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Amazon Fire TV Cube hands-on review, new AirPods 2 coming soon - Geared Up!

Amazon Fire TV Cube review

Amazon is trying to get its Alexa voice assistant into as many homes as possible. Its latest offering: The Fire TV Cube, which essentially turns any TV into a smart TV with Alexa voice control. We try it out live on this episode. The integration with certain apps, like Netflix and Hulu, is pretty cool. Simply saying “Alexa, play Stranger Things,” opened the Netflix app and started playing right where we left off. Using voice control to fast forward, switch TV inputs and open apps also works well. But for other apps that aren't integrated, like Sling TV, the experience isn't quite so smooth. The box also doesn't work with over-the-air cable TV, as some reports said it would. In other news, Oculus announced a new virtual reality TV app this week, and some people are unimpressed. We also dive into a report that points to a new line of AirPods coming before the end of the year, including higher-end over-the-ear headphones.

Listen to the episode in the player below or subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app to listen on the go:


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WWDC 2018: Apple announces iOS 12

WWDC iOS 12

During today's WWDC 2018 keynote, Apple announced the next generation of its mobile software in iOS 12. Here are the biggest points of news for iOS 12:

PERFORMANCE

  • Apple is doubling down on performance with the aim of making devices faster and more devices
  • iOS 12 will be available on all the same devices that support iOS 11 - this includes devices that shipped back in 2013.
  • Apps launch twice as fast on devices running iOS 12 on even the oldest devices

AUGMENTED REALITY

  • A major update in iOS 12 is more AR support. Adobe took the stage to introduced simplified tools that will allow developers to create better AR experiences.
  • There's a new file format for AR, called USDZ, created in collaboration with Pixar.
  • A new app, Measure, will allow you to take measurements in real-time using an iOS device with AR. A demo was shown measuring a suitcase using just an iPhone X.
  • Support for shared experiences is announced - multiple users can see the same AR environment in real-time. This allows developers to create worlds that people can all see simultaneously.
  • LEGO took the stage to demo a shared AR LEGO app

PHOTOS

  • The Photos app gets new updates and features, starting with search. Search Suggestions will highlight things like key moments, places you've taken photos, business names, and events like concerts and sporting events. You can search for multiple terms, like surfing and vacation, to drill down into your library.
  • Effect suggestions give you reccomendations to edits you can make to your photos to make them even better.
  • Sharing suggestions will find people in your photos and allow you to share them with the folks who are in them. Shared photos are full resolution.
  • When you share, the receiver will also be given a suggestion to share photos from the same event with you.

SIRI

  • Siri Shortcuts allows you to pull in specific tasks from your apps. An example given was “I lost my keys” to have Siri activate your Tile hardware.
  • You can create your own Siri Shortcuts as well, so you can put together your own shortcut phrases.
  • A demo was shown using Siri Shortcuts - the user said “travel plans” and got their hotel reservation with an image, address, and check-in time from Siri
  • A “Heading Home” shortcut is able to set the home thermostat, play a podcast, send an ETA to a contact, and turn on a HomeKit fan. Very impressive stuff.

APPS

  • The News app gets an updated sidebar to make navigation easier
  • The Stocks app gets more granular vision to see stock performance. Apple News stories are now integrated into the Stocks app as well, giving you business news on the stocks that you follow.
  • The Stocks app now comes to iPad with iOS 12.
  • Voice Memos app also comes to iPad with iOS 12, with iCloud support built-in for syncing across devices.
  • iBooks becomes Apple Books with a redesigned app.
  • In iOS 12, CarPlay will support third-party navigation apps.

DIGITAL HEALTH

  • Do Not Disturb is updated to hide notifications at night, and in the morning hides notifications until you specify that you want to see them.
  • Do Not Disturb allows you to choose much more granular timeframes rather than just optimized for overnight.
  • Notifications can be turned on or off on a per-app basis right from the lock screen
  • Notifications can now be grouped by app, topic, or thread. With a swipe, you can dismiss an entire group of notifications.
  • A new feature called Screentime offers reports, giving a weekly summary that shows how you used your iOS device. This shows how much time you spend in each app, how often per hour you pick up your phone, and which apps are sending you the most notifications.
  • App Limits allows you to set a limited amount of time that you'd like to use specific apps per day. 
  • Kids get activity reports too, and parents get reports on their own devices of their kids usage. Parents can also create downtime periods and app limits. This is setup through the Family Sharing interfaces.

MESSAGES

  • Animoji now support tongue detection for sticking tongues out
  • New ghost, koala, tiger, and T-Rex Animoji characters
  • Apple announces Memoji, allowing you to create your own customized 3D emoji character that looks like you
  • Memoji has a slick creator app to design your character
  • The Messages camera now includes effects, filters, stickers, and even Animoji and Memoji right in the camera

FACETIME

  • Apple announces Group FaceTime, which allows you to chat with up to 32 simultaneous participants
  • You can use both audio or video
  • FaceTime is integrated into Messages, allowing you to quickly do a Group FaceTime right from a group chat
  • A demo is shown, and as people speak, they become bigger on screen, or you can choose who to bring front and center
  • The same effects mentioned above in Messages also applies to the FaceTime camera

Improved performance, new AR experiences, digital health, improved Messages, Group FaceTime, and more. That's iOS 12.


WWDC 2018: Apple announces macOS Mojave

macOS Mojave

At WWDC 2018, Apple announced the next version of its desktop operating system for Macs, macOS Mojave. Here's what's new!

MACOS MOJAVE FEATURES

  • Apple starts by showing off a new Dark Mode for macOS. It changes the color of the app windows, toolbars, dock, and more.
  • Dynamic Desktop is a feature where your desktop wallpaper subtley changes throughout the day based on the time.
  • Desktop Stacks is a feature that groups all of the files, folders, and tags to auto-organize your desktop. Stack icons are also scrubbable.
  • The Finder gets a new view called Gallery view. Makes it easy to preview images, videos, PDFs, documents, etc.
  • New Finder sidebar to see the full metadata of any file(s) you have selected, along with quick actions along the bottom of the sidebar.
  • Markup has been added to Quick Look
  • New screenshots functionality - similar to iOS, the screenshot appears in the bottom corner of the screen, and when you click on it, you get a Quick Look with a bunch of readily-available tools
  • A new screenshot tool also allows for quick video recording
  • New Continuity Camerea feature allows you to use your iOS device as a camera to insert photos into Mac documents. This can also be used for document scanning from an iOS device into a Mac doc.
  • Enhanced eGPU support

APPS

  • The Apple News app is coming to the Mac in macOS Mojave
  • The Stocks app is also coming to the Mac in Mojave
  • Voice Memos will be part of Mojave as well, with iCloud syncing
  • Apple's Home app will ship with macOS Mojave, allowing you to control your smart home devices, along with Siri support

SECURITY AND PRIVACY

  • Apple is extending protection to Cameras, Microphones, Backups, Message history, and much more
  • In Safari, Apple is auto-hiding even more tracking scripts connected to like buttons and comment fields
  • Safari is also making it harder for trackers to create a fingerprint of your device, so your Mac appears to look like everyone else's Mac, making it harder for ad companies to track you

MAC APP STORE

  • Apple has completely redesigned the Mac App Store
  • Similar to iOS, the Mac App Store will feature editorials and stories
  • Videos of apps are built in to give a better idea of how the apps look and feel
  • More categories like Create, Work, Play, and Develop to easier find groups of apps
  • Microsoft is bringing Office 365 to the Mac App Store
  • Panic is bringing Transmit
  • BareBones bringing BBEdit
  • Adobe is bringing Lightroom

Apple also answered the question of whether they are merging macOS and iOS - the answer is “No!” However, Apple will be allowing iOS apps on the Mac through a new set of UI instructions. It starts in 2018 with News, Stocks, Home, and Voice Memos. In 2019, developers will have access to these tools as well.


WWDC 2018: Apple announces tvOS 12

At its WWDC 2018 keynote, Apple announced tvOS 12. Here's what's new!

  • Dolby Atmos support for Apple TV is coming
  • Free Dolby Atmos upgrades for any content you own that gets the newer sound format
  • Live News and Live Sports comes to the TV app on Apple TV
  • In the US, Charter Spectrum service will be available on Apple TV. 50 million homes have access to Charter Spectrum.
  • Single Sign-On becomes Zero Sign-On. If you are on your TV providers broadband network, all TV apps are unlocked immediately. Charter Spectrum is the first to support this feature.
  • Home control systems like Creston and Savant will be integrated into Apple TV.
  • Aerial screensavers will now show you locations, and allow you to swipe to change the screensaver location.
  • New aerial screensaver above Earth, filmed on the International Space Station.

That's tvOS 12!


WWDC 2018: Apple announces watchOS 5

watchOS 5

During it's WWDC 2018, Apple announced watchOS 5, it's next generation software for the Apple Watch. Here's what's new!

HEALTH AND FITNESS

  • In watchOS 5, you can challenge any friend to a seven day Activity challenge. You get shown where you stand in the competition, and earn awards in the Activity app.
  • There is now a new workout type for yoga. You can more accurately track yoga sessions.
  • Hiking gets a new workout type.
  • You can now track your rolling mile pace when running, along with steps per minute data.
  • Automatic Workout Detection where the watch will offer to start a workout with a notification when it senses a workout has started, and give you credit retroactively. watchOS will also auto-recognize when you end a workout if you forget.

CONNECTED FEATURES

  • watchOS 5 will have a Walkie-Talkie feature. You just press to talk, and the person on the other end can hear you immediately. You have to specifically enable the feature on a per-contact basis.

SIRI WATCH FACE

  • Siri watch face will integrate sports data, Siri shortcuts
  • Siri watch face will support third-party apps on watchOS 5
  • You no longer need to say “Hey Siri” when you raise your wrist to speak to the Watch

NOTIFICATIONS

  • Interactive notifications are now in watchOS 5. You can Apple Pay, check in, leave reviews, etc right from a notification.
  • watchOS 5 includes WebKit to see web content right on the Watch from an email or message.

PODCASTS

  • Apple Podcasts app will be available on watchOS 5, with full account syncing and Siri support.

APPS

  • Apps can include interactive controls right in an app. Do things like extend parking, order food, etc.
  • Background audio for third-party apps
  • Add your student ID card to Wallet on your Watch

ACCESSORIES

  • New Pride watchband, with a new Pride watch face

That's watchOS 12!


Hands on with the new Oculus Go and Lenovo Mirage Solo portable VR headsets - Geared Up!

The Geared Up Giveaway is back! We're giving Geared Up subscribers the chance to win an Oculus Go headset. See the bottom of this post for details on how to enter the giveaway.

The VR hype is starting to get real. Just in the past two weeks, Facebook's Oculus launched the highly affordable and convenient Oculus Go while Lenovo debuted its more sophisticated by pricey Mirage Solo, both more convenient devices than their powerful but bulky predecessors. So how do the two new headsets compare? We've been testing them out and on this episode, we go hands-on with both devices to give our reviews.

Plus, we're offering Geared Up subscribers the chance to win an Oculus Go headset—just subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app and use the widget at the bottom of the page to enter. In other news, Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit over the controversial MacBook keyboard and Microsoft announced a second generation of the Surface Hub, its huge wall-mounted PC. HP also made headlines this week with its announcement of several new laptops and desktops.

Win an Oculus Go VR Headset from Geared Up!

Subscribe to the Geared Up podcast:


HomePod bust and how Xbox’s backward compatibility gamble is still paying off - Geared Up!

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Microsoft, Music, Video Games, Videos,

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is struggling in the competitive smart home market, according to a new report. What led to its demise, and what can Apple do to get back into the smart speaker game?

Plus, Amazon reveals how it assigns the preferred “Amazon’s Choice” label to products; Apple is rumored to be creating a subscription version of Apple News after its acquisition of digital magazine company Texture; and we look at how Xbox’s backward compatibility has become the console’s saving grace.

Click to continue reading HomePod bust and how Xbox’s backward compatibility gamble is still paying off - Geared Up!


The great privacy debate — and how companies like Apple could benefit - Geared Up!

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Handhelds, PC / Laptop,

How should gadget fans think about privacy? Geared Up cohost Andru Edwards, for one, says growing concerns about data privacy will be a boon for Apple and other companies that don’t base their businesses on advertising revenue.

But doesn’t that mean you’re locked in to Apple’s ecosystem? “Yes – locked into greatness,” he says.

Click to continue reading The great privacy debate — and how companies like Apple could benefit - Geared Up!


Mega Smartphone Giveaway: Win an iPhone X, Pixel 2, or Galaxy Note 8!

The Mega Smartphone Giveaway!

Welcome to our MEGA Smartphone Giveaway! We are giving away three of the best smartphones of 2017 to celebrate the end of the year, and this is your opportunity to walk away with an iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and Google Pixel 2! Here is how it will work:

  • The first place winner gets to choose their pick from the 3 smartphones - iPhone X, Note 8, and Pixel 2
  • The second place winner gets to choose between the 2 that are left
  • The third place winner gets the remaining smartphone (The winner that chooses the iPhone may substitute an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus instead of the iPhone X if they prefer)

Big shout out to Erica Griffin and David Cogen (The Unlockr) for teaming up with me on this giveaway! Good luck to all! Which phone would you pick if you won? Do the Pixel 2 cameras call your name? Are you all about Face ID with the iPhone X? The stylus of the Galaxy Note 8? Let me know!


Bleeding Edge TV 610: Best Headphones for iPhone 7 Review

In this episode we discuss the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus headphone situation. What's the best iPhone 7 headphones solution for you? Austin Creed from Up Up Down Down joins me in this discussion to chat about the different Lightning headphones, Bluetooth headphones, and more. Are you concerned about the loss of the iPhone 7 headphone jack?

You can pick up the Audeze EL-8 Titanium, JBL Reflect Aware, and Bose QC35 now.

Don't forget to subscribe to Gear Live's YouTube channel—also, we are giving away awesome perks for our Patreon backers - thanks for your support!

 

Click to continue reading Bleeding Edge TV 610: Best Headphones for iPhone 7 Review


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