iPad Applications

Yes I’m Going to Buy One.

Just in case you have been in a coma, or living under a rock for the last 24 hours, yesterday Apple introduced the iPad 2 to the world. On the surface the update seems like a fairly minor upgrade, with a simple speed bump, addition of cameras, and the gyroscope. (stuff that probably should have been in iPad 1) The thing that made me say “Yes I’ll buy the new one.” was the 2x faster CPU and the 9x faster graphics chip sets.

This extra horsepower under the hood opens up the possibility for some serious and complex computing for full featured applications like Apple’s iMovie, and Garageband for the iPad. With the upgrade to the 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 CPU, and the faster dedicated graphics chip, the iPad 2 is not just a mobile media center with light browsing capabilities.

The iPad 2 packs enough power to run an iPad version of a fully functional Photoshop for example, not just a simple photo editing application. (rumor has it that Adobe is indeed working on a version of Photoshop for the iPad that is more functional than the iPhone version.) In addition to applications like Photoshop, the iPad 2 will be able to run some serious 3D applications that scientists, doctors and engineers require for their work, or third-party video editing software that will be a huge benefit for video pros. Bottom line, it will be able to pretty much do anything that doesn’t require moving of huge amount of data that the 32 to 64GB of storage space can’t handle.

The new power combined with a thinner and lighter form factor will allow people to use the iPad in even more situations. It will truly become a transcendent device that allows people to use this device where previously a mobile phone’s screen and processing power was too small to handle the job or a laptop was too big and heavy for the situation.

I use my iPad for content creation and sketching on a regular basis, running applications like Brushes, SketchBook, ArtRage, and Photogene, as well as Pages and Keynote. I am looking forward to a more responsive device, that is capable of doing more tasks. While I wish that the iPad 2 had a higher resolution screen and a card reader, these are two things that I can get by with out for now.

My current iPad has already replaced my aging laptop, and the new iPad brings enough to the table to justify selling my old one and purchasing the iPad 2.


DesignScene for iPad. One Stop for Design Inspiration.

If you own an iPad you are probably familiar with applications like Flipboard, and flud. If not, those applications are basically RSS readers or aggregators for  news, social media, website, and other points of interest that you subscribe to. They are great applications and I use both of them to manage a multitude of information that I collect and go through on a daily basis. The one thing about them though, is neither has a specific focus on “Design” topics, something I am obviously interested in. This is where DesignScene steps in.

DesignScene from Lunar/Theory is a $4.00 application that functions just like other Readers, but is focused exclusively on design. The inspirational reader looks at visual and text feeds from over 80 of the best design sites from around the world. It organizes them into an easy to digest, visually pleasing application, that allows you to browse the content at your leisure.

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Basic Features include:

  • Real-time visual inspiration from more than 50+ sites
  • Text feeds from more than 30+ sites
  • In-application web browser, so you can access the full content section from the original source.
  • The ability to share links via email, and social media giants Facebook and Twitter

We graphic designers are visual creatures. We get inspired by the world around us—the media we consume, the objects we desire, the designs we wish we had created ourselves. DesignScene is a real-time inspiration app for graphic designers drawing from myriad relevant sources, from art to architecture, illustration to fashion, photography to typography.

The History of Jazz, An Interactive Timeline.

Last Thursday a friend shot me an email and told me I had to buy “The History of Jazz” for the iPad. In his email, he said this is one of the best looking apps he has seen in a while, and that the graphic design, user experience, layout and interface were phenomenal. When someone tells me something like this, I tend to be a little doubtful, but in this case the passionate accolades were absolutely correct.

I have had this app for half a week. I have spent time with it every day, exploring sections and seeing how the musicians, compositions, and artistry influenced others across the spectrum of jazz music. This app is as deep as Phaidon’s “Design Classics” and is so well done.

The user interface is designed to let you explore by decade, style, musician and band. It uses the standard touch metaphor that is associated with all iOS applications, optimizing the experience for scrolling with your fingers. As you dive into the sections, you can grab detailed information about the artist, which allows you to see a bio, watch video, listen to songs, and most importantly for 955 Dreams, the company that produced the application, you can purchase albums, songs and gift the app to others directly within “The History of Jazz”. The reason I want to stress how important this is, is because 955 Dreams has set up a transaction model that is unobtrusive and funds the development of the application. It is seamless and it works, and it doesn’t hard sell you.

As for the look of the application, it is simply stunning. You can tell that this was designed by a group of individuals that not only understand human interaction, but love graphic design as well. The color palette is bright and reflective of the music, the choice of fonts was well thought out with a choice that is fun and still very legible on-screen. Page layouts are well designed and easy to follow, and the over all look encourages you to explore the application. The editorial components are well written, historically accurate and easy to digest in a single sitting.

The well thought out design of this application, makes it easy to digest, and exploits what the iPad is doing for magazines, and books. It takes full advantage of the interactive nature of the medium, and expands on the possibilities, with the inclusion of audio and video. Something that is so essential for an application that deals with the subject of music.

The application costs $9.99, but it is completely worth it. If you are a music fan this is a must have. What I would love to see is for 955 Dreams, to create additional volumes  for different genres of music. An encyclopedia of sorts that you could have on your iPad. One that shows how a variety of music came together to create something new.

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