Apple announces the new iPad, updates iOS, Apple TV & iCloud, and intros a mobile iPhoto

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 10th, 2012

On Wednesday Apple announced the next generation iPad. No, it is not called the iPad 3 or the iPad HD; it’s simply the new iPad. In addition to updating what Apple CEO Tim Cook calls “the poster child of the post-PC world,” the March 7 keynote also introduced enhancements to iOS, iCloud, Apple TV, and the mobile versions of iWork and iLife. First let’s focus on the most talked about news at hand, the new iPad; then jump after the break to read about everything else.

First and foremost, the new iPad features Apple’s Retina Display technology. They’ve managed to pack four times more pixels into the new iPad’s 9.7 inch multitouch screen than the tablet’s predecessor. The new iPad sports an impressive 2048 x 1536 resolution with a 3.1 million total pixel count (264 pixels per inch) and 44% greater color saturation over the iPad 2. This means that the new iPad contains more pixels than your average HDTV (1920 x 1080)! Packing all of these pixels in a relatively small space means: razor-sharp text, richer colors, and when viewed at a normal distance iPad owners will not be able to discern individual pixels and this makes for a better overall user experience.

Powering the new iPad is the Apple A5X high-performance low-power system-on-a-chip. It serves as a dual-core processor with quad-core graphics. The new chip will help the iPad run faster and support the millions of pixels glaring out of the Retina Display. It will also manage the tablet’s equally impressive battery life. The new iPad boasts the same longevity as the iPad 2: 10 hours of use on WiFi and 9 hours on a cellular network.

The camera on the backside of the iPad has been upgraded to iSight Camera status. It’s a five-megapixel shooter and full HD 1080p video recorder. The camera features backside illumination, f/2.4 aperture, a 5-element lens, a hybrid IR filter, an Apple-designed ISP (Image Signal Processor) that allows for auto exposure, auto-focus, auto face detection, auto exposure lock and auto focus lock, and auto white balance. In video recording mode, you’ll notice video stabilization and temporal noise reduction. On the front you’ll still find a FaceTime camera that takes VGA-quality stills and also shoots video at up to 30 frames per second.

Although Siri has yet to make her way to the iPad, Apple has included a piece of the personal assistant in the new slate. The virtual keyboard now features a new Voice Dictation key (it’s a microphone icon) that translates what you say into the text you want to type. Dictation supports English and other languages like British, French, German, Japanese, and Australian. It’s also compatible with third-party apps meaning you can dictate your Tweets or Facebook status updates if you like.

With the new iPad, Apple has embraced 4G LTE data speeds. Again they are working with AT&T and Verizon to bring these ultrafast speeds to consumers in the US. The new iPad features the most wireless bands ever shipped in a device; check them out: the AT&T model includes 4G LTE (700, 2100 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); and the Verizon model includes 4G LTE (700 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz). Rate plans can be viewed here. Elsewhere Apple is collaborating with Bell, Rogers, and Telus to bring these speeds to other countries around the world. Additionally, the new iPad can act as a personal hotspot to share its data speeds with up to five devices over WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB. And speaking of which, the new iPad also packs Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 technology.

At 9.4mm thin and 1.4 pounds, the new iPad will come in black and white variants and maintain the same capacity and pricing scheme as its predecessor. It’ll start at $499 for the 16GB WiFi-only model and will reach up to $829 for the 32GB WiFi + 4G model. The iPad 2 will remain on the market at one Benjamin cheaper; it will only sell in the 16GB capacity at $399 for the WiFi-only model and $529 for the WiFi + 3G model. The new iPad will release on March 16 in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. One week later it will come out in 25 more countries making the new iPad the fastest product rollout for Apple. It’s available for preorder today at Apple’s website.

Jump after the break for more on iOS, iCloud, Apple TV, and updates to the mobile versions of iWork and iLife. (Click here for more…)

Google renames Android Market the Google Play Store, puts all of its offerings under one roof (er, cloud)

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 7th, 2012

Today Google made the executive decision to rename the Android Market and emphasize the importance of its cloud services. The newly branded Google Play Store brings together all of the company’s offerings–namely music, movies, books and apps–and ultimately ties together Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore into one streamlined entity. On the Internet and Android phones and tablets the Market is now referred to as the Play Store and individual Google apps are seeing the name change, too: Google Play Movies, Google Play Books and Google Play Music. Google reminds its customers that everything is cloud-based, meaning that if you download content on your computer it will automagically find a home on your Android-powered phone and tablet, and vice-versa.

A phased OTA update is currently rolling out to devices running Android 2.2 or higher. Besides the name change, everything else pretty much remains the same. Check out some minor visual changes and get a taste of Google’s refreshed portal to music, apps, and more right here, right now: https://play.google.com/store. Video after the break.

[Via Google 1, 2, 3] (Click here for more…)

The 25th billion app has been downloaded in Apple’s App Store

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on March 3rd, 2012

Today Apple updated their homepage to celebrate another major milestone in the company’s relatively short history in the app domain. As of today, March 3, 2011, 25 billion apps have been downloaded in the company’s App Store. The lucky individual who downloaded the 25th billion app has been awarded a $10,000 gift card that can be applied to the App Store. Since you probably didn’t win, take solace in the fact that you were still likely part of it all by helping Apple reach this wildly impressive achievement.

Apple says 100 million apps downloaded from Mac App Store

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 17th, 2011

Apple just loves to brag about their milestones, don’t they? This week the computer company announced that over 100 million apps have been downloaded from the Mac App Store in less than one year. Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller commented on the impressive feat. “In just three years the App Store changed how people get mobile apps, and now the Mac App Store is changing the traditional PC software industry. With more than 100 million downloads in less than a year, the Mac App Store is the largest and fastest growing PC software store in the world.” The celebration continues over the break with the full press release.

[Via Apple] (Click here for more…)

Facebook for iPad is here

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 11th, 2011

They say good things come to those who wait. After sitting through two iterations of Apple’s tablet, Facebook for iPad has arrived. On Monday Facebook dropped a dedicated app to access to the social network in the App Store. The house that Zuck built is calling it a “hands-on Facebook” that takes advantage of the tablet’s large, hi-res display. Organizing and flipping through photo albums is easier than before, as is chatting, playing games, and navigating around. Facebook also went ahead and updated its iPhone/iPod touch version to make its aesthetic match that of its bigger brother. The iPhone version of the app features the same left-hand navigation pane for a more streamlined experience and search is more comprehensive. Download the new Facebook app for iOS devices today, gratis.

[Via Facebook Blog]

Apple hits new milestone: 15 billion App Store downloads

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 13th, 2011

Apple recently announced that over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from its App Store by the more than 200 million iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users worldwide. Wowzers is the reaction you’re looking for. Apple’s tallied ‘em up, and currently the App Store is now home to over 425,000 apps; additionally 100,000 native iPad apps exist. Thanks to Apple’s generosity the people who make the apps are getting paid, too; Apple has paid developers over $2.5 billion to date (there’s a 70/30 split, the devs receive the smaller sampling, naturally).

Says Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing: “In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen. Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”

Jump after the break to read the official PR which contains more quotes from excitable Apple employees.

[Via Apple] (Click here for more…)

Google I/O 2011: Music Beta, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, Android@Home, Chrome OS, Chrome Web Store

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on May 11th, 2011

Yesterday and today Google hosted its renowned developer’s conference dubbed Google I/O 2011. Literally thousands of developers flocked to San Fransisco’s Moscone Center to find out what Google’s been cooking up on their end. This year’s event proved to be leaps and bounds more exciting than last year’s conference. Google introduced their new cloud-based music service called Music Beta; they unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that promises to bridge the gap between Gingerbread and Honeycomb; Android is going into the home automation business with Google’s impressive initiative Android@Home; Chrome OS is finally ready for the big leagues–Samsung and Acer are prepping Chromebooks for mass consumption; and Angry Birds has landed in the browser!

So much to discuss–it’s all a hop, skip and a jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

iPad 2 coming March 11: faster, lighter, thinner w/ iOS 4.3 & cameras

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 5th, 2011

On Wednesday Apple revealed the next generation iPad. The iPad 2 is very much an evolutionary iterative device. It is faster, lighter, and thinner than its predecessor, packs back and front-facing cameras, and comes preloaded with a new version of iOS. Take my hand and let’s discover everything that makes iPad 2 the next extraordinary tablet, or as Steve Jobs calls it the “third blockbuster post-PC product” joining the iPod and iPhone.

Specs are important to you, hm? Then let’s start there. iPad 2 is faster. It features Apple’s new 1GHz dual-core A5 processor that is up to 2X faster than the A4; it boasts up to 9X faster graphics and somehow still maintains the same low power as the A4. Battery life remains the same at 10 hours with over a month of standby. iPad 2 is lighter and thinner. It is a mere 8.8mm thick, that’s 33% thinner than the original iPad (13.4mm). In fact, it is even thinner than iPhone 4 (9.3mm). It also lost some weight dropping from 1.5 to 1.3 pounds. On the front you’ll find a VGA camera that takes pictures and records video at 30fps; the camera around back shoots video in 720p HD also at 30fps and can do 5x digital zoom. The built-in gyroscope will assist the device in locating itself in space and orientation; higher precision in gaming will result. Last, Apple has hooked up with AT&T and Verizon to bring 3G data to the tablet.

iPad 2 is coming sooner than you think. It will be made available for purchasing March 11 in two color options: black and white (thankfully the latter ships “from day one”, teehee). Pricing remains the same, too; iPad 2 will come in various capacities (16, 32, 64GB) and models (WiFi, WiFi + 3G) starting at $499. After releasing on the 11th in the U.S., the new iPad will make its way to an additional 26 countries (including Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and the UK) on March 25.

Learn all about iPad 2’s accessories, iOS 4.3, and new apps after the break. (Click here for more…)

Apple App Store hits 10 billion downloads

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on January 23rd, 2011

On Sunday Apple proclaimed that it hit the incredible 10 billion mark in terms of number of iOS apps sold.  Today the App Store offers more than 350,000 apps to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users in 90 countries around the world.  Says Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing: “With more than 10 billion apps downloaded in just two and a half years–a staggering seven billion apps in the last year alone–the App Store has surpassed our wildest dreams.”  Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent, UK downloaded the 10 billionth app (it was Paper Glider) and will now receive a $10,000 iTunes gift card.  She should host a party with Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia; he also received the enormous gift for downloading the 10 billionth song using iTunes.

This really is a remarkable milestone for Apple, and I hope that competitors Android and Windows Phone 7 take this news and use it as fuel to amp up their respective app development following.

[Via Apple]

Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb) revealed at long last

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on January 9th, 2011

This week at CES 2011 tablets were all the rage.  Sure, we’ve already seen the Samsung Galaxy Tab running Android 2.2 (aka Froyo) and that’s cool.  But it simply doesn’t compare to what Google has in store for us next. Android 3.0, internally referred to as Honeycomb, is “built entirely for tablet.”  It was designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, unlike Froyo which is a smartphone OS that gets ported to tablet form factors.  Surprisingly Google did not formally unveil the next generation of Android at CES; instead they insisted that other companies (such as Motorola and T-Mobile) highlight the upcoming mobile OS next to their new tablet devices.  Since Google has yet to detail Honeycomb in their own words, we can only glean new information about it by watching and dissecting what we see in the “first look” videos uploaded to YouTube by T-Mobile. Embedded above is a video that focuses on the OS as a whole; after the break you’ll find videos that hone in on features including Google Books, the browser, GTalk, Gmail, YouTube, and Maps.

Let’s break it down a bit here.  The Honeycomb homescreen (and overall aesthetic) definitely takes design cues from the Tron universe, what with its blue hues and swift animations.  Google Search and Voice Search are located at the top left, an app drawer and widget adder are at the top right, favorite applications are lined up at the bottom, bottom left there’s back, home, and app switch icons, and bottom right shows you the time, WiFi signal strength, and battery life.  The bulk of the screen houses widgets (Gmail, Calendar, Browser bookmarks, etc.).  Featured apps: (1) Books: Your collection of books can be browsed in carousel fashion or bunched together on a homescreen.  Reading a book is as easy as tapping the cover and flipping through the pages.  Landscape mode makes you read in the two-page format.  (2) Browser: It functions like the Chrome browser, really. Tabbed browsing is present, as is incognito mode, bookmarking, and a large on-screen keyboard.  (3) GTalk: Obviously Honeycomb will support devices that pack front and back-facing cameras.  GTalk integration will allow you to browse through your contact list and initiate video chat sessions.  (4) Gmail: The dedicated Gmail app uses the two-column format to display your inbox and other folders on the left pane and your list of expandable messages on the right.  (5) YouTube: The newly designed YouTube app features a slick 3D interface and videos are searchable in a carousel-like mode.  (6) Maps: Honeycomb packs the latest version of Maps (v 5.0) that is currently available on Android smartphones today; 3D modeling of streets and buildings are present.

And that about does it for now.  Until Google decides to announce Honeycomb in a more formal manner, all we can do is feast our eyes on the delectable UI enhancements featured in the uploaded videos from T-Mobile’s camp.  Again, they are all posted after the break for your viewing pleasure. (Click here for more…)

The Mac App Store is now open for business

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on January 9th, 2011

This week Apple opened up the Mac App Store, so now you can peruse the various categories and download what you like.  The Mac App Store is essentially the App Store (for iPhone & iPad, as found within iTunes), the only difference being this new store is a separate application outside iTunes and the available apps within it are made specifically for the desktop.  It’s set up similarly to the App Store; the new store offers apps in Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity, Utilities and other categories and you can browse the top free, paid, and grossing apps.  User ratings and reviews are also there to help you make purchases.  Currently there are over 1,000 first and third party apps to choose from.  Apple is offering the iLife suite in individual chunks; iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand apps cost $14.99 each.  The same applies to iWork; Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps can be downloaded locally for $19.99 each.  Also Aperture 3 is there if you need it for $79.99.  Third party app developers are jumping on the Mac App Store bandwagon too; Twitter for Mac is free and for $4.99 you can kiss your workload goodbye and play a full-screen, high-res version of the highly addicting #1 game Angry Birds.

To access the Mac App Store you must download it; it comes bundled in the 10.6.6 software update, so Snow Leopard is required.  When you download an app it goes straight to your Applications folder and you can manage its location from there.  App purchases get charged to the credit card attached to your iTunes account.  When an app is due for an update you will be alerted and you can apply updates to your entire app collection with one click.  Again, to reiterate the point made earlier, the Mac App Store bares little difference from the App Store found in iTunes; you’ll feel right at home.

For now the app selection isn’t wildly abundant.  In due time, developers will flock to it and before you know it apps for OS X will explode just like they did on Apple’s mobile iOS devices.  Why I am so confident about this? Well that’s because news recently came out of Cupertino boasting that over one million apps have been downloaded from the Mac App Store in the first day of its existence.  Mac users have flocked to it, so developers will too.  Get ready for the next app revolution.  Full PR after the break.

[Via Apple] (Click here for more…)

Today is iPad Day. Want one? Here is what you need to know.

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 3rd, 2010

So the iPad is coming out today.  THE iPAD IS COMING OUT TODAY!  OK, calm down.  If you want one that badly, here’s what you need to know.

Where/when to buy it: (1) The iPad is available to purchase at all Apple Stores around the nation.  On launch day, Apple employees will cater to customers who preordered it first at 9AM, then start selling it to everyone else at 10AM.  Lines started forming a whole 24 hours before store opening.  But don’t worry; it’s been reported that most lines are not as deep as those found on iPhone launch day.  (2) The iPad will also be available to purchase at Besy Buy.  Word has it that the device will only be sold at Best Buys that contain the mini-Apple kiosks within them; fortunately that includes around 675 stores around the nation.  Stores will likely hand out tickets (redeemable until 3PM) at 9AM.  Your best bet is to go to an Apple Store first and save Best Buy as a backup plan.  The Apple Store will definitely receive more iPad units, and it’s been reported that Best Buy is only receiving 15 units of each model.  If queues begin, your chances of getting one are slim.  So, Apple Store first, then Best Buy.  (Apple Specialist Stores will also be getting in some iPads.  If you know if your local mall has one of these, call them up and inquire; it’s worth a shot.)

Don’t feel like going out tomorrow?: Well, that’s fine.  There is one other way to snag an iPad early in the game.  Head over to the Apple store online and order one.  The initial shipments have sold out, so if you order one today the expected ship date is April 12.  (Note that Best Buy does not offer the iPad online.)

And that’s about it.  If you’re going out to get one, good luck and have a magical day!  While you’re waiting, check out the full catelog of iPad apps, now available to view in iTunes!  I’ll be posting some of my favorites next week.

[Via Gizmodo]

Slingplayer headed to iPad, WP7S

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on March 30th, 2010

Slingers, rejoice!  Sling Media has come out and stated they are “actively moving towards H.264″ and Microsoft Silverlight video support to bring the Slingplayer application to the iPad and Windows Phone 7 Series devices sometime in the near future.  The move to these video formats will increase the current resolution of the player from 320×240 to something larger and more expansive.  Slingplayer HD, perhaps?  Sling had this to say on the matter: “When it makes a noticeable difference in quality, we will definitely provide higher resolution streaming. The iPad is a good example of a device where we are hard at work on this, but unfortunately it won’t be there at the April launch.”  Patience is a virtue.  That’s what they say, right?

[Via ZatzNotFunny]

Mixr DJ app scratches the surface of what you will find in the iPad marketplace

Posted in Images,Technology by Scott Meisner on March 30th, 2010

Mixr will be one of the first professional DJ applications for the iPad.  The iPad’s large multitouch 9-inch screen will be able to accomodate two fully featured turntables with options for “cross-fading, equalizing, cue, drag & drop tracks, and full effects such as delays and auto filter.”  You can create your own libraries, digital DJ crates, and even record your own mixes using tracks from your iTunes music library.  As fun and exciting this all sounds, there’s an overarching theme here to be considered: apps like Mixr are just the beginning for the iPad.  Thanks to the large screen and intuitive touch controls, the App Store will start to flood with brand new apps made specifically to take advantage of the tablet’s features, inside and out.  If you thought the App Store launch on the iPhone was buzz-worthy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

[Via Mixr; Gizmodo]

Penguin shows off its vision for the iPad

Posted in Print Media,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 4th, 2010

John Makinson, CEO of book publisher Penguin, unveiled to a crowd this week his vision for the iPad and how be plans on pushing “books” and other content to it.  I say “books” because these demos look more like applications to me.  In fact, Makinson says, “for the time being at least we’ll be creating a lot of our digital content as applications for sales in app stores in HTML, rather than as ebooks.  The definition of a book itself, as you can see, is up for grabs.”  As demonstrated in the video above, Penguin plans on bringing children’s books with support for embeddable sound, touch interactivity, and accelerometer (shaking/tilting) implementation; interactive textbooks (human anatomy, shown here); an “online community for vampire lovers” (OK?); a travel companion with an itinerary and maps; and lastly a far-out “intergalactic GPS system” that uses the GPS chip and augmented reality to reveal star constellations when you point the device to the sky.  That last one will likely remain a concept for a while.  It’s good to see a company really looking ahead into the future of print/digital media.  The iPad has the power to do these things; it’s up to the developers (here, book publishers) to make it happen.  ‘Nother video of Makinson speaking to the crowd about his ideas after the break.

Watching these demos makes me wish I had a kid so I could buy him an iPad and watch him interact and learn in ways I never imagined were possible when I was a toddler.

[Via PaidContent; Gizmodo]

(Click here for more…)

Unreal Engine 3 running on iPhone/iPod touch (watch out PSP, DS)

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 23rd, 2009

Thanks to the iPhone’s internal OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics capability, Epic has no reason to hold back from porting their Unreal Engine 3 (the same engine that runs mega-games BioShock, Gears of War and Mass Effect) to the iPhone 3Gs and iPod touch (3rd gen).  Do you know what this means!?  Soon Apple’s little genius devices will turn into real portable game machines.  Not that they aren’t already gaming machines; but the integration of such a powerful graphics engine backing future games should definitely give the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS a chill down their spines.  Check out the video above for a quick snippet of  Unreal gameplay and look forward to the iPhone and iPod touch becoming synonymous with “portable gaming machines.”

[Via Engadget; Gizmodo]

Microsoft unabashedly rips on Apple’s App Store

Posted in Hilarity,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 26th, 2009

Some of my favorities include The Sun Dial (“Oh, what time you got?” “Ah Chip, it’s 3:15.” “3:15, just like that. That’s great.”  “Oh, actually, it’s 5:30.”), The Germophobe (“so people can shake hands without actually touching”), and lastly, “the phone that shocked you every third ring.”

Gizmodo makes a good point.  As humorous as this is, I don’t really see Microsoft’s point here.  It is true, Apple’s App Store does contain tons of stupid and unnessary apps and their process of allowing (and dis-allowing) apps into the store is wacky.  But, taken as a whole, the App Store has proven extremely successful.  Paid apps are bringing in a lot of revenue and an open market gives well-known and lesser-known developers much opportunity to shine.  This is a funny poke at Apple, sure.  But what have you proven, Microsoft?

[Via Gizmodo]