Tag Archive | iOS

Review: 2012 iPad

The standout feature of the new iPad is its ultra-high definition Retina display. Apple managed to squeeze a 2048 x 1536 resolution screen into just 9.7 inches. The screen is by far the best display I have ever seen and nothing even comes close to matching it. If the previous iPad didn’t melt away as you were using it, the new iPad certainly will. Colors pop even more on the new display and even when closely examining the device, it is hard to distinguish the individual pixels. One challenge with this new display is capturing it on camera, it is really something you have to experience for yourself.

Greater resolution comes at the cost performance, so Apple put a new chip called the A5X chip in the new iPad. The A5X has a quad core graphics processor, and although Apple’s iPad devices have never been lacking in speed, Apple’s newest device is no exception. The A5X more than adequately compensates for any potential loss in performance due to the high resolution of the display. The potential for gaming on the new iPad has also gotten brighter now that games can play faster and better looking than ever.

The third generation iPad is also available in a WiFi + 4G version. Apple included support for HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and LTE. Unfortunately, the LTE is carrier specific, so you have to choose what carrier’s LTE network you will be using. Still, LTE is blazing fast and it is a very good addition to the new iPad.

A better screen, a faster processor, and LTE drain battery life like nobody’s business, so Apple increased the capacity of the new iPad’s battery by 70%. Interestingly, Apple managed to increase the capacity without increasing the physical size of the battery. All this means that the new iPad keeps the same battery life of its predecessor with one caveat, it takes about twice as long to charge. in practice, this hasn’t bothered me because the iPad already has such extremely good battery life, but it is still something you may want to keep in mind when charging the new iPad.

Apple also upgraded the rear camera on the new iPad, giving it the 5 MP sensor of the iPhone 4 and the optics of the iPhone 4S, making it relatively decent camera if you can brave looking like a fool while taking pictures with a device larger than your face. The new camera also shoots 1080p video, interestingly something the 5MP shooter on the iPhone 4 never could do. Sadly, Apple didn’t bother to give the front facing FaceTime camera an upgrade which is my one and only real disappointment with the new device.

Very little has changed on the software side of the new iPad. Although the new iPad is the first device to originally ship with iOS 5.1 the differences are minor, an updated Camera app for iPad, Photo Stream photo deletion, and battery life improvements are the standout features, but the third-gen iPad has one extra feature, Siri Dictation. While not Siri for iPad, the speech-to-text technology can now be used throughout the OS by tapping a button on the software keyboard similar to how iPhone 4S users are accustomed to do. This is a really great feature and it can make typing for long periods of time quicker and easier. While not perfectly accurate, it works well enough to be used often throughout the course of a day.

I took a few sample shots with the rear camera of the new iPad. I am not an
expert photographer, but some of the images seemed a little grainy to me, still this camera is a huge upgrade over the iPad 2’s rear camera.

One last thing about the new iPad is probably the most controversial part of the whole product, the name. Apple calls the third-gen iPad simply, “The new iPad.” Apple ditched the number after the “iPad” in favor of simplifying the name and making the naming scheme of the iPad consistent with that of iPods, Macs and Apple TV. The move gets rid of the unsustainable system of naming that Apple had going in previous devices. this is a positive change too much focus was placed on the naming of Apple’s latest device and in the case of the iPhone 4S, the fact that it wasn’t named “iPhone 5” hurt its reception by many who expected an “iPhone 5.” The new iPad is the largest update of the iPad since the original iPad itself. No matter what iPad you are using, it is worth at least considering an upgrade, especially of you do lots of reading on your device. If you haven’t gotten an iPad yet, there has never been a better time to buy an iPad.

Why Safari and iWork have Not Been Updated

Mobile Safari > SafariI read M. G. Seigler’s piece on why Safari hasn’t skyrocketed like Chrome and it helped me realize why Apple’s products like Safari, iWork and their professional apps have been neglected. It all comes down to How Apple deals with things it does not value any longer. Products like Xserve, the iPod Classic, and others have been discontinued or severely neglected. This is because once Apple decides it wants to move on, it cuts off the resources it puts into that product. Take iWork, Apple is pushing the iPad as the forerunner of the post-PC era, so why pour resources into iWork for Mac if you are trying to (slowly) remove the Mac from the equation? iWork for Macs last received a major update in early 2009, iWork for iPad has received four major updates since it launched with the iPad in early 2010 and one of those updates also brought iWork to iPhone and iPod touch. Safari was last updated to support OS X Lion and a few small features like Reading List, much in the same way as iWork was updated with iCloud support, but nothing else. Safari on iOS however, received several features with the advent of iOS 5 with the Reader view, tabbed browsing on iPad, and Reading List support. Mobile Safari has also gotten attention in previous software updates like iOS 4.3, bringing JavaScript Nitro and better AirPlay support.

Clearly, Apple is not improving on its desktop products as much as its mobile ones. Apple does this because it sees iOS devices as the future and rather than dumping its resources into the waste bin of the past (cough cough Windows and OS X) it puts its resources into the garden of the future. (iOS devices) In the future, expect more of the same. Expect Apple to vigorously iterate on its mobile software, and expect OS X and Windows software to suffer as a result of growing neglect. It may seem like a bad idea for Apple to do something like this, but when mobile devices overtake PCs, Apple’s iteration on mobile software will have paid off.

iCloud’s Importance

Like many of you, I unboxed an iPad this Christmas. After using the iPad for a few hours I picked up the box, fascinated by how tightly everything in the box fit together. As I set the box down, it noticed that on the bottom edge of the box was an iCloud logo, just opposite of the side on which the Apple logo rested. Everyone knows how sparsely Apple decorates their products, so why would they put an iCloud logo on the box? Only if it was extremely important. More important than iOS 5, the A5 processor, FaceTime, iMessage, iTunes, or the App Store. Apple didn’t put logos for any of those things on the box of the iPad, no, it put the iCloud logo and nothing else.

So, why is iCloud so important to Apple? Is it because it syncs everything? No. iCloud is so important because it not only syncs your content, but it provides the stepping stone to the continuous client experience that has become the pinnacle of usability. Continuous client, if you don’t know, is simply the ability to stop reading a book or watching a movie or playing a game or doing anything, and picking up where you left off on another device. This is something Apple has the unique ability to do better than anyone else because its devices are so popular and Apple’s famous “closed” ecosystem allow it to spread iCloud’s adoption faster than anyone else.

iCloud can help Apple make the transition to PC-free iOS devices. This is important because Apple is moving the world beyond PCs and iCloud is now the forerunner of this transition. This is only the first of many transitions that will be made in the future and iCloud can help people make these transitions easily and painlessly.

iCloud will gain more features in the future, and it also provides a stairway right up to cloud-based apps and even devices when the time is right. iCloud could make transitions to, say, HTML 5 based apps and devices seamless because rather than having to plug-in to iTunes and backup, then plugin your new device and sync for an hour, you can have not even left the Apple Store with you new phone and your apps can be downloading in your pocket from a cloud-based backup. This gives Apple the ability to drastically alter the architecture of iOS in the future and keep the transition experience for customers a good one.

This is why iCloud is so important to Apple, it is the new iTunes, the tool that they will use to make transitions buttery-smooth, and it provides the foundation for continuous-client experiences.

Twitter Fly

Twitter just launched a redesign of its iOS, Android, and web apps. The new design is centered around four sections: Home, Connect, Discover, and Me. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said that the redesign was more of a refinement of their existing product, revealing a larger strategy for Twitter. Rather than adding more features, like Facebook and Google+ are well-known for, Twitter dug deeper into the core of their product and attempted to extract what makes Twitter unique. If you are on Twitter, you are well aware of hashtags (#) and at signs (@) which sort of make up a language which Twitter users use. In the new Twitter design, this language is brought to the forefront by using at signs and hashtags as navigation buttons to the new sections of the site. The new design is also more consistent across multiple devices, and as the design is pushed to other products such as the iPad and Twitter for Mac, its consistency will only improve. Tweets can now be embedded into websites, allowing for more interaction around a single tweet. An example of an embedded tweet is at the bottom of this post. Twitter is also looking for ways to help brands better connect with their customers, therefore they are launching new brand pages for a few brands that should help them connect better with users across the social network. Twitter’s redesign is certain to encourage more people to adopt the service, which has in the past been confusing for new users.

If you don’t see the redesign yet, here is a small gallery of pictures of the new design to tide you over.

Here is the tweet announcing this post.

iOS 5 Hands-On

This is my first ever hands-on video. I decided to show you all iOS 5 beta 2. I plan to release subsequent videos as later updates roll out. My apologies on the video quality, I would normally use my iPhone to record video, but obviously that would not work in this circumstance.

On Openness


Right now everyone knows the two big players in the smartphone market, iOS and Android. iOS has been called “closed” and Android “open”. What do these terms really mean? In Android’s openness an app can have great system integration. However, apps can do whatever they want and are often crappy. (In general, don’t get all worked up about some excellent app, I know they are out there too.) In iOS, an app has very specific rules to follow to be approved. This has created many very high-quality apps in the App Store, more than are on Android. Unfortunately said apps also do not have the same sort of system integration that Android apps have. Take, for instance, Google Voice. Google Voice on Android integrates with the dialer and can become an easy and elegant replacement for the default dialer, whereas on iOS it work more like an email app, and cannot even compare to using the phone app. Both platforms have many of the same important apps like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pulse, and so on; what makes a big difference is the hundreds of thousands of other apps on the store. This is where iOS is winning for me. Apple’s commitment to quality and not quantity is a very smart move. Many think this a good idea, and many more think this is not a good idea. Many have condemned Apple for tightly controlling the App Store, but what do they really want? Integration? Flash? 10,538 fart apps?

WWDC 2011 Keynote

At WWDC 2011, Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall, Phillip Schiller, and Craig Fedhrigi(I can’t spell his name) introduced Apple’s two new operating systems, OS X Lion, and iOS. Additionally iCloud, Apple’s new MobileMe replacement was announced to much applause.

Mac OS X Lion brings features and innovations “back to the Mac” for a dramatic rethinking of even the most basic functions of the operating system such as scrolling, apps, and versioning.

iOS 5 has a (finally) completely revamped notifications system, bringing unobtrusive updates to your lock screen and throughout the rest of the operating system. iMessage which brings a native IM and MMS client for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Newsstand which brings e-magazines to your device. A PC-free experience with OTA updates and backups. System-wide Twitter integration. Also, a self-explanatory reminders app.

iCloud is Apple’s MobileMe replacement. It is completely free with the small exception of iTunes Match witch brings your ripped (or pirated) content tot eh cloud for $25 a year. Way cheaper than Amazon and possibly Google. It syncs not only your mail, calendar, and contacts, but now your photos, app data, backups, music, and documents.

Now you can go to Apple’s website and read about all these features, or better yet watch the keynote in its entirety. So instead of focusing on these features and tweaks, I will try to provide meaningful insight into what was announced and where Apple is headed with these products.
With FaceTime Apple circumvented carriers. With iMessages Apple has down the same thing. iMessages is not dependent on carriers and does not require a texting or data plan. iMessages also is a BBM killer. No longer can BlackBerry users get away with saying how addicted they are to BBM. iCloud signals Apple thinking ahead and syncing everything you have across their ecosystem for free. Twitter integration is likely the start of a very good relationship between the two companies. Facebook was not to be heard or seen of… anywhere. But I personally hope that the two companies get on good terms considering that only one of my friends is on Twitter, but 220 friends on Facebook. So currently, Facebook is a more meaningful partner for me. Apple also seems to be committed to fixing problems and suggestions of the general public. We have seen this with Multitasking, homescreen wallpapers, apps; and now notifications and Twitter integration. There are still some fundamental things that Apple will not do such as adding explicit material, unsigned apps, and a “normal” file system to their iOS operating system.

(Image Credit: Apple)

I will update this post with further insights as more information becomes available and until iOS 5 is released.

iOS vs Android

I am tackling the big one this time. iOS vs. Android I plan to update this document continually as new versions of these operating systems arrive. 




OS Fagmentation
Deep inside Cupertino, California a man is sitting in a dark room. A door opens and a man steps in. “You asked to see me, sir?”
“Yes, launch it. Launch it now.”
“Yes sir.”
The man steps out of the room and closes the door leaving the room dark. Still sitting in his chair the other man smiles. 
A few minutes later a blogger plugs his iPhone into his computer and sees a new update come up. Without updating he goes to his blog and makes a quick post. Just moments later a news reporter gets an email. He reads it, then quickly rushes to his computer and writes a quick post. The header: ‘The next version of iOS is here.’ 
This is a huge benefit of iOS, updates are pushed across all devices immediately. With Android, Google announces an update that everyone knew was coming. But who can get it? Only a Nexus One or Nexus S user, and only after a few days as the update rolls out. Then … the long wait. A month or two later the next premiere Android device gets the update, potentially stripped of a key feature or two and slapped with the manufacture’s custom skin and the carrier’s unremovable crapware. Then another wait… This is fragmentation, it is here and it cannot be ignored. 


Screen Fragmentation
Different Android devices have different screen sizes: 3.5, 3.8, 4.0, and 4.3 inches, just to name a few. App developers have to make their apps for all the different screen sizes and resolutions. When Rovio Mobile ported their popular game Angry Birds to Palm Web OS for iOS it took a matter of days, however when they ported Angry Birds to Android the process took months. Why? Because of the number of different evices that they had to support, test, and debug the game on. On iPhone there is one screen size for the iPhone and iPod touch, and one for the iPad. Now there is Retina Display resolution which has made things a bit more difficult, b out still not what android developers have to deal with. 


Button Fragmentation
All Android handset manufacturers have different button layouts, icons, and labels. Do you really need a search button, a back button, and a menu button? How about just a home button? Back buttons are built into apps and keep your fingers inside the screen perimeter. On iOS devices there is one main function button and that is the home button, everything else is built into the software. 


Market Fragmentation
Android has many different stores for apps and other media: Android Market, Get Jar, AndAppStore, SlideME, AndroidFreeware.org, Brothersoft, and Androlib, Handango’s Shop, and OnlyAndroid, just to name a few. While this may drive competition, what developer would put different prices for the same app on different stores? Not many developers. Just to be sure though, you have to shop around. Great, so buying apps makes you shop around and look at different stores to get the lowest price, not fun. Another thing, anyone can download iTunes whether they have an iOS device or not, or they can see app’s pages on the web, but Android has no such feature. Also, there are no gift cards for the Android market, but with iTunes there are plenty of gift cards. So, do you want Android apps for Christmas? Not under the tree. iOS apps? For sure. But, on Android you can use many more types of payment than you can on iTunes, like billing your wireless account (on supported carriers)


– Winner: iOS –


People tend to look at an iPhone as if it were much more expensive as a comparable Android phone, but it is not. A nice Android phone usually costs $200, with a two year contract (more on that in another post). So does a good iPhone, you can opt for the more expensive double-the-storage model though, but you can also get last year’s model which has the latest iOS, minus a couple new features for $100, with about the same feature set and technology as $100 Android phones. People complain about the data plan for iPhone, but for anyone who would really use an iPhone enough would end up getting a data plan. How many people do you think have a $200 Android phone but don’t buy a data plan? Not having a data plan ruins the experience of the phone and drastically reduces where and what you can use your phone for. Buying a data plan is a necessity for anyone serious about owning a smartphone. 


– Winner: Draw (For me, not necessarily for you) –


Volume Sold
Reports say that Android has been sold on more devices than iOS on iPhones, iPods, and iPads. What about those cheap $100 Android phones, they count into that equation, but should they? The people buying the $100 Android feature phones are not going to use their phone the same amount of time that people buying Android smart phones will. So it is my personal belief that the numbers of Android devices activated should be split between smart phones, feature phones, and other devices. However, more Android devices have been sold than iOS devices, so this one goes to Android. 


– Winner: Android –


This is one of the big ones. But there are a few things I am going to look at specifically, app quality, the number of apps and growth of those numbers, and what apps are allowed to do. 


App Quality
A quick scroll down a list of apps shows many abnormal prices such as $7.32 and $0.87. I personally have no clue why this is, but it is one factor in app quality. App developers for Android can make an app that, quite frankly, sucks, crashes, and has very few features and put it on the market. This Android’s system allows for apps like this which are detrimental to the customer’s experience. Additionally, developer are having a hard time selling apps on Android and instead are opting for ad-supported versions. This is not good for the user experience and it is a serious problem if developers can’t sell paid apps. One more thing, Android apps can have explict content and iOS apps cannot. For a parent giving their child a mobile device this makes iOS a more viable choice. 


App Statistics
This one is simple, on phones currently iOS has over 350,000 apps and Android has around 150,000 and most of them are junk and porn. However, Android is growing faster than iOS is, and Apple has had more downloads than Android. Then on tablet, iOS has 65,000 apps built specifically for the iPad, whereas Honeycomb has under 100 apps.
Note: I will update this post with current details as more details come out. 


– Winner: iOS –


App Permissions
Another simple one, Android apps have more system access than apps on iOS do. Take Google Voice for instance. Google Voice has an app on the App Store and Th. Android Market, but only the Android app can be fully integrated into the user experience. Again, apps like Swype can revolutionize the way people input words, but only on Android. This is a huge boon for Android. 


– Winner: Decide on your own –


UI Polish
This is one of the big differences between iOS and Android OS, iOS has an amount of polish that is unseen in Android today. While Google seems to be trying to add new features to its OS, Apple adds features a bit slower, but with more polish. For example, Android had major text messaging bugs that are further detailed here: http://engt.co/ePHDgU, these bugs should have never got past testing and debugging. 


– Winner: iOS –


I am not going to post a final winner, this is your choice. iOS and Android are two very different beasts, and soon everyone will have to choose which side to be on. The decision that people are going to have to make is very important because switching between these two platforms is not easy, in fact it is very difficult. Have you ever tried switching from a PC to a Mac, or from a Mac to a PC? It wasn’t easy was it? The same thing is happening with iOS and Android. Mobile is the future of computing and everyone is making a decision. Consider yourself informed.