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With the release of the iPad mini, Apple has finally entered the small tablet market. Much has changed since the first iPad ushered in a new era of mobile computing, as tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD have become even more portable, with higher resolution displays to boot.
And so with great expectations, it’s somewhat strange to find the mini to be one of the most polarizing Apple iDevices ever. It’s beautifully crafted, extremely light and fun to use, and yet, it also houses the same A5 processor from the iPad 2 and a display with a resolution of just 1024 x 768 pixels . That said, after a week of using the mini, these initial concerns have been put to rest and I’ve come to love this 7.9-inch iPad.
With just 2 days to go before the iPad mini’s worldwide launch in 26 countries, the reviews have started to hit the web. Tech bloggers from Jim Dalrymple of The Loop to The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky have all found the mini to be beautifully made, light and easy to hold with just one hand. Not surprisingly, the one thing most noted the 7.9″ tablet could use is a Retina display. While it’s still a good display by many accounts, those used to Apple’s high-res screen on the iPhone 5 and newer iPads will no doubt find that text isn’t nearly as sharp. That said, and despite its $329 price tag, the reviews are still calling the iPad mini the best ‘small’ tablet money can buy. The roundup after the break.
Apple has announced via press invites that a special event will be held on Oct 23rd in San Jose, with the tagline “We’ve got a little more to show you”. The ‘little’ presumably alludes to the long speculated iPad Mini, a more portable iPad that has been rumoured to have a 7.85″ (non-retina) display, a thinner body, a rear facing camera and the new lightning port. With a host of other 7″ tablets flooding the market – most notably the Nexus 7 – it is expected that the iPad Mini’s price point will be an attractive one, possibly in the $249-299 range for a 16GB model. Here are several mockups of what it could look like next to an iPad 2/3.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s ‘Asian component suppliers’ have begun mass production of the iPad Mini. Citing two sources, production of the upcoming iPad’s screens is said to have started last month, with both LG Display and AU Optronics being named as the manufacturers of the display. The same sources confirmed that the iPad Mini will feature a 7.85-inch LCD screen and that it will have a lower resolution than the iPad 3. It has been speculated in the past that the Mini will have a resolution 1024 x 768 pixels. Two days earlier, Japanese blog Macotakara claimed that production of the smaller tablet has already begun in Foxconn factories located in Brazil.
It appears that the first iPhone 5 benchmark has to hit Geekbench. As can be seen from the screenshot above, Apple’s new A6 chip used in the iPhone 5 is a dual core and clocks in at 1GHz. Memory wise, the phone is packed with 1GB ram, same as the New iPad. Its benchmark score of 1601 is not only the highest ever for an Apple (mobile) device, but it’s easily double that of any previous iOS benchmark (the iPad 3 scored in the mid-high 700s). Based on this figure alone, Apple’s claim of the A6 being twice as fast as the A5 processor is pretty much bang on. Perhaps more impressive is that the new iPhone beats out even quad core Tegra 3 powered devices like the Nexus 7 and Transformer Primer. For comparison, here are the benchmarks for other Android phones/tablets:
For those who you who don’t have an iPhone 4S (or the new iPad with iOS 6) and feel left out with not being able to converse with Siri, you’ll soon be able to do many of the same things that Apple’s digital assistant is able to. Along with Google’s announcement today that Knowledge Graph will be making its way outside the US, and the introduction of the Gmail in personal search results feature, the Big G has made it known that the Google Search app for iOS will be updated soon and it’ll include voice-based questions and answers.
The possible release of the iPad mini is one of those rumours that just won’t go away. The latest such rumblings come from Chinese tech site MyDrivers, where ‘anonymous sources’ claim that the 7.85 inch iPad mini will feature Sharp’s IGZO display and retail for under $300. As Wired points out, IGZO is a new and improved manufacturing process that makes displays “thinner, higher in contrast, and less power-hungry than current display technology”. It is worth noting that this technology was rumoured to replace the IPS screens on the new iPad, but this turned out to be false. The report also says that the smaller iPad will be as thin as the iPad 2, have a resolution of 330 pixels per inch and 8GB capacity, which will go for between $250-299. There is no mention of release dates, though a previous report from net portal NetEase claimed that the iPad mini will be launched in the 3rd quarter of 2012. With the recent release of the Google Nexus 7 (among a bevy of other 7″ android tablets), it’s not surprising that Apple reportedly have plans to introduce a more cost effective and portable iPad.
The Android Marketplace has real success stories such as Aaron La’s Advanced Task Manager; its open slant gives opportunity to many developers who can’t afford a Mac to join a huge market place. Every day, Android grows, and barring the all-out success of Windows Phone 7, it is destined to remain at the top, at least as market share leader. But, all is not well.
According to the Reg, Google’s hands-off approach allows its Marketplace to drown in oceans of porn just as the App Store was chocked by useless apps (fart and flashlight) in its early days. There is another negative effect: piracy. Despite the fact that the average selling price for Android apps is less than their iPhone, developers are strangled by app pilfering. The net result is that 49% of Android developers are making less than they expected and only 27% making more than they expected. Again, there is no question that Android is the market leader. For developers, it is an attractive platform. But it isn’t the heaven and spice that disgruntled iPhone developers may think it is. Google needs to adapt to keep its most important customer, the developer, happy. Happy, loaded developers make great apps. Currently iPhone Development, while a lot more controlled, has a friendlier, more lucrative face; it also tends to sport much more high quality apps.
Last week, Hitler’s iPhone 4 badmouthing was the rage. This week, it is just cute. Motorola, you know, the Google Nexus-shafted maker of the Droid, has a new phone coming out. It looms LARGE (and I do mean large). Its 4,3 inch screen is big enough to encourage b-boyism everywhere; its Adobe Flash compatibility should be enough to wet the panties of porn-fans everywhere – but that’s not all. Sure, it’s got a noise-friendly 8MP camera and it is black. The real killer, however, is its two antennas; these bunny ears alone will make dead-palming their handset nigh on impossible.
Thanks El Reg
The absence of iPhone Flash support has been a major points of criticism against Apple. To this Steve Jobs has replied many many many times that Flash kills battery life. Flash is also slow and buggy and will kill the iPhone user experience. Well, it seems now they actually have some tests to back up those claims.