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What you might not know on the Apple versus Android battle

Most of you know that two new iPhones are expected to be unveiled at Apple's
announcement today at 1 p.m., but here are a few things you might not know.

From April through June, Apple sold 31 million iPhones compared to 187 million Android phones from Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, and others.

Apple's iOS holds 13 percent of the global market, down from 17 percent at the same time last year. Android phones have increased their share from to 79 percent over 69 percent from last year.

The iPhone 5 has generated $88 billion in revenue since launch.

Apple's shares have slid about 30 percent since peaking at $705.07 when the iPhone 5 went on sale last year.

Apple's $460 billion market value is more than any other company in the world.

Summer on the cheap for kids

Summer's almost here, which means the clock is ticking on lining up activities for the kids. Luckily, you don't have to spend a ton of money to keep them busy.

Several local and national businesses are hosting free and cheap summer kids programs that will keep your kids reading, bowling, making movies, watching movies and touring museums.

On top of that, Triangle-area libraries are kicking off free summer reading programs that reward kids -- and in some cases, adults -- for reading. Free book bags, stickers, weekly rewards and prizes, story hours, puppet shows, book clubs and contests are all in the works. Call your local library for details.

I'll add more activities as I find them. And if you know of a summer-on-the-cheap program, please post it in the comments section.

How breakable are they? iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and S3

SquareTrade, who sells extended warranties for consumer gadgets and appliances, produced this infographic. Does this help them sell more warranties somehow? Maybe, but if you give them the benefit of the doubt it appears the new Samsung Galaxy S4 is somewhat more prone to being damaged than its predecessor and its chief rival.

iSteve trailer from Funny or Die

Here you have it - the trailer for Funny or Die's iSteve. The movie based on the life of Steve Jobs stars Justin Long of "I'm a Mac" fame and will be released April 15. I think I'm going to have to see more clips to be convinced that its worth of more than an hour of my time.


Samsung's new wallet app draws criticism

Security hole allows iPhone passcode to be bypassed

A security vulnerability has been discovered in iOS 6.1, 6.0.2 and 6.0.1 that allows an iPhone's passcode to be bypassed.

Secured passcode access to a device can be overcome by a few simple button presses after making and canceling an emergency call.Expect an update form Apple sooner than later.

Here is the process in action from YouTube user Videosdebarraquito posted a week ago - as away to prank your friends. BGR spotlit the risk this morning.

Review: Weather Live app for iOS worth paying for

Weather apps are a fixture on smartphones and tablets. Apple's rather basic weather app has evolved very little since its inception, but thankfully developers have stepped up to produce plenty of options for those looking for more detailed information.

There is no shortage of weather apps - paid or free. I have at least six installed on my own phone, but most are ad-supported. One standout app, Weather Live, is priced at $1.99 in the App Store. With the many free alternatives, it is only fair to ask what this paid app delivers, aside from no ads, over its cheapskate rivals.

Presentation and customization are what set the Weather Live app apart from the competition.

Stunning live screen animations that mimic the current weather scroll across the display. Weather Live has six different layouts users can select with varying degrees of detail. The most detailed view includes loads of information including the current conditions, an hourly forecast, and an outlook for the next seven days. Other display options allow users to simplify the screen layout.

Weather Live will track conditions for multiple cities and deliver alerts in the event of severe weather. There is also a freezing temperature alert.

No weather app is complete without an animated weather map and Weather Live offers four map choices: cloud, radar, satellite and rain maps. This is one area Weather Live make bring improvements. The maps are attractive, but you can't zoom in on them. They also lack any city names for reference. When a storm is rolling through nearby users naturally want a more local view. Weather Live says map improvements are coming. I don't have a time frame, but Weather live says it is working to include the map improvements in an update.

Weather Live offers some nice extra touches like displaying the current temperature on the app icon, and the ability to select from two different weather data providers. You can also adjust the app brightness by swiping vertically. A horizontal swipe will load weather from other saved locations.

Weather Live gets overwhelmingly positive feedback in Apple's App Store, and it is not hard to see why. Weather Live is worth considering at its $1.99 price, but it needs to improve its maps to be complete. When Weather Live offers map zooming to display more local imagery it could be the ultimate one-stop weather app.

 

Google challenges Siri with revamped iOS app

The Google Search App for iOS got a recent update adding impressive voice capability. As with Siri you can ask for the weather, scores, and directions. Though it lacks the integration of Siri, Google has outmaneuvered Apple in a couple of ways.

Naturally folks want to know how Google's new effort, free at the App Store, compares to Siri. What may be Google's biggest trump is that its voice app works with iPhones that Apple hasn't endowed with Siri - like the iPhone 4.

In use the app's voice recognition seems every bit as good as Siri. Voice requests appear on the screen as you speak. You can watch it instantly analyze your voice working through potential words in real time. Google's revamped app churns out search results at least as quickly as Siri and can read them back to you.

Like knowing what is with the weather? Google offers more informative weather results that include the chance of precipitation, humidity, and wind speed - all of which are MIA with Siri and Apple's iOS weather app.

Apple's weather information may be lacking, but Siri's sports reports tops its rival with by the quarter results and its slick looking box score graphics.

When I requested a restaurant, each produced a similar list of eateries. Siri's list was longer and it included the nearest Meals On Wheels location. I'm not sure if this good or bad.

Google's app is also a launcher of sort for its apps, but there is no voice integration with them. You can't open Gmail or Google calendar. You will not be able to say "email my wife" as in Siri. Hopefully that will come.

If you have an iPhone lacking Siri then Google's Search App is a must try. Even of you have Siri, the new Google Search App is worth a look.

Report: New smaller iPad now in mass production

Rumors of a new smaller tablet from Apple have been building in recent weeks. A report from the Wall Street Journal says that Apple has begun mass production for the device.

The WSJ report mirrors previous rumors about the tablet popularly referred to as the 'iPad mini.'

The new tablet will have a 7.85-inch display with a lower resolution than that of the latest third generation iPad unveiled in March.The iPad mini is believed to have an LCD display with 1024x768 pixels.

Supposed leaked parts suggest it will have a white front while having a black rear shell. A headphone jack is said to be placed along the top left edge as it is on the current iPad, and Apple's new smaller lightning connector is expected. A nano-SIM card is on the right side of the device.

MacRumors echoed reports of Apple sending invites to the launch event though to be set for October 10.

A smaller, cheaper iPad could help Apple take on lower-cost competition including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and Google's Nexus 7.

iPhone 5 buyers claim scuffs out of the box

Apple may have a "scuffgate" brewing. Numerous owners of Apple's new iPhone 5 report the hard-to-get device arriving already scuffed or scratched.

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