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Why the iPhone 4S Video Camera Rocks!

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

A video shot on the iPhone 4S from Benjamin Dowie on Vimeo.

Reason #324 to purchase an iPhone 4S: mind blowing video quality.

Calling all directors! Was becoming the next Steven Spielberg your life long ambition? Here is yet another reason why you must purchase the iPhone 4S.

Just how good is the video camera on the iPhone 4S? If a short video from Benjamin Dowie is any indication, we’re going to chalk it up to “amazing.”

Dowie shot the footage just after getting his iPhone 4S and as he writes on Vimeo, “Couldn’t believe it came out of a phone.” Looking at the footage, we’re inclined to agree.

Dowie gives strong marks to the automatic stabilization, but what really caught our eye was the amazing depth of field. The DoF on my Panasonic GF-1 with a 20mm prime lens just barely outpaces the iPhone 4S — and that’s really saying something.

Of course, in the hands of a pro-shooter, any camera can produce good looking footage. Dowie, who runs Beanpole Productions in Australia, is a pro. Your own footage may not look quite as beautiful.

Still, it’s impressive to see just how much camera optics are improving. Phones have already replaced the day-to-day pocket camera for many users — with the death of the Flip and improvements to video sensors, phones could start to replace low-level video cameras too.

What do you think of this video? Are you considering replacing your video camera with an iPhone 4S? iHospital wants to hear from you in the comments below.

Is there anything this phone can’t do?

Source Mashable – iPhone 4S Video Shows Off Astounding Quality

Did the iPhone 4S’s “Find My Friends” Nab a Cheating Wife?

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News, Breaking News

Disgruntled spouses can now use their iPhone 4S’s to nab cheating husbands and wives. Private investigators are striking globally.  Is there anything this phone can’t do?

Welcome to iCheers, where everybody knows your whereabouts. Both Apple and Foursquare are offering new tools for iOS5 that will let us know where our friends are at all times. The iPhone’s ‘Find My Friends‘ feature is pervasive tracking of any of your friends (who opt-in), whereas Foursquare’s Radar simply lets you know anytime a friend (who has opted in) comes into your vicinity, whether you have the Foursquare app running or not. You used to need a private investigator to keep track of people this closely. Now you can just install the ‘Find My Friends’ app on your wife’s new iPhone 4s without her knowledge and see if she goes where she said she was going to go on a Saturday night. That’s what one Machead claims to have done this weekend, and now he’s planning to file for a divorce.

Late Saturday night, “ThomasMetz” posted to MacRumors (via 9to5Mac) about how he turned his wife’s iPhone into a spyPhone:

I got my wife a new 4s and loaded up find my friends without her knowing. She told me she was at her friends house in the east village. I’ve had suspicions about her meeting this guy who live [sic] uptown. Lo and behold, Find my Friends has her right there.

via Divorcing wife. Thanks iPhone 4S and Find my Friends – MacRumors Forums.

This could well be a hoax, though the cuckolded spouse did post screenshots of his conversation with his wife as proof:

For non-New Yorkers, “meat packing” is not a reference to what she might have been doing on the Upper East Side, but is the name for a neighborhood much farther south and west where pretty people go to drink, dance, and look pretty.

It speaks to our culture of over-sharing that this guy would want to post his pain to a message forum, where it had the potential to go viral. But there were some voices of reason there, such as the person who wrote:

You should have divorced before you felt it necessary to spy.  Good luck with the next one. Take some time before getting into anything.

By the way. It will mean nothing in court. Lying is proved. Cheating is not. I’m sure there’s an app for that.

In case you’re worried about this guy getting into legal trouble for spying on his wife, be aware of a previous case, in New Jersey, where a judge found that it was okay for a wife to surreptitiously put a GPS tracker on her husband’s car (again to check for extramarital activities). The judge ruled that, because she jointly owned the car, she had the right to install the tracker. However, the judge also said that it did not violate the cheating husband’s right to privacy because he was only being tracked on public streets where the car (and he) were in public view. The fact that a phone goes into a household, out of public view, may make this kind of tracking a bit more legally complicated.

Regardless, it’s fairly amazing that within a week of the feature being released, it’s already allegedly been used this way. A video currently making the rounds — of a baby so used to playing with iPads that she thinks a magazine is “broken” — has prompted discussions of how technology transforms us and “changes our OS” (That’s “operating system,” for the non-geeks out there). I wonder how technologies that allow us to perform near-constant location-surveillance of our friends will transform how we operate.

Just as the baby expects a magazine page to be interactive, will we start expecting our friends to be part of our location ecosystem? Will being given technology tools that make law-enforcement-style surveillance so easy a baby could do it transform us (more than Facebook already has) into a society of spies? Just as we expect everyone to have a Facebook account, perhaps we’ll start expecting everyone to volunteer their whereabouts at all times, as part of the “social OS.” If a friend (or a spouse) chooses NOT to be tracked, will we assume they are up to no good?

Did you download the ‘Find My Friends’ App? Are you breaking your cheating story on the Maury Show? Some may think this is yet another privacy invasion – do you?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Source – Forbes Did The iPhone’s ‘Find My Friends’ Already Out a Cheating Wife? 

iPhone 4S Available by Reservation Only

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News, Breaking News

Were you waiting for lines to die down before purchasing your new iPhone 4S? If so, you’ll have to make an appointment.  The stockpiles must have been depleted!

Apple has updated its “how to buy” page for the iPhone 4S to note that Apple retail stores in the United States and Canada are now selling the device on a reservation-only basis. Customers will need to visit Apple’s site after 9:00 PM each evening to reserve a phone for the following day.

iPhone 4S is available in store by reservation only. Reserve yours after 9:00 p.m. tonight for pickup tomorrow. When you come in, you’ll choose a carrier and plan, and we’ll get your iPhone up and running before you leave the store.

MacRumors spoke to a representative at one Apple retail store who noted that that location continues to sell the iPhone 4S to walk-in customers but that supplies are “evaporating”. But as supplies tighten Apple seems to be pushing customers toward the reservation channel in order to minimize lines and disappointed customers.

It seems unlikely that Apple retail stores would refuse to sell unreserved iPhone 4S stocks to walk-in customers, so the company may simply be taking reservations and then distributing any remaining stock each day on a walk-in basis.

Apple is placing some restrictions on iPhone 4S walk-in sales in other countries as well, noting that it will take reservations for both on-contract and SIM-free iPhone 4S models after 9:00 PM, but only on-contract phones will be offered on a walk-in basis in those countries. Limiting walk-in sales of SIM-free handsets is likely designed to discourage mass sales into the grey market, such as in China where the devices are selling for as much as $2000.

Overall, the reservation system isn’t too big of a hindrance. We think people would gladly wait to get their shiny new iPhone 4S’s.  What do you think? Are you making an online reservation in another window as you read this post? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: MacRumors iPhone 4S Sales Now Reservation-Only at Apple Retail Stores in U.S. and Canada

25 Million Install iOS 5!

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News, Breaking News

Good Afternoon Appleheads,

I love reading articles about mind blowing statistics that prove Apple is by far one of the most innovative and forward thinking companies in this lovely sphere we call earth.

You know the lame new iPhone 4S? The one that almost every tech writer called “disappointing,” or “not a real upgrade.” The iPhone that “only” added a great-seeming new camera, a way faster brain and a startlingly clever AI assistant? Well, Apple shifted four million of them in three days.

To put that in perspective, the iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million handsets in its launch weekend, and the original iPhone took 74 days to reach the one million mark.

In addition, Apple’s figures say that iOS 5 has already been installed by 25 million people, and that 20 million of them have signed up for iCloud. That last isn’t too surprising, given that the iOS 5 update prompts you to sign up for iCloud as part of the setup process.

20 million new iCloud users also explains the slowdowns to some of Apple’s online services at the end of last week. In fact, given the amount of data going through its servers as people made their fist iCloud backups and Photo Stream syncs, it’s amazing the service held up at all. I guess that the giant North Carolina data center works OK.

Apple doesn’t mention it — of course — but I have a feeling that the later-than-usual shipping date of the iPhone 4S had to do with stockpiling enough new handsets for launch. Even so, the Apple Store is currently showing a wait of 1-2 weeks for new orders. And that’s before the faster-than-usual international roll out starting on October 28th.

This data confirms Apple is on the leading edge of technology when it comes to consumer mobile devices.  Is there anything they can’t do? I can’t wait to see what they come out with next! An iPhone that does your laundry?

Source: Wired – Apple Sells Four Million ‘Disappointing’ iPhone 4Ss in Three Days

iPhone 4S Call Quality: Can You Hear Me Now?

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

How many different types of mobile devices have you owned in your lifetime?  I’ve owned quite a few – blackberry, android and now (of course) the iPhone 4.  Call quality has never been a big issue for me but maybe that’s because I live in Vancouver, BC and satellites are always easy to find.

Call quality has never been a strong suit of the iPhone. But ever since iPhone 4 came out on Verizon, things have gotten just a smidge better. And the iPhone 4S reaffirms that Apple’s improvements have been no fluke.

We compared the iPhone 4S on ATT, Verizon and Sprint to a trio of new Android phones: Motorola Droid Bionic (Verizon), Samsung Galaxy S II (Sprint) and the HTC Amaze (T-Mobile). We placed calls to a landline phone and tested for not just for overall quality, but also the noise canceling capabilities of each phone. So how’d they fare?

Voice Quality

When comparing among iPhone 4S models to each other, the CDMA-powered Verizon and Sprint phones sounded better than the AT&T handset on both ends of the line. Yes, the CDMA handsets lacked a certain clarity and sounded a little more hushed, but the voices were full and soft, which made having a conversation easier on the ears. Voice quality on the AT&T iPhone 4S was tinny and shrill and generally less pleasant, even if voices came through bolder.

On the Android side, the Galaxy S II was more or less on par with the AT&T iPhone 4S. Clear and upfront, but again, shrill. The HTC Amaze sounded the worst, sounding tinny and distant and surrounded by ambient noise. The Droid Bionic, on the other hand, sounded great. Striking a balance between clarity and richness of voice, it was the best sounding of all the phones. But it’s also running on Verizon’s 4G network, so it was somewhat expected.

Winner: Droid Bionic

Noise Cancellation

For the noise cancellation test, I was sitting in an enclosed booth, so I just threw on a song with a lot of abrasive noise and proceeded to talk over it to my co-conspirator on the other line.

All the iPhones eliminated about the same amount of noise, quickly recognizing when I was speaking and dampening the music, making my voice intelligible. When I wasn’t speaking, the mic would hone back in on the background noise. The AT&T’s noise cancellation was more noticeable, since the audio quality is brighter.

Of the Android phones, the Galaxy S II and the Droid Bionic performed about the same, cutting out most of the unwanted sound and leaving my own voice intact. It took longer than the iPhones for each of the Android handsets to detect when I was speaking, but once they caught up, they performed admirably. The HTC Amaze’s noise cancellation worked well enough, but it took the longest of any to kick in, and even when it did, it still let some background noise through.

Winner: iPhone 4S


The call quality on all the iPhone 4Ses is the best yet of the lineage. That said, it still quite isn’t on the level of the Droid Bionic, even the 4S has some awesome noice cancellation capabilities. And if you’re looking for a top-to-bottom comparison, here it is:

1) Motorola Droid Bionic (Verizon)
2) iPhone 4S (Sprint and Verizon—tie)
4) iPhone 4S (AT&T)
5) Samsung Galaxy S II (Sprint)
6) HTC Amaze (T-Mobile)

How is your iPhone comparing for call quality? Does it pass the test? Or does it have a long way to go? I’m 100% confident the good folks at Apple will keep improving on their service and iPhone will win on all categories with the next release!

Source: Gizmodo iPhone 4S Test Notes: Call Quality

Teach Siri to Tweet: iPhone 4S

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Is there anything Siri can’t do besides the obvious? I love finding posts like these that can actually make your life easier.  Maybe we’ll be able to train Siri to work nine to five soon too?  But then we might have striking Siri’s all over the globe and that would sort of defeat the purpose!

One of the limitations of the iPhone 4S’s intelligent assistant Siri is its inability to speak your tweets into the iPhone‘s Twitter app. Here’s a quick workaround for that:

1. In your Mac or PC browser version of Twitter, you must first enable Twitter text messaging (if you’ve already done this, you can skip to step 5). Do this by clicking on the drop-down list on the top right (next to your twitter handle) and selecting Settings. Keep in mind that if you don’t have unlimited texting, this could get expensive.


2. Next, click the Mobile tab, third one from the left.


3. Enter your iPhone 4S mobile number with area code in that field labeled “Phone number,” and then click Start.


4. You’ll see this screen next, telling you it’s waiting for you to verify your phone. (I’ve blurred the phone number for privacy) Pick up your iPhone 4S and move on to the next step.


5. Go to the Messages app on your iPhone 4S, and send a text to the number 40404 (or if you’re not in the U.S., look up your twitter shortcode here), with your text message consisting of simply the word “go” without the quotes.


6. Go to your Contacts app on the iPhone 4S. Make a new contact by tapping the + sign, and name it as if its first name is Twitter. In the phone number field, type 40404. It will look like 404-04, which is fine.


7. Now you can start Siri as you normally do (by either holding down the home button on the iPhone 4S for a couple of seconds or just putting the phone up to your ear). Say “Text Twitter, and then tell it whatever you would like to tweet. Siri will read it back to you, and if it’s correct, when she asks “ready to send it?, say yes. If Siri has misunderstood what you said, you can edit your tweet on the iPhone 4S screen by hand and then send it.


8. You can also have Siri read your tweets to you if you enable message notifications in the Twitter browser app. When you’ve finished making your modifications, click Save. You’re done!


I don’t have the iPhone 4S so I couldn’t test out this workaround. Have you tried it out? How did it work? Have you designed any other cool shortcuts or workarounds? Is there any shortcut your interested in seeing? Let us know and we’ll try and help you create it.

Happy Monday!


Source: Mashable

Meet the Sexy New iOS 5 Camera

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

There’s a new camera on the block and it promises to enhance your photo taking experience. Meet the new iPhone iOS 5 camera – are you interested yet? If not, read on.

As the saying goes, the best camera you have is the one you have with you—and that makes your device’s camera one of its most important features. So it’s no surprise that Apple would bolster photography features with iOS 5.

If you’ve bought photography apps from the App Store in the past couple of years, you may find that some of the new photo features in iOS 5 offer similar functionality. But now those features will be available for everyone, on every iOS device that has a camera, with no App Store shopping spree required.

Instant access

That saying about the best camera being with you? It doesn’t say anything about swiping to unlock, entering a passcode, finding the Camera app’s icon, and then waiting for the app to launch. Sometimes the right moment passes before your device is ready to be that “best camera.”

With iOS 5, the act of removing your device from a pocket and snapping a photo is much simpler. Now if you double-press the Home button, a camera icon appears to the right of the unlock slider. Tap it once, and the Camera app will automatically open.

If your device is usually locked behind a passcode, fear not: in this mode the Camera app is limited. You can take photos and view or delete images you’ve just taken, but you can’t access any other images from your Camera Roll.

iPhone 4S owners will see an even greater speed boost. A faster processor means the built-in camera on that phone will spring to life a bit faster. Couple that improvement with iOS 5, and you’ll be able to take that shot you wanted to capture quicker than ever before.

Physical shutter button

Third-party photo app developers have tried to turn the iPhone’s Volume Up button into a shutter release before, only to get shot down by Apple. In iOS 5, Apple has taken the hint and made the hardware tweak itself. Now just tap the button to snap a picture.

The Volume Up button isn’t in the ideal spot for a shutter button—the lens of the camera is in the lower right corner while you’re shooting—but as long as you are careful not to put a thumb in front of the lens it’s a great new option to have. Using the button should feel more natural to use than tapping the screen; it will also minimize camera shake.

New to the Camera App

To help you properly frame your shots, there’s a new Grid option that divides the screen into thirds. The addition of an optional grid overlay might be useful for photographers practicing the rule of thirds. To toggle the Grid view on and off, tap the Options button in the Camera app. (The Options button replaces the old HDR button—but the option to toggle HDR images now lives right next to the Grid option in this new menu.)

You’ve always been able to tap once on screen to set the focus and exposure point for an image. But if you move the phone, or if the view changes too much, the Camera app will recalibrate and pick a new focus and exposure point. If you’d like to force a certain focus and exposure setting and lock it in place no matter where you point the camera, just tap and hold until the blue box appears and pulsates. The words AE/AF Lock appear at the bottom of your screen.

Another new feature of the Camera app is the ability to use a Multi-Touch gesture to zoom in and out. If you want to zoom in, just stick two fingers on screen and spread them apart. The Camera app will do exactly what you expect it to do: Zoom in. Just pinch with two fingers to zoom back out.

But perhaps the coolest new feature of the Camera app is its integration with the Camera Roll. Yes, you can still tap on a small thumbnail image to view the photo you just took. But there’s now a more intuitive way to view previously taken pictures: just swipe with one finger from left to right. It’s as if the camera interface is the most recent photo on the Camera Roll, with all your photos right behind it. It’s a good move: Swiping back to check your recent shots feels a lot more natural than tapping the thumbnail and navigating through the Camera Roll interface.

New to the Photos app

With iOS 5, Apple has at last brought a bit of photo editing to the Photos app. As in Apple’s iPhoto app for the Mac, the Auto-Enhance button (which is represented by a magic wand) will instantly improve an image by tweaking settings like sharpness, levels, and contrast, and automatically reducing red-eye. (There’s even a nifty animation that shows you it has detected incidents of red-eye and removed them.) You can also manually remove red-eye and rotate and crop images. When cropping, you can choose the crop ratio manually or choose from nine preset crop sizes; while in crop mode, you can also choose to straighten images by using a two-finger rotate gesture.

Also new to Photos is the ability to create and edit photo albums directly on your device; previously, you could edit albums by using a third-party app or by transferring everything back to your computer for editing there. When you add a photo to a new album in iOS 5, it also stays in the main Camera Roll folder.

The most inventive new photo addition is Photo Stream, which is part of the iCloud data-sync service. Photo Stream syncs your most recent thousand photos across all of your iOS devices, iPhoto on your Mac, second-generation Apple TV boxes, and, on Windows PCs, the Pictures Library. You turn on Photo Stream support via the Photos area of the Settings app. Once you turn it on, any new photos you take will be automatically uploaded to iCloud and downloaded on any other device with Photo Stream enabled.

Like the name says, Photo Stream works only for still photos, not videos. And there’s no real control over what syncs—all your photos will make the move.

Photo Stream isn’t limited to shots taken on your device’s camera. It also works for images imported to your iOS device (say, if you’re backing up your SD card to an iPad by using the Camera Connection Kit). New photos are stored only for 30 days, but if you want an image to stay on your device longer, you can save it to your Camera Roll. Your Mac or PC will keep all photos that come through the stream, not just the last thousand.

Worth a thousand words

The most important upgrades to photography in iOS 5 are the addition of the photo button on the lock screen and the support for the volume-up button as a shutter. Those two features go a long way toward making the iPhone work more like a dedicated camera.

The upgrades to the Camera and Photos apps are great, because they set the bar high for all iPhone photography apps. That said, habitual Instagram and Hipstamatic users may not even notice they’re there.

Are you impressed with the new iOS camera? If so, we want to see your work (only the PG stuff please).  Post album links below and show off your creativity.  Are there any features you would add? Let us know.

Source – Macworld

Are You Waiting in Line For The iPhone 4S?

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Good Morning Apple-addicts,

Hopefully you’re reading this post on your shiny new iPhone 4S! If not, can you truly call yourself an Apple fan? All joking aside, lining up for the latest iDevice is becoming a familiar routine for techies all over the world.  There are even people who refuse $1500 for their prized place in line.

Not everyone pre-ordered their iPhone 4S–plenty of people are nabbing Apple’s latest handset the old-fashioned way: by waiting in line.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was the first Apple fan in line at theLos Gatos, Ca. Apple store on Thursday afternoon.

“The long wait begins,” Wozniak tweeted Thursday as he checked into Foursquare using his current iPhone, “I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he’s pissed.”

Obviously, Wozniak’s waiting in line is only symbolic–he could easily get the handset with just a call to Apple, but he didn’t. “I want to get mine along with the millions of fans,” Wozniak told CNN, “I just want to be able to talk on my phone.”

And there are millions of fans. Fans have been lining up all around the world for the iPhone 4S, which launches (and has already launched) in cities everywhere at 8 a.m. local time.

We want to hear from you! Are you standing in line right now? Are you interested in becoming an iHospital reporter? Tell us your stories of the front lines in the comments below (especially if you slept overnight or ignored large sums of cash).

Source – PC World

Apple iOS 5 Comes With 200 New Features

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Tens of thousands of people logged on today to download the new Apple iOS 5.  Reviews of the new features were favorable despite the update hurdles most users had to jump.

With its new iPhone 4S scheduled to go on sale in two days, Apple on Wednesday released the iOS 5, the latest version of its mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. In addition, the company released Mac OS X 10.7.2, an update that includes Safari 5.1.1 and support for iCloud, which also opened for business on Wednesday.

iOS 5 is particularly important for Apple because it addresses areas where iOS devices have lagged behind Android devices, such as wireless syncing and updates, and because it enables the use of Apple’s iCloud service, a key strategic initiative and major investment for the company.

Apple says that iOS 5 includes more than 200 new features. These are the nine that matter.

Software Updates Over Wi-Fi.

Android users have long enjoyed wireless syncing and software updates. Apple had to catch up and finally has. The need to connect one’s iOS device to one’s computer with a cable only serves to remind users how iOS limits them. Good riddance.

Camera Software Improvements

You can now launch the iPhone/iPod touch 4th generation camera by double clicking the home button. And you can take a picture using the Volume Up button. Score one for simplicity. The software update also adds optional grid lines to help frame shots, pinch-to-zoom support in the preview screen, the ability to swipe to the camera roll from the preview screen, and the ability to tap and hold to lock focus and exposure. (The iPad 2 and iPod touch 4th generation support only exposure lock, not focus lock.)

[ Apple’s iPhone 4S arrives on Friday, October 14. Is it worth considering? ]

iCloud Support

While iCloud is not well-suited for backing up lots of data–Apple offers only up to 50 GB–users with a modest number of images and media files should find the service a convenient way to make their files available across all of their iOS and Mac OS X Lion devices. Certainly it’s better than the old method–syncing via cable to iTunes and dragging copied files out of iTunes to one’s desktop.


With iMessage, you can send an unlimited number of text messages, at no cost other than your time, to other iOS 5 users. Best of all, you don’t have to change your texting habits–iMessage in build into the Messages app.


The Push notification system that arrived in iOS 3 has been greatly improved. Instead of the intrusive modal dialog boxes that used to pop up, Notifications now appear briefly as banners atop the screen. The messages can then be viewed in the Notification Center, accessible from any app by swiping down from the top of the screen.


Apple’s version of a To-Do List is important because Reminders are location-based and work across iCal, Outlook, and iCloud. Thus a Reminder to stop by the pharmacy on the way home would appear on your iPhone as you pass the pharmacy. Reminders can be set using Siri, the new voice recognition software available on Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 4S.

Twitter Integration

Now you can sign into Twitter once and tweet from a variety of apps, including Camera, Maps, Photos, Safari and YouTube. And thankfully, Apple hasn’t made existing Twitter clients redundant.

Under Hood

Along with visible improvements to Apple’s Mail and Calendar iOS apps, there are many new capabilities in iOS 5 that aren’t readily evident. A lot of these have to do with how iOS devices interface with corporate IT systems. For example, IT administrators can now disable email forwarding to prevent company messages from being sent to external accounts. They can also turn off syncing with iCloud or iTunes, thereby limiting the replication of files on personal systems.

New APIs

Apple is introducing 1,500 new developer APIs, which allow third-party developers to take advantage of iOS 5 improvements. So in the months ahead, expect to see a lot of apps that integrate with iCloud and other Apple services.

iOS 5 requires an iPhone 3GS, 4, or 4S, an iPod touch 3rd or 4th generation, or either of the two iPad models released to date. It’s available through iTunes.

Let’s here it from you.  What’s your favorite feature? Is there a feature you’d like to see that’s not there yet?

Source – Thomas Claburn InformationWeek

Radar Foursquare’s New Discovery Features Is Live For Apple’s iOS 5

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Foursquare on Wednesday introduced Radar, a new feature built into its iPhone app that will allow the New York company to introduce capabilities it had previously only dreamed of.

Most notably, Radar will push Foursquare from not only being a check-in centric app but also toward being an app that also alerts users of places, people or things they might want to visit near wherever they are at that moment.

Radar (if a user decides to activate the new feature) does this by using the location tracking and geo-tagging features built into Apple’s iOS 5 mobile operating system found on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

“We’ve always felt that Foursquare is about experiencing the world around you, and what’s exciting about Radar is you can use Foursquare without having to actually pull your phone out of your pocket,” Alex Rainert, director of product at Foursquare, said in an interview.

With Radar on, Foursquare “can remind you and say ‘Hey, you’re near that burger shop you wanted to try,’ or ‘You’re near that art gallery your friend was talking about.’”

Foursquare’s Radar feature hit iPhones qy in an update to its iOS app.

“We think Radar is a really big step for Foursquare,” Rainert said. “It’s one of the things that really is at the core of where we see Foursquare heading in the future.”

Among the other things Radar can do is notify a user whenever they’re near a location where three or more of their Foursquare contacts have checked in.

“It’s about getting you the right content at the right time without having to change your behavior,” Rainert said. “You can get content to a user before they even know they want it.”

Users can also use Radar to follow a list, such as U.S. Soccer’s list of places around the U.S. to watch its games, or create their own lists and Foursquare will push a notification to let a user know they’re near a place on the list.

Of course, if a user doesn’t want any of these features they don’t have to use them, and Radar can be turned off or on whenever the need arises, Rainert said.

“It’s always something you can turn on or off,” he said. “We’re excited to see how people respond to Radar. There will be some fine-tuning to do over the next few weeks since this is all so new and really just some things we couldn’t quite do before.”

Another change in the new Foursquare app, albeit a much smaller change than Radar; the ball in the app icon is now green instead of purple.

Source – LA Times

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