iPad Applications

iPad Letterpress.

Sunday night I installed LetterMpress on my iPad. I found the app while browsing the app store and had no idea what to expect. It looked interesting and it was fairly inexpensive so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The application lets you create simulated Letterpress style prints that can be exported to your photo albums, shared via social networking tools, or printed if you have a wireless printer connected to your iPad.

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The look of the User interface is really nice, ease of use is at times not. If you get this application, I highly recommend spending some time going through the tutorials. It’ll make your life a lot easier and less frustrating in the long run. The application makes use of double and triple taps on the screen to set and clear images, along with gestures. Once you know what you are doing its easy, but if you jump right in, you might be confused about how to do things like remove items from the press bed. Aside from that the application is fairly straight forward. You simply drag type, furniture and locks on to the press bed, arrange them, choose a paper, ink, print, save or export.

The application like a traditional print shop lets you store and keep prints that can be overprinted repeatedly. In addition, you can save your press layouts for repeat use as well. Right now the app has a finite amount of type specimens, and art cuts, but the developer is releasing more that will be available through updates to the app in the future.

Designed and developed by John Bonadies, the application is being funded on Kickstarter, and has more than reached it’s goal. Right now, LetterMpress is available via iTunes, and your iPad’s app store for $5.99.

Geek Out Monday. 3D Video on an iPad via Kinect.

It’s Monday, so I thought I would start the week with a geek fest featuring some 3D video built with a Microsoft Kinect, and played back on an iPad.

LAAN Labs, used String Augmented Reality SDK to display the video and audio that was recorded with the Kinect. Working with Libfreenect’s open Kinect project, they recorded the incoming data from the Kinect, and then built a textured mesh of the subject from calibrated rgb and depth data sets. This was done for each frame in the sequence which allowed the video to be played back in real-time. Using a simple depth cut off, they were able to isolate the person in the video from walls and other objects in the room.

The image was projected onto a printed image marker in the real world using the String SDK. That image was then used as a QR marker for the iPad to read and display the image.

While this is pretty rough, the result is still impressive, and it really shows off the power of Kinect’s open source community, String SDK, and the Open Kinect Project. I can’t wait to see how this develops. The potential for content development here is huge.

Pennant for the iPad. Great Design and a Great User Experience.

I’m not a huge baseball fan, I haven’t been since the baseball strike a few years back. I have other issues with baseball too, my home town team sucks, it feels as though the teams are really set up so rich teams get all the good players at the expense of other teams sort of stacking the deck… I am however, a fan of good design, and good user experience design. This is why I have to say, I really like the iPad application “Pennant” from Vargaton.

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Whether you like baseball or not, you will enjoy going through the data visualizations that are presented here in a clean and easy to understand format.The application covers baseball history, games, players, and stats from the 1950’s to the present. As the developer puts it, “This is an interactive exploration of baseball data that allows users to quickly and accurately recreate and investigate the history of the annual race to be the best team in Major League Baseball.”

This application is simple, and elegant with stunning graphics that make baseball attractive to even the most un-interested sports fan. It features a limited color pallet with easy to read typography, and charts. The application flow is simple, seamless and easy to navigate making the overall user experience one that encourages exploration.

Adobe CS5 iPad Apps

Adobe has released three new applications that take advantage of the iPad touch interface, and work with their CS5 desktop applications.

Adobe Nav takes advantage of a network connection between your iPad and your computer. With this application you can customize the Photoshop CS5 toolbar on iPad to easily access the tools you use most. Nav lets you browse, reorder, view, and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop documents on iPad. You simply tap a document on iPad to make it the active document in Photoshop CS5.

Adobe Eazel lets you use your iPad to paint directly on the iPad screen using your fingers. When you reach a stopping point you can send your artwork directly to Photoshop CS5 from any location—all you need is a network connection between your iPad and computer.

Adobe Color Lava lets you use your fingers yo mix colors on your iPad like a traditional color pallet. From there you can create custom swatches, and like Eazle send them to Photoshop CS5 via a network connection. In addition you can use the app whenever inspiration strikes, save your pallet, then bring your colors into Photoshop CS5 once you’re connected again.

Ultramods “Underwear Party”, Recorded Entirely on an iPad.

Those crazy pop punk kids known as The Ultramods have gone and done it. They recorded an entire album on the iPad using Garage band and released it today on the iTunes store.

The entire album was recorded using GarageBand for iPad’s eight-track recording studio. All of the instruments used to record the album are the ones that come bundled in GarageBand, according to The Ultramods, and even the vocal tracks were laid down using the iPad’s built-in microphone. The Ultramods manifesto is “fast, cheap, and out-of-control” and you’ve got to love the fact that they did this. Who would have thought a year ago, that someone would take a device that was panned by so many (including myself) at launch and make an entire album on it.

The Ultramods describe the 12 songs on the album as “stripped-down, noisy, guitar-driven, two and three-chord songs that are often times decidedly pervy.”

The album is called “Underwear Party” and is available from the iTunes Store , or you can  listen to the album for free on the band’s Web site.

Most of the songs are NSFW so you might want to put on headphones or listen at home.

iPad Magic Mirror. The Possibility of Augmented Reality.

Straight out of the gate for iPad 2 is the new “Magic Mirror” Augmented Reality application that takes advantage of that front facing camera, and uses advanced facial tracking and user recognition features to give you the magic mirror experience.

This demo shows off the totally playful experience of this application, but what is really exciting are the possibilities that this kind of application presents for people promoting products.Think about being able to do things like try on virtual glasses, or clothing using the facial tracking software shown here. Using this kind of technology, the iPad will be able to determine your sex, age, ethnicity, or any number of specifics and then deliver a completely different content experience to you based on that visual data. I saw this and immediately thought about how it could extend and enhance an online shopping experience, or be applied to scientific applications as well.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this kind of technology showing up rather quickly from an apparel manufacturer, or from an online retail giant like Amazon or Zappos.

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.