Everpurse: Wireless Charging Bag for your Mobile Device

Time to stump for another great Kickstarter project. This one is called the Everpurse. I know and you know that we smartphone users are likely going to run the battery out on that iDevice or Android or Blackberry or whatever smartphone of choice you carry.  What with all the reading, emailing, calling, texting, GPS’ing, Instagraming, Facebooking, tweeting, and gaming you have to fit in, invariably the battery will fade. I know mine does.

Have you ever used one of those battery cases? You may not mind the extra bulk but I finally had to give up – most smartphones are designed to fit well in your hand and the powered cases invariably throws that all out of whack. Are you one of those people that prefer to keep your device naked? After using a ton of different cases on my iPhone and Android phone, I finally gave up and have gone “naked”, risking scratches and drops for a better grip and feel. Do you carry your device in a bag at times? Do you have a small purse, large purse, briefcase or backpack that you dump the phone into?

Well, the Everpurse can address all of these “first world issues” in a very stylish, very clever way. The smallish bag, only slightly larger than the phone itself, can charge your phone on the go, without wires, bulky batteries, or special cases. It is essentially a wristlet-style purse with a built-in battery pack for wireless, magnetic charging capabilities. Drop your phone in the Everpurse and the phone will charge from the pack nestled inside an insert in the bag. The battery is 2500 milliamps and apparently can fully charge  an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S twice before needing a recharge. Not sure what it will do with an iPhone 5, but the Kickstarter page confirms that it will, in fact work with the 5. Other devices, like various Android phones, may also be supported, but Everpurse says it will announce compatibility closer to production.

The battery-pack must be charged itself through an AC adapter, but it can do that wirelessly as well. Recharging the purse takes about six hours. Right now, all that is being offered is the small clutch;  while the black one is fairly androgynous, the founders are talking about making a more obviously masculine option. Leather currently sets at a $159 Kickstarter donation, and fabric is available for $129. With less than a month left to fund, the Everpurse project is well on its way to becoming fully funded as currently there is almost $80,000 pledged. Plus, of course, my $100+ bucks.

So, I assume you know how Kickstarter works, but in case you don’t, it is a crowd-funded site for inventions, projects, tech gadgets, music, art and other creative endeavors where creators can advertise what they would like to do, how much money it will cost to do it and offer up shares or merchandise in return for successfully reaching the funding goal by the deadline. I have participated in two Kickstarter projects and they did fund and I did receive some cool stuff. So I am hopeful that the project will fund and everything will go according to Hoyle (whoever he is) and in about six months, I will get me a very cool Everpurse and forget about dying phones for the rest of my life.

Sure, I can buy a battery pack from $50 to upwards of $150 and drop it in my purse. But then I would have to fiddle with wires, return it to the house to recharge and invariably forget it. With the Everpurse, I will take the purse and phone into the house, and drop the little back on its wireless charging mat where I am unlikely to forget it as it may also hold my money, keys, etc.

Kudos to Liz Salcedo for coming up with the great idea and her handy husband for figuring out a way to make it work. I just love technology that incorporates great design and solves every day problems. Make mine orange.

Welcome New iPhone 5 (and other assorted items)

Yes, months of waiting are over. Yes, it’s called the iPhone 5. Like its predecessor, it’s all glass and aluminum, but only 7.6 mm thick, 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the 4S.  Same retina display density as the 4s, but a bigger, 4″ screen, which bumps it up to 1136 x 640 res and 44% more color saturation. That means an additional row of icons per page. Apple has updated all of the Apple apps to accomodate the new phone. Bigger screen means more data on each screen. And it promises to be fast. HSPA+ and DC-HSPDA and  LTE – fast. The antennas will switch seamlessly and you should be able to secure 4G speed wherever available worldwide.

Wireless is improved as well – the 5 will support 802.11 a/b/g/n at up to 150Mbps. New processor too – the A6 is 2x faster on processing and graphics, and smaller than its predecessor. Hopefully for a bigger battery. But all things considered, the numbers aren’t bad for all this new, faster, shinier hardware: Apple is indicating 8 hours of 3G talk, 225 hour of standby, 40 hours of music, 10 hours of wi-fi browsing, and 8 hours of LTE  browsing. The camera appears to be pretty much the same as 4S, with 8MP, faster capture and a smart filter for better color matching. Oh, and Panorama mode!  iOS6, which will come on this phone, includes a new Shared Photo Streams feature which allows you to share photos with friends, who can then comment on them or like them.

Video is updating too – it will still be 1080p but will have better stabilization and facial recognition features. The front camera is getting bumped to  720p.  You will be able to take pictures while recording video. Three mics on the device to improve audio capture.

Now, about that connector. The new one is called Lightning. Lightning is an all digital design, with 8 pins instead of 30. Needless to say, much smaller and incompatible without an adaptor with any of your existing iPhone peripherals. Of course, Apple is making the adaptor. Oh well. Wonder what that will run cost-wise?

iOS6 had its debut back in June, but the finer details as applied to the iPhone 5 are now cast. New Maps, with 100 million! points of interest and related info including Yelp reviews and photos and turn by turn directions. Not quite up to Google standards without walking and public transportation directions, but slick nonetheless. Access 3D satellite imagery by pressing the bottom corner of the screen.

Improvements to Notifications – access and update your applications, like Twitter, right from Notifications. Full screen mode in Safari. iCloud tabs to keep track of your browser sessions across devices. Mail has VIP filtering which allows you to set priorities for certain email senders. Passport which keeps important data close and integrates with your lock screen so you can flash your digital boarding pass at the airport.  Siri knows more about things like sports and movies,  can launch apps or post to Facebook for you if you ask her and even make a reservation for you through Open Table. Definitely getting more like Alfred here.

Same color scheme too – black or white. There is no room for grey area with this one.

All in all, improvements but no innovations. Positives but no “OMG!” But, the price remains the same – $199, $299 and $399 for 16G, 32G and 64G models, respectively. Gotta give Apple some credit for that. And the 4S and 4 get big price drops. I am using a 4 now and scoring a 4 for free on contract is pretty amazing – it is still a great phone.

You can preorder on September 14 and it will ship on September 21 – the day after my birthday (how appropriate).  For those not upgrading, phones from the 3GS forward will get iOS 6.

There were a few other announcements during the press conference as well – new iTunes and new iPods, the latter being far overdue for an overhaul. New iTunes incorporates more social features and integration with Twitter and Facebook, so might as well kiss Ping goodbye. New look too. More visually appealing with thumbnails of album covers instead of a text list. Access more functions in iTunes from a single screen, which is also a welcome change. Another cool add is a mini player that looks like a little bar and will allow you to play, pause, skip, and adjust volume. Very nice if you don’t want the whole of iTunes taking up your real estate. New iTunes in late October. Some updates to the iPods, but nothing earth shattering. Oh, and new earbuds, er EarPods. Like iPods, but for your ears.

Gotta love a company that closes its product launch with the Foo Fighters.  Didn’t even know they played “private” parties.

Oh, and yes, I will be getting one. In White.

Prismatic for iPhone – My New Fav News Reader

I wrote about Prismatic’s web application here in the Studio several months ago. I am pleased to report that Prismatic has now rolled out an iPhone version of its very capable relevance-based reader – it is now my go-to app for news. Using stories from my own Twitter feed as well as content from other relevant sources, Prismatic for iPhone provides me with a continuously updated stream of material on the topics I choose.

When you set up your Prismatic app, the app will give you suggestions for interests and publishers related to your location. Select more general topics if you like – as you can imagine I am very tech-heavy in my topic choices. The results are beautifully displayed on the phone with images and a blurb in the feed, the ability to swipe right for more information and even click through links within the app with a very fast-loading, content specific browser. Swipe the other way to return to the feed. Press and hold on a news blurb or the full article to add, or share the content via email, or Twitter. The gesture-based functions, animations and smoothness of the app are topnotch.

Swipe right on the Home Screen and you can search for content, review your activity including favorites, shared and read items, tweak your Home publishers and topics, access global news and peruse a list of suggestions that improve the more you interact with the app. Click on the blue labels under the title of the news story to visit other interesting feeds. It is a work of design brilliance and performs very solidly.

I also find news on Prismatic that I don’t find on my other relevance-based readers, so kudos to their algorithm and source breadth and depth.

One of my favorite uses of the iPhone is to access news for quick reads will I am waiting somewhere. Prismatic more than fills that need and I find myself turning to it more than once daily to get caught up on what is happening right now. If you are like me, you will love Prismatic’s iPhone app.

SlideShark Lets You Reliably View PowerPoint On Your iPhone

Speaking of presentations,  SlideShark, formerly an iPad only app  coming from online education purveyor BrainShark, hopes to make the experience of viewing, sharing and projecting PowerPoint files fit in your pocket. It has just released an iPhone app and, like its iPad counterpart, works some behind the scenes magic to make the presentation show as it should on your iDevice screen.  The iPhone app permits viewing and zooming of PowerPoint presentations, sharing and tracking of presentations, and connecting to projectors or TVs to blow those tiny presentations back up to audience size. With a SlideShark account, you can also store and access the presentations in the cloud at SlideShark’s site. You can also set auto-play functions to loop your presentation and can utilize a laser-pointer effect during presentations.

All in all, Slideshark is a handy tool if you are on the road and needing to work with presentations.

Twenty-First Century Blue Book

 

Might sound a bit like an oxymoron, but it's not. Thanks to Bob Ambrogi's LawSites, I learned the the Uniform System of Citation, a/k/a the Blue Book, which has been haunting law students (mostly) since 1926, is going mobile-digital. Instead of carrying that dogeared, spiral bound little monster in your briefcase, you can now tote it on your iPad. You can get your “copy” via the rulebook application for iPhone and iPad. Rulebook allows you to purchase and download federal and state rules and now the Blue Book. Like its web subscription form that has been around since 2008, you can do some trick you can't with the paper version, like click on hyperlinks, do full text searches and such.

 

Such convenience does not come cheap. In fact, purchasing the Blue Book through rulebook costs more than purchasing the paper or subscribing to the web version. But, for $39.99, you can have your trusty citation companion with you wherever you go and you won't suffer torn pages.

 

According to Bob, rulebook is running a special on Wednesday, August 22 for existing users of the Rulebook app – you can download the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence at no charge. This will save you $10 off the normal price, which is nice. Thanks Bob for the tip

 

What's New, Google? Drive & Chrome for iOS

 

Earlier today, a couple of colleagues and I were talking about what’s new in tech this week. I didn’t even hesitate – for me, the big news is Google Chrome and Google Drive for iOS. Not surprisingly, the news is full of Google right now with the Google I/O in full swing. While Chrome for Android is now officially out of beta as well, which is very cool, Apple device users have had to wait to leverage Chrome on their mobile devices.

 

So, what can you expect from the free apps? Chrome is, of course, Google’s agile browser. Drive is Google’s answer to Dropbox. Chrome for iOS, while slower than Safari because of some technical advantages offered to Apple’s own browser, Safari, still syncs bookmarks, passwords and your history pages, has unlimited tabs, offers incognito mode, it comes with Omnibox and Google Voice Search. In short, you can access your saved stuff – bookmarks and pages – from you desktop to your mobile. If you are a diehard Chrome fan, you will love it. If not, then it might not sway you from Safari, with the superior speed and native integration.

 

Like the Chrome for iOS, which is missing some of the features of the Android counterpart (what do you want? Android is a Google property), the Drive app is also less full figured than the Android version. You can’t edit documents or upload. You do get a much better interface than the web, and you can leverage the awesome image search Drive offers via Google Goggles. And, you can access files,  share with others, preview or open files with other applications and download the files for offline availability.

 

While there are some features left desired, hopefully we are dealing with Version 1.0 here and Version 2.0 will pick up the slack. In the meantime, it is far better to have them than to want them, so I see these infant apps as a good first step. And, just to throw something else in there, Google Docs is now offering offline editing of Google’s own docs – long awaited and highly anticipated. Thanks Google.

 

Google Chrome vid:

Barrister App. For Mobile Phones & Not Just for U.K. Lawyers

I stumbled on a post today from the Dallas Association of Law Librarians about a new service that will create and maintain an iPhone app for your law firm. The company is called Digome, LLC out of Nashville and the app is called Barrister App. Unlike some of the do it yourself options I have talked about here in the Studio, this app is essentially a content management system with a slick, iPhone, Android or Blackberry friendly face. The components include: Who We Are – the list of firm attorneys, contact information and practice areas; Where We Are – firm office or offices on Google Maps; What We Do – list of firm practice areas; Notifications – the key to communicating with clients regarding anything from appointment reminders to firm news; My Notes – user-generated notes, presumably pertaining to their legal representations; and, My Profile – where the client enters information.

 

 

You can use your own logo, but there are limitations on color scheme. Additionally, the app requires a log-in, which seems a bit counterintuitive and makes it more useful for existing clients than new ones.

But the company will do the heavy lifting for you, maintaining the CMS system and making sure everything runs smoothly. Pricing for the app is displayed on the chart below, with additional maintenance charges of 20% of the initial cost per year on top:

 

 

If you are a smaller player, you might want to skip to cost and make your site mobile friendly or use a Web app. However, if you are interested in keeping tight contact with your clients and facilitating the flow of information in both directions, Barrister App might be an attractive option.

Some Minor, But Welcome, Changes in iOS 5.1

 

Along with the shiny new iPad hardware, Apple has released the newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 5.1, which is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch 3rd Generation, iPod touch 4th gen, iPad, iPad 2, and “new iPad.” I got prompted to update the software last night. If you haven’t seen this yet, go into Settings > General > Software Update and get it for yourself (back up your device first). While the only major benefit to 5.1 discussed in the keynote was Siri in Japan, there are a few additional touches in the system that improve the iDevice experience.

 

So what do you get? First, you can now delete photos from the Photo Stream on any iOS 5.1. device. The deletions will only appear effective on devices running iOS 5.1. Additionally, you will only be able to delete photos uploaded to the photo stream on a 5.1 equipped device, so those older photos will remain for 30 more days. You can clear out the entire Photo Stream on icloud.com.

 

Next, Apple’s has improved the quick camera access via the home screen – no longer will you have to double tap the home button to bring up the camera button. Now the camera button will appear on the bottom right corner of the home screen: simply slide the camera button up to access the camera and slide it back down when done.

 

Next, iTunes Match has been improved. You can get Genius Playlists and Mixes now. Settings now includes a “use cellular data” option so that you can shut off streaming when away from wifi. Along with the  iTunes 10.6 update that came this week, users are reporting smoother, less bumpy playback so it appears the new OS fixes some bugs.

 

The new OS also adds greater granularity to the location notifications – check Settings > Location Services, where the new notifications are described. The notifications will show which apps are using what types of services.

 

iOS 5.1 comes with improvements to the iPad camera and facial recognition as well. Playback speed and skip back controls are now available in iPad podcast player. And, a curious “4G” indicator is now showing up on iPhone 4S – no, this doesn’t mean that your iPhone is now 4G capable. It appears to now detect when you are in a HSPA+ network. The new iPad will show an LTE indicator when it is actually in an LTE network.

 

That’s about the size of it. While not earth shattering, certainly better than the old version so its worth updating.

Windows Live SkyDrive Offers 25GB On Your iPhone

Want to expand your virtual real estate on your mobile phone? If you haven’t already gotten your free Windows Live account, now is the time to do it. Sneaking under my radar during the holiday crazies was this announcement from the fine folks at Windows Live – you can now access SkyDrive’s 25GB of storage via apps on your iPhone or Windows Phone. Pretty darn cool. Dropbox is nice, but it can’t hold a candle to the size of SkyDrive.

Of course, Microsoft has baked SkyDrive fairly deeply into Windows Phone 7.5. With the Windows Phone app, you can store documents, notes, photos, videos and access them from your phone. Share photos stored on SkyDrive by email, text, or IM, use Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with SkyDrive files, and keep your phone’s camera roll up-to-date on SkyDrive automatically. SkyDrive is integrated directly into the apps as well as core phone functions. Of particular use on mobile, you can browse your entire SkyDrive. share files and manage your storage.

The “extra extra” though is an iPhone app! In addition to their OneNote notebooks, iPhone users can access their files in SkyDrive, create folders, delete files, and share links to folders and files directly using the Mail app. Much of the functionality is the same between the Windows Phone and iPhone apps – tailored to the particular phone’s user experience. This is very very cool indeed – kudos to Microsoft for not leaving us iPhone users hanging!

Read more about these apps and SkyDrive and check out some vids over at the Windows Live site. And get an extra 25GB of useful storage on your mobile device. Thanks Microsoft.

 

Echosign Goes Mobile – Legally Binding Contracts on Your iPad / iPhone

 

Adobe teamed up with Echosign, an electronic signature service, a while back and now its hitting up the iPad and iPhone with all of the legally binding digital goodness in Echosign’s universal iOS app. Echosign allows you to send instant fax and e-signatures, track changes to contracts in real time, auto store and manage signed agreements, all with enterprise-grade security. Echosign has a number of different integrations, but this new iDevice option is pretty sweet. Download the iOS app for free and Echosign subscribers can attach their electronic signatures to any document within the app, along with the great sending and tracking features found in the full-service version. Echosign is no fly-by-night either – a lot of big names you might recognize rely on it for the contract execution and tracking efforts (Twitter, Google, Facebook, VMware, Dell, and Groupon, to name a few). So what are you waiting for? Get signing!