- from the Zagg web site -
Keyboard cases for tablets such as the iPad Air go a long way toward making your tablet feel like a laptop. Indeed, if you do a lot of text entry on your iPad, like writing this article, it is nearly essential. While a keyboard case adds a lot of functionality, it also comes with some inconveniences and compromises. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Zagg Folio for the iPad Air, and in the process it should become obvious what to look for in a keyboard case in general.
The box that the Zagg Folio for the iPad Air comes in is extremely easy to open. Instead of difficult to open thick plastic or a glued-shut box, there is a flap that is held closed by a magnet. It is shockingly easy to open that flap and pull out the Zagg Folio. Apple is famous for their packaging, but they could learn a thing from Zagg here.
The Keyboard Feel
Zagg claims, and I believe them, that the Zagg Folio provides 30% more space for typing than similar products. These keys do not feel like a miniature keyboard and touch typing does not feel cramped. The keys are slightly closer together than a full-sized keyboard, but my hands and fingers like the experience. Indeed, typing on the Zagg Folio is an absolute pleasure.
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iOS 7.1 is out today and you can update your iPad by heading over to Settings -> General -> Software Update. This dot update marks the biggest and bug-fixinest improvement to iOS since the release of iOS 7 last year.
The major features you’ll likely notice immediately are:
- iOS animations are faster, which makes multitasking and returning to the home screen feel much more fluid on my iPad Air (this is a pretty big deal)
- Siri has been given an extra set set of less robotic voices for certain Mandarin, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese
- You can now tap-and-hold the Home button to bring up Siri, dictate your commands, and then release the Home button to signal that you’re done speaking (though you can still wait for Siri to automatically detect that you’re done talking)
- New dialogue and button designs (e.g. the new shut down screen, which you can see by holding the Sleep/Wake switch)
- General stability improvements. The 64-bit iPad Air is definitely more crash prone than my previous 1st-gen iPad mini, and discussions of the beta claim that 7.1 is much better, even at memory management
In my brief taste of the update thus far, Safari tabs do seem like they stay in memory longer than before. I can get to about six or seven tabs (news sites and blogs) before any one of them has to reload. It also feels like switching between apps is a hair faster than before, which does make a surprising difference.
The only headline feature of 7.1 that isn’t available on the iPad is Carplay, which improves hands-free and car control integration … but only on iPhone 5 and up, and then only on certain new 2014 car models.
The iTunes Festival app for iPad has been updated, to Version 5.0. This latest version has a refreshed design and is updated for 2014 and in particular for the festival at SXSW this year.
The update did not come alongside an iOS update (to 7.1) as was rumored last week, but it’s still very welcome.
The iTunes festival is here in Austin this year and the lineup is impressive as always. Acts include Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, London Grammar, Kendrick Lamar, Soundgarden, and Willie Nelson. And with this app you watch all of them live for free, Hard not to love that.
Here’s an App Store link for the iTunes Festival app; it’s a free app and a universal app designed to run on both iPad and iPhone.
This week I reviewed five educational apps that help children explore language, culture, friendship, numbers, and much more. The apps originate from many places around the world, including England, Croatia and Jamaica. Yet each app engages children in its own unique way.
1. Aiden and the Apple Tree, A Jamaican story from author Johnathon A. Kelly, creator of The JuiceMan
Set in the Jamaican town of Little Patch, the story begins as a young boy named James is caught trying to steal a mango from the town’s JuiceMan. Instead of getting angry at James, the JuiceMan retells the story of Aiden, a boy from the village of Chewmagna, who tried to steal from an apple tree that belongs to his teacher, Mrs. Applebee. James learns that honesty and hard work are rewarded, but sneakiness and stealing lead to trouble.
The story of Aiden and the Apple Tree is a bit more complex than most storybook apps which makes it appropriate for children who are independent readers or prefer longer, more complex reading. However, the narration option makes it easy for younger children to enjoy the story as well.
The app includes a fifteen question reading comprehension quiz for the older children and coloring pages for children of all ages.
Note: iTunes lists Michelle Anaya as the seller for this app. I verified that the actual creator is Johnathon A. Kelly and holds the copyright for this app.Aiden and the Apple Tree is available on iTunes for $1.99. Ages 4 to 10.
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South by Southwest, or SXSW, just kicked off this weekend in my lovely hometown of Austin, Texas. It’s an annual festival covering music, film, and interactive arts.
And of course the very useful SXSW Go app for the iPad has been updated for this year’s festival.
SXSW® GO is the official mobile app for getting the most out of attending SXSW 2014. Browse our lineup and create your personal schedule, then login to sync it with your other devices. Find your friends and connections and see what they are up to, and network with thousands of other Attendees. You can also find your way around Austin, navigate the trade show, stay connected to the social world and more!
You can build your schedule online at schedule.sxsw.com or directly on your mobile device. With SXSW® GO, you also can sync your online schedule with your mobile device, so your info will always be up-to-date!
If you’re attending the festival this is the one companion app you need. Here’s an App Store link for SXSW Go; it’s a free app and a universal app designed for both iPad and iPhone.