February 13, 2015

Google and Mattel are holding a press event today to announce a new product that merges Google’s experimental Cardboard virtual reality platform with Mattel’s classic View-Master toy. Also announced at the event: Mattel plans to bring the new View-Master toy and with it Google’s Cardboard platform to the iPhone by the end of the year. expand full story

iOS and Android are completely different worlds when it comes to apps. Android is pretty much the wild west, with little control over quality or even safety (malware is commonplace). iOS, on a non-jailbroken device, is a walled garden, where Apple decides what apps can and can’t do, and which ones get approved for sale.

Yet despite that carefully-controlled approach, the App Store can still feel like a bit of a jungle. Which is why I wonder whether the Pinterest tie-in announced yesterday may offer hope for the future.

But let’s start with the problem I think needs to be solved, and that problem begins with search. Results may vary by country, and you can try the searches for yourself to compare your results with mine, but here’s what I get for a few obvious app searches …  expand full story

[tweet https://twitter.com/Drake/status/566085353400852480/]

Canadian rapper Drake has released an unexpected new mixtape album on iTunes, announcing it on Twitter as it went live. The album, entitled If you’re reading this it’s too late, was added to iTunes shortly before midnight ET …  expand full story


We learned earlier this week that Tim Cook would be speaking at a White House cybersecurity summit today, and it now appears he will be the only tech CEO to do so. USNews is reporting that CEOs of other top tech companies all declined President Obama’s invitation, sending lower-ranking execs in their place.

Unlike Apple’s Cook, other top executives at key Silicon Valley companies declined invitations to the summit. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page will not attend amid the ongoing concerns about government surveillance. Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Zuckerberg is unavailable to attend and that Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan will speak during a panel at the event.

It’s believed other CEOs consider refusing to take part to be the best way to express their objections to increased government surveillance of electronic communications, while Cook takes the opposite view: that it is important to speak up in defence of user privacy …  expand full story

Fleksy has updated its popular custom keyboard app with a range of new features, mixing the practical and the fun.

On the practical side, you can now add a row of seven customizable hotkeys that act as shortcuts for anything from an emoji or symbol to an email address. The functionality of the globe button is also now customizable, for example making it dismiss the keyboard, and you can opt for a case-sensitive keyboard layout. More keys have been added to the iPad app, also appearing in the iPhone app in landscape mode, and dictionary words now sync between devices via iCloud …  expand full story

Apple appears to be aiming to tempt Android and Windows users to try out its iWork apps, making Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iCloud available to anyone, with no requirement to own an Apple device. A new banner promoting the offer was last night added to the iCloud beta site, beta.icloud.com …  expand full story


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