Is iPad photography finally gaining social acceptance?

It’s no secret that people love taking pictures with their iPad, but it has always been a somewhat out of the ordinary behavior publicly considering the sheer size of the tablet in general.

It’s also true that Apple has made great improvements to the camera system on the iPad, and its large, vibrant display makes for one heck of a view finder when capturing an image.

Based on anecdotal evidence, various scenes from Apple’s iPad event yesterday, and data collected by photos shared on Flickr, I think it’s finally time we accept iPad photography into our lives with open arms. Responsibly, of course.

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Opinion: What is really driving Apple’s new-found fondness for ‘free’?

Photo: abc.e

Photo: abc.e

Apple surprised many yesterday by making the update to OS X 10.9 Mavericks free, rather than the $20 it cost to upgrade to the previous release, Mountain Lion. The company also surprised some (though not us) by doing the same for its previously chargeable iWork apps.

There’s been a lot of commentary today about this being an attack on Microsoft, and I do indeed think there’s likely to have been a fair amount of sweating in the corner offices at Redmond as they watched yesterday’s keynote. But Microsoft execs aren’t the only ones I’d expect to see wearing worried expressions today: I suspect the same is true across at Mountain View.

Before we get to Google, let’s start with Microsoft …  Read more

Opinion: Is Thunderbolt doomed to be the new Firewire, or can the new Mac Pro save it?

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I’m a huge fan of Thunderbolt. A single wire carrying both DisplayPort and high-speed PCIe data is an incredibly elegant approach to minimising cable clutter even if you don’t need the blistering speed, especially when you can use an Apple Thunderbolt Display as a hub for your USB devices.

I also admire clever tech. The reason you can daisy-chain up to six separate devices is because Thunderbolt automatically multiplexes and de-multiplexes the signals as needed. Thunderbolt 2 takes this approach one step further, combining two 10Gbit/s channels into a single 20Gbit/s connection, with the the Thunderbolt controller again doing all the work. It’s impressive stuff.

A fast, clever technology developed by Intel and enthusiastically marketed by Apple ought to stand a fighting chance at mass-market adoption. Sadly, there’s so far not much sign of this happening. It’s all looking rather reminiscent of Firewire …  Read more

Opinion: Why I love the iPhone 5s, and why I’ll be sticking with my 4S

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I like my gadgets, and generally consider myself an early adopter. When my friends are looking at buying a new piece of technology, I’m the one they ask as they know I’ll either own it or have tried it.

So you might be surprised to learn that my phone is an iPhone 4S and that after yesterday’s unveiling of the 5s (no, I don’t know why it suddenly became lower-case either), I’m planning to wait for the iPhone 6 before upgrading.

It’s not that the 5s isn’t impressive from a purely technological viewpoint. It is. A 64-bit phone? That’s a pretty incredible achievement. Delegating sensor functions to a separate chip to enable constant use without the usual battery-drain? Brilliant. A truly state-of-the-art fingerprint sensor? Fantastic. A larger phone sensor with lower pixel-density? Exactly the right approach, and I was delighted to see Apple refusing to join in the stupid megapixel race.

But I’m still not going to buy one, and the reason for that is two-fold. Before I get to that, one piece of context. In the U.S., upgrading can be a no-brainer as you end up on the same tariff either way. In the UK, it’s better value long-term to buy the phone outright at full retail (around $1120 for the 64Gb 5s), so you have to balance incremental benefit over other gadgets you could buy with the same money – like a new iPad. So, back to those two reasons … Read more

Roundtable: What we think Apple has planned for its September 10th event

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With the rumored September 10th Apple keynote just weeks away, the rumor mill is in high gear and, as per usual, expectations will be soaring higher than ever as the date nears. For some products, a refresh or introduction is all but confirmed. For others, there only exists speculation or mere wishful thinking for even a mention at the keynote. Below you’ll find the opinions of some 9to5Mac staffers. Read more

2013: The year of the personalized, colorful, mid-tier smartphone

plastic

Choosing a phone is pretty simple if you’re the kind of person who wants the latest & greatest handset and has the budget to pay for it. Even if you’re not sure what platform you want, you’re essentially choosing between a handful of flagship products and are currently likely to walk away with an iPhone 5Samsung S4 or HTC One.

There isn’t too much head-scratching at the bottom end of the market either: buyers there don’t care about the handset, and take whatever freebie their carrier pushes at them.

But the mid-market is where life gets complicated. You care enough about your handset to want something decent, both in specs and design, but you don’t want to take out a mortgage to buy it. It’s this market that is going to get incredibly colorful this fall …  Read more

Does iWork for iCloud mean native iWork Mac and iOS apps will become free services?

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 9.54.58 AM

Apple presents itself as a company that ships hardware, software, and services that integrate together elegantly. While Apple makes the majority of its money from its hardware, Apple makes use of its free, popular internet services and software to sell their hardware. For example, the iLife suite of Mac apps that are included for free with new Mac purchases is a common reason that people choose to buy a Mac. On the iOS side, Apple offers free services like iCloud, iBooks, iMessage, Game Center, and later this year, iTunes Radio.

But on both the Mac and iOS Device side, one particular Apple service has stuck out as being a paid offering: Apple’s iWork suite that includes the Pages word processor, Numbers spreadsheet maker, and Keynote presentation creator. For years, Apple has sold iWork for Mac as a bundled suite, but with the Mac App Store, the company split the three programs into separate $19.99 downloads. On the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch side, the three apps are distinct $9.99 downloads. Apple, thus far, has kept iWork as a premium priced suite, but this fall, the company will introduce a free tier: iWork for iCloud…

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The era of unshackled Apple executives [Opinion]

"Can't innovate anymore, my ass."

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass.”

Over the past few months, it feels as if Apple is on a media and publicity roadshow. Tim Cook has appeared on Rock Centertestified at the Senate’s corporate tax hearing, and was interviewed at All Things D’s D11 conference. In addition, as was mentioned during today’s Happy Hour podcast, the Apple executives took many opportunities during the WWDC keynote to speak directly to recent criticisms about their design decisions and abilities to innovate in the tech industry.

This is, quite simply, the era of unshackled and vocal Apple executives.  Read more

Review: JBL’s portable speaker line (OnBeat Micro, Flip, Charge) begs the question: Lightning dock or Bluetooth speaker?

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JBL’s $99 Flip, $99 OnBeat Lightning Dock and $149 Charge

When we did our Best Bluetooth speaker mega-review (TL;DR: Overall WinnerBest ValueBest SoundBest Portable/SoundApps/Updatesmore) a few weeks ago, we neglected to test JBL’s very capable ($99 Flip) and $149 Charge; something our commenters immediately questioned. Not even a day after the review went up, JBL sent us a box full of their new speakers to test against our recommendations (sometimes this is a great job!). JBL also sent us the $100 OnBeat Micro Lightning Dock to compare against so it might also be worth asking the question: Should you get a Bluetooth speaker or a Lightning dock speaker? Read more

Review: Currency, a streamlined conversion app for your iPhone that may be a tad too simple

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Conversion apps feel like a design playground, with so much potential for uniqueness and variety in their interfaces. The trend has been towards multifunction, multi-purpose Swiss-army knife apps that attempt to cover a whole range of disparate measurements. In my experience, as a result of racing to add one more ratio to their feature list, the simplicity of these apps suffer.

Currency sidesteps this battleground entirely and, as the name implies, focuses solely on converting amounts of money. The app touts support for over 160 currencies from around the world, which was more than enough to satisfy my needs. The app surfaces a handful of common currencies at first launch, each accompanied with a beautiful representation of its respective country’s flag.

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Analysis: That sub-$400 AAPL share dip – what does it really mean?

1-day

Predictably, AAPL’s brief dip below $400 yesterday is resulting in a lot of excited reporting in the press, but how much does it all really mean?

The 5.5 percent slide yesterday was a combination of two factors. First, yesterday was a bad day for the market as a whole, with broad selling across a range of US stock triggered by the government reporting slower growth in hiring than the market had expected (via The Economic Times) … Read more

I watched “iSteve” so you wouldn’t have to

title

Steve Jobs sits alone in a dark room, reading notes from a set of index cards and a MacBook Pro. The janitor walks in and tell him he should go to sleep. Steve replies, “Yeah, I will, I will. I just need to rehearse this keynote speech for tomorrow.” The janitor laughs. “That’s what you told me four hours ago!”

This is the opening scene of “iSteve,” Funny Or Die’s new Steve Jobs biopic-comedy. It’s also the closest thing to reality you will see over the next seventy-eight minutes.

Watching this movie felt a lot like using a PC. I spent half the time staring at the screen in utter bewilderment, and the other half desperately trying to figure out how something so void of any semblance of taste was actually OK’d by anyone at any level of the production.

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