Fantastic Dinosaurs HD – free today only – iPad app

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From the App Store Description:
“Fantastic Dinosaurs HD is an interactive encyclopedia which allows you to discover like never before 130 dinosaurs and prehistorical animals. Each animal has a description sheet containing HD photos optimized for the Retina screen, 360° views, sizes comparisons with man (adult and children) and much more information.”

[Fantastic Dinosaurs HD @ App Store]

Lots of Black Friday iOS and Mac Deals

Mac Stories has posted a great list of Black Friday deals now available. You’ll find Mac and iOS Apps, Books and videos all centered around your favorite Apple device. Keep checking back because they will continue to update throughout the weekend.

Warning: I noticed that the excellent 1Password apps are on the discount list. The developer Agile Bits has recently announced a new Universal 1Password 4 for iOS:

1Password 4 for iOS will be available in the App Store as an entirely new universal app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It will cost $17.99 and require iOS 6.To give thanks to all our incredible customers, we will have an introductory upgrade price of $7.99. This special will allow you to save over 50% when migrating to the new app. I will let you know when 1Password 4 is available — Stay tuned!

More info here
Just something to keep in mind if you’ve been considering this App, which I wholeheartedly recommend.

iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7 Tablet – Comparison Review

The following is a guest post by Chris Smith which originally appeared as a post at a forum Chris and I both frequent. Chris is both an end user and mobile developer so I found the information interesting and informative.

iPad Mini and Nexus 7

I’ll be taking both of these home from work this weekend to play with and I’ll be setting them both up as “my” devices, using apps that I have bought, installed, configured, etc.

First, VERY initial impressions, that may change as I get to use them over the weekend:

Feel: Nexus 7 is the best feeling Android device I’ve used. Fit and finish are nice, it feels decent in the hand and doesn’t feel cheap. The iPad Mini (from now on, I’ll use N7 and Mini) feels better. It’s a step above in fit and finish compared to the N7, and feels a bit nicer in the hand. It’s bigger and has a different aspect ratio than the N7 but is no harder to hold in one hand (I do have large hands, I’ll have my wife try this weekend.) The Mini should feel better, it’s more expensive.

Screen: N7 is slightly better here. But it’s really close and I wouldn’t notice it unless I was trying. The Mini’s 1024×768 isn’t “retina” and as a consumer I sort of wish it were. But as a developer and someone who understands why the did what they did, I’m actually am glad they kept the 1024×768 resolution because hundreds of thousands of apps “just work.”

Android and iOS: Last time I used Android with any regularity was back in the early 2.3 days, when the Nexus One was new. Back then Android lagged way behind iOS on usability and speed, IMO. Now there’s no gap, they’re both great. There are things that iOS does that Android doesn’t and things that iOS does better than Android. But the reverse is just as true. Jelly Bean scrolls much smoother between screens, pop-ups, etc. The searching is better than iOS, and the voice recognition on both is pretty good. Live Tiles are really neat and fun to play with on the home screen, but I honestly don’t miss them on the Mini either.

Apps: Wow, Android is a lot better than last time I really sat down and played with it. I could only find one app that I use everyday on my iPhone and/or iPad that I couldn’t find on the N7 was Simpsons: Tapped Out which is a dumb game that isn’t a deal breaker for a device. But that being said, the iOS versions of the apps that I use tend to be more polished, easier to use, and much less laggy than the Android counterparts. Several apps that I launched (including Chrome, the built in browser) just appear to hang, not responding to swipes, scrolls, etc for several seconds at a time (more than 2, and very noticeable ) As an iOS user, this is the most infuriating user experience when trying to use an Android device, the lack of feedback when things are happening. The Kindle app rocks on both devices and is almost identical (and is probably the second most used app on my iPad 3, behind the Video app.)

Media: This is going to be hard to be impartial. I’ve been using a iOS device for over 4 years now, and have everything configured to run through iTunes, iTunes Match, handbrake converted videos ready to go on the iPad, etc. I haven’t loaded video on the Mini yet, but last night loaded a few on the N7. Best thing about the N7 is that since you have access to the file system you can just copy files to it, even over the wireless network. So while my ecosystem is iOS centric, I was at least able to load a video on the N7 and it looked great. I’m not a huge fan of iTunes but I’ve much time configuring it, writing helper apps that talk to the iTunesLib directly to convert video put in specific folders, running them through handbrake, adding them to specific playlists that will sync to my iOS device next time I do a sync and that type of stuff. I’m 100% sure that a geek like me could do ALL of that for an Android device so that it was just as automatic and possibly more so. I’m not going to spend the time doing it, though, unless I were to ever switch full time. And there might be better ways to get personal video, music, etc on an Android device than I have.

2 Days later Chris posted this followup:

So after using it for a few nights, I found myself always reaching for the Mini first. I don’t know if this is just because I prefer iOS to Android (and I do) or if it’s just because it’s so familiar, but I just enjoyed using the Mini more than then N7. I’m amazed by how Apple produced a device this thin and light that doesn’t feel compromised when using it.

If you like Android better, or you’re deeply embedded int he Google ecosystem, the N7 is a great device. I do like it quite a bit and I think it’s great that there are really good tablets at really good prices for users that prefer Android. But if you’re like me and are already in the iOS ecosystem, the Mini makes more sense, I think.

The biggest question I have left is if the Mini makes sense for me at all. I already have an iPad, I’m not sure if I need the Mini too. It’s nice that it’s smaller, but that’s a downside too because the screen is smaller. It’s easier to type on the full sized iPad (if I was using it for taking notes) and videos are nicer on the full sized iPad because they’re bigger. And I have my phone on me all the time for when I need to check something on the go. If you want an iPad and you wanted to save a little bit of money, the Mini is a great choice. If you think the smaller form factor is nice for your application, the Mini is a great choice. Maybe my mind will change over the next few weeks, but for right now I’m not sure if I’ll really use the Mini, especially when I have the choice between it and the full sized iPad.

Thanks for reading, if Chris continues any further followup I’ll post that too.

About the author:
Chris Smith works for Micro Integration Services developing mobile and tablet apps for it’s B2B customers. He has also developed the Find Craft Beer app for iOS and Android.

The Brief History of the iPad: Rumors – Blog Series by Dave Caolo

Dave Caolo over at 52 Tiger recently launched a fascinating look at the iPad’s meteoric rise. Here’s the reason for it in his words:

“This week I’ll launch a new series of posts exploring the brief and incredible history of the iPad. Apple’s tablet is not even four years old (think about that), yet its dominance and influence is global and undeniable. The iPad’s history is so incredible, that I don’t want to wait until it’s 10 years old to explore its journey.”

Here’s the second part of the series: The Brief History of the iPad: Rumors

Part one: The Brief History of the iPad: Prolouge

I’ll keep you updated as new entries become available.