Tag Archives: apple

The DRACO iPhone 5 bumper case – give your iPhone a distinctive look

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DRACO iPhone 5 Bumper Case

It would be great to be able to do without a case on the iPhone. No extra cost and no extra weight or size. Plus the iPhone looks pretty damn great just as it is. That is not our reality. The devices cost so much we have to protect them in some shape or form. Personally I have never been a fan of the cases that cover the device surfaces completely. I want to leave something of the iPhone visible. For that reason I have generally gone for a bumper case with screen protector. I was looking for something a little more that the standard bumper and I found the DRACO.

There are a few videos available on how to assemble with detailed close ups on fitting it to your phone so I am not going to get into that level of detail and pics here. Video of DRACO assembly and review by Milkerz5. What I will say is that it is superbly made, you continue to have access to all ports and buttons while the device is wrapped in a superb piece of aircraft grade aluminium. It adds a very unique look to your device while providing excellent protection for a bumper case. So far it has attracted quite a lot of attention and I like the distinctiveness of it. Not too bad on the price either for this high grade product. Really like it.

DRACO iPhone 5 Case - rear

DRACO iPhone 5 Case – rear

DRACO iPhone 5 case - bottom

DRACO iPhone 5 case – bottom

The Logitech iPad Bluetooth Keyboard – well worth the investment!

 Logitech iPad Keyboard


Logitech iPad Keyboard

I have tried a few keyboards over the last couple of years for the iPad.  Most of them in some type of iPad case\cover incorporating a keyboard but a couple that were stand alone type fold up versions.  The case type primarily bulked out the iPad size and did not provide a good enough typing experience to justify the extra size or were completely separate devices so there was the feeling of carrying 2 items around.  I also somewhat felt that if I wanted to use a proper keyboard I should just grab my laptop.  However, after trying out the Logitech keyboard it has changed my point of view. The feedback and general feel on the keyboard is excellent. It’s slick design, look and feel make it seem that it was always part of the iPad. This aesthetics and fitting in with the look and feel is generally very important but especially so when it is an Apple product.  Yes it does bulk out the size a little and it adds some weight but in my opinion the screen real estate you get back by no longer having the keyboard on the screen and improved usability of the iPad more than compensates for this.

  • Excellent keyboard with an Apple look and feel.  Keys are a hard plastic(resin?) and good enough to touch type versus some of those softer rubber or silicon types.
  • Smart connects\hinges to the iPad just like the smart covers
  • When the iPad is sitting in the slot, the viewing angle is excellent and the device feels very secure even though it is not ‘fixed’ (see pic below)
  • Very easy to connect and set up
  • Excellent battery life in the keyboard (6 months at 2 hours per day before recharge – I usually leave it on all day every day and try to recharge it 1 a week)
  • Analogue on/off switch which I really approve of especially when flying.  Quick and easy off! I am tired of gimmicky digital switches on so many products these days.
  • When closed it fully protects screen as with any cover
  • And finally it looks excellent!

While I definitely recommend it as a tool to enhance the iPad there are just a couple of things that frustrated me.  The charger is micro USB – which means carrying yet another cable around. Instead of a charger\cable in the pack I would have preferred a convertor from iPad 30 pin to micro USB so I could carry just one cable\charger (OK yes for latest iPad you would need a lightening convertor).  I was also a little frustrated that you have to sit it directly on the very nicely finished Logitech base when using it.  There are no silicone feet to raise the keyboard flat base up off a table or other flat surface (even a tiny bit would help hugely) which leaves it prone to scratching and marks and you notice every little spec of dust under the keyboard base when you start typing.  So make sure that surface is clean and Logitech please include those little self adhesive feet that come with many other products and I can chose if and where to stick them!  Other than that an excellent little product.

Logitech iPad Keyboard – side profile

Logitech iPad Keboard

Logitech iPad Keyboard – open

Logitech iPad Keyboard – closed

The Studio i for iPad. Is it the missing piece?

On the Studio i home page they state  ‘This changes everything’.  Steve Jobs might have disagreed and changing everything may be pushing it just a little but this pen may just be the iPads missing piece.  Yes that is a bold statement. Does it have a missing piece?

It has been well documented the iPad is the first real device that offers the possibility of going paperless.  However, for many, while it may get rid of papers, magazines and books it has not replaced the pen and notepad.  The normal capacitive touch pen is not a good enough replacement for the pen. It is not accurate and can mean an inefficient use of the already limited space on the iPad.  I have mostly gone paperless over the last year.  I have been using the capacitive pen and while it works well it often falls down because of the lack of real accuracy particularly when trying to mark up printed documents or diagrams.

The Studio i changes that.  The pen or stylus has a very slender tip and with it very fine writing is possible.  The pen currently only works in its own native app Studio Basic + but that will change in the coming months as other note taking apps incorporate this hardware (see info at bottom on upcoming support).  Plug the receiver into the iPad data\charging port and start using the pen.  The app is very easy to use and you can very easily change the colour, opacity and line thickness to what is needed.  Take a picture within the app or import a pdf and start making notes on it straight away.  With all the accuracy of a real pen.

The pen like accuracy means that you really can use the full screen efficiently and get the sense of filling a page full of hand written notes.  While there are a couple of small things to get used to I have found I am using it daily and have really grown to like and use the app for all notes and reviewing all reading material.  Also it ignores finger and palm touches.  So you can touch and rest you hand and palm as much as you like and it wont mark or affect you page.  with the pen I can mark up PDFs, take meeting notes, jot down my daily tasks, project notes or just doodle.  You can then load to Dropbox, share on twitter, Facebook or send by email.  You can have multiple notebooks and docs on the go and easily switch between them.  If I get a word doc (or other Microsoft office doc)I need to mark up I can PDF it on the iPad using Adobe Createpdf and then open it in Studio Basic and start writing on it. Simple.

However there are a few things to note with this product

  • It takes a little bit of time to get used to the products little features such as using the ‘ghost’ dot that follows the pen nib around the screen as this is where it will start inking and not exactly where the nib is.  Also you need to hold the pen the same way as when you calibrated it or the point will be a little bit off (or re-calibrate it)
  • There is a very small lag from the pen stroke to the inking on the paper.  (Not so bad on iPad2 but more noticeable on iPad)
  • You have to press down the nib to engage the pen which at the start is a little disconcerting and can be frustrating depending on what you are doing at the start until you are used to it.  Hopefully later versions will make it much more sensitive to pressure.
  • There is less accuracy at each corner of the screen and at the bottom of the screen
  • You can only use the Studio i in Portrait mode

All that said I really do like it and its by far the best product for writing on the iPad.  I think it begins to close off the missing piece for the iPad. At least the missing piece for me.  I am sure as the product and the app develops and other apps take it on board it will become even more valuable. I gave it a quick demo today and one person soon after jumped online and bought one and another 2 people are very interested and want more info.  That is from a 2 minute demo to only a few people.  It is that impressive for those wanting to really utilise the iPad fully.

In March\April more apps will come with support for this product which I am looking forward to trying out:

  • Good Notes (beta version in app store NOW)
  • Noteshelf
  • Notes Plus
  • PDF-notes
  • Ghostwriter
  • Procreate

If you are looking for this product here in Ireland or for any info you should email B-connected info@bconnected.ie  –    www.bconnected.ie .  Its also on amazon.com and I am trying to find out where else for other geographies as I think this would be very appealing for many iPad owners.

The byZero writing demo on YouTube:

Giving the iPhone a little personality!

I upgraded to the iPhone 4S from the 4 to purely mess with Siri.  Other than a desperate need you may have to use Siri it’s not worth it in my view.  The 4 is a perfectly good phone and I really loved it compared to the 3GS so my advice would be to hold out for the 5.  Don’t get me wrong Siri is pretty damn amazing but it’s still very much a tech at the beginning of its capabilities.

However once I got my hands on this new device I wanted to personalise it just a little bit with something other than a run of the mill cover as iPhones are everywhere.  I decided to add the Apple light logo and change the rear cover on my white iPhone to black as with the black rear the light stands out a lot better.  To finish it all off a black gloss bumper and some protective front and rear covers.  So it’s not exactly high Diamond encrusted gold fashion but enough of a change to be mine.  More money than sense I hear you say but the whole lot cost me about €60 euro so not too bad considering some of the nicer covers cost as much and more than that.

I love the Apple logo lighting up.  I am surprised Apple don’t offer this as an optional extra as many that have seen it really like it. It doesn’t impact the battery too much that I have noticed although fitting it was a little bit more of a challenge than the website might have you believe but still worth it.

I wonder when the day will come that these devices are not such a throw away item.  Instead of upgrading the whole thing we can swap out parts like what Samsung plan with their new smart televisions.  We can change the processor, add more memory or upgrade the wireless antennae. Like Lego pieces we could customise and personalise these powerful pieces of tech while being just a little bit more responsible with our rare natural resources (Yes I know if I really cared I wouldn’t have wasted resources on modding this device but boys will be boys!)

For anyone interested here is a link for the Luminescent Logo Mod Kit for iPhone 4/4S

The future of mobile and what it might mean for us.

Over the last week I cleaned up a number of blog posts that I had started at various times over the last year but never got around to finishing. Some were just out of date, a few I didn’t have the cojones to publish and others were just something about nothing (which may actually be a good title for this post – something about nothing….).  One of them from October I want to particularly shine a light on.  I sat on my high horse ridiculing those that were running out to upgrade their iphone 4 to 4S when something else I felt was more important and should have been their focus.  That being the new iOS 5 and the iCloud offerings and not the little physical shiny new piece of tech(OK yes there are many levels to this but upgrading seemed ove the top!).

I then saw Siri in action.  A piece of tech not available on the older models with a simple iOS upgrade.  Feel in love with it and just before Christmas I bought a new iPhone 4S.  Glad I didn’t publish that post or I would have looked kinda foolish now. (Yes yes I know!)

Arrogant unfinished blog post aside and ignoring the fact of the hypocracy as I succumbed to the marketing and fell in line to get the latest tech I do think the basic premise of my post still holds true.  The premise being that soon the device in our hand will be somewhat irrelevant, not that we won’t need it, but that they will all offer closely the same functionality be it Android, Windows or iOS.  Very fast, touch screen with voice recognition\control.

So what then? Well it’ll be the data and services that the device can tap in to (and how) that will be the difference (and this obviously is also true at present but at varying degrees of integration and success).  Amazon are offering a service via their Kindle.  Sony (and the relatively recent Sony Ericsson news) are heading the same way.  Apple obviously have their offering.  The Microsoft, Skype, Nokia tie up have their effort of cloud services.  It’ll be the data in the cloud that we will want to access.  Materialism will take on a whole new meaning as the items that once clogged our houses, the picture albums, music CDs, DVDs, box sets, books, magazines, newspapers, will all disappear.  We will want access to everything but yet will not physically be able to touch the vast majority of these things.

Mobile when combined with the cloud is not just about handheld devices.  Its about, strangely enough, mobility.  Access your music from any device such as your TV not just your mobile phone.  Access your data from any computer, read your local newspaper anywhere in the world.  This is not new and the tech is not in the future its now.  However the impact on materialism is an interesting one to ponder.  Materialsim is a topic that has been on my mind a while now as for many others in this post Celtic Tiger era.  Don’t get me wrong I am not about to donate all my worldly possesions just yet but I do think we might be taking a big step in a positive direction even if not fully intentional and not even fully realised at present.  The more we put into and access online the less we will clutter that space around us with physcal things.  The more we are online and share, communicate and seek information the more the data becomes important and not the device we use to access it.  When the information, collaboration and sharing is what we crave and not the physical device or tactile object won’t that be a exciting time?