Who doesn’t like great iPad apps? At iPad Insight we definitely do. With that in mind, we offer up a quick review of an excellent iPad app, or a few great iPad apps, here each week.
Our picks for Best iPad App of the Week are published here every week. Check out all out picks below and you’ll soon have a collection of stellar apps for your favorite tablet.
This week’s pick is Jurassic World™: The Game, by Ludia. This popular free to-play game is running a sale that’s good toward 50% off some in app purchases–including cases of cash. With the huge success of the recent movie release of Jurassic World, the iPad app was destined to become just as popular among iPad owners who enjoy this genre of games. From the developer…
Return to Isla Nublar with the creators of the smash hit Jurassic Park™ Builder for your next adventure: Jurassic World™: The Game, the official mobile game based on this summer’s epic action-adventure. Bring to life more than 50 colossal dinosaurs from the new film and challenge your opponents in earth-shaking battles. Construct the theme park of tomorrow in this unrivaled build-and-battle dinosaur experience.
During the World Wide Developer Conference a little over two weeks ago, Apple released the first beta version of iOS 9 to developers. Many tech bloggers expect the public release of iOS 9 later this summer to be a “minor” upgrade from iOS 8 in terms of “new” features. However, it is widely believed that a concentrated effort made to focus primarily on stability and performance would be a welcomed deviation with an operating system as mature as iOS. The lack of a “laundry list” of new features is unlikely to deter the die-hard iOS faithful, and probably won’t play a big role in discouraging users from wanting to test out the beta.
There is always a electric buzz in the air this time of year for Apple and iOS. WWDC serves as the kindling for the summer excitement that continues to catch fire and build until new iPhones and iPads are released alongside a refreshed version of iOS in late September/early October. With this excitement, comes a desire by many to acquire access to an iOS developer account which grants them certain “privileges” the average consumer must wait for–specifically, the ability to download the latest beta version of iOS ahead of the public launch.
With great power, comes great responsability
I know what you’re thinking–I _really_ want to try out iOS 9 NOW–I don’t care that it’s still in beta. Well, truth-be-told, beta is beta. Pre-released versions of iOS software are released exclusively for those who develop for Apple, and iOS. Access to beta software aids developers in making their apps the best they can be so that when the newest iPads and iPhones are released to the public their apps work from the start. From Apple…
Emailing on the iPad on iOS 9 has become so much easier thanks to the new Attachments option. Previous versions of iOS required me to copy and paste pictures into emails, or using third party apps (like Dropbox or Outlook) to add files to my emails for me. However, as of iOS 9, the Mail app has really grown up.
Attachments can come from a number of Locations: iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. iCloud Drive works by default as long as you have that service turned on, and Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive become available once you install those apps.
Actually adding an attachment in Mail is accomplished by using the paper clip icon on the Shortcut Bar, or by tapping and holding, then swiping over to the “Add Attachment” option on the pop-up menu.
One thing I was worried about was whether or not iOS would actually append an attachment to the email. Some services choose to include links to the cloud files, which isn’t quite as convenient for certain things (like pictures or PDFs). Luckily, iOS 9 works as expected: adding an attachment actually adds that file directly to your e-mail.
The caveat is that you first have to have that file on one of your storage locations, and if that location is the cloud, the file will need to be downloaded before you can add it as an attachment. Certain other apps like Notes and Reminders have options to store files locally (“On My iPad”), but no such area seems to exist for Mail. The closest equivalent is to use an app like Readdle’s Documents, and store your important local files in there (so you can send those attachments without having to download them first).
The only other thing I might want in this system is the ability to select multiple files for attachment, but iOS’ document picker can currently only handle a single file at a time. However, I usually only send a handful of files in a single email, so this hasn’t been a real issue so far. Right now it’s just liberating to be able to attach files on my iPad just like I can on my Mac.
So this year your family said enough is enough–it’s time Dad got caught up with the times and started using an iPad like the rest of the world! Great! Awesome! Exciting! Now what? I know there are plenty of tech savvy Dad’s out there that know what they’re doing with regard to their favorite gadgets. I’d like to think I’m one of them–at least most of the time. However, maybe for you it’s been a while since you’ve been pushed out of your comfort zone and tried something new. Regardless of your level of expertise, there is a basic set of steps every one should take after purchasing/receiving a new iPad, and we’re going to highlight a few of the most important ones to get you on your way to enjoying your new device ASAP.
Back-up you data
I know this doesn’t necessarily pertain to those who are getting a new iPad for the first time, but I felt it was important enough that it should be the first thing we talk about. First and foremost, and this can never be overstated enough–anytime you are upgrading to a new device, you need to back-up your data–preferably in more than one place. I generally back-up my devices in iCloud as well as in iTunes. It might seem excessive until that one time when you don’t have it. Backing up your data should also continue _after_ you go through the initial process. I highly recommend you turn on automatic iCloud back-ups. It’s easy, convenient, and it happens in the background while you sleep at night as long as you are connected to Wi-Fi.
Now that I’ve had a few weeks to use a hardware keyboard alongside my iPad Air 2 on the iOS 9 beta, I have to say I’m quite impressed with how much Apple has addressed. There are many little areas they’ve added keyboard shortcuts to, and these tiny changes have really added up. If you’re the kind who wants to learn more shortcuts, but can’t quite remember them all, holding on the Command key in any compatible app will show you a list of shortcuts (as shown above).
I can now browse Mail messages by using the keyboard alone. Cmd + Up and Cmd + Down switch between emails, and it’s easy to Reply or Replay All with a quick keystroke as well.
iMessage has gotten a very modest set of keyboard shortcuts, but it really only needed the one. Pressing enter *finally* (finally!) sends messages, eliminating the need to tap the “Send” button on the screen. It wasn’t a big deal to do that a few times over the course of a day, but if you’re actively chatting with people, it got very old very quickly.
Surfing in Safari has also improved. There are shortcuts to switch tabs, close tabs, copy the URL, and even find text on the page. I can also use the arrow keys to scroll through the various search suggestions, which is a good touch (I wish the same applied to the Spotlight search, but that isn’t keyboard friendly yet).
It’s early days yet, but Apple is already setting a very good example of what great keyboard shortcuts can do for iOS power users with their first party apps. Combining these keyboard shortcuts with the system-wide Command + Tab (for switching apps) has made work a lot snappier on the iPad.
Happy Fathers’ Day to all of you fathers out there. Hope you’re all enjoying the heck out of the day, and thought it might be a good time to share some iPad wallpapers themed for the day.
Hit he break for a couple more …
My thanks to Mobile Cloth for being our site sponsor again this week. They’re our longest running sponsor and one of my all-time favorite iPad accessories. One I’ve used daily ever since I first tried them out.
They’re still the quickest, easiest way to clean up nasty germ-ridden, smudged up iPad screens. And the same goes for iPhones, cameras, and assorted other ouch screen devices.
And they’ve got a sweet Father’s Day offer for our lovely readers:
enter promo code: ipadinsight
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Our highlighted deal today is for the Lazy Couch Laptop & Tablet Stand. This tiny, lightweight (1.8 ounces!) stand looks very promising. It’s made by Just Mobile, makers of some of our favorite ever iPad stands. It’s on offer for $13.95 – 30% off the standard price of $20.
Here’s the Deals store intro and features list for the Lazy Couch Laptop & Tablet Stand:
Laptops and tablets have us constantly hunched and bent in positions that are bad for our health, and plain uncomfortable. Place these lightweight, portable stands under your laptop to raise it to the ideal ergonomic typing level, while also allowing airflow to prevent overheating. Kind of a Netflix addict? Use your Lazy Couch stands to get the ideal viewing angle of your tablet before you dive into your next series marathon.
Constructed w/ high-quality aluminum
Fit most laptops & tablets
Designed specially for MacBooks & iPads
Snap together as one unit for easy storage & traveling
Provide ventilation for laptops & tablets for cooler, quieter operation
Improve viewing & typing angles
Check out this iPad Insight Deals page to see more detail and place an order.
After the recent WWDC, Apple made it much easier to teach its programming language, Swift, in schools. In iOS9, you can run apps created in Swift on an iPad without the need for a virtual machine which means students can test, change a bit and test again with ease. They’ve also released some great looking iTunes U courses to help you learn. I look after the 1:1 iPad program in my school and I’d really like to take advantage of this for my students. The problem is I need to learn how to program in Swift and to do this I need a MacBook. Unfortunately I don’t have a MacBook. Everywhere I look, other teachers, students, everyone seems to have one of those sleek looking MacBooks, but I don’t. As I wipe my tears away at the prospect of all of my money going on nappies for the newest member of the Potter family and not a new MacBook, I turn my attention to making one from what I already have. Here is what I came up with. Continue reading
I posted an update two and a half months ago about the state of iCloud Photo Library, after having decided to store all of my photos and videos in Apple’s cloud. At the time, I was having issues with devices not syncing properly and cloud videos streaming in very, very slowly. However, something seems to have changed in the past few months.
I haven’t had a single issue with my devices dropping out of sync since my last post. As long as my iPad has had time to stay on Wi-Fi, I know I can turn it on and see full-resolution versions of the photos I just took on my iPhone earlier in the day. This alone is worth the price of $4/month for me.
However, video streaming and playback has also improved dramatically. It used to take upwards of 10 seconds for a video to start playing, and even then playback would still be a little choppy. On a decent connection (LTE or Wi-Fi that’s 20+ Mbps) my videos will start playing within about three seconds and allow for me to scrub through them. I tested this on videos that were 10 seconds and for videos over 1:10, and both started equally quickly. I was really thinking that all future devices I’d need would require 128 GB, but the increasing reliability of iCloud Photo Library has me feeling that 64 GB could be just fine for quite a while.
The last little bonus observation is that iOS 9 seems to have also improved the photo browser within apps like iMessage and photo editors. Trying to send a picture from within iMessage on my Air 2 usually took several seconds on iOS 8, but it’s noticeably faster on iOS 9. It’s not instantaneous, but I’m welcoming the improvement.
If you’ve been interested in iCloud Photo Library as your one stop shop for photos and videos, now is a pretty good time to jump on board. The service had some growing pains, much like iMessage did when it first launched, but it’s gotten better and is definitely feeling reliable now.
At the World Wide Developer Conference last week, Apple introduced their all new RSS reader app called News. In all honesty, I see it as a good move on their part–it makes sense. By offering a free news aggregator that automatically is included in iOS 9, iPad owners are much less likely to go outside the Apple ecosystem in search of a an alternative. This move to provide a more comprehensive, all encompassing experience on iOS will be a good hook for new iPad and iPhone users. However, after talking with some current users, many of them were not as impressed.
Will the News app be a viable alternative to much more established and successful RSS readers like Feedly and Flipboard? Yes, and no. Traditional RSS reader advocates will likely stay with their current choices. However, new iPad users looking for a way to consume content more easily, and all in one place will likely find News to be the first and perhaps their last choice since it will be pre-installed on their device. Never underestimate the power of convenience.
Sites like Facebook and Twitter seem to be absent from the list of available feeds that can be included in the News app–which might be a little discouraging to some users. I for one, won’t miss them, as that is not the way I consume social media content. I’d rather just read those kinds of posts from within their respective apps; and I would bet that the majority of Facebook and Twitter users would feel the same way.