All Articles by Derek Kessler

Google Maps redesign bringing Android style and Uber integration to iPhone and iPad

Google Maps is getting a redesign that will make the app on iPhone and iPad look a lot more like its Android counterpart. The design draws on Google's new "Material Design" language, which pervades the updated Android 5.0 Lollipop, bringing a layout that's flatter and layered, yet with lots of colors. In the case of Google Maps, lots of blue. It's a similar look and feel to the recently-released Inbox by Gmail.

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Apple tells developer of popular iOS 8 widget calculator to remove the widget

One of the coolest features of iOS 8 was the inclusion of support for widgets in the Notification Center on iPhone and iPad, but making full use of that feature has landed at least one developer in hot water. James Thomson, developer of the popular calculator app PCalc, was the recipient of a message from Apple informing him that having a widget in iOS 8 that performs calculations within notification center was not something he could do, and that it must be removed. This is in spite of PCalc being a featured app in the App Store for its calculating widget.

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Walmart's response to displeasure over dropping NFC and Apple Pay payments is laughable

There's been a bit of a tizzy recently after several US retailers dropped support for NFC payments in an effort to thwart Apple Pay, and the nation's largest retailer has chimed in with their own explanation as to why they did so. The retailer is Walmart, and they're the leading force behind the competing CurrentC payment system developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). Our own Nick Arnott did some digging into what the CurrentC app transmits and came away unsettled. To recap, CurrentC cuts out the credit card company, instead linking directly into the checking accounts of users and offering a QR code to scan at participating retailers. Apple Pay, meanwhile, uses a combination of NFC, Touch ID authentication, and a tokenized one-time-use card number generator hooked up to the user's credit card accounts to make payments.

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The new Taco Bell app will let you order a Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch on-the-go

Taco Bell has released a new app that enables iPhone users to place an order for tacos from afar, and then come to the store to pick them up. The app is now focused on the menu and ordering, allowing users to select and customize their menu items (even including a drink selection where applicable), find restaurants, and add them to their order. You can even remotely pay with a saved credit card, debit card, or Taco Bell gift card.

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What's on Derek's iPhone 6 right now!

Hi, my name is Derek, I'm an iPhone 6 user. I've owned an iPhone 6 for a little over a month now. I use it a lot, more than I had previous iPhones. But nothings really changed since I started using the the iPhone 6. I'm still meticulous about how I organize things on the home screen… even with Spotlight search and Siri to launch things, I still want everything in its place. It is my iPhone, after all, I should have it set up the way I want it. But hey, with the 6 I can put more apps on the home screen, so there's that.

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That new multi-carrier SIM card in the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will lock to AT&T after activation

While the introduction of what amounts to a universal SIM card in the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 brought on celebration of an impending future of easier carrier switching with just one SIM, we're only halfway there. Not only does the SIM not support Verizon, but if you try to activate it on AT&T, it will lock the SIM to that carrier.

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Gmail's new 'Inbox' will help you better manage your reminders, emails, and more

Gmail's trying something new, something that is a rather fundamental change to the Gmail experience, and it's called 'Inbox'. The new app for iOS introduces a number of new features that aim to make it easier to manage the every-increasing flow of email we see every day, including bundling similar emails, highlighting important info, and making it easier to add reminders from your inbox.

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#CESlive 2015 is going to be bigger and more amazing than ever!

At CES 2014 we at Mobile Nations teamed up with our friends at Geek Beat to bring you #CESlive, a unique live broadcast running every day from the show floor at CES 2014 — and CES 2015 is going to be even bigger than before. For #CESlive 2015 you can add Tom's Guide to the mix, with Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer joining Geek Beat's Cali Lewis and John Pozadzides and iMore's Rene Ritchie in hosting more than 80 interviews direct from the Las Vegas Convention Center. It's going to be bigger and better than ever!

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Beats enlists LeBron James for Powerbeats2 Wireless ads, paying homage to Akron

Beats by Dre might be owned by Apple now, but that doesn't mean they aren't charting their own course with their products and advertising, and enlisting big time star power like LeBron James. Where the most inspirational that Apple gets is the likes of their "Your Verse" ad campaign, Beats put together a series of videos delving into James's return to Cleveland, Ohio and his home town just to the south of Akron. Oh, and he wears the Beats by Dre Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones while working out.

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Watch this: 25 minutes on Apple and industrial design with Jony Ive

It's rare that we get an unfiltered view of an Apple executive, but Jony Ive's recent interview and Q&A with Vanity Fair is definitely one of those rare moments. It's a full 25 minutes of Jony Ive answering questions about what his typical day as Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, what the small core design team is like, and how they balance design and functionality (hint: they're one and the same in Ive's mind).

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Facebook updated with tiny text for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

The Facebook app for iPhone has been updated to support the larger screens of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but that update's had an unintended consequence: tiny text. At least it's text that appears smaller, thanks to the larger screens of the new iPhones leading to users holding the phones farther from their faces. Thanks to the update, interface items are the physical same size across the board for all iPhone models… and that means they seem awfully small on the 6 and 6 Plus.

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Macworld/iWorld 2015 conference cancelled, series put on hiatus

Sad news, folks: the Macworld/iWorld conferences are no more. IDG, the company behind both the long-running conference and the recently-downsized and de-magazined Macworld publication, announced today that the conference is "going on hiatus", and that the 2015 event will not happen. Macworld/iWorld has struggled in recent years with the loss of Apple as a keynote partner, with the company around which the conference revolved opting to focus more on their own events and putting significant capital into WWDC.

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Take the State of the Mobile Nations phones survey for a chance at $600 for a new phone!

Right now it's crazy season for new phones. Between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Android L, the BlackBerry Passport and Classic, and Windows Phone 8.1. There's never been a hotter time for new gadgets. So we want to know what you think — what phones are you looking forward to, what's important to you in a phone, and what you think of your carrier. So we have a survey, and one lucky survey-taker will win a $600 towards a brand new phone!

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Will.i.am is unveiling his own smartwatch this week, because why not?

This week will see Apple publicly launching OS X Yosemite, unveiling new iPads, and probably even a new Mac, but Will.i.am is shooting to steal some of that thunder by unveiling his own smartwatch. On the same day. I mean, sure, the Apple Watch is going to steal all of its thunder, but what's to stop a member of The Black Eyed Peas from charting his own wearables course?

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AT&T launches new Passport international plans

AT&T has a new set of international plans, and while they'll still hit your wallet hard, they're an improvement of what came before. AT&T's new plans, dubbed Passport, Passport Plus, and Passport Pro (not to be confused with plans for the new BlackBerry Passport), bring the same data allotments, but at least offer easier billing international data packages than we've seen before from Ma Bell, though heavy users will still find themselves shelling over the big bucks.

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iPhone 6 launch drove a quarter billion dollars in accessory sales in two weeks

The launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were bonanzas for Apple, with more than 10 million devices sold in the first weekend, but the new devices were also a huge boon to mobile device accessory makers. According to an analysis by the NPD Group, accessory sales in the two weeks following the new iPhones' September 19th launch surged by 43%, hitting $249 million.

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Glassboard private messaging app shutting down November 1

The Glassboard business chat service is closing its doors after failing to make money. Glassboard, which offered a way for groups, including businesses, teams, and families, to share a private running conversation, photos, locations, and files, launched in 2011 and has struggled to find a viable business model since then with sustainable revenues. And so, on November 1st, Glassboard is turning off.

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Gmail app now supports the glorious higher resolutions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Behold, users of the Gmail for iOS app, your salvation is here: today's update brings proper support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. No longer will you have to deal with blurry display-zoomed text and hilariously-large status bar icons, no more will your loved ones have to cope with your disdain for the misused screen real estate. Today, Gmail for iPhone properly supports the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and all is right in the world.

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Apple's iPhone 6-laden Q4 and 2014 year-end earnings due on October 20

Apple has set the date for their next fiscal earnings statement as October 20th. The statements will cover the months of July, August, and September (known in Apple corporate parlance as "Q4"), as well as the year-end statement for the 2014 fiscal year. As the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launched on the 19th of September, the first 12 days of sales (up to today) will be included in Apple's results — with 10 million iPhones 6 sold in the first 3 of those days, there are sure to be some big numbers following a bunch of dollar signs in Apple's results.

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Belkin's new Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD promises to be an all-in-one docking station for your MacBook

If you're a MacBook user with a desktop set-up, Belkin's new Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD might be just the salvation you've been looking for. Instead of sitting down and hooking up your MagSafe power adapter, an HDMI or Mini DisplayPort to your monitor, 3.5mm cable to your speakers, and filling up your two USB ports with more gadgets, you can scale back to just power and a single Thunderbolt cable. This isn't Belkin's first Thunderbolt dock, but it's their first with blazing-fast Thunderbolt 2 built-in.

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