Oct 24

iHome iDM15 with the Apple iPadI listen to a lot of music, podcasts and audiobooks, and most of the time either my iPhone, iPad or laptop is the audio source. Each of these devices has its own onboard speaker, but even the best sounding of the three – a 2011 MacBook Air – leaves a lot to be desired.  So, a day rarely passes that I don’t connect at least one of these to an external speaker via Dock Connector or audio cable.

But all three have onboard Bluetooth with A2DP, so a speaker system with Bluetooth connectivity can be used with each, and without the limitations of a corded connection.  So when the iHome iDM15 Portable Bluetooth Speakers arrived, I was anxious to put them to the test with my Apple lineup and see how life would be without the cord. 

Generally speaking, it’s been a pleasant experience.

[Best Price iHome iDM15 Bluetooth Speakers]

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Oct 18

Low Battery Under iOS 5

Shortly after upgrading my iPhone 4 to the new iOS 5 operating system, I noticed the phone’s battery was draining at a much faster clip than under iOS 4.  I’m not sure exactly what the cause of this issue is, but my guess is that it’s a combination of new background processes, activity from existing apps not yet optimized for iOS 5, and some buggy system-level code. 

Assuming Apple and third-parties will release updates that correct the problem over the coming weeks, here are a few tips to mitigate the iOS 5 battery issue, at least in the short term.

1. Reset Network Settings: This is a tried-and-true method of decreasing battery drain after upgrading to a new iOS.  And it’s relatively painless. 

From the Home screen, tap Settings > General > Reset, and then select Reset Network Settings.  This will wipe out the stored settings for your carrier’s wireless network, along with other network settings like Wi-Fi networks.  You won’t have to do anything to get back up and running on your carrier’s wireless network, but you will have to set up Wi-Fi networks again, along with VPN if you use it.  This does not affect apps, music, photos, or any other aspect of the phone.  For whatever reason, this tends to help with battery life issues. 

Be sure that you have your Wi-Fi and/or VPN networks’ settings written down before proceeding so that you can reconfigure them easily.

2. Turn Off Unneeded Notifications: iOS 5 has some new notification features, but even the legacy functions can be a drain on battery life.  Go into Settings > Notifications and disable any notifications you don’t need.  You may be surprised just how many apps are notification enabled, and how many are generally are useless.  This is a good idea even if you have no battery issues.

3.  Limit, Turn Off iCloud: Apple’s new iCloud service can, depending on how you use your phone, be a real behind-the-scenes busybody.  Turn off the iCloud services you don’t need (Settings > iCloud), or disable the service altogether if you don’t care to use it.  If you have your contacts, calendar and email already backed-up in the Cloud, on Google or Windows Live, for example, you may not even need it.

4. Turn Off Bluetooth: If you don’t use it – or use it much – kill Bluetooth (Settings > General > Bluetooth). 

5. Wipe (Restore) and Reconfigure:  Just as with a Mac or PC, doing an in-place upgrade of an iPhone or iPad to a new OS version can cause malfunctions large and small; it’s always better – though much more time consuming – to start fresh with the new OS and manually put things back the way you want them. 

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Oct 16

Google Voice Logo

If you’ve been looking to add Google Voice to your iPhone or iPad in the last few hours, you’ve probably noticed that it’s disappeared from the App Store. Word is Google and/or Apple pulled the app yesterday afternoon because the latest version – v1.3.0.1771 – was crashing at sign-in, at least for some users.

Voice has a complicated history with iOS; after a famous rejection by Apple in 2009, the official Google Voice app has been available in the iOS App Store for more than  a year, along with a few third party alternatives.  The latest official version, which was released several days ago, corrected many problems that have long plagued the app, including lock-ups and crashes.

But at least some users have reported that the updated Google Voice crashes at sign-in, a problem which may only affect users installing and linking the app with their Google Voice accounts for the first time.  We’ve been using the Google Voice iOS app v1.3.0.1771since its release – on both iOS 4 and iOS 5 – without issue.

If you’ve already installed Google Voice on your iOS device, it should continue to work.  We’ve noticed no missing functionality or other malfunctions on our existing installs since the app was pulled.  If you have, please post in the comment section.

There’s no word on when Google will release an update that restores the app to the App Store, but the boys in the basement are apparently at work on the issue now

We’ll keep you posted.

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Oct 12

Fire up iTunes 10.5, folks; Apple has released the update to iOS 5 for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, 3rd and 4th Gen iPod touch models, and all iPad models.

iOS 5 Ready to Download

We’ll also post direct links to the most popular iOS updaters when available.

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Oct 07

Valued my ass...When I upgraded from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS, I’d had the handset for less than a year (September 2008 – June 2009), and AT&T allowed the upgrade at the subsidized price: $199 for the 16GB version.  Same story a year later when the iPhone 4 went up for pre-order; $199 with another 12 months left on my contract.  Bravo, AT&T.

So, when Apple announced the iPhone 4S this week, I didn’t even consider this time might be different.  Nothing had changed with my service and, rather than being 9 months or 12, it had been 15 months since the iPhone 4 upgrade.  I thoughtlessly expected smooth sailing.  That ain’t what I got.

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