iPad in Business – Part Two

In the previous article, entitled the Businesses of iPad Part One, we began to explore some of the options of using an iPad to get actual work done. Apple’s iPad launched onto the world stage in the early part of 2010 and transformed our understanding of tablet computing. Initially seen as the device for consuming content, it is also become a great tool for creating content. Professional and amateur artists can produce sketches and paintings with the tip of a finger, musicians can perform and record entire albums and business users can get their work done in out of the office.

In Part One we talked about some applications, such as Apple’s iWork suite, Documents To Go, Air Sharing and the technologies built into the iPad such as File Sharing and its synergies with MobileMe. Using iWork or Documents To Go users can import, create and work with documents compatible with Microsoft Office. Using Air Sharing users can easily store, transfer and open to read documents that they receive from a networked computer, e-mail or from a cloud computing platform. Apple’s own MobileMe suite allows users to employ cloud technologies to keep their iPhone, iPad, Windows and Macintosh computers in sync.

One of the most interesting technologies to come out of the cloud computing arena is a product called DropBox. DropBox is the answer to FTP for everybody. Simply stated consists of a website that you log into, create folders, upload and backup files (documents, images, media files and zip archives.) Once you have set up your dropbox you can download the DropBox application on your Mac or PC and keep your stored items in the DropBox in sync. Even better than the DropBox has mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. These let you access the files and dropbox. That means that while you are on your iPad you can open up the document into an application that supports the so that sleek and work with the files.

The cool thing about DropBox is that you can also share a folder with a friend or coworker. Simply choose to share the folder, enter your friend’s e-mail, optionally add an e-mail message and press invite. Your friend or coworker will receive an e-mail invitation to join your DropBox. You don’t have the messy FTP style username and password. They use their own e-mail address to log in and they choose their own password. They can access the files that you shared right there in their web browser, or they can optionally download the applications to their computers and iPad etc. They can create their own folders and share those folders with their other friends and colleagues.

Things is the name of an application that runs on iPhone, iPad and your Mac. Things is a to do list and project management tool. You add task items and attach notes and optional deadlines so you can follow-up on the things you need to do. You can also install  a Things app on your iPhone and iPad and  Things will automatically sync the three computers together. Create a task item on your iPhone, or on your Mac and Things will automatically sync up and keep all the items up to date.

If your business uses FileMaker Pro databases you can also install FileMaker 2 Go on your iPad or iPhone and access the very same databases. The iPhone and iPad have built in support for VPN networks. You can use PPTP, L2 TP or Cisco VPN right on the device to connect into your office. Once you connect to the VPN network or virtually inside the office and by opening FileMaker to go you can open the databases and work as if you’re in the office. The using FileMaker 2 Go you can create that estimate, look up that contact or access the companies payment schedule.

By combining the applications above, with access to your e-mail, contacts and calendar items conjunction with Google maps the iPad or iPhone can easily becomes the most portable office tool. Not just for consuming information before accessing creating and working with it. Oh, of course you can also play Angry Birds.

Ultimate Wedding Planner iPad App Available Now on the App Store

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ultimate Wedding Planner iPad App Available Now on the App Store

TORONTO, October 7, 2010 – 2 For Life Media Inc., announces the release of the ULTIMATE WEDDING PLANNER app on the App Store. This must-have wedding app by 2 for Couples combines the authority of a national wedding magazine, the immediacy of a wedding website and the interactivity of a digital planner” all in one package! It is a one-stop resource for everything couples need to know when it comes to planning their big day, including announcing the engagement, wedding trends, designer gown collections, coordinating their wedding day schedule and so much more.

“We’ve made wedding planning fun and groom-friendly,” says Editor-in-Chief Neil Morton. “From wedding style ideas to how to take good wedding photos and all the right songs to play at your reception, we’ve got everything couples need to know” and then some” in a digital magazine format.”

But that’s not all! The ULTIMATE WEDDING PLANNER app also includes: the 2Wire, a daily dose of wedding-related news; and a 2Worksheets section which allows couples to key in important info and email it to their wedding party, family and service providers.

“We believe iPad is the perfect tool for planning a wedding, and we’ve brought all the resources a couple needs together in one place,” adds 2 For Life Media Inc. President Diane Hall. “Couples can take the ULTIMATE WEDDING PLANNER on iPad to all their appointments to consult tips and advice, and to record important info.”

The 2 for Couples ULTIMATE WEDDING PLANNER app is available on the App Store for iPad. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ultimate-wedding-planner/id387919600?mt=8

For relationship and newlywed advice, couples can download the 2 FOR COUPLES magazine and app in the iTunes store (http://itunes.apple.com/app/2-for-couples/id386093103?mt=8). With a spotlight on real couples and their day-to-day lives, 2 for Couples serves up a slew of date night ideas, a whole bucket list of must-do moments, a ton of expert advice and fun couple makeovers. To learn more about our 2 for Couples magazine and app, check out our trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kteMiligu8

About 2 For Life Media Inc.

Founded in 2004, 2 For Life Media Inc. is a lifestage media company specializing in couple lifestyle, relationships and weddings. The development of the 2 for Couples ULTIMATE WEDDING PLANNER app is made possible though the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. www.2forcouples.com

For further information: To inquire about 2 For Life Media Inc., the 2 for Couples ULTIMATE WEDDING PLANNER app and arrange interviews with President Diane Hall and/or Editor-in-Chief Neil Morton, please contact Benedetta Lamanna at benedetta@2magazine.com or 416-469-1429 ext. 222.

Publishing on the iPad

The App we built for 2

So here we are more than halfway through the year and over 5 million iPads sold. Consumers are rapidly snatching up all the available iPad and iPhone 4.0 devices as fast as Apple can make them. As a publishing professional you’re asking yourself what does this mean to me? What impact does this have on the publishing industry and how do we as publishers get involved?

Released to the public in April 2010, the iPad platform (aka iOS 4) has taken digital publishing by storm. If you have used an iPad then you already know that it is more than a big iPhone, digital book, Internet browser, or device for accessing digital media. If you’ve been following my articles you’d know that this is a revolutionary device and it’s causing a paradigm shift in several information industries.

Users of the iPad are looking to you as publishers to deliver content they desire in this new medium. Of course this is not just limited to Apple products but it is also pending the release of new digital devices and smart phones by other companies – who are scrambling to catch up with the release of their smart phone technologies and tablet devices. So how do you get your content into your reader’s hands?

Smart media devices all support Internet-based browser technologies and can access content online that is tailored to these devices with technologies such as HTML 5, CSS three, JavaScript. Simply adding a bit of tagging and creating custom style sheets for your website will transform content for these mobile devices. Open source publishing platforms such as WordPress and Joomla can use templates designed to optimize the display of the content.

AppleScript, Automator, and MacOS X Services can also be used to automate and build web ready content. Using Apple’s free development tools a competent web developer could build a web-based applications with a Dashcode. DashCode apps can then be converted into xCode – the application that is used to create native MacOS X and and iOS applications for the iPhone and iPad.
Apple has created its own digital reader for the iOS devices called iBooks. The iBooks Store is used to publish digital books in the ePub format. Applications like InDesign can export pages into this format. You can distribute your iBook publications from your own website or distribute for profit through Apple’s iBook store. Resources like lulu.com available to help you self publish.

Starting at $99 a year, you can become an Apple developer and be able to publish applications to actual devices like the IPad. Once you become a registered developer and pay the fees you can submit applications for approval to Apple’s App Store. If Apple approves your iPhone app, they will distribute the application through the App Store.

Native iOS apps are written using Objective-C. There are many resources available to get you up to speed. Several books have been published in physical and digital form that teach users to build apps. Online resources available such as Lynda.com and Apple’s developer website offer learning materials online.

If you’re not already an experienced programmer learning Objective-C has a steep learning curve. The TapLynx framework, among others, help build basic apps in xCode. Frameworks will help you build real iOS applications without having to learn Objective-C.

You can also look into hiring a developer to help you build a app. Simple applications range from $2500 to $10,000. More sophisticated apps take many months to develop and will cost even more. Experienced developers can be hired for between $80 US and $160 US to either consult or develop your application. Single dedicated developer can cost a around $6500 US per month.

It is both an exciting time and a nerve-racking time. Publishing on ink on paper has been under pressure for last 15 years or so. The Internet has eroded any kind of profit-making and now the iPad presents an opportunity to deliver content to an end user who will be willing to pay for that content. Or at the very least advertisers will want the opportunity deliver their message along with your content. If you’re producing a magazine, newspaper, the list of services or even a real estate listing the iPad is proving to be a revolutionary publishing platform. You owe it to yourself to explore the opportunity for yourself and your clients.

Web site to connect clients with iPhone developers in Canada

iphone_icon_smI was discussing resources for iPhone developers on a LinkedIn group – because I need to quote some clients and wondered what others were doing.

Since there doesn’t seem to be a lot of ways to connect coders with clients, I launched a web site: iPhone Apps Canada as a place where clients can get estimates from local developers. The rough plan is to have clients sign up securely and set out some requirements – then we could match the clients to skill sets available to the developers who are out there.

So far we have a handful of developers who have signed up – and we’re open to suggestions. The plan is to share insights on working with clients, quoting on development and getting paid. We are at the grass roots level now but if you are a developer and you’re interested go to the site and add your name to the list.

You provide your clients with a free iPhone app that extends your marketing message and improve your clients overall experience. If you are looking for a local developer with the skills you need – sign up at iPhone Apps Canada and we will do our best to connect you. Buy Canadian eh?

iPhone text entry tricks

Q. I recently got a new iPhone and I find that entering text can be tricky. Can you suggest any things that will make typing easier.

A. If you recently switched from another handheld device such as a Blackberry or a Palm you’ll find that entering text on iPhone is different because of the tactile differences of using a touchscreen. When entering text on your iPhone you are presented with QWERTY style keyboard. Numbers and punctuation are accessed by clicking the key in the lower left-hand corner.

One of the first and tricks I learned while entering text on my phone was that to quickly access punctuation while entering letters you can press and hold the punctuation key, slide your finger over to the character you want and release your finger. Then you’ll find that the iPhone switches back to the QWERTY keyboard. This makes entering text with punctuation relatively easy because you can quickly access commonly used characters such as a comma, period, underscores and dashes.

While you’re walking down the street you tend to bounce around quite a bit. With a device like a Blackberry, or a cell phone you have actual keys so it’s easier to find the character you want. So using the “sliding finger trick” on your iPhone you can accomplish the same thing. When you press a key on the keyboard and display shows you the keys selected by popping up. If you hold your finger over the key you can see if you have the right key or not. If you don’t, you can slide to left or right and choose the correct key. [If I’m close, I often roll my finger left and right to choose a character while holding my finger down.] Of course you should always be aware of what you are doing and ideally you should stop walking while you’re entering text – so that you don’t have an accident while you’re not paying attention to where you’re going.

By the way, you can also access accented keys by holding down your finger over a letter that would have special punctuation. For instance if you hold down the keep the letter “E” you can access accents “grave”, “acute”, “circumflex”, “tréma” or “umlaut” and “cedilla”.

If make a mistake while entering text, you can hold your finger down on the text that you entered and a magnified view will appear and you can slide your finger until the cursor goes where you want within a word. To fine tune this you can roll your finger to more accurately place the cursor.

There is also a free application in the App Store called “WritingPad” which takes the sliding finger to the next level. To spell out words you slide your finger over the letters that spell the word all without lifting your finger – sliding rather than tapping.

Speaking of not lifting a figure – this article was input into Word using MacSpeech Dictate – spoken into an iMac not typed on the keyboard.

[There are also now many stylus products that work with the iPhone – hand if you’re wearing gloves.]