Tag Archives: iPad

10 Must-Have Free iPad Apps

I have been bewitched by Apple products ever since I got my hands on my first iPod in college (a generous gift). My old friend, the iPod, has since been retired from my service, but still continues to bring music and entertainment to my dear ones. The time was ripe and on cue, I was bewitched by another Apple product. Enter the iPad. I moved from my initial skepticism (Oh, why do I even need something like that?) to pure delight when I got my iPad 2.

Having an iTouch may be enough for some folks,   but when you get used to it, suddenly, screen size does matter. On my iPad, I love reading e-books, watching videos, and even making notes on the larger, scrumptious 9.7-inch LED screen. The larger onscreen keyboard is a life saver for the days when my fingers feel especially pudgy. Having a front- and rear-facing camera is an added bonus for my many video chats. Still no flash though, sigh.

Here are my Top 10 Must-Have Free iPad Apps

1. Kindle Cloud Reader

Being a big reader, I experimented with lots of free e-book readers from iBooks to Kobo to Stanza (to name a few). What really sold me the Kindle Cloud Reader was its beautiful interface and the constant fresh fodder (e-books) from the Kindle store. You have to use a very basic shopping concept here, good deals are only found if you regularly check what is on the clearance rack. Every day, the store provides fodder of a different genre. The magic is that I can pick some really good stuff for free! I also do not miss having a book spine on the screen (as is seen in iBooks).

2. Terra

The default mobile Safari browser is not bad. I like my browser tabstoo much to settle though. Terra is simple to use and I can open as many tabs as I want. It is strong on privacy; I can browse without saving anything in History, and I can set a pass code for my History and Bookmarks. (The following image is from technologytosoftware.com).

3. Instagram

I have cheated a bit here. As of now, its interface still looks like that of a stretched iPod app (the fit-to-screen type). But, I (and another 10 million users) love the simplicity and pure ingenuity of  Instagram’s many fun filters. It’s easy to link to Facebook and Twitter too. This app is good news considering there aren’t any good photo-editing social networking apps.

4. Flipboard

This app creates a magazine from my numerous networking-site feeds. My updates from Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, and many other sites, are much easier to manage as a result. I mainly use Flipboard to save all my favorite stories to be savored at my leisure. Flipboard also won Apple’s iPad App of the Year award.

5. Evernote

This popular app is a lifesaver. I make about a dozen notes a day on the Evernote cloud. It is easy to get used to it.


6. Dropbox

This is another amazing cloud app that offers 2 GB of free space to its users. I can’t imagine how I lived without it. I can save and manipulate my data, as if on my local desktop, using Dropbox.

7. Skype

The beauty of having a camera on the iPad is that I can make a video call on a full screen with Skype while catching up with other friends. Who in the world is not on Skype?

8. NPR

This news app beats NY Times, WSJ, and many others because it does not have the painful limited (or paid) viewing of its content. Its articles are open to everyone. I enjoy the latest NPR news broadcast, or simply listen to its playlist of songs.

9. Twitterrific

There are numerous Twitter apps. An ideal app, in my opinion, is one that I get the hang of in less than 10 seconds. Twitterrific fits the bill. It is simple and intuitive. It has not failed me yet, so I see no reason to jump to TweetDeck.

10. AccuWeather

I believe that it’s good to have more than one source to check my weather forecast. AccuWeather is an American company that provides (reasonably) accurate weather forecasting services worldwide. The interface is clean and presentable. No overload of information here. The hourly update on multiple locations is a nice touch.

Bonus Free iPad App

11. Talking Larry the Bird

In a nut shell, Larry repeats what you say to him in his own ducelent tones. Its too much fun for a human.

Samsung Loses Dutch Patent Battle Against Apple

Samsung and Apple have been involved in patent battles spread across multiple countries for months now. However, it seems very likely that Apple is going to win the war.

Apple recently won an injunction against Samsung products in Australia, which could lead to a ban on all Android devices there in the future. It also won a similar injunction in Germany a month ago.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Today, a Dutch court announced that it won’t be granting Samsung an injunction banning Apple products in the Netherlands. The Dutch court stated that Samsung’s 3G patents were part of essential standards, and that the two companies should negotiate a licensing agreement.

Samsung has also announced its intentions to file a patent lawsuit against Apple in South Korea, its homeland. Going by the verdicts announced already, the scales seem to be tipping heavily in Apple’s favor.

Samsung recently signed a patent licensing agreement with Microsoft, agreeing to pay it a licensing fee for each Android device it sold. Google seems unable to defend any of its hardware partners against patent infringement lawsuits, despite acquiring Motorola and its famed patent portfolio.

Samsung suffered another blow in the U.S., when a Samsung lawyer failed to distinguish between a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and an Apple iPad 2 in the court. When the presiding judge held an iPad 2 and a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and asked Samsung’s lawyers to identify them, the lawyer replied that she couldn’t do it at “this distance”, which was only 10 feet. Even if Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 may be very different from the iPad 2, its lawyers pretty much suck. Either way, Samsung looks likely to lose in the U.S. too.

Get 50GB Free Space on Box.net for Lifetime

Apple fans: As if things weren’t good enough already, Box.net has an offer that will blow your mind! , Social Media Manager at Box.net, announced on their official blog, that iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users will get 50GB of lifetime storage for free if they sign up for a Box Personal account.

50GB Free

The offer started at midnight of October 13th and will extend for 50 days. The Box account isn’t restricted to just the mobile device, either, so you can use it with your PC. Below are the instructions stated on their website to set up a new account.

  1. Visit the app store and download the Box app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
  2. Log in to your account or register for a new one directly from the app
  3. Start sharing and collaborating in the cloud
  4. (optional but recommended) Tell the world how you’ll use your 50 GB with the hashtag  #Box50GB

It is obvious that Box.net is trying to capitalize on the iPhone 4S euphoria. Not only that, but you have to believe that the introduction of Apple’s iCloud has a little to do with it, as well. All new Apple devices now come with the iCloud. This basically gets you 5GB of online storage for free. The iCloud’s seamless integration with iPhone/iPad devices threatens to take market share from companies like Box.net. It’s understandable that Box.net would come out in full swing.

This is a great promotion and, according to their blog, there will be other contests and tips coming in the next 50 days, so you might want to stay tuned.

What about you? Is this a service that you would like to take advantage of? Let us know your thoughts and if you are considering this as part of your app collection.

Don’t forget to read our earlier article about how you can mount Box.net in Windows Explorer.

How To Access Notification Center in iOS5

Apple recently released the latest and probably the best iteration of iOS to , and users. If you haven’t updated yet to iOS5 you can find direct download links for iOS5 and instructions on how to upgrade to iOS5 through iTunes or manually. iOS5 has tons of new features, however, the best one I find is the new notification system which I think was inspired from .

Nevertheless, I am not here to start a feud on who copied whom but just talk about using the new Notification system in iOS5. First things first, the new notification system in iOS5 is pretty neat. However, not many people would be aware on how to use it just like creating folders in iOS and probably taking screenshots with an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

First off, notifications will not pop up like it did in and earlier. They will be displayed more subtly on the lock screen as well as when you are logged into the device. Secondly, notifications will not popup when you are within an application or playing a game (this used to be quite annoying).

Last but not the least, all notifications will be clubbed together and will be available through a single swipe from the top to bottom. To access your notifications, you will have to swipe your finger from the top of the screen and drag it down.


Please note that the notification center is invisible. To access it just swipe your finger from top to bottom and it should display the Notification center where you can view all the notifications and take action on them.

To hide the notification center, just drag the tiles back up as shown in the image above and the notification center should be hidden. You can display and hide the notification center in any app you are using. This makes it really useful, because you can check your emails even while you are playing games.

How did you like the new notification system in iOS5? Is it good or bad?

Apple to Launch an iPad Mini to Fight Amazon’s Kindle Fire? It’s Quite Possible

There’s something about Apple and its products which leads even the slightest rumor to spread like wildfire across the blogosphere. Before the “Let’s talk iPhone” event earlier this month, most analysts were speculating that Apple would launch a new iPhone 5, as well as a cheaper variant – iPhone 4S. All of them were wrong.

Now, everyone is speculating that Apple may be working on a new 7 inch iPad, christened the iPad Mini. It will be a cheaper version of the iPad, with a smaller display, and low specifications.

Apparently, the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire has convinced Apple that there is money to be made even in the low end of the tablet market, even if the gross margins may be lower.

The rumors were sparked off after an analyst made a statement after meeting with several technology supply companies in China, which seemed to indicate that Apple plans to launch a lower priced iPad Mini for the price sensitive consumer segment.

I said earlier that I expect Apple to continue to rule the high end of the tablet segment, while its competitors shoot themselves in the foot. The Amazon Kindle Fire is likely the only other tablet which could be successful at the scale of the iPad. However, if Apple does launch an iPad Mini, it could easily grab significant market share even in the low end of the market.

Whether or not Apple will actually do that, sacrificing its hefty margins is something no one knows yet. Given Apple’s legendary secrecy, we’ll possibly have to wait until Apple reveals it itself.

iPad Now 97% of Tablet Traffic

Earlier this June,  comScore reported that the iPad was responsible for 89% of worldwide tablet traffic in May, thus continuing to dominate the market it defined last year. Today, a new report from comScore reveals that  almost 7 percent of all US web traffic, with Apple’s iOS representing a 58.5 percent of all mobile traffic, and the iPad now accounts for more traffic than iPhones.  The growth of mobile devices has claimed a 6.8 percent chunk of US web traffic from conventional PCs.

comScore iPad Oct 11comScore iPad Oct 11The data shows that among the two thirds of traffic is from mobile phones and a remaining third is generated by tablet users. In fact, ComScore reports that Apple’s iPad now accounts for 97.2 percent of all tablet-originating web traffic, which goes to prove that competitors have not yet released a significant tablet competitor. In addition, the iPad accounts for 46.8 percent of web traffic generated among all iOS users.

“Although the Android platform accounts for the highest share of the smartphone market (43.7 percent in August),” comScore stated, “its total audience among mobile and connected devices in current use is eclipsed by the Apple iOS audience.”

comScore also reported that almost half of tablet owners have completed purchases using their tablet. Even though Apple has a minor lead over Android in terms of installed based (unique users), this data shows that Apple has a major lead in the mobile traffic.

In conclusion, Android tablets are crushing iPad web traffic from 2.8% to 97.2%.

Facebook Introduces iPad App

It’s finally here! The long awaited Facebook app for iPad has finally been released, according to the Facebook blog. This much anticipated app is sure to please iPad users far and wide. It took a while for Facebook to get the app developed. It looks like a lot of thought has gone into this app. It is feature rich and intuitive.

One of the great features of this app is how it handles picture albums. As you can see in the picture below, all of your albums are viewable. It has a very nice look and feel on the iPad. You can pinch a picture to zoom it in and out.

Photo Courtesy Facebook Blog

The app features a very nice navigation tool. Pictured below, you can see there is a menu on the left side of the screen with easy to find shortcuts to all the apps and tools you use on Facebook.

Photo Courtesy of Facebook Blog

Featured at the top of the screen, is the notifications area that you are used to seeing on the desktop browser versions of Facebook. There you will be able to see when you get notifications such as friend requests and messages.


The big news with the iPad app is the ability to play games in full screen. One challenge all along has been that IOS hasn’t supported Flash. Now Facebook has worked it out where many popular game developers have HTML5 versions that work cross platform. The ability to chat from the iPad app is also a great feature. You can see an example of the chat pictured below.


One thing Apple developers are hoping for is that Facebook users will help spread the word about new apps.  Of course, one major challenge to being an app developer is getting your name out there.  Facebook users will now be able to tell what apps their friends are recommending and using.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook and Apple work things out. What other developments may come from this relationship has yet to be seen. What do you think? What other features would you like to see in the Facebook for iPad app? As always, we love to hear your comments.

Foxconn to Make the Amazon Kindle Fire 2

Now that Amazon has launched the Kindle Fire, we have some interesting news about the rumored Amazon Kindle 2, the 10.1 inch premium version of the Kindle Fire which will compete with the iPad.

Production of the Amazon Kindle Fire was outsourced to Quanta, the same company which manufactured RIM’s Blackberry Playbook (which also explains the uncanny similarities in the designs of the two tablets).

Apparently, for the 10.1 inch Kindle Fire 2, Amazon is going with Foxconn Electronics, which also creates Apple’s iPads. According to a report by Digitimes, the Kindle Fire 2 will be available for shipping before the end of 2011, just before the holiday season.

While Amazon is taking a $10 loss on each Kindle Fire that it sells, it will likely be able to sell the Kindle Fire 2 at a profit, by positioning it as a premium product. It is expected to have much better specifications than the Kindle Fire, which is lacking in several departments when it comes to hardware.

Sources say that one of the reasons why Amazon launched the 7 inch tablet first is because of supply constraints related to 10 inch displays.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon Losing $10 On Each Kindle Fire

Amazon announced the Kindle Fire a couple of days ago, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Most analysts predict that the Amazon’s Kindle Fire will soon come to dominate the low end of the tablet market, while the iPad continues to rule the high end.

Amazon has priced the Kindle Fire at just $199, and its strategy is the polar opposite of Apple’s tablet strategy. While Apple has a hefty gross profit margin on its tablet hardware, Amazon will be selling the Kindle Fire at a loss initially, and hopes to make money by selling content to Kindle Fire users.

An initial estimate by Gene Munster stated that Amazon would be losing up to $50 per Kindle Fire initially. However, some research by iSuppli reveals that a single Kindle Fire unit costs Amazon close to $210. This means that Amazon will be losing close to $10 on every Kindle fire it sells.

In Q4 2011, Amazon may take a huge hit to its overall profit margins, because it is expected to sell close to 5 million Kindle Fire units by the end of 2011. Add in shipping and logistical costs, and Amazon could easily be losing $20 per Kindle Fire, which means a $100 million hit to its bottom line.

If it has to pay Microsoft $5-$10 for each Kindle Fire, that may mean an additional hit of around $25-$50 million. Maybe Amazon should buy Palm from HP, if only for its patents.

Is RIM Killing the Blackberry Playbook? Update: Nope, It Isn’t!

The tablet market is getting increasingly competitive. Apple, the first major entrant in the tablet market, is still ruling it with a market share of around 80%. Android hasn’t yet been able to replicate its smartphone success in tablets just yet, and Microsoft is yet to enter the tablet market. It will launch Windows 8 only in 2012, and risks being late to the party.

Amazon launched a new $199 Android tablet — the Kindle Fire — yesterday, which is expected to change the game. In my opinion, it will kill off any competition in the low end of the tablet market which is currently dominated by Chinese OEMs, while affecting iPad sales only marginally.

Blackberry Playbook

RIM which foolishly priced its lackluster offering — the Blackberry Playbook — at the same price as the iPad, has been seeing continually dropping sales. Last quarter, it shipped just 200,000 tablets, which is about the number that Apple sells in a couple of days.

With Amazon’s Kindle Fire, RIM is starting to feel the heat, and according to a report by BGR, it has finally pulled the plug on the Blackberry Playbook. Sources at Quanta, RIM’s manufacturing partner reveal that it has laid off a lot of workers working on the Playbook, essentially halting the production of the tablet. While RIM hasn’t confirmed the news, it seems quite plausible.

I hope RIM holds a firesale for its remaining Playbook inventory too, just like HP did for the TouchPad. I would definitely buy one for $99.

Update from WSJ: Apparently, RIM isn’t killing the Playbook. In an email statement, it said that the report was “pure fiction”, and that it “remains highly committed to the tablet market.”

Amazon to Launch its Android Tablet on September 28?

Remember that rumored Android tablet that Amazon was working on? From the looks of it, it seems like it may be closer to launch than we previously thought. We estimated that the tablet would be launched in October or November, in time for the holiday shopping season. Apparently, Amazon is planning to launch it much sooner.

Amazon has been sending out invites for a press conference that it is holding on September 28. While it hasn’t announced what it could be, my guess is that it’s going to be its new Android tablet.

Amazon has the best chance of beating the iPad in terms of sales, by pricing its tablet at nearly half of what the iPad is priced at. Here’s why I think Amazon may beat the iPad: Why Amazon May Have the Best Chance at Dethroning the iPad

The Amazon Android tablet will apparently have a 7 inch touchscreen display and should come with a customized version of Android, integrated with Amazon’s various services. It should be priced under $300.

Stay tuned, we will be covering the announcement by Amazon on September 28.

Amazon Announcement

Qantas Airlines Tests iPad 2 as In-flight Entertainment

A month ago, United Airlines deployed 11,000 iPads to pilots. Today, Qantas Airlines has announced that it will begin offering iPads on a trial basis to its passengers for in-flight entertainment. Australian Business Traveller reports that the pilot program will take place over a six-week period from the end of October to early December.  The trial run will be limited to a single aircraft, a 254-seat Boeing 767-300.

iPad pilot

Passengers on board will be given an iPad 2 for in-flight entertainment purposes.  A central server on the aircraft will use Wi-Fi to stream content to the iPads. In addition, each iPad will offer a  custom interface based on a special Q Streamingapplication that will let users stream content from one of five wireless access points. In fact, the app is based on Lufthansas’ BoardConnect technology, and is also being used by Virgin America.

Qantas Airlines will also allow passengers  that bring their own iPad on board to access the entertainment via a free Q Streaming application.  The system will also work with Android tablets (they exist!?), smartphones, and notebooks.  Customers bringing their own Wi-Fi enabled devices will be able to download videos and watch them up to 24 hours after leaving the aircraft.

The fact that airlines are choosing a closed OS over an “OPEN” one just boggles my mind. Not to mention, it lacks Flash and a fancy “Tegra 2 chipset” too. Oh yes, and remember that iPads are just for content consumption.


Samsung to Target Apple’s iPhone 5 with Patent Lawsuits in Korea

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, no one, except maybe Steve Jobs, foresaw how successful it would become. None of the existing platforms could match what the iPhone offered, and it soon became the number one smartphone in the U.S.

Even Android wasn’t able to offer devices which could compete with the iPhone, no matter how hard its partners tried. But then, Samsung launched the Galaxy S. It was probably the first Android smartphone which could go head to head with the iPhone. It was the most popular Android smartphone in 2010, and probably the only phone which Apple could possibly have perceived as a threat.

Apple recently filed lawsuits against Samsung in multiple countries, alleging patent infringement. It claimed that the Galaxy devices by Samsung copied many of the design elements of the iPhone and the iPad.

Apple and Samsung have been involved in a mud slinging contest ever since. Apple has won a couple of injunctions barring the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab in Europe and Australia. Samsung recently filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in France, over the use of UMTS in the iPhone 4. Even though Samsung’s components make up a large part of Apple’s devices, both parties seem to be in no mood for any kind of settlement.

According to Apple Insider, Samsung is already planning to block sales of the soon to be launched iPhone 5 in its home turf — Korea.

“Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents. For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights,” said an anonymous Samsung senior executive.

Samsung may have some kind of advantage over Apple in Korean courts, as it is one of the biggest Korean companies. However, Apple’s potential sales in Korea are much smaller compared to Samsung’s potential sales in Europe and Australia, so Samsung will still be at a disadvantage even if it wins, unless all the lawsuits are settled.

Former Samsung Manager Reveals Role in Leaking Apple iPad Production Data

Today, Bloomberg reports  on the recent  testimony of former Samsung manager Suk-Joo Hwang. On Wednesday, Suk-Joo Hwang, a 14-year veteran of Samsung, testified in a federal court being granted immunity from prosecution. He admitted to having lunch in Mountain View, CA, with Primary Global Research executive James Fleishman and a hedge fund manager and providing confidential information about Samsung’s shipment of LCD screens to Apple for the iPad.  “One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,he said.  Samsung was one of the original suppliers for the iPad.

Hwang said that during lunch at a restaurant in Mountain View, California, with Fleishman and a hedge fund manager he identified as Greg,he gave them confidential information about Samsung’s shipment of liquid crystal display screens it was supplying to Apple. The iPad made its U.S. debut in April 2010, four months after the lunch.

One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,he said. This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn’t know the name then, so I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting.

If convicted,  Fleishman faces 25 years in prison of the two counts of conspiracy he has been charged with. Fleishman was arrested last December  as part of a wide-ranging Securities Exchange Commission probe investigating the practice of expert networks. When asked how Fleishman and the fund manager reacted to the information he provided, Hwang said, They didn’t know about it,adding that the fund manager was very excited. In addition, a former Apple employee was arrested in connection to the probe.

A Samsung spokeswoman in  San Jose, California, declined to comment on Hwang’s testimony.



Touch Me! Microsoft gets ready for BUILD


We were greeted to Windows 95’s launch by The Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up, a reminder of the new, but now iconic Start button in Windows. Maybe for Windows 8, Microsoft should use The Doors’ Touch Me.


We have been waiting anxiously for this day to arrive. Tomorrow, after months of keeping a tight leash (leaks notwithstanding) on the progress of or the details about Windows 8, Microsoft will reveal its newest operating system to the world at BUILD.

BUILD is Microsoft’s new developer-focused conference, a combination of PDC (Professional Developers’ Conference) and WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference). It is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA.

What we know

Ever since Steven Sinofsky and Julie Larson-Green revealed Windows 8 at All Things D’s D9 conference in June this year, the anticipation and expectations have gone up for what Windows 8 will be. Windows 8 sports a brand new Metro style interface with its big tiles. This interface is obviously suited to touch gestures and along with the upcoming Xbox dashboard update, it completes the trifecta of Metro styled interfaces from phones (Windows Phone 7) where it started, to PCs and TVs. Recently, Microsoft started a new blog dubbed Building Windows 8, where they have revealed (or confirmed rumors regarding):

  • Support for ARM architecture
  • System requirements for Windows 8 will be the same or less than Windows 7 requirements which means the hundreds of millions of PC’s being used today can be upgraded to Windows 8 without the need for further investment
  • The teamswithin Windows 8, which in some ways confirmed rumors such as existence of Hyper-V in the Windows 8 client and an App Store for Windows.
  • USB 3.0 support
  • New file copy/move/delete experience in Windows Explorer, along with a new conflict resolution user experience
  • Ribbon-ized Windows Explorer
  • Native support for accessing ISO and VHD files
  • Hyper-V in Windows 8 client
  • Extremely fast boot times in Windows 8

From what is explicitly mentioned in the blog and what was demonstrated at D9, we also know that Windows 8 will have two user interfaces. The first being the Metro style, tile-based, interface and the other being the classicWindows 7-style interface. Both these interfaces, Microsoft claims, are an effort to have no compromise. By no compromise, they are implying that just because an interface has touch-first design, does not mean it will not support keyboard and mouse. Microsoft realizes that a large portion of its user base uses Windows in an enterprise where the tile-based, touch-first interface may not be the most optimum. Hence, instead of ditching the past and starting afresh with the new paradigm, Microsoft is now at a stage where it has to explain how the two interfaces will co-exist. This co-existence leads to many more questions, which brings me to my next topic.