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Logitech hits right key

The Ultrathin keyboard is a match for the iPad 2 and new iPad.
The Ultrathin keyboard is a match for the iPad 2 and new iPad.

The iPad is a content consumption device. It was designed to load up with movies and music and books to let the user consume all those things effortlessly.

It was not meant to be a content creation device – at least not at first. The on-screen keyboard is less than ideal for writing more than just a quick email response.

But Apple made the iPad compatible with Bluetooth keyboards. Plenty of companies have made Bluetooth keyboards for the iPad, and most are in some manner of folio case.

Logitech has been making keyboards for years, and it’s made several models for the iPad. The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover works for the iPad 2 and the new iPad. The Ultrathin, which sells for $99.99, is about the same size as the iPad, and it attaches to the iPad with the same magnets used by Apple’s Smart Covers.

When the keyboard is attached to the iPad, it resembles a small laptop. To use the keyboard, you separate the two pieces and fit the iPad into a slot in the keyboard. The slot has a magnet that keeps the iPad snugly in its place.

The iPad can fit vertically or horizontally in the slot.

The keyboard runs on an internal battery that can last a few months on a charge.

There is a home key on the left side of the top row that functions the same as the home button on the iPad. Arrow keys on the bottom row make quick work of moving around the lines of your text.

There are also keys to help you select text for copying and pasting as well as keys to control media playback and volume.

Google digital maps

Google is unveiling the latest improvements to its digital maps amid reports that the navigation service is about to lose its prized perch on Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Google is billing the upgrades as “the next dimension” for the world’s most popular digital mapping service.

Google Inc. is trying to give people more reasons to use its maps at the same time that it’s facing a potential challenge from a bigger company in Apple Inc.

Both the Wall Street Journal and a technology blog called 9to5 have reported that Apple next week will preview changes to its mobile operating system that will drop Google Maps as a featured application. Apple plans to replace Google’s mapping service with an alternative that it has been secretly patching together from a series of recent acquisitions.

If Apple ousts Google Maps as a built-in option on the iPhone and iPad, it would be the latest fissure between two former allies. Their relationship has been degenerating into a bitter rivalry since Google’s 2008 release of its Android software to compete against Apple’s iPhone. Since then, both companies have increasingly been encroaching on each other’s turf.

Kids on Facebook, without lying

Though Facebook bans children under 13, millions of them have profiles on the site by lying about their age.

The company is testing ways to allow those kids to participate without needing to lie. This would likely be under parental supervision, such as by connecting children’s accounts to their parents’ accounts.

Like many other online services, Facebook prohibits kids under 13 because federal law requires companies to obtain parental consent if they want to collect information about those children.

Such information collection is central to Facebook. Every photo or status update a kid posts on Facebook could count as information collection. Many companies consider the parental-consent requirement too burdensome, so they simply ban all children under 13 instead.

But that ban is difficult to enforce. In many cases, parents themselves help children skirt it by setting up profiles for them and lying about their ages. There are an estimated 7.5 million kids under 13 on Facebook, out of more than 900 million users worldwide.

In a statement, Facebook noted that many recent reports have highlighted “just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services.”

“We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment,” the company said.

Relaxing the ban on younger children could be a long way off or never be implemented, as happens with many features that Facebook tests.