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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Get Stuck on Stickybear’s New iPhone App - Stickybear ABC

Stickybear, an Education Icon, Goes Mobile

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, South Carolina, October 12, 2010 – Stickybear educational programs have been used by tens of thousands of teachers and parents and enjoyed by millions of students for more than thirty years. Stickybear, an education icon, has helped children learn reading, language arts, math and science. Today, Optimum Resource announces the release of its new App for the iPhone, "Stickybear ABC."

This continually updated, award-winning program has been teaching children their letters, in English and Spanish, for more than twenty years. It is designed to provide children, ages three and up, with basic alphabet skills that will last a lifetime.

Stickybear Abc AppChildren can simply start playing Stickybear ABC immediately by pressing PLAY from the Main Menu. They are in the free play mode and will see a keyboard with the letters A through Z displayed in both upper and lower case. Children then press any letter and a letter and word panel appears, followed by an animation.

We present more than one word for most letters and youngsters enjoy pressing the letters to find their favorites. This helps them to learn the letters by the discovery method.

Additional tiles at the bottom of the keyboard screen let users switch easily between English and Spanish, which provides letter practice for children learning either language. They may also return to the Main Menu, switch to the structured mode or repeat the last letter.

The Star key toggles between the free play and structured modes of play. In the structured mode, Stickybear appears at the bottom of the screen and asks the child to press a particular letter. Children learn by prompted direction in this activity. Pressing the requested letter produces an animation. The program is self correcting, if an incorrect letter is pressed, Stickybear highlights the correct letter and moves along to the next choice.

The megaphone key is the repeat key in both modes. In free play, children love to repeat favorites and we have seen them press camel, motorcycle and giraffe again and again. In the structured mode, the Megaphone key serves to repeat Stickybear asking for a letter. This is useful if the child has been distracted or just missed the letter called for.

All children move at their own pace and should be encouraged to play Stickybear ABC in any way that pleases them. Over the years this program, and its methodology, have proven immensely successful in capturing the interest of young learners for substantial periods of time and in helping to build early code breaking and recognition of the letters of the alphabet. Many schools have also used Stickybear ABC and its self-paced flow for remediation and in ESL classes where the ability to switch fluidly between languages is very useful. Click for more information about our iPhone apps. High res screen shots are available. Please visit our Stickybear web site.

Here are a few of the awards won by the computer versions of Stickybear ABC: Parents’ Choice Award: Gold Seal, Parents’ Choice Magazine Software’s Greatest Hits, Booklist, American Library Association Excellence in Software Award for Best Early Education Program, Software Publishers Association Media & Methods Awards, Media & Methods Magazine Evanston Educators’ Award for Excellence, Evanston Educators’ Newsletter Best Software: Education, Readers’ Choice, A+ Magazine

Optimum Resource was founded in 1980 by author, illustrator Richard Hefter, who created the Stickybear character. For more than thirty years, the company has produced award-winning educational computer programs, many of which have become industry classics. This program is the newest in a series being developed for the mobile environment and is available to all at $0.99 cents per install.

If you are unable to utilize the links above, you may paste these in to your browser to visit the sites. For the iTunes Stickybear ABC page, use: iTunes. For our Stickybear iPhone page use: http://web.me.com/richefter/iPhone_Apps. For our Optimum Resource Web Site use: www.stickybear.com.


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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 platform.

 

  • 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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