IDevice Stories October 12, 2015

Quick Review: OLALA Apple-Certified MFi 6000mAh battery is a convenient iPhone charger for $24

 

We’ve been using the Apple-Certified OLALA MFi iPhone/iPad charger for almost a month. It is an iPhone-sized battery with a built-in Apple Certified Lightning cable which can be extracted from the battery. The plug is at a 90-degree angle which allows for easy charging in a bag or pocket.

The specs to know on this one are:

  • 5V 2.4A  (12W) output meaning the charge is about as fast as can be taken by an iPhone or iPad
  • 6000mAh Capacity  meaning it has enough battery to last up to 2 full iPhone charges (or 1 iPad Mini)
  • It also has a second USB port to charge a second phone or any other device that charges via USB
  • It charges via Micro-USB cable- included.
  • 4 LEDs indicate power level
  • Dimensions: 127.5×63.5x14mm Weight: 146g
  • Comes with 30-day money back guarantee, and 1 full year warranty

Without attempting to be anti-climactic, OLALA does what it says. It always has an iPhone’s worth of charge ready for you when you need it. That Mifi Lightning cable being built in sure does come in handy and the L-shaped retractable tip makes charging super-simple.

Use 9to5mac‘s exclusive $6 off coupon code BL3UY33F to purchase one at $23.99 with free shipping at Amazon. If you don’t have free Prime shipping, you need to pad your order to over $35 otherwise you’ll get tagged with your $6 back in shipping.

IDevice Stories January 23, 2015

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Beijing News reports that Tim Cook has agreed to allow China’s State Internet Information Office to carry out security audits of Apple products sold in the country. Cook reportedly made the offer during his meeting with China’s Cyberspace Administration minister Lu Wei in December.

China has long expressed suspicion over the security of Apple products, seemingly resulting from frosty relations with the U.S. Government. A state-run TV station in China described the iPhone as a “national security concern” last July due to its location-tracking capabilities. Apple responded by pointing out that location data is stored on the phone, not on Apple’s servers, and is encrypted …  expand full story

IDevice Stories January 15, 2015

Apple patent shows spring-loaded pop-up home button that doubles as a gaming joystick

An Apple patent spotted by Patently Apple shows a spring-loaded pop-up iPhone home button that acts as gaming joystick when in the raised position. Or, in patent language:

An electronic device includes a surface and a multi-function input device. The multi-function input device is operable in at least a first mode and a second mode. In the first mode, an input portion of the multi-function input device is flush with the surface or recessed in the surface and is operable to receive z axis press input data. In the second mode, the input portion is positioned proud of the surface (i.e., project from the surface) and is operable to receive x axis input data and/or y axis input data. The input portion may also be operable to receive z axis input data in the second mode. In one example, the multi-function input device may have a button mode and a joystick mode.

It’s a fun idea, for sure, but personally I think Apple is more likely to head in the opposite direction over time: to find ways of losing a physical home button and turning it into either a touch-only device, perhaps eventually embedding it into the screen in order to lose the extended bezel at the bottom of the device. Bluetooth gaming controllers, especially with improvements, may better serve serious gamers, regardless.

Are you a gamer who’d love to see this? Or would you rather see Apple working to lose the bezel? As ever, let us know in comments.

IDevice Stories December 10, 2014

From 9to5Toys Specials: Programming-classes-cheap

Specials.9to5toys.com is running a **special** on an iOS app designer bundle that up and coming iOS app designers will likely want to take advantage of.  This is an “NYOP bundle”, meaning that people can name their own price to get 2 courses (Learn Mobile Web Design Using Bootstrap & Learn To Build Cross Platform Apps). Or, if you beat the average price, you’ll get the entire bundle (7 courses & assets). This evening that is only a few bucks plus 10% goes to charity of your choice and high bidders get a chance to win a Gold iPad Air/ iPhone 6. The bundle includes:

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IDevice Stories December 4, 2014

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Kantar data shows that the iPhone 6 Plus managed to take a 41% share of all US phablet sales for the August to October quarter, despite only being on sale for a little over one of those months and significant supply constraints.

Unsurprisingly, the smaller iPhone 6 also outsold the iPhone 5s in the same period, taking 33% of all iOS device sales against 26% for the 5s, 18% for the 5c and 10% for the 6 Plus. This is line with multiple sources suggesting a 3-to-1 ratio of iPhone 6 vs 6 Plus sales …  expand full story

IDevice Stories November 21, 2014

The latest contender for your automated kitchen: the $200 smart frying pan

I’m a big fan of home automation gadgets – right down to my kettle – but even I would have thought a smart frying pan was a bit of a stretch. Seems not: a Kickstarter campaign for the $199 Pantelligent pan is almost fully-funded.

Frying pans have barely changed in thousands of years, but Pantelligent is the next evolutionary leap in the kitchen: a frying pan that actually helps you cook. Pantelligent has a temperature sensor inside it that communicates with the Pantelligent smartphone app. Together, the pan and the app guide you to cook everything perfectly, just the way a professional chef (or your mom!) would cook it. No more overcooked, undercooked, or burned food. You’ll know exactly when the pan is at the right temperature, when it’s time to flip or stir, and when your food is perfectly done.

It works in a similar way to the Connected Scales we mentioned recently, the accompanying app walking you through recipes step-by-step. The Pantelligent pan has a built-in temperature sensor, so it knows how hot it is and how hot it should be for the food you are cooking, letting you know when you need to adjust the heat up or down, and telling you when the food is properly cooked.

There are only a few dozen recipes in the app at present, but more are promised – and you can also enter your own, complete with temperatures and timings so that the app can alert you in the same way it does for the supplied ones.

The rather lengthy video below provides a complete, unedited demo. If you want to grab one, you can back the project for $199 and expect to receive your smart pan in January.

IDevice Stories November 12, 2014

Box for iPhone app gets Touch ID support and new features geared to ease of use

Box for iPhone and iPad – an app designed to allow convenient access to more than 100 document types in the cloud – has been updated to allow unlocking via Touch ID and given a bunch of new features designed to make it easier to use.

Touch ID support should make a big difference to heavy users, who the company says typically use the app 50 times a day.

A Notification Center widget makes Box significantly more convenient, allowing you to view recent files and add new notes. A new Favorites feature allows fast access to frequently-needed files without having to load them into the app first.

What’s New in Version 3.5.0

  • Now use Box from your Today view in Notification Center to quickly and easily create Box Notes, view recent documents and more (requires iOS 8)
  • Use your fingerprint to unlock the Box app at the touch of the home button with Touch ID (compatible devices only, requires iOS 8)
  • Add files and folders to a Favorites list for easy access without having to download any data ahead of time with our new Favorites feature
  • In-folder search capabilities
  • Box Bookmarks are now accessible
  • Support for previewing password protected Office and iWork files
  • Automatic photo upload for Personal Pro subscribers and Enterprise users
  • Additional stability improvements and bug fixes

Box appears to be a favored app at Apple, featured in Best New Apps and used to demonstrate app extensions during this year’s WWDC.

Box for iOS is a free download from iTunes, with 10GB of storage included. An in-app purchase of $79 a year for the Pro version boosts storage to 100GB and allows individual files of up to 5GB to be uploaded.

IDevice Stories September 17, 2014

Screenshot 2014-09-17 10.28.01

With iOS 8 launching later today, it’s worth taking a look at how you should prepare your device for the new operating system. Before installing the update, it is recommended that you have a backup of your data. This how-to is going to walk you through backing up your iOS 7 device and transitioning it over to iOS 8:

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IDevice Stories May 7, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 11.55.09 PM

Earlier this month Apple announced its decision to notify customers of law enforcement requests for user information. Today the company also published a new set of guidelines for law enforcement officials regarding how it will handle such requests, what types of information can be obtained, and more.

Most of the document contains information regular customers won’t ever need to know, but for those interested in Apple’s participation in the legal process will find a wealth of information here. The document also confirms once again that Apple will notify users in most cases where law enforcement requests their personal information:

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IDevice Stories April 22, 2014

Chinese iOS malware stealing Apple IDs and passwords from jailbroken devices

Security researcher Stefan Esser (via ArsTechnica) has discovered that an issue reported on Reddit as causing crashes on jailbroken iPhones and iPads is actually a piece of malware designed to capture Apple IDs and passwords from infected devices.

This malware appears to have Chinese origin and comes as a library called Unflod.dylib that hooks into all running processes of jailbroken iDevices and listens to outgoing SSL connections. From these connections it tries to steal the device’s Apple-ID and corresponding password and sends them in plaintext to servers with IP addresses in control of US hosting companies for apparently Chinese customers.

Early indications are that the source of the malware is likely to have been from a tweak downloaded from somewhere outside of Cydia. Esser has identified that the code only runs on 32-bit devices, meaning that the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are safe, while other devices are vulnerable.

The blog post says that the malware is easy to check for, but may not be easy to remove. Using SSH/Terminal, check the path /Library/MobileSubstrate/DynamicLibraries/ for the presence of either Unflod.dylib or framework.dylib.

Currently the jailbreak community believes that deleting the Unflod.dylib/framework.dylib binary and changing the apple-id’s password afterwards is enough to recover from this attack. However it is still unknown how the dynamic library ends up on the device in the first place and therefore it is also unknown if it comes with additional malware gifts.

We therefore believe that the only safe way of removal is a full restore, which means the removal and loss of the jailbreak.

Cydia developer Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, pointed out on Reddit that adding random download URLs to Cydia is as risky as opening attachments received in spam emails.

IDevice Stories April 14, 2014

nds4ios

nds4ios has released a special version of the app that runs on non-jailbroken devices using a sneaky workaround. As the app is not available in the App Store, previously the app could only be installed on jailbroken devices, such as through the Cydia jailbreak app store. The app gets around Apple’s restrictions by using an enterprise provisioning profile reports TourchArcade. This is normally meant for businesses to distribute apps to company employees, but nds4ios is exploiting it as a way to enable widespread app distribution. Find install instructions after the break.

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IDevice Stories March 17, 2014

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The South China Morning Post is reporting that the iPhone 5c, created by Apple to target growth markets like China, has hit only a 2 percent share of all iOS devices after four months, in contrast to the iPhone 5s with a 12 percent share and the original iPhone 5 with around 15 percent …  expand full story

IDevice Stories February 17, 2014

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I love my Apple products. I’ve used Macs since day one. My desk right now has on it my MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPad Air, Thunderbolt Display and iPhone. Oh, and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad, of course.

My friends are convinced that I’m incapable of leaving the house without my iPad, and I have to confess that the evidence is on their side. My car has an iPhone dock so I can listen to music and podcasts. If I’m on a plane, train or tube, it’s a near-certainty that I’ll be using my iPad or listening to music on my iPhone – or both.

I love Apple hardware design. Sleek, minimalistic, beautiful. There aren’t that many other really attractive laptops out there, and most of the ones that are have essentially copied Apple’s designs …  expand full story

IDevice Stories January 15, 2014

Wireless drives have been around for a little while now. There’s the Seagate GoFlex Satellite, and the Kingston W-Drive SSD, for example. They generate their own wifi networks, and you can then stream content from them to either a Mac or, more usefully, an iOS device.

Lacie has taken that concept a stage further, by adding the ability to upload content from iPhones and iPads also, and with 1TB capacity, you’re unlikely to find yourself running short of space.

I tested it with a MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone, and was generally impressed …

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IDevice Stories January 14, 2014

Horizon is a new app for the iPhone (currently on sale for just $1) making the rounds today that attempts to eliminate a major annoyance of modern society — portrait videos.

Horizon uses the iPhone’s motion sensors (the accelerometer and gyroscope) to automatically scale and rotate input from the camera to generate videos that are always in landscape, no matter how the phone is actually being held.

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IDevice Stories January 6, 2014

Audio specialist Blue promises true hi-fi quality wireless audio by the spring

I take the view that wires are evil: anything that can be wireless should be wireless. My iOS devices sync via wifi, my keyboard and trackpad are Bluetooth, I have Wemo-controlled lighting, Tado-controlled heating and love cloud services.

But there’s one thing in my living-room that still relies on a wire: the connection between Mac and hifi system. I tried a Bluetooth link, and the quality just wasn’t there. I quickly reverted to the 3.5mm cable that runs around the skirting board.

Enter microphone specialist Blue. The company is teasing a true hifi-quality wireless connection between digital devices and headphones (and presumably hifi systems) under the name Mo-Fi.

Where digital music technology has advanced, headphones have lagged behind. We’ve seen dramatic advances in the quality and convenience of digital music, yet headphones –designed specifically to bring us closer to sound— have failed to bridge the gap from hi-fi to mobile. Headphones are the last barrier between us and the audio trapped in our digital devices. What if we liberated our music from overhyped lo-fi to true mobile hi-fi? We can. Blue is offering the first sneak peek at CES 2014.

We’ll bring you more details when we have them.

IDevice Stories November 4, 2013

air

Tracking data from Fiksu suggests that iPad Air adoption may be outpacing both the iPad 4 and the iPad Mini by around four to one. The numbers are as yet very small, but three days in, iPad Air usage hit 0.8 percent of active devices versus less than 0.2 percent for the iPad 4 by the same time …

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IDevice Stories October 31, 2013

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An innovative approach to solar charging revealed in an Apple patent application published today (via Patently Apple) could make it more practical to power both MacBooks and iOS devices from the sun.

The voltage and power generated by a solar panel varies with the amount of sunlight. To turn the power supply into something that can safely be used by an electronic device, you need a converter or regulator to deliver the correct specs to the device, adding cost and bulk to the panel.

What the Apple patent describes is building the necessary power management circuitry into the MacBook, iPad or iPhone so that it can accept whatever power the panel supplies. This potentially allows for cheaper and more portable panels …  expand full story

IDevice Stories September 17, 2013

Amazon Instant Video for iOS updated, adds Airplay support, IMDB integration

Amazon has updated its Instant Video app to version 2.1. Most notably, the update adds AirPlay support which has been a long-requested feature. This means that Amazon video content can now be watched on the Apple TV, via an iOS device with this app.

In addition, the update adds deeper integration with IMDB — which Amazon owns — to show information about cast, crew and other trivia. Users can also see iTunes-esque metadata such as “customers who watched this also watched” and drill down to other videos featuring the same director. Alongside with the usual performance and bug fix improvements, the app also allows users to download more than one video simultaneously for offline viewing.

IDevice Stories September 3, 2013

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An increasing number of cameras these days have wifi built-in, allowing instant viewing of photos on your iPhone or iPad, and from there instant sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and so on. Which can leave those of us with less sociable cameras feeling a little left out in the cold.

Eye-Fi has offered solutions to this for some time, in the form of wifi-equipped cards that you can insert into your older or pro camera and transmit the images to a PC or Mac. This approach worked, after a fashion, but had two big problems. First, setup was far from easy, and second, transmission was via a wireless router. Fine at home, where you probably didn’t need it, not so fine when out & about, where you probably did.

This was the problem the Eye-Fi Mobi set out to solve: a $50 (8GB) or $80 (16GB) SD card that transmits photos direct to an iOS device running the free Eye-Fi app, with no router required. I decided to give it a try …  expand full story

IDevice Stories August 27, 2013

Moving beyond today's remotes (image: bttremote.com)

Moving beyond today’s remotes (image: bttremote.com)

An iPhone may fall under the generic heading of a mobile phone, but a combination of the convenience of apps and the ability to use the iPhone as a remote for everything from playing a movie to changing the color of our lighting means that many of us use them at home almost as much as we do when out & about.

In a patent published today, Apple explores the potential of the iPhone to act as an intelligent remote with the kind of functionality typically associated with high-end home automation setups. The idea is based around the concept of ‘scenes’. Having a romantic night in with your partner? You probably want the lights dimmed, the music on softly, the TV off. Movie night? The big-screen on, Apple TV selected as the source, surround-sound speakers selected, volume up higher – and so on …  expand full story

IDevice Stories June 25, 2013

Review: NewTrent Travelpak Dual USB Port 5V/2A travel charger

The New Trent Travelpak 4000mAh plug in adapter makes a handy replacement to your iOS device AC USB adapter. I’ve been using the Travelpak 4000mAhfor about 3 months now and find it to be the perfect travelling companion for my phones, tablets and other USB-charged devices. At 4000mAh, you’ll get about 2 full iPhone charges. At 5V/2A, you’ll also get a speedy charge on your iPad, though not as fast as possible. For those focusing on iPad charging, there are bigger versions that come in the 7000mAh and 11200mAh sizes. In fact, the bigger 6000mAh has more ports, a more convenient form factor, and costs less ($39.99). Need more than that? Time for some Hyperjuice.

What’s nice here is that the portable Travelpak can charge two USB devices at the same time while plugged in. It has a nice bright 5 bar light system telling you if it is charging or how much charge it has left (making it a night-light as well). What’s even nicer and contrasts from other plug/batteries is that it turns off when unplugged and only starts charging again when you hit the power button on the side.  Where typical generic AC USB batteries will drain unless they are powered down, these will automatically turn off.

On the down side, when the plug is extended, the 4000mAh version can cover up the other plugs in a wall outlet or surge protector making this aspect of the design puzzling. Still, the other plusses far outweigh this technical oversight. It appears that the new high end 6000mAh and 11200mAh form factor fixes this issue and at a cheaper price, it is hard not to recommend this version.

The Travelpak  is currently $41.54 at Amazon off the List Price of $79.95 for the 4000mAh version that I tried, but it would appear that the larger 6000mAh version at $39.99 might be the better deal, especially since it adds a MicroUSB port and doesn’t cover up an additional plug.

IDevice Stories May 4, 2013

9to5Toys weekend roundup

9to5Toys has some pretty impressive daily deals today including:

There are also some impressive Mac Software Bundles running this week including:

Bookmark 9to5Toys.com (RSSFacebookTwitter or Email), Specials, and the new Daily Deals section for up to the second gear and deals.

IDevice Stories November 23, 2012

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Talk about good timing. A few days before Sandy hit our town, Hyper sent me its new MacBook + iOS charging external battery device, the Hyperjuice MBP2-100.

Hyper has made external MacBook/Air/Pro batteries for years, and if you’ve ever been to an Apple (or any big technology) keynote event, many of the live bloggers have their rigs hooked up to them. HyperJuice’s latest line, dubbed the “MBP2 series”, expands on the capabilities of the big power batteries…

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