iNews Review

iPad 2 Drop Results, Opera Mini vs. Safari, iPhone 4 Case with Sliding Keyboard, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.05.27

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

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Accessories

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News, Reviews, & Opinion

What Happens When You Drop an iPad 2

AllThingsD 's Ina Fried says:

"Well, we already know that the iPad 2 can blend, but the folks at SquareTrade wanted to see just how well a new iPad both with and without a Smart Cover can withstand a fall.

"They started with a waist-high drop of both iPads onto cement.

"And, they were kind enough to share the video first with AllThingsD."

Game Consoles and Smartphones Are Giving Kids Arthritis

The Sun's Health and Science Editor Emma Little reports that children as young as eight are increasingly suffering from crippling arthritis-like pain normally seen only in elderly patients with chronic rheumatism. This a consequence of excessive use of games consoles and mobile phones, according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), which holds its annual conference of arthritis and rheumatism experts in London this week.

The pain results from youngsters using repeated joint actions to control their games machines for up to seven hours a day on weekends, and the risk is so great that experts have called for warning signs to be displayed on gaming boxes, which consultants say almost 90% of British children aged around eight own at least one one of game console.

And it's not just gaming consoles. Studies cited have found that children engaging in long texting sessions on cellphones, particularly ones with wide handsets like BlackBerrys and iPhones, also suffered chronic wrist and finger pains.

Apple Stands Up for iOS Developers Against Patent Holder

The Register's Cade Metz reports that Apple has come to the defense of iOS app developers under pressure to fork over a portion of their in-app purchase revenue to a US patent-holder known as Lodsys that sent letters to iOS developers that use in-app purchasing, asking that they hand over about half a percent of their US revenue as a license fee for a patent the company owns

Metz says Apple has now sent a letter of its own to Lodsys, claiming that it has licensed the rights to all four patents owned by Lodsys and that the license covers app developers as well, stating, "Apple is undisputedly licensed to these (patents) and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license . . . There is no basis for Lodsys' infringement allegations against Apple's App Makers."

Macworld also has a report on Apple's letter.

Foxconn iPad Fab Explosion and Fire Should Not Affect Production Line

China Business Times' Zheng Shufang and Liu Jiaxi report that following the Chengdu Foxconn iPad plant explosion, Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou rushed to the scene to deal with the follow-up, and after an online confab with key suppliers stated that not only will the tragic incident not delay iPad 2 production, but new products related to iPhone and iPad are still scheduled for production in Q3.

The reporters also cite RBC Capital of Canada analyst Mike Abramsky saying in a letter to customers, that he believes that if the explosion did not affect the assembly plant, Foxconn's Shenzhen factory can likely take up the slack if necessary should Chengdu be unable to quickly restore iPad production.

The article further notes that the Chengdu Jin Kang Hongfu Fuji Apple iPad 2 assembly plant has a total area covering two city blocks, and that the explosions inside building one will have no impact on the Chengdu plant assembly line, with iPad 2 production not affected, but rather only part of the warehouse and painting production line, which should not delay iPad 2 shipments.

Opera Mini 6 for iOSHands-on look at Opera Mini 6 for iPhone and iPad

Cnet's Jason Parker has put the new Opera Mini 6 (more below) through its paces and thinks it offers several features that users will like, and that with the right tweaks, it could even become the favorite over Apple's Safari - if people are willing to give it a try.

iPad 2 'Antennagate' Proving a Nuisance to Select Few

AppAdvice's A.T. Faust III notes a reader's report that it seems the iPad 2 has antennagate also, noting that if he holds his on the sides the WiFi drops to 2 bars, but when he moves his hand away from the left side it speeds up again.

iPad Challengers Abound: Other Tablet Makers Stand a Chance with Segment Focus

PR: Since nearly three-quarters of potential buyers in the UK and US are open to purchasing non-Apple tablets, Strategy Analytics finds that there is still plenty of opportunity for Apple competitors to take a share of the tablet market. The Strategy Analytics report, Tablet Competitive Positioning: Consumer Proposition Differentiators, identifies eight attributes of consumer tablets which will determine the ability of vendors to meet market needs.

This Strategy Analytics primary research states that in addition to media consumption, there are numerous basic attributes and connectivity capabilities which are widely demanded by potential tablet buyers. However, these features will not form the basis of sustainable competitive advantage.

Martin Bradley, Associate Director, says: "In addition to media consumption and interactive content there are important potential differentiators, including presentation, tele-presence and content creation. Vendors will need to target the needs of particular market segments to secure market share gains."

Peter King, Service Director, adds, "Everybody is aware that Apple has done well, but there is every potential for other vendors, such as Samsung and Motorola, to catch the market leader."

This Strategy Analytics report develops a framework for analyzing the competitive environment and identifies opportunities for vendors to differentiate their products.

Tablets Becoming TV Buddies; eReaders Popular Bedfellows

US Connected Devices Situational UsagePR: A Nielsen Company blog says the market analysis firm's most recent research on mobile connected devices reveals on how consumers are using their tablet computers, eReaders and smartphones, and where they are using them as well.

According to Nielsen's recent survey of nearly 12,000 connected device owners:

  • 70% of tablet owners and 68% of smartphone owners said they use their devices while watching television, compared to only 35% of eReader owners.
  • 61% of eReader owners use their device in bed, compared to 57% of tablet owners and 51% of smartphone owners.

But just how much time are tablet, eReader, and smartphone owners spending using their device while watching TV or lying in bed Nielsen asked?

US Connected Devices Time Distribution of UsageWhen asked how they spent time with their device:

  • Tablet owners said 30% of their time spent with their device was while watching TV compared to 21% lying in bed.
  • Smartphone owners say that 20% of the time they use their smartphones is while watching TV, compared to 11% lying in bed.
  • eReader owners indicated only 15% of their eReader time was spent watching TV, though they spent a whopping 37% of their device usage time in bed.

iPads, Other Tablets to Have Major Enterprise Presence by 2013

CRN's Andrew R Hickey says that since the release of the iPad just over a year ago, the question of whether or not tablets were suitable for business use and enterprises loomed, and with PC sales continuing to slide (see Rising Interest in iPads Stings PC Sales in this week's 'Book Review), it appears that the tablet charge, led by the iPad, will break through business walls is a big way.

Apps & Services

Opera Mini Web Browser Now Supports iPad

Opera Mini 6 for iOSPR: Opera Software ASA says its Opera Mini browser provides the fastest, most cost-efficient web-browsing experience for your iOS device today, especially on slow crowded networks, away from WiFi or when data roaming. Opera's powerful servers compress data by up to 90% before downloading, so page loads are faster.

Opera Mini's features include:

  • Speed: Up to 6 times faster browsing, especially when on slower or crowded networks
  • Data Savings: Compress up to 90% of data traffic
  • Speed Dial: Get to your favorite Web sites with a single tap
  • Visual Tabs: See all your open Web pages and quickly switch between them
  • Opera Link: Synchronize your bookmarks and Speed Dial with a Desktop PC or other mobile phone

What's New in Version 6.0

Opera Mini 6 for iOSEnjoy the fresh new look of Opera Mini 6 without compromise. Get all the speed benefits and data savings of Opera Mini, now optimized for all iOS devices.

Updated features include:

  • Updated design with a fresh new look and feel
  • Super smooth pinch-to-zoom and panning
  • Support for iPhone 4 retina display, iPad, and iPad 2 devices
  • Direct share on Facebook, Twitter, and My Opera
  • Open new page in background tab
  • Improved international font support for Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other non-Latin languages

Free

Size: 3.4 MB

Languages: English, Arabic, Breton, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

System requirements:

  • Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Requires iOS 3.0 or later

CarLights for iOS: A Guide to Indicator Lights for BMW and Mini

PR: Fine Mechanics has introduced CarLights 1.0 for iOS, their new reference app that provides a complete guide to the more than 100 symbolic indicator lights used in BMW and Mini automobiles. Located on the dashboard and instrument cluster, these red and yellow lights provide vital feedback on the status of the car's various systems. The user first selects their vehicle from a library of 20 different models. With the appropriate model selected, the app displays a scrolling list of indicator lights found in their vehicle. Users may display red, yellow, or both color lights in the scrolling display grid. Touching any icon opens a new page containing a complete description of that indicator and how to interpret it.

CarLights for iOSBMW Models:

  • 1-Series 2004-2011
  • 3-Series 2005-2011
  • 5-Series 2002-2010
  • 6-Series 2003-2011
  • X1, X3, X5, X6, M1, M3, M5, X5M, X6M, and Z4

Mini Models:

  • Mini
  • Clubman
  • Convertible
  • Countryman

Manufactured in Europe, the BMW and Mini employ more indicator lights than American made vehicles, and the symbols used are often different. In addition, European indicator lights often serve a dual purpose, lighting up either yellow or red. In this way the same indicator can provide either a caution or a serious alert by lighting up yellow or red. For example, the BMW includes an indicator icon showing the outline of a gear with a thermometer occupying the empty circle inside. When it lights up yellow, the app advises, "Transmission too hot. Avoid high engine loads. You can continue your journey, but moderate your speed and exercise due caution." When it lights up red, the app informs the user, "Transmission overheating. Bring the car to a stop and move the selector lever to position P. Allow the transmission to cool down. You can continue your journey, but moderate your speed and exercise due caution. Have the system checked if the situation reoccurs."

Feature Highlights:

  • Complete database of BMW and Mini car indicators and signal lamps
  • More than 100 different icons sorted by groups
  • Color filter allows viewing of only red or yellow indicators
  • Photo Library of 20 different models allows the user to select their vehicle
  • Display indicators only for the selected vehicle
  • Display of information about groups of indicators
  • BMW hotline numbers for more than 40 countries
  • Identify the indicator and read the description and servicing recommendations
  • Exact location of each indicator light

"CarLights is a simple to use, convenient app that helps you really understand what all the lights mean on your BMW or Mini," comments Director of Development Oleg Bubnov . "Modern vehicles have so many computer-controlled sensors that it can be a challenge understanding all the important indicator lights on your vehicle."

Language Support: US English and Russian

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • iOS 3.0 or later (iOS 4.3 tested)
  • 14.1 MB

CarLights 1.0 is 99¢ and available worldwide through the App Store in the Reference category. Review copies are available upon request.

Accessories

Slide & Type iPhone 4 Case with Integrated Sliding Bluetooth Keyboard

PR: Solid Line Products, LLC has announced that the company is now shipping the Slide & Type, an iPhone 4 case with an integrated sliding Bluetooth keyboard.

Slide & Type iPhone 4 Case"Slide & Type is the best of both worlds," says Henry Lo, CEO and founder of Solid Line Products. "It protects without adding bulk and appears to be nothing more than a very sleek iPhone 4 case until you slide out the keyboard.

Slide & Type features a physical Bluetooth keyboard in a black hard plastic case that provides easy access to all the iPhone 4s controls and ports."

When fully charged, the built-in battery provides 45 days of continuous use. The keyboard case also features an on/off switch so that users can conserve battery power.

Slide & Type iPhone 4 CaseFeatures:

  • Designed for the iPhone 4
  • Built-in lithium battery fully charges in 4 hours
  • Provides 45 days of continuous use when battery is fully charged
  • Includes USB to Mini-USB charging cable.
  • Bluetooth keyboard connects to your iPhone 4 with a few steps.

Slide & Type retails for $75 and can be purchased from the company's online store or authorized resellers. It also comes with a one year warranty.

AmigoCase Battery Charger Holster Designed for White iPhone 4

PR: The white AmigoCase is an external battery charger and protective cover designed specially for the white iPhone. The AmigoCase doubles the power of the iPhone without the added bulk of a piggybacking battery.

AmigoCaseThe innovative clip-on AmigoCase serves two purposes recharging iPhone and providing full protection. While in the AmigoCase, iPhone connects to the auxiliary battery for recharging and its on/off switch allows the user to decide when to recharge. Its unique swiveling locking/unlocking mechanism allows the protective case to seamlessly separate from the AmigoCase, and the external battery continues recharging iPhone when it is inserted back into the AmigoCase.

"The AmigoCase is Concord Keystone's best-selling iPhone charger, so it was only natural that we made one to coordinate with the new iPhone 4, now available in white," says Urs Stampfi, CEO of Concord Keystone. "The charger features a high-gloss white body and includes either a pink or white protective cover for the iPhone."

The AmigoCase features a fully encased rechargeable 5500 mWh Lithium-Polymer battery, which doubles the battery working time of the iPhone; adding approximately 7.5 hours of talk time, 6.25 hours of video playback, 18.75 hours of audio playback and 195 hours of standby time.

The holster recharges easily by connecting to a computer through a USB cable, or by using a wall adaptor with USB port. The battery-check button and LED status indicator allow the user to track the charge level of the AmigoCase.

The white AmigoCase can be clipped to handbags, computer cases, tote bags or waistbands. It comes with a protective cover in either translucent clear or pink and is compatible with either version of the iPhone 4, AT&T or Verizon.

The AmigoCase is available from Concord Keystone for $79.99.

LapGear Deluxe eDesk for Tablets and eReaders

PR: LapGear has announced that its newest product, the LapGear Deluxe eDesk for tablets and eReaders, will soon be available on store shelves.

The Deluxe eDesk has been specifically created for use with tablets and eReaders. Forecasters estimate that more than 50 million media tablets will be sold in 2011 and predict the market will continue to expand.

"LapGear continually updates our product line in response to market needs and this product is another example of how we accomplish that," says Michael Jennings, president and chief executive officer of LapGear. "We pride ourselves on being marketplace friendly with products that conform to more than the lap. Our products conform to our users lifestyles."

Jennings adds that the Deluxe eDesk rollout will begin this month at Bed, Bath & Beyond and make its way to other retailers in June under a new name, the LapGear Smart-e. Pre-sales are also being taken at lapgear.com

The Smart-e secures electronic devices while in use and features an adjustable tilted top for maximum viewing comfort. The deluxe model provides a storage compartment to hold the device along with a charger and other devices. Both models feature the company's patented dual bolster lap pad design for comfort that it claims is not replicable by any other company.

LapGear lap desks sell in a range between $19.99 and $39.99, and are sold at Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Staples, OfficeMax and Office Depot as well as various department stores, gift shops, on QVC and in retail catalogs.

Kraft Envelope PU Leather Pouch for iPad 1 and 2

USB Fever Kraft Envelope PU Leather Pouch for iPadPR: Features:

  • Featured with Kraft Envelope / Brown Envelope Graphics
  • Special designed for iPad
  • As a hand carrying bag
  • As a should handbag
  • Unique ergonomic design
  • Protected from bumps and scratches
  • Light weight
  • Perfectly fit
  • Anti-dust

USB Fever Kraft Envelope PU Leather Pouch for iPadThis case is suitable for:

  • iPad 1
  • iPad 2

Note: This is not made of Genuine leather.

$14.99

Eggshell for iPad 2 Fits Smart Cover

Eggshell for iPad 2PR: Eggshell for iPad 2 fits Smart Cover is an ultra thin hard case of about 0.9mm in thickness which is completely compatible for use with the iPad Smart Cover. The case is made from a tough polycarbonate material strong enough to protect the iPad from light bumps and scratches. The case is cut out perfectly on one side for attaching the Apple iPad Smart Cover. (iPad Smart Cover sold separately.)

With Eggshell on, the Smart Cover closes perfectly and can be folded and used as a stand. All iPad 2 ports, buttons and camera remain open and accessible, so there is no need to remove Eggshell once it has been attached.

Eggshell for iPad 2Extra items are included inside the package together with the Eggshell case. TuneFilm protective film covers the iPad 2 screen. A cleaning cloth will help wipe away dust and finger prints. A dock connector cover will keep out dirt and dust.

This accessory is compatible with iPad 2 (and with Smart Cover)

Specifications for the A/C Travel Charger:

  • Size: 188(W) x 245(H) x 9(D)mm
  • Weight: approximately 58g
  • Color: Clear

$23.99

Smart Cover Friendly Crystal Case for iPad 2

Smart Cover Crystal Case for iPad 2PR: Features:

  • Unique ergonomic design
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Fully Protected from bumps and scratches
  • Light weight
  • Perfectly fit
  • Anti-dust
  • Easy access to all ports and sockets
  • Compatible with original Apple's Smart Cover.

This case is suitable for iPad 2

Smart Cover Crystal Case for iPad 2Options: Color

  • Black (Default color to be shipped)
  • Frost White
  • Pink
  • Blue
  • Orange

$11.99

SeeThru iPad 2 Folio

PR: SeeThru iPad 2 Folio is a transparent formfitting hard case that allows you to show off and see the iPad 2's sexy design in full, while still keeping it protected.

SeeThru iPad 2 FolioThe sleek, sturdy case for iPad 2 offers a functional 3-in-1 utility design. It acts as a protecting shield, a display stand and a typing platform.

SeeThru iPad 2 Folio is made from two clear polycarbonate shells which have been molded to fit the iPad 2 perfectly. The top and bottom shells are jointed with a patent swivel hinge that rotates 360 degrees allowing the top cover to fold completely underneath the back cover exposing the screen. It also sets up in multiple landscape and portrait positions for your reading and viewing pleasure

Features

  • The first hard shell SeeThru iPad 2 folio available anywhere
  • Contemporary transparent book style case with non-slip grips on the swivel hinge for comfortable use
  • Constructed from shatterproof polycarbonate
  • A multifunction design that acts as a protecting shield, a displaying stand and a typing slant
  • Top cover folds completely underneath the back cover exposing screen
  • Designed for both right and left handed people
  • Smart Patent swivel hinge design allows you to rotate the top cover for optimum table top viewing
  • Full access to all side buttons and ports with the case in place

The SeeThru Folio for iPad 2 is available to order now for $34.99

Padacs Ships Keyboard Cases for iPad 2

PR: Innovative iPad accessories brand Padacs this week begins shipping its refreshed range of Bluetooth keyboard cases, the Toccata 2 and Rubata 2, for Apple's popular iPad 2 tablet.

As well as fitting the Toccata 2 and Rubata 2 to the more streamlined iPad 2 form factor, they listened to user feedback to help further redesign these cases to meet customers' needs. Padacs products are available throughout the US, Canada, and Australia.

First launched last year for Apple's original iPad, the Toccata and Rubata keyboard cases have proved hugely popular, providing a conveniently-sized physical keyboard for the iPad inside attractive cases.

The Padacs Toccata 2 Bluetooth Keyboard Case contains a 9.2" x 5.3" QWERTY silicone keyboard that is large enough to type on comfortably without adding to the iPad case size. Charged by an included USB cable, the Lithium battery-powered keyboard runs for as long as 45 hours.

The Toccata 2 has been redesigned to hold the 33 per cent slimmer iPad 2, making the entire Toccata 2 case both thinner and sleeker.

Other enhancements include:

  • Keyboard controls to adjust the iPad screen brightness
  • New keys including a right shift key and a Photo Frame button for the iPad
  • A combined Backspace and Delete key
  • Addition of .com and dedicated @ key
  • A sturdy side pin connector for charging.

Rubata caseThe Padacs Rubata 2 iPad Keyboard Case provides a premium cover with a built-in hard plastic shell Bluetooth keyboard with special iPad keys. Having undergone a total transformation, the Rubata 2 Bluetooth Keyboard Case is now made from synthetic leather and has a redesigned hard shell keyboard that extends iPad 2 functionality with enhancements including:

  • Keyboard controls to adjust the iPad screen brightness
  • More intuitive Bluetooth connectivity controls now located on the keyboard
  • A new On/Off button that replaces the previous On/Off switch
  • Addition of .com key and a larger Delete key
  • A sturdy side pin connector for charging.

Pricing for the new-look Padacs Bluetooth Keyboard Cases remains unchanged at $59.95 for the Toccata 2 and $79.95 for the Rubata 2.

Killer Keys: Adonit Writer iPad-to-Netbook Transformation Kit

Adonit WriterPR: The iPad is an amazing mobile consumption device. Writer, folio plus Bluetooth keyboard, and is arguably the perfect companion for enhancing the productivity and expanding the proficiency of your iPad. The keyboard is a sleek aluminum body with scissor action keys that respond to your every thought with the familiar click many users relish.

Adonit WriterWriter is built for trend setters who want to express a personal style through technology and fashion. Individuals who value precision crafted products developed without compromise to function beautifully. Writer is designed for you to express your unique style with the highest quality materials and fashionable colors of the world around you.

Writer is for typing on the bus, your couch, on an airplane, all the places you need comfortable productivity. The keyboard glides along a magnetic strip allowing for unlimited screen angles and stability you need.

Adonit WriterWriter's quick eject allows you to free the iPad in the blink of an eye. Its an effortless transition from working on a mid-term essay to playing a game.

Writer knows when your keyboard should go to sleep. Conserving your battery for the times you need it most. The LED battery indicator lets you know that you are powered up or that your battery is running down and needs to be replaced.

Writer comes equipped with scratch-resistant ultra-soft rubber pads for protective cushion and durability between your iPad and Writer's keyboard.

Writer is constructed of recyclable Polycarbonate, ABS, Aluminum, Biodegradable Fabrics and Polyurethanes. When it's time for Writer to move on, it's designed and constructed it to be easily disassembled for your recycling pleasure.

Adonit WriterWriter's packaging has been designed to be minimal on both space and material. The majority of the packaging materials are recyclable. The small packaging makes for more products in a smaller space, less fuel for shipping, and more Writers per shipping container.

Design Specs:

  • Size & Weight
    • Length: 246 mm (9.68)
    • Width: 209.35 mm (8.24)
    • Depth: 27.5 mm thin (1)
    • Weight: 500 grams light (17.6 oz.)
  • Battery Power
    • 3 Long Lasting AAA Alkaline Batteries
  • Battery Life:
    • 1 Month of heavy use
    • 2 Months of normal use
    • 7 Months of standby use
  • Battery Indicator
    • Press & Release
    • Green = Good
    • Yellow = Ok
    • Blinking Red = Replace Soon
  • Keyboard Languages
    • ANSI (American)
    • JIS (Japanese)
    • (Russian)
  • Bluetooth
    • Bluetooth v2.1 compliant

Adonit Writer is expected to sell for around $100

RightShift for the iPad 2: Case with Integrated Bluetooth Keyboard for True Touch Typing

RightShift for the iPad 2PR: Turn your iPad 2 into a productivity tool with the RightShift case & keyboard. This elegant, protective case integrates a Bluetooth keyboard that features a right shift key so you can actually touch type. And yes - this is designed specifically for the iPad 2! When fully charged, the keyboard provides 90 hours of continuous use.

  • Bluetooth keyboard connects to your iPad with a few simple steps
  • 90 hours of continuous use when fully charged
  • Includes USB to micro-USB charging cable
  • Dimensions: 9.75 x 8 x 1 inches
  • Weight 1 lb.
  • One Year Warranty

Technical Specifications:

  • Broadcom 2042 Main Control Chip with 2.0 Bluetooth Interface
  • Built-in lithium ion battery
  • Fully charges in 4-4.5 hours
  • Lithium ion battery life: 3 years
  • Key Life: 500 million keystrokes
  • Can be used with other Bluetooth products

Price: $99

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