Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Apple to Unveil Next Generation Software at Keynote Address on Monday, June 6

CUPERTINO, California—May 31, 2011—Apple® CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software - Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

WWDC will feature more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers. Mac® developers will see and learn how to develop world-class Mac OS X Lion applications using its latest technologies and capabilities. Mobile developers will be able to explore the latest innovations and capabilities of iOS and learn how to greatly enhance the functionality, performance and design of their apps. All developers can bring their code to the labs and work with Apple engineers.

For more details, visit the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 website at developer.apple.com/wwdc.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Road to my First Apple Computer Purchase Was Delayed by the Purchase of my iPad

I am a PC guy. Let me explain. I work in the technology arena and have done so for more than 20 years. I have worked with many different software and hardware systems. I have worked for many years on Windows based computers. I have done so since the beginning of Microsoft’s entry into the space. It hasn’t been all Windows: I have worked on many versions of UNIX (Silicon Graphics, HP, IBM and others), various versions of Linux, but the majority of my servers and clients have been Windows machines. While Windows has been the bulk of what I have worked on, they were not my first.

The first computer that I ever worked on was the Commodore Pet. It was a cassette based system that interpreted the sound into data. I remember playing a horse racing game and a game that involved navigating a ship through a zigzagging cavern without hitting the walls. I used these through elementary and Middle school. Of course there were educational games that were designed to help reinforce my mathematic and reading altitudes, but to be honest I remember the games more than the lessons. The lessons were just a means to the end: the games.

The computer was not fancy by any stretch of the imagination: just a single unit or “all-in-One” device that combined the monitor, keyboard, media device and CPU. But what was incredible to me was that this machine could teach and entertain. I was hooked. In middle school, I volunteered in the computer lab so that I could get to learn more about these computers. Between 1977 and 1985, I would discover computers made by Commodore, Atari, Tandy and Apple at home and school. By the time I reached high school, Apple was the only computer being used by me. Within in the last three years of high school, I had worked on the following computers: Apple ll, Apple IIe, Apple IIc and the Macintosh.

The Apple computer had become the computer that I had the most experience with. When I entered college, I couldn’t find an Apple computer. When I entered the work force and went to work for a huge automotive supplier, they didn’t have Apple computers either. They had IBM computers and they were quickly replaced with Microsoft computers sporting MS-DOS. I lived the evolution of Microsoft and even had firsthand experience in the failed OS2 revolution by IBM to take down Microsoft and it Windows platform. The only thing I had heard about Apple was when they had sued Microsoft for stealing their graphical user interface (GUI) idea for their Windows platform. The first computer I ever bought was an IBM clone with an 8088 processor and floppy drives that cost me just under $3000.

For many years to come, I would dive head first into my work with all the platforms describe above. Apple would not even be on my radar. That is until the Newton was released. I drooled over this device, but the cost would keep me from buying one. I would only pay a little more attention to Apple when the iPod was released, but I had little interest in iPod because my choice for music format was the MP3 format. It was not until Apple released the Apple iPod Touch, did I take an interest Apple again. I bought the device because it could do many of the things that I had been looking to do with the Palm devices that I had used for years. There were some things that I didn’t like about the device, like no camera, no external speakers and the size of the screen, but it didn’t keep me from buying one.

When I bought the iPod Touch, I started to get very interested in developing for the iPhone OS. To do this I knew I had to get an Apple Mac computer. I set my eyes on the Apple Mac Mini. I began to visit the Apple store. I had begun to visit the Apple store more and more often and just poke around. I was originally going to get the Mac Mini, because I had plenty of mice, keyboard and monitors hanging around. Last year I was at the point where I was going to get the Mac Mini within days, and then Apple announced the iPad.

When the first generation iPad’s specifications were revealed, I had dislikes about it as well, but it was a smaller list than the list I had for the first generation iPod Touch. When people were describing the iPad as a big iPod Touch, I was like “Cool!” The main two complaints I had with the iPod Touch was that the screen was too small and it wasn’t connected to the web all the time. The iPad had debunked those complaints, but I didn’t want to get the first generation one iPad because I knew I would get screwed like I did when I bought the first generation iPod Touch. I knew Apple would release an updated iPad within a year, but I also knew I would be missing out on an incredible device if I waited for the iPad 2.

Of course, I couldn't resist the lure of the iPad. I purchased the iPad in early May of 2010. My decision to buy the iPad caused me to delay the purchase of an Apple Mac computer. I knew I would still have to get one, but the iPad would alter my decision on which model I would choose. Although I had planned to buy my first Mac computer before the iPad, there are other iPad owners who have planned to or have purchased their first Mac computer after having purchased their iPad. This is a trend that will no doubt continue to happen. Apple has won over new interest with the release and success of their iPad devices. Stay tuned to find out which Mac I finally did get.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Study: iPad Apps 'Less Wacky' But Still Confusing

Apple iPad apps have become "less wacky" in the past year but user interfaces for many are still too confusing, according to a new iPad usability study released this week by Web usability consultant Jakob Nielsen.

"This year's testing still found many cases in which users accidentally touched something and couldn't find their way back to their start point, as well as magazine apps that required multiple steps to access the table of contents," Nielsen wrote in a summary of the 116-page report.

The expert on human-computer interaction published his first report on the iPad's usability in May 2010. One major difference between last year's study and the one released this week—for the first study, Nielsen tested users with no prior experience using iPads, but for the more recent one, he recruited users with at least two months' experience.

Nielsen found that there had been "good uptake" of several UI improvements to iPad apps over the past year, including more use of back buttons, search, homepages and direct links to articles from headlines on the front pages of media sites.
"One of the worst designs last year was USA Today's section navigation, which required users to touch the newspaper logo despite the complete lack of any perceived affordance that the logo would have this effect," Nielsen writes.

"During our new testing earlier this month, several users had the same problems as last year's test participants, even though we recruited people with more iPad experience. Happily, a few days after our test sessions, USA Today released a new version of their app, with somewhat improved navigation."

Testing 26 iPads and six websites, Nielsen had eight men and eight women participate in the study.

Problems that continue to plague iPad apps and sites include "read-tap asymmetry," which refers to content that's "large enough to read but too small to tap," touchable areas that are too small and too closely packed together, leading to user errors, and "low discoverability," meaning an active area in an interface that looks like it's not touchable to users.
New app developments that confused Nielsen's testers include having multiple items on a screen that can be swiped, long introductory segments for apps that must be suffered through whenever the app is used, and too much navigation built into apps.

Nielsen did have a theory as to why there has been some noticeable improvements to app interfaces, however.
"[W]e originally tested the launch applications that shipped at the same time as the iPad itself; they were thus developed by teams working in isolation under Apple-imposed secrecy that prevented them from gaining user feedback," he writes. "In our first report, many of the bad designs we documented were due not to bad designers, but rather to the inevitable outcome of non-user-centered design projects.

"In contrast, the apps and sites tested in the new study were designed by teams that benefited both from our original usability report and from whatever user feedback they'd collected on their own during the past year."

PC Magazine - By Damon Poeter

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Apple Store has plenty of iPad in the Store: Display not Stock

If you are in the market for the iPad 2 and have visited a store in hopes of finding one, you may he delighted that Apple in adding more iPads to their store. If you enter an Apple store today, you might be excited to see iPads everywhere. There are iPads on nearly every table. iPads are stationed on the table next to the iPhones, next to the iMac computers, next to the Mac Books and yes, even next to the iPads.
Brooks_iPadThese extra iPads are not for sell, but are part of what is being called Apple Store 2.0. It is part of an Apple store initiative to replace all paper and cardboard advertising and product information boards with Apple iPads.

The iPad serves as a product information kiosks for each electronic gadget made by Apple. When you walk up to the iPhone table, the accompanying iPad provides additional information about the iPhone 4. If the iPad doesn't provide enough information you can use the iPad to request that a genius be dispatched to your specific device. Each device is assigned to a device and send specific location and product information in the request. This allows a genius to come find you and be readied to discuss the particular product.
This is a great idea on a few different levels. It is very eco-friendly. Not only does it eliminate the need to constantly print and place information cards, but gives each potential buyer personal service. It allows customers to be queued and allows the customer to get the best person for the product dispatched.

The natural side-effect or benefit is that it allows the patrons to experience the iPad even though they may not have entered the store to "play" with the iPad, but rather to buy or inquire about other products.
The bad thing is that Apple implemented it during a period when iPads are in high demand, but while the iPad is un very short supply. When I was in the store today, there was a man looking to buy a 16GB Wifi only iPad. He was told by a genius, who appeared with a 16GB 3G\Wifi device on the Verizon network instead of a 16GB Wifi only device, that he sought was unavailable. He explained to the customer that the 3G version had wifi too and that the service could be cancelled without penalty and any time and right from the device. He even offered to show him how to access the settings app to cancel the service. For someone that don't work on commission, he sure handled the situation with no intent of letting him leave without a sale despite not getting what he actually wanted and paying at least $130 more to do so.

While this all looked like a pressure-free and friendly exchange, I couldn't help think that man not only paid $130 more for the 3G device, but also a month of service charge as well. The genius explained that he could come in an exchange the device for wifi only device within 14 days.

As I watched the man walk out of the store with his purchase in his hand, I could not help but look at all the 16GB iPads sitting on the tables acting as sales kiosks instead of being sold to the customers that obviously sought to buy them . As the iPads literally lit up his path to the exit, I couldn't help but think he could have had what he wanted (and for less money) if these new kiosks weren't using what he needed to buy.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WritePad for the iPad converts your Handwriting into Text

Writepad for iPad - Englishicon is one of my favorite app now for the iPad. It allows me to write on the screen in my own handwriting or print and the app converts it automatically into text. While you can use your finger to write, it is much easier and natural if you use a stylus designed for the iPad.

I am at a conference and I am using WritePad to capture my notes. I will update this blog as the week goes on.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

The iPad in Your Hand: As Fast as a Supercomputer of Yore

It’s common wisdom that the computer you can hold in the palm of your hand today is as powerful as a computer from years ago that filled an entire room.

But now Jack Dongarra, one of the computer scientists who keeps track of the world’s 500 fastest computers, has figured out just how fast that computer in your palm really is.

Dr. Dongarra, who is on the computer science faculty at the University of Tennessee and a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is one of the keepers of the Linpack computing benchmark, a linear algebra test that measures the mathematical capabilities of computers.

His research group has run the test on Apple’s new iPad 2, and it turns out that the legal-pad-size tablet would be a rival for a four-processor version of the Cray 2 supercomputer, which, with eight processors, was the world’s fastest computer in 1985.

Dr. Dongarra’s researchers also discovered that the new iPad2 is about 10 times as fast as its predecessor, the original iPad. That is likely because of some design changes in the microprocessor used in the new version of the Apple tablet.

To date, the researchers have run the test on only one of the iPad microprocessor’s two processing cores. When they finish their project, though, Dr. Dongarra estimates that the iPad 2 will have a Linpack benchmark of between 1.5 and 1.65 gigaflops (billions of floating-point, or mathematical, operations per second). That would have insured that the iPad 2 could have stayed on the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers through 1994.

The Cray 2 was an unusual computer even by the standards of its designer, Seymour Cray. About the size of a large washing machine, it was cooled by immersion in a liquid called Flourinert that had been developed by 3M, and that was occasionally used as a human blood substitute during surgery.

The machine was housed in an aquariumlike structure, and was affectionately nicknamed “bubbles.”

Meanwhile, the fact that the iPad runs off a battery and is air-cooled has given Dr. Dongarra some ideas, like building a supercomputer composed of a couple of stacks of the tablets.

“The price-performance is probably not that great,” he said. “But the interesting thing here is the power consumption.”

He noted there were some potential technical obstacles.

“To put together multiple iPads to make a cluster is a bit challenging,” he said. “They would have to be jail-broken and then use wireless for the inter-iPad communication.“

But he hasn’t given up on the idea.

“It could be done and provide a very power-friendly cluster,” he said.

His colleague, the computer designer Steve Wallach, who was portrayed in the book “Soul of a New Machine,” has even been thinking about potential names for such a novel supercomputer.

He has previously considered a hypothetical parallel supercomputer known as NOW (for network of watches). Now Mr. Wallach proposes NOP (network of Pads).

He notes that it is conveniently named for a low-level computing instruction meaning “no operation.”

By Jack Dongarra
New York Times

Monday, May 9, 2011

Scalper Blamed for iPad 2 Buyer Violence in China

A Chinese man says violence that broke out at a Beijing Apple Store on Saturday resulted from a scalper cutting into a line of customers waiting to buy the iPad 2.

Lines in Bejing (Credit: MyChinaViews.com)

Thirty-year-old Wang Ming says the bloody altercation at the store in Bejing's Sanlitun commercial district was between a "foreign" Apple employee and a Chinese customer. Wang, who said he was passing by when a bottle hit his head, heard the queue-jumping customer was a scalper.

The New York Daily News reports that the "foreign" employee from the Beijing store allegedly pushed several people accused of cutting in line, which sparked a melee.

Although many details remain unclear, photos from the scene clearly show that whatever happened resulted in a shattered glass door and several customers being injured.

Long lines and pushy scalpers aren't anything new for iPad 2 fans in China. Demand for the new device is extremely high.

The iPad 2 became available for sale in the country on Friday.

Massive lines appeared outside Apple stores in Beijing and Shanghai. One store was out of stock within four hours of opening. CNET reports shipping estimates for the iPad 2 jumped from "one to two weeks" to "No Supply" on Apple's Chinese Online Store on Friday.

The launch also drew dozens of scalpers who camped out with their families to hoard devices according to Chinese News site Xinhua. The site says scalpers offered to sell their iPad 2s to people waiting in line on launch day for 300 yuan (about $50) more than retail price.

Scalpers are likely basing their business model on the initial iPad's success in China. When it launched, hundreds of consumers waited in line up to 60 hours to secure a tablet. That popularity translates into market share.

Apple owns 78 percent of the tablet market in China despite having a limited reach (four retail stores) in the country and releasing the first version of the iPad in China as recently as September. For comparison, Apple has 82 percent of the tablet market in the U.S. after being released in April 2010 at hundreds of stateside Apple Stores.

The iPad 2 is so popular in China, some stores are having trouble keeping even fake ones in stock.

Paper replicas of Apple's latest tablet are flying off the shelves of some Chinese stores, according to Reuters.

The younger generation of Chinese is purchasing paper iPads to use for gifts. According to an LA Times blog, the paper fakes are being purchased for the Qingming festival, an annual tradition where families burn paper replicas of things for their dead relatives to use in the afterlife.

By Paul Suarez, PCWorld May 8, 2011 3:12 PM

Friday, May 6, 2011

EA Games Is Trying To Corner The iPad Gaming Market

Electronic Arts has announced that they are buying up the popular iOS video game maker “Firement”.

Firement was one of the early pioneers in the iPad video gaming scene. They are an Australian based company whose hits include popular games like Flight Control and Real Racing.

The Firement Company became one of the first development firms to release an iPad application when the Apple iPad was launched last year. Recently, they updated their super popular video game “Real Racing” with a version 2 of the game that takes full advantage of the iPad 2’s new video outputting capabilities. According to Ea Games, the Firemint Company is currently in the works of creating a new slew of games that are specially built for the iPad 2.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Nieson reports that the IPad is still the Dominant Tablet Used

With new entrants like the Samsung Galaxy and the Motorola Xoom, the market for tablet computers is heating up in the United States, even though iPad continues to dominate the conversation – and market. That’s the word from The Nielsen Company’s latest in-depth research on mobile connected devices, which was fielded in Spring 2011.

Among the other findings:

Around half of all tablet owners reported being the only ones in their household using their particular tablet, while 43 percent said they shared the tablet with others. Eight percent said that while they own a tablet used by other household members, they do not use it themselves.

When asked whether they used other connected devices more often or less often since purchasing a tablet, 35 percent of tablet owners who also owned a desktop computer reported using their desktop less often or not at all, while 32 percent of those who also owned laptops, said they used their laptop less often or never since acquiring a tablet. Twenty-seven percent of those who also own eReaders said they use their eReader less often or not at all – the same percentage as those who also own portable media players. One-in-four tablet owners who own portable games consoles are using those devices less often, if at all, since purchasing a tablet.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Remember the Milk for iPad now available

Online task management service Remember the Milk has released an update to its iOS application adding native iPad support. Remember the Milk 2.0 introduces a completely redesigned user interface for the iPad using a gesture-rich sliding panel interface for viewing categories, task lists and task details on the larger screen. The app syncs all data bi-directionally with the Remember the Milk online service, storing tasks, notes, lists, Smart Lists, tags and more for offline use when no Internet connection is available. Users of the free Remember the Milk service can synchronize manually once per day, while users with a “Pro” subscription can take advantage of immediate automatic sync with iOS 4 background completion and push notifications for badge counts and task reminders.

On the iPad, tasks can be completed or postponed using two-finger swipe gestures and users can slide task list, detail and note panels to reposition them or slide a panel off the right edge of the screen to close it. Remember the Milk 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download. A Remember the Milk account is required to use the app; automatic synchronization and push notifications require a $25/year “Pro” subscription. More details are available on the company’s blog.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Three iPad alternatives are impressive, but flawed

If you’re in the market for a tablet computer, why would you buy anything but an iPad? After testing three rival tablets, I’ve got the answer. You shouldn’t. Apple Inc.’s little marvel is still the king.

But keep reading to see how some creative engineers have developed a host of imperfect, but impressive iPad alternatives. LG Electronics has created the first tablet to combine 4G and 3-D technology. Research In Motion LLC, the BlackBerry people, have built a multitasking monster crippled by its limited software options. And Barnes & Noble is slowly transforming its Nook Color e-reader into a high-quality, low-cost tablet computer, by adding a library of popular software apps.

BlackBerry’s PlayBook tablet is the most frustrating of the bunch, and the best. Priced between $499 and $699, the PlayBook is laser-quick and blessed with the smartest user interface yet — better than the iPad’s.

It’s simply the best multitasking tablet ever. The border surrounding the PlayBook’s 7-inch screen is touch-sensitive. If you’re running its excellent Web browser and you want to switch to video, an upward swipe shrinks the browser and places it in a window on the upper half of the screen. This window shows all the apps you’re presently running. You can bounce from video to video game to online news, nearly as quick as thought.

Unless you plan on checking your e-mail or appointment calendar. The needed apps aren’t available yet. A feature called BlackBerry Bridge will connect a BlackBerry phone to the PlayBook, and transfer e-mail from phone to tablet. But iPhone owners are out of luck. BlackBerry says it will add the missing apps this summer.

The PlayBook’s unique operating system is also a major drawback. Since no other tablet runs this software, few developers will write apps for it. BlackBerry plans an upgrade that will let the PlayBook run apps written for Google Inc’s Android operating system, eventually. But for now, only hardcore BlackBerry phone users should even consider buying a PlayBook. Too bad; it’s a sweet piece of gear.

The new LG Electronics G-Slate isn’t quite as exciting, but not for lack of effort. Like the solid, attractive Xoom from Motorola Mobility Inc., the G-Slate features Honeycomb, the version of Android that is custom-built for tablets. But while the Xoom claimed to be the first tablet with 4G wireless data capability, the G-Slate actually delivers, sort of.

The G-Slate costs $529 after a $100 mail-in rebate, and with a two-year wireless data plan from its exclusive distributor, T-Mobile USA. That’s a decent price; the comparable 3G version of the iPad costs $200 more, and the Xoom is $70 more.

Besides, the G-Slate uses T-Mobile’s upgraded 3G service, which the company likes to call “4G.’’ In previous tests, I’ve gotten lousy results with T-Mobile 4G, but it’s getting better. The G-Slate delivered downloads at nearly four million bits per second, much better than standard 3G speed. The Motorola Xoom is supposed to get a free 4G upgrade later this year, but for now, the G-Slate is the best-performing tablet on cellular networks.

Of the G-Slate’s 3-D feature, the less said the better. It works, but you must view the videos through old-fashioned 3-D glasses with red and blue lenses, and the images are dull and discolored. It’s just a gimmick, but a harmless one.

As with the PlayBook, the G-Slate’s got a real software problem. Large-screen Android tablets have only been around for about three months, so it’s no surprise that there are few compelling apps to take advantage of all that real estate. Besides, most iPad users happily settle for the cheaper Wi-Fi-only version, rather than pay for 3G or 4G service. But there’s no Wi-Fi-only G-Slate.

Pricing isn’t a problem for the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. At $249, It’s one of the cheapest high-quality tablets out there; except it’s an e-book reader, and not a tablet, right? Well, maybe not. The bookseller has just launched a new app store for the device, with 130 apps to start with and promises of lots more to come. Yes, they include the beloved game Angry Birds.

B&N officials tell me they are going to be careful about which apps to offer. Expect lots of family-friendly games, along with software with bookworm appeal, like online news services.

The Nook Color is light on frills; no 3G or 3-D, not even a built-in camera. But it’s got Wi-Fi, smoothly runs a variant of Android software, carries a high-quality Web browser, and is beginning to get a respectable library of compatible software. It’s another promising iPad alternative. But few consumers will settle for tomorrow’s promises when they can buy an iPad today.

By Hiawatha Bray
Boston Globe Columnist / May 5, 2011
© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.

New iPad 2 Commercial Highlights Its Versatility

Yesterday, Apple released a new iPad 2 commercial on prime-time TV. The idea behind the commercial is to offer various individuals’ opinions about the iPad 2.

Several apps are also featured in this commercial, among them are Keynote (a powerful presentation app able to create world-class presentations with animation and charts), Face Time (an app allowing face to face video calls with family or friends) and Alice in the iPad (an app designed for future digital reading with animation).

“A parent might call iPad 2 intuitive; a musician might think it is inspiring. Ground-breaking could be what a doctor might say about iPad 2; to a teacher iPad 2 is the future.” These are some of the ways various people might describe their tablet device.

The commercial ends with a message from Apple, or should I take it as a promise? They say that this is only the beginning, they are just getting started. All in all, the general idea is that iPad 2 is a versatile device, it can adapt to all users no matter what their background, occupation or age might be.

Let’s hope that there will be no other replicas from Motorola, as we already know the two companies had some advertising tussles in the past. You can see the ipad 2 advertisement here.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Five Fun Games for the iPad

The iPad is a great entertainment device and if you aren't having any fun on it then most likely you do not have one of the following games on your iPad. You can argue which games iPad games are the best. Which iPad games look the best. Which iPad games have the best graphics or best story. I don't think a lot of that matters if the game is not tons of fun. A game don't have to look the best to be the best. These games listed below have incredible graphics, sounds and game play. The following games will turn your efficient media consumption device into an exciting and fun gaming device.

Hungry Shark Trilogy HD ($2.99) By Future Games of London

Hungry Shark Trilogy's title intrigued me, so I tried it. As the name implies, Hungry Shark is all about the quest for food. And while that sounds boring, it’s not. This game has almost everything you could want (as long as you’re not looking to improve your IQ). True, Hungry Shark is a bit gory and repetitive at times. But it’s also full of silly puns, requires surgeon-precision skills, and offers just enough incentive to make it addictive. It even helped my shark cowardice. It turns out all I needed was some old fashioned emersion therapy. Sharks are actually semi-cute, witty, and just trying to get by in the harsh world we live in. The game penalizes you for simply eating humans for the fun of it. If the shark is starving, then humans are fair game. The shark doesn't have total control of the situation either, there are plenty of dangers to worry about as the shark, like mines, blow fish, sword fish, etc. This game is tons of fun.

Need for Speed - Hot Pursuit ($9.99) by Electronic Arts

Need for Speed - Hot Pursuit for iPad offer four tiers of races with six events in each. You’ll start off as a rookie cop, and as you earn more achievements and bounty (i.e. money), you’ll get promoted and be given the rights to drive more powerful cars, of which there are a total of fifteen. Through day, night, and dusk, you’ll speed down all sorts of roads and cut across diverse landscapes, from the mountains and desert to the coast. The game offers four main event types. For Interceptor, you’ll have to take down a racer as fast as you can, while in Tough Justice you’ll be working to take down up to three racers. The faster you complete your task, or the more racers you take down, the greater the bounty you will receive. Power Struggle pits you against other cops to demonstrate who’s the best. Finish first to earn three stars and the highest possible bounty. In the fourth type of event, Rapid Response, you won’t have to race against anyone else but yourself, with the goal of reaching your destination as soon as you can. If being on the side of the law isn't your cup of tea, then you can be the racer and have similar challenges on the other side of the law. Believe me, you won't regret either side you choose. There’s Wi-Fi multiplayer compatibility that allows you to play head-to-head against friends on the same Wi-Fi network (and using Bluetooth).

Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD ($6.99) by Gameloft

Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD is my favorite iPad racing game (at the moment). It’s colourful, energetic, stupidly fast and it does very unrealistic things with “real” cars. The different race modes are all fun and eliminating other cars by ramming them at high speed never gets old. The occasional verbal comments are neither soulless pit-crew guidance or overenthusiastic yelling commentators; it’s an amused sounding woman who sarcastically points out that you shouldn’t have wrecked your car, or laughs appreciatively as you smash another opponent off the track. There’s Wi-Fi multiplayer compatibility that allows you to play head-to-head against friends on the same Wi-Fi network (and using Bluetooth). Plus you can challenge folk online via Gameloft Live.

NBA JAM ($9.99) by Electronic Arts

For 18 years, no basketball videogame has delivered the same kind of fantastical dunks, memorable catchphrases and arcade-style wackiness as NBA Jam. Originally developed by Midway and now published by Electronic Arts, the long-loved sports title has now been optimized for iPad users, complete with updated rosters, spruced-up graphics and the same flair that made the earliest iterations a must-own for any sports game enthusiast.

As usual, the game is 2-on-2 basketball and you can switch up your rosters at halftime. Only the best on each NBA roster are included here, but as you complete certain goals and beat specific teams, historical players can be unlocked for the full nostalgic experience.

There’s Wi-Fi multiplayer compatibility that allows you to play head-to-head against friends on the same Wi-Fi network (and using Bluetooth).

Guerilla Bob HD ($2.99) by Angry Mob Games

In Angry Mob Games' Guerilla Bob you are this rugged guerilla army guy, ready to shoot up your enemies. You pick up different weapons like machine guns, flame throwers, time bombs and more. You walk in a 2.5D playing field from one end to another without, hopefully, getting killed. You shoot all your enemies, but also structures like tents and gates to get to the end. During levels you get introduced to all kinds of enemies (with a nice, big still) that posses different skills to make your life miserable. The controls are flexible and great, especially with automatic aim. Without auto-aim, I found the game incredibly challenging, with it’s just a lot of fun. This makes it really great to replay levels, first with and then without to sharpen your skills and get trained faster to tackle later levels.

This is a great game to play alone, that give me the fuzzy feel of classic home computer games like Commando and Rambo. But it’s even better in multiplayer mode; you can play via WIFI with multiple iPads/iPhones as well as on the same iPad with two people. Together you beat your enemies. You find yourself shooting at your friends to get them to follow the leader and do as your say after only minutes of playing. Teamwork is important to survival, you can even revive a fallen teammate if you can ward off the bad guys to do so. Don't have another iOS device? No problem, Guerilla Bob is available on the Android market and it can join in on the multiplayer fun too.

As fun as these games are on my iPad 1, I hear that they only get better on the iPad 2. If you don't enjoy these games, you come back and talk to me in the comments. If you have any of these games already, please let me know what you like best in the comments as well.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Apple Introduces New iMacs, Quad-Core, FaceTime HD, Thunderbolt

Right on schedule, Apple has updated their iMac line of computers. This update brings quad-core i5 processors to the entire line, faster graphics, a new FaceTime HD camera, and Thunderbolt. If the i5 isn’t fast enough for you, there is an i7 build-to-order option at up to 3.4GHz.

Here’s an excerpt from Apple’s PR announcement:

Apple today updated its signature all-in-one iMac with next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, groundbreaking high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime HD camera. Starting at $1,199, the new iMac is up to 70 percent faster and new graphics deliver up to three times the performance of the previous generation.

Also, here is a breakdown of the model configurations:

21.5″ 2.5GHz Quad Core i5, AMD 6750M, 500GB, $1199 (1 Thunderbolt port)
21.5″ 2.7GHz Quad Core i5, AMD 6770M, 1TB, $1499 (1 Thunderbolt port)
27″ 2.7GHz Quad Core i5, AMD 6770M, 1TB, $1699 (2 Thunderbolt ports)
27″ 3.1GHz Quad Core i5, AMD 6970M, 1TB, $1999 (2 Thunderbolt ports)

Excellent updates.

I have been waiting to purchase my first Mac. The time is almost here for me to buy. Apple says that the OS X Lion is set for release in summer 2011. I waited for the hardware change, now I have about one or two more months for the software to upgrade.

By Carl W. Brooks
Editor, iamthereforeipad.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Quick Thoughts on the Tablet Market

Apple had dominated the Tablet arena since it released the iPad back in April of 2010. When it hit the market, the only things it had going for it were the company behind it and an ecosystem that had worked for the iPad's electronic cousins (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPod devices). Very few people believed there was a market for a "go-between" device that did the same things that a smartphone, laptop or desktop did already.

It was released with a very small number of optimized apps and an software developer's kit (SDK) that hoped to produce more. Of course it did have tons of iPhone apps that could be used on day one, but they looks horribly wrong in its iPhone size in the middle of the huge iPad screen and looked even worse when forced to fit the whole screen with the 2x button.

Behind these iPhone apps were an army of developers that was eager to get their hands on the SDK and venture into this new land of the tablet world. In less than a year, these developers would produce over 65,000 iPad optimized apps; many that were reworked versions of their iPhone apps, but some were brand new apps that took advantage of the huge screen and portability of the device. Apple had proven that their was a huge demand for a device that is a "go-betweener" between the smartphone and the traditional computer. They had step into a technology land of milk and honey and now everyone wanted to get a taste of the promise land of tablet sales.

Around the same time these things were happening, Google's Android operating system was appearing on many smartphones and these Android phones were beginning to challenge Apple iPhone dominance in the Smartphone arena. With Motorola's huge marketing pocket, there were not many people who had not heard of a Droid. The Droid became the poster child for the Android smartphone campaign. Whether Motorola liked it or not, it had helped usher in the likes of Samsung and others into the Android smartphone market. Palm who? HP had purchased Palm Inc and its WebOS even though the Palm Pre smartphone had not done as well as they had hoped.

Finally people felt that they had alternatives to the iPhone and more importantly a choice. See the iPhone was exclusive to AT&T and many that were interested in the iPhone, passed because they were not interested in AT&T. Because the Android operating system was offered on all the carriers' networks. Even amongst the bottom feeders of the cellular world, like MetroPCS, Android would gain a growing market share in the mobile arena.

So it was established that people liked smart technologies, choice of carriers and even a tablet computer (regardless of analysts' and critics' opinions). This scenario creates fertile ground for the growth of this new tablet arena and as a result, there is no shortage of companies seeking to do so.

So the market has began to receive its share of tablets or promises of future tablets. The first year for the tablet had ended, April 3, 2011 marked the birthday of the first year of iPad sales. A year ago Apple began selling the popular device and was the only tablet in town (unless you count Windows tablets - my boss has a Dell Windows tablet that looks like a laptop on her desk - it has never been used as a tablet since I set it up for her 3 years ago). With the introduction of the iPad 2, Apple has increased it dominance of the new market. Of course when people speak of a tablet, they are really speaking of an iPad 99.9% of the time. That is good for Apple. It makes the emergence of competing tablet a little more difficult because someone has to carry the "acceptance" flag to the average person about the new tablets.

If a potential customers talks to someone at a non-Apple store, the store personnel will most likely have the iPad as a reference point for the foreseeable future. Being first is huge. Any awareness or discussion of this "new" market most likely will not be done without the awareness or mentioning of Apple. Every time a new tablet is introduced or mentioned, it will be compared to the iPad. This discussion helps Apple whether the talk is positive or negative.

The iPad has had a great first year. The iPad 2 has already out paced the sale of the original iPad sales; although Apple has not released any official iPad 2 sales numbers.

Why are they successful? Apple has an appeal that media and techies either love or hate. Love and Hate are both great for Apple. Let's talk about the emotional aspects for a minute; the things we love or hate are the things we discuss. The things that we are indifferent about are the things that we rarely discuss. There is no indifference for the iPad. A tablet-like product that may have had its share of indifference towards it is the Dell Streak 5. The iPad does not provoke such indifference or silence.

Both the opponents and the proponents are vocal, very vocal. The Windows fanboys hate everything about Apple and their products. You can find them on all the discussion boards and any site that mentions Apple and have a comment tool. They can't wait until a new Apple product is discussed so they can talk junk about it. Not because they used it and don't like it, but because Apple made it. The Apple fanboys do the same, except with positive "can do no wrong" rants. My mom always said, "if you can't say anything good, then don't say anything at all". She never took a marketing class. You want people talking about your products; the good, the bad and all without ceasing. So the first reason Apple is successful is that Apple is good at getting people to talk about their products,

The second things is that they have good products. Not perfect products, but rather good products. They decided that the mass of the population is their target audience, not the much smaller techie crowd. Their latest iPad 2 commercial "We Believe" is proof of what they believe: usability is more important than technical specifications. See the techies will find something to complain about with any and all devices because no one device is or ever be perfect. You can't please everyone with one soda, one restaurant, one automobile, one woman, one man, or one job - so why do so many people think a single device will accomplish this? What one device can do; however, is demand more attention or more acceptance. Apple is achieving both.

What Apple is also achieving is more brand awareness that will result in more interest in their other products like MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac and others products like Apple TV.

Of course, the tablet market is hot right now, and Apple's lead is quite troubling for the competitors. The concern, from the competition, is that Apple could "iPod" the market, meaning that Apple could end up being the dominant player in tablets, as it has been in mobile MP3 players.

Apple's competitors can match it feature-for-feature or even excel at the hardware level, but Apple's real magic is in the software and services it ties to its devices. But its advantage actually goes even deeper. Apple controls the hardware, software, services and ecosystem that it ultimately delivers to its customers. It makes money before and after the sale of its products. With the release of the Mac App Store, this system is now expanded to the desktop.

The vendors don't want to hear this, but owning the hardware, software, and services is key to competing against Apple. The problem is that for most of them, they have lived under a model in which Microsoft delivered the OS and they delivered the hardware and they had to merely differentiate at the hardware level. They had little control over the software and, at least in the PC business to date, had little interest or skill sets for developing their own service level to extend the points of differentiation.

But if Apple is the gold standard for success in tablets, then trying to own as much of the hardware, software and services may be a key strategy needed by any competitor if they hope to challenge Apple. And it means doing things they are not used to or even comfortable doing, since it means controlling the cloud back-end, front-end, and the overall user experience.

Both Samsung and Motorola has begun to offer some sort of media center to offer products, but it is currently a drop in the bucket. Samsung has the most experience in this arena, as they are doing app stores in other products like home theater systems and Smart TVs. Their tablets, set to launch in the US in the summer, will be the closes thing resembling the iPad - so much so that Apple is suing them because of the similarities.

HP purchased Palm Inc and hopes to create their own ecosystem to compete with iPad. The WebOS software is promising and the knowledge that Palm brings in invaluable to HP, but can HP deliver? Their WebOS powered TouchPad is scheduled for release in the summer of 2011 as well. The Touchpad tablet is missing a rear-facing camera; a standard feature in this very competitive new market. I am not sure why they would exclude this, though they could add it before the release date. I liked what the WebOS offered in the Smartphone arena; however, I must admit that the Palm Pre smartphone never felt quite right for me when I used it as my primary phone device.

The screen was too small, the keyboard was too small and the operating system seemed sluggish. I also had a generation one Apple iPod Touch at the time, so the Palm Pre could contain my full attention. Admittingly, I still use the Palm Pre today. It serves as my bedside companion: for alarm clock duties, Pandora Radio and Stitcher Radio listening. I do very little email managing, web surfing or YouTube video watching from it. So clearly, I like what the WebOS device can do; just not happy with the size. Whether the size was the root of all the problems that they Palm Pre suffered from, I cannot say, but I hope that a larger size, faster processor, more memory and improved OS is enough to give the HP TouchPad a fighting chance.

I didn't buy the iPad 2, because it didn't have enough changes to warrant trying to sell the iPad 1. When it is time to upgrade my iPad 1, in about a year, I just hope that the tablet manufacturers have learned more from Apple and offer me some compelling choices; otherwise I will most likely purchase the iPad 3.

Tapose – Bringing the Courier to the iPad

Editor Note: "They have reached their initial goal of $10,000, but still have a few days to go and looking for backers. I am a $35 backer; it's a good project."


Seattle, Washington – Tapose, an inevitable game changing iPad app, was recently launched on Kickstarter to help its developer, Benjamin Monnig, gain backing and support for the project. Kickstarter has helped projects such as Tik Tok + Luna Tik Watch Kits, Diaspora, and PadPivot gain emense popularity and backing, and Benjamin Monnig expects Tapose to follow suit.

“It was an obvious decision to deliver such a superb product to tablet users. The creativity, productivity, and attractive user interface of Tapose coalesce into one outstanding product. The ingenious split interface design allows users to interact with multiple Apple apps simultaneously in the company of Tapose collections. No mobile application to date has such functionality. It will be a game changer.”

Not only does Tapose bring countless new and amazing functions to the iPad, but it is also stocked with a visually pleasing user interface. Tapose’s design draws users in as its appearance mimics that of a physical book. Additionally, each book and collection accommodates everything a user could need in recording their thoughts in the most creative way possible. Tapose will provide functions such as:

Split Interface Design:
* Drag and drop from Safari
* Drag addresses to Maps for directions
* Drag contacts over collections to share
* Finish calculations without leaving Tapose
* Full screen capabilities
* and much much more

Middle Separation Bar:
* Place images, sticky notes, maps, and more into the middle separation bar which acts as a temporary holder
* Allows easy organization and movement between pages and collections

“With the help of Kickstarter, we hope to create and release Tapose to the tablet world and bring this innovative idea to market for everyone to enjoy,” adds Benjamin Monnig. The initial goal is to launch Tapose for the iPad, with future releases for other tablet devices. Tapose is targeted to be in the hands of consumers by late summer.

Follow Tapose’s progress at Kickstarter, where you can learn more about this exciting new project, and be one of the select few to help get it off to a roaring start.

Kickstarter Project
YouTube Video

Benjamin Monnig, is a U.S. developer of information technology solutions for web and smart phone environments, and is focused on developing quality solutions for mobile consumers. Copyright (C) 2010-2011 Benjamin Monnig. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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