Google Now for iOS devices was released Monday. Google updated its Google Search app for iOS with support for Google Now which as been a big selling point on Android. You can argue Google Now steps into Apple's Siri turf, but the two "assistant" services are quite different. Rather than competition from Google Now, I'd say Siri has company.
Time Warner Cable has announced that starting tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., they will begin offering out-of-home live streaming and Video On Demand to customers with the TWC TV apps for iPhone and iPad.
The streaming apps for Android and computers are coming soon.
Local shows available for live viewing include News 14 Carolina, TWC's local 24-hour cable news channel. The live national channels available for now are Aspire, BBC America, beIN Sports (English/Spanish), FearNet, GMC, Pac-12 and TVGuide Network.
TWC TV's On Demand options include 1,100 hours of programming from a long list of cable channels, including Comedy Central, Food Network, BBC America, Univision and Nickelodeon.
The TWC TV app has offered in-home live viewing for the past two years, and began offering in-home Video On-Demand viewing in December.
The apps are free from iTunes but you'll need your Time Warner "My Services" ID and password to log in. And if you already have the app but haven't updated in awhile, you'll need to do that.
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.
The Belkin WeMo Switch is home automation made simple and relatively inexpensive. It may be a smart home 101 accessory, but the despite its simplicity the WeMo offers some sophisticated capability. With the WeMo and the free companion app, you can turn on a lamp for example using an iOS device (running iOS 5.0 or higher) from the other side of the house or even from out of town.
After opening our test unit from Verizon ($49.97), I had it running in under three minutes. Set up is a breeze. Plug the WeMo Switch into a regular outlet and install the free WeMo app on your iOS device. Via the Wi-Fi settings you connect to the WeMo network and launch the app. That's it.
After set up, you can switch on or off any device you can plug into the WeMo from anywhere over Wi-Fi or your carrier's wireless network. A lamp is an obvious candidate, but other handy uses might be fans, heaters, or the lights on your Christmas tree.
The app lists each switch. They can be switched on and off manually in the app, and each can be individually scheduled to activate autonomously - great for a bare-bones coffee maker. There is also a physical button mounted on the module itself.
What's missing is an Android app, and why not desktop control?
Nonetheless the WeMo Switch is a cool gadget that offers a simple solution for those in need of some basic home automation.
Verizon also offers the WeMo Switch plus Motion to expand your home automation a bit further.
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.
First, a programming note: I'll be on vacation, without a working phone, for the next week. The rest of the staff will handle the Duke football duties leading up to and including the game against FIU, so be sure to check the site's main Duke page throughout the week and follow me on twitter (@laurakeeley), as I've rigged my feed to automatically post new stories as they appear on the site.
My season preview, complete with a lengthy look at how, exactly, Conner Vernon ended up at Duke will run in Tuesday's paper, so look for that to appear online Monday night.
See you next Sunday.
Switching directions, we are officially seven days from the start of Duke's college football season. I wrote a camp wrap-up for today's paper focusing on Brandon Connette's new role, the possibility of a stronger run game, and, of course, all of the injuries.
With Jordon Byas joining the list of starters lost for the season Friday, I actually went and revised my prediction for Duke's record. There are just so many missing players, and the schedule is just so unfavorable. I'm not sure the Blue Devils have caught a lucky break in the five years David Cutcliffe has been in Durham. But that's football.
Know one thing, though, in case it isn't obvious: Cutcliffe and his staff work incredibly hard. They're fully committed to turning the program around and are constantly looking for any type of advantage. Case in point: the Blue Devils ditched their old, paper playbooks and have become one of the first teams to go completely digital. In case you missed the story earlier in the week, give it a read. It's pretty intriguing technology.
Smart Source -- a familiar name to generations of coupon clippers -- has gone mobile.
Long a staple of the Sunday newspaper experience, Smart Source coupons are now available on the iPad. No scissors required.
Called SmartSource Xpress, the app provides "magazines" of coupons for folks to page through, simulating that traditional Sunday morning experience.
But that's where the similarities end.
State regulators today approved this state's largest solar farm as iPhone maker Apple said it would double the size of the project.
The N.C. Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead for the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company to start generating operating the 20-megawatt solar farm at its huge data complex in Maiden. The center supports the company’s iCloud online data storage system and its SIRI voice-recognition software.
Apple said today it would expand the project by adding 20 more megawatts on 100 acres on the site in Catawba County for a total of 40 megawatts. The state's biggest solar farms to date have maxed out at 5 megawatts.
Apple's solar modules will maximize solar energy by aligning with the sun's rays throughout the day. The array will track the sun as it moves across the sky by rotating on a north-south axis.
The solar project will be built in phases and is expected to start generating power in October and completed by December.
Apple is also planning a 4.8-megawatt fuel cell facility, the nation's largest, at the site. That request is still pending with the Utilities Commission.
Mobile gaming on the iPhone and iPad is big business. Gameloft has launched N.O.V.A. 3 which appears to have all the elements of a blockbuster bit.
Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance carries a premium price of $9.99. The action-adventure game features 10 levels of play, impressive cinematic graphics, and new 12-player battles in 6 multiplayer modes.
Check it out on iTunes.
A teen from one of the poorest areas of China is now suffering from renal deficiency after selling a kidney. According to the story, the sum for the teen amounted to about $3,500 which he used to purchase an iPhone and iPad.
Five people have been charged and the case has highlighted concerns over increasing consumerism in China.