Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

iPhone 4S Coming October 14

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

The iPhone 4S was officially revealed today in Cupertino, along with iOS 5. Though it looks like the iPhone 4, there have been some important features added, bringing the iPhone up to par with its Android competition in some respects, while maintaining the general Apple look and feel so many know and love. Throughout the announcement, I couldn’t help but think about how Android phones already have a lot of these features. Here are the specs:

  • 3.5″ Retina display, 960×640 resolution (326ppi)
  • 1GHz dual core ARM-Cortex A9 processor
  • Apple A5 chip (like iPad 2)
  • 8MP rear facing camera with LED Flash and Face Detection
  • VGA front facing camera, 30 fps video
  • UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz);
    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz only)
  • Bluetooth 4.0

An 8MP camera, finally. Apple has had nice cameras in the past, but lingered for years without an 8MP camera. With an LED flash, face detection, image stabilization, and 1080p video recording, Apple finally caught up to Android in camera specs. Sony in particular has had all but the 1080p for a couple of years now, and tacked on smile detection too.

Of note is that there will be a single iPhone 4S phone, across carriers and world-wide. It has both CDMA and GSM antennas, making it suitable for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the US, and the GSM networks in Europe. T-Mobile has been left out of this round. AT&T will reportedly get the fastest speeds with the HSPA+ network, and Sprint has committed to unlimited data plans for the iPhone. The iPhone 4 is also coming to Sprint.

Apple offers iCloud synchronization, so you can access all your content on any of your Apple devices automatically. Think of the Amazon Kindle’s Whispersync. This is a helpful feature, especially for those with both an iPhone and an iPad.

Though iOS 5 is coming to the original iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS, the OS’s main attraction will only be available on the iPhone 4S. Siri was an app in the Apple app store. It is now a pretty attractive feature in the iPhone, and has been removed from the store. Siri allows you to speak conversationally into your phone to make things happen. You can send text messages, e-mails, check show times, weather, and more, simply by talking to your phone. If you’ve used Android at all the last couple of years you may be familiar with this concept. Vlingo had a popular Android App, and then Google introduced Voice Actions. With Voice Actions you can also access Google’s free Navigation software on top of the features you get with Siri. Apple did upgrade the service a bit, which is good. You can ask questions with nuances that other programs might miss, such as asking about whether or not you need an umbrella and getting the weather report. Apple has raised the bar a bit on voice features, so it will be interesting to see how Android responds. The customers end up winning in this particular aspect because the feature is pretty cool on both systems.

Another feature highlighted today was iMessage. You can chat with other iOS users and keep the conversation going across devices. Again, this is already possible on Android, and includes the Chrome browser as well, specifically with Google Talk. Apple took it even further with GPS-based friend location, called Find My Friends. This works like Google Latitude, and you can see your friends on a map, assuming they opted in to the service and have allowed their location to be known.

I think the best features announced today were the camera and Siri. Other than that, think of the iPhone 4S as an upgrade to the iPhone 4. Though many were disappointed with this launch, there is nothing wrong with upgrading the phone without calling it the iPhone 5. There were plenty of new apps and features added to make it a significantly better phone than its predecessor.

The iPhone 4S will be available for pre-order on October 7, and will be available October 14. There are three versions available, subsidized by Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. You can get a 16GB phone for $199, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. Yes, I said these were subsidized prices. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4 (8GB) will drop to $99, and the 3GS (8GB) can be picked up for free.

Check out all the new features at apple.com/iphone.

New iPhone to be Announced October 4

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Let's Talk iPhone

The next iPhone has been the talk of the town lately. Sprint announced it would have unlimited data plans when it gets the iPhone 5. T-Mobile complained that it didn’t get any iPhone love. AT&T thinks it will continue to dominate in iPhone sales and services. After all this posturing, it isn’t a surprise that the new iPhone is likely being announced at an upcoming press conference. Apple sent out simple invitations to the event, saying “Let’s Talk iPhone”. Sounds pretty clear.

Apple has changed up its tablet/phone launch strategy this year, which has led to a lot of speculation. Different manufacturing specs and concept images have leaked, and there are a number of possibilities as to what we will see next week. The iPhone 4S has been discussed in addition to the iPhone 5. Some have even expressed concern that the original iPod may have reached its end of life. It would make sense to leave the bottom end iPods intact, but even Sony ditched the cassette Walkman recently. For the iPod to become a dinosaur this quickly is something, though.

We’ll likely get to find out if the iPod has met its end next week. We’ll also get to see if Apple releases two phones instead of the usual ace. I am looking forward to seeing what Apple comes up with, especially now that Jobs has resigned. Things may start getting even more interesting.

What do you think? Will we see two iPhones? Will the older iPods retire? Let me know in the comments.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the e-Reader Wars

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Amazon.com has been building a huge presence on Google’s Android OS in recent years. You can find an app for the Kindle reader, Amazon.com store, and Amazon mp3 player. There is even an Amazon-based Android market that offers a paid app for free every day. Given Amazon’s large e-reader footprint, and the amount of effort Amazon has put into its Android apps, it was only a matter of time before a tablet was launched. Rumor has it that the tablet will be announced tomorrow under the label Kindle Fire. Everyone is talking about this being the iPad killer. Is it though? Probably not, at least not yet.

For years there has been an ongoing debate about tablets vs e-Readers. I wrote about a few of the competitors a while back in a series called the e-Reader Wars. People were comparing the Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader against the iPad, even though they are in completely different markets. Some devices tried to bridge the gap between e-reader and tablet, like the Adam from Notion Ink and the ill-fated Edge from Entourage. The e-reader market continued to thrive, even as more and more tablets emerged. There is a reason for this. e-Ink is a better medium for reading books. Back-lit displays are hard on the eyes, tablets tend to be heavier than e-readers, and sometimes people want a gadget that does just one thing really well. The Kindle was never really in competition with the iPad.

With the launch of the Nook Color, Barnes & Noble crossed over into tablet territory. The Kindle and Sony Reader stayed true to e-Ink, among some other competitors including the Nook touch. When it comes down to it, a 7 inch Kindle Fire is better able to compete with the Nook Color than it is the iPad. It is not necessarily the device though that is causing the stir. Amazon’s Prime membership, Android apps, cloud services, media services, and Android market have positioned it to change the tablet industry. Amazon provides hardware to sell software, and there is a lot of software to choose from with Amazon’s label. This will certainly make things interesting in the near future, but until the 10 inch model comes out, it sounds like the Kindle Fire is geared to enhance the e-reader space over the tablet space.

Is the Kindle Fire going to excite a lot of people? Of course. This should be a pretty cool device, full of Amazon innovation. The rumored low price point will make this a hit in time for the holidays. Is Apple concerned about this new market entrant? Probably, but there is plenty of time for this to considered a threat. Apple will likely have some time to respond. Hopefully Amazon will continue to carry its e-Ink Kindle readers. Though Apple is a tempting target in the tablet industry, there is still plenty of life left in e-Readers. I carry my Sony Reader Daily Edition to work right along my Tablet S. I like what my tablet has to offer, and I like what the Reader has to offer. They are complimentary, or at least not in direct competition. We may soon see if the market agrees. I expect Amazon to sell a lot of tablets in the coming months.

Even though I don’t think this first run of Kindle Fire will be a huge threat to Apple, I am looking forward to seeing what Amazon comes up with. We should know a lot more about the Kindle Fire tomorrow morning. Let’s hope it can live up to the hype. I have a feeling it will.