Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

Game Changers: What Apple Announced This Week at WWDC

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You can’t go anywhere on the web without reading one of a zillion articles about what Apple announced at Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), so instead of going long on this and reiterating what everyone is saying, I’m going to summarize the big things as succinctly as possible.

Why even bother? Because some of the things Apple announced are HUGE.

Open-API Touch ID Functionality

Touch ID – the software behind Apple’s fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S – is excellent, and once you start using it, you get used to it – fast. Passwords feel archaic, and you get annoyed when you have to type one.

This week, Apple opened Touch ID up to third-party developers, which means anyone can create an app that foregoes passwords and instead uses a fingerprint biometric. Think about that: Apple is swinging an axe straight down on the neck of the confusing, easily-compromised password scheme we all love to hate.

This will change the way login security will be handled on a massive scale. Just wait and see how quickly developers snap this up.


Impressions of Microsoft Office for iPad

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Paul Thurrott:

As for how powerful these apps are, consider this. I loaded up my 575 page Windows 8.1 Field Guide Word document, and while it took a while to download originally (it’s stored in OneDrive for Business as part of my Office 365 Small Business Premium subscription), the performance reading and editing the document was impressive. In fact, it was… amazing. This is the real deal.

As important, the fidelity of the document was perfect: Everything was formatted correctly, including images. I could actually write a book on this thing if I wanted to. (Relax, I don’t.) Microsoft claims that documents look as good on the iPad as they do on the PC. And I gotta say. They really do.

Ed Bott:

What’s fascinating about Office for the iPad is how it leapfrogs Microsoft’s Windows tablets. On Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, Office is still a desktop app with some grudging interface tweaks designed to ease the pain of using an app without a mouse. Anyone who owns a Surface RT is likely to look enviously at these iPad apps, which for now are the gold standard for Office on a modern tablet.

With the release of Office for iPad, the divide between laptop and tablet just got reduced to a negligible crack. These are truly outstanding apps, and you can do real work on them with no caveats. As far as I can tell, Office for iPad is to Office as Photoshop Elements is to Photoshop. Sure, you don’t get 100% feature coverage, but for the 70% of the stuff most people do every day with office documents, it’s there, it’s graphically beautiful, and it works flawlessly.

“How Strange”

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Lia Pas, writing about how strange it is that relatively new technology can suddenly feel very old in the face of the newest technology:

How strange that technology that is only three years old feels cludgy in our hands now. How strange what high expectations we have for responsiveness from a thin board of glass and metal. How easily these things have become “necessities” and ubiquitous in our presence. How will we play with light three years from now? How old will this device I’m using now feel beneath my hands?

Casual Friday: Stuff I Found While Bogging My Browser Down With Dozens of Tabs

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Okay you guys, here in the U.S. we have Thanksgiving coming up next week , and that means you need stuff to talk about or that one relative who always smells sort of like old bacon will talk about their kids too much and shut the whole thing down. So I’ve browsed the entire Internet – every page, really – to bring you enough conversational fodder to filibuster your own family event. Off we go.

This elephant pretty much sucks at playing the piano, but he digs it, so give him credit for following his passion. Or something.

Bob Dylan has finally released a music video for Like a Rolling Stone, and it’s truly, literally, smashingly brilliant. Why? It’s interactive. Use your keyboard’s up/down keys to flip channels. Having this look so simple and easy is no small feat: the audio/video sync code must be insane, because you can swap channels at any time and the new channel will have video perfectly sync’ed with the audio, which remains unbroken throughout the entire video. Amazing work.

Ever wonder what sounds a koala bear makes? Me too. We can both stop wondering.

The family tree of bourbon whiskey. I didn’t know 75% of this, and I consider myself a bourbon enthusiast.

If you have an iPad, you should have the Paper app, because it litearlly allows even non-artistic hamfists like me to do some pretty neat stuff. Problem is, drawing with your fingers is so paleolithic. To that end, 53, the makers of Paper, have released their own stylus to go along with Paper, and it’s fantastic. It’s called Pencil. Check out the product launch video. One word: ordered.

The Fixer’s Manifesto, because fixing is a massively underappreciated component of creativity. check out Sugru while you’re at it.

Speaking of manifestos, I’ll leave you with Seth Godin’s excellent The Bootstrapper’s Manifesto. For everyone out there who has guts but not a lot of capital, vision but not a lot of resources, this is for you. Heck, everyone should read this.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Why Apple’s iOS 7 Is Its Most Important Product This Fall

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I’m writing the first draft of this post on Wednesday, September 18, a few hours before Apple releases its most important product this fall. The product will cost absolutely nothing, and some might not even know about it until they see a friend with it, but within months, every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch user will have their worlds rocked, for better or worse, by it.

That product is iOS 7, a complete overhaul of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Only geeks like myself have been following Apple’s development of its next-gen mobile OS. Most don’t know about it, and probably don’t care, until they update and realize that their iPhone has become an entirely new iPhone. Then they’ll feel as though they got a new phone for free.



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I’m going to send you into the weekend with my new iOS game obsession: Hundreds. It’s a wonderfully simple game in which you grow circles until their collective value reaches 100 — but you cannot let them touch anything else while they grow. Oh, and there are things (like razor circles) that will ‘pop’ your circles and reset their value to zero. Maddening, but the one of the most addictive games I’ve played. Worth three bucks, easy.

Here is a gameplay video, because looking back on my description the game sounds horrifically boring. It’s anything but.

Casual Friday: Things I Found While Surfing Around

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a good old-fashioned link post, so here we go. I have a huge backlog of stuff I’ve found while looking around the Internet, and I always think knowing this stuff will make me more interesting at parties. It doesn’t, but I think your luck will be better.

Joe Posnanski with an iPad review from a very uncommon angle. Opening sentence: I left my iPad on a plane the other day. The crazy thing about it – as if there needs to be an extra layer of crazy about leaving a hugely expensive and personal and professionally vital device on an airplane – was that I thought about it five minutes before I did it. Not after. BEFORE.

Here’s a Spanish fresco restoration botched by amateur. I think this is doing the word ‘botched’ a disservice. Slaughtered may be more apt. Side note: am I the only one who finds the ‘restored’ image both disturbing and funny? Yeah? Nevermind then.

Going public with depression. Fascinating read about an affliction that affects more people than we know.

A great song and video about sharks. Yes, sharks.

Energy efficient light bulbs may have a dark side when it comes to health. This is in addition to making everything dim and grungy and blowing out your eyesight.

What are teenagers using most to listen to music? Hint: it’s not CDs, iTunes, Spotify or Rdio. It’s YouTube.

I know I said this is a link post, but I’m going to drop a quote on you because I’ve bookmarked this like three times so it must be important. “There is no parent more vulnerable to the excesses of overparenting than an unhappy parent. One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for.”Raising Successful Children, by Madeline Levine. Oh wait. There’s a link in there. We’re safe, everyone.

The busy trap. Yeah, I know, you’re probably too busy to read this, but do it anyway.

And to send you off into your long weekend, here’s the best video you’ve seen all week. Just trust me. Coca-Cola Security Cameras.

Have a great weekend and Labor Day holiday, everyone.

More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About this blog.

Casual Friday: On the iPhone 5 (Or Whatever It Will Be Called)

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Here’s Henry Blodget, writing for Business Insider:

Over the past few days, the latest round of purported pictures of Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5 have hit the web.

And I can’t be the only potential customer who is deflated by what they see.

In fact, I’ll go far enough to say that, if the iPhone 5 looks like the pictures that have recently appeared, Apple may be screwed.

Normally, I can’t stand link-bait articles like this, and ‘screwed’ is nothing but hyperbole for the sake of cheap web traffic. But I think there’s a bit of truth in what Blodget writes.

The ‘leaked’ pictures of the forthcoming iPhone 5 (I don’t think it will be called this; remember the de-numeralizing of the latest iPad) look startlingly like an iPhone 4S, which was released last year. The iPhone 4S is an exact replica of the iPhone 4, released in Fall of 2010. So, Apple is working with a design that’s a solid two years old.

It’s a great design, mind you. It’s the only device on the market that summons a Zen-like minimalism coupled with a Leica or Deiter Rams-esque sense of timeless industrial design. Banished antenna issues aside, the current design we have is a triumph.

A two year old triumph, but a triumph nonetheless. The iPhone 4/4S doesn’t look old compared to modern smartphones. It only looks old because we know it hasn’t been updated in two years. If Appler were to release it anew today, everyone would be impressed. That’s a testament to its still-fledgling timelessness.

Leaked photo of the purported 'next generation' iPhone.

However, things being what they are, if Apple releases a phone with a slightly taller screen (to achieve a 4″ diagonal measurement), LTE and maybe a slightly improved camera and a different back plate, I think most folks will be nonplussed. Yes, it’s an improvement, but people expect more from Apple, especially in this post-Jobs era, when the company’s product direction is under the microscope.

Blodget says:

Because it will make it clear that one observation that many Apple skeptics make is dead-on correct–namely that each new generation of the iPhone offers less and less improvement over the prior generation, and, thus, gives customers less reason to upgrade.

That’s true. The differences between the iPhone 4 and 4S were more RAM, a different CPU/GPU (both of which the average consumer doesn’t care about), a better camera, improved battery life and Siri (all of which are marketable features).

In practice, for your average smartphone user, the only real difference is Siri. And if you read this blog last week, you know my thoughts on Siri: it’s an unfinished, unreliable beta experiment.

The real-world differences between the 4 and 4S are quite small. Apple nonetheless sold a jillion 4S’s, but I wonder how much of that had to do with Steve Jobs’s death and the initial Siri buzz. And if you recall, there was much chagrin over the ‘sameness’ of the iPhone 4S. In the end, it didn’t appear to hurt sales any: the iPhone 4S became Apple’s most popular phone ever.

With the iPhone 5, we think Apple needs to show the world that it’s truly raising the bar again. Rumor says the iPhone 5 was one of the last projects in which Steve Jobs was intimately involved, so I have a hard time believing we’re going to see a 10mm taller iPhone 4S called the iPhone 5 (or whatever). Please pardon my willingness to refuse that the leaks we’re seeing now are actually representative of the final product.

Maybe what we’re looking at is the law of diminishing returns when it comes to consumers becoming tech thrill junkies instead of value seekers: the original iPhone rocked the mobile communications world like nothing else. Everyone had a rush of technocultural dopamine as the iPhone went stratospheric in popularity.

But now we’ve crashed and have the shakes, and we want something revolutionary again. Maybe the reality is that we’re continuing to get innovation, but it will be the little things – camera quality, innovative power charging/connectivity systems, software nuances, ecosystem quality and inter-device integration aspects – that we’re going to enjoy.

Maybe the dopamine will be there after all, just in time-released drips instead of one big rush.

Apple’s culture and management team is too imbued with Steve Jobs and the principles he instilled and fostered. Apple’s not going to rest on its success, but its modern innovation may not be what the mass market thinks – or wants.

After all, that’s the Apple way.

More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About this blog.

Casual Friday: Google Nexus 7 Review

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Buckle up, you guys. This is a long one.

Right up front, let me be clear about bias, because that’s a word that can get tossed around after posts like this: I am an unabashed iOS/OSX user. My technology sprawl includes two 27 inch iMacs, a Thunderbolt Cinema Display, a MacBook Air, an iPad ‘3’ and my constantly-conjoined second brain, an iPhone 4S. My experience with Android before the Nexus 7 was precisely this: bad. As in: really bad. Android was clunky, ugly, lag-soaked and had such substandard third-party apps so as to make apps in general a complete afterthought outside of Google’s own. I tried to give Android a fair shake twice, only to run back to iOS’s polished embrace each time.

So. That said, what compelled me to even think about a Nexus 7? In a word, the buzz. A ton of Android tablets have been released, and none so much as stirred the slightest wave of interest outside of hardcore Android devotees. The Nexus 7, however, was immediately different. As evidenced by stellar sales and strong reviews, its shine is unmistakeable, even for diehard iOS fans like me. It became clear to me that it was time to take the plunge – again – this time without committing my phone to the platform. And for $199, you’re on the cusp of technology impulse purchase territory – especially seeing how you could turn around and sell it in a red second if you didn’t like it. And something must be clicking, somewhere: as I write this, the 16GB Nexus 7 is sold out on the Google Play store. Even Google wasn’t expecting this much fanfare surrounding its new tablet.

I’m not going to go all The Verge on you and give you the uber-detailed breakdown. If you want that, it’s out there. What I am going to give you is my impression of the Nexus 7 from the standpoint of an entrenched Apple user. Off we go.


Casual Friday: iPhone Apps I Probably Couldn’t Live Without, Vol. 2

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Last week, I listed my favorite must-have, daily-use iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps. Because I might be the biggest Apple slappy you semi-sorta know on the web due to a blog you read, I have more to share. Way more. But I’ll spare you the way and just give you more, because these might be useful to you. If not, that’s fine, because writing about them is fun to me. Fun?, you ask. Yes, fun. I’m already at 85 words, for crying out loud.

Are you still here? Amazing.

So here we go. These aren’t going to be in any particular order, because they’re stragglers from last week. Nicely-dressed, very polite stragglers, but stragglers nonetheless. Treat them well. They won’t steal anything.

  • Captio. I mentioned this last week, but I want to expound on it. Captio defines a basic app: it simply gives you a blank screen on which you compose a note, reminder, whatever. When done, you hit send and your note is emailed to yourself, because when you set up Captio you link it to an email account of your choosing. Sound stupid? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Now I use it every day, because it’s so quick and allows you to organize your emails to yourself later in whatever system/app you choose. Its genius is its simplicity.
  • OpenTable. For an annoying foodie like me, this app is everything. I can’t tell you when I last called a restaurant to make reservations. OpenTable’s iOS app is just like the web app: restaurant searches are quick and easy (the iOS app uses geolocation to save a step), open timeslots are quickly displayed, and reviews are embedded along with reservation slots and contact information. It’s brilliant, and I’ve never had a glitch using this. If you use OpenTable and use iOS, get this app.
  • Nike Golf 360. Golf nerd? This app is for you. It has scorecards for just about every course I’ve tried, and it knows what course you’re on via geolocation. The best part is that over time, it analyzes your game based on the information you provide. It tells me my driving accuracy is 60%, GIR 40%, and that I putt like a blind dog. You can upload and share your scores if you’re so inclined, and it has videos of the pros’ swings to study. It even lets someone take a video of your sorry swing and superimpose it on top of a pro’s to really make you feel like you have no gross motor skills. An incredibly polished app, and right now, it’s free.
  • DailyBurn Tracker. I could go on for 200,000 words about why the calorie in/calorie out model is massively incomplete for weight loss, but if you’re trying to get healthy or even a full-on health nut, tracking something is better than nothing. If you want to truly understand how many calories you’re eating, this is the app for you. A huge database, intuitive data entry, workout and weight tracking, and progress analytics put this in my must-have folder for anyone who wants to get a baseline of how much they’re eating. It’s also updated regularly, and I’ve never had a single technical issue with it. Good stuff.
  • Instapaper. This should have been in my post last week, because I use it constantly. If you’re not familiar, Instapaper (with an accompanying iOS app) is a service that lets you save any web page for later reading. This is great for longform articles, or even shorter posts you don’t have time to get to when you stumble across them. Absolutely invaluable, and Marco Arment, the developer of Instapaper, puts massive time and attention into his app. It’s pixel-perfect, and worth every penny.
  • Paper (iPad only). There have been several apps that purport to be able to replace a notebook with some pens and brushes, but none really can. Except Paper. It’s the app I doodle in the most when I’m bored or on vacation, and I find myself jotting things down and being creative in ways I never would with a real notebook. Get yourself a stylus (I use the Wacom Bamboo), and you can get lost in this for hours. If I can, you can, because I have the artistic ability of a badger (evidence here).

That’s it. Wrapping up at 730 words. You’re welcome.

Have a good weekend, everyone.


More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About this blog.