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iPad 2 Predictions

source allnewsmac.com

There has been a lot of talk about what the next iPad will be.  The rumors have been flying all over the board for the past six months.  With features such as faster processors to retina display.  Even some reports already point to an iPad 3 rumored for later this Fall 2011.

Apple is set to unveil the new iPad 2 on March 2nd at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts at 10:00 am PST, as reported by Kara Fisher from All Things Digitial.com.  I think we will see some good improvements, and Apple is going to need to keep the inovation going strong to stave off competing products such as the Motorola Xoom.

So with that, here is my  predictions for iPad 2:

  • Faster; likely dual processor A5
  • Slimmer & Lighter
  • One or more cameras
  • More Ram
  • Same resolution

What are your thoughts on possible features?

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iPad Missing Videos Fix

I just encountered a weird problem with my iPad (again) and thought I should document this for others.  I performed a sync with iTunes to copy some videos over to my iPad.  All went well in appearance, but after the synch was complete, the movies are all missing in the iPad Videos app.

To fix this:

I forced the iPad to check/repair files by doing a hard restart.  To do a hard restart hold the iPad power switch and home button for about 10 seconds, or enough time until you see the Apple logo appear.  At this point you can let go and the iPad will continue to do the restart process on its own.  The restart may take a bit longer than a normal restart so be patient.  Once the iPad home screen appears you can check to see if the videos are present in the Videos app.  Sometimes this is all it takes for the videos to appear.

Continue with these next steps if you are still have missing videos.

Proceed to connect your iPad back to your Mac/PC and do one more synch in iTunes.  I toggle a few of the main selections off/on for movies, music, podcasts. Then select the Sync button.

After the synch process completes, your movies/videos should now re-appear in in the iPad videos app.  Obviously your results may vary with this work-around, but it seems to work for me whenever I run into this issue on my iPad.

Good luck and let me know if you find a better way to do this.  Hopefully Apple will fix this issue soon.

Favorite Free Apps on Mac App Store

As you probably already know from previous postings, the Mac App store launched in early January 2011.  There are thousands of paid and free apps and the list is growing fast.  For this post I thought I would share some of the free apps that I am currently using.



Evernote – The best note taking app that syncs with your PC/Mac/iPad and other mobile devices

Twitter – Basic twitter app

SketchBook Express – A painting/drawing program

SoundCloud – Listen to cool music/sounds.

Mindnode for Mac – A mind mapping tool

Mac App Store Reviewed

Apple launched the Mac App Store on January 6th 2011, approximately 90 days after it was announced.  The Mac App Store follows the success previously set forth by the iOS iPhone/iPad/iTouch App Stores.  It has a similar look and feel to the iTunes interface, albeit much cleaner and less cluttered.

My initial impression on this was I didn’t care much for the new store concept, and that thought stewed for 90 days while waiting for the launch date.  Upon using the new Mac App store, I formed a newfound appreciation for it.

My quick summary: I think this will be a huge deal for the Mac platform… correction, this IS a huge deal for the Mac platform.

Here is why the App Store is great…

  • As a Mac user I now have an easy one stop shop location to find applications and their respective updates.  This is something every platform can benefit from.  If you are a gamer, the Steam store is a similar concept.  Steam provides for an awesome game purchase/ownership experience.  I think the Mac App Store will be as useful if not more.
  • Each application uses the rating/review system as similarly defined by the iOS App Store.  This system lets you rate the apps with a one through five star rating.  You can also add a review to share your thoughts and opinions on each application you have purchased.  This rating and review can be very handy when trying to find feedback before you buy.  Prior to the Mac App Store this process was sometimes difficult and spread-out across various news and forums sites.
  • Mac Developers benefit from higher exposure to their apps since users will flock to one central location.  Apps can become listed in various ways on the store such as; Featured, Top Charts, Categories, or by Search.  I like to browse through different app categories to find new apps or to just get ideas for applications that I never knew I needed.  I think this increases exposure to many more apps than I would have been able to see by searching via distinct websites.  This can only be good for both developers and users.
  • Developers will no longer have to worry about complexities with app hosting, download fees, registrations keys and piracy, as well as simplified money handling (i.e. Apple).
  • I can install all my apps on all of my Macs running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.  No longer do I need to worry about silly license codes, and policys that restrict how many machines I install my apps on.  This makes it easy to reinstall my apps on new machines or if I decide to re-stage my OS.
  • There are some crazy good deals and discounts on previously expensive Applications.  For example, Aperture is now $80 (normally $200), RapidWeaver 5 for $40 (normally $80), SketchBookPro $30 (normally 80) and many more.
  • I think Apple may consider giving free or discounted OS upgrades in the future…. ala the iOS model.  Yes, the OS may require better newer hardware (like Snow Leopard does) but it will be in Apple’s best interest to get as many Mac users on the latest OS software from a App Store and developer relationship stand-point.  This would help get rid of older OS versions quickly, oh and it likely sells more hardware.

Here are some issues with the App Store…

  • For Developers, Apple gets a 30% cut, you the developer get 70%.  Some may see this as a win-win as they don’t want to worry about hosting fees and registration keys.  Some company’s like Adobe may not want to incur a 30% hit on their high priced products (i.e. Photoshop).
  • If you previously purchased an App outside the store you don’t automatically (at this time) receive the benefits of the App Store automatic updates and simple App Store licensing.  To get the full App Store benefits you would have to re-purchase the App via the store.  One exception to this I found… some developers are providing deep introductory discounts on their apps to entice users to repurchase and get included App Store benefits. Some developers (like the fine folks at Realmac Software) have provided refunds to recently purchased RapidWeaver 5 purchases that were just prior to the App Store roll-out.  They did this for me when I had purchased RapidWeaver 5 in early December 2010.  I asked for a refund so I could re-purchase RW5 on the Mac App Store.  Developers like this should be praised for handling this scenario.
  • There is no way to try an app before you buy.  Developers have to create a separate “lite” version like we have seen on the iOS App Store.
  • At this point there is no easy way to get a refund if you don’t like an App.  You can of course request one from Apple, like if you accidentally purchased an app, but this is a one-off formal process that involves opening a support ticket with Apple.  I’ve done this in the past and its not an impossible process, its just not as easy as clicking a button to get a refund.
  • Apple controls whether you can list your App on the Mac App Store.  Most Mac users won’t care, but some will, especially when this affects the app they are trying to buy (or sell).  Apple reserves the right to reject any apps they deem inappropriate.
  • Apple controls the information around customer data.  Basically this means it is hard for Developers to know who its users are since most (all?) data is held by Apple.  Apple may choose to open this up further in the future but in the mean time Developers are left mostly in the dark about its customers.
  • Sometimes it is almost too easy to buy an App.  After your App Store password has been entered, one click on the purchase button essentially “buys” the app.  Think Amazon one-click.  I hope Apple will let users configure a dialog box “are you sure” message for those of us that are sometimes click happy.
  • You need a Mac with OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.  Older PowerPC systems (PowerMac, Powerbook, iBook, etc) won’t be able to use the store.

Well that concludes this discussion for now.  I am curious to hear your experiences with the Mac App Store… good or bad.

Steve Jobs Medical Leave…Again

Apple (and Steve Jobs) announced today that he is taking another medical leave of absense.
#27 - iPad Announcement

Here is the email he wrote to the Apple employees:

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

Steve

My take on this… it can’t be good news long term for Steve Jobs returning back to Apple.

This is Steve’s second medical leave of absence in less than two years.  His first medical leave was due to pancreatic cancer, and was very secretive.  Later on we found out that he had a top secret liver transplant due to his pancreatic cancer condition as documented here.  I surmise, this second round of medical issues is due again to the side-affects of pancreatic cancer and/or his previous liver transplant.  It’s possible he could be having issues with the new liver and his body properly accepting the new organ, but I am no Doctor so this is anyones guess at this time.

At this point we can only speculate what ailments Steve is experiencing.  Details will be far and few between for the coming weeks…months, while the secrecy veil on this whole situation stays in effect.  This secrecy will likely remain in-affect until Steve provides us with a detailed update.

In the mean time, Tim Cook again takes over the reigns with running Apple.  Apple is in good hands with Tim Cook (for now), but in my opinion doesn’t have anywhere near the forward reaching vision, and esthetic values of a Steve Jobs.  Jonny Ives is the closest thing Apple has to forward thinking design aesthetics of someone like Steve Jobs.

Obviously no one will be able to replace Steve Jobs as CEO and visionary of Apple.  I hate to say this, but I think this marks the beginning of Apple’s life without Steve Jobs at the helm.

The Apple share prices was $348 and change as of 1/14/11, and I predict a downward hit to the Apple share price as of  as a result of this new uncertainty.  Apple will continue to have stellar financial results in 2011 and beyond, but the uncertainty of Steve Jobs will likely apply downward pressure on the Apple stock price while things get sorted out.  In the mean time, I wish Steve Jobs a fast recovery.

Why would Google Chrome remove H.264 video support?

The Google Chrome web browser project recently divulged that they plan to drop support of the H.264 video codec.  It’s left the web/computing industry scratching its head.  Google is getting a firestorm of responses back on this, and deservedly so.

Why would Google make such a move like this?  H.264 “is the standard” for playing and encoding video.  H.264 is open and is royalty free for users.  MPEG LA has even recently stated here that it “will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that is free to end users.” The good folks at MacRumors.com as have journaled it here also.

This move by Google is perplexing to many and appears to be inconsistent with the mission for open standards they seek.  What’s confusing is that they are continuing to allow Adobe Flash as a standard.  As you know Adobe Flash is essentially a vendor locked solution to one vendor (Adobe).  H.264 is now an open standard, not something that Apple owns.  Yes,  Apple has a vested stake in H.264, and has basically worked to drive this to the standards base, but H.264 has essentially become the best ubiquitous video standard we have today.  Its used in almost everything we use today to play back video.

As a result of Apples efforts and the standards bodies,  we now have a free standard that is common to mobile phones, PCs, Macs, and game consoles.  Oh and don’t forget your AppleTV’s, BoxeeBox, and GoogleTV devices.  Most of these devices have hardware decoding chips built-in to boost HD video performance.  WebM is going to have to rely on software decoding, probably for a long, long time.   As you know, hardware decoding of video is far faster than software decoding.  WebM on these devices using software decoding will likely result in choppy and slow playback.  Basically I can’t see many companies getting on-board with WebM, just for the previous commitment to H.264 as the standard.

Google is claiming that they want a truly open web standards focus going into their web browser.  The claim is that WebM and Theora are the defacto standard for open web video.    From early reports on WebM, is it isn’t close to coming to the capabilities of H.264.

Is Google taking a swing at Apple or is this something else?  What are your thoughts on Google’s decision?  Do you agree or disagree?  Feel free to share them here them in the comments section.

Camera+ Secret Feature: Volume shutter

Camera+ is an iPhone camera app developed by Tap Tap Tap.  The dev team recently made a new v 1.2.1 version available on the App Store and then announced a secret feature last thursday to enable the volume button as shutter.  This is apparently a big no…no in the Apple iPhone developers agreement.  Tap Tap Tap published these details via a twitter update, which was then later deleted.  Apple recently pulled the Camera+ iPhone application from the Apple store (for now).  More details can be found in a recent ComputerWorld post as well.

In the mean time you can enjoy the secret feature if you have Camera+ 1.2.1 by opening a Safari browser and typing this as the URL:  camplus://enablevolumesnap

Now just click the volume button to take a picture, pretty cool.