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Articles on this Page
- 11/11/14--02:19: _iPhone 6 launch was...
- 11/17/14--12:33: _Microsoft launches ...
- 12/06/14--15:21: _How to restore your...
- 12/18/14--14:25: _How to record phone...
- 12/31/14--15:49: _Apple sued for fals...
- 01/08/15--11:03: _Cyberpunk-themed ga...
- 01/08/15--14:18: _Microsoft brings Sw...
- 01/13/15--13:06: _This is reportedly ...
- 01/27/15--14:46: _More Android users ...
- 02/04/15--11:56: _iPhone or iPad out ...
- 02/06/15--07:01: _Apple and the agent...
- 09/10/14--09:10: _Radio Shack offers ...
- 02/10/15--03:00: _Comic: Apple's trul...
- 02/10/15--22:36: _iPhone theft down b...
- 09/15/14--08:35: _64GB and 128GB iPho...
- 03/03/15--07:28: _Comic: If you talk ...
- 04/09/15--14:07: _Android Wear on iPh...
- 05/15/15--07:00: _In pursuit of build...
- 05/23/15--05:00: _Comic: The Cat, the...
- 05/26/15--07:30: _Comic: The Truth Ab...
- 11/17/14--12:33: Microsoft launches Sway for iPhone... but only in New Zealand?!
- Free in New Zealand - Download now
- 12/06/14--15:21: How to restore your iPhone or iPad with iTunes
- Plug in your iPhone or iPad and launch iTunes.
- Click on the iPhone or iPad icon if you aren't there already.
- Click on Restore iPhone... or Restore iPad... in the Summary section.
- Choose whether or not you'd like to back up settings before restoring. If you're backing up to iCloud already, you can choose note to. If you're syncing to iTunes, absolutely choose to back up your settings.
- Click on Restore on the next popup.
- You may see a popup asking to transfer purchases. If everything is backed up to iCloud, you don't have to if you don't want to.
- Wait for iTunes to do its thing. Once it's done, your iPhone or iPad should now be back stock settings.
- 12/18/14--14:25: How to record phone calls on your Mac
- Download Call Recorder for FaceTime from Ecamm's website. You can either download a 7-day free trial to test it out, or pay $30 for the full app.
- Run the Call Recorder installer. Once it finishes, open FaceTime.
- If you're asked to configure Call Recorder's settings, you can do so, and chose whether to record calls automatically, create separate audio tracks for each person, and where to save your recordings.
Make a FaceTime audio or phone call from your Mac (or receive a FaceTime Audio or phone call on your Mac).
- Press the red button in the Call Recorder window to begin recording. (If you've configured automatic recording, you can skip this step.)
- When you're done recording, you can either press the Stop button to finish or end the call.
- 01/08/15--11:03: Cyberpunk-themed game Frozen Synapse is now out for the iPhone
- 5 challenging multiplayer modes, including the innovative bidding-based "Secure" and "Hostage Rescue"
- 55-mission single player campaign with dynamic dialogue and thrilling near-future narrative
- Powerful Skirmish Generator - Random generation combined with hand-crafted content means that levels and maps are different every time
- Critically-acclaimed electronica soundtrack by musician nervous_testpilot
- $2.99 Download now
- Free - Download Now
- 01/13/15--13:06: This is reportedly the Apple Watch Companion app
- A new clock face feature called Monogram has been added as a complication (a background detail you can choose to enable or disable). Like a real monogram, this feature will allow users to include a virtual, embedded stamp of 1-4 letters – typically your initials – directly on the clock face. This is an interesting customization, giving you the chance to make your watch look more individually designed.
- Users will also be able to enable a subtle red dot that appears atop the Apple Watch's clock face whenever a new notification is received on your iPhone.
- You can choose a stock to track via a watch face complication, seeing either its current price, point change, percentage change, or market cap. The same stock will appear in Glances, as well.
- 02/06/15--07:01: Apple and the agents of change
- 02/10/15--03:00: Comic: Apple's truly smashing fashion statement
- 04/09/15--14:07: Android Wear on iPhone: How it might happen and what it'll mean
- 05/15/15--07:00: In pursuit of building blocks and the Big Idea
- 05/23/15--05:00: Comic: The Cat, the Pendulum and the Camera
- 05/26/15--07:30: Comic: The Truth About All Operating System Arguments
In an interview with CNNMoney at Capital One's new Innovation Center in Plano, Texas, Steve Wozniak stated that Apple should have launched a larger iPhone three years ago. Wozniak also shared his views on the upcoming Apple Watch. According to the Apple co-founder:
Apple could have had a much bigger share of the smartphone market if it had a larger-screen iPhone for the past three years. It could have competed better with Samsung.
Samsung is the number one handset manufacturer in the world, with a global market share of 24 percent in Q3 2014. Apple came in second with a 12 percent share. Despite being the co-founder of Apple, Wozniak said that he likes to try out products from other companies.
Tech is like a song. You can get all the details from someone else, but you're not sure you like it until you hear it for yourself.
Wozniak also said that while he was initially interested in smartwatches, going as far as to strap his iPod nano to his wrist, he kept going back to his phone because of the larger display.
I kept saying that I'd like to have a smartphone on my wrist, so I bought a few smartwatches when they first came out. I got rid of them so quick. I got real negative on smartwatches.
When it comes to the Apple Watch, Wozniak said that it was a "luxury fitness band", although it was "more distinctive than all the others."
And who knows? It might sell well. There are a lot of wrists out there.
Siri also got a mention during the interview, with Wozniak stating that he bought into Siri, Inc., the original makers of the utility, before Apple acquired it.
I bought into the company that made Siri a year before Apple owned it. I couldn't talk people into using it -- I told everyone it's the best app ever.
A few weeks ago, Microsoft launched a web-based preview version of Sway, a new multimedia presentation app that's also the newest member of its Office software family. Today, Microsoft announced that it has launched a Sway app just for the iPhone, but there's a big catch; it's only available for New Zealand residents.
People who sign in to Sway for iPhone will automatically be able to use Sway Preview on the web. Launching Sway for iPhone in New Zealand continues our approach to listening closely to our customers, adapting to their feedback, and building the future of Sway together. We'll be responding to initial reactions and improving the app experience before making it more broadly available.
Microsoft said that Sway for the iPhone will begin to roll out in the US and other U.S. English-speaking countries "soon".
If you're having software issues with your iPhone or iPad and you've exhausted all your basic troubleshooting options, restoring it brand new is a good idea. You'd also want to restore your device new if you plan on selling it or passing it down to someone else. Normally you can wipe an iPhone or iPad without a Mac or PC but if you're iPhone isn't responding or your stuck at the Connect to iTunes screen, here's how to use iTunes to restore it!
If you're simply trying to erase all the data on your iPhone or iPad and it's in perfect working order, it's easier to just erase all the content and settings right on the device. So if that's what you're trying to do, follow this guide instead:
Before continuing on, disable Find My iPhone first
In order to restore an iPhone or iPad, you have to disable Find My iPhone first. If you aren't sure how to do that you can follow our guide.
How to restore your iPhone or iPad to new with iTunes
That's all there is to it. If your iPhone or iPad won't turn on, try holding down the Home button while plugging it into your computer. This should force it into recovery mode which makes iTunes instantly recognize a device that needs to be restored.
Note: Originally published, November 2010. Updated, December 2014.
If you're in a business — as I am — where you occasionally conduct interviews over the phone, or want to remember brainstorming sessions with a friend, you may wish to record your calls. In the past, this was a bit of a pain with iPhone calls, since iOS apps can't hijack your audio signal. You usually had to record using an external device, either by putting your iPhone on speaker or wiring it up in some way.
As the name might suggest, the Call Recorder for FaceTime is primarily designed to record your FaceTime conversations, but it can also record telephone conversations that have arrived on your Mac via Handoff.
Before we go through this how-to, though, remember: Telephone recording laws vary from state to state, and it's usually considered polite behavior (if not legally required) to inform the person on the other end that you'd like to record the call.
How to record iPhone calls on your Mac
By default, your recordings will be stored in your Documents folder under Saved Calls, though you can change that by opening Call Recorder's settings screen.
A pair of iPhone owners from Miami are suing Apple and seeking class action status in doing so, alleging that Apple has falsely advertised how much storage is actually available on the phone. They're not alleging that the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus actually have less physical storage than Apple claims, no, they're perturbed to the point of legal action that when Apple advertises a 16GB iPhone it only comes with around 13GB of free space out of the box because that pesky iOS 8 needs to take up space.
Said the plaintiff's attorney, according to the Wall Street Journal:
"In reality, nothing close to the advertised capacity of the Devices is available to end users. Indeed, the discrepancy between advertised and available capacity is substantial and beyond any possible reasonable expectation."
It has been common practice for years, nay, for all of consumer computing device sales history to advertise the complete storage volume of a device, not the space available out of the box. It's simply impractical to advertise the available space (except for some fine print to say that available storage capacity will vary) because that available space is going to vary. The size of iOS fluctuates with each update, as customers of filled-up iPhones and iPads found out when they tried to update to iOS 8 and didn't have enough storage space.
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is either a ill-conceived plan to get money out of Apple for following a standard industry practice, or a pair of plaintiffs that don't understand how computers work and decided the best way to find out was to sue. The plaintiffs also allege that Apple does not allow microSD expansion of the storage space on iPhones, which is of course entirely true. But also in no way a surprise or worth the filing of a lawsuit — you can buy any number of Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone smartphones that offer that feature. Although it's worth noting that all of these manufacturers also advertise a nice whole number storage capacity as well.
In the meantime, if you're looking at buying a new iPhone, we suggest you consider buying at least the 58.21GB version, though you should be warned that there are some other apps on there taking up space, but at least you can delete those if you really need that space.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Frozen Synapse, the acclaimed cyberpunk-themed turn-based strategy game that was first released for the PC in 2011, has finally made its way to the iPhone for the first time after it was launched in an iPad version. The iPhone port is also cheaper at $2.99.
The goal of the game, from developer Mode 7, is pretty simple: Control your squad so it can take out the enemy squad. Here's a quick rundown of its features:
Frozen Synapse brings the simultaneous turn-based strategy genre bang up-to-date and lets you give detailed, accurate orders to your squad: classic gameplay with a modern interface. Plan your moves, test them out, then hit the "Prime" button: both you and your enemy's turns are executed simultaneously. Competitive-but-intuitive multiplayer and a huge single player campaign mean that Frozen Synapse will give you hours and hours of tactical delight.
Late last year, Microsoft unveiled the newest addition to its Office family, a new presentation app simply called Sway. While it was only initially available as an iPhone app in New Zealand, Microsoft has announced today that the app is now rolling out to the App Store in more English speaking countries around the world, including the U.S., Canada, and India.
So, today we're excited to announce that we're ready for a much wider set of people to use Sway for iPhone, so we can learn from broader growth and usage. Customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and a number of other countries where English is an official language*, in addition to Australia and New Zealand, can now download Sway for iPhone from the App Store. You can log in with the same Microsoft account on the web and Sway for iPhone to access and edit your Sways across devices.
You can check out the full list of countries with access to the app from the source link below. As of this writing, the app still appears to be rolling out, as we weren't able to download it from the U.S. App Store quite yet.
Source: Microsoft Office Blog
When the Apple Watch ships this spring it'll come with an app currently called the Apple Watch Companion. The Apple Watch Companion will let you manage the Apple Watch's Home screen layout (similar to how iTunes on the desktop can manage the iPhone's Home screen layout) and change various settings. Initially made public by some code found in iOS 8.2 beta 4, some apparent screenshots of the app have now also been published, providing additional information. According to 9to5Mac, highlights include:
There're a wealth of other security, fitness, messaging, and other settings to be seen as well.
The Apple Watch Companion app, in final form, will no doubt ship when the Apple Watch itself is released.
From our Apple Q1 2015 transcript:
At this point in the — just shortly after the quarter — we don't have all of our research in from all of the people that bought [iPhones] last quarter yet, but in the aggregate, as I've mentioned before, we saw more new customers to iPhone than we had ever seen before, and we had a higher rate of Android switchers than we had in the three previous launches, and it's not that we had more in the fourth one — I don't know what those numbers are, it wasn't something we were looking at.
And so between the switchers and the people that are just new to smartphones and selected an iPhone, and our upgrades — which we're very happy with but represent a small fraction of our install base — we feel really great about what's in front of us.
Talk about understatements...
Big iOS updates, bigger app bundles, and 16GB devices have many an iPhone and iPad user tearing their hair out when it comes to doing just about anything. But there's a better way than manually deleting images on your phone or removing apps — it just requires a nearby Mac.
We've published a few how-tos on finding storage offenders and removing data from your phone, but on-phone removal can be clunky and frustrating.
iTunes is worse: App sync is frustrating and outdated, with the program often hanging or glitching when you least want it to.
For those who want a speedier solution, however, there's a new app beta on the block and it's called PhoneExpander. The free beta lets you view and empty the biggest data offenders from your device: namely app cache data, apps themselves, and images.
Once you've downloaded the app, you need only to connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via USB.
Take out the cache
App caches — or "temporary files," as they're called in PhoneExpander — are various little saved states that let your apps open quicker on repeat viewings, like saved offline map data. (As an FYI, game saves are not stored in these files, so you don't have to worry about accidentally wiping your Space Age progress.) A single app's cache won't necessarily break the storage bank, but if you have a few dozen apps on there, you might start feeling the crunch.
Getting rid of them in PhoneExpander is as simple as clicking the Clear Temporary Files button — all apps are auto-checked by default, but you can easily uncheck specific apps if you'd rather their caches stay intact.
On your iPhone or iPad, there are two ways to delete an app: manually tapping and holding on an icon from your home screen to enter edit mode, then deleting it; or going to Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage and tapping on an individual app's record to delete it.
For one app, it's not a big deal. If you're trying to free up a lot of space, however, you may be looking at a lot of tapping. PhoneExpander lets you remove apps in bulk without having to first go through the iTunes sync process on your Mac. By default, it even organizes them by size, so you can see just how much excess space that copy of iMovie or Fitstar Yoga is taking up. To delete an app, just select the checkbox next to it, then press Remove checked when you're ready to go.
I'll note that this process won't back up the app bundle to your computer the way iTunes does; any iCloud-stored data for that app will be safe, and you'll be able to redownload the app from the iTunes Store, but you won't be able to retrieve a saved bundle from your computer's hard drive. Doesn't matter for most people, but just in case: be forewarned.
Shoebox your Camera Roll
PhoneExpander's Clear Photos button is a little more nuanced than it appears: The action doesn't just remove your images and video — it also backs them up to your Desktop or other selected folder on your computer under the name PhoneExpander Backup. That way, you don't have to worry about your images being lost forever just because you needed an extra gigabyte or two of space on your iPhone.
The app does tend to take awhile to process large amounts of photos and video, so don't be alarmed to see OS X's beachball as it processes; I did this several times with both photos and videos and everything got saved and
The PhoneExpander beta doesn't quite have its music removal tool set up yet, but I imagine it'll look similar to the Remove Apps tool. If you can't wait for PhoneExpander to add the tool, you can always manage your music storage from iTunes, or through Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage > Music.
Clean up time!
Despite being in beta, PhoneExpander appears to be relatively solid — and it's super-simple to use for clearing out space on your iOS devices. Check it out, and let us know if it solved your storage woes!
Ed: Welcome to iMore's new author spotlight column. Every Friday, we'll be bringing you the perspective and charm of the best and brightest minds in the Apple community. To start us off, we're thrilled to have the one, the only, the incomparable Jason Snell.
After spending 17 years at the same company, last fall I set out on my own for the first time. I've spent years writing and speaking about the inevitability of change, and how we have to embrace it. But as human beings we're wired to prefer routines and dislike change — and I'm no different.
These days I don't have a commute (other than to walk through a door). I'm not responsible for a staff of a few dozen people. I also don't have an employer cutting me checks every other week and paying for most of my health insurance. I'm responsible for every word (and every bit of HTML and CSS) on my website. Even four-plus months in, I'm still adapting, trying to discover new rhythms.
More than ever, this experience has made me wonder how companies and corporate cultures fare when it comes to embracing change. Even riding high as it is now, with record financial results, Apple's going through times of dramatic change.
Turn, turn, turn
Apple's corporate culture, as constituted today, is one that was largely defined by Steve Jobs. The company's focus on creating products that users want — rather than building products from available technology and marketing them heavily in the hope that somebody's buying — has been a hallmark of Apple's return to prominence from its near-death experience in the 90s.
But it's Apple's embrace of change and focus on the future that has always stuck with me as one of its most admirable characteristics. Since Jobs's return, Apple has been a company never willing to rest on its laurels, never comfortable milking years out of old tech in lieu of striking forward with something new.
My favorite Steve Jobs quote isn't one from a keynote or from his (truly amazing) graduation address at Stanford. It's Jobs in 1997, telling journalist Steven Levy what he did when he learned that Apple had been keeping a museum's worth of historical documents and artifacts about the company itself. "I said, 'Get it away!' And I shipped all that shit off to Stanford. If you look backward in this business, you'll be crushed. You have to look forward."
And then there's my favorite single moment at a Steve Jobs keynote, which was the moment when he announced that the most successful iPod — essentially, the most successful Apple product ever — was being discontinued. Sure, the iPod mini was just swapped out for a even thinner iPod nano. The point was that Apple was leading the industry with a product that was on fire in terms of sales. The company could've ridden its momentum for another year, at least. Instead, Apple raised the bar.
There are plenty of other examples of Apple's corporate culture and accepting the inevitability of change. I admire the way the company introduced the iPad with no fear about the possibility that it would cannibalize Mac sales. This was a lesson I learned during the early days of the web, when I was working for media companies focused on print: If you resist change out of fear that you'll cannibalize your existing business, all you'll be doing is allowing someone else to cannibalize your business instead of doing it yourself.
Is it any wonder that the two leading lights in tech magazine publishing, IDG and Ziff-Davis, stumbled mightily when the transition to the Web happened? (When I proposed that we embrace the web, I was told by one digital executive at Ziff-Davis that "the future is on CompuServe.") CNET grew to prominence in the wake of the failure of the publishing giants, who were too afraid over the cannibalization of their core business to realize that they couldn't protect it, and needed to replace it. They finally did realize, of course, but by then they were too far behind for it to matter much.
Better to be your own change agent. Apple's still comfortable with that, and that seems awfully encouraging to me.
Living in a post-Jobs world
These days Apple's biggest challenges when it comes to making change involve, oddly enough, breaking away from Steve Jobs. Jobs knew this was going to be absolutely necessary, and he told Tim Cook specifically not to allow Apple to be paralyzed by a "what would Steve do" mentality.
But it's one thing to try to soldier on without Steve, and another to actively reverse decisions he made. Of course, Jobs reversed himself all the time — but he's not here to do that now, so other people at Apple have to have the courage to go against his old decisions and policy statements.
The iPhone 6 Plus, the iPad Mini and acquisition of Beats are just three recent Apple moves that would have never happened if the word of Jobs had been treated as sacrosanct and unchangeable. Tim Cook changed Apple's philanthropy program, as well.
It's brutally tough to change corporate culture. Fortunately for Apple, change is its culture. By revisiting decisions made under Jobs, Apple's current executives are actually honoring Jobs's legacy. In a way, Jobs has given his successors a powerful gift — carte blanche authority to call 'em as they see 'em.
The news that Apple is building an online services team in Seattle is another example of a possible shift. Jobs was a staunch believer that Apple's teams needed to be in Cupertino, and in the early says of OS X development engineers were told to move to California or leave the company.
I wonder sometimes if even this Jobs-era philosophy about having everybody physically in the same office will fade away. It will be a tough sell, to be sure--when you're committing to spending $5 billion on a new corporate campus, you're pretty much all-in on the concept of a physical workspace. It's hard to imagine Apple retreating from against Jobs's last big project.
But at the same time, technology from Apple and others allowed us to run Macworld with a large portion of the staff working remotely, and it was just fine. And from my current home-office headquarters, I'm able to use a Mac, the Internet, and a whole buch of clever software — Gmail, Slack, Google Hangouts, Skype, iCloud, Dropbox, and plenty more — to do my job. Could Apple change something even so fundamental about its personality?
Probably not. And yet... you never know, with Apple. And that's one of the things that I continue to appreciate about it, to this day.
We say "most" because there is one exception to this offer in the email that Radio Shack sent to iMore. Anyone buying an iPhone with with a new or upgraded two-year Verizon contract will be eligible to get $50 towards buying gear at NFLShop.com instead.
As with many other retailers and wireless providers, Radio Shack will begin to take pre-orders for the new iPhone 6 models on Friday in its stores and will begin selling the phone on Friday, September 19. The company added, "Best of all, customers trading in a working iPhone 5 will receive a minimum of $100 and up to $300 off their iPhone 6 total through RadioShack's Trade & Save program."
Is a free $50 iTunes gift card enough of an incentive to get you to buy the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus from Radio Shack?
Ed: Welcome to this week's edition of The Pixel Project: a weekly comic from Diesel Sweeties' Rich Stevens on Apple, technology, and everything in-between. Today: A Truly Smashing Fashion Statement.
The introduction of Activation Lock was credited by the FCC in December as the main factor behind the reduction in iPhone-related theft, and new data suggests that the trend has continued since. The latest numbers reveal a decline of 40 percent in the number of iPhones stolen in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York between September 2013 and September 2014.
The number of iPhones stolen in London was reduced by half during the same time period, with mayor Boris Johnson stating:
We have made real progress in tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago.
Activation Lock made its debut with iOS 7, with the feature allowing users to remotely lock an iPhone with their iCloud credentials, requiring authentication with Apple before the device can be accessed again.
California passed a law in August 2014 that requires all smartphones sold in the state to include a kill switch by July 2015. The feature comes as standard on the latest version of Android, and Microsoft is also said to be working on a kill switch that will be included as standard on Windows Phones that will be launched later this year.
It looks like the 64GB and 128GB iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus could be coming with more pre-installed apps than usual. Apple's iLife and iWork app suites will reportedly be available on the two larger sizes of both phones when they launch this Friday, September 19.
In addition to apps like iMovie and Pages, iTunes U will also be included, according to 9to5Mac:
This includes iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and iTunes U. Owners of the 16GB models of Apple's newest smartphones will still have access to these apps for free, but they must be manually downloaded from the App Store. It remains unclear as to whether or not GarageBand in-app purchases will also be available at no additional cost.
How do you feel about Apple pre-installing these apps on your phone? Sound off in the comments.
Ed: Welcome to this week's edition of The Pixel Project: a weekly comic from Diesel Sweeties' Rich Stevens on Apple, technology, and everything in-between. Today: Who's more rude– the person on their phone or the person trying to start a conversation?
The slow trickle of rumors surrounding iOS support for Android Wear came to a head today, with a report from The Verge stating that Google is a "close to finishing the final technical details" involved with getting its wearables to work with Apple's phones.
On the face of it, it seems surprising — an unholy union of Apple and Android. The mere possibility of Android Wear support coming to the iPhone with the Apple Watch imminent raises several questions, not least how Apple might react to an Android-branded thing encroaching on its ecosystem. Will Cupertino block the companion app because it's Android Wear? Will the company throw up roadblocks simply because it's a competitor?
We'll examine these questions and more after the break. Read on.
Google on Apple
Android Wear support for iOS, if it is close at hand, hasn't come out of the blue. Google has an extensive library of iPhone and iPad apps, maintained by a talented team of developers, and the company puts a lot of effort into making it as easy as possible for iOS users to live in the Google world. (A stark contrast to the situation on Windows Phone at present.) This includes apps like Gmail, Chrome and Maps, which compete with Apple's homegrown offerings, and even Google Voice — though only after a lengthy approval process that eventually dragged in the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC.
Android Wear on iOS doesn't come out of nowhere — Google has had a strong iPhone presence for as long as there's been an iPhone.
A strong presence on the iPhone has been a priority for Google for as long as there's been an iPhone. As a result, it's well served by the current Android-iOS smartphone duopoly. iPhone-to-Android switchers are pushed in the direction of Google services by default. Android-to-iPhone switchers can move without going completely off the reservation. By the same token, Google would rather Android Wear owners didn't automatically junk their watches and go all Apple if they switched to an iPhone.
So in the grand scheme of Google software on Apple hardware, Android Wear support makes a lot of sense for the former. Unlike the Apple Watch, Android Wear is very much an extension of your smartphone rather than a computer unto itself. They're different products with different feature sets, and wildly divergent pricing structures. At the same time, if Google's going to dip its toe into the world of luxury watches, supporting the world's best-selling premium smartphone is a very logical step.
Google doesn't need privileged access to the OS to make most Android Wear features work, thanks to iOS 8. API hooks already exist to let wearables like Pebble to grab notifications, while Extensibility in iOS 8 would allow Google's iPhone apps to emulate Android features like replying to a Gmail message over voice on your watch.
Based on the report from The Verge, it sounds like that's exactly what Android Wear on iOS is doing —
As it does on Android, on the iPhone Android Wear also supports Google Now's ambient information cards, voice search, and other voice actions. It should also support some more advanced features with Google's own iOS apps, like replying to Gmail messages.
What's less clear is the question of third-party apps — just how closely would they be able to hook into a paired Android Wear device on iOS? It's unlikely Google would be able to recreate the deep integration offered at a platform level through Google Play Services on Android.
Apple surely won't be thrilled by the prospect of Android Wear landing on the iPhone right as its Watch starts to hit the market, but would it actively oppose such a move by rejecting the companion iPhone app? Assuming it was called "Android Wear," almost certainly. The App Store review guidelines state:
Apps or metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected.
That means anything with "Android" in the name or description is out.
Google's aware of that, of course. And assuming it's not seeking to poke the bear by submitting a companion app called "Android Wear," it's likely a more neutral name will be chosen — something like "Google Wear" or "Wear Companion." The problem isn't that Android Wear runs Android — remember, so does Google Glass, which works with iOS — it's the presence of the Android brand in its name.
It's should be enough to skirt around both in the app description and the app itself without diminishing the Android Wear brand too much. That said, such a move would come at a time when Google's pushing the Android brand harder than ever before.
If Google is serious about getting Wear on iOS, you can bet they've thought through Android Wear's 'Android' problem.
But if Google is serious about getting Wear on iOS, it's likely it's thought this through, and that it's willing to make this small concession for the sake of opening up Wear to more users.
Apple won't welcome Google's wearable platform with open arms, but that doesn't mean it'll reject Wear out of hand, especially if Google plays by its rules and nixes "Android" from its App Store listing. That being the case, Wear would be just one more smartwatch platform supported by iOS, and on Android it could continue to exist as Android Wear.
And let's not forget that competition and choice for consumers is never a bad thing.
The timing of today's news, on the eve of Apple Watch pre-order day, is surely no accident. What's more, if Android Wear support for iOS is a far along as the report suggests, it'll hit right around the time Apple Watch sales start to open up following the initial rush. The Google I/O developer conference in late May would be a likely timeframe for an official announcement — perhaps along with tools to let developers support Android Wear across both platforms. (Though that depends on just how far Google wants to go with Wear support on iOS.)
Though we've been hearing about its impending dominance for years, wearable technology remains in its infancy, and still nobody has really worked out what smartwatches are for yet. The Apple Watch alone promises to make 2015 a pivotal year for this emerging device category, though, and the possibility of Android Wear widening its audience with iOS support will only make things more interesting.
Many of the early Apple Watch reviews paint a picture of a revolutionary but slightly overwhelming product. Perhaps Google will be hoping that a more available, more accessible alternative will sway buyers in the months ahead. Either way, we'll be watching with interest. Stay tuned to Android Central and iMore for coverage from both sides.
Far more often than not, the big idea is an abject failure.
When we think about building the future, we rarely stumble across the perfect path to do so on the first try. Often, we grasp at perceived futures — ways we expect our world to change and improve — but it's very seldom the best way to build our actual future.
This isn't an admonishment to never strive to create the next big thing; nor is it a bleakly worded yet heartfelt kick in the pants encouraging you to reach for the stars.
You should always reach for the stars and always strive to create the next big thing. But if you hope to succeed, your best guides are those who have gone before you — and failed.
The research kernel of NeXT
NeXT Computer was a big idea that failed.
Its original goal was to create powerful workstation class computers that, finally, incorporated the vision of the future Steve Jobs had seen at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center back in the early 80s.
Most people today abbreviate the center as Xerox PARC and know what it means. But it's important to remember what that acronym stands for: Palo Alto Research Center. Pure research in the heart of Silicon Valley, in the hands of a company founded in 1906, with its heart still in Rochester, New York.
NeXT planned to take all Xerox's good ideas and bring them to the rest of the world. Well, first "the world" would be educational institutions that could afford a few thousand bucks per computer, but ultimately, the plan was to bring this kind of advanced computing to the masses.
At the time, "advanced computing" meant a microkernel architecture, a UNIX personality, object-oriented frameworks, ubiquitous networking using the Internet Protocol, and a user interface that ensured that what you saw on the screen was what you got when you printed it out. It was a laudable goal.
But NeXT failed. By the time the product came to market, it was both too late and too expensive: Companies like Sun and SGI had already taken that market.
NeXT computers had little room to maneuver. The company eventually would become one that merely sold an operating system and a platform for deploying web applications before being bought by Apple — who, at the time, was even worse for the wear.
Display PostScript was the technology behind the What You See Is What You Get display, along with the printing graphics pipeline on NeXT computers. As you might have guessed from the name, it used Adobe's PostScript graphics and rendering engine — but rather than using it for a laser printer, NeXT used it to display the screen.
Now, there a lot of problems with DPS, all of which contributed to its ultimate failure. For one, paying Adobe money for every computer or copy of an operating system you ship sucks. But the big issue was in the PostScript code: The underlying program was actually a full Turing Machine, which meant that one could write arbitrarily complex programs and they'd evaluate completely logically... even when you screwed up by writing an infinite loop and locked up your output devices.
But NeXT's implementation added an interesting spin on the program: Each app rendered within a window; once those windows had their contents they'd be fully insular and contained. In essence, a user could drag a program window over another non-responsive window without having to worry about that gaudy alert box stamping effect that Windows suffered from. By knowing what was under the alert box when the user moved the window, the computer could redraw its contents rather than asking the application to do so.
Despite this feature, however, Display PostScript went into the dust bin with Developer Preview 3 of Mac OS X. Instead, we got Quartz.
Jeff Han is probably best known for his TED Talk introducing multitouch gestures. His work pioneered many of the interactions we take for granted today: Pinch to zoom. Rotation. Multiple points of input rather than a simple mouse cursor.
It was revolutionary. But it also relied upon devices that were beyond the reach of consumers. His work was far from a failure — but neither was it a success.
Putting the pieces together
Looking at the examples above, we can pull out the following big ideas: Small kernel, UNIX personality, retained rendering of application content, multi-touch input.
Small kernel, UNIX personality, retained rendering of application content, multi-touch input.
Small, UNIX, retained rendering, multi-touch.
(Are you getting it yet?)
These three big failed ideas helped build a recipe for what we now know as one hugely imaginative idea: the iPhone.
NeXT's core frameworks helped build iOS's communication, while its UNIX Personality layer gave the mobile OS a window into the world of the Internet. Display PostScript's window rendering, paired with modern mobile graphics processors, allowed the iPhone's digital buttons to fade and slide with ease. And multi-touch — it was being able to implement multi-touch on a handheld device that brought these big ideas together.
The phone's success doesn't rest solely on these three features. There's far more to the process than picking three ideas that kind of failed and sticking them together. But without each of these failed attempts — and without someone recognizing the potential within those failures — we wouldn't have the iPhone as we know it today.
What can we learn from big ideas?
When we first dream up big ideas, far more often than not they result in abject failure. But if we're willing to reexamine those ideas after the fact, we can find much value in those missteps: Was the technology premature? In the intervening time, have we seen progress or a new avenue where that big idea could be addressed? Did that big idea fail because of cultural or technical reasons?
Ultimately, The big idea is what it says on the tin. It's a big idea. Cynicism has never served an optimist well.
Is this implementation going to be garbage? You can make pretty safe bets on that. But the big ideas, those that stick. They're mired in their time, immature technology and cultural acceptance. They deserve a nod and a mental note to re-examine them when the context changes. The key isn't the big idea. It's figuring out the context in which it succeeds.