It is highly speculated that 2013 is the year that Apple's Tim Cook, or Phil Schiller, will walk on stage at an Apple event rocking something special under his sleeve. Something that you quite possibly couldn't live without. An iWatch.
Rumors are at an all-time high as speculation that Apple is getting serious about getting into the nascent smart wristwatch game, taking on the likes of upstart Cookoo watch and the KickStarter funded Pebble smart watch. Many agree that smart wearable computing is the way of the future. For instance, companies have given their take on wearable computers like, Nike's FuelBand, Jawbone's Up, Fitbit's activity trackers and, most recently, Google Glass. Perhaps, Apple can make them all obsolete with the iWatch. Bloomberg has written a fairly ridiculous essay as to why it might be more lucrative and, more likely, in Apple's best interest to ship an iWatch first rather than an iTV television set.
Spotify for iOS has just received a massive overhaul, bringing the UI in line with the look that Android's been sporting for a while. iOS users now get access to features like the swiping method for accessing different areas of the Spotify app (similar to what you can do in the Facebook iOS app.) The "Now Playing" area shows you the artist and track name no matter where you are navigating in the app, right above the play controls. You can swipe here to go to the next or previous track with ease. You also get bug fixes and overall improvements to stability, as well as the Ford SYNC AppLink Spotify feature that we mentioned yesterday. You can grab the update now from the App Store, and peep the full changelog after the break.
Read More | Spotify
Ford and Spotify have announced a partnership that sees the popular streaming music service make an appearance in Ford vehicles. Spotify is now compatible with Ford SYNC AppLink, streaming its catalog of over 20 million tracks over the car radio. You'll need to download the new iOS or Android Spotify apps to take advantage of the new hotness. You be able to access your songs, playlists, and custom stations, and can even control things with voice commands. Aside from Spotify, Ford SYNC AppLink allows you to access other service, like Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, MOG, Slacker, and Rhapsody.
Read More | Ford
Facebook 5.5 for iOS has just been released, and with it comes free voice calling for North American users over Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The feature came to Facebook's separate messaging app a couple of weeks ago, and is now baked in to the full-fledged Facebook iOS experience for users across the US and Canada. After updating, simply open your chat pane by tapping the icon on the upper-right, select a friend, and then select "Free Call." As you'd expect, the person on the other end also needs to be located in North America, and also needs to have the latest Facebook app installed. It's a nice way to make voice calls without tapping into your voice minutes--just make sure to keep an eye on your data plan when you're away from Wi-Fi, no need to try to save on voice minutes, only to rack up massive data usage fees, you feel me?
Strategy Analytics already reported that the iPhone 5 was the best-selling smartphone in the US, but now it's saying that Apple extends its dominance worldwide as well. As such, the iPhone 5 sold an estimated 27.4 million units during the fourth quarter of 2012, as compared to Samsung's Galaxy S III selling 15.4 million units. What's more, the iPhone 4S also outsold the S3 with 17.4 million units moved. This gives Apple the two most popular smartphones on the market, with a little over a 20 percent share in the global market.
We check in with AnoStyle, the service that custom colors your iPhone or iPad mini, at CES 2013 in this episode. We're big fans of AnoStyle's iOS device coloring service, where they strip off Apple's anodizing, and re-anodize the devices with coloring that is 40x stronger than what Apple uses. It's impressive, striking, and people stop us and ask about it all the time. Of course, my devices are orange and white, Gear Live colors, no doubt.
Be sure to also check out our full AnoStyle review, which takes a look at a black iPhone 5 colored pink, a white iPhone 5 colored orange, and an iPad mini colored orage as well! If you wanna get in on the fun, head on over to AnoStyle and use promo code INTERNATIONAL2013 to get $100 off the service, valid until Wednesday.
We've often wondered by a site like Kickstarter lacked an official iOS app, but that ends today with the release of Kickstarter for iPhone. The crowdsourcing site's new app allows you to view campaigns, watch the pitch videos that go along with them, and pledge your cash towards one of the reward levels offered. If you've created a campaign, you can track your progress in the app as well. The app is not yet iPad-native, but it does support iPhone 3GS and later, including support for the iPhone 5 4-inch display. Grab Kickstarter for iPhone for free.
Read More | Kickstarter for iPhone
Slacker has been around for a few years as both a free and premium Internet radio service, and now the service has released a new redesign. The old black and gold interface is replaced with a newer, hipper, cleaner look on all platforms, including web, Xbox 360 app, and mobile apps. Slacker had to do something to take some attention away from Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, and the like, and we have to say that the new design makes things easier on the eyes, and thusly, easier to use.
Slacker pricing remains intact. You have the free version, Radio Plus for $3.99 per month, and then Slacker Premium for $9.99 per month. Updated Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10 versions are on the way as well.
We gave up on the native iOS calendar app in favor of Fantastical months ago, but Tempo Smart Calendar is here to challenge for the throne. What makes Tempo so special? Well, it's made by SRI, the same group that invented Siri…yep, the same Siri that Apple later acquired. What Tempo does is pull in information from your calendar, contact list, email, and services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. Using all of that data, it's able to pull in and give contextual data on all your calendar entries, including things like nearby parking, and the ability to send everyone else a message that you'll be late, right from within the app. Wanna wish your Facebook friends a "happy birthday" automatically? Tempo can handle that, too. Check the video out after the break, it does a great job of explaining it all.
You can download Tempo for free, right now, but you may have a challenge logging in once you have it. Tempo servers are being crushed under heavy load right now (a massive fail) and thousands are being left out in the cold currently.
Read More | Tempo Smart Calendar
If there's one thing that was a glaring omission from the official TiVo iOS apps, it was the fact that they couldn't connect to the TiVo on your local network to allow you to watch content on your smartphone or tablet. Well, all that has changed with the release of the TiVo Stream. What is the TiVo Stream? Well, as you can probably guess from the name, TiVo Stream allows you to stream recordings from your TiVo Premiere DVR directly to up to three iOS devices on the same network (or four if you happen to have more than one TiVo Premiere box), simultaneously. Additionally, it also allows you to transfer recording to your iOS device for viewing when you are off the network. It's an ambitious device that provides a feature that many have been clamoring for, and it sells for $129. So, is it worth the additional investment? We've given you a look at the TiVo Stream hardware, now join us for our full TiVo Stream review for the answer.
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