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Remember back in 2007 when Apple first told developers that to develop for the iPhone, they’d need to build WebApps for Safari? Well, that really was the plan. At the time, Jobs said:

The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone. And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps.

And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today.

The App Store came later and apparently as a reaction to jailbreakers and developer backlash.

The App Store nowadays is arguably the most vital app community on any platform, but Steve Jobs initially resisted the idea of users customizing their iPhones with third-party programs, later to become known as apps. The revelation is another of the many interesting nuggets to leak from the upcoming Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, which goes on sale Monday. According to the Huffington Post which obtained an early copy of the book:

Apple board member Art Levinson told Isaacson that he phoned Jobs “half a dozen times to lobby for the potential of the apps,” but, according to Isaacson, “Jobs at first quashed the discussion, partly because he felt his team did not have the bandwidth to figure out all the complexities that would be involved in policing third-party app developers.”

Some other tidbits: Jobs informed Cook on a flight to Japan that “I’ve decided to make you COO”. Also, the initial lukewarm reception to iPad “annoyed and depressed” Jobs.

As for Apple’s seemingly unstoppable mobile application bazaar, Jobs – of course – would later embrace the App Store fully as it had become the central theme around Apple’s famous iPhone commercials featuring the “There’s an app for that” tagline. Upon releasing, the original iPhone immediately captured attention of the hacking community which had begun tinkering with the product. Soon thereafter, popular tweaks ensued which added more functionality to the device despite the lack of the official software development kit.

Apple at the 2007 WWDC announced the iPhone would run web apps. The news fell on def ears with programmers, prompting Steve Jobs to announce in an open letter on October 17, 2007 that the iPhone software development kit for third-parties would be released on March 6, 2008. The App Store went live alongside the iPhone 2.0 software update on July 11, 2008. Apple CEO Tim Cook shared the latest App Store numbers in Tuesday’s conference call with analysts. The App Store, he said, now has more than 500,000 apps for iOS devices, 140,000 of which have been written specifically for iPad. Users have downloaded third-party programs more than 18 billion times since the App Store’s inception, he said, while noting the App Store expanded to 33 new countries during the September quarter.

The Huffington Post article also mentions how Jobs took it upon himself to wage a “thermonuclear war” against Android, threatening to “destroy” it because he thought Google was stealing Apple’s ideas. A change in heart was most evident in the following highly publicized interview with Jobs…

Reflecting on the App Store in his chat with Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal columnist, at the 2010 D8: AllThingsDigital conference, Jobs enthused how there was nothing like the App Store before the iPhone came along. After Mossberg objected that pre-iPhone devices were able to run third-party apps, Jobs responded by saying that the carriers controlled everything, including the design of cell phones, noting there was no easy way for a guy in his bedroom to create programs for cell phones and distribute them with ease. “It’s huge now,” he quipped. Here’s that quote:

Well it wasn’t like this. Now it’s huge. And also, when you bought a phone the carrier dictated what you had on the phone. iPhone was the first phone where we said you worry about the network, we’ll worry about the phone.

The book goes on sale on Monday and can be picked up from Amazon here.

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7 Of The Best Third

The built-in keyboards for the iPhone and iPad can be difficult to work with, making third-party keyboard apps all the more useful. Listed below are third-party keyboard apps that will help you use your iPad or iPhone for work, communication, or browsing. They will help you type faster and more accurately and allow you to express yourself better, with options for emojis, stickers, GIFs, and more.

Installing Third-Party iOS Keyboards

Third-party iOS keyboard apps for the iPhone and iPad are downloaded from the iOS App Store. The keyboards may come bundled in a larger app or may be dedicated to the keyboard.

When you’re ready to type with your new keyboard, tap the globe icon in the lower left of the default keyboard. This will automatically cycle to the next keyboard on the list, starting with Apple’s emoji keyboard, and continue cycling through the list of installed keyboards. To pick from a list, press and hold the globe icon.

To remove a keyboard from your device, tap “Edit,” then the red minus sign next to the keyboard you want to delete. You can also tap the “Edit” button to change the order of the keyboards, which controls the order in which they appear when cycling through keyboards with the globe button.

It’s crucial that you only enable full access for developers you trust with all your data. The keyboard creator can access every character you type, potentially including sensitive information like passwords and banking details. Security-conscious users should only type sensitive information using the default Apple keyboard to avoid any potential issues with data collection or keylogging.

1. Grammarly

The Grammarly keyboard brings the power of Grammarly’s proofreading tools to iOS. When you type with the Grammarly keyboard, it scans for mistakes and errors in grammar, spelling, and usage, offering suggestions and corrections in nearly real-time.

You can also use the Grammarly keyboard to check the text that’s already written. Just select the Grammarly keyboard, then tap the “Checky My Text” button on the bottom left to have the app scan your text for errors and provide the opportunity to make corrections. If you’re using a hardware keyboard with your iPad, this is the only way it will check your text – it won’t scan as you type. A paid subscription will check for more than just the basics, but it is in no way necessary.

2. Google Gboard

Search directly from Google Gboard by tapping the Google icon on the left above the keyboard, which automatically searches for the detected text you have typed, unless you opt for Translate, YouTube, or Maps instead. You can search the emoji library by their names and benefit from Google’s services’ superpowers through AI-predicted text selection and highly capable voice-to-text typing.

3. Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard 4. Hanx Writer

Are you a fan of Tom Hanks? He’s a fan of keyboards – or rather old-timey typewriters. The Hanx Writer keyboard app allows you to type with the look and feel of a typewriter. Using it with a hardware keyboard, you can type as normal with the sounds of a typewriter. If you type with the onboard keyboard, it looks and sounds like a typewriter, but it’s hard to copy the feel, since it’s on your screen. Using it in other apps is very buggy, but it can be fun to pull out and type within the app itself. It’s a free app, but you can pay to have the option of more typewriters to choose from. It’s more fun than useful.

5. GIF Keyboard 6. Symbol Keyboard for Texting

Like GIF Keyboard, Symbol Keyboard for Texting is also an accessory keyboard and not a fully-usable one for entering text. This one includes nearly every symbol you can think of. We’re not talking about emoji – we’re talking old-style, back to the days before emoji, with what was always included on the Dingbats font, such as arrows, telephones, scissors, etc. Unicode characters are included as well, along with currency symbols and the characters from several languages. Egyptian Hieroglyphs are included as well in the more than 50,000 symbols on this keyboard app. If you always struggle to find the º, €, and ✔︎, this app is for you.

7. FastKey: Keyboard Expander

FastKey: Keyboard Expander will save you from typing repetitive phrases. It’s another accessory keyboard. Instead of giving you a character layout, it allows you to save phrases and sections of type with a shortcut phrase. I use it daily for some of the sections of text I use while writing, editing, and answering email. With a hardware keyboard, you need to switch from that keyboard to the onboard keyboard, which is a layout of the shortcuts. Do this by tapping the key that looks like a keyboard.

Conclusion

SwiftKey is a reliable and usable first choice. Gboard scores points, too, but has some privacy concerns, and Grammarly is unbeatable as a writing/editing aid. The remaining keyboard apps for the iPhone and iPad make good accessories to your default options, whether working or looking for some fun. Further customize your device by changing the iMessage bubble color and adjusting the share sheet to your needs.

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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It Jobs: The Growing Need For Business Skills

When you get right down to the nuts and bolts of today’s IT job market, technical skills alone aren’t enough. Employers want IT professionals with equal parts business savvy and technology expertise. In short, differentiate yourself by understanding both the business your company is in and the customer it serves.

The days of the IT department silo are gone. IT professionals who bring together the business role and technology role are best suited to be the business problem solvers for the company’s tech division.

“It’s not technology first, business second, anymore,” says Ian Ide, partner and general manager of the New York technology division of Winter, Wyman, a recruitment firm.

As you move up the ranks of IT professionals, there’s more of a requirement to understand the business and be able to interface with business units. As strategic players in the organization, CIOs and CTOs have always had to understand the business. This requirement, however, is trickling down to other IT players, as well.

“If you’re working on e-commerce for Gucci or Amazon, you have to understand how that world works; if you’re building an accounting or other type of internal application you have to be able to interface with the business units to know what to build; if you’re building the company website you need to understand the consumer and the interface…we see the need for business knowledge across the board for IT professionals,” says Ide.

Certain industries, such as financial, healthcare and retail, for example, that have their own jargon and unique business processes are more likely to seek candidates with industry-specific business knowledge.

IT professionals don’t need a MBA degree to get ahead – although it can be a real plus for those who have it – but they must be able to align technology to business goals and customer needs.

Avoiding Outsourcing

The close integration of technology and business knowledge is probably what keeps certain technology jobs from being outsourced. “The roles that we see are those that do require business savvy as a key component,” says Peter Woolford, market manager at Kforce Inc., a professional staffing firm in Boston, Mass.

Finding the IT professional with the right combination of tech skills and business knowledge today isn’t easy. Companies, however, are willing to wait, says Woolford.

“There’s been a trend over of the last couple of years to leave the IT positions open, sometimes for three to six months, in order to find the right person,” he says.

In the best of all worlds, companies like customer service-centric Litle & Co., an independent payment processing company based in Lowell, Mass., would be able to find IT professionals capable of moving seamlessly between the business and IT sides of the business. But today, that individual is a rare find.

So Litle requires that all of its employees attend Litle University to learn about each department in the company and how it serves its customers.

That includes IT personnel. “We train our developers on both the business side and the engineering side,” says Jason Pavona, vice president product management at Litle. “We mandate that our engineers understand our business so they build better code,” he adds.

Using agile software development, engineers at Litle move quickly. “But it means our engineers must have an understanding of our business, our merchants and our customers,” says Pavona. Agile software development, in essence, breaks projects into small parts which results in a fast-paced environment with new releases coming out once a month compared to once a year with more traditional development methodologies.

Getting There

Industry experts agree that business knowledge is best acquired on the job.

The ideal path to developing business savvy is to target the industry you want to work in early on and leverage the experience over time, suggests Ide. “Then volunteer on projects that bring in new technology,” he adds. Building on specific industry experience will ease the transition to another job.

Companies look for IT job candidates with experience in their industry.

It’s not too late to get started. “There’s no question in my mind that this will be on ongoing trend and spread even deeper into the IT department,” says Ide.

Google Acquires Sparrow, The Star Third

Sparrow has just announced that it has been acquired by Google. The company’s team will be integrated within the Google Gmail team.

We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.

Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

We had an amazing ride and can’t thank you enough.

Full speed ahead!

Sparrow

Sparrow has long been noted as a great third-party email app for both the Mac and iOS, specifically on the iPhone. The application has a unique user interface that is intuitive and very well integrated into social networks.

Teaser for Sparrow for iPad

The company said that an iPad app is in the works, but it is unclear if this app will launch now that the team is integrated into Google. Notably, Sparrow says that its current apps will stay available. Sparrow will also still provide support for its users.

Sparrow has also long been noted as a great Gmail solution for iPhone users. Google’s official iOS Gmail application is definitely in need of new features – beyond just a web view – and we hope that Sparrow’s team has a part in creating a new Gmail experience for iOS users.

Screenshot of Sparrow for Mac

Sparrow has also just sent out a different, more personal note to its users. Notably: no new features or updates coming.

Hello,

We’re excited to let you know that Sparrow has been acquired by Google! You can view our public announcement here , but I wanted to reach out directly to make sure you were aware of the chúng tôi will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.

It’s been an honor and a pleasure to build products for all of our wonderful users who have supported us over the years. We can’t thank you enough.

We look forward to working on some new and exciting projects at Google!

A Google spokesperson has reached out to provide the following statement:

The Sparrow team has always put their users first by focusing on building a seamlessly simple and intuitive interface for their email client. We look forward to bringing them aboard the Gmail team, where they’ll be working on new projects.

The Verge says the purchase price was under $25 million.

One of the most widely publicized and important knocks against Sparrow’s iOS application is the lack of push notifications. As Sparrow CEO Dom Leca said, “now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.” We think that bigger vision includes more resources; assets that will help Sparrow make email even better for everyone with features like push alerts.

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Original Star Wars 1977 Theater Version Released For Free

Original Star Wars 1977 theater version released for free

Not by George Lucas’ or Disney’s will, but by the will of the people, the original version of Star Wars has been released. Truly it is a good day, a day which will be long remembered. Today is a day in which you will be able to attain the 1977 edition of the original Star Wars movie. This was before it was titled Star Wars: A New Hope. For those of you that are unaware, the first big change to Star Wars game in its re-release in 1981 – from there it continued to evolve. Now we have the 35mm original.

Images above and below this paragraph come from Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca himself, over on Twitter as @TheWookieRoars. What it shows is Mayhew’s original Star Wars script. The first one. Back before it was even re-titled “Star Wars.”

As you might have heard from Stephen Colbert, this script calls the film “The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the “Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars.” Slightly less punch to it there.

Now – the film.

What’s happened is miraculous.

Someone has gotten ahold of an original 35mm film print of Star Wars, as released to theaters in 1977. This is technically the property of the film studio and cannot legally be the property of any one individual unless sold to them by the studio directly.

That’s not happened, adding another layer of not-quite on-the-level business going on here.

But the people that’ve done the work to bring the film to you, the public, the ravenous, ravenous Star Wars fan-filled public, they deserve all sorts of thanks. They’ve put in countless hours restoring the film print back to the quality it was seen in theaters in 1977.

If you’ll remember the restoration process done before the release of the Star Wars: Special Edition films in 1997, you’ll recall George Lucas speaking about the degradation of the film stock since its original release.

It wasn’t pretty.

Luckily the film stock found for this project was a low-fade release print, apparently released using the original theater-released edition of the movie. This hard copy was created some time between the original release and the re-release in 1981.

This project was put into action by a crew called Team Negative1. They’ve spent their time and their own hard-earned cash to make this project a reality.

If you’re going to watch this Silver Screen edition of the film, you’re going to have to be hardcore. So hardcore, in fact, that you’re going to have to be OK with the softness of film. From the team of editors:

The picture is going to look soft?

“Yeah, it might. but guess what, when you project it, that kind of thing happens which compensates for the dust and scratches on film. the reason it seems that way on the digital version is you’re seeing it at sharper resolution in some cases than it would seem in a theater. Of course watching it on a monitor/crt or tv, is completely different from the effect of watching projected film onto a screen.”

Where can you get it?

That’s a question we can’t answer directly. Partially because downloading the movie is illegal. Partially because we can’t be responsible for you downloading a file that turns out to be malicious.

What you can do is take note of the keywords throughout this article – the title of the release, for example – and search file downloading sites of your choice. Torrent sites, for example, can be full of malicious files you’re not going to want to handle.

But the reward is great.

Iphone 13 Cinematic Mode Video Shot On The Street With No Extra Equipment

Cinematic Mode video is one of the headline new features of the iPhone 13. The big question has been what performance would be like in real life. Apple’s own demo was incredibly impressive, but that of course relied on professional lighting and as many takes as were needed to get a great result.

We’ve already had one answer, from the WSJ’s Joanna Stern, who shot a music video in a studio, again with professional lighting and mounting equipment. But a new music video shot with nothing more than the iPhone 13 itself gives a much more realistic idea …

Cinematic Mode is effectively Portrait mode for video, adding artificial blur to the background – but also allowing selective focus, and some AI-driven automatic selection of focus points.

Stern wasn’t very impressed with her own experience.

The software struggles to know where objects begin and end. It’s a lot like the early days of Portrait Mode, but it’s worse because now the blur moves and warps. I shot footage where the software lost parts of noses and fingers, and struggled with items such as a phone or camera.

But while studio conditions give you optimum control, they also increase our expectations.

Videographer Jonathan Morrison took a very different approach when he created a music video for singer Julia Wolf. It was shot on the street using the iPhone 13 Pro – and absolutely nothing else, not even a gimbal.

Went hands on with the iPhone 13 Pro and immediately wanted to test out the camera and cinematic mode. It’s limited to 1080p 30fps but I was surprised to see how sharp it was AND that it retained Dolby Vision.

The result? It’s not perfect, for sure. Some of the artefacts Stern complained about are visible, especially around Wolf’s hair as she turns her head. Then there are the same issues we saw with the early iterations of Portrait mode – look at the gap in her right arm, for example, where the chairs in the background have been left in focus.

Any professional videographer watching it will be cringing at that.

But honestly, for a smartphone video, it really is stunning. I doubt that many of Wolf’s fans will be obsessing about the imperfections in the AI processing. It’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved with a single device and an ordinary location if you have enough talent.

Plus, of course, this is the first generation of the technology. Like Portrait mode, it will improve significantly over time as Apple works on the algorithms.

For me, the most exciting thing about this capability is that it’s going to inspire a new generation of filmmakers, who can begin creating videos with a truly cinematic look using nothing more than their phone. I really can’t wait to see more examples.

And personally, I love the idea of being able to create more cinematic-looking travel videos without having to carry any other kit with me.

Check out the video below – but note that it has explicit lyrics.

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