This is my Next: Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Update)

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Update: I purchased the Nexus 4 on 4th December, not the Galaxy Nexus

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The Next Generation iPad

In just a few days Apple will be announcing the next generation of the iPad. The event scheduled for March 7th in San Francisco, will be Tim Cook’s second appearance on stage to show off the latest Apple product as CEO. The last time we saw him was back in the autumn of last year, with the iPhone 4S announcement where there was an as expected, very subdued keynote as it shortly followed the passing of Steve Jobs. Cook will have a lot to live up to when it comes to showing off Apple’s latest and greatest, as this is what Jobs loved to do more than anything.

The keynote should kick off at 10AM EST, which is 6PM for those living in the UK, lasting normally 45 minutes to an hour. Before the event, as always, many will try to predict what Apple has to show us. As the event gets closer, there will be more and more rumours and ‘leaks’ flying about online, as regards to the specifics of the next iPad. Many rumours suggest, and the Apple event invite (shown above) would back this up, that the next iPad will feature a much higher resolution display. This may be a full retina display like seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s, but even if it’s not as pixel dense as those devices, it is sure to be a vast improvement on the current iPad display.

In car terms, the iPad has become like the Mercades S-Class. The S-Class is a car that has a wide array of advanced features that will become standard in many cars of the future. When the first iPad was announced it blew everyone away and there was no competition anyway near the standard of the iPad. When the second iPad was released, Apple went way ahead of the game once more, leaving the competition to play catch up with them. This is what will most probably happen again. Ice Cream Sandwich is a very welcomed new version of Android, and is waves ahead of any previous version when it comes to running on a tablet, but it’s still just not quite there yet. And with manufacturers taking their time to implement the new OS onto their devices it just gives Apple more time to increase their already extremely impressive sales figures.

With this in mind, Android will also need to start looking over their shoulder to the newest contender in the tablet market, Windows. This week Microsoft have released their Consumer Preview which has generated a lot of press attention and more importantly, a lot of new Windows supporters. With the new tiles interface alongside the classic desktop, Windows 8 is really going to make an impression on the tablet market. It will almost certainly compete with Android, which is still a little behind being good enough for most users. It may even make a dent, even if it is a small one, into Apple’s figures.

2012 is set to be another big year for the tablet as the competition is really starting to fire up. Android is holding the second place right now, but come this time next year I think that position will have been taken by Microsoft. It will be an interesting year ahead, with all three major companies putting a lot more effort into tablets. Apple will almost certainly be setting the standard on Wednesday, but will the new iPad be good enough to get owners of the iPad 2 to think about upgrading. The major new chances are going to be the screen, the processor and it’s gaming performance. Now all we can do is wait to see what Apple has ready to announce in 3 days time.

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iOS 5: All you need to know

At the annual WWDC in San Francisco, Apple unveiled and demoed their latest and great iOS software for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. There are many new features being added to the iconic iOS software, which is rumoured to be released with the next generation iPhone, in early to mid October. These are some of the major features being implemented.

Notification Centre

The most anticipated and most wished for change to iOS was in the form of a brand new way of how notifications work on all iOS devices. Apple have called it the Notification Centre, and have made some considerable changes to their previously very naff way of showing notifications. From any screen you will now be able to pull down a list of all your current notifications. The lock screen will also display any new notifications in which you can jump to the notification you want to directly from the lock screen. The Notification Centre will list all notifications including; SMS, missed calls, voicemail, Twitter, Facebook, and all apps that would normally support notifications.

Within the Notification Centre you can also see a stocks and weather widget, which can be hidden if wanted. When a new notification comes in at the same time as you are in an app, maybe a game or on a website in Safari, the notification will show at the top of the screen, unobtrusively. If you leave it, it will disappear and you will be able to access it from the Notification Centre at a more convenient time.

iMessage

One of the other major features Apple have added to iOS 5, is iMessage. iMessage is a realtime messaging system, similar to BlackBerry’s BBM, and the cross-platform app; WhatsApp. It allows you to send photos, videos and contacts over both 3G and WiFi connections. Groups can be set up, along with features such as delivery and read receipts.

The feature is built into the Messages app, meaning that you won’t need to open up a separate app to get your iMessages. The app automatically recognises whether a user has the iMessages feature and will choose not to use SMS. iMessage will work on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, allowing all Apple devices to communicate with each other. Apple is also promising that this will be an secure encrypted service.

Reminders

Apple have also included a ‘To-Do list’ feature in the form of a simple app called Reminders. You can do all that you would expect, such as create lists of things you need to do or things to be reminded of. One of the interesting features of this app, is that they have included location-based alerts. This allows you to create a reminder without setting a time and date, but instead choosing a location for the alert to be activated. You can either set it to remind you when you get to a location, or when you are leaving one.

WiFi Sync

WiFi Sync will become the most used of the new features without the users fully realising what their iOS device is doing. When you connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to a power source, either via a dock or the mains charger, the device will automatically start to sync with your iTunes account, as long as you’re connected with a WiFi network. This saves the hassle of having to plug in your device into your PC or Mac.

Twitter Integration

Twitter has been implemented throughout iOS 5, in a variety of the standard apps that come along with iOS. Once you have signed in, you won’t have to sign in again and will work throughout all the apps that allow for Twitter interaction. From within the Photo, Maps and Safari apps, you can directly tweet whatever content you are currently looking at, without leaving the app. Like with many Twitter clients you can also add location to your tweets.

And the rest…

Apple say that there are over 200 new features added to this latest release. Some of the other less major, but interesting, updates are;

  • Weather: Current location, hourly forecasts. Widget in Notification Centre.
  • Maps: Alternate routes and new UI.
  • Camera: Ability take photos using volume button, post-editing tools.
  • Newsstand: Get the latest magazine release straight to your iOS device.
  • OTA Updates: Over-The-Air software updates, no need to plug into iTunes.
  • Dictionary: Built-in dictionary throughout whole device.
  • Typing Shortcuts: E.g. Automatically changes ‘atm’ to ‘at the moment’.
  • Split-Keyboard: Allows for easier typing when holding upright. (iPad only)
  • Multitasking Gestures: Swipe for Home Screen, multitasking bar or switching between apps. (iPad only)

For more of the less publicised new features in iOS 5, have a look at Gizmodo’s post -‘The Best of the Unsung Features in iOS 5‘.

iOS 5 will be compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, iPod Touch 3rd Gen. and 4th Gen. And any other newer devices released alongside this update… iPhone 5.

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Apple’s WWDC roundup and thoughts: Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, iCloud and iTunes in the Cloud

On Monday Apple held their annual WWDC conference in San Francisco. The theme of this year’s event, was software. Not one piece of new hardware was shown at the event. There were 4 main things announced; Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, iCloud and iTunes in the Cloud.

OS X Lion

Not being a Mac user myself it’s hard to really say how pleased or disappointed I am with the latest updates coming to Mac OS X. From a neutral point of view there were some things that stood out to me, and one thing in particular that I liked the most was that you could upgrade to the latest version for only $29 (£20)! Even though some of the features that they showed were not huge, and could have probably been a free upgrade, for Apple that is value for money and will persuade many users to upgrade.

Some of the main features highlighted were; Muti-Touch Gestures, Full-Screen Apps, Mission Control, Mac App Store, Launchpad, Resume, Auto Save and Versions, Airdrop, and an updated Mail client. There are also supposedly 250+ more new features added, which can all be found here. Out of these, some of the stand out features to me is the Mission Control, Launchpad and Resume.

Mission Control is a very good addition, allowing users to see all of the programs and Apps they are running. This can be helpful when quickly moving from one program to another. Launchpad has made Mac OS become more and more like iOS, suggesting that one day there will be one universal OS for all devices. The launchpad is where all your Apps are collected and can be easily accessed. Resume is another helpful feature, meaning that when you close an App it will resume right where you left off. This also works when you restart your Mac. It will open up all the things you had open and in the same place when you restarted.

I think Mac OS X Lion includes some good additional features over the previous version, Snow Leopard, and believe that it is a worthwhile upgrade. I think the fact that it will only cost $29 (£20) will encourage many to make the upgrade.

iOS 5

This for me was the most anticipated demo of the last 6 months. Since knowing that there will be no new iPhone at WWDC 2011, technology blogs and myself included, have been very much looking forward to what and how Apple are going to change their iOS software, and they haven’t disappointed! There have been many things that Apple have been a tad slow on in the past, multitasking etc. But when they do get round to doing it they do normally do it well. I will go on to write a separate blog post about iOS 5 in the next few days.

The main points to take from the iOS 5 announcement was the new notifications, iMessages, Twitter integration and PC free setup. All of which I will talk about in a forthcoming blog post.

iCloud

This was a major announcement that was expected, but nobody knew the complete of details of what Apple would be offering. Quoting from the iCloud page on the Apple website: “iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents and more.” It’s pretty much as simple as that. Apple are going to be storing all your data, from all your devices and then push them to all those devices. As an example, if you take a photo on you iPhone it will be sent straight into the cloud and then pushed to your iPad, iPod touch and Mac or PC. There is no setup needed, you just use your Apple ID and “It just works” – Steve Jobs, WWDC 2011. Oh, and it’s completely free!

iTunes in the Cloud

This was the surprise of the event. All the other things announced were very much expected, but as 9To5Mac noticed when entering the conference, there may just be a secret surprise Apple were set to reveal, and that turned out to be right. iTunes in the cloud is pretty much as it sounds. It’s all your songs, stored online. They have also enabled a new downloads area, showing all the music, apps and videos you have ever downloaded and then allowing you to download them to all your devices. They also announced something called iTunes Match. This is where they take your current iTunes library and ‘match’ it to their database and will upgrade it all to 256 kbps AAC files. Even though the cloud storage and Automatic Downloads is all free, to use the iTunes Match service, this will cost you $24.99 a year. A very good price, already making Amazon and Google have to rethink their strategies.

This has just been a very brief overview of the whole event and there are many other websites and blogs that will contain a lot more specific details on event, none more so than the Apple website itself. Any of my ‘Tech Links’ on the right hand side of the blog will have plenty of additionally details you may want to read.

Please follow on Twitter :)

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4 Keynotes, 2 Days

The following two days will bring forth many new products, features and new technologies that we will soon be seeing in our day-to-day lives. Microsoft will be kicking off the next 48 hours with their keynote live from E3 at 17:30 [GMT.] Soon after this will be the most anticipated keynote of the week from Apple, at their annual WWDC, starting at 18:00 [GMT]. Sony will also of course be at E3 and they will be live from 01:00 [GMT] June 7th. The last of the major keynotes will be from Nintendo, and should be a good one. They kick off from 17:00 [GMT] June 7th.

Microsoft – E3

Microsoft is not rumoured to be a very exciting presentation, but I’m sure they will throw in some surprises. Normally at E3 there is always new hardware to show off, but Xbox could this year not be revealing anything. With the huge success of the Kinect, they will most probably be resting on their laurels and just focus on some of the new games and releases for the Xbox 360 and Kinect.

Some of the rumours I’ve read, the source being Engadget, is that there may be IPTV integration, Kinect finger tracking and potential support for Windows Phone 7 games. Or even, a possible handheld Xbox console, but that is extremely unlikely. There is also some news about Halo 4 and a new look for Xbox Live. Xbox fans, you’ll have to just wait and see what Microsoft have to show, but I can’t promise it’ll be too exciting.

Apple – WWDC

The most anticipated of the keynotes this week, and really for the whole year, is Apple’s WWDC. This is an annual conference that Apple hold for their developers to show off new hardware and software. This year will be very different from the last few years, as Apple are not rumoured to bring out ANY new hardware at this year’s WWDC. This is not in continuation with normal WWDC’s as Apple have always previewed a new version of their iPhone, such as last year when they showed of their new iPhone 4.

This year, Apple are focussing on the software. They will be releasing their latest version of iOS for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. It will be iOS 5 and should be a fully updated look and feel of the operating system. Some of the features that iOS has been needed for a while now should be included in this release. New notifications, widgets and deep integration of Facebook and Twitter.

Along with iOS 5, Apple will be announcing iCloud and showing Mac OS X Lion. iCloud is a completely new project for Apple and it is unsure what it will feature. There will be some sort of cloud storage, but will it be a fully blown cloud music service? A refresh of MobileMe is also expected and may be incorporated with iCloud. With Mac OS X Lion, they will most probably just be showing off some of the features and give further details about the new Mac operating system.

And, there may also be another surprise in store from Apple, so make sure you find a good liveblog to follow! I’ll be following ThisIsMyNext.

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Blog on hold.

I have found that over the last week or so I have not been able to concentrate fully on the blog and have many other items on my mind, none least than my forthcoming examinations. University has kept me busy this last month, and even though I love writing the blog, I feel I need to take a break from it, at least until my exams are over and university is done and dusted for this year. So I’ll will be taking a short break from writing, but will be back soon!

And a quick teaser for those pondering what my next post will be about, it’s entitled: ‘Engadget: Past, present and future’. I will be writing, and have started, about one the best tech blogs around today and how there have been changes over the last few months, with many of their main editors leaving.

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Norwich City: Going up, up, up!

August 2009, would I have believed that Norwich would be going into the top flight of English football? Of course not, no one did. A 7-1 defeat at home to Colchester, on the first day of the League 1 season and Norwich supporters begin start to worry about what could be happening to their beloved club. But in just 18 months, Norwich will be playing against some of the best European teams in the world.

The secret of this unbelievable turn around is hard to pin point, but I without three people we would not be in this position…

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