About Ben Reid





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ben [dot] reid [at] redmondpie [dot] com

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Ben has blogged 5316 post(s).

Posts by Ben Reid:

Smart home products have risen in prominence over the past couple of years in particular, and thanks to crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, these seamless home automation gadgets continue to gather steam. The August Smart Lock, which was first introduced last year, has just begun shipping to those who pre-ordered, and if you wish to get your hands on a unit, you can do so right now for the price of $250.

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HDR or High Dynamic Range photography has long since aided those looking to take snaps in low light, but while the HDR setting has been available on iPhone from the 2010 introduction of the iPhone 4, video is quite a different matter. But for those in ownership of the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus, help is at hand courtesy of a new, third-party app, which shoots video in HDR and can, when tweaked properly, offer a better standard of output versus Apple’s stock software.

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This week is already shaping up as a busy one thanks to Apple’s confirmed event at Town Hall, but according to reports and rumors, Google could well be poised to steal the show with a major roll-out of its own. Android L, which we first saw at this year’s I/O event, is a rather significant bump on the current Android KitKat, and although the Big G has said very little on this topic, October is the search giant’s usual month of choice for such announcements. With Android L seemingly imminent, users of Samsung devices will be looking on with a keen interest, and now, we’ve a leaked roadmap that indicates which of the Korean outfit’s line-up will be seeing new software, and perhaps more importantly, when.

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Apple’s iPhone 6 has already sold tens of millions of units across the globe, and with some 20 million Chinese consumers having also secured themselves a unit in the run-up to the launch in China later on this week, we’re still not able to put a ballpark figure next to the device’s success. But given the popularity, Apple is regularly faced with imitations, and now Lenovo, which is currently in the process of purchasing Motorola from Google, has come through with a mid-range handset that appears an almost carbon copy of the mobile industry’s current must-have.

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Apple has yet another big media event scheduled for later on this week, and just as was the case in the run-up to last month’s shenanigans, tech fans and commentators are rummaging around for evidence of what might be showcased in three days’ time.

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Last week, Apple dropped the second Golden Master Candidate of OS X 10.10 Yosemite alongside the fifth Public Beta, with the third GM arriving shortly thereafter. To bring the Beta Program right up to date, OS X Yosemite Public Beta 6 has just rolled out, which should, in terms of features, be basically identical to the latest build on the Developer Program. Full details, though, can be seen right here.

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Within iOS 8, the typing experience has improved dramatically. Not only has Apple now made it possible for users to download their favorite third-party offerings like Fleksy, Swype and SwiftKey, but the native keyboard is also far superior to the lackluster native arrangement that users have endured for the past seven years. The autocomplete feature, in particular, will estimate the next word in your sentence, writing out your body of text through a combination of guesswork and learned algorithms. But while this is useful for your everyday typist, one YouTuber has taken things a step further by allowing the stock feature to essentially write its own song. The result is pretty hilarious, and below, you can check it out.

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Apple makes a decent effort to improve the performance of the iPhone’s camera with each new release, and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been the subject of much acclaim thanks to their rear-facing shooters. But while the new Focus Pixel technology and other trimmings undoubtedly equate to a better overall experience, how does it fare against a ‘proper’ DSLR?

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Instant picture messaging app Snapchat has risen to prominence over the past couple of years, establishing a niche for users who wish to share photos and short (albeit terrible quality) clips that self-destruct after a set period of time. The authors of Snapchat have come under fierce scrutiny on more than one occasion already over user privacy, and with a cache of around 13GB of snaps having leaked online, the company is pointing the finger at “illegal” third-party clients.

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Jony Ive is a pivotal member of Apple’s executive team, and since the departure and subsequent passing of Steve Jobs, oversees most of the major hardware and software design changes that the company makes. The Englishman, like most of Apple’s execs, rarely speaks publicly aside from a recorded clip at most of the keynotes, but in a rare tidbit, discussed the iPhone, the company’s impending smartwatch, and how much it irks him to see rivals copying Apple.

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Beats Electronics, which was acquired by Apple earlier on this year for the tidy sum of $3 billion, has risen to prominence thanks largely to its extensive marketing campaigns. Many celebrities, particularly those with ties to the music industry and sports, have promoted the company’s products simply by wearing them in music videos or in the run-up to major sporting events, and you only really have to turn on the TV to see a pair of Beats headphones floating around. Bose, the audio specialist and thus, major rival to Beats, recently struck a deal with the NFL that would permit players to be seen using only its own brand of audio hardware during and around the time of matches, but while this move also banned NFL participants from wearing any other brand including Beats, one quarterback has decided to flout the rules and has subsequently been fined $10,000.

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Since Apple allowed developers some jurisdiction over the keyboard element of iOS, many have obliged in releasing third-party alternatives to the stock offering. Many of these have sought to offer enhanced functionality in helping users to type more quickly, while others have brought a welcome element of fun with GIFs and emojis galore, and today’s featured keyboard seems a perfect combination of the two.

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Apple’s next major mobile software update, iOS 8.1, is currently on its way to the end user. We’re already a couple of betas in, and with a special event now confirmed for next week, it may be just days away. Of all the features that the Cupertino company will be bundling into the new version, including Apple Pay, iOS 8.1 will also be plugging a loophole that allows emulators like GBA4iOS to run, but in a true sense of getting in before the lock, the authors of said emulator will still be pushing some new features before Apple spoils the party.

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As has long since been suspected, Apple will be holding a special event next week on October 16th, and likely topics of conversation will pertain to the iPad, OS X Yosemite, iOS 8.1 and possibly a couple of new Macs as well. Should all of these products roll out at the same time, it’ll be a fairly busy affair, and for those wishing to tune in, Apple will be live streaming proceedings right from Town Hall.

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Tesla’s quite public effort to bring electric cars to the mainstream has been well documented, and it was only back in July that the company announced the $35,000 Model 3 to rival the 3 Series BMW. Now, another very interesting variant of the Model S includes a number of exciting new features, including an autopilot self-driving mode that will eventually allow the machine to drive itself to its owner.

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Apple has just rolled out a third Candidate Golden Master of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which will presumably launch late next week when the company holds its special event at Town Hall. At this stage, Apple isn’t adding any major features or changes, rather refining the software ready for the end user, so while developers can now go ahead and pick up Yosemite GM 3, there won’t be any drastic alterations therein.

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Siri, Apple’s famed voice assistant, has been parodied umpteen times, and has once again been utilized for the purpose of pure entertainment in a new comedy sketch. As ever, it’s pretty funny, and below, you can check it out.

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Recognizing that its once-popular check-in app was hitting something of a lull, Foursquare devised a separate app in the form of Swarm. The idea was that Swarm would work as a kicker to Foursquare, but focus more on finding friends within your locale and subsequently, find things to do. It still includes its very own check-in feature, though, and thanks to iOS 8′s widget support, the Swarm app for iOS has just been updated to include a useful button for checking in with a single tap.

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As geeks, we love seeing improbable stuff happen in the world of tech, and in a seemingly unlikely turn of events, one tenacious developer has begun work on a project to bring a Kinect motion viewer to Apple’s iOS. Costing 99 cents, it’s already available to download over at the App Store, and although it’s not particularly useful at its current duration, it’s one of the coolest apps we’ve seen here in a very long time.

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Apple first announced its intention to extend its iOS ecosystem to cars was first announced way back at 2013′s Worldwide Developers’ Conference, but it was only early this year with the release of iOS 7.1 that devices could properly support it. Many car manufacturers have signed up to include CarPlay as a standard feature, but sound and general infotainment specialist Pioneer has been one of a small number of companies to pledge aftermarket support. A short while ago, the first batch of CarPlay-ready in-car systems were launched, but given their fledgling nature, most of us have yet to see what this new Apple-integrated hardware is really made of. One early adopter, who also just so happens to be a member of a tech. repair company, has already had some extensive time with one of Pioneer’s new receivers, and for the benefit of the masses, has posted a series of walkthrough clips.

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