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.
Apple issued a press release today saying that over 4 million iPhone 4S units were sold over the weekend. According to Computerworld, this beats analysts predictions of 3 million units, and dwarfs the 1.7 million sold the first weekend for the iPhone 4. It's amazing how consumers have responded. You wouldn't think that there would have been that much pent-up demand.
The Wall Street Journal has a funny article documenting Siri's sense of humor. For example, the article tells about someone who said to Siri, "Beam me up." And Siri replied, " Sorry, Captain, your tricorder is in Airplane Mode." And to the question, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Siri replied "Depends if you're talking about African or European wood."
One of the great features of iOS 5 is that you no longer have to connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer to sync or to udpate the iOS software. These new features are called, respectively, Wi-Fi Sync and Software Update. Macworld has posted a helpful article that explains these two features and shows you the couple simple steps you need to take to use them.
One of the key features of iOS 5 is iCloud. In order to use it, you need to set it up — which is fairly simple. But if you're in any way confused by it, Apple has posted a guide to setting up iCloud that shows you the steps. Also, CNET has an article about setting up this new service.
Yahoo News has a great article showing you 12 ways iOS 5 will change the way you use your iPad. It covers some features I hadn't yet heard of, such as a split keyboard option. Other features covered include multitouch gestures, tabbed browsing in Safari, texting on your iPad with iMessage, typing shortcuts, Twitter integration, a global dictionary, and more.
Apple's servers got hit so hard yesterday that users of iOS devices worldwide received error messages when trying to upgrade. Many received a message with a code 3200, while some received a 3400 code. In every case, there wasn't really any solution other than to just try again. You can read more on AppleInsider and TechCrunch.
Today's the day for iOS 5. It adds over 200 new features, apps, and services. You can read an in-depth review on AppleInsider. The new features include iCloud, which will automatically back up your photos and other content to the cloud, Notification Center, which does a much better job of handling push notifications, and Newsstand, an iBooks-like app that gives you access to a range of publications. AppleInsider gives you details on the new Reminders app, which finally gives iOS a to-do function.
I've collected a number of demos of Siri so you can get an idea of how well it works. First up is one from Macworld's Jason Snell. He puts Siri through its paces, showing the range of questions and requests it can understand — and examples of how it doesn't always work.
Stuff.TV also has a good demo. Siri has an answer for the question "How far away is the moon" and has no trouble with requests such as "Send an email to my mom" and "Wake me up tomorrow morning at 7 am." In this one you can also see how the background noise doesn't interfere with Siri's language understanding.
I'm convinced that Siri is the killer feature of the iPhone 4S, and David Pogue of the New York Times characterizes it as "Crazy good, transformative, category-redefining speech recognition" in his review.
Facebook's app for iOS devices just received a major update — and finally includes a new interface specifically for the iPad. Hurray! The app is very different from the iPhone app and effectively takes advantage of the larger screen. It includes access to Facebook games, apps, and chat, and a number of other features. Photos are high resolution, and you can flip through them like a photo album. Navigation is optimized so that you can quickly access features and return to where you were.