iNews Review

Does iOS Doom the Mac?, Apple Again #1 Smartphone Vendor, Massive 16 iPad Charger, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.02.03

Eventually the Macintosh is going to go the way of the Apple II, the Commodore 64, the CP/M computer, and the TRS-80, a topic that has been receiving a lot of attention recently. However, it's way too early to predict when and how that will take place. After all, the Apple II overlapped the Macintosh for four years - although DOS computers displaced CP/M computers over the span of just four years.

For most users most of the time, tablets are going to replace PCs - especially netbooks, to a lesser extent notebooks, and far less so for desktop computers. There will always be a market for powerhouse computers with lots of processing power, lots of system memory, lots of storage capacity, and lots of expansion options, although Apple has shown how small a portion of the market that really is since the Mac Pro is its only model designed for that market, and it is not a huge seller.

It's inevitable that we'll see iOS notebooks with trackpads and real keyboards, and these will have a lot more impact on the notebook and desktop market than tablets. Likewise, at some point we'll see an iOS version of the iMac. And maybe somewhere around 2016 we'll see the iOS equivalent of the Mac Pro, the first iOS device with expansion slots, drive bays, and memory expansion.

That said, we'll continue to use our Macs as long as they allow us to be productive, and Apple will continue to sell Macs as long as they are profitable. Unless it manages some type of Windows 8 integration of tablet and desktop operating systems, Apple will remain a dual-platform company for the foreseeable future.

- Dan Knight, publisher, Low End Mac

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Is iOS the Future of the Mac?

AppStorm's Anna Victoria says when she used an iPad for the first time, she couldn't help but think that it felt like the future of computing. The iPad not only impressed her with its beautiful interface, but also delighted her with an effortless user experience. No matter how much she used the device, she says it never became cluttered or disorganized like her Mac. Apps launched quickly, and she never had to spend time fiddling with window sizes or knowing what apps were running. Everything simply worked.

Victoria allows that with iOS revolutionizing many computing paradigms, OS X is beginning to feel outdated, and she suggests that if Apple is to truly make the Mac the personal computer of the future, it will need to implement some bold changes that may eliminate some of the staples of desktop computing that most of us can't imagine living without.

She provides a lengthy and thorough argument for her take on why our computing world is headed this way.

Death to the Desktop; Long Live the Tablet

Tim Pirog of The Stute, the Stevens Institute of Technology student newspaper, says he loves his desktop computer, but he's not able to carry it around and use it everywhere he goes, which is why he contends that tablets - not laptops - are becoming very valuable tools.

Pirog observes that the smartphone is replacing most functions we used to need a computer or laptop for, such as checking email and doing things on the Internet, and maintains that the obvious next step is for tablets to step in and become for smartphones what the desktop is to the laptop.

What about Ultrabooks, such as the MacBook Air? "They're nice to have but are essentially tablets with a keyboard," he argues, and while some people like them, most people want an iPhone or a Galaxy Nexus - something with a big beautiful touchscreen to do everything on.

Pirog notes that forthcoming Windows 8 is designed from the ground up to be very mobile/tablet friendly, and that with its new Metro UI, Windows tablets to be released at the end of 2012 will be extremely user-friendly and able to keep up with, and perhaps surpass, the competition. He predicts 2012 will be the year of the tablet.

Dvorak: Apple Will Kill the Macintosh

PCMag's John C. Dvorak says rumors are circulating that Apple might kill the Macintosh, and he outlines why and how Apple might do it, noting that considering the magnitude of iPhone and iPad profits, Apple probably could kill the Mac - and the iPod as well - and become a two-product company. That point notwithstanding, he thinks such a strategy sounds like idiocy.

But is it?

Dvorak notes that it appears the Mac Pro workstation is on its way out, although he thinks that for now Apple will keep the more profitable laptops and iMac units flowing from China. The only people who will complain, he suggests, will be high-end Photoshop users who cannot live with an iMac, but they're a niche market and likely expendable in Apple's game plan going forward.

Dvorak says he doesn't like the idea of Apple following such a path and hopes his apprehensions are mistaken.

Publisher's note: The Mac Pro has not been updated since July 2010, but it's not the first time Apple has gone a while between refreshed models. The original Mac Pro was introduced in August 2006 and not replaced by a newer version until January 2008 - 17 months later. At this point, it seems unlikely that Apple will introduce a new Mac Pro until the next generation of Intel CPUs is available, so maybe April for an update? dk

Gassée: Are We Already Living in a Post-PC, Post-Mac World?

Jean-Louis GasséeWriting in The Guardian, Jean-Louis Gassée, who was an executive at Apple Computer from 1981 to 1990 and subsequently founder of Be Inc., whose BeOS was once a contender for becoming the basis of Mac OS X, contends that notwithstanding protest from Mac OS veterans and power users, if the iPad and its successor devices free people to focus on what they do best, it will dramatically change people's perceptions of computing from something to fear to something to engage with enthusiastically. Based on that rationalization, he says he finds it hard to believe that the loss of background processing isn't a price worth paying to have a computer that isn't frightening anymore.

Editor's Note: Not being frightened by computers and computing, I disagree that a substantial dumbing-down at the cost of the massive diminishment of efficiency the iOS imposes is a tolerable trade-in, but I apprehend that I'm likely not on the winning side in this battle. Gassée contends that Apple is now the iOS company. While the Mac first donated its software DNA to iOS, in the latest version, OS X 10.7 Lion, we witness the iOSification of the elder, observing that his experience of OS X Lion has been mixed, possibly either because the gene splicing is still in transition, or maybe simply because Apple has committed its elite troops to the iOS front, leaving things half-done on the Mac. cm

Apple the World's Largest Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2011

PR: According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 54% annually to reach a record 155 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple reclaimed top position as the world's number one smartphone vendor during the quarter.

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Market Share Q4 2011Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, says, "Global smartphone shipments grew 54% annually to reach a record 155 million units in Q4 2011. Apple overtook Samsung to become the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume with 24% market share. Apple's global smartphone shipments surged 128% annually to 37.0 million units, as distribution of the iPhone family expanded across numerous countries, dozens of operators, and multiple price points."

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, adds, "While Apple took the top spot in smartphones on a quarterly basis, Samsung became the market leader in annual terms for the first time with 20% global share during 2011. With global smartphone shipments nearing half a billion units in 2011, Samsung is now well positioned alongside Apple in a two-horse race at the forefront of one of the world's largest and most valuable consumer electronics markets."

Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics, comments, "Nokia's global smartphone market share halved from 33% in 2010 to 16% in 2011. A lackluster touchscreen smartphone portfolio and a limited presence in the huge United States market caused Nokia's shrinkage last year. Nokia's partnership with Microsoft will be very much in focus during 2012, and the industry will be watching closely to see how swiftly the two companies can expand in the high-value 4G LTE market that is rapidly emerging across the United States, Japan, and elsewhere."

Tablet and Smartphone Use Becoming a Leading Cause of Joint and Muscle Pain

PR: Thousands of questions are pouring in everyday (sic) to free medical Q & A website AskTheDoctor.com related to joint and muscle pain caused by the use of tablets and smart phones. This is known as Repetitive Stress Injury and is becoming a growing concern.

Use of tablets and smartphones may be the most popular method for communicating these days, but it is also causing a rising trend in the number of doctor visits for Repetitive Strain/Stress Injury (RSI).

Dr. Suneel Sharman, a family physician and AskTheDoctor.com cofounder, says he has a growing number of patients who have been injured by their smartphones, tablets and computers.

"The number of questions our free medical Q & A website AskTheDoctor.com gets related to RSI has tripled in the last 2 years. The number of patients i physically see at my family practice due to RSI has also become a very large number," says Dr. Sharman.

The average person in the United States who owns a cell phone sends 1000-1500 text messages a month, according to CTIA, the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry.

Prakash Chand, a serial entrepreneur from Toronto says he sends about an average of 300 text messages a day to employees, family and friends and has recently developed RSI. He has been using a Blackberry since the first day they came out and then recently switched to an iPhone.

"I have no choice but to text, it is the only way I can easily communicate with my employees and its easier than picking up a phone and wasting time calling someone," he comments.

"The important thing to do is seek treatment early," Dr. Sharman says. "Early treatment can cure the patients symptoms and when managed by a skilled chiropractor, physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor, the patient can be symptom-free in weeks. RSI really affects people's lifestyle as we use our hands and fingers for almost everything we do."

Dr. Sharman expects that the smartphone companies will eventually design better ergonomically shaped phones to help reduce RSI but says it will always be important to maintain a regular workout of strengthening and stretching exercises to prevent future occurrences.

Apps & Services

Sleipnir Mobile Web Browser Gains Transfer Locally Capability

PR: The new Sleipnir Mobile Web Browser features never seen before tab functions.

Sleipnir Mobile Web BrowserWith the new Transfer Locally function, you can have fun with your friends and family.

  • At a cafe: Liven up your conversation with your girlfriend while looking at pages of restaurants you are interested in.
  • At a bar: Try boasting to your colleagues by showing them images of your new car recently posted on Facebook
  • During class: You could have fun teasing your hardworking classmates by sending them a funny site.
  • In your kitchen: If you find a tasty looking dish, try sending it to the iPad in the kitchen that your wife is using.

Web browsers are now a necessary tool for creating conversational topics and checking out things you are interested in. With Sleipnir Mobile you can luxuriously share information with friends and family you are talking with. Try exchanging pages you want to share by connecting between iPhones or iPads using Bluetooth. Sleipnir Mobile is claimed to be the only Web browser that can be truly used as a communication tool.

In addition to this new functionality, Sleipnir also offers the usual functions such as smoothly switching between tabs by just flicking and closing tabs using gestures as if magic with TouchPaging, and many more design and technology based useful tab functions.

Major Functions

  • Sleipnir Mobile Web BrowserTransfer pages with other devices using Bluetooth
  • Scroll from the right or left edge of the page to switch tabs
  • Operate tabs with the various gestures (close, refresh, restore, etc.)
  • FlickWipe: Flick down a tab to close it
  • Hold And Go: Hold down a link or bookmark to open it in the background
  • Smart Search: Hold down texts to select and search for the word
  • Full Screen
  • Double-tap on a tab to protect it
  • Tap the right edge of the screen to scroll
  • Tab Group to organize tabs
  • Fenrir Pass automatically synchronizes bookmarks with other devices
  • Twitter and Facebook supported
  • Search from various sites

New in Version 1.7.2

  • Improved stability

System requirements:

  • Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Free

Schreibkraft Now Supports iCloud and Twitter as Well as Dropbox

PR: Infovole GmbH, developers of the Schreibkraft and TextKraft text processing suite for the Apple iPad, has announced an update for Schreibkraft, adding support for Apple's iCloud and direct messaging via Twitter.

With iCloud users can easily store documents and share them across all Infovole Apps. The Twitter feature allows tweeting directly from your text, including link shortening - without leaving the App.

Beside these two main new innovations, the update also delivers a new built-in manual, as well as an overhauled user interface and many minor detail corrections and optimizations.

Schreibkraft is pitched as the first multilingual text processor for iPad. It speaks 10 languages in 14 country-specific flavors. There is no need to switch regions or keyboards. The App supports the user in all needed languages simultaneously. Paired with all the professional TextKraft editing features, Schreibkraft is an ideal perfect text editor for multilingual global citizens.

Infovole's flagship app. TextKraft contains an offline dictionary with synonyms and potential follow-ups; Wikipedia full-text search and several online-dictionaries; text import/export from Macintosh, Windows, Linux and other iPad Apps; Dropbox, iCloud, AirPrint and Twitter integration, improved cursor control, quick selection tools and detailed text information for professional editors. TextKraft is available with German, English, and French language-specific dictionaries.

Schreibkraft is the all-in-one-text-App: Import, write, correct, research and share your ideas. The professional text processor helps you to write faster, formulate your thoughts more accurate and communicate without barriers.

Schreibkraft Features:

  • No suggestion bubbles you must tap away
  • The magic button sets all diacritical marks by a tap German Umlauts, French accents, Dansk characters ... no problem.
  • Cursor keys better than on a real keyboard. 8 keys with 10 functions.
  • Quick selection-marker for word, sentence and paragraph without bustle or finger fractures.
  • Undo/Redo- and history-function to test various phrasings.
  • Upper and lower case can be switched by keystroke.
  • 5 rapid memories by a button.
  • Wide ranged text information, such as page and word count, as well as file size.
  • Reading mode prevents accidental keyboard entries.

Find The Right Words:

  • Real multilingual spelling aid: See all suggestions and completions for your personal set of languages at a glance
  • 14 offline dictionaries. Schreibkraft speaks 10 languages in country-specific flavors: English (AUS, CAN, GB + US!), Dansk, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Nederlands, Portugês (BR + PT!), Русский, and Svenska.
  • Online Wikipedia full-text search, dictionaries and translation.

Boundless Communication:

  • Dropbox integration: Synchronize your documents on all devices.
  • Text import from Macintosh, Linux, and Windows.
  • Text import from other iPad Apps and opening from mail-attachments.
  • Text export via clipboard, email, and immediate transfer to other iPad Apps.
  • AirPrint: Direct printing with iPad.
  • 9 typefaces at choice and freely selectable text size.
  • Tabulator, real em-dash and copyright keys.

New in Version 1.2

  • iCloud - Store & share documents in your personal cloud.
  • Twitter - Send tweets directly from the App.
  • New built-in manual.
  • Tons of detail corrections and optimizations.

System requirements:

  • Compatible with iPad
  • Requires iOS 3.2 or later

$3.99

Read Charles W. Moore's review, Entering, Managing and Editing Text on the iPad &endash; TextKraft a Game-Changer, on MacPrices.net.

PaperPort Notes for iPad Taps Power of Dragon for Note Dictation

PR: Nuance Communications, Inc. has announced a new version of its PaperPort Notes app for the Apple iPad, for the first time letting people create notes simply by speaking. PaperPort Notes new dictation capabilities are powered by Nuance's proven Dragon voice recognition via the cloud-based Dragon Mobile software developers kit (SDK), which is behind a growing number of voice-enabled mobile and consumer apps.

PaperPort Notes is a complete digital note-taking app for the iPad, making it easy to create handwritten, typed - and now dictated notes. The app supports accessing and saving documents from cloud services including Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox and PaperPort Anywhere. Users can also annotate and highlight documents, combine pages of documents from the cloud and the web, and capture documents using the built-in camera on the Apple iPad. PaperPort Notes saves documents as industry standard PDF, making it easy to share notes with others.

With the new release, users can easily dictate notes, create to-do lists and even create sticky notes using the new Tap-and-Speak feature. And because it's powered by Dragon's cloud-based voice recognition, people see their spoken words quickly returned as text directly within PaperPort Notes.

"Voice has become the preferred way to interact with devices and services for a simple reason it is faster and better than any other option," says Robert Weideman, senior vice president and general manager of the Nuance Document Imaging Division. "The proof is in the app.; PaperPort Notes with Dragon voice input is simply a better way to create, use and share your notes."

Key Features of PaperPort Notes

  • Quickly create typed, handwritten and dictated notes;
  • Annotate and highlight documents and notes, and add sticky notes;
  • Add page-specific audio comments within notes;
  • Combine documents or specific pages from documents stored in cloud-based document sharing services such as Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox, Evernote and PaperPort Anywhere
  • Capture content from the Web and using the built-in camera on the Apple iPad 2
  • Reorder, delete and copy pages, add/edit bookmarks;
  • Search and navigate quickly through notes;
  • Share documents and notes as industry-standard PDF using email, as well as cloud-based document sharing services

The new release of PaperPort Notes showcases how app developers can quickly add speech-to-text to their apps using the Dragon Mobile SDK in just a matter of days. PaperPort Notes uses the same Dragon Mobile SDK used by thousands of app developers through Nuances NDEV Mobile developer program. To learn more, visit the NDEV Mobile developer page.

Nuance PaperPort Notes supporting English is currently available as a free download in the Apple App Store.

Also be sure to follow PaperPort on Twitter for tips and updates at @PaperPortNotes.

Accessories

iPro Brings Schneider Optics to Your iPhone


Due to the design of the iPhone, the fisheye
lens covers 165° and vignettes significantly.

iProPR: The idea behind the iPro is not to offer you another camera, but enhance the one you already have - your iPhone. The fisheye and wide angle lenses easily twist on and off and let you capture more in every shot. The pocket-sized lens case securely protects your lenses, doubles as a universal tripod mount, and also makes a comfortable handle. And the rugged iPhone case is specially engineered to effortlessly accept the lenses and tripod mount. Suddenly your iPhone's even cooler than you thought it was.

All of the components of the iPro Lens System are designed to work together. Both the wide angle and the fisheye lenses use a bayonet mount to securely fasten onto the iPhone case. The iPhone case gives you the two options of attaching the handle on the left or right side of the iPhone. The handle itself safely stores your lenses and enables you to attach your iPhone to any tripod. The iPro Lens System is specifically designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S; it sells for $199 with a standard one year warranty (extended warranty optional).

Additional lenses, iPhone cases, or replacement parts available for separate purchase.

Individual Components

  • iProFisheye Lens - Captures pictures with a spectacular 165° field of view.
  • iPhone Case - Uses a bayonet mount to attach lenses and integrates handle attachment points on both sides.
  • Wide Angle Lens -Provides an impressive 35% wider field of view (roughly equivalent to a 30mm lens on a 35mm camera).
  • Handle/Lens Case - Provides steady shots as a handle, stores lenses, and is also a tripod mount adapter

The iPro Lens System was designed and developed by Schneider Optics, a company that provides superlative professional quality lenses and filters for still photography, broadcast television, motion picture and digital projection. Schneider's Century brand accessory lenses for professional video cameras have been the standard of the industry for over 20 years. Schneider Optics is part of Schneider Kreuznach, a German maker of precision optics since 1913.

The iPro Lens System extends this expertise to your iPhone for the first time.

Update: Schneider Optics demonstrated a 2x telephoto lens (approximately equivalent to an 85-90mm lens on a 35mm camera) for the iPro system at the Macworld | iWorld show. it is expected to retail for $100, but no release date has been announced.

Rain Design Introduces iRest iPad Lap Stand

PR: Rain Design Inc. has announced the release of the iRest lap stand for the Apple iPad. The iRest is claimed to be the first tablet stand designed specifically for use on the lap. It frees your hand for a comfortable viewing and typing experience away from the desk.

Beneath the simplicity of the patent pending design, the iRest is exceptionally lightweight at 15 oz., thanks to an innovative design that avoided the of extrusion manufacturing technique and thereby more than halved the aluminum's thickness to just 1/16 of an inch (1.5mm). The iRest also features soft foam cushions that rest on the lap and a torque hinge that makes it easy to adjust the angle up to 60 degrees. It improves your ergonomics by preventing hand fatigue caused by holding the iPad and raising the screen for easier viewing.

"The beauty of the iRest is its functionality and form," says Aven Koh, Vice President of Rain Design. It makes using the iPad on your lap so much more comfortable and enjoyable, whether you're on a couch or on a plane."

Versatility and Portability

The iRest also functions as a stable desktop stand. The cushions can be detached to reduce its footprint in desktop mode. The stand folds flat for portability and storage.

iRest also has cutouts for the dock connector and speaker, and can accommodate regular iPad cases. Generous padding keeps the iPad safe from scratches.

Compatibility - The iRest works with the iPad and tablets with a thickness less than 0.47 inches (1.2 cm).

Rain Design's iRest Lap Stand is now available at raindesigninc.com for a suggested retail price of $49.90.

New USB Charger Can Power 16 iPads at Once

PR: Charging large numbers of iPads, iPhones, and iPods is a challenge for many schools, businesses, and other organizations. A new 16-port professional USB charging station now makes this possible.

PowerPad 16
Wow, PowerPad 16 can charge 16 iPads at once!

Compact, light, and easy to use, the Power Pad 16 (DS-IP-PP16) provides the optimum power required for charging iPads and other iDevices. It can be used to replace bulky power strips and the AC adapter bricks of the standard chargers.

Created by Datamation Systems with the expertise of Cambrionix state-of-the-art USB technology, this is the latest addition to an extensive suite of charge, sync, security, and storage products for iPads and other devices.

"The PowerPad 16 can be placed in a cabinet, cart, or carrying case. It can also be mounted on a table, wall, or under a counter," says Joe Mazza, Datamation Systems Vice President. "It is perfect for tech centers, trade shows, traveling labs, and training centers."

The Power Pad 16 has been used in retail environments where charging large numbers of iPads and other Apple devices has to be reliable and fast in the least possible space. Service depots report it is a perfect tool to eliminate the jumble of wires and chargers.

Designed for charging Apple devices, this will also charge many other USB-powered devices, virtually any that would charge using a standard Apple USB-connected AC adapter. It is not a universal USB charger but Datamation Systems is creating other versions that will accommodate most USB devices.

Datamation Systems carts, cabinets, and transport cases are used in thousands of schools, libraries, hospitals, and offices.

These new iPad, iPod, and iPhone charging systems and other products are available from major computer sellers or directly from Datamation Systems. Additional information can be found at Datamation's iPad and Tablet webpage.

Established in 1963, Datamation Systems is the nations leading provider of security carts, cabinets and antitheft devices that protect notebook and desktop computers, printers, projectors, and AV equipment. They also provide multi-bay battery chargers to help manage battery use in classrooms and other settings.

Publisher's note: At $47.49 per port, you're paying a lot for the convenience and high quality construction when you can buy a 2-port USB charger with 2A output per port for $15.95 or a cheap single-port device for just $2.14 plus shipping. dk

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Links for the Day

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Custom Search

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

MacSurfer
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
MacInTouch
MyAppleMenu
InfoMac
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
RetroMacCast
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
DealMac
Mac2Sell
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

Affiliates

Amazon.com
The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac
eBay

Low End Mac's Amazon.com store

Advertise

Open Link