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Essential app for 16GB iPad owners

Air Video is a powerful app and computer server combination that can stream videos in almost any format to your iPhone and iPod Touch. Like us you probably have a collection of your favourite films and TV shows on your computer. Before Air Video the only getting non compatible videos files onto your iPhone was to transcode them into an approved Apple format. This takes time and obviously eats into your precious device storage space. With Air Video for iPhone and the free Air Video Server installed on your Mac or PC you now have the option to stream video from your computer to your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The big win is that the source video can be in almost any format and at practically any resolution, the free server software does all the transcoding in realtime. Obviously there is a slight pause while the transcoder kicks in, but it's only a few seconds even for a 1080p HD source video.

If you've not tried it yet, you really must. Fortunately there is a free version available, so you have no excuse.

An iPad specific version is in the works, it may not make it in time for the launch on Saturday, but it shouldn't be too far behind. The thought of streaming our HD copy of Blade Runner to Apple's 'Latest Creation' is making us more than a little giddy!

Developing for the iPad? Omnigraffle Stencils for Free

We're not sure why, but this makes us want to develop an app for the iPad just so we can play with these stencils in Omnigraffle.  iA (InformationArchitects) are giving them away free in a bundle that you can use to mock up designs for apps on the iPad.  As an added bonus, "the text is fully editable on the lists, title bars, buttons, and scroll wheels", so you can overlay your own text on those elements, nice.  Check out the site and download the set here.

5 Apps We Cannot Wait To See on the iPad - Part 4

With the US launch of the iPad now less than a week away, we take a look at some of the apps we know are coming to the iPad, or that we really want to see hit the platform when it launches.

Some of this is wishful thinking, some of it is just us getting excited about the ways we can hopefully use our iPads. Between now and launch day we will post one app from each core area of the creative sphere. Part 4 of 5 is...

Music - FourTrack

What developers have been able to achieve with the iPhone OS has really impressed us, and the functionality that Sonoma Wire Works have squeezed out of a device like the iPhone as far as audio recording and processing has rarely been bettered in our opinion.

If you are not familiar with what it does, FourTrack emulates the old cassette tape 4-Tracks like the ones that Fostex used to make, and that many bands and musicians used to record their creations on to.  From Sonoma Wire Works' website:

FourTrack multitrack audio recorder is a songwriting and practice tool for singers, guitar players, piano players, and others who want to capture musical ideas and record songs on the iPhone and iPod touch.

With this software on your iPhone and the right sort of external equipment you can even record a 'hit record', as indie band 'The '88' demonstrate in the video below (it is actually this video which made us buy the app for our iPhones).

However, this is not a review of FourTrack for the iPhone, what we want is a bigger and better version of this software, or something very much like it, for the iPad.  In fact what we really want is GarageBand for the iPad, or maybe even a cut down version much like the iPhoto / Aperture-mini we suggested for Photo editing in yesterday's post

Perhaps then we could have 6 or maybe even 8 tracks without needing to 'bounce down' tracks (always a compromise)?  Maybe we could have editable waveforms for recorded tracks instead of needing to export the tracks via wi-fi back to our Macs?  What about a raft of per-track audio effects that can be applied on-the-fly with the extra processing power the iPad affords, just like we can in GarageBand?  There are many possible ways this type of audio recording software could be developed that excite us greatly.  

We think there may be some hardware limitations on what can be input to the iPad, as there are with the iPhone, but the ingenious developers have worked around these things before to bring us solutions like FourTrack.

There was no official word from Sonoma Wire Works about iPad development when we asked them, but we have a feeling we will see something from them very soon, and we cannot wait!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Part 5 of our Top 5 apps we cannot wait to see on the iPad. If you haven't already, make sure you don't miss it by subscribing to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.

Bedtime stories will never be the same again

Jamie and Simon Edis have been busy tuning up their voice activated iPhone iPuppets for the iPad. Here again is another class of app that is -- unless you have a very small head -- far better suited to the larger screen of the iPad. Kids and their unabashed parents now have another reason to make that purchase in April.

Be sure to check out the Ezone.com website for updates and why not try out the free iPhone iPuppet, Blue Monster.

Let's hope Jamie and Simon get around to making a Steve Jobs iPuppet, We're sure children the world over would be enthralled by classic Steve Jobs keynote speech reenactments. Boom!

Apple release detailed guided tour videos for built-in iPad apps

Apple have just added some new iPad videos for us to explore and pore over, on the iPad section of their site.

We are still watching through them, but they have impressed us so far.  The guided tours include a lot more detail about the functions of each app, detail we have not seen before, so it is a first glimpse for most of us at what we can expect on 3rd April.

Included also are guided tours for Keynote, Pages and Numbers.  Ok, we are going back to watch the rest of the videos, check them out for yourself here.

5 Apps We Cannot Wait To See on the iPad - Part 3

With the US launch of the iPad now less than a week away, we take a look at some of the apps we know are coming to the iPad, or that we really want to see hit the platform when it launches.

Some of this is wishful thinking, some of it is just us getting excited about the ways we can hopefully use our iPads. Between now and launch day we will post one app from each core area of the creative sphere. Part 3 of 5 is...

Photography: Photoshop Mobile App

 

 

Admittedly, with regard to photography, we could have picked any number of photo apps currently available for the iPhone. To varying degrees, they all allow manipulation and enhancement of your photos. So it was very difficult to decide on just one.

Really, this is a representative pick, but the Photoshop Mobile app is one that we have used a lot on our iPhones and we would love to see a killer version created for the iPad, taking into account the screen size and extra processing power Adobe could use.

We are all fairly keen amateur photographers here and so we are eagerly looking forward to getting our hands on the iPad and putting it through its paces with photo editing and processing. But what would be really nice is an app that can handle some sort of RAW image processing. The desktop version of Photoshop can obviously handle RAW files, but with the camera connector kit and the capability of pulling images off of a memory card, the iPad completely trumps anything the iPhone can do.

And it would seem a real shame to see the iPad used as just a portable disk drive, without any ability to edit the photos once they are on there. With the latest update to Apple's desktop photo processing software, Aperture 3.0.2, comes iPad support. Initially it looks like it is just syncing with the iPad and recognising it as a photo storage device that is supported.

But imagine if there was a mini-Aperture (or even iPhoto) in the pipeline for the iPad, then things could get really interesting, and for Mac users, the editing and syncing experience could be seamless, with edits made on the iPad carried across and remaining editable back on your Mac.  Bliss!

As it stands at the moment though, Photoshop Mobile has fairly basic, but effective and easy to use editing functions and its clean interface and speed on the iPhone has impressed us so far. We can only hope that Adobe are prepping an iPad native re-design of the app as we speak.

It may not happen on launch day but we expect someone, if not Adobe, to come forward fairly soon with photo-editing software on the iPad that will blow us away.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Part 4 of our Top 5 apps we cannot wait to see on the iPad. If you haven't already, make sure you don't miss it by subscribing to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.

5 Apps We Cannot Wait To See on the iPad - Part 2

With the US launch of the iPad now less than a week away, we take a look at some of the apps we know are coming to the iPad, or that we really want to see hit the platform when it launches.

Some of this is wishful thinking, some of it is just us getting excited about the ways we can hopefully use our iPads. Between now and launch day we will post one app from each core area of the creative sphere. Part 2 of 5 is...

Video: Reel Director app

Reel Director stands out in the current app store offerings as the video editing app of choice. It has enabled iPhone users to edit and output videos that could arguably be mistaken for iMovie produced videos. But it can be a bit painful carrying out editing, and viewing the timeline on the iPhone's screen.

Enter the iPad, with the same ease of use, but bags of extra room to view the timeline and video plus a good deal more extra processing power (very important for video). We have not seen anything from Nexvio about their plans for developing Reel Director on the iPad, so this is just wishful thinking at the moment.

However, it is not hard to imagine being able to stretch the timeline across the full horizontal width of the screen, have multi layered tracks stacked on top of each other with an iMovie like Canvas showing a preview of the movie on the fly, easier adding of audio and transitions, there is so much that could be done.

We are hoping that, just because the iPad cannot shoot video, it doesn't run into the issues faced by iPod Touch and iPhone 3G users, who were not able to initially load and edit video with Reel Director due to Apple restrictions on file access for these devices. It seems unlikely, and it would be very short-sighted of Apple to cripple the iPad in such a way, especially when it seems the ideal device on which to do this consumer level of video editing.

Until we get our hands on the iPad though we won't know for sure, but for now, take a look at Reel Director as it currently appears on the iPhone OS:

 

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Part 3 of our Top 5 apps we cannot wait to see on the iPad. If you haven't already, make sure you don't miss it by subscribing to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.


5 Apps We Cannot Wait To See on the iPad - Part 1

With the US launch of the iPad now less than a week away, we take a look at some of the apps we know are coming to the iPad, or that we really want to see hit the platform when it launches.

Some of this is wishful thinking, some of it is just us getting excited about the ways we can hopefully use our iPads. Between now and launch day we will post one app from each core area of the creative sphere. Part 1 of 5 is...

Art: Brushes app

One of the things that initially excited us about the iPhone was the perfectly implemented touch interface, especially when we started playing with the doodling and sketch apps. But we quickly found the size of the iPhone screen a little frustrating to work with. Yes, we could zoom in and out to see the detail on the iPhone, but it has to be said that it is still a bit too fiddly on a 3.5 inch screen.

However, when we saw the iPad being demonstrated it wasn’t reading our newspapers and magazines, or watching movies, or playing games that crossed our minds first of all (although these things are really exciting us), no! It was the thought of using that lovely touch interface to draw graceful arcs across the 9.7 inch screen, washing in a watercolour fill on a skyscape background, or seeing our whole sketch, drawing or image and then picking out the detail and zooming in with all that extra elbow room the iPad screen will allow us to use.

And then we saw Steve Sprang demo his Brushes app, completely revamped for the iPad interface, and our heads exploded! This was it, the perfect app for the iPad’s new supersized touch screen. So we had to mention this one first really, this was the app that sparked our imagination during the iPad keynote. Steve Sprang looks to have done a fantastic job with this app, the interface has been optimised to use the full screen real estate that has been given him, the tools look gorgeous and easy to use, it uses layers, implementing them really well and, watching the demo, you may not even need a stylus, but if you do this one looks good.

Check out the video demo of Brushes for the iPad below:

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our Top 5 apps we cannot wait to see on the iPad. If you haven't already, make sure you don't miss it by subscribing to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.


Friday Fun - iPad Accessories

Ok, we don't usually do this type of post, but because it is Friday and nearly pay day for many of us here in the UK (and, more importantly, only one week away from the iPad launch for you fortunate US residents) here is a link to the ipadaccessories.com Essential Accessories for the iPad.

Our favourite?  The horrendously-overpriced but lovely-all-the-same Muzetto iPad Messenger Bag.  In fact, their round-up of messenger bags has got all of us creative types reaching for the credit card.

And, just for a laugh, let's not forget The Joy of Tech's take on how to carry your iPad.

Enjoy!

Paid Content and the iPad Catalyst

Earlier this week, the new Chairman of the UK television network ITV, Archie Norman, e-mailed all his staff requesting they contact him directly with comments on a new strategy for how the company can move forward. 

But the comments he makes later in the Telegraph article show what he thinks the future of TV networks is likely to be, paid content on mobile devices and computers.  And the mobile device he specifically mentions?  Of course, the iPad!

"I think it is very likely [we will use some elements of pay-TV] because one of the things that is going to happen as people consume their television off different platforms — such as internet-enabled TV, off your laptop, off your iPad as you commute to work — for some parts of the content that ITV own or others own, people will pay."

This is interesting because it shows how major content providers see us using our iPads, as well as other mobile devices.  The rest of the Telegraph article is worth reading too for an idea of how corporate networks are thinking.

In another news story this morning, the BBC are reporting that UK newspapers the Times and the Sunday Times will begin charging for access to their online news service from June.  They will launch new versions of their websites in May, offering an initial free trial period, before charging £1 for one day's access or £2 a week for a regular subscription.  It is not something we are used to here in the UK so, as the article says, it will be interesting to see whether this 'high risk strategy' pays off, or if people instead go to the free sources of news that abound around the Internet.

The New York Times is itself reporting that advertisers are going for a 'land grab' of sorts over advertising space in certain iPad apps before the April 3 launch.  The NY Times comments that this is arguably the hottest time to be in front of punters' eyes whilst the excitement lasts.

Those of us familiar with the iPad launch event will remember well the New York Times demo of their app for the iPad, and this is certainly how many people see themselves using the iPad.

The iPad Catalyst

You may think it is going a little too far calling the introduction of the iPad a catalyst, but that is how many see it, for the content creators especially.

Just like the iTunes store affected the music sales model and the iPhone shaped the development of 'SmartPhone' or mobile apps, we think the iPad has the potential to shape the future of content delivery.

Whether the 'paid content' model works or not is going to depend on a lot of factors, some of those being cost, quality of content, accessibility (i.e. independent stores or everything routed via Apple's iTunes/iBookstore), and quality of service, especially for video based content.

Have an opinion about paid content on the iPad?  Let us know in the comments.