Nvidia makes some pretty sweet processors. One is even named after Superman! They’re cool. Sometimes those chips end up in Android tablets. On much rarer occasions, they end up in Apple tablets. Those occasions are so rare, in fact, that I made that up. It never happens. But it would sure make Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang’s prediction that Android tablets will overtake iPad shipments in about two and a half years a little less self-promoting, wouldn’t it?
Ahhhh, but come on! Let’s give the guy a break. He’s probably right! Right? Right. See, it’s what happened in the smartphone market. As you know, smartphones are generally sold on contracts, with heavy subsidies, and are replaced about as frequently as contracts are renewed in a lot of cases. Whereas tablets are….umm….well. Well, you use money to buy them! That’s one similarity.
Still. The fact that the Android platform is on a wide variety of devices from various manufacturers is likely going to be one huge advantage that Android has over the iPad. The wide variety of form factors has helped the Android market boom. And just take a look at two of the leading Android tablets right now: the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (both running Nvidia chips, naturally). And they offer a wide variety of hardware options: one of them is a large, roughly 10″ slab with a touchscreen and some ports while the other is…umm…..err. That is….
Well, look. The point is that Android won the numbers game in the smartphone space, and it will probably take only just as long for them to win in the tablet space. Probably. I guess.
Or maybe the technology industry is vast and complex, the tablet market hasn’t even really been defined yet, and there’s still plenty of room for experimentation, innovation, and discovery before anything is settled and life is less straightforward than projections on a chart. I guess.
It’s more fun this way, though, right?
An analyst from Morgan Stanley, the analyst firm best known for being an analyst firm, has wildly speculated that Apple may announce iOS and OS X announcements at the event they announced for the purpose of announcing some iOS and OS X announcements. BGR reports, helpfully, that Katu Huberty of Morgan Stanley suggest that Apple might “be making some major software announcements at Worldwide Developer Conference next month”.
In other news, McDonald’s is expected to announce at their next earnings call that they will be selling “food” for the next quarter. Harley-Davidson is expected, against all odds, to make a shocking announcement that it will create two-wheeled motor vehicles for release next year.
If the last few months are any indication, you should have seen this coming. Yet again, over the weekend, iPhone users awoke the world over to discover that their iDevices had failed to wake them at the proper time.
This marks the third time in six months that the iPhone has had trouble managing time. We asked Apple for a comment on the issues and received the following response from Steve Jobs himself:
“We wanted to take the time to get Daylight Savings Time and year-changes right. Anyone can say “Hey look! We made our phones automatically adjust the time in accordance with various time changes” but we wanted to make sure we developed a system that was simple for the user and up to the quality standards that our users are used to. Quite simply, we wanted to not just do it, but do it best. So, naturally, we put working on that feature on the backburner for a few years. We look forward to releasing it with iOS 7.”
The Clock app will come bundled with iOS 7, but will only be supported on the iPhone 6 and 7. Users with older phones can jailbreak their devices to get the correct time.
On February 4th at 4am, the Verizon iPhone 4 missed its opportunity to do one of those annoying triple-number advertising gimmicks, completely ignoring the obvious “4 on 4 at 4” slogan. Instead, pre-orders for the Verizon iPhone 4 began on February 3rd at 3am. They then closed pre-orders at 5am, intentionally denying the number 4 any chance for an amusing coincidence.
The number that did get some attention? “A lot.” That’s how many iPhone 4 pre-orders were sold in the two twilight (no relation) hours that pre-orders were available. In fact, the pre-orders were sold out. That is, every single possible pre-order available, for a phone that has been out for seven months, will be refreshed in another five, yet cannot be upgraded for another two years once purchased sold out.
If you’re unfamiliar with the upgrade cycle of iPhones, it’s once every year. Like Christmas in June. Literally. Every June, an allegedly jolly old man with a white beard comes out and gives presents to a select group of good people, while everyone else gets the HTC Coal running Android. It’s as dependable and predictable as Santa. But apparently not quite as well known, since a record number of people-more than Verizon has seen for any launch day ever-decided that five months is too long to wait to get the next version of the phone that will likely have better hardware, better software, and better pixie dust than the iPhone 4.
On the upside, that’s five months that they’ll be able to make phone calls with an iPhone.
First there was the original iPhone. It had a pretty good resolution at the time, but not great. Conveniently, though, if you wrote an app for one iPhone they worked on them all. The resolution on the phone didn’t change for three years. The iPad, rumor has, won’t take nearly that long.
Then Apple released the iPad. For the first time there was a device available to the App Store that did not have a 480×320 resolution. This screen was 1024×768 on a 9.7″ screen. Now, in order to compensate for the lack of tablet-specific apps, and to ensure the device did not launch with no apps at all, Apple introduced a process called “pixel doubling”. Which, if you’ve ever grabbed the corner of Windows Media Player and stretched the window to fill the screen, is not a concept you’re unfamiliar with. It makes apps look bigger. And crappier. Needless to say app developers needed to create new versions of their apps that didn’t look horrible on a tablet, and preferably, made use of all that extra space.
Then, a couple months later, they released the iPhone 4. One of the headlining features? A Retina Display. With a resolution of 960×640, and a pixel density of 326ppi, Apple redefined OCD by blurring the line between pixelated and blurry. Problem: now, we have a third resolution to support, old iPhone apps that have no business on a tablet have to be updated to not look crappy, too. Perhaps most importantly, though, iPad owners are now aware that their crappy screen, with only 132 ppi is crappy.
Note: a 50″ HDTV, with full 1080p picture has a pixel density of roughly 44ppi. Obviously less if you go higher.
Now rumor has it that the iPad 2 will have a display close to that of a Retina Display with 2048×1536 on what we can only assume will still be a 9.7″ screen (clocking in at 263ppi. For reference, the original Droid weighs in at 260ppi).
So, if you’re a developer, here’s a list of the current and/or soon-to-be supported display resolutions:
iPhone 3G S and older: 480×320 (165ppi)
iPhone 4: 960×40 (326ppi)
iPad: 1024×768 (132ppi)
iPad 2: 2048×1536 (263ppi)
Or, put another way:
iPhone 3G S and older: Regular
iPhone 4: Retina Display-Compatible
iPad2: Extra Super HD Extreme To Tha Max
I fully expect all iPad 2 versions of various apps to be appended with the above label. Otherwise, well, I just won’t know what in the world I’m installing, will I?
On a related note, I honestly can’t remember the last time Apple released an iOS device that didn’t require app developers to update their apps to support a new resolution.
Today, Apple finally launched their long-awaited Mac App Store. While Macs have only recently become capable of running apps after Steve Jobs invented the internet, Apple finally made it easy for the “normal” users who don’t know how to “drag” things into “folders” to “install” “applications”. On the same day it was launched, a group Hackulous announced they have an app that will allow you to pirate anything in the App Store.
In a rather odd twist, the crackers themselves have not released the piracy app because they “don’t want to devalue applications and frustrate developers.” Awfully nice of them! Still, seems kinda harsh to Apple, though. I mean, Steve Jobs personally went to all of the trouble of rounding up all the best software on the internet into one place, giving it a universal DRM scheme with what appears to be an afternoon-long process to break. They’ve practically given the App Store over to the software piracy community. For them to just snub Apple like that seems, well, cruel.
Oh, well. In any case, developers have until February to get their revenue, and Apple has until February to plug the hole. After that, one can only assume the days of paying for applications on the internet will be…well, they were over already. But, in true Apple fashion, it will simply just work.
As everyone who’s left their house in the last decade is no doubt aware, the market for personal MP3-playing devices is totally, 100% up in the air. There are no clear winners yet. Despite overwhelming demand for an easy-to-use, versatile, robust media playing device, no such device exists. At least, not to Samsung’s knowledge. Which is why they’ve cleverly decided to take the Android platform and make a handheld, non-phone device. This is brilliant! You can do stuff with it! Like apps! And I’m pretty sure it plays music. I think Android has a built-in music player, right?
This should serve as a warning sign to all of the other device manufacturers out there to get it in gear. Pun intended*. In the near-decade since Napster made people aware that all music is free forever, there has not been a single device, gadget, or pod that has come along to fill the hole that Samsung is about to fill. Frankly, they could take the market if someone else doesn’t step up.
Of course, Samsung would have a much harder time of it if a.) Android weren’t known primarily, if not solely for their robust multimedia applications, 2.) there were another device on the market that was already synonymous with personal multimedia playback, and d.) this device didn’t have that gorgeous AMOLED screen that’s become the Galaxy series’ trademark.
What’s that? It has a Super Clear LCD screen instead? Ah. Well. Two out of three ain’t bad, right?
*- I’m so….so sorry.
I do not have cable. I do not have a DVR. I do not have satellite. I have an internet connection and a computer. I also do not have a remote control. No device I use has an IR sensor. I have a smartphone and WiFi router. I am able to perform all of the basic TV-viewing tasks, such as watch TV shows, pause or mute playback from across the room, and lose my smartphone remote somewhere underneath my butt as I shift around on the couch. It’s a good life.
And one of the things I miss the least from my old, former life-the one where I was stuck with a CRT television, cable, and a dinky plastic remote control-is the horrible hodge podge of buttons and cryptic labels smushed on to an oddly-shaped “ergonomic” remote control. Verizon has thus seen fit to take the old remote I’m not using and shove it into their iPad app.
You see, the beauty of a touchscreen device is that the interface can be programmed to be just about anything. A grid of buttons. A map. An escher drawing. The latter obviously being the inspiration for most remote control designs. And if you’re one of those pervy masochists who loves the pain of taking a ten-week training course to use a remote control, yet hates the idea of holding stuff*, this iPad app is for you.
*- Stuff that isn’t an iPad
Remember when the first iPhone came out? And you couldn’t do anything on it but mess with the browser or calculator? And then the App Store came out and suddenly the iPhone was worth having? Well, that’s basically what Macs have been like this whole time. Without an App Store of their own, they’re pretty much worthless. But, starting January 6th, no more!
Nevermind that you could always install third-party software. Nevermind that Macs actually have one of the cleanest, simplest install methods around. No. We need an App Store! Developers have been clamoring for hundreds of years that they have been completely incapable of distributing their apps in any meaningful way without an App Store. A couple decades ago, Apple launched their platform “the internet” (along with other such innovations as USB, computers, and electrons). This was a pretty good start. But ultimately, it’s only now, with the coming advent of the Mac App Store, finally developers have the ability to let people download software they have written.
The future, ladies and gentlemen!