I found a small hiccup in iTunes 10 when it comes to syncing and removing apps. Here’s how it’s triggered…
Buy any app through your iPhone that is not in your library (free ones count)
Connect your iPhone to your mac
In iTunes, go to the iPhone and choose the APPS tab (“Sync apps” and “automatically sync new apps” should be checked)
Choose a few apps that are currently on your iPhone to be removed from the APPS list (the program you just purchased on your iPhone will not show up in the APPS list yet)
Press the APPLY button in the lower right corner
The apps you selected to be removed from your iPhone will be removed, but then iTunes will add the new app you just purchased on the iPhone to your local library and then it will RE-LOAD the apps you had previously selected for removal. (It’s like you never selected anything for removal at all.)
Shouldn’t the “removal of apps” process come after the “copy new apps to the local library” process?
I posted this on the Apple forum and will update if I hear anything.
I found out something pretty interesting today. iTunes allows paid app downloads even though a credit card they have on file has changed.
A quick prologue… my corporate AmX card got compromised last week. Apparently a local Chinese restaurant I liked to go to had a dishonest waiter who copied the front and back of my AmX card when they were supposedly running it in back to pay for a business dinner. I saw false charges pop up, called AmX customer service, AmX immediately refunded the charges the thief/thieves made, and sent a new corporate card overnight UPS. (FYI, AmX corporate customer service is the best customer service I’ve ever experienced.)
So fast forward to today, when I was downloading some business apps from iTunes…
…and I remembered only after I pressed the YES to the purchase button the credit card iTunes has on file is my no-longer-valid AmX card. But the download for the $14.99 paid app had started anyway!
The app finished downloading, and I saw it in my app list in iTunes. I went to see if it cleared in my purchase history…
…and sure enough, there it was. Tax and all.
I went ahead to the edit payment information button to update the AmX card…
There were no errors at all in the screens that followed. Only after I had updated my credit card information did iTunes finally say something was wrong.
“A previous purchase failed to successfully authorize, because the credit card used for that purchase was declined. Please provide working credit-card information and press done to clear the outstanding amount from your account and enable your account to continue purchasing.”
And at the bottom of the page was a small addendum about the outstanding balance…
I pressed DONE and that seemed to be it.
I think it’s kind of strange Apple allows a full app download before a credit card can be confirmed. Shouldn’t the charge amount go through first before the download is authorized? And I wonder what would have happened if I never updated my credit card information?
I was catching up on some of my magazine reading when I saw this ad in the latest edition of Southern Boating (September 2010 page 33)…
It says… “Rain, Spray, Waves, and iPad. While you want your iPad with you at the helm, water, and particularly salt water, has been known to destroy electronics right before your eyes. A small investment, however, may prevent this. The Trendy Digital iPad Case ($20) is, in effect, a large, heavy plastic bag. The iPad is fully operable when sealed inside. Yes, it makes the music a bit hard to hear, but even a direct wave will not send your investment to Davy Jones’ Locker if you tie it down using the included strap.”
Hmm. I thought that was a pretty good product idea. Something to keep the iPad safe from water and let you take it with you to an area you know it will be constantly “splashed” on. But as soon as I read the “large, heavy plastic bag” part of the ad, I wondered if the iPad would fit in a Ziploc bag, and would an iPad be safe from water splashes in a giant Ziploc bag?
There’s only one way to find out!
Fortunately I found a few of the giant Ziploc bags already in the home pantry…
…and the one gallon size at that!
I was a little worried about the fit, but after opening the Ziploc bag, the iPad (with the Apple case still attached) dropped right in and had plenty of space left!
I flipped the iPad around so the Ziploc logo would be on the other side of the screen, and then sealed the top of the bag.
The fit wasn’t snug, and there was a lot of Ziploc left on the left and right sides of the iPad, but I was able to swipe to unlock the iPad, and all the applications I launched responded to my touch just fine.
Typing wasn’t any problem either! The iPad registered every single touch just fine through the Ziploc, whether the bag was pulled tight or left loose.
So far, so good! The iPad still functions when sealed in a one gallon Ziploc bag.
Now for the “splash” part!
After triple checking I had sealed the top of the Ziploc bag, I decided to go all out, and put the iPad in the middle of the sink and moved it slowly in every possible direction with the faucet on full blast. I did this for 5 minutes.
The Ziploc held on tight to the iPad!
After moving it around and seeing no damage, I decided to leave the iPad flat in the sink and let the water hit it straight on. (I did incline the iPad about 10 degrees so that the water would drain and the Ziploc/iPad would not become submerged.) I did this for one minute.
Little did I know this whole time that the water faucet was trying to communicate with me!
Fortunately, “Tcuxuc77/7 . Ruhhh” was just a random result of the water on full blast hitting the iPad and pressing on the keys. (I hoped!)
I stopped the water after a minute, pulled the iPad out of the sink, dried the exterior of the Ziploc, and opened the top.
Dry as a bone! Wonderful! It worked!
And just to make sure the iPad typing was OK, I pressed a few keys to see what would happen.
Success! No problems at all!
I figure if the Ziploc bag can withstand a full-blast from a sink’s water spigot, then it shouldn’t have any problems keeping the iPad safe in light spray or the occasional “hi there!” ocean wave smack.
I wouldn’t want to subject the Ziploc bag to too much stress, though, as it is only held closed by that little click-seal on top. I wasn’t brave enough to completely submerge the Ziploc with the iPad in it either, so I have no idea if this would keep the iPad safe in a 100% underwater environment. Also worth mentioning (again) is that the Ziploc bag allows sufficient water pressure to register as input.
But overall, it’s good to know that a one gallon Ziploc bag (retail price about .12 cents each), does seem to work as an emergency waterproof iPad case!
Tapulous offers everyone who downloads any of their iPad or iPhone Tap Tap games a free subscription to their music newsletter. In each newsletter, there’s a link for that week’s free music track you can download for the app you’re using.
If you play Tap Tap Radiation on the iPad, I stumbled across a way to get a few of the older “free” tracks. Just copy the current link and paste it into Safari on the iPad…
Long version : I’ve been working with over 30 iPads for about a month now in the corporate world, and I’ve got to say, it has been an interesting experience.
The number one problem I have with the iPad right out the box is that you just can’t hold the darn thing for prolonged periods since it has a smooth aluminum-like back and a glass-like front. I think the iPad just isn’t ergonomic at all.
While I think “pressing” a simple recessed finger / palm space on the back of every iPad would solve the problem (or even “dimpling” the back of every iPad in a very tight “U” pattern), I know Apple never trades design for functionality.
Since I didn’t want any of the iPads saying “howdy” to terra firma, I decided to buy three iPad cases for myself and a three iPad cases for each corporate location to see which one was the best. I bought Apple’s iPad case, Incase’s Convertible Book Jacket iPad case, and Belkin’s Grip Swell iPad case. Here’s what I found….
*** APPLE’S IPAD CASE ***
The first case I put on the iPad was the one from Apple.
Right up front, the case feels like some very high-tech industrialized rubber/hard-plastic hybrid. I honestly think this is what the “Dark Knight” Batman suit is made of.
Getting the iPad into the Apple case was a bit snug, but once it was in, there was no “wiggle” space and the iPad felt like it wasn’t going anywhere once it got in there.
Tucking the long flap under the iPad seals the case…
…and the iPad is ready to go.
Looking on the outside of the iPad, the case allows full open access to the docking port on the bottom of the iPad…
… the headphone and sleep button on top…
…and the volume and rotation-lock buttons on the side.
The cover flap is slightly smaller than the edge of the case, but it still fully covers the iPad screen and is actually a brilliant design (I’ll explain why when I get to the InCase review).
The Apple iPad case also has a small flap on the back that allows you to swing the cover back around and tuck the cover flap securely into it.
You can use this flap to stand the iPad up for reading or passive activities…
…or lay it down like a raised keyboard for gaming and more input-intense activities.
Depending on what you’re doing on the iPad, this is a very useful feature, and most of the corporate locations said it came in very handy.
Also worth mentioning is that in the time I’ve been using the Apple iPad case and tucking and un-tucking the cover into the back, the back flap hasn’t lost any of its’ strength. I am worried eventually it might start to move away from the back, but so far, even in the heavy-use corporate environments I had it in, they have been a resounding success.
Now for the “bad” things…
First, the main problem all of the corporate locations had with the Apple iPad case is that it doesn’t offer a lot of “bumper” protection along the sides and edges of the iPad. Yes, it feels like Batman’s suit, but no one thought that Apple’s iPad case would prevent any damage from a drop of about two feet or more. Every corporate location preferred the “secure” feel of the InCase Convertible Book Jacket for their daily use. (more on the InCase next)
The other problem I have with the Apple iPad case is simply aesthetic… it’s a major dirt magnet.
These photos show what the Apple iPad case looks like after a week’s worth of use in an industrial environment with no cleaning.
The good news is that dirt and spills almost always clean off. The bad news is that if you want your Apple iPad case to keep looking new, you’re going to be cleaning this case constantly.
The Apple iPad case is very pretty, sports a very modern design, adds almost zero heft and girth to the iPad, and offers some decent elemental protection. It’s a great buy, and I think it is perfect for individuals, high-end “sheltered” corporate use and activities that don’t involve warehouses and industrial environments.
I rate the Apple iPad Case case 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Apple? If you treat the outer cover with something more stain resistant, I’ll change it to a five star rating.
*** INCASE’S CONVERTIBLE BOOK JACKET IPAD CASE ***
This case is like watching a heartbreaking game from your favorite team on opening day. Everything is absolutely perfect for the first half, but then…. they completely blow it at the very end. The whole game is ruined because they screwed up so badly, and in a way you just can’t believe.
First off, let me talk about getting the iPad into the Incase Convertible Book Jacket case. This case is a rigid design that doesn’t feel like you’re forcing the iPad into a rubber suit. This case is cut so perfectly that the iPad fits inside of it like a machined part. Absolutely perfect!
Once you slide in the iPad, you just close the large velcro flap on the side…
…and the iPad is ready to go!
The exterior of the convertible book jacket’s case is remarkable. It resisted weeks of heavy industrial use at all of the same locations the Apple iPad case was at and it still looks brand new.
There’s a elastic band that stretches around from the back to keep the case closed when the iPad is not in use…
… and the case has more “open” access to the docking port on the bottom of the iPad…
…the volume and rotation lock buttons on the side of the iPad…
…and the headphone and sleep button on the top of the iPad.
Once again, the strength of this case is remarkable. The inside of the case allows for post-it notes and attachments for reference, and the “pleather” feel is quite pleasant to the touch. The back, sides, and cover are reinforced with heavy material that doesn’t give at all when pressed. The iPad also feels rock-solid secure in this case, and the “book” feel gives the iPad some good heft and stability.
The addition of this much bulk to the iPad may be a bit much for personal use, but for heavy high-traffic use and for industrial/corporate environments, this case gets my recommendation!
There’s one critical error that I can’t believe Incase let slip by quality control. It involves the elastic band and the cover flap.
Incase made the cover flap flush-even with the perimeter of the case that covers the iPad (see the above photo). This would have been fine if not for the elastic strap.
After just two weeks of using the elastic strap, every single Incase Convertible Book Jacket….
Even when you remove the elastic band, the warp will remain. Putting the elastic band back on doesn’t help at all.
If you leave the iPad on, you can clearly see how bad the warp is, even with the elastic band on…
You can always press down on the warped cover to press it back down flush with the screen and case…
… but as soon as you let go, it will pop back up again.
I simply can’t believe no one in Incase quality control caught this before it shipped. This bulge defeats the whole purpose of the screen cover, and makes the Incase look pretty ugly when compared to any other case.
The Incase Convertible Book Jacket a wonderful, thick, heavy case, and it feels like the iPad would be able to survive just about anything when it is tucked inside. Even though I rate this case lower than the official Apple iPad case, I would prefer this case for use in heavy-duty high-traffic high-use corporate environments. (Plus, every single store manager I work with has chosen the InCase Convertible Book Jacket for the iPads that are working in their industrial environments. They just don’t use the elastic band!)
I rate the Incase Convertible Book Jacket 3.75 out of 5 stars.
Incase? Just trim a little bit of the screen cover away from the perimeter just like Apple does with their case. That will keep the exterior flap from reaching flush with the bottom edge of the case and will also keep the cover from getting warped by the elastic band. I’ll happily give you five stars with this one major modification.
*** Belkin’s Grip Swell iPad case ***
This case is a solid bronze winner. There’s nothing wrong with this case at all! There’s just a Gold and Silver medalist in the competition.
To start with, the Grip Swell is a drop-in easy border for the iPad. There’s no cover protection at all. Just put the iPad in the center…
…and slide the Grip Swell along the perimeter.
The exterior of the Grip Swell allows full access to the docking port on the bottom…
…the rotation control on the side is exposed, but the volume control is covered by the rubber sheath.
The headphone jack on top is exposed, but the sleep button on top is also covered by the rubber sheath.
The back for this color variety is very easy to hold on to with one hand. I could probably use this case all day if I had to.
The only problem with this case is that if you grab the iPad too close to the edge, the sheath will sometimes slide back with your fingers, giving you that very expensive WHOOOP CATCH THE IPAD!! feeling for a brief moment, even though it’s not really going anywhere.
Unfortunately, no corporate location wanted these cases, mainly because the rubber perimeter seemed a bit too “giving” and there was no screen cover. I would recommend the Grip Swell for kids at home, light personal use, and some short-distance travels. The lack of a screen cover isn’t a deal breaker, but if the iPad is going to be next to or packed along with anything else, I would choose the Apple iPad case or Incase iPad case over this one.
I rate the Belkin Grip Swell iPad case 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Finally, a side-by-side comparison of the three cases…
From top to bottom, here’s the Belkin, the Apple and the Incase iPad cases.
And from left to right, here’s the Incase, the Apple and the Belkin.
APPLE’S IPAD CASE : 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS : USE FOR PERSONAL OR LOW-IMPACT ENVIRONMENTS. MOST ATTRACTIVE CASE OF THE BUNCH.
INCASE’S CONVERTIBLE BOOK JACKET IPAD CASE : 3.75 OUT OF 5 STARS : BEST FOR INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENTS. THE COVER FLAP WILL WARP UPWARDS.
BELKIN’S GRIP SWELL IPAD CASE : 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS : USE FOR KIDS AT HOME AND LIGHT PERSONAL USE. MIGHT BEND BACK IF GRIPPED TOO CLOSE TO THE IPAD’S EDGE.
I’ve had some iPads for two weeks now, and after some serious daily use, I wanted to write a “initial impression” post about how I see the iPad in the corporate world.
First off, I had a fairly clear definition of what I wanted the iPad for in the company : to enable all of our “first contact” employees access to our network through a secure VPN. A touch screen interface was preferred, and this tablet would work “on site” only. The initial test run would be 1 iPad per store location with a few additional iPads reserved for executive use.
Unless you go through Apple corporate sales, you’re restricted to two iPad purchases total. Even though I ordered all of the 21 iPads through the corporate channel, it took about a week for the initial batch to arrive since demand for iPads is still very high. Once the iPads were unboxed, the rollout was fairly straightforward.
Setting up profiles for the iPad is done with a free application from Apple called “iPhone Configuration Utility”. With that application, I just clicked to “activate” the policy areas I wanted to modify, made the changes to each section, and then saved the config file to the local Mac. Then I attached each iPad to the Mac, uploaded the config file to the iPad, and the changes were locked in. Easy and done.
The only catch is that I found it easier to use a utility called “Libra” to set up an iTunes library for each iPad. That way I could customize which apps go to each location/end user by choosing a specific iTunes profile to attach each iPad to. (I’ve got some more thoughts on how Apple could make a iPad rollout easier in a few paragraphs.)
Anyhow, the VPN integration looks like it would be great with the 3g iPads, but since I just needed the local wi-fi versions for my purposes, it wasn’t any trouble to tweak the company network to allow secure access through the iPad’s built-in ability to connect via WPA2-PSK.
MobileME is also a good idea to put on the iPads. The ability to remotely track and wipe the iPad makes the $99 price tag a fantastic insurance policy, and I think Apple messed up by not making MobileME part of the “iPhone Configuration Utility”.
Setting up MobileME was a bit tedious. I had to go to me.com and sign up for the demo, then login with each iPad identity. Then, going back to each iPad, I had to go to the SETTINGS app, choose MAIL, then MAIL, CONTACTS, CALENDARS, then go to the ADD ACCOUNT area, then choose MOBILE ME, and then key in all the information I entered on the mobile.me website.
Also setting up the address book was a bit of a pain as well. I had to define a sub-set group in the address book on the Mac that I wanted the iPads to access, and then only SYNC those group’s addresses to the iPads as they were being configured.
Setting up the initial iPad was a little bit of trial and error, but once the “master” was complete, the remaining 20 iPads in the initial rollout were a snap to configure and deliver. With just slight changes to duplicate copies of the original config file, more iPads can be added to each store location in the future, and far more easily than the initial batch was.
I highly recommend adding a iPad keyboard dock if you’re going to be configuring multiple iPads. A physical keyboard saved me tons of time on the prep and release, and the keyboard works just like any other Apple dock. Drop it in, and it works. You can even pass-through the iPad’s connection to the Mac on the back of the dock with another dock/usb connector cable.
Apple’s “iPhone Configuration Utility” is nice, but it needs a lot more teeth. And calling it the “iPhone Configuration Utility” just confirms the iPad is just a giant iPhone without the “phone” part. Come on Apple. At least call it a “mobile i-device configuration” utility!
Now for the bit giant “dammit!” bits…
There’s no way to lock the SETTINGS application on the iPad. I don’t want anybody launching in the SETTINGS application, period, but Apple has no way to lock this down.
There is no way to lock specific applications. I don’t want some key applications I installed on the iPad deleted, but Apple has no way to provide for this in the “iPhone Configuration Utility”.
There is no way to hide certain pre-installed applications from Apple. I don’t want some built-in “Apple” applications there at all, but the “iPhone Configuration Utility” just won’t let me hide certain items. As an extra bonus, you can’t manually delete certain applications on the iPad either.
There’s no “real” handwriting in notepad. Seriously. The iPad, a $499 touchscreen device, doesn’t have any kind of handwriting capture capability on any of their own built-in applications.
There is no cleaning cloth to wipe the pad! Now come on, Apple. My $50 Speck SeeThru case for the MacBook Pro had a cleaning cloth. This $499 piece of hardware doesn’t?
There is STILL no more than ten pages allowed for applications on the iPhone. If you have applications installed that don’t appear in those ten pages, you have to go to the SEARCH area on the iPad for them to show up.
I’ve said it earlier, but there is no MobileME configuration option in the “iPhone Configuration Utility”. Only IMAP or POP are available in the email configuration settings section. Having the option to cut and paste the MobileME information into the configuration utility would have saved me a lot of time.
There is no folder organization. You can’t group applications aside from dragging them to the same “page” that similar applications are on. There’s also no spacing between icons and no way to change the default icon layout. Folder organization (and hopefully icon management) is supposedly coming in the iPad 4.0 update “later” this fall, but I tend to stay away from any new OS releases until the update patch comes out 4-6 months later.
And finally, there is no “master” server option (like Microsoft Terminal Services). I would LOVE to have a “master mold” that rolls an image out to every iPad on every boot. I would LOVE for every corporate iPad to look for a specific server (via IP) to retrieve an image to boot with. (again, like Microsoft Terminal Services does). Maybe a future update can tie it in to the XServe? Or maybe there should be a iPad PRO model?
Once again, Cydia and the other online “jailbreak” sites are years ahead of Apple on creating applications and utilities that should have been bindingly obvious and that should have been part of the iPad on launch day. I know of five key Cydia utilities that would tweak the iPad to do exactly what I want it to do, but I would have to jailbreak the iPads to install these “extras”. Since this is just the beta phase of the rollout, I’ll wait to see how the iPads perform before moving any further.
Overall, I would easily recommend the iPad if certain network and needs conditions were met for company access. An iPad that costs $499 beats a PC tablet that run $900 and above. And even though you do lose a PC’s “under the hood” tweaking and functionality, you do have to ask who these tablets are meant for. Customer service and initial contact personnel are a perfect match for the iPad, plus these personnel are genuinely happy to receive them and do take much better care of them than they do a PC laptop (in my experience, anyhow).
Plus, like it or not, the iPad itself does impress the hell out of clients and prospective business partners.
One final plus is that the iPad is an exponentially more closed system than a “regular” PC. I’ve received far fewer support calls from these “first contact” individuals during this rollout since they really can’t tweak their devices too much.
Overall I would rate the iPad corporate experience a (barely) 4 out of 5 star experience. Having said that, with a few tweaks, it could easily be 5 stars.
Now, as for personal use, and based on my initial experience with the iPad, I would rate the iPad a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
I went ahead and bought my own iPad two weeks ago as well, and have installed a few applications and utilities. After my initial “meh” reaction, I have to admit Apple really does have something here. The touchscreen is fluid and amazing. A few hours working on the iPad and you’ll want a similar touchscreen on all your PCs and Macs.
Reading on the iPad with the free “books” application has absolutely killed every other ebook reader. I can finally read all my technical PDFs, pinch-zoom and expand the schematics, and see everything in color. That alone is worth the iPad purchase price for me. Extended reading on the iPad is slightly more wearing on my eyes than the Sony 505 I have is, but the tradeoff is worth it.
The gaming experience on the iPad has also been top notch. It’s graphically around the PS2 era, but some games are almost Wii caliber. That’s pretty good for a portable device! The iPad has definitely shelved my PSP and NDS for the foreseeable future. It’s not any Xbox360, but it’s large screen makes playing games on anything aside from a HDTV screen seem absolutely puny in comparison. And the games the iPad has are unlike anything else I’ve played on any platform. Apple needs to run hard with this feature, and pull in the “arcade” developers from the Xbox360 and PS3 platforms to make this a prominent selling point of these devices.
Oh, and my wife loooooves the iPad. Absolutely loves it. It’s a pick-up-and-do-whatever device. Read. Play games. Surf. Email. Remote Control. It’s ridiculous all the uses we’re coming up for with this thing. And this is only the wi-fi version. Maybe our second iPad will have to have the 3g connection… strictly for testing purposes, of course.
The only complaint I have personally is the “hold” of the iPad. You do need a case so the darn thing doesn’t slide down your hands. I prefer Apple’s iPad case for home use but InCases’ iPad case for corporate use or high-contact personal use. (I’ll put up some photos and compare the two cases in a future post).
That’s all I have for now. For the most part, I highly recommend the iPad in both the corporate and personal world.
Oh, and for the record, everything that has “Mac” mentioned in the above review also works with a PC or has a PC version as well.