DigitalOutbox Episode 52

DigitalOutbox Episode 52
In this episode the team discuss the new iPhone 4 and E3 keynotes.

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2:00 – iPhone 4
– 16GB – £499, 32GB – £599
– Unlocked, no white
– Bumper – £25 !!!!!!!!
– Apple online store swamped – much demand then?
– 600,000 pre-orders –
– Vodafone looking good option
– O2 not accepting new customers until end of July – existing customers only although that includes broadband customers
– iOS now out
– Same as gold master released on day of WWDC keynote
25:45 – New Mac Mini
– Gorgeous design. Tiny. Still no blu-ray. Unibody – No need for spatula’s
– Fast
– Expensive!
– If you’ve got the cash it’s a great HDTV device
– End of Apple TV?
– Rebadged to cheaper cloud solution maybe as per rumours?
29:09 – E3 Microsoft Keynote
– Call of Duty Black Ops
– 9/11/10
– Downloads first on 360 for 3 years
– Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid)
– MGS Rising
– Sword action – cut what you like
– Gears of War 3
– 4 player co-op
– More of the same
– Fable 3
– Oct 26th
– Mmm…more of the same but a revolution
– Halo Reach
– September
– Niiiice
– Kinect – Brand name for Project Natal
– Sign in by waving 🙂
– Voice recognition
– Looks to work well
– Video Kinect – video chat
– Tracks you as you move around
– ESPN – gold members for free
– Kinectimals – virtual pet
– Kinect Sports – from Rare? Hurdles (track and field), football, bowling, boxing, table tennis, volleyball
– Kinect joyride – racing but shit racing
– Kinect adventures – use entire body to play – hole in the wall – piss
– Your Shape from Ubisoft – fitness game
– measures physical dimensions
– looks interesting
– Dance Central – match dance moves to onscreen characters – new Rock Band?
– Kinect For Xbox 360
– Brand name for Project Natal
– Launched this year – Nov 4th in USA
– Star Wars next year – we can all be the fat kid being a jedi 🙂
– Pre-order via Game for £20 – no pricing this week!!
– Forza with kinect – virtual steering wheel, head turns camera
– Walk up to an around car – why couldn’t I do that with a joypad
– Coming 2011 – assuming thats Forza 4
– New Xbox 360
– Built in wifi N
– 250GB
– Same price – £199
– Whisper quiet allegedly
– 5 usb, hdmi, port for kinect
– Shipping to retailers today
– Available later this week
– Everyone in audience gets a new console
– First reports – it is quiet and it’s a good redesign
– July 16th in UK
40:54 – E3 Nintendo Keynote
– Goldeneye – Wii exclusive
– The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – 2011
– Nintendo 3DS
– 3D screen on top
– No glasses required
– Verdict – gives a good illusion of depth – stare at the screen, don’t more head or effect is gone
– Touch screen on the bottom – touch and 3D don’t get along
– There’s a motion sensor and a gyro sensor in the 3DS. There’s one camera on the inside, and two camera lenses on the outside, so you can take 3D photos.
– Will show 3D Hollywood movies
– Kid Icarus demo’d – looks like a Wii game…on a 3DS
45:54 – E3 Sony Keynote
– 3D is the big push
– Wipeout looks amazing, other games not so – too much happening
– Move
– 40 devs working on Move games
– Sep 19th launch, $50, nv controller – $30, move+eye – $99
– Demo with Tiger Woods – looks very accurate
– Playstation Plus
– Exclusive in-game DLC and other content
– Free full games, changing each month
– Early access to demos and betas
– Auto-patching feature, which will detect, download and install updates
– $49 a year
– Also includes Qore
– Allows chatting across games
– Will work if only one person is a plus member
– GT5 – Nov 2nd……………2010
– Killzone 3 next year – 3D and Move support
– 3D looks amazing
– Portal 2
– Next year and also steam cloud support
– PS3 will have ‘best version’ according to Valve
– steam provides the game with “auto updates, community features, downloadable content, and more.”

E3 Wrapup
– Meh unless you like gimmicky add-ons
– Missing titles – Last Guardian? Nothing from Valve apart from Portal…next year
– Lot’s of remakes and this year editions
– one more thing…
– Secret of Mana on the iPhone in 2010 –
– Go on, one more – Crackdown 2 demo out today
54:59 – On Live Finally launches
– June 17 in US
– Free for first year thanks to AT&T partnership
– Then $4.95 a month after that
– First tests
– Fast, less laggy than expected
– Fuzzy graphics
– Compressed – PS2 like
– Provided your internet is fast enough and you can deal with the fact that the graphical quality isn’t as good as it could be, this is quite a tempting offer. You gain the ability to able to play stuff on lousy hardware (and Macs!), spectate your friends and rent games instead of buy them, but lose a little bit of visual sheen. I think that’s fair.
58:05 – HP and Yahoo Printer Ad deal
– We did warm about this
– Yahoo and HP tie up to print ad’s directly to printers
– So not only do I pay extra for this printer, you then use up my expensive ink printing an ad I might not want

Little Master
– Flash game.
– Actually has an element of cricket about it.
– Lovin the fact that they’ve put the flash game inside an iPad graphic!
– Bowlers start spinning / vary the pace. Hit different areas of the screen to score runs.

Todays Guardian
– not tried it on the ipad but keyboard navigation on a laptop/desktop is great.

Reeder for iPad
– best way to review and manage Google Reader content on the iPad
– fast, minimal graphics
– offline reading as well

iPad Wallpaper

One of the easiest ways to customise your iPad is to change the background wallpaper. It comes with a number of wallpapers but you really want to add your own. Already there’s a few sites that have sprung up that makes it easy to find and download great walls sized perfectly for the iPad.


InterfaceLIFT has offered great wallpapers for years so it’s no surprise that they have stepped up and built a category specifically for iPad. Already offering more than 250 walls there’s a great variety on offer.

iPad Walls

A new site, iPad Walls offer a large number of perfectly sized walls that are split into a number of categories.

iPad Wallpapers That Don’t Suck

This site is probably my favourite of the three as it pulls together the best of the walls out there on a great tumblr site.

So there you have it – three sites with more than enough walls to suit everyone’s tastes.

iPad – Future of Digital Magazines?

The iPad will save journalism, the newspaper and magazine industry. That’s been the cry since before the iPad was announced but now that the iPad is out, is the hyperbole justified?

The magazine that got the most attention prior to iPad launch was Wired. They had partnered with Adobe and developed a Adobe Air based magazine format that could be exported and ran on the iPad. Apple’s developer rule changes in April that banned cross-compilers from being used to create app’s meant that a rethink on that approach had to be done. Wired still made the iPad launch and there’s no doubting it’s an impressive app but is it the future of publishing?

When the iPad app store opened this was my first download. It was also one of the longest – just one issue of Wired is over 500mb in size. Wow. That helped me make the jump from an iPad of 32GB to 64GB. I’ll cover more of why the app is so large later on. The app launches quickly and takes you straight to the cover page of Wired. One of the main advantages of the digital edition is the addition of audio, video, photo’s and other interactive elements. Take the cover – How Pixar Works which is an article on Toy Story 3. The bottom left of the cover has a little black button which once pressed launches a clip from Toy Story 3 – very nice. Not obvious at first but the story headings on the right hand side of the cover jump to the article in the magazine. The jump is quick and the page renders smoothly. Great – I want to jump back. Grrrrr – no back button. If Wired learn one thing, please add a back button as it really hampers navigation.
Continue reading iPad – Future of Digital Magazines?

DigitalOutbox Episode 51

DigitalOutbox Episode 51
In this episode the team discuss WWDC – iPhone 4.

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2:33 – Government to publish entire spending database
– The government will today give the public free access to its accounting books for the first time, publishing the entire contents of its spending database – a total of 24m individual entries documenting where public money comes from, what it is spent on and whose pocket it ends up in.
– The complex, 120GB Combined Online Information System (Coins) database won’t, however, be accessible to the public until an industry has emerged to analyse and digest the information.
– Tom Steinberg, the founder of mySociety, a non-profit organisation that runs several democracy websites in the UK, was this week appointed to a new government committee chaired by the cabinet minister Francis Maude to look at how to open up government data further.
– Also publishing rates of hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA on a weekly basis.

– Already, shows the government spent £1.8bn on consultants last year
– Guardian already has a database up and running –
– Also, it was published via bittorrent
4:17 – Sky and Virgin
– Sky buys Virgin TV channels
– At the same time, Virgin for an increased fee, will be able to show Sky Sports and Movies in HD and will also get access to Sky’s basic HD channels
– Sky announce Anytime +, their VOD service
– When it launches later in the year, Anytime+ will offer around 1,000 hours of content from Sky Arts, Sky Movies, Sky1 and Sky Sports, along with material from other broadcasters, such as ESPN and National Geographic. A “key focus” for the service will be movies, with around 500 being made available at launch.
– Anytime+ will be offered without charge to all Sky customers with IP-enabled Sky+ HD boxes. However, access to premium content such as sport and movies will depend on the subscriber’s package.
– initially only be made available to Sky customers with a Sky Broadband connection, meaning anyone on another internet service provider will miss out
– Allegedly until service is stable
10:26 – Intel Dealys USB 3
– Intel is holding up USB 3.0 adoption by delaying its motherboard chipset until 2012.
– The USB 3.0 spec was introduced in November 2008 and it looks like it’s going to be another two years before the mightiest computing chip-maker on the planet gets the trivial-to-design-and-build chipsets needed out of its fabs.
– Anyone think Intel had a hidden agenda here? Is the company trying to make the market more receptive to Light Peak, its new optical connect?
11:15 – Office Web Apps Now Live
– Word, Excel and Powerpoint with 25gb of storage
– Basic but probably more functional than Google equivalents
– Real time collaboration
12:06 – HP and Google Tackle Cloud Printing
– Handy for printing from your phone or iPad.
– I just see a massive opportunity for spam. Just now, the pile of spam faxes to be binned in the office every day is bad enough, but can you imagine how annoyed you’ll be when your expensive photo paper is defaced by images from the murkier recesses of the internet.
13:11 – Google Phasing Out Windows
– search giant is abandoning Windows due to concerns over security
– slowly phasing out the use of Windows internally since January
– new hires are no longer offered Windows PCs — the choices are now an Apple Mac computer or a PC loaded with Linux
– Most are moving to Mac
– Change with Chrome OS coming?
– Important to state that this hasn’t been officially confirmed by Google (although it is coming from a number of internal sources apparently.) Stems from vulnerabilities in operating system/IE uncovered in the China hacking.
– It’s happening – Leo Laporte’s ex engineer who went to Google was offered Mac or Linux only
– Microsoft responded “Google’s not so secure either” and
15:06 – iPhone 4
– iPad –
– Pretty amazing sales figures
– Thats one every 3 seconds
– Thats a lot of fanboys 😉
– It’s like the opposite of what normally happens. If you ask people ahead of time, they say they would buy a product when in fact they won’t. This time, everyone said they wouldn’t get one, couldn’t see what it was good for (even after the keynote) and that they wouldn’t pay any more than £400 for one… then they go and get one, at launch, for £800.
– and when we say “people”, it’s obviously not just Ian and Shak.
– iBook minor updates (notes, PDF’s, 1 click bookmark) + coming to iPhone
– 22% of ebook sales
– Farmville on iPhone
– over 225,000 apps in the App Store , 15,000 apps submitted every week, 95% of all apps are approved in 7 days
– iPhone 4
– Thinnest design – as per Gizmodo phone – glass and stainless steel
– Retina Display – at 326 pixels per inch, it’s more pixels than the human retina can see (when the device is held 10 to 12 inches from your face), 960×640, giving it four times as many pixel as the iPhone 3GS. The 800:1 contrast ratio is also four times better than the iPhone 3GS
– A4 chip, better battery life
– gyroscope
– 5mp camera, LED flash, 720p 30 fps recording, $4.99 for iMovie
– iOS 4 (renamed and out on June 21st for current users, gold master today)
– Bing added to iPhone search
– iAds (from 1st July)
– Facetime – wifi only video chat, Open standard
– Launches 24 Jun, 16GB $199, 32GB $299 – good price
– More notable for what wasn’t announced
– Safari 5 came out after keynote – fast, reader view, signed extensions
– xCode 4 also demo’d at WWDC
– All Things D D8 Conference video – full length Steve Jobs vid
46:56 – Adobe Digital Publishing Platform
– magazine viewer technology is but one step in Adobe’s overarching Digital Publishing Platform effort, which will eventually extend to cross-platform app delivery of magazines, books, newpapers, and retail catalogs, but which for now is limited to one magazine on the iPad.
– We expect to use this technology to deliver more of our publications over the coming months,” said Thomas Wallace, editorial director of Condé Nast, Wired’s parent company
– Adobe says that the Digital Publishing Platform will be based on a combination of its Creative Suite 5, which it launched in April of this year, and technologies from the “web analytics and online business optimization software and services” company Omniture, which it acquired for $1.8bn last October. At its creative core is Adobe’s latest version of its QuarkXPress-killer, InDesign CS5.
– The magazine viewer software has not yet been released to developers, but according to Adobe’s Digital Publishing Platform roadmap (PDF), it’s due this summer at Adobe Labs.
– And, no, Apple isn’t making a Flash exception by allowing the Wired app into its App Store store. The Digital Publishing Platform generates applications in Objective C, as per Apple’s demands.
– Ambitious and potentially market grabbing move by Adobe – should Apple not have been doing this alongside announcement of iPad – everyone expected it
50:20 – Green Tech
– No note on pricing but should be available by the end of the year.
– Is this an improvement on existing dynamo/chargers already on the market?
– Orange Power Wellies
– Coverts heat from your feet into electricity
– Ideal for Glastonbury

Lego Printer
– A fully functioning lego printer! Superb. Complete with lego foremen sitting at control stations and lego horses turning cogs!
– Henry – online Flash based presentation tool. A way to put an end to death by powerpoint?

iPad Walls
– Great site for iPad wallpapers

Recommended iPad App’s

It’s only been out in the UK for a few days but there is already a great range of software available for the iPad. Here’s our top picks from the app store.

Air Video

Air Video is an app for viewing video content stored on your local Mac. Once the helper app is installed on your Mac you setup shares to your video folders, in my case movies and tv. Via the iPad app you can then browse to the folder and select a video to watch. Playback is crisp and it makes for a great viewing platform. The real magic is that Air Display will do queued conversions of video files including mkv’s. If that wasn’t enough it also does live conversions. Pick an mkv, wait a few seconds and playback begins. The quality is excellent and again playback is smooth. If you have any video content stored on a Mac this really is an essential iPad app especially considering the price is £1.59. Bargain.
Continue reading Recommended iPad App’s

iPad Review

It’s one week since I got my grubby little paws on the iPad. So whats the verdict? How does it feel? Is it worth it? As usual with Apple the packaging is excellent and without much fuss you’ve got the iPad out of the box and switched on. It comes pre-charged (around 85%) so you can switch on and use the iPad straight away.

It feels great in the hand but heavier than I expected, although considering it’s metal and glass with two large batteries in it thats no real surprise. The screen is clear and has a great viewing angle. Photo’s really pop on the screen – it’s a great device for viewing and sharing photo’s with. However it’s very reflective – I’ve not had a problem in finding a position for me to view the screen but it can be difficult when demoing to others. It’s also a fingerprint magnet. You really do need to carry around a small screen cloth for when it gets gunked up especially when everyone wants a shot of your iPad. I’ve not had another device that so many people want to touch and play with. Almost all walk away with an envious grin.

Anyway, back to the review. The first launch will allow you to play with the default app’s. Straight away you notice how fast this is – web pages load quickly but pinch to zoom on a web page, photo’s etc is instantly responsive. Everything on the iPad feels so much quicker compared to the 3GS. Using a touch screen of this size also makes certain tasks easier/quicker. Browsing, viewing photo’s, video scrubbing is a very intuitive action on the iPad. It doesn’t take to long though before you want to put your content on it – your videos, music and most importantly, your app’s. Enter the iPad’s achilles heel – iTunes.

Plugging the iPad into iTunes for the first time was painful. Not only is the first sync slow as it transfers over selected music, video’s etc but unless you uncheck app’s it will transfer over every iPad AND iPhone app in your library. For me that was a lot of app’s. It also meant a lot of app’s to remove as I don’t really want many of the iPhone app’s on the iPad. After around an hour of syncing I’d realised the error of my ways. Two options to remove the app’s. I could remove the app’s one at a time on the iPad but surely there was an easier way in iTunes – filter by iPad or iPhone for example? No. I had to check each app individually that I wanted to remove. iPad and iPhone app’s were grouped together in one list. Uggghhhh – nasty. After I’d re-synced I was up and running.

With the app’s installed the iPad was transformed. I think it’s a great device for consuming content – video’s look great and books, magazines and comics are very readable. After using the iPad it’s even more of a surprise that the iPad launch didn’t come with some magazine content software like iBooks for books and iTunes for music and video. I’ve mentioned that iTunes word again. Another -ve is the file management that Apple have introduced for the iPad. In the App’s section of your device within iTunes there is now a File Sharing option. Select the app in the left hand box and either upload content or save content from the iPad.

This is only available when the iPad is hooked up to your machine. It’s a clunky solution to file management and one that I hope is addressed soon. You can’t create folders of content, it’s not browsable from Finder and it screams out for something new. I can’t believe that the Apple iPad apps (Keynote, Numbers and Pages) don’t have some built in synchronisation to Mobile Me, never mind to something like DropBox. GoodReader allows you to connect wirelessly to a PC or Mac and content can then be uploaded with ease – why can’t Apple offer that as a default option for all app’s? In fact, where is wireless sync?

This is even more frustrating as my iMac won’t charge the iPad. It turns out that you need quite a lot of current to charge the iPad so there area lot of devices that won’t charge the iPad via USB. So when I’m connecting to sync data the iPad isn’t being charged! I only hope that Apple, maybe even on June 7th, will announce some serious improvements to their cloud services. MobileMe doesn’t justify the yearly fee and beta offering just doesn’t cut it. MobileMe/iDisk isn’t even available for the iPad as an app which is a serious omission or a sign that something new is coming soon. If they offered a service like DropBox, coupled with 20GB instead of 2GB, serious integration with iPad and iPhones and wireless sync, possibly to a cloud based iTunes then I’d be delighted. Without it, Google is in a really strong position as Android has caught up with iPhone OS.

Thankfully the battery life is excellent. The tech spec’s quoted 10 hours and it really is that good. I’ve used the iPad extensively over the last week and only had to charge it once. That partly explains the weight but it also means the iPad is a great replacement for a laptop for those frequent travellers. One hardware feature not yet mentioned is wi-fi or 3G? I spent a long time debating which iPad version to buy as the 3G version is £100 more expensive. One option was to go the mi-fi route but I eventually plumped for 3G and I’m glad I did. The iPad without connectivity is an empty experience and although the 3G route is more pricey, it’s far more convenient and makes it a take anywhere device. We’ll have a post up soon comparing the various 3G and wi-fi options but I’d really advise getting the 3G version or at least budgeting for a mi-fi.

The iPad comes with only a USB connector. No headphones, no dock and no case. Apple really likes to sting you with add-ons! The first thing I needed was a case. I would be travelling with the iPad and wanted to protect the screen. I picked up an Incase Convertible Book Jacket at launch but that was quickly returned. The iPad slips out slightly in this case and reviews from America show that this only gets worse with time. I plumped for the standard Apple case which is a lot better than it initially felt. It’s a snug fit, gives access to all ports and protects the iPad without adding much bulk which was another annoyance with the Incase. Connectivity is covered by picking up the Camera Connection Kit. This connects to the dock connector and gives you a USB or SD slot. I use it to download images from the Canon 550D – I can view images on the iPad and even do a first pass sort on images I want to delete before heading back home. More surprising is that there are a number of other USB devices it supports – headphones and mic’s for example are supported depending on how much power they require.

As for the dock, it’s pretty disappointing. Well, thats probably not fair. If you are using the iPad without a sleeve the dock is good. Stable and sturdy, about it’s only downside is that it forces you to use the iPad in portrait mode only. However with a sleeve fitted the dock is unusable and the Apple sleeve isn’t easy to remove. So I’ll be returning my dock. In it’s place I’ve been using the
BookArc for iPad from Twelve South. This allows the iPad to be stored in portrait or landscape with the dock cable attached. Also, the insert that holds the iPad can be changed to one that allows for an iPad with an Apple case to be held in position. This is great for watching video tutorials on the iPad while working on the iMac or for looking up manuals keeping the iMac screen clear. Using the iPad for creating content is actually very good. In landscape mode, the keyboard is almost the same size as a normal keyboard and I’ve created this post mostly on the iPad along with a few other posts recently. Sound is also a lot louder than iPhone’s/iPod’s. You can feel a slight vibration from the bass and it means around the house there are is no need for headphones. One little niggle – the home button is the same size as the home button on the iPhone. I find it’s easy to lose where it is – top or bottom, which side etc as you move from portrait to landscape to suit the app your using.

So, the final verdict. Can the iPad replace a computer? If not, what’s missing? The iPad needs a computer to work – thats the only way to get software updates and backup the device fully. It also can’t print although that allegedly is coming soon. While it’s not a computer replacement it’s a great computer supplement. If you’ve currently got a desktop and laptop then I can see the iPad acting as a laptop replacement for the majority of users. It’s a great couch device, perfect for use in front of the TV. Quiet, cool, long battery life and with a screen large enough to do around 80-90% of my laptop tasks. Surf, e-mail, game, watch videos, read books and magazines, look up IMDB, buy your shopping, listen to audio – the list goes on.

It’s been a great purchase for me and the surprising result is that the new iPhone isn’t the stick on it once was. If I’ve got some spare time it’s the iPad, not the iPhone I reach for. If I’m at the airport it’s the iPad not the iPhone I reach for. It’s not without shortcomings, especially around file management, but for a device only a week old it’s got a surprisingly large software library that makes great use of the platform. This will only get better with the upcoming iPhone OS4.0 release later this year and hopefully an improved cloud solution from Apple. So have you bought an iPad? What did you like/dislike – leave a comment and let us know.