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.
As rumored, Apple has announced its iOS 8 health initiative during the WWDC 2014 keynote. The new Health app will work with a developer API bundle called HealthKit. In iOS 8, apps will be able to report your health data to a centralized location, allowing you to see all the information and stats from different apps all in the same area. Further, you'll be able to choose if you'd like to share health data from one app to another.
Apple announced that Nike and the Mayo Clinic are two of the first to be working on HealthKit integration, while also picturing a Withings blood pressure monitor. Not much more has been announced about the new Health app for iOS 8 yet, but we're sure we will hear more about it closer to the release of iOS 8 release.
We were big fans of the original Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, but the new model introduced at CES 2014 is a vast improvement since it works wirelessly. No longer requiring to be tethered, the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure model works with the iPhone, as well as Android devices (the previous version only worked with older iOS device that used the 30-pin connector.) You launch the app after applying the cuff, and you get your blood pressure and heart rate, which can be archived so you can refer to the data later, and view trends. You'll be able to get it soon for $129.95.
Peep a video demo after the break.
Read More | Withings
Fans of the Star Trek franchise can totally appreciate the concept of the Tricorder. Now, what if I told you that it actually exists? Nelson De Brouwer founded Scanadu and actually went about inventing the Scanadu Scout. The Scout is round, small, and fits in one hand. It connects to a mobile app which stores your vital sign readings like temperature and oxygen levels in the blood. Scanadu also includes a plethora of heart readings like heart rate, ECG, HRV and PWTT (blood pressure.) It also has the ability for urine analysis or UA and, my personal favorites, reading test and stress levels. Scanadu Scout is being crowdsourced and sold for $199.99 on IndieGoGo. Check out the video that shows how it all works after the quick jump.
Read More | Scanadu
Wearing a device to track your steps is nothing new, but the Fitbit Zip looks to be the budget solution that brings users into the connected fitness data world. The verdict is still out as far as if wearing fitness gadgets will make you more fit, but it's hard to argue that it doesn't at least make you more aware. The Zip is the least expensive way to start tracking and syncing your steps, calories burned, distance, and other stats, linking easily to your smartphone to give you a pretty look at all the data. The question is, does the Fitbit Zip do enough to take attention away from the more feature-rich Fitbit One, Nike FuelBand, and other competing devices? Join us for our full Fitbit Zip review as we find the answer.
Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, which means he can't see colors. He lives in a world of black and white. Not satisfied with having to remember that the sky is blue, or that lemons are yellow, he teamed up with Adam Montandon to develop a brain implant that they call the Eyeborg, which turns colors into sounds. In 2010, the Cyborg Foundation was born--an organization to help humans become cyborgs. Check out the fascinating details in the video after the jump, and be on the lookout for other projects from the Cyborg Foundation, including the Earborg (turns sounds into colors,) and the Speedbord (detects movement through earrings that vibrate.)
Over the past few years, a new category of gadget has emerged with the aim of quantifying our health. You know the ones--Fitbit. Nike FuelBand. JawBone Up. Withings Wi-Fi Scale (and Smart Activity Tracker!). Fitbit Aria Scale. The list goes on. There are trackers and scales from tons of companies that'll sync your details to their servers, share them with services of your choosing, giving you pretty graphs and hopeful motivation from friends and followers to do the right thing as it pertains to diet and exercise. After all, sitting is killing us. Are all of these gadgets actually moving the needle in terms of our fitness levels? Our friend, Dave Taylor, takes a closer look and chimes in with his toughts after the jump.
Peter David and I worked together oh-so-briefly back in the early '90s, but I was already a fan of his comic book work, his many novels, and his work writing about comics. He's been one of the good guys since day one.
Peter had a stroke over the holidays, and while he's recovering and being evaluated, please keep him in your thoughts and wish him well.
I'm sure progress will be posted at his website - it's crashed a couple of times from all the traffic, so just keep trying.
Get well soon, Peter.
(And if you know anyone who might be at risk for a stroke, check for the possible warning signs.)
[Artwork: Jim Starlin's Dreadstar, written by Peter David, and swiped from My Comic Shop]
Read More | Comics Beat
Fitbit has just announced its new fitness trackers in the Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip. Following up its popular Fitbit Ultra tracker, the Fitbit One takes its place at the top of the lineup, and brings some welcome changes. A new silent vibrating alarm is added to wake you in the morning as well as remind you when to move, and Bluetooth 4.0 connects to your iPhone to save your data automatically. It's also got a smaller profile and splash-resistant, while also continuing to do its main job of counting steps, calories burned, stairs climbed, sleep quality, etc. The Fitbit One ships in October and will cost $100.
Read More | Fitbit One
If we had to guess, we'd bet you're probably sitting down right now. The problem is that sitting down for extended periods of time, all day every day, may be killing us. You may have heard of stand-up desks, and maybe even know someone who works in an office where this is an option. They don't choose these just to be different--the goal is to keep your metabolism, and muscle electrical activity performing optimally. This is where GeekDesk comes in. The company sells two different models of desks that allow the user to stand or sit--the best of both worlds. We received the GeekDesk Max for review, and it just so happens that this feature would turn out to be more than a simple Gear Live gadget review. Sure, sitting down may be killing us, but my story isn't about life expectancy, but rather bad posture and what I referred to as "my pinch" for at least 6 months. Read on for more on that, along with our full GeekDesk Max review.
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