Saturday, September 4, 2010

Next-gen iPad with FaceTime?

Honestly, from this distance it's hard to tell what's going on, but 9 to 5 Mac says we're looking at a next-gen camera-equipped iPad fielded specifically to test video calls. As you may recall, iPhone software surfaced with a very similar menu just weeks before the iPhone 4 came out, which either means someone was inspired to create a clever 'shop, or that we just got our first real glimpse at iProd 4,1.

Zune HD taking to the skies with United Airlines in-flight entertainment trial

Microsoft and United hooked up back in June for a hardware-less Zune partnership, which seems to have turned out pretty sweetly for both parties. Dave McLauchlan, chief Zune HD evangelist, has dished the news that the two companies are stepping up their relationship with a set of 500 Zunes being provided for long-haul flights to Hong Kong and Australia. Before you cry foul and say you never get on a flying tin can without your own media, Microsoft's angle here will be to preload those OLED-sporting babies with exclusive content, including flicks that haven't yet made it to a DVD release. Dave himself has been running around movie studios and closing deals, while the Zune HDs in question have now been encased in rubber, had their screens protected, and batteries charged. 

Chrome Turns 2, New Version Launches To Celebrate

Think about what has happened over the past two years. It's probably hard to even comprehend. Technology has evolved in a huge way since 2008, but few areas have evolved as much as the Web browser space. The competition has heated up in a big, big way. Microsoft has found themselves lagged behind the other guys in terms of features and flexibility, Firefox's popularity has grown, Safari has picked up Extensions support, and Google's Chrome has entered the fold.

This week marks the two year anniversary (or birthday, if you'd prefer) of Chrome, and even that browser has changed a lot (for the better) since 2008. In order to celebrate 2 years, Google is releasing a new stable version (Chrome 6) that's even faster and more streamlined than prior versions. Chrome is now three times faster than it was two years ago on JavaScript performance, and the UI has been stripped down a bit more to make browsing even simpler.

Google has also promised that they won't be taking too long a break to celebrate. The next edition of Chrome is already underway, promising to be even faster when it's released in the future. Are you a Chrome convert? Would you consider trying it out now that it's had two years to mature?

Has Apple gone too far?

It is now old news that Apple is considering developing new components in their devices that would allow them to spy on their users. It started several weeks ago when Apple filed the patent for the new components.
They got the ball rolling and now we wait and see if Apple really wants to get into the spy business.

It sounds like something only a secret group of Bond villains would do. Grow a mega corporation and use it to spy on the trusting masses. Oh, and since Steve Jobs is their leader we’ll say he’s the evil mastermind behind it all.
Not content with being the biggest control freak in geekdom, Steve Jobs felt it necessary to up the ante on his war with user freedom. Yes, Apple not only wants to spy on its users, it wants to punish users who participate in activities that Apple does not approve of.
Apple wants to know who you are, where you are, what you are saying, and even how fast your heart is beating.
So what once was a quirky, sometimes humorous habit of limiting what applications users can utilize on Apple gear has grown into a full-blown assault on Apple’s consumers.
It is not clear how they would use this information in their day to day operations. No plan has been outlined; no manual has been drawn up.
And what if it the information Apple is planning on collecting gets lost or stolen? Nobody knows.
So while this project in in its early stages you can see how it can raise some concerns. So are people concerned? They don’t seem to be. Are the politicians at least a little curious about what Apple has in store for consumers? Nope.
And that’s the problem. Nobody is concerned, because at this point it is only a patent. It’s only a piece of paper to most people. And I reject that idea.

We should be upset that any company would go this far for the sake of making sure you use the device exactly as its creator intended. Once people engage in the financial transaction that gives them ownership of the hardware they should be free to use it in any way they see fit as long as it doesn’t harm others.

Have savvy users who find new methods to enhance their experience with Apple technology hurt Apple’s profitability? No. Apple has hurt Apple far more by releasing wonky devices that are quite costly.

Is it possible that no one is upset by Apple’s patent because people are already used to the notion of government surveillance of harmless citizens? This might not seem like that big of a deal compared to what the government does. But it is a big deal nonetheless.
Die hard Apple fans are already known for their uncontrollable urge to line up and wait for days for the chance to pay full price for Apple’s usually flawed first versions of their new toys. Could this twisted new version of quality control deter the mob of Apple diehards from purchasing devices in the future that may contain these new components? Only time will tell.

ARCHOS Introduces Five New Android Tablets - Some Below $100

Archos recently released five tablets with varying screen sizes and prices starting at under $100. The ARCHOS 28 Internet tablet is the first android player below $100 and the tablet that is making the most buzz this week. By introducing a connected device at such a low price, ARCHOS is helping bring prices down in this mobile device segment. There is probably no such thing as a perfect tablet PC, but with these five tablets hitting the market one might be right for you.

ARCHOS 28 Internet tablet

MSI Launches A Very Overclocking Friendly GeForce N460GTX Hawk Video Card

MSI recently launched the brand new NVIDIA GeForce N460GTX Hawk, which is a GeForce GTX 460 video card that is aimed at the enthusiast community and overclockers. MSI also says it is the world's first graphic card with triple overvoltage function supporting core voltage, memory voltage and PLL voltage adjustments, the N460GTX Hawk is also the only model on the market that has successfully achieved 1GHz under air-cooling during overclocking. Also, the design tradition of the Hawk series continues on the GTX460 GPU, including 7+1 PWM power design, V-Check Points, APS (active phase switching), Twin Frozr II dual-fan thermal design, and military class components, to deliver unrivaled performance in thermal solution, power supply, stability, noise reduction and performance.

MSI N460GTX Hawk Video Card