All Articles Tagged "apple"

Which Smartphone Is Best Suited To Your Needs?

April 3rd, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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hand zen htc oneThese days, the average smartphone can do it all. It is a photo-taker, portable search-engine, organizer, newsmaker/slash social-media updater, an actual device for making phone calls (which we sometimes forget), and perform even more valuable functions. Many people rely heavily on their smartphones for day-to-day tasks; and, for many, these portable devices are the only means of connection to the Internet.

While Internet use is virtually universal among younger, college-educated adults and those with high incomes regardless of race, the gap is far greater when age and race are factored in, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. Figures show smartphone usage is nearly equal among Blacks and whites — 56 percent of African Americans and 53 percent of whites are smartphone users. Furthermore, African Americans have high rates of social networking site usage, over-indexing on Twitter. When it comes to younger African Americans, some 40 percent of African-American Internet users, ages 18-to-29, report they use Twitter, as opposed to 28 percent of whites of the same age.

With smartphones serving as the entry way to the world of digital for communities of color, MadameNoire takes a look at which handsets are best for some of our daily needs:

Health: Samsung Galaxy S5

Health tech has taken off, allowing users to monitor their caloric intake, sleeping patterns and activity levels. The Samsung Galaxy S5 takes it to another level. Users can select the heart-rate monitor icon from within Samsung’s S Health 3.0 application, which comes pre-loaded in the Galaxy S5, and place their index finger on the center of the flash module to the right of the flash. Holding your finger in place for a couple of seconds, you’ll receive your heart-rate info, which can be used to plot exercise and training regimens (viewing it in hours, days or months). Technically, you can use the iPhone 5S in the same manner if you download an appropriate app.

We can do without the plastic exterior, but you can’t beat the 5.1-inch display or amazing 16-MP rear camera either, or that it’s water resistant. The device goes on sale on April 11.

Stay Up to Date: HTC One (M8)

We love to stay connected and the newly released HTC One (M8) will satisfy your there’s-an-app-for-that needs. It’s Blinkfeed newsfeed app, which allows you to display your favorite content (thanks in part to HTC’s top-tier content partners like The Associated Press, MTV, and ESPN) and social updates  on your home screen.

It comes with more storage (ahem, the 2,600 mAh and Snapdragon 801 processor), so you can store more information on your device. Whether it’s pictures from the family reunion or business files, you’ll have them at your fingertips.

For more on the HTC One (M8), click here for our review.

Greater Photos: Nokia Lumia 1020

There so much talk of the iPhone 5S or the latest Galaxy devices that other brands get squashed. But don’t sleep on this Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is equipped with a great camera phone, boasting strong manual controls, a selection of photo Lens apps and a 21-MP sensor. Yes, you’ll get sharper photos and greater creative control. AT&T dropped the price of the Lumia 1020 from $299 to $199 on contract.

Cool Videos: iPhone 5S

It’s not a never-before-seen feature (you can definitely capture these on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S5 or phones with the SloPro app), but we’ll give it to them for now because there’s been some great videos captures with the device. Take a look for yourself.

Which is your favorite smartphone? We want to know how you use it and why it’s better than the rest?

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

An African Company Has Created Black Emojis. Thoughts?

April 1st, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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black emojisApple made news just last week with its intentions to try to go through the proper techie channels in order to create black emojis. We took an unscientific poll and found that, yes, lots of people would like to see that happen.

Well, wait no longer.

Oju Africa, a part of the mobile company Mi-Fone, has created the first black emojis, 15 of them that are now available for Android and soon for iOS. The apps are free, but they can only be used with other platforms, like Twitter and WhatsApp. “Oju” means “faces” in the Yoruba language.

“…[A]s a brand we wanted to do something that only Africa could pull off, something that could become so iconic that it would have the world talking,” creative director Eserick Fouché told the International Business Times. The Huffington Post notes the petitions that have been started in an effort to diversify emojis, something that Miley Cyrus has even pushed for.

What do you think of these emojis? Will you use them?

Microsoft Office Finally Comes To iPad

March 28th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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office for ipadAfter rumblings of a possible release, Microsoft unveiled Office for iPad on Thursday. It’s been a long awaited and well overdue release, but the software company and Cupertino, California-based corporation have delivered something enterprise users, students and everyday consumers can rely on.

“Microsoft is focused on delivering the cloud for everyone, on every device. It’s a unique approach that centers on people — enabling the devices you love, work with the services you love, and in a way that works for IT and developers,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a press statement.

Office software allows users to create and edit documents, work with spreadsheets and design presentations via its Word, Excel, and PowerPoint programs. Similar to Office for iPhone, the iPad version will employ Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription for creating and editing content, but users looking to simply read and present content can do so for free with the app. Last year, Microsoft shifted to a subscription model for Office with Office Home Premium, which is priced at $9.99 a month, $99.99 a year.

Mobile Office apps have been available for iPhone and Android smartphones, with a mandatory Office 365 subscription. While Office for iPhone included basic editing, the iPad version allows for more features.

Office on iPad is “a beautiful set of applications,” said Nadella at the Thursday morning press event, adding that the company is “taking great care to make sure that Office on every device shines through.”

But is the release a little too late for users who have gotten used to living without the program on iPad? We turned to Twitter to see what users had to say:




The app is live for free in Apple’s App Store.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.


No Emojis Without Representation! Do Black People Need Black Emojis?

March 28th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Apple/ Black Emoji LLC

Apple/ Black Emoji LLC

IPhone users adore them. Android users feel some type of way when they cannot see them on texts. They illustrate our feelings. Most importantly, they made their first music video debut to re-create Beyonce and Jay Z’s “Drunk In Love.” They are emojis, the cute cartoon icons you can download for free from Apple’s app store.

The other day, my childhood friend tagged me in a post about Black emojis. Although I majored in Black Studies and work at an online magazine for black women, I never gave much thought about the lack of diversity in the world of emojis. I thought the post would turn into a moment of hilarity shared among black people but quickly realized I was wrong. According to The Los Angeles Times, Apple received an email from MTV to make emoji icons more racially inclusive after a tweet from actor Tahj Mowry.

tahj mowrey tweet

The email was sent to  Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook. Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications, Katie Cotton responded:  “There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

The Unicode standard is used by various programs and allows apps/platforms to display text or icons the same as one another. Unicode is controlled by a consortium and not by Apple. Therefore, Apple cannot automatically issue an update. For there to be black emojis, the Unicode consortium needs to accept changes to the standard. In other words, until the emoji creators decide to update the icons, users who want a more diverse set emojis are better off using Black Emoji by Black Emoji LLC. Beware though, it’s not free.

MadameNoire did a quick unscientific survey of a group of college-educated people for their thoughts about their representation in the emoji world.

Black Women Share Their Thoughts On Purchasing Black Emojis:

“I would use them but I wouldn’t pay for them. I can speak my feelings for free.” -M. Ogbeab

“Def wouldn’t pay for them. The other emojis are free, so why should the black ones cost money? I would most certainly use them, as long as they aren’t offensive. They could also get some Caribbean/African flags up there too.”- D. Brissett

“Why should I have to pay for the black emoji while the white emoji is free. No I don’t think so. I would use them if it was free. The black emoji has to be natural too!! But I still won’t purchase it.”- T. Cudjoe

“I’m not paying to be discriminated against! Where are the emojis that represent the caramel colored? Black isn’t just one shade! Why are all the black female emojis looking less than enthused? Black women aren’t ever happy?” – M. Bunbury

“Black people have many things to worry about and emoji representation is on the lower end of the spectrum of our worries. Would it be nice to see black emojis-YES. Would I (or should I) pay for them, when other emojis are free-NO. However, it is 2014, the NEW WORLD has been discovered. Other people exist, besides white people. Why is it so hard to have emojis that represent POC (People Of Color) period?” – C. Hairston

“More Caribbean flags. I really don’t have a preference on the race of the emoji. Lol aren’t they yellow! And besides, the ones that look like people could be light skin! Lol. But you know, one with dreads wouldn’t hurt lol!” -N. Bourne

“I literally say this all the time. Where are the POC emojis?! I can’t identify with the white ones. Fyi I would totally use the emoji of the guy with the beard. My
Bf looks like that.” – J. Bautista

“People always want to make a profit off of the Black identity.We are usually misunderstood and underrepresented as is… Then you want to charge? Ha!”- F. Harvey

What Do White People/Asians Think About This Issue?

“Yes I would use them but don’t think I would pay. I love emojis and think they are fun and can enhance writing (especially considering how much I communicate via mobile typing these days), but don’t use the people emojis much because they don’t feel inclusive.” – Z. Teague

” I would never pay for an emoji, unless it was one of a Bills jersey and we were going to the superbowl–which will never happen, so no.  I didn’t even know there were little white people, but I say yes, make them for all races and ethnicities. Some of my family is black and some Hispanic… but I’m white, so would I send them one that looks like them or me? Depends I guess lol. I would not be surprised if someone makes an app with generic faces and bodies and you click which color to fill it. And I bet no one chooses yellow! And can we get a polish flag or a pussywillow too? Dyngus day is our one holiday!” – C. Skrzypek

” I personally feel as if a middle eastern/south Asian line of emojis existed, i’d feel more inclined to use them. I’m guessing for many the same holds true when it comes to black emojis. Paying for them is wrong though. I say the emojis for your skin color should come standard on your phone and if you must pay for them it ought to only be for emojis of other skin colors or those crazy animal emojis.” – A. Ghuman

Regardless of what you think, this issue allows for conversation about how black people are represented in the media. We hope the new black emojis made will not be offensive or stereotypical, like the ones we found during research today.

Let us know your thoughts:  Do you think black people need black emojis? 

Apple Has A Worm! Security Bug Affects iPhones, iPads, & Apple Computers

February 25th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Apple owners didn’t used to have to worry about viruses–until now. There is a software bug called “Gotofail” that is wreaking havoc on Apple gadgets. Apple has quietly released a notice that the hole has been plugged, but details about the situation are scarce. The bug affects “every single Apple device, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, or desktop or laptop computer,” reports Business Insider.

Apple announced that there is a security flaw in its iOS operating system for iPhone and iPad that affects encryption. Encryption allows you to send info via the Internet without worrying about hackers getting hold of data like your credit card number when you shop online.

In short, Gotofail makes your computer think it’s connecting to secure servers, even when servers are used by hackers.

Unfortunately, OS X users are really in danger. “Gotofail directly affects OS X apps. Any hacker monitoring them would find a goldmine of data if they wanted it. Major communication apps like Apple’s email client and iMessage are vulnerable, even the Safari web browser,” reports Business Insider, which suggests that OS X users stop using Safari for now.

If you haven’t updated your Apple devices, do so now.

Creator Removes ‘Flappy Bird’ From App Store, eBay User Selling iPhone With The Addictive Game For $90,200!

February 10th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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flappy-birdEver heard of “Flappy Bird”? It’s aggravating, yet addictive; it’s like “Angry Birds” — ‘cept you’re the one that’s angry. Amidst the Flappy Bird craze, the overwhelmed creator deleted the game from app stores. Capitalizing on its scarcity, eBay users have no shame in selling Flappy Birds (with the iPhone 5) for $90,200!

“I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore,” Dong Nguyen, the game’s creator, said. “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.” Though the hair-pulling game garnered 50 million downloads and reeled in $50,000 a day, Nyugen stayed true to his word and yanked “Flappy Bird” off Apple App and Google Play stores.

“Press people are overrating the success of my games… please give me peace,” Nguyen tweeted.

While the Vietnam-based developer backs out the glaring spotlight, eBay sellers are rubbing their hands with sinister zeal for a chance to capitalize off Flappy Bird’s growing rarity. One user is selling an iPhone 5S for $1,499. Why? Because it’s got “Flappy Birds” pre-installed of course!

“A comparable second-hand iPhone without Flappy Bird can be easily be had on eBay for $500 to $600, so in this instance, the game — which was an ad-supported freebie — commands a premium of $900 or more,” Time reports.

If you thought that was ridiculous, there are users selling their Flappy Bird-installed iPhones for $4,999,  $7,100 (which has 14 bids to date), and $8,100 (used with two bids!).

But nothing is more absurd than the $90,200 price tag for an iPhone 5. Clearly, this seller is testing the waters to see if anyone is insane enough to make such an outlandish purchase.

And who else is capitalizing off Nyugen’s media-shy personality? A slew developers have come forth with “Flappy Bird” clones such as “Flappy Wings,” “Clumsy Bird,” and “Fly Birdie — Flappy Bird Flier,” The latter is already number two, according to Metro, on the iOs charts!

The success of Flappy Bird is peculiar. Unlike Angry Birds, which took nine months to make with hundreds of programmers, Flappy Bird was made in two to three days by one man. And he didn’t even promote the app — a la Beyonce — after its release last May. It surged into popularity in mid-January and remained number one for a month.

As Flappy Bird flaps no longer, many people are still bewildered by Nyugen’s step down.

@dongatory a LOT of people would kill to have such success you ungrateful piece of scum,” Aaron Ashab tweeted to Nyugen.

The Death Of The iPod? Apple Faces Huge Sales Drop For Popular Music Device

January 30th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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via Apple

via Apple

We’re just not wooed by the iPod anymore! During the past three-month holiday season, Apple only sold six million iPods — this is a 53 percent plunge from last year’s numbers. It’s the steepest drop in iPod sales Apple has ever had, The Huffington Post reports.

IPod sales have been declining due to the success of the iPhone — the device already fulfills the function of the iPod; it holds a massive collection music, so why bother purchasing the iPod?

Even Steve Jobs called the iPhone “the best iPod we’ve ever made.”

Though the iPhone broke sales record during the last holiday season, tech pundits aren’t impressed. They expected the beloved smartphone to secure $57 million in sales, but instead Apple reeled in $51 million.

But Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to CNN Money, had an explanation for the disappointing quarter:

“Cell phone companies’ longer upgrade cycles were partially to blame for weak American sales. He also noted that orders for the iPhone 5S were stronger than expected, so it took some time for Apple to make enough of the smartphones to meet customer demand.”

But investors aren’t too swayed by Cook’s statement. With a prediction of $42 million in revenue next quarter — a bit short of analysts’ $46 million forecast — investors attribute Apples lower-than-expected sales to lack of innovation.

According to USA Today, Apple has plans to expand its horizons to TVs, smartwatches, home automation and mobile payments, but the tech giant’s innovative pace is too slow for many investors.

“It’s been in this lull for a long time now,” said Jason Jones of HighStep Capital, a tech hedge fund firm. “There’s a lot riding on this year, especially for Tim Cook who needs to show the world that he has some innovation up his sleeve.”

Apple’s shares have decreased from $700 to $500 in recent years. “The stock may not rebound until the company unveils at least one or two of these new devices,” USA Today adds.

“‘Apple is lagging’ in critical growth areas not making full use of assets such as iTunes, [Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial] said,” The Washington Post reports.

It’s not all bad news for the tech giant, though. Apple sold 4.8 million Macs; this is up 17 percent from last year. And 26 million iPads were sold during the same quarter — exactly in line with stock analysts’ predictions.

Make Calls On Your Wrist! We’re Getting A Glimpse Of The Apple iWatch

January 28th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Flexing its innovative genius, Apple has — somehow, someway — condensed the finesse of the beloved iPhone into a sleek wristwatch! The name of this new incredible concept, according to Entrepreneur, is called the iWatch.

Apple’s new, still-speculative wearable technology infuses Nike FuelBand‘s design and a minimalist version of Apple’s iOs 7 interface into a sleek, smart wristwatch. Users can access a few of their favorite apps and even make calls on iWatch with just a swipe of the fingertip.

So who’s the mastermind behind this concept? At first, a mock-up design of the Apple iWatch was released by Thomas Bogner back in October.

But a San Francisco-based tech interface designer, Todd Hamilton, pushed Bogner to the side and created a better, more efficient interface:

“[Bogner's iWatch] was an impressive concept that got a lot of people excited including myself. However, it had a major flaw: the orientation of the interface made it impossible to use,” Hamilton said on his blog. “It needed to feel natural on the wrist and look like something Apple would actually produce.”

So basically, instead of being horizontal like Bogner’s, Hamilton suggested the iWatch be vertical. This version also “updates the operating system in order to give viewers a better vision of what the operation of the device might really look like,” according to Mashable.

The iWatch is rumored to rival Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Watch.

While Apple is keeping the iWatch hush-hush, there’s talk that the tech giant will aim to make the smartwatch health-focused. Apple has hired biomedical experts — like Nancy Dougherty – who are developing technological medical sensors, Business Insider reports.

Apple App Store Rakes In $10 Billion in 2013 With Top Apps Like Minecraft

January 7th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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The Apple app store sure had a great 2013. According to the tech giant, customers spent more than $10 billion on apps last year. And December proved to be the best month with sales of more than $1 billion in that month alone.

“App Store customers downloaded almost three billion apps in December making it the most successful month in App Store history,” according to a press release. Apple’s developers have now earned a whopping $15 billion on the App Store.

The introduction of iOS 7 helped boost sales as developers were able to create apps that took advantage of the redesigned user interface and  more than 200 new features and APIs.

“Games were the top-downloaded lists for both free and paid-for apps on the iPhone,” reports The Telegraph. And Candy Crush Saga was the most popular free app of 2013, while, paid apps, Minecraft was the leader.

Following Candy Crush Saga for the top free apps were: Snapchat, Temple Run 2, 4 Pics 1 Word, YouTube, Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Despicable Me: Minion Rush and Skype for iPhone.

After the pocket edition of Minecraft, the top 10 paid iPhone were: Angry Birds Star Wars, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, Temple Run: Oz, The Chase, Facetune, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Plague Inc., Angry Birds Star Wars II, and Minute Workout Challenge.

When looking at free iPad apps, again Candy Crush Saga came out on top, followed by YouTube, Skype for iPad, Temple Run 2  and BBC iPlayer.  The top paid iPad apps were: Minecraft – Pocket Edition Wreck-it Ralph, Angry Birds Star Wars HD, The Chase, and Temple Run: Oz.

Did you download apps from the Apple Store last year?

After Feeling The Squeeze From Shareholders, Apple Promises To Diversify Its Board

January 6th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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jkirsh /

jkirsh /

Apple, under pressure from shareholders, is giving its board of directors team a much-needed face lift. The tech giant pledges to revamp its corporate charter to be more inclusive of women and minorities — two of the most underrepresented groups in Fortune 500 executive positions, Time reports.

Currently, Apple’s governing committee is predominantly white. The board members consist of seven Caucasian men over the age of 50; Andrea Jung — former CEO of Avon — is the only woman and person of color on the team.

Adding a splash of color and some feminine perspective can only widen the scope of innovative ideas that will appeal to a broader range of consumers.

“We live in an increasingly complex global marketplace, and the companies that can hire, attract and retain women and people of color are better equipped to capitalize on global opportunities and avoid missteps that may not be apparent to a more homogeneous group,” said Larisa Ruoff, director of shareholders at the Sustainability Group.

The Sustainability Group has taken a proactive stance to expedite Apple’s transition into a more diverse, inclusive corporation. Playing no games, the group sent a letter to Apple back in August and asked the company to “make adding women and people of color a priority, and to report back to investors on how it’s making those changes,” Bloomberg reports.

Also co-signing with The Sustainability Group are shareholders Trillium Asset Management LLC. “There is a general problem with diversity at the highest echelon of Apple,” added Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy at Boston’s Trillium. “It’s all white men.”

Over the past couple of months, both groups had several talks with Apple representatives to variegate their executive team. The multi-million dollar corporation caved in and vowed to amend their board’s bylaws:

“The Committee is committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which Board nominees are chosen.”

Apple seeks to solidify this amendment to their charter with a February 28 vote among the tech giant’s shareholders.

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