If you've ever needed or wanted to record a phone call, you'll be interested in an Indiegogo project called iVoizer. This is a standalone hardware device that sits between your iPhone or Android device and your headphones or earbuds in order to record your call. You then plug it into your Mac or PC with the built-in USB port to get the audio file. While there are phone call recording apps, they involve routing your phone through third party services—being a hardware device, iVoizer can record your call directly. The team is based in the Ukraine, but we should note that in some U.S. states, recording a call is illegal unless both parties are aware. iVoizer is looking to raise US$10,000, and since it just launched, there are early bird options available.
Twitter updated its iOS app to version 6.0 on Tuesday. The new version includes an entirely updated interface that is more in keeping with iOS 7's flat aesthetics. It also allows users to exchange photos via direct message for the first time, has refined notification options, new search feature, and support for Apple's Safari Reading List.
Following the launch of Apple's iBeacons in its own retail stores, Qualcomm introduced its own version called Gimbal. Both use Bluetooth LE to push notifications to smartphones in close proximity. In Apple's case, that's to highlight products shoppers are near.
The Mac Observer Spin: At least this time Qualcomm didn't slam Apple before firing up its photocopiers this time.
Watch out Facebook and Twitter, because Microsoft is bringing its social networking service Socl to the iPhone, Windows and Android smartphones. The apps may simply be another facet of the experimental service, or it could signal Microsoft's intentions to get more serious about the social networking market.
The Mac Observer Spin: Wait. Microsoft has a social network?
Technology and software services are developing faster than most people can absorb them. As a result, there's a human tendency to focus on tried and true products and take only minor excursions when they're sufficiently mature and useful. That's what Apple keeps in mind but the competition often cannot afford to do.
Readdle recently released PDF Expert 5 for the iPad with a revamped iOS 7-like interface and support for AirDrop file transfers. The PDF viewing and editing app also gained text to speech support, a review mode for tracking document changes, folders and file tags, background download support, and support for Windows SMB-based file transfers. You can get PDF Expert 5 through Apple's iTunes-based App Store, and it's priced at US$9.99.
Apple is getting serious about selling advertising on iTunes Radio with the hiring of Cumulus Media executive vice president of sales Michael Pallad. Mr. Pallad started with Apple on December 2 and could play a big role in drawing advertisers to the company's streaming music service.
The Mac Observer Spin: Apple is competing with online streaming companies like Pandora and Spotify for both listeners and advertisers. Bringing on Michael Pallad looks like a really smart move because he already has a name in the radio advertising industry.
Get ready for Applesoft, or maybe Micrapple, because one analyst thinks tech giants Apple and Microsoft will merge. Keith Fitz-Gerald from Money Map Press said the rivals will team up to compete with Google and its Android platform as well as Facebook, and they'll do it within five to ten years. Guess what? He's wrong.
Apple's 12 Days of Gifts app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is back and for the first time it's available in the United States. The app offers up a free song, book, app, or movie each day between December 26 and January 6, and each will be available for only one day. Previously, the app was available in the UK, Canada, and other parts of the world, but was conspicuously missing in the U.S. The 12 Days of Gifts app is free and is available at Apple's iTunes-based App Store.
Where in the world is former Apple golden boy Scott Forstall? Since his surprise termination in October of 2012, that's been the question on many Apple watchers' minds. According to The Information, Mr. Forstall has been traveling—Italy and South Africa—advising unspecified startups, and working on various philanthropic efforts.
Amazon is running a one-day only 20 percent discount sale on the Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet for US$183.20. That's the company's new 7-inch Android-based tablet introduced for the holidays. While we suspect most of our readers are more interested in iPad Air and iPad mini, if you're thinking about a Kindle, this is the day to buy it. The Kindle ereader is also on sale for $55.20, while last year's Kindle Fire HD is $135.20, all for one day only. Here's an affiliate link so that TMO gets a little something-something in our small-business stocking, too.
This is a cool idea called Lightstrap. It's an iPhone 5 and 5s case that incorporates a light you can use to light a scene for photos and videos. That's pretty clever. It has its own internal battery the company—Brick & Pixel–says will power "upwards of 500 videos or 30 minutes of video." It also has seven different brightness levels, and the color range is selectable in six steps from ~3000k to ~5,700k. B&P is in the process of raising US$245,000 on Kickstarter, and it's $60K towards that goal. Funding levels include a shipping unit for $97.
The National Security Agency's data tracking and collection has gone too far according to several high profile tech companies that includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, and they're calling for serious reform. The companies have teamed up to push for government surveillance reform around the world with an open letter to President Barak Obama, and they have a new website where anyone can see their proposed changes.
The Macally Clear Case with Reversible Cover consists of a clear plastic back and a soft cover that's reversible and detachable. Each piece weighs just over 3.5 ounces, and even when using both, the iPad air is both fully protected and retains most of its featherweight feel. It earned a TMO 4.5/5 rating.
Following rumors and reports that China Mobile would finally start selling Apple's iPhone, it's official, although without any press release or fanfare. The world's largest cell service provider simply added the iPhone to its website with the promise that pre-orders would start on the 12th.
The Mac Observer Spin: With China Mobile ready to start taking iPhone pre-orders Apple stands to see a big boost in smartphone sales. The company is just now catching up with demand in the rest of the world, so hopefully it will be in a position to keep up with whatever demand China Mobile throws its way.
The number of apps currently available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch through Apple's App Store has topped the 1 million mark in the United States. That detail doesn't come from Apple, but instead from the app discovery site AppsFire.
The Mac Observer Spin: Remember when Mac users argued that it wasn't the quantity of apps, but the quality, during the PC wars? Good times.