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.
Recipe Kitchen by Adusia Tech is a great little cooking recipe app for your iPhone. The app allows you to quickly and easily search its online database and links to thousands of recipes from a single ingredient or a set of ingredients. This makes the challenge of looking in the refrigerator and sorting out “What can I make with this stuff?” a little bit easier. But as you will see in this review of Recipe Kitchen, the app is also a great shopping list creator for those times where you are going to the grocery and want to make something new.
When you first install Recipe Kitchen you are presented with the new-for-iOS 7 interface that gives you a listing of Top Recipes. These recipes are those that fellow users of the app have favourited in the app so yes, your vote does count.
This starting spot is great. It gives you a quick list of what others like and while we all have our unique tastes, the idea here is to give you a starting point if you are not sure what to make for those guests coming over or an evening meal with your family.
Along the bottom of the app you will see the three main menu options: Recipes, My Kitchen and My Account. Recipes is self explanatory while My Kitchen is were your shopping list for ingredients you need for a recipe are stored – more on this later. The My Account section allows you to save recipes that you have favourited within Recipe Kitchen. If you sign in using your Facebook account then you can share those recipes with your friends on your timeline.
One of the first things you will notice about Recipe Kitchen is that it isn’t all about food recipes. You will find drinks and cocktail recipes in the app as well as soups, deserts and puddings and appetisers.
The search function inside the app is powerful and provides with several ways to search for a recipe. To get to the search function just tap the search icon at the top of the page in the app and you’ll be taken to the search page. Here you can search by one ingredient or item – in my case I entered Black Beans – or you can use the menu below the search box to check off other ingredients you have on hand. The list of additional ingredients isn’t exhaustive and if you refine your search too much you may not get any results back from your search. I find it best to use just one or two ingredients to yield the maximum search results. Once you have your ingredient(s) entered, tap the check mark and the app will go and search for recipes with those ingredients.
Once you have found a recipe you would like to try, tap it to be brought to the information about it. Here you will find the ingredients needed, usually the nutritional information (although not all recipes have this) and the preparation time required for that recipe. It is here that you can with one tap add all of the required ingredients for the recipe to your Shopping List. Next to the image of the completed recipe item are three buttons: Favourite so you can essentially bookmark recipes you like and throw your vote for it in the Top Recipe list. The second is your Shopping List icon. Tap it and all of the items for the recipe you are viewing will be added to your list. Finally is the share button which allows you to share a recipe on Twitter, Facebook or mail it to someone.
Below the list of ingredients on the recipe page you will see a View Recipe button. This takes you to the website of the original recipe which you can open within Recipe Kitchen or you can open in Safari on your iPhone. This will also allow you to add the recipe to your Reading List in Safari.
The shopping list in Recipe Kitchen is something that can be edited from the My Shopping List page. Remember that the app will add all of the ingredients needed for a recipe so if you know you have something in the cupboard already then just swipe it from the list to delete it. This is also a great way to manage the list as you are working through your grocery store to assure that you did indeed get everything for the recipe you are making. The My Shopping List is located in the My Kitchen section of the app and it is here you can create timers under the Kitchen Tools and you can maintain an inventory list of ingredients you already have at home. This is an intuitive list in the app in that if you have an ingredient on your My Ingredients list and you add a recipe
to your Shopping List that calls for that ingredient, it will not be added to your shopping list.
Having used Recipe Kitchen for a few weeks now I have to say it is a pretty good app. It doesn’t try to do more than what it says on the tin: It is a recipe app that gives you the ability to search and find some great meal and drink options for you, your family and friends. It is a one-stop app for finding them and it serves as a great shopping list tool to get the ingredients that you need for the recipes you are making.
If there is one thing that Recipe Kitchen lacks it is the ability to enter your own recipes into the app. This is something that Adusia Tech has planned for a future release of the product – along with a tips & tricks section – and will be a welcome addition. There are also future plans for an iPad version of the app.
Recipe Kitchen is designed for iPhone and is $1.99 in the App Store. It can be found under the Food & Drink category.
Wallpapers for our Mac, iPhone and iPad are what in many ways give our devices a personal touch. The challenge though is finding a wallpaper that fits us as individuals. That is where uDesktop NEXT comes to the rescue. uDesktop NEXT is a Mac app that allows you to find wallpapers for your Mac – including Retina sized ones – your iPhone and iPad in a wide range of categories. Better still, the app makes finding these wallpapers easy and making them your wallpaper is a snap. uDesktop NEXT is one of the better wallpaper apps for Mac we have reviewed here at AlliOSNews both for its ease of use as well as the thousands of wallpapers, most of which are unique to the app, that are downloadable for free from within it.
[Note: The AlliOSNews review of iOS 7 will remain at the top of the home page for several days. Newer news, reviews and information will be available below this article]
With the release of iOS 7, Apple will have developed its 7th major release of its mobile operating system that has powered the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. While the evolution of iOS has been steady since it’s initial release with the iPhone in 2007, it could be argued that this latest release is revolutionary on many levels. While most have focused on the dramatic visual changes in iOS 7, there are plenty of powerful and significant changes under-the-covers that make a big update for the Cupertino company.
In this review of iOS 7 we will look at all of the major changes that come in operating system, looking at both the visual changes along with the system changes that will improve the performance or functionality of your iPhone and iPad. The most logical place to start such a review is with the powerful visual changes to iOS that come in this release.
The Flat, New Look of iOS
The most significant change is the one that everyone has been talking about since iOS 7 was previewed in July at the Worldwide Developer Conference. The visual changes, like them or not, are in stark contrast to every previous release of iOS and mark the significant divergence in attitude towards look, function and feel that was between former iOS director Scott Forstall and new director Sir Jony Ive.
With Ive’s taking over of both the hardware design – which he already had responsibility for in Apple – and the User Experience, the look and feel of iOS 7 was a marked departure from iOS 6. Gone were the Skeuomorphic designs in Calendar, Game Center and in many other parts of iOS. They have been replaced by a lighter, cleaner and more straightforward way in this release.
Along with the streamlined apps come streamlined and notably “flattened” icons for virtually all of the default applications in iOS. During the WWDC conference, a video introducing iOS 7 was presented in which Sir Jony Ive spoke of the symmetry and balance of the new icons. It was clear that the almost Zen approach to minimalism and balance would be felt throughout iOS 7.
Beyond the icons, iOS 7 introduced a new layer concept to the UI. These layers bring depth to the user experience and each layer is effectively a functional layer. For example, with an iPhone 5, as you tilt your device side-to-side, the icons appear to float over your wallpaper and allow you to see around them. This shifting around your icons gives an incredible sense of depth to the device. These layers also bring depth when using different functions within iOS. When you bring up Notification Center or the new Control Center, you will see the colour of whatever is in the background like your wallpaper or a photo you are viewing in iMessage.
In its most basic form, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) has been around since 1995 and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get news from site and blogs that you follow. NewsBar is a universal iOS app and a separate Mac app that brings these quick snippets of news to your device or desktop in an elegant and organised way. Critically the app supports iCloud synchronisation so once an article is viewed on one device, it is marked read on all of the others. This completely eliminates the user from having to sort out what has and what has not been read. NewsBar has become the RSS reader for us here at AlliOSNews for it’s simplicity, elegance and iOS-OS X cross support.
The NewsBar app in the App Store is a universal app and is $3.99 while the Mac version is $4.99. You will have to purchase both if you want to synchronise your RSS feeds across both your iOS devices and your Mac. The iOS version supports iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad Mini while the OS X version requires OS X 10.7 (Snow Leopard) or greater.
Yesterday after a fair amount of celebrity hype, Twitter #music launched on the web and for iPhone users. The new app allows you to quickly and easily find a wide range of music and artists on the social site, listen to that music and gets you directly to iTunes to purchase it. All of this is done within the Twitter #music app which is a clean and simple user interface to use.
I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of music search services or sites because I never found them very useful. Often
I would get music suggested to me that I had no interest in listening to let alone purchases.
No, Music Search Service, just because I’m from Texas you should not assume I like Country music.
Twitter #music seems to be different. Not only does it allow me to search for artists that I like on Twitter but the suggestions it gives, so far, have all been pretty good. I admit that I like a wide range of music so I’m probably more of a pain for a service like this than the normal user. But on any given day I’ll go from Pitbull to Sarah Brightman and won’t think much about it. Twitter #music doesn’t see to have a problem figuring out my eclectic tastes and makes pretty good suggestions of new artists.
Yes it’s only been a day but so far, I’m impressed with the new service.