Amazon Takes on iPad in New Ad

Amazon has released an advert for the Kindle in which it is dierectly pitted against an iPad. The premise of the ad is that you can’t read an iPad in direct sunlight, but you can read a Kindle. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

You can, of course, still purchase the same books via the Kindle app on an iPad.

Sketchbook Pro for iPad Review

For many iPad users with a bit of creativity, they will have considered purchasing a painting app. The choice usually comes down to Brushes or Sketchbook Pro. I decided to go for Sketchbook Pro.

iPad Screenshot 1Sketchbook Pro has been described by some as not as intuitive as Brushes, but I can’t grasp this, Sketchbook Pro was incredibly easy to use and I am a complete novice in this area. You start with a brief tutorial and within seconds you can start painting. There are a vast array of tools to choose from, many are professional, some are rather gimmicky but for those just wanting to doodle these can be very fun. Sketchbook Pro can be enjoyed by any skill level, but obviously some artistic flair will help you. But this app is always enjoyable and really will cater to any user and allow itself to be morphed into what the user requires.

For my first image, I decided to create a replica of a photo I took in Iceland a few years ago. I was able to use a certain brush for the grass and subtle airbrushes for clouds, something you couldn’t do painting alone. The result isn’t too bad for a first attempt.

My main gripe with the app (which I discovered whilst creating my second piece) is that it can become annoying when you want to find the perfect colour and therefore have to navigate the menu again and again. It is simple enough to do, but is not the most efficient method.

The last piece I created is a logo for the site. The iPad frame and the 30 Pin Connector were all created using Sketchbook Pro with relative ease. I then exported the two images via email, a little work using Pages and voilà! The iPad’s background is what I use on my iPad currently. It is an actual painting my brother (who is a much better artist than I am) did. If you like it, more of his work is viewable here.

So there you have it, my feeble attempts to paint a masterpiece. But as you can see, even someone with as little ability as myself can create something. For the Pros, I imagine they could create truly magnificent pieces. For the amateurs, a very enjoyable experience with an app that is thankfully merciful! The app is available here for $7.99 or £4.99.

Apple Allows 3rd Party App Development Tools

Apple has just announced that they are relaxing restrictions on what development tools are allowed to be used on an app. This means third party development tools are okay, and in theory, potentially Apps that have been developed using Flash. Of course the apps themselves would not be allowed to run using Flash, just in their development. Here is the Press Release from Apple so you can analyse for yourselves:


A Guide to the iOS 4.1 Update

Tomorrow Apple is scheduled to release iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod Touch. Now would seem to be a good time to look at what features there are to look forward to and what Game Centre and HDR Photographs are.

Game Centre: Game Centre is the first definitive solution to Multiplayer Gaming on iOS devices. Game Centre allows users to Play with friends, online and offline within games. Users will be able to send an invite to a friend (even if they are not playing the game) or can pit their skills against a stranger of similar ability. The service logs usage stats, supports achievements and leader-boards, all depending on the game. In essence, Game Centre will be the XBox Live of the iPhone.

High Dynamic Resolution Photographs (aka nicer photos!): Strip away the jargon and in essence HDR is all about enhancing photographs. The way it works is your iPhone takes three photos in very quick succession, the trick is the exposure level: one under exposed, one normal and one over-exposed. These are then merged together. The idea behind it is that colours and textures that may normally be washed out or over-shadowed are brought out and the result is a much richer and generally better photograph. What will be interesting is whether this feature will be available on the iPhone 3G as not every iOS 4 feature is available on the device.

Comparison between Regular and HDR treated photos

Ping: Apple’s new controversial social network within iTunes will be available on iPhone and iPod Touch. Ping allows users to follow artists, get updates on what they are up to and share music with friends; 4.1 brings these capabilities to the iOS.  Ping has attracted over 1 million users but has come under criticism due to it’s limitations, for example, no Twitter or Facebook connectivity.

High Definition Video Uploads: As the iPhone and soon the iPod Touch can shoot movies in HD, Apple has added the capability to upload these videos to YouTube or MobileMe. This feature will only be available over a WiFi connection due to the bandwidth required.

The update also brings bug fixes for the Proximity Sensor, Bluetooth connectivity and, at last, a fix to the iPhone 3G’s sluggish speed when using iOS 4. The update will be available tomorrow.