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iPad split-screen multitasking

Hidden deep within the code of the iOS 8 beta is split-screen multitasking. To be clear, the presence of this code is no guarantee that the iPad will get split-screen app capability this year, but we certainly hope it does.

At the end of last year I switched from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I'll explain in more detail the reasons for my switch in a forthcoming post, but the ability to split-screen multitask was certainly one. As with much of what Samsung does, the idea is better than the execution. But still, it's a useful feature and one that I would love to see on the iPad in 2014.

Is Apple saving this for the iPad Pro?

GarageBand: The Perfect Kiss by TelevatorMuzak 

I must admit, I've been ignoring GarageBand lately. I think it's because GarageBand isn't something that you can simply dip into for a few minutes. No, it takes a good chunk of time to really produce something satisfying, as Francis has demonstrated yet again. Thank you for sharing your work Francis, it's really appreciated.

'It Will Be Back Soon...' by Laurent Canniccioni

Love this!

'Mesa Verde' by Susan Murtaugh

Susan is absolutely one of our most favourite artists. Whatever she graces with her unique style really jumps off the screen! This classic scene from Colorado is no exception. 

Further reading: Susan Murtaugh

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