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Author Archives: kduggan

Moshi for iPad
  • iPad mini front mock-up

    While waiting for Apple to unveil the iPad mini on October 23rd, we’re all over leaked photos and specs for the new device. We’ve seen plenty of mock-ups until now, but Sonny Dickson, a researcher at 9to5Mac posted some photos on his Twitter feed that are rumored to be actual pics of the tiny Apple tablet.


    Many of the pictures show the iPad mini next to the new iPad. There's a dramatic size difference between the two. The mini looks to be 7.85 inches with an anodized aluminum case. There’s a rear-facing camera, two rear speakers and a nano-SIM card slot for wireless internet access.  It will likely be equipped with the Lightning dock connector, too.


    Actual pic of the iPad mini on top of the new iPad?

    The Wall Street journal reports that Apple is so sure that the iPad mini will be a huge seller that they and their suppliers are busy making 10 million of them.


    Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire are both priced at $199. TechCrunch is reporting that the iPad mini will come in at around $300.


    Apple will make the official iPad Mini announcement on October 23rd. the iPad Mini preorder date for October 26th and we can find in stores on November 2nd.



    This post was posted in Apple, News and PR, Tablets and was tagged with iPad mini release, iPad mini specs, iPad mini

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  • Just like our Facebook posts create histories of our lives that can’t be erased, we generate indelible electronic paper trails whenever we use our mobile devices. Verizon Wireless is only the latest tech company to collect information on its subscribers and then sell it to advertisers who might be interested in seeing what we buy and where.


    Verizon calls their new data collection program “Precision Market Insights.” Verizon collects geographic data from the apps we use and the websites we access. They then turn around and share the information with businesses that are interested in selling us stuff through advertising on our smartphones and other mobile devices.


    Verizon is adamant that the program is legal and doesn't violate any privacy laws because they keep user identities anonymous. Earlier this year, Bill Diggins, the U.S. head of Precision Market Insights, spoke about what the Verizon program allows the company to do. Of subscribers Diggins said, "We're able to view just everything they do.”


    Verizon is latest mobile service provider to use what’s called “data-mining.” MIT’s Technology Review reported that in 2010 AT&T began tracking how and when text messages are sent. They believe these are indicators of social trends and human behavior. The MIT researchers also stated that many tech companies perform similar data analyses. Facebook and Google have been doing it for awhile, too.


    What cell companies don’t want you to know is that you can opt out of these kinds of data-mining programs. In the case of Verizon, customers can log in to their MyVerizon account and opt out any time.




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  • Now that we know what Microsoft’s Surface tablet looks like, it’s a good time to compare specs for the Surface to two of the other most popular tablets on the market: Apple’s new iPad and Kindle Fire HD.


    Microsoft Surface RT


    Dimensions: 6.7 x 10.8 x 0.37 inches
    Weight: 1.5 pounds
    Screen size: 10.6 inches
    Operating system: Windows RT
    Screen resolution: 1,366 x 768
    Pixels: 148 ppi
    CPU: Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3
    Connectors: USB 2.0, microHDMI
    Storage capacity: 32GB or 64GB
    Battery life: 8 hours with mixed activity
    Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
    Camera specs: Two 720p HD cameras, front- and rear-facing
    Pricing: $499 for 32GB, $599 for 32GB and Touch Cover, $699 for 64GB and Touch Cover



    Apple iPad


    Dimensions: 7.3 x 9.5 x 0.37 inches
    Weight: 1.44 or 1.46 pounds
    Screen size: 9.7 inches
    Operating system: iOS 6
    Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536
    Pixels: 264 ppi
    CPU: Dual-core 1GHz Apple A5X (quad-core graphics)
    Connectors: Apple 30-pin dock connector
    Storage capacity: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
    Battery life: 10 hours of video playback (11,666 mAh)
    Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi and 2G, 3G, 4G LTE; Bluetooth 4.0
    Camera specs: 5MP rear camera, VGA front camera
    Pricing: $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB (Wi-Fi); $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB, $829 for 64GB (Wi-Fi + cellular)



    Amazon Kindle Fire HD


    Dimensions: 6.4 x 9.4 x 0.35 inches
    Weight: 1.25 pounds
    Screen size: 8.9 inches
    Operating system: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
    Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200
    Pixels: 254 ppi
    CPU: Dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP4470
    Connectors: microUSB, microHDMI
    Storage capacity: 16GB or 32GB
    Battery life: 9 hours
    Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi or dual-band Wi-Fi and 2G, 3G, 4G LTE; Bluetooth
    Camera specs: HD front-facing camera
    Pricing: $299 for 16GB, $369 for 32GB (Wi-Fi); $499 for 32GB, $599 for 64GB (Wi-Fi + cellular)


    The Surface RT faces some stiff competition. Regardless of the type of device, you have to decide what’s most important and determine what’s the best investment for you. Diehard Apple loyalists, we’re not talking about you.


    Thanks to the folks at Mashable for putting together this comprehensive summary.




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  • Japanese telecommunications company Softbank will purchase an ownership stake of 70% in Sprint for $20 billion that includes $8 billion in stock. Softbank is calling their new acquisition “New Sprint.”


    Sprint is the U.S.'s third-largest mobile carrier behind Verizon and AT&T. The Sprint purchase is the biggest-ever overseas acquisition by a Japanese company. It’s the latest consolidation among big players in the U.S. mobile industry. (T-Mobile recently announced their partnership with MetroPCS.)


    Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son stated his case for this being a good partnership for both companies. One big reason is that they are both developing LTE on the same frequency. Combining their efforts will move the process along more quickly and cost less to implement.


    If nothing else, Softbank/Sprint will present some big competition for AT&T and Verizon – companies that almost completely own the U.S. telecom market. The technology required to bring the latest phones, national networks and high-speed connectivity to the market is too expensive for all the smaller carriers. As Dan Hesse, Sprint’s CEO, described it “This is pro-competitive and pro-consumer” because it helps fight the “AT&T and Verizon duopoly.”


    With some of the Softbank cash infusion, Sprint can focus on improving its unlimited data plan for smartphones. Sprint is the only one of the three that still provides unlimited plans to new customers.


    Right now Sprint is also the only major carrier that still offers both the iPhone and an unlimited plan. If Sprint can expand its 4G network to more markets, they will have a very valuable product for consumers.


    When the news hit yesterday, it crashed the Sprint website. It’s back up now.




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  • Does your smartphone’s battery run out of charge way more frequently than manufacturers claim? The big touch screens, fast processors and complex apps that are packed onto our mobile devices suck up a lot of power. Most of us know that it’s too much to ask that a battery lasts a week on one charge, but there’s no excuse for not being able to make it through a day.


    The idea of carrying an extra battery or charger around, positioning a charger, dock or car charger at each stopping point, or keeping track of every available outlet isn’t very appealing to most. But when you have a phone that is your lifeline to calls, texts, apps, internet and Wifi, you do what you have to do.


    Imagine even having 20% charge left at the end of each crazy, busy day. If you haven’t included battery life as a high priority for choosing your next phone, tablet or notebook, maybe it’s time you did.


    PC Magazine recently did some testing of their own, and published their study of the 10 top phones. It's a short list of Android phones that delivered at least eight hours of talk time. The magazine’s in-house experts know that talk time doesn’t account for all the other ways we use our phones throughout the day, but it's still a good indication of how long you can expect your battery to last.


    For most smartphones running on a 3G network, the average talk time is a little over six hours. Even if you’re out of the house for 12 hours, that should be more than enough juice to get you through the day without a charge. If your device's battery doesn't give you that kind of energy, maybe it's time for a new one.




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  • Sony has decided to buck the trend that’s been taking us towards ever-smaller tablets with the first Godzilla of tablets – the Sony VAIO Tap 20. This tablet/portable all-in-one pc has a 20-inch screen, weighs a hefty 11.5 pounds AND can run on its rechargeable battery for up to 3 hours. What would you call it?


    The Tap 20 is impressive. It is sleek like tablet with less bulk than most laptops. Its stand allows the 20-inch touch-screen tablet to be laid flat or propped at almost any angle. While there’s no disc drive, its wireless keyboard and mouse lets it function like an all-in-one.



    Sony is hoping that the tablet will be recognized for its versatility, particularly suited to the needs of families. It’s a desktop, laptop, all-in-one and tablet. It looks like the only thing the Tap 20 is not is a smartphone.


    Here’s a short run-down on a few more of the Tap 20’s specs.


    Hardware


    • Third-gen Intel Core i3 processor
    • 4GB of RAM (configurable to 8GB)
    • 500GB hard drive that you can also configure with i5 and i7 CPUs
    • 20-inch, 1,600 x 900 display that uses IPS technology that should create decent viewing angles even when a group is crowded around the screen
    • Built-in NFC
    • Video playback engine is powered by Sony Bravia picture-quality technology
    • 1.3-megapixel webcam
    • Dual speakers and a subwoofer


    Sony has designed in some durability. They claim that the Tap 20’s display is "drop-resistant" and the rubber seal around the bezel is supposed to keep water out of the motherboard.


    On the software front, the Tap 20 includes Artrage Studio Pro, Fingertaps (a Sony-made app that combines drawing functions with to-do lists and reminders) and My Daily Clip app that turns the tablet into a game board.


    A good-sized inventory of Sony apps are ready for download in the Windows Store including the Socialife aggregator, Music by Sony, VAIO Movie Creator and the photo and video organizer - Album by Sony.


    The Tap 20 starts at $879. Fully-loaded, it will sell for around $2,500. Sony says the machine will go on sale in the US on October 26th, the same day Windows 8 launches.




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  • It might look like Apple has its hands full with out of control iPhone 5 sales and an impending iPad mini launch, but they have made time to put a couple of great new iPod models together. Apple has just hit us with a seventh-generation iPod nano and a fifth generation iPod touch.


    At a glance, you might mistake the iPod touch for the iPhone 5. The new iPod touch uses the same 4-inch display and is exactly the same height as the iPhone 5, making it taller than the iPhone 4/4S and all previous touch devices. With its loop button and wrist strap in place, it looks like a really thin digital camera.


    The iPod touch has Apple’s dual core A5 chipset, with twice the processing power and up to seven times the graphical abilities of the last touch. This chipset is more than enough to keep iOS 6 in the groove. It really shines when it comes to gaming and multimedia apps. The 5th-gen is available in 32 GB and 64GB versions. This touch also gives you Siri, Apple Maps, the new Facebook integration, and AirPlay Mirroring.


    The iPod nano is the most frequently redesigned Apple product. This nano is smaller than the palm of your hand, but twice as long as the last nano version. It definitely is a stripped-down mini music player. It's a typically Apple-slick device, but it does little more than play audio files.


    In one of the first nano reviews, The Verge noted that the lack of iCloud capability keeps users stuck in the traditional iPod setup of having to manage their music files via iTunes, a concept dating back over decade.


    As The Verge report put it, “It’s like taking a time machine to 2010. If you’re cool with managing files, the new iPod nano is the best dedicated music player on the market. It’s the sort of product that only Apple can make; a seamless slice of metal and plastic that feels essentially inevitable once you hold it.”


    Just like the iPhone 5, the new iPods use the tiny Lightning jack. Be warned, neither model ships with an AC adapter. You’ll need to charge them up using your computer or through a USB-based AC adapter.



    This post was posted in Apple and was tagged with Apple iPods, new iPods, iPod Nano, iPods, iPod Touch.

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  • Whenever an operating system upgrade lands on the market, cell phone manufacturers have to decide whether or not to deliver a version that is compatible for every device still in use. In some instances the equipment isn’t capable of handling the software. In others, it’s a decision solely driven by economics.


    Most of us understand that if we’re still using a phone with an antenna, we shouldn’t expect to get an Ice Cream Sandwich update. However, if we have a smartphone that is capable of handling an update, has a significant problem that will be fixed with an impending OS revision or was bought before an update was released and we were told the phone would get the update, can't we expect equipment makers to provide an update for that device?


    Recent decisions by equipment manufacturers like Motorola and Apple to not provide an OS upgrade for some of their older devices has left many consumers going “What the...?!”.


    In the case of Motorola, they were a member of the Android Upgrade Alliance, promising customers they would upgrade specific phones for 18 months after they came out – commitments that probably drove sales of a few devices.


    Recently, Motorola quietly abandoned its update pledge, killing off plans to ever update some of their recent releases like the Photon 4G, The Electrify and the Atrix 4G, a flagship phone that debuted on AT&T. The result is that thousands of people in the middle of two-year carrier contracts will never get Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and will have to keep using Android 2.3, or Gingerbread. Since ICS was a major OS update, Motorola customers with lose out on lots of new features like visual voice mail, app folders and resizeable widgets, not to mention security updates.


    If you’ll recall, Apple did the same thing to its older device-holders back in June. Apple released system requirements for machines eligible OS X Mountain Lion upgrades and later revealed that pre-2007 iMacs, pre-2008 Mac Pros, MacBook Airs released in the first half of 2008 and MacBook Pros released before mid-2007 wouldn’t be getting iOS 6.



    We spend way too much money on our smartphones and tablets in the first place. If equipment manufacturers aren’t willing to keep investing in products for as long as we, their customers, are under contract they aren’t keeping their part of the bargain.




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  • Word has it that AT&T will take preorders for their Windows Phone 8 devices starting on October 21st. Microsoft’s official launch date for its new OS is October 29th, so AT&T and any of the other carriers won’t be letting them loose before then. According to The Verge, the Microsoft announcement will probably identify a market entry date for its devices in early November.


    AT&T will offer the HTC 8X, the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820, as well as Samsung’s Ativ Smart PC and Asus’ Vivo Tab RT tablets, all equipped with Windows Phone 8. The Lumia 820 will be available from other carriers, such as T-Mobile, but the Lumia 920 will be exclusive to AT&T.


    AT&T plans to carry additional HTC smartphones that run on Windows Phone 8. The HTC One X+ and One VX would be available "in the coming months."


    Recent market share data shows that devices powered with Microsoft’s Windows Phone occupy just 3.5% of the smartphone market. Microsoft updated its mobile OS in June, adding support for multi-core processors, higher screen resolutions and near-field communication (NFC). Window Phone shares the same source code as Microsoft’s Windows 8 desktop OS. We’ll see where Microsoft takes that connection in the future.




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  • Samsung and HTC have gotten very good at making smartphones, but few would argue that Apple’s iPhone creations always raise the bar. The iPhone 5 may not be the stunner that we were hoping for, but it is a wondrous phone. Focusing on the Apple world for a minute, we were wondering how the iPhone 5 stacked up against the iPhone 4S.


    The iPhone 5 case has a sleek two-tone glass and aluminum look. While it’s more drop-resistant, the aluminum scratches and shows fingerprints more easily than the 4S shell.


    Dimensionally, the iPhone 5 is markedly different than its predecessor. It’s lighter - 112g compared to 140g. It’s also 1.7mm thinner than the 4S, measuring 7.6mm.


    The screen is a full 4” and has a 1,136×640 resolution – an expansion that was necessary due to the popularity of watching movies and playing games on mobile phones.


    The iPhone 5's change in aspect ratio is 16:9 compared to the previous 3:2, and has become a problem for both running the current apps and the urgency for designing new. Some apps will show a black bar at the top and bottom until they’re updated.


    The speakers seem to have lots less distortion, or at least they seem louder than they were on the 4S. There is still nothing better than sound from a good pair of headphones.


    Neither the 5 nor the 4S has a removable battery or SD card. The batteries are very similar – the 4S has a 1,432mAh and the iPhone 5 has a 1,440mAh. This means around 40 hours of music and eight hours of talk time – similar times for both models.


    They both come in 16, 32 and 64GB versions.


    The iPhone 5 has 4G LTE support, a huge upgrade over the 4S 3G limitation.


    The A6 chip is twice as fast as the 4S’ A5. The A5 chip is 1GHz and the A6 is 1.3GHz, which in real life use is a noticeable boost. The iPhone 5 also has 1GB of RAM compared to the 512MB in the 4S.


    The new 9-pin Lightning connector significantly shrinks the footprint of the ancient 30-pin connector, but the change has irritated many because the new dock connector is necessary to using old Apple equipment. Get over it.


    The 4G LTE capability is terrific, but unless you’re a Verizon subscriber, you’re still stuck on some version of 3G/4G.


    Both the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S are amazing phones. Hopefully, this comparison has provided lots of reasons to upgrade - or not.



    This post was posted in Apple, News and PR and was tagged with iPhone 5 specs, iPhone 5 comparison, iphone 5, iphone 4S

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