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Apple’s Newsstand app has been quite the unqualified success for the Cupertino company, especially in its bestselling line of iPads. Newsstand was envisioned to be a convenient way to download digital versions of newspapers and magazines, and with Apple’s considerable clout, it managed to get practically every major news outlet worth its salt available in Newsstand.The only news outlet that chose to go against the grain was TIME Inc. – the largest magazine publisher in the US. What they chose to do instead was quite unusual – they offered every issue of their magazines as an individual app in the iTunes App Store. The titles from Time Inc. that were sold in this manner were Time Magazine itself, along with Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, InStyle, and Entertainment Weekly. The new deal between Apple and Time Inc. will bring all these titles to the Newsstand now.The New York Times claims that ever since Time Inc.’s new CEO, Laura Lang, took over, this Newsstand deal with Apple was a top priority. Given that iPads are increasingly becoming the biggest content consumption outlets around in the market now, missing out on a large target audience would be quite detrimental to Time’s own interests, and Lang’s statements to the New York Times proved as much. She said that tablets were gradually becoming an important part of the entire experience, and that Time Inc.’s goal was to offer content precisely where its consumers “would want to read it”.Apple’s VP of Internet Services, Eddie Cue, chose not to reveal much about the deal with Time Inc., but added that there had been no special terms granted to the news company.
Apple’s iOS has practically all the big hitters in the browser market – Safari itself, Opera (Mini), Dolphin HD, Skyfire, among others. But one name that has curiously been missing in all this is Firefox, the phenomenally popular web browser from Mozilla Inc. It isn’t a case of them having outright shunned the mobile market so far either – Firefox is available and popular in Android, but a whole lot more. Mozilla has had issues with iOS itself, but that may about to change with Mozilla Junior – a concept browser tailor made for the iPad.The primary issue that Mozilla faced in bringing Firefox to iDevices was that Apple didn’t allow them to implement their own rendering engine in iOS. They had to use a Webkit based solution that was simply at odds with the strengths of Firefox itself.Now, Mozilla’s developers have revealed details about a new browser they’re working on – something that they dub Mozilla ‘Junior’. The devs envision this to be the first browser that would actually be suited to a tablet screen. The Junior browser does away with a URL bar (and tabs, for that matter) with the aim of being simpler and smoother.Alex Limi, a key member of Mozilla’s Product Design team, explained the need for Mozilla to approach tablet browsing the way it will with Junior. He cited the example of the Safari browser, claiming that it is woefully unsuited to a tablet, calling it a “pretty miserable” experience. Instead of directly miniaturizing a browser like Safari from its desktop avatar to its iPad one, Limi asserts that a tablet web browser should be more app-like.Keeping that in mind, the Mozilla Junior browser will aim for a full screen, magazine like interface to make the most of the relatively limited screen real estate in a tablet. In other words, tablet browsing will be ‘more focused and fun’.
Although iPad’s dominion over the tablet market share has somewhat waned over the couple of years that it has been in existence, it still has complete monopoly over media tablet web traffic. According to a study conducted by the Ad network Chitika, iPad’s share stands at a staggering 91%, whereas its closest competitor being Samsung Galaxy Tab which owns about 2% of the traffic. This is an impressing feat considering the fact that the market share of iPad has reduced to 70%, from over 90% in 2010.
The Apple iPad: Going from strength to strength after allIf there is one thing that this research shows, it is that the iPad is one of the most preferred devices for surfing the internet. Even though Android tablets own a decent market share, user experience hasn’t been exceptional, as far as internet browsing is concerned. iPad users tend to be far more active on the internet because of the huge number of apps available on the App Store that require internet to function.It should be noted that iPad’s share of web traffic has actually declined by 3.5% since May, whereas Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet has overtaken the popular Kindle Fire. The company behind the research claims that trend will continue, and iPad will continue to lose traffic to its competitors gradually, as they catch up in terms of usability and functionality. Also, Microsoft’s imminent and highly anticipated entry into the tablet race is bound to tip the balance a bit. But as of now, none of the existing tablets are in a position to pose any threat at all to iPad’s stronghold over web traffic.
Apple has been launching a number of great premium apps for free every week for the last month – Cut the Rope: Experiments HD, Monsters Ate My Condo, and Snapseed are some great examples. That practice is set to continue this week with Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing being announced as the newest App of the Week.As the name suggests, this fun kart racing game from Sega that has the iconic Sonic the Hedgehog as a protagonist. You can choose to play as either Sonic or 12 other of Sega’s most famous game characters, and race with anything – from a monster truck to a banana peel! Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is the most casual arcade racer you’ll ever get, and you’re sure to have an absolutely great time while you’re trying to get to the finish line!Here’s what Sega has to say about their game’s features in the App Store:“The world’s fastest hedgehog, Sonic, and the SEGA All-Stars are zooming on to your iPhone and iPad for the ultimate party racing showdown. Race as your favorite character across 16 white-knuckle courses in a frantic race to the finish line.Stay ahead of the pack by dodging traps, firing missiles and, if all else fails, wreaking havoc with your All-Star moves! Whether racing on your own, or battling it out with friends, anything can happen in this crazy competition where winning is only part of the fun!MEET THE ALL-STARSRace to the finish as one of 12 iconic SEGA characters and take to the track by car, monster truck, bike, plane and even a banana! Each vehicle has unique handling characteristics, and each character’s All-Star move will speed you to victory!START YOUR ENGINESRev up your skills with 25 missions then outrun the competition in three Grand Prix Cups. Not satisfied yet? Hand out a glove slap and demand satisfaction in the dueling Battle Mode!TWO'S COMPANY, BUT FOUR'S A PARTYChallenge a friend over local Bluetooth or go head to head with up to four players online. Party like the All-Star that you are!HEY MA, I’M ON TVNow you can play Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing on your TV with the Digital AV Adapter from Apple or an Apple TV. Supports iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and newer devices.”
You can download Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing from the iTunes App Store here: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/sonic-sega-all-stars-racing/id429208823?mt=8
Apple has never been the most modest or restrained company when it came to promoting its own products. Therefore it was a tad surprising that Apple decided to release the next version of the Smart Covers for iPad in silence, right after the Keynote address at the World Wide Developers Conference 2012. First of all, it’s no longer just a cover anymore; it’s a Smart Case now. The Smart Covers, although innovative and useful, left a lot to be desired. They offered little protection to the main body of the device, which would gradually succumb to the wear and tear of everyday use.With the brand new Smart Case, Apple has tried to address all those issues. These cases are designed to protect the whole iPad body, and not just the screen. The shell that houses the iPad is made up of polyurethane, and is available in six different colors, all of which have an Apple logo on the back. The case fits snugly over the device and is very light, so it doesn’t add much to the overall weight of the iPad. Getting it off your iPad could turn out to be chore, but otherwise these Smart Cases have been very well designed. The flap works exactly as the smart covers worked; you can use them to put the iPad to sleep or wake it up, or you can use them to prop it up while watching videos or using Facetime.The Smart Cases are now available online on Apple Store for $49.95, and are compatible with both iPad 2ndgeneration and 3rd generation.
OmniPlan has existed on Mac for quite a while now, and is very popular among Mac users because of its intuitive interface and advanced functionality. It is a power business tool that helps professionals manage their projects while providing functions such as data graphing, task management, brainstorming, and diagramming - thereby letting professionals get a whole new way to approach their work. After a long wait, the company behind OmniPlan decided to launch an iPad app for its huge customer base.The app has been designed for iPad from scratch. The company has definitely hit the right spot between functionality and design, which makes it so much more than just a tablet version of their desktop app. The benefits offered by a touch interface have been very well utilized in creating a simple, but intuitive project management app. The iPad app, which costs $50, acts as a companion app for the Mac version of OmniPlan (priced at $200), and all your data is automatically synced between the two. This feature also allows multiple users to work on one single project and track changes, making it a particularly impressive collaboration tool. The app can act as standalone piece of software as well, which means that you don't have to shell out the rather steep $200 price for its Mac version.The timeline layout is a great way to edit and track different project modules, and to view the progress of each. OmniPlan also offers task scheduling and optimization of schedules to reduce down time. Also, if any of your scheduled tasks conflict each other, the app will notify you and suggest ways to fix it.OmniPlan Project manager is a must have for business professionals, who like to keep things organized.
Apple recently launched iOS 6 for developers (it’s coming for end users this fall), and the new iOS iteration brought along a whole gamut of features. But it goes without saying that quite a few of the most cutting edge features introduced in iOS 6 will not be compatible with iDevices running on older hardware. Apple has published a list of device based feature limitations on their official website for iOS 6:
- Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later. Cellular data charges may apply.
- Siri will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad (3rd generation) and requires Internet access. Siri may not be available in all languages or all areas, and features may vary by area. Cellular data charges may apply.
- Shared Photo Streams requires iOS 6 on iPhone 4 or later or iPad 2 or later, or a Mac computer with OS X Mountain Lion. An up-to-date browser is required for accessing shared photo streams on the web.
- FaceTime over a cellular network requires iPhone 4S or iPad (3rd generation) with cellular data capability. Carrier data charges may apply. FaceTime is not available in all countries.
- VIP list and VIP and Flagged smart mailboxes will be available on iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later.
- Offline Reading List will be available on iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later.
- Made for iPhone hearing aids require iPhone 4S.
- Find My Friends and Find My iPhone enable you to locate iOS devices only when they are on and connected to a registered Wi-Fi network or have an active data plan. Not available in all areas.”
You can find out more about iOS 6 here.
Apple had a winner on its hands when it announced and launched the iPhone 4S, and a key part of the smartphone’s success was the presence of Siri, Apple’s voice assistant that took voice recognition and AI to all new heights. Even though the 4S was, at best, an incremental update to the iPhone 4 (apart from the single to dual core processor upgrade), Siri made the 4S seem like a viable reason to get the new iPhone back then.The roaring success of the 4S and Siri made most industry watchers take it for a given that Apple would integrate it into its (then) upcoming new third generation iPad. In fact, till the very day of its launch, rumors swirled that it was to be one of the two key features of the new iPad, the other being the ultra high resolution Retina display. Eventually, the new iPad did get an absolutely stunning display alright, but Siri was strangely missing.Now, with the formal announcement of iOS 6 by Apple, the iPad will be getting Siri after all. This is all part of a massive upgrade to Siri itself (herself?). Until now, the voice assistant had a rather limited range of applications – you could set alarms, get directions, find restaurants near you and a little more. Now, Siri will be phenomenally more powerful, with an ability to launch apps (Apple actually demonstrated this in the WWDC, by launching Temple Run, just with a simple command), finding information about public figures, etc. However, Apple’s Scott Forstall specifically stated that only the new iPad would be getting Siri, meaning that owners of the original iPad and the iPad 2 are set to miss out.
With the impending WWDC coming up, a lot of hype has been surrounding the launch of iOS 6. Naturally, the kind of new features and shiny new bells and whistles that Apple will add in have taken center stage, but there has been an equal amount of curiosity surrounding a very important factor – compatibility for old devices. Going by some reports, the original iPad and the third gen iPod Touch may just be culled from the list of devices getting iOS 6.Apple has had a policy of providing software support for a device for at least two years since its launch. It was a very major part of how Steve Jobs and co. marketed Apple’s mobile devices. Moreover, they laid special emphasis on juxtaposing Apple’s OS upgrade policies with Android’s often shoddy and unreliable updates.In that light, it makes sense for Apple to do away with iOS 6 support for the first iPad – it has received all the updates in the iOS 4.x and 5.x series. It has outlived the life cycle promised for it by Apple, and it can’t be expected to receive any more updates.But then again, given that the iPhone 4, which launched at around the same time and has inferior specs (save the Retina Display), is in line for getting iOS 6, why can’t the iPad?The full list of devices and software getting upgrades in iOS 6 are as follows:Third-generation iPad- Consumer: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi + Cellular (GSM), WiFi + Cellular (CDMA)- Enterprise: Wi-Fi, WiFi + Cellular (GSM), WiFi + Cellular (CDMA)iPad 2- Consumer: Wi-Fi, WiFi + 3G (GSM), WiFi + 3G (CDMA), Revised Wi-Fi- Enterprise: Wi-Fi, WiFi + 3G (GSM), WiFi + 3G (CDMA), Revised Wi-FiiPhone- Consumer: 4S, 4 (GSM), 4 (CDMA), 3GS- Enterprise: 4S, 4 (GSM), 4 (CDMA), 3GSiPod touch- Consumer: 4th Generation- Enterprise: 4th GenerationApple TV- Consumer: 2nd Generation, 3rd Generation
Apple has introduced a hugely popular new feature in the iTunes App Store called the App of the Week. This section in the App Store is sponsored entirely by Apple itself, and offers one premium app every week absolutely free. The Apps of the Week before this have been the game Cut the Rope: Experiments, and the excellent photoediting app Snapseed. The latest to join their ranks is the game Monsters Ate My Condo.
An image from the iPad version of Monsters Ate my Condo (from the App Store)Monsters Ate My Condo is a game from the developers PikPok, and published by Adult Swim (also known for an app of the same name, and the game Robot Unicorn Attack). It is a fun action/puzzle game with monsters thrown in for good measure, as the game’s title suggests. You have to control 4 hungry monsters and satiate their hunger by destroying matching condos in a tall building.The graphics incorporate a unique mix of old school video games and Japanese Manga anime. You also get an exceptionally well made background score that keeps the goings on fun and engrossing. The gameplay is extremely gripping as well, as it is a perfect casual game to make time fly.The key features of Monsters Ate My Condo are listed by Adult Swim as follows:• Feed four ravenous beasts: Boat Head, Reginald Starfire, Mr. Shigoto and Lord Ferocious• Features both Endless and Time Attack modes• Open Feint and GameCenter support for leaderboards and achievements• Universal app works on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad!• Retina-enhanced graphics for the new iPad• Fully-animated monsters to delight players, destroy civilizationYou can download Monsters Ate My Condo from here.