Federico Viticci of MacStories recently unveiled version 4.0 of his website, and it’s gorgeous. One of the articles he chose to publish alongside the new design was a set of iOS 8 Wishes. I agree with most or all of the items on his list, but I think there was something missing. One of my major teeth-gnashing issue with iOS is the keyboard, which is in dire need of some loving.
The split keyboard that was added in iOS 5 was a crucial step in making data entry on the iPad more pleasant, but the whole way that auto-correct works on iOS is still far too obnoxious. I’m getting better at touch typing on my Air in landscape mode, and yet I frequently feel like I’m being punished for flying too quickly along the keys when auto-correct swoops in at the very last second. Carefully spelled names (e.g. Connelly) are suddenly changed to completely ridiculous little phrases (e.g. “comely it”), and I end up having to break the flow of my writing to head back and correct stupid typos caused by auto-correct.
I take issue with how auto-corrections are displayed. It’s workable in apps like iMessage — where the text I’m typing is situated directly above the keyboard — but it can be a real pain in the app (heyo!) when the text is any higher up on the screen. Does Apple really think it’s ergonomic or efficient for me to lift my fingers off the keyboard, dismiss a hilariously small auto-correct pop-up with a tap, and return to typing? The Blackberry, Android, and Windows Phone 8.1 OSes all feature keyboards that intelligently show auto-correction possibilities in close proximity to the keyboard, which just makes sense to me. It’s so much easier to dismiss erroneous corrections that way. The keyboard is usually where your eyes are focused, and your fingers are obviously directly above the keys as you type.
One of my biggest wishes for iOS 8 — right alongside better hardware keyboard support on the iPad — is for the system keyboard to get more than a fresh coat of paint. I think auto-correct needs a major overhaul on iOS, because it doesn’t just work. More often than not, it just works me over.
AirPrint is an iOS feature that lets you print wirelessly from your iPad or iPhone. It’s a great feature that has got better each year – because the range of wireless printers that support it has grown substantially.
By now there are thousands of printers that support AirPrint, including printers from 24 leading manufacturers. That number has grown from 15 in just the last year – and includes major brands like HP, Epson, Lexmark, Canon, Brother, Dell and lots more.
It’s very easy to find printers that support AirPrint. Here are some of the best ways:
– Check this Apple support page that lists all current AirPrint printers from all the different vendors.
– Look for confirmation of AirPrint support when buying in an online store, or just ask a salesperson in a retail outlet.
– Visit Apple’s online store and their AirPrint Printers section.The wireless printers there start at right around $100.
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Last night I noticed a friend’s mention on Google+ that the HBO Go app now supports AirPlay Multitasking. As in, you can be streaming your HBO content from your iPad to a big TV via Apple TV and at the same time switch away from the HBO Go app and do other things on the iPad.
This could also be referred to as the ability for AirPlay, with full audio AND video, to work in the background. I’m not an HBO subscriber – but seeing this feature added to their app made me curious about how many iPad video apps support it.
My quick round of testing today shows that only about 50% of video apps for iPad support AirPlay Multitasking – with full video. This is a relatively small sample of course, but I tested 16 video apps out on my iPad 3 and iPad mini and found that the following apps do not support AirPlay Multitasking:
Epic Rap Battles of History, Frequency, Watchup, CNN, History, Video Time Machine, ABC News, BrainPop Jr
Here’s the good news – these apps do offer support for AirPlay Multitasking:
MLB At Bat, TED, YouTube, iTunes, Concert Vault, PBS, Squrl, ShowYou
The multitasking ability is a huge plus for many of us who are often dividing our focus between two screens. I spend parts of many evenings watching something on TV while also playing an iPad game or checking social networks, or even taking review notes. It’s great to be able to do that while viewing (often better) content via AirPlay.
I think all iPad video apps should add support for AirPlay Multitasking. What do you all think? Is this feature important to you?
AirPrint, the ability to print wirelessly from the iPad and iOS devices, is one of the great features of using iOS devices. Some of the most commonly asked questions about AirPrint are all about whether it will work with a specific printer.
The good news is that Apple provides good, clear information on exactly which printers are supported by AirPrint. The even better news is that the list has grown tremendously over the last 6-12 months and now includes well over 500 printers from 15 different manufacturers. Here are the 15 leading printer manufacturers who have printers on the AirPrint supported list:
Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Fuji Xerox, Gestetner, Hewlett Packard, Infotec, Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, NRG, Ricoh, Samsung Savin
You can see the full list of AirPrint supported printers on Apple’s AirPrint Basics page.
Here are a few more useful things to be aware of in regard to AirPrint:
— Some printers on the supported list will need a firmware update to become AirPrint-enabled. Check the manufacturer’s website for available firmware updates and details.
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I love a shiny new device as much as the next guy. Probably a heck of a lot more than the next guy when it comes to a new iPad. So I’m as enthusiastic as anyone about the possibility of Apple change their release cycle for the iPad to twice a year and bringing us more new iPads this year. A lighter, thinner standard iPad this year sounds great, an iPad mini with a retina display – even greater.
But I read something this morning that served as a great reminder that the best thing about the iPad is not the hardware or ever-improving processors and displays, or any hardware specs. It’s the software that drives the iPad that has always been, and will always be, one of the most critical factors in making it a great device. And it’s the software side of things that currently needs the most attention – as Rene Ritchie at iMore points out very eloquently.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’re going to be seeing a ton of rumors and leaks, real and fake, about the new iPhones and iPads and other devices Apple is thinking about for this spring and fall. None of them will be as important to Apple, to us, or to the future of Apple’s mobile platforms as iOS 7 and iCloud this summer.
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