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Posts Tagged 'iPad'

WWDC Nerd Fest

Darth Trash CanWell Apple is in town this week for the World Wide Developer Conference and along with that comes the requisite keynote address. I’ve watched it a couple of times before writing this to let it sink in.

Not a single product was released. That means that there wasn’t a throng of Apple fans rushing to update their software right after the Apple love fest in an attempt to bring down the internet for the rest of the world. On the upside I think this keynote was Apple’s answer to everyone saying that Apple just isn’t as cool without Steve Jobs. Sure they had to pull out several people to cover for the missing omnipotent Steve, but I think they did a pretty good job. Here’s my breakdown of the speakers:

Tim Cook: He’s been seen as a bit milquetoast-like. He doesn’t offer the wow factor Jobs did, but he was always the voice of reason to come back to. I noticed a bit lispy precision in his voice making him sound a bit like a gay account as he was rattling off the numbers to us of how popular Apple has been in the past year.

Craig Federighi: This was the wow factor guy. He played the audience of balding 20 year old nerds quite well in such a way that he also made those who were watching that weren’t of the nerdish variety go weird. You know the type. Those people who think plugging in an appliance makes them technologically advanced. Craig played to the hecklers who tried to interrupt him without breaking a sweat and even through in a bit of self deprecation which always goes over well in my book.

Phil Schiller: He’s Phil. He’s always there and he’s got a sort of low brow, I’m not going to throw numbers at you, but big words that sound cool. Can’t innovate my ass was his best line of the show. Phil is the type of guy that you place a shot of 50 year old single malt scotch in front of and start to explain all the care and forethought that went into making it and when you turn your eyes back to him from the glass he’s downed it and ordered another couple of shots while pulling out his corporate card to pay for it. Phil to me represents the end user that just wants the box he sunk his money down on to do the job.

Eddy Cue: METALLICA! I was waiting for him to scream that out during his presentation of iRadio, but he went a little more subtle and chose Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin with a couple of required head bangs during the start of the song. Eddy Cue is like comedian Jim Breuer in that he took the stage looking like he had just finished off a few too many beers and can’t pronounce the big words Phil was throwing out. Oddly enough he did a pretty good job explaining iRadio. I’m going to use it when it’s available. Something tells me he has Nickelback on his playlist though.

All in all it was a pretty well thought out presentation. So much so that it wasn’t until afterwards that all the people who use Apple at home finally realized, They didn’t release a single product today!!!! The various people talking about how great Apple is was interspersed with shots of the audience to include Al Gore, Woz and Jony Ive just to add to the cool factor of the day.

From what they showed of  iOS7 looks like it was created by someone who watches far too much 80’s Japanese Anime, but after all the talk about flat, simple icons I could finally understand why when Craig started tilting an iPhone running iOS7 — the wallpaper looks like it sits about 6″ below the icons. I’m sure there’s someone at Apple who gets paid a lot of money who said the line during a meeting that 6” is enough for anyone. That was probably Jony Ive who used to be Jonathan Ive, but I guess that was a bit stuffy sounding for Apple. Then there was Darth Vader’s trash can™ or the new Mac Pro. It had a very slick look to it and it’s sleek black is something I welcome back. I’ve missed Apple’s black laptops because black will always be the new black. Black has always been cool and will always remain cool. Kind of like why we call the Yakuza the Japanese mafia and not the mafia the Italian Yakuza, because it was the first to come up with a cooler name for organized crime.

Looking cool seemed to be the focus of this keynote. Gone is the skeuomorphic design, replaced by flat icons that every designer has now redesigned in 15 minutes. Sure the new OSX Mavericks does some cool things, but it’s doing things it should have been doing a few years ago. Speed and functionality took a back seat in the presentation to showing off how tilting the screen lets you see more of the wallpaper or that animated thunderbolts accompany your weather prediction. It’s kind of like a new coat of paint on a old car with a few tricks thrown in. Yes Apple can still innovate, but at the same time they’re adding on features that other apps have been doing for awhile, so while they innovate they are also coming up to speed. San Francisco will be changed this week and hopefully the city can suck every last penny out of all the techies who’ve come to San Francisco and not live off the outside sponsored hipster buffets™ that no doubt will be going on all over the place.

iOS 6 and San Francisco

Well it’s here and I spent yesterday updating my iPhone and iPad. For the iPhone I can’t really say I see much difference. The iPad update on the other hand with the update to maps is freakishly stalkerish. You may not notice this if you don’t live near Cupertino or in San Francisco where Apple always gives their keynote speeches, but look at the picture I’ve taken of West Sunset Playground and that will give you a close idea of how freaky the maps app is here in San Francisco.

When I show my wife the pic of our house with the tilt and shift and zoom we could easily make out the  table and chairs in our backyard along with the kiddie slide on our deck. I didn’t include it because my wife just felt like we were spying on ourselves. So you get a pic of a playground instead. This pictures doesn’t do it justice because when you spin it around and do all the tilt and shift stuff you get a feeling like you’re really there.

There have been lots of complaints about the new maps app for iOS 6, but most of the complaints are coming from people far away from San Francisco. So if they want to enjoy the app they need to start stalking us in 3D mode on their iPads. Unfortunately, there is no 3D on the iPhone version of maps, but I suppose it’s a processor thing. I only have an iPhone 4 not a 4S or 5 so I could be wrong. I have noticed that in 3D mode that the it is very slow to load the maps, but if you’ve got time to kill it’s a kind of cool experience. I still feel that the accuracy and detail make it seem like you’ve got an app to spy on people, but at least there aren’t real time updates. I guess living in San Francisco we get the most detail first at the expense of our privacy. At least I don’t nude sun bathe in my backyard.

The New iPad, Yeah, I Want One

March 7th was the magical day where Apple surprised us by releasing the New iPad 3. Not much surprise there except for the missing 3. We had been hearing all the rumors for months and our friends down south in Cupertino gave the Moscone Center attendants the buzz they were craving.

The thing that impressed me the most was the beginning when Tim Cook came out. If you closed your eyes, he was definitely channeling Steve Jobs. I suspect he had been groomed and prepped to not be a jarring replacement to the wonder that was Steve Jobs. While the changes weren’t super revolutionary, they were as Apple is calling it, resolutionary. As predicted the New iPad has the retina display. It’s got the dual core A5x chip with quad-core graphics which for the non-geeks out there means it’s faster and the graphics have a big wow factor now.

I’m not going to focus on all the new whiz bang stuff that it does, but focus on how this device will change things a bit. One of the things that people aren’t really paying too much attention to is that the New iPad has more memory and graphics capabilities than an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. To me this means that it now is not just going after the tablet market, but also after the game station market. Now it may cost more than both of those, but the games are cheaper, it does more than just games, is portable and gives you more resolution than a 42″ HD TV.

The new 5MP camera is pretty adequate. I know my iPhone’s is pretty good, but this one is a better 5MP camera than mine. Photographers will have to get used to holding a bigger camera in their hands, but I’m wondering how many of these people remember the old Polaroid instamatics. Because they now have a 5MP camera on the New iPad they had to bring iPhoto to the New iPad. This isn’t like your regular iPhoto, but adds in a lot more features making it act closer to photoshop. The ease in adjusting photographs is pretty slick and when you’re finished you can assemble them into a photo journal that you can share with your friends. That’s pretty slick and I think I will drop the $4.99 on it to try it out. They didn’t include a flash with the New iPad, but I actually never use the flash on my iPhone. If I’m a darker environment I usually turn on the HDR and get better pictures. If you click on the photo up above you’ll see that the retina display really makes your photos look like they’re popping out of a page of Architectural Digest. This might indeed be a game changer for the photo crowd since every photo you take is uploaded to the cloud which makes your pictures instantly saved and you can share them immediately through a variety of sources, FaceBook and Twitter of course being first on the list.

If you like video they’ve upgraded the camera to shoot 1080p and introduced an anti-shake video that in the Apple produced demo proved to do some good work. I’m sure they enlisted professional cameramen to make the demo, but you can still get pretty close I’m sure. Since they have a 1080p camera now they of course had to update iMovie. They’ve added in theatrical trailers now like the desktop version has which is fun and again might make a few new Cecil B. DeMille’s out of amateurs. Putting full HD recording into the hands of the masses is a real game changer to me in that we’ll expect more from professionals.

Garageband got an update as well and my daughter has been playing with it constantly since the update. The changes are so much a gee wow with the addition of smart strings so you can add orchestra strings to your music [which sound quite good actually], but there is a new feature called Jam Session which looks like a lot of fun. With these new virtual instruments there are people who are going to be learning how to make music without having formal training. I bet if I did a search I could find people who are now teaching people how to play music on an iPad. What’s cool about Jam Session is that you can have four iPads playing along together with one of them that’s playing recording all four iPads. That’s a pretty cool thing and I’m sure there will be lots of youtube videos coming out shortly after the New iPad is available March 16th.

They’ve also updated their iWork set of programs to take advantage of the retina display which makes sense so now people who are creating eBooks will be able to be on the same page so to speak as oh say, Architectural Digest. So what in my twisted mind does all this mean?

The game demo’s were impressive. The drawing demo was impressive, iPhoto and it’s editing were impressive. Overall I think that this will move some people away from gaming systems and to the iPad, but I think they’ll need to up the speaker system or come up with some good wireless speakers to send the sound to. The camera will give people who want to make videos an easier time of doing it, so expect to see more independent short films to start coming out. Then there’s the simple fact that what most people need to do on a desktop computer is read email, surf the web, watch a few videos and play a few games then they may actually not need a desktop computer as I said in an earlier article. When I’ve opened up a photo on my iMac that I’ve taken on my iPhone it is HUGE because my iPhone like the New iPad has 264 pixels per inch unlike my desktop that has 72 pixels per inch.

Yes, I want one, but I think I’ll wait a little while. Tim Cook ended his keynote by telling us to expect more improvements in 2012 so the fact that this is the New iPad and not an iPad 3 leads me to believe they are coming out with other models over the course of the year. I don’t want to be the guy that buys the New iPad a couple of days before something new comes out that does more. I think I’ll upgrade my Apple TV first. It’ll cost me less money.

Will We See The End Of The Desktop Computer Soon?

With all the speculation that’s out about the iPad 3 and the fact that iPad 2 sales have rocketed iOS devices and Mac computers beyond the number of Window’s based computer I started to think about whether or not the desktop PC as we know it may be disappearing in the near future. We have cloud computing which means that you don’t have to worry about storage space so for the average person who works in an office and only needs to do office like work such as typing memo’s, sending emails and perhaps a bit of database or invoicing, there are apps for that.

This first popped into my head when I was watching the TV show Revenge which is pretty much about rich people in the Hampton’s getting into cat fights, so you can see why I would like it. There is one person on the show called Nolan Ross who is a smug new money rich kid who as a desktop computer has an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard. When he’s out he just takes the iPad with him and leaved the computer at home. I saw this and started to think that maybe he’s onto something.

I looked through apps today to see if I could find an app to do all of what the average sales person I used to work with used. There’s an app for it. There are even invoicing apps and apps to run credit cards [Square anyone? Hell, I’ve got it on my iPhone.] as well as plenty of database apps and Salesforce apps for keeping track of your customers. Need to write a letter that you need to print out and send to a customer, there’s an app for that. Email and web browsing are always built in. There’s usually a built in calendar and contacts app so you’re covered. I’ve done my share of training elderly people on how to use a tablet computer [99.9% iPad] who have no need for a desktop computer and they are able to do everything they need with one.

Now people like me who do web and graphic design work it is currently a bit tougher since while you can hand code or using a CMS system for your website is easy, hands on graphic design software isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be soon. Programmers will still need at least a laptop [which most of my programmer friends have]. Game programmers will probably be the only ones for awhile that need the big mega towers with all the hyper-mega-uber graphics cards to pump up the graphics to times 1,000,000. I’m sure there are a few others who will need real desktop computers for the next couple of years, but they’re definitely needed less and less.

Autism vs. The iPad: Part II

As you read before we had a little mishap with the iPad and it was replaced for free by Apple. The day it was replaced we searched for a case that would keep it protected no matter want and we decided on the Survivor by Griffin Technology. I watched their video of their case with the iPhone and searched for reviews and figured that if the case was considered military grade in the US and UK it could hold up to a moderately autistic child.

Well I was right and I’m glad now. In the three days it took to get the case we’ve been keeping a watchful eye on our little spud to make sure she didn’t throw it or bash it again. Well, it turns out that our over protectiveness only encouraged her to do so. Nothing really terrible, but if we moved toward her in a preemptive strike to keep her from damaging it she knew and would try and toss it.

Luckily we have quick hands and got it before any damage occurred. Now about the case. It’s really good. It’s a polycarbonate housing that’s strong and I liked it because it took me awhile to get it apart so her getting it out of the case will be difficult. The polycarbonate case is covered with a silicon/teflon outer soft cover with flaps covering all of the access ports. This would be great in the sands of Iraq, but what I liked most is that it muted the sound a bit which our daughter like to turn up full blast. This isn’t a problem when you hold it in your hands, but when it’s flat on a table the sound ricochets off the table and is amplified by about 30db making it very loud and annoying whenever there’s an elmo video playing.

Watch the video below. It’s a great case and I found it online for $39.95. It’s a bit thicker than the iPad or iPhone, but it’s worth it for the practically hermetic seal it gives to the iPad. While for some people $499 isn’t too high a price to have to replace, if you have a young kid you’ll want a strong case to protect it so that you can keep your iPad for as long as possible.

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Autism vs. The iPad

As I’m sure you remember we were able to get an iPad for our daughter during a time when we didn’t have much money [which is a fate we still share today]. She loves the iPad a lot and I thank again all of my readers who help us get it for her. Then my wife came running into my workspace all white face with a look of horror and my daughter running behind quickly screaming and crying — I think we just lost the iPad.

WHAT!? She handed it to me and it looked fine until she peeled back the case and showed me the dent. The dent happened to come right where the volume up and down keys were and while it still worked we couldn’t get any volume out of it. I quickly got an appointment at the Genius Bar to have them take a look and then started doing some research.

I was seeing everything from a few people who got it replaced free to most people who had to pay $299 or buy a new one. My heart sunk. This is my daughter’s baby. She treats it like a puppy hugging it and petting it. She never throws it or drops it unlike many of her other toys. She knows this is something special for her.

For any parent of a child whether they have autism or not I would highly suggest an iPad. My daughter has improved so much since we got it for her. She couldn’t point at things before, but now points to things that she doesn’t know the name of. She’s learned how to say words she never said a year ago and now she can even write. Sure she has therapists that help her out, but a lot of this even the therapists say comes from the iPad. It has helped her immensely and I was pretty devastated to learn that this great tool we had for her might be gone and we don’t have the money or credit to afford to get it fixed or buy a new one.

I went into the Apple store thinking to myself well, maybe I could ask for donations again, but I don’t really like begging. If you like the blog and want to make a donation feel free to do so, but I refuse to sit out there on the internet with a cup in hand asking spare change from everyone who comes to my blog. I’ve been getting enough work from TaskRabbit to help us get by until I can get a real job again so I figured I could find a way to make it work out.

So my Genius is guy named Tony. I told him the story and how this is our autistic daughter’s best friend [yes, I played the autism card, but it was important because of what she’s got from it.] Tony took a look and said, well, it’s only a little dent and no screen damage so we’ll replace it for you right now.

DUDE!! AWWWWWESOME!

So the crisis has been averted and we’re in the process right now of getting the back up reinstalled on the iPad. Tony suggested that we get an Otterbox case for it which my wife and I have been talking about for a while. Now it’s obviously a definite buy item. I think I’ll have to take on a few more tasks to get the money to cover this one, but it’ll be worth it in the long run if it’s something that is helping our daughter improve herself.

Tony, thanks for helping a brother out.

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Muni Needs WiFi

For a short period of time I had to take the 48 Quintara down to the Mission on a daily basis. I found it actually a relaxing and interesting trip that I wrote about previously as I could sit there with my iPhone and read my email and get constant updates on what was going on along with all the other riders because of the 3G access we all had, but if you like the other thousands of riders who have to take the metro downtown you’re out of luck.

There’s no signal in the tunnels at all. Granted, traveling from West Portal to Embarcadero can be rather quick, but it leaves you with unproductive downtime where if there was an emergency at home I couldn’t even get a phone call in most cases for 45 minutes. On the other hand, BART when I got on one day politely asked me if I’d like to connect to their free wifi service. Hell even going through the bay tunnel I could make cell phone calls. Why isn’t San Francisco looking into this?

There was a time a couple of years ago where I saw buses in San Francisco touting free wifi service they were testing out. You don’t see those today. In a city that says it’s so tech friendly I would expect wifi to be everywhere and available. Well, it is pretty much everywhere, but not always available.  There was a plan at one time to make wifi available throughout San Francisco, but it never took hold. Couldn’t we at least find a way to first make wifi available in the metro tunnel running downtown and then making it available on the buses? It would make the need for 3g/4g data plans almost superfluous and give everyone with a smartphone/tablet computer access to the internet while they have to sit during their commute. Most people complain about how slow Muni is, but if you had something to do during the time you were waiting you wouldn’t notice it so much.

Hell, if I could watch Indiana Jones while I was stuck in the tunnels for two hours I wouldn’t mind the wait as much.

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