Tag Archives: iPad

IRL: the iPad Air

Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.

By now, we’ve written nearly everything there is to say …
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How to get the most out of Apple’s Siri on your iPhone or iPad

For a feature that has so many uses across all of iOS, it is amazing how many people have never used Siri before. A survey taken in the second half of last year found that as many as 84 percent of users polled were not using Siri following the launch of iOS 7.

That means that there are still quite a few individuals that for some strange reason find it awkward speaking into their cell phones. What may make the remaining device owners more comfortable trying out Siri is knowing that you can use Siri with a set of headphones that include a microphone and even Bluetooth headsets.

The following will help those that have not used Siri before get started, and show off some of the many situations where Siri can be used on iOS for those among us that are using it.

Teaching Siri

Teaching Siri

What to call you - Siri can be configured under the General settings on your iOS device. One of the first things you set up on your device is which record in your contacts list belongs to your identity information. Siri uses this information to know who you are. Using the nickname feature of your contact information, you can tell Siri what you prefer to be called. It is of course much easier to just tell Siri “Siri, call me ‘your majesty.’”

Correct pronunciations - Siri does not always get things right when it comes to the pronunciation of certain names. But that’s ok, you can always teach Siri how best to enunciate each name. All you need to do is simply tell Siri to “Pronounce Geoffrey Goetz” and you will be guided through a series of tuning settings that will help get the pronunciation just right. This is much better than trying to manually enter a phonetic spelling of a name in the nickname field of your contacts.

Your family tree - Your contacts list is something that Siri can master. The more information you have in your contact list the more Siri will know about you and your family. In contacts you can add several different relationships by editing your contact information and adding a new “Related Name.” The label specifies the relationship between the two contacts; mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, child, friend. You can even enter a custom label of your choosing. When used in conjunction with Find My Friends, it makes searching for your contacts by your association to them much easier. “Siri, where is my son (or daughter)?”

Working with Text

Working with Text

Take dictation - Using Siri to perform speech-to-text translations is not limited to the questions you can ask Siri. You can also tap the microphone button on the keyboard to awaken Siri and speak the text you would like Siri to type for you. Sometimes saying what you are thinking can help you refine your thoughts more clearly, and allows you to avoid committing to paper many of the things in life you probably shouldn’t.

Read selected text - There are many hidden gems inside of the iOS Accessibility settings that almost everyone can take advantage of. One such setting is turning on the text-to-speech abilities of Siri. Hidden under General, Accessibility, Speak Selection, you can change the voice, speaking rate, and even have the words highlighted as they are spoken. This will add an additional selectable item above the text when you select it named “Speak.” Simply select a section of text as if you wanted to copy it and tap on the “Speak” option to have Siri read back to you the text that you have selected. Unfortunately this does not work on books in your Kindle library. To do that you will have to turn on Siri’s Voice Over feature.

Reading ebooks - Siri’s Voice Over setting can turn virtually any ebook into an audiobook. To make it easier to switch Voice Over on and off, you can configure the Accessibility Shortcut feature located at the bottom of the settings for Accessibility. With it you can quickly use a triple-click of the Home button to turn Voice Over on and off. Once set, open one of the books in your Library, even using the Kindle app, and triple-click to enable Voice Over. Once activated use a two-finger swipe up to signify that you want Siri to begin reading the book to you. Now Siri is not nearly as nice as some of the winners of this year’s Audie awards for audible books, but it will do in a pinch.

Speak notifications - Another hidden gem in the Accessibility settings is the ability to have Siri speak notifications as they pop up. This particular feature is great to use in conjunction with your car audio system so you don’t feel like you have to take your eyes off the road when a new notification is sent to you. This is accomplished by turning on the Speak Notifications feature that is part of the Voice Over capabilities. Triple-click the home button once your iPhone is paired with your car and Siri will read your notifications as they pop up while you are driving.

Controlling your Device

Controlling your device

Change device settings - This is a great feature when you are on a plane, listening to your favorite music, and you want to switch the airplane mode on. You can speak a command to Siri by pressing and holding down on the pause button on the remote attached to your headphones and instruct Siri to modify the settings without missing a beat. Something as simple as just saying “Turn on Bluetooth” as you get into your car and “Turn on Bluetooth” when you get out. And if there is a setting that you frequently change but don’t like navigating too, just inform Siri that you want to change the setting and the proper configuration screen will instantly appear.

Launch apps - Similar to the spotlight feature in iOS, Siri has the ability to find and quickly launch apps you have installed on your device. By saying something like “Launch Spotify,” Siri will search your list of installed apps and launch the app matching the name you have spoken.

Play iTunes Radio - Of course iTunes is an app, but Siri can take you specifically to iTunes Radio, which is a tab within an app. This feature — launching a specific tab within an app — does not work on all apps like Spotify or Pandora, but is a handy way to instantly play your favorite iTunes radio station with a simple command. You can even get more specific with your music library and ask Siri to play a particular album, song or artist.

Sending and Receiving Messages

Sending and receiving messages

Review missed calls - Placing calls to specific individuals in your contacts list by saying something as simple as “Call Home” is certainly easy enough to do using Siri. But did you know that Siri can also be used to list out your most recently missed calls by saying “Do I have any missed calls” or check your voicemail list by saying “Do I have any new voicemail.” Again, this is a great hands-free feature that you can use in many situations where you are waiting for that important call to come in.

Check email - In a similar manner, Siri also has access to all of your mail: “Do I have any new email?” You can even get more specific by asking “Any new email from Tom today” and Siri will look at any emails that you have received from Tom today. It is even possible to have Siri check the context of the message by asking something like “Show new mail about the contract.”

Tweet someone - Since Siri is integrated more with external services like Twitter, you can use Siri in a similar fashion to messages. Rather than saying “Tell Susie message” you say “Tweet message instead”. You can even specify a hashtag that you want to use in your message or that you want to use your location information in your tweet. Siri can search beyond the bounds of search engines as well: it can search for trending topics on Twitter by asking “What is trending on Twitter” or something more specific like “Find tweets with the hashtag Siri”.

Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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Apple

Video: New gadget turns your iPad into a 3D scanner (and costs as much as an iPad)

iPad 3D Scanner
Just as it has for the past few years, the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show brought us hundreds of different cases, cameras and other accessories that can be snapped onto Apple’s iPad tablet line. Among the most intriguing is the iSense from 3D Systems. This pricey iPad accessory attaches over the camera of an Apple tablet and transforms the device into a very efficient 3D scanner. At $ 499, the iSense is $ 100 more than the company’s Windows-compatible 3D scanner — in fact, it costs as much as a 16GB iPad Air — but it’s definitely a great option for those with a real need for portable 3D scanning technology. 3D Systems’ full press release follows below along with a video of the iSense in action.

Continue reading…
BGR

3D Systems shows off a $500 3D scanner that clips onto your iPad

As excited as we were to play around with the Sense 3D scanner, the first-generation consumer scanner had some shortcomings. Near the top of the list was the fact that it only worked with Windows. While the operating system has a plenty large install …
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Stratus iPhone game controller also works with the iPad

The new Stratus game controller uses Bluetooth to support at iOS 7 device.

(Credit: SteelSeries)

iOS 7 users will be able to use a new wireless game controller to play games on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Up for preorder from SteelSeries, the Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller is designed specifically for iOS 7 devices and offers a layout with controls similar to those found on other iPhone game controllers.

A pressure-sensitive directional pad and four action buttons grace the surface, while four shoulder buttons appear on the edges. Dual analog joysticks, a button to connect to your iOS device via Bluetooth, and an on/off switch round out the package. The Stratus controller charges through the included USB cable and lasts around 10 hours on a single charge, according to the company.

As many as four Stratus controllers can connect to an iOS device at one time, providing multiplayer gaming. The main question here: how many iOS games support the controller let alone allow up to four people to play at once?

SteelSeries didn’t list any specific compatible titles but said that a growing number of iOS games support game controllers and that more are likely to be added in the coming months. iPhone game control… [Read more]

Related Links:
Samsung unwraps game controller for Android phones
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga storms onto iOS
What mattered on Sunday at CES 2014
Original Tomb Raider game makes 99-cent iOS debut
Why Apple’s 2014 won’t be like 2013

    








Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

Five tips to get more out of your iPhone or iPad in the new year

Usually a New Year’s resolution happens when a person makes a promise to improve themselves. Despite our best intentions, studies have shown that as high as 88 percent of all resolutions end in failure. This year, buck the trend and just try doing something simple, something easy; something you have not done before with your iOS device.

So how does one take a resolution and turn it into a revolution? Rather than using your iPhone or iPad as a consumption device to buy more music, books and movies, or as a communication device to share, post and send, use it to think. Change the way you normally go about performing some mundane tasks and try accomplishing them from a slightly different angle.

These five suggestions are a good place to start:

Take dictation with Siri

Take dictation with Siri

Siri can certainly help you out with a lot of the tasks you routinely perform on your device by providing you withe a hands free interface. But did you know that Siri is a great listener, too? It may feel a little odd at first, but anywhere you can type, you can speak. Tap the microphone on the keyboard and Siri will be listening to you, capturing your every word.

This is also a great way to refine your thoughts. Sometimes when you try to speak what you are thinking rather than write it down, it changes the thought and makes it more real. And once you have captured what you have spoken in text, you can select the text and have Siri read it back to you.

Hearing someone repeat back your thoughts you can also help you better articulate what you are thinking. Just be sure that you have turned on Speak Selection in the Accessibility settings of the General section of the Settings app.

Scribble some notes using a stylus

Scribble some notes using a stylus

Your finger may be good for a great deal of situations on your touch screen device, but not all of them. If you are a paper person getting through life with a series of pads, pencils and paper everywhere, then perhaps it is time to try something new.

To start out, try using Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus Solo ($ 19.99 Amazon) paired with a good note taking app, something that can handle your style of handwriting. One of my go-to favorites has been Penultimate (Free iPad), which will also sync to your Evernote account. If you are looking for something that works on both your iPhone and iPad (or just your iPhone), then give Notability ($ 2.99 Universal) a try. Notability has a lot of options to share your handwritten notes, but does not sync as seamlessly with a service like Evernote as Penultimate does.

Map a thought through to the end

Map a thought through to the end

To-do lists and notes may be a great way to capture a finished thought, but when it comes to developing a complete thought, there is something better. Mind-mapping applications are certainly not new, but are more accessible then ever before. By using diagrams to visually map information, mind maps are most effective at expanding on a central idea or theme. Branching out in all directions, you can freely move your tangent thoughts around and get back to the central idea rather quickly

MindNode ($ 9.99 Universal) is the app that I use most when brainstorming a new idea. The important thing to look for with mind mapping apps is their support for the FreeMind document interface (which MindNode does support). That way you can save and share your mind maps more easily with others.

Scan in and annotate a document

Scan and annotate a document

In an effort to go truly paperless, the camera on either your iPhone or iPad can be a great place to start. The trouble is that taking a photo of a document is not always as easy as it sounds. Photos of documents are often angled and include the background of the surface where the document was resting when the photo was taken.

With JotNot Scanner Pro ($ 0.99 Universal), you can zoom into the corners of the document and trim out all of the excess imagery when you take a photo of a document. It will also straighten out the most obscure of angles and make the document look as if you scanned it in with a professional scanner. If you would like to add OCR recognition to your document, that is translate the photographed words into selectable text, then SmileOnMyMac’s PDFpen Scan+ ($ 4.99 Universal) is the app you need. I have just found it much easier to select the corners of a document with JotNot.

Once you have the document scanned, then the two best apps that I have used to annotate a document have been PDFpen ($ 4.99 iPhone, $ 14.99 iPad) and GoodReader ($ 4.99 iPhone, $ 4.99 iPad). Both apps will allow you to mark up documents, highlight text, and take notes.

Draw a self portrait from a selfie

Draw a self portrait from a selfie

Just because you don’t think you have the skills to be Picasso does not mean you shouldn’t try. A great shortcut is to experiment with layers and try tracing the photos you have taken. You can play with the transparency settings of each layer to make your drawing more pronounced, or the photo. When you have finished, you can delete the photo entirely and leave only drawing. While apps like Brushes 3 (Free Universal) and Layers ($ 4.99 iPhone, $ 5.99 iPad) have captured the imaginations of artists around the world, I have found ArtStudio ($ 4.99 iPhone, $ 4.99 iPad)) a little easier to get the hang of personally.

If you do not feel like using one of your own self portraits as inspiration, then take a photo of your surroundings and sketch it out. You will be surprised at just how calming of a mental exercise this activity can be.

Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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    Apple

    iPhone, iPad crush Android in Christmas Day online shopping war

    iOS vs Android Christmas Shopping
    After winning the Black Friday shopping war against Android, iPhones and iPads scored a similar “win” when it came to Christmas Day online shopping in the United States. According to data from IBM analytics, which tracked about 800 nationwide retail sites, Christmas Day online sales were up 16.5% compared to last year.

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    BGR

    Get discounts on top iOS apps for your new iPhone or iPad with App Santa

    One of the best parts about a brand new iPhone or iPad is that it’s essentially a blank slate. And what better way to make it your own than to start filling it up with apps? If you’re getting a new iOS device for Christmas, or just poking around for some new apps, you might want to check out App Santa, which highlights some major discounts on a number of useful apps.

    The site is a collaboration among a number of indie developers that have gotten together to draw attention to some holiday deals on their apps. Most of what you’ll find here is productivity-focused – there’s a scientific calculator, a PDF converter and a remote desktop app, among others – and everything is up to 60 percent off the regular price.

    You don’t actually need to visit the site in order to get the deals. All of the apps listed are currently on sale in App Store. The site is just a useful portal to see the available discount offers. And you’ll still have time to score some discounts after Christmas, as the sale prices are good through December 27.

    Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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    Apple

    Apple eyeing $4 billion iPad deal in Turkey

    Turkey Apple Retail Store
    Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is reportedly going to travel to Turkey in February to attend the official opening of the first retail store in the country, but also to negotiate a $ 4 billion iPad deal with the country’s officials, Turkish publication Emlakkulisi (via AppleInsider) reported. Apple’s iPad could be a solution for Turkey’s “FATIH Project,” which aims to bring modern computing devices to classrooms. Should Apple win the bid, the Turkish government will buy 10.6 million tablets in a first phase, followed by a second 2 million to 2.5 million iPad purchase. The deal would be worth between $ 3 billion and $ 4 billion to Apple over the course of four years. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already seen Apple’s headquarters in California back in May, during a visit that was likely related to the FATIH education project.

    Continue reading…
    BGR

    Apple’s Tim Cook heading to Turkey in 2014 over big iPad deal, says sources

    Yesterday, an Apple employee newsletter surfaced in which CEO Tim Cook teased some big plans the company has in store for 2014. While such big plans weren’t elaborated on, a … Continue reading
    SlashGear