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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?

The Flote m2 floor stand review

For many people the iPad has become a part of everyday life. We use it for communicating with our friends and family, for consuming news and entertainment media, for organising our lives, for creating works of art and even playing games. As Apple works hard at reduce the size and weight of the iPad, it becomes more accessible, more intimate.

It’s so embedded in our lives that we often multitask when using it. Therein lies the problem. Like us, you’ve most likely tried to prop up your iPad in all kinds of precarious positions. Propping it up against a couple of cushions for some bedtime reading is pretty easy, but neck fatigue soon sets in. Propping it up on the corner of the bath to watch a movie is a little more challenging, and certainly has bigger risks than muscle fatigue!

This is where an iPad floor stand helps. By allowing hands-free iPad usage, the iPad can become even more accessible in a host of situations. But what makes the Flote m2 worth its $299 price tag? Why pick the Flote over other cheaper floor stands?

Key features

The Flote is an impressive piece of design and a remarkable example of quality engineering. It consists of three key components, a heavy base, a foldable telescopic arm and a spring loaded clip, all constructed from high quality lacquered metal, no cheap plastics here!

The clip is perhaps the most innovative aspect of the design. As you can see from our photos, the clip is held in position at the end of the telescopic arm by a powerful magnetic ball joint. This joint allows for close to 360° of movement. It is spring loaded and be opened to 20 centimetres, or thereabouts. Not wide enough to grasp the iPad Air by it's short edges, but plenty wide enough to grasp it by it's long edges.

The base is very heavy. The weight is necessary though, for without it the stand would topple with the telescopic arm at full reach.

This combination of parts makes the Flote the most useful iPad floor stand we have ever used. It means the iPad can be positioned a metre above ground height while extending a metre across a desk, sofa, bed or bath(!). It means that in its full vertical position it can hold the iPad almost 2 metres high. In any of these positions the magnetically attached ball jointed clip can itself be positioned at practically any angle. It’s quite remarkable.

What we liked

It’s beautiful, certainly the most beautiful iPad floor stand we’ve seen, and as we have already mentioned, it’s something that even Jony Ive would be proud of. The silver lacquered finish complements Apple products perfectly. The solidity is reassuring, and the build quality almost faultless.

We’ve been using the Flote for a couple of months and have found it to be more useful than any other floor stand we’ve used previously. Being able to ‘hover’ the iPad at almost any practical height and at all angles makes the iPad even more usable in certain situations. It’s not just iPads, almost any current tablet, e-reader or large smartphone (phablet) will fit the clip. For example, we were just about able to use it with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, albeit in a rugged case.

A few concerns

We have just a couple of concerns, things that you should be aware of before considering the Flote. The weight of the base, a necessary feature of such a flexible stand, means that it’s only luggable. By luggable we mean that carrying it from room to room is possible, but not recommended. I carried it for just over a mile in order to take the photos you see here, let’s just say it was a good workout!

The clip features rubber pads to protect the iPad from scratches. They work as intended when the iPad is in position, but the edges of the clip could potentially scratch the iPad when putting it into the clip. For this reason, we would not recommend using the Flote with a naked iPad. The clip is big enough to take almost any sized tablet in any sized case, and we recommend that you take advantage of this.

Wrap-up

For some people the Flote will make life with the iPad more enjoyable. Watching movies, FaceTiming family, reading, even painting are all enhanced by the Flote, but for the disabled or the elderly, the Flote could well be indispensable. It’s not cheap, but then neither is the iPad, and like the iPad you are paying for the quality of the industrial design and it's extra utility over lesser products.

It’s impossible to cover every question in a review, so if you have anything specific you’d like to know about the Flote, please ask us in the comments section below.

Purchase link: The Flote m2 floor stand

At the intersection of liberal arts and technology

Probably the most powerful Apple advert in a long while. Here Apple is once again promoting the iPad as a platform for creativity... as if we had forgotten!

Spacial computing, how the iPad will soon understand its environment

For a while it was looking as if 4K video might represent the upper end of high quality image capture throughout 2014. However, Occipital are looking to push way beyond simply capturing the world around us in flat slices of information, with Structure Sensor the iPad will be able to capture environmental depth data upon which the image data from the iPad's camera can be overlaid. The video above explains how this works in practice, and the official website goes into a lot more detail.

At the end of last year Apple purchased PrimeSense, the company responsible for the original Kinect camera for Xbox. Kinect is similar to Structure Sensor, so it seems likely that Apple is working on incorporating this kind of 3D capture technology into at least some if its products. Exciting times ahead, for sure.

iRing brings volumetric motion control to the iPad

Recent rumours suggested that Apple might include some kind of volumetric motion controller with its mythical TV. It turns out that IK Multimedia have beat Apple to it, also securing the iRing name, no less.

While we think that it's only a matter of a year or two before this kind of iPad gesture interaction will be possible without the need to wear any extra hardware. We certainly welcome IK's brave step into the next wave of computer/human interaction. IK clearly has music in mind with iRing, but it certainly recognises how iRig could be used in games and beyond. 

Tune-in Tuesday: End of Year Party - Made on an iPad

We haven't run a Tune-in Tuesday feature for a while, so we hope you like our small sampling below of music made or recorded on an iPad and shared via our iPad Creative SoundCloud group.  

As it is the last day of 2013 today we thought a lot of you will be in party mode, so here are a few dance-ish tracks to get you in the mood, enjoy!

Dark Valley by FFFChico

Fuzzy Logic v.3 by REVIV3Я

Love the wubbly bass in this one!

An Unexpected Moment of Joy by pantsofdeath

We think pants means something slightly different in Australia than it does here in the UK, but great track nonetheless - a real builder to get lost in.

Mur de Huy by Kolstad

We're not sure if this is named after the infamous climb featuring in the pro-cycle race La Flèche Wallonne, but it is a very bright and bouncy tune that we wanted to share anyway.

Apocalypse Ni Hao by JINXPADLOCK

A monster of a track created in NanoStudio, with multiple connected parts and full of joyful beats - we love it.

Bonus: Smile by stereobia

Not necessarily a dance track but we still wanted share this track with great sounding vocals recorded with the internal mic on the iPad. Nice!

There you go, a few tracks to get you started and hopefully in the mood for whatever you are doing later today.

If you liked this selection and want to hear some more of the great music people have created on their iPads or iOS devices check out our other Tune-in Tuesday posts.

Send us your (iPad) tunes

We want to hear what you can create on your iPad and here's how you can get your sounds to us:

  • Join our iPad Creative SoundCloud group then click on the 'Share a Track' button on the group page
  • If you're on a computer, click 'Send us your sounds' in the Social section in the sidebar --->
  • Leave us a link to your track on SoundCloud in the comments below

We're looking forward to hearing you soon.

Video: 'Reignite' Procreate iPad Painting by James Julier

Here's a nice warming iPad painting for those of us in the grip of Winter.  Painted by James Julier in Procreate for iPad, it is an interesting look at the creative process of someone who admits they are still learning how to get the best from this great iPad app.

See more iPad art created in Procreate

50% Off (Almost) Everything From IK Multimedia

If you have been holding off on purchasing that iPad app from IK Multimedia or if you have a new iPad that needs loading up with some of the best audio apps available for iOS, then now is the time to grab a bargain with 50% off everything except their two newest apps.  There is also 50% off in-app purchases!

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