Archive for the ‘iOS Blog’ Category

Grovemade Review: Hands-On With the Leather & Maple iPhone 6 Plus Case and Dock [iOS Blog]

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Portland-based company Grovemade is known for its range of attractive wood accessories designed for the iPad and the iPhone, which it has been producing for several years now. Grovemade recently invited MacRumors to go hands-on with two of its newest products for the iPhone 6 Plus, and we jumped at the chance because Grovemade products have been popular with our readers in the past.

We checked out the Maple and Leather iPhone Case and the matching Maple iPhone Dock. Read on to see what we thought.

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Maple & Leather iPhone Case


All of Grovemade's products are crafted by hand and the company's attention to detail is evident in both the dock and the Maple & Leather iPhone Case. The base of the iPhone case is made of maple (there's also an option for a darker walnut) that's been carved to fit the iPhone 6 Plus.

Design
The phone fits tightly into the maple shell, which has a cutouts for the camera, the mute switch, the headphone port, the speakers, and the Lightning port. There are darker wooden buttons for the volume and the power, which are lined with foam on the inside to activate the volume and power on the iPhone.

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At the points where different wood pieces have been joined to create the case, there's darker wood burned accents, which is aesthetically pleasing, and there's also some wood burning around each of the ports, for a darker look. A piece of leather wraps around the backside of the shell and covers the front of the phone, and the leather front cover is attached to another thin piece of maple that protects the iPhone's display.

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On the maple attached to the cover, there are three pieces of metal, which adhere to three magnets built into the wooden shell. Inside the case, there are two additional magnets that pop away to allow the leather cover pull back to serve as a stand for the iPhone when in landscape mode. There are three separate stand positions that give slightly different viewing angles, and because of the cover, the phone also stands up by itself in portrait mode.
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Apple Watch Buyer’s Guide: Which One Is Right for You? [iOS Blog]

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

After announcing the Apple Watch in September of 2014, launch time has finally arrived. Apple in March announced that pre-orders for the Apple Watch will begin on April 10, with an official launch taking place on April 24.

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Apple product lines for its iOS devices and Macs are relatively simple, consisting of a few models from which to choose. Picking an Apple Watch is a little more complicated, with the different models, a couple of watch sizes, and multiple band options. The prices start at $349 and go all the way up to $17,000 -- a very wide range.

This guide walks you through the considerations you need to make when buying an Apple Watch. If you're not sure which one to buy, this guide will lead you in the right direction.
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Adonit Announces New Jot Script Evernote Edition Stylus [iOS Blog]

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Adonit on Tuesday announced a new Jot Script Evernote Edition, a Bluetooth-enabled note-taking stylus for iPad that features a slimmer build, longer-lasting rechargeable battery and improved precision and app integration. The stylus has a better grip, upgraded Pixelpoint tip and improved palm rejection for a more precise experience with some of the best note-taking apps.

Jot Script Evernote Edition iPad Stylus
Specifically, the stylus is capable of faster stroke tracking, smoother line rendering, and better tip-to-line accuracy. It has a built-in USB lithium-ion rechargeable battery that delivers up to 20 hours of uninterrupted writing, with a full charge taking 45 minutes. The stylus must be paired with a Bluetooth 4.0 device, limiting its compatibility to the third-generation iPad and newer, all iPad mini models or iPhone 4s and newer.

The new Evernote Jot Script 2 stylus is available for $74.99 through Adonit or Evernote and includes Evernote Premium free for six months. The stylus is specifically designed for several note-taking apps on iPad, including Evernote, Forge, Notes Plus and GoodNotes, each of which can be found on the App Store. Pairing the stylus with an iPad is a seamless, one-time process using Evernote's Penultimate.






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Adonit Announces New Jot Script Evernote Edition Stylus [iOS Blog]

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Adonit on Tuesday announced a new Jot Script Evernote Edition, a Bluetooth-enabled note-taking stylus for iPad that features a slimmer build, longer-lasting rechargeable battery and improved precision and app integration. The stylus has a better grip, upgraded Pixelpoint tip and improved palm rejection for a more precise experience with some of the best note-taking apps.

Jot Script Evernote Edition iPad Stylus
Specifically, the stylus is capable of faster stroke tracking, smoother line rendering, and better tip-to-line accuracy. It has a built-in USB lithium-ion rechargeable battery that delivers up to 20 hours of uninterrupted writing, with a full charge taking 45 minutes. The stylus must be paired with a Bluetooth 4.0 device, limiting its compatibility to the third-generation iPad and newer, all iPad mini models or iPhone 4s and newer.

The new Evernote Jot Script 2 stylus is available for $74.99 through Adonit or Evernote and includes Evernote Premium free for six months. The stylus is specifically designed for several note-taking apps on iPad, including Evernote, Forge, Notes Plus and GoodNotes, each of which can be found on the App Store. Pairing the stylus with an iPad is a seamless, one-time process using Evernote's Penultimate.






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‘Audio Books’ App Updated With CarPlay Support and Refreshed Interface [iOS Blog]

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The iOS app for Audiobooks.com today received an update to overhaul the browsing experience, dedicated audio player, and even allow full integration with CarPlay "and select in-car infotainment systems", to allow its users to listen to audiobooks while driving.

The company didn't release much information on the update outside of the release notes, so there isn't any word yet on how easy and fluid the experience is when pairing with CarPlay. It does, however, appear to be the first dedicated audiobook app to announce compatibility with Apple's CarPlay system.

audiobooks.com app
Elsewhere in the update, Audiobooks.com introduced a more "minimalist look and feel" to the app, tweaked the controls and experience of the audio player, and re-shuffled the settings page to make more critical information easier to navigate through. Considering the Audio Books app jumped from version 4.6 to 5.0.3, however, there were even more changes brought to the app alongside these.
What's New in Version 5.0.3

-Fully updated user interface with a new minimalist look and feel
-Improved book browsing and general user experience for international users
-Full integration with CarPlay and select in-car infotainment systems
-Audio player updated to incorporate full functionality and controls without sub-menus
-Re-organized settings page displays critical account information more prominently
-Improved navigation throughout the app for a more intuitive user experience
The app touts itself as having over 60,000 audiobooks, with over 2,500 available to download for free. Following an initial free trial, the service works like any other paid monthly experience, with $14.95 a month buying users one free audiobook every 30 days. The company promises cross-platform continuation of audiobooks, meaning users can start a book on their phone, continue it on the ride home, and finish on their computer at night.

Those interested can download the free Audio Books by Audiobooks app [Direct Link] and get their first audiobook for free.






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‘Audio Books’ App Updated With CarPlay Support and Refreshed Interface [iOS Blog]

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The iOS app for Audiobooks.com today received an update to overhaul the browsing experience, dedicated audio player, and even allow full integration with CarPlay "and select in-car infotainment systems", to allow its users to listen to audiobooks while driving.

The company didn't release much information on the update outside of the release notes, so there isn't any word yet on how easy and fluid the experience is when pairing with CarPlay. It does, however, appear to be the first dedicated audiobook app to announce compatibility with Apple's CarPlay system.

audiobooks.com app
Elsewhere in the update, Audiobooks.com introduced a more "minimalist look and feel" to the app, tweaked the controls and experience of the audio player, and re-shuffled the settings page to make more critical information easier to navigate through. Considering the Audio Books app jumped from version 4.6 to 5.0.3, however, there were even more changes brought to the app alongside these.
What's New in Version 5.0.3

-Fully updated user interface with a new minimalist look and feel
-Improved book browsing and general user experience for international users
-Full integration with CarPlay and select in-car infotainment systems
-Audio player updated to incorporate full functionality and controls without sub-menus
-Re-organized settings page displays critical account information more prominently
-Improved navigation throughout the app for a more intuitive user experience
The app touts itself as having over 60,000 audiobooks, with over 2,500 available to download for free. Following an initial free trial, the service works like any other paid monthly experience, with $14.95 a month buying users one free audiobook every 30 days. The company promises cross-platform continuation of audiobooks, meaning users can start a book on their phone, continue it on the ride home, and finish on their computer at night.

Those interested can download the free Audio Books by Audiobooks app [Direct Link] and get their first audiobook for free.






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Review: The BrydgeAir Keyboard Turns Your iPad Air 2 Into a Mini MacBook [iOS Blog]

Monday, March 30th, 2015

After we published our review of the ClamCase Pro keyboard for the iPad Air 2, some of our readers suggested that we take a look at other iPad keyboards available on the market. We decided to take MacRumors readers up on that suggestion, and over the next few weeks, we'll be looking at several keyboards designed for Apple's newest tablet, the iPad Air 2.

We're kicking things off with a review of the BrydgeAir keyboard, which is able to work with both the original iPad Air and the iPad Air 2. Much like the ClamCase Pro we previously looked at, the all-aluminum BrydgeAir is designed to turn the iPad into a miniature MacBook.

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At $169, the BrydgeAir is one of the more expensive iPad keyboards on the market, but that price point comes with some perks not found in many cheaper options -- quality aluminum construction, a fluid 180 degree hinge, built-in dual stereo speakers, and backlit keys.
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Apple Watch Recreated in 800-Brick Nanoblock Sculpture [iOS Blog]

Monday, March 30th, 2015

With just under a month until the April 24 launch date of the Apple Watch, internationally renowned Nanoblock artist Christopher Tan has re-created the Apple Watch in block form in anticipation of the wearable's release next month.

apple watch nanobrick
As Tan notes, the sculpture is a 2.6x scale model of the 42mm Apple Watch created from over 800 pieces of Nanoblock, which is a popular building block product in Japan, akin to LEGOs. Tan says he's "been a long-time Apple fan" and is "eagerly anticipating the Apple Watch."

apple watch nanobrick 2
Tan has been creating Apple-related Nanoblock structures for a while now, last year debuting a 2,000-piece structure of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, complete with the iconic glass cube entrance and descending spiral staircase. Tan's creations have earned him spreads in magazines and even award recognition in the Nanoblock company's own spotlight of the best creations and creators using the product.

Check out the rest of Tan's Nanoblock creations on his blog.






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Apple Watch Recreated in 800-Brick Nanoblock Sculpture [iOS Blog]

Monday, March 30th, 2015

With just under a month until the April 24 launch date of the Apple Watch, internationally renowned Nanoblock artist Christopher Tan has re-created the Apple Watch in block form in anticipation of the wearable's release next month.

apple watch nanobrick
As Tan notes, the sculpture is a 2.6x scale model of the 42mm Apple Watch created from over 800 pieces of Nanoblock, which is a popular building block product in Japan, akin to LEGOs. Tan says he's "been a long-time Apple fan" and is "eagerly anticipating the Apple Watch."

apple watch nanobrick 2
Tan has been creating Apple-related Nanoblock structures for a while now, last year debuting a 2,000-piece structure of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, complete with the iconic glass cube entrance and descending spiral staircase. Tan's creations have earned him spreads in magazines and even award recognition in the Nanoblock company's own spotlight of the best creations and creators using the product.

Check out the rest of Tan's Nanoblock creations on his blog.






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FDA Taking ‘Almost Hands-Off Approach’ to Regulating Apple Watch and Similar Wearables [iOS Blog]

Monday, March 30th, 2015

As Apple and other companies create products capable of providing more and more detailed health-related information, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to give the companies creating these devices breathing room to manufacture the devices free, for the most part, from the scrutiny of the agency (via Bloomberg Business).

The FDA's associate director for digital health, Bakul Patel, noted that while the agency will be more lenient on devices aimed at simply improving the lifestyle of its customers, more health-invasive features, like a glucose monitor app on the Apple Watch, will continue to be reviewed by the FDA.

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"We are taking a very light touch, an almost hands-off approach," Patel, the FDA's associate director for digital health, said in an interview. "If you have technology that's going to motivate a person to stay healthy, that's not something we want to be engaged in."
The rule of thumb released in a few guidelines by the agency highlight that the FDA's focus will be on devices and software that are attempting to replicate, or mimic, the functionality of a medical service or device. Basic heart-rate and step-counting aspects of these wrist-worn devices will receive little-to-no regulation from the FDA.

Marketing will also be a factor for the agency, according to Patel. If a company is attempting to promote a product as being able to assist doctors in making medical decisions, "it will require more oversight." This is a concern not aimed currently at Apple's own Apple Watch and HealthKit, due to both's minimally invasive health-related functionality, but could become a concern in the future as Tim Cook himself echoed hopes of both platforms helping to pinpoint diseases and cancers in the near future.
"We have to be confident in what we are getting," Patel said. "The trajectory is there and all signals are headed that way, but by the same token the research and science should get us that confidence. It boils down to will it work or not."

"The FDA has a role to play for providing patients and consumers a level of confidence that they can use it," he said.
With a focus "only on the higher end of technology", Patel notes that the agency asks itself what kind of harm a user may face if the product fails, and uses that answer as a springboard into regulation of the product as a whole. The new laid-back angle is in stark opposition of how the tech world views the FDA, with most startups listing regulation by the agency as one of the biggest risks to a business "even when scrutiny is unlikely." Patel, and the FDA, knows of the issue and plans to hire new staff in assisting to "improve relations with technology companies" in the future.

Although the FDA's new lax approach to basic fitness-tracking will give companies more room to operate on their own terms, as technology for the smart wearables category moves forward, we'll no doubt see more and more glucose- and blood pressure-tracking applications in the future. Apple itself has met with the FDA several times in the past few years, with most recent discussions centering around the functions and regulations of the Apple Watch.






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