Side stepping into the future
It’s been a while since I’ve drafted a status report, and I think given the current state of both the site as well as our coverage, we’re long overdue for one. A cursory look at our homepage will reveal that we haven’t published stories on a daily basis for quite some time. This is something I’ve long been meaning to address. Frankly, I have no excuses; Haverzine should absolutely be doing a better job of delivering on our mission, which remains unchanged. We want to inform you, no matter you are, of the most important stories in tech.
We haven’t been doing a great job at that lately. Unfortunately, Haverzine is something I do on the side; it generates absolutely no profits for me, and the little revenue we do get from the little advertisement we do have (which is currently suspended due to our Breast Cancer Awareness campaign) has always gone right back into improving Haverzine in various ways, usually through advertising and getting the word out. Since launching Haverzine in April 2012, I’ve worked numerous – and mostly full time – positions, nearly completed undergraduate – and completed a total of two internships. On top of all this, I am now writing a thesis as well completing a third and final internship with full time hours. All of this, of course, applies to Sean Ellis as well, our volunteer writer who graciously donated dozens of hours of time writing incredibly thoughtful pieces for us over the last couple of years. My thanks for having had him around is sincere.
You can see how finding the time for much else is difficult, especially when you add “maintaining a personal life” into the mix.
On January 1st, 2015, many of these hindrances will be gone. I hope to be be starting a new, full-time position at an employer that I hopefully feel comfortable working for; I will have completed my undergraduate degree and taking my first real break from education since 1996, and I will be able to commit more time doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. Or, that’s the plan, anyways. The truth of the matter is I’m at a transition point in my life, and I really no idea what curveballs will be thrown at me, and as such, it’s difficult to say for any degree of certainty what my schedule will look like next week, forget about January.
So all of that said, where does that leave Haverzine? There will be no changes. The site will remain, and I will continue writing as often as I can about as much as I can that I believe is important and relevant to the conversation. This isn’t a promise that I will bring back daily coverage – though I wish it were. This is merely an acknowledgment that situations have – and will continue to – changed, and that I will do do my best to work around those changing situations. For the last 6 months or so I have drawn out detailed plans for what I’ve been calling Haverzine 2.0, plans which I hope to realize someday – and hopefully some day sooner rather than later. I have roadmaps laid out for miles. Those roadmaps have not, and will not, change.
To conclude, I’d like to sincerely thank each and every person who has ever read any of our posts for their time and consideration. When I started Haverzine, I had little experience with writing long form, absolutely no journalism experience, and virtually no experience with publishing and advertising. Haverzine thus far has represented my desire to learn the tools of this trade and my determination to figure things out as I go. I’m committed to keep doing that.
Google has long been heralding two very distinct platforms – Android, the company’s mobile first operating system that helped pioneer the modern smartphone market, and Chrome, which began as a humble, WebKit based web browser that grew to become an entire operating system with a not small library of developer and end user support.
Google’s two platforms couldn’t be more different, but Google is making strides towards bringing their two babies closer together than ever. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has put the VP of engineering for Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, in charge of the engineering team over on the Chrome side. That means that the same individual will now be responsible for building both the mobile-centric Android and the desktop-class Chrome OS. While this isn’t exactly a confirmation that the two platforms will grow closer together in terms of design and functionality, it does suggest that such a thing wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
If you could even call it an iPad mini 3
At Apple’s usual October event held in Cupertino yesterday, Apple announced their new lineup of iPad tablets, including the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. Starting first and foremost with the significantly updated iPar Air 2, Apple’s 10-inch flagship tablet, the Air 2 gains both new internals as well as a redesigned exterior. The new full sized iPad is now significantly thinner than last year’s iPad Air, which already clocked in at just about half the width ads the previous, fourth-generation iPad.
Apple liked to say that the original iPad Air was as thin as a pencil, and now the company is really driving that home with the marketing of the new iPad Air 2. By using a pencil with just amount a third of it removed with a laser in an introduction video played at the event, Apple shows exactly how thin this new iPad is. And yet, despite all the design improvements, the new iPad features an all new A8X SoC, which pairs the improved computing power of the A8 – which launched alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last month – with an even beefier graphics processor. Given that the iPad Air 2 has the same HiDPI 2048 x 1536 display as its predecessors leading back to the iPad 3, this should result in better gaming performance. The iPad Air 2 also now includes Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint recognition technology that launched alongside the iPhone 5s last year. The iPad Air 2 is available for pre-order now in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB options in Space Gray, Silver, and the new Gold – all available in both Wi-Fi and LTE models.
The iPad mini 3, meanwhile, saw somewhat less of an update – in fact, it’s almost shameful that Apple is choosing to market the iPad mini 3 as a separate product at all. While the Air 2 gets improved internals and a new design, the mini 3 uses both the same design and the same A7 SoC found in the iPad mini with Retina Display (now dubbed the iPad mini 2). Literally the only addition here comes in the form of Touch ID and the new gold color. And for your trouble, Apple will also now charge you $399 for the iPad mini 3 – a $100 premium on top of the nearly identical iPad mini 2, which is now available unchanged for $299. The iPad mini 3 is available in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB options – all available in, you guessed it, Wi-Fi and LTE models.
"It's been way too long."
We’ve spent the past week speculating, but it’s finally time to learn the truth – or, well, it will be on October 16th. Apple has just sent out invitations to the rumored October 16th Special Event. For puzzle solvers among us will want to pay extra special attention to the tagline, “It’s been way too long.” In the past, Apple’s invitations have offered hints towards the content of the special event. Or, of course, it could just be Apple poking fun at the fact that their iPhone 6 / iWatch event happened not a month ago. Either one.
Apple is expected to use this event to unveil their new iPad lineup, launch OS X Yosemite, and announce updated Mac models – including, perhaps, an all new iMac with a Retina Display. Apple is holding this special event in an auditorium on campus in Cupertino, signifying this will be a significantly smaller event than that massive September event.
Source: Nilay Patel
Bigger than better?
The iPhone 6 Plus is a jumbo, comically huge smartphone. If Apple’s product portfolio were a clown outfit, the iPhone 6 Plus would be the bright red, obnoxious oversized shoes. It doesn’t fit in some front pockets, it sticks out of nearly everyone’s back pockets, and people will notice it and it will illicit reactions, at least while it’s still new and kind of foreign looking.
In fact, I would say that the iPhone 6 Plus is larger than I expected. I’m even one of those guys who went ahead and made scale paper cutouts of each size iPhone 6. It’s certainly a larger smartphone than I ever expected to own, and the size did come as a bit of a shock at first. But once you get past the sheer largeness of the 6 Plus, you can begin to evaluate it on better merits- ones not impeded by the initial “oh my God this is ridiculously large”. After a couple of weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus, I think I have enough familiarity to say some things with certainty. This is the official Haverzine iPhone 6 Plus review.
Read more to hear my take on Apple’s ginormous, huge iPhone 6 Plus.
Also, will it really be called the iPad Air 2?
We got a boat load of new details about Apple’s rumored next generation iPad tablet just a few days ago, but today we’re getting our first good look at the device. Vietnamese blog Tinhte.vn has posted high resolution images of what appears to be a thinner, streamlined iPad Air with a recessed volume buttons, no mute switch, and Touch ID. Sound familiar?
While the device in question appears to be an unfinished prototype based on the condition of the aluminum in the back, it does seem to confirm that A.) Apple is indeed working on a new iPad Air with an updated design, and that B.) it’s fairly late in development, leading credibility to the rumor that such a device could appear as soon as next week.
Unfortunately we’ve still got no word on the status of an updated iPad mini model, nor anything concrete regarding that rumored 12-inch iPad Pro model. It would be highly unusual for Apple to launch a new iPad Air without at least taking the time to mention the iPad mini, which has been treated as a major product alongside the larger form factor iPad for the last two years. Apple did update the iPad mini to an A7 processor and outfitted it with a Retina display last year, so Apple could believe that product is already strong enough, potentially be leaving an iPad mini update for later time.
Apple’s next special event is rumored to be taking place on October 16th, so we’re sure to learn more shortly. It is currently expected that Apple will announce updates to their iPad lineup, officially launch OS X Yosemite free for all Mac users, and perhaps even announce a next-generation iMac with a Retina Display. You can view Tinhte.vn’s full set of iPad Air 2 photos at the source link below.
Taking the time to get it right
You may have heard of these cool new things called smartwatches, with them being all the rage these days and everything. It seems like everybody and their mom is trying to get a smartwatch out in the market these days, a task that has been made monumentally easier now that Google is supplying the software to every hardware manufacturer with their still fairly new Android Wear platform. But one company has remained relatively quiet on the smartwatch front; HTC, the folks behind the upcoming Nexus 9 and the excellent HTC One M8, has still yet to release any sort of wearable device at all. There were some rumors that HTC had been working on a wearable that should have shipped by now, but we’ve not heard much on that front in a long while.
This has lead to rampant speculation that, in another blow to the struggling company, HTC has abandoned plans to release a smartwatch at all - but HTC says not so fast. In a statement provided to Re/code, an HTC spokesperson has confirmed that the company is indeed actively working on a device, which is nearing completing but has been internally delated so as to give it a bit more time in the oven.
There’s still very little we know for sure on the state of HTC’s new wearable, but the company hasn’t had a good track record with anything but smartphones in the past. Just as tablet mania began in earnest in 2011, HTC launched their first – and to date, only – tablet, the Flyer, to just awful reviews and abysmal sales. Consumer reaction to the Flyer was so bad that the company actually scrapped all plans for future tablets at the time, which is part of what makes their now confirmed upcoming smartwatch all the more exciting.
Create a game in a game on a game console
Project Spark, the innovative game building game that launched as a limited beta earlier this year, has finally been released as both a digital download as well as a physical disc in retail. Available for both the Xbox One (sorry, Xbox 360 users) and Windows 8.1 (double sorry, Windows 7 standouts – can I interest you in Windows 10?), Project Spark allows players to create entire worlds for others to play trough, complete with campaign support as well as multiplayer.
If you choose to go for the download option, Project Spark is entirety free to use – Microsoft is only asking you pony up some cash for add-on packs that add content that you can use to further enhance your world. You can get this version at both the Xbox Marketplace as well as the Windows Store. Alternatively, you can walk into your nearest video game retailer and pick up the physical version for $39, which is actually a steal as it contains about $85 worth of that aforementioned add-on packs.
It's like the new Moto X, only bigger-er
Google’s Nexus ship sure has been leaky lately, and today we got what’ll probably end up being the closest thing to a confirmation that the Nexus 6 by Motorola is a real thing until it, you know, is actually announced. The FCC just revealed a new six-inch smartphone made by Motorola with compatibility for both AT&T’s LTE network as well as T-Mobile’s. That fits perfectly with what we know about the Nexus 6, which a massive leak revealed in comprehensive detail just a little while ago.
If you aren’t up to date on your Nexus rumors, the Nexus 6 is basically a 2014 Moto X with a 6-inch display – and you thought the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus was big. No word yet on whether or not the upcoming Nexus 6 will make its way to Verizon and Sprint (though I don’t see why it wouldn’t), nor if it’ll come in a slightly smaller version for those with slightly less gargantuan hands, nor when it’ll be making an official appearance.
That Galaxy doesn't look as promising
Samsung, once the poster child for Android smartphones in the United States, is not doing well. Leagues away from the record breaking third quarter revenues of 2013, Samsung is warning that when they reveal their quarterly results for Q3 2014, things are going to be looking a little grim. In fact, the company has just announced that profits are down over 60 percent from that magical quarter last year, and most of the blame seems to be squarely on the company’s smartphone division; just yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Samsung Galaxy’s sales have seen a massive drop-off as of late, with some of the bleeding being attributed to a rise of popularity in the Apple iPhone.
But profits aren’t everything – surely Samsung is fairing better in some areas? Looking at the ever important marketshare figure, you’d be hard pressed to find good news. According to Seoul-based analyst Song Myung Sup, marketshare of Samsung Galaxy smartphones are “fast-falling”, particularly in the company’s homeland of South Korea. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the IDC reports that Samsung has lost nearly 10% of its American marketshare in the last year as of Q2 2014, falling from 32% to 24.9%.
Samsung is no stranger to adversity, but things are looking especially dire for the South Korean company given this troubling news. The real question now is whether or not the company’s just announced Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, and Galaxy Alpha smartphones can help turn the tides, all of which are coming to the United States-based carriers before the end of 2014.
The iPad Air, only Air-ier
It’s been kind of a quiet year for the iPad, sales wise, but when it comes to actually product you’d be hard pressed to ask for much more than the iPad Air that Apple announced in 2014. Incredibly thin with a beautiful display; amazingly fast with a low price point – the iPad Air set the bar for tablet computers. Still, there’s always room for improvement, and in the tradition of that a new report from The Michael Report by Michael Andrew claims to have the scoop on the next generation iPad, commonly referred to as the iPad Air 2.
As you might perhaps expect, the iPad Air 2 will consist of many subtle refinements to the iPad Air rather than a whole new revolutionary device. Apple is said to have made its new full sized iPad even thinner than last year’s iPad Air, successfully doing so by minimizing the space between the touch digitizer and the LCD display. The volume buttons have also seen a redesign, with newer, more recessed buttons that also do away with the mute switch found in every iOS device since the original iPhone. Touch ID is also expected, as is the new A8 SoC introduced alongside the iPhone 6 last month.
Report also claims that Apple is working on refining the speaker grille on the iPad Air 2, removing the microphone grille while making the speaker grille holes a bit larger and more refined. The microphone, meanwhile, will be located to the top of the device near the camera. One thing we don’t know is whether or not the iPad Air will be getting a “Retina HD” display like the iPhone 6 series, consisting of a display with more accurate colors, higher contrast, better viewing angles, and a polarizer for better outdoor viewing. That’s completely ignoring the question of the new 3x resolution, introduced in the iPhone 6 Plus. That’s not even remotely mentioning the possibility of software improvements expected in iOS 8.1, including the new dual screen multitasking view that Apple has been developing for some time now.
Unfortunately, no word yet on Apple’s other tablet computer, the more adorably sized (but still just as powerful) iPad mini 3. While I’d hope that the iPad mini 3 also sees some love and gains an A8 processor and Touch ID at the very least, I’m not entirely sure that’ll be the same; the iPad mini 3 clearly seems to be getting a little less attention heading into iPad season, with virtually no rumors regarding an update; I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple hangs onto the 2013 iPad mini 2 with a price discount for just a little while longer… but if the original, A5 baring iPad mini doesn’t get the boot, I’ll be pretty shocked.
Apple is rumored to be holding a special event for the media to focus on new iPads, OS X Yosemite, and updated Mac hardware on October 16th, just a little over a week away. This date has yet to be confirmed, however we wouldn’t be shocked considering Re/code, the source of that rumor, has been pretty spot on in the past.
Calling it Windows 7.5 isn't that far off
Using the Windows 10 Technical Previews feels a little bit like going home. It’s as if I had just spent the last three years in some sort of bizzare-o world filled with buggy, nearly useless full screen applications; like I’m enjoying a swim in a refreshing, crisp, blue pool after spending an eternity in the fiery depths of Hell.In this scenario, Hell is, of course, a stand in for Windows 8 – and I think the sooner we admit the similarities, the sooner we can all recover from its abuses.
The Windows 10 Technical Preview is kind of like the anti-Windows 8 – indeed, some have taken to calling it Windows 7.5, and I don’t think that’s too far off. If you’ve not seen it in action yet, picture this – all the Desktop improvements that shipped with Windows 8 minus all of the horrible Start Screen garbage. Oh, and the Start Menu is back, so that’s pretty nice.
Microsoft is saying that this represents only a tiny fraction of the features, design, and functionality we’ll find in the final version of Windows 10 – due sometime late 2015 – and I believe it. Essentially, there’s only a couple of things worth getting really excited about here thus far, if you appreciate the fact that Microsoft is reverting back to the “classic” Windows 7 way of doing things.
Read more to hear our early impressions of the Windows 10 Technical Preview build.