If you want a closer sit-back look at Affino then here’s a video guide to some of the great new features in Affino 7.
It’s quite detailed, so grab a cup of tea first.
We’ll make shorter guides in the near future. Meanwhile we’ve updated all the Control Centre Video Guides to showcase Affino 7 so you can see the latest and greatest directly from your Affino Control Centre.
For the first time, Affino runs great on mobiles and tablets. It’s been a long-term project we’ve been working on for the past two years, and it will be a year or so until everything is likely to be perfect across all mobile platforms.
For anyone working in mobile, it’s a minefield, and lots of decisions have to be made along the way. I’ve posted previously about how under-developed mobile browsers are, but that has largely changed in the past year. For the most part they’re now great, in particular Safari on iOS and Chrome on Android.
With Affino 7 out initial target devices are the latest generation IOS (iPhone / iPad) and Android (mobile / tablet) devices. Mobile browsers will continue to improve in their capabilities and standards support.
When we brought out the alpha version of our mobile tech last year we did all kinds of optimisations to work around limitations with iOS 4 / Android Browser. Apple and Google have since then updated their platforms a couple of times (4 in the case of Google) and the browsers are far better than before. A side effect of the updates though was that all of the work-arounds we did for earlier mobile browser versions were broken when those browsers were fixed.
It has lead us to a principle for our mobile platform development which is that we won’t code for mobile browser bugs, instead we will do our best to work around the issues, and if that is not possible then the expectation is that the mobile browsers will be fixed soon enough.
We’ve tested Affino 7 on a lot of mobile devices. Many different Android phones and tablets (most of the leading ones and all Nexus devices), half-a-dozen iOS variants from old iPhones to the latest iPods / iPads and iPhones. We have also tested Affino on Windows Phone 7 and the Kindle HD. Both WP7 and the Kindle have some minor issues, but these issues are platform specific and the expectation is that they will be solved by Microsoft / Amazon respectively.
In practice 90% of users and above should have a great experience using Affino on their mobiles, and now that we’ve completed the initial phase of mobile optimisation, we will be accelerating to roll out mobile optimisations throughout all Affino’s interfaces both on the Control and Display sides.
Google’s first foray into tablets is part of a double-headed attack on Amazon - to reclaim Android for the Android vanilla experience. Everyone is well aware now of how fragmented the Android landscape is - not just in terms of different version releases, but with every device manufacturer producing their own skinned-up derivation of Android - from HTC Sense, to Samsung’s TouchWiz to Amazon’s Silk Browser. Here Google is aiming to show that the standard Google Android experience really is the best. This is backed up by the relaunch of the various Google Android stores under the singular ’Google play’ brand, to compete with iTunes in some ways, but really to take the initiative away from Amazon’s Appstore.
The Google Nexus 7 equals the current Kindle Fire in price - for the base 8GB model, and serves up faster processor and better screen for a far superior experience to that of the Kindle Fire. For a little more money (£199 vs £159 and dollar equivalents) you get the 16GB of Google’s top ranked Nexus 7 model.
The Nexus 7 is built by Asus - who are responsible for purportedly the best Android tablet experience currently - by way of the Transformer series. I don’t really see this troubling Apple too much in terms of a head-to-head comparison with the higher specced iPads, but it should really worry everyone involved in the more budget end of the market. In stark contrast to Microsoft - who’s Surface Tablet launch was all hyperbole and bluster - with no pricing, launch date or even proper tech specs. Go to the Google play site though, and you will see that the Nexus 7 ships in 2-3 weeks (£159 for 8GB model and £199 for 16GB model). Admittedly this is only a 7" tablet, and it lacks typical Android staples in terms of plug-in memory or replaceable battery. There’s nothing new or innovative here - the form itself is about as standard as you can get, but if you were going to buy a tablet for £159-199 - this is probably where you should be spending your money; by comparison the cheapest iPad model is the 16GB iPad 2 at £329.
Google has a few more tricks up its sleeve with clever Cloud syncing and Google+ integration - which should enable some smart social media sharing and automatic backups, photo archiving etc. Google play + Google Nexus 7
’New iPad’ (not ’3’!) was launched with the usual hyperbolic aplomb last Thursday - including axes- and context-free comparative charts, and weighing in at just a fraction more than its predecessor, as well as being a fraction thicker. Appearance-wise though, it looks as different to the iPad 2 as iPhone 4S does to the 4! Of course it’s available from the Apple Store tomorrow.
So what’s genuinely new?
Retina Screen - 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution - into a 9.7 inch screen - properly amazing!
A5X Quad Core Processor - Supposedly great for graphics handling, yet processor clock speed remains the same, at circa 1 GHz
1GB of Ram - Finally Apple steps into line with the now majority of Android devices which boast 1 Gig of RAM
5MP iSight Camera - Obviously improved rear camera, now available to record HD video too at 1080p and 30 fps
4G LTE Support - 4th generation cellular network support - will find little use in Europe at the moment, UK 4G auction is not due until next year (2013)!
As to whether the new one is worth it - this is entirely dependent on how you use your device!
I’ve never used my iPad Camera for snaps, so it’s kind of irrelevant how high res the cameras are - as long as they work well enough for Skype! 4G is a non-starter for me as a UK citizen, in any case I would probably favour the Wi-Fi model, as I don’t take the iPad around and about so much in that sense, I more rely on my iPhone when I’m out and about.
I’m sure the RAM expansion will help, as will the improved graphics processor aid my enjoyment of High Res games and video. The real reason to update though is the vastly improved resolution, and thus increased real-estate of the screen.
I recently returned from vacation in Gran Canaria, and I took my iPad (2) along to keep abreast of emails and various happenings at work. The iPad is fine for scanning through emails, and summary replies, but leaves a lot to be desired as a proper work-horse (e.g. trying to work with interlaced browsing). The current screen resolution is too small, and the absence of Flash still hurts. I was at one stage trying to check opening times for some of the clubs in the area - and these still relied on largely Flash websites. There is of course a gradual shift over to HTML 5, but it is surprising just how much Flash there still is out there on the
Yesterday’s Apple Education Event (iBooks 2) was essentially all about the iPad’s increasing role within the realms of education. I already own a number of educational-type Apps on my iPad which I believe had a significant impact on this evolution - Touch Press’s ’The Elements’ and ’Solar System’ as well as Transworld Digital’s ’The Magic of Reality’ are all superb types of a new interactive forms of learning - the latter is closer to the new standard that Apple has introduced with its digital ’Textbooks’ - actually just an updated standard of its iBooks format.
These new ’Textbooks’ are essentially interactive books with inline media and other games and interactive puzzles included within the flow of the books, as well as built-in tests, glossaries and clever indexes and bookmarks / study cards.
The Key Features are as follows:
Thumbnail Index - essentially a visual plus text overview index of the key parts of the textbook
Integral Videos - inline Videos and animations within context
Interactive Animations - animated timelines, puzzles and the like bring an added tactile dimension to learning - which of course aids memory
Study Cards - Highlighted passages of text and notes will automatically turn into ordered and indexed study cards - to aid revision
Custom Glossary - Each textbook will have it’s own explanations / descriptions of key terms
Quizzes and Review Questions - Instant Quizzes built into the end of each chapter - to aid memory recall
For content creators, Apple has provided a new ’iBooks Author’ Mac OSX App - wich allows anyone to create their own enhanced interactive textbook in this format (in fact any iBooks can be created like this) - the App is free and is available on the Mac App Store.
Apple has also produced a specific iPad App for Higher Education called ’iTunes U’ - which is already being used by universities - Duke, Stanford and Yale to provide large parts of their curricula in this format.
Apple has once again really stolen the march on its competitors! I had expected Amazon to have made some ground with its Kindle offerings, but truth be told - E-Ink is great for reading regular books, but it’s way too laggy to provide a full interactive environment along the lines of the iPad. A friend of mine has the latest Kindle Touch -
I am very saddened to hear that Steve Jobs has unfortunately succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a brave fight of some 8 years.
As someone who loves technology, and more importantly loves the benefits that great technology brings - I will be eternally grateful for Steve’s contributions to the world.
Hundreds of millions around the world have benefitted both directly and indirectly from Steve’s input. Steve was never afraid to go his own way, he always believed though we frequently doubted.
From his love of black turtle necks, Levi’s 501s and New Balance 993 trainers, to his stalwart championing of great design - Steve was ever uncompromising in his pursuit of useful and beautifully usable technology - for genuine benefit to the people.
His legacy and trail of innovation will be with us for a very long time to come:
MacBook / Air / Pro
Our thoughts are of course with his family and friends.
Apple fails to meet the weight / wait of expectation by way of an overdose of déjà vu! After a summer of lacklustre Hollywood blockbuster sequels, we get a lacklustre sequel from Apple.
I followed the whole of the tedious iPhone Keynote event via the always excellent Engadget Liveblog. Huge chunks of the presentation seemed to be entirely lifted from the previous mid-year WWDC. About 20 minutes into the hyperbolic statistics, I had a feeling that I was going to be disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m a huge iPhone fan, and had been looking forward enormously to upgrading my now aging 3GS to a shiny metallic iPhone 5. My current phone contract ran out at the start of this year, and I waited expectantly for a June upgrade - that was then delayed to the Autumn, and the level of expectation increased enormously with the additional wait.
I had assumed that the Apple engineers had been busy on a larger form factor screen and enormously improved chassis. It now turns out that it was the software engineers who were busying themselves away with innovating a special feature that they hoped would otherwise overcome the disappointing lack of hardware innovation - the Siri Voice-activated assistant - which is still a Beta version!
I have always believed the iPhone 4 design to be inherently flawed, both in terms of its relatively fragile glass sandwich surround, and the problematic antenna, which even in its recent Verizon phone version, still did not seem to have entirely solved the well-documented connectivity issues. The new antenna looks not much different to the Verizon one.
Whilst HTC, Samsung and the like are continually innovating with slick new hardware features, larger, brighter screens and Electronic Wallet / NFC and 4G capabilities, I was hoping to see Apple leapfrog the competition yet again. In truth though, this phone is really just on par with its current contemporary peers - with all the other hardware companies on the point of launching even newer and more impressive models, Apple really did need to push the boat out a little further!
Here follows my brief Hits & Misses overview:
Faster A5 Chip - better graphics handling
64GB Storage Memory
Siri - Voice-controlled assistant (Still in Beta)
No 4" Screen
No real chassis improvements - same but different antenna, same fragile glass
My brother Markus reads most of his Kindle eBooks on his iPhone or iPad devices - for me, there is no substitute for the easy legibility and form factor of the Kindle - a smartphone is too small for reading comfort, and a typical 10" tablet is too large / weighty for holding in one hand for prolonged periods.
Kindle - 6" ’Kindle Keyboard’ minus the keyboard in very slightly smaller form factor - $79 / $109 (with or without advertising)
Kindle Touch - 6" E Ink touchschreen display with even sleeker form factor - WiFi Version is $99 / $139 (with or without advertising), 3G Version is correspondingly $149 / $189
Kindle Fire - 7" full colour touchscreen tablet with 8GB onboard memory an unlimited cloud storage - $199
The base level new Kindle is the only one currently listed on Amazon.co.uk (at £89) shipping mid october. If we extrapolate the prices, we’re talking circa £169 for the 3G Kindle Touch and £179 for the Kindle Fire - which are likely to be made available in the UK in time for Christmas - at least the Kindle Touch is, there may be media licencing issue which would postpone the Kindle Fire launch to the new year.
I see this as a direct upgrade / replacement for my Kindle Keyboard 3G - in my review at the start of the year, I marked it down for its clunky keyboard, and lack of touchscreen interaction. Memory remains the same (4GB) although battery life is likely somewhat affected, I still have no hesitation in getting this device when it is made available in the UK. I read several books a month, and the convenience of sub 60 second downloads - and the fact that you are always carrying a couple of books spare - is simply incomparable. The paperback form factor and usability make this my perfect everyday book replacement device. I much prefer reading E Ink to the shiny, bright glare of LCD screens - so I will stick with this format and form factor.
Following Björk’s debut of the Biophilia opus at the Manchester International Festival - featuring elaborate custom-made instruments, nature videos and animations, she now releases said work in the form of iPhone and iPadApps. The content is nigh identical, although the iPad benefits from greater resolution and larger screen real estate of course.
The main Biophilia App - a ’shell’ in fact - is free to download, you then pay for each track in addition.
With the launch of the App, tracks Crystalline and Cosmogony were made available. This new material explores the connection between Nature, Music and Technology. Each track is accompanied by an animation which illustrates the song structure and displays the lyrics. All songs are also accompanied by some sort of interactive app or game, which allows you to interact with the music in some way, and further underlines the meaning of the music. For Crystalline for instance the game consists of chasing and collecting crystals through a series of vectorised 3D tunnels.
There’s a great David AttenboroughBiophilia Introduction which explains the purpose of the work, and encourages the audience to ’Listen, Learn and Create’. The shell of the app is actually represented by a cosmos of heavenly bodies which you can spin around and manipulate in 3 dimensions to access each individual celestial body - which represents a song.
There is a new Björk logo ident in the form of a stylised musical note, which sits top left of the screen, and allows you to access different points of the navigation - so that tracks can be accessed directly from a flat menu also, rather than navigating through the cosmos in 3 dimensions.
This is surely a sign of things to come for popular music - I see the floodgates opening for artists to create their own capsule Album Apps - which will contain a video for every track, alongside lyric sheets, ’making of’ media, blogs and several more interactive apps.
This was all kind of inevitable really, I’m proud it’s a fellow countryman who got there first. This is still somewhat a novelty though - the Björk App is not particularly polished, and it does not compare well for instance with the best App currently available on the iPad - ’The Elements’.
I’m sure these kind of album apps will soon become commonplace - they do
This week, for the regular Comrz team meet-up, we 4 staffers currently in London headed for Boyd’s Brasserie Bar at Charing Cross with tablets in hand - an even split of Android tablets and iPads - for an experiment in tablet-based social gaming.
This being my first venture into online multi-player co-operative gaming, I was a little non-plussed initially. In advance of the meet-up we had each downloaded the Dungeon Defenders Game, as well as set up accounts on Gamespy - to allow for multi-player action.
Boyd’s Brasserie Bar proved to be an inspired venue choice for the experiment - it’s dusky lighting providing just the right environment / ambience for tablet gaming - and of course it has free wi-fi. We each started up the game and selected ’Play Online’; logging in to Gamespy to get multi-player access. Then it was just a matter of one player setting up as the host for a Custom Game, and the rest of the players looking up said Game Name and logging in with agreed password.
I initially thought the experiment was going to be a bit too geeky for my liking, but it actually proved to be surprisingly entertaining - we had plenty of beers and snacks to keep our energy and concentration up. I’ve noticed that my iPad has a somewhat worrying tendency to eject me out of applications every now and again, wich proved a little wearisome on this occasion - re-starting the game involves several option choices and 2 different logins, which did not always work on first attempt.
I guess the network dropped us all a few times, but over the circa 4 hours of the experiment, we mostly managed to maintain a highly spirited online gaming experience. After the first half hour or so I was really enjoying it. There aren’t many games out yet which allow for such a fluid cross-platform experience, but there are all sorts of goodies waiting in the wing for future release, including the tablet version of online gaming streaming service - OnLive.
Dungeon Defenders is a surprisingly good game; the controls can be a little tricky, but you soon get used to it, and all the power-ups and strategy considerations make for really decent gameplay - sure, it can be improved, but all 4 of us, regular gamers and not, really enjoyed the experience.
I see all kinds of potential here for tablet-style collaborative experiences - both work and play-wise. It&rsquo
With Google’s announcement of Google Plus, it finally looks like Google is getting its Social Network on the right path. In the recent announcement about the now beta-testing site, Google introduced 5 new weapons to fire across Facebook’s bow; these are as follows:
Circles - a really neat ’groups’ app where you simply drop selected contacts into a specified category circle - based on family, friends and other interest groups. Then when you want to share media etc. with this same group, you simply drag and drop it onto the same circle. A seemingly very usable and elegant solution
Hangouts - this is really just group video chat, with seemingly very clever software which centres on the active / noisiest participant involved. The demo looks very slick - you can simply drop in and out of hangouts - like trawling interesting gatherings at a party
Huddle - this is group texting - you can start a ’Huddle’ with one of your Circle groups, and simply blast spam the whole lot of them! - and vice versa of course
Instant Upload - an area where Google has distinct advantages over Facebook - piggy-backing off its own Android Platform and devices - allows you to set up some kind of loosely defined folder in the cloud - which your snaps get automatically uploaded to immediately as you take a picture
Sparks - the least interesting of the new introductions is simply a kind of interest topic filter - which pulls in pictures, videos and articles on said topic - you can then share said ’Spark’ with your various social Circle groups
It’s not yet clear how all these elements will be seamlessly knitted together, and how the overall profile and wall experience which Facebook is so strong on will be met / challenged.
As I said above, Google’s real weapons here are the Android Smartphones, Chrome Browser, Chromium OS and various other bits of soon-to-be seamlessly-interconnected hardware. With more and more people using Smart Phones and Tablets, anyone who sets up automated syncs for content upload and sharing is onto a winner. Google also has an advantage with its already massive GMail audience.
It will be very interesting now to see how Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon react. This is definitely a step changer, and much will depend on how slick and ’convenient’ the whole experience is. If Google comes close to
I’ve not had my iPad for too long now, but it is most evident that the best applications to use are the ones that have the most dynamic navigation - the same is true in reverse, in that a poor navigation can greatly impair one’s enjoyment of that application. Whilst trying out a friend’s Samsung Galaxy SII, I really liked the ability to swipe/pull down a menu from the top of the screen. The new Nokia N9 also has a great feature where by swiping the whole screen from edge to edge, you park whatever application you were using in background; said application can then later be quickly retrieved from the multi-tasking panel.
On the home screens of the iPad, one is really limited simply to a left or right swipe motion. It would be so much better if you could swipe up and down also for extended navigation, and carrying my idea forwards, use diagonal swipes in addition for specific functions - send to email, retrieve from the cloud / Drop Box, send to bin etc.
Not only do you have 2 directions on every point of the compass (forward and reverse) - i.e. 2 x 8, but moreover - in taking a leaf from Nokia, you could apply a duration / length dynamic to this also, so that a short swipe in a particular direction means one thing, whilst a longer swipe in the same direction means something else - for instance short diagonal swipe to top right corner means send to background, long swipe means shut down application. For longer swipe functions you might also need a little pop-up ’do you really want to do this?’ prompt. Another short swipe to bottom left corner could mean send to Home Page / Desktop; while a longer swipe in the same direction would send to bin etc.
Of course you can still have the 2 and 3 fingered gestures too, but my navigation would provide amazing versatility with no less than 32 different functional parameters, in the simplest way possible. You could even add more parameters by combining simultaneous 2 fingered swipes - in the same or opposite directions. Huge scope for simple and easy to learn navigation. Of course programming it may be another thing entirely, but I believe this is eminently plausible and achievable within the next couple of years.
Now we just need to wait for Google and Apple to catch up with my way of thinking!
Once again I enjoyed the festival courtesy of the BBC, in my home lounge - and entirely via the Internet. I still feel like I would want to check it out ’on location’ one of these years - as long as I had guarantees of good weather, and could attend ’Kate Moss’ style - i.e. being flown to and from luxury 5 star hotel at the start and end of every day.
With my newly acquired iPad, it was interesting to see that the only coverage available for the iPad was via the BBC’s excellent iPlayer App. The main BBC Glastonbury website is still largely flash, and the Mobile site is not really up to par with the latest advances in technology. The tipping point will be when the main Glastonbury site is done in HTML5.
Anyway, as for the 3 day festival - I quite enjoyed Friday Night headliners U2, although there were no real surprises here, same goes for Saturday’s Coldplay who featured some great new material, but did not surprise really either. Sunday’s headliner Beyoncé was magnificent though and in fine voice and full fitness dance prowess. Her set opened with a bang, and those who thought she might have front-loaded it with ’Crazy In Love’, ’Single Ladies’ and ’Nasty Girl’, were in for a surprise as her set continued to deliver the goods throughout. She included all of the Destiny’s Child hits, as well as excellent cover versions of Prince’s ’The Beautiful Ones’, Alanis Morisette’s ’You Oughta Know’, Kings of Leon’s ’Sex on Fire’ amd Etta James’s ’At Last’ there were also some lovely little mashup touches including a segment of Mark the 45 King and The Eurythmics’ ’Sweet Dreams’. Shame on all the detractors who tried to belittle Beyoncé’s performance. Beyoncé and her all-female all-in-white band performed magnificently throughout.
Another magnificent female performance came courtesty of Janelle Monáe, who had little communication with the crowd, but managed a
On the latest Millward Brown BrandZ ’Global Top 100’ listing, Apple has overtaken Google by quite a significant margin. No doubt this has a lot to do with the phenomenal sales success of the iPad , as well as continuing strong retail performance across most divisions.
Our own household has slowly and steadily, not particularly deliberately, become rather Apple -fied. It started with iPods and iPhones , then a MacBook Pro or two, and now includes iMacs , iPads and Apple TV . I’m not saying that Apple necessarily make the perfect product in every category, but they do have an uncanny knack of getting the quality, aesthetics and usability just right. Sure there are some quirks here and there, but in each category we have an Apple product, it is significantly the best in that category - and usually for a variety of reasons. I’m certainly not the biggest fan of iTunes , but there is an easy convenience in syncing devices with iTunes and sharing media files. It’s a little suprising how far behind some of the previously dominant competitors have fallen - chiefly I suppose Sony and Nokia in their respective sectors.
Anyway, the top 20 most valuable brands for 2011 is as follows; (Percentage % Change vs 2010 in Parenthesis):
As a marketing man, I am always slightly uncomfortable when watching Steve Jobs present, the experience is a little akin to being in the presence of an overly committed evangelical street preacher or snake oil salesman for that matter. Steve will always try to dazzle you with ’statistics’ and ’facts’ which are always presented as being concrete and absolute, but are usually marketing distortions of the truth. I contend that he was largely wheeled out on this occasion to cover up what was actually a relatively lackclustre update of revolutionary yet flawed product. Before the fanboys get on my case, I think everyone agrees that the lack of cameras on the first device was a major oversight - anyway, I digress.
Steve callously abused one of his main suppliers - Samsung by using a mis-quoted reference in his presentation, one which had already been corrected in all the major tech press, several weeks ago; that sentence (About the Samsung Galaxy Tab ) was:
"As you heard, our sell-in was quite agressive ... around two million. In terms of sell-out, we believe it was quite small" - Samsung VP Lee Young-hee (small was a mis-translation, Young-hee said ’smooth’ not ’small’!)
Of course Samsung has several million dollars riding on a supply deal with Apple, so they’re unlikely to complain, but it’s one hell of a way to treat a supply partner. Steve then proclaimed that the iPad 2 would be the first dual-core processor tablet to ship ’in volume’ - which is a likely prediction, but not an accurate statement at the point of delivery, as Motorola’s Xoom is already out on sale to the mass-market, albeit without Apple’s extensive retail base.
In the presentation, a disproportionate amount of time was spent on 4 elements - ’Photo Booth’, ’iMovie’ and ’GarageBand’ - all apps; as well as the new ’Smart Cover ’ - which is a partial rip-off of InCase’s ’Convertible Magazine Jacket’ - year of the copycat you say Steve ?
One thing Apple certainly has not copied is topline hardware specs, for sure the iPad 2 is slimmer, still has a 10 hour batter life, and has a faster dual-core processor and 2-way cameras. However, it only (supposedly) has 512MB of RAM, where current devices are shipping with 1 GB, the screen resolution is also static, but we will see that i...
I had myself quite a bookish Christmas in many ways. Books are always big sellers as Christmas gifts in Iceland, and in addition to a number of the traditional variety, I was also the fortunate recipient of the 3G version of the latest Amazon Kindle eBook reader.
The 3G version means that I can download books from the Amazon Store - pretty much anywhere in the world, sitting on the beach for instance - having just completed the main holiday read a little prematurely.
Anyway, I thought I would share some of my opinions and experiences of said device - its obvious advantages, and unfortunately, its many shortcomings also.
For comparison - as a book reading device the Apple iPad really is a little too unwieldy - you cannot comfortably hold it in one hand for extended periods. Its backlit screen is certainly very attractive, and once the new iPad 2 is out with its no doubt ’Retina’ screen enhancement, this will be an even better proposition. Amazon though have the form factor pretty much spot-on it - the paperback-size feels great in one hand, can be easily and tirelessly held and you can turn pages with the same hand that holds the device. For scholarly reasons I believe the next device needs to be just a touch larger - to accommodate notes and annotations in the margins, something that the current device does not cater for.
The Kindle’s main forte is its wonderful greyscale E-Ink screen - which renders type, and monochromatic imagery at a beautiful high level of resolution. Reading book-based content from the screen is a real joy, that part of the experience is as close to a traditional page-turner as you can get. I read the latest Richard Castle Novel in just a few days, and loved the onscreen experience. There are some downsides here though in that the screen should really be a capacitive touch-screen, this would so much improve the navigation, but more of that later. I also touched on the fact in Form Factor above - that the screen could really do with wider margins for students to append notes and observations alongside the text.
The small circular buttons do not make for an amazing input experience, although they are usable in as far as that goes. Bizarrely though there ar...
Since the App Store was officially launched on July 10th 2008, it has had a profound impact on Internet and Mobile Phone Usage. It is arguable as to whether the iPhone was truly the first smartphone, but its combination of messaging, telephony, email access, web browsing - plus its myriad of useful utilities and applications, really blazed the trail for all others to follow. Where Apple and Google now lead, Microsoft , Nokia and the other former leaders of the mobile phone sector are desperately scrabbling to catch up.
Wired Magazine went as far as to proclaim ’The Internet is Dead!’ based on the now increasing dominance of smartphone and tablet devices - which rely increasingly on custom applications to deliver their content and services. What Wired failed to mention, is that most of the service applications still rely on Internet Hubs to provide them with their content. Two of the most used - Facebook and Twitter push everything through their respective websites. Twitter is an interesting service, as increasingly users of its services typically totally bypass Twitter when posting to it or receiving updates from it. This is in part what led to Wired’s headline, as well as recent efforts by Twitter to introduce its own Dashboard style interface on its own website.
The smartphone really is about a series of convergences and consolidations - it’s not that long since I left the house with 4 items in my pocket - phone, iPod , wallet and keys. My iPhone now serves the 2 first functions, and as you may have read on other blogs on this site, I am pretty sure that before long, smartphones will contain electronic wallets, and control keyless access to domiciles and other buildings. My brother Markus’s preferred reading device is his iPhone - he though that the iPad might supplant his affections in this area, but that has not been the case. Recent announcements from Samsung concerning its Galaxy Tab and its use in Home Automation, lead me to believe that such applications - alongside home security, personal ID - even passports and contactless payment systems - these will all find their way onto smartphones within the next year or two.
The App Store has grown to 253,934 applications in a little over 2 years, and has seen 6,500,000,000+ downloads of said applications. Latest category breakdown are as follows:
Let’s start with the good news - the new iPhone 4 looks pretty gorgeous, and looks like it’s beautifully put together from superior materials and components. It has the iPad ’s fast A4 processor, although this is probably being underclocked on the iPhone to save on battery life. Also, the phone has a much improved OS (iOS 4 ) and around 100 or so new features. That said, a lot of the ’New Features’ showcased are Apple simply catching up with much of the current technology that other companies had already premiered some time ago. What’s worse, is that this box of tricks is still strictly un-upgradeable and serviceable in the true sense, as its predecessors also were. You cannot slot in any standard peripherals (bar headphones) or extended memory cards or even change the battery. Anyway, let’s see what’s Cool, and what’s Steve Jobs Hype:
What’s Great about the new iPhone :
Breathtaking High Res ’Retina’ Display - high pixel density with 326 pixels per inch (960 x 640 Resolution)
New scratch, scuff and knock resistant super-toughened glass, similar to sapphire glass found on watches, featuring on front and back of phone
Superb Manufacture and Materials, the specially manufactured toughened laminated glass, antennae integrated into superbly organised and ingenious casing - aerospace quality fit and finish
Battery Life extended by up to 40%
’FaceTime’ Video Calling with front and back camera switching
’Multitasking’ at last!?!
iOS 4 iMovies allows HD Video Recording and Editing on the fly
5 Megapixel Camera with LED Flash
Three-Axis Gyroscope brings amazing new control parameters to games and augmented reality
iPhone 4 has new iBooks store premiered on iPadiPhone 4 has new Dynamic iAds advertising platform!?!
What’s not so great about the new iPhone :
Does not support Flash (hence needs lots of additional Apps to replace content / functionality that is otherwise rendered natively by Flash on the ’Internet’)
Still only has max 32GB memory, other devices take changeable SD Cards which are already at 64GB and have a maximum potenital of 2TB
The basic Interface has hardly changed at all (Folders! Changeable Wallpapers! Multitasking Ribbon!) - there are no dynam...
A lot of our customers have asked us for our stance on the whole Apple vs Flash debate, and how this might impact on Affino . Most of you will know that Affino is underpinned by Adobe ’s ColdFusion and utilises Flash , Flex and Air for a number of key Affino functions - parts of the Control Centre, the Dashboards and Media Editor for example. (Flex and Air = Dynamic Flash )
Many of our Apple -based users are somehow of the opinion that everyone has given up on Flash and is simply moving on to HTML 5 . Well... let us set the record straight and attempt to unravel some of the myths, hype and falsehoods at the centre of this ’debate’.
At the core of this issue is the fact that Apple has chosen not to support Flash for its mobile devices, including the latest iPad family of devices. Moreover, Apple has issued strict terms within its developer toolkits, forbidding developers from utilising any of Adobe ’s developer tools to help them to create their Apple applications. This is obviously a double blow for Adobe , and its millions of developer users - the key question is of course ’FOR WHOSE BENEFIT???’. Steve Jobs keeps on talking up the User Experience, and how ’buggy’ Flash affects the User Experience in such a detrimental fashion, that the only right thing to do was to ban Flash altogether.
The more ’true’ version though is that Apple seems now to be more concerned with profit margins and lining its own pockets than just the User Experience that used to be core to its values. I myself am an avid iPhone fanboy and do admire many of the technologies that emanate from Cupertino; I don’t even mind too much that my iPhone does not support Flash , at least I did not mind until my brother Markus showed me all the AffinoFlash sites working perfectly on his Android 2.2 (Froyo) Nexus One Phone. As I have most of my needs rendered by individual Apps, I have not until now really missed Flash on my iPhone . For the iPad though, one of its key functions is website browsing, and how can it justify its efficacy in this area when there are so many websites you just cannot access on your iPad .
Deliberately omitting Flash , is not genuinely a User Experience decision, but more to do with Control. What Steve Jo...
Some of you may have read my earlier critique of the Apple iPad , where I might have come across overly critical of this revolutionary new device. Regardless of the shortcomings I listed, the new device will quickly infiltrate many households and become a regular feature at the coffee and breakfast table, in the lounge, study and even bathroom. It combination of eBooks, casual browsing, photo albums, video playback, games and email should see the iPad as a ready substitute for many existing household routines and rituals ...
Many people like to read a morning newspaper while they partake of breakfast, some even like to scan the web for the latest headlines. In one neat form factor, the iPad covers both - fitting tidily to the right of your cereal bowl and occupying far less space than a typical morning paper.
Coffee Table / Lounge
Most lounges have coffee tables scattered with magazines, or possibly an adjoining magazine rack; more and more publishers are moving their daily, weekly and monthly issues across to interactive electronic formats - instead of a pile of paper-based magazines and periodicals, you will access all these electronically via your iPad .
Fancy a more prolonged read? Then your iPad allows you to delve into the bookshelf also and switch over to your favourite novel/s. When this becomes too intense you can switch back to magazines or light browsing.
Then there’s the monthly arrival of Auntie and Uncle ’B’; instead of pouring over a number of different family albums, relatives can witness the family’s photographic history via the many photo albums on the iPad . The photos can even be interspersed with home movies / video - via the iPad video player.
Already featuring electronic versions of Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly et al, the iPad can also replace many of the parlour games and boardgames which occupy much cupboard space and frequently result in a house-wide hunt to recover some lost counter or playing piece from one or more boardgame. With the iPad you have access to a large compendium of such games - all minus the usually required tidy-up at game end.