Many have speculated upon the killer feature that could be incorporated into the long-rumored Apple television set, a feature that would turn the television industry on its head. While it’s difficult to predict what such a feature would be, one analyst points towards a massive hard drive, in excess of 2 terabytes, as the low tech piece of hardware that would facilitate the killer feature which has been the subject of previous rumors…the 4K resolution (via Motley Fool). 4K resolutions are 4 times the size of 1080p HD resolutions and, as an example, Sony has just begun shipping a tv with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels packed into a 55 inch display.
Category Archives: Editorial
There was a problem today, in that Dropbox connectivity was sporadic and, even when connected, incredibly and painfully slow. At one point some users couldn’t even connect to the Dropbox servers and even now, although downloads of shared files are running at normal speed, in my instance it’s still taking several minutes to sync even the smallest files. In order to share some data between a MacBook Air and an iMac, I quickly shifted over to Google Drive (which I hadn’t used before). The file transfer was quick and easy, as it had been when Dropbox was working.
What was an irritation was the fact that I couldn’t go straight to iCloud because the files were in PDF and PowerPoint format. The document sharing in iCloud is limited to those applications that have been granted iCloud functionality, instead of universal file access. There’s reasons and arguments as to why Apple has done this (which many people have covered before), but with 5GB sitting right there and unable to be utilized, it was a crying shame.
Several reports have appeared over the past few days suggesting that Apple is preparing a new version of the iPhone that is cheaper than the current line-up. The new ‘budget iPhone’ will apparently have different exterior materials and will incorporate cheaper internal components with a view to cutting costs. Some reports have pegged the suggested retail cost of the device between $99 to $149 which is a substantial decrease from the $649 of the iPhone 5, $549 of the iPhone 4S or $450 for the 8GB iPhone 4.
That is an interesting price comparison, but it’s difficult to see how Apple could shave so much off the price of an iPhone in order to get into the iPod nano price range. But here are some interesting figures for you to consider. At time of launch, iSuppli gave the following prices for some of the components of the iPhone 4; processor & memory (~$24), flash storage ($27), baseband chip (~$12), display & touchscreen (~$40) and enclosure (~$10). With other miscellaneous materials, the bill of materials cost of a single 16GB iPhone 4 was approximately $187. Obviously the price of these components will have decreased in the interim period since the iPhone 4 was released, but components like flash storage remain quite expensive.
A long and deeply engaging interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook has just been published by Bloomberg Businessweek and it gives some pretty amazing insights into the man at the helm of Apple. Cook also reveals a few nuggets of information that could be wildly misinterpreted or overanalyzed, and who are we if we didn’t take some of the more obscure quotes and put forth some suggestion on what Mr Cook actually meant.
On iOS & OSX merging: “We don’t subscribe to the vision that the OS for iPhones and iPads should be the same as Mac…Customers want iOS and Mac OS X to work together seamlessly, not to be the same”
The mobile and desktop operating systems produced by Apple will never merge, no matter how many people want them to.
The new iMac was released for sale in Apple retail stores and the Apple online store yesterday and many people have rushed to pick up the latest model. So much so, in fact, that shipping estimates for the new Mac have started to lengthen significantly. However, the awesome tear-down folk at iFixit have managed to get their hands on one and have taken it apart to reveal the interior of the iMac.
While the iMac certainly looks beautiful, both inside and out, the repairability score has dropped from 7 out of 10 for the previous model of iMac, down to a rather poor 3 out of 10, meaning that it’s almost nigh on impossible for your average user to repair any of the components. ‘Aha!’ I hear you cry, ‘But that’s what the Genius bar is for’. To some extent, that’s true, we don’t tend to twiddle with Mac repair in the same way we do PCs. But, there is another big issue.
So, a rumor floated around earlier today suggesting that Microsoft would be releasing MS Office for iOS devices early in 2013. The Office app (or apps) would apparently be free of charge and would enable the user to view Microsoft Office documents. Anyone wishing to edit an MS Office document would be required to place an in-app purchase for a membership to Office 365, which is currently priced at around $6 per month per user.
Let’s put aside the fact that this part of the rumor could be wildly inaccurate and assume for one minute that it is correct. If Microsoft doesn’t make a significant change to their pricing policy, and the ability to edit documents would require a $6 per month fee, how would that affect iOS users. Well, if you have Pages installed on your iPhone or iPad (for a one off fee of $9.99), you can view and edit Word documents to a fairly sizeable extent already. Same with Numbers. Same with Keynote.
In a significant restructuring of top-tier management, Apple yesterday announced that Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall, and Senior Vice President of Retail, John Browett would be leaving the company. Forstall originally started with Apple directly when it purchased NeXT in 1997, and Browett was there for a less-than-glamorous tender of less than six months. The implications of these guys leaving are, particularly in Forstall’s case, obviously huge.
The biggest impacts will come as new division heads move into place. Eddy Cue is now in charge of Siri and Maps, two areas of iOS which are essentially in beta at the moment, and will require a significant amount of work in order to bring them up to the standards that are normally associated with Apple products. In addition, Craig Federighi is now head of iOS development and will likely seek to put his own stamp on the flagship mobile software. Bob Mansfield, who earlier in the year was looking to retire, is staying with the company for another two years to lead the Technologies group, responsible for all wireless teams in Apple.
The iPad mini went on sale just three days ago and, unsurprisingly sold out within three days. While most people reacting to the launch of the iPad mini were overwhelmingly positive, there is always a small bunch who would gleefully love to see the company fail to shift the a substantial amount of devices. I refer to one such example in the form of this column written a few days ago, with the author suggesting that the iPad mini was a big fail.
The main accusation is that Apple has ‘diluted the market to the point of of ridiculous now’. Just for a second, consider that phrase. My interpretation is that, instead of the company diluting the market, there is now a $329 iPad mini, a $399 iPad 2 and a $499 iPad 3 in a variety of storage options. Sorry, but is there anything wrong with having a choice?
Apple yesterday released an update to the premier reading app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, bringing iBooks up to version 3.0. The app was originally launched almost three years ago in January 2010 and is now reaching its third iteration with improved iCloud integration, a new scrolling theme, improved social sharing and extended language support. So, it’s been through three versions in almost three years and perhaps the weirdest thing in this time has been the fact that there is no iBooks for Mac.
It’s something I’ve talked about previously and I’m racking my brains as to why Apple has not released an iBooks equivalent for the Mac, instead forcing users to download third party software like Calibre. I thought perhaps that Apple was simply avoiding the issue because there was no easy or straightforward way for them to make an e-reader for the Mac that was ‘Apple’ enough, but Amazon seem to have managed it pretty well with their browser based reader.
When iOS 6 was released, many people expected that Siri would be moved into the mainstream as a major feature of the new operating system i.e. taken out of beta. Well, Apple is indeed touting Siri as a major new feature in the iOS 6 operating system (for iPad 3 at least), but are still using the safety net of a ‘beta’ tag. Much in the way that Google kept Gmail in beta for more than five years, could Siri be going down a similar route?
Apple today updated the Siri webpage with some clarification text. “Siri is available in Beta only on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad (3rd generation), and iPod touch (5th generation)” Siri arrived, in beta, when the iPhone 4S was launched midway through October 2011, and received a significant update with iOS 6 when it gained the ability to offer up sports scores, movies, restaurants, the capacity to launch apps and offer directions, and tight integration with Facebook and Twitter. Should it still be in beta now?