The “iPad” review – which one to buy or should you upgrade?

In case you are here and you don’t know me. Let me do the honors – I am a gadget lover who for the time being is a huge apple fanboy. I did get all the 3 generation of the iPads on the 1st day of release and am an avid user o the device.And, if you are contemplating buying the iPad and haven’t made up your mind on which one or upgrading from the older model to the new one, you are at the right place.

In this post,  I will give you my take on which generation iPad you should buy since all of them are in the market starting from as low as $250 for the 1st generation device. Since there are active users of all the 3 generation  of the device in my household, I thought I can potentially provide my unique perspective 🙂

Generally, I don’t concentrate on the technical review since there are people out there who are doing this for a living. If you are interested, my favorite  website theverge.com has a great tool for a comparison of the 3 iPads. Also, here is the review of the “new” iPad.

No, I don’t do that. What I will do is to provide you a usability review of all the 3 devices. Some retailers and even Apple is still selling all the 3 generations of the iPad (new and refurbished). So which one do I recommend? All of them !!! And depends … Read on….

The first thing is to understand the reason about the huge success of the iPad. Yes, part of it is the design and the hardware. It’s cool. But believe me, with all of them having an aluminum unibody design, they all look equally cool. At the end of the day, the real reason for the success of iPad is the iOS, the apple ecosystem and the apps !!! It’s all about the apps. And iPad currently has the most number of tablet optimized apps when compared to any other platform. Way more …. There IS an app for that…

So, the second thing to understand is the fact that the iOS and 80% of the apps still works fine on all the 3 gens of the iPads. So based on how far you want to push your device, you can do fine with even an iPad 1 :). Click on the following matrix to see what’s possible on each of the devices:

User experience Matrix for the 3 iPads

User experience Matrix for the 3 iPads

So as you can see, based on what you want to do with the device, all 3 devices can do the job for you. So, if you are looking to buy a new device or deciding on an upgrade, click on the following summary matrix to help you make that decision:

Comparison b/w the 3 iPads

The “new” iPad Vs the Old Ones – 1

Well, the same photo on 3 different generation of iPads. You be the judge….

Ipad 2: The hands on review !!!

Last friday evening, after rushing to the nearest apple store after office and standing in line for couple of hours, I had in my hand – Ipad 2. The new king of tablets !!! Or is it? You will find out at the end of this blog post 🙂

Hardware:

I am not going to go too deep into the specs of this cool device, since my favorite site Engadget has done the needful. Here is an article that compares the iPad 2’s hardware with its competitors. As you can see, the Motorola Xoom probably edges out the ipad 2 in specs. But I Have fallen for the hardware before and know from experience that its NOT a fair indicator of the ultimate device experience.

In terms of design iPad2 leaves everybody behind. Its amazingly cool looking and sleek (I still can’t believe how thin it is) and more importantly, the lightest. I have handled the Motorola Xoom and believe me, you will immediately notice how thick and bulky it is (Walk into a Verizon store and try it yourself). I think thats a big Pro for iPad in terms of usability. Also, in terms of speed, I think iPad 2 will leave everybody behind. The synergy of its own SW and HW is what Apple thrives on and iPad 2 is fast. Real Fast. I compared it with my old iPad and for same operations in some apps, the iPad2 was almost 2x to 3x times faster. Of course, other more credible people also agree. Also, the battery life lives up to its legendary 10 hours.

Also, the hdmi mirroring, “smart covers” and advanced airplay are some real cool features included with the ipad 2.

However, I was disappointed with the camera quality on the iPad 2. I think there is just one purpose for those on the iPad 2 – video chatting (which was of pretty good quality when I tried Facetime).  Otherwise, the videos that I took were of OK quality.

Software:

Again, I am not going to go too deep into the iOS features. I am assuming that you have used the iPhone or the old iPad. If not, you are missing out. Again, its all about the apps. As I recently tweeted, the iPad has over 70,000 apps written specifically for it. Android 3.0 has probably 50 and the rest of the competition is not even out with their products. Thats a HUGE advantage for the iPad.

The iPad 2 has dual core processors. Many of the apps available right now for iPad are designed to utilize the old hardware and are not designed to use the new power of iPad2. However, some of the games that have come out (e.g. Infinity Blade) are amazing to play on the ipad2. And the fact that its sleeker and lighter makes the gaming experience much better.

One cool app that Apple released is GarageBand. Though this works on the old iPad, its blazingly faster on iPad 2. What it does is that it allows you to record songs with 8 separate tracks and provides amazing tools for creating those tracks. Here is apple’s page for Garage Band.  iMovie is another great app.

Take a look at the guided tours of the cool features that iPad 2 provides.

Of course, the flaw of iPad 2 and the only advantage that its competition touts is Adobe Flash support. Motorola Xoom just recently got its Flash Player and that’s one thing that will work in its advantage. However, don’t get too excited, most of the Flash content out there is not very touch interface friendly yet and don’t make up for the lack of targeted apps.

Bottomline:

I do think that the iPad2 is the coolest gadget out there. There may be tablets out there that have a better hardware specs, but nobody has its complete story together like Apple. Android is in the best position to catch up, but I don’t see that happening for atleast another 2 years.

If you are in the market for a new tablet, iPad 2 is the definitive choice in my opinion. The hardware is almost the same with most of the competition out there. The better design and the apps advantage makes it a no brainer.

If you have an ipad 1 and thinking of upgrading, you may want to wait. The cameras are not that great however the extra speed does matter. And as happened with iphone 3GS and iphone 4, most of the new apps coming out may be optimized for ipad 2 or may exclusively work on the ipad 2. However, when that happens, you can get it.  So I think that you can wait unless you have the extra dough 🙂

I had different reasons for upgrading. I had deliberately bought the lowest model of iPad 1 just because I knew I was going to upgrade to higher model. And I just won an extra 1 in a raffle that I was able to sell 🙂 And of course, the main reason is:

Now no more fights over iPad. Each of us has his own 🙂

Consumer driven innovation: What a wonderful world …

As I look at personal technology in the past decade or less, something jumped out at me and most probably you see it also. The rate at which technology is evolving is phenomenal and simply amazing. We live in wonderful times. However, its usually a general feeling that I am sure we all have, but here I tried to sit down and kind of analyze it from my personal perspective. In this blog I will look at the following tech areas that in my mind has amazed me to no ends: TVs, gaming, smart phones and tablets.

As you will see, each of these areas have had accelerated innovation due to the consumers and we should kind of feel proud to be part of the generation thats driving this revolution and probably the ones that started it.

I will start with my personal experience with TVs. I decided to purchase a flat screen TV 4 years back. At the time, I had to choose between plasma and LCD and after doing my research, I found plasma to better suit my needs and I got that. 4 years later, I am trying to get a second TV for my home theater and when I looked, the choices have completely changed – LCD, LED, OLED, 3D, HD, Smart TV, Google TV…. Are you kidding me???? It s just been 4 years !!!!! It took 55-60 years for the industry to move from commercial CRT TV to LCD and another 15 years for LCD TVs to get mainstream. And now we have moved on to 3-4 completely different tech in 4 years???? Wow!!!!

The CRT TV - a monument. This is what my 1st TV looked like. Wikipedia already talks about the demise of CRT in 2000.

This is probably what my next TV is going to look like. 0.11 inch thick !!!

Next up, Gaming. I fondly remember my first video game.

My first video game

It was a small Nintendo hand held with Mickey Mouse trying to put out the fire. It had a small keypad to control the game. And the video game parlors I went to (Wonderland in Patna) had big games with similar controllers. Next came the generation of ATari games with the same type of controller, and for next 20-25 years, the controllers with direction pad and action keys stuck on all leading game consoles including the PS2s, DS, PSPs XBoxs and PS3.

But then came the iphone and the Wii, the game changers – literally. iPhone allowed you to control the game by tilting your phone and Wii had wireless controllers that let you more realistically interact with the game. I was planning to buy the Wii and I kept putting it off. Now, after a year, when I finally made the decision to buy a gaming console, voila – I have 3 choices – Wii, PS3 Move and XBox Kinect !!!!! Are you kidding me ? With no changes for almost 30 years, we go from a keypad to motion based to wireless controllers to NO controllers in 3-4 years????? Wow !!!!!!

Modern Day Game
Controllers – Wireless and controller less !!!

Next, the cellphones/smartphones. If you have read my blog, you know I was an early adapter and I got an HP ipaq, the smart without the phone, 6 years back. I was probably the only one in the office with that class of device. I then got the HTC 8525 phone and again I was one of the few with a smartphone in my circle. Then,came iPhone and rest as they say is History. 4 years after it’s launch, iPhone is one of the many many smart phones that’s available in the market and almost everyone I know has a smartphone. That was fast !!!!!

1st Cell Phone

iPhone4

Lastly, the Tablets. For almost 35 years, a few tablet PCs were released in the commercial market without much fanfare and all of them died a slow death. And then came the phenomenon called the iPad. A year after it’s launch, there will probably be 50 models of tablet computers that will available in the market with the cheapest one costing you $100 !!!!! 50 models ???? In 1 year??? You have to have to be kidding me.

Capt. Picard using the PADD in Star Trek: TNG , predicted
to happen in the 24th century
My son
with the iPad, the day it was launched in April, 2010.

And I am pretty sure, similar stories can be told about various techs (e.g CPUs & memory – remember 15 MHz and 500 MB hard disks? Cameras etc). So what happened ? We happened. In the 1960s and therein, most of the innovations that happened in the tech industry had to be funded by the government, mostly in the defense lab. There was never a consumer base big enough which would adapt to a new technology and thus it never made fiscal sense to innovate in the consumer space. Defense was where the money was and most of the tech developed there became the Country’s strategic asset and took a long time to reach the consumers.

Contrast this to today where the consumer base has evolved to such an extent that a relatively new technology like an iPad sold more than 10 million units in less than 1 year !!! 10 Million early adopters??? We have come a long way and in all the examples above, it was the success of the products (LCDs or Wii or iphone or iPad) among consumers that drove the innovation and is going to be the driver for future. Of course, the advancement in hardware technologies plays a big part, but at the end of the day, its the consumers who are driving that too.

So expect great things to emerge in near future and be thankful for this Wonderful World for the gadget lovers …..

 

Apple Ipad: The ultimate review

Now that Krish has preempted me with his amazing  ipad review, I finally needed to get this in. On that note, here is the review of the magical device. If you followed my blog upto April of last year, you already know that I quite accurately predicted the advent of this device and it’s characteristics and its name. I pre ordered the iPad and received it the day it was launched and the world would never be same again …..

When Steve Jobs introduced the device, he said that this was a magical device. And he got a lot of flak for his hyperbolism. But he was right (Here I am, protecting him again :)). If you know Clarke’s third law of prediction – Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.. I would thus argue that the iPad is a sufficiently advanced piece of tech to be almost magical.

Back in Jan, 2010, I would have been called too too futuristic or crazy, if I would have told you that there would be a small tablet like device on which you can watch movies, listen to songs, browse the web, do all your email and get all your calendars, read all the newspapers ( which have embedded slide shows and videos) , watch TV, create sketches, create and show presentations, do excel and word,  play interactive games and listen to nursery rhymes for my kid and read rich multimedia books and magazines,  remotely control your TV, Mac, PC or remotely control a flying barracuda helicopter or your car…….

But that device did come into being and as I have used it over the period of last 8 months, I have been astonished again and again with its magic. The device is so versatile and I have utilized it for so many things that I can’t list out all of it. But, here is a rundown of the major things that I use it for:

  • Read my morning newspaper on it (There are apps for USA Today, NYT, WSJ, NDTV and a ton more)
  • Carry all my office documents on it. Yes, as my colleagues will tell you, I have gone virtually paper free. For a while I was keeping count, and I saved 6500 pages of printouts in the first 2 months of it’s use.
  • Create and give presentations on it. The Keynote app is very decent and the iPad connects to a projector for big screen presentations.
  • Take all my notes on it. You can maintain a notebook (I use an excellent app called Penultimate) and the document management app ( Goodreader) let’s you write on documents.
  • Get my mail and calendar – it’s hooked up to my work email as well as gmail/ yahoo/ hotmail.
  • Watch Movies n TV on it. You have Youtube, iTunes, Netflix and Hulu Plus on it. What else do you need?
  • Listen to radio (Pandora, last.fm, NPR, hutke radio etc.)
  • There is bunch of interactive, learning kids apps n books that Krish simply loves.
  • There are very nice games on it. My personal favorites are FIFA, NFS, Avatar, Warchess, Angry Birds, Scrabble and Tiger Woods. But there are bunch more, probably a few thousand more….
  • There are many apps that lets you remotely control other devices. The remote app let’s me control my apple tv, then there is vnc for my iMac n rdp for my PC.
  • Read books n comics on it !!!!! This is just an amazing device for reading comic books.
  • Write blogs, like the one I am writing right now.

And I could go on and on and on. There are > 50,000 apps just for the ipad and growing by few thousands every day . The possibilities are endless.

So, what’s unique about this device? I will admit that there were other devices out there before this which could do some of the things that this does. But this is truly the first one which could do so many things and could do it so well and is so portable, almost like a book. True to The Apple spirit, this device is  true PERSONAL technology accessory. The interface / software is simply gorgeous and a pleasure to use. Also, the fact that you could easily take it anywhere with you means that you are freed from the shackles of the desk.

The ipad is so ahead of it’s times, that other companies will not be coming out with a viable competing product even after an year since its launch and in today’s tech world, that is an eon. And as per this report, in all  probability, we won’t see any comparable product for sometime to come.

We have had tablets before. But there was never a one that was packaged so right in terms of content, form and price. The iPad has started a new generation of devices that will soon flood the market. In due course, there might be viable alternatives, but this is where it all started, with a little bit of magic….

Don’t blame Apple for Kindle’s woes

Even though, I am not in anyway on Steve Job’s payroll, I ended up defending Apple twice  today.  But I say it as I see it.  So let me start by saying this upfront – Apple Ipad will prove to be good for Kindle & ebook lovers.

First of all, Apple is not the sole reason for the recent abandonment of $9.99 ebook pricing by various publishers for the kindle. So plz stop blaming Apple as if they are the culprit. The first sure sign of the $9.99 ebook being in danger was when Amazon announced that ebook sales exceeded the sale of physical book sales during the last holiday season. What it meant was that the publishers had to deal with low-profit ebook sales cannibalizing the sale of high-revenue physical books – which they did not foresee (to this degree). Thus, the seeds for this change today was sown that day.  Publishers were just waiting for any viable kindle challenger to come out. Apple Ipad just turned out to be the first one. So don’t blame Apple for being the harbinger of superior product.

Also, this is the best thing that could have happened to the ebook users. How  you ask. We are ending up paying more for the e-books. That’s true for now but here is how I see the story changing over a period of time. First, Kindle has some serious upgrading to do. Amazon just purchased a touchscreen technology company after Ipad’s announcement, so the lines have been drawn and expect a major major overhaul of the the Kindle hardware – for the better and rivaling that of the Ipad. And of course, apps for Kindle.

Next, once the Ipad comes out (& offer same prices on ebooks as the kindle), expect a torrent of offers from Amazon (& perhaps Apple) on ebook purchase to get you hooked into the hardware/platform. Now that Amazon cannot exercise monopoly and set terms for the publishers as well as users, competitive market economics come into play. Competition between Apple, Amazon (& other players in this field) will lead to more innovation by each of the actors, value added services offered as differentiators and price wars – all of which will ultimately benefit the eBook users.

Competition is always good for the consumers. When Google N1 came out, I said that it was the best thing that could have happened to the Iphone users. Now Apple had to not only constantly meet user’s expectations but had a benchmark to beat.  Apple Ipad will end up doing the same to Kindle.

Apple Ipad: The game changer?

The wait is over & its finally here. If you were expecting it to heal the world, stop global warming & bring world peace, you would be sorely disappointed. But if you were a realist and just wanted a superior tablet device, you would be more than happy with the result. In fact, if you were reading my blog and saw the “10 predicted features” entry, you would fall in the later category  since I almost hit the nail on its head  with that one (and I am not being smug about it).

However, I am sure you have checked out the keynote on the apple website and gone through the reviews on the web and already have formed a liking or disliking to the device.  So before starting out, let me call out a few not so obvious things which would perhaps provide a different perspective (in its favor):

  • The Ipad is “ALSO” a jumbo ipod touch: Of course, it can run all our ipod touch apps, but it does a lot more.
  • The Ipad is the first tablet device that has come out from Apple’s steed. Its just the first in the line of many more to come. Remember when iphone came out? There was no app store and it just ran a couple dozen apps.
  • The Ipad runs a modified version of Iphone OS 3.2. So, when iphone OS is upgraded to 4.0 (with multi tasking support, UI enhancement etc.), in all probability, so will the OS on Ipad.

Here is a high level lowdown on features:

  • “There is an app for that (Ipad)”: Yes, all your apps run on the Ipad too. All 140K of them. That’s a huge headstart for Ipad. There are so many apps (esp. text based like stanza), that would benefit from its larger form factor (screen). And games look great on it too.
  • Beyond ipod touch Apps: There is a custom SDK for Ipad and  I think Apple gave a good preview of “what can be”. The iWork App was a great example of how some of the iMac s/w will be customized to run on Ipad. The customized mail/photo & you tube apps were also great. So was the NYT app. The possibilities are endless as we saw with the explosion of apps on iphone/touch.
  • The iBook: Though, I was not overly impressed with the iBook software, Ipad is definitely a better e-book reader than iphone or standalone e readers. I will be very excited to run stanza and other 3rd party e-reader apps (that also provide Free Books).
  • The Hardware: The high-resolution, 9.7 inch LED-backlit, IPS display, .5 inch thin, 1.5 pounds, Wifi, 3G , sleek, cool, star trekkish … Need I say more ? And a keyboard with dock !!! Watch out for 3rd party h/w accessories (like a small webcam that attached to the 9-pin :)). And the screen is great for watching movies !!!
  • The variety: There are 6 models available – from as low as $499 to $829. No dearth of choice here.

But, what’s missing?


  • No multi tasking, no flash support, no in built file management: These are the things that reviewers and critics have been shouting about all day. One thing they don’t realize is that all these features will probably be slowly enabled with OS upgrades (to the iphone / ipad).
  • No Camera: This is a pretty glaring miss but I am sure Apple knew that and they did not take the decision lightly. I am assuming hardware integration complexities or deadline for TTM (time to market) and hoping that its not just a product sustainability tactic (what to  put in the next version).

The biggest nemesis of Ipad is ironically apple’s own iphone/ipod touch. There are many of you who are thinking – “I got my iphone/touch and it can do the same things. Why do I need to buy an Ipad”. Well, wether you want to admit it or not, iphone(or touch) has its limitations (blasphemy!! you say.). But things like reading a book, watching a movie with someone or plain browsing a complex structured site would be much much better experience on the 9.7 inch screen of Ipad. And for a starting price of $499, its a great alternative to e-readers / personal media devices / even ipod.

Final Verdict:

Remember reading about the first Computer ? It was perhaps as big as a room and needed rocket scientists to operate. Now compare that to the UMPCs of today or even smartphones. Get the analogy? No? Think about the first gen ipod and then think about ipod touch. Perhaps got it now?

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”  (A Chinese Proverb). The Ipad is an important step in the right direction at the right time. However, its not a small step by any means. It has already stimulated the tablet segment and compelled competitors to invest billions in trying to build a better tablet. And something will come out of that.

So, come 2050, people will look back and definitely mark the introduction of this device as the game changer.

Iphone: Enterprise Apps for the Retailers

First of all, I would start out by saying that a lot of things discussed here applies to any mobile/smartphone device. I have taken the example of iPhone since that’s the prevalent mobile device right now and is leading the way in expanding the mobile user base. And, me being an iPhone fanboy has nothing to do with it 🙂

With iPhone/iPod touch predicted to touch a user base as big as 100 million in a year or so, the retailers cannot afford to ignore the platform. Big retailers (like target,amazon, walmart, bestbuy et al.)  have already created an iPhone app and there are people out there questioning why some retailers don’t have an iPhone app. Yes, we have arrived at a point where a customer facing iPhone app is taken for granted for any big retailer and if its missing, its negatively impacting the brand image in minds of the young consumer.

There has already been considerable movement in the space of m-commerce iPhone app. There is much literature out there discussing the merits & benefits of creating an iPhone application in that space (Click Here to read an article on benefits for a retailers creating an iPhone app ). Also, people have already seen how these apps are changing consumer shopping behaviour (Click here to read the NY Times article on bargain shopping using the mobile). So I will not touch a lot on that aspect of use case of an iPhone app. I will rather discuss and make a case on how this trend will ultimately inspire internal enterprise apps.

Creating a consumer facing m-commerce app first obviously made sense since that has the fastest tangible ROI and that’s the reason that lot large retailers went for it in a big way. However, the implications of these apps are huge to retail space. These apps have implicitly made the job of selling so much more competitive in ways that one cannot measure right now. I will use few personal examples to illustrate my point:

  • I was at Best Buy and I remembered that I had to upgrade my router. I went looking and as soon as I found the one I liked, I keyed in the model number into the amazon mobile app (I like amazon :)) and the same was available for $15 less. I immediately ordered it on Amazon. Exactly same thing happened with my newborn’a car seat at BabysRUs store and Amazon won again.
  • I was heading to office when the oil indicator lighted up in my car. So I stopped and opened the “Yowza!!” iPhone app that shows coupons available at nearby retailers and found that a $10 off coupon was available for the local Oil Can Henrys. So off I went and they accepted the coupon without it being printed.

And I could go on and on. Couple of obvious observations from the examples above:

  • Previously,  retailers probably had at least a day to respond to the competition, that time window has now been shrunk to hours or even real-time or else they are at risk of lost sales.
  • Location specific Mobile Marketing will become more and more important as mobile/smartphone devices become an integral part of our lives.

This changed landscape will require the retailers to be more nimble, agile and mobile. They have to be able to respond fast and respond from anywhere. That’s where the Enterprise iPhone apps come into the picture. With the assumption that a retailer already has an m-commerce or at least an m-marketing app out there, I will present the following use cases for an enterprise iPhone app:

  • Competitive Pricing : This functionality will be used by a merchant/buyer. One use case is where the user will be able to add few (100s or 1000s) items on a price watch list. A price watch engine will then track the prices of these items every few minutes on competitors websites and if it finds a lower price, it will send a push notification to the application. The user can review the notifications, review the GM% and other KPIs and if he decides to meet/better the competitor price, he can then initiate a price change to its item from within the apps. Another use case would be when merchants’ assistants will be window shopping the competition and when they see a lower price, they will use the instant price change functionality of the application (or which could optionally be forwarded to Merchant’s app for review/approval).
  • Mobile Marketing: This a no brainer. Merchants / Buyers already publish daily deals through some desktop / server applications to the mobile apps (amazon mobile has this). But buyers / merchants / store managers can publicize an instant sale (perhaps to move merchandize late in the day to meet a sale target) by sending out push notifications. This will be even more useful if Apple starts supporting location specific push notifications. Some retailers are already doing some of this using social networking sites (like Facebook).
  • Sales / Performance Dashboards: Live Real Time Sale Reports at one’s finger tips has been the dream and pursuit of many retailers. By this time, most of them  already have the infrastructure to get this information and view it on their PC, all they need to do is plug it into an iPhone App UI and track sales/performance for their key items. If a Retailer wants to do this from scratch or if they already have a BI ERP (from Oracle or SAP or Salesforce et al.), they can use one of the existing apps out there (Click here for a list of exiting business apps). Thus they can track sales of any items (with alerts) and then take actions (price changes / promotions etc.) to meet the sales goals.
  • Quickly setup items & Write POs: As buyers go into the market and find items they like, they can immediately scan (or rather snap) UPCs from suppliers, download the item information from the cataloging sites, upload the item information into their internal systems and start writing purchase orders right away. All this from within the app.
  • The New “BlackBerry”: The list of things that iPhone can do will go on. We are at a point where iPhone has the potential to change the way we interact with the Enterprise apps, the same way blackberry changed the way we interact with our Enterprise mails & schedules. Not only can we respond to mails on the go (and all the time)  but we can now write POs, View Reports, make budgets – do actual work on-the-go.

All said, there will be many challenges that one will face while implementing enterprise apps.  Enabling the iPhone apps  to securely access enterprise data  and manipulate it will require water tight security. Many enterprises have yet to adopt iPhone for mails due to lack of confidence in its secure framework, faith in the old blackberry and existing investment in blackberry devices. So one will have to overcome that hurdle.  Also, one needs to thoroughly formulate the architecture for the services, frameworks and interface for enabling the access to enterprise transactional data.

Having made the case for enterprise iphone apps, I am still a realist. M-commerce / consumer facing apps will trump the enterprise apps any day. But if a retailer or their competitor have that out already then the next step is the enterprise iphone app.

Live video comes to iphone !!!

Live video has arrived to the iphone users and in a BIG way. The following 3 apps will metmorphize the way iphone is used (again):

Ustream Broadcaster & Qik Live: These 2 apps allow you to broadcast live to the web (where the world could watch) and then gives you an option to save the video and upload to youtube. The best part – they work on all models pf iphone !!!

Knocking Live Video: This app will allow you to Knock another iphone users and then stream live video from your iphone to his/her iphone !!!

As I said, iphone will never be the same again. However, there are huge privacy implications and in one of our discussions yesterday, we could think of plenty of ways these features could be misused (One of my colleagues jokingly said that she could use it to spy on her spouse. I have warned him already :)).
So, expect these features to be in the news and not all for good reasons. But the possibilities that these features offer are endless – stream a birthday party, a function, a meeting, share the beautiful sunset, even use your iphone as a baby monitor (I have tried it and works great :)) Enjoy !!!!

10 Predicted Features for Apple Tablet

The apple tablet will soon become reality (probably by end of Jan 2010) and right know its like a big jigsaw puzzle. As related bits and pieces become known, one can literally start putting the tablet together. Here is my take 10 features the tablet is probably going to have (or should have):

1. A 10 inch LCD touch screen: Well, there have been many reports in the media about Apple ordering 10 inch LCD screens from its suppliers in Asia. So this one was not that difficult to predict. Click here for the story about the same.

2. A touch keyboard with tactile feedback: This is going to be cool, as soon as you engage the keyboard, the touch screen will change(?) to provide a contour for the keys. No, this is no science fiction. Click here about the technology patented by Apple.

3. Capacitive touch screen: Ever wondered why the iphone screen won’t respond to a stylus? The answer is the capacitive screen (Vs the traditional resistive screen) and that has resulted in incredible responsiveness and has contributed immensly to the user experience and its success. So the tablet has to have this and obviously support the multi touch capabilities that was introduced with the iphone. Click here to learn about the different types of touch screens.

4. Iphone app support: Recent reports have surfaced that apple has asked its iphone app developers to super size their apps to work on larger screen. So the obvious inference is that there will exist a tablet version of many iphone apps. Click here for this story.

5. Support for iLife: Since its all Mac OS (even the iphone OS is), there is bound to be support for our favorites – iPhoto, iMovie etc.

6. iTunes & App Store integration: Goes without saying.

7. All in one hardware Features: It will have built in webcam, accelerometer, magnetometer, GPS, Wifi, 3G support and maybe even GSM/CDMA support. These hardware support will in turn spawn multiple usability features (e.g. state of the art mapping software)

8. Integrated E-Reader: Many news & media outlets are readying special content for the tablet and Apple is said to be in talks with many book publishers for selling through itunes. This one is again a no brainer. Even without special features r support, you can always read books/browse news using the tablet. Click here to read about the same.

9. Streaming content (music & tv): With Apple buying lala and being in talks with media outlets like CBS & Disney for TV streaming point to this feature. And of course, as long as it supports Hulu and Fancast,  we don’t really care about these deals (since they usually cost the consumers per use).

10. What’s it going to be called? After going through the rigor of naming my newborn, I sympathize with the marketing folks at Apple. But here are the probable names so far: iSlate, iGuide, iBook, iPad, iGod, iSteve and the list goes on..