iPad XL: Apple preparing supersized iPad

While other companies are releasing smaller 7 inch tablets, Apple is taking the iPad to a larger form factor.  Sources with knowledge on the subject revealed that Apple is testing iPad prototypes with displays that go from 13 all the way up to 17 inches in size. These larger size iPads will be focused in the education market (13 to 14 inches in size) and the home entertainment market (the larger 17 inch display).  In the education market the larger screens would help make the reading experience better when the iPad is positioned on a desktop, as when its used with the cover that Apple provides. In the home entertainment area the larger 17 inch iPad would be aimed at the gaming and video applications.  With Apple adding to iOS the ability to be on the receiving end of video streaming coming from an iTunes equipped Mac or PC the 17 inch iPad might become tomorrow’s personal large screen. Touch based games have introduced a whole new way of interacting with games.  Touch interfaces are particularly good for board games and this is one segment which Apple seems to be looking into with interest.  The 17 inch iPad XL would be the center of your home entertainment experience with each person involved in multi-player game would use an iPod Touch or iPhone a game controller. Warning: This is post is based on a totally unsubstantiated rumor.  This is just another of the baseless and conflicting rumors being spread around in the vacuum left by the lack of official news about the new iPad 2.  We’re all sure that it is coming but until Apple reveals it, speculation will be...
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“The Daily” gets deleted

“The Daily” gets deleted
Update: The original title of this post might have been interpreted as if the publication was being discontinued.  This is not the case.  I’m sorry for the possible confusion. Since the ipad-only newspaper “The Daily” came out, I have done my best to check out every issue.  Sometimes I wasn’t able to because the app just wasn’t working and other times I simply missed the window of opportunity as there seems to be no way for you to get an issue that came out during the interval between your activation of the app. When I was able to get an issue, I went through it and always ended up feeling like I didn’t really get anything of interest out of the experience.  The app is quite beautiful, but not practical to use.  The content leans totally on beautiful pictures which look great on the iPad’s screen, specially when you get 360 degrees pictures, but is very light in actual information. I had been planning on subscribing to “The Daily” if only to keep track of how it evolves, but then I thought better of it.  There are much better publications available for the iPad, which didn’t even require a team of over 100 professionals or 30 million dollars to be available in this medium.  Perhaps its because they are simply bringing an established publication to the iPad, as is the case with Wired, or perhaps they simply have a better idea of what to do. Update 2: Perhaps Wired wasn’t the best example as it also has design flaws such as the huge download for each issue.  Still, I regard the overall experience as being better than what you get with “The Daily”, not to mention that there is much more content.  I don’t really care if the content is the same as the print magazine as I only read the iPad version.  Perhaps News Corp. would have been better off aggregating news from the various traditional newspapers it owns, instead of trying to create it just for the iPad. What the team in charge of creating “The Daily” seems not to understand is that people expect that a newspaper will have content and not simply look pretty. There was certainly a huge technological misstep as the app which powers the newspaper was released in what can only be described as a half-baked state, and seems not to have had any usability testing at all.  Even after a couple of updates, the app still takes too long to load and too long to let you actually see any content, as it goes into a “downloading new issue” which leaves you looking at a blank screen with a corresponding message.  This isn’t what you expect when you pick up your iPad to read the latest news. There is no reason anyone should have to wait that long, except for bad design decisions.  When you start up Flipboard, a great news and social information aggregation app, you get instant access to the content which was available when you last started it, and it just downloads more in the background while you browse through sessions.  Flipboard is a lot closer to the mark of what most iPad users expect from a first rate news organization than what “The Daily” has delivered so far. Hopefully, there will be time for the technological issues to be sorted out and for the content management system of the app to be improved, allowing the publication to grow and prosper.  In the mean time, I’m not planning on sticking around to as a paying subscriber.  I have already deleted the app from iPad and have no plans...
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iA Writer for iPad is on sale for $0.99

iA Writer for iPad is on sale for $0.99
I just discovered that the excellent iA Writer app for the iPad is on sale for just $0.99.  I’m not sure of just how long this sale will last, so if you are interested in writing on your iPad, you should check it out on the AppStore.  This application is a great option for taking notes or working on any text while on the go. iA Writer has a focus mode which dims out all text outside of a one line radius around the cursor position.  This is intended to allow the writer to focus on what he/she is currently writing without the temptation to review other parts of the text.  This is one of the apps that I keep on the first page of my iPad and it has served me well so...
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“It’s HP’s iPad.” – Apple’s total dominance in mind share

Just yesterday I had a quick chat with Fabiano Teixeira,  a good friend and colleague, about HP’s Touchpad, Although brief it provided me with substantial food for thought.   It started with my friend asking me about a link that he had just received on Skype when he logged on in his iPhone.  In general the conversation went a bit like this… Fabiano asks me what is the link for and I reply that it will take him to pictures of the Touchpad.  As he’s been involved with a several complex issues in both his professional and personal life I knew he hadn’t had the time to catch up with the latest news.  No sure of what I’m talking about he asks me what is it? To this I reply immediately: “It’s HP’s iPad.” The Touchpad isn’t HP’s tablet in most people’s minds.  It’s HP’s iPad! This is one of those rare situations in which a company’s brand or product brand is so dominant that it is associated with  an entire category of products. I’ve seen both the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom referred to in this manner and now I’ve caught my self doing it too, this time in reference to the Touchpad, despite having gone to  the trouble, in the past, to explain to several relatives that a Galaxy Tab is not an iPad. Regardless of what anybody else does in the tablet segment over the course of this year, it seems pretty clear that Apple has already won the battle for consumer mind...
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HP TouchPad will be the first real competitor for the iPad

HP TouchPad will be the first real competitor for the iPad
Following all the live blogs coming out of HP’s webOS event one thing seems clear: the Apple integrated software+hardware model crushes the Google/Microsoft generic OS model.  HP’s tablet shows unique features such as integration with webOS phones by proximity which will set it apart from all the iPad-wannabes running Android. HP clearly did the right thing in deciding to acquire Palm to take the same approach to tablets that Apple takes with all its products.  In the TouchPad and Pre 3 devices shown today HP scored points for its platform and helped Apple drive another nail in the coffin of the companies that pursue the generic OS approach to mobile devices: Google and Microsoft on the software side of things and all the phone manufacturers that are betting on them. While some information such as pricing and and battery life will be very important in determining the viability of HP’s products in the market, the design and functionality seem to be headed in the right direction.  The projected availability for the TouchPad is vague, being mentioned as in the Summer.  This will give Apple a lot of time to get the iPad 2 widely distributed and talked about before any HP hardware can get into the hands of customers.  It’s also interesting to note that while HP’s products seem to show a level of attention to detail and hardware/software integration which will probably set it apart and above the Android mob, HP hasn’t really shown any major features or capabilities which would definitely position the TouchPad ahead of what is expected for the iPad 2. Perhaps HP will still talk about pricing and battery as the event is not over yet. So far, these are the big question marks… UPDATE: The event is over.  The big news at the end was the announcement that HP will be introducing desktop and notebooks PCs powered by...
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After an update, The Daily app is working better

After an update, The Daily app is working better
After an update, released last night, the app for “The Daily” is working much better.  It is in fact “working” on my iPad, which is a nice change.  Before the update, attempting to open the app resulted in a long wait on a black screen, followed by a long wait on a screen which indicated that a new issue was being downloaded, followed by a crash. After deleting the old app (as recommended on the App Store) and downloading the update I was able to open the app and download current issue, without any trouble.  The start up of the application was much faster also, without the prolonged wait in a black screen. During a quick read of a couple of articles I didn’t notice any major changes in the application’s functionality, but the fact that it isn’t crashing anymore will allow me to judge the publication based on its content over the next couple of days to decide if I’ll become a subscriber.  With the app working I’m inclined to subscribe if just to see how it evolves over the next several months. The fact that the newspaper app had such serious issues when it came out and that they seem to have been fixed within a week suggests that the release was rushed to meet a particular...
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WSJ: iPad 2 already in production

The Wall Street Journal published a small note today stating that Apple has already began production of the iPad 2, citing “people familiar with the matter”.  According with the note the new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the current generation device, with cameras and video calling capabilities, but won’t have a retina display. While it is hard to judge if this rumor merits any more credence than any of the countless that have circulated lately, it matches my own expectations.   That the new iPad will have a more powerful processor and more memory there is little doubt.  It will probably have a more powerful graphics processing unit as well, according to the WSJ note and common sense. As I mentioned in the past, I don’t believe the time is right for Apple to introduce a higher resolution screen with the iPad 2.  Apple’s dominance of the market in 2011 is pretty much assured thanks to the stability it has provided to the iOS platform, helping to ensure that users feel comfortable in investing in apps for their devices and to the large number of apps that are already available for the iPad. Down the road, perhaps with the iPad’s third generation (iPad 3), introducing a much higher resolution will add to the enticement for upgrades as well as pave the road for the introduction of a possible introduction of a smaller model which uses the current resolution, on a smaller display.  (Perhaps 8 inches?!) (Via...
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The same iPad 2 may work with both GSM and CDMA networks

After a Verizon iPhone 4 was taken apart and its pictures published on the Web, articles are popping up right and left commenting on the fact that it uses a dual chip from Qualcomm which can work in both GSM and CDMA networks.  Apple did not include a GSM chip card module, so the phone can’t actually work on GSM networks but this might be an indication that both models will be merged when the iPhone 5 is released. More important at this point, however, is the question of whether or not the next generation iPad will use this same chip to work with both networks.  While we are still five months away from a possible iPhone 5 release, the general consensus is that we are probably no more than a few weeks away from an iPad 2 introduction. Using such a dual mode chip in the second generation iPad would make it possible for Apple to continue to offer six iPad models instead of having to branch out to nine of them.  This might be even more interesting if Apple retains some iPad 1 models in production as low end entry points into the company’s mobile platform.  While Apple certainly doesn’t seem to be having any trouble selling the iPad at its current price point, many families which already own an iPad might opt to buy more of them if there are lower cost options available. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long to find out what Apple has been cooking for the iPad...
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Xoom who? – Another iPad competitor reality check

The latest effort in producing an iPad competitor to gain attention is that of Motorola and its Xoom tablet.  Motorola did a great job with its teaser campaign which featured a video on the history of tablets, which showed the last step as something covered in cloth.  The device seems to have pretty decent hardware specs, but as I have made the point once or twice in the past, the hardware is secondary.  What really maters is the software. It’s time for another competitor’s reality check. Apart from having a significant disadvantage in available software, essentially zero to over 60,000 iPad-specific apps, the Xoom seems to come saddled with a very hefty price.  Pictures of a leaked Bestbuy flier show the Xoom being offered for $799.99, as well as a warning that to activate wifi functionality a minimum subscription of 1 month of 3G service is required.  Really?!    I can understand that to activate the 3G functionality I may need access to a wifi network in order to connect to the carrier’s website, but the other way around? Let’s take a step back and consider this.  You are considering the purchase of a tablet in the next couple of months.  Would you really be willing to put down $800 + a minimum $20 in order to be able to use wifi, on a tablet that has not software available for it, instead of waiting a week or two to get an iPad 2 which will have thousands of apps immediately available? The price tag is bad enough as it puts the Motorola Xoom on the same level as the iPad’s most expensive models, but the requirement of a 3G subscription to enable wifi is right up there with the rumored lack of an email client on RIM’s Playbook, as far as dumb product planning goes.  Could it be that Verizon is putting in small subsidy on the Xoom.  If so, it still has to cost $800? For a long time Apple has been “the” premium brand for computers and music players.  It will be hard pressed for people to buy into the idea of paying as much or even more on an iPad competitor than they would on the iPad itself, as the device already has the image of a premium quality product. Perhaps the folks at Motorola believe that since the Xoom will have features the current generation iPad doesn’t have, it can cost a bit more.  If so, they are probably going to be disappointed with how the public reacts, specially after Apple finally introduces the much awaited iPad...
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“The Daily” seems to be going from bad to worse

My recent comments on News Corp.’s recently launched The Daily weren’t the most flattering I’ve written about an iPad App, but they mainly concerned how the usability could be improved.  Now, after trying to read a couple more issues of The Daily, it seems to me that the only way to really improve the experience is not to attempt to open the app. It doesn’t open anyway, while leaving you forever with a black screen and the a loading message which precedes a crash which dumps you back to the iOS home screen. In essence, it just doesn’t work.  I’ve seen others complaining about crashes and waits and I believe John Gruber describes the situation quite well in his post: The Daily Wait.  Common users are not really going to wait around starring at a blank, black screen waiting to see “if” the newspaper is going to appear.  After a couple of seconds they’ll just suppose that the app has crashed and press the home button to choose something else.  That is what I did the first time the problem occurred. Considering the content I’ve seen so far, I’m not even going to try to read The Daily again, before an app update has come out and if that happens after the free trial period is over, I’ll probably never try it again as I’m surely not going to subscribe to a newspaper that I can’t read because it...
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News Corp.’s The Daily is a bit disappointing

News Corp.’s The Daily is a bit disappointing
This week saw the debut of News Corporation’s iPad-specific newspaper.  As just about everyone else that uses an iPad or that has an interest in publication I was eager to get a look at what they had come up with and was quick to download the App. At first I was quite impressed with the App, as its graphical presentation is quite stunning.  The Daily starts out with a brief splash animation and drops you into a carousel of beautiful pages which spins by itself every few seconds. A deeper look into the publication, however, revealed that most articles are actually quite shallow, ending just as I was starting to get interested in the subject.  This perception might be related to the fact that The Daily looks a lot more like one of the several iPad magazines that a newspaper.  The Daily doesn’t even have a “first page”, it has a magazine style cover with a large picture and the logo.  Regardless, I expected more content, specially given the great image content you get. The way information is organized within the application got some criticism from an early review on Wired, as having several articles on the same page seems inconsistent with having a single comment stream on them.  A similar issue arises when you want to save an article for later reading as the App saves pages and not articles. Saving articles for later reading becomes a lot more important as soon as you find out that once the App downloads the day’s paper you’ve lost the previous one.  While that might be interesting from the perspective of not eating up space on the reader’s device, it is quite the let down when you pick up your iPad to read that article you just noticed last night when you were going to sleep and it isn’t there anymore. Other publications, including newspapers, which are already available on the iPad allow the readers to decide if an when they will remove past issues. This is useful when you are saving information as reference or simply if you don’t have the time to read an article right now, but you know you’ll want to read it later. Brazilian newspaper “O Globo” on the iPad – Issue library. After going through a couple of issues of The Daily I felt quite disappointed.  Perhaps I was just expecting too much from what is after all the first attempt at a daily publication on the iPad, but somehow having been reading the news on the Web for the past 15 years, I feel the designers of the The Daily have missed the mark.  Considering all the effort that has gone into creating this publication, I’m confident some of these issues will be addressed and the experience will improve over time. The designers for The Daily, to forget that there ever was such a thing as a paper printed newspaper or magazine and design for the iPad.  Flipboard, the social magazine application, does a much better job of organizing content and comments while still providing a graphically rich view of it all.  While The Daily certainly has stunning pages which are probably individually designed, Flipboard treats content as articles instead of as pages.  This small difference has a huge impact in usability. I’ll probably become a subscriber of The Daily when the free trial period is over, in a bit over a week, if only to see how it evolves over...
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It’s been an interesting year for the iPad

It’s been an interesting year for the iPad
Exactly one year ago, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to the world. There were a lot of skeptics back then, telling everyone how the iPad would be a flop as it had no USB ports, camera or SD card reader.  Well, during the past year Apple sold almost 15 million iPads taking the world of mobile computing by storm. In this single year over 60,000 Apps designed specifically for the iPad have been made available on the App Store, making the iPad not only a great hardware product but one which is very, very expandable.  These third party applications range from business oriented to gaming and mostly are extremely affordable. With the release of an updated iOS which brought multi-tasking to the iPad along with several interesting features Apple showed everyone that making an investment in the iPad was a sound bet.  Not only did you get the value you already knew about, but you could get new features of which you had no idea. (Of course, Apple had already done the same with the iPhone and iPod Touch.) The ability to combine your iPad with an Apple TV, connected with your living room TV was also a great twist.  While the iPad is a great device for you to watch a movie in bed, it is also a great way to control what you are going to watch with your family on that big living room screen. During the months since the iPad was introduced it has changed the way a lot of people play, read and work.  I use my iPad for 90% of my daily activities which mostly comprise going to meetings, following up on project updates as well as reading and writing emails.  I only return to my Macbook when I want to write something which is more than a couple of paragraphs long.  Even that, though, could probably be easily accomplished on the iPad with the help of a bluetooth keyboard of a keyboard dock for the iPad.  (There are, of course, many types of professionals which require a regular computer to work.) It has been very interesting to watch the iPad grow in acceptance and evolve into a major factor in most company’s mobile computing plans.  It’s also been interesting to watch more and more people surrender to the temptation of getting one. Let’s hope that the next year will be even more interesting with a new model iPad and even more people and companies adopting it as their preferred way of accessing information and getting things done while on the...
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Much rumored The Daily iPad-only newspaper is confirmed

James Murdoch, head of News Corp.’s operations in Europe and Asia, confirmed that the iPad based digital newspaper should be available sometime in February.   A lot of rumors and speculation have been going around this subject over the past two months but it seems that it is now official. The newspaper will be available in subscription form for 99 cents per week. It will be interesting to see just how well iPad users will receive this initiative.  In order for the Daily to succeed it will depend heavily not only on having good content but on having a good app implementation which makes it enjoyable to use/read. (via...
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Intriguing question: Will iPad 1 and iPad 2 coexist?

I just ran into the most intriguing post on Mac Observer: What if Apple continues iPad 1 sales after April.  When you stop to think about it, it might just make a lot of sense for Apple to do so.  There seems to be no lack of people interested in buying the current generation iPad and making it available as the low cost entry point into the iPad ecosystem might just help to bury all those competitors lining up for their shot at the iPad. After a year it can probably be argued that it costs a lot less to make the current model iPad than it did when it was introduced and it might take on the role of the iPhone 3GS which is available as a low cost entry point to the iPhone family.   Apple has been doing this sort of thing with both the iPhone and the iPod Touch for the past couple of years and it makes a lot of sense for it to do so with the iPad as well. Would a low priced iPad 1 cannibalize sales of the iPad 2?  Probably not.  As it turns out many people who purchased the iPad have also bought a second iPad or are just waiting for the iPad 2 in order to do so.  At my home, whenever I put down the iPad there is always someone ready to pick it up.  Going forward the iPad 1 might just be good enough to be the iPad you have laying around the house or which kids take to school while the grown ups carry the more powerful iPad 2s to work. Again, this is something we’ll have to wait and see how Apple is going to play it.  Be sure to check out John Martellaro’s post on Mac Observer for his views on this...
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Analysts and iPad Watcher in agreement, HiRes display is for iPad 3

It seems that a number of people have come to the conclusion that the much talked about HiRes display (2048×1536) might make it into the third generation of the iPad, but probably not the iPad 2.  Just recently we published a post which argued this point, though coming at it with a different angle than MacRumors and PC World. Both of these sites have posts which comment on analyst opinions on the feasibility of Apple getting manufacturers to produce such a high resolution display, of such small size and in enough quantities.  That is certainly a valid point.  On the other hand, even considering that it was feasible, it would not make much sense for Apple to play this card at this point.  It’s not as if there are several competing problems challenging the iPad that need to be squashed. As it stands now, the new features that Apple will probably add to the second generation iPad are probably more than enough to ensure that its hardware will be at least equal to that of everyone else, while its software stands head and shoulders above...
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