Editorial

iOS 7.1 lets you take some of the magic — and all the motion sickness! — out of your iPhone and iPad

iOS 7.1 goes a long way towards "fixing" the usability problems some people experienced with the original version of iOS 7 — not by taking a step back but by taking a step diagonally. Apple has always led the industry when it comes to accessibility. With iOS 7, however, the added improvements were counter-balanced by some added problems. Fantastic new features like switches let you control your iPhone based only on the movement of your head, but other features like the physics and particle engine gave some people vertigo, thinner typography made it harder for some people to read, and "naked" buttons made navigation more difficult for some people to use. So what's the iOS 7.1 middle-ground Apple's found? In short, Accessibility Settings.

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Apple's push-to-talk Siri vs. Google's always-listening Now: Which is better?

With iOS 7.1 Apple's added a new feature to Siri, their personal digital assistant — the ability to manually control how long Siri listens. The concept is remarkably similar to the old push-to-talk systems, just hold down the Home button, start talking, and then let go of the Home button and Siri goes to work. It's also remarkably different than the Moto X and Google's "always listening". But is that a good thing or a bad thing?

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Product vs. process: Is it important how games for the Mac are made?

Star Trek Online is now available for the Mac, four years after its Windows debut. Better late than never, I say: a Star Trek themed free to play MMO is something I'll be happy to spend some time getting to know.

I reported on it earlier today, and an eagle-eyed reader on Twitter pointed out to me that this isn't a "native" Mac game port (what that means, I'll get to in a moment) — in fact, they'd already been playing Star Trek Online for some time using a program called Wine, and they suggested this wasn't that different. This got me thinking: Does anyone really care if a Mac game is native anymore?

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So, you want to adopt BYOD?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the current hot trend. (And has been for a while, really.) There are many perceived advantages for a company that allows employees to bring their own devices to work and have access to your company resources, but is BYOD right for you? Can you make mistakes when developing your BYOD policies? Can you really let any device connect to your resources?

Lets look at a few top issues that you should be aware of.

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What are Apple's plans for 4K video on the Mac? Latest Mavericks beta shows the way

4K video is coming, in fits and starts, not just to the general consumer marketplace but also to Apple products. Apple's actual support of 4K video has been a bit patchwork, but its new beta release of OS X Mavericks 10.9.3, published last week, is starting to provide some clarity to Apple's 4K strategy. What's more, it may be a clue as to what Apple has up its sleeve for new hardware releases. Let's take a look.

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CarPlay and distracted driving

I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car, terrified. My friend just wouldn't stop using her tech as she drove. The entire trip not second went by when she wasn't paying more attention to it than to the road. I finally had to yell that, if she didn't stop, I'd get out and walk. And live. She acquiesced, but whenever I saw her drive up or away again her eyes were never fully on the road and it scared the life out of me. Somehow we both survived high school but the experience made me hate AM/FM radios, their knobby little tuners, and human compulsion to surf channels in few-minute "good song" bites. And that was long, long before the advent of phones or texting or CarPlay.

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iOS 7 game controller support remains a promise unfulfilled: A gamer's lament

MFi controller support seemed like a great compromise: gamers who wanted real game controls would be able to get devices that worked. And the fact that support was built in to the operating system meant broad support. Or so I thought. Five months after iOS 7's release, there's still only a relative handful of games that make use of MFi game controllers. Not to mention a paucity of MFi controllers.

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About all those CarPlay runs on QNX stories...

There are some stories floating around about CarPlay being run by, powered by, or something by QNX, BlackBerry's embedded operating system division. A better way to phrase it is that CarPlay "takes over the user experience" of in-vehicule infotainment systems running QNX. Here's the thing: Apple doesn't make or license embedded operating systems for smart cars just like they don't make or license embedded operating systems for TVs. They simply hook into what's already there, be it a Ferrari or a Panasonic, via CarPlay or Apple TV.

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Wouldn't it be great if we could turn iTunes movie rentals into purchases?

I rent a lot of movies on the Apple TV. It's quick, it's easy, and new titles are available immediately upon release — if not sooner sometimes. Usually that's fine. I don't often watch a movie more than once. Sometimes, however, I like a movie so much I decide I want to buy it. That's when things get interesting...

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What does CarPlay mean to Apple’s Business?

Now that iOS in the Car has been renamed CarPlay and will be shown off at the Geneva Motor Show, I thought it would be fun to start a discussion on what this all means to Apple, its competitors, and car drivers going forward.

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