March 28, 2012

We have heard rumors in the past that claim Apple is working on a 7.85-inch iPad. Some even point to production beginning as early as Q2 2012. However, a translated report from Japanese blog Macotakara today claimed Apple’s suppliers are readying 5-inch Retina displays for a device in 2013 (coincidentally, Samsung announced selling 3 million 5-inch Galaxy Notes in just four weeks today):

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March 27, 2012

J.K. Rowling’s widely popular Harry Potter series is at-last available electronically.

The author’s own online Pottermore Shop displays all seven titles in ePub format, and prices vary between $8 each and $10 each, per copy. Fans can also purchase the entire series for $57.54.

The ePub files are unprotected and compatible with most iOS devices, Android devices, and any other eReader, tablet, or smartphone that accepts ePub format. In addition, the Harry Potter eBooks are available in Amazon Kindle formats. A full list of compatible devices and reading services is also available on the Pottermore Shop website.

Conspicuously, Rowling did not make the eBooks available through Apple’s iBookstore.

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March 13, 2012

IDC just released its Q4 2011 report on tablet shipments and Apple continues to lead the market with 54.7-percent of global market share despite being down from 61.5-percent in the quarter before. Apple did increase shipments to 15.4 million units in Q4 (up from 11.1 million in Q3), but experienced an overall decrease in market share thanks to strong gains from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and other Android devices from competitors such as Samsung.

Kindle Fire is now the iPad’s biggest competitor with 16.8-percent of the tablet market due to 4.7 million units shipped during Q4, which is followed by Samsung with 5.8-percent of the market (up from 5.5-percent in Q3). IDC noted Apple’s results for the quarter represent “an increase of 110.5-percent from 4Q10.” The Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble came in fourth, but it fell slightly to 3.5-percent of the market (from 4.5-percent the quarter before). Pandigital took the No. 5 spot, but it is down from 2.9-percent to 2.5-percent market share.

As for iOS vs. Android, IDC is expecting Android to overtake iOS for global market share by 2015 and noted that Android now has 44.6-percent of the market as of Q4 2011. That resulted in a decrease for iOS, which fell from 61.6-percent to 54.7-during the quarter. As we noted before, IDC’s report accounts for tablet shipments and not actual sales. We know Apple typically sells as many new devices as it can make, and the same cannot be said for devices shipped by all Android vendors. Research Director at IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices Tom Mainelli talked about the report:

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February 22, 2012

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Developer ZeptoLab UK Limited released a Mac App Store version of its physics puzzler Cut the Rope originally released by publisher Chillingo on iOS in October 2010. According to Chillingo, the iOS game reached over 1 million downloads in just nine days and the franchise has now hit over 100 million downloads. The Mac App Store version is the first full desktop release of the game and it was optimized for landscape orientation with “crisp images on monitors up to 2560×1440 resolution.”

ZeptoLab also redesigned some of the game’s original levels for a smooth experience with mice and trackpads. Scoreloop is supported currently when it comes to online leaderboards, but the press release said there would be support for Game Center on OS X when it launches. The game is available on the Mac App Store now as a 133MB download and features 250 levels and 10 level boxes for $4.99 (requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher). The full press release is after the break (via Reuters):

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Twitter updated its iOS app with long overdue usability enhancements and a host of little improvements and bug fixes. Twitter for iOS version 4.1, a free download from the App Store, brought back the handy swipe shortcut. Just swipe a tweet in your home timeline to reply, retweet, favorite or share it, or view the Twitter user’s profile without leaving your timeline. You can also copy and paste tweets and profiles, press and hold links to get more options, including opening the link in Safari, tweet, copy or mail that link, or read it later.

When checking someone’s profile, the app will finally tell you whether that person is following you and people search results has gained verified badges. The Direct Message feature now lets you mark all DMs as read by tapping the check mark in the lower right corner. Other nice-to-haves: Font size settings, confirmation alert for Find Friends, and improved image quality in tweet detail.

Sadly, the app still does not support sending long tweets, and all these new features and improvements are for iPhone only. Release notes are after the break.

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January 23, 2012

Pew Research published some incredibly impressive tablet sales data over the weekend.  From December to January, tablet ownership almost doubled.

While both the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire were included as tablets (not eReaders) and were hot this holiday season, the iPad is still by far the most popular tablet out there and likely the lion’s share of the 19 percent of American households which now own a tablet.  That translates to many iPads under the Christmas tree.

Tablet ownership increased for certain segments of the population more than others did…

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December 20, 2011

Apple is one of the only online retailers left to offer free next-day shipping during the holiday season.

Still haven’t finished shopping this holiday season? Well, luckily for you, most online retailers are catering to slackers looking to spend an extra buck on gifts.

Those who are down to the wire can still get their gadgets delivered before Dec. 25, and 9to5Mac has put together a list of popular places to order these tech toys before it is too late.

First, and foremost, is Apple. The 2 to 3 day shipping option passed yesterday, but the technology giant is now offering free next-day shipping on all products across the board. The cutoff date is Dec. 21, but iPods and iPads can no longer be engraved, nor can a Mac be customized. The Apple TV is also available for complimentary next-day shipping.

Best Buy is second on the list. Standard shopping ended today at 11 a.m. However, expedited delivery is available until tomorrow at 11 a.m. Express delivery is guaranteed until Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. Both services cost additional, but after that, customers will need to rely on free store pickup.  You can always buy online then pick up in store

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December 16, 2011

December 14, 2011

Netflix has just updated its iOS app with a nicer user interface following an overhauled Android app from a month ago. Netflix version 2.0 with a prettified appearance is now available in all regions, Netflix said, including the United States, Canada and Latin America. The new interface provides access to twice as many television shows and movies available for streaming.

Interestingly, the app is now available in Latin America for both the iPhone and iPad just as Apple announced the arrival of both the iTunes Store with iTunes Match in Latin America and Apple TV in Brazil. Netflix for iOS is a free download (a Netflix subscription is required). Video out is supported on the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and fourth-generation iPod Touch 4G. Full release notes after the break.

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December 12, 2011


Walter Isaacson signing books in Times Square | Photo: Tanner Curtis

We noted last week that Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography published by Simon & Schuster became Amazon’s best-selling book of 2011, but that included just sales of the dead trees version. Print sales do not, however, paint an accurate picture because Kindle e-books are now outselling hardcover and paperback editions combined, prompting Amazon to include Kindle books into the rankings.

The company this morning issued a press release stating that the biography of Apple’s late co-founder broke all records to become the best-selling book of 2011 – just 50 days following the October 23 release. It’s not just Amazon, the book also topped Customer Favorites chart on Amazon and is #2 on Audible.

The exclusive biography is also a top-seller in the Non-fiction category on Apple’s iBookstore, where it can be yours for fifteen bucks. It’s also available as a digital download from the Kindle store. It did not fare as well on Barnes and Noble however, only garnering a #34 ranking of NookBooks. Go past the fold for Amazon’s list of Top 10 best-selling books overall.

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November 29, 2011


A Windows 8 tablet mockup

If you believe today’s Forrester Research report, a Window of opportunity is closing fast as customers are losing interest in the forthcoming Windows 8-powered tablets. Microsoft on its part previewed Windows 8 two months ago and won praise for its touch interface. To be perfectly honest, the UI does look nice and interesting and support for ARM/x86 architectures and app market makes it better suited to compete in the post-PC era. But timing is everything and “Windows 8 is going to be very late to the party”, Forrester argued. Here’s the gist of their report:

For tablets, though, Windows really isn’t a fast follower. Rather it’s (at best) a fifth-mover after iPad, Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, HP’s now-defunct webOS tablet, and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. While Windows’ product strategists can learn from these products, other players have come a long way in executing and refining their products — Apple, Samsung, and others have already launched second-generation products and will likely be into their third generation by the time Windows 8 launches. Meanwhile, newer competitors like Amazon (Kindle Fire) and Barnes & Noble (Nook Tablet) are reshaping consumer expectations in the market, driving down price points (and concomitant price expectations), and redefining what a tablet is.

Interestingly, Microsoft has a web tool that, when accessed on one’s iOS or Android device, lets one run an emulation of Windows Phone 7. In what some might dub a sign of desperation, Microsoft is reportedly readying a version of the Office suite for iPad – an ironic move, really, as they didn’t even announce Office apps tailored for Windows 8 tablets.

Announcing Windows 8 well ahead of the promised late-2012 release may have backfired as the excitement surrounding Windows 8 tablets wore off and competitors like Apple and Google can close any perceived advantages. In the first quarter, 46 percent of U.S. consumers yearned for a Windows tablet, Forrester noted (your chart goes right after the break). Last quarter, consumer interest plummeted to just 25 percent. Apple went from 16 percent to 28 percent and Google from 9 percent to 18 percent. But even though more people yearned for a Windows tablet than an Android one, Forrester notes:

Microsoft has missed the peak of consumer desire for a product they haven’t yet released.

Of course, gauging demand for an unreleased product can be misleading and even Forrester analysts were forced to change their ideas of how the market works when early iPad sales caught everyone flabbergasted. On the other hand, we do know Windows 8 tablets won’t ship in volume before this time next year. And herein lies the problem…


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November 24, 2011

It’s Black Friday and we’ve got the best deals from around the web on Apple products and accessories. Although most of the Apple Store prices (which we stumbled upon a few days ago) are moderate discounts, some are actually the lowest we could find, especially in iPads and accessories.  We’re updating all day long so come back early and often…and don’t forget to check 9to5toys.com.


s:
 Model Retail Apple BF MacMall Amazon BestBuy  Misc.
 MB Airs 11″ Air 2GB/64GBcBook
Air
$999 $898 $938.99 $954
$849.99
11″ Air 1.6GHz 128GBok Air $1,199 $1,098 $1,139.99 $1,098
 $1139.99
13″ Air 1.7GHz 128GBok Air $1,299 $1,198 $1,197.99 $1,230
 $1230.00
13″ Air 1.7GHz 256GBok Air $1,599 $1,498 $1,497.99 $1,550
 $1550
 MB Pros 13″ 2.4GHz MB Pro $1,199 $1,098 $1,097.99 $1,054.09
 $1050  2.3GHz $999
13″ 2.8GHz MB Pro $1,499 $1,398 $1,397.99 $1424.99  $1429.99
15″ 2.2GHz MB Pro $1,799 $1,698 $1,697.99 $1709.99  $1709.99
15″ 2.4Ghz MB Pro $2,199 $2,098 $2,058.99 $2059.99  $2059.99
17″ 2.4GHz MB Pro $2,499 $2,398 $2,348.94 $2299.99   $2299
Desktops:
2.3GHz Mac Mini $599 $599 $564.99 $594  $568.95
2.5GHz Mac Mini $799 $799 $759.99 $769  $769
2.0GHz Mac Mini Server $999 $999 $959.99 $972
21″ 2.5GHz iMac $1,199 $1,098 $1,097.99 $1156       $1049
21″ 2.7GHz iMac $1,499 $1,398 $1,397.99 $1398  $1419
27″ 2.7GHz iMac $1,699 $1,598 $1,597.99 $1598  $1607
27″ 3.1GHz iMac $1,999 $1,898 $1,894.95 $1895  $1895
iPods
8GB iPod Touch $199 $178 $189.98 $190  $145*  $184 MC
32GB iPod Touch  $299 $268 $274.95 $275  $275  $260 MC
64GB iPod Touch $399 $358 $364.95 $364  $365  +$40GC
Nano 8GB $129 $118 $121.99 $122  $125
Nano 16GB $149 $138 $139.99 $141  $145
Classic $249 $249 $228.00  $229  $245
iPads
16GB Wifi  $499 $458 $454.99  $75 GC 
32GB Wifi $599 $548 $544.99
64GB Wifi $699 $638 $654.99
SmartCover Poly $39 $28  $39
Smartcover Leather $69 $58  $69
Misc: Apple Digital AV adapter  $39  $39  $29
Apple Thunderbolt Display $999 $999  $959  $929 MC
Apple TV $99 $99  $94.99 $89.99  $89.99  $89.9 MC
iTunes Gift Cards ($100) $100 $90  varies $80
Wireless Keyboard $69 $58  $69
Magic Mouse $69 $58  $69
Magic Trackpad $69 $58  $69

Apple Store Refurbished items come with Apple’s one year warranty and are as good as new. AT&T has 64GB iPad 3G for $479. DailySteals has a 16GB iPad for $280 (refurb).  iPhone4 16GB Refurb is $49 with activation, Frys has $25 off of current iPhones

Software:

  1. Microsoft Office for Mac is $70 at Amazon or $100 for the Family Pack
  2. Parallels is $35 PLUS you get $40 off Windows when you buy Parallels, VMWare Fusion is $28
  3. Adobe Photoshop Elements $48 at Amazon, Premiere Elements:  $50, Lightroom Student Teacher :$89 Full Version $100 CS5: $289
  4. Quickbooks 2012 is $125
  5. Toast 11 Pro $80

Misc: expand full story

November 21, 2011

Research firm Canalys on Monday said it expects Apple to overtake Hewlett-Packard to become the world’s leading PC maker before the second half of 2012. That is, if you count tablets as computers (many people don’t). The launch of iPad 3 early next year is predicted to boost Apple’s share of the global PC market. Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling:

Apple has seen its PC market share expand from 9 percent to 15 percent in just four quarters, though iPad shipments in its core market – the United States – are likely to come under pressure in Q4 due to the launch of the Fire and Nook at extremely competitive price points.

Charlie Wolf of Needham and Co last week said the Mac passed the magic five percent global market share. Canalys’ data includes computer and tablet sales. Earlier this month Canalys pegged Apple’s share of the global PC market at 15 percent, right behind the #1 HP with 16 percent share. CAnalys predicts that 2011 PC sales will grow 15 percent to hit 415 million units, of which 211 million should be notebook units where Apple absolutely dominates.

Ultrabooks? “For Ultrabooks to become widespread, prices have to drop considerably”, Canalys said. As for other tablets, DigiTimes expects high inventory levels of non-Apple tablets following the holiday season. This is partly due to the launch of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet  which undercut other Android tablets, meaning “several waves of price cuts are expected in the new year”. Meanwhile, white box tablets, which dropped below $100, are not expected to affect iPad sales.
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November 18, 2011

2012 will be an exciting year for tablet fans as Apple brings out a new iPad and competition heats up. 2012 will also be the year when tablet players find it difficult – if not impossible – to compete with two major market approaches: One is that of Apple, leveraging content ecosystem to drive sales of hardware, and the other strategy by Amazon is based on gradually recouping losses on hardware with content sales.

As for Apple, per supply chain chatter relayed by DigiTimes this morning, component suppliers have begun shipping parts for iPad 3 assembly in January 2012 by Foxconn Electronics, Apple’s long-standing contract manufacturer:

Samsung Electronics, LG Display and Sharp reportedly shipped a total of one million units of high-resolution flat panels for next-generation iPads to Apple in October and will ramp up shipments to two million units in November.

TPK Holding and Wintek are set to ship up to a million touch modules per month beginning mid-November, the publication reports. This story is a follow-up to DigiTimes’ Wednesday report claiming Samsung and Sharp have begun shipping iPad 3 displays. Note that Apple might have begun winding down iPad 2 manufacturing.

The Korea Times also reported that LG Display is in talks with Apple involving 7.35-inch displays for a smaller iPad and today’s DigiTimes report confirms this by saying Apple is “reportedly developing a new panel in 7.85-inch size”. Sources are claiming that AU Optronics and LG Display have already delivered samples of this display to Apple for verification.

Tablets aren’t just a fad, mind you. That being said, the space is apparently so hot and getting so crowded than some  branded vendors are believed to be giving up on tablets. If DigiTimes is to be trusted, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer and Asustek will “gradually phase out” of the tablet market in 2012.
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November 16, 2011


With the $199 Kindle Fire out of the gate, the inevitable questions pops into mind: Which is faster overall, the Amazon or Apple tablet?

The comparison isn’t really fair because Amazon skimped on internal components, which was key to its breakthrough $199 price point. An iFixit teardown reveals Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4430 chip inside the device, also  found inside Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

For starters, iPad 2 boots much quicker than the Amazon tablet – again, due to its more efficient dual-core processor and optimized software. Browsing the web? No surprises here either, Safari on iPad 2 stormed ahead, performing noticeably faster than Amazon’s Silk browser which offloads page rendering to the Amazon cloud. One thing to remember: In this test, Kindle Fire was loading Flash content which of course is not supported on Apple’s device.

The iPad 2’s graphics unit, praised for its nine times performance jump, helps with scrolling, which is pretty choppy most of the time on Amazon’s device. One surprising finding is that Kindle Fire streams Netflix smoother than iPad 2, most likely due to the new version of their Android client which is not yet available for Apple’s platform.

This is not the most scientific test in the world, mind you. Again, as 9to5Google noted in its quick review, there’s really no comparing Kindle Fire to iPad 2, be it on the price, overall polish, performance or shininess. As for the speed, mainstream buyers may not be interested in raw specs anymore and Amazon has priced this thing out of the range of the Samsungs and BlackBerrys of this world so it’s more of a competitor to Android tablets than to Apple.

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November 15, 2011

In addition to a revamped Android version, Netflix said today that a “new tablet experience should be available for members with iPads in a few weeks”. What’s the new tablet experience like? According to a press release and a blog post, Netflix aims to consolidate the app’s user interface across iOS and Android tablets with a “much more immersive” design that manages to cram up twice as many movies and television shows as before without looking cluttered. Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, says:

In the last 12 months we have seen a threefold increase in how long Netflix members are watching on their tablets. We’re happy to debut a new user experience coinciding with the release of the next generation of devices from industry leaders. The new Netflix interface offers a significant improvement in browsing and searching for TV shows and movies to instantly watch.

Each item in the new interface sports a larger artwork than before and you can swipe between the individual rows of titles. If this sounds familiar, you’re right – a similar experience is built into supported set-top boxes, gaming consoles and other Netflix-ready devices.

Interestingly, the new Netflix software is also available for the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. Netflix also offers a free trail, here.

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October 21, 2011

According to research firm Strategy Analytics (via Bloomberg), Google’s Android-based tablets gained market share in the iPad dominated tablet market during the third quarter, specifically led by new models from Samsung (presumably referring to the same Galaxy Tab family that is currently the focus of patent related litigation between Apple and Samsung).

The report claims Android was up from just 2.3 percent from the same three month period last year, to a 27 percent share of worldwide sales during the third quarter in 2011. The iPad’s market share during the same period reportedly fell from 96 percent to 67 percent. The research firm notes that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets currently account for 9 percent of the total tablet market.

There is also reason to believe Android’s growth on tablets will continue to grow into 2012, as the introduction of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (the first Android OS specifically designed for both phones and tablets) could help tablet adoption among Android smartphone users. Strategy Analytics believes that Amazon’s Kindle Fire will also drive Android tablet sales, estimating the company will sell more than 15 million units by 2013.

In contrast to this obvious good news for the Android tablet market, which the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg recently described as having “flopped” in an interview with Google mobile chief Andy Rubin, there are conflicting stats for Android tabs in the enterprise. Rubin’s answer? “There’s a little over 6 million Android tablets that we know about”, a figure which of course includes pre-Honeycomb devices but not the Nook and those that don’t use Google services. The recently released Good Technology Device Activations Report for Q3 2011 shows that when it comes to tablets in business, enterprise users are clearly choosing iPad over the alternatives, noting “iOS tablets represent over 96 percent of total tablet activations”. Their graphic (above) also speaks volumes.
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September 28, 2011

September 23, 2011

.

If all of the rumors are true, Amazon has a 7-inch “media tablet” that runs a forked version of Android and will connect to all of Amazon’s services, including its Appstore, Movies, TV, Music and of course eBooks. It won’t be true multi-touch but the rumored price is half of the iPad’s (just like the screen) at $250.  Who is making this for Amazon?  Foxconn of course.

Yes, it sounds just like a Nook (which is getting an interesting update soon) with a better backend store.

via Verge expand full story

July 24, 2011


The now missing Google Books on iOS

Update: Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook both killed their store links as well.

The WSJ is reporting that Apple is laying down the law on apps that try to link externally to other payment systems in the App Store.  The WSJ’s own app and Kobo, another eBookseller were both forced to remove external links to payment stems from within their apps.

In a pair of moves that suggest Apple Inc. is enforcing rules for selling content on its devices, Kobo Inc., the Canadian e-book retailer, and The Wall Street Journal said Sunday they will no longer sell content directly to customers through their apps for Apple devices.

We reported last week and over the weekend that Google Books was pulled from the App Store without a trace. Google and Apple (shocker) will not give us comment on the matter.  Now the Journal chimes in: expand full story

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