iPad News, Updates, App and Accessory Reviews

June 3rd, 2011 at 8:02 AM EST | by

Free Educational iPad Apps for Kids

Once a parent decides they would like to use the iPad to aid in their child’s entertainment and education, the next step is decided what apps you want to introduce to your child. Here are some free educational apps that each parent should evaluate.

Abby Monkey
The app opens to a screen of animals at the zoo and each one takes a turn making their sound. When the toddler is finished with this screen, they can press a button to play a matching game. Across the top of the screen are outlines of four animals. Across the bottom of the screen is a picture of the animal. The child must press and drag the picture of the animal over the correct outline.

What I did not like about this app is how the main screen has a start button in the middle, but also has eight equally large pictures that advertise the developer’s other apps. The child helping me test this app out kept pressing the other buttons, which then links to the app store in order to purchase the other apps. There is also a large button in order to purchase the full, paid version of the app right in the corner of the screen the child uses to select their character.

Free Educational iPad Apps for Kids - Jumping Grasshopper

Jumping Grasshopper
This is a very simple counting game. The main play screen shows a grasshopper sitting, facing away, on a snow covered leaf. Pressing the grasshopper makes it jump to another leaf while a number appears across the screen. After ten jumps, the grasshopper appears facing the screen and the game is over.

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June 2nd, 2011 at 3:20 PM EST | by

Day and Date Release of Digital DC Comics on the iPad Coming Soon

One of the cooler uses for the iPad since its release has been as a full color eBook reader before there really were all that many full color eBook readers on the market. Some of the first batches of iPad apps that were available way back in April of 2010 were digital comic book apps from some of the top comic book producers in the market. Marvel and DC Comics, as well as indie comic book producers like Dark Horse, have been combining for well over a year now to bring comic book addicts their drug of choice in digital form.

Of course one of the neatest features of these iPad apps is that they allowed the comics aficionado the ability to read long ago printed copies of their favorite heroes including such long ago issues as Marvel’s first ever Captain America books as well as the first Batman and Superman issues. One drawback to this digital delivery system was that it became a bit harder to keep up with current storylines because the digital copies were so far behind the paper copies. Over the last year some of these digital comic apps have started to realize they are missing out on revenue by not offering the newer issues at a faster pace and Comixology specifically has worked hard at getting some of their more popular indie comics – such as “The Walking Dead” – out the exact same time as the paper copies hit the shelves. Earlier this week, DC Comics joined the fray as they announced that they will begin release all of their comics – not just a select few as the other companies have done – on the same day and date as the hard copies.

Day and Date Release of Digital DC Comics on the iPad Coming Soon 2    Day and Date Release of Digital DC Comics on the iPad Coming Soon 3

Unfortunately we do have to tell you that before you start popping champagne corks, there is one caveat. The actual releasing of the day and date digital copies is still a ways down the pike. DC Comics has announced that in August, they will be releasing the culmination issue of their superhero universe changing “Flashpoint” on the 31st. While this was originally going to be the only digital issue they released that day, the company has announced that the latest issue of the new “Justice League” will be released on the same day and from September on the company will be launching every digital issue alongside those that land in stores.

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June 2nd, 2011 at 12:31 PM EST | by

Foxconn iPad 2 Assembly Plant Back in Operation

The Foxconn plant in Chengdu, China that suffered a deadly explosion last month that killed three workers and injured 15 more is back up and running today after weeks of being shut down while authorities conducted an investigation. Foxconn also wanted to make sure the possible cause of the explosion, a buildup of dust in the plant’s ventilation system, was addressed and that no other problems were present.

Initially, sources said the accident did not affect the assembly line for iPad 2 and the production of the new popular Apple tablet would not be effected. That turned out not to be true. Researchers at iSuppli.com said iPad 2 production may have been set back by as many as 500,000 units. Foxconn stated they had enough parts on hand and availability in other manufacturing plants to keep up with production demand during the time the Chengdu plant was closed.

All Things D notes that Foxconn’s investigation into the explosion has ended but a cause has not yet been released by the company.

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June 2nd, 2011 at 8:12 AM EST | by

Infinity Blade Truly Is The King Of iPad Adventure Games

By now it appears that almost every hard core gamer using the iPad has heard of Infinity Blade, but how many have truly sat down and looked at just how good it truly is. When the app was released during the Christmas/Holiday season this past winter, there was plenty of talk about how much the game was going to change adventure gaming on the iPad for the better. It truly has.

The story of Infinity Blade, for those who haven’t rushed out and downloaded the game long ago, is that you are a hero of the land with a family that has sworn to strike down the God King no matter how many generations it might take.

Of course in order to get to the final level “boss” you need to do battle with several of his minions as you choose which path to take to the throne room. It is this journey that makes the game the most fun. As you choose the path you go down you take on these minions in sword vs. sword, hammer or axe battles. Huge monsters will swing their weapons at you with vicious force and it is up to you to dodge right, dodge left or put your shield up to block the attack. When attempting to dodge, you must dodge in the same direction the attack is coming from in order for it to be successful. Dodge in the wrong direction or put your shield up too late and you’ll get a chunk of your hit points taken off. Dodge correctly and you will get a chance to return fire with a slash of your own. As the battle continues you will also build up magical power and use a ring to attack your assailant, or simply to heal yourself.

Infinity Blade Truly Is The King Of iPad Adventure Games 2

When the battle has been won, should you win it, you will be able to upgrade your warrior with new weapons and accessories and continue on the journey. Eventually you will get to the throne room and do battle against the God King. This is where the game truly gets good. The God King is, of course, incredibly hard to defeat but should you force enough damage you will be given an offer. If you take it, the game is over; if refused, the battle is rejoined. If you eventually fall to the God King you will have to start the journey over as your own progeny desiring revenge.

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June 1st, 2011 at 5:56 PM EST | by

Apple OKs Components for iPad 3
iPad 2 components from iFixIt.com

In a report filed by DigiTimes today, Apple has begun the certification process for some of the components included in the upcoming iPad 3. Apparently, many Taiwanese manufacturers have already landed their official certification, according to sources based out of Taiwan.

“Taiwan-based component makers for backlight modules and light bars have received certification from Apple, however, the certification of panels is still in progress, added industry sources.” The reports also noted that the iPad 3 will be ready for launch in 2012, which seems accurate compared to Apple’s stringent release schedule for their devices.

Rumors have been circulating that Apple could potentially switch to Samsung’s AMOLED displays for their third-generation device. If these sources are accurate though, Apple will not be changing screens and will instead continue to install 9.7″ LCD panels in their future tablets, despite the differing tablet sizes that have been emerging in the marketplace.

iPad Skins

Steve Jobs has gone on the record claiming that, “7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad.” He also boldly claims that 7-inch tablets are “going to be DOA – dead on arrival.” Many new tablet manufacturers have been opting to release 7-inch models of their devices, touting that these smaller and lighter machines offer a superior tablet experience. After spending some time with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″, I can definitely appreciate the subtle difference in size and weight. So while the iPad’s current screen size is extremely capable, I do wish that Apple would expand into various models for consumers with different tablet needs.

The most pervasive iPad 3 rumor currently is that the device will use Apple’s patented Retina display, increasing the screen resolution to 2048×1536. This enhancement would effectively double the iPad’s current resolution, much like it did for the iPhone 4. The phone’s resolution increased from 320×480 to 640×960.

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June 1st, 2011 at 1:16 PM EST | by

Toddlers and the iPad: Pros and Cons
Getty images

Toddlers today are more computer literate that most from generations past. Granted, toddlers need to have time outside to burn off their energy and get exercise, but time is also needed to allow them to use their creativity and imagination. For a limited amount of time each day, a parent should feel free to give their toddler supervised activities on the iPad. The number of both fun and educational game apps continues to increase.

The Pros
After a quick search on my iPad, I found there are over 2,100 apps for toddlers that are free of charge. Granted, apps will need to be evaluated by the parent before giving them to a toddler to play. Since I do not have a toddler of my own, I had a friend’s permission to work with her toddler to review children’s apps for the iPad. The young child was given the lecture that he needs to be very careful with the device. He was shown a couple of different apps that he spent more time than I expected playing games. He also figured out by himself how to switch between a couple different games that he decided were his favorites. He even decided that he preferred drawing with a stylus than his finger.

OtterBox iPad Cases Are Here!

The Cons
An iPad is an expensive object that a child could quite easily figure out how to damage, even under supervision. One strong thrust and it could be damaged and information can be lost. If you allow a child to use your iPad, make sure you have a backup saved in iTunes so you do not loose important information. The iPad allows came across to me as a one toddler at a time activity. When one toddler was by himself, he enjoyed himself and sat quietly by himself. The second toddler wanted to join in, and it began a tugging war between them. It was rectified quickly because they were being supervised, but this does put the iPad in harm’s way.

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