Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Virgin Launches Project for iPad; Android And iPhone Soon - Is This The Future of Magazines?

I've yet to purchase a magazine on the iPad.  But I am going to get Virgin's new "Project" that was made available for the iPad yesterday.  It'll cost $3 per issue while the app itself is free.  And oh, a version for Android and the iPhone is coming as well.

What's interesting is that while magazine and newspaper publishers have waited eager for the iPad to save them, that hasn't happened. Honestly, I don't know what the hold-up is.  I cannot understand Apple's, specifically Steve Jobs,  revulsion for subscriptions is all about.

So, this model Virgin is using may well be the next best thing.  Instead of subscriptions, publishers can release apps and allow users to download new content on a weekly or monthly basis.  They can also set up alerts and auto-payments to make this work more efficiently.

And at $3, it is a fair price.  Much more so than the $5 that Wired is charging per issue.  I believe that the per-issue price will likely drop as the number of subscribers become more comfortable with digital (and more interactive) magazines than just print versions.  You know, economy of scale and all that. And over time, the cost to produce such products will go down as well.

Right now, the Project is a great and welcoming experiment.  I am sure a lot of people are watching to see how well it does.  

Anyway, I'll be taking a look at this when I return home.  But I do hope that Apple and Google do make it easier for publishers to sell content to mobile warriors.  

More at Electronista.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Do Tablets Need Two Cameras?

The Samsung Tab has two cameras. The iPad has none. And many of smart phones has two and more will follow. But do tablets need to have two cameras?

I can understand the need for a frontal camera has more mobile warriors switch over to video chats as a mean of communication. With Fring, Skype, and Apple's own FaceTime paving th way to the future, frontal cameras are a must.

But I have yet to see the need for a tablet to have a back camera. I can only see limited use for it. I get the need for the iPhone and other devices to have a back camera as a lot of users use their phones as a point-and-shot camera replacements.

Personally, I don't see myself pointing my iPad or a future Android tablet at my nieces and nephews.

A sales team might go out to take pictures on location but I am sure they'll likely have smart phones as a part of their mobile arsenal.

Maybe when the next generation tablets come out, Apple and others will show needs for the back camera on tablets that I have yet to find an use for.

What do you think? Do we need a rear camera? What use can you find it for?

-- Post From My iPad

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple's iTunes Announcement, No, Not the Beatles, The Ones They Didn't Announce (And Near Future Rumors)

Apple has the exclusives to sell Beatles music for some period into 2011.  That was what the special announcement was done on Apple's website and iTunes this morning. And while I am especially happy for Steve Jobs who had been talking about this for years, I can't help but felt a tinge....no, let me back that up.  A big, big disappointment in what was not announcement.

Were we so naive to think that Apple will make some sort of a big deal after all of the Christmas has been set in stone?  I remember distinctive three and four years ago, rumors would fly that something from Apple would be announced in December.  Those two years, it had all been about that iPad.  Well, folks, it didn't happen.  

Then two years ago, Apple had to issue a special statement telling people nothing new will be announced before Christmas.  

Then last year, no one said anything about a special announcement.  

And this year?  Well, on Monday, we had that cryptic message about this morning's announcement.  Speculations flew ranging from a music subscription to online media storage and streaming to who knows what.

Well, I'll say this for Apple.  We're not going to see an iPhone that runs on Verizon's CDMA or LTE network.  My hopes for a T-Mobile iPhone was dashed the day Apple introduced the new 2010-2011 iPod line.  That would have been the day to make an announcement of any kind related to the iPhone. 

Between now and January 2011, we're going to see a lot of crazy rumors because that is the nature of the blog business these days.  Apple and its competitors will need to spread rumors in a public battle for consumers' attentions.  Bloggers will report questionable tips or, at worst, make stuff up.

I am very interested in what Apple has planned for their data center and a major of what we hear over the next few weeks will be about it.  

Today, we learned that Google and RIM are interested in mobile payment systems to replace credit cards.  That will play a big part about what iPhone 5 will feature and if it'll have near field communication features. Oh, and Verizon, ATT, and T-Mobile have joined forces in this area too.  So, we know it's going to be big.  It's going to be big as far as Apple rumors go.

So, it's going to be boring as far as real Apple actions goes but strap on to your seat because the rumors of announcements will be wild.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maxing Out Memory Brought Me A New Macbook

I have the late-2008 unibody Macbook and since then, this has been the best Mac that I have owned.  Well, second best.  I still think my Powerbook 500 still rocked during the days.  You can't beat two battery packs.  You just can't.  But the Macbook comes pretty close and this two-year old just got better.

I got 4GB memory modules in the mail today.  I wasn't too excited.  These days, my iPad is my go-to device for mobile computing.  At times, it shares duties with my iPod touch and the G1.  So what's two extra 2GB of memory going to do make me love the Macbook more than the iPad?

Well, wow.  After installing the memory model, I am getting a totally different impression of the Macbook.  And more than that, I regret not maxing out the Macbook from day one.

Everything just seems to happen faster.  Mail, Safari, and Rapidweaver flies and pages loaded up faster.  

And if you read my blog, you know that I take every opportunity I get to grip about battery lives.  Well, I have been typing, surfing, and working on some other Web work and the battery life indication hardly budged. What I mean is that it doesn't seem to be going down much.  And for the record, I don't have Flash running. I generally turn it off when I am not using it (I think I only use Flash when I view Hulu contents).

So, I recommend anyone out there with a Macbook , MBP, or an Air, max it out.  This is expecially true of the new Macbook Air that have their memory model soldered on.  Once it ships out of the factory, you're stuck with it for good.

I had considered upgrading the hard drive as well.  It came with a stock drive with 200GB capability.  A similar SSD drive will cost quite a bit so I might end up not doing that.  In a year or so, I will likely replace this Macbook and pass it off to a lucky nephew or niece.

But you can get that I will max out my future Macs from day one.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sprint's ZTE Peel for iPod A Good Start But Ruined By Insane Data Plan

Sprint was my first mobile carrier back in the days when they went nuts on everyone and offered a $75 plan with one thousand any time minutes.  At the time, everyone was like what are they doing ruining the cash cow that was largely still charging by the minute.

So I am not surprise that Sprint, though not thriving as it should, is still innovating in ways with plans and devices.  Such as the ZTE Peel for the iPod that offers a case as well as the ability to connect to the 3G network.  And it also works as a mifi for you to connect to other devices. 

And it's a decent price at $80.

And that's the good part and it pretty much ends there.  Now the bad part.  It only works for previous generation iPod touches.  And if you're like me with the latest iPod touch with the camera, it doesn't seem to support it. 

What's worse that for such a case, it doesn't offer support to charge the iPod touch on the go.

Now come the worst part of the deal.  It so bad thought I recommend we stay away from it.  For $30 a month, you get only 1GB of data on the 3G network.  For me this is a deal breaker.  If it they had offered 3 or 5GB, I can see more folks getting in on that but it would still be, by no means, a good deal.

What Sprint should have done was offer unlimited access.  After all, this is the slower CDMA 3G we are talking about. Not even the 4G-ish WiMax.  As a matter of fact, if you live in a WiMax area, you can get the mifi iSpot from Clear for $99 and get 4G only access for $25 a month.  

While the iSpot only supports iOS devices, the purpose of the Peel is to provide wireless Internet access for the iPod touch.

I hope Sprint becomes more sensible and offers a better deal.  One day, it may get the iPhone and if this is how they're going to treat iOS users out the gate, they're in trouble.  Besides, this is a worse deal than what their EVO and Galaxy S, both Android devices, are getting. 

More at Macnn.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Manufacturer in Ohio Uses iPads to Connect Employees And Increase Efficiency

It is more often now that we hear of companies adopting the iPad for enterprise use.  Heck, every executive at Apple from Steve Jobs down crow about it to anyone who'll listen.  Apparently, small businesses are paying attention and demonstrating the effectiveness of Apple's new iOS device, the 10" iPad.

The main thing here is the ease of use.  It isn't often that employees will adopt technology outright.  However, the popularity of the iPad as well as the ecosystem Apple created over the years has made it easier for companies to integrate into their workflow.

Industrial Mold & Machine in Ohio has done just that.  They took it a step further with a social network using Socialtext, a network for employees. From this Macworld post, there are a few unanswered questions.

I wonder if this is the 3G or the wifi version of the iPad that they are deploying.  Regardless, receiving pushed emails and schedules, work status, and to submit requests makes everyone working at Industrial Mold & Machine feel more connected and part of something bigger

I am sure efficiency will increase over time as the company find more innovative and time-saving uses for these iPads.

More at Macworld.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Answer To Apple's Survey On My Customer Service Call About iPad 3G

I spoke to Apple and ATT over the weekend regarding a billing issue with AT&T for my iPad 3G.  Apple, interested in my opinion on the call with the gentleman who I spoke with, sent me an e-mail about the experience and asked me to rate it.  It was a multiple choice type of survey with a box at the end asking what else I think the service representative could done to help me solve the issue.

Here is my response:

NAME OF CUSTOMER SERVICE REP did great with my call.  My issue was ATT itself, and NAME OF CUSTOMER SERVICE REP was not able to do anything in that regard but he pointed me in the right direction when even ATT's own people couldn't.

ATT service is horrible.  I've got T-Mobile.  Please make iPhone available on T-Mobile. Or get ATT to learn from T-Mobile on how to provide great customer service.  I've got two iPhones and an iPad 3G through ATT.  

Each time I had an issue, it takes an average of 3 days and at last an one (one call took all day) to resolve.  With T-Mobile, I spend no more than 5 minutes at a time.

Again, NAME OF CUSTOMER SERVICE REP did great.  Nothing he could have done.  I just want to rant a bit...now I feel much better.  ATT customer service (let me throw in 3G network) sucks...

So, what did I learn from all this?  Call Apple first.

When are the Macs Getting M4 Chips? Prediction: MacBook Pro With M4 At the WWDC

What are the new M4 chips? Presumably, Macs could get the M4 chip tomorrow if Apple decides to pull the trigger on them.  First, let's a...