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iCADE - Mini Arcade Cabinet with iPad Used as Screen

The iCADE arcade-style controller for iPad was initially an April joke but after gaining a lot of attention ThinkGeek teamed up with ION Audio to create the real thing.

The final product is a unit equipped with a full-sized joystick and 8 arcade buttons. It would be interesting to note that the device is slightly different from the initial mockup, having the iPad, joystick and buttons slightly angled to offer a better view and more comfort.

One interesting thing about the iCADE is that its controls are connected to the iPad via Bluetooth.

ION Audio in collaboration with Atari brought a series of classic arcade games such as Asteroids. According to the company, new and existing applications can be easily updated so they could be used on the iCADE. It is worth mentioning that the to-be-released API will permit any iOS developer to make video game compatible with the device.

The gadget was presented at the 2011 CES. So far the device is in the production stage, but when it hits the market you will be able to buy it for $ 99.99.

Factron introduces a new gorgeous all aluminum case for the iPad

Factron, the legendary Japanese company that dedicated its time and skills to protect iPhones with gorgeous looking Aluminum cases has introduced another exclusive case today with the High Defender for iPad. Announced at 55,000 Yen, rather expensive, the High Defender for iPad, also known as HD for iPad comes with a unique design and is sold today in a limited quality with a reinforced structure, also totally able to protect your iPad from any impacts.

Best iPad Speaker Docks

With the introduction of the iPad, like many iDevices before it, speakers docks are not far behind. If you have your favorite music stored in your iPad, prefer to watch movies with it, or play games in it, iPad docks that can vastly improve the audio quality as well as user experience.

Here are some of the best iPad speaker docks in the market (arranged from the least expensive).
Jensen JiPS-250i – Hey, even iPad users suffer through hard times. This budget iPad dock offers some audio boost for your music, movies, and games. The Jensen speaker dock for iPad can be installed horizontally or vertically, has adjustable viewing angles, and a video line-out so you could play the iPad’s content on the big screen. Costs US$79.99.
Altec Lansing Octiv Stage MP450 – This speaker dock from Altec Lansing, a prominent high-end speaker manufacturer, can fill the room with its two speakers. It can also charge the iPad while docked. The stand can be pivoted so we can use the iPad for both landscape and portrait orientations. The device even has a remote if you prefer to be a little bit lazy. Costs $149.95
iLuv Audio Cube iMM747 – This speaker dock is ideal for music-playing iPads because it can only be docked vertically, yet it yields an incredible sound upgrade. The iLuv Audio Cub can also charge and even synch the tablet with Mac or PC while docked. Costs $149.99.
iHome iA100 – This iPad dock stands out because of its alarm clock functionality. It also features the iHome+Sleep and iHome+Radio apps. Costs $199.95
Philips Fidelio DS8550 (pictured) – There are many reasons why this iPad dock is the most expensive in the bunch. Apart from enabling to charged the tablet computer while docked, it can also perform Bluetooth streaming, and last for up to five hours. It also comes with free Fidelio app that offers enhanced alarm functions. Cost $299.99.

Sanho HyperDrive iPad HDD

The Apple iPad has become one of the coolest gadgets today. More and more people seem to get into the allure of the iPad which basically has started the tablet revolution. And in no time, many devices are being developed to accompany this popular tablet PC in the market. One of the recent ones to come out is the Sanho HyperDrive Portable iPad HDD.

The Sanho HyperDrive iPad HDD is considered to be the only portable hard drive yet developed specially for use with the Apple iPad. The portable hard drive can be connected directly to the iPad using the Apple Camera Connection Kit. This enables iPad users to browse as well as transfer video and photo content to and from the HyperDrive HDD while using the iPad. The Sanho HyperDrive also comes with a mini USB port that allows users to connect it to a computer as a normal USB hard drive. The Sanho HyperDrive iPad HDD is available at the Hypershop for US$400 for the 1TB model.

Sanwa gives your iPad a stand and speakers

Sanwa has just released a new stand for the iPad that aims to turn it into a laptop. Designed by KEYDEX, the 400-SP014 is a stand that features a cylindrical external speaker (covered in non-slip silicone) that is used to amplify the sounds coming out of your iPad and also for you to prop up your iPad against. There is also a tray for you to place your iPad keyboard onto, and since it is elevated and at an angle, it allows you to use the keyboard more comfortably. And if you don't feel productive, there's even a slot at the front of the tray that can turn your iPad into a screen to watch your favorite shows and videos on

iPad 2 Vs Other Tablets- A Comparison

Apple has just launched the second version of the iPad. It seems that Apple, a company known to be more deliberate when it comes to launching products, has suddenly taken the opposite approach as it hastily introduced the Apple iPad 2 to consumers. It may have done so to stay ahead in the market that Apple pioneered as well as to maintain its upper hand from its competitors by coming up with a second tablet version while the other competing tablets are just about to debut.

In such cases, it may not be quite rare for people to start comparing the new iPad 2 with its other competitors that are about to enter into the tablet market- the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the HP TouchPad and the Blackberry PlayBook. Based on what data Apple has recently divulged concerning its new iPad 2 as well as those from its competitors, here is a breakdown of how these tablets may be sized up according to certain important aspects.


The Apple iPad 2 features an Apple A5 Dual Core 1GHz processor, putting it almost at the same level with most of its competitors, with only the TouchPad sporting a better processor at 1.2GHz. But the processor alone may not always be the best benchmark to use in comparing tablets in terms of processing speed and power management.


Apple unfortunately hasn’t provided the details on how much RAM the iPad 2 comes with. Although some people may be expecting it to be 512MB, there are others who believe that it may still come with 256MB, the same as the original. But nonetheless, the iPad 2 may still be left behind in this comparison as the Motorola Xoom, Blackberry PlayBook and the HP TouchPad is expected to have 1GB RAM inside.


The iPad 2 now features the standard two camera design, just like the other competing tablets. But in terms of resolution specs, it may still lag behind the other tablets. The iPad 2 was indicated to feature a VGA front camera and with the rear one still unspecified. Only the HP TouchPad may come at almost the same level with the iPad 2. Although it sports only a single front facing camera, it comes with a 1.3MP camera sensor, better than the iPad 2’s supposed VGA version.

Form Factor

The new iPad 2 may have an advantage in this case since it will be considered as the thinnest tablet yet in its category, doing away with a third of the thickness of the original iPad. It is also second in terms of weight at only 1.35 pounds, with only Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet being lighter.


The iPad 2 may be considered as setting up the benchmark for pricing as it is expected to cost at a base price of US$499. That is cheaper than what the Motorola Xoom tablet may cost, which is expected to cost as much as US$800. The other tablets have not yet provided the pricing details, but their companies will surely try to adjust their tablet prices according to what Apple recently announced for its iPad 2 tablet.

Although there are other features that these tablets may be compared to in order to provide a better comparison with each other, those stated above may already provide somehow a certain idea on where the iPad 2 stands. People can expect to see the new Apple iPad 2 this March 11.

Apple Unveils iPad 2, Comes Sooner than You Think

As predicted by various sources, Apple CEO Steve Jobs formally announces the next generation of its wildly popular iPad tablet computer appropriately called “iPad 2.”

The new iPad 2 is slimmer and leaner compared to its predecessor. Its new features include a front-facing camera for video chat and a new dual-core A5 “system on a chip” processor, which makes the tablet “dramatically faster” according to Jobs.

The upgraded processor gives the device double the CPU power and nine times the graphics performance of the original iPad, all while keeping its 10-hour battery life.
Apart from the front-facing camera for VGA-quality video chat, the back camera can be used for 720p video recording. Apple does not specify the megapixels of both cameras.
The new 9.7-inch iPad 2 has 1,024 x 768 resolution on its screen, the same as the first iPad. Many observers are frustrated that the new tablet does not have a “retina”-esque display seen in iPhone 4.

The iPad 2 measures 9.5 by 7.3 by 0.34 inches and weighs 1.33 pounds, which makes it a bit smaller and lighter narrower than the iPad.
Other features include a 30-pin dock connector for syncing and charging, as well as a 3.5mm headset jack. No word whether the new iPad has Flash support, but it definitely does not have a microSD slot.

The iPad 2 will go retail on March 11 in the United States and March 25 in 26 other countries. Price remains the same as the first iPad, starting at US$499 for the 16GB version and an additional $130 for 3G-enabled models. It will be available for both AT&T and Verizon.

Apple iPad 2 Vs Motorola Xoom

Design and Build
Apple iPad 2: Weighing 601g the iPad is easy to hold with one hand, but still feels comfier when you use two. However its the depth that really impresses, measuring just 8.8mm deep, it’s slimmer than an iPhone 4 and all-in-all is a stunning piece of design.
Motorola Xoom: Weighing in at 730g, the Xoom is about 100g heavier than the iPad 2 and at 12.9mm looks positively chunky next to it. Build quality is excellent though, it feels sturdy and strong, although definitely needs two hands. It doesn't really stand out from the crowd though - just like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and LG Optimus Pad.
Winner: Apple iPad 2

Operating System:
Apple iPad 2: With multiple homescreens you can customise, with apps - like its predecessor - the iPad will launch with Apple iOS 4.3. Along with multitasking, folders and GameCentre. AirPlay Enhancements let you stream video from iPhoto to an HD TV, while Safari has been optimised via the Nitro JavaScript Engine, so websites with lots of video and images (like load more quickly.

Motorola Xoom: Running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), the OS that has been designed expecially for tablets. The UI interface is excellent, with five home screens you can customise for apps and widgets and a permanent navigation and notification bar at the bottom of the screen. Composing e-mails, checking your calendar, browsing the Web, using Google Maps, or simply playing with the settings are allsimple tasks, and it’s a joy working with apps built and optimized for the larger screen. The tabbed browsing makes surfing the web a breeze, although there's support for Flash straight away.
Winner: Draw

Apple iPad 2: As with its predecessor, the iPad comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, it launches with WiFi and WiFi+3G version. Elsewhere you got Bluetooth 2.1, aGPS. You can now connect to a flatscreen TV via HDMI using the Apple Digital AV Adaptor.
Motorola Xoom: Available in one 32GB flavour, the Xoom has 3G and 3G if you live in the US, a WiFi version is rumored to be coming soon. Connectivity includes Bluetooth 2.1 and aGPS, along with built-in HDMI (not via an adaptor).
Winner: Apple iPad

Apple iPad 2: There’s a 1Ghz dual core Apple A5 custom designed chip, it also has 9x the graphics performance of the original iPad
Motorola Xoom: Powered by a NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core Chip, with 1GB RAM, in practice it's exceptionally quick to use, loading web pages exceptionally quickly.
Winner: Draw - until we get them side by side for real-world tests it has to be a draw

Apple iPad 2: Capture 720p HD movies at 30fps using the main camera, there’s a secondary VGA 30fps camera for FaceTime calling. Apple has not commented on megapixel rating for either.
Motorola Xoom: The primary 5-megapixel camera shoots 720p movies at 30fps, the secondary camera is 2-megapixels, capturing VGA movies.
Winner: Draw

Apple iPad 2: At 9.7-inches the screen is slightly smaller than the Zoom, it has a resolution of 1024x768, with full multitouch support. Shame we didn’t get the Retina display we wanted.
Motorola Xoom: The Xoom has a larger screen of 10.1-inches, with a higher resolution of 1280x800. Like the iPad 2 you get multitouch support.
Winner: Motorola Xoom

Apple iPad 2: Built-in apps include: FaceTime, the innovative Photo Booth, which lets you add crazy effects to pictures of yourself. Mail, Safari, Videos and Photos. Elsewhere the Apple App store has 65,000 apps.
Motorola Xoom: On-board apps include: Google Maps, Gmail and Calendar are supplied. But because Honeycomb is brand new, App developers haven’t had time to develop apps, so there are only 15 apps. You can use Android apps, but we had issues with crashing etc.
Winner: Apple iPad 2

Apple iPad 2: Apple quotes 10 hours of browsing, video and music listening. Web browsing drops to nine hours over 3G.
Motorola Xoom: From our tests we got 10 hours of heaving web browsing over 3G, eight hours video. Turning off WiFi you can probably squeeze out between 10-14 hours of use.
Winner: Motorola Xoom

Apple iPad 2: In the US prices will be the same as the original iPad, so $499 (US) for the 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for the 64GB model. Translate this to sterling and you're looking at around £399 for the entry-version.
Motorola Xoom: Expect to pay £499 for the 32GB version, which is comparable to the UK version.
Winner: Apple iPad 2

While the Apple iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom have similarites: processor, apps, camera they seem slightly different propositions.
In our review of the Motorola Xoom, our writter likened the UI experience as being closer to that of a PC than that of a smartphone. Google clearly thinks so too, by having two different operating systems: Honeycomb and Gingerbread for tablets and mobiles. In contrast, regardless of how you use the tablet, the iPad 2 user experience is very similar to the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch.
We like the Xoom a lot, but it just doesn't really have enough to make it stand out from other tablets. Where the batte will lie is with apps and Honeycomb is so new, at the moment he iPad is our winner. But we'll bring you a full comparison when we get the Apple iPad 2

iPod/iPad and iPhone HDMI Video converter

Apple introduced a few days ago an official HDMI converter made for iOS devices and it is now the turn of Princeton to do the very same thing with its PIP-HDU1. Supporting pretty much any iPod including the iPod nano 3rd, 4th, 5th, iPod Classic, iPod Touch 2nd, 3rd and 4th as well as All iPhones (3G, 3GS and 4) and both iPad and iPad2, the PIP-HDU1 will allow you to display movies, photos and YouTube video (when compatible) to any HDMI capable TVs!

Verbatim Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard for iPad and iPhone

The iPhone and iPad are pretty darn fine devices in their own right, otherwise how else are you able to explain the phenomenal sales figures of both, alongside frenzied lines that form with the release of each device, what more the iPad 2? This just goes to show how popular Apple products are throughout the world, and that is certainly an opportunity for other third party accessory manufacturers to churn out accessories to go with your iOS-powered devices.

Verbatim, being a name that is more often than not associated with storage devices, are now back with their Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard for both the iPad and iPhone. Makes perfect sense, and chances are business oriented folks will be picking this up since they would most probably find it to be rather challenging to churn out a business document in record time using nothing but a touchscreen display interface and virtual keyboard.

Shipping to retailers nationwide, the Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard for iPad and iPhone was specially designed to work with Bluetooth-enabled iPads and iPhones. Coming in an extremely slim form factor, this foldable keyboard gadget will be able to deliver a far more familiar typing method to both iPad and iPhone users, as it makes it a whole lot easier to compose e-mails and other important documents using their touchscreen devices.

Apart from that, the keyboard’s media console can also play, pause and control iTunes music directly without missing a beat. As mentioned earlier, its form factor makes it a snap to tote around, and when folded, you can stuff it in just about any pants pocket. Each $79.99 purchase will be accompanied by a premium carrying case and iPhone stand, where the latter is a snap to slide away and stored into the keyboard body itself, doubling up as a convenient way of doing things while offering protection simultaneously.

Just make sure you have enough AAA batteries to go along with the Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard.

iPad to see action in airplane cockpits, target paperless environment

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already granted early approval for airplane cockpits to use the iPad inside, as major commercial airline companies including Delta want to use Apple's famous tablet in order to do away with paper maps. We think that this is a good idea, but it might be good to throw in a paper map as well just in case the iPad malfunctions or run out of juice – you can never tell what might happen, right? Apart from that, the FAA has also started to grant approval for “electronic flight bags,” alternatively known as computers for aviation use in the last decade.

Analyst: iPad 2 Rivals Are Better Off Collecting Dust

With the iPad 2 hitting the shelves today, will other tablets be able to make a sizable cut in the market pie? One analyst says they should forget about it.

This outlook is how J.P. Morgan Research analyst Mark Moskowitz see it. According to Moskowitz, other tablet manufacturers could hit an oversupply bubble during the second half of 2011 because they are unable to sell their devices.

J.P. Morgan estimates that Apple and its rivals would manufacture about 81 million tablets this year. However, Moskowitz foresees that only 47.9 million tablets would actually ship this year, causing an oversupply among many companies but he thinks the iPad would not suffer that fate.

“In our view, the technical and form factor improvements of the iPad 2 stand to make it tougher for the first generation of competitive offerings to play catch-up, meaning actual shipments could fall well short of plan,” Moskowitz wrote in his investor report.

The oversupply of tablets, if it does happen, would not only hurt the makers of tablet computers, but also manufacturers of individual hardware components such as touch screens, processors, and graphics chips.

Among the iPad 2 competitors that are set to be shipped in the coming months include the Samsung 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab (in addition to the recently-demoed Galaxy Tab 10.1, as seen in the picture), the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the HP TouchPad. Those and many other tablets will join the Motorola Xoom, which made its retail debut two weeks ago.

Apple iPad 2 hands-on!

We just returned from our friendly local Apple store and waded through the chaos to grab a pair of iPad 2 models to share with you - one white and one black. Our initial impressions? Apple has really evolved the tablet category it pioneered, and in almost every way possible. The iPad 2 is thinner, lighter and faster than the first-generation model it replaces. The end result is that the iPad 2 feels like something you want to use more and more, even more so than the first unit. Apps launch instantly, Web browsing is much faster and Photo Booth is ridiculously cool, if not completely useless except for those rare occasions.


iPad 2 Users Report Cases of Backlight Bleeding

Days after hard-core Apple fans grabbed their iPad 2’s they have lined up for weeks, a number of users have reported defect issues in the second-generation iPad. Most of the complaints are about two issues: Yellow spots found beneath the LCD glass, which is caused by the bonding agent used for the LCD glass; and streaks of light bleeding through from the outer edges of the LCD monitor.

The yellow spots were also visible in fresh-from-the-factory iPhone 4s when it first made its debut late last year and this issue was resolved when the bonding agent evaporated. This is expected to happen in the spots found in iPad 2 gadget.

The backlight bleeding is most noticeable whenever users watch a dark scene in a movie or while using an app with a black background. In this case, the issue can be minimized by adjusting the brightness in the settings.


Apple iPad 2 shipping time slides to a month as shortages persist

Some Apple Store locations may or may not be releasing a second wave of iPad 2 shipments to the public today, but potential buyers who would prefer not to deal with the chaos are in for some bad news this morning. Shipping times have varied a great deal in the short time since the iPad 2 was launched last week. Most recently, Apple listed shipping quotes of between two and three weeks. S. shores, but unfortunately that's not yet the case. Apple's online store now shows increased shipping delays of between four and five weeks, meaning orders placed today might not arrive for over a month.


luxury iPad 2 cases from Orbino

Were you as lucky as Janet to get your hands on the new iPad 2 last Friday. Yeah, me neither . If you were lucky, you are probably shopping for cases to protect your new tablet. If you have a surplus of cash, you might consider the Padova leather case from Orbino. It incorporates the new smart cover technology so that when you open the cover, the iPad 2 powers on and powers off when closed. 00. the cover opens and closes. handmade in Orbino's workshop. workshop in Italy. colors: Black, Brown, Deep Red, and Pecan. Snakeskin, and Ostrich.


Microsoft's Eee Slate ads intends to steal iPad 2 thunder

The Eee Slate from Microsoft and Asus intends to steal some of the iPad 2′s thunder with a new video ad campaign, hoping to influence some fence sitters to jump over to their side. Well, we suppose that the amount of money spend on such ads aren't going to be too effective, since anyone who has already decided to pick up an iPad 2 won't be swayed at the last minute to pick up something else simply because of an ad – why not throw in all of that money to better use via research and development on the Eee Slate?


Grace Digital Eco Extreme Waterproof Speaker Case

With smartphones and other pocket sized media players becoming highly valued devices, its owners may want to provide a higher level of protection against damage for them. But most of such devices may not always be adequately protected from the various elements. That is why cases like the Eco Extreme from Grace Digital may actually become quite handy.

The Grace Digital Eco Extreme gadget is a unique waterproof case that can protect most mp3 players as well as mobile phones like the iPhone, the iPod, Motorola Droid and Blackberry phones. This casing is built with a rugged and rubberized protective outer layer that not only protects a device inside it from dust but also from water. It also comes with a built-in 3″ full range speaker that will allow users to listen using the device protected by the casing. The casing can also be sued to protect credit cards as well as cash along with other devices from the sun, sand and water. The Eco Extreme Waterproof Speaker Case is available at Grace Digital for US$50.


Limited Edition iPad 2 with Diamonds and Dinosaur Bone

If you think the iPad 2 is expensive, you haven’t seen the blinged-out versions made by different luxury companies like this iPad2 Gold History edition by Liverpool-based Stuart Hughes.

This luxurious iPad 2 not only has a 24-carat gold rear, but is also decked with 16.5 carats of ‘I’F’ flawless diamonds, 53 in total. The front frame is even made from Canadian ammolite, which is considered as one of the oldest rocks in the world dating over 75 million years old.
And if that was not unique enough, the ammolite also contains splinters from a 65-million year old thigh bone from a T-Rex dinosaur, then finished with a single cut 8.5-carat diamond inlaid in platinum, and surrounded with 12 outer flawless diamonds. This single iPad weighs about 2 kilograms.

Because this iPad 2 is so special, only two are made available. The cost? US$8 million each.


Apple iPad 2 launches in 25 more countries this Friday

Apple has just announced that the company will, indeed, launch the iPad 2 in 25 more countries this week. m. m. in the morning. Full countries include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK, with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea getting iPad 2 in April.


This is possibly the most expensive iPad 2, costing 5 million!

We've seen boutiques customizing iPhones and iPads with gold and diamond to woo some wealthy customers, and since the launch of iPad 2, such practices are expected, though I didn't expect it to arrive this early. Here's a new iPad 2 made up of diamonds, gold, rocks, and T-Rex dinosaur bones, and some magical sparkle of Harry Potter, and it's quite eye catching really. Designed by Stuart Hughes, known for crafting luxurious products, there's only 2 such masterpiece. The back which is made up of 24ct gold with an immense weight of 2000 grams has a magnificent total of 53 individually set sparkling gems dwell beautifully in solid 24ct Apple logo.


Hack Puts Smart Cover on Old, Fat iPads

Smart Cover on iPad 1 - It's all done with magnets. One of the coolest features of the iPad 2 is Apple's Smart Cover, that giant fridge-magnet which snaps instantly into place on the front of the iPad and works as both screen protector and stand. Sadly the symbiotic nature of the iPad 2 and the Smart Cover means that it won't work on the original iPad. Or will it? The solution is to add your own magnets to that ugly old iPad you can barely stand to look at any more. Over at the The Russians Used a Pencil blog, Dan Provost did just that, and even shot a video of the results.


How To Use The iPad 2 Smart Cover On Your First-Gen iPad (video)!

Okay, the Smart Cover is one of the magical things that the iPad 2 has and the first-generation iPad doesn't. Well, but getting your first-generation iPad to wear the iPad 2 smart cover isn't impossible. You know that, already.

In fact, the following video takes you through a tutorial detailing on how to use the iPad 2 Smart Cover with the iPad 1. Head past the break for a quick glimpse at the dauntless how-to tutorial.

But, before you fix your eyes on the video, know that you'll be slightly tampering the beautiful build of your iPad. Sticking a bunch of magnets on the iPad's ‘spine' to use the Smart Cover sounds rather defiant but if you are in to give it a try, here's the video tutorial for your rescue.

Here's an excerpt in this regard from our source:

"To place the magnets, I stuck them first to the magnetized hinge of the Smart Cover. I slid them around until they became locked into a position. This ended being asymmetrical, but I didn't mind. I then lined up the cover with the iPad and used masking tape to mark where the magnets should be placed.

I wanted this to be a somewhat permanent solution, so I used super glue to affix the magnets to the iPad. If you are not so daring, or want to test it out to make sure you like it, just use transparent tape. Even though the super glue keeps the magnets secure and in place, they are actually pretty easy to remove by just "chipping" them off with a flathead screwdriver and a very light tap of the hammer."

The procedure was originally published under the header "The Russians Used A Pencil" and takes us through a detailed procedure of using the Smart Cover for iPad 1. However, this trick doesn't enable the auto sleep/wake functionality offered by the iPad 2. Perhaps, you could have some trick in mind to make it happen. If so, shoot a comment below.


iPad 2 back in stock at some stores; shipping estimates improve to 2-3 weeks

Just ahead of Apple's international launch of the iPad 2, replenishment of U.S. inventory appears to be incoming. BGR has confirmed with various Apple Store and third-party retailer locations that new shipments have begun to arrive over the past few days. Retailers we have spoken with in the New York metropolitan area appear to be receiving new units in very small quantities, and Wi-Fi iPad 2 tablets seem much easier to come by than 3G-enabled units. Apple's online store also adjusted its shipping estimates for new orders down to 3-4 weeks from 4-5 weeks. While the short supply has lead many to believe Apple's new iPad 2 is selling quite well, the company still hasn't announced any sales figures.


5-in-1 Dongle for iPad

It is funny how people would complain about the iPad's singular port, forcing users to buy accessories to make it adaptable to other devices like digital cameras, keyboards, and HDTVs. Yet they end up buying the dongles anyway.

The problem, however, is that these dongles can be quite limiting as they could only plug in just one type of device.

One solution is this 5-in-1 Connection Kit featured on USB Fever. This adapter allows you to connect your iPad to a TV for video playback, SD and microSD cards for data transfer, computer for data sync, USB port for charging, keyboard for data input, and DC for photo and video input.

The dongle works for both the iPad and iPad 2, but on a limited number of firmware. Users are also advised not to plug multiple attachments at the same time.

Oh, and did we mention it costs US$44.99? But people will buy it anyway.


Is your iPad 2 experiencing intermittant WiFi connection issues?

Some things, they never change. Boys will be boys, free never really is, and iPads will have WiFi issues. If you'll recall, the original Apple slate also had such troubling issues with maintaining a wireless connection that the folks in Cupertino actually made a promise to fix things in time. Eventually, that patch was indeed rolled out, but then we heard that iOS 4.2 was being pushed a bit due to - you guessed it - more WiFi issues. Now that the iPad 2 has made its way out into the adoring public's hands, we're starting to see a growing cadre of customers raising similar gripes. Our in-house iPad 2 hasn't shown any WiFi connection issues as of yet, but there's a 10+ page thread over in Apple's forums that have us wondering if we're amongst the lucky few. Have you noticed any internet quirks with your new iPad?


iPad 2 gets a magnetic cherry cover to top off its delicious hardware cake (video)

Killing time until the iPad 2 finally becomes available across Europe later today? Well, now you can stoke the flames of anticipation by taking a gander at this here wood cover made specifically for the magnet-infused new Appletablet. It comes from a single piece of cherry wood and rolls up into a stand, providing a pair of landscape positions and a sturdy base for keeping the slate vertical should you wish to gaze upon it in portrait mode. Frankly, Apple should've been the one to come up with this refinement on its Smart Covers, though at least a small company like Miniot spares us the overblown rhetoric about life-changing gear purchases. Price isn't too bad, either, with orders starting at €50 later on today.


Top 10 best iPad Apps for Kids

Toddler and pre-schoolers take to the iPad and iPhone like the proverbial duck to water. There's something so intuitive and simple about touching things on the screen that they just dive in without needing to be shown how it all works.

The problem is that the App Store can be a confusing place if you're looking for the best iPad apps for kids. For example, the lowest age rating that Apple uses for apps is 4+, but there are many apps that can be used by, and are clearly aimed at much younger children.

Even children as young as one can use an iPad to some degree, so long as you're careful about them not damaging it, and have a case that's tough enough to protect it from the inevitable bumps and scrapes it's going to have to endure.

When you're choosing apps for toddlers or preschoolers you need to be sure that what they are getting is age appropriate, educational and something they will actually enjoy playing. Also, you don't want any nasty surprises when you discover that your little darling has been playing fast and loose with your credit card and making accidental in-app purchases.

You also want to make sure they don't see anything inappropriate on your iPad or iPhone. We're sure you'd agree that as brilliant as Rage HD (a first person perspective zombie shooter) is, it's too gory and frightening for young children to see, let alone play.

And while iOS has some parental controls restrictions built-in, it's not very clear how to activate them.

So, without any further ado, here are our ten best iPad apps for children.

1. Toy Story 3 Read-Along – £5.49 – iPad

There is no shortage of interactive story books on the App Store, with good reason; the iPad is the perfect size to make a great bedtime story book for kids. In most cases there are two modes of use: you can read along with your children, or they can navigate through the story using simple back and forward arrows and have it read to them.

You'll find old classics like Cat in the Hat and Jack and the Beanstalk on the App Store, but Disney has brought things right up to date with the Toy Story 3 Read-Along. Toy Story 3 is the latest in the successful series of animated films from Pixar and, like the previous films, it's pitched perfectly at young children, with enough genuinely funny jokes in there to keep the adults amused, too.

Following the traditional story-book format, the app can read the story to you. But Anglophiles beware; the narrator has an American accent which could jar, although since key phrases spoken by the characters (such as Buzz's “To infinity and beyond!”) are all done in the actual film actor's voice, having an American accent reading the book doesn't seem too out of place.

There's also an option to record your own voice reading the book, if you'd like your child to hear that instead.

The story book follows the plot of the film very closely, with beautiful pictures illustrating each page and bringing all your child's favourite characters to life. This time, the toys have to survive the perils of the Sunnyside Daycare Centre after being accidentally shipped there as their owner Andy packs up his things for college.

Among the pages, you'll find the occasional special feature. These mini-adventures are colourful and simple enough for your children to enjoy. For example, when Woody paraglides off the roof of the daycare centre you can enter into a little 3D game where you have to tilt the iPad to help Woody avoid obstacles. There are also jigsaw puzzles and maze games to play.

Another interesting addition are 3D stills. If your child has some 3D glasses then these can be quite fun to explore, and your child can tap into different areas of the picture to zoom in even further. Compared with a 59p app the Toy Story 3 Read-Along book appears quite expensive at £5.49, but you're definitely getting value for money here, especially if you compare the price against actual story books.

Jacob, a huge Toy Story 3 fan, returns to this app again and again. He loves listening to the story over and over, and he can actually play the games unassisted, which is a surprisingly rare thing for App Store games.

Your child is obviously going to want the latest version of Toy Story, but money-concious parents take note: the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 story books are of exactly the same high quality and are available on the App Store for much less. The original Toy Story story book is free, and Toy Story 2 costs just £2.39. But even at £5.49, we think that the Toy Story 3 Read-Along app is a bargain, and Jacob agrees.

2. Kid Art For iPad – 59p – iPad

There are plenty of free drawing apps for kids on the App Store, but if you want the job done properly then you're better off with a paid-for app, even if, in the case of Kid Art, it's only for the tiny sum of 59p.

As with most drawing apps you can simply choose a type of crayon, colour and off you go, but Kid Art has over 20 different pre-drawn backgrounds built-in to create scenes on, and it comes with a choice of cartoon animal and object stamps that you can add anywhere on your picture – children love these.

You get a choice of theme too, which alters the types of stamps and backgrounds available: Original, Under the Sea or At School.

We're reviewing the iPad version here, but there's also an iPhone version. We can't say the iPhone is the best medium for drawing apps, though – they really benefit from the iPad's larger canvas

Ultimately, Kid Art is the brightest, most engaging and fun drawing app we've found for the iPad. It lacks any really ‘advanced' features, but for young kids that's a strength rather than a weakness.

They're simply free to let their imaginations run riot without getting put off or confused by complicated options. Oh, and they'll probably want to fill every screen up with pictures of an orange octopus, but we're sure it's helping their creativity evolve. At least, that's what we're telling ourselves.

3. Ace Writer – Alphabet Series – £1.19 – iPad

For children that are just learning to write letters, the iPad presents a great opportunity. Obviously, tracing a letter with your finger isn't the same experience as drawing it with a pen or pencil, but it can be an important first step to helping your children on the way to becoming great writers.

There are loads of lovely spelling apps for kids on the App Store, mainly involving choosing letters to make up simple words – Alphabet Car is one of our favourites for its novel control system, in which you tilt your iPad to drive your bus into the letters on a road to pick them.

While they are a lot of fun, these sorts of apps still feel more like recreational games than genuine educational experiences. It's apps such as Ace Writer that give your child a chance to learn. It demonstrates how they can draw letters with their finger by tracing the lines for them in the correct order, then encourages them to give it a go.

Upper and lower case are supported by the program, your child also gets to hear the sound of each letter, and it shows a word that starts with the letter in question, such as ‘dog' with its associated animal sound.

As a parent, you really feel your child is learning something by using this app, and it's bright and engaging enough to keep them interested. It's also simple enough to use that they're soon choosing which letter they want to trace themselves.

Quite often the best apps are the ones that do one thing, and do it well, and Ace Writer Alphabet is a perfect example of this. In fact, we found that Jacob, who is only now being introduced to letters at pre-school, was quite happy to use this app on his own, following along the letter without any prompting.

Sophie, who has aleady started school, was more of a seasoned pro, so she jumped straight in with this app, and really enjoyed tracing the letters.

4. Smurfs' Village – free – iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Since farming games don't rely on quick reactions, shooting people or violent themes, it's no surprise that many of them are aimed at children. There's one important caveat to be aware of in the form of in-App purchases, but on the whole, these sorts of games are ideal for young children.

They basically revolve around growing crops, earning money and buying new things to upgrade your burgeoning farm or village. Smurfs' Village is a perfect example of the genre on the iPad. Your Smurfs potter about planting crops and waiting for them to grow.

Once your crops are ripe you need to harvest them in timely order to earn gold, if you wait too long they'll wither. When you consider that some crops can take 24 hours to grow and some tasks can take a week to complete, you can an idea of the all-consuming nature of the game.

The sheer joy kids get at a freshly-ripened pumpkin patch cannot be denied. You need to play the game with the children and direct their efforts, rather than let them loose on it on their own, or your village will go nowhere fast. You'll be amazed at how quickly you start to care about the little blue fellows.

5. Kids Song Machine HD – £1.19 – iPad

If your child has ever been to a play group then they'll know all the words to various classic nursery rhymes off by heart already. The sing-along app Kids Song Machine has all the classics, like Old McDonald, Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Itsy Bitsy Spider, presented with some gorgeous graphics with which your child can interact.

It's the attention to detail here that really sets this app apart from the rest – graphics all have a distinctive feel and the songs are well produced.

The interactivity is fun, too. Touch a fish and it will swim away, and trains will go on a little journey when prodded. Buy your little ones the Kids Song Machine HD app and they'll be dancing around the front room in no time.

Lego Creationary is a fun and free little game from the geniuses at Lego that will appeal to young children. In short, you roll a dice to select a category, the app then starts to build a Lego model piece by piece, and you have to guess which of the four examples it is going to turn out to be.

It's a race against the clock, because if the model gets completed before you've made your guess you lose. It's very simple, but strangely addictive – the temptation to have just one more go is quite strong. The graphics are cute and amusing, and the whole app feels nicely put together.

The app is obviously a huge advert for Lego, but there are no overt adverts included, and it's great fun all the same – kids will enjoy watching the Lego models being created even if they can't get their heads around trying to guess what it is before the time runs out.

7. Sound Touch – £1.79 – iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Toddlers love bright colours, sounds and touching things, which, if you're brave enough to risk your iPad getting gummed, is exactly what Sound Touch can offer. Since toddlers haven't yet developed the fine motor skills required to hit anything but the biggest buttons, Sound Touch is perfect.

Simply touch the cartoon picture of an elephant and you see a full screen picture of a real one with accompanying elephant sound. There are 312 images in total, and all look and sound great. There are six categories of objects – domestic animals, wild animals, birds, vehicles, musical instruments and household objects.

Attention to detail here means you don't get the same picture every time – it cycles through a selection and the musical instruments all play songs.

A word of warning, though – we'd recommend you hold the iPad yourself while your little one explores the app, or it could get flung across the room in all the excitement of cow and dog noises!

8. Dress Up With Angelina Ballerina – 59p – iPhone, iPod touch

There are four games in one in Dress Up With Angelina Ballerina, but they all revolve around dressing up Angelina Ballerina in various ways. The games revolve around matching and memory.

Of all the apps aimed at little girls (Fairies Fly is another popular choice), it was this that kept Sophie's interest for the longest time. The Concentration game was one of Sophie's favourites – you get to see a picture of Angelina wearing a particular outfit for six seconds, then you're quizzed on what she was wearing (with hints, for example, in the choice of three different gloves).

In the Mix and Match game, you have to choose the correct outfit to go with whatever performance Angelina is about to put on. This app offers plenty of variety and hours of fun for little girls.

9. Talking Carl – 59p – iPhone, iPod touch

Talking Carl is the app that spawned a whole bunch of imitators, such as the Talking Robot and the Talking Santa Claus, but the original still has a certain charm. You basically poke Carl and he makes noises: you can tickle him to make him laugh, pinch him to make him growl or ignore him and he'll start grumbling.

He also (and this is the real point of the game) repeats anything you say to him back in a very, very high pitched voice. It sounds simple, and it is, but like all the best toys, kids love it and it will drive adults insane.

Kids will spend hours shouting at Carl just to get him to shout back even louder. It's not the sort of app you'll want them to be playing before bedtime, but it is outrageous fun nevertheless that will keep them entertained.

10. Tozzle – Toddler's Favourite Puzzle – £1.19 – iPhone, iPod touch

Puzzle games work great on the iPhone, and Tozzle is amongst the best you'll find on the App Store. There are no shortage of different puzzles on offer here – there's a impressive 33 to try in this bargain app.

To make things easy, children simply drag and drop puzzle pieces into their location and they snap into place, then it's onto the next piece. It's not restricted to traditional jigsaw puzzles either; some puzzles are trains or steamboats.

And when a puzzle is complete it animates and reacts to touches, sometimes with music. So, trains move when touched and pipe organs play tunes.

We also love the way it gives a hint if your child incorrectly places a puzzle piece three times in a row. It's good honest fun and your kids will love it.


Thought Out Stabile Stand for iPad and iPad 2

There are a lot of stands for iPad and iPad 2 that can give your device that iMac look. The Stabile Stand from Thought Out stands out from the crowd because it is 4 pounds of American steel. It has a low center of gravity that makes the Stabile stand very... stable. It has non-skid feet and padding to protect your iPad or iPad 2. It holds an iPad with or without a skin or case in either horizontal or vertical positions. The slit in the stand holds the charging cable in place. The Stabile Stand for iPad and iPad 2 is available in a silver finish to match the Apple keyboard, black, limited edition Flame, and chrome. The Flame is only $39.99, black is $49.99, silver is $59.99, and the chrome is $269.99 (no that's not a typo).


iPad, iPad 2 get unofficial CF card compatibility

Given the impressive knockoffs and official camera kits we've seen, we'd say the iPad's definitely got the stuff to help out most shutterbugs, but up until now, uploading content from a CF card wasn't exactly easy. Well, our friends over at MIC Gadget recently showed off an iPad / iPad 2-compatible card reader that fixes that on the cheap. Simply called the CF card reader for iPad and iPad 2, the thing slips right into the slate's dock connector port and, as you can see from the video below, it transfers HD video and high-res images in a snap - it also sports USB connectivity. Like its predecessor, the reader's available from MIC for $29.90, but you'll have to wait at least a month to get your hands on one. Oh, and a word of warning, you might want to make sure the iPad supports your camera's video format before shelling out the dough, as MIC found the slab couldn't playback video from a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.


Hanwha unleashes HDMI / USB adapter for iPad, iPhone 4, and fourth-gen iPod touch

Feel the desire to watch your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch (fourth gen) videos on the big screen, but looking for something with a little more girth than Apple's HDMI solution? Hanwha's latest dongle might do the job. As you can see above, in place of the original adapter's dock connector port is a USB 2.0 socket - compatible with cameras supporting mass storage connection - alongside the 720p-friendly HDMI port, but you'll have to use the switch to toggle between the two modes. And that little mini-USB port on the far right? Well, it's there to provide some juice to "reduce battery drain," but probably not enough to charge up your iDevice. If you're still interested and have a friend in Japan, Hanwha's charging ¥5,980 (around $73), which is almost double that of Apple's $39 connector. Is USB support worth such a price jump? Your call.


Apple iPad 2 ship times extend to a month worldwide

Apple's iPad 2 was launched across 25 countries worldwide recently, and it comes across as no surprise to see really, really long lines that snake around the block for the highly anticipated tablet device. Of course, it goes without saying that people in Australia, UK, Germany and Canada have already started camping out and forming a line as early as last Wednesday – makes us wonder that if they showed that kind of dedicated in the other areas of their lives, surely the productivity rate will soar. As for online ship dates, those also point to high demand – as the original timeline of 2 to 3 weeks has been increased to 3 to 4 weeks, signifying the huge demand for the device. If you don't mind lining up to get one, by all means go ahead, otherwise doing it online would probably be better for the economy on the whole since you can spend your time working instead of waiting in line.


SteelSeries 7H Headset for iPod, iPhone and iPad

Along with the Siberia v2 Headset, SteelSeries also announced the 7H Headset for iPod, iPhone and iPad. Priced at $129.99 / €114.99 (MSRP), the 7H headset is the newest introduction to SteelSeries’ premium audio line-up. Its interchangeable earcups allow the user to choose between hear-through cloth or noise cancelling leather. The headset is also equipped with the 50mm drivers and enables users to disassemble it into four pieces for easy travel.


Unofficial CF memory card adapter for the iPad 2

They say that necessity is the mother of all invention, and we couldn't agree more with that statement. While there isn't any official CF memory card adapter for the newly released iPad 2, there is an unofficial one – thanks to the enterprising folks over at China, of course. Not ashamed to be called the iPad 2 CF Card Camera Connection Kit, it will let you hook up a CF card to an iPad 2 thanks to the docking port. Apart from that, it is also equipped with a USB adapter that will let you plug in a camera as well as other compatible accessories. Capable of playing nice with CF memory cards of up to 400X speed, you can place a pre-order for one for $29.90, where it is tipped to ship this coming April 25th. Oh yeah, it is also compatible with the first generation iPad, so no worries there.


Versatile Magstand2 for iPad 2

There isn't a lot of information available yet, but Macally will be releasing a product for iPad 2 that can be used as a tabletop stand or as an under-counter mount. It appears the Magstand2 will make use of the iPad 2′s internal magnets (that hold the Smart Cover in place) to securely hold the iPad 2, even as it dangles over a kitchen counter. When available, the Magstand2 will sell for $29.99.


iRig Microphone for iPhone, iPod, and iPad

Having a separate microphone for the iDevice may seem excessive, but simply relying on the gadget's built-in mic may not provide the clearest sound you want to project on situations like making a podcast or video conferencing. There have been many mics for the iOS devices, but most are desktop types and not a single handheld accessory until the iRig was introduced.

The iRig voice microphone connects to the iPhone, iPod, and iPad with a 1x8″ jack. It also has a three-position gain control on the body. The iRig also comes with a Vocalive app that adds effects to voice and lets users share its files to friends.

Engadget has reviewed the iRig, which was given a rating of 6 out of 10. You can check the source link for the reasons why.


Banana TV Streams iOS Video, Pictures to Mac

Banana TV enables an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to stream photos and video to a Mac.

One of the coolest gimmicks of iOS is AirPlay, a button you press on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to stream photos, videos and audio to a huge display connected to an Apple TV. Problem is, you can't normally use this nifty feature without your Apple TV (or an AirPort Express, if all you want is audio).

Enter Banana TV, a Mac app that allows you to use AirPlay to beam your videos and photos from an iOS device to a Mac. This way, you can enjoy streaming your media onto a bigger screen even if you don't own an Apple TV.

The best part about Banana TV is it's seamless. Launch the app and it's ready to go, so long as your iOS device and Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network. On your iOS device, open any AirPlay-compatible video or photo, and an icon will appear to stream it via AirPlay. Hit the AirPlay icon and boom, the picture is displayed on your Mac.

This will come useful in many scenarios. Say you're visiting relatives who have a 27-inch iMac, and you want to share photos of your family vacation, stored on your iPhone. Just load Banana TV on their iMac and stream it from your iPhone with AirPlay.

Or let's say you give presentations at work, and the PDFs are stored on your iPhone. Just connect your Mac to the projector, run Banana TV, open the PDFs on your iPhone and hit the AirPlay button. Voila — the image will be showing on the projector, and you can swipe the screen to move between PDFs while you're giving the presentation.

Created by prolific programmer Erica Sadun, Banana TV cost $8 over at It's not available in the Mac App Store, probably because Apple wasn't cool with people reverse-engineering the AirPlay code, according to Sadun.

“There's never been anything Apple's built that I haven't wanted to reverse engineer somehow,” Sadun said. “I'm sure there's probably medication for that, maybe therapy.” previously covered Banana TV, which was formerly called AirPlayer, when it was still a work in progress. The near-final version of Banana TV released last week is snappy and fast, as if it came straight from Apple headquarters. It's a must-have app for any Mac customer with an iOS device.


JBL OnBeat Sound Dock For iPhone/iPod/iPad Is Compact, Stylish And Powerful!

JBL just announced a stylish and substance-filled sound dock for iOS devices. It's officially christened as JBL OnBeat and appears to be a device of fairly good mettle encased in a beautiful build.

The JBL OnBeat iPhone and/or iPad dock lets you easily slip your iPad or iPhone on the included connector-laced mount on the dock allowing you to channel audio through the connected dock's speakers for a high-quality room-filling sound.

Once the iPad/iPhone is docked into the JBL OnBeat dock for iPhone and iPad, your iOS device is simultaneously charged even as you enjoy playing your favorite media on your iPad. Compact in build and stylish in design, the JBL OnBeat dock for iPad and iPhone is also compatible with Apple iPods.

The device comes with an IR remote which enables you to swiftly change tracks and navigate through your idevice's menus even from up to 15 feet away. While in the close proximity of the device, you can also use the easy-to-use touch controls on the device to operate it.

Featured : JBL iPad Dock / JBL iPhone Dock

It draws its power from an AC charging outlet and also powers your device when it's docked so don't have to worry about running out of battery when your iPhone or iPad is used with the dock.

Other interesting features include provision for composite video output to display video content on TV, dual Phoenix full-range transducers with computer-optimized DSP equalization, high power output, USB and auxiliary input support, and much more.

Here's an excerpt from JBL in this regard :

“The JBL OnBeat™ docking station is more than just a speaker dock that works with the iPad device. It's a great-sounding home entertainment system in the JBL® tradition. Dual JBL Phoenix full-range transducers with 2 x 7.5-watt amplification and computer-optimized DSP equalization deliver impressive frequency response (70Hz - 20kHz) with minimal distortion, even at high output levels. You'll hear your favorite music with accuracy and detail you wouldn't have thought possible from a system this size.“

It will be exclusively available from Best Buy in Black color.


JBL intros OnBeat iPad / iPhone / iPod speaker dock, prices it at $150

This planet we call home needs another iDock about as bad as we need another Charlie Sheen running around aimlessly, but no matter - we're getting one, and it's being delivered from JBL. The company has just outed its first-ever iPad speaker dock, the OnBeat. Truth be told, it's capable of handling iPod touches, iPhones and iPads (no word on the iPad 2), but it's clearly engineered to hold the largest of the bunch best. Aside from providing joints and jams to those situated in your living room (or basement, if that's how you roll), it can also pipe Netflix and YouTube content directly to one's television via a composite video output, and if you're running around sans an iDevice, the 3.5mm auxiliary jack ensures that any other source will still function just fine. You'll also be able to charge and sync any docked devices, but you'll be asked to dole out $149.95 in order to bring one home when it ships next month.


SmartBlazer Leather Folio For iPad 2 Is Splendiferous In Design, Serves Multiple Purposes!

With the purchase of a new gadget comes bundled the pain of protecting it from scratches, dents and other domestic handling hazards and Apple's iPad 2 is no exception. In fact, it's such a polished and smooth device that you'll be coerced to use means to protect it.

With the launch of the iPad 2, Apple proposed a solution to this : the iPad 2 SmartCover. But, that just protects the front/face of the iPad and not the back. Although, it offers multiple functionalities like automatic sleep/wake and doubles as a modular stand for your iPad, it still leaves the back of the iPad bare. Disgrace.

However, the world around is full of possibilities and third-party iPad 2 case vendors have already postulated multiple accessories which answer this need. One such accessory is the SmartBlazer Leather Folio for iPad 2. And it's just amazing.

Claimed to be made out of leather, this iPad 2 sleeve is actually synonymous in functionality with the iPad 2 Smart Cover. However, it also covers the back of your iPad 2 and protects it from scratches and dents.

Starring in black-red dual-tone color finish with beautifully lined thread borders, the SmartBlazer iPad 2 leather case not only protects your iPad from handling hazards but also doubles as a fashion accessory for your iPad.

It's ultimate purpose, however, is to give the user the ease of use while handling the iPad 2. Just like the iPad 2 Smart Cover, the SmartBlazer Leather Case for iPad 2 has a modular design which allows the face of the cover to be folded and used in a manifold ways or for a multitude of purposes.

It can be used as an iPad 2 stand which positions the iPad at an inclined angle on a flat surface for easy typing. Folding it into a triangle and standing the iPad upright will allow you to seamlessly watch videos, surf the web or make FaceTime video calls hands-free.

Furthermore, just like the Apple iPad 2 Smart Cover, the device claims to support the automatic sleep/wake functionality which causes the iPad 2 to wake up from sleek when the magnetic cover is open and instantly puts the iPad to sleep when the cover is closed.

Here's an excerpt from the company in this regard -

"The SmartBlazer Leather Folio with Wake up/Sleep Cover for iPad 2 from The Joy Factory fulfills many functions in one case! LeverageFaceTime video chatting applications hands free with the foldable magnetic cover that converts into a stand. Type quickly and comfortably without having to worry about any detachable parts. Seamlessly wake up and put your iPad 2 to sleep. The ultra thin leather folio provides a comfortable grip and sophisticated look."

Well, that's about the smart and stylish SmartBlazer iPad 2 Leather Sleeve. It's priced at around $59 and is available for purchase from here.

Just in case if you wanted to try the iPad 2 SmartCover for iPad 1, click here to feast yourself with the DIY video for the same.


Garage Band for iPad 2 review

Imagine the look on George Martin’s face if you transported back in time to the peak of 1960s Beatlemania and told him that in 2011 you’d be able to create an entire rock and roll song, without real instruments, on a touchscreen that’s almost thinner than one of the Fab Four’s best-selling LPs? He’d be a shade or two lighter than The Beatles’ White Album, we'd suspect.

The launch of the iPad 2 gadget saw Apple unleash the ability to do just that with a tablet version of its brilliant GarageBand software. For just £2.99 you have the privilege of becoming your own record producer. T3 tested the app in a bid to become a self-built rock god.

If you’ve never used GarageBand, or even played an instrument before there’s no need to be intimidated. Apple has you covered. As well as featuring a host of completely manual, on-screen guitars, bass keyboards and drum sets for you to hammer away at, GarageBand features “Smart” versions of all of the above.

The Smart Keyboard and Guitars label out chords for you that can be played with one tap, anywhere on the scale and in any key of your choosing. So all you have to do is look up the chords to your favourite song and follow the letters. It’s like a join-the-dots version of music making. Having not played keyboards since school, we’d busted out a version of “Let It Be” that raised the bearded ghost of Lennon. It’s just so intuitive.

If that’s not easy enough for you, autoplay will allow you to just select chords and create a more intricate jam based on your one-press chord changes.

GarageBand for iPad: Drums

In a brilliantly designed interface you can easily switch between the instruments you wish to record with. Let’s start with drums. There’s a range of full drum kits on offer, from rock to hip-hop, but it can be a little hard to find a consistent beat. If you’re rhythmically handicapped and your finger-tapping doesn’t quite stay in time with your masterpiece then GarageBand can help you.

Smart Drums offers an automatic killer beat by allowing you to place the snare, high-top and cymbal wherever you like on a four-way pattern of loud, quite, simple and complex and GB will create the beat for you. It’s cheating and night on impossible to create the beat you imagined in your head this way, but it’s still fun.

GarageBand for iPad: Keyboards

If you’re already a piano maestro and want to blast out your own tunes, rather than just prodding ready-made chords, then an almost unlimited supply of piano’s, synths, keyboards and organs to choose from, including the spine-tingly accurate Grand Piano. It’s so easy to slide up and down Garage Band's keyboard octaves to get the sound of your choosing.

GarageBand for iPad: Guitars and Bass

Obviously the electric Hard Rock guitar is the most kick-ass option available, complete with a pair of pedals to produce a heavy metal sound that’d make James Hetfield blush. If you’re a guitarist you can play the notes on the screen and recreate your favourite solos complete with string bends and hammer-ons. It really is that flexible, but it takes a little while to get used to playing upside down.

GarageBand for iPad: Virtual Guitar Amp

Just like the Mac version, the app can be transformed into an amplifier and with the right adapter you can plug your guitar into the iPad and record your new riff directly into the device and then add drums and bass around that. It’s a magnificent little tool for on-the-road musicians who now have a full 8-track recording studio at their disposal. Whenever a new lick pops into their head they can get it down straight away just by plugging into an iPad with GarageBand.

GarageBand for iPad: Extras

It’s the smaller things that make GarageBand a sheer pleasure to use. Thanks to the iPad’s accelerometer, the keyboard is sensitive to your touch, so however hard you hit the keys, it’ll be reflected in the volume of sound, instantly separating With the Smart Guitar, when you apply your palm to the neck portion of the springs it will palm mute the note offering a muffled punk rock style sound. The drums will also recognise parts of the drum, so depending on what part of the cymbal you hit you get a different sound.

GarageBand for iPad: Recording

Once you’ve mastered the tune you’d like to play (either manually or with a little help from the smart instruments) and selected the key, it’s time to lay that sucker down. Just hit the red record button and the metronome will count you in. Once you’ve played the tune, it will appear in your 8-track timeline. If it’s a guitar track, you can record drums, bass and piano on top of that or even sing vocals in time with the music. As long as you start recording every track from the beginning rather than try and line it up in post-production you’ll be fine

With the right trims and cuts and slices and maybe the odd loop then you’ll have created a complete song in now time, even if it means utilising the smart instruments. Purists will be a little heartbroken as to how easy it is to cover a popular song using this app, but for the musical novices it’s hugely empowering and a whole lot of fun too.

GarageBand for iPad: Verdic

The simplicity of creating music with this app is expressed perfectly by the default message when you share your masterpiece: “I just created a song with GarageBand using my iPad and I wanted you to hear it. Take a listen…”
The best app on the iPad bar none, GarageBand brings the key functionality from the revolutionary Mac studio and makes creating a musical masterpiece easier than it has ever been.

Garage Band for iPad launch date: Out now, link Apple
Garage Band for iPad price: £2.99


Witness Turns Your Mac and iPhone into a Burglar Alarm

Witness uses your Mac's iSight camera to detect movement and sound the alarm

If you own both a Mac and an iPad gadget, it's a fair bet that you also have a home stuffed with other electronic gear, the kind of gear that burglars like to, well, burglarize. Luckily, there's an app for that.

It's called Witness, and it turns your Mac into a motion-activated security camera. When running, it monitors your room with using the iSight camera, and when it detects movement it sends an alert to your iPhone or iPad.

Included with the alert are photos and videos, so you can either rest easy knowing that Kitty has jumped up on the desk again, or watch in horror as your home is emptied miles from where you are standing.

Forgot to activate the alarm? You can do it remotely from the phone.

Witness seems like a great idea, but for a couple of things: you need to leave your Mac running 24x7 while you are away, which is something of a waste of electricity. It also requires an internet connection, so the smart thief could just cut the power on entry — it's pretty unlikely that your Mac is out in the hallway where the breakers are often kept.

Aside from this, though, it's nice not to be worrying about the house when you're out. The Mac App costs $40, and the companion iOS app is free.


Apple iPad 2 review

12 months ago, the Apple iPad swaggered onto the stage creating a totally new gadget category, that changed the way we thought about tablets forever. In the year that followed it became Gadget of the Year at the T3 Awards 2010 and probably the most iconic gadget on the planet.

This “post PC” device single-handedly re-shaped our expectations on how we wish to receive content and has potentially rejuvinated the entire publishing industry.

Now, as competitors from the Android, RIM and WebOS, tug on its cape, eager to fly alongside the iPad, Apple is back with an improved device offering a streamlined design and more power. All for the same pretty reasonable price.

Can the iPad 2 gadget pull further away from the chasing pack, and does it do enough to tempt first-gen owners into an upgrade? T3 tested the 32GB WiFi version to find out.

Apple iPad 2 Design and build

Lifting the iPad 2 out of the box, you almost feel like you’re handling Grandma’s best china, such is the skinniness of the 8.8mm frame. Remarkably though, the tablet retains a very sturdy feel. It’s not the least bit fragile and there’s zero flexibility. It’s a piece of engineering that defies physics.

The weight has also dropped. At 601g (for the WiFi version) the tablet has shed 15 per cent of its body mass. Big deal, you say, but you will notice the difference. It’s still not Kindle-light though, and we still found the one-handed grip uncomfortable.
The design itself has evolved with the edges now rounded like an iPod Touch. While it looks better and is less bulky, the thinner edges actually make it more difficult to keep a steady hand. You also have to adopt an awkward reach-around approach to access the volume and screen switches.

Apple iPad 2 Screen

While we were blown away by the original iPad’s 9.7-inch 1024x768 LED-backlit display, we were hoping this would bring a version of its iPhone 4 Retina Screen. Now it hasn’t, we’re a little disappointed.

While indoor performance is still great and colours are truly vivid for gaming, photos and videos, in the post-Retina Screen world, text still isn’t quite as crisp as we’d like and it’s still pretty useless in sunlight. It also attracts a lot of finger marks. Lets hope an improved screen comes on any iPad 3 next year.

Apple iPad 2 iOS 4.3

Beyond the design refresh, the iPad 2 comes packing the new iOS 4.3 operating system. You get the usual folders, multitasking, Airplay and customisable screens. iTunes Home Sharing, another addition, offers a seamless liberation of your entire music library over Wi-Fi, with one-touch.

The new OS also allows you to customise the side switch to either mute the device or lock the screen. It’s a handy bonus, but by no means earth shattering.

Apple iPad 2 Processor and graphics

A quantifiable improvement comes with the new dual core 1GHz Apple A5 processor, replacing the A4 by offering twice the power. If you thought this thing was nifty before, then wait until you get a hold of the iPad 2.

Such is the speed of response when you touch the screen that you’ll think ‘did I even touch that yet?’ It almost pre-empts your commands. The T3 iPad Edition opens instantly, while images render much faster than before. The heftier apps, like the new GarageBand (an essential download, the highlight of which is the different response from piano keys depending on the sensitivity of your touch - enabled by the accelerometer and a huge leap forward) still take a short while to open, but not noticeably so. loads and renders quickly over Wi-Fi, while pinch-to-zoom re-formatting is definitely quicker. YouTube performance is great, while downloading music, movies and podcasts is rapid.

Apple also promised a nine-fold improvement in the graphics department. We tested this claim with EA’s Dead Space, which specifically advertised an iPad 2 upgrade. It looks phenomenal, almost PS3 and Xbox 360-esque, while the fast-paced monster-slaying action was slick and judder-free. You feel we’ve only just scratched the surface here.

Apple iPad 2 Cameras

Of course the other change comes with the addition of cameras. FaceTime video calling is now available for iPad and while the quality won’t blow you away it does the job. The rear-facing camera is passable, offering decent snaps in good conditions, but drab colours and limited detail the rest of the time. It’s nowhere near as good as the iPhone 4’s excellent 5-megapixel offering.

There’s 720p video recording on board, which comes in really handy for the brilliant iMovie app, but the iPad 2 has to be the most ridiculously shaped video camera of all time. Are you really going to use it in public?

Apple iPad 2 Smart Covers

When we first saw the Smart Covers opinion on the T3 team was split as to the usefulness. A lot was made about these new flimsy, bendy covers and they do work pretty well, folding like origami to offer appropriate stances for watching video and typing, while the magnet clings stubbornly to the chassis. It will help your battery by putting the device to sleep whenever closed, but they’re expensive (from$39) and offer no protection for the back of your iPad. If you drop it, Smart Cover won’t save it. We’d take a look at what other manufacturers - like Griffin - come up with before buying.

Apple iPad 2 Battery

In terms of battery life, we got around 6 hours of near-solid Wi-Fi surfing, downloading apps and playing games, which is very respectable. The extra processing power doesn’t seem to be provide any supplemental drain on the battery.

Apple iPad 2 Verdict

Admittedly, the iPad 2 is more of an evolutionary step for Apple, akin to the jump from iPhone 3 to 3GS. If you already own an iPad then you’re not missing out too much by waiting for the next iteration before you upgrade. If you held off from buying over the last 12 months, then the iPad 2 is a brilliant reward for your patience. Get out and buy it.

It's taken nearly a year since the launch of the first iPad for any manufacturers to come close to creating a tablet that can rival it. Even then, those that look promising like the Motorola Xoom run such an early OS (in Android 3.0) it will be a while before they can rival the iPad in terms of apps. With the Blackberry Playbook, HTC Flyer, LG Optimus Pad and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 all to come, the tablet market looks really exciting over the next few months. And with its mind-blowing new build, new cameras and improvements in the engine room, coupled with the unmatched App Store/iTunes/iOS ecosystem the next-gen iPad is clearly the tablet to beat.

Apple iPad 2 launch date: UK March 25th, link Apple

Apple iPad 2 price: UK TBC, but in the US it is the same as its predecessor, so expect to pay £429 for 16GB, £499 for 32Gb and £599 for 64GB for the WiFi-only version.

Apple iPad 2 Specifications:

* OS: Apple iOS 4.3
* Screen: 9.7-inch, 1024x768 multi-touch
* Processor: 1Ghz dual-core Apple A5
* Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
* Camera: Front and rear megapixel not quoted
* Video: 720p front, VGA rear
* Battery: 10 hours web use
* Connections: Bluetooth 2.1, N WiFi, Apple jack, 3.5mm jack, A-GPS
* Dimensions/Weight: 241x186x88mm/601g


Apple iPad 2 Available for Purchase; Ships in 2-3 Weeks

The new iPads gadget with Wi-Fi and 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage are priced at $499.00, $599.00 and $699.00, respectively. The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G is available in two versions – for AT&T and for Verizon's cellular network. The 3G-enabled models have the same storage sizes as the WiFi-only models and are priced at $629.00, $729.00, and $829.00.

The devices come in black or white color.

When purchased via the Apple online store, the tablets ship in “2-3 weeks” and the limit is 2 per order. In front of brick-and-mortar Apple stores across the US, people are lining up for the company's new product.


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