Monday, November 28, 2011

4", 1024x768px

The current iPhone has a 3.5" screen, with a resolution of 960x640px. In thinking about a 4" screen, one wonders what the new screen resolution would be. Simply making the screen bigger, but reducing the pixel density, doesn't seem like Apple's style.

While the aspect ratio would need some adjustment, making Retina displays slightly larger seems like a simple solution. Apple could create 4" displays with the same 1024x768 resolution as the iPad. Not only would this make sense from a pixel-density standpoint, but the existing catalog of 1024x768 iPad apps would be supported natively.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amazon 4-eva? Maybe later...

Like many of the gadget obsessives, I've been playing around with this new Amazon Kindle Fire. I keep running into little things that make me wish there were a bit more to this product/service. I know that, in time, the service will mature to match similar competitive offerings, but I can't help but wonder if it's going to be worth the wait. First and foremost, the idea of having to maintain a subscription to get the content I want on a device I've purchased is feeling like a tough pill to swallow.

Here's how it's all playing out in my head. It's really a decision between two ecosystems:

  • I can buy media from Apple. I buy it, download it, and it's available on my devices. That's pretty much the end of it. If I decide I never want to buy anything from Apple again, I still have access to all the content I have purchased in the past.
  • I can buy media from Amazon. I buy it, maybe I download it, and it's available on some of my devices (if I downloaded it, and/or the device supports Amazon's media services, which many do). I can get a Prime subscription, and then I get a bunch of other content, and expedited shipping.

I know that what I buy from Apple will 'just work' with my Apple devices, and should work with my PC if necessary. But that doesn't seem to be the case with Amazon. Getting content to and from the Kindle Fire seems only possible through Amazon.  Of course, I'm already heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, so trying to bring an alien device in it bound to be problematic. Still, Amazon feels like much a riskier investment right now. The ecosystem just feels...incomplete.

What happens when I cancel my Prime subscription or don't want to pay for storage? It seems like there are a lot of these questions in the back of my head, and until I hear an answer I'm a little apprehensive about spending too much on Amazon content.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Sound of Silence

It seems particularly odd that, on a day when there's news of a serious security flaw in iOS discovered by one of the most reputable names in Mac security, certain members of the press (ahem, John Gruber) have nothing to say.

In the very least I would expect them to acknowledge the issue, and yet nothing. Maybe he's taking his time, or waiting for an official response from Apple before saying anything. But this just seems too important and potentially dangerous to ignore.

In this case, silence speaks volumes.

ps. I have no doubt that Apple will issue an fix for the security issue in short-order, and it will effectively be a non-issue. However, as of this writing, it hasn't happened yet.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

FUD creeping in at Apple?

"Apple executives are saying that the low priced Kindle Fire could actually be a good thing for the iPad because it introduces another level of fragmentation in the Android platform."
Read more:

Why even address an unreleased competing product? This reeks of fear.

I fully expect Apple will release a lower-priced 7" model of the iPad to compete with Android in that space. It's easy to see how a smaller version fits into the product line, especially when you look at how the iPod product line has changed over the last decade. And it makes sense, since in many ways they were defining a new type of device: the portable multimedia player.

With the original iPad, Apple was defining a new category of computing, so it made sense to focus on what they determined to be an optimal screen size for the experience. Now that the iPad is a runaway hit, and the only place that Android tablets seem to be getting any traction is at the 7" screen size.

My guess? When the line expands, we'll see an "iPad mini" with a 1024x768 resolution 7" screen, along with an iPad HD sporting the anticipated Retina display at double the resolution.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Commentary on Microsoft's vision of the future

Today I read a list of items that someone took issue with in a video created by Microsoft and repeatedly dismissed by tech pundits such as John Gruber, among others. After watching the video, which to my eyes only shows a vision for what technology can become, I couldn't help but write this response to the list.
And here's my response to the list (also posted as a comment on the blog):
Talk about focusing on the unimportant minutia and missing the point completely. How utterly presumptuous of Microsoft to have a vision and create a video to express some their ideas.
In response to your list…
1. Font. Seriously? Who cares? Obviously fonts are something that can be changed in an interface, and really it’s more a matter of taste than anything. So lay off.
2. Uni-taps. It seems to me that every time a tap happens, a little microphone icon shows, indicating that voice input is being used. Even for the copy/paste operation the nice lady performs. Maybe that’s why it’s not confusing to anyone. I know it’s a stretch, but you need to imagine that they’re speaking even though you can’t hear it.
3. Gadget dimensions. It’s clear that this video represents all future device development, and that all categories of device are represented here.
4. Input methods. So your expectation is that devices won’t get better at handling a variety of different inputs, and manage them more effectively? Or that new input methods will be devised and used in different ways for different devices?
5. The hand pause. Have you actually used a touch device? There are typically a lot of hand pauses while you wait for visual feedback from the device. Try a kids education app (such as the one in the video) and you’ll see that a lot of the interactions are very similar to the one depicted here.
6. You hate Office. We get it. So do we. Get over it and don’t use it.
Seriously, what is your beef? I’m no lover of Microsoft products myself, but this video shows something we don’t usually get from them, including creativity and vision. Rather than smacking them down for it, maybe they should be encouraged to pursue these lofty goals. It might actually help make for a better tomorrow.