Apple

Apple Store for iPad

Apple Store App for iPad is Finally Here

Apple_Store_App_iPad

One of the mysteries of the tech world was why Apple, the inventor of the iPad had not saw fit to make their own Apple Store App a native iPad app. Of course one could argue that the Apple Store website works just fine on the iPad in Safari, but it just always seemed weird that a company that touted how many native iPad apps that were available in the App Store wouldn’t take it upon themselves to make native iPad Apps of all their own apps right out of the gate. Whatever the reason behind this oversight, there is finally an Apple Store App for iPad. Just in time for the holiday shopping season you can now shop the Apple Store from the comforts of your iPad with a nicely designed native iPad App.

What you would expect

There are not huge surprises here. The App is clean with lots of white space. You can shop by category or do a search. I highly recommend that you do use the search feature as I’ve found not all products show up in their respective categories. For example, I was interested in the Mophie Juicepack battery for iPhone 5. Going to the iPhone accessories and the general power accessories didn’t show this item. Had I not known that Apple carried it, i would have moved on and bought it from somewhere else. However, I did a search and it came right up in the app. The check out process was easy. After I added the item to my cart I was able to checkout by simply inputting my Apple ID password and all my information, saved credit card was already there. I got a conformation email that the order had been placed and was being processed.

Apple_Store_App_iPad_2

There are a few subtle things that are easy to over look. For example, there’s a picture of the item you’re interested in as you would expect. However, if you swipe changes are you can see additional pictures. There’s no indication that there are additional pictures, just swipe. Once you tap on a product you’re probably going to want to know how to go back. You swipe down to reveal the back button and nav bar at the top. You can use the app to find nearby stores and add your favorite store just like with the iPhone version. Of course you can also use it to schedule your Genius Bar appointments and workshops.

Not sure why Apple took so long to make a native iPad version of this App, but I’m glad it’s finally here.

iTunes.

iOS 7 and my top 10 Favorite Features!

iOS-7-main

After spending more than 24 hours with the new iOS 7 I have to tell you that this is the best iOS yet! It’s fast, nimble, and even more intuitive than previous versions (if that’s possible). The interface adds a sleek new minimalistic look all while including a ton of new features that really sets the iPhone apart from the competitors again!

Top 10 Features of iOS 7

 

Here are the Top 10 things that really make iOS 7 awesome (in no particular order).

 

The Design:

iOS71

I think this is the first thing that hit me about iOS 7. Apple has gotten away from the aging icons of previous versions and gone with a minimalistic look. The App icons are translucent to allow for a “there but not there” feel. This also aids in viewing the background a little better than before. Along with the translucency, the way apps open and close has a smoothness to it. It’s something that you obviously can’t see on a picture but the way Apps open and close, the way the phone locks and dims, the way you shift from page to page… All of it just has a smoothness to it.

 

 

Control Center:

 

iOS 7

It seems to me that with every new version of iOS, Apple takes away a few more reasons to jailbreak your iPhone. iOS 7 is no different. With the launch of Control Center, I see no need for SB Settings (a popular jailbreak App). With a quick swipe from bottom to top you gain access to Airplane mode, wifi toggle, bluetooth toggle, do not disturb, screen lock, brightness, audio control, airdrop, airplay, and a few quick Apps that are used a lot. Being able to control my bluetooth without having to dive 3 menus deep into the settings App is a welcome addition. Also added within this section is the new Flashlight App that’s built in from Apple. This negates the use of a third party flashlight app that is more than likely (and annoyingly) supported by Ads.  Control center is a really useful tool for any iPhone user but especially power users like the readers of this site.

 

Camera:

iOS73

Camera… There are so many camera Apps out there that it takes a LOT to impress me when it comes to the camera. What Apple has done with the built in camera app is not only impressive, but it’s amazing. It is HANDS DOWN the fastest iOS camera App available. There use to be a lag when taking a photo. The screen would flash and the live view would come back. Now there is no lag, or time between pressing the shutter button, to when the camera is ready to take another photo. It’s instantaneous. Also added in iOS 7 to the camera is the ability to view your images in “square” mode. People who use Instagram often, will love this feature.

iOS74

Along with the added features, the interface change to the Camera App makes it a lot easier and faster to access all of the controls. Switch from standard photo to square mode, to filters, to pano quickly and easily with the new layout.

 

App Folder Redesign:

613-9967-02

12. That was the number of Apps that used to fit in an iOS folder. NOW, Apple has redesigned the folders so that you can have as many Apps as you would like. 9 at a time display for each page and you swipe side to side to access the rest. Again, Apple has reduced another reason to Jailbreak. To have this ability before, you would have to jailbreak your phone and install Infinifolders. No more. Apple has it baked right into the OS!

 

Air Drop:

iOS77

Taking a cue from OSX Mountain Lion, iOS 7 adds AirDrop natively. If you’re on the same network as someone else that is running iOS 7 you are able to send and receive photos, videos, files, and more, very quickly by selecting the item to share and tapping the person to share it with! Within the Control Panel, you’re able to select who can see and send you files. The options are Everyone, Contacts only, and Off. Right now with the Beta 1, there is a bug that is preventing people from seeing their contacts so unless you have “Everyone” selected, you might not be able to see the other person. I expect that this will be fixed before the public release. Even with that bug, this feature is amazing!

 

Photo Sorting:

iOS78

I’m sure this will come as no surprise to the readers of the Best App Site, but the iPhone has become the most popular camera in the world. Take that in for a second. Not Nikon, not Canon, Not Leica, or Fuji… With all of the years that those brands have been in existence, they can’t compete with the ease and portability of the iPhone. Because of the convenience of the iPhone many of us have accumulated thousands upon thousands of photos in our camera rolls (Kylie Wilkerson I’m looking at you) and we need a way to quickly and efficiently sort through our photos. Apple has provided a tool for us to do just that. In iOS 7 Apple has included sorting by logical events and years. But what does that actually mean? Well at the root level is Years. From here you can select the year in which to start your search through images. Drill down one level and you will find collections. Collections can be anything from dates, to event titles, to locations. For example within 2011 I have “Orange County Convention Center” from April 1-April 4th. This houses all of my 2011 Orlando Photoshop World images. This makes it super easy to quickly get to a set of photos or a time frame to search for a particular photo.

 

Multitasking:

iOS79-1

Multitasking is nothing new to iOS. We’ve had it since iOS 4, BUT with iOS 7 Multitasking has received a beautiful makeover. No longer do you just see the icon of what is running when you double tap the home button. Now you see a preview of what’s actually running. This gives you a quick view of what’s going on inside of the Apps that allows you decide if you really want to kill the App. This is very similar to the way that multitasking shows your windows on a Mac.

 

 

Today Mode:

iOS7-10

One thing that has changed with iOS 7 is the ability to see the notification center from the lock screen. With a quick top to bottom swipe you get to see your notifications but with a new twist. Now instead of seeing all of your notifications, you have the choice of selecting missed, all, or my new favorite, Today. Today shows you just what’s going on today From the day, date, appointments, weather for the day (mine isn’t showing here because my weather App is broken, more on that later), and a quick view of tomorrow’s day. This is a really nice, quick way to see what’s going on during that day.

 

Automatic App Updates:

iOS7-11

With iOS 6 Apple changed things around a little bit for App updates. No longer did you have to type your password just to update Apps that you already had on your phone. With iOS 7 Apple has taken it one step further and completely automated the App update process. No longer do you even have to go to your App store to download updates, your iPhone does it automatically. To see which Apps have been updated, you simply launch the App store and select updates. You will see a list of the Apps that have been updated and the word open next to them. This feature is of course selectable. If you don’t want your iPhone to automate this process for you, you are able to turn it off in the settings.

 

Block Calls:

iOS7-12

Do you have certain numbers that make you cringe when they appear? Marketers that somehow avoid the “do not call” list? In-laws perhaps? Apple has added a “Block this Caller” option to the contacts section. This is pretty strait forward. Open or create a contact for the number or person that you don’t want to receive communication from, and tap “Block this Caller” at the bottom. Easy as that. No more annoying calls or texts from that person. Oh just in case you are wondering that’s the local Apple store so I won’t be blocking that one ;)

 

Better Every Time

Is this the perfect OS? Nope. No OS or product for that matter is. It’s getting pretty freaking close though! Keep in mind that this is Beta 1. The actual release of iOS 7 to the public isn’t until the fall. There are certain things that don’t work quite right just yet (remember the weather App) for some people. There are also certain features that need tweaking. For example currently iTunes Radio is a great concept, BUT NONE of the Apple stations play explicit content. The stations that you create yourself sporadically will play uncensored songs, but they are few and far between. There needs to be an option to select inclusion or exclusion of this content. I for one will not be listening to iTunes Radio much until this is fixed. There are tons of other little things that aren’t right just yet but again this is Beta 1 so by the time the public gets their hands on it, iOS 7 should be bug free (or close to it) and ready to perform! As it stands it’s very, very close to public ready so be excited for what’s coming! As always we’ll keep you updated as the new features roll out within iOS 7 as well as when the bugs are fixed. Keep checking back to the Best App Site for all of the updates!

 

 

 

 

 

Podcasts

Apple Podcasts App

As Apple starts to break out the functionality of the “Music” App, they have provided a New Apple Podcasts App. This makes it easy to go right to the Podcasts App, search, subscribe, and play the audio and video podcasts that you want without having to find them in the Music App. I downloaded this free App and was pleasantly surprised to see that two of my downloaded podcasts were there and ready to play. Like the iBooks App the App is designed to allow you to see your existing content or flip it over to see the “Catalog” of available podcasts. You can either stream an episode right in the App, download it for later viewing or subscribe so that future episodes are automatically downloaded.

The App is pretty basic, and does exactly what it describes. It’s a Universal App that works natively on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. I’d love to see a “genius” feature that would recommend new podcasts based on the ones that I’m already subscribed to.

iTunes

Cards

Apple’s Cards Lets You Send Custom Greeting Cards from your iPhone

  

The concept is simple and it's not a new one. There are a few different Apps on the App Store that let you turn your iDevice photos into printed post cards that can also be mailed to just about anyone. All you have to do is build the card in the App and the service takes care of the printing and mailing. Apple has entered this arena with custom greeting Cards. The Cards App is simple you start with a category and then once you pick the card you like from a given category you are three steps away from having a custom greeting card sent to a friend, colleague or family member. If the card you choose allows for a picture on the outside or inside you'll get to choose one of the pics on your iDevice. Then you can edit the text on the inside and lastly address the envelope before placing your order. Thankfully the App let's you pull address from your Contacts to speed up the process. These Letterpress cards run $2.99 and that's complete with envelope and postage. 

Nice but it could be better

First off I'm a little surprised that this isn't a Universal App for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. While it does work on all iOS devices it doesn't take advantage of the iPad's screen size. Portrait cards get no love in this App either. Everything is landscape. While landscape only cards aren't the end of the world, the designs are fairly basic too. Luckily some designs don't require a photo. While I love photos, not every card situation requires one. I'm also a bit surprised that Apple doesn't allow you to "sign" the card. After all you are on a touch device and a "handwritten" signature option would be a nice touch. Lastly, because the cards are mailed through the postal service as regular 1st Class Mail, you have no tracking info. Apple doesn't say where the cards are being mailed from, so you can't really guess about delivery times. Aside from these little things (I actually expected a little more from Apple), the App does work as advertised and it makes sending custom greeting cards pretty painless.

 

UPDATE – you do get a status Push Notification

I sent two cards out on two different days. The 1st one went out and got delivered yesterday and I had no idea about when it would be delivered. However, today low and behold I just got a push notification on my iPhone stating that the card arrived at the local post office and should be delivered today. Scratch that from my gripes :-)

 

You can get Cards for Free here from the iTunes

12-days-of-christmas

Don’t Forget the Apple iTunes 12 Days of Christmas App

As every year, Apple has decided to have their 12 Days of Christmas from today and on. Make sure you download their app and check it every day for new free stuff (music, apps etc.).

First out today is Coldplay's live-EP, recorded live (no kidding!) during the iTunes festival in London this summer. Nobody but Apple knows what is going to be available tomorrow, but don't forget to open the app tomorrow and find out.

NOTE: This app is only available for European stores and as an addition this year, Canada. If you use the US iTunes Store, this app is not available for you.

iTunes

Page 1 of 41234