Archive for iPad
Tablet shipment figures for the first quarter of 2013 are already here and they present an interesting scenario. For instance, according to a Digitimes report, tablet shipment reached 31.93 million for the first three months of this year, which represents a decline of 26.1 percent on quarter but increased by 66.1 percent on year. However, IDC is reporting an even more optimistic shipment figure of 49.2 million for the quarter.
However, both Digitimes and IDC seem to be unanimous regarding the iPad, reporting shipments of 19.5 million of the Apple tablet during the period. However, while the iPad continues to be at the top of the heap, the trend seems to be on the slide. Apple still has 39.6 percent of the tablet market to itself, though it used to be 43.6 and 58.2 in the last two preceding quarters. Analysts claim it’s quite normal, as Apple generally records a weaker first quarter after strong sales during the holiday season. Apple has recorded a year over year growth of a healthy 65 percent.
Samsung and Asus make up the second and third slot with sales of 8.8 and 2.7 million respectively. The individual figures might not be too inspiring, but both companies have reported 288.7 and 267.6 percent increases in sales respectively compared to the same period a year ago. Microsoft, according to IDC, managed to make it among the top five tablet makers with shipment of 900,000 of its Surface devices.
However, there are some contradictions that come to the fore that pertain to the operating system that dominates the tablet segments. While Digitimes is claiming the Apple iOS accounts for a dominating 61 percent of the total tablets shipped in Q1, IDC is pegging the figure at lower than 40 percent for iOS, with the Google Android making up 56.5 percent of all the tablets shipped. According to Digitimes, Android and Windows make up 31 and 8 percent of the total tablet shipment.
Another interesting finding of the Digitimes research is that the smaller tablets measuring 7 inches or so that are in greater demand, accounting for 56 percent of the tablets shipped in Q1. Tablets measuring 9 and 10 inches make up 22 and 20 percent of the shipments.
Tintin, the plucky little reporter who spent more time investigating mysteries and running away from bad guys than doing any actual reporting, has made it to the small screen: Idboox reports that Moulinsart, the company that controls the rights to the works of Herge, Tintin’s creator, has released an iPad app that contains all 24 of the Tintin graphic novels. The app is free, and the graphic novels are reasonably priced at $5.99 each; the catch is that they are all in French, although the settings include English and Dutch options that are greyed out and marked “soon.”
So why bother? If you read French, it’s a great deal, but even if you don’t, the navigation is in English (at least if you buy it from a U.S. account, as I did) and there are a few cool extras—a gallery of photos of Herge and of the Tintin movie, with some captions in English and some in French, and wallpapers.
There’s a lot more to love if you read French, though. The app is beautifully designed with an almost-full-screen display of eac cover; touch “infos” and you get background information on the book plus a couple of sample pages. Herge’s clean-lined style (called “ligne claire”) and flat areas of bright color work particularly well on the iPad. The app also includes a bio of Herge and an article about the Tintin Museum, both in French.
According to idboox, there are plans to incorporate more features into the app, including audio in different languages.
The app also allows the user to view Tintin.com from within the app, rather than popping out to a browser. This site is available in a number of languages, although the only English books available are print editions. Hopefully this will change and soon and fans will be able to read Tintin in many languages.
There is a new app for comic fans out there. YACReader is only compliant with iOS, so it only can be used to read comics on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Created by Luis Angel San Martín, the app brings along a fresh perspective to the dozens of comic apps already available in the market. The library lists all the comic books available, which includes a generously sized image of the comic available. A tap on a comic will launch it for reading. Buying a comic is also a simple process and they can be downloaded within seconds on the device.
Catch up with the video below for a more in depth exploration of YACReader!
The tablet segment that generates the most noise, apart from the iPad range, is those that make up the $199 – $250 price bracket. Apple is the latest that has woken up to this fact, with rumors saying that the Connecticut company might even have a stripped down iPad Mini for this price bracket. Of course, these are mere speculations at this moment, though it does make a lot of sense for Apple to have a competitor for low cost tablets. Such a scheme will ensure Apple has a presence in the entire tablet price spectrum starting from $199 to all the way up to $929 for the 128 GB 4G enabled iPad, which happens to be the costliest iPad on offer right now.
As for the purported budget iPad Mini, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI Securities believe will include quite a few changes to make it cost effective enough to be fielded in the lower price range.
“To cut costs, Apple might push for lower component prices, use a more advanced process to produce the A5 processor, simplify metal casing production, remove the rear camera, cut storage to 8GB and find more component suppliers to lower costs. We think this cheaper iPad mini retail for US$199~249,” revealed Kuo.
Apple is believed to be into developing a retina display equipped iPad Mini 2, though the launch of such a device might have been pushed back to the fourth quarter. A budget iPad Mini 2 might be a reality before that. Also, such a development perhaps marks a change in the Apple mindset that so far has been relying on a premium tag for all its products. A lower priced iPhone is also rumored to be in development. No doubt an iPad Mini priced as low as just $199 could prove to be too much for many of the Android tablets that have been relying on a low initial cost to entice consumers. It will be interesting to note the majority of Android tablets had settled down at the lower price bracket after failing to make a mark as an iPad competitor earlier during the evolution of the tablet segment. It will be cruel if Apple now chases them down in their own turf. The iPad Mini range now starts at $329 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only version.
The Japanese site AnimeAnime is reporting that Square Enix will shut down its U.S. and French digital manga websites; although this news has yet to appear on the U.S. site, the news sites Crunchyroll and Anime News Network have picked up on it and there is a notice on the French site. The news comes as no surprise, as Square Enix has been having a bad year. They were projecting a net loss at the end of last fiscal year, their president is stepping down, and they laid off a large portion of their staff earlier this month.
Square Enix is the Japanese publisher for a number of popular properties, but they don’t publish them in the U.S. under their own name; their line includes Fullmetal Alchemist (published by Viz) and Black Butler (Yen Press’s top-selling Japanese manga).
Yen Press publishing director Kurt Hassler announced at New York Comic Con that Yen would be partnering with Square Enix to release their manga digitally on a variety of platforms worldwide.
Unlike JManga, which despite its myriad faults was user-friendly and relatively easy to use, the Square Enix North American digital manga store was poorly designed and embodied many of the worst aspects of digital comics distribution.
It was a streaming website, so you couldn’t download the comics, but it also required the reader to download a special manga reader, so that the comics were locked to a single computer, taking away the portability that is the saving grace of streaming manga. The special software was buggy and, to put it bluntly, just didn’t work. Tech assistance was nonexistent. But not too many people even got that far, because the site required users to go through five separate registrations—not steps, registrations—in order to sign up. And the DRM on the site was the worst, most obnoxious DRM ever. You can read all about it in my review at MTV Geek and Melinda Beasi’s review at Manga Bookshelf. How bad was the web store? So bad that when Square Enix did a free manga promotion at San Diego a few years ago, it backfired when people couldn’t claim their manga—just read the comments to Melinda’s post. So while the JManga announcement caused a lot of angst among readers who will lose access to manga they had “bought” from the streaming service, the Square Enix shutdown doesn’t seem to be causing widespread panic, perhaps because so few people have used the site.
It’s worth spending a few minutes discussing why the site was so bad. A fundamental problem was that Square Enix seemed to think of it as a site to be used chiefly by people who were already engaged with the company as gamers, assuming that people who were already members of the site would welcome the opportunity to have manga added to its other offerings. They don’t seem to have realized that manga readers are a separate group, and that having to become a site member before signing up for the manga service is an unnecessary (and annoying) step.
The site could have been streamlined quite a bit by either eliminating the membership requirement or combining it with the registration for the manga site. Furthermore, they used a fairly obscure payment service, so everyone had to sign up with that separately; if they had gone with a universally used service such as PayPal they could have saved their customers a lot of aggravation.
Finally, the DRM was ridiculous. Requiring readers to download a separate reader that only ties in to one device is already a failing strategy; nobody has just one device any more. The fact that the damn thing didn’t work is a separate issue. Not only was it buggy, it was only designed to work with the Explorer browser, effectively cutting out all Mac users and everybody else who doesn’t use Explorer. But that’s not the worst of it. As Melinda Beasi explains in her review of the site, it actually was quite easy to defeat the DRM and download the manga directly to the user’s computer as a PDF. On the other hand, Viz and eManga, which don’t have burdensome DRM, do a much better job of protecting their files. So the DRM is not only annoying, it’s ineffective. And finally, when the competition is a free, easy-to-use pirate site, requiring your readers to jump through hoops to read an overpriced comic is a losing strategy.
Yen Press has a nice iPad app, and their deal with Square Enix means the comics will be available digitally worldwide, not region-locked. The Square Enix site was old technology, poorly done, and it’s doubtful anyone will miss it.
Ever wondered what it would be like when a regular retina display of an iPad is connected to a PC? Or if such a thing is at all possible in the first place? Well, here is a cool guy named Andrzej who has been able to pull off the feat. The entire operation is quite simple and cheap, though will still require the expertise of a computer geek. It’s just $70 to accomplish the task. Quite predictably, the retina LCD display costs the most at $55. The only other expense incurred was that for Molex 502250-5191 connector, a pair of which costs just $14 and is required for connecting the FPC of the panel to a PCB.
Coming to the specifics, the LCD panel manufactured by LG came with an eDisplay Port, which made things simpler in that these are compatible with the conventional Display Port found on almost all the modern video adapters. The only other piece required was a PCB, which is an extremely basic piece and is homemade. The only issue was that of manually soldering the pieces and this proved to be a bit tricky thanks to the tiny connector pins on the FPC that needed to be connected with the DP cable wires. Turn to emeryhacks for the complete details.
What is achieved in the end does make it worth all the effort. For what you get is glitch free performance even at the full resolution of 2180 x 1536 pixels.
It has been established that the PC market is under threat from the new crop of smart mobile computing devices. It is down to a struggle for desktop PC’s basic existence, as predicted, and the results have just begun to emerge. The first quarter sales report of desktop and laptop is no secret, and the sharp 14 percent decline in sales is demonstrative, to say the least. That’s the figure that International Data Corp has suggested, though Gartner has come up with the gentler figure of an 11 percent decline. Not surprisingly, with Microsoft having a vice like grip on the segment, it is considered to have contributed to the slide more than anyone else. The recently released Windows 8 is being held as the number one villain that analysts believe may have actually led to the slide rather than help prevent it. Blaming the shaky world economic scenario won’t help either, as the desktop is sliding faster into obscurity even when the economy is showing signs of bouncing back.
The reason behind the shift in consumer preference towards portable computing devices such as tablet PCs is understandable considering the tablet’s immense convenience. Tablet devices are handy, offer excellent computing power, and respond to touch based inputs, negating the need for external pointing devices such as a mouse. They offer extreme convenience for almost all general purpose computing needs. Compare these to the desktops that are bulky and immense compared to tablets. Tablets are even handier than laptop or notebook devices.
However, with this being the state of affairs in the traditional computing scene, putting the entire blame on Windows 8 alone would be a bit harsh. If the new gen platform from Microsoft alone is to be blamed for the poor show, consumers could still have bought the Windows 7 based PCs on the market. Besides, the trend isn’t just limited to the Windows based PCs. Apple is also having to cope with reduced demand for its PCs, while its iPad is scaling new heights in sales almost every quarter.
It’s the gradual but seemingly firm shift in consumer preference that should be held responsible for the decline in PC sales. Consumers have had enough with the desktops and laptops and nothing is more exciting now than the new sleek tablet devices. It’s something they can carry everywhere, does not need to be tethered to a single place, and can perform most computing jobs as well. Of course, there is also the cost factor associated with it as tablets typically cost just a fraction of what desktops and laptops cost (around $1500). A tablet can cost anywhere between $200 to $700, depending on the display size and other configurations.
Also, while still on Windows 8 and the decline in sales of PCs, what should also be taken into consideration is that the former has opened up an entirely new segment of computing, that of hybrid tablet devices. While demand for these is still in the early states, these are expected to be the future of personal computing. These offer the best of both worlds, a tablet when the display is used in isolation or a netbook offering 10+ hours of runtime when attached with the keypad unit. The way the computing segment might shape up in the future is that the tablet devices will be used for those who need it for entertainment or general purpose computing while the hybrid tablet could be the ideal solution for those who need some serious computing.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is working on an update to its Windows 8 OS in the form of Windows 8.1 Blue. Slated to be released this summer, Blue can do what Windows 7 did to Vista. While it would be interesting to see if it can arrest the decline in PC sales, it remains to be seen if Microsoft can turn things around. In short, we have reached a crossroads and there plenty of changes are happening very fast. We will let things settle down a bit before we jump to any firm conclusions.
The internet lit up on Tuesday after writer Brian K. Vaughan made this announcement: “Unfortunately, because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS apps.” On Twitter, Facebook, comment strings, and message boards, fans denounced Apple for a seeming double standard, refusing to carry a comic because of a gay sex scene although it carries plenty of mature content. A few commenters pointed out, though, that the scenes in question were more explicit than anything Saga had run before, so they may have crossed a line.
Everything changed on Wednesday, when comiXology CEO David Steinberger explained that comiXology, not Apple, made the decision, and that it was based on the explicit nature of the images, not the fact that the sex was gay:
As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps. Based on our understanding of those policies, we believed that Saga #12 could not be made available in our app, and so we did not release it today.
We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.
This took a lot of people by surprise, but it makes a certain amount of sense that comiXology, which works closely with Apple, would avoid submitting content they know will be rejected. What makes less sense is comiXology letting everyone, including Vaughan, think that Apple made the call. Given the weird hostility between Apple and non-Apple users on the web, there was a lot of flaming going on, with people choosing to ignore the fact that Apple has been gay-friendly since before that was cool; they have long offered benefits to same-sex couples, they opposed the odious Proposition 8 in California, and their current CEO, Tim Cook, is gay. They are also choosing to ignore that companies like Apple and comiXology are not monoliths, and there might be different people reviewing different issues of Saga at different times; Mark Waid has a pretty plausible scenario that explains how this all would have happened with all parties having only the best of intentions; as he says, “In all matters creative, never attribute to malice what can be explained by bureaucracy.”
In the end, Apple did not reject Saga #12, and it is now available in the comiXology and Image Comics apps as well as online. While those apps are more convenient for iPad and iPhone users, the conversation served to remind us when a comic is purchased i the comiXology or Image web stores, iTunes doesn’t take its 30% cut, so more of the cover price goes to the creator and the publisher.
We already know a new iPad is in the making, and that the intervening period until the device is actually launched is always marked with a series of leaks and speculations. This makes it hard to judge which one actually reflects the truth. Take, for instance, the recent revelation at Digitimes claiming production of the iPad 5 is set to kick off in the July-August period. If that is true, we are looking at a market launch much later than that, maybe during fall this year. Apple had launched the iPad 4 together with the iPad Mini during November last year, and it’s likely that could be the new launch schedule Apple would be following from now onwards. The usual period for Apple to launch a new iPad used to be spring, during March and April. It was rumored some time back that Apple would be launching a new iPad towards the end of this month.
Meanwhile, what has also emerged is that the new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the current version, while sporting thin iPad Mini like bezels. Also, LG and Sharp will be supplying the touch panels.
Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.
Apple usually updates to the iOS platform once a year, though that might be reduced to 6 months this time around. The next version, iOS 7, is already due, considering the last time that iOS had had a significant overhaul was in 2012, with the final version launched on Sept 9th (it was previewed during Worldwide Developers Conference WWDC in June last year). iOS 7 is expected to feature a significant improvement over its previous iteration, which is supported by the recent appointment of the Apple hardware design chief Jony Ive as the head of the human interface team. A thorough overhaul of the user interface has been expected for some time now.
However, in the absence of hard facts, designer F. Bianco is relying on educated speculation. He has kept the same look and feel of previous iterations, though has stressed on improving the overall user experience with it. These include a new mission control interface, widgets, and lock screen, along with a few other surprises as well. For instance, a swipe along the side over the area showing time and date will reveal options for Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Airplane Mode, and Wi-Fi. However, it is the quick reply feature that Bianco has proposed that seems to be the most useful. The best thing is that it works on the home screen as well as the lock screen, which means a quick reply can indeed be accomplished in the most hassle free manner.
Apple already has a number of launches up its sleeve. These include the new iPad 5, new ipad Mini 2, as well as iPhone 5. Of these, Apple is rumored to be launching iPad 5 this month, though it remains to be which of these will come running the new iOS 7 right out of the box.
Meanwhile, here is a video that Bianco has released containing details of the UI changes that he thinks will accompany iOS 7.
It is well known that a completely new full sized iPad is the next big thing coming our way from Apple, but we don’t know when. Fresh rumors say the new iPad 5 might be launched towards the end of this month, but nothing is confirmed. Details of the upcoming device are scarce, though sources speculate iPad 5 will be sporting a completely new design that is more akin to the iPad Mini. The iPad 5 is also expected to be a lot thinner and lighter than the current version. In the absence of hardcore evidence in support this, the only thing that backs up the rumor is that spring is to be the traditional launch window for the iPad and all the first three iterations of the same were launched during the March – April period. Of course, that pattern was broken last year when Apple surprised everyone by coming up with the iPad 4 along with the iPad Mini for the first time.
Worth mentioning here, a previous leak had earlier mentioned Apple has scheduled an event on June 29 to launch the next gen iPad 5 and iPad Mini along with maybe the iPhone 5 as well.
The digital manga magazine Shonen Jump went to simultaneous publication with Japan in January, and now the magazine has reached another milestone: It is available for iPad and iPad Mini via the Apple Newsstand.
This offers readers three ways to buy the magazine: On the Viz Manga website, for 99 cents per issue or $25.99 per year, or via the Newsstand for $2.99 per month (automatically renewed). The nice thing about the Newsstand is that it gathers all your regularly updated apps into one place so you can check them all at once, and updates come in automatically. (Newsstand subscribers will also be able to read their issues on the Viz Manga website.)
Viz has been steadily expanding the reach of Shonen Jump since taking the magazine from print to digital in January 2012. While the Newsstand offers additional convenience and a price point that is cheaper than single issues (albeit more expensive than an annual subscription), the real significance of this move may lie in the words of Gagan Singh, Viz’s executive vice president for digital business, in the press release that announced this latest move: “The Newsstand App lays the groundwork for future expansion of the magazine and offers our fans yet another way to access their favorite manga.”
That raises some interesting possibilities. As a fan of Viz’s shoujo (girls’) comics, I’d love to see them bring back Shoujo Beat magazine in digital form, and with their wide range of properties, Viz could put together some pretty interesting digital packages.
The retailer Best Buy is now offering a 30 percent discount on the iPad 3. No reasons were made available to explain this generosity, though the retailer had offered a similar discount scheme for the iPad 2 just prior to the launch of the iPad 3. Now the same iPad 3 can be purchased at a starting price of $315 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only model. Subsequent 32 and 64 GB versions will cost $385 and $455 respectively. The same would have cost $450, $550, and $650 for the 16, 32, and 64 GB versions respectively, which makes it a good reason to opt for the sparkling retina display equipped iPad 3 at this time.
However, MacMall is also offering a discount on the latest iPad Mini and iPad 4 as well. Click the link here to get all the latest prices for the Apple tablet.