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Kensington KeyFolio Pro review

Chances are you type way more text on the iPad's virtual keyboard than you thought you would. In fact, studies show that responding to emails is one the of most popular duties of the iPad. It's little wonder then that bluetooth keyboards have become so popular of late. I've tried quite a number over the last 3 years and none have truly hit the mark for my personal tastes. Can the Kensington KeyFolio Pro finally deliver? Let's find out.

Key Features

The KeyFolio Pro is a smart combination of a leather textured iPad Air folio case and slimline bluetooth iPad keyboard. The keyboard is held in place by powerful magnets. Magnets are employed elsewhere for keeping the iPad in 1 of 3 viewing angles and as part of the clasp for keeping the folio case shut. The keyboard has all the keys that you expect on any iPad keyboard plus a few more, the Siri key is especially useful. Battery life is stated as 960 hours working time and 180 days standby time. Impressive! The keyboard has no backlight, though the white on black characters stand out well even in low light.

Likes

There is much to like about the KeyFolio Pro. The leather effect case feels premium with the stitching being particularly impressive, something that we have found lacking on other iPad cases. The iPad Air fits perfectly, with unrestricted access to the speakers, cameras and ports. Again, this is something that you would expect all manufacturers to get right, but you'd be surprised how many don't. All in all, the folio case is a quality item that protects the iPad Air rather nicely. Moving on to the main event, how does the keyboard fair?

I have average sized hands and I find the KeyFolio's keys to be perfectly sized and spaced given the obvious constraints. It's hard to see how this aspect of the design can be improved until such time as Apple launch a larger iPad. All the keys are exactly where you would expect to find them. Battery life is as advertised.

Being able to detach the keyboard from the folio case is a huge advantage. You can prop up the iPad on any available surface whilst typing away at a desk or even your lap. It's worth noting that the basic features of the keyboard work with the Mac too.

Dislikes

I have just 2 small gripes. When the KeyFolio Pro is open, the magnetic clasp occasionally swings around from its resting place to slam into the iPad's screen. This may sound awful, but keep in mind that the glass used on the iPad Air is incredibly scratch resistant. Even so, I think this issue could have been avoided by using slightly stronger magnets. The second gripe is more serious. If you are used to the sensitivity of the MacBook keyboard or Apple's other standalone bluetooth keyboards you will struggle at first with the KeyFolio Pro. The pressure needed to register a key press is often about 30% greater than on the afore mentioned keyboards. You soon get used to the extra pressure needed, and the perfectly spaced and sized keys compel you to keep typing, but it's something to keep in mind if you have a particularly light touch.

The Kensington KeyFolio Pro is available for £99.99 from their website. There are plenty of other iPad keyboard cases available from Kensington, so it's worth a good look around.

Lightroom Mobile Hits the iPad

We haven't really had a chance to play with it yet but we were really excited to hear that Adobe have at last released Lightroom for mobile (well just the iPad initially - but an iPhone version is on the way).

We will bringing you a more in-depth look at Lightroom mobile in the next week and importantly what this means, if anything, for our current favourite Lightroom companion, the excellent Photosmith.

For now though, we hope these videos from Adobe give you an insight on what to expect from Lightroom mobile:

'Vintage Ice Cream Parlour on Lake Ontario' by iJoxo

Found in our Flickr group, this image really grabbed our attention! It nicely demonstrates how far you can push the boundaries of photography using powerful iPad photo filter apps and an eye for great composition.

Metro travellers by Alex Raventós Cardús

We love this collection of Barcelona metro travellers. So very charming!

Audiobus 2 Has Arrived and It Is Fantastic

Launch day

The much anticipated update to Audiobus has been released today and it is very exciting news for the iOS musician community.

We are sure Audiobus needs no introduction to most of you and Version 2 has some great new features as well as a newly designed interface (looking a lot flatter than before).

Audiobus 2's New Features

  • Multi-Routing (In-app purchase for $4.99 / £2.99 and well worth it!) - this introduces parallel pipes for multiple inputs via different processing apps into multiple (or one) outputs - very impressive and from our initial testing it works really well, even on our older iPad 3rd gen.

  • Presets - saveable and shareable (via email, Twitter and Facebook)

  • State-Saving - for compatible apps, no more setting your apps up every time you want to reproduce a sound you crafted before. We are expecting this feature will be more widely supported very quickly

Slight Technical Issue

Just a small issue for Version 1 users with the In-app Purchase for Multi-routing. The Audiobus team are aware of it and have already submitted a fix to Apple, but is awaiting approval.

If you do make the $4.99 / £2.99 purchase you will probably experience crashing of the app (we certainly did), but it is easily fixed. This is from the Audiobus forum post on the issue:

***IMPORTANT FOR EXISTING Version 1 USERS: If you're encountering a crash when purchasing the In-App Purchase, please delete the Audiobus app, reboot your iDevice and then install it freshly again. You won't be charged twice. We're submitting a bug fix right now. ***

Since we followed the above advice we have had no issues at all.

The Future of Music Creation is Bright

With this Audiobus 2 update we think the creative possibilities of the iPad and other iOS devices has been massively expanded and with faster iPad hardware on the horizon we can't wait to see where iPad musicians take this new functionality.

App Store Link: Audiobus Version 2

'Night soup' and 'Passing time' by Nikolai Lockertsen

Followers of Nikko's work will notice a slightly different style and colour palette on these two iPad paintings. Is it the perspective chosen, the use of colour, or just an extraordinary attention to detail that draws you in to his paintings? Whatever it is, it's an incredible skill and one that is pretty much unrivalled.

Further reading: Nikolai Lockertsen

'We Got The Beat' iPad GarageBand Tutorial

Francis has been busy. Yes it's another cover of a classic 80's track, but this time, with the video split into 4 video 'tracks' it becomes much easier to see exactly how Francis composes each track. GarageBand is the crown jewel of iPad apps, especially for those looking to take their first steps into the very large and beautiful field of music creation with the iPad.

Huge thanks to Francis for continuing to share his work.

Further reading: 'Just Like Heaven' by TelevatorMuzak

Tune-in Tuesday: New Music Made with KORG Gadget on an iPad

KORG Gadget

Korg's Gadget is one of those apps that makes you realise you really do have the power of a personal computer in your hands when holding the iPad.

With emulations of 15 different synths and drum machines, Gadget lets you combine them together to make new electronic sounds. You can find out more about Gadget on Korg's site.

Made with Gadgets

So this time our Tune-in Tuesday feature highlights some of the tracks we have enjoyed listening to over on Soundcloud, all created on the iPad with Korg Gadget:

Multiplex (Korg Gadget 5) by Two Hawkes

In the rain (Korg Gadget) by Mulperi

Inception (Original Club Mix) by Sensadark

Turner (Korg Gadget + MorphWiz and BIAS) by Marcus Padrini

Dubfunk (Korg Gadget) by Groovemaster303

At the Kingston Arcades (Korg Gadget for iOS) by ChrisE1G

Had to sneak in one Chiptune at least.

Over to You

We hope you liked listening to our selection of electro-driven tracks this time around.

You can always explore our Soundcloud group for hundreds of tracks from all genres, we are sure you will find something there you like.

If you would like to share your iPad created sounds (using any iOS app) please feel free to join our group and add your tracks or click on the 'Send us your sounds' link in the sidebar.  Thank you.

Cosmic Procreate iPad Painting by John Seru

Cosmic from john seru on Vimeo.

We like the way this timelapse video starts with a paper sketch of John Seru's Astronaut. His Procreate iPad painting is all the more interesting if you watch to the end and see what the Astronaut has seen in his visor.

Video: Brilliant Cover by Dawson using Loopy HD

Dawson is "an acclaimed singer/songwiter, multi instrumentalist and session musician", plus a talented loop master.

He also says on his website that he's beginning to explore iOS as a looping device and this al fresco performance goes to prove that his talent transfers very nicely.

Video: How I Paint Cherries on the iPad

Illustrator Karien Naude shared this lovely image painted on her iPad with Procreate and we very much enjoyed seeing how she created it. We hope you do to.

You can see more of Karien's illustration work on her site and we are sure she will be sharing more videos to her YouTube channel in future.

Video: Apogee Showcase iPad's Creativity

The iPad Music Creation Revolution from apogeedigital on Vimeo.

iPad Content Creation

We don't think anyone visiting iPad Creative can claim the iPad is not a content creation device.

Just a quick browse around this site will reveal some of the wonderful things people are creating with their iPads in areas such as Art, Music, Animation, Books, Photography and Video.

Apogee Get the iPad's Creative Power

Apogee Electronics know this and they have thrown their considerable weight behind the iPad and iOS, producing products such as the high fidelity Apogee JAMApogee MiC and even high-end interfaces such as the droolworthy Quartet.

The video above shows Apogee's commitment to the iPad platform and gives some nice examples of how your iPad can help you create great sounding audio.  We hope you enjoy the video as we did.

Tune-in Tuesday: New Guitar Music Made on an iPad

We are delighted to say that our Soundcloud group for iPad using musicians is still very active. There are some really fun, creative and sometimes quite bonkers tracks being shared by Soundclouders, if you haven't visited the group before please check it out.

Here are a few original tracks that have caught our attention in recent weeks and this time we've gone for a Rock theme:

Cannibal Rat Ghost Ship by Nathan Jon Tillett

We love this song "sitting somewhere between Iron Maiden and Spinal Tap, this one has the OTT tongue-in-cheek dial turned up to 11!".  Recorded partly on GarageBand for iPad using the Apogee Jam and iRig Mic (both highly recommended by the way) it is brilliant fun and an enthusiastic performance makes this one of our favourites.

Back To You by LoungeBots

As massive Back to the Future fans we were more than happy to see this (also tongue-in-cheek) tribute, just for the cover art alone. Made completely on an iPad too:

"Produced, recorded and mixed on iPads using NanoStudio, Auria, GarageBand, BeatMaker2, JamUp Pro and a variety of additional iOS synth apps."

Too Many Friends by Gaffbass02

Another original track recorded completely on an iPad using GarageBand and we think it sounds great as a demo. Here's what Gareth says about the recording of the song:

"I record this in my basement in an afternoon on an iPad 3 using an apogee jam to connect an sm58, and a cheap behringer condenser.  All drums, keys, strings etc are from the iPad, and there's no external EQ etc, just straight into the GarageBand app."

Bonus Track: Budda 30 demo by Derek Buddemeyer

Some great lead playing and a very tight arrangement in this short demo from Derek that perfectly shows off the authentic sounds you can get from apps like AmpKit on the iPad.

Over to You

We hope you liked listening to our selection of tracks but if wailing guitars isn't your thing don't worry, next time we will be focussing our attention on more electro driven tracks.

In the meantime you could always explore our Soundcloud group for hundreds of tracks from all genres, we are sure you will find something there you like.

If you would like to share your iPad created sounds please feel free to join our group and add your tracks or click on the 'Send us your sounds' link in the sidebar.  Thank you.

Video: Joby Otero's Customised Case For Creating Art on iPad

We love it when people get creative on their iPads, but we also like to see people get creative with their iPad accessories. So here's an idea for a weekend project.

Digital Artist, and ex-Creative Director at Activision(!), Joby Otero has posted this video of his modded, DIY solution to his Anker iPad case.

He says it now perfectly supports his use of the iPad for art working and even coding. It's a pretty easy and inexpensive mod of the case if you don't want/can't afford to buy a new one and a keyboard is important to you. Enjoy!

Forget Flappy Bird, try Threes! for a more cerebral experience

It's a tricky game for sure, but you can master Threes!. As the video above from Polygon shows, you need to stick to these three (oh, the pun!) basic rules...

1. Keep the highest tile in a corner

2. Stick to the foundational wall

3. Only swipe in 3 directions

App Store Link: Threes!

Pantone Universe standing book case review

A naked iPad is a beautiful iPad, by it's also quite vulnerable. This is especially true of the iPad Air and iPad mini. Those chamfered edges are natural targets for dents and dings!

Pantone is responsible for the creation and administration of a series of colour reference books widely used in the design and print industries. To a graphic designer, a Pantone book of swatches is a thing of joy. Has Pantone successfully brought that joy over to these cases?

As a iPad cases go, the Pantone case is pretty unremarkable. It's solid and offers the iPad a fair amount of protection, though, like many cases of this style, the edges of the iPad are exposed somewhat. It may not be a deal breaker, but if you're likely to be putting your iPad into a crowded bag, with keys, pens and other small metal objects, be warned, those chamfered edges will still likely get dinged. In a bag with only larger objects, the iPad will be protected just fine in the Pantone case. Used in its upright stand configuration the Pantone case works well, keeping the iPad positioned for watching videos, etc.

Of course, the real attraction of this case is the official Pantone design and colours. You can select from pink, red, blue or black colour themes. In each example the colour is complemented by a pure white band across the cover, plus white stitching. The design is smart, beautiful even, in minimalist way.

The case currently retails at 35€ from Case Scenario. For those looking for something a little bit different and aren't too concerned by the lack of complete iPad protection, the Pantone standing book case comes recommend.

Purchase Link: Pantone iPad case from Case Scenario

Shepherd by Jaime Sanjuan

You really should take a look at the work of Jaime Sanjuan. His iPad paintings are exquisite!

The Mac at 30: Thirty years of creative computing

I’ve been using a Mac for 23 years. Even then it was so obviously the best personal computer available. What a thrill it was in 2010 to see all the things that made the Mac so wonderful delivered in a perfect slab of glass and metal. The Mac is in many ways at the heart of the iPad experience.

We'd love to hear your Mac stories.

Stunning iPad art by Dave Kuhn

The iPad Creative Flickr group is home to some incredible iPad paintings. Dave Kuhn's paintings are captivating, drawing you in and making you wonder what might be around the corner, just beyond the frame. Perhaps we'll find out one day...

Stunning work Dave, and thanks for sharing these paintings with the group!

Using Waterlogue: Time to dig up those Star Wars action figures?

John Balestrieri of Tinrocket highlights a novel use for Waterlogue...

Waterlogue is great when you want a speedy way to remove the “photograph” from a photograph. With just a couple taps, you can change the fundamental nature of an image, opening up a bunch of different imaginative directions. It’s fun, fast, and often improves the creative possibilities of a quickly snapped photo... First, I posed plastic toys against colored paper backgrounds and then captured the scenes with an iPhone 5s. I didn’t use any elaborate lighting, lenses, or staging, and each initial image only took a few minutes to shoot.

What a superb idea! Perhaps it's time to dig up those Stars Wars action figures?