As I'm sure you know, Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is coming up next week on November 23. Stores open early or even the night before, and offer door-busting deals that usually include below-cost loss-leaders just to get crowds in the door. And they tend to keep these great deals under wraps until their circulars come out the Wednesday before. However, several websites make a practice of getting their hands on these circulars early and publishing them — notably TGI Black Friday.
Navigation has become a crucial component of today's smartphones and tablets, and companies are vying to offer the best solution. Nokia has reportedly spent billions on a mapping solution, called HERE, and yesterday they announced they have a FREE app coming for iOS devices in the next few weeks. You can read their full press release on MacDailyNews. It sounds great: offline maps, voice-guided walking navigation, and public transit directions.
Sometimes it seems like there's nothing new for Apple to invent. There are rumors of an Apple TV set, but it's hard to imagine that would have the potential for revolutionizing an industry, and goosing Apple's bottom line, in the same way as have the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. While it's difficult to guess what Apple will come up with next, I think there are some sure bets for the near term. So I'm going out on a limb and am making some predictions regarding Apple's mobile devices.
We wouldn't expect a new iPhone until September of 2013 but already the rumors are beginning. DigiTimes, which has a spotty record in the rumor department, has today posted a translation of some news carried by the Taiwanese newspaper the Commercial Times. Their report says that trial production of an iPhone 5S will begin in December, with 50,000-100,000 units. Why so soon? The reason the iPhone 5 is in short supply is due to low "yield rates." That is, too many of the parts, or iPhone units themselves, are rejected as defective. That results in increased costs and short supplies.
This is one of those glitches that many iPhone 5 users may never encounter. But if you do, it's good to know that it's a known issue. An iOS developer was the first to notice that if you scroll diagonally by rapidly swiping back and forth on an iPhone 5, the display seems to freeze momentarily. After the developer posted about it online, Recombu, a product-comparison site, was able to replicate the glitch. They've posted a video demonstrating what happens. The video shows two iPhone 4S models side by side with two iPhone 5s.
AT&T announced in a press release yesterday that they're offering $100 off any iPad in their inventory, both in stores and online, if you commit to a 2-year data contract. This is the first time that iPads are being sold using the same model as the iPhone: lower price up front but with a 2-year contract. They have a number of data options available. If you add your iPad to your Mobile Share data plan, you'll pay $10 per month more.
Today is sort of a good-news-bad-news day. Apple's stock keeps plunging downward, yet already the buzz is beginning for a forthcoming Apple product: the iPad mini 2 with retina display. Macworld UK says that Apple's suppliers have said they're already working on a retina display for the iPad mini with a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 — which would give it even greater pixel density than the fourth generation iPad. It's hard to imagine that this wouldn't happen, since all the other iOS devices are now using retina displays. The question is when we'll see it.
Today The Verge is reporting that their sources inside Microsoft say that a version of the widely used Microsoft Office suite will be coming to iOS and Android devices in early 2013. Called Office Mobile, the apps will be free and will allow viewing of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. In order to use Office Mobile, one will need to set up a Microsoft account. And to be able to edit documents, one will need to subscribe to Office 365 from within the apps.
I love my iPad 2, and I can't wait until my LTE iPad mini arrives. I also have a Nexus 7. In my mind, Apple's tablets are way above the rest. But if you're curious how the iPad stacks up against the other new tablets, here's a guide to the tablets from Apple, Amazon, Google, Barnes & Noble, and Microsoft.
One obvious implication of the new, smaller dock connector (called Lightning) on the new iPads, iPhone 5, and new iPod touch is that these devices will no longer work with older accessories designed for the larger dock connector that had been used previously. Apple sells an adaptor, but that doesn't fit all devices. Now, according to The Next Web, Belkin is the very first company to announce accessories that are offically certified by Apple to be compatible with the new Lightning connector.