Monday, July 24, 2017

Facebook acquires Source3 to get content creators paid

 Facebook is on the cusp of a big push to lure independent content creators to share their art through the News Feed. But it needs to prove it can help creators monetize their content without allowing piracy to run rampant. That’s why it’s acquired content rights management startup Source3, including its team and technology. The startup explains that “At Source3, we set out… Read More



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Google releases the final Android O developer preview

 Google today launched the fourth and final developer preview of Android O, the latest version of its mobile operating system. As expected, there are no major changes in this release and, according to Google, the launch of Android O remains on track for later this summer. Given that Android Nougat was on a very similar schedule, I expect we’ll see a final release in August. Read More



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Apple just dropped iOS 11 beta 4 for developers

 Apple just released a new beta of iOS 11 ahead of the final iOS 11 release in September. Things are still quite rough and I wouldn’t recommend installing the beta on a production device just yet. You don’t want to risk having your phone become useless. The beta 4 is only available if you’re a registered developer for now. While Apple also has a public beta program, the… Read More



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Amazon’s chat fiction app Rapids ties up with Amazon Studios with launch of ‘Signature Stories’

 Today’s kids aren’t just reading books. They’re also tapping and playing with interactive stories on tablets as preschoolers, then delving into instant messaging-like chat fiction apps as teens. Amazon’s entry in this space, Amazon Rapids, was announced late last year as a way to bring this style of interactive fiction to readers in the 5 to 12 age range. The company… Read More



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Netflix was the top grossing app in Q2, with mobile revenue up 233% since last year

 Netflix’s booming subscriber growth, announced in the company’s earnings last week, is also being felt on the App Store, where its app has again become the top earner in terms of revenue. According a recent report from app store analytics firm Sensor Tower, the app in Q2 saw 233 percent revenue growth year-over-year to $153 million in the most recent quarter. That’s up from… Read More



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Fairphone ends support for first repairable-by-design smartphone

 Fairphone, the European mobile phone maker and social enterprise that has made it its mission is to build and sell fairer smartphone hardware, has announced it is ending support for its first handset, the Fairphone 1.  Read More



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Friday, July 21, 2017

Dropbox CTO Aditya Agarwal is leaving

 Aditya Agarwal, who came to Dropbox via its acquisition of Cove way back in 2012 and was given the CTO role last year, will be leaving the company. Agarwal held the CTO role for about 9 months and was previously the VP of engineering. Agarwal is leaving the company as it begins to aggressively tout its success as a business. Read More



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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mobile savings and investment services Acorns is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017

 Acorns is quickly turning into an oak tree in the financial services space. The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created. Read More



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The IAB finalizes its new ad standards

 The Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group representing online publishers and advertisers, has released new standards around mobile and web advertisers. Not every publisher and advertiser will follow these standards, but the standards important because they help establish best practices around what is and isn’t acceptable for the industry. If done right, they help maintain a… Read More



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Legendary Pokémon are headed to Pokémon Go

 Pokémon Go’s getting Legendary Pokémon, those ultra rare, ultra powerful pocket monsters that typically figure prominently in the narrative arc for the main series console games. The Legendary Pokémon will appear as Eggs at gyms, and they’ll act as bosses for the new Raids that the game recently introduced – once defeated, you’ll get a chance to catch them, much like… Read More



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Viber acquires Chatter Commerce, the startup behind its shopping keyboard

 Messaging app Viber earlier this year made its first foray into shopping services with Instant Shopping, a feature that suggested items for sale based on your chats and a keyboard to help you navigate this. Today, the company is announcing some more e-commerce related news: it’s buying the startup that helped build that feature. Viber has acquired Chatter Commerce, maker of a service… Read More



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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Facebook ‘Groups for Pages’ unlocks fan clubs

 With Facebook’s newest feature, a musician could run an on-site fan club, a brand could organize its ambassadors and a newspaper could discuss articles with just its top readers. Today Facebook globally launched Groups for Pages, allowing the 70 million Pages on Facebook to create their own distinct communities and feeds. Read More



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Facebook launches comparison tool to prove Instant Articles beat mobile web

 One-third of all link clicks on Facebook already go to its self-hosted Instant Articles. Facebook claims they drive more referral traffic click for click because people don’t abaondon them mid-click as they do with slow-loading mobile websites. Now Facebook is teaming up with Nielsen to prove that individual publishers benefit when they post with the Instant Articles format. Today… Read More



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Google’s brave new friendless feed

 It’s like Facebook without all those annoying “friends.” Instead of having to look at what weird things other people are interested in, like their babies, Google shows me the weird things I’m interested in, like Legend of Zelda and Elon Musk. It’s a fundamental shift in content consumption, and it could unlock our niche fascinations without us ever having to… Read More



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Samsung’s Bixby assistant finally comes to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in the US

 After much delay, Samsung has begun rolling out it Bixby smart assistant to users in the U.S.. The company said today that an update will allow owners of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ to gain voice capabilities for the service. Bixby is the Korean phone-maker’s take on Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but it didn’t ship with Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ when… Read More



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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

iPhone 7 Review

Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 7 was launched in September 2016 and was soon met with record-breaking sales, but does that mean the world’s most popular smartphone lives up to the hype? With some major and minor improvements and features, including water resistance and up to 256GB storage capacity, Apple’s flagship device has users wondering how it stacks up to not only other smartphones on the market but also its predecessor, the iPhone 6s. With the removal of the headphone jack and a higher price tag, the iPhone 7 seemingly has both Apple fans and tech experts alike divided.

iPhone 7 Specs

  • 32GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities
  • 138.3mm x 67.1mm
  • 138 grams (4.87 ounces)
  • 4.7 inch Retina HD display
  • A10 fusion chip
  • 12MP camera
  • 4K video recording
  • Up to 2 hours longer battery life than iPhone 6s
  • iOs 10
  • Design

Much like the iPhone 6 and 6s before it, the iPhone 7 features an aluminium body that provides a comfortable grip and weight. Unlike the iPhone 5c or even the 3G, Apple’s second generation of the iPhone, that feature plastic backings, the weight of the metal gives the phone a feeling of quality and luxury, though slightly lighter than the iPhone 6.

One of the first differences users will notice from previous versions of the iPhone, however, are the finishes. Apple has dropped Space Grey, which debuted on the iPhone 5, in favour of a black matte finish. They’ve also added Jet Black, which is a glossy black finish that has become extremely popular with users, causing this version of the iPhone to sell out almost immediately. Of course, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold are also still available on the iPhone 7 and all current models.

The absence of the antenna bands is also a welcome change to the iPhone 7 and gives the phone a cleaner and more minimalistic look, similar to iPhones released in years past.

Though the aesthetic remains roughly the same, there are some key differences in the hardware. Gone is the 3.5mm headphone jack featured on all other iPhone models before it. In its place, Apple has redesigned their headphones to include a lightning connector that plugs into the same single lightning port that the charger does.

Major Changes

Gone is the 3.5mm headphone jack featured on all other iPhone models before it. In its place, Apple has redesigned their headphones to include a lightning connector.

The home button also got a redesign in the iPhone 7. Instead of a traditional button that clicks when pressed down, the touch sensitivity gives the users of the new iPhone a completely different tactile sensation.

One of the biggest changes to the iPhone 7, though least noticeable up front, is the inclusion of water and dust-resistance. For Apple fans, this feature is a long time coming, as it’s been featured in a number of other high-profile phones in the recent past. Its addition means reduced likelihood of damage caused by dropping your phone in the water or from dust getting into the ports and the body.

Display

The iPhone 7 receives a brand new beautiful display, and while it looks amazing, it’s no sharper than the one that appears on the iPhone 6s. The 4.7 inch, 326ppi, 1334 x 750 Retina display is crystal clear and the wide-color-gamut, the same that is featured in the iPad Pro and iMac, means it’s bright, rich and wonderfully colourful. Watching videos and movies is as good as its ever been on an iPhone, especially when combined with other new features, such as the dual speakers.

Audio

If audio is an important component to your mobile experience, the iPhone 7 delivers. Unlike models before it, the iPhone 7 now features two speakers on the bottom of the phone, one on either side of the lightning port. On previous versions, this was not possible due to the 3.5mm jack, though Apple has found a workaround. Not only are there two speakers on the phone, but they’re extra loud. In fact, the top volume on the iPhone 7 is double that of the iPhone 6. If you’re someone who regularly plays music from your iPhone, this means it’ll be loud and clear and can easily fill in if you don’t have access to a Bluetooth speaker.

This upgrade to the speakers doesn’t come without controversy, however. Apple’s decision to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7 has caused a stir in the Apple community and one that won’t be settled anytime soon. The 3.5mm jack has been an industry standard for decades and every other smartphone on the market features it, so it came as somewhat of a surprise to learn that Apple was dropping the jack in favour of its own lightning port connection. Though it’s a novel idea, in theory, this means that users cannot use their standard headphones in the new iPhone without the use of an adapter dongle. It also means that users cannot use their lightning headphones at the same time the phone is charging because there is only one port.

The decision to not include the 3.5mm jack is just another step Apple is taking to make the future wireless, but it comes at a cost. Alongside the launch of the iPhone 7 was Apple’s own AirPods—wireless headphones that connect via bluetooth—though they come with a hefty price tag. It’s also worth noting that Apple’s new MacBook Pros do not include this new headphone technology and instead rely on the same old 3.5mm jack. This means, in order to use your iPhone 7 headphones in the new MacBook Pro, you’ll need another adapter. For many, this is seen as one step forward and two steps back.

Performance

Like other iPhones before it, the iPhone 7 comes with an all-new A10 fusion chip that makes this iPhone the most powerful yet. Though it retains the same 2GB of RAM as its predecessor, switching between apps and opening new ones is as quick as smooth as ever. 3D gaming and multitasking also works like a charm and overtakes the iPhone 6s in both categories, with graphics that shine.

In fact, the new iPhone is 30% faster than the 6s and 12% more powerful than Samsung’s Galaxy S7. For users of much older generations of the iPhone, this is a huge boost in processing power. If you’re upgrading from the 6s, however, it may not be a largely noticeable difference, as both are extremely powerful.

Operating System

The iPhone 7 also comes pre-installed with iOS 10, Apple’s latest iPhone operating system. While the look of the new OS remains mostly the same, there are a few tweaks here and there that will make the user experience all around more enjoyable.

iMessage now features larger emojis and sticker and even offers the ability to send doodles. The new touch home button also means that you can send a reading of your pulse that will appear as a graphic to other contacts. Apple Music also receives a much-needed refresh that streamlines the layout to make it more user-friendly.

Much of which makes iOS 10 great is its simplification. One of the biggest draws users will first experience on the new operating system is the ability to delete stock Apple apps, like Stocks, Podcasts, Find My Friends, etc. For many iPhone users, these apps were relegated to an extra folder and not touched, only taking up precious storage.

Camera

The new camera built into the iPhone 7 is also a big improvement over the iPhone 6s. This 12MP camera with OIS works a lot better in low light and delivers results in nearly every condition. It’s wider aperture allows for more light into the sensor, leading to clearer photos with a reduction in the depth of field. The front-facing, 7MP camera also received a boost so selfies and FaceTime video chatting are improved too. Though it’s an upgrade from previous iPhones, the new camera doesn’t perform leaps and bounds better than that of the Samsung Galaxy S7, but definitely, stands out in low or mixed light settings.

Battery

Like with most other aspects of the iPhone 7, the battery itself receives a nice boost when compared to the iPhone 6s. The 7 battery can now last up to two hours longer than its predecessor. That increases life when using the internet and wireless video playback, which jumps from 11 hours to 13 hours, while talk time and standby remain the same.

Real World Water Proof Test

So after a trip to Gran Canaria in Spain, I put the iPhone 7 through its paces. Both in terms of the claim from Apple that it is dust resistant and also water resistant. Although Apple do state that the iPhone can lose its water resistance over time, therefore the warranty does not cover water damage.

Kean to test how water proof was I jumped in the pool and took some under water footage.

Note Apple doesn’t support this under their Apple Care Scheme, so if your phone was to get damaged you are on your own. I tried it anyway and a few minutes after getting out of the water, the phone was asking me to insert a new SIM Card.

Panic struck in as I had just destroyed my new iPhone. I removed the SIM, dried it out with a hair dryer and put it back in again.

Thankfully the phone started to work again but it’s safe to say, I won’t be taking such massive risks in future.

Conclusion

The iPhone 7 is a dazzling piece of tech that not only performs well but looks like a work of art in and of itself. Though it includes a number of key upgrades and improvements, for users of the iPhone 6 or 6s, it may not be enough to justify a purchase, especially considering its price. For users of older models, however, the iPhone 7 will perform circles around older generations as nothing in anything before the iPhone 6 can match the A10 chip.

The decision to not include the 3.5mm headphone jack may be a turnoff for some, but as time goes on, it may prove to be less of an issue than expected. As iPhone 7’s continue to sell, it’s likely that the iPhone 6 and 6s will also drop in price to sell off existing stock. For those looking for a similar performance to the iPhone 7 but with a 3.5mm headphone jack, this may be their best option. If you’re can afford a new smartphone and own a pair of Bluetooth headphones, the iPhone 7 may just be the phone for you.

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Adobe launches redesigned Lightroom for Android

 Adobe launched an update for its Lightroom photo management and editing apps on iOS and Android today. The iOS app for iPhone and iPad is getting a few new features, including support for Adobe’s selective brush, a new details tab and an interface update for the iPad version. That’s all pretty nice, but the biggest news here is that Adobe also completely redesigned the Android app… Read More



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