Archive for Technology News’ Category

10

Apr
2015
Comments Off on Have you ordered your Apple Watch?

Have you ordered your Apple Watch?

awatchThe Apple Watch went on sale starting 3AM EST this morning, and its shipping date has already slipped to June, but was it a success?

This is exactly what many are trying to determine since Apple got super smart about how it handled the launch. While you can go to an Apple Store to get a feel for the new gadget, you cannot buy one in store. Instead, you will have to go to the Apple Online Store to order it. In this way, Apple can shield itself in case the launch is not the success many have come to expect since it will not release those numbers immediately or even at all unless they are record breaking.

Given how expensive the watch is, and how people have come to expect their electronics to be replaced every year with the latest iteration, I know many folks who are very skeptical. More specifically, the first iteration of many products is never as good as the second. Remember the iPad 2? it was the longest lasting Apple gadget that I recall….in fact it is still relevant and upgradable to iOS8.

So the big question here is will Apple release a new watch next year? I certainly hope that the Apple Watch has a much slower release cycle than other Apple products given its cost. Most likely future versions will just be iterative improvements in battery and screen, rather than a complete replacement like the iPhone’s current 2 year life cycle.

Only time will tell now.

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17

Oct
2013
Comments Off on New iPads coming?

New iPads coming?

apple_oct_eventApple has invited the press to an October 22nd event since they “still have a lots to cover.” It is highly expected that they will announce the next generation of iPads, along with the new Mac Pro and OSX Mavericks, not to mention updates to existing MacBook Pros and possibly an Apple TV update. As always, the rumours are flying and tech geeks are psyched for the event.

You can get more details on the rumours on TechCrunch.

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10

Sep
2013

Apple Announces iPhone 5S and 5c

sep_2013_apple_eventApple just announced their iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c phones, but I have to admit that these events are not nearly as exciting as they were before. This is not entirely fault of Apple’s though, as images and details get leaked. The products themselves, and the predictability of the schedule itself are also factors here. There was also the expectation that Apple would announce new iPads, and perhaps event a new iPod, but neither of these happened.

About the only surprise for me today was the performance bump of the new iPhone 5s. Rumours mentioned that the bump would not be a 2x bump this year and Apple had peaked out in performance, but that did not pan out to be true. This is partly because Apple’s iOS7 now is 64 bit as well, so it can take better advantage of the all new A7 processor.

To sum the event up, Apple announced a new iPhone 5c with a plastic back that has the specs of the old iPhone 5 and is about $100 cheaper on contract. There is also the iPhone 5s which has all the usual specification bumps, including an a new M7 core for motion detection and a finger print reader for authentication. The latter will ease unlocking and purchasing new items from the iTunes store.

All in all, the cheaper iPhone that everyone was expecting is not really that cheap, unless the iPhone 4s continues to be sold at $0 on contract. $100 price difference was way below expectations for a cheaper, more affordable iPhone, unless the price difference is more when bought unlocked.

You can pre-order the new iPhones on September 13th, and they will be available starting September 20th. Have a look for yourselves now that the Apple website has been updated: www.apple.com.

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13

Mar
2013
Comments Off on Updated: Google Reader shutdown signals RSS’ death?

Updated: Google Reader shutdown signals RSS’ death?

The internets are busy writing about Google Reader being shutdown on July 1st, and how RSS is dead. The argument I read in one of the articles was the RSS and Google Reader, while functional, were not sexy enough and are being replaced by the likes of Flipboard, and Pulse.

Sure, there is some truth to that, but I argue that as long as there are blogs and blog writers RSS will live on, not to mention that a lot of what Flipboard and the like use to populate their pages is RSS.

Update (3/14/2013): Since many have to go through the pain of recreating our feeds in another tool, I found a good article on exporting your starred items. Its based on an older version of reader, but it still works (hint: to make your starred item feed public, click the rss icon which looks disabled).

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8

Jan
2013
Comments Off on Get Firefox Boot-2-Gecko up and running

Get Firefox Boot-2-Gecko up and running

There are two more players that are trying to enter the mobile OS space: Firefox, and Ubuntu. While the latter is making the move for more native applications to run faster on phones, the former is trying to take page out of WebOS’ playbook by going the pure HTML5 route.

I had a chance to install the Firefox OS recently on a Nexus S and it fairs well but still has a long way to go before it is ready for prime time. Here are some links to get you started if you want to try them.

  1. Take a backup of your phone.  Since i had a Google Phone, I was not worried too much since Google provides the factory images here (so long as you know your model).
  2. Go to the Firefox link here and get started.

Firefox’s instructions are pretty straight forward and everything has been automated to the point that I just fast paced through the commands and ran those (on a Mac).  the process does take sometime, specially if you do not have a fast PC, and it downloads the Android SDK and tools to boot.  My only issue was finding the google page to restore my phone since the Firefox OS is still not on par with iOS or even Android, and I needed my phone.

Ubuntu on the other has is making more calculated decisions and only providing installers for mutli-core devices. As they say, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” so it better be good.  Here are some instructions to install it on the Nexus 7.

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1

Nov
2012
Comments Off on Why the Low Res on the iPad Mini?

Why the Low Res on the iPad Mini?

If you read many of the blogs out there, there are lots of people bashing the iPad mini for its lower resolution screen. This is primarily Apple’s own fault for spoiling us with Retina displays on everything, but there is a good reason for it.

Since the mini was (suppose to be) a top secret project with no pre announcements and no developers having time to fine tune their apps for it, Apple made the only possible right decision. Bring the mini into market with a resolution that it already has so there is no need to update any of the iPad apps. This is one of the many faults that the Android system has and I applaud Apple for doing the right thing here. While the technology may exist to fit the iPad’s retina display pixels in the iPad mini, it most certainly would not have come in at the price point that the iPad mini did. Here is another way of looking at this: Given that the iPad mini has the same resolution as the iPad2, its smaller screen size provides a much sharper experience than iPad2.

What Apple did short us on was the processor however. Granted that it could not throw in the A6X since that would have obliterated the iPad market share, but at least the A5X? The only possible reason for this is to also be able to sell the iPad2 which I do not understand now that the iPad mini is out. Long term though, I think the strategy will be that the old iPad and the updated iPad mini will have the same processor (A6X for next year), while the new iPad will have the latest and greatest (A7X?) As for the resolution, I don’t know! It must get a bump, but does that mean that Apple will introduce yet another aspect ratio for developers to code against? We will have to wait and see next year.

As a final point for you to ponder, did Apple just collapse all its product announcements to the September-October time frame? I sure hope they don’t have a newer new new iPad in April.

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29

Oct
2012
Comments Off on Google’s Got Nothing on Apple

Google’s Got Nothing on Apple

I’ve been reading some articles recently, comparing Apple’s productions to Google’s Nexus line, and it just seems bizarre to me. It just reminds of when AMD had come up with the first true multi-core processor and was trying to educate us not to compare its processors to Intel’s on just the CPU speed. Its the same thing here.

Comparing Apple to Google, is quite literally comparing Apples and Oranges. Yes, its true that the Nexus 7 may have a much faster processor than iPad mini (which is the same as the iPad2), but the experience is not on par. As an owner of both devices (iPad2 and Nexus 7), I can tell you that even for the most basic of tasks, such as internet browsing or watching YouTube videos from your browser, Apple’s products are a par above everyone else, and there is a simple reason for it: Apple controls both the hardware and software so it tweaks its software to get the max out of the hardware and it does a better job than Google throwing twice the hardware at Android.

To boot, Apple’s devices are created with way better craftsmanship than anything else out there. I always say that Apple is to Tech what Bang & Olufsen is to Audio. Just stunning hardware that works.

When it comes down to it, consumers should not care which has more RAM or more processing power, but rather which provides the best user experience (i.e. just works right all the time). That is why it is sad to see tech bloggers write such articles and misinform those who do not have the personal experience to know better.

So before you buy the hype, make sure to go out to a store and experience it for yourself and see why Apple can demand the premium that it does.

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7

Aug
2012
Comments Off on The Curious Case of the Missing YouTube App

The Curious Case of the Missing YouTube App

Yesterday Apple released the  latest beta version of iOS6, and with that the blogosphere went a little crazy over conspiracy theories as to why the YouTube app is no longer part of iOS.  There were lots of speculations, but I think the case is clear cut.  It had much less to do with the history between Apple and Google, and much more to do with Apple’s decision to not include Adobe Flash when the iPhone was released.

When the iPhone came out in 2007, it was the first one of its kind.  It was truely the first smart phone; where you could do more than browse WML sites (remember those?) and store contacts with more than just one phone number.  But, Apple had decided that Flash was too resource intensive and it would not be part of the OS.  At that time, nearly 100% of all video on the internet was using Flash and the only way to get around that was for Apple to work with Google to include the most popular video site of the time (YouTube).

It is now 2012 and even Adobe has given up on Flash for mobile, not to mention that most video sites on the internet now make sure to support video formats that are compatible with the iPhone due to its popularity.  Case and point, Apple does not need to write a YouTube app.  YouTube works perfectly well through Safari, and if Google feels compelled, it can provide an iOS specific YouTube app. Furthermore, as some bloggers have pointed out, this is much more beneficial to Google since it can now monetize YouTube on iOS by including ads.

 

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26

Jul
2012
Comments Off on Feed Your Sweet Tooth With Jelly Bean!

Feed Your Sweet Tooth With Jelly Bean!

The Jelly Bean (4.1.1) update for the Nexus S is finally here. I got the update notification yesterday and I must say that Google has done a tremendous job of turning things around with Android 4.x. Even though the Nexus S is now and old phone by all standards, it is snappier now on Jelly Bean than it ever was with its original Android Gingerbread (2.3.x). Also, one the new features, missing in iOS, is the Google Now (pictured here) feature which shows you weather, traffic, transit, calendar and everything else in one view based on your day’s outlook.

I bought my Nexus S about 18 months ago when it first arrived in Canada and while the hardware was good, and I loved the AMOLED screen, the Android OS was very disappointing. Everything from the browser to the keyboard to the unintuitive interface was very annoying; specially coming from an iPhone. After about a month of constant use, I put it aside and never touched it again until Ice Cream Sandwich was available. There are two main faults still that exist with phone (both hardware and software) which I mention below, but otherwise the improvements are night and day. The animations are smoother, the interface is much more intuitive as well as better looking, and it is all thanks to Google hiring Matias Duarte.

Issues prior to 4.x

  • Unintuitive application navigation –  The best example for this was google’s own Google Voice app.  Sometimes you could get into say a text chat, and have no way to go back to your inbox sine the back button just closed the app.  There were many other examples.
  • Horrible keyboard – Although lots of folks love the swift keyboard and have learnt to type by swiping across the keyboard, I am still old fashioned and like to use my thumbs to type.  The old keyboard besides being inaccurate, also had the problem of the touch keys below it (Nexus S specific).  Since the back, menu, search and home buttons are all touch sensitive, and they are just below the keyboard, you could easily press one of them by mistake and be out of the app you were typing in.  I use the same thumbs on my iPhone and never had this level of inaccuracy.
  • Horrible browser – The default Android browser was horrible for HTML5 web apps and was just slow.  I tried many others, including Firefox beta and Dolphin browser, but none were as solid as Safari on the iPhone.
  • Overall Stability – Apps frequently crashed or would be terribly slow to respond.  Besides the fact that I have yet to see an app that looks better on Android than it does on the iPhone, apps on Android occasionally crashed which did not help the user experience.

Issues after 4.x

  • Keyboard – The keyboard is still an issue and it is pretty much the only one left.  Unless you use a third party keyboard that works well, the default keyboard is still way too inaccurate.
  • Browser – While the default browser that ships with Android is still not up to par with Safari, Chrome for Android is a much better choice.  As a second alternative, the Dolpin browser has some  great features like gestures and voice commands that are fun to play with.

 

Prior to Android 4.x my opinion was that anyone who bought an Android phone was only doing it to be “different” and not have the phone everyone else has.  The iPhone was by far the better phone.  With the 4.x updates, Google is much closer in competing with Apple so we better see some impressive hardware come this fall for the iPhone 5 (or the new iPhone, if they go with the iPad naming scheme).

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13

Jun
2012
Comments Off on Why Apple is Smarter!

Why Apple is Smarter!

Apple announced their iOS6, along with OSX Mountain Lion, and bunch of new hardware on Monday. Amongst the new features announced were features that already exist on over platforms but now they do on Apple’s platform as well. Take do not disturb for example! This feature is nothing new, and platforms like BlackBerry have had it for years, so what makes it awesome on iOS?

The smart thing that Apple has done is that instead of bombarding folks with a ton of new features that will never get learnt (and thus used), they slowly introduce them so that users’ expertise grows with the platform. Its true that Android lets you configure anything and everything, but half the folks that own an Android phone don’t know how to use half of its features. They are just happy either because they know they are not sandboxed or that they do not have an iPhone like everyone else.

Apple created the original iPhone with just the bare functionality needed to make it usable. Granted the whole iPhone design was new, awesome, game changing, and infinitely intuitive, but the actual functionality of the phone was nothing new. This let buys get used to the platform and grows with it as new features came out.

So while ‘Do Not Disturb’ is a welcomed addition to iOS6, its not an earth shattering feature….and since its one of only a dozen visible changes to the platform, most anyone who needed the feature will know how to use it.

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