Nokia. If you can’t beat ’em …

Clone them.

The Nokia N1 is a pretty gorgeous looking Android version of the iPad mini and something Nokia should have done a while back – both as a tablet and as a phone. Android is something that could have easily enabled Nokia to extend themselves well into Apple led smartphone universe of today. But that friends, is water under the bridge.

Of note here are the new USB type-C connector which works in both directions (like lightning) and that manufacturing resides with Foxconn. Could this be a new more nimble Nokia?

Should be interesting to see what happens when this launches in China in February. I’d probably choose this over the Nexus 9 if I was looking at Android tablets …

via The Verge

iPad three point oh yes

Tomorrow the new iPad arrives and I’m rather excited for the upgrade. I am currently using the original model which has been great, but there’s much to like in the third generation.

Instead of simply doing a backup and restore to get everything on the new device, I’m going to take a more considered approach and only put the things I really need for now. There’s plenty to go back and get if I want from two years worth of apps – not too mention all the content I’ve also collected.

Remembering back to the original days with my iPad, it was amazing how quickly I started leaving my laptop at my desk and even at the office. I’m not sure that’s completely possible today thanks to VPN requirements, but I definitely see a strong return of the iPad in my campus and client meetings. LTE should also be killer on my commute … I’ve got two hours a day to burn through on the train and the mega speed boost and enhanced screen for reading are what I’m most looking forward to taking advantage of every day.

ZAGGmate

I actually forgot I had preordered the ZAGGmate keyboard case for the ipad and it arrived today which was a pleasant surprise. Since it works as a case it’s a very simple way to enhance the potential productivity without actually adding something new to carry. I’ve become quite accustomed to typing on the screen over the past months, but its hard to beat real keys for speed.

The ZAGGMate itself sets up in a few seconds. Turn bluetooth on, activate the keyboard bluetooth function and confirm the code and boom. Just like every other bluetooth accessory I’ve tried over the years. The keyboard (on which I’m now typing) feels good. The keys are small and I’m actually making plenty of typos, but this is literally the first thing I’ve used it for and I expect that like all keyboards, I’ll have it figured out shortly. I like the key travel and in general I can see really enjoying having this as part of my kit.

There are some special keys and functions which let the ZAGGmate make the iPad function more like a computer. With dedicated keys for search, home, hiding or showing the keyboard and concealing your screen it’s nice… I also like that there are some command functions like undo for example which I’ve also used while typing this. A quick test of of the setup on my lap and its confirmed the ZAGGmate is a solid release.

More perhaps as I really use it …

zaggmate

Print to any printer from your iPad

Printing from the iPad ... #handy

I don’t actually print very often, but it’s nice to have the option and given the amount of time spent with an iPad in my hand it tends to be my primary screen. As you might already know AirPrint is limited to a small handful of the latest HP printers and given I’ve got an Epson at home, I’m SOL for the time being … or so I thought.

Volker Weber published a very simple howto to get printing going with any printer via Macs running 10.6.5. Follow the instructions … it worked great for me and I printed my first test page within a few minutes.

The iPad

Where to even start …

I’ve been using the iPad since it first shipped and it’s a seriously impressive device. My initial usage like many was over the Easter weekend and I was away with family so while I certainly got a taste, it was not quite the full immersion that followed …

I’ve purchased two iPads. The first to arrive is obviously the Wifi model and I chose to get the 32GB version as it will be used by my wife mainly along with the kids – who love it. When they ship I’ll also have a 64GB 3G unit as my own to use and plan to keep it fairly constantly connected. I’ve been using my old Nokia E71 with Joikuspot as my mobile modem for the iPad while my Mifi is down for the count …

On first startup sadly the iPad reveals it’s greatest weakness which is that you need a computer to get going and of course to sync most of your content. In 2010 this is a ridiculous requirement, but it is sadly still how Apple sees the world. I did not take my Mac with me for my initial weekend of use and had a momentarily panic attack realizing I might not have any way to activate the device and get going. Fortunately my father in law invited me to use his system and within a few moments we cleared the silly dialog and were online. It’s unclear why Apple requires this initial step at all really since I did not sync or register the product through the machine … it seemed to only require a few seconds of connectivity to be ready. Apple was at least kind enough to ship it fully charged.

At home the iPad is truly a stellar device. You can do anything you might want to in a casual situation. I love reading on the large screen and instantly found that the iPad has become my default device for anything online. The speed is awesome! I find it more enjoyable than my few year old MacBookPro for everything and if it was possible to edit photos through some iPad Aperture / iPhoto app, I’d probably use it for that as well. I find typing on the onscreen keyboards to be simple enough. Tapping out email is easy and while it took a few moments to find my ideal seated position, I find I can enter text from most positions now without too much effort. While writing this piece, I chose to pair my old Stowaway Sierra Bluetooth keyboard and have tapped away in the iPad WordPress app. This is actually quite the combination. I don’t really like needing two pieces, but it does meet my current desire to do just about everything on the iPad. ūüėČ

During the week, I’ve commute as I normally do and as regular readers know I have a long enough commute that the usual mobile device battery takes a beating before I even get to the office. The iPad easily crushes this test and I’m only seeing minimal battery loss (unlike the iPhone’s 40+%) and can get to the office with no more than 10% drained … usually considerably more still charged. At the office I’m on Wifi all day (on mail, web, taking notes and reviewing files) and don’t see any reason to recharge, as the battery easily handles my day and has plenty of juice too make it home again with plenty left for some couch time. My only complaint and it’s hard to call it that is that I can’t get on my work VPN. ¬†I’m hopeful that the 4.0 OS release and the upcoming Cisco VPN software will enable network browsing so I can more easily access remote files.

Given the obvious amount of touching, you can expect your iPad to look something like this after a while:

Signs of use #ipad

As gross as that looks it does wipe right off and I admittedly tend to be more conscious of the hand grease now.  That shot obviously caught the light in a pretty clear way.

An easier access to the file system would be welcome, but GoodReader is pretty much handling most of my filing for now. ¬†Apple could definitely tune up the business side of the house on this. ¬†In my travels I’ve encountered a few other enthusiasts all using the iPad in some work capacity. ¬†Everyone gets the initial home use, but we all also want much more on the professional side.

As my kids get a bit older and it’s time to consider a personal computer (not one they share) I will probably have a hard time justifying an iMac over whatever the iPad evolves into. ¬†It’s small and powerful and as I’ve seen already completely native to how my kids interact with technology now.

Lazy print to digital conversions

Just because someone offers a solution to take and digitize your print product doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea. Take Outside Magazine, a magazine I’ve recently subscribed to and enjoy reading. I was excited to see they offered an iPad edition and downloaded the app.

While the app store preview showed a prior edition, I thought that was just for example and yet post purchase I see that the only issue available digitally is the same one – and one I’ve read previously as a subscriber. Even so i thought it would at least be interesting to see how the iPad edition worked…. Not so great. It was obviously an easy conversion … I’m guessing with minimal manual intervention. ¬†As you can see below, there was absolutely no thought on how to handle links to online content. ¬†In the case highlighted below, there is no way to click on the link or even capture the text. ¬†Not cool.

Outside_Mag_iPad

The post-iPad digital home

I’ve been thinking about the potential impact the iPad will make on my home and there’s a natural progression for a certain hobby of Apple’s which of course is AppleTV.

If the iPad succeeds at becoming the predominant home use system as I believe it easily can, it could really be an “instead of” not an “in addition to” sort of thing. ¬†Let me explain …

Apple is positioning the iPad as a third device category which it definitely is as they’ve laid out the initial plan. ¬†Once it arrives though, the amount of time my MacBookPro is going to get at home will be quite limited. ¬†Currently the MacBookPro sits on my desk fully wired and connected to an array of devices. ¬†I’ve got 3 hard drives, a slew of USB widgets and a second monitor. ¬†Our home media collection streams via an AppleTV connected through our whole house AV system and enables music to stream anywhere and video you reach any tv. ¬†The AppleTV is the set top box and my MacBookPro is essentially serving as an overpriced NAS. ¬† ¬†When it’s time to do some photo or video processing I do need the Mac, but that’s something I do¬†occasionally¬†rather than daily.

The AppleTV or some revised iteration (Mac Mini home server edition?) combining network connected storage and speed could easily replace the Mac and sit on a rack in a closet hosting our personal cloud. ¬†While the AppleTV works well, it’s been restricted based on lack of attention. ¬†The iPad’s sync capability needs to be adjusted slightly to¬†accommodate¬†wireless sync, but as that’s already something AppleTV handles easily it should not be too challenging a change.

How might this all this all start to work together?

  • When I walk into the home and connect to the network, the iPad would know to sync with my home automatically. ¬†Any media captured, files created or changed would automatically push up to the system waiting at home and the network would also push new content found (podcasts downloaded, pre-ordered new content etc) back to me keeping both sides current.
  • Other iPads would also be notified and could suggest we exchange mutual files based on tags of each other (faces from iPhoto, shared playlists, calendar updates, “digital fridge notes” etc)
  • While in the home, we’d be able to move media fluidly between screens. ¬†Watching a video on the TV, but want to continue it in the home office or bed? ¬†No problem, the iPad easily receives the stream and lets you continue where you left off. ¬†Music could be handled in the same way … someone wants to watch a video in the family room when you are listening to music, simply switch the stream over to the iPad.
  • Apple’s Remote app for iPhone is a nice but limited suggestion on how home media control might work given the smaller screen of the iPhone. ¬†With the iPad, you really can have a substantial view and control of what’s playing across various rooms in the home.

This is of course my “limited” future vision for how these things might come together, but I think speaks to the reality we could be living in as soon as later this year.

Configure Safari for Apps

Configure Safari for Gallery

An interesting development within the .Mac Gallery App for iPhone is the ability to configure the iPhone to redirect activity to the app over the browser.

I could easily see this evolving quickly to include all kinds of apps that can deliver a richer experience over the browser.  If you are a publisher, this seems like a no-brainer.  The New York Times showed off their swanky new iPad app this week and I would certainly want to direct traffic to that once installed.  The mobile web is great, but the richer experience of the application is much more compelling.

The potential for a brand to earn greater traction within their app just by tweaking an existing consumer behavior Рclicking a shared link in email Р is quite high in this case and something I definitely want to consider for client engagements we develop in the near term.

BTW – The Gallery app also includes ¬†a friend feature which while totally manual in nature (adding people) is I believe Apple’s first real nod to social connections.

File Sharing on the iPad?

file sharing on the iPad

I was just enjoying a walk-through video from iLounge and noticed an interesting new preference for File Sharing.¬† It’s off by default, but I wonder if there’s some sort of adhoc webDAV built in so you can move files, sync and share.¬† Very interesting …

When unlocked really means locked

I’m psyched for the iPad probably getting a 3G model and already an ATT customer so I don’t really care about what I am about to suggest …

It occured to me in one of the many conversations about the iPad today that while the device is being sold and marketed as unlocked, it really doesn’t even matter. ¬†With the new microSIM format you need to find a carrier that also offers this new sim card or you can’t use it. ¬†The illusion of choice, end of story.

AT&T can afford to offer a very competitive rate on the data because there’s no other option. ¬†It’s actually pretty brilliant marketing for both Apple and their pending carrier partners.

iPad offers a clean slate

iPad

What is the iPad?

On the surface, the iPad is a larger iPod Touch.  What it represents however, is an opportunity for considerably more.  While tablets have been tried many times and failed, Apple is leading the curve of thinking with a very new approach that solves against emerging consumer technology needs.  Instead of taking the failed routes of the past and forcing a desktop computing metaphor into a touch-based interface, Apple has instead evolved the mobile phone experience developed for the iPhone into a broader experience.

It’s easy to see the form factor and initial core apps as just larger format iPod apps, but the extra speed, enhanced multi-touch controls, 10-hour battery and larger size reveal the potential for Apple to extend into a few possible areas.  All day connected access in an ultralight and slim form factor is very strong base on which to build.  As much as we tend to use our iPhones now the experience will only evolve substantially through a more immersive and engaging platform like the iPad.  Size matters.

Apple has clearly covered their core mobile applications, but provided all the cues on how to enhance applications from the iPhone into the iPad format.  Using the new enhanced gesture controls and UI components a standard for handheld computing can quickly and consistently evolve.  The core suite of multimedia functions combined with an enhanced (larger & faster) browsing experience and the iTunes Store ecosystem for content delivery and management make for a robust out of the box experience.  In typical fashion, Apple has thought through the entire user experience.

With iBooks, the iPad handily defeats the Kindle DX even with fewer launch titles.  The recently announced Kindle API will have to combat the inertia from what Apple has already earned with 140,000 (compatible) applications.  Apple’s battery life (claim) removes the perceived limitation of color screen ebook readers.  The lower than expected screen resolution and pixel density may have some eye-strain impact, but we will have to wait and see if there are any true complaints or issues.

On first glance the lack of both a 16×9 format screen and an HD output may seem like critical oversights, but seeing how Apple is crafting a new category, it‚Äôs easy to see why they are actually very smart choices.¬† The iPad‚Äôs Pixel-doubling screen technology enables the vast library of existing iPhone apps to work automatically and why would we want to play HD video from the iPad to an HDTV, when it‚Äôs most likely going to remain in our hands for multi-screen consumption.

Pricing is very competitive and considering this is likely to be a 3rd mobile device following a phone and laptop, it needs to be.  Apple announced that all iPads will be sold unlocked unlike the iPhone, so regardless of whether there’s a carrier deal in place, there’s little risk for an international purchase.

What’s particularly interesting for the iPad is what lies ahead.  A new category means the opportunity for new use cases.  Many companies have envisioned how the digital home or office will evolve and Apple has provided a clean slate on which to ponder new opportunities.