Next-Gen Business Apps for iPad: Featured App Store Collection this Week

The Featured section of the iPad App Store is jam packed with good stuff this week. One of the featured collections that caught my eye is titled ‘Next-Gen Business Apps’.

It’s a compelling title, and the collection of apps does it justice. This is a strong set of featured apps. The collection is divided into these sections:

Extend Your Apps: Excellen productivity apps in here including Evernote, Workflow, Slack, OmniFocus 2, IF by IFTTT, and more.

Works with Handoff: GoToMeeting, Trello, and Things are among the picks here. Also, Apple’s own Pages app.

Present with AirPlay: From Keynote to Haiku Deck and quite a few more great presentation apps

Secure with Touch ID: 1Password, Box, Dropbox, and PDF Expert are just some of the star apps here that work with the iPad’s fingerprint technology.

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Review: Hitman Sniper for iPad

screen322x572Capsule review: if you like sniper-style shooting games, Hitman Sniper for iPad is the best there is. The story is straight from the Hitman franchise playbook, and the gameplay, weapons selection, and shot control will make you believe you’re the Leon the Professional of your dreams.

IMG_0588While I was only mildly interested in the Hitman games on console, it took only one screenshot from the “new games” section of the app store to have me reaching for my wallet. For those unfamiliar with the Hitman games or the movie spinoff, in Hitman Sniper you play Agent 47, a detached, unfeeling assassin raised from a young child to be a cold-blooded contract killer. The barcode on the back of your avatar’s head completes the inhuman presentation of the character. You’re given missions to complete using only a sniper rifle, each mission including a main target that somehow seems like he deserves what he’s getting: you know, a drug kingpin, spy for the bad guys, international arms dealer, and the like. (Even if it’s only a game, the developers have let you assuage your guilt at being so cold blooded.) But ½-way into your second mission you will have forgotten about all that and be super-focused on completing all your mission objectives, collecting your fee, and avoiding the horrible, screaming, red-lettered “mission FAILED” verdict.

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Notes for iOS receives an updated, expanded role in iOS 9

iOS9-Notes-appApple has an iOS app called Notes–ever hear of it?  No?  I’m not surprised.  For those of you not familiar with this app, it’s one of Apple’s stock apps that comes pre-installed on your iPad.  For many, though it ends up getting relegated to a folder or buried in one of your lesser used home pages–forgotten and unloved.  I’ve tried to use it a few times in the past, but could never manage to stay with it for an extended period of time because it just did’t provide features that many other productivity apps offered for free.  That was until now.

Now, the Notes app will finally have all of its contents saved to iCloud so all of your information can be saved and accessible across all your iOS devices as well as on your Mac.  The new and improved Notes app for your iPad now supports many different ways of saving your quick ideas, in addition to providing you new ways of saving them all in one place. In addition to simple text entries, now you can…

 

Notes-iOS9-iPad

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iOS 9 Has Reinvigorated My iPad

   
Before iOS 9, I was tempted to sell my iPad Air 2 and opt for a MacBook this Fall. I figured that, between the next-generation iPhone and the new super thin MacBook, I’d have what I needed for a compact computing setup wherever I go. However, with the announcement and my rash decision to install the very first iOS 9 beta on my Air 2, I’m once again feeling very excited about the iPad as a computing platform.

The result of all of the little iPad-specific features added in this latest release is that friction has been reduced across the board. There are so many little roadblocks that iOS 9 has removed at the system level, and although it will really take us until Fall to realize the full extent of what this update offers, there is some great low hanging fruit to discuss.

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How to use your cellular-enabled iPad on overseas trips

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I travel a lot and find it really convenient to be able to use my iPad to access internet content anywhere, even when I’m not near a wifi hotspot. Sure, I have my iPhone with me, but lots of content is just better on the iPad: reading foreign newspapers, downloading Kindle books for train or plane time-killing, using maps in the car to find your way to a cool tourist attraction… you get the idea. You could sign up for a US provider’s data roaming plan, but the prices are no less than robbery (e.g., $30 for 150mb of data from a provider who shall remain nameless). By comparison, I bought 2GB of data on my latest trip to England for £10 (about $15). Luckily for us, iPads come unlocked from the factory, unlike iPhones from some providers. And once you know the process, getting online overseas is cheap and easy. (The following instructions will work on your unlocked iPhone as well.)

Prepaid data explained: in most parts of the world, people pay for cellular data up front, and when they use up what they bought, they just buy more. No contracts, no paid-for unused data wasted at the end of the month, and no exorbitant overage charges.

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Deals: 80% Off the Mpow 3-Port Intelligent Car Charger

Mpow 3-Port Intelligent Car Charger

Charge & Drive Like a Pro: 33W High-Speed Charging for All Your USB-Capable Gadgets

Our featured deal today is one that’s all about keeping our iPads and mobile devices charged up and ready to go. It’s the Mpow 3-Port Intelligent Car Charger, on offer for just $13.99 – 80% off its normal price tag of $70.

Here’s the Deals store intro to this powerful (excuse the pun) looking car charging accessory:

When it comes to cars, the faster the better. That’s why this ultra-fast car port is an essential gadget for every car on the road. It’s packed with 6.6 amps of power, three versatile ports, and a sleek metallic design.

  • Supports both 12V &18V input for optimized charging for smartphones & tablets

  • Identifies connected devices & charges at full speed

  • Fits snuggly into most cars’ sockets

  • Crafted in a compact .5″ design

  • Charge 2 tablets & 1 smartphone at the same time

To see full details and specs, and place an order, visit this iPad Insight Deals page.

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iOS 9 gets a big boost from under the hood refinements

iOS9-refinements

As we mentioned previously, iOS 9 got a big boost from some behind-the-scenes refinements that go a long way in improving basic core function to the operating system.  This has allowed iOS 9 to become much more efficient, secure and trimmed down, while increasing its overall performance capabilities.  There were four major areas that Apple concentrated their efforts on with iOS 9.

Improved security

 

iOS9-Improved-security

Apple has always been a champion for privacy and keeping user information secure.  Our iOS device passcode is the first line of defense in keeping our data safe.  We store so much personal information on our devices it is absolutely crucial that we take whatever steps necessary to keep this information from falling into the hands of those who wish to do us harm.  Now Apple has made it even harder to acquire this information from our iOS device.  With iOS 9,  you  will now need to create a 6 digit passcode instead of the typical 4 digit code.  This way, your device will be 100 times more secure that with a simple 4  digit code.

It doesn’t stop there,  When you sign in from a new browser or on a new device, you’ll be prompted for a verification code. This code is automatically displayed on one of your other Apple devices or it will be sent to your phone. When prompted, you will need to enter the code to sign in.  Without this verification, you will not be able to sign in.

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More Context For Siri And Search In iOS 9

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 9.07.43 PM

Siri and Spotlight are merging a little in functionality in iOS 9. The first change is that the Search screen will reside to the left of the first home screen, instead of being activated by a downward swipe. I’m not sure I’m a fan of this change because I like how accessible Search is in iOS 9, but I welcome all of the extra power that Apple has given this core feature.

I really like Search because it keeps me from having to dig through large folders of apps, like the single “Apple” folder that I inevitably dump all of my unused first-party apps into. iOS 9 will make Search more powerful with more data sources — e.g. Vimeo, YouTube, iCloud Drive — and an API that will allow third-party apps to show up, as well. We didn’t see a specific demo of this at WWDC, but it should mean that I can search for “chicken recipe”, tap on an Evernote link in the result, and have the Evernote app open up right to the note containing said recipe. I enjoy that level of deep linking on OS X through Alfred 2 and some plugins, so I’d be delighted to see it in iOS 9 this Fall.

The other big thing is that Siri is getting smarter and more aware as an assistant. Prompts with natural language can now do more things, allowing me to say things:

  • “show me pictures of Patrick from my iPad Insight Party” (loads a specific album in Photos)
    “remind me about this tonight at 7pm” (sets a reminder with a deep link to a specific webpage)

I find that promising not only because it shows more awareness of context, but also because it hints that Faces will sync to iOS this Fall. I tag the crap out of my pictures on the Mac, and it’s disappointing not to have that metadata sync over to my iPad on iOS 8.

The only thing I’m wondering at this point is whether Siri can respond to text queries (e.g. “how old is Martin Sheen?”), or if those are still reserved purely for voice. That Public Beta in July can’t come soon enough…

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Fantastic iPad Keyboard Improvements Coming With iOS 9

  
Oh, at long last! Apple just announced at WWDC that iOS 9 will have vastly improved keyboard support on the iPad, for both the software and hardware keyboards.
Two fingers anywhere on the iPad screen will now move the cursor around, even if your fingers are right over the keyboard. This works for moving the cursor around, as well as selecting text. Apps like Ulysses and iA Writer Pro offer features like this with their own custom solutions, but Apple’s universal solution will work across all apps.

Built-in Shortcut Bar on the QuickType bar make it easier to cute and paste while using a software keyboard, which should prove to be a pretty big time saver over the long haul. Think about the way cutting and pasting works now: 

  1. you double tap on screen and then drag to select text
  2. wait to tap on the cut pop-up
  3. tap and hold elsewhere 
  4. wait to tap on the paste pop-up

Combine the new text selection and built-in Shortcut Bar, and text manipulation becomes a lot faster. My fingers can stay on the keys for writing and editing, and cutting and pasting will be faster when I don’t have to wait for a pop-up animation.

However, it’s really the final feature that I’ve been waiting years for: proper hardware keyboard shortcut support. Pressing one of the modifier keys (Cmd, Option, or Control) will highlight shortcuts across the screen in any app, and I think this will be the key to making keyboard shortcuts a more universal feature on the iPad. Cmd + Tab will work for app switching (YES!), but I’m pretty sure this will apply to all the little things, like pressing Cmd + Enter to send an iMessage without having to tap the screen. This will make my favourite keyboards, the Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro and Logitech Ultrathin, a lot more useful.

These features are big enough that I may jump on the public beta of iOS 9 this July, despite the app compatibility issues and battery impact it will likely have. 

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Split-Screen Multitasking (and More) Coming to the iPad in iOS 9

iPad Split View

Yes, split-screen multitasking will be coming to the iPad in iOS 9.

Here are some words about the iPad that many of us have been waiting a long time to hear:

Do more on the big iPad display – in two apps at once.

That’s how Apple’s iOS 9 page introduces new split-screen multitasking features for the iPad.  And in fact, iOS 9 will bring 3 new features that are all in this area. They are:

Split View

This one is the core element of new split-screen multitasking on the iPad. –  shown in the image at the top of this post. Apple describes it like so:

With Split View on iPad Air 2, you can go a step further and have two apps open and active at the same time. Work on a sketch with the reference photo beside it. Or write a paper while copying citations from a book in iBooks. When everything you need is right in front of you, it’s easier to focus.

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Apple will support iOS 9 on all devices currently supported by iOS 8

iOS_9

Are you currently running iOS 8 on your iPad?  Good news–that means you will also be able to continue using Apple’s newest operating system as well.  In addition, new operating system updates   were dramatically reduced in size weighing in at around 1.5 GB.  Just in case you aren’t one of the 17% of iOS users who haven’t updated your iOS device to iOS 8, here is the full list of devices that will support some version of iOS 9..

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