Because third party keyboards are still so inexplicably unstable on iOS 8.1.2, I’m trying to see if I can just use Apple’s own QuickType keyboard. I liked using Fleksy and Nintype because they saved me keystrokes by predicting my words, or by correcting me in such a way that I don’t need to focus on accuracy while typing.
QuickType seems to do a bit of both, and it can be satisfying to watch the animations play above the keyboard as the system tries to guess what I’m going to say next. However, I find I’m so used to typing on touch devices that I often out-pace QuickType’s attempts to help me out. My fingers just end up flying faster than the animations can play out.
So I’m trying a different approach for a little while in an effort to retrain the way I operate on a software keyboard.
- I now type a little slower so that the software can guess what I’ll say next
- For words shorter than five characters, I’ll just type them out fully.
- For words over five characters, I’ll type the first four or five letters and let QuickType suggest options for me
It’s the early days yet, but this seems like a happy medium while I wait for Apple to make third party keyboards a viable option. That has to happen someday…right?
Apple Maps have come along way since Scott Forestall first introduced them with iOS 6 in 2012. I prefer them over Google Maps most of the time, especially with regard to navigation. However, as one might suspect, they still are not on the same playing field with Google Maps when it comes to search results from within the app. This might not be the case for you, and even though you may know that you have countless alternative options when it comes to competing map programs–you do have options. There is actually a quick and easy way to navigate to an address from within a different mapping app if you already have the address loaded into Apple Maps–here’s how.
Apple makes it so easy, you don’t even have to have the alternative app downloaded to your iPad prior to starting this process. Like I mentioned previously, you need to have your address, or pin drop (approximate location) already loaded in Apple Maps. Once entered, the location (address) will show a pin on your iPad screen with a label defaulting to the driving directions and the estimated time it will take to navigate the that location. When you tap on that label you will see a split screen showing a satellite view of the location and options to drive to that location or to use that location as your starting point. Selecting either will give you itemized turn-by-turn directions. You can then select the “Route” button in the top right of the screen to see the full route on a map.
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Gmail for iPad just became a better iOS 8 citizen, gaining a few new features to help you utilize the app as your primary mail app (if you’re so inclined).
Notifications for new messages now feature an archive and a reply button; you won’t be able to apply in-line like you can with iMessages (Apple doesn’t allow that), but tapping on Reply will load up the Gmail app to that specific message, with the reply window ready.
Then there’s the Gmail share extension that’s now available in other apps. If you’d like to send a PDF from within Notability, or a picture from the Photos app, all you need to do is activate the Gmail extension from within the iOS share menu. Once that’s done, you can select the file(s) you’d like to share, and then tap on Gmail within the Share list. iOS 8 still won’t let you select a default app for things like OS X can, but these extensions enable much tighter integration of the Gmail app into everyday workflows. The only app that didn’t play too nicely with the Gmail extension was Dropbox — I tried sending a few messages out of Dropbox, but no links or files ever made it into my outgoing emails.
Finally, there’s sharing of files within Gmail with any of your other apps on the iPad via the Share menu. Now you can take that vacation picture your friend sent to your Gmail address and save it straight to Dropbox.
I don’t use the Gmail app on a daily basis; I keep it around for searching archived messages that are several years old. However, for big users of Gmail, this new features should feel like a major update. Check them out today!
Our featured deal today is good for anyone who has struggled with converting video and music files to play on the iPad or iPhone. It’s the WALTR Audio/Video Uploader for Mac & iOS – available for $20, 33% off its standard price.
Here’s the short Intro to this useful looking app for letting you play videos and music in all sorts of formats on your iDevices:
WALTR makes it as easy as ‘drag & drop’ to allow any music or video file to play on your iOS device. WALTRis the only app that makes MKV, AVI & FLAC files play natively on iOS devices ( iPad, iPhone or iPod touch) without the need for 3rd party iOS apps.
- Upload any video file for native movie app playback
- Upload any audio file – MP3, FLAC, APE, ALAC, M4R, AAC, AIFF, WAV, WMA, CUE, OGG, WV & TTA
- Execute transfers fast: the average upload speed is 2GB in under 1 minute
- Automatically transfer files to iOS apps without syncing
- Transfer file types that are not normally compatible with iOS, including MKV, AVI, FLAC, and CUE
- Play files with .srt subtitles
To see more detail and place an order, check out this iPad Insight Deals page.
WriteReader with keyboard
WriteReader for iPad has clearly had a lot of thought go into it from an educational and technical perspective. It’s main USP is that it will help to develop your child’s writing through using phonetically based sounds to create words which can be turned into a publishable eBook. However, does it live up to it’s promise?
WriteReader has a lot of financial backing and it heralds from Denmark. It’s modus operandi is to teach children to write. I would say that the app should be aimed at reluctant writers who have a lot of parental support. I also don’t believe it is the sort of app your child could use effectively without direct assistance from an adult. [click to continue reading…]