Did Apple mess up with the Retina iPad mini?

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Date: Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, 08:46
Category: Benchmark, Consumer Electronics, Features, Hardware, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, Opinion, The Apple Core

ret-ipad-mini-fanToday I broke down and bought one of the new Retina iPad minis. That is one of the dilemmas of living in a city with multiple, easy to get to Apple Stores. I’ve been watching the local stores’ inventories fluctuate using the Apple-Tracker web site, and noticed that there were several of the model I wanted in stock, so I ordered one for Personal Pickup and had it by this afternoon, which was rather impulsive considering I hadn’t spent any time with an iPad mini. One of the key factors of getting a new iPad was to upgrade to a Retina display, since I do a lot of reading on the iPad. Comparing some my iBooks between my iPad 2 and the iPad mini, there is a noticeable difference in the text, but so far I haven’t noticed the same difference in other graphics.

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iOS updates address FaceTime issues

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 15th, 2013, 08:13
Category: Consumer Electronics, iOS, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software
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Early yesterday morning Apple released a couple of updates for iOS. Usually you would expect that all we would see is an update to iOS 7. In this case, apparently Apple found something that affected iOS 7 and iOS 6 regarding FaceTime calls. All the release notes say is that it fixes an issue where FaceTime calls would fail. Perhaps it was a carrier related issue considering the problem seems to span two major versions of iOS.

They’re heeeeeeeeere! New Retina iPad mini sneaks into the store

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 12th, 2013, 04:33
Category: Announcement, Apple, Consumer Electronics, iOS, iPad mini, Retail Store

poltergeist1Without any kind of fanfare, or even a spooky little girl to tip us off, Apple snuck the new Retina iPad mini into the online store shortly after midnight PST. No sign of even the store being down as I alluded to earlier. It remains to be seen whether the devices actually hit retail shelves when the stores open later today, but you can certainly order one, with the longest wait times listed as 5-10 days. Currently if you select the Personal Pickup option, it looks like none of the stores have availability, but they may just be because it won’t show until opening hours.

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iPad Air hits the stores

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 1st, 2013, 05:51
Category: Announcement, Apple, Hardware, iPad Air, Retail Store

ipad-air-header-2-640x480_previewIt’s November 1st, and that means new hardware, if you’re an iPad fan. The iPad Air, announced recently in Apple’s October 22nd event, hit the online stores early this morning, and are no doubt hitting Apple’s retail shelves to be available when the stores open today. Prices in the United States start at $499 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air. You can read more details about the worldwide availability, price information, and other retailers at MacRumors’ site.

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Apple introduces iPad Air, sets product launch for 40 countries on November 1st

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:42
Category: iPad, News

The fifth-generation iPad was announced today.

And under a new name to boot…

Per Electronista, Apple today announced the iPad Air, a fifth generation of its flagship 9.7-inch tablet. The name stems from its new design, which weighs just 1 pound, in part thanks to thinner side bezels. Inside it uses an A7 processor, paired with an M7 motion co-processor. It includes a 5 megapixel iSight camera, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and dual microphones. Wireless technology incorporates Bluetooth 4.0, extended LTE coverage, and 802.11n Wi-Fi with MIMO antennas, potentially doubling Wi-Fi performance up to 300Mbps.


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The tablet will come in silver/white and space gray colors, and continue to offer up to 10 hours of battery life. A 16GB model will start at US$499. 32GB is US$599, 64GB is US$699, and 128GB is US$799.

The product is set to launch in about 40 countries on November 1st. Significantly, one of those countries will be China, which has never before been a launch region for the iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple introduces Retina iPad mini, aims for November release date

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:31
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, News

Now THIS is the thing you’ve been hankering for.

Per Macworld, Apple announced a new iPad mini with Retina display at its press event on Tuesday, the company also lowering prices for the original iPad mini, giving its smaller tablet much-anticipated upgrades to its screen, processor, cameras, and more.

As hoped and expected—the new iPad mini with Retina display ups the screen resolution to Retina quality, going from 1024 by 768 pixels to 2048 by 1536 pixels at the same 7.9-inch (diagonal) screen size. This change raises the iPad mini’s pixel density from 163 pixels per inch to 326 pixels per inch—a density almost identical to that of the iPhone 5s.


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The new mini gets some upgrades on the inside, as well. Whereas the original mini used the same dual-core A5 processor, at the same clock speed, as the two-and-a-half-year-old iPad 2, the new mini line bumps its horsepower significantly by using Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor, similar to the one in the iPhone 5s. During Tuesday’s media event, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that the new processor makes the Retina iPad mini up to four times as fast as its predecessor for processor-intensive tasks, and up to eight times faster for graphics-intensive tasks. Like the new full-size iPad, the iPad mini with Retina display also features Apple’s M7 motion coprocessor, which can monitor the device’s various motion sensors (accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope) without having to wake the main processor.

The new mini also gains upgraded wireless capabilities thanks to dual Wi-Fi antennas and support for MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology. Apple says this change allows the new iPad mini to communicate at up to twice the bandwidth: 300 MBps (megabytes per second). The cellular-equipped versions of the new iPad mini also include expanded LTE capabilities, allowing them to work on more LTE networks around the world.

Apple has also upgraded the iPad mini’s cameras slightly. Though the resolution of those cameras hasn’t changed (5 megapixels for the rear camera, 1.2 megapixels for the front FaceTime HD camera), the company says the new iPad mini gains larger pixels and improved backside illumination sensors in order to take better low-light photos. In addition, the improved image-signal processing of the A7 processor should provide better overall camera performance.

Apple says the new iPad mini with Retina display offers the same 10-hour battery life as the original iPad mini. However, it appears that accomplishing this feat while adding the additional power drain of a Retina display required Apple to increase—ever so slightly—the size and weight of the new iPad mini. The new version is exactly the same height (200mm) and width (134.7mm) as the original, but it’s a tiny big thicker (7.5mm compared to 7.2mm) and a little bit heavier: 331 grams versus 308 grams for the Wi-Fi model, and 341 grams versus 312 grams for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version.

The iPad mini with Retina display will be available in silver/white or Space Gray/black “later in November,” according to Apple. The Wi-Fi versions will retail for US$399 for 16GB, US$499 for 32GB, US$599 for 64GB, and US$699 for 128GB—a first in that capacity for the iPad mini. Cellular versions add US$130 to each: US$529, US$629, US$729, and US$829, respectively.

By all accounts, the original iPad mini has been a big hit for Apple, even though other small tablets, such as the latest Nexus 7, have debuted with better specs or lower prices. The new iPad mini line should blunt some of that spec-sheet-based criticism.

Along with the new iPad mini units, the company is keeping the original iPad mini around—in a single configuration—as a lower-price option. Specifically, the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini is now priced at US$299, rather than its original price of US$329, with the Wi-Fi + Cellular version at US$429. The cellular version is available for the U.S. networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Apple did make one minor change to the original iPad mini: It’s now available in Space Gray or Silver, rather than the original black or white. It is available now.

Both iPad mini versions (Retina and non-Retina) ship with iOS 7 installed, and—as with all devices running iOS 7—allow you to download Apple’s iLife and iWork suites for iOS free of charge.

Finally, Apple announced new cases for its new Retina iPad mini. The new iPad mini Smart Cover, made of polyurethane, will sell for US$39. A new leather iPad Smart Case will cost US$69.

As always, let us know what you make of this and if Apple delivered what you wanted or if improvements could be made.

Rumor: Apple to release next-gen MacBook Pro notebooks in late October, next-gen Mac Pro in mid-November

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:36
Category: Hardware, iPad, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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The upcoming MacBook Pro and Mac Pro rumors are coming in thanks to the French.

Per French web site MacG.co, Alleged availability dates for some of Apple’s anticipated upcoming products were reported on Tuesday, pegging new MacBook Pros to launch in just over a week, with the revamped Mac Pro desktop apparently set to debut in mid November.

The site has stated that the new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros will be available for sale either Oct. 24 or 25. It’s expected that Apple’s new professional-grade notebooks will feature Intel’s latest-generation Haswell processors, which offer significant savings in power consumption, thus improving battery life.

As for the new Mac Pro, which Apple already gave a sneak peek at earlier this year, the site claims that the new desktop will be available for delivery on Nov. 15.

The site also claims that Apple’s fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini will go on sale either Oct. 30 or 31. It’s unclear whether that would be the date orders would begin, or if the devices would be available to physically have in hand.

The iPad dates are somewhat suspect, as Apple traditionally launches new iOS products on Fridays. For example, last year the Wi-Fi-only versions of the first-generation iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad went on sale Nov. 2, on their way to total sales of 3 million total units in the first three days of availability.

Apple is expected to announce dates for multiple new products at a media event anticipated for Oct. 22. With that date just a week away, it’s likely that invitations to members of the press will be sent out later today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases updated iMacs, incorporates Haswell processors, PCIe architecture, 802.11ac Wi-Fi into new models

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:40
Category: Hardware, iMac, News

It’s not a huge change for the iMacs, but it’s the bump you’ve been waiting for.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued an update for its all-in-one iMac desktop, bringing Intel’s latest-generation Haswell processors, speedy 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Nvidia’s new GeForce 700 series graphics.

The new iMac also sports faster PCIe flash storage options to boost performance. It comes in the same thin design debuted by the company last year.

The entry-level 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and new Iris Pro integrated graphics. It starts at US$1,299.

The high-end 21.5-inch model and both 27-inch models feature quad-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 3.4 gigahertz and Nvidia GeForce 700 series graphics with twice the video memory and up to 40 percent faster performance than the previous generation.

Apple’s new top-of-the-line iMac is a quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.5 GHz and Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M series graphics with up to 4 gigabytes of video memory. It starts at US$1,999.

The updated iMac also supports next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi. When connected to an 802.11ac base station, iMac delivers wireless connectivity up to three times faster than the previous generation 802.11n.

Apple’s new iMac also features support for PCIe-based flash storage that makes Fusion Drive and all-flash storage options up to 50 percent faster than the previous generation. Fusion Drive option combines the large storage capacity of a hard drive with the high performance of flash to deliver shorter boot times and faster access to apps and files. Customers can configure their iMac with a 1-terabyte or 3-terabyte Fusion Drive, and all-flash storage options are now available in configurations up to 1 terabyte.

iMac comes standard with 8 gigabytes of memory and a 1-terabyte hard drive, and customers can choose to configure their iMac with up to 32 gigabytes of memory and up to a 3-terabyte hard drive. iMac also comes with two Thunderbolt and four USB 3.0 ports for connecting to external storage and other high performance peripherals.

iMac also meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves an EPEAT Gold rating. The desktop features LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. iMac includes PVC-free components and cables, contains no brominated flame retardants, and uses highly recyclable materials and material-efficient packaging designs.

iMac ships with OS X Mountain Lion, bringing Messages, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, AirPlay Mirroring, Dictation, Game Center and Gatekeeper security.

The new iMac is available today through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The 21.5-inch iMac is available with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.2 GHz and Intel Iris Pro for a suggested retail price of US$1,299; and with a 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M for a suggested retail price of US$1,499.

The 27-inch iMac is available with a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 755M for a suggested retail price of US$1,799; and with a 3.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.8 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M for a suggested retail price of US$1,999.

If you pick up a new iMac within the new couple of days and have any feedback to offer about your experience, please let us know in the comments.

Opinion: A New Personal Computing Paradigm

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Opinion

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By Robert Snow

How soon before most personal computing can be done with a phone? With a 64-bit iPhone, perhaps quite soon. Imagine the phone as your take everywhere computer:

“Never”, you say, the screen’s too small, even a phablet. When you need a better display, just pull out your touchscreen. It would look like an iPad or iPad Mini only thinner, lighter and cheaper. No CPU or storage. It would connect to your phone via Wi-fi and act as a display and touchscreen input device with a camera, microphone and speaker. It would be indistinguishable from an iPad, so long as your phone is nearby and turned on. Apple is almost there with AirPlay.

Let’s say you do a lot of writing, then you would have a screen with hinged keyboard and trackpad. It would look like a MacBook Air only thinner, lighter and cheaper. Again, no CPU or storage. iOS would recognize the device and work more like OS X. This would require some additional code for iOS. Call it “iOS X”. This would require 64 bits, no question.

Go to work where they have BYOD. On your desk, you would have a display, keyboard and mouse that looked just like an iMac. Again, iOS would need to recognize the larger display, keyboard and mouse and scale up. Imagine an iPhone 6s sporting a processor that is truly “Desktop Class”.

A future iPhone and iOS working this way could dominate the enterprise. Security would be awesome. Your desktop computer would cease to be a computer once you leave work with your phone. Laptop or tablet stolen, no security issues. Of course, the phone is secured by Touch ID and a new phone could be issued and restored from an online backup in no time. Only one computing and communications device per employee. Personal computing could not be more personal. No synchronizing devices. Minimal IT support. Lower cost.

Cloud storage and larger onboard memory would be key to this working.No more costs associated with deploying Microsoft Office or maintaining complicated desktop and laptop operating systems.There would still be a market for powerful desktop and laptop computers, but most employees would simply need a phone as their computer and some specialized input/output device mimicking a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The phone would of course remain an expensive high-end phone. The upgrade cycle would be brilliant, keep your old IO devices and get a new desktop or laptop computer every two years by simply standing in line for the latest and greatest iPhone, subsidized by your carrier. Apple does make most of its profit on phones and this will sell more of them.

Sure, it would cannibalize iPad and Mac sales by growing a market for these IO devices and not just for the enterprise. Kids, grandparents and folks who just don’t need serious computing power could simplify their life by augmenting their colorful consumer phone with one of these devices. Consumer versions that are even cheaper and clad in plastic. If you need a phone right now, get a smart phone and you no longer need a camera, music player or GPS device. Get an iPhone in a year or two and you will no longer need a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer. Wearable computing, no problem. Dumb down iOS for a tiny screen and just a few buttons.

A post-PC world on steroids.

One more thing: Home entertainment and in-car entertainment.

Same paradigm and one more reason to buy an iPhone.

Apple releases iOS 7.0, 7.0.1 updates for iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013, 13:34
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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It’s finally here.

On Wednesday, Apple released iOS 7.0 and iOS 7.0.1 (depending on your iOS device), the long-anticipated new version of its operating system for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The new operating system, which weighs in as a several hundred to a 1.33 gigabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Control Center: Control Center gives you quick access to the controls and apps you always seem to need right this second. Just swipe up from any screen — including the Lock screen — to do things like switch to Airplane mode, turn Wi-Fi on or off, or adjust the brightness of your display. You can even shine a light on things with a new flashlight. Never has one swipe given you so much control.

- Notification Center: Notification Center lets you know about new mail, missed calls, to-dos that need doing, and more. And a new feature called Today gives you a convenient summary of, well, today. One glance at your iPhone and you’ll know if it’s a certain someone’s birthday, if you’ll need an umbrella, or if traffic will slow down your commute. You’ll even get a heads-up on tomorrow. You can access Notification Center from any screen, including the Lock screen. Just swipe down. And get up to speed.

- Multitasking: Multitasking has always been a smart way to switch between apps. Now it’s even smarter. Because iOS 7 learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 a.m. every day, your feed will be ready and waiting for you. That’s multitasking in iOS 7. It knows what you want to do before you do.

- Camera: Camera in iOS 7 puts all your shooting formats — still, video, panorama, and now square — front and center. With a swipe, you can capture what you want the way you want. Fast. And new filters let you do even more with each image. Give it a retro feel. Dial up the contrast. Or go black and white. Artistic license is all yours.

- Photos: Now there are faster, easier, and more delightful ways to scroll down memory lane. Introducing Years, Collections, and Moments — smart groupings of your photos and videos based on time and place. Tap Years and all your shots fill the screen. Each year holds Collections, like your trip to San Francisco. And in that Collection are distinct Moments — photos from Union Square, videos from AT&T Park. So you can find a shot from whenever, wherever, in no time.

- AirDrop: Sending a photo or a document to someone via text or email is fine. But if that someone is right next to you, a text or an email suddenly feels like too many steps. Enter AirDrop for iOS. It lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required. And transfers are encrypted, so what you share is highly secure.

- Safari: Browsing is bigger, better, and more beautiful with Safari in iOS 7. Buttons and bars — like the unified smart search field — stay hidden until you scroll to reveal them. So you see more content than ever on your screen. And with a swipe, you can go back or forward a page. It’s all designed so nothing gets in your way or slows you down.

- iTunes Radio: iTunes Radio features streaming radio stations you’ll love from day one — from the best selection of music. The more you listen, the more personalized it becomes. And it’s available on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, and Apple TV for free. It’s radio re-imagined.

- Siri: Siri in iOS 7 gets a new look, a new sound, and new capabilities. It features a redesigned interface that fades into view — on top of whatever’s on your screen. A clearer, more natural-sounding female or male voice makes Siri even easier to understand. It’s faster at answering questions and it checks more sources, such as Bing, Wikipedia, and Twitter. And Siri takes on extra tasks, like returning calls, playing voicemail, controlling iTunes Radio, and more.4

- App Store: Apps Near Me — a new feature of the App Store in iOS 7 — shows you a collection of popular apps relevant to your current location. And the new Kids category lets you browse and buy the best apps for children based on age. iOS 7 also keeps your apps up to date automatically, so you don’t have to bother. Another bonus of automatic updates: no more little red badge begging for your attention.

- Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Losing your iOS device feels lousy. Thankfully, Find My iPhone can help you get it back. But if it looks like that’s not going to happen, new security features in iOS 7 make it harder for anyone who’s not you to use or sell your device. Now turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. Find My iPhone can also continue to display a custom message, even after your device is erased. And your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it. Which means your device is still your device. No matter where it is.

- Bug fixes for iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.

iOS 7.0 and iOS 7.0.1 are available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

If you’ve tried the updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.