The iSlate Will Be Announced In

June 22, 2010

iOS4 Tips and Tricks

The latest and greatest iPhone software just came out.   Our interns in Gaum got it 25 hours before everyone else and have discovered a few tips and tricks worth knowing:

SMS Search
Just as you can search your inbox, you can now search SMS messages.  Scroll up to the top of the text screen for this goodness.

Home Screen Backgrounds
You can set separate backgrounds for your lock screen and home screen.  You'll find this in the preferences.  Apple has kindly included a bunch of bland backgrounds which will get you started.  Oddly, this feature will not work on iPhone 3G.  Steve responded to an email about why this is, with the claim that icon animation wasn't good enough on the 3G over a background graphic.  This is odd, because hacked iPhones have had home screen bg graphics for ages.  We think Steve is bullshitting us and that this is a clever way for Apple to visually brand older iPhones.  If you see what looks like an iPhone 3Gs, but it has a black home screen, it's really an iPhone 3g -- which means that poor sucker can't afford an iPhone 3Gs or an iPhone 4.

Camera Zoom
By tapping the screen or sliding the little bar, you can zoom in and out when taking a picture.  This feature basically made 20 or so camera zoom applications obsolete.  Incidentally, the pictures suck when you zoom in.

Web and Wikipedia Search
Can't find what you need on the phone? Jump to the Web or Wikipedia straight from the global search screen.  When you do a spotlight search, this should show up at the bottom of the list.  For some reason, it doesn't always pop up.

Now, wherever you're typing, those little red underlines aren't far behind.   If you use a lot of dirty words (like we do at iPhonePOV) it will take a while for the software to adjust your potty-mouth (but it eventually will.)

Resize Photos While Sending
This very cool time-saver pops up when you're emailing a photo, just after you hit "Send." Depending on how big the file is, you can have two to four size options, including "Actual Size."  This will be a big time saver for iPhone 4 owners who will be snapping 5mp pictures.

New Playlists
On-the-Go Playlists seem to be officially dead in iPhone OS 4, replaced by a more sensible "Add Playlist..." The benefit here is that you know it's something that will be synced back to iTunes, and you get to name it up front.  This is good.

Long Alpha-Numeric Passcodes for Lock Screens
No longer are you limited to guarding your precious data with four numbers! Now you can set longer, alphanumeric passcodes for your lock screen.  If you deal with a lot of top secret tips and secrets like we do, this is great.  We recommend a 22 symbol password with leters, numbers, and symbols.  It should not rhym and should be nearly impossible to repeat.

Unified Inbox
You can view all your emails in one spot or segregate them to separate inboxes.  This is another example of incredible innovation from Apple.  This feature has been available on every mail program for any phone and computer since 1997.
App Folders (with Alerts)
A lot as been said about app folders, but did you know that if any alerts hit any apps inside a folder, the folder gets an exclamation point?  Create an app folder by holding down an icon until it jiggles and then drag it on top of another icon.  We love things that jiggle, so we do this all the time just for kicks.  You can also drag these icon folders to the dock.

Smart Links For Dates and Addresses in Emails
Addresses and dates in emails now turn into links which can be used to look up the locations or add the dates as events. This is similar to what you see in the Gmail web client.  This would be a great feature if it wasn't so stupid.  For instance, mail will now identify "Tomorrow Morning" as a smart link.  Little vague for a smart link.

Double-Tap and Hold Brings Up Phone Favorites
Not our favorite hidden secret, the beloved Phone Favorites shortcut has been demoted. Instead of the double tap—which now brings up the task manager—you have to double-tap and hold. Single-tap holding of course triggers Voice Control.   No one at iPhonePOV can get this to work, but everyone else on the internet claims it does, so we're posting even though we don't think it works.

Bluetooth Keyboard Pairing
You can now pair your Apple bluetooth keyboard with your iPhone.  If you have a need for this, it's time to buy an iPad.

Vertical YouTube
You can finally watch YouTube videos in a vertical orientation.  So basically Youtube goes both ways (not that there's anything wrong with that.)

We'll print more as we find them.

January 22, 2010

The iPad (or iSlate) Skinny

Here's our rundown of what's can, should, might and will come.  We've been working very hard on this, so  be sure to read it all and comment on what you think... Only a few days away!

1. The name: 'iPad' and iSlate have been thrown around.  I've focus-grouped it with 9to5mac readers and iPad seems to do pretty well.  Apple may throw a curveball on this and could even bring back the 'iBook' name it used to use for its consumer laptops.   Believe it or not, smart people in Cupertino and in Venice have given considerable thought to this and they'll come up with something.

2. Pricing: Analysts seem to think that there is no way in the world that people will pay the rumored $800-$1000 for this device.  One thing to consider: this thing will likely have a 3G component to it and be sold subsidized, just like the iPhone, and almost every other handset out there.  In fact, some netbooks are now seeing subsidized pricing from the carriers.  So what does that mean for the tablet?
That means the price could come down to $350 for an $800 product.  Or how about $550 for a $1000 product?  Remember the iPhone, when it was first released, was $599.  Oh and don't forget, we are talking about Apple fanboys here who will mortgage their house to be the first to get their hands on Apple's kit.  So don't worry about the price (it will come down later anyway).

3. "It will save the newspaper, book and magazine industry":  Just like Apple "saved" the music industry?  Apple will provide them a life line would be a better way to put it.
Apple already has a few quality means of getting books and magazines on the iPhone. Scrollmotion, Zineo and other iPhone app developers already bring printed magazines and books to the iPhone.  I'd be surprised if Scrollmotion (who presented at last year's WWDC and had a head start on the 3.0 - in app purchase SDK) didn't already have a head start on the tablet SDK.
Since Apple is also dealing directly with the publishers, it is doubtful that they'd want to let Amazon build an eReader app for their tablet (like Microsoft demoed on the HP tablet).  In fact, Amazon just did an about face and gave publishers a huge break on their cut of book sales this week — so I'd say Apple is making some headway here.  

4. Screen resolution - iFrame.  Have you heard of it?  This one I am far from certain on, but I find Apple's iFrame standard a bit curious.  The resolution is 960x540 which is exactly half of the height and half of the width of 1080P HD, yielding a quarter of the pixels.  Interestingly, iFrame is also about double the length and double the width of the iPhone's 320x480 resolution yielding quadruple the pixels.  This resolution is interesting because it could also give you four iPhone-sized windows to work with.

In this vein, I submit that Apple's newest computer screen – the one on the new, smaller iMac – is exactly 1080P, 1920x1080.  So what's half the diagonal of that screen? 10-11 inches, the very size of the rumored tablet, which would mean iFrame on the tablet would have the same dot pitch as the new smaller iMac, something I think Apple would be pleased with.

That being said, I would like to see one of the 720P movies on this screen natively.   1366x768, 1280x800 or 1280x720 are all possibilities for the wishlist.

5. Processor: Apple bought PA Semi to "make chips for iPhones" as Steve Jobs put it to the New York Times after the deal was made.  If that is indeed the case, then it isn't a stretch to consider that they are making tablet processors as well.  (Contrary to what a German Intel executive said last year). 

Apple is believed to be a licensee of ARM's IP and their platform would make the most sense since the iPhone and even the Newton are both based on ARM designs.  The current ARM Cortex A8 designs fill the high end smartphone world -- the iPhone, Pre, and Droid.

But are these chips powerful and fast enough to run a high-priced, high performance tablet?  Maybe not.  Therefore I am entertaining the idea that Apple has leaped forward a generation and licensed an ARM Cortex A9 design.  These mullti-core designs can run up to 2GHz and are faster than Intel Atom chips, all while using a fraction of the energy.

NVIDIA and Qualcomm both announced ARM Cortex processors at CES this year.  It is certainly possible that Apple is also releasing Cortex A9.  That's about the only hardware that can give faster than Netbook speeds on a device as thick as an iPod touch.
So how fast is a Cortex A9?  The DLink/Boxee Box uses such a chip to do 1080P mediacenter work, which up until now required an Intel chip.    Its design would give Apple a huge advantage over other Intel tablet products in terms of performance per watt, something we know Steve Jobs holds very close to his heart.  The tablet would be able to run for hours/days all the while displaying faster-than-netbook type speeds.

That sounds like the kind of differentiators that will make us fanboys frothy at the mouth.

6. Cameras?  Recent rumors have suggested that the tablet won't have a camera.  This seems highly unfortunate but there might be a caveat here.  Apple patented a way for the pixels of a screen to pick up images just like a CCD in a camera a few years ago.  Perhaps a Bluetooth camera/headset will debut to replace Apple's discontinued bluetooth setup.  
Other reports say that the device will have a camera that recognizes the user using face recognition.  That would bode well for video conferencing and augmented reality browsing as well as photo and video capture.

7. Human Interface?  There have been recent mentions of Apple using a 3D navigation for multi-touch at some point in the future.  Is January the future?  I won't pretend to know this one.  The tablet will probably resemble the iPhone's interface with some sort of Mobile/Lite Finder functionality so it can be used wherever a Netbook can.
I think there will certainly be a multi-touch "language" you need to learn to use this device.  However, being Apple, it will be intuitive and easy to pick up.

8. Apps: I think Apple has to introduce some new apps for this product.  It will be pretty boring without any, especially as no one else has any specifications for it yet.  I think Apple could have a Touch Photoshop type of App at launch - the invite certainly conjures up an image of iPaint.  Apple will hopefully have a word processor and maybe even some other productivity apps as well.  iPhone apps that do video and audio could also become more "Pro" with feature additions too.
Apple is also rumored to be releasing a new version of iLife on January 27th.  The timing would seem to indicate that this version might be multi-touch and available for the tablet.

9. Peripherals: If you are meant to communicate with this thing, then obviously it will need audio in and out. 

A dock that turns the tablet into a full featured computer is a very interesting proposition.  I wonder, though, if Jobs is willing to sacrifice MacBook and Mini sales for this device.  It will be interesting to see how this tablet affects the sales of those products, dock or not. 
I don't know that Apple will let the tablet handle a Bluetooth keyboard for that very reason.  I think Apple wants to fundamentally separate this from your computer workstation .

10. When?  All signs point to March or April with overseas launches coming soon after.

The iPhone, whether Apple likes to admit it or not, is a convergence device.  Not only does it do the things that Steve Jobs mentioned above, it is also a networked camera and a map/compass/GPS.  It does one hundred other things and it does them really well.  What's more, the functions complement each other and make the others better.  With the camera you can take a picture, geotag it, then SMS it to a friend who can locate you on a map.   Any combination of its functionality can yield new uses.  Indeed new ones are invented every day at the App Store.

You could never do that sort of thing before the iPhone because a device that had this many functions and an operating system to handle them didn't exist.

The tablet is the bigger brother of the original convergence device, offering a faster processor, bigger screen and new OS but losing the all-important ability to be pocketed.  Just like we had no idea what the iPhone could do when it was released, we'd be foolish to think we can get our head around what this next device will be able to accomplish.  It could just "redefine the experience of personal computing".

January 18, 2010

Apple iVites The Faithful To Its iSlate Event On Jan 27th

Many websites (including iphonePOV) are reporting that Apple has issued invitations for a media event scheduled for 10:00 AM Pacific Time on January 27th. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and the invitation's tag line reads "Come see our latest creation."

Apple had been rumored earlier this month to have scheduled a media event for that date and location, and the company is widely expected to introduce its highly-anticipated tablet device at the event.

January 13, 2010

iSlate - Wanted Dead or Alive

The Bozos at vallywag are offering a bounty for real tips on the pending iSlate.  While we respect their gutzpa, we're also pretty sure they're breaking about ten laws (and entering into creepy territory by offering to pay more if Steve Jobs is in the picture.)


Apple filed suit (basically a legal cease and desist) against these bozos, which probably means the offer is off the table. 

iSlate is "iPhone On Steroids"

A new rumor from a self-confessed "Master Of The Obvious" is now referring to the iSlate as an "iPhone on steroids."

Citing a close contact within Apple, somebody with only basic skills in rumor deductions on Wednesday issued a report with alleged new details and specifics on Apple's 10-inch touchscreen device. The source said the device has an internal model number of K48AP and sports an "incredibly fast" ARM-based processor.

What kind of ARM chip remains unknown, though many have speculated that the reference Cortex-A9 design would be a likely candidate for any new hardware. However, one analyst recently claimed that the device would sport a Cortex-A8-based chip with a speed of about 1GHz.

In the report, the source also said that the tablet has multi-touch gestures that are "out of control," and the device runs the on the iPhone kernel. There hasn't been an update to the iPhone OS in some time, the tipster claimed, because the new build has too many tablet-related references that "Apple obviously didn't want to leak."