iOS 8: A Review

With the launch of Apple’s latest and greatest mobile operating system, iOS 8, there’s never a better time to download it. But what’s in store and how will it affect you as a user?

Apple touts iOS 8 as its biggest software update for iOS devices. But wait, what does that really mean? Well, iOS 8 sports hundreds of new features, refined updates and totally new possibilities.

First off, Apple has updated the messages app, allowing you to send texts easier and more efficiently. No longer do you need to open the messages app, but rather you can swipe to respond. After many years, Apple has finally allowed third-party keyboards. Currently, the App Store sports several new and enhanced keyboards for your iPhone or iPad that add features such as swiping, gestures, different designs, etc., and allow for quicker typing. The new operating system also touts an updated photos app with new filters, enhancements and better organization.

The new Family Sharing feature in iOS 8 allows families to share content between multiple iTunes accounts. Gone are the days where you’d have only one iTunes account for your entire family. Also, Apple debuted iCloud Drive, a service that aims to sync all data in the cloud. Developers can now optimize their apps to support iCloud Drive so apps can access iCloud data much like Apple’s Pages and iBooks apps do. However, perhaps the coolest of all features introduced in iOS 8 is Continuity. Continuity allows iOS users to connect their devices like never before. You can receive an incoming call on your iPad via your iPhone or begin writing an email on your iPad and pick up right where you left off on your Mac. Apple’s strategy with Continuity will make iOS devices even more tightly integrated and work seamlessly together.

Perhaps even more incredible is what Apple has done for its developers. Even if you’re not involved in the development of an app, iOS developers’ work is all around us. With iOS 8, developers can now create “extensions,” or new ways of integrating their apps into the system. For instance, the new Tumblr app lets users share content without ever having to open the Tumblr app. You’ll also see new “widgets” in Notification Center – and there have been several incredible ones already released. Yahoo!’s Weather app is a fully fledged service and looks great. Additionally, you’ll be able to say goodbye to the days of manually typing passwords with Touch ID (Apple’s fingerprint sensor) integration. There’s also a new health app that syncs with other apps from the App Store to provide an actual representation of your daily activities. Further, new games built with a service Apple calls Metal will provide 3-D graphics for iOS devices. Finally, Apple released a new programming language for developers, Swift, that will make apps quicker and more efficient.

Overall, iOS 8 is defiantly a worthy upgrade. While it isn’t as major a design change as iOS 7, its internal features are really fantastic and well worth the upgrade. However, iPhone 4S might find the new system will create some (not terrible) lag on their device.

So, what are you waiting for? Download the free iOS 8 update for your iPhone or iPad now.

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Apple vs Google – Battle of the Tech Giants

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Google just recently held its annual developers’ conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco.  Just three weeks ago, Apple, too, held it’s annual developers’ conference in San Francisco. Both tech giants showed off their vision for the…future (the next year).

 

20140403-112957.jpgApple’s software lineup wasn’t as radical as iOS 7’s unveiling at WWDC 2013 (an unveiling which wowed the world), but the iPhone maker certainly unveiled much – especially for developers. The company promises to open up portions of its operating system, iOS, to developers with new features – a move it has been reluctant to do in the past.  Apple released a series of API updates and other developer-related content along with iOS 8.  It also pushed new feature such as HomeKit and HealthKit, which will allow pave the road for the rumored “iWatch”.  Apple, unlike Google, did not push wearables at its WWDC, however only hinted at what’s to come.

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Google, on the other hand, pushed wearables with it’s watch API and other wearable related software.  The search giant also showed off its competitor to Apple’s Carplay,  Android Auto.  Android Auto promises to ingrate with various cars before the end of 2014 and provide a seamless integration with exiting Android devices.   Google also directly targeted Apple’s comments at WWDC 2014, saying that is is patching security holes at a much faster rate (via Google Play Services).  However, the company still fails to release general software updates to the majority of its users.  Most importantly, Google showed off Android L, it’s next generation operating system, which promises to provide users with a beautiful new experience and systemwide redesign. It will publicly debut in the fall.

The question remains: who will be victorious in the never-ending battle for users and user growth?  Google and Apple both unveiled incredible updates to their existing products.  Collectively, the two conferences did not showcase hardware, but rather hinted at the future by laying the building blocks for wearables and other such technology to emerge.  We’ll just have to wait until the fall to see…

Breaking: Apple Buys Beats Electronics for $3 Billion

As reported a few weeks ago, Apple today confirmed its acquisition of popular headphones maker Beats Electronics for approximately $3 Billion. Apple, though owner of vast cash reserves (well over $130 Billion), has been reluctant to make massive acquisitions in the past. 20140528-164632.jpg
This acquisition changes everything with the smartphone maker expected to integrate Beats into its existing line of products. Dr. Dre is expected to become an Apple executive.

Apple is expected to discuss this acquisition next month at its annual WWDC conference. CEO Tim Cook commented on the acquisition explaining how important music is to Apple. Apple has had a long history in the music industry, dating back to 2001 with the introduction of the iPod.

SVP Eddy Cue and Craig Federagi are expected to speak tonight at Recode.NET’s CodeCon. We await Cue’s interview (as he oversees iTunes at Apple). More on this later…

Apple also released the below statement today.

CUPERTINO, California—May 28, 2014—Apple® today announced it has agreed to acquire the critically acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beats Music, and Beats Electronics, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software. As part of the acquisition, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Apple is acquiring the two companies for a total of $3 billion, consisting of a purchase price of approximately $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Jimmy Iovine. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special.”

Iovine has been at the forefront of innovation in the music industry for decades, and he has been an instrumental partner for Apple and iTunes® for more than a decade. He has produced or collaborated with some of the most successful artists in the history of the iTunes Store®, helping make it the world’s number one music retailer. Iovine and Dr. Dre are sound pioneers, artists and entrepreneurs.

Beats Electronics has brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio back to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to premium sound entertainment. Beats Music was developed by a team of people who have each spent their entire career in music and provides music fans with an incredible curated listening experience.

“Music is such an important part of Apple’s DNA and always will be,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The addition of Beats will make our music lineup even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years.”

In just five years since launch, the Beats “b” has become the brand of choice in the music and sports worlds, and is the market leader in the premium headphone market. Music superstars including Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj have designed their own customized Beats headphones and speakers. Fashion designers and street artists such as Alexander Wang, Futura and Snarkitecture have collaborated on special limited products, while renowned athletes including LeBron James, Serena Williams and Neymar use Beats as a critical part of their training and game day process. Beats has quickly become part of pop culture in the US and with the acquisition the Beats product lineup will be offered in many more countries through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

Subject to regulatory approvals, Apple expects the transaction to close in fiscal Q4.

Formally established in 2008 as the brainchild of legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics (Beats) comprises the Beats by Dr. Dre family of premium consumer headphones, earphones, and speakers as well as patented Beats Audio software technology and streaming music subscription service Beats Music. Through these offerings, Beats has effectively brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to the possibilities of premium sound entertainment.

Beats Music is a subscription streaming music service that focuses on providing a personalized music experience for each user through a unique blend of digital innovation and musical passion. Programmed by a trusted team of well-respected music experts with over 300 years of experience across all genres, Beats Music delivers the right music for any situation, any time, and any preference, personalized to your tastes. The result is an artist-friendly digital music service that does more than simply offer access to music, but one that establishes an emotional connection to it as well.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Rumor: Apple to Acquire Beats music for $3.2 Billion

In a surprising turn of events, the Cupertino giant is said to be finalizing talks with popular headphone maker Beats Music. The deal, if it closes, is said to be at $3.2 Billion.

Beats music, which has grown in popularity since it’s 2008 luanch, debuted a streaming service (via iOS app) in the past weeks.

Apple, a company not known to make large acquisitions (its largest being that of PrimeSense for $350 Million), is said to be finishing the agreement between the two companies. Under the direction of legendary CEO Steve Jobs, Apple was shy to make acquisitions; Jobs declared acquisitions as a “failure to innovate.” Clearly, CEO Tim Cook doesn’t feel that way. Asked about the possibility of a major acquisition at a stockholders meeting, Cook responded saying Apple would make the move if it was right. It’s quite clear that behind those closed doors, a culture change is gradually occurring at the Cupertino company.

Beats Music founder somewhat confirmed this yesterday. We’ll have more details as we discover more.

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Apple offering Devs WWDC Tickets

Following Apple’s random selection of WWDC tickets last week, Apple is reportedly reaching out to devs who lost out on the ticket selection. Developers who previously won tickets but did not claim them have lost the opportunity to purchase a conference ticket; unclaimed invitations has been recycled to those who did not receive tickets.

WWDC tickets cost $1599. The conference begins June 2; expected to debut is iOS 8 and OS X 10.10.

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Breaking: Apple Announces WWDC 2014

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Apple today announced that it will hold its annual World-Wide Developer’s Conference from June 2-6. Apple’s conference, held specifically for developers, is the primary venue where the company shows off it’s latest software. Last year, Apple announced iOS 7, Mavericks, and the Mac Pro.

Tickets for this year’s WWDC will be distributed in a different method. In previous years, the conference sold out rapidly (only 72 seconds last year). Apple is using random selection this year to increase the opportunity for developers. Google’s annual I/O conference is also following a similar fashion.
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This year, Apple touts design more than ever, with a colorful new banner (see above). The company emphasizes design, games, and new features such as iBeacons.

Tickets are available right now for registration – developers can enter for a chance to get a ticket which will be randomly selected on April 7.

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