A Byte of Apple : iPad 2 Predictions

Uncharacteristically Apple. The invite sent out last week to the media wasn’t subtle or discreet as the company is often wont to be. Instead, it showed an image of a calendar app icon peeled back to reveal the corner of an iPad that was very much identical to the one that is running on short supplies in Apple stores worldwide as you read this. So the next iPad is upon us, and now’s a great time to take stock of all the rumors and predictions around the new device. But before we start, the big question, at least to me is – which one will it be – iPad 2, or a 1.5 equivalent? It boils down to this – just how much does Apple need an iPad 2 beyond the simple ‘marketing’ matter of keeping up with the Joneses? Sure, the competition has recently trumpeted impressive specs such as dual-core processors, HDMI output, video chat, HD camcorders, and 4G wireless connections, but I for one feel they’re missing point completely in trying to beat the iPad on specs. Where the first generation iPad scores is on experience – the breadth and depth of apps (games included) that run like a dream on the iPad are yet to see serious competition from tablet specific apps on Android. Plus, the iPad’s 10 hours of battery life has set the bar really high for the competition, and all those dual core processors the competition is sporting aren’t going to help one bit in this department. I’d even be willing to wager that the first-gen is good for some more time yet, possibly with modest improvements, allowing for a bigger September iPad 2 update to capitalize on the massive holiday shopping season. All this points to why the updates I sense we’ll see come March 2 will be incremental and evolutionary, not revolutionary. Continue reading “A Byte of Apple : iPad 2 Predictions”

A Byte of Apple : 11 Predictions for 2011!

(image courtesy flickr user korosirego)

Man, what an #epic #win year it’s been for Apple! Poor-antenna-PR aside, pretty much everything the folks from Cupertino launched hit gold in 2010, whether it was the refreshed take on the iPods or the iPhone or the all new iPad, which spawned an almost dysenteric flow of Android tablets for the rest of the year! Not to forget the impossibly thin(ner) MacBook Air, which points to the future of how Apple notebooks will be. Think about it – a Jan. 27 iPad announcement, then the April 8 iOS 4 preview followed by the June 7 WWDC launch of the iPhone 4, and then the Sept. 1 iPod updates and finally…closing out the year with the Oct. 20 ‘Back to the Mac’ announcements! Phew! Continue reading “A Byte of Apple : 11 Predictions for 2011!”

A Byte of Apple : 2010 iPods Reviewed!

Spot poll: Who doesn’t like some new gear, especially when the new pieces of bling sport the bitten fruit logo ‘round the back? This week, A Byte of Apple takes a long hard look (see our Exclusive Photo gallery as well) at the 2010 lineup of iPods – the nano, the touch and the shuffle – and this what we came back with. If you’ve been putting off the decision to pick one of these babies up, this should seal the deal for you! Continue reading “A Byte of Apple : 2010 iPods Reviewed!”

A Byte of Apple : Back to the Mac

A Byte of Apple is back after an almost Steve-Jobs-esque hiatus (we kid, really!), a time where Apple kept us more than busy with a slew of announcements and new products that threaten our already fragile bank balances!

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Exclusive Photo Gallery : 2010 Apple iPod Touch , Nano and Shuffle

Exclusive Photo Gallery : 2010 Apple iPod Touch , Nano and Shuffle

Apple has launched the latest iPods in India  – the 4th Gen iPod Touch , the 6th Gen iPod Nano and the 4th gen iPod Shuffle. Here are some exclusive photos of the 2010 iPod lineup. Continue reading “Exclusive Photo Gallery : 2010 Apple iPod Touch , Nano and Shuffle”

A Byte of Apple : New iPods, iTunes 10 and Apple TV announced and dissected!

Throwing open its typically-closed-doors to a live web audience, albeit only for those on the Mac OS or iOS platform, Apple unveiled a slew of new products and services to a capacity crowd at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. There were upgrades detailed for the iOS platform, including the iPad, a whole new line-up of iPods, a brand new arisen-from-the-ashes Apple TV and iTunes 10 going all social! In case you missed it, here’s all the news you can use, list style for easy consumption, including some nuggets that the casual observer may have missed in the din of last night’s news.

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A Byte of Apple : New iPods coming on Sep 1

You have to hand it to Apple. With the intense media rumors that start building up before a traditional Apple device update period, even down to predictions around the date and timing of the event, Apple’s got a problem most product managers would give an arm and a leg to have. And what does the Cupertino-based outfit do? Well, Santa comes early this year, with Apple announcing a media event focused around music on September 1st, 2010, coming about six days ahead of a Bloomberg-rumored September 7 date.

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A Byte of Apple : The Lull Before the Storm?

All it took was a couple of innocuous third-party app screenshots in several patent applications Apple had filed late last year, and the next thing you know, vocal advocates of developer rights were screaming nothing short of bloody murder! If you haven’t tuned into the ‘Where To?’ furor that has erupted so far, what actually happened is this. Apple’s patent application described an integrated travel application for the iPhone, which allows you to for example feed an itinerary into your iPhone and have it send out notifications to your hotel and taxi service the moment you landed at your destination! It just so happened that in the description of the patent, there was a screen image that was pretty much a direct copy of the interface found in the third-party application ‘Where To?’. What was meant to illustrate a user interface that one might expect in such an app turned into quite something else. Instead of being treated as a tip of the hat to the developers of ‘Where To?’ for their excellent user interface, Apple has on their hands mass hysteria and blind panic that followed (in some circles, at least), with many claiming that Cupertino was trying to patent third-party application ideas and claim their IP to be its own. Things only quietened down when reps from Apple sat down with folks who developed ‘Where To?’ and discussed alternatives such as attributing the screenshot in the patent application to ‘Where To?’.

As loyal and fiercely protective developers get around a platform, Apple’s possibly learnt something out of this – reach out to your developers and keep them in the know, especially if their intellectual property figures anywhere in your documentation.

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A Byte of Apple : iPhone 4 set free

Phew! If you follow Apple as closely as I do, you’d know that they’ve been keeping us pretty busy over the past couple of weeks. If it was the iPhone 4 launch one week, it was the ‘Antennagate’ press con the next, and this past week, a slew of products and news kept the Apple-sphere agog about the latest from Cupertino.

In their signature Tuesday-morning-release style, Apple launched a number of updates to their existing product families, including an all-new 27-Inch LED Cinema Display and MacPros with upto 12 core CPU options, among others. Apple desktop users were given some trackpad love with the release of the Magic Trackpad, which gives iMac and Mac Pro users the ability to use the full set of gestures (including two-finger scroll, pinch to zoom, rotate, three and four-finger swipes) that Apple’s portable computer lines have enjoyed over the past couple of years. Oh, and they also launched a battery charger. Yep, an Apple battery charger, and guess what? It’s suddenly a rage all over the internet… jeez, a battery charger! I mean sure, it’s a nice little AA battery charger which minimizes ‘vampire draw’ by shutting off the power when the batteries are charged, and ships with six batteries which are claimed to last up to ten years. Only goes to show that just about any Apple news is big news! Continue reading “A Byte of Apple : iPhone 4 set free”

A Byte of Apple : Apple pulls it off, in more ways than one!

If there was any doubt in our minds as to the outcome of the iPhone 4 ‘antennagate’ press conference, the digital Pied Piper of our generation brought his A-game to the event. And what a show he pulled off! It took a carefully crafted set of words – “We’re not perfect. Phones are not perfect. We all know that. But we want to make our users happy.” – for Steve Jobs to turn the event from a witch-hunt defense to a discourse on smartphones in general, and that they, much like the iPhone 4, have problems.

(image courtesy flickr user random_j)

In doing so, Jobs took the moral high ground about the challenge all manufacturers face with managing antenna issues, further driving home the point with videos demonstrating top smartphones suffering signal attenuation when gripped firmly. Add to this the carefully curated data around the lower rate of product returns and dropped calls the iPhone 4 had seen (compared to the 3GS). In effect, by the time he announced free bumper cases and a no-questions-asked 30-day full-refund return option, he’d turned the iPhone 4 around from being a potential buggy dud to pretty much the best smartphone around, albeit one that had an Achilles heel that was common to all smartphones! And ever so often, repeating the mantra of “keeping the users happy”, and before you know it, Apple walked out of the “antenna-gate” smelling of roses.

On cue, RIM, Nokia and HTC reacted strongly to being painted with the same wide brush, each shooting back strong missives in Apple’s direction for involving them in “Apple’s self-made debacle”. For Apple, the job is done – the iPhone 4 has come out of this (almost) squeaky clean, and the subject of antenna design decisions has been brought out so clearly into public consciousness for the first time.

And just as this was threatening to blow up, along came Apple’s Q3 earnings call earlier this week. In case you missed it, here’s the gist. The numbers look good, with a record $15.7 billion earned for the June quarter, right about when they shipped the hundred millionth iOS (iPad, iPod touch or iPhone) device. What’s important to note is that the iOS products now contribute two-thirds of Apple’s revenues, and this is in a quarter that saw 3.472 million Macs sold during the June quarter, up 33 percent year-over-year and easily outpacing the 20% growth rate PCs showed. Not surprisingly, the company is now sitting easy on $45.8 billion in cash, and with the iPad launching in nine more countries – Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Singapore – as you read this ( on Friday, July 23), their next quarter looks set to do no less. If anything, Apple’s going to have to watch their suppliers closely, ‘coz at the rate at which they’re going, supply just isn’t going to keep up with demand. That’s a good problem to have, in any case.

As we wrap up this week’s A Byte of Apple, we couldn’t possibly close without a mention of Flipboard – A Social Magazine App for the iPad. As the name suggests, Flipboard creates a magazine out of a user’s social content, and early user response suggest this could be the way to consume Facebook, twitter and your other social feeds while fitting into the chilling-out lifestyle of iPad media consumption.

Now, a week full of controversy and hard numbers does have its light moments too – and this week’s humor is courtesy a thief who earlier this week made off with an iPhone snatched right from a woman’s hand in the San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, not knowing that the phone was being used in a demonstration of real-time GPS tracking. Of all the phones he could have whacked, he picked this one! What are the odds!?! No prizes for guessing what happened next – he was picked up by police about ten minutes later with the help of the location tracking. Talk about being a #fail at what you do!

A Byte of Apple : iPhone 4 Press Con Predictions

The death-grip-gate drama surrounding the iPhone 4 and its mysterious signal dropping is coming to a head, with Apple hastily convening a press conference later tonight at its Cupertino campus. A quick recap if you’re just tuning in – after a number of users reported signal and call/data drops when their hands bridged the new iPhone 4 antenna, Apple issued a public statement stating it was a mere ‘formula error’ that led to users seeing more signal bars than they should in certain cases. It took independent body Consumer Reports, which tested three iPhone 4s in its radio frequency isolation room and issued a ‘not recommended’ status due to the significant reception problems (when holding the phone over its lower-left corner), for Apple to pull together an event to tackle this issue head-on.

Now, in typical Apple fashion, an invite to this event, even to the select few who do receive it, is short on detail, except that it will be around the company’s flagship smartphone. This is a first for Apple – as far back as I can remember, and aficionados out there can correct me if I am wrong, Apple has never called for a press conference for anything other than a new product announcement. Amidsts all the theories and expectations around what Apple should do at this event, here are our educated predictions about how it will go down come Friday 16th July, 10 AM Pacific time:

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A Byte of Apple : iPhone 4 is here

A new week brings with it our dose of Apple flavored news, but this is no ordinary week. It’s not every week that a celebrity device chances its way across to our hands, and this week saw both Varun and me having a go at the iPhone 4, fresh off the boat courtesy returning friends from the UK.

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A Byte of Apple: Our weekly wrap on all news Apple!

It’s been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for the little big company from Cupertino this past week. Despite AT&T’s best efforts to keep the iPhone 4 out of the hands of subscribers – we wrote about the server meltdowns that the overwhelming demand for the new iPhone had caused last week – the iPhone 4 hit eager hands starting June 24th and for some lucky folks who’d preordered, as much as a day earlier! And how it hit! Apple’s reported first three days sales of 1.7 million iPhone 4 models, besting launch records set by previous iPhone models, with the iPhone 3G and 3GS selling in the region of 1 million in the first weekend after launch. Almost makes the other news from last week – 3 million iPads sold in 80 days – pale in comparison, doesn’t it?

(image courtesy flickr user dcharti) Continue reading “A Byte of Apple: Our weekly wrap on all news Apple!”

A Byte of Apple: Our weekly wrap on all news Apple!

You either love ’em or you hate ’em, but you simply cannot ignore them. Apple is one of those brands that polarizes opinions – the products undoubtedly cost much more than they should, are arguably not as spec-rich as the competition, but who else makes computer systems and personal entertainment devices that look so damn stylish, yet compact, at the same time?
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