Rumors of an iPad Maxi are a Bit Much

apple-logoAside from all of the jokes the rumored name will spawn, 12.9 inches is a bit large for a tablet.

Mac news and rumors site, Mac Rumors reported Tuesday 28-May-2013 that Apple was developing a 12.9 inch diagonal tablet expected to be dubbed the iPad Maxi. Aside from all of the jokes the name will undoubtedly generate, 12.9 inches is a bit large for a tablet. Unfortunately, I don’t think the idea, if accurate, has enough legs to be successful.

The rumored iPad Maxi is supposed to be targeted as a direct competitor to the ultrabook and text book markets. Thirteen inches diagonal is the ideal screen size for ultrabooks. However, as Amazon can tell you, having a large eBook reader did NOT go over well. They discontinued their larger KindleDX, citing poor sales. As the iPad does not come with any kind of native keyboard, producing a 13″ tablet without one doesn’t seem to be a good idea in my opinion.

ipad_1

I have to agree with Paul Thurrott of the Windows SuperSite – (and I’m paraphrasing…) despite where the industry wants PC sales to go, people still want a traditional computing experience right now, especially in the enterprise. Moving to an iOS or Android only computing experience isn’t likely to be a huge success right now. The software providing a similar experience isn’t there, and probably won’t be for a while. People also want a real keyboard; and because Apple hasn’t provided a native keyboard for the iPad and has instead left that to 3rd party providers, I don’t see this being a huge seller, despite what anyone else thinks.

The price point would also be much higher than the $499 entry point of the 10″ iPad. If this is going to be targeted at the academic market, cheaper is better. Students and educators don’t usually have a lot of money to spend on toys or tools of this caliber.

However, Apple has historically been unpredictable. Unless and until this hits the market, I’m going to remain in “wait and see” mode, but gonna say, “not likely to happen.”

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The Problem with Apple’s Secrecy

With WWDC just days away, there’s no shortage of Apple rumors…

I’ve been in the computing biz for a long time.  I began my freelance writing career back in 1996 CMPnet’s File Mine.  The site has long since disappeared, and CMPnet’s resources are now owned by UBM, which owns Information Week and BYTE (where I also appear regularly.)   Funny how some things go full circle.

Anyway, I’ve grown from a freelance review writer into a technology journalist over the years and if there’s one thing that anyone in this capacity will tell you, it’s that trying to figure out what Apple is going to do is hard…if not nearly impossible.

However, it does seem to be the national Geekdom pastime.  Everyone and their brother seems to be trying to figure out exactly what Apple has cooking and when it’s going to be released to the general public. During my time as a freelancer and technology journalist, I’ve learned one very important thing when it comes to prognosticating the Cupertino-way – Don’t bother.

Apple’s culture of extreme secrecy has in the past led to nearly every major site on the internet, both friend and foe to Apple, either supporting or discounting the latest rumor about iPad. While this perpetual rumor mill certainly helps generate hype and excitement, it often results in nothing substantial, except perhaps, the level of hype and excitement around a particular Apple product release or update.

For Apple, this is great. They get gobs of free advertising and lines of people outside their stores waiting for their chance to buy the latest product to come out of Jony Ivy’s design studio. It’s also a big problem for them, because they have people camped out in bars waiting for employees to misplace iPhone prototypes and such.

For consumers, it doesn’t do much of anything other than drive the hype. It can also lead to some big let-downs when a highly desirable feature for iPad isn’t implemented or isn’t implemented the way it was rumored, or to a user’s liking.  However, there is one last issue with Apple rumors…

The people starting them or spreading them are more often than not, wrong.

For someone trying to get a handle on the next best thing coming from Apple whether its iPhone, iPad, Macs or any other bright, shiny new toy (like their rumored, HDTV, for example), the best thing to do is just wait it out.  Don’t count on the information you’re getting being at all accurate. It likely won’t be.

Sure..! It’s fun to speculate.  The articles are fun and interesting to read and can be quite thought provoking at times.  It may give you something to talk about at work during a break, or at your friend’s desk. But understand it for what it is…noise.

Even industry analysts…the guys who do all the research and provide investors with predictions on what’s going to be hot or not… haven’t been able to get it consistently right when it comes to Apple; and those guys are REALLY smart and have deep, inside contacts at this, that or the other “trusted partner’s” installation.

Cracking the Apple nut isn’t easy. Its hit or miss at best. Those that have any success, in my estimation, are lucky; or… weighing in on what currently out there and playing the odds on what seems most likely to happen.
So what’s the problem with Apple’s secrecy?  Nothing much… Despite all the rumor mills, there aren’t a lot of people out there that seem to be getting through their “cone of silence.”

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iPad 3 Rumors & Thoughts – Part 2: iOS 6

With Steve Jobs gone and his legacy not completely publically known or understood, the iPad 3 is almost a complete unknown as well. Let’s take a look at some of the rumors and see what’s what.

I’ve been reading the authorized Steve Jobs biography, and quite honestly, I’ve been learning a great deal. Apple very much *IS* Steve Jobs, and vice-versa. It’s been an interesting read. Much of the design and thoughts for the iPad itself came before the iPhone. It was put on hold to address and release the need for the iPhone. However, the magic that is the iPhone will forever be beholden to the iPad. This was probably one of the most interesting revelations I’ve encountered in the book so far. But the iPad… that was Steve’s baby. He really wanted to do a tablet to counter the netbook surge and push, which is pretty much OVER at this point.

Apple has the tablet market pretty much sewn up. At this point, Android can try all it wants, but without the walled garden that Apple has cultivated and nurtured, it’s going to be hard for Google, any of their hardware partners, or ANYONE really, to catch up to them any time soon.

So, with all that, let’s take a quick gander at what is likely to come to iPad and iPhone fans alike with the next major release of iOS.

Siri Matures
I’ve been using my iPhone 4S for a couple of months, and I really like Siri; though at times, I think she thinks I have a speech impediment. I keep on asking her, “what’s my day like;” and she keeps telling me that she doesn’t understand, “what’s my daylight.” Awesome. Love that. I’ve also noticed that Siri on EDGE isn’t as accurate as Siri on 3G/4G (HSPA+); but that’s another matter entirely.

With the next MAJOR release of iOS, meaning iOS 6, we’re going to see a major bump in Siri’s maturity level. You’re going to be able to ask her to do a lot more and she’s going to be more integrated in how the device works. While she won’t be a complete consumer AI, she’s going to be the closest thing that John Q. Public will likely see for a while

Siri’s biggest problem, however, is not what she can’t do, or even that she may not listen very well. It’s that people don’t really know all of what she can and cannot do. My biggest problem with Siri is that I really don’t know what she’s capable of; and depending on what kind of cellular coverage you may have, if your inside or outside the Wi-Fi zone or perhaps having a bad hair day, Siri’s success in understanding what you want/need/mean when you speak may vary.

Apple needs to improve her listening skills and needs to insure that the local device does as much of the heavy lifting as it can. Voice recognition shouldn’t depend on your network connection speed. For example, when I ask Siri to call so and so, Siri seems to do a lot of thinking on my end. I know I have 1600+ contacts, but the response back from her should be almost instantaneous if I have so and so in my Contact List.

Support for Siri over LTE is also pretty much a no-brainer, given the inclusion of the mobile technology at a hardware level.

Improved Google Maps and Navigation Integration
There are two issues here – an improved Google Maps (just called Maps in iOS, but it’s the same thing) and integration with a navigation app. Its separate for a couple of reasons.

  • Google Maps for iOS is a mapping only app. There have been improvements made to Maps over the past few full revisions of iOS, but it’s not done anything more than provide map information and directions from A to B since its introduction.
  • Google has kept turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps for its own Android OS.

In the next major version of iOS, Apple needs to give you support for the following use case:

  • 1. User – Siri, where’s the nearest ?
  • 2. Siri – I have found the following near your location.
  • 3. Siri – Would you like to navigate/go to any of them.
  • 4. User – Yes
  • 5. Siri – Which ?
  • 6. User –
  • 7. Siri – Would you like to walk or drive there from your current location? (if walking is a reasonable option)
  • 8. User –
  • 9. Siri – Which navigation application would you like to use? You have the following navigation applications installed.

or,

  • You don’t have any navigation applications installed. Would you like to search for and purchase one from the App Store?

or,

  • You don’t have any navigation applications installed. Would you like to me to generate directions with Maps?
  • 10. User – Makes appropriate choice
  • 11. Siri – Provides directions or launches purchased navigation app, passing the appropriate origin and destination variables to the app.

This will require modification on the part of the navigation app so it can accept these variables from Siri, but that should be doable, especially if Apple provides the appropriate API’s. Apple also needs to grow Siri so that she can control hardware iPhone components (volume, screen brightness, Bluetooth radio (Siri, turn on Bluetooth and pair/connect with/to.)

At the end of the day, though, you can see that Apple needs to do something with the current version of Maps, because it’s just not cutting it. Maps is nice, but giving me directions and not turn by turn navigation is not what users want. Apple doesn’t control the version of Maps in iOS, and while they can augment it some with Siri, and perhaps provide an API so other navigation apps can fit in, there are rumors that a recent acquisition may be a more likely result than an API for other navigation apps or than expecting Google to bring its Navigation to the party.

Come back next time, and I’ll dive into when and how the iPad 3 will be released.

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iPad 3 Rumors & Thoughts – Part 1: Hardware

With Steve Jobs gone and his legacy not completely publically known or understood, the iPad 3 is almost a complete unknown as well, though the rumor mill has been churning lately. Let’s take a look at some of the rumors and see what’s what.

I’ve been reading the authorized Steve Jobs biography, and quite honestly, I’ve been learning a great deal. Apple very much *IS* Steve Jobs, and vice-versa. It’s been an interesting read. Much of the design and thoughts for the iPad itself came before the iPhone. It was put on hold to address and release the need for the iPhone. However, the magic that is the iPhone will forever be beholden to the iPad. This was probably one of the most interesting revelations I’ve encountered in the book so far. But the iPad… that was Steve’s baby. He really wanted to do a tablet to counter the netbook surge and push, which is pretty much OVER at this point.

Apple has the tablet market pretty much sewn up. At this point, Android can try all it wants, but without the walled garden that Apple has cultivated and nurtured, it’s going to be hard for Google, any of their hardware partners, or ANYONE really, to catch up to them any time soon.

That being the case, rumors of an updated iPad have been circulating for quite some time. Many sites have been saying that the next generation iPad is already in production, and is readying for a March or April release. While I won’t say too much about that just yet, I do want to touch on some of the other rumors related to specific hardware feature sets that many are speculating will differentiate it from the iPad 2.

Better Screen – HD Resolution?
There’s been a great deal of speculation about this particular, potential feature upgrade. A Retina Display from Samsung, a Sharp IGZO display… No one really knows for certain what is going to happen here. However, I think it’s safe to say that Apple’s next generation iPad will have a much better screen than both the iPad 1 and iPad 2. Regardless of what type or which manufacturer really got the contract, Digitimes is reporting some (also unconfirmed) specifics on the screen:

  • A QXGA (1,536×2,048 pixels) display
  • Longer battery life
  • Although its other hardware specs may not be as exciting

The A6 Processor
Apple’s next system on a chip should have nearly twice as much punch as its previous iOS devices. The A5 chip is dual core. The A6 is rumored to be a quad core powerhouse. The tablet should be able to crunch through some major data at that point. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard how fast the chip is rumored to be, though I would assume 1.2-1.5gHz would not be unreasonable.

The Graphics Processor
Given that mobile gaming is on an uptick, and that iOS gaming is in no small part responsible for most of that uptick, it’s almost a certainty that an enhanced graphics processor will be part of Apple’s new iPad. There’s been very little about which processor…but with gaming becoming more important, and iLife apps like GarageBand and iMovie likely to be improved as well, the next edition iPad will need the additional punch of an improved graphics processor. This is probably more important than the implementation of the A6 processor.

HD Camera
The implementation of an HD quality screen begs the implementation of an HD camera. The implementation of a front and rear facing camera in the iPad 2, and the introduction of iMovie for the iPad really kicked this off. I would say that a 720p/8MP rear and 2-3MP front cameras are a safe bet as well.

4G-LTE
Apple clearly stated that it wouldn’t support LTE in the iPhone 4S. While speculation is ripe, no one is willing to make a FIRM say-so on the implementation of LTE. However, it is widely anticipated that Apple will support LTE in both the iPad 3 as well as iPhone 5. So as long as you’re in an LTE equipped market, you should be good to go.

Thunderbolt
This is probably my most favorite and most underused feature in my Early 2011 MacBook Pro. With the implementation of this high speed connectivity solution in its desktops, it seems logical that Apple will move to Thunderbolt and improve the throughput of local synchronization for all its iDevices. However, that would retether the devices it unleashed with the implementation of iCloud in iOS 5.

It would also totally hose about a gazillion iDevice accessories currently on the market today. Apple has been using their 30 pin dock connector forever, and while there have been a few changes to it, generally speaking they’ve stuck with it since the iPod was introduced many years ago.

This would be an interesting development; and one that I actually hope doesn’t come about. However, we’ll have to wait and see.

Come back next time, and I’ll dive into this a bit more with some speculation about iOS 6 and what it’s going to bring to the table.

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Nintendo Wii U – the future

Nintendo announced their new console “Wii U” to be launched in 2012.

The new Wii U should be able to satisfy anyone’s needs for entertainment. This will be possible through an interesting 6.2″ inch touchscreen pad that can act as a controller or as a screen, so bye-bye TV necessity.

Other Nintendo Wii U features include :
– front-facing camera for video chat
– internal SSD memory
– SD card for expansion
– USB ports for external HDDs (4 x USB 2.0)
– “proprietary high-density optical discs” up to 25Gb
– AMD Radeon HD CPU graphics
– IBM CPU for processing with embedded RAM
– and of course, everything will be High Definition (1080p).

The new Wii U will also be compatible with all current Wii console, games and accessories. But due to patent problems Wii U will not be able to play Blu-Ray and DVD discs which is a big disappointment. One would wonder how is then possible to read and play current Wii Games (as announced).

Even if one of the strong points of the actual Nintendo Wii console are design and movement, the next Wii U will be big and bulky. Also the new console will lack social-networking and free games. Because of these weak spots the Nintendo stocks are plummeting.

Some of the announced games are: Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Batman: Arkham City, an Assassin’s Creed game, Tekken, Dirt, Ghost Recon Online, Metro Last Light, Aliens Colonial Marines, N and Darksiders II.

Here is the demonstration of what will the Wii U be able to do:

Here is a short video of the graphics capabilities:

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Windows 8 leaks roundup

Even though nothing is official yet, and there are thousands of rumors about how Windows 8 will be, I decided to roundup any rumor and pack them in a nice and tidy post.

First rumor that everybody is “huffing” and “puffing” is the Windows 8 built-in market place.

The screenshot does remind me of something, but I can’t put my finger on what exactly. The principle is quite easy and most of us are used with it from Apple. Lots of apps, one place, secure download, easy install etc..

 

Windows 8 Smartscreen – this is a security feature that checks any files you open. I know what you would say, your antivirus does that, Microsoft Essentials does that, but this one is built-in. This feature is currently used by Internet Explorer and MSN

 

 

 

 

Windows UI Auto Color – basically the Aero will determine your wallpaper dominant color and change automatically its interface.

You will also be able to customize the interface elements individually, like taskbar, start menu and so on.

 

 

 

There is also a rumor that now you will be able to open your ISO files and mount them directly from the operating system.

This feature is long-time desired for many windows users all around the world. I don’t want to be a critical, but I really wonder where they got this idea from. (Mac OS X .dmg)

You will also find a built-in PDF reader app currently named Windows 8 AppX PDF Reader.

I am sure many windows users sooner or later had to reinstall the operating system due to different errors or problems. Windows 8 might come with a “reset” button; not a hardware but a software one. This feature should reset the OS and restore it to its factory settings. There is quite a buzz about this feature, according to the rumors it will take only minutes, but nobody knows how exactly and what will happen to your installed applications.

If this feature will keep your current apps installed, your files or will erase everything and leave you with a fresh start, we don’t know yet, but surely looks like Microsoft got some hints from Appstore why wouldn’t they create also something like Time Machine.

There are also rumors like Log-in using facial recognition and the PC camera, Faster Start-up, Better and more useful Help and Ribbon based Windows Explorer.

Want to see how it looks like ?

source 1
source 2

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