Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Apple released their new processor for the coming year's iOS products when they debuted it in the iPad 2. This new processor is called the A5, and it is based on the ARM Cortex A9 reference processor. The A5 is a dual-core system-on-a-chip (SoC) running at a variable speed of 800Mhz to 1Ghz. This variable speed allows it to save more power when not performing major tasks.
The processor costs Apple more to produce their own chip than to buy an off the shelf ARM processor. Some estimate the difference to be around 50% more, but the extra cost gives Apple the ability to make a better chip by modifying the reference design to suit their needs. Apple will be able to reduce this cost over time by putting the A5 into every iOS device like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and AppleTV. The performance gains are well worth it and gives Apple a major advantage in the mobile market space. While we don't know what Apple plans for next year's A6, we do know ARM's plans for future ARM processors.
How does the newly released iPad 2 compare with the first iPad and base model MacBook Air? Apple claims it is twice as fast as the first iPad, but does real world testing support this? Testing performance is a difficult task, as it varies depending on what task is being performed. One computer can be faster at editing video and slower at playing games than another. Apple's overall control o the iPad also makes it more difficult to fully test.
Geekbench has put together a comprehensive set of benchmarks to test a computer's performance. It is available on a wide range of platforms including Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and the iOS. While the tests are not perfect, it is one of the best measuring sticks when comparing two computing devices. Time to look at some comparisons.
IDC may have some impressive survey clout and reach, but when it comes to actually delivering decent reasoning behind their numbers, my sub-five-year-old daughter can draw better conclusions by consulting her Polly Pocket dolls.
IDC's latest report concludes that by 2015, the smartphone market share will look drastically different than today, with Apple falling well behind the pack. While I agree with IDC's assessment that the market will have shifted, their conclusions are way off.
iPad 3 has been rumored by Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber and MG Siegler of Tech Crunch as possibly landing this fall, but recent information suggests to T-GAAP that iPad 3 will not be arriving this year.
Any delay in launching the iPad 3 is not due to parts availability or the lack of retina display production, it is because of iPad 2's tremendous holding power in the market. iPad 2 is besting Apple's highest world-wide demand expectations, and therefore may not trigger a speedy iPad 3 launch.
October 2010 came roaring in like a Lion — well, for Mac OS X fans that is. Once again Steve Jobs took center stage for a Keynote presentation that focused on the Mac. He and his executive team announced and demoed a few upcoming features in Lion, Mac OS X 10.7.
Alongside of the software hoopla Steve also introduced an update to the MacBook Air. Faster, better memory, better storage, better display, better battery life and more affordable. However, there was one line during his keynote that still rattles in my brain — like a tune you hear in the grocery store and then can't get out of your head. Steve said this is "...the new MacBook Air… we think it is the future of notebooks."
This past Thursday, RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie spun his best story, explaining why RIM would be able to compete in what he called the "Superphone" market space. Balsille also tried to clarify why the RIM's financials were not in line with Wall Street expectations, presenting a rosy picture in just a few quarters from now.
Unfortunately for Mr. Balsillie, renaming smartphones as "Superphones" won't change the Blackberry makers problems. RIM's margins are shrinking, and the physical keyboard market is limited. Making matters worse, RIM's efforts to counter the iPhone with their touch-screen Storm lineup has been a complete failure. RIM's best days are behind them. To make this perfectly clear, 2011 is the beginning of the end for RIM.
Apple's rollout of iOS 4.3 a few weeks ago seemed like a ho-hum, second-fiddle announcement compared to the launch of iPad 2. While we all welcome updates to operating system software — well, those updates that improve our lives — iOS 4.3 was pretty much a yawner...
...until I started using Personal Hotspots.
Last week I set out on a mission to purchase a Motorola XOOM tablet, in an effort to compare it to Apple's iPad 2. We Three Guys were going to put the XOOM through its paces and deliver test results. We were ready to do live side-by-side video app and browsing comparisons between the two devices. Unfortunately, after five days of line squatting and Apple Store stakeouts for an iPad 2, we are still without an iPad 2. In contrast, finding a XOOM took little to no effort, there are plenty in stock at any Verizon or Costco location.
That said, finding a Xoom and purchasing one is a completely different story. The strings attached to buying a Xoom makes doing your taxes seem like fun. We'll spare you the test results of just the XOOM (after all, there are plenty of benchmarks out there showing the iPad to be vastly superior), and simply let you know the pain you'll be in for if you decide to buy a Xoom.
Circa 1996, Boyz II Men, Happy Gilmore and Doc Martin's were the pop culture of the day. Nordstrom, The Gap and Eddie Bauer were mall favorites and techies were in short supply when it came to the Macy's crowd. But the character and purpose of "Let's go to the mall" was on the precipice of massive change.
Fast forward to May, 2001. Gateway's retail venture had peaked and Sony's radical Matreon in the heart of San Francisco was proving to be a colossal failure. Tech and trend-cool retail just could not co-exist. There was one more small-ish event took place on May 15, 2001. Steve Jobs rounded up some media folk, and introduced them to the first-ever Apple retail store in Tysons Corner mall in Virginia. The mall as we knew it was forever changed.
The Mac Pro was last updated in July of 2010. Most recently, at the end of March, the MacBook Pro received a new high-speed data port called Thunderbolt. This new data port really benefit professionals who need fast data transfers, such as video editors.
Current Mac Pros will not be able to add the Thunderbolt data port because it needs a new motherboard. Intel will not be offering a PCIe adapter card for current and older computers either, so when will Apple add the Thunderbolt port and refresh the Mac Pro? Lets take a look at the current hardware and past updates.