20 years later…

Back in the mid 1990s Apple released this video about their vision for the future and included a tablet that is reminiscent not just of the iPad, but also the iPad Pro.

There are a couple of things to note, the drag and drop planning, the sharing of content and ideas and using mobile devices to capture stuff (today we’re using mobile phones and tablets for this).

I like watching these videos to see how far we haven’t come and how far we have.

Getting Bigger

Phablets by Maria Elena

You have probably noticed that over the last few years mobile phones have been getting bigger, and tablets, such as the iPad have been getting smaller. Almost a convergence in terms of size between phones and tablets.

Doing some internet research for another article I found this comment I made on Brian Kelly’s blog post (from 2008) on what devices we would be using in 2013. My main comment was wondering if devices (such as phones) would get bigger!

James Clay said
7 February 2008 at 1:16 pm

I believe that the key difference will be is that the storage capabilities will become less important, as connectivity improves allowing easy access to information and content whenever and wherever you are.

I wonder if the devices will get bigger rather than smaller?

Think about phones, the Nokia N95 is a BIG phone compared to the compact small phones of a few years ago.

The iPod touch screen is so much bigger than the iPod video screen.

Bigger and thinner possibly?

Though for me the downside of all the functionality is battery life and I wonder if there will be minimal improvement in functionality, but a huge leap in the battery life as technology improves the power efficiency of the chips and memory.

As with all things rather than look five years in the future, look five years in the past.

In 2003 I had a phone which could play music, video, had an in-built radio, could surf the net (slowly on a GPRS) connection.

In 2008 I can do all those things but in higher quality and I know where I am (GPS).

In 2013…

I thought it would be interesting to see what said then and see how things have changed and also look forward a little more.

I said back then “I wonder if the devices will get bigger rather than smaller?” well in 2013 we saw the first large phones or phablets. The iPad mini had been released the year before and we had played around with the iPad since 2010, but now we wanted smaller tablets.

Now in 2015, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been released by Apple and as with many Apple devices, and as I predicted, these are bigger and thinner than the phones we had in 2008.

Connectivity is much better with most new devices able to access 4G speeds, but not all of us can afford to be connected at those speeds.

These larger screens, more powerful connectivity have large power requirements compared to older devices. Back in 2008 I said

I wonder if there will be minimal improvement in functionality, but a huge leap in the battery life as technology improves the power efficiency of the chips and memory.

Manufacturers have improved battery life for their devices, still for most people there is a requirement to charge every day, but at least the battery does last most of the day. I remember having a Nokia N95 and too often the battery would only last half a day as I did use many of the different functions on the phone.

One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the first post was battery life, but I commented on in the following post.

Upon reflection I realised why I carry multiple devices around. The key reason is battery life.

If my phone has GPS, plays video and/or music, internet, acts as a 3G modem for my laptop, oh and makes phone calls; then even with a large battery I don’t expect it to last the day.

Spread the functionality over multiple devices and suddenly I can ensure that I can do all of the above, over catching the 6.30am train to London, all day in a meeting or a conference, and back again to reach home at 7.30pm.

I have multiple devices as a single device can not last for the time I need it.

The one change from 2008 that is much more apparent is the decline of the specialist device and the move to a multi-function device. No longer are we carrying pocket cameras, dedicated music players, video devices, e-book readers; our larger phones now do all that for us and then some…

So what will the device of 2020 look like?

Well that’s more difficult to predict, what do you think?

Image Credit: Maria Elena

Stay hungry, stay foolish

Is Apple innovative?

David Hopkins on the Google+ made an interesting point

Am I missing the innovation everyone holds Apple in such high regard for? All I am seeing is reaction to what is happening elsewhere but no real drive or innovation. The latest updates are in reaction to Dropbox, user keyboards, messaging, widgets/homescreen, etc.

Apple have always been like that, even under Steve Jobs.

What they do best is take ideas from other people and make them really work well for users.

Steve Jobs famously said in 1996:

Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.

Dynabook

The Dynabook was first revealed in 1973, the HP TC1100 was a fantastic tablet (let down by a poor OS implementation), so when Apple released the iPad in 2010, this wasn’t innovation, this was reinvention of an existing form factor, and what they did was make it work and work well.

There were a few music download services prior to iTunes, but it was iTunes that made it mainstream.

There were many different mp3 players, from companies such as Creative, but it was the iPod which turned the mp3 player from a geeky product to a mainstream need.

The iPhone was, though innovative, most of the touchscreen phones before were clunky and didn’t work very well. What Apple did was take the touch interface to the next level, reinvention again, really.

Even Steve Jobs said reinvent when he announced the iPhone.

An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator… these are NOT three separate devices! And we are calling it iPhone! Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone. And here it is.

Even Steve Jobs said reinvent when he announced the iPhone.

The 11″ MacBook Air is a fantastic piece of kit, but before then we had the Asus EeePC mini-notebooks, and Sony for years were making innovative VAIO laptops.

So following the WWDC keynote where we saw Apple release their version of Dropbox, the iCloud Drive (which replaces iCloud, which replaced MobileMe, which replaced the iDisk!). The previous versions were all a bit “rubbish” in comparison to Dropbox, so it will be interesting to see how iCloud Drive works against Dropbox.

Store any type of file in iCloud and access it on any device. With iCloud Drive, you can organize your files in the cloud the way you like, create as many folders as you want, and add tags to find files faster.

This is a great example of how Apple continues to copy what others do, but also demonstrates that don’t always get it right.

Another example from WWDC is the possibility of using third party keyboards.

iOS 8 brings the biggest changes to the keyboard since the very first iPhone. Now you can tap to choose the perfect suggestion for your next word. And for the first time, third-party keyboards will be available. Typing as you know it might soon be a thing of the past.

Third party keyboards have been a feature of Android phones for a fair while now, this is another example that shows Apple rarely creates something totally new, but takes on board ideas from elsewhere.

In my opinion what makes Apple a success is they focus on the customer experience, learning from what others do and then improve it.

Lastly a quote from Steve

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

Entering a parallel universe….

I was recently at a conference in London and I am sure that a few people thought they had entered a parallel universe, as before at conferences I was often seen with a MacBook, an iPad and an iPhone. At this conference I was carrying a Windows Surface Pro, a Nexus 7 and an Google Nexus One phone. No Apple hardware in sight!

I have recently changed jobs, so my MacBook was given back, as was my work iPhone. I did have a home iPhone 3G, but recently ended the contract on that one, so I cancelled the contract and gave the phone to my wife, as her phone had recently died. In a similar vein, I had gone out and bought the iPad (third generation) when it came out, but after a few months I also gave it to my wife, as I was using one at work and for most home purposes my old original iPad was doing a fine job.

Going to London the main problems I had was missing the Tube Exits app, which tells you where to get on the tube so that when you arrive at your destination station you are both a) on the correct side for getting off, but also b) right next to the way out.

The other problem I had was with maps, of all the map apps I have used, my personal favourite is the original Apple Maps App, which used the data from Google. I had it on my iPhone 3G and was disappointed with the upgrade last year. I was using maps to get from Euston Square Tube Station to Senate House, and though I knew the approximate direction, I wasn’t exactly sure where it was. In the end it was more luck than judgement I found it.

At the event itself my main device was the Windows Surface Pro. The battery lasted for most of the day and I was certainly using it quite hard. I have to admit I wasn’t too impressed with the images it took, I have had much better results with the iPad.

https://twitter.com/jamesclay/status/388591773351964672/

However it was easy to tweet from the device (and when I needed to catch up with e-mail or find URLs). Even with the “touch” keyboard it isn’t really a blogging device, and elsewhere I have found it easier to use a real keyboard (as it happens an Apple one….).

As for the Nexus, well that was a backup device, but I did use it to listen to some podcasts on the train home.

Disappointed

Osfoora for Twitter

Over the last few years I have been using the Osfoora client on my iPhone and iPad to use the Twitter.

On June 11th, Twitter turned off their API 1 and developers were only allowed to use API 1.1

As a result (well I think as a result) Osfoora stopped working as a Twitter client.

What is disappointing is that there was no news from Osfoora and no updates to the apps available.

What is disappointing is that this wasn’t a free app, these were apps I paid for.

I am not sure who I am more disappointed with Osfoora or Twitter.

There was an update for the Osfoora client for the iPhone, that allegedly used the API 1.1. It though, required 6.1 (something I had been putting off), I did that, updated Osfoora, rebooted the phone and now the app doesn’t work at all…

The end result is that I am looking for a new iOS Twitter client, in the meantime I am using the official iOS Twitter client, which is okay, but not really my cup of tea.

Update: Deleting and then reinstalling the app has fixed the app. Of course this won’t work on the iPad I believe as Osfoora HD hasn’t been updated and is not available.

Ultravioleting

In recent years I have been buying, what the trade call, triple play movies, these sets contain a copy of the film on Blu-Ray, a copy on DVD and a digital copy for your mobile device. Though more expensive than just buying the Blu-Ray (or just the DVD) what I did like about it was I could watch the film on my TV and then if I wanted to watch it again I could watch it on my laptop or on my iPad.

With most of the films I bought the digital copy was in an iTunes format. This was fine with me as I already used the iTunes ecosystem for music and video.

More recently, well since December 2011, I have noticed is that the trend now is to use Ultraviolet.

UltraViolet (UV) is a digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system that allows users of digital home entertainment content to stream and download purchased content to multiple platforms and devices. UltraViolet adheres to a “buy once, play anywhere” approach that allows users to store digital proof-of-purchases under one account to enable playback of content that is platform- and point-of-sale-agnostic.

In theory what you do (in the UK) is sign up to Flixster and then you can redeem your Ultraviolet code and watch or download your movie.

I say “in theory” as I haven’t actually managed to do this process. The first time I signed up, I think I some how managed to sign myself up as an American. This would have been pointless as I wouldn’t have been able to access my “UK only” films. There was also no way to change your country. this is obviously to stop regional piracy. I do think that these “piracy” measures are short-sighted, as what they are actually doing is stopping me, an actual customer who has paid for the film, from watching the film; whilst the actual pirates wouldn’t even worry about such things, probably using a copy from the film studio or similar…

I have to say that is one thing that does annoy me after spending my hard earned cash on a DVD or Blu-Ray the first thing I see (and usually you can’t fast forward or skip it) is a clip telling me not to pirate films… Hello? I bought the film, I didn’t pirate it, I bought it, why tell me something I already know and do. If I pirated a film, I wouldn’t see that clip would I, so why show customers who are honest, want to watch the film, a stupid clip telling them to buy films… they did. I wouldn’t mind so much, but half the time you are “forced” to watch the clip, as they have restricted the capability to skip or fast forward the clip. Why don’t they put that clip on pirated films?

So back to Ultraviolet, so of course I tried to sign up again, and it wouldn’t let me, as I had already signed up… When I tried a different e-mail address, that didn’t work it timed out. In the end I gave up.

I think part of the problem was that I was trying to do all this on my iPad. Why the iPad, well I wanted to watch the film on the iPad.

I think the best option will be to do it all on a PC and then hopefully, if Ultraviolet will allow it, then it will let me access the films on the iPad.

iPad mini, take two…

iPad mini, take two...

So it was only a week or so ago that I said:

I don’t think I will be getting an iPad mini

Well… I might now…

You see I popped into the Apple Store at Cabot Circus in Bristol and had a quick look at the iPad mini.

I was really impressed (and remember I do have a Google Nexus 7) the size and weight felt just right and it was very responsive. Well it should be as it is basically an iPad 2 and that was a good piece of kit.

I really did like the feel of the device and the screen wasn’t too small (which was one of my worries). I didn’t have a lot of time with it, but trying out the e-mail and web browsing felt okay. This was a device I could work with.

There was the issue of size and I don’t think it will fit in my coat pocket as the Google Nexus 7 can. Also the price… at £239 it is a lot more money than the £159 Google Nexus 7 and £70 would buy a lot of apps and content. Of course I have already made an investment in the apps and content for my current iPad, so that isn’t really too much of an issue.

Overall if price is a real issue then I would recommend the Google Nexus 7. If this is your first tablet then I would again go for the Google Nexus 7, as if it doesn’t work out, you’ve not lost too much money. However if you have already invested in iOS apps, have a lot of content on iTunes, and you are not that price sensitive, then I think the iPad mini is probably a better deal.

I am seriously thinking about selling the Google Nexus 7 and getting the iPad mini.

I don’t have an iPad mini

iPad mini

I don’t think I will be getting an iPad mini, not that I don’t like the idea behind the product, but I already have the iPad (third generation) and a Google Nexus 7, I am not quite sure where the iPad mini would fit into my life. Then again I thought the same about the iPad when it first came out (got a laptop and a desktop, why do I need a tablet?).

If I didn’t have the Nexus 7, then I might seriously consider the iPad mini. The form factor of the Nexus 7 is really nice and portable, much more than the big iPad. Unlike a phone though, the larger screen size makes stuff like web browsing work.

Early reviews of the iPad mini say that, though it is smaller than the iPad, due to the 1024×768 screen resolution it is too wide! Making it difficult to put in your pocket. I also wonder if the small screen would make it challenging to type on. I do a fair bit of typing on the screen of the larger iPad, but have found it not so easy on the Nexus 7 screen.

I am less bothered about the “lack” of a retina display. Don’t get me wrong I really love the retina screens on the iPad (third generation) and my MacBook Retina, but it isn’t always a deal breaker; I can always get my glasses out.

One of the reasons I might get an iPad mini is that I have a large investment in iOS apps and as a result it would be quite quick and easy to get it into my workflow. Another reason would be 4G, but as the current status of 4G in the UK isn’t exactly attractive, what with limited coverage and high tariffs, I am not sure that is a valid reason (at this time).

4G

Mobile Phone Mast

Today sees the launch of the UK’s first 4G network. It’s quite a small network with availability only in the following cities: London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Southampton.

I don’t have a 4G device, well I do, I have the third generation iPad, but I don’t think that will work with EE’s 4G. I can’t actually find out if this isn’t the case, but I am pretty sure that is correct.

I am thinking about getting an iPhone 5 that supports 4G to replace my ageing 3GS. Though as the 3GS is still running iOS 5 I might keep it for the Maps app! However I am expecting Apple to turn off that existing Maps app in a year’s time when their licence for Google maps runs out.

To be honest what I really need is a 4G MiFi or similar so I can take advantage of 4G with all my devices. EE will start selling SIM only deals next month.

The tariffs from EE are quite expensive, £36 per month gets you just 500MB of data which is not much… a typical BBC iPlayer programme is half that! It goes up to £51 for 8GB.

So though I would like to have 4G I don’t think I can afford it!

Another factor that has taken me by surprise is by how slow the reported speeds of 4G are. I have always thought of 4G as speeds in and around 100Mbps. However from the news reports I have seen today have spoken about 15Mbps.

EE’s own press release says that their 4G is only five times faster than 3G.

The UK’s first 4G mobile service will launch on Tuesday October 30th, offering consumers and businesses a new way to access the people, places and things they want on the move, with speeds typically five times faster than 3G.

So as well as wondering about the costs of 4G, I am not even sure with the limited geographical availability and lower than expected speeds, I don’t think 4G is for me at this time.