Review: iLuv Smart Back Cover for iPad 2

March 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, Reviews

Already own an Apple Smart Cover for your iPad 2? One of the best complement for it is the iLuv Smart Back Cover. It’s a hard shell case that is smooth to the touch, yet sturdy and rigid for everyday use. The texture on the case feels really soft and doesn’t scratch easily. This makes it a nice slim solution for those of us who like to toss our iPads in our bags.

The iPad 2 fits nicely in the iLuv Smart Back Cover. There are cutouts for all the ports and camera, and even a cutout for the speakers so your audio isn’t muffled. What I really like about this case is how smooth the cutouts are. There are no sharp corners that can leave you any scratches. The back case is lightweight and fully protects the back of your iPad from dust and bumps.

It’s available in colors that match and coordinate with your Apple Smart Cover. The iLuv Smart Back Cover also works best with an Apple Smart Cover, as this will cover all the edges of the iPad.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars · i-Luv.com · $ 39.99 · Amazon ($9.60+)

Disclosure: This product was sent by iLuv for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Grablet for iPad

March 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, Reviews

Why hide the beauty of your iPad behind a case? Instead enhance with the Grablet! Available in a variety of colors, this case will surely add a splash of color and fun to your iPad!

At first glance, the Grablet looks like some sporty rock climbing equipment for your iPad. With its sexy curves, it’ll surely get people’s attention.

This case has four grooves that holds each end of the iPad. The sleek X-shape design displays how elegant and beautiful your iPad is, rather than hide it. The corners are padded and raised to protect from bumps or drops. You can put the iPad face down without scratching the surface. It also works perfectly with the magnetic Apple&reg Smart Cover.

What makes this case stands apart from the rest are the handy quick release straps on the back. Simply push to easily snap them off. Switch with the additional accessories to allow infinite potential uses. You can hold your iPad comfortably in your hand with the Grablet. If you remove the hand pad or wrap, you can let one of the straps hang on a cabinet knob for easy kitchen viewing. Or wrap the straps around your leg for a secure fit. You can even wrap the straps around a car seat for easy movie viewing. The possibilities are endless. For more ideas, see the Grablet gallery.

Each package comes with:
1 Grablet novus g2
1 Grablet Hand Pad
1 Grablet Hand Wrap
2 x 13” Straps w/ 4 G clips
4 x Grablet Strap Retainers

Available in an array of bright and fun colors — Cadmium Yellow, Jungle Green, Ultra Pink, Slate Gray, Burst Orange, Cadet Blue, Fog Silver, Fuze Green, Glacier White, Onyx Black, Sonic Purple, and Lava Red for $39.99.

The Grablet also comes in two versions, one for the iPad 2 and one for the iPad 1.

4.5 out of 5 stars · TheGrablet.com · $39.99 · Amazon ($39.99)

Disclosure: This product was sent by The Grablet for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Architect Stylus

March 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories

Slick and beautiful, the Architect Stylus may have been created from a minimalist’s dream. Made of anodized aluminum, this stylus perfectly compliments the iPad.

The Architect Stylus is made up of two parts — a distinctive cap and an anodized aluminum body. The cap has a unique loop cutout in it that’s a perfect fit for a lanyard or keychain. This cap can also be screwed on either end of the stylus. When the stylus is in use, you can screw it on the top end. When not in use, you can screw it on the end with the nub, protecting it from any dust or scratches.

Using the stylus on your iPad (or any capacitive touch screen) is wonderful. Simply glide the stylus on the screen like you would with your finger. Write, draw, or browse with high accuracy. It feels ergonomically-correct in your hand with just the right weight and thickness. The Architect also comes with a small case to prevent any scratches on your stylus.

Overall, the architect is a beautiful stylus that’s both functional and enjoyable to see and use. My favorite part is how it compliments the iPad perfectly, as well as the unique design.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars · TheArcticStore.com · $22.95

Disclosure: This product was sent by The Arctic for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: ePillow for iPad

March 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad, Reviews

Add a little comfort in your use of the iPad (or other tablets) with an ePillow. It’s exactly what it’s name sounds like. It’s a pillow stand for your iPad (or other electronic device). It has a simple design that brings comfort, keeping your hands free from holding the tablet device.

Basically it’s a soft pillow (made of suede, synthetic leather, or cotton depending on the color) that has a little holder in front to hold your device. Lay the pillow on your lap and slide in the iPad (or tablet). And then use it as you would normally do. It puts your device at a nice angle so you’re both comfortable and not straining from holding the device. Adjust the angle of the pillow to what best suits you. You can slip the device into the holder in either portrait or landscape mode.

If you’re a traveler, the ePillow is very convenient to take with you also! On the back of the pillow is a long strap. Simply slide this strap into the handle of your suitcase, and don’t worry about it falling anywhere. Use the ePillow on the plane or the car to read your books, play games, watch a movie, or even sleep on when you get tired (unless you’re the driver)!

On the front top right of the ePillow is a small pocket that’s big enough to hold your charging cable. You can store it in there when moving around.

The ePillow works with various devices, including iPad 1 and 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia A500 Tab, LG Optimus Pad, HP Touchpad, Android Toughbook Tab, Sony Tab S, Asus Transformer Prime, ePad and even books!

When putting the iPad (or tablet) into the slot, a portion of the bottom part of the iPad is covered. All your frequently used apps in your dock (most likely email, Safari, etc) will be covered up when using the ePillow. But this isn’t a problem at all if you’re viewing video or movie. If you are changing apps constantly, this may be a little bit cumbersome if you’re using the apps in your dock.

Choose from a variety of materials (and colors) including suede, synthetic leather, and cotton. Currently available colors Brown, Black, Red/Grey, Aqua/Grey, Pink/Black, Black/Pink, Red/Black.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars · ePillow.net · $29.95

Disclosure: This product was sent by ePillow for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Atari Arcade Duo Powered

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad, Reviews

Blast to the past with the Atari Arcade by Discovery Bay Games! It’s a retro Atari game controller for the iPad, and just the perfect gift for fans of the Atari 2600 video game console. It’s such a fun way to bring back those childhood memories!

The Atari game controller is an extension to the iPad. It’s a one-piece device with a joy stick and 4 buttons on it, as you would expect on an old arcade machine to have. On the top of the controller is a place for you to slide your iPad in. This part is a little tricky because the slot is only as big as the iPad’s charging port. Once you slide it in, click on the two locks on both sides. These locks keep the iPad in place so it doesn’t fall out while playing.

The next thing you need to do is download the Atari Greatest Hits iPad app. It’s a free iPad app with in-app purchases. The app comes with one free game. You may remember the old favorite, Missile Command. Of course you can play the game without the controller, but it’s much more fun with it!

Be sure to mount the iPad onto the the controller before launching the Atari Greatest Hits app. If you happen to launch the app first, you may need to close the app or restart the iPad. Once mounted, select a game to play and go to “Controls.” Make sure the “Atari Arcade powered by Duo” is selected. Then hit “Play.”

The joystick and buttons feels so much like the old arcade games. They even make the same clicky sounds! They could sound a little loud, but that’s what makes them great!

Play some of the old arcade favorites like Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. You can purchase packages of 5+ games for just 99 cents, or purchase all 99 games for just $9.99.

One downside is that it only works with the Atari Greatest Hits iPad app. You can’t use the joystick with other games. I’d love to see this working for Pac-man one day.

Overall, the controller and the games in the apps are a lot of fun if you like the retro pixel games. They sure bring back a lot of great childhood arcade memories!

Note: The Atari Arcade controller is compatible with both the iPad and iPad 2.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars · DiscoveryBayGames.com · $59.99

Disclosure: This product was sent by Discovery Bay Games for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Woodees iPic Stylus

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

There’s now an iPad / tablet stylus made with musicians in mind. It’s both stylish and functional, and may I add, quite adorable. It’s Woodees’ new iPic Stylus. It works with all touchscreen devices, and resembles a guitar pic, but with a stylus nub on the end.

The iPic offers a very natural feel for musicians, especially if they’re playing the guitar, bass, or other musical string instruments on the iPad or iPhone. You can hold it between your thumb and index finger for that natural “pick” feel. Or even hold it to “poke” at the screen to type. You can even turn the iPic to the side and strum it like a real guitar pick on your device.

For fun with musical instruments, download the free iPad app, Miso Music: Plectrum for iPad to test iPic with.

One thing I would change about the iPic is the surface of the pick. It’s a little bit slippery to hold at times. If the surface of it had some texture, it may work better even for the sweatiest fingers.

Overall, the iPic is a fun little stylus, especially for the musician at heart. It’s available in both black and white. Normally $19.99, it’s currently on sale for $14.99.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars · Woodees.com · $14.99

Disclosure: This product was sent by Woodees for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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September’s Bargain iPhone and iPad Apps

September 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Start the Fall season right with some new bargain apps for your iPhone and iPad!

Band of the Day – Here’s an app that makes discovering new music a lot of fun! It has a very slick user interface. Learn and read about a new band each day and listen to a one of their songs while you’re reading their bio. If you love the song, just click to purchase via iTunes. Definitely worth the download if you enjoy music. iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

Turntable.FM – Join in a room and DJ music with your friends! Discover new music and give props to the DJ. It’s a fun music social network app with a cute little interface. At any one time, there can be up to 5 DJ’s playing music in a room. Let them know if the song is either Lame or Awesome. There’s also an option to chat with the listeners as well. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (Free)

VidRhythm – Ever dreamed of starring in your own music video? Well, stop dreaming because it’s about to become a reality in just one minute! Create music videos instantly by recording just a few sounds. The app will remix it for you and you instantly become a rock star! Universal App – iPhone 3Gs+, iPod Touch 4th Gen, and iPad 2 Only ($1.99)

Tonara – This app is great for musicians! Ever play the piano and you have to take a quick pause to turn the music sheet? Well, you don’t have to do that with this app. It can listen to the music you’re playing and follow along with you. Great if you’re just starting to play the piano. Only bad thing is there’s only a few music sheets available at the moment. But it is free, so be sure to try it out! iPad Version (Free)

Feed Me Oil – For all of your puzzle lovers out there, this one is a must-have! In the game, you need the little monsters oil but putting contraptions so the oil will drip in where it’s suppose to go. Absolutely fun and addicting. Try out the lite versions to see if you enjoy it. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPhone/iPod Touch Lite Version (Free) | iPad Version ($1.99) | iPad Lite Version (Free)

My Horse – If you love horses, I highly recommend this app. Adopt, feed, pet, train, and take care of your virtual horse. The graphics are amazingly beautiful and realistic. It’s also a universal app, so you can use it on all your iDevices. Connect with friends on Facebook and Game Center to have your horses socialize. My username is ‘daynah’ if you want to add me!
Universal App (Free)

Dragonvale – Build a little village where you can raise your dragons! Grow and plant them and interact with friends who are playing as well. The graphics are adorable, and the game is relaxing to play and listen to. Plant beautiful trees, habitats, and other beautiful things dragons love. A must-have for dragon-lovers. Universal App (Free)

Dolphin Browser – What a fun way to surf the internet! This browser displays your most visited websites in a beautiful magazine-style display (iPad Version). Flip and turn headlines to read the complete articles. Add news sections to your browser start up page so you can quickly view them. Rss files are displayed nicely with photos and excerpts. Great alternative browser.
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iPad Stand Review: Bracketron iTilt

September 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Are you always on the go? Need an iPad stand that can keep up with you? The iTilt by Bracketron is probably the thinnest tablet stand on the market. You can tuck it away in your suitcase without taking much valuable space!

This ultra slim iPad stand can hold your device in both portrait and landscape mode in eight convient viewing angles. The non-slip feet at the bottom of the stand holds your iPad securely on your desk.

With this stand, there’s just one thing you have to be careful of. When lifting your iPad out of the stand, you may pull onto the back of it and then unhook the stand’s back support. This doesn’t matter too much if you were taking the iPad out of the stand. But if you were just moving the stand onto another position on your desk, the back support could make the whole stand fall down.

Overall, the iTilt iPad stand is highly portable, functional, and quite affordable. It’s also compatible with both the iPad 1 and iPad 2., as well as most other tablets and eReaders on the market.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 · Bracketron.com · $19.95 · Amazon ($9.46)

Disclosure: This product was sent by Bracketron for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Bargain iPhone and iPad Apps: Fragger, Hello Kitty, Weezer, and more!

August 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Freebies, Games, iPad, Reviews


Looking for new apps for your iPhone and iPad? Here’s my weekly round-up on the latest bargain apps! This blog post was recently featured on BlogHer.com!

Fragger – Remember the old Worms game where you had to fire at the other team? Fragger is similar, but you throw grenades at the enemy instead. Bounce off walls, knock down the enemy, or just blast them away! Highly addictive and currently free for both iPhone and iPad!
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Verion (Free)

Hello Kitty Skins and Shelves – If you’re addicted to Hello Kitty and her friends, try adding some Hello Kitty pizzazz to your device! This app is loaded with many wallpapers and even ones that have shelves to hold your icons. Find the ones you want and download. Change your wallpaper in the settings and you got yourself a pretty wallpaper and home screen!
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

Weezer – one of my favorite bands have released a new app so you can keep track of their tour dates. Post your pics and videos or use weezerxfest in your Tweets or Facebook status to get included in the content time-line. What a great way of getting Weezer fans together! More featured content to be added soon! iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

Michaels Stores – Are you a crafter? You’re in luck! Michaels finally has a new iPhone app out. Browse through ads, search for projects to do, but most importantly, get those coupons conveniently on your phone! You can also search for the nearest Michaels store, but if you’re a crafter, you probably already frequent your nearest store. ;) iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

GetGlue isn’t new, but it’s definitely an app you need to get! If you enjoy watching shows, listening to music, reading a book, and more… you can check in and see who else is doing the same, and earn real stickers and badges along the way! Many shows, music, books, etc. have exclusive stickers you can earn. Once you earn 20 stickers or more, you can request for the real ones through mail! It’s a fun new social network.
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (Free)

Breast Cancer: Beyond The Shock – I’m sure you may know at least one person affected by breast cancer, whether it be a mother, sister, grandmother, or friend. This app helps to educate us of what a person goes through when dealing with breast cancer. View videos, ask questions, and find support. Universal App (Free)

Pix’n Love Rush – So retro and so much fun, this game will take you back to the time of pixels and short attention spans! Help the little critter make it through the levels by moving, jumping, and shooting. Collect yellow pieces and avoid or shoot purple ones. Rush through all the short levels quickly and safely. The iPad Version was $3.99, but is on sale this week for just 99 cents. iPhone / iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($1.99)

Zulily – Are you a mom (or mom-to-be) who loves to shop? Check out Zulily, a daily deals place for moms, babies, and kids! Lots of huge markdowns on the cutest outfits and many other things. This app will keep you on top of all the deals. Set the type of notifiations you want and never miss a cool deal! iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

PopSugar – If you’re a fan of PopSugar, you’ll absolutely love their apps! Flip through visual stimulating photos of celebrities, as well as browse all their other editorial branches. My favorite is GeekSugar! Beautiful, sleek, and easy-to-use user interface.
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad version (Free)

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Bargain iPhone, iPad, and Mac Apps: Zombie Restaurant, Cut the Rope, iBlast Moki, and more!

August 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Freebies, Games, iPad, Reviews

Get through the rest of summer with some sizzling new apps! Below are a few bargain must-have apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Enjoy!

Zombie Restaurant – The city around you is surrounded by brain-eating zombies! Luckily, you’re a restaurant owner and you figured out how to keep the zombies at bay. As long as you feed them gruesome brain and guts dishes, they’ll stay away from you! Build and expand your restaurant in this hilarious game. Universal Version (Free)

Cut the Rope: Experiments – Little Om Nom has been dropped off at a scientist’s house and he’s trying all sorts of candy experiments on Om Nom! Help Om Nom get the candy in these whacky new levels. Highly addictive and recommended for lovers of puzzle games and problem solvers. Never played Cut the Rope before? Try out the full universal version of the Holiday Gift edition, or the original game. The games are just 99 cents, which is such a treat!
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($1.99)

iBlast Moki – Send the Mokis to safety by bombing their way through the mysterious lands! This is similar to Rolando, but there’s definitely more bombs and a whole lotta blasting of things in this game. It’s a game of physics where you have to place bombs in certain places and have them go off at different times. The object is to have the blast bounce the Moki’s into the portal holes. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (99 cents)

Glowfish HD – Oh no! Your lady friend, Coralline, has been captured by the evil Dr. Urchin. Bring her to safety with the help of your powerful Glow Chums friends! Navigate through gorgeous water sceneries. With over 50 levels of beautiful graphics in stored, it’s hard to put down! It’s very similar to a game like Spore, but instead of eating smaller species, you collect powerful Glow Chums to help you through each level.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version (Free)

Pucca’s Restaurant – If you love Pucca, or just restaurant games in general, here’s a fun one. Cook and serve moon cakes, as well as a big variety of Asian dishes to your customers! Have Pucca run all around the restaurant managing the cooking, menu, and serving customers. Cute and fun music while you play. Plus the app is optimized to use on both iPhone and iPad. Find your friends via Plus+ gaming network. Universal App (Free)

Google+ – is the shiny new social network by Google. It’s fun and addictive once you have all all your friends join. Add friends by adding them to “Circles” and you can share your updates with the Public, all of your Circles, or just specific ones. You can leave comments and +1 (saying you ‘liked’ something) on your friends’ updates. There’s also a feature called Huddle, which is like group texting, for specific Circles or groups of people. You also get notified of various updates on your Google+ profile. Definitely worth the download if you use Google+ a lot.
iPhone Version (Free)

BabyCenter Birth Class – if you’re pregnant, or planning to have a family soon, this is a wonderful app to have on your iPad. It takes you through 3 hours of a birth class, explaining signs of labor, as well as various stages of labor. There’s also great tips and guidance from doctors, midwives, and birth educators, and much, much more. This app use to be $40, but was recently reduced to being free. iPad Version (Free)

Photovine – Created by Google, this is my new favorite photography social network! Start off with a picture (a seed) and watch it grow! Basically, you upload a photo and categorize it. Watch your ‘vine’ grow as more people add photos to your category. You can add photos to ther people’s categories as well. It’s an interesting and new way of displaying your photos. Plus, I’m sure you have lots of unsorted photos on your phone that you can definitely categorize and have fun with this app! iPhone App / iPod Touch 3rd gen (Free)

Google Catalogs – Get ready to do some windowshopping! Recently released by Google, this app lets you flip through many rich and beautiful catalogs. Watch videos and save your favorite products (requires Google account) in a scrapbook. You can even create photo collages of your favorite items and share them. And there’s about a catalog for everyone’s taste! From Apparel & fashion for men, women, and children; to beauty; jewelry; home goods; gifts! More will be coming soon. iPad Version (Free)

Amazon Student – The Fall college school year is just around the corner! So it’s best to arm yourself with this new app. It lets you instantly check prices on textbooks and more. Just scan a barcode to check a price, or use one-click access to scan items you want to buy or sell back. Amazon also has a convenient trade-in program that can turn your books, games, movies, and electronics into Amazon Gift Cards. Plus, join Amazon Student to get FREE Two-Day Shipping for six months with Amazon Prime shipping benefits! Best of all, this app is absolutely free! Amazon account is required for trade-in, and only certain items are allowed to be traded. iPhone / iPod Touch version (Free)

Wunderlist – is a beautiful, yet simple way to keep track of your tasks or to-do list. With a very intuitive UI, you’ll find yourself using this pretty quickly. Sign up for a free Wunderlist account and you can sync your list on every device, including iPhone, Android, Windows, iPad, and Mac desktop iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (Free) | Mac App (Free)

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At the Apple Store

July 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Geek Get-Togethers

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Apple Store (my home, away from home)! The nearest one is about 45 minutes away, so I don’t go that often. I was meeting some friends for dinner last night at that area, so I had to stop by.

I’m a big fan of the colorful iPods posters and ads, but those of course aren’t new, so they’re not on display. But one thing I noticed is that they’re using iPad 2′s as a type of kiosk. There’s an iPad 2 mounted on the table next to each item which plays a video about the item. It’s a pretty cool idea and a great way to show off the iPad 2. (See them on the table behind me in the photo.)

Anyhow, as you can see, I look wayyyy too happy in that photo. That MacBook Air is quite adorable. ;)

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Tablet Stand Review: SpiderPodiumTablet

May 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories

The SpiderPodium Tablet is probably one of the most unique portable iPad/tablet stand you’ll find. It’s light and flexible, yet study enough to put your beloved device on it.

When you first take out the SpiderPodium Tablet, it may look strange because it resembles a giant spider. There are eight legs that are all flexible. Each leg has three joints that can be bent in any way you need it. The exterior is made of a soft rubber, preventing any scratches on your tablet.

The product’s box will have two photos on it displaying the two main positions the stand can be in. Follow the photos on the box to setup the SpiderPodium stand in either portrait or landscape mode. Once you get it in place, carefully place your iPad/tablet in and bend the end joints to hold it in place. When it’s sturdy, bend and move the legs to the angle you desire.

What’s wonderful about the extra legs on this stand is that it could be wrapped anywhere. Wrap the stand around a car seat or a dashboard. Or even around a pole or stand so you can read your music sheets. There’s many multiple uses for it.

Overall, the SpiderPodium Tablet is a flexible tablet stand that you can set in any angle, any position, and light and portable enough to take anywhere. Just collapse all the legs to put in your bag, and you’re ready to go.

SpiderPodium Tablet is available in two colors — graphite and black. It fits most tablets on the market. And is not recommended for children under the age of 3.

Rating: 3..5/5 · $34.99 · Breffo.com

Disclosure: This product was sent by Breffo for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Bargain iPhone and iPad Apps: Angry Birds Rio, Bugs Village, LEGO and more!

April 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Games

Looking for some new apps for your iPhone and/or iPad? Here are some of favorite bargain apps for this month! Enjoy!

100 Cameras in 1 – Take a lot of photos on your phone? Make them even more beautiful by adding some filters. Choose from one of 100 filters, tap, and add. It’s fast and simple to use, and has a lovely interface. iPhone version was $1.99, and iPad version just came out.
iPhone/iPod Version (99 cents) | iPad 2 Version ($2.99)

Angry Birds Rio – If you love Angry Birds, than you probably already have this version! The Angry Birds have been captured, but you know them — a little cage can’t handle them. They made their escape and are freeing the other birds with them! Slingshot and break the cages to help the birds escape in the first episode. In the second episode, you can to take flight in the jungle. Smash the monkeys that get in the way of your escape! 60 new levels altogether, and more coming in the next few months! iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPhone/iPod Touch Lite Version (Free) | iPad Version ($2.99) | iPad Lite Version (Free)

Bird Zapper – Help Skippy the Squirrel get rid of the pesky birds on the wires! You have the power of electical shock, so tap, swipe, and zap those birds. It’s a fun match-3 game with plenty of moving parts to get your brain in a frenzy. Accumulate points by zapping birds with stars and special powers. Match, zap, and clear those power lines! Universal App (99 cents)

Bing – Experience searching the internet in new way! Type or speak to find what you’re looking for. Or swipe through popular searches for each day. Bing has a beautiful interface that’s filled with spectacular photos.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (Free)

Bug Village – Think of this game as Smurf’s Village with A Bug’s Life theme! Beautiful graphics, where your favorite insects can roam around. Build homes for the ants and bees, and watch them harvest food. The game is free to play. To advance quickly in levels, you can purchase extra coins or download specific apps.
Universal App (Free)

Chimani National Parks – The five national park iPhone Apps from Chimani are free in celebration of National Park Week. This offer starts today through 4/24/2011. Apps are normally between $4.99-$9.99 each. They include detailed information about the park such as maps, photos, audio tour, sunrise and sunset data, and bus schedules. iPhone/iPod Touch Apps: Yosemite National Park (334 MB) · Grand Canyon National Park (132 MB) · Acadia National Park (167 MB) · Cape Cod National Seashore (115 MB) · Cuyahoga Valley National Park (152 MB)

CarZen – Shopping for a car but want to avoid the hassle? Do it right on your iPad! With CarZen, browse numerous makes and models and find exactly what you want. When you find something you like, send an request for a quote (right in the app). You’ll receive an email with the quote and continue your shopping from there.
iPad Version (Free)

Doodle Jump: HOP the Movie – E.B., the Easter Bunny’s son is about to take over the family business, so he needs to be super-efficient at jumping. And who should help him out than Doodle the Doodler himself? Help E.B. jump and hop on pedestals and make it up as far as he can. Gather Easter eggs on 25 unlockable levels. Universal (Free)

Eggs vs Chicken – So what came first — the chicken or the egg? I’m not sure what the answer to that is either, but you can find out who’s stronger! Assemble and align the eggs into rows of matching colors. Tap to release and have them roll over the attacking chickens! Fun game at an introductory price of 99 cents. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents)

Halftone – Add a beautiful vintage halftone-style printing effect to your photos. Choose from 21 paper styles, 9 layouts, and 6 talk bubble styles to decorate your photos. Take photos right from the app, or import from your photo roll. Fun app to create comic-like photos.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents)

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 – Big Harry Potter fan? Than you got to get this! Visit the Lego version of Hogwarts as Harry Potter, Hagrid, and all the characters you can think of. The graphics are amazing, and the game play is even more fun! It feels like you’re watching a movie in between each level. Run around and collect Lego pellets while fulfilling the level’s quest. Currently on sale for just $2.99 and worth every penny. Universal App ($2.99)

LEGO Ninjago Spinjitzu Scavenger Hunt – Welcome to the land of Ninjago! Train with the Sensei and his ninjas to the protect the and of Ninjago from Garmadon and his evil skeleton army. Spin your way in the arena to defeat your opponents and win coins and unlock new gear for your ninja. Tap on the screen to spin, and tilt your device to move your ninja.
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Tiny Wings – Fly little birdie, fly. But your wings are too tiny! But lucky for your, your world is full of hills that you can slide down on and jump as high as your can. Flap as you’re in the air! Get as far as you can before nightfall. Game Center and OpenFeint enabled with 30 achievements. The game is filled with beautiful colors and graphics. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents)

Pac ‘N Jump – Think Doodle Jump meets Pacman! Bounce as high as you can without falling and avoid the ghosts and other enemies, unless you chomped a power pellet! Chomp on pellets and bonus items to bounce even higher. Complete each mission to unlock additional stages. Universal App (99 cents)

Postagram – Do you use Instagram, the mobile photo-sharing app? Now there’s Postagram, an app that easily turns your cool Instagram photos into a postcard! Login with your Instagram account, select your photo, add the appropriate addresses, and send. Each postcard is just 99 cents, and the first one is free! iPhone/iPod Version (Free)

Words with Friends – Play the most popular word game on the iPhone and iPad. Newly acquired by Zynga, this game now has many more social features built-in. Connect to Facebook to display your avatar and find even more friends to play with. The latest updates comes with better graphics and faster game play.
iPhone Version ($2.99) | iPad Version ($2.99) | iPad Lite Version (Free)

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Use an iPad to Add Some Light to Your Photos

April 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

How to use an iPad for great photo lighting!

I was having dinner with my friend, Mark, at Daliah Lounge in Seattle last week. The restaurant looked lovely, and so did the food! You know how I love taking photos of food, especially for Foodspotting. The restaurant was a little bit dark though. I was going to use my regular camera (with a flash) until I saw Mark pull out his iPad and raised it over his food. Then he took out his camera and snapped a photo. I thought it was funny at first, but then I found myself doing the same. It was quite a clever idea. ;)

Albert snapped this photo of me putting just the perfect amount of light on my food. :)

And here are the photos I took of my dinner and desserts with iPad lighting. Yes, it’s another awesome use for the iPad. :)

How to use an iPad as a light source for photos

  1. On your iPad, go to Settings -> Tap on Brightness -> Move the scrollbar to the max
  2. Hold the light at the right angle on your subject.
  3. Snap a photo on your other device in the other hand.

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Roundup of iPad 2 Cases, Covers, and more!

April 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Looking for a new iPad 2 accessories? Here is a roundup of iPad 2 cases, covers, and accessories that you should keep an eye out for. Of course, this is only a partial list. Most are available for pre-order. More in-depth reviews to come once they’re available!

Apple Smart Cover · $39.99 (Polyurethane) / $69.99 (Leather) · Apple.com
This Smart Cover is actually quite magical. So slim, yet so strong. It comes in an array of 10 beautiful bright colors. 5 of the colors are made with polyurethane, and the other 5 are aniline-dyed Italian leather. There’s a strong magnet on them to securely hold onto your iPad. The side with the hinge makes the cover feel like it’s seamlessly part of the iPad. It also doubles up as a stand — for viewing and typing positions.

Belkin Folio for iPad 2 · $TBD · Belkin.com
This fashionable case hugs your iPad 2 in place. It’s a folio-style case that also converts into a viewing stand. Turn it around and it’s set in typing position, perfect for email, writing, or chatting. The pocket in front gives you space to store your cord and other gear. Will be available in black and black/gray woven. Coming soon.

Belkin also has three other iPad 2 cases, which will also be available soon.

Booq Booqpad iPad Agenda · $99.95 · Booqbags.com
The Booqpad Agenda combines an iPad 2 case and notepad into one. It keeps all the business things you need organized, whether it’s a pen or stylus, business cards, cash, tickets, or notebook paper. Each Booqpad ships with a blank, 50-sheet A5 notepad made from at least 30% post-consumer materials and printed with soy ink. This is a surface perfect for sketching, writing, note-taking, or laying out the next app, printed piece, product, story, or website. It comes in a variety of colors. Next shipment estimated to be 04/12/2011.

Casecrown Denim iPad 2 Pocket Case · $38.95 · CaseCrown.com
Impress your gal pals with this unique Denim case! Made by Casecrown, this case has four exterior pockets, just like your jeans! The interior is made of shock absorbing foam to protect your new investment. Carry it in your hand, or use the adjustable strap to carry it like a messenger bag. Made of real denim, this case is stylish for a tech girl on the go. Currently on sale and available for order.

Casecrown iPad 2 Royal Standby Horizontal Case · $35.95 · Casecrown.com
The exterior of the CaseCrown Royal Standby case is made of synthetic leather, while the interior is lined with felt to protect the front glass. Inside of the case is an open pocket where you can easily slide in your iPad 2 and it will hold it in place. The cover is designed to flip back and turn the case into a viewing stand. All ports of the iPad 2 are accessible, even with the case on. It comes in three colors — red, brown, and black. Black is currently out of stock, but the other two are available for order.

Dodocase for iPad 2 · $59.95 · Dodocase.com
This case is handmade and constructed using traditional book binding techniques. The cover of the DODOcase Classic for the iPad 2 is designed to fold back to be used as a stand. The case perfectly matches the curvature of your iPad2 while providing access to all buttons and ports. The case can be in positions appropriate for both typing, video viewing, and camera views. There is a 2-3 week expected ship date for iPad 2 cases.

Enki Genius Case · $29.99 · EnkiGear.com
The Apple Smart Cover is great, but what about the delicate back side of your iPad 2? Not to worry, Enki has you covered! They made a new Genius Case that’s compatible with the Apple Smart Cover. Available in clear, smoke, blue and pink. Each order comes with a screen protector. And a lifetime warranty. Pre-orders start April 15th and shipping by the end of April.

Gear4 Angry Birds iPad 2 Case · $49.99 · Gear4.com
Are you a big Angry Birds fan? Show off your love for the game with this a super slim hard plastic Angry Birds case. It clips onto your iPad 2 and has openings around all the ports for easy access. There will be three different designs to choose from. You will have your choice of: Pig King vs. Red Bird, Red Bird, or Angry Birds Family. The three designs will surely put a smile on anyone’s face. These cases are not yet available for pre-order, but will be soon.

Griffin Technology Elan Folio Slim · $39.99 · GriffinTechnology
With the new slim design of the iPad, we’re all looking for protection without the bulk, and that’s where Griffin Tech delivers! The Eland Folio Slim is a new design that’s made of a textured black polyurethane on the outside cover and a soft microsuede lining inside. All access ports for controls, headphone jack, speaker, and rear-facing camera are all accessible. The case also folds into both landscape typing position as well as a viewing stand. Available for pre-order.

iLuv Smart Back Cover · $TBD · i-Luv.com
Already have an Apple Smart Cover? Why not get a matching back cover for it? iLuv has come up slim back covers to complete your magical device. Price and shipping date for this accessory is unknown. Back covers come in 10 colors, each matching the corresponding Smart Cover by Apple.

In addition, iLuv has many more iPad 2 accessories to choose from, including a bluetooth keyboard case.

InnoPocket Elite Folio for iPad 2 · $199.99 · Innopocket.com
For the trendy executives and race car enthusiasts comes this special new iPad 2 case called the Elite Folio. Made of two real carbon fiber shell, this case also has a Patent swivel hinge that rotates 360 degrees on a stainless steel hinge pin. This allows the top panel to fold completely underneath the bottom panel, keeping the clean design. It’s also made by hand which explains the expensive price point. They are available for pre-order and will begin shipping at the end of April.

Marware Microshell Folio · $69.99 · Marware.com
Here’s Marware’s take on the new iPad 2 design. It’s ultra sleek! The MicroShell Folio wraps the iPad 2 in a smooth rubberized shell for the back and a protective lid for the front. Opening the front flap wakes up your iPad and closing it puts it back to sleep. The front flap also doubles up and can be folded into a stand.

A version without the front flap called the Microshell iPad 2 Case ($39.99) is also available, as well as other Marware iPad 2 cases and accessories.

Miniot Cover · $70.34 · Miniot.com
Here’s a unique take on the iPad 2 cover. Not only is it a cover, but it’s also a 3-in-one stand. And it’s made of wood! This sleek and stylish cover has a microfiber lining to prevent any scratches on your iPad 2. Roll the Miniot cover to put the iPad 2 in a viewing landscape stand, a portrait camera stand, or a typing position. These cases are made in Holland from a single piece of the finest wood. All wood is obtained from well-managed forests and certified supply. Free engraving of your logo, art, etc, for a limited time. So order yours soon!

SFBags iPad Travel Express · $69 · SFBags.com
The Travel Express is made for the gadget lover on the go. It can store and protect your iPad or iPad 2 along with its many accessories. Stash your wireless keyboard, cables, power brick and accessories in and off you go. There are plenty of soft and scratch-free pockets to prevent bumps from any of the items. This case is small enough for you to toss it into another bag, or you can carry it with you over your shoulders with the optional D-rings and straps.

This case comes in six earthy colors. The case is $69. The additional D-Rings are $5, and optional straps are $12 or $22 (depending on size). Items are currently sold out, but you can pre-order for the April 7th shipment.

Speck PixelSkin HD Wrap for iPad 2 · $49.95 · SpeckProducts.com
Love the Apple iPad 2 Smart Cover but worried about the back of your iPad? This PixelSkin Wrap has your covered! There’s a protective cover on the back, and a front that wraps the screen. The front cover also folds into two types of stands, perfect for viewing shows, or typing. The PixelSkin HD Wrap will come in three colors — pink, colbalt, and black. They are not yet available for pre-order, but will be soon. Add your email to their mailing list to be notified when they’re available. Speck Fitfolio is also another interesting case for your iPad 2.

Speck iGuy · $39.95 · SpeckProducts.com
Who can resist this cute iGuy case? This whimsical case will put a smile on your face, whether you’re a kid or not. It doubles up as both a case and a stand, with a whole-lotta personality! Best of all, it fits both the iPad and iPad 2. Gotta have it? It will be available for $39.95 in three fun colors — green, aqua, and yellow.

STM Skinny for iPad 2 · $39.99 · STMbags.com
Does this case make your iPad 2 look skinny? Yes it does! It’s sleek and protective without the bulk. Both the back and front flap are made of a hard shell, making it durable for and easy to clean. The front flap also has the power to walk and put your iPad 2 to sleep. The inside flap is lined with a soft micro suede, protecting the glass. And lastly, this case is also a stand. Fold the front flap back and slide it in a back loop. Currently available in three colors – black, mushroom, & sage. Available for pre-order. In stock 4/5/2011. Also see STMbags for more iPad 2 accessories.

Targus Versavuâ„¢ 360° Rotating Stand & Case · $59.99 · Targus
Here’s a sophisticated case that has a unique cover that frames the beautiful Apple logo and allows your iPad 2 to rotate both vertically and horizontally while in the case. It could be used in three viewing positions.

You may also see this case already in stores like Best Buy as Targus 360° Rotating Stand & Case for iPad® 2. A version without the 360o capability is also available. It’s called the Targus Vuscapeâ„¢ Cover & Stand for iPad® 2 ($39.99).

TwelveSouth BookBook for iPad/iPad 2 · $69.99 · TwelveSouth.com
Love technology, but miss the feeling of holding a good book in your hand? You can have the best of both worlds with the BookBook iPad Case! This handmade leather case also doubles up as a fully adjustable stand. The hardback cover and spine provide impact protection from drops. And the hard protective interior offers crush protection. This unique design also disguises the iPad from any potential thefts. Fitting both iPad 1 and 2, this one-of-a-kind case is available in two colors — dark brown cover with black spine or vibrant brown cover with red spine. Available now.

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Finally Got my iPad 2!

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

I had plan on getting my iPad 2 on launched day (March 11, 2011), but so many things were going on that day that I didn’t aggressively try that hard to get one. For some reason, I didn’t think it would be in such a high demand so I was just going to stop by my nearest Apple store to pick one up after work. Boy was I wrong.. My nearest Apple Store (still about 45 minutes away from me) already had 500 people in line before I even left work.

So plan B was to go to my local Best Buy. At 5:30pm, they only had two iPads left — both were the 64GB+3G on Verizon. I decided to stop by a few Walmarts and Targets after that. Of course, they’re all gone. I did surveyed them so I know what to expect with the iPad 3 comes out.

Target had about 5 iPads. One Walmart only had 2. Another had 5. Best Buy had 150 but sold out within an hour (or less). Yes, I was all over California that night!

The next day, I went to Best Buy and reserved my iPad. There’s a $100 deposit, but they gave me a $100 gift card in exchange. I waited about a week before calling back to check on my status. They said the iPads didn’t come in yet. So I waited another week, and they told me the model I wanted isn’t in.

Well, I couldn’t wait anymore. Any longer, I might as well wait for the iPad 3 to come out. So when I saw
Macmall’s Tweet about getting a shipment in, I hopped to the opportunity. I called them the next morning (3/26/2011) and they said they had plenty in stock! The nearest MacMall from me was about 75+ miles, but well, it was worth it. Torrance has plenty of great food so I had a yummy lunch and got to do some grocery shopping as well, and plus, I got my new iPad 2!

They only had the 32 and 64 GB wifi black ones available, so I settled for the 32GB. I desperately need the space anyhow. My current iPad barely has space for another email to download.

The funny thing is, Macmall didn’t even get a shipment of iPads on launch day. The customer service was great. If I miss launch day for iPad 3, I know where to go next time. ;)

I’ve only had my iPad 2 for a few days but I’m already testing and abusing it. New reviews for iPad 2 cases will be coming soon, so be sure to come back for those. You can also read my iPad 2 Review here as well as my list of Top 50 Essential iPad Apps.

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Review: Happy Owl Studio Clutch for the New iPad and iPad 2

April 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad, Reviews

Do you have a geeky gadget gal in your life? Surprise her with the Happy Owl Studio’s The Clutch! It’s a sexy purse/case to carry her iPad and along with her other gadgets. Her devices and items will fit in this nice slim purse-like bag, complete with shoulder strap and plenty of compartments. The best part is that no one will know she’s carrying an iPad in there.

The Clutch is made of 100% genuine leather and contains two main compartments — one for the iPad, and one for everything else. The side for the iPad has a holder with the screen part cut out. The edge of one side is held together by a strong Velcro. Access to the iPad is easy when this compartment is open. The iPad doesn’t need to be taken out of the case/purse for most tasks. There’s also a cutout for the back camera if you want to sneak a photo or two. Cutouts for all buttons and ports for the iPad are also available. When the purse is closed, the iPad will be sleep mode. And when it’s open, it’ll wake up. On the side of the purse that covers the glass screen is a beautiful soft microfiber fabric that protects the iPad when closed and not in use.

Next to the iPad compartment is a zipper compartment that has room for all of her other gadgets and necessities. Within this compartment are smaller pockets perfect for a cellphone, pen, pencil, stylus, credit cards, business cards, cash, and more. There’s also two smaller zipper pockets inside as well that can store lipstick, eyeliner, mirror, keys, usb drives, sunglasses, camera, or anything a geeky gal needs.

Holding the purse together is a button latch with the Happy Owl Studio logo on it. And to carry the clutch, it also comes with a removable D-ring strap. The strap is adjustable, so you can wear it just over the shoulder or as a cross-body purse. And the front of the purse has a beautiful pleated pattern that’s both classy and stylish.

The clutch is made especially for the chic geekette. It’s available in two colors — black and red. The black clutch has a deep purple interior and purple stitchings on the outer layer of the purse. The red clutch has a red interior and gray/dark gray stitchings. It’s the perfect little purse for a night on the town, or even the geekiest of conventions. The clutch is also compatible with both the new iPad and the iPad 2.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars · Happy Owl Studio.com · $79.99 · Amazon ($79.99)

Disclosure: This product was sent by Happy Owl Studio for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Top 50 Essential iPad Apps

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Apple, Games, iPad

Are you a lucky and proud owner of a new iPad2? With hundreds of thousands of apps in the iTunes App store, your next task of finding just the right ones may become a daunting experience! But not to worry, I’ve got you covered! Below is a list of the top 50 iPad Only and Universal apps (works both on the iPhone and iPad) for you to get started. There are plenty more, but I had to keep the list to just the essentials!

Jump to the various categories: Music and Video, Books and Reading, Productivity, Photography, Games, Social Networking, Education, Shopping

*Unless noted, these apps will also work on the iPad 1st generation.


Music and Video

Pandora Radio – Create you own unique radio stations and stream them anywhere. Learn more about the artist and what inspires them. There’s even an option to bookmark your favorite songs and artists so you can refer back to them, as well as share to your social networks. There is also a link to iTunes so you can purchase the song. Create an account to further personalize your music-listening experience. Universal App (Free)

Hulu – Watch your favorite shows and movies right on your iPad! Glee, Saturday Night Live, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Bones, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, House, 30 Rock, Food Network shows, movies, and much more. See the current listing. You can try Hulu+ for a week for free. To continue using the subscription, it’s $7.99 a month. Universal App (Free)

Netflix – Already have a Netflix subscription? Now you can watch the shows and movies on your queue right on your iPad! This is part of your Nextflix unlimited membership. You can also resume watching where you left off on your computer or TV. Video out is supported on the iPad, iPhone 4, and iPod Touch 4G. Universal App (Free)

ABC Player – Turn your iPad into a TV! If you enjoy ABC shows like Modern Family, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, The View, and others, you’ll love this. Put your iPad in the kitchen and catch up on your favorite shows while cooking or washing dishes. Commercials are short and Internet connection is required. iPad Version (Free)

Discovery Channel – Watch your favorite Discovery shows on your iPad! Episodes of Dirty Jobs, Gold Rush, MythBusters, American Chopper, and many more are available. Tap around to see extra photos and learn more about the characters. Internet connection required.
iPad Version (Free) | iPhone Version (Free)

Glee Karaoke – Sing your heart out to your favorite Glee song! You can sound like a star with the option to auto tune and harmonize. Compete online to earn the stars and prizes. Additional songs are available for in-app purchase for 99 cents.
Universal App (99 cents)

Shazam for iPad – Ever heard of a song you like but just don’t know who sings it? This app helps you identify that song simply be recording a few seconds of it. A link to download it on iTunes, artist’s page, similar tracks, and social network sharing, along with part of the song are displayed after it recognizes the song. iPad Version (Free) | iPhone Version (Free)

Magic Fiddle – Learn how to play a fiddle right on your iPad! Holding it may be hard at first because of the iPad’s shape, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Try out Twinkle Twinkle as your first song in the songbook. Additional song sets are available for 99 cents.
iPad Version ($2.99 cents)

Garage Band – What if you could carry a portal music studio with you? Garage Band on your iPad is just that! It includes instruments like guitars, basses, keyboards, and drum sets that you an use to record and mix. Create music by mixing up to 8 tracks and easily share them with your friends. It is a big app, taking up 369MB of space. And it works best on the iPad 2. iPad Version ($4.99 cents)


Books and Reading

Goodreader – This is a wonderful PDF reader for the iPad. You can highlight and annotate text in your PDF. In addition, it could also read other file types such as: MS Office – .doc, .ppt., .xls, iWork ’08/’09, HTML and Safari web archives, High resolution images, and even audio and video! To my surprise, it also read Zip files! It’s like a Swiss Army Knife to file management on the iPad. iPad Version ($4.99) | iPhone Version ($4.99)

Dr. Seuss Books – These books are simply amazing on the iPad. Buy them for the child in your life and watch how they interact with the book. Or just buy it for yourself and bring back a piece of your childhood. I loved watching Dr. Suess’ characters come to life. All the apps are universal and have options to auto-read, have you read and manually turn pages. Tap all around the pages to make the drawing come to life. My favorites are How The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the Cat in the Hat, and Fox in Socks. Universal Apps: Fox in Socks ($3.99) | The Grinch ($4.99) | Cat in Hat ($3.99) | Cat in the Hat Lite (Free)

iBooks – The iBooks store is fun place to look for new books to add to your iPad. Books simply look gorgeous in this app. When downloaded, your books are displayed nicely on a bookshelf. Each book comes with a chapter preview, so you can try before you buy. There are also many setting options to make your reading experience more enjoyable. Change the font size, font type, screen brightness, toggle sepia on and off, and add a virtual bookmark to your page. Search for text, highlight and leave notes in your book. Universal App (Free)

Kindle – If you already have a great Kindle/Amazon collection of books, this app is perfect. You can import all of your purchases over to your iPad easily. Just login and hit sync to bring your books over. Best of all, the pictures in your Kindle books will be in color! Enhanced books (ones with audio or video) are also available. Universal App (Free)

Google Books – Now you can buy your books from Google too. Access over 2 million Google eBooks on your favorite device. There are options to change font size/typeface, search within the book, more book info, page turns, night-reading mode, and offline reading mode. All you need is to log into your Gmail account to access your books. Universal App (Free)

Epicurious – Download recipes from the fabulous site, Epicurious.com right onto your iPad and read it in the kitchen while you cook! Choose from over 30,000 different recipes. Save your favorites, and create a shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need to cook it. It’s a delightful app for the most seasoned chef, to a casual cook. Universal App (Free)

InstaPaper – Instapaper is a free web service that allows you to save web articles and links for reading at a later time. The Universal iOS app caches the articles you save for offline reading on your device. This is really handy when you want to save articles to read on the plane or when traveling. Many apps also have Instapaper built-in so you can send links to it too. Highly recommended if you enjoy reading a lot of webpages and news. Universal App ($4.99)


Productivity

Penultimate – a great notebook app. Take notes by writing (preferably with a stylus) and organize them in separate notebooks. Choose from graph, lined, or plain paper for your notes. The app is fast and simple to use. There are also options to email your page (or entire notebook) to someone, save it to your photo roll, or print. iPad Version ($1.99)

ToDo – If you ever carried a daily planner with you in the past, you’ll fall in love with this app. It’s a gorgeous To-Do list that’s wrapped up in a beautiful interface. Create your list of To-Do’s and reminders and check them off as you complete them. The simple and beautiful interface is what makes this app unique. Change out the theme as your mood changes. Additional themes can be purchase in-app for 99 to $1.99. iPad Version ($4.99) | iPhone Version ($4.99)

SketchyPad – This is perfect if you’re an web or app designer. Add your design on the canvas, along with various components. Double tap on the component to customized and change. This is the perfect app when you need to jot down your ideas for a client. Design a page/app quickly to demonstrate your ideas. There’s even an option to email the design or save in your photo roll. This works well when you need to share your design idea with your development team. iPad Version ($4.99)

Dropbox – store your files in the clouds. It’s like a hard drive that follows you everywhere, no matter what device you use. Your files will be synced all across your devices. A Dropbox account is required. The free Dropbox account comes with 2GB of space that you can use for as long as you like. You may upgrade up to 100GB. Universal App (Free)

Bento – create your own personal database. Have a collection or cds or inventory you need to keep up? Store it in Bento and sync your databases across your devices. Bento comes with 25 ready-to-use database templates that can be easily customized to organize any type of information you have. You can manage contacts, track projects, organize your album collection, plan events and so much more. iPad Version ($4.99) | iPhone Version ($4.99)

Brushes – Love to doodle, paint, or draw? This app has a beautiful interface that’s simple to learn, yet powerful enough for professional artists. This app comes with 19 high-quality brushes, up to 6 layers, a quick zoom, in-app replay of your paintings (amazing feature), VGA/TV output, and much more. iPad Version ($7.99) | iPhone Version ($4.99)

Evernote – this is the app that can remember everything you can’t! Store your thoughts, pictures, and anything you want to remember in the cloud. You can even tag, search, and organize all your thoughts too. Creating an account is free. You can also go premium if you would like to be able to upload any file time, and up to 1GB of space per month.
Universal App (Free)

Pages – If you edit or create a lot of formatted documents, this is the app you’ll need. Simply type your text like you would in MS Word or Pages. Select and highlight text that you would like to bold or change color. Add, drag, and drop images into your file and move them around easily. Spell checking and word count also available. iPad Version ($9.99)

iMovie – Now that the iPad 2 has cameras, you’ll probably be taking more videos! Edit them right on your iPad with this easy-to-use app. Add photos, music, sound effects and give it the whole Hollywood treatment with 8 different themes to choose from. Some features exclusively on the iPad 2 are the Multi-Touch Precision Editor and Audio waveforms. Overall, it’s a great app to edit videos on the go without the need of a computer.
Universal App but compatible with iPad 4, iPod Touch 4, and iPad 2 Only ($4.99)


Photography

Photoshop Express – Now that there’s a camera on the iPad 2, this app will come in handy. It’s like Photoshop for your fingers! Import your image and edit away. Pinch and zoom to apply filters, and then save the image, or upload to Photoshop.com.
Universal App (Free)

Coolibah – This app is probably geared more for the crafty people. You’ll be taking a lot more photos on your iPad now. What better way to spruce up your photos than with a splash of patterns and colors. Digitally scrapbook your photos on the fly and post them to your favorite social networks. Export higher quality versions to make prints as well! The app is free to download, but your creations will have a watermark on them. You can upgrade via in-app purchase ($4.99), as well as purchase more scrapbook templates for 99 cents each. Universal App (Free)


Games

Plants vs Zombies HD – This is one of the best games out there. And it’s even more fun on the iPad because you can get your tapping-action going. Protect your house from the zombies by planting super-power plants in front of your house. Don’t let the zombies get close.. or you may lose your mindiPad Version ($6.99) | iPhone Version ($2.99)

Angry Birds HD – You got to have the number one game of all time on your iPad. Your favorite birds are at it again, terrorizing the pigs and scaring them out of their homes. The adventure puzzle game just get better and better, especially being on such a nice big iPad screen. Hit your targets with better accuracy. And if you do miss too many times, call on the help of the big Mighty Eagle! Be sure to join Game Center and see how you rank in the world. (Angry Birds Seasons is a seasonal version of the game.)
iPad Version ($4.99) | iPad Lite Version (Free) | iPad Seasons Version ($1.99) | iPhone Version (99 cents)

Scrabble – Gather your friends around to play a round of Scrabble — everyone’s favorite word game! In party mode, the iPad becomes your game board. Have everyone else with iOS devices download Scrabble Tile Rack (Free) and they’ll be able to throw their letter pieces onto the board! It’s quite amazing to watch how the devices communicate with one another. Other modes are also available, but Party Mode is certainly the most entertaining. Best of all, you won’t lose any game pieces when it’s over. ;) iPad Version ($9.99)

Words with Friends HD – Play one-on-one with a friend with this word game. You can play quickly or take your time making your moves. There are more Triple Words (TW) places on this board, so you’ll be surprised how quickly the scores dramatically change. This game is available on both iOS and Android platforms, so you can play with all of your friends.
iPad Version ($2.99) | iPad Lite Version (Free) | iPhone Version ($2.99)

Cut the Rope HD – Who doesn’t love physics games with something as adorable as a green pet that only eats candy? Candy dangles on a rope and you must cut it so that it falls right into the mouth of your cute pet. Collect stars along the way to advance to the next levels. Trust me, you’ll love it. iPad Version ($1.99) | iPad Lite Version (Free) | Universal Holiday Version (Free) | iPhone Version (99 cents)

World of Goo – Winner of many design, puzzle, and game awards, this game is a must-have. Drag and drop moving and squirming globs of goo to build structures, bridges, canonballs, etc. Unused balls of goo will climb up your structure to reach and end point. Save and rescue enough Goo to advance to the next level! The World of Goo has beautiful graphics and an amazing soundtrack. It’s one of the best games for the Mac and even better on the iPad. Explore and get lose in the World of Goo! iPad Version ($4.99)

Smurfs’ Village – Hooray, hooray! The Smurfs are in here! Get ready for the smurfy cuteness to invade your iPads! If you enjoy games like We rule and Farmville, you’ll love Smurfs’ Village even more. Based on the original cartoon and comic art, this game brings back a lot of childhood memories. Universal App (Free)

Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition – Your favorite monkeys are on the loose again! Keep your monkeys rolling in orbs as you collect bananas and race to the finish line. Mini-games include Monkey Base, Monkey Target, Monkey Golf, and Monkey Bowling. Have an endless fun time with this accelerometer game! This iPad game was $14.99 but is now on sale for $3.99. iPad Version ($3.99) | iPhone Version ($2.99)

HoloToy – While you’re waiting for the new Nintendo 3DS to come out, get a taste of the 3D effect on your iPhone or iPad! HoloToy a series of 3D games you can play on your iDevice. Believe me, it’s not like anything you’ve seen in the app store before. New games are added frequently and best of all, it’s only 99 cents! Universal App ($1.99 cents)


Social Networking

Flipboard is an amazing and beautiful interactive magazine designed just for you. As you flip the pages, you will see personalized pages filled with your friends Tweets, Facebook updates, and posted photos. At least that’s who it would work if you were allowed to connect your account. They’re currently still working on the accounts portion, but it’s definitely worth the download. I suggest adding the “Tech Influencers” to your content list to get tech news, tweets, and announcements. iPad Version (Free)

Friendly Facebook – Facebook doesn’t have an official app yet, so this app is the best next thing! It displays your Facebook profile, wall, and status updates nicely. Not to mention, the photos are gorgeous as well. You wouldn’t want to go back to the website after trying it. It also allows you to have multiple accounts, but from my experiences, the inboxes seem to get mixed up it there are two or more accounts. iPad Version (Free/99 cents – ad free)

IM+ – Sign into chat with this app and connect to your GTalk, Yahoo, MSN/Live Messenger, AIM/iChat, ICQ, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and Jabber accounts. There are push notifications when you receive a message. And it’s a universal app, so you only need to purchase once. Universal App (Free / $9.99 – ad free)

Twitter – Follow your friends and their tweets, real-time news searches, and your interests on the official Twitter app. It has a clean user interface, but is quite powerful underneath it all. Tap, swipe up and down, and reveal hidden features. The one thing I’d like to see add is the ability to manage users in lists. This feature seems to be absent on the iPad version.
Universal App (Free)

GetGlue – this is a social network for people who want to ‘check-in’ and rate movies, tv shows, music, books, and more! Earn stickers and badges along the way. You can also have your stickers mailed to you! Best of all, it’s free!
iPad Version (Free) | iPhone Version (Free)


Education

NASA App is a fabulous app if you want to dive deep into space exploration. Explore each of the planets closely. Read tweets from space, read NASA news, see thousands of images from space, and much much more. Internet connection is required.
iPad Version (Free) | iPhone Version (Free)

WebMD – This app lets you check your symptoms, access drug & treatment information, get first aid essentials, and check local health listings. To check your symptoms, simply tap on the picture of the body to narrow down your affected area.
iPad Version (Free) | iPhone Version (Free)

WolframAlpha – Love information? Now you can access expert knowledge no matter where you are. Computer solutions to difficult math problems, balance complex chemical equations, get help with a crossword puzzle, and much much more. This app was at one time selling for $49.99 and is on sale for just 99 cents this week. It’s universal, so you’ll be able to use it on your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad! Universal App ($1.99 cents)

EMD PTE Periodic Table – If you’re taking Chemistry, or need to review the periodic tablet of elements, this comes in pretty handy. Click on the elements to get more information on it. The app is universal, working on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad!
Universal Version (Free)

3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool is perfect for students taking Biology. Learn about what makes up the cell structure with a 3d model, as well as stain your own cell by selecting colors for each structure. Have fun rotating the cell around and finding the Golgi, Lysosomes, and Nucleus! iPad Version (Free)


Shopping

Zappos – As if your weren’t addicted to shopping at Zappos.com already, they just made a gorgeous iPad app that let’s your browse through all of your future accessories! Select an item and swipe up and down to scroll though the different angles. It sure makes shopping a lot of fun! Tab through reviews, more details, and more info about the brand. Shop for shoes, clothing, bags, beauty products, as well as housewares. Great user interface and that’s both functional and easy to use! Universal App (Free)

Target for iPad – Getting ready for some Christmas shopping? Be sure to check out the weekly ads on the Target iPad app. Just set your store location and the ad will appear. Flip through the pages and when you see something you like, tap and add it to your list. When you’re done browsing, email the list to yourself and you’re ready to go shopping. The apps makes it a fun and green way to read the weekly ads! iPad Version (Free)

Windowshop by Amazon is a fun way to browse what’s available on Amazon.com. Pictures of products are displayed according to categories and you can tap and swipe away. Tap on a category and the entire screen is filled with items from only that category. It does make shopping and finding gift-giving ideas much easier! iPad Version (Free)

Boutiques – Shop or “window browse” the latest and largest collection of curated boutiques. These have been created or inspired by celebrities, designers, fashion trends, and popular users. If you love fashion, you’ll love this app. Beautiful interface to tap and browse. iPad Only App (Free)

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iPad Stand Review: TwelveSouth Compass

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

The TwelveSouth Compass iPad stand is one of the most compact, yet sturdy, iPad stands you’ll find on the market. It’s lightweight and perfect if you’re always on the go with your iPad. When folded, the Compass reminds me of a Japanese fan — thin and compact. But the magic is when you unfold it into a functional stand.

Upright Stand. Pull all three legs of the Compass out to form an “A” or easel-like shape. Once you have it in position, pull out the smaller tab parts at the bottom in the front two legs. This is where you would put the iPad. It’ll lean against the stand and sit on these two tabs in the legs. The parts where the iPad rests on are lined with a soft rubber to ensure no scratches are put on your iPad.

Typing Position. Another nice feature in this stand is that it also folds into a typing position. Pull out a metal tab on the back tripod leg and put this new leg on the table. The back leg will fall into place. Lay the Compass in its new position on the table, then put your iPad on top of it. This puts the iPad in a perfect position for typing. It’s lifted off the ground and protected by the soft rubber on the stand.

There is one thing to keep in mind though. In this position, the tabs in the front legs get in the way of your typing, so it’s not recommended to type for long periods of time with the stand.

Overview. With the Compass, the iPad could be displayed in either portrait or landscape mode in both positions. Because of the compact size when folded, this stand is the most ideal for travel. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and quite functional. Beautifully crafted and designed, this stand deserves to be in a class all its own.

Note: The TwelveSouth Compass Stand for the iPad is compatible with both iPad 1 and iPad 2 as well as various eReaders and tablets.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars · $39.99 · TwelveSouth · Amazon ($39.99)

Disclosure: This product was sent by TwelveSouth for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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iPad 2: Review and Upgrading Tips

March 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Are you an iPad (1st generation) owner? Did you also just upgrade to an iPad 2? Here are a few things you should think when moving your data over to your new tablet.

Syncing your iPad 2 with your iPad 1 Backup1

The iPad 2 isn’t that useful until you sync your collection of apps, books, and documents from your first iPad onto it. Downloading each app, one by one can be a large task. The best thing to do is to move a backup copy of your iPad 1 over to the new device. Here are the steps:

  1. Sync and backup your iPad 1 in iTunes.
  2. When this is done, plug in your iPad 2. On the left side in iTunes, find your new device. Right click so a menu comes up.
  3. Select “Restore from backup”
  4. Select the name of your backup (whatever you named your previous iPad device) from the menu.
  5. Click “Restore”
  6. Syncing your iPad 2 may take a while depending on how much data you had in your backup.

Be sure that both devices are running the same iOS version. The iPad 2 is shipped with iOS 4.3. If you’re running iOS 4.3.1 on your iPad 1, this will not work completely.2

What you should be aware of:
Be aware that restoring from a backup does not move everything over exactly the way they were. The apps, their data, and most of their settings are moved over, except they’re installed on the new device in alphabetical order. It’ll start installing on page 2 and end on page 11. If there are more apps, it’ll install on page 1 and then the rest will be on page 12+ (but these will not be visible on the display). You’ll need to use the search bar to find the apps that aren’t visible on screen.

Another strange thing is that folders are not moved over. So once you finish syncing your apps, you’ll have a bit of app sorting and organizing to do.

If you download a lot of book previews in iBooks, they will not be added onto your new iPad either. However, full books and PDFs will be moved over (if you sync/select them in the Books tab).

New Default Apps

Once you’re done syncing, you’ll notice a few extra icons on your iPad 2. These are the new default Apple apps available for the updated device.

  • Camera – This app is the optimized version of the iPhone camera app. You can select camera or video mode in the bottom right settings. The option to use the front-facing or the back-facing camera is on the top right. When you run it for the first time, it will default to the back-facing camera. Change the settings if you like. The next time you open up the app, it will pick up your new settings.
  • Photobooth – Like with most Apple products, the iPad 2 now comes with the classic Photobooth app. This app takes photos of the subject in 9 various modes including Thermal Camera, Mirror, X-Ray, Kaleidoscope, Normal, Light Tunnel, Squeeze, Twirl, and Stretch. Besides the Normal mode, I find the other modes just takes creepy photos of you. This app only works with the front-facing camera.
  • Facetime – Now you can make video calls and video chats with other Apple users. Facetime is available on iPod Touch 4th generation, iPhone 4, and Macs running Snow Leopard 10.6.6+. You’ll need to sign in with your Apple ID (could be the same as your iTunes account). Both cameras will work on this app. Simply switch the camera used in the top right settings.

Camera Placement

Now that there are cameras on the iPad 2, there is a wrong and right way of holding it, at least when you use the cameras apps. The camera on the iPad works best when it’s on top and the Home button is at the bottom (portrait mode).

At first, I thought that having the back-facing camera on the left side would have photo alignment issues. But after testing, it seems fine as long as you look on the screen to center and focus your subject.

This position also works very well when you want to make a video in landscape mode. In portrait mode, if you turn your iPad clockwise, the back-facing camera will be on the top left, making it easier for you to hold the iPad and record video at the same time. Because of the size and shape of the iPad, recording video on it isn’t that practical, but it’s nice to have the option to.

Placement of Various Ports

Microphone. In the iPad 1, the microphone is located in the top left, next to the headphone jack. This is somewhat of an odd placement, but there were not many apps that needed to record sound, so it wasn’t so bad.

Now that Facetime has been added on the iPad 2, sound and voice quality is more important. The microphone has been moved right in the top center of the iPad, making talking to someone on Facetime much better. You’re not talking to just one side of the screen (which would look funny on video).

There’s a major improvement in the speakers as well. The speakers are much bigger in the iPad 2, starting from the bottom left edge of the iPad 2, and abut a finger size in height. Audio is spread much further, making your audio and music much clearer.

Processor

The addition of the Dual-core A5 chip has made the latest iPad much faster. If you play a lot of graphic-intensive games (or apps in general), you’ll noticed how much quicker the game responds to your actions. If you’re just using mostly text-based productivity apps, you may not see much of a difference at all.

Design and Weight

Design. The significant differences between the iPad 1 and iPad 2 are their designs and weight. The new design borrows the best parts of the iPhone 3G/GS and iPhone 4 designs. It takes the rounded concave edges to make it appear much thinner, and the back is completely flat like the iPhone 4. When the iPad 2 lays flat on a table, it’s still easy to pick up since the edges don’t touch the table.

In the iPad 1 design, they also mixed the designs of the iPhone 3G/GS and iPhone 4. The edges took the trait of the iPhone 4 and had a straight flat edge all around the iPad 1. However, on the backside of the device, it had a more rounded feel. So if it was to lay flat on a table, only a little part of the device would actually touch the table. This was intentional also so you can pick the iPad up easier.

That’s two design concepts for solving the same problem. I’d have to say the iPad 2 approach is much sleeker and makes the iPad appear much thinner than it is. The optical illusion on the sides gives it the edge.

Weight. If you hold the iPads in one hand, the iPad 2 is significantly lighter. However, you still can’t compare it to the Kindle which feels as light as a feather. The trade-off between a Kindle and iPad is the ability to do multiple things though.

Should I Upgrade?

So the big question is, if I already have an iPad 1, should I upgrade to an iPad 2? The iPad 2 is one of those devices that you don’t need, but instead, just want. It also comes in two colors now — white and black. iPad 2 are scarce, but iPad 2 in white are even more rare. The cameras and speed upgrades aren’t compelling enough to have to get a new iPad. But if you’re interested in using apps like iMovie and Garage Band, you may want to think of an upgrade. More and more interesting apps that require an iPad 2 will start to pop into the app store soon enough. If you’re app-dicted, getting an iPad 2 as soon as you can is a good idea to maximize your time with one. The iPad 3 after all is rumored to be releasing soon!

1You can also use an iPhone or iPod Touch backup, but most apps will require the 2x view. It’s recommended to start fresh instead and download iPad optimized apps.

2This article was based on iPad 1 and iPad 2 running iOS 4.3.1. Some parts may be different in future versions of iOS.

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