Apps

Apple focuses on speed and functionality rather than big features on iOS 12

That doesn’t mean there are no fun new features to play with, though

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We were already expecting Apple to unveil the latest version of their mobile operating system simply called iOS 12 at WWDC 2018. The rumors surrounding its new features were pretty quiet, so we didn’t really know what to look forward to.

As it turned out, Apple didn’t focus on making big changes to iOS, but instead made sure that it’ll work smoothly even on older iPhones and iPads. Although, that doesn’t mean there are no new features to be excited about.

iOS 12 may not have the grand change iOS 7 had years ago, but the new update does include some significant additions and improvements like Screen Time, Memoji, Group FaceTime, and grouped notifications.

Screen Time

This is similar to what Google introduced in Android P. Apple wants their uses to have a healthier balance with gadgets and life, so the Screen Time feature in iOS 12 will make sure you’ll get that. It details how much time you’re spending on your device and apps. It can break down app usage by category and also track which one is constantly bugging you with notifications.

You’ll be able to set limits for each app if they become too addictive. A “time’s up” message will display if your allotted time is over, but you can always ask for more if you still want to continue. Parental controls are also integrated in the app, giving parents great control over how often kids stare at their device’s screen.

Memoji and new Animoji

Memoji is probably the most popular of the announcements today. If Animoji lets us become our favorite emoji, Memoji will let you create a personalized character that you can animate. It’s pretty much like Samsung’s AR Emoji, but improved in a lot of aspects. Memoji let’s you have your own appearance, choose skin color, hairstyle, and accessories.

Animoji is not forgotten with a new roster of characters including a ghost, koala, tiger, and a tyrannosaurus rex (or simply T-Rex). Not only that, Animoji now has the ability to detect your tongue. If you stick it out, Animoji will be able to mimic that.

Group FaceTime

Apple’s built-in video chat app will soon be able to let friends have a video conference with up to 32 people. Like other popular video conferencing apps, group FaceTime sessions will have dynamic video windows that get larger when the user in that window is speaking. You might say it’s a boring update, but hold your horses.

If you don’t feel like showing your face in the call or wanna stir up some fun, you’ll be able to use Animoji and your Memoji character during calls. I can already imagine having a lively video conference even during work meetings.

Grouped notifications

At last! Grouped notifications is a long overdue fix to iOS’ messy notifications. In iOS 12, you’ll now be able to interact with or dismiss multiple notifications from the same app at once — just like how Android has been doing it for years. Aside from this, there are also new tweaks like individual setup of “Quiet” app notifications that will show up on your lock screen or not make a sound at all.

Better AR and a new Measure app

In iOS 12, augmented reality is still a focus feature. A more powerful AR experience is coming our way on Apple’s mobile devices along with a new Measure app. As the name suggests, the app is for measuring objects or distances around you. It’s practically an AR ruler similar to other third-party apps, but now made by Apple.

All about performance

As mentioned earlier, Apple is working to make iOS feel smoother and faster especially on older devices. Based on their test on a four-year-old iPhone 6, these are what they found about iOS 12’s performance: Apps launch 40 percent faster, the system keyboard shows up 50 percent faster, and the camera launches 70 percent faster.

“For iOS 12, we are doubling down on performance.” — Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering for Apple

Apple focuses on what’s in the core to make sure the new update will not slow down older devices. This is probably to address the battery issues and intentional slow down fiasco. iOS 12 will be available for download later this year, but you can join the beta program to get ahead of everyone else. All devices running iOS 11 are eligible to get iOS 12 — nice!

Apps

Nickelodeon Pixel Town: Another game to play while on lockdown

They’ve got adorable pixel art!

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Nickelodeon is serving up a new mobile game for us: Nickelodeon Pixel Town. A mobile game we can all sink our teeth into as we try to cope with everything that 2020 has been throwing at us so far.
So, what is it exactly? Nickelodeon Pixel Town is a city building game. The name of the game is building your own Nickelodeon city where you can collect characters, costumes, iconic buildings, and items from different Nickelodeon series. The most charming bit? It’s all drawn in highly stylistic retro pixel art.

For your city inhabitants, you get to collect characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Invader Zim, CatDog, The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, Rugrats, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold! and The Wild Thornberrys.

Honestly, if you don’t have a Switch and have been gritting your teeth through the lockdown while people have been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this is a decent mobile game to bring back some nostalgia. Because with all the hellish news lately, don’t we all just want to curl up into a ball and go back to a time when times seemed so much simpler? Not any better of a place and time perse, sure. But, just a time when we were too young to know any better.

Want to give this game a go?

Nickelodeon has an official launch celebration for the Pixel Town.  You can use the code PIXELTOWNHL to redeem 500 Gems for free! To redeem it, you can go to their website, click redemption, and fill up the necessary info.

If you want to build up a reason to disconnect and play like me, you can. The freebies are valid until 30 June 2020, 11:59PM (GMT+8). That’s a pretty good amount of time to be rally up enough pent up emotions to need some time away to hop back fiercer. Nickelodeon Pixel Town is available in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia on Google Play and Apple App Store.

SEE ALSO: 10 offline free-to-play mobile games

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GrabPay Card launches for hassle-free online payments

In partnership with MasterCard

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The ongoing health crisis has made cashless payments a necessity. After expanding their payment portfolio, Grab is now launching GrabPay Card to offer even more ways to handle cashless transactions.

Grab partnered with MasterCard to make this happen. MasterCard’s research showed that in April 2020, 40% of Filipinos resorted to contactless payments. Hardly surprising given the health crisis, but important information to act on nevertheless.

Which brings us now to the GrabPay Card. So what exactly does it do? Its aim is simple: to bring financial inclusion to the millions of underbanked and unbanked in Southeast Asia.

What does it do?

  • Pay for everything online. The GrabPay digital card vastly expands Grab’s online merchant ecosystem, allowing users, regardless of whether they have a bank account, to transact securely and easily online at nearly 53 million merchants worldwide that accept Mastercard cards.
  • Safe and secure cashless payments. As a digital-first card, its details are stored securely within the Grab app. It has an in-app card lock function enabled by Face ID and fingerprint biometric security, and PIN-protection that allow users to instantly suspend payments in case of lost cards or suspicious transactions.
  • More ways to earn GrabRewards. Whether you are using it to purchase an item online, pay for digital subscriptions, or transact locally and globally, users can earn GrabRewards points for transactions made in millions of merchant-partners that accept Mastercard.
  • Unique benefits for users. GrabPay Card users get Mobile protection insurance allowing them to pay for mobile postpaid phone bills using the GrabPay Card and receive protection against accidental damage or theft. The card is also equipped with E-commerce protection that allows users to receive coverage for online transactions in the event that a wrong and/or defective item is delivered, and incomplete or non-delivery of the item.

Worried about security? GrabPay Card is regulated by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or BSP. It comes with a 24/7 fraud detection engine so you can sleep soundly knowing your transactions are encrypted and protected.

How to get the Card

To use the GrabPay Card, you first need to upgrade the GrabPay wallet by following the in-app verification process. After verification, follow these steps:

    1. Tap ‘Payment’ icon at the bottom of your Grab homescreen
    2. Ensure you have activated and upgraded your GrabPay Wallet
    3. Tap ‘Get your GrabPay Card now’ to access your card details
    4. Enter your PIN to secure your card
    5. Start using your digital card details for your online transactions

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What can you do on the Huawei P40 Pro?

Pretty much everything

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Still on the fence about the Huawei P40 Pro? Let us tell you that it’s as sleek and sexy as you see in the photos. It’s probably one of the best phones to hold today. But of course, there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

Is it just a glorified smartphone camera or is it actually a smartphone? The short answer is yes, it most definitely is a smartphone. Huawei has done a good job at beefing up the AppGallery and providing other means to get apps on their new flagships.

So here’s some of the things you can do on your Huawei P40 Pro.

Play your favorite mobile games

The Huawei P40 Pro is stacked on the specs department. It’s running the company’s latest — the Kirin 990 5G SoC along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

That’s more than enough power and memory to run your favorite games. A lot of which you won’t have trouble accessing. Hard core racing game Asphalt 9 is available via the AppGallery. If you want something more casual, there’s also the classic Candy Crush.

What about other games? Popular titles like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, PUBG Mobile, and many others are accessible through the web or through third party apps.

Watch your beloved shows 

Maintaining some semblance of work-life-balance at a time when most of us are asked to work from home can be challenging. Winding down after a long day to watch your favorite show is one way to do it.

Get your K-Drama those via Viu or choose from a wide selection of local and foreign shows and movies on iFlix. Both apps are available on the AppGallery.

Not enough for you? You can get Netflix on the Huawei P40 Pro also through a third party app. If you want to just get lost in a YouTube rabbit hole, you can get to it through the Huawei browser.

For quicker access, you can add YouTube to your home screen. On the Huawei browser, simply tap on the three dots right next to address bar. It’ll show the menu. Just tap “Add to home screen” from there.

The 6.58-inch AMOLED display along with its relatively small footprint and good grip makes the P40 Pro great for this activity. The screen is fantastic and you won’t wear your arm out holding it up for an extended period.

Be a responsible social media user 

The being responsible part is entirely up to you, but we highly encourage it. On the AppGallery or through third party apps, you can get access to the top social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Kumu.

Browsing on social media and using your phone in general is easier on the eyes thanks to the 90Hz screen refresh rate. It’s a smoother experience that you will definitely notice.

But don’t just share anything. Make sure the stuff you’re posting, especially when it’s news, is from a reputable source. On the AppGallery you can get the CNN Breaking US & World News app. If you need something that’s local to the Philippines, there’s the GMA News app.

While you’re at it, make sure you brush up on your vocabulary. The Merriam-webster dictionary is available for download on the AppGallery. So when you encounter a word you’re not familiar with, you can simply look it up.

Discover your inner photographer

You might also be inclined to share your quarantine food of the day. You’ve been adding skill points to your culinary abilities and what better way to show them off than through photos.

The camera set on the P40 Pro will make sure your FOTD is high quality. After all, you get a 50MP main shooter. If you want to get closer, there’s the 12MP telephoto lens. To get a wider perspective, you have the 40MP wide angle camera. There’s also a TOF 3D lens for good measure.

The P40 Pro is also home to new features that we’re sure you’ll find useful. For instance there’s AI Remove Reflection. Say you wanted to get a shot of the sky through your window. Inevitably, you’ll capture part of your window glass. The new feature will magically take that away for you. That same magic works on the AI Passersby feature. The phone will let you crop out unwanted object from your shot. Neat!

Speaking of magic, you don’t have to worry about missing magical moments with the AI Best Moment feature. It’s almost self-explanatory. Not all of us are skilled with capturing the right moment at the right time. What the P40 Pro does is it analyzes the frames taken before, during, and after a photo is taken to give you the best possible shot. It’s also perfect for when you’re taking a shot of moving objects or movement in general.

Spice things up using various photo editing tools on the AppGallery like PicsArt or Photogrid. Alternatively, you can also download our personal favorite — Snapseed through third-party means.

Be a TikTok star

Or not. It’s really up to you. Just putting the possibility out there. That said, on top of the rear camera set already mentioned above, you also have a 32MP front-facing camera.

So whether you’re dancing in front of your phone or you’re shooting a set of clips for a nice little skit, you have quality cameras that can help elevate the quality of your videos.

TikTok, of course, is readily downloadable on AppGallery.

If you want to be extra and buy props and what not for your journey to becoming a TikTok star, Lazada and Shopee are also on AppGallery making sure you have quick access to online shopping.

Manage your finances 

But how do you pay? Funny you should ask. E-wallets like GCash and PayMaya are downloadable on the AppGallery. You simply need to set up either one (or both. Pro tip: You should have both), to help handle online payments. In this age of social distancing, the less we contact we have with other people, the better.

Banking apps like BDO, Citibank, and Landback are also available on the AppGallery. For everything else, you can access through third party apps or through their web version on the Huawei browser.

Develop a quaranfling 😉

We get it. You’re stuck at home. It can get lonely. But it doesn’t have to be. If your crush isn’t responding to your multiple attempts to slide in his/her DMs, perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere.

Bumble is available on the AppGallery so you can swipe away to try to find a connection online with someone who you know would already be interested in you in some shape or form.

Other dating apps like Tinder and OKCupid aren’t there yet, but they are in the pipeline so you’re not totally missing out.

Stay connected with family, friends, and loved ones

If a fleeting romantic connection isn’t your thing, then just make sure you reach out to the one’s closest to you. Human beings are social butterflies, and this self-isolation is putting that quality to the test.

Keep your connections strong through various messaging apps like Messenger, Viber, and WeChat. All of which are available via the AppGallery or through third party apps.

MeeTime

Additionally, you and your friends can all get a P40 series phone and hop on a MeeTime call. Sometimes chatting just isn’t gonna cut it. Seeing and talking to each other in real time through video calls can help bridge that communication gap.

If you happen to have a 5G SIM with 5G coverage in your area then you’re in luck! The Huawei P40 Pro is 5G-capable. That tech is still developing but when it’s ready, you know for sure you’ll be ready.

It can help fill that gaping hole brought about by the gloom and doom of this pandemic. Dark. But it doesn’t have to be. MeeTime can help.

Certainly a capable smartphone

The Huawei P40 Pro gives you access to pretty much everything you’ll need and expect to get access to on a smartphone. The apps you use on the daily, and other new ones that you might find helpful are available on Huawei’s on AppGallery or through other means.

It’s not just a camera with smartphone features. It’s a smartphone full stop. And quite a really good one at that.

The Huawei P40 Pro retails for PhP 50,990. You can buy it now on the Lazada Huawei Store and MemoXpress.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines

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