Posts with tag ipad

Microsoft keeps swinging, but keeps missing

Why won’t Microsoft let me buy the ideal Surface tablet?




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For a brief while, I owned a Surface tablet.

I got a really good deal on one, almost a year or so back now. My Surface was an original, 32GB Surface RT tablet, the one that Microsoft is still happy to sell you for a now-outrageous $299.  The original Surface has always been something of a mixed bag – too heavy and unwieldy to use to be a particularly good tablet, with no real desktop application support and a slow processor holding it back from being a good laptop replacement.

Barely six months after purchasing my original Surface tablet, I sold it. I found that, for my use case, the Surface just wasn’t good enough at doing the things I wanted to do with the tablet form factor. It was awkwardly shaped, so I didn’t really enjoy holding it to watch movies, or reading books; it was slow, so it was frustrating to browse the web with – and it didn’t work at all on my lap, so there goes my using Microsoft Office with.

I sold that Surface, and instead I bought – after a couple of weeks of deciding on what my replacement would be – an iPad mini with Retina Display. I had owned an iPad mini before, an original generation, that I used mostly to read books on. While using my Surface I often longed for the convenience of the iPad mini’s form factor; the small, light frame that was a perfect companion to Netflix and the Kindle application. And while the original iPad mini was no speed demon, it was definitely faster than my Surface RT.

And ever since, I’ve been extremely happy with my new iPad mini. While I do sometimes long for the ability to plug in a keyboard and get access to a real trackpad – even a bad one – the benefits of the iPad mini’s form factor far, far outweighs the negatives. That’s why I was so excited this month when Microsoft issued invitations to the media to attend a “small” gathering, one that we all – myself included – took to be the introduction of the elusiveelusive 7-to-8″ Surface tablet. Such a device, I thought, could be my ideal Surface tablet – one small and light enough to read comfortably on, yet powerful enough to do actual work on with that keyboard attachment. It could have easily replaced the original, aging Surface RT in Microsoft’s lineup as a $299 device actually worthy of the price tag if given beefier internals.image-024-cyan-e1400563534859

But that device never came. Instead, we got the Surface Pro 3 – a device that, again, aims to be more of a laptop replacement than an actual tablet. That’s fine, of course. There’s nothing wrong with such a tablet, and though I haven’t gotten my hands on a Surface Pro 3 just yet, I would be interested to give it a try and see for myself how it does. But I know that, based on my experience with my original Surface, that it’s not the tablet I’m looking for. It’ll still be too heavy for me to read a book on, too inconvenient for me to hold as a book in bed – though that 3:2 aspect ratio is a blessing, and an aspect that I would love to see trickle down to other Surface models, including that elusive Surface Mini if it ever comes.

And boy, do I hope it comes. I feel strongly as though that could be the perfect tablet for me, and I would absolutely spend $300 of my hard earned money to pay for it. But until Microsoft realizes that they’re ignoring – either intentionally or unintentionally – such a huge segment of the market, I don’t think I would go out of my to buy a Surface product ever again. I gave them a shot, and it didn’t work out. Are you willing to go the extra mile, Microsoft?


Somebody plug that hole before we drown

Newly published iOS 7 security flaw leaves your email attachments unencrypted




Apple’s mobile platform is under fire once again today, this time after a new revelation has revealed that iOS 7 leaves users’ email attachments unencrypted, potentially allowing enterprising hackers to grab any files sent and received by an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7.0.4 or newer. The new flaw was revealed today by security researcher Andreas Kurtz and published by ZDNet.

security-flaw-email-attachmentsThe screenshot above shows that to access an attachment, all anyone needs to do is navigate to the “Mail” folder hidden inside an iPhone, where the attachments sit ready for anyone to open. Apple has responded to the discovery of the security issue by confirming that the issue does exist, however the company has yet to confirm when it will be patched. Apple regularly issues security updates to their platforms and one can expect that this pretty significant issue will be fixed well ebfore the introduction of iOS 8, which is expected at this year’s WWDC developer conference.

Via: MacRumors
Source: ZDNet


An interesting mid lifecycle shift

Apple announces 8GB iPhone 5c, resurrects the iPad 4




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In what can only be called an interesting mid lifecycle shift for two of Apple’s most popular lineups, Apple has this morning announced two big changes to both the iPhone and the iPad. First, Apple has officially announced a new version of the company’s colorful midrange smartphone, the iPhone 5c, that includes a reduced 8GB of storage alongside a price drop. This new version is available only in select markets overseas – sorry, America, you’re still stuck with the considerably less awesome iPhone 4S 8GB – and is available for £429 in all its original color options. The new 8GB iPhone 5c retains all other specifications of the older models, including an A6 processor, an 8MP camera, and a 4″ Retina Display.

Even more surprisingly, Apple has also taken the chance to at long last discontinue the iPad 2, the company’s 2011 tablet that stuck around as an entry level 9″ iPad until now for $399. The product has instead been replaced with the iPad 4, a model that Apple had previously discontinued in favor of the iPad Air last Autumn. The iPad 4 (again officially called the iPad with Retina Display) retains the iPad 2’s price tag of $399, but provides a considerable upgrade with a new A6X processor, 512MB of RAM, a Retina Display, and a Lightning connector. Unlike the 8GB iPhone 5c, the return of the iPad 4 will be available in the United States.

Source: Apple


Still the early days

iOS 8 screenshots leak, revealing familiar UI and new apps




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It should come as no shock or surprise that Apple is plowing ahead with the next major version of their mobile operating system, iOS 8. Though iOS 7.1 was just released to much fanfare over the past couple of days, iOS 8 promises to be a much larger release with a further emphasis on new functionality rather than just simple refinements. Today we’re getting one of our first looks at Apple’s next OS as numerous screenshots of an early pre-release build has leaked onto the web.

If the images are to be trusted, and popular and often reliable Apple blog 9to5Mac believes that they are, iOS 8 will be focusing quite a bit on two things – feature parity with OS X, particularly in regards to iCloud integration – and health monitoring. A new application called “Healthbook” can now be seen on the home screen, and many are already speculating that this could serve as a point of integration between the iPhone and Apple’s oft rumored iWatch.

Also new are three new applications – Preview, TextEdit, and Tips – the latter two which should be immediately recognizable to anybody who has ever used a Mac computer for more than a couple of minutes. Both Preview and TextEdit feature iCloud integration on OS X, however iOS users have been unable to access Preview and TextEdit data from their mobile devices somewhat limiting its usefulness. Hopefully iOS 8 seeks to remove this gap.

iOS 8 is expected to be announced at the WWDC 2014 developer conference sometime this summer. Apple has traditionally hosted the conference around early June with an announcement and registration a short while before, so stay tuned for more on iOS 8 and WWDC.

Source: 9to5Mac


Minor design changes

Apple seeds iOS 7.1 Beta 4 to registered developers




ios7logoApple has today seeded iOS 7.1 Beta 4 to registered, paying iOS developers. The new version, which is dubbed build 11D5134c, continues to improve upon the new iOS experience Apple debuted at WWDC 13 this June with iOS 7.

While Apple is, as per usual, quiet on what exactly has changed in this build of iOS 7.1, popular Apple rumor blog 9to5Mac has managed to get their hands on some screenshots and information regarding the release. According to the site, the changes are as follows:

  • New “+” button for adding a phone number in the dialer to your contacts.
  • iPad has gained new Siri voice gender options for the UK.
  • Messages now scrolls more smoothly and with more animation.
  • Shut down slider also more in line with the new, shinier Slide to Unlock text
  • General bug fixes, performance, and stability enhancements

Apple has been developing iOS 7.1 for some time now, with the previous developer build having dropped on January 7th. Apple will likely release iOS 7.1 in the coming weeks as development wraps up in the near future. iOS 7.1 will be released for iPhone 4 and newer, iPad 2 and newer, iPod touch (fifth generation), and both generations of the iPad mini.

Source: 9to5Mac


iOS 7.1 inches closer

Apple releases iOS 7.1 beta 3




ios7logoApple has today released iOS 7.1 beta 3 to registered, paying iOS developers. Though Apple is tight lipped on what specifically has been changed in this beta release, saying only that the update contains bug fixes and improvements, we’ll let you know if there’s any major improvements or upgrades over iOS 7.1 beta 2, which was released around a month ago.

iOS 7.1 makrs the first major release of iOS since Apple released iOS 7, the company’s first significant redesign of the iOS smartphone platform since the release of the first iPhone in 2007.


The first of many?

Apple releases iOS 7.1 Beta 1




We’re hearing reports that Apple has just seeded the first beta build of the next version of iOS to registered, paying developers, iOS 7.1. The new version, which carries the build tag 11D5099e, is available for the iPad Air, iPad mini (both generations), iPad 2 and up, iPhone 4 and up, and the iPod touch 5th generation.

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While we’re still working to learn what’s new or improved in this new build, this is likely an early look at Apple’s next version of iOS and not necessarily fully representative of what the final product will look like. As soon as we learn more we’ll let you know.

Update 11/18/13 @ 1:40 PM EST: We’ve also got ahold of the full release notes – read more for those.


Pales to the competition

Some iPad mini with Retina Display owners seeing subpar color accuracy




While the iPad mini has one of the highest resolution displays on a small form factor tablet, punching in at 326 PPI (pixels per inch – compared to only 163 PPI on the previous generation iPad mini), but that doesn’t mean everything is peachy for Apple’s latest and greatest iPad mini. Indeed, some iPad mini owners, including popular tech blog Anandtech – are seeing issues with accurate color reproduction on their new tablets. The issue seems to stem from the iPad mini display’s relatively poor color gamut specs. Competitive tablets, such as the Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, appear to be able to produce a much higher range of colors than the iPad mini with Retina Display despite any differences in pixel density.

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According to various reports, even other Apple products appear to have much more accurate color reproduction. The next best comparison, the iPad Air – which was launched just a couple of weeks earlier than the iPad mini with Retina Display – is seemingly capable of displaying colors more accurately then the iPad mini, as is the iPhone 5s and the iPod touch 5G. However, the iPad mini with Retina Display does appear to be not insignificantly improved over the previous generation iPad mini, which also had poor color reproduction.

While this may not be necessarily a deal breaker – the iPad mini’s display has been heralded as one of the best displays ever in an Apple product despite the issues – it is a very valid concern and a point worth mentioning regarding a tablet that costs a pricey $399 and up.

Source: Anandtech


I didn't know it was broken

Apple releases new iOS 7.0.4 update, brings FaceTime fix




ios7logoApparently, there was some sort of urgent FaceTime fix – who knew? Not me, certainly, but apparently Apple did and has thus released a new version of their iOS 7 mobile operating system, dubbed iOS 7.0.4, which brings with it a fix for those apparently buggy FaceTime connections. Apple claims that they’ve thrown in a couple of extra bug fixes in there for good measure, but go short of explaining what those actually consist of – but we trust that things have been made better, not worse.

For those interested, Apple’s full release notes is as follows:

Bug fixes and improvements, including a fix for an issue that causes FaceTime calls to fail for some users.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

iOS 7.0.4 is available vita an OTA update for all compatible iOS 7 devices, including the iPad mini (both generations), iPad 2 and up, iPhone 4 and up, and iPod touch (5th generation). Have at it.


For iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

Apple releases updated iBooks app for iOS 7




iBooks has always been one of the best ways to read eBooks on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, but lately it’s been feeling a little bit – shall we say – too skeumorphic for our tastes. What, with the faux-wood, bookshelf metaphor, shadows, and even the old iOS 6 keyboard prevalent during normal usage, iBooks hasn’t exactly felt at home on Apple’s new iOS 7 platform. But the good news is, Apple has heard our cries at long last and has released a newly updated iBooks app, totally updated for iOS 7 with a whole new user interface that says goodbye to the wooden bookshelf once and for all.

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Instead relying on a series of gradients to give a sense of place, iBooks for iOS 7 is the ultimate in simple, flat design – one could even make the argument that it’s in fact totally devoid of design, and they wouldn’t be too off course. Still, no matter how you feel about the new look, it does fit in perfectly with iOS 7 now, once again making it feel like a staple of the App Store ecosystem rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. Though Apple hasn’t added any readily apparent new functionality to iBooks, the overhaul in design alone make this worth the trip to the App Store and tapping on that Update button.


Your iPad is on its way

Apple iPad mini with Retina Display ships to launch day customers, first batch of deliveries expected Nov. 15




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If you ordered your brand new iPad mini with Retina Display on the morning of launch yesterday, you might want to check your Apple Order Status page. Reports are now coming out of the woodworks confirming that Apple has indeed shipped their first batch of new iPad mini units, with the earliest deliveries set for November 15th – just two days from now, Friday.

Of course, not all ordes will be delivered on Friday – I ordered an iPad mini with Retina Display 32GB Space Gray the minute the Apple Store came back online yesterday morning, and while my iPad has shipped it’s not set to be delivered until next Monday, the 18th. Is it me, or is next weekend going to be a loong weekend?


iPad Mini with Retina Display is now available




retina_ipad_mini_space_gray_silverLast night, the Apple Store website quietly went down. Before that happened, there was speculation that Apple would be unveiling the new iPad Mini 2, and they were right. Today, the iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display is now available for purchase from Apple’s website.

Aside from the Retina Display, the new iPad Mini comes in 16, 32, 64 and 128GB versions and the usual assortment of LTE-enabled variants. It also sports the 64-bit A7 CPU and the M7 motion coprocessor of course, and other goodies like 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 and a 23.8w/hr battery.

I don’t even have to ask if you’re interested in this, so here’s the pricing: the new iPad Mini costs $399 for the base wi-fi only model and $529 for the base LTE model.

Source: Apple