22 OCT

Apple Announces Fifth-Generation iPad and Retina Display iPad mini

by Marianne Schultz

iPadAir-iPadMini_34B2B_lock-blue_home-nebula-PRINT

At today’s media event, Apple announced the next generation models of its iPad and iPad mini tablets. The full-sized iPad is now called the iPad Air to recognize its thinner and lighter design compared to its predecessors and the iPad mini gets the higher resolution Retina display.

The full-sized iPad retains its 9.7-inch Retina display but gets a thinner casing at just 7.5 mm thick and weighing in at 1 lb. It will have Apple’s new 64-bit A7 processor, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing Facetime camera, and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of recording 1080p HD video.

The iPad Air will come in two color combinations: silver/white and space gray/black. The new iPad Air will be available to ship and in Apple stores on November 1 and will start at $499 for the 16 GB model with Wi-Fi connectivity and $629 for the 16 GB model with Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity.

The new iPad mini revealed today gets a higher resolution Retina display and Apple’s new A7 processor as well. Like the iPad Air, it will also come in the white/silver and space gray/black color combinations. The 16GB iPad mini models will start at $399 for the Wi-Fi version and $529 for the Wi-Fi and LTE versions. Also like the iPad Air, the iPad mini will be available in capacities up to 128 GB.

The new iPad mini will be available for purchase in late November. The first-generation iPad mini will still be sold alongside the new models at a reduced price of $299 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi version and $429 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi and LTE version.

Apple also announced new information on the Mac Pro and changes to the MacBook Pro line and you can find more information at our sister site, MacRumors:

- Mac Pro Launching in December with Xeon Processors, Dual FirePro GPUs and PCIe Flash Storage

- Apple Updates Retina MacBook Pros With Updated Processors and Faster PCIe Flash Storage

If you’d like to see the video of the event yourself, it’s now available on Apples site here.

I’m excited to see a new iPad mini with a Retina display. I love my first-generation iPad mini and its only “fault” was its display compared to my iPad 3. However, that wasn’t enough to stop me from making it my go-to tablet for ebook reading and other tasks, leaving my iPad 3 to languish on a shelf for weeks at a time. Do you plan to get an iPad Air or new iPad mini?

22 OCT

Apple Releases OS X Mavericks Today as a Free Download

by Marianne Schultz

mac os mavericks iconAt its media event today, Apple announced that OS X Mavericks, the latest version of the Mac operating system first previewed at WWDC in June., will be available for download today in the Mac App Store for free. 

Mavericks is an incredible release, which introduces significant new apps and features, while also improving the performance and battery life of your Mac,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security. We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free.

Mavericks includes multiple features to improve battery life on Apple’s line of mobile computers as well as enhanced graphics handling, Finder capabilities, multi-monitor support, and more.

iBooks and Maps will come to the Mac in Mavericks and other existing apps have been redesigned and offer integration with iOS devices.

Previous versions of Apple’s Macintosh operating systems were priced at $29 in recent years and the change to $0 for Mavericks is a significant one for Apple. For additional information on the technical specs for Mavericks and compatible computer models, see this page.

  • Productivity

    OS X Mavericks

    Last Changed:
    2 weeks ago
    Rating:
    3.50 (135)
    Version:
    10.9.5
    Mac OS

    With more than 200 new features, OS X Mavericks brings Maps and iBooks to the Mac, introduces Finder Tabs and Tags, enhances multidisplay support, and includes an all-new version of Safari. The...

15 OCT

Apple to Hold Media Event on October 22

by Marianne Schultz

Apple_oct_invite

Image courtesy of AllThingsD

As reported today by AllThingsD, Apple sent invitations to selected media outlets for an event to be held at 10:00 AM Pacific Time on October 22 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

The invitation states “We still have a lot to cover” and it’s widely expected that Apple will unveil new iPad models at this event. Mavericks, the next version of the Macintosh operating system that Apple first revealed in June should also get an official release date at the event and more information about the new Mac Pro models might be provided as well.

For an overview of all of the relevant rumors and everything known to date, check out these round-ups over at our sister site, MacRumors:

24 SEP

Find Apps Updated for iPhone 5s, iOS 7, and Game Controllers Easily on AppShopper

by Marianne Schultz

ios 7 iconWith the release of iOS 7 and the new iPhone 5s and 5c models last week, developers have been releasing updates to optimize their apps to take advantage of new features and technologies in each. If you upgraded to iOS 7 or got a shiny new iPhone, here are a few links you’ll find useful:

When iOS 7 was first revealed in June, Apple had announced that it would include support for game controllers made under the company’s MFi (Made for iPhone) program. These controllers are coming (Logitech will be releasing one and so will Clamcase) and some games have already been updated to work with Apple’s published specs for them. You can find them here.

All of these search links are live in that they reflect the most recent changes to apps as of the moment you click on them. They search the “what’s new” field in each app’s description so there is a margin of error there if a developer has mentioned any of these key words there but hasn’t actually updated their app accordingly, so heads up.

19 SEP

‘Clear’ Makes Its Way to iPad

by Marianne Schultz

Clear for iOS 7 IconRealmac Software has released a universal version of Clear, its lists app that first debuted for iPhone in early 2012, followed by a Mac version six months later. The new universal version of Clear has been redesigned for i0S 7 and includes some unique features for the iPad’s larger screen.

Clear features an icon, fonts, and interface aligned with iOS 7′s flatter style while still keeping the gestural navigation goodness it’s had from day one. On the iPad, the larger screen allows list names and their contents to be shown at the same time and you can drag and drop items from one list to another or even peek at the contents of another list by pulling down on the list name with two fingers.

Clear remains one of my favorite apps for shopping and to do lists and holds prime, front page real estate on my iPhone (and now on my iPad). If you’re looking for a full-on tasks lists with reminders, the ability to tag list items, sort them automatically, or other fancy stuff, you should look elsewhere. Clear is all about simplicity and straightforwardness in letting you create and edit lists quickly through a gorgeous interface.


Click to enlarge

The iPhone-only version of Clear is still in the App Store and costs $.99 so if you don’t have an iPad and don’t see one in your immediate future, it should do you just fine. If you have an iPad, I recommend you pony up the $2.99 for the new version since Clear handily uses iCloud to synchronize everything between all of your devices and it’s so nice to access your lists no matter what device you’re using at the moment. If you purchased Clear for iPhone previously, you may be feeling a little betrayed by the appearance of this separate app that you have to buy again but Realmac put a lot of work into it and it’s worth it (and probably less than your morning coffee, to boot).

  • Productivity

    Clear+ Tasks & To-Do List

    Last Changed:
    8 months ago
    Rating:
    1.50 (11)
    Version:
    1.0.6
    iOS Universal

    “Clear is quick, simple, intuitive, and perfect for busy people” — Gizmodo “If you’re regularly turning to a simple to-do list app… Clear is definitely going to wow you.” —...

18 SEP

Apple Releases iOS 7 With Redesigned Interface, iTunes Radio, Air Drop, and More

by Marianne Schultz

ios 7 iconAs announced at a press event earlier this month, Apple has released iOS 7 today as promised. The newest version of Apple’s operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, which was initially unveiled in June, rocks a “flat” design complete with a new color palette and typography as well as several new features.

The most notable new features include Control Center, a panel full of shortcuts to frequently-used controls like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth toggles, a revamped multi-tasking interface, and an improved Notification Center. Air Drop, a Wi-Fi sharing feature that allows you to send pictures and files to other iOS devices quickly, also debuts in iOS 7. iTunes Radio comes to the Music app to let you stream music on demand from the iTunes Store (and if you’re an iTunes Match subscriber, you don’t get subjected to any commercials).

All of the apps that come on every iOS device out-of-the-box also got the overhaul treatment. Camera gets live filters and cropping and format options while Safari gets the ability to show unlimited tabs (yay!). Photos now groups captured pictures into collections, leveraging date and location information to organize your photos for easier access.

iOS 7 reviews started popping up all over the web yesterday evening and here are a few of the most comprehensive and informative ones I’ve seen so far:

The embargo on the new iPhone 5s also dropped and there are many reviews available now to help you make up your mind if you’re considering buying one. The most comprehensive one I’ve seen, which dives deep into processor technology and performance, is over at AnandTech. Of course, many of the major technology publications and journalists have weighed in, including Walt Mossberg for All Things D, Ed Baig for USA Today, and Engadget. For links to reviews of the lower-cost sibling to the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5c, see this post over at MacRumors.

If you’re looking to update to iOS 7 today, know that Apple’s servers will probably be under heavy load with everyone and their mother trying to do the same thing  so you may want to wait a little while before diving in. Whenever you decide to upgrade, this handy guide over at Macworld will walk you through everything you should know and do before upgrading.

If you plan to upgrade your iOS device using your computer, note that you’ll need iTunes 11.1 first, so go download it from Apple’s site now (or use the Check for Updates menu option in iTunes).

17 SEP

‘Perfect Weather’ Aims to be Your Favorite iPhone Weather App

by Marianne Schultz

perfect-weather-iconContrast, the maker of one of my all-time favorite and most-used apps, Launch Center Pro, has released Perfect Weather, a––you guessed it–– weather app for iPhone. Perfect Weather hit the App Store this morning and costs $2.99.

If you check out the App Store’s Weather category, you’ll find hundreds of iPhone and iPad apps with the goal of telling you what the weather’s like. Some give you painstaking detail while others give you a bare minimum of information but look really pretty while doing it and there’s bound to be one already available that tickles your fancy. So why do developers keep making new weather apps given the hundreds already available? Contrast’s founder, David Barnard, answered this very question in the press kit for Perfect Weather:

With hundreds of weather apps crowding the App Store, why build another? Because I live in Texas! Most weather apps cater to the idyllic climate in Silicon Valley. I needed something different, so I enlisted the help of a couple friends and built my perfect weather app.

In places like Texas, where big thunderstorms and surprise rain showers are common, the current temperature is often immaterial. We came up with a split view that makes it easy to check the forecast and weather map at a glance. And to get me through the hot Texas summers, we built an interactive temperature chart that gives the time of the high and low temperature as well as the hourly forecast.

Like Apple’s own Weather app, Perfect Weather can save multiple locations so you can easily access weather information for several US cities. On a city’s page, you can see a lot of information at a single glance, including the predicted high and low temperatures for today and the chance of precipitation, the weekly forecast, and even a radar view showing cloud cover or rain. Also shown is a graph that displays the temperature variations for the current day, which you can slide your finger along to see the predicted temperature for a specific time, much like Weathertron. Swiping to the left on this graph reveals even more information like humidity, pressure, and sunrise and sunset times.


Click to enlarge

Swiping up on the information tab reveals more of the radar map, where you can choose to view rain or cloud cover and activate animation to show how each is moving across the area. Tapping on the lightning symbol in the top left corner reveals any NOAA weather alerts.

Here’s a promotional video showing Perfect Weather in action:

I’ve lost count of how many weather apps I’ve tried since the App Store opened in 2008, which means that my iPhone weather app needs are more complex than I ever expected. After trying out Perfect Weather for several days now, I find it to be only just shy of perfect for my needs. The two bits of weather information I want most often are the current temperature (to gauge immediate dog walking conditions and how to dress accordingly) and the forecast for the next week. Those are easy to see with Perfect Weather but I’ve gotten used to one feature it doesn’t offer but ITWC Association’s Fahrenheit does: a push notification badge that shows the current temperature on the iPhone’s home screen. Call me lazy, but it’s incredibly useful for me to be able to see this at a glance without even needing to open an app.

Your weather app needs are probably different than mine and if you’re looking for all of the basic weather information that’s easy to see at a quick glance and the ability to dive deeper to see radar information and NOAA weather alerts, I recommend Perfect Weather. If it doesn’t meet every single one of your needs, it will probably meet most.

  • Weather

    Perfect Weather - NOAA Radar and...

    Last Changed:
    14 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.00 (23)
    Version:
    1.1.2
    iOS iPhone

    A beautifully balanced view of the weather. Perfect Weather was designed for use in the United States. Some weather apps are overloaded with information. Others are designed to be pretty rather than...

10 SEP

Apple Announces iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c

by Marianne Schultz

As expected, Apple announced new iPhone models at its media event, revealing the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. The iPhone 5s is the successor to the current iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5c is a new, lower-cost model with a plastic housing and feature set similar to the existing iPhone 5.

613-9967-02

The iPhone 5s looks almost identical to the current iPhone 5 but has a new, faster 64-bit A7 processor and a motion coprocessor, dubbed the M7, that can track motion continuously while requiring less power than main A7 processor. The most significant new feature in the iPhone 5s is Touch ID, which includes a capacitive fingerprint sensor built into the home button that can be used to unlock an iPhone or authorize iTunes purchases. The iPhone 5s also has an improved camera with a larger sensor, a new burst mode, and the ability to capture HD (720p) slow-motion video.

iPhone5c_34L_AllColors_PRINT

The lower-cost iPhone 5c will have a 4-inch Retina display and come in blue, green, white, blue, red, and yellow with a hard-coated polycarbonate back and a reinforced steel frame inside. It will have an A6 processor and features an 8-megapixel camera sensor on the rear and a new FaceTime HD camera on the front.

The iPhone 5c can be pre-ordered starting on September 13 and will cost $99 for the 16 GB models and $199 for the 32 GB models with a 2-year contract. The iPhone 5s will be available in silver, gold, or space gray and will cost $199, $299, and $399 with a 2-year contract for the 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models, respectively. Oddly, the iPhone 5S cannot be pre-ordered and will be available in stores and available for order online starting on September 20.

Do you plan to get a new iPhone 5s or 5c? Right now I’m planning on getting a 64 GB space gray iPhone 5s and it’s looking like I’ll have to get up very early on September 20 to go stand in line to get one.

10 SEP

iOS 7 to Be Released on September 18

by Marianne Schultz

ios 7 iconAt today’s media event, Apple announced that iOS 7 will be launched on September 18. iOS 7 was first previewed at Apple’s WWDC keynote in July and boasts more than 200 new features, including a redesigned interface, improvements to Siri, and iTunes Radio, a new music streaming service.

iOS 7 is completely redesigned with an entirely new user interface and over 200 new features, so it’s like getting a brand new device, but one that will still be instantly familiar to our users,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Next month we’ll be shipping our 700 millionth iOS device, and we’re excited about what our hundreds of thousands of iOS developers are doing to bring great new features to their apps.

Apple published an overview video of iOS 7 in June in case you’d like to see it in action:

iOS 7 will be free to download and will be available for the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and the fifth-generation iPod touch and later.

03 SEP

Apple Sends Out Invitations for September 10 Media Event

by Marianne Schultz

appleevent-615x480
Image courtesy of The Loop.
The Loop reports that Apple has issued invitations to members of the press for media event on September 10. At the event, which is scheduled to start at 10:00 am Pacific Time at the company’s headquarter’s in Cupertino, California, Apple is expected to announce the next generation of the iPhone.

Rumors and purported leaks over the summer point to a relatively minor upgrade to the current iPhone 5, which has been dubbed the iPhone 5S in line with the naming convention used for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S models released in previous years. A low-cost iPhone is also expected with a plastic shell and multiple color options. For a comprehensive overview of all of the rumors and supposed leaked information to date, check out this iPhone 5S round-up and this iPhone 5C (low-cost version) round-up over at our sister site, MacRumors.