Last week, Apple announced the iPhone 5, much to the surprise of everyone I’m sure (that’s sarcasm). The new phone has some pretty nifty features, but not everyone will be waiting in line for days in order to get their hands on one. Those of us who don’t want to trade-up just yet still have a way to scratch that “new Apple gadget” itch, however: iOS 6. This new iOS will be compatible with most older devices, including the iPhone 3GS (Yay!) and above, the fourth generation iPod Touch and up, and the iPad 2 and later. So while I might not be able to get my hands on a 5 just yet, I can still feel special when my phone starts to do new and exciting things!
iOS 6 – Plenty of changes to some old favorites
Before we get in to all the major changes and new features I want to take a moment to go over some of the smaller tweaks to the apps many iOS users can’t live without. The camera has gotten a bit more attention this time around. Users can take panoramic photos now with their iPhone 4S/5 and iPod Touch 4th/5th generation, up to 240 degrees both horizontally and vertically. They have simply to sweep the camera along using a predefined motion and the device and software takes care of the rest. Then, said photos and everything else on the camera roll can be shown off to friends quickly and easily with the Photo app. Video chatting with friends and family via FaceTime has also gotten much simpler now that the app can work over a cellular network and Wi-Fi is no longer required–provided the carrier allows for that sort of thing, naturally.
Even the Notification Center has been revamped with Twitter or Facebook posting allowed directly from the notifications window and the option to quiet those irritating 3am notices, thanks to the new Do Not Disturb feature (more on that later). Last, but certainly not least to the accident prone, Find My Phone has been updated to include a Lost Mode which allows users to remotely lock their misplaced phone with a 4-digit code and display contact information for honest folks to use in order to return the lost device. This goes hand-in-hand with Find My Friends, an app that uses GPS to keep track of friends and family, even going so far as to issue alerts when certain individuals have left or reached specific destinations. It sounds weird, but think of it in terms of the kids leaving school and getting home. Pretty nifty, I know, but this is just the beginning.
iTunes, App Store, iBookstore – Refurbishing the storefronts
iTunes, the App Store, and the iBookstore are also getting adjustments by way of some slightly revamped storefronts, Facebook integration (“like” items in the store or view items that friends like), and a new preview feature that automatically keeps track of any apps/music/books that you browse through. You can view this list from within any of the three stores–and across any of their iOS devices thanks to iCloud–and make purchases from it directly.
This week at 148Apps.com, we got ready for some much-deserved rest with a comprehensive overview of all major Labor Day app sales. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “It’s another holiday weekend here in the USA. Burning Man, end of summer, Labor day — pick your favorite. And that means it’s time for another huge sale on iPhone and iPad apps. These apps are on sale and they have to go!”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-12-15 :: Category: Games
Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon dug deep into the earth and discovered Auracle-Fossil. She writes, “Fossil tells the story of a girl finding a fossil on the beach, and the story of where her mind goes as she imagines this dinosaur alive long ago, as well as the process that this bone must have taken to be transformed into a fossil.
Fossil is beautifully illustrated with striking water colors, as these original illustrations found in the published book work quite well in terms of translating these paintings. Here, the double page spreads from the book are formatted to fit the screens without losing much real-estate, allows readers to see both these pages together without the need to pan and scan, a feature that works in other apps, yet is simply not necessary here.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-07-25 :: Category: Education
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on an unusual trend in the world of free apps: “Fiksu has released its latest Indexes tracking how much it costs for brands to acquire loyal users, and how many downloads the top free iPhone apps are getting.
The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the average combined volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps. For July, the Index indicates that daily downloads decreased month-over-month by 5.6%, down to 4.37 million downloads from 4.63 million in June. The number has remained relatively stable after a drop from 6.35 million in February. This may be due to a residual after-effect of the holiday season, which saw steady increases after the launch of the iPhone 4S.”
More big stories are on the way from the App experts at 148Apps! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest sales, reviews, news items and more. See you next week, football fan!
This week at 148Apps, a new video revolution began, as Amazon.com released its Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad. Carter Dotson writes, “Amazon Instant Video is now available on iPad, expanding out the Amazon’s vast library of video offerings to iOS users. This offers streaming of purchased movies and TV shows from Amazon, with the ability to sync up watch lists between devices. It also includes titles available from Amazon Prime, similar to Netflix, a service offering over 120,000 streaming movies and TV shows. It is only available as a yearly subscription from Amazon as part of the Prime service that also includes free 2-day shipping on Amazon items.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-31 :: Category: Entertainment
Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got us ready for mealtime wither her review of Bo’s Dinnertime. She writes, “Bo’s Dinnertime in a cute and fun interactive universal app that teaches the sequencing of events that lead up to dinnertime, such as food shopping, putting away groceries, cooking and setting the table, as well as eating dinner and cleaning up afterwards. A simple and sweet song is also included, as is a section dedicated to selecting and eating foods with the tap of a finger. Narration is included, leading children though varied food related exercises, complete with subtle highlighting of new objects to tap or interact with, keeping the flow of this app going nicely.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-15 :: Category: Education
Last, but certainly not least, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson explored the results of a recent study by KinderTown. He says, “KinderTown, developers of an app that helps collect the best kids apps on the App Store, have released a study based on searches within their app. Their “KinderSights” analytics study collected data from June 20th to July 10th, and they have released the results from the study, revealing some key insights into those that search for kids’ apps on the App Store.
The most-searched criterion was age, with 50.2% of searches looking for apps for a particular age. Second was price at 40.6%, followed by platform at 31.8%, and the type of app was last at 30.2%.”
This week may be done, but there’s no need to worry. More app reviews, news and contests are always on their way across the 148Apps network. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to stay on top of all the happenings. See you next week, Gothamites!
This week at 148Apps.com, we got into the game with our look at CoachNote. Writer Jennifer Allen says, “CoachNote offers a way of creating sports drills, strategies and tactics, all from an iOS device and it’ll be a real hit for coaches as well as fans. The app makes it easy to create complex plays and strategies with tools for drawing lines in multiple colors to explain what’s going on.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-01-26 :: Category: Sports
Meanwhile, GiggleApps.com took a closer look at Brave: Storybook Deluxe. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “As one would expect from this Disney Pixar film, the illustrations, music and narration are quite striking and beautifully crafted – especially the brilliant use of bright and bold colors which was the main detail that caught my eye the first time I saw a trailer for this film.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-06-14 :: Category: Entertainment
148Apps.biz presented a guest editorial from Matthew Palmer, founder and CEO of Marketing Your App. Palmer says, “After all the hard work of creating a mobile app, there is one decision that can sink even promising apps more than any other: choosing a price. Knowing what to charge for any product is tough, but the peculiar world of the App Store makes it a top question for even savvy developers.
The rewards are great: Apple has already paid out $4 billion to app creators who have combined a smart app with good marketing. But, too often, sticker shock leads customers to ignore otherwise helpful apps. When developers choose the wrong price, more often than not it seems, they aim too high.”
And that, my friends, is the week that was. Don’t miss out on anything in the coming days and weeks. Stay on top of our contests, promos, reviews and news items by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. You’ll be glad you did. Until next week, keep wall crawlin’.
This week, 148Apps was all about Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2012. Take, for instance, Carter Dotson’s report on new Xbox 360 features that may allow iOS integration: “At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, they revealed an interesting new feature that will integrate smartphones and tablets to the Xbox 360. Called SmartGlass, this is designed to operate a second screen during games, movies, and TV shows. This means that hypothetically, a game could display a map on the tablet screen, or even integrate interactive game elements like maps and play-calling in sports games.
Our kids-centric site, GiggleApps, reviewed Give A Day HD, which, as reviewer Amy Solomon states, “is a thoughtful children’s book app that helps create discussions between children and their adults about the world bigger than their families, as this app brings the topic of less fortunate children to the attention of young readers. This app is also available as an app for iPhone as well and is also part of the PlayTales Reader application.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-03-26 :: Category: Books
And finally, 148Apps.biz covered the big news that Google acquired iPad app QuickOffice. Writer Kevin Stout states, “Quickoffice, the mobile document editing software (that particularly handles documents from the Microsoft Office suite well), has been acquired by Google. Announced on Google’s official blog, Google plans to intergrate Quickoffice‘s technology in to their own Apps product suite.”
Our week that was is now did and done. If you’d like to keep up with the latest reviews, news and contests, all you have to do is click the links to follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook. That wasn’t so hard, was it? I didn’t think so. See you next weekend, fellow chupacabras!
This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the coming Memorial Day holiday with a closer look and an ever-growing list of apps on sale. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “So, it’s that time of year again! BBQs, lawn chairs, beer, and the ability to finally wear shorts with sandals without fear of frostbite. Tan those legs and check out all the huge sales that are going on across the App Store below. We’ll try and keep it updated as we go this weekend, so be sure to let us know of any good sales on iOS apps…”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-12 :: Category: Games
At GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon reviewed The First Million-Teach Your Child to Read. Solomon says, “The First Million is a lovely universal “mix and match” book application that adults and children will find interesting as well as intuitive as here, as the pages of this book are split into three sections – each being able to be flipped back and forth to create new and intriguing illustrations and word combinations. Unlike other “mix and match” books where one can look for the corresponding thirds of the same image to make a match, this app is completely open-ended with no right or wrong matches to be made, giving children free range to produce any and all combinations they may fancy.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-21 :: Category: Education
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Disney’s push into Angry Birds territory. Stout writes, “Intensely popular Disney game, Where’s My Water?, will be receiving its first line of merchandise based on the game. The physics-based puzzler by Disney has been popular on both iOS and Android. Fans of the popular game can now buy all kinds of merchandise featuring the story’s character, Swampy the Alligator.”
Update: This review was published on April 27th. As of May 27th, the hinge on the cover has indeed broken. An iPad case company claiming to provide the kind of protection that Hammerhead does should surely last more than a month with light use. I’ve changed the scores above to reflect this.
The Hammerhead Capo case is a solid, good looking basic case for $40. It comes in black, blue, white, red or orange leather-grained polyurethane. It covers the whole iPad, with molded open areas for the dock port, headphone jack, rear camera, and volume buttons.
The top, folio-style cover is hinged to the back area, and features a hinged fold in the middle. The top cover meets the iPad glass with a soft, fuzzy material to protect from scratches, and auto locks and wakes the iPad on closing or opening the top flap.
The flap folds behind the iPad in a triangle shape with a little clip that seats within a spot on the back for three not-too-different landscape viewing angles. The clip also keeps the case closed, but did not actually snap into place in the back of the case, so did not feel as solid or stable as I’d prefer.
The Capo case also allows for a typing mode, Smart Cover-style, that uses the hinge as the stopping point for the case and iPad. This may not be tenable in the long run, as the hinge is only made of plastic, but it worked well and felt fairly solid in our testing.
The iPad 2 fits into this case extremely well, which makes sense as it was engineered for that devices specific dimensions. The new iPad fits almost as well, to the point that it’s perfectly usable for Apple’s newer tablet. The Capo case kept both iPads safe and snug in a variety of bags, as well. It feels good in the hand, too, with much less bulk than similarly protective cases I’ve used. The Capo case adds very little weight, and the faux-leather grain provides a nice “grippy” texture, making this a wonderful case for the minimalist iPad user.
The bottom line here is that the Capo case by Hammerhead is a solid-feeling protective case for an attractive price point. The new iPad and the iPad 2 I tested it with both felt secure and well-protected, and the case is my current favorite full-protection, non-keyboard case for my new iPad.
Ostensibly, the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG is made for the iPad 2, which is how I received it for review. When I got my new iPad, I was ready for it to almost but not quite fit. Luckily, it fits pretty darn well–perhaps even better than with the iPad 2, which some users report as having a bit of looseness to it. So, here’s the review, taking into consideration both the iPad 2 and the new iPad.
Bottom line? This keyboard is a win, making it completely feasible to use an iPad as a laptop replacement. Of course, that really depends on the user, but as a writer, email & web surfer, the addition of a keyboard that is always with the iPad yet still easily removable is the key.
The keyboard itself is solidly built, with a rugged, non-flexible feel to it. The brushed aluminum finish perfectly matches the back of the iPad, and when the iPad is snugged into the keyboard case, face-first, it’s hard not to see it as an actual laptop. It’s like a Macbook Air, in fact, only a bit smaller.
The defining feature of a keyboard is, of course, the feel and usability of the keys. I’ve used several folio-type keyboards with mushy, too-small keys. The Logitech Keyboard Case is not one of those. The keys feel solid under my fingers, with just the right amount of resistance. I’d compare it to my iMac keyboard in feel, while it’s a bit smaller than the standard bluetooth keyboard Apple makes. It only took me a few minutes to get used to the different size of and distance between keys, and I have fairly large hands and fingers.
The New iPad Fits Snugly
I really like the protection offered by the Logitech Keyboard Case, though it does add a bit of weight to the iPad. In my unofficial testing of the weight difference between my 11-inch Macbook Air and the new iPad with the keyboard case attached (read that as holding one in each hand and balancing them, schoolyard-style), I’d have to say that it’s almost as heavy as the Air, if a bit lighter. Ultimately? It’s pretty darn light and useable.
The rubber bumpers on the inside of the case protect from impact damage, and hold on to the iPad when closed in. It’s a very nice way to keep the iPad safe, though I suppose the back of the iPad and the camera can still get scratched. That’s not something that concerns me, personally, though. I’ve not had any problem with either version of the iPad falling out when snugged in tight.
All in all, the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG for iPad 2 is a solid investment for anyone wanting to use their iPad as more of a laptop. Our very own Carter Dotson used his iPad with the keyboard case to report from the show floor of GDC and found it very acceptable. It will snugly fit both the iPad 2 and the new iPad (sorry iPad 1 owners) well, with the advantage going to the new iPad for fit.
Adobe has released a highly-capable version of Photoshop for the iPad 2. Adobe Photoshop Touch brings more advanced image editing features than the free Adobe Photoshop Express, boasting features such as multiple image layers that are essential to powerful desktop image editors. Various image selection tools including Scribble Selection and Refine Edge, which helps to extract tricky parts of images, are here in a touch-friendly interface. The camera can be used to fill areas in layers. Google Image Search is integrated to help add images to projects. Facebook is integrated to share images directly to the service. As well, projects can be uploaded to Adobe Creative Cloud, allowing for files from Adobe Photoshop Touch to be opened directly in Photoshop CS5. The app is not designed for extrmeely high-resolution porjects, although the 1600×1600 resolution should be enough for most users. The app does require the iPad 2 specifically, leaving out iPad 1 users. The app has launched at a price point of $9.99 and is available now.
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.
Did you get that long-coveted new iPhone 4s or iPad 2 for Christmas? Not sure what your new miraculous devices can do to improve your life? Or, maybe you’ve had an iOS device for quite a while and want a fresh perspective on its capabilities and the latest apps available for it. In either case, 148Apps and iPhone Life Magazine want to give you a chance to start 2012 off right by winning one of five magazine subscriptions to iPhone Life.
What do you have to do to enter? It’s simple! Just visit the following site: http://www.iphonelife.com/contest As a bonus, you’ll receive a free browser issue of iPhone Life.
He spoke not to me, but to my device,
And Jeff quickly asked Siri if I had been nice.
Her answer was good, so he connected Wi-Fi,
And filled my gadgets with even more apps to try!
His work here now done, he gestured with a wave,
And called for his assistant, the jolly Rob LeFebvre.
But I heard them exclaim, as they logged off for the night,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Exciting times dinosaur fans! Jurassic Park has hit iPad 2s! Not literally obviously as no one would like a T-Rex to crush their beloved gadget. No, I’m talking about Jurassic Park: The Game, hotly anticipated since Telltale Games announced it earlier in the year.
Maximizing the processing power of the iPad 2, Jurassic Park: The Game promises breath-taking cinematic scenes and some darn impressive graphics. Players will be taken back to Isla Nublar during the events of the first Jurassic Park film and be able to interact with the storyline in a brand new way. While many locations will be familiar to fans, there will also be plenty of new areas to explore as we discussed earlier this week.
Jurassic Park: The Game also comes with AirPlay functionality so that players can see the action on their Apple TVs for even more impressive visuals.
Jurassic Park: The Game is out now for the iPad 2 priced at $6.99.
With the iPhone 4S having recently been released, and sporting a spiffy new A5 chip, Fishlabs has seen fit to take advantage of the new hardware. Galaxy on Fire 2 HD, a universal app for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, features graphics updated to run on the A5 devices. All the models and textures have been remade for maximum visual fidelity that Fishlabs claims is “console-quality” with new backgrounds, enhanced effects, and other magic used to make the game look as good as it possibly can for the latest and greatest in iOS technology.
Far from just being updated in the graphics department, the game now supports OpenFeint and iCloud for cloud-based saving; the latter can even be used to synchronize progress with the previous iOS release along with the Mac version. CEO of Fishlabs Entertainment, Michael Schaede, says that “this is a truly revolutionary concept, because the gamers of the post-PC era want to be able to play their favourite games anywhere and anytime.” As well, the cloud-based synchronization will work with the upcoming Valkyrie HD add-on set to release in the first quarter of 2012.
As Apple announced last week just before the new iPhone 4S launch comes the release of iOS5 today. We’re pretty amazed by all the new stuff in the next mobile OS from Apple. Seriously, there’s a ton of new things in this release, making even our “old” iPhone 4 seem like an entirely new phone. Released today, and available right now, here’s what iOS has in store for us all!
Hit the jump to see all of the great new features of iOS 5.
Cave has just unveiled more solid release details: Espgaluda II HD will be available on the App Store next week on the 13th (10/13). It’s also going to have a special 4-day “Commemorative Price” of $10.99, so I’d suggest those who are interested jump on it ASAP.
A couple of months ago we mentioned that Cave was working on an HD version of Espgaluda II for the iPad, but at the time they didn’t disclose much else. We just knew that it was a thing. Well Cave has since chipped away at the ice a bit.
The “Guinness-recognized ‘danmaku’ shooter!” is indeed being refitted with high definition displays in mind, however it’s looking like this HD release will be exclusive to the iPad 2. At least for the time being. In addition to the remastered visuals – although according to the press release, the backgrounds and “some other graphics” will retain their SD quality – the “iPhone Mode” is being re-dubbed “Smartphone Mode” and receiving a new soundtrack by Kenichi Fukui and “KAY.”
Of course, that’s not all. Along with all this HD craziness, the current iPhone/iPod Touch version of Espgaluda II is getting a bit of a revision. For starters, the soon-to-be newly dubbed Smartphone Mode will also receive the new soundtrack. So there’s no need for audiophile non-iPad users to feel left out. Secondly, the full version will also get two separate “split” versions: Arcade and Smartphone. Each one will contain the full content of its titular mode, but won’t contain the other. Of course, the Full version will still be available, and contain everything. I’m guessing (keyword: guessing) this was done to allow more frugal App Store shoppers a way in, so to speak.
There’s still no official release date or pricing, but Cave promises that it’ll all be posted “soon” on their homepage. I’d strongly suggest iPad 2 owners with a love of bullet-hell keep an eye on it. Or here. We’ll probably mention something here, too.
This case popped up recently and looked like it had a chance to be something unique. While it borrows heavily from the Zagg mate, it makes a few improvements and is a heck of a lot cheaper. Let’s take a look at the Aluminum Keyboard Buddy case for it iPad 2.
This keyboard for the iPad 2 is sold as a case, but it’s not truly a case. Rather, it is more of a smart-cover-enabled clam shell with a keyboard included. The iPad sets, face down, into the tray of the keyboard with the edges coming up to enclose the sides of the iPad. And here we see the first issue with this keyboard.
To place the iPad 2 into the case for storage, users need to wedge one wide side of the iPad under two tabs on the edge of the keyboard. Then, users close the iPad by easing it down over the keyboard. To get the iPad wedged under both of these tabs is not a super easy thing. And once the iPad is closed into the keyboard, it is not as secure as the iPad was in the Zagg keyboard. The friction seems a bit lacking – it easily works itself out when stored in a bag or carried in your hand. Perhaps a little forceful adjusting of the aluminum edge of the keyboard would help, but I’m not willing to risk breaking it to do so.
Using the actual keyboard is much better than expected. It’s a similar Bluetooth design to most other non-folio type keyboards. The iPad 2 wedges into a groove on the front of the keyboard and leans back either in portrait or landscape orientation. The keyboard base then becomes the platform to hold the iPad 2 and use as a keyboard. This works quite well and is in my opinion the best method for typing. The solid base allows you to use this on a table or even in your lap, though using it in your lap with the iPad in portrait mode can feel a bit unbalanced. The one issue with this keyboard in particular is that the iPad bounces considerably when touching on the screen. The tabs holding the iPad in place are perhaps a bit soft for this or the overall design is a bit less rigid than it needs to be.
What about the keyboard? Well this is where this device really shines. While it has very small keys, they have great separation from the other keys. This really has given me unparalleled accuracy in typing on an iPad keyboard device. Add to that my preferred double-width backspace, inverted T arrow keys, and the usual compliment of iPad quick access keys, and this could be my favorite small iPad keyboard.
When closed up, the keyboard adds very little bulk in comparison to other keyboard cases. The whole package is just under double the thickness of the iPad alone. This keyboard also includes the special iPad 2 magnet in just the right place to automatically wake up your iPad when you pull it out of the case. Perhaps this could be an issue for battery drain if the iPad is popping out of the case in your bag, however.
Overall, the Buddy iPad 2 case is a good specialized keyboard. While half the price and not nearly as good as the Zagg mate, it is half the price. While for pure typing pleasure you can’t beat the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, in a pinch this one will work and is considerably more portable. Add to that the rather cheap price at under $50, and it might be the perfect keyboard for some.
This iPad 2 keyboard shell is available for $49.90 from MIC Gadget in either white or black. Full specs from the manufacturer are below, or after the jump.
iPad Integration Rating:
Hardware Design Rating:
Re-use Value Rating:
Tablets are awesome. Tablets are also awkward to hold and use because of their size. In order to address this first world problem, there exists the HandStand. This case, available for both of the currently available models of the iPad, features a hand strap on the back to allow for one hand to securely hold the iPad while the other is free to use it. This is great for walking around with the iPad, or for holding it up to display to someone else.
The HandStand works well as a keyboard prop due to its design. This makes it easy to put the iPad on a desk and start typing on it, or to just easily see what is being displayed on the screen, though it isn’t usable as a video stand. The case is very easily usable in any orientation, and can be rotated while holding it. The case provides a good grip while using it; I never felt like I was going to drop the iPad while it was in my hand.
The problem with the HandStand is that by using it, the user is limited to explicitly one-handed usage of the iPad. This can limit what apps are usable while the hand is in the grip portion. This is far better used when with a specific use where having to have the iPad in one hand is best, not for everyday usage. But then, using it is a pain. Literally. See, the iPad is not all that heavy, but combined with the additional weight of the HandStand itself, and with all the weight being put on the hand and wrist, it becomes very quickly uncomfortable to use. When using it to show the iPad to someone else, but it’s more comfortable, but for self usage? It’s just uncomfortable. As well, the case makes pressing the lock and volume buttons difficult to press because of the rubber covering the buttons. This is 2011; why is it so difficult to make a case that doesn’t add unnecessary difficulty to using the buttons on devices? The iPad 2 version of the HandStand appears to offer direct access to the buttons.
I find the limited utility of the HandStand and the discomfort it causes while using it makes this a product I can’t recommend. This seems like a good idea at first, but unless it becomes more comfortable to use, the awkwardness of holding the iPad without this case is still superior.
In one of the smaller announcements today, Apple announced that iOS 5 on the iPad 2 will support a feature called AirPlay mirroring. This feature is something that I’ve been telling people would eventually come to the iOS world and basically backdoor Apple into the console market.
If you aren’t familiar with HDMI mirroring on the iPad, it’s a feature that lets you plug in an cable into a special adapter on your iPad 2 and display your screen on an HDTV. This feature is great for use in classrooms and has even seen some play in games as well with Firemint using this feature to allow 1080p output on your TV from their Real Racing 2 HD via mirroring. But, you are tethered to the TV with a cable.
So, what’s AirPlay mirroring then, you ask? According to Apple, “AirPlay® Mirroring to wirelessly display everything you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®.” To me, that means with an iPad 2, you’ll be able to do that mirroring without a cable. That means anything you see on your iPad 2, you will be able to see on an Apple TV. Let that sink in and then think using that feature for games.
This means that any game you play on your iPad 2, you’ll be able to play on your TV, wirelessly. Yes, wirelessly. You launch Angry Birds on your iPad 2 and the Angry Birds screen will show up on your TV. Boom, instant game console with $0.99 game downloads.
To control the game, you would use the iOS device as the controller. The Apple TV becomes the cheapest console out there at $99 with the largest game library at nearly 100,000 games. Your iPad 2 becomes your controller, albeit a very expensive one. We can assume that this feature will also be available in the next iPhone and iPod touch, once their processors and memory are upgraded and on parity with the iPad 2.
Let’s wrap that all up together, and it means that you can consider the Apple TV to be firmly in the game console market now. This is huge! I can’t stress enough how much of a game changer this is for the gaming world.
Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft should be worried. They have all been rather slow to adopt downloadable games, now Apple has gone and made it easy and cheap. If Apple does to the console market what they have done to the mobile software market, they should be very worried. The Apple TV, which started out as Steve Jobs hobby, could turn out to be the most popular home game and entertainment console around.
One of the big drawbacks about the iPad 2 is its camera; identical to the iPod touch 4th generation’s camera, it only takes photos at a 960×720 resolution, paling in comparison to the resolution available from the iPhone 4′s camera, if not all iPhone cameras period. This is such low resolution that it is actually smaller than the iPad 2′s screen resolution of 1024×768. This means that users should not expect to be taking fantastic photographs with the iPad 2; and apparently very few people are.
According to Flickr’s stats, there are an average of 36 users per day uploading photos to Flickr from their iPad. Compare this to the over 4000 that upload daily from the iPhone 4 (which is trending toward becoming the most-used camera on Flickr, period), over 3000 that still upload photos from the iPhone 3G, and just under 2000 that upload from the iPhone 3GS per day. In comparison, the iPod touch 4G, which has an identical camera as the iPad 2, gets 455 users that upload to photos to the site per day, which is enough to make it the 5th most popular ‘cameraphone’ on Flickr; stats are not available for the original iPhone on Flickr.
Granted, there is a definite possibility that the numbers are being skewed by Flickr’s userbase; it may skew more toward photography enthusiasts than the casual photo taker, and the iPad 2′s camera is one that few if any serious photographers would actually use. The percentages may likely be higher on Facebook and Twitter photo services, where casual and convenient photos are more prominent than well-prepared shots, where a higher-quality camera would likely be used.
However, what is clear is that iOS users have definite options to upload photos from the phone to Flickr, as shown by iOS cameras being 4 of the top 5 cameraphones on Flickr. The iPod touch’s inferior camera is still popular enough to make it notable among cameraphones on Flickr. The conclusion is that tablets just may not be devices that users consider as regular cameras. iPhones and iPod touches are devices designed to be carried around in users’ pockets, and can be used to take photos when an opportunity arises. The iPad is usually carried around in a case or a bag, and may not be as immediately available for casual photo taking, and its inferior quality camera dissuades taking high-quality shots as well. Apple may have known this and only put a rear-facing camera in for posterity, rather than for actual usability, because no one is using the iPad 2 to take photos.
Fans of Epic’s Unreal Engine have been long trumpeting its praises on the iOS. However, while Infinity Blade has seen widespread acclaim, including a very promising review here on 148Apps, Dungeon Defenders, another game made using the Unreal Engine, hasn’t seen near as much success. One specific issue keyed on in our official review of Dungeon Defenders were the performance lags that occurred when there too many things happening on screen.
Luckily, the iPad 2 has come to our rescue and Dungeon Defenders developer Trendy Entertainment is happy to announce that lag is now a thing of the past. Apparently a perk of developing using the Unreal Engine is that you are by default writing code that is compatible with dual core PCs. This technology can now be applied to the dual cores found in the iPad 2, thereby kicking the prior slowdown to the curb, with minimal effort on their end.
Though I was initially skeptical about this news, as you can see in the video above and all remnants of stuttering have gone the way of the Dodo. I guess this is just one more perk of using the Unreal Engine. Here is to hoping that other developers are taking notes.
The iPad 2 is thinner (by 0.16”), lighter (by 130g) and smaller (by 0.03m H and 0.04m W) in comparison to its first generation counterpart. Along with that comes an all new, custom-designed Apple A5 dual-core processor churning out 1GHz of power, the inclusion of two cameras and a three-axis gyroscope. Screen and battery life remain identical. So when iFixit took on the challenge of tearing down the iPad 2, what else was there to be found? Let’s find out.
“Prior to starting the teardown, we guessed that the glass front panel was no longer held in place by tabs. We were correct. The new tapered edge on the iPad 2 prevents any kind of tabs from being used; instead, Apple engineers used generous helpings of adhesive to keep the front glass in place” writes Miroslav Djuric, Director of Technical Communication at iFixit. “Consequently,” he warns, “the front panel is very difficult to remove – it’s nearly impossible to open the iPad 2 without shattering the glass.” In terms of screen replacement, the iPad 1’s tab-equipped assembly made it a whole lot easier for a self-repair job. It looks like the same job on an iPad 2 is now a near impossibility.
Once the team were able to remove the glass, it was noted that both the LCD and glass thickness were smaller in comparison to iPad 1. Whilst this does provide a number of advantages, notably the reduced thickness and weight of the device, it may reduce its overall durability. “We’ll see in due time if the percentage of folks with broken iPad 2 front glass is dramatically different than that of the original iPad” writes Miroslav.
What wasn’t mentioned in the keynote address – or in the current technical specifications page of iPad 2 – is that the device contains 512MB of RAM, double the amount of iPad 1. This should do wonders when it comes to more powerful applications like iMovie and Garageband, the latter of which frequently leaves you waiting as it “optimizes performance” on iPad 1.
Overall, iPad 2 is as different underneath as it is on the surface: subtle differences, significant changes. Here’s a teardown video, along with select screenshots, for your enjoyment:
130g lightness refers to iPad 1 3G (80g if referring to iPad 1 Wi-Fi). Dimensions and weight courtesy of Wikipedia.
The iPad 2 is here! And in celebration, some apps have been updated for the iPad 2 with it’s increased processing power. And a whole bunch of apps and games have gone on sale.
First up, the newly optimized games. Infinity Blade has long been one of those games to turn to when you want to show off the power of the iPad. With it’s latest release, Chair Entertainment has updated the app with even higher resolution graphics to fully utilize the power of the iPad 2.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-12-09 :: Category: Games
In addition, we got word late last night that Real Racing 2 HD had been released. We were surprised with the launch after no mention of it’s pending release was made at GDC last week. But here it is, in all it’s glory, released with extra enhancements for the iPad 2 like full screen anti-aliasing.
Want even more? Looking for more great iPad apps to fill up the iPad 2? Check out our highest rated iPad apps and games page in our reviews section for the iPad apps and games that we think are the best of the best.
The iPad 2 itself is a faster, stronger, thinner, and lighter version of the iPad. It improves on most of the features of the iPad while not radically changing any of the originals features, making this release pretty much what we hoped for and expected. These updates do a lot to elevate the iPad 2 above any of the announced “iPad Killer” Android tablets like the Xoom or Samsung 10.1. The iPad 2 will be available in 16, 32, and 64GB wifi and 3G versions that work on AT&T or Verizon (not both), the same configurations and price points as the current iPad.
The main changes are in the speed of the iPad 2. The iPad 2 improves on the processor by now including an A5 dual core processor. In addition, the graphics processor has been improved, offering 9x the graphics processing power of the original iPad. Next up, the size of the iPad 2 is now considerably thinner, while remaining the same length and width wise. It now has a flat back and weighs a little bit less while retaining the same 10 hour battery life.
The only real new hardware feature of the iPad 2 is the dual cameras. There is now a front facing and rear camera. These can be used to take pictures, videos, and can be used in Facetime. A welcome addition, but not one that really changes the landscape.
The iPad 2 will be available this Friday. So far we’ve heard that it can be ordered online from Apple.com (no pre-orders though) as well as (starting at 5pm) from Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and Best Buy stores. Other stores will likely announce launch plans this week.
By far the greatest part of last weeks announcements were the new Apple developed iPad apps, iMovie and Garageband. Both look absolutely amazing. We’ll be sure to have full reviews of both as soon as possible. Garageband in particular looks absolutely amazing. Both are priced at $4.99. iMovie apparently only works on the iPad 2 while Garageband will work on the original iPad as well.
You can view the full Apple announcement at Apple.com.
So the question for you, our readers, is the iPad 2 enough for you? Does it have the features you wanted? If you have an iPad, will you upgrade to the iPad 2? We can’t wait to see your answers.
At its iPad 2 press event on Wednesday, Apple announced that it is releasing a universal version of its current iMovie app. Currently, the app only runs on iPhone and iPod Touch, but the renamed iMovie for iOS will run on the iPad as well.
In his introduction of the app, Apple’s Steve Jobs said, “[the app] is not a toy; you can really edit a movie on this thing.” Randy Ubilios, Apple’s chief artichect for video applications, then went on to present iMovie for iOS.
The application functions more like a fully-loaded video editing program than it does a lightweight app. iMovie for iOS will offer many of the advanced features found in the Mac version of iMovie. Just some of its features include a precision editor, multitrack audio recording, waveform audio editing, full high-definition video support, AirPlay support, multitouch gestures, iPad microphone support and direct video import via your device. The app will even be able to publish directly to social networks, such as YouTube, FaceBook, Vimeo, CNN iReport and iTunes, giving users plenty of options for distributing their content.
There are also other little extras in the universl version to boot, such as three new themes, three background audio tracks and fifty sound effects.
From the looks of it, you will in fact be able to actually edit a full-length film on the iPad 2 using the software. What’s more, the ease-of-use a touchscreen brings to the film-editing process is exciting for anyone who’s dabbled in any film-editing software before. Oh – and imagine hooking your iPad 2 up to your HDTV via HDMI. I can’t help but be excited about the idea of using the iPad to edit video.
iMovie for iOS will be available March 11 for $4.99 and will be supported by iPhone 4, the 4th-gen iPod Touch and iPad 2.
Rubicon have kept their ears open and made a number of changes to Combat Monsters based on the feedback received from fans. The new update provides users with a revamped user interface, a new skeleton monster, asynchronous multiplayer, and new matchmaking that keeps the multiplayer battles fair with no need to pay to win.