And the award for ‘Most Impractical iPhone Case’ goes to…

iPhone cases need to do one thing and one thing only: Protect your extremely expensive handset from harm. If the case happens to look cool or offer some additional functionality, that’s really just a bonus. Now, if the case is also a full-sized replica of a lobster, well… we’re not quite sure if that’s a positive or a negative, to be perfectly honest.

The “Lobster Mobile Telephone Case” is a one-off design by Elliot Gorham. Gorham runs Noddy Boffin, a furniture design and concept shop in Victoria, Australia. The case itself is massive, goofy, impractical and almost entirely useless. But according to its description on Gorham’s website, that’s the point.

“Unlike the typical phone case, it doesn’t offer functionality of protection and style,” the blurb reads. “Its features include; camera incapability, ergonomically awkward, too big for your pocket or handbag and most importantly, its ability to cause its users embarrassment.”

Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on your outlook — the ridiculous case isn’t actually for sale, and Gorham doesn’t appear to have any plans to actually manufacture it on a large scale. That’s probably just as well, since we’d almost certainly pester our own Steve Sande for an in-depth review, which could lead to one or more of us being strangled.

Source: TUAW.

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Man proposes to girlfriend using a fake iPad.

Plenty of iPads were gifted this past week, but at least one young lady received something in an iPad box that she probably wasn’t expecting. Reddit user rad_rob proposed to his girlfriend in an amazingly unique manner, swapping the Apple tablet out of a retail box with a wedding ring.

To get the weight right, the ambitious would-be groom fabricated a metal plate, complete with the big question engraved on it. He then placed the plate and ring in the box and offered it as a gift.

“I know I cried a little, and as soon as I opened the lid on the box and she saw what was inside, so did she,” rad_rob posted in an update. “She immediately said yes, and threw her arms around me. I felt like a total stud.” Oh, and she also got the iPad that originally came in the box. Bravo, good sir. Bravo.

Source: TUAW.

New York’s MTA releases Subway Time app, lets users know exact train arrival times.

New York’s MTA releases Subway Time app, lets users know exact train arrival times

The New York MTA (Metropolitan Transport Authority) has released an app that will allow users to access up to the minute information on when a subway train will arrive at their chosen station. The app which is called Subway Time will initially cover seven stations with more to come in the future.

MTA Subway Time gives you real-time train arrival information for selected routes of the New York City subway system. Knowing exactly when your train will arrive will reduce the time you spend waiting on the subway platform, and let you know of any service delays or reroutes before you pay your fare.

The seven lines that the app will provide up to the minute information for are Lines 1 through to 6 and the the 42nd Street shuttle. The service hasn’t come cheap either; according to the Wall Street Journal, new signalling technology and sensing equipment has cost the MTA a staggering $228 million to install over the last eleven years. Further additions to the lines covered by the app will roll out soon with the L line and No 7 line set to be added by 2016.

The data that feeds the official MTA app will also be made available to third party developers to incorporate into their apps too. This is a good move as the MTA’s Subway Time app could do with a bit of polish and user interface redesign. It certainly isn’t the most elegant app or that user friendly either. Also strangely enough it hasn’t been optimized for the iPhone 5’s larger screen either.

Source: iMore.

GoTranslate for Google Translate for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

It happens all the time; you wake up with just your iPhone and a treasure map, a dead body in the bathtub and a 9mm pistol with the serial numbers filed off. Suddenly, you realize you’re in a foreign country and you have no idea how to ask “Where can I find the library?” Now, granted, you could use the mobile version of Google Translate, but what if someone built a better front-end for that, one that let you share, save, and listen to the words and phrases you needed to translate?

Oops! Cops are coming up the stairs faster than you can say “Please bring me a yellow pencil!”

What is it?

Gotranslate for Google Translate

GoTranslate is an optimized front-end for Google Translate. You type in the words or phrase you want to translate, and it quickly converts them to or from over 66 languages, complete with diacritical marks.

How does it work?

You type, copy/paste, or dictate the text you want in the top of two text boxes, selecting the language that it’s in. If if you don’t know that, there’s also an Auto Detect function that’ll do its best to guess what you’ve put there. After you’re done dropping words in, just hit “done” and the app will translate it for you. It’s beyond simple.

Once you’ve got your translation, you can copy it to the clipboard, or share it from within the app using email, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. You can also listen to a synthesized reading of the translated phrase, but this is by far the weakest link; rather than the mellifluous tones of Siri or any number of other computer voices, GoTranslate sounds like the computer that challenged Matthew Broderick to a game of Global Thermonuclear War. The audio function is also limited in that the text must be less than 100 bytes (that’s bytes) in size, eliminating all but the most rudimentary phrases.

Then I realized, I could turn on the iPhone’s VoiceOver function and override this limitation by using Siri as Text to Speech. I’m not sure how accurate Siri sounded in Icelandic, but it was a darn sight better than the error message saying the text couldn’t be read at all.

Is it contagious?

I’ve used GoTranslate with some of my foreign friends, and based on the fact that they’re still speaking to me, I assume that the translation was accurate and/or funny. Its greatest strength is in copying and pasting text, so if you find yourself needing to translate languages from the web while mobile, it’s a great improvement over the mobile version of Google Translate, which is positively primitive.

Another use while travelling would be to use the dictate function to allow a conversation where you translate what you’re trying to say, let the other person read it, then reverse the process. I’m not entirely sure how useful it is to learn how to read another language, and as for learning how to speak another one, forget it.

But despite the text-to-speech limitations, the sharing and history-storing features make GoTranslate a versatile app. At three bucks, though, it’s designed for people who need those features, and need them fast, rather than someone who just wants to learn how to swear in Finnish, Basque, and Haitian Creole.

Category: Translation
Seller: Lightroom Apps
Cost: $2.99
Buy: GoTranslate for Google Translate

Source : AppleTell.

Early Mac Designs Shown Off in New Book.

One of Hartmut Esslinger's Macintosh concept designs

One of Hartmut Esslinger’s Macintosh concept designs

In the book, Mr. Esslinger talks about his involvement in creating Apple’s “design language,” or the framework the company used to give all of its products the same aesthetic look and feel, according todesignboom. He also shows off several of his design concepts, including early Macintosh ideas, the Macphone telephone and tablet hybrid, and stylus-based Mac tablets.

The early 1980’s concept designs are fascinating to see, and show the foundations of what was to become Apple’s signature look for years to come.

Design Forward is published by Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt and will be available in January for about US$40.

Source: The Mac Observer.

iPad claims 87% of tablet web traffic, Kindle Fire and Galaxy Tabs the nearest challengers.

The chart above paints a very interesting picture of how North American consumers use their tablets. It seems that when it comes to web browsing, iPad users are much more likely to be online than any other tablet’s buyers. For every 100 times an iPad accesses a web page, the Kindle Fire hits 4.88. That’s a massive difference. The Galaxy Tab lineup just scrapes above 3 impressions per 100 iPad impressions. For the others, it’s almost not worth noting. Except to say that Microsoft’s Surface only manages a measly 0.22 impressions per 100 iPad impressions. Who knows what other tablet owners are doing with their devices, but the evidence collected by Chitika in December this year suggests they’re not using it to browse the web much.

Considering that this market has been open for almost 3 years now, it does show that the other manufacturers need to get their act together if they want to compete with the iPad’s level of use.

Source: TodaysiPhone.