Just as Hoyun was writing about the keyboard for the iPad- the new MacBook Air was being announced. There's a 13" model, as is traditional for the MacBook Air, but now there's a smaller sibling, with an 11" screen, which would seem to compete directly with the iPad as they are similarly sized, and many people have complained that they can't do real work on their iPads because they don't like the on-screen keyboards.
The iPad and the MacBook Air, I believe, are very different beasts, and for the first time, I think I may be able to skip buying a new Mac product. The 11" MacBook Air weighs about a pound more than the iPad, at about 2.3 lbs. When you're lugging devices, that extra pound can feel significant. It's a very very nice netbook/notebook with a very thin, beautiful form, but without an optical drive, and smaller capacity SSD drive (64 or 128 GB), and just 2GB of RAM, it's a lot less computer than a MacBook Pro. With a full keyboard, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and multi-touch Trackpad, the MacBook Air is plenty powerful enough for most everything but video editing and gaming. It's a great choice if you prefer portability over power. And like most Apple products, it's sleek and stylish, an immediate head-turner.
The iPad is a great media player/internet device that can do some work if you're in a pinch. I love it because I use it to watch movies, read the news, and play with Apps. The super-simple interface makes it easy and fun and to use, even if you're a technophobe. It does just enough, and has great battery life, but it's not a computer replacement for me.
My recommendation? The MacBook Air is for you if you want it as a primary laptop computer- and don't mind the smaller screen and less power. It's the world's most impressive netbook, really. If you have a computer already, and want something lightweight for movies, music, games, and apps, go iPad. Even I can't justify having both.
Me: I sure wish the iPad had a real keyboard. Maybe I need a real keyboard attachment.
Other Me: But the iPad is an entertainment device, not meant to replace your laptop. This is what you always say to iPad naysayers.
Me: But if I had a real keyboard, then I could, in a pinch, do some work on it and send long, rambling emails without all those typos.
Other Me: What you're describing is a laptop, and you have one.
Me: How about one of those iPad cases with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard?
Other Me: Heavy to carry around. I thought you liked the sleekness of the iPad, the fact that you can carry it in your handbag.
Me: True. Sigh. The iPad itself is heavy enough as it is, even with no case. But I tried this one case with a real keyboard and it works great as a stand for watching movies. And in a pinch, I can . . .
Other Me: Hmm, right.
This week, Microsoft announced its newest mobile phone operating system, Windows Phone 7 (or wp7, informally). Along with partner AT&T, they also unveiled several phones that will complete the launch on November 8th in the U.S.
Touted by Microsoft as “less stop and stare, more glance and go,” wp7 is an elegant os that provides powerful integration of your work, family, and social life. Using a “hub” concept, wp7 creates dedicated destinations for like content, intended to speed up social networking and your life. Create a hub for your BFF and an icon shows up on your home screen – touch the icon and everything related to that person becomes available in one place – contact info, pictures, their latest Facebook updates, and so on. A hub can also organize things, like pictures – photos taken with the phone’s camera, online albums, Facebook photos, etc.
Microsoft has integrated Xbox LIVE and Zune into wp7, bringing in favorite gaming and media experiences. Although the Xbox LIVE is a “lite” version of what you have at home, it’s all very familiar territory. Sign in once to your LIVE account and you instantly see your avatar and can start playing games with your friends around the globe, earning points along the way (note that head-to-head play and voice features are still in development). Zune lets you access music and movies on the go.
Other notable features include a top-notch virtual keyboard / error correction experience, U-verse (AT&T specific), fast camera access, MS Office apps (I especially love the “I’ll be late” button in the Outlook calendar that lets you e-mail those you are meeting with to let them know you are a few minutes behind with just one tap), and automatic software updates.
AT&T will initially have 3 phones available, all priced at $199.99 with contract: the Samsung Focus will be available on November 8th, with the LG Quantum and the HTC Surround to follow shortly thereafter. T-Mobile will launch its wp7 lineup later in November, and Sprint will follow in 1Q of 2011. More to follow on the specific phones.
There is no doubt that I am phone obsessed. I mean does anyone else (that is not a drug dealer) have seven active cell phones? This phone-obsessed geek, who has been a staunch iPhone fan since day one and thinks Android is a clunky wannabe, gives wp7 a huge thumbs-up and will be impatiently waiting for November 8th. In the mean time, I’ll be prepping my address book for the initial sync.
We collect apps the way some people collect baseball cards. Some are downright wacky, some fun, some useful and one we use almost every day this time of year tells us where we parked our car at the mall.
For new parents stressed about the nursery there's now the Peaceful Nursery iPhone app. No, it's not a decorating tool but a how-to create an eco-friendly green, chemical-free haven.
The checklist for new parents is the best part:
...quick and easy shopping checklist of all the right items to buy for the nursery, along with tips about what to avoid, and an explanation of what chemicals are often found in each product. For example, polyurethane foam is often used in baby mattresses; as foam ages, it breaks down and releases flame-retardant chemicals into the air where baby, and parents, can breathe them. Buying an organic mattress or all natural bumper can give a new mom peace of mind. A paint guide, tips on everything from helping baby sleep to uses of color, and a section on how to arrange your nursery are also available, along with video insights from the app’s co-authors.
The Peaceful Nursery ($1.99) has versions compatible with iPhone 3 and iPhone 4, as well as iPod Touch.