Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Gateway One ZX

Gateway One ZX
Gateway One ZX

Gateway One ZX

This week I had the pleasure of setting up a new Gateway One ZX computer….and I was quite impressed! This is an all-in-one computer like an iMac. There is no tower. The entire computer is built into the screen. Still, the screen is sleek and thin. As a matter of fact, this Gateway can give Apple a run for their money on design. It has a shiny black bezel and rests on cool plexiglass feet.

The ZX I worked with was the entry level ZX One that costs about $750. It had a lot for the money….. a crisp and clear 20″ touch screen, 4 GB ram, and a 750 GB hard drive. The touch screen was very responsive.

While I did not have the computer long enough to do a full review, I can tell you that I was impressed by what I saw.

You don’t hear much about Gateway today, but if they keep up this type of innovation, maybe we will hear more about them in the future.

The New iPad — Stunning

Steve Jobs with iPad
Steve Jobs with iPad

Steve Jobs with iPad

I’ve been using one of Apple’s new iPads for several weeks now and my verdict is in. I love it! As usual, Apple has created a device that is the ultimate in design. The iPad is thin and attractive. It has a speedy processor and a crisp and clear 9.7” LED backlit touch screen. The screen can be viewed from any angle and it is very responsive to the touch. The device weighs only 1 ½ pounds. Although it is only ½” thick, it is strong and sturdy.

Instead of running a computer operating system like Windows or Mac, the iPad uses the iPhone operating system. So rather than installing programs, you install apps. These are tiny programs that come on the iPad or that you can download from the iTunes store. This is the system that made the iPhone so easy to use and so popular. There are over 150,000 apps in the iTunes store, so there is a lot that you can do with the iPad.

The iPad has an on-screen touch keypad. It comes with 16, 32 or 64 GB of storage. It hooks up to the Internet by Wi-Fi. Some models also allow you to use the ATT&T cellular network to get on the Internet. Prices range from $499 to $829.

If your first reaction is that $500+ is pretty expensive for a device that can’t run most PC or Mac programs and doesn’t have a USB port or a DVD drive, you would be right. You can purchase a netbook, which is a fully functioning computer for less. The iPad, however, is still a worthwhile device.

You can download apps like a word processor and spreadsheet program and do some light work on the iPad, but this device is not really for work. It is focused more on content consumption and display than on content creation. It is an excellent web browsing and email device. The Photo app is fantastic, allowing you to look at your photos in unique ways. The iPad can even act like a digital picture frame displaying your choice of photos with transitions and music.

The iPad is also an excellent digital book reader. It is actually more like a real reading experience that the Sony Book Reader or the Amazon Kindle because you see your books on a wooden book shelf and you can actually see the pages turn. Like the Kindle, you can download books directly to the iPad. Because the iPad displays in color and can have multimedia components it has a lot of potential for book, newspaper, and magazine reading.

And the true significance of the iPad — its potential. While the iPad will work with almost all the iPhone apps, there are already 5,000 iPad that have been customized for the iPad. These apps take full advantage of the iPad’s larger screen and multimedia capabilities. The magazines that have been fully optimized for the iPad are truly spectacular with full page photos and audio and video clips that go along with the stories. Books that are specially formatted for the iPad appear in full color with animations peppered throughout the content. With extra screen real estate and multimedia capabilities, games that take advantage of the iPad capabilities are spectacular. Even games like Scrabble seem to come to life.

Of course, the iPad has a few deficiencies. It has no camera, which would be great for video calling.  It has no USB port and you can’t print from the iPad. Even more importantly, you are expected to get content in and out of the iPad by attaching the iPad to a computer and syncing the content using Apple’s iTunes program. This won’t be a problem for people who own a computer. However, I see this as a big drawback. I think that the iPad would make a great computer substitute for older people and others who would benefit from email and web surfing, but don’t want to get into the intricacies of owning a computer. However, with this version of the iPad, you have to own a computer running iTunes just to get the iPad started. Sure people who live close to their parents or other technophobes could handle the computer setup and occasional syncing for relatives and friends, but this should not be necessary. If the iPad had the ability to run without a computer and it could print and had a camera, it would be the perfect Internet appliance.

I am sure that we will see improvements in the iPad in future versions, possibly even those that will correct the deficiencies that I’ve stated.  Rival companies are also sure to offers their devices to compete with Apple and the iPad. However, even as it stands now, the iPad is a truly unique and wonderfully useful device. I have used it to surf the web, shop, check email, play games, watch television, listen to music, make to do lists, get recipes, track UPS packages, listen to Internet radio, call friends over Skype, display photographs, play the piano, and read books, magazines and newspapers.

If you are curious as to whether this new category of computerized device will catch on or not. This will give you a clue: Steve Jobs just announced that they have sold over one million iPads in the first 28 days. That is twice as fast as the initial selling of the iPhone. It looks like we will be seeing a lot more of the iPad and competing devices in the future.

Apple Lowers Cost of OS Upgrade — Microsoft Holds the Line

A few weeks ago Apple announced that it would charge just $29 for its newest operating system, Snow Leopard, which is due in September.

Many of us were holding our breaths, hoping that Microsoft would follow suit. But they didn’t even come close. Today Microsoft announced the prices for their new operating system, Windows 7:

Windows 7 Home Premium will cost $120 for an upgrade, $200 for a full version

Windows 7 Professional will be $200 for an upgrade, $300 for a full version

Windows 7 Ultimate will be $220 for an upgrade, $320 for a full version

Reuters and others have reported that Microsoft has lowered the price of the new OS. That is true. Currently an upgrade version of Vista Home Premium costs $130. The upgrade for Windows 7 will be only $120. So they lowered the price a whopping $10.

When you look at Apple’s prices for a comparable operating system, you will also see, that, as in the past, Apple will offer a family version of Snow Leopard. This will include five licenses to use the operating system on five different computers. The cost for that will be $49. Apple also has only one version of the software that does everything. Microsoft instead has a the complex system of multiple versions that do different things. Only the Ultimate version of Windows will do it all.

So, a family who want to upgrade their five computers running the current Apple operating system to the best (and only) version of the new Snow Leopard operating system will pay $49. A family who is currently using five computers running Windows, will have to pay $1,100 to upgrade to the best version (Ultimate) of Windows 7.

Let’s face it. That makes Microsoft’s prices outrageous — 22 times Apple’s price. So, as usual, Microsoft makes a $$$ statement that will ire many. It certainly has made me mad.

A New iPhone is Coming

Those of you who follow my writing know that I am an iPhone owner. The new iPhone that Apple just announced, the iPhone 3GS will have a few of the features that I’ve been longing for. I would love to have the voice-activation, the built-in compass, and the better battery life.

However, other new features like the faster processor, the improved camera, MMS, and the ability to capture video don’t mean much to me. The faster processor would be nice if I wasn’t stuck on the slow Edge AT&T network most of the time. A year ago, AT&T said that 3G service would be in my area very soon, but that hasn’t yet materialized. So for me, and thousands of others, AT&T charges us the same monthly fees, even though we can’t get high-speed service. For those of us in this position, it would be ridiculous for us to upgrade to the new iPhone 3GS because instead of the “S” standing for “speed”, we would find that it stands for “slow”.

I am not unhappy with my iPhone. In fact, I still think it is one of the best choices out there. The problem is that AT&T hasn’t kept promises of an expanded 3G network They charge exorbitant amounts for SMS messaging on the iPhone, and they delay rolling out new features so they can make more money.

I understand that when Apple announced the new iPhone, every time that AT&T was mentioned the crowd roared with laughter. Although the new iPhone will handle MMS messages (the ability to send and receive picture and video messages like text messages), AT&T will not support this until later this summer. Tethering, which is the ability to use a phone’s Internet to power the browser on a computer, will be supported by 29 carriers in 76 other countries, but evidently will not be supported by AT&T.

On top of that, since I am only one year into my AT&T contract, I would have to pay the full price for a new iPhone. So I won’t be upgrading my iPhone this year. My only hope is that by the time the next iPhone comes out Apple will have ended their contract with AT&T and the iPhone will be available from other carriers.

The Talking iPod

It’s not a gimmick — the new iPod shuffle will actually talk to you. It will announce the name of the song and the artist, but even more importantly, it will announce and let you choose playlists. This is a wonderful feature for this least expensive iPod. Because the shuffles don’t have a screen, up until now, all you could do is “shuffle” your music. That is, have the music tracks played in random order.

Talking iPod Shuffle
Talking iPod Shuffle

Talking iPod Shuffle Next to Lighter

However, this new shuffle lets you choose to play a playlist. That means you can put together lists of certain types of music in iTunes and choose which list you will play on your shuffle. You can make a collection of music for exercise, for walking, for relaxing, or for just about anything you choose. This makes the shuffle ultimately more usable.

I took an in-depth look at the shuffle. My full review with photos is posted on Hardware Secrets. For those of you who may not want to do all that reading, I’ll give you a quick summary here.

The new talking shuffle is very, very small. No bigger than a pair of nail nippers, a Bic lighter, or a AAA battery. It’s great for those who don’t want a lot of bulk, but may be problematic for those who lose small items easily.

For such a small device, the sound quality is amazing as is the 4GB storage size. The biggest drawback is that because the controls are on the cable of the ear buds, you must use the hard round Apple ear buds that come with the shuffle. Many of us find these very uncomfortable.

The retail price of the shuffle is $79. The capacity, the sound, and the ability to choose the music you play make it worthwhile. If you want an inexpensive digital music player, and you don’t mind the ear buds, this may be the one for you!