Wednesday December 11, 2013
Apple is celebrating the holidays by having a 12 day giveaway from December 26th to January 6th. Previously known as the 12 Days of Christmas, the "12 Days of Gifts" campaign will give away a song, app, book or movie each day. The giveaway is only available in certain countries, with the United States being included this year after being shut out of all the free goodies last year.
You can download the 12 Days of Gifts app from the App Store to get notifications of the free digital content during the holidays.
Speaking of the holidays, a batch of new iPad users will hit after the holidays, which means you can play some fun pranks on your friends. Check out these iPad pranks to get some ideas.
Monday December 9, 2013
The purchase of purchase of 3D motion technology company PrimeSense brings new rumors circulating around the idea of an Apple-branded television, a device that has been in the rumor mill long enough to earn the 'vaporware' title. PrimeSense was the company behind the XBOX 360's Kinect, which tracks bodies in real time using a camera, and it would certainly make sense to add that technology to any smart television trying to take us to the next level.
But what makes us think Apple is the company capable of pulling it off?
Everyone from Samsung to Sony to Google to Nintendo has played around with the idea of a smart television or a smart companion device. Microsoft's XBOX ONE combines the gaming console with smart television services, even combining HDMI passthrough with an IR blaster and a menu overlay to completely replace your cable set top box. None of them have been altogether popular, with Google ready to shut down (or, at a minimum, rebrand) Google TV.
And while we like to think of Apple as a company that has secret sauce allowing them to completely innovate any product, we need only look so far as Apple TV to see that they aren't perfect. Apple TV is a great accessory for the iPad and a good companion device for anyone heavily invested in Apple's ecosystem, but Roku offers a device that is cheaper, more functional and as easy to use as Apple TV.
Apple TV's remote is one of the worst I've ever used, with a design that makes me think of a home run hitter that swung for the fence and completely whiffed. It's too small. Yes, sometimes being too small is bad, especially for a device that tries to hide between couch cushions. It doesn't feel good in the hand. The buttons are clunky, to say the least. And while there is an alternative on the App Store, the Remote app is much too sensitive to provide a good user experience.
I still recommend Apple TV for anyone well-invested in the iOS ecosystem. If you have a ton of music and movies on iTunes, subscribe to iTunes Match, have an iPhone in your pocket and frequently hang out on the couch with your iPad, Apple TV is a no brainer. But if you aren't currently enrolled in the cult of Apple, there is no reason to purchase it.
And that's a problem Apple will need to solve if they expect to be successful with a smart TV. It's one thing to shell out $99 for a companion device. It's quite another to pay north of $1,000 for a smarter television.
How to Buy a Cheap iPad
Thursday December 5, 2013
Not long ago, Bill Gates showed his ignorance to what is really going on in the world of computing when he mentioned how iPad users are really missing their keyboard. Of course, being out of touch seems to be a Microsoft specialty. The entire ad strategy of going after the iPad shows they don't even know who their competition is these days.
And what made Bill Gates' statement so hilarious was the wide variety of keyboard solutions available for the iPad, including using the same USB keyboard you use for your desktop PC. (If you still have one of those old-fashioned things.)
The trick is using Apple's Camera Connection Adapter, which was designed to let you download pictures from your camera to your iPad, but in reality, it lets you do a lot of really cool stuff like hooking in that wired keyboard or even hooking up a MIDI controller.
Find out other ways you can connect a keyboard to your iPad.
Wednesday December 4, 2013
Fisher-Price probably didn't expect the intense backlash their new Apptivity Seat for Newborns and Toddlers would receive on Amazon. The strap-in seat resembles many similar newborn seats designed both to keep the baby safe and entertained with dangling toys to touch and play, but Fisher-Price's newborn seat has one notable difference that -- if you believe many of the user reviews -- turns it into the source of all evil on the planet. It has a place for an iPad.
The arm that extends over the seat has a sturdy case that -- like the other Apptivity cases -- protects the iPad from dirty fingers, spills and drool. And when an iPad isn't in the case, a mirror reflects the baby's image. The arm can also be repositioned away from the baby for more face time.
The backlash on Amazon has been furious, and in some instances, simply incorrect. Many of the reviewers point out that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "recommends NO SCREEN TIME for babies under 2" (as one reviewer put it). Other reviewers state that the Apptivity seat can be harmful to the child's development, while a few write about how babies and toddlers should be getting activity and not strapped into a seat.
The AAP actually recommends that screen time should be "limited" not eliminated completely. The call to eliminate screen time completely was the recommendation given 14 years ago, with the most recent loosening that recommendation. There is no evidence that 'screen time' is at all harmful to development, however, it is not beneficial either. In fact, staring at a TV screen is the equivalent of staring at a ceiling, which is why the AAP recommends such activity be limited. It is much better for the newborn or toddler to be interacting with the world.
The flood of bad reviews appear to be more of an emotional reaction than a logical one. While the Apptivity seat Read More...