iPad 2 is Bleeding Conspiracy!

The iPad 2 has been out for less than a week now and it seems a potentially major problem has been discovered.  Many people are reporting that their iPad is experiencing “screen bleed”.   I’m not going to go into the details of screen bleed.  If you are interested, please check out this link to Gizmodo – they do a great job explaining and showing you the actual problem – http://gizmodo.com/#!5781452/the-ipad-2-is-bleeding.

The point of this post is my new conspiracy theory, which plays nicely into my previous post, where I believe an iPad 2.5 will be released this September.  If you note, one of the things I predicted that would be part of the September model was…wait for it…a new retina display!  Well, look at what we already have here with the iPad 2 – a bad display!  Wonder how widespread this issue is?  Was it just a bad batch?  Is the screen incompatible with the new chip?  Probably a long shot, but a nice transition in for Apple to say, well, we do have a minor screen problem and to mitigate the risk of it continuing to happen in the future, we have upgraded to a better improved screen! 

So what do you think now – iPad 2.5, coming this Fall, to an Apple store near you?

iPad 2 – What’s the Plan?

 Verizon, AT&T and Apple are all set to start selling iPad 2 devices tomorrow, beginning at 5pm EST. 

If you were considering getting a Verizon ready iPad, here are the plans that will be offered:

  • 1GB per month – $20
  • 3GB per month – $35
  • 5GB per month – $50
  • 10GB per month – $80

If anyone has a data plan on their smartphone and utilizes the hotspot feature for an extra $20 a month, you might start reading between the lines on these plans.  For $20 a month, I can use my smartphone as a mobile hotspot and have my iPad hooked up to the Internet via the phone.  While it drains the battery a bit, it is a lot cheaper at $20/2GB, then the plans above.  It makes me wonder what Verizon has in store for the mobile hotspot plans.  We already know the unlimited plans on the phones are going away…I have a feeling the $20/2GB hotspot/tether plans will change in the near future too, to look more like the plans above. 

If you are an AT&T user, the plans offered, will look these below:

  • $14.99/250 MB per month
  • $25/2GB per month

Overage on the plans varies based on the carrier and the specific plan.  See carrier for details.

Things your Parents didn’t tell you – Netbook or Tablet??

Are you like one of the many people I have spoken to recently, trying to decide what is the right device for you?  Do you need a very mobile device, but are not sure if you should go with the traditional Netbook or get caught up in the tablet hype?  Well, I can tell you first hand, I own both types of devices and there is a time and place for each of them.  What I hope to accomplish here, is provide a little bit more insight on the pros and cons for each.

Netbook

What is it?   A netbook is a stripped down laptop that runs the same type of  operating system, your typical desktop or laptop runs.  Some netbooks these days are borderline laptops and vice versa, but generally a netbook sports a screen size between 10-13 inches, does not have any CD/DVD Drives and is less powerful, than your average laptop.  Netbooks are designed to provide portability and efficiency, hence the small screen sizes and less impressive specs.  They were originally targeted at people looking for a more economical  system that would allow them to surf  the web, check e-mail and perform basic pc tasks (ie.  MS Office).   Today, some netbooks are a bit more powerful, like the one I am typing on right now.  Mine houses a faster processor and graphic card, but comes at a price, specifically, greater cost and  6 fewer hours of battery power than your average netbook.  It’s all really personal preference.  The bottom line is a netbook is good for anything that will require you to type a lot and  jump between applications.  If you are like me and want to work remotely every now and then and need to link into another desktop or device, a netbook would provide the perfect blend of functionality and portability.  If you are a blogger, like some others you might know, and will be doing a lot of typing, a netbook would also meet these requirements. 

Tablet

What is it?  It’s an iPad…okay, just kidding, obviously there are more tablets out there than just the iPad.  A tablet is a flat device with a touch screen that allows you to do various tasks.  It runs a mobile operating system, like iOS, Android, or WebOS.  What are these mobile OS I speak of?  Do you have a smartphone?  If so, you have a mobile OS on your phone.  As you already know, one of the advantages of how your phone operates is instant gratification.  Another words, as soon as you turn the device on, it is ready to serve you.  Even when you completely reboot the device, it comes back to life, ready to roll, fairly quickly….of course, unless you have  Blackberry…sorry RIM, but 11 minutes to reboot my Blackberry Storm 2 was never a fun experience (at least it was consistently always 11 minutes).   This leads me to one major advantages of a tablet – it’s always ready to go.  There are no long boot times.  If you are looking for a very portable device, that you can turn on and off without delay, the tablet could be for you.  If you have a smartphone, and love it, but find the screen too small, then the tablet is for you.  If you want that device you can sit on the couch and surf the web, the tablet is for you.  The tablet provides quick, on demand portability.  What it won’t provide is the ability to multi-task efficiently between applications or type well (although the tablet is making strides here with 3rd party products). 

Still confused on what this all means?  Here is the quick and dirty rundown: 

Netbook

Pros

  • Fully functional OS – true multitasking and integration with other devices
  • Easier to type (for the most part)

Cons

  • Slower start-u whether full boot-up or just being “woken”
  • Harder to manuever, while in transit – opening and closing screen and typing..there’s a reason they are called laptops (and physically, other than size, a netbook is inherently a laptop)

Who would benefit most – users looking to work remotely, bloggers, students, people who want a more portable device to their laptop, economical alternative to a laptop or desktop replacement

Tablets

Pros

  • “Always ready” – little wait to boot up and ready to serve when needed
  • Easier to use on the go – no keyboard and completely flat
  • Inherits same full functionality a desktop would have since it uses same OS

Cons

  • Multi-tasking between apps is very challenging
  • No keyboard built-in other than touch screen
  • functionality is limited since it runs on a mobile OS and not the same OS a full-blown desktop would run on

Who would benefit most – couch surfers (Internet), users who are looking for a personal assistant (portfolio) replacement, students (as a supplement to a netbook), workers in the field that normally carry client info (ie. sales, real estate, Dr,  etc.), e-readers who want the best of all the e-reading device world.

iPad is less “Spec”-tacular, but should remain more popular

As I have harped upon in my previous posts, the iPad 2 enhancements were predictable and anything but a technological breakthrough.  The mother of all Android tablets on the other hand, which at this moment is the Moto Xoom, has some impressive specs and features, which many are saying could give the iPad a run for its money.  While I agree, I would like to provide some reasons I believe the iPad will remain the leader in the tablet market.

  • Let’s start with cost.  What does the new iPad 2 really mean to the marketplace?  It means there will be plenty of original iPads to snatch up at a great value, whether it be by purchasing a new one discounted to clear out of inventory, or a used one on Ebay, Craigslists, etc.  The bottom line is the original iPad is still a cool device, far from being outdated and well worth the discounted price tag.  People who couldn’t afford the entry-level $500 price tag  to play with the next best innovative device, can now flock to get them at much more affordable price.   More iPads in the marketplace, means more buzz and demand for the devices, all while price points diminish.  It’s like the perfect storm!  (Certainly, the law of supply and demand states demand will cause prices to rise, but remember, they can only rise so high for the first generation iPad, with iPad 2 out there. )

 

  • The iPad might not look as techy as the Android, but that can actually be a good thing.  iOS can be viewed as “boring”, but boring can equate to simple, and when dealing with a technical device,  most people like simple.  Not to mention, the device is still a great looking experience!

 

  • Apple is already trusted and mainstream.  Ever play the game where I say a word and you have to immediately say what comes to mind?  Let’s play:
    • Phone…
    • Tablet…

             Did they both happen to start with “i”.

  • Verizon is promoting Apple products now and is not an Android exclusive shop (yes, there is also Blackberry, but when is the last time you happen to see a Verizon Blackberry commercial).  Verizon is a big player in the mobile world and advertising Apple along side Android, definitely helps Apple…at least a lot more than when they weren’t promoting Apple. 

 

Can others compete with the iPad – surely, as I have noted in previous posts.  I just don’t see it coming as soon as many might think.

Bold Predictions!

I would like to start off the week by presenting some of my predictions (pure speculation – no solid facts to back these folks) for the upcoming year, with regards to some key mobile devices:

iPad 2.5 – I see in my crystal ball, another incremental update around September of this year.  Included with the iPad Premium (aka 2.5) line will be increased memory options (say a 32, 80, and 128 gig’er), retina display, and possibly a USB port! 

iPhone 5 – thinner and larger.  Larger screens seem to be the cool kids of smartphones these days, so I expect a 4.0 inch screen, off-set by an overall thinner device.  I expect the iPhone 5 to be released by the end of this summer, but Verizon customers shouldn’t hold their breath for it, until at least 6 months after initial release. 

iPhone 4G – not sure when and I am pretty sure it won’t be the next iPhone 5 coming this summer, but it will happen and it will be Verizon to bring it first, to a 4G network close to you.  (If I had to predict a date – late next year, 2012)

Window Tablets – I have a netbook and I have an iPad.  The netbook still allows true multi-tasking, easy integration with other PCs and the file systems.  The iPad provides instant gratification, as it takes no time to boot up and is ready for me immediately – it lacks in the areas I mentioned the netbook was good.  If Microsoft can provide an innovative experience with their Windows tablet, they might have a shot into the market.  The only problem is they are now saying their devices won’t be out until 2012, which only allows the competition more time to give Microsoft a reason to put their tablets on clearance, shortly after their release. 

Blackberry Playbook – this is a tough one to call.  I personally don’t like it much, but I have not played with one,  so again only going with what I read and see online.  I read you can integrate with your BES account, but only if you have a Blackberry phone.  That’s annoying in my opinion.  Blackberry has always relied on the business and enterprise users and I see a lot of businesses working with the iPad right now.  Like Microsoft, the delay to market might have hurt Blackberry’s chances here. 

Android Tablets – from what I see, if you take away the cost, the Moto Xoom has a good chance to take on the iPad.  The problem is the cost.  I am not sure that many people are ready to pay that much for a tablet, especially when the mainstream product, the iPad, can be had for less.  Gadget geeks and highly intelligent tech people might disagree, but that is not the complete make-up of all the consumers these devices should be targeting, if you want to make an impact.  Speaking of the gadget geeks, right now, that’s where i see the Android market staying because….

The iPad will win the tablet battle this year and keep its lead in the tablet market.  Why you ask?  Look for my reasons, later today.

Apple’s original iPad now selling @ $100 discount

If you head over to the Apple store, you will notice that the first generation iPads are selling for as low as $399.  That would explain where that $399 rumored price point came from to compete with the lower end Android tablets.  If your in the market for an iPad and don’t care about the new iPad 2 features, here is your chance.  The link to the Apple Store  is provided below:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB292LL/A?mco=MTcyMTg1MDA

iPad 2 announced, as expected…but are these the iPads you were looking for?

Well, it is official, the iPad 2 is coming to an Apple store near you, next Friday, March 11th. It’s funny how secretive Apple is about its products, yet when they are announced, there is almost little surprise to what is announced! In this case, what was pretty much expected of the iPad 2 has been confirmed. Here are the key upgrades in a nutshell:

  • Faster A5 Processor – 2x faster and 9x faster graphics;
  • Front and rear facing camera (and a gyroscope);
  • 1/3 thinner than original iPad;
  • Verizon and ATT capable;
  • Comes in black and white;
  • New cool accessories, including a magnetic screen case and 1080p cable adapter;
  • Price points remain the same along with the memory options – 16gb, WiFi only, $499 starting point.

So, what does this all equate to in the end. If you don’t have an iPad, and you waited anxiously because the first one had some obvious shortcomings, congratulations, you did it…you made it! Go out and reserve one now (they are going to initially be in short supply based on production numbers). If you already have the first generation iPad, I would recommend you wait unless you really, really want a camera, or you need to upgrade your memory, 3G card etc. If you are looking for a reason to just throw $500-$800 more out the window, just so you can say you have the latest and greatest, I would say wait for the iPad 3 because I have a feeling that one will be worth the wait for everyone.

iPad 2 – Game Changer or Bridge Builder?

It is the eve of the iPad 2 announcement.  Tomorrow, Apple is set to unveil the next generation tablet.  When the iPad was originally announced last Spring there were a few things I immediately did not like about it, which prevented me from taking the plunge and purchasing the attractive device.  For starters, there was no camera.  How can you have a tablet with such potential and not include a camera?  Other areas I was not impressed with included lack of memory and a USB port.  As hard as it was, I made it a point to wait for Apple to make its next inevitable move, which would be to offer a second generation product, much improved and at a lower cost. 

So here I sit, the eve of  the iPad 2 announcement and surprisingly, I can say, I will not be in the running to purchase one.  There are a few reasons, which have led me to believe this is not the time to pull the trigger on the new iPad.  Most importantly, I won a first generation iPad!  Now, you might be saying to yourself, of course you’re not getting an iPad 2,  if you already won an original iPad, but consider my options.  I certainly had the opportunity to sell my winning iPad, bank the money and wait for the iPad 2, knowing it was going to be announced in a few weeks.  But that wasn’t even a serious consideration.  You see, there is something more going on here.  I read an article on another blog that pointed to a little conspiracy theory and after reading some other sites and digesting the information, I also have a gut feeling Apple is up to something more in the coming months. 

For starters, let’s look at what people are speculating will be improved with the iPad 2:

  • Rear and front facing cameras –  if this is not included, I would suggest everyone dump their Apple stock now;
  • Quicker Processor and more RAM – I believe it;
  • Thinner device – of course this is going to happen – you already invested in a case(s) for the first one, so now you will need to get a whole new slew of case(s)…someone has to keep the case companies in business;
  • More Memory – maybe this will happen;
  • Verizon and AT&T compatible for 3G ready devices – absolutely;
  • USB port – keep praying;
  • Better resolution – maybe, but not the Retina display like the iPhone…not yet;
  • Better speaker – likely;
  • improved iOS – it’s coming and will likely be announced tomorrow for all devices, but won’t ship with the iPad 2;
  • Lower price points, with starting price at $300 – been there, done that with the iPod Classic – this is likely, although I could see $449 as the starting price. 

Overall, even if everything listed above was to occur, which it won’t, Apple still is in a position where the tablet competition is getting hot and heavy and they need to make a big move with a new and much more innovative iPad.  I believe that iPad is out there and being worked on, but it is not the iPad 2.  The iPad 2 to me sounds more like bridge work to the real next generation iPad 3!  The iPad 2 sounds like a device that will target people who were on the fence and needed that extra push, like me (of course, prior to winning my original iPad).  At this point, I rather take my first generation iPad and ride it out until the iPad 3 is released. 

This takes me to a conspiracy theory I read on another Apple blog, Macrumor.com.  Apple’s release cycle for the iPods is in September.  It has been rumored that they might want to put the iPad on the same release schedule as the iPods.  The thought is Apple will release a quick fix iPad this March and then follow-up with the true next generation iPad 3 in September, when the other iPod devices are released.  Take into account that Apple has already said the iPad 2 will be in short supply at lauch due to “processing” delays, this fits into the conspiracy theory very nicely.  Why produce millions and millions of iPad 2s, knowing another device is on the horizon?  Especially when you know it won’t be improved enough to make people want to upgrade from the $500-$800 device they bought just last Spring. 

Whatever the case, the conspiracy theory is just that – a theory and the iPad 2 details haven’t even been released yet.  There could be no truth to the theory at all and the iPad 2 could have a feature that allows it to do your laundry, clean dishes and vacuum the house.  That would be an innovative game changer to say the least.   

I look forward to what Apple has in store for us tomorrow.

iPhone to Verizon – A Blue’s Clue!

If you haven’t heard yet, there are rumors that Apple has ordered “hoards”, yes that is right – “Hoards!!” of CDMA chipsets from Qualcomm. If you read my early posts, you would know that Qualcomm is the company that developed the CDMA network and is what the Verizon network utilizes to provide its mobile services (Sprint does as well, but would they order “Hoards” of chipsets? I think not)

Anyway, in addition to this news, what is not as well known yet (although it’s becoming more wide spread, like the Easter Bunny getting laid off this past April – you didn’t know?) is a statement referenced in a recent AT&T SEC filing. It read:

In addition, offering a number of attractive handsets on an exclusive basis distinguishes us from our competitors. As these exclusivity arrangements end, we expect to continue to offer such handsets (based on historical industry practice), and we believe our service plan offerings will help to retain our customers by providing incentives not to move to a new carrier.

Wait, what did you say AT&T??? As these exclusivity arrangements end… So how many arrangements do you think they have right now? The only one I know of is the one for the iPhone. Yes, we pretty much had an idea it ended this year, but there were rumors it would be extended or was not ending. Now it seems to just about be confirmed that it will end, opening the playing field to other providers.

So when is the iPhone coming to Verizon? As I have been preaching, I would target a date around early January of next year, with an announcement not coming until next year, as to not disrupt the Christmas shopping season. Many might argue pre-holiday season would be ideal, but in this case I think it would only be a bad publicity stunt. Verizon would cause mass demand on their network and on the iPhone itself, plus cannibalize Android sales. The iPad could also suffer, with people like myself waiting to see if it would be coming on the Verizon network and holding off on a current model that is on AT&T (possibly upsetting Apple – I’m sure Verizon doesn’t care much about what AT&T thinks on this topic). Again, just my thoughts, and nothing factual.