Noted synthesizer and keyboard manufacturer Korg has announced a new iPad-compatible MIDI keyboard for use with various iPad music apps. The microKEY25 is a 25-key MIDI keyboard with a joystick, octave adjustment buttons, arpeggiator and sustain buttons. The keys themselves are velocity-sensing, designed to play chords, and to be customizable using Korg KONTROL Editor software for PC and Mac.
The keyboard connects to the iPad by way of its USB output to the Camera Connection Kit's USB adapter. When used with MIDI-compatible apps, like Korg's own iMS-20, it can send keyboard commands to play music and use its key functions to adjust various commands. It is compatible with GarageBand and its built-in MIDI keyboard support. Use VidRhythm to remix videos with the microKEY25. Cross the streams, and use a Korg keyboard to control Animoog! Any app that supports the iOS CoreMIDI framework introduced in iOS 4.2 can be used with a MIDI controller such as this, making it a portable and low-cost option for on-the-go musicians. The keyboard will be available from select music retailers for $69.99.
Some 3D iPad games like Zen Bound 2 may be able to take advantage of the iPad retina display already. We talk details with Secret Exit, and show you what it will look like.
At GDC last week, I had a great conversation with Jani Kahrama from Secret Exit about the new retina display on the iPad. In particular we discussed Zen Bound 2 [App Store Link], one of my very favorite iOS games. It's also a game that really shows off iOS devices with it's fantastic 3D graphics. We were continuing the conversation that so many had started about what it would take to upgrade iPad apps to the new retina display. I don't have much to add to that conversation other than it's not easy and will add in many cases considerably to the app size.
The good news is that Zen Bound 2, as it exists now on the App Store will look pretty good on the new iPad and its retina display. It was originally created to display at the maximum resolution that the device supports. This was done to allow the app to be universal on the iPad and iPhone 4S and to future-proof the app. That means that it will run at full resolution on the new iPad, taking full advantage of the retina display.
There is one downside. Initially the user interface elements (buttons, etc) were not created for the higher resolution. So while the elements will be positioned properly, this will mean that initially those items will not be proportional and will be a bit small. An update will be coming in the weeks following the release of the new iPad to fix that issue and increase the resolution of the textures used in the game. This will just make the game look even better.
Let's take a look at some comparison screens to see how amazing the new screen will really be. Please note that looking at these samples on a computer screen really won't convey how good they will look on a retina screen. For that, you'll need the new iPad.
In the sample below you can see the current iPad 2 screen size (768x1024) on the left, how Zen Bound 2 will look like on the new iPad (1536x2048) in the middle, and how Zen Bound 2 will look like once the user interface elements are adjusted (still 1536x2048) on the right. Click on the image for the full size -- caution -- really large.
For more samples, take a look at the gallery below. Zen Bound 2 will be a great app to show off what the new iPad retina screen can do. It will be one of the first apps I download tomorrow. This is one beautiful app.
Today, Apple unveiled a very expected update to the iPad, but also a very impressive one. In addition, we got a few things we weren't expecting.
The iPad 3 looks to be a solid update to the iPad 2. Not only do we get an amazing retina display screen and updated internals for a faster device while maintaining the look of the iPad 2, but we also keep the great battery life and price points. Here's a quick rundown of the new iPad. Which, by the way is called just "the new iPad." Or perhaps it will end up being known as just iPad like the Macbook and iMac lines.
The new iPad includes an amazing retina display. That means that it has 4x the pixels of the iPad 2. For comparison, that's even one million more pixels than a 1080p TV. The new iPad will have a resolution of 2048x1536 or 264ppi. That amazing display will really make reading text a dream and less strain on the eye. The new display also has 40% better color saturation than before. It should really pop.
Apple A5X Processor
The increased number of pixels requires more horsepower to push them around quickly. The new iPad will include the Apple A5X processor that has quad-core graphics in a dual core processor. Apple compared that to the current high end for Android devices, the Tegra 3 and noted that the A5X offers four times the performance of that chipset.
5MP Rear Camera
The camera on the iPad gets a boost to 5MP, similar camera to the iPhone 4 in specs. HD video recording, video stabilization, etc. A solid upgrade. But please, don't be holding up your iPad to take pictures. You'll look like a dork.
What doesn't get an upgrade is the front camera. That remains at just VGA resolution. Sorry, no Facetime HD this update.
LTE, Up to 73 Mbps Speed
LTE, the next generation mobile data communication will be available for the new iPad. In the US that will be available on AT&T and Verizon. In Canada available on Telus, Rogers and Bell. The extra speed will really make the downloads fly when using the device away from Wifi.
In addition, the iPad can now be a personal hotspot if the carrier supports it. It will also support GSM 3G when traveling in areas that don't support LTE.
“It’s the privilege of a lifetime for me to work with the most innovative people on Earth. Only Apple can deliver this kind of innovation in such a beautiful, integrated, and easy to use way. It’s what we love to do, it’s what we stand for.” - Tim Cook
How to get one!
Pre-orders for the new iPad start today and will be available March 16th in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. The prices remain the same as the iPad 2:
iOS 5.1, a minor update to iOS 5 will be available today. It's a good update with few new features but a lot of fixes. The only new feature highlighted was Siri for Japan.
iOS 5.1 should be available now, check for updates in Settings, General, Software Update.
Apple TV 1080p
Apple announced an update to the hockey puck shaped Apple TV. The new model will support 1080p content, which is now available in the iTunes store TV and Movies section. iCloud will be there to support movies now, in addition to TV shows which were added last year. In addition, the new Apple TV comes with a new streamlined interface that looks more and more like iOS with tiled icons. The Apple TV is actually running a version of iOS, with a different interface.
The updated Apple TV will be available March 16th and maintains the same price, $99.
Of course at 148Apps, we are, obviously, all about the apps. The apps demoed today were a great demonstration of what can be done with the new device. Here's what we saw:
Sky Gamblers from Namco - This simplified Ace Combat game, sort of a more casual version, shows that the new iPad can and does beat the consoles in the graphics power. While the game itself isn't as complex as console titles, it will look better.
Sketchbook Ink from Autodesk - Autodesk showed a version of their new app, a line art focused version of Sketchbook. This app can create and export images of up to 100 MP in size. Line art (think Adobe Illustrator) is resolution independent so you can zoom in as far as you like and maintain smooth lines. Sketchbook Ink be available in April.
Infinity Blade: Dungeons from Epic Games -- The natural extension to the Infinity Blade franchise I guess. This game appears to be a Diablo like game set in the Infinity Blade world. You quest is to find the Infinity Blade. Created to really exploit the retina display. The new iPad has more memory and of course a higher resolution than the PS3 or Xbox 360 so it's a dream for game developers. No release date given, it's just coming soon. Check out the trailer below:
iWork Apps - A free update will be coming to support the new retina display. Still $9.99 per app for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Available today.
Garageband - now includes Smart Strings, a note editor. You can also push your creations back and forth with iCloud. In addition, 4 devices can "jam" in real time. Sounds interesting. Available today.
iMovie - iMovie also updated for retina and 1080p movie editing and exporting. It also includes some new outlining, storyboarding, planning and editing tools.
iPhoto for iPad - The star of the app show had to be iPhoto, a new app, and we'll have more details soon. But this is, as you would expect, not iPhoto brought to the iPad. It is a reengineered and rethought app focused on touch interaction. From everything we've seen they have done an amazing job. It includes some features like photo browsing, editing, effects. Also includes beaming for sending photos between devices and a new feature Photo Journals.
Some of the more interesting and new things in the app include some new gesture types (like swipe in/out from the bezel), some great photo analysis tools like find similar photos, and an auto-correct photo that will not only fix exposure problems but even straighten tilted photos.
All of the editing in iPhoto is non-destructive -- that means that you can always go back to the original photo. No need to worry about doing something creative and destroying your original.
Photo Journals are a way to group photos and annotate them with memories, quotes, etc. They can be laid out and then shared via iCloud to any browser.
iPhoto will be $4.99 and available today in the App Store. [App Store Link (will be live soon)]
What We Didn't See
We didn't see some thing many expected. Siri for the iPad or Apple TV for one. I'm not convinced that Apple thinks of Siri as the future of user interface that many do. I believe they see it more as a mobile assistant. As such, it really works on the iPhone and iPhone alone. This could change of course as the scope of functions that Siri handles expands in the future.
We didn't see a preview of iOS 6 -- as hoped. iOS 6 is expected to be as big of a change, if not even more of a change as iOS 5.
We didn't see Facebook integration. Many expected Apple to finally include the same integration in iOS for Facebook as Twitter sees. Well I guess, not yet.
We didn't see a new accessory. Many thought that Apple would introduce a new back cover to compliment the Smart Cover. Nothing announced -- though it could show up in the store later.
Apple made some bold moves today. They introduced an iPad that we'll not likely see duplicated in hardware design on Android devices before the next iPad is ready. In addition they made some interesting branding moves by dropping the revision number from the iPad line. The next iPad will just be called iPad. And I'm guessing we'll see all future iPads called the same. Similar to the iMac / Macbook lines where they are all called the same. So we'll have to denote this as the Winter 2012 iPad I guess.
What we now have is a device that's more powerful as a game machine than the PS3 or XBox 360. It's has access to more games and at much cheaper prices. Now we just need to start seeing more AAA titles.
The new iPad is a very solid device created to address many of the outstanding requests of users. A better screen, faster processor, and faster communications. Well done Apple.
My friends and I already use the iPad for our game nights. We play Bleep Word Guessing Game and Jeopardy! HD on occasion. Well a new iPad accessory called Duo Pop has set out to enhance iPad game nights with their popper system.
Duo Pop basically turns the iPad into a game show with four “Poppers” and a transmitted that’s placed near the iPad’s speaker. Similar to Jeopardy, each player’s popper is used to ‘buzz-in’ to answer questions.
One of the concerns with 60beat’s GamePad has been whether the device would see enough support from developers to make it worthwhile. As promised by 60beat back when it was announced, February has rolled around and some titles are beginning to support the 60beat.
Both Alien Space and Alien Space Retro from Owens Rodriguez have been updated to support the 60beat. Given the number of dual-stick shooters on iOS and the lack of analog joysticks on the external controller frontrunner, the iCade, dual stick games could spearhead 60beat support thanks to its unique-to-this-platform functionality.
Katana Jack, a game that claims to have had its graphics hand-painted on the iPad, has also been updated with support for the 60beat. It also supports the Gametel controller, the iCade, and iControlPad, so this free app is a must-download for anyone with an external iOS game controller, if only because it supports them all.
There’s also No Gravity, a game which started life way back in the days of PSP homebrew development, before seeing legitimate releases on PSN, and now on iOS. Both the Lite and full versions of the game support the controller.
There are likely to be more titles that support the controller, and its particular advantages may prove to be a boon to developers looking to support external controls in their games. The total list of games that support the GamePad is available here.
The new Akai Pro MPC Fly turns any iPad 2 into a full featured MPC (music production center). Not only does it turn an iPad into a portable production center, but it also acts as a protective case opening on hinges to sit upright, lay flat, or close shut for transport. The MPC Fly touts 16 pads with note repeat and swing, and works with any Core MIDI apps. It also works in conjunction with the MPC Fly iPad app.
With the MPC Fly iPad app users can sequence four tracks at once, access library of audio samples and drum kits, use various audio effects on their sequences, pull samples from their iTunes library, and share their work on SoundCloud, Facebook, or Twitter.
The MPC Fly houses it's own rechargeable lithium-ion battery making it a truly portable solution. It also includes a wall charger, and will charge the iPad while it's plugged in to the wall. No word yet on how much the MPC will retail for.
Dead phones are a problem that just won't go away. Mobile technology is advancing faster than battery technology can keep up, and our phones are dying faster than ever. Sure, external batteries exist, but what happens when those die, especially for those who are away from power sources for extended periods of time? There are solar chargers, but that relies, quite obviously, on there being sunlight. In my best infomercial voice, I exclaim, "There's got to be a better way!" Meet the Powertrekk, the charging solution that's unlike any that have come before it.
This is because the Powertrekk comes with a fuel cell that can be used to power USB devices. Fuel cells work by converting by a fuel's chemical energy, from a source such as hydrogen, into electricity through reactions with elements like oxygen. So, for those who paid attention in chemistry, what's a common liquid source of oxygen that could be added to a hydrogen fuel cell in order to be converted into electricity? Water! Yes, by simply adding water to the Powertrekk's fuel cell puck, it can be used to charge a device over USB. The Powertrekk also comes with a 1500 mAh internal battery that can be charged over USB, or through the internal fuel cell. The fuel cell itself has a storage capacity of 4 watt-hours, which means that at its maximum output of 5 volts, it has a total 8000 mAh capacity, using Amperage X Voltage = Wattage. In layman's terms, that's about enough to charge the iPhone completely about 4 times, assuming maximum battery efficiency. Also, the 5 volt output means that the iPad cannot be charged with the Powertrekk.
Now, the Powertrekk is not an inexpensive solution; the charger is expected to sell for US$229 when it is released, and 3 extra fuel cell pucks will cost $12. Still, this could be a useful accessory for those who spend a lot of time away from electrical sources, find solar chargers inefficient, and/or want an environmentally-conscious way to charge their USB devices. The Powertrekk will go on sale in the spring, available from both the Powertrekk website and worldwide through a variety of distributors.
4iiii Innovation has introduced a new set of glasses for athletes, called the Sportiiiis. The Sportiiiis' strength, especially for iPhone users, will come when the glasses are paired with ANT+ devices. ANT+ is a hardware specification for wireless sensor devices, such as heart rate monitors, that can interact with devices like the Sportiiiis. The app can be used to configure the way ANT+ devices interact with the lights on the Sportiiiis; for example, certain lights can come on at certain heart rates on a heart rate monitor. Or, an ANT+-based pedometer could be used to track distance using the LED lights. Up to 8 sensors can be paired with the Sportiiiis, with the ability to switch between them with a double tap of the unit. These functions can all be programmed in from 4iiii's upcoming app. The Sportiiis will be available soon from 4iiii's website, and are on sale at their CES 2012 booth in the North Hall's ANT+ Pavilion.
It's been an exceptionally busy first day at CES for music focused experts IK Multimedia with the announcement of 4 different products to come from their stable very soon. It's of particular interest for DJs of all skill levels with a number of products specifically aimed at that market.
The iRig Mix is one such product. It's the first mobile mixer for an iOS device, promising to offer the same controls that would be expected from a professional DJ mixer. Including a crossfader, cues, EQ and volume controls all in an impressively compact format, the hardware can be used with a number of different DJ mixing tools.
One of the more clever features behind the iRig Mix is that it can be used for mixing any type of audio source including but not limited to MP3 players or CD players, all supplemented with automatic tempo matching and beat-syncing. Other features within the hardware ensures that musicians as well as DJs can gain benefits from it thanks to the extra guitar/microphone input that can be processed by other aps such as AmpliTube and VocaLive.
The iRig Mix is powered easily via a regular phone charger as well as through a laptop's USB port for maxiumum convenience.
It's set for release in February and is priced at $99.99.
What better way of using the iRig Mix than by using IK Multimedia's DJ Rig app? Set for release soon, it's a feature rich, double-deck DJ mixing app for iOS devices. Professional functionality oozes throughout the app such as visual cue points, crossfader curves and an on-the-fly sampler with 4 banks of 9 pads. Most originally is the ability to automatically synchronize the app audio with any external audio source thanks to DJ Rig's ability to listen to the device's audio input and determine its BPM tempo.
DJ Rig is set to be available in two formats: a free version offering a reduced set of 6 effects and 1 pad sound bank and the full version priced at $9.99.
Other musicians haven't been forgotten about with the iRig Mic Cast aiding those in need of a great means to record audio. It's a pocket-sized piece of hardware that can be attached to the audio port of the iOS device in order to provide crystal-clear audio quality. It's ideal for recording podcasts, interviews, lectures, speeches or just regular voice memos. Two different sensitivity settings ensure that the sound quality is always strong regardless of if the source is near or distant.
The iRig Mic Cast will be released this quarter, priced at $39.99.
Finally, in this plethora of announcements, is the iRig STOMP, the first stompbox guitar interface for iOS. Guitar and bass players can now integrate signal processing apps into their existing pedalboard setup for enhanced tone shaping and effects processing.
The device is compatible with any guitar/amp/instrument app for maximum flexibility and promises precise adjustments for guitar players who prefer to have ultimate control over the sound they produce.
Set for release in Q2 of this year, the iRig STOMP will cost $59.99.
We'll be sure to keep track of the developments of all these apps that are bound to revolutionize how musicians create music.
Just as the death of arcades hasn't stopped Ion Audio from putting out cool, new iCade accessories, they aren't letting the decline of games like Guitar Hero keep them from getting into the plastic instrument race. However, like their previous Piano Apprentice iPhone accessory, the upcoming Guitar Apprentice isn't a game. Instead, it's a musical teaching tool.
The device is a full-sized guitar shell that the iPad docks into. The onscreen frets light up to show players where they need to place their fingers and whether or not they are strumming the right chords. From there, players can learn and record songs with compatible apps like GarageBand and Ion Audio's own upcoming Guitar Apprentice app.
The Guitar Apprentice accessory will soon hit retail for $99 in America before arriving in the rest of the world. If this works, imagine what other instruments Ion Audio could plug an iPad into. The second image shows that a drum accessory is in the works. What else could be coming? Saxophone Apprentice anyone?
The Tinké plugs directly into an iOS device, and users touch its sensor directly with their finger. By touching this, the device claims that it can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, and the oxygen level in a person's blood, making it essentially a pulse oximeter for an iOS device. It measures these then rates the person on its "Vita Index", which is based on the quality of the measured information. Tinké also can track this information over time, so people can see how their health is changing, and preferably for the better! People can share this information with friends and family, with the ability to comment on Vita Indices, to share tips and encouragement. As well, users can share their Vita Scores anonymously, with the ability to compare their scores with other people in their age group.
The Tinké will come in four colors: black, red, white and an aqua blue. Zensorium is currently taking reservations, with a target price of $99, although there is no planned release date for the hardware. As well, there is no indication if this will officially support the iPad. Will the information be cloud-based, or device-based, so users could potentially use the Tinké dongle on their other iOS devices, like iPod touch or iPad, and will the network be available through the web? Plus, will it work? Will all the measurements, especially oxygen measurement, really be accurate based on just using a dongle? Other pulse oximeters are intrusion free, but use a closed design; will the open ended design of Tinké negatively affect measurement? These are important questions to be answered as Tinké reaches its release date in the indefinite future.
Technology continues to amaze and surprise us with steady and fantastic moves to make life easier and more exciting. One crucial problem gets in the way of all of that, however - technology's kryptonite, if you will. That dastardly villain? Water.
As any poor soul who's dropped their iPhone into the bath or kitchen sink has discovered, iPhones do many things but swim is not one of them. It's a grim death and an expensive one at that. Luckily, there are some very clever people out there that are determined to make water damage a thing of the past. That idea? Liquipel.
Liquipel is a process that applies a waterproof coating to the device, thus protecting it from any damage. The coating is microscopically thin ensuring that it's not visible to the human eye and virtually undectable on the whole. It's applied to every surface outside and inside of the device to provide optimal protection against liquids.
To say it's potentially game changing is no exagaration. Such technology could be used very effectively for all manners of items. A YouTube video explains all as to how it works but it's the video we've included below this that truly demonstrates the technology. Pouring water onto an iPhone is something that will fill any owner with dread, yet it continues to work without any difficulty.
It's worth noting that Liquipel does recommend that such protection shouldn't encourage users to use their iOS devices purposefully underwater, such as for photography, but it's still very impressive.
Liquipel requires sending off the iPhone but it only takes a few days for the procedure to be completed. Standard pricing is set at $59 while a priority service is $69. For those worried about scratching, a scratch resistant film can be applied at the same time for a grand total of $79.
For the accident prone, this may well be an utter bargain.