Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Apple and Other Smartphone Makers Back Global Anti-Theft Measures

Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung have announced a voluntary agreement to include anti-theft technology on all smartphones beginning next year, according to a report by Re/code.

The pledge has device makers agreeing that all devices going on sale after July of 2015 will have capabilities to remotely wipe data and to prevent the device from being reactivated without the owner's permission.
ios7_activation_lock
A number of state and local lawmakers praised the agreement, though it was panned as inadequate by California state Sen. Mark Leno, who has proposed a mandatory kill-switch law.

“The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft,” Leno said in a statement. “Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”
The senator pointed out that all smartphones must have similar kill switch features, or violent street crime and thefts will continue to occur as at least some of the device thefts will still be profitable.

A federal bill introduced earlier this year would mandate the inclusion of such a smartphone "kill switch" after California introduced a similar bill.

It is likely that Apple's Activation Lock, introduced alongside iOS 7, satisfies the requirements of the agreement already. Activation Lock effectively disables a stolen smartphone by preventing it from being wiped and reactivated without an Apple ID and password. Apple's Find My iPhone also allows for devices to be remotely wiped and locked.

iPhone 6 Mockups and Case Designs on Display at Hong Kong Electronics Fair

As we progress further into 2014, iPhone 6 rumors have begun to pick up, with case designsschematicsmolds, and alleged iPhone parts surfacing over the past few weeks to give hints at what Apple's larger iPhone might look like. 

Today Japanese site Mac Otakara [Google Translation] (via 9to5Mac) has shared some additional images of iPhone 6 mockups and accessories being displayed in several different booths at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair

One image shows a physical iPhone 6 mockup that has allegedly been used to create cases for the next version of the iPhone next to an iPhone case made using the dummy version. 
iphone6dummy
While few details can be gleaned from the model, it does appear to be larger in size with rectangular volume buttons and a sleep/wake power button on the right hand side of the device, which is in line with some previous rumors. It also possesses a round camera flash, as was described in schematics that leaked in March. 
iphone6dummy2
The site has also published a video displaying some lightning cables aimed at the iPhone 6 as well as a close-up look at the iPhone 6 mockup. 


It is unclear whether the mockups and the cases are representative of the actual iPhone 6, but thus far, the iPhone 6 leaks coming out of Asia have all shared many of the same design similarities outlined above. 

Apple's iPhone 6 is expected to come in two sizes, at 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The majority of leaks we have seen so far have depicted the 4.7-inch version, as it is said to be in production for a September or October release. The 5.5 version has seen some production delays, which could see it being released later in 2014 or in early 2015. 

In addition to two display sizes, the iPhone 6 is expected to include an upgraded A8 processor, camera improvements in the form of optical image stabilization, slimmer bezels, a thinner chassis, and Touch ID support.

Apple Testing iTunes Radio in Latin America



Last summer, amidst a competitive streaming music environment dominated by the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and even YouTube, Apple joined the party by unveiling iTunes Radio, Apple's practical attempt at keeping music lovers as thoroughly invested in the iOS ecosystem as possible.

But has it worked out for Apple as well as the company had hoped? According to the folks at Billboard, it's too early to call iTunes Radio a success. Clearly, it's far from rivaling the top competitors in the game, especially with regard to sparking sales of songs and albums.

But Apple may have a plan for fueling new growth for iTunes Radio. Apple is purportedly pushing hard for a more comprehensive global presence. Just this morning, reports surfaced that iTunes Radio has turned up (unofficially) in Ecuador, which hints at a Latin American market push for the service.

As of this writing, iTunes Radio remains officially active in the U.S. and Australia. And some are wondering what's taking Apple so long to launch the platform elsewhere. But if today's news out of Ecuador is accurate, the worldwide rollout may be inching closer.

Sources: TuawAppleInsider

Pioneer Brings Apple CarPlay to Existing In-Dash Receivers

In line with earlier reports, Pioneer today announced it is bringing Apple's CarPlay technology to its existing product line. CarPlay will be added to the company's five 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers via a firmware update that will be made available in early summer 2014.
“Pioneer’s years of expertise integrating smartphone connectivity into the automotive environment has provided us the opportunity to be among the first to offer CarPlay to drivers,” said Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for the Car Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “By providing an aftermarket option, Pioneer’s 2014 in-dash multimedia systems give many iPhone owners the ability to add CarPlay to their current vehicles.”
Pioneer in-dash multimedia systems compatible with Apple's CarPlay include the $1400 AVIC-8000NEX, the $1200 AVIC-7000NEX, the $900 AVIC-6000NEX, the $750 AVIC-5000NEX and the $700 AVH-4000NEX. These receivers are available from authorized Pioneer dealers such as Best Buy, Crutchfield and Car Toys. 
carplay_3Introduced earlier this year, CarPlay is an iOS-driven system that allows an iPhone to tie into the in-dash display of a car, providing Siri-controlled voice access to features like Maps, phone, messages and music. The technology initially debuted as a factory-installed feature in new 2014 models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo

CarPlay can be added to existing systems as the technology works in conjunction with BlackBerry’s QNX Car Platform, which powers many existing in-car infotainment systems. Beside Pioneer, car audio manufacturer Alpine may begin selling its own aftermarket in-dash entertainment systems that will support Apple's CarPlay feature. Alpine's CarPlay receivers are expected to debut this fall in Europe and the U.S. with a base price of $500 to $700.

Google Releases New Helpouts App for iPhone

Google has released a new helpouts app for iPhone that connects users to expert help over live video.

This app gives you access to all of the FREE Helpouts available on the platform. Download the app today to get help across a wide range of topics—anytime, anywhere.

Find Help
With Helpouts you can get help anytime from people with expertise across a range of topics - teachers, counselors, doctors, home repair specialists, personal trainers, hobby enthusiasts, and more.

Get Help
You can choose who to get help from based on qualifications, availability, ratings and reviews. Also, you can choose to get help right away or schedule a Helpout for later.

Pay for Help
While some Helpouts are free, you'll need to pay for some. You can find paid Helpouts on the web via the Helpouts site.

You can download Helpouts from the App Store for free.

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