This morning, an update for the Google Search application on iOS was released by Google and along with it came Google Now. The predictive search feature has been available on Android for just under a year, but in that time, it’s only been able to reach a peak of 25% of all Android devices.
Unfortunately for Google they’ve had a fragmentation problem since the beginning of time with Android, making it hard to reach users when a new service is only available for Jellybean (4.1+). By releasing on iOS, they’ve effectively made the service available for up to 500 Million devices on day one.
My mom asked me yesterday if her phone (my hand-me-down Evo V 4G on Virgin Mobile) could ask Google questions like I can on my phone (Nexus 4). I had to explain that Google Now was not available on phones running 4.0 and earlier. She wasn’t that disapointed, but she really likes just asking questions instead of having to use the crappy stock HTC keyboard. It’s neat and it’s fast. But she can’t use it.
Google really needs to mandate updates. If Apple can do it, Google can do it too, surely.
John Siracusa makes a great argument for priorities Apple should focus on in 2013. Among all of the things Apple should do, I think inter-app communication and a refreshed system UI for iOS is absolutely needed. There are so many Apple products now that are teetering on the edge of mediocrity, and most of it of it lies in software.
When I read this earlier today, I was surprised. The Mac Pro was updated in the fall, and by updated, I mean barely given any kind of a spec bump.
There are three results that can follow this discontinuation. Either Apple completely gives up the Mac Pro worldwide, Apple continues to sell junky-ancient Mac Pros, or, and this the result I like best, Apple releases a new Mac Pro that’s not so huge, not so expensive and not so anti-European.
Yes, Tumblr can have mature content, but so can the Internet. I think this sets a dangerous precedent for other applications that uses a database of content from users. What’s network? Censoring the WordPress app?
But the two apps that will never be censored are Twitter and Safari.
Apple’s fortunes are and have for a long time been boom-and-bust based on shipments. Apple ships a new iPhone. They dominate the market for a few months. Sales level off again, then the air gets sucked out of the room when everybody starts anticipating the next iPhone model. Right now we’re in the post-iPhone 5, pre-iPhone 5S doldrums.
This is definitely a symptom of the one year release cycle. In combination with the iPad mini and revised iPad at the same time in late fall, the journalists have nothing to look forward to which is damaging the Apple cycle.
But I think the cycle is also picking up on an undercurrent. The hardware Apple makes is great but the software is mediocre at best and crippled at worst. iOS is not stale, but it is reminiscent of Windows XP when the world moved onto greener pastures somewhere else — just because it works doesn’t mean it looks great and works.
Sparrow died, but Mailbox has risen from the ashes. It looks nice.
It’s interesting that it’s marketed to those specifically with Gmail as their email provider.
(Sorry, I had to do it.)
There is no doubt that Apple has a smaller, less costly iPhone in the lab somewhere. They did it with an iPad, they can do it with an iPhone. But you know what? The premiere iPhone still sells just as well as ever. Don’t worry about the price right now Apple, instead, go design an OS update that makes iOS stop looking so legacy and crippled.
Gruber reported breaking news better.
So the iPad mini was formally announced today and you can read all about it through a respectable news source.
I have been going on and on about an iPad mini for quite some time now. The smaller screen allows for less guilt when using it in class. The smaller screen makes it more portable in a bag already packed to the gills with books, papers, folders and other important things. The smaller screen allows the device to be cheaper overall. That’s the theory.
The iPad mini meets that theory well, but I have high standards. The iPad mini didn’t live up to my expectations in these areas:
- the screen: lacking an high resolution display, the iPad mini is not even close to a retina-display device. Other devices of less cost have pixel densities higher than that of the iPad mini. Despite Apple’s touting that the Nexus 7 browser has less screen real-estate, the Nexus 7 shows more pixels on a single screen so it’s not quite as fair. Nobody is going to make a big deal about the density disparity the iPad line presents (where two-thirds of the lineup are non-retina devices), but I don’t like it. To fix that problem, Apple might pull the plug on the current generation iPad mini earlier than expected like they did with the six-month old iPad 3, introducing the iPad 4th generation today as well.
- the pricing: $329 isn’t that much more than $299, the entry price of the 5th generation iPod touch. It’s fine, I paid that price easily when I bought my iPod touch 4th generation two years ago when I take Apple Care into account. Nobody will have a problem with the price when actually buying one, but combining the iPad mini’s slightly higher price with Apple Care and the inevitable purchase of a Smart Cover, you’re looking at an easy $150 increase. I wanted the iPad mini to be cheap enough to buy another one instead of relying on Apple Care.
Even though my expectations weren’t quite met, there were positive points:
- the camera: the camera is the same iPod touch 5th generation camera, which from what I hear, is great — it’s not a cheap joke that the iPad 2 was telling everyone every time they took a picture.
- the design: the Chamfer (the beveled edge on the bezel) is beautiful and it was smart to carry that to the iPad mini. The colors and the seamlessness are great. Usually I dislike the white models of Apple products because the black screen surrounded by white edges seems constricting, and that’s true with the iPad mini as well, but Apple has improved their white products. The Chamfer is really highlighted with the white model, where it’s more obscure with the black model.
So. With all that, will I buy one?
I’ll let you know on November 2nd.
9to5 Mac poses this question and discusses hardware. My take on this is a little different than the hardware perspective, though it’s completely valid.
The MacBook Air is a entry class laptop built for portability and getting simple things done. It can do more interesting things like Photoshop and Final Cut, but you wouldn’t make a living on an Air with those programs. To make a further distinction on Pro and Air, the retina displays help. But will it last forever? No. Eventually, integrated graphics or discrete graphics will ever beef up or slim down so that it can be in the Air, but by then, the Pro line will be differentiating itself in a different way anyway.
My next laptop, definitely a Mac, would probably be the 13 or 15-inch MacBook Pro with retina. Why? Because, I could use that little extra dose of power and the size and weight difference I feel is negligible enough to accommodate it in my backpack.
Along with the iPad mini, the Mac mini will probably get an update.
I wonder if the reaction of un-updated Mac Pros earlier this year will have any effect on the configurations though. I doubt it, but the mini, being a real computer (non-portable) shouldn’t have lesser quality components than a laptop. Just saying.
People familiar with Apple’s plans tell us that the company will unveil the so-called “iPad mini” on Oct. 23 at an invitation-only event.
So it begins with the infamous Yep.
So now you’ll have to pay $40/year if you want to keep your space.
You want to know something? Amazon pulled the same thing with me. Sometime ago in 2011, maybe, they let you get 20GB free if you bought $5 worth of music or something like that. This year, I would have had to pay for it, so I said goodbye to that “free” storage and simply stopped storing music there. Or anywhere. (I’m not really a musically inclined listener.)
But it’s not like Apple is being evil here, they’re doing the same thing everyone else does. It was a one-time offer that is now ending.
iOS 6 dropped yesterday.
So I think it’s time for some thoughts on the iPad mini.
- It still exists as a rumor, and in some sense, I feel the heat died down. That heat died down once when a everyone predicted two events, and then died down once more when all the iPods and iTunes were announced to come out in October. Everyone is busy now with the iPhone.
- Pricing has now become an issue: the new iPod touch is based at $299. $399 is too much and is the price of the existing iPad 2 — so how can the price be reconciled? $349 still seems too high — the magic number needs to start with a two so that leaves me with $299, though $249 would be preferable.
- iOS 6 presents an interesting question — What iOS versions would an iPad mini support? iOS 6 is dropped yesterday, so it will support iOS 6 if it comes out. But then will iOS 7? I imagine iOS 7 (and by 7, I mean, the next major iteration of iOS, whatever it ends up being), will be supported with maybe some features left out. But that’s odd too — I think Apple wants to end legacy low-resolution support sooner rather than later; the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 2 are low-resolution, their support should end with iOS 6. I really cannot imagine Apple extending the life of low-resolution to yet another iOS. That’s odd.
- So to get around that OS compatibility problem, let’s tinker a bit. Let’s go retina:
- Non-retina: keep the current resolution of the iPad 2′s 1024 by 768 display, at 7.85 inches that’s just 163 ppi which is just shy of the MacBook Air and regular laptop screens (use this for comparison)
- Retina: double the current resolution of the iPad 2′s 1024 by 768 display, 2048 by 1536 and at 7.85 inches, that happens to end up around 326 ppi; which would end up being more crisp than the iPad 3 (at 264 ppi) — and Apple could again use the same iPhone 5 and iPod screen sheets
So going Retina wouldn’t be out of question. At least, I hope not.
How will this impact the next nine years of products? The depth of the products will be limited by this new connector too.
I imagine that if the device gets any thinner than the connector would allow, well, it would probably just break.
(Via All Things D.)
So it’s basically the same app, right? I can’t see the actual thumbnails because they’re so small.
Okay — so there are new videos (because videos that used to block mobile because ads couldn’t be shown no longer do), a new channel guide (which is useless), a new search tool (which is good, but I hear you could just Google it) and Google+ integration which everyone (no one) will use.