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An Englishman in New York. With an iPad.

May 8, 2010 1 comment

Several news sites are reporting the limited availability of the WiFi+3G iPad at Apple store, but in New York there’s a shortage of all models. I visited the 5th Ave store Thursday evening to be initially told at the entrance there were no iPads available at any of the New York Apple stores. Further enquiries inside revealed deliveries had been received every couple of days so I reserved a 32Gb WiFi only model. The “come get it” email arrived Friday morning, so after a visit to the Top of the Rock (awesome view) I headed to the store and got the iPad activated for immediate use.
Requests for iPads at the store are constant, and within five minutes of getting mine out of the box to set it up I had an offer of “whatever you paid plus a hundred dollars”. That was without even seeing what model it was. Setting up a US iTunes account is necessary since there is no UK iPad support until launch. A $25 iTunes gift card took care of the app store billing requirement.
Onto first impressions. It’s surprisingly heavy but more solid than cumbersome. Performance is very smooth, and there have been no lags or pauses so far. I bought the Acer Aspire One hackbook on this trip and it cannot play my holiday movies exported from iMovie at quarter HD (960×540). The iPad has no trouble and they look fantastic, no stuttering with vivid but realistic colour.
The camera connection kit is sold out as well so I haven’t been able to directly import photos. iPhoto is sluggish on the hackbook so I am only importing a select few photos for syncing to the iPad. Those viewed so far look just as good as movies.
Off to the New York public library today as Mrs Basshead loves The Day After Tomorrow film, so more thoughts to follow.

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Categories: apple, computer, ebook, email, ipad Tags:

What’s new in iPhone OS 4

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Apple today unveiled many of the new features of iPhone/iPod/iPad OS 4, with the disappointing news that some of the features will only be available on the current generation of iDevices. More on that later, the new features were dominated by the seven chosen for attention:

Multitasking

There wasn’t much chance of this being left out if Apple wanted to stay competitive with Google’s Android platform. New API’s are provided to allow apps to run as background services until resumed. Background apps can allow control from the lock sceen, and display notifications. There are seven background services available:

  • Background Audio
  • Voice over IP
  • Background Location
  • Push Notification
  • Local Notifications
  • Task Completion
  • Fast App Switching Read more…

Apple unveils the iPad

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

As widely predicted Steve Jobs has today unveiled the iPad tablet computer. There’s little in the specifications that hasn’t been discussed over the past few weeks, so here’s a brief rundown on what’s included.

  • 9.5 x 7.5 x 0.5 inch body
  • 9.7-inch LED-backlit glossy Multi-Touch display with 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi).  Described as widescreen at the Apple iPad specs page, maybe the reality distortion field has broken on this feature.
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology
  • 3G on selected models – UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900,1800, 1900 MHz)
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive. Interesting choice of description, drive not memory. Will this be externally accessible?
  • 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip
  • Built-in 25Whr rechargeable lithium-polymer battery offering up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music

The hardware specs are good, but the apps are even better. iWork for iPad looks very usable with the optional keyboard dock, and media apps closer to iLife than iPhone make the iPad look like an accomplished media device. Pricing also starts lower than was widely expected:

The only thing I find disappointing about the iPad is the home screen, which looks like nothing more than an upscaled iPhone screen with a background image and way too small icons. Given how smooth and intuitive the demonstrated apps look is this really what Apple plans to present as the starting point of the iPad experience?

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Apple Tablet Predictions

January 26, 2010 1 comment

Just about every site covering anything vaguely Apple related has pondered what might be announced at the ‘Come see our latest creation’ event on 27th January. If there isn’t a Tablet PC announced the internet will ignite with the wrath of a million Apple fanboys. On top of this the rumours of Iphone OS 4, iLife 10 and updated Macbooks mean that some of these aren’t going to be included. Just for fun, here’s my predictions on what will be announced tomorrow.

The Tablet

  • Called the MacPad. iPad is too obvious, and iSlate and iTablet are too awkward sounding.
  • 10 inch screen, resolution 1280×800 for all the iTunes HD content. This gives around 150DPI for use as an eReader. Possibly in two versions for LCD and OLED, until the OLED price comes down.
  • The OS will be something between the flexibility of Snow Leopard and the ease of iPhone OS. Maybe a dashboard type display with selectable widgets/feeds/ information. I would include the ability to run iPhone apps in a 320×480 window or full screen tablet apps. And multi-tasking.
  • 32-128Gb Flash Memory on board dependant on expansion options, so a worthwhile amount of HD content can be stored. Streaming HD content and audio from your iTunes account at home with a fast data connection.
  • An SD card slot. The Macbook Pro’s have them, and a 10 inch tablet would make an excellent photo viewer/editor.
  • A USB port, possibly miniUSB if the Tablet is as thin as the photoshop fake’s are hoping. This really opens up the device for adding an external HD stuffed with content, but realistically isn’t likely as most other peripherals would plug into a dock connector. How about a dock with USB available for third party expansion options?
  • Universal 3G ability rather than tied to one service provider, just add your own 3G sim. Maybe a data package as an option, but not compulsory.
  • A P.A. semi highly integrated processor?
  • Front and back video camera’s for video calls is a killer app for a tablet.
  • eBooks magazines and newspapers in iTunes, just like the Amazon Kindle store with lower prices and higher volume.

iLife 10

  • Grand Central and OpenCL support bringing a big speed boost to HD encoding. What’s the point of building these technologies into Snow Leopard if Apple doesn’t use them?
  • iDvd gets new authoring abilities for the Tablet and HD content, or a new app is added to do this. Dvd’s can package photo slideshows and multiple video’s, so file based media needs the same.
  • A simplified version of iLife for the Tablet would be nice, offering basic photo retouching and video editing.

iPhone OS 4

  • There’s no denying the iPhone seriously needs a good home screen showing calls and messages, calendar etc. Other platforms, especially Android, are catching up so something flexible but simple is required. And an easy way to switch 3G, WiFi and brightness like SBsettings would be nice.
  • Irrespective of what the iPhone doesn’t do well it’s still selling in large amounts so how badly are improvements needed? I’m betting iPhone OS 4 will be saved for the WWDC mid year, and an update to V3 will add tablet support and some new features.

Macbooks

  • Nope. It’s a tablet event.