Monthly Archives: June 2013

Windows 8.1 Release Review

For all the Microsoft fans out there, the world was excited to see the new Windows 8.1 update finally hit devices earlier this week. The OS has been through it’s ups and downs, but with Windows being the most used OS in the country (especially in the world of business) the release was a huge step forward for Microsoft. 

Microsoft is making a big push with 8.1 to enhance personalization with customization options. You can now change the color and background of the Start Screen to something more precise with a new color slider tool. You can also change it to a personal photo or the one that’s the background on your desktop. The lock screen can now display a slideshow of your photos.

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•Last year when Windows 8 was released, critics and fans weren’t as pleased with the OS as most had been with Windows 7. But Microsoft has shown us a great deal of changes that they hope will bring more faith to Windows 8. The company is not backtracking on concepts such as the Start screen or the “immersive UI” which presents Modern apps without the clutter of visible menus and toolbars. Yes, there is a Start button on the desktop – but it takes you to the Start screen rather than restoring the menu in Windows 7. The Start button will be a point of familiarity for new users, but its main benefit is the enhanced administrative menu (known as Win-X because of its keyboard shortcut) which pops up if you right-click, including an option to shut down.
 
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•SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage, is deeply embedded in Windows 8.1. It has its own section in PC Settings, and you can opt to save all documents to SkyDrive by default. Open Notepad, for example, type something, hit save, and it goes to SkyDrive if you do not change the location. Another SkyDrive change is that the Modern SkyDrive app now works offline, sharing local storage with the Desktop version. This makes sense if you travel or regularly work on more than one machine.
 
Microsoft is making a big push with 8.1 to enhance personalization with customization options. You can now change the color and background of the Start Screen to something more precise with a new color slider tool. You can also change it to a personal photo or the one that’s the background on your desktop. The lock screen can now display a slideshow of your photos.
 
Overall, Windows 8.1 is focusing on improving the on the issues that users had been having issues with in the original 8.0 version. It’s available now for all Windows 8.0 users, completely free as an update. 
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The WWDC: iTunes Radio, iOS7, and OS X Mavericks

   Apple fans and dedicated consumers were excited when Tim Cook took the stage at the WWDC on the 10th. Very few rumors had been verified before the conference as to what would be announced this year. Things like the iWatch and the iPhone 5S and 6 were anticipated, but Apple decided to push the release of the new iOS and OS X, as well as some new hardware. 

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The iOS 7 may not have been the first reveal at the WWDC, but it may have been the most important. Apple has been running the same visual style on the iOS since the iPhone hit the market, but after a great deal of work they’ve released the newer, more sleek and efficient iOS7. It’s focus is to integrate and layer all functions with more options in every avenue of use. Folders can hold pages of content, photos will be immediately arranged by the location the photo was taken and the date/time, and a heads up display can be swiped up from the bottom of the UI at any point of use. Some speculate that the new iOS looks more like the Android Jellybean, but the functionality and look haven’t been fully reviewed quite yet. Developers gained access to the iOS7 less that 24 hour ago, so there’s still much to be experimented with. 

Another big hit for Apple was the OS X Mavericks (10.9). The new OS hasn’t changed much in look, but has some big new features. iBooks, Apple Maps, Calandar, and the brand new Safari are just some of the new changes Mavericks is bringing to the table. Apple, as always, is setting up the OS to function as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. The system is set up to save power so that your Macbook Air can supply you with full 24 hour use. And the Safari changes are set so that reading articles and roaming through bookmarks is seamless with endless scrolling. Apple will be releasing an entirely new desktop, the Mac Pro.

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The new desktop features components  that are built around a “central thermal core,” and the specs include an Intel Xeon CPU, faster 1,866GHz RAM, and new SSD storage that’s 2.5 times faster than current SSD drives. Dual AMD FirePro GPUs are supported (even though current MacBook Pros use Nvidia graphics), and the system can output to as many as three 4K resolution displays.

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Lastly, Apple has set out to contend with Pandora and Spotify with their own digital station, iTunes Radio. The system appeared easy to navigate and familiarize with, being that such programs have become extremely popular in the past few years, but Apple has added it’s own twist on their radio system. It’s an integrated part of iTunes which can be accessed as easily as the iTunes Store: just a click away. The radio will play whatever bands, artists, or genres you chose and will also give you a purchasing option for individual MP3s. Playlists can be formed and shared with other users, similar to the Spotify function. All of it connects to the iTunes store, so expect an ease of purchasing new music on your desktop or your mobile. All information is distributed throughout your cloud, so your music can stream from your iPhone, iPad, or desktop, regardless of where the purchase and download took place. 

The WWDC did bring some large changes to the table, but Apple stock has not taken a major rise since the conference ended. It’s likely that consumers and investors are waiting for the release of the new iPhones as well as information on the iWatch before business takes a jump forward. We can only wait until the end of the year before finding out. 

-David Collins

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The Future of Wearable Technology

  The tech world has been progressively moving forward on all sides, but the most interesting changes we’re seeing are in the world of wearable technology.

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Google has put their foot forward with Google Glass, giving the public an inside look on the product’s stages of development. Since the beta item has been available for purchase, Google has encouraged developers to test and record as much data as they can on the usability of the glasses. Each step Google takes is taken in the eye and participation of the general public. They’ve yet to set a final date for a completed product in order to refine the technology, but it’s likely that Google will be ready by next year’s IO. 

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Google isn’t the only company who is getting into the world of wearable devices. Of course their main competitor, Apple, is rumored to have a new product coming soon. The spectated device is the iWatch, which most are expecting to see at the WWDC. Not much is known about the device, but leaked information and images are rising up across the internet. The russian newspaper Izvestia  reported that Apple has filed for the iWatch trademark, but we don’t know how soon this product will be released. We don’t know the functions of the watch yet, but you can be sure that they’ll do their best to combat Google Glass with voice command functions, a new OS, and some gesture technology. Anything beyond that is unknown.

Both of these products are not yet on the market, but here at KaysCase we’re always preparing new product lines for the latest technologies. A delicate and expensive piece of hardware like Google Glass would highly benefit from a form fitting glasses case, or maybe even a charging case. And the iWatch will likely need some surface protection like our screen protectors. And a watch case for display as well as a charging dock would be the perfect addition to Apple’s innovations. As information continues to become available, we continue to fit our product line to your needs and desires. 

We’re looking forward to seeing what new developments arrive in the oncoming months. Google and Apple are the heads of innovation in today’s tech world. 

-David Collins

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