Apple News from WWDC 2010 June 7, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Apple, Computers, Mp3 players and iPods, Music, Tablets , add a comment
News from Apple – WWDC 2010 Steve Job’s Keynote
Apple, as well, pretty much everyone expected, made a few new product announcements today. So let’s jump right in.
First off is an iBooks update, for those of you with iPads. Basically, added highlighting, notes, and bookmarking. Also can do PDFs, not just ePub formatted books. Nice.
Also announced was a Netflix app for the iPhone (summer), Farmville (end of June), and Guitar Hero (now).
Next, as was previously exploded over the internet a while back, iPhone news. Specifically, a new iPhone – the iPhone 4. It has a new design, being made out of steel and glass, and is a quarter thinner then the 3GS. Looking very slick.
What’s new? Hardware-wise, there’s a front-facing camera, and a second mike for better sound. The screen has been totally redone, using some new tech, for 4x resolution. Supposed to be much, much sharper. Furthermore, the Apple A4 chip of the iPad has been added to the iPhone as well, which helps battery life and speed. Battery life now supposed to be at 7 hours 3G talk, 6 hours 3G browsing, 10 hours WiFi browsing, 10 hours music, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours of standby. Motion sensing has a new gyroscope, for full 6-axis motion control. New camera, 5MP, but has a new light sensor (supposed to make pictures better). HD video recording, at 72op. (Niiice!), with flash and sharing built in.
Another note – you will need to get a new SIM card, as the iPhone 4, like the iPad, uses MicroSIM cards.
Software: iMovie for iPhone – to go along with the new HD video camera. Looks insane – transition, effects, text, themes. On an iPhone. Can add in audio tracks from iTunes, photos. Built in geolocation for map effects. Again – this is on a PHONE. Will cost $5. Bing Search added along Google and Yahoo!.
On the iPhone OS 4.0 – it’s been renamed. Now called iOS 4. Some further showing off of the multitasking, Folders, iBooks for iPhone, and other updates.
And the last thing – that front facing camera? It’s for video calling! Called FaceTime, works over WiFi (no 3G, although they’re working on getting it soon.) iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only, obviously. Works with both cameras, in both portrait and landscape.
iOS 4 will be out June 21st, and FINALLY for free for iPod Touches all well. (Seriously, this was needed). Full upgrade for 3GS and 3rd-gen iTouches, iPhone 3G and 2nd-gen Touch get limited. (But it’s FREE!)
So! Pricing is $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB. Colors will be black and white, launching on June 24th. 3GS still available in 8GB for $99
So, that’s it. I’ll be posting a review of the iPhone 4 as soon as I can get my hands on one. Check back here soon!
[Pix from Apple.com]
iPad – Review April 3, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Apple, Computers, First Look/Reviews, Mp3 players and iPods, Music, Tablets, Web , 4comments
Behold! The iPad Cometh!
So. It’s finally landed. The iPad. And I’ve actually managed to get my mitts on one for a few minutes. So – here’s the review: We’ll jump right in.
First off – the iPad is cool. It’s been hyped for what seems like forever, and excitement has built to a fever pitch since it was announced by Apple in January. And it does live up to that – the entire thing is very, very, very, well done.
Let’s face it though. Enlightening (I hope) my comments on the iPad may be – you’ll be able to get effectively the same thing anywhere: every tech site in the world will be writing nearly the same thing, and at this rate, has already written it. So here’s my contribution – that isn’t anywhere else:
What does the iPad mean to YOU – a teenager and student?
It’s not an easy question. As media consumption and entertainment goes, the iPad is incredible. The huge screen, plus the fact it’s an extension of the iTunes library you’ve most likely spent most of your life building, as well as ALL your iPhone/iTouch Apps, along with the 1,400-odd iPad only one already out there make that a moot point. More serious stuff – like note-taking or, say, productive work – is also fairly nice: I personally find the horizontal digital keyboard excellent, and the compatibility with Bluetooth keyboards is a huge plus. And yes, better comments on that is down below.
But back to my question – is the iPad for YOU? I have to say no. And I mean this in no way to knock the iPad, but despite the serious awesomeness of the device, I can’t recommend it for most teens. The iPad, in the most basic breakdown is Apple’s netbook. And here’s the thing.
Teenagers do not use netbooks correctly – at least, how the manufacturers want. The netbook concept is that you buy a full laptop or desktop, and use the netbook to supplement it – for travel or on-the-go. But teens don’t follow that logic at all – for many teens, the netbook is the ONLY computer – the primary one, that they use for media, for school, for gaming, for IM, for everything in their lives – after all, money is something we don’t have available for big purchases for the most part, and netbooks are light, cheap, easy to carry and give full computer functionality.
And unfortunately, the iPad cannot deliver as a primary computer for teens. Both the $500 minimum for the device (not including a case, stand, or external keyboard), as well as it’s existing limitations – no Flash, no physical keyboard, and the limitations of using a mobile operating system – at that price, make it extremely difficult for me to recommend it for a teenager – save the money, or use it to get a full powered laptop. But the iPad isn’t meant to be a primary device, nor can it be recommended as such for a student.
Again – I think the iPad is a fantastic device. And if you’re interested in a secondary device, and can afford the price, or are willing to go with the limitations of the iPad as a primary device, then by all means. It still is an incredible device for the in between space between iPod/Phone and computer – but my personal view is that that particular space doesn’t exist for teenagers in a real sense.
Onwards to the review!
Meebo – Review February 26, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews, Mp3 players and iPods , add a comment
Meebo – it’s fun to say! Meebo. Meebo.
A while back, I wrote a review of Beejive IM, for the iPhone – an IM app that did nearly everything. It’s a great app, but somewhat pricey for IM, ($10) – although it was the best way to IM everyone on all your networks.
But, recently, after showing the app off at the original iPhone 3.0 announcement, Meebo has finally been released, and joined the IM fray. And for most of you – the presumably cheap especially – Meebo might be the solution you’ve been looking for for using AIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Yahoo Chat, and Windows Live simultaneously. (Although you might want to look at consolidating some of those networks…). And unlike the still-fantastic Beejive, Meebo comes at that lovely, lovely price of free.
Also, Meebo has the usual features of a great iPhone IM app: push support for getting IMs outside of the app, speed, and full chat history. It also has the ability to connect to the Meebo website – which allows a pretty sweet seamless transition from iPod/iPhone to computer. One minor qualm I had was related to my use of an iPod Touch – it takes a few seconds to reconnect/load your accounts when returning to the app from a notification – something that is due to the use of WiFi over 3G or EDGE.
But, for delivering almost all functionality of Beejive for free makes Meebo at least worth checking out. Link’s right here.
Doubletwist – iTunes for Your Phone February 24, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Apple, Cell Phones, Computers, First Look/Reviews, Mp3 players and iPods, Music , add a comment
Doubletwist – like iTunes, for non-Apple stuff
The age-old issue: you, like nearly everyone else, uses an iPod for music – be it Touch, Nano, Shuffle, or Classic — and you are very happy with using iTunes for syncing and so on. But unfortunately, unless you have an iPhone, the iTunes program is quite unhelpful when it comes to your phone. Unlike your iPod, you can’t just plug in to your computer and sync your music, and while phones have separate applications for syncing media, lets face it – getting everything to work, getting your music from iTunes…its annoying– especially every time you get a new phone.
Enter Doubletwist. iTunes for everything else- literally. Able to recognize and import your iTunes library (even playlists), Doubletwist is compatible with a whole slew of companies and devices – PSP, Zune, Nokia’s, LG’s, Motorola’s, etc. True, it’s not compatible with everything – but it’s certainly more then an iPod and it does a great job syncing. The interface is simple, and familiar to iTunes’, and features the drag/drop method we all know and love. Videos – provided they aren’t purchased (and therefore, DRMed) from iTunes – are converted into a suitable format and synced. Photos – same deal. (Note: iTunes Plus songs, without DRM, are fine)
Best of all – it’s not only a Mac application – Doubletwist is for Windows as well. It also has features for sharing – or “twisting” as they call it – media with friends and family, as well as integration with the Amazon MP3 store.
If you’d like Doubletwist, check it out on the site here to see if they support your phone or device. Also, you might want to check that you have a USB cable to connect your phone to your PC. Finally, if you’re looking to keep a fair amount of songs, look into getting a MicroSD card, so you have memory to store ‘em.
And next time your iPhone toting friend is bragging about having his music on his phone – you’ll have the last laugh.
Zune HD Gets Some New Games and Apps… For FREE November 13, 2009Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Mp3 players and iPods , add a comment
Project Gotham Racing on the Zune HD (Pic from Kotaku)
Remember back in our Zune HD review where we mentioned how the Zune HD will be getting some new free games and apps, like the hit Xbox 360 game Project Gotham Racing? Microsoft released a whole bunch of new games for the Zune HD including
- PGR: Ferrari Edition (which is like it’s Xbox sibling, giving you 12 Ferrari cars to race all over New York, London or Tokyo either in a 33 level Career mode or in online races aginst up to 3 other cars)
- Lucky Lanes Bowling, a bowling game where you can play either against the computer or up to 4 friends
- Piano app which simulates a virtual piano
- Vans Sk8: Pool Service, a skateboarding game where you aim to do the best tricks in 10 different events
- Audiosurf Tilt, a game where you pick a song from your music library on your Zune and then try to collect the colored blocks and avoid speed bumps along a custom roller coaster made for each song. Microsoft also said today that they soon will also have apps for Facebook and Twitter.
Yes, this is nowhere near the 100,000+ apps in the iTunes App Store, but Microsoft does deserve some credit– creating what looks to be some quality apps (specifically the PGR and Audiosurf games) that look to take full use of the high powered Nvidia Tegra chip inside the Zune to give some solid games all for the unbeatable price of FREE (though you do have to look at a brief ad while the game loads, something I’m more than happy to deal with if it means quality, free apps).
Now if only they’d open up a real App Store and give developers a chance to fully tap into that high powered Tegra chip (I mean check out this video of PGR and Audiosurf on the Zune from Engadget, who they say looked as sharp as a PSP game!), and we’d be all set.
Anyone out there with a Zune HD, you like your new games?
Full info on the apps can be found on the Zune site here.
Eliminate – iPhone Game Review November 11, 2009Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : First Look/Reviews, Mp3 players and iPods, Video Games , add a comment
Not to be confused with Halo.
And, once again, I return to that wonderful gaming platform, the iPhone/iTouch. That’s right readers, another iGame review. This time, I’m talking about Eliminate Pro, the new online 4-player FPS that just came out. Also, its free. Kinda.
First off, what is Eliminate? As previously mentioned, its a iPhone first-person shooter. The quality of the game is way up there – some of the nicest graphics on the iPhone, especially considering that it’s running online with 4 players. There are 5 maps and a total of 6 weapons, 5 of which need to be unlocked, as do a variety of armor types. Weapon and armor attributes, like rate of fire and speed are also upgradable. You play up to four players online, with a matchmaking system based on skill ratings to provide as fair a match as possible. Private games are also available, which is nice for when you want to play some people you actually know. There is also an offline mode, but it’s somewhat limited, allowing you to play against 3 computer opponents, but it doesn’t allow much customization.
Gameplay is awesome – the maps are pretty small, so the action is pretty frantic, and fun. A variety of powerups, including heath regeneration, invisibility, superspeed, damage increase, and the always fun jet pack are scattered around the maps, adding to the chaos. Controls work well, with your left thumb working movement, and right thumb aiming, with tap to fire. Those used to playing console first person shooters should easily adapt.
So, I mentioned before you need to unlock and upgrade things. And you do that through credits, which you earn through playing games online. And thats where the monetary aspect of the game comes it. The game itself, as I said, is free. But unless you have “energy” while playing, you won’t earn any credits, which are used to unlock weapons, armor, and upgrades. You’re given a free energy recharge every four hours for about 3 games or so, but after that, if you want to play AND earn credits to upgrade (you CAN still play for fun), you need to buy energy through the in-app purchasing system. Personally, I can understand why they run the system this way, since its the only way to support the game and keep it free, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the nickel and diming.
However, even without energy, the game is still fun, and that’s what counts in the end. And since it’s well, free, I suppose I can’t really argue against it. Check it out on iTunes here. (Note: iTunes Link)
Review: Microsoft Zune HD October 2, 2009Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : First Look/Reviews, Mp3 players and iPods , add a comment
The Zune HD
For the last week or so we were able to spend some good ‘ol time with Microsoft’s sweet new Zune HD. It really is a slick device– OLED multi-touch 3.3 inch touchscreen with amazing display (thanks to NVIDIA Tegra graphics), sleek design, thin aluminum casing, built in WiFi, and of course, the HD features of HD radio and the ability to play your videos in HD with the optional HD playback kit.
So if your looking for a new device and have to choose between say, this and the iPod touch 3rd gen, which should you go with? The answer, my friends, is after the break.
Apple Announces Updated iPods, iTunes September 13, 2009Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Apple, Mp3 players and iPods , add a comment
So, Apple’s annual iPod event was this week, and they, as usual announced the latest round of iPods for the Holiday season, as well as a new version of iTunes. So, lets go through it, shall we? (more…)