iOS News Review

Apple Should Make a Phablet, Surface Sells Barely a Million, New PadPillow Lite, and More iOS News

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2013.01.28

News, Reviews, & Opinion

The Competition

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review. Older Macs are covered in Vintage Mac News. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apple Should Makinge a Phablet and a Smart Watch

ReadWriteWeb's Jon Mitchell says he can't stop thinking about the iPad mini, and that every time he uses his iPhone for something, he wishes the screen was twice the size. Consequently, he thinks the smartphone might be doomed, and that a one-hand tablet and smart watch combo would be so much better.

Mitchell observes that 5-inch-ish things currently in vogue in the Android world are either huge phones or tiny tablets - and good at being neither of those things - but do underscore one important point: Lots of users don't really want both a smartphone and a tablet, but would rather just have one thing.

And while the current crop of 7" to 8" devices, including Apple's iPad mini, are arguably big enough for running tablet software yet still small enough for true mobile use, there's still something missing. A phone.

Since he already carries a powerful smartphone with a beautiful screen, that makes buying a small tablet seem frivolous. On the other hand, while reading a book on his phone on the subway, he wished the screen was bigger and suddenly realized why people are so excited about smart watches like the Pebble. A watch could be a "phone," and for things that require screen real estate and concentration, he could use a mobile-sized tablet and wouldn't need a phone at all.

Phablets and Table PCs: Breaking the PC Mold

Two new buzzwords emerging from CES this year are "phablets" and Table PCs - two new technologies that NPD DisplaySearch Analyst Richard Shim addresses in his recent blog post entitled "Phablets and Table PC: Breaking the PC Mold".

In this post, Shim talks about the blurring of the lines between types of devices, which are becoming increasingly more difficult to define, observing that this year's CES was noteworthy from a device perspective because of designs that defied or pushed the limits of convention. In the smartphone market, the emerging and size-defying "phablet" category had some new entrants that are testing the screen size boundaries of a phone while the all-in-one desktop market is also pushing design and usage models with new table PCs

Will the Explosive Phablet Market Force Apple to Build a Phablet?

Quartz's Christopher Mims predicts that one category of mobile device will blow away all others in the pace of its growth, expanding 70% in each of the next three years and yielding a $135 billion market by the end of 2015, with vendors moving move 142 million units of this device in 2013 and up to 402 million by 2015, according to project analysts at Barclays - more than three times the number of iPhones sold in 2012, and Apple doesn't make one - at least yet?

That would be a phablet; a 5" or larger smartphone like Samsung's 5.3" Galaxy Note that's almost as big as a tablet, combining aspects of both.

Mims notes that while "Phablet" was coined as a term of derision by a cynical press corps, the Galaxy Note turned out to be a surprise hit, with 10 million units sold as of last summer, and the the Galaxy Note II, which is even larger than the Galaxy Note and looks to be an even bigger hit, selling 5 million units in just the first three months on the market, and dozens of phone makers have announced their own phablets, with some analysts climbing aboard to declare 2013 to be the Year of the Phablet.

And while it's as yet unclear whether phablets will ultimately become the netbooks of 2013, a flash-in-the-pan fad whose star rises, burns brightly for a short time, then falls just as rapidly, Mims says he's willing to bet that Phablets are going to be the PCs of this decade, especially in emerging markets where consumers need a single device that can do absolutely everything, and contends that Apple can't ignore this phenomenon forever, or even for long.

Mims cites Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, allowing that Apple could come out with an iPhone with a bigger screen by this summer, noting that unlike netbooks, a category that Apple famously ignored, phablets tend to be high-end devices that fit with Apple's pattern of making best in class hardware that allows the company to maintain its high margins, and that one way Apple could instantly dominate the market would be by creating the biggest phablet ever: put an LTE phone chip in the iPad mini.

How to Use Dictation in iOS 6

The Mac Observer's Sandro Cuccia says that when iOS 5 was released a couple of years ago, we were introduced to a new generation of Dictation - that is, dictating into our device and having our spoken words transcribed into text. The handsfree aspects of this feature are obvious. Indisputably, the technology is not 100% perfect, and he doubts it will reach that level of perfection any time soon. Nevertheless, with the evolution of processing performance, software sophistication, and Internet ubiquity, it has become "nearly" perfect.

Cuccia observes that here are several things to note when learning how to use the iOS Dictation feature effectively, and takes a closer look.

The Competition

Microsoft Sells Barely a Million Surface Tablets

iDownloadBlog's Ed Sutherland says if you're Microsoft, January can't end too soon, with the company's Surface RT tablet taking a battering from Apple's iPad, with Microsoft selling barely more than one million Surface tablets during the holidays, failing to fulfill sales forecasts of two million and 1.3 million units respectively by analyst Brent Thill and IHS iSuppli.

Sutherland notes that it didn't help that Microsoft insisted the Surface match the iPad's price - a bit of faulty logic and hubris impelled by dreams of retaining PC profits in a tablet age.

For Microsoft, the hope now is that the yet to be released Surface Pro model, which will run Windows 8 and desktop Windows applications, will catch the eye of Microsoft's core market: the enterprise, noting that Mr. Thill expects Microsoft will sell 2.5 million Surface devices by June, and up to 8 million Surface tablets for fiscal 2014.

Sutherland allows that like RIM, Microsoft imagined it could morph a successful brand in the enterprise into an iPhone killer in the consumer market, and that anyone who believes they can come from enterprise sales to beat Apple in consumer sales is certifiable.

If Microsoft's Surface Is the Tablet Consumers Really Want, They Don't Seem to Know It

AllThingsD's John Paczkowski contends that nobody has a product that lets you work and play that can be your tablet and your PC - at any price point - so when Microsoft next reports earnings, don't expect Surface tablet PC sales to be a highlight.

Paczkowski notes that the Surface RT consumer version of the device has been dogged by reports of anemic demand since it launched, and UBS analyst Brent Thill estimates that Microsoft sold just one million Surface RT tablets during the December quarter, cutting his previous estimate of two million RT sales in half, and now projecting Surface sales of just 2.5 million units for all of Microsoft's fiscal 2013.

Thill also observes that the yet to be released Surface Pro version of the device, which will run the full desktop version of Windows 8 and has Intel Core i power holds more promise as an enterprise iPad alternative.

Paczkowski also cites a bulletin last week from J.P. Morgan analyst John DiFucci, who forecast Surface unit sales of just 700,000 for the December quarter, and estimates sales of only 2.6 million units for fiscal 2013, noting that if Surface really is, as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims, "the tablet consumers want," they clearly don't know it yet.

Apps & Services

Free Memory on Your iOS Devices with PhoneClean

PR: iMobie Inc.'s PhoneClean 2 is a uniquely designed free utility (for Mac & PC) that helps to reclaim more free space on your iPhone or iPad and helps keep all iOS devices running fast.

PhoneClean for Mac

PhoneClean features:

  1. PhoneClean for Mac When an iPhone is running out of disk space, PhoneClean can reclaim up to 40% free space by removing useless junk files. No jailbreak is required.
  2. Some Apps may create cache files in order to speed up file access temporarily, but over time they may occupy over 1G or even more space. PhoneClean safely deletes them so as to slim Apps and keep iPhone running fast.
  3. To prevent the leak or abuse use of users personal info, it is recommended to let PhoneClean clean up the cookie files on iPhone before backing it up to iTunes or iCloud.

iMobie says more than 1M downloads and favorable reviews from PhoneClean users encouraged them to gather up all valuable feedback and integrate it into a brand new version.

PhoneClean supports Windows XP or newer and OS X 10.7 and newer.

Accessories

Building on the Success of PadPillow, IPEVO Releasing PadPillow Lite for iPad

PadPillow LitePR: Tech company IPEVO's newest product is PadPillow Lite, a lightweight pillow stand offering two different viewing angles for all generations of iPad as well as ebook readers like Kindle and Nook.

Advertised as the pillow stand which "makes you & your iPad comfortable," the PadPillow is one of several signature iPad accessories to come from IPEVO, Inc., a maker and designer of technology products for educators, businesspeople and consumers.

Now IPEVO has expanded the PadPillow family with its newest product, PadPillow Lite. This compact pillow stand delivers several core features of the original PadPillow, but with smaller dimensions and a lighter weight. The stand is now available at IPEVO's Online Store

PadPillow LiteLike the original, PadPillow Lite is a pillow stand for all generations of iPad, many varieties of other tablet computers, and ebook readers such as Barnes and Noble's Nook and Amazon's Kindle. PadPillow Lite is made from a high-density foam with a removable 100% cotton fabric cover in either Dark Gray or Pink. The broad base of the stand allows it to provide steady support on surfaces other stands might have trouble with, such as a couch arm or cushion, the bed, or the carpet. The cushy foam of PadPillow Lite also makes it ideal to place in the lap while sitting or the stomach while reclining.

PadPillow LiteAt 5.9 ounces (168g), PadPillow Lite is less than half as heavy as the original PadPillow (which is already quite light at less than a pound). The Lite version measures 9.8 x 4.3 x 9.2" (25 x 11 x 23.5 cm), which is also significantly less than its predecessor. As such, the company has emphasized PadPillow Lite's travel-readiness and its feather light weight.

PadPillow LitePadPillow Lite may be used in one of two positions, depending on application, body position and preference. Folded together, the stand provides a steeper viewing angle for the device, but the stand can also be laid flat out for a lower viewing angle. In the folded together position, two embedded magnets keep the pillow sections in place. A sewn tag provides a stopper for the device to prevent slippage.

PadPillow Lite in chair"We see room for both versions of PadPillow for iPad and e-reader users," says Royce Hong, CEO and big head of design for IPEVO. "Those who prefer the original PadPillow will enjoy its multiple viewing angles and the comfort of a larger pillow, particularly when resting the stand on the body. PadPillow Lite users will appreciate the stand's light weight and slim profile, particularly for transport and travel, which will make this stand a favorite for businesspeople and commuters. Regardless, both pillow stands deliver what we call 'comfort computing,' particularly for extended reading, gaming, or movie-watching sessions."

IPEVO PadPillow Lite Pillow Stand for iPad

  • PadPillow Lite in car Portable, lightweight pillow stand for all generations of iPad and ebook readers
  • Smaller and lighter than the original PadPillow weighs only 5.9 oz.!
  • Comfy, cushy stand for the bed, chair arm, carpet, lap, or anywhere else
  • Two positions for two different viewing angles
  • 100% cotton fabric cover is removable and machine-washable
  • Available in Dark Gray and Pink

Both PadPillow and PadPillow Lite are now available at IPEVO's Online Store. PadPillow Lite sells for $15.

Luvvitt Releases 8 New Products for the iPad, iPad mini, and iPhone 5

PR: Luvvitt has announced eight New Products for the iPad, iPad mini, and iPhone 5. The new line of items includes, but is not limited to, five iPad mini cases and covers, two iPhone 5 cases, and a new cover for the iPad 4.

For the iPad mini

Luvvitt Acrobat CaseLuvvitt Acrobat Case: No more detaching the iPad mini from the case to get a better view, with the Acrobat, one swift motion sets this case apart, and sets it up for various angles of viewing, With functionality at its heart, the Acrobat iPad mini Case / Cover has a unique triangular-shaped built in stand which is made to be used without unsnapping the two corners of the iPad mini from the case. Simply shift the iPad mini into position on the stand and begin reading, writing or typing.

Luvvitt Ultra Thin Keyboard Cover: The thinnest and lightest keyboard cover in the world is now available for the iPad mini.

Luvvitt Shifter CaseLuvvitt Shifter Case: Equipped with a back case and leather outline around the frame of the iPad mini, the outer shell magnetically attaches for safe, easy protection. The Luvvitt Shifter Case is compact, lightweight and sleek. The Luvvitt Shifter 2-Piece Convertible Case and iPad mini Cover combo is the fourth of the five designs for users who need extra protection on the go. The lighter, slimmer, inner detachable case can be used alone for quick tasks and then attached to the outer shell with quick click magnets for viewing, typing, or transportation. The Shifter Case protects the iPad mini from dust, scratches and impact at home and while toting around town, as it is providing multiple viewing angles for easy reading and faster typing. The Shifter iPad mini Cover is hardworking, durable and compact.

Luvvitt Attitude CaseLuvvitt Attitude Case: This fashion-forward case comes in a black and white combination so that the case not only gives protection, it has attitude. The monochromatic Luvvitt Attitude Case for iPad mini is slim in stature and big on protection, with a tough exterior that protects the iPad mini from bumps, dirt and scratches. Combining couture form with high-tech functionality. The Attitude Case is custom made to fit the smaller dimensions of the mini and fits sleekly around the tablets micro curves.

Luvvitt 3D Slim Folio CaseLuvvitt 3D Slim Folio Case: Sleek and slender, this 3D case keeps the iPad secured in class fashion while traveling, and gives the iPad mini a perch to rest upon when opened. This is a fusion between a classic flip-stand style iPad case and the trademark commitment from Luvvitt to design superiority. The 3D Slim Folio Case / Cover for iPad mini is formfitting protection personified. The 3D case preserves easy button and connector access, does not hinder the auto screen sleep or wake function and adds mere millimeters to the thin iPad mini profile. The built-in stand makes for easy reading or typing, making the 3D folio case perfect for those on the go.

Luvvitt Ultrathin Keyboard Cover For the iPad

Luvvitt Ultrathin Keyboard Cover: Claimed to be the thinnest and lightest in the world. Released just two months ago, and featured at CES, a soon to be released in a second version is equipped with a backlight.

Luvvitt Clearview CaseFor the iPhone 5

Luvvitt Leopard Case: The attitude case of 2013, protecting technology in Purrrfect style.

Luvvitt Clearview Case: With seven accent colors to choose from, the Clearview Scratch-Resistant case protects the iPhone 5 with a dash of fun on top of sophisticated coverage.

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