News on Apple iPad

December 8, 2010

This article aims to inform you regarding the first news app for Apple iPad and it then compares mobile phone operators contracts and download limits. We are beginning to see some very competitive iPad reductions and contract deals.

The Apple iPad is a touchscreen tablet computer that revolutionises the way you access the internet. The iPad is offering a new way of delivering your news. For example, The Sunday Times is the first newspaper to introduce a news app, a digital version, that allows readers to view the entire printed edition of their paper with video, graphics and superb HD-quality picture slideshows without getting any print on your hands! The iPad can deliver fantastic graphics and the app is free to view. However, to download issues of the Sunday Times you will have to pay £1.79 a week via your iTunes account. However, if you subscribe to the Sunday Times website, it will cost £1 a week under their current 30-day introductory offer. If you already subscribe to the printed edition you will be able to download the iPad edition free. Why not watch a video of the Sunday Times app in action at  It only takes seconds to download each news section -to be read at your leisure- read in landescape mode and by rotating the iPad 90 degrees will give you plain text view of articles, with pinch and zoom functions enabling you to select type size.

IPad and the Internet

Wifi home users can use their iPad to connect online without any extra charge. There are wifi ‘hot spots’ in coffee shops and airports which you pay to use. The iPad can also connect online using the mobile 3G network, run by mobile phone operators, on a PAYG basis or a rolling monthly plan. Orange offers such a rolling plan for £15 a month for 3G data and unlimited access to BT Openzone wifi hotspots.  Operators are already enticing customers to sign up for longer contracts by subsidising the initial cost of the iPad.

Contracts and download limits

3 have introduced a two year plan that costs £25 a month and includes 15GB of downloaded data. The 16GB iPad costs £199; the 32GB £249 and the 64GB £349. If you exceed your data limit  3 will charge you 10p per MB of data -an expensive excess when compared to Orange and T-Mobile. However, 3 offers the ‘Mifi’  option which looks a great deal – a portable wifi hotspot that connects to the internet using a 3G network offering wifi only owners of iPad more flexibility. The Mifi offers 5GB of data downloads for £15 a month plus an initial cost of £39.99 for the portable wifi modem.

Orange & T-Mobile are both owned by Everything Everywhere and offer a two year plan costing £25 (existing customers) or £27 a month (new customers) with a rather meagre 1GB of downloads monthly at anytime and a further 1GB between midnight and 4pm. Not such a generous deal as 3. They will however only charge you 5p per MB for exceeding these limits. If you think you will be an avid data user of your iPad when you are out and about 3 sounds the better choice.

The best option overall?

Consumer Choices in the Sunday Times Newspaper suggest that it is cheaper to buy a 16GB 3G iPad for around £529 and a SIM only deal from O2 for £10 a month – saving around £78 over the 2-year contracts. For more information and updates:

  • visit the three website
  • visit the T-mobile website
  • Visit the Orange website
  • Visit the o2 website
  • Visit the iPad page on the Tesco website
  • Visit the iPad page on the Amazon website

Iphone apps for gardeners

October 26, 2010

The RHS Grow Your Own iPhone app

GYO iphone app

The RHS has recently designed a free app called “Grow your own” offering helpful information regarding growing fruit and vegetables. The base application is free and it covers the 20 most popular varieties of fruit and veg. Within the application itself you can buy an add-on for £1.79 to extend the content to an extra 16 plants and increase the functionality of the app.

In the first month of its launch more than 100,000 people had downloaded the app to their iPhone. This ranks the app in the Top 25 Free Applications List compiled by Apple.

The basic FREE app includes:

  • Help to select veg and fruit based on your level of expertise, available space and time.
  • Access to expert RHS advice: what to do and when. Common problems and what to do about them.
  • Links to the RHS site for buying good quality plants.
  • Access to RHS forum to chat with other gardeners.

The £1.79 add-on includes:

  • Covers a wider range of fruit and veg advice
  • Calendar alerts to remind you what to do and when.
  • Location-aware frost warnings to protect your plants
  • Location-aware watering reminders and drought alerts.

More add-ons are planned in the future. This app would make an ideal inexpensive gift for birthdays or Xmas for family and friends with iPhones. The content is suited to the less experienced, or less confident, gardeners but is also a valuable resource for all gardeners as they are out and about in their garden with their iPhone.  This app is only free for a limited time. For more information go to or go to the Apple Store link on our site [click on buy online webpage on the top of Home Page].

Best satnav for iPhone

September 18, 2010

Some of the phone-based satnav apps offer great value for money. The gap is closing between standalone satnavs and phone based satnavs. There are 5 iPhone Satnav apps discussed here. Having an iPhone navigation app means you don’t need to carry a separate satnav and having a GPS in your pocket or bag can prove very useful when you are not in your car.

If you want an iPhone-based satnav the Ndrive iPhone will cost you £9.99 and has clear maps and bold schematics.This is probably your best buy currently.

A close contender is CoPilot v8.0 at £25.99 from Apple iPhone Store but a typical price is £20 if you shop around. CoPilot is a 220MB file so download it over a wifi network to your iPhone. CoPilot Live displays maps in either 2D or 3D and the maps are clear and easy to read. One of the advantages of CoPilot Live is that it gives two turning directions at a time when the turns are close together. A disadvantage of this app is that it does not offer you European maps and live traffic data is not available. It is however great value and simple to use.

Similarly, but more expensive, is the Navigon Mobile Navigator iPhone app at £52.99. For the extra money it allows you to send your current location to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

TomTom v1.0 for iPhone is also incredibly easy and fast to use. The screen display is really clear  – on a par with TomTom’s stand alone satnavs. Directions are loud and clear and it has the advantage of a night mode when the colour display changes so it is easier to read in dark conditions. The biggest disappointment is the price – you can buy a TomTom 1.0 at around £59.99.

Beware, Which users found the app to avoid was Navmii iPhone app at £19.99. This app was difficult to use and offered limited online support.

Sources: Engineering & Technology Journal;;

iPhone games reviewed

September 18, 2010

This article reviews3 games; Mirror’s Edge rated as 5 star and 4 stars -Knights Rush and Slice IT!

Mirror’s Edge at £2.99 is suited to players aged 9 years and above. Originally a console player in 2008 it has a huge following of dedicated fans and can now be played on high-definition display of the iPhone 4 where it sets an innovative new standard for mobile gaming. In the scenario you play Faith, the heroine who runs, jumps and drop-kicks her way through the enemies in her life (not a gun in sight)! The production values of this game are really high and there is not a single button to jab – Faith’s actions are sensitively controlled by swiping the screen – it is five star enjoyment and deeply impressive.

Knight’s Rush at £1.79 is also recommended for players aged 9 and above. The context is action-adventure. The player makes the choice to play as one of three sword-wielding heroes. You can slice your way through 40 levels and over 50 different enemies in your quest for mastery of the medieval world. The graphics are cartoon in character and the learning modes allow you to build up your power and mastery, culminating in the Super Endless mode where your successful kills enable you to rise up the online high score tables. An adrenaline-rush fun game.

Slice IT! at 59p is recommended for players aged 4+. It is a simple yet cerebral challenging game – that is, simple to learn but taking hours to master. The game is rather like geometric puzzles requiring the player to divide different shapes into sections – the aim is to build shapes that represent the same surface area – for example, slicing a square into four pieces with two swipes. Its geometric challenges ramp up to GCSE maths and beyond with 60 stages to work through (there are hints if you get stuck). This game is great for getting your right brain into gear – or buy it for the kids!

Source: for video trailers of games go to

IPhone apps can offer political power

May 4, 2010

You have a few days left before you cast your vote for your chosen parliamentary candidate. You may have been watching the recent TV debates as a passive spectator but did you know that by using your iPhone or smartphone during the debates (as thousands were at the rate of 34 tweets per second!), offered you a channel for discussion during live TV commentaries?

Twitter adds a new dimension to TV events as watching TV and tweeting is like listening to the director’s commentary on a DVD – except it can be more fun. It can turn a solitary experience of TV watching into a communal activity. During the second debate iPhones were used to vote on Facebook for the most impressive candidate -Nick Clegg gained most of your votes on that occasion.

Social TV networking is a great way to be heard and can offer you participation and power -described as “co-viewing” by Kevin Slavin who has designed and released  software called Starling. Starling is designed to run on mobile phones as well as computers and enables users to find out about shows in a more structured way than is currently offered by Facebook or Twitter. Viewers with the Starling app will be able to rate shows; the software sifts through the most popular messages  to select the most interesting comments and will immediately display them, tickertape-style at the bottom of your screen. For example, if enough viewers request more close-ups in the programme, it can take immediate effect. The Starling app is not launched until later this year but iPhone have a free app available now called Miso.

Miso is aimed at encouraging interaction among TV viewers and asks viewers to check into shows and post comments on the show via Twitter or Facebook. Shows such as Britain’s Got Talent use this app. The free iPhone Miso includes a geolocation function, so if you are watching in a public venue, friends can join you in realtime! Social media could be part of everything a TV network does in 5 to 10 years.

For today, our politicians are desperate to abolish the passive apathy of the voting public. Live TV debates before our future general elections could see us reaching for our iPhones – no need to treck to the polling booth – cast your vote straight after the debate!

Learn  more about iPhone apps by clicking on the links RHS of this item.

New Opera Mini iPhone web browser for free

April 14, 2010

The Opera Mini iPhone app has just got Apple’s stamp of approval. It has been approved for iPhone and iPod touch as a free download. Opera claim the mini browser is six times faster than Safari on the iPhone. This increase should be of particular interest to owners of the original iPhone without a 3G connection. The new Opera Mini app was due to be rolled out today  and should be available to you for free from the App Store – check it out.

The Opera Mini makes use of the proprietary page compression and rendering technology by Opera which boosts up the loading of web pages on slow connections such as EDGE.

Opera Mini is easy to use and can synchronize data between your phone and computer.

Some Great Features of the Opera Mini App are:

  • Speed Dial gets you to your favoutite sites with a single tap.
  • An address field with auto-completion means you type  less
  • Tabs allow for multitasking with several webpages
  • Bookmarks can be easily managed and accessed

Let us know what you think of this new browser?

iPhone apps are clogging up networks

April 7, 2010

In spite of the fact that we will be paying £6 -a-year tax on landlines to enable a faster cable broadband network, the public is showing a preference for mobile data networks. The big 5 mobile phone companies all offer powerful, internet-connected smartphones packed with apps able to surf the net, email and access social networking sites on the move. Customers love the range of apps available to them and 950 apps a day are being added to the 150,000 already in the App Store for iPhone. So what is the problem?

Over Xmas, O2, the UK’s biggest network with 3 million smartphones users -2million of these are iPhones-  suffered clogging up of its 3G data service. The sheer number of connections made by smartphones was the root of the problem. Derek McManus, O2’s chief technology officer admits that phones loaded with apps often exhibit ‘chatty’ behaviour. For example, the app that looks for Facebook messages connects with the network every eight seconds. When you are not making a phonecall, or surfing the web, or downloading data, your iPhone is still checking for messages, or email, more than 7 times per minute and tying up the software used by the nearest phone mast. This repetitive activity can deny another user a connection and/or slow down the connections. Because of the growth in apps the situation is getting worse as every month passes. The arrival of Apple iPad will strain services even further. During the 18months that O2 had exclusive contracts with iPhone, the amount of traffic sent over its data network increased 20-fold and is continuing to double every 4 months!

In order to resolve this problem we need more transmitters -the more phone masts we have available the easier it becomes to supply us with a faster service and the less clogged our networks. O2 spent £30m in 2009 erecting more masts in and around London. The merger of T-Mobile and Orange later this year should enable them to be more flexible regarding connections. However, to meet the predicted rise in traffic we need 4G, known as LTE, and trials of one single 4G network in Slough already has the same data-carrying capacity as the entire 3G system of one of the big five. However, it is going to take years to go 4G countrywide and the bad news is that 4g requires new masts AND new handsets too …. so your iPhone is only compatible with the present 3G networks. We are stuck with a 3G system that rarely achieves advertised mobile network speeds of 7.2mps. A survey of 50,000 mobile network users found the following average UK network speeds:

Vodafone  1.186mbps

T-Mobile 1.089mbps

O2 0.929 mbps

Three 0.920mbps

Orange 0.823mbps

When speeds are ranked by region they range from the fastest Northern England 1.046mbps to the slowest Northern Ireland 0.659mbps – which is below the level required for broadband. By comparison, the average speed of landline broadband connection is 4.1mbps, according to Ofcom- about 15% of the UK population still cannot get a 3G signal. We really need more investment in the UK’s mobile phone network to provide good 3G signals across Britain.

National Rail Enquiries

March 27, 2010

If you are a regular train user you will really appreciate the train iPhone app from the National Rail Enquiries. Sure you could browse their website through a normal web browser but the app is so much slicker to user.

Within the app there is a journey planner, a favorite stations feature and favorite journeys. You can see the live progress of a train so no excuses for not knowing where you are when you are calling a loved one to come pick you up in the middle of winter and it is dark outside the carriage.

The killer part of the app is the ‘next train home’ feature – it figures out where you are, your nearest train station and where you are headed and tells you the next train to get; perfect if you brain is a little squify later on a Friday night and you need to get home.

The App is £4.99 and available from the Apple itunes store.

Multitasking your PAYG iPhone

February 28, 2010

The  Apple iPhone 3GS is the fastest and most powerful yet. It is the best mobile phone on the market with a variety of impressive and useful applications. The iPhone is much more than a mobile phone. It allows, internet tethering, so that you can use it to get a 3G, connection on your PC or Mac. Web pages and attachments can be viewed quickly while you are on the move and the 3D graphics will offer you an amazing gaming experience. However, you are constricted by the ability to only play games that involve the touchscreen or the accelerometer to detect movement.

The iPhone 3GS is faster and more responsive than the previous iPhone 3G. You can record, video, edit and share your videos by email to your MobileMe Gallery, publish them on, YouTube, or sync them to your Mac. You can multitask, you can be downloading email and files while web-surfing or composing text messages.

The 3-megapixel camera takes excellent photos as it has integrated auto focus and just by touching the screen you can manipulate your focus of choice. Voice control recognises names in your address book and music on your iPod. Voice control can allow in-car dialling and usable voice control this can all enhance the user’s experience. It also has a digital compass application for when you are on the road. The Apple iPhone is a phone, iPod and Internet device in one attractively designed package – its mail application is worthy of a desktop computer. The PAYG iPhone 3GS is available from Orange, Vodafone, O2 and Tesco Mobile – visit their sites for the latest deals …

  • orange website
  • vodafone website
  • tesco website
  • o2 website

At present O2’s offers are cheaper than Orange saving you £15 approx. on similar pay-as-you-go deals for handsets around £449 for 3GS 16MB and £549 for 3GS 32GB.  Alternatively try Amazon website  for a competitive PAYG deal.

The  Apple Iphone can change the way you can work with colleagues, socialise with your friends, purchase goods and interact with both organisations and objects in the environment. It could change the dynamics of how you now live in that it enables you to carry out business activities at anytime and anywhere. To feel good about yourself get an Apple iPhone.

Money saving apps:

Once you have aquired your iPhone (with or without a network contract) you can get free and paid for applications that are great for saving money.

1. Redlaser (£1.19) lets you scan barcodes and search online for lower prices using Google product search and Amazon online.

2. PetrolPrice Pro (£4.99) will give you cheaper fuel options within a 5,10,15 or 20 mile radius of where you are.

3. Meter Readings (59p)  tracks energy and water use in your home by day, week or month (as line graphs); knowing/altering your consumption habits can help you save money.

4. Tipulator (£1.19) Useful for restaurant tipping; enter bill amount, select percentage and number of people tip is being split by and the numbers are crunched for you.

5. App Sniper (59p) track the latest apps on sale and will notify you when your target apps have met your set price

Please let us know which apps you feel are good money saving choices

Best satnav is iPhone with TomTom

February 24, 2010

Which Magazine (March 2010) have recently reviewed and rated satnav apps and found that the highest scoring best app was iPhone with TomTom (app £60, car kit £100).  These prices don’t include the phone of course and for customers who have already purchased V1.0, upgrade to V1.2 is free of charge. Smartphone satnav apps can usually only be used on one brand of smartphone. For example, the TomTom app is specific to the iPhone.

The kit has a GPS receiver to enhance the signal and charge your iPhone as you travel and this significantly improves the app’s performance. The separate speaker improves the sound quality so that there is no distortion at higher volumes. This version also has great features such as spoken road names, advanced lane guidance and a help menu. It also has an updated map and camera database.

The iPhone’s screen has a 12.9 aspect ratio offering a clear route display and the screen adjusts according to its orientation. The TomTom cradle allows for this adjustment without removing from your car windscreen.

Downsides are the small icons make it more difficult to programme compared to a dedicated satnav and the schematics are small compared with most standalones. The app also works on iPod touch.

If you wish to learn more about the Which test lab results visit

Visit for apps and for more information re their satnavs

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