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Unpacked Episode 2 Showcases Next-Generation Galaxy Offerings

Published on September 4, 2013 by in Apple, News

Unpacked Episode 2 Showcases Next-Generation Galaxy Offerings

Following weeks of hype over Samsung’s anticipated Unpacked Episode 2, the tech giant unveiled the next generation of Galaxy devices: the Galaxy Note 3 (a phablet) and the Galaxy Gear, the company’s third foray into the smart watch arena.  While the main part of the event took place in Berlin, Samsung also took great pains to promote the new devices in the States with a concurrent event in New York City’s Times Square.  The NYC media blitz event offered a live musical performance and streaming video of the keynote presentation occurring in Berlin.  Attendees were also offered a chance to be among the first to get their hands on the latest offerings from the company.  The NYC event drew a good-sized crowd and those who stayed for the show were given blue and white Galaxy-themed baseball caps.


Experience Center

An “Experience Center” was set up in Times Square in an effort to promote the new Galaxy devices that were being introduced across the globe in Berlin.  Swedish duo Icona Pop performed live on the stage to entertain the crowd waiting to see the live feed of the main event in Germany.  The Experience Center featured a huge setup for the live feed, a curtained platform and an area for sound mixing.  The crowd was advised to stick around after the live feed for a “big surprise.”



Show and Tell

After the feed ended, dozens of blue-capped attendees were queued up to see what kind of surprise Samsung had in store.  The curtained platform was uncovered, revealing multiple tables with both the Galaxy Gear and the Note 3 placed on them.  Small groups of people were allowed to gather around the tables, where they played with both devices for about five minutes per group.  Each table had several of each of the devices; each Note 3 paired with one of the Galaxy Gear smart watches.  Employees hovered nearby to answer questions, provide information about functions and capabilities and keep an eye on the valuable devices.  Attendees seemed impressed with the new devices and capabilities, especially the updated S-pen and the connectivity exhibited by the Galaxy Gear.  Notably absent from the event was the new generation of the Galaxy Tab which was also announced during Unpacked Episode 2.


Ahead of Apple

Apple is expected to introduce its next generation of iPhones in just about a week, meaning that Samsung has gotten ahead of its rival, at least as far as releasing new devices first.  Apple is not put off at all by Samsung’s preemptive jump into the market, and is hyping its September 10th event every bit as exhaustively as Samsung hyped its Unpacked Episode 2.  We’ll see what Apple has to offer at next week’s event, but for now, Samsung is basking in the buzz created by its new offerings.



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Apple Invites Press for September Media Event

Published on September 3, 2013 by in Apple, iPhone, News

Apple Invites Press for September Media Event

A week ahead of Apple’s anticipated September 10th media event, the company sent out invitations today to assorted press outlets.  In the invitation, the technology giant promised to “brighten everyone’s day,” a possible allusion to its expected introduction of the many-hued iPhone 5C.  The date and time of the event are now fixed: September 10, 2013 at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern).  The invitation indicates that the event will take place in Cupertino, Ca. at the corporate headquarters for Apple.

The invitation makes no specific mention of unveiling the next generation of iPhones.  However, it has been commonly speculated among Apple followers for some time now that the event will see the introduction of two new iPhones, the 5S and the 5C.  Leaked photos have been popping up all over the internet purporting to show the iPhone 5S in a new shade (champagne) and a polycarbonate-cased, lower-cost iPhone 5C.  It is generally believed that the 5C will be released in a variety of colors including yellow, red, green, blue, white and others.

While there could be some surprises at the event, Apple followers believe they know what to expect.  Alongside the two new iPhone models, a new version of Apple’s mobile operating system will probably also be brought out at the event.  The new beta version of the system, iOS 7, is in the hands of developers right now.

Features of the iPhone 5S

Several changes are expected in the iPhone 5S.  A fingerprint scanner is one of the largest and most visible changes, and has been rumored since Apple acquired AuthenTec last year.  AuthenTec is a security firm specializing in biometrics.  Its purchase was a strong signal to Apple enthusiasts that some type of biometric security would be included in the new generation of iPhones.  Leaked photos have convinced avid followers that the scanner will exist on the Home button.  A biometric security device would make obsolete passwords and lock codes, giving Apple a very good competitive edge that other tech giants will not likely be able to emulate for some time.

It is widely believed that Apple will introduce an A7 chip with the 5S.  The A7 chip is expected to be 31% faster and 20% more efficient than the A6 that is in the iPhone 5.  There may also be a dedicated chip for motion-tracking purposes.  This would enable a whole new range of interaction for the user.

The iPhone 5S may also see some other improvements, including a dual LED flash for the camera, camera upgrades and the possibility of 128 gigabyte storage capability.  It will likely be offered not only in black and white, but also in a new shade as well.  Leaked photos have shown a possible champagne color for the 5S.

Bright Day

September 10th will arrive and all of this speculation will either be borne out, or found to be completely off track.  Apple enthusiasts all over the web have been very good at figuring out what Apple is up to, and I think they’ll probably be validated in their efforts yet again.  No matter what happens, Apple is planning to brighten our day with their announcements.  We’ll keep you updated on all the latest news as we edge ever closer to the much-ballyhooed event.


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Dissecting the Apple iPhone 5C

Published on September 2, 2013 by in Apple, News

Dissecting the iPhone 5C

As previously reported here on AppleApproved, Apple’s September 10th media event is expected to see the launch of the next generation of iPhones, including the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.  Ahead of the launch, several Apple followers have made predictions about what we might expect from the iPhone 5C, the lower-cost model that is expected to be offered alongside the iPhone 5S.  In order to get a better grasp on the expectations swirling around the iPhone 5C, I’ve gathered rumors and predictions from some of the more trusted Apple gossip sources.

Judging the Book by its Cover

There has been much gossip regarding the possible case construction of the iPhone 5C.  It is looking more and more like we’ll see a case made of plastic and impregnated with glass fibers to impart greater durability and scratch resistance.  The case will come in a variety of colors and the most widely-acknowledged array includes blue, yellow, green, white and red.  It is important to note that alleged photos of the iPhone 5C have been cropping up that feature pink cases; this photo has not yet been proven to be authentic.  The general consensus is that the brightly-colored cases will help differentiate the iPhone 5C from its counterpart, the iPhone 5S, that will be offered in black, white and (possibly) champagne.

The super-thin, very light plastic case will not be as heavy as the current crop of plastic smartphones that are offered by other companies.  It will be slightly larger than the traditional iPhone design, but this extra size is negligible, less than a millimeter in every dimension.  Its back is also more reminiscent of the iPad, with more curvature along the edges than is found in the current iPhone construction.  Some iPhone case manufacturers have already been designing products that take the new size and shape into account.

Specification Speculation

There haven’t been a lot of leaks regarding the internal components that will be included in the iPhone 5C.  It is widely believed that the 5C will essentially be a repackaged iPhone 5 with a snappy new shell.  If that’s the case, we’ll be seeing an A6 processor with a four inch Retina display, as well as a front 1.2-megapixel camera and an 8-megapixel camera for the rear.  There is some disagreement among Apple followers regarding these specifications; including the rumor that has been circulating that Apple will employ a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip in the 5C.  If this is the case, the iPhone 5C will likely only support a 3G connection.  However, the majority of those “in the know” believe that the iPhone 5 specs are the most likely for the iPhone 5C.

Lower-Cost Doesn’t Mean “Cheap”

Apple followers have been hashing it out over the anticipated price tag that the iPhone 5C will carry.  The best guesses range between $300 and $500, with a few leaning more toward a $400 to $500 price point when sold without a contract.  Currently, if you were to purchase an iPhone with no service agreement, you would pay between $649 and $849.  The iPhone 5C’s price does fall below this range, but it is, by no means, a cheap version of the company’s popular smartphone device.

The Unveiling

The iPhone 5C is a much-anticipated addition to Apple’s smartphone lineup.  For those who wish they had an iPhone but just can’t afford one, the 5C could be a dream come true.

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Samsung Releases Galaxy Gear Prototype to Select Developers

Published on September 2, 2013 by in Apple, News

Samsung Releases Galaxy Gear Prototype to Select Developers

With only a few days left before Samsung’s Unpacked Episode 2, the electronics giant has given select developers access to its anticipated Galaxy Gear wearable computing device.  Images of the prototype device have popped up on the internet in the last few days, prompting speculation about its form and function.  The Galaxy Gear device is Samsung’s third foray into wearable computing technology and will be unveiled on September 4th.

Initial Results from Developers

The Galaxy Gear was provided to developers and specific partners ahead of its unveiling at the upcoming IFA technology convention.  Samsung has not been particularly secretive about the Galaxy Gear’s planned introduction, but rumors have been swirling constantly regarding its possible design and functions.  There is no guarantee that the current incarnation of the device will be its final form.  It could be looking at a redesign as some developers have found it to be a little clunky and decidedly masculine in appearance.  This may result in fewer sales to female buyers and could persuade Samsung to tweak the design of the device to be more acceptable to a larger segment of the population.

On the upside, the device packs a lot of tech into a comparatively small space and the Galaxy Gear is not too much heavier than a good conventional watch.  It features a 4 megapixel camera along with integrated wristband speakers and sports a 3 inch square organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display.  It has a large range of options for connecting to other devices and it can likely be paired with other Galaxy devices like smartphones or tablets.  It may also connect with other types of Android devices.  This will probably be accomplished through near-field communication and making the connection might be as simple as tapping the Galaxy Gear against the device with which connection is desired.  The Galaxy Gear also boasts Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.  This is one of the lower-power pairing options that provide interaction with paired devices.

The Galaxy Gear also has a Wi-Fi antenna and purportedly has a battery life of ten hours or more.  With the Wi-Fi antenna, the device will have the option of being connected via Wi-Fi to the internet without being paired to another device.

Functionality and Features

As with many of Samsung’s devices, Galaxy Gear comes with the S Voice feature, allowing the user to operate the device through voice commands.  There are several apps for the Galaxy Gear that track various health-related metrics.  Social media is not left out, either.  Android apps for Twitter, Facebook and other social media sharing sites will be functional on the Galaxy Gear.  The device can also (allegedly) control paired devices by remote, meaning that users might be able to carry out such actions as initiating calls and viewing the call logs on a smartphone that is paired to the Galaxy Gear.

Samsung may be preparing to position the Galaxy Gear as a type of fitness companion; there have been rumors that the company has been working with a Palo Alto health-based startup company to develop and improve fitness apps.  The device apparently has several integrated health-related sensors.  These may prove to be useful in monitoring heart rate or other heath metrics.  There is also a pedometer function that keeps track of the number of steps you take every day.

Galaxy Gear Faces Stiff Competition

While Samsung has tested the waters with wearable technology in the past, none of their devices have experienced wide acceptance or popularity.  This is likely to change with the introduction of the Galaxy Gear device, but competition will probably be stiff in the wearable technology arena.  Many other companies are rumored to be getting ready to introduce their own versions of a smart watch device, so Samsung will be up against innovative giants like Apple and Microsoft.

Google is widely believed to be making a foray into the new domain of wearable tech after buying an Android-powered watch maker last year.  Apple has filed paperwork to trademark the name iWatch.  Microsoft is possibly working on a smart watch device right now.  While most of these likely won’t see the light of day until 2014 or later, Samsung has its work cut out for it in acquiring and defending market share in the wearable technology revolution.

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More Handy Tips and Tricks for iPhone 5

More Handy Tips and Tricks for iPhone 5

I recently posted a partial list of helpful tips on hidden features of the iPhone 5.  As I said before, those were just the tip of the iceberg!  The iPhone 5 has so many handy features, I decided to bring you a few more.

Built-In Camera HDR

The camera that is included on an iPhone 5 is a lot better than many of the other smart phone cameras out there.  However, we all know that there are just some environments that don’t photograph well, no matter how hard you try.  With the iPhone 5’s camera, high-dynamic range (HDR) photography is possible.  HDR permits the camera to change an image as it is being captured.  This results in the best possible picture that can be taken in a particular environment.

When the HDR mode on your camera is engaged, your camera takes three images of varying exposures successively and at a very high speed.  These three exposures are intended to capture three different areas of the photograph independently.  One of these is optimized for darker areas, one for lighter areas and a third for the mid-range of light and dark areas.  Your iPhone then parses out the best of each of these images and puts them together to form the full, final, high-quality image.  In the event that you’re not satisfied with how your iPhone renders the image, the HDR and non-HDR images are both saved to the memory, allowing you to use the one you like best.

If you want to activate this option, simply bring up your camera and then go to Options.  You’ll see a toggle switch for HDR.  Turn it on and you’re all done.

The HDR mode works best when used for close-up photos and outdoor shots, as well as in darker environments when a flash is not appropriate.  HDR will not provide good results in bright lighting conditions or when the camera is in motion.


Reply With Message

If you’re in the middle of something and your phone rings, you may not be able to answer it.  No worries, though, because in this situation, you can reply to the caller with a text message.  It’s simple and easy to do and can save a lot of rounds of phone tag.  Letting someone know that you can’t talk right now also allows you to head off additional calls that you won’t be able to take.

When a call comes in, you’ll see an icon representing a phone located next to the green button you would normally use to answer the call.  When you find that phone icon, just swipe up for a menu, then choose “Reply With Message.”  This will prompt three messages to appear on your screen.  You can choose one to reply with immediately, or you can create your own custom message when the call comes in.  Your caller gets routed to your voice mail while you’re sending the text.

You can even choose to personalize the preset messages that pop up when using the “Reply With Message” function.  To do this, navigate to Settings>Phone>Reply With Message.  You can change any or all of the preset messages with a message of your own devising.


Safari’s Reading List

Safari allows you to make a reading list by tagging pages so that they are saved and can be read at a later time.  Saving a page to your Reading List is very easy.  You can do so simply by tapping the menu button (found at the bottom of the Safari page screen) and from the menu that pops up, choose “Add to Reading List.”

It’s not hard to find your tagged pages, either.  Just access Safari and go to Bookmarks>Reading List.



Global Languages

Have you ever been irritated by the fact that you can’t find an “n” with a tilde when you want to talk about the jalapeño poppers you had last night?  Your iPhone 5 can help you with that!  The iPhone 5 has a penchant for global languages, so if you’re actually bilingual, or you just want to be able to type jalapeño correctly, your iPhone 5 will take care of it if you know what to do.  You just need to hold your finger on a letter that you’re wanting to change; your iPhone will pull up a variety of versions for that letter in many different languages.  Select the one you need and poof, you’re international!

These are just a few of the additional, helpful tips to help you get the most out of your iPhone 5.  I’ll be hunting down more of these useful tips, so stay tuned to get the best performance from your device.









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