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Though it may not seem (or feel like it from the weather), we’re already into a new quarter for 2013, which means it’s time to refresh our quarterly app guides! I’m starting this series off with the iPhone, and if you haven’t viewed our prior suggestions, you can catch up here and here. If you’re looking to use your phone as a crutch during your summer vacation planning, you’ll want to make sure the programs below are installed. Read more
If you’re the type who finds San Francisco to be too chilly pretty much every day of the year, you’ll be the type who rejoices at the chance to visit San Jose. While it’s just a few dozen miles south of North California’s most well-known city, San Jose has a vibe all its own – not to mention a temperature that’s routinely warmer. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into the heart of Silicon Valley, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings. Read more
These days, a smartphone is expected to do more than just field calls and text messages. Increasingly, users are ditching paper maps in favor of handheld screens, and judging by the backlash that Apple continues to receive after it launched a subpar Maps app inside of its latest iPhone software update, a solid navigation app is now an expectation. For those making the switch from dedicated navigation products – perhaps a Garmin or TomTom unit mounted in a vehicle – the iPhone offers plenty of similar functionality. But one area where phones in general fall short in performance is the offline mode. If you’re ever in rural places with weak mobile coverage, or in foreign countries where you’d rather not run up a high roaming bill just to navigate, it’s worth it to understand your offline options. Read more
Since we published last quarter’s app roundup, Google Maps has returned to the iPhone platform. Sort of. While Apple’s own Maps app – which relies on data from TomTom and Yelp – is still the default guidance program, Google has since produced its own standalone Maps app for iOS. You’ll need to visit the App Store to download the free program, but for the most part, it brings back everything you used to love about Maps on iPhone. You’ll find mass transit and walking directions, as well as voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, but you won’t have access to offline mapping just yet. However, Google seems dead-set on improving this product. Nothing would make Google happier than to have more iPhone users relying on Google Maps than Apple Maps. Read more
Are you one of the millions of people who received a new iPhone from Santa? Lucky you! And if you’re luckier still, and are planning to head to the slopes or somewhere tropical to kick off the New Year, you may be interested in knowing what kind of double-duty that new iPhone can pull when it comes to capturing memories.
Apple’s iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 all pack pretty impressive camera sensors. In many ways, the smartphone is replacing the conventional point and shoot, as the image quality and speed on smartphones now rival even dedicated shooters. But perhaps you weren’t aware of the video capabilities. Instead of springing for a camcorder or a GoPro rugged camera, there is actually a booming market of accessories that let you use your iPhone instead. It’s a pretty easy way to save money by using a tool you now own, and it also means one less thing taking up space in your luggage. Read more
It’s that time of year! And by “time of year,” we’re talking about standing in endless lines, catching untold illnesses, and wondering where all of those spare vacation days went. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift for that special someone, you can save yourself tons of time and stress by deciding on a product ahead of time. If you’re looking to gift the road warrior in your life with some new technology, here’s a list of gizmos that any traveler would appreciate.
iPad mini ($329+): Yes, it’s the easy choice. But it’s more than just Apple’s best tablet ever, in my humble opinion. It’s way more portable than the full-size iPad, significantly more affordable than the original, and it has a trick that travelers will love. Pick up the Verizon Wireless LTE version, and watch as your new tablet turns into an LTE hotspot with a battery that will keep your Wi-Fi devices online for up to 12 hours. Read more
Consumer technology moves faster and faster each year. Just five years ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Just think about that for a minute. The pace of innovation in technology is one that has never before been rivaled, and it’s convinced us to start a new recurring series where we discuss the gadgets and gizmos that we’re frequently using to make our travel-filled lives a bit easier.
As for me, I’m usually swimming in gadgets. But being a gadget critic has shown me that exceptionally few gadgets actually have a lasting impact. Presently, the gadget I find myself using the most is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. It’s one of the cheapest high-end Android smartphones that you can buy in an unlocked fashion (enabling it to be used freely on all carriers around the globe), and it’s bound to get even more affordable now that LG’s Nexus 4 has taken its place atop Google’s flagship pedestal. I adore my iPhone 4S, but there’s no question that the Maps application in Android is superior. When it comes to getting me from Point A to Point B, I trust Google Maps implicitly. Read more
For those who are still waiting to be ushered into the future, think about this: we live in a world where we can surf the Internet while 30,000 feet in the sky, and a world where we can use our smartphones and tablets to provide wireless Internet access to our laptops. Folks, the future is here.
If you’re the proud owner of a smartphone or tablet with a cellular radio in it (hint: look for “3G” or “4G”), chances are you can use that to get your laptop (or any other Wi-Fi enabled product) online without having to find a nearby hotspot. I’ll start with the iPhone. Believe it or not, it’s possible to turn your iPhone into a portable hotspot, enabling the data plan on your phone to be accessed wirelessly by your nearby laptop. Just visit Settings -> General -> Cellular -> Set Up Personal Hotspot.
Once activated, you’ll be able to create a hotspot name and password. Imagine that your iPhone is now your router, because that’s exactly what’s happening. I’ll provide just two bits of caution here. First, you may want to ensure that your iPhone is plugged into a power source. Using it as a mobile hotspot will drain the battery in just a few hours. Second, make sure you aren’t doing any heavy downloading or uploading unless you’re okay with overage charges on your phone’s data plan. Even though your laptop may be using the data via your phone, your carrier is still keeping track of that usage. Read more
By now, most business travelers have come into contact with an iPad. Even if not, you’re almost certainly familiar with the product and the concept. It’s a sleek, highly mobile computing device, and increasingly, consumers are opting for an iPad instead of a laptop when the time comes to replace the latter.
I’ve spent entirely too much time on both laptops and iPads over the past few years, and I fully understand how daunting the idea of swapping one for the other truly is. After all, the iPad doesn’t run a “real” operating system, doesn’t have a USB expansion port, and lacks a conventional keyboard. At a glance, it seems as if attempting to use an iPad in place of a laptop may be a recipe for frustration and disappointment. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Read more
If you recently picked up an iPhone 5, you may be looking for a new spate of travel apps to fill that extra row of icon space there at the bottom. But, even if you’re still using an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, Apple’s new iOS 6 operating system has given app developers a new incentive to polish up their programs and issue updates in support of the latest and greatest. Despite Apple leaving city dwellers who rely on mass transit out in the cold with the new Maps application, third-party developers have been working hard to help the travelers who feel left out.
If the new TomTom-based Maps application in iOS 6 just isn’t passing muster, Navigon North America is a worthwhile purchase. Yes, it’s $50, but it’s well worth it for avid travelers. The backend uses Garmin maps, which have historically been superior to those offered by TomTom. The app has already been updated to take advantage of the iPhone 5′s larger display and the new code in iOS 6. Best of all, the company has included public transportation routing as a $2.99 in-app upgrade (which Apple’s own Maps app lacks entirely), and it features onboard maps that allow route calculations even in areas where cell coverage fades. Additional premium features include comprehensive lane guidance, speed limit and safety camera warnings, exit services, parking info, a trip planner, and multi-route display. It genuinely feels like a full-featured navigation device, but right on a phone that you’re already carrying. Plus, all future map updates are free once you buy the app once. (It’s worth noting that Navigon offers other routing apps that cover many regions of the globe for those who aren’t located in North America.) Read more
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