozen vendors, it’s the one I’d call the best at delivering reliably good combinations of quality and practicality. Its latest accessory is the 4-in-1 Lens for iPhone 6/6 Plus ($80), an updated continuation of its longest-running and most popular series of iPhone lenses. Bundled with everything from a lanyard to a set of three colored plastic clips, this version of 4-in-1 now works with two different iPhone 6 sizes, as well as both front FaceTime and rear iSight cameras.

olloclip-iphone6-3

This cross-model, twin-camera versatility comes at the cost of some added complexity, however, and an issue from earlier Olloclip lenses — the lack of broad case compatibility — is still a factor here. But if you’ve been looking for a way to add wide angle and macro capabilities to your iPhone, the 4-in-1 is worth considering. There are plenty of details and illustrative photographs below.

Read more

Review: Seek Thermal Camera for iOS gives your iPhone Predator vision, Seek XR adds manual focus

1

Update 3/3/15: We’ve added the new Seek Thermal XR to the bottom of this review.

The evolution of Apple’s iOS cameras has been fairly linear: Apple improved their image quality, added video recording capabilities, and dropped in a small collection of filters, but otherwise hasn’t radically changed their features.

Just in time for the holidays, Seek Thermal Inc.’s new Seek Thermal Camera for iOS ($199) is offering a fundamentally different type of camera for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Using a Lightning connector, the Seek Thermal Camera adds affordable thermal photography and videography features to any late-2012 or newer iOS device – the heat-sensitive sort of vision best-known from the Predator movies. While it’s not case-compatible, this accessory is otherwise the most practical thermal camera currently available for iOS devices. (An Android version is also available.)

Read more

Add a real thermal heat-seeking camera to your iPhone for $199

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.43.27

Go beyond Photo Booth’s fake ‘Thermal’ filter with this iPhone accessory by Seek Thermal. The company now sells a real thermal imaging camera attachment for $199 on its website. The gadget plugs in using a Lightning port, so it works with any iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus you may have lying around.

The product will also work with Lightning-equipped iPads, but the company says the accessory is not optimized for iPads, which probably means be prepared for some wiggling.

Read more

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

iphone-6-camera

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

HTC reportedly working on an iOS compatible camera to compete with GoPro

HTC-One-GPE-01

HTC is reportedly working on a new GoPro-like waterproof camera that can be used to capture footage of extreme sports and other activities, according to Bloomberg. Such a device would be the company’s first camera that’s not permanently attached to a smartphone. Little is known about the unannounced gadget, however it’s said to feature a wide-angle lens, a 16-megapixel sensor and compatibility with both iOS and Android.

Read more

Withings’ new HomeKit-integrated video monitoring & environmental sensor device detects crying

Home-Withings-01

Withings, a company well-known for its line of iPhone-connected health and fitness tracking accessories, today announced a new video monitoring device with environmental sensors called  Home. While Home is a video monitoring solution that can be used for security, the company is also including some pretty unique features that it hopes will make your home both a healthier and safer environment. Read more

Mini-review: Lensbaby LM-10, a fun if pricey accessory for iPhonography fans

lm-10

It took a while for Lensbaby’s Kickstarter-funded selective focus lens for the iPhone to make it into production, but the LM-10 is now here and I took it out for a play.

For those not familiar with Lensbaby, the company makes lenses for DSLRs with a bellows lens that provides a small in-focus area, with the rest of the image out of focus. It’s not the same effect as the shallow depth-of-field achieved with a wide-aperture lens, but a less-controllable effect designed to provide fun and unusual images …  Read more