iPad Mini At $249

You gotta love leaks. The word on the street (internet) according to Gizmodo is, the new iPad mini is going to be priced starting at around $249 for the 8GB version. Higher models will be priced more. Here’s an excerpt from the LA Times:

The posted picture, which according to the blog comes from an anonymous informant, shows 8 GB versions of the iPad mini will go for 249 euros, or about $320. But Gizmodo is reporting that the U.S. price is likely to be $249. As it points out, Apple charges roughly the same figure in Europe for the third generation iPad as it does in America. It doesn’t conpensate for the foreign exchange difference.

As for the inventory list provided by the German blogger, the price goes up to 349 euros for the 16 GB model, 449 euros for the 32 GB device and 549 euros for a 64 GB version. The cellular-connected versions of the iPad mini start at 349 euros for the 8 GB model, 449 euros for the 16 GB model, 549 for the 32 GB and 649 for the 64 GB versions of the device.

Now, how accurate these figures are, you really can’t be sure. But, it looks very promising for people looking for a smaller and affordable iPad. Interestingly enough, Amazon’s Kindle Fire is priced at $249. So, it looks like Apple is matching the price of the Kindle Fire.

The New iPad

Apple announced today the release of the new iPad. Apple has made it quite clear to not call the new tablet the iPad 3 or iPad HD or by any other name. It’s just simply called the iPad. Can we call it iPad 2012?

The problem with just calling an iPad just an iPad is, it is extremely confusing for potential customers to differentiate one iPad from another. Imagine going to an online store other than Apple, and ordering an iPad. You’ll start questioning whether it’s the original iPad, the iPad 2, or the new iPad. It is confusing.

As expected, the new iPad comes with a retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 That’s a total of 3.1 million pixels, which by the way, has more resolution than the 1080p HD display. The iPad is powered by an A5X processor, with quad-core graphics, an iSight Camera with a 5-megapixel backside camera, 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the processor and 1080p video recording.

It will sell for $499, $599 and $699 for the Wi-Fi-only models in 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. For iPads models with LTE 4G, the cost is $629, $729, and $829 respectively for the same capacities above.

Out of the two products revealed today, I’m more interested with Apple TV. It sells for only for $99. You can watch 1080p HD movies and TV shows directly from iTunes. You can also play Netflix, YouTube, and Vimeo videos, catch MLB, NBA, and NHL games live or on demand.

Pretty neat.

iPad 3 Coming Soon

Rumors has it that the iPad 3 is just a couple of weeks away from being introduced by Apple. Several sources indicate the special release date is going to be March 7. Speculations indicate that the new iPad will have these new features: a retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, a quad-core processor, a better camera on the front as well as in the back, and finally 4G LTE networking.

Now how accurate are these rumors? Nobody really knows. But chances are that one of these features will make it on the iPad 3 is pretty good. It may not be all the features mentioned above. However, it is possible that one or two unanticipated features will surface and catch everyone by surprise.

By the looks of it, the iPad will essentially be the same size and design, but it could be slightly thicker if the bigger battery rumors are true. We’ll just have to wait several weeks if the rumors are really true.

Kindle Fire

Amazon released today the Kindle Fire at a mere $199. A recent trip to Apple’s website and at the Apple Store in San Francisco just confirmed to me how the iPad is out of reach to so many people including me. At least to the ones that are on a tight budget. Priced at $199, the Kindle Fire seems much more palatable to normal people like you and me.

Aside from the standard of reading a book, the Kindle Fire can also play movies, run applications, games, play music, and it comes with a revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser called Silk. You’ll have access to over 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books. The application and games will be sold from the Amazon Appstore.

In addition to all the goodies so far, you also get free cloud storage for all your Amazon content. I really like this feature. If you fill up your memory, you can always retrieve it from the cloud. The Kindle Fire comes with a vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle. That’s neat. It’s also powered by a fast powerful dual-core processor.

If you’re a Amazon Prime member, you will have access to unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows.

Ok. I’m sold! I want one. Check out the promo video here.

What Apple Didn’t Mention About the iPad 2

Mashable’s Chris Taylor piece at CNN this morning about “What Apple hopes you didn’t notice about iPad 2″ caught my attention. I wholeheartedly agree with Chris Taylor. The original article at Mashable is here. If a new feature of the iPad 2  was worth mentioning, then it would have been brought up by Steve Jobs. But, the omission of certain features was very telling. It meant those features that Jobs did not elaborate on are essentially the same as the previous iPad. I broken down those the iPad 2 features with fanfare, no fanfare and similar specs.

New Features with Fanfare

  • Thinner.
  • Lighter.
  • Faster. New dual-core A5 CPU.
  • Faster Graphics.
  • Front and back cameras. See details below.
  • Two colors: black and white.
  • Two carriers: AT&T and Verizon.
  • HDMI 1080p output.
  • Smart cover.
  • iOS 4.3.

New Features with little fanfare

  • VGA res for front camera.
  • 720p res for rear camera.
  • Gyroscope.

Similar Specs

  • Same memory at 256MB.
  • Same screen resolution. No retina display.
  • Same mono sound.
  • Same battery life.
  • Same prices.

Engadget has a nice article comparing the iPad vs. iPad 2. Here is another comparison from ZDNet. If you are looking for bargain, Apple will be selling the original iPads for $399 while supplies last. That’s $100 off the original price. If you want the new one, it will be available March 11. It’s March 25 outside of the US.

Motorola Xoom

The Motorola Xoom was voted at CES 2011 as Best Of Show. Motorola Xoom is a tablet based on Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. It comes with a dual core processor, 4G compatible hardware, a HDMI output , front and back facing cameras, and a 10 inch screen. It also comes with camcorder software and Adobe Flash Player. Expect the Motorola Xoom to be standard for Android tablets going forward. Others hardware manufacturers will follow using Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The Xoom is set to compete with Apple’s iPad. The release date is set for April 2011.

The front-facing camera is 2 mega pixel, while the back-facing camera is 5 mega pixel. It also supports 1080p HD. Motorola plans to release 3G version first. Users will be able to upgrade to 4G later in the year. I assume there will be a Wi-Fi model only, similar to Apple’s iPad. Motorola plans to make 1 million units initially. Is the Xoom hotter than the iPad? We will see in the spring. Finally, here’s the official video of the Motorola Xoom. Let me know what you think.

Kindle for the Mac

I was browsing the Apple App Store the other night, and I came across an application called “Kindle” for the Mac. And, it’s free. So, I downloaded the application and installed it. Amazon recently made the “Kindle Apps” available to anyone with a smartphone and a computer. You don’t need a Kindle device.

Kindle Apps will work on the PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry and the Windows 7 phone. If you own a Kindle, you can synch any of the Kindle Apps to work in conjunction with your Kindle device. So, Kindle owners are now able to read the books they’ve purchased, not only in the Kindle devices, but also on their computers and smartphones.

The Kindle app for the Mac comes empty. There are no books. You will need to download the books from Amazon’s website. To download, just click on the “Shop in Kindle Store” link on the top hand right corner of the window. You can purchase thousands of books, including the latest releases, as well as download all the free public domain books that are available.

If you already own a Kindle, you just have to register the application with your Amazon credentials. To synch the books you’ve already purchased, you just login and the application will download all your books. It will also remember the last page you’ve read as well as synch any annotations you have created on your Kindle device.

I downloaded two free books, the Art of War by Sunzi and The Adventures of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I can see reading on the Kindle can be an expensive hobby. Reading electronically does have it’s distinct advantages. At least, you don’t have to lug around a book everywhere you go.

Edit Google Docs in Android, iPhone, iPad

If you have an Android smartphone, Google just made editing Google Docs possible on your smartphone. The new application will work on any Android 2.2 powered device as well as the iPhone or iPad running iOS 3.0+.

I’ve been using a lot of OpenOffice and Google Docs the last year. I don’t miss MS Office suite at all. Now that editing Google Docs are available on smartphones is an added bonus. Edits can be made in real time. If someone edits a document, you can see the results as well.

Editing tables and spreadsheets are a breeze. Just choose a spreasheet cell and edit away. You can also enter text using your voice. That’s the coolest part of the whole app.

Verizon to Sell the iPad

Verizon will sell the iPad starting October 28. The iPad will be bundled with Verizon Mifi 2200 Hotspot and using Verizon’s 3G service at $60/month.

What about the iPhone? No word yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.

The iPad will be available in 3 models. I break them down in price: $630, $730 and $830. Somehow, I still get sticker shock seeing these prices.

See details here.

iPad Great for Reading and Viewing

ZDNET has an article called “The truth about iPad: It’s only good for two things.” The author argues that the iPad is great for reading and viewing only. Ok, that doesn’t seem like a lot. It’s a bit overkill for a device that is worth $500 and upwards. You can do the same using your desktop, laptop, and netbook. I guess you can even argue a smartphone with an oversized screen can do the same things the iPad can.

You can also argue that the iPad is truly unique and has functions no other device has. It’s built by Apple, it must be really good. The main obstacle why people avoid buying one really comes down to price especially in today’s economy. No matter how many times I’ve visited the Apple store, I still get sticker shock, despite alreading knowing the price. Unless you have some extra cash to burn, most people will balk at idea of coughing $500 for a device that’s quite limited to what it can do.

Is the iPad overrated?