Friday, December 23, 2011

App makes embarrassing ICs photos a thing of the past

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Face it, most of us would be too embarrassed to show people our IC photos. They were taken when we were gawky teenagers with bad hair and wearing glasses that have long been out of date. And the person taking the photo certainly wan't Russell Wong.

Fortunately, there is now a solution. Tinkertanker has come up with a free app helpfully called IC Photo for Singapore NRIC and Passports. This app will help you take a great shot of yourself, with everything perfectly aligned. You can arrange the lighting to be as flattering as possible, and take as many pictures as you like till you find one that makes you look good.

According to the ICA, if you are 30, you are able to pay $10 to re-register your NRIC. If you've lost or damaged your IC, you pay $60 for a new IC.

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TrafficLah alerts you to traffic jams

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The good people at buuuk had been pretty busy. Apart from DengueLah, they have also just released a free app called TrafficLah that will help you avoid traffic jams.

What's nice about this app is that it will learn what your regular route is and you can set it to send an alert if there is a traffic incident on your regular route or on nearby routes.

If you drive an Off-Peak Car, the app will help you buy an electronic day license to drive your car that day.

All in all, pretty neat.

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DengueLah helps you avoid dengue hotspots in Singapore

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Track dengue hotspots with buuuk's latest app DengueLah. Stay safe!





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Pushing the Limits now available on Kindle too

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Here's your opportunity to save trees (and more importantly, save on shipping). Mugunth Kumar's iOS 5 Programming Pushing the Limits is now available on Kindle as well as iBooks. If you prefer owning the dead tree version of this book, you can buy it from Amazon as well. Amazon is selling it for US$27.70


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Learn iOS development from the developer of Definition. No experience required.

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Let's face it. Not all of us are ready to tackle Mugunth Kumar's  iOS 5 Programming Pushing the Limits: Developing Extraordinary Mobile Apps for Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod TouchMugunth's book is a mid-level to advanced guide to iOS programming. What if you're just an ordinary Joe who has an great app idea and who wants to become a millionaire? What you need is help from The Pragmatic Lab.

The Pragmatic Lab is run by local developer Sidwyn Koh, who is responsible for the iOS app Definition and was one of the developers of Seesmic.

He is offering one-day basic, intermediate and advanced courses and will also do custom courses for you (if you're a student, a member of staff or an alumni of NUS, you also get a special discount). Sidwyn promises that even if you have no programming experience whatsoever, by the end of the basic course, you will be able to make your own simple app.

Alternatively, if you find that his rates are too rich for your blood, the entrepreneurial Sidwyn also has video tutorials that you can buy as well from his website Dive into iOS.

If you have a loved one who wants to get started with iOS programming, signing him or her up for courses with The Pragmatic Lab would make a great Christmas present.

Click here to go to The Pragmatic Lab or here to check out Dive into iOS.


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Local developer's programming book a bestseller on Amazon

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A new book co-written by local iOS developer Mugunth Kumar is doing well on Amazon's bestsellers list, even though the book isn't out yet.

The book, iOS 5 Programming Pushing the Limits: Developing Extraordinary Mobile Apps for Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, was written by Rob Napier and Singapore's own Mugunth Kumar and will be released on Dec 20.

However, even though the book has not been released, it is already number 2 in Amazon's Mobile and Wireless Programming category.

According to Mugunth, the book is aimed at mid-level to advanced iOS developers. Mugunth contributed eight of the 20 chapters in this book.

The book is out just in time for Christmas. This handsome 360-page paperback is just US$27.70 from Amazon so buy the book today. It will make an ideal present for your favorite iOS coder who's been nice all year round.

This book is also available on Apple's iBooks here which you can buy if you have a US iTunes account.


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Intellectually disabled children in Singapore benefitting from the iPad

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Children with learning disabilities in Singapore are getting some help from Apple's iPad, according to this story from Today.
One disabled student went from being uninterested in drawing, to winning a card design competition. Others have learned better control of their behaviour and have improved their communications skills. 
These remarkable changes were observed after just six months of a special pilot project conducted at Towner Gardens School (TGS), run by the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS), which caters to children with learning disabilities and developmental delays.

At the heart of the program is a device that many of us are familiar with and use on a daily basis - Apple's iPad.
Read the full story here and don't miss the four-minute embedded video.


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Local firm Karuma develops 7-inch Android tablet

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A local firm called Karuma has thrown its hat into the tablet ring with a 7-inch device called PlayBase that they are selling for US$270.

The tablet has a 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of DDR 3 RAM and 8 GB of onboard storage. The PlayBase runs a modified version of Gingerbread but with that amount of RAM, it looks like they are planning to run  Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich on it in future. The device will go on sale before Christmas.

We wish them luck. So far, it has been more of an iPad market than a tablet market though Amazon's Kindle also seems to be gaining traction. It looks like manufacturers are able to shift tablets because of a content ecosystem rather than specs but maybe PlayBase will be an exception.

Learn more about PlayBase here.


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UOB finally releases iPhone app

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Customers of United Overseas Bank in Singapore can finally heave a sigh of relief. The bank has finally released an iPhone app.

Apart from the usual online banking features, the UOB app also allows you to withdraw money from a UOB ATM without needing your ATM card.

Using their Mobile Cash feature, you can get the cash from the ATM with just a password. This also means you can transfer cash to someone else too; all they need is a password that you send them.

UOB is very late in the game as competitors DBS and OCBC have long had iPhone apps and, in the case of OCBC, a pretty good iPad app as well. However, UOB is certainly making up for lost time. So far, the app has garnered 64 five-star ratings out of 88 total ratings, a pretty impressive feat.


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Thursday, November 24, 2011

New app Squiryl helps you rack up, trade loyalty points

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If you're a serious shopper, you probably have too many loyalty cards in your wallet. A new app called Squiryl promises to fix this problem.

Instead of having to hunt for the right loyalty card to present at the cash register, you use the Squiryl app to rack up points, or acorns, as the app calls it.

What makes this app interesting is that you can also trade your acorns with your friends. That really makes it useful because you can now get rid of acorns from merchants you don't usually patronize for acorns from merchants that you do.

Currently, the app has 20 merchants including iStudio. More will be rolled out later.

To learn more about Squiryl, check out there website here. They have one of the nicest video introductions I've seen recently. Download the free Squiryl app here.

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Nubox's deals at Sitex

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Another day, another IT show. This time, it's Sitex at Singapore Expo.

If you're planning to head down, check out Nubox's booth at Hall 6 booth 6D30 and booth 6E30. For instance, buy a MacBook Pro from them, add $78 and get $495 worth of stuff including a doubling of your RAM to 8GB.

They are also offering deals on purchases of iMacs, MacBook Airs and iPods.

In addition, Nubox is also offering discounts on accessories.

Follow the links to get full details of their Mac deals and accessories deals.

Sitex will run from today until Nov 27.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rumour: iOS 5.0.2 next week will fix battery problems

While the latest iOS update promised to fix the battery drain problem, it hasn't worked for some people. Hope, however, is on the horizon.

A rumour is circulating that a new version of iOS will be released next week that will fix the battery drain problem.

In addition, the new update, iOS 5.0.2 also promises to add new functionality to Siri. They include, taking photos, shooting video and turning WiFi and Bluetooth on and off.

The rumour comes courtesy of a German Mac blog that cites an Apple engineer working on iOS.

(Via Cult of Mac)



Friday, November 11, 2011

iOS 5.0.1 now available

If you've been having problems with battery drain with iOS 5 on your device, you'll be happy to know that you can now download an update that promises to fix the problem.

You can do the update over-the-air instead of via iTunes. Go to Settings, General then Software Update to update your device.

The update is under 50MB so you need to be on the WiFi network to be able to do the update.

Apart from the battery fix, the update also addresses a security hole that was discovered by security researcher Charlie Miller.


Madness ensues at Hong Kong iPhone 4S launch

South Asian gangs versus Hong Kongers versus the police at the Hong Kong Apple Store. With video (no Edison Chen footage though).



Adobe makes it official

Bye bye Flash for mobile.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adobe discontinues Flash player on mobile devices

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Citing sources close to Adobe, ZDNet has reported that the company plans to discontinue work on mobile browser flash and will focus instead on HTML 5.

There is apparently an imminent announcement that will say:
"Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations."

Full story on ZDNet here.


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Apple says Siri not for older devices

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If you've been holding out on getting an iPhone 4S because you expect Siri to trickle down to older devices, don't hold your breath. It looks like Apple currently has no plans to allow Siri to run on devices such as the iPhone 4.

In an email from Apple in response to a bug report, Apple wrote:

"Engineering has provided the following feedback regarding this issue: Siri only works with iPhone 4S and we currently have no plans to support older devices."

AppleInsider has the details.

I've been using the iPhone 4S for the past week, a loaner unit from Apple and I am planning to write a full review. However, I can say that thus far, I am really loving Siri and I find myself using it several times each day, making appointments, checking appointments and making reminders. Watch out for the full review coming soon.



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Thursday, November 3, 2011

iOS 5.0.1 released to developers, fixes bugs that kill battery life

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If you're suffering from battery problems with your iOS device running iOS 5, relief is on the horizon. Apple has released a new beta version of iOS 5 to developers that, among other things, promises to fix bugs that affect battery life.

The update will roll out to end users "in a few weeks", according to a statement by Apple to AllThingsD.

Via Cult of Mac.

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Another 15 countries to get the iPhone 4S

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Apple has announced that the iPhone 4S will be launched in Hong Kong, South Korea and 13 other countries next Friday (Nov 11). Customers will be able to pre-order the device from tomorrow.

The countries that will get the iPhone 4S in this wave are Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania and South Korea. The iPhone 4S is available today in 29 countries around the world and will be available in more than 70 countries by the end of the year, according to the press release.



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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SingTel's deF!nd app now in the App Store

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SingTel's deF!nd uses voice recognition to help you find restaurants and businesses in Singapore.

It's no Siri but it does have access to a database that Siri in Singapore does not.

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A Sister's Eulogy for Steve Jobs

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He started his farewell and I stopped him. I said, “Wait. I’m coming. I’m in a taxi to the airport. I’ll be there.” 
“I’m telling you now because I’m afraid you won’t make it on time, honey.”
Mona Simpson's eulogy for Steve Jobs that was delivered at his memorial service at Stanford University on Oct 16.


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Comparing iPhone 4S plans

If you're wondering which carrier to go with for your iPhone 4S purchase, here's our handy table comparing what M1, SingTel and StarHub are offering.







iPhone 4S on the block for 30 cents

Be among the first people in Singapore to own an iPhone 4S and get it cheap. All you have to do is hop over to local auction site Blick. They have a white 16GB iPhone 4S on the block and the current bid is just 30 cents.

Of course, it will probably sell for a lot more than 30 cents by the time the auction ends, but you will probably still end up paying a lot less than the recommended retail price.

Blick works by charging people to place bids. It costs 75 cents to place a bid, and each bid advances the final price by just 5 cents. It also pushes the end of the auction back by 20 seconds.












SingTel Shop iPhone 4S pre-order units snapped up

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SingTel briefly had stocks of the iPhone 4S available for pre-order from the SingTel Shop from 3pm yesterday, but by midnight, all the stocks were snapped up.

All the slots for SingTel's iPhone 4S launch at midnight later today have also been taken up.

Looks like the iPhone 4S will be a hit in Singapore.

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StarHub's iPhone 4S plans announced

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StarHub finally unveiled its price plans yesterday which now allows us to compare all three carriers. Overall, it looks like M1 has the most attractive voice plans of the three.

For a full comparison of plans, click here.

(Thanks to iMerlion readers too many to name.)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Comparing M1 and SingTel price plans for the iPhone 4S

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If you're in the market for the iPhone 4S, it looks like M1 is offering a better deal than SingTel.

Except in the lowest tier, where the two carriers are tied, M1 offers more than SingTel does for the (roughly) same monthly subscription.

M1 offers unlimited data for $98 and $198 a month. SingTel, on the other hand, does not offer unlimited data on any of its plans.

M1 also tends to offer more voice minutes than comparable SingTel plans. At the top tier, for example, M1 is offering unlimited voice calls, compared to SingTel's 2,000 minutes.

Click here for see the iMerlion comparison of iPhone 4S price plans.

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SingTel's iPhone 4S launch booking starts tomorrow

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If you're interested in picking up an iPhone 4S from SingTel at the midnight launch on Oct 28, you will need to register at this web page from 10 am tomorrow (Oct 26).

The event will be held at Hall 402 at Suntec City.

SingTel also has a guide on how to book your appointment here.

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SingTel's iPhone 4S price plans are out

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SingTel has just released its price plans for the iPhone 4S. Check them out here. If you want a free 16GB iPhone 4S, pay S$99 a month for 500 minutes of talk time and 700 SMS/MMS a month, the same as M1.




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Monday, October 24, 2011

Jobs biography now on shelves




The biography of Steve Jobs is now for sale in bookstores in Singapore.

Harris is selling the Walter Isaacson-penned biography for S$45.48.


Apple releases memorial video

Apple has released the video of the memorial event held on Oct 19 at Apple's campus in Cupertino.

M1 unveils plans for the iPhone 4S

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M1 will be doing a midnight launch of the iPhone 4S at its Paragon outlet on Oct 28, according to a note on its webpage.

If you're willing to wait a few more hours, a few M1 shops will be open at 7 am on Oct 28, namely, the outlets at Bugis Junction, Change Alley, IMM, Paragon, Plaza Singapura, West Mall and Tampines.

A few M1 resellers will also be opening at 7 am on that day to sell the iPhone 4S.

The carrier has also unveiled its price plans for the iPhone 4S. The 16GB version will be sold for $505 with a monthly subscription of $36. You can get the 16GB version for free if you sign up either for the iPhone Extreme (S$98 a month) plan or iPhone Max (S$198 a month).



The full details are here.

SingTel and StarHub have yet to unveil their price plans though SingTel has said there will be a midnight launch on Oct 28. If you were hoping to buy an unsubsidized iPhone 4S directly from Apple, you're too late. The online Apple Store for Singapore now lists the iPhone 4S as "currently unavailable". Previously, shipping was within one to two weeks.

(Thanks to iMerlion readers too numerous to name).

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Apple now taking pre-orders for iPhone 4S in Singapore

Apple is now accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4S in Singapore.

The 16GB version is going for S$948, while the 32GB version is $1,088. The 64GB version, on the other hand, costs S$1.238. All devices are unlocked and SIM-free.

Apple is restricting orders to two per customer and shipping times are listed as one to two weeks.

Apple is also selling the 8GB iPhone 4 at S$788 and the 3GS at S$548.

The iPhone 4S will be officially launched in Singapore on Oct 28. However, Singapore's three carriers have yet to announce how much they will sell the iPhone 4S on a two-year plan.





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple's Q4 results

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A record September quarter for Apple:

Revenue of US$28.27 billion VS US$20.34 billion a year ago
Net profit of $6.62 billion or $7.05 per diluted share VS US$4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share a year ago
Gross margin was 40.3 percent VS 36.9 percent
International sales was 63 percent
Cash generated was US$5.4 billion

Units sold

iPhones - 17.07 million (21 percent unit growth over last year)
iPads - 11.12 million (166 percent unit increase over the year)
Macs - 4.89 million (26 percent unit increase)
iPods - 6.62 million (27 percent decline)

These numbers fell below the expectations of analysts and Apple stock fell 7 percent in after-hours trading.

Looking ahead, Apple is predicting revenue of US$37 billion for its first quarter of 2012.

During the earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer also revealed that:

- China accounted for 16 percent of revenue. For the quarter, US$4.5 billion came from China. For fiscal 2011, more than U$13 billion in revenue came from China, compared to US$3 billion the year before.

- Flooding in Thailand has affected disk drive companies who have factories there. This, in turn, will affect the Mac.

The full press release is below. MacDailyNews covered the earnings call in a live blog. As usual, Macworld has nice charts.


CUPERTINO, California—October 18, 2011—Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2011. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $28.27 billion and quarterly net profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.3 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 63 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 21 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

“We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline.”

“We are extremely pleased with our record September quarter revenue and earnings and with cash generation of $5.4 billion during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 14 weeks rather than 13, we expect revenue of about $37 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $9.30.”

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comparing iPhone 4 (8GB) price plans in Singapore

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All three carriers have unveiled their price plans for the 8GB iPhone 4 and Hardwarezone has an excellent table comparing the plans. Essentially there are four tiers, based on how much you pay per month. Overall, it appears that StarHub has the best plans for all tiers except the cheapest. SingTel's offerings seem to be mediocre.

At the cheapest tier, M1 has the best plan. For S$39 a month, you pay S$400 for your iPhone 4 (8GB). M1 will give you (per month):

- 120 free voice minutes (other carriers only offer 100 voice minutes at this tier)
- 500 free SMS/MMS
- 12GB of data

However, StarHub leads all the other tiers. For S$58 a month, you pay S$120 for for your iPhone and StarHub will give you (per month):

- 300 free voice minutes (versus 250 minutes on M1, and 200 minutes on SingTel)
- 500 free SMS/MMS
- 12GB of data

At the S$98 a month tier, the iPhone is free, and StarHub gives you (per month):

- 700 free voice minutes (versus 600 minutes on M1 and 500 minutes on SingTel)

- 500 free SMS/MMS
- 12GB of data

For S$205 a month, the iPhone is free and StarHub gives you (per month)

- 2,000 free voice minutes
- 2,000 free SMS/MMS
- unlimited data (SingTel offers 30GB, which is a heck of a lot but not unlimited).

Note: M1 has no offering in this top category.

All things being equal, it looks like StarHub is the way to go. 


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Breadtalk's Steve Jobs tribute


Breadtalk now has a Steve Jobs tribute called Apple of my i which costs S$1.50.

The text reads:
Steve Jobs was a rebel, a product visionary and an inspiring business leader. Apple of my i fuses moistened, crunchy apple chunks with European cinnamon custard -- a varied creation to pay tribute to a versatile man. You are indeed the Apple of our eyes Steve.
iSalute.


To complete the resemblance to an apple, they used a single curry leaf and a clove for the stalk (bite is mine).


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Friday, October 14, 2011

No registration of interest, no pre-orders, says StarHub.

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Seriously. This is what StarHub is saying. They are not going to take registrations of interest. Instead, to find out about StarHub's iPhone 4S plans, you have to keep reloading this page.

StarHub will also not allow people to pre-order.

Their amazing FAQ even manages to avoid answering their own question:
Why is there no registration of interest for iPhone 4S from StarHub?

There will be no registration of interest for iPhone 4S. We will commence retail launch of the new iPhone model on 28 October 2011. Please check this site for updates in the coming weeks.
Looks like StarHub is thinking different!


(Hat tip once again to iMerlion reader HamzahKent!)


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Lines forming ahead of iPhone 4S launch

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Lines are being reported in Tokyo, London and Paris, according to Mac Rumors. Things appear to be quieter in the US but there is at least one (very short) line outside the Los Gators Apple store in California. That line is notable because, while short, has Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (with Segway) heading the queue.


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M1 now taking names of potential iPhone 4S buyers

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If you're on M1 and you want to get the iPhone 4S, you can register your interest with M1 here.

(Hat tip to iMerlion reader HamzahKent!)


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Thursday, October 13, 2011

SingTel now taking names for iPhone 4S

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If you're interested in an iPhone 4S from SingTel, you can leave your details with the carrier here. Sometime last night, SingTel put up this page to get people to register their interest.

SingTel appears to have stolen a march over its competitors; there is still nothing on the StarHub and M1 websites.

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You can now upgrade to iOS 5

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Apple has finally released iOS 5 and you can now download it from Apple's servers. However, you'll need to upgrade your iTunes to version 10.5 first though.

By and large, the upgrade seems to be trouble free but there are reports of users who are experiencing problems.

Once you've updated your phone, check out Macworld's always excellent coverage. They have a review of iOS 5, and a close look at notifications in iOS 5, iMessage and iCloud.


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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Siri and accents

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It looks like accents will make a difference with Siri. In his review, MG Siegler of Tech Crunch notes that Siri didn't work for him initially because Siri's setting was set to the UK English.
Also awesome: when I first tried out the service in London, Siri was set to UK English. It didn’t understand a word I was saying. The Apple reps couldn’t figure out what was going on. But a quick change of the settings had it working perfectly. Siri understands accents as well.
As someone noted on iMerlion's Facebook page, time to practice your fake accents!


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Siri says, from reviews around the web

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Now that the reviews are out, we are getting a sense of what Siri can and can't do. And what we've also found is that Siri has a sense of humour. Naturally it knows the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything. However, that is not all it knows. Here's what reviewers have found:

From Brian Chen's Wired review:

Me: “I’m drunk.”

Siri: “I found a number of cabs fairly close to you.” (Perfect; it didn’t dial my ex-girlfriend.)

Me: “I’m going to kill myself.”

Siri: “I found four mental health agencies. Three of them are fairly close to you.” (This was just a test — don’t be alarmed.)

From Jim Dalrymple's The Loop review:

Jim: I love you, Siri

Siri: Impossible

Jim: No really, I love you

Siri: I hope you don’t say that to those other mobile phones, Jim

Jim: No way, I only love you Siri

Siri: You are the wind beneath my wings

Jim: That’s nice. I’m glad you know I love you

Siri: All you need is love. And your iPhone


From Jason Snell's Macworld review:

Jason: Open the pod doors

Siri: That's a rather insensitive thing to say to an intelligent agent, Jason

and

Jason: Open the pod bay doors

Siri: We intelligent agents will never live that down, apparently.


From Walt Mossberg's All Things D review:

Walt: What’s the best phone?

Siri: Wait… there are other phones?


From Joshua Topolsky's This is my next review:

Joshua: Will you marry me?

Siri: My End User Licensing Agreement does not cover marriage. My apologies.

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iPhone 4S reviews - updated

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Looks like the embargo has been lifted and all the reviews of the iPhone 4S are out. Here's a list of links to the reviews:

Mac press


John Gruber (Daring Fireball)

Jason Snell (Macworld). Jason has a nice demo of how Siri works.

Jim Dalrymple (The Loop). Jim has a movie shot on the iPhone 4S.

Mainstream press

David Pogue (New York Times). David has nice sample photos taken on the iPhone 4S.

Walt Mossberg (All Things D)

Steven Fry (The Guardian)

Brian Chen (Wired)


IT press


MG Siegler (Tech Crunch). MG has a great video showing off the clarity of 1080p video recording.

Joshua Topolsky (This is my next)

Vincent Nguyen (SlashGear). Vincent also has a nice demo of Siri at work.




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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apple gets 1 million pre-orders for iPhone 4S

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Apple announced on Monday that it received more than 1 million pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S in a single day, breaking the previous record of 600,000 held by the iPhone 4.

“We are blown away with the incredible customer response to iPhone 4S,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing in a statement. “The first day pre-orders for iPhone 4S have been the most for any new product that Apple has ever launched and we are thrilled that customers love iPhone 4S as much as we do.”

The full text of the press statement is below:

iPhone 4S Pre-Orders Top One Million in First 24 Hours
CUPERTINO, California—October 10, 2011—Apple® today announced pre-orders of its iPhone® 4S have topped one million in a single day, surpassing the previous single day pre-order record of 600,000 held by iPhone 4. iPhone 4S is the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple’s dual-core A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri™, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking.

“We are blown away with the incredible customer response to iPhone 4S,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The first day pre-orders for iPhone 4S have been the most for any new product that Apple has ever launched and we are thrilled that customers love iPhone 4S as much as we do.”

iPhone 4S will be available at all 245 Apple retail stores in the US beginning at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, October 14. Every customer who buys an iPhone 4S at an Apple retail store will be offered free Personal Setup service, helping them customize their iPhone 4S by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store™ and more, so they’ll be up and running with their new iPhone before they leave the store.

iPhone 4S includes iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features, and iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices.

Pricing & Availability
iPhone 4S comes in either black or white and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the new 64GB model.* iPhone 4S will be available from the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and select Best Buy, Target and Walmart stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPhone 4 is available for just $99 (US) and iPhone 3GS is available for free with a two year contract.

iPhone 4S will roll out worldwide to 22 more countries by the end of October including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

*Qualified customers only. Requires a new two year rate plan, sold separately.


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Saturday, October 8, 2011

A small thank you from Singapore outside the 5th Avenue store

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This tribute on behalf of Singapore was left outside Apple's 5th Avenue store. It was done by polytechnic student and iMerlion reader Ryan Lee who is doing an internship in New York.

Another view of outside of the 5th Avenue store
Ryan, an aspiring photographer and designer, also left this other note on the wall.




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Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs: 1955 - 2011

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The Steve Jobs I Knew -- Walt Mossberg (AllThingsD)

Steve Jobs Was Always Kind To Me (Or, Regrets of An Asshole) -- Brian Lam (Wirecutter)

Steven Jobs, 1955-2011 -- Steven Levy (Wired)

AP interview with Steve Wozniak (Stay till the end)

Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies -- The Onion

XKCD (Don't miss the mouseover)

R.I.P., Steve Jobs -- Real Dan Lyons

The Stanford commencement speech 2005


Full text of Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech in 2005. -- Business Insider

Steve Jobs doing the voiceover on this version of the Think Different ad which never aired. (The version with Richard Dreyfuss was used instead).



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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Here's to the crazy ones

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Narrated by Steve Jobs


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Thank you Steve

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As the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs changed the world. His vision was to make computers for the rest of us, and through Apple's various products, that is what he did. The original Apple, the Apple II, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, all these products have brought the power of computing to our lives, enhancing them in ways large and small.

The very first computer I used was a Mac. It was the early 1990s and I was an arts undergraduate at NUS. I had to learn to use a computer because one of my lecturers insisted we handed up typed essays as he was tired of having to decipher our handwriting.

At the time, computers largely meant machines running DOS. Using them required knowing arcane commands that were a complete mystery to me. However, the university had a Mac lab, filled largely with beige Mac Pluses. Thanks to the Mac's friendly graphical user interface, I quickly learned my way around creating documents and pretty soon, I was walking around with my own system diskettes (the Macs had no hard disk so we all had diskettes with software on them).

This was where I fell in love with the Mac. Eventually, I progressed from writing essays to installing stupid tricks on the Macs at the university. (One day, I tweaked a Mac in the library so that it would chime "Hallelujah" each time the user hits the spacebar. The joke backfired though when the person who used that Mac simply continued using the machine, leaving the rest of us to suffer through numerous Hallelujahs as she grimly continued working on her essay.)

The first computer I owned was the Power Mac 6100, which I bought with the meagre savings from my first real job at The Straits Times. The beige pizza box was what I used to first go online. I had a 2400 bps modem that I eventually upgraded to a 28.8 Kbps screamer.

Being an Apple fan boy helped me find a wife. The woman I married was deeply impressed by the Newton I owned (she later bought an eMate herself).

Today, my household has four working Macbooks, four iPhones, one iPod touch and one iPod shuffle. My kids take it for granted that they can access information about anything just by looking it up on the Internet (though they largely use the Internet to read Facebook updates and watch wrestling on YouTube.)

I recently watched a video where a younger Steve Jobs talked about computers as being bicycles for our minds. Computers are tools that enhance our abilities, and by extension, our lives. By making computers for the rest of us, (via the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad), Steve Jobs changed all our lives.

Thanks Steve.




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Steve Jobs has died

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56. The home page of Apple.com has a link to a short tribute here.

Thoughts and condolences can be sent to rememberingsteve@apple.com.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Siri will come to Singapore says Apple

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Apple has confirmed that Siri, its intelligent personal assistant, will be made available in Singapore.

In response to a press query from iMerlion, an Apple spokesman said: "Siri is a Beta product that is shipping in the countries that iPhone 4S is shipping."

Earlier, questions were raised about whether Siri would be made available in Singapore after it was revealed that Apple's Singapore webpage for the iPhone 4S did not mention Siri at all. In contrast, the US webpage gives Siri considerable prominence.

Siri uses Apple's A5 processor on the iPhone 4S to process instructions or requests made using natural language. Among other things, it can tell you the weather, check your calendar, schedule a meeting, search Wikipedia or define words.

Siri now works with French, German and the US, UK and Australian versions of English. More languages and functionality will be added later.

It is not known why Apple would chose to omit mentioning Siri on the Singapore page. However, given that Siri only works with specific languages and accents, it seems likely that Apple does not want to promise that the Singapore variant of English will work with Siri. Apart from accent, Singlish also uses a different grammatical structure from standard English which might hamper recognition.

You can see how Siri works in this Apple video on YouTube.




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Watch Siri in action

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Apple has a nice video showing how Siri works.

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Hands-on with the iPhone 4S

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MacRumors has a round-up of firsthand impressions of the iPhone 4S by Engadget, the BBC and SlashGear.


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Will Siri be offered in Singapore?

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Apple's iPhone 4 page in Singapore


Could Apple be leaving Siri out of the iPhone 4S for the Singapore market? While it sounds unlikely, there are ominous signs that point in that direction.

Hawkeyed iMerlion readers have noticed that Apple's Singapore page for the iPhone 4S currently makes no mention of Siri at all. The page leads off with the dual-core A5 chip instead. In contrast, the equivalent US page leads off with Siri, which is then followed up with the dual-core A5 chip.

Apple's iPhone 4 page in the US

This, of course, does not necessarily mean that Apple will leave out Siri in Singapore. Apple has, in the past, been selective about which features they highlight in different markets.

The good news is that the Apple press release that is datelined Singapore and that has the Singapore prices for the iPhone 4 and 3GS does definitely mention Siri.

However, it is very odd that the chief highlight of the iPhone 4S should be left out of Apple's Singapore web page. We have reached out to Apple and will update this story when we have more. However, our guess is that given that voice recognition will be language, accent and grammar specific, Apple may not want  to promise that the request: "Eh, now what time ah?" or "Now got rain or not?", delivered in Singlish, will necessarily be understood by Siri.

Siri received a lot of attention during the demonstration earlier today at Apple's campus in Cupertino during the announcement of the iPhone 4S. Siri is a personal assistant on the iPhone 4S that will decode ordinary spoken commands and fix appointments, add alarms and reminders and help you respond to text messages.

(Hat tip to YJ Soon and Brandon)


Update: According to an Apple spokesman, Siri will ship in countries that the iPhone 4S will ship to.


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8GB iPhone 4 will go for S$788

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Apple has announced that the iPhone 4 (8GB) will be available for S$788 (including GST). The iPhone 3GS (8GB) will be available for S$548 including GST. Apple has not released Singapore prices yet for the iPhone 4S.

See the full Apple press release below:

Apple Launches iPhone 4S, iOS 5 & iCloud

iPhone 4S Features Dual-Core A5 Chip, All New Camera, Full 1080p HD Video Recording & Introduces Siri

SINGAPORE, Singapore―5 October 2011―Apple® today announced iPhone® 4S, the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple’s dual-core A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri™, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. With the launch of iPhone 4S also comes the launch of iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features; and iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work with your iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices.

“iPhone 4S plus iOS 5 plus iCloud is a breakthrough combination that makes the iPhone 4S the best iPhone ever,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “While our competitors try to imitate iPhone with a checklist of features, only iPhone can deliver these breakthrough innovations that work seamlessly together.”

iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, which includes over 200 new features including Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption and iMessage™, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users. iOS 5 will also be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS customers allowing them to experience these amazing new features.*

iPhone 4S also introduces Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. Siri understands context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions, for example, if you ask “Will I need an umbrella this weekend?” it understands you are looking for a weather forecast. Siri is also smart about using the personal information you allow it to access, for example, if you tell Siri “Remind me to call Mum when I get home” it can find “Mum” in your address book, or ask Siri “What’s the traffic like around here?” and it can figure out where “here” is based on your current location. Siri helps you make calls, send text messages or email, schedule meetings and reminders, make notes, search the Internet, find local businesses, get directions and more. You can also get answers, find facts and even perform complex calculations just by asking.

iCloud is a breakthrough set of free cloud services, including iTunes® in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that work seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. When content changes on one device, all your other devices are updated automatically and wirelessly.

iPhone 4S includes an all new camera with the most advanced optics of any phone. The 8 megapixel sensor has 60 percent more pixels so you can take amazing high quality photos with more detail than ever. iPhone 4S includes a new custom lens, a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid IR filter that produce sharper, brighter and more accurate images. The Apple-designed image signal processor in the A5 dual-core chip is built for performance, and coupled with the features built into iOS 5, makes the camera one of the fastest on any phone. With iPhone 4S, the Camera app launches much faster and the shot to shot capability is twice as fast, so you'll never miss another shot.

New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject; and the new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organise your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go. New iOS 5 features include built-in Twitter integration and iMessage, so you can instantly share your photos via Twitter directly from the Photos app and send photos via iMessage to individuals or groups. And with iCloud's innovative new Photo Stream service, a photo you take on your iPhone is sent to iCloud and automatically pushed to your iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC.

iPhone 4S can also now record video in full 1080p HD resolution and with the new video image stabilization feature, you can take richer, smoother videos. Other iPhone 4S video camera improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions. With the new iMessage service in iOS 5, you can now instantly share videos with family and friends.

iPhone 4S has the same beautifully thin glass and stainless steel design that millions of customers around the world love, while being completely redesigned on the inside. Apple's dual-core A5 chip delivers up to twice the processing power and up to seven times faster graphics than iPhone 4, all while maintaining incredible battery life—now up to 8 hours of 3G talk time.

Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive. iPhone 4S now supports twice the download speed with HSDPA of up to 14.4 Mbps and iPhone 4S is a world phone, so both CDMA and GSM customers can now roam internationally on GSM networks.**

Pricing & Availability
iPhone 4 will also be available for just SRP SGD$788 inc. Tax and iPhone 3GS will be available for SRP SGD$548 inc. Tax. iPhone 4S will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on Friday, 14 October, and will roll out worldwide to 22 more countries by the end of October including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. iPhone 4S pricing has not been announced for Singapore.

Siri will be available in beta on iPhone 4S in English (localised for US, UK and Australia), French and German. iOS 5 software will be available on 13 October as a free software update via iTunes 10.5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers.

*Some features may not be available on all products.

**Carrier roaming policies apply. HSDPA availability and network speeds are dependent on carrier networks.

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Watch the iPhone 4S keynote

You can watch the full video of the iPhone 4S announcement here.

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iPhone 4S coming Oct 28 to S'pore

The newest iPhone, the iPhone 4S, will be launched in Singapore on Oct 28, two weeks after the official launch in the US.

Singapore prices are not yet available but in the US, the new iPhone will be sold on contract for US$199, US$299 and US$399 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions respectively.

Singapore and Japan will be the only two countries in Asia to get the iPhone 4S in October. Japanese consumers will get to buy the iPhone 4S on Oct 14.

The iPhone 4S will look like the current iPhone 4 but will have upgraded internals and will be able to support the Siri personal assistant.

The new iPhone's features include:

- an A5 chip (like the iPad 2)
- dual-core graphics (supposed to be up to seven times faster than iPhone 4)
- support both CDMA and GSM
- support HSDPA (up to 14.4 Mbps)
- An 8 MP camera with a backside illuminated sensor that will take in 73% more light per pixel than the iPhone 4.
- image capture is 33% faster
- f/2.4 aperture
- Face detection
- better white balance

Siri is a personal assistant that can understand natural language queries. Apple VP Scott Forstall, demonstrated Siri handling instructions like:

- "Wake me up tomorrow at 6am."
- "How's the NASDAQ doing today?"
- "Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto."
- "Give me directions to Hoover Tower"
- "Remind me to call my wife when I leave work."

You will need to use US, UK or Australian English to be understood by Siri. Siri will also recognize French and German.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Popcorn movie app blows away the competition

There is no shortage of apps in the App Store to look up movie times, but none of them have been very good. Until now that is.

A new free app, Popcorn, has just been launched that blows the competition out of the water.

Popcorn look cleanly designed, loads quickly and makes it very easy to look up screening times, and to book or reserve tickets.

Unlike other apps which tend to be a thin app front-end over a slow web database, Popcorn is fast, stable and responsive.

Launch the app and (after the database loads), you can immediately look up movies or cinemas or even drill down to a specific movie at a specific cinema.

If you prefer to browse, you can scroll through a list of movies, get its Rotten Tomatoes rating and a short writeup of the movie. The app also links directly to the movie's trailer on YouTube.

What's the best thing one can say about this app? It just works. If you watch movies regularly, forget the other apps. Popcorn is the only app you'll need.

(Note: The developer is also running a contest and giving away free movie tickets. There are 10 pairs to be given away. To take part, click on the More tab. And if you type in iMerlion as your promo code, you get triple the chances of winning.)





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Monday, September 5, 2011

ST's subscription plan means paying more for less

Newspaper companies love to give out dead trees. For evidence, check out the Straits Times. Even though the paper now has a pretty good iPhone and iPad app, ST still really, really wants to put the dead tree version into the hands of readers.

Based on its recently announced subscription plan, it is now cheaper to subscribe to the newspaper and the digital editions together than it is to subscribe to the digital editions alone. If you only want to get the iPhone, iPad and web editions, and you don't want the physical newspaper, you will have to pay $6 more a month.

This is how it works out -- pay S$319.60 a year to get the physical newspaper daily, and access to the full stories via the web, the iPhone app and the iPad app. This works out to S$26.65 a month. Throw in a monthly delivery fee of $2 if you live in an HDB flat and the total comes up to S$28.65 a month.

If you go the digital-only route, you will have to fork out US$27.99 (about S$35) a month (or you can pay US$7.99 a week).

Why is ST pushing the dead tree version? Because it makes more money from print advertising but it can only do so if it can show a big enough pool of readers.


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Friday, September 2, 2011

Learn about street photography from a master


If you've always wanted to be a street photographer but were worried about getting beaten up or mistaken for an up-skirt perv, don't miss the upcoming seminar by award-winning street photographer Chia Aik Beng.

Aik Beng will be holding four seminars on street photography at Comex at the EpiCentre booth at the third floor foyer.

The seminars will be at 3.30pm and 4.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday (Sep 3 and 4) at Suntec City Exhibition Centre.

This is your chance to get tips from the master himself. If you want to see more of Aik Beng's photography, check out  his Flickr page and his website. You can also follow him on Tumblr and Instagram.



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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mac deals at Comex

If you didn't manage to score a cheap TouchPad from HP at Comex, don't worry, there are other goodies available. Apple retailer Nubox, for example, is offering a bunch of deals if you buy your Apple gear from them. If you buy an iMac for example, they will double the RAM and throw in a Magic Trackpad.

Buy a 13" MacBook Pro and upgrade to 8GB of RAM. If you buy a 15" MacBook Pro, you get a Magic Mouse on top of the 8GB RAM upgrade. Pretty sweet. Click on the image to see the full details (sorry the resolution isn't higher).

They are also offering discounts of up to 70 percent on accessories such as iPad 2 cases, a mobile charger for iPhones and a wireless Bluetooth keyboard. For those who dabble with the Dark Arts, Nubox is offering Windows 7 Home Premium and Parallels Desktop 6 for $249 (usual price $318) with a free upgrade to Parallels Desktop 7.

In addition, Nubox is giving away The Wanted's debut album and passes to the band's Singapore showcase on Sep 17.

The first 200 customers to spend $300 and above at the Nubox booths during Comex 2011, and “Like” the Nubox Facebook page can redeem The Wanted debut album at Nubox@Raffles City from September 10 to September 16.

The first 50 customers who purchase a Mac and who “Like” the Nubox Facebook page will be entitled to a pair of showcase passes and The Wanted's debut album. They can redeem the passes and debut album at Nubox@Marina Bay Link Mall from September 10 to September 16.

Nubox can be found at level three, booth 3105 and level four, booth 8236.

Epicentre

Epicentre doesn't seem to be going whole hog at Comex. Apparently, they only have deals for iMac buyers. Buy an iMac and upgrade to 8GB of RAM and a Canon 258 AIO printer. They have also tied up with SingTel to offer deals for people who buy the iPhone 4 and iPad. Get the list of offerings here.

Epicentre is at room 201-202 and at the Level 3 Foyer.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jobs steps down as CEO; Tim Cook is new head

Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple and company COO Tim Cook has been appointed the new head of the company.

Jobs has been elected to the post of Chairman of Apple.

In his letter to the Board, Jobs wrote:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
See the letter from Jobs here and the press release from Apple announcing the resignation and appointment of Tim Cook here.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Put your Instagram pictures at an exhibition

If you like using Instagram, here is your opportunity to have your photos featured in an exhibition.

Between Sep 17 and Oct 30, the National Library Board will host an exhibition of Instagram photos at Level 8 of the NLB building.

The exhibition, SIN: A Singapore Instagram Exhibition, is a collaboration between Singapore Instagram and the NLB.

You have until 31 August to submit your Instagram photos. To be considered for the exhibition, all you have to do is tag your photos using one of these tags: #SIN2011Events, #SIN2011Food, #SIN2011Places, #SIN2011People, or #SIN2011Memories.

The curators of the exhibition are Goh Eck Kheng, Dr Tan Ngiap Heng and Chia Aik Beng. The latter two, together with Ivan Kuek, will also be running an Instagram Masterclass on Saturday, Sep 17 between 4.00 and 6.00 pm at the Visitors’ Briefing Room, Level 1, National Library Building.

The workshop is free but you need to register beforehand, and you need to have your own iPhone.

To register, please send an email to sharon_chen@nlb.gov.sg by 8 September 2011 with the subject header ‘SIN masterclass’ and include the following details:

i) Name, NRIC, Contact number
ii) Why do you want to join this programme? (in 250 words)
iii) Do you have any experience using Instagram?



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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Local food blogger takes GarageBand for iPad, stirs in some effort and voila! An album on iTunes.


Apple's says GarageBand for iPad is easy to use. Here's proof: a local food blogger learned to use GarageBand and three weeks later, produced an album that he is now selling on iTunes, Amazon and Rhapsody.

The blogger is Ian Low, 42, and his album is Silverfish. The album merges his love for food with music and has tracks with titles such as "Ribeye", "Chendol", "Lemongrass", "Sauvignon", "Sashimi" and "Abalone".

What is remarkable is how quickly he was able to put the tracks together. Said Ian: "I only learnt GarageBand about three weeks before I wrote and recorded Silverfish. In fact, as a warm up, I actually recorded an album's worth of Chinese pop song covers with vocals, but this was not released due to copyright reasons."

According to Ian, the best thing about using the iPad is the ability to compose and record on the go. The track "Chendol" took just two hours to complete from start to finish, he said, and he did it at local cafe Toast Box "while waiting for my wife to finish her work".

Ian said each track reflects the food named in the track. For example, "Sauvignon" is "supposed to evoke a smooth, jazzy atmosphere", he said, while "Sashimi" fuses "traditional Japanese-like melody with a modern funky twist and bass line."

The album has been on sale online since July and since then, he has already re-mixed four tracks.

Producing an album of any sort requires a musical background, which Ian has of course. Said Ian: "I studied the Electone when I was six-years old for about four years before taking a Yamaha course in music arrangement when I was 16 for another year."

Naturally, he has plans to record more music. "I am already planning a follow-up album but am working to collaborate to include some traditional Chinese musical instruments through a live recording using only the iPad."

For more on how he recorded his album, check out his post on Technorati here. You can also read the post on his blog The Silver Chef.

For a taste of his music (pun intended), check out the music videos of his songs "Jasmine" and "Chendol" on YouTube.

If you are in Singapore and you don't have a US iTunes account, you can buy Silverfish on Amazon and CDBaby.


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Could the iPhone 5 look like this?

MacRumors has commissioned CiccareseDesign to create high quality renders based on what is believed to be the case specifications for the iPhone 5, featuring a larger screen, a curved back and a larger home button.

If the case specifications are accurate, these renderings could very well be what the iPhone 5 will look like. Check out MacRumors for the very nice renders.

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iPhone 5 not being launched in September after all

The rumour mill has been going crazy recently speculating about when new iPhone 5 will be launched. On Thursday, MacRumors reported that Apple might hold the iPhone launch on September 7 but The Loop the next day dismissed that possibility, citing sources. Kara Swisher of All Things D has just reiterated that the iPhone 5 is going to be launched in October.

Earlier, All Things D, citing "a source familiar with Apple’s plans" gave October as the timeframe.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Skype for iPad is now available

Skype's iPad app is now available. If you have an iPad 2, this will allow you to do video calls using the big display of your iPad, which is nice.

Video calls should work over both WiFi and 3G (I don't have an iPad 2 so I can't verify that video calls work over 3G.)

You can download Skype for iPad here.


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iPhone 5 hardware with carriers for testing

Citing sources, the Guardian reports that the carriers now have the iPhone 5 hardware.

This is not the same as saying that the carriers have the new iPhone though. Specifically, the report says "boxes in which the new iPhone hardware is encased have been transported to carriers for testing."

According to the report: "... my understanding is that barely anyone inside the carriers gets to open those boxes, and even when they do the hardware is encased in a dummy body which means there's no clue to what the actual phone will do."

The reporter, Charles Arthur, also argues that the new iPhone is more likely to come out in September rather than October, as reported by All Things D.

Read the full story here.


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A peek at iCloud and syncing with iWork apps

Nate'sTechUpdate has a nice YouTube video walkthrough of iWork apps syncing with iCloud.

He shows how quickly a new document you create in Pages gets synced to the cloud and how quickly changes to the document are reflected.

Engadget has a pretty good walkthrough of iCloud too. They show you how Mail, Contacts and Calendar works.


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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New SG apps

Here's a quick round-up of new SG apps:

Dr Tan Cheng Bock (free): The Presidential election is certainly heating up. While Tan Kin Lian has long had a presence online and Dr Tony Tan practically controls Straits Times coverage, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the third Tan, has an iPhone app that links to his videos, his Facebook posts and his blog. My vote goes to Dr Tan mainly because he plays the ukelele.

Straits Times (free): You may have heard that the Straits Times has released an update for their app that now links to the full story. The app is a universal app, meaning that it is now also optimised for the iPad. The stories are free for a month, and after that you will have to pay for access. Pricing is not yet available.

The newspaper is a pleasure to read on the iPad but there are downsides. Downloading the entire newspaper takes a while and I can't say it was a great idea to make the home page a boring link to the last seven issues of the Straits Times. Unfortunately for advertisers, ads seem to take a long time to load. Advertisers should really also consider a separate ad for the iPad and iPhone. What might look great on the iPad's big screen looks unreadable on the iPhone.

All things considered, a pretty good app and something I would definitely considering buying a subscription too. (Note that if you want to read the full paper online, the iPhone or iPad app is the only way to do it for free at the moment. ST's website still requires an account to get full stories.)

Deal.com.sg (free): There is nothing that Singaporeans like more than getting a good deal. So it is not surprising that Groupon clones like Deal.com.sg are doing well. Deal.com.sg now has its own iPhone app so you can keep track of the latest offers. Of course, Groupon also has an app.

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iCloud's web interface in beta

Apple has just made the iCloud web interface available to developers on the web.

If you go to www.icloud.com, you will see a log-in page for your Apple ID. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to log in but there are reports of people who have.

Apple has also revealed pricing for storage on iCloud.

• First 5GB – Free
• Another 10GB – US$20 per year. (15GB total iCloud storage)
• Another 20GB – US$40 per year. (25GB total iCloud storage)
• Another 50GB – US$100 per year. (55GB total iCloud storage)

9to5Mac has screenshots of the iCloud interface.

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iPhone 5 to come out in October?

Waiting to upgrade to the iPhone 5? Looks like you're going to have to wait till October. According to All Things D, Apple is planning to launch the new iPhone in October, and not September as generally rumoured.

And not just October, but later in the month, rather than earlier.

Check out the full story here.


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Apple rolls out another security update iOS 4

Apple has rolled out iOS 4.3.5, a security update that fixes a vulnerability with SSL certificates. Threatpost has a good description of the problem.

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