iOS Devices August 3, 2011

IHS iSuppli has done a mega tear-down analysis of eight major tablets, including Apple’s iPad and iPad 2, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, Motorola’s Xoom, Hewlett-Packard’s TouchPad and Asus’s Eee Pad. As nearly all non-Apple tablets sport beefier innards, how come the lower-specc’d iPad is still ruling the tablet space nearly eighteen months after Steve Jobs announced the original model back in January of last year? It’s because Apple controls the whole widget, IHS senior analyst Wayne Lam explains:

Since Apple controls both the operating system and hardware design of the iPad, it is able to attain design efficiencies that other tablet manufacturers cannot. These efficiencies become obvious in areas like the memory and the battery, where Apple maintains advantages in cost, space savings and performance compared with every competitor in the business.

He also tells CNET that the biggest drawback for the Android camp is the lack of critical mass and explains why rivals are wrong to focus on speeds and feeds:

It’s a post-PC use case. You’re not bounded by performance. You’re bounded by user interaction. I don’t think a user can distinguish a performance difference or get a sense of the speed of the hardware by using it. It’s a different metric. The iPad’s efficient memory usage stems from the fundamental difference in the architecture of the operating system Apple’s iOS handles multitasking differently than other tablet operating systems, allowing it to reduce the amount of memory required to support the microprocessor.

And because Apple owns the user experience by making its own operating system, user interface and hardware designs down to the selection of individual parts, it is able to provide experiences half-baked Android tablets simply cannot touch. So, when will the Android tablets catch up?

All of the major [Android tablet] makers spent this past year directing all of their efforts toward finding the right mix of components. They really didn’t pay attention to software. They thought, Google is doing something, we’ll take whatever they have. And that’s pretty much what happened. But it’s still not cohesive.

Then, there’s this little problem related to manufacturing costs…

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iOS Devices August 2, 2011

As pointed out by TechCrunch, Twitter is rolling out a new interface for the iPad. Up until now, the iPad browser has utilized the full version of (user option) that is typically displayed on Macs and PCs or an upscaled mobile variant.

This new HTML5 interface is more touch friendly and resembles Twitter’s fairly new web interface for the iPhone and iPod touch. According to Twitter’s official profile, the rollout of the new interface begins today and should complete over the next week or so.

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In case you haven’t noticed, a rumored Fall release of iPhone 5 is being preceded by the usual media brouhaha. Is Apple going to release its next handset in September? How about October? Maybe they’ll gradually bring the device to market over the course of both months? Has the company already field-tested the gizmo in June? And if the phone is already in production, how come carriers are only now getting prototypes in sealed boxes? Do case leaks mean a ringer switch has been repositioned to the opposite side? And what’s with those iPhone 4 price cuts at Target and Radioshack and AT&T vacation blackouts?

Disregarding all of the above for a second, what exactly about Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone is going to blow our socks off the most? If you ask Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, it’s the large display combined with an even thinner profile than iPhone 4:

It turns out that we are picking up that this interim iPhone refresh in the Fall timeframe could be a bigger upgrade than we expected. We believe this makes sense to improve the iPhone experience without making it too bulky as we have seen with models from competitors.

But what exactly is ‘bulky’ these days? Are we talking a few millimeters larger display or ‘Android superphone bulky’? Italian-language did a cool side-by-side comparison of the current-generation iPhone 4’s 3.5-inch display and the rumored iPhone 5 at various display dimensions. An iPhone 5 with a 4.3-inch display would require a frame wider and taller ten millimeters than that of the iPhone 4, while keeping the same 9.3 millimeter profile. Reducing the display edges “to a minimum” – that’s an edge-to-edge display for you – could allow Apple to engineer a monstrous 4.7-inch device, as depicted in the above drawing. There’s just one problem, though (plus, a cool reader mockup below the fold)…

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The Next Web points at a Guardian online article which states that a next-generation iPhone has been delivered to carriers for field-testing. Without going into much detail as to when exactly Apple might launch iPhone 5 beyond crystal ball peering, author Charles Arthuer writes on the paper’s blog that “my carrier sources tell me that the boxes in which the new iPhone hardware is encased have been transported to carriers for testing”.

The article is referring to the cases Apple (and other manufacturers) use to enclose prototypes so they don’t raise suspicious in field-testing. Remember Gray Powell, an Apple engineer who famously left an iPhone 4 prototype on a bar stool in California? That prototype had been enclosed in an iPhone 3GS-like case and Apple later argued it made discovering the antenna issue that much harder. Of course, Guardian’s article is really a non-discovery as 9to5Mac discovered that the next iPhone hit final testing with Apple in June.

Guardian’s take on those cases? Right below… expand full story

Nuance, which is said to power speech-to-text features in iOS 5, released today a new cloud-based service and iOS app which makes it easy to organize, access and share any document from any desktop or mobile device. The Nuance PaperPort Anywhere service gives you one gigabyte of free cloud-based, searchable storage for your documents with permission-based file sharing via email.

Paid upgrades are also available: $10 a month for 10GB and $25 a month for 50 gigabytes of storage. Nuance’s price tiers actually fare pretty favorably compared to iCloud, Dropbox and SugarSync. Cloud scanning is enabled through their PaperPort scanning and document management application for Windows PC which was also updated today. All of this is augmented by a free app for iPhone and iPad that lets you access and send documents from PaperPort Anywhere. You may remember Nuance in July released a free Siri-like Dragon Go for iOS app. More features of their latest offering and a video tour right below:

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iOS Devices August 1, 2011

Skype has finally released their native application for the Apple iPad. The application brings everything you love from the iPhone version to the iPad’s larger display. This includes instant messaging, audio chatting, and video conferencing. Just like the iPhone version, everything works over both WiFi and 3G cellular data networks.

• Join Skype on your iPad in a few moments or just sign straight in to your account.
• If you already have a Skype account, your Skype contacts will automatically be there on your iPad.
• We’ve made adding new Skype contacts really easy.
• Once they’re in your Contact list, call, video or instant message them in one touch.
• Flick through recent calls and instant messages in your Skype for iPad history.
• Skype for iPad works over Wi-Fi or 3G (operator data charges may apply). Call Skype contacts on their iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac and even Skype enabled TVs.

Users won’t find the new version as a free update to the iPhone and iPod touch download, but instead will find a brand new application called ‘Skype for iPad’ on the iTunes App Store. This application is, of course, free. The app seems to be available worldwide as of right now.

Update: Skype for iPad, for reasons unspecified, has been removed from the iOS App Store until further notice.

Updated 2: Skype is back up as of 8am EST.

Screenshots and release notes are after the break…

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