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Reviews

iPhone 5 review

The iPhone 5 was, is, and remains inevitable. An iPhone, new to be certain, but still an iPhone. Some say this is a sign Apple has lost their drive for innovation. Others, a sign Apple has kept their sense of focus. Both are facets of a single truth -- that through craft something is revolutionized, refined, and one day, replaced. The question then becomes, where is the iPhone 5 along this continuum? Is it a boring, uninspired, end-of-line update that should have Apple desperately seeking to once again "think different", or is it iconically, deceptively, insanely great enough to delight customers, inspire developers, and once again drive the entire industry forward?

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New Apple EarPods vs. original earbuds: Should you upgrade?

If you haven't yet upgraded to the iPhone 5, can you get some of that iPhone 5 experience by upgrading to Apple's new EarPods earbuds? At $29 they're not as expensive as high-end earpieces, but they're not exactly cheap either. Compared to the original Apple earbuds, the ones that shipped with every iPhone, iPod, and iPad up until the iPhone 5, are they a worthwhile upgrade, or are you better off waiting and just getting them for "free" with your next iOS device?

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Weather 2x for iPhone and iPad review

Weather 2x is an iPhone and iPad app that will make even the worst of weather condition look amazing -- especially on the iPhone 5's new display. The information provided by Weather 2x includes the current condition and a 5-day forecast that can be broken up into 3-hour intervals. Weather 2x does not include in-depth details about the weather, like radars, but rather focuses on bringing the most important information to you in an elegant and beautiful package.

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iOS 6 in 6 minutes

If you don't have time to read our definitive iOS 6 review but you still want to see all the highlights -- Maps, Siri extensions, Passbook, Guided Access, Shared Photo Streams, and more -- then here's everything you need to know about iOS 6 in just 6 minutes.

iOS 6 includes 10 major and, according to Apple, 200 new user features overall. It may not be as audacious as iPhone OS 2 was with the App Store, or iOS 5 was with iCloud, and Maps may cause some pain for some users for some time, but it does set the foundation for Apple's platform going forward.

To find out much, much more, head on over to our iOS 6 review.

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iOS 6 review

iOS 6 is a software update divided against itself. Apple claims over 200 new user-facing features, which is the same if not more than previous versions of iOS. Many of these are good and solid, reducing the friction and increasing the functionality of iOS, and delightfully so. But a lot of it them are also about Apple and the future of their platform.

In that regard, iOS 6 is nowhere near as audacious as iOS 2, which brought the App Store, or iOS 5, which cut the iTunes cord, took us to the iCloud, and brought Siri along for the ride. It doesn't remove user and developer pain points the way iOS 3 did with cut/copy/paste or iOS 4 did with multitasking. iOS 6 is more of a soft-reset and a way to set the stage for iterations to come. It strips Google almost completely out of iOS and introduces an all-new Maps app and increased Siri intermediation. It introduces Passbook, which isn't a digital wallet, but does provide a single repository for tickets and balances, and starts to make mobile transactions convenient and comfortable. It abstracts and outsources sharing with new Facebook and enhanced Twitter integration, so Apple no longer has to worry about creating awkward new networks of their own. And it increases support for China, which has become a hugely important market for Apple.

But if iOS 6 is about Apple and the future, what does that mean for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users today? Is there still enough here, individually and in sum, to make it a compelling and competitive update?

Let's find out...

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Countdown to an exciting event with Can't Wait for iPhone and iPad

Counting down to an important or exciting date like Christmas, you baby's due date, or the iPhone 5 launch? Then Can't Wait is for you! Can't Wait is an iPhone and iPad app that has a single purpose -- to keep track of the number of days until or since important dates in your life.

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Zooka Bluetooth Wireless Speaker review

Zooka is a wireless Bluetooth speaker system made by Carbon Audio for the iPad but usable with the iPhone, iPod touch, and any other BT enabled phone, tablet, computer, or gadget you might wish. It began as a Kickstarter project but can now be found in the Apple Store, which is a good indicator of the quality of their design, manufacturing, and general all-around cleverness.

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Hands-on lightning review of Apple's new EarPods

Let's face it -- in-box earbuds have never been anything to write home about. Frankly, they usually suck. Even for as iconic as Apple's white earbuds have become since the release of the first iPod -- they still sucked. They were uncomfortable. They didn't sound good. Even the slightly better Apple In-Ear Headphones, with their rubberized tips, weren't a whole lot better.

That all changes today.

We could rave all day over the improvements Apple's made to your too-often overlooked ear holes. But, really, selling you on these $29 wonders won't take nearly that long.

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YouTube for iPhone review

Apple recently removed the official built-in YouTube app from iOS 6 and just as we expected, Google has fired back by releasing their own version of YouTube for iPhone into the App Store -- and it's so much better than the original version provided by Apple.

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Learn acronyms, abbreviations and codes with Acro-Dict for iPhone

A few weeks ago, I was in Target and overheard a conversation between a teenage girl and her mom in which the daughter used the acronym "FTW" and her mother was completely confused. The daughter was annoyed at having to teach her mom its meaning yet again. Too bad the mother didn't have Acro-Dict installed on her iPhone, as this would've probably never happened. Acro-Dict is an iPhone app that lets you look up the meanings of acronyms, abbreviations and codes (AAC for short) and mark ones you may need to frequently look up (like those used by your teenager) as favorites.

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