Yesterday, we highlighted Haunted Empire, a new book from former Wall Street Journal reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane examining the transition Apple has undergone with the death of Steve Jobs. While the book includes a few interesting tidbits, our view was that Kane had selected anecdotes to support a predetermined conclusion that Apple is in decline.
With the book debuting today, Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement about the book, calling it “nonsense”, according to CNBC. Cook’s statement reads:
This nonsense belongs with some of the other books I’ve read about Apple. It fails to capture Apple, Steve, or anyone else in the company. Apple has over 85,000 employees that come to work each day to do their best work, to create the world’s best products, to put their mark in the universe and leave it better than they found it. This has been the heart of Apple from day one and will remain at the heart for decades to come. I am very confident about our future.
The book’s release comes as Apple fans continue to wait for the first major product releases of 2014. Earlier today, the company brought back the 16 GB fourth-generation iPad as a low-end model to replace the iPad 2 and released a new 8 GB iPhone 5c in several countries to offer a cheaper option compatible with LTE networks.
If you’re anything like us, then you know how valuable it is to have great battery life on mobile devices. Which is why a number of apps, like Skype, need to be monitored a little closer than others — in particular, ones that are constantly running in the background. Knowing this, Skype’s releasing a fresh version, 4.7, of its Android application that changes the way it handles your smartphone’s or tablet’s battery. “We are introducing aggressive battery life savings that will allow most of our users to leave Skype running without noticeably affecting battery life,” said Skype in a blog post.
In order to make this happen, message notifications in group chats had to be turned off by default, though there is an option to flip the switch for folks who would like to continue using them. According to Skype, we’ve only seen the beginning, as it expects to further improve battery usage in future versions of its mobile app. We’ll have to see it to believe it, but hopefully it turns out to be true — because mo’ juice, mo’ Flappy Bird.
Source: Google Play
Even the prettiest mobile games tend to look a bit ugly, with simple lighting effects that remind you that you’re not using a more powerful console or PC. If Imagination Technologies has its way, though, those pocket-sized games will be truer to life. Its newly unveiled Wizard architecture brings ray tracing, a technique that calculates the path of every light beam in a 3D scene, to the company’s PowerVR mobile graphics cores. You can see the resulting visual boost in the picture above: every light casts a shadow, glass is more realistic and reflections accurately portray the surrounding world. The first core to use Wizard is the high-end GR6500, which companies can license for their mobile processors. Imagination hasn’t named customers, but we’d note that Apple and Intel are among two of its clients — don’t be surprised if your next iPhone or Windows tablet is a graphics powerhouse.
Source: Imagination Technologies
Google’s Sundar Pichai said that Chromecast would be available in many more countries this month, and it now appears that this worldwide launch could be close at hand. Engadget reader Martin has noticed that big UK retail chain Currys is already listing the TV media stick, with nary an official announcement in sight. The company says it’s out of stock, but there’s a plausible £30 ($50) price tag in place. While the entry doesn’t give any clues as to when the Chromecast would reach the country, Google has less than two weeks to make good on its word — we’d reckon that the device arrives sooner rather than later.
Good news for Dropbox users: soon, you’ll be able to switch between business and personal files without having to constantly sign in and out. The tool really only applies to those who use Dropbox for Business, as it will give them simultaneous access to corporate-controlled files and their own documents. Naturally, the ability to manage two accounts from one place will extend to your smartphone and tablet as well as the desktop.
The cloud-storage company first introduced the single-login feature in beta testing late last year, but it will officially launch on April 9th. According to The Verge, Dropbox will announce “new tools for administrators” on that date as well. Given Dropbox competitor Google Drive’s recently reduced storage rates, we wouldn’t be surprised if any pricing tweaks are announced, too. We’ll be on hand at the press event next month, so stay tuned.
Filed under: Internet
Source: The Verge
Dayframe, from cloud.tv, went through some paces over the last few months. When Google pushed out the SDK for developers to launch Chromecast support into their apps, Dayframe was one of the first to go live with it. Not without some conflicts though. After having to pull it, offering the paid members the Prime access for free, bringing back Chromecast support and a few other hiccups, it finally made its way as a set feature option.When it did finally go live, it was only available to Prime (paid) members. Not anymore.
Dayframe has pushed an update out for the app that hit late lastnight. it moved the app to version 2.3 and brings Chromecast support to everyone. That means anyone that installs this free app can have access to cast to their Chromecast devices. There will be a small logo on your screen though and a popup that will nudge you for Prime every so often.
The update also adds quite a bit of other things:
– users can now add multiple Facebook friends at a time– better support for wireless chargers (i.e. the Tylt)– now faster and easier to create playlists (as part of Prime)– slideshow got a lighter makeover– and of course: bug fixes
Apple today seeded a new version of 10.9.3 to employees (via 9to5Mac), but more importantly, the company also launched a new version of iTunes 11.1.6 beta which includes an important syncing feature that has been missing since the launch of Mavericks.
iTunes 11.1.6 “restores the ability to sync contacts and calendar information to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from your Mac running OS X 10.9.3.”
Multiple users have been unhappy with their inability to sync contacts and calendar information to their iOS devices using their Macs. When iOS 7 and Mavericks were introduced, the ability was removed by Apple in favor of cloud syncing.
Apple’s Support Communities has a 212 page thread on the issue, and MacRumors has received multiple complaints since Mavericks was released.
SimCity has been surrounded by problems since its reboot last year, including having to deal with negative feedback due to the nature of its “always-on” gameplay. Now, EA’s hoping to turn some of these frowns into smiles, announcing that SimCity’s long-awaited offline mode will be available starting today. The update, after getting through its final test phase, began rolling out earlier this morning and should be at your mercy momentarily. As a result, EA says there’s going to be server down time “for a few hours,” so expect to put those city-building skills on hold for a little while. Don’t worry, it’ll be over before you know it. In the meantime, check out the video tutorial after the break.
When we talk about smartwatches, it’s normally devices that either work with your phone, or seek to replace them altogether. That’s not the approach taken by Phosphor, which recruited former Nike designer Stefan Andrén to craft a model that’s entirely self-contained. Of course, without a smartphone riding shotgun, the watch should have better battery life, but it also has to do the heavy lifting on its own. After raising more than $300,000 on Kickstarter, the Touch Time is clearly seeking to knock the Pebble from its perch, but will it succeed?
The biggest issue here is that the Touch Time abandons buttons in favor of gestures, and you’ll have to unlock the device with a long, bottom-to-top swipe before you begin using it. You can select from a number of pre-installed watch faces, or push across to a home screen where you can launch one of seven apps, including calculator, stopwatch and reminders. Unfortunately, this is where the dream begins to die, as the capacitive touchscreen isn’t big or sensitive enough to handle imperfect instructions. A casual swipe is frequently ignored, and it’s only long, precise movements that get you where you want to be. This, naturally, becomes a bit of a chore if you’re used to the instant gratification that comes from a smartphone touchscreen.
Then there’s the 1.3-inch 169 x 144 E Ink display itself, which only offers room for a 2 x 2 grid of icons. That’s fine when the apps are reasonably simple, but the calculator app pushes the operators to an entirely different screen, and switching between them frequently causes you to make unwanted key presses. Add in the lack of accuracy, and the process becomes even more frustrating as the unit beeps every time you make a gesture.
On the upside, Phosphor’s pedigree is in watchmaking, so the company has at least managed to get the basics right. The stainless steel case is stylish and the silicone strap is comfortable, albeit a tad too eager to pick up lint during wear. The device promises to last up to a year on a single watch battery, not to mention resist water down to depths of around 30 meters. Realistically, Phosphor has crafted something that’ll stand out in a crowded market, but not something that’ll tear you away from your Pebble. If that hasn’t deterred you, however, then you’ll be happy to know that the Touch Time is shipping from today, and will set you back $160.
Filed under: Wearables
Mozilla may have stopped working on the Windows 8 version of Firefox, but that doesn’t mean its standard desktop browser is getting the same treatment. Quite the contrary, actually. Today, Firefox 28 was released for Linux, Mac and Windows, with support for OS X Notification Center, volume controls for HMTL5 media playback and VP9 video decoding. There are also security fixes in tow, which, while not as exciting, are equally important. You can peek the full changelog here — in case you’re into that sort of thing.
Filed under: Internet