Tuesday, July 30, 2013

iOS 7 Beta 4 seeding started by Apple

After announcing Beta 3 of iOS 7 to the developers 3 weeks back, Apple has released the Beta 4 of iOS 7 to the developers. Generally, Apple releases a new Beta release every two weeks but this time the delay was caused by the Apple Dev Center downtime because of an attack on the server.

The team of iOS Developers at Apple is making sure that with each release developers start to like the new OS more than before. This time UI animations have been tweaked along with the decrease in animation and response timings. On top of this Apple has tweaked many parts of the UI as well. First of all, Apple has resolved the upward arrow confusion present at the lock screen and now the arrow has been changed to a rightward one.

Secondly, Apple has also included a new swipe gesture in the notification center. Now you can swipe left or right to switch between different tabs in the notification center according to your requirements.
(Note:- The image below is a .gif type. If the animation is not shown then click on it to have a look.)

Apple has also changed the buttons of phone UI which have now have rounded corners.

Lets have a look at the full list of changes which is as follows.
  • Lockscreen arrow has been tweaked. The arrow the denoted Notification Center and Control Center have been replaced with a line.
  • Call Buttons in Phone App UI has been refreshed.
  • Animation response time has been reduced.
  • Minor changes to the Spotlight UI. Cancel button has also been introduced.
  • New 'Completed Uploads' Section in Notification Center.
  • Use of Initials of Last Name in Messages Application.
  • New Air-Play icon
  • New swipe gesture to switch between tabs in Notification Center.
  • HDR Toggle Button relocated to a more visible place in Camera UI.
  • New Search Bar in Reminder App
  • Visibility of Close (X) Button in Notification Center has been resolved.
  • Improved navigation in Settings App.
  • Tweaked Maps.app icon
  • Optional 'Improve Maps' opt-in program in Privacy Section of your settings (Only for US users).
  • Pin in maps App now show estimated Driving Time required.
  • Apple now asks if you want to Help Improve Maps when you open Maps app for the first time.
  • Minor changes to Newsstand UI
  • Shuffle all songs option is back in Music App.
  • Saved Passwords for Safari now gives you an option to set up an on-device password.
  • Filters are now available for Camera App in iPhone 4S.
  • Safari and Mail icons' gradient has been slightly changed.
  • Fade animation for folders located in the dock has been updated to run smoothly.
  • New iPad resolution toggle when running iPhone applications.
  • Minor UI tweaks to System Keyboard.
  • New Q&A section in Siri.
  • New 'Siri has a new voice' notification.
  • New Control Center Grabber and UI while swiping up during Video viewing.
  • Vibration and Sound Patterns can now be chosen for AirDrop alerts.
  • New 'Play Explicit Tracks' option in iTunes Radio.
  • You can now swipe down in Siri to have a look at previous activity. This works even after closing and reopening Siri.
  • A new 'Frequent Locations' option in System Services option in Privacy (Settings -> Privacy -> System Services -> Frequent locations).
  • A new screenshot detection API (UIApplicationUserDidTakeScreenshotNotification) has been introduced.
  • You can do complete set up of Apple TV through iOS 7.
So it seems like Apple has done quite some work on the functionality and UI performance side of the OS with this Beta release. Moreover, this is our list of changes and if you have something to add to it, please mention that in a comment.

Note:- While Beta releases have always been available only to developers (which requires a 99$ / year paid account), you can click here to find out how to install iOS 7 Beta on your iDevice.
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Windows Phone 8 gets its first torrent client

Torrents are the most popular way of downloading and sharing files these days as they have a lot of resources which are of either premium range or very low availability for free. BitTorrent is one of the most used clients for this method of P2P sharing but with the rise of smartphones people have started to use them for downloading purposes besides other purposes which is why BitTorrent was quick to release its own torrent client application for Android OS as soon as it saw the potential. But iPhone and Windows Phone have still been avoided for this purpose. Apple restricts this functionality for any application that can be published on application store but Windows Phone doesn't and that is why wpTorrent was an application that was being developed for WP8 but has been in beta for so long. Well, not anymore.!

Today, wpTorrent made it to the Windows Phone 8 store and was a big hit instantaneously because of the purpose it serves. It supports full BitTorrent functionalities with proper download and upload statistics and all the info displays you are used to in a normal Windows BitTorrent client like setting incoming listen ports. It has its own file manager and its tightly integrated with video as well as audio clients of the OS. It also has a search engine in-built and power saving settings of its own.

There are two versions, a free one which is ad-driven and with a 200 kBps download speed limit and a paid one which costs 3.99$ and has no such restriction. You can check out whichever version you want by clicking here.
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

WhatsApp goes free for iOS users

WhatsApp is undoubtedly the grand daddy of chat applications present on SmartPhone OSes these days. It was the one that truly generated the unprecedented numbers - 17 billion daily message transfers and 100 million users on Android alone.

As many of you might know, in the beginning, it started off as an iPhone-2-iPhone only messaging app but after it recognized the value of Android and other Operating Systems, it realized itself as the first major cross platform free messaging solution with presence on iOS, BlackBerry OS, Android, Windows Phone OS, Symbian and Nokia S40 as well. On every system other than iOS, its initial download didn't cost money but user has to pay $1 for each year of usage but on iOS WhatsApp still kept the $1 Buy-it-now model instead of the subscription one. Now it looks like they have decided to jump off the Buy-it-now wagon from iOS as well.

Its not clear as of now if and when WhatsApp Inc. is going to adapt to subscription model on iOS but for now they are offering WhatsApp free for all iOS users without any deadline for its availability. Also, with the latest release of WhatsApp users get to back up their messages on their iCloud account including all media files (except videos) and they also get the privilege to send multiple photos at the same time. So iOS users can rejoice and not worry about the $1 payment for this amazing application which has started to become a need for some rather than a luxury.
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1020 with 41 MP camera becomes official

Well Nokia announced Nokia 808 PureView sometime back, it surely made a lot of waves in the smartphone world but faster then that was the starting of speculations of a 41MP PureView Lumia smartphone. Nokia used the PureView technology in Lumia 920 and 925 but it wasn't at the scale of Nokia 808. They have remedied this by announcing Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone with a huge 41 MP PureView camera module.

The highlight of this smartphone is its camera for sure so first lets see what Nokia has installed this time. It has a 41 MP PureView auto-focus camera with 1/1.5" (slightly smaller than 1/1.2" sensor of Nokia 808 PureView), 6 Lens Zeiss lens, optical image stabilization on-board and proper Xenon flash with LED Flash for videos coming to the party as well.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 can shoot 40MP as well as 5 MP snaps at the same time - 40 MP one with the sensor and 5 MP one after Nokia's Super Sampling algorithm has done its magic. To make things even better, it comes factory equipped with Nokia's Pro Camera and Smart Camera camera lens applications which allow pro users to fiddle with the settings and get the best out of this camera-phone. Interestingly, it also has a manual mode which is a very unusual thing for a product of this niche. It can shoot 1080p as well as 720p videos with lossless zoom of upto 4 times and 6 times respectively thanks to its high resolution camera sensor.

Apart from the camera, there are not much bells and whistles incorporated into the smartphone. Internals wise is a brother of Nokia Lumia 925 with 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor. But to complement the high resolution camera correctly, Nokia ships it with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory.

It has a beautiful 4.5" 1280 x 768 Clear Black AMOLED display with Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 present on top of it for its protection and it comes with Super Sensitive Touch loaded as well. On connectivity side, it comes with standard suite - BT 3.0, NFC, wifi a/b/g/n, GPS with GLONASS support and 42 mbps UMTS / HSPA, and LTE support.

It comes equipped with a 2000 mAh battery and weighs at 158 gm which is lighter then its predecessor - the Nokia 808 PureView. On software front, it comes equipped with Windows Phone 8 (as expected because of the Lumia moniker) along with its Amber update. Although it might seem to be a thick phone, its thickness comes at a very normal 10.4 mm but has a protruding camera sensor which might lead to seem scratching. Thankfully, Nokia has taken care of this by equipping the Camera Sensor with a cover.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 will hit AT&T on July 26 in yellow, white and black variants at a price of 299.99$ with a two-year contract. If you want to be amongst the first users of this cameraphone, pre-orders start from July 16. It is expected to slowly move into the markets of India, China and some key European markets by the end of this quarter.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Apple starts seeding iOS 7 Beta 3 to the developers

It has been some time since Apple announced iOS 7 during WWDC 2013 and it has been releasing Beta versions of the OS to the developers since then. They released Beta 2 a couple of weeks back and today they have started seeding iOS 7 Beta 3 to the developers.

Unlike the previous Beta release, this one has some cosmetic changes across the board out of which the biggest one is the change on the font used. Apple was using Helvetica Neue Ultralight as the system font for iOS 7 but since Beta 3 they have changed to Helvetica Neue Regular to increase legibility. The ultralight version of the font is still visible in some UI elements but its much less then before. Also there is a new cool animation UI in the app icon for application updating and downloading process.

Status Bar in the lockscreen has been made larger, folder image now seems a bit more transparent and controls in the music have been redesigned as well. The full list of UI changes is as follows.
  • Larger Status Bar on lockscreen.
  • Folders are more transparent.
  • Several small UI and font tweaks to the notification center.
  • Safari has seen some notable UI enhancements for the tab/bookmarks on the iPad, in the loading bar for iPad/iPhone and in Private Browsing mode.
  • Calender now shows the days you have events on.
  • Weather app has new font.
  • Clock icon in the control center has been tweaked.
  • Music Controls have been redesigned.
  • Search bar in the mail app has been tweaked.
  • Time can be seen on lockscreen while playing music now.
  • Tweaked UI when you click a key in Calculator app.
  • Wallpaper chooser window UI has been tweaked.
  • Font in settings app has been changed.
  • Slight tweaks to the gamecenter UI.
  • New app icon loading UI for downloading apps.
  • Pull-to-refresh animation has been slightly tweaked in Mail app.
  • Siri is now much faster to navigate.
  • Tab bar icons arrangement UI has been introduced.
  • E-mailing a pass now shows a preview of the pass much like the images.
  • New wifi diagnostics mode. (something that may very well be restricted to only developer releases)
  • Yellow Selection UI in Notes app.
  • New animation when accessing spotlight.
  • Dictionary feature has now been activated.
  • Some UI button tweaks have been done in the iTunes Radio.
  • New keyboard and modal alert notifications.
So it seems like Apple has done quite some work with this Beta release. Moreover, this is our list of changes and if you have something to add to it, please mention that in a comment.

Note:- While Beta releases have always been available only to developers (which requires a 99$ / year paid account), you can click here to find out how to install iOS 7 Beta on your iDevice.
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Apple app store is one of the reasons for the grand success of Apple's iDevices and its ecosystems. The app store laid the foundation of application centric approach of smartphones and users. Apple is proud of its App store and on the brink of its 5th birthday (10 July 2013), Apple has sent out posters depicting the amazing growth of the App Store.

Apple's PR team has sent out a Infographic style poster to the media to celebrate App store's 5th birthday. The inforgraphic illustrates the growth over the span of 5 years and it lists important milestones in terms of number of downloads, all key devices released during the period, revenue paid to the developers and the best selling apps have been marketed as well.

Here you go with the infographic.!

As listed in the infographic, app store has received over 50 billion downloads spanning over 900,000 applications generating more then $10 billion in revenues for the developers. Talk about explosive growth!
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