The Week in iPad Cases: Rough and tumble

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's IntelliCase

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.

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InMyBar for iPhone

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?

Seeing Red: After you tell InMyBar what spirits, mixers, and garnishes you already have, the app shows you what you still need to make your favorite drinks by listing missing ingredients in red.

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New technology connects the iPad with the cockpit

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.

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The Week in iOS Accessories: Stop. Look. Listen.

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's A-Fold stand

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.

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OmmWriter for iPad

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.)

Faint Keys: OmniWriter’s keyboard appears to float on the iPad’s screen, and when you press a key, it darkens a bit, briefly, providing uncommon visual feedback. The background pictured here is one of seven users can choose from.

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Apple announces iCloud storage pricing

Apple on Monday unveiled more details about its forthcoming iCloud syncing service, including details on pricing. Steve Jobs had previously declared that Apple device users would get 5GB of iCloud storage for free; you can add an additional 10GB (those five free gigabytes plus ten more, for a total of 15GB) for $20 per year, 25GB for $40 per year, or 55GB for $100 per year.

In comparison, cloud-storage service Dropbox offers 2GB of storage for free, 50GB for $120 per year and 100GB for $240 per year.

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NBA Hotshot HD for iPad

The number of apps in the App Store remains a key part of Apple’s marketing push for its iOS devices, and for good reason: It succinctly illustrates just how vibrant the platform for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is. By reminding everyone that there are 425,000 apps available for download (at least as of this writing), Apple highlights the tremendous interest among developers in building iOS apps while giving shoppers who might be considering Android or webOS devices another reason to grab an iPhone or iPad.

There’s a flipside to this story, however. Certainly, plenty of apps have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the App Store; an even greater number have carved out their own special niche among users. But there’s a subset of apps that are released with the kind of flaws you’d expect in a 1.0 product, only to be seemingly forgotten by their developers. And yet, these flawed apps remain available for download, cluttering up the App Store’s virtual aisles and providing a lackluster experience for the iOS device owners unfortunate enough to download these neglected programs.

NBA Hotshot HD is a case in point. I came across the app when assembling an App Guide collection featuring rec room-style games for the iPad. I figured I’d give it a try. After all, the arcade-style basketball game comes from Freeverse, not only a well-established developer but one that’s enjoyed some measure of success with its Flick Sports lineup of games like Flick Bowling and Flick Fishing. What could go wrong?

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