Apple Watch Spotted Out in the Wild


I spotted an Apple Watch on the train this morning, and now I’m a believer | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by Mark Sullivan

As the train stopped in a tunnel, the man apparently received a reminder on his wrist, and when he raised his wrist I got a clear view. No, it wasn’t one of the knockoffs they were selling at CES. This thing looked like a luxury item, and it had the now familiar “bubbles” Watch user interface.
I saw a text reminder on the screen, and then, briefly, a map. It appeared that the guy had been using the Watch for some time and was pretty used to it. The product is supposed to go on sale in April, but Apple gave Watches to a number of its employees to gather feedback and fix bugs.

The Watch will launch with just a limited set of features, and at first, it will seem like merely a remote control for your phone. But later on the Watch will start to do more and more things — some of them completely independent of the phone. Next thing you know, you’ll see people using the Watch to buy coffee at Starbucks, or scan to get on the train, or check in for a flight, or produce one’s medical records at the doctor’s office.

Microsoft’s New Outlook Mail App for iOS


Microsoft this week released a new version of it’s mail app for iOS and it has been getting some early rave reviews and love;

Steve Kovach writing for Business Insider;

It took me just five minutes to decide to switch to Outlook and delete the Gmail app from my phone. (Gmail has been giving me a lot of trouble lately. Messages don’t always load, even when I get a notification that a new email has arrived. Annoying!)
Here’s what I like about the new Outlook app:

  • It syncs perfectly with Gmail.
  • You can sync it to your Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive file-storage services, which makes emailing files a lot easier.
  • It also syncs with Google Calendar, so you don’t need to open a separate app to get a look at your schedule.The “People” tab makes it really easy to get in touch with the people you email the most.
  • You can quickly archive or delete messages with a swipe.


Frederic Lardinois writing for TechCrunch;

The new applications, Microsoft’s general manager of its Office division Julia White told me earlier this week, are based on the technology Microsoft acquired when it bought the email app Acompli for $200 million last year. “We brought that team in and it’s now a core part of the our Outlook team,” she told me.
It’s no surprise then that the Outlook apps will look and feel quite a bit like the original Acompli apps, too. Microsoft has already added a few minor Office-app like touches, including a colored ribbon-like UI, but if you’ve ever used Acompli’s apps, the new Outlook apps will mostly feel like a rebrand of that service.


Vlad Savoy writing for The Verge;

In the end, I narrowed down my shortlist to a pair of practical, clean, and functional email apps: CloudMagic and Acompli, the latter of which is today being rebranded as v1 of Outlook for iPhone. Both let me quickly access my folders and switch between accounts, both provide informative email previews in the Notification Center, and both keep their extra features optional. Where Outlook pulls ahead is in the smoothness and speed of its interactions. To delete or archive an email, I need just a single, fluidly animated swipe. CloudMagic takes a swipe and a tap. Sure, it’s a small difference, but when you add up all those small delays over the course of a full working day, the difference between the two apps starts to feel a lot more tangible. Outlook also consumes less of my iPhone’s battery power when syncing in the background, which settles the choice for me.


Paul Thurrott writing on his own site;

First, this new Outlook (formerly Acompli) client will eventually replace other similar Microsoft mobile clients on Android and iOS, including and OWA. Doing so will simply require that Outlook pick up some functionality that is currently exclusively available in those other apps, like document rights management capabilities.
Second, this new integrated Outlook team is also tasked with creating the new “touch first” Outlook client that will be part of the Office apps for Windows 10 (i.e. “Office Touch for Windows’), so it’s fair to say that as these apps all evolve they will also converge from a functionality perspective. That is, if you look at these new Outlook clients for Android and iOS today, what you are seeing is the future of Outlook on Windows (at least on Windows touch devices).

This is exciting stuff.

I am currently testing the app out and so far I like it. The crucial functionality that the app offers is the ability to link to multiple cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive so that you can send attachments as links very easily and quickly. This is especially handy for my workflow for where I need to send files that are stored on my Dropbox account – I no longer need to use the Dropbox app to do this or in most instances, my Mac to do this.

Jay-Z Gets Into Music Streaming With $56M Bid For Aspero, Owner Of WiMP And Tidal | TechCrunch


Jay-Z Gets Into Music Streaming With $56M Bid For Aspero, Owner Of WiMP And Tidal | TechCrunch

WiMP is available in a handful of European markets — Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden — while Tidal offers a “higher fidelity” service, which boasts a superior quality of sound than to the likes of Spotify, Rdio and Deezer’s services. Available in the UK and the U.S. since October 2014, Tidal is priced at $20 per month, which is around double the main competition.

I spoke about Tidal before and it seems inevitable that their high end music service would be sought after. Hopefully, Jay-Z will influence bringing the monthly subscription cost down so the service can gain momentum because there is no doubt the superior sound quality currently trumps Spotify and Beats etc.

iOS 8.1.3 Arrives, With Lighter Storage Requirements For Updates And Spotlight Fix


iOS 8.1.3 Arrives, With Lighter Storage Requirements For Updates And Spotlight Fix | TechCrunch

Apple has issued iOS 8.1.3, and update for its mobile devices that fixes a number of bugs, and makes it so that iOS requires less free storage space on your hardware (this update itself comes in at 247 MB) to actually perform an update. Especially with iOS 8’s launch, users without much free space on their device had difficulty updating because of the size of the software download itself. Other fixes include zapping a bug that prevented app results from showing up in Spotlight search, an issue which seemed to be affecting many users on the last version of iOS.

Microsoft OneNote for Mac


Microsoft OneNote for Mac — is it an Evernote contender? | iMore

Unlike Evernote, OneNote doesn’t have any easy way of embedding web pages into your notes, which makes it a less-than-ideal tool for collecting info off the web for later collation and digestion. You can embed PDFs after a fashion, as “printouts” that can then be annotated. Files can be attached as well. Late last year, Microsoft added the ability to open notebooks stored on SharePoint Servers, as well. You can share notes with users outside your workflow by embedding the note in an email or by sending links; Microsoft offers the option of a read-only link or an editable link as well.
I don’t have any experience with the Windows version of OneNote, but I’ve read numerous complaints from users of both versions that suggest the Mac version comes up a bit short, especially in areas like saving text formatting options, document and file importing and attachment and more. As in all things, your mileage may vary in this regard.

It’s weird to think of Microsoft as underdog, but they really are when it comes to this kind of app. The 800 pound gorilla of the note taking app market is Evernote. To that end, Evernote has a better fleshed-out ecosystem of apps, accessories and tools to help you get the most out of it.

Interesting comparison between the 2 premier note talking apps – I personally will stick with Evernote as my workflow is too heavily invested in it but if I was on the look out for a decent note taking app, then I might be tempted to try OneNote.

iPad initial complaints seem ridiculous 5 years on


iPad haters’ initial complaints seem ridiculous 5 years on | Cult of Mac

Some great reminders on how judgement was made too early;

iPad is for consuming, not producing

“Let’s face it: The iPad is basically a mobile device front-end for the iTunes Store,” wrote snippy Redditor thewriteguy soon after the iPad was announced. “And the consumer (I wouldn’t call them a ‘user’) is charged $500 for the privilege of shopping iTunes with it.”

He’s right about one thing: The iPad is a fantastic device for consuming media. It’s great for surfing the Web, watching YouTube videos, reading ebooks and anything else that your phone is too small for and your notebook’s not immediately convenient for. At its most basic, the iPad is a screen you carry around with you, and more than a century of cinema has taught us that screens are great for passive consumption.

But the idea that the iPad is not a productivity device in its own right is ludicrous. Apple has always targeted the creative end of the market first and foremost — and the iPad has excelled in that arena. When Bentley set out to shoot a new ad last year, the iPad’s iMovie app allowed them to carry out the majority of editing work from the back seat of their car, adding a whole new level of immediacy. Meanwhile, apps like itSeez3D allow people to transform their tablets into 3-D scanners, giving them a tool that previously wasn’t within the grasp of the average user.

The iPad is increasingly used for more traditional business work as well. Microsoft Office 365 was a huge hit, both commercially and critically, when it arrived on iOS last year. Apple’s 2014 deal with IBM (which we called the biggest tech news of last year) also brought a slew of new enterprise productivity apps to Apple’s tablet, offering tools to people working in everything from banking to telecommunications.

I had many a discussion initially with people regarding Flash and it’s mobile demise and so was proved;

The lack of Flash on the iPad is one of those time-capsule complaints that, like teenage problems, felt oh-so-important at the time but now gets shrugged off with a “why did we ever care about that?” nonchalance.
Here in 2015, not even Android supports Flash anymore — and it hasn’t done so for a few years. Flash is dying out, and it’s a rare occasion when you visit a website on an iPad that can’t be viewed properly because of the tablet’s lack of Flash support.

Switch to the iPhone – For the Camera Alone


Switch to iPhone: For a better everyday camera! | iMore

The iPhone 6’s rear-facing iSight camera is 8 megapixels. Some might argue that more would be better; we saw the megapixel race in point-and-shoot cameras, however, and we know how senseless it is. Megapixels represent quantity, not quality. To get more megapixels, manufacturers carve the image sensor up into smaller pixels that take in less light. That typically results in larger photos of poorer quality. That’s why Apple made the choice not to go for more pixels, but for bigger pixels — 1.5 microns at f/2.2. Because they’re larger, they take in more light and result in better-quality photos.
If you really want to shoot images sized for posters or billboards, or want to take advantage of significant downsampling, it’s okay to look for megapixels. If you want truly great photos, however, you’ll need to look beyond them.

Great snippet from Rene Ritchie explaining the myth around megapixels. Quality over quantity.

O2’s Purchase by Three


O2 purchase by Three confirmed for £10.25bn as operator consolidation continues | Technology | The Guardian:

The owner of the mobile network Three has confirmed it is in exclusive negotiations to acquire O2 UK from Spanish telco Telefonica.

The deal for £10.25bn in cash, including an initial amount of £9.25bn followed by a deferred £1bn, blocks Sky’s reported bids for the network and will make the combined Three and O2 operator the biggest in the UK with a 41% share of the market.

I remain convinced that cellular networking is a dying breed and unless these companies change their business model and product, they will continue to buy each other out until only one remains and by then it will be too late.

Fitness Trackers Accuracy Put to the Test


Why your fitness tracker could be a waste of money | Daily Mail Online

Results showed the BodyMedia Core was the most accurate device, with the Fitbit Flex coming in second place. This supported a previous study which rated them as the two most accurate.
Jawbone Up24 and Nike Fuelband SE came in third and fourth place – both with accuracy rates of between 15 and 18 per cent.

Slightly misleading headline from the Daily Mail Online as the trackers quoted above were actually pretty accurate. As the comments in the article suggest, if a fitness tracker helps you to get more active and to live a healthier lifestyle then they have worked. Analysis of fitness data can be truly inspiring when integrating with other apps and services.

Taking CarPlay for a spin


Jason Snell on Taking CarPlay for a spin:

So is CarPlay worth it? Right now, I’d have to say no. I’m encouraged by the potential here, but it feels slow and seems buggy. Though I’ve got this Pioneer CarPlay unit right here, I’m not planning on installing it in my car… at least, not yet. An Apple-designed interface in my dashboard sounds like a great idea, but until there are more third-party apps—and until third-party apps actually work well—maybe it’s just as well that CarPlay devices are still few and far between.

Sounds like there is some way to go yet before CarPlay becomes mature and stable.