Friday, July 2, 2010

Is The iPhone 4's Display the Best?

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PCMag set out to compare the displays of popular smartphones to determine which performed the best.

They compared the Apple iPhone 4, Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible and HTC EVO in terms of brightness, contrast, color depth, and color accuracy. The Droid X and HTC EVO use a traditional TFT LCDs, the iPhone 4 uses an IPS LCD, and the Droid Incredible is AMOLED.

Brightness:
The iPhone 4 won their tests with a brightness of 536 cd/m². It was followed by the Droid X, the HTC EVO, and lastly the Droid Incredible with only 236 cd/m².




Contrast:
The Droid Incredible blows away the competition with contrast measured at 39,373. The iPhone comes second at 1097, followed by the Droid X and the Evo at 1071 and 649 respectively.


Color Depth:
The iPhone wins in color depth with a 24bit(16,777,216 colors) display. The Droid X can also display 24bit colors but not in its photo application. The other devices are 16bit(65,536 colors).


Color Accuracy:
The Droid X and the Evo performed best in terms of color accuracy being undersaturated by 6 and 10 percent respectively. The iPhone 4 is way undersaturated by 36 percent and the Droid Incredible is way oversaturated by 37 percent.


PCMag concludes that the iPhone 4 is the best display of the bunch.

It offers a completely 24-bit color experience, the brightest screen, and great contrast (for an LCD.) The iPhone 4 could be even better if Apple didn't limit its color accuracy.


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Personal Financing Software for Mac OS X

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Synium Software has announced the release and immediate availability of iFinance 3.2, apersonal financing software for Mac OS X. iFinance 3.2 is the next big update to the highly popular private financing application which allows the user to manage his everyday spendings. Have iFinance 3.2 analyze all cash movements across accounts and visualize the data with its powerful diagram module. Also new: Printing on money transfer blanks and similar templates. Exchanging data with the vastly improved CSV import and export is more reliable than ever.

Using the brand new reports, iFinance will determine the Top 10 assigned categories, tags or beneficiaries for you. Users can aggregate data over weeks, months, quarters or years and have iFinance highlight the highest and lowest values. Of course, all your reports are optimized for printout.

Printing on bank transfer forms and custom templates:
iFinance 3.2 ships with several presets so the most common formats are supported right out of the box. This feature isn't limited to bank transfers, though. User-specific templates can be built from the ground up with iFinance's template editor, allowing for printouts of countless different types of forms. Alternatively, simply edit a copy of an existing template.

What's new in iFinance 3.2?
* Reports for analyzing the cashflow
* Print on bank transfer forms
* Vastly improved CSV import and export
* Database location can be chosen freely
* Full 64 bit support
* Improved performance in several areas

Pricing and Availability:
iFinance 3 is priced at $29 (USD). Updates from iFinance 1.x or 2.x or iFinance 3 are free of charge. iFinance Mobile for iPhone and iPod touch is $1.99 (USD).



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The Effect of Holding an iPhone 4

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This handy graphic will help you visualize the effect that holding an iPhone 4 could have on your reception.

The graphic was produced by Gizmodo using data from Anandtech's informative article on the matter.

The 24 dBm drop is the worse case scenario and occurs when you cover the black strip on the bottom left of the device.

Some users have reported that covering the bottom left of the device could drop them from five bars to none. While visually this is true, in actuality they don't have five bars to begin with.

Apple today announced that they've been misreporting the signal strength on iPhone devices. This means that users could be seeing five bars on their display when really they should be seeing four or possibly three. The company says a software update is forthcoming and will modify the display to more accurately depict reception in your area.

Unfortunately, Apple's software update does nothing to address the real problem. Some sort of shielding should be in place to minimize the effect caused by contact with your skin.






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Mass Texting To The Masses

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Light Switch Applications has released My Groups 1.2, the latest update for iPhone users. My Groups 1.2 is an innovative and straightforward app that's designed to ease the burden of Contact List Monotony, while streamlining and organizing your contacts in an easy to navigate format. My Groups 1.2 has the functionality required to manage social connections, yet is simple enough for non-techie people to use and love.

My Groups is advanced enough for the social world, but the user won't need to be a computer engineer to be able to use it. Even those users with limited or no technical abilities can maneuver through it easily. My Groups gives people everything they could ever want in an organizational tool, while providing them with other straightforward and functional capabilities.

That was the goal of Brian Schmidt, CEO of Light Switch Applications. It was his quest to make an organizing app that would make finding contacts much easier without having to go through the entire list of contacts which is usually featured on mobile devices. Schmidt states, "This app was birthed from the frustration of organizing and effectively communicating with my personal, work, church, volunteer and social contacts. Before My Groups all my contacts were mashed together into one address list. When I would search for my family, I would have to sift through the piles of contacts with the same last name; therefore making communicating with my contacts an even more difficult task. Also, solving this issue was only half of the issue. I knew that if I created an app and expected my non-tech savvy wife to use it, it would have to be simple straight forward and functional"


Features that make My Groups 1.2 an invaluable productivity tool include:

Organization
* Create multiple groups of contacts
* Assign contact to more than one group
* Assign custom icon/picture to a group for easy identification
* Customize the arrangement of groups
* Allows multiple pages of groups
* Extended functionality to include, company....
* Add additional contacts to a group
* Delete contacts from a group
* Backup contacts in vCard and CSV file

Communication
* Export contact information for the entire group in CSV format
* Share groups of contacts via vCards
* Mass mail entire group with a push of a few buttons
* Mass text entire group with the push of a button (Standard texting, messaging, and data rates apply.)

Navigation
* Familiar iPhone navigation
* Enhanced navigation capabilities

One of the most highly anticipated additions and functions to this update is the ability to mass communicate with groups of contacts via email or text messaging. This convenience will greatly improve communication between individuals, and revolutionize the way that people correspond with one another.

The trait that truly sets Light Switch Applications apart from other manufacturers is their dedication to their users. It is Brian Schmidt's goal to continually strive to give their users complete satisfaction. "Light Switch Applications is dedicated to making the complicated simple by leveraging common user interface interactions that are familiar to users resulting in a fully functional application that meets the needs of the community. Backed by our honor to support and assist user for all our applications. The other issue that people are experiencing these days is the "dead" app. An iPhone app that has been launched and can be purchased but no support what so ever. Proving support to our users is a driving force within our company. Our desire is to offer support that is a class above our competition. We see our relationship with our customers as a long term one, one that will grow over time. We are not in this just for the quick win."

Pricing and Availability:
My Groups 1.2 is only $4.99 (USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category. Promo codes are available for qualified reviewers. Please specify the website or blog you represent when making your request.



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Reeder Gets Updated to Sync RSS Feeds in the Background

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Reeder, a popular RSS reader for the iPhone, has been updated with iOS 4 support which enables background sync.

Features:
- Syncs with Google Reader
- Browse by feed or folders
- Manage starred items, notes
- Support for shared items and friends' shared items
- Mark as unread
- Image caching
- State saving
- Slider control for list entries:
- slide to right to toggle read/unread
- slide to left to toggle starred/unstarred
- Option to order by oldest first (for unread items)
- Sync status bar: tap to minimize, tap the sync icon to maximize

Services:
- Send to Instapaper or ReadItLater
- Save to Delicious* or Pinbard
- Post to Twitter
- In-app email for sharing articles
- Instapaper and Google Mobilizer
- Open with Safari
- Copy Link

What's New In This Version:
- Task completion: Sync in background (iOS4)
- New setting: Open folders per default as list of feeds or articles (see Settings.app: Reeder)

Fixes:
- Sync status bar (iOS4)
- Graphical glitches (iOS4)
- Possible crash on start (the app would never load, just show the default background)

Note: Another update for iOS4 (with retina display support) is coming soon.

You can purchase Reeder from the App Store for $2.99.














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iPhone app lets you deposit paper checks from anywhere

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Banking giant Chase suddenly hurls itself into the 21st century with the latest version of its iPhone app. Now you can deposit paper checks into your Chase account using an iPhone. Just take a picture of the front and back of the check, tap a few icons, and whoosh! It's done.

We love this Quick Deposit idea. Smaller banks have been dabbling in e-deposits on the iPhone for a while now, but it's great to see a giant bank jumping in.

We've been using a similar capability with our E*Trade bank account for the past few months, and it works beautifully. But it's not as convenient and portable as this iPhone version from Chase. With E*Trade, you have to use an old-fashioned scanner to capture the front and back of the check. But it's so quick and easy, it feels like cheating.

It might seem like a small detail to be able to take a picture of a check and electronically transfer it to a bank instead of physically taking the check to the bank or mailing it. But it feels like a big deal. And, it's a great way to compensate for those stodgy clients who are unwilling to directly deposit the money they owe you.

Best of all, it's an easy way to bridge that gap between the old-timey land of paper and the shiny new digital future. If Chase Bank offered an interest rate on their checking accounts that was a little better than hovering near 0%, we'd be interested in switching to it just for the iPhone convenience.



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Apple Posts Fix for iOS 4 Exchange Issues

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Apple has posted a configuration profile which aims to fix exchange problems noticed by customers updating to iOS 4

Symptoms
Immediately after updating to iOS 4, some users may notice that Exchange ActiveSync Mail, Contacts, or Calendars do not sync, or sync very slowly. In addition, some Exchange Server administrators may notice their servers running slowly.

Resolution
To work around this issue, users should install a configuration profile from Apple that increases the amount of time the iOS 4 device will wait for the Exchange Server to respond to its sync requests. For best results, the profile should be installed on as many iOS 4 devices at your company as possible.

Click this link from your iOS 4 device to install the profile.

Read More [via 9to5Mac]



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Apple to Revamp the Apple TV?

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The New York Times is reporting that Apple is working on a completely redesigned interface for the Apple TV.

According to their sources, it was not clear whether the company would create an entirely new product as well as update the software. They also said Apple might base a new television design on its iOS operating system, which is on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

One source tells the paper that Apple has recently hired several user interface and graphics designers that have a background in broadcast television.

Another source says that some of the more advanced work is not taking place within the Apple TV group but in another design group at the company. This is thought to signal a new product rather then an update to the existing one.

Engadget recently predicted a $99 AppleTV which streams from the cloud.



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Apple Says iPhone 4 Uses Wrong Formula to Display Signal Strength

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Apple has posted a letter regarding the Apple 4 which claims that iPhone 4 doesn't have reception problems but rather uses the wrong formula to display signal strength.

-----
Dear iPhone 4 Users,

The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple’s history. It has been judged by reviewers around the world to be the best smartphone ever, and users have told us that they love it. So we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.

At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same— the iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused.

As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

We hope you love the iPhone 4 as much as we do.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Apple



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Steve Jobs Email Exchange May Be Fake

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A heated email exchange between an irate customer and Steve Jobs may be fake, according to CNN Fortune.

When asked on the record whether Steve Jobs was the author of any of these statements, a top Apple spokesman emphatically denied it.

AppleInsider is reporting that the same exchange was shopped to them a couple days ago by a Virginia man.

Was BGR fooled by an unfortunate prank?



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