“Apples” in the car: Re-introducing Apple CarPlay

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Earlier this March, Apple finally announced and confirmed CarPlay, which is the long-awaited ‘iOS in the car’ project you possibly heard about. Because the lifespan of a car is so long compared to the life cycle of digital technologies like phones and the software they run, the challenge is to create a smart in-car infotainment system that can stay up to date even as your car ages. And so, the battleground is set for the mobile tech world just maybe this time with an “auto” attached to it.

Carplay1

With the fact that most of the big names in the auto industry already have their own systems, it would be a worthy question to ask about what Apple brings to the deck that makes things different. Obviously the technology is not new; and we’ve already seen several cars natively running Android and offering some level of integration with Android smartphones. “CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. We will take a moment to explore CarPlay thus, giving you what to expect from it.

First, and maybe most importantly, do NOT let the pictures fool you. CarPlay is not an in-car system that runs iOS or iOS apps. It’s a system that integrates your iPhone apps with your car’s digital systems, allowing you to control them and your device an an easier, tech-savvy manner. The idea is that you plug your iPhone into your car via USB, and viola! You can now use the functionality of your iPhone without having to fumble around with it and take your eyes off the road. Take a moment to imagine how safer and more convenient that could be.

Apple_CarPlay_Music

CarPlay aims to empower you to use all your iPhone’s functionality without actually touching it. So that includes playing your music, navigating to the shops, taking phone calls, reading text messages and even watching YouTube videos which you would be able to do from the start. In theory, there are no limits to the interplay. Perhaps you’ll even be able to turn your wipers on and off simply by talking to Siri or unlock your vehicle using your iPhone – but that’s a way off even if it’s possible. And For those who love to play around by “having a conversation with Siri” well, your dreams are as here as technology would possibly have it.

The CarPlay interface takes over the car’s LCD when the phone is plugged in, with all processing running on the device. Much like the iOS interface, CarPlay shows app icons, although in a bigger format. Once upon a time, cars had increasingly featured USB ports that let you plug in an iPod, iPhone, or iPad with its white cable, and control music playback using the car’s own touch screen LCD or dashboard controls. With this integration, you can browse music by artist, album, genre, and track, select something, and play it.

You get to control CarPlay using one of three methods:

  • Siri voice control: just press and hold the voice control button on the steering wheel.
  • Touchscreen: If your CarPlay-equipped vehicle has a touchscreen, you can use it to control CarPlay.
  • CarPlay also works with the knobs, dials, or buttons in the car. If it controls your screen, it controls CarPlay.

Apple’s plans to have third parties building CarPlay compatibility into their apps, making them usable through the system. Apps like Spotify, Podcast, Stitcher and Beats Radio are already confirmed and with access to all their online library features, that long and easy driving entertainment is guaranteed.

Apple-CarPlay-2

No! No!! NO!!! Siri on CarPlay can NOT drive you home. Why? Because it cant! All it can do is give you turn by turn directions with audio cues using the Map app from Apple. You would also like to note that ONLY the iPhones with the lightning connector (iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s) are compatible with CarPlay so, those with the former 30-pin connector would finally have to consider that upgrade. Also no plans have yet been officially announced for an after-market version of CarPlay; which means that unless you buy a car which has CarPlay compatibility installed (of which there are none in existence at this time), you cannot have it. Cars with CarPlay functionality will be hitting the streets later this year, with models from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes, Volvo and many other big names in the car industry who are also committed to support the CarPlay platform.

So, with that much said, what do you think about it?

iOS 7 jailbreak available… but beware!

iOS-7-logoYuletide greetings have come early for iOS jailbreak lovers round the world with the release of a now confirmed untethered jailbreak for Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS 7. For those who are quite uncertain about what the term “jailbreaking” is all about, jailbreaking can be referred to as “hacking” an Apple device such as an iPhone and iPad, so that users can download apps, extensions and themes that are not available through the official Apple App Store. On one side, this allows the user to have more control on the device in question while pushing it to its limits with new theme interfaces and extensions that enable interesting features such as Bluetooth file sharing, WiFi tethering and even game console emulation. But another side of jailbreaking is the ability for mobile application  “piracy” where users could download and install free “cracked apps” on their mobile devices.

Technically speaking, jailbreaking an iPhone or iPad is NOT illegal. But Apple has warned that the practice “can violate the warranty”. It is worthy to also note that jailbreaking your device eliminates security layers designed to protect your personal information and your iOS device which could lead to hackers stealing your personal information, damage your device, attack your network, or introduce malware, spyware or viruses. Finally you should know that unauthorized modification of iOS is a violation of the iOS end-user software license agreement which gives Apple the full right to deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software. But all these don’t scare a LOT of people… one bit.

The evasi0n7 jailbreak, developed by a group known as Evad3rs, claims to work on an iPhone, iPad or iPod running iOS 7.0 through to 7.0.4. It takes 5 minutes of your dear time to install via a USB cable connecting the user’s device to a computer running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. As the usual risk of data loss and several other complications, the need to backup your data cannot be overemphasized. As with the early versions of these hack tools, it has been confirmed that several hacks and extensions available on the Cydia store would not work properly. Thus, the probability of instability of the device’s operating system has a greater probability at this stage. Always backup your phone before installing new tweaks from Cydia as your iPhone could be stuck in the boot process,” warned evad3rs. “The situation will improve as developers will update their software.”

However, a number of tweaks do work, and thanks to iJailbreak, iPhonehacks.com and RedmondPie, here is a short list of confirmed working and not working tweaks. Please go through them carefully to decide if jailbreaking is okay for you at the moment.

Working:

  • WelcomeMe
  • OverAchiever
  • Plugication
  • Software Update Killer
  • ShakeToUndo Killer
  • NoStoreButton
  • NoPasscodeBlock
  • FakeClockUp
  • Privacy
  • Signal 2
  • Signal Booster (works after crashing on first open)
  • Appinfo
  • Fakeclockup
  • Activator (beta version) – You need to add Ryan Petrich’s repo rpetri.ch/repo to install the beta version.
  • iCleaner
  • iCleaner Pro
  • Swipe Selection
  • Accelerate (doesn’t work on iPhone 5s)
  • Mobile Terminal
  • snes4iphone
  • WiFi Passwords
  • FireWall iP
  • Music Box
  • MyFile
  • SwipeToRespring
  • Sicarius
  • HarlemShake7
  • AirDrop Enabler 7.0+
  • iPhone4Parallax
  • Gridlock
  • KillBackground7
  • Flipswitch
  • NoNewsIsGoodNews
  • Poof (doesn’t work on iPhone 5s)
  • Speed Intensifier
  • Respring (doesn’t work on iPhone 5s)
  • Tetherme (iPhone 5 user has confirmed it works on iOS 7.0.4)
  • FolderCloser
  • Icon Renamer
  • Music Box
  • Movie Box
  • Smart 3G + LTE
  • FiveIconDock ios7
  • HiddenSettings7
  • Open

Somewhat Working:

  • Abstergo (Installs, no effect)
  • Activator (beta): some things don’t work it also has a rather annoying message every time you unlock the device.
  • BytaFont7: you have to move the .app folder to the correct location, and it never resprings to install the font. I have had some people get it to kind of work.
  • Iconoclasm7: only one icon set works.
  • Infiniboard (Installs. No effect)
  • LocalIPStore (Sign into appstore keeps popping up, but some items unlock)
  • SBSettings (Missing some components, but working, must manually install)
  • Winterboard: It installs but won’t install themes.
  • iFile (registration fails even when connected to Cydia)

Not Working:

  • App Sync for iOS 7
  • Barrel: The tweak puts the Device into safe mode when you swipe the page.
  • DreamBoard
  • No Badges
  • Power Disconnect Chime (got errors trying to install)
  • SimpleBanners
  • SmallBanners
  • Springtomize 2: has no affect on device.
  • WiFi Booster (got errors trying to install)
  • Zeppelin: You can manually install this tweak but has no affect on status bar.

So, when it comes to this matter of jailbreaking iOS 7, we are reminded that “good things come for those who wait.” Cydia is known as the jailbreaking community’s preferred app Store and until several of the commonly used tweaks are working perfectly, you might as well relax and enjoy the holiday; not just for what it is, but for the hope of more dependable updates.

But of course, if you do intend to get along with it, alongside the risks, you can get Evasion 7 here for Windows and here for Mac OSX.

How to Install BBM on Gingerbread – Android

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The recent release of RIM’s flagship messenger app, BBM (Blackberry messenger) on Android and Iphone was a stunning move that yet, was expected but still shocked everyone (even though we all saw it coming).  As joyous as the release of the port of the app was for Android users, it was a big let-down for many whatsapp users as the app could not install on Android versions less than 4.0 ICS. This meant Gingerbread (android 2.3.x/cm7), the most popular and widely used version of android, was left out.

Many users have had to leave with defective custom ICS/JB roms in order to enjoy the very addictive and engaging chatting platform while waiting for words from RIM if there would be gingerbread compatible version roll-out soon.

RIM’s disinclination to give us hope or absolutely dash our hopes for a future release, has gingered a XDA user, rjt3 , to modify the BBM apk for gingerbread compatibility. Although only compatible with arm v7 phones for now nevertheless it’s a form of hope renewal for gingerbread loyalist that a widespread support for their beloved api version isn’t far off.

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How to Install BBM on Gingerbread

  1. Download the modified and repackaged apk from here, here or here.
  2. Install
    install screen

    after install screenshot
  3. If it’s working and you are not getting FCs (force close) skip the remaining steps
  4. Extract the apk using either your PC, or an android zip extractor as shown in the image belowextracted contents
  5. Locate the lib/armeabi-v7a folder in the extracted content and copy all the libs depected in the image below
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    *** you are advised to do a backup of your rom by using any preferred means before moving from step 5 to 6, CWM most preferably tho*****
  6.  Do step 5, copy the libs and mount your root folder as r/w (of course this requires root privilege)
  7. Paste the libs in root/system/libs (be careful of replacing already existing files).
  8. Try running again (if it works, skip step 9)
  9. You may have to wait for next version by following here

NB: The Procedure from step 4, requires root privilleges and root, system folder modification, (albeit unlikely)any error or damage you may cause to your mobile’s OS, is not our fault and we at nijaspecs will and cannot be held responsible for such 😀

I tried on a non ARM 7 mobile phone, and still got FCs tho, a peak at the logcat left me wondering, how it works for the arm 7 people in the first place
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As shown in the log there, the getactionbar method is not found, which is clearly obvious without actionbarcompat from the support library this would clearly cause an error on O.Ss before “honeycomb”, how rtj3 did it w/o th source still beats me tho, follow the development here

Top 13 Phones, That Shook The Nigerian Mobile Market (Final)

This is the concluding section of the article on the top 5 mobile phones that made spotlights in Nigeria, if you have not read the initial part, it is highly recommended you do, has we analysed the devices from 13th position to 6th (link here).

After having analysed 8 of the 13 phones in the previous post, This here is the top 5 phone’s that shook our mobile industry.

5. Motorola Razr V3 (Blade)

SE: Moto Razr V3
Motorola RAZR V3:

Released in 2004, it was the thinnest mobile phone in it’s time, so much that Nigerians nicknamed it “Blade”. Very slick looking clam-shell phone,  perfect finish, sleek looking luminescent keypad  with embossed thin lines to guide your fingers, it’s design was simply PERFECT. Several colour variations, the black and silver were very sexy hence making appearances in Bourne movies.

The looks were not only it’s strength, it’s speaker is crystal clear and sound, the camera was a little poor but permits snapping even from the mini-screen.

It’s shortcoming only was the limited storage space with no form of expansion slot.

Overall. the phone was a real beauty.

4. Motorola T180 (Talk-About)

Moto T180
Motorola T180

Yeah, that very large mobile phone MTN distributed with their very first 0803 sims, The phone was as expensive as some of today’s smartphone, lol. Sporting a very high pitch speaker and ringtones, it’s the only phone worthy of calling it’s rintone, alerts. It’s memory was so small (practically almost had none), it could only store contacts on your sim card, with very minute call records could only store about 5 missed calls and 5 received calls, 10 dialed calls.

It practically almost had no other extended feature, apart from call,sms and alarm, but it allowed us receive call any where we went, even in class. Unlike our wired land lines. Looking back at this, no one ever imagined a the possibility of having a device like the galaxy S3 right?

3. Nokia N70

Nokia N70
Nokia N70

Pioneer of the N-series brand of mobile phones, it was practically the most coveted smartphone in it’s era in Nigeria, back then it was so powerful, you would think it’s RAM was limitless as so many apps could hover in the background, “alive”. it played almost all the series 60 Symbian 3D game perfectly at flawless frame-rate.

It had a front facing camera and a 2 mega-pixel rear camera, it also supported 3g network, hence ensuring faster downloads using xget, fget (:) #memories). It was very powerful in it’s time, as it’s processor was clocked at 220 MHZ. It had a 55 MB RAM, although internal memory was very small, a measly 22 MB, it could be extended via a MMC ( hot-swap-able MMC at that).

2. Nokia 1100 (Torch)

Nokia 1100
Nokia 1100

What can we say, the world’s best selling mobile handset () with over 200 million units sold, these phone is so popular, it can be argued everybody at one point or the other has either owned the phone or touched it. Released in 2003 but became popular way later in that decade, it was many users main call receiving phone as the smartphones were very prone to having poor battery strength due to their features. Although targeted at developing countries and mass market, many rich-men and moguls have it as the phone housing their main call sim.

It outsold all the other competing phones around it, e even with the insane features the phones available during it’s days were, It has the very basic needs of a mobile phone, calls, text… Even has a dedicated torch-light and 2 games, Snake and the popular Space-Impact.

Nokia 1100 Trivia:

  • World’s best selling handset.
  • Nokia’s one billionth handset sale was an 1100, guess where, Nigeria 🙂
  •  It has torchlight
  • it didn’t have a capacitive/resistive touch screen, didn’t have a coloured screen, didn’t have wifi, bluetooth, infrered, could not play mp3 neither could it play polyphonic tones, but it did one thing very well, “It’s job, making calls”.

1. Nokia 3310:

Nokia 1100
Nokia 3310

World’s most indestructible phone, so resilient it was dubbed “o ja bo ko fo, omo na bouncing” :D. This phone sold over 160 million units, it practically was and still is, indestructible. For it’s time it features were beyond the phone’s that were released in it’s era, while the t180 talk-abouts, Sagem and Trium were being sold, the 3310 gave us unique features that were stellar in it’s time, like a calculator, stop watch, 35 built in catchy ring tones, custom tune support which can be built using the tone composer or downloaded and screensaver support.

It also comes built in with 4 very addictive games, Bantumi, Pairs II, Snake II and the legendary Space Impact (that was so addictive, even with the PlayStation in your room, you still won’t mind hiding under the dining table so as not to get caught draining battery).

Nokia 3310 Trivias:

  • More back cover/casing than the total amount of BB pouches out there.
  • Didn’t need a screen protector or guard
  • Doesn’t need rooting or jailbreaking
  • Highly indestructible, can survive falls over very distances.

Here’s something for you to deliberate on…

Nokia 1100
IPhone 5 vs Nokia 3310

Enter… The Firefox OS

Do you know what’s interesting about the current free-for-all for mobile operating system dominance? You guessed right! New entries! We are sure you have heard of The Firefox OS by Mozilla? Sure you have!

firefoxos

Launching a new mobile OS is a difficult project since the market leaders, Android and iOS, have such a big lead. Even Microsoft, with its near-infinite financial resources and vast ecosystem of complementary products, has struggled over time to gain traction. With the rising standards technology giants have set for themselves as they duke it out for market dominion, new entrants will have to face what I call a chicken-and-egg problem: developers don’t want to write apps for a platform without many users, while users don’t want to buy a phone without many apps.

First off, to sustain any early momentum, Mozilla will need to convince developers to build Firefox OS apps. Firefox OS apps will be built entirely using HTML5. According to Mozilla, the thousands of developers who already know how to build Web apps will be able to build Firefox OS apps with minimal additional training. And because they’re built on open standards, Mozilla hopes that Firefox OS apps will work reasonably well on other platforms that support HTML5—which is to say, all of them.

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Thanks to ArsTechnica, we know the Firefox OS architecture has three layers, dubbed “Gonk”, “Gecko”, and “Gaia”. Gecko is the rendering engine at the core of the Firefox browser. Below Gecko sits Gonk, a bare-bones Linux distribution derived from Android. Above Gecko sits Gaia, a touchscreen user interface not too different from those found on other mobile operating systems. It makes sense that Mozilla would choose to make Gonk a derivative of Android because many device makers already know how to make devices that run Android. According to Mozilla “If you’re an OEM, you already have basically all the capabilities to run our system.” It is also worthy to note that since Firefox OS apps are essentially just Web apps, app developers are not required to use Mozilla’s app store at all. A developer can distribute a Firefox OS app as a “hosted app,” delivered from any Web server.

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Firefox OS looks familiar to anyone who’s used Android and iOS: when you turn it on, you’re faced with the familiar grid of apps. Swiping left and right slides in other pages of apps. And across the bottom of each page is a fixed set of four apps: the phone dialer, a text-messaging app, the Firefox browser, and the camera app. As with iOS, swiping to the leftmost screen launches a search app. But unlike iOS, this search app is wired not just to your own apps but also to the Firefox Marketplace and to the Web at large — remember, this is a browser-based OS. If you find an app you like in the search results, you can pin it to one of your screens for easy future access. Firefox OS comes with a range of built-in apps such as Facebook and Wikipedia, and even mapping services. A long-press on the home button invokes a task switcher so you can juggle among open apps.

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A contacts app lets you open up a screen full of information about people you know. It serves as a hub to phone them, send e-mail or text messages, or check their Facebook walls. Facebook integration also lets people import their contacts; Mozilla plans to add import mechanisms for services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail — something it knows how to do by virtue of its Thunderbird e-mail software for PCs.

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firefoxpicturepart1

A camera app, which also is accessible from the lock screen, has tabs for taking photos or videos, and it’s got a link to the built-in gallery app. That app lets you crop photos, apply some basic color filters, adjust contrast, and take actions like sharing photos on Facebook or by Bluetooth wireless networking.

firefoxsearch

It feels so much like an earlier version of Android. It’s definitely good, though, that Firefox OS can get a running start in the app ecosystem by mobilizing the vast army of Web programmers — programmers who might well be happy they can reach Firefox OS customers without having to jump through nearly as many hoops as the Apple App Store or Google Play present. It is already available of several phones such as the ZTE Firefox Phone, Keon and Peek by Geeksphone. Firefox OS should be fully open to all by 2014 and if successful, it should change the way we use the Web. We are used to visit websites but Firefox OS will bring an era where we will be using Web apps more than Websites. Ubuntu for Phones will also support Firefox OS to help bring in this change.

IPhone 5c and 5s reviews: The Changes and The Obvious

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After weeks of rumors, speculations, leaked photos and parody videos, Apple’s new iPhones were finally revealed on September 10 and as widely expected, the company announced two devices – the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S.

HT_iphone_5C-colors_thg-130910_16x9_992iPhone 5c

Apple has discontinued the iPhone 5 for the iPhone 5c, which sports a 4-inch display, as well as the same A6 chip. The company has gone for the cheaper option in producing the “next generation” iPhone as it now features a plastic wraparound back which comes in five colors — green, white, blue, red, and yellow — with matching screen wallpapers to complement the exterior. The color set has been commented on as being similar to that of the Nokia Lumia series but we would leave that opinion for you to explore. Yes, after these, there is not much to say about the iPhone 5c; it even has the same 8 Megapixel camera and 2 Megapixel on the front. You might as well tag it as a “plasticky” colored version of the iPhone 5 and to be honest, when I think about iPhones sometimes, I cannot help but also ponder about the native proverb that says that only a mad man does the same thing and expects a different result.

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iPhone 5s

Apple’s new flagship iPhone 5s which Apple “humbly” calls the “most forward-thinking phone anyone’s ever made,” sports a 64-bit A7 chip making it to the history books as the world’s very first 64-bit mobile phone. It’s made of high-grade aluminum and comes in silver, gold, and  gray.  For networking it has a dual band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 which was also available in the discontinued iPhone 5.

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The general features are pretty much the same, except for the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor that grants up to 5 fingerprints to access the phone. This feature takes phone security to a whole new level. The touch sensor, located under the traditional home button also links you to your Apple account which defeats the sometimes annoying type password feature.

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The iPhone 5s sticking with the 8 Megapixel camera is a letdown. However, a few changes made quite a difference compared to previous iPhones. First off, the size of the image sensor has increased which leads to a significantly higher low-light performance and somewhat better pictures; even in poor lighting conditions. More interesting is the dual-color LED flash, which monitors the prevailing light and tries to provide a better color mix by providing the right mixture of lights (like more yellow or more blue, depending on the conditions). This leads to a consistent and greater quality of photos than its predecessors. Neither the HTC One nor the Samsung Galaxy S4 has this feature so, let’s not get too hasty to conclude that the camera is “vaguely similar.”

The iPhone 5S also offers a new “burst mode” for the still camera (taking 10 shots per second), where you can hold the button down and it will take the pictures – and then present the single shot it thinks is the best from the series. (You can still choose from among the set, and keep as many as you want). There is a “slo-mo” option for video recording where you can choose which parts which can be slow and which are fast in a simple editing function.

Some people worry about how there can be a balance between the powerful 64bit A7 processor and battery life. Apple’s solution is the co-processor called the M7 which is specially designed to collect data from the phone’s various sensors, including the GPS and accelerometers. This M7 chip is suspected to be Apple’s flagship idea for a possible wearable computing future so expect to hear about it later on. The iPhone 5s’ battery life lasts about 10 hours of 3g talk time and LTE browsing .

A saddening conclusion is that there really is not a total mind blowing experience between these iPhones and what we already have. But smartphones are not just about hardware; the user experience is also as important as security and Apple does deliver that. Combined with the new iOS 7, positive results on sales would not surprise me one bit… as well as the otherwise. 😛

10 + 1 Good reasons why you could consider “jailbreaking” your iPad

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Okay, to be honest, the title of this post really should be “why you SHOULD consider jailbreaking” because I am absolutely crazy about Apple and all of the intelligent things their devices can really do when pushed to their limit. Yes, just like you, I have been there once – stating the pessimistic cause that Apple devices are too expensive for what they are worth. But like the soon to be apostle on the road to Damascus, I have truly seen the light; and I am hoping you get to see the light too.

Apple_Logo_GREY

So enough of my fanciful rambling. Apple devices, especially the iPad series, whether you like it or not, are rather expensive. You bought it because you heard so much about it and that it could (according to that advert) “do almost anything.” But later on, you discover that it’s just a luxury toy and that you don’t do too much with it except run a few apps you bought (or got free on the Apple Store), snap photos, surf the web, play Temple Run or Candy Crush and check e-mail. The question that everyone asks is “what can your device do?” and it can be depressing when you boast of an iPad that doesn’t exactly do as much as you say.

Well, many have heard of this somewhat “evil” process called jailbreaking; and in some communities, jailbreaking is actually frowned upon – but this is usually because people do not know what it really means and the fact that jailbreaking voids your warranty with Apple. Let’s save all the technical stuff about jailbreaking for a later post and cut to the chase: jailbreaking actually allows you to do lots of stuff your iPad really could do but wasn’t allowed to (which is why it’s called “jail-break-ing”) and on this post, there are 10 reasons why you could (or should) consider jailbreaking your iPad.

Here we go 🙂

1. Variety is the spice of life

This is as the saying goes; and trust me on this. Doesn’t the grid interface of the iPad, iPhone and Ipod touch just bore you… even just for some time? Well, a jailbroken iPad is spoiled with numerous tweaks and add-ons that could possibly make all of that boredom go away. Winterboard allows you to change key features of the grid interface like its icon layout and color while maintaining its base structure. To mention how many compatible theme packs are available for Winterboard is akin to counting how many fishes there are in The Pacific. Dreamboard takes this concept several steps further by changing the entire layout. Just imagine your iPad looking like a Windows 8 desktop (without the live tiles) or like an Android Galaxy Tab! Do I have your attention now?

Tweaks such as Beekeyboard allow you to bring a whole new keyboard experience featuring customizable shortcuts and add-ons to apps.  Imagine using a keyboard shortcut to open new tabs on Safari… and that is just the beginning! Colorkeyboard is another tweak that even allows you to change the layout of the virtual keyboard. Unlock the fashion sense in you with numerous color combinations of themes and color fixes out there… most for free!

2. App matters

Now, is it possible for me to have Apps for free? Well, even though we at Nijaspecs would always encourage that you support developers and buy your apps (except they are given free), it is VERY possible to have almost any app you want for free. But they MUST be cracked. Don’t worry about iTunes with installing cracked apps; there are other Apple based device managers such as iFunbox, 91 PC Suite for iPhone and iSpirit that can do that for you. It is also possible to just download the app you want and install it live from the iPad without a PC. More details about cracked apps and what to know about them will come on a later post so stay with us.

Furthermore, there is a fun tweak called Password Pilot that helps you save your Apple password so that you would not need to type it once again whenever you want to purchase an app… but be careful about how you use that though.

3. Locked out of a “luxury pad” …you paid for?

Whenever I think about a non-jailbroken iPad, I think about a house that I paid good money for and yet, I do not have the keys to all of its rooms. Having access to a mobile device’s file system is a good way to let the user become able to completely destroy the device; but it also allows you to put and organize your own files EXACTLY where you want to put them. Of course, you should be aware that you should not just go about putting files where they are not meant to be in – but you get the point. Big Boss’ unrivaled wonder jailbreak app called iFile brings to you your complete file explorer service. And when I mean complete, I mean complete: with a built in pdf reader, music player, web viewer, Bluetooth transfer service, file unzipper (including 7-Zip… yes; 7-Zip!), and support for almost every popular filetype. Are we saying that the iPad could now be used like a mobile flash drive? Well… almost a big yes!

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4. Privacy issues and customizable icons

App security on the iPad? Of course! I can choose the apps I don’t want anyone to open and even disable it’s ability to be deleted; DisableLaunch makes this possible. Barrel allows the boring page swipe to become more interesting with new swipe animations. FolderEnhancer also lets you to put folders within folders and yes – add custom folder background and animations.

IMG_1169

5. Media enhancements

Now if you are okay with the fact that you can only place videos on the iPad using iTunes and having to convert them to some weird mp4 format, skip this one. But of course you aren’t! Well, besides apps available such as AV Player and CineXPlayer on the AppStore that allow other formats, there is the infamous ProTube which even allows you to download videos directly from YouTube on demand. Be sure that the missing YouTube app in iOS 6 would not be missed! The best part is that you would also be able to manage the videos with your computer with the help of your file explorer application and iFile. Imagine the possibilities!!

6. E-Mail the way it is meant to be

Take full control of the iPad’s mail app with tweaks like SplitMail which allows the split view enabled on the iPad on portrait mode. There is also Mail Enhancer Pro which takes your native mail app to the next level with customizable signatures, mailbox color coding and believe it or not, have a voiceover that tells you who just sent you mail. But i think what’s coolest is that you are also able to backup and restore your email on Dropbox through this tweak. AnyAttach does just like it says, allows you to attach anything on your iPad as mail; just think about the possibilities with this, especially when you have iFile under your control.

7. Browser extremes: Download manager on an iPad?

Now this is the real killer. What if I told you that you could actually download your local files from anywhere just like you would on a PC and save it to an accessible point on the device? What if I told you that your Safari browser could have a file download manager and upload client? Notwithstanding, there are other browsers like Maven and Mercury which have file download services but the files you get would not be easily obtained or transferred without jailbreaking.

8. Gesture add-ons

SBSettings gives you a quick drop-down menu for a variety of system toggles such as restarting the device without the power button, airplane mode and others. It even acts a a task manager that gives you information about which apps are running so that you could free up memory – just like a task manager for windows. Activator allows you to add more gesture shortcuts on the iPad. Imagine opening your favorite app with a swipe from the extreme left, or triple click the home screen to open Maps or any other app! Emblem puts your Notification Center to mimic that of the OSX (which feels great on the iPad trust me on this), Mountain Center goes further on the OSX lane, by taking your drag from the top Notification Center to the left or the right; whichever you choose – like the OSX. The best thing about it, is you can also choose which gesture should bring it forth. NCSettings is a powerful variant of SBSettings that puts all the settings toggles on the Notification Center so brightness, Wifi, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth, Power options, portrait lock and other options are readily available. A must-have for the iPad.

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9. The issue of what you want; the way you want it.

Tired of the four or five icon Dock at the base of the iPad screen? InfiniDock allows you to put as many as you like; just like OSX! IntelliScreenX supercharges your once boring lockscreen with your Notification Center information. Bridge takes care of the iTunes restriction; never again would you be forced to need iTunes to import your music, ringtones or podcasts. NoNewsIsGoodNews kills the forced and rather unnecessary Newsstand folder. Did you like the BB10 keyboard? well knock yourself out with OctopusKeyboard which brings word predictions as you type on the iPad; and if you think that is crazy, try Swipeselection which even enables you to swipe your text cursor to the exact place you need it whenever you are editing on the iPad. This may sound strange but you should try it; you would probably never go back to the default method.

10. Emulation!

Like you probably already guessed… or know, emulation is possible for the iPad also. So, if there were titles you could not just let go of back in the day, you can get them and play them on your device. From SNES, Gameboy, to even the Sega Genesis; make your favorites always available.

and now, the + 1 reason called Springtomize 2!

If there is a reason why iPads should be respected, Springtomize 2 is it. An absolute essential for jailbroken devices. From lockscreen tweaks to Notification Center customization and icon revamping, Springtomize 2 has got it all covered. The tweak will let you alter the looks of your iPad in any way you want…

…and this is how your iPad would never be the same again.

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With all of these, we cannot help but ask: “what’s your conclusion; jailbreak or not jailbreak?”

And if you are just looking for that awesome, easy-to-follow guide for jailbreaking and all of these cool things, stick with our soon-coming posts on simplified Apple tips and tricks! We are sure to lead you every step of the way… 🙂

A “dysfunctional” prank: Microsoft Office for iOS

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This is really no joke. There is now a full blown Microsoft Office App for the iOS. The rumors have finally ended –  it exists. Now where do we go from here? Yes! As you probably guessed –  back to the apps you were using earlier to run your document creation / editing needs.

It looked promising to us at first (to be honest). No one could help but wonder how Microsoft was planning to place the Office on the iPad. After all, the app would have to impress a lot more than the forefront document editing apps such as Google Drive, Documents-To-Go and Quickoffice as well as a host of others. With the numerous sync properties these apps have over cloud services, and various desktop experience offline features, we were hoping to have the Redmond software giants deliver something, maybe not above and beyond what we have seen, but something different anyway.

Well at least we did get something different. The problem of course, is what we got.

First and most important to mention is the fact that to use it, you need a paid Office 365 subscription. This is the “ah-hah!” light bulb moment: there had to be a catch about why Microsoft would go ahead to make Office available on “enemy territory.” Then again, that also tells you how serious Microsoft is about making bucks out of every single opportunity available. Now, before you Office 365 subscribers get on to get the app, you might also want to know that it is currently restricted to the United States (although there are ways around that), and annoyingly, there is not yet a version for the iPad.  In plain English, the app is designed for paid Office 360 users in The United States who have an iPhone. So don’t let the free Microsoft Office app on Apple Store fool you if you do not meet up to these requirements.

There are a number of things one would wonder about concerning this and we would leave you with one. The only thing Microsoft could possibly boast of, in our opinion, is that “Documents look like the originals, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. When you make quick edits or add comments to a document, the formatting and content remain intact.” But free cloud based office apps like Google Drive already allow you to access and create documents, presentations and spreadsheets in Microsoft Office format. Even paid for offline apps such as Documents-To-Go and Quickoffice even have several cloud based service sync abilities with the likes of Evernote, Dropbox, SugarSync and others.

So um… why do we need this exactly?

Selling an “excellent” keyboard: A BlackBerry Q10 Review

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Okay. Here comes a second phone that runs the BlackBerry 10 OS: the BlackBerry Q10.

The BlackBerry Q10 is a sister phone to the BlackBerry z10 released earlier in the year; but there are very obvious differences between the two smartphones. Very much unlike the Z10 which adopted the full touchscreen idea which seemed to be the norm for smartphones these days, there’s no mistaking the fact that the Q10 is a BlackBerry handset.

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The keyboard says it all, with distinctive rows of keys separated by bands of silver, and the shaping of the keys themselves, giving all the clues you need. BlackBerry has quit on the curved keyboard design of the earlier models to a straight one; possibly to maximize space. The keyboard may seem to the smartphone connoisseur as an overhauled cliche but it is actually commendable… especially compared to the older generations of the BlackBerry handsets. Keys are easy to find under the fingers thanks to their center ridges, and even click a little when pushed. There’s a small nubbin on the D key whose second function is the number 5, helping you find the number keys by feel easily. The design is the first from BlackBerry without a section between screen and keyboard offering shortcut buttons and some sort of screen navigation device. This multi-use is welcome, but it makes the positioning of the Micro-USB port and a Micro-HDMI connector on the left edge of the phone rather irritating.

The BlackBerry Q10 features a dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM which is a suitable entry for this generation of mobile devices. The BlackBerry Q10 supports LTE, HSPA+ and EDGE with its microSIM sitting under the backplate. The backplate provides protection for a MicroSD card, which thankfully you can access without removing the battery. This can be used to augment the 16GB of internal flash storage, some of which is taken up by the OS and preinstalled apps: fresh out of the box, leaving about only 11GB free. The 2,100mAh battery, incidentally, is rated for up to 13.5 hours’ (3G) talk time and up to 14 days on standby. The Q10 supports Near Field Communication (NFC) and GPS and has a full set of sensors — accelerometer, magnetometer, proximity sensor, gyroscope and ambient light sensor.

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The BlackBerry Q10’s 720p display pumps out great looking colors and clear images with the help of Super AMOLED technology and a tight pixel density of 328 dpi — but, it’s a 3.1-inch square! While it may look good, even in direct sunlight, what you can do with such a small screen is a different story; and watching a movie would make quite a formidable example. Web surfing is another good example: surfing the web on a BlackBerry Q10 is quite a pain. When using a “business oriented” spreadsheet in Quickoffice or any MS Excel lookalike, you may have to agree that small screens and business software do not fit too well.

rolloverAn interesting feature for corporate users is the new BlackBerry Balance which keeps business apps, services and data separate from the user’s personal information. Anyone interested in speedy text-based communication will appreciate the feature called ‘Type and Go’. This builds on the universal search concept that lets you find apps, map locations, do web searches and more simply by typing on the keyboard then tapping the app or URL icon that appears. As long as you’re on a main screen and not in an app, you can type to make something real happen. Type “SMS Jack” and you can send a text if Jack is in your address book. Even typing “Email My Wife” will do a similar job. The phones main 8-megapixel camera at the back shoots 1080p HD video, while the front facing 2-megapixel camera can handle 720p. Both shoot in 1:1 (square), 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios, which are easily switchable via on-screen icons.

A big issue BlackBerry users may have is The Blackberry App World’s rather small library of applications and tweaks compared to iOS and Android. So, you don’t get to do too much random stuff with your Blackberry phone. Although being mission specific and business critical does seem like a good approach, it may just end up being boring as a whole when the hype is over. There are a few tasks that the Blackberry Q10 excels at; but these are those that it is designed for such as chatting with your Blackberry contacts, email functions and other “business” needs. It looks good as a Blackberry phone though; so if all you are after is a better BlackBerry then, the BlackBerry Q10 would work for you.  The BlackBerry 10 OS would seem refreshing to almost anyone, and the BlackBerry Q10’s well balanced keyboard should impress; but for just a while… and then later, you might realize that the BlackBerry Q10 remains just another significant entry to the slow evolution of Blackberry phones.

iOS 7: A brand new look

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We don’t know if there is anyone like us out there but whenever we update iOS to a new firmware, We have always secretly wished for and ultimately been pissed at the lack an important feature that usually makes things seem new and exciting with software such as operating systems: A COMPLETE VISUAL MAKEOVER!!

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Microsoft Windows at one time used Windows 95 and then at the release of Windows XP, the new looking interface was a winner. Windows Aero was released with Windows Vista and has been a continued standard even with the newest Metro interface for Windows 8. It is true that functionality and stability are essential, uncompromisable qualities of good operating systems but nobody would complain if a good looking graphical user interface came along with it. Sure! Thanks to jailbreaking, Cydia allows us to make some color (and even complete) theme changes but something new had to come out some time from Apple at least some day-y-y-y! That being said, it’s not like Apple’s iOS actually looks ugly; but maintaining the same general outlook over more than 10 updates and over 5 versions would have to become more or less a tiring rhetoric, a trite expression or well… in plain English… rather boring.

Apple, finally releasing its beta version of iOS7 earlier this month for developers has finally showed us that their new update is none of that. Apple has finally worked at changing just about everything, but like the Windows 8 OS to which iOS 7 is now drawing comparisons, thanks to the bold colors and straight lines, it feels a little too much, too soon. But nevertheless, iOS 7 just for that, is welcome and iOS 7 would be released this fall. From previous experiences, beta versions of Apple software are bound to change a great deal before they get approved for consumer devices. So far so good though; iOS7 has been said to deliver pretty much what we already know about iOS and even more.

There’s a lot of new stuff to love about iOS7. There is now a Control Center which gives you quick access to the controls and apps you have been using. With just a single upward swipe on the screen, the Control Center can also turn toggle Wi-Fi, adjust screen brightness and start a flashlight.

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The Multitasking app-switcher has also been completely revamped with new features. There is a new lock screen, a revisited notification Center, a super-charged Siri, a new, easily-accessed quick settings bar, and pretty much every app you can think of has been revamped and stripped down to its essence. There is the new AirDrop which allows near field communication between iOS devices around. Can somebody shout hallelujah to that? You can finally share photos, videos and contacts using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – but with iOS devices.

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At every level, iOS 7 is a slick revitalization, rejuvenation and resurrection of the core iOS experience. Even Safari gets a brand new look with a refreshed tab view and a unified search field. Safari can also suggest passwords for you but we sincerely wonder how much use that would be. The music and photo apps have also been revisited to make things more exciting and savvy. iOS 7 will not be compatible with iPhone 3gs as expected but will for the newer models inclusive of iPhone 4.

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For those who may have seen a link to download the beta version and cannot wait to have a go at Apple’s latest makeup session would have to be careful. This version of iOS 7 is intended only for installation on development devices registered with Apple’s Developer Program and attempting to install this version of iOS in an unauthorized manner could put your device in an unusable state, which could necessitate an out of warranty repair. And even though there are posts out there that mention a possibility of downgrading to iOS 6, on our opinion, we would recommend you DO NOT do the upgrade till the final version is released; unless you are a part of the Apple Developer Program.