Lots of folks are looking forward to the Super Bowl this weekend, and at the school that my kids attend here in New Orleans there will even be a pep rally for Peyton Manning today. (Manning is an alumnus of the school.) But the bigger news right now in New Orleans is Mardi Gras, with lots of great parades tonight through Fat Tuesday. If you haven't ever attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it is a lot of fun and you should put it on your bucket list. From the family-friendly parade atmosphere in Uptown New Orleans to the craziness in the French Quarter, there are lots of ways to have fun as you catch beads, eat great food, and spend time with friends and family. Thanks to numerous parade-tracker apps, you can use your iPhone to figure out when the next parade will arrive at your spot. And now, the news of note in the world of iOS from the past week:
- Yesterday, I had a chance to grab lunch with North Carolina attorney Jim Dedman, who was in New Orleans for a DRI conference. (I'm sure it was just a coincidence that the conference took place during Mardi Gras week. Ahem.) If you practice products liability law like I do, I recommend that you follow the Abnormal Use blog that Jim edits. The blog covers what is going on in the world of products liability, often with a sense of humor. For example, a recent entry discusses the recall by Disney of a Darth Vader infant bodysuit because ... it is a choking hazard. Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.
- In iOS M&A news, this week Microsoft purchased SwiftKey, which makes a popular third party keyboard for iOS, as reported by Tim Bradshaw and Murad Ahmed of Financial Times. Also this week, Zagg purchased Mophie, which makes popular battery cases for the iPhone, as reported by Ina Fried of re/code.
- David Pogue of Yahoo Tech reviews Dragon Anywhere, an app that lets you dictate to your iPhone or iPad. Yes, you can already do that with Siri, but Dragon Anywhere lets you speak for much longer, and has better speech recognition. However, it requires a $15/month subscription.
- Zach Epstein of BGR discusses 25 useful but less obvious iPhone features.
- Dennis Sellers of Apple World Today reviews Duet Display, an app that lets your iPad become a second screen for a Mac or PC. I've tried the app with the PC at my office, and it does work as advertised. Having said that, I don't find it to be as useful to extend my PC screen as it is to just run helpful iOS apps while I use my PC at the same time — for example, editing a document in Word on my PC while I review cases or documents using the GoodReader app on my iPad. But if having a second screen makes sense for the type of work you are doing, you'll want to consider this app.
- Jason Fitzpatrick of How-To Geek compares some of the most popular password manager apps, including my favorite 1Password.
- Dave Wiskus reviews Apple's new Music Memos app for iMore.
- Karen Freeman of Watch Aware explains why the timer complication on the Apple Watch is so useful.
- And finally, an interesting new iPhone app was launched this week. It is called Notarize, and it lets someone get a document notarized using just an iPhone. It turns out that it is legal to use video chat to notarize a document in Virgina, so this app scans your driver's license and your document and then lets you video chat with a notary in Virgina who then notarizes your document. The cost is $25, and the service is available 24/7. Like many attorneys, I am a notary public, which is often useful for my clients. But if I have a client or a witness who is somewhere else in the country and I need to get a notary stamp on a document that they sign, such as an affidavit that I will attach to a state court motion for summary judgment, this app could provide an interesting option. Moreover, the video for the app, created by Adam Lisagor of Sandwich Video, is amusing: