That Darn iOS 8 QuickType Keyboard Has Completely Spoiled Me

QuickType for ipad

[I forgot to keep a QuickType screenshot, so I used this QuickType image from Macworld UK]

I tried the iOS 8 beta earlier this summer — right around beta 3 — and loved the experience. Texting from the iPad was great, the new full-screen Safari was great, but the absolute best feature to me was the new QuickType keyboard. I loved being able to blast through words with two or three taps, and glancing just above the keys to see what auto-correct was going to recommend. These modifications to the software keyboard made such a huge difference to how I approached text entry on the iPad. QuickType made typing feel more efficient, and it made auto-correct feel like it was there to actually help, instead of acting like a passive-aggressive jerk (“I know you didn’t mean to type duck, Thomas, but I don’t care”).

I’ve since downgraded to iOS 7 because there are some crucial apps (cough *Evernote* cough) that just don’t work on iOS 8 yet. However, the damage has already been done. I’ve noticed that I type a lot less on the iPad, unless I have a Bluetooth keyboard paired. The experience just isn’t the same. I’ll game, surf, and read on my iPad, but I leave most of the messaging and emailing to my iPhone or Mac. My taste of the beta has totally spoiled me.

This just makes me even more excited for the pending release of iOS 8. The new QuickType keyboard, alongside the slew of other third-party keyboards, are going to be game changers for productivity and messaging on my tablet. I’ve always wanted to be able to carry around just my iPad and Smart Cover, and I truly believe the new software keyboards we’ll see this Fall will allow me to do just that.

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Notable New iPad Apps – Ancient Battle: Hannibal

Ancient Battle Hannibal for iPad

Another great-looking strategic war game title has hit the iPad App Store this week. It’s called Ancient Battle: Hannibal, and of course it’s centered around Hannibal’s legendary battles against Rome in the Punic Wars.

The game is from Hunted Cow Studios, who have already brought a number of excellent strategic war games to the iPad, including the superb Civil War: 1863.

Here’s a slice of the App Store introduction for Ancient Battle: Hannibal:

Ancient Battle: Hannibal is the newest edition to the Ancient Battles series. Experience the magnificence of the Punic Wars, as you follow Hannibal on his crucial campaign against Rome. Based upon, and a major upgrade to, the game system developed for Ancient Battle: Rome, a game that was the No.1 strategy game on the App Store in 8 different countries. Ancient Battle: Hannibal introduces many new game features including multi-level hills to elevate your strategic opportunities when commanding vast armies.
Fight the battles of the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. Each campaign is themed around battles between Hannibal’s armies and their cunning opponents in the four geographical regions of Italy, Spain, Sicily and Africa. Hannibal’s inspired tactics and leadership made him one of Rome’s most dangerous enemies and possibly the greatest general of all time. Can you match his achievements on the battlefield?

One of my favorite old board games was a Punic Wars title, so I can’t wait to try out this game on the iPad.

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FlowBoard EDU for iPad: A presentation app that gets out of the way

IMG_1102

Presentation software. You either love it, or live with it. There isn’t too much in between. For years PowerPoint was the market leader, but the goliath of the PC presentation world hasn’t really kept up with presenting in the mobile world. It has left a niche in the market for other developers to leap in to banish WordArt, Clip Art and crazed animations to the same place that Clippy the paperclip now resides. There are lots of decent iPad presentation apps available. Keynote is probably the best known, but others like Haiku Deck, SlideShare and now FlowBoard EDU are adding some well thought out features to presenting on the iPad.  [click to continue reading…]

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Latest iPad Rumors: Finally, More RAM for the Next-Gen iPad Air

LG-G3This week’s big iPad rumor is all about an important predicted spec upgrade for the next-gen iPad Air – a bump up to 2GB of RAM, as 9to5Mac reports:

A new report from Asian site TechNews.tw claims information from the Apply supply chain points to the next generation iPad Air doubling up on RAM from 1GB to 2GB

If this rumor is accurate that would be good news, though not great news I’d say. Great news would be 3GB of RAM or more for the top-end of the iPad line.

RAM has been the weakest spec detail on the iPad for years now, and it lags well behind some rivals. Heck, it even lags way behind the LG G3 phone that I carry – which has triple the amount of RAM of the current iPad Air. And a number of other leading smartphones offer double and triple the amount of RAM of the iPad.

I’ve been complaining about this ‘feature’ of the iPad for years, and I really wish Apple would give some serious new love to this memory spec of the iPad lineup.

If this latest rumor is right though, it doesn’t sound promising in this area, since it also speculates that the next-gen iPad mini will still offer just 1GB of RAM.

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Deals: Limefuel Lite USB Battery Pack: The Dual USB Portable Charger at 35% Off

Limefuel Lite

A powerful and lightweight portable charging solution is today’s featured iPad Insight Deal. It’s the Limefuel Lite USB Battery Pack. It features a 15,000mAh Lithium-ion battery capable of charging most tablets 2-3 times, two USB ports, and a digital display showing how much juice it’s got left. It’s on offer today at 36% – at just $34.99, down from $55.

Here are its key features:

  • 15,000mAh Lithium-ion battery
  • Digital display indicates exact level of charge
  • Built in flashlight
  • Stylish & compact design
  • Grade A battery cells and high quality circuitry provide protection against short circuit, anti-discharge protection, anti-overcurrent protection and anti-explosion protections
  • 500+ lifetime use cycles
  • 2 USB ports for multi-device charging
  • Auto-on and auto-off preserves battery charge

You can see more details and place an order at this iPad Insight Deals page.

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Quick Look: Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000 for iPad

This beast of a battery is the Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000. It’s a 9000 mAh battery, translates to about three or four charges for my iPhone 5S, or 60–70% of my iPad Air’s battery in real life charging situations. The Power Pack isn’t one of those tiny batteries that you use in an emergency […]

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iPad Art: The Zombie Banker

‘The Zombie Banker’ is the title of today’s featured iPad artwork. This image is the creation of José António Fundo. Here’s the artist’s own overview of the piece: Part of the Zombie Economists collection, “The Zombie Banker” is a caricature of Ricardo Salgado, former CEO of Banco Espírito Santo, fallen in disgrace after leaving the […]

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