Apps

Your iRobot Roomba Will Soon Find Wi-Fi Dead Zones, Weak Spots

Your iRobot Roomba Will Soon Find Wi-Fi Dead Zones, Weak Spots

By mid-January, a new software update will allow your 900 series Roombas to search for spotty network signals in the home. In doing so, the robots will log problem areas and merge that data with vacuum coverage maps they ordinarily create. You can use this information to adjust your Wi-Fi setup.

At launch, this feature will cover the Roomba 960 ($700) and Roomba 980 ($900).

Having positively reviewed the Roomba 980 in 2016, I can’t wait to see the new Wi-Fi signal tools arrive. Unfortunately, iRobot is only making the new feature available to select beta customers, at least initially.

As an iRobot spokesperson explains, “initially test groups could be as small 100 to 200 participants.” However, at some point, it “may involve 10-20 percent of iRobot users.”

We will continue to follow this story and let you know when the update arrives for all Roomba 960 and Roomba 980 owners.

Published at Wed, 03 Jan 2018 17:02:21 +0000

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The Holiday Season Was a Disaster for Apple's HomePod Speaker

The Holiday Season Was a Disaster for Apple's HomePod Speaker

First announced in June, the Apple HomePod was supposed to get a December release date. Instead, the company delayed the product launch until “early 2018.”

According to Reuters, Amazon and Google used the delay to “give consumers a taste of their respective digital assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant, at impulse-buy prices, hoping to lock in customers and profit from later sales of goods and data about buying habits.”

As they explained, both the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot received discounts during the holidays. “That kind of pricing is great for consumers and bad for Apple,” said IHS Markit’s Paul Erickson.

Adam Wright, a senior research analyst at IDC, said even before the holiday season, about 35 million smart speakers were already installed worldwide.

“Apple is in a bit of trouble,” he noted, concluding “We’ve witnessed an explosion in the last six months.”

The $349 Apple HomePod speaker is almost certainly going to see blockbusters sales when it finally arrives. Still, Amazon and Google have had a long head start in the market with many alternative smart speakers now available, most at lower prices. Because of this, I’m beginning to wonder whether the HomePod will find success in the long-term once sales from first adopters are taken into account.

What do you think? Let us know below.

Published at Wed, 03 Jan 2018 15:55:41 +0000

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LG and Samsung Will Both Supply OLED Screens for 2018 iPhones

LG and Samsung Will Both Supply OLED Screens for 2018 iPhones

Back in November, KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was prepping three new iPhones for this year. Besides a second-generation 5.8 iPhone X, the analyst reported Apple would introduce an all-new OLED 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus,” alongside a 6.1-inch model that will still use LCD.

The Korea Herald report says Samsung will supply OLED screens for the 2018 iPhone X. LG, meanwhile, will be the sole OLED supplier for the 6.5-inch handset.

They explain:

Apple plans to diversify OLED models this year. Sources said LG Display is likely to produce larger 6.5-inch screens, while Samsung Display will focus more on producing smaller 5.8- or 6-inch screens.

The first shipments will not be large, totaling about 15-16 million screens for the year. Samsung Display, the sole OLED supplier for the current iPhone X, produces more than 10 million screens per month.

In July, The Korea Herald said Apple planned on paying LG $2.7 billion for a new OLED production facility. This latest report suggests that was money well spent.

Apple’s likely to announce its 2018 iPhones in September.

Published at Wed, 03 Jan 2018 13:49:08 +0000

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An iPhone SE 2 May Be Arriving Sometime in 2018

An iPhone SE 2 May Be Arriving Sometime in 2018

The original iPhone SE arrived in early 2016 and didn’t see any kind of update in 2017. It’s powered by an A9 processor and features a 12-megapixel rear camera with the 4-inch screen and design similar to the iPhone 5 line.

In the same report, TrendForce predicts that the 2018 iPhones will bring improved Face ID and more memory.

Two of the models will feature AMOLED displays. Apple is currently rumored to unveil three iPhone models this year, a larger “iPhone X Plus,” a second-generation iPhone X and a model with a 6.1-inch LCD display.

Here’s more from the report:

iPhone X sparked a heated discussion in 2017, but iPhone’s production volume increased by only 3% over 2016 due to the technical barriers in improving yield rate of innovative models. With regard to the supply chain, new iPhones in 2018 will continue to improve Face ID technology, screen to body ratio, etc., moreover, the company plans to increase the memory content and embed AMOLED display in two of its models. […]

In terms of biometric recognition, iPhone will continue to feature Face ID while other brands will use mainly capacitive fingerprint sensors in the first half of 2018 due to existing technical barriers.

Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 18:52:47 +0000

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Vector Drawing Apps For iPad Let You Take Your Art Anywhere

Vector Drawing Apps For iPad Let You Take Your Art Anywhere

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Adobe Illustrator Draw

Adobe Illustrator Draw

Adobe

For those who want a vector drawing app that works with Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC.

Design vector artwork that you can send to Illustrator CC or Photoshop CC easily. With Adobe Illustrator Draw, you know that your files, fonts, design assets, and settings are there for you whenever and wherever you need them. The app offers support for various stylus types, has zoom up to 64 times, and lets you work with multiple images and drawing layers.

Why we love it

If you enjoy the tools from Adobe and are ready to make your designs stand out, Adobe Illustrator Draw is the app for you.

Assembly - Art and Design

Start from scratch or with a built-in image to create some sticker magic.

Assembly – Art and Design

Simple to use

For those who want to create and customize their own iMessage stickers.

Assembly is a wonderful app for creative and artistic minds. With editing options, you can create images from scratch and rotate, duplicate, shadow, and fill. Creating stickers is enjoyable with tons of options if you want to begin with a built-in sticker such as emojis, food, animals, vehicles, and more.

Why we love it

Assembly is terrific for those who really like to use their imagination with images. Create your own or start with a sticker. Then, edit and customize and share within iMessage easily.

ProtoSketch – Graphic Design

ProtoSketch – Graphic Design

Codemotion

For those who want a vector graphics tool with extensive features.

Created exclusively for iPad, the ProtoSketch – Vector Graphic Design made Easy app is a great tool for designing your artwork. You can create sketches, logos, landing pages, and flow charts. With Apple Pencil support, check out the vector brush, draw a perfect path, and use the eraser if needed. The app offers layers, scissors, Dropbox and AirPrint support, and much more.

Why we love it

Import, export, draw, and design with a nice selection of tools using ProtoSketch for iPad.

iDesign

iDesign

TouchAware Limited

iDesign

For those who want a robust vector drawing app that offers advanced tools and syncs across devices.

With iDesign, you can create 2-D vector drawings on your iPad as well as your iPhone and iPod touch. The app features shape and path tools, grouping and ungrouping abilities, and multi-level undo and redo options. Your work is automatically saved, you can import and export designs, and sync between devices.

Why we love it

If you want a vector drawing app that you can pick up where you left off on any device, check out iDesign.

CREATE - Graphic Design + Edit

CREATE – Graphic Design + Edit

Anything is

CREATE - Graphic Design + Edit

For those who want a vector drawing app with import, export, sharing, and saving features.

The Create – Graphic Design, Vector Art Drawing, Notes app lets you draw and design graphics wherever you go. Use shapes and icons, draw lines and sketch, add and edit layers, and snap, stretch, and align. You can import and export vector images and save or share your projects easily.

Why we love it

With the Create – Graphic Design, Vector Art Drawing, Notes app, you can capture your ideas anytime, anywhere.

Graphic - illustration design

Graphic – illustration design

Indeeo, Inc.

Graphic - illustration design

For those who want a full-featured vector graphics app with iCloud and Dropbox support.

With the Graphic – illustration and design app, you can not only create amazing graphics on your iPad, but share with the iPhone and Mac versions using iCloud or Dropbox. The app offers import and export features, unlimited layers, and various canvas styles in addition to its extensive drawing tools.

Why we love it

Graphic – illustration and design app gives you all of the tools you need to create gorgeous graphics.

Inkpad - Vector Graphic Design

Quickly make vector drawings on your iPad

Inkpad – Vector Graphic Design

Inkpad - Vector Graphic Design

For graphic designers who like — or need — to take their work to go

Create text objects, illustrations, and more with this easy but powerful app. Inkpad features a suite of drawing, editing, and sharing tools to let you translate your ideas into design elegantly.

Why we love it

Its assortment of tools and output options make it a powerful tool for creating, sharing, and using your work. Getting your platform to function shouldn’t be the “work” part of work, and Inkpad makes getting your ideas down quick and convenient.

Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 16:00:00 +0000

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You'll Now Need Your Apple ID to Check Your Product Warranty Coverage

You'll Now Need Your Apple ID to Check Your Product Warranty Coverage

Prior to this change, you could check the warranty status of an Apple product by using its serial number or IMEI. As 9to5Mac rightly notes, this was useful for second-hand buyers.

Before the changes, second-hand buyers could use the AppleCare coverage checker utility as a way to see if a device being sold online (through eBay etcetera) was as described.

However, this was never a foolproof method. A known scam would see the seller apply for an AppleCare protection plan, and let the buyer check its validity, only to refund the plan and cancel after the sale was confirmed.

Still, it is now harder to find out the coverage status of devices including those owned by friends and family as it requires the Apple ID username and password. For an individual owner, the new My Support experience is greatly improved.

You can use the warranty coverage utility to check the status of your warranty. You can also find recent activity regarding repairs or support sessions within the last three months.

Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 17:13:09 +0000

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Apple Clarifies Details About $29 iPhone Battery Replacement Program

Apple Clarifies Details About $29 iPhone Battery Replacement Program

According to the document, iPhones do not have to fail a diagnostics test in order for Apple to replace the battery for $29.

As 9to5Mac notes:

The exact battery condition is not relevant to qualifying for a replacement, although normal terms still apply – Apple may not replace your battery if it finds other damage to the device or interfering third-party components.

If you are trying to get a free battery replacement through an AppleCare warranty claim, then the device diagnostics will still be a prerequisite. The current policy will flag a battery as needing repair if it retains less than 80% of its original charge capacity.

Prior to this, some Apple employees were not replacing iPhone batteries when they reported capacity above 80 percent.

Additionally, we now know which Apple handsets are eligible for a discounted replacement. They include the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X.

As previously noted, Apple dropped the price for replacement batteries from $79 to $29 throughout 2018. Additionally, a future iOS app update will better inform you about the battery condition of your device. Replacement batteries (with installation) are available at Apple retail stores and online support channels.

In early December, a report claimed that Apple intentionally slows down older iPhones in the iPhone 6/6s range with batteries that need to be replaced. Soon after a class action lawsuit was filed against the company.

This led Apple to announce a temporary price cut for iPhone replacement batteries. The company also apologized for how it has handled performance on iPhones with older batteries and how it has “communicated that process” to the public.

According to “A Message to Our Customers,” Apple explained:

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

  • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
  • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
  • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

Should you replace your battery? If you think the battery on your iPhone is performing poorly, you should certainly get it replaced. Otherwise, it is probably best to wait and see how things work out over the next few months. Besides, the battery discount is good through the end of the year so you have nothing to lose.

Do you plan on replacing your iPhone battery? Let us know below.

Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 13:39:28 +0000

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These apps will help you keep your New Year’s resolutions

These apps will help you keep your New Year’s resolutions

Almost half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Far fewer stick to them.

“Losing weight” and “exercising more” are among the most popular goals. A sizeable percentage of Americans also aim to “be a better person.”

TechCrunch reviewed apps that are designed to help people stay on track with these plans. Here are a few that will help you remain focused in 2018.

8fit

8fit

There are countless fitness and diet apps. But if you’re looking for a new one, 8fit is worth checking out. Whether you want to “lose fat” or “gain muscle mass,” 8fit lets you track specific fitness goals. There are workout videos for yoga and tabata. It’s soon adding videos to target your core and arms. You can also log exercises and sync steps with Apple Health. 8fit additionally has a diet section, for monitoring what you eat. Whether you’re vegetarian or looking to avoid carbs, there are plenty of options suitable for various diets. 8fit will help you build a customized meal plan, complete with recipes. The basic app is free and available on both iOS and Android. Users are charged $5 per month for 8fit Pro, with added functionality. The app is currently ranked #10 in the health & fitness category on Apple’s App Store.

Done

Done

Regardless of what your resolutions are, this app will help you get it done. The aptly named “Done,” lets you set your own goals and get reminders. Done charts your progress, so you can see how you performed this week or this month. The data is exportable and can be backed up by Dropbox. The beauty of the app is the simplicity. Another similar one is Habit List. (It actually helped me keep my fitness resolution last year!) I also use iHydrate, but that’s just for water-tracking. Done is free and available on iOS.

ShareTheMeal

sharethemeal

Forget self-improvement, what about helping others? ShareTheMeal is an app created by the United Nations World Food Programme to help children in poverty. For just 50 cents, the app will let you feed a child for a day. Or for $15, you can feed the child for a month. Whether its Syrian refugees or kids in Haiti, ShareTheMeal will let you determine which region your food is going to. You can also spread the word about the program, by using the app to share photos of your meals on social media. Over 18 million meals have been donated so far. The app itself is free and available on both iOS and Android.

Published at Sun, 31 Dec 2017 05:16:54 +0000

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Apple is Now Offering $29 iPhone Battery Replacements

Apple is Now Offering $29 iPhone Battery Replacements

Apple provided a statement to TechCrunch:

“We expected to need more time to be ready,” the company said in a statement offered up to TechCrunch this weekend, “but we are happy to offer our customers the lower pricing right away. Initial supplies of some replacement batteries may be limited.”

Earlier this week, Apple announced the temporary price cut for battery replacements of older iPhone models. The service is usually $79, but the discount will remain in place until December 2018.

In the note, titled “A Message to Our Customers,” Apple apologized for the situation and also said that a future iOS update will give users a better idea of how battery life is affecting the performance of their iPhone.

Published at Sat, 30 Dec 2017 19:42:26 +0000

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