Tag Archives: ipad

The iPad mini is Not a Nexus 7

And it doesn’t need to be, either.

I really wish I wasn’t constantly asked to compare the two (which I will do), since each seems to be serving a different type of user. Is one better than the other? Yes.

But not outright.

One is a device that works “well enough” for $200, and the other is a device that works “well enough” at a different level for $329.

Comparing hardware-to-hardware or software-to-software specifications is disingenuous, at best.

One thing to keep in mind with either tablet: we’re no longer living in a world where individual devices are one-offs. A single product is designed to interoperate with others, coupled with a series of supported services.

Which, then, works better within the construct of the other choices you’ve made?

Favorite iPad Apps?

I wanted an iPad before I knew I wanted an iPad. It was probably the first product from Apple that I purchased without hesitation – not because I needed one, but because the iPad was so radically different from anything else in the industry that I was drawn to it (magnetically, perhaps).

Years later, I’m sitting on top of hundreds of installed iPad applications. I get many of them for free not because I’m reviewing them, but because I watch for iPad software discounts to float across my social media radar. I tend to share and reshare the good ones, too.

The community constantly asks me: what are my favorite iPad apps? I don’t even know if I have a favorite iPad app (singular)! There are just so many of ’em out there, and each one of those applications does a great job independent of any other iPad app. That’s what makes the iPad work, ya know? It’s not some kind of complex computing tool that allows you to see dozens of open programs at any given time. No, instead, the iPad excels at providing a near-perfect platform for today’s various needs.

Each iPad app has the potential of being my favorite app – depending on what it is that I’m wanting to do. In many cases, I can likely find an app that will do what I’d like to have done. Doesn’t that make it a favorite for the task at hand? I believe so.

Mind you, I don’t use every single iPad app every single day. I don’t even use a single app regularly (beyond the web browser and email clients)! I know: you still want to know what I’m using on my own iPad this year. It’s for that reason we decided to do a live walkthrough via YouTube earlier this week (in conjunction with an iPad 2 giveaway, courtesy of a sponsor):

By the time the third-generation iPad rolls off the assembly lines and into my hands, I’m sure I’ll have hundreds more apps to show you. Maybe we’ll do this again next year? If you have the patience to sit through this hour-long video iPad tour and you noticed I have a few missing apps, please make your Favorite recommendations in the comments thread.

Motorola Xoom vs iPad: Which one Lost?

How do you know your product has failed?

When it’s sitting at the top of Woot – after Not Selling anywhere else. [EDIT: for the sake of Varun’s sanity, a very spirited commenter in the thread below, I amended this paragraph to help him better understand.]

I don’t know about you, but I hate buying something (new or used) only to know that it’s not going to be around (or supported) for much longer. Not to say that the Motorola Xoom tablet is a failure, but… normally, you wouldn’t find successes sitting in the digital equivalent of a bargain bin.

If you would still love to get your hands on this tablet computer, you’re better off looking for people who are more-than-willing to sell their remorse to you. I’m guessing you can get a Xoom for even less than what this web site is selling it for.

I might also mention that I’ve never touched a Motorola Xoom – but why would I? Why would you? Five years ago, the Xoom may have made for one interesting portable device. Five years ago.

And, for clarification’s sake: I have absolutely nothing against the Motorola Xoom for what it is! Unfortunately, it fell short of expectations in just about every way – and when you’re trying to compete with the iPad, you’d better have one amazing story to tell at a no-brainer price point.

Some people hate Apple so much that they’re trying to prove a point by buying something else. Stupid, but I guess it’s admirable. If you’re really itching to spend money on anything that isn’t an iPad at this point, you’re better off looking at HP’s TouchPad – if only because you know a single company is controlling the experience (hardware AND software).

I think it’s fair to say that the Xoom lost – but it didn’t go down without a fight!

Dear Fanboys: Go Away

Do you have any idea how much I loathe the fanboy mentality? I honestly don’t care if you’re an Apple lover, a Microsoft admirer or an Android proponent – you’re all equally insane! Being a fanboy does not mean you enjoy or believe in one product more than another these days. It means that you are so insanely narrow-sighted that you cannot possibly understand that a different brand may just work better for another person – or even yourself.

Hat tip to Chu Chu for this fantastic fanboy depiction!

I had an eye on Twitter a few moments ago, and noticed that a friend was sad to realize that her three-year-old HP TouchSmart is slowly starting to fade. This has been her primary machine since August of 2008, y’all. She works from home and spends about ten hours per day – seven days each week – using the heck out of this beast. I’d say it has held up pretty well, wouldn’t you? Through blogging, Tweeting, video editing and even gaming, this setup has never let her down. Not once in nearly three years has she complained about this piece of equipment being bad, wrong, cheap or poorly made.

Wouldn’t you know it – an Apple fanboy was quick to jump down her throat in a Tweet response. His response? “That’s what you get for buying cheap crap. You should have gotten an iPad.” Fanboysaywhat? Are you serious here? Any computer that holds up for three years under intense usage – with NO upgrades or hardware changes at all – is obviously not “cheap crap” as you claim.

This is what I’m talking about. This person is so blinded by his lust for all things Apple that he has failed to realize his beloved product wouldn’t even work for what she needs. (Let’s also not forget that the iPad didn’t even exist when this particular computer became hers in August, 2008!) Would you honestly attempt to use an iPad as your main computer? If you can then kudos to you. As much as I adore my iPad 2, there is no way in hell I am going to get rid of my desktop. I’m willing to bet most of you wouldn’t, either.

Here’s a tip, fanboys: lighten up. Learn to embrace the fact that other people have different needs, wants and likes than you do. Stop harassing them and shoving your favorites down their throat each time there’s a problem with their favorite product. Guess what? Yours isn’t perfect, either.

iOS 4.3.1 Jailbreak Available

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Resident jailbreak expert Reza is ready to help you upgrade your current jailbreak for 4.3.1. The untethered jailbreak tools for iOS are ready and in the wild. If you’ve been waiting to upgrade your jailbroken iPad, iPod touch or iPhone, you can grab several of the new features by grabbing 4.3.1.

redsn0w is one of the tools you can use to perform your upgrade – or new jailbreak. redsn0w is a multi-platform jailbreak and unlock tool created by the iPhone Dev Team. redsn0w is simple to use, and supports all current iPhone and iPod touch devices which use at least firmware 3.0.

ultrasn0w is another tool that can be used to accomplish the same task. This unlock will work on iPhone4 baseband 01.59 and 3G/3GS basebands 04.26.08, 05.11.07, 05.12.01 and 05.13.04. If you have trouble finding ultrasn0w within Cydia, add this repo: repo666.ultrasn0w.com.

So why would you want to unlock your device to begin with? Many people enjoy the Apple hardware but prefer a more open software experience. They want to change the way things are done on their iDevice and even add some functionality that may not have already been there. It’s important to note that doing this is NOT illegal, but it does void your Apple warranty. You should always unlock or jailbreak at your own risk, and realize that no one can be held liable if you receive less-than-desirable results.

If you have an unlocked iPhone, you’re going to want to stay away from doing a straight upgrade. There are alternate update methods you can find in order to help you do some custom patching of the iOS before updating. Or, you can also use Tiny Umbrella to block your baseband and allow this upgrade.

If you’re ready to upgrade, 4.3.1 is great due to the hotspot features alone. It allows you to share your 3G signal with your iPad and other devices. With the iPad, it’s super cool because the GPS functionality from your phone will carry over into your iPad.

Have you updated your jailbroken device yet? What has your experience been like?

Bing for iPad

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The new Bing app for the iPad is actually better than Bing in the browser. No, I’m not joking. It is absolutely beautiful, and one of THE best overall iPad apps I’ve ever used. The first time I opened it up, I was drawn in for about fifteen minutes, just exploring everything it has to offer. If I were Apple, I’d be selling the device with this as a default app. It’s honestly THAT good.

The entire touch experience is right there. You can play around with everything on the screen. Anything you could possibly want – or need – is literally at your fingertips:

  • Find what’s important near you: tell Bing what you’re looking for using voice-activated search – even addresses. Find a restaurant or reserve a table. Use the Plans feature to explore nightlife options, Likes and comments on Facebook. Grab onto the social feature to see updates from Facebook and Twitter in your search results.
  • Find stores, photos, movie times and reviews, iPhone apps, travel deals, airline promotions, local weather forecasts and directions.
  • Use the real-time transit features to figure out if your bus will be on time or check the status of any flight.
  • Add information for a business or location on the map and Bing will let you know when you’re close to it.
  • Try using the Bing Vision to search using the device camera. Bring text into close view, and the app will recognize it. Select which words you want to search.
  • Scan a barcode and Bing will give you product results. It can also detect product information from QR code, Microsoft Tag, UPC codes and cover art from books, CD, DVDs, and video games.
  • Check into your favorite social sites without having to leave the app.
  • Always find the lowest rates and hottest deals on everything from dinner to movies to travel options using Bing.

I absolutely love that I can clear all of my history in about two seconds with one tap. The same can be said about turning Safe Search off and on. The setup and customization options are fantastic in this application.

Another awesome thing is that the app will keep a history of all of the places I have searched for. I can quickly scroll through and find something I’ve already looked up without having to type it out again or scrolling through results to find the correct one.

Want to see a movie tonight? Don’t just find a local theater and show times. Watch the movie trailers right within Bing. I can also get movie ratings and reviews and links to news articles written about each flick and their various actors and actresses.

This is what an app should be – something that draws you and and makes you want to explore the world around you. It’s not only functional, it’s fun. There are a lot of news and search apps out there, but this one just get it right.

iPad 2 Screen Protector

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Protecting your iPad screen is a good way to ensure that it doesn’t get scratched. iPad screen protectors reduce glare and cut down on fingerprints. A good iPad screen protector also ensures the device won’t suffer other damage. If you’re anything like me… then you have the best screen protector you can possibly find.

One of the best I’ve found happens to be from Steinheil. I’m already using protection made by them on my iPhone, and have been very happy with the results.

The number one reason I choose to use a screen protector is because I cannot stand fingerprints. The Steinheil Ultra Fine Anti-Fingerprint is very high quality, and has a hard protective surface. It protects the LCD Screen from scratches and features an advanced optical enhancement layer that eliminates fingerprints while providing a good light transmittance – without any silly-looking rainbow effects that you get with other brands.

One drawback with the Smart Cover from Apple is the fact that when removed, three lines are left running across the screen. This has been covered all over the Internet – people don’t think they should have to wipe those off. This screen protector unfortunately doesn’t get rid of this annoying issue, but it does cut down how prominent the lines are.

The company sent me the glossy version they have for sale. I found, however, that it collects just as many fingerprints as if nothing was on the device screen. If you’re looking to keep fingerprints and scuffs at bay, then you definitely want to choose the matte version.

I’m not an expert by any means. I know what works – and what sucks. Unfortunately, many of the screen protectors on the market suck hard core. This is why I’m so happy with the Steinheil. It just works. At the end of the day, that’s the only thing that matters.

If you have screen protectors on your device that you feel work even better than the Steinheil, I’d be happy to hear about them – and take a look! I’m always on the hunt for the best of the best – both for my own personal use and to pass on to all of you.

iPad Vs. Netbook: Does a Physical Keyboard Really Matter?

While his email is original, the question from community member “Tamloo” is an all-too-familiar one for me (unedited):

Hey Chris, I have been a really big fan of yous over the past couple of years. You are one of the main sources I get my technology news from. One thing I really like about you is that yes, you can be an “Apple Fanboy” at sometimes, but for the most part, you do reviews fairly and over a wide range of products and software. Unlike other tech reviews, you don’t just focus on one specific platform or company.

Well, the main reason why I am emailing you is because I recently purchased an Asus Netbook computer last year. It worked great for traveling since I travel very frequently; however I accidentally dropped my computer one week after the warranty expired and the screen completely shattered (huge crack down the middle, and I can’t see a thing on the screen). Sadly, during these rough economic times, I don’t know what kind of small-easy-to-use computer I could invest in at the moment.

Right now, all I have to use when I travel is my new iPhone4 (which I have grew to love over a month). I have not been much of an Apple fan, however I think it is actually coming out of me at the moment just like WilsonTech1 has lately. My main dilemma is what kind of computer should I get? Right now, I am extremely happy with my iPhone, and I am considering getting an iPad. But I don’t know if it is worth getting since I don’t know if the price is really right to me. If I get an iPad, I will most likely be getting the original as seeing the price has been dropped.

Now, the thing I like about a netbook is that it has a physical keyboard, but watching you videos, you state that the virtual keyboard isn’t that bad on the iPad. Is that really true? I like the iPhone’s keyboard and find it easy to use and normally don’t miss a key when typing. But does the iPad’s keyboard have that same easy and fluent functionality and can I type fast enough to have it replace a netbook?

What is your stance on this, should I go the extra $200 and buy an iPad or would a new netbook be worth it? Thanks for your opinion.

I appreciate that you’re asking for my opinion, but I can’t really tell you what to buy. It’s your money, and you need to be the one who makes the decision that works best for you. I’m only here to provide a good amount of perspective; I really have no horse in this race.

What I find most uplifting about the phrasing of your question is how you’re referring to an iPad as a computer — which it absolutely is. Few people have made this distinction, but I can tell you that the iPad can certainly do more than my first “home computer” could. The iPad is a computer.

Now, on to the crux of your quandary.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found super-compact notebook / netbook computers to have super-scrunched, unusable-for-anything-but-infant-hand keyboards — and this flat fact, to me, defeats the purpose of having a keyboard in the first place. If your WPM on an average netbook is half of what it is on a standard keyboard, I’d be shocked.

So, are you in love with the keyboard, or merely the idea of the keyboard?

If the lack of a physical keyboard is what’s keeping you from buying an iPad, rest assured that there are countless iPad cases that accommodate workable keyboards that couple with the iPad (AND iPhone) via Bluetooth. You could also pick up an Apple Wireless Keyboard and use that in a similar fashion.

Moreover, iOS typo correction kicks the shot out of anything I’ve ever seen as a default in Windows (outright, third-party tools notwithstanding). Doesn’t that count for something in relation to keyboarding?

So, if that doesn’t help you decide, you should also be considering battery life. I’ve yet to find a single netbook computer that came close to 10-hour battery life after any amount of usage. You’d be lucky to find one that lasted 5 hours when doing nothing. If you’re never more than three hours from an electrical outlet, this may be less of an issue for you.

I think you may be better off comparing the iPad against other tablet computers (no, not Tablet PCs). There are quite a few Android devices on the market that weigh in at the same price point as a netbook, although you’re more than likely sacrificing quality if you go that direction – not just in terms of construction, but in absolute hardware features (resistive screen, no multi-touch, et al).

You can always save money — but at what cost?

It’s this phrase alone that continues to poke holes in the “too expensive” theory. Ask any owner of a faulty product how much more they would have paid to have something that just worked.

Either way, if you’re looking to save money on your impending purchase, we have a coupon site for you to use that includes savings on Apple computers.

Why Are You Still Paying for Unlimited Data?

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Pretty much since the beginning of time, I’ve had an unlimited data plan on my iPhones. That feature costs me about thirty bucks each month. I also have an unlimited plan on my iPad 3G, which costs another thirty smackers. You do the math – that’s sixty dollars each month, folks. There has to be a better solution, right?

I killed off my no-subscription-needed iPad plan. I’m going to enabling tethering via my iPhone. That plan will cost me $45.00 per month. Instead of playing $60.00 each month for two separate services, I am attempting to find a new solution that will work better for me.

I took a good look at my usage models on both devices. I hit 4 to 5GB of data combined over the course of several months. It just makes sense to pay for 4GB per month, right? The math shows that there’s just no way I should ever hit that cap.

Theoretically, I’m saving fifteen bucks each month. Keep in mind, if you switch from your old unlimited AT&T plan to a usage-based plan, you will not be able to go back – ever. It took me a moment to click that button. I know I’m saving money, but what if I do end up needing that data later? That’s something that each of you will have to consider before making this same choice.

Isn’t this a geek’s worst nightmare – losing unlimited data? But think about it for a moment… do you honestly NEED an unlimited plan? Why are you paying for that which you never use? Are you throwing your money out the window at the moment just in case you might one day need to utilize more than 4GB in any one month?

I was able to turn on the Personal Hot Spot instantly upon enabling it on my account. It was very simple to flip on and even easier to connect with. Within a matter of seconds, I was surfing the web on the iPad by using my iPhone 4.

Yes, it was slightly depressing to get rid of my unlimited plan. However, it is very cool to know I now have a Personal Hot Spot anywhere I may go.

What are the Differences Between the iPad 1 and iPad 2?

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Apple’s new iPad 2 takes the original iPad design and improves on it in a number of key ways. But in a head-to-head comparison, which tablet is better? Do your research, and make a more informed iPad purchase decision as you weigh the options of a first gen vs the newest iteration.

The differences are certainly noticeable. One of the biggest differences is the case. The second generation is certainly shorter and squatter. It’s about half as much so as the original iPad. It makes the first one look a tad clunky in comparision. This is largely due to the fact that you can hardly see the aluminum on the edges of the iPad 2. It’s just sleeker. It weighs roughly the same. I know it IS lighter, but you honestly can’t tell the difference by holding it in your hands.

Another advantage of the iPad 2 hardware is the speaker. Even though the first gen speaker is louder than this new one, it doesn’t produce as rich of a sound. Your ears will definitely hear the difference, but the sound is just so much better this time around. You’ll enjoy the clear quality when playing music and videos.

There was a slight change made to the port where you plug your charge/sync cable in on the device. The connector for the original iPad was flat whereas this new one is more rounded. I haven’t had any trouble plugging it in as of yet, but I would have chosen the flatter area if I could have. Even though I’m not a fan of this new style of cable opening, I do much prefer the overall design ethos of the iPad 2. It just FEELS nicer in my hands.

Another difference is that the mic on the iPad 2nd gen is right about the area where the front-facing camera sits. On the WiFi only version you’ll find it in the same position. The sim card slot is in a different area. The bezel seems to be roughly the same thickness and I don’t notice any difference in the screens. They both collect way too many fingerprints. I can’t wait to get a good screen protector.

The iPad 2 comes with two cameras. Keep in mind that this device is not “A” camera. It has a camera built in as an added feature. I’ve published my thoughts on the whole camera debate already. They aren’t that great – and it doesn’t really matter. If you’re slagging Apple for having low-quality cameras, then you’re missing out.

The position of the Home button seems to be the same. Size-wise, the profile is pretty much the same. As I’ve said, the first gen iPad seems to be just a smidgen larger and more of a kluge. I can’t get over how much I love the rounded edges on the new version!

If people were to pick up the two devices and choose between them, they’re more likely to want the second version. It just looks – and feels – so much smoother.

What differences are important to you when shopping for a device? How do you decide between an older (and cheaper) model and the newest one on the market?

iPad 1 Vs. iPad 2 – Speed Test

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The new iPad 2 includes a faster processor. This means that the device runs faster, right? I decided to put the new iteration beside my old first-gen iPad in order to truly put it to the test. I’m willing to bet many of you have already done this, as well. What were your results?

It’s time to pull out some raw speed tests, don’t you think? You might be inclined to do a test within a browser. The iPad 2 certainly was faster inside of the browser and when cold-starting an app. It was slightly faster, yes. I thought it would be far more interesting, though, to try out an app which is far more system intensive – Gravilux.

You can see that the app launched just a hare quicker on the new iPad than it did on the old one. I began by tweaking a couple of settings, such as increasing the size of the dots. When tapping and holding on the screens of both devices, you can see how fluid and seamless the dots begin to move. However, take a look at the iPad 2 – the dots are going just a bit faster… and you can tell this with your own eyes.

This next test not only speaks to the boosted processor but also to the better graphics involved. I increased the number of dots on each screen. I went from 6,400 dots to 14,400 dots. It’s amazing to see how much faster and more fluidly the dots are moving around on the iPad 2. It’s not a huge difference, but it IS noticeable. That, my friends, is what matters.

Several people have posted benchmarks illustrating raw speed numbers from the two devices. I think that the usability (navigating the home screens) there simply isn’t much different. The first generation iPad is not exactly a slouch. Once apps are more optimized for this new version, we may see an even larger difference between the two. These new apps should take advantage of the better processor and graphics baked in to the new device.

I’m assuming that I will sell my first gen iPad at some point in time. I don’t really need two of them lying about the house. I wanted to hang on to it for a while in order to truly test and show you the differences as I see them.

If you know of an even better app or way to compare these two machines side-by-side, drop me a line and let me know. I’d be interested in doing some more field testing.

How Smart is the iPad 2 Smart Cover?

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Would you be smart to buy a iPad Smart Cover? Apple designed the cover with the same brilliance they approach hardware design. The case will fold back to act as a prop when watching movies and videos. It folds up to tilt the screen when you need to type. The case was created to work with your device… the iPad will wake up when the Smart Cover opens and goes to sleep when the cover is closed. All of this sounds fantastic… but does it really stand up to the hype?

What’s interesting is that the magnets on the Smart Cover automagically home in on where they need to be when they come close to your iPad. They lock in place lickety-split. There’s no snapping, sliding or cursing involved when you add your cover like you see with other offerings on the market.

By having the cover control the sleep cycle of the iPad, you’re potentially saving on your battery life. Additionally, it can provide a thin layer of security. Let’s say you are in a coffee shop working on a top-secret presentation and a casual acquaintance walks over to say hello. Slide your Smart Cover in place and your screen won’t be seen by whomever may be nearby. You don’t have to fold your arms over the top of the screen or turn it upside-down. Just let your cover do its job and carry on your conversation.

One issue I’ve had with the Smart Cover is that it takes much more to push buttons – especially the Home button – than it does without the case in place. You have to actually grip the iPad before pressing the Home button, instead of just tapping with a finger. That isn’t really a huge deal, but it is slightly annoying. The device just isn’t as touch-responsive as it was before.

This little cover is definitely worth some money. Is it worth as much as Apple is charging? That is something only you can decide. Who am I to say how much any gadget or item is worth to you?

What are your thoughts? Have you gotten a Smart Cover yet? What are you looking forward to in the near future in terms of other cases and covers that will be released in stores?

Android vs iPad? Why Android Tablets Can’t Beat the iPad

I just received an email from community member Andrew Wellings:

Hello Chris! When I’m doing stuff around the house, I like to keep my phone on me to listen to music or browse the Web (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and reading up on my news/tech blogs). As you may know from experience, this drains the battery alarmingly quickly, and the small screen is very limiting.

I have been looking at buying a tablet device for a few weeks, but I would rather trust your opinion, as opposed to some reviewer on a tech blog (which technically, I guess you are…). Anyway, the big dilemma is this: should I buy a used iPad 1st gen, or one of those many Android tablets?

I don’t need 3G, cameras or any bells and whistles. All I would need is Wi-Fi, a 7-10inch screen (not too fussy there, although preferably capacitative), to be able to watch videos, listen to music and maybe store some photos to show the relatives.

It would need to be available in the UK though, and preferably have a sub £250 price tag (~$400). Thanks very much for any help you can give.

Andrew, like most consumers (99 out of 100), are looking to get the most bang for their buck – right?

If you know anything about me (at all), you probably also know how I’m going to answer this question – but even if you didn’t know me, you’d be hard-pressed to find a true consumer advocate who would not recommend the iPad 1st-gen in this case. Can the 1G iPad do everything? No. Does that make it an inferior device? No.

You may be inclined to attack my position – so before you spout off your own brand of nonsense, why don’t you read a fandroid’s thoughts first. “Can the Android Tablet Ecosystem Still Beat iPad?” Yeah, I’m in complete agreement with him. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this post – I happen to agree with cogent Android supporters.

I also think that the most definitive article on this subject has already been crafted by someone with far more insight than you or me.

Now, since Apple has recently dropped the price of the iPad 1G to US$400 (while supplies last, assumedly), it’s become even more attractive to would-be tablet owners. Keep in mind, too, that despite its year-old life, Apple continues to push the latest iOS updates to it. Find me a Honeycomb Android tablet that sells for less than $400 (without contract) with a capacitive (multi-touch) screen today at less than 1.5lbs and I’ll seriously reconsider my suggestion.

You have to wonder: what is Motorola smoking? At least Samsung has the cojones to state the painfully obvious. Buying any device based on its possible future potential is just… ill-advised.

Android tablets can’t beat the iPad – Reason #1: Splintered experiences.

The industry has yet to see an Android tablet that comes close to matching the iPad’s overarching experience. Ah, there’s the key word: “experience.” That’s the magic revealed when hardware works in perfect harmony with software. This is the elusive factor that all Android devices seem to face after the new car smell wears off.

Specs be damned. Would you rather have a souped-up machine that did everything 50% of the time, or a stripped-down machine that did some things 100% of the time? You’re a fool to answer the former.

The OS can never be written to run optimized on all compatible hardware. That’s a difficult hill to climb (trying to be all things to all people). Couple with that shortcoming that certain device models are effectively locked out of software revisions by carriers… and you’ve got the making for an even more cluttered, confusing, and just plain god-awful consumer experience. This very disconnect will keep Android from besting iOS, alone.

Let he who hath been locked out of an Android OS update on capable hardware cast the first stone.

Android tablets can’t beat the iPad – Reason #2: Current pricing models.

Apple is the only company creating iOS-compatible hardware – versus dozens upon dozens of companies creating Android-capable hardware. In other words: Android devices are a de-facto commodity. And there’s one thing you can’t do with a commodity if you expect it to succeed: charge too much. But higher-than-iPad pricing is exactly what we’re seeing from these supposed “iPad killers.”

Why on god’s green earth, if you were trying to compete with a clear market leader, would you set your entry model’s MSRP at a higher cost than the leader’s entry model?

As a matter of fact, the reason would-be Apple denouncers have been so anti-Mac for years is because they see the Mac as “more expensive” than its PC cousins. Well, it seems to me that if you are a dyed-in-the-wool PC user who brandishes this outdated myth about Macs, you should never be caught dead carrying an Android tablet – since they’re absolutely more expensive than Apple’s iPad.

Motorola is dropping the price on the Xoom, but is that low enough to capture any amount of market share before the next Android-based iPad-killer is released in another month or so?

New Android devices should be more affordable, comparatively – and certainly priced less than the lowest-priced iPad. Who could argue with that?!

We might readily suggest an older Android device that weighs in at a much more affordable price, but with it comes a correspondingly lackluster experience. Have you ever tried using Android 1.x (resistive) after playing inside 2.3 (capacitive with multi-touch)? Let’s just assume that sacrificing usability is never an option for any consumer – otherwise, we’ll be forever wrestling with nerds who believe that GUIs are for wimps.

Besides, it’s difficult to compare today’s available options with yesterday’s in fairness. I personally can’t wait to buy a truly competitive Android tablet. It, however, doesn’t currently seem to exist.

Android tablets can’t beat the iPad – Reason #3: Too many choices.

Consumers absolutely need choice – but there’s a far greater chance of you making an incorrect choice on a menu with thousands of items.

I absolutely do see a world where there are more Android than iOS devices – that’s inevitable, much like we see more PCs with no true or clear differentiation between them. However, #1 in saturation does not imply a #1 product. Do I really need to bring up IE6 as an example to belabor my point?

There’s only one iPad, and it’s easy to spot the differences between 1G and 2G models. Even with future editions in the fold, Apple only offers a limited amount of units at any given time.

Ask yourself this: why is it that a new “best Android device” seems to be released every few weeks? Who could keep up with that?

Tangentially, Android is irresponsibly positioned as “good” for the consumer with an intentionally laissez faire app marketplace – but while Android’s software choices seem to be equal to those within Apple’s iTunes App Store, you’re doing nothing but swimming in an array of razor blades within Google’s Market. That may be acceptable for geeks, but not for most of the known galaxy.

Nah, you’ll be safe with Android. I’m not making this stuff up. Certain geeks should be ashamed for wholeheartedly endorsing an experience that has such a strong potential for compromising the innocent consumer. That’s not a choice – it’s the Sword of Damocles.

Android tablets can’t beat the iPad – Reason #4: Flash is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

But why even bring up Flash in this entire “iPad vs Android” argument? Because it’s too frequently called upon as a trump card without true qualification. Maybe if poorly-developed Flash apps had caused my browsers to crash with less frequency over the years, I’d be more sympathetic to Adobe’s cause. Flash? Platform non grata in the mobile space.

It’s also been argued that the consumer should be able to view Flash-rendered content on any particular platform. But Flash, in case you missed the memo, has overstayed its welcome – and is far from stable or secure (on any OS). Even its proprietors are Flash compatibility (which will likely drain your battery at break-neck speed and run medicore-at-best), who am I to argue? It’s your money – and you’re absolutely free to spend it in whatever way(s) you see fit. I’ve been living largely without it on my desktop for some time, thanks to the Click-to-Play functionality found in development builds of Google Chrome (my default Web browser, and one of the best available today).

Oh, snap. Did you see that? I wrote an article about how Google’s Android wasn’t a good choice for consumers if they were also considering an iPad – then I dovetailed my statements with a clear assertion that I prefer Google’s Chrome web browser above all others. This isn’t about what’s right for Google or Apple – it’s about what’s best for consumers on the whole.

iOS devices are still selling like hotcakes, despite their inability to natively support Flash content. If you’re really concerned about not being able to view useless Flash splash screens to restaurant Web sites, just look up the information on Google Places. As far as Flash video content on the iPad is concerned – there’s always Skyfire. “Problem” solved.

By all definitions, the iPad is a new kind of computer. I need to state this outright, if only because the most ardent iPad antagonists awkwardly continue (in gusto) to shoehorn the “tablet” class into a classic notebook / laptop paradigm (USB ports, et al). If any Android tablet expects to be seen as true competition to Apple’s entrant, it must first qualify by accepting new rules and eschewing perception.

Of course, the Android ecosystem could continue to ignore competition at is own peril. If I were Google, I’d be far more concerned about webOS than I would be iOS. But I’m (obviously) not Google. ;) I have no horse in this race, other than wanting to see huge wins for consumers.

Apple Digital AV Adapter for the iPad

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The Apple Digital AV Adapter allows you to mirror anything on your iPad 2 screen to an HDTV or computer monitor with HDMI input. Use this compact little cord to show your apps, presentations and more right on your big-screen television or computer monitor. While most displays render in full 1080p, movies will play at up to 720p.

Watch your movies and slideshows simply by connecting your iPad, iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4th gen using this av cable. A second 30-ping adapter allows you to charge and sync your device while it is connected to your HDMI display.

As you can see in the video, I can view nearly everything on my iPad right on that television. Audio and video both come through very clearly. My device is not jailbroken in any way: I simply used the av adapter. Being able to output your files onto a much larger screen is nearly priceless in some instances. It has certainly made the iPad even more useful than it already was!

I’m sure by now you’re wondering why – exactly – you would even care to do something like this. After all, you bought the iPad because it is small, light and portable. However, there truly could be instances where you would want or need to see what’s on the device on a much larger screen. Perhaps you have put together a presentation you need to share for work. Instead of praying anyone other than the person next to you can see it on the iPad screen, why not plug it in to an external HDMI display?

Use your iPad to create a slideshow for your parent’s anniversary dinner and share it on a bigger screen with everyone gathered together. Shoot a video on the device to propose to your significant other and broadcast it on the television when she (or he!) least expects it. There are so many things you could do with this one tiny little white cable that it boggles the mind.

Go ahead – grab one for yourself and watch as I grin quietly instead of saying “I told you so.”

iPad 2 Initial Impressions

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I like to give new gadgets a little bit of my time before giving initial impressions or reviews. Too many tech “reviewers” don’t give objects their full attention prior to posting their supposed thoughts. They don’t get to know the ins, outs and quirks of a new device. You have to really USE your new toy quite a bit before you know for a fact that you are giving an honest opinion. This is why I waited a few days before even recording a video about my initial impressions.

After playing around with my iPad 2 the other day, I spent a few hours playing around with it. I’m pretty happy thus far with the upgrade. The speed differences are a little noticeable. There’s not a huge jump in speed, no.. but you can definitely tell the difference. The outside looks great. I happen to like the new design!

One of the noticeable differences in the design is the way that the port is exposed, much like the iPod touch. I’m not sure I really thrilled about this part. I can certainly lock the cable in properly. Since there’s nothing flat for the cable to sit up against, it’s easier for the cable to be jarred.

It’s nice to have a camera on the iPad, yes… even though they don’t work all that well. I’ve written my thoughts about that in a blog post, so I won’t bother to go into it again. I don’t feel the camera is going to be used as a primary one for any of you, anyway. It’s more there to use FaceTime or whatever other online type of video chatting you may need to do.

In terms of graphics capabilities.. they work well enough. They seem to run a bit more smoothly than on the older iteration. As the apps are optimized for this new version, we may see even better differences.

The iPad 2 suffers from the exact same problem as iPad 1 – fingerprints! I cannot wait to find a matte screen protector that will work well for this new device. I can’t stand to see a dirty screen. It just freaks me out. I can’t help it!

The Photo Booth built-in app is a lot of fun. There are many seriously cool effects that you can do with just a few taps, pinches or flicks of a finger. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy making myself look freaky. I saw this event based photo booth people may be interested in.

I did particularly enjoy not having to reorganize this new iPad. When I plugged it in to sync for the first time, it asked me if I wanted to restore from a backup. Uh – yes please! All of my apps and folders magically appeared the way I wanted them.. including many passwords!

As I said the other day, Zen Viewer HD is the best document reader. I’m more than happy with it, and not only because we gave away five copies of the app! There are a ton of excellent features, including easy management of nearly every type of file and media you can think of.

Even with nearly 400 apps, my iPad 2 runs smoothly. Thus far, I’m very happy. Are you?