Telecom NZ has a new take on data roaming. Traditionally when travelling internationally, internet data usage on your mobile devices was charged at a rather steep rate per megabyte of data used. Just by checking your email and using Maps for directions data costs could quickly get out of hand, resulting in a rather nasty bill on your arrival back home.
Now Telecom has announced a fixed rate per day, so you will know what you will pay regardless of usage (subject to their fair usage policy of course). Pricing for data roaming when in Australia is set at a very attractive $6 per day, with UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia set at $10 per day.
The new pricing starts from Friday 21 December 2012, for more information read the press release.
Retina display. IPS. Full lamination. What does all this new speak mean?!
Lets try to demystify the new screen technology a bit and see which actually improves the user experience.
The biggest mover in the screen technology is the legendary “retina display”. This first appeared on the iPhone 4 and was a huge improvement over the iPhone 3 screen. Retina is defined as a display which, at a normal viewing distance, does not show any pixels. If you get close to a normal display, you can make out the pixels, or dots which make up the display. An exaggerated example of this is getting up close to your living room TV – you will certainly see the pixels there! If you have a look at an iPhone 4, you can get very close to the screen and not be able to make out the pixels – it is pretty amazing. For a phone, a retina screen is around 326ppi. If you look at the specifications of many Android phones, you will see that they have around 280-300ppi screens. Whilst not 326ppi, they are still very high resolution. Are they retina quality? It depends how far away you have to hold your phone from your eyes…
For an iPad or laptop screen, the resolution is less. The reason for this is that you generally hold these further away than you do with a phone. The iPad retina is 264ppi. The Macbook Pro retina is 220ppi.
So, we have established that a retina display is a high resolution screen in which the pixels are so fine that the human eye cannot make them out. Great. But what does this mean for a user? Here is an extreme closeup example which might give you a good idea. The left shot is from a iPhone 3GS, and the right shot is from a iPhone 4 retina display:
You can see the difference immediately, especially in the text. For users who spend a lot of time working with photography or kerning type, a retina display is a hot ticket.
One caveat – your software needs to be retina “ready” to take advantage of the screen. So if you use iPhoto, Aperture, Pixelmater, Microsoft Office 2011 – these are all ready to go. Adobe have announced support in Photoshop, but nothing is shipping yet. Clearly (pun intended) having a retina display along with retina ready software is a benefit.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) is a technology which improves LCD displays overall. It improves the response time, offers clearer imagery and less colour distortion over wide viewing angles. The creative director sitting alongside you will see the colours as you see them. If your screen has it – good news!
For the new iMac, Apple used a new bonding technique which brings the LED cell right up against the glass plane. It is called “full lamination”. For a user, this means a sharper display and better colour representation, and it means a much thinner computer! Apple also fully calibrates each iMac screen. This is from the Apple website for the iMac: “We put every single display through an exacting colour-calibration process using three state-of-the-art spectroradiometers: one to measure gamma, one to measure white point and one to check the work of the other two. This equipment is tuned to meet colour standards recognised around the world for precision and accuracy.”
All in all it is a good time to retire your old workhorse and check out some of the new machines with the exciting new display technologies onboard.
You have a 9.7 inch iPad – so why would you want a 7.9 inch model too? You probably don’t. To take Apple’s language, the iPad mini is not a “smaller” iPad – it is a “condensed” iPad. Very careful use of words there!
What we have with the iPad mini is a iPad 2 (A5 processor, 1024×768 non-Retina display) packed into a condensed 7.9 inch package. It runs iOS 6 and has all the expected assortment of cameras (front and rear) and Apple covers. This device was pretty clearly aimed at the growing crop of android tablets like the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire which have been selling quite well despite criticism of the size by Steve Jobs. Of course, he did say Apple would never put video playback onto an iPod…
The iPad mini is targeted at education and casual users who don’t want to carry around the “bulk” of a full size iPad – but want the power of the iPad apps. The apps are a key point in this whole picture as not even the toughest Android advocate on the planet can defend the very poor selection of quality Android tablet apps vs the 220,000 iPad tailored apps on the Apple store. No real point getting into an argument about it – the App stores tell the whole story.
Early reviews on theverge.com call the iPad mini “the best small tablet” – but adds it certainly isn’t the cheapest (NZ$479 incl GST for the 16GB WIFI version)
Educational content and iBookStore content (along with Amazon Kindle app) gives the iPad mini a wealth of content for children and the selection of games is untouchable. A great gift for children heading into the next year of schooling – and the price point means it is not as dangerous as sending a child to school with a laptop which can easily get damaged.
As far as we can see, the iPad mini is a huge product for education and the casual user – but if you want a “laptop replacement” – the iPad gen 4 with all its retina display goodness is still the pick of the crop!
Apple has been busy releasing cool new toys this year, today they’ve been especially busy.
As expected the iPad mini was revealed today. The iPad mini has a 7.9 inch screen with the same resolution as the iPad 2. The iPad mini is everything that you expect from an iPad but in a “concentrated” form.
The full-sized iPad received an upgrade with a new, more powerful processor, upgraded WiFi and Camera.
Both iPads feature the new lightning connector.
The iMac has been given a redesign. The iMac received a processor upgrade and USB 3, but it is the new design that is taking the spotlight. It is now unbelievably thin, any thinner and you might lose it!
The MacBook Pro with Retina display now has a 13″ model with the same Thunderbolt, USB3 and HDMI ports as the 15″ model. The 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display does not have ethernet, but you can get a Thunderbolt adapter for that.
Both the new iMac and MacBook Pro do not have an optical drive, so now CD or DVDs unless you get an external drive if you still need to use these.
Apple has released iOS 5.1.1 Software update for compatible iPhone and iPads. This update fixes numerous annoying bugs related to HDR photos, AirPlay playback, Safari syncing and App Store purchases.
You can install the update ‘over the air’ now by tapping on Settings, then General, then Software Update and tapping Download and Install. The update takes about 10 minutes to download and install, make sure your device has plenty of battery charge left before running the update.
Apple has released iOS5 today for compatible iDevices, it’s a great update with lots of new features such as the notifications, iCloud integration and wireless syncing with iTunes.
If you are using Telecom XT with your iPhone or iPad be sure to update your carrier settings via iTunes after applying iOS5, you can do this while you still have your iDevice plugged in via the USB cable. If you don’t apply the carrier update you will find that the caller ID doesn’t match up with your contacts.
In addition to Creative Suite 5.5, Adobe have announce three new iPad Apps that interact with Photoshop CS5. An update will be released for existing Photoshop CS5 users, it will also be supported as standard with Photoshop CS5.5.
The iPad Apps and the Photoshop update will be available early May.
Adobe Nav allows you to select and control Photoshop tools using the iPad as the input surface, customize the toolbar, browse and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop files or easily create new files.
Adobe Eazel lets digital artists create rich realistic paintings with their fingertips. These paintings can then be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 for compositing or for taking the artwork further.
Adobe Color Lava allows you to mix colors on the iPad, creating custom color swatches and themes to transfer back into Photoshop.
Today we have been working on a very special project. We have managed to convert an old Macintosh Plus into an iPad Plus docking station. This turns an iPad 2 into a true desktop replacement.
We’ve removed the late 1980′s internals and replaced them with a brand new iPad 2, the inside of this Macintosh Plus also features an iPad Dock connector to keep the iPad Plus fully charged. The iPad Plus connects to the network over WiFi and is used in conjunction with an Apple Bluetooth keyboard.
We plan to create a few more of these classic Macintosh conversion to use as loan machines for our clients.
Now that iOS 4.3 has shown it’s head on our devices in NZ, we can now confirm that the iPhone 4 on XT or Vodafone can use the new Personal Hotspot feature to share your phone’s data plan with your laptop or iPad using wifi. (It lets 3 devices work over wifi)
So this makes purchasing the iPad 2 a little harder. If you have an iPhone 4, then the wifi model is all you need. Just turn on the iPhone 4 Personal Hotspot feature, connect your iPad 2 and browse. But if you don’t have an iPhone 4, then you will either need to upgrade your iPhone – or get the iPad 2 with wifi+3G.
Gizmodo has a great article on this, so have a read and see where you fit – otherwise have a chat with one of the Digital Arena team!
Steve Jobs made a welcome return to the stage today to unveil Apple’s iPad 2. The iPad 2 is a thinner, lighter and considerably faster than the original iPad. It also has both from and rear cameras and is now available in white as well as black. The white version has been promised to ship from day 1 of release.
The iPad 2 feature the same screen resolution and battery life as the original iPad and comes in similar configurations with WiFi or WiFi and 3G models to choose from.
A new cover has been designed for the iPad 2, one that only covers the front of the iPad and folds back to create a stand.
An iOS update will feature improvements to AirPlay, introduction of iTunes Home Sharing and performance improvements to Safari.
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