Kim Komando: 5 incredible ways to use your smartphone’s camera

Unless you’re a serious photographer, you probably don’t carry a digital camera anymore. There’s no need: A typical smartphone comes with at least one camera, and lenses are sharper and more dynamic than ever. Even pro photojournalists often turn to their Samsung Galaxy, and entire feature films have been shot with iPhones. It’s hard to believe but many people, including myself, hardly use a smartphone to make phone calls anymore. Smartphones also have an advantage that regular cameras don’t — apps. Your phone’s camera is a powerful tool, capable of far more than regular picture-taking. With the right apps, your phone can absorb visual information and use it for everyday tasks. You can conduct searches, tackle a shopping list, read a foreign language or solve math problems — all with a lens the size of a marker tip. What is your camera actually capable of? Here are five unexpected ways to use your smartphone camera. 1. Use a visual search engine. CamFind is a bit like a regular internet search site, except it uses images instead of words. The app is available for both Android and iOS phones. Open the app, snap a photo and watch as it runs through keywords that identify what’s in the picture. It will then generate a list of similar images and related search results. CamFind doesn’t always get everything exactly right, but it does take darn good guesses, and sometimes it’s dead-on accurate. It will change the way you think about doing internet searches. 2. Be a power shopper. If you don’t have the Amazon mobile shopping app, then you’re missing out on some cool camera tricks that can make purchasing easier. Click on the camera icon in the app’s search box to pull up your camera’s view. From here, choose which feature you want to access. You can search for products by snapping a photo, scan a barcode or check and redeem gift cards. This is cool. You can also use Continue Reading

Don’t like the iPhone X’s notch? There’s an app that can help

In the 10 days since it has gone on sale, Apple's new $999 iPhone X has received plenty of praise for its screen, cameras and new features like Face ID facial recognition. One part of Apple's latest iPhone, however, has been a bit more divisive: The "notch." Otherwise known as the black bar that breaks up the top of the phone's 5.8-inch display, the notch holds the front camera and sensors for the iPhone X's Face ID feature and is a necessity given that Apple has removed the iPhone's traditional bezels that previously housed the phone's front camera components. The design decision has drawn the ire of some users online and even has become the butt of a new Samsung ad that pokes fun at ten years of the iPhone.  More: Samsung pokes fun at putting iPhones in a bowl of rice in latest ad More: I've had an iPhone X all week. Here's what's easier and what's still a struggle More: Follow USA TODAY Money and Tech on Facebook But to paraphrase an Apple ad, there's an app that can help. At least partially. Called "Notch Remover," developer Axiem Systems created a 99 cents app designed to help hide the notch on your iPhone X's home and lock screens by adding a simple black bar atop your wallpapers to better blend the notch and display. The app has already shot up Apple's App Store charts, rising to 14 on the Apple's "Top Paid Apps" list and the top spot amongst utilities. I downloaded the app and it more or less worked as advertised, though for me the notch has never been a problem on the home screen and I usually only notice it when watching videos at full screen, something this app can't change. While some people are downloading the app thinking it will "fix" the notch issue and prevent the iPhone X's black bar from interrupting the display, it is important to note this app only helps with the home and lock screen. It will not remove the notch when watching Continue Reading

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 gives users an options overload over Apple’s iPhone 5

If bigger is better, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 dwarfs arch-rival the iPhone 5. But when deciding which smartphone is worth the price, consider more than size. Personality counts, too. Do you prefer an overload of options, or is a simpler experience more your speed? While Tech Guru founder Daniel Moshe says the iPhone 5 continues Apple’s tradition of an easy-to-use device that “you can’t screw up,” Samsung’s flagship smartphone is all about stirring the senses. “It’s striking. It’s really impressive,” said Moshe, who runs a Minneapolis-based IT support company. “They’ve come a long way from making these ugly plastic things to a sharper-looking phone.” J.K. Shin, president of Samsung, shows off the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone at Radio City Music Hall. The Galaxy S4, which Samsung announced last week is the fastest-selling Android phone in history, bills itself as a “life companion.” As an evolved version of its predecessor, the Galaxy S III, this upgrade has Google’s latest Android OS, a thinner design with a larger 5-inch screen and a 13-megapixel rear camera. Compared to the iPhone 5’s 8 megapixels, pics on the Galaxy S4 appear more vibrant and with a better zoom function. There’s also a 2-megapixel front camera that allows you to simultaneoulsy snap a picture of yourself. You can also take pics with a voice command or employ an “eraser” mode to wipe out blurry parts of an image. Other unique features include a sensor software that reads your eye movement — web pages scroll automatically and videos pause when you look away from the screen. And as another add-on, the phone has an “air gesture” option. If you hover your finger over a part of the screen, it magnifies that area, or you can wave your hand above the device to answer a call or swipe through the phone’s picture gallery. But indulging Continue Reading

Apple unveils iPhone 4S…shocking smartphone fans expecting iPhone 5 announcement

Gadget geeks waiting for the iPhone 5 are going to have to wait a little longer. The folks at Apple instead unveiled the iPhone 4S Tuesday - a new version of the old favorite, complete with voice recognition technology and a processor chip seven times faster than the old one. The announcement was handled ably by Tom Cook, the successor to ailing Apple CEO Steve Jobs. It was Apple's first major product unveiling in years without Jobs, who remains on indefinite medical leave. Among the features of the faster, more powerful iPhone 4S: An upgraded camera with higher-resolution pictures. The processor upgrade, aimed at improving games. "World phone" technology, giving users global access - a feature already provided by AT&T iPhones. The announcement marks the first time new CEO Tim Cook introduced a new product since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs resigned in August. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty) The phones will come in black and white, and will sell for $199 for a 16GB version, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB. All will be available through Sprint Nextel Corp., along with current carriers AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless. In addition, Apple introduced new mobile software dubbed iOS 5. The software allows users to synch content wirelessly, instead of via plug-ins, to a Mac or Windows device. The new software goes on sale for existing Apple products on Oct. 12. But some were disappointed that Apple failed to make a major technological leap with its new product. "All you've got is an A5 processor in the existing iPhone 4," griped analyst Colin Gillis of BGC Partners. The move does leave the door open for the iPhone 5 to roll out sometime in the next year. The iPhone debuted in 2007, becoming an instantly and incredibly popular gadget. In the first six months of 2011, Apple sold 39 million iPhones. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Sprint joins Verizon Wireless, AT&T as latest wireless carrier for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5

Sprint has landed Apple's latest version of the iPhone.Apple's much awaited iPhone 5 will be sold by Sprint Nextel starting in mid-October, The Wall Street Journal reported. Sprint will join Verizon Wireless and AT&T as carriers.Nabbing the iPhone 5 was seen as a big coup for Sprint and sent shares of the No. 3 U.S. carrier soaring more than 10% Tuesday to $3.59.Starting at the same time, Sprint will also carry the iPhone 4, The Wall Street Journal said.The next generation iPhone is said to be comparable to the iPhone 4, but thinner and lighter, with an updated digital camera and an upgraded operating system.In the meantime, a cheaper version of the iPhone 4 is in the works for emerging markets. Asian suppliers have begun making a lower-cost version of the hot-selling smartphone with a smaller, 8-gigabyte flash drive, Reuters reported. The lower-priced gadget will arrive around the same time that the iPhone 5 hits stores. With News Wire Services Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Apple to release iPhone 5 in September; will look like iPhone 4: report

Get ready for the iPhone 5.Apple will be unleashing the next version of its wildly popular gadget in September, Reuters reported on Wednesday.The production of the new version of the must-have device will start in July/August and will look largely similar to the iPhone 4, sources told the news wire service.Reports have been circulating online for several months about yet another sequel to Apple's ground-breaking smartphone.Earlier claims suggested the iPhone 5 may not reach store shelves until 2012 as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Several key components are manufactured there.Apple may also delay the release of the new iPhone because of the popularity of the iPhone 4, which expanded its availablity through Verizon in February.Speculation about the iPhone 5 suggests it could feature an improved, 8-megapixel rear camera and faster processor. With News Wire Services Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Own an iPhone 5? It’s time to retire it if you want the latest iOS 11 apps

 LOS ANGELES — If you have an old iPhone 5 model you've been using for several years, now it's time to upgrade. Apple's new mobile operating system update, iOS11, will be released later this month, and it includes new features that won't work with some older iPhones. The cutoff is the iPhone 5, the phone that was first introduced in 2012 and pulled off the market 12 months later, and the 5C, released in 2013.Any phone afterward — iPhone 5S, 6, 6S, 7 and SE — can run the latest operating system. But the very niftiest features, particularly the augmented reality apps that will bring Pokémon Go-type digital overlays onto your physical world — will only work with later model phones.  More: 11 changes coming to iPhone with Apple's iOS 11 More: Get ready for thousands of augmented reality Apple apps    If you're hanging on to an original iPhone 5, here are some of the new operating system changes you'll miss. Also note that later operating systems are more secure from cybersecurity breaches. —Apple Pay for friends. Riffing off the popular Venmo app, where millions of students split pizza bills and rent notices via the peer-to-peer app, Apple is bringing the same technology to its text message network, Messages. The advantage over Venmo: no app to install, and Apple already has your banking information on file. —Do Not Disturb. To help curb distracted driving, Apple's new feature lets you turn off notifications and other disturbances while you drive. First you have to agree to turn it on. —New filters and compression for photos. Always running out of room to take new pictures on your phone? IOS11 introduces a new system that effectively makes the file size of your photo smaller, but retains the quality, enabling you to take more photos. Apple also has new filters to jazz up your image. — A redesigned lock screen that promises Continue Reading

Apple’s iPhone could make AR tech more of a reality

SAN FRANCISCO — The reality is augmented reality is slowly seeping into everyday technology use by millions of Americans. It just needs an iPhone power boost.Last year's phenomenon of Pokemon Go — one of the most-downloaded apps worldwide in 2016 — and the popularity of Snapchat illustrated the potential of this technology to put mobile games and social networking into overdrive. The nascent tech, which overlays digital images onto the physical world (a park bench, your best friend, a pet), now gets down to business. The next iteration as envisioned by Google, Facebook and others could make it more practical for consumers and the businesses that serve them.And Apple, which hosts its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose starting Monday, may soon join the party.Imagine this: You point your smartphone camera at a restaurant, and restaurant reviews pop up over the photo. That's Google's vision for its yet-to-be released Lens technology. Or you could figure out how to fix a light switch — by receiving instructions that overlay your real-life project as you complete the task. That task is already simple for Microsoft's HoloLens glasses, though these remain expensive ($3,000) and limited to developers. Related:There's some expectation that the next version of iPhone, expected in September or October, could include augmented reality (AR), giving the technology a burst of momentum. "Apple is the best-placed of all major tech companies to drive mobile AR," says Tim Merel, CEO of Digi-Capital, an AR/VR mergers-and-acquisitions adviser. He pegs the market at $60 billion and 1 billion users by 2021."We believe AR in the next iPhone will be a turning point for the broader AR industry," says Gene Munster, head of research at Loup Ventures. The longtime Apple analyst predicts Apple will sell more than 100 million augmented units of the Continue Reading

SEE IT: iPhone keeps shooting video as it sinks under the sea

Bungling brothers proved that waterproof phone cases really do work when they accidentally dropped an iPhone to the bottom of the ocean — and the whole incident was caught on its camera. Gregory Papadin filmed his sibling jumping into the sea while holding his iPhone 5, which was enclosed in a LifeProof case. The brother, who has not been named, then tried to throw it to him. But his lob came up short, and the gadget hit the water and immediately started spiraling down. Fish are clearly captured swimming by as the device, which was still filming, sinks. It finally comes to a rest on the sea bed, pointing up towards the sky. A human figure, who is later revealed to be the boat's captain, is then seen swimming down to the bottom of the sea. He grabs the phone and glides effortlessly back to the surface. A relieved Papadin whoops in delight as he realizes that his expensive smartphone still works. It's unclear exactly where the clip was filmed, or how deep the descent was. But the footage was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday, and has since been seen more than 30,000 times. "The underwater pressure was too much for both my brother and I to swim and get it," he wrote in the description. "He (the boat owner) was able to retrieve it, and my phone managed to survive the whole ordeal!" he said. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

iPhone history: How the iPhone has evolved since its debut in 2007

Apple has been re-inventing the phone since June 29, 2007 when it first released its iPhone. The first generation iPhone was an 8GB model exclusive to AT&T and cost $599 on a two-year contract. Now, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are available on all carriers, come with minimum of 16GB memory space and sell anywhere between $299 and $749-depending on memory space and if the consumer gets it on a contract. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE TO "LIKE." Exactly eight years later, the iPhone is still re-inventing itself and shaping the industry with new updates and models. This is the visual history of how the iPhone has been redesigned over the years: The first generation iPhone was a sleek smartphone with the trademark home button, a metal round rear casing and a 3.5-inch display. It also had 2.0 megapixel camera integrated in the back and had 2G networking capabilities— which nowadays is extremely slow. The smartphone was also one of the first to introduce a multi-touch screen. After the first generation-often referred to as the 2G-Apple released the 3G in 2008. The 3G notably added a higher connection speed and GPS functionality. The second model also included two options in memory, 8 GB or 16GB, and it came in two colors: black or white. The 3G kept the same design and camera from the first. Apple's 3GS model had just an internal update, rather than a facelift in 2009. The 3GS looked exactly like the 3G, but it had a 3.0 megapixel camera with video recording capabilities, voice control functionality and enhanced speed. Apple's third model of the iPhone also offered a new memory option of 32GB. The iPhone 4 was the first big release since the original iPhone since it received a significant update and new look. The iPhone 4 was a squared model (rather than rounded) with an all stainless steel body and covered in glass. Apple also introduced the retina display for the first time, the front facing Continue Reading