If you surveyed the different directions K-12 school districts take in the United States, you'd find nothing less than a hodgepodge of technologies. The mess that was known as "Novell Hell" universally bows down to a diverse array of technologies including Active Directory, campus-wide Wi-Fi, iPads, Chromebooks, and a little bit of everything else in between. While it's reassuring that most districts I'm in discussions with are moving to cloud-based Google Apps or Office 365 for their email, the end-user device side of things is murkier.
I'm not going to call myself an expert in K-12 technology and policy, but seeing that I spent the last four years supporting and training users' technology needs at my former high school district, I've got good experience understanding the issues affecting teachers and students alike. After attending educational tech conferences year after year, the common consensus stands: everyone in education knows where they want to be, but the paths some of them take to get there are muddled with too much idealism and not enough realism.
Nearly two months ago, when forecasting that tablets would outsell laptops this year, NPD DisplaySearch dropped dirty data bomb: shipments of slates with 7-7.9-inch screens will eclipse larger ones. Now the analyst firm puts real numbers behind the prediction, and they are grim for Apple. Talk about mixed blessings. iPad mini sizzles, while iPad fizzles. The problem: Higher sales of one takes away from the other, rather than expands demand. As such, margins are lower for the important category, likely biting Macs, too.
Panel shipments reveal the trend, and it is dramatic in just one month. "Shipments of 9.7-inch tablet PC panels collapsed, falling from 7.4 to 1.3 million, while 7-inch and 7.9-inch panel shipments grew rapidly, from 12 to 14 million", David Hsieh, NPD vice president, says. "Shipments of 10.1-inch panels grew only slightly" from December to January. Apple and Sony are the major manufacturers selling 9.7-inch tablets, the overwhelming majority iPad. Starting today, Sony sells the Xperia Tablet Z, in a move to 10.1 inches, but 9.7-inch volumes aren't high enough to account for such a dramatic shift in panel orders.
Amazon has launched Amazon Cloud Player 2.0 for iOS. The app, which lets users stream or download music from their Amazon Cloud collection, has been revamped to support the iPad and iPad mini for the first time, in addition to previous support for iPhone and iPod touch.
Version 2.0 also debuts a revamped user interface and adds a new setting that allows users to configure the size of the offline cache used for storing streamed music for access while offline.
In-app purchases are a lucrative revenue stream for both Apple and the developers who embrace it. It provides a way to try a game and then unlock the full thing, or gain access to additional features. In Temple Run 2, for example, you can use real money to buy coins and gems to use on unlocking new characters and abilities.
The problem is a lot of game makers offer this facility in their apps, and until Apple made a change to its purchasing system in iOS 4.3, it was possible for children to spend money on in-app purchases without their parents knowledge. This, inevitably, lead to a lawsuit against Apple, with the technology giant accused of failing to adequately publicize the existence of the feature in certain App Store games aimed at children.
The BBC’s iPlayer app is available for both iOS and Android, but owners of Apple devices definitely get the better deal with additional features, such as the ability to download shows to their iPhones or iPads for offline viewing.
The latest update from the BBC widens the gap between the app siblings further by introducing improved AirPlay support. Owners of iOS devices who also have Apple TV will now be able to beam a show from the app to the big screen, and then background iPlayer, and use their phone or tablet for something else while the show continues to play.
In addition, the new version of the app fixes various minor problems and glitches, improves playback quality, and ensures downloads are more reliable.
Yesterday Apple rolled out iOS 6.1.2 for compatible iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices, touting the fix of an Exchange calendar bug that might boost network activity and decrease battery life. And, as customary with a new iteration of iOS 6, there's also a new version of the popular evasi0n jailbreak tool. Evad3rs, the team responsible for the first iOS 6 jailbreak tool, released evasi0n 1.4 shortly after iOS 6.1.2 rolled out.
The latest version, according to the "evasi0n 6.0-6.1 Unthether" package in Cydia, touts the same bug fixes as two weeks ago when I reported on the first evasi0n update. It appears that the fruit company did not put the lid on modding attempts just yet. First-time jailbreakers running iOS 6.1.2 simply have to connect their iPads, iPhones or iPod touch devices to a compatible PC running Windows, MacOS X or Linux and run evasi0n to unleash the modding gates on their smartphone or tablet.
On Valentine's day, French consumer electronics company Archos professed its love for mobile technology by unveiling a new tablet lineup dubbed Platinum. The three devices, 80 Platinum, 97 Platinum HD and 116 Platinum, are designed for the wallet-conscious tablet buyers while also sporting pretty decent hardware specifications.
The common denominators between the three tablets are found inside the shell, with only the physical dimensions and screen specifications separating them. The devices share a quad-core 1.2GHz processor backed by an 8-core GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and 2GB of RAM. Archos also throws in its branded Media Center applications, front and back cameras, as well as a mini-HDMI port and microSD card slot.
The past few months have been a bit rough for Apple. Samsung attacked the company in a series of amusing ads that portrayed a line of people waiting to buy iPhone as losers. While the ads never specifically mentioned Apple, the implications were certainly clear enough. Combine those attacks with declining stock prices and other nagging battles, such as those in court, and you have a recipe for tough times.
While Samsung largely lets its rival be in the latest ads, Amazon picks up the slack -- and, unlike Samsung, is quite clear. The 30-second second clip compares the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch against Apple iPad with Retina Display and lets the viewer know that, while both devices show "stunning HD", there is a major difference. Then it proceeds to place the devices side-by-side and let you know that, while you may not be able to tell the difference in the screens, "your wallet definitely can".
Three days ago evad3rs released the first public iOS 6 jailbreak tool, opening up iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices to the world of underground modding. But as is the case with the majority of infant jailbreak-related releases it also brought along a series of bugs, which the team behind the project now claims to have fixed in the latest update.
On Twitter, planetbeing, one of the three members behind evad3rs, announced the release of evasi0n 1.1. The second iteration of the popular jailbreaking tool brings along "the latest fixes", which are supposed to sort the Weather app and "long boot" time issues. The latter problem is also referred to by the team as the "reboots getting stuck" bug.
The publisher of the Dutch edition of Playboy has started adding Layar augmented reality codes to the cover and certain pages inside of the magazine, providing a little interactive treat for iOS and Android smartphone owners.
When scanned with the Layar app, the cover of the current Playboy Netherlands comes to life, showing semi-nude, partially animated clips of the three potential Playmate of the Year cover models, Beau, Nadine and Lotte.
We recently learned that Apple would release a 128GB tablet. Well, that day has finally arrived -- two versions of the new, mega storage, iPad are up for sale now in the Apple store online and, likely, in the company's retail locations as well.
There are two flavors of this apple available -- a WiFi-only that retails for $799 and a version with WiFi plus cellular connectivity. The latter will lighten your wallet by $929. The cellular version can work with either Sprint, AT&T or Verizon. You will need to choose your network during the purchase process. You can also choose a financing plan of six, 12 or 18 months. Given the price, you may need one of those plans. All models are available to ship in "1-3 business days".
The lack of an untethered jailbreak for iOS 6.x has been frustrating for many iPhone/iPod touch/and iPad users desperate to liberate their devices, install all their beloved jailbreak apps, and apply their favorite tweaks. A friend of mine is keen to buy an iPhone 5, but hasn’t purely because he’s been waiting to make sure of an iOS 6 jailbreak.
Well the good news for him, and other users keen to remove the limitations on their Apple devices, is the evad3rs team has rolled out its highly anticipated evasi0n hack for all Apple hardware running iOS6-iOS6.1.
Apple's stock price tanked more than 12 percent the day after announcing fiscal 2013 first quarter earnings. Nine days later, shares are still down about 10 percent, in part because Q2 guidance came in below analyst consensus. The guidance, in particular, seems to have spooked investors as Apple announced its intentions to provide a realistic guidance, as compared to the usual "sandbagging". The company also warned of lower margins -- between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent. In that context, let's look at the average selling price movement chart and benchmark our previous iPad Mini cannibalization estimate.
The shipment chart above clearly shows that iPhone growth has slowed during the current product cycle, thanks to market saturation. This should give Apple even more incentive to launch a cheaper iPhone. In contrast, the iPad has seen reasonably strong growth, but as I predicted, iPad Mini cannibalization seems to have pushed Q1 shipments below market expectations.
Or do they? If you listen to some analysts, Surface, and other slates running Windows 8 or RT, started slow out of the gate. Considering how much tablets sapped PC shipments in Q4, slow forebodes trouble ahead. Or does it?
"There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul", Ryan Reith, IDC program manager, says. "However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company’s Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best". He estimates that Microsoft shipped just 900,000 Surfaces during fourth quarter, which means to stores and not actual sales to customers.
Yesterday morning, when I rolled out of bed (West Coast time) and saw colleague Wayne Williams' headline on 128GB iPad, I thought: "Well, good for Apple! This should bring down the price and raise storage capacity of other models". But the details wiped away all enthusiasm. This thing sells for as much as $929. What the frak? Who will pay that much for a tablet in a market pining for considerably lower prices, like $199?
Apple's idea of innovation is to double storage and charge considerably more for it. Perhaps CEO Tim Cook and company read too many blogs about supposedly overpriced Microsoft Surface Pro, which iPad gangbangers insist competes with the fruit-logo tablet. Not so -- Microsoft priced against Windows ultrabooks and MacBook Air. But based on that faulty comparison, Apple can claim bragging rights. The new iPad ships February 5, four days before Surface Pro -- that's no coincidence -- and by comparison for less but with more. With 128GB storage, Microsoft's slate is $999, while the other isn't just $70 less but packs 4G LTE radio, too. Reasonable comparisons stop there, and no one should be fooled, although many will be.