“iPad Killer” rumors are all the rage

I do like the look of this HP tablet. For the rumored $600 price tag, it supports an impressive feature list.

  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor
  • an 8.9-inch, multi-touch display
  • 32 or 64 GB of Flash storage
  • 1 GB of DDR RAM
  • Windows Home 7 Premium
  • a VGA Webcam
  • an Intel UMA graphics chip that supports 1080p, high-definition video playback

Oh, and it supports Flash, has at least one USB port and a SD slot.

Yet another iPad post

Ya, ya…my last few posts have been about the iPad. It’s nifty and shiny, so of course it attracts my attention. I was discussing tech stuff with a buddy and made the following comment.

The Apple iPad really isn’t a new product trying to break into the market, it’s an expansion on an existing product line with a rabidly fanatical user base.

It’s not the magic device that many had hoped for, but it’s magic in a business sense that is pure Steve Jobs. It’s certainly good enough.

I used to carry a better phone than my iPhone, and a better PDA, and an MP3 player with more storage, and better camera. My iPhone does all those functions, not as well, but good enough, that I only carry one device all the time, instead of four.

Ya, the Kindle is probably a better e-text reader due it’s E-ink screen, but is it good enough to spend an additional $260 for when your $500 tablet, that does a bunch of other stuff as well, is a good enough e-text reader?

As for that “bunch of other stuff,” just look at the itunes store. Not just the apps, but the movies and TV shows. The iPad is handier than my notebook, has a better screen than my netbook, and with the rumored Hulu app, I’ll be able to stream Red Eye and watch TV shows as well as video bought or rented through iTunes. That isn’t even counting the apps being written now to take advantage of the new features of the bloody thing.

My prediction is that it’s going to sell and sell well. It’s popularity will drive sales for other tablet platforms, such as the Adam. The beauty of is that is a typical Apple product in that there is nothing really ground breaking about it. It’s a collection of well known and existing technology put together into a really well designed package.

Hulu app for the iPad?

By way of Apple Insider, is this TechCrunch post about Hulu getting around the lack of flash support on the iPad/iPhone/iTouch by creating a dedicated app.

One rumor I’ve heard from an industry insider is that Hulu is working on an iPad-friendly version of its site that should be ready by the time the iPad hits the market. Hulu itself is still vague about its plans.

Hulu is a major source of online videos direct from the content providers (i.e. quality streaming videos instead of hacked, malware ridden stuff), so having it on the iPad will provide a lot of added value. I still hold that the apps customized to take advantage of the iPad will be a major factor in driving sales.

HT to Vodkapundit.

iPad is bringing new life to the e-book debates

With Apple’s announcement of the iPad and the Apple iBook store, people have been noticing the ongoing debate about e-books, e-readers and the ugly concept of DRM, which assumes that paying customers are thieves.

Joining the fray, is is Stephen Green, also known as the Vodkapundit.

Of course, I had join in.

Apple announces the iPad

Apple is hold a press announcement for it’s tablet device, called an iPad.

Streaming details at gdgt.

No price announced yet, but rumors say around a grand.

UpdateI posted more details over at the Urbin Report.

Apple really slammed the price down.  $499 for a 16 Gig WiFi model and $829 for 64 Gig with WiFi & 3G.

Downside: It’s a big iTouch.  No standard USB port, no SD slot and it’s locked to iTunes to load new content.

On the other hand, it’s a good Netbook replacement for around the house.  Surfing, basic email and a better screen to watch video on.  Apple finally came out with a keyboard, it’s not Bluetooth, but connects to a docking port.  A step in the right direction.

Since it’s a big iTouch, it runs all the iTouch/iPhone apps.  So you can ignore Apple’s iBooks store, load the Kindle app and buy books from Amazon.  Or you could load Stanza or Bookshelf and read your own DRM free e-books, like the ones you purchase from Baen Books.

Apple also announced a new SDK, so it will be interesting to see what new features the iPad has when people start digging into that.

Update: It appears that the iPad actually does have a webcam.

Best tech rumor I’ve heard lately…

From what I’ve read, there was nothing really eye popping at CES this year.  Some cool stuff, but nothing to really thrill anyone.

Apple is having their own press announcement next month.  So of course, Apple tablet rumors have been running hot and heavy again.  I heard the name “iSlate” dropped several times.

My favorite rumor was on a recent episode of TWiT, where one pundit quoted his inside Apple source as saying that there will be a lot of Kindle’s on e-Bay after this announcement.

iTunes for the UI Fail!

Approaching the two hour mark for what should be a simple iPhone sync.

I flushed the primary drive of my desktop, loaded Windows 7 and and started reinstalling software. All my data is on another drive, so it should be a fairly straightforward process.   To Windows 7’s credit, it has been. Up until I hit iTunes, software from the UI Uber-geniuses at Apple.

I installed iTunes, it found my old information in the my documents folder tree (part of that keeping all the data on a separate drive things), but was treating this as a new instance of iTunes, instead of the continuation of the old one.

I manage my music and movies manually, and sync podcasts and apps.  If I tried to change the default setting to that configuration, I got dire warnings from iTunes that it would erase my phone data and replace it. After a bit of digging, I did the non-intuitive action of transferring my ‘purchases’ from the iPhone to this instance of iTunes.  They I made the selection to sync the podcasts I wanted synced and got the dire warnings again.  I bit the bullet, hit sync, and here I am two hours later, still waiting for iTunes to figure this out.

I’ve made the selection not to send usage data to Apple at least three times, each time, careful to hit the “don’t ask this questions again” button.

I’m still no closer to having Dr. Tiki and the gang loaded on my iPhone. So much for Apple’s ease of use and well known attention to detail in order to improve the user experience.

In this case they have screwed that pouch so hard that poor mutt can’t walk.

Epic Fail for the vaunted Apple UI here.

The Droid

Verizon has finally gotten what could a be a viable iPhone replacement.  A phone running the latest version of Google’s Andorid OS and a growing supply of applitions.

I haven’t got my hands on one yet, but I’ve read a few reviews that state it stands up quite well in head to head comparisons with the iPhone.  The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that the iPhone has a much deeper pool of applications available.  Not suprising, but I expect the number of Android apps to grow quickly.

Verizon is also pushing its much wider 3G coverage heavily, but it’s still not a GSM network.  That topic has been discussed here, and I’m sure it will again, but I’m still a fan of GSM networks.  It is my opinion that Verizon is going to have to bite that bullet sooner or later.

The Droid phone and its OS have another advantage, open source.  The iPhone is locked down tight by Apple.  It controls your apps, what they can do, and how much data you can transfer over the cell phone network.  An Android based phone, with a SIM slot, is much more flexible.

Apple’s Announcement

Apple made a long anticipated product launch on 9/9/09. What was missing was more interesting than what was announced.

What was announced was interesting. An iPod touch with 64 Gig of memory, but no camera, and a Nano iPod with not just a camera, but a video camera and a FM radio. The Nano’s camera is VGA quality, not HD. The FM radio is a nice touch, but Microsoft is releasing a Zune with a HD FM radio soon.

The 64 Gig iPod touch is interesting, it takes a lot of video to fill up that much RAM. The strictly internal memory in the Apple devices is a solid money maker for Apple. What they charging for additional RAM is no where near what a SD card of the same size would cost. It would also provide a conduit for data in and out of their devices, which isn’t going to happen as long as Steve Jobs has anything to say about it.

What was missing was the Beatles catalog on iTunes and a tablet sized iTouch. The ‘iTablet’ would have made a big splash, and killed the Kindle. The resolution wouldn’t have matched the E-Ink display that the Kindle uses, but the increased functionality would have been the deciding factor. Apps would have to be rewritten to take advantage of the larger screen size, but I think the development community would step up to the challenge. I’m sure that Amazon would update their e-reader app for that platform, even if they understood that it would result in much reduced Kindle sales. Amazon would do so they wouldn’t lose a big chunk of the e-book market that they currently dominate.

Bringing another over to the Dark Side

My brother just bought a shiny new iPhone 3GS.  He had a smart phone, but didn’t like it. The User Experience on that phone just plain sucked.  It wasn’t  just that the phone used the Microsoft WINCE OS, although that is a damn good start for a poor user experience, the had the nasty habit of randomly dialing from his pocket, and loading apps or ending his call while using it as a phone because it thought his ear was the phone’s stylus.

Now, as Leo Leoporte said a few weeks ago, using Apple products is like living in Mussolini’s Italy.   Ya, the trains run on time, but there is some nasty stuff going on to make that happen.  The iPhone UI is second to none for a smart phone, but crap like blocking the Google Voice app and limiting desktop access to iTunes ensures that a good chunk of their user base will switch as soon as a more open alternative has 60% or more of their functionality and a slick user interface (can you say Android kiddies?).

Well, Android isn’t there yet, so I’m still sticking with my iPhone, especially since the camera on it is greatly improved.  I’ve seen posts by multiple professional photographers who have stopped carrying a “pocket camera” all the time, because they think their iPhone is “good enough.”

Here is my entry for a damn good iPhone photograph.