There are some near console-quality games available on the iPad, so it makes sense to have a console grade controller to play them with. Gaming peripherals and accessories maker SteelSeries today introduces the Stratus, a wireless gaming controller specifically designed for devices running iOS 7.
The controller, which claims 10+ hours of battery-life (and takes two hours to charge), connects to your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth, freeing up Wi-Fi so you can play the games on the big screen via AppleTV using AirPlay Mirroring.
I have previously explained the concept of tablet market tiers and the pattern of upmarket competition among Android vendors as they continue to fight for reasonable hardware margins.
Recent tablet install base data from ABI research seems to support this hypothesis and describes the same pattern we saw in the smartphone market. This also helps explains why Apple needs an iPad Pro.
Better last than never. Colleagues Ian Barker, Alan Buckingham, Brian Fagioli, Mihaita Bamburic, Wayne Williams, and Mark Wilson have all picked their favorite tech for the year. I join them. Only things I actually have used qualify for consideration.
My list focuses on one aspect: Value. Which products I see delivering the most value for money spent. Surely your value choices will differ. You can spend 25 cents and get loads of value from something or $2,500 and little at all. With that short introduction, I present my five favorite tech products of 2013 (and one from 2005, newly discovered).
Opera Software has announced that Coast, its iPad web browser, has been updated to version 2.0.
New audio support means that this release can play music directly, without requiring an extra app. There are more ways to customize your Coast wallpaper. As well as setting it to your preferred web image, you can point the program at one of eight bundled backgrounds, or use an image from your photo roll. Just long press the home screen and choose whatever you need.
Despite their similarities, Android always seemed to exist to be the opposite of iOS. In other words, if Apple's mobile OS was popular culture, Google was a counter-culture. In the earlier days, Android had copy and paste, removable batteries, expandable memory, the ability to tinker, but many of those differences are virtually gone -- through Apple's additions and Google's subtractions. It was because of those differences, that I entered into the Google ecosystem with Android -- I have been rather happy. Lately however, I have been a bit unhappy with the direction of Android. Locked bootloaders, lack of SD card slots, non-accessible batteries. Sure, these things are technically not a part of the Android OS, but they are a part of the overall experience. While iOS doesn't offer these things either, at least Apple was upfront about that from the start.
When Apple announced the svelte, yet powerful iPad Air, I was immediately in love. The dark holo theme of Android is just utterly depressing. Conversely, the iPad Air is bright and beautiful, thanks to iOS 7. My problem though, was that I was deeply entrenched in Google's world -- I was worried about moving to a competitor's platform. I love Google services like Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome and YouTube. Quite frankly, I cannot live without those things. Despite these fears, I bought an iPad Air and couldn't be happier. Not only is the build quality better than any Android tablet, the overall experience is better thanks to the superior UI. Not to mention, all of my desired Google apps are on iOS and they look and work better on Apple's operating system too.
The tech world seems to be slowling down slightly in the run up to Christmas, but there have still been a lot of stories over the past seven days. There are sure to be a whole new raft of sales to look forward to both before and after Christmas, but if the Thanksgiving sales are anything to go by they may not offer as good a deal as first appearances would have you believe. Whether you bag a bargain or not, it looks as though tech presents are going to be as popular as ever this year -- and if you buy a Windows device, you'll get a free gift card.
After Microsoft tried comparing the Surface to the iPad Air, Amazon decided to follow suit -- guess which was more popular! Microsoft kept its fire trained on Google, taking a swipe at the Chromebook. Tablet makers may be pushing their product in the run up to Christmas, but PC shipments have suffered the largest decline ever. New computers will have an updated USB connection in the near future. USB type C brings to an end a problem that has plagued anyone who has ever plugged in a USB cable -- this generation can be plugged in either way up!
It being the week of Thanksgiving, anyone looking for a bargain will have been eagerly anticipating Black Friday. The big names did not disappoint including Microsoft who had special prices on Surfaces. If you were undecided between buying a Surface or an iPad, Microsoft compared the two devices so you don’t have to -- and there are no prizes for guessing which comes out on top! If you give or receive giftcards as presents this year, they can now be used to pay for things through PayPal checkout.
Microsoft's Scroogled campaign may not be in the spirit of the season, but it continues apace. In one advert, the services of Pawn Stars were called upon to take a pop at Google's Chromebook -- Alan was less than impressed. Brian, however was pleased to be the recipient of a surprise, unadvertised mug having placed an order via the Scroogled store, and Joe is a big fan of the campaign. Speaking of Chromebooks, Acer announced an ultra-cheap touchscreen device in the form of the C720P.
Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukah, a rare occurrence they overlap. We reflect on the things we feel -- or should be -- grateful. Ahead of the holiday meal I served up "13 things for which Google gives thanks" and colleagues Wayne Williams and Alan Buckingham "5 things to be thankful for in Windows 8.1" and "5 products I'm thankful for", respectively. I would be remiss ignoring Apple.
The fruit-logo company is unique in techdom, inventing or reinventing several hugely successful product categories. Most companies have one- or two-hit wonders. Apple has a string of smash hits, like the rarest of iconic musicians. The Beatles come to mind, because of their 50th-anniversary and name shared -- you know, Apple Records. The many things for which the company should be thankful are obvious, so let's just dispense with those and get to items other list-makers, if there are any, likely will overlook. I present Apple's thankful things from least to most important.
Microsoft has been on fire today in the video department. First, the company released a controversial video declaring that a Chromebook is not a laptop. While that should be enough controversy for the day, it is not resting.
Today, Microsoft releases two new videos comparing its own Surface 2 to the iPad Air. Shocking to no one, the Surface 2 beat Apple's tablet. Was it a fair fight? You tell me.
Using a peripheral to interact with your computer is so passé. Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners have the Kinect to dance in front of, and PlayStation gamers have a camera that can be used in much the same way. PC users can turn to the likes of Leap Motion if they like the idea of eschewing traditional forms of control, and an increasing number of smartphones can recognize eye and hand movements. Now it looks as though Apple is joining the party by buying 3D motion detection specialists PrimeSense.
This may not be a firm that sounds all that familiar, but you're almost certainly aware of the Israeli company's work -- Kinect for the Xbox. Yep, you read that correctly. Apple is buying the firm behind one of the most interesting and innovative features of Microsoft's game console. While no details of the purchase have been revealed, and no mention made of any money that may have swapped hands, PrimeSense has confirmed that the purchase is going ahead.
Sony PlayStation 4 hit the stores and Brian not only took a look at the brand new console, but also cracked open the case and slipped a larger hard drive inside. Brian wasn't alone in his love of the PS4, more than a million people also bought a console on the day of launch. But not everyone was happy as many units were found to suffer from a Blue Light of Death problem that rendered them unusable. Raspberry Pi was also celebrating its sales figures as more than two million were shifted since its launch last year.
In a rare show of unity, Microsoft and Google joined forces to help tackle the problem of online child pornography. At the same time, Microsoft took its Scroogled campaign to a new level by releasing merchandise (although Joe was impressed). Elsewhere online, Twitter introduced Twitter alerts to the UK and Ireland to help provide people with critical information in an emergency.
I'm a Surface Pro user; that I won't deny. I also own an iPad -- it's an old iPad 2, but it still does the job. It may not have the fancy 'more pixels than you can see without the aid of a microscope' display of newer models, but it's perfectly functional. However I'd still pick the Surface over Apple's tablet for just about everything. I'll admit I was tempted by the idea of an iPad Air when it was launched, but after thinking it over a little, I decided to stick with the old model and continue to enjoy my Surface Pro.
But the time will come when I am in the market for a new tablet. Having had my attention flagged by the iPad Air, it would seem that it would be a toss-up between the Surface 2 (Pro or regular) and Apple's offering. However much I think about it, I still find myself falling on the side of the Surface. Why? Several reasons:
Canadian maker BlackBerry is expanding the reach of its BBM service through the latest update for the iOS app, that now includes support for non-cellular Apple-branded devices. As a result, Wi-Fi iPad and iPod users can also communicate with their BBM-using friends, as the app no longer limits access only to iPhones and 3G/4G iPads.
BlackBerry has yet to bestow non-cellular Android devices with the same ability, as BBM is still listed as being incompatible with tablets like the Wi-Fi 2013 Google Nexus 7 even in the latest version of the app that arrived yesterday. Now let's take a look at what (else) the Android and iOS updates for BBM add.
There's nothing stopping tablet owners from making use of mobile websites, but apps are where it is at. Gmail has a perfectly serviceable website, but the app does make many tasks easier to perform. Today, Google takes the lid off a completely redesigned version of its iPad app which has been designed to make it easier to do more, whether you choose to work in landscape or portrait mode.
Despite the fact that this release is, based on version number at least, a small move forward -- this is version 2.7182 -- there are a lot of changes, some cosmetic, some functional. Landscape mode benefits from the addition of a new navigation bar that can be used to switch between accounts and categories. This is essentially an iPad friendly version of the tabbed inbox that has been introduced online.
I own an iPad, and despite not rushing to buy a Surface, I actually quite like Microsoft's slate. A couple of days a week I work on my iPad (mostly remote accessing my PC via Parallels Access) and it's not a great experience. I know I'd get a lot more done if I was using a Surface Pro 2 instead, but Apple's tablet is far better in other areas, so for me it wins on balance.
Yesterday, on the Surface blog there was an article headed "What's new in Surface Pro 2". It was a detailed look at what Microsoft has done to improve the latest generation of its slate and I found it fascinating. Partly because it was an interesting read, but also because it was the sort of thing Apple would never do.