Categories
Popular posts

When’s the last time you used an Android phone?

Earlier this month, Samsung launched something called “iTest.” It’s a way for iPhone owners to try out Samsung’s version of Android, right on their device.

It’s designed to function as a web app, something you launch from the Home Screen on your iPhone. Once it opens you’ll get to see what Samsung’s One UI looks like, how apps like the phone and messages and even the camera work, and even apply themes. It’s a simple implementation, and it’s far from showing off the true “power” of Android by any means.

But it’s probably enough to tease something more.

I don’t know if it’s a new way for Samsung to convince iPhone owners to make the switch or not. Honestly, just opening the text messaging app and comparing it to Apple’s option is enough to make me not want to switch. Of course, I know there are alternatives, and Google’s own first-party option isn’t bad. But, just comparing it to Samsung’s offering here and I’d pick Apple’s any day of the week. And that doesn’t even consider iMessage.

iTest did get me wondering, though. Is this Samsung suggesting that iPhone switching is starting to dwindle? Does the company need to come up with new ideas like this to try and win those customers over? And, ultimately, is it good enough? Is this like a Nintendo thing? That video game giant put Mario on smartphones, but not with any real or full experiences. Super Mario Run, for instance, just taps at the fun you can have on an adventure with Mario and crew. But if you want more, you’ll need to go ahead and fork over the cash for a Switch or Switch Lite, thank you very much.

The same can definitely be said for the Mario Kart game on mobile, too.

Maybe Samsung is just trying to whet the appetite of any person who might be on the fence these days. I’m sure they’re still out there, the folks who might be considering a switch at any given moment. I consider it sometimes. But then I go out and try an Android device, like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G. I gave that phone a try for about a week, but ultimately it wasn’t for me. And I guess there’s no real reason to try any of LG’s latest Android phones, either.

It’s a stark difference from how I used to go through phones all the time way back when. I even used to get phones shipped from Europe because there wasn’t an option here in the States. (I will always and forever absolutely adore that original HTC Hero, that chin and trackball was amazing.) But eventually I discovered the iPhone, and, even though there were features missing here and there some years, I found the experience to simply be better on the daily.

That really hasn’t changed for me, but I also realize that I just don’t want to switch. There are aspects of iOS I don’t like, but there are a lot more elements of Android that just can’t win me over from the elements of iOS that I do enjoy. Do I wish Apple was faster to adopt some features? Yes. But I’ve lived with the “better late than never” way of accepting Apple’s upgrades for so long that it just feels like how it’s supposed to be.

But, I’m curious: when’s the last time you tried an Android device? And when’s the last time you actually considered switching away from Apple’s iPhone lineup because one of those devices won you over? And hey, if you’re an Android user right now, which phone are you using, and are you just waiting for Apple to do something (or add something to the iPhone) before you jump back?

Categories
Popular posts

Halo, Afterglow, Haze, and more apps to check out this weekend

In this week’s edition of our Apps of the Week roundup we have a smart mindfulness app, an app for telling 2 minute stories, and a new, minimal weather client. And as always, we’ve selected two great games for you to check out.

Halo: Rest, Focus, Meditate

We’re highlighting another mindfulness app today. What helps this app stand out in such a crowded category is its inviting UI, the AI-generated music and the 7-day free trial. That’s double the amount of time you usually get, which gives you the chance to see if the app is worth paying for.

Download for free

Afterglow: Podcasts & Stories

Afterglow is a cozy, welcoming place with beautiful ambient music and 2-minute long stories/podcasts. Picture it like sitting around the fireplace with family and friends listening to wonderful stories. You can even tell your own stories. Categories include books, travel dreams, relationships and more.

Download for free

Haze: Air Quality & Weather

I love a good, new weather app that tries to put its own spin on an age-old concept. This one puts an emphasis on a simple and clear design, quality data and Home Screen widgets that give you important info at a glance. I also like that there are no ads and it gives air pollution data.

Download for free

Pong AR

I figured I’d go a little outside the box with this week’s first game selection. It’s called Pong AR, and yeah you literally play pong with your face. Now you’ll need a newer device, but there are all sorts of fun controls: stick your tongue out to start, raise your eyebrows to load leaderboard, etc.

Download for free

SMASH LEGENDS

This game is a thrilling, real-time brawler in which you must knock out all of your competitors and be the last-one standing. The knockouts are epic, there are a variety of game modes, you can play against players from all over the world, and best of all, matches only take 3 minutes.

Download for free

App-related news from this week

  • How to use Instagram Vanish mode on iPhone
  • The best free logo makers for Mac
  • Apple: “We’re not against digital advertising”
  • How to get notified of new Apple Arcade games

Categories
Popular posts

IntelligentPass 4 intelligently disables your handset’s passcode and authentication in low risk environments

Your iPhone or iPad will be its most secure when protected by a passcode or some form of biometric authentication, be it Face ID or Touch ID.

But most people would agree that such methods of security aren’t necessary in every environment at all times — such as when you’re alone in your own home.

If you’re interested in sparing yourself the hassle of having to enter a passcode or authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID when you aren’t in a high risk environment, then a slick jailbreak tweak dubbed IntelligentPass 4 by iOS developer Geometric Software may be of particular interest to you.

To keep it brief, IntelligentPass 4 intelligently pauses your handset’s passcode/authentication requirement in low risk environments, such as when residing your own home. It then automatically re-enables tour handset and passcode/authentication requirement when you depart the low risk environment.

One of the ways the tweak works is by allowing the user to designate a safe Wi-Fi network, and when your handset connects to a Wi-Fi network with the designated SSID, it pauses the requirement to authenticate yourself. You can also choose to pause passcode/authentication when connected to a specific Bluetooth accessory or on a schedule — whichever you prefer.

Once installed, users can visit the tweak’s dedicated preference pane in the Settings app to configure the tweak to their liking:

Here, you can:

  • Toggle IntelligentPass 4 on or off on demand
  • Toggle persist authentication (require a passcode or authentication after a respring)
  • Toggle IntelligentPass 4 when connected to certain Bluetooth devices
  • Enter the names of Bluetooth devices that you’d like to use for toggling IntelligentPass 4
  • Toggle IntelligentPass 4 when playing media from designated apps
  • Enter the names of apps that you’d like to use for toggling IntelligentPass 4 based on playback
  • Toggle IntelligentPass 4 on a schedule
  • Enter the timeframe that you’d like to disable passcode/authentication for
  • Toggle IntelligentPass 4 when connected to certain Wi-Fi networks
  • Enter the names of Wi-Fi networks that you’d like to use for toggling IntelligentPass 4
  • Configure extra options

In the Extra preference pane, users can pause passcode/authentication under the following circumstances:

  • When using Noise Cancellation mode with AirPods Pro
  • When Airplane Mode is turned on
  • When connected to an Apple Watch
  • When in CarPlay mode
  • When using Dark Mode
  • When using Do Not Disturb mode
  • When connected to wired headphones
  • When in Low Power Mode

With the extensive list of options above, it’s easy to configure IntelligentPass 4 to ensure that your device is secured with a passcode or biometric authentication when it needs to be and not when it doesn’t need to be. With it, you can access your handset more freely without interruption, especially when wearing a mask.

As you might’ve already discerned, IntelligentPass 4 is the fourth iteration of this tweak to be released, and it brings official support for jailbroken iOS & iPadOS 14 devices. Those interested in giving the tweak a try can purchase it for $2.99 from the Geometric Software repository via their favorite package manager.

If you aren’t already using the Geometric Software repository, then you can add it to your preferred package manager via the following URL:

https://apt.geometricsoftware.se/

Do you plan to take control of your iPhone or iPad’s passcode or biometric authentication conditions? Be sure to let us know in the comments section down below.

Categories
Popular posts

This tweak prevents YouTube from showing those unsightly recommended video thumbnails at the end of every video

I use YouTube all the time — so much in fact that I decided to join the YouTube Premium bandwagon to take advantage of an ad-free viewing experience and background playback via the iOS app.

But even as a YouTube Premium user, I’m still plagued by YouTube’s uncanny attempt to lure me into the platform’s black hole by way of suggested video thumbnails at the end of every video I watch.

Whether you’re a free or Premium YouTube user, you might not like being bombarded by these suggested video thumbnails, and that’s one reason why a new and free jailbreak tweak called YTDisableUglySuggestions by iOS developer @CrazyMind90 may seem appealing.

Just as the tweak’s name suggests, and as depicted in the before and after screenshot examples above, YTDisableUglySuggestions removes the unsightly suggested video thumbnails from the YouTube app’s viewing experience near the end of the video.

YTDisableUglySuggestions benefits users in a number of different ways. Not only does it remove obstructions from the video frame at the end of every video, but it also helps prevent you from being sucked into the proverbial YouTube black hole that everyone talks about — one moment you’re watching a video about outer space, and soon enough you’re watching videos about cats. The struggle is indeed real.

YTDisableUglySuggestions doesn’t come with any options to configure and requires use of the official YouTube app on a jailbroken device. Those interested in giving the tweak a try can download it for free from the BigBoss repository via their favorite package manager.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to iDB on YouTube.

Do you plan to augment your YouTube viewing experience on iOS and iPadOS with the new YTDisableUglySuggestions tweak? Let us know in the comments section down below.

Categories
Popular posts

Get this JLab USB microphone for just $29, and more of today’s top tech deals

If you’re looking for a sweet deal to take you into the weekend, we’ve got you covered. For a limited time, you can get this JLab Audio Talk Go USB microphone for just $29. It’s super portable, offers professional-grade sound, and it connects via USB-C.

What you need to know:

  • 96KHz/24BIT is perfect for calls, podcasts, gaming, ASMR and voice overs
  • Features two directional pattern modes: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
  • Quick-access mute button and 3.5mm Aux input for latency-free listening
  • Plug and play means anyone can connect and use this microphone with ease
  • Comes with a 5-foot USB-to-USB-C cable
  • Has a 4.5 star Amazon rating on 450 reviews
  • Typically retails between $50-$60

Buy for $29

Buy this highly-rated mechanical gaming keyboard for just $30

Save $40 on this mophie 3-in-1 charging stand

Get this waterproof Sony Bluetooth speaker for just $38

Discounted Apple products:

  • Apple Mac mini M1 – this the base model with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. $30 off. Buy for $670
  • Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad – this is the new one with the touch pad. Works with 11-inch Pro and newest Air. $100 off Buy for $199

Other notable tech discounts:

  • Eurotrip $5, Kives Out $7, Best Picture winners under $10, and more of this week’s best movie deals
  • 1-year Playstation Plus membership – get access to multiplayer online games, free games, discount games, and much more. Normally $60. Buy for $26

Categories
Popular posts

The best cases for the iPad mini

At some point in the future, Apple may adopt a different design for the iPad mini. Something more in line with the iPad Pro and iPad Air. But, that isn’t here quite yet.

So for anyone who already has an iPad mini, or plans on picking one up, we’ve put together a roundup of the best cases for the company’s smallest tablet. There’s a nice mix to choose from below, but each of them will offer plenty of protection for day-to-day use.

So let’s get right to it.

The best iPad mini cases

  • OtterBox
  • Speck
  • Apple
  • Twelve South

OtterBox

The OtterBox brand has become synonymous with great coverage and daily protection for Apple’s devices. That’s certainly the case for the iPad mini once it’s tucked inside the DEFENDER Series case. This case features a multi-layer design for boosted protection, including an inner shell, a built-in screen protector, and an outer slip cover.

The DEFENDER Series case for the iPad mini features a shield stand, too, which offers a way to hold your Apple Pencil, and even stand up the iPad mini for viewing content or getting some work done.

The case features port covers to protect it from dirt and debris, but has precise cutouts for the front-facing camera, the Home button, and the rear camera. Raised bezels protect the front and rear camera, and there’s a cutout to still see the Apple logo.

The DEFENDER Series for the iPad mini comes in black. It’s available now from Amazon.

Buy OtterBox DEFENDER for iPad mini for $59.19

Speck

The Speck BalanceFolio case isn’t as bulky as the OtterBox option, but it will still protect your iPad mini. There’s a built-in stand, it fits the iPad mini 4 as well, and precise cutouts for access to the Lightning port and the side buttons.

The stand offers multiple viewing angles, for typing, viewing media, or reading. No built-in screen protector this time around, but it does have raised edges to help protect the front of the tablet. There’s a locking clasp to keep the cover closed, too.

The Speck BalanceFolio is available now in blue, violet, and black.

Buy Speck BalanceFolio for iPad mini for $17.97

Apple

Apple’s Smart Cover for the iPad mini is about as thin as it gets, but will handle day-to-day routines just fine. It snaps into place quickly and easily, and the cover can wake or put the display to sleep when it’s opened or closed. With the origami design, the Smart Cover can be folded into a couple of different options, offering different viewing angles for the iPad mini.

This is just a front cover only, so keep that in mind. It doesn’t offer any protection for the back of the iPad mini, just the front and when it’s closed.

But the Smart Cover is light and easy to install, so for those who know they don’t need any extra protection, it’s potentially perfect.

The Smart Cover is available from Amazon in black, Surf Blue, Cyprus Green, Deep Navy, Pink Citrus, white, and Pink Sand.

Buy Smart Cover for iPad mini for $39.00

Twelve South

The Twelve South BookBook case for the iPad mini offers a lot of protection in a very unique style. The exterior is made from full-grain leather, which will acquire a natural patina over time and use. There is a separate leather interior frame within the exterior case, which offers full access to all ports, speakers, and buttons. The case also offers a microfiber lining to help prevent scratching.

There is an integrated kickstand for select viewing angles, with a 3-in-1 design for various use cases. There is also an interior pocket to help you keep your Apple Pencil in sight.

The BookBook from Twelve South for the iPad mini is available now from Amazon.

Buy BookBook for iPad mini for $69.99

Any other option you can think of that should be on this list? Feel free to make suggestions.

Categories
Popular posts

Apple, Google and Amazon to ship first Project CHIP smart home appliances later this year

The first smart home devices from Apple, Google, Amazon and other companies, based on the new Project CHIP interoperable standard, are scheduled to arrive later this year.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Project CHIP stands for “Project Connected Home over IP”.
  • It’s backed by Apple, Google, Amazon and the Zigbee Alliance.
  • Compatible gadgets should work across different platforms.
  • The interoperable standard uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Thread.
  • It’s not a replacement for Apple’s HomeKit.

Project CHIP is getting real

The Zigbee Alliance has made the announcement in a webinar, spotted by The Verge.

The alliance will begin to certify smart home accessories later this year, meaning the first compatible products should go on sale in time for the holiday shopping season. The first batch of Project CHIP accessories will include smart appliances such as lighting, blinds, HVAC controls, TVs, door locks, garage door openers, security systems and Wi-Fi routers.

The interoperable standard uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE and Thread. Bluetooth LE is used to set up devices. Wi-Fi is for high-bandwidth use cases like streaming video. Thread, a mesh network protocol, is for sharing data between low-bandwidth devices such as motion sensors.

Apple’s HomePod mini uses Thread as well.

CHIP support could also trickle down to bridges, potentially enabling existing and older smart home appliances to work with future CHIP gadgets. According to Stacey On IoT, Project CHIP is also considering blockchain-based solutions to improve smart home security.

Bringing order to smart home chaos

Project CHIP was announced in December 2019 with backing from the biggest technology players like Apple, Google, Amazon and the Zigbee Alliance. The Zigbee Alliance alone comprises more than 500 different companies working on smart devices, including everyone from Comcast to Ikea to Samsung.

The Project CHIP working group says the standard’s primary goal is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers: “The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable and seamless to use.”

The royalty-free, open-source connectivity standard promises to make possible smart home devices that will work across different software platforms and devices. That said, however, It remains to be seen whether Project CHIP can fulfill its promise.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed because the whole smart home thing is a good example of how technology can sometimes make things more difficult and complicated than necessary. At its heart, Project CHIP is an attempt at unifying a really broken environment for smart home appliances so here’s hoping that it manages to bring order to the smart home chaos.

Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking?

Categories
Popular posts

AppTrans lets you transfer WhatsApp and all your apps across iPhone and Android [sponsor]

AppTrans for iPhone and Android is dedicated to easy app and data transfer regardless of your platform of choice. Whether you’d like to create a complete backup of all the apps on your phone or just a subset of the ones you need, extract your WhatsApp chats and more, this cool new piece of software from mobile developer iMobie will get the job done.

Transferring apps between iPhone and Android

Billed as the first free solution for transferring mobile apps, AppTrans lets you retain all your apps along with their data when moving from, say, your old Android device to your new iPhone.

Grab your free version of AppTrans from iMobie right now!

This awesome feature will especially appeal to switchers. It simply downloads Android versions of your favorite iPhone apps while transferring app data seamlessly between platforms. In addition to backing up everything on your phone, you can make backups specifically for certain apps, like Viber, your documents, game saves, Minecraft progress, etc.

Transfer apps iOS Android WhatsApp chats

AppTrans lets you preview the backup content to see if it contains what you need before you restore. This is a great feature because you can easily restore just your lost data, like your WhatsApp chats, rather than perform a full restore that overwrites everything on the device.

Transfer apps iOS Android WhatsApp chats

The software supports three types of backup files: your iOS device backups created in iTunes, WhatsApp backups on Google Drive and the backups made with AppTrans (encrypted backups are supported as well). The best thing about AppTrans is that it doesn’t limit you in terms of OS platforms: you can easily restore, say, an Android backup to your iPhone without any problems.

AppTrans also takes care of your WhatsApp chats.

Transfer your WhatsApp chats in a cinch

You can transfer WhatsApp chats between different iPhones or Android handsets, including between different operating systems. Yup, AppTrans lets you transfer WhatsApp from iPhone to Android like a boss! What’s more, the WhatsApp transfer function can merge your WhatsApp conversations from two different phones or even from two different WhatsApp accounts.

Further details on WhatsApp-related features can be found on the official App Trans website.

Transfer apps iOS Android WhatsApp chats

In addition to phone-to-phone transfer, the software also supports exporting your entire WhatsApp history to your computer as a backup. Once WhatsApp is backed up on your Mac or PC, you can easily browse your chats to verify that everything has been backed up, print specific text messages and more.

But what if you don’t have a copy of your WhatsApp data on a computer? Don’t worry, AppTrans also works with your local iPhone backups created in iTunes or the Finder. This lets you do things like restore WhatsApp data from your iTunes backup to an Android device.

Transfer apps iOS Android WhatsApp chats

On Android, moving WhatsApp between platforms can be challenging because WhatsApp for Android uses Google Drive for backup while the iOS edition uses iCloud. But with AppTrans, viewing and exporting your WhatsApp data directly from Google Drive is a cinch.

That’s right, you can restore your WhatsApp chats from Google Drive to your iPhone making AppTrans the only tool that supports this function. WhatsApp is not the only supported chat platform: App Trans also works with other messaging apps like Viber, Kik, Line, etc.

Pricing and availability

In addition to the free version of AppTrans, there’s also a paid version, dubbed AppTrans Pro.

AppTrans Pro unlocks all the advanced features, such as cross-OS app transfer which will prove extremely handy for managing apps between iOS and Android without workarounds.

Categories
Popular posts

LTPO displays with 120Hz refresh rates once again rumored for iPhone 13 Pro lineup

Before Apple gets around to unveiling the iPhone 13 lineup later this year, the rumor mill is not going to give up on some elements of potential new features. Until it might. Either way, right now, it certainly sounds like Apple’s making a noteworthy improvement in the display department to at least two iPhone models this year.

According to display analyst Ross Young, who took to Twitter recently to assuage some potentially worried iPhone fans, Apple is not going to limit the adoption of low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) display to just one model. No, apparently, according to MacRumors, it will be just two models (of the potential four).

Here’s the tweet from Young:

If you’ve been keeping up with this particular rumor, then you know it’s not new at all. In December of last year, for instance, it was rumored that both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max would adopt the more efficient display technology in 2021. And, again, that appears to be the rumor now. Apple will reportedly use LTPO display technology in the Pro variants, and stick with standard LCD displays for the non-Pro models.

What’s more, the Pro models will probably feature 120Hz refresh rates, adopting Apple’s ProMotion feature.

LTPO will see an uptick in power efficiency for the iPhone 13 lineup, whichever models it makes it into. This should help preserve battery life as well.

So, at this point, this seems like one of the new features “everyone” expects to see later this year. What about you? Looking forward to this becoming a reality?

Categories
Popular posts

It turns out not every single Voice Remote Pro from Roku will feature an Apple TV+ button

Earlier this week, Roku officially announced new things. That includes the Voice Remote Pro, a brand new remote that features an Apple TV+ button.

That’s some prime real estate for Apple moving forward. Especially when paired with the new Express 4K+ streaming box, which supports AirPlay 2 as well. In any event, it turns out that the new remote’s Apple TV+ button is the result of a last-minute deal between Roku and Apple (one that’s not cheap), which means it’s not actually going to be on every single remote.

Zatz Not Funny! recently got their hands on the new Voice Remote Pro from Roku, and quickly discovered that the dedicated buttons on the front don’t actually have an Apple TV+ option. Instead, there’s still the Sling logo alongside Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+.

A photograph showing Roku's Voice Remote Pro remote control and Express 4K media player

From the report:

As such, our very own Adam Miarka just received his brand-spanking new Roku Voice Remote Pro (pictured above) without the Apple TV+ button that drove folks wild earlier this week and had led Adam (noted Apple fanboy) to make a purchase. Fortunately for him, Roku’s higher end remotes do include a pair of programmable personal shortcut buttons – so he can rectify the limitation, but without the logo he so desires, should he choose the keep the hardware.

ZNF says this is the same upgraded remote that Roku sent out to select customers earlier this year. But, it’s the fact that Apple and Roku secured their deal “very, very recently” according to Chris Welch on Twitter, that sees the company “transitioning” to include the Apple TV+ button:

So, not every single Voice Remote Pro is going to have the Apple TV+ button on it. It’s even possible that you may get one that doesn’t. So it may be the best possible thing to wait, at least a little while, before putting in your order for the $30 remote.