Friday, January 31, 2014

Rumor: Apple's next-gen iOS 8 to include 'Healthbook' app for comprehensive health monitoring

By: Mikey Campbell

Friday, January 31, 2014 7:18 PM

A report on Friday claims Apple is working to incorporate a new built-in app dubbed "Healthbook" into its next iOS iteration, with the software able to track everything from food intake to glucose levels.

Citing sources familiar with the plans, 9to5Mac claims the codenamed "Healthbook" will be able tap into data from advanced sensors possibly built into next-generation iOS devices -- including the so-called "iWatch" -- to track a variety of metrics via a swipe-able card UI.

On the health side, "Healthbook" can reportedly track blood pressure, hydration level, heart rate and even glucose level measurements. As for blood readings, Apple's recent hire of Michael O'Reilly may play an integral role in the development of such technology. Prior to joining Apple, O'Reilly was the chief medical officer and executive vice president of medical affairs at pulse oximeter firm Masimo Corporation.

In addition to data aggregation, the app may have hooks into other first-party software like Calendar and Reminders, allowing users to create medication reminders. In its final form, "Healthbook" could be a one-stop solution for nearly all things medical.

As for fitness, the app is said to include the usual steps taken and distance measurement data, while adding in daily caloric intake and weight tracking.

Perhaps the most interesting implication of an app like "Healthbook" is the hardware needed to generate raw data -- hardware that does not yet exist in Apple's ecosystem. Currently, Apple's M7 motion coprocessor allows for accurate measurement of step and distance traveled, but falls short of physical body readings like those purportedly coming with the new app.

One answer would be the intorduction of a peripheral device, such as a watch, that incorporates advanced components like a thermometer, galvanic skin response sensor, blood oximeter and more. Data can then be offloaded to an iPhone via Bluetooth, processed and recorded.

Apple's timeline for a rollout of the supposed app and corresponding hardware is largely unknown, but it can be expected that a next-generation iOS and iPhone will be released as per the company's usual annual product cycle.

Adding fuel to the rumor fire, a The New York Times report on Friday noted Apple SVP of Operations Jeff Williams, VP of Software and Technology Bud Tribble, Michael O'Reilly and government affairs counsel Tim Powderly met with the FDA in December to discuss "mobile medical applications." The nature and outcome of the meet-up remains unknown.

On Apple TV 2014 rumours and the future of Apple’s little black box


12 Hours Ago

by Craig Grannell

I recently wrote for Stuff about the Apple TV. I think it’s a great device, and we use ours all the time, for renting movies, watching Netflix, and sending all manner of content from iOS devices to the TV and amp. It being an Apple product, the rumour mill’s now going nuts about how the device will evolve this year, not least because Apple finally ‘promoted’ it on the Apple Store, rather than burying it as an iPod accessory.

Macworld’s Karen Haslam has rounded up all of the rumours, which (as ever) vary from the sensible to outlandish craziness. And even things that might seem an obvious path for Apple to take are sometimes fraught with problems.

Games on the Apple TV. This is something people have been banging on about for a while, arguing Apple should be taking on Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, despite not really having a clue about gaming. If anything, the recent iOS controllers mess should showcase Apple still has a lot to learn about gaming in general, with the company absurdly fragmenting hardware from the get-go.

More importantly, though, as Haslam hints at, the Apple TV would effectively be an entirely different platform from ‘standard’ iOS, merely sharing code. Games would lack touch and need to be controlled remotely. On that basis, Apple’s controller idea makes more sense—games that are fully compatible with the controllers (menus and all) could potentially work with Apple TV games. After all, the Apple TV is essentially a headless iPod. But for that to happen widely, controllers need to be far better and far cheaper, the games need to work more fully with controllers, and the Apple TV would need way more storage than the 8 GB it currently has, which would ramp up the price and move it away from being an impulse purchase.

Integrated storage and live TV recording. Macworld’s article talks about DVR recording, boosting content available to users. I imagine any argument the Apple TV will suddenly get a ton of internal storage to facilitate this is way off base, and, as Haslam argues, content will be primarily streamed. As for storing TV shows in the cloud, I think it’ll be tough for Apple to persuade many companies to go down that route, and it would also obviously impact on Apple’s own iTunes Store sales. Still, as someone outside of the USA, this won’t make a great deal of odds to me anyway—if Apple does provide an Apple TV with any kind of live-TV recording feature, it won’t make it beyond the USA for years.

TV Tuner for live TV. This would just be an added cost, and also duplicate something the vast majority of people already have. It seems unlikely in the extreme. More integration with existing on-demand services over the web, however, would be sensible. In other words, I want BBC iPlayer and 4oD on my TV.

Integrated AirPort Express. One of the stranger Apple TV reports claims the new model would include an AirPort Express router. Purely from a cost and complexity standpoint, this seems staggeringly unlikely.

More content‚TV shows and entertainment. This one’s a no-brainer, but my hope here is Apple encourages (as much as it can) faster worldwide rollouts of channels, and also looks to popular local channels outside of the US more often. Again, it’s insane Brits don’t yet have access to the likes of iPlayer and 4oD on the Apple TV.

Apps and an App Store. Similar issues exist here as with gaming, but apps are already on the Apple TV, such as The Weather Channel. The real question is how many people want to use their TV as a giant app screen. Television use has historically primarily been passive, gaming being the main exception. Apple’s ideal is to foist as many devices on people as possible, which points to continuing to encourage integration between iPads/iPhones and the Apple TV (via AirPlay) rather than attempting to get loads of apps for its black box. The obvious exception: aforementioned media channels.

Motion control or voice activation. A short quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy should suffice here:

A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive–you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

New Interface. This is a must regardless of what happens next. The basic interface is fine, but more editing control is desperately needed. Right now, you’re limited to deleting apps via the hacky method of using parental controls. Apple needs to provide a much more discoverable show/hide interface if it adds more apps and games.

Another question that Macworld doesn’t address directly is whether the Apple TV line will grow. The basic unit could continue, and new models could be released with more storage, to cater for things like games and apps. However, right now, the Apple TV isn’t a particularly big seller and it’s already competing with a slew of low-cost and quite high-quality rivals. Apple has to tread carefully to find that sweet spot of pricing, features and quality that would enable the Apple TV to thrive in the future, rather than become another tech also-ran. It also must ensure it doesn’t promote buyer’s doubt. It’s one thing to have a single cheap unit people will just buy, but it’s quite another to make people choose between several and worry about buying the wrong one.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Forbes Reports Rumor Apple Testing LiquidMetal Materials for iPhone 6

by Charles Gross

Forbes reported Saturday, based on an article in MacRumors, that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is testing alloys from LiquidMetal Technologies (NASDAQ: LQMT) for the iPhone 6. The use of these materials would enable Apple to make the next iPhone, which is rumored to be released in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions, thinner and lighter.

There is speculation, the iPhone 6 or "iPhone Air", could be launched as early as the WWDC in June, while other reports suggest a September release.

Posted-In: ForbesNews Rumors


Saturday, January 18, 2014

A great visual story telling app that is free


In doing my daily research I came across an app called Storehouse that has great potential in the photo/video story telling venue. Most importantly it is free. It does have a registration requirement. If you are touchy about that, check out the website at to see if this is for you.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Here’s an iPhone Screen Doctor That’s Cheap, Efficient — and Makes House Calls

I read this article and I could see the benefit of this type of service. I went on the Website ans sure enough there was a tech within 15 miles. As I had an iPad with a cracked screen I decided to try it. I will let you know the outcome.

1/19/14 So far 48 hours since I opened a request for service and no contact. I am not impressed with the service so far. I will keep you up to date.
by Mike Wehner,
January 16th 2014 8:43 PM
Teenagers cracking their phones’ screens has become so commonplace that The Onion parody news site actually produced a video called “New iPhone Geared Towards College-Aged Girls Comes With Pre-Shattered Screen.”
I laughed — until my 14-year-old daughter brought home her own shattered iPhone.

I winced — when I took it to an Apple Store and learned that it would cost $200 to repair. (Actually, they just swap the phone for a new one.)
I was intrigued — when my wife, Nicki, mentioned that she’d heard good things about It’s a service that sends someone to you — at your house or whatever — and fixes your phone’s screen on the spot. For $100 complete.
I figured it was worth a shot. On the iCracked website, I entered my name and phone number. A local technician (they have 400 nationwide) texted me back within an hour and asked when I’d like to schedule the repair. “How about tomorrow at noon?” I replied.
Right at noon, the guy showed up. Chris. This isn’t his full-time job, he told me; he does iPhone and iPad screen repairs on the side, for fun and profit. He was smart and efficient and tolerant of my kids crowding around to watch the surgery. (I crowded around, too.)
There’s really not much more to the story. He fixed the phone efficiently and at the time and place I requested. We saved $100 over Apple’s price and — here’s the thing — the phone was never out of our hands. No need to ship it somewhere or even to drive it somewhere.
If you’re technically savvy, you can find plans online to do this kind of job yourself for about $50.
But by using iCracked, we gained a 99-year warranty, spent next to zero time and saved a lot of frustration.
This is not an ad; I don’t know anybody at iCracked, and they had no idea I planned to write up my experience. But they do get a thumbs-up from the Poguester!
Yahoo Tech is a brand new tech site from David Pogue and an all-star team of writers. Follow us on Facebook for all the latest.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Clever iPhone Trick: See the Inside of Your Own Ear

December 12th 2011

Everyone wants to look inside their own ear, right? Well, OK. maybe not. But how about the back of your head? Want to keep tabs on that ever-growing bald spot on the top of your head? Erica Sadun over at TUAW, tells us how to do all of the above, and more by using your iPhone 4S and a handy Apple TV.

Here are the directions from Erica:

“Just enable AirPlay. Double-click the Home button, swipe to the right twice, select your Apple TV as your AirPlay destination and enable Mirroring.

Then, click Home and run the camera app. You’ll be able to see what the camera sees because its preview mirrors to your home TV, even when your arm is stuck behind a dresser. You can also point the iPhone camera (front or back) at your ear, your nose, or your back — letting you see through your phone by watching your TV.”

She also suggests using a flashlight along with the phone to help you explore the darker parts of your house.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to look for spare change under the couch. I’ll bet I can find enough to pay for my new iPhone 4S and Apple TV…



Friday, January 10, 2014

What to expect from Apple in 2014: A new product category and the beginnings of convergence

by Mario Tama,

January 6th 2014

As we noted last week, Apple had a relatively quiet 2013. However, this year should turn out to be different, as CEO Tim Cook has reassured employeesthat the firm has “big plans” for 2014.

New product categories?

Throughout 2013, Cook hinted publicly about Apple’s plans for new product categories. Here’s what he said during the fiscal Q2 2013 earnings call back in April, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha:

We see great opportunities in front of us, particularly given the long-term prospects of the smartphone and tablet market, the strength of our incredible ecosystem, which we plan to continue to augment with new services, our plans for expanded distribution, and the potential of exciting new product categories.

Piper Jaffray analyst and long-time Apple television prognosticator Gene Munster actually got so excited by the comment that he had to double-check he heard it correctly:

I just wanted to confirm, did you mention in your prepared remarks that something about new product categories or did I not hear you correctly?

Later during the call, Cook seemed to suggest that those new products would arrive sometime in 2014:

Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can’t wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014. We continue to be very confident in our future product plans.

Cook replied that Apple is “very excited” about the growth that could come from potential new categories.

While it’s a stretch to connect Cook’s mention of new product categories with his later statement about new products coming in 2013 and 2014, the proximity of the two comments suggests that Cook intended to create an implicit connection without fully committing himself. The way I read it, Cook was asking investors to remain patient for Apple’s next big innovation.

Even so, the comments did lead to some confusion. During the fiscal Q4 2013 call in October, Cook clarified his earlier remarks when questioned about them:

I didn’t say in April that you would see them in this year and the first half of next year just to be clear on that. But what I have said is – I have said that you would see some exciting new products from us in the fall of this year and across 2014. And I obviously stand by that and you’ve seen a lot of things over the last couple of months. In terms of new product categories, specifically if you look at the skills that Apple has from hardware, software and services and at incredible app ecosystems, these set of things are very, very unique. I think no one has a set of skills like us and we obviously believe that we can use our skills in building other great products that are in categories that represent areas where we do not participate today. So we’re pretty confident about that.

To refresh your memory, Cook took over as CEO for the late Steve Jobs in August 2011. The promotion was criticized by some who believed that Cook’s strengths were solely operational and lacked the design brilliance needed to produce hits like the iPhone and the iPad.

Apple’s product updates since Tim Cook took the reins have been largely routine. Its existing devices have gotten faster, smaller and lighter, but nothing distinctly “new” has come out of Cupertino. The refreshed Mac Pro represents the most dramatic product update from Apple during Cook’s tenure, but it’s hardly a new category.

Cook’s legacy at Apple won’t truly be tested until he has overseen a new product launch. During his time as COO, he proved that he can run the company effectively and profitably, but the big question is whether he can lead Apple to create a new product that disrupts an entire industry. Innovation takes time, even for Apple, but Cook is coming up on his three-year mark as head of the company.

An iWatch?

Recent rumblings have suggested that a smartwatch could be the new product category that Apple is excited about. Reports last year had originally claimed that Apple would release a watch by the end of 2013.

While that timeframe failed to prove accurate, the company has been filing for trademarks on the word “iWatch” in countries around the world.

Samsung jumped into the watch space last year with the Galaxy Gear, but the device hardly captures the market. Meanwhile, Google is said to be in “late-stage development” of its own Android-based smartwatch. Apple is hardly the type of company to release a product before it’s ready due to competitive pressure, but it does appear that major tech companies are converging on your wrist as the next battleground.

Robert Brunner, who formerly served as Director of Industrial Design at Apple and now heads up the Ammunition design studio, said in a recent interview with The Next Web that he’s “pretty sure” Apple will end up doing a watch.

“[Apple] probably can’t help themselves. It’s such a ripe vehicle for their design ethos,” he said.

In his view, Apple could easily sell many millions of iWatches with its usual well-executed design and tight integration with the iPhone. From there, the real potential of the product will emerge as an app ecosystem develops around it.

While onstage at an AllThingsD conference last year, Cook pointed to the wrist as a better target for a wearable device than smart glasses:

I think from a mainstream point of view [glasses as wearable computing devices] are difficult to see. I think the wrist is interesting. The wrist is natural.

It’s too early to say that we can expect an iWatch from Apple in 2014, but Cook has at least voiced his commitment to the category. “I see [wearables] as a very key branch of the tree,” he said at D11.

The foundations of convergence

Apple appears to be laying the foundations to align its products along a single computing continuum. That transition can hardly happen in a year’s time, but the firm has been putting the pieces in place and is ready to take significant steps toward the goal.

The iOS and OS X device lineups differentiate themselves for several different reasons: price, connectivity, screen size, mobility, processing power and usage. Based on those criteria, there are several gaps that could use smoothing out.

Larger iPhones?

For instance, the jump from the 4-inch iPhone to the 7.9-inch iPad mini is too big. The main complaint I hear about the iPhone is that the screen is too small. Apple has been willing to acquiesce the low-end smartphone market to budget makers, but surrendering the large-screen smartphone category will put pressure on both the iPhone and the iPad.

A Bloomberg report from November suggested that Apple is looking into screen sizes of 4.7 to 5.5 inches for the iPhone. The Wall Street Journal claimed last September the company was testing displays with diagonals as long as 6 inches.

Apple would need to find a solution for iOS developers to retool their apps for new screen resolutions, but it could future-proof its efforts by transitioning to responsive app design for the mobile OS.

An iPad Pro?

In 2010, Steve Jobs famously compared PCs to trucks in order to explain the coming changes in computing needs:

Is the next step the iPad? Who knows? Will it happen next year or five years from now or seven years from now? Who knows? But I think we’re headed in that direction.

This April, the iPad will be four years old. The Mac Pro, iMac and Retina MacBook Pro have settled the “niche workhorse” spots in Apple’s product lineup, but the iPad isn’t quite ready to be the main vehicle for consumers’ computing needs.

The myth that iPads are for consumption has largely been dispelled, but most users would require a larger screen, a keyboard accessory and onscreen multi-tasking to really replace most Macs.

Giving its current laptop naming scheme, Apple’s decision to add the “Air” designation to its main iPad model does seem to telegraph the upcoming arrival of a Pro model. Currently, the iPad Air is the heaviest and fastest current-generation iPad model. It’s lighter with respect to the previous version, but that doesn’t make sense in terms of the overall product lineup.

To be clear, Apple is free to name its devices whatever it wants, but it does so at the risk of customer confusion. After all, the company has spent the past few years and millions of marketing dollars educating consumers on the differences between its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models.

Recent rumors have suggested that Apple is looking into a 12.9-inch iPad that could act as a hybrid between a laptop and a tablet. Hints of a larger iPad have come from enough credible sources that it seems to be a likely next step. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Apple will get around to releasing it this year.

An Apple television???

We’re skeptical that an Apple television will arrive in 2014, but the move has been so highly-anticipated that it’s worth a brief discussion here. Rumors of an Apple-branded HDTV have persisted for years, but they’re currently in a quiet period. Tim Cook himself talked up the television space as an area of “intense interest” in late 2012, but, as The Verge notes, he made almost no mention of it in 2013.

When we spoke with Brunner, he did mention that he’s heard plenty of sightings from people claiming to have seen prototypes of an Apple television in Asia, but that still doesn’t answer the question of whether Apple is preparing to actually release the product as opposed to just testing it indefinitely.

To use a gratuitous apple metaphor, the television industry is certainly ripe for the picking, but it’s not clear what value Apple would bring by selling the whole TV package instead of sticking with a set-top box. The average TV purchasing cycles has proved difficult for HDTV makers, and most consumers are likely to have already picked up a TV in recent years.

When Apple moves into a new product category, such as with the iPod, iPhone and iPad, it does so decisively with the intent to overturn any existing incumbents.

If anything, the TV seems to be playing a less important role in our lives. Many users have taken to spending more time consuming content on their computers, tablets and phones than on the big screen. Innovations to the interface and distribution models could bring us back to the living room for a time, but computers and now mobile devices have fundamentally changed how we watch video and play games.

With no expectations for Apple to release a television set in 2014, we’ll just let ourselves be pleasantly surprised if it does.


In 2014, Apple is poised to continue posting strong financial results. New carrier deals with major Asian operators NTT Docomo and China Mobile should open up plenty of opportunities for the iPhone to expand. As Marco Arment pointed out, Apple has its hands full with side projects that it could stand to get caught up on.

However, if the company is to unlock the kind of explosive growth that would renew investor interest, the company will need to release a new product type.

Cook himself has said that Apple has the right combination of skills to build products in new categories. The company undoubtedly has the money it needs, and enough time has passed since releasing the iPad for Apple to build something new. Now we just have to wait.

Related: This is what 6 Apple moonshot technologies could look like

Rumored "iPad Pro" May Be a Tablet/Laptop Hybrid

Today two rumors have condensed into one. The first is that Apple is working on a 12-inch iPad that many are referring to as the "iPad Pro." The second is that Apple is working on a game-changing laptop that will be as portable as the 11-inch MacBook Air but as productive as the 13-inch MacBook Air. According toAppleInsider, one analyst has figured out that these two rumored projects may be the same one: Apple will come out with a tablet/laptop hybrid in the fall. This is possible, he says, because the new A7 64-bit processor gives the iPad much more robust computing power—on par with desktop computers. In addition, given that the A7 processor is less expensive than the processor currently used in the MacBook, this would also help lower costs.

The hybrid device might be similar in some ways to Microsoft's Surface tablet. However, as a report on Yahoo Finance notes, Apple CEO Tim Cook has in the past had a scornful attitude toward Microsoft's hybrid approach: "Our competition is confused. They're turning tablets into PCs and PCs into tablets." So it would be odd if Apple would itself take this direction. Still, if Apple is indeed going after the enterprise market with a 12-inch iPad, it would only make sense to offer an integrated keyboard as an option, and to make available a suite of enterprise-class software.

So what else might Apple be working on for 2014? AppleInsider has posted an overview of the rumors so far, including wearable devices, larger iPhones and iPads, and a possible TV initiative. So far, the most likely candidate for a new class of product is the iWatch.