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TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog
Updated: 5 years 35 weeks ago

Apple expenditures to grow on solar project, new campus

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 2:00pm

Apple's got incredible amounts of money in the bank, as you probably already know. According to recent financial filings, Apple is about to spend a good bit of it. The company will reportedly spend US$8 billion during the next financial year, which is more than twice what it spend during the last 12 months. A full $900 million of that will go straight to its retail stores. Last year, the company (only?) spent $614 million on retail, so that's a nice improvement.

Other areas of spending are a little bit more about company infrastructure, presumably. Apple is moving forward on that brand new "mothership" campus, and presumably no expense will be spared there. The data center down in North Carolina is also set to receive a number of updates, including a rumored "solar farm" to power it. Apple's been growing by leaps and bounds lately, and while money in the bank is always nice, it seems like this upcoming year is going to be one where the company in Cupertino invests a little bit more in itself rather than just cash.

Apple expenditures to grow on solar project, new campus originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Daily Mac App: QREncoder

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 1:00pm

QR codes are a great way of instantly sharing information with a quick camera snap? QREncoder is app for your Mac that'll let you quickly and easily generate them for printing, uploading and sharing.

You can encode almost any sort of text into a QR code: a URL, phone number, text message, email address, twitter handle -- maybe even a haiku. QREncoder makes creating codes easy. Fire up the app, select the type of code you want, and bung your text in the box.

You've got a choice of size for your QR code, 5, 6, 9 and 12px and you can save it as a PNG for later use.

QREncoder is quick, easy to use and free from the Mac App Store, so is well worth checking out if you want to create quick response codes.

Daily Mac App: QREncoder originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Daily Update for October 31, 2011

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 12:45pm

It's the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You'll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what's happening in the Apple world.

You can listen to today's Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.


No Flash? Click here to listen.

Daily Update for October 31, 2011 originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Brazilian iPad production may be more costly than expected

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 12:00pm

A Reuters story in the New York Times yesterday noted that iPad producer Foxconn's plans to move iPad production to Brazil may be slowed by higher than expected production costs in the South American country.

Brazil had touted the fact that they had lured Foxconn to the city of Jundiai to build Apple's tablets. This would allow the country to start developing a technological industry similar to that of Korea and Taiwan. However, Brazil has some issues -- a largely unskilled labor pool and poor infrastructure -- that keep it from moving quickly into high-tech.

The result is that the Foxconn plants in the country will start by simply being assembly points for devices that are built from parts manufactured elsewhere in the world rather than being "home-grown." Brazil is also plagued with a top-heavy bureaucracy and high taxes that tend to drive businesses away.

Foxconn is producing iPhones in the country already, and hopes to start constructing iPads by the end of the year for sale within Brazil. The Brazilian government is making concessions, such as reducing tariffs on imported components, and is also rumored to be working with Foxconn on priority customs access, tax breaks and subsidized loans from a state bank to get the company to begin producing larger, more complex devices in the country.

But labor costs in Brazil, part of the value added to the materials used to construct Apple's products, are almost double what Foxconn pays employees at its facilities in China. That could stymie further expansion of Foxconn's plans in Brazil unless other costs are lowered enough to cover the difference.

Brazilian iPad production may be more costly than expected originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Using Siri and MailShot Pro to send email to groups

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 11:00am

One of the more useful features of Siri on the iPhone 4S is the ability to send email messages by asking Apple's intelligent assistant to do it. Telling Siri to "Email [name or nickname] about [subject]" produces a nicely formatted, but empty Mail message that Siri asks you to complete via dictation. This works fine with sending email to individuals, but what about sending to groups?

Erica Sadun and I pondered this question as we were writing our popular ebook "Talking to Siri: Learning the Language of Apple's Intelligent Assistant." We found the answer in a US$3.99 app called MailShot Pro.

Installing the app on your iPhone 4S lets you create custom groups which Siri can use to send emails to several recipients at once. With a quick tap, you can import individual names from the Contacts app or groups from Address Book on your Mac. You can also add names and email addresses manually. The groups end up in your Contacts list, accessible to Mail (via Siri or directly), FaceTime, Messages, and any app that can use an address from Contacts.

Gallery: MailShot Pro and Siri

For the OCD folks out there, MailShot Pro includes a nice touch -- being able to sort the names in your group. If you only have a few groups with a handful of people in each group, you might wish to check out the free version of the app -- MailShot. Should you need more groups or have a lot of people in each group, MailShot Pro is available in the App Store with a tap.

Using Siri and MailShot Pro to send email to groups originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

miFrame makes your iPad picture perfect

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 10:00am

I usually don't review iPad stands, but the people from Striped Sail sent me a miFrames for iPad 2 to try out, and I found it quite clever. Unlike traditional iPad stands, the miFrame doubles as a picture frame enclosure.

Most people aren't going to buy an iPad just to use it as a digital picture frame, but those who use that feature (perhaps photo studios or graphic design offices that want to show off their work, not to mention grandmas) the miFrame is a nice choice. The frame/stand comes in black or silver precision-machined aluminum and can be positioned in portrait or landscape orientation. A five-foot USB cable runs from the base and can be plugged in to a power source, like an Apple USB charger, to keep the iPad charged. The long cable provides plenty of reach for positioning the stand just so.

The miFrame doubles as a traditional picture frame. You can slide an 8x10 printed photograph into the frame which will be displayed when you remove the iPad. That way the frame is useful when it's holding an iPad and when it's not.

One of the few drawbacks about the miFrame is that you actually have to snap the frame's border off to get the iPad in and out. It's easy to do and doesn't take too much time, but it would be nice if you could slide the iPad in without removing the frame. Also, the miFrame can't be hung on a wall, which some users might find limiting.

The miFrame is available for the iPad 1 or 2 and costs US$79.99. You can purchase it directly from Striped Sail or through Amazon.

miFrame makes your iPad picture perfect originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dear Aunt TUAW: Can I use bluetooth with Siri?

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 9:00am

Dear Aunt TUAW,

Auntie, you did a great job on the Siri book. I plan to work my way through it to maximize the use of Siri.

You indicate a Bluetooth headset can be used to communicate with Siri. I've never had one but I'd like to keep the iPhone in my pants pocket and be able to talk to Siri as well as hear her responses. Is two-way communication possible with Siri in this situation? If so, do I need a certain type of headset or headphones? Are you allowed to make recommendations?

You're assistance is greatly appreciated! Keep up the good work!

Your loving nephew,

Ken B.

Dear Ken,

Auntie has used both a Bluetooth earpiece and iPhone earbuds with Siri, and has found that the Apple earbuds were far better performance-wise. They worked very well in dealing with a pocketed-or-backpacked Siri, ambient-noise permitting (if the guy jogging next to you can't hear you over traffic, Siri won't either).

Auntie tested Siri with a Jawbone ICON and had a great deal of trouble getting Siri to recognize it consistently, even when using the Jawbone in the recommended touching-the-cheek-bone position. Auntie thinks it's probably because of the particular brand and mic pick-up and not because of the Bluetooth technology.

Obviously, this will also vary by noise conditions and the quality of the Bluetooth pickup. Unfortunately, Auntie didn't have access to any other BT devices to test with, so all she can report is that yes, it does work as long as you have a better audio pickup than the Jawbone provides.

Does anyone have a really good BT earpiece to recommend? Let Auntie know!

Hugs,

Auntie T.

Dear Aunt TUAW: Can I use bluetooth with Siri? originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

RunKeeper gets a major upgrade

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 8:00am

RunKeeper, the free fitness tracking app, just received a major upgrade that was announced this morning. The app has been gaining a lot of attention since mid-summer, when the company launched a Health Graph API that developers have been using to integrate RunKeeper capabilities into third-party apps and devices.

That's not keeping the RunKeeper team from keeping an eye on the core mobile app, and the upgrade shows that RunKeeper is listening to the desires of the user community. So what are the changes?

Auto Pause takes care of one common problem with apps that record your running, cycling and walking. When you stop running to tie a shoe, talk to a neighbor, wait for a traffic light to change, or take a picture of the snake that just crossed your path, you need to remember to pause the app's timer. If you don't, you'll find that your average speed for a run, ride or walk drops drastically. Auto Pause pauses tracking when you stop moving, then starts up the timer again when you begin running again.

If you use a third-party heart rate monitor with RunKeeper, the app now has Heart Rate Zone visuals and audio cues to let you know when you're in your optimal heart rate zone. The app has had audio coaching around target paces for a while, telling you if you're ahead or behind your pace. Now you can do the same thing with your heart rate, knowing when you're in the zone, need to work yourself a bit harder, or need to slow down a bit.

Finally, the RunKeeper team has included updates to their GPS algorithms that improve tracking performance and stability. Altogether, the team says that the performance of the app has improved as well.

RunKeeper gets a major upgrade originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

iHealth HS3 Bluetooth Body Scale reveals your weight to iOS

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 7:00am

While my long-term quest for fitness has been stymied by a severe lack of motivation to actually get off of my butt and exercise, it comforts me to know that there are plenty of health-related iOS accessories to help me to at least track my stagnant weight. I own a Withings Scale, which sends my daily weight and BMI to a number of health apps, as well as a Withings Blood Pressure Monitor that connects to my iPhone to take my BP. For many people, though, the Withings products are a wee bit expensive. Now iHealth has introduced an iOS-compatible Bluetooth Body Scale that at US$69.95 is a bargain compared to the $159.00 Withings Scale. How does the HS3 Bluetooth Body Scale compare to the more expensive Withings Scale? Read on for details.

Design

What do I mean by iOS compatible? The scale converses with a free iOS app that runs on any iOS 4.x - 5.0 device. That app connects over Bluetooth to the scale, which is an attractive glass slab featuring a large liquid-crystal display. The scale is powered by four included AAA batteries that should last for quite some time if my Withings scale is any indication. The LCD turns itself off after about a minute of non-use, and the scale probably uses very little power while waiting to be connected to your iOS device.

You could, of course, use the scale without the iOS app. That kind of defeats the purpose, though, and if you don't want to record and track your weight over time, it's probably a better idea to just go buy another non-connected scale.

Setting up the device is a piece of cake. You pop in the AAA batteries, turn on the scale by stepping on it, then activate Bluetooth on your iOS device. In the Bluetooth settings, the name of the scale appears -- something like "iHealth HS312345" -- and it shows that the device is not paired with your iOS device. Tapping on the device name pairs the devices, and the word "Connected" appears.

At that point, you just need to launch the iHealth Scale app. Your weight appears on the scale and is entered into the app. Step off of the scale, and the scale shuts off within a minute.

Functionality

The iHealth HS3 scale isn't as sophisticated as the Withings Scale, which also determines your fat content and BMI. Then again, the Withings Scale is over twice the price. If you just want an automatic way to track your weight, then this scale definitely does the job.

The app provides a way to enter information about your height, current weight, goal weight, and the day that you wish to achieve a specific goal. That, along with input of how many calories you've ingested and the calories that you've burned, can tell you how many calories over or under your goal that you are. Confusingly, the app refers to the act of eating as "Absorption of calories" and exercising as "Consumption of calories." It makes sense when you think about it, but it's completely contrary to every other health tracking app I've seen.

Gallery: iHealth HS3 Bluetooth Body Scale

To enter food, you tap on an Add button and enter a food into a search field. The app responds with a list of foods, but I didn't find the lists to be as complete as those found in the Fitbit app. The quantities of food must be entered in grams, which is a total pain to those of us who use the US ounce/pound units for weight. There should be a way to enter other units, such as ounces, pounds, cups, fluid ounces, "one egg," etc.

Entering exercise is also somewhat confusing. You can't just tap something that says "I walked for 60 minutes" (like tapping a favorite activity); instead, you need to tap on a search field, enter a search term like "brisk walking," enter the time expended on that exercise, and then it is entered into the app.

The main app display has three windows: one for Bluetooth entry of weight, one for manual entry of weight, and a third that says "Upload Data." The latter window is useful if you take your weight, but don't have your iPhone handy to upload the weight. You can wait until later, then upload weight measurements to your iOS device by tapping the "Upload Data" button.

I found one thing that was rather annoying. The scale didn't automatically connect to my iPhone when I stepped on it. Instead, I ended up having to manually go into the Bluetooth settings and forcing a connection each time. I suppose that I could just have the scale save weights for a week and then upload the weight info once a week, but that kind of defeats the purpose of trying to track your weight daily.

Conclusion

I found that the iHealth HS3 Scale worked just fine, but the app that accompanies the scale is really lacking. It's somewhat confusing to use, even though there's a detailed "FAQ" document built into the app. I also couldn't find a way to share the weight information with any other service or app. For example, if I wanted to send my weight information to Fitbit or my calorie tracking to another service, there's no way to do it. The marketing verbiage on the iHealth website says that you can "Easily share one-time readings or long-term trends with friends, family or doctors," but there is no way to do it with the current app.

If someone is really dedicated to tracking weight information, I would recommend the much more expensive Withings scale and app instead. It works with other services and apps -- Fitbit, RunKeeper, Weightbot, and many more -- thanks to the fact that Withings supplied an SDK for developers who want to include Withings health information in their apps.

That's not to say that the iHealth HS3 Scale isn't worthwhile. As I noted earlier, it's much less expensive than the Withings scale and could improve a lot if the app is updated. It all depends on what information you wish to track, and how you wish to share that information with other apps and services. The inability of the app to automatically reconnect to the scale at the present time is a definite issue that should be addressed.

iHealth HS3 Bluetooth Body Scale reveals your weight to iOS originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Daily iPhone App: Squids

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 6:00am

Squids is an interesting way of bringing tactical strategy to a very casual kind of game. The game has a nice RPG layer, with turn-based combat and classes of units that you can train and level up while playing. But the "combat" itself is super casual. During fights you essentially pull back and fling your squids around. In a way it feels like the game combines casual gameplay with more tactical thinking. Unfortunately, in practice the game never really succeeds at either.

Merely seeing how the two styles mix is fun. The game's only 99 cents for the launch sale right now, with full Game Center integration and plenty of content to explore. I'd say look at Squids if you're more looking for something more casual, but if you are really into tactical RPGs, it's likely you'll need a little more than this. On the other hand, if you've heard good things about games like Final Fantasy Tactics or Shining Force but tend to play more casual titles, Squids might be a great entry point. Final Fantasy Tactics is on iOS as well, but it ratchets up the complexity quite a few notches from Squids, even if the gameplay is similar.

Daily iPhone App: Squids originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

TeleNav offers a sort-of free GPS solution for iOS

Mon, 10/31/2011 - 5:00am

As we continue our survey of GPS apps for iOS, I have to mention the TeleNav family. The company, which is also behind the AT&T Navigator subscription app, offers a free entry level app that is quite popular with users, even though it is missing some key features.

For free you get turn-by-turn directions, 3D maps, local search that includes gas prices, and one-touch rerouting.

There's a big feature missing, however. No spoken turn-by-turn directions. So, in a way, it's not offering much more than the built-in Maps application, and less than the free voice-enabled Mapquest application (published by our parent company AOL). There is a 3D view, but when driving, you don't want to be looking at a screen.

The solution is an upgrade to the US $0.99 app, but after that you use it for 30 days you need to upgrade to a $9.99 a year subscription. That's a sale price which is about half off the regular tariff. The paid version adds voice guidance, spoken street names and auto rerouting.

So how does it all work? It's not bad. The graphics are clean, setting up a destination is easy, and the local search is comprehensive. The voice guidance is very clear. I didn't run into heavy traffic during my test, so no comments there.

Since the maps are downloaded as you go, that means a data connection is needed. It's something to think about if you are going to be out of cellular range frequently. On the other hand, with no onboard maps, the app has a small footprint (17.5MB) and your maps will theoretically stay current.

With my driving in Arizona the maps seemed current, although some comments in the App Store indicate they may not always be up to date with the latest street layouts. As someone with local knowledge, TeleNav didn't always take me the way I would have chosen, but the choices always worked. I've noticed that nav apps have a bias for bigger streets, but sometimes the best shortcuts are the road less traveled.

Is the TeleNav app for you? If you are on a budget an in an urban setting I think it is worth a serious look. I'm not wild about the idea of subscriptions to apps. I'd rather spend a little more and forget about recurring charges. If you are on a limited data plan, and you use it a lot, you may run into extra charges, but the data being downloaded is pretty minimal.

It's nice to see the many, many choices iPhone users have to get a perfect fit for navigation. TeleNav has given you yet another choice worth considering. The app requires iOS 4 or greater but runs fine on iOS5 and the new iPhone 4S. TeleNav is universal so it runs on the iPhone as well as the iPad.

Of course, life would be grand if Apple provided built-in navigation as is found on the Android phones. That may be coming, and there have certainly been indications of it. Think of the power of Siri and navigation rolled into one.

Gallery: TeleNav GPS app for iOS

TeleNav offers a sort-of free GPS solution for iOS originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me find Spotlight items in the Finder

Sun, 10/30/2011 - 5:00pm

Dear Aunt TUAW,

There's plenty I like about Lion - but lots of pointless change for the worse. Top of my hate list is that Spotlight no longer gives me the location of the items I'm searching for. Sure, the preview on cursor hover is nifty, but why oh why can't Spotlight give me (for example) the location of a long-lost document that's become embedded in multiple folders, the way it did in Snow Leopard ?

Can Aunty help find a solution ?

Your loving nephew,

Jack, Cheltenham, UK

Dear Jack,

Use your up and down arrows to navigate through the Spotlight results list. (Do not click on items, that will open them). When the highlight is over the item you want, press Command-Enter.

Hugs,

Auntie T.

p.s. Thanks Uncle Brett

Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me find Spotlight items in the Finder originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Mona Simpson's moving eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs

Sun, 10/30/2011 - 4:15pm

The New York Times has published Mona Simpson's eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs. Simpson delivered her eulogy during his memorial service on October 16 at the Memorial Church of Stanford University. In her remarks, she recalls her experience of his final days and hours, including his last words to his family.

Simpson's eulogy is both powerful and heartbreaking, and I won't cheapen it by clipping bits to include here. Go read the full piece at the New York Times. I'd argue that you'll learn just as much about what kind of person Steve Jobs was in his sister's moving eulogy as you will by reading Walter Isaacson's sprawling biography of him.

One recommendation: before you read Simpson's eulogy, grab a handkerchief. Unless you're carved out of wood, you're probably going to need it.

Mona Simpson's moving eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 18:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Talkcast tonight, 10pm ET/7pm PT: Pre-Halloween Edition!

Sun, 10/30/2011 - 3:30pm

It's the night before All Hallows' Eve, and it's time for the creatures of the dark to make their way to their phones, Skypes and VoIP -- yes, indeed, it's Talkcast time! We won't know if you're wearing a costume (well, we will ask you what you're wearing, but we won't ask for proof) but there's sure to be both treats and tricks for our weekly go-round of all things Apple-licious. (Bobbing for Apples can get messy if you don't adequately waterproof your gear, you know.)

Since it's really all about you, the community, join me won't you? To participate, you can use the browser-only Talkshoe client, the embedded Facebook app, or download the classic TalkShoe Pro Java client; however, for +5 Interactivity, you should call in. For the web UI, just click the Talkshoe Web button on our profile page at 4 HI/7 PDT/10 pm EDT Sunday. To call in on regular phone or VoIP lines (Viva free weekend minutes!): dial (724) 444-7444 and enter our talkcast ID, 45077 -- during the call, you can request to talk by keying in *8.

If you've got a headset or microphone handy on your Mac, you can connect via the free Blink or X-Lite SIP clients, basic instructions are here. (If you like Blink, the pro version is available in the Mac App Store.) Talk to you tonight!

Talkcast tonight, 10pm ET/7pm PT: Pre-Halloween Edition! originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Apple launches three new iPhone 4S ads

Sun, 10/30/2011 - 3:10pm

Apple has kicked its iPhone 4S ad campaign into high gear with three new commercials featuring Siri, the new 8 megapixel camera, and integration with iCloud. All three ads are available on Apple's official YouTube channel, and they're also embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

The new iCloud ad does a really good job of explaining the service in simple terms easy enough for the general population to understand, and the new ad for Siri does a better job than the first iPhone 4S ad in showing off what the "personal assistant" actually does. Expect all three ads to end up in heavy rotation over the next couple of months as Apple pushes sales of its latest device through the busy holiday season.

It's pretty amusing (although undoubtedly coincidental) that the final Q&A in one ad is of a young boy asking "Do you think it will snow today?" with Siri answering in the affirmative. Of course Apple's ad agency couldn't possibly have known about the freak early Eastern US snowstorm this weekend... but then again...

Apple launches three new iPhone 4S ads originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 17:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iPad 2 + iPad 2 + fake blood = awesome "hole in torso" costume

Sun, 10/30/2011 - 2:00pm

We'll have more costumes today and tomorrow, but this one was too good to not share right now. YouTube user onemeeeliondollars has posted video of a costume he apparently made with two iPad 2s that makes it look like you can see clean through his torso. As he says in the video below, you just cut two holes in a shirt (that's how you make every great Halloween costume -- just ask Charlie Brown), put a little fake blood around them, and then strap two iPad 2s to yourself (they have to be iPad 2s, of course, for the camera).

Then, he set both iPad 2s to run a FaceTime call between them, and voila -- one iPad 2 outputs the video of the other, and vice versa, and you get (kind of) an optical illusion where you can see right through a person.

Ok yes, it's a little hokey, it doesn't quite work perfectly, and you might be risking your iPad 2s (not to mention that your networking setup has to be tuned for your trick or treat route or the party you're attending; for his costume, he says he's using mobile WiFi). As he also points out in the video, if the costume itself isn't fascinating enough, they double as, you know, actual iPad 2s.


iPad 2 + iPad 2 + fake blood = awesome "hole in torso" costume originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Halloween costumes inspired by Apple, influenced by Steve Jobs

Sun, 10/30/2011 - 10:30am

Halloween celebrations are underway, and it's time to get those costumes out of the closet. We're hoping that some of you are moving beyond the ghost and the witch of your childhood and looking towards Apple for your inspiration.

So if you're dressing up as an iPhone, an iPad or some other Apple-influenced costume, please post your pictures to twitter or Flickr with the hashtag #applecostume and we will compile them here for everyone to see.

[Image: computerjoe/flickr]

Halloween costumes inspired by Apple, influenced by Steve Jobs originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Talking to Siri: the Wolfram Alpha search tricks video

Sun, 10/30/2011 - 9:20am

On Friday, I posted a list of ten nifty Wolfram Alpha tricks you could use with Siri. They were inspired from an ebook that Steve Sande and I collaborated on.

After the post was published, we received several emails and comments saying "every time I say Wolfram, Siri hears 'Wolf Ram.' Siri must be broken." On top of that, Mike Rose said he was having issues too. So I made a video to show that everything on that list could actually be said.

I was going to call this the "proof that Mike Rose can't enunciate" video because Mike claims that he can't handle the "say a color hex sequence out loud." Instead, it turned into the "watch Erica butcher classic Monty Python" (because, frankly, airspeed velocity doesn't exactly roll off the tongue -- but on the bright side, I can do a lot of the argument clinic from memory).

Anyway, for those of you (I'm looking at you, Mike) who swore up and down that some of the Wolfram Alpha / Siri examples I posted weren't humanly possible to articulate, well, here's proof.

As for "Wolfram", it's Wolfrum, not Wolf Ram. That should help your recognition rate. Brought to you by the universally recognized "most irritating voice in the universe." If Siri doesn't mind me, hey, that's validation.

Talking to Siri: the Wolfram Alpha search tricks video originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 11:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Siri hacked to work on jailbroken iPhone 4 and iPod touch

Sat, 10/29/2011 - 8:27pm

iPhone experts Steven Troughton-Smith and chpwn seem to have just gotten the iPhone 4S-only Siri working on jailbroken iPhone 4 and current-gen iPod touch units this evening. This bypasses earlier authentication issues. They tweeted their success and posted a screen shot showing Siri working via Wi-Fi (the Airplane Mode icon just means that 3G is turned off, but it is possible to turn Wi-Fi back on even in AM; that's what they did.)

Their success comes just weeks after the iPhone 4S debuted. Since Apple's back-end systems are checking for iPhone 4S devices before processing Siri queries, they managed to work around this limitation. The hack is based on moving compiled code components from a 4S to the older units.

In an interview with 9to5Mac, Troughton-Smith recounts that the Siri transplant was about a 20-step process, and that it does require access to a jailbroken iPhone 4S to work. He has no intention of releasing the mod to the public; this is a proof-of-concept only.

Siri hacked to work on jailbroken iPhone 4 and iPod touch originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 29 Oct 2011 22:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Mac Feeds

Apple acquires 3D mapping company C3 Technologies

Sat, 10/29/2011 - 4:00pm

Apple has extended its mapping services to a number of mapping companies over the past few years. The company has reportedly been working on building its own solution to maps and navigation on the iPhone, beginning with its acquisition of Placebase in 2009 and continuing with a "crowd-sourced traffic" service this year. Although Google and Apple have recently renewed their partnership and kept Google Maps in iOS 5, if Apple makes full use of its latest acquisition, Apple may have no need for Google's services for much longer. In fact, Apple may have something up its sleeve that makes Google Maps look like a dog's breakfast.

According to 9to5 Mac, back in August Apple acquired a Swedish 3D mapping firm called C3 Technologies. Former high-level heads of C3 are now all working within Apple's iOS division, though they're still doing all their work in Sweden. C3 Technologies uses some rather science-fictionish techniques to create photorealistic 3D maps with a breathtaking level of detail. Buildings, landmarks, and geographical features all render in 3D automatically, without mapmakers having to mock them up in CAD.

Using missile technology developed by the Swedish military, C3 Technologies' mapping service is able to create 3D maps with a stunning level of detail. Google Maps has Street View and a couple of other 3D-ish hackarounds, but it's got nothing on the level of what C3 Technologies has shown. This is no pipe dream service that may work on iOS devices someday; in one of the videos below you'll be able to see a C3 rep scrolling through a 3D representation of London in real time on an iPad. That video came out in February of 2011, and the technology is almost certainly even farther along now that Apple has thrown its resources into it.

If Apple is able to implement this tech into a homegrown Maps application, it would blow the current Google Maps app out of the water. The applications for 3D mapping at this level of detail go beyond its obvious utility as a navigation aid -- if third-party app developers were granted access to the Maps APIs, it could be a huge boon to game developers.

Evidence has been mounting for years that Apple is moving away from its dependence on Google for several internet services, presumably because the two companies now find themselves in the paradoxical situation of being direct competitors as well as partners. Apple has already branched out to Yahoo! and Bing for web searches (although Google remains the default), and Siri does an end run around Google for many of its search functions. If Apple can have this mapping technology available in time for iOS 6's release (presumably coming sometime in 2012), Apple may be able to extricate itself from Google Maps once and for all.

Below you can view a video showing an aerial view of Oslo rendered in 3D, plus a second video showing how well the service functioned on a first-gen iPad earlier this year.

Apple acquires 3D mapping company C3 Technologies originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 29 Oct 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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