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Roundup: iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini First Impressions

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Following Apple’s iPad-centric event where the company unveiled its latest iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, event attendees have been able to go hands-on with the new devices, which will be available in November. Below are some first impressions of Apple’s newest tablets, both of which feature some radical improvements. 

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Image courtesy of TechCrunch


iPad Air

According to Engadget, the iPad Air is much slimmer and lighter, but it doesn’t feel cheap. While the size differences aren’t immediately apparent, the lighter weight is noticeable and the A7 processor is a major improvement.

Naturally, iOS 7 looks great on that Retina display – but you knew that already right? What’s really notable here, however, is just how zippy things are, thanks to the inclusion of an A7 chip, the same one introduced on the iPhone 5s. You really notice that speed when launching apps like iMovie, which boots up in an an instant. With a chip like this, you should be getting around the new free version of iLife pretty swiftly.

The Verge calls the iPad Air "really beautiful," with "cleaner bezels" and a thinner profile. It’s notably faster with the A7 processor, and fits better in a single hand.

Long story short: it looks and feels like a larger (but not that much larger) iPad mini, and that’s mostly a really good thing. It’s really beautiful, with cleaner bezels, a much thinner profile, and sharper, boxier edges. 

Along with the new A7 processor and a handful of under-the-hood improvements, this is just about the upgrade we expected, but more than ever the iPad Air feels like you’re just holding a big screen full of the internet. That’s probably a good thing.


SlashGear notes that there’s a definite "wow-factor" when picking up the iPad Air.

The slimmed down bezels on the sides make a considerable difference to how it feels in your hand, leaving the tablet as a whole feeling somewhere in-between the 4:3 aspect of its display and the 16:9 of most rival Android slates. There’s still enough room to grip it, however, without overlapping the display too considerably. 

It’s the little details that you notice after a while, however. The chamfering to the casing where it meets the toughened glass of the fascia, for instance, or the slimline side controls and lock-switch. Unfortunately there’s no Touch ID embedded into the home button, but we can see ourselves holding the iPad Air for longer periods since the 1-pound weight is almost a third reduction on the old model.

iPad mini with Retina Display

Apple’s newest iPad mini is similar to the first iPad mini, though it is slightly thicker and heavier. Engadget didn’t notice any major changes to the feel, but did note that the processor seems faster than the original.

There isn’t much on the outside that we haven’t seen before – in fact, it still sports the same home button, indicating that it doesn’t feature Touch ID – but there is one glaring exception: the Retina display. When compared to the original iPad mini that came out last year, this is a rather significant bump in pixel density, and we came away much more impressed with the mini as a result.

According to CNET, the iPad mini feels exactly like the first generation version and looks even sharper than the full-sized iPad Air.

However, while it feels great, it’s all about that screen. And given the Mini’s smaller 7.9-inch size, it looks even sharper than the full-size iPad Air. But to take advantage of the new pixel-dense screen, you will be paying up over last year’s Mini. It’s gorgeous, though, so I’d imagine the new premium will definitely be worth it to some people.

The Verge notes that the Retina mini is noticeably faster and smoother, with sharper, more readable text.

The same 7.9-inch display now features four times the pixels, a full 2048 x 1536 resolution, which makes text sharp and readable. Just as importantly, it makes iOS 7 look much better than it does on the original iPad mini, which often feels a little out of place on lower resolutions. iOS 7 also benefits from the iPad mini’s new 64-bit A7 processor, making scrolling and everything else notably faster and smoother.


TechCrunch calls the Retina mini’s screen "excellent," noting that it will be a dramatic change for users who are coming from a first generation device.

The eye-boggling 2048 x 1536 screen looks excellent in person, and for anyone coming from a generation one device it’s going to be a dramatic change. The iPad mini itself is very slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor to accommodate the Retina Display with the same battery life, adding 0.01 inches and 0.05 pounds to the specs of the original, but that makes minimal difference to the actual feel of the product in the hand.

Apple’s iPad Air will be available beginning on November 1, while the Retina mini will come later in the month. Both tablets feature a 64-bit A7 processor, Retina screens, and ultra-thin designs.

Malaysia iPhone iPad App Developer

 

A Closer Look at Apple's Mac Pro Production Process

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During yesterday's media event, Apple played a video highlighting the production process for the upcoming Mac Pro, a machine that will see Apple bring Mac production back to the United States and is already seeing over 2,000 people in 20 states working on the project. 

The video showed a number of steps in the production process, taking an initial chunk of aluminum and sculpting it into the shape of the Mac Pro enclosure before subjecting it polishing, anodizing, and other steps. Brief segments also provided glimpses of the massive heat sink in production and chips being placed on boards to be installed in the machine. 


Product designer Greg Koenig has offered an expert overview of what exactly is shown in the video, explaining for the layperson the tools and processes Apple is using. Koenig notes that the "big story" is Apple's use of hydraulic deep draw stamping for the Mac Pro's enclosure, a process that stretches the initial chunk of aluminum into the general shape of the enclosure.

Deep drawing is a process that very efficiently produces a "net shape" part. Apple could have just chucked a giant hunk of aluminum in a lathe and created the same part, but that amount of metal removal is extremely inefficient. Deep drawing efficiently creates a hunk of metal that is very close to the final shape of a Mac Pro in just a couple of operations. After that, the Mac Pro enclosure is lathe turned to clean up the surface and achieve desired tolerance, polished, placed back in a machining center to produce the I/O, power button and chamfer features and finally anodized.

Koenig goes on to share a number of stills from the video with captions explaining what is going on in each step, including lathing, polishing, grinding, protective film application, I/O cutout milling, and anodizing. 

Other stills capture production on some of the other parts of the new Mac Pro, including bead blasting of the main triangular heat sink, pick-and-place assembly of circuit boards, and parts delivery for final hand assembly of the machines themselves. 

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Flextronics is in the process of hiring 1,700 workers at its facilities in Austin, Texas to work on a "next generation desktop computer". That computer is presumed to be the Mac Pro, given that Apple had previously revealed the machine would be assembled in Texas, Apple and Flextronics had previously been reported to be working together on the project, and Flextronics' Austin facilities are only a mile from Apple's large and growing operations campus in the area.

Malaysia iPhone iPad App Developer

 

Updated Versions of iWork and iLife Begin Appearing on the App Store

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Apple today released major updates of its iWork and iLife suites for both iOS and OS X. All the apps are now live on their various App Stores.

"This is the biggest day for apps in Apple’s history," said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "These new versions deliver seamless experiences across devices that you can’t find anywhere else and are packed with great features like iMovie Theater, Drummer and a new unified file format for iWork documents across all your devices."

iPhoto for Mac
The iLife suite has been revamped for both platforms, with iPhoto receiving a new look on iOS along with the ability to create and order photo books on the iPad. Both iPhotofor Mac and iPhoto for iOS are 64-bit-optimized, allowing for faster browsing and editing. New tools are included that allow users to create more dramatic images, and favorite images can be saved as custom slideshows. 

iMovie for iOS
iMovie has been revamped with a design that makes it easier to browse through the video library, also including enhanced sharing tools. iMovie for Mac offers simplified editing tools to quickly improve the look of a movie or add fun effects, while iMovie for iOS introduces desktop-class moviemaking to the iPad and the iPhone. Users can create split screen and picture-in-picture effects, along with advanced audio edits. iMovie Theater, a newly added feature, allows users to watch shared clips, movies, and trailers on all Apple devices, including the Apple TV. 

GarageBand for Mac
GarageBand has also been updated, with the Mac version adding a new Sound Library, Smart Controls, and a new feature called "Drummer," that plays music automatically along with a user. GarageBand for iOS includes an iOS 7-style redesign and Inter-App Audio, allowing users to record third-party music apps into GarageBand. On 32-bit iOS devices, 16 tracks can be added, while 64-bit iOS devices support 32 tracks. iCloud integration allows for seamless editing between iOS and Mac. 

Pages for iOS
iWork for Mac, iOS, and iCloud have been updated to make it easier to create and share documents with a unified file format. With a new collaboration tool, iWork for iCloud allows multiple users to edit the same document at the same time, regardless of the device they're working with. iWork has gained a new, simpler user interface, with content-sensitive toolbars in Pages including and object-based design and interactive charts in NumbersKeynote includes all new transitions and other object-based effects.

iWork for iCloud is fully supported on the latest versions of Safari (OS X), Internet Explorer (Windows), and Google Chrome. Apple says on older versions of Safari and Chrome, and all versions of Firefox, iWork for iCloud will work, but not all features will "work as expected".

For iWork for Mac, Apple appears to be updating the existing iWork apps, meaning users who have previously purchased iWork on the Mac App Store get the new apps for free. Both the iLife and iWork apps are free with the purchase of any new Mac or iOS device, but for users with older devices that don't own the apps, they are available for $14.99/each on the Mac App Store and $4.99/each on the iOS App Store. 

Update: Some users with older copies of iLife and iWork are reporting difficulties with upgrading to the new versions.

iPhoto for Mac - [Mac App Store]
iMovie for Mac - [Mac App Store]
GarageBand for Mac - [Mac App Store]

iPhoto for iOS - [App Store]
iMovie for iOS - [App Store]
GarageBand for iOS - [App Store]

Pages for Mac - [Mac App Store]
Numbers for Mac - [Mac App Store]
Keynote for Mac [Mac App Store]

Pages for iOS - [App Store]
Numbers for iOS - [App Store]
Keynote for iOS - [App Store]

Malaysia iPhone iPad App Developer

   

Apple Announces Thinner, Lighter iPad Air With 64-Bit A7 Processor

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At today’s media event in San Francisco, Apple debuted its much-anticipated fifth-generation iPad, re-named the iPad Air, which has been redesigned to resemble Apple's thinner-bezeled iPad mini. With its narrower side bezels and a slimmer form factor, the iPad Air is significantly lighter and smaller than the fourth-generation iPad, weighing in at only one pound. The iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth-generation iPad. 

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Along with a redesigned chassis, the new iPad includes a 2048x1536 Retina display with a film-based sensor and an upgraded 64-bit A7 processor alongside the M7 motion coprocessor, plus a 5-megapixel rear iSight camera and a next generation FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination for better low-light performance. 

With the A7 chip, the iPad Air offers twice the CPU and graphics performance of the previous iPad. The 64-bit architecture supports Open GL ES version 3.0, for "game console-like visual effects."

"iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is,” said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display weighs just one pound and packs the incredible performance of iOS 7 running on a 64-bit desktop-class Apple A7 chip, and delivers all-day battery life in the lightest full-sized tablet in the world."

Available in white/silver and black/space gray, the iPad Air comes in both 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and LTE cellular models that feature two antennas to support Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, which offers twice the Wi-Fi performance and data rates up to 300Mbps. Cellular models also feature expanded LTE coverage for additional worldwide LTE networks. 

The iPad Air continues to offer up to 10 hours of battery life and is available in capacities ranging from 16 GB to 128 GB. U.S. Pricing remains the same as previous models, at $499/$599/$699/$799 for Wi-Fi versions, plus an additional $129 for comparable cellular versions. The iPad Air will be available on November 1 at 8 a.m. local time in the United States and more than 40 other countries in Europe and Asia. 

The iPad Air will replace the current full-sized fourth-generation iPad, but Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 at $399 for the 16 GB model. Alongside the iPad Air, Apple has also announced new Smart Covers and cases designed to fit the smaller chassis.

Malaysia iPhone iPad App Developer

 

Apple Debuts Second-Generation iPad Mini with Retina Display

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As part of its iPad lineup update announced today, Apple introduced the second-generation iPad mini, which as expected is equipped with a 7.9-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048x1536, matching the resolution of the full-sized Retina iPad. The Retina iPad mini is slightly thicker than the original iPad mini, measuring in at 7.5 mm thick and 0.73 pounds (0.75 pounds for cellular-capable models) compared to 7.2 millimeters and 0.68 pounds for the original generation. The new iPad mini will launch on an unspecified date in November and will be available in both white/silver and black/space gray options.

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Internally, the Retina iPad mini includes a 64-bit A7 processor, M7 motion co-processor, and an upgraded 5-megapixel rear iSight camera with a backside illumination sensor and 1080p HD video capability. Meanwhile, the front of the device now features a new FaceTime HD camera with larger pixels that is also accompanied by dual microphones. The new iPad mini also now features multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology that offers up to 2x faster Wi-Fi, with both 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and LTE cellular models that available with up to 10 hours of battery life.

Apple has raised the price of the iPad with the inclusion of a Retina screen, and will offer it in 16, 32, 64, and new 128 GB models, beginning at $399 in the United States.

In addition to offering the Retina iPad mini, Apple will continue to sell the existing iPad mini at a lower price, offering only the low-end 16 GB model at $299 for Wi-Fi and $429 for Wi-Fi + Cellular. The first-generation black models will also see a shift from the previous slate shell to Apple's new space gray color.

The new iPad mini will be available next month, while the first-generation models at $299/$429 are available immediately

Malaysia iPhone iPad App Developer

   

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