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.
Yesterday Google released a new version of Google Search for the iPad that's pretty remarkable. And showing how eager they are to be on every iPad, they've produced a great demo video. You can read more about the app on the Google Mobile Blog. The new version is more interactive, and the slide-in pane is really cool — just excellent design. The voice recognition isn't quite on the level of Siri, but it works quite well.
Black Friday — the Friday after Thanksgiving — is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, with retailers offering extrraordinary price reductions to help fuel holiday spending. Apple has posted a teaser on their website inviting shoppers to stop by for a one-day sale on Friday. The teaser reads: "Mark your calendar now, and come back to the Apple Online Store the day after Thanksgiving for the special one-day event. You’ll discover amazing iPad, iPod, and Mac gifts for everyone on your list." Odd that it doesn't mention the iPhone.
So, Amazon's new $200 tablet, the Kindle Fire, is out, and reviews are mixed, mostly saying that it's a great low-end machine but no comparison to the iPad. And consumers agree. A survey reported by AppleInsider found that of over 3,000 potential tablet buyers who participated, 65% said they were planning to buy an iPad, 22% the Amazon Kindle, and 4% the Samsung Galaxy Tab. None of the other tablets registered more than 1% in the poll.
A post on iLounge says that their most reliable source for inside information is saying that the iPhone 5 will be coming next June and will have a 4-inch screen. You can read more on iPhone Savior. The post says that the new iteration will no longer have glass on the back, probably replacing it with aluminum. The larger screen will increase the length of the phone by 8mm.
DigiTimes is reporting that assembly of a new, higher-resolution iPad will begin in January. The specs include a thinner, lighter battery, a quad-core A6 processor, and a smaller dock connector. It's rumored that Apple was trying to include a retina display, which would have doubled the pixel density. But apparently there have been technical problems. So although a higher-resolution display is expected, it may not be a retina display.
A few weeks ago there was a lot of hoopla around the arrival of a new Gmail app (free). But it was quickly pulled from the App Store because of serious bugs. Now it's back, without the bugs. Gmail has a large base of users, and the arrival of a dedicated app is welcome. Reviews have been lukewarm, however, with the main criticism being that it doesn't support multiple email accounts.
I am really liking iCloud, especially the way my email, calendar, and contacts are always in sync between my computer and iPad. And I like the way it automatically pushes new email to my computer and iPad.
If you're interested in having your entire iTunes library in iCloud via the new iTunes Match service, check out the excellent tutorial on TiPb. It walks you through the process both via text and screen shots, and via a video. The process involves downloading iTunes 10.5.1, going into iTunes and signing up for the $24.99 service, and then initiating the service by clicking the option that says Add This Computer. This starts the matching process as iTunes goes through your library and matches your songs with the iTunes catalog.
Today Apple released iTunes 10.5.1, which now lets you take advantage of the iTunes Match feature of iCloud. The service costs $25 per year and lets you store all of your music in iCloud. Your entire collection is conveniently available to you without having to store the whole collection on each deevice. When you subscribe to the service, it checks your iTunes Library against the iTunes Library of 20 million audio files. And for those in your collection that match their library, it adds those songs to your iCloud library.
According to an article on the Macworld website, iOS 5 has a couple features that are available but not enabled: 1) a panoramic photo feature and 2) an alternate way of invoking spelling suggestions. Interestingly, you can enable these features without jailbreaking your device. But you do have to tweak it a bit — so this is probably only of interest to the techies among you. Also, the features are pretty fritzy, which is possibly why they weren't enabled.