Apple Goes “Home” with Latest Ad, Parenting


Noemi Tasarra-Twigg:

Titled Parenting, the ad focuses on the home and how iOS can be an integral part of it. Putting together hardware and software, Parenting shows how Apple’s products can easily become integrated into a household’s daily routine.

Another great Ad from Apple. It shows off what you can do with the device rather what specs the phone has – take note Samsung.

Google’s Nest Buys Dropcam for $555 Million


Liz Gannes:

Dropcam, the popular home monitoring camera startup, will be acquired by Nest, maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors. The deal is worth $555 million in cash.

Nest itself was just purchased by Google just four months ago for $3.2 billion. But the company says it is undertaking this acquisition on its own, outside of Google. Dropcam will be folded into Nest’s brand and company culture, and will also be subject to its privacy policy, Matt Rogers, Nest co-founder and VP of engineering, told Re/code in an interview Friday.

Things are really heating up in ‘The Internet of Things’ space – Everybody, including Google yesterday are vying to dominate this space.

Apple iPhone theft is down drastically thanks to activation lock feature


Adam Zeis:

Late last year, Apple added the Activation Lock feature to devices in hopes of cutting down on theft. New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, and the district attorney of San Francisco, George Gascón are now saying that the “kill switch” that is Activation Lock has drastically cut down on iPhone theft. Police say that robberies have dropped in London, New York and San Francisco after Activation Lock was added to iOS 7. London thefts fell by 24 percent, New York by 19 percent and San Francisco by 38 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Activation Lock works by requiring you to enter your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, sign out of iCloud or erase and reactivate your device. This greatly deters thieves, knowing they won’t be able to access the device with the proper credentials. Starting in 2015, all smartphones will require the same type of feature. Apple, Samsung, Google, HTC, Microsoft and others will all have built-in anti-theft tools standard.

Great recent feature from Apple. eBay is packed with iPhone’s that are for sale dirt-cheap because they are locked and therefore available only for parts..

Why Apple may say goodbye to the headphone plug


Marco Tabini:

In addition to getting rid of a few common problems, removing the jack from iOS devices could translate into a number of direct benefits to consumers. First of all, Apple could reclaim the space that it currently needs to reserve on its devices for the jack and use it for other purposes, such as making its devices thinner—or, perhaps, reorganizing the iPhone’s internals so that there’s more room inside for a bigger battery. If you recall, this was the same motivation that led the company to remove optical disc drives from its current crop of desktop and laptop computers—precisely because designing around that clunky apparatus was beginning to hinder Apple’s ability to slim them down any further.

Switching to Lightning-powered headphones could also mean richer controls for volume and playback. Until now, these have, to a certain extent, been made possible by the clever use of analog signals over multi-segmented connectors, but there’s a limit to what can be accomplished with this approach. With a fully digital interface and the ability to provide power, on the other hand, it might be possible to create headphones that offer advanced displays or better sound reproduction than is now possible. (Though that, in turn, might be a wash with any extra battery power Apple could get from freeing up the space currently occupied by the jack.)

It would certainly make sense and another reason why Apple bought Beats – to take their existing headphones, pair them with Apple’s hardware to make headphones that sound much better than the current analogue way of connection. Thinner iPhone’s is also part of Apple’s mantra in making their devices thinner year over year. A year away I would say before we see this potential on future devices.

Default iPhone Weather App to Get More Accurate in iOS 8


Kara Swisher:

Of the many announcements made at Apple’s recent Worldwide Developers Conference, one that did not garner as much attention concerned the pre-installed weather app on the iPhone.

The look, feel and data has been provided to Apple by Yahoo for many years, part of a deal that sends a lot of traffic back to the Internet portal and spurs a multitude of downloads of its own handsome weather app. So attractive, in fact, that the refurbishment of it was much touted by CEO Marissa Mayer and was well received by reviewers and users.

But in the fall, Yahoo’s weather relationship with Apple will be blown off the device, a development that is a big miss for Mayer, who has aggressively pushed the company’s mobile efforts as a key part of its turnaround.

That development is due to a very crafty deal engineered by former Yahoo board member and Weather Channel CEO David Kenny, who has essentially blown Yahoo off the key smartphone to be replaced by a new offering that he has been developing since he took over the weather news and information service last year. With it, he has unseated Yahoo from its important perch.

The irony? Yahoo’s weather app and services have long been powered by the Weather Channel, part of a longtime partnership it has had with the Silicon Valley Internet giant. In simple terms, Yahoo had slapped a pretty chrome cover on it and Weather Channel provided the more substantive back end and critical weather data.

I always found the weather information provided by the app to not always be accurate even when it was pouring with rain and had been for an hour or so – the app would still say the area I was in was currently cloudy. Let’s hope the Weather Channel provides more accurate information – it should do.

iPhone-Connected Vessyl Smart Cup Tracks Drinking Habits


Julie Clover:

Along with displaying nutritional information, Vessyl also keeps track of what a user drinks during the day, tallying statistics like calories consumed, caffeine levels, hydration, and more. Users can set goals within the app, tracking all of these metrics and more. Vessyl also tracks and estimates a person’s real-time hydration needs based on how much they drink, which is measured through the liquid level in the cup.

Vessyl, which holds 13 ounces of liquid, has a built-in display, a spill-proof lid, and a non-stick interior. It connects to an iPhone using Bluetooth 4.0 to upload nutrient data to its accompanying iPhone app, which also integrates with popular activity trackers. The cup lasts for five to seven days on a single charge and uses wireless charging.

Vessyl can be pre-ordered for $99, but will later retail for $199. It is available in three different colors (Shadow, Snow, and Steam) along with several accent lid colors, and it is expected to begin shipping in early 2015.

Interesting idea. Every day there seems to be a link to a new smart product. I can only see this being useful as an aid to a dietary program though.

New app Audibly lets you share your music wirelessly to nearby iOS devices


Mike Beasley:

A brand new app created by three 2013 WWDC student scholarship winners— Nick Frey, Chris Galzerano, and Veeral Patel—launched on the App Store earlier this month. The app is called Audibly, and it allows users to stream music from one device to any others nearby. The music plays in sync across all devices, allowing everyone to listen in on the same playlist.

The app is fairly straightfoward. You simply pick a playlist to share, pair with a few nearby iOS devices, and hit play. The connection is made over Wi-Fi when there’s a network available, or through a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection if the devices aren’t connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

From the app’s interface, you can control the volume of each individual device that’s connected and adjust the pitch and other effects. Users can also mark specific songs as a favorite to go back to that song later.

Audibly is available completely free on the App Store.

Smart idea and seems to work flawlessly.