Taking a look at mobile computing, the fine line between phones and the tablets has become faint. Google has a full line-up of Nexus brand devices from a 10″ tablet to the new fourth generation Nexus phone, and we’ll compare them to their competitors. Then, we look at why the upcoming “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is like no movie before.
Apple wrote the story of the tablet, didn’t they? This week, we’ve seen a lot of new heat brewing in the tablet space. Apple unveiled two new iPads: a Mini and 4th Generation iPad. But with the recent Nexus 7 and the new Kindle Fires, it already looked Apple may have been given a run for its money. In only a couple days, Microsoft will be selling Windows 8 RT, the tablet version of Windows 8, along with the x86 desktop versions of the new Windows. With Windows 8 RT, Microsoft is bringing not only its own Surface tablets, but other Windows PC makers are jumping on board. Apple just announced its iPad 4th generation, along with the 7.9″ iPad Mini, which while cheaper than the regular iPad is also slightly larger than competitors in the size range.
Can a new logo, public image, marketing campaign, and entirely rethought strategy change the Microsoft we thought we knew? Microsoft is doing a lot to change who they are as a public company. As BGR editor Zach Epstein points out, Windows for the longest time has been an operating system that people used, but not one that necessarily inspired the advocacy of passionate followers. Things start to look different with Surface RT, starting at $399. Add $99 for the touch-sensitive keyboard-case, another $10 if you want the thicker cover with press-able keys, and you have a premium device. A 10.6″ ClearBlack screen, the thickness of an iPad 3rd gen, XDXC switchable ports, USB, and the Magsafe dock make it one-of-a-kind. The Surface is a device the likes of which we’ve never seen from Microsoft, and we’ve never seen anything like this for advertising from them, either. First airing after a new Dancing with the Stars episode, this commercial gives Microsoft some jazz that Ninja Tuna and Bob Acri never could. Read more on Surface, on Windows.
You really didn’t think you would be shocked this time, did you? But, nonetheless, you are as Apple unveils an entirely new generation of iPad, instead of a refresh. Starting at $499 (WiFi) and $629 (LTE), the 4th gen iPad has many similarities to the iPad 3, but it has a few new specifications, including a 720p HD camera, faster WiFi, and the Apple A6X processor. What most people did expect is the iPad Mini, a device to compete with smaller tablet counterparts running Android. It will run you $329 (WiFi) for the lowest memory, but it gives you your premium Apple product with access to the vast wonders of the App Store and other services. Read more.
Facebook heeding privacy needs? With all the information Facebook has, as well as power over our social strata, people fearing Facebook’s wield of power may not be in error. We’ve seen Facebook take similar steps before, and now the social networking giant is removing the facial recognition we associate with tagging our friends in photos–at least in Europe. Privacy regulators in Ireland say that the feature isn’t coming back until they agree with Facebook on the “most appropriate means” of collecting user data. Facebook is deleting all data collected on European users which was used for the service. The question in many people’s minds may be: ‘Are worries about Facebook privacy protecting freedoms or removing features?’
This week has been full of more Apple headlines. This week alone, Apple has enticed lines of customers to stores everywhere, and this week has upgraded the software on their devices everywhere. Just this week, iOS 6 came to fourth-generation iPods, iPhone 4 and 4S, as well as third-generation iPad. The news OS brings with it better integration with Facebook and Twitter, as well as new apps like Passbook and the revamped Maps app, the second of which has caused much controversy. In short, Apple has brought great turn-by-turn directions to their built-in app, but the accuracy and usefulness of the landmarks and POIs are in question. For instance, can Apple really have made the mistake of putting the Golden Gate Bridge four miles from its true location? In fairness, this is one of few falters in the new iPhone’s design, and the device reviews have also come out this week, pointing to a fantastic consumer device and hardware, if not slightly too similar software. Controversy aside, Apple has had another great week for stocks and publicity. See iPhone 5 review, iOS 6 review, new Maps app.
HTC is shifting design and strategy. With the announcement of two new Windows Phones, HTC has also declared their confidence in their new devices. Despite many similar devices in the past, HTC has proven their ability to step out of the box with design with their new higher-end 8X and mid-range 8S. The devices feature curved glass, simplistic design, and a broad variety of colors. Along with refreshed design, CEO Peter Chou personally declared in an interview that while continuing to support Android, he is “super confident” in the new devices, as well as declaring that we can expect to see Microsoft and HTC put a new marketing focus on this design. See more of the phones.
Apple really sounded off announcements today at the first day of their Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. We saw a variety of new products soon-to-come including a new iteration of their mobile OS and desktop OS. Though the new features and devices are impressive, we have to question whether the changes and improvements will be enough to keep Apple at the prominent position it’s in. Our prediction? Yes.
So far, Apple has announced the next version of their iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad OS, iOS 6, bringing with it a variety of new features. Also, The successor to OSX Lion is officially Mountain Lion, revealed to bring more apps, more Airplay, GameCenter, notifications, and more. There was also considerable excitement over the new expensive but premium MacBook Pro, boasting a Retina Display screen and a body thin as the Macbook Air. The iPad will also receive Siri to boot, and Siri will have a host of improvements.
Here’s the feature breakdown:
iOS 6 – New features are interesting but somewhat uninspired.
- New Maps app with “Flyover”, allowing users to see an aerial view with real images
- GameCenter gets challenges
- Deeper Facebook “integration” to accompany that of Twitter
- “Do Not Disturb” disables ringer during specified hours
- “Passbook” app unifies gift cards, coupons, tickets, and more
Mountain Lion – Receives very iOS-like features.
- All-new Safari with iCloud-syncing tabs to OSX and iOS devices
- GameCenter support
- iCloud with support for Documents
- Notification Center
- AirPlay (1080p streaming)
Siri – Can do stuff we thought she already could.
- Launch apps
- Give team, league, and player stats, scores, and standings
- Give movie showtimes and read reviews along with actor information
- Yelp business reviews
- OpenTable reservations
- “Eyes Free” feature coming with future car integration
It’s expected that we’ll see a couple other things at this year’s WWDC–and we should. We expect an Apple TV SDK as well as refreshes of the iMac and Mac Pro with Retina Displays. Despite the near overload of Apple’s announcements, we still have four days remaining of the WWDC conference. The question is: how much more can Apple change everything?
There’s a lot of stuff happening this fall. The updates, news, hardware, and tantalizing prospects of the future in consumer technology we’re all looking for are going to come “en masse” this late summer and fall. There are a number of updates and promises and rumors that we should see coming all around this time. Software from Apple, Microsoft, and Google–the big three, of course–are all launching new versions of their mobile OSs. This means not only devices to current phones we love and behold, but a whole new fresh round of devices. From everyone, hopefully. This unified release could lead to some serious competition. When everyone has their latest and greatest on the field, it will be even more crucial to get the public eye, to compete, and to win the individual’s checkbook. Here’s a look at a few of the things which we’re heading into.
- iPhone 5. This phone may have been the most rumored device in history. This extremely-long-awaited phone could have some difficulty in competing in hardware to some Android devices like the HTC One X or Galaxy S III. The amount of time that Apple has made consumers wait for this phone will also mean the expectations will be extremely high. Larger screen? LTE? 1 GB RAM? Quad-core? Full HD screen? 20 MP camera? Built-in keyboard projector? … Apple released the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, but rumors do seem to be pointing to later fall. We’re just going to have to wait.
- Windows 8.The only computer OS which is getting a major update is getting the most major update it’s seen in years. Microsoft is bringing its revamped and reinspired OS to tablets, PCs, and everything in-between. The shear number of products that should come with this release will probably be overwhelming.
- Jelly Bean. The next iteration of Android is rumored to be coming this fall, but hasn’t truly been confirmed. (We should get more details this summer.) Supposedly, we’ll be looking at more tablet-friendly interfaces and some potential Jelly Bean notebooks. There was also word of a dual-operating system feature with Chrome, allegedly allowing you to dual-boot without having to reboot. Stay a little hesitant there.
- Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 7.5 “Tango” should be just around the corner for many users, if their carrier is willing to give it to them. New devices, however, have been limited by the hardware limitations of the current Windows Phone version. Windows Phone 8 is rumored to be a complete rebuilding of the OS, and will likely unify the experience with Windows 8 even futher, while allowing for more impressive hardware specifications.
- iOS 6. If Apple continues to follow their pattern of releases, it is likely we’ll see a new version of Apple’s operating system, which should make way for the iPad following the 3rd generation iPad, and likely also the iPhone 5. Given that Apple has waited so long for the iPhone 5, it’s possible we’ll see something big with this update. The OS has been around for a long time now, looking practically the same. The features of iOS 5 enliven the experience, but a whole new homescreen redesign may be in order. Surprise us, Apple.
We’ve got a lot coming to us, but we should get peeks and leaks before we get our hands on anything. It’s going to be a wild ride this fall. Stay tuned.