Monthly Archives: June 2012

Tech.News: Google Chrome and Google Drive Coming to iOS TODAY

Tech.News: Google Chrome and Google Drive Coming to iOS TODAY

Google has announced at their I\O conference that Google Chrome and Google Drive will be coming to the iPhone and the iPad later today. Both apps are expected to have the same popular features as Google’s desktop versions as well as syncing abilities. Check out the App Store later today to download.

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Tech.News: Microsoft Surface Tablet

Tech.News: Microsoft Surface Tablet

Microsoft: You have my attention. The new Microsoft Surface tablet is actually a pretty cool device. I have been a big fan of Windows 8, except I feared that the interface wasn’t fit for a small smartphone screen and definitely not optimized for a laptop. Windows 8 is designed for tablets.I’m thrilled to see Microsoft finally building their own hardware.

There are 2 Microsoft tablets: a Windows RT ARM-chip version and a “professional” sibling sporting an Ivy Bridge i5 processor. The non-professional version is super thin (thinner than the new iPad) and the professional tablet is just slightly thicker at 13.5 mm. Both have a 10.6 inch high-definition screen comparable in pixel density to Apple’s Retina iPad screens. The Surface packs a full size USB port (USB 3.0 on the pro version) and 32 or 64 GB of memory for the RT version and 64 or 128 GB of storage on the professional tablet. The exterior casing is made of magnesium and Corning Gorilla Glass and even has a nifty kickstand.

While the specs on these two devices are right up there with Apple’s iPad, Windows 8 might be the deciding factor. Windows 8’s Metro user interface is really great; utilizing the edges of the tablet keeps tasks intuitively organized and enhances multitasking. The ability to run 2 apps next to each other is definitely one of my favorite features. Additionally, the real time, updating tile interface is a beautiful and stylish way to get all your info updated on your home screen. Windows 8 also has a desktop mode where older Windows software can run. This is a major plus for people who want the ability to run professional apps like Adobe Photoshop.

While the Surface has definitely caught my interest, my favorite announcement from Microsoft has to be the new magnetic cover for the tablet. It’s an extraordinarily thin Apple smart cover cover that integrates a multitouch trackpad and keyboard right into the case. It’s very thin, colorful, useful, and the first product I hope Apple copies from Microsoft.

Now here’s where this impressive and potentially competitive tablet may fall short: price. Microsoft has not announced anything about the pricing of either tablets. If the RT flavor is within the magical $400-$550 tablet price point, it very well could be something to watch. If Microsoft expects people to pay “ultrabook prices” for this tablet, Apple’s reigning iPad has nothing to fear.

I’m looking forward to seeing these Surfaces hit the market with Windows 8’s release.

[Image via Microsoft]

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Tech.Tips: Hiding Newsstand

Tech.Tips: Hiding Newsstand

Newsstand was a feature released in iOS 5 to collect reading apps in one place. Some people love it. Many wish they could hide it from their carefully organized springboard. Here’s a tip on how to hide unwanted app icons in iOS 5.

Apple only allows a user to keep 11 pages of apps. In order to remove an app like Newsstand that can’t be hidden in a folder, we need to fool iOS into thinking we have filled all those pages. To hide Newsstand and other app icons without Jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

Fill pages 1-10 with at least one application. In my case, I had most of my apps on the first page so I opened a folder and dragged one app to each page.

On page 11 (the last page) fill the screen with apps and place the app you wish to remove in the bottom right corner. Now, all you need to do is introduce a new app to the top of that full 11th page and Newsstand will be exiled to a nonexistent 12th page.

Although the app doesn’t show up as an icon, it will still be searchable in Spotlight and tie together with other apps. The app is hidden, not uninstalled. Unfortunately, that means if you fully restart your iPhone or iPad, Newsstand will reappear as an icon in a free space.

[Image via appleiphoneschool]

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Tech.News: Corning Willow Glass

Tech.News: Corning Willow Glass

Corning announced today a new line of ultra-thin, lightweight, and flexible glass that could change the shapes of our phones and devices.

The flexibility and thinness of the glass could allow manufactures to design “wrap around” devices with edge to edge glass and curved sides. Combining Samsung’s flexible OLED with Corning’s new Willow Glass would make for thinner and more maleable phones and tablets.

[Image via Corning]

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Tech.Fun: My College Dorm Room Bedside Invention

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My college dorm room was pretty remarkable this year. My roommate and I had an amazing double on the top floor of our building with 3 windows: one with a view facing downtown Manhattan, another overlooking the top corner of Central Park, and a third towering a couple hundred feet above Harlem. A few months into school I realized that when I was lying in my bed, I had my back to the windows and missed out on these awesome views. What limited me to my previous sleeping orientation was my lamp and nightstand. So, I created what I jokingly/lovingly nicknamed the Sleep-Different. Basically, it was a surface for my wallet, book, earplugs, etc that doubled as an iPhone charging dock. I attached it to my bed and filled the extra space between the mattress and the wall with body pillows. Finally, to solve the lighting problem, I found a floor lamp someone had discarded on the floor below us, fixed it, and shortened it to just the right height.

For the rest of the school year I “slept differently” because of my little invention. I went to sleep staring at the Empire State Building and woke up to the sunrise over Harlem.

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Tech.Analysis: New Macbook Pros Imminent

Tech.Analysis: New Macbook Pros Imminent

The next generation Macbook Pros are expected anytime now (WWDC?) so I figured it would be a good time to recap all the rumors and add some comments. Tim Cook promised exciting and revolutionary products for 2012 and the new 15 inch Macbook Pro could very well be the first drool-worthy redesigned Apple device.

Let’s start with the brain: Intel Ivy Bridge processors.
Intel has officially launched their new Ivy Bridge processors, an update to their already zippy Sandy Bridge line, which means we can expect these quad-core powerhouses to be included in the newest Macbook Pros. A leaked “Macbook9,1” running on a 2.7GHz Core i7 processor scored a Geekbench total of 12,252. That’s a 15.5% improvement over the current top-of-the-line Core i7 Macbook Pro. Geekbench, a popular benchmark app that measures a computer’s overall performance, has recorded pre-released Mac scores in the past.
Along with improved performance and speed, these new processors natively support USB 3.0 which has an average data transfer speed of 5 gigabytes per second (up to 10.5 times faster than USB 2.0). While Thunderbolt is almost twice as fast as USB 3.0, there aren’t many cost-effective Thunderbolt accessories yet. Luckily, there are a bunch of great USB 3.0 hard drives and other peripherals already on the shelves.

Lastly, while the graphics card is still unconfirmed, sites like 9to5Mac have found references to the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M in Mountain Lion’s beta code. If this is the bundled NVIDIA chip, users can expect higher gaming performance and much better battery life.

The new 15 inch Macbook will be completely redesigned: it will sacrifice the optical drive, FireWire port, and ethernet jack for a thinner body like the Macbook Air (but most likely not tapered) and sport a beautiful Retina Display. The rumored unibody will have two USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, and 1 or 2 Thunderbolt ports as well as an SD card reader, headphone and microphone jacks, and a Magsafe charging port. Apple will continue to sell a separate external USB Superdrive for those who still need access to a CD/DVD drive and Thunderbolt docks, like this one from Belkin will convert one Thunderbolt port into a few USB, ethernet, and FireWire jacks.

It has been rumored that Apple will bring their successful iPhone and iPad Retina Display to the Macbook Pro. The 2048 x 1536 Retina Display on the 9.7 inch iPad is stunning. Now imagine a 15 inch screen with the same pixel density! Photographs, movies, games, and text will look amazingly sharp with colors that will appear bright and vivid. There even appears to be an option in the Mountain Lion beta to change the resolution mode to adjust the screen to the desired sharpness.

Lastly, the keyboard and Multi-Touch trackpad might be different: the current glass trackpad might grow even larger to accomodate for Mountain Lion’s gesture heavy OS, and Apple might introduce glass keys. Although this is entirely speculative, I think glass keys could be a step towards a totally redesigned keyboard: a keyboard that can tailor its function to each specific application. The iPad and iPhone already do this- when placing a phone call, the keyboard shows only numbers and typing a URL into safari changes the keyboard to include a “.com” key. Imagine using your laptop to play a game that has keys that list their in-game function. A music composition application could line the keyboard with graphics of notes and rests allowing a composer to simply press the “quarter note” key instead of having to memorize a command and letter key combination.

To wrap up, the new Macbook Pros, expected in the next couple of weeks, will likely have a thinner unibody case, a Retina Display, an Ivy Bridge processor, and USB 3.0. It’s possible we could see a reinvented glass keyboard, but it seems to be an unfounded idea that this change will be introduced at this time.

[Amazing mock-up Macbook Pro image by Guilherme Schasiepen]

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