New iPads and Free Creativity Apps from Apple Announced

Apple introduced a whole passel of new hardware today, as well as updates to much of its most popular software. At the announcement event, CEO Tim Cook and crew unveiled two new iPads and four new laptops in addition to detailing features of other products that are now available.

New iPads Get Thinner & Faster

iPad Air

 

 

Since its first generation was released 3.5 years ago, Cook said, 170 million iPads have been sold. He also claimed that among all tablets, the iPad accounts for 81 percent of all actual use. On the iTunes App Store, 475,000 apps are specifically formatted for the iPad.

Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller took care of the details behind each new model.

First came the iPad Air with the same 9.7” Retina display as the iPad 4, but with a narrower bezel. It’s also 20 percent thinner, at 7.5mm, and lighter, at exactly one pound. The 5-megapixel camera captures 1080p video, and battery life for the device was pegged at 10 hours. It starts at $499 for 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity. Adding LTE mobile broadband bumps up that price to $629.

The new iPad mini, shipping in November, is simply called the iPad mini with Retina display. The 2048 x 1536 resolution screen was the most-requested feature for the mini, said Schiller. Like the iPad Air, the new mini is built around the 64-bit A7 chip and M7 motion co-processor. The 16GB Wi-Fi version costs $399.

Both new iPads come in dual-tone silver & white and space gray & black color schemes.

Apps Get Updates for Free

While new features were discussed, the biggest news about iLife and iWork was the price for each suite: free. Buyers of new iOS or Mac OS hardware can download the latest versions for free, getting iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers at no cost.

Also free? The latest version of Mac OS X itself, Mavericks. To qualify for the free upgrade, Mac owners must be running version 10.6 Snow Leopard or later and hardware from at least 2007.

New Macs Too

The line of laptops got a spec bump and price drop. The new 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $999, and the 13-inch starts at $1,099. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299, while the 15-inch starts at $1,999.Mac Pro is a Monster

Although it comes in a small package, the previously-announced Mac Pro is a monster of a desktop workstation, with up to 1TB flash storage and 64GB RAM. The base configuration starts at $2,999 and will be available by the end of the year.

What do you think of the new hardware and software? Let us know in the comments!


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Hybrid Apps Offer Best of Both Worlds

Deciding on type of mobile app can be tough – for both developers and entrepreneurs. Even with native and web apps reigning at the moment, there’s a definite shift towards hybrid development.

Developing Hybrid AppsHybrid apps accelerate cross-platform development by using native code specific to different operating systems only for a container app. The actual functionality is carried out in universal code like HTML5. According to a Gartner prediction, more than 50% of mobile apps deployed will be hybrid by 2016.

There are several advantages to using a hybrid approach rather than native or web development.

Development and Maintenance Cost: One of the biggest advantages of developing hybrid apps is the cost factor. When compared to native apps, the development and maintenance cost of hybrid applications is lower. Hybrid apps developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript typically need fewer app updates in comparison to native apps, which require considerable updates when new operating system versions are released.

Offline Functionality: Yet another advantage of using hybrid apps is their power to work offline. Native and hybrid applications have a clear advantage of functioning even without Internet access, whereas mobile web apps fail to provide its users this feature. Hybrid apps, even those accessing online content, can cache data locally for use without a constant connection.

API (Application Programming Interface): When compared to mobile web apps that have limited access, hybrid applications utilize the full capacity of the device API. Hardware access lets a hybrid app leverage functionalities like camera, GPS, widgets, and more.

Speed: For just about every function except intense graphics, hybrid apps can perform just as quickly as native apps. Web apps rely on not only slower code, but communication back and forth over a network.

App Store Availability: When users go looking for a smartphone app, they usually head for their vendor’s app store. Web apps don’t benefit from the same curated exposure.

With the ability to combine the capacities of both native and web app development, hybrid applications are one of the best solutions available for enhancing business. To discuss mobile development with a Zco expert, call 603.881.9200 or email us.


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Zco is Exhibiting in the Enterprise Apps Pavilion at MobileCon 2013

MobileCON 2013 Enterprise Apps Pavilion By Zco

Zco Corporation will be traveling cross-country to Silicon Valley next week to participate in MobileCON 2013, October 16-18 in San Jose, CA.

MobileCON is a 3-day event located at the newly refurbished San Jose Convention Center and is hosted by CTIA-The Wireless Association. This event was created for IT professionals and business executives to give them an opportunity to learn about the latest business technology available. This is the second year the conference has taken place and it is anticipating hosting over 8,000 attendees from 2,000 companies worldwide.

Zco Corporation’s representatives will be located in the Enterprise Apps Pavilion at booth 316 and will be discussing our services including native and hybrid app development, enterprise apps, and 3D animation. We will have a few experts available who will be able to discuss how to implement these technologies into your business and what the development process entails along with answering any questions you may have.

MobileCON 2013 Exhibitor Logo

One of our Business Development professionals, Randy Peterson, states, “This conference is all about educating people about our services, informing business professionals about the mobile development process, and creating lasting relationships with old and new customers.”

Not only will Zco be represented at an exhibit booth, but throughout the event we will also be hosting presentations to discuss the mobile development process. We will have two presentations: one on Thursday 10/17 at 1:30 pm and one on Friday 10/18 at 11:30 am. Please feel free to stop by the booth if you are interested in learning more. Along with these presentations we will also be available for one-on-one meetings throughout the conference if you would prefer a dedicated session.

If you are interested in speaking with a Zco representative at the MobileCON event please feel free to contact us at mobilecon2013@zco.com. Also, if you are not in California and would like to reach out to us about custom mobile app development, enterprise applications, or enterprise software, please email or call us at 603.881.9200.


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Mobile Apps Raise Money and Awareness for Non-Profits

With mobile apps being created for all business sectors, the non-profit world is seeing benefits as well. Fundraisers, charitable events, news updates, and awareness campaigns can all experience more participation by including a mobile component.

According to a research paper from fundraising solutions provider Artez Interactive, 18% of traffic to fundraising and donation pages comes from mobile devices. Individuals who solicited money for charities using mobile technology raised up to 2.95 times more. In a blog post about the same paper, Artez’s Director of Digital Philanthropy Claire Kerr said that mobile users also received donations from more sponsors.

Here are some of the best apps developed for non-profit organizations.

Red Cross Apps for iPhone

  • American Red Cross: With no fewer than seven apps, The American Red Cross helps people prepare for and recover from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. They also offer apps teaching first aid, locating Red Cross shelters, and allowing users to volunteer their time. That last one uses gamification, offering badges and rewards to volunteers.
  • Charity Miles - Charity Mobile AppsCharity Miles: A number of charities have signed up with this app, enabling them to earn money from users walking, running or biking. The app has already won the SXSW Dewey Wilburne Award as well as two Ignite Good Millennial Impact Grants from The Huffington Post and Heartfelt Foundation. For each mile tracked by GPS, walkers and runners earn 25 cents for their favorite charity; bikers earn 10 cents. Corporate sponsors have provided $1,000,000 in an initial pool. The app is available for both iOS and Android platforms.
  • Nature Near You - Best Apps for Non Profit OrganizationsNature Near You: This app comes from The Nature Conservancy, which is an international non-profit organization striving to conserve ecologically important lands and waters. It emphasizes awareness and appreciation by providing a guide to local nature preserves as well as photo-sharing capabilities. Other features include maps, wallpaper downloads, a Nature News section, a donations page, and more. It is a free app and is available for both iOS and Android users.

If you are thinking of developing apps for your non-profit organization, then speak with our experts about your idea. Call (603) 881-9200 or email us!


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Free Data Plan Expands Ranks of Smartphone Users

Mobile broadband provider FreedomPop has begun offering its first phone with a free data plan. After paying $99 for the phone, users can enjoy 500MB of data per month at no cost on Sprint’s network.Mobile Broadband provider FreedomPop

Although the particular Android phone and service can’t be called top-tier, the concept could open up smartphone and mobile app usage to a large population that has not previously been able or willing to pay for it. A June Pew Internet report revealed that more than half of all American adults now own smartphones, but cheaper data access will likely boost adoption even further.

In addition to 500MB of 4G or 3G data, the free “Basic 200” plan includes 200 voice minutes and 500 text messages. However, even voice traffic goes over the data connection, not the cellular network, making FreedomPop a mobile VOIP provider. In an interview with GigaOM, company CEO Stephen Stokols said that the VOIP service will still work on 3G connections in places 4G isn’t available.

Users have the option of paying to add more voice minutes and text messages. The “Premium 500” plan includes unlimited texts and increases the voice minutes allowance to 500 for $7.99 per month. The “Unlimited” plan includes unlimited voice minutes and texts for $10.99 per month.

Under all plans, data usage beyond 500MB can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis for 2.5 cents per megabyte. An extra $9.99 per month increases the monthly data allowance to 1GB with overage costing 1 cent per megabyte.

Early Adopters Need Not Apply

Anyone hoping for the latest device will be disappointed. The only phone available for now is a two-year-old refurbished model, according to Prepaid Phone News. The Sprint HTC Evo Design runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and features a 1.2GHz processor, 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel main camera, and 768MB of RAM. The phone’s 4GB built-in storage is supplemented with a bundled 8GB SecureDigital card.

Rather than the more common LTE, the smartphone uses WiMAX for 4G data speeds. Stokols said that he hoped to offer LTE phones in the near future.

Although this is FreedomPop’s first phone offering, they have previously offered free mobile Internet access through hotspots and a sleeve for the iPod Touch.

Would you accept the limitations for a free mobile data connection? Let us know in the comments!


The article has No Comments »  |  Tags: free cell phone plan, free smartphone data plan, FreedomPop Basic 200 plan, FreedomPop Premium 500 plan, FreedomPop smartphones cheaper data plans, FreedomPop Unlimited plan, FreedomPop wireless data plan, FreedomPop's first 100% free mobile phone service provider
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