Apple Is Targeting The Video Game Industry

Apple has collectively termed its line of products as being part of the “post pc” world and given that combined sales have beat the combined sales of all major video game consoles by at least 30 million, it can easily be said that Apple is making a dent in yet another market. Now of course, simply comparing these numbers isn’t entirely fair. Just because someone bought an iPad doesn’t mean they did it instead of buying an Xbox. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear…average people are becoming exposed to games through smartphones and tablets and seasoned console gamers are finding tablet versions of their favorite games in the app stores.

Even the global president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata had this to say regarding Apple and the gaming industry:

“Game development is drowning,” he said. “Until now, there has always been the ability to make a living [making games]. Will that still be the case moving forward?”

There’s speculation among all major game developers that tablets are an unnerving cancer to the console game market. While it may be true that tablet and smartphone games are selling well, I can’t imagine that these little “novelty” games will ever kill consoles and PC gaming.

HardwareComputer gaming hardware

One of the major contributing factors to the success of console and PC gaming is the hardware. Usually in performance arenas, bigger is better. Take a car for example…the larger the engine, the more power it puts out. Computers are no exception…the bigger the graphics card, the more power it’ll churn out. Technology has certainly allowed wondrous things to be accomplished with very tiny devices, but the fact still remains that a beefed up powerhouse PC or console on a 50″ LED tv is going to be a much better experience than a rinky-dink iPad.

Another concern I have are the controls. How can you compensate for the lack of buttons on an iPad? Some of today’s games are so involving that they require controllers that have 8 or more buttons. The iPad can most certainly excel at simple games that require screentaps here and there or the physical motion of moving the iPad around, but can it really be used to play complex games? If not, does anyone even care?

The question about whether Apple will lead this industry isn’t about whether they can or not…it comes down to what the gamers want. If they want to trade in their World of Warcraft and Call of Duty for Fruit Ninja and Words with Friends, then that’s the new industry. Gaming experience plays a huge role in the psyche of consumers.

Gaming ExperienceiPad Gaming

The widely accepted culprit to Apple’s gaming success is the gaming experience itself. Today’s average gamer seems more interested in being able to play games on the subway or while waiting for their bus rather than be cooped up for hours in a stuffy bedroom. This means that kids are having more fun playing wirelessly with their friends on iPhones, iPads and Android devices. It seems the days of inviting all your friends over to your house to get down on some multi-player action are dwindling.

However, experience isn’t just about the device or the setting. It’s mostly about actual gameplay. Even though Apple touts the iPad as being a serious gaming device, anyone with a small tech background could tell you that there’s no way an iPad can compete with the hardware found in an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. As a result, the games on the iPad are still very mobile and for the most part are quick puzzle-type games that can be completed with minimal touchscreen controls.

Part of the reason for bringing all this up is because it makes me wonder if simple games have become fun again. Back in the 80’s, we were all content with controlling little Mario around on 2D side-scrolling levels that progressively got harder, but then we wanted more. We got it when console gaming exploded in the late 90’s. This new gaming explosion effectively killed off the arcade industry while opening new doors for immersive gaming adventures that required some major skill and buckets of time to complete. Then we got 3D. It seemed like just around the corner, we’d all be playing virtual reality simulator games.

Yet, amongst all the new devices like Kinect and Move, people still want to cut fruit in half with one finger.

My two cents

My opinion on this has always kept the two gaming industries separate. On one side, you had mobile (and online) games and on the other, you had console and computer games. All gamers could have the best of both worlds…fun, quick games while on the road and epic adventures when at home. Now it seems the lines are being blurred thanks to everything moving toward the “app” world. Game makers are now forced to created mobile versions of their big games just to stay competitive.

I probably shouldn’t really be speaking much on this topic considering that the only console game I really play is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but at the same time, I could never see myself playing an iPad version of MW3. The graphics might be great and the motion of the iPad could be used well to control the game, but let’s face it. To downgrade from an 8+ button Xbox controller to an iPad screen just seems a little chaotic to me!

With that said, Apple is surly taking many industries by storm and over the years, they used the iPod to kill off Sony’s Walkman and Discman, used iTunes to almost destroy all classic music stores (remember Tower Records?), changed the entire phone industry with iPhone, practically set new standards for application and game distribution through the App Store and are now using the iPad to get people to buy something they never thought they needed. The irony here is that Apple was once criticized for not having much in the gaming sector and now they’re being hailed as a potential gaming leader. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

iPad 2 vs iPhone 4S vs iPod Touch (4th Generation)

With the release of Apple’s latest product, the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, Apple’s lineup has 3 great products all operating with the same OS. There is no longer a distinction between these devices in terms of software. The world of Apple now revolves around OS X and iOS with both of these revolving around iTunes. Steve Jobs may have left us, but Apple’s ecosystem is far from gone. However, the question still comes down to whether we need all three of these devices or just one or maybe two. Today, I’d like to compare all three and let you decide.iPod Touch (white)

Let’s start with the iPod. Here’s a device that changed the portable music industry forever. Of course, during its humble beginnings, it was simply a music device. For whatever reason, Apple felt like there needed to be more, so they have created numerous iterations of this one device over the years and today, we have iPod Touch.

iPod Touch vs iPhones

The iPod Touch has seen 4 revisions since it was first introduced back in 2007 and this latest one is the closest they’ve come to the iPhone since. Because of this, let’s first compare the Touch to the latest iPhones:

iPod touch iPhone 4S iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS
Capacity 8 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
8 GB (as of Oct ’11)
16 GB
32 GB
8 GB
16 GB
Screen size (inches)
3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 480 x 320
Processor Apple A4 Apple A5 1 dual-core 1 GHz Apple A4 Samsung ARM Cortex-A8
Battery Life Video: 7 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 8/10/9 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 7/10/10 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 5/10/5 hours
Audio: 30 hours
A-GPS No Yes Yes Yes
Camera under 1 megapixel 8 megapixel & VGA 5 megapixel & VGA 3.2 megapixel
Video Camera 720p HD 1080p HD 720p HD Yes
FaceTime 4th gen. and later Yes Yes No
Siri Support No Yes No No
Phone No Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Size (in inches) 4.4 x 2.3 x .28 4.5 x 2.31 x .37 4.51 x 2.31 x .37 4.5 x 2.4 x .48
Weight (in ounces) 3.56 4.9 4.8 4.8
iOS 5 Support? 3rd gen and later Yes Yes Yes
Monthly Fees No $55-$99 $55-$99 $55-$99
Price $199/$299/$399 $199/$299/$399
(w/ 2-year contract)
(w/ 2-year contract)
(w/ 2-year contract)

Clearly, the 4th gen Touch most closely resembles the iPhone 4. The great thing about that is for all of you who don’t want an iPhone because you already have another device you love or you’re stuck in a contract, the iPod Touch is the perfect replacement. It can give you access to all the apps that iPhone owners rave about and now with the new generation of Touch, you have the dual cameras, iOS 5 software and it comes in white too! Also, with iMessage, you can now send instant text messages to every other iOS device over wi-fi.

Now I no longer own an iPhone, I’ve been seriously considering the new iPod Touch. Not only for its music capabilities in my car, but also for the apps that I miss—mainly my Chase bank app that allows me to deposit checks just by taking a photo of it. With the front-facing camera, you can use the Facetime app to communicate with every iOS device over wi-fi. So essentially, you can use the iPod Touch just like an iPhone when you’re connected to a network.

iPad vs iPod Touch

Apple iPad
The iPad was a “revolutionary device” that Apple made us believe that we needed. And despite the fact that it’s the best selling tablet on the market today, some people still wonder what its main purpose is. Those of us who have owned an iPad at some point understand that it’s really nothing more than a large iPhone. Although I make that sound like a negative thing, it’s actually the one fact that is what makes the iPad such a popular device. Apple’s ecosystem of devices and their connectivity to iTunes has made these products indispensable.

iPod touch iPad iPad 2
Capacity 8 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
Screen size (inches)
3.5 / 960 x 480 9.7 / 1024 x 768 9.7 / 1024 x 768
Processor Apple A4 Apple A4 Apple A5 dual-core 1 GHz
Battery Life Video: 7 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Video/Web: 8/10
9 hours on 3G
Video/Web: 8/10
9 hours on 3G
A-GPS No Yes (3G models) Yes (3G models)
Camera 0.7MP back, 0.3MP front N/A 0.7MP back, 0.3MP front
Video Camera 720p HD N/A 720p HD
FaceTime 4th gen. and later No Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Size (in inches) 4.4 x 2.3 x .28 9.56 x 7.47 x .528 9.5 x 7.31 x .346
Weight 3.56 oz 1.5 lbs/td>

1.32 lbs
iOS 5 Support? 3rd gen and later Yes Yes
Monthly Fees No AT&T –
250MB $14.99 per month
2GB $25.00 per month
Verizon –
1GB $20 per month
2GB $30 per month
5Gb $50 per month
10GB $80 per month
AT&T –
250MB $14.99 per month
2GB $25.00 per month
Verizon –
1GB $20 per month
2GB $30 per month
5Gb $50 per month
10GB $80 per month
Price $199/$299/$399 Wi-fi only
Wi-fi + 3G
Wi-fi only
Wi-fi + 3G

The iPad and iPods are not to be directly compared of course due to their very different sizes, but the point of these charts were to show you just how close the iPod touch is to Apple’s other mobile products.

My two cents

I owned an iPhone since the first one came on the market right up until I sold my iPhone 4 just a few months ago. I did this in hopes that the new iPhone would be a significant upgrade, but it looks like I’ll have to wait until the next phone until I get back on iPhone. In the past year or so, I’ve also owned an iPad and an iPod Classic. For a phone, I’ve been using the Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7 on it and I love it. However, I do miss some of the apps I once had on the iPhone and as a result, I’ve been tempted to buy an iPod touch. After researching the information above, I’ve concluded that the 4th generation iPod Touch is the closest thing I can get to an iPhone without having to buy an iPhone.

I don’t like the iPad as much because of the pricing, so I’m willing to try the new Kindle Fire in November before I consider ever going back to an iPad. My new lineup might consist of the following before Christmas: MacBook Pro, iPod Touch (white 32Gb), Samsung Focus and Kindle Fire. It’s crazy how times change!

The Kindle Fire Could Shake Up The Tablet Market

I’ve been reading the reviews about the Kindle Fire as well as watching demo videos among other things and I find it funny that everyone either says it’ll be an iPad killer or not. Why can’t it be neither? Why does every tablet that comes out have to be compared to the iPad? Well, the answer that most people will tell you is that it’s because the iPad is the number one selling tablet. While this is true, does that mean everything else should be compared to it? I don’t think so.

For one, the iPad isn’t all that great—on its own. What this means is that the iPad’s ecosystem is what holds it together. That ecosystem is comprised of iTunes (and everything in it), iPhone, iPod, OSX and iOS. iPad owners generally own the other devices in the Apple sphere and have a significant relationship with iTunes thereby sealing their fate as iPad owners forever. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s important to understand the reason why the iPad is so popular. Apple has done well in ensuring that consumers stick with them.

The same reason why Apple has done so well with the iPad is why other tablet makers have not done well at all. So when the comparison is made that a new device will be an iPad killer, the only thing they’re really talking about is hardware specs. Unfortunately, just like comparing smartphones, you can have the sickest device known to man—twice as fast, 3 times more memory, 20 new and unique features, etc., etc.—and you’ll still have a hard time touching Apple. People like the fact that their Apple device just plugs into iTunes and everything is taken care of. You don’t have to worry about where your music and videos are syncing. You don’t have to worry about buying new content and figuring out where you’re going to put it. It all just works in a nice handy little package.

Enter the Amazon Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire
The term “iPad killer” is useless to me because I’m aware that the Kindle Fire will not have the same specs and design features of the iPad. In fact, it won’t be comparable to the iPad on any of those levels and it’ll also be smaller! But if the iPad is so much better, why did I sell it 6 months ago and more importantly, why did I place a pre-order for the Kindle Fire on October 3rd?

The answer to both of these questions is this: I found that I had no real use for the iPad. It was a nice little toy that cost way too much money to call a “toy”. I bought it on a whim because I loved my iPhone 4 so much. Last but not least, the Kindle Fire is only $199.

The price is somewhat of a moot point for me because if I was willing to drop $629 for the iPad, I’m sure I’d do it again if I wanted to, but still…to think that I could buy 3 Kindle Fires for that much is depressing! Anyway, what sells it for me are a couple of things:

  • 7″ screen – While the 9″ iPad looks amazing, try holding it in one hand for longer than 30 minutes. Or how about carrying it around. For women, this isn’t such a problem because you girls have purses and bags. The Fire makes it very easy to hold in one hand—perfect for lugging around town.
  • No 3G – Who would have ever thought that I would say that?! The fact is that I didn’t like the 3G service on my iPad…not because I didn’t use it, but because it cost $20 per month. I would pay for 3G service on my MacBook, but I don’t need it just to sync content on a tablet. I can do that from my computer before I head off somewhere. Although it would be nice to have the Internet connection at times…hmmm.
  • Amazon Prime – I’m already a member enjoying free two-day shipping on Amazon products, so I might as well enjoy the free streaming on movies and tv shows. Not even iTunes can beat that! Sure, Apple has rentals and things you can buy, but so does Amazon! In fact, if Amazon Prime keeps growing their collection, they’re sure to beat Netflix.
  • It’s a Kindle – For anyone who has ever used a Kindle or just likes reading eBooks, it’s not very easily done on an iPad. Because of its size and weight, it can be difficult to hold with one hand.
  • Android Apps – You have full access to every app in the Amazon Android app store!
  • Storage Space – Even though the Fire has only 8GB of internal space, the Fire will store all of your Amazon content in the Amazon cloud for free!

Android Apps

There has been a lot of arguing about who’s app store is better and after the dust settles, you would be sure to believe that Apple’s 400,000+ apps is an amazing size compared to only half that for Android. However, are you really comparing how many apps each store has before declaring the winner? Anyone who owns an Apple iOS device and has browsed the app store knows that for every single app in there, there’s anywhere from 3 to 10 clones available. So in reality, there can’t possibly be over 400,000 quality apps.Kindle Fire Apps

The point is that the Kindle Fire will have access to many high quality apps already being enjoyed by Android device users. The major difference is that the Kindle is expected not to have the Android App Market, so users will have to get their apps through the Amazon Android App Store. This won’t be a deciding factor for most users and it really only affects those that have a bunch of apps already purchased in the Android App store that can’t readily be transferred over.

However, because of the Fire’s low price and compatibility, developers are bound to take notice and begin creating apps for the Fire at blazing speeds (I just had to!).

My two cents

As usual, time will tell whether the Kindle is a true contender in the tablet market, but considering how Apple has rounded out its offerings through the use of iTunes, iOS and OSX, Amazon is well on its way. By offering a device that connects users to their Amazon Prime account, their Kindle books and magazines, the Amazon Android App store and the Internet, Amazon is starting to show some serious competition to Apple. And because Amazon Prime continues to grow by adding more movies and tv shows available for streaming, they are well on their way to dealing a serious blow to Netflix as well.

Imagine if you could combine streaming movies, music and tv shows with the ability to purchase real products shipped to your door in two days for free, have access to Android apps, use the Internet, store files in the cloud, buy and rent movies, purchase music, listen to music and read eBooks all on a little full-color 7″ device that weighs less than a pound (14.6 oz) and costs $199…what would you do?

Stay tuned on November 16th as I write a full report about the Kindle Fire.

iPad HD Rumored for Fall Release

I remember when I bought the iPad, my buddy (who works for Apple) said I should wait because an iPad 2 was undoubtedly coming out soon. But since I’m impatient, I bought it anyway thinking this was the greatest device since the iPhone. Sure enough, two months later, the iPad 2 was being announced. I decided I wasn’t going to upgrade, but then 1 month after the launch, I changed my mind again. This time, I sold my iPad and opted not to get any more iPads because I found that I just didn’t use it as much.

Anyway, the reason for telling you all this was because I remember hearing from my Apple friend when the iPad 2 launched that there would be another one on its way sometime in the fall (possibly September) and sure enough, here comes the iPad HD! I asked him why Apple would build up the iPad 2 so much and then release another iPad not even 6 months later? He said they wanted to drum up sales for the holiday season. That seemed logical, but it appears to not be entirely true.

iPad HD (iPad Plus)

Apple is making it clear that the iPad HD is not “the iPad 3”, but rather a complementary device to the iPad 2. This basically tells us that iPad HD will be nothing more than a souped-up version of the current device. This is good news to iPad 2 owners because now they won’t feel like they just dropped $500 on something that is now outdated.

The iPad HD is said to be increasing the screen resolution by double that of the current iPad 2, which is 2048×1536. There’s no word on whether it will receive any other spec increases, but this new device is supposed to cater to those involved in high-end photo and video production. To add to the toolset of those individuals, Apple is said to be releasing iPad-friendly versions of Final Cut Pro and Aperture.

There’s no word on any design changes either, but we can certainly expect that the price point for this device will be higher!

My two cents

It’s not surprising that Apple would pull a move like this. Although it’s nice to have choice from a company who usually doesn’t offer much choice, I can’t imagine that many iPad 2 owners would upgrade to this just because the screen resolution is doubled. However, there are those people out there that require the latest and greatest, so I’m sure there will be some sort of line at the local Apple store.

Apple Store Unionizing, Common iPhone Passcodes and Verizon iPad Recalled

Today I was reading about some current news coming from Apple Inc. and found three little stories that I thought I’d share with you.

Apple Retail Workers Union

Workers Union
It seems that Apple Store employee Cory Moll isn’t too happy with his $14/hr part-time wage he earns in his San Francisco Apple Store, so what does he do? Well, instead of asking his boss for a raise, working towards a promotion or possibly even finding a better-paying job, he decides to make a go at starting a union! The first argument that comes to mind is how well does $14/hr carry you in San Francisco? As I live in the Los Angeles area, I decided to use a cost of living calculator available at to compare salaries between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I was somewhat surprised to learn that the cost of living in San Francisco is about 43% higher than LA with housing being 69% greater.

With this information, I plugged in a salary of $29,000 per year. This is rounded down using $14/hr at 40 hours a week before taxes. The calculator tells me if you were making $29,000 in LA, you should find a job that pays $41,331 in San Francisco in order to maintain the same cost of living. Now, I’m not saying Cory can’t live off of $14/hr in San Francisco because I know plenty of other people are getting by making less (SF minimum wage is $9.92), but these numbers do paint a real picture.

The second argument is about whether a union would actually help retail employees or not. Typically, unions are found in heavy industries where work conditions generally include real-life dangers to health, long-term physical injuries and other ailments that employees must “suffer” while trying earn decent wages. Over the years, unions have helped to keep employees safe and protected against negligent employers. However, some might argue that due to the many changes in employment laws and protections offered to employees by national and state governments, unions are no longer necessary. I won’t get into that here, but the point is, aside from maybe securing higher salaries, what real good will a union of Apple employees do? I can imagine one negative downside to this: higher prices for consumers.

At any rate, Cory has acknowledged the daunting task ahead of him in trying to secure favor from all 325 Apple Stores, but he says his first task is to just get people talking.

The Most Common iPhone Passcodes

iPhone lockscreen
Hackers and wouldbe crazy girl/boyfriends listen up! According to the makers of the Big Brother Camera Security app, the most common passcode used on iPhone and iPod Touch devices is ‘1234’. The next most commonly used passcodes are ‘0000’, ‘2580’ and ‘1111’. The app, by the way, allows you to set your screen to lock like normal, but if someone grabs your phone and makes an attempt at accessing the device, it takes two photos of that person using the front facing camera.

The makers of the Big Brother app, Amitay, collected anonymous information from over 200,000 of its users to compile the list of most-used passcodes. Of course, these passcodes are only used in the app itself and Amitay has no access to find out what passcodes are being used on the iOS screen lock, but the results are still ironic considering these very insecure passcodes are being used by individuals who are also using security software.

All of this goes to show just how insecure our passwords are. This is especially true for those out there that not only use a very simple password, but end up using the same password on many different sites! If one lesson can be learned here, it’s to create a unique passcode, don’t use dates and don’t make it obvious. If all that fails, disable “Simple Passcode” in your iOS device—this allows you to create a real, complex password.

Verizon iPad 2 Recalled

Verizon iPad
Ok, so the headline sounds a bit more alarming than the actual news, but the point is that a small number of Verizon iPad 2 units have been recalled due to problems with them connecting to the 3G network. Apple is claiming that an “extremely small number” of units have a manufacturers defect in them that makes it near impossible to get 3G service on the device.

It seems that the recalled devices suffer from having a duplicate MEID code of another device. This apparently happened during the flashing of the chips inside the device. It’s this MEID code coupled with a mobile equipment identifier that make each iPad unique. When an iPad goes to connect, the network authenticates these numbers with accounting to ensure that the device is authorized to be on the network. However, when two devices have the same MEID number, it’s game over for both of them or at least the one that tried to connect last.

It’s been reported that Apple caught the problem quickly, but not quick enough to keep any flawed units from entering the marketplace. With that said, if you have a Verizon iPad 2 and are having connection problems, head on down to the Apple Store and get yourself a new one.

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.

Apple iCloud Features

This fall is going to be a big deal for Apple. Not only will they likely be releasing the iPhone 5, but they are officially launching iOS 5 and another nifty little software suite called iCloud. That’s right folks, MobileMe is out and iCloud is in! Cloud computing has been taking off in the last year or so with what seems to be Facebook leading the pack when it comes to networking your social media presence.

Using Facebook as an example, anyone who has an account can see just how easy it is to connect EVERYTHING about our personal lives to just about almost anything on the Internet. Remember the days when you used to have to create new user accounts at every site you wanted to sign up for? Now, it seems just about every website allows you to sign in using your Facebook account. This is a slight example of cloud computing—being able to connect to everything wherever you’re located. However, even the almighty Facebook has its limitations.

Cloud computing as a whole is much more than connecting your wall to Twitter. It involves the centralized storage of your documents, emails, pictures, videos, etc. while connecting (or syncing) these items to all of your devices. In the old days, you had a computer at home and some sort of sync software that you would use to send documents to each one of your devices one at a time. The problem was that whenever you wanted to update something or make other changes, you had to wait until you got home to re-sync everything again.

While Apple iCloud does not purport itself to be an all-inclusive solution to address everything cloud computing can offer, it does provide a very simple and intuitive way for iOS users to wirelessly sync information to smartphones, laptops, computers and Internet storage. I’m hesitant to use the term “sync” because iCloud actually performs this process live, which means you don’t actually have to do anything for your stuff to appear across all of your toys—except to provide a wi-fi connection to the Internet.

iCloud Features

Likely the biggest feature of iCloud will be the free 5GB of online storage you have alongside the free iCloud software itself. However, this is a far cry from the two MobileMe plans that were available: a 20GB individual plan and a 40GB family plan. But as with any online storage service, this is just the basic offering and we can be sure that for some money, you can add more features and storage to your account.

  • Photo StreamPhoto Stream CloudPhoto Stream is probably the second biggest feature to come from iCloud. To explain it simply, I’ll quote Apple: “With iCloud, when you take a photo on one device, it automatically appears on all your other devices. No syncing. No sending. Your photos are just there. Everywhere you want them.” The best part is that all of this works with PCs as well! If you add an AppleTV to the mix, you can create visual slideshows to display on your tv for all to enjoy!
  • iTunesiTunes CloudiTunes in iCloud allows you to purchase anything you want from the store and have them appear on all registered devices. So imagine you’re at work and you buy a new song on your iPad. This song gets stored on iCloud and then gets synced automatically to your iPhone, which will come in hand for your ride home when you want to plug the phone into your car.
  • Wi Fi Backup – Now you don’t even have to connect your device to a computer to do your backups! When you go to sleep at night, your device will automatically back itself up over your home wireless network.

My two cents

I love the concept of cloud computing because it’s less hardware for me to own and that means less trouble when it comes to connecting devices and making sure that every computer has all of my updated files. I’m happy to know that iCloud still has many of the features I wanted to use when MobileMe came out, but didn’t want to pay for. We have yet to see what kind of “premium” services iCloud will bring to the table, but as it stands now, I think the free, basic service will be just enough for my usage.

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.

MacBook Air (2011) vs iPad 2 vs MacBook Pro

Back in November, I discussed the comparison between the MacBook Air (2010), the iPad and the MacBook Pro in terms on functionality, performance and convenience so it’s only fitting that I now update this to include the new(er) MacBook Pro and the iPad 2. Unfortunately, the MacBook Air hasn’t seen any improvements or upgrades since the new aluminum design debuted in 2010, but it still holds up.

This article also comes on the heels of the iPad 2 release. I currently own an iPad and just like I’ve done with every iPhone model, I contemplated selling it and purchasing the new one, but this time, I can’t seem to justify it. In fact, I’m on the verge of selling my iPad (again). Since we last talked about this, my plan was to:

  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

This is funny because it originally called for selling my iPad, but I still own it! I never follow my own advice. Anyway, let’s explore the new and upgraded devices and see what my new plan will be…as if this time will be any different. 😉

MacBook Air (2011 model)

I know I’m calling it a ‘2011 model”, but in reality, nothing has changed. There’s no word on any major Air upgrades coming down the line, but we can probably rely on the standard performance upgrades that usually occur between major updates to features or design. Apple always seems to lose focus on one or more products while they’re honed in on a new one. I think right now, it’s iPad 2 and iPhone 5. MacBook Air is currently on the backburner. At any rate, here are the models again:

2011 MacBook Air models

2011 MacBook Air models

As you can see, you still only have 2 major differences…an 11-inch screen and a 13-inch screen. After you decide what size you want, you only have two other choices to make: how big you want your hard drive to be and how much video memory you require.

iPad 2

Apple iPad 2
Apple iPad 2

Just as I described the 1st iPad, the second is still just an over-sized iPhone. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, as you might imagine, when you want to perform more specific tasks like file manipulation or writing a document, you’re going to be out of luck. The iPad is and always will be an item of convenience. It’s great to have around when you want to read the daily news, play a few games, do some email and of course web browsing, but it is no computer…not by a long shot!

On my current 1st gen iPad, I really thought I was getting somewhere when I bought the wireless keyboard in addition to the USB and SD card adapters, but I was always irritated that there was no file system. I was hoping that the iPad was going to be close to ripping an LCD screen off a MacBook and turning it into a keyboard-less computer with touch capabilities. But no, you just get iOS.

Anyway, as for the iPad 2 itself, I loved it. I don’t own one and I don’t foresee myself getting one, but I have played with a friend’s and have used it many times in the store. The thing you’ll notice first about it is how light it is. Granted, the first iPad wasn’t heavy, but you can instantly feel the difference. This is important for those of you that plan on carrying this thing around everywhere. It actually weighs less than a 3-ring binder (depending on how much paper you have in it).

Pros and Cons


  • Lightweight and small…very portable
  • Touch screen is as fluid as iPhone
  • Built-in 3G service (AT&T only)
  • Available for both AT&T and Verizon
  • 10-hour battery
  • Dual cameras
  • Dual-core A5 processor


  • iOS software – not a real OS compared to a MacBook
  • Somewhat bulky
  • No USB
  • No SD card slot

One other complaint I have is that the new Smart Covers from Apple, which are awesome, only cover the front of the iPad leaving the back to potentially get scratched.

MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)

Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)

My MacBook is so old now, it came out when you could actually get a MacBook and a MacBook Pro in the aluminum design! Today, they are all Pros and the regular MacBook has been resigned to the old plastic design. The MacBook Pros today have a fairly different set of features than before, so I’m thinking of trading up. Here are some of the specs:

  • LED backlit screens with option antiglare widescreen technology
  • Thunderbolt port – up to 10Gbps for digital video output
  • Up to 750Gb hard drive (SATA) or up to 512Gb (SSD)
  • Up to 8Gb DDR3 memory
  • Faster dual-core processors (2.7GHz max)
  • New Quad-core (on 15-inch and up – 2.2 GHz max)

These computers are beefy! You can view the full comparison between MacBook Pros on

After upgrading my own MacBook to its max, I have found that I don’t even use my desktop computer anymore. There was a time when I thought about purchasing a Mac Mini to account for this loss, but there’s no need when I can just plug my MacBook into my 40-inch tv and go to work. I remember when I bought my MacBook, I explicitly got the 13-inch screen because I wanted the most portable laptop you could get, but now I wish I had gotten the 17-inch so it could stay on my desk while I use a MacBook Air for my portable machine.


These three devices are, in some ways comparable and not in others, but that’s what makes them such a great team! They tend to complement each other with varying results and when you mix them with any smartphone (or iPhone especially), you’ll achieve the most well-rounded tech setup you can get. This is where most people get stumped. You start asking yourself, “Do I really need this?” or “Is this thing going to really benefit me?” It also doesn’t help when your friends already think you buy Apple products just to be cool!

The results come down to functionality, performance and convenience. For me, the decision was hard, but I believe my new tech setup will consist of the following:

  1. Sell my iPad
  2. Keep my MacBook
  3. Buy an 11-inch MacBook Air
  4. Have no desktop computer

The idea behind this is simple. Like I said, I can always use my tv as a monitor, so there’s no need to upgrade to a larger MacBook at this time. I also don’t use my iPad enough to justify it sitting on my desk (although it does look really cool) and the MacBook Air would serve as my portable device where originally my iPad would fill in. I know it’s strange to think that a 13-inch MacBook isn’t considered portable anymore, but when you blog as much as I do, it becomes tedious carrying that thing around to various places.

Lastly, I’m still waiting for 3G capabilities to be added to the MacBook Air!

UPDATE (May 4, 2011) – There’s new competition to the MacBook Air! Samsung has released the Series 9 laptop that rivals the Air in almost every way.

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.