Posts tagged iOS
Yesterday at the Google I/O event, the company announced the release of Google Hangouts, an app for iOS (and Android of course) and the desktop that is clearly and squarely aimed at Apple’s iMessage service. The new Hangouts brings many of the elements of Google+ and Google Talk into one app and tightly integrates with other Google services to make one unified platform.
Google Hangouts is already available in the App Store and it is free. It is a universal app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
With Hangouts you can leverage your circles created in Google+ and do either text or video chat via the app which is a step up from the Google Talk service. The new app should help increase the usage of Google+ which has never really captured the imagination of a broad audience. The app is a simple, minimalist UI with easy ways to create hangouts with individuals (think IM’ing) or with groups (your circles). Having it tried it out last night I have to say it is quite nice.
It is clear that Google and Apple are heading for a direct head-to-head competition not only on the core OS level but on the app and services level as well.
During the Google I/O Keynote, it was mentioned that Google Hangouts would also be available for Desktop. It is available at this link but you will have to have Google Chrome for your Mac or PC installed in order to use the service.
Apple today has release the latest minor update to iOS 6.1. The update, only a few weeks after the original release of 6.1 in January, brings a much needed fix for Exchange users that could lead to faster battery life depletion.
iOS 6.1.2 is a slim 12.5 MB install and the release notes simply states it addresses an issue for users of Microsoft Exchange for their enterprise mail platform. The update should significantly improve battery life as the fix stops the Mail app from continually checking the calendar in Exchange.
The update is available now either by going to About>Software Update on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You can also update via iTunes on your Mac or PC
Facebook has released an update for their iOS app that brings new sharing features that makes it pretty close to the all-in-one social networking app. The update brings users the ability to share audio messages, photos and videos via Messaging to other friends & all of this can be done directly from within the Facebook app. For those of you who use the stand along Messenger app from Facebook, these features are right there for you in the stand alone app.
The update brings messaging beyond just a simple text. Now with the ability to share videos and audio with friends,
Facebook has positioned itself as the potential messaging platform. Only time will tell if that really happens but you can’t argue they aren’t going for it.
The update, version 5.4 for those keeping score, also brings some other updates that slipped in under the limelight. Facebook has improved the Nearby function to provide more accurate details back of the places near you that you like or your friends like.
These updates bring the suit of apps that social networking giant has produced for iOS as the collection of apps to have on your iPhone. The lineup now consists of a standalone Messenger app, Camera app, Pages app and the flagship Facebook app. All of them are free and bring finer control and sharing ability to the service. If for example you are a heavy Messenger user in Facebook, you should download and use the Messenger app as it provides unobstructed access to the Facebook messaging services. With over 1 billion users, Facebook still seems to be pushing the ball forward on providing useful features and apps to them.
The Facebook app is a free download and is a universal app for the iPhone,iPod Touch and iPad. The new features of this update are available on all three platforms. A Facebook account is required to use the app which is also free.
Google Drive has received an update that brings significant improvements to photo handling within the app & service as well as improvements in the various online Docs apps. The app update now provides users the ability to upload multiple photos or videos at once to their Google Drive account, saving time from having to them individually. If you use Google Drive as a repository for your photos and videos that will be a most welcome change.
In addition to this, Google has added features and support to the various Docs apps that are accessed from Google Drive. First is the ability for Quick Office users to open & save files back to the service. Remember in mid-2012 Google purchased the Texas-based Quick Office company and it has become their offline Docs editor for the iPad and iPhone. Now users can access files on Google Drive from Quick Office, edit them and save them directly back to the service. Here is the part I don’t quite get: I’ve been able to do this already so I’m not sure what is so “new” here. If you can point it out to me, please let me know and I’ll update this post.
For the Docs that you can create in Google Drive (remember, this use to be Google Docs), there are some nice enhancements that users will appreciate. First, for Docs, Helvetica Neue font support has been added. For Sheets, diagonal scrolling and cell formatting (currency, time, decimals, etc) has been added. Finally for Slides, pinch-and-pull zooming has been added along with improved slideshow and animations. The office-like apps provided in Google Drive are still far from other options available but if you need a quick and simple solution you should take a look at these.
Google Drive is a free app and the service comes with a free 5GB storage account. Additional storage is available for purchase and is very affordable compared to other cloud storage solutions. A Google account is required to access and use Google Drive which is also free.
Just two days after releasing what would be the last Beta, Apple has released iOS 6.1 to the general public today. The update, available through iTunes or Over-The-Air, brings significant improvements Apple’s mobile OS and has been one of the more anticipated updates.
The list of notable updates is short in iOS 6.1 which leads many – including me – to believe that the bulk of the changes in this release are under the hood. Apple has been doing significant API work in this release, especially around the Maps APIs. Hooks for other apps to get into Maps and overall improvements are there and as one who uses Maps regularly, the changes are welcome.
Of the public facing updates, the biggest is the LTE support improvement globally of iOS. Apple has added more carriers
to the list which can be found at www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/. For those Fandango fans in the US, you can now purchase movie tickets through the ticketing service using Siri. As I’m now in the UK I couldn’t test this one so if any of you do, let me know how it goes.
ITunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud instead of the entire album. Finally there is a new button to reset the Advertising Identifier of your iPhone for security and privacy purposes.
After you perform the update you will be prompted for security questions to make access to your iCloud and iTunes account more secure. The update itself is quick if you do it OTA. My iPhone 5 updated in under 6 minutes while my 3rd Generation iPad updated about 3 minutes. The update size on my iPhone was 73MB while the update on my iPad was 76MB. The update does require that you be on WiFi and being on AC power is highly recommended. Note that the update file is significantly larger if you do it via iTunes and it will take considerably longer.
Did iOS 6.1 fix any issues for you? Let me know by leaving a comment below or posting on the AlliOSNews Facebook Page.
As iOS has matured the integration between your personal information and applications that want access to that personal information has also matured. Apple has done a good job of making sure you know when an app requests access to your calendar, contacts, Twitter and Facebook accounts but also a good idea to just check up on things now and again to make sure the apps you don’t want to have access to your personal information doesn’t have it. In this How To I’m going to show you how to see which apps have access to your Contacts and how you can disable that access should you want to do so quick and easy.
First, go to Settings on your iPhone or iPad and scroll down to find the Privacy section and tap it. This will bring you into all of the privacy settings on your device. Now tap on the Contact section and it will bring you to the list of applications
that have access to your Contacts. Hopefully, if you have been careful, you should not see any surprises in this list. All of the apps here you would have had to approve to give access to your Contacts. But, if you gave access by accident or want to revoke the access, here is where you could disable access.
Each app that has access has an On/Off slider. Just slide it to Off for the apps you want to revoke access to your Contacts. When you are done just tap the Home button and all of your changes take place with immediate effect.
Now if you tap on the Privacy button at the top of the page to go back to the Privacy settings on your iPhone, you will see other apps such as Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Twitter and Facebook. If you remember back in August of last year I posted a How To on controlling which apps have access to your Twitter account. This is the same place, just a different app.
One of the many things I appreciate about iOS is how simple Apple does make it in giving you control over your information. For a company that is often accused of not having their customer’s best interests in mind, this clearly flies in the face of that notion.
If you have an iPhone 5 or iPad Mini, Apple has released a minor software update for you today. The new iOS 6.0.2 update specifically address a bug that impacts WiFi functionality on the latest devices from Cupertino. The update can be done via iTunes or it can be done over-the-air from your device. To get to software updates on your iPhone 5 or iPad Mini, go to Settings>General>Software Update and if your device is eligible, the update will the there to download.
No word on if there will be any updates to the 3rd or 4th generation iPad with this update but in checking my 3rd-gen I see 6.0.1 as the latest update.
Last week Google released their standalone version of Google Maps for iPhone. It was what many who were dissatisfied with the new Apple Map app were waiting for and all indications are there were millions of downloads over the past week. While the new app didn’t really impact iPhone 5 sales – mean that people weren’t just waiting for Google to release the Maps app – it is clear that Google Maps is going to be a popular hit amongst users.
But not really for me. Having tried out Google Maps a few times over the course of the last week, I have made the decision to stay with Apple Maps. I’ve made this decision on two key reasons: Readability and Directions.
If you do a side-by-side comparison of Apple Maps versus Google Maps, the readability of the maps are quite different from each other. Google shows every road it seems while Apple has at the default view level minimised the clutter to only the major roads. Take a look at the two screenshots I captured below. The first is from Google and the second is from Apple as I plot a path from my home to the London Eye. It is a stark difference and from my perspective, makes the Apple Maps easier to read at a glance.
Both are providing accurate information on how to get to my destination and both are providing good traffic information (in fact Google is providing a little bit more) but it is so much “busier” that you get distracted with all the other lines on the map.
Apple’s approach of keeping it clean and simple means it is clear where you are going and your path. As you zoom into the map you will of course get more detailed information – as you will with Google Maps – but this default view, were 90% of us use the app, is far easier to decipher.
These screenshots also give you insight into my second reason for staying with Apple Maps over Google Maps. Despite my best efforts to get Google Maps to provide me alternative routes, I can’t get the app to do it. If I’m missing something here folks let me know but that begs another question: Why is it so hard to get alternative routes!?!
Apple Maps has seemingly always providing me two or three alternative directions to my destinations. Even if the location is only 3-5 kilometres away, I get a couple of choices. I like that – a lot. It gives me the choice of avoiding a motorway I don’t particularly enjoy (the M4 here in the London area is my motorway to avoid) or a more scenic route or less congested route.
As I pointed out in my post a couple of weeks ago on why I’m using Apple Maps, I’ve not had any issues with wrong directions or other issues that have been reported as Apple has continually worked on improving the app. I’m excited to see what they do with Apple Maps in iOS 6.1 as I expect to see some quantum leaps forward but even these small, incremental updates they are pushing out behind the scenes are making this a powerful and successful mapping app.
Time will tell If Google Maps or Apple Maps will be the ultimate winner but for me, it is Apple Maps.
Google, in their effort to bolster their cloud storage solution Google Drive, has released an update for iOS users today that bring some significant integration updates with the platform as well as some new editing functionality for files.
With the new update you will now be able to upload to Google Drive from within other applications via the “Open In…” menu. This saves you from having to touch your PC or Mac to upload a file or do unnatural acts to get it off of your iPhone or iPad and onto Google Drive.
The other big update is the ability to edit, create and collaborate on Spreadsheets in Google Drive.
Google Drive is a free app and Google offers a wide range of storage plans to meet your storage needs.