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SOFTFlex Touch for iPad Review

Soft Touch Flex

A few days ago I received a package in the mail from Soft Touch Manufacturing. This is a little company that you might not heard of. However they had a product that they wanted reviewed. I had a few ideas about the product before it was shipped to me, however this is a new accessory and very few people have had the opportunity to mess around with it. Because of this, even with my amazing research talents, I had no real idea what I was getting my hands on. I present to you the Soft Touch Flex!

 

 

I was mildly interested to give this product a trial run. I opened up the box with a little interest, and found that this system was everything that I was promised.

The holder (as it is described by the manufacturer) was incredibly easy to put together. It was as simple as connecting and tightening the bolt. My iPad 3rd Gen fit easily into the spring powered grips and it was able to hold the weight of my iPad in every position that I had attempted to use it! This made it rather easy to find the best spot on my desk for the mount. There were a few basic limitations that were caused more by the basic nature of the iPad than anything else. One such limitation was the iPad touchscreen. This requires you to mount it within arms reach. The flexible design of the holder made up for this by allowing you to have a bit more freedom in where you mounted your iPad. It works like you would expect. Just slide the iPad into the loving embrace, and let the Flex hold on to it for you.

There were a few details that troubled me. First, though the construction feels sturdy enough, it is still plastic. The arms themselves feel like they could be the weakest link, and should anything fail, it would be that.

Even though I have only used the Flex for a few days it has already found a permanent place on my desk. I would highly recommend picking one up if you, like me, enjoy using your iPad as a part of your every day computer work.

My Apple Approved Rating: 5/10 (Nice product does what it’s supposed to… if I had plenty of spare cash I would buy one)

 
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Understanding the iPhone

 

Understanding the iPhoneThere are a lot of things about the iPhone that the majority of iPhone users do not know. For example, what is backed up in iTunes. This I think is partially due to the way new users are presented the iPhone for the first time. When you open the box for the first time there is very little in the way of instructions. A simple pamphlet telling you what the buttons do. After that you are left on your own. If you are an avid techie like myself, you will have very little trouble diving right in and getting everything set up. The iPhone is designed in a way that allows for almost anyone to use it with only the bare minimum knowledge of the product. It is not always that simple. Not everyone knows what most people, that consider themselves proficient iOS users, consider the basics.

Step 1: This is not a computer

iPhone is not a PC

Step 2: Protecting yourself from life

The iPhone is incredibly sturdy. It can survive massive drops, and has for me on many occasions. However we cannot rely entirely on luck. The best way to protect your investment is a insurance plan. Most major carriers have one, and Apple has AppleCare+. This last one is what I have on my devices. AppleCare+ gives you two years of hardware warranty, phone support from AppleCare, and two accidental damage deductibles (for 49$ each). One key note here is that while AppleCare+ covers all kinds of damage it does not cover lost or stolen devices. If that is your concern you might want to look at other third party insurances.

Second, find a good case + screen protector combo. This is an important point for most iPhone owners. A good case can be a fashion statement, or a tank. The choice, ultimately, is up to you. In the end I prefer to not trust my iPhone to the elements without some kind of protection. For me, I end up with a mid-range candy shell case with razed edges and a smudge resistant screen protector.

With your iPhone protected, you will end up with a much longer living device. Now all you have to do is keep your iPhone away from 1 year olds who like to use it as a chew toy.

Step 3: What happens if it breaks?

No one likes having a broken phone, however this stuff happens. What happens when it breaks? Like I said before your best option was to purchase AppleCare+ when you bought your iPhone. However not everyone got this. Fortunately there is another option. Apple will replace any model iPhone for a fairly cheap price (in relation to the overall cost of the phone). Check out HERE for more information from apple.com.

iPhone model Out-of-Warranty Service
iPhone 5 $229
iPhone 4S $199
iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS,
iPhone 3G, Original iPhone
$149

Should you go this route there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Firstly, your phone will not be repaired. It will be replaced, and it will be replaced with a “refurbished” device. Check out THIS for more details about their refurbished devices. There are a few more lesser known details about this service however. All refurbished devices have an entirely new outer shell, and can have mostly new internals. Things like the battery are always new!

Apple has a few methods for repair. Most of them can be very quick and painless.

First up, mail in repairs. Lets say you live in the middle of no-where and you don’t even have a post office for 50 miles around. The option for you is called Customer Arranged Shipping. Here is how it works. Apple will provide the shipping label (and in some cases the box too!) and you will package up your device and arrange with FedEx for it to be sent in. This option normally takes and estimated 7-10 business days. One additional detail about this, all payment is arranged over the phone with AppleCare. Alternative you have the Customer Drop Off option. For this you are given a work order number for a The UPS Store. The work order can be given over the phone, or emailed to you for you to print out. This one doesn’t take near as long as the first, clocking in at 5-7 business days. There is one final mail in option. This is the most expensive option, and the quickest. It is called Express Replacement. This option has a base 29$ processing fee (this is waved if you have AppleCare on your device), and a hold must be placed on a credit card for the full retail value of the device. Express Replacement will overnight you a replacement device, and all you need do is take out the replacement device, get your data from the old device to the new one, and follow the in-box instructions to return the broken one. Once the broken device is received back the hold will be released. The final option is rather simple. All you need is an Genius Bar appointment with your local Apple Store. Most Apple Stores are really busy so keep that in mind should you chose this option! You can find your local Apple Store HERE.

That’s all for this week! See you next time!

 
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New iTunes and what to expect

Published on November 25, 2012 by in Apple, Apps, iPad, iPhone, News

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The new iTunes. This is the what Apple has called the upcoming latest version of iTunes. The first thought that goes through most people’s head is “Well what is so different about it?” Well that is what I am here to tell you!

The first thing that I noticed when this new version was introduces was a continuation of Apple’s more recent design policies. They continue to focus on one thing, unification. With the new iTunes you will notice the more modern look that expands upon the current iTunes 10.7 layout. The new layout provides a more uniform experience when switching from the iOS products to iTunes. Rather than having a full control column, Apple has opted for a drop-down menu. Like all the recent UI changes it showcases one thing, it is where it most people would expect it.  The controls are exactly where you would look for them, especially if you have any experience with iOS 6.

The new iTunes on the left , and iTunes 10.7 on the right.

A one other interesting detail about the new iTunes is the updated mini player. The mini player is a small form of iTunes that has been sadly neglected. Currently, the mini player is really just the top left section of iTunes. With the updated mini player you can access your whole library without switching back by searching for the content you would like, and there is the new “Up Next” feature.

iTunes 11 version on the left, current mini player on the right.

Up Next is an interesting addition, it allows you to quickly see the next few songs that iTunes will play and make adjustments as you go. Even allowing you to make adjustments and quickly select what you want next on the fly!

Up Next menu

Have you ever been listening to an album and wanted more like it? Well apparently so has Apple. The In the Store feature will allow you to find similar music quickly, based on your existing preferences.

One of my personal favorite additions is the continued integration with iCloud. This will make it far easier to keep your library consistent across all of your Apple products. This works best if all of your content was purchased in the iTunes store directly. This is not always possible for every user, however there is always iTunes Match for those of us that have music from other sources. This degree of integration is very useful, and easy to use. Just click on the album you want and there it is. Any music you purchase in iTunes while on the go  is easily available for you to access on your home computer! Now the wording on the product description page appears to imply that you will be able to stream any of your purchased music, rather than downloading it (with the option to download directly). Added on to this is the new “Pick up where you left off” feature will make for fun times. This will enable most of your iTunes content (be it a movie, TV show, podcast, iTunes U content, or audiobook) to remember your place without any extra work from you.

iCloud integration! Prometheus DLC purchased separately.

Next up is the iTunes Store. You access it by clicking the Store button in the upper right hand side (and close it by clicking the Library button in the same location). Like with the iOS 6 iTunes and App Stores, the biggest changes are mostly cosmetic. Again Apple has reached for uniformity in this aspect, by trying to make the store look and act the same across all devices.

redesigned iTunes

The other major change that has been announced is the addition of a Preview History button. This feature was first released with iOS 6 and has finally found its way to iTunes. The draw of such a feature is obvious. I can’t remember the names of songs I own, much less a song I looked up three weeks ago.

We should expect to get our hands on the new iTunes soon! MacRumors reports that artists are preparing for the launch in the “next days.”

(All iTunes 11 photos from Apple.com)

 
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