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Olloclip : macro, wide angle and fish eye lense all in one.

The iPhone camera has always been a bone of contention with many people on the Internet.  It does a great but not spectacular job of catching pictures in the moment and whilst it’s not the best camera in the world it hasn’t stopped third-party developers coming up with a rather neat gadgets for those picture snappers out there.

Introducing the Olloclip, a 3 in one lens attachment that clips onto your iPhone 4 / 4S and gives you some rather cool effects. Cool, but I would imagine not always practical.
Olloclip Olloclip : macro, wide angle and fish eye lense all in one.

Continue reading → Olloclip : macro, wide angle and fish eye lense all in one.

Logitech AV Stand

It’s well known that the iPad’s speaker is, well, a bit weedy. While there are a million and one low cost stands out there, if you really want to use your iPad as a movie screen, you need one that incorporates a decent speaker too.

Enter the Logitech AV Stand, a tubular stereo speaker with an arm-mounted iPad holder.

Logitech AV stand 1 Logitech AV Stand

Continue reading → Logitech AV Stand

iOS 5 Setup iPhone Gallery

We’ve only gone an installed the iOS5 GM on our beloved iPhones here so we thought we would put out our gallery of what it looks like when you install iOS 5

More screen shots coming shortly!

Steve Jobs Apple Logo

Hindsight Editiorial : Steve Jobs Passes Away

Its probably wrong that anyone, bar a select few, in the journalist or blogging world can say they knew anything Steve Jobs the person, not Steve Jobs the icon and yet his death has had a profound impact on the world.

xl jobstribute Hindsight Editiorial : Steve Jobs Passes Away
Steve Jobs Passes away

The moment that I heard the news via a chat room it was immediately deemed as a hoax as none of the major news sites seemed to know of the news, then slowly it began drip feeding through the networks leaving us with the news that SJ has indeed passed away.

Continue reading → Hindsight Editiorial : Steve Jobs Passes Away

Samson Meteor Mic Image 1

Review : Samson Meteor Mic – USB Microphone with Great Retro styling

Doing a podcast is something that we’ve wanted to do here at EssentialMac for a while now but had a feeling that recording audio from the iPhone headset that’s bundled with the device or via the in built microphone wasn’t going to be the best way to go about it.

When the Samson Samson Meteor Mic dropped on the door mate for review it grabbed our attention and we hoped this wasn’t all style over substance. But let’s face it, it’s a little beauty.

Continue reading → Review : Samson Meteor Mic – USB Microphone with Great Retro styling

Adobe Flash Cpu Usage

How Stop Adobe Flash From Being Cpu Intensive (kinda)

Whilst it may be a standard for the Internet, Adobe Flash also set a new standard for how quickly it can tax the CPU and drain your battery.

However the other day I made a simple discovery on how to reduce the CPU usage was watching any flash video. It seems that whilst watching a video and pressing right click to bring up the context menu your CPU usage can drop as much as 40%

Continue reading → How Stop Adobe Flash From Being Cpu Intensive (kinda)

Onlive Service Full

Online Game Service Currently Full. Struggling to cope at launch?

Just days after its launch it seems that the OnLive gaming service is showing signs of struggling to cope with demand.

Online Service Full Online Game Service Currently Full. Struggling to cope at launch?

We’ve been testing this service over the last few days and so far have been remarkably impressed with what is on offer even if our bandwidth allowance is being thrashed to it within an inch of its life.

If you have the bandwidth capability then it seems that Mac gaming with decent high resolution graphics is finally on the horizon. During our testing on a mid-2009 MacBook Pro our CPU usage barely went above 50% whilst playing an intensive game such as Tom Clancy’s splinter cell.

The issue of the service being unavailable could just be down to peak demand for the initial launch period so we’re going to keep testing this and report back shortly in the next coming weeks.

Feel free to post any comments below.

Run OSX Lion on your iPhone (sort of..) with Ultimatum

We don’t often comment often on such areas like the jail breaking community however when we saw this one it definitely makes the grade as a news item.

Ultimatum Run OSX Lion on your iPhone (sort of..) with Ultimatum
Ultimatum - Lion on the iPhone

Not many readers will probably remember the old days of Windows Mobile. Microsoft’s attempts to bring a scaled down version of their desktop operating system to a small handheld device. This included features like the start button, movable windows and applications. Surprisingly enough it really didn’t work.

Introducing the ultimatum theme developed by Jdsss which brings the Lion desktop to your iPhone. Normally things like this are just a skin without much functionality and end up running applications already installed. Not only does the automated theme genuinely looks like Apple’s desktop operating system, but it also functions as if it was a genuine operating system.

You will find all the standard fare, such as finding menus, stacks, launchpad, scrollable docs and windows that can be dragged around exactly is if you were using a mouse or trackpad.

The ultimatum theme requires a jail broken device and is available from the ModMyi repo

Portal Now Free To Play

Portal now free to play for Mac and PC

We don’t tend to have much coverage about Mac gaming purely because none of our rates are really up to the task of doing any decent gaming.

Portal Portal now free to play for Mac and PCWell our Hackintosh project did allow us to play games such as portal and Assassins Creed but, as anyone who reads this site knows, that rig bit the dust quite a few months ago.

It’s typical that we don’t have a rake to play any games on just as Steam announces that the standalone version of portal is no showing up with no price.

Portal is one of those rare games which isn’t showing its age just purely down to the great puzzles and compelling gameplay.

iPhone 5 or 4s cases revealed?

Yup we are going to be amongst the bandwagon jumpers here on the net with this article. Apparently case manufacturer Case-Mate accidently…. leaks iPhone 5 case.

iphone5 cases iPhone 5 or 4s cases revealed?

The cases posted appear to have a curved silver aluminum back which suggests that either the iPhone 5 or 4S will have a similar looking back case of that of the iPad 2.  If it’s as nice to hold and feel as the 3gs is then i’ll be over the moon.  As much as I like the look of the iPhone 4 is gosh darn awful to hold and make a long phone call with.

The cases themselves look to be a shot in the dark with the cut away section for the camera and flash being so obvious, most cases tend to have carefully placed holes rather than a gaping cut away section.

Editorial: The day my iPad 2 arrived

I’ll admit right here and now that my decision to get an iPad 2 was down to 2 reasons. The first being one being that of pure curiosity developed after months of iPad hype and the hyperbole surrounding the svelte tablet on the market.

ipad arrival Editorial: The day my iPad 2 arrived
The Day My iPad 2 Arrived

The 2nd was missing out on a HP touchpad and then just deciding that sod it, EssentialMac reviews all things Mac and the iPad is part of that ethos (yes that’s a case of self justification if ever there was one).

So off I searched for a iPad2 and settled on a wifi 16gb version. Why? Well i have a mobile dongle and the jump between 32 and 16 was massive and lets face it, the resale value of these things is great so reselling for a 32gb one isn’t beyond the realms of impossibility.

Tuesday Morning.
Waking up with a hangover, bleary eyed and boderline dehydration (I get one night off every 2 weeks so I make the most of it) was made all the more easier with the anticipation of the postman bringing me my newest asset.

After a familiar tap on the door and a moments later there it was in my hands, another Apple product. It’s with a mixture of boyish excitement and the adult side of me being intrigued I start to peel back the all to familiar thought out packaging around the apple.

20110831 113830 Editorial: The day my iPad 2 arrived

Opening up the box and it’s a case of bam. There she is and quite unashamedly looking up from her box waiting to be powered on in a matter of moments. Simple apple elegance as always. Instant on for me is a new feature. To go from nothing to browsing instantly does give you a partial wow factor. My trusty MBP is almost as fast but this is just pure gratification.

Off to the apple store or app store, whatever you call it these days, to register and setup is the simple process and familiar to that off setting up my phone and in moment’s the fobdle slab is now registered to my account.

Typing and interaction

Typing so far is an odd experience. I can almost get up to speed on this out of the box but the odd angle means that I doubt messaging apps will find its way onto here. I can see why people go for seperate keyboards but then doesn’t that hit cross over territory. Sure I can blog with the WordPress app or even just rough draft stuff but it reminds me of a till I have at work. It’s very stabby and even with the auto correct spelling grammer nazi enabled there were still loads of errors.


Justin.TV found it’s way on to my iPad giving me the first experience of scaling up applications. Some of them just don’t look pretty at all such as the case as this.

justintvapp Editorial: The day my iPad 2 arrived
JustinTV iPhone App

In this apps instance it;s always been flawed, claiming that the server is overloaded when streaming yet plays perfectly well moments later.

One Week On 15th September 2011

So, here we are one week later after receiving my iPad. As of right now my feelings are honestly mixed about the usefulness of the iPad. Admittedly I haven’t really t taken it out into the wild for some proper testing and it became more of a night time browsing/reading/watching device than the missing third device that people keep harking on about.

Do I regret spending £360? Do I have buyers remorse? Not yet, but it’s close, but like I said at the beginning of this article I really wasn’t sure where the iPad would fit into my lifestyle. Yes it’s great to have a tablet for browsing and mutational BBC I player but at the back of my mind there’s always the voice going on at me about the fact it costs so much to do relatively little so far.

So the next week the iPad will be going with me everywhere, on the road, to the pub and if I can find one, a copy shop that supports free Wi-Fi.

Upcoming iPad 2 Reviews.

The kind folks at MacAlly have sent us the

ipad arrival2 Editorial: The day my iPad 2 arrived

MagStand2, Magnetic Cabinet Mount and Viewing Stand (pictured above)
Protective Snap on case designed for use with the Apple SmartCover.

Both of these are welcomed additions to the home of Essentialmac as they are shaping up to be rather, well, essential.

Tuesday, 2 October
Well since the new release of DragonDictate, which features more localisation fixes, my interaction with the iPod has taken on a whole new release of life.

For example, this very text, I am dictating instead of typing which is grades being able to do this sort of stuff whilst lazing around on my sofa.

In the last few minutes I have been able to successfully dictate three e-mails, update this very blog, and generally become more impressed with the processing power of the A5 chip.

With the Apple press conference scheduled for Tuesday I do have a new phone sense of hope that voice integration may not suck as bad as some of my previous testing has shown. I still have reservations about how well the whole room invoice assistant system will work as 99% of the errors come from being in a loud or noisy environment so I can’t see many people turning off the TV on the radio or pulling over in their car to make it nice and quiet just to use simple voice features .

Browsing wise opera is definitely my browser of choice. It simply feels leaps and
bounds faster and smoother than the built in Safari engine and that’s not to mention the nice user interface tweaks which really do make it an essential browser.

The downside is that one of my favourite streaming TV applications, Justin.TV, pretty much refuses to work half the time on my iPod but will work properly on my iPhone.

I have still yet to get over my social anxiety of taking my iPad out in public but I have promised myself I will at least take it with me on my next venture into civilisation.

20111004 005753 Editorial: The day my iPad 2 arrived