SiliconFilter

Apple Announces New iPad with Retina Display, Quad-Core Graphics and 4G LTE Support, Available March 16th

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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took the stage in San Francisco this morning to announce the next version of the iPad, as well as iOS 5.1 and a new AppleTV. The new iPad features a retina display and a faster processor. The wireless version will now support 4G LTE networks for significantly faster download speeds while on the go. The design of the new iPad looks virtually identical to the iPad 2 and the name, it seems, is "the new iPad."

The new AppleTV now supports 1080p playback and also comes with an updated user interface.

This is a developing story. Check back later for more updates.

iPad: Retina Display, Faster Processor, Better Camera

The central focus of today’s event, of course, was the next version of the iPad. Apple, in Cook’s words, wants to “redefine the category that Apple created with the original iPad.”

As expected, the highlight of the new iPad is a high-resolution display – the kind Apple likes to call a Retina Display. It features a 2048×1536 resolution (that’s 3.1 million pixels at 264ppi) and is, according to Apple, the “most ever in a mobile device.” Apple also notes that the new display also offers significantly better color saturation.

Inside the iPad, a new A5X processors now offers quad-core graphics performance that is, according to Apple, four times as fast as a comparable NVIDIA Tegra 3. It's worth noting that this is still a dual-core processor, though. Just the graphics chip is now quad-core.

The new iPad will also features a significantly better camera (5 megapixel, IR filter, face detection, etc.). The new camera will allow you to shoot video in 1080p. Maybe even more importantly, the camera software now uses stabilization to ensure your movies aren’t too shaky.

The new iPad will be 9.4 mm thin and ways 1.4 pounds. It will retail starting at $499 for the 16GB version. It will be available on March 16th in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. It will go on sale world-wide on March 23rd.

The iPad 2 will remain available for the time being, starting at $399 for the 16GB WiFi version.

4G for the iPad

Surprisingly, the new iPad will also offer support for 4G LTE wireless networks. These next-generation networks offer faster download speeds, though until now, Apple had been somewhat conservative about moving to these faster networks as there has generally been a trade-off between battery life and speed. Apple, however, says that this new version will offer the same battery life as the previous 3G iPad (10 hours of battery life, 9 hours on 4G).

The 4G version is coming to Verizon, AT&T in the U.S. and Telus, Rogers and Bell in Canada. Prices for the 4G iPad will start at $629.

The 4G version of the iPad will, it is worth noting, also support regular 3G networks.

Users will also be able to turn the 4G iPad into a personal hotspot – if the carrier supports it.

Apps: Updated iApps – Including a New iPhoto for iPad

In addition to the new hardware, Apple also talked about the app ecosystem for its tablet. Cook, of course, couldn’t help himself and had to take a stab at Android. Specifically, he noted how Twitter on a Galaxy Tab “looks like a blown-up smartphone app” while the iPad version was clearly designed for a tablet.

In addition to talking about third-party apps, Apple also announced new versions of its own productivity apps (Pages, Keynote and Numbers) for the iPad and the next version of Garageband, the company's music-creation app. iMovie, too, is getting and update with advanced planning and editing tools. It's not clear if any of these updates will also be available for first-generation iPads.

New in Apple's line-up is iPhoto for iPad, which completes Apple's lineup of iApps that are currently available for OS X. 

New AppleTV & iTunes in the Cloud

iTunes in the cloud, which was mostly focused on music until now, now offer support for movies as well. Users will be able to re-download any of the movies they have purchased on any device. These movies will be encoded in 1080p.

The reason for this is that Apple’s latest version of the AppleTV, which the company also announced today, finally supports 1080p as well. The new AppleTV also features an updated interface that makes use of the extra pixels. Just like the old AppleTV, this new version will cost $99. It will be available next week and you can pre-order starting today.

Siri Comes to Japan

In addition to all of this, Apple also today announced that Siri, it’s voice-enable personal assistant, is coming to Japan as part of the company’s iOS 5.1 update (which is also rolling out today).

The Post-PC World

Cook also used his presentation to talk about Apple’s vision of the post-PC world. In his view, it seems, the iPod started this trend, followed by the iPhone and, of course, the iPad. “Apple,” he said,”has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC future.” These devices, according to Apple, made up 76% of its revenue last year and the company sold a total of 172 Million of them. Just in the last quarter alone, Apple sold 62 million iPads.

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10:42 am



CNN Now Offers Live Video Streams of its Cable Channels – If You Subscribe to Cable

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The only thing I’ve been missing since cancelling my cable subscription and going Internet-only is access to cable news. Today, CNN announced that it is now the first cable news network to stream all of its programming live online and on mobile. That, of course, made me hope that I could now watch CNN in the background while surfing the net, but the reality is that CNN’s two channels (CNN itself and HLN) will only be available to those who already subscribe to cable (or a “multi-channel video service” as the cable industry likes to call it).

Specifically, CNN is working with AT&T, Comcast, Cox, DISH Network, Suddenlink and Verizon. As long as you are subscribed to one of their products, you can access the “live video” tab on CNN’s new online video player and in its mobile app. If you are not, you are out of luck.

I would happily give CNN a few dollars every month to get access to their streams, but as of now, I don’t even get the choice to do so. Thankfully, though, CNN will continue to provide free access to up to four live streams from breaking news events and on-demand access to video clips.

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3:52 pm


AT&T Launches Most Boring Groupon Clone Yet

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Now that Google, Facebook, the New York Times and virtually every other company has launched some form of daily deals/group-buying site, AT&T is joining the fray today as well. According to Bloomberg, AT&T’s Groupon clone is launching in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas-Forth Worth  “within the coming weeks.” The service is hosted on AT&T’s YellowPages.com. If you sign up within the next twenty days, you will get a $10 credit towards your first purchase (which makes me think the service is launching somewhere around May 22nd).

yp_deals_att-yellowpages

Innovation? Nope…

It’s hard not to look at AT&T’s site and wonder what it’s going to do that’s different from its competitors. Judging from what’s on the site right now, the answer is: zero. “The deals of the day are about solving everyday needs. Offers that make it easier to take the family out to dinner at that cute new diner. Finally dry-clean your wedding dress. Or get your car detailed after last month’s disastrous coffee run.”

Indeed, none of the recent Groupon clones have improved over the original model or brought any meaningful innovation to this space besides expanding the general concept into new niches (travel, shoes etc.). Facebook’s service is a bit more social (though that really only means it’s easier to share deals on Facebook), Google Offers is about as direct a clone as it could be, but in general, the idea is still the same and the sites often still hold up the pretense that these are “group-buying” sites and not just straight-up deals sites.

It’s hard not to imagine that consumers (and merchants) will soon get tired of this and restrict themselves to two or three general sites (Groupon, LivingSocial and maybe Google’s or Facebook’s offering) and another one or two niche services.



1:02 pm


Why You Shouldn't Trust the uSamp Verizon iPhone Survey

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Saturday’s are usually slow days in the tech news world, but thanks to a new survey (PDF) from online research firm uSamp that argues that 44% of Verizon Android users and 26% of AT&T iPhone users will wait in line to get a Verizon iPhone on the first day it goes on sale, we have something fun to chat about.

Here are the most interesting results of the survey: 44% of Verizon Android users are very likely (19%) or somewhat likely (25%) to buy an iPhone on February 10. About 26% of AT&T iPhone owners are either very likely (8%) or somewhat likely (18%) to get in line for a Verizon iPhone on day one.

Now, given the huge demand for Verizon iPhones, there can be little doubt that it will be a huge hit for both Verizon and Apple. I’m not doubting that at all. What I do doubt, however, are the survey results from uSamp. Here are some of the problems I see with this survey and the way it’s currently portrayed:

[list]

  • How does uSamp recruit panelists? That one was a bit harder to find out, but as far as I can see, panelists are recruited through Opinion Place – a service owned by the same company as uSamp that pays panelists in Paypal credits, Amazon gift cards and American Airlines frequent flier miles. Basically, these people take surveys to make a buck – not exactly a trustworthy methodology.
  • Opinion Place 1

  • If you read all the way to the end of the survey, you see that a lot of people have “second thoughts about switching.” Once asked about these second thoughts, the number of switchers from AT&T to Verizon suddenly drops from 26% to 15%. Same for Verizon RIM and Android customers. The number of potential switchers drops from 54% to 25% after the survey asks if they still plan to switch, no matter the cost of switching, concerns about network speeds and the possibility that lots of iPhones could slow down Verizon’s network. This once again makes me wonder of the panelists who took this survey.
  • Related to this: I never trust a survey that asks consumers about future purchase decisions (see the ChangeWave iPhone survey from January for an example and more explanation). Saying ‘yes’ about buying something in the future is very easy. Doing it is a lot harder (especially if early termination fees play a role).
  • as far as I can see, this is only the second survey uSamp’s published under its own name. That doesn’t have to be a negative, but one could argue that uSamp doesn’t have a lot of experience in running its own surveys. The first survey – about consumer sentiments ahead of the holidays – seems quite reasonable, but maybe those questions were more in line with topics the paid uSamp panelists knew something about…

[/list]
I’m happy to be proven wrong here. As I said above, I’m not doubting that the Verizon iPhone will be a huge hit and that lots of people will switch. I just think this survey isn’t the best way to prove that.



6:45 pm


Why I'm Not Buying ChangeWave's AT&T/Verizon iPhone Switcher Numbers

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According to research firm ChangeWave, 15% of AT&T’s mobile subscribers plan to switch carriers in the next 90 days. Even worse for AT&T, 26% of its iPhone users plan to defect to Verizon once it gets the iPhone (41% within the 90 days after the release of the iPhone and 31% within a year). With numbers like this and the general undercurrent of dislike for AT&T in the tech blogosphere, these statistics are obviously catnip for the tech press and most outlets reported them as simple facts.

But I’m having a few issues with these numbers that make me think that this survey is ultimately too flawed to be trusted:

[list type=”red”]

  • This kind of self-reported data about future purchase decisions is notoriously unreliable. Just look at the numbers. Almost 30% of those who said they would switch don’t even think they would switch within the next year. But those who answered the survey (and we don’t know enough about the methodology here to begin with) could have had lots of different reasons for telling ChangeWave why they wanted to switch (social pressure, “sticking it to AT&T” etc.). Notice how ChangeWave’s numbers about dropped calls are also self-reported.
  • The group of people ChangeWave interviews is highly self-selected. This data is not based on random phone interviews but on a survey of “credentialed professionals who spend their everyday lives working on the frontline of technological change. Nearly 3 out of every 5 members (53%) have advanced degrees (e.g., Master’s or Ph.D.) and 91% have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree.” These people opted to be part of the ChangeWave Alliance for the sole reason of being a part of these surveys.
  • The survey was conducted before Verizon had even announced the iPhone for its network. Even today, we don’t know critical information about how much Verizon plans to charge for its data plans, for example. We also haven’t seen any speed comparisons between AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks yet.
  • [/list]
    Will a lot of people switch from AT&T to Verizon? Probably. This survey, however, doesn’t really tell us much and the numbers are questionable at best.

    Let’s come back in a few months and see what the real numbers are. I’m sure if this many people really switch, Verizon will be more than happy to tell us.

    verizon-att-iphone-defectors.jpg



    12:20 pm


    Confirmed: iOS 4.3 Will Feature Personal Hotspots

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    After yesterday’s Verizon iPhone announcement, it was already clear that Apple would bring personal hotspots – that is the ability to use the iPhone as a WiFi router for up to 5 devices – to other networks as well. Today, Apple released the first beta of iOS 4.3 for iPhone and iPad to developers and this version does indeed offer personal hotspots just like the Verizon iPhone pundits got to gaze at yesterday.

    Now it’s just up to AT&T and friends to actually support this feature and enable them on the carrier side. Given how long it took AT&T to actually support a basic feature like tethering, I’m not holding my breath.

    Other new features (mostly for the iPad) according to those who’ve actually seen iOS 4.3:
    [list type=”tick”]

  • swipe up to open the multitasking tray
  • swipe left and right to switch apps
  • 4 and 5 finger gestures – though I’m not quite sure what those will be used for, yet
  • the iPad side switch can now be set back to bein an orientation lock (Apple turned it into a mute switch in the last update)
  • AirPlay streaming from third-party apps
  • fullscreen iAds
  • [/list]



    3:12 pm


    When Will AT&T Users Get the Verizon iPhone’s Personal Hotspot Feature?

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    For the most part, today’s Verizon iPhone announcement was exactly in line with what most pundits expected: same phone, different network. One intriguing feature of the Verizon iPhone that AT&T doesn’t currently offer, however, is the ability to turn the phone into a WiFi hotspot for up to 5 devices. Wouldn’t it be nice if AT&T also offered this feature soon?

    AT&T is “Evalutating” This Feature

    There is nothing specifically “Verizon” about this feature. Technically, AT&T’s network is just as capable of supporting this feature as Verizon’s and there are already third-party apps for jailbroken iPhones out there that offer this capability and that work reasonably well. The Verizon iPhones that were on display in New York today ran iOS 4.2.5, a currently unreleased version of the iPhone’s operating system. On Verizon’s iPhones, turning on the hotspot feature is as easy as going to the settings menu and turning the feature on. It’s integrated directly into the OS.

    verizon gets the iphoneThe good folks over at the Business Insider asked AT&T if this feature would make its way to their iPhone as well and a company rep told them that AT&T is “evaluating” this feature but has “no plans to announce today.”

    Just a Question of Time?

    So will AT&T support mobile hotspots once Apple releases the next update to the iOS? My personal guess is that it will take the company a bit longer before it releases this feature to its users. After all, it took AT&T years before it even officially allowed tethering and the hotspot feature would put even more of a strain on the company’s network. For now, I’m guessing AT&T will start offering this feature once the next generation iPhone is available and it will surely charge a hefty fee for this feature as well (we don’t know anything about Verizon’s pricing plans for the iPhone yet, so the price could turn out to be a non-issue). Overall, though, it will only be a matter of time before AT&T users will get this feature as well.



    12:09 pm