Soundnote for iPad

Has anybody tried Soundnote for iPad?  It sounds like the app is particularly suited to students:

“SoundNote is perfect for students. If you ever fall asleep in class, don’t worry — SoundNote’s got your back. Just tap what you wrote while you were awake, and SoundNote will play the audio to help you fill in the blanks”

Previously known as Soundpaper, the app allows you to take notes and draw while recording audio/sound and it synchronises your notes with the audio file. Sounds idea if you’re prone to falling asleep during lectures…

App of the week on some obscure website, check their video review on YouTube and you can read the review by Techradar here. A student perspective on the app is available here.

Anyone willing to try it? £2.99. Check their official website or iTunes for screenshots and further details.

Entry posted using my iPad so excuse the (lack of) consistency in the formatting of this post.! Hopefully it won’t look too bad.

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Uploading Quick Office HD Pro documents to your Dropbox account on the iPad

Following up from Stefano’s post I have found a way to upload documents from Quick Office Pro to your Dropbox account, and it is a very straightforward process….

  •  Open Quick Office Pro HD on the iPad and notice on the left hand side both your iPad’s drive (“on Nicolas’s iPad”) and any other cloud-based accounts you might have set up (Go to Settings to set them up). My Dropbox account is referred to as “Nicolas Forsans” in the screenshot below. You can also see my GMail account below it, followed by my Evernote account.

 

  • Identify the file you’d like to transfer onto your Dropbox account. For the sake of this tutorial I will transfer the default “File Manager How to.pdf” file which comes with Quick Office by default
  • In the same way as you would select the file and send it by email or to the bin (notice the icons at the bottom of the screen, one for the bin, one for email, one for sharing), long-press the selected file name and move it to the icon that represents your Dropbox account on the left-hand side of the screen. Note: I could do the same thing to send it to my Evernote account.

  • As you drag the file to your dropbox account, the file manager no longer displays files that are locally stored onto the iPad – instead it shows you the various files and folders that make up your Dropbox account. You can then drag the file onto one of the sub-folders or (and it ill probably be easier that way) just drag it to the root of your Dropbox folder by releasing it above the Dropbox icon on the left hand side, as I’ve done it on the screenshot – you can always go into your dropbox folder later on and move the file from root to individual sub-folders
  • Job done: your file now appears in your Dropbox account; Obviously you would use the same method to bin the local file by dragging it to the bin icon, email it or send it to any other cloud-based account you might have set up

Save2pdf for iPad

An app that attracted my attention last night is Save2PDF for iPad which enables the conversion of emails, documents, contacts and webpages into pdf documents.  A key feature of the app is the merging of several documents into a single PDF file even if they are of completely different formats. Which means you could create a pdf document made of separate documents such as spreadsheets, charts, text, webpages etc.   This sounds really interesting..!

 

You can read about the app here – retailing for £3.99 I will test it in the next few days and report back on this blog.

iPad update – new iPad and updated iOS

Those of you testing the iPad should be able to update the device to iOS 5.1, the latest version of the operating system that was released yesterday following the official launch of the third version of the iPad.

What’s new

The highlight in yesterday’s announcement is the bringing of the Retina display from the iPhone 4S to the iPad, resulting in a crispier and sharper screen.  The processor has been updated to make it faster, a useful addition if you play processor-intensive games on the device (not that the old processor got in the way) – other than that, nothing to shout about, except maybe the built-in dictation software that can write emails, documents and notes as you speak (although from experience these never seem to cope very well with foreign accents!). With the release of the successor to the iPad2 came useful improvements to some of Apple’s apps such as Keynote, Pages and Numbers, as well as the release of iPhoto, a photoshop-type of app for the iPad.

To benefit from these improvements you will need to update your current device to iOS5.1.  To do so:

  • connect your iPad2 to iTunes on your laptop using the usb cable provided with the device
  • on iTunes on the laptop, go to your “Devices” tab, click “Check for update” and notification of an update will appear on the screen
  • Click “download” an let iTunes do the work for you – do not disconnect the device
  • After about 10-15′ your iPd 2 will be running the update system

Updated apps

If you had purchased Keynote, Pages Numbers or Garage Band before, go to the “Updates” tab on the AppStore on your device and you will be able to update those apps for free – they require iOS5.1 so it is important to first update the device to iOS5.1. before installing updated versions of Apple’s most popular apps. For a rundown of updated and new apps see this post

iPad2 or the new iPad?

Those of you interested in acquiring an iPad at the end of the pilot will be pleased to know that both the iPad2 and the new iPad will be sold simultaneously. In the past, the new version displaced the older one.  The new iPad will retail for £399 for the 16GB version while prices for the iPad2 will fall by around £70 to £329 – a good deal if you are not too bothered about the lack of retina display and the slower processor that characterise the iPad2.  Only those of you playing processor-intensive games may consider the new iPad. For the rest of us, the iPad2 will do very well..! You can compare the features and specs of both versions here.

What I found interesting in yesterday’s announcement is how little Apple has to do to keep selling them like hot cakes.  While 80 tablets were released in 2011 alone by 30 manufacturers, Apple still commands 62% of the global market for tablet devices worldwide. Samsung, probably Apple’s strongest competitor to-date, sold 6 million tablets last year, Apple sold 40 million.  Competition may come from Amazon’s Kindle Fire, a cheaper device sold in the USA. Other than that, there is not much to trouble Apple which is still widely expected to sell another 70 million iPads this year alone, which would give the firm 70% of the market. No wonder why they do not have to come up with revolutionary innovations to keep selling their devices…

CloudOn for iPad or Office in your pocket

An app that has just been released in the AppStore is CloudOn for iPad – previously only available in the US and Canadian app store.Image

What’s great about the app is that

(1) it integrates with your Dropbox account

(2) it allows you to edit your Dropbox documents (and create new ones) using MS Office software, How they manage to do that I don’t know. But with the app you have a fully funtional version of Microsoft Office which may make Quick Office and the like completely redundant.

Try it for yourself – follow the link for the free download or take the tour here

Meanwhile Microsoft is widely expected to bring a version of its Office software on the iPad and on Android. The word on the street is that Apple and Microsoft will be joining forces for the launch of the iPad 3 early in March – there have been reports of a working Office app for iPad, although Microsoft has denied its existence. Clearly someone saw a live demo of the app running on the iPad (see pic) so someone is lying…! Although doing so would promote the platform of one of Microsoft’s main competitors, it would strategically makes sense if Microsoft does not want to fall into irrelevance. Until such a time, CloudOn will fill the gap – give it a try. Why they are giving it away for free I am not sure, office workers would happily pay for sticking to what they know best, i.e. Office.

iPad – can it really change my views on tablets?

Before undergoing this project I always refused to be dragged into the iPhone, iPad hype. My view was that they were just fashion accessories that were cleverly marketed by Apple to weak minded people who tried to follow the crowd. The extortionate price tags on both products and the lack of features present in comparison to other companies, such as samsung, made me wonder why people even bothered. I would constantly try to persuade people to save themselves £20+ per month and just get a samsung, which has more features and better performance.

My original view on tablet technology in general was that tablets were just downgraded laptops with similar price tags (why pay so much for something that is so limited in comparison to a laptop that is capable of so much more?). They had no real purpose in my opinion because they are just oversized smartphones minus the phone (paying for less yet again!).

Being a tight fisted yorkshireman I would never have paid £300+ on an iPad to test whether or not I would find it useful. Therefore I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in this project because I would get to test the capability of this device without digging deep into my pockets (now I really do sound tight fisted!)

Originally I was skeptical about replacing paper based notes with the iPad. I went throught the whole of semester 1 taking notes in class and  revising from them, with success. I decided to commit 100% to this project and try to use the iPad to replace all of my note taking. I must say that my original, very strong, opinions have been downgraded. I doubted the capability of the iPad from the start and I take back some of the points I previously stated (SOME, I must stress).

I am really surprised by how responsive the keyboard is to fast typing. In every single lecture so far I have managed to take about 3-4 pages worth of notes (in comparison to 2 while using pen and paper). The interface is very user friendly and easy to navigate through (with some very useful shortcuts that I am accidentaly coming across day by day).

However, I tried to read a PDF off the iPad the other week and no matter how much you change the brightness, it still gives you that feeling you are reading off a computer screen which can be very tiring. This is something the Kindle has managed to perfect and something the iPad may need to work on. The iPad also has an annoying habbit of remembering where you have capitalised a letter. If you accidentally capitalise letters 1 and 2 in a word, when you try to delete the second one and retype it, the iPad will remember you capitalised it and you may end up doing the same mistake twice or more before realising you have to press the shift key.

Although there are some minor flaws, so far my expectations have far outweighed my original impressions. However I still have a strong view that tablet technology is very limited, when compared to computers and laptops (even netbooks). The iPad is, however, very convenient for what I am currently using it for. Will it be useful for anything else? I will soon find out.

Getting to know the iPad 2 – my first impressions

First of all, I need to say that I am an Apple user for many years and in consideration of that the use of an iPad was relatively easy for me.

My initial impression of the iPad 2 was very positive. The overall design and size was exactly what I was expecting from an Apple product. It gives you to some extend a feeling to hold something really special in your hand. But now it was time to find out if the iPad 2 can perform as good as it looks.

Due to the fact that I am using an iPhone, I wanted to download applications that I mostly use.  In this context I realised once again that Apple has created an impressive app store for both, the iPhone and iPad. Compared to the android version of the app store, which is labelled “market”, I take the view that the app store is far better organised and informative. I could easily browse through the store and download apps without having any problems. In this context I would like to mention some apps that I have downloaded such as dropbox, adobe reader, bbc iplayer, facebook, skype, news apps, etc.

After having most of the apps together on this iPad, I have tried to use some other functions; for instance setting up and using my personal email account. As compared to the email functionalities on my MacBook, the iPad has different user settings, however this still implied the simplicity of Apple’s user-friendly style. When I  initially started to write my first email on the iPad, I realized that the keyboard is large but however unfamiliar to type on. This led to the unfavourable fact that typing became after a while quite exhausting, nonetheless, I tried to continue with writing on this device such as emails and taking notes in the lectures and seminars. Ultimately, it took me maybe more than a week to get used to it, but now I can almost type on the iPad as it’s my MacBook or my iPhone, which I use for many years.

Most notably, in lectures when I had a powerpoint slide open to follow the readings and trying to make notes besides, I was missing a multi-task function to split the screen into two halves; having my powerpoint slides on my iPad in order to follow the lecture and making notes meanwhile. Due to the iOS device, I needed to switch from handout slides to my notes every time when I wanted to make some notes.

In addition I found it comparatively difficult to copy and paste a text, or for instance, a book title, although this could be akin to the experience I made with typing on the iPad and be solved by regular exercises with the iPad.

All in all, I am really impressed with the iPad. Besides some minor difficulties I was facing in the first two week, I am more than happy to use this device not only for academic reasons, but also for personal use such as networking, watching videos, playing games or simply just surfing in the web. All the apps are working without problems and the multitasking functionality allows me to quickly switch from one app to another. The resolution is brilliant and makes especially some HD apps just fun to use and generate a unique user experience.

Even though, I was initially questioning the usage of iPads with regards of people reading their books and/or newspapers on it, I have to confess that I would probably do the same within the next months.  And I think the brilliant resolution and the way newspapers look on this screen are a major reason why. Within the next weeks I am intending to purchase a book or a newspaper article and share my experience afterwards.

I am positive about the fact that there is much more to discover about iPads, hence so far I am looking forward to use it in the next month and hopefully share more interesting experiences on this blog.

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