It’s time to back up your iPhone and iPad: iOS 7 is almost here!

Later today, probably in just a few hours, Apple will begin rolling out the iOS 7 update for the iPhone and iPad. Arguably the most major software update to ever grace an Apple handheld device, iOS 7 brings a whole new look and feel to Apple’s line of smartphones and tablets, as well as tons of new functionality.

But before you upgrade your devices to iOS 7, there’s a crucial step you should take: back up your devices!

While most Apple upgrades are a smooth, simple process, there’s no guarantee that you won’t lose data when you decided to upgrade. Since we’re doing more than ever from our smartphones and tablets (and some even consider those devices more important than proper hygiene), the fallout from losing data on your device could be devastating.

So here’s how to back everything up before you upgrade to iOS 7. Read More

How to Update to iOS 7: What You Need to Know

iOS 7, Apple’s newest edition of its mobile operating system, is coming to devices near you on September 18th. With a new, more colorful look and some pretty substantial changes under the hood, some people are calling this release the biggest change to the operating system since the release of the original iPhone. And, as with all the updates to iOS, the newest version is totally free. So whether you want the new look and feel, want to be on the cutting edge of the new features and security updates, or are just really excited about the new filters on the camera app, here’s what you need to know before you can make the change.

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How to Use Apple AirPrint

AirPrint reverses the normal mobile trend. A lot of the hype about mobile technologies has centered on “augmented reality”—letting you see the world with additional data provided from your phone or a special device like Google Glass. But we don’t just need to bring reality into the digital realm; sometimes we need to bring the digital realm into reality. Apple’s AirPrint technology is supposed to do just that—let you print from your phone or other iDevice—to an AirPrint enabled printer on the same wireless network.

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The iPhone 5C: Newer, Cheaper, More Colorful

Apple’s new product announcements are expected on September 10th, and we already talked about what to expect from the upgrade of Apple’s iPhone 5, which, if tradition holds, will be known as the iPhone 5S. But maybe the bigger news is that Apple is likely to announce a totally new addition to its iPhone product line, probably known as the iPhone 5C.

If the leaked pictures are any indication, you’d think the C stands for color—unlike the subdued glass and aluminum casings of the current iPhone models, the iPhone 5C looks a little more like the old iPhone 3s, sporting a curvier form factor with a plastic back, and, for the first time in an iPhone, available in a variety of vibrant colors. As of now, we’ve seen leaked pictures of white, green, pink, blue, and yellow cases (but no black). But the C might also stand for Cheap. Or at least Cheaper. The iPhone 5C will probably have the same specs as the original iPhone 5, making it a little less pricey than the new 5S, and the plastic case will save consumers a bit, too. Read More

iPhone 5S Rumor Roundup

Photo courtesy Engadget

In case you haven’t heard, the new iPhone will be announced on September 10th. We think. And it’ll be available for purchase on Friday, September 20th. Well, again, we think. Apple is one of the most secretive companies on the planet, and the precise specs of new products are subject to rumors months before we have any real evidence about what’s going on.

But that’s half the fun these days. Let’s take a look at what we think we know, what we don’t know, and what we hope for from the newest iPhone. Read More

SXSW: Chevy Eyes-Free Siri Integration

Chevy Hand-Free Integration
Demo of Siri Eyes-Free Integration in the new Chevy Sonic

One cool thing we saw at SXSW was how tech is being incorporated into our vehicles so we can use our phones and apps even while we’re driving. We got a chance to get a demo from Chevy in their new Sonic, a compact car with their MyLink system. The MyLink system is basically their in-car entertainment system. But what’s new here is that it links up to your phone, so you can use your iTunes or apps like Pandora through your car screen. That means no fiddling with your phone when you’re supposed to be driving!

If you have Siri (iPhone) or Nancy (Android), you can also use that through your car to make calls right from your steering wheel, which means you never have to take your eyes off the road, because it’s all voice activated. Siri can also send and read your text messages. And since your phone plugs into the car, you don’t have to worry about Bluetooth battery drain. We’ll be posting more about in-car tech in action, but for now here’s a demo of Siri at work in a new Chevy Sonic:

Google Launches Maps App for iPhone

new google maps app for iPhoneIf you’ve put off upgrading your iPhone or iPod touch to iOS6 because of Apple’s maps fiasco, procrastinate no more! Last night Google announced they’ve got a new Google Maps app specifically for iPhone and iPod touch. You can read the official Google blog post here, or if you’re like me, go directly to the Apps store to download. Funnily enough, when I searched for Google Maps in the app store it was actually the 5th result, so make sure you grab the right thing.

This is a big deal, because in case you missed it, Google Maps used to come pre-installed on iPhones. With the release of iOS6, Apple pulled Google Maps in favor of their own mapping application, and it’s just not very good. So all the folks who upgraded to iOS6 were stuck without a Google Maps app while Google got theirs ready.

The new app will sync to your Google profile to let you save “your maps,” and remembers previous searches and directions. If you don’t want the service, simply don’t sign in with your Google ID. You should also decide whether you want Google to collect location data from your phone. Much like your browsing history, Google defaults to collecting your data and anonymizing it by throwing it into a big pool of data about all their users. To turn it off, simply click the little person at the top right of the map screen. That will take you to a “My Profile” page. Click the gear at the top right and go to About, terms, & privacy, and then Terms & Privacy again. From that screen you can turn the location data collection off (and read their privacy policy too if you’re interested).

The new app has some cool updates, like improved design, better incorporation with Google’s Street View and easier inputs for getting directions. All in all, it’s a great app that looks modern and has a much easier user experience then we’ve been treated to in the past. Definitely download it, and definitely upgrade to iOS6 if you haven’t already! Here’s our guide on how to upgrade safely to make sure you don’t lose any data.

Mario Armstrong’s Fall and Winter Tech Trends

In the “Control Your Environment” series, Curbed sits down with top influencers in the design world to find out what’s cool in entertaining, technology and home design. In this episode, they featured me! So click on the image above, or hit up this link to see what I think some of the top tech trends will be this fall and winter, and find out what I think one of the most overlooked iPhone 5 features is!

HLN VIDEO: 3 Great Alternatives to the iPhone 5

Yes, I’m going to say it: There are alternatives to the new iPhone 5.

Yikes, I better prepare for all the hate mail from Apple fanboys and fangirls.

Look I’m not against the iPhone 5 — actually, I like it a lot. And yes Apple gets a lot of media attention, but times will shift. I mean, I can still remember the days when Blackberry dominated the news cycle. Nowadays the iPhone 5 tends to dominate. Well, that was until the Samsung Galaxy SIII “Next Big Thing” ads started really taking off.

The bottom line is that there are other phones out there that are awesome in their own way. Read the rest of this post on to see my recommendations.