Sep 28, 2010 - 7:18 PM - by Maura
The Guardian newspaper reports today that one of the last bastions of tradition at Lloyd's of London is about to succumb to the lure of the iPad. Apparently the venerable insurance firm is currently holding trials in its underwriting room with a view to replacing the paper underwriting slips, which have been carried for centuries by insurance brokers, with iPads. A handful of brokerages are currently trialing the use of iPads in Lloyd's underwriting room, and if the trial proves successful, the use of iPads instead of underwriting slips is expected to become commonplace at Lloyd's.
According to The Guardian story, Lloyd's still operates in a very similar way to when it was first set up in Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse in Tower Street in London in 1688, but Sue Langley, Lloyd's director of market operations, says that may well all be about to change, thanks to the iPad. "We have a queue of brokers wanting to join [the trial]," she told The Guardian. "We're using iPads to drive cultural change. We want to modernise without losing the essence of Lloyd's."
Source: The Guardian
Sep 27, 2010 - 6:21 PM - by Maura
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKr-E7J-6pQ]YouTube - Introducing the New Yorker iPad App[/ame]
Even if you're not that interested in the new iPad app for the New Yorker, don't miss this really funny launch video for the app starring Jason Schwartzman. The video was directed by Roman Coppola, and starts with Jason lying in bed with his beloved iPad under his pillow, before he gets up and goes about his day with his trusty iPad and New Yorker app at his side. Did you ever think you'd see someone using their toes to operate the iPad's touch screen? Well you will if you watch the video!
The New Yorker app is free, but each issue will set you back $4.99. Each Monday a new iPad issue will be launched, with lots of interactive extras. For example, the October 4th 2010 issue has an exclusion animation of the creation of the cover by David Hockney, as well as a cartoon slide show with bonus cartoons, which will be a weekly iPad exclusive.
You can download the app here.
Sep 27, 2010 - 5:43 PM - by Maura
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaez_4m9mQ]YouTube - BlackBerry PlayBook - Preview[/ame]
ZDNet reports that Research In Motion has today unveiled its new BlackBerry tablet at the BlackBerry Developer's Conference in San Francisco. Although the tablet had been closely linked to the name "BlackPad", RIM President and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis revealed that the new tablet would be called the BlackBerry PlayBook. Powered by the new BlackBerry Tablet OS, the tablet has a 7-inch LCD touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support, a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, and a high-res widescreen display with support for 1080p with HDMI and USB ports. Particular note is made of the fact that it will have support for Adobe's Flash player!
The PlayBook measures 5.1"x7.6"x0.4" and weighs approximately 0.9lb.
It will be Wi-Fi only to begin with, paired with BlackBerry smartphones, but RIM says that it plans to offer 3G and 4G versions in future.
As ZDNet points out, a possibly telling omission from the official spec sheet is battery life, and no mention of price as yet either. Two crucial aspects of how well the PlayBook will fare against the iPad.
The BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to go on sale in early 2011 in the US, and then roll out to other markets throughout the year.
Sep 27, 2010 - 5:04 PM - by Maura
Not only can the iPad be the perfect travel companion on a trip, it can also be used to get yourself thoroughly organised prior to going on said trip, it would seem. Yes, maybe it's time to say "goodbye" to that dog-earred list you've been using for years to help you pack, and "hello" to Packing Pro, which is the iPad version of the popular iPhone travel app. iPad-specific enhancements to the app include a full-screen layout redesign, iPad-specialised controls and management, an iPad-sized keyboard for easier text entry, and native resolution text and graphics, among other tweaks.
More than just a digital packing list, Packing Pro features an extensive, customizable catalog, several handy sample lists that can be used as templates, and unlimited, 100 percent customizable packing lists.
Packing Pro has been a top-ranking travel app in the US iTunes App Store for over a year, as well as being hailed by National Geographic and American Express' Travel Leisure as one of the best travel apps for the iPhone.
You can download Packing Pro 5.0 for $2.99/£1.79 from the App Store here, or the basic Packing version here for $0.99/£0.59.
Source: Quinn Genzel
Sep 25, 2010 - 7:59 AM - by Maura
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gi5rRqzZ3M]YouTube - Ninjump Gameplay Video (updated version)[/ame]
Backflip Studios, the company behind the likes of Paper Toss, has released an HD version of the company's hit free NinJump game, which has already stormed onto the Top 10 Free iPad Apps chart in its first week of release. Deservedly so, it would seem, as it's a really cool and addictive ninja climbing game, where your goal is to rise as high as you can on the game screen, avoiding obstacles such as killer squirrels, angry birds (!), enemy ninjas, throwing stars and exploding bombs as you go. Simply tap the screen to jump and attack, and aim to hit three of the same type of enemies to earn a bonus jump. It's incredibly simple, but you can't help wanting to play it over and over again and try and beat your best height score. It looks nice and crisp on the iPad screen too (the video featured here shows the iPhone version - the iPad version looks much better). The game has OpenFeint Leaderboard support, as well as the option to post your scores to Facebook and Twitter and challenge your friends via email. It has in-app ads, but they're fairly unobtrusive so hopefully won't spoil your ninja-jumping experience!
Source: iTunes, Backflip Studios
Sep 24, 2010 - 2:34 PM - by Maura
Netflix has today announced that it has inked an expanded license agreement with NBC Universal which will enable Netflix members (including iPad owners!) to instantly watch a selection of broadcast series from NBC, and, for the first time on Netflix, content from some of NBC Universal's cable channels.
The deal kicks off next week, and adds significantly to the selection of movies and TV episodes that can be streamed instantly from Netflix. Here are just some of the programmes that Netflix members will be able to instantly watch from next week:
- Episodes from every season of Saturday Night Live, including day-after broadcast of the upcoming 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons plus hundreds of episodes from the first 35 years of SNL.
- Every episode from the last seasons of 30 Rock, The Office and Law & Order: SVU, as well as earlier seasons.
- All prior seasons - and eventually next year's final season - of Friday Night Lights.
- All prior seasons of USA Network hits Psych, In Plain Sight and Monk. Prior seasons of all three shows are available to watch instantly at Netflix for the first time.
- More than 75 prior season episodes of Syfy's Battlestar Galactica, as well as prior season episodes of Destination Truth and Eureka, all streaming from Netflix for the first time.
Sep 24, 2010 - 1:56 PM - by Maura
Target has today confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in retailing by announcing it will be carrying Apple's iPad in 1,743 of its stores nationwide from October 3rd 2010. Target says that it will be offering the full range of iPad models, including the 16GB Wi-Fi model starting at $499.99 and the 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+3G models. A selection of accessories, including cases, iBook and iTunes gift cards, chargers and more, will also be available in the electronics department at Target along with the iPad.
Good news for Target and good news for Apple. This will certainly get even more iPads moving off the shelves in the lead up to the holiday season.
"Target is very excited to offer the revolutionary iPad to our guests nationwide," said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, merchandising, Target. "We are committed to providing our guests with the best products and we think iPad will be at the top of our guests' holiday shopping lists."
Sep 23, 2010 - 6:23 PM - by Maura
The Microids name is well known to adventure game fans, particularly for its Syberia series, so I always sit up and take notice when Microids releases a new game. The Jules Verne franchise has already been a huge hit on other platforms, selling over 850,000 copies on PC, iPhone and iPod touch to date. Now it makes the leap to the iPad, with a "Deluxe Edition", no less, which features all-new content that extends average gameplay to more than 16 hours, as well as an enhanced user interface and stunning graphics that take full advantage of the iPad's larger screen.
The game is based on Jules Verne's classic novel, "The Mysterious Island", and puts players' survival skills to the test as they take on the role of Mina, a shipwrecked woman who had been in the middle of a round-the-world solo sailing expedition.
The player must use their powers of logic, creative inventory management, and elements of the supernatural as they explore recognisable locations from the famous novel, including the granite house, the volcano and the Nautilus, in their bid to achieve the ultimate aim of escape from the island. Sophisticated puzzle challenges and lush tropical landscapes along with the photorealistic pre-rendered vistas all combine to make this a really lavish adventure game experience.
If you like the sound of all that, you can download the game here for $9.99/£5.99.
Sep 23, 2010 - 5:34 PM - by Maura
The iWork for iPad suite of productivity tools has received a major update today. The New York Times reports that the iWork 1.2 update has introduced many useful new features, including the ability to import and export directly from your MobileMe iDisk or any similar WebDAV service (which excludes Dropbox, sadly for all you Dropbox fans). Previously Pages was the only iWork app that could export to MS Office, but now both Keynote and Numbers can also export to Office formats.
The ability to group and ungroup objects has also now been added, as has the ability to open .txt files from Mail, in Pages, and .csv files in Numbers, using "Open As". Pages also gets the ability to import and export existing footnotes, endnotes, sections and tables of contents, although you still can't actually create them yourself.
Possibly the one added feature that I'm most pleased about is the option to display the word count for your document in Pages, which can be toggled on and off in the Tools menu, and which really shows that Apple listens to the little niggles and complaints that customers have.
Overall, a very thorough and welcome update!
Source: The New York Times, iTunes
Sep 23, 2010 - 4:48 PM - by Maura
I really enjoyed reading this feature in the Wall Street Journal today called "An American in Paris Says Au Revoir To His Laptop". Written by Walter S. Mossberg, the feature tells of how the writer decided to see how he'd get on when he went on a 10-day working vacation with his wife, if he left his laptop behind and relied only on his iPad, smartphone and a digital camera. Mossberg writes that the reason behind the test was to see if the iPad, and other tablets, could actually be viable replacements for laptops when travelling.
Mossberg says that his experiment was "a pleasant success", and that for the most part, the iPad helped him to get everything done that he normally would have used a laptop for, "yet I toted a lot less weight, enjoyed much better battery life, and had a computer that started up instantly whenever I reached for it."
Mossberg adds that he was far from the only person using the iPad in his hotel, in fact he says that at breakfast every morning he saw several other iPads appear with their owners at the breakfast table, noting that even a small laptop would have had a job fitting on the breakfast room's small tables.
Among the other things that Mossberg discovered about the iPad on his Parisian jaunt was the fact that you can rent iPads at the Eiffel Tower, preloaded with a tourist guide!
Mossberg concludes his article with a word of caution, however, saying that while the iPad did everything he wanted it to do on his working holiday, he'd still prefer to use a laptop for more serious work, such as writing long documents or delivering presentations. Be sure to click through and have a read, it's a really interesting article.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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