TurboScan for iPhone free for Limited Time

My favorite iPhone scanning app, TurboScan, is currently free. The promotion is set to expire today, so if you want one of the best scanning apps for your iPhone without having to pay anything, head to the Apple App Store now!

This app uses your iPhone camera to make high quality page scans. It supports multi-page scans and once you have scanned documents, you can email them to others or send as a PDF to your favorite PDF viewing app. It is definitely worth the try for free, but even if you miss the sale, still easily worth the $2.99 regular purchase price.

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iOS 8.1.1 Now Available – Speed Improvements for Older iPhones and iPads

iOS 8.1.1Apple released iOS Version 8.1.1 for the iPhone and iPad today. This is a small incremental update that mainly increases performance on iPhone 4s, iPad 2 and the original iPad Mini. Bug fixes and stability improvements are also promised. You can update your device over-the-air by going to the Settings app, General, and then Software Update (you can also connect your phone to iTunes and do an update through your computer).

I have successfully updated my iPhone 6 Plus without issue. So far there have been no complaints of crashes with this update, but as always, it is recommended that you have a full back-up before performing any update. If you are still using an iPhone 4s or iPad 2, let us know if you notice performance improvements with the new update.

iPlugDelaware Wilmington Meeting on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18 2014 iPlugDelaware MeetingTomorrow November 18, 2014, marks the third Tuesday of November, so that means it is time for our monthly meeting. The iPlugDelaware meeting will take place at the Panera in Fairfax as usual, and will begin at 7:30 am. Panera is located at 2311 Concord Pike, Wilmington Delaware. The meetings are held in the back of the restaurant. Normally meetings last about 1 hour.

The topics for this month’s meeting include:

  • Microsoft Office Apps released for iPhone
  • Microsoft Office Apps now free to use on iPhone/iPad
  • Is using a fingerprint less secure than a passcode?
  • Can malicious apps replace legitimate apps on your iPhone/iPad
  • ApplePay thoughts (you can try it yourself while at Panera!)

As always, participation from attendees are welcome, and since this is a users’ group, we are always happy to discuss topics of interest to anyone attending (or learn about an app that you find useful). This is a friendly group, and if you have not yet attended one of our free meetings, please stop in. No pre-registration is required.

Due to scheduling conflicts, there will be no Dover meeting this month. If anyone is unable to attend the Wilmington meeting, and would be interested in having an online iPlugDelaware meeting, please use the contact form to let us know.

“Hey Siri” Brings Hands-Free Operation to iPhone/iPad

When iOS 8 was released, one of the most useful features it added was “Hey Siri”. This new command allows you to complete functions hands-free while your iPhone or iPad is being charged. This works on any device with Siri capabilities, and is enabled within the Siri settings by selecting “Allow ‘Hey Siri'” (open the Settings app, then go to General, and then Siri). Once enabled, you can activate Siri on your device by simply speaking the command “Hey Siri” followed by the action that you would like performed.

Hey Siri iPhone 6I have been using this functionality on a daily basis since updating to iOS 8. While I am in the car, I always have my iPhone docked so that I can listen to music or podcasts on my iPhone. While it is plugged into my car dock, I simply say “Hey Siri, text my Wife”, and I am immediately prompted to speak my message. After I speak the message, Siri repeats it back to me and asks me if I am ready to send my message. I simply answer yes, and my message is sent. After I am done with Siri, I simply say, “Hey Siri, go away” and I am returned to my music.

Hey Siri Text MessageOnce you have Siri on screen, you can also continue to give commands without pressing any buttons. This is again accomplished by starting your command with “Hey Siri”. So for example, after sending the text message above, I could ask Siri to read my text messages to me by saying “Hey Siri, read text messages”. Siri would tell me how many unread text messages I have and then would proceed to read the messages. After each message is read, I would also be prompted whether to send a reply.

Hey Siri Read Text MessagesAlthough I find this functionality most useful while in my vehicle, I also use “Hey Siri” at home. After I wake up in the morning, I can find out the time by asking “Hey Siri, what time is it?”. I can check the weather by saying “Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?”, and I can check my schedule by asking “Hey Siri, what’s my schedule like?”. If I wake up before my alarm is set to go off, I can even say, “Hey Siri, turn off my alarm.”

If you want to use the “Hey Siri” command when your phone is not being charged, you first have to manually start Siri by holding down on your Home button. After Siri is on the screen, additional commands can be done hands-free by saying “Hey Siri” followed by your command.

Of course “Hey Siri” is only useful if Siri can understand you. I have found that Siri does a much better job of understanding my commands in iOS 8, but your mileage may vary. See our previous post for a list of commands that can be used with Siri.

 

Thoughts on Apple Pay

One of the major benefits of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, beyond the large screen, is Apple Pay. Although I have only used Apple Pay for 2 actual purchases, one of the hidden benefits for me has been Card Notifications. Once I enrolled my American Express Card in Apple Pay, I began to receive notifications on my phone whenever I make a purchase. At least for American Express, these notifications are provided for all transactions, not just those made with Apple Pay. Whenever my American Express is used anywhere, I now get an alert on my phone. I do not have to be logged in to the American Express app for these alerts to appear.

The advantage of these constant alerts is that I am able to now actively monitor my account for fraud. I no longer have to login to the American Express app or website to check my transaction history. I instantly get an alert and transaction history within the Passbook app by clicking the info button. Since I wear a Pebble SmartWatch, these alerts also show on my wrist. If there is suspicious activity, I know immediately.

Since I currently only have an American Express card enrolled with Apple Pay, I am not sure whether other card providers also provide you with notifications for all purchases, but I hope so. I feel much more secure knowing that my phone alerts me for any purchase I make, and I wish that my primary bank account was available in Apple Pay. I am hoping that as more of my credit cards become eligible, these same alerts are provided.

If you have started using Apple Pay, I would be interested in your experiences. Please let me know if you are receiving notifications for all purchases and whether you have had any difficulty. More banks started offering Apple Pay as an option this week, and several more are supposed to be added throughout the rest of the year. If none of your cards were initially eligible, you may want to check again to see if that has changed.

Microsoft Office Apps Come to iPhone, Editing and Creating Now Available for iPad and iPhone

Microsoft announced on its blog today, that Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps are now universal, meaning that they are available for both iPad and iPhone. In addition to Word, Excel and PowerPoint now being available on the iPhone, the updated apps now allow users of both iPhone and iPad to create and edit Microsoft Office documents without a subscription to Office 365. The prior versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad could only be used to view documents without a subscription to Office 365.

As part of this release, the horrible Microsoft Office Mobile app for iPhone will be retired. Additionally, Microsoft has promised a preview of Office for Android tablets in the near future and confirmed that a touch-optimized version of Office is in development for Windows 10.

Although Microsoft announced immediate availability of the updates in the Apple App Store, I could only access them with through a link currently and not through an App Store Search.

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This is a great change for Microsoft. Although a Microsoft Office 365 account is not needed for editing abilities, you do have to login with a Microsoft Account. If you already have a Live.com account, a Hotmail Account, or you have registered with Microsoft in any way, you can use the same login information. If you do not have an account, it is free to setup and use. If you do not login with a Microsoft Account, you are still limited to just viewing documents.

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The Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps on the iPhone are just as full featured as the iPad versions, but due to the smaller screen, toolbar options have been adjusted to a menu instead of across the top. It will not be as quick to edit and create on an iPhone, but it is a nice option for those situations when you do not have access to a computer or tablet. I can confirm that documents that I routinely use with advanced formatting options appeared in the native format on my phone.

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Dropbox integration that was just recently announced has been added in the updated apps. When you first launch the updated app, you are given the option of immediately signing in to Dropbox. If you decline, the option can easily be added later by selecting “Add a Service” under connected services. I was able to easily add my Dropbox account and authenticate through the Dropbox App. Editing and viewing of Dropbox documents worked with no problem.

This is a very welcome addition to the Microsoft Office Applications.

Amazon CloudDrive Now Offers Unlimited Photo Storage For Prime Members

One of the biggest complaints I hear from iPhone users is that they often run low on disk space due to the amount of photos that they have stored on their device. Amazon today announced that Amazon prime members will now have unlimited storage in the Amazon CloudDrive app for full resolution photos. The Amazon App offers automatic background upload of your photos from your iPhone or iPad. Once the photos are stored on CloudDrive, they can be accessed on any device that has Internet access.

The Amazon CloudDrive back up of photos is being offered to all members of Amazon prime at no additional cost. If you are not currently a member of Amazon prime, a free 5 GB storage limit is still being provided. If you have been unable to upgrade your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS because you are out of disk space, the option to back up all of your photos to Amazon CloudDrive would allow you to delete photos on your device knowing that you have full resolution backup copies in the cloud. Once you have your photos stored in the drive, you can delete the photos from your device and apply any updates that are waiting for you.

Although Apple offers iCloud backup of your photos, free space is still limited, and Amazon provides another option for you. If you are a Microsoft office 365 subscriber, Microsoft OneDrive also provides you with unlimited backup of all of your photos. Google Drive, and Dropbox also provide options for backing up photos if you are already a subscriber of one of those services. It is nice to see that several of the cloud drive services are offering easy ways to back up and preserve all of the photos from your mobile devices.

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