Monthly Archives: November 2013

iPad air or mini- which one should you buy?

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I received the new iPad mini with retina display from Apple this week. And as expected, it is faster and has a sharper screen than the first generation iPad mini. It is a touch heavier and thicker than its predecessor. It has excellent battery life, at least as good as the previous model.
But here is the thing- the difference in the screen is apparent only if you compare the old and new iPad mini next to each other or when you are looking at text-rich material. Also, the speed of the new A7 processor is apparent when one plays a graphic rich game like Infinity blade. So, if you have an older iPad mini and if you play a lot of games or read books on the mini, it might be worth the upgrade. The sharper screen and the faster processor make it worthwhile for this kind of discerning user.

But here is the question asked by my colleagues- which one should I buy- the iPad air or iPad mini with retina display? With the previous generation mini, the lack of a retina display screen and the slower processor meant that the larger iPad came out ahead in every comparison. This time around, Apple has narrowed the gap between the two devices. Both new tablets have been equipped with the A7 chip and the retina screen. The differences boil down to size and the marginal differences in speed (which most people will not notice during routine use).
If you feel the need for a larger screen and are going to use the tablet to do a lot of typing like writing papers, reading a MRI scan on the go or editing photographs, I would suggest choosing the iPad Air. It is lighter, marginally faster and the screen provides real estate to do more. Also, the color gamut reproducibility is better on the iPad Air. The reds, blues and magentas look a lot better on the iPad Air as pointed out by many observers. I checked this out on my devices and as you can see from the photograph of my home screen, the reds of the Netflix and Flipboard icons look a lot more “redder” on the iPad Air screen.
Also, the choice will be based on whether you consume more than you create on the tablet. In other words, do you watch movies, YouTube and read a lot more than you edit documents, write blogposts, edit photographs and movies. In that case, the iPad mini is a good option.
The final question is- does a smaller size and increased portability ? The iPad Mini offers the ability to carry it in your jacket pocket or in purses. To many, this is a significant advantage that cannot be ignored.
To me, the choice is clear- I still choose the larger iPad Air over the mini. It is lighter than the previous generation, faster than any other tablet I have used, the screen is super-sharp and the 9.7 inch screen gives me a lot more real estate to work with.
As for my 10 year-old son, who plays games, reads books and watches movies on the device, the new retina iPad mini is an excellent companion. He loves it and the flaws I see in it do not bother him. To each his own, I say!

BrowZine- must-have personal journal tablet bookshelf

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Last week, one of my trainees introduced me to an iPad (and Android tablet) app called BrowZine. At the outset, it is worthwhile to mention that the app is FREE!!
This app allows the reader to create a personal bookshelf of favorite journals and access them through the electronic access offered through the hospital or university. The app also allows the reader to combine individual articles from databases and create complete journals and arranges them in an intuitive newsstand. This Flipboard-like ability offers an easy to use format optimized for the iPad or Android tablets. The interface offers an intuitive way for users to browse journals by subject, discover new titles, and easily read articles.

The user has to log in only once to authorize their library e-access and then proceeds to select journals to fill the bookshelf. The app also offers the ability to arrange the journals on the shelf based on the user’s interests.
BrowZine enables easy access to written scholarly articles on the go and also includes the ability to share links to articles with colleagues or email a link to your group, all from within the app. And now on the new iPad air with retina display and newer Android devices like the Nexus 7, the articles are as crisp as news print – finally making reading on a tablet a very attractive solution for digital reading.

A case for the humble iPod

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The other day, during a cleanup of my office, I came across an old iPod. Well, to be fair, it is only 6 years old. The engraving on it reminded me that I gifted this to my wife in 2007. As I recall, she and I switched over to the iPhone after that and an iPod has been the device I would gift to a young niece or nephew too young to handle an iPhone.
I decided to give the new found iPod a second chance and started using this to listen to audiobooks. And over the last week, I came to a realization. There is a certain advantage of having a device without an internet connection and phone capability. It helps you to concentrate on the job at hand and “unitask”. The same goes for reading on the Kindle. Without the distractions of the “always available internet” and multiple applications at one's fingertips, one can get a lot more done.
So, I would not knock that humble iPod just yet. There may be more to learn from the lowly iPod than you might think…