New iPad Review

I was one of the fortunate ones who was able to pre-order and received it on launch day.  Apple has decide not use a numerical indicator to name their newest generation iPad, so instead it’s just called the ‘new iPad’. I guess people will have to refer future iPads to the corresponding release year.

Anyhow, this new iPad has three big upgrades. First is the rear camera. Its a 5 mp camera which is essentially an iPhone 4 cam.  It takes great photos and records at 1080p videos.  But who here will be snapping pictures and recording videos with this 10 inch tablet?  Probably not many, but just in case you need to its nice to know it can do a decent job at it.

Second, Apple has thrown in LTE capabilities. Now your new iPad, ones with LTE, will be able to access the internet with LTE speeds on Verizon and on AT&T.  LTE coverage is growing quickly across the US for both providers and this new iPad is going to need all the bandwidth it can get.

Lastly, the biggest upgrade is the ultra high definition screen.  With a 2048 x 1536 resolution it doubles that of its predecessor and quadruples its pixel count all in the same size screen.  What does that mean?  Well, one thing you’ll notice is that displayed text is incredibly sharp and clear.  It’s almost as if you’re reading the text off a magazine.  Games and Apps that take advantage of the high  resolution screen will be much more detailed.

I’ve been using the new iPad for a week now and it’s a fantastic device. I love playing games on it and browsing the web.  As a news junkie, reading on the new iPad hasn’t been more fun.  I believe the only thing that is really going to convince you to pick up the new iPad is its hi-def screen. If you’re perfectly fine with the current resolution then there’s really no need to shell out $500 bucks for another one.  Keep in mind everything you do with the iPad is still the same.  The same limitations are there . There’s still no flash support and all apps needs to be installed through the App Store. It’s not going to replace your desktop or laptop, but it’s still makes for a great companion device.

With this new iPad Apple has set the standard incredibly high.  Current tablet makers are still trying to catch up to the iPad 2, but they’re closing the gap, a fairly large one, when it comes to hardware.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

Amazing screen
Decent battery life
Great camera
Supports LTE

Walled Garden ecosystem

iPhone 4S Quick Review

So I got the new iPhone 4s. I came from the iPhone 4, so the upgrade isn’t as significant like the previous upgrade. Many of the changes were either internal or software based. The form factor is identical to the iPhone 4 so those looking to get a new design will need to wait another year.  There are quite a few features in the new phone. Hardware-wise the phone is noticeably quicker in video games, browsing websites, and when snapping photos.  The performance improvements won’t be noticed by many, but it’s there.

On the software side the new iOS 5 added many great features. Some of the features that really stood out were the implementations of iCloud. Upgrading from my 4 to 4S was incredibly easy. You just login with your iTunes account and let iCloud do the rest. The whole process will copy all your apps and settings to your new phone.  The other feature that was long over due were the revamped notifications.  Apple clearly ripped it off Android, but I’m not going to complain. It’s a great needed feature and it works well.  The app that many have been talking about is Siri. It’s a voice command assistant app that is built into iOS and is only available for the iPhone 4S.  At first, it was fun to play around with, but I don’t see it as a necessary application for the phone, at least at this time.

Overall, the new iPhone 4S is a great device. Apple has decided to take the conservative update path on this new phone, so if you already have the 4, I don’t believe it’s a worthy upgrade to spend more money on — but if you have any of the previous phones, such as the 3Gs or below, it is a recommended upgrade.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆


iCloud will make life easier for future phone upgrades
Amazing camera for video and pictures
Usable Notification features
Speedy performance


Short battery life (should be fixed with next software update)
Not a significant update to predecessor

iPhone 4S: Are you excited or disappointed?

Today, Apple announced their next generation iPhone called the “iPhone 4S”.  While many diehard fans and many tech enthusiasts were hoping for a radical redesign they are left scratching their heads, “What happen to the iPhone 5?”

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me at all that there was no iPhone 5 announcement. If you look back at history, Apple released the “3GS” just two years ago. So we can assume a completely new iPhone 5 would likely come next year. But don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The innards of the 4S is all new. New faster and powerful dual core processor and an 8 MP camera with 1080p video recording.  And other features will be in their upcoming iOS update coming on October 12th.

Like any other businesses out there Apple is taking advantage of their current supply chains and manufacture process. Keeping the same design also keeps theirs costs down. Similarly to Intel’s Tick-Tock model, Apple has an alternating cycle of development. Where they refine their current technology one year and revolutionize it the next.

With the announcement over and done with are you excited or disappointed?

Does Microsoft have what it takes be the come-back kid in the mobile phone business?

Earlier this week Microsoft announced their new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7 . They are taking the same route similar to Google’s Android by having their platform be available for different manufacturers and on different mobile carriers (Except for Verizon). Saying Microsoft is late to the battle of mobile devices is the understatement of the year. A little more than 5 years ago Windows mobile was one of the dominating OSes in the mobile market. Now it represents a whimper of a market share compared to Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and RIM’s Blackberry phones. For the past several years Microsoft sat on their laurels only to watched their competitors past them by. But will the new release of Windows Phone 7 be enough to put themselves back in the mix with the rest of the big dogs?

Many analysts have already noted that Microsoft is a little too late to the game and the best they can do is vie for 3rd place. And some believe MS’s new platform is the new Palm. With the recent failure of the Kin Microsoft doesn’t look to be in any kind of position to play around with this new platform. They need it to be a huge success and anything less is a failure.

I think it’s a little too early to count Microsoft out yet. They got something that none of the other guys have; a popular and powerful office suite, the Xbox Live service, and a huge install base of Windows users. If they are able to meld their products into something an end user can use effectively and efficiently they can bite a huge chunk of their market share back. From the preview of the devices MS is looking to differentiate itself from the rest by implementing a unique user interface. With large icons and widget style views it makes sense where MS is going: to providing quick access to information and apps.

So far they are taking the right measures by getting their platform onto many devices and carriers as possible. Billions of dollars have been pumped into marketing and getting developers on board and only time will tell if Microsoft can claw it’s way back to the top. Will you be getting a Windows Phone 7?

Apple admits to reception issue, but not really

From tech blogs to politicians and many iPhone 4 users have voiced their opinions about the ‘death-grip’ recepetion issue of Apple’s new iDevice all while Steve and co. admantly believe it to be a non-issue.

All of that became undone as Apple held a press conference this morning. It’s kind of ironic that if Apple believes it not to be an issue then why hold a press conference?  No longer can Apple blame AT&T for all its reception problems and this time Apple has been caught with its pants down. Apple know’s its a hardware issue and there isn’t any permanent fix short of redesigning the phone itself. So they offer free Bumper cases to all iPhone 4 buyers, but they still don’t admit there are any problems with reception. In fact Steve-o goes on to point out other phones from other manufacturers to have similar issues. I have a phone that Steve mentions and it doesn’t lose reception when I hold it in any way nor do my friends who have the same phone. I don’t know where he got that info from.  Nonetheless, that’s some excellent PR right there. It’s like BP telling everyone in the Gulf Coast “that oil spills like this happen all over the world, nobody’s perfect.”

There are two things Steve Jobs is brilliant at; product marketing and consumer manipulation. He may be Apple’s savior and and considered a genius in the tech industry, but he may one day be Apple’s undoing. As consumers become more educated with technology Steve’s Jim Jones-hold on the average consumer and fanboy will diminish.  They’ll realize there’s nothing magical about Apple’s overpriced products and that they’re stuck in a walled garden controlled by Apple. Yeah, they have great looking hardware, but it’s not much better than current offerings from HTC and Motorola. Their iOS 4 is still outdated compared  to even Android OS 2.1. And don’t get me started on iTunes.

A decade ago, Steve Jobs was the guy everyone rooted for to topple Microsoft, which they now have and Apple is now a powerhouse to be reckoned with. There is major competition in the years ahead. Companies like HP, RIM, HTC, Google, and (when they stop resting on its laurels) Microsoft will push Apple out of their comfort zone, and today they got a taste of it.

iPad = iDisappointed

Well Steve Jobs finally announce the hotly anticipated Apple tablet. The iPad so it’s called. The unvieling of the new device left me thinking that no matter how shiny and sleek this tablet is it won’t be as successful as its iPhone or any of its other products.

My assumptions were correct that its just a larger version of the iPhone and iPod Touch. I’m very surprised the iPad lacks many of the features that makes it a real tablet. First of all, like its diminutive sibling  the iPhone and iPod Touch it does not multitask. Yup, you can only work with one application at a time. Second, the Sarfari browser lacks Adobe Flash support. For a device that prides itself on providing a great browsing exprience it’s lack one of the more popular features found in all browsers. Third, it’s missing hand writing recognition.

If Apple added at least one of these feature it would have made it a much more desirable device that differentiates itself from the iPhone and iPod Touch. This iPad is a niche product that will probably compete more so with Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers. As for it being a netbook killer, better luck next time Steve.

iTablet, iPad tomorrow?

Tomorrow is Apple’s most anticipated event. Rumors are flying all over the internet about the upcoming unannounced Apple tablet.  Many of the rumors have been consistent with each other and some big wigs in book publishing have hinted that the tablet will be revealed soon.

I’ve always been a fan of their hardware since they switch from the PowerPC to Intel. As for their tablet I’m still pondering how a bigger version of the iPhone would add something unique to the game. You can probably do the majority of the things with an iPhone than you can with the so called tablet. I don’t think it can compete sucessfully with a tradition laptop or netbook. The lack of a physical keyboard hinders it from being nimble mobile computer.

I think the iTablet will be geared more as an e-reader gadget where it would be competing directly with Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers. With the right content Apple’s rumored device can hit the ground running if they can provide the vast amount of ebooks and multimedia selection.

I was planning to buy a Kindle during the holidays, but I was holding out on what Apple had to offer. If the rumors are true the only real question is the battery life on this device. If it’s anything like the iPhone 3G(S) I would be hard press to buy something that would require it to be charged constantly.

iPhone 3GS


Some of you may know the the new iPhone is set to release this week. The details of the new phone left people unsatisfied. The most significant change on the new iPhone 3GS is a faster processor, more RAM (256mb), and a different video processing chip. Apple has clearly intended this upgrade to cater to game developers. Early adopters will definitely enjoy the new upgrade as Apple claims the new phone will be twice as fast and in some cases can be 3x faster. Those hoping to get a forward facing camera for video calls or some LED visual notification will be disappointed. Externally, the iPhone 3GS is virtually identical to it’s predecessor.

Also, releasing this week in conjunction with their phone is their new OS, version 3.0. I happen to have the final release and have been using it for over a week. The new updates are welcome but were way overdue. Cut and Paste and the ability to read/write text and emails in landscape view were the most important updates. Sure, sending and reciving MMS is something everyone wanted, but with the release of cut and paste accessing MMS messages is not as painful beofre. But we have to give it up to Apple to take 3 iterations to implement something that was so basic on a smartphone. One very important feature that didn’t make the update was the ability to run multiple apps in the background. This feature alone would have been the deal breaker to ditch my trusty Blackberry completely. Unfortunately, Apple decided it wasn’t important enough. I would have understood if background apps were only available on the new phone since it has twice the RAM and faster CPU, but Apple has no intention of implementing that feature anytime soon.

For those who have been waiting patiently, Apple has finally release a decent phone.  For those who have the 3G model I don’t recommend picking up the new iPhone. The minimal added features does not warrant an upgrade. Those who have been holding out for the past few years can jump in and pickup the iPhone given that you’re able to get it at the subsidized price. If you’re strapped for cash picking up the 3G model instead can save you a $100.

Apple is getting closer to making a phone that people want. It’s so obvious that they are milking the iPhone by adding bits and pieces to each model and charging a bundle for it. At the rate they’re going their competitors will such as Palm and Blackberry will leave them in the dust.

iPhone 2.1 firmware Review

I downloaded the 2.1 firmware on Friday morning and have been putting it through my daily usage and then some. The new update resolve many of the crash issues, but it doesn’t fix them all. I still have some random app crashes once in a while, but much less than before and much less rebooting. Another thing I noticed is that the scrolling of the main menu seems much faster and smoother. The two main fixes I was looking forward to was the Contacts list and SMS lag. The lag issues were just as annoying as the app crashes. With this update the lag issue is not completely resolved. Instead the lag times have reduced to about 50%-75%. So instead of being frozen for 6 seconds its frozen for 3. Other improvements include faster app installation and a slight improvement on backup times. The update was suppose to increase battery efficiency, but I haven’t notice any differences yet.

Overall, the update provide some relief for those who were having serious app crash problems. But for me it doesn’t cut it. The iPhone seriouly lacking in necessary features. The ability to have cut and paste is a given in every smartphone yet Apple fails to deliver. Also, being unable to run third-party apps in the background makes communication software like IMs useless. I was never impressed with Apple products. They’re are over-priced and their closed-platform limitations are just plain annoying. I thought the iPhone 3G was going to be different and change my mind, but appearently it’s still the same as any other Apple product; over-priced and tailored for the lowest common technophile.