Apple Watch Spring Forward media event is happening March 9

Apple March 9 Spring Forward Event

Apple has announced its March 9 “Spring Forward” media event at 10 a.m. PDT. This is anticipated to be a largely Apple Watch event, when Apple will announce details, release date and pricing for its Apple Watch line up. 

As with other major Apple media event, there will be live streaming coverage via Safari browser at or using second or third generation Apple TV. To make it easy for you to remember, the Apple live streaming site includes a link for you to add the event to your calendar. Click here to add the event to your calendar if you’re too busy to visit Apple live streaming site.

Display Zoom on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Display Zoom on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Display Zoom is a feature available only on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It allows you to set the display to a zoom mode that shows larger text and controls. The trade off is the loss of real screen estate. In the normal Standard mode, the home screen is displaying six rows of app icons. You get only five rows of app icons when in zoom mode.

iPhone 6 has a native screen pixels of 750 x 1334. When you select the Zoom mode, the display is scaled to a dimension 640 x 1136, the same as the iPhone 5 and 5s. On the iPhone 6 Plus, the zoom mode will scale down the screen to the same 750 x 1334 resolution as the iPhone 6.

If you pixel peep and scrutinize close enough, you will find images to appear slightly blurry and text not as sharp when in zoom mode. Standard mode is the default. If you must use the zoom mode, you can change it at Settings > Display & Brightness > Display Zoom.

Setup Display Zoom iPhone 6 Plus

Tap on the “Zoomed” and then the “Set” button on top right to change the Display Zoom mode.

How to gift wrap like a pro

If you find gift wrapping daunting, check out this video on how it is done by staff in Takashimaya Department Store in Japan. Slow down the playback speed to get a good glance.

Workflow app

Workflow for iOS

iOS devices are not made to be customizable as OS X desktop due to its sandwich environments for reliability purpose. Apps are run single purposely one at a time and there is no real multitasking tailored for efficiency.

iOS 8 changes all by providing app frameworks that allow apps to interact with each other. Developers can now build app extensions to provide Today’s widgets, Photos extensions, custom keyboard, share options and custom actions. These opens greatly the possibility of customization in iOS.

Now there is an app aptly named Workflow that takes advantage of iOS 8’s new extension frameworks. It is the first true automation app on iOS. If Apple were to build Automator for iOS, it would be similar to this app.

Workflow App

Workflow provides a quick tutorial to walk you though building steps to create a GIF. The interaction is largely drag and drop by selecting the steps/actions to create the workflow that you like. Workflow includes over 150 actions for favourite apps. For example, Add New Event to add event to Calendar app, Send Mail to send a mail, Save to Dropbox to save to Dropbox etc.

In case you’ve run out of idea what workflow is possible, there is a Gallery of prebuilt workflows which serve as templates to get you started to copy and customize as your own. In addition, you can save a workflow as bookmark on your iOS home screen. This is called Workflow app. Tapping on the app icon will launch and start the workflow.

Workflow has a simple and intuitive interface. After a day’s heavy usage, we’ve barely scratched what is possible with this app. Workflow is now at a 40% off for a limited time as part of launch special. Highly recommended.

You can disable Reachability for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are much larger to be used comfortably to reach all corners of the screen one-handed. To solve this problem, Apple introduced a feature called “Reachability” which is a software hack that let you move the user interface half-way down the screen when you double-tap (not double click) on the home button.

You can disable Reachability for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Reachability is time-saviour especially when you’re trying to tap on the left-top or right-top corner button using one hand. This feature is enabled by default and is available only on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. If you’re one of those few who can’t ever get used to it, you can disable it.

You can disable Reachability

Goto Settings app > General > Accessibility. Scroll down and look for the Reachability switch. Turn off the switch to disable this feature.

Voice Text message in iOS 8

In case you’re not aware that iMessage in iOS 8 is capable of voice messaging, Apple has created a new “Voice Text” commercial to illustrate.

The commercial features Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, following the same theme as previous iPhone 6 ads. Voice text feature is not exclusive to iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. It is available for any iPhone model that is running iOS 8.


Why it is not yet a good idea to buy a 4K display or Ultra HD TV

Why it is not yet a good idea to buy a 4K display or Ultra HD TV

Shopping season has just started for year end 2014. This year marks the beginning of a multi-year transition to a world of 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs, and with no doubt many electronic vendors are pushing hard to sell you their latest 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs. If you’re tempted, you might want to ponder harder before parting your hard-earned money. 

Even though 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs have been available on the market for months, the technology and ecosystems around them are at best suited for very early adopters. The display you bought today might be obsolete as soon as next year end.

Lets clear out some confusion regarding the marketing of 4K computer displays and Ultra HD TVs. 4K refers to 4096 x 2160 resolution. The standard for Ultra HD TV is of 3840 x 2160 resolution. However it is common for HDTV vendors to market their Ultra HD TV as 4K screens. To confuse matters, some computer vendor might market their 3840 x 2160 resolution monitor as 4K.

4K Display

Before you make your 4K display purchase, check its compatibility with your Mac by checking an Apple support article. Only newer Macs can be use with 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs:

  • MacBook Pro (Retina, Late 2013 and later)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)
  • iMac (27-inch, Late 2013 and later)
  • Mac mini (Late 2014)

The list of supported monitors are:

  • Sharp PN-K321
  • ASUS PQ321Q
  • Dell UP2414Q
  • Dell UP3214Q
  • Panasonic TC-L65WT600
  • LG 31MU97 

 LG 31MU97 is the only monitor that supports a higher refresh rate of 50Hz when running under OS X Yosemite. All the other monitors support a mere 30Hz. Ideally you would want a monitor that support a minimum refresh rate of 60Hz.

Current HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 display technology is not capable of driving a bandwidth of 4k resolution at 60Hz. HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.3 are the next-gen display standards for the task. Unfortunately none of current Macs’ graphics processor support HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.3. The new display technologies are expected to appear in Mac only in 2015.

If you really must buy the new 4K display this year, make sure it supports HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.3 and can display 4K at a minimum 60Hz.

Ultra HD TV

The same 4K @ 60Hz issue applies to Ultra HD TVs, as majority of current crops are sporting HDMI 1.4 interface that has a limit of 4k at 24 frames per second.

Even for those Ultra HD TV that support HDMI 2.0, none of them implements HDCP 2.2 (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) protocol which is required to view protected 4K content. HDCP is the standard implementation of protected HD content. Studio and content provider are expected to use it to protect their media when they release 4K content.

With so little 4K content at the moment, one might wonder what’s the benefit of owning an Ultra HD TVs? Even the old-fashioned Blu-ray disc will support 4K content only in late 2015. 

If you must, to shop for Ultra HD TVs, you need to look for HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 support and 4K @ 60Hz capability.

Format text and insert picture in Notes for iOS 8

Notes for Mac has supported basic text formatting and image insertion for a while. After eight version of iOS, we finally get the same functionalities in Notes for iOS. It is a welcomed relief if you use Notes app to iCloud sync between iOS and Mac regularly. 

Text Formatting

To apply formatting, first select the text to format in your note. To select text, double-tap on a word, then move the selection handles to include the range of text you want to format.

Format text and insert picture in Notes for iOS 8

On the popup edit menu, tap on the “BIU” button which stands for Bold, Italics, Underline.

Formatting Text in Notes for iOS 8

Tap on the desired Bold, Italics or Underline button to apply the formatting.

Picture Insertion

To insert a picture, on the insertion location in your note, tap and hold and then release the tap.

Inserting picture in Notes app for iOS 8

On the popup edit menu, select “Insert Photo” button. You will then be prompted to select a photo from your Photos library. Choose “Paste” from the menu if you want to insert picture or text in your iOS clipboard.

Things for iPhone and iPad goes free for a week

Get Things free for iPhone and iPad

Things for iPhone and iPad are now free till November 28 as part of Apple’s App of The Week. It is considered a great deal as the iPhone version is normally $9.99 and for the iPad version $19.99. Things is one of the few apps that were making headlines in the early years of iPhone. Not as popular now, but you might want to give Things a try if you’re not satisfied with the stock Reminder app or competitors such as Wunderlist or

As part of the promotion, Things for Mac is now at a 30% discount at $34.99 from the Mac App Store.

Get Things for iPhone free on the App Store

Get Things for iPad free on the App Store

Access and remove open Safari tabs on your other iCloud devices in OS X Yosemite

Safari in OS X Yosemite comes with a brand new Tab View to help you manage open tabs in Safari. You can toggle the Tab View using Shift-Command-\ keyboard shortcut, from menu View > Show All Tabs, pinching on the trackpad or click on the tab view button located on right top corner of Safari window.

Safari OS X Yosemite Tab View Icon

Tab View displays all your open tabs in grid of thumbnails. Each thumbnail is a preview of the content of the website. This gives you a visual clue to easily switch to a particular site by clicking on the thumbnail. To close a tab, mouse over the thumbnail and click on the X icon on the upper left corner.

New Tab View in OS X Yosemite Safari

Just below the thumbnails is a list of open tabs on your other iCloud enabled devices. Thus tab view in essence replaces the old iCloud Tabs button. The ability to access open tabs on other devices is one convenient feature to allow you to continue viewing a site on your Mac. When you mouse over a link, you can click on the X button at the end of the tab title to close the tab. If you find closing Safari tabs on small iPhone screen cumbersome, you can now close them on a Mac.