The gold standard for a Bluetooth keyboard for an iPad is probably Apple's wireless keyboard. But gold can be heavy and expensive, and the Apple keyboard is pricey at $69. A competing keyboard needs to be smaller or lighter, or cheaper or have more features like specialized keys. With that in mind, I tried out some alternative Bluetooth keyboards.
"Awesome!" and "Adorable!" and similar pronouncements were shouted when I displayed the Headphonies® "Stryker" Portable Micro Speaker to my kids! At first, they thought it was a cute little toy like their plethora of figurines from Disney and Hello Kitty, but when I showed them that it was a portable speaker, that actually performed a useful function, they were really into it.
Leather is one of those guilty pleasures. So if you're going to indulge, do it right. I've been enjoying the latest SENA (http://www.SENAcases.com) for my iPad 2 and they are exceedingly well made. SENA cases are "handcrafted from the finest quality, full-grain genuine leather" and you don't have to take that with a grain of salt... it's true!
[Special Guest Review by Dennis Wurster of MacSmarts.com]
The folks at Marware are at it again, extending their line of iPad cases to the iPad 2, offering six different choices in various colors and materials. Their most popular case is the $50 "CEO Hybrid for iPad 2", in the folio-style that Marware is famous for. You can see more at http://www.marware.com/c-e-o-hybrid-ipad-2-case
By making a waterproof iPhone case, The Joy Factory has gone where most case makers fear to tread (or tread water, in this situation.) Just because you can make a waterproof case, doesn't mean you want to ship one, because you still need to make it foolproof enough that end users will seal it properly before they take the plunge. The $40 RainBallet from The Joy Factory addresses this through several smart decisions.
I was recently spelunking... yes that's a word, even though my wife thought I made it up. We were exploring an underground cave called Howe Caverns, in Upstate New York. The caverns are 200 feet underground and lit artificially, but there are still areas of darkness. Thankfully, I had my iPhone enclosed in a glow-in-the-dark case from MoonSkins! Any case can protect your iPhone, but the MoonSkins offer added value by glowing in the dark. Now you might not be spelunking every day, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to find your phone on the nightstand, without having to turn on the lights?
Remember "ACT!" the database program? Back in the late 1980's and 1990's, DOS and Windows users (like me) relied on it for contact management long before Salesforce.com ever existed. Well, you can thank Mike Muhney, one of the creators of ACT, for that powerful software. Now, Muhney brings a similar set of features to the iPhone world, where such capabilities are even more valuable, in an app called VIPorbit.
There are a lot of apps that let you take a picture using the iPhone's built-in camera... but I recently discovered Photo Double Fun which lets you use BOTH the front and rear cameras, simultaneously, to take photos as well as videos! Why is this so cool? Suppose you want to document that you were at a specific location, seeing something in person. The Photo Double Fun app combines the two images into one, and if you use their free version, it adds a watermark and you can only store a couple of photos at a time, without upgrading.
"It just works" is the goal of Apple's new cloud based hosting service. All of your info and media can be synced across all devices, iOS and Mac. That info can include contacts, calendars... and even apps and iBooks! And with Documents in the Cloud, even your work content, like Pages, Numbers and Keynote, can be shared! And developers can integrate the cloud into their apps. Plus PCs can participate, too! PhotoStream does the same for photos. And photos can be viewed instantly on your other iOS devices, iPhoto on your mac or even on an Apple TV! This is like my digital camera with Eye-Fi, an SD card with wifi built in.
At WWDC, big news for me, as an iPhone app developer, was iOS 5. First, they announced that 200 million iOS devices have been sold! Here's what's new:
Notification Center addresses the concern many users had. Just swipe down at anytime and see all missed calls, text messages, stocks, weather and app notificactions. And notifications will no longer interrupt your app!