A day in the life of a cycle-touring holiday with Apple (and Garmin) tech

tech

Having just returned from a 12-day cycle-touring holiday (you missed me, right?), it occurred to me how much the activity has changed over the years. The basics are still the same, of course: turning the pedals makes the scenery pass slowly by, and by the end of the day you’re 40 or 50 miles away from where you had breakfast. But what used to be a very low-tech activity, involving little more than a paper map and compass, has now turned into something of a technofest – at least for me and a fellow geek friend who joined me. And my MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone are all integral parts of the trip …

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iPhone 6 likely to sport barometer/air pressure sensors to measure altitude, weather

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Besides a larger display and redesigned metal body, details regarding which features the next-generation iPhone models will pack have been light. However, it appears that the new models could include a new sensor: a barometer.

A barometer is a sensor commonly used for measuring altitude and the sensor is already commonly found in Android devices such as the Galaxy Nexus. A barometer sensor could be used by hikers, mountain climbers, bike riders, and enthusiasts who want accurate knowledge into their current altitude. Barometers, via air pressure data, also measure temperature and weather information.

The information regarding the next-generation iPhone likely including this sensor comes via Xcode 6 and iOS 8, the latest iPhone software development kit and operating system. The software includes updated CoreMotion APIs that clearly reference the new altitude measuring capabilities:

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Google Maps for iOS updated with lane guidance, improved offline maps, Uber integration

Google released a major feature update to Google Maps for iOS today bringing a handful of useful features for navigation and travel with your iPhone and iPad including integration with the private transportation service Uber.

First up is a feature found on many dedicated GPS devices: lane guidance. The feature will present which lane is necessary with current directions to help you avoid missing important turns. Notably, Apple’s Maps software does not currently offer this feature. Google says lane guidance is currently only available for users in the US and Canada… Read more

Opinion & poll: Will the iWatch be the key to a healthier, fitter you?

fitness

The gadgetization of fitness has been a significant trend over the course of the past year. The wrists of anyone even vaguely into sports or exercise were suddenly adorned with the Nike Fuel Band, and our Facebook feeds full of RunKeeper and Strava reports of just how far our friends had jogged and cycled.

It seems pretty clear by this point that the iWatch will, when it appears, have a major focus on health and fitness. We don’t yet know exactly what it will measure, but I argued in an earlier opinion piece that it’s likely to measure more than any one of the devices currently available.

Will the old adage of ‘What gets measured gets managed’ apply, with all this data leading us to exercise more, eat more healthily and generally up our game fitness-wise? Or will it be a novelty that quickly wears off, with owners reverting to life as usual within a few weeks … ?  Read more

How-To: Start using Maps in OS X Mavericks

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Apple has finally implemented a maps app in the OS X platform, and it seems to have been worth the wait. After being noticeably missing from the system, Maps (and iBooks) are helping achieve a greater consistency between the iOS and OS X platforms. After running the free Mavericks update, the Maps app icon will automatically be added to your dock.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use the new app for everything from searching for locations to getting turn-by-turn directions set directly to your iPhone.

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Pebble releases updated Pebblekit SDK & Sports API with full support for iOS & Android apps

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Pebble, the popular Bluetooth smartwatch that raised over $10M on Kickstarter before shipping to backers in January, today announced the release of an updated SDK and APIs that will allow iOS and Android developers to create apps for the platform. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky had this to say about the updates:

“The tremendous response we received from Kickstarter backers validated our belief in the value of a smart watch as a wearable computer, but also in the value an open platform brings to truly personalizing the watch to their daily activities”, said Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s founder. “This new investment will help us build out the Pebble development ecosystem and deliver on Pebble’s extraordinary potential.”

The updated Pebblekit SDK will now allow developers to create third-party apps that will be able to send and receive data to apps on the Pebble smartwatch. The updated SDK will effectively allow developers to build new apps for the platform, for example, taking weather or news information from an iOS or Android app and displaying it on the watch. Previously devs were limited to implementing the basic functions of Pebble.

You might have heard RunKeeper recently added support for tracking data using Pebble and today Pebble is making easier for similar fitness apps to do the same with a new Sports API for accessing the GPS features of the watch.  Read more

Google denies reports of Google Now battery drain issues on iOS

Google-Now-Google-Search-screenshot-01In the days following the launch of Google’s predictive ‘Now’ feature now baked into its Google Search iOS app, some users complained of experiencing noticeable battery drain due the app’s process of accessing location data. Today, Google has weighed in with an official response to LifeHacker calling reports of battery drain “incorrect”:

Reports that Google Now drains battery life are incorrect. We understand people’s concern about seeing the Location Services icon stay on when they use Google Now. Many apps that keep the icon on actually do drain the phone’s battery because they require very accurate location. (For example a navigation app has to run your GPS all the time to keep you from missing your turn.)

Google explained that Now is “built very differently” than other apps that utilize Location Services by using “cell towers and wifi hot spots for much lower battery impact.” 

Google’s response continues by noting it didn’t receive any reports of battery drain during its extensive month of testing the feature on iOS and encouraged users to contact them if they continue to see a problem: Read more

Virginia town encouraging citizen crime reporting with free iOS app

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The Marion Police Department in Virginia have decided to encourage residents to report crime by releasing a new app called “iWatch Marion“. The app is available for free on the App Store and provides citizens with an easy way to report potential crimes by uploading tips, photos, and video. Content uploaded by users is forwarded directly to the police department closest to the location the tip was sent from:

Because iWatch Marion uses global positioning technology, the system intelligently forwards information to the Howard County Police Department based on where the handheld device is physically located at any given moment.

The app will also allow users to receive alerts for missing children, crime, weather, and more. I’m not sure if major cities will jump on the idea of encouraging citizens to get involved in crimes in progress, but it’s something that more and more smaller towns are starting to take advantage of. Read more

‘Highlight’ app gives a name to the stranger nearby, brings social network to life

So, you are sitting in a coffee shop and looking around you —wondering whom the blonde-haired person is sitting by the window or even the bearded hipster serving the latte. Well, “Highlight” is a free social network app for iOS devices that can now let you creep the world within your vicinity.

Facebook helps users to organize online relationships while exploring professional networks, but it cannot help them interact with those in the “real” world. Whether social networkers are in a –well– coffee shop, or even a restaurant, clothing store, entertainment event or conference, strangers constantly surround them. Anyone is connectable through shared interests or mutual friends, but it is difficult to know who is nearby.

To change this circumstance, install Highlight onto an iPhone and connect to Facebook. The app will alert users to other Highlight users up to a block and half away. From there, profiles with information pulled from Facebook are viewable, and Highlight users can even send text messages to such profiles.  The app essentially helps folks meet new people, while refreshing memory about past relationships and alerting users to friends who are nearby.

More information is available below.

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Details on iPhone 4S launch in India, Russia and Taiwan


Unlocked iPhone 4S is priced out of reach of average folks in India.

Currently available in 44 countries, Apple’s iPhone 4S is patiently awaited in 26 additional territories as Apple makes good on its promise to have the device available in over 70 markets and on 100 carriers before end of the year. iPhone 4S has been well received in Japan and Singapore and pre-orders sold out in Hong Kong in 10 minutes, but reportedly not so much in South Korea… Read more

TomTom turn-by-turn gets optimized for iPad

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If you are the type that likes a 10″ display for driving navigation, TomTom just updated its $59.99 iOS turn-by-turn navigation app to be universal and optimized for the iPad. You’ll of course want to have a 3G version of the iPad/iPad 2 or be tethered through an iPhone that can share GPS.

TomTom also hints that a new version with some interesting features is on the way:

iPHONE 3G USERS: THIS IS THE LAST VERSION OF THE TOMTOM APP FOR iPHONE THAT WILL FULLY SUPPORT YOUR DEVICE. You will be able to download and use the next version of the TomTom App but new features will not be available to you.

More screenshots and full description below (thanks Caleb!):

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