Apple iOS 5 Features

Apple is really great at giving you things you never thought you needed. I remember thinking with iOS 4 and 4.3 came out with all their new features, that we must have everything now. The phone is awesome and what else could you really want or need?! I guess that’s the way life is with technology—just as you settle in with your new device, along comes another one to make you feel like you’re behind the curve again.

There are over 200 features with the new release of iOS 5 coming out this fall, so I won’t touch on all of them, but here are my top 5 favorites:

iOS 5 Features

iOS 5 Notification CenterNotification Center – As it is right now, whenever you’re using an app or playing a game on your device, you will be rudely interrupted if you get a text message or some other app notification. To retrieve your message, you have to exit the app and then come back to it and some apps might not return you to where you were. With Notification Center, all messages and alerts appear at the top of the app in a little information bar which you can then pull down with one swipe, reply to a text, acknowledge an alert or whatever else you need to do and then make it disappear having never to leave your app or game!

Another great feature of this is that these notifications also appear on the lock screen. They are fully functional too, so you can listen to voicemails or read texts without having to unlock your phone and access them directly. I wonder how it’ll handle privacy for those of us who don’t allow the content of text messages to appear on a locked device.

iOS 5 Quick Access CameraCamera – How can you better a camera that already has physical specs that can’t change? Oh yeah, make it available to use without having to fumble around with passcodes and icons. Such a simple solution to a really annoying problem. There’s an old saying that says “The best camera is the one you have at the moment.” and how true is that when you’re out and about and you see something you really wanted to take a picture of, but you missed it because you took your phone out and you spent 30 seconds trying to enter your passcode and then remember where you put your camera app icon?

No more worries with that one! iOS 5 allows you to access your camera right from the lock screen and what’s even better is the ability to take shots using the volume-up button! Adding to this amazing feature is the ability to use grid lines to compose a shot and then perform basic editing like redeye removal, cropping and autoexposure to clean up your photos. When using iCloud, all the photos you take are instantly sent to all of your other iCloud devices. How much better can this get?!

iOS 5 iMessageiMessage – Text messaging has replaced phone calls, but for those of you who don’t like paying for texts or maybe you’re an iPod Touch user or non-3G iPad user and you can’t use text. Or at least if you wanted to, you had to download an app for it. Well not anymore! With iMessage, you can now send texts from any 3G or wi-fi connection to and from all iOS devices and just about any other 3G text-capable device. Plus, you can now see when the other person is typing. Another neat feature is the ability to start a text conversation on your iPhone and continue it on your iPad—no more fumbling around between devices.

A couple of other cool features are the ability to track sent and received messages through tracking receipts and the universal ability to send group messages as well as photos, locations, contacts and videos to all iOS devices.

iOS 5 NewsstandNewsstand – For those of you that have digital subscriptions to magazines or newspapers, you now have a better place to get the latest issues. Before, you were probably downloading them one by one or having to use the publisher’s app to get the latest edition, but now Newsstand will organize all of you subscriptions in one central location. When a new issue comes out, it’s automatically sent to Newsstand with an image of the newest cover automatically. If you want to manage your subscriptions or purchase new ones, you can do so right from Newsstand or access the new subscription store in iTunes.

I only feel sorry for today’s paperboy!

iOS 5 RemindersReminders – There are literally tons of reminder apps out there—some are free, some you have to pay big bucks for. What I never understood is why didn’t Apple ever make their own a long time ago?? Now, we don’t have to worry about that. Reminders makes creating to–do lists super easy. You can create any number of things you need to do complete with due dates, locations and alerts. What’s really cool about the location feature is let’s say you create a grocery list and you map it to your favorite grocery store. On the off-chance that you forgot you actually made the shopping list, you might have gone shopping and didn’t remember some items, right? Not with Reminders!! With location mapping, as soon as you pull into the parking lot of that store, you are sent an alert that reminds you about your shopping list.

This app appears to be absolutely amazing; especially for someone like me who always forgets the little things.

My two cents

From what I see so far, iOS 5 is just more proof that Apple keeps delivering great features with every new update they put out. I know a lot of Droid owners will probably read this and say they’ve had features like this for a long time now, but what I love about Apple is these features are integrated into more than just one device and the they are created by Apple directly. I for one would prefer not to use third-party apps because sometimes they don’t always play well with devices.

At any rate, I can’t wait for this release and if you’re interested in seeing the complete list of features within iOS 5, check out Apple’s website.

Is Apple "Watching" You Through iOS 4?

It would appear that a newly discovered un-encrypted file located on iOS 4 devices has been storing location information since it launched back on June 21, 2010. What’s not entirely clear is exactly how Apple is using this information, if at all. The file is called consolidated.db and it works by downloading latitude and longitude information taken from triangulated cell phone towers as you move about various locations.

As you would imagine, the iPhone and the iPad are the only iOS 4 devices that this could possibly affect, however there are no indications that any of this information is being sent to Apple. Some believe it’s just an easier way for iPhoto to correctly tag information to pictures taken on the devices while others think it may have to do with the new free MobileMe feature called Find My iPhone that allows you to find the location of a lost phone with the added benefit of being able to send a direct system message to the device and/or wipe its contents remotely.

Of course, this new information is likely to only upset a small handful of users seriously concerned with data privacy issues and anyone developing any new concerns should be reminded that the information collected in this file is the same that any phone company can obtain from their own data-collection processes. With cell phones, it’s possible for any law enforcement agency to find out your previous GPS history—with a court order of course.

As far as protecting you and your device from unwanted eyes, the best thing you can do besides turning your device off is to simply encrypt your iTunes backups.

Finally, for anyone wishing to complain to Apple (or anyone else), understand that all of this information was divulged to us in a long EULA that we all generally fail to read on just about everything with buy! Here’s a direct quote from Apple’s terms:

Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services.

I, for one am not worried about anything—for two reasons—1. I’m doing nothing wrong and 2. There are plenty of apps out there that use location tracking as their primary function.

So, to answer the stated question directly, no, Apple is not watching you! But at least it’s nice to understand how your device works a little bit more, right?

iPad Poised to Take Out Radio and Other Media

A new survey from Google shows that more and more people are opting to use their tablet devices, with most of them being iPads, over traditional media streams like listening to the radio or watching broadcast tv. This is happening just now?! I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio!

The survey points out that more than half of the people questioned said they use their iPad more than listening to the radio and just about 25% of them use an iPad more than a computer. Finally, a third of these individuals stated they use iPad more than they watch tv. Because the iPad is so versatile, people can now use one device to access the Internet, watch videos, stream movies and tv shows, read newspapers and magazines, listen to music and play games. Of course cable and satellite providers have made honest attempts at keeping you on your television by offering on-demand content, DVR services, music channels, downloadable content, HD content, 3D content, free movies, etc., but without a tv capable of handling some of these things, you’re kind of up a creek.

Apple TV

Apple TV
Since the iPad is an Apple product, I doubt Steve Jobs cares that one of his own products is cannibalizing another market, but I know he figures he might as well have a piece of that pie too. Before he retires, Steve Jobs plans to “revolutionize” the living room. The Apple TV has been an interesting, yet vastly overlooked product since its inception. Originally called iTV (how original), the Apple TV began shipping in 2007 and has seen one major upgrade in 2010. However, nobody is really talking about it.

Is it possible that not everything Apple touches turns to gold? In light of this new survey, one could wonder what the future of Apple TV will be. If you actually take the time to look at the device, it really is pretty cool. You can stream purchases of videos, movies and music right from your iTunes account, access Netflix, NBA tv, YouTube and display slideshows from Flickr photo albums.

However, it would seem that this device is doomed. With the realization that iPads are here to stay, along with other competing products, Steve Jobs is likely to bring the cloud experience to your living room. By connecting all of your devices together, you’ll be able to do anything and everything on just about anything and everything in your home. I can see the commercial now:

  • Man is at work with 2 minutes left to go, watching a Netflix movie on his Macbook.
  • Man leaves work and continues same movie on iPhone while riding the subway home (I know there’s no cell service on subways, but work with me here!)
  • Man walks in the door, turns on tv and continues streaming same movie.
  • Man grabs iPad because he has to go to the bathroom and doesn’t want to pause the movie.
  • Man’s iPad battery dies, he gets upset and breaks iPad.
  • Man gets even more upset, breaks Macbook and tv.
  • Wife says she’s leaving because husband is to “connected” to technology.
  • Man is sad and lonely because Apple Care won’t cover physical damage.

On a serious note, if anyone makes that script into a YouTube video, I want credit!

My two cents

Of course the above example is a huge exaggeration, but the questions are pretty clear. Do we really need all this stuff? Do we really want everything to be so connected that we become so dependent on them? What I would like to see is a way for consumers to pay much smaller fees for tv service. If Apple plans to cloud up the living room with more on-demand tv choices like those you can get from Hulu, then I hope the cable companies respond by allowing customers to only pay for channels they wish to receive. At the rate all this is going, I’m sure it won’t be much longer before network television simply allows you to subscribe to your favorite shows rather than paying to have the whole channel.

Mac OS X Lion – Coming Summer 2011

Apple may have done it again! From the looks of the list below, we might have the best version of OS X yet. If you enjoy the functionality of your iPhone and/or iPad, you’re going to love some of the new features of OS X Lion. Take a look below and I promise you you’ll be as excited as I am.

This time around, Apple has taken what people love about iOS and put them into OS X. I’m still hoping that one day, OS X will make its way to the iPad and who knows, maybe this is the first step toward that dream! OS X features things like the Mac App Store, Launchpad, Mission Control and AirDrop. If you’re starting to feel like you’re about to take off into space, welcome to the club! So without further ado, let’s launch this thing! (I couldn’t resist the lame pun.)

Mac OS X Lion Features

At its core, the new OS will look very similar to previous incarnations; it’s what’s under the hood that may or may not get you excited. Today, computers seem to be all about the apps and the experience partly because of the huge success of today’s smartphones. People just want things fast and readily available at all times. OS X Lion delivers the convenience and ease-of-use that will rival that of any computer system you can buy today.

Mac App Store

Apple Mac App Store
Although you can already download this app, the new App Store for Mac works just like the one for iPhone and iPad. You can now buy full software programs without having to head to the store. No more fiddling with discs or worrying that a store my be out of stock. Simply buy the app, download it and get to work.


Mac OS X Lion Launchpad
This is the one that makes your Mac look like an iPad. With one click of this app in the dock, your screen is transformed into the desktop equivalent of iPad showcasing all of your apps in one (or more) screens. I dare you to open it up and not be tempted to start swiping your screen!

Full-screen apps

Mac OS X Lion Fullscreen apps
Take your apps to the max! No longer will you be forced to stare at the top menu bar or the dock at the bottom. You can now open your apps to the full width of your monitor. I’m not sure if having a full screen app will make you more functional, but it’s nice to know you have the option. Personally, I like having the clock in front of me so I can see how much time I’m wasting online.

Mission Control

Mac OS X Lion Mission Control
Mission Control is like Dashboard, but on crack. It allows you to pull down all of your running apps right on the screen so you can see everything that’s running on your computer. From there, you can click anything you want to re-open and you’re instantly there. What’s cool about this is that all of the windows you have open are sorted by group, so if you had 4 Safari windows and two Word documents open, you’d see two groups and each of the windows showing up inside.

Auto Save

This might be a God-send for some of you out there! I know for me, it’s going to take the headache out of creating documents. Imaging you’re pushing the battery limits on your Macbook and you’ve already completed 10 pages of your school report when all of a sudden, your battery dies! Damn. Well with Auto Save, all of your troubles are over. What’s really cool is it actually saves the current document which means it doesn’t create any copies, thus saving disk space. And if you accidentally save the wrong changes, you can always revert back to a previous version; see next feature.


Mac OS X Lion Versions
For those that use TimeMachine, you’ll be very familiar with this feature. It basically keeps track of every change you’ve made to a document allowing you to revert back to a previous version whenever you need to. When you open a document, OS X Lion will save a version of it and then continue to save versions every hour automatically.


Mac OS X Lion Resume
This is one of my favorites. Let’s say you have a bunch of windows open and you are prompted with some new updates. You’re just itching to get them installed, but then you’re greeted with a message stating that you’ll have to restart your computer. Now you have to go in and save all your documents and close everything while losing all your places online, etc, etc. Not anymore! Resume allows to restart your Mac and it comes right back on to exactly where you left off. The resume feature also works when closing and opening apps.

Mail 5

Apple Mail 5 Conversations
If there’s mail program that could get me to switch from Outlook, Mail 5 just might be the one! I’ve used Outlook for many years because of its vast amount of features and I was never really a fan of Mail, but the new Mail 5 offers the a conversations feature that brings up emails similar in fashion to how iPhone deals with text messages.


For those of us who get our Mac friends together on the weekend so we can talk about how cool our Macs are…(silence)…we can now send and receive files just by opening an app! AirDrop will automatically locate and connect with other Mac users (locally) that also have AirDrop running so you can send files without having to pull out USB drives or burned discs.

My two cents

I’m super excited about this release! Given the above features and I’m sure a whole lot more that we haven’t seen yet, I know this will be the perfect mix between the functionality of a full Mac with the ease and simplicity of an iPad. I was never a big fan of the iOS software being used on anything bigger than a phone mainly because it lacks any type of file system and it makes doing some advanced work near impossible, but Apple seems to have gotten this one right.

Of course, only time will tell if they did.

Apple iPad 2 is Here – Launch Day Craziness

Apple is very well-known for its launch days with people standing in long lines days before the “big day”, people fighting over who was there first and just general anger when people find out the store sold out of their desired item. Of course, the iPad 2 is no different.

While it did seem like a much quieter day compared to those crazy iPhone 4 days when everyone decided they wanted one after the world got to see the new model leaked early, it wasn’t without it’s interesting events. One such event places college student, Amanda Foote at the Apple store in New York. She was the first person in line after getting there on Wednesday night, but she wasn’t waiting for an iPad. According to her story (see video below), she heard about people selling spots in line in the past, so she decided to try her luck at such a feat. Apparently it paid off since she earned a cool $900 for her place. Considering she got there at 5pm on Wednesday and the store probably opened at 10am today, that means she was there for 41 hours–that’s almost $22 an hour–not bad for sleeping in the rain.


Long Lines

I can’t imagine waiting in a line like this! I mean, how far do you start walking back before you wonder exactly how many iPads can this tiny store actually hold? Also, is it somewhat of a better experience to wait in a physical line rather then ordering online at home?


Oh wait, I get it…you want everyone to see you walk out of the mall holding the fresh new box so they can drool with envy.


Although Apple never tells you the truth, you can always get an estimate of how low their stock levels are by ordering from I just looked and sure enough, we have our first delayed shipping message: “Ships in 2-3 weeks”.

Apple iPad 2 Delayed Shipping

Maybe they should have done some pre-orders.

Is it worth the Hype?

After seeing and hearing all about how great the iPad 2 is and then verifying this belief by watching the videos above and reading the news in the next days about how many records have been broken for iPad sales, it’s not hard to fall into the same category as everyone else–that which forces you to own all of the latest technology you can get your hands on.

But, is it really worth it? Given that the majority of those iPads sold today will just end on eBay to all of the last-minute buyers who must now fork over 20-60% markups just so they don’t have to wait for Apple to replenish, you start to wonder if the iPad 2 is even worth all the hype. I don’t think it is. I already compared the iPad 2 to the iPad 1 and have made my judgment on selling my old one and not getting the new one, but that isn’t because I don’t like it. It’s simply because I don’t use it as much as I thought I was.

My only advice is to think about why you want to buy and what you plan to use it for before simply getting it because it’s shiny and new.

Apple iPad 2 – Coming March 11, 2011

Apple is well known for its snazzy, sleek product designs that have fan-boys (and girls) lining up at retail stores world-wide on product launch days. However, the rest of the crowd (those who are not interested in the latest “iProduct”) generally sees Apple’s product designs as nothing more than an industry slight–one that does a phenomenal job of covering up outdated system hardware.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Apple’s latest products aren’t up to par with other related tech products. I just think they really believe the road to success is the old KISS method…keep it simple stupid. When the first iPhone came out, as well as every model since, tech gurus and Apple-haters have been complaining about low-quality cameras, slow processor speed, lack of memory, crashing apps, overheating issues, antenna problems and everything else under the Sun. They relentlessly compared them to every other smart phone on the market and in almost every case, the iPhone favored negatively. Meanwhile, while this tech war was being waged, one indisputable reality was taking place…millions of people were still buying iPhones.

iPad 2

And now we’ve come to this–the iPad 2. This week, Apple will start selling the 2nd incarnation of its famed tablet PC that everyone loved to hate. Once again, we have an Apple product that has met with some very harsh criticisms and comparisons to competing products–and still, once again, Apple has prevailed. While consumers were trying to find uses for the iPad, competitors were trying to beat it and iPad 1 did all but destroy e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook along with a host of other tablet PCs. Apple must be doing something right.

Quick Comparison:

iPad iPad 2
Base Price $399 (originally $499) $499
Colors Black Black or White
Dimensions 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5 inches 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches
Weight 1.5-1.6 pounds 1.33-1.35 pounds
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB
Connections Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G or Verizon 3G
Screen 9.7-inch 1024×768 9.7-inch 1024×768
Processor 1GHz A4 1GHz dual-core A5
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Cameras None 720p rear, VGA front
Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, 3-axis gyro
Location Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G version) Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G versions)

As you can see, not much has changed. Of course “not much” is a subjective statement seeing as how someone might feel like the addition of two cameras is actually worth the upgrade. Personally, if I sold my current iPad and got the iPad 2, it would be for two reasons only: 1. I can get Verizon 3G service and 2. I can now get it in white.

The processor is likely the third biggest change for me. Although the first iPad was fast enough for what you would generally use it for, it’s nice to have an extra boost–all without degrading the battery life–or so we’ll see! About these cameras…I’m sure the front camera is the better one to have given the Skype® capabilities or maybe you’re hard up for updating your Facebook profile pic, but I don’t see much use for a rear camera. Chances are you’re already carrying a camera in your pocket anyway, so why would you want to hold a 9″ iPad up to your subject and snap a photo? Maybe for a quick eBay listing while you’re at the restaurant? Yeah, I can see that happening.

The Competition

The New York Times said today, “So Far Rivals Can’t Beat iPad’s Price”. When have you ever heard “rivals can’t beat […] price” when talking about Apple products?? Isn’t Apple supposed to be the most expensive ‘everything’ you can buy? On top of that, Apple outsiders will tell you that you’ve overpaid for a sub-par product: “If only you had bought (insert manufacturer name here), you could have saved money and had twice as much!” All I can say is, “Wow!”

At any rate, the Times went on to say that because of Apple’s deep pockets, they are able to save money by buying large amounts of parts up front for larger discounts as well as not having to pay licensing rights to chip makers due to Apple’s in-house chip manufacturing of the A4 and A5 processors. Plus, Apple has the App Store, which brings in more than a billion dollars each year–this alone can subsidize the cost of the iPad. All these factors can let Apple reduce their profit margin to say…25% instead of the usual 50% they pull in from iPhone.

Motorola Xoom
How does the Xoom stack up against the iPad 2?

Xoom iPad 2
Base Price $799 (w/ 2-yr contract: $599) $499
Colors Black Black or White
Dimensions 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches
Weight 1.6 pounds 1.33-1.35 pounds
Storage 32GB internal (future support for 32GB SD cards) 16GB/32GB/64GB
Connections Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Verizon 3G (4G compatible) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G or Verizon 3G
Screen 10.1-inch 1280×800 (HD 720p) 9.7-inch 1024×768
Processor 1GHz dual-core 1GHz dual-core A5
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Cameras 5mp rear + Dual LED flash, 2mp front 720p rear, VGA front
Sensors Accelerometer Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, 3-axis gyro
Location Wi-Fi, eCompass, aGPS (with Google maps) Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G versions)

My two cents

While the Xoom has the iPad 2 beat in a few ways, it’s hard to justify the price. Even though you can upgrade the internal memory using a 32GB SD card, adding the cost of everything might just exceed the cost of the 64GB iPad. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Xoom has a bigger and better screen
  • Xoom has better cameras
  • Xoom has expandable memory (in the future)
  • Xoom will support 4G
  • Xoom has the Android app store
  • iPad 2 has a larger app Store
  • iPad 2 is much cheaper
  • iPad 2 comes in a wi-fi only model
  • iPad 2 looks cooler

I threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention! The fact of the matter is that Apple has another winner here and it all comes down to this: If you already own an iPad, keep it. There’s not much to upgrade to. If you can’t find a valid use for an iPad or another tablet pc, then don’t buy any of them. If you’re on the fence, buy the iPad 2. You can’t beat the size of the App Store and the price.

MacBook Air (2010) vs iPad vs MacBook Pro

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been working heavily on my other site and just trying to maintain sanity throughout my life due to some unexpected changes not too long ago. At any rate, this post comes after my in-depth look at the new MacBook Air that came out less than a month ago. For all of you that feel Apple is just releasing the same old products in different packaging, understand this…you’re right.

Ok so I’m an Apple fan boy and I love to see what’s next and yes, I’ve been known to drop more shiny pennies on their products than I do on more important things in life, but rather than try to explain myself, let me at least justify my purchases! Actually, I already did that when I went over the various reasons about why I own an iPhone, an MacBook and an iPad. Of course there are plenty of other devices out there that could have done almost exactly the same things (if not, more) for a LOT less, but Apple has me sucked in!

So I buy an iPad because I wanted to take the mobility of the iPhone to a new level and I must tell you, I succeeded. Everything was going fine until I saw the new MacBook Air. And so it begins–the never-ending quest to have the perfect combination of technology to ensure that no matter where you’re at, you’re always connected and functional.

MacBook Air (2010 model)

When the first MacBook Air came out, it was “revolutionary”, it was “sleek” but most importantly, it could fit in a standard size manilla envelope. The problem with it was that it cost way too much money! In fact, I think the only good thing that came out of it was that it set a new standard for future MacBook designs.

Today, we have a new pair of MacBook Airs that look better than ever, are more powerful than ever and…still cost way too much money. Here’s the break down:

2010 MacBook Air models
2010 MacBook Air models

From this comparison, you can see that there is really only two models: the 11-inch screen and the 13-inch screen. Within those two models you can choose the size of your hard drive, but that’s it.

Now I already own a 13-inch MacBook (2008 model–before they all went to MacBook Pros), so the only real excitement I got from these is the fact that one of them is 11-inches. The other attractive feature here is the solid-state flash memory. If you get a chance to check out one of these in the store, you’ll notice quite a difference between the boot up and running speed of a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro. The Air will beat the Pro almost every time and it can do so with almost half the processor speed!

Pros and Cons


  • Small, portable and lightweight
  • Fast, flash memory
  • Full keyboard, full OSX
  • Built-in SD card reader
  • 5+ hours of battery life


  • No ROM drive
  • Small screens
  • Not upgradable
  • Onboard memory
  • No backlit keyboard
  • No built-in 3G service

iPad (1st Gen)

Apple iPad 1st generation
Apple iPad 1st generation

The iPad is great, but it’s only as great as the iPhone with a slightly better advantage of having a larger screen. The reason I bought one was to go more portable than my MacBook, but to have a larger screen than my iPhone and so far the results have been…ehhh. Granted, I love using the iPad and it comes in handy when you want to write something down, check your email while in the car or even just play some games when you’re bored.

The problem I keep running into is the fact that I want to use it like my MacBook, but because it doesn’t have an actual file system, I’m still stuck with the same limitations as the iPhone. So where before, I was looking for a mid-point between smartphone and laptop, it looks like now I’m looking for a mid-point between iPad and desktop computer. So far, all signs point to MacBook Air.

UPDATED: Now that the iPad 2 is coming out this month (March 11, 2011), take a look at the direct comparison and find out if you think you should upgrade! After reviewing its specs, I’ve decided that aside from a slightly faster processor and the addition of two new cameras, it’s practically the same as the first iPad.

MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)
Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)

As I mentioned, I don’t officially have a MacBook Pro because my model came out with there was still just MacBooks, but since my system specs are the same as the new Pros (albeit no SD card reader), I can speak on this. My original setup consisted of a desktop PC and an HP laptop. I sold the HP and got the MacBook for two reasons: new computer and to become more portable. That’s why I chose the 13-inch model.

As time went on, I noticed I was using the MacBook more and more and the desktop less and less. The problem with this was that the laptop became my desktop replacement, but now I was stuck with a 13-in screen!


While each of these devices serves different purposes and not everyone will find the same use in them, my opinion is that owning a MacBook Pro and an iPad or a MacBook Air and an iPad are great additions to the smartphone you probably already own. Each of them allows you to be portable in different ways and depending on the situation, you will find that they complement your life very well. Now, if you own all three, you just have nothing better to spend your money on!

As for me, I’m almost at the point where I want to change my tech setup once again. This is what I foresee:

  1. Sell my current desktop PC
  2. Sell my iPad
  3. Sell my MacBook
  4. Buy a Mac Mini to replace my desktop
  5. Buy a MacBook Air (11-inch) to replace my MacBook and iPad
  6. Keep my iPhone 4 as my extremely portable device

Now if only Apple would put some built-in 3G capabilities on the MacBook Air–or any MacBook for that matter, then we’d be sittin’ pretty!

Practical Uses for the iPad

I recently read an article that talked about how the iPad is being used in up-scale restaurants. Would it be surprising to learn that the iPad is being used as an electronic wine list?! This prompted me to evaluate the overall practicality of the iPad itself.

Understandably so, whenever a new “tech” device arrives on the scene, one of the first things that happens is people ask if it’s worth the retail price. Well, I’ve owned an iPad for almost two months now and I can say I’ve gotten my practical uses out of it for sure.

In the Workplace

You can kiss writing notes on paper goodbye! The iPad is the perfect complement for all your work meetings. There are plenty of note-taking apps available for the iPad, but the one I liked the most is Penultimate. This app allows you to create virtual notebooks, in which you can have an unlimited amount of pages of notes. The best part about it is that you can write all your notes with just your finger or you can get a fancy stylus that works with the iPad (and iPhone/iPod Touch).

I also use it while I walk around troubleshooting problems for my co-workers. I use it to take more notes or to enter things into my calendar on the fly. Everyone at my job now wants an iPad because it replaces Post-It notes (to an extant) as well as paper notepads and pens.

At Home

What’s the difference between work and home these days? For me, there is no difference, but it’s nice to be able to kick back and relax while playing a few games to hold you over until dinner. My favorite started out as FlightCTRL HD because that the first game I demoed on the iPad when I went to the Apple store to see one for the first time. It’s a super fun game that becomes really addicting really fast. My newest favorite is Texas Poker because it’s free and because it has online multiplayer capabilities.

Beyond games, the iPad serves many purposes at home, some of which are:

  • A lightweight replacement for your laptop
  • Video/movie/tv show player
  • Portable radio (Internet music and radio stations)
  • Kitchen aid for pulling up recipes
  • Alarm clock
  • Ebook reader

Speaking of ebook readers, all you Amazon Kindle owners can look no further for your next device upgrade. Yes, there’s a Kindle app for the iPad that allows you to open and read all of your already purchased Kindle books–and in full color!

On the go

If you’re actually moving while using the iPad, hopefully you’re a passenger and not the driver and if you have the 3G version, you can do everything I said above while driving to your next destination. I’ve taken my iPad almost everywhere I go. I’ve used it in stores, at gas stations, at restaurants and riding around with friends.

I think the best part of the iPad is the ability to be more portable than having a laptop, but large enough to not be stuck on the tiny screen of a smartphone.

My gripes

The iPad is great and works as well as any product can be expected, but alas…there are some gripes that I have. Just a fair warning–these gripes come from the iPad software version 3.2.2.

  • No file system – The iPad uses the same software as the iPhone and therefore has many limitations as far as file sharing, file manipulation, file storage and everything else to do with files.
  • Limited web browsing – The iPad still suffers from the limitations that affect the iPhone like no Flash support, weird Java problems and no tabbed browsing (if using Safari).
  • No printing – Even the cheapest of netbooks can print! But, I hear that wireless printing will be available on the next software update in November, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it actually works.
  • No multitasking – Yet. This is also a new feature coming out and I have a feeling, it’ll become much more useful on the iPad than it was on the iPhone.

All in all, the iPad is a great device and is very useful in the right setting, but if you’re on the fence about it, you may not really need it. It truly is just an oversized iPhone/iPod touch. If you’re looking for something closer to a netbook in features, you’ll need to get a netbook…or wait until all these new touch-screen “iPad killers” start coming out from HP, Lenovo, etc. They are supposed to integrate features of a netbook with the design and simplicity of an iPad.

Free iPad, iPod, iPhone, Macbook offers. Are they legit?

You’ve seen them everywhere–Google, Facebook, MySpace, etc.!! They are those little annoying ads that show up telling you that you can get an iPad, an iPod, a Macbook or some other expensive gadget for FREE.

Naturally, you click through only to feel duped because now there’s all sorts of ‘offers’ you have to complete. In my opinion, you shouldn’t feel duped–you should probably feel a little naive for thinking that you were really going to get a $200-2000 item for doing nothing. After reading a blog post on, I was amazed to see how many people think these offers are outright scams.

Are they scams?

Ok, so you clicked an ad and now you want to know if you’re about to be scammed, right? Perfect, I’m here to set the record straight for anyone who’s still cloudy on this topic.

Before I get into the specifics, let’s define a couple of related terms:

  • scam (noun) – a device (website, contract, etc) used to cheat or defraud
  • scam (verb) – to cheat or defraud
  • scammed (past tense) – having been defrauded or cheated
  • mislead – to lead astray, deceive or guide wrongly

Now that we know what the difference between a scam (or to be scammed) and something that’s misleading, we can continue.

The reason I put misleading in there is because once I prove to you that these offers are not scams, the next thing you’re going to say is that they are misleading and if that’s what you believe, then ok. I, on the other hand do not feel that these ads are scams or are misleading and here’s why.

To me, an ad that is misleading would be this:

Sign up today and get a FREE iPad! Simply enter your email address and we’ll ship your new gift directly to your house!!

An ad that is not misleading would be this:

Sign up today and get a FREE iPad! *Participation in promotional offers required. (The last part will likely be in fine print.)

How do these offers work?

Each company has a different approach to the same end result, but in general, the company has a sponsorship deal with the advertising company in which the advertiser pays the promoter an affiliate bonus for every customer they send them. This bonus is what the promoter uses to pay for your free gift. So how can they afford really expensive gifts and still make money? That’s where simple math comes into play.

I run a website and I have a few sponsored ads throughout my website, so I know how much can be made on deals like these, but for this example I’m going to use simple (yet realistic) numbers to illustrate how this is all possible.

Let’s take a standard “FREE iPad” offer. The promoter tells you to get your gift you have 180 days to complete a total of 13 offers from 3 tiers. There are three key facts in that one sentence. First, you have 6 months to complete the offers. Second, you have to do 13 offers and third is that the offers are broken into tiers.

  1. Time limit: The promotion company is banking that you don’t have what it takes to comply with all these rules and this is where they make the real money. Imagine if 100 people completed 11 offers, but ran out of time before they could do two more. The promoter just made affiliate bonuses on 1100 offers and didn’t have to ship 1 iPad! If each offer earned them about $50, they just walked away with $55,000! Hopefully this clarifies how it’s possible to afford such expensive gifts.
  2. 13 Total Offers: That’s a lot of offers and it’s easy to get confused and lost in all the signups you’re about to get involved with. Again, the promoter hopes that you stay confused so you either a) don’t get all 13 or b) stay a subscribed member so they can continue making affiliate bonuses off you.
  3. 3 Tiers: One such offer site mentions you have to pick 2 offers from tier 1, 2 offers from tier 2 and 9 offers from tier 3. The reason they do this is because the offers range so dramatically from things like subscribing to a magazine for 3 months to applying for a car loan. It would be unfair to make you apply for 13 car loans, so they break them down into manageable groups.

As you can see if you apply some basic math, even if every single person did every single requirement and they shipped out an iPad for every person, they are still not losing money depending on which model they ship. Plus, $50 is an average amount. I’ve heard of affiliate payouts being much higher.

My two cents

To call this a scam, you would be implying that these companies are promising you one thing and backing out at the last minute thus robbing you of your free gift. Aside from these offers consuming loads of time and aside from you perhaps making a mistake of not completing one of the required terms, there is no way you will not get your free gift. It would also be a scam if these companies were asking for money and not following through on their promises.

So, for all those that still think these offers are scams, listen up. It’s natural to feel “scammed” after seeing an ad for an offer claiming you can get some really expensive gadget for free (iPad, laptops, big screen tvs, etc) only to discover that there’s a “catch”. But just because this upsets you, does that mean it’s really a scam? Of course not! That’s like saying you signed up for a credit card with a 0% intro rate and then 6 months later, you’re surprised to be hit with a 19% APR. You should only be surprised if you didn’t read the fine print and only be mad at yourself that you didn’t. Offers like these and others like home loans, car leases, hotel rentals or anything you sign a contract for should not be obtained without having read the fine print first! That’s just common sense.

Hopefully now we can all agree that they are not scamming anyone. Just read the details clearly if you’re interested and follow all the rules. It’s not that difficult if you’re paying attention and you will certainly get a free gift at the end. By the way, if you still think this process is a scam, you probably also believe that Quibids is a scam too.

A little history

So where did all these offers start?? As far back as I can remember, it all happend around the time when the 3rd gen iPod came out when a company called started offering free iPods to anyone who signed up for 1 offer, but then you had to get 5 friends to sign up under you and they each had to complete 1 offer themselves. After all this happened, you were sent a free 20GB iPod. I was able to score two during this time. The problem with this setup (if you haven’t noticed already) was that it was a pyramid scheme. What this meant was only the people who started first were getting the free iPod because at some point, there was nobody left to sign up (to get your five friends) because everyone was out trying to get 5 more people! Make sense?

That’s when the complaints started…people weren’t getting their iPods, so they felt cheated. Well, since they never paid any money up front, then what were they exactly cheated out of? Perhaps they were cheated out of the chance of getting a free iPod, but this hardly equals a monetary value.

Anyway, the business model was changed to allow people to bypass getting referrals and instead, just complete more offers. Eventually, the whole “referral getting” model was scrapped and now we have the current business model which is simply completing multiple offers. They even added a twist–you only have 6 months to complete everything! See, the ones offering the free gifts are hoping you can’t complete everything in 6 months.