Tag Archive | "apple"

Apple Announces ‘The New iPad’, Conspicuously Doesn’t Call it ‘iPad 3′. New Battery Tech?

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Well this is odd. No doubt you’ve heard by now that Apple has just announced the latest refresh of the iPad, but for some reason they aren’t calling it the ‘iPad 3′. This update includes nothing particularly revolutionary, but that’s not to say that they didn’t just up the bar.

See the new iPad tracking page in our mobile product database for full specifications, links, gallery, and more.

Everything major added to the ‘new’ iPad can be summed up in one sentence: it’s got 4G LTE, a 2048×1536 ‘retina’ display, an improved backside-illuminated 5MP rear camera, and an updated A5X chip which has quad-core graphics. Doesn’t sound like all that much really, right?

Why Not iPad 3?

Maybe that’s why Apple isn’t calling this the ‘iPad 3′. I’ve scoured the official marketing material and haven’t found one mention of ‘iPad 3′. Instead, Apple is insistent in using the term ‘the new iPad’. This is a really weird move because no doubt ‘iPad 3′ has way more SEO value than ‘new iPad’. For months those in the tech industry have been exclusively talking about this release as the ‘iPad 3′, but Apple is clearly avoiding that name. Why?

Maybe Apple doesn’t think that the new iPad is deserving of the iPad 3 title? While the retina display a pretty amazing feat which currently outclasses any other tablet on the market (and likely will for the next year), iOS wasn’t overhauled, and the improvements to the CPU, camera, and data options were pretty much demanded by the market at this point. Maybe Apple is finding it tough to follow their own act over the last few years of taking the market (and customers) by storm with impressive additions to the mobile ecosystem.

The closest mention of iPad 3 that I could find is contained in a summary paragraph about the new iPad on Apple’s website:

Pick up the new iPad and suddenly, it’s clear. You’re actually touching your photos, reading a book, playing the piano. Nothing comes between you and what you love. To make that hands-on experience even better, we made the fundamental elements of iPad better — the display, the camera, the wireless connection. All of which makes the new, third-generation iPad capable of so much more than you ever imagined. [my emphasis]

I called out Samsung just the other week for causing senseless customer confusion with the nomenclature of the Galaxy Tab series. I have to do the same thing for Apple and the new iPad. If this release is being called ‘the new iPad’, what happens when the next model comes out? Will the new iPad become ‘the old iPad’? Or maybe the next model will be ‘the newer iPad’, then followed by ‘the newest iPad’. If Apple is really going to stick with ‘the new iPad’ as the name for the current release, they’d better be ready for some confused customer support calls down the line — “Yeah I’ve got a problem with my new iPad,” says the customer. “Are you talking about the old new iPad, or the latest new iPad?” goes the customer support rep.

And to get back to the SEO point… when the next iPad is released, searches for ‘new iPad’ are going to turn up results for the model that was just released, rather than whatever new model Apple releases in the future.

All of this could simply be avoided by calling it the iPad 3. Of course, this probably isn’t news to Apple. I’m willing to bet they had more than one marketing meeting about this, and somehow they came to the conclusion that ‘the new iPad’ was the best name. Exactly what benefits this could have are beyond me at the moment. Hypotheses are welcome in the comments below.

No Siri on the new iPad?

An updated A5X CPU, 4G LTE, improved camera — we could say we saw this all coming. But there’s no Siri! If one thing seemed for sure for the new iPad, it was integration with Siri. Oddly, Apple has left Siri out of the new iPad, meaning that the iPhone 4S is still the exclusive vehicle for the virtual personal assistant. Apple did say that Siri was in beta when they announced it for the iPhone 4S, and it seems it will remain that way until Apple decides to deploy it to other devices. Maybe Apple isn’t ready for the volume of Siri queries that would accompany millions of new iPads?

A sliver of Siri did make it into the new iPad — as with the iPhone 4S, you can use the dictate button on the keyboard to speak and your voice will be converted to text. Why a mere sub-routine made it to the new iPad rather than the whole thing is perhaps even more confusing than if there was no Siri functionality at all. Without Siri, new iPad users won’t be able to send messages, emails, check the weather, check their calendars, set alarms, and more, via voice command.

Why the Huge Battery?

So what’s up with that battery? 42.5Wh means nothing to most people but to me it means that Apple have just secured some amazing battery technology. You simply can’t increase a battery capacity by 70% and keep the same weight without doing something special. A few thoughts come to mind. Firstly, this could be a breakthrough in battery technology that has significant impact on the mobile ecosystem. 42.5Wh in a product that weighs 652gm? I’ve never seen anything get close to that.

Expect the MacBook Air to get a huge battery life increase based on this.

The problem is that Apple may well have just locked-up the most significant advance in mobile technology ever. If they haven’t bought the company already they will have negotiated a deal for supply of batteries for all mobile products. It includes iPhone, iPod, MBA and MacBook. If there are patents on the technology, where does that leave alternative product suppliers?

There’s another issue here too. Why does the new iPad need a 70% bigger battery for the same battery life? Apple are quoting 10hrs for Wi-Fi usage so it’s nothing to do with LTE. Is the A5X that much bigger amore powerful? I’m suspecting much bigger clockrates and many more cores across the CPU and GPU resulting in this huge increase in power requirements. Or is it the display? The display controller is now driving 4 times the number of pixels.

We’ll be looking for confirmation of the 42.5wh battery in teardowns and keeping an eye on heat and battery life.

Apple Announces March 7th Media Event for iPad 3, Tries to Steal MWC Spotlight — We Fight Back!

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Right on cue with recent reports from “insiders” and “people familiar with the matter”, Apple has gone ahead and sent out invitations to media outlets announcing a March 7th media event where the company will unveil the iPad 3.

Of course Apple had to announce it in the middle of one of the largest annual mobile tech trade shows, Mobile World Congres, which is going on right this very moment in Barcelona. Most major TV news outlets in the US are likely to be entirely unaware of the event, but I’m willing to bet there will be several mentions of Apple’s event announcement (read that again: you’ll see news covering an event announcement rather than a huge event in itself, just because the announcement is from Apple).

To honor the folks that, no doubt, spent a good deal of time and trouble preparing and reporting on all of happenings at MWC (from those who designed devices, to PR people, marketers, journalists, etc.), I’m going to open this post first with a list of all the exciting stuff we’ve seen so far from MWC. If you want coverage about Apple’s event announcement, it’s tucked neatly away at the end of this article.

Exciting Announcements from MWC!

And now on to your regularly scheduled content:

The high resolution iPad 3 retina display (2048×1536), that made the rounds a little more than a week ago, has all but been confirmed at this point; any iPad original or iPad 2 owner will be able to tell you that the text and icons as seen on the iPad shown in the invite is far sharper than that of any iPad released thus far.

Apple’s typical clever symbolism is also present in the invite photo; you can see the date on the calendar icon as March 7th, the location with the map icon is (as always) Apple’s famous 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino address (though the event is actually going to be at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts), and the Keynote icon is obviously a reference to the presentation that will be given. The time for the event is 10 AM PST (1PM EST) as usual.

We don’t know much more about the iPad 3 than the high-resolution display and that it will have a similar case to the iPad 2 (possibly slightly thicker). Some accounts say it will be running a new quad-core A6 CPU, while others contest that it will be an updated dual-core ‘A5X’. I speculated back in July of 2011 that the iPad 3 would be the first iPad to include 4G LTE and I’m still sticking with it. I also recently prepared a list of what Apple would need to include in the iPad 3 for me to justify adding a ‘third device’ to my life — I doubt we’ll see much of what’s on the list, but you never know!

If you’re looking for rampant speculation (always popular with Apple topics), let’s take the invitation text, “We have something you really have to see. And touch,” out on a ridiculous limb: Something we have to see? Well, we wouldn’t be able to tell if it is a glasses-free 3D display from a 2D photo, so perhaps that is in store in addition to the retina display? And something we have to touch? Maybe Apple has come up with some revolutionary tactile display technology that allows you to ‘feel’ on screen elements?

In all likelihood, this will be an incremental increase, without anything too wild, which will further solidify the leading tablet on the market.

iPad 3 With 2048×1536 Retina Display Confirmed?

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For the last few weeks photos of purported prototype iPad 3 displays were floating around the web. Now, MacRumors actually got their hands on one and actually examined it under a microscope to confirm the resolution.

Their findings show pretty conclusively that the screen has twice the pixel density as the screen on the iPad and iPad 2:

The original iPad and iPad 2 both have a 9.7″ 1024×768 IPS display with a total of 786,432 pixels at 130.61 PPI. At twice the density, the screen that MacRumors got their hands on would be 2048×1536 (presumably also IPS), which amounts to a whopping 3,145,728 pixels at 261.22 PPI. Compare this to 1080p HDTV resolution which is 1920×1080 and 2,073,600 pixels total. Although this screen has an impressive resolution, it’s actually not all that pixel dense. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S retina screen is 960×640 at 329.65 PPI.

Doubling the size of the screen on the iPad will do a lot for the aesthetics of the UI. Going from an iPhone 4S screen to the current-generation iPad screen really reveals how much sharper the iPhone’s screen is. I’ve heard a number of people say that the iPad would make a far better e-Reader if it had a more pixel-dense screen.

Rumors about a retina display on the iPad have been around ever since the original iPad launched. But is this really the iPad 3’s screen? I trust that the folks at MacRumors have been able to correctly identify this as an iPad screen, but are we sure it’s for the iPad 3? We’ve seen lots of evidence about of Apple products attributed to prototype parts that may or may not ever make it into the final product. Recall all the rumors surrounding the ‘iPhone 5′ (which turned out to be the iPhone 4S) launch. It’s even possible that this particular screen is part of ongoing work on the iPad 4.

For now, all we know for certain is that this is an iPad screen, and it’s definitely 2048×1536. Will it make it onto the iPad 3? Apple is expected to announce the iPad 3 at the beginning of next month… only time will tell.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus: The Closest I’ve Come to Switching to Android

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I’ve been using the iPhone for three generations now — starting with the iPhone 3G, then the iPhone 3GS, and finally the iPhone 4 which is my current companion. I’m finally due for an upgrade and I must say that I’ve come closer than ever before to picking an Android phone (specifically the Galaxy Nexus) over an iPhone, but it just wasn’t meant to be and I’ll explain why. Be sure to note that what’s important to have in a phone for me might not be the same for you; I’m just laying out my thoughts here as to why the Galaxy Nexus has been the phone that has come the closest to tempting me over to Android.

Android 4.0

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich feels like the first truly full package in the history of Android. Finally there’s good hardware acceleration and enough performance for a nearly smooth home screen. This hasn’t quite translated over to all apps just yet. Android finally seems to have all of the vital default apps and has long included a turn-by-turn navigation app that blows Apple’s Maps app out of the water. Google just launched the Chrome Beta browser which offers a rich browsing experience which should have been included in Android long ago. Photos can now be robustly edited right in the gallery without scouring the Android Market for the right app. Home screen folders are extremely fast and a pleasure to use, while resizable widgets further the level of flexibility and customization. There’s better battery and data analysis, and much more. This has all come together in bits and pieces over the last few years as Android has grown, and 4.0 is the first time it feels like a complete package to me.

The saddest part about all of this is how hard it is to get your hands on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Google has crafted this seemingly complete package, but less than 1% of users have access to it right now! I’m actually limited to the Galaxy Nexus if I want a top-end phone that also runs Android 4.0 at the moment.

Camera

The camera app in Android 4.0 is super fast in both launching and taking consecutive photos. Unfortunately, I still find that all Android handsets that I’ve tested have lacked in camera quality (for both stills and video) when compared to the iPhone 4, often despite higher megapixel ratings. For me, camera quality is more important than speed. The new panorama mode in the Android 4.0 camera app is neat, but I find that I can achieve better results by taking individual photos, then stitching them together on the computer. It’s a shame that Nokia never got into the Android ecosystem as they’ve long been heralded as having some of the best optics in the mobile industry.

The iPhone 4S camera is supposed to be even better than the iPhone 4 camera with 8MP instead of 5MP and reworked optics. If I can achieve photos like the following with the iPhone 4, then I’m looking forward to what the iPhone 4S has to offer:

Notification System

I’ve said it before and I think it’s still true today: Android is the best at managing notifications, while iOS is the best at delivering them. Between Android 4.0 and iOS 5.0, Android absolutely wins when it comes to managing notifications — you can toss away individual notifications or dismiss them all at once if you’d like. Tapping on a notification takes you directly to the item you are being notified about. All of this is better than how iOS does it. However, Apple’s push notification system is best in class. I don’t understand why Google doesn’t have push Gmail through the official Gmail app. Side-by-side with the Galaxy Nexus, my iPhone 4 shows changes to my inbox almost instantly, while the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t do anything until significantly later, unless manually refreshed. I can literally receive, respond to, and be done with an email on my iPhone 4 before it even arrives on the Galaxy Nexus. For some people, getting notifications instantly isn’t a big deal, but as someone who works on the web it’s a big advantage and one that I can’t easily give up.

Screen Size

If you follow Carrypad regularly, you’ll know that I’ve got some gripes with 4″+ screens. One-handed usability is important to me because I’m frequently on the go. The 3.5″ screen of the iPhone (all versions of it) is far more comfortable in my hand than anything 4″ and above. The Galaxy Nexus, at 4.65″, is just too big to be used comfortably in one hand for me. Everyone’s hands are different sizes, so everyone has a different limit, but with the massive-screen fad that’s been growing in Android over the years, it’s almost impossible to get a top-end Android phone in a size less than 4″. If the Galaxy Nexus came in any size 4″ or less, I’d be far more inclined to pick it over the iPhone 4S.

Customization

This is one of Android’s greatest strengths, but it always runs the risk of being over-complicated. I’m the kind of person who loves to tinker with their gadgets and get them to work just the way I’d like. On the iPhone, this urge is satisfied with jailbreaking, which enhances the customizations you can make on iOS, but it’s not much compared to what you can do on Android. With Android 4.0 on the Galaxy Nexus, I can fit tons of apps efficiently on one page with folders. On other screens, I’ve got at-a-glance access to my calendar, weather, inbox, and music player. It’s nice to be able to do much of what I need to right from the homescreen instead of jumping through hoops between apps. This category is a major win for the Galaxy Nexus.

Apps

There’s no denying that there are some great apps on Android, but Apple’s iOS App Store still has a greater number of apps than the Android Market. When we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of apps in each store, the aggregate hardly matters. Where iOS has the real advantage is in quality and consistency. Because Apple has strict guidelines, most apps are intuitive and work well without crashing. When it comes to apps from the Android Market, you might have two great apps, but they might have two completely different interface approaches — one app trying to emulate an iOS-like ‘everything on screen’ style and the other trying to do the Android thing by hiding features away in long-presses and hidden menus. Alone, each of these is arguably as good as the other, but when you have to jump between apps that go back in forth in their interface approach, the user interaction aspect of it becomes increasingly convoluted, and this is something I quite dislike.

Availability

If everything above held an advantage for the Galaxy Nexus, there would still be one huge issue for me choosing it over the iPhone 4S — availability. I’m on AT&T, and the Galaxy Nexus is decidedly not available for purchase. AT&T has not one Android 4.0 ICS phone available at the moment, which means the best I could do is buy one of the top-end Android phones then wait and hope that it would receive an ICS upgrade. If Google thinks the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 is such a great pair, they’ve got to do a better job of making it available for people to actually purchase it. The only way for me to actually get my hands on the Galaxy Nexus would be to switch carriers or buy an expensive unlocked version of the phone without a subsidy from my carrier.

So, Google, you almost had me on this one, but unfortunately I’ve made up my mind to continue with the iPhone — for now anyway. Fix the stuff above that needs it; you’ve got two years to work on it before there’s another chance to convert me.

Here’s What Apple Needs to Add to the iPad 3 for Me to Adopt a Third Device

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The iPad 3 is expected to be unveiled by Apple in the next few months. I decided to sit down and come up with a little wish list of the iPad 3. This might be somewhat different from other lists that you see out there because I don’t actually own an iPad. In fact, I don’t own any tablet at all.

When the original iPad launched, I picked one up, and although I could appreciate the device, I found that I wasn’t using it as much as I would like (here’s my review). It simply didn’t fit into my daily routine. If I was out and about, my iPhone was a better tool for quick access to information and a more convenient on-the-go media player. If I was at home, my computer was a more productive tool for web-work and browsing. There wasn’t room for a third-device in my life. So, I ended up getting rid of it, and I haven’t been compelled to buy a new tablet (whether it be Android and iOS) since, despite testing a number of them.

So what would it take for me to pick up an iPad 3? Here’s a wish list for improvements and features that might tempt me into adding a third device:

Obvious Stuff

  • Thinner
  • Lighter
  • Retina display (but not if it’s going to double the cost of the iPad 3)
  • Better cameras
  • Cheaper

Less Obvious

  • Faster – You might think this should go in the obvious section, but what I’m talking about here is relative speed. Despite being much larger, the iPad 2 is roughly as powerful as the iPhone 4S. Presumably the iPad 3 will be as powerful as the iPhone 5. I’m hoping for an iPad 3 that makes use of all the extra space and really gives me a significant boost in processing capability over the current-gen iPhone model. If they have to bring down the battery life from 10 hours to 8 to achieve this, that’s fine with me.
  • 4G LTE option – Again, this could fit someone’s definition of obvious, but the key here is the practicality of it. If this were a ‘wish list’ in the sense that I’m wishing for stuff that will never happen, then I may as well not bother. The question of 4G LTE in Apple devices one of battery life, competitive pressure, and coverage. Right now, 4G LTE radios drain batteries more rapidly than their 3G counterparts. In my opinion, this is why Apple has so far shied away from including 4G LTE in any of its products even while competitors have been doing so for quite some time. 4G LTE is also still in the rollout phase in the U.S.. As consumer demand and expectation of 4G LTE in products rises, 4G LTE radio efficiency continues to increase, and coverage as well. Apple is likely watching these three factors and will find the optimal intersection of them to launch 4G LTE in their products. Let’s also not forget that AT&T is now rolling out 4G LTE which means that two largest U.S. carriers now support the option. I do expect Apple to offer 4G LTE on the iPad 3, you can read more about that here.
  • NFC – Near Field Communications seems like one of those buzz-words that has been around for years but doesn’t actually mean anything. To the average consumer, it doesn’t mean anything at this point. I doubt most Nexus S owners know that their device even has the feature. However, if Apple was to release it’s next round of devices (including computers) with NFC hardware, it could really help the technology take off. Given the prevalence of iOS devices (here in the U.S.), NFC on all of them would be great for sharing photos and apps, transferring content back and forth from iPhone to iPad, and functioning as a digital Wallet of sorts.
  • Wireless Charging – People have been talking about this one for years, and that’s probably because the idea is really awesome. I would love nothing more than to have a bedside table with an inductive top, upon which I could set down an iPad 3 and have it charge without having to run any cords. The iPad is a good fit as a sofa surfer or bedside companion — having an inductive charger on your coffee table or next to your bed would be convenient, and would make the iPad 3 stand out front competitors. This sort of feature is easy to ‘wow’ customers that come into an Apple store (because it’s so simple) and that makes it an easy sell if Apple wants to charge extra for a wireless charging station.
  • More Ports – Sometimes Apple seems to let its aesthetic sense get in the way of adding truly useful stuff to its products. I mean, you can buy an SD card adapter for the existing iPad, but why not build a slot right in? The iPad is one of the best devices for sharing photos with friends and family on the couch (way better than having people crowd around a computer screen), and being able to load photos onto the iPad 3 through an SD card slot (without the adapter!) would save you from buying the $30 adapter and having to remember to carry it with you! A USB port would open up a lot of possibilities as well.
  • LED notification light – Speaking of aesthetic sense getting in the way of features — I really wish Apple would man-up and add a notification LED to the iPad 3 (and the iPhone for that matter). Having to click the home button and glance at the screen every time you are checking for notifications is a bother. I shouldn’t have to check my iPad 3 for notifications, the iPad 3 should tell me with a little light! Almost all of Apple’s competing devices have such a light, and Apple could easily hide it in the bezel so it would be unseen until needed.
  • 7″ Model – Yes, I know it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll see a 7″ iPad 3, but it is possible (in the sense that it would be possible to fit the components into that form-factor). Though Steve Jobs railed against any tablets smaller than 10″, many pundits have expressed the desire for a 7″ iPad, and the 7″ Android tablet market is healthy. Our own Chippy swears by the 7″ form factor and in my own testing I’ve found it more versatile and relevant to my own work style than a 10″ tablet.
  • Built-in Stand – I always loved how Nokia included a built-in stand on their internet-tablet series of devices, and I’d love to see one on the iPad 3. This is unlikely for Apple given their extreme emphasis on aesthetics, but I know they could come up with a solution that is ‘sexy’ enough even to fit their standards. Their Smart Cover is clever, but I’d prefer something less intrusive and more rigid.
  • Non-aluminum Back – I’ve got a theory: Apple knows that aluminum scratches easily, and that’s exactly why they’ve used it on the back of many of their devices; an iPod Touch has a shiny mirror-like aluminum back when it’s brand new, after a year or two of good use, the back will be so scratched that it’s hardly a mirror any more. Even though the device still works just fine, the scuffed back makes the product feel like it’s old and outdated… wouldn’t a shiny new iPod Touch of the latest generation be a great solution to that problem? This is planned-aesthetic-obsolescence. So yeah, I that the back of the iPad 3 is not aluminum. When I owned the original iPad, I hated setting it down on a hard surface on its bare back because I knew it was prone to scratches (that’s one of the reasons I made the iPad Booksafe case). Even worse was when a friend would slide the iPad on its back across the table to get it closer to them. That scraping noise is the sound of nightmares when it’s coming from a > $499 gadget!
I could go on (coffee maker, fly swatter, teleporter, etc.), but I think I’ll be lucky if even one of the items on this list comes to be. The inclusion of any of them would make me more tempted to reevaluate the possible inclusion of a third device into my life. Maybe I’m just a hard sell. Sorry, Apple.
And for the rest of you, what’s on your iPad 3 wish list? Or are you like me and have no place for a third device in your life?

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