Published on March 30 2016

Tablets were around long before the iPad showed up in January 2010, but as you would expect from a device debuted by Steve Jobs, that was the moment when the world shifted. From that moment, so we are told, everybody understood that you no longer needed a personal computer to do your work, you just needed a tablet.

Six years later, that future has not quite arrived. The tablet market is smaller than expected, with much longer replacement cycles than the smartphone market, and even if Apple’s Phil Schiller is going to call everyone ‘sad’ because they are still using a five-year old computer, the tablet occupies a curious place.

It can master a few areas, but not all of them, which means people can become very attached to a tablet or find it offers nothing extra over other portable devices. That makes the marketing of a new tablet even more critical. There is more momentum to overcome to convince someone to upgrade to a new device, and the barrier of entry is seen to be much higher for those looking to start in tablet computing or switch to another platform.

This is where the new iPad Pro comes in. It does add new technology and potential to the form factor, but will that be enough to bring in the sales that Apple needs? Will it be enough to change the perception of the iPad line? Let’s have a look at the early reviews to find out what the new and smaller iPad Pro can offer.

iPad Pro 9.7 Reviews: Apple's Finest Is Beaten By The iPad Air

The naming is a bit clunky. The iPad Pro 9.7 inch is certainly descriptive of the device, but it’s not as clean as iPad Air or iPad Mini – it also means the former device is now the iPad Pro 12.9, which looks even more like an OS numbering scheme than a way to tell two models apart. There’s also a reliance on the ‘Pro’ naming tag for marketing, an issue that Andrew Cunningham picks up for Ars Technica.

In some ways, it is decidedly more “Pro” than the iPad Air 2 it kind of, sort of replaces—the new iPad Pro is faster, and it supports the Smart Connector and Apple Pencil. Its screen technology is more advanced, and in some ways it’s even better than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro Apple released in the fall. But this new release isn’t quite as big and it isn’t quite as fast. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also shares a few areas of overlap with the iPad Air 2, which is still hanging around at lower new and refurbished price points. It’s Pro, in the context of the rest of the iPad lineup, but it’s not the most Pro.

Both iPads Pro have the same third-generation 64-bit A9X system-on-a-chip, combining a custom dual-core processor with a monstrous 12-core graphics processor to very really redefine what it means to be “mobile” silicon. They’re also both paired with an integrated M9 coprocessor which handles the motion sensors.

The major difference here is that, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has whopping-for-Apple 4 GB of memory, the 9.7-inch version has only the same 2 GB as the previous generation Air. For a variety of reasons, iOS is nowhere nearly as memory dependent as some other platforms. The A9X also has far fewer pixels to push around on the 2048 x 1536 display than it does on the 2732 x 2048 version — 5.601,280 vs. 3,145,728. I’ve yet to see any hint of slow down, excessive tab reloading, or aggressive app jettisoning.

But less is less, and it makes the future-proofer in me sad.

Lance Ulanoff takes a closer look at the screen of the iPad Pro. Arguably the most important part of a tablet due to the size and nature of the hardware, he finds that the screen technology is unsurpassed:

While the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s 2,048 x 1,536 screen resolution is the same as the iPad Air 2, the display is actually an upgrade from both the iPad Air 2 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (leaving aside the latter’s higher 2,732 x 2,048 resolution). The 9.7-inch iPad Pro introduces a much brighter (500 nits, as measured by Apple) screen that’s noticeable to the naked eye, reduced reflectivity that doesn’t kill reflectivity all together, a wider color gamut and True Tone.

The merits of these last two screen features will depend largely on your point of view. Colors certainly pop on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but they look good on the iPad Air and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, too. People who work on art, design and photography will probably appreciate the color prowess the most.

The biggest ‘Pro’ difference in this machine when compared to the iPad Air 2 is the use of the Apple Pencil This is a heavily-engineered stylus with accurate pressure sensing and positioning and the iPad Pro will be the only version of the 9.7 inch tablet that it will work with. David Phelan at The Independent:

It is impeccably crafted and feels great in the hand. The iPad’s Touch Rejection technology is especially good on the Pro tablets: lean on the screen with the heel of your hand or your fingers and it’s wise enough to ignore these inputs and concentrate on what the Pencil is doing.

And because it recognises the pressure you’re using and the tilt you’re holding it at, the Pencil is capable of doing a lot. More than anything, it’s the Pencil which makes the Pro iPads feel like the most creative tablets Apple has made.

What is missing from the screen is 3D Touch. Apple introduced this addition to iOS’s user interface with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. It allows the level of pressure being used to trigger different UI elements. On the launcher it can show shortcuts to some of the more popular features, while in-app use can expose web page or picture previews. And for those of you looking at the pro tag and thinking that means more advanced users and extra features, Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has news for you:

When the iPad Pro 12.9 launched in November, perhaps the biggest surprise was that Apple’s most expensive iPad didn’t support the company’s most heralded new technology: 3D Touch. And here’s the shocker, neither does the iPad Pro 9.7 six months later.

Whether this is due to a limitation in the tech or cost behind 3D Touch remains to be seen, but it seems strange that a technology which best suits the same advanced users the Pro range targets continues to be left on the cutting room floor.

Then there’s the camera. It allows the iPad Pro to succeed in one area more than any other – it is the tablet that you would want to use if (and it’s a big if) you use your tablet for photography and video recording. Computerworld reveals this big win for the iPad:

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro tablet is little more than a scaled-down version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet, albeit with a better camera: 12-megapixel images and 4K video versus the12.9-inch iPad Pro’s 8-megapixel iSight camera with a top video resolution of 1080p. So, if you’re going to be shooting video with an iPad — God knows why — the iPad Pro 9.7 is a better choice.

The big push on the iPad Pro is the idea it can replace the laptop. A common thread running through all the reviews is a simple ‘not yet’, but Christopher Mimms for the Wall Street Journal puts it succinctly:

For one, it is missing some tools essential to PC-like work, most notably a mouse or a trackpad. Moreover, Apple diminishes the tablets’ utility by making it harder than it should be for creators of workplace software to make money through its App Store… ”the iPad Pro is hardly a laptop replacement. It has flaws that Apple executives once argued are deal breakers for doing “real work” on a computer.

iPad Pro 9.7 Reviews: Apple's Finest Is Beaten By The iPad Air

Apple has not released many press review units, although the extensive hands-on time at the launch event and the short period between the announcement (March 21st) and availability (March 31st) means that there is less need to keep the PR machine working before the sales can start. But it does feel like Apple is rushing people to make that initial purchase before the major players in the geekerati have been able to use the device extensively and report back with in-depth reviews.

If you were being generous you could point to that short timescale and the availability in Apple Stores for consumers to get a hold of the new tablet. If you were feeling a little bit less benevolent to Apple you’d note that the lack of advance reviews (alongside the rush release) is the same technique used in Hollywood for films that are expected to have weak critical acclaim and studios want to pack in the crowds in the opening weekend before the reviews have an impact.

Apple’s biggest PR push on this iPad Pro is that it can replace your laptop. That’s not the case, even with the additional keyboard, stylus support and increased performance. Put alongside the iPad Air 2, the 9.7 inch iPad Pro is barely a replacement for 2014′s 9.7 inch tablet. The specifications are slightly higher, there is a marginal gain in functionality, and there will be a wider range of peripherals to buy thanks to the smart connector, but is that enough to tempt existing users to upgrade?

I don’t think the 9.7 inch iPad Pro is enough to force an upgrade. It’s certainly an attractive first purchase, but the iPad Air 2 remains on sale at a lower price and offers much of what the iPad Pro 9.7 serves up.

Article Source: iPad Pro 9.7 Reviews: Apple's Finest Is Beaten By The iPad Air

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Published on March 29 2016

When you converted all of your VHS tapes over to DVDs, you swore that you were done switching media formats. But now, as the era of high definition rolls in, you find yourself replacing much of your DVD collection with Blu-ray copies. And, just as you had electronic copies of your DVDs, now again comes the time to rip those hi def Blu-rays for your portable media arsenal. That's why there's Pavtube Video Converter Ultimate!

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Published on March 29 2016

Seven betas. When Apple launched iOS 9.3 it received credit from many (including myself) for spending significantly more time testing this software following a series of troubled releases. But now new problems are mounting…

Following an initially smooth update process last week for users with cutting edge devices, it turned out iOS 9.3 was bricking a number of older devices – something Apple (to its credit) quickly admitted. But now real anger is building among users of iPhones and iPads of all ages after web browsing in Safari became largely unusable following the upgrade.

Complaints are flooding into Apple Support Communities, popular Apple sites like MacRumors and Twitter (in particular) after many iOS 9.3 upgraders found both tapping and long pressing hyperlinks (the latter gives options like opening links in a new tab) cause Safari to lock up. What’s more the bug isn’t only initiated in Safari, but also when hyperlinks are opened from any app including Mail, Messages, Notes and social media.

Apple iOS 9.3 Has A Serious New Problem

Interestingly 9to5Mac discovered even unaffected devices can be hit by the bug when installing specific apps. Meanwhile others blame Apple’s new universal links and some recommend switching off JavaScript (Settings > Safari > Advanced), though this has seen mixed results and damages the overall web browsing experience.

Restarting devices and force closing Safari also hasn’t proved consistently effective.

A video of the issue can be seen in the YouTube clip below:

As such until Apple publicly comments on the problem the exact cause will remain a mystery and (while an exact percentage of affected users is unknown) at the time of publication, the @AppleSupport account on Twitter is overwhelmed.

In light of this latest problem I’m changing the Install Verdict on my iOS 9.3 Upgrade guide and advising all iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users to hold tight. The combination of issues means Apple is now likely to be forced into issuing a quick iOS 9.3.1 patch during the next week.

Of course having seen iOS 9.3 suffer problems despite seven public betas, it remains to be seen whether users fear iOS 9.3.1 if it is rushed out the door in a matter of days…

Article Source: Apple iOS 9.3 Has A Serious New Problem

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Published on March 29 2016

Xiaomi is getting ready to launch the Mi 5 in India. The Chinese vendor has sent out invites to the media for a press event on March 31, where it will announce the Snapdragon 820-toting handset for the Indian market.

The Mi 5 features a 5.15-inch Full HD IPS LCD display backed by Gorilla Glass 4, with a quad-core Snapdragon 820 SoC powering the device. It looks like we'll see the 32GB version with 3GB of RAM and 1.8GHz Kryo cores initially, with the Pro 128GB model with 4GB of RAM and 2.15GHz CPU made available at a later date. Other specs of the Mi 5 include a 16MP camera with 4-axis image stabilization, 4MP front shooter, Wi-Fi ac, LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, and a 3000mAh battery.

On the software front, the phone runs the latest version of MIUI 7, which is now based on Marshmallow. The Chinese pricing for the 32GB variant is ¥1,999, which comes out to ₹20,500. We don't know the exact price of the phone in the Indian market, but Xiaomi has a history of being very competitive when it comes to the pricing of its handsets.

We'll be bringing you all the details live from the event, so stay tuned to Android Central for more later this week. Indian readers, what do you think will be the pricing of the Mi 5 in the country?

Article Source: Xiaomi Mi 5 all set to launch in India on March 31

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Published on March 28 2016

Not everyone wants to create video that's destined for streaming on the Internet. Conversely, there's a world of people out there who have stayed loyal to using DVD players for all of their video-watching needs. No matter which camp you fall into, you're going to love iSkysoft DVD Creator!

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Published on March 28 2016

The new Apple Watch bands that were introduced at Monday's "Let Us Loop You In" event are now available for personal pickup from Apple's online store, letting prospective buyers check in-store stock levels and arrange for in-store pickup after purchasing online.

Apple has been selling the new Apple Watch bands in retail stores since earlier this week, but prior to today, there was no way to know if a particular store had a specific band available for purchase.

New Apple Watch Bands Now Available for Personal Pickup

Many bands that will not ship for several weeks from the online store, such as the Gold/Royal Blue Woven Nylon band and the Yellow Apple Watch Sport band, are immediately available in Apple retail stores across the country. There are some bands, like the 38mm Scuba Blue and Gold/Red Woven Nylon, that appear to be in shorter supply and are not available at most stores.

The Woven Nylon bands, available for $49 in Gold/Red, Gold/Royal Blue, Royal Blue, Pink, Pearl, Scuba Blue, and Black, are a new product line that just debuted this week. Apple has also updated the Sport Band, Modern Buckle, Leather Loop, and Classic Buckle with new spring color choices and introduced a new Black Milanese Loop.

Article Source: New Apple Watch Bands Now Available for Personal Pickup

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Published on March 28 2016

iOS 9.3 Has So Many Cool Features, You Won't Want to Put Off Downloading

Upgrading your iPhone can be kind of a nuisance — it's time consuming and sometimes takes up valuable storage space. But Apple's latest release is full of features that will compel you to download the new software immediately. Apple also introduced a smaller iPhone SE and a smaller iPad Pro that look quite enticing. Here's a rundown of iOS 9.3's coolest features.

  1. Night Shift — This is completely new to the iPhone and iPad. When activated, this feature uses your geolocation to determine when the sunset is and changes the colors on your phone display. Apple added this to improve your sleep at night, since brighter lights at night potentially hinder it.
  2. Password-protected notes — For those of you who use Notes as your diary, this update will excite you. Now you can add your thumbprint to protect them. Other improvements include checklists, more options for sorting your notes, and enhanced exporting.
  3. News updates — Apple added Editor's Picks, a curated section ("For You") that picks stories based on your reading history, swipe to share, and the ability to change the text size of stories.
  4. Photo updates — This software has improved download speeds for iCloud photos and the ability to extract a high-quality still from a live image.
  5. Health updates — Third-party apps will now be featured in your Health app. Meaning, other apps that attempt to improve your health will function within Apple's app. HealthKit is a new feature that allows doctors and patients to communicate more efficiently for treatment as well.
  6. Bug Fixes — Fixes issues with iCloud backups and inaccurate battery percentages and improves stability of your Mail app when storage is low.

Check out some screenshots of the new features ahead and see what else was announced at Apple's event.

Article Source: iOS 9.3 Has So Many Cool Features, You Won't Want to Put Off Downloading

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Published on March 28 2016

Apple is planning a major overhaul of the iPhone for 2017, including the adoption of an all-new curved glass casing paired with a curved 5.8-inch AMOLED display, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Seeking to move away from the metal casing designs that are no longer unique, Apple will reportedly take the glass-backed design used for the iPhone 4 and 4s "to the next level" in building the 2017 iPhone.

Apple May Launch 5.8-Inch OLED iPhone With Curved Glass Casing and Screen in 2017

Kuo lays out two scenarios for Apple's 2017 lineup, depending on availability of the AMOLED displays needed for the new phone. If supplies are sufficient, Apple would launch a 4.7-inch LCD-based iPhone paired with the new 5.8-inch AMOLED iPhone as a larger option. But if AMOLED display production is unable to meet the entire large-screen demand, Kuo believes Apple will launch 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch LCD iPhones similar to today's lineup, with the 5.8-inch AMOLED model being a third option at the high end.

Such a major change in 2017 would be part of a significant departure from Apple's usual pattern of keeping the same general body style for two years before making major changes. The current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus represent the second year of the current body style, and normally this year's iPhone 7 would be expected to see a significant external redesign to freshen up the look. Leaks and rumors have, however, suggested changes could be fairly minor in the iPhone 7.

Previous rumors have suggested Apple is looking to launch a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone in 2017 or 2018, with Apple rumored to be working with several different OLED display manufacturers.

Article Source: Apple May Launch 5.8-Inch OLED iPhone With Curved Glass Casing and Screen in 2017

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Published on March 27 2016

Sure, there are programs that purport to let you automate repetitive tasks on your PC. But most of these are extremely limited in scope, and soon you find yourself frustrated with the limitations. We will give you one magic tool, it takes automation to the next level, offering practical advantages in a package that's powerful and flexible. It's called Quick Macros!

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Published on March 27 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active rumors and news

If you’re holding out for one of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 budget variants, you may be in luck. AT&T is allegedly testing a new Samsung device, and it could be the S7 Active.

Noted leaker Evan Blass, better known as @evleaks, shared that AT&T is testing a handset dubbed Samsung Poseidon, and the model number, SM-G891A, is quite similar to the Galaxy S6 Active’s SM-G890A. The Galaxy S6 Active was an AT&T exclusive, so that alone gives credence to think that this device could be the Galaxy S7 Active.

Keep in mind that we can’t verify these leaks, and @evleaks has been wrong on some occasions, so take this information with a grain of salt.

The Active line is known for its rugged aesthetic, but they typically have a lot in common with their flagship brothers. It’s intended for people who want a tough phone, that can withstand drops and even be submerged under water. The Galaxy S6 Active could stay under 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes, and could also deal with dust, extreme temperature, humidity, and high altitude.

The Galaxy S7 has a water resistance rating of IP68, which is the same as the Galaxy S6 Active, but if Samsung Poseidon is indeed the codename for the Galaxy S7 Active, perhaps the device will go further in terms of water-resistance.

Article Source: Samsung Galaxy S7 Active rumors and news

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