iNews Review

$148 iPhone 4S at Walmart, Blogger Goes Mostly iPad, iPad mini Will Blow Away Nexus 7, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.08.27

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.

Purchases made through links to Amazon.com and Apple's iTunes/iBook/App/Mac App Store support Low End Mac.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Rumor Roundup

The Competition

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Walmart Drops Price on iPhone 4S to $148

Walmart drops iPhone 4S to $148PR: Walmart has announced a bold price drop for the 16 GB iPhone 4S, from $188 to $148 - an example of Walmart's commitment to being the low price leader in top wireless and consumer electronics.

The 16 GB iPhone 4S is available at stores nationwide for $148 starting August 23 at 7 a.m. local time, while supplies last. The 16 GB iPhone 4S is available at this low price for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon customers (contract requirements vary by carrier.)

Publisher's note: The Apple Store has a policy of matching published prices, so if you'd rather buy from Apple, you can get the same deal. dk

Blogger Goes Mostly iPad

Massive Greatness blogger MG Siegler reports that he's followed through on his previously announced intent to predominantly use his iPad as his main travel computer going forward, and that a long weekend trial run last week went well enough that the iPad is his new road machine, and for a "heavy, heavy computer user" making this transition is a big deal, although Siegler concedes that he's cheating a little bit with a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover - and he's not about to toss his new Retina MacBook Pro, but it will increasingly remain at home or at work.

Nexus 7 Owner: iPad mini Will Blow It Away

ZDNet's James Kendrick says that as the owner (and heavy user) of both the iPad and the Nexus 7, the superior user experience of the iPad inclines him to expect a smaller iPad to quickly surpass the Nexus 7 - hands down.

He says that while the Nexus 7 with Jelly Bean is the best Android tablet he's sampled by a wide margin, every time he picks up the iPad, he's struck by how much better the iOS user experience is, its operation more consistent, fluid, and pleasing than that of the Nexus 7, and that even with the much improved Project Butter enhancements in Jelly Bean, the iPad is just more pleasant to use, plus the quality of iPad apps is for the most part better than those available for the Nexus 7, observing that smaller size of the Nexus 7 is its only advantage over the existing iPad, and the iPad mini will wipe that out.

iPad Battery Care

Answering a reader question, the Telegraph's Rick Maybury notes that Apple suggests putting your iPad through a complete charge/discharge cycle at least once a month - i.e., charge it fully, then run it down to around 10 to 15%, before recharging in order to recalibrate, which is actually pretty much standard advice for Lithium Ion/Polymer batteries in general.

Maybury also suggests charging an iPad in a cool environment whenever possible, not leaving it on charge overnight, and never allowing it to fully discharge or be left in an uncharged state.

Shootout: iPhone 4S versus Samsung Galaxy S III

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan says:

"With all the stir surrounding the Apple vs. Samsung court case, I thought it was a good time to compare both companies' best smartphones: iPhone 4S and Galaxy S....

"The iPhone 4S is faster than the Galaxy S III when doing OpenGL graphics as in GLBenchmark 2.1, but slower when running a CPU intensive tests like Sunspider and Linpack."

Morgan concludes that if you're are a fan of the Android OS, you'll will be pleased with the Galaxy S III. If you're a fan of iOS, the iPhone 4S is a great choice, although he personally prefers the iPhone 4S.

The Age of Apps

The Age of Apps: Evolution of the Mobile Application

The Age of AppsThe emergence of mobile marketing has come a long way since IBM launched Simon, a combination cell phone and PDA, in 1993*, paving the way for modern smartphones by introducing a touchscreen.

Today there are more than 25 billion apps downloaded from the App Store, Angry Birds has exceeded 1 billion downloads, and by 2016 app-to-person messaging will overtake text messaging.

A new NeoLane infographic tracks the evolution of the mobile app market from the past, present, and projected future, addressing points like:

  • Where will the mobile app market be in 2016?
  • What makes a branded app successful?
  • Strategies from a tablet app vs. a smartphone app
  • How to maximize engagement

* IBM's Simon was released on August 16, 1984, but it had been introduced in November 1993.

Rumor Roundup

7.85" iPad Began Production in June, to Reach 4 Million Units per Month

DigiTimes' Max Wang and Joseph Tsai report that supply volume of Apple's 7.85" iPad is projected to reach four million units per month starting in September in order to prepare for demand during the year-end holiday commercial ramp-up, according to unnamed sources in Apple's the upstream supply chain.

Wang and Tsai say that rumors circulating in the IT arena suggest that Apple will launch its 7.85" iPad in October with a thinner screen frame to allow the device to feature a bigger display area than other competing products with the downsized unit to feature a resolution similar to that of iPad 2 (1024 x 768).

The anonymous moles also reportedly say the supply chain started supplying a small volume of 7.85" iPad in June with a monthly volume around several hundred thousand units.

Publisher's note: If Apple ships an iPad mini with at least the same tech specs (including battery life) as the iPad 2 but at only 80% of its size and starting at $299 or less, expect long lines at Apple retail stores the first day. dk

The Competition

Windows 8: Mixture of Classic Windows and Metro Modern UI Painful to Swallow

The Register's Tim Anderson comments on changes (and not) in the latest Windows 8 development build, noting that anyone expecting major changes from June's Release Preview, or concessions for those missing the old Start menu, will be disappointed. However, there are some tweaks, including removal of Aero transparency from the Windows desktop, the addition of a brief tutorial, new desktop themes, and the availability of paid apps in the Windows Store.

Anderson observes that Windows 8, with its split personality of classic desktop design and new touch-friendly "Modern User Interface" (formerly "Metro") has been mythologized as all but unusable unless you're using a touchscreen tablet, but in his estimation it actually works rather well once you learn some new tricks, such as dusting off the Windows key on the keyboard that you have never used before -, and even the Start button is still there in the classic desktop, only requiring a bottom-left corner mouseover to make it appear. Notwithstanding Microsoft's claim of up to 438% better performance, perceived overall performance boost on the desktop is perhaps more like 10-15%.

"So why is Windows 8 hated?" asks Anderson rhetorically. The problem, he says, is that the Modern UI, which Microsoft forces on users whether or not they have tablets, is disorientating while offering little benefit over the old, classic Windows user interface for desktop use. further, interaction between Windows 8's two personalities can be annoying, and the built-in Metro - er Modern UI - apps are "a bit rubbish."

Lenovo: Windows RT Tablets Will Be Up to $300 Cheaper than x86 Windows 8 Tablets

Bloomberg's Ian King reports that according to Lenovo's head of North America operations, David Schmoock, the company's forthcoming new tablet devices based on Microsoft's Windows RT software will cost $200 to $300 less than competing tablet PC products using the full Windows 8 OS, the latter which he estimates will sell in the $600 to $700 range.

iFixit Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Teardown: Thin and Repairable Tablets Are Possible

iFixit's Chief Information Architect Miroslav Djuric says that they heard from lots of folks claiming that they were too critical of Apple's iPad specifically, contending that it was impossible to use clips instead of glue to attach the front glass to the rest of the device, and that Apple could not make the tablet thin AND repairable.

Thickness of iPad and Galaxy Note 10.1"Enter the Note 10.1," says Djuric. "With a thickness of 8.9 mm. it's actually thinner than the iPad 3, and almost the same thickness as the iPad 2. And guess what? It's held in place with a clever system of clips, similar to the original iPad."

"In fact," Djuric continued, "the Note scored an excellent 8 out of 10 on our repairability scale. Samsung used good ol' Phillips screws, didn't glue the LCD to the front glass, and provided a modular internal layout. All of these aspects of the Note allow the device to be repaired inexpensively and without specialized tooling."

Djuric's teardown highlights notes:

  • A few Phillips screws, a few clips, and we're in! We like this combination: the screws are enough of a hassle to keep out meddling kids, but will by no means deter anyone who needs to fix anything inside.
  • Our first look inside the Note 10.1 greets us with a cornucopia of connectors. By our count, there are 16. Having a lot of connectors is a huge boon for repairability. When components can be easily accessed and removed, repairs cost less and customers are more apt to fix their devices.
  • Neither the 5 MP rear camera nor the 2 MP front camera are notable in and of themselves, but the fact that they are independent components (as opposed to sharing a single cable) is pretty cool.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 battery is easy to accessThe battery is quite easy to remove, even though a few cables have to be disconnected first. It's rated at 3.7 volts, 7000 mAh, and 25.90 watt-hours.
  • Just like in the new iPad, the battery in the Note accounts for a large portion of the device's weight. It weighs in at 136 grams, roughly 23% of the 594-gram device.
  • The EMI shields in the Note are screwed in. We don't recall seeing that before, and we're quite thankful we don't have to bust out the soldering iron and dental picks (no, seriously) in order to uncover the chips underneath. Props to you, Samsung.
  • In addition to protecting important motherboard components from electromagnetic interference, it appears that these EMI shields also serve as the Note's heat sinks.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 componentsMajor players on the motherboard include the following:

  • Samsung Exynos 4 Quad 1.4 GHz processor with integrated 3D graphics
  • Wacom W8008 (we assume this is used for S Pen input)
  • Atmel mXT1664S touchscreen controller
  • Samsung KLMAG2GE4A NAND flash memory
  • Wolfson Audio WM1811AE audio codec
  • F0514A 430 1201KP411

Just like all of the components that we disconnected in the first few steps, the dock connector can be removed by simply detaching a connector and unscrewing a pair of screws. More points for repairability!

Repair enthusiasts everywhere rejoice! The front glass and LCD can be separated and replaced individually.

Apps & Services

Microsoft Brings Touch Editing to Office Web Apps

Editor's note: Microsoft has overhauled the user interface of its Free Office Web Apps to make them more friendly and efficient when used with touchscreen devices, including the iPad and iPhone. Speaking as one who is abidingly frustrated by the vagueness and imprecision of touch input, especially for editing documents, this effort represents Microsoft paying welcome and commendable attention to the needs of folks like your editor, who would like to use touch tablets for serious production duty but find ourselves thwarted by their crappy and cumbersome input response. Potentially huge. cm

Renu Devi, Microsoft's Program Manager, Office Web Apps, says:

"We introduced the new Office Web Apps a few weeks ago. We've added new features, improved the performance of our apps and continue to provide access to your documents anywhere in a variety of popular browsers.

"Today, we are excited to introduce you to a new dimension for input - touch - to bring the full-fledged capabilities of viewing and editing in the Office Web Apps to tablets and browsers that support touch, including IE on Windows 8, and mobile Safari on iOS.

Office Web Apps

"In designing the Office Web Apps for touch, we set out to achieve the following goals:

  • Users should be up and running with touch-enabled Office Web Apps right away
  • Users don't need to learn to navigate a new user interface
  • Users can easily move back and forth between touch and mouse/keyboard experiences
  • The full feature set of the Office Web Apps, including editing tools, must be enabled on touch devices like tablets and touch monitors.

"Building the user interface to be touchable and responsive to touch input presented interesting design challenges. In this post, I will describe how we achieved it.

Developing the Framework for Touch

"We developed a unified framework consistent with the platforms that we support and Touch Interaction guidelines for Microsoft Office Desktop Applications, Windows 8, and iOS. We also balanced that with the experience and touch manipulations that users expect when using a particular touch device.

"We used the following principles to build the user experience across the platforms:

  • Deliver delightful end-to-end experiences using only touch input
  • Focus on scenarios and experiences on a touch device
  • Ensure users can touch the user interface with confidence
  • Build simple and intuitive touch manipulations
  • Leverage browser capabilities
  • Ensure great end-to-end experiences using a combination of touch, mouse, and keyboard
  • Users can easily switch back and forth between using touch, or mouse and keyboard to interact with the application
  • The application will respond to the input."

Devi also observes that:

"The mouse is a tool for precise and controlled interaction with the user interface. In combination with a physical keyboard, it gives the user confidence in accurately placing insertion points, making selections, hitting buttons and invoking context menus, drop downs and other UI.

Office Web Apps

"In comparison, human fingers come in all varieties of shapes and sizes. They are clumsy in placing an insertion point and imprecise in controlling the interaction with the user interface.

"Our goal was for users to fearlessly touch the user interface and get the results they expect, as they would with a mouse.

"Making something easy to touch is dependent on the size of the target. Many user interface elements such as the ribbon controls and context menus fell well below the 'touchable' size limits defined by Windows 8 and Microsoft Office.

Office Web Apps

"All of these elements have been made easy to touch in the new Office Web Apps. Great care was taken to balance the increase in physical size of the UI with preserving as much real estate as possible for the actual document content.

"One of our core objectives was to get users started right away with Office Web Apps on tablets using simple and intuitive touch manipulations rather than complex gestures that require learning and remembering....

"We made it easy for you to get the context menu by simply tapping on a selection to display it. Tapping away from the context menu dismisses it."

Check and Improve iDevice Performance with System Monitor

PR: Tekton Technologies has announced System Monitor with Battery Max 2.2 for iOS, a comprehensive health check for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The application monitors the memory in use, frees up unused memory to speed up your iPhone, monitors battery life, running processes, disk information, CPU utilization, and other activities on the user's device. It also activates helpful alerts set by users, letting them know when their device's systems have reached certain limits. Rich visual displays draw users in with the use of 3D graphs and battery life images.

Feature Highlights

  • Frees and monitors memory of the device
  • Vivid 3D graphics consisting of speedometer, bar graph, and pie chart views
  • Useful battery life and time information
  • Tracks running processes and CPU utilization
  • Disk and device information available to user, showing free and used space, IP address, operating system, and more
  • Helpful alerts notify users when their iDevice reaches system limits

Upon opening the application, the user may watch as the speedometer in first tab, Memory in Use, decreases. This vivid 3D display demonstrates the app freeing the device's memory and shows the user the amount of memory remaining in use. System Monitor with Battery MaxThis flushing of cache memory prevents applications on the device from the crashing as a result of low memory. If they prefer, users may also double tap the 3D Speedometer display to view the same information in a handy bar graph & key in the same vivid colors.

The battery tab offers an engaging 3D display, the color of which is alterable by the user, showing the percentage of battery charge remaining, as well as the time it will take to recharge the device at its current state. Double clicking on the battery allows the user to view a comprehensive list of how long the user can expect to use the device for various purposes before charging will be necessary. Here, the user may also set his or her own Battery Health as well as the device's Low Battery Level; when the device reaches this level the app will remind the user to charge it.

The application provides users with a complete list of running processes, making them aware of the apps running on the device. Users may want to close out of some such processes they may not realize are draining battery. The Disk Information tab provides a 3D pie chart displaying the amount of memory available and the amount currently used, providing the information in understandable percentages as well as megabytes. The app shows another 3D speedometer or bar graph display of the device's CPU utilization to view the load on the device's processor. The device's personal settings are also available, making it easy for the user to locate the operating system, IP address, last boot, hardware address, and more.

System Monitor with Battery Max 2.2 provides a wide-ranging health check; this comprehensive app combines health monitoring functions usually reserved for individual, dedicated apps. The vibrant 3D visuals along with impressive sound effects enhance the health check experience, making it easy to use and enjoyable for all users.

Look no further!, System Monitor with Battery Max features a rich and helpful program that you have never before experienced on your device. Check out the product page for more info.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • Requires iOS 4.3 or later
  • 3.9 MB

System Monitor with Battery Max 2.2 is 99¢ and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category.

Publisher's note: We have contacted the publisher about reviewing this on the wide range of iPhones and iPads we use. dk

Maxthon Web Browser for iPhone Offers Cross-Platform Sync, Tabbed Browsing, and More

Maxthon syncs favorites across platformsPR: China-based Maxthon has announced the launch of its Maxthon for iPhone browser. This new version of Maxthon extends the features and Cloud-based services already enjoyed by millions of Maxthon users around the globe and gives users the ability to sync webpage bookmarks/favorites across Mac OS, iOS, PC, Android, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry, and other devices. Maxthon for iPhone can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store.

"Maxthon for iPhone is part of our sustained product rollout for Apple and follows our release for iPad and our most recent release of Maxthon for Mac. This new addition to the Maxthon suite of browsers further strengthens our position as a leading cross-platform browser provider," says Jeff Chen, CEO of Maxthon. "With a number of features exclusive to Maxthon for iPhone, users now can enjoy a better browsing experience with iOS. We plan to expand these offerings with future updates for all of Apple's products."

Maxthon offers reader modeMaxthon for iPhone includes the following features:

  • Cloud Services - Syncs bookmarks/favorites to the cloud to give users convenient access to their bookmarks via their iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, Kindle Fire and Android handsets and tablets.
  • Reader Mode Removes ads and creates a user-friendly format for reading articles and news stories.
  • Quick Links Center - More than 60 of the most popular websites and applications, including news, technology, business, social media, videos, shopping, sports and more are in the Maxthon Quick Links Center
  • Tabbed Browsing Maximizes the iPhone screen with powerful tab management tools that enable users to multitask without having to shuffle through multiple sites.
  • Smart Address Bar Quick browsing by typing just the first few characters of a URL or search query; Maxthon for iPhone displays results from bookmarks, search engines and browser history.
  • Speed Dial Input an unlimited number of favorite sites on Speed Dial and access them with one touch.
  • Download Manager Easily sort, schedule and select relevant downloads.
  • No advertisements or pay-to-play features.

Maxthon supports tabs"Maxthon for iPhone is a better alternative to the preloaded browsers, which can sometimes be less than user-friendly or lack some of the popular features available on other devices," says Karl Mattson, GM of Maxthon North America. "Most importantly, Maxthon mobile users have the ability to sync their webpage favorites/bookmarks across multiple platforms and devices."

The Maxthon suite of browsers supports a wide range of devices from desktops to mobile. Maxthon claims its browsers are used each month by more than 100 million people in 140 countries around the globe. Maxthon has offices in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Beijing.

Textkraft Now Features Full-Text Search, PDF Export, New Font Menu, More

TextkraftPR: Textkraft users can be even more productive on their iPad with Infovole's new Textkraft Update 2.0. Infovole have added many new functions and redesigned the user interface. Version 2.0 comes with enhancements like a smart full-text search, PDF export and a WYSIWYG print dialog.

"We've collected and evaluated praise and criticism from the Textkraft users for a whole year. We've learned what makes our app unique and which features are still missing. With the update to version 2.0 we implemented all suggestions for improvement and we are sure that writers will love the result," says Infovole CEO Marcel Uetzels.

TextkraftThe free update has a redesigned user interface that has also been adapted to the iPad 3's Retina display. Furthermore, Infovole gives their users many new features:

  • A full-text search with SASR technology, with which the case sensitivity retains when replacing a word
  • A unique print dialog on the iPad including WYSIWYG preview that allows to customize font size, number of pages and print options before printing.
  • Texts can be saved and shared as PDF
  • In the new font-size menu users can change the font size and line spacing. They can also choose between 6 color themes and 10 font faces.
  • With the keyboard extension 36 special characters and symbols that are missing on the iPad are quickly accessible. The bracket button places quotation marks, brackets and other combinations around a sentence or text selection.
  • Besides Twitter, email texts can now be shared via iMessage.
  • The redesign of the user interface also includes enlarged page margins and a font size view.

TextkraftTechnically, Textkraft now has an improved export to older Windows and Macintosh systems, faster reaction times when typing and navigating the cursor and an increased responsiveness of the dictionary. The long awaited auto backup function was not forgotten either.

Returning Textkraft good stuff:

  • write: 5 rapid memories by a button.
  • work: Resume exactly where you let off
  • correct: Built-in dictionary, all suggestions at a glance. With the Spell-Aid button you can jump to the next unknown word.
  • get informed: Similar words, synonyms, potential follow-ups.
  • research: Wikipedia full text research and several online dictionaries included.
  • Dynamic and sensitive spelling aid. No looking up and no interruption within the writing flow.
  • Built-in full-text search with smart search/replace SASR. Case sensitivity retains when you replace a word.
  • Print dialog with WYSIWYG preview: Customize font size, number of pages and print options before printing (as from iOS 5).
  • The bracket button places quotation marks, brackets and other combinations around a sentence.
  • Cursor keys better than on a real keyboard. 8 keys with 10 functions.
  • Quick selection-marker for word, sentence and paragraph with much less finger-movement hassle.
  • Undo/Redo- and history-function for testing various phrasings.
  • Upper and lower case can be switched by keystroke.

TextkraftIn and Out

  • Import & export with Dropbox, iCloud and iTunes file sharing.
  • Open Microsoft Word-documents (DOCX/DOC) with Word-2-Text.
  • PDF export: Attach PDF to an e-mail and save PDF files (as from iOS 5).
  • Full support of all onscreen and bluetooth keyboards.
  • Text import from Mac, Linux and Windows.
  • Direct communication with Pages, Evernote and other apps.
  • Text export via clipboard, e-mail, Twitter and iMessage.
  • Direct printing from your iPad with AirPrint.

TextkraftMore Features

  • Font-style menu: Change the font size and line spacing; 6 color themes and 10 font faces to choose from.
  • Wide ranged text information, such as page and word count, as well as file size.
  • Standard iPad auto correction can be disabled.
  • Reading mode prevents accidental keyboard entries.
  • All missing special characters and symbols directly accessible..
  • Forward delete and tabulator.

Textkraft can currently be purchased for a special price of 99¢ at the App Store.

The Textkraft update can be directly downloaded at the App Store.

Infovole develops a word processing suite of apps for the iPad consisting of Textkraft, Schreibkraft, and Easy Writer. Textkraft - the language specialist - contains an offline dictionary with synonyms and potential follow-ups. Schreibkraft is the first multilingual text processor. It speaks 10 languages in 14 country-specific flavors. Easy Writer is the simple text editor made for purists and smart spenders.

With Infovole's Word-2-Text, Word documents can be converted into plain text. The converted text can be opened with Textkraft or any other app for editing.

Link: Textkraft

Racing Legends for iOS: The History of Formula 1 Racing in a Single Game

Racing Legends for iOSPR: NuOxygen Game Publishing has introduced Racing Legends 1.0, its new 3D racing game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. With the thrill of racing with the champions of the past, Racing Legends features the history of Formula 1 motor racing (F1) from the legendary 60's up until today in a single game. Racing Legends for iOSFully 3D, the camera that follows you while running involves you into the race. The game offers 8 tracks to race with 4 to 5 car teams with different performances.

The modern history of F1 in a single game, from the legendary 60's up until today, with the thrill of racing with the champions of the past, while driving their original cars. An exciting career that will take you through new tracks while racing.

Features

  • Fully 3D, the camera position that follows you while running involves you into the race
  • The controls are simple and standard but you can choose to use also the accelerometer
  • Career mode & Quick run
  • Racing Legends for iOS5 decades of racing in F1, from the 60's until now, with different cars to choose from for every decade
  • 8 tracks to race
  • 4 to 5 car teams with different performances
  • Pit Stops, Cockpit View & Frequent updates
  • Choose among different camera views for a full race immersion
  • Racing Legends for iOSPossibility to analyze your opponent's tracks through a dedicated visual
  • Fully adjustable Accelerometers and Standard controls for a customized driving experience
  • Game Center Enabled.

Device Requirements

  • iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, 3/4G iPod touch and iPad
  • Requires iOS 4.2 or later
  • 77.9 MB

Racing Legends 1.0 is available at the price of $2.99 exclusively through the App Store in the Games category or Racing & Sports.

Car Disassembly 3D: Assemble 545 Hot Rod Parts in 3D Model/Game

PR: Noble Empire introduces Car Disassembly 3D 1.1 for iOS, another in their best-selling series of 3D Disassembly models/games. Featuring real-time 3D manipulation of the Hot Rod, users have full control over camera position, camera angle, and focal length as they fly through, over, under, and around the detailed model. The entertainment app includes five modes: Demo, Operation, Assembly, Disassembly, and Game. With a photorealistic model, convincing sound effects, and precise animations, Car Disassembly 3D for iOSusers of all ages will be instantly absorbed in the part by part exploration of the function, location, and linkage of all 545 pieces in the assembly. International gamers can compete to reassemble an entirely disassembled vehicle in the least time.

First and foremost an educational, interactive, 3D construction of a classic 50's hot rod, Car Disassembly 3D is part of a series of iOS apps that allows users to explore in depth the inner workings of various guns, starships, motorcycles, and more. The extraordinary app must also be recognized as a tour-de-force in the art of real-time, interactive 3D graphics and animation on a mobile device. Startling in its photorealism and superfluid operation, Car Disassembly 3D is a perfect app to show off the Retina display and processing power of the new iPad. And lastly, the app has been creatively configured to support a most challenging game, where players put their knowledge and understanding to work reassembling the model as fast as possible.

Feature Highlights

  • Highly detailed 3D model
  • 545 parts in one model (including fasteners)
  • Fully interactive disassembly of the model
  • Pinch zoom the camera view from super-telephoto to ultra-wide angle
  • Optional labeling of every part that is disassembled
  • Five modes: Demo, Operation, Assembly, Disassembly, and Game
  • Casual and Normal difficulty option in Disassembly mode
  • 4 levels of X-ray viewing in Operate Model (best way to explore each assembly's location under the hull)
  • Personal and global high scores and achievements
  • Universal app: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch (full Retina display support)

Demo mode is a complex, 7 minute, high-speed animation wherein the entire car is disassembled, one part at a time. First, the camera (which is never seen) moves to a position where it has a perfectly framed view of the part that will be disassembled. Second, the single part or component quickly turns gold and flashes on/off twice, signaling that it is about to be unbolted and removed, set aside the model. Third, a 3D green arrow indicates the proper pull direction to remove the part. Fourth, quickly rotating, the necessary fasteners are removed to free the part, which is placed on the virtual plane beside the car, which floats in the sky. Then, as the camera view rapidly changes, the cycle repeats until every part is removed.

In Operation mode, users can display the hot rod in normal, x-ray, or rotating views. Side buttons permit the customization of any of the following components: front glass, side mirrors, hull cover, roof, hull color, nose, additional headlight, sport wheels, exhaust pipes, and sport seats.

Disassembly mode, where users practice taking the model apart, offers two difficulty levels, Normal and Casual. At the Normal setting, all possible pieces come apart, while at the Casual setting subassemblies separate automatically after they are removed. Hints, text labeling of parts, undo, and x-ray view are available, as they are in Assembly mode. Users can leave Disassembly mode anytime, and attempt to reassemble the partially completed model in Assembly mode. Game, Assembly and Disassembly modes require operations be done in order. Some operations, like the removal or replacement of a wheel, can take place starting with LF, RF, LR or RR. However, in Disassembly mode, wheel removal must precede all other operations.

Game mode gives players an opportunity to test their knowledge, memory, and coordination, as they try to reassemble a completely disassembled car. The current world record is 8 minutes 24 seconds with 0 hints, as compared to the 7 minutes and 10 seconds that Car Disassembly 3D uses to demonstrate a full disassembly.

"Never before has it been so easy to work with a realistic, dynamically lit, complex, mechanical 3D model on an iDevice," commented a member of the Noble Empire team. "Explore, experiment, and play - discover what it takes to build a hot rod from scratch."

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • Requires iOS 3.2 or later
  • Universal app optimized for display on all iOS devices
  • 37.3 MB

Car Disassembly 3D 1.1 for iOS is 99¢ and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category. Car Disassembly 3D 1.0 for Mac OS X is $1.99 and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Entertainment category. Versions for Windows and Android devices/computers are available. Review copies are available on request.

Accessories

XTRUCASE Aluminum iPhone Cases Offer Rugged, Stylish Aluminum Protection without Tools

PR: The new aluminum iPhone case from XTRUCASE is claimed to be the only case that lets iPhone owners enjoy the protection of rugged, stylish aluminum without screws, wrenches, or other tools.

"While the love affair with the Apple iPhone continues for millions, consumers still struggle to find a reliable way to keep them safe from harm, says XTRUCASE XTRUCASEPresident Timothy Auyeung. "XTRUCASE has come to the rescue with their new aluminum iPhone case. By adhering to a well-defined business model of creating innovative products that are defined by quality, craftsmanship, virtual indestructibility, and affordability, iPhone owners are responding in big numbers."

Rather than failure-prone multi-piece bumpers, the XTRUCASE patent-pending best aluminum iPhone case is CNC machined under the tightest tolerances from a single block of Swiss Aircraft Grade Aluminum a la Apple's unibody aluminum device cases. The anodized finish adds additional protection from weather elements. The Sure-Lock system interlocks securely - and instantly unlocks for convenient removal of the Slider Frame or attachment from the Unibody base without the need for cumbersome tools or screws.

Meanwhile, the synthetic antistatic impact-absorbing rubber inserts and lining of the aluminum iPhone 4 case provides additional precision and stability, increasing shock absorption while creating a nonconductive barrier to preserve signal strength. Beveled lips improve impact protection and scratch resistance while the tactile design increases grip and feel. Additionally, enlarged headphone and charger openings are compatible with most aftermarket accessories.

Owners of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S can choose from the following models: the SLIDER, the patent-pending all-aluminum original; the DUO, which refines the Slider to make it lighter with more detail, beveling and a machined sleep/wake button; and, the CRYSTALLINE, a model that combines cutting-edge science with the elegance of Swarovski crystals. All of the models are available in a wide array of colors.

"Upcoming products include the 'Full Metal Jacket' backplate that provides ballistic-level protection, and the 'Power Bank' removable battery that doubles as a mobile charging stand plus kickstand. Our team focuses on what our customers demand by creating a portfolio of products that are smart, functional, and a magnet for jealousy," says Auyeung. "At XTRUCASE, our overarching goal is to revolutionize and set new benchmarks in the accessories and peripherals market through a fusion of technology and lifestyle without taking shortcuts."

Cord-On-Board iPhone 4/4S Case from CaseInity

PR: CaseInity, a Philadelphia, PA based consumer electronic accessory company, offers the innovative Cord-On-Board iPhone Case to both consumers and business owners.

Cord-On-Board iPhone CaseThe new redesign of Cord-On-Board iPhone Case or both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S showcases a more attractive and sleek style than the previous model.

The Cord-On-Board iPhone Cases unique design holds an iPhone USB charge and sync cable inside the case, which eliminates the hassle of carrying around a separate cable. With this iPhone case, customers will never be without or lose their iPhone's charging lifeline again. In addition, a built-in charger allows users to sync and charge on-the-go at any time.

For students going off to college for the first time, the Cord-on-Board iPhone Case will give both them and their parents peace of mind; knowing that their iPhones will always be fully charged. Having a completely-charged iPhone at the ready can also be helpful for people who are caught in an unexpected or emergency situation.

The Cord-On-Board iPhone Case is slim and lightweight, its comfortable and functional design contouring to the users grip, which delivers less stress on the hand.

In order to protect iPhones from their daily bumps and bruises, the Cord-On-Board iPhone Case is shockproof, and comes with its own screen protector. This multifunctional case is self-standing on all of its sides, which allows users to view the screen hands free both horizontally and vertically.

"CaseInity is currently creating and pursuing partnerships with cell phone accessory distributors, so don't be surprised if you soon see the Cord-On-Board iPhone Cases on a store shelf near you," says Nate Trunfio, cofounder of CaseInity. "Wholesale pricing is available to businesses that are looking to create business partnerships."

Currently the Cord-On-Board iPhone Case, with charge and sync capability, is available in two colors: black and white. Future product lines and colors are currently in design process. Customers can now purchase the case directly through CaseInity's user-friendly website.

"Look out for our new iPhone 5 Case and Accessories coming in the Fall," Cuan-Chai Megghross, a partner with CaseInity, adds.

CaseInity specializes in the development of highly functional and creative products for numerous Apple devices. Additional information on products and CaseInity can be found on the CaseInity Facebook page or CaseInity Twitter feed.

Marware MicroShell and MicroShell Folio New iPad Cases Now Compatible with iPad 2

PR: Marware is now shipping all four of its iPad 3/iPad 2 cases. The MicroShell and MicroShell Folio join the C.E.O. Marware EcoVue colorsHybrid and EcoVue as being fully compatible with both the new iPad and iPad 2. Marware's line of iPad cases provides both sleek protection and functionality. Marware's HD Anti-Scratch Screen Protector Kit is also compatible with both generations of the Apple iPad and does not distort the Retina display of the iPad 3. All cases and accessories are now shipping and available at Marware.com.

In their recent 3rd Quarter earnings call, Apple reported a record 1 million iPads sold to the education segment; and the number of iPads in Fortune 500 companies has more than tripled over the past year.

Marware CEO Hybrid case for iPad
Marware CEO Hybrid case for iPad

"We're thrilled that all of our iPad 3 cases are now fully compatible with the iPad 2," says Don Luther, Director of Global Sales and Strategic Alliances. "Not only is this a big plus for our retailers and distributors, but it gives our growing corporate and education customer base even more options."

C.E.O. Hybrid, $49.99: Available in Carbon Fiber, Black, Red, Brown and Pink, this high-quality folio protects 97% of the device, stands the iPad in three angles and features a sleep/wake lid.

Marware CEO Hybrid case for iPad
Marware CEO Hybrid case for iPad

MicroShell Folio, $59.99: Available in Black and Silver, this ultra-lightweight hard plastic shell fused to a multifunctional lid with automatic sleep/wake is the perfect solution for sleek, portable style.

EcoVue, $54.99: Available in Black, Brown and Red, the EcoVue is made from genuine RoHS eco-leather and gives users the perfect dose of fashion and functionality.

MicroShell, $34.99: Available in Black, Purple, Red and Silver, this ultrathin and lightweight rigid plastic shell is the perfect complement to the Apple Smart Cover.

Marware iPad cases and folios are available through Low End Mac's Amazon.com store.

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