Author: thebengalrevieweditor

The Bengal Review is a comprehensive technology review and opinion site founded in January 2013.

iOS 8.1- 3 Main Things You Need to Know

Waiting to download iOS 8.1? Don’t! Especially if you have a newer device, iOS 8.1 greatly increases the features available to iOS 8 devices in three main areas: Apple Pay, Continuity, and, surprisingly, Photos. Let’s start with one of the bigger additions: Apple Pay.

Apple Pay

Image from Apple.com

Apple Pay is a revolutionary new mobile payment system. Basically, the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus allow users to import their credit or debit cards into Passbook, Apple’s place for storing tickets, gift cards, and the like. When you want to make a payment on a capable cash register, the phones use NFC-chips (near field communication) to communicate with the registers and simply request your fingerprint through Touch ID to approve the purchase. It seems amazingly simple, easy, and secure with Apple’s new secure element that is included in the new iPhones. This element provides a unique transaction code for each purchase that never is used by Apple or by the company or store you’re buying from. In-app payments are also supported in Apple Pay. Apple Pay is accessible on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and will be accessible on the iWatch, and can be used on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 for in-app purchases only. Several retailers and stores are providing Apple Pay for both their physical locations and their apps with more retailers coming, so I think that Apple Pay will be a huge success.

 

Continuity

One of the biggest new features in iOS 8 is Continuity. Basically, Continuity is a process by which you can resume almost everything you’re doing on one Apple device on any other Apple device you own. Basically, if I was typing a document on my iPad, I could pick it up if I approached my Mac, or I could pick up a call from my iPhone on my iPad. This works for so many services and in so many ways that it is remarkable. Since I heard about Continuity, I’ve been really excited for it, and now that iOS 8.1 is available, Continuity is as well. Continuity helps make the transition between iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and more broadly, iOS and OS X, much more seamless and easy to use together.

 

Photos

Last, and somewhat least, we have Photos. Firstly, in response to the great outcry Apple users had about Camera Roll disappearing from the Photos app, Apple has restored Camera Roll! This is actually more important than it may seem. Having photos all in one place makes them easier to access and share and I’m very glad Apple put Camera Roll back in in iOS 8. Secondly, with iOS 8 comes the launch of iCloud Photo Library, a Flickr-like service that allows Apple users to edit, access, and share their photos in full-resolution between devices in iCloud. This service starts at 5 GB of storage FREE, and does increase to $1 per month for 20GB or $4 per month for 200GB. As sort of a photo-centric precursor to the across-the-board iCloud Drive cloud storage service, I’m curious to see how Apple users like this new feature.

 

Download iOS 8.1 today, see what you think, and then tell The Bengal Review in the comments below! Make sure to like if you like this post, and also to follow The Bengal Review and share this post!

—The Editor

 

External Links: 

http://www.macworld.com/article/2836081/ios-8-1-arrives-which-means-apple-pay-is-live.html

http://www.macworld.com/article/2840154/10-cool-new-features-found-in-ios-8-1.html

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iPad Air 2- Apple’s Next Big Thing?

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Apple recently announced the 6th Generation of iPad, the iPad Air 2, and also the 3rd Generation of iPad Mini, the iPad Mini 3. Today I wanted to take an in-depth look at the new iPad Air 2, the maxi version of the iPad. The iPad Air is the thinnest, most beautiful, and most powerful iPad ever.

Size

iPadMini3-PickUp-PRINT-p1954tdm8fpfbkmu5491ng3g9t

The new iPad Air 2 is now 6.1 mm, thinner than a pencil, making this machine, according to Apple, the thinnest tablet in the world. It is 18% than the last model, the first iPad Air, and weighs just less than a pound. Having a machine that powerful feeling that light in your hands is going to be unbelievable.

Display

The display on the iPad Air 2 is 2048p, coming in at 3 million pixels. That’s an impressive pixel density. Apple also combined the three layers that composed the screens on the former iPad models (cover glass, touch sensor, LCD) into one fully laminated display that makes images better and, combined with an anti-reflective coating, reduces glare and reflection.

Performance

Apple put their latest A8X processor with second-generation 64-bit architecture into the new iPad, making it the most powerful iPad ever. This iPad also includes Apple’s most advanced motion co-processor, the M8 chip. With 2.5x better graphics, and a 40% faster CPU, and while still retaining 10 hours of maximum battery life, the iPad Air 2 is one powerful machine.

Pricing and Other Features

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The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for 16GB, and moves to $599 for 64GB. Other important features include:

  • More advanced front and rear cameras
  • An improved aluminum hardware design
  • Touch ID
  • NFC capability for in-store payment use
  • And many others!

Overall, the iPad Air 2 is Apple’s next big thing. Slight improvements and new features that were in the iPhone line before add up to make this model a phenomenal tablet, one that I would give a 94% score at first look and declare one of the best, if not the best, tablet. Period.


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iMac with Retina 5K Display

Apple updated their iMac last Thursday. The new iMac with Retina 5K Display has exactly that: a display that is not just 4K, but 5K.

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Image from Apple.com

Display

Just to put the whole concept of 5K in perspective, a 1080p display has 1,080 pixels on a horizontal row going across the screen all the way down. 5K pixel density consists of 5,120 pixels on the same horizontal row, meaning that a 5K display is about 5 times as dense as 1080p. That’s just insane. One can barely see that many pixels in the first place, and on the 27-inch screen of the new iMac, this will look breathtaking.

Performance

Behind the amazing display is high-powered performance. Including high-powered Intel i5 and i7 processors, the new iMacs have high-powered computing power, but the most amazing improvements to performance might come in the graphics performance. Apple included the newest AMD graphics into the new iMac, providing for 3.5 teraflops of graphics computing power. For somebody who’s not a computer nerd like me, I get the impression that that’s A LOT. Also, the new iMacs have up to 3TB of storage on Apple’s performance-friendly Fusion Drive. This is indeed both a beautiful and powerful computer.

Pricing

With all this display and performance power comes a cool price tag starting at $2499. I think that this price will discourage almost all but the most advanced professional from buying this new iMac, but this doesn’t take away from the amazing capabilities and design of this computer.

 

Thanks for reading! Please like and follow if you enjoyed this post!

 

External Links

http://www.apple.com/imac-with-retina/?cid=wwa-us-kwg-mac-com

http://www.apple.com/imac-with-retina/performance/

Apple Announces New iPads, iMac

In an event today, October 16, Apple announced three new devices: the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3, and the iMac 5K. Here’s a sum-up:

  • The iPad Air 2 is basically an iPad with all of the features present in iPhones that users wanted on the iPad. It features new cameras with image stabilization and other improvements, an A8X 64-bit chip, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and new colors, including gold, space grey, and silver. Apple is marketing this device with the slogan, “Change is in the Air”, and while somewhat cheesy, this slogan is appropriate, with the new model coming in at 6.1 mm and just less than a pound.
  • The iPad Mini 2 is essentially the same thing as the iPad Air 2 with a smaller screen size, except it contains an A7 chip and now includes Touch ID.
  • The new iMac has a 5K display. This display is even bigger than 4K and the 1080p found in Apple’s high-end laptops. This is an unprecedented move. The new screen has 14.7 million pixels. It is almost unbelievable how dense this screen is and this will be AMAZING to see.

Basically, this announcement provided necessary updates to both branches of the iPad line and also revolutionized desktop display with a 5K display on the new iMac. I’m most excited to see the new iMac, and I think that this update specifically will set a whole new precedent for desktop display and revolutionize high-density pixel displays.

This weekend, I’ll be posting more about this update and the iMac specifically. Watch out for that post soon!

—The Editor

What Is Alexa and Why Does It Matter?

As my weekend post for this week, I’d like to reblog this post from Handz Studioz. Alexa is a powerful tool, and The Bengal Review was just ranked, coming in at around 20 million. I would encourage you to install the Alexa toolbar to help create traffic for your favorite websites.

Handz Studioz

Have you ever visited a website and wondered, “How popular is this site compared to others in the world?” Or perhaps, “What’s the most popular website in the world?” Alexa.com has the answer for you.

Alexa Logo (from Alexa.com)

Image from Alexa.com

Alexa is an Amazon.com company that tracks visitors to websites, and then ranks those sites based on the number of views that it gets. Not surprisingly, Google is #1, Facebook #2, and YouTube #3. The way Alexa works via a toolbar/plugin that users can install to their browser; Alexa looks to see, for instance, ‘OK. How many toolbars (equivalent to visitors) visit example.com? How many views does example.com get?’ Alexa is regarded pretty much as the gold standard in basic web analytics, along with Google Analytics.

Now, let’s look at the second part of the question: why does Alexa matter anyway? Well, let’s give an example. Let’s say that here at Handz…

View original post 442 more words

iPhone 6 Issues?

As common at every Apple launch, people have found issues with new Apple products. Apple’s latest announcement is no exception. In fact, buyers have reported two issues with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. As expected, Apple made these devices incredibly thin, with the iPhone 6 coming in at 6.9mm and the iPhone 6 Plus coming in at 7.1mm.

Now, as almost everyone who has ever owned any device with a large screen knows, with thinness tends to come fragility. However, Apple improved the strength of the front panel of glass on the new iPhone models. You would think that Apple devices would now be indestructible.

Not so.

iphone6bend

As HandzStudioz correctly observed in his article on the iPhone 6 issues, because of the fact that these phones are made of stainless steel, a somewhat supple and flexible metal, and also because of the thinness, users around the web have made claims that their new iPhones are bending in the pockets. Honestly, this goes to show how mistakenly wrong Samsung is about the whole bendy device thing, just saying.

These rumors of bending have become extremely popular around the web under the hashtag Bendgate (#Bendgate). Now, going back to the HandzStudioz article, the editor of that site referenced the fact that out of the immense amounts of complaints and problems users have supposedly faced with the bending issue (probably because their clothes are too tight), Apple has received a whopping amount of 9 complaints about iPhone 6 and 6 Plus bending issues. Obviously, this really shows how Apple cares nothing about its users and is filled with evil, greedy fiends. (If you couldn’t tell, that was dry humor. I’ll tone down a bit for the rest of this post). In fact, TechRadar did a video recently that showed how ridiculously hard it was to bend one of these phones with your hands, let alone your skinny jeans.

Honestly, this whole bending thing isn’t a dealbreaker for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. If you’re wise and get a good case to protect your investment in this phone, this will definitely not happen to you.

 

Now, on to a more comical issue with the iPhone 6: the reported Wave feature. My friend informed me of this, and I (my dry humor self) died laughing when I saw this.

iphone6wave2

Apparently, now, with iOS 8, the Wave feature allows users to charge their iPhone IN THE MICROWAVE. This is literally the most hilariously idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. But, of course, not everyone thought that.

iphone6wave3

This image was posted on Twitter with the caption: “I tried using the new IOS 8 feature WAVE where you can charge your phone with a microwave, does not work @Apple”. Sigh from The Editor. While this feature would obviously be cool, IT WILL FRY YOUR PHONE!!!! Unlike the Bend hoax, this is a legitimate concern. Be a smart person and don’t fall for this.

So overall, worry about the Wave charging but don’t really worry about the Bend hoax.

These hoaxes are really Bengal Review fodder. If you liked this post and want to see more, please follow The Bengal Review. It would make my day and I hope it’ll make yours.

–The Editor

Microsoft and Mojang- Not a Good Combination?

As I posted recently, Microsoft announced  on Monday that they had purchased Mojang, the company that developed one of the biggest gaming successes in this decade: Minecraft. While there are obvious advantages to being owned by a larger company and Mojang has gained a huge amount of capital from the $2.5 billion deal, I was greatly disturbed by this news. I’ve been playing Minecraft for about four years and I don’t want the game to change as I think it will under this deal. Here are three reasons why I think that this sale will change Minecraft forever and why things should just stay as they are with regards to Mojang.

  1. There’s No Need to Sell- Mojang was founded about four years ago. Since the launch of Minecraft around that time, Mojang’s position has been just like any other successful tech company-they have provided a great product (in this case a game) which people love and therefore buy. Mojang’s sales of Minecraft haven’t hit any slumps even as the price has gone up from $21 USD to $30 USD. My point is- there’s no need to sell! Mojang has been doing amazing in sales and therefore, in my opinion, should have kept doing what they did independently from Microsoft.
  2. Minecraft’s Structure would Change- I’ve had concerns in thinking about this sale that the physical structure of Mojang’s main product, Minecraft, will drastically change. Basically, there are three main platforms for this game: computers (Minecraft PC version), mobile devices (Minecraft Pocket Edition) and video game consoles. Within these platforms, there are both single-player, locally-based ways to play and multiplayer, server-based ways to play. I am concerned that multiplayer servers, which encompass some of the most creative and engaging ways to play, will be outsourced from the computers of people who run the servers to Microsoft-based servers. The best thing about this game in my opinion is that indie-game feel of compatibility and customization in the game, and I am concerned that selling Mojang to Microsoft (or any other tech company, even my beloved Apple) will severely limit these benefits.
  3. Loss of Sales for Mojang- Think about it. When Apple, Google, Yahoo or Microsoft buys a smaller tech company, they integrate that company’s services into their products, whether it be a large company like Beats by Dr. Dre or Tumblr or a tiny tech company that specializes in one essential thing. My fear is that since Minecraft is now Microsoft’s product, Microsoft will begin to outsource the PC version of the game with their Windows software. Essentially, this move would eliminate a large segment of Mojang’s biggest product market, owners of Windows PC computers. If someone gets a Windows computer, instead of spending the $30 they might expend to get the game, they would have it free for immediate download, somewhat like Windows Live Essentials. Also, Microsoft might ship Minecraft Pocket Edition with its tablet and phone software as an installed app, nullifying another HUGE mobile moneymaker (the app sells at $7 USD). As Mojang doesn’t really have any other well-known products other than Minecraft, if Microsoft distributes Minecraft in this way, I worry that Mojang itself might almost cease to exist and that Minecraft might become merely a Microsoft asset and a perk for buying Microsoft products.

To sum up, I completely understand how Markus Persson (or Notch, as you might know him) feels like Minecraft is getting too big for him to manage and still work on other projects. I also completely understand the advantages and capital brought in for Mojang by this deal. However, I don’t know if Microsoft and Mojang are a good combination.  I think that this sale will have some ill effects for Mojang because Mojang has done fine and had huge sales independently, because the physical structure of Minecraft could change as a result of the deal, and because there could potentially be a huge loss of sales for Mojang as a result of the deal. I understand that there are pros and cons, but just worry about the possible undesirable impact on Minecraft players and Mojang itself.

What do you think? Please leave your opinion in the comments below and also please reblog this post to foster some good discussion!

–The Editor

iOS 8 Out Today- September 17

Today, Apple announced iOS 8,  dubbed “the latest version of the world’s most advanced operating system”. iOS 8 includes huge advantages for developers, a new Health app, new interactive notifications, amazing updates to basic apps like Messages and Photos, and amazing new Continuity features that allow all the Apple devices you own to communicate seamlessly with each other, sharing data and allowing you to pick up a project from one device on another that might be better suited for the project.

iOS 8 will be truly amazing and I personally think that it it will be an effective and well-received update to iOS.

For more info, subscribe to HandzStudios for a review of iOS 8 for the iPad that will be coming out soon! I will not be doing a full-out review, but may be posting about certain aspects of iOS 8 in the future.

–The Editor

If you liked this post, please like, reblog, and follow The Bengal Review with 17 others.

Microsoft Buys Mojang

On Monday, Microsoft announced that it had purchased ‘Minecraft’ administrator and owner Mojang for $2.5 billion, 25% more than the original deal was rumored to be valued at.

While this will make Mojang some cash and will give them some advantageous connections in the extensive reach of the huge tech company, I have some concerns that this sale will affect Mojang’s sales and will affect the physical structure of the game, which I enjoy playing very much.

Stay tuned this weekend for my 3 points on why this deal might have some unfortunate results. Follow The Bengal Review so you can see immediately when the post comes out!

—The Editor

If you liked this post, please like, reblog, and follow The Bengal Review with 17 others.