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    2017 iPad from Apple

    Apple made a couple of changes a few weeks ago to their iPad lineup. If you missed that announcement, we wouldn’t be too surprised as there wasn’t much fanfare and there were definitely no snaking queues outside Apple authorised resellers.

    In summary, Apple dropped the iPad mini 2 and upgraded the iPad Air 2. Apple increased the storage for the iPad mini 4 to 128GB and made that the only storage capacity for the smaller screen tablet. The new tablet now goes for S$719. As for the 2017 iPad, Apple removed the “Air” from iPad Air and the 9.7-inch iPads are now simply called the iPad. Look-wise, there are no major changes and the new 9.7-inch iPad runs on the faster A9 chip. As for the price, the iPad starts at S$489 for the WIFI model.

    So, when looking for an iPad to replace our first gen iPad mini, we decided to place our faith on the new iPad instead of the iPad mini. The main reason of course, is the under S$500 price point. This makes the new iPad very attractive for us and makes the iPad mini with 128GB storage option just feels like a rip-off. Here are some other reasons that make the new iPad a clear winner.

    Retina display

    The 2,048 x 1,536 resolution Retina display looks amazing. The colours on the screen are bright and sharp and the colour saturation is very ‘Apple-ish’. While some people might be disappointed with the lack of a fully laminated display that makes everything look flatter, we have no issues with the slight increase in bulk or 1.4mm thicker to be exact.

    More power than iPad Air 2

    Performance-wise, the new iPad is more powerful running the A9 chip and the M9 motion co-processor. Beyond those upgrades, the new iPad spots the same Lightning port, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, 8-megapixel back camera, same 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, and same dual stereo speakers setup as the iPad Air 2.

    We are not huge fans of shooting photos with our iPads so the camera specifications matter less for us but the bump up in speed made us very happy. Videos, graphic intensive games and multitasking are now very smooth and we didn’t experience any freeze frames or lags.

    2017 iPad from Apple
    The new iPad runs on the A9 chip and M9 co-processor.

    Amazing battery life

    Even though Apple said all their tablets have a battery life of 10 hours, we hardly hit that mark with the iPad mini, even when it was new. But the 2017 iPad is a totally different story. We basically did everything with it, streaming videos, writing on GrateNews, browsing the internet, without heading for a power refill. We didn’t even have to change any settings except keeping it at 50% brightness.

    Who should buy?

    iPads are really hardy. Over the years, since the first iPad (which we still own), even though we bought more iPads that we should, they seemed to last forever. One thing for sure is that we are getting more and more impatient. We want something to work and we want it instantly. We are also more comfortable with multi-tasking, switching from one app to another with increased dexterity.

    The 2017 iPad offers us that comfort. And with an attractive price of $489, for the basic 32 Gb, WiFi only model, we are more than sold. For those who owns an iPad Pro, you can pretty much ignore this article, but for those like us who owns inaugural models of iPads and iPad mini, this is a major leap to one the most advanced tablets in the world at a steal. We are never ever going back.

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      Clips by Apple

      Apple’s new app, Clips, is finally here and we can’t wait to use it. Announced a couple of weeks earlier, we were eagerly waiting for the “coming soon” label to go away on their marketing page. We are hoping that this app will help us speed up the video creation-to-social media workflow.

      For those who don’t know what Clips does, Clips is Apple’s solution for turning around quick videos and making them sharable immediately to social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Vimeo as well as messaging apps. The app is on available on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

      First things first, installing the app. When we hit the download button, we were greeted with a pop-up saying our iOS version is not up-to-date. This means that Clips requires at least iOS 10.3 to run it. So for those who have stayed off the upgrading, this is Apple’s way of gently forcing you to update the operating system if you want to use the 40Mb app.

      Once you fire up the app, you will be greeted with a quick video of good-looking people shooting with Clips on their iPhones and iPads. Once you hit the “Get Started” button, you will see a square screen with a big red button with the words “Hold To Record”. Video shooting starts once you press the red button and you can record for as long as you like without restrictions. You can also add images and movie clips from your photo library to add to the footage you just shot.

      Clips by Apple - screenshots

      Clips by Apple key features:

      Live Titles
      Clips has a few interesting features and Live Titles is one of them. Live Titles is basically an auto-caption feature that adds captions to your video. To activate, tap on the text-bubble icon on the top of the screen and say what you need when recording a clip or adding a still. Clips will pop the text onto the video, syncing it perfectly with your voice. If voice is not required (not everyone is a DJ), just mute the recording to show only the auto-generated captions.

      Video Editing
      Combining multiple footages into a single video is easy. Just think of the “Hold To Record” as a pause button and keep adding video frames till you are done. To edit, drag and drop frames into your desired sequence with your finger. A star-like icon allows you to easily add stickers like “hello”, “hi there” and emojis to clips the video sequence.

      Add Background Music
      Finally, finish up your video with background music before publishing it. Clips comes with a good selection of music grouped by genre like Pop, Playful and Chill that you can download and use for free. You can also import from your own music library if you want.

      Share to Social Media

      Once you are done with that, simply click on the share button located at the bottom of the app to share it on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. You can also send the videos individually to selected friends through messaging apps like WhatsApp.

      If the need for video editing has stopped you from creating videos and sharing them before, Apple’s Clips might change that. You probably have to play with it a bit more before getting comfortable, but once you are off the training wheels, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes to create a share-ready video.

      So did the app live up to our expectations? We like Clips because it is easy to use and simple workflow for social media video creation but we are disappointed that videos can only shot in square format. So while useful for Facebook and Instagram, it will not be full screen for YouTube and Vimeo. We are hoping that Apple will take this into consideration and offer this feature in the next app update.

      Click on this link to download Clips by Apple. It’s free.

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        iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in RED

        Apple introduces a new striking red for it’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus range. The tech giant has previously done similar treatment to it’s other products like the iPods and other accessories but it is the first time the colour has been coated on the flagship iPhones. A partnership between Apple and (RED), a portion of the revenue from the sales of the special edition special contributes to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. You can get your (PRODUCT)RED iPhones starting 24 March 2017.

        “Since we began working with (RED) 10 years ago, our customers have made a significant impact in fighting the spread of AIDS through the purchase of our products, from the original iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition all the way to today’s lineup of Beats products and accessories for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous red finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED), and we can’t wait to get it into customers’ hands.”

        According to (RED), Apple is the world’s largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than $130 million to date.

        iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition will be available in 128GB and 256GB models starting at S$1,218 from Apple.com and from Apple Authorised Resellers and select carriers.

        On top of the iPhone 7 updates, Apple also made several low-key announcements. These includes dropping the 16GB and 64GB models for iPhone SE and replacing them with 32GB and 128GB models as well as tweaks to its iPad lineups, streamlining the number of products available for sale. We were actually shopping for a new iPad when we saw the “Coming Soon” page on its iPad mini section. Here are the updates:

        iPad Mini

        Apple dropped the iPad mini 2. They have increased the storage for the iPad mini 4 to 128GB and made it the only storage capacity for the smaller screen tablet. The new tablet now goes for S$719.


        Apple also removed the “Air” from iPad Air and the 9.7-inch iPads are now simply called iPad. The “enhanced” new 9.7-inch iPad looks basically the same and replaces the iPad Air 2. The new iPad will feature the faster A9 chip (previously A8X on iPad Air 2) and is priced starting from S$489 for the WIFI model. If you are not after storage capacity, the new iPad is certainly a better deal than the more ‘sluggish’ iPad mini.

        In short, Apple’s iPad lineup now consists of the iPad mini 4, iPad, and iPad Pro in two sizes.

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          Flip plug by Oneadaptr

          My friends call me a pack rat. They were amazed at how much I can squeeze seemingly impossible items into a tiny luggage and I take that as a complement. But as more and more gadgets creep into my life, the ability to ‘flat pack’ everything I need for a short getaway gets harder. Not only do I have to pack these gadgets, laptop included, but I need their chargers as well. This definitely adds unnecessary bulge to my sleek-looking hand carry man-bag. To make matters worse, these gadgets all come with chargers with UK three pin plugs designed back in World War II!

          I often sacrifice the full capability of a Macbook on my travels and opt for a tablet due to the fact that I only need to carry one adapter for both the tablet and the smartphone. Then I found Flip by OneAdaptr, a foldable UK plug that when folded, reduces the thickness of the entire plug to 18mm, a third of the standard British plug’s size. Flip by OneAdaptr started off as a campaign on Kickstarter and is now available for sale in Singapore thanks to Lamch & Co.

          The flip design hides the pins when folded, protecting your devices even if it is not safely tucked inside a protective sleeve. To use, simply press a auto-release button, turn the pins out till it locks and you are good to go.

          Here’s how the Flip by OneAdaptr works

          How the Flip Plug 'transforms' itself
          How the Flip Plug ‘transforms’ itself

          The Flip comes in three sizes. The smallest of the three, the Flip Duo comes with two USB ports while the slightly bigger Flip Quad doubles the number of USB ports to four ports.The third version called the Flip Power comes with an additional built-in 2000 mAH portable battery. So, no matter what your power needs are, essentially all you need is this one adapter for your trips. I guess this means that my Macbook will get to see the world with me now.

          The Flip Duo, Flip Quad and Flip Power plugs are now available at all Antė stores, EpiCentre, iStudio, Robinsons, TwoBros Lifestyle & Gadget Store and We the People and retails at $39, $59 and $69 respectively. Flip by OneAdaptr comes with a one year limited warranty.

          Antė locations:

          • Antė @TANGS at Tangs Plaza, Lvl 3, 310 Orchard Road, Singapore 238864
          • Antė @Takashimaya, Lvl 3, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 238873
          • Antė@Suntec City Mall, #01-457A, Tower 1, 3 Temasek Blvd, Singapore 038983
          • Antė@Vivo City, #02-K5 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585

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            DoTalk app from Australia

            If you are having problems getting your points across to colleagues speaking another language or talking to new friends from your last holiday, don’t fret. A new app called DoTalk is making the language barrier a thing of the past.

            Conceived in Australia, DoTalk is the world’s first real-time translation chat app that can translates up to 90 languages instantly. These languages include, English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French and Bahasa. To make that happen, DoTalk uses six different translation APIs and speech recognition tools in order for it to rapidly translate chats into words and voice for you to send to your friend or chat group.

            The app is pretty intuitive, with design elements similar to many chat apps currently on your phone so you probably don’t need any lessons to learn how to use it. To send a message, you have the option of sending a text message or ‘hold & talk’ to send a voice message. According to DoTalk, you can also conduct group chat with up to 10 people in multiple languages in real time but we couldn’t find enough people to test that out. As with most chat apps these days, DoTalk also allows for free voice and video calls with your friends.

            “Our goal with DoTalk was to create a free, fun and easy-to-use app which provides an open forum for people to easily connect and communicate, regardless of language barriers or location and without delay,” says Australian founder, Reno Nicastro. “Whether you are travelling, booking a cab or hotel overseas, want to communicate with international relatives, someone exotic you’ve met online, as the modern-day pen pal, or you just want to learn another language – DoTalk is the tool to connect you to people regardless of where they are or what language they speak,” says the founder.

            DoTalk app from Australia - screenshots

            We feel that DoTalk has a lot of potential to succeed but the product is still in its early stages. Although DoTalk is a chat app, we find that its translation features are very useful for individuals trying to learn a new language or for travellers when they need to ask for directions or order food in restaurants when they are in a foreign country. This will certainly make the app appeal to a wider audience.

            Another suggestion will be to allow their translated messages to be forwarded to other chat apps like Whatsapp, WeChat or Facebook Messenger. In this way, we are still able to chat with friends not on DoTalk as well. But for now, the company seems to be eyeing more B2B applications for the app like conference calls, customer service, education, media and customer engagement.

            DoTalk Features

            Real time translation of 90 different languages through the app or Internet enabled device
            Instant voice translation for 50+ languages
            Voice to text dictation
            Group chat including simultaneous translation in conference
            Free voice and video calls
            Private messaging
            Send and receive files
            Search and add friends
            256 Bit encryption/MP4 file storage
            Instant sync across devices

            DoTalk is now available on Apple Appstore and Google Play Store.

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              LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style

              The ‘world’s first smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 operating system’ title goes to LG Electronics and Google. LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style will be available for sale in the U.S. starting 10 February 2017 while the rest of the world, including Asia will have to wait a little longer till the end of the month to snag one at select retail stores.

              They are the first watches in the world with Android Wear 2.0

              So, what’s the big fuss about a new watch operating system? First off, the Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch OS is the biggest update by Google so far, and comes with its own app store. What it means is that in 2.0, there is a standalone Play Store that you can access and download apps directly onto your watch minus the smartphone. Sending messages with the watch has also been improved with options to chose from a list of quick replies that Google calls ‘smart reply’ to handwriting characters on the surface of the watch.

              “Android Wear 2.0 focuses on making smartwatch experiences better and faster – including watch faces that bring glanceable data, fast and fluid messaging, and a new fitness experience that helps you track workouts and stay motivated with music,” said David Singleton, VP of Android Engineering, Google.

              It comes with ‘complications’

              As the first smartwatches to come preloaded with the 2.0 operating system, LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style will come with the Google Assistant built-in and receive its processing power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.

              Both LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style watches come with round displays with a rotating side button for reading messages, scrolling through menus and browsing notifications. The round watch faces are also customisable, allowing you to add up to eight ‘complications’ (fancy name for widgets) for you to access important information at a glance.

              Main differences between the 2 smartwatches

              LG Watch Sport

              The word ‘sport’ is already a give away. The LG Watch Sport is designed for those who are loves exercise and active. Other than being the first Android Wear smartwatch to use Snapdragon Wear 2100, it is also 4G LTE capable, making it virtually independent of the phone.

              The 1.38-inch full circle P-OLED display with Gorilla Glass 3 is housed inside a stainless steel frame with a dust and water resistance rating of IP68. The LG Watch Sport features a photoplethsmogram (PPG) sensor that can track your heart rate more accurately both during rest and exercise as well as a built-in GPS. Other features include NFC support for Android Pay.

              LG Watch Sport


              LG Watch Style

              Running the same processor as the Sports version, the LG Watch Style is a sleeker, smaller and slimmer smartwatch. 3.41mm slimmer to be exact. While LG Watch Sport is available in titanum and dark blue, the LG Watch Style is available in flashier colours like silver, titanium and rose gold and watch bands that are easy to swap in and out of. LG Watch Style has a IP67 rating that protects the watch from dust and surviving a drop into a fish tank no deeper than one metre for up to 30 mins.

              LG Watch Style

              “LG and our partners at Google managed to include a tremendous number of innovative technologies into the LG Watch Sport and the LG Watch Style,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “This dynamic duo of devices offers cutting-edge functions in terms of personalisation and empowerment, freedom and convenience to meet diverse consumer tastes.”


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                Pokémon Go Valentine's Day event

                Guess what? Pokémon Go is celebrating Valentine’s Day too. This is the company’s first big event of the year and they are throwing out pink perks for die-hard fans still with the game.

                Here are the details for Pokémon Go Valentine’s Day event:

                • Players will receive double the amount of candy every time you catch, hatch, and transfer a Pokémon.
                • Buddy Pokémon will find candies faster. Distance to walk is now halved for trainers.
                • Lure Modules used to attract Pokémon will now last for 6 hours instead of 30 minutes. Watch the pink petals fall till your heart’s content.
                • There is a higher chance of catching pink Pokémon like Chansey, Porygon, and Clefairy. You will also have a higher chance of hatching pink-coloured baby Pokémon like Cleffa, Igglybuff, and Smoochum. Check out our full list of the latest Pokémon.
                • The event runs from 8 February 2017, 11am Pacific Time to 15 February 2017, 11am Pacific Time. For Singaporeans, that means 7 February 2017, 3am to 14 February 2017, 3am.

                Although these are great news for players still on the game, we are not sure if it will be welcomed by lovers on a date. After all, you are on a date and you should be talking instead of trapping monsters. Charlie Puth will agree with us.

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                  Nextbit Robin
                  Nextbit Robin is a cloud-first smartphone

                  In the order of the very best to the best, GrateNews round up the best of the best smartphones this year. In this year’s list, we have also included some of the lesser known brands that are making a big splash designing the device you use the most everyday. So, if you already own one of these great devices, a big pat on your back, if not, you have been informed.

                  1. iPhone 7 Plus

                  If you can get past the fact that the latest iPhone without a 35mm headphone jack, then the iPhone 7 Plus is the best phone launched this year. iPhone 7 Plus comes with a dual-lens element that combines a wide angle camera and a telephoto camera that have a 2 times optical zoom and and up to 10 times digital zoom for photos. The dual-lens camera will be able to shoot pictures with bokeh or “depth-of-field effect”, separating the background from the foreground for portraits. It is also one of the first water-resistant phone from Apple.

                  2. Google Pixel XL

                  2016 is the year of the Pixel. Discontinuing the Nexus series, Google’s latest phones, Pixel and Pixel XL, takes full advantage of the Android operating system and Google Assistant to offer an incredibly smooth performance. Although the phone’s battery is smaller than the Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge, the new Pixel XL comes with a fast charging feature that can revitalise your phone for up to 7 hours of usage from a mere 15-minute charge.

                  3. Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge

                  Although it is hard to ignore the exploding Samsung phones, Samsung still makes some of the best smartphones in the world. The Galaxy S7 Edge is one of them and features excellent performance, fantastic dual pixel camera and brilliant curve screen display.

                  4. iPhone SE

                  The iPhone SE is basically a very small iPhone 6s that packs Apple’s latest A9 chip, M9 co-processor, 12-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera. According to Apple, the iPhone SE two times faster than the iPhone 5s on performance, and three times faster on graphics, making it the fastest 4-inch smartphone ever.

                  5. HTC 10

                  We have friends that swear by phones designed by HTC. Well if you are a HTC fan, you will be glad to know that HTC 10 is created by fusing the great design elements from previous models as well as improving the not-so-good features. The result is a premium looking smartphone has a great camera, up to 2 days of battery life and sounds incredible with the HTC BoomSound and speakers.

                  6. OnePlus 3T

                  If you still haven’t heard of the the company OnePlus, they are known in the industry as the “flagship killer” for producing one of the most talked­-about smartphones of 2014. This year, their OnePlus 3T will probably repeat the feat. OnePlus 3T is a super sough-after smartphone that packs a ultra-fast processor, 6GB worth of RAM and a 16MP camera into a sleek metal body.

                  7. LG G5

                  Ditching its plastic casing for an all-metal enclosure for the LG G5 seems to have done the South Korean company some good. The new phone doesn’t feel cheap now thanks to its firm aluminium frame. The phone is also full of geeky add-ons like the LG Cam Plus, an attachment that turns the phone into a point-and-shoot camera, the LG Hi-Fi Plus, a DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) tuned by Bang & Olufsen to improved audio playback and removable battery slot. When was the last time you had a smartphone with a removable battery?

                  8. Sony Z5 Premium

                  The Sony Z5 Premium is the world’s first ever 4K smartphone. That means that Sony has successfully crammed 3,840×2,160-pixel onto the 5.5-inch display. Unfortunately, that’s is probably the only headlining feature for the phone. Although the phone also features a new fingerprint sensor on top of the on/off button, a 23-megapixel rear camera with 4K capabilities and waterproof design, its hefty $1,100 price tag can be a turn off.

                  9. Nextbit Robin

                  Calling it the “first Android phone that makes running out of space history”, Nextbit Robin integrates the cloud with your Android OS seamlessly. The project that started on Kickstarter, received over USD 1.3 million in funding and looks on its way to make their cloud-first smartphone a hit. The company’s first phone, Robin, intelligently backs up your apps, photos and other items and restores them when you need it.

                  10. Huawei P9

                  It is hard not to compare Huawei with OPPO. Both Chinese company are vying for the leadership position of offering value-for-money smartphones. This year, Huawei certainly made some people sit up with their collaboration with legendary optics makers, Leica. The P9 is the third dual lens smartphone on the list but it works a little differently than that of the iPhone 7 Plus and LG G5. Both rear cameras takes the shot at the same time with one capturing a colour image and the other a monochromatic shot, resulting in better contrast and details in the images. And having Superman Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson promoting the phone for them certainly doesn’t hurt (see video).

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                    Beats x Alexander Wang Studio wireless headphone

                    Beats and Alexander Wang are back together again for another collaborative edition of the signature Beats Studio over-ear wireless headphones. This comes after their ever popular partnership on a series of Beats by Dr. Dre products featuring the New York designer’s signature gold accents and matte black finishes, topped with embossed glossy stingray case. The 2013 gold and black headphones are still listed as sold out on AlexandarWang.com.

                    Taking on the Beats Studio Wireless headphones solely this time, Alexander Wang worked his design magic, resulting in an uber stylish Dove Gray coloured headphones with croc-embossed Italian leather ear cups. The minimalistic look also features subtle chrome accents as well as a matte looking Beats logo on the ear cups. The flagship over-ear Bluetooth headphones from Beats also comes with matching croc-embossed leather case.

                    Sound-wise, the Beats Studio Wireless will be the same, featuring the labels’s Beats Acoustic Engine, a rechargeable 12-hour battery and Adaptive Noise Canceling.

                    Beats x Alexander Wang Studio wireless headphones

                    Beats x Alexander Wang Studio wireless headphones leather case
                    Match leather case in croc-embossed Italian leather

                    Alexander Wang x Beats Studio Wireless headphones is available at Apple.com for $868 (USD 599.95). For more information on the headphones, visit Beats by Dr. Dre.

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                      Pokemon GO for Apple Watch is now available on the Apple App Store

                      It’s official! The Apple Watch version of Pokémon GO shown to millions at Apple’s Keynote event this year is now available on the Apple App Store. Fans of the hit mobile game can now spot Pokémon near them and spin PokéStops to collect items directly from their wrists.

                      This update (1.21.2) will definitely help players or Pokémon Trainers to stare less at their phones and prevent accidents from happening to themselves and others. Other than allowing you to not miss out on a ‘catch’ opportunity, the Apple Watch version of the app also lets you track various activities by turning each play session on the watch as a Workout. For each Workout, you can easily refer to a summary screen that will display your expended calories, Buddy Pokémon ring progress for candies, nearby Pokémon as well as distances required to hatch Pokémon Eggs.

                      One thing you can’t do though is to catch a Pokémon directly from your watch. You will have to dish out your phone for that.

                      Check out our guide to the Christmas update, Ditto and new Pokémon.