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May 23 2017

02:49

First Impressions of Apple’s AirPods


I was finally able to get my hands on a pair of Apple’s latest hard to find hit. If you are still looking for a set of AirPods without the three to four week wait, keep an eye on AT&T, website. When they get them in stock, they process the orders quickly and have free shipping in the US. I got mine two business days after ordering, so I was happy with the experience, and was glad to not have to pay a premium or wait a month to get them.

Rather than doing a full review of the AirPods, I am just going to share some ongoing impressions of them over the next few weeks. I usually take my time when doing a product review anyway, as I like to really live with something for a bit before I do a full write-up on it. It takes time to really get the full measure of product, whether it be a device or an accessory. This way, I can share the little bits and pieces and impressions as they come.

  • The fit is perfect on me, but that experience isn’t shared by all

I have never had any issues with Apple’s EarPods, so I figured the AirPods would fit much the same. However, when you put down $150 instead of getting a headset free in the box with your phone, the stakes and expectations are definitely higher. My expectations on this point were actually exceeded a bit. Today was the first workday that I had them, so I used one as my Bluetooth headset for the day. It was comfortable and light enough to pretty much forget it was there.

Unfortunately, if EarPods don’t work for you, the AirPods likely won’t, either. They fit poorly on my wife to the point that they would barely stay in her ears. Considering the exclusive positioning of the AirPods in Apple’s lineup, it would be smart on their part to find some way to mitigate these issues with some interchangeable shapes or different sizes in future versions. I know there are parallel products from Beats, but none of them are fully wireless like the AirPods.

  • The battery life is acceptable, but the recharging case and the interchangeable nature of the AirPods overcomes any weakness

I can’t say the battery life of the AirPods is great. The single right-side bud just BARELY made it though the work day for me today, so they aren’t as practical as a pure Bluetooth headset for phone calls. My Plantronics that I’ve used for the last two years lasts for several days on a charge, but it’s just a mono headset for phone calls so it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. All that said, I think the battery life is just fine for a first generation version of a fully wireless set of buds like these and it should only improve in future versions.

While the battery life of the earbuds is just good, the battery case really covers over any issues or potential dissatisfaction, at least on my part. Over the weekend I was using the AirPods more sporadically to listen to music, and I loved that every time I put the buds back in the case they quickly recharged to 100%. I know Apple wasn’t the first to use this recharging case design, but as usual, they have perfected it.

  • The design of the case is perfect

Plenty of hay has been made at the expense of the design of the AirPods, but I don’t have any objections to it. However, the praise of the design of the AirPods recharging case has been almost as universal, and for good reason. From the smooth rounded corners, to the balanced hinge and magnetic closure of the lid with an unmistakable “click” on closure, to the magnetic seating of the AirPods for charging, it is a quintesential Apple design.

  • The sound quality is good, and that’s good enough

I’m not going to say that the AirPods deliver audiophile-quality sound. However, when you balance the sound quality with the convenience of fully wireless earbuds, they come out looking and sounding pretty solid. In my opinion, they do sound better than Apple’s more basic EarPods, and are much better than any inexpensive Bluetooth stereo headset that I have tried. The bass isn’t as pronounced as many listeners might like today, but I personally found the balanced nature of the sound to be a positive.

  • The controls are simple. Maybe a little too simple

I like the double-tap on the side of the AirPod mechanic to trigger Siri or to Play/Pause your music or podcast. It works very well. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough control available without getting out your phone or going to your Watch (if applicable). I can understand having to choose between using Siri or Play/Pause when using one AirPod. However, I would love to see Apple expand on this, and allow separate controls on each AirPod to make use a little easier.

  • Using Siri with the AirPods is great…..but

Siri does work very well with the AirPods. I found recognition to be more accurate than with my iPhone in crowded or noisy areas. Like the Watch, its mic seems to be tuned to recognize voice queries. However, unlike the Watch, you don’t have to put anything closer to your mouth to get this good recognition. I’m glad to see Apple putting in some effort on getting good voice recognition, and it gives me hope that the coming Siri speaker will be another step in the right direction.

Using Siri with the AirPods is smooth, but there is room for improvement in the future. At first, I was disappointed that “Hey Siri” didn’t work on them, but I can understand that keeping the mic enabled at all times would put a huge strain on the already limited battery capacity. However, as battery capacity and life improves in future versions of the AirPods, this could be a killer feature. It would allow for hands-free voice queries, and also would open up the tap control possibilities since Siri wouldn’t have to be triggered to be used.

  • I would fight people in line to get a set of AirPods in Black

I like the classic Apple “iDevice White,” and all. However, the case and the buds are going to show dirt and wear a lot more  with that bright white surface. I have already cleaned the inside of the case a couple of times. The white AirPods also are very conspicuous when you’re wearing them. I would much prefer an official black set from Apple, as they will be less likely to show dirt and wear, and will be far less conspicuous when in use. I have no doubt we will see these in a year or two.

That’s enough for round one. After a few days of use, I know I won’t be sending the AirPods back, as I have been very pleased with them overall. As such, I will keep posting about mt experience with them as time goes on. Also, if any of you have any specific questions about the AirPods, let me know and I will try to get you an answer. Feel free to post any thoughts in the Comments below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Post tags: Airpods, bluetooth, siri, wearables

May 21 2017

03:19

Tips and Tricks: Backing Up Your iOS Device

Backing up is something that you don’t think about until it’s ALL you can think about. You don’t really need it until the day comes when a device fails, and then you REALLY need it. As the old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In that spirit, let’s take a look at what you can do to be sure you are prepared when the day comes that you need that backup right away.

Backing up iOS devices used to be more of a problem when we had to rely on iTunes via a computer, alone. However, Apple has made things a lot easier since the introduction of iCloud in iOS 5. Since that time, we have had the capability to backup our devices to the cloud automatically.

Setting Up iCloud Backup

To check you backup status, head to your iCloud menu in Settings. In the latest version of iOS, this is under the new Profile Banner inside Settings, at the top of the page.



Once inside iCloud settings, you can see whether iCloud Backups are enabled at the bottom of the list of Apps Using iCloud.

Inside the iCloud Backups menu you will find a single enable button to turn on backups, as well as a Back Up Now button to force a manual backup, and a status message showing your last backup date and time.


Once iCloud Backup is enabled, backups will occur automatically if the following criteria are met:

  • Your device is plugged into a charger.
  • Your device is connected to WiFi.
  • The screen of your device is locked.

As long as these three conditions are met, you should have a backup at least daily. It is a very good idea to check this menu from time to time to make absolutely certain that your backups are taking place, especially in any instance when you know you are about to upgrade, switch, or give away devices. Use the Back Up Now button to force a backup if you have made changes since the last shown backup time that you want to be able to restore. One thing to note is that, while you must be connected to WiFi to perform a Back Up Now manual backup, you do not have to have your device plugged in.

If there is an issue with the automated backup, you will get an error message on your device. The most common problem is a lack of space in your iCloud account. Since the free storage level is only 5 GB, which is your space for all of your documents, email, photos, and backups, it tends to fill up pretty fast. This is especially true if you have multiple devices on a single account. If you are out of space, you will need to either turn off the backups for certain apps or services, or you will need to upgrade to one of Apple’s paid storage tiers. More on iCloud and data management for backups in just a bit.

If a lack of iCloud Storage space is the issue, then you will get an error notification on your device every time a failure occurs. The other common issue with an automatic backup is that not all of the three criteria above are being met. It is easy to forget to charge overnight or to re-connect to WiFi if you have it turned off. Eventually, iCloud will send you a reminder that your device hasn’t automatically backed up in several days so you can take corrective action.

Adjusting iCloud Backup Settings

If you find yourself low on iCloud storage, there are a couple of ways to get to the iCloud Storage menu. First of all, the menu is available under Settings-General-Storage and iCloud Usage. The same menu can also be accessed by tapping the Storage graph at the top of the main iCloud menu.


From here, tap on Manage Storage to open the menu.


This menu gives you all of the basic details of how your iCloud storage is currently allocated, including your backups. You can address individual documents that are taking up room by tapping on their associated app and deleting them. If your iCloud Photo Library is the culprit, you can Disable and Delete it by going into the menu and tapping on the button shown below.

Be advised that there is an Optimize Photo Storage option in the Photos menu under the main iCloud menu. However, this feature only relates to LOCAL device storage. Full versions of all your photos are always stored in iCloud if Photo Library is turned on. Short of deleting unnecessary photos or backing up some content to alternate cloud or local storage, there isn’t much you can do besides finding alternate means of photo storage. More on this in a second.

If everything outside of your backups is set up properly, then you can tap the backup for the device that you are using to adjust its setup. Note that you get a basic menu for other devices that are backed up to your iCloud account, but only have the ability to see the size of the backup and to delete it. If you want to adjust the settings of an iCloud backup, it has to be done on the device associated with that backup.

If there are apps that don’t need to have their local storage backed up, just turn them off in the list to remove them. Examples would be any app that backs up to alternate cloud storage, social network apps, and apps that have their own backup methods.

Pro Tip: One of the easiest solutions to iCloud storage issues is to disable iCloud Photo Backup and switch to a different method of photo backup. As many already know, Google offers free unlimited photo and video backup and storage through their Google Photos app. Their app and service will do automated backups of all your photos and videos and they have all of the same features that iCloud Photos has and more. If you don’t feel like paying to upgrade your iCloud storage, this is usually the easiest way to clear space. However, there is one caveat- Google will downgrade the image and video quality using their free storage. As with iCloud, you have to pay for full resolution.

Offloading the task of photo backup to another service is also possible. If you pay for Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive storage, then they may be better options for you. They all have iOS apps that will also do photo backups. They just don’t have the features of iCloud and Google. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can also get photo and video storage through their iOS app, which is a little closer to what Google and Apple offer, feature wise. Basically, every major cloud service can back up your photos. It’s all about what makes the most sense for you.

Managing Your iCloud Storage Plan

If you prefer to keep iCloud Photo Library enabled, then it may be time to fork over a little cash to Apple’s growing Services business. Using the same iCloud Storage menu shown above, simply choose the Change Storage Plan option.


As you can see above, Apple’s offerings are fairly basic. There are only three paid storage tiers, and their prices are in the neighborhood of other cloud services. The main drawbacks to purchasing extra storage is that it isn’t shared between accounts unless you have multiple people sharing a single iCloud account. If you are backing up Calendar, Contact, Reminders, Notes,etc, then this isn’t a practical solution. If Apple would be a little more reasoanble and allow plans to be purchased through Family Sharing, then they would probably have a lot more sign ups at the 2 TB $19.99 per month level.

What’s In an iCloud Backup?

So what exactly are you backing up when this automated process occurs? Pretty much everything, actually. Here is the exhaustive list from Apple.

  • App data
  • Apple Watch backups
  • Call history
  • Device settings
  • Health data
  • HomeKit configuration
  • Home screen and app organization
  • iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS messages (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup)
  • Photos and videos on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch1
  • Purchase history from Apple services, like your music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books2
  • Ringtones
  • Visual Voicemail password (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup)

Notice that ApplePay and TouchID are NOT included. These have to be set up from scratch every time you charge devices or after a device restore.

iTunes is Still an Option

I can’t imagine recommending iTunes as a primary backup method for any iOS device owner today. However, it is still there when you need it. It is particularly useful if you are backing up to restore onto a new iOS device, as the process of restoring your apps and app data is much faster than pulling the data down from iCloud. iTunes is also a good option if you want to archive local copies of your device backups. This would allow you to take the completed backup file off your computer’s hard drive and store it elsewhere.

As you can see below, once you connect your device to your computer and open iTunes, you can set up either Automatic or Manual backups. If you choose Automatic, be advised that this will disable your iCloud backup. However, you also have the option to do a one-time Manual Backup, which is what I recommend.

One thing to note about iTunes backups is that if you don’t encrypt them with a password, then your Health and Activity data and Apple Watch backups (if applicable) will not be stored.

About that Apple Watch

If you own an Apple Watch, you may know that there are no visible backup settings available. This is because your Watch backs up to your iPhone automatically, and then becomes part of your iPhone’s backup. There is currently no way to force a manual backup.

The one known time that a backup of an Apple Watch occurs is when it is Unpaired from its host iPhone. This is done if you are either replacing your iPhone or Watch, and need to Pair and Restore the backup after the switch.


Conclusion

I’ll leave you with this. There is absolutely no reason to not back up your iOS devices. There are two viable methods to do it, and you just can’t get much easier than the setup for iCloud Backup. Apple’s whole purpose of making the process easy and automated is to prevent the kind of data loss that users used to experience, and Apple employees such as Genuis Bar workers used to see when it was left to users to connect to iTunes and wait for a backup to happen. Between iCloud’s automated backups and the occasional manual iTunes backup, you should be completely covered.

If you run into issues with any of the details of your iCloud backup, such as storage space or what to do with your photos, hopefully the instructions here will help out. If you have additional questions, I am happy to help. Just drop me a line in the Comments below, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Post tags: amazon prime photos, backup, Google photos, iCloud, icloud backup, iTunes

May 20 2017

20:00

Love Notes to Newton- An Interview with Filmmaker Noah Leon

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing the filmmaker behind a crowdfunded documentary project covering the history of and enduring community still dedicated to the Apple Newton platform. Noah Leon’s project is called Love Notes to Newton, and it is currently being funded through a campaign on Indiegogo, which you can find here.

iPad Insight Newton Interview from Noah Leon on Vimeo.

Some of you may scoff and ask, “What relevance does a platform that Steve Jobs killed off 20 years ago have today?” It is easy to think that way, because personal computing is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things, and we often are so focused on what’s next that we forget about or dismiss what got us here. However, history is inescapable, as both the successes and failures of the past shape the present and beyond. As the first true handheld computing platfom, the Apple Newton has had a sizeable impact on both Apple, and the technology industry at large. Despite the fact that it was a commercial failure, it is still worth remembering the trail that it blazed and the technologies that it helped to push forward.

A $25 pledge will get you a digital copy of the film, as well as this nice looking tshirt.

One of the aspects of this project that I am very interested in is the history and behind the scenes that it can bring to light. For many Apple fans today, the company’s history begins in either 1997 or 2007, but there is SO MUCH MORE that occurred before then, both successes and failures, that can’t just be dismissed. And how often do we get even a brief glimpse behind that curtain of secrecy that has always enveloped Apple? This project should provide some very interesting details on both the development of the Newton and the state of Apple at a time when its demise seemed almost a foregone conclusion.

However, there is another focus of this documentary project that is even more important. Most contemporary Apple fans probably don’t realize that there is STILL a sizable community of Apple Newton collectors and users that have kept devices working and pushing the platform forward over the last 20 years. When we talk about how dedicated and loyal Apple fans are, we are remiss to ignore a group who’s passion and dedication perfectly exemplify that. These people deserve to have their story told, as well. If you don’t believe me, then join the NewtonTalk mailing list and go follow @NetwonTalk, @indigi_newton, and @splorp to start, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.


My own interest in the Newton and its community was re-kindled a few weeks ago when I wrote about the Museum of Failure and the original Apple Newton’s inclusion there. The whole concept of that museum as a place not to simply mock failure, but to accept and learn from it, made the Newton a perfect fit in my book. Apple and other companies at the time obviously did learn from the good and bad of the Newton, and those lessons are still relevant today.

I wrote that article purely out of my own interest, not thinking that too many readers would really take much notice. However, several former Newton owners and members of this ongoing community reached out and commented afterwards. It reminded me of how helpful several had been when I briefly owned a MessagePad 2100 and needed help getting it running a few years ago. That’s one of the best things about the Newton community. It is INCREDIBLY welcoming and helpful to those who need help with devices, or just have an appreciation for them. As you can see from the pictures above, this process has prompted me to shake the dust off my old eMate 300 and even pick up a working MessagePad 130 and keyboard off eBay.

It was just after my article touching on the Newton that I came across Mr Leon and his project on Indigogo through an article on 9to5 Mac. It has been a real pleasure talking with him about the Newton, the Newton user community and this film. After all of our discussions before, during, and after this interview, I can tell you that he is very sincere in both his long-time interest in the Newton platform and community, as well as his desire to make an interesting film about both.

This is definitely a project worth supporting, and I will leave you with this- If you call yourself an Apple fan, you should be willing to part with the price of a typical dinner out to support a film that will shed some light on one of its more ambitious projects, that came at a pivotal time right before Steve Jobs lead the company’s big turnaround. I added my name to the list of supporters on Indigogo today. I hope many of you will, as well. Let’s help get this film fully funded.

You can find the Indigogo campaign right here. Follow Noah Leon on Twitter @moosefuel and on Instagram at moosefuel, while you’re at it. And if you STILL need convincing, check out this short promotional clip on the project.

Love Notes to Newton – a film about a little computer and the people who love it. from Noah Leon on Vimeo.

I want to thank Noah Leon for taking the time to sit down me for this interview. Like me, he has a “day job” and a family, so finding extra time to sync up with someone else outside of that is always a challenge. I appreciate him making that effort. This process has really been a lot of fun, and I very much look forward to seeing Love Notes to Newton in a little less than a year!

If you want to reach out and talk about this project, or anything Newton related, let me know in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Post tags: apple newton, documentary film, messagepad, newtontalk, noah leon, Steve Jobs

May 19 2017

23:48

Deals: Powerbulb Charging Lightbulb

Do you live in an older home? Do you have living areas where your main furniture is away from the walls? Do you hate unsightly cables and cords draped across the floor? If you can answer yes to any of the above, then you’ve probably found yourself short of power with nowhere to plug in a Lightning or other charge cable. If so, Mega Tiny has a very creative solution that may be just what you’ve been looking for.

The Powerbulb is a 608 lumen LED lightbulb with two built-in Type A USB ports. This gives you the ability to turn any lamp in your home into an instant charge station. It is able to charge two devices independent of the bulb’s operation. It even has the capability to balance the power output based on the remaining charge of the connected devices. It is a simple, yet cool and creative design that will help you get power where and when you need it, while cutting down on clutter.

Our Deals site is currently offering the Powerbulb Charging Lightbulb from Mega Tiny for $29.99.

 

Powerbulb is the world’s first LED light bulb to transform an ordinary lamp into a high-powered charging station. This efficient bulb emits 608 lumens of light while simultaneously charging two USB-compatible devices through its built-in ports. It’s a simple, elegant solution to a lack of outlets and lets you do more with less. 

5 Stars on 17 Amazon reviews 

Emits warm soft LED light at 608 lumens
Charges any two devices simultaneously through the two built-in USB ports

Turns the light on or off while continuing to charge your devices

Automatically senses which device has the lowest charge & sends more power there


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Post tags: charging lightbulb, Powerbulb

03:39

Apple Slices- Last Week’s Trickle is Now a Flood of Apple News


Well that escalated quickly. A month ago, we were in the desert of nothing but iPhone 8 rumors, and now we have more Apple stories covering everything from WWDC, to the new campus, to new iPad Pro rumors, to Apple acquisitions (the real kind), and of course, even more iPhone 8 rumors. Let’s get right to some of the best of the last week.

Apple goes on a Buying Spree!

Last week, we talked about Apple putting down a cool $200 million to buy sleep tracking hardware and software company Beddit. Since then, Apple has also given Corning $200 million out of its $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund and bought “dark data” analytics company, Lattice. Unlike all of the proposed or rumored large acquisitions for Apple, such as Disney, Netflix, or Tesla, these expenditures are perfectly targeted in areas of focus for Apple. They are now the leading manufacturer of wearables, and sleep tracking is a big part of that sector, and also an area where they’ve been lacking. As such, Beddit makes perfect sense. Corning has been a partner with Apple on screens since the first iPhone. The purchase of Lattice shows that Apple is committed to strengthening their standing in AI and Machine Learning. None of these stories is Earth-shattering alone, but taken together, it shows Apple being shrewd and smart with its money.

The PGA Tour Commissions Artists to Submit Work Using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

The PGA Tour followed up an earlier commission for iPhone photography a couple of year ago with a new one showing off the artistic capabilities of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Some of the work is VERY impressive. I’m not an artist, so I won’t critique further, but I would highly recommend that everyone go take a look.

AppleInsider Had A Great Article Breaking Down How Apple “Works From Behind” So Effectively

AppleInsider writer Daniel Evan Dilger absolutely knocked it out of the park with his editorial, When Apple is 2 years behind you, put your house in order. He systematically goes through all of Apple’s conquests from “behind”, from 2007 on down the list until today. It’s a great read that puts the weight of fact and hindsight behind the arguments that all of us Apple fans love to lean on.

Apple Will Require App-Specific Passwords for Apps Connecting to iCloud Starting June 15

This will probably annoy or anger many iOS users, but believe me, its for our collective own good. Rather than give us rope to hang ourselves with, especially those among us who are less technically oriented, Apple is choosing to force this change on users. This stands in contrast to Apple allowing users to choose convenience over security, as with two factor authentication. However, this change will add a lot of protection against hacking, as having a password compromised will only affect one app or connection, rather than your ENTIRE iCloud database.

Apple May Be Targeting Former HBO Head of Programming, Michael Lombardo

If Apple can pull this off, it will bring much-needed direction to their video and original content efforts. Right now, they are obviously in an experimental phase, but the lack of direction and overall vision or organization is obvious. Apple needs an experienced hand to guide them, and Mr Lombard has a formidable track record. He would bring a lot of experience and credibility, and is the kind of guy I could see doing big things with Apple’s resources.

Apple Has Been Granted a Patent for a Bezel-Less Screen with Embedded TouchID

Hopefully this patent relates to features we will see THIS year. There were a lot of negative rumors and sensational articles about Apple putting the iPhone 8’s TouchID sensor on the back just a few weeks ago, but those seem to have subsided. I have absolutely no doubt that Apple has prototyped such designs as a “just in case” measure if the embedded TouchID tech just isn’t ready for such a big rollout. However, they aren’t going to backtrack on a feature that everyone expects unless they just can’t make it fly. That is a decision that could come as late as month before final assembly, so it’s FAR too early to make any solid predictions about whether we will get the cool new toy or Plan B yet.

One thing to consider is that the timing of this patent could relate to the coming iPad Pro. Patents often tend to be granted right before the release of a device to cut down on leaks. We also know that this new 10.5″ Pro is supposed to have a bezel-less design, like the iPhone 8. It is not inconceivable that the new Pro could debut the embedded TouchID sensor. If it does, you can guarantee that it will be in the iPhone 8 later this Fall.

Siri within iMessage

Apple was also granted a patent relating to the use of Siri within iMessage. While it may seem disjointed for us iOS users to think of Siri’s functionality spread out in different places, this follows the pattern of Facebook Messenger and Google Allo and their respective implementation of chat bots and Google Assistant. In my opinion, one of Siri’s biggest weaknesses is it’s almost compete dependence on voice input because it limits when and where you can use it. Apple has added some of Siri’s basic search functionality to Spotlight and there are bits of Siri “intelligence” embedded in other places, such as the iOS keyboard’s Predictive Text. However, there is still no way to enter the same queries as we do using voice with typed text. If this feature comes in iOS 11, then Siri will become more flexible and more useful, no matter where the user finds themselves.

Google Assistant Lands in the App Store

Like Amazon and Microsoft before them, Google is now bringing its latest voice assistant to iOS to take on Siri head-to-head. It can actually do a surprising amount of things, such as place phone calls, send texts and emails, and set calendar appointments and reminders. There are some system-level tasks, such as setting alarms, that Assistant is prevented from doing, and you can’t trigger it using an iOS device’s Home Button. However it is still pretty useful, and certainly more powerful than I initially expected. It should be usable enough, if you prefer it to Siri.

Apple’s iPhone Scores 92% Loyalty Rate

There have been surveys over the last two years indicating that Apple and the iPhone’s high customer service and satisfaction marks may be eroding. However, ahead of what looks to be a massive iPhone 8 upgrade cycle, Apple’s flagship device is scoring very high marks again. According to an article on AppleInsider, a recent Morgan Stanley survey put the iPhone’s loyalty rate at 92%. This should make for a BIG end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 for Apple.

Tim Cook is Doing a Bit of Product Testing at Apple’s Campus

CNBC is reporting that Tim Cook himself has been test-driving a blood sugar tracking device that integrates to Apple Watch. Now, we don’t know any specifics about this device. It is possible that it is a Bluetooth-enabled sensor from a medical vendor, but we know that Apple is committed to research in this area, so it is also possible that this is an Apple prototype. This is something to keep an eye on later this year and early next year, as we get close to the likely launch of the next Apple Watch. It will be interesting to see if Apple integrates such technology into a future Watch, or chooses to keep it separate from the Watch like the device that is being tested now.

Like I said, this has been a BUSY week for Apple News, This certainly isn’t all of it, but it is a healthy serving of some of the best stories around at the moment. However, as we get close to WWDC, the pace will only increase, so stay tuned for lots more over the next three weeks. Do you have any thoughts on the week’s news? If so, let us know in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.



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Post tags: app specific icloud passwords, Beddit, corning, google assistant, lattice, michael lombardo, pga tour ipad art, siri in imessage

May 17 2017

15:00

Deals: Disconnect- Lifetime Premium Subscription


Every day it seems there are new stories telling us what a dangerous place the Internet is. Our personal data is quite literally for sale, and our every move across the Interwebs is tracked in some way, shape or form. Some companies use this data to custom tailor ads to our preferences, or learn how to make their products better, which doesn’t seem so bad. However, there are plenty of other people and organizations tracking us with much more nefarious intentions. While anti-virus and anti-malware software helps to some degree, and all of the major Internet browsers have some built-in protections, neither covers all of the bases, all of the time.

Our Deals site currently has a special on Disconnect, which is a tracker blocking solution that offers your Mac or Windows machines COMPLETE protection from many different forms of tracking. DIsconnect also has ad blockers available for both iOS and Android, so you are protected while browsing on your mobile devices, as well. Recommended by the New York Times and Tom’s Guide, and the Innovation Award Winner at SXSW Interactive, Disconnect provides you with a secure VPN connection that allows you to block not only basic trackers and cookies, but also location tracking and specific services, sites, and apps.

A Lifetime Premium Subscription to Disconnect’s tracker blocking service is available from our Deals site for a one-time fee of $49.

The internet is crawling with trackers designed to harvest your personal information – sometimes for things as innocent as understanding  what ads to display on the web for you, sometimes for far more nefarious purposes. Regardless, web tracking ranges from innocuous to deeply serious, and it’s more important than ever to take precautions to ensure your internet security. Disconnect blocks trackers and malware across your entire device, allowing you to browse up to 44% faster, using up to 39% less bandwidth, and greatly improve battery life. 


‘We researched and tested four tracker blockers and found their results varied widely. In the end, the app Disconnect became our anti-tracking tool of choice,’ New York Times 

Innovation Award Winner, Privacy and Security at SXSW Interactive Conference 

Featured in Tom’s Guide’s Best Ad Blockers and Privacy Extensions 


Blocks tracking requests from connecting to your devices, making the internet faster & extending battery life

Keeps your data safe from companies, cybercriminals, & government entities

VPN tech encrypts your internet connection

Masks your location so you can access content as if you’re in a different country

Allows you to use blocked services, sites, & apps


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Post tags: blocking, cookies, disconnect, tracking, VPN

May 16 2017

20:24

Is Apple Preparing to Move On from the iPad Mini?

Jonathan Geller at BGR posted this morning that Apple will soon be phasing out the iPad Mini form factor. This comes as a little bit of a surprise to me since the Mini 4 just got a memory bump when the new iPad was released. This effectively brought the price of the device down, at least in terms of value. We have also had on again and off again rumors of a Mini Pro with a Smart Connector and Apple Pencil support over the past three months.

However, it has also been rumored that the Mini is lagging far behind its larger siblings in sales over the last two to three years. This makes sense, as the size of smartphones have greatly increased and cut into the Mini’s territory. Without the features of a Pro model, the Mini seems to be stuck in no-man’s land when it comes to marketing. It’s too close to modern smartphones in size and severely under-powered in comparison with either current iPad Pro model. Add in the fact that the new iPad, which is closer to the Mini 4 in terms of specs, is actually cheaper at a larger size, and you can see that this was make or break time for the Mini form factor. According to Mr Geller, it looks like it might be break, as he is the most connected source to weigh in on the situation to this point.

I know this news of the Mini fading away will be unwelcome for many of our readers. Several of you responded in two posts earlier this year (found here and here) discussing size preferences of iPads, and what models everyone hoped to see coming up. I know we are only a small slice of the Apple pie, but I was surprised at how many of you still had a preference, in some cases a strong preference, for the iPad Mini. Several of you had hopes of seeing a Mini Pro this year, and the possibilities of such a portable device with Pencil compatibility. However,  I think today’s news is a strong indication that it won’t happen.

Mr Geller did say that it isn’t clear whether Apple would kill the Mini outright, or would just allow it to fade out like the old iPod Classic and other such devices. I think the latter is more likely, given the fact that Apple just made a change to the Mini 4 less than two full months ago. Still, if sales of the Mini are as poor as some have let on, then the Mini will probably get a lot less runway on its way out than the old Classic did. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Mini continue on until the holidays with some blowout pricing to move as many units as possible. However, I have my doubts that any iPad Mini model will be available by February of next year. If that is the case, then fair thee well iPad Mini. You have served many of us, myself included, very well.

Are you still an iPad Mini user or fan? If so, are you surprised to hear that the Mini could be on its way out, or is this what you’ve been expecting? Let us know in the Comments below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.

 


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Post tags: iPad mini, iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini Pro

18:20

The Rundown for the Week of May 14

The Rundown is our recurring Facebook Live video segment that covers the site’s posts from the previous week, some Apple News, and some things that are coming soon on the site.

In this week’s Rundown, we look back at last week on the site:

  • Apple Slices (WWDC Date, Apple buys Beddit, Apple on top of Wearables, and Apple breaks their own valuation record)
  • UAG Plasma Case Review
  • Tips and Tricks- Using Split-View in Safari on the iPad.
  • New iPad Pro Rumors

Take a Look at Some Apple News from this Week:

  • Apple invested $200 million in Corning and their Gorilla Glass.
  • Apple acquired “dark data” analysis company Lattice for $200 million.
  • The iPhone 8 is rumored to start at $999.
  • The A11 processor for the next iPhones are rumored to have gone into production.
  • Apple released a set of 16 photo guides to help you with your iPhoneography.
  • Apple has recieved patents regarding using iMessage to correspond with Siri.

And look forward to what’s ahead the rest of this week and later:

  • My interview with Noah Leon, who is working on a documentary film on the Apple Newton.
  • More iPad and WWDC Rumors.
  • Tips- Making sure you are backed up.
  • AirPods Review.

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Post tags: apple newton, apple slices, ios 11, ipad 10.5 rumors, siri in imessage, WWDC

May 14 2017

21:40

iPad Rumors Return- Announcement of a New iPad Pro at WWDC Looking Likely


FINALLY!! There is actually some iPad news worth posting about. After only getting one new iPad in the early Spring after rumors of as many as five new devices in the pipeline, it looks like the release of at least one new iPad Pro is imminent. The new iPad Pro 10.5″ model, which was rumored to have gone into production a few weeks ago, now seems to be slated for announcement in three weeks at WWDC.

Rumors were starting to pop up over the last few days, but now we have the fairly reliable Ming-Chi Quo of KGI Securities weighing in, agreeing that a WWDC announcement of a new iPad Pro is happening. It is encouraging to get a little bit of outside confirmation, as we don’t always see hardware announced at WWDC anymore. The keynote is typically very software and developer focused, and has grown to as long as two hours in recent years as Apple’s software lineup has expanded to include OSX, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. However, after Apple decided to forego an event to announce the new iPad, iPad Mini 4 changes, and Product (RED) iPhone SE, WWDC became the next logical choice.

As for the design of this new 10.5″ iPad Pro, the consistent rumors of a bezel-less display with a 10.5″ screen seem to be holding up as we near release. The new Pro will likely have the same chassis as the existing 9.7″ model, but may have curved glass around the edges to achieve the elimination of the bezels, similar to what is rumored to be coming on the iPhone 8. This should be an indicator of what we see this Fall.

The new 10.5″ iPad should also feature at least an A10X processor, which will be a solid bump up from the A9X in the existing 12.9 and 9.7 inch models. It is also possible that we could see the A11X, as we know the 11 will be the processor for the coming iPhones. There were rumors this week that the A11 went into production, but that may just be in advance of the new iPhones coming this year. However, based on on the performance and battery life I still get on my 12.9″ Pro, a single generation bump to the A10X should be just fine.

One area of this new 10.5″ iPad Pro that will be of great interest to everyone is the Home Button and TouchID. It isn’t yet clear whether the bezel-less design will necessitate getting rid of the Home Button as we expect on the coming iPhone 8. If so, then the way that TouchID is handled could tell us something about how far along Apple is with their alternative technologies, such as getting fingerprint recognition to work through the screen. If we see it here, it will be almost certain to be in the coming iPhone 8. Stay tuned.

While the rumors on the 10.5″ iPad Pro are very clear and specific, there hasn’t been any new news on the previously rumored spec bumps to the 12.9″ and 9.7″ Pros. If these turned out to be nothing more than processor and memory upgrades, then it is possible that they just aren’t significant enough to turn the rumor mill. However, the fact that there hasn’t been ANY mention means it is likely that the 10.5″ will get the spotlight at WWDC alone. Even if this is the case, the release of the new iPad with so little fanfare could mean that these refreshes will come later with just a press release and online Apple Store update.

At least we finally have some iPad and WWDC news to balance out the crazy that is the upcoming iPhone 8. That, and we have pretty solid confirmation that we will have more new Apple hardware very soon. What do you think of this news? Who is considering buying the new 10.5″ iPad Pro? Who is holding out for an updated 12.9″ or 9.7″ model? Let me know in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Post tags: iPad announcement, ipad at wwdc, iPad Pro, iPad Pro 10.5, iPad rumors

May 13 2017

22:48

Deals: 12,000mAh LED Power Bank and 2 Big Giveaways


We are quickly approaching Summer, which is a time when many of us are on the go more than ever. If you are anything like me, when you are doing all of this running around, there are multiple devices on the go along with you. I have a family of five, so there are always several phones, tablets, and/or portable gaming devices with us wherever we are headed. There are always going to be those times when you need to charge one of these devices, but don’t have an outlet or available car adapter. It’s always good to have a backup battery around for such occasions.

We have several backup batteries between us in our home, but as our mobile devices grow more and more powerful, the batteries have to get bigger to meet the growing power demands. Our Deals site currently has a special on a Power Bank that fits the bill perfectly at a great price. At 12,000mAh of capacity, this Power Bank has enough juice to fully re-charge a 12.9″ iPad Pro’s battery with room to spare. If it can recharge my Pro, it can handle most other mobile devices several times over. This is exactly the kind of capacity you need with you on the road and on the go. Add in dual USB outputs and a backlit LED display that lets you know the current battery capacity for a very affordable $19.99, and you have a rock-solid value.

The 12,000mAh LED Power Bank from Sky Innovations is available from our Deals site for $19.99, which is 50% off the regular retail price of $39.99.

While you are at over at our Deals site, stay a little while and sign up for two great giveaways they have going right now.


First, our Deals site is giving away the very popular and still VERY difficult to find Nintendo Switch in 26 days. Sign up for this giveaway right here.


Second, our Deals site has a Binge Watcher’s Giveaway, which includes a 50″ VIZIO SmartCast UHD TV and an Apple TV. Sign ups for this giveaway end in 25 days, which you can take care of right here.


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Post tags: Apple TV, giveaways, nintendo switch, power bank, vizio tv

00:35

Tips and Tricks: Using Split-View in Safari on the iPad


After the introduction of true iPad multi-tasking in iOS 9, one of the biggest missing features was the ability to use this split view in Safari. Other browsers and apps rushed in to fill the void, but they often had their limitations. Thankfully, Apple remedied this omission in iOS 10, adding native split-view capability to Safari. However, while it is a powerful feature, it is far from intuitive. It’s one of those that, if you didn’t know it was there, you very well might never notice it. Let’s take a look at all of the ways you can trigger and use Safari Split-View.

Rules of the Road

Before we get started, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First off, Split-View can only be used in landscape orientation. Unlike multi-tasking on the iPad, which can be used in portrait or landscape, Safari will return to a single pane if you rotate your iPad after opening a split-view. However, on a good note, it remembers where you were once you rotate your iPad back to landscape.

Second, everyone needs to understand right off the bat that you cannot re-size the panes in split-view. This is also unlike multi-tasking, where you can arrange your two windows as you see fit. One way to get around this is to go back to the old method of using a second app. Both Chrome and Firefox support multi-tasking, so either will give you a full-featured browser that you can size as you like. Another handy app that was developed to work around the limitations of iOS 9, but still has its uses, is Sidefari.


This app allows you to re-size the window as you please, but also lets you work off of your existing Safari bookmarks and links.



Getting Triggered

There are four ways to trigger split-view. First, if you are opening a link, just tap and hold, and then select “Open in Split View.”


Second, if you want to move an already-opened tab into a split-view pane, just drag the tab down and to either the right or left side of the screen.




Third, you can tap and hold on the Tab Button in the top-right corner of the screen to open an empty split-view panel.


Last, if you use an external keyboard like I do, use “Command-N” to open an empty split-view panel.

Keeping Tabs

The hard, or at least the unintuitive part is over once you get a split-view opened up. Working within one is fairly simple and powerful from this point forward. First off, you can move tabs freely between the two windows by dragging them across the screen.

You can also open links from one window in the other by doing a tap and hold on the link and selecting “Open on Other Side.”


If you decide to go back to a single pane, you can consolidate all of your tabs again by doing a tap and hold on the Tab Button on either side, and selecting “Merge All Tabs.”


You can also drag the tabs on one pane back to the other to close split-view. Once the last tab is moved, you will automatically revert back to a single pane.

There are a couple of other restrictions to be aware of. FIrst of all, you can only move tabs between panes of the same type. If you are Private Browsing on one side, and have a standard browsing session on the other, you will not be able to move tabs back and forth until both sides match. Second, if you open a link in one browser using the “Open on Other Side” command, be aware that the link will open according to the current browsing mode of the pane it appears in. For example, if you open a link from a Private Browsing session using “Open on Other Side” and the other side has a standard browsing window, you will not be browsing privately.

While it took Apple an extra year to get this useful multi-tasking feature into iOS, I commend them for adding plenty of functionality. However, there is still a little room for improvement with the implementation of split-view. Hopefully we will get the ability to resize the panes and a more intuitive interface that more users will understand in iOS 11. Until then, I hope this helps you get a handle on how to use Split-View for Safari on iPad.

Do you use Split-View in Safari on your iPad, or do you still use a second browser or a secondary app, such as Sidefari? I would love to hear about your experiences, and any tips you may have for other users. You can let us know in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog. I look forward to hearing from you.


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Post tags: chrome, firefox, Safari, Safari Split View, sidefari, split-view

May 11 2017

21:08

Review: Urban Armor Gear Plasma Series Case


If there is one thing the world isn’t short of, it is iPhone cases. They come in all shapes, sizes, types, and materials, from manufacturers across the world. As anyone who has dropped their iPhone and busted the screen (which is most of us) can tell you, it is a hard world out there with a naked or barely-covered device. As such, those cases with heavy duty drop protection have always been a popular choice for many. Unfortunately, the cases that provide the highest degree of protection tend to add a lot of bulk and completely obscure the look of the iPhone. While there is certainly a place for these cases and there are many lines of work and types of play where they are absolutely necessary, they tend to viewed as the only options to protect an iPhone from drops.

However, there are accessory manufacturers who are working to provide more varied levels of protection, as well as balancing the need for protection with the aesthetics of the device. One such manufacturer is Urban Armor Gear, otherwise known as UAG. They have developed an extensive lineup of cases with Military Standard 810G drop protection, with models to fit iPhones from the 5/5S/SE to the 7 Plus, as well as all current models of iPad, several versions of the MacBook, and several models of Android phones. Their cases have a great industrial aesthetic that fits the function perfectly. I have owned a couple of UAG cases for previous models of iPhones, and I really liked the balance of protection and good looks. However, their Plasma Series brings a fresh, new element to their typical design.

The Plasma Series brings elements that we are used to from UAG, such as three-layer construction and military spec drop protection, but it also features a slim and light profile that almost seems at odds with this level of protection. The Plasma Series also shakes things up even more with a translucent back that shows off the look of the iPhone in a way that few cases that tout superior drop protection can match.

I chose the clear Ice model, as it beautifully pairs with the look of my Rose Gold iPhone 7 Plus.


The Plasma is also available in Ash, Citron, and Cobalt, which add gray, green, or blue hue to the back, respectively.


I really like the way that UAG kept their industrial design aesthetic, simply combining it with the elements of the iPhone that now come through the translucent back.

The coolest element on the back of the case is the honeycomb look of the shock cushion layer. This layer is translucent, as well, so the Rose Gold color comes through in such a way that it looks like the honeycomb design is part of the iPhone. Several people who have handled my phone since I started testing this case noticed this design element and asked about it. It’s a small thing, but good design is about the small things. Combining form and function in a meaningful way like this gets an A in my book.

Another small, but interesting touch is the way that the translucent back actually wraps around to the sides.


This is another unique touch that looks particularly good with the Rose Gold contrasted with the black rubber sides of the case.

I also like the fact that the Plasma case has a raised edge all the way around the screen for drop protection.


This can get in the way of use if it is too thick and close to the screen, and can be useless if it is too shallow to provide protection. Too much of a thick, raised edge can also interfere with screen protectors, if you prefer to use one like I do. The raised edge on the Plasma is squarely in the Goldilocks Zone for me- just right.

The other design element that stood out to me is the way the case fits and feels in the hand. This case is thinner and lighter than several I’ve used with my 7 Plus, which is an accomplishment with this level of drop protection. It also doesn’t add any unnecessary width to the Plus, which is important. This phone can be a challenge for some users to hold, and for most any of us to use with one hand. The design of this case doesn’t get in the way in this regard, which is worth noting. 

The only critique that I have is that I wish that UAG has designed around the Apple logo on the back of the phone a little more.


The UAG logo design element on the back of the case cuts into the Apple logo, and just slightly into the “iPhone” labeling on the back of the device. Since they took the step of embracing the look of the phone, it would have been nice for them to go just that little bit further. However, this is pretty nit-picky on my part. Everything is still visible through the translucent back, and the combo of form and function is strong enough that this is just a minor critique.

The UAG Plasma Series cases for iPhone 7 Plus (the same model also works for the 6S and 6 Plus, as well) retails for $39.95. I feel like this is a fair price for a high-quality case with this level of drop protection. It is also less than what you would typically pay for a comparable new case from other protection-oriented manufacturers, such as Otterbox and Lifeproof. UAG’s Plasma doesn’t deliver the extreme protection that some other cases do, but it does provide an excellent balance of protection, appealing looks, and price. For iPhone owners who don’t need that extreme level of protection on a day-to-day basis, this case is definitely one you should consider.

The UAG Plasma Series Ice case for iPhone 6/6S/7 Plus is available from UAG for $39.95 plus tax.

The Plasma Series Ice case was provided for review on iPad Insight by Urban Armor Gear (UAG). For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.


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Post tags: ice, iphone drop protection, iphone protective case, lifeproof, otterbox, plasma, uag, urban armor gear

May 10 2017

16:41

Deals: Zoolz Dual Cloud 1TB Storage- Lifetime Subscription


  1. One thing is always true in this brave, new digital world- You can never have enough cloud storage. Zoolz, an up-and-coming name in cloud storage is making you a deal you shouldn’t refuse. For the low price of $29.99, you get 1 full terabyte of storage, and not just for a year. This is a one time payment for a Lifetime Subscription. 

500 GB is standard “Instant Vault” storage, where you will have real-time access to your data via their web interface or iOS app. The other 500 GB are “Archive,” or “Cold Storage.” This is for purposes like backing up old tax and financial documents, or as a last-resort backup for digital photos. Where files in your Instant Vault are available instantly, Archived files can be retrieved in 3 to 5 hours. When you put these data sets together, you have full coverage, and the space to back up all of your important digital files.

The Zoolz Dual Cloud 1TB Storage: Lifetime Subscription is available from out Deals site for $29.99.

Cloud storage is an incredibly valuable thing, and Cloud solutions don’t get much better than Zoolz. With this lifetime of 500GB of Cold Storage, you’ll have an extremely affordable place to safely store massive amounts of data. Sometimes you’ll have data you just won’t need for awhile, and with Zoolz archive capabilities you can deposit up to 500GB securely in the cloud. 

Archive 500GB of retrievable data for life w/ no additional costs

Have your data encrypted w/ military-grade 256-AES encryption before it even leaves your machine

Retrieve stored files in approximately 3-5 hours from Cold Storage

Enjoy backup scheduling, bandwidth throttling, icon overlay, file retention & more

Preview thumbnails of images

Get reliability w/ data stored over multiple facilities & devices


Cloud storage is an incredibly valuable thing, and Cloud solutions don’t get much better than Zoolz. With 500GB of Instant Vault, you’ll be able to free up precious space on your computer or external hard drive, allowing them to run faster and cleaner. And the best part is you’ll still be able to access your Instant Vault quickly and easily, restoring data you need within minutes. Zoolz know you want options, and Zoolz gives you options. 

Store 500GB of instantly accessible data for life, w/ no additional costs
Have your data encrypted w/ military-grade 256-AES encryption before it even leaves your machine

Quickly drag & drop files into your web browser to store them in the cloud

Retrieve stored files instantly

Preview thumbnails of images

Get reliability w/ data stored over multiple facilities & devices


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Post tags: archive, Cloud Storage, cold storage, instant vault, zoolz

04:54

Apple Slices- Apple News is Picking Up as We Head Toward WWDC


In this week’s Apple Slices, we have several bits and pieces of Apple News to cover as we continue to march toward WWDC.  On that note….

Apple Announces WWDC Keynote Date and Time

Apple has sent out press invitations for the WWDC Keynote event. It will be June 5 at 10 AM PDT in San Jose, CA. Just a little less than four weeks away! Considering how few reliable leaks there have been on iOS 11 features, we may actually have some surprises this year.

Apple Buys Beddit

This slice is fresh, as this news just hit today. Beddit is a maker of sleep monitoring and tracking devices, as well as companion apps for iOS and Apple Watch. It would seem that Apple has designs on adding native sleep tracking to its wearable lineup, rather than just leaving the task to third parties. Whether this feature becomes part of the Apple Watch, or a new piece of hardware remains to be seen. Since most people choose to charge their Watches overnight, there would have to be some significant changes to future versions of the Watch for it to be effective as a sleep tracker. As such, it will be interesting to see how Apple handles this. It is also unclear what will happen to Beddit’s existing hardware after this move, so stay tuned. No matter what, this is a solid addition to Apple’s growing wearables lineup. Along the same lines…

Apple Is Now the Top Provider of Wearables in the World

Three years after entering the wearables market with the original Apple Watch, Apple has passed up Fitbit to become the world-wide market share leader in this category. Based on the news of the Beddit purchase above, the positive sales numbers from the last quarter, and the fact that the Apple still can’t keep the AirPods in stock and meet demand, there is still plenty of room for them to grow this lead.

Apple Breaks Valuation Records. Again. 

It is insane how commonplace Apple’s stock price and valuation breaking records has become. The latest round started at the end of last week, and continued on until Monday, when Apple’s valuation topped $800 Billion at one point. Apple now has the inside track to becoming the first trillion dollar company in this history of publicly traded companies.

Apple’s Workflow Restores Third-Party Connections

About a month ago, I wrote about the complaints over Apple meddling with Workflow right after purchasing it. Many users assumed that Apple removed connections to Google products and Pocket meant they were going to lock it down to iOS and key partners only. With the restoration of these connections, it now looks like Apple just changed the terms of service and/or connection agreements a bit, and was just waiting for all the t’s to be crossed and i’s dotted. Whatever the reason, this is an encouraging sign that Apple is going to make Workflow MORE powerful than ever before, not less as many feared.

Citi Identifies Seven Potential Mergers or Acquisition for Apple

Citi analyst Jim Suva has identified seven companies that Apple could be interested in purchasing. Netflix heads the list, and he predicts that there is a 40% chance of a deal between them and Apple happening. The other six companies are media giants Hulu and Disney, game developers EA, Activision, and Take-Two, as well as commonly-mentioned car maker Tesla. Other than the addition of  the three gaming companies, this list is pretty much par for the course. I won’t be shocked if Apple makes a deal, but a 40% chance of one with Netflix seems pretty high.

Apple Extends Smart Keyboard Warranties

Due to a few nagging issues that are affecting multiple Smart Keyboards, Apple has wisely decided to extend the one-year warranty on the Smart Keyboard. I made it clear in a recent article how I feel about this keyboard and Apple’s Magic Keyboard in a recent article. Despite that, I’m glad to see Apple standing by their products when there are issues.

While there isn’t anything Earth-shattering in Apple News since late last week, the pace is picking up as usual for this time of year. Look for it to get even faster over the next four weeks. I’m looking forward to it, as well as the re-appearance of iPad Pro rumors. I’ll be here to bring you the freshest slices as soon as they are good and ripe.

If you have any feedback on this week’s Apple Slices, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me using the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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Post tags: apple news, apple trillion dollar valuation, Apple Valuation, Apple wearables, Beddit, Workflow, WWDC

May 08 2017

06:46

Deals: PowerTime Apple Watch Charging Dock with 3 USB Ports


If you are an Apple Watch user, then you know that a charging stand makes life with the magnetic “puck-style” charger much easier to deal with. The problem is finding a dock that either offers additional functionality, and/or is available at a great price.

The PowerTime Apple Watch charger fits nicely into both categories. At $39.99, it not only organizes your Apple Watch charging situation, but it also provides you with three additional USB ports on the stand. The PowerTime keeps your Watch charge cable hidden and out of the way, while giving you easy assess to the three additional ports to help you out at your desk or bed-side table.

The PowerTime Apple Watch Charging Dock with 3 USB Ports is available from our Deals site for $39.99. If you are an Apple Watch user, don’t miss out.
Apple Watches have been unleashed with yet another charging innovation from Apple. With their magnetic charging cable, it’s easy to charge your watch right on your bed side table, but it’s still just another cord crawling aroung your room. The solution? This charging dock allows you to charge your watch without a wire, while providing the option to charge three more USB-compatible devices, all in the same compact location. Designed for Apple Watch, this can be the central charging hub for all of your devices.

Charge your Apple Watch & 3 more USB-compatible devices all in one place

Avoid scratches w/ the silicon-based surface

Utilize smart charging technology to deliver an optimized, safe charging speed to multiple devices at once

Declutter your charging space w/ the Apple Watch cable contained within the dock


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Post tags: Apple Watch, dock, stand, usb

04:46

The Rundown- Episode 4 for the Week of May 7


The Rundown is our recurring Facebook Live video segment that covers the site’s posts from the previous week, some Apple News, and some things that are coming soon on the site.

In this week’s Rundown, we look back at:

  • Carved Wood Power Bank and Acoustic Acorn Reviews
  • Carved Giveaways
  • Apple Slices- Apple’s Quarterly Earnings, Siri Speaker Rumors and Changes here at iPadInsight
  • Tips & Tricks- Enabling and Using Find My iPhone

We cover some Apple news:

  • Apple Watch 1st Gen Warranty was extended up to 3 additional years in the case of swelling batteries.
  • Apple has been granted a patent on long-range wireless charging tech.
  • Apple’s earnings report
  • The Apple Watch is 3 years old!
  • Qualcomm is looking to get US iPhone imports banned by the FTC thanks to their patent and licensing dispute with Apple.

And we discuss what is coming up:

  • Newton Documentary Interview
  • UAG Case Review
  • WWDC/iOS 11 Rumors- They are finally popping up now!
  • Our Apple News channel is on the way!

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Post tags: Apple, Apple Watch, carved, ios 11, uag, WWDC

May 06 2017

21:37

Tips and Tricks: Using Find My iPhone


In honor of the thieves who almost got away over 100 smartphones at Coachella a couple of weeks ago, this week’s tip is how to set up and use Find My iPhone. Those thieves were thwarted when a few of the victims used computers and other iOS devices to check Find My iPhone, and discover a man with their devices in his backpack before he could get away. For such a simple and easy to use system, it is a powerful tool that can aid you in finding lost devices, or bringing stolen ones home.

When you first set up an iOS device from scratch, you are prompted to enable iCloud and Find My iPhone, so the majority of iOS users probably have it enabled on their devices, even if they aren’t aware. However, I will approach this as if you have it disabled. I will also cover what you can do with Find My iPhone once it is enabled, so read on, even if you know you already have it set up.

Location, Location, Location

First of all, for Find My iPhone to work, Location Services must be enabled. Without this, your device can’t send its GPS location or last determined location via cell or Wi-Fi signal, meaning that Find My iPhone will have no way to track it. This is located in Settings-Privacy-Location Services.



If you go into the Location Services menu, you can fine tune which apps are able to use Location Services, and for those that offer the option, choose between allowing the app to track you all the time, or only while you are using the app. For those who are very privacy conscious when it comes to the apps and services on their phones, these options would allow you to only enable the Find My iPhone app to use your location, if you so chose.

A Walk in the Clouds

Next up, you will need to go to your iCloud settings to enable Find My iPhone. On older iOS devices running OS versions before 10.3, there is an iCloud menu in Settings. However, starting in 10.3, all personal information, passwords, payments, and accounts have been moved into a single manu tied to a banner at the top of Settings.


As you can see, this banner will have the picture tied to your account, and inside, will give you fast access to your personal data and Apple accounts on your iPhone.


The iCloud menu has been moved here, along with iTunes and the App Store, and Family Sharing.

The iCloud menu itself hasn’t changed substantially from recent versions. Find My iPhone is the next to the last item on the list.


There are just two options available. You can enable Find My iPhone using the top toggle.


The bottom toggle enables a handy feature that will have your iOS device store and transmit its last known location if the battery is running low. This is a great way to help you search for a device that you don’t realize is missing at first.

Finding Yourself

Now that you are all set up, simply open the Find My iPhone app to verify operation.


The service is very simple and easy to use, wherever you access it. Above you can see the iPhone version of the main screen, where all of the iOS devices tied to your account appear, whether by your iCloud account or by Family Sharing.


Here you can see the iPad’s interface. Simply tap on a device in the list to highlight it on the map.


Following that with a tap on your chosen device’s icon brings up your tracking options. First off, you can play a sound. This is hugely helpful when tracking a lost device, whether it’s in another room of your house, or halfway to the local grocery store, face down in the bike lane with a destroyed case and a shattered screen. Yes, this actually happened, courtesy of my daughter. I was able to find it while walking down the side of the road in the dark, by listening for the sound. The map of the device’s location got me close. The sound is what got me the rest of the way there.

Pro tip for parents: If you ever need to wake a child up who isn’t budging in the morning, this will solve your problem. You can thank me later. However, don’t overuse it. This isn’t a nuclear option, but it is pretty close.

Lost Mode is a handy feature that adds an extra layer of protection, and gives a Good Samaritan a better shot a being able to return the device to you.


You can add your phone number and a message that will be displayed any time your device is activated.


Another great feature of Lost Mode is that it sends you an email with a link to a map of its location as soon as your device it turned on and has cell signal or Wi-Fi.


So, even if someone has stolen your phone, if it still has battery life, you have a shot at getting it back without the thief knowing that they have been snitched on.

To de-activate Lost Mode once you have your device back, you just have to either enter your correct passcode, or use TouchID to unlocks it.


You also have another one of those nuclear-level options, with the ability to remotely erase your iOS device. Once you do this, your device can’t be located or tracked, so it is more of a last resort to protect your data on a device that you know is gone for good.

There are a couple of other cool features in Find My iPhone, as well. After selecting a device that isn’t near your current location, tap the car icon to get instant Apple Maps directions to it.


I also like that the remaining battery for each device that is online and being tracked is available. This gives you a good idea of how much time you have to retrieve your device while you can still use the Play Sound feature.

It’s in the Desk(top)


If you lose an Apple device and don’t have easy access to another one with Internet access, then what good is Find My iPhone? Thankfully, Apple thought of this, and as such, Find My iPhone is also on the Mac, as well as being available from the web at iCloud.com. As a Windows user, I appreciate that Apple wisely gave us access to the featute in the cloud so all iOS users can benefit.

Keeping Watch

Here’s a neat Find My iPhone-like trick for the Apple Watch. If you swipe up from Control Center, you have the ability to trigger a Find My iPhone sound from your Watch. The icon to trigger the ping is in the bottom left corner.


Where Play Sound in the full app repeats the sound, this method just does one short sound sequence per button press. Still, it’s incredibly handy when you are quickly trying to find the iPhone tied to your Watch.

Apps with Benefits

Find My iPhone also comes with the added benefit of iOS Activation Lock. This service forces you to use your iCloud credentials to deactivate Find My iPhone before you can erase your device. This means that a thief can’t easily just erase your phone and sell it whole.

This feature also stays in effect if you use the Erase Phone feature in Find My iPhone. Before the iOS device can be activated and set up, the original iCloud login must be entered to release the lock. If you have ever looked at phones for sale on eBay or Craigslist and seen the term “iCloud locked,” this is what they are referring to. Evidently there is at least one method to bypass an Activation Lock, but it costs money and isn’t necessarily easy to do.

Find My iPhone is one of those things that every iOS device owned should take the time to set up and learn a little about. The features have many practical applications, the app is simple and easy to use, and it could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in lost or stolen Apple gear. If you haven’t enabled it or aren’t sure if it is, do yourself a favor and take a look right now.

Do you have a Find My iPhone story? Has it helped you find a lost iOS device, or were you able to retrieve a device that was stolen? If so, we would love to hear about it. Let us know in the Comments below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


© jhrogersii for iPad Insight, 2017. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
Post tags: Find My iPhone, iCloud, Location Services, lost ipad, lost iphone

May 04 2017

01:38

Deals: SFC30 Bluetooth Controller + NES Classic Bluetooth Reciever


If you are either close to my age, a classic gaming fan, or both, then you likely recognize the controller pictured above. The SFC30 from 8Bitdo Tech is precisely styled after the controller from the Super Famicom, the Japanese version of the popular Super Nintendo classic 16 bit game console. This controller was a BIG leap forward over the original Ninetendo NES controller, with more buttons and far better ergonomics.

What the SFC30 has that the original didn’t is Bluetooth wireless and wider compatibility. That compatibility includes iCade games on iOS, Android, Mac OSX and Windows. The controller also works well for the retroPi Raspberry Pi classic gaming emulator, and includes a Bluetooth dongle that is compatible with the popular, but hard to find NES Classic Edition.

Note: This is not an MFi-compatible controller for iOS, so it may not work with most controller-enabled games on iOS. It is certified to work with iCade compatible games. Wider iOS compatibiliy, including use with emulators, is possible with Jailbroken iOS devices.

The SFC30 Bluetooth Controller + NES Classic Bluetooth Reciever Exclusive Bundle from 8Bitdo Tech is available from our Deals site for $39.99.

If you prefer the Super Nintendo button arrangement, the SNES30 version of the bundle is available here for $39.99.
The future (or past?) of gaming is thrust upon us once again with this exclusive offer of the Bluetooth SFC30 controller and NES Classic Edition Receiver. For gamers who just plain appreciate a classic, simple controller, this gamepad lets you play your favorite games on iOS, Android, Mac OS X, and Windows with complete ease. With a professionally designed ergonomic feel and responsiveness, this controller has been expertly optimized for use with touchscreen games. Plus, with the included receiver, you can take it in the opposite direction, solving one of the chief problems of the NES Classic Edition (that short, short wire) with wireless gameplay. You can even decide to play the NES Classic with more advanced Playstation or Wii controllers. 


Supports multiplayer on iOS w/ dual keyboard code system

Controller compatible w/ iOS, Android, Mac OS X, & Windows devices

Receiver is compatible w/ all 8Bitdo controllers & arcade sticks, plus next gen PS4, PS3, Wii Mote, & Wii U Pro controllers

Built-in CPU & FLASH memory chip allows for upgradeable firmware

Works w/ iCade compatible games without jailbreaking your device


© jhrogersii for iPad Insight, 2017. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
Post tags: nes classic edition, snes, super famicom, super nintendo

May 03 2017

16:00

Apple Slices- Apple Earnings and Siri Speaker Rumblings


Time to take some small bites out of the current Apple news, now that there is a little bit beyond the early-onset iPhone 8 insanity that I complained about last week. And, as some of you many have noticed, there are a few changes afoot around here, as well.

Apple Quarterly Earnings

Apple released its second quarter earnings yesterday. They were pretty much as expected. iPhone sales are flat. iPad sales are down again. Macs were up slightly and Apple’s fast-growing services category is increasingly profitable. Also, the “Other Devices” category, which covers Apple’s hardware other than the Mac, iPhone, and iPad (which notably includes the Watch), was up significantly. None of this was shocking. All of these things ar objective facts straight out of the report.

You know what else was as expected after Apple released its earnings? Media hyperbole in both directions. The responses to Apple’s earnings are all over the map. Here are some of the more notable headlines:

A few media outlets take a positive angle:

  • “Apple is making more money selling fewer things”- The Next Web
  • “Apple services, “Other” revenue sources impress with massive Q2 growth”- appleinsider
  • “Apple beats expectations in Q2 2017 earnings report”- Cult of Mac
  • “Apple is alright despite slowing sales as high-end iPhones increase the average selling price”- Firstpost

Others have a much more negative view:

  • “Apple sees surprise fall in iPhone sales”- BBC World
  • “Apple reports surprise drop in iPhone sales, again”- The Guardian
  • “Apple reports surprise decline in iPhone sales”- The Telegraph
  • “Apple’s Big Problem: iPhone Sales Are Flat”- NBC News
  • “Apple Stocks fall Amid iPhone, Services Disappointment”- Fox Business
  • “Apple Shifts Out of the Fast Lane, Perhaps for Good”- Bloomberg
  • “Apple Going Lower: FYQ2 Revenue Misses, Q3 Rev View Misses; 50.8M iPhones Misses Consensus”- Barron’s”
  • “Surprise: Apple iPhone Sales Fall in Last Quarter”- Fortune

And still others wisely see the good and bad more equally:

  • “Apple’s services business grows 18%, as iPhone sales stall”- TechCrunch
  • “Apple in Q2: Sold fewer iPhones than last year, but also made more money.”- Macworld
  • “Apple earnings show modest growth, but iPhone sales are flat”- The Verge
  • “Apple’s earnings show declining iPhone sales, average returns in second quarter”- Digital Trends
  • “Apple is too damned big”- Quartz
  • “Apple’s marginal gains fail to please”- The Wall Street Journal

Some focused on a single fact or targeted viewpoint:

  • “Apple Pay transactions rose 450% in the last year.”- VentureBeat
  • “Apple now pays the biggest dividend in the world…”- CNBC
  • “Apple Sells Fewer iPhones in Latest Quarter After Consumers Wait to Upgrade”- Bloomberg
  • “Apple iPhone sales fall, maybe because of iPhone 8.”- CNET
  • “Apple sold fewest iPads in a quarter since the tablet’s first year.”- VentureBeat
  • “Apple Watch sales have nearly doubled YoY says Tim Cook; exact sales numbers left unsaid”- TechMeme
  • “Apple’s growing pile of cash stash spurs talk of huge acquisition”- Associated Press

Here are a few of my completely subjective and un-informed observations based on all these takes:

  • The funny thing that stands out to me is how some of the media outlets come up with the exact opposite viewpoint based on the same facts. The Apple spin can be ridiculous, whether positive or negative.
  • I also find it interesting that Fortune, The BBC ,The Telegraph, and The Guardian were surprised at the drop in iPhone sales when the numbers are within a couple of percent of predictions leading up to the earnings report. If they were really surprised, or think anyone else was, then they’re incompetent. Here’s the thing- they aren’t. This is just click-bait. It’s pretty sad that the worst headlines are coming from the bigger names on this list.
  • Fox Business’ take just comes off as completely uninformed. Calling Apple’s Services business, which rose 18% this quarter and is just scratching the surface of its potential, disappointing is ridiculous.
  • Cult of Mac’s headline paints too rosy of a picture of this report. Apple still depends on iPhone sales, so their lack of growth is cause of some concern, zombie iPhone 8 hype not withstanding. There is also nothing positive about the fact that iPad sales were still in free fall before the release of the new iPad. Apple barely beating some expectations doesn’t tell the full story, any more than being “surprised” by numbers known in advance does. There is good news in this report, but it is still tempered with some concerns.
  • To me, the most useful information from this report is coming from the more focused articles and headlines. There are deeper reasons and stories behind all of these numbers, and these stories dig beyond the surface toward some of them.
  • There is more than one mention of Apple’s swelling cash reserves (I just mentioned one, for brevity), as well as their now largest dividend program in the world. That dividend program is going to make Apple’s investors very happy, and if Apple decided to do something substantial with their quarter of a trillion pocket change, they will be even happier.
  • Like Services, the Watch seems to be emerging as a solid, slow-burn profit center for Apple. All signs point to sales gradually picking up steam, despite the prevailing media opinion that the product is a disappointment.
  • There’s no covering up how bleak the iPad numbers have been for a few years now, and the situation continued to get worse in the second quarter. However, everyone needs to understand that the sales numbers for the new iPad won’t have an impact until next quarter’s earnings. If they are still this bad at that point, then there’s reason for Apple and its fans to really worry about the future of the iPad and their strategy for it.

Stay tuned for next quarter. iPhone sales will likely be pretty poor with the iPhone 8 hype train rolling on. However, it will be interesting to see if Apple’s Services and Other Devices categories continue to grow. In my opinion, the most critical piece of news for next quarter will be if the new iPad and its lower price at least levels off the continued decline in sales.

Siri Speaker

I’ve been thinking about writing something on Siri as we get closer to WWDC, but then these rumors of a Siri Speaker started making the rounds, so I decided to hold of for a bit. My thoughts leading up to this were basically that Apple needs to get more serious about their digital assistant. Siri has seemingly been an afterthought for a long time now, with only a gradual trickle of improvements and functionality added over years the last six years. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have all equalled or surpassed what Apple offers as far as voice search, AI, and app and service tie-ins, despite Apple getting to this category first. Amazon and Google also both have products that are delivering a superior experience with voice assistant technology into homes. If nothing else, this product rumor at least gives me hope that Apple gets it, and is FINALLY going to start paying more attention to this area that is quickly growing in importance.

The Siri Speaker is our first real WWDC rumor, as that would be the likely place and time to announce it. It’s less than five weeks away now, so more and more information on this and other products, and details of iOS 11 should be coming up soon. While this product is still just a rumor right now, considering that the fairly reliable Ming-Chi Quo of KGI Securities has weighed in saying that this product has a 50-50 or better shot of hitting shelves, there is a good chance that there is legitimate supply-chain action happening. Cult of Mac followed that up today saying that Apple has placed production orders, so there may be more than just smoke here.

The functionality of this rumored device hasn’t really been discussed yet. I am guessing most people think that it will have a similar feature set to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. However, what is more interesting is whether Apple can make the experience equal to either of those products. One rumor is that Apple could focus on making the audio quality far better for music playback, which would be a very smart move. This is a relatively weaker area for Amazon and Google’s products, and would only serve to bolster Apple Music from the hardware side.

However, all the nice speakers in the world can’t cover up Siri’s deficiencies in search and delivering direct answers to questions. The biggest question is, what can Apple do to fix this before releasing such a product? Or do they have a big revamp of Siri waiting in the wings to be revealed at WWDC? Robert Scobel actually alluded to a complete, ground-up revamp of Siri that Apple has been working on behind the scenes and will reveal this year on an episode of TWIT a few months ago. Scobel’s track record is mixed, and some of his other Apple predictions from that podcast seemed really out there (a see-through bodied, augmented reality-focused iPhone 8?), but he does have sources in lots of places. He may be onto something. I can’t imagine that Apple would expose themselves with a device that could deliver an Apple Maps launch-like experience. If this device is real, then some changes to Siri MUST be coming. Again, stay tuned.

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

If you are a frequent visitor here at iPad Insight, then you may have noticed some changes over the last week. Namely, a bunch of iPhone articles suddenly appeared alongside all of the iPad content that you are used to. For those of you who may not be aware, iPad Insight has had a sister site named iPhone Insight that has covered that side of the Apple landscape for the last couple of years. All parties involved here came to the conclusion that such an arbitrary split no longer makes much sense. iPhone Insight will be going away, and the migration of all the iPhone coverage from there to iPad Insight was the first step.

If you take a look around the Apple Blogosphere, you will see that this is how things have shaken out over time. There were initially many iPhone-centric blogs that sprang up around and after the release of Apple’s cornerstone mobile device. In some cases, these blogs and sites simply broadened their coverage as devices like the iPad and Apple TV hit the market. Others, like this group of sites, split into multiple divided domains with little to no crossover. Over time, the former model has largely won out, as the vast majority of Apple-focused sites now cover all of Apple, rather than just bits and pieces. In response to the way Apple coverage has changed across the web, from this point forward, you wil begin to see more and more coverage of ALL Apple devices here, with an emphasis on iOS.

If you are a long-time reader of iPad Insight, especially if you go all the way back to the days of the Just Another iPhone Blog and Just Another iPad Blog, please don’t be worried or put off by this change. Patrick Jordan, the founder of these sites, actually hired me for my first gig writing about iOS back in 2010. I primarily wrote for him at Just Another iPhone Blog (which was later sold and became iSource), but if you do a search of the site, you will see that I also wrote a couple of articles for this site going back that far, as well. I have a lot of respect for the way he did things and the very high quality that he maintained over a long period of time. I also respect the long history that iPad Insight has, and feel a connection with it because of my previous time here.

Be certain of one thing- the iPad will NEVER go neglected here. I am using my 12.9″ iPad Pro to write this article right now, just as I do for every other article that I write here. I love the iPad and will remain committed to it as a platform, no matter what the market share or sales numbers say. I love the current devices, and the iOS touch interface on the larger Pro screen. The current iPad and iOS really work for the personal computing tasks that I have, and the things that I do outside of work. As long as I am writing here, the iPad will still be the cornerstone of the site.

That said, there is a wide and growing world of Apple products, especially centered around iOS. I have already been covering a lot of general Apple and iOS news here, but now you will start to see some iPhone, Apple Watch, and maybe even some occasional Apple TV content here, as well. The numbers tell us that most Apple users own and use more than one Apple product, so I would imagine that many of you iPad owners reading this also have an iPhone. Some of you likely have an Apple Watch, as well. What I aim to do is to find a good balance of mixing news and tips for these other products in with the iPad coverage that you are used to seeing here.

If anyone has comments or feedback about this change, or what you would like to see, I am ALL EARS. I always am. I love hearing from you, whether it is positive or negative, good, bad, or ugly. Whether I agree with you or not, I will ALWAYS respect an informed opinion and listen with an open mind. I want make sure that this change enhances your experience here, rather than detracting from it.

In the future, I will try and keep Apple Slices a bit shorter, but there is finally a bit of real Apple news to cover, on top of our changes here. Again, if you have any feedback on Apple’s Earnings, the rumored Siri Speaker, or the changes coming to iPad Insight, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me using the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog. Also, very soon, you will be able to keep up with us using Apple News! I will be sure to let everyone know when our first post goes live there.


© jhrogersii for iPad Insight, 2017. | Permalink | 2 comments | Add to del.icio.us
Post tags: apple earnings, apple news, apple slices, ipad insight changes, siri speaker

May 02 2017

05:31

Giveaways- Carved Wood Power Bank and Acoustic Acorn

Here is your chance to win the two Carved products that I reviewed on the site yesterday. These are two high quality, beautifully made accessories that retail for $59 and $49, respectively. They will work perfectly with your Apple devices, and any other mobiles devices, as well. You definitely won’t want to miss out on this.

Onto the boring part. The giveaways are being conducted separately, with each item having its own contest, both of which are listed below. There will be one winner of each contest. Officially, the contest is open to anyone in the United States, Canada, or Mexico. However, if you live outside of these countries and are willing to pay for shipping for either item, then you can enter and win. I’ll save the rest of the rules for the Terms of Service, which is available to view under each contest below.

Both contests end at 12 AM Saturday morning, so don’t delay. Enter today!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


© jhrogersii for iPad Insight, 2017. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
Post tags: Apple, carved, carved acoustic acorn, carved wood power bank, giveaway, iPad, iphone

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