Tag Archives: Apple

iPhone SE: Good things can come in small packages

Image from apple.com
Apple’s latest iPhone model. Image from apple.com

On Thursday, March 31, Apple released the iPhone SE, the latest model of the smartphone that has been around since the first generation was released on June 29, 2007. iPhone SE may look like an updated iPhone 5s with the specs of an iPhone 6s, but the small phone still has a lot going for it. However, if you don’t want to switch from a large screen, you probably don’t want to switch to a four-inch phone, and are better off waiting until the estimated release date of the iPhone 7 in September 2016.

Here are the looks and the technical specifications of the new iPhone SE model, laid out in an easy-to-read format so you can see if the latest model is just what the doctor ordered. 


Design Features

Size

If you don’t want to switch from a 5s to a larger, more impractical sized, phone, the iPhone SE has the same four-inch screen that’s easy to use — you can type easily with one hand, and reach all four corners of the screen of your phone.

Color

The iPhone SE is available in four colors: silver, gold, space gray and rose gold.

The colors of the iPhone SE. Image from apple.com

Other Design Features

The new iPhone SE has a stainless steel Apple logo inset, instead of an Apple logo stamped-on the back of the phone.

The chamfered edges of the iPhone 5s have been redesigned as “refined” and are now more matte than before.

The iPhone SE features a somewhat thicker design, and doesn’t have a bump where the camera is placed.

Tech Specs

Display

The iPhone SE features a 4-inch LED-backlit Retina display with a 1136‑by‑640‑pixel resolution at 326 ppi. The contrast ratio is 800:1, the same as the iPhone 5s. However, if you’re switching from an iPhone 6s (or 6s Plus), they feature 1400:1 and 1300:1 contrast ratios, which is a big difference to take in.

Chip

The iPhone SE features an A9 chip with 64‑bit architecture, with an embedded M9 motion coprocessor. This means that the latest model has the same great performance as the iPhone 6s. The M9 motion coprocessor collects, processes, and stores sensor data, which improves functionality further.

iSight Camera

The iPhone SE iSight camera is rated at 12-megapixels with1.22µ pixels and an ƒ/2.2 aperture.

Video Recording

The new iPhone SE can shoot and edit 4k (3840 by 2160) video at 30fps. It shoots slow-motion video at 240fps (720p) and 120fps (1080p) and 1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps, and 720p HD video recording at 30fps.

FaceTime HD Camera

The FaceTime HD Camera on the iPhone SE takes 1.2-megapixel photos, 720p HD video recording with an ƒ/2.4 aperture.

Retina Flash allows your iPhone SE screen to flash three times brighter than it normally does on models prior to the iPhone 6s. The features measures current lighting conditions, and a True Tone flash matches ambient light.

Touch ID

The iPhone SE features the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which is built into the Home button. It’s not as fast as the iPhone 6s’, however, but it’s not noticeable unless you hold either of these phones in each hand.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay allows you to use your device to pay with your iPhone SE using Touch ID in stores and within apps.

Power and Battery

The iPhone SE gets up to 14 hours of talk time on 3G, up to 13 hours on Wi-Fi and LTE of internet use, up to 13 hours of video playback, up to 50 hours of audio playback, and has a standby time of up to 10 days.

Sensors

The iPhone SE doesn’t feature 3D touch, because it’s using the same display technology as the iPhone 5s. But if you haven’t had a iPhone 6s, and even if you do, it doesn’t make that much of a difference.


The iPhone SE has an entry-level price for the 16 GB model of $399, and compared to the iPhone 6 prices from $549 and the iPhone 6s prices from $649 and up, you get enough bang for your buck without breaking the bank.

Won’t be giving the middle finger to the new iOS update

Last week Apple released its iOS 9.1 update, marking the first major update to the iOS 9 operating system.

Even though the most exciting update for me was the new emojis, the iOS 9.1 update also introduces many new updates that can be hard-to-find or easily overlooked.

iOS 9.1 is turning out to be a rather major bug-fixing exercise. Including bug fixes for a number of issues that iOS users have been experiencing. And as with most iOS updates, it enhances performance and introduces important security fixes.

Emojis

The first notable feature includes support for Unicode 7 and 8, introducing a range of 184 more emojis to choose from.

These emojis include the taco, burrito, middle finger, Vulcan Salute, and the unicorn head.

A few of the new emojis released in iOS 9. Graphic from Wired.

News

Apple has also updated the News app that it launched in the US recently, and also announced that this will now go live in numerous other territories – bringing Apple News to the UK and Australia.

Live Photos

iOS 9.1 includes an update for Live Photos – a brand new feature included with the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus – which can now sense when the iPhone is raised or lowered to refrain from recording unnecessary movements. This also cuts down issues related to blurry videos.

Maps

iOS 9.1 improves Apple Maps significantly, mainly based on superior data and better search results. Public transport is also included in the iOS 9.1 version of Apple Maps.

Battery Life

Apple has promised that iOS 9.1 will deliver battery life improvements.

Wallpapers

New wallpapers of Jupiter, Mars, Neptune and a desert landscape.

A glimpse at the new iOS 9.1 wallpapers. Graphic from Scoopnest.

Aside from these changes, iOS 9.1 includes new features and compatibility updates for upcoming Apple products like the fourth-generation Apple TV and the iPad Pro. The new Apple TV requires iOS 9.1 to be set up using an iOS device.

The update also introduces a new Messages option in the Settings app that is designed to allow users to disable photos for contacts.

From layout issues and stability in the user interface, to updating apps and better multi-tasking, this fourth update to iOS 9 is doing its best to cure a lot of the problems that users have found on the platform.

The new “News” app On the iPhone

Apple recently released a new software update, which made a few minor changes to our familiar iPhones. For one, the text font is different and it is possible to switch between apps a lot easier now. However, the big change that I noticed was the new app added to our phones: the news app. At first I didn’t think about using this app but I decided to snoop around and see what it was ad I’m glad I did. The news app lets you select anything you can think of (food, traveling, every-day life, etc.) and personalize it to news appyour liking.

When you open the app it shows an endless amount of articles about the stuff you were interested in. It provides a list of articles about recipes, traveling, sports games, political news, animal news, and so much more. Anything you could want to know about is right there in an app instead of Google searching and different news updates.

The app has seasonal options, too, such as fall food ideas or Halloween costume ideas that you can go back and delete off your news feed when the season passes. This is something very useful and convenient that has been added to our already intelligent and capable phones.

I use the app to get easy recipes, look at movie reviews, catch up on celebrity gossip, and get my daily dose of real world news. The app is a great addition to the iPhone that many people will get a lot of use out daily. This app could be for any age because it lets you customize what you want to read about. The app could let a middle-aged man read the political news but also let his 16-year-old daughter read about the celebrity gossip.

Overall, the new “news” app has proved itself worthy in I’m sure not only my book!

The new noteworthy iOS 9

Do you like the new IOS 9? Graphic by Katie Gibson
Do you like the new IOS 9? Graphic by Katie Gibson

Following the release of the new iPhone, iOS 9 released September 16. Like everyone else, I rushed to make sure I was connected to the WiFi in order to download the new update as soon as possible. This update brought enhancements to already existing built-in apps, and introduced a brand-new app.

1. News

Unlike those built-in apps that you may not use, and can’t delete, and put into the back of an app folder; News gives you a fresh perspective on daily events, customized to your interests. News puts all the stories you’re interested in one place, so you don’t have to scour multiple websites for the information you want to know. Articles are pulled from a variety of sources, from top news websites to indie organizations. Stories are chosen for you based on your interests, and News gets optimized each time you use it.

2. Notes

I’ve always used the Notes app for jotting down my thoughts, even when given the option to use pen and paper. With iOS 9, the Notes app can do so much more. You can add checklists, and check them off as you go. Using the tip of your finger, you can draw right in your note. You can add a photo to the note, either from taking the photo in the Notes app, or accessing your photo library to add an existing photo or video to a note.

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3. Maps

I utilize Maps app to get from one destination to another, since I’m so bad at directions. Maps has added Transit view, and a Nearby feature. With Transit view, you can find public transit information with routes and directions. With the Nearby feature, you can find exactly what you’re looking for, wherever you are, whether it’s food, drinks, shopping, fun, etc.

4. Siri

Siri is now also the technology that powers search on your iPhone and iPad. The search screen is updated to contain relevant people, suggested apps, places nearby and local trending news. The update also offers suggestions on music, emails and events.

5. Apple Pay

Apple Pay is now more secure, simple, and useful as ever. You can use Apple pay to make purchases with your credit cards, and soon it will be possible to use store credit cards and rewards cards.

6. iCloud Drive

The new iCloud Drive app allows you to access any file you save to iCloud from your Home screen, allowing for better organization and accessibility.

Along with these visible improvements, there are other refinements that brings you better performance, faster updates, enhanced battery life, and improved security. iOS 9 doesn’t require you to free up as much space to update. Low Power mode lets you extend your battery life up to 1 hour of additional time before needing to charge your device. iOS 9 advances security by giving you the option of having 6 digit passcodes along with the options that were available before the update.

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If you own an iPhone, I strongly recommend that you download the iOS 9 update. You can decide whether you like the new features, and if you don’t you can always re-install iOS 8 again through the Apple store.

If you want to switch from Android to Apple, have no fear, you can download the Move to iOS app to switch from the old device, wirelessly. It transfers your contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts and calendars. Any apps you used on your old device, will be added to your iTunes Wish List.

Congrats to the new members of the iFamily

Author: Jessi Wollmann

jwollmann@radford.edu

September 9 was a day filled with excitement for those in the iFamily. All over the world, people waited in anticipation to figure out what the newest upgrade to iTechnology would be.

Introducing the newest editions to the iPhone family. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Introducing the newest editions to the iPhone family. Graphic by Katie Gibson

Apple did not disappoint.

In this year’s annual fall technology release, Apple announced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the Apple TV, the iPad Pro, the newest iPod touch, the Apple watchOS2, and their collaboration with Hermes to unveil a new Apple Watch Hermes Collection.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus got two new and particularly exciting upgrades: 3D Touch and Live Photos. 3D touch gives an iPhone user a new and innovative way to look at and interact with the info on their screen. Live Photos gives the user the ability to take a picture and then bring that normally still photo to life. It does this by capturing the few seconds before and after a picture is taken and brings a certain sense of magic to a photo.

The Apple TV is an entirely new idea that brings apps directly into a user’s living room. This also includes a Siri Remote, allowing a user to search for a program with multiple Apple devices. Also introduced were the iPad Pro, iPad Pencil and Smart keyboard that can all be used simultaneously on new apps.

Finally, Apple released an upgraded form of the Apple watch and announced a partnership with Hermes to create sleeker Apple watches. These watches have leather bands designed by Hermes to create a unique expression of Apple watch.

So looks like it’s going to be a big fall for Apple. Everyone’s buzzing about the new products. Hopefully after September 25, the release date of the new technology, Apple and it’s estimated 600 million users won’t be disappointed.

 

The MacBook quietly evolves

It’s that time again; all of your I.T. friends and Apple fan-boys will be raving. Why wouldn’t they? For just under $2,000 you could have a brand new MacBook.

What you’ll also have is the latest in Apple innovation that will subtly inhibit your ability to share chargers.

Remember that first friend to get an iPhone5? Their biggest plight was needing a charger. If they forgot to bring their charger with them, odds are their friends wouldn’t be able to help.

Now, Apple has taken this sadistic technique and applied it to the new generation of MacBooks.

Even CollegeHumor has chimed in on the absurdity.

 

 

No longer will you be worrying about being that “charger guy” in front of your friends, but now you also have the opportunity to be a screw up in front of your coworkers.

While the new charging cable is an unneeded addition, Apple has made significant improvements to its popular laptop model. The MacBook now boasts dual-core and quad-core Intel processors to compliment its more-than 5 million pixels Retina display.

Retina display, however, is so 2012. The real innovation in this year’s model is the addition of the Force Touch trackpad. According to Apple, users will enjoy, “a tactile response from the trackpad.”

Using the Force Touch trackpad – only available on the 13 inch model – one will be able to scrub through a video by applying pressure to the trackpad. The more pressure you apply, the faster the video will play.

Ever have issues trying to gently zoom in or out on a map? No longer will one have to deal with the awkward two finger zoom function, instead one needs only to apply pressure to the trackpad.

App is friend, not foe

In a world where the smartphone is increasingly becoming the lifeline and constant companion or assistant to basically everyone on this planet, privacy has moved up in the concerns list. And if you’ve been paying attention to the whole data farming debate that’s sparked controversy about everyone from identity thieves to Apple to the federal government, there’s a chance you might be a little freaked out.

Your smartphone is brain sucking. Graphic from Life Hacker
Your smartphone is brain sucking. Graphic from Life Hacker

Nearly every app you download these days asks for access to some of your information, whether it be for contacts, location, or to connect to your Facebook. Regardless of what you download, it’s probably able to access some basic information off of your phone the second the code intermingles with your device. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world or of your privacy since the fact is there’s a only a small chance that the bad guys are going to target little ol’ you.

Still, it can be kind of creepy to know someone out there could potentially have access to information you didn’t explicitly entitle them to.

Luckily, this demand is sparking some supply from developers.

While very few app developers have seen any negative feedback from consumers about the coding which would allow for data harvesting off devices, the occasional outcries have inspired at least one site to post ratings on those apps. The site is called PrivacyGrade and allows the consumer to search for a particular app and few a rating based on the privacy expected from the app versus the actual level of information the app requires.

Security from seemingly harmless apps have come into more focus thanks to such scandals as the flashlight app. Something as small as a flashlight app, it turns out, can ask for a shocking amount of user data when you download it, tapping everything from your calendar to your phone’s location engine — even asking access to your camera.

While almost all of the information that is being harvested by these sort of apps are by legitimate businesses to be sold to advertising companies, this still seems invasive.

Currently, the site is only targeted for Android apps (because, be honest, most Apple users don’t care — we know what you do, Apple!). But in time it, or similar sites, should reach out to all mobile apps.

Silicon Valley offers 20k to delay your family

The tech industry’s most high-powered companies have a reputation for outstanding benefits doled out to employees. The newest perk being added to the benefit packages of Facebook and Apple employees has attracted a few raised eyebrows: egg-freezing.

The procedure will be an option for female employees and spouses of employees in order to give the opportunity to avoid starting a family for as long as they choose. Coverage will provide $20,000 (or about two egg-retrievals) towards the procedure, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Despite her ticking biological clock, a woman may prioritize her career over  starting a family. Graphic by Grace Higginbotham
Despite her ticking biological clock, a woman may prioritize her career over starting a family. Graphic by Grace Higginbotham

Giving female employees and families the option to put off having children is an effort not to lose valuable employees’ time and skills to a split attention between home and work as well as an incentive for females to come work for these companies in the first place. There has been more and more pressure on Silicon Valley to live up to ideal diversity statistics, but as of Aug. 2014, the average male-to-female ratio in Facebook and Apple was roughly 7:3.

While this sounds like a great step for companies in considering the needs of their employees, egg-freezing isn’t a perfect solution.

Firstly, it’s nowhere near a fool-proof method off putting off childbearing until whenever you’re ready. Only about 30 percent of eggs retrieved from women 25 years or younger result in a successful pregnancy. Doctors don’t traditionally advise women to elect for this procedure when not necessary, either, as it has only recently had its experimental label been removed from The American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

Secondly, some critics are concerned of the pressure that this might have on women. Are women who elect to have children or already have children while working for the tech giants somehow less valuable? Will women feel that their employers don’t want them to have children and feel the need to choose between family and career?

There’s much room for speculation as to the long-term effects of both the procedure and the pressure of women (and men, while we’re on the subject) in the workplace who want or have children. Yet, the option of receiving coverage for such a pricey and elective procedure could be just the type of forward thinking that has kept Apple and Facebook ahead in Silicon Valley.

Jibo: Robotic companions are now

Do you remember the beloved, late Robin Williams futuristic romantic drama about a trans-conscious robot turned human? He was a simple household robot with a heart that tugged on our feels! Ever wanted that experience for yourself? It’s looking like that day isn’t too far off, if Jibo is to be believed.

That’s right, Cynthia Breazeal has pioneered the world’s first household robot to be enjoyed by bachelors’ and families alike.

Jibo can be nice or creepy, depending on how you look at it. Photo from gigaom.com
Jibo can be nice or creepy, depending on how you look at it. Photo from gigaom.com

If the advertisements are to be believed, Jibo can help you perform mundane tasks such as creating grocery lists, remembering to call your girlfriend, and reading to your child. And according to creators, he “is able to see, hear, speak, [and] learn.” With a sleek, white plastic design to rival Wall-E’s Apple-reminiscent girlfriend, Jibo is a social robot and “meant to be a companion.” (For those lonely nights when Siri’s voice is just a little too grating and not quite tangible enough, surely.) Of course, though he may someday become trans-conscious, Jibo is a male, according to developers.

Many have made arguments about the downfall of human society with the introduction of robotic servants and companions, such as Futurama and iRobot. However, despite sci-fi predictions, humans have been diligently working on creating more and more advanced robotic helpers since the conception of the idea. Breazeal and her team claim that Jibo is not meant to replace human labor, but to provide assistance. Whether you believe in the benefits of a non-human helper or in the pessimistic view of apocalyptic proportions that so many have portrayed, Jibo has entered the game.

Currently, you can pre-order your Jibo home companion for a measly $599-$699 and hope to receive him in time for Christmas 2015. What better way to wish your loved ones a happy holiday season than by giving them their introductory non-human companion — less messy than a puppy and (probably) less evil than a cat!

Watch Out for the Apple Watch

The year 2015 already promises to be one for the ages – speaking of ages, who hasn’t grown up laboriously asking themselves the “age-old” question, “when will someone invent a device that not only keeps me on schedule every day, but also keeps me in touch with everyone I know 24/7, and keeps my life going in the right direction at all times?” I know I have, but in just five short months, it appears that this will no longer be the reality we all live in. Apple has promised to release the remedy for our deepest desires come 2015. They call it: The Apple Watch.

It's the future! Graphic from The Escapist magazine
It’s the future! Graphic from The Escapist magazine

The Apple Watch will possess the same appearance of a traditional watch, but it also promises to be “so much more.” With more than a million different faces to choose from, Apple Watch takes customizing to an unprecedented level. It will look how you want it, when you want it, and even how you feel you want it. Distance, inconvenience, and wasted time will no longer be relevant with Apple Watch. Its abilities include: subtlety perception, physical touch simulation, emotion detection, automatic time-zone updates, and, most importantly, the ability to never let its users waste another second of their time.

Whether you’re eating, running, or sleeping you’ll have a companion with Apple Watch. If you find yourself stumbling over your words in a conversation, or simply do not have time to type or say them, Apple Watch enables you to artistically express yourself with a few swipes of a finger. It will even learn what you’re thinking. If you’ve been trying to get into that healthy exercise routine, but can’t seem to sustain motivation, Apple’s got your back! It knows your capabilities, and desires. It knows your fears and your frustrations. When your encouragement level is running low, Apple is there by your side.

So if you’ve been longing for something to perform the mundane tasks of your everyday routine, to fulfill your desires for a hassel-free life, and to keep you going in the right direction all day every day, the wait is coming to a close! In 2015 comes the Apple Watch.

 

 

Celeb n00ds: Merry XXXmas

In the wake of the massive leak of celebrity nude photos, there has been plenty said on all sides about whodunit, who should apologize to whom and the problem that is the Internet and our privacy. For those of you who don’t feel like wading through article after article to get caught up after residing under that rock known as class and studying let’s play some catch up.

Firstly, let’s realize that while everyone’s intrigued by the thought of admiring or picking apart their favorite actresses’ usually hidden assets, voyeurism is a crime. At the end of the day, looking at someone naked without their consent is known as a sex crime. It isn’t perhaps comparable to rape, as some anxious tweeters and status-updaters have cried, but no beuno nonetheless.

Is looking at these nude photos really hurting anyone? Graphic by Layla Dobos
Is looking at these nude photos really hurting anyone? Graphic by Layla Dobos

Why shouldn’t you look at them, though? According to Reddit’s attitude, once digital content exists, it should be free for everyone to see, right? Here’s the thing: when you victimize women for their sexuality, you become their abuser. Sure, JLaw and the rest may never know you exist and may never find out you were one of the hundreds of thousands to see their naked bodies — they may even have revealed more in photo shoots and movies! However, you’re perpetuating a culture that shames women for their sexuality. It’s humiliating to think that you don’t have full control over your own body.

Secondly, who’s the villain (or hero, depending on which side of the fence you’re on) that got hold of these precious photos and decided to just give them away?

It seems almost pointless now to be trying to find a mysterious pervert in a sea as vast as the Internet, but the FBI and several of the sites that (willingly or not) hosted these photos are on the trail. So far, we know that a sub-forum of 4chan (a lawless land in an already loosely policed universe) called AnonIB was the original dump site of the nudes. A user known as OriginalGuy has been blamed for much of the leaked photos. He is, however, merely one of the group who collected these photos over months, and likely had nothing to do with the actual hacking required to steal the photos.

OriginalGuy is receiving criticism from his community (AnonIB) for either leaking the photos or for not dumping even more. It seems that this leak was in response to a loss of value as more and more of his collection was acquired by others. In a frantic, frustrated move he decided to put a stop to the underground action by going public — very public.

Since his original upload, the photos spread to Reddit and beyond, downloaded back to personal computers and swiftly hunted down by “The Man.”

Celebrities have both confirmed and denied the legitimacy of the photos. They’ve apologized and voiced their outrage. There’s been tears, curiosity and — let’s be honest — much fapping.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this scandal is how the photos were originally accessed. The iCloud’s being blamed, as well as their customers flippant regard for security measures. Apple has officially stated that there is no great flaw which allowed the leak. Instead, the tech giant blames weak passwords and a lack of employing their two-step verification system.

Regardless of the debates and scandals involved, this summer has officially gone out with a scandalous shout.

Pages throws Word out Windows

People have been using Microsoft Word to type up documents since its inception in the mid-80s when it set out to undermine WordPerfect’s market. Students and instructors use Word to tailor their documents to their specified liking. But alas, there’s a software that dares to enter Word’s territory. This competitor is both simple to use and simple to learn, unlike Word’s toolbar layout. Continue reading Pages throws Word out Windows

Tech Talk: Mac OS X Mavericks

Mavericks OS. Image from  VMware Support Insider.
OS X Mavericks release preview. Image from VMware Support Insider.

In this episode of Tech Talk, we’ll be discussing the improvements to Apple’s operating system OS X Mavericks. With many performance improvements such as time coalescing and compressed memory, there’s no excuse not to upgrade. The improvements mainly benefit Apple’s portable lineup in terms of battery life. Now users can surf the web and use iTunes longer on a single charge. Continue reading Tech Talk: Mac OS X Mavericks

Tech Talk: iPad Air

iPad-Air-smart-cover
Even thinner than before! Photo from Idownloadblog.com.

This week on Tech Talk, we’ll be discussing Apple’s latest device for their holiday lineup: the iPad Air. It’s a thinner and lighter version of the iPad that deserves a new name. With such big improvements to the chassis and bezel, it’s a must-have for the holidays. The only thing missing is the Touch ID sensor, seen on the iPhone 5S. We talk about why Apple would make such a stupid mistake since all the information on your phone is synced to your iPad via iCloud. Continue reading Tech Talk: iPad Air

iOS 7: Like putting new makeup on a dated scarlet woman

The software that runs the lives of iPhone users, iOS, just got a much-needed makeover. The seventh revision of the revolutionary software was released on Sept. 18 with a new palette of colors. It’s a massive overhaul in terms of the user interface and this renovation has turned out to be more intuitive than ever before.

Continue reading iOS 7: Like putting new makeup on a dated scarlet woman