When Apple introduces iOS 9 next month at WWDC, they are widely expected to use their typical yearly upgrade cycle as an opportunity to shore up the OS, and concentrate on stability versus a laundry list of new feature sets. Some refer to the idea as the Snow Leopard update–referring to the OS X update that did the same for the Mac several years ago. While this would be a welcomed change for the die-hard iOS faithful, an iOS update without new features would not go over well with the masses.
Enter Force Touch to save the day! Force Touch was originally introduced on the Apple Watch last fall at the iPhone 6 announcement. It has most recently made its way to the new MacBook, and is expected to be the major feature update to new iPhones and iPads in late summer/early fall. With Force Touch your touch screen reacts to changes in pressure and produces real-time haptic feedback. Described as a new level of control that responds to the heaviness of your response, Force Touch might replace common toggles and media controls simply by adjusting how hard we press on our iPad screen.
Unfortunately, we probably won’t see or hear about Force Touch at WWDC since new hardware features are unlikely to be announced months before new iPhones and iPads make an appearance. However, Mark G of 9to5 Mac is reporting that Apple is working with developers to integrate their apps with Force Touch to coincide with iOS 9 when it is released along side new iPhones and iPads later this year. He goes on to say that deep integration with stock Apple apps is likely. Pressure sensitive scrolling in media players, adding new events in the calendar app, dropping pins in Apple Maps, and system-wide definitions are all a possibility with Force Touch.
I’m feeling more and more that there needs to be a large change to how the iPad operates in iOS 9, and that feeling has actually been brought about by my Apple Watch. One of the things I’ve written the most about over the past few years — aside from software and hardware reviews — is how to take advantage of the iPad as a portable tablet, a hybrid device. My Air 2 is larger and more comfortable to browse on than my iPhone 5S, but not quite as powerful or heavy as my 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
I prefer to use the iPad for referring to Excel sheets at work, but the iPad’s file system and sharing options don’t make it very easy to access and sync certain work files without reliable Wi-Fi. I’d also love to do more photo editing on the iPad, but certain iOS 8 limitations keep me from editing my pictures at full resolution. Given the specs on the latest iPads — especially the 64 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM on my iPad Air 2 — it’s strange to struggle with these limitations when a MacBook Air of equal size and price could easily accomplish the same thing. I’ve become so used to thinking about the right use cases for the iPad, treating it like a puzzle to solve, that it can almost be a little tiring to use at times.
That’s in sharp contrast to the Apple Watch, a new member to my device family, and yet another thing I have to put on a charger every night. However, because of its very particular set of functions and its convenient placement on my wrist, I knew exactly what to do with my Watch a few days into it. One definite reason is that it’s designed as a satellite device for the iPhone, but I also think it’s because there’s more specific intention baked right into the software.
With WWDC coming up, I’d like to see Apple take more advantage of the flexibility of the iPad, and untether it from some of the limitations of the iPhone. I still love how light the Air 2 is, and I’m still impressed by its speed, but it’s also being sandwiched by newer devices like the iPhone 6 Plus and the new 12-inch MacBook. Keyboard shortcuts, inventive multi-window multitasking, sharing information quickly across apps — some new software spark is needed to jolt some life back into the iPad.
I have to admit to being one of the very few people who didn’t care for Angry Birds when it came out during the early days of the iPhone and iPad. I just never got the pigs, eggs, and shaky-structure thing. But blowing up zombies with hand grenades? Bring it on. The developers of the original Fragger game have recently released the sequel we’ve been waiting for: Fragger 2, with three new worlds and 90 new levels. It’s another winning casual game to fill in shorter holes in your schedule.
For the uninitiated, in Fragger you play a lone hand-grenade wielding soldier. Your job is to lob your supply of grenades, one at a time, at a number of zombies. You control your throw’s trajectory and force by drawing on the screen with your finger. A helpful guide shows the course of the grenade; the length of the guide shows the force with which you throw. Especially in the higher levels, you need to use finesse to throw hard enough to hit your target, but not so hard you over-throw. The grenade explodes when it comes to a rest wherever you have thrown it (not on impact).
‘Ameonna’ – or Rain Woman in English – is the title of today’s featured iPad painting.
It was painted on the iPad using the Paper by FiftyThree app, by another old favorite of ours – Michael Acosta. Michael is a member of our iPad Art Google+ community and I haven’t seen him around in a while – so I’m especially glad he shared this iPad painting.
You can enjoy more of Michael Acosta’s artwork at his Google+ page.
And of course there are lots more incredible iPad paintings in our own iPad Art section.
Don’t Fall Victim to Data Breaches & Identity Theft– Let Blur Mask Your Personal Info Online (US Customers Only)
Today’s featured deal is another chance to grab a lifetime subscription for Blur Premium Privacy Protection. It’s on offer for just $49.99 – a huge 74% off its regular price of $195.
Blur promises the ultimate online privacy solution – letting you create temporary masked email addresses, credit card numbers, and phone numbers – to use instead of your personal data when dealing with online shopping sites. It also serves as a password manager on the desktop and on mobile devices.
Here are its notable features:
- Create disposable email addresses for required email confirmations
- Make limited-balance, limited-duration credit card numbers (accepted anywhere credit cards are)
- Create a masked phone number that forwards calls & texts to your real phone number
- Auto-fill your real encrypted credit card, billing & address info
- Create, save, encrypt, and organize your passwords
- Save login information on mobile & desktop for easy one-click logins
- Automatically fill out any address or checkout forms
- Keep hundreds of companies from collecting your personal data as you browse the web
- Utilize all features on your Android or iOS device
You can check out more details and place an order at this iPad Insight Deals page.
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 weekly picks for Best iPad App of the Week are published here every Saturday. 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 Fan Duel: One Day Fantasy Sports Leagues. This is of course the official iPad (and iOS) app for the hugely popular Fan Duel daily fantasy sports site.
Here’s a little of the App Store intro, for those who aren’t already with what Fan Duel is all about:
FanDuel brings you one-day fantasy sports leagues for real money. Winners get immediate cash payouts. No season-long commitment. Join public leagues or play with friends. Over $10 million paid out every week! Entry fees start from $1.
Featured on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo! Sports.
Unlike traditional fantasy leagues that run for the entire season, FanDuel leagues last for just one day or one week, so you’ll get to pick new teams on a weekly or daily basis.
Microsoft is updating their Office apps on iOS at a pretty blistering rate, with a major update every one or two months, but it’s still lacking one basic feature for me: easier local storage.
Having Microsoft Excel on my iPad has been immensely useful, but it’s highly dependent on having a good internet connection when I want to access my files. I keep my work files on my office-supplied OneDrive for Business account, and accessing a large PowerPoint file can take upwards of a minute at times. Other times the download can simply stall on me, leaving me without all of the numbers I’m supposed to talk about at my meeting.
What I’d want here would be a quick way to star or earmark files for quick local caching so that, as long as I haven’t made any changes to the file, I can open the iPad up at any time and just re-open said file. What the iOS Office apps seem to do, however, is simply re-download the files every single time I want to access them, regardless of whether or not there were changes since I last loaded them. I do have the option of duplicating the file and saving a local copy to my iPad, but that copy won’t automatically sync any changes to my work PC, so it’s not really a workable solution.
I’d love to see a solution in the next few months that adds a switch to quickly cache a file as local (like Google’s Docs/Sheets/Slides apps) so that I can work on spotty Wi-Fi, but still enjoy the benefits of file syncing on OneDrive.
One of the most sought after “missing” features on the iPad platform has been the ability ti use split-screen multi-tasking. Other competing tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the Surface Pro 3 have already successfully offered this feature. One could argue whether the implementation is on point–but nonetheless, it’s an option that the iPad doesn’t offer. This summer, however, that may all finally change if you believe what M. Gurman from 9to5Mac is reporting. Gurman says that Apple is set to debut a variation of multi-tasking as early as WWDC next month. He goes on to report that they were working toward a release last summer with iOS 8, but ended up putting it on the back-burner while they diverted resources to complete work on the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Gurman also reports that multi-tasking should be available for iPads running iOS 9, but that the feature was ultimately intended for the new, larger sized iPad Pro. It is believed that apps that support the feature will divide the screen real-estate into variations of 1/2, 1/3 or 2/3 views depending on which apps you may be using at the time. In addition, Apple has designed the screen-sharing to work with two separate apps or the same app displaying multiple views side by side.
Yesterday I wrote abut how to upgrade or downgrade the amount of iCloud storage you need for your iPad. While I suspect that this is the default cloud service used by the majority of iPad owners–it certainly isn’t the only cloud service available to store your data in the cloud. One of our readers who read my post from yesterday brought up a good point
Why not suggest to open a Hotmail or GMail account and get a free 15 Gig of storage? –DAN
This got me thinking. Dan is absolutely right. There are definitely other viable options out there worth mentioning. So, after little research, I thought I’d gather some of the more popular cloud storage options for iPad owners. For the sake of this exercise, here are a few basic ground rules I’m applying in my comparison.
- Only real-time offers available _right now_ are considered
- No special offers or promotions considered for buying your iPad at any particular retail outlet.
- No extra incentives to “earn” additional storage (e.g. referring friends, tweeting or sharing on Facebook for additional “free” storage)
- Personal accounts only–no business or shared accounts
- New iPad owners only–no bonus deals for having been grand-fathered in to legacy deals.
While there are plentiful dirt-bike games for your iPad, Hello Moto HD strikes the right balance of fun gameplay, easy controls, and accurate physics to make it worth a spot in your games folder. Hello Moto is a side-scrolling challenge in which you guide your dirt bike over 24 tracks (if you make it that far) with increasing levels of challenges. If games can be judged by frequency of play, then Hello Moto has earned an A+ in my casual-game world.
In Moto HD you’re a dirt-bike rider that must guide his or her bike from left to right across a dirt track containing jumps, flips, and other tricks you have to master in order to reach the checkered flag. As you might expect, the tracks get harder and harder as you go along. Each time you miss a jump, or fall into a chasm, or run into an obstacle, you crash and then start at the beginning of the track again. This process is less tedious than it sounds as you learn each trick fairly quickly as you go. For example, you learn how to time your jumps to make it to the next platform, or how to make low jumps in order to not knock your block off on an overhead obstacle. Each track took me five–ten tries to master though of course your reflexes may be better than mine.
When you first purchase your iPad you automatically get 5 BG of free iCloud storage to use for things like your email, iCloud backups of your devices, your Photo Library, and iCloud Drive. However, items you purchase from any of Apple’s stores like movies, music, apps and books do not count against the free storage totals. If you ever need more iCloud storage you can increase the amount at any time by selecting a new plan that best suits your needs. To do this in iOS 8 go to Settings–> iCloud–>Storage
Here, you will get a snap-shot of your current available storage along with a pathway to manage your storage needs. When you click on manage storage you will see a listing of all your devices that are currently being backed up to iCloud along with how much storage all of your documents and data are currently occupying on your account. You can reduce the amount of storage that is being used by deleting individual documents and data, or by deleting your iPad back-up from iCloud. If neither of those are viable options for you, then change/upgrade your storage plan.