7″ iPad Rumor Analysis – Part 2: Is the Customer Always Right?

There’s are reasons why Apple hasn’t released the rumored iPad Mini. In part 2 of this 2 part series, I break down the rumors…

Apple rumors are fun. Apple’s secretive culture often sparks and breeds the development of rumors and many people in the tech journalism industry love to speculate and see how right the mill is every time Apple releases new products. Last minute speculations aside, it’s difficult to crack the Apple rumor nut. However, after slowly and carefully finishing the Steve Jobs Biography, I think I have a decent understanding of where Steve was wanting things with Apple Product Development to go.

I’ve had a couple people come to me over the past couple of weeks and either ask me about or tell me about the rumored 7″ iPad, nicknamed the “iPad Mini,” that Apple is supposedly set to release “soon.” I’ve chuckled a bit at these folks and their immediate response was, “What..? You don’t think they’re going to release it?”

My response has been, “I don’t know.”

Trying to guess what Apple is going to do with their product road map is very much like trying to predict the weather – there’s gonna be some [weather]; and forecasters have a 50-50 chance of being right.

However, you never really know if it’s going to rain or not until you stick your head out the window. In part 2 of this 2 part series, going to concentrate on Tim Cook. It all comes down to who’s the captain of the ship.

Is the Customer Always Right?
Last week, I talked a bit about why the late Steve Jobs hated the idea of a 7″ iPad. Put succinctly, Jobs felt it confused customers by blurring the lines too much between the iPod Touch and the original, 9.7″ iPad. Customers interested in that device size might be better served with the (we’ll call it) 4″ iPod Touch or by taking the plunge and moving up to the full 9.7″ screen on the iPad.

In a Jobs run Apple, there would be no ‘7″ iPad Mini.’ The game totally changes in an Apple run by Tim Cook. Here’s why…

Tim Cook is Apple’s former Chief Operating Officer. As an operations guy, Tim Cook listens to, or is at least accustomed to listening to, the voice of the customer. Customers clearly like the idea of a 7″ iOS tablet. The idea of a lighter smaller iPad, with all of its power and capabilities, appeals to a great many people.

The product confusion issues between an (about) 4″ iPod Touch, 7″ iPad Mini, and the 9.7″ iPad still exist – Is the 7″ iOS device a iPod that’s too big, or an iPad that’s too small..? The question is valid, as the iPod Touch does very well, and the iPad is currently expected to be the king of the “tablet hill” until at least 2016.

Tim Cook is the unknown element here. His good friend and confidante, Steve Jobs was very clear on his 7″ tablet stance – No. However, Tim Cook’s operations background may move him to green light the project; but you have to ask how that will effect Apple’s bottom line (manufacturing and marketing costs vs. potential sales, for example) before you start drooling over the idea of an iPad that you can carry in a jacket pocket.

I’ve been wrong before, but at the end of the day, I still don’t think we’re going to get a 7″ iOS tablet; but not because of Jobs’ product aesthetics stance. I don’t think the device has enough legs to warrant the manufacturing line and component costs.

However, we’re really going to have to wait and see… I wouldn’t be the first Apple prognosticator to be wrong about what Apple actually decides to do if they did release a 7″ iPad.

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Play LAN games through Internet with Tunngle

Let’s face it. Gaming is a lot more fun when you play with people you like. Not every networkable game supports gaming across the internet, though. This is one of the reasons why I like Tunngle. It’s a network gaming utility for Windows.

Tunngle makes multiplayer games enjoyable, regardless of your location. Tunngle is a P2P VPN gaming client, enabling LAN party mode via the Internet. Any game with a built-in LAN mode, whether old or new, can be played over the internet through Tunngle.

In order to accomplish its magic, Tunngle installs a VPN driver. The driver is included with the app. There isn’t a separate executable for this. The VPN driver is required for use with the Tunngle network. The app also requires you to create a free network account in order to access its resources.

The app’s main display has active networks on the left hand side, as well as under the Community tab. Tunngle comes with a number of these already active, of course. A double click can get you going. For users who know the games they are looking for, searching for an active game is easy.

The app also supports Calendar Dates The integrated event calendar helps you find and remind you of scheduled game. The app’s Network settings and optics adjustments can be found under the System tab. Here you can configure options for your network router, as well audio settings and the app’s general look and feel.

Download Tunngle

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Microsoft Returns the Simple to Windows 8 Editions

Microsoft has announced how it will release  Windows 8 in three different editions, two of which should be right for most.

Microsoft has always taken an unusual stance when it comes to how to distinguish between the different versions of Windows. Barring special editions that were released as a result of litigation or court proceedings, such as Windows XP Starter Edition for developing markets or Windows XP Edition N, Microsoft made it easy for most of us with just two versions of Windows XP – Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional. It really doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Microsoft released Windows Vista with a bit more diversity.  Vista came in five different editions – Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business and Enterprise.  Windows 7 was similar with Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Microsoft is taking a “Windows XP Editions” approach with Windows 8.  There will be two – Windows 8 and Windows 8 Professional.  Windows 8 is the edition that most everyone will use. It replaces Windows 7 Home Premium and includes the ability to switch languages on the fly, which was previously only available in Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate.

BitLocker and Encrypting File System support are part of Windows 8 Professional. It also has client Hyper-V virtualization and can boot from a virtual hard drive (VHD).  Windows 8 Professional is the edition you’re most likely to see in the enterprise, as it also allows you to join a Windows domain, contains support for group policies and has Remote Desktop host.  Currently, these features are only available in Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise.

Both Windows 8 editions will be installed at the factory, and will be sold at retail locations. They will be the only editions available to the consumer.  Microsoft also plans on releasing Windows 8 Enterprise; but it will only be available to corporate customers with a Software Assurance agreement.

Windows on ARM, or WOA, has been rebranded as Windows RT. It does not come with the Microsoft Windows 8 brand, even though it has a similar feature set and the Windows 8 code-base. It will only be installed on ARM-based computing devices at the factory. It will not be available for purchase in any retail or corporate channel. Pricing for all Windows 8 editions is still unknown.

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7″ iPad Rumor Analysis – Part 1: Why Jobs Hated the iPad Mini

There’s are reasons why Apple hasn’t released the rumored iPad Mini. Let’s break it down…

Apple rumors are fun. Apple’s secretive culture often sparks and breeds the development of rumors and many people in the tech journalism industry love to speculate and see how right the mill is every time Apple releases new products. Last minute speculations aside, it’s difficult to crack the Apple rumor nut. However, after slowly and carefully finishing the Steve Jobs Biography, I think I have a decent understanding of where Steve was wanting things with Apple Product Development to go.

I’ve had a couple people come to me over the past couple of weeks and either ask me about or tell me about the rumored 7″ iPad, nicknamed the “iPad Mini,” that Apple is supposedly set to release “soon.” I’ve chuckled a bit at these folks and their immediate response was, “What..? You don’t think they’re going to release it?”

My response has been, “I don’t know.”

Trying to guess what Apple is going to do with their product road map is very much like trying to predict the weather – there’s gonna be some [weather]; and forecasters have a 50-50 chance of being right.

However, you never really know if it’s going to rain or not until you stick your head out the window. In this 2 part series, I’m going to look at two deciding factors related to Apple’s “iPad Mini.” Part 1 will concentrate on Steve Jobs. Part 2 is going to concentrate on Tim Cook. It all comes down to who’s the captain of the ship.

Why Jobs Hated the iPad Mini

It’s a very well-known fact that Steve Jobs thought the iPad’s form-factor was perfect as is. In his estimation, around 10 inches was the right and ideal size for this size computing platform. Netbooks, which the iPad was originally thought to be when Apple was originally developing the iPad, fragment the computing landscape and muck with the ecosystem. As such, you really don’t see a lot of netbooks on the market today. That computing form has really died off. They’re too under powered, and too small to be of any real use.

At 7 inches, an iOS powered tablet sticks itself directly between the 3.7 (let’s call it 4 inches for the sake of argument) iPod Touch and the iPad. Jobs looked at this middle sized form factor and pronounced it a “piece of shit,” because it brought confusion, more than value, to iOS devices. Most people don’t understand why, and it took me to get through the Walter Isaacson biography to really get it myself.

I am almost positive that Apple put a 7″ iPad prototype together. I’m certain that there was likely more than one; and that they got passed around Jobs’ and Jony Ivy’s inner circles. Jobs killed it because it too closely blurred the lines between the 4″ iPod Touch and the 9.7″ iPad.

Ultimately, it would have cannibalized sales of both existing products, without adding any additional value or features. Jobs thought 7 inches was too small of a screen to accommodate a tablet and its use cases (games, movies, etc.) and too big to carry around as an iPod. (Face, it, you’re not going to go jogging with a 7″ device strapped to your arm.) When trying to determine which device to purchase, customers wouldn’t understand the differences between the iPod and the iPad (Mini) at that point, and from what I’ve read in Isaacson’s biography, that drove Steve bonkers.

Come back next time, and I’ll go into the other side of the coin – Tim Cook.

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Windows 8 Release Preview Due in June

Microsoft is going to give us an RC release in June before Windows 8’s planned October release.

The first week of June should see the release of Windows 8 Release Preview, as Microsoft prepares Windows 8 for a mid-Fall release some time, likely, near the end of October.

These plans were announced by Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft’s Windows Development arm, at a developer’s event in Japan, according to All Things D. This release preview follows both Developer Preview late last year and a Consumer Preview in February of this year.

Microsoft is aiming to complete development work sometime this summer, with, its thought, a release in late to mid-October, though Microsoft has not made this official. Windows 8 sports a new, redesigned interface called, Metro, as well as a Windows Store and digital delivery feature designed to go head-to-head with Apple’s App Store, introduced in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and OS X 10.7 Lion, last year.

Apple is due to release its latest OS version OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion sometime this summer. Windows 8 is meant to directly compete with Apple’s planned OS release this year. How well it succeeds will depend on how well Metro is accepted on the desktop, as Windows tablets are not widely in circulation, if at all, as of this writing.

Soft32 is planning on reviewing the final version of Windows 8 when it is released, so stay tuned for our final thoughts and impressions on the OS later this year.

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Create instant slideshows with your digital photos, videos and music with ProShow

My daughter is getting married and will make a grandfather out of me this year.  I’m going to be taking a lot of digital pictures over the next few months. I’m certain of it. This is one of the biggest reasons why I really like ProShow Gold. It’s a slideshow creator for Windows.

With ProShow Gold, you can instantly create slide shows on your desktop with unlimited photos, videos & music. After they’re created, you can share them online or on your TV.  Slideshows are easily created drag and drop.  You can create unlimited slideshows with an unlimited amount of photos, videos or songs. ProShow Gold lets you tell your story the way you want.

Making use of different Wizards, you can get going in just a few clicks.  ProShow Gold has hundreds of effects, transitions, motion effects and fancy pre-made slide styles. You can use a single photo per slide, or have fun with multi-layered effects. When you’re done, you can easily share your slideshow online via Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. You can also use ProShow Gold to create DVDs, Blu-ray discs or CDs to watch on your TV or your computer.

If your photos aren’t quite up to snuff, don’t worry. ProShow Gold offers a sea of built-in editing tools. You can fix flaws on the spot with crop, auto-correct and red-eye removal tools. You can transform a color photo or video into dramatic black and white. You can even do basic video editing.

download ProShow

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Keep in touch with all of your Facebook friends with fTalk

Let’s face it. You use Facebook to keep up with your friends and family. You share pictures, stories, and stuff, and it’s a lot of fun. When it comes to connecting with friends, sometimes, getting the cute fluff out of the way so you can chat with yo’ peeps is just what is needed. This is the reason why I really like fTalk. It’s a multiplatform chat client, specifically designed to work with Facebook.

fTalk enhances your social media experience by taking Facebook to the next level. With fTalk, you can chat with your Facebook friends directly from your desktop, without having to run a browser and surf to Facebook. fTalk enables you to chat with your friends even when you’re at work or in a public environment where you don’t necessarily want to; or can’t open Facebook.  You can see which of your friends have logged in, you can change your status, use emoticons and even video chat! fTalk offers a fun and light Facebook chat experience; and its free.

fTalk is a decent app. It allows you to chat with your FB friends even without having an active FB session going in your browser. It’s very much like Skype for Facebook; or something similar. The app is great. I like it. However its only real value is that it automatically integrates with your FB account and pulls in all your FB Friends.  You could manually do that with Skype Windows Live Messenger, AIM or any other chat client that also supported video. While this doesn’t kill the application’s usefulness, it does limit you to just chatting or video calling to only your FB friends, and if someone does want to chat or video chat with you, they have to be your Facebook friend first.

download fTalk

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Angry Birds Space – the great new adventure from Rovio

If you know me, and see me on my commuter train, then you’re likely to see me doing this multiple times a week. I love me some Angry Birds, and I’ve played all the games on most of my Android phones. Following the success of their Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Seasons editions of the popular game, Rovio has released their multiplatform edition Angry Birds Space, with new birds, new abilities and of course, more fun for your PC.

The premise to the game is pretty cool.  After a giant claw kidnaps their eggs, the Angry Birds chase it into a wormhole and find themselves floating in a strange new galaxy – surrounded by space pigs. Thankfully, the Angry Birds have been transformed into space-faring astro-birds, and they have new, enhanced abilities of their own.

In Angry Birds Space, you’re introduced to new adventures on planets, in zero gravity, and in enhanced gravity wells, resulting in spectacular gameplay ranging from slow-motion puzzles to light speed destruction. With new birds, new abilities, and a whole galaxy to explore, the sky is no longer the limit. Once you master the concepts of zero and enhanced gravity situations, making the bird’s new, enhanced abilities work for you can provide hours of entertaining game play.

Once you finish the standard levels, you have the ability to enter the DANGER ZONE, the most difficult Angry Birds levels ever! It isn’t easy.  The Danger Zone was named that way for a reason. You’ll spend many hours here, and likely extra money purchasing Giant Eagles in order to help move you past levels that seem nearly impossible to solve without them.

Read full review | Download Angry Birds Space for Windows | Download Angry Birds Android (with ads) | Buy Angry Birds for Android (ad-free version) | Buy Angry Birds for Windows | Buy Angry Birds for iPhone | Buy Angry Birds for iPad | Buy  Angry Birds Space for Mac


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