Tag Archives: iPad

Tips for traveling with a Wi-Fi only Apple iPad or Android tablet

2016-06-17

Having returned from a three-day road trip last night, a timely story published on Cnet caught my eye. Matt Elliott provides a few tips on traveling with a tablet that comes only with Wi-Fi connectivity. He has some good advice, but since the topic is fresh on my mind just now, I am going to add a few more tips.
navigation app on Apple iPad
Here are tips for traveling with a tablet (Android or iPad) that has Wi-Fi connectivity, but doesn’t have 3G or 4G mobile network access.

Five tips from Cnet:

1. Download books, music and movies you believe you need during the trip to the tablet before you leave. A 16GB or 32GB memory card provides plenty of extra space for Android tablets, whereas the Apple iPad doesn’t have a memory card slot at all.

2. Make maps available offline. Cnet recommends Google Maps, but I recommend Maps.me. It is the only navigation app that really works without an Internet connection. It really works. Before leaving, you have to download the maps for regions you are going to visit. All the other navigation apps that promise offline usage, like Google Maps and Here have always failed me – without an exception.

3. Turn off Wi-Fi if there is no signal available to preserve battery. Otherwise, your tablet constantly seeks for signal.

4. Turn on find my tablet -feature if your tablet comes with it.

5. Pack a protective case and a keyboard along with your tablet. Protective case is an essential accessory. If you are going to write anything longer than Twitter messages, get a Bluetooth keyboard – they are light and slim.

acer tablet with BLuetooth keyboard
Additional tips for traveling with a Wi-Fi only tablet from Klaava Media’s travel writers:

Learn how to use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. An Android phone can be turned into a hotspot in Settings-Tethering. Beware though, your phone’s battery will drain pretty quickly. We use this method for brief Internet access sessions only.

If you need regular Internet access, get a dedicated battery-powered Wi-Fi/4G router. We are using Huawei E5377Ts-32 that hasn’t failed us yet. It can also provide Internet access for your laptop.

A portable power pack is small and low-cost accessory to ensure your phone and tablet can be charged even in a situation when there is no power available.

If you will be driving, acquire a micro-USB charger that can take its power from the cigarette lighter. Both your phone and tablet can be recharged with this.

The differences between Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch and iPad Air tablet are in computing power and camera

2016-03-22

When Apple introduced the iPad Pro 12.9-inch tablet, many thought it was taking away something from the MacBook laptop computers. Maybe, maybe not, but Apple definitely sees tablets gaining more laptop features, and tablets as a future computing platform. The new iPad Pro 9.7-inch tablet is almost the same as the iPad Air, but there are two key differences: the Pro has more computing power and better camera.
apple ipad pro 9.7 smart keyboard
The ordinary 9.7-inch iPad and iPad Air have been around for awhile, and everyone knows the key features: 9.7-inch screen in 2048 x 1536 resolution, slick processor, so-so camera, huge selection of applications in the App Store, and very robust build quality.

The iPad Pro 9.7 has exactly the same shell casing as the iPad Air, and the Pro looks exactly the same as the Air, but there are dome differences between these two tablets. The major differences are:

1. The iPad Pro has more powerful processor: A9X third-generation chip with 64-bit architecture. It is the same processor as the iPad Pro 12.9 has inside it. The iPad Air comes with previous generation A8X processor.
2. The camera on the iPad Pro can capture 12 megapixel photos, whereas the iPad Air has 8 megapixel image sensor. The big improvement and novelty on the iPad Pro 9.7 is that it can record 4K video. It means video image resolution of 3840 by 2160 (and really large video files). The iPad Air can capture 1080p video.
3. Minor differences, like TrueTone color adjustment and number of speakers on the iPad Pro are featured as well, but they hardly make anyone run to an Apple store.
4. Optional keyboard and pencil for the iPad Pro (that are priced surprisingly high, even though they are Apple accessories).
5. Price: the starting price for the iPad Pro 9.7 is $599, whereas the iPad Air is $399.

apple ipad pro 9.7 apple pencil
If you want more computing power for your iPad, a better camera than the one on your old iPad, or need the Apple keyboard or Pencil, you should consider the iPad Pro. If you read ebooks and other documents, surf the web, follow the news, and watch videos on your iPad, the ordinary iPad is still an excellent choice. The good news for iBooks lovers is that the new release of iOS comes with night shift mode to adjust eyes to night reading.

If you are a writer, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard with any iPad for writing. Very good Bluetooth keyboards can be purchased for $30 from any electronics store.

Hands-on video of the iPad Pro 9.7:

Key features and technical specifications for the iPad Pro 9.7 inch

– 9.7 –inch multitouch display. LED backlight.
– 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) density.
– A9X chip with 64‑bit architecture, M9 coprocessor.
– Storate capacity: 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB.
– 12-megapixel camera: Panorama images (up to 63 megapixels), Auto HDR, Exposure control, Burst mode, Timer mode, ƒ/2.2 aperture, Auto image stabilization, Photo geotagging
– Video recording: 4K video (3840 by 2160) at 30 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps. Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps. Time-lapse video with stabilization. Video geotagging.
– Front camera: 5-megapixel photos, 720p HD video recording.
– Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac).
– Bluetooth 4.2.
– Configurations with cellular functionality: LTE Advanced, UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+, GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz), for Data only with Embedded Apple SIM.
– Apple Pay.
– Siri voice recognition.
– Stereo speakers.
– 3.5 mm headphone jack.
– Lightning Connector and Smart Connector.
– Sensors: Touch ID, Three‐axis gyro, Accelerometer, Barometer, Ambient light sensor.
– Dimensions: 9.4 inches (240 mm) x 6.6 inches (169.5 mm) x 0.24 inches (6.1 mm)
– Weight 0.96 pound (437 grams) without 3G/4G.
– 27.5‐watt‐hour rechargeable lithium‐polymer battery.

The castle of Amboise in France takes visitors to a virtual tour in time

2016-01-23

The Loire valley in France is one of the most spectacular destinations for travelers who love history and centuries-old grandiose castles. When you drive or ride a bicycle along the banks of river Loire (or one of the nearby rivers that flow into Loire) you will find a charming village after another. Some of the villages have been built around a castle, others have other characteristics that invite you to stop and take a break. The village of Amboise has been built around a beautiful castle that is open for visitors who also get a virtual tour to the year 1518.

A company called Cent Millions de Pixels has developed an application for the Chateau Royal d’Amboise that runs on the Apple iPad mini. When visitors enter the chateau, they can pay 5 Euros extra for the virtual tour that takes them to the castle as it was 500 years earlier. Visitors get an iPad and headphones from the reception. As they explore the castle, they can view the iPad and see what has happened in that particular spot in 1518. The application is French with English subtitles. A castle tour without a sword fight is not a complete tour, so the application has a built-in game as well.

View the video that shows how it is possible to explore the castle in two time zones:

L'AVENTURE INTERACTIVE "AU SERVICE DU ROY" | CHÂTEAU ROYAL D'AMBOISE.

The history of the Château d’Amboise starts from the 11th century when the Count of Anjou built the castle as a defense construction. During the Renaissance period (in the 15th and 16th centuries), the castle was refurnished according to the instruction from Charles VII, Louis XII and Francois I.

Even the great genius Leonardo da Vinci lived in Amboise. Francois I invited Leonardo Da Vinci to reside in Amboise as his first painter, architect and engineer. Da Vinci arrived in 1516 and spent the remaining three years of his life living and working in the nearby Chateau du Clos Lucé. It is connected to the Chateau d’Amboise by an underground passage. Leonardo Da Vinci died in Amboise in 1519 and was buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert on the embankments of the Chateau d’Amboise.

More information about the Amboise castle here.
A travel guide to southern France is available here.
Via l’Echo.

Review: Low-cost, high value 10-inch tablet from Acer

2015-12-08

Many ebook lovers like to read on a 7-inch tablet because the device is compact and light. That is true, but the compact size is not a perfect solution for many other applications. We have always liked the reading experience on a 9.7-inch Apple iPad. Additional reason for using the iPad is that it can be used as a productivity tool as well. Would it be possible to replace the iPad with a low-cost 10-inch tablet that could be used for reading books, following news, watching TV series, for email and for writing? We tested the Acer Iconia One 10 B3-A20 tablet.
acer b3-a20 tablet, watching youtube video
The Acer Iconia One 10 B3-A20 tablet has a 10.1 inch display. The screen resolution is 1280 x 800 pixels. The resolution is at the low end in the 10 inch tablet category, but the display is really readable and sharp. We didn’t detect any jaggedness or blurriness with books, videos, photos or news sites. Our benchmark tablet was a retina-display Apple iPad.
acer b3-a20 tablet, ebook reader
The form factor of the Acer B3-A20 tablet resembles a wide-screen tv, as opposed to the iPad’s ordinary 4:3 screen ratio. There are a couple of benefits in the Acer’s wide-screen solution:
1) In landscape mode, all web pages display properly. There is enough width on the screen for the whole page. Some ebook reading apps can display two pages at a time when in landscape mode.
2) In portrait mode, some applications like Twitter work better than in landscape. This is also true for some apps that originally were designed for smartphones, but run nicely on the tablet in portrait mode as well.

We have been using a Bluetooth keyboard with the iPad, and the same hardware keyboard worked with the Acer tablet right away. Bluetooth has to be switched on in Android settings and hardware keyboard with the correct language must be specified and that is it.

The Acer B3-A20 comes with 1GB of RAM memory which is enough, for instance, for running two web browsers, Twitter and a notepad application. The system resources monitoring application has a low threshold for warning of low memory. If you know what you are doing, you may ignore the warnings or you can install an app that helps you closely monitor and clean unnecessary apps. Android Assistant is one such application that lets you clean memory from applications that reserve RAM memory and also clean data and cache files from storage (flash memory).

GPS and memory card slot are normal features on Android tablets and smartphones, but not on all Apple devices. GPS lets you navigate using Google Maps or any other map application you may download from the Play Store. If you take the tablet along on the road, you can also use GPS for recording your travel route.

acer b3-a20 tablet, microsd memory card slot

Acer B3-A20 tablet, microSD memory card slot.


Memory card slot on a tablet is a truly valuable feature. It can be used as storage space for data and for installing applications that take a lot of space. Not all applications can be installed on a memory card, but large apps, like web browsers (e.g. Opera, Firefox) can run from a memory card. Another nice thing is that you can take a memory card from your camera or phone and insert the card into the tablet and view photos on a large screen.

Few people buy a tablet because of its camera. The five megapixel camera on the Acer B3-A20 captures ordinary images, but we don’t believe anyone will be using it as their primary camera.

The performance of the B3-A20 tablet was fine. Videos, photo galleries, large PDF documents, cloud services (like Dropbox), ebooks, maps, writing all work smoothly. We didn’t experience any hick-ups.

The tablet runs on the latest version of Android (5.1) which is important for application compatibility that you may download in the coming months and years. As such, Android 5.1 doesn’t provide new exciting features if it is compared to Android 4. A dedicated soft key for multitasking and greatly improved alerts at the top bar are the most visible and useful improvements.
acer b3-a20 tablet with Bluetooth keyboard

Conclusion

The Acer Iconia One 10 B3-A20 tablet fulfilled all our requirements for reading books, for news, for entertainment and for productivity, even for writing.

The tablet feels nice when you hold it (because of the surface on the backside), but it also feels like you want to hold it very carefully so that it doesn’t break. It is not a solid piece of engineering like high-priced tablets that may have metal cases. Another negative feature is the small amount of RAM memory. The built-in system health monitor app regularly warns of low memory.

Nonetheless, the tablet does what it is supposed to do, comes with a decent display, has a good battery life, and has valuable features that, for instance, the Apple iPad doesn’t have (memory card and GPS).

At the moment, when the Acer B3-A20 is priced at 150 dollars/euros, it provides very good value for the money.

Acer Iconia Tab 10 B3-A20 key features and technical specifications

– Screen size 10.1 inches
– Screen type active matrix TFT Color LCD, LED backlight, multi-touch
– Screen resolution 1280 x 800 pixels
– Android 5.1 operating system
– Back camera 5 megapixels, full HD (1080) video capture
– Front camera 2 megapixels, 720 video recording
– GPS
– Processor MediaTek Cortex A53 MT8163, 1.30 GHz, Quad-core
– RAM memory 1 GB
– Built-in flash memory 16 GB
– microSD memory card slot
– Wireless LAN Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
– USB-port, micro-USB 2.0 type B
– Bluetooth 4.0
– Microphone
– Stereo loudspeakers
– Headphone jack
– Battery Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), capacity 6100 mAh
– Maximum video watching 10 hours per charge
– Dimensions: thickness 0.4″ (9.5 mm) x height 6.6″ (168mm) x width 10.2″ (259mm)
– Weight 1.21 lb / 550 gr.

acer b3-a20 comparison with Apple ipad

Acer B3-A20 on the left, Apple iPad on the right.

Book Weather app recommends new reads based on your book ratings

2015-09-25

Many companies have recognized the need book lovers often have when they are looking for their next book to read. Amazon has one way of recommending books, Goodreads another, and then there are dedicated apps that try and help in the discovery process. One of the applications is called Book Weather that has borrowed its symbols from weather forecasts.
book weather application on Apple App Store
Book Weather by Basement10 is a free app on Apple App Store (other versions coming later). It is intended for the iPhone but runs on an iPad as well.

Once you have installed Book Weather, create an account so that the app can remember which books you have and your ratings for the books. You can follow other readers and they can follow you.

Search for books you have or you wish you had and add them to your library. Rate the books as you add them to your library. Book Weather calculates average ratings for the books, and displays a weather symbol to indicate how hot the book is among readers.

The application worked fine on iPad, but the number books it recognized was low. We tried to enter several popular English non-fiction books into our Book Weather library, but since the app didn’t recognize the books, they weren’t added at all.

A video shows you the key features of Book Weather:

book weather application

Research: Tablets Have a Positive Impact on Studies

2015-02-12

A few years ago, the University of Illinois conducted an experiment that was doomed to fail. University students received Apple iPad tablets with instructions to use them for their studies. The students didn’t get any other instructions, tools, or support. Yet, the experiment was a success.
Apple ipad tablet benefits studying
The experiment was conducted in 2011, but reported in late 2014. Every student of the Master of Science program received an iPad from the school. Students were only told that they were supposed to use the tablets to study more effectively. No restrictions or locks were installed in tablets by the university. The university didn’t have any educational IT system integrated with tablets, but intranet was available just like for PCs.

The survey participants were 22—43 old students of the same Master of Science program.

Illinois University, tablet study

The key conclusions in the report are as follows.
1. Students increased their communication with the lecturers and fellow students. The use of email, searching information from the intranet and downloading study material increased as well.

2. Tablets replaced pen and paper as the primary note taking method for majority of students. Assignments that required writing were still carried out on a laptop computer.

3. The students regarded tablets complementary to PCs.

When the experiment ended, 80% of the students said they have no problems with on-screen reading, and they rarely print material.

Adobe Digital Editions Ereading Application Is Available for the Apple iPad

2015-01-31

Adobe Digital Editions is a popular application for reading ebooks on Windows and Mac computers. The app is free and fairly simple to use. Now, the Digital Editions is also available for the Apple iPad. On the iPad, however, many established ereading apps have already won the hearts and minds of reading public. Do we really need yet another ereading app on the iPad?

Every new Apple iPad comes with the iBooks ereading app (it is possible to download iBooks to old models from the App Store). iBooks is probably the best ereading app available at the moment. It can open books that only include text and books that feature audio and video. iBooks can handle EPUB2, EPUB3, PDF and Apple’s own multimedia book format.
adobe digital editions ipad menu
So, do you need Adobe Digital Editions at all? Adobe says the app can open EPUB2, EPUB3 and PDF books. First and foremost, the Digital Editions is for reading books that are copy-protected with Adobe’s technology. If you buy a book from Kobo or Google Play Books, or from many other bookstores, the book is copy-protected. You have to use your Adobe ID to open the purchased book, and this is the trick the Digital Editions can manage (and iBooks can’t).

It is not possible to read books that require Adobe ID in iBooks. It is, however, possible to download free and easy-to-use reading apps like Bluefire Reader or Google Play Books that can open books protected by Adobe’s technology.

Adobe Digital Editions suffers from minor teething problems common in the first releases of practically any software product. The Digital Editions can’t properly layout a book when you hold your iPad in landscape mode. There is no way to remove books from a bookshelf. One of the biggest benefits of EPUB3 standard is the possibility to include audio and video in ebooks, but the Digital Editions couldn’t play any audio or video. Yet, Adobe claims the app is compatible with EPUB3.

Who should take the time and install Adobe Digital Editions on the iPad? If you don’t already have an ereading app on your iPad that can open ebooks that require Adobe ID, the Digital Editions is an app worth considering.

Adobe Digital Editions for the iPad can be downloaded from the App Store. More about the Digital Editions app at Adobe’s web page.

Adobe Digital Editions, Apple iPad
Adobe Digital Editions, Apple iPad
Adobe Digital Editions, Apple iPad

U.S. Airport Restaurants Are Making Apple iPad Tablets Available for Travelers

2015-01-21

Many travelers are carrying tablets and smartphones along to flights they are taking. It means that they have their gadgets with them when they pass through an airport. Yet, a company (OTG) that designs and operates airport restaurants has installed thousands of iPad tablets in eating and waiting areas at airports. What’s the point?
ipad airport restaurant by otg
Obviously, airport restaurants want to attract more customers who come in, sit at a table that has an iPad isntalled, and order some food and drinks. That’s not all. Travelers can order their meals using an app on the iPad without having to wait for a waiter. Even more critical timesaving moment is when the plates are empty and it would be time to hurry to the gate. The payment process can be managed on the iPad as well.

Meals can be paid using frequent flier miles. Flight schedules are also available on the iPads.

Early 2015, OTG had installed iPads at gate areas and in restaurants at two airports in New York (Kennedy International and La Guardia), at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport and Newark’s Terminal C. Who is the first in Asia or Europe to make iPads available at an airport?

The New York Times tells about a frequent traveler who doesn’t even bother to pick up her own iPad from the bag when she enters the airport. She finds the tablets provided by the airport so convenient.

Anything that helps kill time at airports is welcome for all travelers. Years ago, Changi Airport in Singapore had a game lounge, a TV lounge, and a couple of other places to spend time in. How about downloading a few ebooks on a tablet or smartphone and reading a good book while waiting?
airport lounge waiting for flight