This is really two mini reviews in one. A while back the folks at Parrot wanted me to check out their A.R. Drone remote controlled aerial vehicle. So I spent a couple of months doing some product testing. In the process I utilized the quadricopter's two onboard cameras along with Parrot's FreeFlight(Free) drone control app to shoot some video, which I wanted to include with my reviews. Then the dilemma arose of where the heck to find the time in my busy schedule to both write a review and edit about 25 minutes of aerial video down to a short snippet that I thought people might be interested in watching. Enter the remarkable video editing app, Replay, which I learned about during Apple's live presentation of the iPad Air 2.
If you like and use the SoundHound music app (free), which can guess melodies like a musical savant, then you might want to add TouchTunes (free). SoundHound recently announced a team up with TouchTunes: an in-venue entertainment and music platform that provides service at over 60,000 locations. With SoundHound and TouchTunes together, you can now get your online music choices queued up when visiting any TouchTunes supported location!
The enhancements to the iPad Air and iPad mini were expected and appreciated, but they still come with Apple's premium price. Apple has managed to make the iPad family the top selling tablet, but it's still priced higher than typical Android devices. If you have embraced the Apple ecosystem of apps, music, contacts, ebooks and more, those Android units just don't fit the bill.
Today's event showcasing two new iPads (alongside an iMac and Mac Mini) came and went without many unexpected revelations. This was in part due to the constant leaks and incessant rumors that seem to be everywhere prior to Apple's press events.
When speculating about the iPhone 6, I postulated that Apple could do something revolutionary and make a single LTE model that worked with multiple carriers. It didn't happen, but when I purchased my (second) iPhone 6 from Radio Shack, the clerk and I discussed how the technology is already there with LTE and SIM cards, and it would make inventory so much easier. Instead of stocking AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint models, stores could just stock the single SKU. It didn't happen with the iPhone 6, but today Apple did it with the iPad Air 2!
Earlier this year, when Apple's Eddy Cue said that "we've got the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple," he apparently wasn't exaggerating. This year has been nothing short of spectacular for Apple, with the release of one innovative and impressive product after another. It would seem the creative spirit of Steve Jobs is alive and well in Cupertino California. As Tim Cook reiterated today, this is the "strongest lineup of products that Apple has ever had." Congratulations Mr. Cook, job well done. Now as Apple wraps up it's last major product announcement of 2014, let's take a quick look back at what a year it's been for this powerhouse company as it proves itself to be more cutting edge and more relevant than ever.
As a former weather guy, one part of the Apple announcement today really sparked my interest. The new iPad Air 2 will include a barometer. This both excites and makes me wonder just how well this feature will be harnessed. It is likely this is the same sensor introduced in the iPhone 6, though I admit that I haven't been able to test apps leveraging the feature yet.
Once again I'm really looking forward to an announcement from Apple. Thursday's event will be live streamed and will likely introduce the next iPad Air and a new retina iMac. Beyond that, not much is known. The iPad Air 2 is expected to have Touch ID and an 8-megapixel camera. In addition, it's expected to come with the new A8 processor, which is remarkably more efficient than the previous A7, meaning the battery can be smaller while offering greater performance. The iPad Air 2 is also rumored to include an anti-reflective screen coating, which would be a nice feature. However, rumors say that the Apple is having problems producing this new type of display, which may constrain supplies of the new iPad for a while.
File this under "obvious" but it's inevitable that the next iPad will have Touch ID. After all, Apple's announcement invitation simply said "it's been way too long" and it's been too long without Apple adding that capability to the iPad, since the iPhone 5s and now iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have it. So the latest rumors out of China are not surprising, but it's nice to see a photo to make it more believable.