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Cali is a clever gesture-based calculator for iOS

Cali (US$0.99) is a clever variation on the traditional computer calculator. Rather than aim for buttons for particular functions, the basic ones are gesture-based. Swipe up to add, down to subtract, right to multiply and left to divide. It seems like a trivial feature, but if you have a lot of numbers to enter, I found it much faster than poking around the screen.

In addition to the gesture controls, the app is graphically pleasing, although I'm not thrilled with the loud sounds when you enter numbers. I think the app needs a volume control. Hearing the entries is important; I just think the sounds are too loud. I'd also like to see a gesture for equals -- maybe a diagonal swipe.

The app also has more complex functions, like tangent, sine and cosine. Finally, help is included when you click on the page that has additional mathematical functions.

Cali was written by 15-year-old Austin Valleskey, and I think he's got some promise as a programmer. It's universal, requires iOS 7 or greater and is optimized for the iPhone 5. It's nice to see a worthwhile app come from a young programmer.

Cali is a clever gesture-based calculator for iOS originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 16 Dec 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The 12 Days of iMas, Day 7: This iPhone case will crack you up

Today is the seventh day of a 12-day feature where we'll show you the strangest Apple-flavored gifts we can find. Check out the previous days here: Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Day 7: A beautifully busted iPhone to cover your (hopefully) not-busted iPhone

A busted iPhone is always a great conversation starter: "What happened?" "Did you drop it?" "Are you getting a new one?" "Why are you so clumsy?" This cracked iPhone case from Etsy merchant ShopZeroGravity lets you (or someone on your holiday shopping list) benefit from being one of those cool kids that dropped their iPhone without actually having to deal with the monetary repercussions.

The "cracked" back is actually just a photo-realistic graphic, and its pleasant rainbow hues are definitely eye-catching. We weep for the person that had to actually bust their pricey Apple smartphone in order to render the image for the case, but we can benefit from their clumsiness for the much less wallet-busting price of US$24.50.

The 12 Days of iMas, Day 7: This iPhone case will crack you up originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 15 Dec 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Check out this cool (and pointless) iPhone lock screen trick in iOS 7

There are plenty of useful iOS guides out there featuring extensive lists of tips and tricks. But what about iOS tips that are completely pointless? You know, the type of iOS tips will do nothing to increase your productivity or efficiency, but rather exist solely as something to show off to friends if you happen to find yourself bored at a party.

Well search no longer, friends. We've got such a tip for you today.

Thanks to a Reddit thread which surfaced last week, I stumbled upon a cool, and admittedly useless, iOS trick which at the very least shows off iOS 7's physics engine.

Here's how it all works.

From the iOS 7 lockscreen, there's a small camera icon located in the bottom right portion of the screen. As you may already know, you can quickly access the camera app by sliding the icon upwards.

But if you want to have a bit of fun, slide up the icon about three quarters of the way up and then slam (read: slide) it back down as fast as you can. If you do it right, you'll bounce the screen hard enough that it'll shoot all the way back up and open up the camera app in the process.

And knowing is half the battle...

via Reddit

Check out this cool (and pointless) iPhone lock screen trick in iOS 7 originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 15 Dec 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Friday Favorite: Handbrake bridges the gap between DVDs and my iPad

Fact: It is often ridiculously cheaper to buy physical DVDs off Amazon than to purchase the same material in an existing digital format from your vendor of choice, like iTunes. Case in point, a friend of mine and I recently started watching Conviction, a one-season series that broadcast a few years ago.

Shipped via Amazon Prime (unfortunately not Amazon Prime Air), the three-disc set cost all of US$3-7 depending on which day you shopped for it. Amazon prices jump around a lot day by day. The same series would have cost $20 at iTunes. Ripping DVDs does take extra time -- both for shipping the product as well as performing the rips, but the results are satisfying. One of our TUAW staffers adds, "I always get a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. I rip the DVD and keep the Blu-ray for when I care about the quality of picture."

Enter Handbrake, our Friday Favorite of the week. From disc, it takes just a few steps in Handbrake (donationware see this, thanks evcjackson) to transform episodes to iPad-ready formats.

You start by scanning the contents of a DVD, a process which takes a few minutes, and can sometimes be the most frustrating part of the sequence. Once scanned, you select which episodes you wish to rip (typically the items that are 40-odd minutes long), and add them to a processing queue. Click Start and let Handbrake do its work.

Handbrake's presets simplify the process of converting files, ensuring that the ripped files are perfect for iPad viewing, as an example. Built-in presets also include iPhone and Apple TV.

Handbrake will never win awards for interface beauty or simple GUIs. If you're willing to work with the presets on offer, however, and have the patience to Google up some basic how-to instructions, Handbrake provides a terrific solution for quick, easy, effective DVD rips.

It's a reliable, time-proved tool with great utility, which is why we made it today's Friday Favorite.

Got a favorite app of your own? Suggest it in the comments. Maybe we'll cover it in an upcoming Friday Favorite column.

Friday Favorite: Handbrake bridges the gap between DVDs and my iPad originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 13 Dec 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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China Mobile begins in-store advertising for the iPhone 5s

With China Mobile gearing up to sell the iPhone for the first time, it's apparently rolling out quite the advertising campaign in some of its locations.

According to the blog PRC And Me, at least one China Mobile store has begun placing iPhone 5s adverts in-store and, on top of that, even showcasing iPhone 5s and 5c models in displays.

Advertisements on the wall showed what I believe to be discount pricing (probably with contract) of 4380? (US$723) for the iPhone 5s and 3380? ($558) for the 5c. Of the two display tables in the store, one was dedicated to iPhones and iPads and there was a pretty good crowd around the table as I passed by. Not only were there Apple advertisements all over the place, but even Phil Schiller was present, his A7 chip announcement playing on a flatscreen TV.

All hail Schiller!

A majority of the ad and display space in the store had been dedicated to Apple. If this is any indication, China Mobile is planning to aggressively promote their new Apple partnership in the hopes of blunting any advances from China Unicom and Telecom.

Rumor has it that the iPhone 5s will go on sale on China Mobile on December 18, but no confirmation has yet been made by either Apple or China Mobile.

China Mobile begins in-store advertising for the iPhone 5s originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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This cooking pot can charge your iPhone

There aren't many things that can't charge your iPhone these days, and now we can add cooking accessories to the list of smartphone-powering accessories as well. The PowerPot X is currently being funded on a Kickstarter campaign, where it has already reached its goal with a further 33 days of its project remaining.

The PowerPot X uses thermoelectric power to generate 10 watts of power for charging any portable electronic gadget, including an iPad or two iPhones at once. The pot can be used on any heat source you have available, including a range or campfire, which I'm guessing would make it perfect for a remote camping trip.

As with most Kickstarter campaigns, there are different levels of funding, but the smallest pledge that will get you one of the pots is US$189, which doesn't actually sound that outlandish considering its ability to both cook you a meal and charge your iPad at the same time.

This cooking pot can charge your iPhone originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iPhone 5s selling like gangbusters in China

New research data from CounterPoint Research reveals that the iPhone 5s, much like the iPhone in the US, is selling extremely well in China. During the month of October, Counterpoint found that iPhones accounted for 12 percent of all smartphone sales in the country. Of that, the iPhone 5s was by far the most popular model.

Fast Company reports:

Beyond the apparent success, the data suggests that Chinese buyers were waiting for the 5s, which launched in October, above the 5c. The 5s was the top-selling phone in the nation in October, with the iPhone 5 in second place -- the cheaper 5c, possibly seen as a lower-status symbol, came in in fourth place.

iPhone sales in China are expected to boom once the device officially becomes available on China Mobile, a carrier with well more than 700 million subscribers. As it stands now, the iPhone in China is only available via China Telecom and China Unicom.

Earlier this fall, IDC issued a report suggesting that Apple's share of the smartphone market in China is poised to double in 2014.

iPhone 5s selling like gangbusters in China originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 13 Dec 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Think an iPad seat for your baby is bad? You’ve only scratched the surface

I've been doing my best to ignore the outrage over the Fisher-Price iPad Apptivity Seat since I started seeing it pop up on social networks for one simple reason: I knew full well that the people freaking out over this particular product had no idea what kinds of iPad/iPhone-compatible baby products were actually being sold out there.

Allow me to take you down the rabbit hole, after which you'll see the Apptivity Seat as one of the most easily excusable of the bunch.

Exercise for your baby... with a dose of ADD

Another entry from Fisher-Price, the Apptivity Gym, features adorable plastic toys hanging down for your baby to play with -- you know, like baby toys have done for decades. Oh, and there's also an iPhone holder embedded in the center of it to encourage your young one to ignore the actual physical toys that would provide said exercise. Logic.

An adorable stuffed animal with an iPhone embedded in its chest

Fisher-Price is really on a roll it seems, as this "Laugh and Learn Puppy" is equal parts fluffy stuffed animal and Apple smartphone. Ignoring the fact that having a hard plastic case around a metal smartphone pretty much negates the whole point of a stuffed animal in the first place, this toy will guarantee that your child will ignore every other toy that doesn't also include a technological component.

OK, Fisher-Price isn't even trying anymore

This "Laugh and Learn iPhone Case" doesn't even try to be anything less than a colorful, overly bulky iPhone case disguised as a kids toy. Want your baby to give up any hope of playing with actual toys ever again? Just give them your iPhone, apparently.

Potty training with a dose of iPad

Yeah, it's not just Fisher-Price that's doing this kind of thing: The "CTA Digital 2-in-1 iPotty Seat" is about as obnoxious as it gets. When it comes time to teach your young one how to go to the bathroom like a grown-up, you should probably get them started on everyone's favorite potty pastime while at the same time ignoring any and all important parental guidance or motivation.

It's worth noting that while the Apptivity Seat has gotten absolutely destroyed in the Amazon reviews section since the web caught wind of it, the rest of these products are rated quite highly (with far fewer overall reviews). If we're going to decide that children half a year old shouldn't be spending their time tapping away at an iPad screen (and no, they shouldn't be; stop it), we should at least keep these things in perspective.

Think an iPad seat for your baby is bad? You've only scratched the surface originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 13 Dec 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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