Thursday February 26, 2015 5:00 AM PST by Joe Rossignol
The latest Mobility Index Report from Good Technology reveals that iOS increased its lead over Android in the enterprise market during the fourth quarter on the strength of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. iOS accounted for 73% of total activations during the three-month period ending December, up from 69% in the previous quarter and equal to the year-ago quarter.
Specifically, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus made up 30% of all activations during the fourth quarter, with the iPhone 6 to iPhone 6 Plus split being 77% and 23% respectively. Android activations dropped from 29% during the third quarter to 25% in the fourth quarter, while both Windows Phone and all other mobile platforms each represented a 1% share of activations.
"Device adoption varies significantly between industries, with iOS devices outpacing Android in regulated industries such as legal (95 percent), public sector (82 percent) and financial services (81 percent). Android was more widely adopted in industries with fewer regulatory compliance restrictions, such as high tech (45 percent), manufacturing (39 percent) and transportation (35 percent)."
iOS and Android activations in the enterprise were led by smaller devices during the fourth quarter, with the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S4 Mini outpacing the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 respectively. The report adds that secure browser activations nearly tripled quarter-over-quarter and secure instant message activations grew 900% in 2014.
BlackBerry is not reflected in this report due to its reliance on BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
Wednesday February 25, 2015 3:04 PM PST by Juli Clover
Google today announced an update to its Google Play Music service, expanding the amount of available storage. Users can now store 50,000 songs in the cloud at no cost, up from 20,000.
Content stored within Google Play Music can be played on computers via Google's Music Manager app, on iPhones and iPads via the recently redesigned Google Play Music app, through a Chrome extension, through Chromecast, and on Android devices.
Google's Google Play Music storage does not require a subscription to Google Play Music to use it, making it free for all users.
Those interested in using Google's free music storage can access it by going to the Google Play Music website, skipping the subscription offer, and going straight to the music interface where there's an option to upload music. Content can be uploaded directly from an iTunes library or from any folder.
Google, of course, hopes users will opt-in to its $9.99 per month subscription music service when signing up for free music storage, which offers on-demand access to millions of songs much like Spotify or Beats Music.
With the boost in free storage space, Google Play Music gains a bit of a competitive advantage over Apple's iTunes Match service. iTunes Match costs $25 per year and allows users to store up to 25,000 songs in iCloud, but it gives users the benefit of accessing 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality music for any uploaded song that's also available in the iTunes Store.
For those in the Apple ecosystem, it's arguably easier to access songs on any device through iCloud using iTunes Match, but Google Play Music is a viable alternative as the company now has apps for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad available.
Wednesday February 25, 2015 8:04 AM PST by Joe Rossignol
The continued rise of smartphone and tablet adoption and the addition of Podcasts as a stock app on iOS 8 has resulted in significant growth for podcasts in the United States, reports Ad Age. Overall consumption of podcasts experienced 18% growth in the U.S. between Spring and Fall 2014 as Americans now listen to approximately 21.1 million hours of podcasts per day, according to Edison Research.
The resurgence of podcasts arrives around a decade after the audio format became established for iPod and iTunes, and the sudden rise in popularity has some podcast makers excited. "Creatively, we are entering a new golden age," said Matthew Lieber, co-founder of the podcasting startup Gimlet Media. "In terms of the golden age of the business," he added, "we're just getting started."
A direct beneficiary of the so-called "podcast renaissance" is Serial, a spin-off of This American Life that has amassed close to 72 million downloads since it started being aired last fall. Serial is based upon a Baltimore murder case in 1999, in which detectives arrest the ex-boyfriend of a high school senior that disappears after school one day. All twelve episodes are available through iTunes and on the Serial website for free.
While we may be entering the "golden age" of podcasts, the report finds that brand advertisers are still spending significantly less dollars on the medium than more traditional forms of media such as broadcast television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Advertising agency ZenithOptimedia reported last year that podcast ad spending growth would remain flat through at least the next two years.
Podcasting has been an advertising backwater. A ZenithOptimedia report from June 2014 -- before "Serial" debuted -- said podcast ad spending would remain at $34 million annually through 2016. That's a small fraction of what marketers earmark for other media. Ad buyers and media executives say about 80% of the ads played during podcasts are direct-response, prompting listeners to visit a website or call a 1-800 number. Only 20% represents brand advertisers.
The rise in popularity of podcasts is attributed to several other factors, including the wider availability of connected cars that make in-car listening to podcasts much easier for daily commuters. New York Magazine noted last October that the renaissance of podcasting goes hand-in-hand with the improved quality of podcasts, as more content makers turn to the platform as a cheaper alternative over hosting a TV show or radio show.
Podcasts emerged around 2005 as episodic audio series that can span anywhere from a few minutes to several hours in length. Apple users with an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac or other device to listen with can subscribe to podcasts through iTunes to receive the latest podcasts. A wide range of podcasts are available in iTunes based on genres such as news, technology, fashion, food and restaurants, general talk shows, education and more.
Tuesday February 24, 2015 8:43 PM PST by Husain Sumra
Last week, it was announced that the February 25 episode of Emmy-winning sitcom "Modern Family" would take place solely on a MacBook screen and only be shot with cameras from iPhones and iPads. BuzzFeed News got in touch with the episode's director and series co-creator Steven Levitan to find out how they shot the episode.
In a video originally provided to BuzzFeed News, and now available for download on iTunes [Direct Link], Levitan explains that all of the iPhones were kept in holsters held by cameramen. To avoid making the shot look like it was being filmed by a floating device, the actors were told to hold their arm near the cameramen's arm.
Initially, Levitan and the crew wanted the actors to hold the phone throughout film, but they found it wasn't as east to control and that actors would misplace the devices as well as shoot off-set.
The episode took over three months to complete, with a lot of time dedicated to post production as the special effects team had to rebuild OS X Yosemite from the ground up, mimicking its animations and art style while also taking artistic license to make certain things better suited for the story they wanted to tell.
While the episode's format isn't the same as the standard "Modern Family" format, Levitan says there have been other instances during the show's six year run where they've used iPhones to shoot certain scenes. For instance, instead of staging a basketball game for a scene where a character dresses as a mascot, Levitan shot his son's basketball game on his iPhone and used special effects to splice the character into that basketball game.
The episode, which is called "Connection Lost" airs Wednesday, February 25 on ABC.
Tuesday February 24, 2015 11:57 AM PST by Juli Clover
With hundreds of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases on the market, it can be difficult to find the perfect solution for your needs, managing the fine line between enough protection and too much bulk. Popular casemaker RooCASE has some promising options that may suit those of you looking for full body protection, which we've outlined in the video below.
We went hands-on with the RooCASE Skinny Slimm, the Glacier Tough, the Gelledge, and the VersaTough. Prices below are Amazon prices, which are somewhat cheaper than the price points listed by RooCASE.
Of the four cases, the Skinny Slimm is RooCASE's answer to a minimalistic case, leaving the thin design of the two devices largely intact while offering protection. The Skinny Slimm protects the rear camera of the iPhone, but doesn't have a lip around the front to protect the screen when facedown on a surface like a table.
The Skinny Slimm is available on Amazon for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus at prices that start at $7.98. There are a range of different color options available.
The three other RooCASE options offer full protection for the iPhone, with varying amounts of bulk. The Glacier Tough case offers complete iPhone protection with a built-in screen protector and it has a clear back so you can still see your iPhone. It's not too thick, but it leaves ports open except for the Lightning port, so it's not resistant to dust and water. The Glacier Tough case is available for the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6 in a range of colors from Amazon.com. It's priced at $18.98.
RooCASE's VersaTough is another full case that offers a bit more protection than the Glacier Tough. It doesn't have a clear backing and it feels a bit bigger, but it has a solid design with a TPU backing and a built-in screen protector. It also leaves ports open, with the exception of the Lightning port, but volume and power buttons are covered. The VersaTough case is available for the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6 from Amazon for $17.98
We also took a look at the Gelledge case for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, another full-protection offering, but we were unimpressed with how difficult it was to get on to an iPhone, the unresponsiveness of the screen due to the built-in screen protector, and the difficulty of pressing the volume and power buttons. For that reason, we recommend choosing one of RooCASE's other options over the Gelledge.
Tuesday February 24, 2015 9:06 AM PST by Marianne Schultz
Apple's iPhone has topped Flickr's list of the top mobile cameras for years, with Apple even surpassing Nikon to be the number 2 camera brand on the service earlier this year. Smartphone photography is booming and there has been no shortage of accessories to help users take even better pictures, and one of the latest entries in this category is the ExoLens system.
Apple came to us two years ago looking for a higher end lens system for their upcoming devices” says John Willenborg, CEO at ExoLens. “The goal was to engineer something that reflected the quality and precision of the iPhone 6 with the power of a mini DSLR."
What's in the Box
The ExoLens system comprises two lenses -- a 3x telephoto lens and a 165º wide angle lens -- that screw into a machined aluminum bracket that slides onto an iPhone. The bracket has an integrated 1/4"-20 tripod mount, which will also work with some selfie sticks/monopods. Also included are lens caps, a lens hood for the telephoto lens, and a microfiber carrying pouch. ExoLens officially launches today for the iPhone 6 with a retail price of $129.95, with a model for the iPhone 6 Plus planned for release in May.
Tuesday February 24, 2015 4:31 AM PST by Joe Rossignol
Visa announced on Tuesday that it will be rolling out tokenization in Europe, an essential technology that allows for secure and convenient contactless payments using various technologies (via The Next Web). The tokenization service will be available to financial institutions in mid-April and helps pave the way for the launch of Apple Pay in Europe.
“This is an exciting time to be in the payment industry. We believe that 2015 will be the year that mobile payments will be in the hands of consumers across Europe," said Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director, Core Products for Visa Europe. "Tokenisation is one of the most important technologies to emerge in digital payments and has the potential to start a whole new chapter in the kinds of products that are developed."
Visa, MasterCard and American Express were among the credit card companies that launched tokenization in the United States ahead of the launch of Apple Pay last October. The technology replaces your credit card information with a randomized series of numbers during payment authorization to secure your account details when you tap your smartphone on a contactless payment terminal.
Apple Pay remains limited to the United States, although an international expansion could start with Canada as early as March. The NFC-based mobile payments service requires an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, and will also be compatible with the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 when paired with an Apple Watch.
Monday February 23, 2015 2:35 PM PST by Juli Clover
Earlier this month, Apple began selling an updated World Travel Adapter Kit, which offers a set of seven AC plugs and prongs to fit in different electrical outlets around the world.
The new kit that Apple's selling no longer includes a 30-pin to USB cable, and rather than adding a Lightning to USB cable, Apple has instead opted to ship the kit with no cable and drop the price by $10.
Apple's updated World Travel Adapter Kit includes seven pieces (up from six plus a 30-pin cable) and specifies that it supports outlets in Brazil in addition to North America, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong. Apple has also updated the language specifying which devices the kit is compatible with to reflect its newest products.
The kit is designed to work with iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and is compatible with Apple MagSafe and MagSafe 2 Power Adapters (for MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air), 10W and 12W USB Power Adapters, and Portable Power Adapters.
The updated World Travel Adapter Kit can be purchased from the online Apple Store for the new lower price of $29. It's also available in many Apple retail locations.
Monday February 23, 2015 10:45 AM PST by Joe Rossignol
While it remains unknown if Apple will ever release a new budget smartphone to succeed the iPhone 5c, which was a plastic-backed carbon copy of the iPhone 5, a new gallery of renders from 3D Future provides an early look at what the so-called "iPhone 6c" could look like. The concept smartphone essentially combines an iPhone 5c and iPhone 6 into one, which would seem like a logical move if Apple ever releases an iPhone 6c.
The concept iPhone 6c features several design attributes adopted from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, including a slimmer design, rounded edges, pill-shaped volume buttons, circular speaker grilles and a slightly protruding rear-facing camera. The smartphone also appears to have a 4.7-inch display and is pictured alongside the iPhone 6 for a side-by-side comparison.
It is important to note that these mockups are not based on any leaked specifications, design attributes or other information. Apple did not release an iPhone 6c alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last September, prompting debate as to whether the company will hold off until the iPhone 6s next September or eventually phase out the mid-tier model from its lineup entirely.
Apple is expected to release its flagship iPhone 6s next September. It was reported in November that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus could have the "biggest camera jump ever" with a dual-lens, DSLR-quality system. The smartphone is still expected to retain an 8-megapixel rear camera and is rumored to feature an improved Touch ID fingerprint scanner with reduced errors. At this point, it remains unclear if an iPhone 6c is also in the works, but these artistic renditions provide a teaser of what could be.
Monday February 23, 2015 9:12 AM PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple has added a support document to its website stating that customers who use an AOL username to sign into the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store will be unable to continue doing so starting March 31 (via 9to5Mac). Apple customers must convert their AOL username to an Apple ID account in order to maintain access to the storefronts following the deadline.
"Starting March 31, 2015, AOL will no longer allow customers to use their AOL Username (also known as an AOL Screen Name) to sign in to the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store. You must convert your AOL Username to an Apple ID in order to maintain access to the stores and to content you purchased previously."
Apple will no longer provide support for AOL usernames that are not converted following March 31. The transition does not affect any iTunes purchases made with the AOL username or any other AOL services that may be associated with the account. To begin the transition process, users must sign into iTunes with an AOL username and follow the on-screen instructions.
Monday February 23, 2015 7:20 AM PST by Joe Rossignol
Google announced on Monday that it has released YouTube Kids [Direct Link] on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. The new app provides children and families with a kid-friendly portal to discover and explore videos about anything they can possibly imagine. The family-focused content is appropriate for children and broken down into four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore.
YouTube Kids allows children to discover new facts about dinosaurs from National Geographic Kids, learn about technology from Reading Rainbow, watch Thomas the Tank Engine leave the world of Sodor and more. Families and children can also watch video series on YouTube channels such as DreamWorks TV, Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club and Talking Tom and Friends.
Google offers a number of parental controls to ensure that families can fine-tune their viewing experience:
Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids’ screen time. The app alerts your child when the session is over, so you don’t have to.
Sound settings: Sometimes you need a little peace and quiet! You have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching while you catch a breather.
Search settings: If you’d rather limit your children to just the pre-selected videos available on the home screen, you can turn off search.
Product feedback: Our goal is to improve YouTube Kids all the time, so we’ve included a space for you to give us your feedback.
YouTube Kids is free for iPhone and iPad on the App Store, and is also available for Android. The app is Google's first step towards offering an improved YouTube experience for children and families, providing parents with the comfort of knowing they can hand off their iPad to their children and know that only appropriate content can be viewed.
Friday February 20, 2015 7:29 AM PST by Mitchel Broussard
Foreign display manufacturer Japan Display Inc. (JPI) is seeking to be Apple's next go-to source for iPhone screens in the future, according to someone "familiar with the matter" (via The Wall Street Journal).
With the increase in profit overseas, especially following Apple's attempt at a bigger presence in places like China over the past few months, the source reported that JPI is hoping Apple takes much of the cost for the proposed plant's investment. As pointed out by Reuters, JPI is aiming for the plant to be operable by next year, and hopes Apple itself would pay much of the predicted 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) cost of the project.
“We are reviewing various considerations to strengthen our business competitiveness, including new factories, but we haven’t made any decision yet,” Japan Display said in a statement Friday. Apple declined to comment.
The unnamed source continued to describe the plant's possible location, stating that Ishikawa, in central Japan, is "most likely" the site for the manufacturing plant. JPI runs a plant southeast of Tokyo, in Mobara, "which makes 50,000 of the 1.5 by 1.85 metre sheets a month for iPhone 6 screens and other uses." According to the source, the new plant would have a "greater capacity" than even JPI's Mobara facility.
JPI, formed from the troubled display portions of Sony Corp, Toshiba Corp, and Hitachi Ltd, has already seen a resurgence of profit after two consecutive quarter losses thanks to increasing demand from Apple-related devices. Now it wants a bigger contract with the Cupertino-based company - and its record-breaking profits - to boost its own earnings even higher.
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