Tag Archive | iOS

New Lockitron, the Keyless Lock, Will Message Your iPhone When Someone Knocks

Around 7 a.m. Pacific time today, Apigy Inc., the company behind the Lockitron, announced on its Web page that it was accepting pre-orders for a new version its keyless lock, which lets you unlock your door with your smartphone.

Twelve hours later, the product-in-progress had received double its initial goal of $150,000.

So what’s so special about Lockitron? For one, it’s part of the growing trend of keyless entry to both cars and homes, as the New York Times wrote about here last year. For home owners that deal with a lot of foot traffic — dog walkers, nannies or tenants — it can be more convenient than carrying and sharing multiple sets of keys.

The new Lockitron will also with with Bluetooth 4.0, in addition to Wi-Fi and NFC (near field communication) technology, presenting a broader range of options for smartphone consumers. So, if you’re using an iPhone 5, you can activate Bluetooth as you’re nearing your door and communicate with Lockitron that way — no WiFi or data connection needed. If you have an NFC-equipped Android handset, you can swipe your phone against the lock and open it that way.

Lockitron’s updated mobile app also sends a combination of text messages, push notifications and emails to let you know when the UPS delivery guy might have knocked on your door, whether the dog walker arrived on time and exactly when the kids got home from school.

While some consumers might like the additional levels of security offered through systems like this, others might cringe at the idea of an obvious electronic box hanging on their front doors. So Lockitron has designed a box that now fits over the lock on the inside of the door, but can still communicate with your smartphone or cellphone.

Apigy says the new Lockitron is expected to ship in March, and in an interview with AllThingsD, founder Paul Gerhardt stressed that customers who pre-ordered the product won’t be charged for it until it’s actually ready.

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Facebook Pages Manager for iOS adds landscape mode for iPad, Facebook Offers, longer status updates

Facebook today updated its Pages Manager app for iOS. You can download the latest version now from the official Apple App Store.

Apple iPad users will be happy to learn that the new app lets them use Facebook in landscape mode. The social networking giant did not provide a screenshot of this feature in action, but my colleague Josh Ong has an iPad, so voilà:

facebook pages manager landscape 520x390 Facebook Pages Manager for iOS adds landscape mode for iPad, Facebook Offers, longer status updates

Next on the list is the ability to make Facebook Offers to your fans, directly from the app. Here’s how this feature looks like (notice the Offer button in the top-right corner of the first screenshot):

This should prove to be particularly useful for those who are looking to win over fans by giving them deals. iOS users can now do so without fumbling with their PCs or Macs.

Last but not least, the app now lets you write longer status updates, which should be handy for those who use their Pages to post lots of details about events or promotions to their fans. Facebook won’t say up to what length the status updates are now limited to, but I’m guessing it’s the same limit as what the social network has elsewhere: 63,206 characters.

Here’s the official Facebook Pages Manager for iOS version 1.5 changelog:

  • Use in landscape mode on iPad.
  • Eligible Pages can create Facebook Offers.
  • Post longer status updates.
  • Bug fixes and performance updates.

In addition to Facebook Messenger and Facebook Camera, Facebook Pages Manager is yet another of the social networking giant’s standalone apps. Unlike the others though, Pages Manager is geared towards businesses rather than consumers, or in other words, towards directly growing the company’s revenues.

Facebook first launched Pages Manager for iOS in May 2011 and has been regularly updating it ever since. In fact, the previous version was released just two weeks ago.

At the time, I said that we’ll likely see version 2.0 next year. With Facebook’s newaccelerated schedule for mobile apps, however, it might even arrive before 2012 is over.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emil is a technology journalist writing for The Next Web. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET.

Angry Birds sequel Bad Piggies hogs top spot among iOS apps

Those Bad Piggies may not be so bad if they can soar to the top of the iOS charts in just a few hours.

Released from its pen earlier today for iOS and Android, the Angry Birds sequel is the most-downloaded paid app among both iPhone and iPad users.

A brand-new game rarely hits the top spot in Apple’s App Store so quickly. But being the latest installment in the hot Angry Birds lineup gives Bad Piggies a strong leg (or hoof) up. Game maker Rovio has gotten a lot of mileage out of Angry Birds, but the company also knows it needs to shake up the franchise to keep it from molting.

Bad Piggies offers a twist on the simple birds-versus-pigs scenario. The new game places you on the side of the pigs to help them crack the eggs of the angry birds. Instead of the usual gameplay, Bad Piggies challenges you with a series of puzzles in which you build devices to move the pigs to each destination.

Rovio has packaged the pigs in two flavors — a standard edition for smartphones and an HD one for tablets.

The iPhone and iPod Touch version costs 99 cents, while the iPad version will set you back $2.99. Both Android versions are free from Google Play, apparently thanks to a specialGoogle promotion celebrating 25 billion downloads in less than four years.

Bad Piggies has guzzled up positive reviews so far, earning a 4.5-star rating from iOS users and a 5-start rating from Android folks.

Rovio took its first stab at a new game in July called Amazing Alex. Similar in some ways to Bad Piggies, Alex challenges you with puzzles to move objects around the screen. Amazing Alex also climbed its way to the top of the iOS charts not long after its debut.

This hacker is porting the original Google Maps app to iOS 6, shows it can be done

At a time when the Apple Maps and Google Maps brouhaha is being discussed by everyone everywhere, one iOS hacker offers a glimpse at a temporary solution. While iOS 6 users wait for either Apple to hire engineers to fix all the issues, for Google tostop focusing just on Android and save the day, or for Microsoft to wake up and smell the coffeeRyan Petrich has a video that shows Google Maps running on iOS 6

Before you watch, Petrich would like to apologize for the poor video quality as hesays “YouTube mangles source video if it’s less than a certain width.” While the iOS hacker hasn’t revealed how he pulled off the feat, the video’s description does offer a bit more detail:

Preview of the old Google Maps application from iOS5.1 and earlier running on an iPhone 3G S updated to iOS 6.0

Still crashy and cannot be distributed to the public yet, but it mostly works 🙂

Uncompressed video from DisplayRecorder: http://rpetri.ch/db/GoogleMapsiOS6.mov

We thus know the Google Maps app in question is unsurprisingly from previous versions of iOS. More importantly, Petrich hints at the fact that he would like to release it to the public, once he gets it working properly.

Given that the iPhone 5 has already fallen to hackers, it would not surprise me if this port is released on the Cydia Store for jailbroken devices in the near future. If Apple Maps doesn’t get its act together soon, Cupertino will have created a very good reason for Apple users to jailbreak their devices.

I have contacted Petrich for more information. I will update you if and when I hear back.

Update at 4:00PM EST: Petrich has shared more information about the hack with The Next Web. He’s run into some issues and thus doesn’t have a release date:

Currently it requires binaries from both an older 5.1 SDK and an older 5.1 version of iOS and is thus not redistributable. This issue was solved in the earlier “Spire” project I worked on with Grant Paul by building an installer that had the device fetch the appropriate files directly from Apple’s CDN, but it’s not clear that a similar approach would work here. There is no timeline on when it might be ready as I’m not certain this can be overcome.

Also, I’ve only gone through the effort to support the official Maps app and not the in-app MapKit views that are used in Foursquare and other apps. If the redistribution problem can be solved, I intend to add an option to bridge embedded map views over as well.

If you’re wondering who Grant Paul is, he’s another iOS hacker. His most recent achievement was yesterday, when he jailbroke the iPhone 5.

The 10 Best Things About iOS 6

1. 3G FaceTime

FaceTime has long been a great way to video chat with friends and family, but both parties needed to be on a Wi-Fi network in order for it to work. Now, FaceTime works over cellular and you can even take calls on your iPad using your phone number.

2. Passbook

 Passbook may not be a digital wallet, but it’s certainly warming the public up to what could be the next big wave in mobile payments. It allows you to store anything from movie tickets to gift cards and boarding passes for flights.

What’s even better is an option that senses when you are in the area of the movie theater or airport and reveals your ticket on the lock screen, so you don’t even need to open up the app. Starbucks, Walgreens, Fandango and various airlines have already signed on to support Passbook functionality.

3. VIP Email

Inundated by junk email and miss the important ones? Set up a VIP list, so you’ll never miss emails from your boss, best friend or loved one.

4. Maps App

Although the new Maps app doesn’t include routing and transit directions — which is perhaps the biggest overall gripe among iOS 6 users so far — it still touts some impressive features. For example, by accessing the satellite view in Maps for cities such as New York, San Francisco and London, users are treated to 3D imagery. Attention to detail is so spot on that it almost looks like you’re flying through streets as though you were in a video game. In addition, zooming intoMashable’s New York City headquarters in the Flatiron District reveals a movie poster that was being painted on a nearby building.

5. Facebook Integration

Apple has opened up social integration toFacebook, allowing users to share pictures and post status updates without having to log into the app. You can also merge your Facebook contacts and calendar with your iOS calendar, so you no longer have an excuse if you forget a friend’s birthday.

6. Smarter Siri

Siri has been the maven of answering questions via voice-command for about a year now, but she just got a whole lot smarter. From providing movie and restaurant recommendations and revealing professional sports scores to even sending tweets and Facebook updates, action-commands are much easier with Siri on iOS 6. Although it’s still not perfect — she was way off with the weather recently — it’s a big improvement over Siri’s existing presence on iOS 5.

7. A Social Photo Stream

Apple has introduced photo-sharing capabilities in its Photo Stream that allows users send a picture from their stream to a person or group of people for comments. Similar to Facebook or Instagram, people invited to the group can Like images and write comments.

8. Panorama

Want to capture that big redwood tree or the entire Golden Gate bridge? Now you can with the new panorama feature for the iPhone and iPod touch. It allows you to shoot up to 240 degrees, even vertically.

9. Message Reply

When you decline an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message, set a callback reminder or even create a pre-set message to let the caller know you are driving.

10. Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb allows you to set up a time for incoming calls to be silenced. But you can also create a list of people that can get through to you at any time, such as a family member calling in the middle of the night.

Apple Polishes Off iOS 6, To Be Released Next Week

Alongside the freshly redesigned iPhone 5, Apple formally launched the newest version of its mobile operating system this morning. iOS 6 will ship pre-installed on the iPhone 5 starting September 21, but existing customers can download it from Apple two days earlier.

Scott Forstall took to the stage at the Moscone Center and outlined some of the new features of iOS 6, most of which we already saw at the WWDC in June. Among the most prominent enhancements are PassBook, upgrades to Siri, Facebook integration and a radical overhaul of the native Maps application.

Since the iPhone launched in 2007, the device has used Google Maps for navigation and directions. Starting next week, iOS users will say goodbye to the Google experience in favor of Apple’s own solution, which features Siri integration, turn-by-turn GPS and 3D flyover maps. Transit directions are conspicuously absent, which opens up a huge new opportunity for third party transit app developers.

Maps isn’t the only Google-made app getting the boot from iOS. Also missing will be the preinstalled YouTube app, which Google released its own version of earlier this week.

Passbook will be a very interesting feature to watch. Long-swirling rumors of an NFC chip in the iPhone didn’t come to fruition this morning, but it’s inevitable that Apple will integrate the technology. When that happens, Apple’s new ticketing, gift card and coupon management app is ripe to become a full-blown mobile wallet.

Siri is also getting a big update. The voice control feature first debuted on the iPhone 4S will pull from more data sources and be a little more polished. New features include looking up movie times and sports scores, finding restaurants, launching apps and making social updates. Siri’s integration with Maps in particular is bound to make the iPhone 5 the ultimate driving assistant.

Just as iOS 5 came with deep Twitter integration, the new version will allow users to connect their Facebook accounts for easy sharing from a variety of apps. This feature has been much anticipated. With it, the world’s biggest social network is baked right into one of the most widely-used mobile operating systems.

Other new features in iOS 6 include shared photo streams, FaceTime over 3G, cloud-synced browser tabs and cross-device syncing of iMessages.

These are just the highlights. iOS 6 will ship with over 200 new features. Keep an eye on ReadWriteWeb as the launch approaches for a more thorough look.

Facebook Didn’t Snub Google With iOS Update

While the iOS update Facebook released Thursday was far superior than the Android update, it’s too soon to say Facebook has chosen sides in the Google vs. Apple mobile device war.

Indeed, Facebook is reportedly asking, or even forcing, its employees to give up their iPhones for Android so they can see its shortcomings. The hope is that the social network’s engineers will move fast to create an Android app that gets just as much praise as yesterday’s iOS overhaul.

“I doubt they are doing this to spite Google,” Terence Kam, founder of Internet business consultant eStrategyPro.com. “After all, Android phones commands a larger market share than iPhones. If Facebook ignores this large advertisement market, they will earn the ire of their shareholders.”

The Facebook iOS upgrade makes progress on fixing two big complaints: The old app was slow and hogged memory. But it also addresses shareholder unrest over slack mobile revenue – the new Facebook app makes it much easier for the company to display mobile ads.

It makes sense that Facebook would undertake the iOS app overhaul first, Ben Romberg of social-media marketing agency Tug said. iPhone owners also tend to be heavy Facebook users, and Apple doesn’t compete directly with Facebook the way Google does with its Google+ social network.

“The potential backlash — which has been avoided by this recent release — comes from development of substandard apps that do not deliver the quality and optimisation that Apple consumers have come to expect,” Romberg said.

What The Future May Look Like

Expect an Android app update in line with yesterday’s iOS update. Facebook will probably continue to work increasingly closely with Apple, in part because Google is a competitor of both companies. But neither company can ignore Google and the market demand for its products, so it’s unlikely any of the three will break off ties with either of the other two.

For consumers, the latest update is just another push toward increased socialization. And despite a backlash against Facebook in the business and tech press, most Facebook members are pleased with the service, both Kam and Romberg said in separate interviews.

“The vast majority of Facebook’s users remain loyal. It’s mainly digital insiders, rather than the general social media using population, that feel the fury,” Romberg said. “For consumers of Facebook and Apple products, this will mean that functionality will be dictated by the drive to ‘socialize’ your activity whilst being kept firmly inside Apple’s walled garden of pre-approved apps and innovative software development.”

Facebook Rebuilds Its iOS App, Siding With Apple Against Google

Facebook released version 5.0 of its iPhone and iPad app Thursday. It’s a complete rewrite of the app. It actually works now. The iOS Facebook experience has been miserable for a long time. With Apple on the verge of releasing Facebook integration to both OS X and iOS, the update is only the beginning of a much closer alliance between the two tech Titans against their common enemy: Google.

Before, the Facebook app was just a thin wrapper for what were actually Web views. It wasn’t rendering Facebook with native code on the device. It was all running on Facebook’s servers, which made it grindingly slow and often resulted in absurd, inexplicable behavior. Users would tap on something to expand it and have something completely unrelated load instead.

Now Facebook is a real iOS app. It loads fast, it scrolls smoothly, and it feels built into the iPhone and iPad. The visual design isn’t a huge change, though there are some more natural gestures you’ll notice.

Facebook has two other fully native iOS apps that complement this update well. Its Facebook Messenger app allows for quicker individual and group messaging via Facebook, and Facebook Camera is the fastest way to shoot and upload photos to Facebook, as well as an attractive way to browse photo posts only.

Neither of these apps is necessary – the flagship Facebook app can handle messages and photos – but together they make Facebook into a more complete part of the iOS experience. It’s a new direction for Facebook, which once ran headlong towards a totally Web-based future.

Facebook has seen the drawbacks of an all-Web approach, and it has turned back. After a false start with Apple’s poorly received Ping music service, Facebook and Apple have found a way to work together, to the point that Facebook will soon be a built-in option for sharing and login on all of Apple’s platforms.

Why the about-face? Apple and Facebook have realized that by teaming up, they can squeeze out their common enemy: Google.

Google and Facebook clash over social software, and Google and Apple clash over mobile hardware and operating systems. These two areas of technology are increasingly intertwined. Our phones are where we communicate, and where we do much of our searching. All of these companies want to own this activity.

By teaming up with Facebook, Apple gets all the advantages of the social network without any of the costs, including the kinds of personalization Google wants to build with Google+. And by joining with Apple, Facebook becomes more central to the lives of Apple’s elite customers. If Google gets squeezed off of the iPhone, both Apple and Facebook stand to gain.

Apple Adds ‘Bluetooth Sharing’ Feature To iOS 6 Beta 4

Along with the removal of YouTube as a default app, one of the new features of iOS 6 beta 4 is the ability to share data via Bluetooth. It’s not exactly clear what kind of purpose Bluetooth Sharing will serve.

It might be linked to the iPod Nano as a watch where users will be able to view text messages, weather, answer calls, and more by tapping on their iPod Nano when the latest version is released.

After the Pebble watch received an overwhelming response from consumers, and the fact that the iPod Nano has become a popular watch, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple make the iPhone and iPod Nano more compatible as complimentary devices.

iOS 6 beta 4 users can find the new “Bluetooth Sharing” feature inside the Settings app by going to the “Privacy” section and see the list of apps that have requested the ability to share data via Bluetooth. Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone on September 12th, so we expect to learn more about the feature at that date.

Apple and Google both win by killing the native iOS YouTube app, but we all lose

It may be hard to remember now, but the YouTube app bundled with iOS is a holdover from the very first days of the very first iPhone — before the existence of the App Store, and when pre-loaded programs were really the only functionality offered by the device. Apple and Google were tightly connected in those days — Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board at the time, and Steve Jobs invited him on stage when the first iPhone was announced. “You can’t think about the internet without thinking about Google,” said Jobs. “We’ve been working very closely with them to make this all happen.” For his part, Schmidt was effusive about Apple and the iPhone. “If we just sort of merge the companies we could call them AppleGoo.”

Today’s news that Apple will not include a native YouTube app in iOS 6 in favor of a forthcoming standalone app to be built by Google marks another endpoint for that partnership, a split that began when Apple abandoned Google Maps in iOS 6 — the very feature Eric Schmidt was on stage to announce in 2007.

But while the two sides are pulling apart, each new split has different motivations, and both Apple and Google stand to win and lose in different ways. And the specific repercussions of YouTube no longer being bundled in iOS are no different. Let’s examine what it means for both sides — especially in the context of Apple saying its “license to use the YouTube app in iOS has ended.”

YOUTUBE ADS ON IOS COULD END UP BEING A BIG BOON FOR GOOGLE

First, Google will have a lot more flexibility with a standalone YouTube app. It will be able to update the app much more frequently — and hopefully bring it up to date with the mobile web YouTube experience, which is markedly better than the native app. Perhaps more importantly, Google can now control how it displays lucrative pre-roll advertising in the app. Video is becoming a sweet spot for mobile marketers, and YouTube ads on iOS could end up being a big boon for the search giant.

Apple, on the other hand, no longer has to pay whatever license fee may have existed for including YouTube in iOS. (YouTube has public APIs, but they don’t seem to be a good option — Microsoft has formally complained about Google interfering with its Windows YouTube Phone app.) What’s more, Apple doesn’t have to pay its own developers to build an app for a service operated by a direct competitor. Instead, it can assume Google will want to keep YouTube in front of the huge numbers of iOS 6 users and build its own app. Which is exactly what’s happening.

YOUTUBE IS PEERLESS — THE VERY DEFINITION OF WEB VIDEO FOR MOST PEOPLE

In the end, both Apple and Google had something to gain from this split — a markedly different situation than the removal of Google Maps from iOS earlier this year, where Apple had to acquire a mapping company and spend years building a directly competitive product before announcing the change. YouTube is peerless — the very definition of web video for most people. Apple’s simply passing the cost of developing the iOS app back to Google, and Google is gaining the ability to monetize that experience much more directly. (It’s notable that YouTube remains on the Apple TV, where only Apple can develop applications. YouTube is basic functionality for a connected TV device, so Apple has to keep development going.)

In fact, it seems like the only losers here are consumers — we’ll get a less integrated YouTube experience in iOS 6, and probably end up watching more ads. Business as usual in the land of the free (web service).