Ustream Updates iOS App with a Native iPad Interface

Its obvious to anyone who owns one that the iPad is perfect for all of us couch potatoes out there. I know that I use mine the most while I am monitoring news feeds or studying my lecture notes. iPad owners are also very aware that we love to watch video on our tablets.

Beyond that consumption, many iPad faithfuls want to use their devices to produce content. While we have had apps like Pages and Numbers for a while now, the iPad 2 presents some unique opportunities for video production.

Ustream, a popular video streaming service, has heard our call, and they have given us an official iPad app. While it isn’t the first time Ustream has been available on iOS, this recent update is the first time its had a native iPad interface. I can tell you that the interface is sleek, useful, and intuitive, which are all high compliments coming form me.

The major features that you should get to know are probably the ability to stream straight from your iPad, and AirPlay compatibility. Thats right, with this app, you can stream your content from your iPad directly to you Ustream channel. This is a great step forward for content creators on the go.

AirPlay compatibility is something that I look for in many of the new iPad apps, and its good to see Ustream getting on the bandwagon. in case you missed it, AirPlay is the feature that allows a user to display app content, like video, on a second device, like a Mac or an Apple TV.

If you are interested in checking out the new Ustream for iPad, you can do so here. I recommend it if you already watch some Ustream content, or are looking for more to consume on your iPad. I know I will be trying my hand at content production through the app in the near future.

Apple Releases iOS 5 Beta 4 as an Over-The-Air Update

Apple released iOS 5 Beta 4 to developers today, bringing with it the ability to update over the air. Given that you are running iOS 5 Beta 3, you should be able to get the update without syncing to you computer. Bad news is that there are reports of the update not working, and, if it does, you will lose all your pictures and need to sync after the update.

Despite those complications, this is big news for iOS. This is first time that Apple has tried thier new wireless update feature, and that means that the development on iOS 5 is moving forward. This update adds mroe fuel to the rumor fires, which are now targeting September as the release date for iOS 5, iCloud, and the rumored iPhone 5.

This newest iOS beta also brings the much anticipated wireless sync feature to Windows. In previous version, this feature was restricted  to Mac computers. This is good news for those who choose to update over-the-air, because you could use  wireless sync afterwards. That’s the theory, at least.

As for the rest of the changes, you can see them over at BGR. They have been kind enough to post the change log for the beta in its entirety.

If any of you are iPhone users, and have access to the beta software, we would love to hear if you managed to update over-the-air. If you can pull it off, let us know in the comments below. We won’t ask you for any extra details, as you probably can’t tell us anyway.

In addition to the new iOS beta, Apple has also released iTunes 10.5 Beta 4 and Xcode 4.2 Developer Preview 4. All the updates are avaliable now in the Apple Dev channel.

Apple Sells 1 Million Copies of OS X Lion on Launch Day

Apple announced on Thursday that they have sold a stunning one million copies of thier new operating system, OS X Lion, in the first 24 hours of its lifecycle. The new OS, which was launched via the Mac App Store for $29.99 on Wednesday, is now the top paid app in the digital marketplace. This launch is the most sucessful of any of Apple’s Mac OS launches.

Lion is off to a great start, user reviews and industry reaction have been fantastic, according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. This is backed up by the above information, as well as the generally posotive response to OS X 10.7.

Personally, I am loving the update to Lion. It was my first major update for my MacBook Pro, and it went flawlessly. It took a little longer to install than I might have liked, but it was still shorter than many Windows installations I have done.

As far as features go, I am loving most of the stuff in Lion. The scrolling was a little strange at first, but now that I have adapated my thinking, it is very natural. Some of the gestures are odd, only because I had gotten used to the ones that were in Snow Leopard.

According to Apple’s press release, Lion is currently avaliable in 123 coutnries via the Mac App Store. The distributioon of Lion seems to be work as planned, with no major hiccups reported at this point. In order to purchase Lion, if you haven’t already, you will need to be running Snow Leopard 10.6.8, have an active iTunes account, and be connected to the internet.

Xcode 4.1 is Free for Lion Users

If you are a developer on the Mac, then you are aware of what Xcode is. If you aren’t a Mac/iOS/Safari Dev, then you may not have even heard of Xcode. That’s to be expected, as it used to be only  available  to those with developer  licenses.

However, when the Mac App Store launched, Apple released Xcode for a mere 5 dollars. I, like many others, picked it up for personal reasons. I wanted it to enable the beta versions of the multi-touch gestures for my iPad.

Now, Apple has decided to give Xcode away for free, given that you have purchased a copy of OS X Lion. This is huge news, because it will save casual developers a hundred bucks a year. If you need an application to write the  occasional  piece  of code, or even just a simple script now and then, you should check out Xcode.

Xcode is constantly rated as one of the best sets of tools for development on the Mac. It sports some of the best formatting and color coding I have ever come across. While I don’t write code for a living, I have done some basic web development, and Xcode makes my life easier when I do.

If you are interested in Xcode, and you have already upgraded to Lion, then I suggest you pick it up. While the price may stick, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple changed the price with an update in the future. Jump on this deal while its  available.

Apple Updates MacBook Airs, Mac Minis, and Cinema Displays, Drops the White MacBook

In conjunction with the launch of OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple has made a few changes to their product line. If you go take a look at the Apple Store, you will notice that a couple of products have the little bluw “new” tags over head, and that the Mac line is one computer shorter now.

Apple is now offering upgraded versions of the MacBook Air and Mac mini, as well has a their first Thunderbolt display in the new Cinema Display. Lets take a look at the Specs for each new product, then we will look at what has gone missing form the Apple Store page.

The MacBook Air comes in two sizes, the 11.6 and 13.3-inch beauties we knew before, but each packs a couple major changes. First, they have been given Intel Sandy Bridge chipsets, like the recently updated MacBook Pros. This brings better overall speed to the SSD-powered ultra portables. They have also been given Thunderbolt ports on the right hand side, which looks to be Apple’s new standard feature.

There were two other predicted upgrades to the Air that have indeed come true. First,  backlit keyboards have returned, bringing joy to all of us who type in dark rooms. Second, the Air will now ship with Lion, making it the first of Apple’s laptops to do so. The cheapest Air is now only $999.

The next product that saw an upgrade on Wednesday is the Mac mini. It received the same basic upgrades as the Air, bringing the Sandy Bridge architecture, Thunderbolt, and Lion to Apple’s cheapest desktop option. Unfortunately, you can no longer get an optical drive with your mini. You can pick up the lowest end option for $599.

There is also a new version of the Mac mini server, which is running the new server version of Lion. It comes packing Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt, and 2 500GB HDDs. You can pick it up in the Apple store starting at $999.

The last product that got an upgrade this morning is the Cinema Display. With the inclusion of Thunderbolt support, Apple has renamed the 27-inch LED powered display the Thunderbolt Display. You can buy it now for $999. Be warned that this new display will only work if your Mac has a Thunderbolt Connector.

The last update to the Apple store is easily the saddest. There were rumors going around the tech community that Apple was planning to end the life of the polycarbonate white MacBook. It seems as tho those rumors are turn, as it is no longer listed on Apple’s website. If you want to buy one of the entry-level notebooks, some are still available in the Apple Refurb store, but there is no guarantee on how long they will last.

Apple Announces Record Earnings, Lion Coming on Wednesday, July 20

Apple made their quarterly earnings call on Tuesday, July 19th, where they made a handful of key announcements. They told shareholders, and the public, that they had yet another record quarter, with revenue at $28.57 billion.  Their quarterly net profit was a record-setting $7.31 billion.

The record profits were driven mostly by sales of the iPhone, which moved 20.24 million units, up 142 percent over the previous year. iPads also helped the cause, selling 9.25 million units, up 183 percent over Q3 2010. Macs grew 14 percent to 3.95 million units, which was below some analysts expectations.

Not all of the news was growth, however. The aging iPod brand experienced a decline of 20 percent to only 7.54 million units sold. This makes sense, if you consider the fact that many users have moved to the iPhone, using it as a music device.

During the call, Apple made an announcement that was unexpected and expected at the same time. CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced that the newest version of Mac OS X is coming tomorrow, Wednesday, July 20. While a large number of news sources have reported that date as the release, no one expected them to make an announcement during the call.

Lion, which will bring OS X to version 10.7, is due to bring a number of changes to the operating system. If you want to read more about it, you can check out an article on the changes here. I also recommend that you prepare your Mac for Lion by following the guide I wrote a few weeks ago.

SiteTrail Takes Analytics in a New Direction [Review]

As a full time web based professional, I am often interested in page rankings, site traffic, and other forms of analytics data. While I use the ever popular Google Analytics and SquareSpace Stats packages for my personal blog, I often want to know information about my site that isn’t given there. Furthermore, I am often curious about other sites in my area (technology, food, blogging.)

Recently, I was introduced to a new tool called SiteTrail that gives users an incredibly amount of information about any domain. You can learn about a site’s social media prescence, their SEO, and even see an analysis their content, as well as seeing a break down of their traffic. Traffic is devised by country of origin, as well as into daily, monthly, and yearly visitors.

On top of al the expected features that I listed above, SiteTrail gives you something that I find pretty unique. It will use an algorithm to computer the approximate amount of advertisement revenue earned by a site. It will then give you an approximate value for a site, given that it were to go up for sale.

While the information that SiteTrail gives is unique and interesting, I am not sure of a practical use for some of it. Most of what is given is pubically available anyway, so wants the purpose of going here? Maybe if I was a more competitive website owner I would find a better use for it. As it is, my blog doesn’t make me any money right now, and I’m okay with that. I don’t think that knowing how much another technologist’s blog earns in revenue would give me any edge.

As far as I can see, SiteTrail has taken the idea of analytics and given it a new face. It provides a single point for learning vital statistics about a website, and it does it for free. The information it provides is interesting, and potentially useful for the right person.

If you can think of a time when you would use SiteTrail, or if you have a suggestion for a feature I missed, let me know in the comments below. The team at Techie Buzz always likes to hear from you.

App: SiteTrail
Price: Free
Score: 3.5/5, for changing the face of analytics, while being only vaguely useful.

StumbleUpon: Updated iPad App is a Must Have [Review]

Many internet users love to discover new content. One of the best ways to do that is through StumbleUpon. The issue is that many users are beginning to use their tablets and smart phones more than their computers, and StumbleUpon didn’t always have the best presence in the mobile space. It seems as though that changes today.

StumbleUpon has released an updated version of their iOS, specifically their iPad app. As I see it, this is now a must have app for the iPad. Since I got my iPad back in March, I have wanted something just like StumbleUpon. I use my iPad as a couch computer for browsing the internet and playing games. StumbleUpon helps me discover content I may not have found otherwise.

You are probably asking yourself why I didn’t use Stumble on my laptop then. I think that the screenshot above provides your answer. My laptop’s desktop is really cluttered. When I am on my laptop, I am working, chatting in TWiT’s IRC channel, reading news items, talking on Steam, and browsing the web.

The StumbleUpon iPad app is pretty, and it keeps my attention. When I sit down and use the StumbleUpon app, its all I do. I get he best experience I have ever gotten out of StumbleUpon, and all it took was the iPad. Who would have thought.

One of the big features of this redesign is the social integration inside the app. The “social bar” shows you if users you follow on Stumble have liked a page. If not, you will get a suggestion as to who to follow on Stumble.

As I said, I feel like this app is a must have for all iPad owners. I don’t use those words very often. I think the social integration is amazing, the interface is amazing, and I love it. I whole hearted recommend you go out and get it.

App: StumbleUpon for iPad
Developer: StumbleUpon
Price: Free
Score: 5/5 – A Must Have

Persona Wants to Revolutionize Email on your Mac [Preview]

As a professional working on the internet, I get a lot of email. As such, I have taken steps to make my life a little easier when it comes to email. I first moved everything over to Google App or Gmail. Then, I set up various mail clients on my old PC laptop, and was never satisfied. After moving to the Mac, I have been stuck with Mail, and I’m still not satisfied.

I discovered an upcoming mail client coming for the Mac, and it’s name is Persona. Persona is looking to change the way that Mac users work with their email. They have promised a number of great features, including 3 conversation views, a more visual interface, and a focus on the user. You can take a look at it in the video here.

I think what makes me most excited about Persona is that it is so different from its competition. The interface is similar to Mail, but the new views make it really different. It takes a Gmail style approach by using conversations, but gives it that polish that Mac users expect from their apps. They will also group your emails by sender and attachment, which is really new and different.

Persona will also connect with social media They will link to your Facebook, LinkedIn, or other accounts an add those people you your address book. For me, this is a killer feature. I use Facebook as my phonebook on my Android phone. I don’t know people’s email addresses, and this would help me keep track of them all.

I can see myself getting this app as soon as it is available. I am now following their Twitter account, and I will be on top of the release when the time comes. You can check out Persona by heading to their site. If you want the latest news, follow them on Twitter, and keep an eye on Techie Buzz.

Marathon 1 for iPad Brings Nostalgia [Review]

Bungie, the game studio behind the Halo series, celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, and to celebrate they held “Bungie Day” on July 7th. The day held a number of events, including a chance to play Halo Reach against some of it’s Devs.

For me, the best part of Bungie day was the release of Marathon 1 for iPad. We were promised the classic shooter series on Apple’s tablet, and now the wait is over. The game is a huge throwback to my start as a gamer. While I’m not old enough to have played it when it was released, I played it as a kid with my dad. It was the DOOM of Apple computers, and it really delivered.

The port of Marathon brings all the great parts back. The game itself is still solid, and extremely fun to play. It may just be my fond memories, I really enjoy playing the game. That doesn’t mean its perfect, however.

While many people will complain that the graphics are terrible, they look as good as they did when I played it years ago. If you want upgraded graphics, you can pick them up as an in-app purchase. You can also get “Master Chief Mode,” which gives you unlimited ammo, weapons, and even life.

My issues with the port come from its controls. It uses a stationary joystick for movement, and turning control on theater side near a pair of firing buttons. My biggest problem is that I can’t hold my iPad and manage to turn, move, and shoot all at one time. That makes it difficult to be highly successful within the game.

As a recap, Marathon 1 is a good free FPS with a high level of nostalgia. You could complain about the visual quality, but you can pay for better graphics. The biggest issue is the control scheme, and they need serious help.

App: Marathon 1
Developer: Bungie
Platform: iPad
Price: Free
Score: 3/5 – Nostalgia without carefully thought out controls