So much for the laughable idea, spouted just months ago by some, that the iPad is just an iFad. Today, heavy-hitter Research In Motion, maker of BlackBerry smartphones, unveiled the PlayBook, a 7″-screen tablet at its annual developer’s conference in San Francisco.
“RIM set out to engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry’” said RIM President Mike Lazardis in a press release today about the tablet.
The PlayBook is enterprise ready, and RIM is clearly trying to jump out as the tablet frontrunner in the highly lucrative corporate market. We’ll tick off some of the highlights here:
• 7” LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
• 1 GHz dual-core processor
• Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording and video-conferencing
• Video playback at resolutions of up to 1080p, and capable of HDMI output
• Equipped with both microHDMI and microUSB connectors
• It can handle HTML5, as well as Adobe Flash (and Adobe Air Apps)
However, there’s no 3G version yet — but RIM says they’ll be introducing both a 3G and 4G version eventually. The PlayBook is expected to ship to U.S. stores early next year, with Q2 seeing rollouts internationally.
View the press release here.
[RIM via Engadget]
The new iPod nano’s diminutive size keeps inspiring geeks worldwide to a variety of hacks. News today from Japan of the iSpeck’s ability to fit nicely inside the display slot on an old Sega Dreamcast VMU.
The Sega buttons do not control the iPod (yet?) but it’s safe to say this case offers good drop protection, and the headphone cord coming out the side doesn’t look as dorky as with an iWatch.
Proof that politicos are just like the rest of us: David Axelrod, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, keeps himself entertained during meetings by playing video games.
Axelrod confessed to logging in some quality time with old-school favorite Pac Man on his iPad.
Site Real Clear Politics asked Axelrod what does with the iPad he’s been “known to sneak into meetings with.” His answer: “It depends on whether my Cubs are playing…(but) it’s really actually very useful to keep track of what’s going on….I google things all the time.”
Apps he uses frequently include most of the major news organizations and sports sites.
“The one thing I have on there that’s a big mistake is Pac Man. And I do waste more time even than I should in meetings as I’m listening to people.”
What meeting apps are you addicted to?
The jailbreaking attempts on iOS 4 devices continues as one of the major players, the dev-team, posts a video of a new iPod touch running a beta version of the latest exploit in iOS 4 called SHAtter.
Go to Source
The latest version of the Bing for Mobile iPhone app brings customers an improved mapping experience and new travel features.
Go to Source
At the end of 2009, Condé Nast’s Gourmet magazine folded, bringing to an end more than fifty years of culinary journalism, and causing a great wash of sadness over thousands of foodies. All is not lost, as the title has just received a new lease on life as an iPhone app, but not in a strictly magazine form.
On some stories, when you finish reading you’ll hear a little bell ring and you’ll get a reward: access to even more content about that topic. That shows up in the form of a new “issue”, and all the issues you collect show up on a Rewards shelf that works a lot like iBooks. Pretty straightforward.
It’s an interesting take on a new medium, and I hope it succeeds. It’s always exciting to see something novel in a genre that struggles to keep reader interest.
[via Daring Fireball]
At the top of many OS X applications you’ll see something like this:
…a row of buttons, known as the Toolbar. This particular Toolbar is from word processing application Bean; different apps will have different buttons and different toolbars, but they will all look something like this.
The point is, wherever you see a Toolbar like this, you can customize it to suit your needs. You can put more buttons up there, or have just one or two. Or none at all.
Here’s how you do it.
Some applications will include this button on the Toolbar by default:
This means “Customize this Toolbar” and if you click it, a sheet of buttons will pop out from the bottom of the Toolbar.
If that button isn’t there, don’t worry. You can still make the sheet appear by right-clicking (or control-clicking) anywhere on the Toolbar, and selecting “Customize Toolbar…” from the menu that appears.
Once the sheet is in view, you can go crazy. Just drag buttons around until they’re where you want them to be. You can change their position in the toolbar, and you have some control over how big they look too. You can choose to have just the icons displayed, with no text labels. Or to display both. Or to display both, but at a smaller size. It’s up to you.
This picture shows the Toolbar options available in MarsEdit, the application I use to post to Cult of Mac. There are some features here that I use every day, and some that I’ll only use once in a blue moon. I’ve dragged the frequently used ones up to the Toolbar and left the others hidden. Just because they’re hidden, it doesn’t mean they’re out of reach – I can still use those commands from the menu bar as and when necessary.
The “Separator”, “Space” and “Flexible Space” icons aren’t buttons as such, but they help with designing the layout of your Toolbar. You can drag them into place to separate out groups of buttons.
Every Toolbar customizing sheet also has a group of default buttons at the bottom; if you want to restore everything to the way it was when you first opened the application, just drag this default set into place in the Toolbar.
This feature is built into almost every application on your Mac, and gives you a great deal of control. If, for example, you always like to have a New Document button on the far left and a search box on the far right, you can arrange all your app toolbars to work that way. If you’d rather keep things minimal, and have nothing in sight except a search box, you can do that too.
(You’re reading the 31st post in our series, 100 Essential Mac Tips And Tricks For Windows Switchers. These posts explain to OS X beginners some of the most basic and fundamental concepts of using a Mac. Find out more.)
We haven’t…uh…tried this yet (primarily because Cult editor Leander Kahney refuses to get back into his fencing Mexican-wrestler costume after last year’s Halloween fiasco) but it looks pretty damn cool, or something.
Sonic Speed Ball sets up a Bluetooth connection between two iPhones (or BT-equipped iPods), then simulates a virtual ball that can be smacked around using an iDevice as a paddle. Different gestures affect the virtual ball in different ways, à la the Nintendi Wii controller.
Sonic Speed Ball is $1; leash not included.
Back in July, I wrote an article rounding up some of the top RSS feed readers for the iPad. Since posting, I’ve started using a new contender as my main RSS client: River of News, which is simple, elegant, and beautiful. In short, it’s everything that an iPad app should be. But Twitter is complex and powerful, everything an iPad app should be. Which has a better design?
When an app is launched on an iPad, it becomes the iPad, it encompasses the entire device. In the best case, the iPad then fades into the background, and the experience becomes focused entirely on the application. When an app fades into the background as well, the iPad becomes all about content.
River of News gives me a pop-up menu to choose a folder from Google Reader, and that’s all I see of the app. The rest of the experience is all about scrolling through and reading the latest feeds. No overbearing animation, no surprising interfaces: it’s just me and the morning news. River of News’ focus on text reminds me a lot of Instapaper, another favorite iPad app, which also foregrounds content, leaving navigation and menu items couched in pop-ups.
An alternative application design philosophy looks at what the iPad can do and uses its capabilities to push the functionality of applications further. My previous favorite RSS client, Reeder, fell into this category. Reeder re-imagines how to use multi-touch to navigate through stacks of unread feeds. Pinch out to open a stack of feeds, pinch in to close it. More recently, Twitter released their official iPad application, and like Reeder, it pushes the boundaries of what we expect an iPad app to be.
Twitter for iPad uses panels that can slide on top of each other to show links, replies, and information about the user. The panels can be successive, meaning that you can follow links endlessly, and wind up with a long history of panels behind what you can see on-screen. The interface is obviously very well thought out, and well planned. It’s a very different design philosophy from iPad applications like River of News because it focuses on functionality, not simplicity. When I started using the app, I really didn’t like it. However, after committing to using it for a week or so, and discovering how to navigate it, I find it growing on me quite a bit.
With Twitter for iPad, the gestures are swiping left and right, and tapping. When using River of News, the gestures are more limited. You swipe up to scroll, and articles are automatically loaded at the bottom and marked as read at the top. You can swipe left and right to load other folders, but personally I’ve never found a need for it.
You can also tap to select a folder of feeds if you wish, but I normally just wait a second or two for it to automatically load my unread feeds. The level of activity is different with River of News and Instapaper than it is with Reeder and Twitter for iPad. Not necessarily better or worse, though.
When I began researching this article, I wanted to show why taking the simplistic approach was better, and how trying to make an iPad app too functional would cause confusion. The truth, though, is that the app design philosophy that’s best will depend on usage preferences and the type of app you’re making. It also means there’s room for more than one app on each iPad designed to accomplish the same thing.
How do you feel about application functionality versus simplicity on the iPad? Should all applications fade into the background, or should they give you the choice to be what you want them to be? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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