How to Do (Just About) Anything on iOS

How to Do (Just About) Anything on iOS

How to Do (Just About) Anything on iOSWhen it comes to my smartphone, some would say that I have an addiction to apps. An appdiction, if you will. I try plenty of free apps — and get points that I can use toward gift cards thanks to Free My Apps and FeaturePoints.

But when an app that’s truly useful comes to my attention, I don’t freak out that the developer is charging anywhere from 99 cents to five bucks for it. When you consider the value of time saved by using something like Workforce, for instance, $4.99 is a bargain.

In this CPU, I show you how I make Workforce work for me and how to do just about anything on iOS! Watch here:

Curious to try it for yourself? Check out Workforce here!

Five Geeky Gift Ideas for iPhone Owners

Five Geeky Gift Ideas for iPhone OwnersDo you know a geeky iPhone owner? Finding a gift for someone who appears to have everything is a really difficult thing to do. Gift giving is quite possibly one of the most stressful social situations we as a culture put ourselves in, and locating just the right gift for a geek can be even more difficult.

Take phone cases for example. While there are thousands upon thousands of options out there to choose from, a true geek is very picky about what they put on their devices. It can also be a very personal decision which could be better facilitated through a gift card than an outright purchase.

So, cases aside, what do you get the iPhone owner in your life?

Here are five geeky gift ideas for iPhone owners that might help you out.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. FoneI’ve been known to be rough with my devices, particularly when it’s my 40th birthday and I’ve been drinking a good strong stout. I’ve dropped an iOS device or two, cracking the display on at least one iPhone badly enough that I had to have it replaced. I have so much information stored on my iPhone that it’d cost me to recover the data stored on it from its backup. Apple offers two ways to back up and restore your content: using iTunes, or iCloud. I’m not a big fan of iTunes, so I prefer to have my iOS devices set up to automatically store any and all information on my iPhone — pictures, videos, my device settings, whatever — to the iCloud storage I’m paying for. But not everyone wants to pay to upgrade their iCloud storage. So if you’re not paying for iCloud, are you stuck using the iTunes application to back up your iPhone (or iPad, or iPod)? This week I tested an app that provides a different way to recover data from a broken iPhone without having to use iCloud, and with or without using iTunes.

Recover Data Without Using iTunes

With Wondershare Dr. Fone for iOS, you can attempt to recover data directly from your iOS device. Dr. Fone is able to recover seven types of deleted data from the latest generation of iOS devices: iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad mini, the latest iPad, iPad (with Retina display), iPad 2, and iPod touch (5th generation). The software is able to recover 12 types of data directly from the earlier generation devices iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the first iPad, and iPod touch (4th generation).

Installation of the Dr. Fone is straightforward, and once you launch the program, you are prompted to connect your iOS device.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

Once you connect your iOS device — I tested with an iPod touch — you’ll be presented with the option to either Recover from iOS Device or Recover from iTunes Backup File.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

Selecting the Recover from iOS option will initiate communication with your iOS device.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

Upon initiation, the app will begin scanning your device.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

In my testing of Dr. Fone, the utility displayed that it expected the scan to take about 38 minutes, but it only took about five minutes in actuality each time I tested the software.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

Once done scanning, the program will return a list of items that the program will be able to recover. At this point you’ll need to select which data you’d like to collect from your device. By default, if there are any items in a data category, the category will have its checkbox selected. If you would prefer not to recover any particular category of data (your entire photo collection, for example), simply deselect the category.

Having selected which photos and other data you wish to pull from your broken iPhone, click the Recover button and then select a location (your Documents folder is the default) in which to save the data you’re recovering.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

During my testing of the software, the actual recovery of files to a physical hard drive took even less time than the scanning process took — about two minutes. The time it takes will depend on how much data you have on your device and how much you wish to save, of course.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

The data from your broken iPhone is now safe and sound! You can now browse the folder just as you would with any other directory. For example, you can display the folder of images associated with contacts recovered from your iPod.

Broken iPhone? Recover What You Want Using Dr. Fone

Recover Data Using iTunes

You’re not limited to recovering data directly from your iOS device. As mentioned before, you have the option of recovering from your iTunes Backup by using Dr. Fone’s Recover from iTunes Backup File option. This option will scan your iTunes application rather than your device and sort through its backups of your iOS devices — assuming you’ve been using iTunes’ backup feature. If you aren’t in the habit of backing up your iPad using iTunes, however, this won’t help you much.

Just as with the Recover from iOS Device option, Dr. Fone will present you with a list of data items discovered during its scan, from which you will then be able to select the photos, contacts, and other data items that you’d like to have saved to your PC. This is a feature, by the way, Wondershare says “you can’t do with iTunes.” So you can recover what you want. (By the way, I didn’t feel the need to provide images of this or any of the Recover from iTunes Backup File process, as the resulting screen captures would be practically identical to those already posted above.)

As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion, I’m not a big fan of iTunes. That said, if you’re not backing up your iPhone’s data to iCloud, then I recommend getting into the habit of firing up iTunes every once in a while (or every day if you’re a power user), if only to use its backup facility. Otherwise, Dr. Fone will only be able to work with the most recent backup — and if there are none, then the program will having nothing to work with!

The Prognosis: if You Have a Broken iPhone, Dr. Fone Could Help

When I first began reviewing this tool, I wasn’t terribly impressed. I thought that if I ever needed to recover data from a broken iPhone, I’d simply collect the data from my iCloud, which is updated pretty much any time I’m connected to the Internet. Aye, but there’s the rub: “pretty much.” There are occasions where I’m not getting a good connection, and the only way I’d be able to recover the latest data I’ve saved to my iOS device in such an instance would be using a utility such as Dr. Fone.

What do you think? Have you lost data from a broken iPhone? Do you wish you’d had a utility such as Dr. Fone that would’ve helped you to selectively recover the photos and contacts and other information from your damaged device?

iPads: Cheap Online Retailers

iPads Cheap Online Retailers
Your cats want their own iPads? Cheap is the way to go. [Image by Hajime Nakano via Flickr]
Sure, you want an iPad. Everybody else has got one. But the thought of paying top dollar for something that your clumsy fingers will drop or your absent mind will leave behind somewhere — when you’re sleep deprived from working too many hours to buy gadgets — doesn’t seem appealing. Luckily, there are a few reputable places online that will allow you to buy iPads cheap. I stress reputable because there are plenty of disreputable places online that will offer you the world for nothing but a smile (and maybe your social security number); if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The iPad is still in pretty high demand, so you’ll be lucky to get a hundred dollars or so off the recommended retail price of the unit you are looking to purchase. Someone offering iPads cheap for 75% to 50% off may very well be one of the aforementioned disreputable sources, so be careful.

The only real tip I have here for saving substantial money is to go for an iPad that’s a generation or two older than the model currently toted as the latest and greatest. It will be less in demand and sellers will be looking to unload them at a deeper discount.

Here are some of those reputable places where you can go hunting down such iPads. Good luck!

iPads Cheap: Best Buy

Yes, my first suggestion is Best Buy (or similarly well-known electronics retailer local to you). A bricks and mortar store usually has mid-season, Christmas, Black Friday, and other regularly occurring sales, which gives the retailer a chance to clear out some of its older stock. Maybe this older stock just isn’t moving as quickly as anticipated, or there’s just an excess in the warehouse that’s taking up space better utilized for bigger ticket items. And if Apple announces a new generation (which seems to be happening more frequently lately, doesn’t it?), it’s a great opportunity for the consumer to pick up iPads for cheap as the retailer makes way for the shiny new toys that entice the wide-eyed masses into dropping entire paychecks on their procurement. Everybody wins!

iPads Cheap: Amazon

While the going rate for current generation iPads may run a little higher on Amazon than in the official Apple Store, the popular online retailer is a great resource for older generation iPads on the cheap. While perusing Amazon’s offerings from the comfort of LockerGnome World Headquarters, we were able to find a third-generation, 64 GB white iPad for $119 less than it’s offered from Apple, directly. $119 may not seem like a lot to some of you, but wouldn’t it feel better in your pocket than Apple’s?

Apple might not agree, but you’re the one looking for iPads cheap, bub!

iPads Cheap: Apple

Speaking of Apple, shopping for iPads on the cheap doesn’t get any more reputable than going directly to the source. The company offers plenty of older and current generation refurbished units that could pass for brand new — plus you have the comfort of knowing that Apple’s famous customer service will back you up if you do run into any hitches with your iPad not performing up to expectations. This may not be your cheapest option, but it may be the most comfortable if you’re accustomed to having bad luck with your electronics.

iPads Cheap: eBay

As you’ll find if you wind up at a random garage sale in any given community, people sell all sorts of things for all sorts of different reasons. In this way, eBay is sort of like a virtual garage sale, but the consumer has the ability to gauge the seller’s status as a reputable or disreputable source by the feedback of others who have dealt with them in the past. Someone looking to unload a used iPad — perhaps they bought the new one and have no use for their old one — may be willing to let it go for far less than a retail store might. It may not arrive in as pristine of a condition as an Apple-direct refurbished iPad would, but a seller will usually tell you if a unit is “like new” or if it’s endured a few bumps and scrapes along the way that warrants a more reasonable price. Just remember, as we said above: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

I’m hesitant to end this with the usual “if you know anything I don’t about the subject of iPads cheap, let me know,” only because I’m trying to avoid sorting through spam and might-be-spam that will likely result from such an invitation. That being said, if you know of good places to get iPads cheap and you’re not a spambot or marketing shyster, please let us know in the comments below.

Yes, we know about Craigslist. :)

How to Upload Images to iPad Without iTunes

How do I upload images to my iPad mini?

Ever wondered how to upload images to iPad without iTunes? Nick Corrigan writes:

I was wondering if you knew of any way that I could transfer pictures from my computer to my iPad mini. I don’t really like iTunes and would prefer to avoid using it if at all possible. Thanks in advance!

How to Upload Images to iPad Without iTunes
Do you know how to upload images to iPad without iTunes?

Thanks for writing, Nick! In fact, I do know of a very simple method that you can use to to upload images to iPad without iTunes.

Upload Images to iPad Without iTunes: Windows

This method is via iCloud. I know what you’re thinking: “I’ll have to install iTunes; I don’t like iTunes! Why are you making me install iTunes?” But trust me. You do not have to install iTunes to get the iCloud Control Panel. If you’re using Windows, you download iCloud Control Panel 2.1.1 for Windows and select the Photo Stream option. Once you’ve done this, you can go to your Pictures section and open up the Photo Stream folder. Inside that folder, although you may have to create it, there should be a folder named Uploads. Simply place all of the pictures you want to upload to your iPad mini, and job done.

Upload Images to iPad Without iTunes: OS X

I haven’t forgotten about those of you using OS X, but neither has Apple; for you, it’s even easier to upload images to iPad without iTunes.

Simply go to your Apple menu and select System Preferences. Once there, you may need to sign in to your iCloud account, but once you’ve done so, select every iCloud feature that you want to use. The rest should roll along similarly to the explanation set out for our Windows friends.

Upload Images to iPad with iTunes

For the sake of being thorough, let’s say that you are using — or get stuck with — iTunes. You can also upload images to iPad with iTunes by selecting your iPad mini on the left hand side tool bar, then selecting the Photos tab. From this point, you can sync the pictures you want using the options available. When you’re finished, click the Sync button and wait for iTunes to sync to your iPad mini.

One word of warning with regards to the iTunes method. If you haven’t synced your iPad mini before, then iTunes may completely wipe your iPad mini thinking that it’s a brand new device. So make sure that you back up your device before syncing with iTunes.

I hope this helps you upload images to iPad without iTunes!

Image: iPad 2 and iPad mini shared by brownpau via Flickr

Apple Saved My Life!

Apple Saved My Life!Usually, when someone tells you that they’ve stumbled upon the most amazing, life-saving app for their smart phone, you’re not inclined to take their sentiment literally. But then there’s the Sound Level Meter app, which Michael Eates tells us may have just saved not only his life, but the lives of everyone in his family! Oh, and their property value, too. As Michael explains it, “Apple saved my life!”:

I thought you might find this Apple story interesting. For weeks now I have been hearing a noise in my kitchen, though no one else in the family could hear it. Needless to say, I began questioning my hearing. Well last night I heard it again, and this time it when everyone was asleep. So rather than look like a fool again, I decided to take matters (via the Apple iPhone) into my own hands.

I pulled out the iPhone, opened the Sound Level Meter app — an app that measures sound decibels — and began to track the sound. Quietly and carefully, I began scanning the kitchen in its entirety, looking for decibel spikes. I traced the sound to the floor, and determined that yes, in fact, there was a distinct hissing sound coming from below the subfloor.

Suspecting that I knew what the problem could be, the following morning I called the appropriate repairman. After a few quick hours under my home, the plumber came out and notified me that the tiny pinhole in the pipes — that had apparently been leaking for ages — was now fixed.

The story does not end there! While repairing the leaking water pipe, the plumber noticed that, adjacent to the water pipe, was a leaking gas pipe! Due to the pipe’s location under my kitchen, it had been slowly leaking gas into my home, creating a tragic accident waiting to happen! Of course, we called in the necessary professionals to take care of this problem immediately.

So, thanks to the iPhone and the Sound Level Meter app, I not only should see lower water and gas bills, but there’s no more damage chipping away at my home, and no unexpected hospital visits due to gas poisoning! Apple saved my life!

Is an iPhone 5 Upgrade Really Necessary?

is the iPhone 5 an unnecessary upgrade?

Is an iPhone 5 upgrade necessary? Maybe it depends on where you begin. Ben Lormon writes:

Hello, Chris!

My question comes the day after Apple’s shares dropped below $500/share for the first time in almost a year. As I’m sure you know, this is due to uncertainty surrounding the cuts in component orders on the iPhone 5.

So here is my main question. Do you think that an iPhone 5 upgrade is really necessary? I thought about it and realized that, throughout my observations, most people still used the iPhone 4 and 4S over the 5. Do you think that Apple jumped the gun and created an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation?

I’ll be keeping an eye on TLDR; I’d love to hear your feedback!

Is an iPhone 5 Upgrade Really Necessary?
Is an iPhone 5 upgrade really necessary?

An iPhone 5 upgrade can be seen in the same way as an iPhone 4S upgrade was seen the year before by some — unnecessary — but it really depends on where the user begins. An iPhone 5 upgrade would be massive for someone still using an iPhone 3, for instance, but someone with an iPhone 4S probably won’t notice much of a difference at all. Apple releases upgrades every year, and the differences are usually fairly incremental. We talked a little bit about this very thing the other day at LockerGnome in Will Next Generation Devices Make Mine Obsolete? and Smart Phone Upgrade: When is the Time Right?

The short version: Apple is not trying to leave any of its faithful customers behind by releasing a new version of its famous iPhone every year, but what would you rather have: a company that sits on its innovations until they’re considered passe by the ever-changing standards of technology, or a company that shares them as it dreams them up?

Either way, “too much” and “not enough” are relative statements that are more founded in opinion than fact — in just the same way that “better” is a relative term. Unless you’ve got money to burn and you’re concerned about appearances and the status of being associated with only the latest and greatest — if your iPhone 4 or 4S does what you want/need it to do — then why would you need an iPhone 5 upgrade? I reckon that many people have decided that the iPhone 5 doesn’t add anything that the iPhone 4 or 4S doesn’t already do and haven’t upgraded. When the next version — or even the one after that — is released, these same people may notice enough of a difference in the hardware and features to make the jump more worthwhile for them.

The iPhone 5 was exactly what it needed to be, and yesterday’s rumor that led to market fluctuation (which Apple cannot verify or deny due to hard SEC laws related to publicly traded companies) could very well be an illustration of stock manipulation.

Image: iPhone 5 Unboxing, 10-10-12 by Brett Jordan via Flickr

Is Leaving My iPhone Charging Overnight Bad?

Is charging my iPhone overnight harmful?

Nolan Levesque writes:

Hey, Chris. I’m wondering if plugging my iPhone in to charge before bed and leaving it plugged in for 8-10 hours after it’s fully charged is harmful? Thanks for all the great content; don’t let haters get you down!

Is Leaving My iPhone Charging Overnight Bad?
Is leaving my iPhone charging overnight bad?

Leaving your iPhone on charge while you’re asleep shouldn’t have any detrimental effects on the battery. The lithium-ion battery in your iPhone has two modes:

  • The fast charge, which can charge the battery to 80% of its capacity in around two hours.
  • The trickle charge, which will charge the battery to 100% of its capacity over three to four hours.

According to Apple, your battery will lose some of its capacity every cycle, but it will take thousands of cycles before your battery will only hold 80% of its charge.

The modern lithium-ion battery can take thousands of charge and discharge cycles before showing any kind of sign of not being able to hold a full charge. So I think that it’s safe to say that leaving your iPhone charging overnight wouldn’t be bad for it. If you’d like to know more, we’ve covered this topic in greater detail here: Should You Leave Your Smartphone Charging Overnight?

Image: New Battery by DougWard via Flickr

Is An iPad Powerful Enough for Multimedia Editing?

Is An iPad Powerful Enough To Multimedia Edit On?

Ahmed Awad writes:

I’m going into college and I want to try getting into photo and video editing. I can type papers and do homework on my iPad, but do you think it’s necessary to get a traditional laptop for my video editing? If so, I’d likely want to get a Mac; do you think I should go for a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro? I just want to do light video and photo editing, some Web browsing, and maybe some very casual gaming — and, of course, liking and sharing your videos on YouTube!

Is An iPad Powerful Enough To Multimedia Edit On?
Is an iPad powerful enough for multimedia editing?

To be honest Ahmed, I don’t think you need anything more than an iPad if you’re not going to be doing anything more than quick and simple edits. You can easily use iMovie or one of the other multiple video editors available in the App Store. If you did want to do more than really simple edits and effects/transitions, then I would probably suggest a MacBook Pro — with more graphic and processing power — over a MacBook Air.

But if, as you have indicated, your video and photo editing requirements are on the lighter side of an average day, a MacBook Air may be able to suit your needs just as well. That being said, the iPad that you already have can also suffice for photo and video editing, doing your homework, writing papers, and liking and sharing our videos on YouTube. I’d certainly recommend iMovie and iPhoto, but they might not be what you’re looking for and it is difficult to give a truly optimized recommendation without knowing more specific details about how deep into editing you need to get.

The decision may just come down to how comfortable you are with the iPad’s form factor. Fine with it? Stick with the iPad. Want something that just “feels” a little more up to the task judging by machines that you may have used for such things in the past? The MacBook Air will likely also be okay. A MacBrook Pro would, without a doubt, get the job done, but it might be overkill if, like most students I know, you’ve got a pretty strict budget.

Image shared by The D34n (via Flickr)

Will an iPad mini Be Better for Me Than My Nexus 7?

Will an iPad Mini be a better experience for me?

Joey Giangola writes:

Hello, Chris.

I’m having a bit of a panic attack after picking up my first tablet today, a 32 GB Google Nexus 7, simply because I left my current Apple surroundings in favor of the Nexus 7’s tremendous value. Not to mention that your “cross platform is the biggest trend of CES 2012” spiel gave me the final nudge to pull the trigger. I decided against the iPad mini because of its slightly larger, less palmable size, underwhelming screen (in comparison to what Apple is capable of), and lackluster processor, which to me did not justify its premium price tag.

I know a good machine is more than just its specs, and the experience it provides is paramount. However, I plan on using this tablet for a while and something like the Nexus 7 — which has a little better hardware and a platform that is starting to get its act together — seduced me into thinking it was the better choice. However, after spending some time with the Nexus 7, I am noticing subtle differences that are making me second guess my decision and even creating thoughts of a possible return.

In all honesty, the next iPad mini is probably the tablet I’m looking for. However, my wife and I will be adding a second +1 to our family with the arrival of our new baby in a few short weeks. Needless to say, the demand for an ultra portable, one-handed device is at its peak. So… should I hold firm on my decision, return the Nexus 7, spend the extra money for seamless integration with my current Apple products, or test my endurance and hold out for the next version of the iPad mini?

Will an iPad mini be a better experience for me?
Will an iPad mini be a better experience for me?

I would say that you shouldn’t feel bad if buyer’s remorse has set in. The iPad mini’s screen may not be Retina, but it’s not horrible either. It may not be truly palmable, but unless single-handed operations are a must for you when it comes to tablet computing it won’t take away from your experience.

If you were happy with your decision, I’d tell you to stick with it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Nexus 7, but your experience hasn’t matched expectations. However, you’re not happy, and that tells me everything.

Is your satisfaction worth spending a few extra bucks? Absolutely. Otherwise, you’ve thrown away $200+ on a product you really don’t want. Which is a more insane decision? I’d imagine that the iPad mini would make a “happier” tablet for you, but that’s just a guess.

There are tons of apps for babies on both platforms, but does your baby want an uphappy father? I don’t think so.

iPad Mini by uka0310 (via Flickr)

iOS Camera Lens Three-Pack

iOS Camera Lens Three-PackHonestly, I’m under no illusion that I’m the world’s most amazing photographer. No, I don’t believe that using Instagram filters qualifies me as some kind of artistic prodigy. No one’s ever mistaken me for a budding Edward Weston or Lee Miller from my modest body of iPhone-taken images. But it’s fun to take pictures, gosh darn it, and having digital snapshots as keepsakes of the times and places where I’ve found myself over the years is motivation enough to keep taking them.

My limited needs allow me to eschew a heavy, dedicated, expensive camera in favor of what my iPhone’s photo capabilities can give me. As Chase Jarvis famously said, “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” and this suits me just fine. The only real drawback to relying solely on my iPhone’s camera for capturing pieces of the world around me is that it’s got a fixed lens. It’s a sacrifice that I make for the sake of portability, to be sure, but I do sometimes envy my friends and their “real” cameras for the lenses they can swap out to suit the situation at hand. I find myself less jealous the more they tell me about how they’ve paid more than what I’d consider to be several months of rent or a first-class ticket to the other side of the world for a single lens, though. And, more often than not, they covet additional lenses that may literally take them years of saving to get at second-hand prices (if they’re lucky).

So they’re the starving artists with the walls of self-created masterpieces, but I’m content enough to be the well-fed tourist with an Instagram feed of snapshots. Still, this doesn’t mean that I’m without options just because I choose the path of inexpensive simplicity. Thanks to some big-thinking geniuses, a three-pack of tiny lenses for iOS devices gives me (and maybe you, too) a taste of the lens-swapping good life on a ramen noodle budget!

For only $25, this iPhone 4/4S/5 and iPad (all versions) compatible set includes a 0.67x wide lens, a macro lens, and a 180 degree fish eye lens; each magnetically affixes over your iOS device’s fixed lens to enhance its capabilities. Check out these examples:

iOS Camera Lens Three-Pack
Fisheye Lens for iOS

iOS Camera Lens Three-Pack
Macro Lens for iOS

iOS Camera Lens Three-Pack
Wide Lens for iOS

Pretty neat, no? In addition, if you don’t care for the silver version of this set, you can get it in black or red, instead! Heck, at this price, you could get all three versions several times over and still not have spent as much as your poor, “real” photographer friend did on one. Again, it’s only $25 for your choice of any one of the following:

Marware C.E.O. Hybrid iPad Case Review

This product was sent to me to review by our friends at Mobile Fun. All opinions are 100% my own.

For a few years now, I swore to myself and everyone who would listen that I did not need a tablet of any type. I work from home and rarely go anywhere thanks to my Fibromyalgia and severe Degenerative Disc Disease. I have a great desktop computer and an iPhone — what more could I possibly need?

When I began working with another of my clients, they sent me a new iPad. Their product is an iOS app and I was required to become familiar with it quickly on both the phone and tablet. I grumbled a little, still not convinced I needed a tablet. I’m happily eating crow right now. I love my iPad and use it constantly. The first problem I had, though, was finding something among the available iPad 3 cases that I could be happy with.

Marware C.E.O. Hybrid iPad Case ReviewWhen our friends from Mobile Fun sent me the Marware C.E.O. Hybrid case, I wasn’t convinced at first glance it would work for me. To be honest, it seemed kind of cheap. I was being a snob. Shouldn’t a device as amazing as my now-precious iPad have something expensive and fancy protecting it? With a bit of trepidation, I fit my tablet into the case and was instantly shocked: this might just work!

This case has a rugged padded exterior that will protect your iPad against scratches and minor drops. There’s an injection-molded interior that makes the case rigid and prevents any lateral movement that could hurt your device. The inside of the case has a lining that will remind you of soft suede, keeping your iPad free of scratches and also acting like a screen cleaning cloth.

You definitely don’t ever want to drop your iPad, so this case comes with a handy strap on the inside to help you hold the device more securely. It’s elastic, so it can fit hands of all sizes. You’d think it would be annoying to use or leave a crease on your skin after a while, but nope! It’s actually very comfortable and I don’t even notice it while using it.

The back of the case has a crease that allows it to fold into a stand. I was happily surprised to find that this stand had perfect angles for me to do all of the reading, writing, and gaming that I want, whether I’m sitting up in bed, lying down, or curled up in my favorite place on the couch. The two ridges and lip on the lid of the case allow you to choose from three different angles in addition to simply having it lie flat inside of the little protective corners.

I am so happy with this case that I haven’t bothered to look for or try any others. It’s sleek looking. It doesn’t add any real thickness or weight to my iPad stand. It provides great protection while giving me the freedom to use my device the way I need at any given time. What more could a girl ask for?

Which iPad case are you using, and why? Would you consider giving this one a chance?

Which Lightning Connector(s) Should I Get for My iPad mini?

Anthony Ricottilli writes:

I have recently purchased an iPad mini. The only accessory I feel I really need is the Camera Connection Kit. I use the one I own for my iPad 2 often. I use the iPad as my main means of uploading, sorting, and editing my photos. Do you feel it would be better for me to purchase the new Lightning-to-SD card camera reader or the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter? Is the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter going to stand up to daily use? Or would I be better off with the SD reader made specifically for Lightning?

Which Lightning Connector(s) Should I Get for My iPad mini?Thanks for your question, Anthony! Not everyone will agree that Apple’s Lightning connector was a necessary modification over its predecessor (the 30-pin dock connector), but like it or not, the new connector is here to stay. And as with any new proprietary technology, figuring out the best method of enabling compatibility with older (and often proprietary) devices and connectors can be a royal pain in that place where the light(ning) don’t shine.

As with the MagSafe connector, which replaced the Apple Power Connector found on PowerBooks (Mac laptops prior to the introduction of the MacBook Pro line), Lightning adds improved functionality and durability in a smaller form. Your concern about the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter being able to withstand daily use is, in my opinion, valid but unnecessary. Whichever connector you ultimately decide to go with, as long as it’s an Apple product, it’s likely to either last the lifetime of the device or — should any defects occur — be promptly recalled and replaced by the company.

That’s not to say that third-party peripheral manufacturers make lesser products. In fact, Apple often throws a bone to third parties by giving them time to bring their own competing products to market. Apple is run by some very savvy folks, and they know that third parties come up with some very interesting solutions that help to further drive sales of iPads, iPods, and iPhones. The people working at Apple know it’s a far better strategy to encourage third-party development, at least to some degree, than to offer every last solution themselves. So there are third-party manufacturers currently selling their own versions of the Camera Connection Kit to consumers, often for considerably less than the Apple Store.

My advice is to go with your gut. That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, so I’ll also tell you what I would do in your situation: I would get both the Lightning-to-SD card camera reader and the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter, or I would wait for Apple to release a Camera Connection Kit for the iPad mini. If you want to save some money, try the connectors being offered by third parties, but make sure there’s a warranty and a fair return policy if you’re buying from a manufacturer with which you’re unfamiliar.

Speaking of which, have any LockerGnome readers used camera connection kits for the iPad mini or Lightning adapters made by companies besides Apple? What has been your experience with the products?

Image from Apple