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.
Apple beat expectations and sold 3 million iPads over the past three days. This doubles the previous record launch last March, when Apple sold 1.5 million WiFi-only retina iPads in the first three days. This figure represents the total of both iPad mini sales and 4th generation iPads.
Until the recent shakeup at Apple, with longtime exec Scott Forstall being shown the door, I'd never heard of skeuomorphic design. Forstall, who headed iOS development, greatly favored this approach to design. As did Steve Jobs. But the new top iOS guy, legendary designer Jony Ive, dislikes it. That may mean that iOS will lose skeuomorphism in the future. So what exactly might we be losing? The tendency of Apple's apps to resemble real-world objects. Think of the bookshelf in iBooks. Or the notepad metaphor in the Notes app. Or the leather-bound book appearance of Contacts. And on and on.
My favorite review of the iPad mini is the one in The Guardian. Most of the reviews have been positive, and most like the fact that the iPad mini gives a full iPad experience in a smaller, thinner, and lighter device. But then comes the caveat: it's too expensive. What was Apple thinking? they say. The article by Charles Arthur points out that this exact criticism was leveled at Apple back in 2004. Its iPod, introduced in 2001, was a huge hit, despite all those commentators who said that the MP3 player market was already saturated.
The iPad mini was not the only iPad to sell out this week. By Tuesday, Apple's pre-order inventory of the fourth generation iPad had also sold out, with the website giving a shipping time of one week. AppleInsider has posted a summary of the early reviews, which generally recognize that this is an incremental upgrade.
A couple top executives at Apple were shown the door yesterday, in a major shakeup by CEO Tim Cook. Scott Forstall, a longtime protege of Steve Jobs who accompanied Jobs when he moved to Apple from Next back in 1996, was relieved of his duties as head of the mobile software products group, which is responsible for iOS and Apple apps development. He will be retained into next year as a special advisor to Cook. In addition, John Browett, who Apple hired to head up their retail stores seven months ago, was let go.
At last week's event Apple announced version 3.0 of iBooks, their free ebook-reading app for iPhone and iPad, and iBooks Author, their free software for the Macintosh that lets users create multimedia, multitouch ebooks. The iBooks app adds a range of great features that many had been clamoring for. Most notably, you can now, finally, copy passages of text and share that text via email, iMessage, Facebook, or Twitter.
The 16GB white iPad mini sold out in minutes early last Friday morning, while the black model continued to be available for delivery on November 2. But now all models in Apple's pre-order inventory are sold out, as Apple's website is saying that it will take two weeks for them to ship. Yet again Apple has introduced a new gadget that's in big demand. They'll likely issue a press release shortly giving an indication of the numbers sold. Those who want an iPad mini this Friday and weren't lucky enough to get one of Apple's pre-order inventory iPads will now have to think about getting in line at a store.