iOS 8 builds in the technologies Apple needs for an iWatch

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iOS 8 adds several important enhancements to the iPhone and iPad, such as improved notifications, health-tracking, and a more advanced camera application, but the new operating system’s most significant feature may be the groundwork technologies for a future Apple wearable device that integrates deeply with the iPhone.

No matter if it is called the “iWatch,” “iBand,” “iPod,” or something else entirely, a wrist-worn Apple wearable device will likely be announced in October, and the software it will run will set the scope of its capabilities. Besides the new functionality for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 8 includes many new wireless protocols, applications, and features that open the door to several capabilities for a wearable device.

Let’s take a look at how each major iOS 8 feature plays directly into Apple’s ambitions for a wearable computer, below.

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Apple brings iOS SMS and phone calling to the Mac

In addition to announcing new integration between iOS and Mac OS X with AirDrop support and its new Handoff feature, Apple announced today that it’s bringing SMS and phone calls to the Mac. That means that you can now have your SMS text messages and phone calls from your iPhone arrive as notifications on your Mac. Users will be able to respond to messages and even use the Mac as a speaker phone in order to complete a phone call. Previously iOS users only had access to iMessage messages and FaceTime on the Mac. Read more

iOS 7 How-to: Blocking FaceTime calls, Phone calls, and iMessages

Before iOS 7 it was rather inconvenient to block a phone number, and there was nothing built into iOS that would allow you do so. If you got phone calls from Telemarketers you can always register your number for free on the National Do Not Call Registry. If you wanted to block specific people, you had to contact your carrier to do so. For example, with AT&T, you can pay $4.99 per month per line to block up to 30 numbers with their Smart Limits. With Verizon Wireless, you are able to block up to five phone numbers per line with no charge. With Sprint you fill out a form on their website and it appears there is no additional fee.

Dealing with your carrier can be a rather tedious, and with the new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system, you no longer have to…

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Verizon unveils 1 year “Device Payment Plan” for yearly updaters, moves full subsidies to 24 months

Verizon announced a few notable changes this week, possibly in response to T-Mobile’s new ‘Uncarrier’ pricing structure.

The first change enforces 24-month contracts and restricts subsidized upgrades during that period. Customers will no longer enjoy ‘early upgrades’ after 20-months, as was previously the policy.

While the change may disappoint customers who enjoyed upgrading their devices more frequently, Verizon told The Verge that a new “Device Payment Plan” will be accompany the policy changes.

The new payment plan allows customers to upgrade their smartphone annually by paying the upgrade fee at the register and dividing the rest of the full-retail price over 12 months. This payment plan will include a $2/month finance charge through the duration of the year.

For people like us who update annually, this option is a more pragmatic approach, especially when vendors like Gazelle (as well as others) typically pay more than the subsidized cost of a new smartphone for last year’s smartphone.

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