We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2011!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
One of the key differences between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is the availability of Siri on the newer smartphone. There have been a few hacks and allegedly legal options that put Siri on older versions of the iPhone, but nothing officially sanctioned by Apple.
The latest Siri workaround comes from iOS hackers Grant Paul, known as chpwn, and Ryan Petrich. In a recent blog post, the duo unveiled Spire, which is a "new tool for installing Siri on previously unsupported, but jailbroken, devices," Paul said. As you might recall, an iOS 5 jailbreak was just released.
The 100MB download is available via Cydia and it will add Siri to any device running iOS 5.
If that sounds a bit too good to be true, though, it is. Actually getting Siri to work on a device other than the iPhone 4S will require some technical know-how.
If you're running iOS 5.0.1 and have been waiting for the ability to jailbreak your device without being tethered to a computer, today is your lucky day (as long as you aren't hoping to jailbreak the iPhone 4S or iPad 2!) The Chronic Dev Team and iPhone Dev Team have jointly released a new version of redsn0w that will jailbreak the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 5.0.1. Users who are already running the tethered version of the jailbreak can download Corona from Cydia to get in on the untethered action. An untethered jailbreak for the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S is still being worked on, with no set timetable for arrival.
In other iOS 5 jailbreak news, a new "Spire" hack now allows you to install Siri on jailbroken iOS devices as well!
Read More | pod2g
We've seen plenty of videos that feature babies, cats, and dogs playing with iOS devices, and they're all pretty cute. Know what else they all are? Mammals. In the video above, though, we get to see a fricken bulllfrog play Ant Crusher on the iPhone. Enjoy.
Did you know that you can turn any photo in your Instagram account into a real life, displayable work of art? CanvasPop is a service that makes this super easy. You create an account and choose which Instagram image(s) you want, and CanvasPop turns it into a beautiful canvas that you can hang on a wall and display proudly. We give you a look at the finished result in this episode.
Instagram is an iOS app social network dedicated to taking and sharing images with filters.
Big thank you to MozyPro and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! MozyPro provides simple, automatic, and secure data backup. As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like on the site.
The move, Microsoft said in a blog post, comes as people increasingly need access to files on-the-go.
"As devices proliferate, having a great experience on the Web is only one piece of a pretty complex puzzle," Microsoft's Mike Torres wrote. "People are choosing where to put their files based on how portable and accessible they are across the various devices they use; therefore, it's critical that we continue to extend the SkyDrive experience to the devices you use every day."
To that end, the most recent version of Windows Phone, known as Mango, included deep integration with SkyDrive via the Pictures and Office hubs, allowing for the sharing of photos via text, email, or IM, for example.
But users wanted more, Torres said. "Many still want the full SkyDrive experience from Windows Phone, including tasks like browsing their entire SkyDrive, sharing links to folders or files, deleting files, and creating folders." As a result, phones running Windows Phone 7.5 can now download the SkyDrive app from the Windows Phone Marketplace and do just that.
For those on iOS, the same app was also released in the App Store. See the video above for more.
The first ever Ask Andru column featured a question about Apple's iMessage, a proprietary method the company uses to allow owners of iOS devices to send text messages, pictures, and videos to each other through Apple's servers, bypassing the traditional wireless carrier. This allows users to send as many messages as they want without having to pay a text message fee (or being docked against their texting plan if it isn't unlimited.)
We got a couple of follow-up questions from our readers, and we figured we'd address them here. First, from Rob, who had two questions:
Is there a way to force a message to go via the carrier? I was in a text messaging conversation with a friend, they went to Eastern Washington for the weekend and thus no 3G. iMessage doesn't seem to work on EDGE.
I'm a big fan of GeekWire, so when one of my Twitter followers suggested that I start a regular Q&A column for the site, focusing on consumer electronics and gadgets, I figured "Why not?" I talked with the crew, and the result is Ask Andru. In case you're curious about what qualifies me to answer your nagging questions about the devices that have become such an integrated part of our lives, well, I've been running Gear Live for over seven years now. If you're unfamiliar, Gear Live is one of the top gadget news and review sites in the world, and I absolutely love what I do. If you've got a question you'd like me to answer, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll throw it in the queue.
Our very first question deals with iMessage, a new feature introduced to iOS devices with the release of iOS 5:
After upgrading to iOS 5, sometimes I see an iMessage reference in my text-messaging app, and sometimes not, and it doesn't seem to be correlated to whether or not I'm on WiFi or 3G. I also see different colors. I know the idea is to be able to send text messages without going over the wireless carrier's network, but how the heck does this work and what's actually going on?
Apple has just released iOS 5.0.1, which is aimed primarily at fixing the battery drain bug introduced in iOS 5. Many iPhone 4S owners have been complaining of extremely poor battery life (here we were seeing the battery drain as much as 10% per hour,) and we can confirm that 5.0.1 fixes that right up. Here are the rest of the release notes:
iOS 5.0.1 Software Update
This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:
- Fixes bugs affecting battery life
- Adds Multitasking Gestures for original iPad
- Resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud
- Improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation
Apple's focused on the iPod touch as being the "funnest iPod ever" for a while now, but the introduction of the fourth generation model put it over the top. You've got the Retina display, FaceTime video chat, high definition video capture, and built-in gyroscope all packed into the thinnest iPod touch ever--and now it's available in white. Of course, you need great software running on hardware like this, and the App Store fits the bill with over 200,000 apps available. A great gift for teens who don't need an iPhone, or anyone who wants a mobile iOS device that isn't a phone. Prices start at $199 (or $189 on Amazon, a 5% savings):
Be sure to check out the rest of the stuff in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide, we're adding new suggestions every day!