I’ve always been a fan of docks for my iPhone but have never been thrilled with their look. Apple’s own dock for the iPhone 5 and 5s is functional enough but it certainly is not the most stylish of accessories you can buy. That is why when I saw the Just Mobile AluBolt I immediately was drawn to it. It was sleek, stylish and I was confident it would look better than any dock I’d seen on my desk. When Just Mobile sent one to be review, I was certainly not disappointed and I don’t think you would be either.
The Just Mobile AluBolt is a desktop charging dock for your Lightning connector devices. While aimed at the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c, it can also charge your iPad Mini and yes even your iPad Air fits comfortably on it. It’s black polycarbonate and brushed aluminium look makes it a great looking accessory that MacBook Pro and iMac owners will find matches nicely to the look of their devices. At $49.99 it is more than the Apple iPhone 5 dock but it easily beats it in functionality and looks.
This week Facebook celebrated their 10th anniversary. A lot of things have changed for the social networking giant in that decade. Some of the changes have been good, some not so good but 1.6 billion people use the service on a daily basis so clearly they are doing something right. As part of the 10th anniversary Facebook launched Facebook Paper, a completely new app from the recently formed Facebook Creative Labs. The missions statement of the new Creative Labs is to “…we’re crafting new apps to support the diverse ways people want to connect and share”. Bold statement to be sure but their first creation, Facebook Paper, is absolutely spot-on. Paper can revolutionise your Facebook experience and after just a few days, it has become my primary app on my iPhone where I access my timeline, connect with friends via Messenger and get updates on subjects I’m interested in on a daily basis.
Facebook Paper is Facebook-meets-Flipboard in many ways but I think Facebook has done a far better job of execution on this social news mashup. The UI is intuitive with access to your timeline and topics of interest only swipes away and full articles only a tap away. It is perfectly designed for the iPhone and for using it while on the go.
Steve Jobs famously said with the launch of the iPhone and later with the iPad that a stylus was not needed for these devices because by nature, humans are born with 10 styluses: Fingers & thumbs. While in principle it is one I agree with isn’t without its limitations. There are times that a stylus is simply needed with an iPhone or an iPad, particularly when it comes to use handwriting recognition applications or for those with limited mobility in their hands. Just like a writing pen in this very digital world, there are times where you simply need both. Enter the AluPen Twist from Just Mobile.
The AluPen Twist is a writing pen and stylus combination accessory for your iPhone or iPad (or really any device with a capacitive touchscreen) that brings comfort, easy of use and a high degree of quality to an often overlooked and frustrating accessory. Just Mobile, who makes some of the best quality accessories available for iOS devices, paid a lot of attention to detail in the AluPen Twist and it shows both in the modern look but also in the smooth actions when using it. While the large tip of the stylus may not be as accurate as some need for detailed artwork, it works perfectly well for handwriting recognition apps and certainly should be on your shortlist if you are looking for a stylus.
The challenge with most device cases is their look. Sure there are a lot of functional cases out there but so many of them don’t look the part when it comes to carrying your iPad Air or iPhone into a meeting. There are a few exceptions and high on that list is the new Noreve iPad Air case. The Traditional design from Noreve brings a look of elegance and professionalism to your iPad Air with its high quality leather construction. This case is more than just looks though. The Tradition B Noreve iPad Air case is functional both on the boardroom table as well as in your hands as you travel from meeting-to-meeting or through the airport or train station. Elegance and functionality is what this case brings to your iPad Air.
For this review, Noreve sent AlliOSNews the Tradition B iPad Air case in Sable Vintage from their Exception lineup of leathers. It is a book-style case that brings a style and elegance that looks professional and contemporary while not breaking the bank to do so. This is the third case we have reviewed of Noreve’s here at AlliOSNews, the first being for the iPhone 5, then the iPad Mini and now this new one for the iPad Air. In all cases we have been ecstatic with the look, feel and construction of the cases from Noreve. The St. Topaz, France company’s tagline is Haute Couture (literally means “high sewing”) and these hand assembled cases are second-to-none and live up to that lofty tagline.
Before we start, a little background on the Exception line of leathers from Noreve. As the company describes them
The Exception range harks back to France’s Glorious Thirty Years from ’45 to ’73, with its nubuck suede-like leather.
Special oils provide a used and shiny finish which is very soft to the touch. Available in a vintage yet still fashionable range of colours: dark, sable, acier, taupe, mandarine, cerise, passion, jean, menthe & prune..
The feeling of the case in your hand is suede-like in its softness but don’t let that fool you. The Tradition iPad Air case is sturdy, solid construction that protects your iPad Air while being stylish.
The attention to detail and elegance of a Noreve case starts when you receive the Black-with-Red-Top box. The heavy constructed box opens to the red drawstring dust cover that holds the case and protects it during shipping and is great for storing the case should you ever remove it from your device. Opening the dust bag you get your first glimpse of the Noreve case and it never fails to disappoint every time we open one of these bags up.
Last week I had the pleasure of reviewing the latest Noreve leather case for the iPad Mini and I said in that review
I can’t say enough nice things about the Noreve Leather Case for iPad Mini. It is a beautiful piece of leather craftsmanship and it adds a layer of luxury to your iPad Mini that is hard to find anywhere else.
This week I turn my attention to another fantastic case from the French manufacture, the Noreve Leather case for the
iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Like it’s iPad Mini counterpart, the case for the iPhone is nothing short of stunning. It is beautifully crafted by hand and the attention to detail and quality is evident the minute you open the black and red box, pull of the red dust bag and few the case for the first time.
While the leather case I reviewed for the iPad Mini was simple in outward appearances, the Noreve team sent me anything but a simple appearing case for the iPhone 5s. While it is listed as the Tradition Leather case for iPhone 5, they sent me the case in their Perpetuelle Couture leather selection. Decidedly more feminine, the Perpetuelle Couture leather features a cross-stitched leather front flap for the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s that gives it a high end (couture) look and feel. The nice things about this case: Not only does it look the part but it is built for the part. Make no mistake in that the Noreve Leather Case for iPhone is an ultra luxury case but at $75 with a lifetime warranty, it does not have the ultra luxury price tag you would expect.
Like all of the Noreve products, the presentation of the case when you first open it is what you would expect from any luxury brand. The case comes in a sturdy red box with a black lid with the case itself in a soft red fabric dust bag. Open the bag to find the case itself and it immediately gives you a sense of quality and style.
If you go into your local Apple store or really any retailer big or small you will see dozens of cases for the iPad Mini. While some are great and functional, a lot them lack style. And if you find one that does have style it lacks functionality it seems. It’s hard to find the balance. Noreve, a France based company has seemingly found the balance and every time we get a chance to review their cases here at AlliOSNews, we jump at the chance. Recently they sent us the Noreve leather case for iPad Mini to review and it is the perfect balance of style – couture – and functionality. The supple leather is pleasing both to the eye and the touch and the snug fit of the iPad Mini into it makes it feel secure. But the beauty of the Noreve leather case is beyond just looks: This is a very functional case.
For this review Noreve sent us the black leather traditional leather case that retails for $89.64 (price adjusted for the
exchange rate). As you would expect from from a company that has “Haute Courture” (High Culture) in their tagline, the presentation of the case by Noreve is just as exceptional as the case itself. The case comes in a sturdy red box with a black lid and the case it self is snuggled into a red dust bag for protection. This presentation immediately sets apart the Noreve leather case apart from others on the market. You know this is going to be special just by the attention to detail they have put into the box and a dust bag. It sets the mood if you will for when you open up that dust bag and handle the case for the first time. Luxurious should come to mind almost immediately.
With the release of the iPad Air, Apple has also released an updated lineup of their Smart Case for iPad Air. The new Smart Case has been essentially re-thought and the new look and feel of this leather case is impressive. While it is certainly not the least expensive case on the market for your iPad Air, if you want a case that fits snuggly around your iPad Air without adding large amounts of weight and girth to this ultra light tablet, The Smart Case for iPad Air should do the job for you.
The first thing you will notice about the new Smart Case is its construction. Previous generations of Smart Cases were
made of polyurethane with a microfiber lining on the inside of the case’s cover to clean and protect your iPad’s display. The new Smart Case for iPad Air is made of leather and you immediately notice the look and feel difference when you touch the case for the first time. It feels more luxurious than the older cases and doesn’t have the “shiny” plastic look of the previous generation. The inside of the case – both the cover and the iPad Air holder itself – is lined with microfiber to prevent scratching
and to act as a display cleaner. On the surface there are not massive changes between the Smart Cases for previous iPad generations and this new one for the Air. Both were designed to add minimal bulk – which is even more important on the iPad Air – and to protect your investment. But the construction and overall feel of this new case is superior to the previous generation in my opinion.
With little struggle or fanfare I walked into my local Apple store and asked for a new iPad Air and within 10 minutes walked out with a Space Grey, 32GB, WiFi only unit along with the new iPad Air Smart Case. Having unboxed it and having used it this afternoon it can only be summed up in one word.
I would contend that the iPad Air is the biggest change to the iPad lineup since the design breakthrough from the original iPad to the iPad 2. This new iPad Air is stunningly slim and light. It is hard to describe how comfortable the unit feels to hold when compared to my iPad 3rd Generation. It is as easy to hold as an iPad Mini and this evolutionary step forward by Apple is amazing. Simply and utterly amazing. Here then is my quick review of the iPad Air.
The iPad Air comes in the same size box as the previous generation of iPads so there isn’t really anything new to report
from that perspective. It comes with all of the standard parts you would expect in the box:
- Power Adapter (in my case for UK)
- Lightning Cable
- User Guide
- The obligatory Apple decal – two of them in fact
When I powered up my iPad Air it had about 95% battery charge on it and I was immediately able to begin an iCloud restore from my old iPad to this one.
The power adapter is a 12w version which has been the standard for the iPad unlike the smaller 10w for the iPad Mini.
Look and Feel
The first thing you notice about the iPad Air is the thinness of it. It is the same 7.5mm thin as the iPad Mini which frankly is one of the things I love about the Mini. With the iPad Air you now have the same feel in your hands. It is easy to hold. The bezel surrounding the 9.7″ display of the iPad is much thinner than the previous generation so the display “look” bigger when you hold it. This is clearly a design borrow from the iPad Mini and on this larger version it looks fantastic.
The other thing that makes the iPad Air easy to hold is the weight. It weighs just 469 grams, nearly half the weight of the
iPad 3rd Generation. You notice this immediately when you pick up it up. It feels feather light in your hands and unlike the previous versions, you can hold this comfortably for much longer while reading from it. Overall the iPad Air is smaller than previous generations, coming in at 6.6″ wide versus the 9.5″ previously. Again, this makes holding the iPad Air much easier.
I freely admit that when I went to my local Apple store I had intended on buying a White/Silver unit but they did not have any left in the configuration I wanted (32GB, WiFi only) so I decided to get the Space Grey. I like it but personally I liked the black versions of old over the Space Grey. That’s just my personal opinion – and clearly it isn’t a strong opinion as I opted to get it rather than go to another Apple Store to try to find a White/Silver unit.
The 9.7″ Retina display is the same as previous models so nothing new here but it is stunning as ever while the volume controls, mute and power buttons are all identical to those of the iPad Mini.
The camera of the iPad Air is a 5MP unit and photo quality is better than the iPad 3rd and 4th Generation. In snapping a few photos with it there is a marked improvement in the photo quality and with HDR enabled it helps that much further. The iPad Air still won’t be the first device I think of when it comes to camera
With the release of the iPhone 5s, Apple built into the camera app the ability for users to record slow motion videos at up to 120 frames per second. The reviews of this new feature have been raving and many users who never considered taking slow motion videos are now doing it regularly. But what about those who did not upgrade to the iPhone 5s? How can you shoot your slow motion videos? Fortunately there are several apps in the App Store that will allow you to do just that and one of the best is SlowCam from Lucky Clan.
SlowCam is a simple, intuitive app that allows you to shoot slow motion video on your iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5s/5c and iPad or iPad Mini. Depending on the device will depend on how fast the frame rate will be used by SlowCam but it will always use the highest available. Generally speaking, video is show at 24 Frames-Per-Second (FPS). SlowCam will use 30 FPS for the iPhone 4/4S and iPad 3rd/4th Generation. For iPhone 5/5c and iPad Mini you will get 60 FPS. For iPhone 5s you get the maximum of 120 FPS. The limitation is iOS itself and the physical hardware of these devices, not necessarily that of SlowCam. Once installed, SlowCam gives you one button to record video then tap and hold to record a section in slow motion. It is simple but does a beautiful job.
OS X Mavericks is the 10th version of the UNIX-based “Ten” OS from Apple. This new version is not revolutionary as previous versions of OS X have been but rather is evolutionary. There are refinements throughout the OS that bring a sleeker, more uniform feel to Macs but also brings online several new feature that, until Mavericks, was only on iOS. It is clear that paths of OS X and iOS continue to converge at many points, particularly around apps.
It could be argued – successfully we think – that the bulk of the really cool bits of OS X Mavericks are actually things that most users will never even know are working in their favour. Indeed with changes to how your Mac’s CPU and memory are utilised by OS X, even older Mac’s should see a little more pep-in-their-step with the underlying architecture changes.
In our review of OS X Mavericks we will touch on those under-the-keyboard changes that make your Mac operate more efficiently and we will cover the key new features and functions of this latest edition of OS X. All-in-all we think that OS X Mavericks is a worthy successor to the hugely popular and rock-solid Mountain Lion and should bring benefits and unification of applications and processes to many Mac users.