Apple Announces iPad 2

The long awaited announcement is here!

Apple has announced the new Apple iPad 2 – and iOS 4.3.

One year ago, Apple turned the computer industry upside down by introducing the first truly successful tablet.  Steve Jobs said it was “A magical product at an unbelievable price”. People laughed. However, since that time Apple has sold 15 million iPads in only 9 months – more than every other tablet PC sold in history. Many have declared that it as the fastest growing new product in history.

Steve Jobs also presented other statistics demonstrating Apple’s success illustrating why they have been so successful:

  • They have three online stores, that all use the same login account and one-click purchase process – iTunes, App Store (for the Mac and for the iPod/iPhone/iPad), and iBooks.
  • There are over 350,000 apps in the App store.
  • There are over 65,000 apps that take full advantage of the iPad. (Competitors launch with ~100).
  • Apple has sold 100 million iPhones.
  • Apple has sold 100 million books in the iBooks store.
  • To date, developers have been paid over $2 billion ($2,000,000,000) dollars for apps.
  • This is Apple’s third “Post-PC” product.  Each has been a blockbuster:  2001 – iPod, 2007 – iPhone, 2010 – iPad.
  • Apple has Retail stores built for this to roll out and answer questions.

There are many naysayers.  I know I was initially one of them. I heard “it has to be held to understand how magical it is”, but still I did not see why I needed to spend money on this when I already had an iPhone and a laptop computer. See my previous post: Get a New Laptop Or An iPad Then I received one as a gift.  Now I can’t put mine down. I love it.

Sure, there are now many competitors on the market, many of them are very good, but it is the overall package that has me sold on the iPad specifically.  Someday soon, I am sure one of the Android based tablets will be worthy, but that is not the case just yet. I love how easy it is to get approved apps that are tested on this device and therefore more stable.  Sure, occasionally a rogue failure gets through, but less than one that cannot be tested on every type of device out there.  Everywhere I look, there are iPhone/iPad specific apps.  The ones for the other devices usually follow later.

So what is new in the iPad 2?

Here is just list of what is new on the iPad 2. I will try to go into more details in each feature in a later post.

  • Thinner – 33% thinner (I think this is significant change, that you will notice.)
  • Lighter  – 15% lighter. (I do not think this is very significant.  You probably won’t notice it much.)
  • Faster – has a Dual-core A5 chip
  • Has two cameras – one on the front and one on the back. Supports FaceTime and can record HD video.
  • It also has a Gyro, and accelerometer, and a compass. Opens up for a lot of new apps, including pressure sensitive musical instruments.
  • A really cool new Smart Cover (See it in action.)

Along with these new physical changes, Apple also announced an upgrade to the operating system – iOS 4.3. It is not clear which of the new OS features will be supported on bot the original iPad and the iPad 2 or just the iPad 2.

So, my question to you is: Are you going to get one now? If you already have one, are you going to upgrade?

Cheers,
Richard

Buy An iPad Now or Wait

Another topic that seems to dominate the technical news is the iPad.  It has been so popular, I have hesitated talking about them.  However, I got one for the holidays and I also gave one to my wife.  We were both very skeptical at first.  We did not think we really needed one since we already had Smartphones (an iPhone for me and a Blackberry for her) and we each had a laptop.  Where would this fit in? See my previous post:

Get a New Laptop Or An iPad

iPad now or later?

In addition to the question of do we really need one, we didn’t know if should buy one or wait for iPad 2.  We broke down and surprised each other. I am so glad we did.  They are great.  The iPad is not perfect, but it sure is fun.  Do we really need it?  No.  But it is fun and it is useful.

I can carry it around the house and when I am out and about and do 90% of what I could with a laptop.  I justified it by realizing that I can cancel, or at least cut back, waaayyy back on my cable TV bill.

There are two key questions:
1) Should I get an iPad now, or wait for iPad 2?
2) This is the real question: –> Should I get an iPad or not?

iPad or iPadx2

I’ll address #2 first.  Whether you get one or not is very simple.  What do you need it for?  If you can only afford one device and need to get real work done, then a laptop is a must.  If you want to read, watch videos, and surf most of the web (no flash videos – which are still fairly common); and love convenience, then the iPad is great.

Is now the right time to buy, or wait?  Well, do you love the latest and greatest or do you need immediate satisfaction?

Nobody knows for sure when the next version of the iPad will come out or what it will have.  There are tons of rumors, but no one knows for sure.

Prediction are it will come out is fairly wide: Anywhere between the one year anniversary of the iPad, i.e., April, to June, when the usually announce the iPhone updates.  I’m leaning more towards April.

The bigger question is what new feature will it have?  Apple is notorious for keeping that information private.  The rumors and possibilities are unlimited. Smaller, bigger, lighter, higher resolution display, more memory, one camera, two cameras, USB port, SD card slot, faster processor, etc . . .

However, the Wall Street Journal (which is usually trustworthy) made an unusual announcement. the iPad 2 is in production, getting ready for a release in the next few months.  It will be lighter, have a faster processor, have at least one camera (forward facing for video conferencing), have a more powerful graphics processor, but the resolution of the display will be similar to the current version.

So, do you wait or get one now?  Personally, I am glad I have mine because I am getting all these months of use.  The potential new features are very nice, but don’t seem to really add something I do not get from the current version (except video conferencing).  If, on the other hand, you believe the April date and can wait, I would do so. Then you can get the latest and greatest or get the current version at a reduced price.

Good Luck with your decision!

Let me know what you decide,
Richard Lazovick

NOTE: If you decide to wait, I would not hesitate.  Get as much use out of the latest version before they announce a newer one.  Otherwise you will always be playing the wait and see game.

Verizon iPhone4 PreSales

I really hesitate to talk about the Verizon iPhone since you are probably sick of seeing it all over the place.  However, I cannot resist, so I will make it very brief.

Verizon has gotten the iPhone.  Learn about some of the predicted pro’s & con’s in a previous post.
Preorder Verizon iPhone

If you are an existing Verizon Wireless customer and just couldn’t wait for your new iPhone, you could pre-order one today.  However, you had to be quick.  They were in such demand, Verizon sold out of the pre-order allotment within a few hours.

Is this a foreboding of things to come?  Will the sudden increase in demand and related data traffic cause Verizon’s system to become overwhelmed like AT&T’s?  Verizon claims that they are well prepared and able to handle this increase.  Although there is an unlimited data plan, they are even going to limit the top 5% of data users data rate for the current month and throttle it for the following month.  As a result, it is likely that if you are a heavy data user, you will probably max out around the same 2 GB as offered by AT&T for new customers.

However, if you are determined to get Verizon’s iPhone as soon as possible, do not fear.  Existing Verizon customers can get a phone on February 9th and others will be able to get their’s on February 10th.

To order from Apple and get more details on the differences and similarities between AT&T’s and Verizon’s versions, you can go to the Apple Site.

Cheers,
Richard

Starbucks Mobile iPhone Payments is Here!

We are one step closer to being able to use your Smartphone for everything.  For most people I know, less is better.  That is, the less they have to carry with them the better.

You might soon be able to get rid of your wallet.  Wouldn’t that be great!?

Starbucks has released its own version of mobile payments.  Having to carry cash, or swipe a credit card is just too much for many people.  Turns out, a large percentage of Starbuck’s customers are already on their phone when they order their drinks.

Now, all they have to do is open the Starbuck’s Mobile Payment application on their iPhone or Blackberry and scan the bar code and — Voila!! —  they’ve paid!!

Here Is How It Works (on the iPhone)

  1. Go to the iPhone/iTunes Application Store. Find the Starbucks Card Mobile application:
    Starbuck's card mobile application
  2. Once you have downloaded the application, you need to open the application and “Get Started”:
    Getting started using Starbucks Card Mobile
    You can click on the “HOW DOES IT WORK?” video button to get a tutorial, or be adventurous and go straight to the “Get Started” button.
  3. Enter your  Starbuck’s Card Number and Code from the back of an existing Starbucks Card:
    Entering card number into Starbucks Card Mobile
    NOTE: You must already have a physical card to get started the first time.
  4. You will then be shown your card’s current balance and be given the option to make a payment:
    Making a payment using Starbucks Card Mobile

    1. In this example the card balance is $20.
    2. To make a payment at a Starbucks, press the “$ Touch to Pay ” button.
  5. You can now pay by scanning your phone. The barrister/cashier will show you how:
    Make your payment with the Starbuck's Card Mobile Application
    NOTE: Don’t forget to press the “Touch When Done” button.
  6. You also have the option of checking your balance, adding more money to your card and more:
    Checking balance and reloading cardAdding money to your Starbuck's cardChecking your Starbucks Rewards
  7. REMEMBER: Be careful, drink responsibly !

Cheers,
Richard

Verizon Gets The iPhone

It finally happened – the long awaited announcement!

Verizon Gets the iPhone!!

Verizon Announces the iPhone

Beginning February 10, the phone that changed everything will be available on both AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the United States. Qualified Verizon Wireless customers will also have the exclusive opportunity to pre-order iPhone 4 online on February 3, ahead of general availability.

There is not much that can be said about this announcement that has not already been said, so I will just summarize the pro’s and con’s and different topics.

  • The first and most obvious question is: “Will there be a mass exodus of AT&T customers who switch to Verizon?”
  • Everyone knows about the service problems with AT&T and the superior quality of Verizon’s cell phone service.  The question is, now that Verizon has the iPhone, will it’s system get overloaded also, and start to exhibit the same problems as AT&T?  Verizon claims that this will NOT be a problem.  Their system is already handling huge amounts of data from all the Droid based smartphones that it currently has.
  • Will your iPhone be able to work on either network?  — No, at this time, the iPhone can only work on one network or the other.  Verizon and AT&T use different cell service technologies.  This might change when both systems upgrade to the next generation of technology in the future.
  • Will Verizon’s iPhone have different features than AT&T’s? — For the most part, no.
    • The two phones will have the same features.  Any differences will be very minor and insignificant.
    • One big difference is that AT&T’s 3G data service allows you to send text messages, surf the web, check email, and do other internet related tasks while making phone calls.  Verizon’s 3G data service does not allow this.
    • If this changes in the future, we will let you know.
  • Is this going to be a Droid killer?  Or has the Android operating system gotten a strong enough foothold that it is here to stay? — Only time will tell.  I think that Android phones have enough of a following on their own now, that they are here to stay.  There are certainly many benefits to the droid over the iPhone, most notably, its ability to handle Flash video and video calling over 3G.
  • Have you been waiting for Verizon to start selling the iPhone?
  • Will you make the switch?

Cheers,
Richard

App Addicts Watch Out !!

Are you an Applications Addict?  Are you like me, do you love searching for new apps for your smartphone, iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad?

If so, you better watch out!  The Mac App store is NOW here.  It promises to be the easiest way to add new programs to your computer.  (See Warning below)

Apple Mac App Store Now Available

No disks, no waiting, always available and more. (see Note below)
See my previous post for more details:

Applications Coming To Your Mac

I just gave it a try. Once installed, it is so easy to install new programs and applications.  Just click the new App Store icon in your dock, browse the apps, and click install, just like you do within the iTunes Store.

How To Install The Mac App Store

Getting this great feature couldn’t be easier either! All you need to do is Continue Reading »

Applications Coming To Your Mac

That is right, Applications are not just for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch any more.  Those useful little programs are now coming to your MAC.

On January 6th, Apple is:

Introducing the Apple Applications (App) Store

Now, adding applications to your MAC is as easy as adding them to your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Just go to the new Apple App Store and search for your favorite App by name or category.  You immediately get developer’s descriptions, screen shots, and users review.

When you find an application you like, simply click on it and download it using the same ID and Password that you use for the iTunes store.

Apple Application Store

Updates
Just like applications from the iTunes App Store, MAC App Store applications can are updates by the developers on a regular basis and can be updated on your computer one at a time or all at once, simply by clicking update.

Multiple Computers
You can download and re-download as often as you want.  If you get a new computer, you can download and install them on the new computer too!

More Information
For more information, you can go to:  Mac Application Store

Apple October 20th Event – New OS X ?

It’s been a few months since Apple has made an announcement, but they do love surprises and we love trying to guess what it will be.

What are your guesses?

Here is a hint.  this is the logo for that announcement:

Apple to announce new OS X - Lion

What could they possibly be planning? Well, let’s analyze this:

  • They are calling this “Back to the MAC”
  • They have had a lot of focus on mobile devices lately, their Mac OS has not been updated in a while.
  • The MAC OS X series has been Jaguar, Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard. I see a pattern.  The hidden picture here looks suspiciously like a Lion.

The rumor mill is that Apple is getting ready to announce their next big upgrade to the MAC OS X, code named “Lion”.

Stay tuned.  10 am PT on Oct 20th they will be holding their conference.

In the meantime, what are your predictions for this OS, and what ancillary announcements do you think they will make?

Until then, happy computing,
Richard

More Favorite iPhone Applications

There are so many iPhone applications, that it is impossible to use or test all of them.  However, I sure am having fun giving them a try.

I started listing some of my favorite free applications a few weeks ago in a post called My Favorite Free iPhone Applications. Periodically, I will list a few more.

Here is my next set:

  • Flipshare – Mino Flips companion software.  Allows you to view your uploaded videos on your iPhone without having to store them on your iPhone.
  • Airfoil Speakers Touch – Turns your iPhone into a portable speaker, so you can listen to whatever is playing on your Airport Express, anywhere you are within range of the Airport Express.
  • Food IQ – Food IQ is a searchable application with over 7200 foods featuring a built in daily meal, exercise, medication, blood glucose, and weight tracker. It includes almost any typical grocery item, as well as meals from major fast food chains. Food IQ is not just for people trying to lose weight. This is ideal for persons with high blood pressure, vegetarians, diabetics, and anyone else who needs to monitor their health.
  • iTriage – Provides explanations and treatments for many ailment and injuries, as well as connecting you with healthcare providers, urgent care, and emergency rooms.
  • Opentable – Find, make, and confirm reservations at many restaurants.  Ideal for the business person on the road, as well as the person dating, or just making plans with your spouse.
  • Stitcher Radio – Choose from a huge selection of podcasts and live radio feeds on a wide variety of topics.
  • Nike+ GPS – A great running companion.  Keep track of your running, get periodic announcements of how far and how fast you’ve run. You can even take notes on your running conditions afterwards, and look at a map to retrace your path.  Best of all, no little pedometer token from Nike is needed.
  • Epocrates – Look up and learn about thousands of medications.  Find their uses, side-effects, and interactions. You can even use it to identify pills you have lying around.
  • Radio Alarm – MP3 – Turns your iPhone into a full-featured radio alarm clock, with sleep timer.  Listen to many live radio stations or soothing sounds. Fully iOS4 compatible.
  • Foursquare – One of the latest Social networking tools.  Let’s your friends know where you are and let’s you know who else is there too. If you go there enough, you become the Mayor!
  • WebMd – A good place for all your medical needs.

Please feel free to send me your comments on any of these applications or to share your favorite applications with us.

Cheers,
Richard

Apple New Product Announcements

With typical fanfare and glory, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the newest improvements to their already incredible lineup.

But just to put their success in perspective, he gave a few amazing statistics: Apple has sold more than 120 million iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. This is up from 100 million devices just three months ago. What may be more impressive is that Apple is activating 230,000 new iOS device every single day. He also announced that 6.5 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, and the pace of downloads is now at 200 apps per second. 25,000 of the applications in the app store are now iPad apps.

Jobs did not announce any new products, he announced several really cool product enhancements.  Here is a brief description of each:

  1. Apple TV – This is the top priority on my list.  I have been thinking about canceling my way overpriced cable service and just watching TV shows, movies, and videos via my computer.  This new Apple TV is only $99.  You can rent regular and HD movies and TV shows as well as stream photos and music from your computer, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to your widescreen TV.
    AppleTV
    For more information about Apple TV, go to www.apple.com/appletv/
  2. The new iPod Touch – This is for someone who wants all the features of the iPhone, without the phone capabilities.  So just about anything you can do on the iPhone 4 using wifi you can do on this new iPod Touch. This new iPod Touch has two cameras,s o you can use FaceTime (real-time video calling), with other iPhone 4 and iPod Touch users. This new iPod Tocuh has the truly visionary Retina display for incredible resolution. It has HD quality video recording, and even more amazing gaming speed.
    Apple_iPod_Touch_facetime
    For more information about Apple’s new iPod Touch, go to www.apple.com/ipodtouch
  3. The New iPod Nano – Now this is an interesting change.  It is a cross between the previous iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. It is half the size of the previous iPod Nano, but it has a very high quality color screen that supports multi-touch.  It still has an FM radio, is great for fitness training – complete with Nike+ compatibility.  You can now swipe and expand graphics just like on the iPhone and iPod Touch.  However, this nano no longer has a camera or supports video.
    iPod_Nano
    For More information about this new Apple iPod Nano, go to www.apple.com/ipodnano/features.html.
  4. The New iPod Shuffle – This is the smallest, least expensive iPod ever, at only $49.  The changes to this iPod are relatively minimal.  It does not have a display, but does have voice over, so it talks to you.  It has large, clickable buttons for easy use, 15 hours of battery life, 2 GB of storage, and Genius Mix music support.
    iPod_Shuffle_hand_1iPod_Shuffle_hand_2
    For more information about the new Apple iPod Shuffle, go to www.apple.com/ipodshuffle
  5. New Apple iTunes – You are probably asking yourself, what could they possibly do to iTunes to change it, that would make it better?  I can already sync all my devices, buy new music, movies, and TV shows, and arrange my playlists.  Well, here is a short list of the newest features.  1) They added social media Ping capability so you can follow artists and friends – more like Twitter and Facebook, 2) In addition to buying TV shows, you can now rent them, commercial free and in HD, for as little as 99¢ / episode, 3) AirPlay – play music wirelessly throughout the entire house with AirPlay enabled speakers and accessories, 4) Added support for the new Apple TV, and 5) Improved device syncing, which includes faster sync, a memory capacity bar, and added application organization.
    New_Apple_iTunes_Features
    For more information about what is new in iTune, go to www.apple.com/itunes/whats-new

I hope this gives you a good idea of Apple’s new line up.  Please let me know what you think of these changes and your feedback if you have used any of them.

Cheers,
Richard

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