NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Apple(AAPL) iOS users may spend more money on apps than Google(GOOG) Android users, who prefer freebies, but there is still a chunk of iPhone apps available in the App Store for free.
Here are five that offer a wacky Wi-Fi twist.
Blow Photo — This gimmicky app turns on a five-second timer for the iPhone’s camera before snapping a photo. Just blow at the screen. Yes, blow air on the screen. Amusing but that may tire after a while. A more useful feature is that you can edit photos on the fly — add effects, brighten it up, crop and even draw on the image — and then upload it over Wi-Fi to Dropbox, Evernote or other cloud-storage services.
One caveat: Blowing on the screen to set the camera’s timer gives you just five seconds, so pose fast!
Remote Snap !! — Instead of using a self-timer for group photos, this app turns an iPhone into a remote control for well-timed shots. Remote Snap !! does require two iPhones (or iPads or an iPod Touch). One acts as the camera, the other is the remote. Cue the first camera phone and then get into position. The second phone turns into a remote that you press when everyone is picture perfect. The phones communicate over Wi-Fi and require typing in a code to connect.
iNumKeyPad — Thoughtful use of iPhone as a laptop’s dedicated number key pad. To connect the two, both devices require some software and must be on the same network. Also, you may need to adjust the firewall to allow the app to link to the computer. Once linked, the iPhone-turned-number pad works immediately. Great for typing in loads of numbers. Developer MBPowerTools did address the main issue of repeated numbers. Just turn off “Repeat key” in the settings.
Cup Phone — This walkie-talkie-like app pays homage to the original childhood mode of communication: two cups and string. And while it seems like walkie-talkies are so outdated these days (um, this is a phone, after all), Cup Phone is handy and fun when two people are in the same building and don’t want to yell (“Time for dinner”). It works over a local Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth.
USB Sharp – Transfer multiple files to and from iPhone and PC with no extra software needed for PC. Nifty features are what make this app stand out — zip a file on the fly, view a PDF and send the file straight to Dropbox or other cloud service. Not sure why USB is in the name when using Wi-Fi is so much more convenient. But what a timesaver when you don’t want to muss with cables and iTunes.
Caveat: Help page is in Chinese so if you don’t know the language, you’ll have to play around to see what else the app can really do.
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About a month ago I switched from my iPhone 4S to the Galaxy Nexus from Samsung. I was finally making the move from ATT to Verizon and I couldn’t bear the idea of paying $450 once again for another 4S “upgrade”. I’d been meaning to try Android and figured now was as good a time as any. And since I wanted to run Ice Cream Sandwich that meant a Galaxy Nexus. I switched cold turkey and have been using the Nexus exclusively. Since a lot of people ask me how I like it I thought I’d post some thoughts.
First, the conclusion (in case you don’t want to read any further). I like the Nexus and Android and it’s definitely a workable phone. But I’m likely going to switch back to the iPhone platform when the 5 comes out this fall (but stay on Verizon for sure).
What I like about my Galaxy Nexus:
- First off, Verizon kicks ATT’s ass. In a month I’ve maybe had one call drop on dial. On ATT, calls failed to connect on the first try about 40% of the time. Overall network coverage was much better, data speeds were much better and I had coverage in more places (NY, SF, Boulder, etc.) than I did with ATT (I’ll allow here that the test wasn’t apples to apples and that differences in the hardware itself may be partially responsible).
- Swipe to answer. Swipe right to answer. Swipe left to send to voice mail. Swipe up and you can send one of a few pre-programed text messages back (or write your own custom message). Love this feature!
- Screen yumminess. Simply put, the screen on the Nexus is beautiful. Stunning, actually. And large.
- Flexibility. Android as an open platform is just way more flexible than iOS. I can arrange my screen as I’d like, there are more apps for any one thing you’re looking to do, you can customize your environment as you like. And I love the way you can nest contacts and have your favorite numbers grouped together logically and available on your home screen.
- Batteries. I’ll talk about why this is so critical below, but I do like that I can swap my battery on the Nexus. I carry 3 batteries with me at all times (including one of the extended batteries) and when I run out of juice I can just pop another one in. Sadly, this happens all too often…
What I didn’t like so much about my Galaxy Nexus:
- Battery life. Wow, does the Nexus suck down the juice. Depending on what you’re doing, you can run down your battery in an hour (for example, tethering the phone will discharge a fully charged battery in less than 60 minutes). I mentioned that I have 3 batteries for my phone – this is because owning a Nexus is an exercise in battery management. The phone needs to be plugged in at every opportunity possible. And I’d strongly recommend getting the extended battery as well as an external charger for your batteries (so you can plug the batteries in and charge them when they’re not in your phone). There’s no way I’d recommend getting this phone unless you’re willing to take on the task of power management.
- Bugs. There are some bugs in Ice Cream Sandwich which make it a pain to use from time to time. I’ve had my phone freeze up on me a few times. If you’re in the video camera and you let the screen go to sleep, you will have to re-boot the phone (which takes about 3 minutes) before you can use the camera or video camera again. Dialing a number directly from calendar is really kluge and usually takes me about 5 attempts. The text database on my phone get messed up and this causes all incoming texts to show up in double. Full calendar items only show up when you enter the editor in the calendar. Bunch of little things like that.
- Are you sure? There are a lot of things that you’ll attempt to do on Android where it will ask you to confirm your selection (are you sure you want to delete that; are you sure you want to dial that number, are you sure you want to power off, etc.). I found this really annoying.
- Facebook. The Facebook app for Android is really bad. Mine consistently loaded slowly, sometimes didn’t load at all and generally was only usable if you were willing to be extremely patient (the app doesn’t cache any data and has to reload from scratch each time, although even that doesn’t explain the remarkable latency in the app). I don’t buy phones for one app. And to be clear, it’s not like I’m addicted to Facebook – honestly, I could quit any time. But it was a bummer that this didn’t work better.
- Soft home key. The home key on the Galaxy Nexus is a soft key. And you’d think after a month I’d stop accidentally hitting it when I was typing. But you’d be wrong. I hit it all the time and have to go back into the app I was working in. I prefer a hard home key. Or at least a soft key spaced a bit further away.
- Size. I found the Galaxy Nexus to be a bit big for my tastes. For some things this was great, but overall, I found it hard to use with only one hand and difficult at times to navigate because of it’s size and where the various command keys ended up being laid out because of that size
So there you have the highlights and lowlights. I’m glad I ran this experiment and I’ll definitely hold on to this phone while I wait to see what the next Apple release looks like. But I’ll probably head back to iOS in the next 6 months…
Would love your thoughts here if you’ve also made the switch.
Read more posts on VC Adventure »
By Katie Marsal
Published: 11:24 AM EST (08:24 AM PST)
A total of five regional U.S. carrier announced on Wednesday that they will begin selling Apple’s iPhone on April 20, as Alaska Communications, GCI, Appalachian Wireless and Cellcom join an earlier announcement from nTelos [updated].
The iPhone 4S will become available to customers of five regional U.S. on April 20. It will be sold for $50 cheaper than its traditional subsidized price at other carriers, starting at $150 for the 16-gigabyte model, $250 for 32 gigabytes, and $350 for 64 gigabytes. The 8-gigabyte iPhone 4 will also be available for $50.
And one of the carriers announced Wednesday, GCI, has a GSM network, which means it will also be able to offer Apple’s iPhone 3GS for free with a two-year contract.
Two of the carriers announced on Wednesday are based out of Alaska: Alaska Communications and GCI. The iPhone 4S will be available through Alaska Communications from its 14 retail stores, as well as the company’s website.
The carrier offers nationwide unlimited talk plans for $90 with 2 gigabytes of data, while adding unlimited texting brings the monthly cost to $101 and bumps the data cap up to 5 gigabytes. The subsidized iPhone pricing requires a two-year service contract.
“We are delighted to offer Alaskans the best iPhone yet on Alaskas smartest network,” said Anand Vadapalli, Alaska Communications president and CEO. “As the Smartphone experts, Alaska Communications has a range of plans to meet the needs of all Alaskans, at home and at work.”
Cellcom offers wireless service in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin, while Appalachian Wireless is based in Kentucky.
The announcement of four more wireless partners as an official carrier partner of Apple came on the same day that nTelos Wireless was also revealed. nTelos will also begin selling the iPhone 4S on April 20 to its more than 400,000 subscribers.
Apple began expanding availability of the iPhone to smaller, regional carriers last October when a deal with C Spire Wireless was announced. That carrier has about 900,000 customers.
With the new iPad 3 officially launched all eyes are now looking to Apple’s next big release: the iPhone 5.
So far not much is known about Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone but we have heard numerous reports from a variety of reliable sources that claim the device will be launched around June 2012.
But the big question on everybody’s lips is this: Will the iPhone 5 be a true update – i.e. one that looks different and also features new hardware – or will Apple simply stick with the 2010 iPhone design?
Now we know Apple is fond of its incremental updating process where each new iOS device slowly builds on the last by adding new components and hardware, like the new iPad’s Retina Display and the iPhone 4S’ Siri assistant.
This time should be different, though, because Apple has effectively exhausted the current design by producing two handsets back-to-back that looked identical. It cannot afford to release another iPhone that looks like the current model – it would be suicide.
The new iPhone 5, therefore, has to represent a dramatic change. A mere glance at the iPhone 4S next to the HTC One X illustrates this point profoundly. The iPhone of old is finally beginning to look its age.
Should Apple choose to ignore the demand’s of its customers, which, lets be honest, is very likely based on the company’s past behaviour, then 2012 could very well be the year that Apple’s brand appeal starts to lose its allure, just as IBD predicted back in January.
Here’s what we want from the iPhone 5:
This should be paramount on Apple’s list. The original iPhone 4 design, whilst being exceptionally beautiful, is now starting to lose some of its initial appeal when viewed next to Samsung and HTC’s latest range of Android super phones.
This isn’t all that surprising when you think about it. The original iPhone 4 is now two years old. Yet despite its age the design is still popular and the iPhone 4S is still one of the best selling smartphones on the planet – a fitting testament to Apple’s innovative design principles.
But after two years we’re more than ready for a change. So expect to see a vastly different looking iPhone 5 device with a bigger display, larger dimensions and that all-important ultra-thin profile we’ve come to expect from Apple smartphones.
…The Galaxy S II, but I’m betting you already guessed that. The last time we saw a Canaccord Genuity Monthly Channel Check was the end of 2011 and guess what — not much has changed. The top 3 smartphones for T-Mobile remained roughly the same with the Galaxy S II and HTC Amaze 4G holding down the 1, 2 spots. The HTC Radar 4G ended December as the third most popular smartphone only to be usurped by the Nokia Lumia 710, which held the third spot for both January and February. So what knocked the Lumia 710 out of the top three? The Galaxy S Blaze 4G now holds the number three spot on T-Mobile’s network and rightfully so, it’s still the fastest phone I’ve ever used on HSPA+.
So what do you think? Does this list emulate your thoughts on T-Mobile’s top smartphones?
In the event that Apple decides to drop its LCD displays and switch to OLED, Samsung has set production in high gear this early on. he South Korean manufacturer is the largest provider of OLED displays, which rivals the LCD screens used in most iOS devices namely the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad tablets.
Confirmation is yet to be released by the iOS manufacturer but in case a transition is determined, Apple is expected to order the components from Samsung. Sources say, that at this point Apple is still hesitant on whether Samsung will be able to meet their supply demands.
The probable switch does not come as a surprise since Apple has already considered AMOLED displays for its iPhone before. Notably, the first OLED offer of Samsung to Apple has been declined since the American tech giant believes that OLED displays still have unresolved “technological issues.”
A Samsung exec that wished to remain anonymous said that their increased OLED production is set to win confidence from Apple’s camp that their demands could be delivered. It is known that Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer in product components.
Apple continually banks on the LCD technology for the Retina Display of both their iPhone 4 and the new iPad, which highlighted the tablet screen’s outstanding color saturation. The manufacturer believes that AMOLED-based screens have a tendency for oversaturation, while LCD retains color accuracy.
Right now, the Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus and most likely the awaited Galaxy S3 smartphone all feature HD Super AMOLED panels made by Samsung. If Samsung can commit to producing AMOLED displays with Retina Display caliber, then perhaps Apple may not think twice, to feature it in its upcoming iPhone 5.
After a year and a half, the iPhone 5 turned out to be the iPhone 4S, which left a lot of us wondering what that meant for Apple’s release schedule. (Up until then, the company was reliably releasing iPhones every year.) Well, we could be getting back to it: a Foxconn recruiting officer is hinting at a June release for the iPhone 5.
So, quick caveat right up top: who knows if this new release in June will be the iPhone 5. In the wake of “the new iPad” and what’s now two years worth of pressure for the fabled iPhone 5 to be damn near revolutionary, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple swing in a different direction. The iPhone is also a mature platform, and one that hasn’t seen that much movement hardware-wise. We’ll just have to see.
Back to the matter at hand: a Foxconn recruiter, talking to a TV Tokyo program called “World Business Satellite,” mentioned that the company is “looking for 18,000 employees” for a “fifth-generation phone.”
From Mashable’s Emily Price:
The reporter went on to clarify that the recruiter was talking about the iPhone 5, and the recruiter added that the next generation of the handset will come out in June.
The iPhone 5 — or, if Apple maintains the naming scheme it started with the iPad, the “new iPhone” — will actually be the 6th iPhone released by the company.
And there’s this sentiment from Price, which we’d like to echo:
The June rumor, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt. Rumors of the iPhone 5 started almost immediately after the announcement of the iPhone 4S last year.
Why is this rumor interesting? Well, beyond reassuring the Apple faithful that yes, indeed Apple will continue to make iPhones, the iPhone 5 is something of a missing puzzle piece, whereas the iPhone 4S was an oddly shaped one. The 4S was the hardware upgrade over the 4 that its name implies, and held up Siri, which predated the 4S, and has look-a-like apps on other platforms, as the headlining iPhone 4S difference and something only it can do.
The point: that’s a trick the iPhone 5 doesn’t have in its playbook, and we really don’t know where Apple will take it from here. The iPhone line has set the pace since it came out in 2007, and rightly so — it’s got the hardware chops with a peerless ecosystem backing it. The iPhone 4S, while wildly successful, doesn’t come off as indomitable as its predecessors.
There’s really no scenario that sees the iPhone 5 release as a flop, but it’s very possible that, when it comes out, it doesn’t seem as far out of reach for its competitors, which are already moving into areas where Apple hasn’t yet, such as true 4G and 3D displays.
Article source: http://dvice.com/archives/2012/04/iphone-5-could.php
A massive recruitment drive by Apple’s No.1 manufacturing partner, China-based Foxconn, has sparked speculation that iPhone 5 may launch as early as June.
According to reports (via International Business Times), Foxconn has received the order from Apple for the next-gen iPhone and is hiring 20,000 additional staff for a plant in Northern China that’s expected to assemble 80 percent of the units.
The recruitment drive could result in millions of iPhone 5 units being produced within a matter of months, fuelling rumours of a June launch.
Most recently, iPhone 5 was rumoured to feature a 4.6 inch retina display, which is larger than the 3.5 inch one on its most recent iPhone, the 4S, and equal in size to that of the popular Samsung Galaxy S II.
It’s another iPhone 5 rumor to get your day started.
It wouldn’t be a solid week of news without some kind of rumor about an Apple gadget. For your Tuesday Edition, we have the iPhone 5 slated to arrive in June.
The news arrives by way of a recruiter at Foxconn’s Taiyuan factory gate who told WBS News that the company is now hiring 18,000 people. When the reporter noted that was a lot of people to take on all at once, the recruiter said it was because “it seems like [the iPhone 5] will go one sale around June.” The short little interview was conducted from a distance and void of any significant detail.
The recent iPhone 4S is probably the only model that has been released outside Apple’s typical June/July window. Otherwise, Apple has stuck with the same launch schedule since the original iPhone went retail on June 29, 2007. The iPhone 3G arrived on July 11, 2008; the iPhone 3GS on June 19, 2009; and the iPhone 4 (GSM only) on June 24, 2010.
After that, the black CDMA version the iPhone 4 arrived on February 10, 2011, followed by the white GSM/CDMA version on April 28, 2011. This may have had something to do with the late arrival of the iPhone 4S which began to infiltrate the market starting October 14, 2011. Technically 2011 was a busy year for Apple which released a new tablet and three phones.
The iPhone 5 was originally rumored to arrive alongside the 4S model, but of course that never happened. Naturally we won’t know anything official until Apple is ready to burst at the seams with juicy iPhone 5 info. If you’re not an Apple fan, then prepare yourself to be doused in iPhone release reports in June given that the news machine typically halts whenever Apple unleashes a new gadget.
In the run-up to the release of the iPhone 4S, the rumors and media hysteria surrounding the prospect of an iPhone 5 reached a fever pitch. Well, just five months later, a new piece of information points to an iPhone 5 release in the very near future.
The new iPhone rumor comes via a television report by TV Tokyo in which a Foxconn factory worker is captured on video telling a Chinese questioner that the company is looking to hire 18,000 new workers to prepare for the release of the iPhone 5 in June. The conversation was held in Chinese and translated into Japanese by the network, and then into English by Japan technology blog Mac Otakara (Mac Treasure).
The report has already set Japan’s Twitter community on fire with talk of a new iPhone, which would technically be the sixth-generation smartphone from Apple. And, given the new naming convention attached to the iPad”the new iPad,” rather than the widely anticipated “iPad 3″it’s quite possible that we’ll never see an actual “iPhone 5.” As Apple looks to shift its incredibly popular line of mobile devices toward a more mainstream profile, the tradition of retail model numbers and letters may eventually be dropped from all but the most but the most recent versions of the company’s software packages. (For more on that, see ‘New’ iPads Are Always Exciting, Numbers Aren’t.)
Another data point that may add weight to the notion of an impending iPhone 5 release is the recent visit from the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, just last week. Many assumed the visit was singularly focused on addressing recent concerns related to worker treatment at the Foxconn factory, but was it also iPhone-related?
These latest iPhone rumblings comes just a couple of months after a rumor surfaced in January that Foxconn was ramping up production on the Phone 5. Of course, there have also been reports about a fall 2012 release, so stay tuned.
For more, see PCMag’s full review of the iPhone 4S and the slideshow below.
For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402524,00.asp