Just one geek's opinions and epiphanies

iPad Mini, The new iPad

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Apple announced the new iPad Mini today, probably the web worst kept secret. As expected the display is 7.9 inches, and 1024x769 pixels. That isn't even close to retina and quite a bit lower (25%) than the Nexus 7 from Google and Asus. I was personally surprised by this because it literally made the iPad Mini a shrunken version of the iPad 2 which is now two generations old.

Oh right, did I mention that the The New iPad is no longer the new iPad? Apple also announced that The New iPad (3rd generation) will no longer be available and instead a 4th generation (also dubbed The New iPad) is dropping in it's place. Only seven months old (released March 16th, 2012) the iPad3 is being replaced by what all boils down to an iPad with a newer CPU/GPU. The processor has been changed from an A6 (built by ARM) to a A6X which is rumored direct from Apple (based on ARM designs). The coolest part of this whole thing is that Apple is making their own chips, for better or worse (I am betting worse).

The truly unexpected part of the whole game is that the 4th gen iPad is so close to the predecessor. Some are speculating the change was to get the iPad closer in line with holiday spending, when most are more likely to spend the required $500-800 for a product of this nature. Others are speculating it was just to get off the licensing with ARM as fast as possible. Frankly I would wager the previous as paying ARM is still going to happen, just at a lower rate since they are basically just stealing their plans now.

There was other news from the Apple camp, but I don't care much about Mac mini and whatever else they announced.

Who do you think you are?!

Steve Jobs was recently quoted saying:

we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.

Who does he think he is?!

This statement really gets me started for a few reasons. First, since when do we believe that the hardware and OS manufacturer should control every piece of software available to our device? If anyone should be calling the shots here it should be AT&T as it is their network that is controlling the flow of data. Apple shouldn't have a single say in anything other than how the OS and hardware will play together.

Second, who is Steve Jobs to tell me (or anyone) what content is appropriate on my phone, computer, iPod, etc.? I mean seriously would anyone accept this statement from Steve Jobs if he were talking about an iPod, or iPad, or Macbook Pro? Honestly, why is it then that we accept this for the iPhone?

Sidenote: Technically this does hold true for the iPod Touch and iPad as they run the same OS, and thus are limited to the same apps (oh and there is no option for Third Party app stores).

What if tomorrow Steve had a revelation that we should no longer have golf games on the iPhone? What if tomorrow Steve decided that we shouldn't allow access to MySpace or Facebook on Macs?

This is where things are heading, if they aren't already there. The iPhone users have given in to the man*. They have given all the power to a single entity.

Simply because of statements like those made by Steve I am a user of Free and Open Software. I can run what I choose, when I choose, and where I choose. If I want porn on my phone (still not sure why anyone would want this) I have that option!

I think it is time for the sheep to realize they are drinking the Kool-Aid. You are letting Apple tell you what is ok and what is not ok. You are being held back by the same people you are paying to move you toward the future.

How much did you pay for your iPhone? According to ATT.com you will pay from $200-$400 depending on the phone and plan you purchase.

Let me ask this, would you ever spend $200 on a DVD player only to be told it doesn't play R rated movies, because Magnavox didn't think them appropriate? What about paying $15/month for HBO and Sunday nights the screen goes blank on HBO because Comcast doesn't like Big Love?

What I am saying is this, if you allow Apple the right to control what you can and can't have on your device, you are throwing away all the freedom and rights our forefathers have fought their entire lives to protect.

* Sorry, couldn't resist
I really wanted to name this article Apple is UnAmerican

Apple introduces iPad

[caption id="attachment_347" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Apple iPad"]iPad[/caption]

Apple held a conference yesterday and the introduced the Apple iPad, an over grown iPod with limited support as a real computer.

Apple has built a really small, but still over sized, tablet for the purpose of surfing the net, and basically doing what you do now on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The unit weighs in at 1.5lbs for the wifi only model, and slight more at 1.6lbs for the WiFi + 3G model. The size of the tablet is a small half inch depth, with a 9.7 inch screen, the whole shell comes in at 9.56in x 7.47in.

Running a 1024x768 (132 ppi) resolution the screen looked really nice on the videos everyone posted yesterday.

The 1Ghz Apple A4 processor gave the unit a good smooth power that made all the apps run really nicely.

More specs for the iPad are available at the Apple Store

Since the device is built on a modified iPod OS, it is sort of crippled. Furthermore you might expect the iPad to be able to multi-task, or even run background processes. This is not the case. Apple has continued with their less than stellar no-background-processes policy. Although this can really boost the performance of apps, it cripples the device from being a good twitter/facebook/social media device.

Given the device also has WiFi you would expect it to sync with iTunes over the WiFi (ala Zune), still not the case. Apple is still requiring you to sync with a good old fashion USB cable, truly disappointing.

Finally, there is no Flash support, so sorry to all you guys and gals (my wife) who thought it would be good for playing your Facebook games.

Over all at $499 there are some things the iPad might be good, and even great at, but it still doesn't meet the needs of my family, and as such won't be on our to purchase list.

I'm such a fanboy today!

This week has been probably the best PR week in Zune and Xbox history! So now I am pretty much coming out and saying what everyone already knows about me.

I am a Microsoft Fanboy!

Zune 3.1

Tuesday Microsoft Zune launched version 3.1, more or less it was a minor update. Some trimming of the OS, speeding up some menus and adding some games. This update was for both the Zune device (all of them) and the desktop software. It added some new features such as the ability to look for music that people like you like.

Another point of interest are the multiplayer games. They only have a handful of games, but they are free and they work well. The new multiplayer feature is nice cause you can now play Texas Hold 'Em, or Checkers with other Zunes nearby. Go ahead and insert your "Who owns a Zune" joke here.

When you add those new features (small but important ones) with the already awesomeness of the Zune, you should start to see why the Zune is a good personal media player.  If you don't know the full list of awesome, I have posted it, well right here:

  • Download Music from Device (all generations)
  • Share music with other Zunes
  • Share music with Xbox
  • Zune Pass (which just got more awesome, details in a min)

Let's get intimate with this last feature, the Zune Pass. Zune Pass isn't really a feature, it's the subscription plan you can use to get music for your Zune. For only $14.99/month you get as much music as you can download, so far I have over 100GB downloaded from Zune. There are no caps, except what you HDD can hold. Oh but wait... it is DRMed! That doesn't really matter to me, for a couple reasons, mainly I don't try to use my music anywhere I don't have access to my Zune or my Laptop (one of the three computers on my Zune Pass).

Zune Pass just got better though. Microsoft just announced that Zune Pass now get (included in the $14.99 price tag) 10 songs to keep forever! That is right, for each month you have your Zune Pass you now get 10 free DRM-free tracks to keep forever! When you consider that tracks cost approx. $1 each, that brings the cost of the Zune Pass to effectively $4.99 a month! Think Apple will follow suit? Hell they haven't even got a subscription service yet.

NXE: New Xbox Experience

Let's shift gears, and talk about my Xbox Experience. The new dashboard is sweet! It is fast, it is clean, finding the information you are searching for is quite easy now, and it just looks nice. Avatars are... avatars. Meh. Installing games to the HDD is ok too, it would be better if Microsoft would consider alternatives to the CD in tray requirement. Maybe a 1 week DRM so I don't have to keep my disk in the machine?

The real winner in this NXE though is NetFlix. Wow! I have a cruddy DSL where I am living right now and the NetFlix streaming just worked, and worked well. Once a movie is buffered (and they buffer more than normal Xbox videos) there wasn't a single second I thought about the fact that it was streaming.

The selection on the NetFlix streaming is quite lame. However I did find a bunch of movies I either haven't seen or wanted to see again. I would love to see NetFlix work out the kinks with the Sony rights to streaming on the Xbox. It really rubs me wrong when a company like Sony does exactly this, and their partner Netflix covers for them by saying there is no foul play. I call bullshit. I could possibly understand that story if Sony pulled the streams from all streaming avenues, and not just Xbox.


So there you have it, I am just a fanboy at this point. You would have a hard time convincing me that an iPod is greater than a Zune, or that a PS3 is greater than an Xbox. Note to Apple and Sony, feel free to send me free stuff to try and convert me, I would be happy to give you a fair shake.