Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.
In my mind, it's not a given that the next iPad mini will have a retina display, but certainly the rumor persists. And today a Chinese website purports to have all the juice on the forthcoming device. According to Tapscape, it will likely be called "iPad mini with retina display." The screen resolution will be 2048x1536 pixels, giving it a 324ppi pixel density. The resolution is rumored to be the same as the current fourth-generation iPad.
I read an interesting article in Wiredrecently about the likelihood of a major redesign of iOS, Apple's software that runs our iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. Speculation began when Apple replaced Scott Forestall with Jony Ive to head up iOS interface design. Forestall, like Steve Jobs, loved skeuomorphic design, which harks back to real world objects of the past.
The smartphone industry is moving so fast, offering such a variety of models that if Apple releases an iPhone 5S in June, as is rumored, it appears destined to be a letdown. Apple typically makes changes in the form factor every two years, but often makes internal upgrades in between. A great article on 9To5Mac, titled, "Can Apple get away with another 'S' iPhone?" questions whether this sort of incremental upgrade this year will be enough to impress consumers.
The annual Macworld/iWorld trade show is underway in San Francisco, and Macworld magazine already has named its Best of Show winners. They include some gotta-see gadgets for the iPad and iPhone, such as an iPad robot, an iPad case that doubles as a speaker, and a 1TB external hard drive for the iPhone and iPad.
iOS 6.1 became available on Monday, and no doubt you will want to upgrade. If you're in the habit of syncing with your desktop computer, you can simply connect your device and go into iTunes and click the Check for Update button. However, you may want to consider updating "over the air," which requires a WiFi connection. A great article on TidBITS recommeds this method of updating because the iTunes update is much larger. For example, the iPhone over-the-air update is 107 MB whereas the iTunes update is 989.5 MB.
Rumors were flying that a redesigned Apple TV was coming, thanks to an FCC filing that revealed the new device. The specs seemed to indicate a smaller form factor, as well as upgraded innards. And for the second time in recent weeks, Apple has uncharacteristically responded to a rumor, telling The Verge that the form factor will be the same and that the component changes in the forthcoming device won't be noticeable to customers: "We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval. The component changes we made don't affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience." AppleInsider and other websites are suggesting the device will get the faster A5X chip. The new device is expected this quarter.
That was quick. The rumor just broke over the weekend, and today Apple has announced that they will begin selling a new version of the fourth generation iPad with 128GB memory on February 5. Other than the additional memory, this new iPad is identical to the current fourth generation iPad. The price of the WiFi-only model will be $799, and the model with cellular data will be $929.
So far the rumors have been pretty sketchy, but now some websites with industry sources and a good track record are reporting details on new iPads and iPhones, even including a photo on iLounge of a model of a new iPad 5. Jeremy Horwitz, editor-in-chief at iLounge, had the opportunity to inspect a model of the new iPad and gives a detailed description of it. He says that it's smaller than seems possible, with a 9.7-inch screen and almost no bezel around the edges, with just enough bezel at top and bottom to accommodate the front-facing camera and home button. It's much slimmer too. He characterizes it as a "stretched iPad mini," in that it has the same sort of edges and curvature, and says the it's smaller than the current iPad in every respect, except that it retains a 9.7-inch display.
On Wednesday Apple reported their earnings for the December quarter. It was their best quarter yet, and the fourth most profitable quarter of any company in history. Yet their stock plunged by 11%. It's now trading at around 450 after cresting above 700 a few months ago. What gives? In short, market analysts tend to expect Apple to be perfect. And they saw some weaknesses in Apple's report: they had expected Apple to sell at least 50 million iPhones, but Apple reported 47 million sold. Apple also sold a million fewer computers than expected. And there's lingering doubt that Apple still has its mojo.
A new movie about the life of Steve Jobs, titled jOBS, will open in theaters on April 19. Starring Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, and with Josh Gad in the role of Steve Wozniak, the movie covers Jobs's life from 1971 through 2000, focusing on the major events and individuals that influenced him. Watch the video below to see a short clip from the movie that was posted on ET Movies. It shows Jobs and Wozniak arguing about whether people will want to buy personal computers. The movie will also be shown as the closing night film at the Sundance Film Festival this Sunday, January 27. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern and written by Matthew Whitely, the movie also features Dermot Mulroney, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Matthew Modine. There's now an official website for the movie, but little content so far. Scenes in the movie were shot in the actual garage where Jobs and Wozniak created the first Apple computer — and jumpstarted the personal computer industry.