Apps

The Early Edition for iPad hits 1.1 - Give-away

One of the things many of us have been waiting for when it comes to iPad apps is a great RSS newsreader and with The Early Edition for iPad 1.1, a contender is here. It includes the same great newspaper look and page-turning feel as the launch-day version but adds what amounts to a must-have feature for many -- Google Reader feed import. Here's the full changelog:

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Navigon MyRegion celebrates WWDC 2010 with discounts until June 11

NAVIGON is getting ready to celebrate WWDC 2010 (and no doubt the background GPS API!) with sale of their MyRegion app. Whether you're off to San Francisco for WWDC itself or just touring the bay area for fun and frolic, you can grab MyRegion for half off -- $14.99 from June 1-11, 2010, with additional maps for sale for $9.99.

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The Elements for iPad- app review

The ultimate in interactive elements has arrived in the form of The Elements for iPad. I was a little late getting to this app seeing as how it came out at the iPad launch, but I am really soaking up what the Elements has to offer now. It's is basically an interactive book made by the folks at Periodic Table. They make printed books, etc for the education market around the world. This is their first foray into the iPad/iPhone and I have to tell you; wow. I wish they had this stuff when I was a kid.

The way The Elements works is you have a complete listing of the periodic table of elements in front of you. These objects are not just photos of the elements, but actual 3D renders that move. Tap on an element and it takes you to that element's custom page of discovery.

The element page consists of a big render of the element or an example of it's use on the left of the screen and all the information you could want to know on the right including the atomic radius, structure, weight, density and more of the element. WolframAlpha provides additional information and proves to be an awesome resource.

The bottom right corner gives you additional navigational tools. Tap the right arrow to bring up more information about the element along with even more 3D renders of the the element or it's uses. You can spin/rotate all of the element examples in real-time; there are over 500 renders in this app. You also get a detailed history and story about each element to give even more insight. Of course just having interactive 3D renders aren't enough. No, double tap a render and you are presented with a fullscreen object. Tap the double circle icon and you can view the object stereoscopically. Focus your eyes, you can see a "real" 3D render of the object. Of course, some of us just can't do that. So The Elements gives you a convenient link to order the special 3D glass for $4.95. That is rather cool. I can imagine students sharing the glasses to examine all of the elements in this way and it is really exciting to see the future of interactive education for students.

Alas, there is always another side to the story and regretfully this app has crashes constantly even with the most recent update. I so am looking forward to a few more updates to make it ultra-stable.

The newly formed company TouchPress is responsible for creating The Elements and are on a mission to make more books like this one. What is on my wish list? The human body and the universe, I can't wait.

[$13.99- iTunes Link]

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BN eReader for iPad - app review

Barnes & Noble has released BN eReader for iPad as an alternative to Apple's iBooks and Amazon's Kindle app. It is an excellent ebook reader and offers many customizations as well as the ability to share books with friends and family.

Reading on BN eReader is a pleasant experience. You can read either in landscape in portrait. In portrait, eReader displays the book as one page. However, in landscape, reading in a two column or one column format depends on what your font settings are (both style and size). If this is not a bug, it is very annoying. I'd much rather see a toggle to turn two columns on or off. You can enhance your reading experience by choosing between one of Barnes & Nobel's five professionally designed themes, or create your own theme by editing the page, text, highlights, and links colors.

One of the big features BN eReader offers that iBooks does not, is the ability to add notes. Just highlight a block of text by dragging with your finger and select "add note". After you've created the note, you can quickly get back to it at any time. In addition, you can highlight text and look up words in the dictionary.

The other huge feature of BN eReader is the ability to share books with friends and family. Barnes & Noble refers to the technology as LendMe. With supported books, you can access your iPad's address book and select which contact you wish to share the book with. Upon accepting the offer, your friend will be able to enjoy the eBook for 14 days. If someone lends you a book, BN eReader will add the book to your library and display the message from your friend.

If you have BN eReader on your Mac, PC, iPhone, and Nook, the last page read will sync across all devices. All notes and highlights will also sync to your PC and iPhone (coming soon).

To purchase a book, BN eReader will launch the Barnes & Nobel eBookstore in Safari. After purchasing a book, you much exit safari and reopen BN eReader; you will see your book automatically add to your library and begin to download. The process is simple, but not completely painless. I'd much rather see BN eReader open an in-app browser because switching between apps isn't very elegant.

Barnes and Noble did an excellent job with their eReader and offers many things that iBooks does not. Having the world's largest bookstore in your hands is definitely a welcomed addition to the iPad.

Video and screenshots after the break!

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How to tweak your Jailbroken iPhone

We get a lot of questions about tweaking Jailbroken iPhones, so here are a few handy tools that are free and don't require a lot of know-how in order to implement.  All you need is a bit of spare time to change your Jailbroken iPhone from stock to stunning!

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Barnes & Noble introduces BN eReader for iPad

The iPad eBooks war just got a bit more interesting with Barnes & Noble releasing their BN eReader for iPad into the App Store today. With the following features we are curious to see what adjustments Apple makes to iBooks, and Amazon with the Kindle in the near future.

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Wired brings their magazine to the iPad

At over 5ooMB, Wired's iPad app arrives in the App Store and yes, the future of magazine reading appears to arrive with it!

Last November we gave a sneek-peek at Wired's concept for a magazine on a tablet. That demo was in Adobe's Flash. The new version is 100% Flash free and is beautiful.

Navigating the magazine is a breeze; tap on the screen and you are given overlayed navigation tools. The bottom scrolls through pages and the top has two options- zoom out and a vertical list of articles in the issue.

There is plenty of interactive content too. Videos from the upcoming Toy Story movie and 3D real-time models of Mars and a Lego Lamborghini. With this awesome content and interactivity comes a price; $4.99 an issue. Is it worth it? Let us know in comments! Check screenshots after the break!

[$4.99- iTunes Link]

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mommy to be for iPhone - app review

mommy to be is a pregnancy tracking application for the iPhone. It provides detailed weekly information, photos, tips, and a place to store notes.

The home screen of mommy to be displays how many weeks you are into your pregnancy, your baby's length and size, a meter to visually see how far you've progressed, and much more. There is also a new photograph displayed for each week. Although these photographs are very nice, I would prefer to see a picture that shows how the fetus looks at this stage in development. One thing I found strange about mommy to be is that the accomplished number of weeks is correct, but the current week is one week ahead. My suspicion is that since this app was developed in Europe, they count their weeks different than we do in the US.

In addition to the home screen, there are tabs for "You" and "Your Baby". Here you'll find detailed information about what to expect with your body and the developmental changes that are happening with your baby. One or both of theses sections will generally also include a cute picture that is related to the topic being discussed.

The tips tab is an excellent section of this app. Each week, mommy to be gives you a different tip related to pregnancy, babies, shopping, or anything that is related to being pregnant. I find this part especially helpful as a first-time mom.

mommy to be is a great pregnancy application that offers a lot of useful information. This app will be good companion for any pregnant woman wanting to track their pregnancy and learn about the process on the way.

Video and screenshots after the break!

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Box.net for iPad - app review

Box.net for iPad is a front end to Box.net's cloud-based service that allows you to manage and share your data from anywhere. Thanks to the app, you can access your content not only through the Box.net website on any computer, but from your mobile devices now as well. 

The iPad version has a very intuitive and easy to use interface.  I recently set up an enterprise unlimited Box account for our business.  As we are in real estate development, we have tons of files to upload.  I was surprised you can even view AutoCad files with a plug-in.  Plug-ins are another area I really enjoyed looking at.  OpenBox is a service Box.net offers which features several plug-ins for 3rd party clients and apps that can work in conjunction with Box.net.   I spoke to a consultant at Box.net that also confirmed desktop syncing is about to come out of beta and hit officially in the next few weeks.  That was one of our biggest concerns as we'd like a cloud backup of all our data.

Also, being a small business, we especially liked the collaboration feature. We can leave notes or tasks for eachother on certain documents and folders.  When I sign in, I see what's new or what files have been uploaded or change since my last log-in.

Box.net offers the following features (some features vary with account type):

  • Sharing with links
  • In-folder collaboration
  • User permissions
  • Integrated file views
  • Online workspace
  • Tasks
  • Uploading files on the go from your iPhone or iPad

Box.net has a few pricing schemes for individuals and business users.  The unlimited business version you'll have to call for details on as it can vary.  The enterprise unlimited version also comes with your own dedicated account manager for any technical issues.  You can also add an unlimited number of users for a set price per user, per month.  Besides the enterprise plan, the other plans are pretty straight forward:

  • Lite - 1GB storage, 25MB file size limit, Free
  • Individual - 10GB storage, 1GB file size limit, $9.95/month
  • Business - 15GB storage per user, 2GB file size limit, $15/month per user up to 3 users
  • Enterprise - Unlimited storage, Unlimited users, Call for pricing

These prices are very reasonable compared to maintaining a server.  Speaking from a business perspective, we've had no issues that Box wasn't able to resolve.  If you use Box on a personal or business level, let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Update: After recording the video, Box.net released an update that allows for the uploading of files. We'll look at that in the iPhone review soon!

[Free - iTunes Link]

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Groupon for iPhone - app review

Groupon for iPhone is an App Store front end for the free Groupon service that acts like a buying group in your city. You can get a wide selection of things at a discount from massages to baseball tickets.

You can go to the website to view what the daily deal is, or just launch the iPhone app. The app allows you to select a city, place an order, view your Groupons, expirations and more.

This is how it works. Groupon coordinates deals with vendors in your area. When a certain number of people "buy" the Groupon, the deal is on and everyone is charged. If the limit for the deal is not met, no one gets charged.

The Groupon app is divided into three sections: Today's Deal, My Groupons and Settings. Today's Deal shows you all of the information about the daily deal. You see the cost, how many bids are needed for the deal to happen and let's you know when the deal is "on" too. It gives details on how much you are saving and what's in the "fine print". Fine print includes the expiration information, blackout dates, etc. If you have decided that this is a Goupon you want, click the Buy button. You are not charged until the quota for this deal is met; nice.

The My Groupon section is to review what Groupons you have and get a history of your purchases. Location and expiration information of your Groupons are kept here as well.

The last section is settings and currently the only option is to enable a passcode lock for the app.

[Free- iTunes Link]

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