Tag Archives: TECHNOLOGY

Amazon reportedly launching a new messaging app called ‘Anytime’

Silicon valley giants are forcing themselves into the heavily crowded messaging app space. We saw Google reboot its messaging apps in the form of Allo and Duo. A new report now talks about Amazon contemplating the launch of a messaging app known as “Anytime”. This app will apparently have a wide range of functions and features. However, it’s not known at this point if Amazon will keep this limited to its devices like the Fire Tablet and the Fire TV, although we expect there to be some added perks for users of its products.

Amazon is said to have begun a survey with its customers on the feasibility of an app like this. There are a couple of screenshots available as well, which give us a detailed idea of how things work. One of the screenshots talks about features like video/voice calls, and extensive support for group chats. The company claims that the app will “encrypt important messages”, suggesting that encryption won’t apply to all chats, but only to a few pre-selected conversations. We hope to get more clarity from Amazon on this particular aspect.

The app will also allow you to talk directly with businesses, which could be Amazon’s way of monetizing the service. Apps like Telegram and WhatsApp have toyed around with this particular idea, so it’s no surprise that Amazon will take it up as well. There will be dedicated applications on Android, iOS, mobile, and desktops to provide seamless cross platform connectivity.

It is important to note that Amazon’s Chime, which was launched earlier this year, is also a messaging app, although it’s primarily targeted towards enterprise customers. It goes without saying that the company will use the same tech on the back-end to power Anytime. We expect more word to follow on this new app in the days to come.


Windows 10 upgrade creates nothing but chaos for ‘unsupported’ 2-in-1s

Some unfortunate folks who bought one of the initial 2-in-1 notebooks to hit the market and subsequently upgraded Windows 8 to Windows 10 (via the free offer) have found that their convertible is no longer compatible with Microsoft’s newest OS, as of the latest Creators Update.

These hybrid laptops, which were sold back in 2013 and 2014, run older Intel Atom (Clover Trail) processors, and were classified as compatible with Windows 10 back when it was released. And indeed they supported previous upgrades such as the Anniversary Update, but the Creators Update is not compatible with the CPUs.

Trying to install this latest update on one of these 2-in-1s brings up a ‘Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC’ message which doubtless caused more than a little head-scratching for those confronted with the error.

As mentioned, this affects machines running Clover Trail Atom processors, and ZDNet, which highlighted this issue, tried the upgrade on an HP Envy X2, confirming that it was blocked from installing the Creators Update – despite the initial Windows compatibility check giving the laptop the thumbs-up.

While Microsoft doesn’t appear to have addressed this compatibility issue at this point, Acer has documented the problem, and observed that it affects the following Intel processors: Atom Z2760, Atom Z2520, Atom Z2560 and Atom Z2580.

This bugbear effectively leaves these machines in the lurch, being stuck on the previous Anniversary Update. And not only does that mean missing out on the latest new features of Windows 10, but it could lead to problems receiving security updates if the issue isn’t fixed in a timely manner.

Security snafu

That’s because Microsoft has instigated a policy to ensure that Windows 10 users upgrade to the latest feature release, whereby a major update is only supported with security fixes for 18 months. In other words, security patches will run out for the Anniversary Update come the start of 2018.

And if this compatibility problem hasn’t been solved by then, that could potentially leave these users out in the cold and potentially exposed to threats.

The worry is that this is a deep-rooted problem which might be a thorny task to tackle, but hopefully Intel and Microsoft can put their heads together and come up with some solution.

Otherwise, the Windows 10 upgrade really shouldn’t have been offered to owners of these machines in the first place. It also begs the question whether future updates could cause problems for other PCs running older processors.

The good news is that according to Acer: “Microsoft is working with us to help provide compatible drivers to address this incompatibility.”

But it would be even better to hear some official word direct from Microsoft that all this is in hand, and folks don’t have to fret about what might happen to their convertible notebook as 2018 rolls around.

Meanwhile, if you own one of these machines, about all you can do is sit tight and hope for a positive resolution.


The best free audio editor 2017


The complexity of some audio editors might be enough to scare you away, but it’s more likely to be the price tag attached to such software that sends you running. Never fear, though – there are free tools that pack professional-level audio editing tools in a user-friendly interface that you can master in minutes.

Whether you’re looking for a tool to help create a soundtrack for your home movies, or you need something to help you convert your old record and cassette collection into MP3 format while removing background static, there’s a free audio editor out there for you.

We update this guide frequently, so you know you’re always getting the best advice based on the latest version of each program.

1. Audacity

Flexible and powerful, Audacity is the very best free audio editor available

Available for any desktop platform you care to mention, Audacity is our first choice free music editor. It has a huge following, and it’s one that is entirely justified. It’s a powerful tool that would put some paid-for product to shame, and although the interface might initially seem slightly intimidating, it’s actually surprisingly approachable even for beginners.

Audacity is equipped with an extensive suite of built-in tools, enabling you to edit pre-recorded files, capture sound through an attached microphone, or even stream music and podcasts. There’s support for a wide range of audio formats for both importing and exporting, and the range of built-in effect is impressive.

There’s also a great selection of third-party plug-ins to make it even more versatile (one of our favourites is autotune add-on Gsnap, for that T-Pain effect), and a comprehensive manual is available to help you to get to grips with the more complicated aspects of the program.

Its sheer power and incredible set of features make Audacity the best free audio editor you can download today.

Review and where to download: Audacity

Download oncenaudio

2. Ocenaudio

Another powerful free audio editor, but easier to master than Audacity

Like Audacity, Ocenaudio is available for multiple platforms (Windows, Linux and Mac). While not bursting with features, it’s a great tool for everyday audio editing. Real-time effect previewing should help to speed up your work as there’s no need to apply a change just to try it out, and a highly precise selection tool makes it easy to apply the same effect to multiple sections of a file.

You can use Ocenaudio work with locally stored files, or even open those hosted online. The audio editor’s somewhat sparse interface quickly becomes a joy to use, and if you spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the keyboard shortcuts, you should fly through common tasks in no time.

Ocenaudio offers good range of effects, with more available as plugins, and there’s even the option of exporting your creations as a ringtone for your iPhone.

Review and where to download: Ocenaudio

3. DVDVideoSoft Free Audio Editor

Download Free Audio Editor

A pared-back editor that makes trimming and editing as simple as possible

There are several programs named Free Audio Editor, which is understandable (developers want their software to rank well on Google, after all), but not particularly helpful for users. Here we’re referring to the software created by the media experts at DVDVideoSoft rather than the tool by FAEMedia.

Unlike Audacity, this software won’t help you create and master note-perfect recordings or eliminate background noise – but that’s not what it’s designed for/ Free Audio Editor makes trimming and converting sound files as straightforward as possible – even for people who have never used a similar program before.

The interface is a simple icon-driven affair, with no potentially confusing menus and drop-down lists. The main attraction is a simple cutting tool, but Free Audio Editor also includes an excellent metadata editor for music files (complete with cover art), and a great selection of export formats so you can store tracks in a format suitable for your playback device of choice.

Review and where to download: DVDVideoSoft Free Audio Editor

Download mp3DirectCut

4. mp3DirectCut

Trim and normalize with this free audio editor that’s great for podcasts

Despite its name, mp3DirectCut does more than just slicing up MP3s (although it does that very well). You can record directly into the program or work with existing audio files, and although there are no fancy options, all of the basics are covered. As well as simple track splitting, this compact audio editor also contains tools for normalizing audio, increasing volume, and fading.

Automatic pause detection is available to help make it easier to decided where to split a track, and if you have created cue files to automate file processing, there’s support for those in this audio editor.

mp3DirectCut also features a batching processing option that can be used to quickly apply the same settings and effects to entire folders full of files. This is handy for normalizing a series of tracks, or increasing the volume of a set that were recorded at the same time.

Review and where to download: mp3DirectCut

Download Acoustica Basic Edition

5. Acoustica Basic Edition

A more advanced audio editor, offering mastering with effect layering

Acoustica Basic Edition is a particularly great audio editor if you’re looking for a tool for tweaking music recordings. Not only can you make your own recordings and open files from your PC, you can also import tracks straight from CDs, edit them, and export them in the format of your choice.

Opting for the free version means missing out on options such as a multi-track editor and support for 7.1 surround sound, but you still get a lot to play with. It has a very professional look and feel, and the Effect Chain – an area where you can build up and play with a layered series of filters – is a particular highlight.

There’s support for DirectX and VST plug-ins, so you can easily expand the program’s repertoire. If you want to get a taste for music editing with the freedom to move beyond the basics when you feel ready, Acoustica Basic Edition is an excellent starting point.

It’s just a shame that the software is only available for Windows for now.

Review and where to download: Acoustica Basic Edition


Chelsea’s latest summer signing Ericsson offers something new to Stamford Bridge: Wi-Fi

Chelsea FC and Ericsson have announced that they are bringing Stamford Bridge kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, with blanket carrier-grade Wi-Fi coverage for the stadium.

Wi-Fi is ubiquitous nowadays, but it still takes a herculean effort to get places such as football stadiums – especially older ones – up to spec. That’s why Chelsea have partnered with Ericsson to make sure that fans can connect with each other and their social networks without straining whichever 4G network they are on.

Ericsson has already proved it has the nous to update a stadium with Wi-Fi. It’s done a similar thing at PSG’s ground, the Parc des Princes, and explained to TechRadar that offering up this type of connectivity has meant that PSG’s backroom staff have embraced a more digital setup in their training.

Arun Bansal, SVP of Ericsson, said: “It has helped with the sports management at PSG. The coach and physical therapist can monitor players through digital data [at the ground], see what support they need.

“It is more a platform for them, helping with data storage, enabling live TV streams and so on.”

While live streaming isn’t part of the package offered by Ericsson at Stamford Bridge, it has designed, built and will operate the Small Cell network the Wi-Fi is on, so fans should expect a smooth experience when you do log on at the Bridge.

The importance of a connected stadium

Chelsea is going to wait until the Wi-Fi setup is installed before it reveals exactly what it will do with its new connective power, but there are a few hints as to what expect, from connecting fans to helping organise things behind the scenes at the club.

“A connected stadium is an important way to deliver a great experience for our customers,” said Gary Twelvetree, director of marketing for Chelsea.

“We will develop news apps and services on the platform but we will wait for the technology to be installed.”

“But everyday phone behaviour will become the norm in the stadium. It will bring better context to the match and fans can bring their own content live.”

“We can also plan our food orders better, as it can enable us to integrate payment technology more seamlessly.

“It makes the phone a more integral part of the fan experience – we could maybe give offers as they enter the stadium and we will be able to enable group participation in real time at the stadium.

“We can get the fans to share the atmosphere of Stamford Bridge with a global audience.”

While the contract for the Wi-Fi lasts just two years – there was no comment on why it is a short contract but it’s safe to assume it has something to do with Chelsea’s plans for a bigger and better stadium – Bansal was keen to point out the benefits of having Wi-Fi in the stadium and what might happen with 5G comes to fruition sometime in 2019.

“I believe with 5G we will see augmented reality and virtual reality as part of sport going forward – it is where all sports are going. But that’s a little bit further ahead of now, the Wi-Fi is the first step,” Bansal explained.

“As for the two-year contract, we wanted to start somewhere then we will improve when we can.

“5G is set to come in 2019 and the ambition is to offer it going forward.”


Top 10 business apps for iPad

Note: Our top business apps for iPad round-up has been fully updated. This feature was first published in July 2012.

Some people think of the iPad as something of a toy – a basic computing slab suitable for little more than lounging on the sofa poking around at Facebook and Candy Crush. But those people would be wrong – especially since the introduction of Apple’s iPad Pro range.

A large list of critical business functions, like email, messaging and many administration tasks can be performed on the iPad with only its default apps. Add in a thing or two from the App Store and your iPad can become even more powerful.

We’ve trawled the deepest recesses of the App Store to highlight our current top 10 business apps for Apple’s tablet, whether you’ve got an iPad Air, iPad Mini or one of the Pro models. This is a collection of software which can make a real difference to your efficiency, improve your relations with customers and clients, not to mention helping you out creatively.

Try a few of them out and you might just find your iPad becoming your go-to office tool. Not that we won’t permit a little bit of Candy Crush in your downtime, of course…

Price: Free

This entry actually covers three different applications, Apple’s iOS versions of Keynote, Numbers and also Pages, each available absolutely FREE (or £7.99 ($9.99) each for iPads released before September 1 2013). If you’re already used to working in the Apple environment, these streamlined tablet versions of its desktop apps will be instantly familiar.

While they’re not quite as well-equipped as their larger desktop counterparts, there’s enough here to keep you working on your essential documents without issues. It’s quite liberating to be able to dance around a spreadsheet with your fingers or generate charts on the fly, and while we’re not keen on typing large documents with the iOS keyboard, a Bluetooth keyboard is the perfect accompaniment to Pages.

Keynote could be particularly useful if you’re equipped with slightly more kit – pair it with an iPad VGA adapter and you’ll be able to hook your tablet straight up to a projector, and if you have an Apple Watch on your wrist its (simplistic) app is perfect for subtly advancing slides or activating animations.

Price: Free/£1.59 ($1.99) per month for 100GB

The ying to iWork’s yang, Google Drive is the company’s online office suite (and storage locker) is well-suited to anyone already integrated with its ecosystem, which we’d have to presume is a vast majority of its potential users. Everything you create is auto-saved to Google Drive’s cloud storage, and the iOS specific apps – Docs for word processing, Sheets for spreadsheets and Slides for presentations – support all the major formats. Once you’re finished with something, you can instantly share it with anyone just by sending them the appropriate link.

We love the collaborative element of Google’s apps, which means several team members can access and work on the same document simultaneously, but the real key here is that you can also work offline, so if you’re travelling somewhere without an internet connection you won’t lose valuable work time. Everything’s automatically synchronised with Google’s servers when you next connect online.

You can store up to 15GB for free, but have to start paying after that with Google Drive pricing plans available up to a massive 10TB.

Price: £7.99 ($7.99)

This is a fantastic idea on the face of it. Take pictures of documents with your iPad’s camera, and Genius Scan will turn them into PDFs. In practice, it’s just as effective as that simple explanation suggests. Once you’ve snapped a document, Genius Scan attempts to draw a frame around it, which you can tweak if it’s not quite bang on. Scan the document, and Genius Scan applies a transform to your photo, flattening it out and allowing you to export it as a PDF or JPG.

This is perfect for sending signed contracts on the fly, particularly if you’re not near an actual hardware scanner, and it’s a great idea for cataloguing receipts for later expense claims without having to carry an overflowing wallet.

In fact, if you’re looking to reduce any stacks of paper in your office, Genius Scan’s batch scanning function could be the perfect tool – just import all that paper, process it as you go, and have it sent right to Dropbox or OneDrive. You can even protect your PDFs for extra security.

Price: Free/£44.99 ($69.99) per year

Efficient projects are well-organised projects, and keeping all the information you need in one place is paramount. There’s a reason so many diligent individuals rely on Evernote to manage their information streams – it’s a great place to store everything from written notes to photos and web content.

Integrated sharing options and Evernote’s group notebooks make team collaboration easy, and it’s all entirely platform-agnostic, so anything you do on your iPad will automatically be reflected anywhere else you have access to the service.

We’d definitely recommend plumping for the £45 ($70) Evernote Premium annual subscription option (even despite the recent price hike) – you’ll get 10GB of uploads per month as opposed to the free version’s paltry 60MB, synchronisation to unlimited devices, the ability to attach and search PDFs and Office documents, and PDF annotation tools which come in handy more often than you might think. Once you’ve integrated Evernote into your workflow, you’ll never turn back – especially as rival services like Google Keep don’t even come close.

Price: Free

In the spirit of saving paper and reducing the number of things you have to lug around in your bag, here’s awesome note-taking app Penultimate. It gives you access to beautifully rendered and smooth inks, which make your quickly-jotted notes look amazing, and you get a host of papers to use them on (with more available through in-app purchases).

As the name implies, it’s best used with the Apple Pencil or other stylus – mainly because scribbling notes with your index finger both gives comparatively poor results and looks ridiculous.

Highly useful for taking notes in meetings or for collaborative planning exercises, Penultimate is packed with features that integrate with Evernote. As long as you don’t have handwriting like a cross-eyed GP, Evernote will attempt to interpret your scrawls and make your notes searchable, and you can quickly and easily catalogue them in folders, meaning all of your projects will stay well-organised.

Price: £15.99 ($15.99) for full version

Apple’s preinstalled and now-removable Stocks app just isn’t quite up to the task. Replace it with the beautiful and clean Stocks Tracker app (then spend the £15.99/$15.99 on the full version upgrade) and you’ll see just what you’re missing.

It puts real-time quotes on US stocks at your fingertips, with support for just about every worldwide exchange. You can make the most of its highly customisable graphs and views to create your own personal stocks frontend, and use its custom push notifications to keep a close an eye on your portfolio.

While its abilities to track historical earnings and offer buy/sell indicators are undoubtedly useful, you might find even more inspiration in the integrated social feed, where other traders discuss the stock they find interesting and what they’re doing with it.

Price: £9.99 ($9.99)

Every business has a host of systems, and usually these aren’t interconnected, meaning you’ll need to remember a bunch of logins and passwords for every single one. Forget that. 1Password lets you manage all of your access credentials on your iPad, and it even integrates with Touch ID and a master password to ensure that you’re the only one who can gain access to your password vault.

You can use it with many online services to make your accounts more secure – not having to remember a password means it can literally be a random jumble of characters and punctuation, something 1Password can generate for you. And the app can even automatically update your accounts with new info to avoid duplicates or insecure logins.

Everything is end-to-end encrypted to ensure you’re fully secure, and the iOS app also supports 1Password for Teams, a specific version of the system with differing access levels allowing a central manager to control who can see what. You can give it a try first with a 30-day free trial.

Price: Free

Making the most of the Extensions feature in iOS, Workflow essentially allows you to create your own mini apps using the features of others you have installed. Think of it as analogous to Automator for the Mac: if there’s a task you’re forever doing, you can create yourself a quick macro to get it done in a single tap.

Workflow also features IFTTT integration, meaning the app can extend its abilities beyond your iOS device and through to anything you use online. With over 200 actions built in – think things like ‘Select phone number’ or ‘get upcoming calendar events’ – you’re sure to be able to come up with creative ways to use it, and this software is user-friendly enough that even more complex activities are reasonably straightforward to set up.

When you’re done, you can run your workflows in the app, or add a shortcut to your home screen for quick access. And the best news…it’s now absolutely FREE.

Price: Free

Annotations are very important. If you’re not clear with your clients and contacts, your meaning can get lost, so make sure you’ve got a tool which can clarify your message with ease. Skitch (another app from the Evernote stable) is perfect: you can take snaps from your camera roll, add quick annotations and mark-ups, and send them on with ease. Do it with screenshots and you can make maps more useful, ensuring everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be.

Plump for the £1.99 ($1.99) add-on and Skitch will also enable you to add your own highlighting to PDF files, pointing out important passages with a couple of swipes. It’s worth pointing out that you don’t have to rely on the camera roll – you can take pictures in Skitch and annotate them immediately before sharing them via email, social or any number of other methods.

Price: £9.99 ($9.99)

Putting your ideas down on paper in a mind map is a great way to turn them from ideas into reality – or at least sift out the crazy stuff from the concepts that might work. Fire up MindNode on an iPad in the middle of a meeting room and you and your colleagues can get to work straight away. The canvas expands, so no matter how many ideas you need to get down, you’ll fit them on.

Add connections, stick on a few photos and before you know it you’ll have a solid plan. When you later come to revisit and revise, you can shut off entire branches to ensure the focus stays on what’s important, then turn individual nodes into tasks when it’s time to make the plan into a reality.

There’s a huge list of export formats, so no matter what your backend supports you’ll be able to export your mind maps and use them later on.


21 of the best iPad keyboard cases: get the right keys for your tablet

With the iPad Pro Apple showed that it had ambitions for its slate to be more than just a humble tablet, with the official Smart Keyboard turning it into more of a laptop alternative.

But third-party manufacturers have been making iPad keyboard cases for years, so you don’t need an iPad Pro – or an official accessory – to get your type on.

With that in mind we’ve created a list containing some of the very best keyboard iPad cases for all of the currently available models, and some of the older ones that are still popular.

Note: within each category we’ve ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.

iPad Pro 10.5 keyboard cases

The iPad Pro 10.5 is a new model in a new size, bridging the gap between Apple’s mammoth 12.9-inch slates and its long-running 9.7-inch range.

It’s big enough for a full-size keyboard, so it’s great to type on, especially if you opt for one of these cases.

The KuGi iPad Pro 10.5 Keyboard Case is one of the cheaper options, but it’s got more going for it than just a low price.

For one, it fully protects the front and back of your tablet, which the official Smart Keyboard doesn’t. It’s also got a slot for the Apple Pencil, and that too is surprisingly lacking from Apple’s option.

It can also be folded into a variety of angles and the keyboard itself is a decent size. But like most cheaper options it uses Bluetooth rather than the Smart Connector, which makes connecting it less seamless and means you’ll occasionally have to charge the thing.

Don’t let the name fool you, if you want a genuinely slim iPad Pro 10.5 keyboard case you’re better with Apple’s Smart Keyboard, but the Logitech Slim Combo is more feature-packed and cheaper.

It has backlit keys and shortcut buttons, the keyboard itself is detachable and the case can be propped up at four different angles.

It also protects both the front and back of your iPad, is powered by the Smart Connector and includes a slot for the Apple Pencil. It covers your iPad in dull plastic, but if you want function more than form it’s a strong option.

Apple’s official option is arguably the best option, though only if you can stomach the price tag. Its slim and light design adds very little weight and bulk to your iPad Pro 10.5, and as it uses the Smart Connector you don’t need to worry about charging it.

When using the keyboard you can only really stand your iPad in one position, which can be limiting, but it works on a desk or your lap, and when not using the keyboard you can fold it out of the way and angle the tablet in other ways.

The Apple Smart Keyboard also offers protection to the front of your slate, but not to the back, so you might want to consider a sleeve or back cover too (just make sure it fits with the keyboard attached).

iPad Pro 9.7 keyboard cases

The iPad Pro 9.7 is Apple’s latest and arguably greatest slate, but you can make it even better with one of these keyboard cases.

This keyboard doesn’t use the Smart Connector, instead pairing via Bluetooth, which means you will occasionally need to charge it.

But the case it’s attached to stands out through enhanced durability, as it can protect your tablet from drops of up to 6 feet on to concrete, while a soft interior keeps your iPad’s screen clean and scratch-free.

The Logitech Create is one of the best – and most expensive – keyboards you can get for the iPad Pro 9.7. It plugs in via the Smart Connector and draws power from the iPad itself, so it never needs charging.

Once placed in typing position it will also automatically connect to your iPad Pro, so there’s no need for Bluetooth, and with full size, backlit keys there’s plenty of space to type comfortably.

The Logitech Create case also has a holder for the Apple Pencil, built-in iOS shortcuts, and a sturdy cover, to keep your iPad safe.

The official Apple Smart Keyboard also ranks among the very best, as you might expect.

It’s slim and light, so it doesn’t hamper the portability of your iPad, but it also does the job it’s tasked with, as it’s reasonably spacious and works seamlessly – just connect it to the Smart Connector and get typing.

The Smart Connector also keeps it powered, so you never need to juice it up, and the keys offer a reassuring spring-like tension without the bulk found on a traditional keyboard. The only real downside is the typically Apple pricing.

iPad Pro 12.9 keyboard cases

The iPad Pro 12.9‘s expansive screen makes it the best iPad for productivity, and the one that can most benefit from a keyboard.

It’s now been refreshed with a new iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) model, but they’re exactly the same size, so the same keyboard cases fit both of them. The following are among the best options.

This Fyy keyboard case is far cheaper than most of the big name ones and that’s one of its main selling points, but you still get a decent case for your money.

It’s a wireless Bluetooth one, rather than a Smart Connector one, so it will occasionally need charging, but it has a stylish faux-leather exterior, a holder for the Apple Pencil and comes in a choice of four colors.

It also has a slot for paperwork if you ever find yourself wanting to take notes the old-fashioned way, but you shouldn’t need to, as the keyboard itself is a good size and includes various function keys.

This Snugg keyboard is all about versatility. You can rotate the iPad 360 degrees inside the case and stand it at multiple angles, so whether you’re typing or viewing the case will accommodate you.

It also comes in a range of bright colors, which won’t appeal to everyone, but certainly help it stand out from other cases. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard though, so it will need charging from time to time.

We’ve included this very same keyboard in the iPad Pro 9.7 selection, but Logitech makes a 12.9-inch model too, and it’s good enough to be worth highlighting for both slates.

The Logitech Create Keyboard Case has an assortment of standout features, from full-size backlit keys, which let you type comfortably, even in the dark, to its row of iOS shortcuts along the top.

The Logitech Create also makes use of the Smart Connector for easy pairing and no charging, and the case itself provides some protection, as well as automatically waking your iPad up when you open it, and sleeping it when it’s closed.

New iPad keyboard cases

The new iPad is a relatively affordable option from Apple, offering a 9.7-inch screen and a stylish design, but lacking the power and features of the iPad Pro range, which many will find overkill.

Of course, if you’re planning to do a lot of typing then an iPad Pro might be a better option, but there are some decent keyboard cases available for the new iPad as well, such as the following three.

There’s a lot to like about the Fintie New iPad 9.7-inch Keyboard Case, starting with its low price and the wide range of colors and designs that it’s available in.

When it comes to using the thing, you can fine-tune the viewing angle, and with a spring mechanism underneath each key it will feel more like using a proper desktop keyboard than some keyboard cases do.

The case also provides full body protection for your tablet, and the keyboard part is removable, so you don’t have to carry it with you when you don’t need it.

The Anker Ultra Slim Keyboard Cover is fairly affordable but looks expensive, with a slim, lightweight design that matches the iPad itself.

It has a long-lasting battery that can go up to six months between charges. It’s also easily removable if you’d rather use your iPad au naturel, and it’s almost a full-size keyboard, with molded key caps, so you get a comfortable typing experience.

Anker’s case isn’t as protective as some, only covering the front of your iPad, but that helps keep the bulk down.

The Logitech Slim Folio Case is one of the most premium options available for the new iPad, and we mean that both in terms of price and features.

For one thing, its battery lasts up to four years, though it uses a coin cell, so after that you’ll need to replace the battery, rather than charging it.

It also has a full row of iOS shortcut keys, so you can easily change the volume or track for example. It should also offer a decent amount of protection, and has large, well-spaced keys for fast and accurate typing.

iPad Air 2 keyboard cases

The iPad Air 2 doesn’t have a Smart Connector, but with a 9.7-inch screen and plenty of power it’s still ideally suited for productivity, so why not give it an upgrade with one of these keyboard cases?

This Anker Bluetooth Folio Keyboard Case is a solid option for the iPad Air 2. A 6-month battery life means you’ll only be charging it twice a year, and a case that stays locked shut when the slate isn’t in use ensures your iPad is safe from scrapes and falls.

The case also allows you to have your iPad Air 2 either upright or laid flat, and the keys are designed to be quiet, so you can type without bothering those around you.

You should be aware that this case covers one of the iPad’s microphones, but Anker claims this doesn’t affect sound quality.

This keyboard case uses aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, for a finish that’s just as premium as the iPad it’s attached to.

It’s also thin and light, so you can happily chuck it in your bag without being weighed down, and with well-spaced keys you’ll be able to type comfortably.

Like any good keyboard case it also automatically sleeps and wakes your iPad when it’s opened or closed, and you can angle your tablet in a variety of positions, for comfortable use whatever position you’re in.

The Logitech Type+ is one of the more premium iPad Air 2 cases, in terms of both price and features. The keys are well-spaced, to help you type quickly and accurately, and there’s also a row of iOS shortcuts to speed things up further.

But despite being spacious, this keyboard case is thin and light. It’s also designed to keep your iPad safe from bumps, scratches and even minor spills, and it will automatically sleep and wake your slate when it’s opened or closed.

Its 3 months of battery life isn’t as impressive as some rivals, but otherwise this case is hard to beat.

iPad Mini 4 keyboard cases

The iPad Mini 4‘s small size means it’s not quite as well suited to typing, but that hasn’t stopped companies making keyboards for it. These are three of the best.

This KVAGO case is worth considering if you’re on a tight budget, as it’s less than half the price of most decent rivals.

It’s also not as good as those rivals, with a plastic construction and a fit that’s not perfectly snug, meaning this won’t offer a huge amount of protection.

But it’s available in a range of colors, automatically sleeps and wakes your iPad and includes function keys to control music and other settings. If you plan to type a lot, maybe spend a bit more, but if you just want something to occasionally tap away at this could make for a great value option.

The Logitech Logi Focus doesn’t have the most high-end of looks, but it gets the basics right.

There’s six months of battery life, iOS shortcuts for speedy operation, and a case that’s designed to protect against bumps, scratches and spills, rather than just house the keyboard.

It’s also available in a slightly wider selection of colors than some keyboard cases and will automatically wake up your iPad when you open it, with the only real problem being the same one faced by any compact keyboard – that it might feel a bit cramped.

The iPad Mini 4 is a bit small to comfortably type on, but if you’re going to try you could do a lot worse than this keyboard from Belkin.

Its aluminum build gives it a shiny, premium finish that ensures it doesn’t look out of place attached to your sleek slate, and with a battery life of up to six months you won’t need to charge it often.

The case is also fairly thin and light, so you don’t sacrifice too much portability, and it can be folded down flat to get the keyboard out of the way when it’s not in use.

iPad Mini 2 keyboard cases

The iPad Mini 2 is still going strong, and it can go even stronger with one of these keyboard cases.

More worried about the keyboard part than the case? Then you might want to check out this Arteck option.

It’s a cheap clip-on keyboard with 50 hours of battery life (when actively using the keyboard – you’ll get a lot more in standby).

The main issue is that, despite being called a case, there’s no back to it, so while it protects your iPad Mini’s screen, it won’t protect the rear, but if you just want a cheap way to type this is an appealing option.

The JETech Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard Case won’t cost the Earth, but you get a surprisingly well thought out case given how affordable it is.

The highlight, other than the price, is how adjustable your iPad Mini 2 is in the case, as it can be stood in landscape or portrait at a variety of angles.

The case is also designed to offer a reasonable amount of protection, and includes the basics you’d expect, like auto wake/sleep and iOS function keys.

A more premium option, the Snugg Ultra Slim Rotatable Keyboard Case isn’t cheap, but it is versatile, allowing you to rotate your iPad Mini 2 360 degrees and stand it at a variety of angles.

It also comes in a range of bright colors – though these, coupled with the otherwise plain design, probably won’t suit everyone.

Otherwise, this is a fairly standard keyboard case, but it’s lightweight, just like your iPad, so you can comfortably carry it, and it has shortcut keys to help you navigate iOS.

  • You’ve got the hardware, now get some software with the best iPad apps


Facebook on mobile may soon let you make GIFs

If you thought Facebook was running out of ways to help you bombard your friends’ news feeds, think again.

It appears that the social media giant is trying out a new feature for its mobile app that allows you to make your own GIFs, according to The Next Web.

Found in the upper portion of the app’s camera, the GIF maker seemingly allows for short, looping video that can be augmented with effects and captions.

It appears the GIF-making feature is not available to all users at this time, suggesting those who currently have their hands on it either got it by accident or through the update rolling out very slowly.

Additionally, it’s suspected that Facebook’s newest trick will roll out primarily to iOS devices before making its way to Android. We have contacted Facebook to learn more and will update this story as new details emerge.

Though this feature hasn’t been confirmed yet, we still look forward to the day we can resume posting short, looping posts for our Facebook feed — things just haven’t been the same since Vine shut down, you know?


The new Surface Pro’s sleeping problem is no more following recent fix

Well, that was surprisingly fast. Microsoft has announced via both a forum post and through its support site that the brand new Surface Pro‘s well-document sleeping problem is no more.

Specifically, the pleasant news was delivered by the very same Microsoft forum moderator ‘BryanH’ that promised disgruntled users a fix was on the way just days prior.

For those who may not have experienced this issue, like us, a considerable number of new Surface Pro owners reported their tablets were randomly entering a “Sleep” state. What’s worse, a smaller amount of users claim that the bug has caused them to lose work.

Naturally, the fix was made available through the Windows Update channel via Windows 10‘s Settings menu on July 13, with Microsoft’s BryanH alerting users on July 14. In the patch notes for the fix, the firmware update description simply reads “233.1763.257.0 revises system power reporting.”

Microsoft hasn’t explained what that means exactly, but has ensured folks that this will fix Surface Pro units randomly going to sleep.

While this is far from the first time a Surface device to suffer from random bouts of narcolepsy, this is definitely the fastest Microsoft has responded to the problem with a fix.

Via ZDNet


Download of the day – Evolution

Evolution invites you to construct simple stick creatures, then leave them to their own devices and let them learn how to walk. You can play it in your browser, but if you want to save your creations you’ll need to download the desktop version (available for Windows and Mac).

Create joints, then link them with bones, then connect muscles to the bones. Once you think you have something worthy of the gift of life, select how many of the creatures should be in each generation, select an action (running, jumping, obstacle jump or climbing), then click Evolve.

At first, your poor creatures will probably collapse in an undignified heap, but the most successful member of each generation will be used to spawn the next, and after several iterations hopefully they’ll evolve into something capable of locomotion as they learn how to use their muscles to best effect.

My creature – a hideous tangle of muscle and bone – began by flailing and twitching like a stick man wrapped in a bungee cord, but eventually developed a kind of bouncy walk, using momentum from its horrible limbs to propel itself forward. Nothing as co-ordinated as actually walking, but satisfying nonetheless.

Download here: Evolution

Download of the Day is our pick of the best free software around – whether it’s useful, fun, or just plain silly. If you have any recommendations, please send them to downloads@techradar.com.


Google Earth wants you to upload your own photos and videos one day

Google Earth is expanding its Voyager feature, which shows special videos and photos attached to specific spots around the globe, to one day include content from the public.

Announced during a special event in Brazil, Google parent Alphabet Inc. hopes to open up Google Earth to include photos, videos, stories and other contributions from regular users within the next two to three years, according to Reuters.

By pinpointing locations that have special meaning to them, users could theoretically write a story about their experience at that very spot, complete with photos and video for others enjoy.

“The story of your family history, the story of your favorite hiking trip — it could be anything,” says Google Earth Director Rebecca Moore. “It doesn’t have to be profound.”

Coordinating coordinates

Currently, Google Earth’s Voyager feature supports documentary-style specials ranging from footage of national parks to tours led by famed primate researcher Jane Goodall.

By opening up to the public, the amount on content on Voyager could increase exponentially — but it could also Google Earth up to some concerning scenarios.

Keeping user-generated Voyager content from going rogue could become a Herculean task, as Google’s moderators would have to scan a planet’s worth of posts to ensure no one abuses it for harassment, especially doxing via pinpointing a person’s home or work address without consent.

That said, the possibility of having users worldwide pepper a virtual Earth with shared memories, stories, trivia, tourist insight and more could stand to make the world feel more like the shared space it is — we’ll just have to see what Google does to make that a good experience later down the road when it launches Voyager’s public posting feature.