Jan 31

ipadretinaOkay. Let’s face facts, you and I. Endless rumors and prognostications to the contrary, the 2nd Generation iPads – which will likely be announced in the next few weeks – will not have a Retina display. 

Like you, I was hopeful.  I wanted to believe the rumors.  I shipped my better judgment off to  destinations unknown, admonishing it not to hurry home.

But it couldn’t stay away forever: no Retina.

But… but… you say the iPhone 4’s screen is so backlit-magazine crisp, so beautiful, so blow-your-mind readable – why would Apple not bring this amazing display technology to its next tablet?  

Because, hopeful reader, it simply can’t be done.

There are currently four predictions about the next iPad’s display, and one of them will be proved correct. Two are highly implausible – read: not happening. Another is unlikely, but possible.

But it’s the final forecast I now grudgingly accept.

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Jan 25

iPhone Payments via NFCIf you believe the folks at Bloomberg, Apple is planning to include NFC – or Near Field Communication – in the next generation iPhone and iPad.  Great! 

So… what the heck is NFC?

NFC is an established technology that allows, essentially, the sharing of data between two equipped devices at short range (about 4-inches). While the possible applications for NFC are many, inclusion in their next-gen mobile devices suggests that Apple may be planning to get into the payment processing business, allowing iPhone and iPad users to pay for products right from their iTunes account the way they currently pay with a credit or debit card. 

The Nexus S, the current flagship Android phone from Google and Samsung, already boasts the technology, though not much has come from its inclusion given the phone’s relatively low number of users.  But on the iPhone, NFC could see its first wide-range use.

Here’s how it could work. 

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Jan 24

ZAGGmate iPad Case with Keyboard

If you frequently use your iPad for content creation, you probably have a keyboard for the tablet.  Buy why carry the iPad and a keyboard as two separate devices? 

There’s a class of iPad cases available – relatively small, but growing – that combines a protective case with a keyboard, in one convenient device.  One of the standouts in this group is the ZAGGmate iPad Case with Keyboard.

The ZAGGmate has an anodized aluminum shell that matches the iPad’s aesthetic, while protecting the tablet from bumps and scratches.  It is a single piece that covers the iPad’s screen when not in use, or attaches to the back when you need access to the touchscreen. And when you want to use the iPad without having to hold the tablet, the ZAGGmate also features a hinge that allows you to view the iPad at any one of ten angles in either portrait and landscape. 

The integrated Bluetooth keyboard (in the ZAGGmate w/ Keyboard model) makes it easy to quickly enter text while the iPad is propped-up using the viewing hinge.  There are dedicated keys for Select All, Copy, Cut, Paste, Blank Screen, Slide Show and Search.  Use the keyboard with any application including Pages and other document editors, Safari, Notepad and other text-centric apps.

The ZAGGmate w/ Keyboard only adds about a quarter inch to the iPad’s thickness, and its internal battery lasts weeks between charges.  The MSRP is $99.

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Jan 23

Vintcase iPad Leather Folio, SecuredYesterday I came across a TUAW post by Steven Sande highlighting the Vintcase iPad case which he had received for review.  I don’t normally begin a post directly from another writer’s work, but this one caught my eye, and I wanted to share it with our readers. 

The Vintcase is a folio style case which both houses the iPad and covers its screen with two leather flaps.  Steven remarks how soft the leather is and adds that it reminds him of a satchel “Indiana Jones might carry his travel papers in.”  It brings to my mind more of a Lord of the Rings look and feel, but why quibble?

Irrespective of film references, this appears to be a noteworthy item for iPad users who appreciate a touch of fine leather, particularly since it is hand crafted in Spain, a locale known for its quality leather products (see also Piel Frama). 

Vintcase iPad Leather Folio, Open

The case sells for $99US with an additional $25 for international shipping outside of Europe. 

If you own this item, please let all of us know how you like it in the comments section.

Images courtesy of TUAW
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Jan 18

Sprint iPhoneNow that the Verizon iPhone has made the transition from constant rumor to certain reality, a new question presents itself:

When will Sprint begin selling an iPhone of its own?

There doesn’t seem to be much standing in their way, at least not technically.  After all, Sprint and Verizon Wireless require the same type of hardware in order to connect to and use their networks. They also share the same high-speed wireless data network technology, EV-DO. 

So, now that a compatible iPhone exists, why wouldn’t Sprint begin selling Apple’s smartphone in the very near future?

It would seem that an agreement with Apple is all that’s missing.  And because Verizon’s iPhone ends more than three years of AT&T exclusivity, such an agreement isn’t a stretch. Plus, Verizon clearly stated during last week’s announcement that its agreement with Apple regarding a CDMA iPhone 4 was “non exclusive.”  That leaves the door open in a big way (Sprint is Verizon’s only major CDMA competitor).

Add to that a just-announced Sprint event on February 7, and there’s at least a chance of Verizon having a CDMA iPhone competitor pretty much right out of the gate.


Possible does not mean desirable (though it’s difficult to believe Sprint has no interest in offering an iPhone).  Desirable doesn’t mean doable (there could be any number of sticking points keeping a Sprint iPhone from becoming reality any time soon). Doable doesn’t mean that the timing is right (Sprint could opt to wait for iPhone 5, for example). And the February event could be intended to announce any number of things unrelated to Apple, namely Android smartphones and/or tablets.  

We’ll just have to wait and see.

If forced to guess, we’d say Sprint won’t be announcing the iPhone until later in the year or 2012.  This is largely based on conversations with contacts inside the company and the general “gut” feeling that the timing isn’t quite right.

Sprint will sell an iPhone.  It’s just a question of when.  And “when” probably isn’t now.

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