Although iCloud is launching in just a few months, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the service. How will it improve my workflow? Will it be better than MobileMe? Does it really replace current backup and sync services?
I can definitely sympathize with these concerns. MobileMe wasn’t exactly a smashing success, particularly since it cost about $100 per year too much. I use a free Dropbox account to sync both documents and data to and from my iPad. Since Dropbox is supported by many excellent apps, it can effectively serve as a cloud-based file system for your iPad—for free.
However, it looks like Apple has tried its best to address MobileMe’s faults with iCloud. A free account comes with 5 GB (about twice as much as Dropbox starts with), and boasts complete integration with Lion and iOS 5, elegant web apps for managing emails and calendars, and painless document and data syncing.
Given these improvements, can iCloud really change the way we use our iPads? Or is it just a flashy, not as full-featured alternative to Dropbox?
The newly refreshed Macbook Air is the best laptop Apple has ever devised for students. Even the lowest end model, with its paltry (by current standards) 2GB of RAM, would be fine for most students I know. Add the Air’s ridiculously fast SSD into the mix, and you’ve got a seriously slick machine.
But wait, what other Apple product is impossibly thin, has flash-based storage, and is super fast? The iPad, of course.
In many ways, the iPad seems unstoppable: its stable of professional, beautifully designed apps grows by the day, its iOS operating system gets more efficient and productive with every update, and its hardware is way ahead of competitors.
At half the price of the MacBook Air, the iPad suddenly seems like a more than capable option for a cash-strapped student. But could it really serve as a student’s only computer?
It should be simple, shouldn’t it, to print from the iPad? I don’t mean simple as in “I’ve bought every Apple device known to man” kind of simple, I mean out-of-the box with what you have. Or at least maybe with a little tinkering, but not too much..
I just want to print anything – easily – through my home Wi-Fi network, to my Epson Stylus printer which is currently connected to my Windows 7 laptop.
Is it possible? Is it easy? Read on to find out…
The computer is, according to the traditional mindset, largely a proxy device. There is little to no direct input from the user; every action is interpreted through either the keyboard, mouse, or trackpad. Because of these proxy input methods, we’ve developed a sort of digital mindset; we think of a file as something to be clicked on, we interpret each click of the mouse as being our real, natural input.
What, then, happens when a device comes along without a physical keyboard or mouse? This question has become more pronounced throughout the introduction of the iPhone, iPod Touch, and (more recently) the iPad.
Much of Apple’s marketing around the iPad has been that ‘it just works’ or that being able to touch the application, or the application’s interface, is ‘magical’. I’m inclined to agree; the iPad is changing, and will continue to change, the way that we think about computers and how we interact with them. Through one simple, basic concept; touch.
The entire computing world has been flipped on its head and forced to answer some hard questions.
The zero-sum game is defined by Wikipedia as:
A mathematical representation of a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s).
While many people see every facet of the world in this way – the if I am to win, then someone else must lose approach – in many cases it’s a complete fallacy. Just as in the economy at large we can all benefit from strong economic decisions and the effective pursuit of individual success, in technology it is vital that we understand the benefits of diverse and successful competition.
I say all of this in an effort to explain why the launch of the HP TouchPad on July 1 was a good thing. Judging from some of the early reviews, it looks as though the TouchPad could become a successful competitor for the iPad – with some reviewers (such as Joshua Topolsky) even preferring elements of the user interface and design.
Will the release of more successful tablets help to drive Apple towards even better iterations of the iPad, will they even take the competition into consideration? In what ways could increased competition in the field of tablets be beneficial to consumers?
Perhaps this is a rather incendiary thing to ask, but I can’t help but be intrigued by the way the prices in the App Store are going. A fascinating recent article posted on TUAW (and based on this article by ZDNet) highlighted just how impressive the statistics regarding the App Store are in 2011, and drew attention specifically to the general upward direction in terms of price.
Since owning an iPad I have gradually become less and less bothered by the thought of paying for an app, although I always consider the purchase carefully (in relative terms). In fact, part of me actively enjoys the thought that I am, hopefully, supporting the developers of quality apps and playing my part in securing a glorious future for the App Store.
Am I wrong?
I love my iPad 2, it’s certainly found its place in my life. There is, however, one key feature of the iPad 2 that doesn’t really fit. I don’t believe that the cameras, as they currently stand, are really on a par with the rest of the device.
Apple has often been derided for its seeming inability to put effective cameras in its devices. For a company that so often gets things right, was putting cameras in the iPad 2 a mistake?
When the iPad launched, I openly mocked it as a large iPod touch and touted that Apple has gone creatively bankrupt. Strong words, but based on what I saw with the iPad 1, I stood by my declaration for about a year. Then the iPad 2 launched. It was a move in the right direction, but still didn’t look mind blowing.
Then I read about the Motorola Xoom and how awful the tablet is when compared to the iPad. Reviews like those highlighted the strengths of the iPad, but that didn’t convince me to buy one, until the launch of iPad.AppStorm. Interested in knowing how I became a believer? Do read on.
One thing is certain; It’s difficult to predict the future, even more so in the sphere of technology and gaming.
It’s fascinating to think that in my lifetime hand-held gaming has gone from slotting two dimensional blocks on a small monochrome screen, to fully rendered three dimensional racing games in gloriously bright colour. Great traditions are sinking into the abyss, we’re well past the days of blowing dust from frozen cartridges and swapping over our AAs for ten minutes more juice. Rubbing the battery of an iPad is more likely to get you sectioned than on to the next level of Angry Birds.
A recent interview with Phil Harrison, a former Sony boss, has piqued my interest in the stumbling blocks created by iOS for the console gaming giants. I’m going to look at the greatest threats the iPad can levy, and whether a changing of the tide is for the better.
This is no time for complacency, just ask the music industry.