iPad Mini Coming NEXT TUESDAY! Here’s what we know…

Here’s one of my favorite games to play as a tech reporter: decipher Apple’s invitations to events and look for clues! If you had any doubt that the iPad Mini is going to be announced next Tuesday, October 23rd, then check out the latest invite that appeared in my box this morning:

Apple isn’t a company that plays with words for no reason. When they say they have a “little more” to show me, that’s a pretty strong hint they’re talking about a “little” device, a.k.a. the iPad Mini.

Do you want to be among the first in the world to find out about the iPad Mini? We’ll be running a liveblog on October 23rd, breaking Apple’s news as it happens. If you sign up for my newsletter today, I’ll drop you an email just as Apple kicks off the event so you can tune in and find out what’s going on!
iPad Mini Mockup by 9to5mac

Why an iPad Mini? After all, isn’t the original iPad supposed to be the “perfect size” according to Steve Jobs? Frankly, yes, the iPad is pretty much as close to a perfect tablet in terms of size and weight that any company can make today. Here’s what Steve said before he passed about smaller tablets:

“The reason we [won’t] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit [a lower] price point. It’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company, we think about the software strategies first.”

But Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire have proven over the last year that a smaller tab, something in a size between an eReader and a full-sized Tablet, can offer a worthwhile experience at some really exciting price points. Some feel like these smaller tablets offer more than a taste of both worlds. While there’s no substitute for a full-size screen, a smaller iPad that can run all of the same apps as its big brother? Now THAT’S exciting!

So, the iPad Mini is coming (or is it the Lil’ iPad? iPad Nano? iPad Junior? LOL) but what will it be? Read on to find out!  Read More

24-hours into #iPadWeek: I’m an idiot. Also, email saved the day!

My new office set-up: got my iPad wrapped in soft, brown leather inside the Brookstone Keyboard Pro case.

If you’ve been following along, yesterday I found out that my MacBook Pro is going to be in the shop for longer than I expected and that I’m going to be working from my iPad all week. Last night I decided to try and get ahead on some of my work and started drafting a blog post for the site when I realized that I needed some screenshots from a website that doesn’t work on the iPad.

“No big deal,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just borrow my roommate’s computer for a minute.” So I hopped on his laptop, took a few screenshots, copied them to a USB flash drive, and walked back over to my iPad to plug it in. A brilliant plan except… why did I think that iPad’s have USB ports?

As I said in the title of this post, I’m an idiot.  Read More

Can I handle a week without my laptop? We’ll find out! #iPadWeek

Over the weekend, I dropped my MacBook Pro off at the Apple store. It’s almost three years old and is starting to show it. It doesn’t always turn on when I ask it to, and other times it locks up when running graphic intensive applications. On top of that the battery doesn’t always charge, it barely holds a charge… You get the idea.

Today I found out that my MacBook is so troubled, Apple couldn’t fix it in house! They had to send it to a mysterious place called “the Depot,” where it will spend the next 5-7 business days in the loving hands of Apple’s top technicians. At least, that’s how I like to think of it. Maybe they’ll just throw the outdated piece of tech in the trash, though. (I’m only kidding! I love you MacBook! Come home safe, baby!)

Either way, this week I’m going to be doing a lot of work from my new office setup. Check it out:

Yup, that’s my iPad paired with a Bluetooth keyboard. Pretty bare-bones if you ask me. The real question now is: Will I survive? Will I lose emails and be unable to locate files? I’m only in the testing period with this setup, so you’ll have to check in this week as I share my tips, tricks, and frustrations trying to really work on my (second favorite) Apple device.

Update: I’m now 24-hours into this experiment. Read the next post in this series to find out the early problems I ran into!

How to Upgrade Your iPhone to iOS6: What You Need to Know

iphone 5 and new ipad running iOS6iOS6 is coming tomorrow September 19th! If you have an eligible device, it’s important to do some crucial prep work to make sure you’ll be able to update with minimal hassle. Even if you don’t care too much about feature updates, it’s a good idea to download the new iOS just for the security and bug fixes alone. Plus the upgrade is free, so why not?

So first, what’s eligible?

The short answer is all the recent iDevices. That includes:

– iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone4S
– iPad 2 and the iPad3 (also known as the “New iPad”)
– iPod Touch 4

It’s important to note that not all devices will have the capability to take advantage of all of the features of iOS6. Lots of the small tweaks of iOS6 will be available to everyone, but many of the key features will only be rolled out to the newest devices. Check out our chart:

How to Upgrade

1. Tidy Up a Little
Take this opportunity to get rid of stuff you’re not using. It’s just taking up memory space. Go through your photos, notes, and videos: if you have them in another place, do you really need it on your device? Delete apps you’re not using. Think of it like cleaning out your closet: if you haven’t used it in 3-6 months you don’t need it!

2. Back up your iDevice
Make sure you back up.  It’s a two part process, so hang on tight. To start, make sure your device is connected to a power source and you have stable WiFi. On your phone, go to Settings > iCloud > Backup and Storage > Backup Now.  iCloud backup is free for all iTunes purchases of music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books. For everything else (including camera roll photos), Apple gives you 5GB of storage for free and lets you pay for more. If you don’t want to pay for more storage it’s not a big deal: you probably still need to plug your device into a computer running iTunes. Here’s why:

iCloud will not back up media you didn’t purchase from iTunes (music, movies, etc), podcasts and audiobooks, and photos transfered from your computer. So you probably need to sync with iTunes by connecting your device to a machine running iTunes, either via USB or wireless. If you haven’t set up wireless syncing with iTunes then don’t start now: go the old fashioned way and plug into your computer.

3. Get the most recent version of iTunes (10.7)

If you already have iTunes on your computer, you can update by going to iTunes > Check for Updates. If you are having trouble with the auto update, you can also download it at http://www.apple.com/itunes/.

That should do it! You’ll be all set to bask in the glow of iOS6. If you have questions feel free to leave a comment or get in touch on Twitter @smbizgomobile.

New iPhone 5 event officially confirmed for September 12

Mario's iPhone 5 official invite

Today Apple confirmed what we’ve all been thinking (and assuming): they will hold their big press event to introduce the new iPhone 5 on Wednesday, September 12.  Journalists and press outlets received the official invite today, which said “It’s almost here.”  The event is being held in San Francisco, California, and will kick off at 10AM Pacific/1PM Eastern.

Not to worry: we will have in-depth coverage of the iPhone 5 announcement as it happens, as well as hands-on testing ASAP.

It’s likely this event will only talk about the iPhone 5. According to rumors, Apple is planning a second event in October to announce updates to the iPad. That’s also where we’ll probably see the rumored 7″ Apple tablet (aka “iPad mini”) designed to compete with the Google Nexus and Kindle Fire. As a point of comparison, last year’s iPhone 4S announcement was held in early October.

It’s likely that the 4S will also see a price reduction similar to the way the iPhone 4 has been marked down now that the 4S is available. For example, AT&T currently has the 8GB iPhone 4 available for $99 with a 2 year contract.

additional info via MacRumors

Microsoft Office on the iPad & Android Tablet

Tablets have revolutionized our leisure computing. We can browse the web on our laps while we watch TV. Food magazines become full-color digital spreads right in our kitchens. And the email, of course. There’s always more email. But tablets haven’t been great work devices, not least because there’s no Microsoft Office on the iPad.

Now tablets have taken another step toward being all-around machines that can handle work too, thanks to CloudOn. Available on both the iPad and Android devices, CloudOn brings you the full Microsoft Office Suite using you guessed it, the power of the cloud. That means Powerpoint on the plane or tracking Word changes wherever.

Since it’s in the cloud, CloudOn links to both DropBox and Google Drive to make it easy to access, write and save files. Plus CloudOn automatically saves as you work, just in case.

We don’t advocate working on vacation, but if you’re planning to get away and worried something may come up, this could be the perfect strategy for coping without having to bring your fully decked-out work computer.

Apple Introduces iPad “Smart Case” – complete back protection + smart cover for your iPad

A cool new accessory just hit the Apple Online Store, called the iPad “Smart Case.” Not only does this case support a magnetic smart cover, but it also offers complete protection for the back of your iPad, something many have complained the original smart cover lacked.

The new Smart Case is rubber, made of polyurethane, and comes in a wide variety of colors, including grey, pink, blue, green and red. The full range of color options can be seen below.

The Smart Case starts at $49.99 and could be a great last-minute Father’s Day gift for the upcoming holiday. So be sure to head on over to Apple’s Store and check it out!

Complete color options:

iPad Still King: Why Artists Can’t Take Samsung’s S-Pen and the Galaxy Note Seriously

2 of my drawings. Galaxy Note (left), iPad 2 (right)

Professional artists are increasingly looking to take advantage of the latest in Tablet and Smartphone tech to make the transition from tools like pen, pencil, watercolor and oil paint into the digital age. While solutions like Wacom tablets have existed for a long time, the high-end models with screens have two problems. While they’re fantastic tools for artists, they keep you bound to a desk as they require a computer to interface with. Plus, they’re not cheap—a 12″ Cintiq 12WX is lower resolution than the new iPad and twice the price.

So, within the artistic community, tablets like the $499 iPad 3 and phablets like the $249 on-contract Samsung Galaxy Note are getting increasing amounts of attention. The recently-released Paper app for iPad has specifically brought a lot of people to the iPad, while Android apps like the $2 Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile have emerged as premier artist tools for AT&T’s Galaxy Note.

The Verge updated their comprehensive guide to iPad styluses today with tons of new pens and new winners announced. This is the most comprehensive guide I’ve found on stylii for the iPad and a good place to start if you’re feeling lost. From personal experience with a variety of Styluses, however, I honestly find them to be all about the same. I love the Kensington Virtuoso, for instance, because it comes in a variety of colors, has a good weight, and can be picked up almost anywhere for around $10. If you’re out and about and left your stylus at home, you can easily pop into a Best Buy or a Staples and just pick up a new one without hurting the wallet.

But I bring up the Verge article because the #1 response from the community seems to be, “What about the Samsung S-Pen on the Galaxy Note?” This is especially relevant because Samsung has already announced they’re delaying the next 10″ Galaxy Note Tablet in order to incorporate the same S-Pen tech they use in the note. Technologically, this sounds like a good thing, as the S-Pen has several advantages over the iPad’s stylus like pressure sensitivity and OS-level support for things like handwriting recognition. But can Samsung win artists over to Android?

I’ve been using the Galaxy Note as my primary phone for a few months, and while it’s great for a ton of different uses, the answer is “hell no,” at least until Samsung fixes some major problems with the S-Pen tech. Keep reading to see why.  Read More

Nexus Remote Service Keeps Your Docs in the Cloud

Nexus Remote ServiceDropbox, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, SugarSync, and Google Drive have been getting all the consumer cloud storage love as of late. The services are uber-popular, but may not be the best option for the enterprise due to the simple fact sensitive documents/files stop being sensitive once they are downloaded onto personal mobile devices. Nexus by ionGrid is a solution that lets users access and modify files from an iPad while they file stay protected by company IT policy.

Nexus is composed of two parts: the server portion and the mobile app for iPad. Nexus Server gives the Nexus app access to any SharePoint documents or Windows file shares. The app acts as a portal to these files, giving the user full access to files via a data connection. According to ionGrid, “The combination of the client and server software gives you access to your work files, even when you’re out on the road, and the best quality, pixel perfect rendering of documents that you can find.”  Read More

Eventbrite Adds “At The Door” Credit Card Ticket Sales Devices

Eventbrite transaction screen on iPad

Obviously, mobile credit card processing is where it’s at. Case in point, the online event promotions and ticket sales giant (for the rest of us) Eventbrite has announced their mobile “At The Door” devices that let users buy tickets to events, well, at the door.

Eventbrite is a quick, easy, and less expensive way than its more popular competitors *Cough Ticketmaster Cough* to promote and sell tickets to your event online. You can set up an event in minutes, promote your event across social media networks, and track sales numbers and other analytics. At any event, there are people who will ignore all your attempts to get them buy tickets in advance, and will walk up to the door the day of the event and ask “can I still buy tickets?”.  Read More