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.
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.
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.
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.
More and more business users are shunning a traditional desktop or laptop for tablets and smartphones. While tablets are great for consuming information, with the help of keyboard attachments, they are sufficient at creation too. However, tablets and smartphones are very personal devices; they are not optimized to handle a conference call for multiple users. Today, Logitech announces a product designed to solve this dilemma -- the Mobile Speakerphone P710e.
The company says, "with the Mobile Speakerphone, you can be more productive with hands-free access to your mobile device of choice and an integrated experience for video conferencing and conference calls. Whether you’re hosting your noon conference call using your mobile device in a hotel room or joining a call from a conference room in your local office with your PC, the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone is the ideal travel companion for the mobile employee or small business owner".
Microsoft's big release of the day may be Windows 8.1, but it doesn't end there. The desktop operating system may have stolen the headlines today, but Microsoft also recognizes the importance of mobile devices. The company is not only concerned with its own devices, realizing that Apple and Android still dominate the mobile arena. But this does not mean that mobile users do not need access to Windows PCs -- hence the release of Microsoft Remote Desktop for iOS and Android.
The prospect of running Windows on an Android or iOS device may be a little way off yet, but it can be achieved via remote access -- which has the handy side effects of making it possible to access files, apps and anything else that might be needed whilst away from your computer. There is no shortage of remote desktop apps in the App Store, but Microsoft's offering aims to keep things simple. As you would expect, this is an app -- free of course -- that can be used to control a Windows PC from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device.
When it comes to fire, you can never be too safe. Sadly, I know all too well. You see, I once lived through a fire that destroyed my apartment and all of my belongings. While it was a devastating event, I came out of it uninjured and with a new respect for fire safety.
Today, Nest announces a new product that combines technology with not only fire safety but carbon monoxide protection too.
Many people are settling into the idea that a 7 inch screen is the ideal size for a tablet. The extra screen space provided by a 10 inch model sounds great in theory, but it does result in a device that is slightly more cumbersome to take from place to place. Looked at in terms of portability, 7 inches is perfect -- large enough to make most tasks easy, but small enough to easily slip into a bag, if not necessarily a pocket.
The slightly smaller size also makes an important difference to the price tag, and there is a burgeoning market for tablets of this size. It is interesting to see that as the screens of phones gradually get larger and larger, the general trend for the tablet is to shrink -- the two are on a collision course!
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is calling on the games industry to avoid pressuring children into making in-app purchases in games and potentially running up large bills. Back in April, an investigation began into the ways in which children are pressured into making in-app purchases. 38 web and app-based games thought to appeal to children were looked at, and the results of the investigation are available in the Children's Online Games report.
The OFT aimed to determine whether the way in-app purchases were presented could be considered "misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair". As a result of the investigation, the OFT has drawn up a set of eight proposed principles that apps and games should follow. The principles include clearly and prominently informing app users about the potential for costs to be incurred through the app. It is suggested that users should be able to fully understand the current and future costs associated with any app they download.
Some habits are hard to kick. Even though the world is trending towards a digital lifestyle, many business users still use Post-it Notes. I am guilty of using these low-tech pieces of paper daily. Sometimes, I need to quickly jot-down a note or phone number; a piece of paper can be faster than unlocking my smartphone or workstation. However, at the end of the day, I find my desk littered with these things. I have often wished for an easy way to transfer them to my computer.
Apparently, I am not alone as today, Evernote announces a partnership with Post-it which aims at organizing these notes. The company says, "for us at Evernote, Post-it Notes are a Hero Product. We strive for the sort of flexible, instantly-understandable usefulness that draws hundreds of millions of people to purchase Post-it brand products. There is one drawback. As ubiquitous as they are, they’re also, well, attached to stuff. That’s where Evernote comes in. Evernote is giving Post-it Notes a digital life and whole new set of tricks".