Review: Sky Force 2014 for iPad

Sky Force 2014 for iPad

I don’t tend to play iPad games for very long unless I’ve volunteered to review them. I tend to feel compelled to play just so my coverage is more comprehensive. Sky Force 2014 is one of those rare cases where “business as usual” has been flipped on its head. This game is so good that I feel I have to talk about it.

Sky Force functions like a lot of top-down “bullet hell” shooters: you weave your plane in and out of enemy fire while firing your own salvos back. Some stages end in boss fights, while others just throw waves of enemies at you.

This all sounds very vanilla, but it’s executed very well. The touch controls are surprisingly tight, which is great, since top-down shooters like Sky Force require fine-grained controls in order to play properly. The game offers the option of tapping on the screen to move your plane, or sliding your finger and having your plane trace a similar path. One other nice touch is what happens when you take your finger off the screen: everything in the game slows down to a crawl. This isn’t in lieu of a pause button (that’s in the top right corner), but rather for taking a moment to see how much is on screen and how you could weave your way through it. I love this feature.

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5 Years, Crazy iPad Insight Numbers, and an iPad Air 2 Giveaway

Welcome_–_Let’s_Talk_About_the_iPad___iPad_Insight

5 years of iPad Insight

On January 27, 2010 Steve Jobs announced the original iPad. On January 29, the first post on this site was published – there’s a snippet of it in the image above.

Wow. There’s that saying about how time flies when you’re having fun. I guess I’ve had way too much fun then, because these 5 years have flown by. I was fascinated by the iPad right from the start, and had a feeling it might be my ideal mobile device – and I was already a big-time mobile geek. It lived up to and exceeded all my expectations –  and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of using it, singing its praises and showing off its magic to family, friends, work colleagues, and anyone who would allow me to in person. Needless to say, writing about it here on a daily basis has been a great, great pleasure.

Over the years, I’ve posted quite a few times on ‘Crazy iPad Numbers’ – units sold, market share dominance, and more. Today I’ll share some crazy iPad Insight numbers racked up over these first 5 years:

— Over 5,000 posts

— Over 13,000 comments – and nearly 1.5 million spam comments blocked (yuck)

— Over 28 million page views

— 44% of visitor sessions from the iOS operating system coming in as Number 1 by some distance – followed by Windows as the second biggest, and we even have 2.35% from Android OS

— 50.58% of visitors from the US – I love that right about half have been from outside the US

— Male 54.5% – it’s good to see a fairly decent balance on this demographic too

— We’re a featured site on Flipboard and average close to 100,000 monthly active users there

— Our Google+ site page has had over 20 million views

Ok, enough of those. As a small gesture to try to express BIG gratitude to all of you who are iPad Insight readers – we’ll giveaway a new iPad Air 2 next Monday, February 2. Hit the break for details on how to enter for a chance to win that …

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The (5) most useful accessibility features on the iPad

accessibility

One of the lesser know features of iOS that adds an incredible amount of functionality to the iPad is Accessibility. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the many benefits gained with Accessibility–and even fewer are aware of how to access them on their iPad even if they wanted to.  For the sake of narrowing the focus of this post somewhat, I decided to list and give a brief overview of what I believe are the (5) most useful features found in accessibility on your iPad.  Obviously, if you have special needs that require assistance to use your iPad, you might have a very different list of features.  Luckily Apple breaks this feature into several sections that include additional help with Vision, Hearing, and Interaction with your iPad.

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Why Tim Cook is Bullish About the iPad

Tim Cook and the iPad Air 2

The latest iPad sales numbers – reported by Apple yesterday in their Q! 2015 financial call – were down on the same quarter the previous year by around 20%. Even though Apple sold 21 million iPads in the quarter, a number many rival tablets haven’t reached in all their time on the market, those results will not doubt generally be viewed as disappointing.

In the Q&A session that followed Apple’s rundown of results, Tim Cook was asked about how optimistic or bullish he remains about the iPad, following a couple of ‘disappointing’ quarters. His answers indicated that Yes, he’s still very bullish about the iPad. Here are some of the reasons he gave for that view:

– First-time buyer rates are high – above 50% in some parts of Europe and in China

– Customer satisfaction is off the charts and in usage and commerce share for tablets it holds dominant positions

– Although he says Apple is still learning what the upgrade cycle is for the iPad, he says it is clearly longer than that of the iPhone and is likely somewhere between iPhone and PC

–  Apple’s partnership with IBM and work being done in the enterprise is going very well, and that ‘can move the dial there’

– He doesn’t think we’ll see very different results in next few quarters’ results, but over the long haul he is very optimistic and bullish

All good points, and good to know.

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How to set-up and use Apple Pay on your iPad

Apple-Pay-iPad

image credit: Apple

When Apple Pay was first introduced along side the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the bulk of the attention for the service that allows customers to pay for products at participating stores that support NFC technology, was centered around the two new mobile devices.  After all, the new iPhones are the only Apple products that currently contain NFC chips capable of paying at merchant terminals.  While this is all true, few people realize that you can also use Apple Pay on your iPad.  Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you walk into a Whole Foods store and buy your free-range eggs with your iPad, or attempt to pay for your next Big Mac at the Drive-Thru window–although that would be fun to watch.

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Trials Arcade for iPad is motorcycle trick-riding fun with only one flaw

Trials Frontier is a fun arcade-style motorcycle stunt riding experience. The whimsical graphics, unique bike controls, and intricate courses make the riding interesting, and you’ll find yourself laughing at your own crashes. Even at the very beginner levels, the bike responds well to inputs and you’ll quickly become more expert in jumping, wheelying, and flying […]

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How to set-up and use iCloud Drive on the iPad

iCloud Drive was first introduced with the release of iOS 8 & Yosemite last fall.  Once set-up on your iPad it replaces Documents and Data, where, up to this point, you stored your saved iWork documents.  All documents currently stored in iCloud will automatically be moved to iCloud Drive when you decide to upgrade.  One […]

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Review: Belkin QODE Slim Style for iPad Air 2

I’ve previously reviewed the QODE Ultimate and the QODE ThinType, and although I still had a few issues with each of those designs, there were some great stand-out features like the pressure sensor on the ThinType, and the magnetic auto-disconnect on the QODE Ultimate. In contrast, the QODE Slim Style for iPad Air 2, which […]

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iPad Art: Fly Free

Today’s featured iPad painting is titled ‘Fly Free’ and is the work of Deborah McMillion, aka Hotel Midnight – a long-time favorite here. Here’s the artist’s own introduction to this one, along with her listing of tools used in its creation: Oh that first initial feeling of freedom as the cables snap and the carousel […]

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