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Best of AppStorm in March

We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in February. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, Web, Android, Windows, or iPad apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!

Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!

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PDF Expert, an old favourite of ours from the team over at Readdle, has just had a major update – and we’ve got 3 promo codes to give away to mark the occasion!

So what’s new in PDF Expert 4.0 for iPad?

  • Retina support – probably one of the most wanted features for people who use the new iPad. It comes handy while reading text and making annotations on PDFs.
  • Embedded Audio and Video – now you can watch the videos which are embedded in PDFs! This is a great feature for all those sales people using their iPads for demonstration purposes, and for viewing educational materials in schools and universities.
  • PDF Attachments and PDF Portfolio support – making use of everything PDFs can do is the name of the game, and the latest update is set on doing just that.

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Technology has always gone hand-in-hand with education, and Apple has been a fervent supporter of the role of technology in the future of education. Apple has focused very hard to make it easy for educational staff to get Macs in the classroom.

Up until recently college students partook in a common practice known as the “get a laptop and a printer before going off to school” ritual. Students would then use their laptops to take notes, write papers, create presentations, and do research on the web. Now that the iPad has gone through its third revision and has become a popular device among all age groups, students are beginning to break from the common trend and buy iPads either along with a Mac, or as their main machine.

Is the iPad ready for this task? Can a student take notes sufficiently without being limited in any way? Let’s find out!

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There is a healthy abundance of writing apps in the App Store, all vying for that top spot on your iPad Home Screen. The fact is that there are a whole host of superb choices, which one you use will almost certainly come down to personal preference – where do AppStorm readers go to put their thoughts into words?

I, personally, am a big fan of minimal writing environments and have used iA Writer for the last year or so, but I’m definitely tempted by Byword.

Does Markdown support make a big difference in your choice? Do you want options, or a distinct lack of choice? Does the icon make a difference?

Is having iCloud sync a deal breaker, or is Dropbox your go-to service? All of these factors will come into play when weighing up the best writing app for you – where have you landed?

Let us know in the comments if I’ve missed a big one, I’ll add it in if possible, and what factors influenced your choice.

Winners Announced

Thanks to everyone who took part in the giveaway this week, and special thanks to the kind people at Soonr! I’m excited to let you know that the winners have now been chosen, and there are more of them than you might expect…

The developer has been kind enough to give away 50 promo codes! I can’t really list the winners here, but congratulations to those of you who have grabbed a copy!

Old Competition Post

Soonr Scribble for iOS is the natural way to markup any document. I’m pleased to announce that we have 15 promo codes to give away!

Soonr Scribble is an annotation application that lets you easily markup any file and work naturally on your iPhone and iPad. With Soonr Scribble for iOS, you can handwrite comments, draw illustrations, sign contracts, fill out forms, or mark changes on any document.

Get a FREE stylus after you buy (or win) Soonr Scribble. Simply visit www.soonr.com/scribblegiveaway, fill out the form and they’ll send you their insanely great stylus that works on your iPhone and iPad!

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Check. Check. Is this thing on? Hello everyone. If you’re a developer of iPad applications, then today, I’m talking to you. More specifically, the one’s who shouldn’t snooze through today’s address are the iPad game developers, but what I want to talk about applies to a wide range of apps.

I come to you today with a problem that I’ve been putting a great deal of thought into over the last few months. You see, I’m what the tech world might call a “dinosaur.” I got my iPad (the original iPad) around Christmas time the year it came out. This was, if you don’t recall, only months before the iPad 2 was released. I’ve watched as the new iPads and the apps developed for them have gotten better, and I can’t help but feel like I’m being left in the dust – specifically, regarding graphics.

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One of the biggest app announcements from the recent Apple event was the introduction of iPhoto for iOS. It got a great demonstration on stage and has spent the last couple of weeks buzzing around the Top Charts.

The question for today is, do you like it?

Are you a massive fan of the workflow that iPhoto encourages, or do you find it limiting? Do the gestures make you feel like you’re living in the future, or do you find them confusing and redundant?

I think that iPhoto was a superb app to showcase with the Retina iPad, but what do you think – have you tried it on an iPad 2? Feel free to leave a comment below about your experience with iPhoto!

This week’s poll will take a second of explanation to make complete sense, so bear with me!

New iPads will be arriving in homes all over the world tomorrow, there will be queues outside Apple stores, and thousands of bemused passers-by. The new iPad is a huge step forward, simply adding the retina display is a phenomenal upgrade – the iPad is nothing without the screen at its centre!

However, I have a little niggling question that has been bugging me over the last week, did Apple make the right compromise?

Apple very rarely releases a device that’s heavier and/or thicker than its predecessor (the iPhone 3G being the only notable example), and in the case of the new iPad it’s both. At 0.6mm thicker and around 50grams heavier (see here) the new iPad is evidence of Apple making a compromise. We all know that Tim and his team would have kept it the same, or made it thinner, if they could.

The compromise that we’re debating here is battery life, in order to keep the same battery life as the iPad 2 (something Apple clearly places as a priority) the new iPad not only needed a vastly improved battery, but a bigger one. Apple decided the trade-off was worth it, the minor physical differences in exchange for the same battery as the iPad 2 but with a retina display and 4G LTE – an impressive feat even with the compromise!

My question is whether you think the trade-off was worth it? Rather than give you endless answers, such as dropping a feature or two, I’ve given you four simple ones. Either you agree with Apple that the compromise was worth it, you’re undecided, you think they should have dropped features until everything fit, or you think they should have waited until it all worked. What say you?

Winners Announced

Thanks to everyone who took part in the giveaway this week, and special thanks to the kind people at Touchnote! I’m excited to let you know that the winners have now been chosen. Congratulations are in order to:

Guy Einy
Shawn
xbeta
colin
Dean

Well done to the lucky winners, and we’ll be in touch soon. Sorry to those who missed out, be sure to check back for more great competitions!

Old Competition Post

I reviewed Touchnote back in November and am proud to announce that we have 5 sets of 10 credits to give away to our illustrious readers!

Touchnote is the perfect app if you’re looking to send real-life postcards from the comfort of your iPad. Add your own photos, message, and signature – get sending away!

If you want to get started for free, read on to find out how to enter. It was recently included in our roundup of 11 iPad Apps to Show Off to Your Friends, you’ll be amazed at how fun it is to send physical postcards from the comfort of your iPad!

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March 7th was a bit of a milestone for me – it was the first time in my life that I had reserved and bought an Apple product straight after it was launched. Normally I am a bit dubious when it comes to technology, and before investing in a new gadget, I like to read countless reviews about it to really ascertain whether I’m getting the best value for money. But when the new iPad was announced I was certain that I could trust my instinct, took the plunge, and bought it outright without even reading one single review.

The features were certainly worth shouting about – that all-new, highly anticipated retina display and a beefed-up A5X processor with more powerful capabilities. All sounding good so far, I thought to myself. Then, the bombshell dropped – the new iPad will have 4G support (LTE), allowing blisteringly fast download speeds that makes 3G look ancient and sluggish.

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