Category Archives: Thoughts

Beejive IM for iPad

I always wanted to use my iPhone for instant messaging with Facebook chat and MSN messenger, but the screen was just too small to display contact lists, conversations and the keyboard all at once. I bought Beejive, and while I was initially impressed, I very rarely used the app because dealing with more than one conversation was a nightmare, not to mention the endless bugginess and the fact that my 3G sometimes struggled to run the app smoothly.

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Wired Magazine for iPad

Many have hailed the iPad as the savior of news, but as I discussed in my last post, news readers are hesitant when asked to pay for news that they can get for free elsewhere. But what about magazines? This is where I think the printed industry could thrive if it adopts the iPad quickly and effectively. Within a year I’m sure that we’ll see a magazine store with the iBook store, with all the major publishers offering digital magazines with embedded videos, interactivity and even games, as well as the usual printed content.

First out of the blocks to get the iPad magazine absolutely right is Wired. The magazine looks great on the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen as you’d expect, but it’s the content and navigation that makes Wired so much better than other magazines I’ve read. I’m looking at you, iCreate and Mac User; offering no new content and a shoddy navigation system will not sell digital copies for you.

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The Times app for iPad

With newspapers loosing hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, the iPad has been hailed by many as the saviour of the news industry. The tablet from Apple has been launched right at the edge of a huge change in the newspaper market, with the Times and Sunday Times to soon charge for access to their websites. While it seems that many will not pay for news online – 59 out of the 60 people I asked said they’d refuse to pay and would simple go elsewhere for their news – the applications market is huge and the consumer has been well-trained in the act of paying for them.
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iPad Review Part 1, The purchase and hardware

As I’m sure you’re aware, the iPad was launched in the UK last Friday, and I was lucky/sad enough to be in the queue that morning. Since there’s so much to discus, I thought I’d break this review down into several bite-sized chunks, and I’ll throw some app reviews into the mix too.

First up, the product launch and hardware design…

The Purchase

Along with the rest of the Internet, I have got myself an iPad. Yes, I’m an Apple fanboy, a geek, I have more money than sense and I bought the £429 ‘big iPod touch’ without a specific need for it. I hope that covers all of your complaints, so let’s move on.
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Is this the new iPhone? Or is it some very clever marketing?

If you’re on this site then you will probably have seen the article posted over on Gizmodo, claiming to show the new iPhone. Incase you haven’t basically some Apple employee forgot his prototype iPhone 4G in a bar, it worked its way to Gizmodo, got remotely wiped and they have ripped it apart showing the world that it’s the real deal.

Sure, it’s a bit chunky and the buttons and shut lines are a bit naff, but remember this is probably a roughly-made prototype so I can forgive those details. We’ve been told about the screen, the cameras, the ports and the microSIM housing, but what about the processor? Surely the chaps at Gizmodo would be fighting to show us if the phone has the new A4 chip, as seen in the iPad?

And another thing, I’m not so convinced about the ‘lost in a bar’ story. Hours before the iPad was announced a photograph was leaked showing a prototyped bolted to a workbench, and even when iPad were sent to reviewers they had to be kept securely in a darkened room. So why the hell was some engineer using a prototype 4G iPhone in a bar, and how did he manage to loose it? Knowing Apple, I’d imagine only a handful of employees have these iPhones in their possession, so I think not loosing it would be at the forefront of his mind. It even had a 3G-style cover to keep the new design hidden from prying eyes.

The pages at Gizmodo – and most tech blogs now – haven’t been yanked by Apple’s once-notorious cease and desist requests as was the norm when  genuine leaks are published. And I can’t think of another leak on this scale. It’s the whole damn phone with loads of clear photos and videos, for God’s sake!

So it’s marketing on Apples behalf.

This prototype may not appeal to everyone but look at what it does have:

Front-facing camera? Check

Better quality rear camera with flash? Check

High resolution screen? Check

Mic for noise cancellation? Possibly

Dedicated button for the camera? Possibly

Larger, possibly removable battery? Check

Sleek, new design? Check

That list matches almost every sensible request made by current iPhone users; so by leaking this product Apple have drummed up a huge amount of interest in the new iPhone. The dodgy shut lines are probably going to be removed by the time we see this phone for real and then what is there to complain about? Apart from the VERY outside chance of having 4G technology – not to be confused with this being the 4th generation iPhone – I can’t think of anything.

One thing though; if the new iPhone doesn’t have just one of the above features, then Apple is going to be in serious trouble. Why would the prototype have more features than the finished product? That’d be suicide.

Expect an announcement in late May/early June and a release date of the new iPhone around mid to late June. We’ll then know if this is the real deal, but I guess we’ll never know if this is a deliberate leak by Apple, or a breach of their famously bulletproof secrecy.

Alistair

iPhone OS 4.0 Brings Multitasking and Social Gaming

The newest iPhone operating system will bring multitasking, application folders, online gaming and a revolutionary new advertising platform to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad this summer.

iPhone 4.0 brings over 100 new features

4.0 was announced by Apple today at it’s Cupertino campus to a selection of journalists and while the new operating system will be available to the general public in the summer, developers will have access to it today.
Among 100 other new features, multitasking was the most anticipated in the tech industry. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said:”Now we weren’t the first to this party, but we’re gonna be the best. Just like cut and paste” as the feature was announced.

Open apps are displayed with two pushes of the home button

Multitasking will allow users to run several applications at once, so the popular music streaming service Pandora can be used alongside the Internet browser, or while a sat-nav application is in use. Pressing the home button twice reveals a dock showing which applications are currently active, from here users can tap which app they want to view while the others run in the background.
Video: shamelessly borrowed from Gizmodo:
Steve assured us that multitasking will not reduce battery life or cause the iPad or iPhone to run slowly and, when questioned, he confirmed that there will be no task manager and the user should “shouldn’t ever have to think about” what apps are running. No indication on how the devices will manage themselves with many applications open, but Apple sound confident that it’ll work.

The UI has been tweaked to firstly allow different wallpapers – just like on the iPad – but, more importantly, applications can now be arranged into ‘folders’. By dragging an application icon onto another, a folder is created containing both apps. So one folder – so a single icon – can be used for all of your games. This makes browsing much easier and now an iPhone or iPad can store more than 2,000 applications over its 9 pages, a dramatic increase from the original 180.
Today also saw the announcement of Game Centre and I believe that this will be an absolute game changer. Game Centre is, in layman’s terms, an Xbox Live-style gaming system for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It’s a social gaming network, where users can invite friends to games over the Internet, post high scores to leader boards and unlock achievements. This has the potential to be huge. Imagine playing Real Racing on your iPad against against 7 other players all over the world, to all enter a lobby and chat with each other between races. I’m really looking forward to this.
iBooks will be available in iPhone 4.0, so users will have access to the iBooks store just like iPad owners. This is nice and very expected, not much else to say here.
4.0 brings a few enhancements to the Mail application. You can now have a unified inbox, meaning emails from all accounts come into the same inbox.
Finally, Steve introduced a revolutionary advertisement system; iAd. Developers are currently putting adverts into their applications, but tapping these adverts often takes you out of the app and into the browser, which isn’t much fun. iAd allows developers to install adverts which are emotive and much more interactive. We were shown a couple of examples, one being an advert for the film Toy Story 3 – there’s a surprise, Steve is the largest individual shareholder in Disney.
Anyway, tapping the advert opened a miniature application on top of the app that’s already running. This mini app showed videos and information, even games and downloadable content. A neat feature was the ability to see on a map where the nearest cinema showing Toy Story 3 is; remember, the original app, this advert and the maps app can all be open at once, thanks to multitasking.
While iAd looks great and is without question better than most adverts, I’m not sold on the idea. I don’t want adverts on my iPhone or iPad and I certainly don’t want them interrupting  me while I’m playing a game. What’s more, when asked about an approval process for adverts, like there is for applications, Steve answered: “Um… well there’s going to be some process… but these people are paying to run ads. So, I’m not sure it’ll be anything other than a light touch.” This doesn’t sound too great to me, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see these adverts for real.
One feature that wasn’t mentioned directly but was shown on a graphic was the inclusion of bluetooth keyboard support for iPhone and iPod touch. I bet we’ll see a ton of 3rd party manufactures producing small, pocketable bluetooth keyboards for iPhone, probably also with a dock connection, which would be cool.
So there we have it, iPhone OS 4.0. Multitasking was begged for and has been delivered in a comprehensive package; Game Centre will be huge, I’m really looking forward to this.
4.0 will be available in the summer on the iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 3rd generation. Users of the original iPhone and iPhone 3G can upgrade, but will not be able to use some features, such as multitasking. We will almost certainly see a new iPhone in June to coincide with the release of 4.0.
The update will be available to iPad users in the autumn.
Alistair

Yo, we put an iPad in your car, so you can multitouch while you drive. Etc etc

Xzibit would be proud.

Yo, Dawg...

Anyway, enough of the ropey Pimp My Ride link…

As well as having an unhealthy obsession with tech and all things Apple, I’ve had a life-long love of cars and all things automotive. Cars and tech seem to go hand in hand.

So when I stumbled across this video of a chap installing an iPad into a car dashboard, the 5-year-old in me almost exploded with excitement, and the 20-year-old on the outside mentally planned out how this could be done in my mum’s Corsa.

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