Apple’s iWatch Smartwatch Might Now Be in Testing

Apple iwatch Render - 7

Apple could now be testing its often rumored iWatch, according to reports, possibly indicating a launch as early as this fall.

These reports, which originate from the Economic Times, also indicate that Apple has decided to shift away from the 1.8 inch displays the company had been rumored to include in the iWatch. Instead, it will build the device with 1.5 inch displays, because reportedly it felt that the larger 1.8 inch display were too big for the wrists of most users.

How an iWatch might look on your wrist, with a classic leather strap.

 

 

8 More Hidden iOS 7 Features

Apple’s iOS 7 hit the iPhone and iPad last month and packed the new release with not only a brand new design, but lots of new gestures, feature and capabilities. We’ve already discussed some of our favorite things in iOS 7, as well as some of our gripes and along the way have managed to learn a new trick or two.

Thanks to your feedback — and some additional sleuthing — we’ve got even more hidden iOS 7 features that you might not have run across.

SEE ALSO: 8 Great Hidden Features in iOS 7

Some of these features are nice to have, and others — like some of the keyboard shortcuts — really make iOS 7 a more productive experience.

1. Controlling Control Center

 

control-center-controls

 

Control Center is awesome. In fact, it’s far and away one of our favorite iOS 7 features. The problem is, it can be easy to accidentally pull up Control Center if you are furiously scrolling through a list in an app or in certain games.

Fortunately, Apple has made it easy to disable Control Center inside of apps.

Do do this, just go to Settings > Control Center and then toggle “Access Within Apps” on or off. If you toggle it off, you can’t pull Control Center up inside of apps, but can still access it on the home screen.

2. Auto Focus With Shutter Button (iPhone 5S Only)

 

auto-focus-ios7

 

The new iPhone 5S has a lot of slick features, including the ability to activate auto-focus withouttouching the screen. Just briefly press the volume up button and the familiar auto-focus square will appear.

Sadly, this only works on the iPhone 5S (at least as far as our tests go), but it’s one of those tricks that makes the iPhone that much more like a regular point and shoot camera.

3. Burst Mode for Photo Buttons (All Devices)

One photo feature that isn’t limited to the iPhone 5S is the ability to take consecutive shots by hitting the volume up or down button in the camera app. Press and hold and prepare to fill your camera with dozens of consecutive shots.

To be clear, this isn’t the same feature as Burst Mode on the iPhone 5S — that feature not only takes more snaps, iOS 7 gives you a neat way to select what shots you want to keep. Still, this is great for anyone who wants to take lots of photos at once.

4. Access .com by Long-Pressing “.” Key

 

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My personal biggest gripe with iOS 7 was the death of the “.com” button inside Safari. I love the new omnibar for search and URL entry (or return to the omnibar if we’re being historically accurate), but I hate not having access to .com.

It turns out, you CAN access that button! Simply press and hold the “.” key and a .com, .net., .us and .edu selection pops up. How great is that!

Macworld goes into even more depth of secrets of the iOS 7 keyboard, and I thank them for this tip!

5. Quick Apostrophe on iPad Keyboard

 

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Speaking of keyboard tips, in iOS 7 on the iPad, you can quickly access the apostrophe key by pressing and holding the comma button. It’s much easier to use the correct form of “it’s” when typing.

OK, our bad. This one isn’t actually new to iOS 7. It was just new to me. Still, enjoy!

6. Peek in Messages and Mail

 

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This is a hidden feature you’ve probably stumbled upon. As we’ve discussed, iOS 7 is considerably more gesture-driven than previous versions of iOS. One of the cool features Apple has enabled is the ability to swipe forward and backwards in its messaging apps.

If you’re on an email message in the mail app or viewing a conversation in iMessage, you can slightly swipe to your right to reveal a peek at the message list below.

BlackBerry 10 fans might notice that this is similar to the way the peek and flow gestures works on the Z10,

7. Create New Events On Date or Times in iMessage

 

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One of my favorite features in OS X is the smart way you can create appointments or calendar entries based on text inside an email or on a web page. Now, more of that functionality is in iOS 7.

Inside iMessages, typing something such as “Dinner with Dan at 7 on Thursday” will underline “7 on Thursday.” Tap the underline text and you can create a calendar event with that subject.

8. Look at Most Visited Areas

 

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This one might cross the creepy line, but we think it’s pretty slick. You can view a map of your most recently visited areas by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services (scroll all the way down to see System Services) > Frequent Locations

When this is on, you can view your location history on a map. You can also opt to use frequent locations to improve Apple Maps. This is neat because iOS 7 will learn your location patterns and offer better predictive ideas of how long it will take to get to your next appointment.

How to Use Burst Mode in iOS 7

If you’re at a sporting event, or even just taking photos of your grandpa blowing out the birthday candles on his cake, you usually have to be pretty quick so that you capture the moment at just the right time on your camera. DSLR cameras have a pretty fast frame rate that can shoot around eight frames per second, and sometimes even more, in order to capture a moment at just the right time. However, most people don’t have DSLRs.

Fortunately, iOS 7 comes with a new “Burst Mode” that allows you to take multiple photos one right after another in a matter of seconds. The feature is available on the iPhone 4 and newer, but only the newer iPhones can shoot at 10 frames per second (yes, 10!). Older iPhones are only able to shoot around 2-3 frames per second. Here’s how to utilize Burst Mode in order to capture the perfect moment during fast-paced action.

camera-burst-mode-iphone

Using Burst Mode

Open up the Camera app and make sure you’re on a mode that shoots photos. Different modes are listed toward the bottom right above the shutter button. Swipe to the left or right to change modes. Burst Mode isn’t actually a mode in the list; it’s simply something that’s built right in when you start taking pictures.

 

Point your camera at a fast-moving subject and instead of tapping and releasing on the shutter button, hold it down for Burst Mode to activate. It’ll begin taking a ton of photos in a split second, and if you’re using an iPhone 5s, it’ll give you a counter of how many photos have been taken (as well as make an annoying, continuous shutter noise), but if you’re using an older iPhone, you’ll have to look in the lower-left corner where your photos are saved and you’ll see little blinks for every photo that has been taken.

Managing Burst Mode Photos

Obviously, using Burst Mode results in a ton of photos piling up in your Photos app, but iOS 7 makes it easy to manage all of them. When you take, say, 16 photos in one go, your iPhone doesn’t just throw them all into the Photos app individually. Instead, it creates a folder of sorts that takes up a single photo slot in the app.

Tapping on that folder will show in the upper-left corner that these are a collection of photos taken with Burst Mode, and it’ll also show the number of photos in that collection. Tap on Favorites… to pick and choose the best photos from that small collection to be saved as photos that you can then share and send to friends and family. All you have to do is scroll through the photos and tap on one to checkmark it for saving. After you’ve selected the ones you like, tap on Done to save your changes.

At this point, you’ll see the photos that you’ve favorited, as well as the original Burst Mode folder of the photos you originally took. After you save your favorites, your iPhone will still keep the originals in that Burst Mode folder, so if you accidentally delete the ones you liked, you still have access to them.

 

15 Hidden iPhone 5s Features

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The iPhone 5s is Apple’s latest iPhone with plenty of great features that set it apart from the competition, including other iPhones. We’ve spent the last week picking apart the best hidden iPhone 5s features to help users get the most out of their iPhone 5s without spending any more cash.

The iPhone 5s is still a very new device, so there are plenty of hidden features that the average user or first time iPhone owner won’t know about.

With this list of iPhone 5s hidden features you can do more on the iPhone 5s while you wait for an IOS 7 jailbreak and for Apple to add any new features.

While you don’t need to buy anything to use these features, we do have a list of the best iPhone 5s accessories and the best iPhone 5s cases to help you do even more and protect the iPhone 5s from drops and dings.

The good news about these hidden iPhone 5s features is that you won’t have to enter a hidden code or pay for special access to use them (except one). Apple includes all of these iPhone 5s features out of the box and even mentions some on the iPhone 5s website, but many users don’t know about everything their new iPhone 5s is capable of.

Read: iOS 7 How to Guides: Get the Most Out of iOS 7

We’ll cover a few iOS 7 features in here that no one should be without, but if you want more, check out 25 hidden iOS 7 features. Several of these features will only work on the iPhone 5s, specifically the camera and some of the fitness items, but others will work on the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 as well as older devices in some capacity. We’ll do our best to call out which ones will work on other iPhones.

Here are 15 hidden iPhone 5s features that will help you get the most out of your iPhone.

Bend me shape me Flexible phones 'out by 2013

Samsung flexible phones prototypes

Samsung’s new phones use OLED technology, but the firm is also looking into graphene

WATCH: Inside a Graphene lab developing flexible display technology

But rumours abound that next year will see the launch of the first bendy phone. Numerous companies are working on the technology – LG, Philips, Sharp, Sony and Nokia among them – although reports suggest that South Korean phone manufacturer Samsung will be the first to deliver.

Nokia Morph concept phoneMorph is one of the bendable prototypes Nokia has been working on

Samsung favours smartphones with so-called flexible OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, and is confident that they will be “very popular among consumers worldwide”.

Their screens will be “foldable, rollable, wearable and more, [and] will allow for a high degree of durability through their use of a plastic substrate that is thinner, lighter and more flexible than… conventional LCD technology,” says a Samsung spokesperson.

Paperless world

Nokia Morph concept phone

There are other technologies that could make your smartphone bendy. After all, the concept – creating flexible electronics and assembling them on equally flexible plastic – has been touted since the 1960s, when the first flexible solar cell arrays appeared.

In 2005, Philips demonstrated the first prototype of a rollable display.

And it may not have been obvious, but a couple of years later, flexible technology hit the mainstream.

Amazon’s first Kindle e-reader used a plastic non-rigid screen – known as an optical frontplane – to display its images. The only problem was that the components beneath it required the device to be stiff.

Like many of the e-book readers that followed, it used e-ink – an innovation developed by a US company of the same name.

The screens are black and white, and work by reflecting natural light instead of glowing themselves, mimicking the way text looks in paper books.

“There are about 30 million flexible e-ink displays in the field today – the oldest working ones are from 2006,” says Sri Peruvemba of E-Ink.

“They [are] well-suited for simple phones, memory and battery indicators, smart credit cards, wristwatches, and signs.”

But why are most e-ink displays hidden behind a rigid glass screen and not made bendy?

One reason is cost, says Abhigyan Sengupta, an analyst with consultancy firm MarketsAndMarkets, which recently published a global study on flexible displays.

To have a fully flexible finished product, both parts of the display have to be flexible – the optical frontplane and the backplane, where transistors are – as well as the device’s battery, the outer shell, the touchscreen and other components.

Plastic Logic screengrabPlastic Logic designs displays using E-Ink’s technology and its own

Although Mr Peruvemba says his firm has started manufacturing displays with flexible backplanes in-house, its many partners are also busy researching ways to make electronic paper as flexible as the real thing.

Among them is South Korean firm LG Displays, which has just begun mass-producing fully flexible e-ink screens.

“They could prove a terrific benefit for handsets, where damage from drops is common,” says an LG spokeswoman. “Their light weight and thinness should provide huge potential to the future of handset design development.”

Another company working with E-Ink is UK firm Plastic Logic.

It uses the US firm’s optical frontplane but adds on its own backplane made out of non-rigid plastics, and then sells the part to device-makers.

Last May, Plastic Logic demonstrated a paper-like flexible screen capable of playing video in colour, which is achieved by placing a filter on top of the original black-and-white display.

Concept phone, NEC

This prototype was developed by Japanese company NEC

But the colours are not as bright as on other types of screens, and the company’s research manager Michael Banach acknowledges the technology at the moment is most likely to be used as a back-up screen which kicks in when batteries run low, rather than the main display.

‘Wonder material’

So other researchers are taking a different approach.

Clad in blue lab overalls, Prof Andrea Ferrari from Cambridge University works on future bendy displays using graphene.

LG Displays, flexible display prototypeSouth Korean firm LG Displays has recently started mass-producing e-ink flexible displays

The material was first produced in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two Russian-born scientists at the University of Manchester.

Graphene is a sheet of carbon just one atom thick – yet it is stronger than diamond, transparent, lightweight, has great conducting properties – and is flexible.

Researchers believe that graphene may in future replace silicon and revolutionise electronics as we know it.

“We are working on flexible, bendable and transparent displays and surfaces that could in future be part of flexible phones, tablets, TVs and solar cells,” says Prof Ferrari, who is working with Finnish phonemaker Nokia.

“Samsung is really quite advanced in this field, but we here in Cambridge have done some great work on Nokia’s prototypes as well.”

He says that graphene will complement and highly enhance the performance of OLED-type flexible phones, because in theory, even a handset’s flexible battery can be made out of this material.

Whatever the technology, it seems certain that very soon our phones will be not just smart, but bendy too.