May 18

An iPad the size of a Kindle Fire?  Yep.  And soon.

Since the first iPad was introduced in early 2010, there have been constant predictions of an “iPad mini,” an Apple tablet with a screen significantly smaller than 9.7-inches. 

All have been wrong.

Even before being proven so by history, the prognostications were routinely quashed by naysayers, who – like Steve Jobs – believed that smaller 7 and 8-inch tablets lacked the utility of the larger iPad; Jobs even went so far as to say that such an iPad would not be produced by Apple. After three iPad generations’ release, we haven’t seen so much as a quarter-inch change in the screen size, mostly because Jobs’ was the only opinion that counted for much the last two and a half years.

But his influence, lasting though it may be in many respects, is no longer a deciding factor at Apple.

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Mar 20

iPad's Hot!

Apple’s sales report shows the new 3rd Gen iPad is red-hot, selling over 3 million units its first weekend out the door. That number comes from totaling sales in the handful of countries where the tablet is offered, not just the U.S., but if true it’s a very impressive number.

Being hot isn’t always a good thing, though.

Many users, including yours truly, have found that the new iPad gets anywhere from warm to downright hot during use, and particularly during more demanding use, an apparent result of the tablet’s new high-end System-on-a-Chip and larger battery.

Another Apple Gadget, Another Somethinggate

Reports of the iPad 3 getting warm – or even hot – began instantly upon its release.  Mid-morning on Friday, a user known as faatty posted in an Apple forum “I’m loving the screen and speed but there’s something weird about it. It gets rather warm/hot after 30minutes of usage. It has never happened on my iPad 2.”  Many similar reports have been seen in online forums, on Twitter and around the ‘net since then, and while it doesn’t seem to affect all users, for those it does, the issue is somewhere between an annoyance (hand raised) and a real usability concern.

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Nov 21

iPhone 4SLast month when the iPhone 4S was about to go up for pre-order, I discovered that – for the first time in my three-plus years as an AT&T iPhone user – I wouldn’t be eligible for a subsidized upgrade at launch; I’d have to wait until late November to get a 4S at the discounted $199 price.  Frankly, I was aggravated, but set about waiting for AT&T to let me renew my contract and get the latest and greatest.

Dreams of Siri danced in my head.

Then last week I had the opportunity to review an iPhone 4S (the Verizon 16GB Black model), and after spending several days with the handset, I’ve decided that my iPhone 4 will suit me just fine until the iPhone 5 is released, probably in the summer of 2012.  And if you’re an iPhone 4 owner waiting for your own subsidized upgrade, read on – the same may be true for you.

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Oct 07

Valued my ass...When I upgraded from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS, I’d had the handset for less than a year (September 2008 – June 2009), and AT&T allowed the upgrade at the subsidized price: $199 for the 16GB version.  Same story a year later when the iPhone 4 went up for pre-order; $199 with another 12 months left on my contract.  Bravo, AT&T.

So, when Apple announced the iPhone 4S this week, I didn’t even consider this time might be different.  Nothing had changed with my service and, rather than being 9 months or 12, it had been 15 months since the iPhone 4 upgrade.  I thoughtlessly expected smooth sailing.  That ain’t what I got.

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Sep 16

iphone4When Apple announces the next-gen iPhone later this month, the current iPhone 4  (or a version of it) will continue to be sold as a more affordable alternative. This is a safe assumption as the iPhone 3G continued to be sold alongside the iPhone 3GS, and the 3GS is still available for purchase today – fifteen months after the iPhone 4’s release – as a budget option. 

Accepting that this model will continue, the question is: how will the iPhone 4 change when it shifts from Apple’s flagship product to a lower-priced alternative?

Of course, one option is status quo, minus the premium price.  Carriers could continue to sell the 16GB iPhone 4 as-is for, say, $99 on contract, to offer a more attractive entry price to would-be iPhone owners or legacy iPhone users who haven’t yet upgraded.  This is certainly possible, but given current market realities and Apple’s history of bold action, a more significant change seems warranted.

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