Archive for the ‘apple’ Tag

Is there anything Mini about the iPad Mini?   Leave a comment

As a proud owner of a first generation and a third generation iPad, I was curious as to what the iPad mini reviews would say before deciding whether I should go out and get one.

Here is a roundup of all the top info I could gather on the iPad mini from around the web:

  • with a 7.9 inches display, the iPad mini is larger than the Nexus or the Kindle Fire but is still small enough to be held in one hand
  • it has a A5 chip processor
  • it is 7.2 mm thick
  • it weighs only 0.68 pounds
  • it has access to 275,000 apps from the Appstore
  • it has a front-facing and a rear-facing camera
  • unfortunately, it does not have a Retina diplay–this may be one of its major drawbacks, according to some reviewers
  • other reviewers think that its 1024 x 768 display, which is like that of the iPad 2, is more than adequate for watching videos
  • it is pricy for a small tablet, coming in at $329 for the 16 GB wifi-only version
  • one reviewer recommends it for combined use with a MacBook Pro
  • for CNET’s first look video review, see below:

So, will I buy an iPad mini?  I will probably wait until they come out with an iPad mini that has a retina display, because after using my third-generation iPad for months, I have become accustomed to the beautiful, clear display and am not sure how I would feel if I had to re-adjust to a lower resolution screen.  How about you?  Do you have one, or do you plan on getting one?  Please comment below.

Posted November 5, 2012 by deboraplehn in Apple, iPad, iPad Mini

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Tablet Wars Rekindle–10 Inch Kindle Fire Rumors   3 comments

The tablet wars are on again.  Amazon is reportedly planning to release a 10 inch Kindle Fire to compete with Apple’s iPad head-on.  Perhaps this is in reponse to Apple’s plans to release a 7 inch mini iPad that will compete head-on with the original Kindle Fire.

Here is a summary of the rumors around the upcoming 10 inch Kindle Fire:

1.  The larger Kindle Fire is codenamed “Hollywood” as was reported by BGR already a year ago, before the original Kindle Fire even launched.

2.  It will have a quad-core processor.

3.  It will launch in the third quarter of 2012.

4.  Amazon could price the 10 inch Kindle Fire at around $299 to compete with the iPad, according to this report.

Meanwhile, the iPad mini is quickly becoming a reality, despite Steve Jobs’ repoted opposition to the project, as suppliers announce that they are preparing to ship the smaller panels.  The cost of the iPad mini could go as low as $199, to really be able to compete with the original Kindle Fire.  Thus, it seems that the end of 2012 will see a new round of tablet wars between Amazon and Apple.

I think that more competition can only be good for the consumer, so let the games begin.

Posted May 20, 2012 by deboraplehn in Amazon

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No Siri? No problem! Dragon Go! Review   2 comments

I have an iPhone 4 and did not upgrade to the iPhone 4S with Siri because I was hoping that the new iPad would come with the personal assistant.  Unfortunately, Apple chose not to install Siri on its latest version of the iPad, perhaps to force others like me to go ahead and upgrade our iPhones if we want to get Siri.  In any case, since the iPhone 5 is rumored to come out in the Fall, I now plan to wait until then to upgrade my iPhone.  In the meantime, I started researching what alternatives there were to Siri that I could use on my iPhone 4, and I came across Dragon Go!

Dragon Go! is a free app that is developed by Nuance Communications.  There are iOS and Android versions of the app.  To use Dragon Go! just tap the record button on the screen and ask away.  For example, you can ask it “What is the weather like today around here?” and it will connect you to Accuweather and will show you the weather in your area.  It will use you phone’s GPS to determine your location.  If you ask “What is the capital of Switzerland?” it will connect you to Ask.com and will give you the answer (Bern, in case you were wondering).  Once you get your answer, Dragon Go! allows you to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or by email.

Below is a list of some of the sites and services that Dragon Go! connects with.  You can see them on the Dragon Carousel, so you can also swipe directly to the site that you want to interact with.

1. Ask.com

2. Wolfram Alpha

3. Yahoo! Answers

4. Answers.com

5. YouTube

6. Twitter

7. Wikipedia

8. Google

9. Open Table

10. Yelp

11. Netflix

12. Fandango

13. IMDB

14. Hulu+

15. Live Nation

16. Milo

17. CNN

18. Spotify

19. Pandora

20. Amazon

Watch how it works in the video review below:

Posted April 1, 2012 by deboraplehn in Apps

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Interview: Drew Smith, developer of MPEP Plus iPad App   Leave a comment

I recently interviewed Drew Smith, the developer of the MPEP Plus iPad App.  He had sent me a free copy of the app to try out, and I decided that rather than write a review, it would be interesting to interview him to find out about how he decided to become an app developer while still in law school.

1.  How did you come up with the idea for your MPEP Plus iPad App?

My firm does a good amount of international work through foreign agents, and I initially planned to make a database of global patent laws and procedures.  My thinking was that it’d be extremely useful to have quick access to, say, rules on novelty in Brazil, without having to search the web and click through a lot of clutter.  But while simple to code, the app became a little problematic, interestingly enough, because of IP issues.  Many foreign governments hold copyrights on their government works.  I found a good number of English translations of foreign-language laws, but many of those were the result of someone’s creative translation.  After a while, my app was so gutted of information that it was essentially just the sites of USPTO and WIPO, with poor auto-translations of a handful of government works.  I refocused the app to only provide the MPEP and supporting materials.  The “PLUS” was my personal joke about my app being better–as if the MPEP, the bible of the industry, is somehow inadequate!

2.  There are already other MPEP apps on the market–how is yours different?

After I released the first version of this app, I looked to see what had already been done.  Surprisingly, there are very few apps that focus on the MPEP, despite the fact that every patent attorney and agent uses it.  I wanted to incorporate things that make the iPad fun, such as touch gestures, animation, and vibrant colors.  I like to think that the use of public-domain patent drawings add a touch of humor, and that the patent-retrieval system is an intersting twist on just punching in a number.  If you’re going to make a program for such a powerful platform, why subject users to page after page of black text?

3.  You are a patent agent and are about to be admitted to the NY bar, right?  How did you become interested in becoming an app developer?

Yes, I’m an agent for about one more week, until I’m sworn in as an attorney.  I’ve always liked programming, probably because it’s in my blood.  My dad got his undergraduate degree in applied math, which was computer programming when computers were the size of a small car.  Later, in the mid-1980s, he was one of the first attorneys to use a computer in his law practice, then started his own software company in the 90s, and put out his own iPad app, Form 14, in January.  (It calculated child support using Missouri guidelines.)  I took a programming class in college, but didn’t consider it as a career.  Later, as an engineer, I modified pieces of software that were in place at the time.  I dabbled in coding a game for the XBox but never made anything worth releasing.  When I started in patent law, I realized that I needed something to distinguish myself as a patent professional.  There will always be people with better degrees, or better grades, so why would a client pick me?  So I’d say I got into iOS programming half for my own enjoyment, and half to show a subset of potential clients that I can handle at least some of their inventive subject matter.

4.  Do you have any advice for others who are interested in developing their own apps?

I’d say dream big, but start small.  My first app, Dial-a-Patent, was a slightly tweaked calculator from the first tutorial of Paul Hegarty’s iOS development class on iTunes U.  I wanted to do amazing things, but I had to keep it in perspective.  Also, I’d estimate that learning Objective-C and Xcode took me around fifty hours.  That’s just time spent running through tutorials and reading about syntax!   That being said, if a person is dedicated enough, once they get past the initial learning curve, integrating functionality is not nearly as daunting.  If a person has capital but not time, there are lots of talented programmers out there who would make an app for cheap.

5.  Are you currently working on new apps?  Any hints?

Since I’ve started developing, I’ve had people approach me with a few non-legal ideas, almost all of which incorporate the  most interesting features of iOS: animation, facial recognition, photo integration, geolocation, 3D modeling, RSS feeds, and so on.  Unfortunately, because they are for other people or entities, I can’t really discuss them.  I’ve considered doing apps for other areas of law, or law students, but don’t have a “hook,” like patent illustration, just yet.  The next thing that I’ll release will probably be a patent form app.  It would be useful if you need to fill out an IDS, or declaration, and don’t have your computer in front of you.  In addition, there will be a couple of other features that I hope will utilize the benefits of the hardware.

6.  What are your favorite apps for (a) work and (b) play?

I  don’t use too many apps at work, other than my own!  But I can say that Penultimate and iAnnotate PDF really helped when I was studying for the patent bar.  For fun, the app I’ve used most, hands down, is Hipstamatic.  I play a good number of games on the subway, like NBA 2K12 and Final Fantasy Tactics.  And apps like HBO Go and Netflix provide a good dose of entertainment at the end of the day.

Why stop at three? iPad 3 and 4 rumors   Leave a comment

Every since the untimely death of Steve Jobs, the tech world has been wondering what the next iPad would bring to the table.  Rumors started almost immediately, and they have been growing louder and louder with the advent of tech shows such as CES, from which Apple will be absent as usual.  A new report by DigiTimes claims that Apple is planning not one, but two new iPad models for 2012: the iPad 3 and the iPad 4.  Here is a compilation of the latest rumors surrounding these models:

1.  Release dates:  the iPad 3 is rumored to be released in March of 2012.  Surprisingly, the iPad 4 is rumored to be not far behind, with a November release date.  These could simply be a mid-range and a high-end model.

2.  HD display:  the iPad 3 is rumored to have a retina display like that of the iPhone 4S.  The display will reportedly have 1536 x 2048 pixels and dual OLED backlights to improve the LCD display.  A photo of the alleged iPad 3 display was even leaked to a Korean technology forum.  The photo shows that the iPad 3 may have 3 data connectors, as opposed to the 2 data connectors that are on the current iPad 2.  The third detector may help to power the retina display.

3.  Front-facing camera:  the iPad 3 is rumored to come with a front-facing camera, which will enable users to video-chat using services such as Skype or Facetime.  Could the next iPad ad be “If your tablet isn’t an iPad, your tablet doesn’t have Facetime” ?

4.  Rear-facing camera: the iPad 3 is rumored to come with the same 8 megapixel camera as the iPhone 4S.

With the advent of these new models, Apple will reportedly slash the price for the iPad 2 to $399 to better compete with the new Android-based tablets such as the Kindle Fire, which are less expensive and have been quite successful over the holiday season.

Posted January 8, 2012 by deboraplehn in Apple, iPad

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Skitch for iPad–proof that a pic is worth a thousand words   Leave a comment

I’ll admit that while I greatly admire the artistic creations of others, I always wish I were more artistic myself.  Now there’s an app for the techies among us who like to feel artisitc without really having to be Michelangelo…

Evernote just came out with Skitch for iPad, a free app that lets you annotate pictures or screencaps.  I just started testing it out and I am totally hooked!  It is so easy to use that literally even those of us who feel they have ten thumbs can use it!  Here is a summary of all that it can do and how it works:

1.  Pics:  Skitch lets you upload pics from your iPad memory or if you have an iPad2, you can snap a photo right away.  You can also download pics from the Internet into your iPad and then upload them onto the Skitch app.

2.  Screenshots:  You can also take a screenshot from your iPad by holding down the Home button and the On button at the same time.  This will automatically save a picture of what is on your iPad’s screen  into your iPad’s photo album.

3.  Freestyle:  You can also draw freestyle right into the Skitch app by clicking on the “Blank” button on the app’s homepage.

4.  Annotate:  There are several ways you can annotate.  Skitch allows you to draw or write with your finger.  Just click on the pencil icon and draw away! You can select the color and size of the pencil from the menu.  Right now there are only 8 choices:  yellow, blue, red, brown, deep red, green, black and white.  Hopefully the selection will be expanded.  Anyone who knows me knows that I would of course love to see purple!

5.  Type:  You can also type into a text box and place it wherever you want on your picture.

6.  Arrows:  You can select the arrow icon and it allows you to draw arrows simply by dragging your finger across the pic.

7.  Share:  You can share your creation on Twitter, email or Airplay.  You can of course also save it to your Evernote account.

I have had so much fun trying out this app.  So far, it seems to be a big success.  Everyone is now asking when the Skitch app will be available for the iPhone.  Evernote promises that it is “in the works.”  For now, I’m going to enjoy playing with it on my iPad and feeling like I can be “artistic” too.

Posted December 25, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apps, iPad

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Apple TV or why 2012 won’t be like 1984   Leave a comment

Ever since Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs came out, readers like I have become fascinated with the way one man could change the information age as we know it so completely.  Since Steve Jobs’ death in October, many wondered what would be Apple’s next big thing.  Walter Isaacson’s biography may provide the answer.  In it, Steve Jobs tells Walter that he had “cracked” the code for making an Apple TV set that would revolutionize TV as we knew it.  Apple already has “Apple TV” on the market.  This is a box that can be connected to your existing TV set to allow streaming from iTunes, Netflix etc.  However, Steve Jobs’ vision was to have Apple produce a full-fledged HD TV set, complete with screen and everything.  Here are the rumors surrounding the upcoming Apple TV set that may launch as early as in 2012:

1.  iCloud:  the new Apple TV set will sync with iCloud, allowing users to have access to their entire iTunes library.  Users will be able to rent or buy content on iTunes and watch it on their TV sets, just as they are now able to watch or listen on other Apple devices such as the iPad, iPhone or iTouch.

2.  Size:  the new Apple TV set will reportedly come in a range of sizes, according to Apple guru Gene Munster.  This will allow anyone from the college student to the suburban family to buy an Apple TV set.

3.  Price:  rumors have it that Apple TV sets will be expensive, at least twice as expensive as a conventional TV set.  According to Gene Munster, an average price might be around $1600 for a TV set that would normally cost $800.

4.  Developer:  Jeff Robbin, the same expert who devloped iTunes and the iPod, is reportedly heavily involved in developing the Apple TV set.  Robbin was hired by Apple in 2000 after Apple bought SoundJam, the digital music player that he developed.  He was so valuable to Steve Jobs, that his identity was reportedly a closely guarded secret, for fear that he would be poached by competitors, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.  Apple insiders say that there is currently an Apple TV set prototype.

5.  Siri:  the most exciting rumor, to me, is that the new Apple TV set will have a Siri-like interface that will allow users to TALK to their TV sets, something many of us are already doing nonetheless, only now when we talk to the TV, it will actually respond.  The possibilities are endless.  Users will be able to simply tell the TV set to play the latest episode of “Breaking Bad” or to change the channel to CNN.  This is probably what Steve Jobs was referring to when he said that Apple TV would have an extremely simple interface.

6.  Integration:  the new Apple TV set will reportedly integrate seamlessly with other Apple devices, such as the iPad and the iPhone.  One can envision using the iPhone as a remote, for example, or using the iPad to set up recordings of live TV, for example.

7.  Content:  in addition to offering iTunes content, Apple TV will reportedly make deals with cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner to provide a complete set of content, for a price that is rumored to be less than $100 per month.  This, of course, is Apple’s biggest hurdle and will ultimately determine how successful the project becomes.

To me, the whole idea of a TV set made by Apple was foreshadowed by Steve Jobs himself in his 1983 keynote address, when he first showed the Macintosh “1984” ad.  Only time will tell if 2012 will or will not be like 1984.

Posted December 4, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apple

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Where’s the (Smartphone) Fire? Amazon Smartphone Rumors.   Leave a comment

With the success of the Amazon Fire tablet, it was only a matter of time until Amazon smartphone rumors started popping up.  This week, Citigroup’s analyst Mark Mahaney reported that Amazon is planning a smartphone of its own, to compete with other popular smartphones like the iPhone.  Here are the latest Amazon smartphone rumors:

1.  Price:  Amazon’s upcoming smartphone is rumored to cost in the range of $150-170, which is considerably cheaper than the latest iPhone.

2.  Release date:  Citigroup’s Mark Mahaney reported that Amazon is set to release its new smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2012, just in time for the next holiday season.

3.  Processor:  the smartphone is rumored to come with a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor.

4.  Developer:  Amazon is going to partner with Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. to develop the device, but Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry will probably make the device and its components.

5.  Palm:  Amazon is rumored to be in talks to buy Palm, leading to rumors that a new Amazon smartphone might run on Palm’s OS or derivatives of it.

Would you be tempted to buy an Amazon smartphone?  As of yet there are very little rumors about what the phone’s actual capabilities would be and how seriously it could really compete with the iPhone and other smartphones out there.  I guess we’ll just have to hold our breaths and wait out the fire.

Posted November 20, 2011 by deboraplehn in Amazon

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Is bigger always better? iPad mini rumors   Leave a comment

Now that Amazon has announced its new $199 Kindle Fire tablet, rumors have already begun that Apple has an iPad mini in the works.  I have rounded up the latest iPad mini rumors below:

1.  Screen size:  the iPad mini is rumored to have a 7.85 inch screen, compared to the 9.7 inch (diagonal) screen that the current iPads have.  There are rumors out of Taiwan that Apple has already ordered 7.85 inch test screens from LG display and AU optronics.  This is despite Steve Jobs’ outspoken opposition to smaller tablets.

Source

2.  Resolution:  the new screen is rumored to have the same 1024 x 768 resolution as the current iPad 2 screen.  Hopefully this means that apps will run just as well on the mini iPad as on the current iPads.

3.  Launch:  it is rumored that the launch would happen early in 2012.

4.  Price:  most experts agree that any iPad mini would have to cost something close to $199 in order to be competitive with the new Kindle Fire.  There are even rumors that the iPad mini will be cheaper but not smaller.

Launch of the iPad mini is rumored to be followed closely by the launch of the larger iPad 3, which will have a 2048 x 1536 pixels high definition screen, as I related in my earlier post.

My take on this is that the iPad mini might be great for children, with their smaller fingers.  As a parent, I know I would be much more likely to buy my child an iPad mini of his own at $199 than a $499 or more iPad 2.  I think the iPad mini is also great for people who primarily want to read or to watch movies on the iPad, and who therefore prefer something lighter and easier to hold than a full-size iPad.  Would you consider buying an iPad mini?  Please comment below.

Posted October 23, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apple, iPad, iPad Mini

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iPhone 4S New Features   Leave a comment

After months of speculation, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new iPhone 4S model on Tuesday, and it will be available on October 14 (preorders started on October 7). It seems like we will have to wait a bit longer for the much anticipated iPhone 5.

So what exactly is does the iPhone 4S have that the current iPhone 4 doesn’t? I decided to make a list:

1. Camera: The iPhone 4S has an 8 megapixel camera, instead of the 5 megapixel camera of the iPhone 4. The new camera is built around a backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor.

2. Video: the new iPhone can record 1080p HD video.

3. Processor: The new iPhone uses the same processor as the iPad 2–the dual-core 1GHz A5 chip. It will thus be twice as fast as the iPhone 4 and will offer graphics performance that is seven times faster.

4. Operating system: The iPhone 4S has the iOS 5 operating system with iCloud.

5. Siri: As mentioned in my earlier post, the new iPhone has a built-in Siri personal assistant, which is highlighted in the video below.  Edited to add:  Since Apple bought Siri and announced Siri as part of the new iPhone 4S, it is no longer available in the App store as a standalone app.  You need to buy the new iPhone 4S to have it.  If you already downloaded the Siri app, it will only work until October 15.  After that, you will need an iPhone 4S to have access to Siri.

Many people are disappointed that the iPhone 4S looks just like the iPhone 4, with the same shell, and the same screen size. Hopefully, the iPhone 5 will be a complete redesign that will fuel people’s imaginations and will cement Apple as the visionary technology company that it was under the helm of Steve Jobs.

Posted October 9, 2011 by deboraplehn in Apple, iPhone

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