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Apr
09

60% of Teens Own an iPad

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There is no denying that the Apple line of tablets is the most successful. A new report surveyed 7,500 teens and asked them about what phones and tablets they have or plan to buy.

61% of teens now own an iPhone, compared to 55% from a survey conducted in October 2013 and 40% in the fall of 2012. When it comes to tablets, 60% of teens own one, up from 56% in the fall. When it comes to iPad tablet ownership group 66% of teens have one, 55% full-sized, 11% iPad mini. 18% percent of teens who don’t own a tablet expect to buy one in the next sixth months and of those prospective buyers, 66% plan to choose an iPad.

Last summer Samsung ran a campaign of advertisements that portrayed Apple users as being uncool. The plan seems to have backfired as iPads and iPhones are still the most popular out there.

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IMG_5263

Welcome to yet another installment of the Good e-Reader Video Comparison Series! Today we check out the Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display and the Apple iPad Air. Over the course of the video we check out the reading experience with eBooks, magazines, newspapers, and comic books. As an added bonus we look at audio/video to see if the aspect ratio difference is noticeable.

Many people own the first generation Apple iPad Mini or prior models of the iPad. Quite often the burning question is “should  I upgrade?” and “is it worth it?” This video mainly focuses on the e-reading experience because we know more people then ever before are consuming a wide array of written content on their iDevice.

The Air and Mini are almost exact mirrors of each other when it comes to the overall hardware. The resolution is 2,048 x 1,536 on both models, the Air has 264 ppi while the Mini has 326 ppi. They have the same 1.3 GHZ Dual Core processor and 1 GB of RAM. The only other major difference is the aspect ratio for watching movies and the lack of a 128 GB storage option on the Mini with Retina. This video puts the exact same content side by side, giving you an indication on how graphic heavy content looks, as well as the standard eBook.


ipad-mini

Apple for the first time has been able to come to terms with the demand for its iPad Mini device ever since it was launched three months back. All models of the iPad Mini are being shown as ‘In Stock’, a positive development over the 1-3 business days that it took Apple to ship the device so far. This comes on the back of news from Taiwan that AUO has finally managed to up its production to roll out 1 million panels for the mini iPad. The ready availability of the iPad Mini is expected to provide a further boost to its sales, which have been on the fast track ever since its launch. The mini iPad has seen its sales reach 3 million units during the first launch weekend alone.

In another related development, AUO has stated it is working on the next gen display panel for iPad Mini 2. However, it hasn’t been forthcoming with any further details on this. The company is contracted to supply AH-VA wide-angle panels that goes in the making of the current gen iPad Mini. Its next variant is expected to sport retina display panels though there are a quite a few issues such as those about cost, the overall weight and thickness of the device, and battery life, all of which have to be factored in to create an upgraded device.

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microsoft-surface-pro

Initial reviews of the Surface Pro aren’t painting a very optimistic picture of the Microsoft tablet, which brings us back to the question: Will the Apple iPad go unchallenged? Or to put things in a bigger perspective, how things are likely to pan out in the entire tablet computing segment with reference to Windows 8? With the Surface Pro not proving good enough both as a tablet or a laptop, analysts believe Microsoft might soon have to make way for its competitors (read Apple) into its most lucrative segment so far, the enterprise segment.

Apple of course is making all the right moves right now. Take, for instance, its recent decision to launch a high end iPad with 128 GB of storage. With this, Apple has made its intent very clear. It not only wants a slice of the enterprise segment that the Surface Pro is targeting, but the personal computing segment as well. Shipment of personal computers has been declining over the years and is predicted to be eclipsed by the tablet PCs soon. Apple itself has sold more than a 100 million iPads to date and the figure keeps growing. In contrast, the growth rate of the PC industry is negative, and showing signs of coming to a halt for the first time in over a decade. Apple has got a whiff of the PC segment that is 350 million plus in size and is looking to capitalize on the trend.

For Microsoft, on the other hand, while there aren’t any serious issues with the Windows 8 operating system, the same can’t be said of the hardware surrounding it. At least not in the tablet segment. The Surface Pro was supposed to be the flag bearer of the new OS, but that does not seem to be the case anymore. Ironically, it is the operating system itself that perhaps has to be blamed. It has to be handled by a heavy duty processor, which devours the power supply. As things stand right now, the Surface Pro doesn’t have the optimum balance of processing power, battery life, and weight. The latter two are especially disappointing, since with just about 4 hours of battery life and around a kilo of weight, it is nowhere near the tablet space.

Microsoft might use these figures to justify its inclusion in the laptop or ultrabook segment, though the Surface Pro’s form belies the notion. The Surface Pro is to be used strictly on a table (or equivalent surface) or as a tablet. The latter option though could be a workout during extensive use, what with the device weighing almost a kilo.

So is Windows 8 just not fit for the tablet space? With the current advancement in technology, the answer seems to be yes. If performance can’t be compromised, then it’s either battery life or weight that one has to opt for and not both. Unfortunately, the latter two aspects are almost as critical as performance of the device for it to survive in the mobile devices segment. A hard cover with an integrated battery unit can be a way out to overcome battery issues, but that will be a stop gap solution at best apart from adding to the cost and weight even more.

So how does Windows 8 fare in the laptop or ultrabook segment? Well, it’s here that the OS can flourish and deliver a superior computing experience. A touchscreen based ultrabook with a detachable keypad can be the ideal solution. A battery unit housed in both the tablet and keypad should allow for enough juice to last an entire day, though a detachable tablet part can’t be termed an absolute requirement. However, a great advantage with ultrabooks is that they can be used almost anywhere, like on the lap or on the bed, just as the traditional laptop. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga can be considered the best example of an ultrabook running Wndows 8 so far.

The future… there are three operating systems that have emerged in the tablet space, all having carved out their own area of dominance. Android seems to be more comfortable in the budget segment, while the Apple iOS based iPad has come to rule the roost in the mid to high price range. Windows RT aimed for the mid-price range but has failed to deliver so far. Windows 8 Pro, riding on the tails of the Surface Pro, is aimed at the high priced segment, but initial response has not been encouraging so far.

In any case, what is already clear is that the future of computing is based on finger or stylus based touch input with almost all devices coming out featuring a touchscreen based display.

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at&t

With the holiday shopping frenzy at its peak, it’s raining offers and discounts as retailers make a desperate bid to see as many buyers as is logically possible before the end of the year. Even the most sought after gadgets are being offered with some heavy discounts. Case in point: the Apple iPad is now cheaper by $100 thanks to an AT&T offer. The discount is also valid for the iPad Mini, which is among the best selling tablet across all segments. The offer is applicable to tablet devices bought either online or through AT&T stores, but on the condition of agreeing to a 2 year data plan. A few Android tablets are also part of all the fun, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 or the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. The Samsung ATIV, running Windows, also benefits from the discount. Consumers can check with the official AT&T site for all the details, and the offers end December 31st.

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Dec
12

Top Tablet News – 12-12-12

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Google News now even better on tablet devices

One of the best (and also the easiest) ways to stay informed of the latest happenings around the world is to keep an eye on the Google news feeds. With tablet PCs making some serious inroads into the traditional computing scene, it was just a matter of time before Google did something that would make browsing the latest news stories all the more convenient. With touch-based tablets, Google has introduces simple horizontal swipe gestures to browse between categories, while a tap of the ‘Explore in depth’ button will let one have an in-depth view of the topic selected. Also, the articles have been placed with enough space in between to allow better readability.

Google News has been optimized for viewing on a 7 and 10 inch device and will be made available in the US over the next few days, followed by a world launch later on.

Interestingly, the changes to the Google News UI comes close on the heels of Youtube’s tablet optimization. The world’s favorite video sharing site now has a much more clean and organized look to it, with a pane on the left allowing to select the categories and such, while the relevant videos are shown in larger tiles along the right in two separate columns. The changes though are applicable only to Android based tablet’s with 10 inch displays.

New York Times app updated to version 3.0 for tablet PCs

The New York Times has updated its news app for Android based tablets, so that it now has a new user interface that makes going through the news stories more convenient. What makes the new UI special is the fact that it now is capable of adapting to the specific tablet device’s display characteristics to deliver the best possible viewing experience. The update also provides users with greater control over features, such as Breaking News, Sports, and so on.

AT&T Galaxy Tab 8.9 gets ICS update

AT&T and Samsung got together to do something that has been long overdue—update the Galaxy Tab 8.9 operating system to Android 4.0 ICS. AT&T perhaps is the last to come up with the ICS update to the Tab 8.9 device, long after the Jelly Bean update has been widely released. While the 8.9 inch Samsung tablet is one step closer to a modern OS, the ICS update is not even being rolled out over the air. Instead, users will have to get it via Samsung’s very own Kies application. Plug your device to your PC running Kies and everything else happens automatically. It is advisable to back up all your data as the update is designed to bring about a system wide change to the device, complete with new settings, a new UI, several advanced features, and much more.

Apple tablets continues to dominate tablet web traffic

New research data obtained by Chitika reveals the vast majority of tablet web traffic originated from the Apple iPad and iPad Mini devices. Both the Apple tablets contributed 88 percent of all tablet web traffic. Out of the remaining 12 percent, Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 accounted for just 0.91 percent, and an even more miniscule 0.13 percent originated from the Microsoft Surface.

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The Apple iPad Mini was the company’s first foray into the highly competitive seven inch tablet segment, though it has a larger screen than the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7. I have been using this device every day since it originally launched last week, and there are fundamental flaws with the iPad Mini.

I use the iPad 3 with Retina Display on a daily basis and the lack of high resolution was one of the features sorely lacking on the Mini. The iPad 3 has an amazing resolution of 2048 x 1536, while the Mini has a fairly respectable 1024 x 768. The Kindle Fire HD is the closest competitor to the Mini and it has a resolution of 1280×800, but the screen is around .9 inches smaller.

The size of the display screen and lack of high-resolution are two primary things that have me staying away from the Apple iPad Mini. I have a ton of experience with seven inch devices, such as Blackberry Playbook, Kindle Fire, Acer Iconia A100, Nook Tablet, Skytex Alpha, Kobo Vox, and many more. You would figure that the extra few inches in the Mini would surpass the competition, but this is not the case. I found that the entire UI feels rather small. You basically have the same version of iOS found on the iPad and the same apps will work. The downside is that everything was designed for a 9.7 inch screen, but nothing was optimized for the smaller screen. This results in ALL of the main UI and GUI elements feeling cramped. There is currently no way to increase the size of the fonts that would make the entire Mini more manageable.

Apple highly touts the Retina display that has been the main selling feature with the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5, and the new iPad 4. It is quite odd that the company never applied it to the Mini, which means magazines, comics, ebooks, and other media will not be delivered in high-definition. If you look at a company like Comixology that powers almost all of the mainstream comic book apps, it looks amazing on most of the modern Apple devices. The same content tends to fail miserably with the Mini, because you don’t get to enjoy the CMX HD formats. Zinio and Press Reader have the same failure to translate to the Mini.

There are a few things the Mini does fairly well. It is very light and easily fits in my sports coat or jacket pocket. The battery life is very solid, and normally lasts around ten hours of constant use. Of course, I have to mention the Apple iTunes, iBooks, and App Store. iOs has more first party releases than any other platform. Finally, the stereo speakers give you a better sound than any of the company’s prior products.

In the end, after using the Mini for hours every day for the last week, I would designate this device as a miss. I really can’t handle the small screen and paltry resolution. Honestly, in the last six months, we have been spoiled by companies releasing super high quality tablets. The high entry price of over $350.00 makes it worthwhile to look at other brands. Instead of buying this one, I would recommend the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Kobo Arc, or Nook Tablet HD+. All of these tablets have better resolutions and larger screens than the Mini. As a reader, you will benefit from the expansive Amazon or B&N ecosystem. Magazines, newspapers, kids books, enhanced media, videos, and much more are at your fingertips.

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Apple’s fourth quarter results are here and as usual the figures are being quoted in millions, both for the number of devices sold and the amount that has made it to the Apple coffers. The Cupertino company has sold a record 14 million iPad devices during the quarter that ended September 29, which marks a 26 percent jump from the same quarter a year ago. The company recorded a net profit of $8.2 billion, which is an increase of over 24 percent compared to a year ago. The number of iPad devices the company has sold in the financial year 2012 is an impressive 58.23 million.

Also, with the ever growing number of devices Apple sold so far, it also translates to a larger number of apps being purchased by users of these devices. The Apple App Store plays host to no less than 275,000 apps that are exclusive to the iPad alone. The company did not reveal the exact figures it earned from its app business in the fourth quarter, instead claiming it has set an all-time record from the sale of apps.

“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” said an ecstatic Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.”

“We’re pleased to have generated over $41 billion in net income and over $50 billion in operating cash flow in fiscal 2012,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2013, we expect revenue of about $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $11.75.”

Apple has just released its long awaited iPad Mini and the 4th gen iPad, with the latter boasting of twice the processing power, a bigger facetime camera, and a few other tweaks. The iPad has always been the frontrunner in the tablet segment and its smaller cousin, the iPad Mini, is also expected to script a similar success story.

The mood in the Apple camp can be summed up from the fact that the company now has cash reserves to the tune of $121.3 billion. That is an awful lot of money. To put that amount in a better perspective, Apple can buy the entire Amazon business with that much money, or even a space station of its own, while still having some left.

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Welcome to another Good e-Reader Video Comparison! Due to popular demand we have a great comparison between the Apple iPad with Retina Display and the Microsoft Surface tablet! We mainly are evaluating the reading experience with the myriad of apps available on both devices. Both of these tablets bring something entirely unique to the table in the operating systems and the apps that are available. We check out the Kobo and Kindle apps and show you how they function across platforms. Finally, we show you Zinio and how magazines look on both of these giant screens. This should give you a sense of how both perform as your dedicated e-reader.


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Oct
24

Apple iPad Mini, iPad 4 Clears FCC

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The iPad Mini has made it past FCC regulations, which means it has been certified for regular everyday use in the US. Both the new Apple tablet devices have been granted approval in their “singular WiFi and dual cellular editions.” What this means is that the iPad Mini has been approved in its Wi-Fi only mode as well as for worldwide “HSPA+, EV-DO, and LTE coverage.” The frequency range is the same as that of iPad Mini, which means the the mini iPad could be employing the services of the 28nm Qualcomm MDM9615 chipset. Not too surprising for a device that looks more like an over-sized iPhone rather than a scaled down iPad.

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Oct
17

Tablet PC News Roundup

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The biggest tablet news right now is the Surface tablet’s pricing. It starts at a decent $499, which may be disappointing for those who perhaps were hoping for the device to be priced at $199. For $499, what you get is the basic 32 GB version of Surface RT, sans the keypad, while the tablet and keypad combo has been priced $599. The top of the line version with 64 GB storage costs $699 and includes the keypad unit. The $499 price tag seems to have hit the consumer sweet spot, evident from the fact that the Microsoft Store site is reporting a delivery period of around three weeks for the basic version, while the higher priced versions are still showing the Oct 26 delivery date.

Microsoft is betting big on the Surface, which the company hopes will allow it to get even with Apple, whose iPad has been the tablet to beat ever since it was launched. Both the tablet devices start at the same price, though each has its own pluses and minuses. At $499, the Surface is exactly the same as the base version of the iPad, though the latter has half the storage. However, the iPad scores with its Retina Display, which at 2048 x 1536 pixels is far better than the 1366 x 768 pixels that the Surface packs in within its 10.6 inch screen.

The Surface offers an USB port, a HDMI slot, as well as a SD card reader, all of which are non-existent on the iPad. The iPad, on the other hand, is supported by a developed app ecosystem while the Windows RT is a new platform and the app world surrounding it is only in its developmental stages. The classic Windows app built around an x86 processor will be irrelevant on Windows RT, which is centered around ARM chipsets. These notwithstanding, Microsoft is looking to ship no less than 3 to 5 million of these during the holiday season, which is almost the same number that Amazon and Google are targeting with their Kindle Fire or Nexus 7 devices.

In other tablet news, the 32 GB Nexus 7 seems to be heading towards a formal release after weeks of living in obscurity. Staples Advantage is expecting the release date to be as early as Oct 18, while UK retailer Argos is pegging the release period to a less optimistic holiday season. Staples is claiming a price tag of $250, and Argos (which has mentioned the Google tablet as part of its Christmas gift guide) is citing a price tag of £199.

The other hot tablet story of the day is iPad Mini, with reports claiming it will have the same aspect ratio as its bigger cousin. Of course, this is only speculation, drawn from the latest mockups that reveal the same 4-to-3 aspect ratio as the 9.7 inch version. We have earlier come across rumors of there being 1,024 by 768 pixels within the 7.8 inch display, which is the same as iPad 2. This if true it will make the iPad Mini compatible with apps designed for iPad 2. There is an event planned on Oct 23 which is believed to be dedicated to the iPad Mini. Apple is reported to have ordered no less than 10 million of the iPad Minis to be sold during the holiday season, though it has to be backed by a really sweet price package to entice buyers to lap up that many of the mini iPads. Buyers at this level are used to the $199 prices and it remains to be seen by how much Apple deviates from this.

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Celebrations continue at the Apple camp and the latest offering is the upgraded and thoroughly revamped iOS 6 that promises to bring along some nice developments to its entire lineup of i-prefixed devices. The company is still fresh from launching its new gen iPhone 5 and might unveil the long rumored iPad Mini next month. In between, we have the iOS 6, which continues with all the standard goodness that the Apple operating system is known for while incorporating some cool new features to further add to consumers’ convenience. Here is a look at some of the cool new features of iOS 6 that could make the Apple mobile OS extend its lead over arch rivals Android.

Apple Maps – A key feature of iOS 6 is Apple’s own mapping application, which replaces Google Maps (an integral feature of all versions of the Apple operating systems so far). However, Apple Maps is still a work-in-progress and clearly lacks the depth that Google Maps has reached so far. So while a Google map provides for a detailed view of any given area, the corresponding Apple applications is still grossly unrepresented. Missing items are one thing, but what is even more worrisome is that Apple Maps contains a lot of errors which can range from two different objects being depicted at the same locations to gross mismatch between the topography in reality and what is depicted in the map.

Apple has said it is constantly upgrading its maps on a continuous basis. Also, since the mapping application draws its information directly from the server and is independent of software upgrades, improvement should be seen sooner than expected. Until that happens, it will be better to not to rely entirely on Apple Maps or at least cross check with Google Maps to ensure you land at the right place and at the right time. The flyover 3D maps look great, though, and things can only become better with time.

PassBook – Another major addition to the iOS 6 feature list is Passbook, and unlike its mapping counterpart, the application seems quite matured. It is Apple’s e-ticket app and is designed to take care of tickets, whether be it of a sporting event or an airline ticket and loyalty cards. It can be considered environment friendly in that it negates the need to carry paper tickets. The app carries electronic versions of the tickets and goes so far as to keep you informed of developments concerning the ticket. For example, alerts will be displayed if there is a change of departure gate in the case of an airline ticket.

However, for users to get to see Passbook in action, concerned authorities will have to lend support to the app. Until then, the Passbook will just be a fancy addition to iOS 6. Given the sheer number of iPad users out in the wild and with more added every day, the day does not seem too far when organizers of major sporting events or airlines will comply with Passbook to allow for a better user experience.

Siri – Apple first started the trend of talking to your smartphone and now the Apple virtual assistant has been introduced on the iPad. However, Siri is only available on the latest iPad 3 and none of its predecessors. The application has been upgraded, so you can expect more meaningful answers when asking questions as diverse as films or sport scores. The assistant will also respond to more questions while local search will now be rolled out worldwide.

Facebook – Twitter has already been made an integral part of the Apple operating system and from iOS 6 onwards, Facebook has also been brought into the fold. Apple isn’t stopping at that, of course, and has claimed “the best Facebook integration ever in a mobile device.” This will enable users to post anything they want right from within the iOS.

Better Design – There has been an overall design change brought about in the new iOS 6 and everything does look refreshingly new. The iTunes and the App Store sports a new layout while iPad users can also look forward to a new stylish clock as well.

Guided Access for Children – This will allow parents to disable certain buttons on the screen so as to prevent children from tapping on those either accidentally or intentionally. Kids making app purchases can be a thing of the past.

There are plenty more features on iOS 6, though the latest iteration is unfortunately not going to be compatible on all devices. Only the second and third gen iPads will be compatible with iOS 6.

Watch this space for more updated information on the new iOS6. Meanwhile, here is the timing of the launch in various cities across the world.


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The one tablet device we get to hear about the most is no doubt the iPad and it always has some solid sales figures to back that up. However, a recent revelation has thrown open an interesting perspective to the entire tablet numbers game. While the iPad is still the tablet device to beat, the cumulative Android tablet sales has increased significantly in recent times, and now they account for almost 40% of the iPad sales numbers.

All of it stems from a statement made by Google’s ex-CEO and current chairman, Eric Schmidt, at a recently concluded Motorola press event wherein he stated that about 1.3 million Android devices are activated every day, and nearly 70,000 account for tablet PCs.

Ed Burnette from ZDNet used the figure and some mathematical skills to come to the conclusion that Android tablet sales are closing the gap against the iPad, so that the former now makes up for 37.2 percent of the daily iPad sales. The actual figure will be higher than that since it excludes tablet devices such as the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet, both of which run Android but avoid Google apps and the Android activation number only includes those devices that actually use a Google account for their apps. The iPad figures have been drawn from the tablet’s last quarter sales figure of 17 million, which boils down to 188,888 iPad sold on each day of the last quarter.

The conclusion is clear, Android is gaining in popularity and it can be attributed to its latest iteration, the Jelly Bean, and its  smooth operations. Also, Jelly Bean couldn’t have had a better launch device than the Nexus 7, which boasts of extremely affordable prices while still sporting hi-tech internals. There are more such devices coming along in the 7 inch segment, while the Kindle Fire is expected to rake in some serious sales figures as well. Pity there aren’t exact sales figures for two of the biggest selling Android tablets: the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire.

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