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Sep 16 2012

Review: iOS 6

Adam Shear

With the iPhone 5 on the horizon, Apple will also release with it an update to iOS, the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Most iOS users will enjoy this free update on September 19 which comes with plenty of new goodies to keep your device feeling fresh and new.  iOS 6 is the sixth major iOS update. Every previous update has had its claim to fame with the App Store in iOS 2.0, copy and paste in iOS 3.0, multitasking in iOS 4.0, and iCloud in iOS 5.0. Each of these features have changed the way iOS devices are used. Does iOS 6 change the way iOS is used, or does it happen to be the least important major iOS update to date?

Like other iOS updates, iOS 6 comes with over 100 new features. Through this review, I will go over many of its major features and put my concluding thoughts in the end. All of the screenshots you see come from my iPhone 4S during the three months I have been testing a beta version of iOS 6. Continue reading

Jan 19 2012

Apple Changing Education with iBooks 2, iBooks Author, and iTunes U Apps

Adam Shear

The first thing Apple looks to change are textbooks. Textbooks are an old 20th century idea. Students carry around tons of heavy books with them every day. These books are expensive and sometimes come in terrible conditions if used. Textbooks are also not engaging, interactive, or stay up to date. To remedy this, Apple has announced iBooks 2 for the iPad. iBooks 2 will have a specific section for textbooks. These textbooks contain more than just text. Videos, 3D models, slideshows, and more will play a critical part in helping students learn the material. Students can easily highlight important text and take notes right within the textbook. These textbooks are also searchable. If a teacher says “jump to page 34″, this is now as simple as typing the number 34 in a search bar. The books will also contain searchable indexes and glossaries. The books also stay up to date via updates and students keep them forever. Apple is starting with high school textbooks and has gotten support from around 90% of the high school textbook industry. Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will have many of their textbooks available today with more in the future. Unlike their not so interactive hardcover counterparts, textbooks on iBooks 2 will be available for $15 or less. Aside from high school textbooks, DK Publishing is releasing some textbooks today for younger children and Harvard professor E.O. Wilson is releasing his new textbook Life On Earth exclusively on iBooks 2. The first two chapters of Life On Earth are available today for free with more chapters coming for a small fee. iBooks 2 is available now on the App Store. Click here to download it. If you have iBooks installed on your iPad, just check for updates and it should be there.

Sure these textbooks may look great but what if they were incredibly easy to create too? Apple has just announced the iBooks Author app for the Mac. This app allows anyone to create a great book with the same ease of use as Apple’s iWork apps. Everything and anything from photo’s, 3D models, videos, and more can just be dragged and dropped. The app can create any type of book but Apple is hoping that this is an easy solution to get great textbooks from people who are just not good with computers. The iBooks author app is available now on the Mac App Store. Give it a spin by clicking here.

The final app Apple talked about today is their new iTunes U app. The app, which just launched today for all iOS devices, will allow students to take full online courses from the comfort of their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It’s not just lectures anymore. Students can also have full access to a course syllabus, presentations, and all other course documents. It operates very similarly to a management program such as Blackboard. Students can take notes within the app as well and can purchase course materials straight from the app. If a teachers sends students a message, it will come up as a push notification. The iTunes U app makes taking online courses simpler and easier than ever (until you start counting the actual course work). And now for the first time, there will be iTunes U courses available for K-12 students. Teachers teaching these grades can create online courses for not just their students, but the world. The iTunes U app is available now. Grab it here.

Apple seems to have brought the public education system into the 21st century and is making it easier for anyone to take online courses. The one problem I see is whether or not students and whole schools can even afford iPads for every student. This may take a few years to get off the ground but when it does, students will be learning more and hopefully since students are actually using technology in the classroom, the willingness to learn will increase as well. The future for Apple and education looks brighter than ever before.

Nov 27 2011

Documents to Go: Productivity in Your Pocket

Eric Engoron

With smartphones becoming more and more popular among teenagers, they have begun to lose their true meaning, productivity on the go. In an attempt to bring back the productive side of smartphones, DataViz inc. has released Documents to Go, an app that aims to be Microsoft office in your pocket, and succeeds in being so.

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Nov 15 2011

Earwax Be Gone!, Says Apple Patent


Grossed out by sharing those gross earwax filled headphones with your friends? Well Apple hears you and is working on some solutions. According to a newly published Apple patent, Apple will most probably add speakers to their nano or shuffle models, without compromising its compact design.

Not surprisingly, the move comes after the declining sales of the iPod line, (last quarter, Apple only sold 6.6 million iPods, a 27 percent decline from the same period in 2010). Apple CEO Time Cook said iPod is a “large and important product” for the company, and hopes that the new features, along with a price drop will breathe new life into iPod sales. But the hopes for new features don’t stop there. According to an industry expert, the new feature “might point to the nano being used to interface with an iOS device”. So, maybe in the near future, the nano might have the power to sync with your iPhone and display text messages and calls directly on its screen. The expert believes that the addition of a speaker alone wouldn’t make any big difference, but believes that more new features like activating Siri might also be even possible.

Well whatever the future holds for the nano, the addition of speakers is definitely exciting for me. I have always wondered why they didn’t bother to put speakers on the newer models of the nano, and now that they are, I definitely think that a lot of people will be excited for this new feature.

Nov 10 2011

Apple Releases iOS 5.01 Software Update

Adam Shear

Just minutes ago, Apple released a brand new iOS software update, iOS 5.01.  The inevitable update fixes plenty of bugs, including improving battery life on the iPhone 4S.  Here is the change log below:

  • Fixes bugs affecting battery life
  • Adds Multitasking Gestures for original iPad
  • Resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud
  • Improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation
  • Contains security improvements

The update is available now for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2, 3rd generation iPod Touch, and 4th generation iPod Touch.  You can update via iTunes as usual or take advantage of iOS 5 by doing an over the air update on your device.  Just go to Settings, then General, and then hit Software Update.  For some reason, the update is not yet available to download over the air.  This should change within the next couple of hours.  We will keep you informed on when Apple allows iOS 5.01 to be downloaded over the air.

UPDATE: You can now download iOS 5.01 over the air.

Oct 10 2011

Review: iOS 5

Adam Shear

After over a year of waiting, the fifth major update to iOS is finally here.  The previous major update, iOS 4, added key features such as multitasking, home screen wallpapers, the ability to organize apps with folders, and a unified mail inbox.  These features were really the last things iOS needed to seriously compete with other smartphone operating systems which already had these key features.  iOS 5 for the most part is not about playing catch up, it is about enhancing the OS to stay ahead of its competitors. How much does iOS 5 enhance the overall experience?  Find out in my review.

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Jun 5 2011

App Review: Infinity Blade(iPhone, iPod Touch 4)

Manu Singh

The God Sword!

Infinity Blade for the iPhone and iPod Touch 4, is a graphically amusing game. Compared to other iOS games, Infinity Blade uses 3D graphics, which helps the action scenes come alive. The game play sums up to a one on one battle between you, the player, and a computer. However, it’s much more than that; a player has the ability to strike his sword with vicious attacks utilizing poison, ice, or fire hits. Not only that, but a player can dodge, block, and parry attacks, from the enemy.  There’s also equipment mastery, which allows a player to level up faster and enjoy special skills, acquired by each weapon. Weapons range from axes to swords, each with its unique skill. Rings give stronger magical power, and armor provides more defense whilst raising the XP(experience) gained, also raising the chance of getting better weapons. The player begins with the first bloodline, where a player goes through a sparring session, until he meets what’s known as, the God King. They go through an epic battle, between mortal and god, and if the player loses, the next blood line begins; if the player wins, the game is over. Unfortunately the story line does get repetitive, but the HD graphics are totally worth it. I highly recommend this game, as it’s non-stop, action packed fun; I’m on the fourth bloodline and still trying to get the best sword. Obviously you’ll actually know what this means much better, when you actually buy and play the game.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆8.5/10

Jun 4 2011

Over The Air Updates iOS 5? It’s About Time…


With WWDC just around the corner, some interesting information leaked out, courtesy of Mac Rumors. With devices like Android phones getting OTA (Over The Air) updates, whether it’s contact sync, pictures, music, docs, so on and so forth, Apple’s lagging behind. In order to sync and update an i-Device, like the iPhone, you must start and do everything using a computer and iTunes. However, some of that may change.


The updates page for iTunes stated:

“Or if your device has Automatic Download enabled for apps, your updates will download to your device without having to sync.”


This was promptly removed, but it’d lead one to believe that you might be able to update your iPhone to a newer firmware OTA, which is really helpful, in the near future. Maybe, or I should say hopefully, we can start syncing music, pictures, and such OTA as well! Now that’d be awesome!