Mar 11

Amazon Trade-In ProgramIf you have an iPad 2 and want a New 3rd Generation iPad, you have several options for swapping old for new. You can sell the iPad 2 to a friend. You can auction it off on eBay.  You can use reselling services like Gazelle.  Or you can use Amazon’s little-known Trade-In Program, which depending on your situation may be your smartest move.

Selling your base level 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 on eBay will likely bring you somewhere between $200 and $280 if your unit is in excellent condition, minus shipping and eBay/PayPal fees of course. Gazelle will give you $205 for a “flawless” iPad 2 with the same specs, $185 for a “good” tablet.  But Amazon is offering $320 for a “Like New” iPad 2 16GB Wi-Fi model, $288 for a unit in good condition, and $227 for an acceptable unit.  Of course, iPad 2 models with higher capacities and/or built-in 3G will net you more.

The difference is that Amazon only offers store credit for your trade-in, rather than cash. If you need the dough up-front to help pay for your new iPad, this option isn’t for you, but if you shop at Amazon a good bit and already have the cash on-hand for (or have already purchased) that new iPad 3, this is probably the best deal you’re gonna find.

Of course, if you know a rock-dweller that will buy your old iPad 2 for $500 – and you can live with the guilt – more power to ya.

Offer amounts subject to change.  Via PandoDaily

iPad 2

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Mar 08

Apple iPad Smart Cover (Black Leather)

Apple’s iPad Smart Cover, a magnetically connected screen cover introduced alongside the iPad 2, is compatible with the new 3rd Generation iPad

Apple has confirmed compatibility on their web store. 

We reviewed the Smart Cover last year and while we found it wildly overpriced (particularly the $69 leather versions), it is an attractive, functional accessory.  So it’s nice to know that if you purchased one and are upgrading to the new iPad you won’t be left with your tri-fold Smart Cover flapping in the wind. 

Sadly, the MSRP is unchanged: $39 for the basic version, $69 for the leather – though you can beat those prices by shopping at third-party retailers.

Check out other iPad 3 Accessories in our sparse, but ever-growing, iPad 3 Accessories Center.

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Jan 11

Will the iPad 2 Get Siri in iOS 5.1?

Siri, as we all know, is currently available only on the iPhone 4S, and is labeled – in very unusual Apple fashion – as a beta feature, or work in progress. But Siri’s sequestration won’t last forever. So the question is: when will we see Siri on other iOS devices?

Well, it looks like it’s at least possible that the day when Siri expands beyond the iPhone 4S may come sooner than we thought.  9to5Mac.com is reporting that there’s new language buried in the Settings menu in the iOS 5.1 beta 3 that suggests Siri, at least in part, may be included in iOS 5.1 for the iPad.

“Sonny Dickson was looking through the iOS 5.1 beta 3 settings application on the iPad and discovered a new section in the keyboard menu called “About Privacy and Dictation.” When opened … the iPad provides the user with the standard legal literature and feature information for Siri Dictation… On the iPhone 4S, Apple does not have a specific menu related to “Dictation and Privacy” in the keyboard settings panel, [which] may weaken concerns that this new iPad Dictation menu is simply carried over code from the iPhone 4S.”

Perhaps only the dictation aspect of Siri’s functionality – the ability to convert speech to text for emails, notes, etc. – will be included, or perhaps iPad 2 users will get full-featured Siri.  Or perhaps this is much ado about nothing. 

Why No Siri on the iPad Already?

Some have speculated that the more powerful A5 chip in the iPhone 4S is required for Siri to work well, which is why it wasn’t included in the iPhone 4’s iOS 5 upgrade; others say that’s ridiculous, that Apple kept Siri 4S-only because other than the improved camera, there wasn’t much reason for iPhone 4 users to upgrade unless Siri was limited to the new model.  We’ve got one foot and two hands in the latter camp, but if the former is true, there’s absolutely no technical reason Siri can’t come to the iPad 2 because it, too, has an A5 SoC with 512MB of RAM and a powerful GPU.

Siri on the iPad 3

Whether Siri is added to the iPad 2 or not, you can bet that it’ll be part of the iPad 3, which is widely expected to be announced later this quarter, likely March.  And, of course, the iPhone 5 will have Siri, as we imagine all iOS devices going forward will.

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Dec 19

HexaPose UStand iPad / iPad 2 StandLast year, I reviewed the InnoPocket HexaPose iPad stand.  This stand was designed for the original iPad, but did not fit the iPad 2, at least not well.  The replacement from InnoPocket, the newer HexaPose UStand, solves this problem with an altered design to accommodate not only both iPad models, but other 10-inch tablets as well.

There’s no need to go into a full review of the HexaPose UStand, as much of the original review still applies; however, there are some new features that warrant additional comment.

The UStand’s curved, aluminum base remains unchanged from the previous model.  What’s changed is the frame.

No longer plastic, the new UStand frame is aluminum.  It still has three vertical adjustments for optical viewing, and rotates to display your iPad in landscape or portrait mode.  And, rather than a fixed width, the new frame is adjustable.  

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Oct 18

Low Battery Under iOS 5

Shortly after upgrading my iPhone 4 to the new iOS 5 operating system, I noticed the phone’s battery was draining at a much faster clip than under iOS 4.  I’m not sure exactly what the cause of this issue is, but my guess is that it’s a combination of new background processes, activity from existing apps not yet optimized for iOS 5, and some buggy system-level code. 

Assuming Apple and third-parties will release updates that correct the problem over the coming weeks, here are a few tips to mitigate the iOS 5 battery issue, at least in the short term.

1. Reset Network Settings: This is a tried-and-true method of decreasing battery drain after upgrading to a new iOS.  And it’s relatively painless. 

From the Home screen, tap Settings > General > Reset, and then select Reset Network Settings.  This will wipe out the stored settings for your carrier’s wireless network, along with other network settings like Wi-Fi networks.  You won’t have to do anything to get back up and running on your carrier’s wireless network, but you will have to set up Wi-Fi networks again, along with VPN if you use it.  This does not affect apps, music, photos, or any other aspect of the phone.  For whatever reason, this tends to help with battery life issues. 

Be sure that you have your Wi-Fi and/or VPN networks’ settings written down before proceeding so that you can reconfigure them easily.

2. Turn Off Unneeded Notifications: iOS 5 has some new notification features, but even the legacy functions can be a drain on battery life.  Go into Settings > Notifications and disable any notifications you don’t need.  You may be surprised just how many apps are notification enabled, and how many are generally are useless.  This is a good idea even if you have no battery issues.

3.  Limit, Turn Off iCloud: Apple’s new iCloud service can, depending on how you use your phone, be a real behind-the-scenes busybody.  Turn off the iCloud services you don’t need (Settings > iCloud), or disable the service altogether if you don’t care to use it.  If you have your contacts, calendar and email already backed-up in the Cloud, on Google or Windows Live, for example, you may not even need it.

4. Turn Off Bluetooth: If you don’t use it – or use it much – kill Bluetooth (Settings > General > Bluetooth). 

5. Wipe (Restore) and Reconfigure:  Just as with a Mac or PC, doing an in-place upgrade of an iPhone or iPad to a new OS version can cause malfunctions large and small; it’s always better – though much more time consuming – to start fresh with the new OS and manually put things back the way you want them. 

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