New flash storage tech promises tenfold capacity increase

A new breakthrough promises much better solid state disk (SSD) storage capacity. Could future a MacBook sport multiple terabytes of storage?

Both Intel and Micron have announced the development of 3D NAND, a new form of computer storage that promises dramatically increased density compared to the flash storage found in today’s Macs.

In 3D NAND, layers of flash cells are stacked on top of one another to increase storage density. Planar NAND, the technology now used, is pretty close to its density limit, according to a new report on Wired.

When you cut through the technical language, the net result is that 2.5-inch SSDs could come in 10TB capacities, compared to the 1TB drives most laptops max out at today. The smaller SSDs required for the super-skinny laptops of the world won’t see quite as much of a gain, but could still see a jump to 3.5TB, compared to the 512GB you see currently.

The big problem with SSDs is that the cost per gigabyte is still dramatically higher than a conventional hard disk, but consumers really love the better performance, durability and size of flash storage.

3D NAND doesn’t promise to make SSD storage cheaper, but having more capacity is certainly welcome news to anyone who has hit the limit of the storage on their current SSD-equipped Mac.

It’ll be a while before 3D NAND drives hit the market: Wired says that you won’t see 3D NAND in the wild until late this year or perhaps early 2016.



Posted Saturday March 28 2015 22:00 in News | Comments (0)

How to fix the headphone jack in your iPhone: The ultimate guide

So your out of warranty iPhone has a busted headphone jack. If you’d rather fix it on your own instead of buying a new iPhone, you’ve come to the right place.

The symptoms of a broken headphone jack are similar in all models, and can include audio cutting in and out or no audio at all. In some cases, loud speaker audio won’t work because your iPhone thinks headphones are plugged in when they’re really not.

If any of these issues sound like something you’ve experienced, we’ll walk you step by step through the repair process. We’ll also link you to all the parts and tools you’ll need to get the job done right the first time. The difficulty of a headphone jack replacement will depend on the iPhone model, but if you’re up for the challenge, follow along, find your model, and let’s get started!

iPhone 5s

An iPhone 5s headphone jack replacement is very similar to both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c. It’s part of the dock assembly and comes out all as one piece. The only extra challenge you’ll experience during this repair is making sure you don’t damage Touch ID when you open your iPhone 5s and disconnect it from the dock assembly. As long as you keep an eye out for those little things, you’ll be just fine.

iPhone 5c

The iPhone 5c is essentially an iPhone 5 with a plastic, more colorful shell. There are some internal differences you’ll have to watch out for, which makes this repair slightly different. Regardless, a headphone jack replacement in an iPhone 5c is fairly straightforward and will only take about 30 to 45 minutes of your time. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper than a new iPhone.

iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 re-located the headphone jack from the top of the iPhone all the way to the bottom. That means the repair is quite a bit different than the models that came before it. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing. The headphone jack in the iPhone 5 is part of the dock assembly, which is much easier to get to and replace than previous generations. It’ll also resolve any issues you may be having with charging or connecting to iTunes as well.

iPhone 4s

The iPhone 4s headphone jack is on the same cable that controls the mute switch. So to fix a broken headphone jack, you’ll have to replace the entire cable. This repair is slightly intricate but not terribly difficult for anyone with moderate to intermediate DIY skills. Just take your time and be sure not to tear any cables during the process.

iPhone 4

The headphone jack in the GSM iPhone 4 is part of the volume and mute switch cable, making it slightly different than the iPhone 4s. This is a slightly intricate repair and you’ll have to take care not to snag or tear any cables. I’d recommend attempting it only if your DIY skills are moderate to intermediate. And as long as you take your time and don’t rush, you’ll get through just fine.

Remember the iPhone 4 came in two varieties, GSM and CDMA. What carrier you have will determine which guide you need to follow. The internals are different. If your iPhone 4 contains a SIM slot on the side, you want the GSM guide. If it does not (meaning you have Verizon), use the CDMA guide instead.

More DIY help

We’re always adding more DIY guides and walkthroughs as new iPhones come out. You can check out our DIY repair section for all of our other guides. If you can’t find a guide you’re looking for, would like to suggest one, or have a question before, during, or after a repair, feel free to email me directly!



Posted Saturday March 28 2015 22:00 in News | Comments (0)

Secret Apple Watch controls: How you’ll navigate what’s on your wrist!

The Apple Watch only has two hardware buttons but, just like the iPhone, there’s a lot you can do with them!

Tim Cook introduced the Apple Watch back in September and while much was shown off, much still remains to be seen. What we do know is that it has two buttons — a digital crown that can also be pushed, and a traditional hardware button beneath it (or above it if worn on the right wrist). Rumor has it, though, when you combine multiple and long presses, there’ll be a lot you can do with it.


Scroll and zoom

Spin the digital crown to scroll through lists or zoom in or out of the home screen, maps, photos, and more. Like the click-wheel on the classic iPods, it’s a new way to navigate the digital world. (And it prevents your fingers from obscuring the screen while you do!)

Home

Single click the digital crown and get taken to the home screen. Think of it like the home button on your iPhone or iPad. No matter where you are, it’ll take you back to a know state — the beginning.

Siri

Single click and hold down the digital crown to activate Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant. Of course, you can also raise your wrist and just say, “Hey, Siri!” but having something physical to press is a nice backup.

Time switch

Double click the digital crown to switch between your watch face and the last app you used. It’s a convenient way to go from what you’re doing to the time and back.

Accessibility

Triple click the digital crown to bring up Accessibility options. Like with the iPhone and iPad, there are several options including VoiceOver.

Friends

Single click the side button to bring up Friends, which shows icons of all the people that matter to you. Tap to message, call, sketch, tap, or send them your heartbeat.

Power off

Single click and hold down the side button brings you to a screen where you can force quit apps or shut down your Apple Watch.

Power on

Single click and hold down the side button to turn your Apple Watch back on or to bring it out of Power Reserve mode and back to normal operations.

Apple Pay

Double click the side button to bring up Apple Pay, the NFC-based credit and debit service. Once authorized on your iPhone 5 or iPhone 6, it’ll work for as long as the watch stays in contact with your skin.

Screen shot

Press both the digital crown and the side button at the same time, and you’ll take a screen shot of your Apple Watch, just like pressing the Home + Sleep/Wake button does on your iPhone or iPad. (Consider this a rumor for now, but it’ll be great if it’s in the shipping version.)

Swipe and tap

Swipe and tap on the display to change screens — for example, to move between Glances — and tap to make selections. Yes, even though there’s a digital crown, capacitive touch still works on the Apple Watch.

Force touch

Press down on the display to activate Force Touch. Think of it like a secondary mouse click (right click) that brings up context-sensitive options.

And more!

Again, there’s still a lot we don’t know. But that’s what makes the Apple Watch so interesting. It’s something new to discover. And we’ll know doubt discover a lot more on April 24 when Apple releases the Apple Watch!

Originally published March 7, 2015.



Posted Saturday March 28 2015 22:00 in News | Comments (0)

Future Shop in Canada to end, some locations to rebrand under Best Buy

Future Shop parent Best Buy is consolidating, with some stores closing, other rebranding.

Best Buy outlined its plans in a statement released today, saying it had conducted a review of its Canadian operations before making these changes. Roughly half the locations will survive the cuts. Best Buy stated:

The result of this review is the closure of 66 Future Shop locations, effective today. Concurrently, an additional 65 Future Shop stores will be temporarily closed for one week as they begin their transition to the Best Buy brand. The company will now have a total of 192 locations across Canada, including 136 large-format stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile stores.

About 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time employees will lose their jobs as part of the changes, and the Future Shop website will also be consolidated under the BestBuy.com site. Gift cards, exchanges, and customer service for Future Shop will continue to be honored by Best Buy.

Future Shop opened its first stores in British Columbia in 1983 and in 10 years became the largest consumer electronic retail in Canada. Best Buy acquired Future Shop in 2001. Both Best Buy and Future Shop have also operated Apple store-within-a-store areas, proving Apple Store-like displays and sometimes staffing to people in communities far away from an actual Apple location.

To strengthen its position as Canada’s leading provider of consumer electronics products, services and solutions, Best Buy Canada, a subsidiary of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) – which owns and operates both Best Buy and Future Shop stores – today announced it is consolidating the Future Shop and Best Buy stores and websites under the Best Buy brand and unveiled an ambitious plan to build a leading multi-channel customer experience.

Best Buy Canada also announced today it has reviewed its real estate footprint to address the fact that a significant number of its Future Shop and Best Buy stores are located adjacent to each other, often in the same parking lot. The result of this review is the closure of 66 Future Shop locations, effective today. Concurrently, an additional 65 Future Shop stores will be temporarily closed for one week as they begin their transition to the Best Buy brand. The company will now have a total of 192 locations across Canada, including 136 large-format stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile stores.

“Currently, 80 per cent of our customers are within a 15 minute drive to a store and this won’t change,” said Ron Wilson, President and COO of Best Buy Canada. “We will continue to have a strong store presence in all major markets in Canada.”

As a result of this consolidation, approximately 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions will be eliminated. The affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support.

“Any decisions that impact our people are never taken lightly; our first priority is to support them through this change,” Wilson said. “I want to express my appreciation to the employees who are leaving, for their contributions to Best Buy Canada.”

Providing a seamless customer experience to all Future Shop and Best Buy customers is a key focus throughout this transition. All Future Shop gift cards will be accepted at any Best Buy Canada location and at BestBuy.ca. Existing product orders, service appointments and warranties will continue to be honoured and Future Shop purchases to be returned or exchanged will also be accepted at any Best Buy. For information on store changes and opening dates, customers are encouraged to visit our store locator. Customers with any questions can visit BestBuy.ca/questions or call 1-866-BEST-BUY (1-866-237-8289). Customers who visit FutureShop.ca will be guided to BestBuy.ca.

Looking ahead, investments of up to $200 million dollars will be made in Best Buy stores and BestBuy.ca, to build a leading multi-channel customer experience. This multi-faceted strategy will include: (1) launching major home appliances in all stores; (2) working with our vendor partners to bring their products to life in a more compelling way; (3) increasing our staffing levels to better serve our customers; (4) investing in the online shopping experience, for example by expanding in-store pick-up areas for online customers and launching a ship-from-store program, making in-store inventory available to online customers across the country.

Image: Stu pendousmat at en.wikipedia


Posted Saturday March 28 2015 22:00 in News | Comments (0)

What would you change about iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus?

If Apple sticks to pattern, we’ve got a similarly designed iPhones 6s coming our way this year, and a redesigned iPhones 7 coming our way next.

It’s been six months since the launch of the current generation iPhones, so it seems like as good a time as any to start dreaming about the next. From 2007 to now we’ve gone from 3.5 to 5.5 inches, 480×320 to 1920×1080, EDGE to LTE-Advanced, dumb mics and buttons to Siri and Touch ID, and much, much more. Where could we go next?

If Apple came to you and asked what you’d like to see in the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, or potentially even iPhone 6c coming our way this year, what would you tell the company?

  • 4-inch model for one-handed ease of use
  • Inductive charging
  • Water resistance
  • 1080p FaceTime camera
  • 4K iSight camera
  • Better low-light photography
  • 2208×1242 (@3x) or 1440×2560 display
  • OLED display for energy efficiency
  • Notification light
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB storage tier
  • Higher capacity battery
  • Force Touch
  • Taptics
  • Touch ID in screen
  • Surround-sound speakers
  • USB-C

I’ll stop short of espresso dispenser in the Lightning port, holographic emitter, and repulser beam. But you should feel free to continue. Let me know what you want to see in the next generation — or generations — of iPhones? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen…?



Posted Saturday March 28 2015 18:00 in News | Comments (0)

ifo Apple Store shuts down after 14 years

Back in 2001, Apple’s retail store initiative was new, and one web site tracked every move the company made.

Now that web site is winding down. A hearty farewell to Gary Allen, who for almost the last decade and a half has reported on Apple’s retail store machinations on his ifo Apple Store blog.

On Friday Allen posted a blog entry entitled My Work Here is Done, declaring “a happy ending” to his blog.

Back in 2001, It seemed like I was the only person studying the stores. In fact, most onlookers were skeptical of the stores’ future success.

more recently, interest in Apple retail has expanded to financial analysts, designers, architects and other special interests

Now, everyone is interested in the Apple stores—and most of them also seem to be writing about the stores. Who am I to keep up with them?

Allen’s done some great work tracking Apple’s progress with its retail stores, which now rank as one of the great retail success stories of the 21st century. Apple’s retail arm is incredibly popular and influential and continues to grow.

Allen says he’ll continue to update the site with “list-type material” but plans to just write for fun instead of keeping up new content all the time.



Posted Saturday March 28 2015 18:00 in News | Comments (0)

Grab an iPhone 6 bumper case today for only $4.95

Made from a glossy and matte double molded polycarbonate, this bumper case conforms perfectly around the iPhone 6 to provide casual protection against minor drops. It even slightly elevates the phone from flat surfaces, keeping it safe from unwanted scratches and scuffs.



Posted Saturday March 28 2015 14:00 in News | Comments (0)

The TouchArcade Show – 198 – Are You a "Let’s Go Cena" or a "Cena Sucks" Kind of Guy?

LogoUnfortunately, radical Radical billionaire Mike Meade has fired Brad Nicholson as his body surrogate, so we’re back to normal episodes of the podcast- As if that is ever possible. This week has been pretty crazy from an overall story output perspective, so we’re kind of scatterbrained and recording late in the day. But, I’d argue those circumstances make for the best podcasts. Also, we get Mike’s predictions for Wrestlemania, as we all agree Brock Lesnar just has to retain the title- Especially with a phatty-boom-batty three year contract under his belt.

Don’t forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read ‘em all, even if they don’t make it into the podcast. As always, you can listen to us with the links below… And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-198.mp3, 84.8MB

Oh also, if you’re interested in sponsoring either of our podcasts, we’ve got ad packages that can fit any budget. Shoot an email to ads@toucharcade.com for more information.

Posted Saturday March 28 2015 10:40 in Applications | Comments (0)

TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions’

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions

There’s nothing like a surprise release to throw some excitement into our weekly new games routine, and it’s extra sweet when that surprise game also happens to be an excellent Star Wars tie-in game. I mean hey, licensed Star Wars video games don’t exactly have the best reputation, you know? But that’s not a concern with Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions [Free], a just-released action platformer based on the new Star Wars Rebels animated series that began last year and consists of several shorts, a movie, and a full season of shows that just wrapped up at the beginning of this month with a second season currently in progress.

rebelsrecon

Star Wars Rebels takes place between Episode III and IV of the main movie series, and so far has been quite well received from critics and fans alike. It deals with a small band of rebels who have united to fight back against the Empire on and around the planet Lothal. You start out the game as Ezra, a plucky young con artist with fledgling Force abilities. The main action in the game is pretty straightforward. You’ll run, jump and blast your way past hordes of Imperial enemies, collecting things like coins and special emblems, finding secrets, and helping out the citizens of Lothal.

Then there’s a whole second part to the game, which involves building out your home base on Lothal. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock different building types and recruit citizens who are trying to escape the clutches of the Empire to come and live in your little sanctuary. The game’s currency that you collect while playing can go towards upgrading Ezra’s abilities, and together with building out your spot on Lothal, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions is a collector’s dream come true.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Base building? In-game currency? This is just some fremium game!” Well I’m happy to say that that is not true at all. The game is free to download initially, and you can play through the first 4 (fairly lengthy) levels to get a feel for the game. Then, you’re given a variety of IAP unlocks which allow you to buy as much or as little of the full game as you want. It’s really a nice, flexible system for those that enjoy the initial demo, and best of all, no stupid timers! So if you like Star Wars, whether or not you’re currently into the Rebels series or not, you should definitely take Star Wars Rebels: Recon Mission for a spin.

Posted Saturday March 28 2015 10:40 in Applications | Comments (0)

Best iPhone and iPad Games – 3/27/15 – ‘Final Fantasy: Record Keeper’, ‘Taichi Panda’, ‘Swap Quest’ and More

I told you guys last week we had picked up some new team members, and if you haven’t noticed, we’ve been on fire this week. Tons more content across the board ranging from more reviews, developer interviews, more guides, and way more news. I even had to change the front page to display more stories at a time just so we weren’t bumping our daily load out off the front page. A good change overall, I’d say. Anyway, here’s our top scoring reviews we published this week:


FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper


FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper, Free
[Review] – I have to admit, since the travesty that was Final Fantasy: All The Bravest [Free], I lost all hope of seeing a good mobile Final Fantasy game that would not only embrace some of the unique intricacies of the platform but do so in a way that didn’t make the whole experience feel sleazy. Yet, here we are with Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, a collaboration between DeNA and the folks at Square Enix and a title has single handedly restored my faith as to the potential of this franchise and genre on mobile.


Taichi Panda


Taichi Panda, Free
[Review] – In a follow-up to our 2014 E3 preview and just a few days before a major update, we sat down to see the furry martial artist in action. Taichi Panda [Free] from Snail Games was released in the US on The App Store earlier this month with an Android release also available. It is a free-to-play dungeon crawler with an RPG feel and some extensive online multiplayer features that make it a stand out from other titles in the genre.


Tales from the Borderlands


Tales from the Borderlands, $4.99
(Episode 2) [Review] – “Atlas Mugged” mostly has the duos of Rhys and Vaughn and Fiona and Sasha separated, so while interaction between the four of them is limited to the beginning for the most part. Rhys is trying to deal with having Handsome Jack in his brain – and the consequences of trying to convince others that he’s not crazy, he actually is seeing Handsome Jack, and either giving in or resisting to his influence, as per your choices. But there’s great moments here between the duo, and even the Loader Bot returns. Truly, they are all bros.


Silly Sausage in Meat Land


Silly Sausage in Meat Land, Free
[Review] – Every time Nitrome announces a new game, I get excited for two reasons. One is that I love pixel art games and Nitrome specializes in them. Second is that their games are usually pretty cool in some way, have some twist to them that’s interesting to discover. Silly Sausage in Meat Land [Free] is their latest and one of their best games that I’ve played yet. It’s a goofy and challenging game that does some really cool things.


The Trace: Murder Mystery Game


The Trace: Murder Mystery Game, $4.99
[Review] – One of my favorite gaming experiences back in the late 1980s was playing the fantastic Police Quest series by Sierra Entertainment. I had perhaps too much fun playing the cop and roaming the streets as an incompetent instrument of justice. So, I was quite happy that The Trace [$4.99], the new game by British award-winning games developer Relentless Software, out now for iPhone and iPad, brought me back to my glorious crime-solving days. As Detective Sam Pearce of Baltimore PD, you get to follow a long trail of bodies in the hunt for a killer. Relentless Software has developed the game from the ground up for tablet and mobile devices, and it shows both in the game’s influences and its controls. If you’ve been gaming on mobile devices the last few years, you’ll easily recognize the genres that make up The Trace.


SwapQuest


SwapQuest, $2.99
[Review] – When done correctly, I feel like there’s no better mix of genres than the puzzle/RPG combination. Adding character progression and some exploration elements to a good puzzle mechanic has the potential to really turn a neat game into a full-on adventure. SwapQuest [$2.99] has managed to do just that by combining classic Pipe Mania gameplay with some great RPG mechanics. Add in some cool retro visuals and awesome music and SwapQuest is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Additionally, we reviewed a few other games this week. As always, you can dig into all of our reviews by clicking here. Alternatively, you can hit up specific scores by using these links:

Posted Saturday March 28 2015 10:40 in Applications | Comments (0)

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