Apple Watch Details Coming During Spring Forward Event?

Apple sent out invitations to the technology press today announcing a “Spring Forward” event on March 9, 2015. The event will be held at 10 am Pacific Time (1 pm on the East Coast) at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Tim Cook has already alluded to an April launch of the Apple Watch, but so far it is just known that there will be three models of Apple Watches with each being available in 2 different sizes with various color options, and that the least expensive model will start at $349.

Apple Spring Forward EventThe expectation is that Apple will have working models of the Apple Watch on stage, with details of exactly how the watch works, when it will go on sale, and demo’s of Applications expected to be available when the Apple Watch launches. Since the event is being held so early in March, the hope is that pre-sales will begin before the end of the month, and that the actual Apple Watch will ship very early in April (like the original iPad). It is likely that select members of the press will also be provided demo units.

As always, iPlugDelaware will report all information on the new product launch, and be first in line to purchase it when available. There is no information about whether the event will be live-streamed, but we will continue to update as more information is available. For now, see our prior coverage of the Apple Watch announcement.

Update: Apple has announced that a live-stream will be available for those watching from home. Add to your calendar, and remember to visit http://apple.com/live on March 9, 2015 at 10am Pacific Time.

Apps that I am Currently Using

Apple released a new feature with iOS 8 that lets you see the battery usage of apps installed on your device. The great thing about this feature is that it lets the user determine what apps are actually being used on a frequent basis. It is a great trouble-shooting tool when you notice your battery charge is not lasting as long as it used to, or a productivity tool to help you understand where you are wasting too much time.

Here is a screen shot of my current iPhone 6 Plus App battery usage for the last 7 days:

iPhone 6 Battery Usage 2-26-15

You can see that currently Newsify is using almost a quarter of my battery life over the last 7 days. This seems accurate to me as I frequently use my phone to check the latest technology, Social Security, local, and national news. Outlook and Chrome follow with about 10% battery usage each, and my lock screen also takes about the same amount of my battery (mainly because of notifications throughout the day). Although PocketCasts is probably my most used app, since I use it mainly in my car and at home to listen to podcasts, I usually have my phone plugged in while this app is being used. (Battery usage does not provide any stats on energy being used by apps while your device is plugged in).

For me the main surprise when I review my battery usage is how few apps I am actually using on my phone over the course of a week. It does not appear that any of my apps are using a disproportional amount of my battery, and it appears that I use my iPhone mainly to stay up-to-date on current news, read email, surf the web, and listen to podcasts.

Once you get past my top 8 apps, it looks like the remainder of the apps barely have any impact on my battery usage. Here is the second screen showing my remaining battery usage (notice that basically every app on this screen only uses 1% of my battery life):

iPhone 6 Battery Usage 2-26-15 Page 2The surprising part for me is how efficiently most apps installed on my device use my battery. I use Fitbit everyday and have it set to sync with my Fitbit One throughout the day. Despite always running, this app uses only 1% of my battery over the course of a week. Wink and Kevo are mainly used for home automation, and although I open up Wink 5-10 times per day, it has no noticeable impact on my battery life (OnSwitch, Acme, and Kohl’s, all of which I rarely open, seem to use the same amount of battery or more). Even Facebook and Twitter, that send me background notifications throughout the day, have little to no impact on my iPhone battery life.

Beyond troubleshooting bad battery life on your device, the battery usage screen is a great tool to understanding what is happening on your device on a daily basis. Just reviewing these stats again today has made me question why OnSwitch, Acme and Kohl’s are using any of my battery life at all (I don’t think I have opened Kohl’s since I installed it). It also helps you determine which apps can be deleted from your phone if you notice you are low on space. Despite having 384 applications installed on my iPhone, I only have used 25 user-installed apps in the past week.

To determine which of your apps are using your battery life, open up the “Settings” app, select “General”, then “Usage”, and finally “Battery Usage”. Battery Usage stats were introduced in iOS 8, so if you are using an earlier version of iOS, you will not have the option of reviewing your battery usage.

Steven Butler EsquireThis post was written by Steven Butler. Steven is a full-time Delaware attorney that limits his practice to Social Security Disability. Along with being a contributor for iPlugDelaware, he is a partner at Linarducci & Butler, PA.

PDF Office by Readdle Brings PDF Form Creation to the iPad

Readdle PDF OfficeReaddle, publisher of the popular PDF Expert 5 app for the iPad, released a new PDF app called PDF Office today. PDF Office brings PDF creation, editing, PDF form creation, and Annotation into one easy to use app for the iPad. Readdle compares the functionality of the new app to what you would find in traditional desktop applications like Adobe Acrobat. You can import existing PDFs into PDF Office, or create new documents from scratch, scan existing paper documents using your iPad camera, convert files from existing documents in other formats, or even create fillable forms.

Unlike the prior apps from Readdle, PDF Office is offered on a subscription basis. You can pay $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year. For the first week of its release, Readdle is offering a free one year subscription to PDF Office for users that have PDF Expert 5 already installed on their iPad (considering PDF Expert 5 only cost $9.99, and is a very good app by itself, you are probably better off purchasing and installing PDF Expert 5 before downloading PDF Office, so you can take advantage of the 1 year free subscription).

I have used PDF Office for limited testing purposes. I imported existing PDF documents into PDF Office using DropBox and found functionality for viewing and annotating to be similar to PDF Expert 5. The real differences come in the ability to create editable forms using PDF Office and the Text Editing capability of PDF Office. It is important to note that you can only edit recognized text. This means that if the PDF was created in a text format and exported as a PDF, or it was imported into PDF Office from a text format (like an office document or web page). If you have a scanned document that has not been OCR’ed, or you have created a document in PDF Office by using your iPad camera, you will not be able to edit text.

I was disappointed in the PDF conversion capabilities of the app. When importing Microsoft Office Documents I experienced loss of formatting. I imported several Microsoft Word and Excel Files, and each of them had lost some important formatting. For example, in Word I had text that had been pushed down further in the page, and tables that had changed size. In Excel spreadsheets, I lost many of the background colors that were in the cells. I used iAnnotate to convert the same Word documents to PDFs without the loss of any formatting. I was also able to export documents from Microsoft Word and Excel for iPad as PDFs without losing formatting.

Overall, PDF Office definitely offers advanced PDF editing and creation features that cannot be found elsewhere. When you compare the yearly subscription price of $39.99 to the cost of desktop software with similar functionality, the price seems to be a bargain. However, when considering the limitations I found in the initial offering, I would hope that improvements come quickly to justify the yearly fee. If you are currently a PDF Expert user, download and open the app immediately to get your free one year subscription.

PDF Expert Free OfferIf you have missed the free 1 year subscription offer, try PDF Office under the monthly plan before spending $39.99 on this app. It is free to download, and the subscription is purchased upon opening the app. If you need the ability to create PDF forms on the go, the price may well be worth it. If you are simply looking for PDF annotation, PDF Expert 5 and iAnnotate are still a better option. Both of these apps are available for a one-time price of less than $10, and you don’t have to worry about a recurring subscription.

Download PDF Office for the iPad from the App Store now.

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.

IMG_5881.JPG

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.

IMG_2138  IMG_2137  IMG_2139

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.

IMG_2140

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.

IMG_0506 2

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.

You can download the Amazon CloudDrive Photo backup app from the app store now.IMG_5680.JPG

1 2 3 4 7