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5 things I noticed in my first hours with the iPad Pro
Our iPad Pro was delivered this morning, and while we're still working on the review, a few things became immediately clear.
The iPad Pro is not something you can review in a couple of days. That’s not because it’s a new product category or even a dramatic reimagining of one—we’ve all used iPads by now, and more or less understand what kinds of tasks they can do and apps they can run. If anything, the iPad Pro represents a shift in workflow. The trick isn’t what the iPad Pro can do, but how it allows you to do more with an iPad than you’re doing already.
I’ll be giving myself a little over a week to write Macworld’s iPad Pro review, since it’ll take some time to adjust to the iPad and evaluate what benefits and drawbacks it offers over my Mac. But from the moment I ripped off the shrink wrap and fired it up, I noticed a few things I wanted to share. Here are the five most striking impressions the iPad Pro made on me in the first couple of hours.
1. So much wasted screen space
Apple should really take this opportunity to rethink the classic “grid of square icons” we’ve had since the very first iPhone launched in 2007. My iPad Pro came with 32 apps preinstalled: four in the home row, 16 more on the first page, and 12 more on the second. The icons are huge, bigger than my own thumbnail, and they’re spaced so wide that my index and middle fingers can fit comfortably between each one. In portrait mode, the iPad Pro screen can show five rows of four icons, plus the home row. In landscape mode, four rows of five icons. The home row can still expand to up to 6 icons, but it wouldn’t feel crowded with more, assuming the icons could shrink a little.
When the iPhone got a bigger screen, we got a choice: The iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus all have two display modes. Zoomed mode enlarges everything, including type and icons, while Standard mode keeps the icons the same size as your older, smaller iPhone, meaning you have space for an additional row of icons on your home screen. It makes zero sense to me that my 4.7-inch iPhone 6s can have six rows of four icons in portrait mode (aside from the home row), while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can only have five rows of four icons.
I think Apple should consider reimagining the iOS app grid—I like how Android does it, personally, but if we aren’t comfortable admitting that out loud, let’s say the new layout could be more Mac-like rather than more like Android. Let me put my most-wanted apps and folders (and dare I say widgets?) on the home screen, arrange them however I like, and keep everything else stuck in a drawer that can expand with a tap or swipe.
2. So much beautiful screen space!
Still, no iPad user spends much time gazing at the home screen. iPads are for apps, and once I opened an app, I was so glad to have the extra inches of screen real estate. Apps like Mail, Maps, News, Calendar, Photos, FaceTime—heck even the App Store—all benefit from the extra elbow room.
My usual iPad is an iPad mini, because I work on a MacBook Air and tackle away-from-keyboard stuff on my iPhone whenever possible. The iPad mini is just a fun “bonus” device, for gaming, shopping online, and watching video. So I was initially a little skeptical that I would find a faster iPad with a bigger screen that much more compelling, but even using the software keyboard that gobbles up a third of the screen leaves plenty of room for my content. Like many other reviewers before me, I’m planning to use this as my main work machine during the review period, and it was immediately clear that I’ll find it so much easier to get things done, even viewing one app at a time.
3. Best software keyboard ever
At first I was salty that the Smart Keyboard I ordered with my iPad Pro wouldn’t ship for another week. (Apple is sending us a loaner unit tomorrow, so I won’t actually have to wait that long, and yes, I know what a privilege that is.) But this software keyboard is the best I’ve ever used, so I’ll be able to struggle through without much struggle at all.
Like a good digital citizen, I use complex passwords full of letters, numbers, and symbols, even though that kind of password is harder to enter on my iPhone, requiring me to jump between the keyboards for letters, numbers, and symbols in a way I just don’t have to on my Mac. The iPad Pro’s software keyboard has a row of numbers and common symbols along the top of the letter layout, just like the Mac. Shortcuts even pop up per application—in Mail, the options to insert a photo or attach a file are handy to have right onscreen without any tap-and-hold tricks required to find them.
But speaking of tricks, the two-finger trick in iOS 9, turning the keyboard into a trackpad for easier letter insertion, is easier here than on the iPad Air, since the cursor is bigger and easier to see. I also like tapping-and-holding on the keyboard-switching Globe icon to find the toggles for the emoji keyboard and predictive text option. (This menu will also show you all the third-party keyboards you have installed.)
I even tried touch-typing in landscape mode, and found it surprisingly possible. Keeping my fingers on the home row of keys (ASDF and JKL;), I was able to type without looking at the keys, with fewer errors than I thought, thanks to auto-correct. It felt weird tapping on the screen with no feedback, but it was possible. If Apple can someday upgrade the software keyboard with Taptic Engine haptic feedback, this will be even easier.
4. Split View is my jam
I never tried seriously to use my iPad as my work machine for a couple reasons: My job’s content management system didn’t work so well in Mobile Safari and required a VPN, and I almost never work in one app at a time. Writing an article for Macworld can take several apps: Byword for composing, editing photos in Pixelmator, looking up facts and links in Safari, not to mention producing and publishing the article there. While I can use all those apps on an iPad, juggling them wasn’t fun, and felt like it was slowing me down.
iOS 9’s multitasking features, Split View, Slide Over, and Picture in Picture, all work on the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, but they feel so much more at home on the iPad Pro. Running Byword and Safari side by side, I have about the same space in each than I had on my iPad mini’s entire screen. And there’s no delay in pulling out the Slide Out drawer, or expanding a Slide Out app’s view to full Split Screen. Even Picture in Picture makes more sense here—Mail on the iPad Pro has enough free space for me to stash a smallish Netflix window without covering up too much.
5. It’s not a hybrid. It’s still an iPad.
Like I said, I’ll be spending the next week or so using the iPad Pro as my main computing device, avoiding my trusty MacBook Air whenever possible. That means I’ll be using the iPad Pro quite a bit while sitting at a desk—not my usual location for iPad computing. Because Windows 10 is designed to run on both tablets and laptops, our friends at PCWorld get to sample plenty of devices that are meant to straddle the line, hybrids that can act as laptops or tablets depending on how you swivel the screen or snap off a keyboard.
The iPad Pro is still an iPad all the way, whether I’ve got it propped up on my desk with a Bluetooth keyboard paired, or I’m sitting back with it on the couch, tapping out this article on the software keyboard. Aside from keyboard support, which every iPad has, it isn’t trying to be one machine on my desk and another on my lap. It’s an iPad through and through—just a really big, really fast iPad that might fix the pain points I had with working from a tablet…or might not.
What do you want to know about the iPad Pro as I put it through its paces? Let me know in the comments, and look for the full review coming soon.
http://www.24x7mobiles.co.uk/
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Artificial intelligence will attempt to persuade thousands of people via smartphone app
"This is not the droid...er, train... that you're looking for."
Researchers in Singapore this week began a two-year trial of a smartphone app that attempts to use artificial intelligence to influence the real-world decisions of users.
The test is centered on shopping malls, sports stadiums and major events and will try to reduce congestion at peak times by convincing people to change or delay their travel.
The several tens of thousands of people that the researchers hope will participate are supposed to provide details on the level of congestion they can tolerate on public transit, the amount of time they are willing to delay travel to avoid congestion and how much they are willing to pay to use public transit.
An artificial intelligence engine will attempt to come up with suggestions for each person that could include offering a cheaper fare if travel is delayed or a discount at a mall to convince the person to stay a little longer to help relieve congestion.
For example, one passenger might not care about a crowded train and want to return home immediately, another might tolerate a short delay in return for a cheap cup of coffee, while a third might tolerate a longer delay in return for a discount on a meal.
As suggestions are made, the AI system will track the tester's receptiveness as it attempts to build a personalized model for each person.
A Singapore MRT train seen in an undated handout image
Crowded public transit is a source of frustration for many people and some already adjust their travel plans to avoid congestion. This system could help alleviate crowding and keep travelers happier.
Artificial intelligence is a key area of research for major computer companies as they try to move beyond simple algorithms to more complex systems based on large amounts of data. The AI systems attempt to learn human behavior on an individual basis so truly personalized services and advertising can be delivered.
The tests in Singapore are being conducted by Fujitsu, which is using its Zinrai AI system and working with the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and the Singapore Management University.
The test is scheduled to continue until the end of 2017, but Fujitsu said a commercial version of the technology could be available in March 2016.
http://www.24x7mobiles.co.uk/
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Free Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (10.1 inch)
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Samsung Galaxy J5 (Size = 5.0 inch, Internal= 16 GB, 1.5 GB RAM)
Pay £32 per months and get Unlimited Minutes , Unlimited Texts and 5GB Internet Data every month. Order Now - Limited deal -
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Free Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (10.1 inch)
with
Samsung Galaxy J5 (Size = 5.0 inch, Internal= 16 GB, 1.5 GB RAM)
Pay £32 per months and get Unlimited Minutes , Unlimited Texts and 5GB Internet Data every month. Order Now - Limited deal -
http://www.24x7mobiles.co.uk/wbsitelink.aspx?dealid=3439004501
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2015-11-05
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Facebook Message Requests wants to replace your phone number
Facebook wants anyone around the world to be able to message you on Facebook, but to do it, the social network is killing a part of your Facebook inbox you probably never knew you had. Facebook’s barely known and rarely used ”Other” inbox will soon be discontinued in favor of a new addition to Messenger called Message Requests.
If you don’t know what the Other inbox is, login to facebook.com/messages and at the top of the left-hand navigation panel you’ll see the “Other” heading. In there are messages from non-Facebook friends and Facebook pages. The idea behind “Other” was to deliver unauthorized messages—i.e. messages from non-friends—without overloading your inbox.
The Other inbox was a nice idea, but in practice no one used it.
Facebook is hoping Message Requests will fill a similar role to the Other inbox, but become far more useful. The major difference is that Message Requests is built for the Facebook Messenger apps on Android and iOS, not the desktop.
You can still find it on the desktop in the same spot as Other was, according to a screenshot obtained by TechCrunch, but Message Requests is mobile first.
On Messenger for Android and iOS, Message Requests appears as a folder at the top of your message queue. When you have a new message from a non-Facebook friend it will be routed there, and you’ll see an unread count when you have new messages.
The story behind the story: Facebook has much bigger ambitions than just improving the Other inbox. With Message Requests, the company hopes more people will turn to Facebook to message people they don’t know but want to contact—the idea being Message Requests will one day replace the always awkward ask for another person’s phone number. It may also replace the even more awkward Facebook friend request and potential rejection thereof.
Usage
Message Requests can be used for everything from connecting with a new friend you met at a party, reconnecting with an old high school friend, or attempting to return a stranger’s wallet.
When you do get a Message Request you will be able to view the name of the person who sent the message, some basic profile information, and the message itself. If you reply to the person, their message will move from the Message Requests folder to the regular inbox.
“We truly want to make Messenger the place where you can find and privately connect with anyone you need to reach...Now, the only thing you need to talk to virtually anyone in the world, is their name,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s head of messaging products, in a public post on his personal Facebook account.
Marcus says the company won’t allow just anyone to land in your Message Requests folder and “will continue to ruthlessly combat” spammers on Facebook.
Message Requests also encourages users to sync their mobile address books with Facebook. Even if you aren’t Facebook friends with someone, as long as they are in your phone’s address book—and you address book is synced to Facebook’s servers—Facebook messages from them will appear in your Messenger inbox.
http://www.24x7mobiles.co.uk/
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Nexus 6P review: This is the way Android phones should be
This is not an exaggeration. I wasn’t crazy about the Nexus 6P when I first laid hands on it, but now I’m totally and completely enamored.
I didn’t think it was possible for Google to make a Nexus phone that could excite me. Frankly, I’ve never been that interested in Nexus devices because they were always missing some particularly important feature that Samsung, HTC, or LG did better—or they weren’t compatible with Verizon’s network.
Android has undergone serious evolution in the last year. It’s no longer quite the open-source minefield it used to be. Google’s worked hard to ensure there’s a somewhat consistent experience across devices, and those who don’t abide have started to feel the wrath of the community. We’re seeing drastic changes on the horizon, including the fact that Google now has its very own, bona-fide flagship device that can compete with the hottest phones from other manufacturers.
The best-looking Nexus ever
he “P” in Nexus 6P stands for “premium,” which perfectly sums up the Huawei-made Nexus 6P. Its aluminum frame looks fancy, but not flashy, like a well-groomed George Clooney in a sportcoat. I also like that it’s something you can wield as a woman and still feel stylish. I maintain that Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge is a more attractive phone overall, but I’m pleased the bar has been raised. Cheap, plastic phones are no longer allowed, especially if you’re charging $500 for it.
There are lots of little things to love about the Nexus 6P. There are small, thin plastic antenna strips in either corner of the device, and a tiny LED notification light in the upper left-hand corner. There are stereo speakers that are loud and well amplified, and music sounds so good piped through them. There’s also a Nano SIM slot on the left-hand side of the chassis, and a volume rocker and power button on the right that’s placed low enough so you don't have to stretch to press them.
The fingerprint reader on the back of the Nexus 6P is incredibly responsive. After logging in my fingerprint, it took a mere second to unlock the phone and shoot straight to the Home screen with the touch of my index finger. Not everyone’s a fan of the fingerprint reader's rear location, but it feels more natural to use than if it were placed on the front of the device, like on the Galaxy S6. That will create some issues for those who like to use their phone while it’s laying on the table, however. You’ll have to turn the phone on from the power button on the side and then input your passcode or pattern unlock to get past the Lock screen.
There’s also the matter of size. The Nexus 6P isn’t exactly compact. It’s a 5.7-inch device, which puts it into “phablet” territory. It’s not as overwhelming to carry as last year’s Nexus 6, but it’s still pretty big. It doesn’t fit in most of my jacket pockets (women’s clothing manufacturers don’t give us pants pockets anymore) and it’s a bit dense. These weren’t issues for me, however, as I found the Nexus 6P to be comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. If it’s a smaller phone you’re after, that’s what the Nexus 5X is for.
As I mentioned in my hands-on, the backside bulge on the Nexus 6P is not as much of an issue as the mockups and leaked images had previously made it out to be. That little strip that houses the camera hardware makes the backside look more like a thin point-and-shoot than a smartphone. Users do care what the backside looks like because that’s what everyone else will see when they look at your hands, and this backside looks just as polished as any other flagship's.
A Samsung-made display
The screen on the Nexus 6P is a 5.7-inch, 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display, which the Nexus team has already confirmed is a Samsung display panel—the same one used in its marquee phones this year.
This is simply the best display I’ve ever seen on a Nexus device. It is just as bright and beautiful as the Galaxy Note 5’s, along with the same sort-of saturated color profiles and ability to go totally dim in the dead of night. You can also see the Nexus 6P’s display out in broad daylight with the brightness turned all the way up, but make sure to do that before you leave the house.
http://www.24x7mobiles.co.uk/
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Nexus 5X is now on sale at the Google Store
The small-but-mighty sibling to the Nexus 6P ships out in three day
If the Nexus 5X is your latest craving, it’s time to act. The LG-built phone is now for sale on the Google Store, with a promised shipping time of three days.
You can get the Nexus 5X in one of three colors: carbon, quartz, or ice (essentially black, white, or pale blue).
The price is $379 for 16GB of storage and $429 for 32GB. You can add on Nexus Protect for an additional $69.
The Nexus 6P, however, is nearly sold out. Only the 32GB, aluminum model is available, with an expected ship time of three to four weeks.
To order visit-
http://www.24x7mobiles.co.uk/index.aspx
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