Category Archives: video

Microsoft’s new Cortana ad mocks Siri for lack of contextual reminders and traffic reports

Microsoft has released yet another Cortana advertisement that mocks Siri for lacking contextual reminders and real-time traffic reports. Microsoft pokes fun at the personal voice assistant by claiming that it “just got bigger,” a sarcastic reference to the larger screen sizes on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Perhaps the Redmond-based company is overlooking all of the new features Siri gained in iOS 8.

This is far from the first Siri vs. Cortana ad that Microsoft has released. Nokia joined in the Siri bashing with a pair of ads released in September, promoting Cortana’s ability to automatically remind users when to leave for appointments based on calendar and traffic data. Microsoft also ran a Siri vs. Cortana ad featuring the HTC One (M8) after running its first ad back in July.

Cortana is Microsoft’s personal voice assistant launched on Windows Phone earlier this year, with similar functionality as Siri on the iPhone and iPad. Cortana goes one step further by allowing third-party applications to complete tasks and answer questions as well. For instance, you can ask Cortana to add a film to your Hulu watch list with natural language.

The latest statistics reveal that Windows Phone held 3.3% global market share in the third quarter, however.


Filed under: iOS Tagged: ad, Contextual Reminders, Cortana, Microsoft, Siri, traffic reports, video

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Review: Pad and Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 is handmade perfection (Video)

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It’s always refreshing to see iOS accessory makers doing something different and Pad & Quill leads the pack in this area. With handmade cases crafted from linen, leather, and wood, it’s hard to go wrong with this simplistically elegant spin on cases.

Lately I’ve been using Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 and it’s changed my mind about “premium” cases. There’s something beautifully different about the craftsmanship and it’s created from materials that are designed to last, but not without a steep entry price for some…

The Contega Linen case may not be the cheapest way to protect and showcase your iPad Air 2, but it’s definitely up there as one of the best in my opinion. In short, the Contega series (and others from Pad & Quill) are designed to look like books. The Linen version is covered in a buckram cloth and uses a satin-finished birch wood as the iPad’s cradle. It’s very rare that wood and iOS accessories make a good mix, but Pad & Quill has the perfect balance with this case. The design may be very simple, but it was done right.

Check out our Contega Linen for iPad Air 2 review video below:

While it may not seem to be as durable as an OtterBox or LifeProof case, there’s nothing weak and fragile about this solution. I never got the impression that the materials and structure had been compromised and in every situation, the Contega case provided confidence that my iPad Air 2 was completely safe. Its elastic strap holds the cover shut and from the bound spine or front view of the “book,” you’d never know there was an iPad inside.

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Need that book look? This is it.

Installing the case is pretty simple as you’d expect. On the inside, you’ll find rubber bumpers in each corner (or “Sure-Lock device grips” as P&Q calls them) that are designed to help cradle the iPad and secure it. All of the iPad Air 2′s ports and buttons are completely accessible while inside and there’s even a cutout on the backside to make way for the camera and rear microphone. The Lightning port cutout did seem a little tight and if anything, you may have issues with some third-party Lightning cables that have wider ends, but Apple’s cable seemed to fit without an issue. I also noticed that some headphone jacks were a little too large to fit within the dedicated cutout. Not a deal breaker for myself, but it’s something to keep in mind.

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The “innards” of the Contega Linen case showcase its sound reflect channels and ribbon bookmark.

The Contega Linen also has “Multi-channel positioning” which are basically notches on the inside cover of the case that allow for multiple view angles (only two though). There didn’t seem to be any security to keep the iPad propped at an angle aside from those notches, but due to the material used on the inside, it can get a little slippery. As long as you’ve secured an edge of the birch frame within one of the “notches,” there should be an issue, but there’s no magnets to keep it in place.

Speaking of magnets, this case also offers sleep/wake functionality with the iPad Air 2. Also, due to the size of the frame, the iPad’s buttons and ports are recessed to keep them out of harm’s way. The Contega does block the speaker on the bottom of the iPad, but luckily there are specific grooves (sound reflect channels) that will redirect the sound towards the display when in use.

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Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen standing on its own.

There’s strong attention to detail in Pad & Quill’s design, but thanks to the materials and manufacturing process, each case has its own character and will age to perfection over time. I’m not really a big fan of “investing” into a case, but if you’re going to spend your money anywhere, this is one of the top solutions to cover an iPad.

Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 retails for $99.99 and while that may seem a bit high (trust me I got the same feeling), in my opinion this is a far better case than Apple’s $79 leather Smart Case. You’re getting so much more for the money with the Contega Linen case. Everything from the “unboxing” (or un-packaging if you’d like to call it that) to the execution and protection is miles better than a flap of thin leather and cardboard from Apple.

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I’m a fan of the Contega Linen case.

It’s definitely going to be a personal preference, but if I had to choose between the two, I’m definitely going with Pad & Quill. Be sure to check out the video review above for a close look or see the gallery below. If you’d like to find out more about the Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2, visit Pad & Quill’s website for pricing and availability. The company also produces other cases/accessories for a wide variety of iOS devices.

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Filed under: iOS Devices, Reviews Tagged: Accessories, Apple, case, iPad, iPad Air 2, Pad & Quill, Pad and Quill, review, video

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Eddy Cue takes KTLA holiday shopping to show off Apple Pay (Video)

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Apple executive Eddy Cue, in charge of the team that developed Apple Pay, recently participated in some holiday shopping with local news station KTLA to demonstrate how the new mobile payments platform works. Cue, alongside tech reporter Rich DeMuro, visited a number of stores in Santa Monica, California, including Panera Bread, Bloomingdale’s and the Disney Store.

The video reiterates how seamless it is to make contactless payments with Apple Pay by simply tapping an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on an NFC-equipped payment terminal. While some retailers still require a signature depending on the purchase amount, Apple hopes to remove that hurdle and make Apple Pay an even more convenient experience at the over 220,000 stores where it is accepted.

Cue also stressed that Apple Pay is a secure payments platform because of how each transaction has a unique number attached to it, unlike the same credit card number that you carry around in your wallet. The executive walked through how Apple Pay can also be used on the latest iPad Air and iPad mini models for making secure in-app purchases with ease.

The full-length video is embedded below:

Apple Pay launched in the United States last month and, despite some big players like Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid opting to use their own CurrentC payments platform, the service has largely been a hit among consumers. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently claimed that Apple Pay received over 1 million activations just three days after launching, and early usage numbers at McDonald’s and Whole Foods show vast potential for retailers.

Apple Pay will also be compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s when paired with an Apple Watch.


Filed under: iOS Tagged: Apple pay, Bloomingdale's, Disney, Eddy Cue, KTLA, panera bread, Shopping, video

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