Tag Archives: iPad

The “Flattening” Effect

Messages Icon Before and After

The iPhone and iPad user interface is expected to change dramatically by making it “flatter,” putting it in line with many already similarly-styled apps available for iOS.

Since lead Apple hardware designer, Jony Ive, in control of the look and feel of iOS, it’s more than likely that the hardware chief will also see major changes to the user interface aesthetic and design as well. According to reports, the “flat” design will more specifically simplify the icons and user interface.

Some experienced Apple watchers expect iOS 7 to take an ‘refresh’ approach in terms of user interface changes, as the company did with OS X over the years. The design was tweaked version-on-version, rather than being significantly overhauled.

Exactly how far these changes will go remains to be seen. Designer Tim Green created a mock-up that gives an idea of what the new user interface could look like.

iOS 7 App Icon Mock Up

iOS 7 also appears to be adding additional sharing options and deeper integrations with social apps like Vimeo and Flickr. At some point next week, we will have a better view of what to expect.

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Production Starts on the iPad Mini (Rumour)

Rumoured iPad Mini

Reports are out that the next generation iPad has started production, the WSJ reports on their website.

A smaller 7″ tablet to compete with the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7. I don’t entirely think that there would be a heavy demand for a product like this, especially considering price? I mean, the Kindle is priced for $200-300 range and Apple already has an iPod Touch for that market.

We’ll have to wait and see how well, this can/will do. Share your thoughts on my Facebook page!

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What’s New in Mountain Lion?

Mountain Lion MacsThere has been multiple words published about Mountain Lion since it hit the App Store yesterday, but the most important question people are asking is Mountain Lion worth the upgrade? The answer, yes it definitely is worth every penny (or $19.99 if you really want the exact cost.)

Advertised as containing over 200 new features is the icing on the cake and worth twice the asking price. And while most of the new features are minimal, the featured updates – Gatekeeper, AirPlay Mirroring, Messages (formerly known as iMessages), Facebook (Available in fall 2012), Twitter Integration, Power Nap, Notifications Centre and a refined Safari browser experience make OS X v 10.8 the most secure and efficient operating system that Apple has ever released.

Ever since Mountain Lion was officially announced earlier this year, there’s been a misconception that OS X was going to just like iOS, and while Apple is trying to optimize each of it’s operating systems for the devices they’re intended, there are some blaring similarities, but this is not simply iOS for your desktop computer or notebook.

Sample iCloud ScreenHowever, Mountain Lion does use Apple’s most powerful tool – iCloud. Integration with iCloud is at the forefront of your install – it’s actually the first screen you get after installing a fresh copy of Mountain Lion – but it’s also my favourite part of this update. MobileMe has been completely removed the System Preferences pane – It was nuked at the end of June, so it was time – and now with iCloud, you can easily share calendars, contacts, bookmarks, email, Safari tabs, reminders, notes and much more, much easier than it’s ever been.

Pages Screen ShotDocuments in the Cloud allows you to share, edit and save Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents from any Apple device. In fact, when you go to open a document with the new version of iWork, it will default to iCloud and not to your Mac’s local directory. By using iCloud in this way, you can also access your documents from your iPad and iPhone as well.

Text Edit Screen ShotChanges made to documents are automatically synced through the cloud on all your devices. What’s even better is that other simple applications such as Text Edit, now have an option to save your Simple Text documents straight to the cloud, instead of on your local drive. Making all those field accessible from anywhere, start working on something on your laptop, and then pick up where you left off on your iMac and continue. You don’t even have to remember to save, iCloud will take care of doing that for you.

Messages Screen ShotMessages also arrives on the desktop, which means that I can now send iMessages to my contact list of friends on their iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads without having to grab my iPhone or iPad. The beauty of iCloud is evident here too, since as soon as I setup my iCloud account, all my contacts are automatically placed for use in Messages. It’s really simple.

AirPlay Screen ShotAirPlay was another major one for me … I always like to display my computer on my 60″ HDTV at home, and Mountain Lion has made it much easier with AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV. You should note that only 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs are supported and select MacBooks, iMacs etc, support this feature. Make sure you read the Apple site to confirm that your computer can do it, since the last thing you want is to buy Mountain Lion to use this feature and be disappointed that it doesn’t work for you – I’ve read a few angry reviews about how their system aren’t supported. Should have read the release notes.

The Notifications Center is great too! Provides an easy ‘command centre’ and overview of reminders, calendar events and appointments that are coming up. I also love how fully customizable it is!

Notifications Screen Capture

I could go on and on about all the features that are available with Mountain Lion, but here’s a great post that highlights everything you need to know!

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App Review: CloudOn for iPad

CloudOn App IconWhat’s the first thing people ask you as soon as they purchase their iPad – Can I run Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint on it? And for a while, there have been solutions (apps) that you could purchase that would help, but didn’t offer complete functionality like the desktop applications did. And even if you ended up with Docs-To-Go or similar, you still ended up having to pay for anything that would be useful.

That is until Cloud On released their app, available through the App Store for FREE, you’re able to open, create and modify Microsoft Office documents with ease (well, at least the main 3 – Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Not only is it free, but it also gives you full application functionality, same as it would on a desktop. I’ve been using it at work for the past few weeks and can honestly say that I’m in love. I can work while moving around, update my spreadsheets and create word docs without having to be at my desk. Great tool to managing workflow, but even if it’s not for business, it’s a great feeling to be completely mobile even in your own home!

CloudOn for iPad Screen Capture

I should warn you that it does have it’s shortfalls. First off you’ll need to create (or login to) a dropbox account. Not a huge deal, since drop box is also free from the App Store. And once you’re got that setup, you configure it with Cloud On and you’re set. The next shortfall is that Cloud On will only work with an internet connection. So if you’re not in wi-fi or out of rang of 3G connectivity, you can’t access your documents. The application is useless actually without internet access. And then there’s the issue of trying to quickly scroll through your document, there’s about a 2 second app delay (blurry) as the app refreshes and displays the content accurately. Not major to me, but if you have no patience, it may not be the best solution.

At a price of FREE, it’s a no-brainer for me. I got the app asap and haven’t looked back since. and use it everyday. I’m not even sure how the app manages to stay free since there’s no in app ads that come up or anything. Once you get it setup and going, you’ll enjoy the unlimited access to a complete list of commands from drop down menus (same as their desktop versions) while working on office documents. It’s worth every penny 😉

My rating: 5/5

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iPad 2 vs. The New iPad: What’s New?

iPad 2 and The New IPad Side by Side

So a little under a month now since the release of The New iPad and I get asked a few of the same questions, “Should I buy the iPad 2 for $399?” and “Is it worth getting rid of my iPad 2 to get the new iPad?” – So to answer those very two questions, I’ve summarized the main features that stand out when it comes to shopping for a new iPad.

Outside.
The iPad 2 and new iPad have the same outer design with slight modifications that wouldn’t be noticeable unless you compared them side by side. The New iPad is 0.03 inches thicker than the iPad 2 and 0.11 lbs. heavier. So any case/holder that you had for your aging iPad 2 won’t fit The New iPad. Sorry.

New iPad Retina DisplayDisplay.
Apple’s main landing page has the headline: “RESOLUTIONARY”, and that it is. The physical size of the screen hasn’t changed (Still 9.7″ since the iPad 1) but there are many more pixels in that same area. 3.1 million pixels in the 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina Display on the new iPad is pretty sweet. The higher resolution makes it look as if you are holding an HDTV in your hand; pictures look incredibly crisp, video even crisper, and text is much sharper – If clarity is a major factor, this is for you.

iPad 2 vs. New iPad Screen Comparison

Inside.
The new iPad’s A5x processor with quad-core graphics is faster the previous iPad’s A5 processor. The new processor helps make beautiful graphics possible. When I compared a game like Infinity Blade on the new iPad and the iPad 2, the difference was clear (and sharper). The game on the new iPad was more vivid and more responsive, actually felt more like a video game console as opposed to a tablet.

Things like web browsing, checking e-mail, reading books and standard apps performed at the same speed they did on the iPad 2. No noticeable improvement there.

New iPad Dictation IconDictation.
Introduced exclusively for the new iPad you can now speak your notes in to the new iPad’s mic and it will translate your speech into text entering directly into a new note, email, iMessage. Originally rumoured to be Siri on the new iPad – it’s not. Great concept and idea, but nothing something I’d personally find THAT useful. I’m sure there’s lots of people out there that were just waiting for this feature. Who knows, we may see Siri in a future generation iPad, but not this time around.

iSight IconCamera.
The new iPad comes equipped with an iSight 5.0 megapixel camera. Let’s face it, the iPad 2’s camera wasn’t that great, often taking grainy and blurry pictures. Not as great as the iPhone 4s’s 8 megapixel monster, it does take noticeably better pictures.
Ask yourself – how often will you be using your tablet to snap pictures?

LTE 4G.
The new iPad is equipped with LTE (4G) wireless cellular network capability. Which means that if your mobile carrier offers LTE, it will perform faster than older technology 3G. This ‘upgrade’ will be most noticeable for someone that’s constantly on the go and not often connected to a wifi network.

Below is a side-by-side chart with the numbers so you can have an table of the differences.
iPad 2 vs. New iPad Comparison

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The iPad Turns 2

The iPad turns 2 today. Officially released to the public on April 2, 2010 in retail and online stores, it came under heavy fire by many critics at the time. Everyone had an opinion about Apple’s latest tablet and ideas that it was setup for failure.

Steve Jobs Annonces iPad

Originally unveiled in January 2010 by Steve Jobs – he claimed “It’s so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smartphone.” – And he was right.

Forward 2 years later and it’s success continues to grow, year over year. Apple has sold 55.28 million iPads since launching. (Up until December 31, 2011). Estimation and speculation suggests that Apple would sell another 48 million iPads in 2012 alone.

The biggest quarter yet for iPads was Q4 2011, with the company selling 15.43 million units. That’s a 111 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago. To put that in perspective, Apple sold 32 million iPads during all of its fiscal 2011.

Instead of cooling off, all signs point to the iPad gaining more popularity. With last month’s release of the New iPad, Apple reports sales of 3 million units sold in the first weekend (the highest number sold on a launch weekend for any of the previous generations)

While the official 2nd birthday of the iPad was January 27 (Since it was unveiled), today is the second anniversary since its availability to the public. Happy anniversary iPad!

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OS X “Mountain Lion” Preview

Mountain Lion IconIf you just got used to OS X Lion and how it works, get ready to expand what you’ve learned, Apple has released a developer’s preview of the next cat-themed operating system for the Mac; “Mountain Lion”. Just like the previous version, this new version has taken more bits out of iOS in appearance and functionality. Features included in this revamped OS will include iMessage, Game Center, Reminders and even Notifications right into the operating system.

Starting today, Mac developers are able to begin testing this latest version with an expected public release in the second or third quarter of 2012 – I’m going to guess it will be available in the summer 2012. While price has not yet been established, you can expect this to be readily available for download from the Mac App Store. Considering the OSX Lion was available for $30, I’m going to assume that the upgrade price will be fairly reasonable, if not free for those that already paid for the Lion update seven months ago.

In case you were paying attention in October 2011 when Tim Cook took centre-stage at the keynote address which unveiled the iPhone 4s, he was serious when he said that iCloud will be the company’s strategy for the ‘next decade’, and that’s clearly more evident with the iOS integration of this desktop OSX release.

Mountain Lion on Mac Devices

Here’s a short list of features you can expect from Mountain Lion:

Built-in iCloud integration. Setting up iCloud will be the second thing you do after setting up a new Mac with Mountain Lion. The big new thing in this version will be the ease with which you can access Documents in the Cloud, which will allow your documents created in Pages (or some other third-party apps) to be available on any Mac OS or iOS device.

iMessage on Mac. Many people have been asking for this, and finally we’re going to get it. The Messages app, which will appear very familiar to iOS users, replaces iChat. It’ll let you start a conversation on a Mac and continue it on a different device, like your iPhone or iPad.

Notes and Reminders. Any notes you make on a Mac or iOS device, along with any reminders you set for yourself, will show up on any of your Mac or iOS devices. Both apps can be searched and look easier to navigate with the additional screen space of a desktop. Notes can be “pinned” to your desktop.

Mountain Lion Notification CentreNotifications. Just like the drop-down Notification Center on iOS, the Mac is getting its own version in the top right corner of the screen. All reminders, app alerts, calendar appointments will appear there. And just like iOS, Mountain Lion Notification Center has its own swipe to bring up the window — two fingers right to left from the right edge of the trackpad.

Mountain Lion Sharing OptionsSharing from apps. That sharing arrow that appears in iOS apps? Apple has inserted it in many Mac applications and dubbed it Share Sheet. That button will let you share web pages, notes, videos, Quicktime files, docs and photos via email, Messages, AirDrop, Twitter or post photos or video to Vimeo or Flickr.

Twitter integration in the OS. This is kind of a big deal for Twitter. When you share something via Twitter in Mountain Lion, a Tweet Sheet pops up, which looks like an index card with whatever it is you’re tweeting attached via paper clip.

GameCenter. Apple’s social gaming network comes to the desktop, and brings with it a new opportunity for developers. With a new set of GameKit APIs, game creators can develop games for both Mac and iOS, so players can compete whether they’re on an Apple desktop or mobile device. Current Game Center-compatible iOS games will have to be converted to appear in the Mac App Store.

AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV. Just like an iPad or iPhone 4S, you will be able to mirror your Mac desktop on your TV via an Apple TV (as long as your Mac has an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor).

New security features. Gatekeeper lets users select settings to control which apps can be downloaded to a computer. You can choose to allow all apps, or only apps with a developer-signed ID program (run by Apple) to be downloaded. Or, for the most conservative choice, only apps from the Mac App Store.

Mountain Lion on IMac and MacBook Air

As you can see from all the feature seeing added, the heart of this newest OS X will be iCloud – it doesn’t matter where you start a game or save a document or note, it will be available for you anytime, on any device. Sounds a lot like the iPad or iPhone, now in desktop form. And why not? … This is strategically the way Apple plans to get more and more non-Mac users to make the switch and come on over.

Siri App IconOne glaring omission on this latest release is Siri; the personal assistant unveiled as an iOS standard app for iPhone 4S users, hasn’t been announced as part of this release. Likely since Apple feels like Siri is still in beta mode on the iPhone. I’m going to say that while Siri isn’t ready for a release in OS X yet, she will be making an appearance in the near future.

There you have it. Get ready for all this to be officially announced in March and/or June at Apple’s annual WWDC.

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iRecognize You

Face Recognition ImageAbout a year behind Facebook’s application towards facial recognition for auto-tagging the photos in your albums, it’s Apple’s turn. Reports on appadvice suggest that they’ve applied for a ‘face detection patent’ that is intended for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and MacBook.

Such a feature already exists in devices like Google Nexus, but as we’ve come to know Apple has a bigger plan for such a feature – security. With the iDevices forward-facing camera already standard on the devices listed above, you won’t have the ‘slide-to-unlock’ anymore or have to be bothered to enter a passcode. Your device will scan your face and grant access once it detects a match. Cool!

Of course there’s many things to consider – such as twins, or a buddy that has similar facial features – until Apple makes an official announcement, we will have to see how they plan on ‘perfecting’ it.

Apple Face Patent Rendering

Apple's Facial Recognition Panent Rendering

This reminds me of years ago, when movies would show you advanced security systems with hand/fingerprint scanners to verify identities. This face recognizing stuff will blow that away though. Without physical contact, your device will know if it’s you or not. On the coolness level this is pretty high, but now to wait and see how, if it all.

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Black (Mac) Friday Deals

Apple Nov 25 Deal Banner

According to 9to5 Mac, the deals that Apple has in store for this Fridays, Black Friday Sale, have been leaked. (Kind of)

No one wants to take the blame in case they revealed deals aren’t true, so let’s get ready to fire up the rumour mill. Nothing has been confirmed of denied by Apple yet, so this is what’s in store in terms of “deals” from Apple.

Apple (may be) cutting the price of its MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac lines by $101. In addition, the company apparently will be cutting the price of the iPod Touch by $21 to $41, depending on the model customers choose. The iPod Nano would get an $11 price cut and the iPad 2 will be $41 to $61 less that day.

In addition to those things you can also expect discounts on accessories such as iPad wall mounts, mobile headsets, iPad smart covers, Bowers & Wilkins and other wireless speakers, Apple Wireless Solutions, and digital hard drives. One notable item that hasn’t been mentioned is the iPhone. If history is any indication of what’s to come, then you can thinking back to 2009’s Black Friday sale which offered the same $101 off their MacBook Pro and $31 off the iPod Touch.

But is this enough of an incentive to get anyone to not buy a PC and instead buy a Mac? – Not likely. I firmly believe that Apple hold their price fairly steady because they can. This day of ‘deals’ really is a strategic move, in my opinion, that says something is better than nothing at all. And the sales on a single day won’t impact the overall yearly sales Apple has posted the last few quarters – steadily increasing.

If you do get to an Apple store or order online, let us know what you bought by sharing on our Facebook page.

Happy Shopping

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What’s new in iOS 5?

iOS 5 Beauty Picture

So now that iOS 5 officially launched on October 12 as a free upgrade to any iOS user, a lot of people are wondering what’s new? Since this release is being called the most complete and impressive operating system update so far, there’s a lot to cover. Apple claims over 200 tweaks, adjustments and fixes. I’d say at least half of the fixes won’t be noticed without a little digging, so I’be summarized the most notable changes and new features in iOS 5.

Notifications Center
A feature taken right out of the Android OS, iOS 5 introduces a hub for navigating all of your alerts in one place. Simply swipe down from the top of the screen to uncover notifications that require your attention. Completely, customizable you can go into Settings > Notifications to adjust whether you want your notification to appear as an alert or a banner, or if you want to completely disable it. As well as choosing how many recent items you want for each application.

Notifications Center Screen CapYou can also quickly jump to the application that you swipe on directly from the notifications centre. You’ll notice that your device no longer stops what it’s doing when you’re in the middle of using it with alerts. You’ll get the top half inches banner appear, letting you know something new is ready to be viewed, but it won’t interrupt the app you’re using.

The greatest thing about notifications centre is that all appears on your lock screen too (which you can also toggle which notifications you want to appear there, or not)

iMessage
Think Blackberry Messenger without the PIN access and you have iMessage. It uses your data, instead of regular SMS service in order to communicate with other iOS devices. No need to add additional pins or access points. You enable the feature by going into Settings > Messages and turning on iMessages. iMessage is married into your contacts and will automatically recognize who has iMessage when you begin sending messages using the standard message app on your iDevice. You don’t have to create any additional logins or even launch a stand-alone app – it’s already working when you send a text message.

iMessage SampleHow can I tell if iMessage is working? – Easy! When composing your text messages you’ll notice that the field to key in will actually say “Text Message” or “iMessage” if the person you’re sending to has this feature enabled. An even further still, you’ll see iMessages appear in blue conversation bubbles and regular SMS Text Messages in green ones.

You can also message groups of people using iMessage as well as send picture messages without incurring additional carrier fees for SMS or MMS type of messages. As long as you’re using iMessage you’re only using your data (on 3G) or bandwidth (on Wi-Fi).

Reminders SampleReminders
No need to download an additional app to help you remember to buy milk on your way home with the reminders app you have an easy to use and easy to navigate to-do list, that can be setup with alerts based on due date/time or based on your locations.

For example. You set a reminder to “buy wine” and set the reminder to go off be 6PM today or if you come across John’s Wine Store. Your phone will detect your surrounding (if your locations services is turned on) and the alert will go off when you’re in the area of John’s Wine Store or if you reach 6PM, whichever happens first.

You can group your reminders any way you like and it also works with iCal, Outlook and iCloud – any changes made will sync across all your devices instantly.

Twitter
Now built in to the iOS, Twitter makes it easier for you to tweet directly from within the iOS in applications like Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube or Maps. As well as syncing with your address book and adding your friend’s @Twitter username and profile pictures. You start typing the name and iOS takes over and does the rest.

Twitter iOS 5 Sample

Camera LockscreenCamera
You can now use the camera without unlocking the phone. Just double-tap the home button (when the phone is locked) and you’ll see the camera icon, tap that and take picture by pressing the volume up button. You can now pinch to zoom and enable options so that there’s a visible grid to help you centre your pictures.

Photos
Edit, rotate and crop your picture directly from the Photos app. It doesn’t get any easier than that. As well as your photos being sync’d to iCloud so they’re readily available on all your devices as soon as you take them and they’re sent to the cloud.

Safari
Cut out all the excess while browsing sites using Safari by clicking on “READER” in right side of the address bar. You’ll see the important stuff with all that extras removed so you can see the content that’s important without waiting for loading times.

(iPad only) You’ll be able to also create tabs for browsing more than one window in Safari. Great new feature which gives you that desktop feel to your browsing.

PC Free
iOS 5 is the first iOS that no longer requires users to own a computer. Activate and setup your device wirelessly – out of the box. All free updates moving forward can be done while connected to Wi-Fi and moving an arranging photos in folders can all be done on the device itself, no need to make changes on your computer in order for it to update on your phone.

PC Free iOS 5 Screen Capture

Mail
You can now compose emails in rich format, allowing you to bold, italicize or underline. As well as full iOS support for Hotmail.

Hotmail Screen Capture

Wi-Fi Sync
You can also wirelessly sync you iOS device to your Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi network (means that Mac or PC has to be on the same local network) anytime you connect the iDevice to a power source, for example, charging overnight.

iOS 5 Supported Devices

To read about all the features of iCloud, visit Apple’s iOS page.

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