Tag Archives: iPad

Tablets: why Apple only scratched the surface

iPad was revolutionnary … 2 years ago. We all marvelled about that piece of technology letting us consume digital media in a whole new different way.

2 generations later, I’m still in love with my iPad, love to read RSS on it or play chess… but I believe the iPad will never go beyond the media consumption paradigm. iOS which was one of its strength thanks to its ease-of-use is proving way too limiting to enable any actual work to be done on that device – which is a shame since this device is – at least in its latest revision – a computing monster.

In the meantime, Windows 8 is bridging the gap between tablets and computers at fast pace.

As you may know I can’t work with windows as it lacks a decent shell and I still don’t see why you need to use a mouse to do actions that require the precision of a command-line.

And yet – Windows 8 and the new generation of tablets it’s helping build are truly a leap forward from the standard set by Apple. One example is the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, rocking a i7 processor and 13″ 1600×900 IPS display, it’s both an ultrabook and a (big) tablet.

lenovo ideapad yoga
lenovo ideapad yoga

Featuring both a touch interface, with an elegant design (I kinda like the Metro UI/UX as I grew kinda tired of Apple’s skeuomorph thing) as well as en environment where productivity apps can work decently – I love being able to use Visual Studio 11 on a “tablet”, coming with or without a keyboard, it opens up this platform to the full class of usages that people may imagine for them – lifting away the media consumption-only limitation. 

windows 8 on samsung slate review 13
windows 8 on samsung slate review 13

Moreover, it comes with an unusual openness (coming from Microsoft) to web standards as HTML5 apps are natively supported by the platform on an equal level as native c++/c# apps.

To me this evolution means only one thing : the time of Apple is coming to an end unless they manage to give a decent openness to their system and stop putting walls everywhere (Moutain Lion is a major step backward from that prospective).

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The New Ipad : I expected more usages and less technology

ipad 640 hero

I’ve been an iPad user since day one, and I believe tablets are way superior to laptops when it comes to consuming media. Watching a movie, reading a magazine (and accessing all the foreign magazines in a few seconds thanks to the newsstand…), reading newsfeed (I’m a lover of the reeder app), browsing the web…

Yet every time I tried using it as a creation tool it failed painfully. Creating keynote presentations, pages documents, writing code… all the usual stuff are still no good on that platform.  Every time I try using keynote the simplest operation which would be granted on a regular computer becomes a massive pain. The only thing that get actually easier is the “drawing” or “sketching” on apps such as Adobe ideas.

Apple launched yesterday its new iPad, featuring a retina display – and yet although I’m an Apple fanboy I’m left wondering why I should upgrade from my iPad. Will I be able to do more stuff ? Probably not. A few tech bumps (retina display, A5x) do sound appealing to a tech geek, and yet if those 10 last years have thought us something it’s that processin power or screen resolution do not create any new usage or experience.

I liked discovering yesterday the Android AIDE toolkit which enables to develop and compile android apps straight from an android device:

From my prospective that kind of tools are symptomatic of a healthy ecosystem where both creation and consumption can happen. Of course the experience is still very rough but that kind of trials will undoubtedly lead to some significant UX breakthrough in computing that will evolve touch-based devices from mere interactive screens to fully-functional computing platforms..

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The Cosmonaut: A Wide-Grip Stylus for Touch Screens


iPad for militaries

iPhones and Android smartphones are being field-tested as part of the U.S. military’s“Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications” program. The goal is to get secure, relatively cheap consumer devices that are easy to use into soldiers’ hands.

An iPad app that may soon play a pivotal role connecting soldiers on the street with airplanes hovering high above will be shown for the first time next month at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. The app, created by Harris Corp., a tech vendor with $6 billion in annual revenue, will let U.S. soldiers in war zones remotely control cameras mounted on tethered balloons and other unmanned aerial vehicles (or UAVs, in the parlance of the military set) using their iPhones and iPads.

via IDG


Flash comes to jailbroken iPads

Grats to “comex” who is apparently getting somewhere in porting flash to iPad. He is basing his work on the libflashplayer.so made by Adbobe for Android, and indeed since both are ARM devices, with a lot of hacking around he got it right !

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What the iPad is good for

mzl.jeaqusup.480x480-75.jpgI’ve been using the iPad home since its US release and while I was really puzzled at first about what it’s good for now I guess I have a clearer view of why an iPad really is good for.
Let’s first start with Steve’s claims:

  • The web : Really average experience imho, html5-optimized websites are rare while non-suported flas is overwhelming. All i all the experience is only partial and deceptive
  • Productivity : pages/numbers/keynote are not really useful, this did not enable me to replace my laptop – FAIL
  • Games : Excellent experience, games on the huge screen really rox. Also the bigger surface enabled new kind of cool games such as Harbor Master
  • eBooks : apart from tech eBooks I hate reading on the device, readability is average and there is just too much distraction in the device soul to enable proper immersion in the narration. I still keep my beloved Sony PRS-505 (best form factor imho) – FAIL

Thus, Steve only gets an average mark on his predictions : 1,5 out of 4.

Now a few more have become clear from my experience of the device :

  • Movies : using yxplayer makes it easy to upload DivX files without the hassle of re-encoding them to the itunes-supported format (and ending up in storing them twice on you laptop, once in divx, once in mp4 in the iTunes library)
  • Educational games / Drawing : The platform is amazing for kids enabling lots of fun interaction. Red Fish is a splendid example of how this can be done.
  • Rich Content : The wired application shows how interactive content can become and paves the way to more interactive books (would love to see school history books revamped to take advantage of the iPad)

As a conclusion, don’t buy an iPad if you don’t have kids – you’ll probably be disappointed. But if you do it’s probably going to be an excellent investment!

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iPad hates Sun

ipad hates sun

It reads “iPad needs to cool down before you can use it”. While you can’t use it it seems you can still make a screenshot of it.

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pCalc – the calculator business plan

PCalc for iPadI installed yesterday pCalc on my iPad and was quite amazed by the way the developer invented a really innovative business model of freemium … for a simple calculator.

As any freemium model, the basic calculator is free and high-quality and the developer identified a few typologies of users that need special functions such as HEX/Binary handling, RPN with multi-lines… and all those features can be purchased in-app in a super smooth way.

It’s jus brilliant to see that something as simple as a calculator can be a field of innovation like this.

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Hands-on iPad

I’ll save you the usual unboxing video – it’s as usual a perfectly packaged product, you wouldn’t expect less from Apple anyhow. I’ve been quite unsettled on the iPad from the start. It’s heavy, and there is no clear use case or killer apps yet on it. Nevertheless, I can feel something in the air, and needed to give it a first shot.

OK, web browsing is nice but this can’t be the killer app, especially since quite a lot of interactive site do not render properly on the iPad (wanted to book a hotel, and failed). The big screen size really enable a better use of the applciations, especially when those are redesigned for it, such as Evernote which is a real beauty to fire up and play with.

The eBook side is disappointing, the screen being highly reflective makes it really uncomfortable to use and at the end when it comes to reading text, my eBook (Sony PRS505) does a much better job. But where the iPad really blows mind is when it comes to displaying unstructured data such as comics or newspaper. The Marvel and Le Monde applications are simply mindblowing, and are truly reinventing their medium through the iPad, while keeping the paper experience present, they manage to fullty take advantage of the device to enhance the end-user experience. In the case of le monde for instance, I always found the reading of the pdf version on the PC lousy, and would stick to the full text articles instead, while the iPad app managed to bring those two worlds together again.

I expect the gaming to be something huge also, since the big screen will be very prone to social interactions around the device, yet I did not get a epiphany on this topic while trying out a few games.

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