2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Six amazing iPad stories…

Hat tip to The Verge for finding this new page on Apple’s site. It highlights the stories of six people using the iPad in ways even Apple never imagined. They may not be “all iPad all the time” but they’re remarkable nonetheless.


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A Breath Of Fresh Air (yeah, sorry)

I’m typing this on my brand spanking new iPad Air. I gotta tell ya – this thing is amazing and IMHO well worth upgrading for every iPad owner, even those considering a switch to the mini. That’s how great a difference the Air is compared to the prior gens, including the “New” iPad released last year.

When you read about the differences in size and weight between the Air and prior iPads they may seem minor. They’re not. At all. The Air feels like a completely new product line, like the difference between a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro. In the hand, the reduction in width, thickness, and most importantly weight, feels dramatically better.

And note that I said hand and not hands. For the first time, the full sized iPad is a legitimate one-handed device, at least for most adults. Reading in bed in portrait, to approximate the page size of a hard cover novel, is now highly enjoyable. And that’s what makes it suitable for anyone considering the mini – it’s not that much bigger or heavier (the mini and the Air feel closer in weight than do the Air and other full sized iPads, regardless of what the specs say).

It’s also waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay snappier than prior iPads, about 2X a fast as the “New” iPad before it, but more like 4, 8, 16X faster than the older iPads most people have today. Not just the CPU/GPU speeds and how they translate into the overall app and UI experience. Even the wifi is noticeably faster thanks to the dual wifi antenna set up. It also runs far cooler than the Retina iPad, my last full sized iPad, did.

If you don’t think your current iPad is sluggish or heavy in the hand(s), don’t pick up an Air. If you do you’ll never go back.

On to the nits. Nothing is perfect, including the iPad Air. My biggest gripe is the feel of the screen. It’s difficult to describe, but others have called it things like slightly spongy, squishy, soft, and cheap. In general, I would agree. Prior iPads had a Mercedes/BMW-like heft to them and felt extremely solid and rigid in the hand and to the touch(screen). The Air is more like an Acura. Still nice, but forever chasing its German rivals. Certainly not enough for me to ever go back. But notable. I hate to be “that guy” but part of me can’t help but believe that Steve Jobs would’ve sent the Air back to the drawing board until they got the screen feel sorted out.

Another nit: price. True, Apple has kept the price/memory points the same. The 16GB wifi model is $499, just like the OG iPad of a few years ago. But the 128GB model with wifi + LTE is $929. That’s…..a lot of money no matter how you slice it. I know I know, Apple is a business and they’ll sell every Air they make. But on the whole I think there’s an argument to be made that Apple would be better off shaving say $50 from each price point, and lowering the premium for the cellular data radio to something more like $69 from the ludicrous $130 premium they’ve long charged.

Why? The Android ecosystem is catching up and in many ways is surpassing Apple. It’s strange to me that Apple hasn’t learned by now that these “little” price differences matter to enough people globally that Apple would likely be better off over the long term with a much higher market share than where they’re trending (which is down, if you weren’t aware). Make slightly less on each device, but sell far more devices. And leave yourself as the de facto choice in the market, leaving people no reason to buy Android tablets. But perhaps that’s a story for another day.

Go buy the iPad Air.

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T-Mobile to offer 200MB of FREE data every month for iPad Air and Mini with Retina

This is pretty great, and more than enough data for the inevitable times you want to check email or do some light surfing but don’t want to go through the hassle of enabling tethering from your phone.

Very cool TMo! If ATT doesn’t match this then I am definitely getting a TMo Air when I order mine…

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iTunes Radio so far…underwhelming

Given how great Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services are, iTunes Radio has to be more than good to carve itself a niche at this point. It has to be great. Apple great. The kind of great that makes you go zOMG how did I ever live without this?!

So far? Not so much.

I’ve set up some of my own custom stations, and also listened to the pre-packaged ones. In all cases I’ve heard songs repeated every single time I use the service. Not good to put it mildly.

Added to the fact that the Remote app still (!) hasn’t been updated to include control of iTunes Radio – which means I have to, gulp, use my iMac to select and play a station in my whole house music set up – this feels more like a half baked hobby than something Apple is taking seriously.

I find that stunning.

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iOS 7: we finally search ALL emailboxes!

As a big email archiver, using folders, sub-folder, etc. the ability to search across multiple email folders was a feature whose absence on my iPad often annoyed the heck out of me.

I installed iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 and did an email search without realizing that they’d finally added the feature. Up came messages I’d stored in several different mail boxes and folders. Finally!!

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TouchID’s (AWESOME!!) future

Interesting iPhone 5s presentation today. I know that some people are inevitably disappointed by these announcements since almost nothing is unknown by the time of the actual presentation, TouchID hardware included.

I’m actually really excited about this feature though. While the focus today was on unlocking the phone and making purchases in iTunes and iBooks, it’s a short hop, skip and jump to get to things like:

– integration with the iCloud keychain (think: TouchID to automatically enter your username and password for ANY site on Safari, and credit card as well where appropriate)

– user accounts (!!!!) for easy sharing of devices (think: TouchID to automatically use an iDevice with your apps, data, photos, accounts, permissions, etc.)

– turn *any* iDevice into yours (think: you forgot your iPhone or iPad but really need to make a call or whatever; your friend gives permission, and you TouchID to automagically turn their iPhone into yours)

I’m sure my imagination is missing 95% of what’s possible but I’m very excited for the Ring Dings and Pepsi, George!

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First Seven iPad-Only ‘Steve Jobs Schools’ Open in the Netherlands – Mac Rumors

Wow! We should trade notes…


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Mobile Devices Overtake PC Sales at Lenovo

The largest PC maker in the world now gets more revenue from phones and tablets than from PCs. Remarkable.


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PC Industry Fights to Adapt as Tablets Muscle In – NYTimes.com

“Still, there is a strong view among many longtime tech executives that the PC’s relevance will steadily diminish.”

Amazing that what I thought the moment I first saw an iPad is now conventional wisdom. Scary that it’s happening faster than even the most optimistic iPad users would’ve foreseen.


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