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WolframAlpha for iPad - app review

WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge engine on the web, and with their iPad application, you can perform calculations and look up information even easier. WolframAlpha is a universal application, so you pay once but receive the optimum experience on both your iPhone and iPad.

Using WolframAlpha is simple. Just type what you're interested in and WolframAlpha will provide you information about it. For mathematical expressions, the keyboard has an additional 3 rows of numbers and symbols. Tapping "more" on the keyboard will expand the keyboarding adding 4 more rows of symbols.

When solving advanced problems like integrals and derivatives, WolframAlpha not only provides the answers, but displays the steps taken to find it. The steps are very clearly written with sentences describing the procedure. This is my favorite feature of WolframAlpha because it is an excellent learning tool and because it is a feature missing from calculators.

Although the mathematical computing power of WolframAlpha is extremely impressive, I don't find it to be a good calculator replacement. For example, calculators are often used when making multiple calculations and being able to see previous results and quickly access them is something I've found invaluable. However, I view WolframAlpha as a separate tool in itself because it offers some features (like showing steps) that calculators do not.

The mathematical abilities of WolframAlpha are excellent, but it's not all the app has to offer. You can look up information on anything scientific, stocks, weather, health, linguistics, people, organizations, sports, music, and much more. There are very few things that WolframAlpha does not have information about. For example, when typing in the word "apple", WolframAlpha initially provides the stock information on Apple (AAPL), but at the top, there is a yellow bar that says "assuming "apple" is a financial entity". Tapping this gives alternative interpretations of the word "apple", including food. Using this meaning of the word, WolframAlpha provides an ample amount of nutritional information on apples.

The only disappointing thing about WolframAlpha is that you must have an internet connection to use it. So if you're somewhere without wifi or cell reception (for iPad 3G users), this application is useless. This is understandable because of the vast amount of information that WolframAlpha contains; however, it would be nice if the calculator-like functions were available offline. I would also like to see the ability to save certain pages for offline viewing.

WolframAlpha is a very powerful application despite it's inability to do anything offline. If you're a student, scientist, or someone who enjoys discovering information, I recommend adding WolframAlpha to your collection of iPad applications.

Video and screenshots after the break!

[$1.99 - iTunes link]

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Facebook for iPhone 3.1.3 hits iTunes App Store

Facebook for iPhone has once again been updated, this time to version 3.1.3. Here's the update list:

  • You can now watch Facebook videos.
  • You can now view and write on walls of events.
  • Uploaded photos are now 720px wide.

And the bug-fixes:

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Rogers/Fido push out OTA iPhone Carrier Settings Update -- iOS 4 handles on-device

Interesting - Rogers and their Fido subsidiary pushed out a Carrier Settings Update for the iPhone (to version 7.1 for those keeping track). More interesting - iOS 4 seems to pop-it up over-the-air and offer to install it on-device. (Best as we can remember, the last update popped up in, and was installed by, iTunes on the desktop).

One more step towards the tether-less future. Anyone else, anywhere else, get an update?

[Thanks for the tip, Alex!]

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TiPb iPhone 4 give-away: last chance to enter! (Plus stereo BT headphone give away!)

TiPb's giving away an iPhone 4 (technically a US Apple Retail Store gift certificate). In order to win, you need to make us a video telling us why you should be the one to get it. We're awarding the prize next Wednesday. That means this is your last chance to enter.

Want an iPhone 4, go read the contest details then put on your video hat and make with the movie. (Truth - there's a lot of lazy people out there who won't bother, odds are heavily in your favor if you do!)

Check out the first batch of entries, after the break and let us know your favorite. We'll pick a comment at random (a good quality one, no spam, no trolling) and give the commenter a Motorola S9-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headset courtesy of the TiPb iPhone Accessory Store.

(We'll post some more videos on Monday, so get yours in ASAP to be included!)

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NAVIGON shows off iOS 4 multitasking for iPhone turn-by-turn navigation

A double dose of NAVIGON today as they've put out a video showing off MobileNavigator on iOS 4 making use of background location. Fast app switching, saved state, and the Location API for taking a call while still receiving navigation directions are all on display.

We've got an exclusive video interview with MobileNavigator for iPhone product manager Bern Hahn taken during WWDC 2010 for your viewing pleasure. He tells TiPb what he thinks of Apple's iOS 4 multitasking, the iPad, and of course, iPhone 4.

Video action after the break.

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Another iPhone 4 discovered in the wild

Another iPhone 4 has been found roaming around; this time in the Czech Republic. We are already familiar with the external design of the iPhone 4, but this source provides us with photos taken with the rear camera and a video recorded in HD. The person using this iPhone also reports that after playing games, surfing the web, watching YouTube, and using Google maps for an hour, there was only a 10% hit to the battery.

Check out the photo links and sample video after the break and let us know what you think!

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More surprises in iPhone 4? Apple asks FCC to keep details secret

Could Apple have more technical surprises in store for the iPhone? They've asked the FCC to keep photographs and details secret for 45 days, so who knows? We've already heard about the 512MB of RAM hiding inside, but Apple is still playing it coy:

"Although Apple has begun to market the device publicly, these documents reveal technical and design information that has not been publically disclosed in such marketing and that is protected by Apple as confidential and proprietary secrets."

Speculate away. Come next Thursday, there ought to be tear-downs aplenty to find out.

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Official Apple Find my iPhone app now in App Store

Apple has released an official Find my iPhone app, and it's a universal binary for both iPhone and iPad. (Yes, it's still called Find my iPhone on the iPad and iPod touch, what's in a name?)

It works pretty much as you'd expect -- enter your MobileMe login (it asks for the password each time, which might annoy you until you realize someone could use it to track you or your family members), see a list of your devices, tap one to locate it, send it an alert, lock it, or remotely wipe it.

I couldn't get locate or alert working in my quick tests, but it could still be rolling out. I'll try again later. If you installed it, let me know how it's working for you.

iPad screenshot after the break.

[iTunes link]

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MobileMe web apps back online with updated mail UI, app switcher

As was widely expected, Apple's MobileMe web apps -- me.com -- are back online after their scheduled maintenance, and sporting an updated look and some new features.

The new Mail has come out of beta and now everyone can enjoy server-side rules, which is terrific if way overdue. In the not-so-terrific pile, previously you could instantly switch between apps using a conventional menu bar. Now you have to figure out that clicking the cloud icon top left will bring up and icon bar which you can then click to switch tasks. Less discoverability and efficiency in one update? Not very Apple.

(They've standardized on the iPhone app icons to represent Me.com tasks, however, which is good. And they look great.)

Are you trying to new Me.com? What do you think?

UPDATE: Apple's MobileMe email announcement, after the break.

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What happened to iPhone 4 "July" release in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.?

Apple Online Canada has changed the date for iPhone 4 release from "July" to "soon", while the Australian and New Zealand Apple Online Stores only show iPhone 3GS -- no iPhone 4 in sight.

Thin, yes, but when you consider US sales of the iPad on April 3 were higher than expected to the degree all international iPad releases were pushed back a month, it's not like it's out of the realm of possibility. 600,000+ iPhone 4 pre-orders and US delivery dates getting pushed further and further back into July -- yeah, it raises eyebrows.

Will a rush on stage 1 iPhone 4 release countries push back stage 2 countries? We're hoping not, but we're keeping both eyes fixed on those pages.

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