Review: Apple iPad Cover

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 03:30
Category: Accessory, iPad, Review

By Mike DeWalt

So, you’ve bought your iPad – or are thinking about it – and you’re starting to think about accessorizing. You have several options even at this early stage: You can pick up an extra charger, a dock, an external keyboard, a VGA adapter, a USB connector for your camera, and headphones or ear buds. All are worthy additions that some iPad owners will want.

There is however, what I’d consider a “must have” for all iPad owners … and that’s some kind of cover or case. I’ve had my iPad since Saturday morning and it came to work naked with me on Monday and Tuesday … and that wasn’t good. Without a cover it’s more prone to bumps, scratches, and drops. Also, the screen seems to collect greasy finger smudges and it’s tough to carry it around naked without getting the screen even more smudged up.

So, I was pleased that my official US$39 Apple iPad case arrived late yesterday afternoon. My initial impressions are somewhat mixed. In terms of the form factor, I’m 100% sold. This is absolutely the type of case I need. The iPad slides into the right side, it’s a snug and secure fit, the screen is uncovered and there are cutouts for all the do-dads … on/off button, dock connector, speaker, headphone jack, etc. The left side folds over the screen like a book cover. Think legal pad folio.

The material is very slightly padded, but not so much that it makes the sleek iPad bulky. The cover is mostly rigid and offers decent protection. The surface of the material is matt with a very fine texture. The cover can fold backward and clip into a flap on the back of the case to make it a nifty little stand that you can use in portrait or landscape mode.

All-in-all a very good form factor and a reasonable value for 39 bucks. So, why did I say my impressions were mixed? Three reasons:

1. The edges are a bit sharp and stiff where the seams are joined (pinched together). It would have been better if they were rounded around the edge.

2. The “stand” feature is a great idea and should work fine on dry land. However, I’m not so sure it’s stable enough to use on a train or plane table without falling over.

3. The iPad itself looks like a million bucks. It feels and looks like a very high quality product … really nice. The Apple iPad cover is a bit more “utilitarian”. It works, it looks OK, and the price is fine. In other words, iPad=Filet Mignon … iPad Case=a good hot dog.

The Bottom Line:
I’ll happily use this case … I’m glad I have it because a naked iPad is a recipe for trouble in my hands. But I’ll keep my eye out for something better down the road once the 3rd party suppliers get cranked up.

Keep your iPad cool, out of direct sunlight

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 04:58
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

As nifty as the iPad may be, one of the largest concerns regarding the new tablet is an apparent problem with rising temperatures when operating the touch-screen tablet in direct sunlight or other hot conditions.

Per CNET, several sites around the Internet have cited the heat problem, which brings back memories of the iPhone’s heat issues, especially prevalent with the release of the iPhone 3G.

It is widely expected, however, that a firmware update will likely fix the heating issues (as it did with the iPhones). Some users, in the meantime, have resorted to refrigeration as a means of cooling their iPad. Apple suggests keeping your iPad in operating temperatures at a maximum of 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), which may be a tall order for iPad owners living in warmer climates.

For the time being (and until the first inevitable firmware update), keep an eye on your iPad usage when you’re outside. Try and stay out of direct sunlight and keep your iPad covered whenever possible. Should you get the overheated warning, move your iPad to a cooler location, wait a few minutes, and reset it. Everything should work fine.

If you’ve seen your iPad overheat or come close to it or have figured out a nifty way of keeping it cool, please let us know.

First iPad Case unboxing photos surface

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:12
Category: Accessory, iPad

About 72 hours after the launch of the iPad, early adopters who pre-ordered the tablet have begun to receive the first deliveries of the iPad Case with unboxing photos beginning to surface online

The case itself, which retails for US$49, is made of a rubberized exterior and soft microfiber interior and folds tight like a hardcover book once the iPad is slipped into its snug frame and a piece of microfiber tucked underneath its left-side binding. Per AppleInsider, the unit can also act as a stand that holds iPad at an ideal angle for watching videos and slideshows or for typing on the onscreen keyboard.

Take a gander and remember that the full photo gallery can be found here:

Expect a full iPad case review in just a bit and if you’ve had a chance to play around with one on your own, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Opinion: iPad – iWork (NOT)

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:55
Category: iPad, Opinion, Software

If you are planning on buying an iPad to be a portable editing device for your iWork content – think twice. The Apple Discussion boards are all aflutter with teachers and professors who hoped they could leave their laptops in the office and only take their new iPads to the lecture hall. This is not the case. Although Apple has branded the programs the same as the versions you can buy for your Mac , this is where the similarity ends. It’s like using Google Translation to convert a foreign web site into your language of choice, but worse. The two programs i was interested in were Pages and Keynote and they both corrupt files on import (once you can get them in – that’s another article). Formatting is lost in Pages so formulas and footnotes disappear in Keynote transitions and builds go away. It is not as if they are temporarily suspended while on the iPad they are gone so when and if you save back to your Mac they are no longer there.

My comment is, if you are calling it by the same name it should have the same display features. I can agree to editing and creative limitations on a mobile class device but display corruption is unacceptable. To me that’s synonymous with PDF’s looking different on different computing devices and operating systems, not what a PDF is supposed to be.

My biggest complaint is that Apple re-confiigured some of their standard fonts, and when you import a Keynote Presentation of simple Text and Paragraph builds everything is scrambled, mostly because replaced fonts don’t translate to the same font size constraints. I gave up looking for a way to reduce the font size so the text would fit on the slide and have gone back to my laptop to write this article. Now if you create on the iPad and leave it, there’s not a problem. I guess I got my hopes up, with iWork Beta working so seamlessly between cloud and desktop I figured the transition to iPad would be as painless. I was wrong!!

Look at the Samples Below and see if the change from Chalkboard to Chalkduster font would cause you sufficient grief to not make the transition.

Some users reporting Wi-Fi connectivity issues with iPad, routers

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 06:47
Category: iPad, News

A number of users who purchased their iPads on April 4rd have reported that their tablets have experienced wireless connectivity issues, complete with reports of weak Wi-Fi reception, dropped signals and difficulty connecting to a network.

Per AppleInsider, a number of threads have emerged on the Apple Discussion Board with dozens of posts about Wi-Fi connection issues, ranging from a weak signal to an inability to connect to a router. Issues have been reported with a variety of routers, including Apple’s own AirPort Extreme.

“I have also noticed very weak wifi signal in my 16GB iPad,” user tdbc wrote. “Even when standing in front of the wlan router the signal fluctuates from strong to very weak. The router has very strong signals as every other computer here has full signal strength, even 20-30 meters from the router. So there is definitely a wifi signal issue here with the iPad.”

Another user, Dr. JB, said their iPad is getting just one bar of Wi-Fi signal, while a nearby MacBook Pro has strong, full reception. They said their iPad was also experiencing slow downloads due to the weak signal.

A post from powerguru revealed bandwidth data from the Speedtest.net application, which showed an iPad with 1.83 megabits per second download, compared to 14.77 megabits on the iPhone 3GS. The user also noted that the iPad uses 802.11n while the iPhone 3GS is 802.11g.

Others said their signal sometimes fluctuated, and some said resetting the network settings or restarting the iPad would temporarily fix the issue. But others who commented said they have experienced no Wi-Fi issues, suggesting the problems are not universal.

In response to some issues, Apple has set up a Knowledge Base article for users who have problems getting their iPad to rejoin known Wi-Fi networks after a restart or waking from sleep. The issue is known to occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable.

To resolve the issue, Apple recommends creating separate Wi-Fi network names to identify each band, such as adding G to the 802.11g network name, and N to the 802.11n network name. It is also recommended that both networks use the same security type, such as WPA. If the issue persists, users can reset their network settings under Settings, General, Reset.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue or discovered a fix or workaround on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Apple schedules iPhone OS 4.0 preview for April 8th, speculation emerges

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 03:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

3gs.jpg

On Monday, Apple announced that it would hold a special invite-oly press event in San Francisco on April 8th to offer a preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system.

“Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS,” the event invitation reads per Macworld UK.

With nothing specific on the table, speculation as to what can be expected has run across the following lines:

Multitasking:
Per recent rumors and reports, Apple has been looking to include full multitasking and may be doing this via an Expose-like approach which will show open programs revealed when the user double-clicks the iPhone’s Home button. Multitasking always seems to have a place on iPhone OS wish lists and it makes sense to match Android OS-based smartphones on their own ground.

Global Mailbox and Home Screen Contacts:
Recent iPhone OS 4.0 rumors have centered around a global inbox that merges multiple e-mail accounts into a unified view, plus the ability to add specific contact names as icons on the iPhone’s home screen. These changes could be useful on a lot of levels but might also be stepping stones to larger feature inclusions.

GPS Navigation:
With Google adding free, turn-by-turn, voice-guided GPS navigation to its Android phones, and Nokia doing the same for several of its handsets, the pressure’s on Apple to offer something similar. Apple acquired mapping company Placebase last summer, and also posted a job ad last November seeking an engineer to help overhaul the iPhone’s Maps app. A major GPS application seems likely and Apple has taken several important steps towards this.

Verizon iPhone, 4G iPhone:
It’s worth pointing out that Apple’s event is aimed at the iPhone’s operating system, not hardware. Don’t expect to hear anything about Verizon iPhones or next-generation iPhones. Just as Apple announced the 3.0 OS in March 2009, and the iPhone 3GS in June, any news on the hardware front is probably a few months away.

Email Attachments, Contact and SMS Groups, Rotation Lock:
Though this is pure speculation, a lot of iPhone OS users have griped about it. To this day, users can’t attach files within the e-mail app (you can only send them from outside apps), and the inability to create groups for contacts or text messages is a pain. With the iPad getting its own handy rotation lock switch, it may be time to build this into the larger iPhone OS.

Stay tuned for additional details and full event coverage come April 8th.

And if you have any changes you’d like to see made to the iPhone OS in version 4.0, please let us know in the comments.

iFixIt performs complete iPad teardown, finds extended battery, other goodies

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 5th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPad, photos

The moment they got their mitts on one, the cool cats at iFixIt performed a complete teardown on Apple’s new iPad tablet to look at its components.

Per AppleInsider, the company’s teardown reveals that the iPad’s battery has 5.5 times the capacity of the iPhone. It’s actually two battery packs wired in parallel, the company reports, providing a total of 24.8 Watt-hours. “In contrast,” the report notes, “the iPhone 3GS has a 4.51 watt-hour battery and the MacBook Air has a 40 watt-hour battery.”

On average, the device “sips just 2.5 Watts. That’s 1/5 the power of a compact fluorescent bulb,” the report states. Even so, the larger battery demands more charging power than standard USB ports provide. It needs its included 10 watt charger, and won’t charge while syncing with a standard USB-equipped Mac or PC.

“The A4 is a Package-on-Package (PoP), with at least three layers of circuitry layered on top of each other,” the site notes. Apple’s “A4 is packaged just like the iPhone processors, microprocessor in one package and two memory modules in the other package. They’re all sandwiched together in a very nice and thin PoP.

“The iPad RAM is inside the A4 processor package. Confirming this took quite a bit of sleuthing: we had to partner with Chipworks to X-ray the processor. The X-ray revealed two layers of RAM. In addition to the ARM processor, the A4 package contains two stacked Samsung dies. We will be releasing a detailed analysis of the A4 in conjunction with Chipworks in a few days.”

The A4 contains “256MB of memory per die, for 512 MB total” the company’s teardown notes. That’s twice the system RAM of last year’s iPhone 3GS and third generation iPod touch.

Update: iFixit updated their report to note that the iPad actually incorporates the same 256MB of system RAM as the iPhone 3GS.

Physical features:
“The rear case is machined from a single billet of aluminum, increasing weight but greatly improving the rigidity of the device,” iFixIt reports, adding that “the empty void in the upper right corner [of the WiFi-only model] is where the cellular communications board would go in the 3G iPad.”

The iPad’s “touch circuit design is more similar to the old 2G and early 3G iPhones than the current 3GS,” the teardown revealed. “Chipworks informed us that ‘there is so much room in the iPad that Apple didn’t need to use small chips, just the right ones and cheap ones.’”

Additionally, the rumored slot that was once imagined to be for a camera “is actually taken up by the ambient light sensor.” iFixIt also noted that the iPad’s “glass panel is quite thick: about 1.18 mm, compared to the iPhone’s 1.02 mm thick glass. This is necessitated by the panel’s large size.”

The WiFi antennas on the iPad are mounted facing both the front corner and the back, where they penetrate through the solid aluminum back via the window provided by the black plastic Apple logo.

iPad Launch Day Roundup

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News, Pictures

Ok, just got back from the iPad launch at the Apple Store in Arlington, Virginia, so bear with me here:

Coming up on the line, you heard cheering from about half a block away. With dozens of blue-shirted Apple employees running about, handing out coffee and water and high-fiving each other and customers, they’ve adopted something of a Wal-Mart employee rally mentality.

Not a bad thing, but a little weird…

Apple Store employees do a victory lap in advance.

Coming up on the line, there were about 75 people in a line to each side of the front door, the lines being divided into those with reservations and those without reservations who were hoping to snag a unit. Apple employees continued high-fiving customers before retreating into the store where their pep rally continued behind closed doors.

“For me it’s something new. The interface has changed enough for me not to say it’s the same thing. I love the fact that Netflix plays on it,” said an attendee at the head of the reservation line who identified himself as a former Apple employee named “Elon”. “It’s a device that lets you touch things and I like to touch things,” he joked.

Elon waiting in line for the Apple’s iPad.

“I do agree Flash does bog down my system, a lot of the naysayers it’s 95% of the web. I do fine with my videos and I don’t have to worry about Netflix. For someone who likes to play games, then yes, Flash will probably be a bummer.”

He then went on to comment that he’d arrived at the store around midnight the night before and was planning to buy the iPad, hop on the Metro, go home, sync it to iTunes and get to work on it.

Others were there for less direct reasons. Angela Lucas of Arlington, Virginia, snagged the top spot in the reserve line to buy an iPad for her husband’s birthday in two days’ time. “He wants to be the first among his friends to have it,” she said, smiling.

Tom Bridge, a local resident and owner of welovedc.com, seemed more excited about the iPad’s potential than anything else.

“I do have some hesitations, I’m not wild about the closed off development platform but I do know that there are a lot of awesome apps on day one and that people will find a way to make this work,” said Bridge, who then cited that he was looking forward to finding ways to blend the iPad with his business functions.

Upon the opening of the Apple Store’s doors, the staff eased the crowd in, limiting the number of people in the store, where almost all of the displays had been switched over to iPad demo units. Unlike the iPhone launches, customers were able to purchase their iPads quickly without any registration concerns and could either buy the iPad and leave or do an initial sync to iTunes in order to set the device up.

First out the door was Brad Gardner, a Washington, D.C. resident who was promptly swamped by interviewers and seemed more intent on getting home and setting the iPad up:

A few customers later, the ever-helpful Dominic Gohla exited the store and was happy to unpack the iPad for the cameras. Gohla had coordinated an arrival from Germany to pick up a reserved iPad and sat down in a nearby Starbucks to hop on the AT&T wireless network to offer the following demo and interview to a German web site (in German, so if any of you have a friend that knows German, yank them over to translate – I’ll be slamming my head against the desk):


Perhaps one of the coolest moments of the morning, Dominic demoed Apple’s new iBooks app with the complimentary copy of “Winnie The Pooh” that arrives with the program. The word “smooth” is applicable here and the pages not only turn easily, but can be grabbed and slowly turned from any portion of the page. Nice touch.

Prior to heading out, an attendee who identified himself as “Simon” perhaps summed up the hopes of the line the best. “This is a traveler’s dream device. I can take it on a flight and never get bored again,” he said. Simon then went on to offer that in spite of the lack of native Adobe Flash support for the device, he was reassured in that a lot of the big media companies seem to be turning around and supporting the HTML5 standard.

From a personal perspective, there’s a lot to be impressed with. The iPad is light, speedy, the screen is everything the user could ever want, the interface is responsive and the accelerometer seems to be working overtime, happily shipping between vertical and landscape views with only a slight turn of the tablet.

We’ll have a full review up in about a week’s time, but for the time being, this is definitely something cool and Apple seems to have taken its time to create a unique product that could, in fact, blow its tablet competition out of the water.

Apple launches iBooks app for iPad

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 03:40
Category: iPad, Software

The day before the official U.S. launch of the iPad, Apple’s long awaited iBooks app is now available in the App Store. Per MacRumors, the app offers both a book reader, an online bookstore to purchase new books and the following:

- Complimentary copy of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.

- Read a free sample of any book on the iBookstore.

- Change font size, pick from five different included type faces.

- Highlight your favorite passages with the built-in bookmarking feature.

- Accessibility features such as speaking words on a given page.

iBooks requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later and an iPad to install and run.

Rumor: iPhone OS 4.0 could support multitasking via Expose-like user interface

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

3gs.jpg

Earlier reports surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware focused on the idea of multitasking for the operating system. Per AppleInsider, these rumors have expanded to state that the supported multitasking will be resemble the Expose function in Mac OS X.

According to “people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new firmware,” a keystroke combination consisting of hitting the Home button twice will bring up the icons of currently running apps, allowing users to quickly choose the one they want to switch to.

The article notes that this sounds more like the basic “Command + Tab” app switcher (similar to Microsoft Window’s “Ctrl + Tab” option) than Expose, which scales all open windows down to tiny little versions of themselves, but their sources insist that the new iPhone multitasking will exhibit “several characteristics of the Expose brand.”

Multitasking, or its absence, has long been an issue for iPhone OS-based devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and, come Saturday, the iPad. Although number of bundled iPhone apps, including the phone and the iPod functions, are perfectly capable of running in the background while the user performs other tasks. Third-party app multitasking currently isn’t supported, which means that users must quit any third-party app they are using in order to run another third-party app.

Apple addressed the multitasking issue (sort of) in its iPhone OS 3.0 update, when it introduced push notifications. Push notifications notify users of changes in third-party apps (email, instant messages, and so on), so that users can switch over to that app if necessary.

Currently, multiple smartphone operating systems support multitasking. Compatible devices include Palm’s WebOS, Google’s Android OS, RIM’s BlackberryOS, and Windows Mobile (though the new Windows Phone 7 series will reportedly not support multitasking), leaving Apple is a bit behind.