iNews Review

Siri as Revolutionary as the Mac, 4th US iPhone Carrier Announced, iPhone 4S Teardowns, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.10.21

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Reviews

Rumor Roundup

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News & Opinion

Siri Is as Revolutionary as the Mac

The Harvard Business Review's James Allworth contends that Siri, the new iPhone 4S' voice-control software, will have as big an impact as that first iPhone did and is going to fundamentally change our relationship with computers.

He notes that while very accurate speech recognition systems have been around for some time, and so too has advanced artificial intelligence. Until now, nobody had put speech and artificial intelligence together in a compelling way, which meant that the voice systems on computers and smartphones have been clunky to the point where it was just easier to avoid them.

And that's what Apple has fixed with Siri. Allworth predicts that while this doesn't mean the end of the keyboard, henceforth a surprising amount of the time, keyboards simply won't be necessary, and he thinks it won't be long before we view this technology in the same light as we view the iPhone: we won't quite be able imagine life without it.

Publisher's note: Way back when, the Echo+ was a relatively popular speech synthesis card for the Apple II, and the Macintosh has had built-in voices since the beginning. Apple introduced PlainTalk with the AV Quadras in 1993 and it became part of the Mac OS with System 7.1.2 but only supported AV Quadras and PowerPC Macs. PlainTalk is used to issue commands to your Macintosh; it is not a dictation system. Command recognition became part of Apple's Universal Access Technology in Mac OS X 10.3. Siri combines speech synthesis, command recognition, dictation, and artificial intelligence in a single package.

Scotty talks to Mac Plus in Star Trek 4
"Computer! Computer? Hello, computer."

This is the kind of technology we've seen on TV since Star Trek debuted in 1966. It was used to humorous effect in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), when Scotty tried to talk to a Macintosh Plus, and then attempted to talk into its mouse. When told he had to use the keyboard, he replied, "Keyboard. How quaint." Twenty-five years after the movie and 45 years after Star Trek debuted, it's finally becoming a reality. And for those who don't have an iPhone 4, the free Dragon Go! app provides similar technology. dk

Siri Ported from iPhone 4S to iPhone 4

9 to 5 Mac's Mark Gurman reports that developer Steven Troughton-Smith has been working with 9 to 5 Mac exclusively to port the iPhone 4S Siri voice command system to the iPhone 4.

Gurman says Troughton-Smith was able to get the beginning steps of a full port rolling after installing the iPhone 4S Siri and Springboard files onto an iPhone 4, and has posted a video showing that Siri's interface loads up with all the features from the iPhone 4S implementation.

C Spire Wireless to Become 4th US iPhone 4S Carrier

C Spire Wireless (formerly Cellular South) has announced that it will launch iPhone 4S in the US in the coming weeks.

C Spire voice coverage mapC Spire data coverage map
C Spire voice (left) and data (right) coverage maps.

C Spire Wireless is a diversified wireless communications company focused on helping customers by personalizing wireless services designed just for them. The company is the first provider in the US wireless industry to personalize customers' experience by offering apps that fit who they are, services that anticipate their needs, and rewards for using their phone in new ways.

Publisher's note: C Spire Wireless is a CDMA carrier (like Verizon and Sprint), which means you can't talk and access the Internet via 3G simultaneously, perhaps the biggest difference between CDMA and GSM, which AT&T uses. C Spire Wireless has "infinite data" plans starting as low as $50 per month with 500 minutes and unlimited minutes for $70. Look for more information plans available to iPhone 4S users on the company website. dk

Windows Zealot Paul Thurrott: iOS 5 Is Mature and Reliable, but Windows Phone Is Better

Window SuperSite's notes that Apple's iOS is mature, reliable, and full-featured; is installed on hundreds of millions of devices; and constitutes one of the single biggest competitors to Windows there is. It should come as no surprise that the latest version of this software, iOS 5, is a compelling, evolutionary update that all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users are going to want.

However, Thurrott says what iOS 5 is not something truly new - not a better of way of doing things like Windows Phone, but rather a continuation of iOS versions that preceded it.

This means, he observes, that Apple isn't attempting to overcome iOS' tired app-based functional model, in which users need to know where to find what they need - in individual apps - and then pop in and out, in and out, in and out, over and over again. Thurrott contends that people who use these devices tend not to even consider alternatives, so aren't even aware that there are in fact better ways of getting things done, that some mobile OSes actually work the way they do, and that they don't have to conform to a rigid model the OS imposes on them.

Instead they get the maturity, reliability, and full-featured functionality aforementioned. Ergo, iOS is the safe choice, the thing you recommend to your mother or nontechnical people, to "normal" people - a huge and growing audience.

"With iOS 5, Apple has suddenly leapfrogged the competition with what I think is the nicest notification system on any mobile platform. It works well and looks nice . . . Highly recommended."

This is an extremely thoroughgoing and thoughtful review.

Publisher's note: Just four years ago, the iPhone's interface was something truly new, and over time, Apple has made it better. According to Thurrott's reasoning, Windows Phone 8 will have to be truly new, not an incremental improvement over version 7.5, and the same should be applied to every version of Windows - not how backwards compatible is it, but only looking at what is truly new. Good thing the real world doesn't work that way, especially in light of the "truly new" features Apple has thrown at longtime Mac users in creating OS X 10.7 Lion. Give me incremental improvements to something that works; don't feel you need to reinvent everything every time. dk

Paul Thurrott on the Superiority of Windows Phone 7.5 to iOS 5

Window SuperSite's Paul Thurrott has been using an iPhone 3GS with iOS 5 as his primary handset and says that when his recently ordered iPhone 4S arrives, he'll give that a similar vetting, but after 15 straight months of using Windows Phone, going back to the iPhone feels like going back in time. He declares that Microsoft's smartphone OS is better, more efficient, and more beautiful to look at.

He notes that while iOS 5 is mature, stable, and somewhat attractive, on the old 3GS, it's also dog slow, while Windows Phone 7.5 runs wonderfully on his year-old Samsung Focus - but it's not really the performance that bothers him with iOS 5, it's the usage model, which he says thinks and works the way you do in Windows Phone 7.5, not vice versa, making it superior in this context to that of the iPhone and iOS, and is is prettier than iOS, so aside from the efficiencies of its integrated experiences, it also provides a nicer look and feel.

Thurrott says that while iOS 5 is the safe choice, the one you recommend to less experienced users, it's Windows Phone that occupies the innovation seat that Apple once commanded, and if you're looking for the best aesthetics, the best efficiency, and the best software design, Windows Phone is where it's at - something he suspects Apple's most ardent fans will have difficulty understanding.

ARM and TSMC Produce First 20nm Cortex A15

Hardmac's Lionel reports that things are moving fast on the ARM chips market, with ARM and TSMC announcing the production of the first 20nm Cortex A15 chips

The Cortex A15 chip is the next generation of ARM design chips, on which Apple will probably base its future A6 chip. The processors using that design will have 2 or 4 cores and will be reaching 20nm.

Theoretically, the Cortex A15 will be twice as fast without consuming more power than the current chips, thanks to its 20nm manufacturing process.

Cellphones Teem with Bacteria

The Canadian Press reports that a new handwashing study released on Global Handwashing Day has found that cellphones teem with bacteria, some species of which should send you running for the nearest washbasin and soap.

16% of hands and mobile phones examined for the study that was conducted by University of London researchers in 12 UK cities were even found to carry E. coli, which originates in fecal matter and can cause diarrhea and vomiting or much worse, such as kidney failure or even death in certain instances.

An analysis found 92% of phones and 82% of hands had traces of some type of bacteria on them, and in some cases were "extraordinarily contaminated" with thousands of bacteria that could potentially pose a health risk to the user, such as Staphylococcus aureus that was detected on between 25% and 30% of hands and phones surveyed. At the time of the report's posting, testing was ongoing to determine whether the difficult-to-treat "superbug," methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is among the bacteria found on phones.

Absorbed Cell Phone Radiation Underestimated, Especially in Children

A new study by the Environmental Health Trust has found that children absorb twice as much microwave radiation from phones as do adults.

The report's abstract notes that the existing cell phone certification process uses a plastic model of the head called the Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin (SAM), representing the top 10% of US military recruits in 1989 and greatly underestimates the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for typical mobile phone users, especially children.

A superior computer simulation certification process has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but is not employed to certify cell phones. In the United States, the FCC determines maximum allowed exposures. Many countries, especially European Union members, use the guidelines of International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a non governmental agency. Radio frequency (RF) exposure to a head smaller than SAM will absorb a relatively higher SAR. Also, SAM uses a fluid having the average electrical properties of the head that cannot indicate differential absorption of specific brain tissue, nor absorption in children or smaller adults.

The SAR for a 10-year old is up to 153% higher than the SAR for the SAM model. When electrical properties are considered, a child's head's absorption can be over two times greater, and absorption of the skull's bone marrow can be ten times greater than adults. Therefore, a new certification process is needed that incorporates different modes of use, head sizes, and tissue properties. Anatomically based models should be employed in revising safety standards for these ubiquitous modern devices and standards should be set by accountable, independent groups.

Apple Relies on Samsung Chips Despite Patent War

The Korea Times' Kim Yoo-chul reports that despite their escalating patent war, Samsung Electronics and Apple maintain and are expected to maintain their relationship as chip supplier and buyer, with unnamed industry sources saying Apple will continue to use Samsung-made CPU chips and technology for its next smartphone.

Yoo-chul cites an anonymous executive from a Korean based Apple parts supplier saying that Samsung has been increasing the output of the Apple-designed A6 chips in its manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas - one of the company's main fabrication facilities for NAND flash production and also used for manufacturing system IC circuits and foundry-related businesses.

Yoo-chul notes that there had been speculation that Apple would shift its chip sourcing channel to Samsung rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), but says TSMC will only provide customized chips with designs from Apple for now and the volume will be very small, according to his source, who also confirmed that Samsung's chief operating officer Lee Jae-yong, son of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee and heir apparent to the group's leadership, flew to the United States on invitation from new Apple CEO Tim Cook, to participate in a private memorial service for the late Steve Jobs and to also have a separate meeting with Cook over several pending issues.

The article mentions that Apple will become Samsung's biggest overseas client by the end of this year, per industry analysts.

Reviews

iPhone 4S Benchmarks Faster, but Not As Much As Apple Claims

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan notes that Apple says the iPhone 4S' A5 dual-core CPU is "up to two times faster" than the iPhone 4, with its GPU claimed to be "up to seven times faster."

Morgan used four benchmark apps to measure CPU and GPU power on both iPhones and both iPads, and he shares what he observed, noting that the iPhone 4S is definitely faster than the iPhone 4, but Geekbench's overall scores are 63% to 68% faster rather than "twice as fast" in processor speed. In the graphics column, it's 4.7 to 6.2 times faster than an iPhone 4 running GLBenchmark's "Egypt High," also not shabby, but not seven times faster.

Morgan also measured improved performance for JavaScript and OpenGL based apps, concluding that while it would have been nice to have LTE 4G support, overall he's very pleased with the new iPhone 4S.

iFixit iPhone 4S Teardown

iFixit has posted its customary detailed and exhaustively illustrated teardown of the new iPhone 4S, and say it "sure is looking mighty fine!"

First up, the SIM slot is back. The iPhone 4S is a world phone; it will support both GSM and CDMA networks.

iPhone 4SOn the downside, there's those reviled pentalobe screws again, but with a couple quick turns with a 5-point pentalobe screwdriver, out they came. iFixit notes that their all-new pro driver was just released, comes in a great blue/black color, and is guaranteed to be the best Pentalobe driver on the market.

They note that Apple boasts 73% more light with "next-generation backside illumination" for better low-light performance with the iPhone 4S' new 8 megapixel camera roughly 33% faster and able to snap multiple photos less than a second apart as well as record HD video at 1080p and 30 fps.

iPhone 4S logic boardThey report that the iPhone 4S logic board bears a close resemblance to its stateside CDMA iPhone 4 counterpart.

The iPhone 4S' Apple A5 chip is a 1 GHz dual-core A5 processor with 512 MB of Samsung DDR2 RAM or Elpida DDR2 RAM, and there's Toshiba THGVX1G7D2GLA08 16 GB 24nm MLC NAND flash memory as well as the same 960 x 640 pixel Retina Display that debuted in the iPhone 4 last year.

iPhone 4S teardowniFixit gives the iPhone 4S a Repairability Score of 6 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair), with very little changed from the iPhone 4 in terms of repairability, noting that the iPhone 4S is still held together primarily with screws and limited adhesive, and with the rear panel and battery both easy to remove and replace (provided you have the right kit and/or correct screwdriver), but the LCD and glass - a carryover from the previous generation - fused together, making cracked glass repair more costly, and lots of smaller components are soldered to one ribbon cable, increasing the cost of repairing just one component.

ABI Research iPhone 4S Teardown

The iPhone 4S is built with many of the same components found in prior iPhone designs, but the similarities have caused many companies to incorrectly report cost and component market share. A slight change to the Qualcomm-supplied modem has resulted in a new front-end configuration. All of the power amplifiers (PAs) are multimode, thus counting components does not reveal much. The Avago PA, for instance, covers six bands (four GSM/EDGE bands and two WCDMA bands) and the TriQuint PA covers both CDMA and WCDMA for US PCS band.

The application processor is one item that most get right - Apple A5. But it is not the 1 GHz part found in the popular tablet. The iPhone 4S version runs at 800 MHz, just like the A4 found in the iPhone 4. Apple is running the same processor in the tablets and handsets, but downshifting the handsets by 20%. The slower processor does not mean lower performance, however. The smaller screen combined with faster memory gives the iPhone 4S a slight advantage in a number of performance tests, all while drawing less than two-thirds the power needed for the iPad 2.

Key iPhone 4S facts include:

  • Slight modification to the popular Qualcomm MDM6600 modem platform (MDM6610)
  • New RF front-end configuration utilizing all multimode PAs
  • An A5 application processor running 20% slower than the A5 in the iPad 2, but similar overall performance with much less power
  • A Murata Bluetooth module supporting BT 4.0.
  • Other components, such as housing and display, are very similar to the iPhone 4
  • A new OS (iOS 5) with a personable application Siri

ABI Research's Apple iPhone 4S Teardown provides detailed photos, process evaluation, and part descriptions for all of the major components such as power amplifier, power management, baseband processor, RF, Bluetooth, GPS, WiLAN, and many discretes. Tying all this information together are unique circuit board photos, performance measurements, processor benchmarks, cost information, and board area data.

It is one of hundreds of devices and components phones, baseband processors, power management, RF modules, connectivity components, application processors, sensors, and RF and power management discretes that are torn down and analyzed in the firm's Mobile Device Teardown Service.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, ABI Research's worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 40+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990.

DirectFix iPhone 4S Teardown Video

DirectFix, a specialist in "Do It Yourself iPhone Repairs", announced that within hours of the iPhone 4S being available to the public they have the replacement screens available for those that happen to drop and crack their screen the first day it is available. The iPhone 4S teardown & video repair directions showing how to install and replace the iPhone 4S screen are available for free on their YouTube channel.

The directions show step by step how to repair a broken iPhone 4S screen, battery and other parts. Just like in the past DirectFix was the first to carry parts for the iPhone 4S as soon as it was available. The iPhone 4S Replacement Screen are available in both black and white for $99 at introduction. There is a limited supply of these available at this time. DirectFix is also offering a screen repair service for the iPhone 4S starting today for just $120 which includes all parts and labor.

"We hope that people that purchased the new iPhone 4S enjoy it and take good care of it but accidents happen and when they do you can save money and fix the iPhone 4S screen yourself," says Robert Stanley, founder of DirectFix.com. "Just like in the past the manufactures charge an outrageous amount of money for a simple repair. By following our video direction you can save money with just a few minutes of work," explains Mr. Stanley.

Rumor Roundup

Apple Likely to Launch Less Costly Tablet PC Before iPad 3

DigiTimes' Ninelu Tu and Steve Shen say that recent market speculation indicates that Apple is likely to launch a lower-cost iPad model with prices ranging from US$250-299 in early 2012 to smooth the transition between iPad 2 and iPad 3 and to take on Amazon's Kindle Fire, although others believe Apple is still on-track to release the iPad 3 in the first half of 2012 as scheduled and that there won't a low-priced transitional model.

Publisher's note: The Kindle Fire has a 7" 1024 x 600 pixel display (vs. 9.7" 1024 x 768 on the iPad) and includes 8 GB of storage, half as much as the low-end iPad 2. dk

Apple May Launch iPad mini in Early 2012 to Counter Kindle Fire

BGR's Zach Epstein reports that Apple may be working on a new entry-level tablet scheduled to launch early next year according to a note to investors last Wednesday by Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White based on numerous meetings with technology supply chain companies at a trade show in China last week.

White reportedly notes that the mini name refers to the tablet's lower price and not necessarily a smaller screen size, and projects that the lower-priced iPad could sell the mid-to-high-$200 range, to be joined by a much more powerful, feature rich standard-priced iPad 3 in 2Q12.

Apple Orders 7.85" Display Samples from LG Display and AU Optronics

Unwired View's Staska says Apple's rumored iPad mini may be more real then you think, noting that according to the Taiwanese Economic Daily News, two potential suppliers - Korean LG Display and Taiwanese AU Optronics - have recently sent samples of their iPad mini displays to Apple, EDN sources telling them that Apple has already set the specifications for the smaller tablet, which is scheduled to ship early next year.

iPad mini display panel size is 7.85" and it has the same resolution as the iPad 2.

iPad mini Coming

United Daily News correspondents Long Yi Yun and Xiaojun Hui report that according to sources at the OEMs, iPad mini panel specifications will be 7.85" screen size with resolution the same as iPad 2, with the smaller iPad scheduled to ship early next year.

The article notes that currently AUO and LG Display have sent samples to Apple, and that yield issues have been resolved.

Yun and Hui note that Amazon's Kindle Fire has lit the fuse on a low-cost tablet war, and Apple will launch the iPad mini in response, but suggest that more importantly, the iPad mini will help lock in emerging markets, especially China, which has very enthusiastic consumers of Apple products but find Apple products very expensive on the mainland. They predict that with iPad mini, Apple is expected to take the mainland as the last piece of the world fortress to be conquered.

Apps & Services

iPad and iPhone Users Get 50 GB of Free Cloud Storage from Box.net

PR: Box.net's Social Media Manager Mark Saldana blogs that evidenced by the overwhelming crowds during past iPhone and iPad launches, it's clear that our lives revolve around mobile.

In recognition of that, Box.net has announced that they're giving away 50 GB of free storage to anyone who uses a Box Personal account on an iOS device. That's right, it's 50 GB in the cloud completely free, forever. And your 50 GB of storage isn't limited to only your mobile device - you can access it anywhere you use your Box account, such as on your laptop at home or your desktop at the office.

This promotion runs for only 50 days. You can get your free space in the Cloud by following these steps:

  • Visit the app store and download the Box app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • Log in to your account or register for a new one directly from the app
  • Start sharing and collaborating in the Cloud

(optional but recommended)

  • Tell the world how you'll use your 50 GB with the hashtag #Box50GB

Keep in mind you'll need to download or update to the newest Box for iPhone and iPad app, version 2.4.3, then log into Box in order to get 50 GB. Something else cool: Your account will have an increased file size upload limit of 100 MB instead of the usual 25 MB.

Seldana notes that Box has also updated their app with a few features that'll make your free 50 GB even more powerful.

Using AirPlay, you can now wirelessly stream Box content to an Apple TV for projection of photos, videos, presentations, and more.

Seldana observes that the future of mobile is about being free of storage restrictions and closed systems, and with this offer, all iOS users will see the benefit of having all of their critical information available at their fingertips, from anywhere. And if you're already using Box, I'm sure you won't mind getting some extra room in the Cloud.

iFixit on Your iPhone

iFixit Repair ManualPR: iFixit's Matt says that the days of lugging around clunky service manuals are coming to a close. We need our documentation to be as mobile as we are. We need to be able to get into tight spots without having to flip pages. And we need to be able to travel without having to bring a library of documentation with us.

iFixit Repair ManualMatt says iFixit heartily believes that our manuals should keep pace with our mobility; and they've worked round the clock to make this belief a reality. You tasted the first fruits of their labor a while back: the iFixit App for the iPad, as well as one for the HP Touchpad.

iFixit Repair ManualNow iFixit announces that the iFixit app is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well. Access all of iFixit's guides in native view wherever you go. You can search by device to find all related guides quickly and easily But it gets better.

The new app now lets you browse iFixit repair guides even if you're offline. Just favorite or bookmark a guide and it will be downloaded to your iDevice for offline use. So the next time you need to change the spark plugs on your hog out in the Mojave and you don't have Internet access, you needn't fear. You have a library of repair in your pocket, but without all the heft.

iFixit offers thousands of step-by-step guides that make it easy to repair your stuff. Fix your own things with step-by-step repair guides.

Repair manuals show you how to fix:

  • iFixit Repair Manual MacBook
  • MacBook Pro
  • PowerBook & iBook
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • iPod
  • Xbox
  • PlayStation
  • Dozens of digital cameras
  • Hundreds of cell phones
  • More manuals added every week

iFixit funds these free manuals by selling parts and tools, so request that if you use one of their manuals to fix something, you consider supporting their work by buying the parts from them. They offer thousands of MacBook, iMac, iPod, iPhone, and game console parts.

The iFixit app is open source. You can improve or fork it at https://github.com/iFixit

New in Version 1.1

  • Favorites and offline browsing
  • Compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

System requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Line2 App Turns Your iPod Touch or iPad into a Fully Functional Phone

Line2PR: Line2 is a great gift for business people, travelers, or anyone wanting to add functionality to their device and save money on their phone bill.

The latest release from Line2, Line2 HD adds a phone line to your iPad, acts as a hub for all your communications, and organizes your interactions around people rather than the type of communication (SMS, email, calls, etc.).

Line2 makes a perfect gift for people that:

  • Want to separate their business and personal lives (Line2 gives you a second line on your mobile phone with a separate number)
  • Line2Travel internationally (Line2 allows you to make UNLIMITED calls back to the US or Canada over WiFi or 3G/4G no matter where you are)
  • Want to turn their iPad into a complete communications hub or their iPod touch into a mobile phone
  • Have poor cell service at home/work (With Line2 you can place and receive calls over WiFi)
  • Just want to save some money on their phone bill (make the majority of your calls over VoIP and completely cancel your SMS plan)

Line2 offers a free 7 day trial with an account created at the Line2 website. After the trial, service costs $9.95/month for the basic plan with unlimited US/Canada calling and texting, or $99.50 for a one year prepaid plan.

5Star Urgent Response App Empowers iPhone Users to be Prepared for Any Situation

PR: GreatCall, Inc., a specialist in wireless services that enable its customers to stay connected, safe and healthy, today announced the immediate availability of GreatCall's 5Star Urgent Response application for iPhone users on iTunes. This is GreatCalls second app for the iPhone as the company continues to make its portfolio of award-winning health and safety applications available to smartphone users.

The benefits of the 5Star Urgent Response service are exciting. No matter the situation, from a woman leaving work late at night who suddenly realizes she's being followed, a teenager who feels threatened or vulnerable at school, or someone with health issues and finds themselves in a potential emergency, all can feel empowered knowing that 5Star Urgent Response is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to respond.

How the 5Star Urgent Response App Works:

  • Simply press the large, 5Star call button, as it appears on the screen of the iPhone, to connect to a 5Star Agent who is certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) and trained in CPR and other emergency protocols.
  • 5Star call button5Star Agents will identify and locate you, assess your situation and then send appropriate help - which may include assistance in dispatching 911 emergency services - while staying on the line with you until your situation is resolved. Agents can also conference in a registered nurse, family and friends.
  • The 5Star Agent has access to the caller's Personal Profile, which contains important details like emergency contacts and medication information, which allows the Agent to better assist users in an urgent situation.

"Our research has shown that people may hesitate to call 9-1-1 when in a vulnerable situation," says Bill Yates, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at GreatCall. "Now with the 5Star Urgent Response app right on your iPhone, you have immediate access to help anywhere you are, no matter how serious the situation."

Key Features of the 5Star Urgent Response App:

  • Reliable Nationwide Coverage - Provides immediate access to help anytime, anywhere there's wireless coverage.
  • Immediate connection to Certified 5Star Agents - 100% US Based Agents who are certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch and trained in CPR and other emergency protocols anytime, day or night.
  • Enhanced location tracking with GPS - Agents utilize GPS technology and advanced location training to locate the user. The Agent will not locate the user until they hit the button to ask for help.
  • 5Star and 9-1-1 work together - Agents will assess your situation and then send the appropriate help. They are able to assist in conferencing in 9-1-1 emergency services and will stay on the line with you until your situation is resolved.
  • Personal Profile - Your easy to set up and manage Personal Profile contains comprehensive, personal details such as emergency contacts and medical conditions, which allow the Agent to assist you better in an urgent situation. PIN protected and encrypted, your profile is also secured by an SAS 70 Type II certified data center, HIPAA compliant, and is only shared with first responders in the event of an emergency.
  • Live, from within App, Customer Service get 24/7 support from a live person from within the app itself or by email if you prefer.
  • Shake for Help the App features GreatCalls Shake for Help which is a handy tool to always get an answer when you need one. Just shake your smartphone at any time and information will appear via a help bubble on screen specific to the topic being read.
  • LiveNurse - included for FREE is GreatCalls award-winning LiveNurse service, which connects callers with a live registered nurse, 24/7 in both English and Spanish.
  • Multilingual - 5Star Agents can provide translation support for assistance in over 100 languages.

The app is available for $14.99 per month with no contracts or cancellation fees. Download the 5Star Urgent Response app at Apple's iTunes Store.

LibreOffice Plans iOS Port

LibreOfficeThe Register's Iain Thomson reports that The Document Foundation, developers of your editor's current pick of the Open Source office productivity suites LibreOffice, has demonstrated the software working entirely in a browser for cloud applications, and has announced that it will also port LibreOffice to Android and iOS.

LibreOfficeThe LibreOffice Online cloud software is built around HTML5 Canvas and the GTK+ framework with JavaScript shims, and was developed by SUSE's Michael Meeks and RedHat's Alex Laarson, and The Document Foundation also said that Finnish SUSE developer Tor Lillqvist, who has already ported GIMP to Windows, is working on making LibreOffice available to iOS and Android users. Neither of the new versions will likely be released before 2012 or possibly 2013.

Meanwhile Thompson also reports that France's government has thrown its support behind the LibreOffice project, specifying the software for all its future Windows systems, and transitioning 500,000 existing Windows users from OpenOffice.

Accessories

EXO7 Belt Buckle and Holster iPhone 4 & 4S Brass Case

EXO7 Belt Buckle and iPhone HolsterEXO7 Belt Buckle and iPhone HolsterPR: Who needs a pocket when you can wear your brand new iPhone 4S as a cool belt buckle? This belt buckle comes with attachments to make it into a belt (with a metal piece you actually loop your belt through on which it hangs), or pocket holster. Your phone sits securely inside the brass or aluminum sheath and when you want to use your phone - simply flip the case top and remove your iPhone for use. The sides are inlaid with beautiful Pau Ferro wood. The top moves easily on stainless steel hinges and is held firmly shut with a strong rare earth magnet.

EXO7 Belt Buckle and iPhone HolsterThis case comes in a nice wooden gift box with all the attachments you need to wear it any way you want.

EXO7 Belt Buckle and iPhone HolsterAvailable in solid brass and rosewood or aluminum and rosewood (aluminum is available in silver or black). Use your own belt. Any belt designed to be used with a detachable belt buckle will work.

This case will work with the new iPhone 4S or the iPhone 4.

Ships from United States.

  • United States $12
  • Everywhere Else $22

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