CarPlay features can be controlled from the car’s dashboard or by using a button on the steering wheel to call up Siri. From there, drivers can make calls, listen to voicemails, have messages and emails read aloud, and access audio content from music, audiobooks, and podcasts. CarPlay also works with third party apps from Spotify and iHeartRadio.
Apple’s Maps app is another key component of CarPlay. According to Apple, ‘CarPlay makes driving directions more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. You can also simply ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car’s built-in display.’
Apple is preparing an update that will improve performance of the Touch ID sensor on its iPhone 5s handset, claims AppleInsider. Apple has tapped its AuthenTec team to eliminate “fade”, a term coined to describe the increasingly erratic performance of the fingerprint sensor that is experienced by some iPhone 5s owners.
After launching iPhone 5s last fall, Apple has continued to work with the original AuthenTec team to improve its recognition software and will release an update relatively soon, the source confidently reported. However, AppleInsider could not verify whether the update will ship as part of iOS 7.1, which is expected to drop in mid-March.
Issues with Touch ID surfaced shortly after the iPhone 5s was introduced, with owners reporting an increasing number of failed scans shortly after they enter their fingerprints. Deleting and rescanning a fingerprint only temporarily fixes the issue.
This is definitely a wide-spread problem. In fact myself and my good lady have both felt the need to ‘retrain’ the finger print record multiple times since purchase. We both often just unlock our iPhones by typing our pass codes in rather than using the finger print recognition. Apple definitely needs to improve this, so it’s good to see a potential fix is coming.
The Top Contenders:
When it comes to reading articles on the web, certain factors immediately apply such as what type of device you are using, what browser is being used and whether you have time to read and take in the particular article at that current time.
A typical person will use their smartphone or mobile computer to read news headlines and will speed read through links on websites because they are on the go and it might not be convenient to read a whole article or page at that particular time. For this situation, there are services and apps available that allow you to ‘save’ any webpage or article to read it later.
The benefits of using a service such as these, especially when you are using the particular service in question’s app, are that it will essentially save a copy of the original article you were viewing in your browser or the app you were using for later, so you can catch up with all your saved articles at a time when it’s perhaps more convenient to read them.
There is also the benefit of when you do come to use one of these services or apps to view the saved articles, it will display the article in a more easy-on-the-eye font which you can also customize if you prefer. The majority of these services have other benefits as well such as ‘offline’ viewing – the article is saved whilst your device has a connection so that you don’t need to be ‘online’ to read the article. There are also ‘Pro’ uses which I will come on to shortly such as automatically sharing the article with other services and apps.
There are multiple services that offer a read it later facility but I am going to touch on what I feel are the strongest three services.
Safari’s Reading List is built into the browser on Mac and iOS and therefore Apple make it super easy for you send any web page you have open automatically saved within Safari for later viewing or ‘offline’ viewing. Access to this service is via the bookmarks icon in the Mac version or within the bookmarks menus on iOS.
Once a webpage is within Reading List, clicking or tapping on a page to view it is easy enough with the option of ‘Reader’ in the address bar available to format the web page to remove most of the html and ads which results in a more pleasing reading experience.
My issue with Safari Reading List is down to one thing – notifications. In as far as they aren’t any. When I was using the service a few months back, I felt I needed to be reminded that I had saved articles to read to refer back to and with Safari not displaying badges, I simply forgot that I had them.
‘Add to Reading List’ is also baked into most 3rd party apps, so getting your articles into there is well supported by developers. The support is great, it works well, it’s reliable but the lack of notifications keeps me from using it as my preferred service.
Originally developed by Marco Arment, Instapaper is perhaps the oldest and best known of all the read it later services due to its fast, reliable and and concise design. Instapaper also benefitted by it’s universal adoption by many twitter services, websites, social networks and news feeds so it became very popular and although Marco sold on the service last year, it remains a powerhouse in it’s field.
If you are using a browser on a desktop PC or Mac or laptop, there is an Instapaper extension available for the most popular browsers like Safari and Chrome which can add a small button near the address bar which with one click, can add the currently open page – straight to your Instapaper account. On iOS there is a universal app for the iPhone and the iPad which you can use to catch with up with all your saved articles. Instapaper has a nice back-end feature that you can setup so that it will automatically share saved articles to various services like Twitter, Evernote, Pinboard etc. Frasier Spiers has a terrific workflow for saving web articles via Instapaper into Evernote.
The iOS Instapaper app currently has a couple of limitations that stop me from using it as my preferred read it later service. The first one is that it doesn’t quite take advantage of the new background updating feature of iOS 7 which means that it won’t automatically download the articles in the background. Instead it uses background location updating which ironically was one of the pioneering features in an earlier iOS version release which only updates and downloads articles once you have reached a certain GPS-enabled location like at home or at work.
Another useful feature that I like to have in the app is to maintain a constant badge icon to show how many articles you have unread in your Instapaper account. The app will show the badge briefly, but once you exit the app the badge notification disappears. I like to know at a glance exactly how many articles I have queued up or unread in my read it later service and unfortunately these 2 issues let the app down and stops me from using the app.
Pocket for me ticks all the boxes I require.
It’s a popular service and I can see why. 3rd party support is again well supported by developers so most Twitter apps and news apps can ‘Add/Send to Pocket’.
The Pocket app on iOS really is fantastic. It’s fast, smooth and easy to navigate and manage with a great choice of fonts to use as your default reading experience. You can tick or swipe to mark saved articles as read which of course can update your Pocket account and sync read and unread articles across your devices.
Notifications are the killer feature for me. Fully supporting iOS 7’s background updating API, I am in love with the number of saved articles badge over the app icon on the iPhone and iPad. I can see at a glance how many I need to catch up on which of course is a great reminder. I can be in twitter, see a link that I want to research or read later, hit ‘Send to Pocket’ and by the time I have exited the Twitter app and gone back to the home screen, the badge as been updated on the Pocket app to reflect the change. My only wish is for a Mac app rather than having to access the site via Safari but considering I mostly use my iOS devices, there is no great need.
Pocket is a fantastic app with the notification badge being the killer and stand out feature. You can download it for free here.
The perfect phone for people with no taste. Garish design — both hardware and software. The gold version (shocker) is exactly what made people cringe when the gold iPhone was first rumored.
Water-resistance is a legitimate step forward in the state of the art, though. I know there’ve been other water-resistant phones, but none that will sell as well as the S5. This is one area where Apple is behind. A good solution to this problem, though, has got to involve something better than a flap over the USB port.
Plus issues with their storage:
When you buy a 16GB iPhone 5c, you get 12.60GB of storage space left over after taking into account iOS 7’s default install size. Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was the worst bang for the buck, storage-wise, in smartphones: a paltry 8.56GB of internal space was available to the user to store apps and media upon.
Even the S4, though, was roomy compared to the newly announced Galaxy S5. A 16GB Galaxy S5 comes with less than eight gigabytes of usable memory.
And what you can see is that on the 16GB model of the Galaxy S5, half of the on-board storage is used up before the owner even turns on the phone. It’s not quite as dire on the 32GB model of course (and remember that there’s a little bit of funky math anyway, and you never get as much storage as manufacturers say), and Samsung will quickly tell you that’s why you have the option to use a microSD card for expanded storage.
Which is true! You can install apps, media and more to the card in the Galaxy S5’s microSD slot. But they will never run as quickly or as well as they run on the Galaxy S5 itself. At the end of the day, a 16GB Galaxy S5 only has 7.86GB of usable storage to play around with.
Alex Heath via TechCrunch:
WhatsApp, the popular messaging service that was recently bought by Facebook, is adding a big feature in a few months: voice calling.
During a keynote at Mobile World Congress, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced that voice calling would be added in the second quarter of this year. The feature will be a free addition to the already free app.
WhatsApp has 465 million monthly active users, which is 15 million more than Facebook. The service’s huge international presence (it’s the largest mobile messaging service in Korea, for example) also helps explain why Facebook paid $19 billion to own it.
The iKettle’s product description:
Boil your kettle with your smart phone, anywhere in your home
The most satisfying wake-up call of all time
Welcomes you home by asking if you’d like to pop the kettle on
Match your kettle to your kitchen with the insulating iKettle skins
Might be the geek in me (or tea drinker), but I cannot wait to get this…
The company’s app is currently the 35th most popular on the App Store. Facebook says WhatsApp’s messaging volume is “approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume”, roughly 7 trillion message a year.
Facebook obviously consider “approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume” and having access to every user’s mobile number a bargain at $16 Billion. Interesting to watch where they go with their services now..
Weather Notifications is a fantastic app, simple in it’s design but works perfectly as advertised.
There are dozens of weather apps on the App Store available to choose from ranging from powerful data-rich services to apps that show the current temperature as the badge notification on your home screen.
Weather notifications sole purpose is to send you a push notification of the weather at a chosen time for any given day. If you want more detailed analysis on the weather then as I said, the other apps are for you. If you just want a quick message, then it is perfect because I just want to know in 2 seconds what the weather is going to be like so I can then get on with the rest of my day.
After downloading the app, I just went into the settings, set the City and what time of day I wanted the alert and that was it! Now every morning when I wake up and reach for my iPhone, it displays what the temperature will be and conditions for the City where I work for that day right on my home screen before I have even swiped to unlock it! Perfect for choosing the right clothes/jacket based on the weather for that day!
The app is £1.49 and you should download it here.