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.
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.
Now that Breaking Bad has ended I was looking for other shows to fill the void. A couple of friends of mine suggested Dexter on Showtime. Just like with Breaking Bad, I haven’t seen any of the previous seasons. However, with Breaking Bad I was able to catch up to the current season with Netflix. Unfortunately Dexter isn’t on Netflix. I subscribed to Showtime via my Comcast Cable provider at home and then started watching season one of Dexter via the Showtime Anytime App. While the App worked as advertised, It doesn’t allow for AirPlay to play the shows on Apple TV. A friend suggested that I try the XFINITY TV Player App and unfortunately it has the same AirPlay restriction with Showtime content. I really wish the studios would get over their paranoia and allow this since I am paying for subscription to watch it anyway. Why not allow me to watch it on the device that I want to (an HDTV!). While the XFINITY TV Player app was no better in this regard, I never went back to the Showtime Anytime App. I liked the XFINITY App better. One of the major advantages it has is the ability to either stream the content OR download it to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch so that you can watch offline! This is huge since I travel a lot. I downloaded a few episodes of Dexter to watch on the plane it and it worked great! Also the XFINITY TV Player App isn’t just limited to Showtime content. There are tons of shows/series and movies to watch.
There are limits. While I could stream or download episodes of Dexter, I can only stream movies and other shows. It appears that the ability to download is on a show by show basis and likely controlled by the Networks that own the show. Some of the more recent shows will also have ads that play at the beginning. However, even with these restrictions the XFINITY TV Player App provides a ton of “on demand” content to watch when you’re on the go.
If you are a Comcast XFINITY subscriber then you’ll definitely want to download this FREE Universal App.
Recently I did a couple of workshops and I decided to use Eventbrite.com to manage the ticket selling/registration process. This site is great for people doing events, but don’t want to be bothered having to setup a website to handle the credit card transactions and registration tasks. As you would expect Eventbrite takes a small cut of the tickets you sell. There is no upfront cost or monthly fees or minimums. You can either choose to absorb the fees or pass them on to your attendees. As my event got closer I got an email from Eventbrite.com reminding me and offer some options such as printing off an attendee list, name badges, etc. However, I also noticed in that email that they had an iOS App that would actually allow me to do the check in process electronically. Once I downloaded the App and signed in my event was right there and up to date with the number of attendees I had. I could then check people in as they arrived either by tapping on their names and checking them in or scanning the barcode on their tickets that they printed from the site. Very cool! My events we small, but I could see where this app would really be useful for large events as it would help cut down on the time it takes to get people through the door and the safeguards built-in to prevent duplicate tickets being presented.
If you’re going to use Eventbrite.com for your event, then you’re definitely going to want this app for fast check in! The App is a Universal App native to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Yes, you can use multiple devices running the App to check people in for your event even faster.
More and more people are joining and posting pics to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. every day. Instagram in particular shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. A couple of weeks ago I reviewed a free app called Pic Stitch that allows you to combine multiple photos into one image (frames) so that it’s nicely formatted to post to Instagram’s 1:1 square ratio format. Well yesterday my good friend Kandice Lynn turned me onto another App that blew me away. It’s called PicPlayPost. What makes this one different from all the others I’ve seen is that it can incorporate not only stills, but also videos. Imagine everything that you can do with your favorite photo collaging/combining App and then throw video and songs into the mix! This is very timely seeing that the last major update to the Instagram app now lets you upload videos that you didn’t capture with instagram.
How does PicPlayPost work?
You start off by selecting your ratio and then the frame layout you want. You can more easily customize any layout you pick simply by dragging the size of the frames. Once you grant the app access to your photos you can then choose your photos or videos for each frame. Yes you can use multiple videos! I was also happy to see volume control for each video AND the ability to add a song (soundtrack) from your music library on your device. Of course you trim longer videos to just the area of play that you want. The app limits the videos to 30 seconds and of course the Instagram limit is 15 seconds. You get nice indicators to choose your exact in/out points as well as a total time indicator to keep it to your desired length.
Once you’ve assembled your desired stills and videos you can then share your video/still image to Instagram (if it’s a video it will export it to the camera roll first then open the Instagram app for you to use it), Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, email and Viddy as well as saving it directly to your device to use in other apps.
PicPlayPost is a Universal App and therefore will work natively on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
The App works GREAT, has built-in video tutorials to get you started and I couldn’t be happier with it!
Download PicPlayPost here from the App Store
Here are a couple of sample videos giving a behind the scenes look to my recent photo shoots:
Posting pics to social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, etc. are second nature to most iPhone users these days. As a matter of fact the iPhone is still the number one used device to post photos to most social media sites. Posting individual shots is easy! However, sometimes it’s better to post 2, 3, or 4 photos together as one photo. There are several photo editing apps for iOS and several apps that let you collage photos. My favorite App for combining photos is Pic Stitch. Pic Stitch is FAST and easy. Launch the App, choose a layout and populate the frames with the photos of your choice including the ability to snap a photo on the spot, choose from the Camera Roll/Albums as expected, grab shots from Facebook and my favorite option being able to grab pics from Dropbox. Before placing the photo you can even do a few last minute edits such as adding effects/filters, frames, stickers, focus, orientation, brightness, sharpness and even selective color/Splash. Once you place a photo in a frame you can then scale it and move it around in the frame for the best look. From there you can send the collage to Facebook, Twitter, Email, Photo Album, Instagram or open in any other editor you have installed. There’s even a Print to Walgreens option. Although Instagram wants Square 1:1 aspect ratio photos, you can change the aspect ratio to many other choices such as 5×7, 8×10, 16:9 or even Facebook Cover. You can do layouts from 1 photo all the way up to 16 photos. While most of these features are found in other apps, the latest update even allows you to design your own template on the fly. This is great when you have a custom layout in mind that doesn’t exist in the App.
Although the App is free you can do optional in-app purchases to add borders and frames.
The Pic Stitch App is a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.