Quick Look: Fleksy for iPad

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Here’s the dream I’ve had for the iPad for a few years now: I head to a café and pull the tablet with its Smart Cover out of my bag and start to write. I don’t just mean write emails, but write little stories and blog posts over a period of an hour or two. I want to be able to forget I’m using a tablet touchscreen to write. I want to be productive and comfortable while I type.

Out of the keyboards available at the launch of iOS 8, I think Fleksy is the closest to realizing this dream, and $0.99 is a laughable cost to pay for the efficiency this keyboard brings to the iPad.

Incredible Typing Experience

Fleksy doesn’t have any sort of swipe integration, but it does have gestures embedded into the keyboard. You swipe left to erase the word you just wrote, swipe right to add a space, and swipe down to select from auto correction suggestions. Fleksy definitely has a learning curve because you can still correct the previous word while you’re typing a new one out, but it really flies as a touch typing keyboard after a bit of practice. For once, I feel like auto correction is working for me, instead of against me.

I also think this is the best fit for typing because it’s the closest keyboard for mimicking the speed of typing on a physical keyboard. Swiping with Swype is great on my iPhone but it’s just a bit too much screen space to cover on my iPad’s 10" screen. Touch typing with six fingers just feels more comfortable than any other software keyboard I have ever tried, and it’s proving to be more comfortable as well, since my hands never have to wander very far from the keys to make corrections.

Issues

The only major improvement I want at this point is easier access to numbers. I want to be able to tap and hold keys to enter numbers and symbols. At the moment these are all hidden in a different view of the keyboard, whereas other third party keyboards make these keys available via gestures. There’s also no gesture or button to hide the keyboard, which is a strange oversight.

Conclusion

Keyboard are definitely still a little unstable on iOS. Sometimes they’ll crash between apps or stop working altogether, but I think that will be fixed by an iOS update sooner rather than later. Even if Fleksy was the only one available at launch, I’d already be very happy. It’s leaps and bounds better than QuickType, and I love the simplicity of being able to pull the iPad out and write without any additional accessories.

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iOS 8 Updates: Pocket

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iOS 8 app extensions allow for apps to share information and for one app to interact with another without the second app having to be open. This feature makes the Share button immensely more useful and powerful.

I expect Pocket, the superb read-it-later app, will be one of the apps that gives the Share button the most use now in iOS 8 – and the app has been updated to take full advantage of the new sharing features. Here’s the short and sweet description of the Pocket update for iOS 8:

Introducing the Pocket share option! Save to Pocket from any app that supports the native iOS share menu, including Safari.
This update takes advantage of more new iOS 8 features as well:
- Share to other apps that support the new iOS sharing options
- Handoff lets you seamlessly continue reading an article where you left off between your iOS devices
- Lots of bug fixes and improvements

Pocket is one of my most shared-to apps on Android, and now it will certainly be the same on my iPad.

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iPad Art: Lynx Pardinus

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Today’s featured iPad painting is this beautiful portrait of a striking big feline – titled ‘Lynx Pardinus’, or Iberian Lynx.

It’s the work of Jaime Sanjuan Ocabo, and is the first in a series he plans to do on endangered species. I’m sad to hear that this Lynx is endangered, but looking forward to seeing more of this series.

You can see more of Jaime Sanjuan Ocabo’s iPad artwork at his Blogspot site.

And of course you can browse through lots more great iPad paintings in this site’s dedicated iPad Art section.

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iOS 8: How To Add Widgets to Notification Center

iOS 8 Notification Center

One of the areas that Apple has opened up in iOS 8 is access to Notification Center – as in access for third party apps. Now it’s supported and you can add Notification Center widgets for some of your favorite 3rd party apps.

Here’s how:

– Open Notification Center – with a swipe down from the top of the iPad screen from within any app or from the home screen

[click to continue reading…]

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Deals: Lifetime Of Elite iOS & Android Game Dev Training at 90% Off

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It’s amazing the quality of games that are now available on the iOS and Android platforms. How cool would it be to be able to create a great game for our favorite mobile devices? Well, today’s iPad Insight Deal just might help you find out.

The featured deal is A Lifetime Of Elite iOS & Android Game Dev Training, with 8 Professional courses that enable you to build & launch mobile games with ease. It’s on offer for $99.99 – which is a whopping 91% off its standard price of $1,200.

Here’s the Intro to the deal, some of its top features, and the course syllabus:

LEARN THE DEEP, DARK SECRETS OF GAME DESIGN

Have you ever wanted to create video games but didn’t know where to start or how to code? The School of Interactive Design is providing a lifetime of online game design training created by experts currently working in the video game industry.

Start building your very first game in just a few hours without the need to learn a single line of code! You will learn how to make games for all types of platforms like iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and PC games.

On top of these awesome skills, you will also learn 2D game development, 3D game development, graphic design, and computer animation. With programs like GameSalad, Unity3D, Maya, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

TOP FEATURES
  • Learn game design techniques
  • Learn graphic design elements
  • Learn computer animation to make your creations more realistic and impressive
  • Work with game creation platforms like Unity 3D, GameSalad and Autodesk Maya

COURSE SYLLABUS

  1. Intro to 2D game design with GameSalad – For those who are completely new to GameSalad and want to get up and running quickly with many of the most used and powerful features.
  2. Intro to 3D game design with Unity 3D -For those who are completely new to Unity 3D and want to get up and running quickly with the fundamental features of Unity.
  3. Introduction to Photoshop – For those who are completely new to Adobe Photoshop and want to get up and running quickly with may of the most used and power Photoshop features.
  4. Introduction to Illustrator – For those who are completely new to Adobe Illustrator and want to get up and running quickly with may of the most used and power Illustrator features.
  5. Introdution to 3D Animation with Maya – Designed to get those completely new to the world’s most powerful 3D package up and running as quickly as possible.
  6. Advanced 2D / 3D game design – Take game design to the next level with in-depth design training that builds off the fundamentals learned in the into courses.
  7. Advanced Photoshop Techniques – Learn more advanced tips and tricks to help build of your fundamental photoshop training.
  8. Advanced 3D Animation Techniques – Learn in-depth animation techniques that take your Maya experience to the next level.

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

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App & Game Bundles Hit the App Store

One of the nice new features of the App Store in iOS 8 is Bundles. Bundles are sets of multiple apps from the same developer, on offer to download together at special, discounted prices. If you already own any of the apps in a particular bundle, you can rest of the bundle for a reduced […]

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An iOS 8 Review for iPad Users

I’ve been running the beta on and off for a few months now, and I’ve spent the last few weeks on Beta 5 and the GM, so I feel like I’ve got a good enough handle on the OS to write a quick review for launch day. Let’s get one question out of the way […]

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