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29
Mar

RED reveals a 5K camera sensor designed for outer space


In a bit of a surprise, RED Camera unveiled its most light-sensitive Super 35 sensor to date for the Epic-W cinema camera. The 5K Gemini sensor, much like the one on Panasonic’s GH5s, has a dual-ISO mode that lets you choose between dynamic range and light-sensitivity. “Images exposed at ISO 3200 in low-light mode will be just as clean as images exposed at ISO 800 in the standard mode,” said RED in a YouTube video (below) explaining the tech.

RED actually released the Gemini sensor earlier this year, but said at the time that it was specifically designed for use in outer space for “a very special customer” (Elon Musk, many folks believed). At the time, RED said that the production run was limited to exactly five, but it’s now offering the sensor on the Epic-W to anyone with $24,500. You can still get that camera with the 8K Helium Super 35mm sensor for $29,500.

At 30.72 x 18mm, the Gemini is taller than RED’s regular Super 35mm sensors, making it ideal for shooters who use anamorphic lenses. In RAW mode, you can shoot 5K video at up to 96 fps, and 2K video at a stellar 300 fps. As with other RED offerings, shooters can also shoot ProRes, though resolution is limited to 4K at 30 fps.

With 5K rather than 8K resolution, the Gemini has larger, more sensitive pixels. There is a trade-off with the low-light mode, however. When shooting with the setting on, you lose some dynamic range, so RED recommends staying in standard mode (which offers 16.5 stops of dynamic range) for most situations. The Red Epic-W with Gemini 5K is now available online for $24,500, and RED says it will offer an upgrade option to current Red Epic-W 8K and Weapon Carbon Fiber owners at a later date.

29
Mar

iOS 11.3 is live now, complete with new battery features


Apple launched iOS 11.3 this morning, bringing updates to ARKit, introducing Health Records and, most notably, adding new battery features. The update comes just a few months after Apple drew public scorn for its practice of slowing down processor speeds on iPhones with aging batteries, and the new indicators help address users’ concerns about throttling and artificial breakdowns.

With today’s update, iOS will show the battery health of an iPhone and recommend if it needs to be serviced — this applies to iPhone 6 and later. Plus, users are now able to turn off the management feature that reduces an iPhone’s processing power — this applies to iPhone 6, 6 Plus, SE,6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus.

IOS 11.3 updates the iPhone’s AR functions, allowing apps to read vertical surfaces like walls and doors, and irregular objects like chairs or circular tables. There are also a handful of new Animoji available today: lion, bear, dragon and skull.

The other big update is the addition of Health Records, a portal that allows patients of more than 40 health systems to view their medical records on their iPhone. These systems include Duke, Yale, Stanford and NYU Langone.

29
Mar

iOS 11.3 Release Notes Appear to Have Leaked With No Mention of Messages on iCloud or AirPlay 2


French developer Pierre Blazquez today shared what he claims are the final iOS 11.3 release notes, supposedly obtained from Apple’s servers. His tweet contains images of the release notes in English for the United States.

Apple blog Mac4Ever shared the release notes in French, which we’ve translated and embedded below in English.

While there aren’t too many surprises, it’s worth noting that Messages on iCloud is not listed, despite being enabled in the latest iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 betas. Apple did say the feature is included in the betas “for testing and evaluation purposes,” so it was never entirely clear if it would be ready for the final release.

Here are the final Release Notes for iOS 11.3 😊 (English version, French version is on @Mac4ever!) #Apple #iOS #iPhone #iPad #Leak pic.twitter.com/ftGY3iBG9E

— Pierre Blazquez (@pierre_blzqz) March 29, 2018

AirPlay 2 is also not listed, although the protocol was removed from the later beta versions of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3. Messages on iCloud and AirPlay 2 were also not listed in macOS 10.13.4 release notes leaked last week.

Beyond that, the release notes seemingly confirm Apple’s new Battery Health feature on iPhones will still be considered a beta feature in the iOS 11.3 public release, Advanced Mobile Location support where available, App Store review sorting, and improved charging management for always-plugged-in iPads.

As expected, there are also new accessibility features, a wide range of stability improvements and bug fixes, and other enhancements:

Augmented Reality

  • ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors in addition to horizontal surfaces
  • Adds support for detecting and incorporating images like movie posters or artwork into AR experiences
  • Supports a higher resolution real-world camera view when using AR experiences

iPhone Battery Health (Beta)

  • Displays information on iPhone maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability
  • Indicates if the performance management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns is on and includes the option to disable it
  • Recommends if a battery needs to be replaced
  • For more information on batteries and performance, visit this website: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208387

iPad charge management

  • Maintains battery status when the iPad is plugged in for extended periods of time, such as when used in a kiosk or point-of-sale system, or stored in a charging cart.

Animoji

  • Four new Animoji available on the iPhone X: lion, bear, dragon and skull.

Privacy

  • When an Apple feature asks to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.

Business Chat (Beta) — US Only

  • Communicate with companies to easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases inside the built-in Messages app on iPhone and iPad

Health Records (Beta) — US Only

  • Access health records and view lab results, immunizations, and more in a consolidated timeline in the Health app

Apple Music

  • Provides a new experience in video clips, including a Revised Video Clips section featuring exclusive video playlists.
  • Find friends with similar tastes through Apple Music’s improved suggestions, which list the genres that the users and mutual friends follow.

News

  • The main titles now always appear first in “For You.”
  • Watch the best videos selected by News editors.

App Store

  • Four options now allow you to sort the customer reviews on the product pages: the most useful, the most favorable, the most critical or the most recent.
  • The Updates tab now shows the version of the app and the size of the file.

Safari

  • Promotes the protection of privacy by notifying usernames and passwords until they have been selected in a web form field.
  • Presents warnings in the smart search field when the user interacts with password entry forms or credit card data on unencrypted web pages.
  • Automatic filling of usernames and passwords is now available in apps’ web views.
  • By default, articles shared via Mail from Safari are now formatted using Reader mode, if the drive is available.
  • In Favorites, folders now have icons for the bookmarks they contain.

Keyboards

  • Adds two Shuangpin keyboard layouts.
  • Supports connected physical keyboards using Turkish F layout.
  • Improves Chinese and Japanese keyboards for better accessibility on devices with a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen.
  • Allows you to return to the keyboard with a simple touch after the dictation.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause the capitalization of the first letter of some words by the automatic correction feature.
  • Fixes an issue on the iPad Pro that prevented the iPad Smart Keyboard from working after connecting to a captive Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause undesirable activation of the digital layout on the Thai keyboard in landscape mode.

Accessibility

  • The App Store now supports accessibility options “Bold Text” and “Large Font” for customizing the display.
  • Smart Reversal now supports images on the web and in Mail messages.
  • Enhances the RTT experience and supports RTT service for T-Mobile.
  • Improves app selection on the iPad for VoiceOver users and selection control.
  • Corrects a problem with the incorrect description of the Bluetooth status icon and the Bluetooth icon by VoiceOver.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent the end of call button from appearing in the Phone app when using VoiceOver.
  • Fixes an issue preventing access to an app’s built-in ranking with VoiceOver.
  • Fixes a problem that may cause distorted audio playback when using real-time listening.

Other Enhancements and Fixes

  • Supports AML technology, which provides more accurate location data to emergency services during an emergency call (in countries where this technology is available).
  • Supports software authentication, which provides developers with a new way to create and activate HomeKit-compatible accessories.
  • Podcasts now plays episodes with a single tap, and you can tap Details to learn more about each one.
  • Improves search performance for users with long notes in Contacts.
  • Improves the performance of Handoff and the universal clipboard when both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent incoming calls from activating the screen.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent or prevent voicemail playback.
  • Fixes an issue that prevents opening a web link in Messages.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent users from returning to Mail after previewing an attachment to a message.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause the deleted screen to reappear on the locked screen.
  • Fixes a problem that can cause the time and notifications to disappear on the locked screen.
  • Fixes an issue that prevents parents from using Face ID for approving purchase authorization requests.
  • Fixes a problem that could prevent updating of the current weather conditions in Weather.
  • Fixes a problem that could prevent the synchronization of contacts with a vehicle directory when connected via Bluetooth.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent an audio app from playing content in a vehicle while it was in the background.

iOS 11.3 remains in beta testing, but a public release appears to be imminent, as the software update was seeded for the new iPad yesterday.

Apple recently confirmed that there will be an iOS 11.4 software update, perhaps including Messages on iCloud and AirPlay 2.

Related Roundup: iOS 11Tags: AirPlay, iMessage, iOS 11.3
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29
Mar

Darkroom 3.5 Update Adds Depth Editing Features, Depth-Aware Filters, and More


Popular photo editing app Darkroom reached version 3.5 today, introducing the ability to edit Depth shots taken on supporting iPhone cameras, along with several other notable new features.

After updating to v3.5, Darkroom will automatically load the depth map for Portrait photos encountered in the library and recreate applied blur from scratch, handing control of its strength and location back to the user. Thanks to a new depth range selector, it’s now possible to define exactly where the foreground and the background are.

Meanwhile, in what the developers are calling an industry first, Darkroom 3.5 now features Depth-Aware filters. These come premium Portrait Filter pack to be depth-aware. Each filter will automatically adjust foreground and background settings to optimize the focal point of the image on the face, not on the background. User-created filters with depth settings also now carry over those settings to the filter itself.

Additionally in this release, Darkroom’s RAW engine has been rebuilt to take full advantage of the Extended-Range color space of Raw files, which should enable photographers to dramatically improve the amount of detail that’s recoverable from shadows and highlights. Similarly, the brightness, contrast, highlights and shadows sliders have been rebuilt to operate in the extended space, offering finer-grain tone control.


Elsewhere, the developers have undertaken app-wide performance refinements in an effort to make photo editing in Darkroom as fast as photo browsing. There’s also now a dedicated button at the top of the library view for accessing popular third-party camera app Halide, ready for when the announced Darkroom X Halide integration goes live.

Darkroom is a free download from the App Store and includes in-app purchases for some tools. [Direct Link].

Tags: photography, Darkroom, Halide
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29
Mar

Apple Releases iOS 11.3 With Battery Health Tool, ARKit 1.5, Business Chat, New Animoji, and More


Apple today released iOS 11.3, the twelfth official update to the iOS 11 operating system that first came out in September of 2017. iOS 11.3 comes more than a month the launch of iOS 11.2.6, a minor update that fixed a bug causing crashes due to the incorrect rendering of a character in the Indian language Telugu.

The iOS 11.3 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings –> General –> Software Update. Eligible devices include the iPhone 5s and later, the iPad mini 2 and later, the iPad Air and later, and the 6th-generation iPod touch.

iOS 11.3 is a major update that introduces a long list of new features, including several that Apple has been promising for months. The update introduces a new “Battery Health” feature that’s designed to provide iOS users with more information about their batteries, and it is a function Apple promised to introduce following backlash over the power management features added to older iPhones.


Battery Health offers details on maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability, and for devices with degraded batteries, it provides information on if and when a device is being throttled with performance management features. It also provides a way for customers who do have a device with a degraded battery to turn off performance management all together.


By default, iOS 11.3 disables performance management on the iPhone, and the feature is only re-enabled once a device experiences an unexpected shutdown. Battery Health is only for the iPhone, but on the iPad, Apple is introducing new iPad charge management for tablets that are plugged in for long periods of time.

iOS 11.3 introduces ARKit 1.5, a new version of ARKit that will allow developers to do even more with augmented reality apps. ARKit 1.5 more accurately maps irregularly shaped surfaces, has image and object recognition, and allows virtual objects to be placed on vertical surfaces like walls.

The iOS 11.3 update includes a new Health Records feature in the U.S. that aggregates all of your medical records in one easy-to-access place (as long as you have a participating provider) and it includes four new Animoji (dragon, bear, skull, and lion) on the iPhone X. A new music videos section was added to Apple Music just ahead of the release of iOS 11.3, and the update brings improved friend suggestions.


There are also several other smaller features worth noting in iOS 11.3. A new “For You” section in Apple News displays hand-picked content and top videos, support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) offers a more accurate location when placing an emergency call in a supported country, software authentication for HomeKit is included to greatly expand the number of devices that can support HomeKit, and a new Privacy screen and icon will show up whenever Apple asks you for info. The privacy screen is reflected in several new splash screens that pop up when you first open apps.

In the App Store, you can finally sort reviews by most helpful, most favorable, most critical, and most recent, a handy change for better finding the app info you’re looking for, and in the Updates tab, more details are available about app update size.


The release of iOS 11.3 includes support for Business Chat in the U.S., which will let you interface with businesses like Wells Fargo, Delta, Hilton and Lowe’s right in the Messages app. Improvements have been made to security in Safari, Handoff and Universal Clipboard have been improved, there are new Accessibility features, and bug fixes for keyboards.

The update also addresses several notable software bugs including an issue that could cause incoming calls not to activate the iPhone’s screen, a bug that prevented voicemail playback, an oversight that did not allow parents to approve child purchases using Face ID, a Bluetooth bug that prevented proper syncing of contacts and music playback in a vehicle, and more. Apple’s full release notes for the update are below:

iOS 11.3 introduces new features including ARKit 1.5 with support for more immersive augmented reality experiences, iPhone Battery Health (Beta), new Animoji for iPhone X users, and more. This update also includes stability improvements and bug fixes.

Augmented Reality
– ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place digital objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors in addition to horizontal surfaces
– Adds support for detecting and incorporating images like movie posters or artwork into AR experiences
– Supports a higher resolution real world camera view when using AR experiences

iPhone Battery Health (Beta)
– Displays information on iPhone maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability
– Indicates if the performance management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns is on and includes the option to disable it
– Recommends if a battery needs to be replaced

iPad charge management
– Maintains battery health when iPad is connected to power for prolonged periods of time, such as when it is used in kiosks, point of sale systems, or stored in charging carts

Animoji
– Introduces four new Animoji on iPhone X: lion, bear, dragon and skull

Privacy
– When an Apple feature asks to use your personal information, an icon now appears along with a link to detailed information explaining how your data will be used and protected

Business Chat (Beta) – US only
– Communicate with companies to easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases inside the built-in Messages app on iPhone and iPad

Health Records (Beta) – US only
– Access health records and view lab results, immunizations, and more in a consolidated timeline in the Health app

Apple Music
– Features a new music video experience, including an updated Music Videos section with exclusive video playlists
– Find friends that have similar tastes using updated suggestions in Apple Music that reveal genres people enjoy and mutual friends that follow them

News
– Top Stories now always appear first in For You
– Watch Top Videos curated by News editors

App Store
– Adds ability to sort customer reviews on product pages by Most Helpful, Most Favorable, Most Critical, or Most Recent
– Improves Updates tab information with app version and file size

Safari
– Helps protect privacy by only AutoFilling usernames and passwords after selecting them in a web form field
– Includes warnings in the Smart Search Field when interacting with password or credit card forms on non-encrypted web pages
– AutoFill for usernames and passwords is now available in web views within apps
– Articles shared to Mail from Safari are now formatted using Reader mode by default when Reader is available
– Folders in Favorites now show icons for the bookmarks contained within

Keyboards
– Adds two new Shuangpin keyboard layouts
– Adds support for connected hardware keyboards using the Turkish F keyboard layout
– Improves Chinese and Japanese keyboards for better reachability on 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch devices
– Enables switching back to the keyboard after dictation with just one tap
– Addresses an issue where auto-correct could incorrectly capitalize some words
– Fixes an issue on iPad Pro that prevented the iPad Smart Keyboard from working after connecting to a captive Wi-Fi access point
– Fixes an issue that could cause the Thai keyboard to incorrectly switch to the numeric layout when in landscape mode

Accessibility
– App Store adds accessibility support for bold and large text for display customization
– Smart Invert adds support for images on the web and in Mail messages
– Improves RTT experience and adds RTT support for T-Mobile
– Improves app switching on iPad for VoiceOver and Switch Control users
– Addresses an issue where VoiceOver incorrectly described Bluetooth status and badge icons
– Fixes an issue where end call button might not be presented in the Phone app when using VoiceOver
– Fixes an issue where in-app app rating was not accessible with VoiceOver
– Resolves an issue when using Live Listen that could distort audio playback

Other improvements and fixes
– Introduces support for the AML standard which provides more accurate location data to emergency responders when SOS is triggered (in supported countries)
– Adds support for software authentication as a new way for developers to create and enable HomeKit compatible accessories
– Podcasts now plays episodes with a single tap, and you can tap Details to learn more about each episode
– Improves search performance for users with long notes in Contacts
– Improves performance of Handoff and Universal Clipboard when both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network
– Fixes an issue that could prevent incoming calls from waking the display
– Addresses an issue that could delay or prevent playback of Visual Voicemail
– Resolves an issue that prevented opening a web link in Messages
– Fixes an issue that could prevent users from returning to Mail after previewing a message attachment
– Fixes an issue that could cause Mail notifications to reappear on the Lock screen after they had been cleared
– Resolves an issue that could cause time and notifications to disappear from the Lock Screen
– Resolves an issue that prevented parents from using Face ID to approve Ask to Buy requests
– Fixes an issue in Weather where current weather conditions may not have been updated
– Fixes an issue where contacts may not sync with a car’s phone book when connected over Bluetooth
– Addresses an issue that could prevent audio apps from playing in cars when the app was in the background

Betas of iOS 11.3 included a Messages on iCloud feature that Apple has been working on for several months, but the iOS 11.3 release notes do not include a mention of Messages on iCloud, suggesting the feature has been delayed for a second time. With Messages on iCloud, all of your iMessages are stored in the cloud, allowing them to sync across devices (even new ones) and saving valuable storage space on your iPhones and iPads.

Early betas also included AirPlay 2 support for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, but the feature was removed in iOS 11.3 beta 3 and it was not reintroduced in a later beta, suggesting it has been pushed back to a later update.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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29
Mar

Apple Releases tvOS 11.3 for 4th and 5th Generation Apple TV Models


Apple today released tvOS 11.3, the second major update to the tvOS operating system designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 11.3 comes more than three months after the release of tvOS 11.2, and a month after the release of a minor tvOS 11.2.6 update.

tvOS 11.3 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System –> Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to tvOS 11.3 automatically.

tvOS 11.3 introduces performance improvements and bug fixes for issues discovered following the release of tvOS 11.2.6.

The update introduces enhancements to Match Content support, automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV (a feature that was added to Apple TV 4K in a past update), and automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions.

The TV app, designed to let users find and watch television shows and movies aggregated from entertainment apps, is expanding to Brazil and Mexico. Brazil is also gaining Siri support on Apple TV 4K and the fourth-generation Apple TV.

Early beta versions of tvOS 11.3 included support for AirPlay 2, allowing the Apple TV to be added to the Home app as part of a HomeKit setup and enabling multi-room audio across multiple Apple TVs.

AirPlay 2 functionality was, however, removed in the third beta of tvOS 11.3, eliminating these features. AirPlay 2 was not re-added during the beta testing period, so it’s likely Apple is saving the feature for a future update.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)
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29
Mar

Apple Releases watchOS 4.3 With Portrait Nightstand Mode and iPhone Music Controls


Apple today released watchOS 4.3, the third major update to the watchOS 4 operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 4.3 comes more than three months after the release of watchOS 4.2, the last major update that brought Apple Pay Cash.

watchOS 4.3 can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it needs to be placed on a charger, and it needs to be in range of the iPhone.

watchOS 4.3 introduces support for Nightstand mode when the Apple Watch is positioned in a portrait orientation, a feature that was previously only available when the watch was placed in landscape orientation on its side.

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Today’s update also reintroduces a much-desired feature that allows music playing on the iPhone to be controlled using the Music app on the Apple Watch.

In previous versions of watchOS, starting with watchOS 4, the Music app could only be used to control music playing on the watch itself. watchOS 4.3 returns pre-watchOS 4 functionality and once again allows you to select the music playing on your iPhone from the Apple Watch. With watchOS 4.3, you’re also able to control playback and volume on the HomePod using the Apple Watch.

Other new features in watchOS 4.3 include a new charging animation when the Apple Watch is placed on the charger and a new app loading animation when opening up an app. You’ll also now see your Activity data on the Siri watch face, and the batter complication more accurately reports battery life.

For more on the watchOS 4 operating system, make sure to check out our dedicated watchOS 4 roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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29
Mar

Apple Releases New 11.3 Software for the HomePod


Alongside iOS 11.3, watchOS 4.3, and tvOS 11.3, Apple today released a new 11.3 software update designed for the HomePod.

This marks the first software update that’s been released for the HomePod since it became available for purchase in February.

The new HomePod software will be installed automatically on the HomePod after you update to iOS 11.3, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how to.

It’s not clear what new features are included in the HomePod software just yet, but we are waiting on both AirPlay 2 and a feature to allow two HomePods to be paired together for stereo sound. Apple’s release notes don’t divulge any details about what might be included, suggesting these features have not been implemented.

According to the release notes, the update “includes general improvements for stability and quality.”

Related Roundup: HomePodBuyer’s Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)
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29
Mar

Fitbit Versa vs. Fitbit Ionic: Which should you buy?


Fitbit’s been making fitness-trackers for over a decade, but it just started diving into the world of smartwatches over the last few months with the release of the Ionic and Versa. Both of the watches run Fitbit’s custom smartwatch platform – Fitbit OS – but each is targeted at very different demographics.

fitbit-ionic-vs-fitbit-versa-4.jpg?itok=

The Ionic and Versa are two excellent wearables, but to ensure you buy the one that’s best for you, let’s take a look at each one’s strengths and weaknesses.

What’s different

Without a doubt, the thing that separates the Versa and Ionic the most from each other is their design.

The Versa is Fitbit’s best-looking smartwatch to-date, and it draws a lot of inspiration from both the Apple Watch and Pebble Time. Fitbit chose a squircle shape for Versa’s body, and this gives it a very clean and minimalistic design that looks right at home whether you’re at the gym or attending a formal dinner.

fitbit-ionic-vs-fitbit-versa-3.jpg?itok=fitbit-ionic-vs-fitbit-versa-2.jpg?itok=

Along with the good looks, the Versa is also designed to fit and be comfortable on just about anyone’s wrist. Versa is incredibly comfy to wear, and it practically disappears from your mind once you put it on thanks to how lightweight it is.

The Ionic feels just as good to wear, but its design pales in comparison when placed next to the Versa. While the Versa is sleek and fashion-forward, the Ionic has a sporty aesthetic that certainly won’t appeal to everyone. It can be dressed up with a leather or metal watch band to look a touch classier, but even so, the Versa has a much more appealing and flexible design.

As different as the Versa and Ionic look, both are built incredibly well.

However, while the Ionic may not be as stylish as the Versa, it is the more powerful smartwatch. One big advantage it has is built-in GPS. When you go running with the Ionic, it can map your route without having to be connected to your phone. The Versa can record a route of where you run/walk, too, but it requires a constant connection to your phone in order to do so.

The lack of built-in GPS isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for the Versa, but its presence on the Ionic does make it a watch that allows you to leave your phone behind while going for a run and still being able to record as much data as possible.

Something else the Ionic has over the Versa (at least the base model) is NFC. This allows you to make contactless payments using Fitbit Pay at stores that accept them, and while you can technically get a Versa that supports this, you’ll need to spend an extra $30 for the Special Edition if you live in the U.S. and want this added functionality.

Last but not least, let’s talk battery life. After wearing the Fitbit Ionic since mid-January, I’ve regularly gotten 4-5 days of use on a single charge. Fitbit claims the Versa is capable of similar endurance, but in my experience, I saw closer to 2 to 2 1/2 days before needing to top up. You could likely extend this to 3 days or more depending on how you use the watch, and while that’s not bad, the Ionic is still the smartwatch battery champ.

What’s the same

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Although it may not be readily apparent at first glance, the Ionic and Versa are actually more similar than they are different. On the hardware front, both the Ionic and Versa have a heart-rate sensor that allows for 24/7 tracking and water-proofing up to 50M. You’ll find three buttons on each watch (one on the right and two on the left) and both have great-looking screens that are easy to see even in direct sunlight.

GPS aside, the Versa and Ionic offer the same fitness and smartwatch features.

Another reason these two watches are so similar has to do with the operating system that powers them — Fitbit OS. The Versa ships with Fitbit OS 2.0 out of the box, and the Ionic is currently being updated to the new software as we speak.

All of your health data can be found in the Fitbit Today app, and this shows your steps, distance, calories burned, stairs, and active minutes. This is also where you can see how many hours you’ve been active throughout the day, what your current heart-beat is, and your three most recent workouts.

The Versa and Ionic can record a variety of different exercises, including running, walking, swimming, yoga, interval training, biking, and more, and as if that wasn’t enough, you can follow on-screen workout routines using Fitbit Coach. There are three workouts loaded onto the Ionic and Versa by default, but you can access a much broader collection if you choose to pay Coach’s $39.99/year premium.

Other features found on both watches include:

  • Access to Fitbit’s app store for apps and watch faces
  • Both use proprietary bands, but the Ionic’s are easier to handle
  • The same user interface
  • Access to Fitbit’s excellent mobile app for viewing your recorded data
  • Ability to store 300 songs using Pandora, Deezer, or your own music files

Which one should you buy?

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You probably already have a good idea of which watch is for you at this point in the article, and that’s exactly what Fitbit is hoping for.

See Fitbit Versa at Fitbit

For most people, the Fitbit Versa will be the best choice. It offers 95% of what you’ll find on the Ionic, and it does so for just $199. I personally like having NFC on my smartwatches, and if you do too, the added $30 for the $229 Special Edition is more than fair considering that you also get an exclusive fabric band.

If you’re a fitness enthusiast and want to go on runs/walks without carrying your phone with you, the Fitbit Ionic is the watch you’ll want to pick up. The extra $100 for built-in GPS likely won’t be worth it for most people, but should you choose to pay that premium, the Ionic is still an excellent device that I can easily recommend to the right group of people.

See Fitbit Ionic at Fitbit

What do you think?

Now that I’m done rambling, I want to hear from you. Do you think the Versa or the Ionic is the better buy? Drop a comment down below and let me know!

Fitbit Versa and Android: Top 10 things you need to know

29
Mar

How to get all of your data back from Google


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Google stores a lot of your personal data, so it’s great that you can get it back easily.

When a company is interested in getting as much of your personal information as it can the most important thing you need to look into is how you can take it all back. Google happens to be one of those companies that use data and analytics to make a profit, and since almost every Android user is a Google customer, how to take back your data is something we all should know.

I’m not suggesting that Google is out to get you somehow because that’s not a very good way to keep customers. Google spends some of the money it earns from our data to keep it under wraps and safely stored. A lot of money, I’m sure. But if you decide to move on to other services for whatever reason, this is what you need to know.

Google Takeout

Google Takeout is a service started by the Google Data Liberation Front that gives users of Google’s products a way to download all of the data Google has accumulated. You can download data from almost all of Google’s services and it’s built so that it can be imported somewhere else using common data formats. You can even import it back to Google if you choose. It’s a good way to see just what Google collects even if you have no desire to start fresh.

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  • Visit the Download your data page and sign into your account if you are asked.
  • You’ll see a list of Google’s services that you use or have used in the past, and there is a switch beside each one. Turn the switch on for the services you want your data exported from.
  • Click the Next button.
  • Choose what type of file Google will use when it packages everything up.
  • Decide where to store it all. you can download it directly to a computer, to your Google Drive, to Dropbox or to Microsoft OneDrive.

Google will then extract your data and package it into multiple archives. Once that’s done (and it can take quite a while if you have a lot of data stored) you’ll be emailed a link to the file if you chose to download it directly or a link to online storage if that’s how you chose to save it.

The download option is only good for seven days before the link expires and you can only download it five times. But you can create as many archives as you like so there are no actual time or download limits. Once you get your data, be sure to keep it safe. You might want to use it somewhere and you don’t want anyone else to have access to it.

The Nuclear option: Deleting your Google account

via GIPHY

Downloading your data doesn’t remove it, it only gives you a copy of everything for your own records. To wipe everything clean you’ll need to tell Google to delete it. That’s easy.

  • Visit the Delete your Google Account page and sign in if you’re asked.
  • Read through it so you understand what you’re deleting and what that means and proceed to click the delete link.

As Google will tell you, this means you can’t use that account ever again. That means you’ll lose any purchases you’ve made through Google Play or the Chrome Web Store, you won’t be able to sign into your Android phone or Chromebook, and if you didn’t back them up or download them your contacts and calendar will be gone.

It takes about two weeks for your request to work it’s way through the system so don’t continue to use the account once you’ve started the process. If you change your mind before the data has been wiped you can contact Google and they might be able to stop the process but they make no guarantee. I assume the process itself is automated and done as part of each service’s nightly or weekly maintenance scripts. Google isn’t telling the details and I don’t want them to tell any details for a process that involves all of our user data.

Once the account deleting is complete, You lose all access to the data that was stored so you’ll want to make sure you’ve emptied your Drive account and stored your personal data somewhere.

One more thing

Your search and web browsing activity are stored separately from your Google account data so you’ll need to delete those separately. It’s much like the account deletion process and only involves clicking a link.

  • Visit your My Activity page and sign in if you’re asked.
  • You can review the data that’s stored there or choose to delete a portion of it instead of all of it.
  • In the top right corner of the page choose the More link.
  • Then choose Delete activity by:
  • Choose Delete by date.
  • Click the drop-down arrow and choose All time.
  • Click the Delete link.

Google still keeps a bit of data from you. It’s not associated with your account (which may not exist much longer anyway) and it doesn’t have any details saved, only when and how you did something.

As an example: You can delete the things you searched for while using Google Search, but Google will keep a record that someone used Google Search at a specific time using an Android phone (if you use your phone). You can read all the gritty details and the reasons why it’s done on Google’s Privacy Policy page. In a nutshell, they want to know how many people are using each service, how they are using it, and when it was used so they know where to focus when it comes to new features or a new design.

You can remove this data without it affecting your Google account standing. That means you can wipe your activity history even if you’re not deleting your account and the worst thing that will happen is that you’ll not get accurate interest-based ads.

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