Apple releases iOS 6.1 update

January 29, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Update: LTE is now supported by both du and Etisalat in the UAE.

Apple yesterday released iOS 6.1 update for all iPhone, iPad, and iPod users. The update is be available over-the-air in most regions, including the Middle East.

For users in this region, the update carries no special features to be excited about. Most of the changes have been made to Siri, which can now book movie tickets via Fandango. The feature is only limited to the US for now, but we hope that Apple soon ties up with some of the local cinemas here.

Changes have also been made to iTunes Match, which rectifies a long-standing design flaw that prevented users from downloading individual songs from iCloud.

However, the slightly more interesting update is support for additional LTE carriers. Apple hasn’t specified which, but if you know your carrier supports it, your iDevice should indicate an LTE connection with ’4G’ instead of the normal ’3G’.

For jailbreak users, a team of developers confirmed that they will be able to exploit a security oversight with the new update. The devs, collectively called Evad3rs, said they spotted the security flaw on the beta-build, but waited for the final version to make sure Apple would not fix it. There is no release window on when the jailbreak will be available, but our bet is that it will be very soon.

Google+ overtakes Twitter as second highest social networking platform

January 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Google, Industry, News, Software

When Google+ first launched in June 2011, the whole world was skeptical about it, what with Facebook being at an all time high and showing no signs of decline, and Twitter just kept on increasing in popularity. According to a new research done by Global Web Index, Google+ is now the second most used social networking service, followed closely by YouTube and  Twitter.

To accurately determine the active users, GWI asked their respondents on which social networking sites they have an account on, and whether any posts have been made on them in the past month. Talking about numbers, as of December 2012 Google+ is estimated to have 343 million users worldwide, with Youtube approximating to 280 million, followed a hairs breath away by Twitter. Still, Facebook stays well in the lead with 693 million users.

Despite the large market share, Google+ also had a respectable growth of 27% active users, with Twitter blowing past with 40% increase. Facebook also saw growth, 33%  globally, despite the so called “Facebook fatigue”, with a total install base close to 1 billion registered users.

Let’s see how 2013 will shape things up, especially with a new revamp of MySpace.

ZOTAC ZBOX ID83 Plus Review

January 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Media Center PC, Reviews, Spotlight

I’ve reviewed enough ZOTAC ZBOX devices in my time that I can now pretty much benchmark them in my sleep. ZOTAC certainly likes to push out these mini-PCs as often as possible, gently tweaking the hardware each time to either include a faster processor, more connectivity options, or just to improve up on the overall look. CES 2013 was an opportunity for ZOTAC to feature their latest ZBOX lineups, and this week I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the devices shown, the ZBOX ID83 Plus.

Build quality & Design

As far as looks go, the ZBOX ID83 pretty much keeps up with ZOTAC’s design aesthetic, featuring a slim black plastic case with a familiar blue ring at the top when the unit is powered on. The front of the device features the power button, LED status indicators, memory card reader, and audio ports. At the back you’ll find an optical out port, HDMI and DVI connectors, Ethernet, Wifi, and a host of USB ports, including USB 3.0.

The ZBOX ID83 also follows in the footsteps of other models by making it extremely easy to get under the hood. Simply unscrew the two thumbscrews and you can slide off the base plate, making it easy for you to upgrade the RAM or HDD. You also get the included monitor mount if you want to attach the ID83 to the back of your display to keep it out of sight.


What makes the ZBOX ID83 special is that this is the first model I’ve seen with an Intel Core i3 processor and Intel HD 4000 Graphics, making it quite a souped up little thing. While I’ve previously had to deal with AMD architecture, the ID83 is a refreshing change and performed just as well as an entry-level desktop or Ultrabook would. The BIOS also offers power users the option to get deep into the processor to try and squeeze as much performance out of the unit as possible.

Benchmarks & Performance

When it came to performance, the ZBOX ID83 was able to handle pretty much whatever I threw at it. Whether it was scrolling through complex spreadsheets, flipping through large pdfs or even watching HD videos on full screen, the ZBOX ID83 never skipped a beat. I did spot a slight framerate issue when I connected it to my LG TV, but I think this is more down to my TV trying to be a ‘smart TV’ and less to do with the ZBOX. Another great feature of the ID83 is that you can connect two simultaneous displays, which is a bonus for anyone who requires that kind of a setup.

The onboard Intel HD 4000 Graphics allows you to play a few games at lower resolutions – I was able to fire up Guild Wars 2 and run it at the lowest setting. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest sight, but the fact that I would never be able to run this program on previous ZBOX versions is a testament to what a difference this new tweak in hardware can bring.

Heat and Noise levels

Like with most ZBOX units, the ID83 runs fairly quietly even with its internal fans whirring constantly to keep the device cool. Even when I pushed the unit to continue streaming various HD clips, there were no loud noises or excessive heat from the unit.


With the ZBOX ID83, ZOTAC have certainly upped their game in the mini-PC market. The improved Intel processor makes the ID83 a great and compact desktop replacement for most office or home tasks, and even the odd videogame or basic Photoshop. If you’ve got one of the older ZBOX units or are looking for a slightly faster media-based PC, then this is the unit to grab.

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