Best New iPad Apps: Learn to code, save big to the cloud and something for the kids

January 25, 2014

Learn to code with Codeacademy

Many technology workers – and journalists too – would love to code. Some even do, but many either lack the technical skills or necessary time.

Thankfully though, that step has been made a lot easier by the new app from Codeacademy, the popular interactive learning platform that promises to help you learn the basics of code in just an hour.

This learning can get you on the way to creating your own websites, apps and games.

Just one week after launching as an iPhone and iPod-only app, Codeacademy: Hour of Code is now a universal app which supports iPad too, and it comes with a bunch of useful features for getting going with basic programming.

Although primarily aimed at school children and college students, there’s enough here for information workers to get their brains around too; there’s the ability to clue up on variables, ‘Booleans’ (a data typed used in computer science, and often by coders) and ‘strings’ (sequences of characters) as part of the coding experience, and you can continue your HTML learning on a desktop. As an added bonus, you can share a webpage directly with the.

The best parts are that the app – despite its name – isn’t all taken up in an hour and that its latest iteration, version 1.0.3, encourages users to make a webpage from the app featuring their photo, bio and other information. Feeling proud? You can go ahead share it with friends over social networks so they can see what you’ve learnt.

Restyled Box app comes with 50GB of free storage

In today’s cloud-orientated landscape, it can be difficult to come to a conclusion on a public cloud storage provider; do you go with Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, or Microsoft’s SkyDrive? 

There’s a host of options, and some good offers to encourage usage too – including Microsoft's 200GB of SkyDrive storage when you buy a new Surface tablet.

But Box, which already has a healthy reputation with businesses and consumers, has also stepped up its mobile efforts of late, launching redesigned iPhone and iPad apps that come with a tempting 50GB of free storage (proviso: the storage is for new users who sign up by mid-February).

Now on version 3.0.0, the apps both sport a new navigation bar as part of a redesigned user interface, while beady-eyed users should note greater support for various file types (there are now more than 100 supported in total).

Most of the improvements center around quick accessibility. There’s a new preview mode for quickly glancing at photos, videos and documents (this grid-style view should make it easier to move or copy files), while Box says that documents and photos should load a little quicker than before.

Furthermore, you can search within documents for search terms, save items for offline access and there’s a greater selection of sharing tools. As before, you can swipe on a file to carry out an action (share, enable offline access, rename, delete)

It’s worth noting though that, like many others app, Box on iPad does have its quirks. Load times are sometimes slow, and dialog boxes for entering data and small Windows-sized icons ill-suited to the touchscreen era.

And if the temptation of 50GB free storage isn’t enough, Box is planning to introduce AirPrint printing compatibility on future versions of the applications.

Read eBooks to your children with Caribu

Quite frankly, there are so many apps for children on the App Store that it can be hard to filter the good from the bad.

Fortunately, Caribu has quickly risen to attention since its launch and is proving to be one of the cream of crop, at least when it comes to eBooks.

Marking a difference to Ruckus Reader and Bookboard , the new iPad app is geared towards children but embeds video calling so that parents, grandparents or any other interested parties can read stories to children while away from the house. Caribu aptly described it as the “new bedtime reading app for separated families”.

Some of the neater features of the app include a shared pointer that enables both child and parent to follow the story at the same point, and this is also helped by the synchronised page turner. An added bonus is the offline reading mode, which is handy when away from the Wi-Fi router.

The app is simply laid out and easy to follow, and an especially handy page for adults will be the notifications bar which houses contacts, account details as well as a help option.

The one catch to the app, however, is that nothing much comes free, bar the app itself and the one free eBook. Everyone above and beyond that will cost $2.99 per title. Titles include The Fearsome Beastie, The Dog Detective and The Black and White Club can be bought from the Caribu Bookshop – which includes content from the publisher Maverick Arts.

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