Tag Archive | "apple ipod touch"

iOS 5 Pro? 12 More Tips/Tricks You Probably Don’t Know

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iOS 5 just launched earlier this month, and based on the popularity of my article the other week, which focused on actual honest-to-goodness iOS 5 tips and tricks beyond the painfully obvious “you can send iMessages!” variety, I’ve created a new list with an additional 12 obscure tips/tricks. Again, a few of these are not iOS 5 exclusive, but most are. If you’re a brand new iPhone 4S user and didn’t know any of these, don’t fret… these are pro tips. My goal here is to have provided experienced iOS users with, at very least, one new thing they didn’t already know about iOS. Did I succeed, or are you some sort of iOS trivia prodigy? Let me know in the comments, and if you’ve got any other off-the-beaten-path iOS 5 tips/tricks, please share them!

12 More iOS 5 Tips/Tricks:
  1. Week Weather View In Notification Center — If you are using the Weather Widget in the iOS 5 notification center, you can swipe it to the right or left to reveal weather for the next 6 days. You’ll be able to see High/Low temps, as well as anticipated conditions (sunny, cloudy, etc). Apple decided not to make it clear that this widget swipes to the side for this additional view, so don’t blame yourself if you missed it, I did initially as well!
  2. Swipe From Camera to Photos — This is a new obscure hidden gesture added in iOS 5; Apple doesn’t make any effort to indicate that it is there (much like #12 on the other iOS 5 tips/tricks post). If you’re in the Camera app, you can swipe to the left to slide the camera away and go to your most recent photo. You can swipe through your photos, and if you swipe back to the front, you can swipe to the camera again to continue snapping photos. This is almost no different from tapping the thumbnail at the bottom left of the app to get to the most recent photo. Oddly enough, you can’t swipe from your most recent photo to the camera if you go through the thumbnail, instead of using the swipe gesture from the camera. Apple, sometimes you are bizarre.
  3. Launch Camera Directly from Lock Screen — Apple touted this during their iOS 5 announcement, but people were confused because Apple initially demonstrated the camera button button as being directly on the lockscreen. However, the button wasn’t directly on the lockscreen when iOS 5 actually reached consumers. Don’t worry though, they didn’t remove it. Just double-tap the home button while on the lockscreen and you’ll find the button to launch straight to the camera. If you never knew of double tapping on the lockscreen before, you’ll also find playback and volume controls which have existed prior to iOS 5. Nifty.
  4. Lock Camera Exposure and Focus — Prior to iOS 5, Apple relied on third-party apps to implement this sort of functionality, but they’ve finally decided to bake it right in. You can now lock the exposure and focus level within the native camera app by doing a long-press on the screen (as opposed to tapping). Hold it for a second or two and you’ll see the focus square do a little dance. Let go and you’ll find that the focus and exposure have been locked as indicated by the “AE/AF Lock” text at the bottom of the viewfinder. Tap again anywhere on the screen to unlock and return to automatic mode.
  5. Use the Volume-up Button to Take Photos — Another Camera app addition as of iOS 5. When using the native app, you can opt to press the volume-up button to snap a photo. There’s no on-screen indication that this should work, so if you didn’t already know about it, or hear it from someone else, you’d probably only discover it by accident. I feel bad for the developers of the Camera+ app: Apple doesn’t allow third-party applications to rebind hardware buttons, but the developers of Camera+ actually sneaked this same ability passed Apple in their Camera+ app. After reports of this Easter egg found their way to Apple, the app was pulled from the store, only to have Apple include the functionality in their own Camera app as of iOS 5! Never let anyone tell you that Apple isn’t a bully.
  6. Custom Keyboard Phrase Shortcuts — Find yourself regularly typing a specific phrase in SMS, Email, IM, or somewhere else on your iOS device? You can turn that long and commonly typed phrase into something much more manageable with a new iOS 5 feature. For instance, you can have the letters “omw” be replaced automatically with “on my way”. To do this, go into the Settings app > General > Keyboard, and look at the “Shortcuts” section. Tap “Add New Shortcut” to define the phrase and the shortcut text. Next time you type the shortcut text, the phrase will automatically be inserted. Now you can finally stop repeatedly typing out, “Honey, I lit the house on fire, again.”
  7. Custom Vibrations for Contacts — Custom ring tones and text tones have been available prior to iOS 5 but they don’t do you much good if you always have your phone on vibrate. With the latest update, you can assign custom vibrations to specific contacts so that you know who is contacting you even before you get your phone out of your pocket. Unfortunately this only works for calls and not other notifications (SMS, email, etc.). There are a few predefined vibration patterns, and Apple has even included an easy way to create your own vibes. You’ll find this option in the accessibility section, as I’m sure you can imagine how it would be useful for someone who is deaf and blind. To enable custom vibrations, go to the Settings app > General > Accessibility > and turn the “Custom Vibrations” switch to on. Now go to your Contacts app, choose a contact, hit the edit button at the top right, and tap the “vibration” option. Here you can select from pre-defined vibration patterns, or scroll to the bottom and press “Create New Vibration” within which you can tap and hold on the screen to create any pattern you want.
  8. Access the Built-in Dictionary From Any App — Apple originally included a handy “define” functionality in their iBooks app, which allowed you to highlight any word in a book and get a definition. In iOS 5, they have expanded this dictionary to be system-wide. In any app that allows you to highlight words, you can hold your finger on a word to highlight it, then tap the “Define” button that pops up from the resulting menu. Now you’ll finally understand why everyone keeps telling you that your epidermis is showing.
  9. Enable Battery Percentage — This is an old one, but still seems to go unchecked by newbies and experience iOS users alike (probably because it’s hidden in a weird place). Despite the high resolution screen on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPod Touch (4th gen), it seems like the default battery icon only has 3 states: Full, half, and OMG YOUR PHONE IS ABOUT TO DIE. Instead of relying on these imprecise icon stages, wouldn’t it be much nicer to have a handy % indicator? Go to Settings > General > Usage > and flip the “Battery Percentage” switch to on. Voila! No more freaking out when you actually have a solid 20% battery life left.
  10. See Which Apps are Hogging Your Storage — This is a new feature for iOS 5 and it’s particularly handy for when you are crammed for space and can’t decide what apps are worth deleting. Some apps are dubious because they themselves are only small downloads from the App Store, just a few megabytes or so, but then they may download or accumulate hundreds of megs worth of data during their operation. To find out which apps are taking up the most space, go to Settings > General > Usage and note the “Storage” list. You’ll see your applications tallied based on how large they are, and this figure includes accumulated data. Without including accumulated data, I would have thought that Photosynth was a relatively small app at 7MB; turns out it’s now taking up 147MB total! Now I’ll be much more informed about which apps I should delete when space is low and you will too.
  11. Enable Emoji Icon Keyboard for Free — Emoji icons are a standardized list of hundreds of emoticons which are popular on handsets in Japan, but that won’t stop them from being used elsewhere. I’m very confused as to why Apple allows paid apps in the App Store which claim to “install” Emoji icons when they are built into the phone for free. You can easily enable the emoji keyboard by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboard > Add New Keyboard > find and tap “Emoji” in the list. Now when you go into any app that uses the keyboard, you can press the globe icon at the bottom left to switch between your standard keyboard and the emoji keyboard, which has all of the icons sorted neatly into categories. If you get tired of the emoji keyboard, remove it by following the same steps, except use the “Edit” button at the top right of the Keyboard menu.
  12. Invert the Screen Colors as a Prank (or because it looks awesome) — With the proliferation of iOS devices, iOS pranking has become a reality among friends. I usually like to take a screenshot of the homescreen and set it as their background, but this particular tip that I’m about to share with you seems perfect for Halloween. This is another accessibility option, and I’m presuming that it helps provide better contrast to those who have exceedingly poor eyesight. It also looks rather cool and will frighten your friends who may think their device is on its way out the door. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > flip the “White on Black” switch. Enjoy.

For $15 You Can Always Have a Charge/Sync Cable for Your Smartphone with You Thanks to This Excellent Accessory

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scosche 2When it comes to technology gifts, I generally tell people not to get them for me. Not that I don’t appreciate the thought, but having a non-techie try to find a good tech gift for a tech-geek is like an atheist shopping for the Pope.

Somehow, this last holiday season, my mother actually managed to get me an awesome tech related gift which I’ve been making great use of. Check it out:

scoscheThis is the Scosche FlipSNYC USB iPhone adapter (fear not, they make Micro/Mini USB version as well!) which is incredibly compact, enough so that you can easily throw it on your keychain. I was impressed by the smart design which manages to keep it so compact, even in lieu of Apple’s relatively massive connector. This isn’t one of those “you can totally put it on your keychain!” ordeals that you might find see on a TV infomercial, where in reality the thing is so bulky that you’d never actually want to put it on your keys — it’s actually small enough to go on your keychain and not attract any unwanted attention.

I’ve always got my keys with me, so even if I run out of the house without thinking I might need to charge or sync my phone, I don’t have to worry about it; if the time comes, out come my keys and this useful little bit of kit.

I’ve been using mine regularly for about 8 months and it shows no sign of breakage or wear.

Scosche sells these things for $15, and even though mine was a gift, I’ve easily justified the price with the amount of use I’ve gotten from it. It’s so handy to be able to plug into any USB port to get your charge on in a pinch and I’d definitely recommend one to any serious smartphone user.

scosche 3Fortunately, Scoche makes the aforementioned iPhone/iPod Touch version, and they’ve also got one for the same price that has both Micro and Mini USB plugs on it, which means that pretty much the entire modern smartphone world is covered.

The iPhone/iPod Touch version is also sold in red or white, just in case you’re too stylish for plain old black.

Scosche is also selling a second version of these called the FlipSYNC II, but they cost $5 more and the only differences seem to be a USB plug with full metal casing (rather than a ‘half’ plug) and the key loop is slightly larger. You can find those here (iPhone version) and here (Micro/Mini USB version), if you’d like to see for yourself.

Today Only: 32GB iPod Touch (latest generation) for $229

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ipod touchIf you’ve been eyeing the latest iPod Touch, the folks at Woot.com have the 32GB model for $229. This is a refurbished unit, but presumably it’ll work like new.

If you go the Woot route, you’ll save $70 (24%) over the price that you’d be paying if you bought one new from Apple, and $45 (17%) if you bought one new from Amazon. The deal also beats out Apple’s own price on a refurbished 32GB iPod Touch by $30 (12%).

The iPod Touch on offer is indeed the latest-generation (4th) model with an impressively sharp 960×640 display, A4 CPU, rear camera (with HD recording capability), and front camera for FaceTime connectivity (or any other app that uses the front cam). It’s also quite thin.

In the box you’ll find the 32GB refurbished unit, a USB cable for charging and syncing, headphones, and a quick-start guide. As far as I can tell it’ll come in the official packaging as well.

You can’t go wrong with the iPod Touch if you’re looking for a WiFi-only companion device that can easily fit in your pocket.

If you’re interested in this deal, head over to Woot.com. Don’t forget that they offer just one deal per day, so this one will be gone after 12:59AM EST! If you’re clicking on this link any later than the day when this article was posted, you’ll be greeted with some totally random deal!

Today Only: 8GB or 32GB iPod Touch for $179 or $229 (latest generation)

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ipod touch wootOur favorite deal-a-day site, Woot.com (and sister site sellout.woot.com) has a solid deal on the most recently released iPod Touch. If you’re looking to grab one of the most user friendly MIDs on the market, you’ve got your choice between 8GB and 32GB.

If you go for the 8GB option from Woot.com, you’ll be getting the device for $179 which is 22% off of retail from Apple.com, and 13% off of the device new from Amazon. It’s also 11% off of Apple’s own refurbished offering. Keep in mind that with this option you are paying $22.37 per GB of capacity.

If you’re looking for a little more bang-for-your-buck, you can go with the 32GB option for $229 from Sellout.woot.com and you’ll be paying only $7.15 per GB of capacity. That’s 24% off of retail from Apple.com, and 17% off of a new one from Amazon. It’s also 12% off of Apple’s own refurbished offering.

If you are interested in this deal, don’t wait! As per Woot’s model, these deals are good for just one day (until 12PM central time), and they could go out of stock even before then!

Apple Raises the Bar Once Again With the Latest iPod Touch, Launching Next Week

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ipod touch It doesn’t matter if you love Apple or if you hate them, they are setting the quality bar for consumer MIDs.

The iPod Touch has been a well built device since the first generation, and with the fourth and latest generation, they’re upping the ante once more.

ipod touch size The new iPod Touch is incredibly slim at just 0.28 inch (7.1mm), and yet the battery life has actually been increased. Apple claims that the new iPod Touch will play audio for 40 hours and video for 7.

While we’re on the subject of video… the iPod Touch is now equipped with the iPhone 4’s “Retina display inch – Apple’s fancy marketing terminology for “really high pixel density inch – this is a four fold increase over the previous generation’s 320×480 screens, pushing the resolution all the way up to 960×640. The difference is quite impressive if you’ve been using an older generation iPod Touch for years. In addition to the screen, the insides have been updated to Apple’s A4 chip (the same one found in the iPad and iPhone 4.

Apple has included a front and rear camera on the iPod Touch which is going to make FaceTime chatting very prevalent in the US. This is the first implementation of video conferencing that will be easy enough non-techies to just pick up and use, and if Android doesn’t do something similar, they’ll soon be left in the dust in this area (of consumer friendly mobile video conferencing). Expect kids to be sent off to college with a sparkling new iPod Touch so it will be easy for them to stay in contact with their iPod Touch wielding parents back home.

The rear camera is somewhat of a mixed bag. It can do 1280×720 HD recording at 30 FPS which is great (you can expect to see the number of amateur HD videos on YouTube spike in the coming year), however, photos can only be snapped at a rather pathetic 960×720 which is only about 0.6MP. I was hoping that the iPod Touch would include the same quality camera that is found on the iPhone 4, but it seems that this is not the case. Still, the camera will likely take better photos than non-smartphone camera-phones (which iPod Touch users are likely to be using).

ipod touch Without question, millions of these devices will be sold. Yes, Apple is a marketing maestro, but regardless of what convinces people to purchase the iPod Touch, they are buying a great companion for a great price. Intuitive and useful calendars, email, web browsing, gaming, music, and apps are now joined with effortless FaceTime video chatting, an incredible display, and HD video recording in a pocketable package that has enough juice to last you through the day, all for $229, $299, or $399 for 8/32/64GB and available next week.

Opera Mini Browser Miraculously Makes it Through App Store Approval

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mini5-iphone-submission Count me as one of the people who said “It’ll never happen inch when first hearing about Opera submitting it’s Opera Mini browser, designed for the iPhone, to the Apple App Store. Despite the fact that I really wanted Opera Mini to make it through, it just seemed like there was no way, based on Apple’s previous behavior, that this browser would make it though. There are “alternative inch browsers in the App Store, however they are really just reskined versions of Safari. Opera Mini, on the other hand, is using it’s own framework and I believe it’s own rendering engine, which is why it is particularly amazing that it’s been approved for release into the App Store. Additionally, it features Opera’s ‘Turbo’ technology to speed up page loading times by compressing the data on Opera’s servers before sending it to your phone. This feature significantly improves load times when using slower connections such as 3G or especially EDGE, rather than WiFi.

While I’d love to give you some usage impressions, Opera Mini is not working for me for some strange reason. I haven’t heard this yet reported elsewhere so I’m assuming it is an isolated case, but for the record, Opera Mini is not working on my iPhone 3GS or my iPad as of this writing – it hangs on the launch page and never gets passed it. If you don’t have an iPhone yourself, or are having the same issue as me, the least I can offer you is this video of how Opera Mini works on the iPhone:

As for it not running for me… that’s ok because MobileCrunch has you covered and has already run speed tests comparing Opera Mini to Safari, and with this cursory glance, it would appear that Opera Mini is indeed faster. Now if I could just get it working…

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