Showing posts tagged ipad

Thoughts On The iPad Mini Apple Event

A few days ago Apple announced new Macbook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, iPad, and iPad Mini. This is one of the biggest Apple event this year.

iPad Mini

The launch of the iPad mini is a lot like a deja vu to the iPod mini launch in 2004. Remember what happened? Apple announced 4GB iPod mini at $249, while the regular 15GB iPod was selling for $299. A mere $50 difference. Yet a lot of people bought the iPod mini, it went to be one of the best selling iPods of all time.

Why did this phenomenon happen? Why did people pay for iPod Mini that’s only $50 less than the iPod that has more than twice the storage? Part of this lies on the fact that many people’s need is not as demanding as the geeks. Not that many people have 15GB of music. As for the iPad mini case not many people want to pay for the retina display or the faster chip, simply because they don’t see that much value on those features. Secondly, there’s a bunch of people who just always think any technology is too expensive for them, until it hits a price point. Then everything that’s more expensive after that will not be too expensive anymore. One of the examples of this is when people started buying PCs for every home in the 90s. It was previously a really expensive piece of technology. This is what the iPad mini aims to be, the tablet for everyone.

So why doesn’t Apple compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire or Google’s Nexus 7 pricing? Felix Salmon from Reuters summarised this nicely:

Apple, famously, has the same pricing philosophy as Louis Vuitton: it sells premium products at premium prices, and it never discounts. That philosophy has made it an aspirational brand worldwide: you don’t see vendors in China selling fake Google Nexus 7s. Sometimes, as with the iPhone and iPad, the world beats a path to the company’s door in any case. Other times, as in the case of wireless routers or external displays, Apple’s products are so much more expensive than the competition that only the rich Apple faithful tend to buy them. But that uncompromising devotion to the fundamental philosophy is what has made Apple such a powerful global brand.

Simply put, they don’t need to. They’re not in the same game. They’re not in the game of race to the bottom. Remember: iPods has never been the cheapest MP3 player, and yet it still retains 70% of the MP3 market share until today. Apple don’t care about the other 30% of the MP3 player users who just wouldn’t buy anything but the cheapest one. iPad mini might just be the product that will let Apple retain the tablet market share for the years ahead.

iPad 4

Some people who just bought third generation iPad were really upset after the announcement. Only 7 months after the launch of the iPad 3, Apple launched the new iPad 41, breaking their 1 year cycle tradition. The third generation iPad is a great device. It still is today. It’s worth thinking about why Apple released a new iPad just 7 months after the launch of iPad 3.

Firstly, the iPad release cycle has never been a great fit for the holiday season. Spring release made the iPad an unlikely holiday present choice for some people. iPods has always been released in the autumn, just before the holiday season. iPhone has usually been released in WWDC in June, but for the past two years it has been moved to the autumn as well. So if they want to move the schedule over to autumn release, it came down to two choices:

  • Release a new iPad after 7 months, which is around this time, or
  • Release a new iPad after 19 months, which is at autumn 2013.

Had they chosen the second option, iPad 3 would be the longest lived iOS device. The longest lived iOS device so far is iPhone 4 with 16 months lifetime before iPhone 4S was announced. I bet this wasn’t an ideal situation for Apple. After about a year, the iPhone 4 hardware was sorely outdated among competitors. It still sold really well, but who knows how much more iPhone 4S could Apple have sold if it had been announced a few months earlier.

But here’s another thought: what if the iPad is now going to be announced every 6 months? If that was the case, then Apple did not intend to piss of every iPad 3 owners, but they were simply speeding up their hardware development. But I digressed. Apple has never been a company that releases a product that quickly. I’m sure the iPad 3 short lifetime is a very special case.

Hardware wise it’s quite a significant upgrade, but not one that should make iPad 3 owners want one. If A6X’s architecture is similar to the A6 architecture, it should be really fast. The cellular version of iPad 3 was certainly in a weird position that it doesn’t work in quite as many places as iPhone 5’s LTE. In Australia iPad 3 works with Telstra’s HSDPA network, but it certainly isn’t as fast as LTE. Another interesting tidbit is the iPad 4 does not use nano sim, like the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. I have no idea why they didn’t do that, but my guess is they were rushing it a bit. I was hoping that they’d made the iPad even thinner, but perhaps it will happen next time.


The new iMac is so beautiful. It’s so thin. The new Macbook Pro also looks gorgeous. Performance bump for Mac Mini is always welcome. Fusion drive for both Mac Mini and iMac looks like a really interesting combination. Mac Pro is still a sitting duck on a shelf.

One of the things that I notice in the new iMac is that it finally loses the optical drive. This is the second desktop Mac without optical drive, after Mac Mini lost it some time ago. My bet is when the Mac Pro is updated next year, it won’t lose the optical drive. Mac Pro has always been the longest inheritor of the legacy technologies, because some people still need it and some people buy Mac Pro for that very reason. But I might be wrong. Apple seems to be touting the Super Drive when they introduced the iMac,

So there’s only two Macs that ships with an optical drive now: non retina Macbook Pro and Mac Pro. My guess is that Apple keeps the old Macbook Pro around to fill the price gap between Macbook Air and Macbook Pro with retina display. Once the retina display laptops can hit low enough price point, Apple will probably stop selling non retina display Macbook Pros.

Also, now that iMac has been updated, I wonder if Apple is going to release a new Thunderbolt display. The last time Apple updated their display was on September 2011. I wouldn’t imagine them releasing a new one this year, but when they do it will probably adopt some of the iMac’s design.

  1. Now we see why the last iPad was called The New iPad instead of iPad 3. 

The New iPad Uses Helvetica Neue

A few years ago, John Gruber noted that iOS renders the retina display iPhones’ system fonts to Helvetica Neue. Before the iPhone 4 was released, Apple has always been using Helvetica as the system font.

I’ve had a closer look at the new iPad today and it looks like it also uses Helvetica Neue1. It’s an amazing font to use on a retina screens.

You can see from the picture below that the % character is clearly different in Helvetica Neue. The o that is used in the character is more rounded.

Another example is the letter ‘a' in the picture below.

The new font is clearly much better on the new iPad. I’m often pleased by little improvements like this.

  1. Helvetica and Helvetica Neue is a very similar font. I can’t say 100% if it is Helvetica Neue, but I’m fairly sure it is. Please let me know if I’m wrong. 

(Reblogged from ponderingthemystery-deactivated)

Analogies For the New iPad’s Retina Display

The retina display on the new iPad is so amazing. Here’s how some people express it:

Ed Baig, USA Today:

Examine the new screen side-by-side with one of its near-10-inch predecessors, and you’ll swear you just had Lasik surgery. Text on Web pages or in books is so crisp and sharp that you don’t want to go back to reading on an older iPad.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:

Reading on the big retina display is pure joy. Going back to the iPad 2 after reading for a few hours on the iPad 3 is jarring. With bigger pixels, anti-aliased text looks blurry; with smaller pixels, anti-aliased text looks good; but with really small pixels like these, anti-aliased text looks impossibly good — and what you thought looked pretty good before (like text rendered on older iPads) now looks blurry.

Jim Dalrymple, The Loop:

The only thing I can think of that comes close is comparing it to the first time you ever saw an HDTV. Remember how startling it was to go from one of those giant standard definition projector TVs to an HDTV? That’s what this is like.

I saw one myself today, my colleague bought it and it arrived today. We turned it on and laid it side by side with my first generation iPad. I just can’t believe it. All the texts and icons in the new iPad just looked so amazing. You really need to see it to believe it.

Matt Peckham Will Not Buy The New iPad

Matt Peckham seems to have really weird opinions of the new iPad that Apple just announced last week:

Yep, Apple’s new iPad is just called “iPad,” or “The new iPad,” if you want to get technical about it. Sure, the company already does that with its MacBook lineup (ever heard of a MacBook Air 2 or a MacBook Pro 3?), but no, you definitely wanted an iPad 3, so who cares if it comes with a holodeck or lets you travel through time — you’re not spending penny one for anything without the number “3″ in the moniker.

I’m pretty sure Pecklan also choose which cereal he buys based on the name. Maple Loops maybe? I don’t know about you, but I don’t judge a product merely from its name. By the way, this reminds me: is the iPod that my mom uses an iPod 7 or iPod 8?

1024 x 768 pixel resolution is “eye-popping” enough. Remember the Cyndi Lauper song “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”? Insert “1024 x 768,” or just “either of the first two iPads.” Apple’s new iPad takes you higher, of course — to a glorious 2048 x 1536 pixels, or 264 ppi (pixels per inch) — but since that’s technically not iPhone 4S caliber (326 ppi), you’re not budging. “Retina” display? Pffft.

Find me a $499 device with a screen that has resolution of 264 ppi. Somehow he managed to twist the fact that “the iPad has the best screen in any mobile device in the market” to the “iPad has a shitty non retina display”.

You live outside your area’s 4G LTE umbrella. Why pay upwards of $800 for an iPad that’ll only connect at prehistoric 3G speeds? What’s Apple trying to pull here? (Wait, they still sell a model that’s Wi-Fi-only for $500?)

I live in Australia and it doesn’t seem like the future of 4G service is very bright around here. But how did he twist this into Apple’s fault? Is there any other tablet out there that supports worldwide 4G? Tell me if there is, I want to know how they did that.The fact is it’s the carriers that needs to work on this problem, not Apple. There is no simple way to support worldwide LTE.

If there is no way to get 4G connectivity around the consumers area, wouldn’t supporting 3G as well as 4G the best solution here? I really don’t get the point that Pecklan is trying to make here. Is he suggesting that Apple should just not release a 4G capable iPad and piss US as well as the rest of the world? Would he be happier if the new iPad supports 3G only?

You wanted an 8-megapixel camera. The “new” iPad’s rear-facing camera only does 5-megapixels. There go all your pro photography dreams of replacing a cheaper, higher-end digital camera that fits in your pocket with a tablet that barely fits in a purse.

Sure, you also want USB ports, quad core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and many other things on the new iPad. Just because the number is different than what you expect, it doesn’t make this product any worse. Did Pecklan tried the camera? Did he try using camera from any other tablets? Has he really ever dreamed of replacing his pocket digital camera with an iPad? I wonder what other dreams he had.

It doesn’t come with Siri. Sure, Apple included a voice dictation feature courtesy a mic button on the virtual keyboard, but you wanted Siri, by gosh, and if the “new” iPad won’t answer questions like “Where do babies come from?” or “How much wood would a woodchucker chuck if a woodchucker could chuck wood?” then everyone out of the pool, no “The new iPad” for you.

I have a few pet theories on why this is the case. One of them is I think Apple might not want to make Wi-Fi only iPad users think that they could use Siri anytime. Another theory is that maybe Apple’s data center is just not capable of handling that much traffic yet. I don’t know. We need to remember that Siri is still in beta. It might come out later to other iOS device in iOS 6, but I also see that Siri suits better on iPhones than on iPads.

Of course at this point you should be able to see that whatever device Apple came out with last week, Pecklan will always find a way to write this kind of post that twists the truth.

(Reblogged from parislemon)

The Next iPad

Last week, Apple issued an invitation for an event in Yerba Buena Center for Arts in 7th of March. The invitation clearly shows that they are going to talk about the iPad. For the third time in a row, Apple chose this place to announce the new iPad. Last year, Gruber written The Chair after the iPad 2 event. He started with:

Even the chair on the stage was the same

I can’t help but think this event will also have the same tone. It will be the repeat of the first two iPad introductions. However this time the man of the show, Steve Jobs, is not going to be there. This marks the first iPad introduction without him around, and it’s clear from the first two iPad events that this is the piece of work that he is most proud of.

While everyone are discussing about the new hardware improvements, I’d like to say that this event will also have a big emphasis on the software. We know that the iWork suite and the iLife suite was introduced in the first two iPad introductions. What will be introduced in this event? An easy guess is iPhoto for iPad. Last year it was weird that only GarageBand and iMovie took the stage. iPhoto wasn’t mentioned at all.

On the Mac side iPhoto is probably the most popular app in the iLife suite. However the current iPad’s Photo app actually has a bit of editing functionalities that iPhoto has. I wonder if it’s actually worth rewriting iPhoto from ground up instead of improving the current Photo app. Adobe just released Photoshop for iPad a week ago, and it looks amazing. However one part of Photoshop for iPad that seems a little bit weird to me is how you export and import photos to the app. At the moment the API that Apple has only allow developers to see a photo out of the user’s library. This way Adobe or any other apps can’t really see the whole library without asking the user to go through it themself and copy all of them across to the app. Apple has the power to integrate their photo editing app tightly with the user data, and it may be a good time for them to do that now.

Hardware wise, I think this time the next iPad is definitely going to have a retina display. This is big. The iPad will probably have more pixel count than any laptops that Apple sells at the moment. I’d like to see how Apple is going to show this on the projector, it will be very difficult to show the audience if they can’t see see it themself.

The funny thing is while most people know the iPhone has the best display on the mobile phone ever, I’m not convinced that they actually don’t know what retina display means. When I start talking about pixels per inch on a display, it seems like not that many people (even iPhone owners) knows what I’m mean.

I don’t know what the new iPad’s processor is going to be called, but I’m not convinced that quad core processors are ready for use this time around. Let’s hope that I’m wrong because I really like to see quad core processor running on the iPad. The bottleneck in iOS devices right is RAM though, so hopefully they are being generous this time on the RAM. I think currently you can’t do much multitasking on the iPad if you’re using memory intensive apps. My iPad 1 can hold about 2 or 3 apps at a time before the OS starts killing all the other apps, iPad 2 can do much better but having more RAM will certainly help.

Some people also hinted that the next iPad is going to have LTE, but I doubt this claim. iPads are one of Apple products that’s being rolled out internationally very quickly, and there doesn’t seem to be an LTE capable carrier in every country that iPads are shipping to. If it’s going to happen, maybe it’s going to be US only like the CDMA iPad, but I doubt that it’ll happen 1.

The form factor of the new iPad might also be very similar to iPad 2’s form factor. I’m also inclined to think that this may be a very good time to increase the storage size and offer a 128GB option, but I’m not sure if Apple will do it this time around. Flash memory is still very expensive, I think it might take a while for the storage options to go up. iPad 2 might still be around for sale too I think. I don’t think they’ll downgrade it to 8GB like last year’s iPhone model, but I think they’ll make it very cheap. I hope they sell if at $349, but it’s more likely that they’ll go with $399.

Apple may also be sneaking in an updated Apple TV in the event. I know that they’ve never announced anything else in the previous iPad events, but I’d like to think that they may slowly be positioning Apple TV as iOS peripherals. So I think pretty soon they’ll just group the announcement for these together with iPad docks and HDMI connectors. It’s probably just a spec bump, but I’d love to see 1080p video running on new Apple TV.

Lastly, I don’t have any inside info and I suck really bad at predicting new Apple products. You’ll all see and laugh at how wrong I am in a few days. However I do think that whatever comes out, it’ll blow away all of the competitors. I think current competitors in tablet area are barely even catching up with the iPad 2 in term of specs and price2. We’ll see how they do that in just a few more days.

  1. If it indeed happens, I hope Australian carrier act fast. 

  2. With the exception of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which I think is the smartest competitor so far.