The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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RooCase's ORB Tablet System is a series of cases and mounts built around a shell case. All cases within the system include the shell case, which has an opening on the back to fit the ORB Button — a mechanism which allows users to snap the shell case into other parts of the system. Pinching the spring-loaded release inside the button easily releases the shell from whatever case or mount it's in. The ORB system is similar to Otterbox's Agility System in concept, but not necessarily in functionality. Although you really only need to buy one of the ORB cases, there are many different possible pieces to purchase separately — we'll be reviewing the entire system as a whole, while providing our thoughts on the individual pieces. We received shells for the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini, and we'll be concentrating on the latter two for purposes of this review.
Q: My boyfriend gave me a new iPhone 6 Plus for Christmas, and having the bigger screen is really super. But there’s this one thing annoying me that I can’t figure out how to fix. Sometimes — I think when I touch the home button a certain way — the screen sort of slides halfway down. One of my boyfriend’s friends told me that it’s supposed to do that to help you reach the top of the screen or something, but I’m actually finding it really distracting. Is there a way to make it stop doing this?
A: The feature in question is called ‘Reachability’ and your friend is correct that it’s there by design. When Apple made a 5.5” iPhone, they realized that most people wouldn’t be able to get to the top of the screen while holding it in one hand, so this feature was added as a compromise. It’s triggered by double-tapping the home button — not pushing it, but merely tapping on it, similar to how you authenticate your fingerprint for Touch ID. You can return to the normal view either by double-tapping the home button again, swiping upward, or touching the blank area at the top half of the screen.
Verizon has apparently decided to implement an option in its mobile ad-targeting program that will provide Verizon customers with the ability to opt out of targeted ad tracking, according to a New York Times report. It came to light last fall that both Verizon and AT&T had implemented unique identifier headers (UIDH) on their respective mobile networks to allow for the tracking of web activity from mobile devices. “Users who do not want to be tracked with an identifier that Verizon uses for ad-targeting purposes will soon be able to completely opt out,” the company said on Friday.
As the earlier report noted, although Verizon had provided a means for customers to opt out of being actively tracked by the company’s Relevant Mobile Advertising program, there was no way to turn off the UIDH completely, meaning that other third-party ad networks could easily leverage this data, regardless of what Verizon chose to do with it. This latest announcement confirms that Verizon is changing course and will allow users to opt out from having the UIDH attached to their web traffic entirely. Users will need to actively choose to opt out, however, and critics of the tracking program — including the Electronic Frontier Foundation — have suggested that Verizon needs to go further, making the ad tracking an “opt in” program, as most consumers are unlikely to fully appreciate the privacy implications of this kind of tracking.
Apple has released iTunes 12.1, a relatively minor update that adds a new widget for the OS X Yosemite Notification Center and improves iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch syncing performance. The new widget allows users to control iTunes from the Notification Center, providing a “What’s Playing” view with controls to skip to the next track or even purchase songs while listening to iTunes Radio. iTunes 12.1 is available through the standard software update mechanism, or for direct download at iTunes.com.
In today’s iLounge Deal you can get the great little IconQ Boundless S3 speaker for only $59 – 25% off the regular price. Made from sleek and stylish aluminium, the Boundless S3 provides great sound in an elegantly designed package, and incorporates Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC capabilities along with a built-in mic for speakerphone support. The built-in NFC chip allows you to quickly pair the speaker from an NFC-compatible device with a single tap.
Harman Kardon's Soho Wireless ($250) is a new Bluetooth on-ear headphone set — a newer version of the company's prior Soho Slim wired headphones. Soho Wireless has a similar look with a leather finish, but it has a different feel when wearing. In addition to Bluetooth, the headphones add NFC and a rechargeable battery. Hidden touch-sensitive controls on the outside of the right earcup control volume and playback, while the Bluetooth button, 3.5mm audio input, micro-USB port, and microphone can be found on the bottom of the same earcup. Harman Kardon includes an audio cable and a micro-USB cable for charging, along with a soft carrying case. The headphones come in black, brown, or white.
We all strive to get as much battery life as we can out of our mobile devices, and while many users have mixed experiences with the iPhone’s battery life, there’s little doubt that it can sometimes be confusing trying to figure out exactly why some days are better than others. While this has been shrouded in mystery for years in the world of iOS devices, the good news is that iOS 8 can finally give you some insight in this area.
While it’s a bit hidden away – you’ll need to take a trip into the Settings app and then look under General, Usage, Battery Usage – once you get there you’ll find some useful tracking on which of your apps are the biggest power hogs, and you can choose to see stats over either the past 24 hours or the past 7 days, expressed as a percentage of the power used by each app when your device is not plugged in. Apps that have been using power in the background will also be annotated with notes like “Background Location” to help you clarify where your juice is going. If there are any obvious tips that can help to improve your battery life, you’ll also see a section for “Battery Life Suggestions” covering things like enabling automatic screen locking.…
Today in iLounge Deals we’re giving away a pair of wireless Studio Beats Headphones. To enter, simply submit your e-mail address on the giveaway page to sign up for our iLounge Deals, and you can even gain additional entries by sharing on Twitter and Facebook – the more your friends and followers enter, the more entries you receive. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing on Februrary 25, 2015. Good luck!
A new report from The New York Times reveals that the Chinese Government is implementing new regulations that will require technology companies to comply with a stringent set of security disclosures and procedures in order to sell equipment to Chinese banks. The new rules are laid out in a 22-page document and are only the first in a new set of policies from the Chinese government which intend to strengthen cybersecurity in key Chinese industries. Requirements under the new terms would include turning over proprietary source code for operating systems and firmware, submitting to invasive audits, and including back doors in hardware and software that would allow the Chinese government to gain access to data stored on or transmitted from electronic devices. Apple, for example, would be required to redesign the encryption system used on the iPhone to protect user data in order to provide keys that would allow the Chinese government to decrypt such data. It was revealed last week that Apple agreed to allow the Chinese government to conduct “security inspections” on its products, although it is unclear if this is directly related to the new regulations.
Critics of the new policies, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, suggest that cybersecurity claims are really just covering for protectionism, and that the new rules are simply a means of bolstering the Chinese tech industry by requiring companies to use only domestically produced products and services. The new measures notably go far beyond those taken by most other countries, however they are also not atypical of the sort of technology policies seen in China – a country in which the government has routinely monitored and censored Internet traffic and services for decades. While the new policies only apply to companies doing business with Chinese banks, it’s generally anticipated that they will be expanded in the coming year to other industries which the Chinese government considers critical.