The iPhone5 Unveiled…Sort Of

iPhone 5 Repair schematicsNot too long after Apple’s post-Jobs CEO, Tim Cook, promised that Apple is tightening security around their product launches, it seems that detailed schematics of the new iPhone5’s front panel have been leaked, and possibly by more than one person. First appearing in a blog by iLab, then arriving at the blog of non-approved iPhone App Store Cydia, and finally hitting MacRumors. And here they are now, in all of their blue-printed glory.

It seems that in the last couple of days/weeks the leaks and rumors have been flying fast, and coming together to form a more complete picture of the new iPhone design and specs. Granted, there is the usual hoopla by true believers who insist that every single one of these leaks are a clever plant by Apple to throw media and competitors off the real trail, but honestly that seems absolutely ludicrous at this point. Why? A couple of reasons: 1) Jobs was the real secrecy buff, and with him gone I imagine we will begin to see a big part of this culture of fear and secrecy fall apart. Without him there to bring down the wrath of god on any leakers, I think we’ll start to see a decades worth of repression bubble up into sloppiness and intentional leaking. 2) Apple is a month to 3 months away from launching this thing. There’s absolutely no point in throwing off competitors at this point, since no one can really do anything about anything at this point. And as far as the media, they get worked up into a frenzy every time an iPhone is launched. No need for PR stunts here. Lastly, over the last 3 or so product launches, we’ve seen that rumors and leaks that came within 1-3 months before the product launch were pretty solid. Continue reading

Apple iPhone 4 Settlemnent

An Apple For Teach, and $15 Each For The Class

Apple iPhone 4 Settlemnent
This is either a photo of Apple testing their antennas, or a stereogram of a schooner. (credit: Apple)

Just when we thought we could all put this long, national nightmare behind us, Antennagate is being dredged up once again. It seems that while everyone was busy complaining about the poor reception and other little quirks of the original iPhone 4 antenna, some enterprising Apple users actually did something about it and filed a class action lawsuit. And won!

Somewhere in the background behind all the noise about Apple and Google’s patent wars, this little tiny lawsuit, Case No. 5:10-md-02188-RMW Class Action, managed to sneak its way through the court system and has resulted in a settlement from Apple. Granted, it’s a settlement for $15 for everyone in the class, which isn’t huge, but it’s something.

For those that don’t remember Antennagate, think back to the release of the iPhone 4 in mid 2010. The phone was the coolest thing ever at the time, and consumers lined up for days outside of stores to get their hands on one. Then suddenly disaster struck: a small percentage of users reported that if they held the phone a certain way, their reception would disappear almost entirely.

The incident is less famous for the technical glitch (which affected an insignificant number of people, according to Apple) and much more for Apple’s utterly clueless response. Their first course of action was to tell people they were nuts and no such thing ever happened. Their second step was to admit that it could happen, but it would only happen to a tiny percentage of iPhone owners in a very tiny number of cases. Following that brilliant PR move, they released a software update that (This part is hilarious, bear with me) actually changed the reception display settings so IT WOULD DISPLAY FULL BARS EVEN IF YOU GOT NO RECEPTION!  I know, you can’t make this stuff up. Finally, after striking out, Apple introduced a bumper case that solved the issue and gave it out to iPhone 4 owners for free.

While this was going on, several lawsuits were filed by impatient customers, and after making their way through the court system, 18 of them were consolidated into one, which Apple finally settled recently. The settlement, details of which can be found at https://www.iphone4settlement.com, will provide $15 or a free bumper case to anyone who is a member of the class. Here are the details:

Who: Anyone can join the class if they are a US resident, AND are an original owner of an iPhone 4, AND both of these things were true as of Feb. 17, 2012.

What: Eligible class members get$15 or a free bumper case.

When: All claim forms must be submitted by Aug. 28, 2012. If you wish to be excluded from the settlement for whatever reason, you have to submit an exclusion request by June 15, 2012.

Where: Full information about the suit can be found at https://www.iphone4settlement.com/.

How: Either go to the website or give them a call at 1-877-417-7234 to receive a claims package to fill out and return.

Apple the new iPad

The (Kind of) New iPad

Apple the new iPad
Photo Courtesy of the LA Times

The new iPad is here. No, not the iPad3 or the iPad HD. The new iPad goes by the humble name of The New iPad. A fittingly boring name for a fittingly boring device. It really shouldn’t come as a shock, since the release of the iPhone4S set the stage for this release cycle being more about polishing the old and less about anything new, but on many levels it still comes as a disappointment.

So what exactly makes the New iPad new?

The Screen: Probably the biggest and most noticeable improvement is the updated screen. Apple has managed to take the great Retina display we’ve grown to love on the iPhone and make it big. With a resolution of 2048 x 1536, it looks significantly better than the iPad2. If what you’re looking for is the prettiest screen on any tablet out today, this one may well be it.

The Processors: Dispelling rumors of a Quad+1 processor, a la the Tegra 3 found in some Android devices, Apple instead went for a more traditional dual-core A5X processor, but supplemented it with a additional quad-core GPU. Why? I imagine their reasoning was that the iPad is rarely tasked with any serious processor-intensive tasks, however it is used to play games often. If they have also integrated proper load-balancing across the cores, this could make the battery life significantly longer than an all-in-one solution. On the other hand, if they didn’t it could mean that that you run out of juice shortly after turning it on. Oh, did I mention it’s supposed to be twice as powerful as the iPad2?

The Cameras: In a move that shocked no one, Apple has finally put a real camera on the back. About 3 years after everyone else. And it’s only 5 megapixels. Granted, that’s more than 5x the camera on the iPad2, but considering the size of the device I don’t see any real reason not to put a bigger camera with a dedicated image chip in. There is absolutely no excuse for the camera on a high-end tablet device to be outdone by $100 point-and-clicks. The front camera remains unchanged, though with so many video chatting services handicapping image quality for bandwidth purposes anyway, .3 megapixels is more than enough.

The Connection: 4G. And only a year or two after everyone else jumped on board. Which actually makes the New iPad a better phone device than the iPhone4s. Other than that, the only real improvement is the inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0, which should make using peripherals for gaming significantly more responsive and provide a much better experience when playing games, and I guess doing work.

What’d they miss?

A lot. I know I’m not the most Apple-friendly person in the city, but really there’s a lot missing here that should have been a no-brainer.

The Shape: It’s thicker AND heavier than the iPad2. Granted it has a bigger camera and beefier processors, but it still adds almost 2 ounces to the total weight. It’s noticeable. It’s also almost a millimeter thicker, which is a lot less noticeable, but still adds to the slightly bulkier feel.

Siri: The only big deal fro the iPhone4S is shockingly absent. This seems like a huge omission. My only guess is that they are working on making Siri play with the big screen better and will release her as an update, but nevertheless it feels sloppy.

Anything New: The internet, as always, was abuzz with rumors prior to the release. After Apple filed a patent for a carbon-fiber shell, many believed there would be new form factors or designs. We also expected something, anything, to get excited about. Even the addition of new colors would have been enough. Instead we got what is essentially the device Apple should have released last year as the iPad2.

So what does it mean for me?

If you have an iPad2? It means you’ve got another year to wait if you want to upgrade to something significantly better from Apple. If you have a first-gen iPad? It might be worth the upgrade cost to trade in for the newest model, but even then I’m on the fence. If you don’t have an iPad at all? Take a look at some of the Android options out there. They’ll give you significantly more bang for the buck. Or take advantage of the price drop on the iPad2.

As far as what this means for Apple? Based on Apple’s stock price, investors are very underwhelmed. This might be the first time in the last decade that Apples shares haven’t soared immediately after a new release was announced. Just as troubling is the lack of any real innovation in this release cycle. Technology has moved a LOT since the iPad2 came out, but the new iPad hasn’t kept pace. We saw much the same thing with iPhone4S. It’s too early to make a final call, but I’m going to speculate that Jobs played a much smaller role in the release of these two devices than he has in the past and I think it shows. With the cult of personality around Jobs dissipating in the Apple offices, I have to wonder if a lot of the employees are who had been running at 150% on fear and adrenaline are finally burning out. I guess we’ll see in a couple of months when the iPhone5 is announced.

Google has combined their privacy policies into one.

Google’s New Privacy Policy: What Does it Mean?

Google has combined their privacy policies into one.We’ve been inundated over the past couple of weeks with family, friends, and customers asking us about the recent changes in Google’s Privacy Policy. From an investigation by the European Union to being sued by privacy groups, Google has garnered quite a reaction. In fact, I can’t think of a single time that a privacy policy has caused such an uproar. So what does this change mean for web users? The short answer is: absolutely nothing. Despite predictions of Doomsday and one prominent Slate.com author lambasting Google for breaking their “Don’t be evil” motto, there is absolutely nothing terrifying or worrisome in the new policy. Here’s the long answer, with some explanations, as narrated through a series of questions we were asked recently.

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It's Trivia Tuesday Time!

Introducing Trivia Tuesdays!

It's Trivia Tuesday Time!

So, to break up the monotony of the week, we’ve decided to play a little game we call Trivia Tuesdays. From here on out, every Tuesday morning-ish, we’ll be posting a trivia question on our Facebook page (new window). First person to get the right answer wins a $5 Starbucks Gift card! Best of all, at the end of the year, we’re going to take all of the winners and have them go head-to-head for a chance to win a prize so amazing that we can’t tell you what it is yet. So head on over to https://www.facebook.com/LaptopMD and answer today’s question. Because nothing will make getting over Humpday tomorrow easier than some free coffee.

 

Some Legal Stuff: If you work for us, or you’re married to one of us, or you live with one of us, or you’re my best friend, or you once knew someone who’s cousin went to the same elementary school as we did, you are ineligible to win. I can’t stop anyone from cheating and looking things up, so I won’t even try, but in the spirit of having fun, try not to be too obnoxious with it. If you’ve won in the last month (30 days), you are not eligible to win. Stop being so greedy and let someone else take a crack at it. If it looks like a question is too difficult, I’ll periodically stop by and offer hints. Void where prohibited, etc.

Toshiba’s New Ultrabooks and Tablets on Display at CES.

We got a first look at some of the new tablets and ultrabooks at Toshiba’s International CES press reception last night at the Tao nightclub in Las Vegas. As you may remember from our previous buying guide for ultrabooks, ultrabook is another way of referring to an ultraportable but still high-powered notebook. Well, Toshiba didn’t disappoint as we got some hands on time with their latest series of Portege super-thin, super-light laptops.

The things are pretty impressive. The 13 inch models on display were significantly lighter than the much smaller 11 inch MacBook Air, with much brighter and higher-resolution displays. The cases were made with Toshiba’s proprietary Magnesium alloy, and seemed both sturdy and incredibly light (did I mention how light these things are?). They were snappy, and responded quickly to commands and input. Best of all, most of them are priced at $700-$1000, or much less than either the 11 inch or 13 inch MacBook Air.

My biggest problems were the hinges. They seemed loose and flapped a little more than I would have liked to see on a laptop. Especially on an ultra-portable. I’m going to go on record now and say that we will be seeing a LOT of these show up with broken hinges within a year, or right as soon as the warranty runs out.

They also feel a little…plastic-y. I know that the Magnesium shell is one of the most advanced in the wold, and is strong, durable, and light, but it doesn’t feel anywhere near as solid or luxurious as the brushed Aluminium of the MacBook Airs.

(Apologies for upside down pictures, they will be fixed shortly.)

Laptop repair New York at the international CES 2012

LaptopMD+ Arrives at CES!

Laptop repair New York at the international CES 2012

That’s right ladies and gents. We’re here, and we’re bringing it all to you. From on the floor coverage and video-casts, to scoops on all the latest and greatest tech being shown at this years international CES, to scandalous shots from the hottest parties. We’re here, and we’re going to rock Vegas on your behalf. Stay tuned!

The Best Technology Holiday Gift Guide Ever!

It’s here, it’s here! The LaptopMD+ Holiday Wishlist/Gift Guide! We know all five of our regular readers have been waiting with baited breath for this since last year. This year, though, we decided to do things a little differently – we’re posting one suggestion from each of our staff members. We’re a pretty diverse bunch, so there’s a lot of variety in the items, and a lot of really cool stuff.
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And so without further ado and in no particular order: The Best Technology Holiday Gift Guide Ever! Continue reading

LaptopMD+ Remembers Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011

When Steve Jobs passed away yesterday, the tech world as  a whole lost a visionary and innovator.  Whether you’re Mac zealot, a PC user, an android enthusiast, or you simply care that your technology works and that’s it, in some way the products that we use and the way that we use them have influenced by Steve Jobs himself.

LaptopMD+ employees took a brief moment this morning to reflect on Steve Jobs and his influence and we want to share them with you:

Arthur Zilberman, Owner and President – “Steve Jobs was genius as a businessman, as an entrepreneur, and as a technologist.  One thing I love about Steve Jobs is the perseverance he had to continue building a great product and a great company even after being pushed back several times by competition and even his own company.  His determination and his drive were keys to his success and marked him as an individual.  He and his vision of technology will be sorely missed.”
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