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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.