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We are a group of active cell phone enthusiasts who have set up this site as a place to talk about Lightyear Wireless and all things cell phone related. In the Lightyear Wireless cell phone forum you can ask/answer questions, discover how to save big money on your cell phone service, get tips and tricks, post cool apps, share or learn about rumors, phone accessories, customizing your phone, data, games, music, videos, cell phone trends, wireless technologies and new technologies, mobile developments, OS systems, likes/ dislikes about phone, carrier, etc… and even an unrelated forum area. To visit the Rant and Rave Cell Phone Forum click here.

 

Additionally, while you’re here be sure to check out our highly recommended wholesale cell phone service provider Lightyear Wireless. They offer “true” unlimited talk, text, and web (with no data cap or slow down) prepaid service for only $59.99 per month. No contract or credit check required! They don’t add the 28% in fee’s you typically see on your phone bill either. The only other fee Lightyear Wireless will charge you is state sales tax. For example in Rhode Island the whole bill is $64.17 and your bill will stay the same every month. In Florida there is no state sales tax so you only pay $59.99. Incredibly, they even offer customers a way to earn FREE unlimited service with their refer 5 plan. For all the details about Lightyear Wireless click here.

 

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Five iOS8 features you may not know about

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(Correction: An earlier version of this story noted the option to enlarge text and make it bolder. That option was available in iOS 7. The option is now also available in Display & Brightness for quicker access. Apologies for the error.)

If you've downloaded iOS 8 -- the new operating system for Apple's iPhone -- then you've likely dug into several of the new features including easier access to Contacts, support for third-party keyboards and the latest Health app.

But there are some other cool additions with the arrival of iOS 8. Here are five you may not know about.

If you've spotted more, let us know in the comments.

1. Battery usage. On top of viewing how much space your apps consume, your iPhone will now show how much juice they suck up from your battery. It's available in Settings > General > Usage. Users will also get a better view of how much storage is used and available on your device.

2. Recently deleted photos. Ever accidentally delete a photo while clearing space on your iPhone? There's now a recently deleted folder that serves as your safety net. Users can hop into that folder and hit Recover to bring back that photo or video. The deleted photos or videos will stay in that folder for 30 days, then they're gone for good. Users can also create a Favorites album, adding items by clicking the heart on each photo or video.

3. Photo timers. It seems crazy that we've gone this long without one, but the iPhone camera finally adds a timer, which goes up to 10 seconds. Users can also shoot their own time-lapse videos.

4. Go big -- and bold. Having trouble reading on your iPhone? iOS 8 adds the option to enlarge text and make it bolder to Display & Brightness for quicker changes.

5. More fun with notifications. When swiping from the top of the screen down, users now see two sections: Today and Notifications. The Today section has expanded to include widgets from apps including Yahoo, Evernote, Wunderlist and more (cue every Android smartphone owner saying 'we've had these for years!') Notification options on each app are also more accessible, making it quicker to turn them on and off for specific apps.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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Newest Androids will join iPhones in offering default encryption, blocking police

September 18 at 3:56 PM

The next generation of Google’s Android operating system, due for release next month, will encrypt data by default for the first time, the company said Thursday, raising yet another barrier to police gaining access to the troves of personal data typically kept on smartphones.

Android has offered optional encryption on some devices since 2011, but security experts say few users have known how to turn on the feature. Now Google is designing the activation procedures for new Android devices so that encryption happens automatically, meaning only authorized users will be able to see the pictures, videos and communications stored on those smartphones.

The move offers Android, the world’s most popular operating system for smartphones, a degree of protection that resembles what Apple on Wednesday began providing for iPhones, the leading rival to devices running Android operating systems. Both companies have now embraced a form of encryption that will make extremely difficult for law enforcement officials to collect evidence from smartphones in most situations – even when authorities get legally binding search warrants.

“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement,” said company spokeswoman Niki Christoff. “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on.”

The move, which Google officials said has been in the works for many months, is the latest in a broad shift by American technology companies to make their products more resistant to government snooping in the aftermath of revelations of National Security Agency spying by former contractor Edward Snowden. Expanded deployment of encryption by Google and Apple, however, will have the largest effect on law enforcement officials, who  have long warned that restrictions on their access to electronic devices makes it much harder for them to prevent and solve crimes.

Apple and Google have been engaged in an increasingly pointed competition over the lucrative smartphone market, with Apple in recent weeks portraying the iPhone as a safer, more secure option – despite a recent run of bad publicity over the leak of intimate photos from the Apple accounts of celebrities.

There remain significant differences between how Apple and Google are handling encryption. Apple, which controls both the hardware and software on its devices, will be able to deliver the updated encryption on both new iPhones and iPad and also most older ones, as users update their operating systems with the latest release, iOS 8.

That is likely to happen over the next several weeks, and for those with iOS 8, the encryption will be so secure that the company says it will lack the technical ability to unlock the phones or recover data for anyone -- whether it be for police or even users themselves if they forget their device passcodes. Much data is likely to remain on iCloud accounts, which back up pictures and other data by default for many iPhones and iPads; police with search warrants will still be able to access this information. Users who want to prevent all forms of police access to their information can adjust their phone settings in a way that blocks data from flowing to iCloud.

By contrast, Google does not have the ability to deliver its updated operating system, called the “L-release,” quickly to most users. Several different manufacturers make smartphones and tablets that use the Android operating system, and those devices are sold by many cellular carriers worldwide. This results in what experts call “fragmentation” – meaning there are hundreds of different versions of Android worldwide, many several years old, making it difficult to keep them current with the latest security features.

The newest Android devices will likely ship with default encryption after October, but it will take many months and probably years before most Android devices have encryption by default.

Craig Timberg is a national technology reporter for The Post.

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Why do fans go so crazy for the iPhone?

Since the iPhone was released in 2007, it's become the go-to device for today's generation. USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham talked to some iPhone users to find out exactly what gets people so crazy for this new technology. VPC

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VENICE BEACH, Calif. — Since the iPhone was released in 200, it has become the go-to device for today's generation. And with new iPhones just coming out, it got us to wondering, what is it about the iPhone that gets people so crazy, every time there's a new one?

We talked to folks here on the boardwalk, by the sea and at the nearby Manhattan Village mall in nearby Manhattan Beach in front of the new Apple Store.

Why do people get so crazed about new iPhones?

"It's the hype of getting it and having the latest technology," said Murillo Luciano, visiting Manhattan Beach from Brazil. "That is compelling to everybody. I have one, and I can not live without it."

"Everyone's just talking about it," says Sylvia Avanessian, of Pasadena, California. "It feels like you have to get one, because it's out there."

The iPhone, of course, isn't the only smartphone out there. Google's Android operating system actually dominates in market share. But here in the U.S. the iPhone is the No. 1 device, with 41% market share, compared to 27% for runner up Samsung and its Galaxy line.

Murillo Luciano tells Jefferson Graham at the Manhattan Village mall how he loves his iPhone(Photo: Sean Fujiwara)

And Val Butler, from Madison, S.D., who swears by her Samsung Galaxy phone, knows the hype machine when she sees it.

"It's the next newest thing, got to have it," she says. "And there was nothing wrong with the last version, but now it's old. So you got to get the next newest."

Sylvia Avanessian's sister Shakeh used to have a Galaxy, but switched to the iPhone.

The Apple device is "quicker, it responds better, and it's easy. It's just quick, quick, quick. That's what I like."

When the iPhone was first released in 2007, remember it only had 4 GB of storage, it cost $500 and had a 3.5-inch screen. Cut to today, when the new iPhones start at a 4.7-inch screen, cost $199 and have 16 GB of storage. It's come a long way.

But not far enough. Alyxx Small of Van Nuys, Calif., is "waiting on the 7." The presumed next generation iPhone of the future "is going to be awesome. It's going to have some holographic lines coming out of it, or something."

The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday.

Shakeh Avanessian loves her iPhone(Photo: Sean Fujiwara)

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Tech Five: Yelp settles FTC lawsuit

Tech Five: Yelp settles FTC lawsuit

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Online reviews site Yelp reached a key settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Here's a look at the five tech stocks to watch Thursday:

Yelp. The company says it paid $450,000 to settle a FTC lawsuit over the collection of children's data, Bloomberg reports. The FTC alleged Yelp collected names and e-mail addresses from children without parental consent. Yelp blames it on a bug with their mobile registration process that let kids under 13 bypass their system.

Amazon. The online giant announced a new line of e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets. Among them include budget versions of the Fire tablet starting at $99. Amazon will also launch a version of the Fire for kids.

Apple. As the company prepares to release its newest iPhones, CEO Tim Cook posted a letter on Apple's website explaining how it handles user privacy. Cook says Apple's iOS 8 mobile operating system -- which launched Wednesday -- encrypts data stored on devices that even the company can't access.

Gogo. The in-flight wireless service has locked up a deal with Virgin Atlantic, reports GigaOM. They're the first European carrier to sign up with Gogo. Shares of Gogo are up 1.7% in pre-market trading.

Alibaba. The Chinese e-commerce site is expected to reveal details on the share price for its initial public offering (IPO). The company bumped up the price range for its IPO to between $66 and $68. Shares are expected to begin trading Friday.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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USA NOW
Australian PM: Islamic State public beheading foiled
Sep 18, 2014

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Researchers try to pull back curtain on surveillance efforts in Washington

A German company called GSMK recently came out with the CryptoPhone, which for $3,500 can allegedly sense mobile surveillance technology. But there is some skepticism over the accuracy of its tracking. The Washington Post takes a ride to the Russian embassy to see the phone in action. (Alice Li/The Washington Post)

September 17 at 2:28 PM

As a black sedan pulled into downtown Washington traffic earlier this week, a man in the back seat with a specially outfitted smartphone in each hand was watching for signs of surveillance in action. “Whoa, we’ve just been hit twice on this block,” he said, excitement rising in his voice, not far from FBI headquarters.

Then as the car passed the Federal Trade Commission’s limestone edifice, “Okay, we just got probed.” Then again, just a few minutes later, as the car moved between the Supreme Court and the Capitol, he said, “That’s the beginning of an interception.”

The man was Aaron Turner, chief executive of Integricell, a mobile security company. The specially outfitted smartphones, he said, are designed to act like high-tech divining rods that warn users of suspicious mobile activity, potentially indicating surveillance equipment used by police, intelligence agencies and others to track people and snoop on their calls.

Known as IMSI catchers, for the unique identifying phone code called an IMSI, the surveillance devices trick mobile phones into thinking they have logged onto legitimate cell networks, such as Verizon or AT&T, when in fact the signals have been hijacked.

For years, researchers have warned of the growing prevalence of the equipment, and Turner said the spygear is rife throughout the Washington area.

How rife? Turner and his colleagues claim that their specially outfitted smartphone, called the GSMK CryptoPhone, had detected signs of as many as 18 IMSI catchers in less than two days of driving through the region. A map of these locations, released Wednesday afternoon, looks like a primer on the geography of Washington power, with the surveillance devices reportedly near the White House, Capitol, foreign embassies and the cluster of federal contractors near Dulles International Airport.

“I think there’s even more here,” said Les Goldsmith, chief executive of ESD America, a technology company that is working with Integricell to promote the CryptoPhone. “That was just us driving around for a day and a half.”

Security experts have warned that some of CryptoPhone’s claims may be overblown as the company rides a surge in publicity and business in the aftermath of last year’s revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Few doubt the underlying technology, but several in recent days have questioned the ability of CryptoPhone to locate individual IMSI catchers with the precision its marketers claim.

“I would bet money that there are governments that are spying in D.C.,” said Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the ACLU who has written extensively on the use and abuse of IMSI catchers. “Whether you can detect that with a $3,000 device, I don’t know.”

As even Goldsmith acknowledges, if there are indeed IMSI catchers in the locations his company reported on Wednesday, the CryptoPhone can not easily determine whether they are deployed by the U.S. government, a local police force, a foreign intelligence agency or some other entity.

Experts say the most common users of IMSI catchers are law enforcement agencies, but such surveillance gear has become so affordable and common that many security experts believe that criminals are now using them to spy on targets, including perhaps the police themselves. Reasonably skilled hobbyists can build an IMSI catcher, which typically consists of high-tech boxes with radio antennas, for less than $1,500.

The Federal Communications Commission is sufficiently concerned about IMSI catchers — which would be illegal to use without a search warrant or other legal authority — that this summer it formed a task force to study possible abuse.

Goldsmith and Turner are now looking to market the CryptoPhone, at $3,500 apiece, to big businesses that might have reason to fear industrial espionage.

The quest for a device that can find IMSI catchers — often dubbed an “IMSI catcher catcher” — has consumed researchers in recent years. Several are developing apps that would be free or inexpensive while providing some of the detection capabilities promised by the CryptoPhone.

Developed by a team of security researchers based in Germany, the CryptoPhone works by measuring three potential indicators of an IMSI catcher in action. The first notes when a phone shifts from a more-secure 3G network to a less-secure 2G one. The second detects when a phone connection strips away encryption, making interception easier. And the third reports when a cell tower fails to make available a list of other cell towers in the area; this is called a “neighbor’s list,” and it allows phones to easily switch between nearby towers. IMSI catchers typically don’t offer lists of alternatives because they seek to keep phones captured.

Each indicator is noted by the screen of the phone, with colors signifying its degree of confidence that an IMSI catcher is present. The most serious detections cause the CryptoPhone to flash a black warning box indicating that users should be particularly concerned about having their calls overheard at that moment — by police, by spies or even by powerful criminals.

“Their approach is definitely one of the best we could take, but I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent conclusive,” said Ravishankar Borgaonkar, a telecom researcher at Technical University of Berlin who has also developed a free app that purports to do the same thing. “We only can see one side of the activity, not the other side.”

The CryptoPhones carried by Turner frequently reported one or two of the three indicators of suspicion as he drove Wednesday afternoon with several Washington Post journalists. But not once in the 90-minute drive were all three detected simultaneously. Experts in surveillance gear say that sometimes an IMSI catcher will simply “scrape” the data from nearby phones to determine their locations but not actually intercept the voice or data transmissions being made.

Researcher Adrian Dabrowski, a graduate student at the Vienna University of Technology who last month co-authored a paper on developing “IMSI catcher catchers,” said that when all three indicators happen at the same time, there’s a very good chance that an IMSI catcher is responsible.

“There are rare occurrences when all these indicators are present without an IMSI catcher,” Dabrowski said. “But it’s a situation where you might say, let’s now be careful and not talk about sensitive things on the phone. It’s not a perfect indicator.”

He also warned that the makers of IMSI catchers will likely adapt their technology to defeat the new IMSI catcher catchers, triggering “an arm’s race” in surveillance technology and the tools intended to defeat it.

Goldsmith said there has been a surge of interest in the CryptoPhone since an article in Popular Science purporting to reveal 17 IMSI catchers around the country triggered a rush of news coverage, including on Glenn Beck’s conservative talk show. The marketers intend to soon begin searching New York and Silicon Valley for IMSI catchers — and release those maps as well.

The company, said Goldsmith, has sold 30,000 CryptoPhones in the United States and 300,000 globally.

Among those interested in the technology, Goldsmith said, is the FCC, which already has met with the CryptoPhone marketers. He said its devices are more sophisticated than the commission’s own technology for finding IMSI catchers.

“If they can’t see the espionage, maybe they need more money and equipment to detect it,” Goldsmith said.

Soltani is an independent security researcher and consultant.

Craig Timberg is a national technology reporter for The Post.

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Fallout from spy’s dramatic revelations

  • Morten Storm was a radical Islamist turned double agent
  • He claims Danish agency recruited him to work with CIA
  • PET said it had nothing to do with Anwar al-Awlaki operation

(CNN) -- When first revealed, Morten Storm's account of his life as a double agent inside al Qaeda sent shockwaves through Denmark's political and intelligence establishment. The first accounts came in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in October 2012.

In those articles, and in his new memoir "Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA," which we co-authored, Storm recounted how after being recruited by Danish intelligence agency PET, he helped the CIA target several al Qaeda terrorists for assassination, most notably the American terrorist cleric Anwar a-Awlaki, who was killed in a CIA drone strike in September 2011.

The allegations have proven explosive in Denmark, where it is illegal for the government to take part in targeted killings.

Storm says his Danish handlers set up and attended meetings he had with the CIA in Denmark and overseas at which plans to track down terrorists were set in motion. He says Danish intelligence was fully aware the Americans planned to use lethal force.

Storm has significant corroborating evidence to back up his claim. He provided us with several hours of secret iPhone recordings of meetings and phone calls with his Danish and American intelligence handlers during which several of the kill missions were discussed.

Double Agent Inside al Qaeda for the CIA

CNN has not been able to independently authenticate the recordings, but the time the electronic files were first created were consistent with his account.

One of the recordings was of a meeting he says was set up with his PET and CIA handlers at a Danish resort a week after al-Awlaki was killed. On the tape, Storm makes clear to an American interlocutor that he and Danish intelligence had been key to getting al-Awlaki:

"We took initiative to create this because the Americans failed in their attempt to hit Anwar, they failed in their attempts to trace Anwar al-Awlaki, the Americans have failed in every single attempt to arrest or kill Anwar al-Awlaki, except when we went in, we traced him down again, created contacts with him, now he is dead, because of the work we have done."

Agent claims he had been promised $5 million

In the same recording, the American can be heard telling Storm that President Barack Obama knew about his contribution to the al-Awlaki mission, "We had our whole project going forward -- of which you played the highest role,' he said.

But the American denied Storm provided the critical breakthrough, frustrating Storm, who told CNN he had been promised $5 million if he led the CIA to the terrorist cleric. It was after this meeting he first made contact with the Danish newspaper.

After Jyllands-Posten first broke the story, PET refused to confirm or deny Storm's claims. "Out of consideration for PET's operational work, the PET neither can nor will confirm publicly that specific persons have been used as sources by the PET," it said.

Turning double-agent on al Qaeda

"However, the PET does not participate in or support operations where the objective is to kill civilians. The PET did therefore not contribute to the military operation that led to the killing of al-Awlaki in Yemen," then-PET director Jakob Scharf stated.

Neither PET nor the CIA responded to CNN's requests for further comment.

Storm's revelations led Danish parliamentarians to demand new oversight rules for PET.

In January 2013, Storm met with several of them in Copenhagen. Denmark's Ministry of Justice announced it would set up a supervisory board to oversee the Danish intelligence agency, without acknowledging Storm was the reason. Then-Justice Minister Morten Bodskov said the new board would strike "the right balance that will ensure that we have an effective intelligence agency and a good rule of law."

But the government resisted calls from opposition MP's for a full parliamentary inquiry.

After the publication of another Jyllands-Posten article in March 2013, with fresh evidence retrieved from Storm's cell phones, Storm's account received heavyweight backing from Denmark's former spy chief.

Hans Jorgen Bonnichsen, Scharf's predecessor as head of PET, told Danish television that the corroborating evidence presented in the Danish media suggested the PET had used Storm to track down terrorist operatives overseas to help the U.S. target them for assassination. Bonnischen was at the helm of the intelligence agency in the period before Storm says he was recruited as an agent.

In late 2013, a political scandal forced the resignations of PET Director Scharf and Interior Minister Bodskov after it emerged Scharf had instructed subordinates to obtain information on the movements of a Danish MP.

Reforms may be coming in Denmark

The revelations put Storm's story back in the public spotlight. Bonnichsen sharpened his criticism of PET, asserting the disclosures on Danish involvement in assassination plans overseas were so serious there was a basis for a criminal investigation.

At the end of the year the beleaguered agency was put under more pressure when Jyllands-Posten disclosed PET's refusal to offer Storm protection after ISIS linked militants in Syria threatened his life in a video.

"Is it really a satisfactory way for the security services to carry out their task in that it takes three weeks before you answer a former employee who -- rightly -- felt threatened by Islamists?' the chairman of the Danish People's Party told the newspaper. Storm now lives in hiding in an undisclosed location in the UK, and says he currently receives no protection from any Western intelligence service.

In April 2014, the pressure on Denmark increased further when the Open Society Foundation, a New York based legal advocacy group, called on Denmark to acknowledge its role in al-Awlaki's killing and announced it had filed freedom of information requests with the Danish government regarding Storm.

"Danish officials have refused to respond specifically and meaningfully to numerous questions posed on this subject by the legal affairs committee of Denmark's parliament," a press release by the group stated.

"The evidence that has been revealed by Jyllands-Posten, is very worrying. They show that PET actively cooperated with the CIA in the operation to track down and kill Anwar al-Awlaki. They show that PET was eager to cover up his role in the program. They show that PET was trying to hide the truth from the Danish public. The evidence suggests that PET may have violated the Danish Criminal Code provisions relating to murder and international legal prohibitions on, among others, the right to life, among other laws. These are very serious offenses," Amrit Singh, the senior legal officer for national security and counterterrorism for the Open Society Justice Initiative, told Jyllands Posten.

Bonnischen told CNN new oversight rules for PET are now being discussed which would require the agency to submit an annual report to a parliamentary oversight committee on how many agents it was running and how they were being run.

Magnus Ranstorp, one of Scandinavia's leading counterterrorism academics, told CNN Storm's revelations had "opened a Pandora's box of ethical problems which will probably lead in the future to PET's ability or leeway to act being restricted."

It is rare indeed for an intelligence informant to go public about his work. In Storm's case the disclosures may change the law -- and radically change the way his former employer works.

Excerpt from 'Agent Storm': Finding a wife for Anwar al-Awlaki

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What folks are saying about the iPhone 6

September 17 at 2:35 AM

U2 was there.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook was there.

The Earth moved. The stars aligned. Someone likely wept.

And, on Sept. 9 in a huge white building in Cupertino, Calif., America’s biggest corporation unveiled potentially paradigm-shifting wearable tech: the Apple Watch. Oh, right: Cook, Bono and company also mentioned the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

What are these bigger, ostensibly better gadgets — or as the Apple diviners sometimes call them, phablets — like?

With the Phone 6 press embargo lifted last night, the critics have spoken. And they are mostly ready to go to war in Cook’s name.

“The question of the moment isn’t whether to get a new iPhone, but which one: large or extra-large,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey A. Fowler.

“Everything is better and nothing is different,” wrote David Pierce of the Verge.

“Apple has gone all in,” Matt Egan of Macworld wrote. “And how.”

“It’s a winner,” said the headline on the review by Walt Mossberg of Re/Code, the dean of tech reviewers:

I’ve been testing the more mainstream of the two models, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, for about a week now, and I think it’s a terrific phone. In my view, it’s the best smartphone on the market, when you combine its hardware, all-new operating system, and the Apple ecosystem whose doors it opens.

Sounds awesome. Now let’s get down to the iDetails.

THE SIZE

First thing to remember: The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen — already bigger than any previously extant iPhone — but the iPhone 6 Plus has an even bigger 5.5-inch screen.

“I found it easier to type, interact with apps or look at photos,” Fowler wrote. “For people with vision challenges, type and app icons can be made blissfully larger.” (See the folks over at the Wall Street Journal for a meticulously constructed graphic that attempts to answer the question “Does Your Hand Fit Your Phone Screen?“)

Worried that 5.5 inches might be too big for your tiny thumb? Don’t be.

“To counteract the issue of having a screen in your hand that is far too large for single-handed use, Apple has created a new feature called Reachability,” wrote Joshua Topolsky of Bloomberg Businessweek. “You simply double-press (that’s a light tap) on your home button and it brings the top of the screen down to reach your thumb.”

The fussy ol’ New York Times did have one complaint. “Apple has made one phone that is actually a little too small and one that’s a little too big,” Molly Wood wrote.

THE BATTERY

The future won’t work if the batteries keep dying. How did Apple deal with that?

Well, bigger phones have bigger batteries that can last longer. And, borrowing a move from the Federal Reserve, reviewers did stress tests.

“If, like me, you rarely get a full day out of your current iPhone’s battery, this might excite you,” wrote Lauren Good of Re/Code. “In my tests, which involved setting the display brightness to 50 percent and cycling through my regular routine of apps and phone calls, the iPhone 6 Plus would last from early one morning until evening the following day.”

“The greatest advantage to the iPhone 6 Plus is a larger battery,” Fowler wrote. “It allowed the 6 Plus to run up to 15% longer in my stress tests.”

Impressive battery life up to two days,” wrote MacRumors.

THE OPERATING SYSTEM AND APPS

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus don’t sit in their anodized aluminum shells. Unlike the NoPhone, they do stuff.

“iOS 8 brings numerous improvements, starting with a better predictive Apple keyboard you come to appreciate quickly,” wrote Edward C. Baig of USA Today. “The ability to install third-party keyboards as on Android phones is an added plus.”

“The iPhones do include some tricks created for bigger phones, like a zoom feature that lets you subtly increase the size of app icons and text in native apps,” Wood wrote. This feature doesn’t always work perfectly — but it might not matter.

“Even scaled-up apps benefit from simply being bigger,” wrote Nilay Patel of Verge. “Instagram is awesome on the iPhone 6 Plus. So are Facebook photos. Watching video on the 6 Plus is tremendous — the display is almost as big as the iPad mini.


Well done, Cook. Seems like the biggest complaint about your new product is about its music.

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Baig: iPhones 6 and 6 Plus are a very big deal

Personal Technology columnist Ed Baig takes a look at the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

8 LINKEDIN MORE

NEW YORK — Are the bigger iPhones worth all this big time attention? The answer is a resounding yes, a point emphasized by consumers who've preordered the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in record numbers. These are the phones Apple devotees have been waiting for: iPhones that measure up to what's fast becoming the new normal — the large, modern smartphone display. Count me among those glad they're here.

People have preordered on faith, since they haven't seen these super-sized iPhones up close or experienced what they feel like in pockets and handbags. I have and let me be reassuring — you won't regret your decision, though going big may require a small adjustment, and my experience wasn't totally trouble-free.

The new phones are enclosed in sturdy anodized aluminum. And though the handsets are bigger and heavier their predecessors, they're also thinner. The sleep/power button has moved to the side. Each has the Touch ID fingerprint scanner introduced on the iPhone 5s.

The 6 Plus is the first Apple phone to enter the phablet category popularized by Samsung's Notes. Samsung has been running ads — a bit defensively I think — knocking the new iPhone as playing catch-up with even its older Notes models. But while Samsung's phablets are equipped with souped-up styluses called the S Pen for writing and other tricks, Apple eschews the pen.

Here's a closer look at the 6 Plus and the 6.

SIZING UP THE SIZES. The iPhone 5 and 5s really do look like a kid brother placed next to the 6 or 6 Plus; the iPhone 4 or 4s models are practically toddler-sized.

I prefer the 6 Plus because I like the biggest of the big screens, and like that I have to squint less often. It felt fine in my jeans pocket, but won't fit every snug purse or small pair of hands.

The 5.5-inch 6 Plus has an 88% larger viewing area than the 5s. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has a 38% larger area. Both have splendid Retina HD displays, with resolutions of 1334 X 750 and 1920 X 1080 respectively.

The screens accommodate an extra row of home screen icons. And when you're, say, checking your calendar, you can glance at seven days of appointments at once on the 6 Plus in the weekly landscape view, compared with six days on the 6 or five days on the 5.

It's harder (but not impossible) to use the iPhone 6 Plus one-handed, even with Apple adding a gesture called Reachability which makes the top portion of the display move down toward the bottom when you gently double-tap the home button.

It's also still a tad unnatural to hold a really large phone up to your ear during a call. In that sense the 6 felt more comfortable.

Apple made other accommodations on the 6 Plus: When you rotate the phone to its side, some apps display a two-panel view. On both new phones you have the option of choosing a standard view with normal-size icons and fonts, or a zoomed view that gives you bigger controls but less room for other stuff.

Developers may have to make some adjustments before their apps are iPhone 6 Plus- ready. The search icon inside the YouTube app actually touched the Bluetooth icon and the battery gauge in the Apple task bar.

The rumored rugged Sapphire display didn't happen (though Sapphire covers the Touch ID button and the camera lens), so if you're the type to protect your phone with a case, you'll obviously have to spring for a bigger replacement.

• CAMERAS. Larger displays double as larger viewfinders, a benefit to photographers. You can use either volume button to fire off a picture, which is nice. I generally found the 6 easier to maneuver, though the 6 Plus has an optical image-stabilization feature that the 6 lacks, to reduce the shakes when you're shooting video. Video I shot on the 6 Plus from a moving car came out smooth. However, on the 6 Plus I once couldn't stop shooting a video, an apparent bug. You can now shoot high-definition videos at a faster (60fps) frame rate and also shoot time-lapse videos. And Apple has also improved the focusing system. I was pleased with the quality of pictures and videos I shot.

Of note, selfie fans can now capture 10 photos per second as part of a burst mode feature added to the front camera. I took advantage of a timer feature that gives you three or 10 seconds to prepare for your close-up burst.

Video Keywords iPhone new iPhone Iowa State iCloud USA today iPod keys election speed dialing iTunes iPad Iowa

Personal Technolgy columnist Ed Baig takes a look at iOS 8, Apple's latest mobile operating system.

Video Transcript

Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

00:03 It big with USA today so even if you. Haven't
00:06 gotten a new iPhone chances are your phone may look a
00:09 little bit different if you've upgraded to Iowa -- -- that
00:12 is the new version of Apple's mobile operating system. For iPhone
00:17 iPad iPod touches. -- Iowa State actually does bring a number
00:21 of improvements. Large and small and it's gonna mention a few
00:24 of them that I like or think. Have a lot of
00:27 promise. One of them are improvements to messages you can now
00:31 actually record. Your voice when sending a message he's just press
00:35 your finger down against an icon swipe up. Off the message
00:39 goes. And you can set it so that message expires in
00:42 two minutes or you can keep that message out there until
00:45 the person the other end users to delete it. Now apple
00:50 of course in the iPhone has always had favorite kind of
00:53 the equivalent of speed dialing. But still there's an even newer
00:57 ways to get to your contacts your favorites or the people
01:00 you've recently communicated -- What you do is you actually double
01:04 tap the home button. And that brings up that multitasking view
01:08 and on top of that view you'll see little small circles.
01:12 -- pictures of the people who were in your favorites or
01:15 again the people you've recently communicated with. It's a short cut
01:19 -- calling them back or sending them a message. Now also
01:23 new to IOS is something apple calls. And we plan and
01:28 this is a way to share of the family calendar. Share
01:31 some of the music or books you buy it through iCloud.
01:35 It's also a way to monitor what the kids who share
01:38 this account by. You could set it up so they must
01:41 ask you before you approve the purchase that they wanna make.
01:45 In iTunes expect parents to. Potentially appreciate that feature. -- another
01:51 feature. That is coming is called what apple calls continuity. And
01:57 the handoff which is part of that. The idea is you've
02:00 started something on your neck or your iPod or your iPhone.
02:05 You complete the task whether it's preparing an email making a
02:08 call whatever you completed on one of the other devices. So
02:12 again start on the Mac or iPad for example. Completed on
02:15 the iPhone or vice Versa. And I'll also mention one more
02:19 feature which is a newly improved apple keyboard. For the for
02:24 the iPhone now. For the first time apple is letting you
02:27 and third party keyboards to to your iPhone but they've also
02:32 improved the keyboard that. Is sort of baked in to the
02:35 phone it now has improved suggestions war anticipating the words he
02:40 -- type election C. That right above the the row of
02:44 keys election C word or phrase suggestions. Makes it's much easier
02:49 to type more accurately. And faster and yes we've seen this
02:52 sort of thing before on various android keyboard. It's still a
02:56 welcome addition to the iPhone. Through IOS today. And there's a
03:00 lot of features here worth exploring so I would recommend just
03:03 poke around checking out. The features that have now been added
03:07 to your old iPhone or that are on your new life.
03:11 USA today and it paid no couch next.

• iOS 8. The operating system need not play second fiddle to the hardware; iOS 8 brings numerous improvements, starting with a better predictive Apple keyboard you come to appreciate quickly. The ability to install third-party keyboards as on Android phones is an added plus.

The new Health app is a useful repository for all sorts of health and fitness data. I used it to display the number of stairs I climbed, a measurement made possible by the barometer inside the new phones.

IOS 8 has also improved notifications and messaging. For example, you can tap and swipe to add a recording to an outgoing text message that can expire in two minutes. Also promising is a Family Sharing feature that lets you and other members of the household share a calendar, photos and iTunes, iBook and app purchases. You can make the kids ask before they buy. Expect frequent requests: The App Store now has more than 1.3 million apps.

• APPLE PAY. Can Apple get you to shop your way through a mall with a wave of your phone? We'll find out come October, when Apply Pay debuts for the 6 and 6 Plus.

I got to demo Apple Pay but not test it in the real world with crowded shoppers. The process certainly seems simple. In a store, you'll place the phone within about an inch of a compatible terminal while pressing the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to transact — pretty robust security right there. There's no need to unlock the phone.

Your credit cards are stored in the up-to-now seldom used Passbook app. Payment info is kept secure inside a chip on the phone. The merchant never sees your actual credit card number, and Apple is kept in the dark on what you bought or spent. If your phone is lost or stolen you can remove your cards from Passbook remotely through Find My iPhone. But there's no need to actually cancel your credit cards.

• BATTERY. Both new phones have bigger batteries, which should yield better results than on prior iPhones. Apple is touting longer battery life on the 6 Plus compared with the 6, up to 14 hours watching video, vs. 11 hours. I didn't conduct a formal test, but after a day of heavy mixed use, the battery on the 6 Plus pooped out about 7:15 p.m.

• GROWING PAINS. With the 6 and 6 Plus, Apple ditched a 32GB storage model. If you take lots of pictures and videos or download frequent apps, the 16GB entry capacity may not cut it. Now the step-up is 64GB or 128 GB.

Inside is a new Apple-designed A8 chip and the phone is snappy. But I hit a few snags, especially with the 6 Plus. A few times, the 6 Plus failed to rotate from landscape to portrait or back (the rotation lock was unlocked). Once the Mail app froze. Another time the 6 Plus restarted on its own. Reachability also didn't work one time until I rebooted the phone. Hopefully this is an aberration.

Notwithstanding such growing pains, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are smartphone stars. Really big stars.

THE BOTTOM LINE:
IPhone 6 and 6 Plus

www.apple.com

IPhone 6 is $199 (16 GB), $299 (64GB) and $399 (128GB) with two year contracts from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless or $649, $749 or $849, contract-free from T-Mobile.

IPhone 6 Plus is $299, $399 and $499 on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon with two-year contracts, or $749, $849 or $949 contract-free from T-Mobile.

Pro. Large displays provide extra screen real estate. Touch ID. IOS features such as Health app and redesigned predictive keyboards. Improved camera and Photos app. Optical image stabilization (iPhone 6 Plus only).

Con. IPhone 6 Plus may be too large for some users. 6 Plus was buggy. You may need to buy new cases or other accessories to accommodate larger displays.

E-mail: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter.

(Baig is the co-author of iPhone For Dummies, an independent work published by Wiley.)

8 LINKEDIN MORE

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Baig: What I like in iOS 8

Video Keywords iPhone new iPhone Iowa State iCloud USA today iPod keys election speed dialing iTunes iPad Iowa

Personal Technolgy columnist Ed Baig takes a look at iOS 8, Apple's latest mobile operating system.

Video Transcript

Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

00:03 It big with USA today so even if you. Haven't
00:06 gotten a new iPhone chances are your phone may look a
00:09 little bit different if you've upgraded to Iowa -- -- that
00:12 is the new version of Apple's mobile operating system. For iPhone
00:17 iPad iPod touches. -- Iowa State actually does bring a number
00:21 of improvements. Large and small and it's gonna mention a few
00:24 of them that I like or think. Have a lot of
00:27 promise. One of them are improvements to messages you can now
00:31 actually record. Your voice when sending a message he's just press
00:35 your finger down against an icon swipe up. Off the message
00:39 goes. And you can set it so that message expires in
00:42 two minutes or you can keep that message out there until
00:45 the person the other end users to delete it. Now apple
00:50 of course in the iPhone has always had favorite kind of
00:53 the equivalent of speed dialing. But still there's an even newer
00:57 ways to get to your contacts your favorites or the people
01:00 you've recently communicated -- What you do is you actually double
01:04 tap the home button. And that brings up that multitasking view
01:08 and on top of that view you'll see little small circles.
01:12 -- pictures of the people who were in your favorites or
01:15 again the people you've recently communicated with. It's a short cut
01:19 -- calling them back or sending them a message. Now also
01:23 new to IOS is something apple calls. And we plan and
01:28 this is a way to share of the family calendar. Share
01:31 some of the music or books you buy it through iCloud.
01:35 It's also a way to monitor what the kids who share
01:38 this account by. You could set it up so they must
01:41 ask you before you approve the purchase that they wanna make.
01:45 In iTunes expect parents to. Potentially appreciate that feature. -- another
01:51 feature. That is coming is called what apple calls continuity. And
01:57 the handoff which is part of that. The idea is you've
02:00 started something on your neck or your iPod or your iPhone.
02:05 You complete the task whether it's preparing an email making a
02:08 call whatever you completed on one of the other devices. So
02:12 again start on the Mac or iPad for example. Completed on
02:15 the iPhone or vice Versa. And I'll also mention one more
02:19 feature which is a newly improved apple keyboard. For the for
02:24 the iPhone now. For the first time apple is letting you
02:27 and third party keyboards to to your iPhone but they've also
02:32 improved the keyboard that. Is sort of baked in to the
02:35 phone it now has improved suggestions war anticipating the words he
02:40 -- type election C. That right above the the row of
02:44 keys election C word or phrase suggestions. Makes it's much easier
02:49 to type more accurately. And faster and yes we've seen this
02:52 sort of thing before on various android keyboard. It's still a
02:56 welcome addition to the iPhone. Through IOS today. And there's a
03:00 lot of features here worth exploring so I would recommend just
03:03 poke around checking out. The features that have now been added
03:07 to your old iPhone or that are on your new life.
03:11 USA today and it paid no couch next.

8 8 LINKEDINMORE

NEW YORK — Much as you might marvel about bigger displays, beefed up cameras and other features on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, the software on the latest iPhones deserves props too. That software is iOS 8, of course, and even if you don't buy the latest phones, this fresh version of Apple's mobile operating system can make your old iPhone (sort of) new. The upgrade, which is compatible with iPhones dating back to the 4s (as well as versions of the iPad and iPod touch), becomes available Wednesday.

Here are a few features I like or that show promise:

MESSAGES. The Messages makeover starts with better group messaging. You can more easily add or remove contacts to group conversations. Meanwhile, Tap to Talk—a feature that lets you say it rather than type it by recording your voice on the fly—is one of those things you may come to rely on a lot. The messages can disappear after two minutes. You can also now send your mapped location to a Messages recipient.

QUICK ACCESS TO CONTACTS. Double-tapping the home button on the phone summons the multitasking view. But now you also see small circles with pictures representing your iPhone "favorites," and the contacts with whom you've most recently been communicating. Through this handy shortcut, you tap a circle to call, FaceTime or send a message to one of those contacts.

QUICKTYPE KEYBOARD. This may be the new iOS 8 feature you not only use most often but will most appreciate, even if the Apple keyboard is playing catchup to keyboards on rival Android phones. The goal is faster and more accurate typing. Say for example you're typing a message to a friend. As you type, you see three words (or phrases) in buttons that appear above the top row of keys. For example, if you type "Do you want to meet now or" the QuickType keyboard shows you buttons with three words you are likely

HEALTH. While the Health app provides a convenient place to store your health data—everything from body measurements to your blood pressure—you can also use it to create a potentially lifesaving Medical ID that can be accessed by an emergency responder, even without unlocking the phone.

SIRI GETS MUSICAL. The Siri voice assistant on your phone teams up with Shazam to identify the song playing in the background. You no longer have to launch the Shazam app to ID the ditty.

CONTINUITY. Mac meet iPhone, iPhone meet Mac. Through Continuity, you can start a task on your iPhone (or other iOS 8 device) then finish or hand off the task to a Mac computer running the upcoming OS X Yosemite operating system. It works in reverse too. Using, Continuity, the Mac can turn into a speakerphone for your iPhone.

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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Review: Big vs. Extremely Big – Businessweek


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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Review: Big vs. Extremely Big
Businessweek
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