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.
I finally got around to signing up for Carbonite, and am amazed at how well this backup service works and how easy it is. In my mind, everyone who uses a computer should use Carbonite. The service costs $59 a year for unlimited storage. You install it, and it automatically backs up the files and settings on your desktop computer. Then if you like, you can use their Carbonite Access iPhone or iPad app to access your files anywhere, anytime. The iPad app was just released in March.
Last week I posted that Time, Inc had begun making its magazines available for free to subscribers via iPad apps. Now Conde Nast has made The New Yorker available for free to subscribers via its New Yorker iPad app. You can read more on Macworld.
On Thursday Apple released iOS 4.3.3, which fixes a bug that had widely caused privacy concerns among iPhone users. It was revealed that your iPhone not only tracks your location, but keeps a log file of that information. And that log file is transferred to your desktop computer when you sync. Not only that, this happened even if you had turned off the Location Services setting. The update reduces the size of the log file cache, no longer syncs the file to your desktop computer during automatic backup, and deletes the cache if you turn off Location Services.
Catalog Spree (free) brings you over a dozen catalogs, with more to come. The app offers a very attractive and functional presentation of catalogs ranging from Nordstrom Lingerie to Filson (men's outdoor clothing) to DwellStudio (bedroom domestics). You can order from within the app, which has a shopping cart and everything.