Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.
Apple has purchased the iCloud domain name, and rumors have been hot that they'll reveal their new service at WWDC early next month. They've negotiated deals with the four major music labels, and it appears that iCloud will be a giant jukebox in the sky — any song you want, whenever you want it. One goal is the convenience of having all of your music available from any of your computers or devices without having to sync. You can read more in the New York Times.
Just launched yesterday, the free video app Plizy, bills itself as a combination of Flipboard and Pandora. It offers channels of video and uses an intelligence engine to generate videos based on your interests.
Soonr announced today the first cloud service with integrated editing for the iPad via their Soonr - Workplace app (free). Of course, there are other options, such as using an app such as Office2 to directly edit Microsoft Office documents stored in Dropbox. But Soonr goes much further. You can store, share, access, and sync files, as well as edit Microsoft Office files both online and offline from within the Soonr app.
I like to gather novel uses of the iPhone and recently did an article for the magazine on a couple dozen apps that let you use the camera for doing things other than taking pictures or videos. Now I'm starting to be fascinated by the various ways the motion sensor can be used. A new app called Move'n Call ($1.99) lets you make a call with just a wave of your hand. As the video shows, first you train your iPhone to recognize a gesture and then you associate that gesture with a contact. Then to call the person, you simply make that gesture and your iPhone dials the contact.
Three things amaze me about Flipboard: 1) it's astonishingly high ratings in the App Store, 2) the fact that such a great app is free, and 3) that it made me want to start viewing my Facebook and Twitter accounts again. I kept hearing about Flipboard, and I kept ignoring it: yet another aggregator of social media and RSS content. But then I tried it, and was immediately hooked.
If you're a fan of the comic characters Wallace and Gromit, you'll be interested to hear that there's now a new, free bimonthly magazine available for iOS devices. Although it's not an official publication of Aardman Animations, the Aardmag app has the company's official support. The magazine includes the latest news, articles, features, games, posters, reviews, and — exclusive comic strips.
I'm utterly grateful to to QUE for sending me a copy of the new book My iPad 2. It's amazingly comprehensive and an essential guide if you want to get the most from your iPad. The book is amply and colorfully illustrated with hundreds of annotated screenshots that accompany step-by-step instructions. The book covers not just the built-in apps, but also the various apps from Apple (iBooks, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), as well as dozens of must-have apps such as GoodReader, Flipboard, Dragon Dictation, Skype, and more. There's also a chapter on the top apps for games and entertainment.
Apple's App Store is a great resource, but with hundreds of thousands of apps the obvious challenge has long been finding the best ones to suit your needs and interests. I had an article in our How To Guide about great websites to help you find apps. But I missed an excellent one: AppAdvice, especially its AppGuides section. It helps you identify the best apps in the areas of books, education, entertainment, finance, healthcare & fitness, and lifestyle. Each of these areas has a number of specific guides.
A couple very good articles have recently been published that give a thorough overview of transferring and syncing files between a desktop computer and an iPad. For example, you can create a Word doc on your desktop computer, save it to Dropbox, and then open it on your iPad and edit it via an office app such as Office2 or Documents to Go. The revised version then syncs automatically back to your desktop computer via Dropbox.
There are a gazillion rumors that the iPhone will be getting "near field communication" — a technology that will let you pay just by waving or tapping your iPhone as you leave a store. The New York Times reported that Apple has filed related patents and has hired an expert in this area. And while this definitely seems to be coming, Engadget reported in March that it's not in the cards for iPhone 5.