“Hey Siri, give us a hint.”

“Hey Siri, give us a hint.” So Apple has decided to tease us all again with a hint about the announcements to come on September 9 at 10 a.m. PDT.

Apple Event Sept 9th 2015

Speculation, as always, has been rife about exactly what is to come. Most commentators agree that it will be a new iPhone though no-one can agree if it’s effectively an iPhone 7 or an iPhone 6s. However, the reference to Siri may mean that Siri is going to get an update (none to soon either for some of us). Microsoft’s Cortana is impressive and Apple needs to pull something special out of the bag if it’s to regain its crown.

Other mooted announcements will an option to have the new iPhone in Rose Gold, along with Force Touch, brought over from the new MacBook. There are rumours too of an improved camera. Another expected announcement is an update to the Apple TV, which is also in need of an update. However, no-one really expects an actual Apple Television. Finally, the next big thing that is a possibility is an iPad Pro, with a larger screen, somewhere around 12″.

However, we don’t have long to wait and I for one will be watching the Keynote live.


Worth the wait!

New iPad mini

Apple has finally announced the new iPad mini, a veritable small but beautiful tech package of goodness if ever there was one! As expected it comes with a smaller screen and slots between the iPhone and the regular-sized iPad. In brief, here are the details:

  • Wi-Fi version: Height:7.87 inches (200 mm)Width:5.3 inches (134.7 mm)Depth:0.28 inch (7.2 mm)Weight:0.68 pound (308 g)
  • Wi-Fi + 4G: Height:7.87 inches (200 mm)Width:5.3 inches (134.7 mm)Depth:0.28 inch (7.2 mm)Weight:0.69 pound (312 g)
  • Available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavours.
  • 7.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 1024-by-768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • FaceTime HD Camera – 1.2MP photos & 720p HD video
  • iSight Camera – 5MP photos & 1080p HD video recording
  • Lightning connector
  • 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack

Apple maintains its commitment to the environment with the following:

  • Mercury-free LCD display
  • Arsenic-free display glass
  • BFR-free
  • PVC-free
  • Recyclable aluminum enclosure

In terms of pricing, UK prices are from £269 (for Wi-Fi only – Wi-Fi = 4G TC). Wi-Fi only version available from Nov 2; 4G version late Nov).

How successful the new iPad mini will be remains to be seen of course but bearing in mind the feature list and how it compares with tablets from the likes of Samsung, Sony, Amazon and others I am guessing it will be a massive success and I want one!

iPad 3 leaves Apple’s rivals behind

iPad 3 revealed

Apple has finally revealed the iPad 3 and its no surprise to see that it comes with double the resolution of the iPad 2 and has 4G network capability available if Wi-Fi isn’t enough for your needs. Here in the UK we are still stuck with 3G and will remain so for more than a year.

In addition to these two features, the new iPad comes with a much improved 5MP iSight camera, making HD movies at 1080p a reality. The camera features  a backside illumination sensor, offering improved image quality. You can tap the screen to focus and tap to set exposure, just like on the iPhone and there is built-in face detection that automatically balances focus and exposure across up to 10 faces. The iPad 3 also has built-in automatic video stabilisation, so your shots should all come out sharply focused. Interestingly, the camera has  an ƒ/2.4 aperture and a five-element lens, and a hybrid infrared filter, something usually only seen in expensive cameras. This should help ensure improved colour reproduction in your images and video.

The new Retina display on the new iPad has a 2048×1536 resolution, which Apple claims gives 44%t greater colour saturation and an astounding 3.1 million pixels in total, higher than that found in an HDTV. Apple claims that the pixels are so close together that under normal viewing they are not discernible to the human eye. All told, the new iPad has 4x the number of pixels the iPad 2 has. Apple says this required a technological breakthrough to make it possible.

The new A5X chip at the heart of the iPad 3 comes with its quad-core graphics that promise smooth graphics for video and games. Image-editing too in iPhoto and iMovie should also benefit. Apple claims that all this extra processing power hasn’t impacted on battery life, with the iPad touting a 10-hour battery life, just like the iPad 2.

Prices for the new iPad are:

  • 16GB Wi-Fi model £399
  • 32GB Wi-Fi model £479
  • 64GB Wi-FI model £559
  • 16GB Wi-Fi & 4G model £499
  • 32GB Wi-Fi & 4G model £579
  • 64GB Wi-Fi and 4G model £659

You will, of course, still need a data plan from a mobile provider such as Orange, O2, Three and Vodafone. These cost from £2 for 200MB a day to £25 for 10GB a month.

Finally, its hard to see how Apple’s rivals can catch up as to be honest, their Tablet offerings up to now have been pathetic compared to even the original iPad, never the iPad 2. Now, with the iPad 3 Apple has opened up an even greater technological gap over its rivals. Its not just the pure technology thouugh but the whole package. Apple just ‘does it right’. Everyone else doesn’t act like they ‘get it’ frankly.

iPad 3 heading our way?

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Rumours about the next iPad are coming thick and fast. Already there is talk of the iPad 3 rolling off the production lines in readiness for shipping in March. As for the specification of the new model, most sources expect the following:

Some pundits believe there will be two new models, with possibly one version being a sort of iPad 2S and the other being the new iPad 3, offering 4G as standard in the latter case and just 3G in the former. However, in my view, Apple likes to lead from the front and I can’t see that they will want to introduce an iPad 2S. Instead, I see them introducing the premium model, with 4G and keeping the iPad 2 on sale at a reduced price.

In terms of resolution, many are predicting a 2048 x 1536 retina display and there hints of this in iBooks 2 files and iTunes U. certainly, the combination of a higher resolution screen and the quad-core A6 processor will make the iPad 3 one desirable pice of kit, with much improved graphics performance, especially in games and video playback.

As for the camera, expect to see full HD (1080p) in line with the iPhone 4S. Other aspects remain unclear, such as the exact dimensions and weight of the new model. In addition, will the price be similar to the existing model or will there be a premium for the new model with little change in the price of the existing models?

iPad Rumours Round-up

Deutsch: IFA 2010, Berlin iPAD mit Lautspreche...

We are a pretty sad lot really, if we are honest with ourselves. The iPad 2 is an awesome product (by all accounts) and its the market leader, despite the best efforts of the likes of Sony, RIM and Samsung. Yet, it seems everyone is drooling over the iPad 3, even though, as always, there is no official announcement of whether there will even be an iPad 3, never mind when it’s coming and what exactly it will offer over and above the current model.

Now I have to say here that I don’t own an iPad, not even the first generation model. However, I encouraged a friend of mine to buy one recently. he is a totally non-techie guy and he has a young son. He was thinking of getting a laptop for the family (he already has  desktop PC – a HP server I persuaded him to buy for his home office) and his budget didn’t quite run to a MacBook Air. So, I suggested that the iPad would make an ideal choice as its light, very portable and has an intuitive interface, something he and his family would get along with easily. Also, the vast library of apps would be perfect for his young son as educational software was high on his list of priorities. Also, they wanted something their son could use on long journeys in the car. So, he went ahead and purchased the iPad and is, needless to say, very pleased with his purchase, as are his son and wife.

So, there is no doubt in my mind that the iPad 2 is the best tablet device around and its understandable that the geeks amongst us are interested to see what Apple can pull out of the hat next. I am sure too that there is an element of “how can Apple perform without Steve Jobs at the helm?”. In view of this and as its coming up to New Year, a time when we traditionally look to the year ahead, I thought I would do a round-up of the iPd 3 rumours doing the rounds at the moment.

Firstly, there are the contradictory rumours about whether there will be one or two new iPads in 2012. Some pundits are saying that Apple will introduce 2 models – a so-called iPad mini included. Taipei-based DigiTimes  has said that an iPad with a 7.85-inch display (iPad Mini) might be released by Apple in late 2012. Others are saying that there will only be one new iPad and that its slated for release as early as February 2012. Personally, I think that’s too early as it would cut into sales of the iPad 2 when its still riding high. The iPad 2 was only released in March this year (14 months after the original iPad was introduced in late Jan 2010). If Apple sticks to that cycle then we are looking at May or June as more likely.

In terms of specification, leaving aside the iPad mini issue, what can we expect of the iPad 3? Well, some folk seem to have been taking something (illicit substance wise) as they talk of a transparent iPad with holographic display! My guess is that such a device, if it were ever to appear would be sometime around 2020, not 2012. More realistically, a Retina-class display offering true HD with 2048×1536 pixels resolution is almost a certainty.

As for network connectivity, 4G LTE is also high on the feature list of most pundits. This would offer the possibility of super-fast mobile broadband, perhaps as fast as 100 Mb/s downloads! However, a LTE service is unavailable in most countries (including the UK) so even if Apple does introduce 4G LTE  it may only be available in some countries. My personal view is that Apple prefers to have as few models of its devices as possible and would rather wait for network providers in countries like the UK to catch-up with the likes of Japan, the US and even Poland!

Other features high on the list for many pundits are:

1. Siri – this would be a welcome step and make the iPad even more user-friendly

2. Camera – a higher resolution camera with true HD would be a minimum if Apple is to keep it’s fans and critics happy

3. Battery – improved battery performance is always welcome

4. SD Card slot – great for adding photos and expanding memory

These are the main features that most pundits seem to be expecting. Personally, I think we will see most if not all of these in the new iPad 3, whenever it eventually comes to market.

iPad dominates UK Tablet

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Kantar Worldpanel ComTec have released a report showing that the iPad accounts for some 73% share of the UK market. It’s nearest rival is Samsung‘s Galaxy Tab, with a mere 5.9% share. This is a devastating blow to those companies who have tried to jump on the bandwagon created by the iPad. Certainly, no other tablet can boast the sales that the iPad has had since its introduction in April 2010.

According to the report, there are more than 3.6 million UK citizens who now own a tablet,  approximately 7.6% of the population. This figure in November 2010 was just 2.8% apparently. With recent news that the Blackberry Playbook has undergone a price-cut (albeit limited to employees of the Rogers store chain in US and for a limited period only), things are looking somewhat bleak for the non-iPad market.

iPad a hit with silver surfers!

iPad 2 FaceTime

iPad 2 FaceTimeOver the years I have helped several individuals that fall into the so-called ‘silver surfers’ generation get to grips with computers. Most simply want to keep in touch with distant relatives or pursue a hobby online. Generally speaking, most have found it difficult to get to grips with the keyboard and mouse. Usually this is due to physical reasons such as arthritis or just simply finding it difficult to grasp the principles behind using a mouse and keyboard together to navigate around their chosen operating system.

Although I am something a Mac aficionado, my own sense is that both Macs and PCs are equally difficult to get along with because of their reliance on the keyboard and mouse combination.

So, it was interesting the other day to have a conversation with someone about their mother, who falls into the ‘silver surfer’ demographic. For ages she had been trying to get to grips with a computer but had failed to conquer the keyboard and mouse hurdle. Well, one day, her family decided to treat her to an iPad, as a gift and as a direct replacement for her computer. Imagine their surprise and delight to find that after a few days she is in happily spending lots of time on the iPad, doing all the things she tried to do on her computer but had found so difficult. It has literally transformed her life. As she lives alone, the iPad has become her means of keeping in touch via email, being able to browse the internet at leisure and she is spending more and more time on it.

So, maybe Apple should come up with some discount scheme for folk over 60 years of age? I am sure there is an opportunity here for Apple to grab even more market share whilst at the same time transforming the lives of our senior citizens. Anyone listening….