The screenshot above is of the advisory popup dialog you get when you’re about to sign in with your Facebook account in the iPad Settings app – to link your Facebook account more seamlessly throughout iOS.
Here’s the big catch though: the dialog above lets you know that signing in will do this:
Download your Facebook friends to the Contacts app and keep their information up to date.
For me, that’s a deal breaker right away. I don’t want all my Facebook friends chucked into my Contacts app. Partly because the last time I recall using some clever app that brought Facebook friends into my address book it made a huge mess – resulting in contacts with wrong phone numbers and similar issues.
Also, there are a lot of my Facebook friends who I really only ever communicate with via Facebook. Old friends who live half a world away for example. For most of them, I don’t know their phone number or sometimes even their email address. I talk to them via Facebook messages or maybe an occasional Skype call. Contacts to me is a place for family, friends, work colleagues, numbers for frequently used services and so forth.
I know this clearly a ‘first world problem’ type complaint and not worth getting knickers in a twist over, but I wish Facebook would make this optional – as Twitter does with a similar sort of feature. Then those who find this useful could go ahead and bring their Facebook friends into Contacts; and people like me could agree to sign in to Facebook – because I can’t at the moment.
Update: My mistake on this on; I didn’t read the fine print properly. As a few people have pointed out in the comments, you can disable the Contacts sync (and Calendar sync) once you sign in – with just a quick tap on toggle buttons. Apologies for my error on this.
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?
The Magazine has become one of my favorite regular reads on the iPad. I’ve read a number of great pieces on a wide range of topics in it over recent months. This week one particular article in Issue 9 drew me in and ended up being great read and a great feel-good piece as well.
The article is titled Re-Enabled – iOS’s impact on those with impairments isn’t just a marketing slide; it’s profound, and was written by Steven Aquino.
The marketing slide reference is to a brief moment during last year’s WWDC keynote event where Soctt Forstall highlighted the new Guided Access feature of iOS and showed a slide of a autistic boy using an iPad (shown above). Here’s why Aquino is uniquely qualified to write about how this works in the real world:
That scenario plays out for me every day. I work with special-needs children, and I also have a severe visual impairment.
And here’s a little excerpt that shows just how effective the iPad and iOS are proving with Aquino and the kids he works with:
You might suspect that the iPad’s whiz-bang interaction would distract our kids. But we’ve found that it keeps our students attentive and engaged far better and longer than any of our conventional tools. And with Guided Access, I can ensure that they stay on task by locking them into the app I want them to use. Moreover, the iPad is a tool they want to learn on and use. The iPad has nearly obviated the need (and the desire) to keep utilizing older materials, because the iPad is capable of helping our students grasp the necessary concepts in a modern, engaging way.
The whole piece is a superb and inspiring read. You can see it in Issue 9 (January 31) of The Magazine, or online here: http://the-magazine.org/9/re-enabled.
For those of us who have been using iDevices since the long-ago days of iOS 1.0, the first version of the iPad and iPhone operating system, it’s been great to see the volume and quality of new features added over these last 5 years or so. From the App Store to copy&paste to AirPrint and AirPlay Mirroring, it’s been mostly a great ride in terms of the ever-improving feature set – even though changes have often come more slowly than many users would like.
iOS is still far from perfect though, and it still has some features that leave me scratching my head and wondering why the heck they work the way they do. One prime example that springs to mind today is the ‘Delete Everywhere’ action in the Photos app. This one strikes me as 100% unhelpful and really just plain stupid.
Apple has traditionally made it very hard for us to do any sort of organizing of our photos on the iPad or iPhone. And when they finally gave us the ability to create albums, they rendered it virtually a useless feature when they added the Delete Everywhere to the mix. Just in case you’ve not come across this boneheaded corner of iOS, here’s how this works:
[click to continue reading…]