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Could Apple's new technology be a game-changer?

Mar 25/2015

Tech More: Apple Patents Cameras

Apple just invented an incredible technology that would help the iPhone further distance itself from every other smartphone

Business Insider

The iPhone consistently offers one of the best camera experiences on any smartphone, but Apple could pull ahead of the pack should it choose to implement its latest patent published on Tuesday.

Apple's patent calls for a "digital camera with light splitter" that would be small and thin enough to fit in a wireless device, like an iPhone.

This technology is not new at all — in fact, this system of three charge-coupled devices (CCDs) is commonly found in high-end video cameras, since it's very good at capturing lights and colors and negating any wobbling on behalf of the user. But, it would be a major coup if Apple would be able to miniaturize this system to fit inside the iPhone. And here's why.

In the iPhone's current camera system, individual pixels can capture red, green and blue lights, which are scattered all over a single image sensor. But that means each color only gets one-third of the space on the sensor. By splitting the light with this proposed cube, each color can have an entire sensor to itself, which would allow for more accurate colors, and much better images in low-light scenarios.

This would be a major achievement for Apple, since it would effectively make its camera much more powerful and it'd do that without taking up any valuable space within the phone — Apple prides itself on thin devices, and its powerful-albeit-bulky camera already protrudes from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Implementing this light splitter would help Apple stay on the forefront of mobile photography.

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Should you Update?

Mar 14/2015

Should you update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8? iOS 8.2 available now

iOS 8.2 is here. Find out whether you should update - and how - in our complete guide to the iOS 8. Plus: which iPad and iPhone models are allowed to run iOS 8, and which ones can really cope with it?

Should I update my iPhone or iPad to iOS 8? What are the pros and cons of upgrading? In our iOS 8 upgrading article we've got all the information you need to know about iOS 8, Apple's new iOS operating system for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and detailed advice on whether it makes sense for you to update your Apple device to iOS 8. Plus, find out what's new in Apple's iOS 8.2 update.

OS 8.2: What's new in the iOS 8.2 update?

iOS 8.2 bought more than the Apple Watch app (which no, you can’t delete: read about how to remove and delete apps from your iPhone here). If your iPhone is older than iPhone 5 (4s, 4, or earlier) you won't get the Apple Watch app as the Apple Watch isn't compatible with your phone. Nor will the app appear on your iPad if you update it to iOS 8.2.

You will also gain a new activity app that – when paired with an Apple Watch – will show you fitness data received from the Apple Watch. You won’t see this app if you don’t have an Apple Watch,

Along with some general fixes and tweaks to the health app, there are also a number of improvements including:

The ability to select the unit of measurement – if you access Health Data > Height, for example, you can now choose Unit (cm or inches). This omission from the original health app seems ridiculous when you consider that only now can you choose between kg, lbs and stones for weight measurement.

The opportunity to add visual workouts from third-party apps.

There are also some stability enhancement and bug fixes in other Apple apps including Mail, Maps, Music and VoiceOver

iPhone 6, 6 Plus available unlocked and SIM free

Jan 8/2015

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus buyers in the US can now buy an unlocked and SIM-free model to use on any carrier here or abroad.

As listed on Apple's iPhone 6 page, the SIM-free version sells for the full retail price, which means the 4.7-inch, 16 GB iPhone 6 costs $649, while the larger 5.5-inch, iPhone 6 Plus runs $749. Opting for the 64 GB version costs an extra $100, while the 128 GB edition adds $200 to the base price.

Why go unlocked and SIM-free? The option is geared for people who don't want to be stuck with the standard, two-year contract with a specific carrier. This means you can activate the phone on any carrier in the US, including major carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint, according to an Apple representative. You can also use it with a local carrier if you travel outside the US. To activate the phone, you simply need to get a SIM card from the carrier.

Otherwise, the unlocked and SIM-free phones have the exact same features and functions as the subsidized versions that are tied to a specific carrier. Apple has already been selling unlocked versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for T-Mobile subscribers. That model comes with a T-Mobile SIM card installed, according to Apple, and supports only GSM carriers, such as T-Mobile and AT&T.

The unlocked, SIM-free versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ship in three to five business days.


Corning debuts Gorilla Glass 4 to save your smartphone

Nov 21/2014

Corning said Thursday that the company has begun shipping Gorilla Glass 4 to its customers and partners, with the goal of preventing shattered screens when a smartphone drops facedown onto a solid object.

Corning claims that its new glass is about twice as strong as older aluminosilcate glass. The new Gorilla Glass will be used in phones or tablets to protect the glass from shattering in case they’re dropped.

Corning said it had repeated numerous drop tests of phones from a meter’s height, testing each formulation before it settled on the final Gorilla Glass 4 recipe. It’s about twice as strong as other glass, the company claimed. While Gorilla Glass 4 survived the fall about 80 percent of the time, the soda-lime glass in other phones shattered in every test, the company said.

“With Gorilla Glass 4, we have focused on significantly improving protection against sharp contact damage, which is the primary reason that mobile devices break,” James Steiner, corporate vice president of Corning Specialty Materials, in a statement. “Dropping and breaking a phone is a common problem, and one that our customers have asked us to help address.”

Corning said over 40 manufacturers have designed Gorilla Glass—not Gorilla Glass 3, but all versions of Gorilla Glass, into over 1,500 separate products and over 3 billion devices in total since 2007.

Why this matters: Rumors say that Apple has been investigating so-called unbreakable sapphire glass—which would, of course, put a crimp in Corning’s plans. Whatever. If Corning—or Apple, or any other manufacturer—can increase the durability of our smartphones and tablets, who are we to argue?


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

Oct 21/2014

Review Date: October 15, 2014

The Good: The 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a brilliant high-resolution screen and takes excellent outdoor shots on its 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. Using the stylus is more convenient, and the battery charges very quickly.

The Bad: Low light and indoor shots aren't as good as they should be. The Note 4 costs significantly more than some other phablets, like the LG G3.

The Bottom Line: The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will thrill anyone who loves a fast phone with a large screen, but it's best for compulsive scribbl

To stylus or not to stylus, that is the question.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4's S-Pen -- the narrow stylus tucked handily inside Samsung's surprisingly successful, giant 5.7-inch Galaxy Note phone -- stands out in a crowd. No other popular phone comes with a stylus, and this one makes the most of its mouselike properties, and an ability to write and draw on the screen. Every day, I've used it instinctively to jot a list or note, and to keep the screen clean from finger smudges.

The Note 4's specs also earn outstanding marks across the board, including its eye-poppingly vibrant display and a mostly-excellent 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. Rapid LTE data speeds and a robust processor join a host of other specs and features that easily make the metal-rimmed, Android-powered Note 4 easily equal to other top-rated handsets -- and often better. The phone's drawbacks, though present, are minor and few.

As someone who enjoys the physical act of writing, I love the Note 4's stylus skills. However, if the act of putting digital pen to paper baffles you, skip this handset in favor of other big-screen phones that potentially cost less and perform core tasks just as well. This year's Galaxy Note makes only incremental improvements over last year's runaway Note 3, and if you don't use the S-Pen heavily, the Note "phablet" costs too much compared to competing large-screen phones like the LG G3.

The Note 4 sells for $300 on-contract and $600 off-contract in the US; £600 or £650 in the UK; and AU$940 in Australia. Scroll to the end for price comparisons.


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