Tech News: The Hottest iPhone Rumors Of The Summer

Posted on August 26, 2013 | Apple, cell phone, iPhone, Mac, mobile, Tech tips
It’s that time of year and the rumor mill is spinning nonstop.  No, we’re not talking about heading back to school we’re talking about the dizzying, high expectations of Apple’s newest iPhone, said to be hitting stores early September.  If you haven’t been tuned into the tech grapevine this summer we’re here to fill you in on the most popular rumors that just might be true.

1. The new, cheap iPhone 5C
This seems to be the whisper that won’t go away.  Pundits, techies and analysts alike have been predicting since last year that a wallet-friendly addition to the iPhone family was on it’s way. Experts tend to agree that a more affordable iPhone would be the necessary catalyst for Apple product proliferation in the  global marketplace, especially in countries like China.  It is believed that this new phone could possibly replace the 4S and would be a pared down model without features like Siri.  It would be made of plastic, versus the aluminum and metal materials used for the iPhone 5 and retail around $199, with a contract.

iPhone 5C
2. Fingerprint I.D.
Last year Apple acquired AuthenTech, famous for their fingerprint-sensor technology, for three hundred and fifty million dollars.  This move made waves, and now many predict that Apple will put their new purchase to use in iPhones and possibly tablets. This would predictably change the face of device security as fingerprints would eclipse passwords.  Experts are predicting this iPhone would be dubbed the 5S.

3. Shades of things to come
Remember those now vintage iBooks and desktops that came in a rainbow of colors? We know that, on occasion, Apple does dabble in different areas of the color wheel – as we saw more recently with iPod minis.  One of the rumors getting the most attention is the iPhone Gold, which is exactly what it sounds like, and would represent a total visual departure from what we know as the iPhone brand.

iPhone gold
4.  Best of both worlds?
There’s a growing opinion, or perhaps wishful thinking, that this fall Apple will do what it’s never done before and release two new phones, both the 5C and 5S, simultaneously.  Could that be hoping for too much?
What rumor are you banking on? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Tech News: Cybercafes Get A New Interface

While the cybercafé has grown increasingly rare in North America, in many developing nations it remains the gateway to the Internet and a gathering place integral to community life.  Such is the case in many African nations where these local cafés are still very relevant and the standard way to get online.

The typical scene in these cafes is a crowded one, both with people and bulky computer units that that serve a very limited number of users at a time given the space and energy they require.  Internet connection is often slow, machines unreliable and energy costs huge.

The system could be much more efficient for customers and owners alike. Which is why Google is rethinking the “user interface”, not of a new digital software but of the physical space of the internet cafe.  What, exactly does this look like?  A tablet café.  By replacing desktops with tablets the entire experience of getting online has been transformed for locals in Dakar, where Google is piloting the program.

The first major advantage of the program is economic: tablet cafés make good business sense.  Owners stand to save a significant amount of revenue on electricity, savings that Google Africa hopes, “can be reinvested in faster connectivity to bring in more customers.”

From a social-change standpoint, potential benefits of the program are even greater.  Though customers do not own the tablets, the impact of putting cutting edge technologies into the hands of under-served populations is immeasurable.   Customers emerge with something much more valuable than a tablet: technological literacy that corresponds with some of the most advanced devices and operating systems in the world.  The potential for the democratization through knowledge here is huge.

Finally, from a community building perspective the physical layout tablets afford is inherently more social and much closer to that of a traditional cafe.  Rather than hunched over in separate cubicles customers can sit comfortably on couches, chat and share with total ease.

Do you think tablet cafes are the future face of internet access in the developing world? Can the barriers to sustainability of the program be overcome? Share your thoughts with us!

Tech Tips: 5 Way To Maximize Your iPhone’s Battery

Dim Things Down

One of the simplest ways to maximize battery life without compromising user experience is to dim down the brightness of the screen light: the lower the light the more effectively you are using your device.  Just use the handy slider to test out different degrees of light intensity.

Settings – Brightness – Wallpaper

Skip the Bluetooth

Wireless transmission of data really puts a drain on your battery, especially during large chunks of the day when you may not need this feature (like when you aren’t using your headset/earpiece or are using your computer/tablet or primary device).  By switching Bluetooth off you can extend your battery life significantly.

Setting – Bluetooth – Off

The DIY Approach

Your iPhone is programmed, by default, to fetch data automatically (this is called “Push” in apple terms).  While this is perfect for getting email instantly, it is no always necessary and uses a lot of battery power.  By fetching your emails manually, you can receive mail only when you want to read it and enjoy a much longer battery life.  This approach is a user favorite and has made a big difference for many iPhone users.  Checking your mail manually on an iPhone 5 is even easier than tapping “refresh”: simply pull down the top of the browser and the page updates!

Settings – Mail – Contacts – Calenders – Fetch New Data. Here, you can turn off Push completely, schedule it for intervals of your choice or, select “Manual”.

Curb Your 3G Use

If you have an iPhone 3G or later model you know the joys of a very fast 3G of 4G LTE network connection.  But this faster browse-ability comes at a battery cost.  If you are in a bind and not trying to load webpages turning off your 3G/4G LTE connection will help you avoid that that red battery icon no one likes to see.

Settings – General – Slide Enable 3G to “Off” on some models or Enable LTE to “Off” on the iPhone 5 or newer

Bring Airplane Mode Down to Earth

Contrary to popular belief, Airplane Mode isn’t only for jet-setting, it is a setting that can save your battery!  Remember, this mode disables all data services, translation: no calls, texts or data. So its really best if you are just saving enough juice of a quick call in the near future.

Setting – Airplane Mode “On”

Smartphone app: Why boycott when you can buycott?

Posted on May 21, 2013 | Android, Apple, Apps, cell phone, smartphone, Tech tips

In our consumer culture often the most powerful vote we cast is with our dollar.  Each purchase we make is an endorsement of the philosophies and practices of the company responsible for making/providing the item or service.  However, this process of consumer endorsement is not nearly as simple as it sounds.  The complex (sometimes even deliberately so), conglomerate structures are a huge barrier in responsible patronage.

Enter, Buycott: the smartphone app that is cutting through the confusion in the name of consumer empowerment. The app’s most basic function reads bar codes and translates the webs of endless subsidiaries into an easy to read “family tree” for any product.  Thus, for instance, if you scan a scan a box of Splenda you’ll know that its parent, McNeil Nutritionals, is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Demystifying the consumer experience has never been so easy.  But it doesn’t stop there.

The app is also organized into campaigns (you are free to join an existing one or start your own) around values like safe working conditions, LGBT rights or “Say No To GMO.”  If you join a campaign Buycott also executes a cross-check on any scanned items against the brands included in your campaign so it can red flag any conflicting product.

Buycott is actually the opposite of ‘boycott.’ So, by endorsing brands that support gay marriage (Absolut and Starbucks for example) you are buycotting; while choosing to not purchase Monsanto or genetically modified food is boycotting.  Whether by boycotting or Buycotting, the aim of the app is to give consumers the information to make the informed choices that are right for them.

“I don’t want to push any single point of view with the app,” the app’s inventor Ivan Pardo told Forbes. “For me, it was critical to allow users to create campaigns because I don’t think it is Buycott’s role to tell people what to buy. We simply want to provide a platform that empowers consumers to make well-informed purchasing decisions.”

Buycott is available for iPhones and the Android version is coming soon.

Sustainable Living: Houseplant 2.0

Spring has sprung and though your neighbor’s perfect garden is beautiful, it may leave you feeling inadequate about your plant-rearing abilities (not to mention this year’s houseplant casualties).  But, even for the world’s worst gardeners, the tech world is offering a solution: the Smart Herb Garden.
These small indoor gardens produce herbs without water or fertilizer (basically without any effort at all). Inspired by NASA, the engineers behind these gardens discovered that using nano material to grow vegetation is actually more efficient than conventional practices.
The principle is as simple as cartridge coffee makers: each Smart Herb Garden comes with cartridges for different plants. You simply plug in your garden, insert a cartridge and add water.
And, the seeds are spreading: more than 50,000 homes are enjoying basil, thyme, lemon balm- even mini tomatoes and strawberries from their click and grow gardens.  If you would like to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign and join the houseplant revolution learn more here.

Samsung announces the Galaxy S IV smartphone

So, what do you think about the Galaxy SIV smartphone?

Galaxy S IV smartphone

Are you tempted to sell your old phone and upgrade when it comes out in April?

Hopefully we can help you decide. Here’s the ExchangeMyPhone summary of Samsung’s latest unveiling:

As the fourth update of the electronic giant’s flagship smartphone there’s no doubt that Samsung continues to raise the bar for competitors. By super-sizing the screen and packing in even more specialized software the Galaxy S IV is clearly establishing itself as a rival to the iPhone5.

The S IV draws on the design of the S III but the screen is larger (5 inches), the weight is lighter, the resolution greater, the battery capacity higher, the processor faster and the rear-facing camera enhanced with more megapixels.

In the software department, the Galaxy S IV runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the most up-to-date version of Android. Two features we particularly like are the multi-view mode (splitting the screen so you can interact with two apps at the same time) and the Smart Pause. The latter is particularly innovative as it halts a video you’re watching when your eyes dart away, then resumes when you start paying attention again.

S IV smartphone features

We’d love to hear your thoughts – do you think? Are you excited to buy the S IV?

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Uchek turns your smartphone into a mobile urine lab

Posted on February 27, 2013 | Android, Apple, innovation, iPhone, phone, smartphone, Tech tips

TED fellow Myshkin Ingawale wants to harness technology to help people to better understand their own bodies. Drawing on the powerful cameras and processing power of smartphone technology, he has created an Uchek – a urinalysis app for the masses.

Unveiled at the TED conference today, the seemingly simple app is easy for anyone to use: a chemical strip is dipped in urine, a picture is taken of the strip with a smartphone and Uchek analyzes the strip to produce an accurate and easy-to-understand result.

With the color comparisons as a guide, the app creates an almost instant breakdown of the levels of glucose, bilirubin, proteins, specific gravity, ketones, leukocytes, nitrites, urobilinogen and hematuria present in the urine. This information is particularly helpful for those managing diabetes, or kidney, bladder and liver problems.

The app delivers the information in language that everyone can understand (positive or negative results or descriptors like “trace” or “large”). If you don’t know that the presence of leukocytes might indicate a urinary tract infection, you simply tap on the leukocytes tab for more information. “The idea is to get people closer to their own information,” Ingawale, 29, explained.

Ingawale is optimistic it will be made available to iOS users soon and an Android version is in the works.

According to the GSMA, the organisation which represents the mobile industry, mobile health service could help save one million lives in Africa over the next five years. According to Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer at the GSMA, “Mobile health has immense potential to improve people’s lives since it increases patient access to quality healthcare whilst reducing costs”. Much like other health-related smartphone apps, Ucheck is not meant to diagnose disease. Rather it is meant to make you and your doctor better aware of your health issues.

We’re excited to see what other smartphone technology emerges from this year’s TED conference!

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New Android smartphone – HTC unveils The One

Posted on February 20, 2013 | cell phone, mobile, smartphone, Tech tips

Yesterday HTC unveiled its latest Android smartphone in a global launch that included simultaneous events in New York and London.

HTC unveils The One to android smartphone market

At their New York event, HTC President Jason MacKenzie, said that the One isn’t a set of incremental improvements, rather it is a bold step forward for something new and fresh.

So what’s the ExchangeMyPhone take on it? At a tactile level, the phone has an instantly ‘premium’ feel with an entirely aluminum constriction.

On the software side, there’s even more to love. When you turn on the phone the One’s home page displays as a “BlinkFeed”, rather than a screen full of apps. This unique layout creates a curated collection of news stories, social status updates, pictures etc for you to scroll through.

Travelling further into the phone, our favorite HTC addition is the camera. They have created a camera to rival the iPhone5 and Galaxy SIII with a front-facing wide-angle lens, enhanced rear-facing lens and the unique ‘Zoe’ shot. If you’ve ever watched Harry Potter and coveted those moving portraits you’ll be hooked – essentially the camera begins one second before the user presses the button (through buffering) and continues for three more seconds. This creates a short video and makes the shots in your photo album appear to ‘come alive’. Photos from a specific event are then automatically collected and joined with music to create “Zoe Highlight” videos.

HTC One boasts unique camera

AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will sell the One, along with many smaller regional telecom companies. The 32GB version of the One will retail for $199.99 with a two-year contract, and the 64GB version should sell for $299.99 (HTC is still hashing out the final details).

Can’t wait to get your hands on it? Don’t fear – the phone is set to hit stores in March.

Have any questions? As always, ask away in the comments section below.

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Top Valentine’s Day smartphone apps

Posted on February 13, 2013 | Android, Apps, cell phone, iPhone, mobile, smartphone, Tech tips

Just in time for Valentine’s Day we have found you the 4 best smartphone apps to help you with everything from finding love to sending the perfect gift…

Finding Love

If you have an iPhone, Let’s Date is one of the most popular dating apps to help smartphone users find love. It calls itself, “the Instagram of dating” and lets you to create a “dater card” through your Facebook profile. You can browse other people’s dating cards and, when you see one you like, you simply hit “Let’s Date.” If the other person likes you too, you can chat through the app and set up a Valentine’s date.

Lets Date smartphone app

Creating the perfect date

If you’re bored of nights at the cinema, or have scored a date with someone you particularly want to impress, Goby will help you plan the perfect night out. The app helps you find interesting local activities and events based on your location.

Goby app

Giving a gift they’ll love

Valentine’s day has a bad habit of sneaking up on us. This year treating your significant other (or your best mate) to the perfect gift can be as easy as scrolling through an app on your phone. The Sesame app lets you pick from a variety of themed experiences (from a home spa day to a snow day) and they will then send your gift to the lucky recipient.

Sesame smartphone app

Telling them how you feel

If you want to celebrate the people you love, and make their day, you can send personalized Valentines straight from your cell phone with CleverBug. After you download the app, and connect via your Facebook account, Cleverbug will pull up all of your friends so you can choose who to send cards to. It then pulls together Facebook photos of you and whichever friend you’ve selected, and lets you customize the design of the card however you wish. The best piece? Your first card is free so you just pay for postage and send!

Cleverebug cell phone app

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How do I delete the data from my iPad?

Posted on February 06, 2013 | Apple, iPad, Mac, resale, tablet, Tech tips

The latest, memory-rich iPad has just hit the shelves. Did you decide to upgrade? Perhaps you were inspired by all the tablet chatter on the internet to trade in your old iPad and use the money to subsidize a newer model.

Whatever your reason, we have created a very simple, step-by-step process explaining the best way to delete the data from your iPad so it is ready for re-sale.

1. Start up your iPad and go Settings > General. Then scroll down to Reset.

2. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.

3. Enter your passcode (if you have one).

4. Tap Erase.

All done! It couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is restart your iPad to confirm that it has all been wiped.

Now that you’ve cleared your data you can safely sell your iPad or pass it on to some you really like.

If you have a few smartphones lying around that you’d like to wipe, ready for resale or re-gifting, check out our how-to posts on erasing data from iPhones and erasing data from Blackberrys.

One last question – do I have to delete the data myself if I send my device to ExchangeMyPhone?
Most people want to stay on top of deleting their own data, and we are happy to offer these explanations.  Of course, here at ExchangeMyPhone our standard procedure includes total immediate data wiping for all products received. So, if you are sending a phone or device to us here at ExchangeMyPhone, there’s no need to worry about doing it wrong or having sent a device with data still on it – we’ll always double-check and rewipe.

If you’ve any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

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