Thursday, March 31, 2011
See, one of the reason I went with the Macbook was that it had a great screen that the LCD on the Powerbook just could not keep up through over the years of being used and abused as a productivity device and media device.
Still, it has a lot of uses that cannot be matched in ways that an aging Windows machine cannot.
First, the keyboard on this particular line of the Powerbook is still second to none. The keys are responsive and is, depending on your opinion, a starkly different from the chicklet forms on the newer Macbooks. And that's say that the current keyboards on the Macbook are also excellent.
I imagine that many of you out there in Apple land has more than a few Powerbooks still up and running at home. So you know what I am talking about. Whether you've passed this along to your kids, parents, or just having it sit on the side of your workstation to play music through iTunes or as a file server, you know what I'm talking about here.
There's life yet in this awesome piece of Apple engineering for years to come. There will not being any more updates from Apple and have not been for a long time. However, what is there is quite stable and fast.
I've maxed out the PB to the 2 GB of RAM. There simply isn't more you can do beyond that. And for what you can continue doing on these PowerPC Macs, you don't need more than that.
Anyway, it's a good walk down memory lane and great knowing that road is still being traveled. And as if I needed a reminder, the Powerbook seems to be agreeing with me by warming my laptop on this cold night.
So, do you still have a pre-Intel Powerbook in your household, apartment, or dorm? If so, what are you using it for?
- This post was written and sent from My Powerbook
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Here is a great post from Seeking Alpha about why I don't deal with rumors on my blogs (but I love reading them). The thing is that I think bloggers now should be held accountable for stuff they report as rumors. In the wild wild West of the blogosphere, rumors are treated as news The media has gotten lazy and fact checking, let alone, facts are no longer something people in the press are interested in.
It's now the fast pace of here and now. That means clicks, eyeballs, and impressions. More often and often, I see some lazy ass writer from traditional media, especially, CNBC, start with "according to Apple blog, X, Apple will be (delaying, releasing)…"
Seriously, talk about lame…
Oh, and for disclosure, I've got Apple positions…long. As in long long term. I don't know what its stock price is on a daily basis. While I do love rumors, let's keep them in perspective. They're fun to read and by belong on the world of blogs for our entertainment.
No more. And certainly, no less.
Note: I chimed in on this issue yesterday because some of what we know as facts, such as the confirmation of the release of the white iPhone just a couple of months before the traditional schedule for new iPhone release just did not make sense. And the CDMA iPhone did just come out six weeks or so ago.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
While tech giants work out how they want to incorporate near field communication capability to allow mobile devices ranging from regular cell phones to high-end devices like iPhones and who has the final control over data, some folks just are not going to wait around until that day comes.
The Girl Scouts in Ohio are now accepting credit card payments via GoPayment from Intuit, the folks who brought us Quicken And TurboTax, a dongle that can be attached to the the iPhone.￼
This is just the beginning. I wonder what'll happen once more devices like the iPhones become NFC-capable?
Personally, I am still waiting for my 7" iPad that digitimes said was coming even after Steve Jobs dismissed such a possibility.
More often that not, I get the feeling that DigiTimes just goes around and time certain posts to generate traffic on Apple. Perhaps they have quotas they are supposed to meet for their advertisers.
The amazing thing is that some posts that link to DigiTimes also make a disclaimer that DigiTimes does not have a good track record regarding Apple products and plans.
And more than that, some of the things that DigiTimes come up with are so out there that not even Wall Street analysts dare put those things down on paper.
In the latest report, they claim that Apple is seeking to secure screens out of Taiwan due to the northeastern Japan earthquake even if it means a price nike.. Makes sense right? Sure until you read the little post that offered no sources whatsoever. It's always according to "this or that". Nothing to explain the nature of such a deal. Thing is, folks, that Apple has been sourcing from the Taiwanese for years. There really nothing new here. The rumor made it sound like this was the first time Apple is dealing with the tech folks there.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like Apple rumors. The best rumor so far this year is the one that we might get a 5" iPod touch. And it came from blogs that claim to have their own sources that they've used in the past. And that this will be a part of a greater fall surprise that Apple is planning. This latter part is also a rumor but detailed enough to be credible.
And how is this different from what Digitimes posts? Rumors from these blogs have a chance of actually being true whereas Digitimes offers nothing to suggest anything other than that Apple posts will generate links and traffic. Digitimes information never turns out to be true.
Knowing this fact as most bloggers do, that virtually everything DigiTimes reports are wrong, why share it with your readers?
Hit your regular sources for the juicy stuff. Because these days, I don't even bother reading your rumor posts if the source is DigiTimes.
Note: If you want to know more about the Digitimes post I referenced to above, you're welcome to Google it. I'm just not going to link to it.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I started with Maps and ended with Siri, an app whose company that made it was bought by Apple a while back.
In Pasadena, California, the Maps app gave me a couple of locations for Best Buy that was not Best Buy. It gave me a uniform store and another location that I didn't bother looking into.
So I turned to Siri. Launched the app. And I spoke into it.
I dispensed with saying California because I figured that it knows I am in California based on the location function. I was tethered to the iSpot so it probably has an idea where I was.
Within a five seconds, it provided me with the Best Buy location in Pasadena. Faster and better than Maps.
However, that was where the good ended and where Siri can get better. I tried a different query. I asked for "Store hours...Best Buy...Pasadena..."
It showed me the same search result for Best Buy in both times, after that point, I had to resume clicking on what I needed. Modifying the parameters of the query did not change the results.
There are four things I like to see.
First, Apple should improve on the intelligence of Siri. I like to see better query results. If I want hours of Best Buy, it should easily have the ability to give me just that at the start.
Failing that it should allow for follow-up queries. And this is the second improvement I like to see. Maybe there should be keywords that when spoke allow for a follow-up based on the first search. I wanted hours so I like Siri to somehow give me the option to dig deeper into the search.
In this instance, it offered me the choices to call or go to the website. So if I said "call", I like it to be able to dial the number automatically or "website" and it takes me there.
The third option is that I like to be able to have Siri act as a spoken search apparatus for the iOS device. Say a contact and have Siri dial it automatically or be able to email or text the contact. I'd love it it can serve to launch apps as well or launch web pages from the bookmarks.
Basically, I want Siri take away from the typing and tapping and move all that to voice. Google's Android already does this pretty well. Siri is horribly inadequate here and this is a strong advantage that Android has over the iOS.
The last point is probably asking too much but this is Apple so maybe it's not. I like to see if the app can learn from out behaviors to anticipate our queries and mobile uses.
This would bring a whole new and revolutionary mobile experience.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch
And understanding limited Chinese, I overheard the folks ahead of me told his wife/girlfriend/mistress that he still has an order for 16 more.
Honestly, free enterprise. Love it but ethically and morally, I just don't feel all that cool about it.
You know what I mean?
Again, capitalism. Great. Still, Apple maybe should consider going from two per to just one per customer unless you order online.
For me, this is a new mobile dynamics a lot of people are experiencing. And lots of folks are walking away empty-handed. A lot of enthusiastic mobile warriors that Apple could easily be converted into Mac or iPhone users as well had they been able to be experiencing the iPad 2 sooner rather than later.
Perhaps, Apple sensed that users have no where else to go as Android competition have yet to really solidify since CES.
Oh, I am no longer last. There are more folks behind me. I get the feeling that they'll be selling theirs as well.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch
Friday, March 25, 2011
The goal is to see how one of Apple's most affordable Macbook handles the daily needs of a wannabe writer/blogger.
And tonight, I took it out for a test run at Starbucks. And I took some notes. Of particular interest is how well the battery life works through the night. Apple rated the battery life to be 5 hours. Well, given the needs of most writers, not necessarily bloggers, I assume that we just type most of the time without the need for Internet connectivity.
How did it go? More at the following links:
Macbook Air and Writing (Part 1) - Friday, March 25, 20111
Buttons – I love them. At least when I was a kid, I love buttons. See, I grew up watching anime, the kind with spaceships, giant robots, and futuristic command centers. And they have tons of button and flashing lights.
When it comes down to it, it reallly depends on what you do with your mobile device. I can write just as long a letter on the iPhone as I can on my G1. The only difference for me is that I spent years playing the piano and I like to keep what's left of the life of the joints On my fingers for the piano, not the smartphones.
So I definitely like the touch-type on a glass surface than buttons. No need to push down on a button. No need to exert pressure with the thumbs.
And you're constantly using your thumbs, there is no escaping that on a mobile device. On a phsyical keyboard for a smartphone, it can't be good in the long run if you have to produce dozens of emails or text a day.
Still, a part of me does like the idea of having physical buttons to work with, which for me, provides a sense of accomplishment. And honestly, until the iPhone came along and showed the world that you can create content on glass just as easily as a stylus or physical keyboard.
Right now, I am writing on the iPod touch. I am typing in portrait mode. And I can easily switch over to landscape.
What it comes down to is personal preference. Blackberry users swear by the physical keyboard while some prefer the slide-out keyboard. Android users have the best selection of devices with different keyboard layouts. So, you really have to pick your device when it comes to buttons.
With buttons, you've got the Blackberry variety which works well for a lot of folks. And honestly, it's very good. Then you've got the Pre version which can be frustrating after a while. You really don't want to be writing an essay on it. Then you've got the ones that slide-out like T-Mobile's G1 and G2, and both keyboards work well. Droid keyboards are too stuff for me to imagine writing anything other than text messages or tweets.
And for iPhoners, let's be honest. Apple is driving the trend with the chiplet keys on the desktop and laptop markets. Works well. Even the keyboard before that. But if you go back even further, Apple is really kind of hit-and-miss with them. I've experienced the sticky type on the Powerbook 500. Then I've gotten a few years in with the Powerbook 1400cs. They were a nice change but Powerbook was a Powerbook and it was running Mac OS. And not everyone liked those keyboards.
So there really is no way of knowing what kind if keyboard Apple will come up with should there ever be an iPhone with a physical keyboard. And there definitely is no way for us to be sure that we're even going to like it.
But give us mobile warriors a device with a top notch OS with a great keyboard, I promise it will do well.
Note: For the record, I no longer dig flashing lights.
Another note: RIM sued Handspring back in 2002. And in turn, it has also been sued in the past. Maybe Apple or anyone else might just as well avoid the headaches by avoiding making a device that looks similar to the Blackberries. Nokia and Samsung does have similar layouts but not being a tech/patent attorney, I think I'll leave the issue open and at that.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
And what a perfect writing machine it is. I mean it's not just a glorified typewriter. Well, that had been my intent but now, I realized just ho powerful this little guy is. And what is can do isn't little at all.
I've always wanted to write for a profession but lacking talent and the time, I've had to do it on and off through the years. But technology, especially mobile tech, is at the point where I can do this at any time and almost anywhere.
And I have been exploring just what is the best way to go about writing a fictional novel. I've started a bit during last November's National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) in my own way. I didn't finish but I was about three quarter of a way through before I kind of set it aside for the Holidays.
Back with the Air, I'm back! It's months until November but Script Frenzy is here. I'm not much of a script anything. But I will draw upon the hundreds if not thousands of Script Frenzy participants and hack out my own novel.
This time around, I hope to accomplish a few things. I want to see how the Air does as a writing machine (with some Internet research and note taking, Web work) and three applications that are commonly used by writers for the Mac - Storymill, Storyist, and Scrivener. And since they're offered as demos for about 30 days, the length of the Script Frenzy contest, I can use them without paying for it until I can adequately decide which one works best for me.
It'll be a month long project that I am looking forward to.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
And I'm not the first one to come up with this idea for the Mac or the iOS devices. But I'm writing this post on my brand new Macbook Air. Boy it is light. And if Apple were to morph future iPads into a sort of a laptop with a dock.
A while back, some blog, I forgot which one, even thought it might be a neat idea if Apple was to get rid of the trackpad and in its place, allow the user to dock their iPhone or iPod touch. From there, the user can synch data and use the touchscreen as the trackpad.
Obviously, that is not likely to happen given the complexity of this setup. Steve Jobs would never allow it. The design team would rather quit than let this happen.
And doing it the way Motorola designed the Atrix sit behind the screen on the Lapdock is just as clumsy to say the least. But it can work.
The Jonathan Ives and his team has to be working on this concept right about now. Apple's iOS and Mac team are already trying to figure out how, if they haven't already, such an integration works.
Will it happen with iOS 5 on iPad 3 or iPhone 5? Probably not. But it will happen.
This will likely happen once the mobile chips that power the iOS devices are powerful enough that it can duplicate much of what a regular Macbook can do today. Already, OS X is integrating a lots of what Apple picked up from creating the iOS experience.
Perhaps, we'll see iOS and OS X merge into one unifying OS. And when that happens, we might have ourselves a MacPad that can work as a standalone tablet or when hooked up to a dock or monitor, it becomes a Mac.
After a night of frustration, I thought I finally came to a conviction to have this Air shipped back. That was just how frustrated I was with Fedex. That's another story but for now, I'm very excited about my new purchase. Instead of the iPad 2, it's the Air.
I know that a week or so ago, I was leaning towards the Macbook Pro but after some debating, I decided I should wait and see if Apple will change up the design more with the next revision.
And the Air serves a specific purpose that I don't need a 15" or 17" screen with the added weight for. I'll get into that a bit more when I have some time with the Air.
Now, you'll noticed that I got a refub unit. I did it because I have had two other refub Macs from Apple that I was very happy with. One was an aluminum Powerbook 1Ghz and another a Mac mini and both are still a part of my computing arsenal at home (relegated to media duties).
On top of that, I saved about about $230 or 15% off a brand new Air with the exact same configuration. Plus, as strange as it sounds, knowing that Apple will ship out the refub unit work, I do get a peace of mind knowing that it's been used, fixed, and tested. The only thing that I would like is to be able to find out what went wrong with this unit in the beginning. Kind of like a Carfax thing for Macs.
And you might ask, why now? This Air revision is already 5 months old, probably at the half-way point of its life before Apple comes out with an update.
So being able to save $230 on a 5 month-old machine is pretty. And I'm not all that convinced that the next Air update will be a drastically different version. From the 2010 Macbook Pros to the 2011 versions, there was not that big of a different On top of that, my Air has a Nvidia integrated graphics card whereas an new update months from now will use the same Intel graphics setup as the 13" Macbook Pro which some benchmarks show is not up to par.
And I'm a pretty big battery life guy. 5 Hours is the rating Apple gave the 11.6" Air. I don't see the next version doing much better if at all.
All in all, after swallowing the anger stemming from having to deal with Fedex, I'm glad I kept it. Obviously, I'll know in a few days if the Air will be able to replace my late-2008 unibody Macbook
Saturday, March 19, 2011
However, if I am wrong, I love to be corrected. To date, there is no iOS version of the iWeb or popular Web site creator, Rapidweaver, or anything else like it. Only a couple of days ago, Realmac Software, maker of Rapidweaver, said that while an iOS version isn't off the table, it will be a major undertaking.
For now, I'll have to go with the Macbook Air, the smallest and lightest of the Macs to do these heavy lifting for my mobile needs. However, I eager look forward to the day when my iPad can perform all the mobile needs that I require.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
In fact, Apple has 15% of the OS market in the US.
But this charge here is a clear demonstration of just how far Apple has come in general and specifically, the Mac. That's right, this is about the Mac. And the Mac isn't going anywhere as many bloggers and tech pundits fear.
Now, not to rehash what you probably know through your day's browsing, but I want to focus just on how Apple can further make inroads into the psyche of the other mobile users. And let's face it, from now on, it's about laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Actually, in Apple's case, it's Macbooks, iPads, and iPhones. (Oh, and let's not forget the iPod touches. However, the touches do not get the respect that they deserve but Apple owes a large part of its mobile success to the touches. I'll follow up on a post another time.)
And what's important to note is that Apple is well positioned in these three segments of the mobile market.
And further more, Apple has managed to achieve something that will give it an advantage that no other companies, including Google, Microsoft, RIM, or HP has been able to achieve. I'll give you one guess.
Nope. It's not the ecosystem or the iTunes although we know it is also something that no others have managed to duplicate. It is as if Apple has secret magical dust that it used to make all these pieces work.
That I am talking about is the general familiarity of the iOS that millions of users have with it. And With the release of Lion (the next Mac OS upgrade), Apple brought what it learn from the iOS and incorporate some features into Lion.
It's launchpad that works like the screen swiping n the iOs devices. It's also the four finger swipes to the left and right. It's also about the new Mac App store that iOS users will be familiar with.
Another example will be the directional scrolling on the Macs now conforms with the way it works on the iOS. Swipe up, and you move down the screen.
And over time, Apple will prove both the iOS and the OS X that includes additional features shared between the two.
You cannot say that about the Android, Blackberry OS, or Windows Phone 7. And if you're an iOS user who happens to have a Windows machine and the next time you upgrade, you probably would take a look or two at the Macbooks because you're already familiar with its operations. You've seen it before and you have experiences with it.
Furthermore, Apple will increasingly follow Google into the cloud. Admittedly, Apple has been late to the game. But I think it recognizes that as people take up more iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks, it has to offer a solution that allows users seamless access to files and media.
We can already guess where Apple is going with mobile computing. In the next couple of months, we will learn more about Apple's mobile plans further, maybe as soon as April when it traditionally shows the world what it has planned for the next iOS. And later this summer, we'll finally get Lion.
And for iOS or Mac fans, or if you're just a general Apple fan, 2011 is going to be about iPad 2 as Steve Jobs said. It's going to be a huge year for Apple's mobile vision.
More on Apple's OS marketshare at TUAW, Macdailynews.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
And then I did some checking around the Web and found that other folks seem to have similar experiences. Honestly, this is the first time in a while that I've had an issue with Apple's OS of any kind, iOS or Mac, not counting a few quirks with the Lion beta.
Hopefully, Apple will deal with his sooner rather than later. Perhaps we'll see a fix that will come with the Apple TV flicker.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Developing at this time but it looks like Reuters (via CNBC tweet) that Apple will delay fulfilling iPad 2 shipments.
Monday, March 14, 2011
- Free calling and texting until March 31th
- 60 Minutes of calling for landline subscribers.
- Subscribers can text "redcross" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross.
- TV Japan will be accessible for U-Verse customers through March 17th.
- Calling and texting free to most post-paid and residential customers.
- Free MM messaging and texting.
- 10 Aid groups to donate to.
- FIOS subscribers to get TV Japan for free until March 17th.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Starting in May, ATT will start capping DSL use at 150 GB. A $10 fee will be assess for an additional 50 GB.
Does this affect you and how you use the Internet?
Let me do some simple math on this. This comes to 4.93 GB a day. Frankly, I think this is so bogus.
We are increasingly relying on our Internet services for streaming media and to get pertinent information. Heck, I don't even own a TV.
This just isn't right. Unfortunately, I think ATT will get away with this given the political atmosphere in Washington and the GOP not want the FCC to do anything at all.
Make no mistake about this. This is about GREED. And this can potentially destroy the Internet and innovation.
If there was ever a time for anyone in Washington to show some backbone, coming out against this would be an easy win.
And this came in light of the fact that what we knew at the time did nothing to assure us. However, over the weekend, Anandtech put all that to rest? What's the answer?
Let's use some math reference. Is "Zoom > iPad 2 > iPad"? No.
It's more like "Zoom > iPad" but "iPad 2 >>>>>> Zoom"!
That right, in Anandtech's review of the speed test, year-old iPad, while slower than the Zoom, held its own against the more recent Nvidia Tegra 2 powered Android tablet, the iPad 2 really blew away the Zoom is a few of the benchmarks.
Powered by Imagination Technologies'PowerVR SGX 543MP2, part of the magic behind iPad 2's new A5 chip, it is capable of displaying 9x (though we all know that's a bit of a stretch) the muscle over the iPad. I'm already impressed with the iPad's graphical prowess but, now with Anandtech's confirmation, I can't wait to get my hands on an iPad 2 to see for myself the speed.
What's significant is that Tegra 2 has been billed by the tech media as the mobile chip to rule them all. Obviously, Apple's investment in a few chip companies over the last couple of years has paid off big time.
The iPad 2 as a whole is faster than the flagship Android tablet by 2x to 5x.
Granted, the Xoom is powering a higher resolution screen but at the end of the day, your average Joe mobile warrior isn't going to care about that. Heck, they're not even going to care that the A5 ran circles around Nvidia's offering.
What we want are the apps, media, and ease of use. Just the whole mobile experience. Apple still has an edge on that but I don't think it's as clear cut as these numbers. What Apple needs to do is innovate on the software front as well. Personally, I want a strong Android coalition to challenge Apple.
Competition is what drives innovation and changes the dynamics of the market. Apple fans want it. Android fans want it as well. Certainly, I do too.
Still, impressive numbers all around for the iPad 2. I cannot wait to see what game and app developers can cook up with this kind of muscle.
More at Anandtech, a must read especially if you're into technical stuff.
This has happening since the dawn of time, I know. It happened to the iPhones, iPods, and, now, the iPads as well. Still, while I sit here waiting to buy a few more for family members (we plan to make use of FaceTime big time), I see all those iPads just sitting on eBay by users who are not really fans but simply trying to make the most of the shortage (to be fair, they may be making a living as well).
I'm okay with people trying to make a buck. It's free enterprise, right? Still, if there was ever a company who can figure out an innovative process to try to connect legitimate mobile warriors with its products, it's Apple.
I like the idea of helping users activate their iPads on the store. I think that helps. And honestly, that's the only idea I have. Obviously, I'm just a mobile fan, not trained for this kind of thinking.
Nevertheless, I know more than a few of you share my irkness at this situation.
For just how crazy things have gotten, read TUAW's post on how people are trying to make money from the whole iPad situation.
Well, I think they should not have to worry about that. Apple isn't likely to jerk us around like that. However, I would start lining up. You guys, the lucky few who are slated for the next round of launch like Britain and Japan, will get the new iPads just like Steve jobs said but supplies will be limited.
No. Let me back that up. Supplies will be severely limited.
What prompt this is the fact that online orders from Apple is now a 3-4 weeks wait.
Just a recap for those who just want the high lights of the iPad 2 launch so far: the iPad 2 went on sale last Friday, March 11th - online at 1AM PST (4AM EST) while in-stores sales at Apple Store, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy started at 5PM local time.
The local stores, including Apple stores, quickly drew lines and were sold out quickly. I can attest to that.
I was able to place my iPad 2 orders online around 1:10AM with ease. After examining the forums and comments of various blogs, I was able to determine that for the next couple of hours, the ship time was 3-5 days with an estimated delivery date between March 18th - 25th.
The situation quickly deteriorated as people wake up and the lead time went to 1-2 weeks. Before long, the wait timebeas extended to 3-4 weeks.
As it stands now, most local places are dry. ATT locations are accepting orders with a 2-3 week wait while Verizon has a 3-4 week wait.
Sucks, I know.
-- Post From My iPad
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I thought I report and say that there are only one model in stock: 64 GB iPad 2 for Verizon.
There were no other models. It was rather disappointing to say the least, after all, I started waiting in line since 6am.
Still, it was good that the Apple employees came out early to tell us that. I suppose I'll try my luck tomorrow or call them this afternoon to see if anything new came in.
Friday, March 11, 2011
This year, not so. I even thought I could just walk in any time tonight and get it. Well, I made some calls before heading out. It was the regular places. Best Buy. Walmart. Target. A few Targets. All nothing. I checked out three ATT locations. Also nothing.
I chucked to myself. Apple was hoarding most of the stock of iPad 2s for its own stores. By the time I walked to within sight of the end of the line, I was relieved. It was much shorter than I expected.
As I walked up, a man walked towards just said, "they're out".
I don't know how he knew why I was there. Maybe it wasn't really talking to me. After all, he had a look of frustration on his face.
I just came across this 9-to-5Mac post criticizing Apple's iPad shortage and planning. Honestly, I don't think Apple could have done anything other than continue to put out iPads as fast as their factories can.
I know that maybe Apple should have gone a better job communicating with some of the customers waiting for hours in line. I know that I'll be waiting up very early tomorrow and head back out to try again.
Regardless, selling out today was entirely unexpected as far as I'm concerned. I reckon Apple should have anywhere between five to six hundred thousand iPads ready for this weekend. That's just my guess. And that's including online orders. So I doubt there is much for walk-ins like today.
The kind Apple employee who I was able to talk to said they should get another shipment in tomorrow. Perhaps, there might take place at other Apple stores. I don't have much hope about anywhere else.
More at 9-to5 Mac.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
As a matter of fact, Skype should send Apple a Thank You gift for releasing the iPad 2 with dusk cameras.
More than just boring old video conferencing for enterprise, FaceTime an Skype will gain from the home market. Consider how easy the iPad is robust already, it's icon focused UI allows for an 1-click access to either of the two apps for the less than tech savvy people like our parents and grandparents to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren.
I predict that Skype is likely to make an announcement about a spike in new users and downloads after the iPad 2 goes on sale on March 11th.
Apple's FaceTime offers a seamless sign-in process that will be welcoming to everyone. And its video quality is second to none.
And while FaceTime might have an edge over Skype in simplicity, Skype will dominate because of the tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of users that use its services already.
Skype or FaceTime, the ideal screen size of the iPad 2 for video chat may finally usher in a big change in social interaction.
And I reckon it will be the grandparents who will lead the way.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch
Monday, March 7, 2011
There are three reasons why I think this is a major load.
First, Apple has so far followed through with the same design for the iPhone 3G and the 3GS. The first iPhone design was a classic but abandoned likely due to reception issues and it was just way to easy to take apart for Apple's comfort.
And the iPhone 3G and 3GS looked virtually the same. And let's face it, it was a nice evolutionary change but the iPhone 4's industrial design rocked. And it would be a shame if iPhone 4G, iPhone 5 (whatever Apple ends up calling the next iPhone), abandons it. It remains hugely popular.
The one stumbling block, and though only another rumor, is that the white version was giving Apple issues with the paint allow light to seep through that would interfere with the quality and operation of the cameras. This bit of information, again, is also a rumor.
Secondly, there is a lot of evidence that Apple had resolved whatever issue they were confronted with in creating the white iPhone 4. Heck, some 17-year old high school kid was even able to sell white iPhone parts on eBay. Clearly, it was parts that Apple will/would use in the assembly of a white iPhone because the kid was stopped from further selling the parts. And clearly, the issue was resolved given the comments about them.
Thirdly, and the most important one, relates to technology. I believe Apple'use of the glass back for the iPhone might be a preemptive move to allow for NFC functions and/or multi-touch gestures from the back of the iPhone.
Consider this. Apple has even filed multi-side touch. This is a filing that many blogs reported about from late 2007.
Perhaps, Apple can use another material besides glass for gestures on the underside of the iPhone or other iOS devices, but if you put everything together, it makes sense from a speculation stand point.
Furthermore, I really doubt Apple would just use glass for the heck of it or just the looks.
Having said all that, I don't mind the new look if true. It kind of homogenizes the whole like up between the iPod touch and iPad 2.
Now, the exception. If Apple can find another functional reason besides the likelihood of broken glasses, I am sure Apple will go ahead and make the change.
So for now, I am putting this rumor in the rank of idle speculation. You know, pretty much what this post is about.
More at Macrumors on this rumor.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Now, I know last week that I was leaning towards the Macbook Pro but after discussions with some mobile warriors about specs, needs, and costs, I have taken on a new perspective about it.
Including that I think it's a netbook. However, it's a very well designed netbook with a lot more muscle than most low-end laptops packed with a lot of innovations that most PC laptops will not see for years to come.
Having said that, here is why I think it's a netbook and why it's worth the money.
A lot of people I know who bought this, most of them are writers and bloggers, bought the 11.6" version of the MBA over the 13" version and have fallen in love with it because if the light weight, longish battery life, and has enough processing power for the times when you absolutely have to do some more intensive work.
Compare this with my MacWind, which is a MSI Wind with OS X installed on it, it has a 10" screen with just as long of a battery life but with a more aged processor with less power and a graphics card that really has not right to be created and used.
I did a lot of writing on Macwind and it did well. However, there was a lot of getting used to. The keyboard was cramp and the touchpad was just average. And before you state that this may have been because I was running a hacked OS X on it rather than the Windows XP that came with it.
Sorry, on OS X or Windows, the keyboard would still be just as cramp and the plasticky feel of the touchpad would feel just as, well, like plastic.
Surprisingly, the Atom chip in the Macwind was adequate for general use but I had no illusion that I would use it to do some Photoshopping or simple iMovie work.
However, with the 11.6" MBA's Core 2 Duo running at 1.4 or 1.6 Ghz, I can imagine myself using it from time to time when needed. In fact, this would be a markedly improvement over the original Intel Mac Mini Duo Core I bought in early 2006.
The decision now is just how long I should wait before getting it. While the late-2010 MBA is much more improved over the 2009 version, it is largely due to the improved Nvidia integrated graphic card. There were more than a few, but judging by the sales, detractors who wanted to see the Core i3 or better chip in use.
The speculation is that there was no way for Apple to use the current Intel mobile chips with Nvidia GPU. Regardless of the reason, the Air is more than just about the CPU. It is the sum of all the innovations that came from Apple.
And the 11.6" MBA is a netbook that I just don't see HP, Dell, or anyone else come close competing. Just like the iPad 2 unveiled this week really forced some of Apple's competitors back to the drawing board, I think that was what the new Airs did with the very portable segment of the laptop market.
Well, ATT has done the right thing and said that people can grandfather in their $30 unlimited data plan. And the thing is it is one of the good things about carriers, this grandfathering concept. Though this makes sense because iPhone users were allowed to keep their unlimited data plan when they upgrade their iPhones. As a matter of fact, some iPhone users are even offered unlimited data plans if they remain with ATT instead of defecting to Verizon.
So, which of the two data plans are better? Those from the incumbent, ATT, or the upstart, Verizon Wireless? Macworld did a nice job of comparison for us.
Not only that, they did point out very important differences that give each carrier advantages as well as disadvantages. For instance, while the iPhone on Verizon's CDMA network cannot hold a call while still allow the user access to data, that is not going to be a major issue on the 3G iPad 2 since you cannot make calls to start with.
Furthermore, ATT's 3G advantage in speed is mitigated by the fact that neither it or Verizon offers unlimited data plans. Both set limits on their top plans which really means that ATT iPad users will get to their limit faster than iPad users who uses their iPad for data access with Verizon.
The gist is that ATT has the cheapest plan coming in at $15 for 250MB of access while Verizon is all over the place with a price range of $20 and up to $80 for 1GB through 10GB.
As someone who has the unlimited plan, I can't help but feel pretty good where I'm sitting. However, if I was a new subscriber, I would probably be looking pretty hard at Verizon's slower CDMA iPad.
But you might have very different needs than I do. For instance, I don't travel abroad much. So I have no need for the GSM version of the iPad. And I'd be very happy with Verizon's broader offering.
Perhaps, I know that I will be home more in May so I'll just go with the 1GB plan. But in June, I'll be going to a conference for a week and I cannot reliably believe there will be WiFi access so I'll probably go with the $50 for 5GB plan. And then in July, there will be a two week vacation and I would love to be able to use my iPad more freely so the 10GB plan for $80 might make more sense.
Obviously, deciding between plans was made easier because in buying the iPad with 3G access, Apple was able to get the carriers to back off and not require suffocating data plans. And this is probably going to be Apple's greatest contribution to consumer choices in the coming years.
So, head over to Macworld and look at their chart. I would have try to duplicated it but why do that when they've already done a fantastic job.
More at Macworld for ATT versus Verizon data plan.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
2010 Was about the iPad and after we have had a couple of days to digest Steve Jobs' March 2nd iPad 2 introduction, it is beginning to look like the Apple CEO is correct: 2011 is going to be about iPad 2. And if you don't believe me or Steve, take a look at the hit the Motorola Mobility stock took today. Down more than 5.5% on a generally up day in the stock market.
And from the number of folks selling their iPads for the iPad 2's, it looks like Apple's biggest problem is making enough to satisfy demand.
But we have to look at the big picture. The PC market in 2011, as forecasted by Garner, will grow only 10.5%, down from nearly 16% from an earlier projection. And 2012 growth was also lowered. That happened?
Specifically, the iPad and, in general, the tablet market. Now that Apple has proven that there is a market for a mobile device with a long battery life that allows users to consume media and remain product, mobile computing is change dramatically. A couple of nights ago while I was waiting for some friends to arrive for dinner at a restaurant, I was able to take out my 3G iPad and get things done that only a year ago, I would have had to carry around a 4 or 5 lb laptop.
And also consider this. Where are the netbooks? While I was researching the Macbook Air, I briefly considered getting a netbook and turn it into a hacintosh. As it turned out, find out information on the latest netbooks took a bit of digging.
As a tech and mobile enthusiast, I eagerly adopt new technology and, frankly, a large segment of the population have not even touched a tablet, let alone own one, I don't know just how big of an impact the iPad and other tablets will on the PC market. I suspect that the next couple of years will be very critical for the PC and tablet as they battle for the hearts and minds of mobile users.
For now, I think the size of the tablet market is largely underestimated by tech analysts. In the next couple of years, new features and, more importantly, new uses will find its way onto the tablet. At the iPad 2 event, Apple demoed two key apps: iMovie and Garageband. Both are related to content recreation that was not there even a year ago. I think we're just scraping the tip of what is a very potent mobile device.
And the more innovation and competition there is in the tablet market, the greater the impact this new mobile computing device will have on traditional PC.
More at MacDailyNews.
Who's Getting The iPhone Next: T-Mobile Disses iPhone Carriers But Sprint Doesn't (Second Sprint Post Today)
And ironically, I am writing about what Sprint isn't doing. While T-Mobile is off dissing the networks that the iPhone runs on on TV and Web commercials, Sprint doesn't seem to say much of anything else about CDMA iPhone.
After all, Sprint's WiMax is faster than what Verizon and ATT's 3G networks. So it has just as much marketing weapon as T-Mobile.
So I wonder if this is indicative of who is getting the iPhone and who isn't? About fourteen months before Verizon go the iPhone 4, it did the same thing with some cute animations.
At this point, I am just not hopeful that my network will be getting the next iPhone. And if Sprint is supposed to get the CDMA iPhone next, it would not make sense to diss a phone that it might be getting next.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch
But more than that, I’ve got an iPod touch that has pretty much the only major complaint I have with the original iPad: cameras.
And with the iPod touch with my iSpot, I can Skype on the go. Because the iSpot, while, access mobile Internet through cell signals, it is essentially a mobile hotspot. It’s even a better arrangement than the iPhone 4 with either of the two US carriers.
The only thing that would have enticed me to upgrade would have been a Retina Display. And if you use even just a bit of brain, you would know that while having an HD or Retina display is in the works, we’re not going to see it in this upgrade or even the next. It’s simply just too expensive right now to manufacture. Plus, I don’t think the yield would have been all that great.
Having said all this, I encourage everyone else to take a look at the iPad 2 if having a camera for video chat is something you’ve been waiting for even if you don’t have an iPad. Again, the reason I’m not upgrading is because I have the latest iPod touch that does have a frontal camera for video chitchat.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll see that I’m good with the iPad’s ability to serve my mobile needs. And with two iOS devices, I can literally multitasking between two devices.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I had dinner with a friend tonight. Dumplings, scallion noodles, and more dumplings. Before dinner, I had some time to kill.
I got to the restaurant early. A lot earlier than I expected. I guess with the $4 a gallon gas, more folks are staying off the California roads. If this dinner was not pre-arranged a while back, I probably be home glad that my SUV was not taking me to the poor house.
So there I was, sitting around waiting. Then I figure I could get some work done. No games. Real work. I made a few calls overseas using the Skype app on the iPad. During the call, I checked on some Excel files, PDF, and Binged something. Then I made another call to a dealership that we're trying to sell a car to and checked out the paperwork that was e-mailed to me in PDF.
After that, I updated my cities in We Rule and We City. Made my moves on Words with Friends. Then, it was back to looking at some research for work.
Then I realized there was a guy who was standing near by watching what I was doing. Chatting away, surfing the Web, working on a spreadsheet. I don't know what he was thinking but if that was me, I would be thinking "I'm gonna go and pick me up an iPad after dinner!"
I mean, seriously, could all that have been done with a laptop? No. And iPhone? Sure, definitely but not as easy as the huge 9.7" screen on the iPad allowed me. Oh, and I had 3G access. And if I needed something faster, I did have my iSpot as well. Point is, it would not have been possible with a laptop. Heck, it would not have been possible with a Macbook.
On the iPad with unlimited 3G access and gobs of hours of battery life, I could afford to do all that without worrying about battery life and the artificial limits that a laptop 3G plan would have limited me to.
Like I mentioned above, this could have been done with an iPhone. A year ago, it was the 3GS and there was limited multi-tasking but it was not until the iOS 4 released in 2010 that made all this possible. But going even a bit further back, say 2008 or 2009, it would have been much more difficult to do. I would be blogging about a laptop, USB modem with 3G access that costs $80 a month for a couple of hundreds of megabytes of download, and about 6 pounds more to carry around.
We're about thirteen hours away from find out more about the iPad 2. The official word this time around. Very excited here at the compound. The whole crew is working on ready for the onslaught, whatever it is that Apple wants to unleash on us.
Seriously though, I think even if Apple just added a camera onto the iPad 2 for Facetime, it'll be enough to get the hordes of adopters out into the Apple store. After all, isn't that all that many of us had hoped the original iPad would have?
And from the latest blogs and posts coming through late Tuesday, it appears that iPad 2 will not be leaps and bounds over the current iPad. Plus, there's talk that Steve Jobs might make an appearance. I don't know if he will or not but if he does show, it'll probably be to get the attention from the fact that the iPad 2 will not exhibit all the bells and whistles that the rumored for months.
Still, it does show the confidence that Apple have. With Google finally releasing a true Android OS for tablet and a top notch tablet in the Xoom, Apple can still cruise right along and dominate the market.
Anyway, thirteen hours away from the Cupertino show.
(Android) I was gonna pull the trigger on the Xoom this week but I think I can wait until Apple unveils their plans for the iPad 2 in less than two days and what T-Mobile might offer me in terms of cost and data plan for the G-Slate. I’ve got the current iPad to hold me over until then.
(Green) – New power source that allows cruise ships to plug in while at port to avoid burning fuel. Hmm…not a bad idea. Of course, I’ve always wondered what fuel is burnt to get these power. BTW, I’m still on track to look into solar panels for this year. (KPCC)
(Green) – In addition to Solar City, I’ve contacted Sungevity for a quote on my solar ambitions. I got a post card from this last week and thought I check them out. Maybe it’s a sign. (Sungevity)
(Tablet, iPad) JP of the Morgans expect tablet market to hit $35 billion in 2012. I guess this is why Apple vows to own a big chunk of that. We already know netbooks is getting their collective butts handed to them by Apple but looks like the investment bank outfit thinks notebooks are next. (Cult of Mac)
(iPhone) Looks like Apple has found a way to address the prepaid market with the iPhone. Honestly, I don’t know how their $600 iPhones are going to be able to do this. I imagine Apple mean to make money back through mobile payments, apps (hence, the 30% subscription free from publishers), and accessories. (MacNN)
(Thought on iPad) – Probably 95% wishful thinking here but I wonder how low Apple can go with the iPad pricing? A couple of things Apple can do: lower price to $400 or $450 on the original WiFi iPad and/or eliminate the 3G premium over the WiFI-only version.
(Libya) Gas was insane at the pumps this weekend. Glad I gassed up last week. Good to hear US military positioning around the North African nation. That’s right, my fellow Americans. Libya is in Africa. See here.
(Thoughts on PC Verus Tablet) It’s possible that the tablet market will become bigger than the PC market. Many have said this. Where does this leave Microsoft and Intel? Is Google going to be the biggest beneficiary or will Apple find a way to stay on top? And if people move to tablets over notebooks, will that means Apple end up with a bigger part of the shrinking PC market? Estimated tablet revenue to reach $100 billion in a few years for Apple alone.
(Green) Is distributed power going to rid us of power plants? Well, we still need them to manage things but the parallel between utilities and the newspaper industry created in this post is very interesting. (Renewable Energy)
(Mobile Tech) I just had this though when comparing the thinness (or thickness) of various mobile devices. Could future devices have their electronics embedded into the casing itself? Glass, liquid metal, carbon, to reduce weight and increase strength?
(Apps) For those of us who have yet to take advantage of the lucrative app market, NYT reports we’ll see the market explode to $38 billion in 5 years. (NYT)
(Space) Virgin Galactic to ferry scientists into space. BTW, when are the flights supposed to start?! Oh yes…2012. More than a year from now. It’ll cost about $200K per seat. Gotta get working on those apps (see one link above).
(Government, Economy, Recession) Here’s an NPR breakdown on the state fights over money, cuts, and unions. Reads almost like ESPN for politics. (NPR)
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