https://www.idropnews.com Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 https://cdn.idropnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/27140754/cropped-iDrop-fav1-80x80.png https://www.idropnews.com 32 32 Top 10 Google Apps for iPhone Ranked Better to Best https://www.idropnews.com/news/top-10-google-apps-iphone-ranked-better-best/34701/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/top-10-google-apps-iphone-ranked-better-best/34701/#respond Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:00:24 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34701 Every Android user migrating to an iPhone should be happy to learn that many of their Google services can make the transition with them. iOS users should also look at Google’s useful selection of apps for iPads and iPhones, particularly if they own an Android device. Here are Google’s iOS apps ranked from better to best. […]

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Every Android user migrating to an iPhone should be happy to learn that many of their Google services can make the transition with them. iOS users should also look at Google’s useful selection of apps for iPads and iPhones, particularly if they own an Android device. Here are Google’s iOS apps ranked from better to best.

10. Google

At time of writing Google search is still the default search service on every iOS device. While you can use other search engines (including the ultra-private DuckDuckGo), Google Search is still the one that delivers the most effective results. The iOS app delivers spookily accurate results, but it also lets you sidestep Siri and use Google Now to search for things online (so long as you’re in the app).

You can navigate through search results with ease, and (in common with most Google apps) can also hand tasks across to other Google apps on your iOS device. When used with other Google apps this one also lets you set reminders, send texts and emails, make video calls and more. It can search across other compatible apps for what you need, contacts, music and more. The one challenge with the app is that, while it is incredibly promising, it lacks the deep integration you find with Apple’s own apps as it needs to work on top of Apple’s system. All the same, if you want a life more Google, you should start here, though its lack of system wide notifications is frustrating.

Get Google at the App Store.

9. Google News and Weather

More people find their news through Google News than read any daily newspaper. With an international reach and sophisticated algorithms, it does a great job of keeping you connected with local and international events. It monitors over 65,000 publications, is available in multiple language editions, and lets you follow news by topic, keyword, and more. However, perhaps because of its success and the company’s market power, there are several reasons to avoid using the service as your primary news source – particularly as fake news penetrates seemingly reputable news media.

Google has a love/hate relationship with publishers. Content creators in some countries forbid the company using their stories, arguing that doing so reduces the reason for readers to visit their sites. Others argue that by becoming the world’s news front page, Google is accumulating too much power without any of the responsibility a publishing company carries. Google’s robots control what content is highlighted and what is not, this gives the company the power to define global current affairs debate by choosing which topics (or titles) are given importance. Google also habitually changes its News search criteria without alerting publishers of its plans, throttling coverage of some titles seemingly on a whim. This also threatens objective coverage of the company, as publishers may fear to criticize the company in case it reduces their chance of landing on Google’s result pages.

There is no doubt that Google News is a fantastically effective news aggregation service, but unresolved questions and the threat of abuse of its power means it gets marked down to three stars – it’s good, but don’t use it as your only news source.

Google News and Weather at the App Store

8. Gmail

Most people keep at least one Gmail email account, if only for the huge quantity of free email storage Google provides with the service. iPhone users can easily access their Gmail messages in Mail (set up is baked inside the OS), but some of Gmail’s most useful features aren’t accessible from the Apple app. In contrast, Google’s app provides many of the best features Gmail provides when accessed using a browser, such as instant email updates, a priority email box, a spam reporting tool, and fast and accurate Archive search. However, for me, the Gmail app’s best feature is its support for Labels. Why does this matter? Labels are a fantastic way to keep your email organized if you are working on multiple concurrent projects. All you need to do is remember to label important project emails as they come in, and in the future you will find it much easier to track project-focused conversation than you might do when attempting to find those items in Mail. The one feature every Gmail app user seems most keen on is the ‘Undo Send’ button, which you drag up from the bottom of the screen for just a few moments after sending a message. However, lack of a unified email box means you’ll end up using Mail to access all your messages and the Google app for Gmails, which is a bit of a waste of your time.

Gmail at the App Store

7. Google Chrome for iOS

Recently updated with a Safari-like offline Reading List feature, Google’s Chrome browser for iOS is a useful addition for most iPhone users. However, unlike Reading List, Chrome only makes these offline items available to the device you access them from. In fact, when it comes to features, Safari and Chrome are evenly matched. Safari is faster on iPhone because Apple’s software has been built to fully exploit all the iOS technologies available to the device, which Chrome doesn’t.Chrome’s integration with Google Now is popular. When you are in Chrome you can tap the microphone option, speak your query, and the browser will run your search slightly more accurately than the Dictation button in Safari can achieve. (However, Apple is thought to be preparing significant improvements to Siri in the coming months, so this Chrome advantage may fade.)

Chrome’s design leaves a little to be desired. While Safari’s minimalist chic means the browser gets out of your way while you engage with site content, Chrome’s overall UI just isn’t as sophisticated. Another limitation is that while you can use iCloud to sync open browser windows across all of your authorized Apple devices, on Chrome you can only sync to Chrome when it runs on other devices. Chrome is a nice additional browser to supplement Safari, but isn’t (yet) a suitable replacement for Apple’s solution.

Google Chrome at the App Store

6. Google Sheets

This is a great tool if you are a Windows user creating Excel files you’d like to work on with iPhone and/or Android users, as it will save and open those files and let others collaboration on them through the app. The problem is that Google Sheets provides a more limited range of tools than you’ll find in Excel (or Apple’s Numbers, come to that), though its capacity to create functions and calculations makes that part of what it does closer to Excel. While it isn’t always suitable for professional use, the app does have the advantage of being free and available across Android devices. The app does ship with a small number of austere templates, but it’s true to say that if you want to build graphically-pleasing templates you’ll want to use Apple’s or Microsoft’s solution. Even chart creation is limited – though the speed with which the app crunches through calculations and the ease with which you can navigate its available tools do help it regain a little credibility. What sets the app apart is its built in collaborative tools, which mean multiple people can work on a document at the same time though its capacity to create functions and calculations – they can even see what the rest of the team are doing.

In conclusion, while Google Sheets has a lot to recommend it, it remains overshadowed by Apple and Microsoft’s own apps.

Google Sheets at the App Store

5. Google Drive

Cheaper than iCloud (it’s free, iCloud isn’t), Google Drive is a useful repository for all of your files, including videos, photos, and documents. The app is very much like Google’s web-based service which means it provides a selection of useful sharing and collaboration tools. It also provides accurate search tools and is boosted by an intelligent analytics engine (Quick Access) which will often figure out what files you’re going to want to access before you start looking for them – it may dig out the file you need for a meeting scheduled in Google Calendar, for example. Google Drive also offers some premium features, including the capacity to create closed but shared spaces for confidential team collaboration.Google Drive also integrates Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides support, which means you can create, open, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations all from within the app. What makes this useful is that iPhone and Android users (and anyone with access to a web browser) can use Drive to work on documents and other projects together, which makes it a highly useful team for cross platform teams.

There’s a lot to love for iPhoneographers, too. Google Drive provides so much space (15GB, free) that you can upload your entire image library there and still have space, and you can select items you have uploaded to your Drive for offline viewing.

Get Google Drive at the App Store.

4. Waze

Google’s community-based traffic and route finder app is highly recommended by users, who enjoy the services slick approach to figuring out the fastest route between destinations. Unlike Google Maps, Waze is a social service. Drivers can use their iPhone to build and use live maps, create turn-by-turn voice navigation, and watch for real-time traffic updates while they drive. The app is community driven, which means the more you drive and the more you contribute the better the service will be for you.Waze has many other machine intelligence-driven advantages, you’ll find it’s smart enough to learn as you use it. It does this by analyzing driving times to figure out smarter routes and to deliver traffic updates. Waze users can also report traffic incidents, jams, or even speed traps and the app will identify new routes in response to changing road traffic congestion patterns. Waze will also track fuel prices in the local area, enabling users to fill their vehicles up at the lowest possible cost.

Waze critics observe that the app tracks and keeps information about your travel to make recommendations, which may be a threat to privacy. Waze argues that it offers users full control over privacy settings, and that (like all Google’s apps) you gain convenience in exchange for your loss of privacy.

Get Waze at the App Store.

3. YouTube

No one does video like Google. If you are looking for obscure clips from TV shows you saw when you were a child, rare rock star footage, or little known documentaries, YouTube probably has you covered. The service is expanding, too – it recently reached a deal to offer cable users free access to a range of TV shows in the US, and it already offers music streaming services. When it comes to using the app on iOS (and Apple TV), Google’s YouTube app is a good way to keep up with any of the channels you follow.Even beyond the service’s depth of catalog, it has a whole set of features designed to tempt most of us. The capacity to upload your own video, sharing tools, dedicated artist pages, and picture-in-picture viewing means YouTube should be on every iPhone. A recent Chromecast update means iOS users can even cast YouTube clips from their smartphone to an Apple TV, making your iPhone even more useful.

Google has bigger ambitions for the service, which is why it has introduced its subscription-based Google Red service in the U.S, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and South Korea. This ads-free service brings all your YouTube clips and ads Google Play Music streaming support to the app.

Get YouTube on the App Store.

2. Google Translate

Google Translate can handle 52-languages in offline mode, though you do need to download the relevant language pack. To set offline mode you must tap the arrow next to the language name to download that pack. The app lets you translate text, websites, but its killer feature is Word Lens, the ability to point your iPhone camera at text to generate a near-instant translation of the words you see. The app also provides on-the-fly conversational translation tools that enable bilingual conversations between people, even using the iPhone microphone to pick up the words that need to be translated.The service is based on the company’s well-worn Google Translate service. This has traditionally generated some amusing mistranslations, but a big service update in late 2016 means it has become a great deal more accurate. (Google claims 60 percent more accuracy). In part this is because Google changed the way the service handled grammar – rather than translating each individual word and then attempting to make sense of them all, it now translates words as a group. This helps the engine retain meaning, though it still estimates that meaning, so translations are still not perfect.

Should you install this on your iPhone? I think so. Word Lens is so useful when you are travelling that no one should leave home without it.

Get Google Translate on the App Store.

1. Google Maps for Navigation

Apple Maps got off to an incredibly poor start. I use both services and in my experience the difference between the two is no longer that great, but Google’s service retains some advantages: It seems to provide a slightly smarter routing algorithm, by which I mean I find Apple Maps doesn’t always offer the best route between A and B, but Google Maps usually does. The ability to download maps for offline viewing is a huge advantage for travellers seeking to reduce costly data roaming charges.

Both services offer different views and can customize maps for different uses (walking or driving, for example). Both also provide information about traffic congestion. Google’s service remains a little more up front with such information, you need to squint to make out road traffic warnings on Apple Maps. Google also provides more detailed public transit information than Apple, including easy to access timetables and more.

Apple does have some advantage – not least the useful indoor maps to help you easily navigate subway stations and impressive aerial views, but Google Maps remains the best mass market mapping service for your iPhone – though Apple’s own service isn’t too far behind and the search giant has no reason for complacency.

Get Google Maps at App Store.

Honorable Mentions

Gboard Keyboard

Google even makes an alternative keyboard for iOS users. Gboard hosts built in Google and Google Now search, lets you type by gliding your finger, and other useful tools. The down side is that third party keyboard support on iOS isn’t perfect – sometimes key behaviour can be a little erratic.

Get Gboard on the App Store.

Google Duo for Video Calls

Google seems to be a big fan of video calling apps. It must be, it develops several. The Duo app is designed to be a bare bones alternative to Skype or Facetime, with cool features like automatic handoff between cellular and Wi-Fi, the ability to preview a video call before picking it up, and one-touch dialling. The big advantage of Duo is it lets a new iPhone user continue to make Wi-Fi video calls with Android users.

Get Google Duo on the App Store.

About Integrating Google Apps with iOS

Apple doesn’t want to be the dumb pipe Google runs its apps on and it takes the system level integration of its apps and services seriously. This is why when you tap a link in an email it opens in Safari, or if you tap an address you can expect to receive directions in Maps.

Google’s response is to enable its own apps to work together, but you must set this up in Settings for each individual app first. Tap Settings in the Google app to find this option, which lets you enable opening files, links, or whatever else you want to access using a Google app from within that app. This way when you click a link in Gmail it will open in Google Chrome, or click an address to receive directions in Google Maps.

This means it is possible to put more Google inside your iPhone, though it is important to know why this makes sense for you before you do – most iOS users have a fantastic user experience, and a migration to Google across their systems may not prove to be the most appropriate move for every iPhone user.

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https://www.idropnews.com/news/top-10-google-apps-iphone-ranked-better-best/34701/feed/ 0 Three Star Rating Goolge Search App iPhone Three Star Rating Google News and Weather for iPhone Three Star Rating Gmail iPhone Three Star Rating Google Chrome iPhone Three Star Rating Google Sheets Four Star Rating Google Drive iPhone Four Star Rating Waze iPhone Five Star Rating YouTube iPhone Five Star Rating Google Translate iPhone Five Star Rating Google Maps iPhone
How to Increase and Manage iCloud Storage from Your iPhone or iPad https://www.idropnews.com/how-to/increase-manage-icloud-storage-iphone-ipad/35090/ https://www.idropnews.com/how-to/increase-manage-icloud-storage-iphone-ipad/35090/#respond Sat, 25 Mar 2017 15:00:45 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=35090 As an iOS device owner, you’re more than likely an iCloud user, too — and if you’re an iCloud user, then you’re almost certainly aware that Apple has gifted you with 5 GB of free storage in “the cloud.” That may seem like a pretty decent amount of free storage, but when you’re snapping photos, […]

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As an iOS device owner, you’re more than likely an iCloud user, too — and if you’re an iCloud user, then you’re almost certainly aware that Apple has gifted you with 5 GB of free storage in “the cloud.” That may seem like a pretty decent amount of free storage, but when you’re snapping photos, using apps, and downloading files all day long on your various iOS devices, you’d be surprised at just how quickly those kilobytes turn into megabytes, and megabytes into gigabytes. If you’re saving your photos, videos, content, files, and app data via iCloud, too, you’re likely to be maxed out at this point.

Upgrade Your Available iCloud Storage

The first, and perhaps most viable, course of action would be to simply go in and upgrade the amount of iCloud storage available to you. The benefit to going this cost- and time-effective route would enable you to preserve the entire breadth of your digital data, across your entire range of iOS and macOS devices, regardless of how often you upgrade or flip-flop between them. And the cost isn’t particularly a deterrent, either. To evaluate your options, you can start by navigating to..

  1. Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap iCloud, or tap on your name and then tap iCloud.
  3. Tap Storage.
  4. Finally, tap Buy More Storage.

From here, you can upgrade your storage 10-fold to 50 GB for less than $1 per month; or choose between 200 GB, 1 TB, or even 2 TB of storage for $2.99, $9.99, or $19.99 per month, respectively, which can be billed directly to your Apple ID. This option is ideal for those with limited storage on their devices, who may have a lot of data saved, and who want to be able to retain that data and digital content in the cloud — without having to max-out the available onboard storage on their iOS device, itself.

Delete Old Backups and Data

Another option would be to go in and manually choose what app data is and is not stored to your iCloud account. This option won’t necessarily affect the pre-existing app data on your iOS device, but, for example, if you were to upgrade to a new iPhone, whatever app data is not saved won’t be automatically transferred to the new device — albeit by not saving certain data on your current device, you’d free space from your available iCloud storage allotment. To manage storage across your iCloud-connected devices, or for individual apps, simply navigate to..

  1. Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap iCloud, or tap on your name and then tap iCloud.
  3. Tap Storage.
  4. Finally, tap Manage Storage.

From this menu, you’ll be able to see what iCloud-connected devices are associated with your iCloud account. You can always delete older devices, or older backups of them, by tapping on the device and selecting Delete Backup. This would come in handy if, for instance, you had backed an iPad from a few generations ago that you’re no longer using — you won’t be able to determine what data was saved in that particular backup, but chances are that won’t be too important if you’ve already moved onto and restored your data to a newer iPad, right?

From this Manage Storage menu, you’ll also be able to view and manage/delete the documents and data associated with your various iCloud-connected apps — for example, your iBooks data, Microsoft Word documents, and the broader ‘Other Documents’ folder. You can play around with these a bit from this menu and either preserve or delete any files that you’re no longer actively using. Alternatively, you can transfer these documents, files, and even your photos to your Mac or PC — where you’re likely to have much more free storage space available, and, in turn, be able to free up space on your iOS device.

Click here to read more about how to transfer and save your iCloud Photo library to a Mac, PC, or other storage device.

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Why Facial Recognition Technology Is So Controversial https://www.idropnews.com/news/facial-recognition-technology-controversial/35170/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/facial-recognition-technology-controversial/35170/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 23:45:12 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=35170 Whereas facial recognition technology was once the province of science fiction, most memorably depicted in Spielberg’s “Minority Report”, it has now become a fact of everyday life. In many cases, facial recognition tools are utilized to complement other services we use regularly, and make the user’s experience more convenient and seamless. We’re all aware for […]

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Whereas facial recognition technology was once the province of science fiction, most memorably depicted in Spielberg’s “Minority Report”, it has now become a fact of everyday life.

In many cases, facial recognition tools are utilized to complement other services we use regularly, and make the user’s experience more convenient and seamless. We’re all aware for instance that Facebook employs facial recognition scanning to identify and tag individuals in the millions of photos that are uploaded to its platform each day. Snapchat creates a detailed map of your face before superimposing cat whiskers, or whatever other selfie filter suits your fancy, on it.

But sometimes, it’s used to make life slightly less convenient, as is the case in China’s Temple of Heaven– a complex of ancient religious buildings and a popular tourist destination. There, bathroom toilet paper dispensers have been equipped with facial recognition tools to crack down on the relatively mundane issue of toilet paper theft. Unfortunately, this means that each visitor is entitled to one meager quota of toilet paper every nine minutes, which has led to embarrassing and potentially excruciating circumstances. This use of facial recognition software might seem intrusive and irksome, but it’s largely innocuous, and even a little funny.

Of course, there’s ample reason for concern here as well, especially because companies see value in compiling and selling detailed personal profiles on their customers to third parties. A recent Atlantic article wonders whether and how companies will monetize your face, in a time where your face is more public and up for grabs than ever before.

The Atlantic reports that it takes a lot of photographs of an individual to teach a machine to recognize his or her face, which is why machine learning specialists often resort to using celebrities, and their considerable supply of publicly available photos, for their research. Increasingly, however, celebrities aren’t the only people who have a massive database of photos of themselves.

Which is why the spread of image capture and facial recognition tools has inevitably and understandably stoked fears of a surveillance state and other dystopian imaginings. It’s reasonable to wonder what use companies and governments are making of the growing stockpile of pictures they have on file.

FBI’s Facial Recognition Program

One current scenario that has Congress-members on both sides of the aisle up in arms, for example, is the FBI’s in-house facial recognition software and growing database of pictures of Americans’ faces, which have been pulled from DMVs in 18 states and millions of mugshots. The Bureau’s recognition tools can be used to scan millions of faces in short order. The agency apparently has plans to continue striking agreements with the remaining motor vehicle departments in the country to add more driver’s license photos to its database.

Last year, the Government Accountability Office estimated that half of all adult Americans already have their faces archived in federal, state, and local facial recognition networks.

On Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans at a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing slammed the FBI for its facial recognition program, raising concerns about unwarranted invasions of privacy, arrests of innocent Americans, and potential for racial bias.

“I have zero confidence in the FBI and the [Justice Department], frankly, to keep this in check,” Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said at the meeting.

Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) lamented: “I think we’re reaching a very sad point, a very dangerous point, when we’re doing away with the reasonable expectation of privacy about anything.”

One particularly disconcerting point was raised by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MA), who noted that current facial recognition technology is less accurate when identifying black people.

“If you’re black, you’re more likely to be subjected to this technology, and the technology is more likely to be wrong,” he said. “That’s a hell of a combination.”

The FBI deputy assistant director Kimberly Del Greco stressed that the technology and image database is exclusively for law enforcement purposes and an extension of the investigative work that the agency already performs on a regular basis.

“It is a search of law enforcement photos by law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes,” Del Greco said in the hearing. “Law enforcement has performed photo lineups and manually reviewed mugshots for decades. Face recognition software allows this to be accomplished in an automated manner.”

Beyond the FBI, facial recognition technology is garnering interest in local and state law enforcement agencies, especially as it becomes more accurate and can be cast over a wider net.

Real-Time Facial Recognition Technology

Last year, Russian startup NTechLab announced that it had developed technology to scan and identify people in real-time through the thousands of CCTV cameras dotting Moscow’s streets. The development of the FindFace algorithm is a palpable reminder that the nature of public spaces– already riddled with cameras– is undergoing a tectonic shift. The startup already has pilot programs in the UK, US, and China, where law enforcement agencies see plenty of use cases for real-time facial recognition and other biometric scanning tools.

The Intercept reports the concerns of civil liberties groups that the advent of real-time face recognition technology, combined with the widespread adoption of police body cameras, “creates the conditions for a perfect storm of mass surveillance.”

“The main concern is that we’re already pretty far along in terms of having this real-time technology, and we already have the cameras,” said Jake Laperruque, a fellow at the Constitution Project, to The Intercept. “These cameras are small, hard to notice, and all over the place. That’s a pretty lethal combination for privacy unless we have reasonable rules on how they can be used together.”

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Spanish Teen Sues His Mother for Taking Away His Phone https://www.idropnews.com/news/fast-tech/spanish-teen-sues-mother-taking-away-phone/35061/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/fast-tech/spanish-teen-sues-mother-taking-away-phone/35061/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:00:27 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=35061 A 15-year-old boy from Almeria, Spain is suing his mother. The reason? She took away his phone. The incident reportedly took place on Feb. 28. The 37-year-old El Ejido mother wanted her son to put away his device and study more — so, naturally, she took it away. What happened next was probably a bit […]

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A 15-year-old boy from Almeria, Spain is suing his mother. The reason? She took away his phone.

The incident reportedly took place on Feb. 28. The 37-year-old El Ejido mother wanted her son to put away his device and study more — so, naturally, she took it away. What happened next was probably a bit unexpected: her son took her to court, accusing her of “mistreatment.” For that alleged crime, he demanded a nine-month jail sentence for his mother, as well as payment for his legal fees, according to local publication La Voz De Almeria.

The judge who heard the case came down in favor of the mother, however — declaring that she was “well within her rights,” and took “correct action” as a responsible mother, according to The Local. “She would not be a responsible mother if she allowed her son to be distracted by the mobile phone and fail to study,” said the court ruling by magistrate Luis Columna — spotted by the Europa Press. The magistrate reportedly dismissed the case, and went on to say that the mother’s actions were not only justified, but expected.

“Among the duties required to be undertaken by a parent, as outlined in the Civil Code, is that of being responsible for the education of one’s children, which is exactly what the accused did in this case, without taking it to unnecessary extremes,” the magistrate wrote.

Although certainly an unusual court case, it’s not the first time that a teen has taken their parents to court over technology. Last year, an 18-year-old woman from Austria sued her parents because they posted pictures of her potty-training as a child to their Facebook pages, CNET reported.

 

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New Calling Features from T-Mobile Will Identify and Block Scammers https://www.idropnews.com/news/new-calling-features-t-mobile-will-identify-block-scammers/35006/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/new-calling-features-t-mobile-will-identify-block-scammers/35006/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:44:53 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=35006 T-Mobile is taking a stand against scam calls with the announcement of new features meant to cut down on robocalling. The new features, Scam ID and Scam Block, are meant to safeguard customers from scam calls, which cost Americans millions of dollars each year, the company said in a press statement released Friday. The new features […]

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T-Mobile is taking a stand against scam calls with the announcement of new features meant to cut down on robocalling. The new features, Scam ID and Scam Block, are meant to safeguard customers from scam calls, which cost Americans millions of dollars each year, the company said in a press statement released Friday. The new features are built directly into T-Mobile’s network technology, meaning that every phone on the T-Mobile network will receive them.

“Every year, three out of four people in the U.S. get at least one scam call — and fraudsters cheat customers out of more than half a billion dollars per year!” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said. “It’s insane — so we had to do something to protect our customers!”

The first safeguard, Scam ID, alerts customers automatically when they receive a phone call from a number that’s likely to be a fraudster. The tech works by using a patent-pending technology that analyzes a call in seconds against a global database of numbers associated with scams or frauds. When such a number is identified, T-Mobile’s system automatically tags it and warns receiving customers that it’s likely a scam call. Notably, T-Mobile’s system is capable of analyzing every call made through its own network, the company said.

The second feature, Scam Block, does exactly that — it automatically blocks all calls tagged as likely to be scams. If a T-Mobile customer prefers “never to be bothered by scam calls” again, they can simply turn on the feature and let the network’s safeguards keep scammers from reaching their phones in the first place.

According to the network, T-Mobile is just one part of an industry-wide effort to fight scam and robocalling spearheaded by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. In a recent op-ed piece for The Hill, Pai said that robocalls are indeed “the scourge of civilization,” reiterating what a former senator named Fritz Hollings called the scams.

T-Mobile said that it’s launching the feature on a rolling basis, beginning with ONE customers. New T-Mobile ONE customers will automatically receive Scam ID starting April 5. Postpaid customers can also enable Scam ID on April 5 by dialing #ONI# and pressing the call button. Alternatively, customers can turn on Scam Block by dialing #ONB# — and disable the feature by dialing #OFB#.

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Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Tell Siri ‘108’ https://www.idropnews.com/news/heres-shouldnt-tell-siri-108/34926/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/heres-shouldnt-tell-siri-108/34926/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:43:36 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34926 The latest “craze” to have swept the social media scene by storm is also, quite possibly, the most outright idiotic, dangerous, and yet wildly popular, we think we’ve ever seen. We all know full well that Siri is capable of helping us carry out a number of tasks using just our iPhones and the sound […]

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The latest “craze” to have swept the social media scene by storm is also, quite possibly, the most outright idiotic, dangerous, and yet wildly popular, we think we’ve ever seen. We all know full well that Siri is capable of helping us carry out a number of tasks using just our iPhones and the sound of our voice. From pulling up turn-by-turn directions to our destination, to calculating simple math equations, or even throwing down a fresh new beat — there’s really not much Siri can’t do.

Apple has even made it easier than you might imagine to phone your local emergency services hotline — such as ‘9-1-1’ in the US, or ‘9-9-9’ in the UK. In fact, all you have to do is simply say, “Hey Siri,” followed by any given emergency service phone number on the face of the Earth and Siri will issue the call right then and there. While this feature might seem convenient, and even lifesaving, an increasing number of insensitive jokesters have been making the “trick” go viral on social media in recent weeks that has angered authorities and law enforcement officials around the country.

In a post published to the department’s official Facebook page earlier this week, the Sheriff’s office in Harris County, Texas, effectively pleaded with its followers to share the news and to stop — really, just stop — asking Siri about “108” as social media users have been encouraging their followers to “try out, for a good laugh” recently.

Whether they know it or not, though, Siri has been trained to contact the local emergency services hotline in your given region — regardless of where you live. So, for example, when these pranksters say, ask Siri about “108” they’re actually referring to the 1-0-8 emergency services hotline in India, according to CNET.

What’s more, you don’t actually have to live in India, or even be in the country, because Siri will automatically recognize the request as a plea for help, and will thusly issue a call to whatever your country’s emergency hotline is.

Unfortunately, “the prank” which an increasing number of people seem to think is so darn funny and harmless, can ultimately cause major headaches over at the emergency services call center in your home country and could even prevent vital services from being readily available to people who actually need them.

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Red iPhone 7, New iPad, Updated iPhone SE Now Available https://www.idropnews.com/news/red-iphone-7-new-ipad-updated-iphone-se-now-available/34812/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/red-iphone-7-new-ipad-updated-iphone-se-now-available/34812/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:00:51 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34812 After a brief outage earlier this morning, Apple’s online storefront is back up and running smoothly, and the company has made available its recently announced (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 7 models, its new budget-minded iPad, as well as the 32 and 128 GB iPhone SE models that were first announced on Tuesday morning. Red iPhone 7 Available […]

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After a brief outage earlier this morning, Apple’s online storefront is back up and running smoothly, and the company has made available its recently announced (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 7 models, its new budget-minded iPad, as well as the 32 and 128 GB iPhone SE models that were first announced on Tuesday morning.

Red iPhone 7

Available for the first time ever bearing the company’s (PRODUCT)Red credentials, Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus ushers in the most recent product to come from the company’s decade-long joint partnership with the (Red) campaign — a global initiative that supports HIV/AIDS programs geared towards the counseling, direct medical care, and prevention of the disease in a myriad of countries most adversely affected by it.

The (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are available in both 128 GB and 256 GB storage capacities and start at the same price point of Apple’s other iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models.

Eager customers looking to adopt to new fiery red beauty can now mosey on over to Apple’s online storefront and scoop up an iPhone 7 for either $749 or $849, depending on storage capacity; or the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus for $869 or $969, respectively. The (PRODUCT)Red duo will also be available through a few of Apple’s wireless carrier partners, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and more.

And of course, don’t forget that a portion of the proceeds from your (PRODUCT)Red purchase will go on to directly benefit the (Red) campaign and its Global HIV/AIDS initiatives — to which Apple’s sales have contributed over $130 million to over the last decade.

New iPad

For those in the market for a new iPad model, you’ll be happy to know that Apple this morning made available its most affordable, 9.7-inch iPad ever. While pre-orders have officially opened up this morning, keep in mind that the first round of units won’t be shipping until March 31st at the earliest. However, at $329 for a 32 GB unit with Wi-Fi, Apple’s latest dual-core A9 SoC-equipped iPad is the most affordable tablet in its class. In addition to the A9 chip, Apple’s new iPad boasts an 8 MP iSight camera, a 720p HD-capable FaceTime camera, and a form factor that more so resembles that of the original iPad Air than of the iPad Air 2 that it effectively replaces.

You can choose between 32GB and 128GB models in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/Cellular LTE configurations, which are now available to pre-order in either Silver, Gold, or Space Gray from Apple’s online storefront. They’ll also be available in-store beginning on Friday, March 31st, and through a number of 3rd party retailers and wireless partners, including Best Buy.

Updated iPhone SE

Apple Doubles iPhone SE Storage Capacity

Last but not least, now available is the iPhone SE boasting either 32 GB or 128 GB of storage. While the refreshed models are internally the same as their predecessors — boasting Apple’s A9 SoC, a 12 MP camera, and the smaller, 4-inch form factor — you’ll now be able to pick one up featuring double the storage, at either 32 or 128 GB for $399 or $499, respectively, as opposed to 16 or 64 GB for the same price.

Are you going to scoop up any of Apple’s new products this weekend? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Senate Votes to Let Carriers Sell Your Data and Browsing History https://www.idropnews.com/news/senate-votes-let-carriers-sell-data-browsing-history/34745/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/senate-votes-let-carriers-sell-data-browsing-history/34745/#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:37:27 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34745 In a significant blow against privacy, the US Senate has voted to repeal a landmark set of internet privacy rules that would have prevented internet providers from sharing consumers’ online data without first obtaining their permission. The privacy rules, which were passed by the FCC last year under the Obama Administration and due to go […]

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In a significant blow against privacy, the US Senate has voted to repeal a landmark set of internet privacy rules that would have prevented internet providers from sharing consumers’ online data without first obtaining their permission.

The privacy rules, which were passed by the FCC last year under the Obama Administration and due to go into effect later this year, were designed to protect data on consumers’ web browsing habits collected from their smartphones and computers.

The joint resolution to block the rules, which was authored by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), would also bar the regulatory agency from ever passing “substantially similar” rules again. It leverages something called the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which empowers Congress to strike down rules passed by federal agencies like the FCC.

Flake argued that the privacy rules amounted to a “bureaucratic power grab”. “Passing this CRA will send a powerful message that federal agencies can’t unilaterally restrict constitutional rights and expect to get away with it,” Flake said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Many Democrats vehemently opposed the resolution in the leadup to the vote. “This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy, on rules that afford basic protection against intrusive and illegal interference with consumers’ use of social media sites and websites that often they take for granted,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) prior to the vote.

The sweeping anti-privacy resolution passed 50 to 48 along party lines.

How the Senate Vote Jeopardizes Privacy

The consumer protections would have required internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to receive explicit permission from customers before collecting personal data, building subscriber profiles, and selling sensitive information — including app usage, geo-location, email content, communications, and browsing history– to third-party marketers for targeted ad campaigns. The rules also restricted the disclosure of medical and financial information, as well as children’s information and social security numbers, The Washington Post reports.

Now, everything from your WebMD searches, to online shopping activities, are up for sale. This also means that “years of your private information” can be monetized at the whim of cable and wireless providers without any federal oversight, warned the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.

Unsurprisingly, the FCC protections were vocally opposed by internet providers as well as industry groups like the NCTA – The Internet and Television Association, which represents major cable providers. Deregulation advocates argue that the FCC rules are sweeping, rely on an overly broad definition of ‘sensitive information’, and place ISPs at a disadvantage in competing with advertising giants like Facebook and Google, which aren’t restricted by the rules.

Civil liberties groups and consumer advocates argue that the resolution would severely jeopardize the privacy and sensitive data of Americans.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Senate voted today to sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of major internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon,” an ACLU representative wrote. “The resolution would undo privacy rules that ensure consumers control how their most sensitive information is used. The House must now stop this resolution from moving forward and stand up for our privacy rights.”

Now, the fate of the FCC rules lies in the hands of the House of Representatives, which is scheduled to vote on the resolution.

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Apple Acquires Automation App ‘Workflow’ and Its Creators https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-acquires-automation-app-workflow-creators/34713/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-acquires-automation-app-workflow-creators/34713/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:53:07 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34713 Apple this week finalized its most recent acquisition — the equally powerful and popular automation app, Workflow, which has been used and adorned by millions of iPhone and iPad users around the globe. First released on the App Store back in 2014, Workflow by DeskConnect, Inc., is a multi-faceted, multi-use automation tool that can help […]

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Apple this week finalized its most recent acquisition — the equally powerful and popular automation app, Workflow, which has been used and adorned by millions of iPhone and iPad users around the globe.

First released on the App Store back in 2014, Workflow by DeskConnect, Inc., is a multi-faceted, multi-use automation tool that can help users accomplish — well — just about anything they set their minds to. With the app, users can create individual “workflows” to help them accomplish tasks, such as creating a GIF image from multiple still photos, for example, or translating an article into a different language, calculating the tip amount at a restaurant, or posting photos to multiple social networks at the same time — just to name a few.

In addition to boasting a gallery-style list of popular tasks, including a meme maker, a video to GIF converter, a QR code scanner, and more, Workflow also allows users to create their own automations, as well.

Apple has announced that, per the terms of the acquisition, the company will be acquiring the app, as well as its three co-creators — Ari Weinstein, Conrad Kramer, and Nick Frey — who will be joining the team up in Cupertino full-time.

“We are thrilled to be joining Apple,” Weinstein said in a statement. “We’ve worked closely with Apple from the very beginning, from kickstarting our company as students attending WWDC to developing and launching Workflow and seeing its amazing success on the App Store. We can’t wait to take our work to the next level at Apple and contribute to products that touch people across the world.”

It’s not entirely clear what Apple plans to do with the app, or how much it was acquired for. But it’s possible that the software could be built into future versions of iOS and/or macOS, so it will definitely be interesting to see what the future holds for Workflow. Fortunately, as of Thursday afternoon, users can still download Workflow absolutely free from the Apple App Store.

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iPhone Users with Smart Home Devices Ranked ‘Most Satisfied’ https://www.idropnews.com/news/iphone-users-smart-home-devices-ranked-satisfied/34694/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/iphone-users-smart-home-devices-ranked-satisfied/34694/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:24:06 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34694 A recent survey of smartphone owners has revealed that while Apple and Samsung are essentially neck-and-neck in terms of customer satisfaction, Cupertino’s iPhone has nevertheless emerged No. 1 when it comes to having the “most satisfied customer base” out of any other brand in the U.S., according to data analyzed by market research firm J.D. […]

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A recent survey of smartphone owners has revealed that while Apple and Samsung are essentially neck-and-neck in terms of customer satisfaction, Cupertino’s iPhone has nevertheless emerged No. 1 when it comes to having the “most satisfied customer base” out of any other brand in the U.S., according to data analyzed by market research firm J.D. Power.

The firm’s findings revealed a number of interesting facts about the interests, motives, and levels of satisfaction among U.S. smartphone users: chiefly among them, being that while Samsung Electronics Co. scored an impressive 839 out of 1,000 on J.D. Power’s index, Apple’s iPhone clocked in at 840 out of 1,000. So while Cupertino took the top slot, the South Korean Galaxy S-maker wasn’t far behind.

Moreover, according to the J.D. Power Full-Service Smartphone Satisfaction Study for 2017, the results of which were released on Thursday, smartphone satisfaction is highest among iPhone users who also utilize their handsets to control a variety of smart home-connected devices, such as smart thermostats, smart locks, or even smart appliances, for example. Interestingly, the data also revealed that owning a smart home-connected device boosted a user’s overall satisfaction with their smartphone by approximately 3.4%.

“Customers with connected home devices are able to improve the comfort, convenience and security of their living spaces with their smartphone devices,” according to Kirk Parsons, senior director of technology, media & telecom practice at J.D. Power.  “They are more satisfied with their smartphones because they can take advantage of smartphone functionalities that other customers may not be aware of.”

Parsons added that the ease with which smartphone users are able to connect their handsets with smart home-connected devices has had “a major advantage” in the ever-competitive smartphone market — improving overall customer satisfaction, particularly as homes become increasingly more automated. In other words, as new and existing dwellings continue to be outfitted with a myriad of smart home-connected devices, customers will increasingly find more value in owning them.

The firm also noted that while all five surveyed manufacturers — Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and LG — advanced in the rankings for 2017, Apple, in particular, achieved the highest boost of approximately six percentage points over last year’s survey. Interestingly, the findings also revealed that iPhone owners are more likely to own smart home-connected devices — at least in comparison to Android users. For instance, while the margins were smaller, on average, the survey found that roughly 13% of iPhone owners also owned a smart thermostat, while the percentage dropped to just 11% for Android users.

Perhaps these revelations come with little shock factor, though. After all, Apple has historically been the leader when it comes to supporting the myriad of smart home-connected devices available today. And though iOS 10 brought us the dedicated HomeKit app for mobile, we’re sure that iOS 11 will only up the ante even more.

Do you own any smart home-connected devices?
Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

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India Rejects Apple’s Demands for Special Tax Incentives https://www.idropnews.com/news/india-rejects-apples-demands-special-tax-incentives/34689/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/india-rejects-apples-demands-special-tax-incentives/34689/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:46:42 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34689 The Indian government has rejected Apple’s demands for special tax incentives that it sought to expand its manufacturing operations within the country, according to a new report. In fact, India did not accept “most of the demands” that Apple was seeking for establishing manufacturing bases, a senior official said. Apple India, specifically, sought concessions including […]

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The Indian government has rejected Apple’s demands for special tax incentives that it sought to expand its manufacturing operations within the country, according to a new report.

In fact, India did not accept “most of the demands” that Apple was seeking for establishing manufacturing bases, a senior official said. Apple India, specifically, sought concessions including “duty exemptions on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment including parts and consumables for smartphone manufacturing and service/repair for a period of 15 years,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman replied to a question in Parliament, according to the India Times. And the Indian government has been resistant to the idea of granting Apple special tax retreatment since early this year.

Apple is already planning on manufacturing iPhones in the country at an assembly plant in the southern city of Bengaluru, India. Operations there will largely be left up to Winston Corp, which will begin assembling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s models within the next four to six weeks, and iPhone SE models in about three months, according to the Wall Street Journal. Notably, Apple’s concession demands do not pertain to this plant, so it will not be affected by the authorities’ decision, the India Times noted.

India could turn out to be a key economic market for Apple, who has less than a 5 percent market share in the country. Late last year, Apple had its application to open retail outlets in India rejected, due to a rule that requires 30 percent of its components to be built locally. Beginning with the Winston-run plant, however, Apple could replicate its China model in India — which could help the company secure and grow its dominance in the country’s booming smartphone market. And, if it works, it could be a successful strategy, as India’s rapidly expanding market could overtake the U.S. this year as the second largest behind China.

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WikiLeaks: CIA Has Been Bugging ‘Factory Fresh’ iPhones Since 2008 https://www.idropnews.com/news/wikileaks-cia-bugging-factory-fresh-iphones-since-2008/34685/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/wikileaks-cia-bugging-factory-fresh-iphones-since-2008/34685/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:16:09 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34685 If you weren’t already worried about smartphone security and government surveillance, WikiLeaks has more disturbing news. According to the newest leak — dubbed “Dark Matter” by the controversial organization — the Central Intelligence Agency has been bugging “factory fresh” iPhone devices in the supply chain since at least 2008. Perhaps even more terrifying is that […]

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If you weren’t already worried about smartphone security and government surveillance, WikiLeaks has more disturbing news.

According to the newest leak — dubbed “Dark Matter” by the controversial organization — the Central Intelligence Agency has been bugging “factory fresh” iPhone devices in the supply chain since at least 2008. Perhaps even more terrifying is that the particular bug in question affects the device’s firmware, meaning that the device will still be compromised even if the operating system is deleted or reinstalled. The alleged CIA documents that contain this information were leaked today, shortly after a press announcement WikiLeaks made through its Twitter.

The Mac platform hasn’t been left out, either. In today’s leak, WikiLeaks also detailed several tools that could be used to infect Apple’s flagship computers. One of the, dubbed “Sonic Screwdriver,” can compromise a Mac via a Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter. Another, called “DarkSeaSkies,” implants itself in a Mac’s firmware, making it invisible to typical digital forensic scans. Most of the documents released today are rather old — some dating as far back as seven years ago. But that doesn’t mean that the CIA isn’t relying on these tools or similar methods — some Vault 7 documents show that, as of 2016, the CIA is still using and updating some of these hacking systems, according to Heavy.

Dark Matter is just the latest release in a larger WikiLeaks series called Vault 7 — which aims to expose the various methods and tools that the CIA uses to hack into popular consumer devices. The first series, dubbed “Year Zero,” was leaked on March 7, and apparently contained over 8,700 documents and files that described methods of hacking everything from smartphones to Smart TVs.

Apple contends that many of these vulnerabilities have already been patched, and the company announced earlier this month that it has and will continue to block any organization’s ability to spy on its customers. “Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ privacy and security. The technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way,” Apple said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “While our initial analysis indicates many of the issues leaked (March 7) were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue to work rapidly to address any identified vulnerabilities.”

If you’re particularly worried about government intrusion into your data, Apple recommends that you make a habit of downloading your device’s latest software update.
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Best Buy Is Giving Away Gift Cards with New iPads https://www.idropnews.com/news/best-buy-giving-away-gift-cards-new-ipads/34676/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/best-buy-giving-away-gift-cards-new-ipads/34676/#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:32:19 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34676 Best Buy is offering a new promotion when customers order Apple’s newly unveiled iPad. The Deal The retailer is giving away a $25 gift card to each consumer that orders a new iPad, either online or at a brick-and-mortar outlet. As an added bonus, customers that trade-in a working iPad mini 2, mini 3, mini […]

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Best Buy is offering a new promotion when customers order Apple’s newly unveiled iPad.

The Deal

The retailer is giving away a $25 gift card to each consumer that orders a new iPad, either online or at a brick-and-mortar outlet. As an added bonus, customers that trade-in a working iPad mini 2, mini 3, mini 4, iPad Air or Air 2, or iPad Pro will get a “minimum” $150 Best Buy gift card — although this trade-in offer is only valid in store at select locations, and it ends April 15.

The Catch

There are some caveats, though. Not all products are eligible for this trade-in offer, Best Buy said. The trade-in value of each device varies, and the condition, documentation and accessories included with trade devices can affect that value. Obviously, devices are water-damaged, lack power, or have cracked screens are excluded from this offer. Additionally, consumers are responsible for clearing any data from the devices before they are traded in. Only one trade-in is allowed per customer.

Apple’s new iPad — which replaces the company’s iPad Air 2 — is a definite upgrade over its predecessor, but still manages to be Cupertino’s cheapest tablet yet: a 32-gigabyte, Wi-Fi only model starts at $329.99. Devices with cellular connectivity, on the other hand, are available on 2-year contracts through Best Buy — a 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular Model will only run you $30 more (with a contract) than the Wi-Fi only variant. The retailer also has financing options available for some of the new iPad models — a 32-gigabyte iPad with Wi-Fi and Cellular connectivity could customers around $21.48 a month for 20 months, for example.

To order a new iPad from Best Buy, or to learn more about the promotion, visit the retailer’s website.

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Apple Patent Envisions an iPhone Powered Touchscreen Laptop https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-patent-envisions-iphone-powered-touchscreen-laptop/34667/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-patent-envisions-iphone-powered-touchscreen-laptop/34667/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:18:22 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34667 Back in September, 2015, Apple filed a patent for a so-called “Electronic Accessory Device,” which essentially details a portable hardware accessory — boasting several, but not all of, the internal components of a laptop — that would allow it to act a laptop surrogate, for example, when connected to one’s iPhone or iPad. According to […]

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Back in September, 2015, Apple filed a patent for a so-called “Electronic Accessory Device,” which essentially details a portable hardware accessory — boasting several, but not all of, the internal components of a laptop — that would allow it to act a laptop surrogate, for example, when connected to one’s iPhone or iPad.

According to the patent filing, which was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday morning, the accessory embodies a device that has been attempted by several manufacturers in the past — such as Motorola, for example, with its Atrix smartphone/lap-dock combo.

To be specific, Apple’s patent covers a “thin” laptop-style accessory, boasting a full touchscreen display, a full-size keyboard, and internal components such as a GPU, SSD storage, or even a large battery pack, that would be able to function like a full-scale laptop when connected to a host device — in this case, an iPhone, or possibly even an iPad, which would act as the notably absent CPU.


Apple’s patent exclusively refers to aluminum as an “ideal enclosure material,” according to AppleInsider, which would suggest that the accessory could embody something along the lines of a very thin MacBook-like device. To that end, as you can see from the patent images, Apple was clearly envisioning a laptop-style device — that would perhaps feature an iPhone-sized terminal in place of a traditional trackpad — capable of essentially mimicking the functionality of a MacBook, albeit limited to the iOS platform.

Alternatively, an iOS-powered device could also be connected to the accessory wirelessly, via Wi-Fi mirroring or Bluetooth — thus foregoing the need for an actual “terminal” embedded within the accessory, itself. While the patent filing is scant on details of how, or in what capacity, the accessory would function, it could theoretically boast its own iOS-based operating system — allowing for the optimization of certain iPhone- or iPad-based apps, and thereby offering a more laptop-like user experience when the host device is connected.

One embodiment even shows the accessory being fully controllable by the iPhone that’s connected to it. For example, when a user’s iPhone is connected to the accessory via a designated port located below the full size keyboard, the iPhone could theoretically act as a form of multi touch-based input for navigating iOS on the larger screen. Such a configuration could also offer Force Touch and a haptic feedback response when navigating iOS on the much larger, touchscreen display.

Keep in mind, of course, that this patent is clearly intended for conceptual purposes only — at least for the time being. In light of Apple’s recent advertising spree to promote iPad as a viable mobile computing device (i.e.: a laptop replacement), the company seems adamant in its stance to sell devices a la carte — meaning iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks — rather that somehow converging the units into a multi-functional device. Still, it’s certainly interesting to see this patent pop up, which means that Cupertino has at least entertained the idea before.

What do you think about Apple’s iPhone-connected laptop-style accessory?
Let us know in the comments!

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Why Tech Leaders and Influencers Are Switching to Mac https://www.idropnews.com/news/why-tech-leaders-and-influencers-are-switching-to-mac/34551/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/why-tech-leaders-and-influencers-are-switching-to-mac/34551/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:51:03 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34551 Prospective computer buyers want it all, quick performance, lengthy battery life, and most importantly, reliability. MacBooks have garnered a strong reputation for quality and ease-of-use, which are integral facets of any great computer, and two of the reasons why so many people are jumping ship from PCs to Macs. It’s not just your family and friends […]

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Prospective computer buyers want it all, quick performance, lengthy battery life, and most importantly, reliability. MacBooks have garnered a strong reputation for quality and ease-of-use, which are integral facets of any great computer, and two of the reasons why so many people are jumping ship from PCs to Macs. It’s not just your family and friends switching to Mac either. Tech leaders in every industry are switching to Mac, so I posed the question to them “Why did you switch to Mac?”

Mignon Gould, Founder

As the founder of a style and entertainment website, computers are used extensively in my line of work, from developing content to creating graphics. When I was using a Windows-based computer, I found that I was replacing my personal computer every two years. I had heard from colleagues in the design industry that I would get more longevity from a Mac.

Since switching to a Mac in 2011, luckily–or should I say because of a quality product–I have been using the same computer, without any major repair issues. It still fits my needs, and frankly, it still appears as if I just bought it. What I enjoy about using a Mac is not needing to continually purchase antivirus software, ease of use with creative programs such as Adobe Suite, and most of all, the reliability of having a computer that can endure the day-to-day tasks of an online publisher.

Most of my colleagues who still use a PC quote the expensive price of using a macOS versus Windows. Considering how often a PC needs to be replaced, a Mac is a steal! After switching to Mac, I won’t go back.

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Nikhil Makwana, Author

Simply put, Mac is easily the best in the business. The excellent combination of software and hardware not just sets it apart from the rest but also helps it deliver the commendable performance. Though Windows PC and laptops have significantly improved in recent times, they are still nowhere near to Mac when it comes to living up to expectations.

macOS is far more advanced, secure and elegant than Windows. To say the least, it’s been designed to define true standard. Terrific features like Apple Pay on the web, Siri, Continuity, Accessibility, Auto-Unlock, iMessage and not to speak of its fantastic collaboration with iPhone and the superlative iOS, you have to give macOS all the accolades it truly deserves.

Having used Windows PC for several years, I thought it’s time to switch to something more reliable, stable and productive. It’s been more than a couple of months since I switched to a MacBook Pro. Frankly speaking, it’s been a pretty smooth-sailing experience. My notebook has not just an impressive design that instantly attracts eyeballs, but also the much needed ability to continue to perform in its top gear.

It’s not that Mac and macOS are without blemish and don’t require any further improvements. It’s just that they are far better than their rivals (Windows PC) from every aspect.

TwitterWebsite

Rick Sloboda, Senior Web Copywriter

Shortly after launching our web content writing firm in 2006, I began working with several web designers. Each week, during creative meetings, I fielded questions and concerns — even criticisms — on why I was using PC.

Almost two years later, while frequently dealing with technical issues, including viruses, I figured I’d try Mac. I queried a new client at the time, Macinhome, and the owner talked me into switching our entire firm to Macs. A couple of weeks later, our content writers were decked out with everything Apple, from networking to MacBook Pros. And we haven’t looked back.

My Mac’s reliability and ease of use allows me to focus on strategizing campaigns and writing content for clients, versus fiddling with annoying software and hardware issues. The time it saves me allows me to be more creative and productive.

I’m fond of Macs and Apple in general, and I plan to enjoy their smartly designed products for the foreseeable future. Having worked with hundreds of talented designers around the globe, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for good design, and Apple almost always nails it.

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Moréa Pollet, Marketing Manager

I am the Marketing Manager at Piedmont Avenue Consulting where I first started on a PC and then switched to Mac. I first switched to Mac because of peer pressure from my boss. Every time my computer wouldn’t connect on the printer and would be slow he would blame it on the fact that it is a PC. One day it pretty much became “You are getting a raise. Now get a Mac”.

Honestly now…I wouldn’t go back to PC. MacBooks are lighter, faster. I love that you can just close your screen to put it to sleep and not have to click on different mode. I love that it connects to printers, scanners, speakers and most importantly Wi-Fi so easily. It used to take me so much time and steps with my PC. PCs have great things, but the interface is supposed to make it user friendly but became more and more complicated after years, even for a computer savvy generation person.

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Bryan Clayton, CEO

I’m Bryan Clayton CEO of GreenPal, which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care. I’m almost 40 years old and I have been a lifelong PC user since 1991. However when I approached my CTO last fall about wanting to access certain parts of our projects development environment he said “Well you ain’t going to do it with that PC.” I guess you could say I came into the Mac world kicking and screaming.

As my developer was helping me unbox my new MacBook Pro he said to me confidently “Once you use this thing you will never go back.” I shook my head brushing off the comment, but after I got set up in our developer environment and accustomed to the Mac, he was right there is no turning back.

If I had to distill the differences I would say that using a PC is like interfacing with a machine whereas using a MacBook Pro is like an extension of your soul. From the hardware to the OS, it is just so much simpler, intuitive, and a much more beautiful experience for computing and getting work done.

Twitter / Website

Kean Graham, CEO 

I have used PCs my whole life and switched to Mac six months ago and the transition has reaped many benefits:

Trackpad: No PC laptop has a trackpad that comes close to the Mac trackpad. It is precise and the extra things you can do with the trackpad are game changing.

Reliability: I haven’t had issues with viruses or random crashes. Every hardware and software update seems to be more reliable with virtually no WTF moments.

Notes: What a delightful surprise this little app has been! I use it for all my notes. It’s very simple, but has all the functionality I need.

Twitter / Website

Stephen Gibson, Musician

I was curious after having favored Windows for so long. I switched to Mac because I was working on music. Although they say PCs have largely caught up to Macs in audio/video editing most online tutorials still use Mac, and sometimes the Mac version has more functionality.

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Brandon Na, Founder

I bought my first MacBook last year after using a PC, or any version of it, since 1990 — yes, 26 years on a PC. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, we supported the OS that Microsoft supports and honestly, there was simply no need. When I jumped on the iMac I was given, when heading a Marketing Department, I was completely uncomfortable and inefficient. I knew all the hot keys on the PC, but quickly learned how to navigate on a Mac. The MacBook was even quicker.

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Hollywood Considers Offering $30 Rentals for Movies in Theaters https://www.idropnews.com/news/hollywood-considers-offering-30-rentals-movies-theaters/34635/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/hollywood-considers-offering-30-rentals-movies-theaters/34635/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:01:31 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34635 Major Hollywood studios are seriously considering releasing movies for rental in homes just weeks after they debut in theaters, for as little as $30. It’s a sign that the movie industry is continuing to adapt to the homeward shift in viewing habits. If adopted, the move could have important implications for Apple, which has been […]

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Major Hollywood studios are seriously considering releasing movies for rental in homes just weeks after they debut in theaters, for as little as $30. It’s a sign that the movie industry is continuing to adapt to the homeward shift in viewing habits. If adopted, the move could have important implications for Apple, which has been pushing for greater flexibility about online rental releases from its end for months now.

Late last year, a report surfaced in Bloomberg that Apple had entered into negotiations with studios for rights to home-video rentals of the latest movies while they are still playing in theaters, though a concrete agreement has yet to emerge. For their part, 21st Century Fox Inc., Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures have also reportedly been considering iTunes as a potential streaming platform, especially as theater revenues stagnate.

There are a number of possibilities being batted around among at least six of the seven largest Hollywood studios, who are open to the idea as a way of bolstering their home entertainment revenues, which have steadily declined due to piracy and flagging demand for DVDs. Younger viewers, having grown accustomed to services like Netflix and Hulu, are also markedly less patient and unwilling to wait months on end to watch one film.

However, studios and major exhibitors like AMC, Regal Cinemas, and Cineplex are still divided on what the details of an early rental program should be. According to Variety, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara opened with a proposal to open films for rental 17 days after they debut for $50. Fox and Universal, on the other hand, pushed for a lower rental price with a later release date.

Eventually, Fox and Warner Bros landed on the possibility of making the home viewing option available between 30 and 45 days after opening for $30 a rental. Universal is reportedly holding out for faster release timetable, within four weeks of a movie’s theatrical debut. Variety notes that online rentals typically become available 90 days after debut for less than $10– cheaper than the average movie ticket. An accelerated release schedule would have the added benefit of cutting down on marketing costs, as studios wouldn’t have to launch a second advertising campaign to re-introduce rentals to consumers months after their original release dates.

Other major studios like Lionsgate, Paramount, and Sony are also said to be engaged in discussions with major theater chains, who have obvious concerns about streaming releases eating into their box office returns or erasing them altogether.

While the negotiations are very much up in the air, pending the resolution of a number of complex issues, Apple sees a clear advantage in shorter rental windows for its iTunes business, particularly in light of competition from the likes of Google and Vudu. Getting major studios to elect iTunes as a rental outlet for recent releases would help the platform stand out in an already-crowded streaming market.

Apple recently released iTunes 12.6 which does away with frustrating restrictions on viewing rented content. Now, iTunes will allow users to view rented movies on multiple screens at the same time– regardless of whether it’s attached to an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

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Google Is Working to Make Android Phones Safer https://www.idropnews.com/news/google-working-make-android-phones-safer/34623/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/google-working-make-android-phones-safer/34623/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:59:02 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34623 Google is placing its focus on security by ensuring that Android devices can get timely security updates and removing harmful and malicious apps from the Play store. According to Google, about half of the 1.4 billion Android devices in the world did not receive important security updates in 2016. Unlike iOS, the Android ecosystem is […]

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Google is placing its focus on security by ensuring that Android devices can get timely security updates and removing harmful and malicious apps from the Play store.

According to Google, about half of the 1.4 billion Android devices in the world did not receive important security updates in 2016. Unlike iOS, the Android ecosystem is fragmented into hundreds of carriers and manufacturers with their own way of doing things — so pushing out updates to individuals oftentimes becomes a convoluted and complicated process. While Nexus and Pixel phones receive security fixes almost instantaneously after they are released, a Samsung phone, for example, might not. This year, Google is aiming to work with those companies to change that.

And the company is making progress: Google has gotten update wait time down from over six weeks to several days, according to TechCrunch. “In North American, just over 78 percent of flagship devices were current with the security update at the end of 2016,” Google’s security lead Adrian Ludwig told the publication. According to him, allowing Google’s update speed data to be shared among carriers and manufacturers is an important step in convincing them to release updates more quickly.

“It’s not about convincing them that it’s important — they already believe that — it’s about providing visibility into the specific status, which often they don’t have,” Ludwig said. “Because the ecosystem has so many parties, everyone knew the update rate was low but they thought it was caused by someone else. Providing the information allowed them to take action.”

Part of the process is getting carriers and manufacturers to view security fixes differently than feature updates — and to get them onto consumer devices more quickly. Google is also helping out by reducing update size to allow faster downloads, and nixing requirements that force users to approve every update. The company is also streamlining the process with A/B updates, which helps counter the possibility of bricked phones caused by over-the-air updating.

In addition to updates, Google is also doubling down on security by removing harmful apps from the Play store — mostly by increasing the number of times that they scan for potentially malicious applications. In 2016, the company performed 750 million daily scans, up from 450 million the previous year, Engadget reported. This has helped reduce the number of trojans in the Play store by 51.5 percent, backdoors by 30.5 percent, phishing malware by 73.4 percent and hostile downloaders by 54.6 percent.

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Siri and Alexa Are Fighting to Control Your Hotel Room https://www.idropnews.com/news/siri-alexa-fighting-control-hotel-room/34608/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/siri-alexa-fighting-control-hotel-room/34608/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:57:40 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34608 Hotel rooms have become the latest battleground in the war between Amazon and Apple. Both companies are competing for the top spot in the growing smart home market, with their Alexa and HomeKit-powered platforms, respectively. According to Bloomberg, Marriott expects to decide on using one of the platforms — if any — in its hotel […]

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Hotel rooms have become the latest battleground in the war between Amazon and Apple. Both companies are competing for the top spot in the growing smart home market, with their Alexa and HomeKit-powered platforms, respectively. According to Bloomberg, Marriott expects to decide on using one of the platforms — if any — in its hotel chains as soon as mid-2017.

Marriott International is reportedly testing smart home ecosystems from Apple and Amazon to see determine which digital assistant platform is best to control a hotel room’s features via voice command or smartphone — among them, a room’s lights, drapes, temperature, television, etc. The testing is taking at Marriott Aloft in Boston’s Seaport district — and uses a mix of iPhones and iPads for Siri, and Echo speakers for Alexa.

And Marriott isn’t the first company to bring so-called smart home devices into their establishment. Late last year, Wynn became the first lodging company to integrate Amazon’s proprietary Alexa assistant into its suites via Echo devices. According to Wynn, Alexa will be operational in rooms at its flagship Las Vegas hotel by this summer.

Marriott Aloft Boston Seaport

What remains to be seen is exactly how the digital assistants will be integrated. One decision, for example, is whether the smart hotel room ecosystems will allow guests to log in with their own accounts to personalize the experience. On the flip side, hotels could opt for outfitting the systems with a standard set of abilities that could enhance a hotel stay — which might be better for guests unfamiliar with smart home tech. And that’s just the start: in the future, the digital assistants could perform more concierge-like functions.

As far as which platform to bet on, there are a few considerations. Alexa is much cheaper — with an Echo Dot costing just $50, far less expensive than any Apple device with Siri. On the other hand, Alexa currently speaks just two languages: English and German. Siri, meanwhile, is fluent in over 21 languages, making it more of an ideal choice for international travelers and locations. Both platforms support a wide-range of different smart home products — although some brands, like Nest, don’t currently work with Apple’s digital assistant.

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iTunes 12.6 Boasts ‘Rent Once, Watch Anywhere’ Feature https://www.idropnews.com/news/itunes-12-6-boasts-rent-watch-anywhere-feature/34599/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/itunes-12-6-boasts-rent-watch-anywhere-feature/34599/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:41:01 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34599 Apple on Tuesday morning announced the availability of iTunes 12.6, the latest and greatest update to the tech-giant’s digital music and iOS device management application for Mac and PC. iTunes 12.6 packs a noteworthy and much-anticipated new feature — cleverly dubbed “rent once, watch anywhere” — which will allow customers to rent a movie on […]

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Apple on Tuesday morning announced the availability of iTunes 12.6, the latest and greatest update to the tech-giant’s digital music and iOS device management application for Mac and PC.

iTunes 12.6 packs a noteworthy and much-anticipated new feature — cleverly dubbed “rent once, watch anywhere” — which will allow customers to rent a movie on one of their iTunes-capable devices, and continue watching it on another. Prior to the iTunes 12.6 update, for comparison, if users were to rent a movie from iTunes, say, on their iPad, they would have only been able to watch the film, from start to finish, on their iPad.

However, thanks to Apple’s latest iTunes update, customers can now rent a movie on their iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Mac or PC, for example, and the rental will automatically sync across their entire range of devices for as long as it remains active — allowing users to pick up right where they left off on one device, on another.

The “rent once, watch anywhere” feature will still be subject to Apple’s existing iTunes movie rental terms of service, however, including the semi-strict time limits allotted for each film. On the contrary, though, the feature is still a highly anticipated addition to the iTunes movie rental experience, and it’s certain to be well received by movie lovers who prefer to rent and enjoy them in the environment of their preference.

In addition to the exciting new movie rental feature, iTunes 12.6 also boasts a slew of performance and stability enhancements — as is constituent of any new software update from Apple.

While iTunes 12.6 is currently available to download online for Mac, and via the Windows software update utility for PC, it appears that the new “rent once, watch anywhere” feature will only be available once iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 are released to the public. Given that iOS 10.3 is currently in its 7th beta release, it shouldn’t be too much longer until movie rentals can be experienced via iTunes on a whole new level.

Have you ever tried renting a movie on iTunes? Let us know in the comments!

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2016’s Bestselling Smartphones Were iPhones https://www.idropnews.com/news/2016s-bestselling-smartphones-iphones/34579/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/2016s-bestselling-smartphones-iphones/34579/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:42:46 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=34579 The Apple iPhone topped the list of best-selling smartphones last year, according to a new report from analytics firm IHS Markit. Specifically, it was the iPhone 6s that took the top spot in 2016, according to shipment data. Trailing behind the 6s were the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus, in that […]

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The Apple iPhone topped the list of best-selling smartphones last year, according to a new report from analytics firm IHS Markit.

Specifically, it was the iPhone 6s that took the top spot in 2016, according to shipment data. Trailing behind the 6s were the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus, in that order. While IHS Markit hasn’t released any specific shipment numbers, the report’s accompanying infographic seems to show that there were around 60 million shipments of iPhone 6s last year. The data is pulled from the firm’s Smartphone Shipment Database, which tracks shipment data for over 350 different models of smartphones.

Apple’s devices are innovative and feature-heavy enough to spur sales and retain relevance in the market, the analytics firm said. In a press release, IHS Markit also said that Apple has an ability to sell older devices for an extended period of time. The iPhone 6s, for example, was released in September 2015, which makes its lead over newer devices even more impressive.

And as far as Apple’s closest competitor, Samsung, the Note 7 fiasco left the Galaxy S7 Edge as the Korean company’s top-selling device in 2016 — in fifth place, specifically — while the company’s flagship Galaxy S7 ranked ninth. Samsung did manage to claim three other spots on the list, too, rounding out its lineup with mid-tier devices such as the Galaxy J5, Galaxy J3 and Galaxy J7. According to IHS Markit, Samsung has seen growth in the low- to mid-tier segment due to expansion in emerging markets.

Aside from the world’s two smartphone giants, only one other firm managed to get a phone onto the top 10 list — China-based Oppo Electronics. The company’s A53 ranked seventh on the list, probably due to its popularity in markets such as China and India. Notably, the world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer — China’s Huawei — did not have any devices on the IHS Markit list.
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