You excited that iOS 8's scheduled to land on your iPhones and iPads later? Cool, but if you avidly use Dropbox to back up your photos and videos, the new software comes bundled with a dash of disappointment. According to Dropbox, its service has an unfortunate compatibility issue with Apple's latest mobile platform that specifically affects the Automatic Backup function. The new software apparently prevents both Dropbox and its photo managing app Carousel from properly uploading photos and videos to the cloud.
The latest game development toolkit from Epic Games supports Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus, but what about virtual or augmented reality on mobile devices? That's coming, too -- and apparently pretty soon. Road to VR has noticed that on Epic's publicly-accessible "Unreal Engine 4 Roadmap" task-board two new bits were added to the VR to-do list: Samsung Gear VR and Google Project Tango support. They're labeled as September and October projects, and as Road to VR notes, the VR project category has been empty since Oculus' and Sony's features have been completed. If anything, this yet another example of just how versatile Unreal Engine 4 is when it comes to what the engine's games can run on. Maybe Amazon's Fire phone is up next? After all, there's precedent (sort of).
Verizon's HD voice and video chat feature is now live, just like it promised back in August. The carrier officially calls it "Advanced Calling 1.0," and it lets you make high-definition voice calls over LTE to other Verizon phones that also have the capability. Its video chat function, on the other hand, is a combination of HD voice and real-time video feed, though it can transfer the video portion of the call from LTE to Verizon WiFi when available. Anyone with a compatible device can access the feature at no additional charge, with HD voice costing the same as your standard call rates. Video, however, will be billed as data, with one minute eating up between six to eight MB.
To say that Apple's doing things differently would be an understatement. With the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the company introduced two new high-end phones at the same time, both with a complete redesign and a much larger screen size than any iPhone that came before. Gone are the days of 3.5-inch and 4-inch phones that, at one time, seemed to provide more than ample amounts of screen space. Now, the new iPhones make their predecessors look like the tiny handset Ben Stiller used in Zoolander. The market has changed, and it was high time Apple did the same.
Even though this is Apple's first attempt at building large phones, it's not breaking new ground -- in fact, it feels more like the company is catching up than innovating. To be fair, finding a fresh take is a difficult thing to do in this crowded space: Samsung's Galaxy Note series, which started out at 5.3 inches and is now up to 5.7, is selling by the millions, and most competing flagships aren't much smaller. Basically, Apple would be leaving money on the table if it didn't address this segment of the market. So how did the company do on its first try at large phones? Pretty well -- mostly.
Out with the old, in with the new. That was the theme of last year's iOS update, known as iOS 7, which ushered in a flat new design. Although Apple threw in some new functionality as well, it was clear the company was mainly focused on giving its mobile OS a face-lift and setting the stage for future updates -- the first of which is coming out tomorrow. iOS 8 builds on last year's software with a plethora of new features, including third-party keyboards, camera controls, widgets, home automation, health and fitness tools and the ability to interact with other apps. (Yes, it's hard to believe these are just arriving on iOS.) Here's what to expect.
Google may have already given Android's Play Store a big makeover this summer, but it's not done yet -- there's another revamp coming this year. Android Police has posted shots of a pre-release Play Store 5.0 update that's very clearly guided by Google's Material Design concept. While it's not quite as dramatic an overhaul as what we saw a few months ago, it's still a pretty noticeable change. Swaths of bright, solid color are everywhere, and there's even more of an emphasis on title pictures. You should get some extra function to go with this form, too; code buried in the update hints that you'll get to restore apps on a per-device basis, making it much easier to recreate your setup from an old phone. It's not certain just when the new Play Store will go live, but it's reasonable to presume that you'll see it around the same time as the similarly-styled Android L update.
If you like the prospect of a giant smartphone but find even LG's G Vista too rich for your blood, ZTE might have something that's more up your alley. It just unveiled the ZMAX, a 5.7-inch device that hopefully won't crush your bank account. The 720p screen, quad-core Snapdragon 400 chip, 16GB of expandable storage and 8-megapixel rear camera are nothing special, but you're getting a lot of battery for the money; the 3,400mAh power pack is estimated to last for two days, or more than enough for a busy weekend. You might also like the not-quite-stock (read: potentially very speedy) Android 4.4 interface. ZTE's low-cost behemoth will only be available through T-Mobile when it ships on September 24th. However, you'll only have to pay $10.50 per month over two years to own the ZMAX, or $252 total -- not too shabby considering that other phones this big frequently cost two or three times as much.
Need another reason to activate two-factor authentication on your Apple device? Ars Technica and Apple Insider report that the security check now extends to cover iCloud device backups too, something it didn't do before. That means if someone gets your password, or is able to reset it, they could pull down the data with a tool like Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker and have access to anything stored there -- it's thought that many of the stolen personal photographs of celebrities recently posted online were obtained by this method. With two-factor authentication, they'd need access to your trusted device to generate a four digit code to get in. Another security tweak Apple just turned on is a notification that lets users know when their account has been accessed, to make sure it's for legit reasons. Before your new iPhone and Watch show up to handle your selfies, payments and anything else better kept private -- hit Apple's website and turn the extra level of security on.
Update: Tonight Apple sent out an email to Apple ID accounts detailing the change. It also mentions that beginning October 1st, app-specific passwords will be necessary for third-party apps that don't support two-factor (like Outlook or Thunderbird) to access iCloud. If you have an account it should be in your inbox, or you can check out the text after the break.
Companies like Microsoft and Sony know that you don't necessarily want to buy a high-end smartphone just to take selfies, and it now appears that Samsung knows this, too. In the wake of store listings and government filings, Thegioididong has managed to get its hands on the unannounced Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime (aka G530), a 5-inch budget Android phone that's seemingly tailor-made for self-portraits. Its centerpiece is undoubtedly its 5-megapixel front-facing camera; while that's certainly not the highest resolution we've seen, it's unusually powerful for a device that's likely to be cheap off-contract.
We know. It's only September, but it's never too early to start dreaming of that greatest of all gadget gatherings, the International CES. As always, the Engadget editorial team will descend upon the Las Vegas Convention Center this January to bring you all the action as the Official Blog and Online News Source of the show. And, just like last year, we're also choosing the Best of CES awards! As we comb the floor of the world's largest consumer tech trade show, we'll be looking for truly stand-out products worthy of becoming 2015's Best of CES -- but that doesn't mean we're waiting until we touch down in the desert to begin our search. We're accepting nominations starting November 1st, when we'll dish out all the info you need to know to put your device in the running.
[Image Credit: Samaruddin Stewart, AOL]
Hey, we love Shazam; it's been propping up our spotty musical knowledge for years. But, until now, if you wanted to grab that rare In Flagrante groove for your personal collection direct from the app, you had to go with Amazon's music store. No bad thing per se, but we're all about options. Today Android users (iOS is incoming) can also buy direct from Google Play -- if that's your virtual record store of choice (or, where you have the most frictionless checkout experience, perhaps). What's more, Shazam and Google's hookup goes a little deeper, as Play is now one of the options you'll find for streaming the full track after you've tagged it. You'll need an All Access subscription, but those that don't can snag a month's free trial to test the waters first.
We'll say this about Microsoft's OneNote team: It's clear they want to be on every device, even ones you might not be buying. Earlier this year, the company came out with an Amazon application in the wake of some truly awful Fire phone reviews. Now, Microsoft is releasing OneNote for Android Wear, Google's still-nascent smartwatch platform. Starting today, if you happen to own a Moto 360, Samsung Gear Live or LG G Watch, you can capture a note by saying "OK Google, take a note."
If you were hoping to use NFC on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to pair with your camera or share files with friends... well, you'll have to keep waiting. Apple has confirmed to Cult of Mac that the new iPhones' near field wireless is currently limited to use with Apple Pay. In other words, you won't see it used either for core iOS features or in third-party apps, at least not in the near future. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the technology will go to waste in the long run. We already know that the Apple Watch can unlock your hotel door, so the crew in Cupertino isn't averse to letting developers use NFC for tasks beyond payments. And if you'll recall, Apple initially limited its Touch ID fingerprint reader to unlocking the iPhone and making iTunes purchases before opening it up to developers in iOS 8; it wouldn't be surprising to see expanded NFC support on the iPhone once Apple is more comfortable.