Hyundai’s BlueLink lets Apple Watch or iPhone start, lock + find your car.

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Meet BlueLink, a Hyundai cloud-connected service that provides cool remote access features for select vehicles. I recently had a chance to test BlueLink with the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In, and now I’m convinced that connected cars are the future.

BlueLink links up to your vehicle using its VIN number, using the Internet to relay information to and from the car, wherever you may be. Connected apps for cars, homes, and other smart accessories are cool and all, but what if you could start your car or unlock your doors from an Apple Watch, without taking a step? Welcome to what’s next…

Hyundai’s BlueLink app works with iOS and Android devices, and looks very similar across both platforms. The functions allow you to lock and unlock the doors, start and stop the car, flash the lights, honk the horn, and even locate it from a distance. BlueLink also provides current statistics on the vehicle’s battery charge, and other important data.

Beyond supporting phones, BlueLink also features smartwatch integration with both Apple Watch and Android Wear. You can easily launch the watch companion, choose from specific functions within the interface and perform any action. There’s even voice control support within the smartwatch app that will utilize Google Now or Siri dictation to take your command and make it happen.

Check out our first look video below to see BlueLink in action:

How will this be practical? Well, let’s say it’s cold outside and you want to warm up the car for a bit before leaving the house. All you’d need to do is launch the app, tap the remote start icon, pick a running time duration, and set the temperature you’d like the car to be at when you get in. The app will send your request wirelessly to the vehicle. The same remote access works for unlocking or locking the doors, locating your vehicle with Google Maps, or even flashing the headlights and honking the horn to help you find the car in a packed parking lot. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Each time you send a command, you’ll be required to enter in a four digital PIN code which can get annoying at times, but it’s there for security reasons. I’d love to see this integrated with Touch ID on the iPhone or the simple “on-wrist” protection that Apple Watch offers. Unfortunately, at the moment, you’ll need to enter this PIN each time you’d like to control the vehicle.

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BlueLink is a very cool service that Hyundai is putting together, and I’m looking forward to the future of connected cars, smart integration, and remote access. Connected cars are definitely the future, but are they worth buying right now?

Unlike smartphones, most people don’t upgrade their car every year, so it’s important to get in at a point when the technology is readily available and stable. I think that moment in time is coming very soon, and I’m definitely looking forward to it. It’s also important to note that BlueLink is a subscription service through Hyundai. What Hyundai is doing with this technology isn’t exactly new, since Tesla has been working on similar functionality for a while, but I’m glad to see more cars adding cloud-connected features. For a closer look at BlueLink and its smartphone/smartwatch integration, check out the video above.

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Dropped iPhone 5 films its watery descent to the ocean floor.

Water way to test your iPhone!

An iPhone 5 user from San Diego almost lost his Apple handset after accidentally dropping it into the sea.

“My brother tried throwing my phone to me,” Gregory Papadin told British newspaper The Mirror. “It ended up going straight under water and sank to bottom of the ocean floor.”

Papadin says the underwater pressure proved too much for him and his brother to swim down and retrieve the phone, but the captain of the ship he was renting was able to dive in and get it — to discover that the phone had not only managed to survive the episode, but actually film its own watery descent.

The iPhone 5 in question was protected by a LifeProof case, described by its manufacturers as being capable of surviving “anything you throw at [it].”

The company claims its waterproof cases will protect the iPhone down to depths of around 6.6 feet, but judging by this video it may have been selling itself a bit short.

InnoFlask Portable Bluetooth Speaker Is Just What I Was Wanting.

When I received the InnoFLASK portable speaker ($129.95) $88.43, the first music I played was my long-time favorite: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture. It has a wide dynamic range, and seemed like a perfect test for this speaker. I was impressed.

I’ve listened to this composition many times over the years on many different stereo systems. It’s a good test because Rimsky-Korsakov uses such colorful orchestration and dynamic range, from a single flute to the full orchestra playing fortissimo. Often when I’d listen to it, the solo passages would be almost inaudible. If I cranked up the volume, the fortissimo passages toward the end would be too loud or would distort. I’m not a connoisseur of speakers, and this is my first Bluetooth portable speaker, so I don’t have a basis for comparison, but the InnoFlask handled the task well.

I turned up the InnoFlask to full volume and could hear the quiet solo passages clearly. Yet there was no distortion in the loudest parts of the work. Every level was satisfying. The fortissimo felt full bodied but not overly loud.

The InnoFlask can fill a room with sound. And I can hear it well enough in the next room to continue enjoying the music if I’m moving around the house. Certainly it’s not a full-fledged stereo, but if you need portability it seems a good choice. And for me, it’s a perfect choice. I like to live lean, with not a lot of big toys in my environment. I’ve never wanted a component system, with large speakers and wires. It felt like clutter. The InnoFlask fits my lifestyle. The music satisfies, yet it takes up little space.

The design is attractive, and includes a speaker and a solid case. You can throw InnoFlask in a backpack or purse, or put it in a pocket, and not worry about damage. The case is about the size of a glasses case and the speaker and case weigh less than a pound. You can also conveniently use the case as a stand for the speaker.

Setup was simple. I had it paired with my iPad in a couple minutes without reading the directions, though I did glance at the Quick Guide on the packaging. The InnoFlask gives helpful sounds to let you know its status, such as when it’s connected. The volume buttons double as track-up and track-down buttons, while the pairing button doubles as a play-pause button.

The InnoFlask comes in black, blue, orange, and white, and retails for $129.95. It’s currently available for less than $90 on Amazon. (I was lucky to receive a free evaluation unit.) The package includes speaker, case, charging cable, and manual.

Pros

  • The InnoFlask is highly portable, attractive, and can fill a room.
  • It handles a wide dynamic range with aplomb.

Cons

  • Being a small portable speaker, it won’t fill a whole house with music.

Final Verdict

The InnoFlast seems a good choice.

iPhone Live Streaming: Free app streams your screen.

iPhone Live Streaming

For as long as the iPhone has been around, users have wanted to stream their screens on the internet. Now, the developers at Lookback have made that dream a reality. And best of all, their new app is completely free.

Aptly dubbed Unicorns, the group’s new app can be downloaded from their website and installed on a Mac computer. Once the app is installed, all you need to do is connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac and click the stream button in the app. Voila! You’re off and streaming.

You’ll get a unique link that can then be shared with anyone and everyone you want to have access to your stream. There’s also a chat mechanism built right into the site, so people can discuss your stream. Think of it as Twitch for your iPhone.

Here’s a demo of iPhone screen streaming in action, and a link to download the app can be found below in our source section.

Apples Watch apps are about to get the speed boost they desperately need.

Native Apple Watch apps are coming.

Apple Watch is one the most incredible watch I’ve ever owned, but there’s just one problem — the apps are all soooo slow.

That could change pretty soon, according to Apple VP of Operations Jeff Williams, who says Apple will give developers a preview of native Apple Watch apps at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Currently, only Apple’s own apps run natively on the Apple Watch S1 chips. By adding support for third-party software, Apple Watch apps won’t only be faster, they’ll also have access to more sensors.

During his interview at the Code Conference this morning, Williams told Walt Mossberg that third-party apps will get direct access to all of Apple Watch’s sensors, so if you use fitness apps you won’t be forced to use Apple’s built-in exercise app to access all your fitness data. There could even be better games focused on the watch.

Fully native Apple Watch apps won’t come out until the fall, says Williams, but they’ll be much better than the current options. “Third-party apps will get much better when they can release code natively for the watch and have access to native sensors,” said Williams. “That will make for better apps.”

Williams’ interview is still underway at Code Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. You can follow all the action live here.

Apple will kick off WWDC 2015 with June 8 keynote.

WWDC is just around the corner.

Apple updated its official WWDC app this morning, and along with listing hundreds of sessions that will give developers an inside look at the latest iOS and Mac software, the app reveals the conference will kick off with a two-hour keynote June 8.

Media invites to the Worldwide Developers Conference 2015 keynote were sent out to press this morning, though the signage is the exact same as the WWDC logo that was revealed last month.

Apple is expected to show off iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 at this year’s dev conference, which runs June 8 to 12. Both of the operating system updates will reportedly focus on bug fixes and performance improvements.

A redesign of the Beats Music service also might appear during the keynote, and Apple TV could get an update and a software development kit, too.

The keynote kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific and lasts until 12 p.m. Apple hasn’t said yet whether the keynote will be streamed live to iOS, OS X and Apple TV devices, but developers who can’t attend will be able to stream sessions from the Dev Center or via the update app.

You can download the updated WWDC app from the iOS App Store.

New iOS Bug Crashing iPhones Simply by Receiving a Text Message.

A new bug has been discovered in the Messages app, allowing a string of characters sent to a person via iMessage or SMS to crash an iPhone and cause the Messages app to crash after being opened. The bug, which requires a specific string of symbols and Arabic characters to be sent, was first noticed on reddit earlier this afternoon and has been spreading around the Internet since then.

Sending the string of characters to an iPhone results in an immediate respring, causing an iPhone to crash and quickly reboot. From there, if the Messages app was opened at a list view, the Messages app crashes automatically when you try to open it. If it was opened to the conversation where you received the message, the app will open, but attempting to go to another conversation causes Messages to crash.

messagescrashingbugMacRumors tested the bug on iPhones running iOS 8.3, but it may also be affecting other versions of iOS.

If you receive one of these messages, there are a few possible fixes that have worked for us and for other people who have encountered the bug. If the Messages app was opened to the conversation with the person who sent the offending message, the Messages app can be reopened to this conversation. Sending a reply message fixes the problem.

If Messages was opened to the conversation list view, the app will crash when you attempt to open it. You can fix this by having someone send you a message or by sending a message to yourself. There are several options for sending a message to yourself, including sending yourself a message via Siri or through the Share sheet in any app.

To send yourself a message in Siri, tell Siri to “Send a message to myself.” Siri will open up a dialogue where you can give her a quick message like “Fix” that’ll be sent to your iPhone to clear away the malicious message.

Alternatively, you can open an app like Notes, craft a quick note, and use the Share option (the little document with an arrow) to message it to yourself. Sending yourself something though the share sheet of an app opens a new messages window where you can enter your own contact information.

According to a Twitter user who spoke to Apple support, Apple’s engineers are aware of the problem and are working on a fix.