Archive for iPad
With the arrival of iOS 8, apps are starting to release updates to take advantage of the new features. Instapaper is no exception, adding several new features this week but also moving to a freemium business model. What this means for users is that the universal iOS app can now be downloaded for free –with the old subscription package being renamed to Instapaper Premium.
Reviewing a list of the new key features should persuade you that Instapaper continues to be a productivity app leader:
– Now featuring text-to-speech (using Apple’s text-to-speech synthesizer) will let you listen to saved articles while on the go. Consider this a way of making custom curated podcasts from the news you are interested in knowing but wish you had the time to read.
– Save an article with a single tap (functionality that the Android and web versions of the app have enjoyed previously, but was noticeably absent in the iOS version until now)
– Unified browse brings articles from your favourite editors or friends into a single feed
– Link to your friends’ profiles based on the articles that they like
– View your article saves from today which will now appear in the Notification Center (and read with a single tap)
Once you give Instapaper a try, you will likely agree that a Premium subscription is worth the price of admission (currently listed at $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year). Premium members will enjoy unlimited highlights (free users only get 5 highlights per month) and text-to-speech playlists of saved articles.
If you happen to be an existing subscriber, you will be automatically upgraded to the new premium service at your current rate. If you purchased Instapaper in the past, you will enjoy a free month of premium service as compensation.
It almost seems like tablets can be lumped into two distinct categories these days: “iPads” and “other tablets”; so if you don’t have one, you have the other. Those in the know will tell you this isn’t true, and that there are plenty of quality contenders in the tablet game –whether you are interested in an iPad or not. To this end, Sony has released their latest contender, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.
The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is certainly portable, weighing in at 9.5-ounces (270-grams) and measuring only 0.25-inches (6.4mm) thick –while maintaining an 8-inch (213.4mm by 123.6mm) screen. Powered by basically the same technology as the Z3 smartphone, Sony’s new tablet features a quad-core, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Adreno 330 graphics, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage memory (that can be increased up to 128GB by using microSD cards). For those interested in photography, the Z3 Tablet Compact has an improved 8.1-megapixel imager.
Of course, if you happen to love console gaming, Sony devices support PS4 Remote Play –meaning you are able to use your tablet to control your games on the Playstation 4. Plus, Sony’s software comes with extras like their DSEE HX technology that will upscale the quality of your MP3 and AAC music files (plus, you can perform one-touch mirroring if you happen to have a Sony Bravia TV to pair it with).
Whether it competes nimbly with the iPad remains to be seen, but there is no question that Sony knows how to make an elegant device with value-adds… so for anybody already brand-loyal, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact provides a very reasonable option.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but the device will ship in black or white (with LTE or Wi-Fi only options) in the fall of 2014.
Nintendo has been threatening to target mobile devices with ports of their successful titles, and soon you will be able to catch ‘em all on your iPad: it has been confirmed that Pokemon Trading Card Game Online will be available for iOS later this year.
There are many reasons for Nintendo to start playing in the mobile game marketplace, not the least of which is to increase interest in the game franchises that may bring consumers to their console products. If that doesn’t result in success, at a minimum they will have their hands in mobile gaming and could always build on that as a next-generation plan.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game for iPad is basically a port of the free game already available on the Pokemon website, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Following the Apple rumour mill is a favourite pass-time for many of us in the tech industry, but the suggestion that the next iPad (both the smaller format 7.9″ mini and larger 9.7″ version) will have an anti-reflective coating on the screen is worth getting excited about. I love my iPad, but I will still be the first to admit that in bright-light environments it is little more than an expensive paper weight. It was for this reason that I invested in a single-purpose eReader that allows me to spend my book reading time in the summer sun.
Analysts are starting to report that tablet sales are leveling off for Apple –not so much because people are losing interest, but more so because earlier versions of the iPad are functioning well and there are few reasons for existing owners to upgrade. Unlike smartphones, tablets are still very much seen as nice-to-have instead of need-to-have. This means Apple needs to come up with enhancements and upgrades that will be seen as enough of a difference to warrant buying a new unit (and for those new to iPad, features need to be persuasive enough to make them take the leap).
There is less hype for iPads right now with so much focus being placed on the highly anticipated iPhone 6 release (expected in September). If the rumours prove true and the iPhone 6 is launched with larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions, the iPad Mini market may suffer. That little bit of additional screen real estate on the smartphone may negate the portability benefit many see with the smaller tablets.
With all of that said, I would hope that this anti-reflective coating would also be added to an upcoming version of the iPhone.
The biggest news out of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference this year revolved around the next version of their mobile operating system: iOS 8. Much anticipated, iOS 8 favours function over form by focusing on features instead of upgrades to the look and feel.
As a developer, I have had the chance to test drive the beta version of iOS 8 since early June… for the rest of you still waiting to give it a try, here are a few of the things you can most look forward to:
Double-tap the home button and you will be greeted with a scrolling list of the contacts you have most recently been in touch with –this is extremely handy when you want to call or message these folks quickly and easily (instead of scrolling through lists, or trying to find an existing message to reply to).
With a tap inside the Messages app, you can send voice content quickly and easily. No more pre-recording and then attaching after the fact!
Of course, my favourite feature is the ability to ‘Share My Location’ and ‘Send My Current Location’ within an iMessage. No more trying to describe exactly where you are waiting, with a couple of taps you can send your contact an actual map!
Keyboards, Keyboards, Keyboards
Custom keyboards. A crazy elaborate Emoji keyboard. A QuickType predictive text feature for your keyboards. Keyboards are the name of the game in iOS 8 –you can finally customize them good and proper, and you will be delighted. I promise.
There are a few interface changes when it comes to the way photos are stored on your iOS device, but the one I am most excited about is the addition of a ‘Recently Deleted’ album. While it may seem unnecessary and redundant at first, anybody who has regretted deleting a photo will rejoice. Think of it like the familiar trash can (or recycle bin for those of you who still use Microsoft Windows) –it’s a holding place for deleted photos. Any photos that find their way there will be removed automatically after 30 days, unless you empty it manually before then.
I have heard more complaints about smartphone battery life than any other shortcoming. We expect our smartphones to do a whole lot, it stands to reason that will take power to accomplish those things. Thanks to the Battery Usage summary now found under Settings, we can evaluate the features we need the most vs. the battery power it takes to make them happen. It may surprise you to learn exactly which apps are drinking your battery; in my case, Messages is the biggest culprit.
Best thought of as a portal more so than an app, HealthKit gives you a single place to track anything and everything that pertains to your health and well being, including: body measurements, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and vitals.
Most valuable is the ability to create a Medical ID that is accessible even when your phone is locked. How much information you provide is left entirely up to you, but I recommend taking good advantage. My Medical ID contains a list of allergies and reactions, current medications, my emergency contact person along with their relevant details, my full name and date of birth, confirmation that I would like to be an organ donor, and my blood type. While you may initially be concerned about sharing these kinds of details in front of your passcode, the first time it saves your life those worries will vanish.
App Store – Family Purchases
If you question whether the new Family Sharing feature in iOS 8 is worthwhile, you clearly do not have children with smartphones or tablets. Now, up to six people in your family can share purchases made through iTunes… but better than that, your kids can have their own accounts! When they want to make a purchases (using your credit card of course), you can approve their spending from your own device (and not have to log in to theirs). Other family-friendly features are present as well, including photo sharing and a family calendar –all things that show Apple understands how the modern family functions.
There are so many odds and sods updated and added in iOS 8 that a comprehensive list would be nearly impossible –some are less significant: the Podcasts app is native now, the Weather app is powered by The Weather Channel instead of Yahoo, settings for Messages allows you to keep audio/video messages where previously they would be auto-deleted, Control Centre has a new look, a Tips app is installed by default and offers weekly tips on using the new operating system… and on and on.
Excited? Wondering when you can get your hands on iOS 8 and actually see these things in action? A specific release date hasn’t been announced, but with an expected Apple event in early September, it seems safe to assume things will start rolling out officially later that month.
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Daylight test. Today, we take a look at the entire lineup of Apple products to see how they perform under direct sunlight. iPad Air, iPad Mini with Retina and the iPhone 5 are all pitted head to head to see what one reigns supreme.
Even if you haven’t seen Disney’s Frozen, I’d be willing to bet that you can sing along to at least one song from the film. If you have a child under the age of 10 (or you are a child at heart), you can likely remember the words to the entire soundtrack. With the new Disney Karaoke: Frozen app for the iPad you can take your regular ‘in the car’ or ‘in the shower’ singing a step further!
The app features music and film clips from the movie, allows you to sing along with all of your favourite characters, record your performance (complete with the original instrumental tracks) and create a gallery of your performances (that you can share with others). There are nine songs to choose from, including the award-winning Let it Go along with music videos taken directly from the film itself. The lyrics are displayed on the screen just as with traditional karaoke, so if you happen to have been living under a rock the past while, you won’t be at a loss for the words.
With a pricetag of $7.99, it may seem like an expensive app to test-drive –but I think there is only one question to ask before you purchase it: “Do you want to build a snowman?”
There is no denying that the Apple line of tablets is the most successful. A new report surveyed 7,500 teens and asked them about what phones and tablets they have or plan to buy.
61% of teens now own an iPhone, compared to 55% from a survey conducted in October 2013 and 40% in the fall of 2012. When it comes to tablets, 60% of teens own one, up from 56% in the fall. When it comes to iPad tablet ownership group 66% of teens have one, 55% full-sized, 11% iPad mini. 18% percent of teens who don’t own a tablet expect to buy one in the next sixth months and of those prospective buyers, 66% plan to choose an iPad.
Last summer Samsung ran a campaign of advertisements that portrayed Apple users as being uncool. The plan seems to have backfired as iPads and iPhones are still the most popular out there.
New research by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech has revealed Apple, Amazon, and Samsung are the key players in the US tablet market, controlling 43, 24,and 11 percent of the user base respectively. However, the market itself seems to be losing steam, with the slowdown being attributed to market saturation. The findings reveal tablet growth reached 37 percent, a 54 percent growth over 2012. A sizeable 53 percent of consumers stated they won’t buy a new tablet in 2014, while another 34 percent said they are yet to make up their minds. Nearly 67 percent of those who said they are unsure about buying a tablet claim to know very little about tablet devices. Thankfully for the manufacturers, tablet awareness as a whole is considerably higher in the US, with just 4 percent stating they’ve never heard of the devices.
Of the 53 percent who ruled out buying a tablet in the next 12 months, the majority (72 percent) said they are pleased with their current laptop or PC, while 42 percent said they aren’t attracted to tablet devices; another 31 percent said they don’t think owning a tablet makes much of a difference.
A common reason for many (47 percent of those who are unsure and 25 percent of those who said they won’t buy a tablet ) to not invest in a tablet was the high price, despite the fact that the average cost has dropped to $300.
As for particular brands, the iPad is on top with 32 percent claiming to use it daily. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note devices come in second with 24 percent claiming to use it every day. Kindle Fire makes up the third slot with 10 percent claiming to use it regularly.
Microsoft’s move to launch Office on the iPad seems to be paying off rich dividends, with the app already featured among the top free apps for iPad. Word has emerged as the most popular at the No. 1 slot, followed by Excel and PowerPoint at the 3rd and 4th slots, respectively. The Office app is a free download but that will only allow for opening and viewing documents; an Office 365 subscription is required to do anything meaningful, including editing or formatting a document or creating one from scratch.
The Redmond-based company is also benefiting from a new and steady stream of income from Office 365 subscriptions that costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year. Of course, Apple is benefiting from a 30 percent share for every in-app purchase, creating a win-win situation for both Apple and Microsoft.
Microsoft, it seems, is open to adapting to a fast changing tech scene. As for the app itself, Office for iPad impresses with the features and functionality that it offers, all of which has been optimized for touch based operations.
Close on the heels of Microsoft launching its Office software suite on the iPad, the tech giant made its Office for Android free to use. Unfortunately, this only applies to Android phones and not tablet devices, enabling users to create and edit documents that earlier would have required an active Office 365 subscription. Interestingly, this latest move has made Android phones on par with their Windows counterparts so far as usability of the Office app is concerned.
Apart from the risk of losing subscription money, the Windows phone will now be deprived of a competitive advantage and may translate into adding greater adoption of Android phones. You can download this app today from the Good e-Reader App Store.
Finally, Microsoft has launched its Office software suite for the iPad which brings to an end the years of speculations and rumors. Thankfully, the Office for iPad is a mature application compared to the almost half-hearted attempt that the Office for iPhone was. Users will have at their disposal many advanced features lacking in the iPhone app, such as the ability to add rows or columns in an Excel spreadsheet thanks to the iPad’s larger screen. Users will also get to choose from almost the entire range of fonts andformatting options as well.
The Office app – which offers Word, Excel and Powerpoint – though free, will require a subscription to use the advanced editing options. Right now, users are free to open and view documents but are required to have an active Office 365 subscription to edit or create a document from scratch. Microsoft is also offering a free 30 day trial of the Office app.
Overall, the launch of the Office app for iPad is long due, and it’s the first major move since the changing of guard at Microsoft. Now what remains to be seen is whether the Office app will be able to hold its own in the face of Apple’s iWorks app, which offers an array of features and most important of all, is free.