How would you like to be able to share a file between an iPhone and an iPad simply by pouring it from one device to another? This is what Apple has in mind with a patent application, unearthed by Patently Apple.
One patent describes file sharing via “physics metaphors,” such as one device “sucking” files from another, or “pouring” them from one to another like water, with an accompanying sound effect.
This could be achieved by using the motion sensor present in the iPhone and a RFID or Bluetooth link between the two devices. To make the process more realistic, the patent describes the possibility of the interface reacting to various forces of physics, such as gravity, torque, acceleration, friction, etc.
This idea could be used for more than just sharing files. The patent application describes the possibility of creating unique graphical objects and “flicking” them to a nearby device. For example, a user could send a quick note or a doodle to a friend in class.
Another patent application describes the possibility of using new 3D gestures to create and manipulate 3D objects, with possible applications in CAD and gaming. It includes a detailed explanation of gestures that could be used to generate, modify, manipulate and even add color and texture to 3D objects on the screen of a tablet device.
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Apple’s App Store has generated 15 billion downloads since its launch in July 2008, Apple has announced.
The App Store now offers more than 425,000 apps, 100,000 of which are created specifically for Apple’s tablet, the iPad.
Apple has paid developers more than $2.5 billion to date. Given Apple’s 30/70 revenue split with app developers, that means Apple itself has netted more than $1 billion directly from app sales.
In January 2010, the App Store surpassed 3 billion downloads, and in January 2011, Apple announced that the App Store surpassed 10 billion downloads. It took Apple’s App Store only six months to jump from 10 billion to 15 billion downloads.
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We recently brought you an in-depth tutorial on how to use the iPhone’s built-in HDR functionality. Now we’re taking a look at an iPhone app that helps create high dynamic range images.
Pictional’s TrueHDR goes beyond the iPhone’s built-in HDR abilities. It can help you capture better images and even improve images you take on your compact camera. Pictional’s co-founders Michael Parker and Yuanzhen Li explain how the app came about.
“Everybody has had the experience of taking photos that are either over or under-exposed and don’t look anything like what your eyes saw when you took the shots.”
They realized that the iPhone’s tap-to-focus also adjusted exposure. They could then meld two images with different exposures to come up with a result that preserved details in bright and dark areas.
Parker and Li have chosen 10 images created with TrueHDR that they feel showcase the app’s capabilities. Take a look through the photo gallery to see them, along with Parker and Li’s comments, and link us to any of your HDR creations in the comments below.
“Almost postcard-like in its perfection, this photograph beautifully shows off the capability of TrueHDR to capture a potentially … challenging range of light: Sunlight, mid-tones and shadows.”
“We were captivated by the sense of depth, along with the range of light and contrast, from the hill in the foreground to the distant meadows. The sky and the shadows from the clouds lend nice contrast to the image, contributing to a subtle landscape painting feel.”
“This photograph struck us as having an almost surreal quality. We especially like how the photographer used TrueHDR to capture the range of brightness in the scene, from the two lights on the left to the portions of the actors’ faces that are in shadow.”
“This photo captures the gorgeous lighting on the coast of Molokai. It has great composition and depth and was made from four iPhone photos — two sets of over-exposed and under-exposed pairs were merged in TrueHDR into two HDR photos, which were then stitched together into a panorama.”
“The photographer has used TrueHDR to beautifully capture the lights, snow, blue and purple layers of the sky and the foreground bush.”
“The lighting and viewpoint of this photo give us a sense of being there — standing on a dark, cobble-stoned street … with the soft light reflecting off the stones guiding the eye to some unknown adventure awaiting through the archway ahead. The use of TrueHDR helps the photographer capture the contrast and tonal range between the dark street and the bright archway.”
“The barren, abbreviated trees create some questions and a sense of curiosity for the viewer; the trees’ tops direct your attention to the details in the clouds and the green draws your eye back to the lower portion of the photograph. This is another example where the HDR aspect is essential but doesn’t overwhelm, letting the viewer consider the subject material rather than the technique.”
“This TrueHDR photo gives the feel of a Dutch masters painting, with a nice range of tones and contrasts.”
“There is a nice sense of depth to this photo, with the sheep dotting the peninsula lending a sense of scale. The use of TrueHDR helps the photographer naturally capture the range of contrasts between sky, clouds, ocean, grassy peninsula and sheep.”
“The futuristic buildings give this photograph an otherworldly feel, as if you landed on another planet. The photo captures both the sky and the materials and [the] play of light on the structures. It would have been hard to do justice to the huge range of brightness without TrueHDR. Here we also show the “before” pictures on the left — the over-exposed and under-exposed photo pair before they were merged with TrueHDR.”
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Apple’s iPad is responsible for 1% of the world’s web traffic, as well as 2.1% of web traffic in the U.S., according to the latest numbers from NetMarketShare.
Looking at earlier reports, the iPad’s share of web traffic has been steadily growing by 10% or more since March 2011. And looking at the overall market share of mobile and tablet devices compared to desktops, we can see that it reached 5% for the first time in June.
It’s too early to proclaim the death of the desktop, but the trend is strong and obvious — tablets and smartphones are becoming an increasingly important part of our online life.
These latest numbers reinforce a similar report from StatCounter in April. That report indicated that the iPad iOS accounted for 1.17% of U.S. web traffic, ahead of Linux, which only accounted for .71%.
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As Google technician Erica Joy revealed on Google+, “the Google+ iPhone app has been submitted to the App Store (no not today, sometime prior to today) and is awaiting approval.”
We knew the iPhone app was coming soon, but we didn’t think the iOS app was already completed and submitted to Apple for approval. Based on previous experience with the approval process, we believe that the Google+ iOS app will debut sometime in the next two weeks.
Google+ is still in private beta and requires invites to access. Despite that restriction, Google+ has quickly become the hot topic of the social media universe. The reaction to Google’s social initiative has been mostly positive, but the company will have to prove that it can differentiate itself from Facebook while retaining users. Neither will be easy tasks.
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For my tests, I pitted the iHealth BP3 for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad against the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, which also works with the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. Our family doctor’s been taking blood pressure readings for 30 years, so I figured he’d be a good one to give me his opinion about these devices. So I took both units to his office and comparing their readings with that of an old-fashioned manual blood pressure cuff in his skilled hands.
Like a conventional BP cuff, it’s secured to the arm with Velcro.
In addition to the iPhone app, there’s a free iPad app available.
iPad and iPad 2 both fit.
Press Start to begin.
It’s a charging station.
That’s a USB connector to charge the dock and your iOS device, too
There’s the port for the air hose.
Clean interface, great graphing features, and you can share your results on Twitter and Facebook, as well as email.
This $99.95 iHealth BP3 blood pressure monitor also functions as a charging dock. I tested it with an iPad, iPad 2 and an iPhone 4, all of which fit easily into this attractive desktop unit. You plug the air hose into the side of the dock, and the other end is permanently attached to the blood pressure cuff.
The doctor showed me the proper way to use a blood pressure cuff, placing it about an inch above the elbow, and after touching the start button, the iHealth was doing its work, making a subdued whirring sound. Take a look at the video below that compares the two test units, and you’ll get an idea of how they work — they feel just like any other blood pressure cuff, and for this iHealth unit, the whole process took only 31 seconds for each test.
The free iHealth app looks great on the iPad and iPhone. It displays systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings as well as pulse rate. I especially like its graphing feature, which works in both portrait and landscape mode, showing you the history of blood pressure readings over time. I also like the way it can share blood pressure readings via email, but I’m not sure I’d want to opt for its other capabilities: sharing on Facebook or Twitter.
After two tests on each arm (with a bit of waiting in between for blood vessels to go back to their normal state), the blood pressure readings were all in the same range of around 120/80. While none of the readings were exactly alike, all were within the margin of error of the traditional blood pressure cuff used by the doctor.
The doctor says: “iHealth is accurate,” and he especially liked the way the dock held the iPhone at an easily viewed angle. He also liked the iHealth’s blood pressure cuff, commenting that he thought it was more comfortable than the other one we tested from Withings. Here’s a video of both units in action:
An added advantage of the iHealth BP3 is its ability to function as a dock even when you’re not using it to measure blood pressure. Plug its included cable into the AC adapter included with iOS devices, and you have yourself a sleek-looking charging station. The dock itself also needs to be charged, so it can perform its blood pressure measurement duties without the necessity of being near a power outlet. The upside of that? It runs on its own power, and doesn’t use power from the iPhone or iPad. (The Withings unit also runs on battery power, not draining any power from the iPad or iPhone, either.) The makers of iHealth say it’ll run for 100 tests on a charge. Neat.
It’s secured to the arm with Velcro.
The self-contained unit has a battery compartment inside, with 4 AAA batteries that power the cuff’s compressor.
Plug in the dock connector, and it’s ready to go.
The flexible cuff is more rigid and not quite as comfortable as the iHealth’s cuff.
Here it is with an iPhone 4.
It’s easy to place on the arm and well designed.
Here’s the readout after a test. I like the way you can combine blood pressure readings with weight and body fat measurements from the Withings Wi-Fi scale
This $129 Withings Blood Pressure Monitor is a self-contained unit, connected via the universal dock connector that plugs into an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Its blood pressure cuff is more rigid, making it slightly less comfortable than the iHealth, but a little easier to manage when you’re placing it on your arm.
When you first connect the unit to your iOS device, you’re prompted to download the free Withings app. Because I already use a Withings Wi-Fi scale, I already had the app on my iPhone and iPad, and I immediately realized the advantage Withings has here: On a single graph, you can see daily measurements of your weight and body fat percentage delivered by Wi-Fi, along with your blood pressure readings from this blood pressure device. You can email all that data to your doctor or caretaker, too. This e-medicine routine gives you an idea of what the remote health care of the future might be like.
As I did with the iHealth BP3, my doctor and I performed three separate blood pressure readings on each arm (each test taking 35 seconds to complete, 4 seconds slower than the iHealth), and compared those to the readings taken by the doctor using the traditional blood pressure cuff. All the readings from the Withings unit were within the same range as the conventional blood pressure cuff and the iHealth BP3.
The doctor says: “It’s equally accurate,” but he thought the Withings self-contained blood pressure cuff was bulkier and less comfortable than the iHealth’s, and noticed that the way the connector plugged into the iPhone and iPad (without that dock used in the iHealth) made the screen less convenient to operate and view.
As you saw in the video above, the Withings system offers its results on a nicely designed app that shows the systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings as well as heart rate. The Withings app also allows its readings to be shared on Facebook and Twitter, and has the added advantage of connecting with Microsoft HealthVault and GoogleHealth, allowing you to keep all of your health records in one place.
Which is best? Both units are easy to use, accurate, and work well. If you don’t already have a charging dock for your iPad or iPhone, the iHealth would be a more practical choice, and at $99.95, it’s a better overall value. If you already have a Withings Wi-Fi scale, you might want to choose the Withings blood pressure monitor (even though it costs $29.05 more than the iHealth BP3), so you can coordinate your weight and body fat measurements with your blood pressure readings and see them all on one graph together.
Best of all, neither of these units require a stethoscope and medical training to use and are reasonably priced (especially if you already have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch), giving you daily readings of your blood pressure that might make you aware of a previously unknown condition, and perhaps even save your life.
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The dual-core 9.7-inch tablet looks very similar to the iPad — the original iPad anyway — but has specs that are more closely aligned with the iPad 2, Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Motorola Xoom.
The big differentiator for the TouchPad is HP’s webOS operating system. The crown jewel from HP’s acquisition of Palm, webOS has always seemed like the most tablet-friendly mobile OS on the market. HP released videos earlier this month showing off webOS on the TouchPad, and these demos left us impressed.
The first crop of tech reporters and bloggers have had their time with the TouchPad, and early reviews are decidedly mixed. Most reviewers praise webOS and compliment the UI and UX experience, as well as the gesture controls. When it comes to the quality of the native software and features like built-in video chat using Skype, the TouchPad receives rave reviews.
Where the device gets dinged by most reviewers is in its overall speed (something that most reviewers seem to attribute to the software rather than the hardware, which according to the specs should be powerful enough), some niggling bugs with webOS itself, a small third-party app selection and the price. The HP TouchPad is selling for the same price that Apple is selling the iPad 2 ($499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only model, $599 for a 32GB unit).
HP isn’t the only tablet maker to struggle with competing with Apple on price; Android tablet makers like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Asus and Toshiba are also struggling with varying levels of success to meet or beat Apple’s price.
Still, the overall impression from most of the major reviews is that HP has some great ideas, that given enough time and developer support, could easily develop into something wonderful. Android tablets are having a hard time gaining traction and RIM has failed to really deliver on its promises for the Playbook, which means that despite a late entry, HP might have a shot at placing in the race.
Check out what some reviewers across the web are saying about the TouchPad:
“In this 1.0 incarnation, the TouchPad doesn’t come close to being as complete or mature as the iPad or the best Android tablets; you’d be shortchanging yourself by buying one right now, unless you’re some kind of rabid A.B.A. nut (Anything but Apple).
But there are signs of greatness here. H.P. is coming to this battle very late, but it says it intends to stay the course. True, it’s tilting at windmills — but at least it’s riding an impressive steed.”
“Based on my evaluation, HP has a fighting chance. I actually prefer webOS to early Android tablets and believe it compares favorably to iOS in many respects. It’s actually a terrific operating system for tablets. And the TouchPad, which I generally like, has a world of potential.”
“This is going to sound like a broken record, but the TouchPad is yet another tablet that feels unfinished. The interface is more elegant and intuitive than what you’ll find on Android Honeycomb tablets, and we appreciate the time-saving features such as Just Type. The TouchPad also produces louder audio than any other slate we’ve tested. Last but not least, HP deserves credit for spicing up the app shopping experience and for leveraging webOS-powered phones to tell a better-together story.”
“So what I’m saying is, I’m glad that HP finally shipped the TouchPad. If it can get developers engaged in its platform and iron out all the bugs while also growing webOS as a smartphone operating system, it might really have something here. But that’s a story about the future, and about potential. For now, the TouchPad is just another iPad competitor that can’t measure up.”
“The TouchPad is so close, closer than anything else, to being good. But it’s also very, very far from it. Look, give this thing six months. It could be amazing. If it’s not by then, well, I guess that says everything that needs to be said.”
“A solid entry that’s behind on the hardware (let’s call it generation 1.5) but advanced on the software (generation 2.5 when HP works out a few significant performance kinks). It’s an innovative tablet with some fantastically juicy surprises that will make you want it now, but it carries enough disappointments that you’ll probably wait for the next version. It’s not enough to make you put down your iPad 2, or its near-equivalent Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but it will make you wish those tablets bestowed the TouchPad’s user experience and included its other innovations.”
“The HP TouchPad, if it were less expensive, could be an extremely strong, if slightly less polished, alternative to the iPad. But like other recently-released high-profile Android tablets, it’s determined to take on the champ. And just like those Android tablets, its hard to recommend over an iPad at the same price. But the competition does creep ever closer, and the TouchPad stands as a solid iPad competitor for those who, err, “think different.”"
“H-P stresses that webOS is a platform and that the TouchPad is just one iteration of it. The company plans to add the operating system to numerous devices, including laptops, and hopes that this scale will attract many more apps. And it pledges continuous updates to fix the current shortcomings.
But, at least for now, I can’t recommend the TouchPad over the iPad 2.”
“The shortage of apps is a problem, no doubt, but that will change with time. What won’t change is the hardware, and there we’re left a little disappointed. Holding this in one hand and either an iPad 2 or a Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the other leaves you wondering why you’d ever be compelled to buy the HP when you could have the thinner, lighter alternative for the same money. Meanwhile, the performance left us occasionally wanting and, well, what is there to say.”
“The HP Touchpad reminds me of the Microsoft Zune HD ($219.99, 4.5 stars) in that it is a very solid device, but may be too late to the game. We’ve already seen two iPads, and the third will likely arrive sometime around the TouchPad’s nine-month birthday. Can HP convince developers to make enough meaningful apps for the TouchPad to help the tablet reach its full potential in the following nine months? I hope so.”
“Still, the bottom line here is that the stability and smoothness of the user experience is not up to par with the iPad or something like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, even if many of the underlying ideas are actually a lot better and more intuitive than what the competition offers. That, coupled with the minuscule number of quality apps available at launch make this a bit of a hard sell right now. If HP can convince developers to get behind this product, and the company can laser focus on the end-user experience, becoming the number two player in tablets isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Really.”
“Until then, the TouchPad will be a tough sell in comparison with Apple’s dominant iPad 2, and even with the nearest Android rivals. Great-sounding audio output, a clean interface design, and the ability to print will not alone sell the TouchPad.”
“The result is a fast and capable tablet running a thoroughly modern operating system. There’s a good and growing selection of apps for the TouchPad, but there are some glaring omissions on the device and in the App Catalog. Despite the areas where the TouchPad is lacking, it’s still perfectly capable and full of potential. So much so that this entire review was composed on a TouchPad.”
“It’s important for HP, and important for consumers to have another option out there beyond what Apple and Google are offering. At the end of the day, though, the TouchPad feels like a well-orchestrated competitor to the original iPad and not the forward-thinking alternative we had hoped for.”
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Discussions about Google+ dominated the online discourse on social sites as June came to a close, but a flurry of other hot topics got their fair share of attention throughout the month, including the Les Paul Google doodle, the Pope’s first tweet and a social media campaign against a ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia.
Based on figures from Mashable Follow‘s M Share button, the following 25 stories got the most love, with all of them garnering about 250,000 combined shares on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Google Buzz.
To keep track of the most-shared stories at anytime, log into Mashable Follow and click on “Top Stories” next to the Mashable logo. You’ll have the option to view the top stories of the day, week, month or year.
Thanks for reading and sharing our content. We look forward to seeing which stories you share in July.
Which stories will you remember the most as the year progresses? Let us know in the comments.
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This is quite an accomplishment given that the original iPad was launched less than a year and a half ago, in April 2010. In March 2011, there were 75,000 apps available for the iPad; it took roughly three months to reach the magic 100,000 number.
For comparison, there are less than a 1,000 apps available in the Android Market for Honeycomb, the Android variant aimed specifically for tablets (bear in mind that many Android tablets are based on other versions of Android, such as Gingerbread and Froyo, which makes it hard to calculate the exact number of tablet-specific Android apps).
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Four years ago today, Apple released the original iPhone. The hype that preceded the release of the so-called “Jesus Phone” was nothing short of staggering.
Analysts, tech blogs and consumers oscillated between hyping the phone as the second-coming or deriding it as much-ado about nothing. In 2007, I was both an Apple fan (I purchased my first iPod in 2002) and a mobile phone fanatic. Still, I had my doubts about the iPhone because of its outlandish price, its carrier lock (and the carrier of choice) and the lack of third-party applications. I thought, OK, the iPhone will probably sell pretty well, but it’s not going to change the mobile phone industry.
The details and investment into the narrative surrounding the iPhone’s launch wasn’t like other tech products — or even other Apple products. It was more like a highly promoted, well publicized and much buzzed about movie. The only question was, would the iPhone be an Ishtar (a highly publicized failure), or a Titanic (surpassing even the most hopeful expectations)?
In four years, the iPhone has utterly transformed the mobile industry. One can debate how much Apple innovated versus refined when it comes to certain features (touchscreens and app stores existed before the iPhone), but when we look at the mobile industry, there is a very clear line between what happened before June 29, 2007, and what happened after. I would argue that every major smartphone that has gone into production since the iPhone’s release has, in some way, been a response to the iPhone itself.
The iPhone not only transformed the mobile industry, but changed Apple as a company. In 2007, Apple was nearly 10 years into a fantastic business turnaround. Propelled by the early success of the iMac and pushed further into the black with the iBook, iPod, iTunes and the transition to Intel processors, the iPhone took Apple into an entirely different direction.
As our lovely infographic showcases, Apple’s stock has nearly tripled over the past four years. The company now has a market cap of more than $300 billion, exceeding that of Microsoft. Apple’s revenues are now higher than Microsoft’s, too — something that would have been a laughable suggestion four years ago.
Four years after the first iPhone was released, a lot has changed in the mobile space. Smartphone adoption has finally gone mainstream. The fortunes of Nokia, RIM and Palm (now HP) have significantly changed. The big leader in the mobile OS space is Android, Google’s open source OS that debuted a year and a half after the original iPhone.
One thing that hasn’t changed (aside from Apple’s aversion to Flash on mobile devices) is the hype and furry that the iPhone still incites in both its supporters and its detractors. Rumors of the iPhone 5 are likely to continue to build throughout the summer, ebbing the hype to the point that all of us will ask, “Can anything really meet these expectations?” Only this time, we know how this story ends.
After all, if the iPhone was Titanic, the iPad was Avatar. Now we just have to wait for the sequels.
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