Before the arrival of tablets, I used to read books on my computer. Then I moved to iPad, because of its mobility and the tactile feel in my hands. As I started using it, I had to try a few PDF reader apps for reading eBooks. Let me review one such app.
PDF Reader iPad Edition was a bit pricey, especially given that I was looking at the app in order to save money on eBooks, but because of all the positive reviews and interest on the web I decided to go with it. The interface is easy to use, it has the balance between simplicity and many functions that every app should look for, and it enables you to carry as many books with you as you could ever read. Plus, the ability to download almost any .pdf file from the internet on the go can be a real life saver. It’s not without its issues though, like a few interface errors that can sometimes lead to crashes.
You can jump to your .pdf library to open and read your stored PDF’s, jump to the Import section to add new content to your library, even scan and compile new PDF’s from photographs. Managing files is not difficult, and reading your stored. This PDF Reader is is as intuitive as any eBook reader out there. This simplicity of use is important for any utility that could potentially be one of the most used apps on an iPad, so this is definitely something the makers of PDF Reader iPad Edition did well. Users can also copy and paste text from your files, edit them, comment on them, even fill in signatures with the touch screen.
The only issue with the interface was a tendency to stutter while trying to scroll quickly through large lists or through a PDF file. This can be quite a frustration, but only very rarely leads to more complete crashes or bugs. If you read or work from your iPad in almost any capacity, iPad Reader PDF Edition will quickly pay for itself. This app is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 4.3 or later.
On June the 26th 2007, smartphones didn’t exist. Mobile phones, and computers were two very different things. A day later (27/06/2007) Apple launched the iPhone.
You could argue that there were ‘smartphones’ pre-iPhone, but many in the technology industry view the iPhone as the tipping point and birth-date of the modern smartphone – no inverted commas.
With the launch of the iPhone, came the launch of apps. A few years later along came tablets – and what would a tablet be without apps?
In this post I want to explore some of those apps. Not the apps like Angry Birds, Rayman Jungle Run, Skype and Fruit Ninja though, they are what you expect from applications – games and communication. In this post I am going to explore some of the more innovative uses for apps.
Ever desperately needed a mirror just when there are none in sight? Mirror by mmapps mobile, is a free app for Android which turns your phone into a usable mirror! The app even lets you zoom in and out and freeze the mirror, something that no mirror I have ever used does.
The app is available in many different languages, and similar apps are available for iDevices, however mmapps mobile don’t make an ‘i’ version.
Square Wallet is an application which lets you fully embrace mobile payment. With Square Wallet, you can link your credit card to your phone, and then, in a surprisingly large number of retailers, pay for goods, using your phone! The app also lets you track transactions, so you can keep track of what you are buying.
Ten years ago, who would have thought that you could be out and about, and on a device which fits in your hand, and order a bouquet of flowers? Probably not many people!
The flower delivery company Interflora has an app where you can do just that. Naturally its called Interflora, and can be download for free for iDevices – any iPod, iPhone or iPad with iOS 3.0 or later. Interflora is also available to download for Android devices. The app gives you access to a wide range of flowers, information (such as delivery details and a description) and prices; you can even order your gift using the app!
Zite Personalised Magazine
If you like to keep up to date with the latest news, and you like the news your way, then Zite is the perfect app for you.
Zite trawls through your Facebook and Twitter feeds to work out what you like to read. The application then created you your very own personalised magazine to read, and the more you use it, the cleverer it gets, and the more tailored your content become – to a point where it should only be displaying content you really want to read.
Amazon have recently released an augmented reality app called Flow Power, which can identify millions of real life products (using your phones camera), and can then tell you more information about them.
The app ‘knows’ thousands of books, games and CDs, and is able to tell you about almost anything, if you scan the barcode.
Be it a novel, or a box of chocolates, the app can tell you how much it costs and what other people think of it – pretty clever huh?
Following my review of the BlackBerry Curve Case at the end of last year, today I am going to review another product: a KitSound iPod Dock called the XDoc. As always, I will strive to remain impartial.
What is the XDock?
KitSound’s XDock is an iPod dock, radio, alarm clock and time display unit. All iPod docks are different, some focus on portability, others on sound quality, and others on multi-functionality – the KitSound dock is the later.
The KitSound XDock.
Considering how small the KitSound XDock is, the speaker (one, on the rear of the unit) packs quite a punch. For casual listening to your tunes, the XDock has a perfectly adequate speaker. If you want to fill a large room with high quality sound, the XDock isn’t cut out for the job. For what I want it for though (waking me up and listening to music), it fits the bill 🙂
How portable is the XDock? Well it isn’t. If you put two AAA batteries in the base of the unit, were there a power cut, or were you to want to move the dock between rooms, then the batteries will keep your settings (i.e. the time and any alarms you have set) but they won’t keep it on. Without a mains power supply, you can’t play music or use the clock.
Clock and Alarms
The clock has a very clever feature. When you dock your iPod, after a few seconds the XDock synchronises the time it displays you with the time on your iPod. Handy if it starts to lose time, or you don’t want to try and set the clock manually, however if you have just come back of a holiday from Italy (moi), and you have forgotten to reset your iPod to the current time, it could be a little annoying if you have just spent 10 minutes trying to set the time! If you set your iPod to the right time (which is much easier than programming the XDock) then the time synchronising feature is very useful.
Unlike most iPod docks, the XDock also has an inbuilt alarm; in fact, it has two! You can choose to be woken up (assuming that’s that you would use the alarm for) to your favourite song, a buzzer, or the radio. I am not going to lie, at first programming the XDock was a little tricky, but all the instructions you need are in the handy User Manual.
XDock User Manual
The XDock User Manual is unlike most instruction manuals, in that it is short (short and sweet encourages more people to read it) and written in a casual, slightly humours way. An example of this can be seen in the section entitled ‘Common Sense…‘ where this list can be found (I have excluded some of the entries).
Give the X-Dock a drink of anything: it is not thirsty, it is full of clever electronics which are no good at swimming, they will all drown and die with puffs of smoke if you get them wet. So no dancing naked with it in the rain either please.
Drop the X-Dock: it won’t like you for it and your warranty will be invalid.
Hit it with a hammer / similar blunt object / run over it with your car / take it base jumping (or any other experience that would be considered traumatic for a little box that just wants to play your tunes and wake you up this list is not exhaustive).
If you get an XDock, my advice would be to read the instructions, as it is hard to use without reading them, and they are worth the read, as I am sure you can see!
Unlike most iPod docks, the XDock comes with built in FM radio, another handy feature. As I said earlier, you can choose what wakes you up, your favourite breakfast show, or your favourite tune. You can also choose what you listen to when using the XDock as a sound system – excluding the beeping sound that you can have as an alarm, that said, I am not sure anyone would want to listen to that 😉
To the best of my knowledge, the XDock is compatible with all iPod’s and iPhones with the standard, Apple iConnector. Any Apple devices with the new Lightning Connector are not compatible. Because of the nature of the slot where your music player/phone slots into the XDock, iPads won’t fit, so if you are looking for an iPad dock, this isn’t the device for you.
You can connect other audio devices to the XDock using the AUX-IN jack at the back of the dock. It is a standard 3.5mm audio jack socket, so the dock is potentially compatible with more devices than just iPods and iPhones.
I like the XDock, and it has been waking me up for a few days now. It is handy to know that if there is a power cut in the night, as long as it returns by the morning, my AAA batteries will ensure that I am still woken up on time.
It would be good if the XDock had a slightly better speaker system, maybe two speakers for stereo sound would be better, but the quality of the mono speaker can’t really be argued with. I would also like it more were it to be portable, but that would probably involve a lot more batteries, so in some ways it is a good thing.
For the price it was at the time I was sent it (just over £30 GBP) I would say it is worth the money. Alarm clock, iPod dock and radio all in one tidy little box. It depends what you want from your iPod dock as to whether you choose a KitSound XDock or not, but I am happy with it for me 🙂
Mobile Fun are the company who sent me the XDock, and they have asked if we would mention that they sell iPhone accessories, so you know where I got the iPod dock from!