A Complete Illustrated History Of iOS Every Apple Fan Needs To Read

Wow, Merry Christmas indeed. Dieter Bohn over at The Verge has put together the end-all-be-all guide to iOS, an overview of Apple’s plucky little mobile OS so well-illustrated, informative and complete, all we can do is stew in jealousy we didn’t do this ourselves.

The whole thing is just too massive to even begin to summarize, so we’ll just give you a taste of the lede:

In what is widely regarded as his greatest presentation ever, Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world on January 10th, 2007. In the nearly 5 years since then, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch have literally redefined the entire world of mobile computing. That world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s underpowered or underfeatured — quite the contrary. Through what can only be described as relentless and consistent improvement over the years, Apple has made iOS one of the most feature-rich and well-supported platforms on the market.

iOS 5, the system currently powering Apple’s mobile devices, offers an easy-to-understand smartphone operating system to new users, a powerful platform for app developers, and a relatively un-fragmented experience across multiple devices. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about iOS is how similar the OS as it exists today is to the OS as it existed 2007, yet the number and breadth of features that Apple has baked in since then is mind boggling. Far from suffering from the “feature creep” that typically bogs down operating systems over time, iOS has managed to stay relatively snappy and is more internally consistent than anything else available today.

What are you waiting for? Get on over there and read it already. This is the best Apple feature you’ll read all week.

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from Cult of Mac http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cultofmac/bFow/~3/0XggL6SyKSA/story01.htm

Check Your Grammar As You Type [OS X Tips]

Your Mac will check your spelling as you type in many applications, underlining mistakes in red, but did you know that it can also check your grammar?

This is another great tip from Mac Kung Fu, a new book full of over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. The perfect Christmas present for the Mac-lover!

To activate the feature in any application where you want to use it (such as Safari, TextEdit, or Mail), open the application and click Edit->Spelling and Grammar->Check Grammar with Spelling. It will remain active when you quit and restart the application until you deactivate it in the same way.

Not all apps are compatible but many are, especially built-in OS X apps.

What OS X considers bad grammar will be underlined in green, but beware that grammar checking is nowhere near as accurate as spell checking, and—quite simply—OS X will probably get it wrong a lot of the time. However, if English isn’t your first language it can certainly be helpful in highlighting potential issues.

Right-clicking any words or phrases highlighted as bad grammar might not provide a suggested correction of the suspected error, unlike with spelling mistakes, or even a description (although suggested corrections might appear for simple mistakes, such as mistaking “it’s” for “its”).

Sometimes OS X’s corrections are spot on, as illustrated here

However, to see the nature of the error, you can hover the mouse cursor over the underlined phrase or word until a tooltip appears, which will explain the problem, or you can perform a complete spell and grammar check using the Spelling and Grammar dialog box. To begin a full check, click Edit->Spelling and Grammar->Show Spelling and Grammar. Clicking the Find Next button will cycle through any highlighted errors (both spelling and grammar), with a description of what your Mac thinks the error is for grammar mistakes.

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from Cult of Mac http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cultofmac/bFow/~3/fdkGONAV388/story01.htm

Take A Tour Of The Solar System With Solar Walk [Review]

Solar Walk for iPad

Solar Walk is an excellent educational app about space and everything in it. With Earth as your home base, you wander the Solar System, cruising the planets and moons and making discoveries along the way.

There are many similar apps, it’s true, but Solar Walk has some little extra touches that make it very appealing. One that I liked, and that my nine-year-old son had to be pulled away from, was the view of man-made satellites in Earth orbit.

You can see exactly where each satellite is right now, where its orbit will take it next, and what job it’s supposed to be doing up there above our heads.

As you take your celestial tour, there are two viewing modes. One displays the planets as you might see them in a picture book, with Jupiter looming huge just behind the Moon, as though someone left it there by mistake. Flick a switch in the options list, though, and a degree of scientific reality is promptly imposed, giving the reader a much better idea of the enormous distances between planets.

There are a handful of built-in video sequences too, explaining things like phases of the Moon, and how solar eclipses happen.

As long as you stay inside our Solar System, Solar Walk provides a decent amount of information about all the heavenly bodies (natural and artificial) encountered. We’re not just talking planets, but all the decent-sized moons too. The 3D models look great on an iPad screen, so you can zoom in close on the ugly potato that is Mars’ moon Phobos, or skim over the surface of Europa (without, of course, attempting any landings there).

Venture further into interstellar space, however, and things get a little sparse. The stars view is pretty, but all you get is a shiny point of light with a name. There’s no info about the highlighted stars, not even their distance from here. It would be nice to see these added, along with details about all the little stuff too – not just the big moons but the little ones too, and some of the other asteroids, rocks and comets that are flying around out there.

That said, you get a decent amount of useful content here for just three dollars, and any kids with even a vague interest in science will love exploring space with it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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from Cult of Mac http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cultofmac/bFow/~3/8aAxE_8fPpI/story01.htm

Must-Have Apps For Any New Mac [OS X Tips]

Little Snitch is one of the most useful apps your Mac doesn’t feature out of the box

Got a new Mac? You’ve probably realised that OS X provides an excellent out-of-the-box experience. Unlike with Windows, few add-ons are required. There’s a great browser, for example, and full PDF support. But there’s still some tools that most experienced Mac users download the minute they boot-up a new Mac. Here they are, listed for possibly the first time…

This is another great tip from Keir Thomas, author of Mac Kung Fu, a new book containing over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. 

  • Growl: Adds a simple notification system to OS X so that apps can report when they’ve finished a task, for example. Plugins are available for many built-in OS X apps, and lots of third-party apps support Growl too. Available for $1.99 from the App Store.
  • ClamXav: Adds on-demand virus scanning to OS X. Unlike other antivirus programs, ClamXav doesn’t remain present in memory. You can run it to scan any files that look suspicious, such as those you’ve downloaded from a less reputable website. Available free of charge via the App Store. (See also Sophos Antivirus for Mac, which provides resident scanning and is free for  home users.)
  • Xcode: Apple’s own programming toolkit and integrated development environment is free of charge via the App Store for anybody who purchased OS X Lion. It allows you to create apps for OS X and iOS and also create Dashboard widgets. Available free of charge from the App Store, although beware: it’s a multi-gigabyte download.
  • The Unarchiver: Significantly expands OS X’s knowledge of compressed file formats, specifically adding in the ability to expand RAR, 7-zip, LhA, and StuffIt formats. Expands files in a fuss-free way just like the built-in compression tool. Free of charge via the App Store.
  • Little Snitch: OS X already has a powerful firewall protecting your computer from inbound connections, but Little Snitch adds outgoing firewall protection to OS X. This lets you control which apps have access to the Internet and thereby potentially put a block on malicious software or just stop software from “phoning home.” Little Snitch can be purchased for $29.95 from the author’s website.

Little Snitch is one of the most useful apps your Mac doesn’t feature out of the box


  • Transmission: There are a variety of BitTorrent clients for OS X, but this is perhaps the most fully featured and is frequently updated with new features. It’s a free of charge download from the developer’s website.
  • Cyberduck: File transfer program that works with FTP, SFTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, Google Storage (including Google Docs), Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace Cloud Files. Can be purchased via the App Store for $23.99, but a free-to-try “donationware” version is available from the website.
  • iWork: Apple’s own office suite, consisting of Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentations). All are packed with features plus the ease of use and excellent design expected of Apple products, but, perhaps crucially, the apps also integrate 100 percent with OS X Lion’s features, such as Versions. There are versions of the iWork apps available for the iPhone/iPad too. Each component of iWork for OS X is purchased individually from the App Store for $19.99.
  • VMwareFusion: Creates virtual computers within software that let you run Microsoft Windows, Linux, or even additional installations of OS X Lion. Fusion is useful if you need to run some Windows software or games but not enough to warrant a full BootCamp installation of Windows, and you can also access pre-built machines sometimes offered for download. VMware Fusion is currently available for $49.99 from the VMware website.
  • iTerm 2: Those who work at the command line might come up against limitations of OS X’s built-in Terminal program. iTerm 2 is a third-party replacement that offers many more features plus increased compatibility when making remote connections. Free download from the developer’s website.
  • Adium: Instant messaging client that supports just about every chat protocol in existence and integrates fully with OS X’s Address Book. Free download from the developer’s website.

VLC will play just about any media file you throw at it

  • VLC: Your Mac’s support for video and audio files is pretty good but there’s still a handful of files that catch it out. The solution is to use VLC, which is an entirely separate player application that supports just about everything. It’s a free download from the developer’s website. (See also the free of charge Windows Media Components for QuickTime add-on, which brings support for viewing Windows media files to OS X, and Perian, which adds support for various other media file formats to QuickTime and is again free of charge.)

Know of any more essentials? Add them to the comments below.

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from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/134661/must-have-apps-for-any-new-mac-os-x-tips/

Clever iPhone 4S tricks: Look at your own ear (Updated)

Have you ever wanted to look in your own ear? Or at the nape of your neck? Or behind furniture? If you own an iPhone 4S and an Apple TV, you can wirelessly beam the picture from your camera to your large screen TV.

Just enable AirPlay. Double-click the Home button, swipe to the right twice, select your Apple TV as your AirPlay destination and enable Mirroring.

Then, click Home and run the camera app. You’ll be able to see what the camera sees because its preview mirrors to your home TV, even when your arm is stuck behind a dresser. You can also point the iPhone camera (front or back) at your ear, your nose, or your back — letting you see through your phone by watching your TV.

You may want to use a flashlight along with your phone as you explore darker parts of your house, like under your couch when looking for spare change or that missing remote.

Update: TUAW reader Sam W suggests mounting the iPhone onto a remote controlled truck for full-house surveillance.

Clever iPhone 4S tricks: Look at your own ear (Updated) originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 11 Dec 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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from TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog http://www.tuaw.com/2011/12/11/clever-iphone-4s-tricks-look-at-your-own-ear/

Stephen Wolfram: It was Steve Jobs who named ‘Mathematica’

The creator of the answer engine in Siri writes about his long relationship with Jobs

Wolfram. Photo: Creative Commons

There are a several novel anecdotes about Apple’s (AAPL) late CEO in the piece British scientist Stephen Wolfram wrote for Saturday’s The Guardian.

  • While at NeXT, Jobs took great interest in Wolfram’s breakthrough algebra-solving computer program and even came up with a name for it: Mathematica
  • When Wolfram asked Jobs to blurb A New Kind of Science, Wolfram’s 2002 book about how nature acts like a digital system obeying simple programs, Jobs demurred: “Isaac Newton didn’t have back-cover quotes; why should you?”
  • Jobs chose Wolfram Alpha, rather than Google’s (GOOG) search engine, as the answer engine in Siri, the iPhone 4S’s digital assistant.
  • At one visit during the NeXT years, Jobs apologized for becoming distracted. “He said he was going out that night on a date with a woman he’d met the day before and suddenly all his confidence as a technologist and businessman melted away.” That woman was Laurene Powell.

Wolfram, who received a Ph.D. in particle physics at age 20 and one of the first McCarthur “genius” grants at age 21, writes of the awe in which he held Jobs’ intellect:

One of the things I always admired about Steve Jobs was his clarity of thought. Time and again, he would take a complex situation, understand its essence and use that understanding to make a bold and unexpected move.

Not a bad blurb. You can read Wolfram’s full piece here.

Filed under: Apple 2.0

from Fortune Tech: Technology blogs, news and analysis from Fortune Magazine » Apple 2.0 http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/12/10/stephen-wolfram-it-was-steve-jobs-who-named-mathematica/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+fortuneapple20+%28FORTUNE%3A+Apple+2.0%29

See Bigger Thumbnails Of Wallpapers [OS X Tips]

Illustration of zooming into wallpaper images

You can use the pinch-and-expand gesture to zoom into wallpaper thumbnails in System Preferences

Here’s a quick but useful tip for those who love their desktop backgrounds and change them on a regular basis.

Choosing a new wallpaper in the Desktop & Screen Saver pane of System Preferences? If your Mac has a multitouch trackpad, place the mouse cursor over the thumbnail previews of the wallpapers and use the pinch-and-expand gesture, normally used to zoom in and out of photos in Preview or on the iPad, to make the thumbnails larger and smaller.

Give it a try–it’s pretty neat!


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from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/133219/see-bigger-thumbnails-of-wallpapers-os-x-tips/

Transfer Files From iPhone, iPad, iPod touch To PC Or Mac Effortlessly Without Using iTunes

As anybody familiar with Apple products will know, music video (and pretty much everything else) is centered around the iTunes app, and if the Cupertino company had it their way, that’s how it would stay.

The problem is though, it’s pretty much one way traffic, and although everything syncs smoothly in true Apple style, transferring content from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch onto a PC or Mac is not quite as simple.

In the overbearing vigilance against copyright infringement, what used to be a simple trip to My Computer or Finder can often turn into war and peace. Since the DRM was scrapped on the fruit company’s digital content in favor of vaguely traceable information on the downloader, it’s become a lot harder to extract certain files sitting on our devices.

This assumption that everybody’s a pirate has helped third party applications which facilitate full device browsing and back and forth transfer.

DiskAid is a prime example of how things should be done, enabling just about any file to quite effortlessly be moved onto a PC or Mac for safekeeping. The app has just been updated to version 5, and brings with it a few key new features making iDevice management easier than ever.


The free version of DiskAid allows users to transfer unlimited files from iOS to OS X or Windows, as well as explore the innards of Apple’s mobile operating system.

The paid version, as you’d expect, steps it up a notch, allowing the transfer and backup of  SMS text messages, call history log, voicemail, voice memos, notes, contacts list, music, videos, and podcasts. Whilst it could be argued that iTunes backs everything up in a rather simple manner, this method allows you to pick and choose which to keep and which you’d like to discard – giving you more freedom and general control.


Despite allowing capacities of up to 64GB of memory, iDevices cannot natively used as mass storage devices – once again akin to the paranoid mindset that users will steal and distribute paid media. DiskAid makes that space accessible to drag and drop any file of your choosing – the perfect excuse to ditch the rather exaggerated USB dongle.

The full version costs $24.90, which is very reasonable for quite simply the best all-round iPhone, iPad and iPod touch file transfer utility.

Grab it now from the DigiDNA website!

You may also like to check out:

(via iClarified)

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from Redmond Pie http://www.redmondpie.com/transfer-files-from-iphone-ipad-ipod-touch-to-pc-or-mac-effortlessly-without-using-itunes/

Check Out This Gorgeous Radial Infographic “10 Years Of iPod”, Then Hang It On Your Office Wall

Did you love that gorgeous “Here’s To The Crazy Ones” letter press poster we showed you earlier today, only to balk at the $200 asking price?

Here’s a poster that might float your boat, especially if you’re an App Developer: this beautiful radial infographic shows off the last ten years of the iPod and iTunes. And if you’re willing to print it yourself, it could cost you as little as $99!

Here’s the official description:

Experience the amazing story of how Apple created the iPod, iTunes, and other related products. Ten years of iPod and iTunes history in a magnificent looking radial chart, down to the last detail: Take a closer look at the major turning points in history and product releases. The iPod plus iTunes Timeline« is plotting all important events, sales records, and press announcements, and is the most comprehensive mapping of of the world’s most popular music player ever.

If you don’t feel like printing it out yourself, you can preorder one of a 100 print limited edition which will be signed, numbered and shipped at the end of January.


[via iClarified]

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from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/133720/check-out-this-gorgeous-radial-infographic-10-years-of-ipod-then-hang-it-on-your-office-wall/

This Magic Cable Fits Every USB Plug You’ll Ever Need Into A 40-Pin Apple Dock Connector

It’s usually pretty hard to get excited about an Apple Dock Connector, but this one’s fantastic. It uses a Russian Nesting Doll style of cascading connections to fit a mini USB plug into a micro USB plug and then in turn into an Apple 40 pin dock connector plug. For just $20, then, this is literally the only USB cable you need. Awesome.

[via Everything USB]

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from Cult of Mac http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cultofmac/bFow/~3/HAInQ8kJwUI/story01.htm