Many mornings, the very first thing I do after waking up is tend to the (usually bathroom-related) needs of whichever young child woke me up. Then I moan as I shuffle back to the cozy confines of my bed, eyes still barely open. It’s generally too early to get out of bed and officially kick off my day, but too late to bother trying to go back to sleep. Thus, I turn to the (heavily-dimmed) screen on my iPad, to let its glorious apps ease me from grumpily tired to cheerily wakeful.
My kids won’t always wake me up, though. And they certainly never help put me to sleep. But with my iPad resting right next to me on my nightstand, there’s no reason it couldn’t help with both tasks. That’s precisely what Alarmed—a free, universal app from Yoctoville—sets out to do. Well, more accurately, that’s one of the many, many things that Alarmed sets out to do.
The app combines wake-up alarms, sleep timers, regular timers, and time-stamped reminders. Creating new alarms and timers is intuitive enough, but you won’t confuse Alarmed for an Apple-designed app; it’s the kind of app you might describe as having a great personality. But we needn’t judge the app by its design in this case, because its utility is so well executed.
If there’s one genre of game to which the iPad seems almost ideally suited, it’s adaptations of board games. Days of Wonder’sTicket to Ride is one of the latest to jump from the kitchen table to the tablet, and it does so in a manner that brings all the fun of the game without the Ziploc bags full of plastic pieces.
In Ticket to Ride, your goal is to build railroad lines across a map—by default, the United States, though expansions also offer Europe and Switzerland—connecting disparate cities. The farther apart the cities, in general, the more points you earn for completing your route. Each leg connecting cities is composed of a certain number of boxes of a specific color; in order to place your trains on that route, you need to play a corresponding number of cards of the same color—i.e., in order to connect Denver to Omaha, you’ll need four purple cards. Locomotive cards act as a wild, substituting for any color.
This week’s iPad case roundup features the usual mix of elegant, practical, rugged, and eclectic. But we're also seeing more and more cases dedicated to protecting the iPad in environments that go beyond the ordinary, and the existence of these accessories is proof that Apple’s tablet is more than a mere desktop ornament. But I digress—on to this week’s offerings!
Griffin: The IntelliCase (iPad 2; $60) brings together hard polycarbonate to protect the back of your tablet and soft TPU to keep the front safe—the latter via a flexible cover with magnets that put your iPad to sleep when you’re not using it. The cover also folds in two different positions to allow the case to double as a viewing stand.
I own a well-stocked liquor cabinet. Perhaps too well-stocked. Hidden among the bottles of spirits I regularly enjoy are once-tasted, quickly forgotten adult beverages. Some arrived as well-meaning gifts from well-wishers, others as the base ingredients in cocktail experimentation gone horribly awry. Whatever the reason, they’re taking up space that could be occupied by stuff I actually like to drink.
Childhood lessons about the dangers of alcohol apparently never took, but admonitions about the importance of thrift certainly did. Pouring perfectly good booze down the drain or into my flower garden just because I haven’t yet found a cocktail that pleases me seems a tad wasteful. Besides, how else does one find enticing new beverages without a little trial-and-error?
If your love of both iPads and airplanes isn't satisfied by Flight Control HD alone, take note: Aspen Avionics has announced a new product called Connected Panel, which wirelessly connects an iPad to an aircraft’s avionics—the electronic systems that includes flight navigation, communications, monitoring, management, and more. With the company’s technology, pilots will be able to handle standard piloting actions like tracking flight plans or tuning into different radio frequencies, straight from the iPad.
iPad-enamored pilots have already begun using Apple's tablet for flight planning, flight logging, and reading related documents and charts. They have not, however, been able to integrate this information directly into aircraft control systems. Connected Panel changes that with new hardware, Aspen Avionics’s CG100 box. After the box is installed behind the plane’s panel, it allows the iPad to connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The CG100 box also sports a USB port and flash memory storage. Once the iPad successfully connects with the box, pilots can begin using the tablet to control the plane’s onboard systems.
Stop. Look. Listen. This week's roundup of iOS accessories allows you to do all those things—and more. Here are some of the new accessories that have popped up on our radar recently.
Arexit: The $48 A-Fold stand for the iPad and iPad 2 displays your tablet on an aluminum base that can be tilted at four different angles for optimal viewing. Easy access to the tablet's ports and connectors makes it easy to attach speakers or a dock-connector cable.
OmmWriter for the iPad is a striking word processor. If you’re not familiar with the Mac version, you would perhaps even consider it radical. It differs so much from other apps primarily to facilitate writing that while it can be described, it really has to be experienced to be appreciated.
While OmmWriter for the iPad is an elegant, beautifully designed app, it’s not for everyone. The Herraiz Soto & Co. app provides a minimalist, Zen-like atmosphere for wordsmiths. It’s got ambiance and flair, providing users a choice between seven subdued visual backgrounds and eight ambient music soundtracks. (On its website, the developer credits the music composer and photographer.)