One of the biggest advantages to owning a Mac, and one of the main reasons why I purchased a 2013 Apple MacBook Air, is the option to run both OS X and Windows natively, without using virtualization software. Apple actively supports Microsoft's PC operating systems by releasing drivers, firmware and documentation, that Mac users can leverage to install Windows and make the best out of a different situation -- after all, Windows is not designed to work on Macs.
The portal to running Windows on Macs is Boot Camp. The OS X software is designed to simplify the process for users, by offering an easy to follow wizard that can be used to create bootable Windows USB drives (and DVDs for older Macs), download drivers, partition the internal drive to make room for the new OS and kick off the installation process. It is very, very user-friendly. Well, most of the time...
According to new quarterly reports from IDC and Strategy Analytics, Samsung has increased its lead on the smartphone market in Q3 2013. The South Korean maker's shipments were higher than those of the next four-largest vendors, combined, according to the IDC data.
Samsung's smartphone shipments surpassed 80 million units (IDC -- 81.2 million; SA --88.4 million), leading to a market share above 30 percent (IDC -- 31.4 percent; SA -- 35.2 percent). Once again, the two research firms, both of which count shipments, provide different data sets for both shipments and market share. However, both reports say that in Q3 2013 smartphone shipments reached record levels (IDC -- 258.4 million; SA -- 251.4 million).
I have been having a great time using the Surface 2 in my "all-in on Microsoft" experiment. Microsoft's tablet works great on its own, but the keyboard accessories (Touch 2 and Type 2 covers) enhance the overall functionality. While the iPad is a great tablet too, Apple simply does not provide a physical mobile keyboard solution. Instead, the iPad community relies on third-party offerings to supplement the deficiencies of the Apple tablet in this regard.
While third-party accessories can be hit-or-miss, Apple fans need not worry; Logitech has their back. Yes, the renowned manufacturer has been making Apple accessories for many years. Today, the company announces four new cases for the recently announced iPad Air -- three of which are keyboard-variants.
Apple took center stage this week. At a special event the new iPad Air, iPad mini, Mac Pro and a raft of free software were all revealed, and we liveblogged through the whole thing. Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Apple decided to give Mavericks away free of charge along with iWork and iLife. But it was the iPad Air and mini that stole the show, sharing the same innards as the recently announced iPhone 5s, but boasting a redesigned exterior -- at least in the case of the Air.
Of course, no tablet launch would be complete without matching cases. There was also the interestingly designed Mac Pro which looks delightful and is a serious powerhouse, but has a price tag to match. After the big launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple showed off the latest addition to the iPhone range in a TV commercial.
Apple's long-awaited iPad refresh is finally a reality. Apple's new full-size iPad, rebranded as the "iPad Air", starts at the usual $499 price. Apple also unveiled an iPad mini with retina display, with a higher starting price of $399 and retained the original iPad mini at $299. Finally, the aging iPad 2 was also retained with the price unchanged at $399. This essentially proves my theory that Apple's pricing strategy has nothing to do with a "price umbrella" and everything to do with margins.
Apple's primary business model is selling high-margin hardware, so this should come as no surprise. While many like to draw comparisons to the iPod, the limited set of "jobs to be done" allowed Apple to aggressively slash BOM costs, thereby allowing lower prices at higher margins. This approach is no longer viable for the iPhone/iPad because of broader use cases and competition from modular vendors. Based on this, let's take a look at the iPad product portfolio and gauge its impact on Apple's holiday quarter.
New iPads reveal much about Apple's current and long-term device dilemmas. Full-size iPad cannibalizes Mac sales, while mini does the same to the larger tablet. Those are the clear takeaways from yesterday's product launches.
CEO Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs, and perhaps that's a good thing. Where Jobs championed grammatically incorrect "think different" -- as a marketing and product development strategy -- Cook thinks differently, making fundamentally difficult branding and pricing decisions to preserve current and future Apple crops. There's great risk in the strategy and greater by doing nothing.
Yesterday was unquestionably the day of the tablet. Nokia unveiled the Lumia 2520, its first Windows RT 8.1 slate, Apple announced the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, and Microsoft’s Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 went on sale.
It was unfortunate timing for Microsoft. On a day when Steve Ballmer and co. would have hoped people would be talking about Surface, they were salivating over Apple instead. The fruit logo company inflicted more damage on Microsoft than just drawing focus for a day however.
Historically, the Mac Pro has been a beast of a machine -- a giant footprint on the desks of professionals. When it was originally released in 2006, it became an iconic fixture among artistic professionals. However, it was not just the outward appearance that was so pleasing to consumers, it was the inside too.
When the first generation was released, I was working at CompUSA. The store had an Apple section with a dedicated representative -- a precursor to the Apple store and its geniuses. We would often open up the machine to show off the internals because it was just that amazing. At the time, the inside of a typical Windows machine was just a mess of wires and poor design. The inside of the Mac Pro was organized and well thought out. Today, in continuing with this tradition, Apple officially launches the all-new Mac Pro. While things change, they also stay the same.
When you spend a sizable amount of money on a device, it's understandable that you wish to have a bit of insurance on your investment, and a fair amount of us do that by purchasing a protective case. Apple is no stranger to the accessory market and today pushes it a bit further, announcing new offerings for its latest iPad devices.
These protective wombs for your tablet are available in a range of colors. The Smart Covers for iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display will retail for $39, and hit the market in a choice of blue, green, pink, yellow, black and red.
Despite being billed in the press as an iPad event, Apple announced much more than just the iPad Air and new iPad mini today. As well as improved hardware it revealed its OS update Mavericks would be free, and the giveaways didn’t stop there.
Its iWork productivity apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- and its iLife creativity apps -- iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand -- have been redesigned to take full advantage of OS X Mavericks and iOS 7, updated to 64-bit, integrated with iCloud and made entirely free. They’ll come bundled with new Macs or iOS devices. If you’re an existing user, and running Mavericks or iOS 7, you’ll be able to update to the new versions. Not planning on buying new hardware and not an existing user? You’ll still need to pay to get them, I’m afraid.
It was a feature-packed morning of announcements where it seems as though Apple was going to give away everything for free. Sadly the freebies are limited to software and the new range of hardware has to be purchased in the regular way. The big news for tablet fans is the iPad Air. Borrowing its name -- in part at least -- from the MacBook Air range, thinner and faster are the adjectives of the day.
Phil Schiller said: "Thinner, lighter, more powerful than ever before, and incredibly, excitingly new that it deserves a new name: iPad Air". Boasting the same A7 processor as the recently announced iPhone 5s, the iPad Air is just 7.5mm thick and weighs 1 pound -- compare this to 9.4mm and 1.4 pounds for the previous model. Despite the thinner design and smaller battery size, we can still expect 10 hours of usage from the tablet which offers up to eight times the performance of the original iPad, and up to 72 times the GPU performance.
Starting today, Mac users are able to officially upgrade to OS X 10.9 Mavericks. However, instead of charging its customers for the newest Mac operating system, like the company did before, Apple is giving it away for free. If that sounds familiar, it's because it is. Microsoft is doing the same thing with Windows 8.1, which is also available as a free upgrade to all Windows 8 users.
"Mavericks is an incredible release, which introduces significant new apps and features, while also improving the performance and battery life of your Mac", says Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. "We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security. We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free". Therefore, it should not come as a surprise if Apple chooses to adopt the same strategy for the next release of OS X, which will likely arrive next year.
It's only a matter of weeks since the last big Apple event at which the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c were announced. Today we have another event to look forward to and while we're not absolutely certain of what's going to be unveiled, the clever money is on the iPad 5, a new iPad mini, new Mac and release details for Mavericks.
Who knows… maybe there'll even be "one more thing"!
When a big tech company live streams a launch event, we usually embed it here for readers to sit back and enjoy. Apple likes to make things difficult though. At last month’s iPhone event it didn’t bother providing a live stream, and you can only watch today’s iPad event if you’re one of the Apple faithful.
To be fair, the restrictions on today’s live stream should surprise no one. It’s exactly the same deal as the iPad reveal last year -- you need to be watching on Apple TV or using Safari 4 on Mac OS X 10.6 or later, or iOS 4.3 or later.
Back at the start of this month, Hulu Plus for Chromecast made an appearance, but aimed only for Android phones and tablets, as well as iPad customers. Those using Apple's platform as a smartphone device were feeling a bit left out, but today the streaming video service aims to right the ship.
"Today, we are excited to add the Chromecast integration for Hulu Plus to your iPhones", announces Hulu's Karan Nischol. "The Hulu Plus integration with Chromecast will convert your app into a custom remote letting you control video on your Chromecast connected TVs, while allowing you to browse the Hulu Plus app directly from your iPhone", the statement continues.