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Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

iPad 2 Takes Tablet Computing to the Next Level

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Introducing Zite, the iPad’s Smartest Magazine Yet

Watch out, Flipboard. As of Wednesday, you have some serious competition: a free app called Zite that is constantly learning what you like to read on the iPad and creating a magazine finely tailored to your needs.

Many iPad owners who have used the free Flipboard app for any length of time are familiar with its promise and its shortcomings. Sure, it looks cool — enter your Twitter name and Facebook account, and it turns those feeds into a magazine, complete with gorgeous photos, headlines and virtually flippable pages. That’s why Apple named it iPad app of the year for 2010. The app also offers its own curated news feeds and can now plug into your Flickr account.

But how often do you actually read it? Does Flipboard really help you discover content that got buried in your Twitter feed overnight? How’s that unfiltered Facebook feed in magazine form working out for you?

“What’s broken is there’s so much stuff out there, and I don’t know how to get to it,” says Ali Devar, Zite’s founder and CEO. “There’s no automatic system that’s catching the important stuff I miss every day. Search doesn’t solve it. Social doesn’t solve it. A lot of [Zite beta testers] came back to us and said, ‘Thank goodness, here’s something that gives me my content and more, but filters it for me.’ People are feeling the pain, and they need it resolved.”

Zite pulls in stories from your Twitter feed, if you wish, or your Google Reader account. Neither are necessary. You can also choose from hundreds of topics you’re interested in or start with the plain-vanilla version of the magazine. That also is not required. Every story comes with thumbs up and thumbs down icons and a button to request more of that kind of story. But none of this is truly important.

The app’s secret sauce is this: It learns from your everyday reading. It’s constantly watching what kind of stories you click on, how long those stories are, how long you’re reading them for — and just as importantly, the stories you don’t click on. (It’ll give you less of those.) Just as Netflix and Amazon bring you movies and products that users similar to you liked, Zite is doing constant behind-the-scenes comparisons between readers, both inside the app and on the web in general.

“You should be able to notice right away that Zite is giving you stories that are meaningful to you,” says Devar. — Mashable

Apple to launch iPad 2 today

(Beirut Business Review) — You wouldn’t think that Apple, the largest and most hyped-up tech company on the planet, would have anything left to prove. But Wednesday’s iPad 2 announcement will be an important test for the company.

A year ago, when Apple introduced the iPad, it was the first tablet of its kind on the market. Now there are as many iPad competitors as Dalmatians. Meanwhile, the iPad has become a critical revenue stream for the company — so there’s far less margin for error.

And one more thing: Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) will likely be without its charismatic leader at the San Francisco event, which kicks off at 1 p.m. ET. Steve Jobs remains on a medical leave of absence. Investors will be keeping a close eye on the presenters to evaluate how the company is being led in Jobs’ stead.

That’s not an insignificant amount of pressure.

“This event is not to be taken lightly,” said Brian White, analyst at Ticonderoga Securities. “Apple must make a convincing case for why the iPad 2 is better than the plethora of competitors coming to market.”

Increased competition: The good and the bad news for Apple is that the year-old iPad still rates highly among even its newest rivals.

That’s good news, because Apple should again have the best-in-its-class tablet if the iPad 2 is as improved as the rumors say it will be.

But that’s also bad news: How much thinner, lighter, faster, better — and perhaps most importantly, cheaper — can the iPad get? Did Apple shoot itself in the foot by making its first generation tablet too good?

Tim Cook, Phil Schiller or whichever Apple executive introduces the iPad 2 will need to offer some impressive specs, lest Apple fans walk away disappointed.

Rival tablets have front- and rear-facing cameras, dual-core processors, four times as much RAM as the iPad, HDMI output and Adobe Flash support. Other than Flash, Apple is expected to at least meet all of its competition’s features — and to significantly slim down iPad 2 compared to the original.

If that’s all Apple does, its fans will probably be unimpressed. Apple may need to have something “magical” up its sleeve, as Jobs likes to say, to wow its potential customers.

Though it’s not facing a whole lot of price pressure from its rivals, cost will also be an important factor. Only the 32 gigabyte $599 Motorola Xoom tablet gives the iPad a real run for its money in cost: It is a full $130 cheaper (if you shell out for a a required Verizon data plan) than the similarly sized $729 iPad 3G, which has an optional data plan for an additional price.

With a strong marketing campaign and hype-machine behind the Xoom, Apple may opt to drop the price of the iPad 2. Alternatively, some analysts expect Apple to slash the cost of the original iPad and keep iPad 2 prices steady.

The importance of the iPad: Getting it right is so crucial because Apple is becoming increasingly reliant on the revenue it generates from iPad sales.

In 2010, Apple sold $9.6 billion worth of iPads, which represented 12.5% of Apple’s revenue. That surpassed iPods and iMacs in net revenue. Not too shabby for a device that Apple started selling in April.

And while Apple’s Macintosh computers have always struggled for traction in the business world, the iPad is generating strong crossover interest from business customers. Around 80% of Fortune 100 companies have deployed the tablet for their employees.

“The iPad is a critical device to Apple,” said Colin Gillis, analyst at BGC Partners. “The iPad is remaking a landscape for consumers, and it’s even making its way into the enterprise.”

The Jobs factor: It’s unlikely that Steve Jobs will be presenting the iPad this year (though he’s reportedly definitely maybe thinking about the possibility of going there, perhaps).

Jobs was not present at the unveiling of the iPhone 3GS, deferring to Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing head. Everything went swimmingly, and Apple’s shares rose nearly $5 after he began his presentation.

But this is Jobs’ third leave of absence in seven years. Investors are concerned about the company’s future post-Jobs. Some shareholders are clamoring for a succession plan, and people want to know how the company is being run without Jobs overseeing day-to-day operations.

All of that will be scrutinized on Wednesday.
“With this company, every piece of minutia analyzed to nth degree, sometimes to levels that are not rational,” Gillis said. “People are very concerned about Steve.”

HP TouchPad Takes Aim at the Competition [VIDEO]

A MUST-SEE!!

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The TouchPad’s physical dimensions should be very familiar to iPad owners:

  • 1.6 lbs
  • 13.7 mm thin
  • 9.7-inch 1024×768 display
  • 1.3-megapixel webcam for video calling
  • Stereo speakers

When we go under the hood, what we see looks similar to the Motorola Xoom and the rumored specs of the iPad 2.

The TouchPad includes:

  • Dual-core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon processor
  • 16 or 32GB of storage
  • 802.11 b/g/n for Wireless
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 1 GB of RAM

3G and 4G versions of the device will hit the market after the Wi-Fi model arrives and feature on-board GPS.

On the accessory front, HP will be releasing an innovative Touchstone dock that acts as both a cables-free charging station and a stand.

For the expected release date, HP says “summer” and is staying mum on the price for now. WebOS looks great on a larger device and we look forward to seeing what apps head its way.

What do you think of the TouchPad? Let us know!

HootSuite Releases iPad App for Social Media Management

HootSuite for iPad has arrived. With the release, the startup, which makes social media dashboards for web and mobile, has ported its business-targeted product for social media management across multiple services to the Apple device.

HootSuite for iPad includes support for multiple Twitter, Facebook (profiles and Pages) and Foursquare accounts, message scheduling, Twitter search, geo-location and click statistics. The application also offers a quick import option for existing HootSuite users looking to sync accounts.

The design of the application mirrors the column approach of other HootSuite products, and includes a stationary left-hand sidebar with a list of all streams being tracked.

HootSuite for iPad looks to be the perfect companion application for existing business users of the service who wish to manage their presence on a larger mobile screen. The multipurpose nature of the application might also help attract new users.

Just like the startup’s other mobile applications, HootSuite for iPad is free with usage limitations governed by the company’s previously introduced freemium business model.