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Yoni Heisler has an in-depth overview of Apple Pay at TUAW today:

Remember that merchants in an Apple Pay transaction never have access to user credit card information and, as a result, users never have to worry about their information being compromised in a security breach. Further, security at the device level is effectively impenetrable

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as tokens, along with the encrypted keys responsible for the cryptogram, are all securely stored in the Secure Element.

And as an extra security precaution, iPhone owners will have the ability to unlink or temporarily suspend a token connected to a stolen device, thereby rendering Apple Pay inoperable until the device is retrieved.

I may be skeptical about Apple Pay in Europe, but the way it's been built and will operate is fascinating. (I'm even more curious to know if integration with Safari will happen for web payments eventually).

∞ Read this on MacStories


When there are no actual news or notable app releases, I prefer investing my time in creating something for other people.

Continuing my ongoing series of tips on iOS URL schemes, here’s an adaptation o

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f my existing Due bookmarklet to work better with Google Chrome for iOS (which, as I’ve pointed out several times, has a very nice URL scheme). The following code (to install it, simply copy it and paste the entire string into a bookmark) grabs a webpage’s title and URL and sends them to Due (also powered by a great URL scheme).

Thanks to x-callback-url, we can specify URLs to open in case of “error” (Due couldn’t create a new reminder) or “success” (Due created a new reminder and automatically showed the “Reminder” entry screen). In case of error, I personally decide to stay in Due; if the bookmarklet succeeds, I like to be taken back to Google Chrome after I tap the Add button.


As you can see above, in the x-success parameter I’m using googlechrome%3A%2F%2F — which is simply the encoded version of googlechrome:// (those scary characters give it the convenient name of percent-encoding). You can play around with encoding and decoding strings using tools like this. Because x-callback-url’s fields want encoded strings, I’m doing the same with due%3A%2F%2Fx-callback-url%2F and Google%20Chrome. Not encoding strings properly is one of the most common mistakes I kept making when I first started using x-callback-url.

(Question: Why am I using googlechrome:// instead of a full webpage URL? As far as I know, the URL scheme alone can’t reload an existing tab, even when relaunching the same URL (unlike Safari). Therefore, to simply “jump back” to Chrome, I, well, re-open Chrome.)

A note about the screenshot in this post: the dialog box is generated by Due using x-source — a parameter to give a friendly name to the “calling app” (in our case, Google Chrome). Unfortunately, though, we can’t give x-error and x-success different pretty names; both parameters will use the x-source name given in Due. That’s why, even if you want to launch Due, the dialog box will keep saying “Google Chrome”.

Interestingly, the bookmarklet works on Safari for Mac, but not on Chrome (obviously, you won’t be able to rely on x-callback-url on the desktop). You can read more about Due’s URL scheme here, and check out a quick demo video of the bookmarklet below.

Empty States
Craig Dennis on area of app design that gets often overlooked:
Empty states are places in apps that have no content or data. They are empty. A blank page. Traditionally empty states are overlooked as most designers focus on how best to display lots of content or data. It’s common for empty states to be dealt with by developers as they are often caused by exceptions (such as no internet connection). They often write the copy and as a result it can be a little difficult to understand or it is left with the basic styles. Not the best combination. It should be logged as some
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thing that needs designing but that doesn’t always happen.
It gets even worse with apps that deal with errors through text that isn’t localized. In fact, I’d argue that proper localization is another aspect of the app economy that shouldn’t be underestimated anymore (as if it ever could be): with apps available in more than 150 countries, designing for the US market alone is a foolish assumption (unless, of course, an app’s only market is in the US — which is the case with many online services these days).
Empty states can be useful and provide context. Whether it’s a way to instruct users on how to get articles into a read-later app or a cute illustration with a link to How-To pages, empty states should find a balance between their lack of content and presenting on-screen guides.

I’m not obsessed with weather apps as much as I am with text editors. Throughout 2012, several developers came out with their own takes on presenting weather data in beautiful interfaces with custom designs; however, when it comes to weather, in spite of my non-obsession, I demand efficiency. Most of the time, many of the “great-looking” weather apps only focus on capturing the user’s attention with pixels, whereas weather software should, in my opinion, pay attention to data quality and information density more than anything else.
For the past week I’ve been using Check the Weather
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by David Smith, and, interestingly enough, I haven’t gone back to Apple’s Weather app yet. Like I said, I’m not obsessed with weather apps for iOS, but I like to try a new one every once in a while. In the past months I’ve always ended up going back to Apple’s app after a few hours – so there must be something Check the Weather is doing well.
I don’t want advanced data that I don’t understand from a weather app. To grasp the reason why I’m liking Check the Weather, I made a list of the features I need from a weather app:

What’s the weather like today
What’s the weather going to be like later today
What’s the temperature going to be like today
When is the sun rising (I live in Italy, work on a US timezone, so I see the sunrise every morning)
What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow
What’s the weather going to be like this week

With these few “requirements”, I can get a pretty clear overview of weather conditions and temperatures. Check the Weather is remarkably good at this because it presents many data points without cluttering the interface.
Check the Weather is a dashboard for weather conditions. At the top, there’s a bar that indicates your current location and, through a subtle animation, when the app is checking for updated data. Immediately below this bar, you’ll find the current temperature and weather conditions for your location. And then, underneath conditions, one my favorite features of the app: a graph of temperature for the next 12/15 hours. It’s a simple and effective way to visualize temperature changes (like how it dramatically drops between 6 and 8 PM).
Continuing with the main screen, the bottom part is dedicated to showing weather conditions and low/high temperature forecasts for the next three days and sunrise/sunset times. I particularly appreciate the sunrise functionality, as I mentioned above, and I find it somewhat curious that several developers decide not to include it. I also found it accurate for my location (Viterbo, Italy), and I only noticed a few days ago that moon phase is included in this section as well.
One thing that’s immediately distinctive about Check the Weather is its design. Different from any other weather app I’ve tried, Check the Weather makes extensive use of Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ font Idlewild for all its weather forecasts. While I wasn’t sure about this choice at first, within a few days I’ve come to appreciate the unique look of Check the Weather – this app is not yet another Clear clone. Check the Weather is different (a weather app with a very specific font and focused on data rather than prettiness isn’t something you see every day), and I like it. I can see, though, why this is also a very bold (no pun intended) move on Smith’s side: sometimes, people just want pretty pixels heavy on graphics and animations.
Check the Weather is unique in how it approaches the trend of placing additional information in a panel on the side. The app, in fact, uses two panels to display hourly forecasts and extended forecasts for the next 12 days. Hourly forecasts are nicely implemented, as “dark hours” are embedded between sunset and sunrise – as they should be. I don’t typically use extended forecasts (I think predicting 10 days in advance is a bit too much), but I like how they’re presented nevertheless.
As an Italian who reviews weather apps, the typical dreaded moment arrives when it’s time to talk about data. Simply put: if you live in the US you’ll have more features. While Check the Weather tries to be “global” with accurate data by HAMweather, there are several functionalities that are US-only, such as hazardous weather alerts from the National Weather Service, a doppler radar precipitation map, and integration with Dark Sky for minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts. I haven’t been able to test this, but David told me that Dark Sky API data is available in the precipitation view (swipe up from main screen). I believe Check the Weather is the first app to integrate with the recently announced Dark Sky API, and, even though it doesn’t support push notifications yet, it is a huge plus for US customers. As an Italian, all I can say is that weather data and forecasts were accurate and in line with Yahoo weather (the provider Apple uses).
One thing I’ve noticed about Check the Weather: it is localized in 7 languages (including Italian), and it is fully VoiceOver-enabled.

Check the Weather’s support for VoiceOver allows users to listen to forecasts.

Check the Weather is refreshingly different. It doesn’t look like any other weather app I’ve tried, and it leverages its uniqueness to provide weather data in a variety of ways that I find useful and intuitive. What I like most about Check the Weather is that it brings me the information I need without confusing me with custom menus or complicated interface designs. At this point, I only hope David will find a way to add more international weather providers and release an iPad version of the app.
Check the Weather is available at $2.99 on the App Store.

Here are today’s @MacStoriesDeals on hardware, iOS, and Mac apps that are on sale for a limited time, so get them before they end!

Hardware & Amazon Deals

New! Refurbished Apple TV Media Receiver: $85 + free shipping
New! Diddybeats High Performance In-Ear Headphones: $60 + free shipping

Mac Software

New! iRip: $19.95 -> $9.97
New! Mockd. iPhone Mock-up UI Toolkit: $2 or less
New! HTML5 & CSS Academy Course: $99 -> $49
MacKeeper: $1021 -> $24

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iBookstore, Audio and Video

O’Reilly’s Publishing with iBooks Author – An Introduction to Creating Ebooks for the iPad: Free
Stephen Hackett’s ‘Bartending: Memoirs of an Apple Genius’: $8.99 -> $4.99 (review)

Mac App Store

New! Due (Productivity): $9.99
New! Screen Ruler (Graphics & Design): $9.99 -> $3.99
New! Ulysses (Productivity): $19.99 -> $11.99
New! EdgeCase: $4.99 (review)

iPhone Apps

New! GIF SHOP (Photography): $.99 -> Free
New! LiveSketch (Entertainment): $1.99 -> Free
New! Timelanes: 99¢ (review)

iPad Apps

New! Mirror’s Edge™ for iPad (Games): $9.99 -> $4.99

Universal Apps

New! OnSong (Music): $4.99 -> Free
New! Nostalgio (Lifestyle): $2.99 -> Free


Apple’s iPad is iconic in design. Competitors try to emulate Apple’s success, but nobody can mistake the aluminum frame and its companion piano black or pearl white bezel for any other product. While it’s a product known for its distinct shape and size, the iPad’s character is only truly revealed when you power on its display and begin to explore the contained interface. With the Retina display, the new iPad is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Getting the new iPad
There’s a definite comfort in experiencing the justly decided thrill of purchasing and unboxing an i
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Pad. Any iPad. The ordering process online is seamless and can be completed under a minute provided you have an Apple ID. At an Apple Retail Store a lively blue-shirt is more than helpful in bringing you a new iPad before seamlessly emailing you a receipt as you turn to walk out the glass doors. The purchasing experience is unmatched.
The unveiling of the product itself is just as carefully thought out. Removing the lid will reveal a bare slab of display, bezel, and aluminum that dominates the entirety of the box’s width and length. Underneath, you’ll still find Apple’s signature wall charger, neatly packaged documentation, and a folded USB cable that might be slightly altered from an older white cable. Everything is in its place, confidentially packaged in such a way that provides immediate access to your new device.
Certainly the new iPad isn’t different from the last generation iPad in appearance. It measures slightly thicker and weighs a little heavier, but with the display off you probably could not tell them apart. Nothing has changed in placement of the buttons on the rounded edge, and the speaker grill is still precisely ported behind the lower left corner. Maybe a keen eye could tell the difference by looking at the rear camera up close. Some might complain that Apple is losing their creative edge by reintroducing the same design, but Steve Jobs never believed looks alone constituted a product’s design. The new iPad has been completely reengineered in ways we don’t see.
Unworried about the updated specifications, I turned on the iPad to find the Apple logo glowing in the center of the display. The blacks were black. The Apple Retina logo looked promising. After a brief moment the initial setup page appeared, giving me a first glimpse at the new Retina display. The display was bright and vivid. Not one pixel could be differentiated from the rest. It was an exciting moment, but I just wanted to get to the apps.
For new iPad owners the setup process will be seamless and stress free. Setup pages guide owners to connect to their Wi-Fi networks and create or log in with their Apple IDs before use. Previous iPad owners still have to restore their old iPad backups from iTunes or iCloud, which isn’t nearly as seamless. Through either process, it isn’t until you finally reach the home screen that you can appreciate Apple’s “resolutionary” update.
The Retina display
Since Wednesday night, I’ve taken a lot of interest in a repeating theme that could be found in plenty of iPad (3) reviews around the web. Many tech journalists have compared the display in the new iPad to a glowing sheet of paper, which is true if we’re talking about glossy, high-production print. In comparison to E Ink Kindles whose print resembles a newspaper or paperback book, the latest iPad’s sharp text closely mimics the text found in a good magazine. I’d say my appreciation for the additional sharpness in text and the crispness in images is akin to rediscovering music through a worthy pair of headphones.
The new iPad’s display is an incredible accomplishment that opens up an unsurpassed clarity never before seen on a general purpose computing device. While the iPhone 4 introduced the Retina display, no one has really explored and cheaply mass produced a display quite like the iPad’s at scale. The display is so dense that Apple has essentially packed in four pixels where there used to be one. Text looks sharp, images are crisp, and watching HD movies and TV shows could not be more enjoyable on a tablet.
By itself, the display is the sole reason to buy the latest iPad. You really do have to see it to believe it.
Many iPad owners have taken the time to compare the iPad’s display to previous generations, and found that the display is either slightly cooler or warmer than its predecessor. The color temperature differences aren’t great enough to make an impactful difference for most iPad users, and photographers can still produce and edit amazing images on the device. While pros may have to finalize images and video on their Apple Thunderbolt Displays or Dell Ultrasharp monitors, no one would otherwise notice temperature variances on the display without another iPad to compare it to.
While some initial iPad 2 units were unfortunately marred by light leakage, my iPad has no display imperfections. Overall, I’ve seen relatively little complaints around the Samsung display used in the device. Even better, I’ve noticed this display’s brightness is able to be adjusted dimmer than the last displays. It’s a wonderful panel and a marvel to look at no matter how you use it.
The other new features
While the aesthetic of the iPad hasn’t changed, the guts have been completely renovated. Apple’s new A5X processor drives graphics on the pixel dense display through a quad-core GPU, accompanying a dual-core CPU. The A5X is an A5 processor that’s tailored to give you the same performance of the iPad 2 with the iPad (3)’s display. The new iPad doesn’t perform much faster than its most recent predecessor, but it’s no a slouch and is a big upgrade from the original iPad. With the updated processor comes twice as much memory: one gigabyte of RAM lends itself to support applications updated for the Retina display.
The iPad 2 may have introduced a rear-facing camera, but it was a camera that was a half-hearted effort at best. I still feel that Apple could have launched a decent camera in last generation’s iPad, but they did deliver a comparable shooter this time around. Offering similar performance to the iPhone 4’s camera, the 5 MP shooter (named an iSight camera) can take good photographs for a mobile device, and also records decent 1080p video that’s stabilized thanks to additional processing on the A5X. While it’s not something I’d want to take pictures with given the choice, I appreciate having a camera capable of snapping a picture for when life provides an unexpected opportunity. The iPad’s display does a great job of framing the moment before it’s even captured.
Sadly the front facing camera is the same as last generation’s model, meaning that your face doesn’t get the high definition treatment when talking over FaceTime. I think it’s a bummer considering it doesn’t take advantage of the Retina display, and I’m hoping we’ll see a FaceTime HD camera in next year’s model that can really shine. If network performance over FaceTime was the concern, there’s no reason the iPad or Apple’s pipe couldn’t regulate the resolution presented to the participating party based on available upstream and downstream bandwidth.
As a side note, the camera app on the latest iPad has been ergonomically updated. Placing the camera button at the right side of the display makes the camera much easier to use, although southpaws will be disappointed to find that the button’s position can’t be switched to the left side.
When most people imagine the inside of an iPad, they probably think there’s a giant green motherboard behind the aluminum casing. That assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth! The majority of the iPad’s guts is nothing but battery, and Apple’s advances in battery technology lend itself to the same (or better than) advertised ten hour battery life that I got and maintained throughout the lifetime of my iPad 2 when browsing the web, reading, and watching a youtube video or two at average brightness. When watching a forty minute television program, video playback drained about 6% of the battery at average brightness. I got about ten and half hours of battery out of the new iPad after a full charge. Out of the box, my Wi-Fi iPad was 80% charged (I did not have to charge it all weekend).
To give you an idea about how incredible the battery is in the new iPad, let’s take a look at the 11-inch MacBook Air. Most users get around five hours of battery life thanks to a 35-watt-hour battery that keeps a Sandy Bridge processor, Intel HD graphics, and a 1366 x 768 display powered on when the laptop is in use. The new iPad’s battery is a 42-watt-hour battery that provides power to an A5X processor and a 2048 x 1536 display for twice as long. Much of the iPad’s weight can be attributed to the battery which makes up most of its guts.
The downside to this monster of a battery is it takes a long time to recharge. Based on my findings, the new iPad charges around 16% per forty minutes. Starting with a 3% charge at ten o’clock yesterday evening, my iPad was only 40% charged by midnight. Where the original iPads quickly charged to 80% then took a while to top off, the new iPad takes a long time to charge and longer to top off.
I do not have a Wi-Fi + 4G model available for testing, so I cannot comment on its battery life or mobile network performance (nor can I talk about supposed “heat issues” with this model that I’ll discuss later). The Wi-Fi + 4G equipped iPad provide an amazing range of wireless connectivity from EDGE / EV-DO (depending on carrier) to HSPA to LTE. Both the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 4G models offer Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting to low power peripherals such as bluetooth headsets or speakers.
As with the iPhone 4S, most of the updated hardware took place inside the device. For software, the big update for the iPad is the inclusion of dictation in its version of iOS 5.1, which I found to be accurate around 90% of the time (I speak quickly). Dictation does have trouble with names, some slang, and occasional goofs with possessives, but it does take the grunt work out of typing out an email provided you can dictate well. While it’s a great addition, I do wish the iPad launched with an updated version of Siri that could take advantage of performing iOS specific actions like opening apps or changing settings. I’m sure Siri will get its due time in the spotlight at WWDC later this year.
Talking about software, it’d be a shame to miss the latest AirPlay news. The iPad’s new processing capabilities allow it to playback and output 1080p video over a cable or over AirPlay to your flatscreen. Where the iPad 2 could only playback 720p video, the new iPad can handle pixel dense, high-definition movies on a variety of mediums. The Apple TV was updated alongside the iPad (3) release to take advantage of 1080p content from the iTunes Store or streaming from your iPad on the coffee table.
There is one minor note, but one that should me mentioned for buyers looking to upgrade from the iPad 2. Apple has changed the polarity of the magnets in the new iPad to solve an issue where flipping the Smart Cover around and lying it flat on the iPad 2’s back caused it to enter sleep mode. In the new iPad and in revised Smart Covers, the polarity of the magnets has been switched to address the issue. Smart Covers purchased during the launch of the iPad 2 won’t lock or sleep the iPad 3. My understanding, however, is that customers can replace their Smart Covers for updated versions if you politely ask at your local Apple Retail Store. Old iPad 2 docks and cables should work fine.
Using the new iPad
Apple’s Retina display is amazing. Where my eyes quickly got tired when reading on previous generation iPads, I found the Retina display helped me stay focused and interested in reading texts for much longer periods of time. Where I wasn’t too interested in reading long form articles on the iPad before (I mainly relegated that to the iPhone 4S at the kitchen table), I now consider the iPad to be a great e-book reader. Images and text can be presented on the display with unremarkable grandeur. Games, Retina optimized applications, and photographs look stunning. My favorite reading app, Instapaper, was quickly updated with a carefully chosen set of new fonts that couldn’t look better.
The Retina display is also a clear acknowledgement that Apple is ahead of its time. There are growing pains that have to be dealt with along the way that won’t be immediately addressed until devices like the new iPad become much more common. It’s not the resolution of the display that’s necessarily the problem (high resolution LCD displays have been on the market for a while), but it’s the density (the number of pixels-per-inch) at which they’re packed. It’s not always the case that lower resolution images are scaled down (as you might think would happen), but rather that lower resolution graphics on websites and in apps are presented at the same physical size as before but with imperfections (scaled up). Low resolution pictures and graphics can look noticeably pixelated on the display. Websites that aren’t updated to take advantage of the new iPad may simply be imperfect — text won’t be a problem, but images and resources like navigation bars and social icons may not be as crisp as you’d expect them to be. It personally doesn’t bother me, but it could lend itself to a less enjoyable web browsing experience.
On the note of performance, it feels essentially the same as the iPad 2. The biggest differences are made with websites, video, magazines, and apps that have to cache or load a lot of information. I didn’t notice a big improvement between opening apps and using them to check Twitter or take notes, but I do see a definite improvement when it comes to loading webpages and issues from The Daily. The A5X processor is an A5 processor that is specifically updated to support the Retina display, so I’m not surprised performance is similar. Additional RAM seems to be the biggest improvement in how the software feels, and you’ll quickly get an idea for which apps take advantage of it and which apps don’t if you’ve used an iPad before.
The big benefit of browsing the web on the new iPad is that tabs don’t load as often. Throughout the time taken to review the iPad (3), I’ve never had a website reload or refresh without my input. Web pages will simply stay cached longer.
The new iPad does feel a little heavier than the iPad 2, and in reality Apple’s only added around 0.1 pounds. The difference is moot, however, as I didn’t feel any additional fatigue or notice myself changing how I use the new iPad. Looking at the big picture, the iPad still is a weighty tablet because of the glass display, the aluminum frame, and its large battery. No matter what version you use, it’s always been a tablet that you’ve had to prop on your knees or on an armchair to use for a long period of time. For occasionally browsing the web and checking Twitter, the weight won’t make a difference. Readers who spend hours on the iPad will want to find a grippy case or cover and a comfortable chair.
I personally use my iPad with a leather Smart Cover, which I’ve called a genius product in the past. With other cases, I often worry about corner clips or rough plastic that might dig into the iPad. The Smart Cover is thin and adds very little bulk or weight. While there plenty of beautiful third-party cases like the DODOcase, the Smart Cover performs two functions that I constantly use it for: standing up the iPad for watching video and providing an elevated surface for typing. It’s configurability and quick attachment alone make it invaluable for my use. I do have some gripes about the Smart Cover after using it for a year, but I will revisit those issues in a future article.
Warm to the touch?
While I noticed it after an hour of using the new iPad, I didn’t think anything of it until Consumer Reports and various tech blogs ran sensational headlines about how warm the iPad gets with use. I’ve amended this section to the review to follow up on my previous comments and explain what lots of people are making a big deal about. For the “too long; didn’t read” version, just read Bloomberg’s quote on The Loop and skip to the concluding sections.
Owners of previous generation iPads are used to a tablet that runs cool to the touch. The first iPad barely got warm to the touch, the iPad 2 only got slightly warm after playing a game like Infinity Blade for a while, and the latest iPad gets noticeably warm at the lower left edge in general use and warmer still when gaming or watching videos. My position is that while the new iPad gets warm, it is a non-issue. I would say the same about an Android or Windows tablet that got just as warm.
The headlines and statements written about the average increase in temperature are generally misleading to consumers. My specific problem with the Consumer Reports review is that they didn’t just state the facts, but added scaremongering statements such as the one I quoted. The statement that the new iPad gets so hot that you cannot comfortably hold it after a brief period of time is false, at least with the Wi-Fi model I’m reviewing. Keep in mind that there are many people who tolerate hotter temperatures dissipated through the bottom of their laptops on their thighs. Unless the iPad actually leads to Toasted Skin Syndrome, I do not think an iPad that is warm to the touch is a problem.
To compare how warm the new iPad is, you only have hold the iPhone 4S and the iPod touch. Playing Angry Birds or Tiny Tower will make these devices get warm with use. The new iPad, just like Apple’s other products, expends some heat while playing games in this case. Those who had the first iPhone will remember that device actually got hot.
I do not believe there is oversight by Apple concerning how the new iPad operates. The fact is that in order to deliver the performance you’d expect on a Retina display, the components in the new iPad run hotter than before. This topic could have been a great debate at Apple — the small tradeoff made might have been considered acceptable for a number of reasons concerning cost, thickness, and weight. I’m not giving Apple a free pass, but the new iPad had not gotten to a point where I felt like I had to put it down because it was too hot (it hasn’t even made my palms sweat). If that was the case, there would be a legitimate cause for concern. Just like before, I still find myself lost in the experience of the device itself, perhaps even more-so than before thanks to the Retina display.
Displaymate’s Dr. Raymond Soneira reached out to Tested to explain that the additional number of LEDs in the new iPad’s Backlight give off over twice the amount of heat as the old display. Combined with the higher performance components in the new iPad, this leads to a warmer device. Tested ran their own tests against all three generations of the iPad, and found that the heat issue is much ado about nothing. And heck, these guys work with the best of the best: The Mythbusters. Their test and measurements are well worth the short read.
Should you get the new iPad? What size?
The big question to be asked by prospect iPad buyers is whether they should get the new iPad or the reduced-in-price iPad 2. The big advantage to the iPad 2 is that it offers the same perceived performance $100 less than the latest iPad, with the obvious benefit of the latest iPad being the display. We could argue about whether you need the better camera, but it’s unlikely most people are going to use it as a daily point-and-shoot or iPhone replacement to snap pictures. With most people buying an iPad to browse the web and read on, I’d say the display is the deciding factor.
If you spend considerable time reading Instapaper or Read it Later; reading long form articles or magazines such as The New Yorker; reading Kindle books or iBooks; or reading a lot of blogs online, I’d say spend the extra $100 to get the latest iPad. If you have poor vision, I’d also recommend not compromising on the display. The amount you read is a key ingredient in determining if the higher price is worth it to your eyeballs. Getting an iPad 3 will also mean it will be better compatible with the latest software and iOS updates for a year or two longer than previous models. While you could get away with the 16 GB model, I do recommend getting the 32 GB model instead (especially if you own lots of applications or plan to play a lot of games). Retina-enabled applications will be a lot bigger than their counterparts, and pretty soon most developers who care about their software will have made significant updates to their apps to include higher resolution graphics that will shine on the Retina display. For heavy app users and magazine subscribers, picking a larger model is a must.
First time iPad owners who will occasionally browse the web and don’t expect to read a large quantity of text will be fine with an iPad 2. For potential tablet buyers who simply want a portable device to frequent your favorite websites, Facebook or Twitter with, you can’t go wrong with a $399 price tag. The iPad 2 is a perfectly acceptable tablet for first time buyers. I’d recommend sticking with the 16 GB Wi-Fi model.
If you are considering getting a 3G or a 4G equipped iPad, I would not recommend getting the iPad 2. Word on the street is that 4G on the iPad 3 is blazing fast. Available to Verizon iPads is a personal hotpost feature that allows you to connect up to five devices through your iPad to connect to the Internet. Plans on all iPads are prepaid, but the Verizon iPad (3) in the United States will go a long way towards giving you the most options and fast LTE web browsing. AT&T does not offer hotspot connectivity at this time.
The new iPad comes in both white and black at various price points depending on storage and carrier connectivity.
iPad 2:

Wi-Fi 16 GB: $399
Wi-Fi + 3G 16 GB: $529

iPad (3):

Wi-Fi 16 GB: $499
Wi-Fi 32 GB: $599 *Recommended for base storage
Wi-Fi 64 GB: $699
Wi-Fi + 4G 16 GB: $629
Wi-Fi + 4G 32 GB: $729 *Verizon recommended for LTE connectivity
Wi-Fi + 4G 64 GB: $829

Final thoughts
The new iPad is a big step forward for Apple and mobile technology as a whole. Being able to see detail where it wasn’t seen before on a virtual display breaks the notion that what’s on a screen can never be as clear as the amount of detail we soak in when experiencing life around us. It cannot be more true that the iPad has had a dramatic impact on how we perceive the general computing experience, and it is consistently setting the pace and changing our notions about how people and machines can interact with each other. Developers making software on the new iPad will be able to deliver a kind of quality not seen before on any other tablet. Only Apple and the developers making the experience what it is can meet the kinds of expectations set with this product’s release.
Apple is not a company of incremental improvements, but of great incremental improvements. The iPad has not taken on new skin, but has rather built upon previous success to deliver a completely new visual experience currently unmatched. Specs can only take a tablet so far — it’s what you interact with on the display that counts. With the new iPad, the canvas has been expanded into something immersive. What’s been said is entirely true – seeing is believing.

Following yesterday’s release of Tweetbot 2.0 for iPhone and Tweetbot for iPad (our reviews here and here, more coverage here), I was able to chat with Tapbots’ co-founder Paul Haddad (@tapbot_paul) about the launch of their first “real” iPad app, the reception of Tweetbot 2.0 for iPhone, and the iPad App Store.
Check out the interview below.
MCSTR: Hi Paul, congratulations again on the launch of Tweetbot 2.0 and Tweetbot for iPad. So how did yesterday go in terms of sales? Was the launch as successful as you hoped?
PH: Yeah I was surprised we hit #
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1 in the iPad App Store so fast, I was hoping we’d hit it at some point but wasn’t expecting it to happen in 8 hours. It was pretty fast — the Top Paid is a moving average over what I think is 3 days, so to do it in less than one is pretty amazing.
MCSTR: I mean, it’s not easy for a social networking app priced at $2.99 to get the first spot over games and utilities (most of them sold at $0.99), right?
PH: At least in the US I think the iPad market is certainly different than iPhone, not as heavily skewed towards the $.99 games/apps.
MCSTR: Do you think with the current number of downloads you can stay on #1 for many days?
PH: I hope so, but don’t really have any idea. The iPad App Store is virgin territory for us so we don’t have many set expectations both in the short and long term.
I will say that yesterday was our second biggest day ever in terms of revenue.
MCSTR: Nice. I guess your biggest day ever was Tweetbot for iPhone launch? Or perhaps that Tweetbot sale you had last year?
PH: Tweetbot for iPhone launch was the biggest day, but that was also a full day Vs more or less a half day, so who knows what will happen today.
MCSTR: Yeah, it seems you guys are still #1 in the US Store, so that’s promising. Besides the rave reviews, how has general reception been?
PH: Surprisingly good. It’s really hard to gauge these things pre-launch and we’re too close to the app to really get a feel for what other people will think of it. There certainly was a concern that people would dislike the idea of it being a separate app. But there have been very few complaints about that.
Since it was our first large iPad app, I was also worried that people would feel our style wouldn’t translate well on the device. But again — overwhelmingly positive responses.
MCSTR: How about Tweetbot 2.0? Obviously the iPad launch was bigger because it was a completely new app, but Tweetbot 2.0 is pretty sweet too.
PH: It was really cool to be able to do both at the same time. I think Tweetbot 2.0 answers a lot of the criticisms folks have had with the app, while still making it feel like Tweetbot. I’m really happy that we were able to make it look and perform better at the same time.
MCSTR: The obvious question is — now that we have two Tweetbots, will we get to see some sort of iCloud integration between them?
PH: We don’t generally talk about future features because we don’t really know how long things will take, or even if things are possible. I will say it’s one of the things we are looking at.
MCSTR: Sounds good. Last question: Is there anything you would have done differently in Tweetbot 1.0 for iPad?
PH: I’m really happy with the way Tweetbot 1.0 came out. We actually have a very strong set of features planned out for the near future that will make it even cooler. But 1.0 is exactly what we wanted it to be, the best Twitter app for iPad and a solid base to grow from.

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I’ve been thinking about the problems I have with iOS’ Home screen concept for years now, but I never fully grasped what was, exactly, that with time made using the Home screen — and thus the whole system of Springboard pages — clunky and annoying. Until it hit me earlier today, and suddenly everything started to make sense.
The iOS Home screen is conceptually broken. Not “broken” as in unusable, unstable or technically flawed. From an engineering standpoint, the iOS Home  screen works. The concept of the Home screen we interact with today is broken bec
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ause the Home screen wants to be a real, physical, tangible surface while providing access to the gates of the intangible: apps. Apps are data, information, connectivity, presentation, media. Digital content isn’t tangible in the sense that it exists in a physical space, unless you count the atoms and the electrons and the bits that make using an app possible. But that’s a long stretch. The iOS Home screen is based on the concept that app icons are objects on top of it;  this has created a series of issues over the years.
Throughout the release history of iOS, Apple had to compromise and, I believe, implement functionalities the original Home screen wasn’t meant to support. First users wanted third-party apps, Apple waited, but eventually allowed developers to create software to install on an iPhone or iPod touch. Apps are the most important addition to the operating system to date, and they kickstarted the App Store revolution we’re witnessing. In allowing third-party developers to create apps, however, Apple essentially lost control over the display of objects on the Home screen — Apple may be able to check upon the inner workings of an app, but they can’t ban apps based on lack of taste in choosing an icon. And with that, developers were free to choose Home screen icons that don’t necessarily resemble real-life objects, thus breaking the metaphor of manipulating “badges on a table”, as I like to think of it. Have you noticed how almost every built-in, Apple-made iOS app has an icon that resembles a real-life object? The only exception? The App Store and iTunes icons. Which are marketplaces for digital content.
Apple states it clearly in the iOS Human Interface Guidelines:
When virtual objects and actions in an application are metaphors for objects and actions in the real world, users quickly grasp how to use the app. The classic example of a software metaphor is the folder: People put things in folders in the real world, so they immediately understand the idea of putting files into folders on a computer.
Think of the objects and scenes you design as opportunities to communicate with users and to express the essence of your app. Don’t feel that you must strive for scrupulous accuracy. Often, an amplified or enhanced portrayal of something can seem more real, and convey more meaning, than a faithful likeness.
Portray real substances accurately. Icons that represent real objects should also look as though they are made of real materials and have real mass. Realistic icons accurately replicate the characteristics of substances such as fabric, glass, paper, and metal, and convey an object’s weight and feel.
Later, users wanted multitasking and folders. Unsurprisingly, Apple gave them implementations of these features that look like objects, in this case objects with linen. Here’s where the situation gets more complex: folders and the multitasking tray, unlike app icons, actively interact with the Home screen, they don’t just sit on top of it. The way Apple designed them, the multitasking tray resides as linen below the Home screen, and folders are tiny containers with a linen background that expands atop of the Home screen. You can see how the entire concept of Home screen as a surface starts crackling under the design weight of  these features: is the Home screen a surface that has another layer underneath? Another one above as well? What do you mean I have music controls in the multitasking tray, too?
Most recently, iOS users began asking more vigorously for a better notification system, a unified reading environment for magazines, and widgets. Apple gave them Notification Center and Newsstand, but didn’t announce anything widget-related, at least for the Home screen. The Home screen, with iOS 5, got two new additions: a new layer, Notification Center, and a new default icon, Newsstand, which isn’t really an icon but it’s a folder with a different background and shelves.
As I said, I believe choosing the right approach to delivering new functionalities and keeping the original Home screen concept got trickier for Apple over the years. What started as a black background with a few default apps turned into a customizable area of hundreds of app icons with folders and multiple pages with a series of additional layers managed by the overly abused linen texture. But the seed of the broken concept can be seen way back into iPhone OS history: think about Spotlight and Springboard page indicators. What are they — how do they fit into the metaphor of a physical surface with objects on top of it? Surfaces don’t have search boxes and indicators. Notebooks have pages, but you have to flip them and turn them and touch them. Websites have search boxes, but they’re bits and lines of code.
If you follow my theory, you can understand how things start making sense from this perspective. You can’t move multiple app icons at once not because of some technical limitation, but because, I believe, in the original Home screen vision inspired by physics apps were meant as a single entity to manipulate, one at a time. On a table, you can’t “select” multiple buttons and pretend they’re all going to move as you touch only one. That doesn’t make any sense in real life. I could expand this concept to the entire skeuomorphism Vs. interface design, but I’ll leave that for another time. My concern right now is the Home screen, the first thing you see when you unlock a device, when you close an app, the place where you manage your apps, your content. There’s a lot of weirdness and inconsistencies going on in some Apple apps and interfaces, but the Home screen is the prime example of a user interface meant for 2007 which was subsequently patched and refined and patched again to accomodate new functionalities introduced in iOS (the same happened with the Home button). You could argue that some proposed features, such as widgets, haven’t been implemented yet because of technical constraints. It’s fair argument, and I’ll take it. Yet I think that, even if complex from an implementation standpoint, it’s the concept itself that makes widgets difficult with the current Home screen.
The problem Apple needs to overcome is that the Home screen tries to be a real object while providing access to the gates of the digital world. To reinvent it, Apple needs to tear apart the whole concept and rebuild it from the ground up.

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