The day after Apple's latest earnings call, I got an email from a reader that asked if the days of Apple leading the world in consumer electronics innovation has come to an end, and if the playing field is leveling out:
Q: What's up with Apple? It seems the stock is down, profits are great, and products are stagnant, only seeing revisions rather than new product categories. Have they gotten too big to be as nimble as they used to be?
Coincidentally, I was browsing Facebook earlier, and I came across a post where a friend was very unimpressed by Apple's announcement of the 128 GB iPad:
Maybe it's the jet lag, but the latest 'New Thing' is a 128GB iPad?
This is it?
Where's Apple innovation?
I dunno, it seems that people expect way more from Apple than any other company. They update their iOS products on a yearly cycle, and they even updated the iPad mid-cycle last time (which people got upset about too, because it was too soon. Wait, what?)
Do people forget that the original iPod was released in 2001, and then the iPhone 6 years later, and then the iPad another three years after that? The iPad isn't even three years old yet, and people are saying Apple has lost something. Big, game-changing products like this take time.
This is the alleged iPad 5 back plate, and as you can see, it's similar in design to the iPad mini's rear shell. At the present moment, the leaked parts are not 100% substantiated as actual parts designed by Apple or made by their manufacturing partners, but nothing is ever confirmed until Apple takes the stage and makes an announcement. The report from 9to5Mac also claims that the thinness almost matches the iPad mini, an impressive feat. For many, it is somewhat obvious that Apple would follow the similar trend of the new iPhone 5 and iPad mini design for the 5th generation iPad, as they're Jonathan Ive creations; and as witnessed in the past, this is the time of year when leaked parts that end up being true start appearing.
Read More | 9to5Mac
Apple has announced a new 128 GB storage capacity option for the current iPad with Retina display, set to go on sale February 5th. The higher capacity model will sell for $799 for the Wi-Fi model, or $929 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version. Now, the only question left is if Apple will do the same for other iOS devices, like the iPhone, iPod touch (which has had double the storage capacity of the iPhone in the past,) and iPad mini. Full press release after the jump.
Read More | Apple
After a longer than normal beta period, Apple has finally released iOS 6.1. You can download it now and update your device over the air, or by using iTunes, and can expect various bug fixes and improvements, including:
- LTE support for more carriers
- The ability to purchase movie tickets with Siri
- iTunes Match users can now download individual songs from iCloud
- New button to reset the Advertising Identifier
Let us know if you find any other hidden goodness in this release!
AT&T has just announced it is making good on its promise to allow devices like the iPhone 4S, as long as it's on a tiered or data share plan, the ability to utilize Apple's FaceTime video calling service on its cellular network. The rollout is slated to take several months and will be applied automatically by AT&T for eligible customers. Still, those out there like myself who have a kung-fu grip on their unlimited plans are left out in the cold. AT&T did state in their blog recently that they would assess FaceTime impact for unlimited users on its network. So, hopefully, the AT&T network isn't as fragile as they are alluding to and can hold up enough so that their most loyal customers, like myself, won't be out of the loop for too long. Fingers crossed.
When FaceTime over Cellular launched in September 2012, we explained that we wanted to roll it out gradually to ensure the service had minimal impact on the mobile experience for all of our customers.
As a result of ongoing testing, we’re announcing AT&T will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for customers with any tiered data plan using a compatible iOS device.
This means iPhone 4S customers with tiered plans will be able to make FaceTime calls over the AT&T cellular network. AT&T previously made FaceTime over Cellular available to customers with a Mobile Share plan and those with an LTE device on tiered plans.
Of course, FaceTime over Wi-Fi remains available for all customers who have a compatible iPhone or iPad.
We have already begun updating our systems and processes and expect to start rolling the update out to customers on an ongoing basis beginning in the next couple of weeks. Customers do not need to do anything—the update will be applied automatically over the next few months.
Only AT&T offers benefits like the ability to talk and surf at the same time, the fastest download speeds using AT&T 4G LTE, and a variety of flexible plan options to meet customers’ needs. - AT&T
Read More | AT&T
Kno's smart textbook metrics system for students and parents, titled "Kno Me," is now launching for the iPad, Windows 8, and other browser platforms. Kno Me works by providing detailed sets of data on the way you (or your child) studies by observing patterns and durations of interaction with subject matter, pages, annotations and more. By learning how you, or your child, learns, you will have a better chance of perfecting habits which allow for improved knowledge retention.
Kno Me is currently available for the firm's interactive text books, and will be coming to Android and Windows 7 by the end of the month.
Read More | Engadget
In what may be the most obvious Apple rumor in quite some time, the company is reportedly working on the next iPad with Retina display (5th generation), and will be taking design cues from the iPad mini. This means a thinner, lighter full-sized iPad with anodized aluminum backing and thinner side bezels. What isn't so obvious, though, is the timing of the rumor. When Apple released the 4th generation iPad just 7 months after the 3rd generation model, many wondered if it meant that the company would be moving to a semi-annual release schedule. We'll know for sure if the 5th gen tablet drops in March.
2012 is set to come to a close in just a few hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, and it's dominated by smartphones and tablets, with the exception of two Monster headphones, a look at the Boeing 787, and a USB 3.0 hard drive.
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2012!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S vs. iPhone original:
iPhone 5 certainly got a lot of attention this year, and our image gallery comparing it to previous iPhone designs served as our most popular post in all of 2012.
Just like that, Apple has released iOS 6.0.2, which looks to fix a Wi-Fi connection bug that affected some iOS devices. So, if you were one of the lucky ones with that problem, let us know if this update resolves it.
iOS 6.0.2 Software Update
This update contains improvements and bug fixes, including:
- Fixes a bug that could impact Wi-Fi
Read More | Apple