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iPad 3, the future classroom textbook?

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With the iPad 3 on the imminent horizon, there are plenty of rumors floating around. A new Sharp screen and some new case leaks. The only problem I have with this new release is, we just watched Apple talk about iBooks 2 and how they are going to revolutionize the text book industry and start keeping the educational system up-to-date with these interactive books and signing on the 3 BIGGEST producers of these textbooks. The other thing that seemed to be revolutionary was the price, with “most being priced at $14.99 (USD) or less. This overall is a wonderful idea in my opinion, and helps compact the 40 pound backpack that these poor kids have to lug around. This is great as far as the weight it relieves from the kids and how quick these text books can be updated. The two fold problem as far as the consumer and the educational sector will have to deal with, is price and availability/upkeep.

Price

Will the price of the iPad hinder many school systems from being able to use this great technology? The cheapest iPad is $500. Just imagine, that is one per student. Can you imagine sitting in a budget meeting for oh say, 2014 and there is a new sector: iPads (I would hope that it replaces hardback textbooks part of the budget all together though). This would be expensive! Let’s just say we have a school of 1200 kids.

The next step for me, would be, how do we implement this? Does every student get one for the school year? ($600,000) Do we add this to the school fee? Do we buy these and keep them in the building? Do we have one for every teacher? There are many more questions that come along with implementation, but just imagine trying to get all of these questions answered and then seeing how much it would cost the local school system. Then whether or not they could afford it!

My thing about it, would be: Why isn’t Amazon capitalizing on this market? They have a $200 tablet and it works! They could kill Apple in the educational market. Plus, the Kindle Fire doesn’t have any cameras on it or 3G, which helps keep down the cost of the final product. So for this fact, kids aren’t trying to use cameras in class or able to use these things on the go. It would only be useful around wifi, which for a typical kid (not all) these days is at home, school and the library, and the occasional restaurant.

I see Apple taking over this market, because no one has really come out with the “iPad killer”, but the Kindle Fire, I would say has given it a run for its money. The money issue just seems to hinder some of these schools that need technology like this, from being able to chime in on this. So if Apple works out a deal where the schools get a discount for ordering so many for their schools or even districts, then I would be more prone to say that price isn’t an issue, but who’s to say, it will be many, many years before we see iPads as the norm for textbooks.

Availability/Upkeep

The other problem I foresee is Apple has historically updated these things every year. Can the school systems keep up with that? What’s my opinion? NO! Schools like to make an investment and see ROI. I just don’t see the school systems trying to keep these things up to date. Apple on the other hand likes to keep the new, old. By that, I mean, they are constantly updating, the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPads have all been somewhat close to a yearly refresh rate. Most schools and businesses are either on a 3-5 year plan. They like to see more use out of the product than they are worried about refreshing it. I could see in the future that like iPad 7 is out and some schools still using iPad 2.

As far as a bleeding edge consumer is concerned, this is great, get a new toy every year. Even the non-bleeding edge, because they are usually right behind the bleeding edge and getting last year’s model at a reduced price. Schools and businesses are not worried about being on the bleeding edge. Shoot, the business I work for currently still massively supports Windows XP (original market release 8/24/01) and have a very little amount of machines on Windows 7, which coincidentally is almost 3 years old. (original market release date 10/22/09) This is how companies work, that are not technology based. They want to be able to use their investment for a very long time, which Windows XP has proven to be.

In Conclusion

Will Apple be able to keep these iPads up to date with just software? Will they pressure these school systems (and businesses) to have to update every other year? I have found personally, that every other year is good with Apple. For example, I bought the iPhone (2G), then the 3G, because of the speed increase on data. I skipped the iPhone 3GS, a year later, and look what I got for an upgrade, the iPhone 4! As previous, I skipped the iPhone 4S, and who knows what is coming for the iPhone 5. Again, historically, the iPhone has been good for me, to follow this pattern. The pattern may not always be that way, but for the last 5 phones that Apple has produced, I have stayed with it and it works for me. Will the schools have to start following that same pattern? Will Apple always follow an AWESOME Product then a speed bump, no hardware changes, then AWESOME Product change format? Who knows? Only time will tell, but these are just my thoughts and musings.

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CES Rumors and HP Secrets

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Well, it seems that while Apple seems to be be taking over the news (again) with the rumored AppleTV that we all knew about since the release of the Walter Isaccson biography of Steve Jobs, HP seems to have a possible ace of its sleeve with a newly “leaked” trailer type video for a new ultrabook. Apple right now, is the leader in this market with the MacBook Air. There are others out there by Acer and Lenovo, but those two companies are much smaller than HP or Apple, so I don’t think they have the market cornered just yet. It seems though as Apple is already building some steam for the month of January, it may be one of the companies of 2012 to keep an eye on. The rumor mill is also stirring with news of the iPad 3, a January media event and hackers running iPhone and iPad apps fullscreen on the AppleTV.

HP will have to step up its game in these “leaks” if they want anymore excitement in this news. I think as the weeks pass and we all begin to overlook some of HP’s blunders, we may see more information leading up to CES 2012. I think that the HP WebOS is a possible sell off or it may even be brought back by HP with the sale of the HP touchpad over and over and over again this last year. Even with all that craziness that was 2011 for HP, I don’t think a new CEO will solve all of their problems either. I mean, her last job was eBay, not really a hardware company at all. Does she have the intellect and determination to make HP a great company again? Only time will tell.

I can say though, HP is everywhere when it comes to laptops though. Bestbuy and Amazon has to be two of the biggest retailers that sell their laptops like it is going out of style. Everywhere I go these days, all I see is that little HP logo or the Apple logo. I really don’t see Dell, Toshiba, Acer or really any other manufacturer that much out there. As for myself, my last two personal laptops have been HP. So will this newly “leaked” HP ultrabook be the revival of the HP name? Or will the logo change be all that they need? With all of this going on, and 2012 just now getting started, I hope the best for HP, and can’t wait to the see the Spectre at CES!!

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Buh-Bye to Flash and Silverlight!

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Well it seems that Microsoft maybe ending the life of Silverlight with SL5. There doesn’t seem to be any foreseeable future with a version 6. Do you even know what SilverLight is? Don’t worry, most of us never even installed it on our machines or really ever needed it to view content. Basically it was another plugin that was much like Flash, allowing you to view content in webpages that supported it. To be quite honest, I don’t think it ever picked up outside of the Microsoft camp anyway.
Speaking of Flash, it seems that Adobe has made it official, and said that Flash on the mobile platform is soon to be out too. It seems they will focus their attention onto the mobile APP platform instead of websites and flash video. They will start pushing HTML 5 as a standard. Which is kind of funny, because Steve Jobs called it, back in 2007. So it seems after 11.1, there will be no further development for the Flash base on any sort of mobile devices.

Will there be a replacement for either of these platforms in the future? Or is HTML 5 the answer for all? We shall see, but since Flash is such a memory hog, I don’t see why it didn’t die out a LONG time ago..

-Rusty G

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SIRI was built that way, with Attitude.

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In a follow up to my previous post, it keeps getting better and better to see what responses we can get from SIRI by posing it some different questions and crazy statements. As the weekend is coming to a close for some of us, it seems that some of us have been trying to see what kind of answers we can get from SIRI. I have seen some crazy stuff, but it seems some of us (jokingly), are trying to see if SIRI can be a real assistant in some of our affairs. Let’s take a look at some of the things that SIRI is helping us do:
Click on each image to see the full response

“Im Horny”
“What’s Wrong with Me?”
“Are you sending all this information to Apple?”
“I need to hide a body”

It’s even funnier to see what other people can come up with. It seems though, the Siri/Apple team built the digital assistant to be this way. You can read some of the responses people are posting and the list is growing. Things like:

    “Beam me up Siri” – Sorry Captain, Your Tri-Corder is in Airplane Mode
    “What do you think about Android?” – I think differently.

There even seems to be a full thread going on over at MacRumors where people are posting their findings. What’s funny is, all the engineers seemed to have wanted to stick with their “geek roots” and input references to famous geek characters and movies.
If you have any cool responses, feel free to leave them in the comments below, and go back and read my previous post for more.

-Rusty G

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Siri Has an Attitude (and knows the answer to ultimate question of life)

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Well it seems as the iPhone 4S starts to trickle down to the rest of us over the next 24 hours, (or later) there are others who are already having some hands on time with the SIRI beta inside the iPhone 4s. I saw an article yesterday in which Jason Snell of MacWorld.com got to play with the SIRI beta in about an 11 minute video. If you go to about 5:18 in the video, you will see a funny reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book/movie.

Continue to watch, because just after that, it seems the SIRI programmers have added some quick wit to the digital assist as well. It’s a pretty funny little bit to watch. It’s pretty cool to watch exactly what SIRI can do on the iPhone 4S, and because it is still in Beta, there is a lot to be done. I do think, on a side note, that SIRI will come to the iPhone 4, eventually. Either way, as more and more people get their hands on the iPhone 4S, they are all trying out the new digital assistant to see what all it can do. There is even a few videos out there showing us what happens if you tell SIRI “I love you“. So as the days come and some of you start messing with it, let me know what you come up with. In the mean time, I think that this is the best one yet, and it happened just before iFixit started to do the teardown of the phone.

iFixit: “Siri, may we disassemble you for all to see?”

iPhone 4S (Siri): “42”

iFixit: “I didn’t ask for the meaning of life, Siri…”

iPhone 4S (Siri): “42 is the number of seconds you have left until I initiate the self-destruct sequence…”

iFixit: “Message received.”

-Rusty G

stupidiPhone2

Stop Cluttering my Screen with CRAP Apple!

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Maybe I am the only one seeing this, as the iOS gets updated EVERY year, but I am seriously getting ticked at the amount of icons that I have to have on the home screen. Remember iOS 1? Those were the simple times. Look at this, my iPhone from stock now has to have 2 home screens to fit everything on it!


What?!?! If you saw my post earlier, you saw I already don’t like the idea of Music and Video being separated into two different apps. They are doing the same function. Playing media, you know what else USED to do that? the iPod app. I don’t want my iPhone looking like an iPod Touch. It looks tacky. The bad part is, even apple groups together the crap you don’t use, under utilities. Voice Memos, which seemed to have turned blue? Did I miss that? Contacts? Why did we ever pull that out of the phone app? That is duplicating what you already have. I guess there was such an outcry to have a one click access to it? Who really uses the compass? The only utility I use is the calculator. I don’t use Weather or Stocks and I hardly use the notes app. Oh wait, we added a ‘new’ app. Reminders. I guess this adds a checklist or some other feature to reminders that are already in the calendar. I just won’t really ever use it. Also, why can’t the iTunes and App store be one icon? When I click on the iTunes store on the PC or Mac, it’s one place, why not on the phone too? I don’t need all this crap filling up my screen before I even get started. I LOVED the folders when they finally implemented it in iOS 4, and I think it was a GREAT design choice. Less clutter is better! Oh, Newsstand and Gamecenter, I don’t like you much either. I use the feature of gamecenter RARELY to find people to play with, but I never actually click on the icon. I don’t think I will ever use Newsstand either. The phone just has too small of a screen to read anything on. ALTHOUGH, the new reader feature in Safari is great! (Another GREAT design choice!) Why can’t I pick a custom install where I get to choose what shows up? Just like iBooks, I don’t have to install it, but if I want to, it is a free download away. Please work on this in the future. Maybe iOS 5.1? Here’s to dreaming.

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