On October 22nd, Apple announced updates to some of their products. Along with the release of OS X Mavericks, their latest version of their desktop operating system, they also announced new versions of iLife and iWork applications for iOS, OS X, and iCloud. New MacBook Pros were also announced.
The expected items, though, were a pair of new iPads. The iPad mini was given a much needed Retina display, while the full size iPad was upgraded and became the new iPad Air, a thinner and lighter 9.7″ iPad. Both of these updates were expected due to news leaks over the past few weeks and were welcomed with open arms.
However, there was a bit of a surprise when it came to what the new iPad line-up now consisted of. Both of those new iPads would be the premium product, while older versions remained on sale. That has been Apple’s MO with iPhones and iPads for years. Yet, while last year’s breakthrough iPad mini made sense to keep in the line-up, the iPad 2 seemed out of place. Why would Apple keep selling this 2.5 year old iPad, one that doesn’t even use the latest Lightning connector?
For one, it apparently still sells very well. For many people, the iPad 2 provides everything that a person might need or even want from a tablet. Technophiles may not show any interest in it, but anyone that isn’t tech-savvy who is looking for their first tablet would be more than happy with a new iPad 2.1
Second, by leaving the iPad 2 in the line-up, it gives consumers an option for an iPad that still supports the 30-pin connector and the massive amount of accessories that were created for that connector. But is this a big enough reason for people to buy an iPad 2 when, for $100 more, they can get the new iPad Air?
The iPad 2 was great when it was released. But lacking a Retina display and still using the old 30-pin connector (plus the A5 chip that doesn’t keep quite up to speed with its modern breathren) makes it a poor choice from the current iPad line-up. For identical specs, you can pay $100 less and get the iPad mini. The screen may be smaller, but you’re getting a thinner form factor AND a device with more functionality2 than the older iPad 2.
Add to this the fact that, on Apple’s own website, you can find refurbished 4th generation iPads available for $379. Yes, you can get a newer iPad from Apple’s own website for less than the iPad 2. But if newer models can be purchased for less than $400, why would you want to buy an iPad 2?
This is why I say you shouldn’t buy an iPad 2. If you have the $399 to spend on it, why not get a newer model? Even the next newest model, the 3rd generation iPad, had a Retina display. While you would still be sporting the larger connector and an older body style compared to the iPad Air, you’d also have a capable tablet with a higher resolution screen.
Even if you don’t buy an iPad 2, however, there’s reason to be happy Apple still sells it. Why is that?
Don’t you hate buying a product when, months later, it seems like your relatively new purchase is obsolete? Thankfully, while Apple continues to iterate and innovate with hardware, much of the capabilities of their devices come from within the silicon.
iPhone 3G customers may recall a time when their iPhones could not do the now common task of copy-and-paste. Yet, a software update (iOS 3) brought that feature, and others, to their iPhones. They may not have had the latest processor or camera specs, but those iPhone owners were able to get improved use from their devices.
Similarly, Apple has a fairly good track record of supporting older iOS devices. And each time Apple continues to sell an older generation model,3 they also permit the latest iOS software to run on it, albeit with some features likely not supported.4 When the iPhone 4S launched, iOS 5 was also released. The iPhone 3GS, still being sold at the time, was able to get that software update. Neither it nor the iPhone 4 had the ability to use Siri. Yet, each phone still found extended use by its owners.5 Likewise, when iOS 7 was announced this past June, Apple was still selling the iPhone 4. iOS 7 was installable on those older devices, even though Apple removed them from their line up at their iPhone event in September.
The iPad 2 may not be the wisest choice for buying a new iPad. Yet, the fact that Apple is still selling it means that, quite likely, unless new iPads are announced in the spring, the iPad 2 could possibly support iOS 8. Even if it doesn’t, there’s a good chance the third generation iPads and newer will support it. And as iPad and iPhone hardware matures, it’s likely we’ll see more and more generations of iOS devices supporting newer versions of IOS. They may not have the hardware to support all of the latest features6, but they’ll remain up to date nonetheless.
But for any iOS device owners who have purchased an iPhone or iPad in the past 2 years, you’ll be okay using your device for at least another year with updates galore. If Apple will support a device from March 2011, yours should be supported, too.
iPad 2 owners may feel differently when comparing their tablet performance on iOS 7 versus what they used to have on iOS 6, but new customers undoubtedly wouldn’t notice. ↩
iOS 7 on the iPad mini supports Airdrop, for example, though on the iPad 2 it does not. ↩
For example, Apple continued to sell the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 when the iPhone 4S was launched. ↩
This isn’t just a matter of Apple wanting people to upgrade. Sometimes, the features introduced simply can’t be supported on older hardware without degraded performance. Apple’s goal is not to just pack in features but to give a great user experience. At times, this means some devices can’t get every new feature. ↩
The iPhone 3GS went on to support even the latest version of iOS 6. Thus far, iOS 7 is supported on devices as far back as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 ↩
Touch ID, 120 fps HD video recording, etc ↩
This year has been pretty light in terms of Apple presentations. Thus far, we’ve had the Worldwide Developers Conference which took place in June. As expected, it was mainly a software oriented day. There, we got a preview of OS X Mavericks, the Mac Pro, and got to see an unveiling of iOS 7. We also learned about iWork for iCloud, a great way to use iWork in the browser on all major platforms.
Then, on September 10th, Apple unveiled two new iPhones: the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. While they played center stage to the event, we also were treated to the release of iWork and (most of) iLife apps1 for free on the App Store (for newly activated iOS devices).
On October 22nd, Apple is holding another event. Rumors about what we’ll see have been rampant on the web. I thought I’d share what topics I personally expect to see touched on from the event and how likely I think we’ll see it.
It has been a year since Apple released the iPad (4th Generation) and the iPad mini. The iPad update came just six months after the release of the third generation model and, honestly, caught quite a few people off guard. It did, however, bring the relatively new Lightning connector to the iPad line, thus given the latest iPad models the smaller connectors.
Both the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini showed a new design, with an aluminum body with chamfered edges. This year, the full size iPad is supposed to be given that same design. If the leaks are to be believed, this will also make the iPad thinner and lighter. If so, I definitely am excited for this. While the 9.7″ iPad is my personal preference (great for both content creation and consumption), a lighter model would increase the usability of the device. It would make it easier to hold in many positions, especially when laying in bed.
The iPad mini, meanwhile, is to keep the same design as last year but possibly may include a Retina display. I think the Retina display is the only way the iPad mini can really be advanced this year, and I am expecting to see that tomorrow. Supposedly, including such a display would add a bit of thickness to the iPad mini, but such a change would likely not be a big deal.
Internally, the iPad has typically had the latest processor found in the new iPhone model for that year. Thus, I would not be surprised to see an A7X chip in the fifth generation iPad. This would be the same 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s but with extra graphics power. Such a chip would bring 64-bit capabilities to the iPad (a great future-proofing move on Apple’s part) and likely the capability for Touch ID, letting us secure our iPads with our fingerprints.
To keep the battery life on the iPad mini, however, I’m not expecting it to receive the A7X. Instead, I’m leaning more towards an A6X. It currently powers the fourth generation iPad and does a fantastic job. It would definitely be capable of running a Retina display, and presumably the power usage would allow the iPad mini to stay mini while providing the power needed to up the display.
Summary: New iPad 5 with slimmer design and A7X chip; iPad mini (2nd generation) with Retina display and A6X chip
OS X Mavericks (Definitely)
In June, Apple gave us a preview of the next release of OS X, Mavericks. Since then, developers have had beta access to the first non-cat OS X release. The last beta release, on October 3rd, was a Golden Master release, meaning that the public release is soon to follow.2
Tomorrow, Apple should be announcing when Mavericks will be publicly available. It could be as early as tomorrow, though part of me thinks later in the week might be a better guess.
I personally am looking forward to Mavericks, as it will bring us some nice new enhancements to OS X. Timer coalescing and App Nap should help reduce CPU and power usage. As someone that likes to study ePub documents on the go, I am glad that iBooks is coming to the Mac. Finally, I’ll be able to study magazines and books and then sync those notes and highlights to my iPad. A new built in Maps app will let users bookmark locations and routes and then send these to their iPhone when they’re ready to go. Nifty!
Summary: OS X Mavericks release date, likely this week.
MacBook Pros (Likely)
It’s been over a year since the MacBook Pro (non-Retina, that is) was updated. Given the upgrade the MacBook Air received this year, it’s likely we’ll see the MacBook Pros also brought up to speed. If so, they likely will get Intel’s Haswell chip and, like the Air, improved battery life as a result. The MacBook Pro with Retina may also get this update. (I’m more interested in the former, as I’m not ready to shell out for a ‘next generation MacBook Pro’ yet).
Summary: MacBook Pros with Haswell chip, improved battery life
iPods (Not Likely)
The iPod, formerly Apple’s top product, has typically seen updates in the fall. However, given how the iPhone and iPad have both eclipsed the music players, I don’t necessarily expect to see any new iPods. I wouldn’t be shocked, but I think it is more likely that we’ll see iPod updates next year.
Apple TV (Likely, But…)
Word has gone around that there is an Apple TV update coming. I think the safest bet is that it’s just a small spec update for the TV box. The current Apple TV runs an A5 processor internally. While Apple still is selling devices running the A5, I think they may want to put either an A6 or, maybe, even an A7 in the Apple TV.
I don’t think we’ll hear about any other big change for Apple TV, but I also think Apple’s plan isn’t to create a full TV but, rather, to change the way we experience television and use our TVs by means of the Apple TV box. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised with them putting in an A7 chip. Why? Because I see Apple opening up Apple TV for app developers. iOS 7 includes game controller support and has added APIs for game development such as SpriteKit. Could Apple be a major player in the console wars with Apple TV? I think it’s a likely scenario.
Summary: Apple TV update with either A6 or A7 processor
iWatch (Doubt It)
I doubt Apple’s mythical high-tech wearable will make a debut tomorrow. Samsung may have struck first with their launch of Galaxy Gear, but Apple doesn’t need to quickly fire back to make a difference. Apple will reveal products when they’re ready to, and I think there is more to be gained for them by perfecting any such product that quickly reacting to Samsung’s unveiling.
So, with this list put together, now we wait until tomorrow to see how close I was. What about you? What do you think we’ll see tomorrow?
I hate saying that I’m relatively new to app development, but I am. I had originally moved into the Apple ecosystem in 2009 with somewhat of a desire to develop applications. At the time, however, I was spending most of my development time on websites. App development seemed like a much more daunting task.
Over the years, I would occasionally open up Xcode with the intent of creating some kind of basic iPhone app. Each time, though, it seemed like such a different beast than what I was used to. (The MVC model wasn’t a stranger to me, but I didn’t have a lot of experience with it at the time.) I’d add in a few buttons and views, type up some code, but I couldn’t get myself to really dive into it.
One thing I’ve come to really love using since I first got my first iPhone in 2009 is Evernote. I use it to store notes about almost anything, from guitar tab to food recipes. For a while now, I’ve also stored different ideas that come into my head. As I put more and more ideas down in writing, I was able to get a better idea of what I wanted to do.
Two breakthroughs helped me to really push forward in app development, however. The first was making use of video tutorials online, especially on iTunes U, that helped me to really learn and understand Objective-C and iOS app development. Finding an iOS development course is a big plus, as it is just like being in a class where you are taught how to develop for the iPhone and iPad. It definitely beats just reading documentation and following along in a book.
Second was the latest iOS release, iOS 7. As soon as I saw the new look and feel of iOS unveiled at WWDC, as well as reading about the new APIs built into the release, I became excited for development again. In fact, I hadn’t felt this excited about it before.
It was with iOS 7 that my interest was aflame again. Since June, I’ve been pushing forward and working on several ideas. I’ve not been so excited about iPhone app development as I am now. I have a few projects on the burners and, as they get closer to release, I’ll start sharing some information about them, either here or via my business site (which will be updated soon). I’ll also document my travels as I learn more about Objective-C, Xcode, and developing for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
spectacular quiet announcement Thursday, Apple revealed details of its upcoming operating system, Mountain Lion. Typically, such an announcement is brought along with a huge presentation. Instead, Apple had a small gathering of media for a private event.
Their site showcases several upcoming features for Mountain Lion. Again, it looks like iOS and OSX are being brought closer together. What changes are coming?
For starters, things that people are used to with iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) are coming to OS X. These include notes, reminders, Game Center, and the notification center.
But the biggest improvement is one that was already released. Messages Beta is available for OS X Lion users to download (requires 10.7.3 patch). This is essentially an upgrade/update to iChat. Besides changing the name to Messages, an important feature has been added, one that I figured would be coming: The ability to iMessage your friends. Yes, you can chat from your Mac to someone with an iPad or iPhone. And any iMessages sent to you are automatically synced to each of your devices, so you can pick up the conversation where you left off.
I’ve already been using Messages and can say that iMessage integration is pretty cool. It isn’t perfect and is a little buggy, but by the time Mountain Lion is released this summer, I think the chat experience will be more perfected.
For a video overview of OS X Mountain Lion, watch the video below.
Other good articles on Mountain Lion:
Apple held it’s keynote this morning at the 2011 Worldwide Developer Conference. The three big announcements were regarding OS X Lion, iOS 5, and the launch of iCloud.
Personally, the iOS 5 discussion was the best part for me. I’m always curious about the latest changes to the iPhone (and iPod Touch/iPad) software, and I feel Apple delivered with iOS 5. Here are some of the highlights:
- New Notification Center: Did you hate getting notifications, whether from the Messages app or something else, that kept interrupting what you were doing? Well, you don’t have to worry any longer! All notifications now go in the new Notification Center. How do you get to it? Simply swipe down from the top of your screen from anywhere! All notifications will go there, too, from missed phone calls to text messages.
- iMessages: Text messaging is great on the iPhone. However, services like Blackberry Messenging allowed for Blackberry users to message each other with an internal app. Well, Apple has come up with their own. Messages has been expanded with iMessages, allowing iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad owners to message each other in the same way that one would send a text to someone else. Finally, a great way to easily keep in touch with your iOS friends!
- Newsstand: If iBooks was a way to manage your digital books, Newsstand is your way of handling magazine subscriptions. It looks like iBooks, probably acts like iBooks, and if you’re big into digital magazines, may be just as exciting to you as iBooks. One neat thing with this, though, is that it will automatically download the latest magazines in your subscription for you to view.
- Reminders: How many times have you put in something important into the Calendar app just to remind yourself of something small, such as picking up something before you leave home? Well, there’s now an (Apple made) app for that! Reminders lets you create lists of things you need to do. However, it goes beyond simply reminding you on a certain day or time. It also can be triggered to remind you based on your location. Need to run to the bank before you head home? Reminders can send an alert as you leave work to remind you of that. Now that is useful!
- Twitter Integration: Ever wish you could tweet a photo from the Photos app? Or share a cool link from Safari? Now you can! Twitter is built right in so you can tweet with most apps. Simply enter your Twitter info from Settings.
- Camera Updates: The iPhone 4 camera is already impressive. But what happens when you need to grab a quick photo and you only have a few precious seconds to do so? By the time you unlock the phone, navigate to the page with the Camera app, and take the photo, you might have missed what you had wanted to capture. Not anymore! Apple has included an icon on the lock screen that takes you right to the Camera, so that you can quickly take the picture you wanted. The Camera also includes the ability to pinch-to-zoom feature, the ability to lock the autofocus and autoexposure, and optional grid lines on your photos to help with photo composition. Oh, and have you ever wished for a button on the iPhone to take a picture? The Volume Up button now works as that.
- Photo Editing: You can now edit photos in the Photos app. This includes cropping, redeye removal, and photo enhancements. This makes for a quick way to touch up a photo before you Tweet it to your friends from your phone.
- Tabbed Browsing and Reading Lists in Safari: Now, tabs are visible on the iPad in the same way they are in Sarafi for the desktop. Easily switch to the tab you want. You can also view articles with Safari Reader, which will remove ads and other “clutter” from an article you may be trying to read. Lastly, you can save items you wish to read later to a Reading List. (Sounds a bit like Instapaper, though).
- Goodbye USB Cable: No, I’m not saying you won’t need to charge your iOS device ever again. But, you won’t need to be plugged into a PC or Mac to activate or update your device. And you can now sync your iTunes library over WiFi. It’s about time!
This was just an overview of the features announced by Apple during today’s keynote at WWDC.
Posts regarding iCloud and OSX Lion will come soon, as well.
What do you think about these updates? Comment below!
Sometimes, the built in functions and options in a device are not enough. Choosing a ringtone on your iPhone is one thing. But what about having a random ringtone?
GeoRing allows you to use your entire music library as potential ringtones. Want to hear your favorite tunes when someone calls? You can! And best of all, you can add as many songs as you want to your ringtone playlist!
You can also customize at what part of the song the ringtone will begin at. Don’t like the opening to a song? Have it start ringing at a particular section. It can make it easy to find those catchy riffs in a song that you think would make for a great ringtone!
While the ringtone option is seemingly the main feature, GeoRing also allows you to map where you receive your phone calls. Ever been on a call with someone and you wish you could remember where you were at the time, perhaps because of that awesome coffee shop you were walking by at the time? Well, you won’t need to worry about that anymore! GeoRing gives you the ability to see where you were.
The app is very easy to navigate. In fact, you’ll quickly explore every page of options in the app within the first minute of playing with it! There are just two things to keep in mind when using this app:
- You need to have a silent ringtone (which you can download from their site) for your iPhone, or else your default iPhone ringtone will also go off along with your GeoRing set songs.
- The GeoRing app needs to be running in the background for it to operate. Do not remove it from your background processes.
I think many people that are interested in custom ringtones might find this app to suit their needs, especially those with a large music library on their iPhones.
Sometimes you’ll find apps that will not do all that they say they do. This one is definitely not one of those. Everything this app says it does, it does! I definitely recommend this app.
So, you’re the owner of an iPhone and you want a nice ringtone. All you see, though, are ones you have to pay for. What about making your own? After all, you have all of your music to choose from!
Well, it’s actually a fairly simple process. All you need is iTunes. Here’s how to do it:
- First, we need our audio clip. Presumably, you have an audio track in iTunes already that you would like to use. I’ll be using a song by Chameleon Circuit for my example.
- Now, you can use a whole song as a ringtone. Likely, though, you will only hear a few seconds of it. For this song, I only want to hear the first few seconds before it repeats. So, I go into the song’s info window and choose the “Options” tab. There, I’m able to set when the song stops playing.
- Once you’ve made those changes, right click on the song and choose “Create AAC Version”. This will create a duplicate listing in your iTunes library. However, you’ll notice that the new item will only be as long as the selection you had made.
- Take this new item and export it from iTunes. The easiest way to do this is to simply drag the song from iTunes onto your desktop.
- Now navigate to the file on your desktop. You’ll notice that it has a file extension of .m4a. Rename your file so that it now uses a .m4r extension.
- Once you have changed the extension, simply drag the newly renamed file from its current location into iTunes. iTunes will import the ringtone into your library, where you can now sync it with your iPhone.
Simple enough? I think so! Feel free to try it yourself and leave some comments and feedback about this post.
The latest in the Gamevil baseball series, Baseball Superstars ’11, delivers a good strike to the classic ballgame. Having played both of the previous titles, I can say that this one truly is an improvement.
Months ago, I did a small post regarding a classic NES baseball game: RBI Baseball. Playing Baseball Superstars ’11 reminds me of RBI baseball. The game is easy to play, allows for you to just pick up where you left off, and overall is a very enjoyable experience.
You’re able to play multiple game modes, from single exhibition games to full careers with a character. As before, RPG elements are included, allowing for you to improve your player’s skills and abilities as the game progresses.
With some humorous elements thrown in via a subtly laid story, simple baseball gameplay, and the ability to stop and resume playing a game at any point, Baseball Superstars ’11 is definitely worth checking out.
Although iOS 4.2 4.2.1 has been out for over two weeks, I figured I would share some of the changes that are included in this release. Some of them are subtle, while some might find a few of these changes to be very important.
The simplest of changes is the color of the Voice Memo icon. It is now blue (formerly red). Other than that, the default home screen remains unchanged.
One of the major updates is the ability to print. Now, there are some finer points about this that prevent some printers from operating right now. However, the option to print will pop up in some familiar places.
For instance, what if you had an email that you wanted to print out? Clicking on the icon used for replying to an email now provides one other option: “Print”. This is also true with Safari, as well. The button that brings up your bookmark options now includes the print option.
Some small UI changes have come, as well, to bring the iPhone and iPad closer together. As introduced in iOS 4, double-tapping the home button will bring up the multi-task bar. Swiping to the left still displays the orientation lock button, as well as the music player controls. However, swiping over to the left reveals a volume slider, allowing for the easy adjustment of the volume level.
Other changes include the ability to change the text-tone for each contact, much like you can change a contact’s ring tone. Restriction settings now include the ability to prevent someone from deleting apps (as a separate option from installing them). The Safari search, as well, as been expanded to allow for the searching of a term within a web page itself. This feature, something many use on their desktops or laptops, now makes it easier to locate certain information within a web page.
For a full list of changes, see Apple’s Knowledgebase article.
One of the things Steve Jobs just announced at the “Back to the Mac” event was the release of FaceTime Beta for Mac OSX. That’s right! You can now engage in FaceTime video chats with your friends that may have an iPod Touch or iPhone 4!
If you’re a Mac user running Snow Leopard OS X 10.6.4 or later, then go here and check it out: http://www.apple.com/mac/facetime/