iPad 2: Final Predictions

Here are my top predictions for the iPad2 event tomorrow:

Hardware:

Front facing camera 1.2 Mp
Rear Camera 5 Mp
512 Mb RAM
Faster processor (A5?)
Screen with 2x pixel density
Bigger speaker
Thunderbolt?
128 Gb version
CDMA version
Lighter and Thinner
Starting at $399

Software:

Photo Booth
IMovie
FaceTime
Widgets / Dashboard
Kill all apps button
MobileMe for free

Now, let’s wait till tomorrow to see how this stacks up against reality.

iPad 2: Predictions

The net is again abuzz about the next iPad and the potential features it will have. I am not going to join the crowd with predictions about the hardware because a lot of it is given – slimmer, lighter, dual camera, faster, NFC etc. Etc.

No. This is a different type of prediction. It has nothing to do with the hardware at all. After, my recent experience with 2 high feature android devices, I reached a simple conclusion – it’s NOT about the hardware, it’s all about the Software and the software ecosystem.

With Apple just announcing the download of its 10 billionth app and the recent change in terms about subscription (Apple keeps 30% cut of all app revenues), the logical thing for apple to do would be to maximize the volume of iPads sold. The more iPads out there in hands of the customers, the more leverage apple has with content providers, publishers and app developers.

So, here is my prediction – The app store will be a huge revenue generator for apple. So much so that it will subsidize the pricing of the hardware (As is done by the game console makers). When the next iPad is announced, the starting model will cost $399 or maybe even $350. Now let’s wait and see.

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….

Google Vs Apple: the way I see it

It all started when Google launched Android and it reached a crescendo when Apple refused the Google Voice App. But is it really Google Vs Apple? And who loses from it? Me ? Me being an apple fanboy with an iPhone.

Yes and No. And “No” does not signify that I am in denial 🙂 Hear me out.

Yes I definetly miss out on really cool apps from google (voice, latitude, navigation etc.). But Google misses out too because sadly there are alternatives to that in the ever growing app store. So it Misses out on millions of iPhone users including me. And we are certainly not going to switch to an android phone any soon. So does google care? It should because android will certainly not wipe out iphone in my lifetime. Not even close. So, it cannot ignore such a huge consumer base for long especially since it knows that any of its app would become the No. 1 App on the app store in a heartbeat. Does Apple care? Not really. 100-150k apps trump a few apps from Google any day and dilutes the significance of the issue. However, it should relent just so that it does not disenchant its loyal fans due to all the bad PR that its got because of this.

But does apple care about the android platform? You betcha. And maybe the shutting out of Google Apps is a offshoot of its bigger strategy to outdo Android. Since MS failed to step up and pose any serious challenge to Apple Iphone, Google stepped up and in a big way. Everybody agrees that Android will be challenging the iphone pretty soon. So what happens now? Well this is exactly what an Iphone user wanted – someone to give tough competition to iphone to keep Apple on its toes so that the updates and enhancements keep coming. And this is healthy competition and as per conventional wisdom, when companies compete, consumers win.

It will however be interesting to see who comes on the top. These are 2 companies with very different philosophies and business model – one charges for everything and the other offers everything for free, one believes in tight control over its users and the other believes in total freedom. So as I said, its going to be really interesting.

I will not touch on the brewing OS battle between the companies – Apple is supposedly releasing the apple tablet and companies (like the eviGroup) are already out with an android based wallet and a tablet. But as I said .. That discussion is for another day since my bus is reaching home and this is all I have time for 🙂

The road to Apple Ipad (aka Tablet). Why we(I) need it NOW.

As the media and fanboy frenzy grows in anticipation of the ultimate device (our salvation …), I thought I will take some time to explore my own road to this mythical device and why we (I) need it NOW.

My dad was a geek when it came to gadgets and I guess he passed that on to me. So few years back, when I came into a position when I could afford these gadgets, the first ones I got was an ipod for my music, an HP Ipaq for carrying my mails,calendars and documents with me & a sony erricson phone (which I don’t remember the model). Though I would feel really geeky flashing 3 (fairly advanced at the time) mobile devices anywhere I went, it also felt really inconvenient. And my ipod could not play video so I had to keep a slew of SD cards (256MB each) for my Ipaq for watching the videos :).

Soon I realized that this was too much and I needed a change. I guess the industry also realized that and soon I could afford an Ipod video & a smart phone (HTC 8525). I was elated. I could carry all my media in my ipod and carry all my office stuffs in my 8525. Down to 2 devices. Right ? Wrong. Right about this time, my passion for books & reading had overwhelmed my home and my wife 🙂 There was no more room for the books I would come back home with on my weekend hunts. I found the answer to that problem while browsing the net one day – eBook reader. I have tried reading books on the PC before but without success – there is no way you can sit & stare at the PC Screen for 12 hours straight and enjoy it at the same time. But the eBook reader looked promising. And it turned out to be. So my next device was a the Sony eReader & I was back to 3 devices 😦 And with sony PSP, I was now at a record 4.

And then came the device that revolutionized the world and my life (in a small way). The iphone. Here again, I had the opportunity to combine 3 of my devices into 1 (and be cool at the same time :)). Of course, I was tied into a contract with AT&T and could not get my hands on the Iphone till the 3G model came out (which turned out to be a good thing though the 3GS model that my wife now owns would have been a much better proposition.). That brings us to today and why I need the iPad.

I am at 2 devices – Iphone & the eReader and almost ready to get the 3rd one – a netbook (the new craze on the block). No matter how well you can browse the net on the iphone and do stuffs, it has its limitations. A netbook would make me complete (again). It will also throw me back to the days when I was cool, geeky and highly uncomfortable carrying 3 devices around.

That’s why the answer has to be the Ipad. I need the Ipad and I need it now to replace all the myriad devices that I am about to carry around. It has to be my salvation. Since its a mythical device as of now, I can attribute whatever feature I wish for –

  • With inbuilt phone, all I would need is a bluetooth headset
  • With plenty of storage and high def screen, I can enjoy all my media wherever I go.
  • With its special low contrast reading mode, I can easily read my ebooks without straining my eyes or draining the battery
  • With built in 3G (or 4G) & an unmatched Apple UI, I can browse the web in ways that I cannot imagine ….
  • It will be a perfect gaming device with advanced graphics chip and hi def screen ….
  • And more ….

So here is my wish to Santa, if not the real thing, at least a release date 🙂 And yes, please keep it affordable – As always, I need to convince my wife that its worth the dough.