Thursday, March 31, 2011

Powerbook 1Ghz: My Old Girl, But Still Sexy

I bought my aluminum 1Ghz Powerbook eons ago and it has not been on my lap for more than two years since I bought the late-2008 unibody Macbook back in December of 2008. And guess what? It still rocks.

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

iPad Is Not A Viable Enterprise Tool: Guess Who Thinks This

iPad isn't for biz  Well, if Dell, HP, and Microsoft says it, it must be true...

I'm gonna take a guess and say that the PC market, san the Mac part of it, isn't doing too well.  The sudden chorus of chatter in the media against the iPad only solidifies Steve Jobs' claim that we are approaching the post-PC era.  

A comprehensive mobile experience for computing with a viable ecosystem is something that is difficult to create and these guys are late to the game.

More here.

iPhone Or Apple Rumors and Where They Belong

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.


More at Seeking Alpha via MacDailyNews

Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple’s Software Show, WWDC, in June To Focus On Software, No New iPhone 5 Hardware – Not Surprised

I love this rumor which is why I'm breaking my own rules to talk about it but I'll explain why this particular rumor makes a lot of sense.  And hopefully, you will too.

The World Wide Developer Conference is about developers and software.  In the past, Apple had used it as a launch pad for the new iPhone hardware in the June.  And now, people completely expects that whenever June rolls around, it means new iPhone.  

Word was put out, probably by Apple, that we will not see this behavior repeated this year.  I've long suspected that Apple might do this eventually.  And this is especially true this year.  

We have Lion coming in the summer as well as the expected iOS 5. That's a lot of software.  Let's not forget that an updated iWork is still missing.  On top of that, there is the comprehensive mobile, computing, and entertainment vision that Apple will try to convey to the world.  It's difficult to do that with an iPhone launch in the mix.

And then are a couple of things about the iPhone 4 that show Apple is not quite done with it yet  Verizon iPhone.  Apparently, it's doing well and I reckon that CDMA iPhone will see new markets – mostly likely in China.  That'll add a few millions of new sales in the next quarter or two without slowing down sales.  

Then there's this.  The white iPhone that is coming in April.  Apple has confirmed this and even at this late stage, Apple will sell tons of those.

So it never made sense that Apple would introduce the CDMA iPhone in Feb and the white iPhone in April and then release the iPhone 5 in June.

More at The Loop

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Girl Scouts Use Mobile to Accept Credit Card. NFC Next?

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?

More at Greenjava.

Digitimes Wrong Most of the Times but Bloggers Will Not Call Them Out

So, DigiTimes, a Chinese tech publication that's often linked to by bloggers, especially Apple-centric sites for the claims itself and its analysts make that is wrong virtually every time.

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

Macs: To Guard Against Certificate Attacks

I came across this post regarding digital certificates.  After Microsoft's trusted Comodo Certificate Authority issued fraudulent certificates that effected many top sites.

So here are some instructions that you can use to protect yourself if you're on a Mac and use Safari as your main browser.  Honestly, I don't know how serious this is but if it's got Microsoft's attention, I'd worried somewhat, enough to continue looking into it.

It's amazing this does not happen more often if you ask me.  So the instructions provided at Sophos basically enables certificate revocation.  

There really isn't much we can do about this.  We rely on a system that is based on an honor system and require these security and certificate companies to audit and continually beef up their protocols.  

More at Sophos and how this happened.

Note: Firefox and IE 9 users should be fine even though Microsoft has issued an update.  IE 8 users needs to act to protect themselves.

Siri: Nice But It Can And Should Be Better

After my failed attempt to get one last AT&T version of the iPad 2, I started looking for the closest Best Buy to see if I can go there and see if they've got any in the store.

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.

"Best Buy...Pasadena."

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

Apple Pasadena: The Line Is 200+ Deep And I Am Last

This is insane. The line is 200+ deep for the iPad 2. And I am last. I wasn't but now I am. The guy behind me gave up. And I am beginning to think I am going to walk away empty-handed.

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

Macbook Air and Writing (With Part 1)

I've started a dual review process. we'll see just how well the 11.6" Macbook Air works as a writing machine with some simple Web work and some image process. At the same time, I'll learning and review from scratch three top novel writing apps for the OS X.

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: Steve Jobs War On Them But How I Love Them Too

I’m torn on buttons on mobile devices. You’ve got Apple on one end that detests buttons so much that it has only one click on the mouse while the iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad has just the home button on the surface.

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.

Tips to Help Speed Or Fix Up Your iOS Devices If They Become Slow or Defective

TiPB has six tips on how one can fix a slow or buggy iOS device.

It's a must read.  I'll leave all of it there since they came up with the list. 

I just have one more to add.  Turn off any feature that you don't need.  If you don't need push notification, get rid of it.  That might even extend your battery life.  Oh, and there's the location function if you're on an iPod touch.  

I think the best coarse would be to restore the device.  Apple has made it easy to do that.  And fast.

More at TiPB.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Macbook Air: Perfect For Writing

I've had the Macbook Air for a couple of days now. Let me recap. I almost didn't get it because Fedex bungled the order (for like the nth time) and, in disgust, I nearly rejected the shipment from Apple.

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

iPod Classic: Short And Sweet From Steve Jobs - No Plans To Discontinue It

If Apple truly has no plans to discontinue the Classic and by not updating, it might have driven folks to get it before there are no more left.  That was my initial knee-jerk reaction when the iPod Classic was not updated this past fall.  In fact, it was a recommendation that I gave a friend. to buy it before Apple runs out of stock.

But a Macrumors reader e-mailed Steve Jobs imploring him not to discontinue such an iconic device.

To which Steve Jobs replied:  We have no plans to.

Though no more was said beyond this, Typical Steve Jobs communique leave it open to interpretations.  My hope is that we'll see an increase in battery life as well as storage in future Classics.  

In hindsight, there was probably no need for Apple to update the Classic in the fall of 2010 when Apple updated the iPod nanos and the touches. With the iPod touch maxing out at 64GB, there was no need for Apple to increase the capacity of the Classic.  Perhaps, in 2011, Apple will finally do something about an updated Classic.  

Any taker on what improvement Apple may make for the iPod Classic?

More at Macrumors.

Motorola May Be Onto Something With Atrix And LapDock

Would you be interested if iOS can one day (it probably will) be powerful enough (it probably already is) to become a full-sized Mac. Well, I think I just kinda of answered that question for myself. And I got this idea after spend some time with the Atrix at the ATT store when I was pre-ordering the 3G iPad 2 a week ago and I saw it at a Starbucks over the weekend.

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.

Decided To Keep New Refub'd Macbook Air

I really don't like Fedex.  But it didn't start out that way.  I think it's Fedex that doesn't like me first.  Finally, my refurbished 11.6" Macbook Air powered by 1.6Ghz Intel chip with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD got to my office.

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

Macbook Air Over iPad - It's A Mac And Can Do Web Development

First, let me say that anything that I do on the Macbook isn't what I would call true Web development in the sense that there's coding with HTML or Javascript. In fact, all I use are iWeb, Rapidweaver, and a few open source graphic programs. However, aside from graphics, the iPod touch and iPad doesn't seem to be able to do both well.

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

SSD: Macbook Air, Where We Are Now, And, Hopefully, Where Lion Will Take It

Here's a must read post (Subtraction) on the state of solid-state drive in the Mac-verse.  While the article doesn't actually about that, it does say a bit about where things are at the time and what the author had to do to get his 2009 Macbook run smoothly again.  And we are 3-5 months away from the release of the next OS X, Lion, that officially supports TRIM so it might be a good time to discuss where we are and where we hope to be headed with SSD.

First, what is TRIM?  TRIM is basically a command (as I understand it from Wikipedia) that allows the system to overhaul unused blocks of space on the SSD that allows the drive to be refreshed to avoid slowdowns that have plagued earlier SSD systems.  

While this post I point to doesn't quite say much about the existence of TRIM support or another Apple specific mechanism to speed SSD along, it does show what whatever Apple has in the current OS X (or just his version) is nonexistent or inadequate.

Many mobile warriors who use Macbooks will be happy to know that Lion does support TRIM.  

Given where we are now, it is worth nothing just how speedy things are at the beginning of a new drive and where it is at weeks and months down the line.  I'll try to keep detailed data on my uses with my new 11.6" 128 GB 4 GB RAM Macbook Air (currently stuck in the back of a Fedex truck).  Supposedly, there is some TRIM support or something like it from Apple that allows optimizes the SSD in the new Airs.  But actual documentation on that is sketchy at best.  The speed that Apple often boasted about are likely pristine Macbook Airs that have not had the wear-and-wear of Web browsing cache, movement of files, coding, and whatever else a mobile warrior will put his or her Air through.

A quick check around regarding TRIM support for any SSD seems to be only for specific Mac models or configurations.  I did this they going over other forums.  It does seem that we can expect full TRIM support for Lion when it is released.  However, what that means is anyone's guess.  

And even if Lion does support TRIM, I can totally see Apple limit it to a number of SSD drives.

So for now, while I look forward to getting my hands on my Air, sooner rather than later, I have more incentives to look into additional resources and other user experiences on how they deal with their SSD in their Airs or on other Macs.  And I'll happy to share with you anything I find.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Macs At About 15% In The US, A Stepping Stone For Apple's Mobile Strategy

By now, you know that Apple is doing quite well in some countries, more than the 3-4% of global sales that some firms like to publish. In fact, if you include iPad into the mix, as these same firms equate netbooks as regular laptops, Apple would be the largest PC maker in the world.

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

Distortions On iPod Touch Screens After 4.3 Update

Has anyone experienced some slight but very annoying distortions on their iOS device screens after applying he iOS 4.3 update? I have not seen it on the iPad but I started noticing it on the touch after a couple of days.

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

Apple To Delay iPad 2 Shipment (Reuters)

Update: This why I don't do rumors and such.  Apparently, Apple will be delaying iPad intro in Japan to focus on the quake relief.  Meanwhile, delays from parts shortage remains a concern.

Developing at this time but it looks like Reuters (via CNBC tweet) that Apple will delay fulfilling iPad 2 shipments.

Many facilities in northern Japan were damaged or remained offline due to lack of electricity.  Apple is not the only company affected by this.  

The economy today has a global structure where parts are filled from various countries and then assembled in one central location.  

Due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and potential for greater nuclear disaster, it is understand companies as well as government officials will proceed cautiously.  

As always, people first.  

Note:  Ordinarily, I don't like to base my posts off rumors or even tweets but given the anxiety many of my fellow mobile warriors are feeling about their orders, I thought I put this out there now.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Apple Stores In Japan Become Hub For Quake Update and Refuge For Employees

Make no mistake that many corporates are doing the right thing in the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake (it was upgraded from 8.9) that rocked northern Japan and has inflicted suffers and damages on the survivors.  Google has used its expertise in cloud computing and set up a website to help pass information to love ones and victims.  But Apple has literally open its doors to the public and provided aid and comfort to its employees.

According to numerous reports, Apple stores is providing charging stations for mobile devices and provided financial aid, such as travel expenses given that the public transportation system is still down, to employees.  
And as one of the few locations in Japan that offers free WiFi, it was not unusually to see crowds near the Apple store to use the Internet and get information on love ones and media/government updates.  

I truly like that companies like Apple and Google are recognizing that their responsibilities as publicly traded companies go beyond maximizing profit for their shareholders.  I am particularly impressed with Google's generosity and its green initiatives.  And now, Apple recognizes that its responsibilities to its costumers doesn't end the money they walk out the door with its product.  

And these two being Californian companies, I am particularly proud as an American.

As for WiFi, I think there is something we can learn about its role in a disaster.  I think mobile WiFi stations for public use during natural or any kind of disasters could go a long way in saving lives and comfort to the population.  I know that ATT has mobile cell towers but I think WiFi stations work better since WiFi enabled devices outnumber cell-based devices.  Not everyone has an iPhone but a lot of folks have laptops and even WiFi-only iPads.  Perhaps, a fleet of WiFi mobile vans would work well.

More at Appleinsider, TUAW.

iPad 2 Orders: Tim Cook, You Need To Get A Handle On This Next Time

Maybe I'm writing this more as a comfortable to myself and feel like I'm doing something beyond refreshing the order status page on the Apple Store website.

But if somehow I can channel this to Tim Cook, who's on charge of Apple while Steve is on medical leave, please read the online posts or have some intern do it and summarize for you.

Many folks are anxious about their online orders.  I read situations where cases have shipped but iPad orders themselves are cancelled. I'm also just now reading that credit cards have been charged but no change in online status.  And then there are just folks whose orders have not changed since the time they ordered.

Maybe there isn't anything Apple can do about this but maybe for the iPhone 5 stamped or the iPad 3 rush (maybe in the fall?), you guys can update the system so that first-ordered-first-shipped should mean something.  

I've one of two iPads shipped.  I can't complain there.  It was a 1:10 AM PST order.  Very happy  Then I also noticed a few folks who ordered before I did with just one iPad and they haven't seen anything.  And obviously, I like to have seen my 2nd iPad shipped sooner rather than later.

Again, I don't know what it is that is driving folks crazy like drug addicts, constantly clicking away on Fedex for updates or their Apple account to see if the statuses for their orders have changed.  

And not, this isn't fan boys doing all this.  Apple has genuinely created a revolutionary device with the iPad and has added some evolutionary additions/changes that has really gotten more users to jump on the iPad bandwagon.

Ironically, Apple's rise to the top and increasing pie of the consumer electronic dollar has been bitter-sweet for Apple fans.  On one hand, we're happy with Steve Jobs and Apple's success and, on the other hand, it also makes it more difficult if not downright impossible to get an Apple product that has just been released.

Note:  After writing this, I do feel a bit better.  Now, back to check my order and delivery status!

iPad 2: Apple May Have Problems Filling Orders (My Take From Comments And Forums

Demand for the iPad 2 is there.  No doubt about it.  However, selling through for Apple's iconic "post-PC" mobile device is another matter all together.  I would not be surprise if Apple does sell 400,000 to 500,000 units over the weekend including online orders but I doubt it is any higher as some have suggested Apple moving one million.  

But it can depends on how you slide it.  If Apple does include orders that they cannot fill online over the weekend, we might see a higher number than my own 500K units.  And if that's true, it speaks about limited number of iPads on hand for Apple and its retail partners to sell.

Regardless of how Apple wants to deal with the numbers when it finally announces them, I am beginning to see a clear and bigger picture, especially with regards to online orders.

I believe Apple dedicated as much stock as they can for for its retail locations and a few for partners like Best Buy.  But obviously, that ran out quickly.  Fillers were likely on their way even as folks were waiting in line over the weekend that are likely to arrive for stores this week.  

For online orders, the amount was even more scarce which could explain why there were no preorders this year versus last year when buyers could preorder and pick them up in the stores if they like.  

A lot of people went online to find solidarity.  Some wanted to see where their orders stand relative to others and when they ordered, others went online to vent.  And there was a lot of discrepancies in how Apple fill orders.  Since I don't know how all this works, I am gonna have to hold any comments on it except to say that I totally feel the pain some buyers are going through.

Personally, my order with two iPads is a textbook case given what I'm ready online.  First, the covers shipped.  A day later, one of the iPad shipped but the other 3G version, even now, is stuck with "not yet shipped".  We have other orders and none of those have shipped except the covers.  

My best guess is that Apple is shipping them as they are made, tested, and packaged right away and fill them.  This would explain why they have not announced a number for how many iPad 2s they've sold.  You cannot say you sold and shipped something when you clearly haven't finished making it.

Also from what I see, most people with 2 iPads in their order are seeing one iPad shipped while the other one sits waiting.  

My advice for anyone who want one but isn't willing to wait for the 3-4 weeks wait call their local Apple store or another retail to see if they have any in stock and hope you get lucky.  

As for how many Apple will sell, I think Apple won't be announcing a concrete number for a few days just until they can fill all the weekend orders first.  

ATT and Veizon To Offer Free Calls And Text To Japan; Other Companies And Web Media Helps

ATT and Verizon will both offer free calling and texting to Japan for a period of time to help those in the US contact love ones and friends who may be affected by the 8.9 earthquake and the tsunami.

  • 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.
More information here at ATT (BGR), Verizon, Macnn.  Also Huffington Post has a detailed (though messy) page of how else we can help.

Also, Google has set up an excellent page for helping victims, love ones, and up-to-date information on the Japan earthquake.

Separately, Apple is accepting donations to the Red Cross through iTunes.  Apple also did this during the Haiti earthquake as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Is The MacBook Air Faster Or the iPad 2 Better/Faster For Editing Videos?

The Macbook Air 11.6" at 1.6 Ghz with 4 GB of RAM is a pretty buff little guy.  A Mac to be certain given circumstances, it is nearly as fast as some of the 2010 Macbook Pro models with some tasks.  And with the iPad 2 as a viable option for simple consumer video editing through iMovie, I wonder if it makes more sense to do editing on the iPad 2 or the Air.

If you're on the go and don't have the time to the video back onto a Mac, I assume that's the computer that you have at home, the iPad 2 seems quick capable for simple editing.  

Based on Macworld's benchmarks and Anandtech, the 11.6" Air, 1.4 Ghz or 1.6 Ghz, is not what I would use as my main iMovie or Final Cut Express work.  

My guess is that the iPad or the iPad 2 gigahertz for gigahertz, it is no match for the Air.  However, the iPad 2 does have a pretty snappy graphics component on the A5.  So I wonder if the iPad 2 is optimized to process videos so well that it can challenge the Air in the features that the iOS version of the iMovie have.

Of course, the iMovie for the iPad is very simple.  

In a few iterations down the line, I can see the iPad doing very well for on the go directors and editors who might need to make rapid cuts for reviewing back in the studio and it could have enough power and features to do just that.  The iPad offers a lot of portability but the MacBooks are still better for faster and more complicated editing.

For now, I'll be shooting most of my video on my HD camcorder and feed the video off to my Macbook.  

Note:  If you want to shoot video on your iPod touch or the iPhone, you can use an adapter to pass off the video to your brand new iPad 2, assuming you can find one, for faster editing.  MOre at iSource.

EVIL ATT To Start Capping DSL Services In May

This post from Electonista says it all.

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.

More here.

Xoom Is Faster Than The iPad But the iPad 2 "Zoom" Past The Xoom A Few Times Over

Rationalization from a lot of folks, especially Apple-friendly blogs, about the lack of specs about the iPad 2 during Steve Jobs' March 2nd iPad 2 keynote was that Apple is all about the whole experience. And that is correct. However, you can't help but feel a bit nervous for the iconic "post-PC" device for the lack of information.

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.

iPad: Free Enterprise Is Great But Apple Should Find A Way To Sell To Legitimate Users

I'm still on the fence about this. But after reading a few posts about how some people are pawning off the very scarce iPad 2 on eBay, I wonder if Apple should find a way to sell to legitimate users rather than those who are trying to sell them off with a market-up.

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.

International iPad 2 Launch Should Go On As Planned But Don't Expect Much

CNet is wonder just how things are going to be like for international mobile warriors looking to hook themselves up (or sell them on eBay) with the new iPad 2.

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

Pasadena Store Has Only The Black Verizion 64GB iPad Left

It's 7:53am Saturday, March 12. I just returned from waiting 90 minutes at the Pasadena Apple Store.

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

Sold Out! New Shipments Possible Tomorrow

Yup, that's like six places I checked that I thought might still have iPads by the time I got off and head over around 6PM PST. I mean people who did not preorder the iPad last year were generally able to get the iPad model they wanted around midday last year. My friend did that. He did not wait in line at 5am on the morning like I did.

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

Case for the iPad (Not iPad 2): It Just Works and It’s Cheaper

I have the original iPad and while I'm not looking to upgrade it just yet because I haven't seen or touched it yet.  The iPad purchase last year was a bit more of faith and Steve Jobs' reality distortion field.  This year, the draw is there but not as strong.  

So, I'm making a case to folks who are on the fence about upgrading their iPad.  I'm also making a case for anyone thinking about the iPad but cannot decide which to get:  the cheaper iPad or the newer iPad 2.

Why you should continue using the iPad?  Because quite simply, it just works.  Until tomorrow, the iPad continues to be the fastest iOS device on the planet.  And for a multi-media device that plays music, movies, and games while allows the user the freedom to be untethered to the wall socket, the iPad simply is second to none, again maybe until tomorrow.

Furthermore, as a productivity tool, I don't see how adding a couple of cameras is going to make the iPad 2 let the user write better or more creatively.  Maybe numbers can be crunched faster in Numbers or other spreadsheet apps on the iPad 2 over the iPad but any heavy duty work will probably be done on a laptop or Macbook anyway.  

Software and gaming?  Right now, there is nothing in the App store that can take advantage of the dual-core CPU and the 9X increase in graphics performance in the iPad 2.  And if you're a gamer on the iPad, you know that things are very good already with the current A4 chip.  

As for iOS, we just go the latest and greatest iOS 4.3.  It means faster surfing for some websites as well as some awesome new features for content sharing at home.  And all that is before iOS 5 and next year's iOS 6 which I am sure is compatible with the iPad.

One more thing: accessories.  Tons of accessories.  One of the thing about Apple products is that they lend themselves to allow the users to be very creative.  Maybe it's the assurance that the devices won't fail and crash in the middle of a marathon workflow, the ease of use, or that it does what the user wants san any complications  Also, I find that customization of the devices also helps.  New case or stand.  I know some people even likes to have covers with awesome designs.  

So far, I've covered why people with iPads already should not be in too much of a hurry to upgrade.  Now, for people who are on the fence who cannot decide which iPad to get:  the original iPad or the iPad 2.

Two things here.  The iPad 2 is future proof.  Dual cameras and if you're the type that likes face-to-face contact, this is it.  That was what was missing from the current iPad.  Slimmer, faster, and offers the same great user-experience as the first iPad.  

However, if you don't care for that, the iPad is a viable option with an added exception that works in your favor:  it's $100 cheaper.  For the same memory and connectivity configuration, you can get the original iPad for a lower price while supplies last.  Before March 2nd, that was not an option.  

Looking at the iPad with 64GB for only $599 wherever they're still being sold, it's looking like one heck of a deal.  

Note: Xoom is a viable (and only true iPad competitor) Android option but at $799 for 32GB, that's a lot to swallow.  I'm hoping competition from the iPad and iPad 2 will compel Motorola and Verizon to drop the price.  Nothing short of a $200 drop to $599 will work.  After all, it's only got 32GB and  beta-ish Android 3.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

FaceTime And Especially Skype To Benefit Huge From iPad 2

iPad 2 is huge but more than that, it will be even bigger for video conferencing. Likely yo benefit is Apple's own FaceTime. And Skype is likely to have much more to gain than ever.

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

Garageband Will Only Work on iPads And Other Questions Answered

The main question for me is whether the Garageband for iOS can work on the iPhone or iPod touch.  Well, the answer was a simple know.  And I got the answer from this FAQ-like post from PC World.

I recommend you check it out if you're interested in the iPad 2 or have questions regarding Apple's forthcoming iOS 4.3.  

More at PC World.

Monday, March 7, 2011

About That Rumor With Apple Abandoning iPhone Glass Back

I don't talk about rumors but I really took this one with a huge shovel of salt. And here goes. The rumor today is that Apple will be abandoning the glass plate that currently houses the back of the iPhone 4. I highly doubt this with one exception and I'll get to that at the very end.

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

Macbook Air 11.6": It's High End Netbook And Why It's Worth Every Penny Spent On it

I'm gonna get a lot of grief for this but I'm going to say it. The 11.6" Macbook Air is a high-end netbook. Don't get me wrong. I'm very close to getting it.

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.

iPad Data Plan: Grandfathering Is In At ATT But For Everyone Else, Who's Better?

We have the unlimited data plan with ATT when we bought the original 3G iPad. And there was quite a bit of rumors flying around about just what will happen when you lose your iPad, change hardware, or something else.

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

iPad To Lead the Way And Change the PC Landscape Forever

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)

I don't write a lot about Sprint because it kind of chugs a long but doesn't do much else exciting. And it's on WiMax so it like it is off to one side doing its own thing. So here is the 2nd Sprint post of the day.

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

Why I’ll Be Buying An iPad 2 But Not For Myself

I will be buying an iPad 2 as a retirement present for my mom. However, I’ll be pass on this version for myself, not because I think there will be something better in six months but it’s simply that I don’t need it right this moment. And I am happy with the original iPad.

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

iPad As My Workstation Tonight

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.

13 Hours Away From iPad 2 (And More?)

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.

Wired Goes to Foxconn To See For Itself The Work Conditions

This isn't just about the iPhone.  This is about the workers who make our Android devices, laptops, and other mobile devices.

Wired goes there to see for himself the conditions the workers face and what the issues are about.

More at Wired.

Today's Interesting Links in Mobile And Impacts

(Green) – Joule Unlimited claims to be able to make 4X the diesel and ethanol fuel as others and plan is on track to have a demo plant working this year. Though doubts about collection exists. But imagine having a plant hear power plants that take in the carbon dioxide, water, and sun to make more fuel. Good luck guys! (Huffington)

(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)

MacBook Air M2 - I Love It And Any Laptop You Get Will Always Be Right For the Time

The 2016 MacBook sitting off to the side still has some value as I gleefully starting using my MacBook Air M2 that I got for a decent price ...