Apps

Top AR apps to download for the holidays

How to make the most out of ARKit on the iPhone and iPad

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The holidays are upon us and whether it’s time spent allotted for friends and family, for buying gifts, or for self-improvement, knowing how to maximize the tools you have can help you make the most out of the festivities. Thankfully, in 2018, everything is more convenient with technology, and with augmented reality features right in the palm of our hands, you can be more efficient, learn new skills, and have fun using the devices you already have.

Here’s a roundup of things you can try all throughout the holiday season using your existing iPhones and iPads:


1. Do your shopping online

There’s nothing more annoying than spending precious hours in traffic or in queues just to get the best gifts for our loved ones or for ourselves. There are shops like Magnolia, Pure Cycles, and Sephora that have ARKit integration, which makes the online shopping experience closer to being physically present at the store and seeing the products in real life.

Instead of buying gifts on impulse online, you can put a weekender bag in front of you using your iPhone and see whether it’s the size that your best friend needs, or try a new lipstick shade on to check if it suits your skin tone.

2. Play games with family

Celebrations won’t be a bore with your existing iOS devices. Whether it’s LEGO AR with your favorite brother or Kings of Pool with friends, you’ll never run out of games to play at the next family get-together now that multiplayer AR games are available on the App Store.

3. Learn a new language or hone existing skills

The holidays are the ultimate me time — the time you can spend to recover from the year that was and work on self-improvement. Apps like Memrise take learning to a different level using augmented reality. Aside from the usual flashcards, you can use the iPhone’s camera, point at everyday objects, and learn what they’re called in the language you want to learn. If you’re into basketball, HomeCourt can help you improve by using AR to track your shots, misses, and spots.

ARKit is available on devices that run iOS 11 and above, and an A9 processor or later — that’s the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or up, iPad 5th and 6th Gen, or any iPad Pro.

Are you trying a new activity this year using augmented reality? There are over 5,000 AR apps available on the App Store that you can choose from. Let us know in the comments what your favorite is!

Apps

BlackBerry Messenger is shutting down

Enterprise version will live on

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Do you still remember your BlackBerry Messenger PIN? Almost a decade ago, BBM was the world’s most efficient solution for instant messaging. Before dependable data plans simplified messaging, BlackBerry offered a free alternative for its users. Years later, the tables have turned. Data packages have popularized other free messaging services like Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, and Viber. BlackBerry Messenger became obsolete.

Three years ago, BlackBerry tried a few resuscitation strategies, adding support between other apps. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Users just flowed liberally to other messaging apps.


Naturally, the end is near. BBM is past its expiration date. Now, BlackBerry has made the funeral official. On May 31, the company will cease support for BBM. Because of a rapidly declining user base, the messaging service will be shut down. At least, for consumers.

Instead, BlackBerry Messenger will live on through its enterprise version. Unlike the consumer version, BBMe — as the enterprise version is called — offers end-to-end encryption and message editing after sending. Initially intended for business users, the service requires a biannual US$ 2.50 subscription fee. Because of the recent announcement, BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise is now available for everyone to download.

“Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on,” BlackBerry said in a blog post. Regardless of its user base now, BBM’s end is a sad day for instant messaging. Back in its heyday, BlackBerry was a major force in the smartphone world, going toe-to-toe with Samsung and Apple. Exchanging BBM PINs was, in itself, a secret handshake exclusive only to BlackBerry users. Whether you were a user or not, BlackBerry Messenger was a huge hit back in the day.

SEE ALSO: BlackBerry KEY2 LE is a toned-down, colorful version of KEY2

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Video sharing app TikTok has disappeared from India

The company has challenged the ban in court

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The Indian government has ordered Google and Apple to take down the Chinese-owned TikTok video app after a court expressed concerns over the spread of pornographic material.

The Tamil Nadu state court had on April 3 asked the federal government to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and made younger users vulnerable to sexual predators. Its ruling came after an individual launched a public interest litigation calling for a ban.


In accordance with the ruling, the government asked Google and Apple to remove the app from Google Play and the App Store, respectively. Both companies have complied with the ruling.

TikTok is one of the most popular mobile apps in India and had been trending on app stores for quite some time. Bytedance, the company that runs the app, says it has more than 500 million users worldwide and 120 million of them are from India.

The app allows users to make and share short videos and it can still be used by those who have already downloaded it on their smartphones. Lip-syncing, jokes, Bollywood music, and memes have been a massive hit with the audience. With a 15-second time limit, the app is competing against behemoths like Instagram and even YouTube.

Bytedance has declined to provide a comment, stating the issue is still in court. The company has challenged the court’s decision and the next hearing is set for April 24.

Last week, a 19-year-old was shot dead by a friend in New Delhi as they posed with a pistol to make a video to show on TikTok. These incidents have fueled criticism for the app and unmoderated videos of minors are rampant.

This wasn’t the first time TikTok had been under scrutiny. In February, The US federal trade commission slapped a fine of US$ 5.7 million on the app to settle allegations of child privacy law violations.

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Plum is a dating app designed for women who want deeper connections

‘Where respect is rewarded’

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Tired (of dating apps)? Lonely? Looking for love — well, at least meaningful connections?

One new dating app will try to redefine the dating app experience.


“Where respect is rewarded” — that’s the tagline forwarded by Plum Dating. The dating app aims to reward respectful behavior by men where things other than just looks are factored in.

The brainchild of Jenna Birch, a dating coach and the author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life & Love, Plum allows women to rate men they’ve encountered on the app and not the other way around. Also, you can only rate the guy, but only after your date. The scoring system revolves around three core values: Profile authenticity, Communication, and Follow-through. As for men, the higher your rate is, the more visible you’ll be in the app.

In theory, this setup aims to scope out the “nice men” as women navigate a safer dating landscape. Think of it: Women have all the control, including if they want the option to message potential mates first, or the opposite, while men legitly just have to be decent people to score well. As to if it will actually work in real life, we’ll find out this spring, which is when the app is slated to come out.

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