- Reflow: A music composition and notation app for Mac and iOS with iCloud sync
- Wren Sound Systems V5AP AirPlay speaker: Stunning design, incredible sound
- Bracketron NanoTek Stand: minimalistic design by 1.0 Innovations, functional standout
- Origin Stories: Michael T. Rose
- Gauging the scale of the post-PC opportunity: "Mobile Is Eating The World"
- Talkcast 10 pm ET/7 pm PT: Looking back on WWDC
- Satechi 7 Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub looks good, works well
- Test-driving the Blue Microphone Spark Digital
- How we write for TUAW: A look at blogger workflows and tools
- Props Power and Keyboard Case for iPad: review and giveaway
Reflow for Mac (US$19) and iOS ($5.99) is a tool that makes composition and practice of music easier. A few weeks ago you may have seen TUAWs Editor-in-chief Victor Agreda, Jr. interview Sébastien Bourgeois, creator of Reflow, in our Origin Stories series. The interview spiked my curiosity about the app, so I took a closer look. While there are some great music notation apps out there for Mac (Tabular) and iOS (Weezic), what caught my attention about Reflow is that it supports both Mac and iOS. Plus, Reflow takes advantage of the latest Mac OS X and iCloud sync features. Lets say youre composing a song in Reflow on the Mac. Reflow (which supports fullscreen mode) will automatically save your work as you progress with autosave. And if things take an unsurprising turn, simply engage versions (just like you would in Pages, for example) and go back to the last iteration of your work that suits you best to carry on from. Finally, Reflow takes advantage of iCloud support, meaning you can be working on the Mac one minute and switch over to your iPhone or iPad and carry on where you left off the next. These simple features make a huge difference to the creative process by letting you focus on the music. But all of these great features would be meaningless if Reflow didnt have the basics to make a fantastic music notation app. Fortunately, it does. The apps beautifully simple interface lets you build multi-track (guitars, bass, keyboards, drums) compositions with musical notation or tablature. Its as easy as clicking or typing in a note or beat, playing on a MIDI keyboard or, for guitarists, dragging and dropping chords in from the extensive chord diagram database. Of course, you can create your own chords, too. Furthermore, Reflow gives you an audio representation of your work using a lightweight audio engine, so you have a great idea of what your composition will sound like before the real players step in. And you can modify and edit your work during playback. Reflow also lets you build and re-arrange your own song structures, so if you suddenly decide the intro sounds better as a middle-eight, just drag it over. Finally, Reflow also supports Guitar Pro and Power Tab files for import. Export your compositions in Guitar Pro, PDF, Wave and MIDI files, or share by email. For songwriters and composers looking to write for a typical band, Reflow has all the tools youll need. But where Reflow stands above the rest is in its creative process and workflow. With iCloud support, Reflow allows you to transition work seamlessly between Mac or iOS and takes the worry out of saving your work as well as going back through previous versions. Reflow: A music composition and notation app for Mac and iOS with iCloud sync originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 19 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
When it comes to getting music from your iOS device to a good speaker, there are a lot of different methods. Theres the tried and true dock method, which can fall to pieces when Apple comes out with a new connector design as they did last year with Lightning. Some manufacturers have the mistaken hope that people will just use an adapter and a pair of wires to run to a speaker or two, while the vast majority have gone the route of Bluetooth. Wren Sound Systems has changed all that with a Wi-Fi connected AirPlay speaker called the V5AP (US$399) that is provides excellent sound reproduction in a beautiful design. DESIGN The unique design of the Wren Sound Systems V5AP speaker is an eye-catcher. Whether youre using the V5AP in a crowded, dirty dorm room or a mansion, the gently curving lines and wood surfaces immediately draw your eyes to the speaker. The case is finished in either a light finished bamboo or in deep, rich rosewood. Along the front of the speaker is a silvery grille that is backed with a diamond (shaped) matrix so that music is pumped through without distortion. On one end of the speaker is a vertical array of controls. Unlike the confusing mess that many speakers clutter up the control panel with, this simply has four buttons: a power button, a set of volume buttons, and a button for selecting input (Wi-Fi, USB, or AUX). LEDs glow unobtrusively on the speaker case and dont tend to glare or attract undue attention. Wren Sound Systems V5AP AirPlay speaker: Stunning design, incredible sound originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
You may read this review of the Bracketron NanoTek Stand (US$29.95) and ask yourself "Whats so exciting about a angled piece of aluminum with some sticky pads on it?" Well, many times smartphone stands are tied to a particular generation of a smartphone, so when the next big thing appears on the market, its time to toss the stand for a newer model. The Bracketron NanoTek Stand is a design that works now and will keep your iPhone happy for the foreseeable future. DESIGN The NanoTek Stand began life as the SETA Smartphone Stand, a Kickstarter project by 1.0 Innovations that is still underway and has so far pulled in almost four times the funding goal. It appears that Bracketron saw just how successful the Kickstarter project was and theyve now licensed the design. The Bracketron product is available now, and can be purchased online or from a number of retailers. For more information about the Kickstarter project, check out the video below: The NanoTek Stand/SETA Smartphone Stand is a piece of aluminum weighing in at 2.2 ounces, bent so that theres a little "foot" on the bottom to allow it to stand up on a desk and adorned with a t-shaped slot cut through the lower part for a charging cable to snake through. On the bottom of the "foot" theres a NanoSuction[TM] pad so that your phone and the stand arent going to topple if you happen to bump it. Another NanoSuction pad is on the front of the stand, and thats what you slap your iPhone onto. Bracketron NanoTek Stand: minimalistic design by 1.0 Innovations, functional standout originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Most of my generational cohort should remember the first few times they actually saw or laid hands on a personal computer. Im pretty sure I do; my childhood friend Bradley Konia was the guy who always had the most interesting gadgets, and he claimed both a Sinclair ZX80 and an Atari 800 in his collection. We stayed up way too late typing BASIC commands on the Sinclairs membrane keyboard, or watching Hollywood Medieval simulate tunnels and hallways on the Atari while listening to Tubular Bells. (It seemed like a good idea at the time, I cant explain it any other way.) A classmate owned an Apple II, and we did indeed play Oregon Trail on it for hours on end. My elementary school was fortunate to have a legitimate computer lab in the late 1970s, and I was fascinated with the OSI unit (considered the "power option" at the time) and the three or four Commodore PETs across the room. My friends and I would take turns laboriously hunt-and-peck typing in programs from magazines, including the ever-popular Hunt The Wumpus game, and then saving those programs onto cassette tape. Forward-thinking teachers, including David Bloomfield and Marilyn Nelkin, helped us glimpse a future where these exotic, clunky machines would become so ubiquitous as to verge on invisibility. My first computer? My folks brought home a Commodore VIC-20 from a school auction one night, and I could not have been more excited if theyd bought a pony. Some of the excitement may have been from the Colecovision that also made its way home with them, but the VIC-20 was my new little friend. I agitated for the graphics expansion pack (8K of RAM! 256 colors!) and game cartridges like Mars Lander. Although the VIC was barely functional by modern standards, I loved it dearly. I even used it to enter a graphics program competition in 8th grade, only to have my entry completely outclassed by a magnetic field simulation program written by a clever 7th grader who went on to some notoriety as a font designer. Even before I got to junior high, I had already taken a two-month typing course at a local secretarial school -- my handwriting was so illegible that my teachers insisted I learn to type. That turned out to be a great leg up, as I found myself able to use the early word processing capabilities of my fathers office equipment; first a Lanier dedicated workstation (a daisywheel printer was a thing of beauty, but having to swap boot floppy disks to repaginate was not) and later, an IBM PCjr (quite possibly the least satisfying personal computing experience of all time). With the ability to put words into semi-professional-looking form, paired with easy access to copiers, I co-founded two zines at my high school covering RPGs ("The Hunter Hobbit") and videogaming ("Venture") with my friend and classmate Charles Ardai. Charles later went on to found the Juno internet service, but he has since returned to his editorial roots as the publisher of the Hard Case Crime series of pulp novels. Helping to create and write those simple black-and-white periodicals -- which, if memory serves, we sold for $0.50 each until our free photocopying ride hit some bumps -- was my first experience with putting my writing out where the public could see it. In early 1984, my mother was starting up a new consulting business, and she needed a computer that could handle the basics without getting in her way. Thank goodness she bought a Mac: a 128K, later upgraded to 512K. I didnt care that it was slow and tiny; it was perfect. Eventually she got an SE (dual floppy drives), which allowed the 512K and the ImageWriter to become the primary machine for my brother and I to do schoolwork, MacPaint art and eventually full-page comics with Mike Saenzs astonishing ComicWorks. Between 1985 and 1987 we swapped the 512K for a Mac Plus, which is the machine I took with me to Carnegie Mellon in August of 1987. Adding a 40 MB SCSI drive from Jasmine (yes, thats megabytes, not gigabytes) to the Mac Plus gave me plenty of expansion room during my first few semesters of college. Keeping the computer hand-me-down rotation going, my younger brother got the Plus in early 1989; I used my student discount to upgrade to the shiny new SE/30. Lets just put this down for the record: pound for pound, the best Mac ever made. In college -- while the Mach project that would later spark NeXTs OS was underway -- I split my computing time between the Sun workstations that comprised CMUs Andrew network and the Macs that filled the offices of The Tartan, the campus newspaper. I clearly remember us getting our first Mac II at the office, and later the IIfx (soooo fast). At The Tartan, we ran Aldus PageMaker and carried floppies full of PostScript files down to the Linotronic across campus. We waxed halftoned photos and pasted them down onto the page boards. We drank lots of coffee and talked way too loud. We had a lot of fun. I worked at the paper for my entire undergraduate tenure, serving as the entertainment section editor and managing editor, alongside great colleagues like Howdy Pierce, Judy Haraburda, Drue Miller, Karl Barnhart, Dustin Frazier, Grant Carmichael, Stephen Glicker, Bruce Kasrel, Nathan Fullerton and Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Most importantly, there was the proofreader and copy chief I started hanging out with back in 1989 -- were coming up on our 14th wedding anniversary. While I was learning on my feet on the student side of the desktop publishing revolution, the big leagues were beginning to recognize the changes coming to the editorial and publishing business. I got a summer internship at Time Inc., pulling film and making MatchPrint proofs in the middle of the night at the companys central imaging facility, but found myself helping explain and support these odd new computers that were sneaking in around the edges. I came back to the company after my sophomore year, and began working with the editorial technology management team across the magazine group, which continued into a full-time role after graduation. I took a job with Times P.ink team (partnering with the German development house, including Andreas Poliza and Greg Rewis, that would later go on to produce Adobes GoLive web editor), working on an edit solution for the Mac to supplant Kodaks legacy ATEX system. I was privileged to learn from smart, capable folk like Eileen Bradley, Gerard Lelievre, Chris Green, Anne Jackley, Tom Vincent, Harry Wilson and Ken Baierlein, but most of all from my mentor Dennis Chesnel and my colleague Jerry Sarnat. Dennis was a great boss, a wise teacher and a good friend; Jerry was a vivid demonstration of how someone could succeed in remarkably different areas (he had been a Broadway dancer and choreographer before he took up typography and systems integration). Both of them are gone now, and deeply missed. After working on the P.Ink project -- we got a little bit sideswiped by the toolkit that eventually became the Quark Publishing System -- I moved over to an editorial technology role at Entertainment Weekly. Over the next few years, I helped expand the Mac footprint at the magazine, running QuickMail and Novell servers while deploying a truckload of Power Computing Mac clones, and also contributing to the review sections and special issues. For our Star Trek tribute edition, I had to track down a translator to tackle reverting Hamlets soliloquy back to the original Klingon. For a brief period, I took on a split-personality set of jobs (if you look closely at the EW mastheads from the summer of 1996, youll see me listed twice) running both the edit tech and new media operations for the magazine. My team launched EW onto the web as part of Time Inc.s Pathfinder supersite, and as one of the first few magazines to debut on the traditional AOL service. Little did I know that my early exposure to AOL would come around again years later when I arrived at AOL-owned TUAW -- or that Id leave Time Inc. only weeks before the star-crossed AOL/Time Warner merger was finalized. Back then, had we known the term "content management system," we might have thought that was a clever nickname for the interns. All our HTML was artisanal, crafted by hand in SimpleText, and uploaded one story at a time. Post-EW I moved over to LIFE magazine, where the photos told the story, and ran edit tech there as well as covering a similar suite of online responsibilities. It was an honor to work with some of the legends of American photojournalism, learn from fantastic colleagues (Dan Okrent, Bobbie Baker Burrows and more) and to be present for what turned out to be the twilight of a great brand. The monthly LIFE was folded in the spring of 2000, which I found out via a call from managing editor Isolde Motley -- while I was on my honeymoon. In New Zealand. Given my sudden underemployment, I did what everyone should: I began freelancing. My brother, who had also spent several years in the Time Inc. editorial tech cycle, was the IT lead at a small events & training agency called MJM. I went to work for him for a bit, then I took a few months off coinciding with the birth of our first child in early 2001. When it was time to go back to looking for work, MJM called my number. I ended up spending almost 12 years in IT, operations and creative technology at the company, which was acquired by WPP in 2001. In my final role there, ending May of this year, I was helping other companies up their technology game for their events as the creative director of digital. During my time at MJM, I got to work with hundreds of fantastic, talented professionals, including one of TUAWs founding bloggers, Laurie Duncan. When the site was on the hunt for additional talent, Laurie was kind enough to recommend me to top editor Scott McNulty and our producer (now editor-in-chief) Victor Agreda, Jr. After a few months of back-and-forth, I proudly joined the site in late 2006, and here Ive been ever since. I was glad to sit virtually alongside several of our contributors whove gone on to additional Internet fame (looking at you, Chartier and Warren) and I remain delighted to work with our current team, which absolutely rocks. As of late May 2013, Ive transitioned over to a new "day job" role as a senior sales engineer at Salesforce.com. Working for a world-class technology organization is thrilling and a little bit daunting, but the good news is that I plan to continue on as a part of the TUAW family; you cant get rid of me so easily as that. I still find Apple technology just as exciting, fascinating and mysterious as I did the day that 128K Mac arrived, full of promise and potential. _PET image via Steve Maddison_ Origin Stories: Michael T. Rose originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Speaking at All Things D in 2010, Steve Jobs famously predicted that "PCs are going to be like trucks": specialised devices that only appeal to people with particular demands of their computing experience while ordinary people would come to prefer smartphones and tablets for all their computing activities. Last month, Enders Analysis consultant Benedict Evans gave a presentation at BookExpo America entitled "Mobile Is Eating The World." In it, he laid out a thorough series of metrics that suggest, when taken as a whole, that the scale of the post-PC opportunity is somewhere between ginormous and staggering -- and that Jobss vision is coming inexorably to pass. Now, I dont want to spoil the whole thing. I urge you to read the slide deck for yourself. But I am going to cherry pick a few of the figures I found most interesting to whet your appetite, and add in some of my own ideas as to what this all could mean for the future. Before that, though, an aside about analysts. Theres a strong meme circulating amongst Apple blogs that analysts are idiots and their writing to be universally shunned. Like most strong memes, this one presents a simple narrative; like most simple narratives, this one is wrong. Reality is far more nuanced than that. There are good analysts and bad analysts, as with people in all walks of life. Certainly, I cannot understand why Gene Munster is obsessed with the Apple TV, an idea that makes no sense to me. Evans is one of the good guys though. THE SCALE OF THE POST-PC OPPORTUNITY Evans starts out by talking about just how big the post-PC device market could be in the future. Total global PC sales in 2012 were 350 million; there are 1.6 billion PCs in use, most of them shared between multiple users, and they are replaced every 4-5 years. For mobile devices (including smartphones, feature phones, and tablets), 2012 saw 1.7 billion sales -- almost five times as many as there were PCs -- to a total of 3.2 billion users, almost always used only by one person, and typically upgraded every two years. In other words, mobile is a whole different ballgame to computers, and it always has been. Dwell on those figures for a moment -- 3.2 billion means almost half the planet has a mobile device today (almost all of them low-end feature phones, of course). Still, mobile sales have outnumbered PC sales for decades; thats old news. Whats changed about mobile is the rise of the smartphone and (to a slightly lesser extent, because it started later) the tablet. Since 2007, although feature phone sales have been declining slightly, smartphone and tablet sales have grown very quickly. Today, smartphones make up about one in every three phones sold, and that ratio is continuing to move in smartphones favour. Furthermore, unlike PC sales -- broadly stagnant for several years now -- there is no sign of growth in phone sales slackening off. Theres still half the planet to go, after all. So where does this lead? Evans predicts that in the next five years, well see no change in the size of the PC market -- but explosive growth in the smartphone and tablet space, three to four times bigger than where they stand today. Thatll put tablet sales well above combined sales of desktop and laptop PCs, and smartphone sales far above that again. So it seems Jobs was right. The scale of opportunity in mobile technology is huge. But how well positioned is Apple to benefit from this? And what of its competitors? IS MICROSOFT WITHERING ON THE VINE? In a slide entitled "the irrelevance of Microsoft", Evans paints a stark portrait. As little ago as 2009, almost all online access was done via PCs and as almost all PCs run Windows that meant Microsofts share of the "connected device" market was pretty large: 80% or so. But as more and more smartphones and tablets have been sold, which almost entirely run non-Microsoft OSs, so that share has steadily declined ever since. Its now down to 25% or so. Certainly, in terms of things like determining web standards, Microsoft is a much diminished influence. Does that bode ill for the company, however? Dont forget that although Microsofts _share_ of the connected device market has declined, thats mostly because the overall market itself has grown. PC sales, as I remarked above, have been largely static through this era, and therefore so has Microsofts revenue from Windows licences. It had a revenue of $18.8 billion in the first quarter of 2013, and $6.06 billion in profit. Not too bad, right? This is because most of the mobile growth has been in smart phones, and very few people are buying a smart phone to use as a PC, so (so far) the affect of the growth in mobile tech havent been felt in Microsofts markets. However, in the last two years, tablets have also been growing explosively (although far behind smartphones) and this is a product category that _can_ replace a PC. So PC sales have, finally, switched from stagnating to declining, and theres the real threat to Microsofts bottom line. Theres also another element to this story, which is Microsofts other cash cow: Office. Office sales largely work through a sort of institutional inertia: the main value is that everyone uses it, so everyone shares files around in its formats, and no third party app has ever managed to do a flawless job of opening and working with those formats without munging the layout, breaking the fonts, or some other irritation. But today were in a world where less than a quarter of people are using Microsoft devices online, and so less than a quarter of people online can choose to work on Office. Most of those of those people are on phones, of course, where it doesnt matter much -- only the brave and foolhardy are doing complex word processing on a smartphone. But many of them are also on tablets, and that could be a problem for Microsoft as tablets eat into laptop and desktop PC sales. Now, this is a line of reasoning that leads you to the conclusion that Microsoft should port Office to the iPad. I used to have a hunch wed have seen this happen by now, but so far, its chosen not to do so, and instead use the existence of Office as an extra selling point for its Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets. In other words, Microsoft is prioritising protecting Windows PC and tablet revenue over protecting Office revenue. It remains to be proven if that was a smart call or not; perhaps the release of Office 365 for iPhone means Microsofts resolve is weakening, although Id argue thats not quite the same thing. Few people would choose to use a smartphone rather than a PC for document editing, so the two products dont really compete; whereas people might well perfer to use a tablet to a PC, so the competition has more direct consequences. THE "FOUR HORSEMEN" Evanss lists "four horsemen" of the post-PC world: Apple, Google, Samsung, and Amazon. (He sees RIM and Microsoft as rapidly becoming irrelevant and never gaining relevance, respectively.) How does Evans see competition between these companies today, and how does he see it playing out in the future? Consider the business of selling devices. In this, Apple and Samsung rule supreme: not in terms of units (Apple and Samsung combined sell less than 30% of all handsets), but in terms of profit (Apple and Samsung hold more than 95% of the profit in the entire handset industry, with the lions share of that going to Apple). Note that its a mistake to believe that this somehow means Android is a failure because Google doesnt make any money on it. Remember that from the very outset Android was supplied by Google to the handset OEMs (HTC, Motorola, Samsung, etc) for free. If ones plan is to make a lot of money, one doesnt generally start by giving things away. Android was never supposed to generate any direct revenue for Google. Google makes money by serving up ads, and to do so effectively it needs people using its various products -- search, email, maps, _cough_Reader_cough_. Android was designed to ensure that no-one like Apple could establish a stranglehold on the future mobile market and freeze Google out. Or, as Erick Schonfeld wrote for our sister site TechCrunch, "search is Googles castle, everything else is a [defensive] moat [around it]". Evans also believes there will be significant growth in low-end Android tablets, with 7" screen sizes and prices below (often _far_ below) the $330 price point for a poverty spec iPad mini. There could be as many as 125m cheap Android tablets sold in China alone in 2013, he claims -- compared to 120m tablets sold in the entire world in 2012 (of which 66m were iPads). However, as many others have pointed out, Evans underscores that Apple products seem to lead the market in usage, far out of proportion to sales; depending on the exact metric you believe, anything up to 80% of all tablet web traffic comes from the iPad. Ive yet to find an explanation that entirely addresses this. Its easy to list factors -- some Android tablets are shipped but never sold to end users; some of them are awful, and after a few weeks end up gathering dust; some of them are used regularly, but for much smaller amounts of time per day than iPads; some of them are mostly used for purposes other than web surfing (e.g. in-car satnav and entertainment centers); some of the metrics are biased towards English-language sites, whereas Android is huge in China. But to my mind, none of that convincingly adds up to the size of the difference in the stats. Perhaps Im wrong, though, and thats all it is; or perhaps theres some other factor Ive overlooked. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. THE ECOSYSTEM IS KEY Selling devices isnt the whole of it, though. For Google, Android devices itself are only a means to an end -- a way to make Google services more accessible and attractive to end users. Its about building and supporting an ecosystem. Evans finishes on differentiating between ecosystem types and sizes between the key software platform players: Apple with iOS, Google with Android, but also Facebook and Amazon with its as-predicted-by-me (why yes, I am still smug about this; thanks for asking) Android fork. He (rightly) points out that Apple is qualitatively different from the other companies discussed here. For Google, Facebook and Amazon the platforms are designed to facilitate and increase customer engagement with their services -- ultimately, to either serve them adverts or enable them to buy things. Apple, however, remains primarily a hardware company that uses a strong software ecosystem as a hardware differentiator rather than a end in its own right. If youre inclined to disagree with that, remember that iOS updates are free and OS X updates are cheap -- but iPhones and Macs are neither. Apples main profit driver and main focus remains hardware sales. THE BOTTOM LINE Three years ago, Jobs predicted that mobile devices would come to compete with and ultimately domainate over PC sales, coining the phrase "post-PC" to cover mobile devices that overlap with PCs -- so, smartphones and tablets, as opposed to feature phones. He tied a significant chunk of Apples future to this vision, by concentrating much of its effort onto iOS and the hardware that runs it. Theres plenty of evidence that Jobs was right, and as these trends continue, so companies that are involved in this space -- Apple and Samsung being the most obvious -- will continue to thrive. If you like his data, I humbly urge you to follow Benedict Evans on Twitter and subscribe to his weekly newsletter, where he routinely shares his insight and data like this. I would also like to extend my personal thanks to Mr Evans for allowing me to reprint some of this slides in this writeup. Gauging the scale of the post-PC opportunity: "Mobile Is Eating The World" originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
_All-new dial-in experience! See below -- do NOT call into Talkshoe, we wont be there._ So far, using Fuze Meeting for our call-in process is going mostly OK -- but this will be Kellys first week in the hot seat, so be kind! Just as before, the text chat will be _in this very post_ when the show begins, back at our usual bat time of 10 pm ET. Tonight were going to look back at the week that was: every crazy product announcement, OS preview and Mac Pro video; every Craig Federighi dig at leather-wrapped calendars and shortages of green felt. Its the WWDC wrap show, featuring our special guest Ross Rubin of Reticle Research (and, you know, our own humble pages)! Plus, since Kelly is hosting, there is bound to be some unique content from the House of Crackpot Theories. Do join in. To review: were trying a new way to connect on the Talkcast. With some help from the fine folks at Fuze, were leveraging a Fuze meeting room to record the show. This should let everyone listen in live -- and, if you want, raise your hand as you would in the Talkshoe room to get unmuted and chime in. Heres how it goes: You can join the call in progress (meeting # is 20099010) at 10 pm ET from any computer via this link; if you download the Mac or Windows Fuze clients ahead of time, youll get better audio and a slicker experience, but browser-only will work fine. Using an iPhone or iPad? Grab the native clients from the App Store and get busy. (Even Android users can join the party.) Still feel like using the conventional phone dial-in? Just call 775-996-3562 and enter the meeting number 20099010, then press #. While the Fuze web and native clients have a chat channel, wed like to reserve that for host participants, requests to talk and other real-time alerts... so the full-on chat for the show will appear _in this very post_ at 10 pm tonight. Youll need Twitter, Facebook or Chatroll credentials to participate in the chat. Well remind everyone to check back in at that time. This is an experiment, of course, so your patience and forbearance is appreciated in advance. For the time being, the podcast feed of the show will continue to originate from Talkshoe and should be there within 24-36 hours. See you tonight! Talkcast 10 pm ET/7 pm PT: Looking back on WWDC originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 16 Jun 2013 20:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Satechi is now shipping a new 7 Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub ($69.99 MSRP, on sale for $54.99) that matches good looks with the speed of USB 3.0. The company came out with a 10 port USB hub earlier this year that comes in a black plastic case and sports special switches for turning various banks of ports on and off; the new hub matches the good looks of most Apple products while also doing away with the extraneous switches. DESIGN If the Satechi 10 port USB hub is an 18-wheel tractor trailer rig, the 7 port aluminum hub is a fast German sports car. It looks great -- there are actually two versions, both made of aluminum but one dolled up with white plastic highlights and the other with black. Both hubs come with a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable to connect the hub to your Mac, allowing (according to the specs) data rates of up to 5 Gbps. This is a powered hub, so an AC power "brick" that is almost larger than the hub itself is included. The power plug is on the right end of the hub, while the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable plugs into the other end. The 7 ports are on the angled top of the hub. Unlike the 10-port hub on which each port lights up when something is plugged into it, theres only one LED on this hub that indicates that the hub is plugged in and ready to go. Its totally plug and play, with no drivers required. FUNCTIONALITY The power adapter included with the 7 port hub is smaller than the huge one included with the 10 port model, but Id still like to see something smaller and less obtrusive. Frankly, its rare when an accessory manufacturer pays attention to details like a power adapter. More companies should take Apples lead on this... The blue LED on the front of the hub is rather bright -- I could actually see it glowing in my office when I was in my nearby bedroom last night. Light sleepers might want to put a piece of duct tape over the LED. As with the bigger Satechi hub, there are no speed differences compared to being plugged straight into the computer. I like the angled front of the hub; it actually makes plugging USB 3.0 cables a bit easier than with the other hub. Im also happy that Satechi chose to make this hub out of aluminum. The 10 port model picked up fingerprints easily, while this one doesnt. CONCLUSION While the Satechi 7 port USB 3.0 premium aluminum hub is a bit pricey even at the current sale price, its an attractive addition to any current Mac and does its job well. PROS * 7 ports are sufficient for most Mac users * Aluminum body is durable and doesnt pick up fingerprints * Very attractive design * Angled front makes it easy to connect and remove cables CONS * Rather pricey, considering ugly off-brand USB 3.0 hubs with 7 ports can be had for as little as $32 * Power LED is bright and may be distracting in a dark room * AC adapter is bulky WHO IS IT FOR? * The Mac owner who wants an attractive USB 3.0 hub and is willing to spend a little bit more for the luxury Satechi 7 Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub looks good, works well originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 15 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Many podcasters and musicians _love_ the digital and analog microphones made by Blue Microphone. The companys booth at trade shows usually has a long line of computer geeks eager to see what the latest mic is, and earlier this year we were wowed by both the Spark Digital (US$199.95) and the just-released Nessie ($99.95). Now that the initial crush of orders for the Spark Digital has subsided somewhat, I was able to get a review device for a test drive and found a lot to like in this compact microphone for Mac and iPad. DESIGN When I say its a compact microphone, Im saying that the Spark Digital isnt as massive as the Blue Yeti that I currently use. It comes with a small adjustable tilt stand that not only has some vibration-isolating padding on the bottom of it, but also includes a separate shock mount that suspends the microphone body from a series of elastic cords. The body of the mic is dark metallic blue with light metallic blue highlights at top and bottom. On the front is a chrome-plated Blue logo, and a mute/gain/volume knob. There is an LED in the knob, as well as a set of four tiny LEDs that glow orange to denote gain level or blue for output level. On the back is a switch for Focus Control -- more about that later. The top of the mic contains the action -- in the words of Blue Mics, its the "same studio-grade condenser capsule and hand-tuned components for high-fidelity recording and consistence performance in any situation- vocals, drums, piano, speech, location recording and more." The capsule is in a see-through metal cage that acts as a bit of a pop filter, although professionals will want to invest in a separate pop filter to keep those plosives from wrecking their recordings.
GALLERY: BLUE MICROPHONES SPARK DIGITALWith the Spark Digital, Blue Mics includes two cables. One is used to connect the microphone to a USB port on a Mac or PC, and includes a separate headphone jack for monitoring what youre recording. The other cable also has that separate headphone jack, but ends in a 30-pin connector for use with an iPad. If you wish to connect it to a fourth-generation iPad or iPad mini, youll have to invest in a separate Apple 30-pin Dock connector to Lightning adapter. To carry all this on the road with you, theres a nice microfiber-lined carrying bag with the Spark Digital logo on the side. Theres a separate pocket for the cables, with the mic being carried in the main pocket of the bag. FUNCTIONALITY MAC According to Blue Microphones, the Spark Digital was designed from the start to provide a rich and vibrant sound, perfect for podcasters and singers but also appropriate for many musical instruments. Ill get to the meat of the review right now -- the sound quality of the Spark Digital absolutely blew me away, and thats coming from someone who has used a Blue Mics Yeti for years. Listen to the following Garage Band recording on the Mac in which I first record a sentence with the Yeti, then the same sentence with the Spark Digital without Focus Control enabled, and finally with Focus Control enabled. Sound is quite subjective, but for me the Spark Digital recordings sound much more realistic than the one from the Yeti. Theres much less background noise in the Spark Digital recordings, and the Yeti seems to be emphasizing the lower tones in my voice, making it boom a bit more. The Yeti sounds a bit more "mechanical" to my ears. Note that the Yeti was set up with a similar cardiod pickup pattern to what is normal for the Spark Digital. Theres less of a difference between the Spark Digital recordings with Focus Control disabled and enabled. However, after listening repeatedly to the two recordings, the one made with Focus Control enabled seems to me to be the most accurate representation of what my voice actually sounds like. Its just a hint "warmer" than the recording made without Focus Control on. Monitoring with a set of headphones worked well; just changing the output settings to "Blue Microphones Spark Digital" allows monitoring of everything thats being picked up by the mic. IPAD The Yeti cant be used with an iPad, so I was unable to do a similar comparison between the two Blue Mics. Instead, I did a comparison between the built-in microphone of the iPad and the Spark Digital. Unsurprisingly, the Spark Digital did a wonderful job. Llsten to the recording below to hear the built-in microphone first, followed by the Spark Digital. Unless you love background noise and hisses, youll agree that the Spark Digital recording is hands-down superior (this was done with Focus Control turned on). I apologize for cutting off the beginning of the second recording. Once again, monitoring worked perfectly through the headphones; I could even hear the "countdown" cue to the start of the recording. For the first time, I could actually imagine recording a podcast or music (if I had any musical talent other than singing) on the iPad. Its almost hard to believe that both recordings were made in the same location on the same iPad -- the Spark Digital did an excellent job of ignoring the background noises that the iPads built-in mic seemed to exaggerate. CONCLUSION With the Spark Digital, Blue Microphones has created what is probably the best microphone for recording both on iPad and Mac or PC. The unique design and superb electronics combine to make a microphone that excels in capturing voices in a most realistic way and would most likely be (I was unable to test) excellent for musical recordings as well. For podcasters who want to get the most out of their computer or iPad, theres currently no equal to the Spark Digital. Test-driving the Blue Microphone Spark Digital originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 14 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
I love it when another blog comes up with a great idea that we can borrow, and that was the case over at iMore when Rene Ritchie published a post over the Memorial Day weekend titled "How we write for iMore: Our workflows from Mac to iPad to iPhone and back!" Not surprisingly, just about every one of the iMore writers and editors has his or her own method of writing on specific devices and then moving that work into the Drupal 7 content management system that is used for that blog. Here at TUAW (part of AOL Tech) we have our own powerful Blogsmith CMS to work with, so I decided to see what tools and workflows our blogging team uses. Here are our stories: STEVE SANDE, FEATURES AND HARDWARE EDITOR I learned my lesson the hard way a number of times -- you usually dont want to write a post directly into our CMS. Whether its caused by a network outage or simply forgetting to save a post before accidentally navigating to another page, its really easy to lose a lot of writing. Thats why I started writing all of my posts in Markdown using Ulysses III on my iMac or MacBook Pro. On either device, I have a relatively big screen that makes having several windows open quite easy -- perfect for doing research in a browser window and typing away in Ulysses in another. I love the way that Ulysses keeps everything saved all the time, so even if I were to unplug my 27-inch iMac accidentally, Id lose virtually none of my work. I have Ulysses storing all of my work, both in progress and completed, in iCloud. Ulysses also connects to an iOS product from The Soulmen, Daedalus Touch, syncing documents through iCloud (or Dropbox). Many times Ive started a post on my iPad or iPad mini, fleshed it out on my iMac, done last-minute editing on my iPhone while eating breakfast, and then posted the final document to Blogsmith from my MacBook Pro. Im also a fan of Drafts when I know Im going straight from the iPad to Markdown and then into our CMS, and that doggone Megan has me trying out Byword now... Ulysses III, Daedalus Touch, Drafts, and Markdown (oh, and Byword...) are all I need to get my work done wherever I may be. Im planning on blogging from a long trip Im taking this summer using nothing but an iPad and one of the billion iPad keyboard cases Ive reviewed this spring. MEGAN LAVEY-HEATON, NEWS EDITOR My workflow emulates Steves a lot. If theres something that needs to be written extremely fast, Ill use our CMS, Blogsmith. But any long post is written in Markdown on Ulysses III. Because of my day job, Im switching among a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and an iMac, so using Ulysses allows me to have my work anywhere. I havent invested in Daedalus Touch yet, because I had just purchased Byword for iOS and really liked it, so I didnt want to replace it just yet. I dont do a lot of TUAW writing on my iPad mini, but I wouldnt dream of typing on it without using a keyboard, in this case Im still using the Logitech Ultrathin that I reviewed in March. I only use my iPhone if I need to jot down a really quick note, and for that I use Evernote, which also helps me move reference files from one computer to the next. I also have a fondness for traditional paper and pen, and my arsenal of choice there is a standard Moleskine notebook and Lamy Safari fountain pen. While I dont write any articles by hand, its great for taking notes and keeping track of to-do lists. MIKE SCHRAMM, GAMES EDITOR Despite Steve and Megans warnings, I try to streamline as much as possible, so most of my posts go directly into Blogsmith as I write them (and Ive learned to save often and double check constantly). I like manipulating the text and HTML directly, and I appreciate seeing the post in preview form as I write it. So generally I just open up Blogsmith in Chrome, open up any other related links in tabs (including any source information, backlinks, or other research), and then put the post together as I go. Outside of Chrome, again, I try to keep things simple, so I use Voila ($29.99) for grabbing any screenshots or video I need to include. Any notes or transcribing I need to do offline just goes into TextEdit. And while Ive tried a number of iPhone and iPad apps for to-do lists, Ive found nothing works better than a reporters pad and paper for marking down what I need to do and when, and then crossing it off throughout the day. Its a simple workflow, but it works great for me. KELLY HODGKINS, APP REVIEW EDITOR My workflow is not too complicated -- a 13-inch MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini and a handful of software tools. If I need to take real-life photo or video, I switch between a Nikon D5100, a Panasonic Lumix GF5X and a Panasonic HCV700M video camera. I use Chrome as my web browser and keep between 10 to 20 tabs open at a time. I use Markdown Pro as my writing tool, TextExpander to make writing repetitive phrases mindlessly easy and iClip to store longer pieces of text as well as my clipboard contents. I use Evernote when researching information for an article, though I do loathe the web clippper as it never keeps me logged in. I do all my writing offline in Markdown and then copy/paste the text into the CMS. Almost all of my writing is done on my Mac. I use my iPhone and iPad for on-the-go communications and for reviewing apps. I dont think I have ever used my iPad for writing more than the occasional post, and I dont have a dedicated keyboard for it. I use OS Xs built-in screen shot feature (cmd-shift-4) to grab desktop screenshots, and Pixelmator to crop and resize images. When I grab a screenshot of an iOS app, I use Instashare to send the images from my iOS camera roll to my Mac. Tweetdeck is my conduit to the world of breaking news, technology news and developer chatter about new and exciting apps. I use Postbox for email, and Things to keep track of my ToDo list. NotesTab Pro and Fantastical sit in my menu bar and are my go to apps for calendaring and quick note taking. Google Drive and Dropbox are my chosen cloud storage services. I use Drive for documents and Dropbox for everything else. Almost everything I do is digital, online and synced between devices. At this point, I would be hard-pressed to find a paper notebook and ballpoint pen if I needed one. VICTOR AGREDA, JR., EDITOR-IN-CHIEF My workhorse text tool these days is Byword. I store articles Im working on in Dropbox via Byword, so I can work on them on my iPhone, iPad or Mac. Best of all, Byword is great with Markdown -- although I frequently use Marked to live preview what Im working on. I paste Markdown into our CMS and add some pics, and voila, a post is born. I should note that Drafts is on my home screen because I do use it to quickly jot stuff down, then I shoot it over to Byword, Evernote, Clear or Fantastical as needed. I have been known to carry a Moleskine notebook, but the cheapest, smallest ones because I hate filling up my pockets with stuff (I still use the card-and-rubber band wallet Simple gave me). Instead I use this when Im traveling, because I can use it during takeoff/landing and it needs no batteries. Beforehand I do research in Safari, then use Tablinks to push my URLs into Markdown form and paste those into Byword. Sometimes Ill use DEVONthink if an article requires a good deal of research (and theres a web clipper for it, but I just drag and drop the URL into the Inbox). I actually dont keep a lot of research in Evernote, but for those rare times when Im away from a Mac for composing I might have the forethought to put something there. Overall I find iCloud tabs work great -- I can research on my Mac then go to the iPad to pick up where I left off. For images I still use Skitch for screenshots, begrudgingly. I tried using a DSLR for photos, but the process of lighting, setting up and then transferring was a pain, so now I have an area set aside for product shots, and use my iPhone 5 for photos. I use PhotoSync to quickly move them to my Mac. Then I use Pixelmator for editing. As I have the luxury of working at home, my hardware is pretty basic. I switch between a 13" MacBook Air and an 11" model, and use an iPad 3 and iPhone 5. Sometimes youll see one of my older iPhones in a shot for a post, but I dont have the budget to buy every iteration of Apple gear -- and TUAW doesnt get loaners from Cupertino. This is all a fairly simplistic setup, but I find that sticking with fewer apps leads to less confusion when news is hitting and Im wondering "whered I put that draft?" These days if an app doesnt have a version for iPad, iPhone and Mac, Im far less inclined to use it. ERICA SADUN I type into Blogsmith. CHRIS RAWSON My workflow: Browse Reeder for the weeks dumbest Apple rumours. Star them for later retrieval. Copy all article links into TextEdit and add colour commentary where appropriate. Once the draft is done, I copy-paste into Blogsmith and do a final review/edit in browser. Simple, though I am going to have to find an alternative to Google Reader very soon... RICHARD GAYWOOD My workflow revolves around Dropbox and Markdown. I use various text editors -- TextMate on OS X, Writing Kit on iOS, and (rarely) Notepad++ on Windows. I vastly prefer using OS X for writing. I find even the very best iOS text editors marred by slightly clumsy text selection, which slows my edit cycle, and small delays switching between browser and editor mode, which slows my research. Im highly intolerant of even tiny rough edges in my workflow; Im aware Im weird that way. Images are assembled when I drop the post into Blogsmith, using Bretts bookmarklet to transfer the Markdown formatted text over. My longform posts are often, although not always, roughed out in iThoughts HD for iPad before I start writing. I like lounging on the sofa when Im brainstorming, and Ive always liked mind mapping tools for planning the spine of a piece of work; they just made sense to me, I guess. ILENE HOFFMAN Ok, heres my 2 cents: When I review a product, I make notes in TextEdit. I use BBedit to write the review and spell check. I paste the finished article into Blogsmith and clean up. I mark placement of URLS with brackets and XXX (easy to search) in BBedit. So, it would look like: The such and such product by this company XXX [url here] is a great buy... etc etc. I also mark where graphics go with XXX. (So, it would say insert XXXproduct graphic.jpgXXX). (I can search XXX to make sure I get all the graphics and URLs inserted correctly.) I keep snippets of code to reuse either in a text file or iData (havent set up definitive system yet). Your center tags seem to be surrounded with p tags, so thats one snippet. Steve likes more dashes in compound words than I do, so Im working on a list of those also. SHAWN "DOC ROCK" BOYD My workflow is pretty much 100% cockroached from Brett Terpstra: I write in NVAlt, Textmate or Byword in Markdown. Those articles which are synced to a folder on Dropbox called "TextFiles," so when I hit iOS I can write in Byword, Writing Kit, Drafts...whatevers pops the socks with all the linkery provided by Bretts MD Services and Blogsmith Bundle. Every day I have a Ruby script that runs and backs up new new text files to Evernote and Day One. Processing happens with TextExpander, Marked and Blogsmith and Jim Beam. DAVE CAOLO, NEWS EDITOR My workflow isnt very impressive. Large articles like reviews start out as a mind map in MindNode. From there, I export as an OMPL file and import into Scrivener. This makes a "chapter" or section for each branch of the mind map in the Scrivener file. Then I write the article up in Markdown and finally drop it onto Marked, which compiles the Scriverner project, converts the Markdown to HTML and copies it to my clipboard. From there Im a paste away from being done. Less involved articles are written in Markdown with Byword, which I adore as if it were my own child (The one I like. Not the other one). If the Byword article is meant for my own blog I publish right then and there. If its meant for TUAW, I use the "paste Markdown" functionality in our CMS. How we write for TUAW: A look at blogger workflows and tools originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 13 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Remember my last keyboard case review where I told you it was going to be the last one for awhile? Well, that was before yet another manufacturer knocked on my virtual door and handed me a keyboard case. But this, my friends, is a keyboard case with a difference -- it also has a huge built-in battery pack that you can use to extend the working life of your iPad or charge your other hungry electronic devices. The name of this unit is the Props Power and Keyboard Case for iPad (US$109.95) from Digital Treasures, and Ill take you through a quick look at this case before giving it away. DESIGN The first thing I noticed when I pulled the Props Power and Keyboard Case out of its box was how light it is. Thats not expected, since this is not just a keyboard, but also has an 8000 mAh battery pack hidden inside. How heavy is it? 1.36 lbs (.62 kg). Compare that to the keyboard-only CruxSKUNK that weighed in at 1.73 lbs (.78 kg) or the ClamCase Pro at 1.56 lbs (.71 kg). Thats a pleasant surprise. The Props case is similar to many of the keyboard folio cases weve reviewed, with a black bicast leather exterior with red stitching. A magnetic flap keeps the case closed for travel. The only external port is a micro-USB port for recharging.
GALLERY: PROPS POWER AND KEYBOARD CASEBetween the top of the keyboard and the back of the folding case are some buttons and lights. Theres a button for turning on the external power if you wish to charge another device (including your iPad) -- that also serves to turn on LEDs that indicate the nearest amount of remaining capacity (25%, 50%, 75% or 100%) in the battery pack. Theres also a switch for turning the keyboard on and off so it doesnt keep communicating with your iPad, and next to that a pushbutton for pairing the Props with your iPad. Two LEDs provide an indication of the pairing status and power to the keyboard. As youd expect with a case that works with the last three generations of iPad, theres a back-facing hole in the case for the camera to peek through. Theres a flap that protects the iPad screen from the keyboard when the case is closed up -- more about that in the next section. That flap also acts as a convenient wrist rest, which I think is the entire reason it was added to the Props case. FUNCTIONALITY Since its quite a bit like a lot of the leather portfolios on the market, that means that the iPad is slipped into the Props from the side. Its very easy to insert and remove. The keyboard layout is pretty typical for an iPad keyboard case, with a top row of keys specific to iPad functions. One thing I thought was quite odd, though, was why Digital Treasures decided to include a Function key on the bottom row of keys, since all it does is activates Home, Page Down, Page Up, and End on the arrow pad. Those are functions that arent widely used, especially when typing on an iPad. The keyboard has a good typing feel; most of the current crop of iPad keyboard cases are probably using a similar keyboard mechanism. Now, about the rest of the case design. As youre all well aware, most iPad cases take advantage of the magnetic auto-shutoff feature so that when the case is closed, the iPad shuts off. Open the case, the iPad turns on. Thats the situation here -- but remember that wrist rest that also protects the iPad screen from the keyboard? Well, it also gets in the way of the magnetic shutoff feature. With the flap out of the way -- which isnt the way its designed for carrying -- the magnetic shutoff works fine. WIth the flap in the recommended position, it doesnt work very well at all. The keyboard pairs easily with the iPad, although it still requires a 4-digit pairing code to be entered. Im getting spoiled by the newer keyboards that pair without the need for a code. The iPad only works propped up in one position on the case, and theres no positive retention of the device. Other keyboard cases use either a magnet, a slot, or Velcro to hold the iPad steady -- theres no such mechanism here. Most of the time thats not an issue, but if you try using the Props Power and Keyboard Case in your lap -- say while sitting on the couch or on an airplane -- theres a good chance that even a slight movement will cause the iPad to flop over backwards and bang into your knees. It did that several times while I was writing this review. This could be rectified by putting two tiny strips of Velcro in appropriate locations on the case. As a battery pack, this case is excellent. As I mentioned earlier, its actually lighter than other keyboard cases yet still contains an 8000 mAh battery. You can either use all of that power for 3,000 hours of uninterrupted typing (perfect during NaNoWriMo!) or to charge up other devices. Can that battery be used to top off your iPad? Certainly! Theres a short micro-USB to USB connector that you plug into the case, and then you can use your favorite 30-pin Dock connector or Lightning connector cable to charge up the iPad, an iPhone or any other power-hungry device. The 4 blue LEDs give you an excellent indication of when you should _stop_ charging all of those other devices to avoid running the battery pack out of juice. Conclusion The Props Power and Keyboard Case for iPad is a mixed bag. As a keyboard, it works fine on a desktop, but the iPad can flop over if youre using this in your lap. Theres a nice wrist rest thats comfortable for typing, but it keeps the case from shutting off automatically. Theres no positive mechanism for holding the iPad in place, so it can move around -- especially in a lap. But for all of the somewhat mediocre features of the case, theres one outstanding feature, and thats the 8000 mAh battery that seemingly adds no weight at all. PROS * Internal 8000 mAh battery pack can be used to charge your iPad and other devices * LEDs give you a positive indication of charge remaining * Lightweight, even with the internal battery pack * Keyboard has an excellent feel to it * Its easy to put an iPad into the case or remove it * Price is very reasonable for a combo battery pack / keyboard case CONS * Magnetic shut-off feature is hampered by the wrist rest * iPad isnt held securely into place, so it can flop over if the keyboard is used in a lap * Controls for the keyboard (on/off, pairing) and power pack (on/off and level indicators) are hidden behind the iPad when in use, making them awkward to get to * The addition of a Function key to the keyboard seems odd, considering it really performs no useful function WHO IS IT FOR? * Anyone who needs a keyboard case that they can use on a stable desktop surface and who wants the instant availability of up to 8000 mAh of battery capacity for charging devices GIVEAWAY Youve read the review; now its time to give TUAW readers the chance to win a Props Power and Keyboard Case for iPad. Here are the rules for the giveaway: * Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. * To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button. * The entry must be made before June 15, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time. * You may enter only once. * One winner will be selected and will receive a Props Power and Keyboard Case for iPad valued at $109.95 * Click Here for complete Official Rules. Loading... Props Power and Keyboard Case for iPad: review and giveaway originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 12 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments