128GB iPad (4)

There’s a new top-of-the-line iPad. Apple announced the 128GB iPad (4), priced at US$799 for the WiFi model and $929 for the cellular model. Now you have four storage options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. 9to5Mac nailed it:

With developers finding code in the soon-to-be-released iOS 6.1 that points to 128GB iOS devices, and with recent findings of 128GB references in Apple’s recent iTunes 11 release, speculation naturally points to Apple releasing a 128GB iPad in the very near future.

The preposterous happened; Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet, got it completely wrong:

Another thing worth bearing in mind is that Apple has never bumped the storage of any iOS device outside of a refresh of the product [UPDATE: Apple silently bumped the storage on the original iPhone and iPod touch from 8GB to 16GB]. The idea that will start doing this now—and with the iPad, a device that is selling very well—is preposterous.

Foretelling hardware changes on future products, especially future Apple products, is difficult. So it’s not surprising a lot of rumors remain rumors and a lot of writers get it wrong. Heck, I’ve got it wrong so many times I’m way beyond counting.

via John Gruber. Todd Haselton, TechnoBuffalo, asks, “Who needs a 128GB iPad?” Apple PR’s answer:

Companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data […]

Haselton’s advice:

I think most consumers will be better off either buying a full featured laptop, such as the MacBook Air, or for portability, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro.

The iOS-based iPad and the OS X-based MacBook Air are geared toward different usages, if that wasn’t already crystal clear. The two are not generally interchangeable and depends on what you need to do.

Take email for example. Browsing, tagging, and short replying are generally better on the iPad. Longer, thoughtful replies that require embedded hyperlinks to one or more online resources, and attaching documents (Office, PDF, etc.) are generally better on the MacBook Air. That’s just one example.

The error of Haselton’s thinking is this: Assuming the iPad and MacBook Air can now be interchangeable just because their prices become similar due to a bump in the storage of the iPad.

But does anyone really need 128GB on their iPad and be willing to pay $1000 for it?

Gamers. iOS games, especially the retina ones, can get really big. And if you have several of them along with the rest of your multimedia files 64GB might get filled up quickly.

Videophiles. Streaming your own video is possible, but without a fast and solid Internet connection the experience of watching a HD video won’t be that great. If you’re in an area where there’s no Internet connectivity (most planes) or where it’s really expensive (most hotels) it’s best to store your videos in the iPad. Several 1080p movies can eat up storage like nothing else.

I’m certain there are many other groups who would benefit from a 128GB iPad, but for the majority of us it’s overkill in terms of both storage and price.

I don’t need a 128GB iPad. Two reasons: First, cloud syncing. Dropbox, iCloud, etc. allows storage of music, photos, documents, etc. up in the cloud; we don’t need to fill our iPads with those anymore. As long as we have access to the Internet, we’re good. If not we can still get by on most occasions with a 64GB iPad. Cloud lockers and syncing services offload a lot of stuff from our iPads so we don’t need as much storage as before. So that’s reason one.

Reason two, Internet connectivity is more accessible and a lot faster. When we need our cloud-synced documents it’s a lot easier and faster to get them to our iPads. Give us a few minutes and what we need will be downloaded and we’re ready to go. The work I do requires a lot of documents; they are stored locally in my MacBook Pro and on Dropbox. When I’m on the road and need access to those documents I pull out my iPhone, launch Dropbox, and there they are. Numbers One and Two are intimately related, but not the same. Imagine having cloud syncing services in a country that has poor Internet connectivity. Having to wait a long time to download the documents you need would be frustrating. In that situation storing your important documents in your iPad would be a better option.

$929 for a 128GB cellular iPad (4) seems like a lot of money to me, but I’m not the target audience. For those “companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data” a 128GB iPad might be just the trick.

Google Nexus 7 with 1920×1080

The current iteration of the ASUS-built Nexus 7 sports a 7-inch 1280×800 IPS LCD. There is a rumor the next version of the Nexus 7 will increase the pixel count to 1920×1080. Casey Johnston, Ars Technica:

The next Nexus 7 may increase the resolution of its display to 1080p and maintain the relationship between Asus and Google, according to a report from Digitimes. The follow-up has been rumored for some time, but now Digitimes suggests Google will tweak the device with updates while maintaining the starting $199 price.

The shift from 1280×800 to 1920×1080, if true, will require the external chassis design to change as well. The aspect ratio of 1280×800 is 16:10; the aspect ratio of 1920×1080 is 16:9. So the 1920×1080 Nexus 7 will be taller (in portrait mode) or wider (in landscape mode). This aspect ratio change will result in a more iPad mini-like tablet.

All smallish tablet designs will transition from bezels with uniform widths all around like the 9.7-inch iPads to one that has the longer bezels slimmed down like the 7.9-inch iPad mini. I don’t think Apple does everything well, but there does seem to be a trend: Tablet manufacturers follow what Apple does when it comes to the overall look, feel, and experience of using a tablet. The thinner longer bezel on the iPad mini will be copied by everyone else making a 7.x-inch tablet. I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty sure.

Nonetheless, a 1920×1080 Nexus 7 for US$199 would be quite the bargain.

Infringe Copyright, Pay Later if Necessary

via The Guardian, British Journal of Photography. Michael Zhang, PetaPixel:

After a helicopter crashed in central London last Wednesday, the London Evening Standard found a photo snapped by a witness named Craig Jenner and shared on Twitter. Unable to obtain permission from Jenner prior to its paper going to the press, the Evening Standard went ahead and published the image on its front page.

The London Evening Standard wasn’t the only one; there were Caters News, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Press Association, the Sun, and Sky News.

I Yielded Some Control To Apple

Marco Arment:

Our technology choices reflect our values. People willing to yield some control to Apple for their needs are more likely to enjoy the benefits that Apple’s products bring by exerting that control. But people who don’t like being told what to do — people who believe they know what’s best for them, want full control over everything, and are willing to accept the resulting responsibilities — will be more comfortable with the alternatives.

I don’t like being told what to do. I believe I know what’s best for me, in terms of technology: hardware, software, and services. But I don’t want full control over everything because I know full control is a lot of hassle.

I used to build my own computers. I took the time to research components such as motherboards, hard drives, power supplies, fans, optical drives, graphics cards, enclosures, etc. I’d research how to maximize air flow, minimize temperatures, maximize performance, and minimize component and system failures. I did all of that, got the parts, and spent the better part of a day and put the thing together. This monster of a machine would run Windows, of course, since building a hackintosh or a linux box has a lot of limitations.

The last Windows machine I built had two quad-core Xeons with push-pull fans attached to massive heatsinks, 16GB of RAM, four push-pull cooled 1TB 10,000 RPM enterprise hard drives, a powerful GPU, etc. all enclosed in a massive aluminum tower. I connected three 24-inch LCD monitors to it and boy was it fun. Until it lasted.

When that octa-core beast started hiccuping I realized total control wasn’t worth the hassle. I did a 180 and purchased a fully-integrated notebook instead and ended up with what I have now: A mid-2009 17-inch MacBook Pro. The only thing I did was upgrade the hard drive to a SSD and I haven’t had any problems since the MacBook arrived at my doorstep many years ago. And that’s the way I like it.

Internally Projected Spherical Display

Mark Vanhoenacker, The New York Times:

Digital globes have obvious relevance to earth sciences and astronomy. But their potential in other subject areas is already being exploited. In China, where digital globes have found particular favor in schools, less than half the lesson plans are science-based, said Mr. Foody (in an ironic reversal of globalization’s typical tide, around 80 percent of Global Imagination’s orders are bound for China). Chinese schools use them mostly to teach social sciences, like the geography of religion and language, and history.

Visually compelling, but wallet flattening:

Sony Triluminos TV with Quantum Dots

Katherine Bourzac, Nature:

The contrast with today’s flat screens begins with the light source. Conventional LCDs use a high-intensity blue LED backlight whose glow is converted by a phosphor coating to create a broadband, white light used to make the moving TV images. The new Triluminos tele­visions instead pair an uncoated blue LED with a thin glass tube filled with quantum dots. Two kinds of quantum dots in the tube absorb some of the blue light from the backlight and re-emit it as pure red and green light. The resulting white light is more intense at the wavelengths of these three specific colours than the white light made by a phosphor-coated LED, so that more colour comes through in the images.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z

The Verge: I really like the sharper corners on the 10.1-inch 1920×1080 Sony Xperia Tablet Z. What’s impressive though is the thickness: 6.9 mm, which is thinner than the 7.2-mm much smaller iPad mini.

Update 2013.01.21: The Verge has taken some photos of the Xperia Tablet Z. I like what I see: simple, straight, symmetric lines.

Hickies

My favorite shoes, without Hickies.

My favorite shoes, with Hickies.

It’s not that big of a deal, but when your shoelaces come undone it’s just one more thing to take care of. And it’s a bit embarrassing when someone points it out. It’s bad when its raining, it’s the worst when you notice right after coming out of a public bathroom. Yuck.

I’ve been wearing my Adidas shoes with Hickies for about a month and a half now. I like to test things out for a long time because at first everything could be good or bad and later turn out to be exactly the opposite. I like these Hickies on my Adidas*.

As you can see from the before and after Hickies photos this “elastic lacing system” made my shoes go from meh with the shoelaces going all over the place to tidy and simple.

There’s actually only three on my Adidas. I took the first and last ones off. The first one was too long so it wasn’t doing anything. The last one was too tight. So I took those off. It looks even simpler.

Comfort wise there is one small, but important difference. With the Hickies on, because of the elasticity, the Adidas has some give and that feels pretty good. I took a trip to Denver and did a lot of walking and I couldn’t feel any discomfort. Taking off and putting on my shoes is just as easy as before.

If you don’t want to deal with shoelaces and want a tidy, modern look to your shoes check out Hickies. There are 14 in a pack of Hickies, priced at US$19.99 (Amazon affiliate link).

* These Hickies didn’t work with my particular Converse shoes because the shoelace holes were too close together. Those holes need to be a bit apart for Hickies to work well.

Apple on Cruise Control

John Gruber:

They’re already the most profitable technology company in the world, and their three major platforms — iPhone, iPad, and Mac — are all growing. They don’t need to change a damn thing.

There are still a lot of things Apple needs to fine tune with the hardware, software, and services the company already provides. A few iterative innovations I look forward to: retina iPad mini, retina MacBook Air, retina 17-inch MacBook Pro, an all-aluminum unibody iPhone (without plastic), iCloud with DropBox-like file syncing, Match with video, a flatter UI for OS (iOS & OS X) and apps, improved Maps, Calendar, Mail, iTunes with subscriptions and streaming, etc.

HTC M7

DIGITIMES:

HTC will likely use Full HD panels made by Sharp for its reported soon-to-be released M7 smartphone due to low OLED yields from Taiwan-based panel maker AU Optronics (AUO), according to industry sources.

The HTC M7 is rumored to sport a 4.7-inch 1920×1080 LCD good for a resolution of 468 ppi.