On Gear Live: How to use AT&T Next and Verizon Edge to your advantage

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iOS 8 review: A more powerful iPhone experience arrives

iOS 8 review

iOS 8 is the follow-up to last years radical redesign of Apple’s mobile operating system. After the visual overhaul, the company went to work on adding a bunch of features that would make its devices more open with features like extensions and third-party keyboards, yet more secure with improved permissions and more widespread Touch ID integration. With iOS 8, Apple looks to refine the experience that was introduced last year, while allowing features for the power users of the world to shine.

It’s been shown that Apple follows a two-step release process with its iOS device hardware and software. For example, one year the company will release a new design for the iPhone, and the following year it’ll keep that design and refine the device, releasing it as an “S” class upgrade. iOS seems to follow a similar pattern, especially this year, which follows last year’s big redesign. With iOS 8, Apple has introduced a layer of polish on top of its mobile operating system, bringing with it a bevy of new features. The question remains, do all the changes come together in a meaningful way? Join us for our full iOS 8 review as we explore the answer.

Click to continue reading iOS 8 review: A more powerful iPhone experience arrives


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How to use AT&T Next and Verizon Edge to your advantage

iPhone 6

We've received a few emails over the last few days from readers asking about switching to AT&T Next so that they can get the new iPhone 6 on Friday for no money down. AT&T has been notifying some customers who are mid-contract that they can switch to a Next plan at no charge, doing away with contracts going forward. Of course, there are those who are still under AT&T's grandfathered "unlimited" data plan, but others simply want to know if programs like AT&T Next and Verizon Edge are worth it, or if they're rip-offs. The thing is, early upgrade plans like Next and Edge basically allow you to divorce the act of owning and paying for a phone, from paying for cellular service. If you play your cards right, you'll actually come out ahead financially, and you'll be able to upgrade to a new device whenever you want. Let's walk through a scenario of buying a phone with AT&T Next.

Background
All currently available mainstream plans feature two components: a data charge, and a line charge. We will ignore the data charge aspect from here on out, because it's the same regardless of what plan you choose.

AT&T Next offers you a lower monthly line charge ($15 less for data plans under 10GB, $25 less for 10GB and over) in exchange for them not giving you a large subsidy when you buy your phone. Next plans never involve a contract, and you can get out of them at any time, penalty free, by paying off the balance you owe on your phone.

Click to continue reading How to use AT&T Next and Verizon Edge to your advantage


iPhone 6 Plus: 5.5-inch Retina HD display, optical image stabilization, bigger battery for $299

iPhone 6 plus

The iPhone 6 wasn’t the only larger smartphone that Apple announced today at the We Wish We Could Say More event—meet the iPhone 6 Plus. Featuring a 5.5-inch 1080p Retina HD display, the iPhone 6 Plus is the biggest smartphone that Apple has released to date. It’s got a display that’s a full 1.5-inches larger than that of the iPhone 5s. Be sure to check out the details on the iPhone 6, since the iPhone 6 Plus has a fairly similar feature set.  However, there are a few key differences other than size.

The iPhone 6 Plus display has the same 16x9 aspect ratio as the iPhone 6, 5s, and 5c, but packs in more pixels due to the 1920x1080 resolution. The result is a 401 pixel-per-inch density, resulting in 185% more pixels than the iPhone 5s. That means it’ll be a lot sharper. It’s also thinner at 7.1 millimeters, compared to 7.6 for the iPhone 5s.

Click to continue reading iPhone 6 Plus: 5.5-inch Retina HD display, optical image stabilization, bigger battery for $299


Apple iPhone 6: 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 Retina HD display, A8 processor, NFC for $199 on September 19

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds

iPhone 6

During it's We Wish We Could Say More event, Apple unveiled the iPhone 6. The updated smartphone sports a new 4.7-inch Retina HD display with a resolution of 1334 x 750, resulting in a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. Apple is calling this a Retina HD display, and aside from the increased size and ppi, it also has the full sRGB wide color gamut. On front is ion-stengthened cover glass that is curved at the edges--so, no sapphire crystal display after all. Apple has developed the new A8 processor to power the device, bringing with it a 25% speed bost. A new M8 coprocessor can now measure distance and steps climbed thanks, in part, to a barometer. It can also decipher between running and cycling to better track your movements. The iPhone 6 measure in as just 6.9mm thin, which makes it the thinnest device Apple has ever made.

LTE is updated to 150 Mbps, and it supports 20 LTE bands, which is the most in any smartphone. VoLTE is also built-in, which will allow voice call data over an LTE network. 802.11ac Wi-Fi finally comes to the iPhone 6, giving it a 3x faster wireless connection. Wi-Fi calling, allowing you to place calls when connected to a Wi-Fi network. The first networks to support VoLTE will be T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK.

Click to continue reading Apple iPhone 6: 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 Retina HD display, A8 processor, NFC for $199 on September 19


Apple Watch announced, available early 2015 for $349

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Wearables, Corporate News

Apple Watch

After months of rumors, the iWatch has been made official, and it’s called the Apple Watch. For the first time since the death of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook mentioned that he had “One more thing…” to talk about after unveiling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Introducing the device as a precise and customizable timepiece that is also a comprehensive health and fitness device, the Apple Watch was unveiled with pride.

A video, narrated by Jony Ive, explained how the watch works. Users navigate using the touch display, as well as a Digital Crown on the side (similar to dials you find on analog watches) that allows you to navigate, zoom, and scroll without covering up the display with your fingers. The Apple Watch display can sense touch and swipes, as well as force.

Click to continue reading Apple Watch announced, available early 2015 for $349


Get free copy of Destiny for Xbox One or PS4 with last-gen purchase

Bungie has just announced a stellar deal for Destiny buyers--if you pick up the digital version of Destiny for the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, you get to download the next-gen digital version for Xbox One or Playstation 4 for free. That's two copies of Destiny for the price of one.

The deal applies to all Destiny content, too, so if you buy the Guardian edition of the game, or the Expansion Pass on Xbox 360 or PS3, you'll also get that same content on Xbox One or PS4 as well.

To be clear, those who take advantage of the promotion get to keep and use both versions of Destiny. The downloads will be tied to the same Xbox Live or PSN account, and as a result, you'll have to choose one ecosystem (Xbox or Playstation) for both copies of the game--you can't get it for PS3 and then get the Xbox One version, or vice versa. This is a great deal for those who still have an older console in a spare room and want to have Destiny playable on both.

If the above doesn't apply to you, you can still get a free copy of Destiny (or any other Xbox One game) this week!

Read More | Destiny Digital Upgrade

5 Unique Gadgets to Trick Out Your Home Bar

Izola measurements cocktail shaker

There are few things in a home that say “sophisticated class” like a home bar when it’s done right. Rather than meeting at the local bar, invite some guests over to your place for drinks, and show them that there’s more to it then the simple choice of shaken or stirred. Each of these items is sure to impress at your next cocktail party.

Izola Measurements Cocktail Shaker
When upgrading your at-home cocktail setup from "dive bar" to "high-roller club,” remember that a well-prepared drink is what matters more than anything. We’ll get to the other cool stuff in a moment, but we had to start off with the Izola Measurements Cocktail Shaker. Izola’s vessel has a list of the most common drink measurements engraved into the steel, so your Vespers are sure to be Bond-worthy every time. $36 - 

Click to continue reading 5 Unique Gadgets to Trick Out Your Home Bar


Giveaway: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Blu-ray!

Cosmos Blu-ray giveaway

If you happened to catch the 13-part adventure that was Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, then you are already aware that it's a visual masterpiece worthy of being in your collection, and we're giving away a copy of the Blu-ray set. Aside from the 13 episodes in crisp 1080p, the $40 set includes over two hours of bonus content:

  • The Cosmic Calendar: An Interactive Look at the History of the Universe (Blu-ray Exclusive)
  • COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey – The Voyage Continues
  • Celebrating Carl Sagan: A Selection From The Library of Congress Dedication
  • COSMOS at Comic-Con 2013
  • Audio Commentary on Episode One: “Standing Up in the Milky Way”

Cool, right? Ready to enter? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! If you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ask Andru: Which Macs can run OS X Yosemite?

OS X Yosemite

OS X 10.10, better known as Yosemite, represents the next-generation in Apple's desktop operating system. Yosemite brings a new look to the desktop experience, and also ties OS X and iOS together through a feature called Continuity that I bet will make work a lot easier for Apple users. With any big change, customers will wonder if their older hardware will be supported. We recently received this question from a reader named Steve:

Q: I'm excited to check out OS X Yosemite once it launches, the redesigned interface looks great! My MacBook Air is from 2010, and I was curious if you knew if it would run Yosemite without any issues, or if I have to upgrade my computer?

A: I agree--I think the look and feel of OS X Yosemite is a breath of fresh air. I've been using the Developer Preview since it was made available at WWDC 2014, and when I use a Mac that is running Mavericks or earlier, it already feels like a big step backwards from a design perspective. Now, on to system requirements! The nice thing about Yosemite is that Apple hasn't changed any of the system requirements from what was required to run Mavericks. In other words, all Macintosh products capable of running OS X Mavericks will be supported by Yosemite; as with Mavericks, 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB of available storage, and OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later are required to upgrade. To make it easier to figure out if you're specific Mac is compatible, here is a listing of all the Apple hardware that is Yosemite-capable:

  • iMac Mid-2007 or newer
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

As you can see, anyone who has bought a Mac within the past five years is covered and will be able to run OS X Yosemite. Mac Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook aluminum buyers as far back as 2008 are also good. In fact, some MacBook Pro and iMac buyers from back in 2007 can even get in on the Yosemite action, and those computers are now 7 years old! This is a pretty large blanket of Mac users that will be able to enjoy the next generation of OS X, and I comment Apple for including as many Macs as it did.

OS X 10.10 Yosemite is set to launch later this fall, and will be available exclusively on the Mac App Store. At WWDC, Apple announced that it will be made available completely free to its users. Can't beat that!


How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Cell Phones, Features, Microsoft

Microsoft Cortana

Curious about how Cortana made her way from assisting Master Chief in Halo over to helping you out on Windows Phone? During a sit-down with Microsoft's Marcus Ash, he spoke to us about what it took to get Cortana just right on Windows Phone and to be seen as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Siri.

First, the Cortana logo was the first thing Microsoft has to get right. Originally, they didn't want a physical representation. The thought was that people could think it was creepy if it is "too human." They also didn't want it to be like Clippy, the infamous character from Microsoft Office that was hated by many. It was also decided that Cortana couldn't be just a voice, since it wouldn't feel the same.

Initially, Microsoft tried to use the Xbox Live avatar idea, but that was odd due to everyone having the female Cortana voice. Then they started playing around with the circle. A circle can stretch, bounce, and transform. They also tried triangles, diamonds, hearts, and the ability of letter the user choose any of these. At the end of the day, the circle next to Metro on the start screen looked good, so that was what Microsoft decided on. The next issue was that a simple circle isn't iconic, and is hard to brand. That's when the Windows Phone team met with the Halo team at 343 Industries.

Click to continue reading How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone


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