They say good things come to those who wait. After sitting through two iterations of Apple’s tablet, Facebook for iPad has arrived. On Monday Facebook dropped a dedicated app to access to the social network in the App Store. The house that Zuck built is calling it a “hands-on Facebook” that takes advantage of the tablet’s large, hi-res display. Organizing and flipping through photo albums is easier than before, as is chatting, playing games, and navigating around. Facebook also went ahead and updated its iPhone/iPod touch version to make its aesthetic match that of its bigger brother. The iPhone version of the app features the same left-hand navigation pane for a more streamlined experience and search is more comprehensive. Download the new Facebook app for iOS devices today, gratis.
[Via Facebook Blog]
At long last, Skype for iPad is here. Everything you’re used to using on the iPhone/iPod touch version of the app has been ported to the tablet and optimized for the bigger screen. Like the iPhone version this app allows for two-way video calling between other iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, Android devices, PCs, Macs, and HDTVs over WiFi and 3G. It also takes advantage of both the front and back-facing cameras. For the rest of the deets, hop after the break to read the full app description. There you’ll also find a brief demonstrative video. But I know what you really want: click here to download the free Skype for iPad app today.
At an event dubbed Photoshop World 2011, an Adobe exec demonstrated the future of Photoshop…on an iPad! You might think Photoshop Express in the App Store is a useful tool to edit photos on a mobile device, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. Resizing, manipulating, and applying filters to images is a smooth experience on this conceptual, futuristic version of Ps for iPad. The coolest feature, though, is the ability to add layers and view all applied layers in a 3D animation mode that reveals how exactly they are organized in relation to one another. But alas–this tease of an insanely cool iPad app is but a concept and no release date was shared with the event’s crowd in awe.
“New times require new journalism. Our challenge was to take the best of traditional journalism, competitive shoe-leather reporting, good editing, a skeptical eye, and combine it with the best of contemporary technology.” That’s how News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch opened up the launch event for his company’s brand new digital newspaper The Daily. It’s being described as “the industry’s first national daily news publication created from the ground up for iPad.” News Corp. and Apple worked together to come up with a news source tailor-made for the tablet community. The Daily will push out new content every day and publish up to 100 pages focused on these specific areas: news, sports, gossip and celebrity, opinion, arts and life, and apps and games. It takes advantage of the iPad’s multitouch display by providing interactive methods of implementation. For example, the home screen of the app provides readers with a carousel view of the day’s news, and you can easily swipe through them and tap on the ones that interest you most. Also, you can use your fingers to take a 360 degree view of a photograph. In addition to photos, the paper will highlight news using text, embedded videos, audio, information graphics, and real-time data and social feeds. For example, inside the gossip and celebrity section you might find a Twitter feed of a celeb who is making headlines and discover what she is up to that way. In short, The Daily allows its editors to deliver stories to their readers in new and exciting ways that simply are not possible in the realm of TV, radio, and traditional papers.
The Daily also includes… A selection of articles can be read aloud to you by actual people (read: no GPS-like robotic voices); the paper can be customized with your preferences (think: weather, sports teams); the apps and games section provides reviews and ratings for select iPad applications and will link you directly to the App Store if you decide to purchase an app; Sudoku and crossword puzzles are available to play within the app; readers can leave comments on Daily stories in either written or audio form; said stories can be bookmarked and saved for reading later; stories can be shared with others via Facebook, Twitter, and email (those who receive shared stories can read Web-friendly versions of the articles even if they’re not subscribers).
Readers are promised a new Daily to be automatically downloaded to their iPad straight from the either 365 days a year with new content everyday. If a day happens to be packed with breaking news, the editors can jump into the paper at any time and provide readers with the latest news (they can even change the cover story if they like). All of this comes at a price; since The Daily is an iPad-driven news source News Corp. does not have to worry about paper, factory, and delivery costs and the savings trickle down to the subscriber. It’s priced at $.99 per week or $39.99 annually, not bad at all. The first two weeks of use are free, thanks Verizon Wireless. It’s first application made available on the App Store featuring a subscription model; subscriber fees are billed directly to an iTunes account. The Daily app is available to download today right here.
The Daily promises a new voice for a new technologically-advanced era. I’m excited that a powerfully influential force in Murdoch’s News Corp. is behind the first digital paper made from the ground up for the iPad, and I’m equally curious to see how newspaper readers respond to it. It’s easy to assume that the young crowd of 20-somethings will take the charge in signing up for subscriptions, but what I’m most interested in seeing is whether or not those people who are used to reading traditional (read: physical) papers will take a liking to The Daily and transition over to it. At the get-go it certainly takes advantage of Apple’s tablet in terms of browsing and visually immersive experiences, so we’ll have to see if the editorial team can keep things up all throughout the year. If they continually pump out new content and update the app appropriately with readability improvements, I envision a bright future for the newspaper readers of tomorrow.
Look after the break a visual tour of The Daily and official PR.
OnLive, that gaming on-demand cloud-based service you’ve been hearing so much about, has found its way to the iPad but not in the way you might suspect. No you cannot demo and purchase games on Apple’s ubiquitous device; what can do, however, is hook up to OnLive’s servers to watch other people play games. With the free OnLive Viewer app you can spectate live gameplay, view and rate Brag Clips, add your favorite players to a friends list and send them messages, and view trailers for current and upcoming games. Says John Spinale, OnLive VP of Games and Media: “Watching live games and interacting with the people playing them takes social gaming to an entirely new level. It’s unlike any other experience. And people love it.”
But this is just the beginning for OnLive on portable devices. The company promises that the update will receive an update sometime next year that will allow users to demo, purchase, and instantly play games and create Brag Clips–so much more than just spectating. What they’re waiting for is games to become “touch- or motion-aware” so that gameplay is more suitable for a touchscreen experience a la the iPad. CEO Steve Perlman says that the app “is the last piece of the puzzle to unify the worlds of TV, computing and mobile all under one real-time cloud-based platform, enabling previously inconceivable experiences, capabilities and live, video-rich social interaction.” Beyond gaming, Perlman’s plan is to have the app bring the touch-based Windows 7 OS to OnLive users, effectually porting Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight to iOS and Android devices.
For now you’re stuck with spectating–but it’s not all that bad actually. Download the free app here and give it a whirl. An Android version is currently in beta.
But not so fast! There are two stipulations that must be discussed. First, SlingPlayer for iPad is only compatible with Sling SOLO and Sling PRO-HD boxes; all the rest are left in the dust, unfortunately. According to Engadget Sling will soon offer a $50 voucher for those who are itching to upgrade to a newer box. What’s interesting is that SlingPlayer for iPhone has a wider compatibility range; it works with the aforementioned boxes and the SlingBox PRO. And that brings me to point number two and more bad news. If you already purchased the $29.99 app for iPhone, you’ll have to shell out another thirty bucks to use the iPad version of the same app. Well, it’s not exactly the same app since the iPad version is tailored for a larger screen, but still. Sling assures that users can use the iPhone app to stream content on the iPad in a “Compatibility Mode”, but these users will not experience the “higher quality resolutions” provided in the iPad version. If I may quote Jigsaw from Saw, the choice is yours. Full PR after the break.