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iPad 2: A Guide to the Must-Have Holiday Gift

There is a reason Apple sets the standard for product design. With intuitive design and lifestyle integration, getting your hands on their products for the first time makes you wonder how you ever lived life without one.


iPad 2 is THE must-have holiday gift of 2012. 

Maybe you already lead an Apple-filled life, or maybe you’re looking for a reason to start one? Either way, if you don’t own an iPad and are considering a tablet, the iPad 2 is a no-brainer.

The Give That Keeps On Giving
The iPad 2 comes with a dual-core A5 chip and 10-hour battery life – it’s thin, 0.34 inches and weighs less than 1 1/2 lbs. It’s literally ready to go anywhere. Plus, with App Store and iCloud support you can be sure anything you’re looking for can be found with it and anything you’re looking to hold onto will be kept safe in it.

Sure, there are plenty of tablets and mobile devices out there but the iPad 2 sets the standard; there’s more than one reason it sits atop of the Must-Have Holiday Gift list. All other tablets, app stores and apps are modeled after Apple’s innovations, so why settle for a cheap knock-off? This device is more than worth the money.

 Get Creative, Make Memories – with Apps!
The iPad 2′s dual-core A5 chip and graphic performance is 9x faster than the first iPad. This allows you to cruise through any app quickly and easily. Multi-Touch gestures are fluid and seamless – unlike other tablets that have clunky interfaces and delayed responses, on the iPad apps load faster than every, and multitasking is a breeze. Looking to get creative? Here are three iPad apps to make the most of your holiday memories:

iMovie
$14.99 / Apple

Apple and the iPad 2 have made it a reality for everyone to become an HD video director and at just $14.99 who can pass up that deal. This video editing app makes it easy to shoot, edit, and share HD video with all of your friends and family. Here are a few features that really set iMovie apart.


Capture those holiday moments and make memories using iMovie

Multi-Touch – Whether you are a seasoned video editor or someone learning for the first time, iPad’s Multi-Touch capabilities are incorporated into iMovie and allow you to tap, pinch, push, and drag your way through the video-editing process, allowing you to get hands on with your film using intuitive multi-touch gestures.

Themes – iMovie allow you to easily set the theme and tone of all your films with a fun-filled batch of pre-sets that give your production a top-end polish.

Photos, Music, and Sound Effects – iMovie also allows you to easily add media from your photo library or iTunes library to quickly create a multimedia project for the whole family to enjoy. And if you’re looking for ways to create your own music or more stunning graphic art, Sketchbook Pro and Garageband are two more apps to take your skills to the next level.

Sketchbook Pro
$4.99 / Autodesk

This professional-grade paint and drawing application is perfect for the professional artist on the go or the daydreaming doodler. Designed by Autodesk and developed exclusively for the iPad experience, you’ll be able to touch up photos from your library or conjure new ideas into brilliant images with this app.


With features found in products costing hundreds of dollars, Sketchbook Pro is Photoshop for iPad.

High Quality Brushes and Tools – With Sketchbook Pro you can pick from more than 60 preset brushes, pens, pencils and markers to make sure you have the right tool at your finger tips and the professional-grade paint engine built in ensures you get the smoothest and most precise brush strokes.

Multi-Touch Control – Sketchbook Pro takes advantage of iPad’s Multi-Touch capabilities to the max. A three-finger tap brings up a whole control panel and a two-finger zoom allows you to zoom 2500% and that’s not where it ends. Multi-Touch and Sketchbook let your creativity come out as quick as your fingers can move.

Layers – Layers in Sketchbook allow you to import images from your Photo Library or from your Camera to add a few touch ups or maybe make unique compositions. You can also export layers as a Photoshop document to share with a desktop or send to friends to add some touches.

Garageband
$4.99 / Apple

Want to become a music producer? Put a complete music studio in your hands with Apple’s Garageband. Using the built-in microphone you can record and produce a whole album right on your iPad.


Make real music – not just play along with colored buttons – using Apple’s amazing Garageband

Multi-Touch – Just like iMovie and Sketchbook Pro, Apple’s Garageband makes the most of the iPad 2′s Multi-Touch gesture capabilities while tapping out chords and melodies on the innovative Multi-Touch Keyboard.

Smart Instruments – Like having a group of studio musicians at your finger tips. Tap keyboard chords out with just one finger to find your groove or actually strum a rhythm out on an acoustic guitar. Looking to add some drums to that guitar riff? Use Smart Drums to just drag and drop until you find your beat.

Share It! – Once your mix is finished you can email it directly to your friends from Garageband or export directly to your iTunes.

Share Memories, Socially
Why wait to share your holiday memories? With the iPad 2 and a few powerful apps you can now share those magical moments instantly with friends and family that couldn’t make it to the party.


Bring your family closer together this holiday season using Facetime. 

Facetime for iPad - Have a brother that’s serving overseas or a sister studying in Australia? FaceTime allows you to stay connected with friends and family that couldn’t make it home this year. Facetime comes pre-loaded on the iPad, so all you have to do is click on the app to get started.

Two Cameras – Unlike some tablets, (like the Amazon Fire which has no camera) the iPad 2 features two cameras, one on the front and one on the back, to allow you to chat face to face or show people the world around you. Plus they’re HD so you can share every last detail.

Facebook for iPad and Twitter for iPad - The iPad 2 brings social sharing to a whole new level – with high-res photos, live status updates, games, chatting, and more when you combine your iPad 2 with Facebook or Twitter. Plus, Apple has made it even easier with built-in Twitter integration on Apple’s new iOS 5.

Save Memories with the iCloud
The iPad 2 has made it easier to than ever to make and share memories and now with iCloud it’s just as easy to make sure they are safe – wherever you go.

iTunes – With the iCloud you can have all of your digital media at your fingertips regardless of what device you originally downloaded it to. So if you bought Jingle Bells on your MacBook at home you can easily access it on your iPad while at grandmas and get everyone involved with a sing-a-long.

Photo Stream – With iCloud and the iPad 2 you can also use Photo Stream to access all of the pictures on any of your iDevices. Snap a photo on your iPad 2 after opening presents and know that it’ll show up on your MacBook at home. No more forgetting pictures.

No wonder the iPad 2 tops the list of every holiday shopping list. Is there nothing it can’t do? Thanks to app developers and a growing number of people who want to become an app developer.

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posted by DMA Jordan in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

iPad 2 vs. Kindle Fire vs. Xoom & Others: A Tablet Buyers Guide

Entertaining the idea of getting (or giving) a tablet computer this holiday? Why not? Tablets like the iPad 2 will be the hottest hi-tech gift this holiday season. Tablets give you the world on a platter, compressing all the processing muscle of a laptop computer into a handy-dandy slate that you can hold in your hand — and which is light and portable enough to take anywhere.


Santa’s not the only one putting smiles on faces this Christmas; the iPad 2 will again light up the holiday.

The real question is which tablet computer is right for you? Apple’s iPad 2 is the market leader but other tablets have come along that solidly compete with it. It’s debatable if these contenders match the iPad’s grace and power. Still, these other devices may prove attractive to consumers since they are priced well below the iPad.

We’ve evaluated the leading tablets and have a side-by-side tablet-comparison chart below for your holiday shopping, but we’ve also listed our picks in order of preference:

1. iPad 2
 
Pros: Apple’s iPad 2 expands upon the original iPad in several ways. For starters, it has two cameras for FaceTime (video chat) and HD video recording. It’s powered by Apple’s dual-core A5 chip and features a 10-hour battery life. The latest iOS 5 adds more than 200 new software features. With the iPad 2 you also have access to Apple’s iCloud. Apple’s App Store showcases games and productivity. Apple has also added more apps (some 140,000 in all) to the store, making it the largest library of content for any tablet. It’s the market leader — and our top pick — for a reason. The interface is graceful, intuitive, easy to use and beautiful. If you’ve never owned an Apple product, this one will make you a lifelong fan.

Cons: The iPad 3 is scheduled for release next year.

Overall Dimensions: 9.50 inches (height) x 7.31 inches (width) x 0.34 inches (depth)
Weight: 1.33 pounds
Display: 9.7-inch diagonal LED-backlit glossy widescreen
Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768 pixels; 132 pixels per inch
Screen Display: Multi-Touch display with In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology. Screen treated with fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Manufacturer: Apple, Inc.
MSRP: $499—$829

2. Kindle Fire

Pros: Incredibly compact (small enough to slip in a purse), the Kindle Fire is as small as its price. Enhanced with Amazon Silk, a “split browser” that divides the tablet’s web-browsing chores between the tablet and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), the Kindle Fire boasts its own dual-core processor. And since it’s made by Amazon, it’s backed with an incredible amount of content,  including 18 million movies, TV shows, apps, games, songs, books, newspapers, magazines and more (with comics provided by DC Comics). The Kindle Fire offers 8 GB of internal storage; Amazon figures that’s enough for some 80 apps plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.

Cons: No camera for video chat or taking pictures.

Overall Dimensions: 7.50 inches (h) x 4.7 inches (w) x 0.45 inches (d)
Weight: 14.6 ounces
Display: 7-inch diagonal
Display Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels; 169 pixels per inch
Display Screen: Multi-Touch display with IPS technology and anti-reflective treatment
Manufacturer: Amazon
MSRP: $199

3. Nook

Pros: When you’re the world’s largest bookstore, it’s assumed that content won’t be in short supply and Barnes & Noble estimates its book holdings at more than 2.5 million titles. And at 16 GB of internal memory, the Nook Tablet has twice as much storage as its closest competitor, the Kindle Fire. (We still like Kindle Fire’s resemblence to the iPad.) The Nook Tablet also contains a microSD card slot that offers extra storage, which is noticeably lacking in other tablets, like the iPad 2. Interested in the Nook Tablet for reading purposes? You’ll be happy to know the adjustable fonts customize your reading experience (eight text sizes and six font styles). In addition to what B&N calls the largest digital collection of newspapers and magazines, the Nook Tablet is the tablet home of Marvel Comics.

Cons: No camera for video chat or taking pictures. Interface is sometimes clunky.

Overall Dimensions: 8.1 inches (h) x 5.0 inches (w) x 0.48 inches (d)
Weight: 14.1 ounces
Display: 7-inch diagonal
Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels; 169 pixels per inch
Screen Display: VividView Touchscreen, fully laminated for remarkable clarity and reduced reflection and glare-read indoors or outside
Manufacturer: Barnes & Noble
MSRP: $249

4. TIE: Xoom / Galaxy Tab
Xoom

Pros: Sporting a hefty 10.1-inch display, the Xoom is able to take advantage of hundreds of thousands of apps from the Android Market. Through Google eBooks, the Xoom is able to draw upon a library that ups the ante at more than 3 million titles. To enable video-chat capabilities, the Xoom has front and rear-facing cameras. It’s powered by Google’s Android and has plenty of horsepower. A MicroSD card slot allows for addition storage or moving your media, and it performs more than adequately.

Cons: At 1.6 pounds it’s one of the heaviest tablets out there. Google’s operating system has stability issues and it has other issues like images displaying properly in the Gallery viewer. An added insult, almost all of the Android games in the Android app store aren’t optimized to run on the tablet. (FAIL!)

Overall Dimensions: 9.81 inches (h) x 6.61 inches (w) x 0.51 inches (d)
Weight: 1.6 pounds
Display: 10.1-inch diagonal
Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels; 150 pixels per inch
Manufacturer: Motorola
MSRP: $499

Galaxy Tab

Pros: Like the Xoom, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 also boasts a 10.1-inch diagonal screen. Samsung claims faster and more stable online connection thanks to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 having both HSPA+ and Wi-Fi access. Also on-board: front- and rear-facing cameras that support video chat functions. Also powered by the Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) platform, which Samsung claims allows quicker processing times because the platform excels at multi-tasking. And speaking of multi-tasking, the Mini Apps used with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 let you perform multiple key functions while working with other applications. It is one of the thinnest Honeycomb tablets available and it comes packaged with earbuds(!).

Cons: The App selection is subpar. During our tests, even with a full Wi-Fi signal the online video playback had issues.

Overall Dimensions: 7.48 inches (h) x 4.74 inches (w) x 0.47 inches (d)
Weight: 13.6 ounces
Display: 10.1-inch diagonal
Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels
Manufacturer: Samsung
MSRP: $499—$629

5. Kobo Vox

Pros: Love to read? The Kobo Vox has a library that exceeds 2.2 million books.The Kobo Vox is focused on the reading experience and Kobo claims a total library of more than 2.2 million books, as well as more than a million free titles. Magazine content is supplied via thousands of popular magazines from Zinio and newspapers from around the world. Kobo is marketing the Vox as a “free reader,” meaning that once you purchase a Kobo Books title, the user/owner can then enjoy it on any opened reading device. Should you need more external stimulation, the Vox offers unlimited web browsing and open access to Android 2.3, including more than 15,000 apps. It’s a new entry to the tablet world.

Cons: It’s a cheap alternative to the big boys by a relatively unknown tablet maker, which could make for technical-support nightmares. Kobo’s books are more expensive than Amazon’s.

Overall Dimensions: 7.57 inches (h) x 5.06 inches (w) x 0.53 inches (d)
Weight: 14.2 ounces
Display: 7-inch diagonal
Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels; 150 pixels per inch
Screen Display: Multi-touch screen optimized for reading outdoors. Features extra-wide viewing that its makers say is ideal for shared reading.
Manufacturer: Kobo, Inc.
MSRP: $199

Side-by-Side Comparison

Apps Make the Tablets
In the end, it comes down to two things: a good operating system and (just as important, if not more so) apps. Making apps for the iPad isn’t easy but it is fun. Creative app developers are really driving tablets. Ultimately, buyers should decide which applications or what they intend to do on the device first, then find the tablet that fits their needs.

Bottom line: If you already own Apple products, like the iPhone 4S, you will probably want to get the iPad, mainly because of the App Store, iTunes and iCloud support. If you prefer the Android operating system then the Xoom might be best for you. If you want a much cheaper tablet that kind of feels like an iPad,  then Amazon’s Kindle Fire is your best bet. Whatever you choose, one thing is for certain: you’ll most likely be giving or getting a tablet this holiday season.

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posted by DMA Jordan in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

iPad, iCloud & App Cards

At the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event on Tuesday, Apple unveiled its next generation iPhone, the iPhone4S, but Apple was also talking about iPads, iCloud and apps, too.


Apple’s iPad pilot program for schools has put iPads in classrooms, in every state in the U.S. new schools are being equipped with iPads according to a recent article in the NYTimes. Photo via NYTimes. 

Apple has been pushing innovation not only in the technology space, but innovating schools and business. Apple’s latest phone features voice recognition and while it’s an incredible technological step, the company is full steam ahead on all fronts.

Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO, got a laugh for saying airplane pilots use of iPads makes airplanes more efficient. But it’s true; the FAA approved the use of the device and apps like ForeFlight. Hospitals are testing iPads, too. In fact, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies are supposedly “testing or deploying” the iPad in their workplaces. And the amount of schools and summer camps using iPads has dramatically increased.

In addition to the new iPhone 4S, the Apple event was a chance for Apple to toot its own horn and talk about these innovations and outreach. And Apple continues to surprise us with its unique train of thought.


Instead of iPhone 5, Apple introduced…Apple Cards???

Digital Goes Analog 
Apple has surpassed 250 million sales of iOS devices. That’s iPads, iPod touches and iPhones. Apps make these devices truly shine. The App Store features some 140,000 for the iPad alone, with more than 500,000 total apps. More than a billion of them are downloaded every month. Leave it to Apple to introduce one that helps you send a greeting or holiday card. The Apple Cards app lets you create paper printed cards – right from your iPhone or iPad.


Cards are sent with a special postal mark barcode – when they’re scanned at the destination, you get a text message the card has arrived.

If no one else was excited about the Apple Cards announcement, we’re sure the Postmaster General is since traditional postal mail use is significantly down. People still prefer to send cards the old fashioned way, however.

High Above the iCloud 
In the future we’ll all be storing docs in the Cloud. Think of anything you save – a document, picture or song. It all goes in the Cloud. Google Docs has done this for some time, so it’s no surprise to see Apple follow suit by promoting iCloud.

Apple’s iCloud allows the storage of any file type, and serves up all your media on all your iDevices – MacBook, iPhone and tablet. When you sign up, you get 5GB for your mail and docs, and pay an additional $20/$50/$100 more a year for added storage. Users get unlimited storage for photos and music. Using iCloud allows Apple to see all the music you own, and maybe even if you paid for it or not.

But iCloud does allow you to share your media across your many devices, which could come in handy for work or home.

The Core of Apple 
Apple’s doing what it has always done; revolutionizing technology to make your life easier and more productive. Siri, the voice recognition software for your iPhone 4S, is billed as a personal assistant. The iCloud makes moving your media easier. Apple Cards let you send a mailed greeting card right from your phone. Apple is revolutionizing the way we live our lives. And owning an iPhone or iPad isn’t the only to get involved with the Apple revolution. Learning app development for iDevices is a great way to get started with the Apple iOS, too. You don’t have to work for Apple to change the world.

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posted by DMA Jordan in App Development,Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

Apple’s iPhone 5 Versus Android Smartphone: Which is Better?

Apple is the most recognized brand in the world; Apple’s products, specifically the iPhone, are in high demand. And yet, Android phones have started outselling iPhones in the U.S., according to comScore. Why? Google’s widely distributed Android OS rules the smartphone platform. Several different providers offer several different types of service, alongside Android phones that are offered at many different price points. While Apple selects its providers, and only Apple makes the iPhone.


Apple and Android face off in the Smartphone Wars.

That’s why analysts expect Apple to release more than one type of iPhone to address the problem of market share, making the iPhone even more accessible. In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple is expected to release a cheaper iPhone 4, too.

Possible iPhone 5 features:

  • Memory. More memory, possibly 1GB of memory, which is twice the amount currently offered in the iPhone 4.
  • Higher-resolution. 8-megapixel (the current phones have 5 megapixel’s worth).
  • Near-Field Communication (NFC). Use your Google Wallet.
  • Voice Control. Call home using voice navigation.
  • Graphics. Improved and similar to the graphics silicon used in the iPad 2. Imagination’s PowerVR SGX543.
  • Dual-core Apple A5 chip. A boost in processing performance.
  • 3G. A Qualcomm chipset is expected that supports both CDMA and GSM networks.
  • 4G. Via HSPA+.
  • iCloud. Synching the phone might also be done through Apple’s cloud service.
  • iOS 5. New iOS with iMessage, tabbed browsing and lots more.

 
In addition to the Apple App Store, iTunes and whole host of features, the iPhone has 200 of them powering iOS 5. Also expect the introduction of iCloud to play a part.


A computer-generated graphic of the iPhone 5. 

Everyone wants an iPhone, including T-Mobile customers. CEO Cole Brodman recently shared his disappointment in a letter that explained the company hadn’t been selected as an iPhone provider yet. The Chief Marketing Officer for T-Mobile explained his own frustration with Apple and knew the announcement would make customers unhappy.

Droid Does 
The Android OS and droid phones support 4G. A phone like the Samsung Galaxy S 2 has an incredibly vivid and larger display than the iPhone. Droid phones also have great features. The Motorola Droid Bionic has a dual-core Texas Instruments’ OMAP4 processor. It has proved to be a very popular phone in its own right. While both Apple and Android phones support streaming video and audio apps like Hulu, Netflix and Pandora, Droid phones have better audio output and larger displays than iPhone.

App and game development for Google Android devices has certainly become increasingly popular with more games and apps being released ever day. Still, Apple’s App Store and iTunes are well established, offer more apps, games and overall content and are loved by millions.

Some tech-savvy users might say they want the display and many phone options of the Android platform, while having the support and use of Apple’s App Store and iTunes. Unfortunately, you can’t have both. iPhones and their apps integrate with other Apple devices. For that reason and a few others (including iTunes), for the moment, we’ll hold onto our iPhones and remain in line for the iPhone 5.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments