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iOS6 -- New Features

This week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple's new iOS6 was a big topic of conversation. This software introduces a more capable Siri, as well as FaceTime over 3G, improved maps and email and other small refinements.

The first thing that I want to introduce is the "smarter" Siri. She is now capable of finding out things like the latest scores on a basketball game. She can make restaurant reservations and even find movie times -- perfect for a date. She did act up a bit in testing with game scores, but was on point when asked player stats and schedules.

Apple has also integrated FaceBook into the iPhone even more -- just what our social media-hungry society needs. You are now able to directly link your device to FaceBook and sync contacts. You can share from your photos and a variety of other apps, such as maps. Siri will even update your status for you.

Finally, Apple has given users the ability to set VIP mail lists, so that nothing important goes unread. Since it is iCloud enabled, it is accessible from all of your iOS devices. These are a few highlights from the new software. Overall, I'd say Apple has made its devices smarter and easier to use. So far it seems that Apple is headed in the right direction.

Reasons your phone battery is draining

The iPhone 4, and especially the 4S, are notorious for having bad battery life. Turning down your brightness and turning off Bluetooth are things you can do to prolong battery life. But what are the real reasons your battery is dying?

A team of researchers at the University of Purdue conducted a study that displayed a dozen apps that are severely damaging your phone's battery life. The first application they said was a battery-killer was Google Maps. This makes sense, since it uses so much data and phone RAM. Another application that is bad for battery usage is the Facebook application. Not only is that application terribly slow, it is no friend to your battery.

Here is a big tip to help save battery life: double tap the home button, hold one application down, then the "X" button will appear, allowing you to close all currently opened applications.

Apple releases MacBook with Retina Display

Along with the announcement of iOS6 this past week at WWDC, a new MacBook was released. The 15-inch model will come with a retina display. The screen on the MacBook will be absolutely beautiful and incredibly thin. Here are the specs:

-- OS X Lion (Free upgrade to Mountain Lion in July)

-- 15.4-inch Retina display (2880ó1800), 220ppi

-- Battery: 7 hours of wireless web, 30-day standby, 95 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

-- Processor: 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (3.3 with Turbo Boost) for base model; configurable to 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz)

-- RAM: 8GB (up to 16GB)

-- Storage: 256GB, 512GB or 768GB

-- Camera: 720p FaceTime HD Camera

-- Bluetooth: 4.0

-- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory

I'm incredibly ecstatic about the new additions to this MacBook. Apple did a great job. The only con is that it may be quite expensive for some. It starts at $2,199. In my opinion, with all of these new specifications, and the new screen, the pricing is completely reasonable.

Aperture vs. iPhoto

Now before I get into the debate, I'm talking about Aperture for the average consumer, not photographers or media personnel. For those who are unaware, Aperture is premium software that Apple sells for $199. You could draw the comparison that Aperture to iPhoto, is like Final Cut Pro to iMovie. I own Aperture. I use it to edit all of my photos. When I use the software, I enjoy it -- but I don't find it extraordinarily different or better than iPhoto. You can essentially edit the photos the same, and apply the same effects. The only benefit to Aperture that I see is that you can organize your photos better, and it runs more smoothly than iPhoto if you have a large library. For $199, I don't recommend upgrading to Aperture for normal users. I like iPhoto. It's simple, and it gets the job done.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 17, 2012 ??65521

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