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.
I wrote an article for our magazine about video aggregation apps, and of course it's now already out of date. These apps are like the wildly popular Flipboard app, but just for video. And they're fun. Showyou was the first to appear last year, and now a new version has just been released that is increasingly similar to the popular Flipboard interface. I also very much like Plizy.
NFC is one of those technologies that will inevitably happen sooner or later. Imagine going to Wal-Mart, buying a bunch of stuff, and then walking out with it — without ever going near a checkout line. Instead, you simply take out your phone, tap the screen, and your purchases are deducted from your credit card. This is now possible thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC) chips.
If you don't have an iPhone 4S and wish you could have Siri, may be Evi a try. This $0.99 app lets you ask questions in natural language in a manner similar to Siri. However, it doesn't have other Siri features, such as the ability to interact with other iPhone apps (calendar, etc.), nor can you dictate a text message. But reviews do say that it does answer questions pretty well. You can read more on Mashable. The main complaint in the App Store is that the servers are unresponsive.
TechnoBuffalo reported last week that a high-ranking source with a major tech retailer told them that an Apple TV will be coming out in April, or May at the latest. It will a use state-of-the-art OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, and will include Siri and face recognition. One never knows how accurate these rumors are, but it's hard to imagine Apple coming out with a TV that wouldn't use OLED.
As you well know, Apple's gadgets have had a massive influence on consumer technology. This is one creative company, and the lingering question is whether that creativity will continue in the absence of the late Steve Jobs. Recent patent applications suggest that we've only seen the beginning. They give hints that Apple is planning to create a new user interface for just about every facet of technology that you come into contact with.
We'll have months of rumors before we find out what the next iPhone will be. And the latest is, again, that the phone will have a 4-inch screen and that it may be coning out in the summer. 9To5Mac says that they got their information from someone inside Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures the iPhone. And they say that the same source was accurate last summer, when he said that an iPhone 4S was in the works and that a new form factor wouldn't appear until 2012.
Apple stunned Wall Street once again, far exceeding already-high expectations and reporting revenue of $46 billion for the December quarter, and profits of $13 billion. Leading the way was Apple's sales of 37 million iPhones. Sales of the iPad also exceeded expectations, with Apple selling 15.5 million. You can read more in the New York Times. Apple now has nearly $100 billion in cash reserves.
A new poll released by Pew confirms what everyone suspected: tablet sales are soaring. The poll found that 19% of U.S. adults own a tablet computer, with the number of those owning a tablet nearly doubling between mid-December and early January — from 10% to 19%. Ebook ownership also increased from 10 to 19%. Pew said that this rise is especially striking, given that it followed a period in which there wasn't much change. They attributed the rise to holiday gift-giving, and the release of tablet computers by Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
I'm still excited about Thursday's event and Apple's new education/textbook initiative. You can read my overview here, and my first look at the free iTunes U app here. And now I want to take a first look at the new version of the iBooks app, called iBooks 2.