Samsung takes on the iPad with its new Galaxy Tab S2

Just days after announcing its thinnest smartphone to date, the Galaxy A8, Samsung has just announced its thinnest ever tablet in the form of the Galaxy Tab S2.

At only 5.6mm thick, the new Galaxy Tab S2 is 1mm thinner than last year’s Galaxy Tab S, and even thinner than Apple’s 6.1mm thick iPad Air 2.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung’s latest tablet comes in two sizes; an 8 inch and 9.7 inch model, both with a 3 x 4 aspect ration, which is much more reminiscent of the iPad’s dimensions than those of its widescreen predecessor.

The new tablets are not only super thin, but also extremely light, weighing only 265g and 389g respectively. They also have a 2048 x 1536 pixel super AMOLED display that, while lower res than its predecessor, is designed to provide bright, vibrant colours whilst also being easy to read.

As well as being slim and easy on the eye, the Galaxy Tab S2 is also fast and powerful, with loads of memory. It has an octo-core processor running at 1.9Ghz/1.3Ghz, and 3GB of RAM, with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, which can be increased to up to 128GB via micro SD. There’s also a 8MP rear camera and 2.1 MP one on the front.

With its sleek design, altered dimensions and improved specs, it’s clear that Samsung is taking on the iPad, and the Galaxy Tab S2 may be its biggest rival yet.

Available in either black or white, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 will go on sale in August although the price has yet to be divulged.

What do you make of Samsung’s latest tablet? 

Tom Hanks’ typewriter app a hit on iTunes

hanx-writer-app-by-tom-hanksRemember those traditional typewriters that hurt your fingers and made a heavy clunking sound every time you hit a key. They even used real paper – lots of it. No, us neither. Honest.

Well, if like Tom Hanks you lament the passing of the traditional typewriter, with its clunking sounds, sticky keys and smudged, unevenly spaced characters, you can now download an app for your iPad that emulates the experience. And you won’t be alone as the app, that was released last week, has already shot to number 1 in the iTunes App Store

It might have something to do with the fact that it has been developed by Tom Hanks, who not only has celebrity appeal but has also spent months waxing lyrical about the charms of this iconic old piece of machinery.

Hanx Writer (see what they did there) presents you with an on screen keyboard that looks like that of an old fashioned typewriter and makes all the authentic sounds as you type, including the distinctive “ding” when you move on to the next line. Your text appears in old school typewriter script as if it is emerging from the typewriter on the screen. There’s also the option to connect to a Bluetooth keyboard for a slightly more authentic typing experience, and you can even chose different (virtual) machines, for a premium.

Hanx WriterWhile the app replicates the sounds and, to a certain extent, the experience of using an old fashioned typewriter, it does have enhanced features that writers back in the back would have killed for, such as the ability to delete mistakes. You can also save, print, email or share documents.

The app comes in three different versions for iPad, with the basic one being free. You can upgrade to more sophisticated versions that allow you to use different coloured ribbons and backgrounds, save multiple documents and incorporate photos into your documents.

It’s probably not an app to use to produce an important report for work or anything that requires to be done quickly. And it’s probably wise to avoid using it on the train or other public place, if you don’t want to incur the wrath of those around you who may not feel quite so sentimental about sounds from a bygone age. But as a novelty app, it’s well-made, fun to use and allows you to pretend that you’re one of the great classic novelists or screenwriters tapping out a masterpiece, but without the inconvenience of Tip Ex or finger fatigue.

Have you downloaded Hanx Writer? What do you think?

New iPad to have anti-reflective screen

ipad-air-gallery1-2013With autumn fast approaching, we’re getting closer and closer to the expected arrival of Apple’s latest products. And as August marches on, more and more details about what to expect from the latest crop are starting to emerge.

Leaked details and images of the iPhone 6, in both a 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch model, have been circulating for a while but until now we’ve heard relatively little of any note regarding the new iPad Air 2.

However, today Bloomberg revealed that “according to people with knowledge of the matter”, the new 9.7 inch iPad has gone into mass production, with a launch expected at the end of this quarter. It also revealed that the new larger iPad will have an anti-reflection coating on the screen to make it easier to read in bright light. Details on the nature of this coating were not provided but it’s a change that will be well received by iPad users who’ve previously had to add anti-glare films to the screen to make it easier to see in direct sunlight.

A new 7.9 inch iPad mini was also reported to entering production for release towards the end of the year, but it’s unclear whether that too will feature the anti-reflective screen.

The iPhone 6 is expected to be launched at an event on the 9th September, exactly a year after the launch of the iPhone 5s, with the new iPads to be unveiled at a later launch in October. The eagerly anticipated iWatch is also expected to make an appearance this autumn, but it’s likely to be at a later launch.

Are you excited about the latest crop of Apples about to drop?

Apple unveils iOS 8

ios-8-logoYesterday Apple unveiled iOS 8 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference and was described by Tim Cook as “a giant release”.

The new software, which will be available for iPhone and iPad later in the year, includes many new features and notable improvements. Here’s a summary of the best…

Interactive notifications

With iOS 8 you’ll be able to respond to a notification without exiting the app you’re in when you receive it. If your device is locked when the notification appears, you won’t even have to unlock it to process it.


Apple has improved its messaging service in an effort to keep up with rival WhatsApp. New features include the ability to send voice and video clips, easily create and modify group messages, and send and receive text messages across all Apple devices. Another feature, reminiscent of another rival service, Snapchat, allows you to send a voice or video clip that will self destruct at a time of your choosing.

iCloud Drive

Apple takes on Dropbox and Google Drive with iCloud Drive, which allows users to save any type of file on its remote servers and access them through any iOS device, Mac or PC. The service is free up to 5GB, which is more than Dropbox’s 2GB limit, but less than Google Drive’s allowance of 15GB. Users are also able to send email attachments of up to 5GB. It also has new simpler photo editing tools.


Improvements to Siri include Shazam song recognition and a “Hey, Siri” command, similar to “Ok Google”, which activates it whenever you’re within earshot.


A range of new features in iOS mail will make it much easier to use. One major improvement is the ability to swipe down an email mid-draft to allow you to consult other content on your device and swipe it up again when you’re ready to continue.

Predictive typing

iOS 8 will include a sophisticated version of predictive typing that is context aware.


This great new feature integrates all your Apple devices so that tasks that have been started on one device can be continued on another.

Family sharing

iOS 8 now makes it possible for up to six family members to share the same iTunes account and you can even set it up to ensure that the main account holder is asked permission before any purchases are made.


Apple introduced new software called HealthKit that works with third party wearable health devices, such as Fuelbands, to share health data with your iOS device via the Health app. The app will even contact your hospital directly if it notices irregularities.


HomeKit is a new hub from which users can control all of their smart home equipment. The idea is to integrate them all so that a simple Siri command such as “ready for bed” would turn off lights, heating and TV, and set your alarm.

Over to you…

What are your first impressions of iOS 8?

Enhanced by Zemanta

The New iPad. iLike it a lot

As many of you may know, the new iPad has been announced, and is due to be released online and in store, come the 16th March, and here we like it.

Apple New iPad 3

For those that might have missed Apple’s Event on the 7th March, the New iPad, or iPad 3 are many were expecting it to be called was announced, and with it some really smart new features. Apple’s Retina display makes it way on to the new iPad. A retina display is a screen that has more pixels per inch than a naked human eye can see, so at reading distance, you cannot make out the individual pixels. The iPad actually has more pixels than your HD TV at home, which would have 1920 x 1080 which is nothing compared to the 2048 x 1536 the iPad has.

All these pixels need some serious power behind it to make videos and images flow smoothly, so Apple have added their new dual-core A5X chip. The X stands for quad-core graphics which helps drive four times the amount of pixels of the iPad 2. Don’t worry though, it still has that great 10 hours of battery life.

 Another great feature, finally I cry, is the 5MP camera which lots of tablets have had for a while. Apple call this the iSight Camera, as it uses the same backside illumination sensor 

seen in the iPhone 4S, and the 5 level lens with infrared filter with generally just better optics.

 I’d talk about 4G LTE connectivity here, but in the UK that’s not needed right now.

Please, sit back and watch this video on the new iPad here

There are lots more features I could go on about, but just quickly, it now has Dictation so as Apple put it, “Talking is the new typing” as well as iCloud and an update to iOS which brings some nice new features and improvements.

We’ve heard that people are already lining up outside Regent Street’s Apple Store in London with their tents and sleeping bags. Good luck if you’re queuing up, and enjoy it to those that are getting one.For all those wanting one now, 3 are to offer the new iPad in the UK on March 16th on some extraordinary deals. I’m sure everyone knows that on release to get one for free is very difficult, but if you put down £99 and are willing to shell out £29 a month for a 24 month deal, the New iPad 16GB can be yours, with a 15GB data allowance. Not bad, not bad at all. Makes me want to ditch my Motorola Xoom for this tablet.

Gary Cook