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Rumor: another Apple about-face – selling a stylus

Posted by wicked January - 19 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off
14.03.20-Stylus-3

This patent application was published way back in March of last year… could Apple actually be planning to use it? One analyst thinks so.

AppleInsider

“If you see a stylus, they blew it,” proclaimed a defiant Steve Jobs once upon a time (not too long ago). The man, the myth, the legend was seeking to explain the brilliance of the iPhone: the fingers that everyone have were enough of a stylus that the PDAs of the past had all gotten it wrong. Some time later, Samsung unveiled the original Galaxy Note with a stylus, and as such the dawn of the phablet craze began. These days, just about every company under the silicon sun has a large screen productivity-purposed device, and it seems Apple may be one of them, should a new report pan out.

For well over a year now there has been chatter about a so-called iPad Pro, in part because of an assumed parallel between the computing hardware and tablet offerings (Macbook Air, Macbook Pro; iPad Air, iPad Pro) and countless rumors, “insiders”, and analysts. One such analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities, has put a number of puzzle pieces together and determined that not only will Apple release a 12.9 inch iPad in 2015, but that it will also put forth a stylus. Kuo is one of the most prominent Apple analysts and some of his past predictions have been spot on. The report, obtained by Apple Insider, looks at key patents filed by Apple rather than (apparently) any kind of insider-source, as Kuo has been wanton to do in the past.

14.03.20-Stylus-1 AppleInsider/USPTO

His belief is that Apple will release the stylus somewhat after the iPad “Pro” as opposed to bundling it in (reducing costs/retail pricing), and that it will be a rather standard affair for the first year, with limited customer interest at only around 2-2.5 million units sold. In later iterations however, he mentions everything from wireless charging to motion sensing, to 3-D handwriting, becoming a possible reality.

Given that several large screen mobile devices already make prominent use of a stylus (see the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2, the Toshiba Encore 2 Write, and even the Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid among others), the idea of an XL iPad adding support for a first party tool would be par for the course. Complaints about the iPhone 6’s lack of true multitasking have been lobbed over at Cupertino for some months now, as they have been about the iPad series itself. While the addition of an officially sanctioned stylus wouldn’t guarantee major changes with the software, at the very least it would suggest that productivity features on native Apple applications and iOS itself would need to be rewritten and adjusted to taylor to the tool.

14.03.20-Stylus-5

Apple has an idea for an unusual stylus tip, but will it see the light of day? And what use would it have for that matter?

AppleInsider

Should Apple introduce a stylus, it technically wouldn’t be in “defiance” of what Steve Jobs held to be true: the device in question is cited in reference to an iPad not an iPhone. Still, given the size of the iPhone 6, there is no question that a stylus might be useful for a “smaller” form factor as well, considering Samsung has been playing it up for the past four years with the Galaxy Note line. Tim Cook is also decidedly not Steve Jobs, and the launch of an iPhone phablet is in-and-of-itself a bold move that had some very good results.

Still, you just know that somewhere at Samsung HQ the irony of the current situation is not lost.

iPad shipments decline by 12.7% in 2014, but worldwide tablet sales aren’t much better

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Nexus 9 vs iPad

Overall, it has been a pretty good year for Android tablets. We’ve seen Google’s new Nexus 9, a ton of new Samsung tablets, and not to mention the countless budget-friendly options we’re so used to seeing. As far as Apple’s iPad is concerned, however, they’re not doing so hot this year. The IDC reports that Apple will have shipped 64.9 million iPads in 2014… which is a 12.7% decline from 2013.

Now before we get to poking fun at the iPad, let’s be realistic. Tablet shipments worldwide are suffering by a lot. We’re not at an overall decline, but from 2013, tablet shipments have slowed down from 52.5% (2012-2013) to 7.2% (2013-2014) in year over year growth. That’s pretty bad, especially considering that tablets are constantly getting new technologies and features with every iteration.

As for Android? Year over year growth has risen by 16% in 2014, and the platform still holds 67.7% of the worldwide tablet marketshare. Almost 160 million Android tablets were shipped just this year. On the flip side, Apple is still holding down 27.5% of tablet marketshare, making it the biggest OEM in the space.

Google HTC Nexus 9 Android 5 Lollipop-9

So, why are tablets doing poorly? The IDC points out that a tablet’s lifespan was originally forecasted to be similar to that of a smartphone. Largely surpassing its goal, some people hold on to their tablets for 3 or maybe even 4 years, with just about no reason to upgrade. Most people use their tablets for media consumption, and tablets bought 3 years ago can still keep up quite nicely. It could also be that tablets just aren’t making a compelling enough argument to upgrade. In a phone, something that most of us use way more than our tablets, a minor upgrade could make your life a heck of a lot easier. But when a new tablet comes out and all that changes is the battery capacity and screen size, that’s not going to be enough for most people.

Many consumers hold on to their tablets for 3 or maybe even 4 years, with just about no reason to upgrade

Many factors could impact tablet sales in 2015. Of the many options, Google‘s work in both Chrome OS and Android and Microsoft’s work in Windows 10, and whatever Apple has coming down the pipeline could change things up. All of these are no-brainers, sure, but what does that mean for tablets as a whole? I think we’ve all agreed by now that users keep tablets longer than they do smartphones. In turn, making a new slab of plastic or aluminum with a slight bump in specs from last year isn’t going to get people excited. It’s not going to get people to drop $400 when they already have a tablet. We need something new in the market to bring up sales again.

The two platforms that could potentially do that are Google’s Chrome OS and Microsoft’s Windows platform. Chrome OS has been working to make a nice in-between product for people who don’t want tablets, and don’t want to spend a fortune on a laptop. Windows is doing some great things in the 2-in-1 space, giving users the option on whether to use a tablet or a laptop at any moment. We also have Google’s Project Tango and Ara to look forward to. But for now, the tablet market seems to have somewhat plateaued.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing in the tablet space? Any guesses? Conversely, do you feel this decline in tablet share is only natural with the rise of bigger-screened smartphones, and not anything to get too worked up about?

Nexus 9 vs the new iPads: specs comparison

Posted by wicked October - 17 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Nexus 9 vs iPad

Consumers looking for a new tablet in time for Christmas are going to be spoiled for choice this year. In the space of just two days we’ve seen the launch of the new high-end Nexus 9, iPad Mini 3, and iPad Air 2. So let’s break down exactly what each tablet has to offer.

For starters, let’s take a peek at the hardware that each tablet is packing and if it’s a good deal for the price.

 
Nexus 9
iPad Mini 3
iPad Air 2
Price $399 – $599 $399 – $728 $499 – $829
Display 8.9″ 7.9″ 9.7″
Resolution 2048×1536 (281ppi) 2048×1536 (326ppi) 2048×1536 (264ppi)
SoC 2.3GHz Tegra K1 1.3GHz A7 unspecified A8X
RAM 2GB 1GB 1GB
Memory 16GB / 32GB 16 / 64 / 128GB 16 / 64 / 128GB
Battery 6700 mAh (9.5 hours WiFi browsing) 23.8 watt/h (10 hours WiFi browsing) 27.3 watt/h (10 hours WiFi browsing)

The Nexus 9 sits right in between the two new iPad tablets, in terms of size, and the bump up in resolution for the Nexus 9 means that display clarity will be pretty evenly matched across all three tablets. Given the iPad Mini 3’s slightly smaller size, and therefore higher PPI, it will probably look ever so slightly sharper, but the same applies when you look at the Nexus 9 compared with the Air 2.

On the processing side of things, it’s a little tough to compare Apple’s SoCs directly to the Nexus 9. We’re yet to see how the new Nvidia Denver CPU cores in the Nexus 9’s Tegra K1 perform in the real world, but early benchmarks have shown that the new Tegra K1 outpaces the iPhone 6’s Apple A8 in single and multi-core performance. The 1GB RAM amount is also an interesting choice for the Apple tablets, as more demanding applications and environments that make use of the SoC’s horsepower could end up strangled by the limited amount of memory.

Nexus 9 Keyboard

Graphical power is another area where the Nexus 9 should compete well in. Nvidia’s Kepler architecture has already proven formidable in the mobile space. Similarly, Apple’s A8 chip offers up impressive graphics performance and the A8X apparently offers up more horsepower still, but it could be a much closer call between the Nexus and Air tablets this time around. The older A7 chip in the smaller Mini 3 is perhaps a little disappointing by comparison, given that’s its the same chip that powered that last generation Mini 2.

Performance looks to be a close run race, so we’ll turn to some of the tablets’ other features.

 
Nexus 9
iPad Mini 3
iPad Air 2
Rear camera 8MP, f/2.4 5MP, f/2.4 8MP, f/2.4
Front camera 1.6MP, f/2.4 1.2MP 1.2MP, f/2.2
Data WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE
Speakers Dual Front Stereo Stereo
MicroSD No No No
Fingerprint Scanner No Yes Yes
Weight 425g 341g 444g

The Nexus 9, iPad Mini 3, and Air 2 all come in both WiFi and LTE options, with the latter feature adding to the price tags quite significantly. The 32GB LTE Nexus 9 will set you back $599, while a comparable LTE iPad Mini 3 costs $529 or $629, depending on storage, and $629 or $729 for the Air 2.

As for cameras, again it’s a very close call on paper.  The Nexus 9 looks to compete with the more expensive iPad Air’s 8MP rear and front camera options, and will offer higher resolution snaps than the Mini 3. The f/2.4 aperture should result in similar levels of performance in low light conditions between all of the tablet cameras. Although we’ll have to do some hands on tests for a more definitive answer here.

ipad-air-2

The iPad range has a wider selection of storage options, which helps offset the lack of microSD card support across all the tablets. Although you will pay a hefty fee for the 128GB options. 32GB should see people through a large enough collection of music and films for your trips out, but a 64GB Nexus option would have been nice.

As for some unique features, the Nexus 9’s dual facing front speakers will provide a better stereo sound when watching moves, whereas the iPad’s two speakers are both located at the bottom end. Apple’s TouchID fingerprint security system is embedded into its new tablets, which is a nice feature for the security conscious.

Time to choose

The Nexus 9’s hardware appears to go toe-to-toe with the much more expensive iPad Air 2, but is aggressively priced against the smaller and slightly cut-down iPad Mini 3. The smaller range of memory choices might be a problem for some, but other than that there’s very little to fault with the Nexus 9.

Your preference for Android or iOS has probably already made up your mind for you. Even so, there’s no denying that the Nexus 9 is a really high-end piece of kit that easily justifies its price tag. Of course, there are other high-end Android tablets which might suite your needs too.

Remember netbooks? The mini PCs’ window was wide a year or so before tablets shaped up. Now they’re long forgotten but the best of both worlds can be achieved with a keyboard case for 8-inch tablets.

Engadget has found the three best for Apple iPad Minis and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and provides a full rundown over on their site.

The collected cases are the ClamCase Pro for Apple iPad mini, the ZAGG Rugged Folio for Apple iPad mini and the ZAGG Folio for Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Each case is a neat and tidy solution that keeps everything in one place and provides protection for the precious screens.

Check out the lowdown over at Engadget.

Samsung faces potential US import ban on its Galaxy/Nexus devices

Posted by wicked April - 7 - 2013 - Sunday Comments Off

samsung-vs-apple-case
In the everlasting patent war between Samsung and Apple, the US-based manufacturer seems to have recently obtained a very important victory.

Judge Thomas Pender from the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Samsung devices infringe on a text selection patent owned by Apple, a feature that’s available on iPhones and iPads. Another Apple claim, one that sought injunction for Samsung’s use of a patented technology for detecting microphones when they are inserted in the headphone jack, has been rejected.

The decision is appealable, but if Samsung is to lose the appeal in front of the full commission as well, Apple is entitled to requesting an US import ban for most smartphones and tablets in the Samsung Galaxy and Samsung Nexus lines.

The final decision is expected to arrive at some point during August and it is yet unknown if Samsung can avoid the potential import ban via a software update that would change the way text selection is made. We’ll keep you up to date with any further developments!

The post Samsung faces potential US import ban on its Galaxy/Nexus devices appeared first on Android Authority.

Kindle Fire

There are probably hundreds of ways you can rank the best and worst tablets around. Most of you do it by display size and crispness, performance or build quality, but how about repairability?

True, tearing a tab apart and then putting it together with your bare hands and a Phillips screwdriver are not the first things to come to mind when scouring the online stores for the best deal. But wouldn’t it be nice to know that you could easily do that if you really needed to?

The guys at iFixit seem to think so, and, after taking several tablets for destructive spins and then making them look as new, they’ve come to a few interesting conclusions. The most shocking revelation – Dell’s XPS 10 is the best at something.

Well, not the best, but the easiest to repair slate. The Windows-based 10-incher fell short of perfection, but still got 9 points out of ten. Which basically means that fixing the thing in time of need is a walk in the park for anybody.

iPad 4

Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the very worthy silver medalist, with an 8 score, while the podium is wrapped up by… wait for it… the 5-inch Dell Streak. Talk about a blast from the past.

The number four through six spots on the ranks are all captured by Android, but you’ll never guess who the highly commendable podium follow-ups are. We have the Motorola Xoom, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD.

Wow! That is just… random. A two year-old 10-incher, an early 2012 7-incher and a late 2012 7-incher. There’s one more Android tab in the top 10, the Nexus 7, ranked an honorable eight, behind the Nook Simple Touch (which is also technically based on Android, we guess) and ahead of the iPad 1 and Nook Tablet (again running tweaked Android).

Surface Pro

But now comes the fun part. If we look past the Nexus 10 and Kindle Fire HD 8.9, who haven’t made the top 10 cut, but have still got passing grades. The Surface RT has a repairability score of 4, the iPads 2, 3, 4 and Mini get two points each, while the Surface Pro is at rock bottom, with 1 out of 10.

Pretty depressing, but hey, think of it this way – those four iPads are tied with Amazon’s Kindle Fire… if we add all their numbers together. As for the Surface RT and Pro, they’re seriously not worth our bad puns. They’re bad puns themselves. Ba dum tsss!

Just for the record, I know this is not the most meaningful competition. After all, the tabs are not ranked here from best to worst, but from easiest to toughest to repair. And yet chances are some of you will want to tinker around with your tab’s internals. In which case you could or could not go for Android, but you definitely should never, ever choose Apple. Just saying.

The post iFixit: Kindle Fire is the easiest to repair Android tablet, iPads and Surface Pro toughest overall appeared first on Android Authority.

128GB iPad 4 officially launched, will we see more 128GB tablets this year?

Posted by wicked January - 29 - 2013 - Tuesday Comments Off

ipad-4-1

Since we’re also keeping an eye on the competition, we’ll tell you that Apple announced a new iPad 4 version today, the 128GB model (Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular), which is essentially similar to existing fourth-generation iPad tablets when it comes to specs and features, with storage being the only difference.

Obviously, the 128GB iPad 4 Wi-Fi model costs $100 more than the 64GB tablet, or $799, while the 128GB iPad 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular will retail for $929 and both models will hit stores on February 5. There’s nothing unusual about this pricing scheme, which falls in line with what Apple is used to charging for its tablets, and the fact that Apple is quietly announcing a new iPad 4 model should mean that the fifth-generation iOS tablet is only going to be unveiled later this year.

Do regular customers need that much storage on a tablet? Apple doesn’t seem to think so judging from the press release, with the 128GB models specifically targeting businesses that “regularly” use “large amounts of data such as 3D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals.”

So if Apple is more serious when it comes to pitching iPads to enterprise customers, does that mean we’ll see similar offerings from the competition?

Microsoft

As you already know, Microsoft has its own Windows 8 tablets in stores, the Surface models, which aren’t selling as great as the company would like them to. Of those, there’s a 128GB Surface Pro model available to consumers, but the actual storage that can be used on the model sits at 83GB, which is certainly something business users that utilize “large amounts of data” won’t like.

Android

In the Android universe, most Android tablet makers make sure they include microSD support in their devices, so users can upgrade the available storage by themselves. Furthermore, external hard drives can be connected to Android tablets to offer even more storage space for the same kind of “large data.”

But since Apple and Microsoft are now offering devices that pack from the get-go 128GB of storage, does that mean that Android OEMs will also have such higher-priced models of their upcoming 2013 flagship devices in stores later this year? You know, not to copy Apple and Microsoft, but to have similar offers out there?

Would you buy a tablet that comes with 128GB of storage, or do you prefer to use other means to upgrade the memory? For what it’s worth, the Galaxy Note 2 can offer you up to 128GB of storage as long as you’re ready to buy the 64GB version and an extra 64GB microSD card to go with it.

Google Nexus 7 market share still small, but growing

Posted by wicked October - 25 - 2012 - Thursday Comments Off

While Android is today’s top platform in terms of smartphone numbers, tablets are an altogether different proposition. The Apple iPad still leads the game in terms of tablet use and mobile access for tablets. But Google’s Nexus 7 may already be making a dent on Apple’s sales, although in a small way.

Chitika reports that Google’s tablet offering still has a long way to go to the top. Apple’s iPad (various models) still enjoys 91% of all web traffic from tablets. The rest of the pie is shared among the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy tab, along with other Android tablets and the BlackBerry Playbook. The Nexus 7 itself has a 0.33% share of tablet traffic. But don’t be fooled by the paltry figures, as the Nexus 7 is inching its way up, with a 135% growth since July.

Still, iPad figures are difficult to beat. Cnet notes that Apple’s offering still leads the game, and Android has not yet succeeded in grabbing a significant market share from iOS in the tablet market. “In order to make the graph readable, we had to measure other tablets on a ‘per 100 iPad impressions’ scale,” said a Chitika spokesperson in an interview.

The Chitika figures might indicate that Apple may be on the decline, albeit quite slow, with a 0.34% decrease in web traffic in the same period. But with the launch of the latest Apple iPad Mini, should Android tablet makers be concerned that Apple will continue to reign supreme in this market?

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    Forget about the hardware, Apple and Amazon have totally different business models

    Posted by wicked September - 11 - 2012 - Tuesday Comments Off

    Amazon pricing

    Last week Amazon announced several new devices, the most important being the company’s new Kindle Fire tablets. They’re all powered by Android, and we could spend the next hundred or so words running you through their respective spec sheets, but that would be a waste of time.

    Comparing Amazon’s tablets to Apple’s tablets ignores something that’s fundamental to the way these two companies do business. Apple has ridiculously high margins. When they sell you a $500 device, roughly a third of that goes straight into their pocket. When Amazon sells you a tablet, they sell it to you for roughly the same price it took them to build the thing. Their hope is that you’ll use their device to buy stuff through their store. Whether it be digital media or physical goods, Amazon doesn’t care, they just want to become your preferred retailer.

    Where have we seen this business model before? The videogame industry. Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sega, they’ll sell you their consoles either at cost or they’ll even lose money on the hardware, but it doesn’t matter since they make that money back by charging publishing houses for the rights to sell their games to customers. It’s a business model that has worked for several decades, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t continue to be successful going forward.

    Is Amazon a threat to Apple? Yes and no. Apple tries their best to sell you something that you can actually use as your main computing device. Meanwhile Amazon is selling what can best be described as the 21st century equivalent of a shopping catalog. Those of us who grew up before the internet remember getting thick magazines in the mail, filled with glossy pages of things to buy. All those magazines had a toll free number on the bottom so you could buy whatever it is that caught your eye. Amazon, thanks to technology, has that all too tempting one click to purchase button.

    Related Posts

    Amazon: No opt out for Kindle Fire ads on all new models, Tablet bonanza from Amazon in 2012: two (or four?) new models rumored, Eric Schmidt confirms Google is interested in the hardware business, whatever that means


    This article, Forget about the hardware, Apple and Amazon have totally different business models , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com – Your Android News Source.



    Are iPhone users richer & better-educated than Android users?

    Posted by wicked August - 2 - 2012 - Thursday Comments Off

    Image credit: Shutterstock

    Media consumption differs according to platform, a study by the Reynolds Journalism Institute has found. This is also influenced by demographics, including age, education and earning capacity. In the recently-released 2012 RJI Mobile Media News Consumption Survey, researchers have determined that Apple iPhone users are generally older, better-educated and earn higher than those using Android. This may account for Apple’s market dominance over Android since the beginning.

    RJI’s Roger Fidler has found that — surprise! — iOS and Android are the leading mobile platforms in the consumption of news and content from subscriptions and apps. However, a big portion of the respondents admit to using more than one platform in consuming media, which include a mix of smartphones, tablets and Android-powered e-readers.

    In terms of demographics, more Android users fall under the below-34 age group. Meanwhile, iPhone and Blackberry users tend to fall under the over-35 group. In terms of income a majority of Android users earn under $75,000 annually. Most iPhone and Blackberry users earn more than this amount. Education-wise, almost half of the Android users surveyed say they have college or graduate degrees. iPhone and Blackberry users that have bachelors or post-grad degrees are at 64%.

    So yes, iPhone and Blackberry users tend to be more affluent.

    This might come as an affront to Android users. However, considering that some markets have a preference for iOS and Blackberry devices, then education, age and earning capacity will surely be skewed toward these levels. For example, enterprise users — including big corporations and small businesses — are found to prefer iOS over Android. As such, users will tend to have higher-paying jobs and more advanced studies than the general consumer market.

    Additionally, Poynter points out that iPhone users are more attractive to news publishers, with these statistics. Consumption patterns seem to agree. A higher percentage of iPhone users subscribe to national newspapers, news magazines and other mobile publications, compared with Android.

    However, going beyond the research, publishers will still need to cover a lot of ground, since less than 33% of mobile users are regular subscribers to mobile publications. This can be a good opportunity for publishers and newsstand services to tap more users and potential subscribers in order to improve their reach and revenues.



    This article, Are iPhone users richer & better-educated than Android users? , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com – Your Android News Source.