Rumor department: iPhone 6 to get 5.5-inch display in fall #TAC

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Date: Thursday, January 16th, 2014, 17:58
Category: Apple, iPhone

In probably my favorite post of the week, Apple’s finally rumored to be exploring large displays for the iPhone 6, tentative due in the fall. Look, everyone likes to have a phone that will run al day on a charge but it’s foolish to think that Apple’s not losing customers that want larger screens to Sammy. Sure, many iPhone owners also have iPads (I’d venture to say that it’s a high percentage) which should satisfy their need for a larger screen, but many don’t and they’re not cool with a puny 4-inch iPhone.

Research firm DisplaySearch reports in their new Quarterly Worldwide FPD Shipment and Forecast Report reports that Apple is likely to launch two new versions of next-generation iPhone with two larger display options. According to the report Apple will launch a 4.7-inch model with 1600×900 resolution, 386ppi and LTPS TFT LCD display technology. A larger version of the “iPhone 6″ could pack a 5.5-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution at 401 PPI utilizing the same display technology.

The X factor here is developers. They’re going to need to re-compile their apps for a fourth screen size and Apple will have to tell them about it by WWDC (think June-ish) at the latest.

The good news is that Apple is exploring two iPhone screen sizes (4.7 and 5.5-inches) so that there will be an option for both small and large hands. (Read more at The Apple Core).

What size iPhone 6 would you buy? Is 4-inches a deal breaker?

How Apple can protect kids against predatory IAPs #TAC

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 16th, 2014, 16:29
Category: App Store, Apple

Tom’s under the weather, so I wanted to pitch in and cross-post a few of my ZDNet posts. In this one I discuss an issue that’s near and dear to my heart. My kids have accidentally purchased lots of In-App Purchases (IAPs) from the App Store because of Apple’s 15-minute no password window and nefarious developers that riddle free apps with ads and coerce kids into clicking through to bogus add-on purchases in Freemium apps.

Here are the suggestions I posted on The Apple Core:

  1. Offer the ability to require a password for every transaction.
  2. Offer the option to require a password for free downloads.
  3. Actively track the amount of refund requests in apps targeting kids and set a low threshold for penalizing developers that prey on young users with IAPs. (i.e. if your app generated more than 10 refunds in a day your App comes off the App Store for a day, and so on…)
  4. iTunes Store emails should be sent in real time as purchases occur.
  5. Offer the option to send an SMS or push notification to the account owner’s iPhone or iPad immediately after a purchase
  6. Make refunds easier to requests. Currently you can only request a refund within the desktop version of iTunes, and it’s extremely difficult to find
  7. Add more detail to IAPs in Recent Purchases UI by naming the host app in which the IAP occurred

The problem is that Apple took in $10 billion in revenue from the App Store in 2013, so there’s a strong disincentive to them doing anything that curbs its ferocious rate of sales. (Read more at ZDNet).

What’s your take?

PPUG November 9, 2013 — Wrap-up, links and presentation

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, November 23rd, 2013, 20:45
Category: Meetup, PPUG, User Group

ppug-meeting-2013-1109 001

Last weekend’s PPUG meeting was a resounding success!

In case you missed it, here are links to the products that Jason talked about:

Download Jason’s presentation in both Keynote or PDF formats.

Rob Parker talked about the following;

Youngmoo Kim talked about:

We hope that you can make it to our next meeting.

PPUG Meets in Philadelphia this Saturday, November 9

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 8th, 2013, 20:28
Category: Meetup, User Group us for a spectacular autumnal meeting on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at noon.

The Philadelphia PowerBook Users Group (PPUG) will hold its pre-holiday festival meeting from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the beautiful Manayunk Brewing Company. We usually have lunch (and a brew) while we talk mobile computing.  We will need to leave the Brewery promptly by 3pm because another group will be using the room.  So that means we will get started promptly at noon.

I’ll be on hand with PPUG co-founders Rob Parker, Bob Snow and Youngmoo Kim to talk about latest developments in mobile computing, including new Macs, iPads, iPhones, and the latest Apple developments right up to the date of the meeting.  Topics will include new iPhones, iOS 7, Mavericks, the new iPads, and Frax, the amazing new app Kai Krause and company.

Come hear special presentations from our panel and some fabulous demos as well. Additionally, we have lots of give aways courtesy of and provided by Sandy Foderick of Apple User Group Resources. Of course we’ll have a healthy serving of Q&A.

Join us for a great meeting, it’s free and open to you and your guests. Feel free to bring items to sell or swap as well.


Manayunk Brewing Company
4120 Main Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127

If you are part of a Mac User Group, then forward this announcement to your membership.  All are welcome!


Why the Mac (still) beats the PC

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 08:25
Category: Apple, Opinion

Christopher Laincz, Ph.D., is director of the LeBow Ph.D. Program at Drexel University, and associate professor in LeBow’s Department of Economics and International BusinessI’m publishing this guest blog by Dr. Christopher Laincz, because I couldn’t agree more with his opinions. If you don’t agree, be sure to read the pro-PC counter-point article by his colleague Mark Eyerly and sound off in the comments below.

I find myself in a strange town, and I want a cup of coffee. I see a Starbucks and some local dive. I choose Starbucks.

Here’s why: When you walk into Starbucks, you know exactly what you’re getting; and, they’ll customize it to your taste. If they make an error, they fix it immediately. I expect a good experience right from the start.

On the other hand, the local dive might prove great, but it might serve bug-infested sludge.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “risking a dollar or so on the local dive’s coffee is no big deal.” Sure. But when it comes to computers, it’s much riskier. You could easily spend $1,500 on some crappy PC. Perhaps for an extra $500, you could take home a (beautiful and better-designed) Mac with similar specs.

Why do I spend more on a Mac? Because Macs are better. In fact, the quality-adjusted price actually makes the Mac the better deal. PCs can be made in any Joe’s garage – and too frequently are – hence the hardware quality is a crapshoot. The Windows environment is fraught with holes and issues. Ever try to get service help for your PC? Ugh.

Furthermore, I do not need or appreciate my computer warning me at every turn about this risk or that issue. Just fix it, dammit! I’m busy with my own work. I don’t have time to invest in searching for the answers to every PC/Windows security or design flaw that crops up.

This isn’t a problem I encounter on my Mac. Apple takes care of maintenance and quality-control, so I am willing to pay for that. Buy a PC, and the maintenance and quality-control risks are on you. You may have paid less for the hardware up front, but over time you’ll pay with time, money and frustration to keep the thing functioning and not destroying your own tireless efforts.

Mac products stay way ahead of the Windows environment in terms of innovation and user-friendliness. I blame the PC/Windows marriage from hell.

The Justice Department brought an anti-trust suit against Microsoft for abusing its market power to kill off Netscape (which it did successfully). One of the punitive options in front of the Justice Department was to break Microsoft up into two companies: operating system (Windows) and software (MS Office).

Had the Justice Department gone with that option, the software would have been thrown into a more competitive environment. But it didn’t, and as a result the Office Suite has not evolved much.

Some complain that Apple excludes other products from seamless integration with its own. Sure, that may be true, but for me it isn’t a problem.

After falling in love with my 4-year-old MacBook Pro (which I’m using right now), I got a Mac desktop for my home, another for the office, and I just added the iPhone.

Digital bliss.

Christopher Laincz, Ph.D., is director of the LeBow Ph.D. Program at Drexel University, and associate professor in LeBow’s Department of Economics and International Business. He’s actually pretty down-to-earth for a Mac-toting academic.

Appearance: PPUG Saturday in Philadelphia (Withings WS-50 preview)

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 29th, 2013, 09:28
Category: Accessory, PPUG, User Group, Wearables

Withings WS-50 Wi-Fi scale

I’ll be presenting at the Philadelphia PowerBook User Group (PPUG) on Saturday, March 30, 2013 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. PPUG is the first dedicated PowerBook User Group (PPUG) in the United States and was founded in 1999.

We meet at the Manayunk Brewing Company along the beautiful Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA and our meetings is open to all. We usually have lunch (or a brew) while we talk mobile computing.

We’ve got a big slate to present.

I’m going to present the latest in wearable fitness computers, including the Jawbone Up band, the BodyMedia FIT LINK and their associated iOS apps. I’m also giving an exclusive demonstration of the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer. It’s your chance to preview the new Wi-Fi scale that measures weight, body composition, heart rate, and air quality before it starts shipping in mid-April.

Rob Parker will do a roundup of the latest gadgets in the ParkerDigital stable, including the Pebble watch, Nike+ Fuel Band, FitBit One, Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 and some iPad mini cases. Apple Distinguished Educator Youngmoo Kim will give a presentation about issues and tricks he’s encountered doing presentations wirelessly using AirPlay. He’ll be presenting using an Apple TV connected to a BenQ 761 projector.

Join us for a great meeting, it’s free and open to you and your guests. Feel free to bring items to sell or swap as well.

Manayunk Brewing Company

4120 Main Street

Philadelphia, PA 19127


PowerPage Podcast Episode 159 – iOS 6 upstages Retina MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 14th, 2012, 12:53
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast 2012 logoPowerPage Podcast Episode 159 (“iOS 6 upstages Retina MacBook Pro”) is now available for your listening pleasure:

In this episode Rob Parker and I discuss how iOS 6 may have stolen the thunder from Apple’s new Retina MacBook Pro, Ivy Bridge MacBook Air, and all the WWDC announcements for that matter. Jason discloses how you can get over 100 new emoji icons and we wrap the podcast with “What’s on your kit?”

Here’s what’s on our kit this week:


  • Algoriddim vjay ($9.99, App Store) – Mind-blowing video mixer for iPad from the creators of djay, the best DJ app on iOS.
  • The Indy ($179) – This distressed leather iPad shoulder bag is both functional and gorgeous (and it’s made in the U.S.A.)
  • WiebeTech UltraDock v5 ($249) - Access, set up, diagnose or repair any raw 2.5 or 3.5-inch SATA drive via FireWire, USB or eSATA.
  • FreeSpace ($0.99, Mac App Store) - Free drive space monitor for your OS X menu bar, with one click eject. Perfect for cramped SSDs.


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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Music generously provided by The Tragically Hip.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 158 – Here come the wearables

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Date: Wednesday, May 16th, 2012, 19:24
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast 2012 logoPowerPage Podcast episode 158 (“Here come the wearables”) is now available for your listening pleasure:

In this episode Rob Parker and I discuss the emerging trend of wearable computers and we riff on the two leading devices: the Nike+ FuelBand and the Fitbit Ultra (among others). These are some of the wearables that we discuss on this episode:

  • Nike+ FuelBand ($149) – Wristband for monitoring steps and calories with Bluetooth sync to iOS app and my current favorite. Here’s my review.
  • Fitbit Ultra ($99) – Clip format monitors activity, stairs, and sleep. Has automatic wireless sync if the cradle dock is plugged in via USB.
  • Motorola MOTOACTV ($249) – Wristwatch format with GPS, heart rate monitor, Bluetooth and music controls. Schwing!
  • Jawbone Up ($99) – Wristband format monitors activity and sleep. Rev. 1 didn’t live up to expectations and is getting a reboot.
  • Pebble eWatch ($99) – Connects to iPhone and Android devices via Bluetooth and has an API. This $10 million+ Kickstarter project is completely sold out.
  • Supermechanical Twine ($99) – Web-connected module with temperature and vibration sensors tied to a cloud-based service. Will talk to Pebble eWatch.
  • Google Project Glass – Easily the most ambitious wearable, these glasses provide a full HUD interface to just about everything. Check out the video.
  • MotionX Sleep (free) – Promising iOS app with sleep monitoring.
  • Nike+ GPS ($2) – iOS app to map your runs and track your progress.
  • LoseIt (free) – iOS app that integrates with Fitbit sensor.

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:


  • iRig MIX ($99) – Killer portable DJ mixer that travels light (10 oz.) and works with one or two iPhone, iPods or iPads. Stay tuned for my review.
  • TiVo (free) – iOS app that turns your iPad (or iPhone) into mission control for your TiVo.
  • TiVo Premier XL4 ($399) – From Weaknees with four (count ‘em) tuners.


  • eBay for iPad 2.0 (free) – Amazing reboot of the iPad app, a must-have.
  • Witness ($39) – Turns your Mac’s camera into a security cam. View and control Witness from iOS devices.
  • DirecTV app for iPad (free) – Watch lots of programming (including some live TV) on your iPad. Check listings and program your DVR. (DirecTV required)

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Music generously provided by The Tragically Hip.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 157 – The iPad 3 has landed

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 19:40
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast 2012 logoPowerPage Podcast episode 157 (“The iPad 3 has landed”) is now available for your listening pleasure:

In this episode Rob Parker and I discuss the arrival of the iPad 3 and our initial reactions to the Retina display, LTE vs. 4G, Verizon vs. AT&T, “Heatgate” and a healthy dose of our favorite apps.

Here are some of our favorite apps for the iPad 3:


  • Touchgrind BMX ($4.99, App Store) – Multi-touch BMX game with gorgeous 3D graphics, realistic physics and natural controls.
  • Barefoot World Atlas ($7.99, App Store) – Interactive 3D globe that allows kids to explore the earth and learn facts about different regions.
  • Daedalus Touch ($4.99, App Store) – Gesture-based text editor for the iPad with a beautifully minimalist UI and DropBox syncing.
  • …and the games I mentioned in my iPad games roundup (Sky Gamblers, Modern Combat 3, Real Racing 2 HD, Infinity Blade II and Flight Control Rocket)


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PowerPage Podcast Episode 156 – Say Hello to the new iPad

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Date: Friday, March 9th, 2012, 18:45
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast 2012 logo

Episode 155 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. In this episode Rob and I discuss the new retina iPad, 1080p Apple TV and iPhoto for iOS.

Here’s what’s on our Macs (and iOS devices):


  • CloudFTP ($99) – A small, battery-powered appliance that acts as a surrogate USB port for your iDevices (my video review).
  • iPhoto for iOS ($5, App Store) – Powerful and beautiful photo editor for the iPhone and iPad.


  • Tweetbot ($2.99 each, App Store) – Incredibly full featured, intuitive, beautiful Twitter client for iPhone and iPad

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Music generously provided by The Tragically Hip.