It's time for me to update my iPad as I do every other year. This year, however, Apple has thrown me on the horns of a dilemma with the introduction of the iPad mini and iPad Air, both with Retina Display. Do I buy that svelte iPad Air with its 9.7 inches of retina loving glory, or do I opt for the diminutive, but ever-so-totable iPad mini with its smaller, but nonetheless glorious Retina Display?
It's a tough call. I currently have an iPad 2 (the one before the displays went Retina), so I'm use to the larger screen, and having all that room to push pixel around has been a lot of fun. Transporting my iPad has never been a problem. It fits neatly in my satchel even with it incased in a MarBlue Microshell back cover, a leather Smart Cover, then further surrounded by a sumptuous leather Portfolio Slipcase from Targus.
The Retina display alone would make an upgrade to an iPad Air worth it, but Apple has tossed in a screaming A7 processor and other hardware goodies thus making the transition to the new full size, but thinner iPad a no brainer.
The latest iPad mini sports all the hardware amenities of its larger sibling, just in a smaller, lighter body. Upgraded to sport a Retina Display and that screaming A7 processor, which includes that mysterious M7 motion coprocessor, yet it still get about 10 hours of battery life, access to all the apps that my current iPad can, and all for less money, picking the new iPad mini would be a more than reasonable choice.
Its not like I have to decide today. I have a potential buyer for my current iPad and he's in no hurry. I can drop into an Apple Store or Best Buy and play with either or both. Then decide whenever my buyer is ready. Truth be told, I'm leaning towards the mini for no other reason than that its a form factor I'm not used to, and it would be interesting to see if I can adjust to the smaller screen.
No matter which I choose I'll wind up with a Retina Display and that means I'll want content that shows it off. Whether or not you own an iOS device that sports the hi-rez screen you'll want to take a look at this week's freebies. These are excellent offerings and one in particular may just induce a drool ladened response from anyone owning a device with inferior resolution. So lets get to it.
Note: All of the books featured here require at least 50MB of memory.
Hubble Space Telescope: Discoveries [937 MB, iPad iOS 5.1 or later, Maker: Space Telescope Science Institute]
It's hard to believe that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has been orbiting our rock, snapping wondrous photos of the universe for the last 23 years. For some of you our eye in the sky has always been there. For others, we remember a time when our space facing eyes were clouded by the very atmosphere that keeps us alive, limiting what we see and understand.
Lots of info and lots of pix...
HST sharpened our vision and in doing expanded our knowledge while at the same time posing more questions about the universe around us. It's the photos that has capture our attention and imagination. HST has photographed distant clouds of luminous gases, massive explosions, and views of our Solar neighbors that were not possible before. You'll find many of those amazing photos in the free ebook, Hubble Space Telescope: Discoveries.
Hubble Space Telescope: Discoveries is more than a picture book, though it could be that and still be worth your time. This iPad-only ebook gives you background stories, movies, and interactive media that lets you dive deeper into the images of our universe like never before.
It's an easy book to use. Just flip through the virtual pages. Tap the images. Play the movies. It will make you want to be an astronaut all over again. Get this book.
Guinness World Records: Awesome Animals [1.02 GB , iPad iOS 5.1 or later, Maker: Guinness World Records]
Tightrope walking dog? Flying snakes? Huge spiders?
Yep, it's in Guinness World Records: Awesome Animals. And there's so much more in this fantastic iPad-only ebook. It's chock full of the strange, the frightening, the smallest, and the biggest. Pretty much everything you'd expect from a Guinness book.
Loads of fun facts and stories
It's all interactive, too, with movies and slides with interesting background stories. Press "!" button for amazing facts ( Komodo Dragons can survive on just 12 meals a year. Make sure you're not one of them!). Press the star button and view a "Most" list (most toxic venom, longest snakes, etc). Pressing the right arrow button kicks off a movie. These buttons are scattered throughout the book and are like Easter eggs.
This is another book you'll find hard to put down and even harder to believe that it's free.
Baby Animals [57.1 MB , iPad iOS 5.1 or later, Maker: Wendel Owen]
You just can't find a book with photos that's more adorable than Baby Animals. Lots of fuzzy, big-eyed cuteness compiled into one iPad and iPhone compatible ebook that's bound to draw an "Awwww!" from even the most stoic.
This is a pretty basic e-tome, there are no movies or other media to interact with. In fact, the book format is annoying because the pages don't quite fit on the screen, forcing you to flip back and forth to see the whole picture in some cases. It does include some basic text about the animals pictured, but that's about it.
Even so, baby pix are hard to ignore and this book is full of them, making it worth your time to download. And your kids are going love it. Grab it. You'll say, "Aww!"
That's a wrap for this week.