Category Archives: Review

Review: The New Yorker iPad App

As we reported this morning, Condé Nast Publications have implemented an in-app subscription service in eight of their publications that appear on iPad. Along with the new subscription options, they have also dramatically reduced the price of subscribing to the digital editions of their publications. I decided to take The New Yorker app on a test run to see how the new subscription options fare, and whether the app is worth the money and the effort. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Previously, I have been unimpressed with the quality of some of the magazine-to-iPad ports that have appeared since the launch of the device. National Geographic was a prime example of this with poor quality graphics and stability issues (not to mention price).  However, The New Yorker app is a significant departure from this, which makes it a pleasure to read.
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Review And Giveaway: Wallpaper Wizard For Mac

If you are looking for a great desktop wallpaper management program that gives you access to over 100,000 free high resolution wallpapers for your Mac, then you need look no further than Wallpaper Wizard from developers Coppertino.  Wallpaper Wizard is an efficient, well designed app for Mac OS X that  allows you to manage your desktop wallpaper in a fun and easy way and using it has actually turned out to be a really cool experience.

First off, purchasing the the app from the Mac App Store, available in either a free (Wallpaper Wizard Lite) or a $6.99 full version, gives you access to more wallpapers than you could ever hope to use.  The images in the app are of excellent quality and are downloaded as you need them from an online database, meaning that 100,000 HD images don’t clog up your disk space, which is fantastic (the app itself is only 1.2MB).
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Review And Giveaway: ‘Snap!’ For iOS Devices

A cool iPhone and iPod Touch application that I love just received an update today, and to celebrate, we are giving away five copies for AppleBitch readers. The app is Snap!, a cool program that enables you to write directly on your photographs, allowing for easy annotation and customization.

Using Snap! is incredibly easy and it is especially useful for social networking and uploading photos to Twitter or FaceBook.  You simply have to ‘snap’ a photo using the app and then annotate it with whatever you want and then fling it straight off to whatever networking site you want or send via e-mail.  You can even adjust the focus and exposure within the app to highlight a subject, and your original photo is kept saved.
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Review & Giveaway: ‘Boom’ Volume Booster For Mac

Boom is a rather spiffy volume booster app for the Mac that goes all the way up to 11. You may ask, Why not make 10 the loudest? Well, this app goes up to 11. And it does so in a rather elegant way.  While your Mac speakers may be adequate for most things, I’ve sometimes found myself watching a movie through Quicktime on my MacBook Air when on the road, and simply wishing that there was a way to boost the volume a little.  And this is where Boom comes in.

Boom is a fantastic little app that sits on your Mac and allows you to boost your volume up to 11.  It can be set to open on login and sits unobtrusively in your menu bar allowing you to use it when necessary.  I found it particularly useful when listening to music through my MacBook Air speakers rather than earphones which tend to have adequate volume already.  However, I’ve found myself using it a lot more than I expected because the app also includes a really nifty one click equaliser allowing you to customize your listening experience.  So much so, that it is now one of the few apps that I have set for automatic opening whenever I start my Mac.
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Reflections On The Apple iPad 2 And Smart Cover

As a dedicated first generation  iPad owner and user, upgrading to the iPad 2 was a no-brainer. The thinner form factor, lighter construction, superfast processor and dual cameras sold it to me the moment that it appeared on the stage.  Now that I’ve been playing around with it for a while, here are my impressions on the latest addition to the Apple family. I’m not going to talk about the technical specs as these have already been reviewed ad nauseum.  Rather, here is the experience of the iPad 2. 

First off, if you are lucky enough to receive delivery of an iPad 2, or source one at your local retail store, don’t even think twice about buying a smart cover.  Get one.  It’s probably the best accessory that you’ll ever buy for your iPad 2 and the construction has got Apple all over it.  It is absolutely fantastic. But back to that later.
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Review: ‘The Cache’, Tom Bihn MacBook Air / Pro Sleeve

The Tom Bihn company has garnered a well-deserved reputation for constructing excellent bags and laptop covers that have gained a cult following with Apple users.  I have recently employed the services of ‘The Cache’, a Tom Bihn bag that is intended for protecting laptops, in my case a 13 inch MacBook Air.  The model of The Cache that this review concerns therefore, is the 13Air which is designed specifically for the new 13 inch MacBook Air.  The Cache for the MacBook Air currently retails at $30.

For those who aren’t yet in the know, Tom Bihn is the man and the company, CEO and Designer of Tom Bihn bags for over 20 years.  However, since the 13 inch MacBook Air is the only Tom Bihn bag I have tried, it is the only one on which I can offer an opinion.  And suffice to say, this is one laptop bag that all MacBook Air owners should consider to offer protection for their precious Apple laptop.
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Review: Apple Premium In-Ear Earphones

The Apple in-ear earphones are the premium version of the earphones that normally are supplied with the iPod or iPhone.  The premium versions are sold separately in the Apple Store  and retail for $79. While my preferred set of earphones are the Bose QuietComfort 15 Noise Cancelling headphones which I was kindly given as a gift, I needed another smaller pair for listening on the move.  After humming and hawing for a while, I decided to go with the Apple earphones.

First off, these things have a lot to live up to.  The J-Buds J-3’s, produced by J-Labs, were my previous preferred set and they were fantastic. So, could Apple match the J-Buds?  In a word, yes.  The difference between these earphones and the ones that are supplied as standard with iOS devices are like night and day.
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App Review: Sparrow E-Mail Client For OSX

I’ve spent a few days playing around with the latest and phenomenally popular e-mail client for OSX, Sparrow, which lets you view and manage your e-mail in a whole new way. The application, which has immediately made it into the bestseller list on the Mac App Store, retails at $9.99 and has been garnering praise for its simplistic look and approach to managing e-mail.  But can it replace a more well-established e-mail platform like Apple Mail or even the browser based Gmail client?

If you are a user of the official Twitter application for Mac then you will immediately recognize the similarities between that and Sparrow.  The design is very much the same and facilitates very rapid reading of and responding to messages, which is great if you have an overflowing inbox.  At the moment the application supports Gmail accounts only but the development team promises that general IMAP will be coming soon in version 1.1.  However, if you are a Gmail user with multiple accounts then this app is perfect for you as you can switch between them rapidly, much in the way that you can switch between two Twitter accounts with the Twitter desktop client.
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Review: Disk Drill Data Recovery Software

Recently, I was asked to review some new data recovery software from Clever Files called Disk Drill, so I amiably went ahead and downloaded the latest beta release of the software from the website free of charge and put it through its paces.  Disk Drill can not only deep scan your hard drive and recover lost data but can apparently help protect data via a tool called Recovery Vault which keeps a record of file data locations when deleted.

The Disk Drill interface is simple and cleanly designed, and helpfully explains what certain functions are and why they are required.  It is obviously designed for the average Mac user and not data recovery experts.  But that is not to say that the software isn’t powerful. It is divided into two sections, protection and recovery and I’m sure than anyone would put either to good use.
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Opinion On The New MacBook Air

As predicted, Apple has launched a new version of its MacBook Air with dramatic design and storage changes. The Air was long overdue for an update (the new design was launched 500 days after the last version – the longest of any Mac computer).

The new Air is striking. From a design perspective, it follows the current iPhone/iPad/MacBook Pro styling with boxed corners and unibody construction and comes in two sizes; 13.3 inches and 11.6 inches. This unifies the Air with the rest of the Apple family and, to be honest, it looks incredibly cool. At only 2.3 lbs, it can be carried with ease.

But it is in the technical specs that things get interesting. The most significant item of note is that Apple has done away with the hard drive and replaced it with solid state storage. While this is obviously more expensive and does not offer the same volume of storage for the price, it means that the Air will instantly boot from off very rapidly (around 10-15 seconds) and data fetching will be blisteringly fast. Continue reading

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