Tag Archives | iPhone

Parallels Access 2.0 Lets You Use Mac or Windows Apps From Any iOS or Android Device

Photoshop CC for OS X running on an iPad via Parallels Access 2.0

Photoshop CC for OS X running on an iPad via Parallels Access 2.0

Last year, Parallels–the company behind the best-selling virtualization software for OS X–introduced a service called Parallels Access.

It let you use an iPad to remote-control your Windows PC or Mac across the Internet, allowing you to run PC apps from your tablet. Other companies had done that before, but Parallels didn’t just cram your PC’s screen onto the iPad: It created an environment which made using Windows or Mac apps as much like using iPad apps as possible, with features such as iOS-style cut-and-paste and a touch-friendly app launcher which looked like the iPad’s own home screen.

When I reviewed the first version of Access, I had some quibbles but was still dazzled by the whole concept, which was bursting with cleverness and technical derring-do.

Parallels Access running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Parallels Access running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Now Parallels is releasing Parallels Access 2.0. There’s quite a bit that’s new–including the fact that it now works on iPhones and Android devices as well as iPads.

The iOS and Android variants of Parallels Access are similar, but not identical. For one thing, they both do a good job of hewing to the interface style of the mobile operating system they’re running on: Cut and paste, for instance, look like they should in both cases.

Both versions also have a new feature or two not seen in the other one. The iOS app lets you use the mobile device’s microphone with apps running on the remote computer, and includes a new file manager which looks like iOS while providing access to files on the distant computer. The Android app, meanwhile, lets you plunk shortcuts to specific PC apps on the Android home screen, a feat which isn’t technically possible in iOS.

Parallels Access for iOS's new file manager

Parallels Access for iOS’s new file manager

Oh yeah, there’s the pricetag. When Parallels originally released Access, it charged $80 to control one computer for one year. It quickly lowered that price. And now it’s slashed it again: For $20 a year or $35 for two years (or $30 for two years for a limited time), you can control up to five computers from as many iOS and/or Android devices as you want. There’s also a new business plan for companies which want to roll out Access to multiple staffers at once.

As before, Parallels Access is amazing: I can’t imagine anyone coming up with a better way to put OS X and Windows apps onto a mobile device which can’t run them natively. But there are some technical limitations which are beyond Parallels’ control. The OS X apps I used on my iPad didn’t have a Retina-like crispness–text was a tad fuzzy even though you can now choose between three different screen resolutions. Not surprisingly, the experience feels most like the apps are right on your mobile device if you’ve got a fast Internet connection. And for all that Access does to make desktop apps more touch-friendly, there are still tasks which are tough to perform with your fingertip, such as selecting part of an image in Photoshop.

For all these reasons, Access doesn’t reduce the need for powerful native apps for iOS and Android–and there are more of those today than there were last year when the first version of Access shipped, including Microsoft’s very credible version of Office for the iPad. But when you want to get your hands on an app or file which isn’t available on your mobile device, Parallels Access could be a lifesaver–and at $20 a year, it’s a reasonable deal even if you don’t use it all that often.

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iOS 5 Up First

As expected, Apple devoted a significant section of Tuesday’s event to iOS 5 given by iOS chief Scott Forstall. Since we’ve already gone over the major points of iOS 5 back during WWDC, we’ll give you a quick rundown of the most exciting new features.

iOS 5 introduces iMessage, essentially Apple’s response to BlackBerry Messenger. Conversations can be started on one device and then finished on another: that is because the app is push-based. Obviously this has the carriers a little concerned because after all those text messaging plans are just another way to get another $10, $15, or more out of you every month. Most of your friends on iPhones? Well, obviously you’re not going to need so many text messages.

It also debuts notifications in a more Android like format, where you swipe from the top to see them. This is a great feature for those like me who get several in a row before looking at their phone, and then have to cycle through all those popups which gets seriously annoying.

Twitter integration’s another notable feature, which would be found across the camera, Safari, and maps apps. Developers would be able to also integrate Twitter into their own apps. I have to say that’s great and all, but what about Facebook?

Game Center gets some important enhancements which Apple likely hopes will push it to the forefront. Achievement points, friend recommendations and photos are just some of the additions, which makes it much more like Xbox Live (which it should be anyway).

But you really care when its available, and that’s October 12th. And oh yeah, it’s a free update.

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Looking for Our Liveblog?

If you’re looking for our liveblog, Harry’s in Japan. But thanks to the fine folks at Macworld, we’re simulcasting their liveblog here: http://www.technologizer.co/iphone5. Join us!

(UPDATE: CoverItLive, which Macworld uses, seems to be having troubles–we recommend the live coverage at gdgt, which is working great.]

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Did Sprint Sell Its Soul for the iPhone?

Sprint needs something, anything, to keep it relevant. It is staring two huge rivals — Verizon and AT&T — in the face, and will become the odd man out if the AT&T merger goes through. So what is it to do?

If you believe what the Wall Street Journal is saying Sprint has done, you all but sell your company’s soul for the iconic iPhone.

Sprint is likely to lose money on the iPhone deal through at least 2014, the paper reports, but it seems to think that the device could be key in keeping the carrier relevant. The gamble carries a lot of risk: Sprint could find itself straddled by a costly deal that could bring the entire company down if it fails.

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Here Comes iOS 5

While iOS 5 is slated to have “200+ new features,” at WWDC we only got to see ten of them. The first is something that probably would remind you of Android: the notifications list. Instead of the old way of notifications being displayed as they arrive, they’d now be in list form accessible by swiping down from the top of the device.

Another new feature is the “Newsstand,” essentially a formal launch of Apple’s subscription option for iOS content. A dedicated section would now be included in the iTunes Store, with a companion app created to read this content exclusively.

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Native Union's Retro 'Pop Phone' Handsets

When you think of phone headsets, its probably a good bet that what you’re thinking of its the traditional on ear kind. Native Union has taken this and given it a retro feel, launching a line that looks like the traditional corded phone handsets that many of us older folk would be familiar with.

The Pop Phone comes in pink, yellow, dark blue, dark purple and green. The company had already offered two other less “poppy” colors in red and black. The included 3.5mm jack will plug into any iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry, and a button on the inside of the handle would allow for one touch answer and disconnect. The Pop Phone also includes noise-cancelling, which should improve call clarity in noisier situations.

Native Union says one of the most compelling uses for this is on the iPad, as the handset would work with Skype and turn the tablet into a phone. The price is about the same as most other handsets, coming in at $29.99. I have to credit the company with being creative, but will these really sell?

Also available from the company are other less pop-influenced designs including the MM04, which retails for $199.99. That unit can connect up to two phones simultaneously via Bluetooth, and seems more catered towards the business set.

Will the Pop Phone sell though? I’m guessing if you’re a frequent Skyper, maybe getting this for your iPad might be the missing link. But I don’t know how many iPhone users would be willing to plunk down $30 for that old retro feel. I guess we’ll see.


Mophie's iPhone 4 Case Adds Suprisingly Little Bulk

Mophie has built a name for itself with its line of external battery cases for the iPhone and iPod. There’s always been a real problem with these (at least for me), and that was the sheer amount of bulk they add. It appears the company may have finally figured out how to combat this problem from the case I saw in New York City on Wednesday.

Actually, the battery pack looks all but like an typical hard case, but a little thicker. As you can see, the case itself mimics the actual design of the phone itself, so from a distance you may not even notice it.

While I love my Mophie and think that a battery extender is almost a necessity for any heavy smartphone user, the bulk it adds is cumbersome and sometimes slightly annoying. The fact that the company has been able to shrink down the case to eliminate a large chunk of that bulk is very impressive.

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