Life & Technology - 2GB 16th November, 2014

If you’ve ever moved from an iPhone to another phone, like an Android, you may have found you’ve stopped receiving texts from your iFriends – and its not just because they think you’re a traitor. We get calls and emails in about this every month, and Apple has finally fixed it – they’ve released an online tool that will uncouple your phone number from iMessage, meaning you can finally receive messages from your iPhone-wielding friends. Here's how to fix it
 
Huawei had some exciting news for Australians this week, with the announcement that they're bringing their new phablet, the Ascend Mate 7, to Australia. I had a chat with Huawei's Australian Product Manager, Jephix Liu to learn some more about the device. The Ascend Mate 7 is a huge device with an 6-inch screen, eight-core processor, 3GB of RAM and a massive battery. To top it off, the Mate 7 has a super responsive finger-print reader, easily the best I've seen on an Android phone. The cool thing about it is that you can also use it to setup a guest account for your kids, so they don't have access to all of your apps, photos or contacts. But the best thing about the Ascend Mate 7 would have to be its price: the 32GB version will cost just AUD$699. Pretty good value for money if you ask me.
 
Last week we were talking about our old phones and we asked listeners to send in photos of their old handsets. Chris Macpherson sent us in what would have be the oldest phones cellphones we’ve seen in a while: the Motorola MicroTAC Ultra Lite. Here’s a fun fact for you – The Motorola MicroTAC Ultra Lite has the first phone to have a vibrating ringer. Click here for a photo.  
 
We’ve also dug up some of favourite old gadgets, including some pre-iPhone smartphones, classic mobiles and MP3 players for a bit of a retro round-up on CyberShack.com.au. We also found an old gem – the Nokia N-Gage, which is unofficially known as the taco phone. It was the first mobile phone that tried to also be a gaming device, and unfortunately, it was a bit ahead of the times. It could have been great, but its legacy definitely lives on in modern smartphones.
 
On the subject of old gadgets, the Powerhouse museum is currently running an exhibition highlighting old gadgets, and how technology design has changed. I caught up with Campbell Bickerstaff, the exhibition’s curator, to learn a bit more about the exhibit. Not only does the exhibit showcase old computers and phones, but there's also typewriters, radios and phones! Unfortunately, all the exhibits are powered off, so I haven't been able to go hands on with the PowerGlove yet. Might have to go on EBay and finally buy one! The exhibition will run until October next year.
 
Telstra is the first Australian telco to introduce real-time mobile data usage alerts. Customers will now get notifications when they have used 50%, 85% or 100% of their monthly data allowance as they go. Previously, customers would have to wait up to 48 hours to receive an alert about their usage.
 
Canon this week launched Irista, a new cloud-based photo management service. I had a chat to Jason McLean, Canon Australia's director of Consumer Imaging for Australia to learn a bit more about the service. Irista is designed to keep photos safe, and a study that Canon found that 76% of Australians have lost precious photos. Irista's free tier comes with 10GB of storage, which should give users room for about 2000 images.
 
A French Apple rumours website has suggested the golden Apple Watch, known as the Apple Watch Edition, could cost as much USD$5000. This model of the Apple Watch is made from 18 carat gold, which certainly explains the price, but at the same time, most watches will last for life, whereas the first edition Apple Watch could be obsolete within years.
 
However, the entire of the Apple Watch’s internals fit on one chip, so its possible that Apple could upgrade older swatches by swapping out the chip. Users might even be able to do this themselves. Of course, you won’t be able to upgrade the design. The entry level Apple Watch is much cheaper, at USD$350. Guess we’ll find out more when its released in early 2015.
 
And just one more reminder: I'll be speaking at the 16th Australian Computer Conference for Seniors, on the 19th of November at the Rydges World Square Hotel. The event is designed to help empower seniors, and enhance their use of technology.  I'll be speaking about new developments in consumer tech.