We’re just hours away from one of the biggest announcements Apple will make this year. Riding on a tsunami of rumours and speculations, the new iPad will make its global debut in San Francisco at 10AM PST on Wednesday, March 7 or 2AM on Thursday, March 8, our time. We’ll be up to catch the latest and you’re up for it here are the live blogs we recommend you follow.
The tablet market has changed a lot since the original iPad entered the stage, but at the same time, in some respects, nothing much has changed either. Apple’s wonder tablet is still an undeniable dominant force in the market and despite the onslaught of Android slates bringing much variety and choice to the scene, nothing in the market comes close to offering the perfect mix of hardware, software and ecosystem in the tablet form-factor than the iPad. The iPad is indeed an iconic device.
But it would seem with each new version, Apple is finding it hard to create the next killer feature for the iPad. The iPad 2 drew a lot of criticism precisely because of this. Even if the new iPad is going to look very much like the iPad 2 with very little difference in terms of hardware – save for a higher resolution screen and a faster CPU/GPU combo, all of which are already present in the latest range of Android tablets – the new iPad sales figures will still be phenomenal, possibly topping the massive sales of the iPad 2. This is because there is, simply, no real competitor to what Apple can offer, not from the Android camp at least.
Yes, Android tablets are superior in terms of hardware but in terms of delivering the whole tablet experience, Honeycomb has failed to live up to its potential. Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich that promises a more integrated user experience on smartphones and tablets, have not made much on an impact either. Interestingly, for those who are looking for an alternative, hope comes from an unlikely source – Microsoft.
We won’t even try to attempt to mask our excitement about this refreshed innovative movement from Microsoft. The Redmond giant has – for the most part – made all the right moves especially with Windows 8. The new OS offers a glimpse of Microsoft’s new future and it looks enticingly good. With Windows 8 comes the promise of a truly seamless user experience across devices be it smartphone, tablet of computer – this is the future of computing.
Apple is heading towards a similar direction trying to create a bridge to cover the gap between its Mac OS and iOS platforms but in our opinion, no other operating system paints a more cohesive picture than Microsoft with Windows 8. And this will be the biggest threat to Apple’s dominance in the tablet market. Of course whether Microsoft can deliver on this promise remains to be seen and the recently released Windows 8 Consumer Preview for the PC has drawn a mixed bag of reactions from experts and regular users alike.
But despite the mixed reaction, the positive vibe is unavoidable. Microsoft has proven itself to be a company that can change and surprise users with wonderment. What’s left for Microsoft to do now is to show that it can follow through and continue to innovate. Apple will tell you, that that is not going to be easy.
So while the world gets itself ready to go into a mass iPad buying frenzy, we’d wait till the dust settles and till the hype dies down to see what Microsoft has up its sleeve before making a decision.
Hotlink, Maxis’s prepaid brand today has revealed its new Bagus Plan that offers competitive rates. To get started, they are offering the starter pack at RM5 which doesn’t come with pre-loaded talk time and credit.
What’s new is its Bagus 5 Pass which offers lowered rates upon activation. For just RM5, you get to enjoy as low as 12 sen/min for Maxis to Maxis calls and 18 sen/min to call other networks. For SMS, Bagus 5 Pass charges 1 sen/SMS to Maxis and 10 sen/SMS to other networks. As limited time promo, the Bagus 5 Pass comes with free 10MB of data.
Upon activation of this Bagus 5 Pass, the RM5 is not burnt but instead transferred to a “Bagus 5 account” which is utilised for actual talk time at reduced rates. After finishing this credit, you will be charged the normal rate. You can only activate one Bagus 5 Pass per day and it is valid for up to a maximum of 3 days. To activate, just dial *100#, select Hotlink specials and select Bagus Pass.
For Hotlink users from other plans, you can change over to Bagus Plan by dialling *108*21#. RM1 fee will be charged for upgrading.
Yes Android users, the Android Market (along with other services like Google Music and Google eBookstore) is no more, in its place Google has created a service called “Google Play” where you get apps, games, movies, music and books, all in one place.
Google would like you to think of Google Play as your “digital entertainment destination” and while you might not see much of a difference in the Android Market at the moment, in the coming days, the Android Market icon will change to “Google Play Store” icon.
Google Play is Google’s attempt to bringing some serious threat to Apple’s dominant iTunes service for music and video and also to compete more aggressively with Amazon’s Kindle service allowing users to access content seamlessly across platforms be it on their Android device or the Web.
Unfortunately though most of the great features on Google Play are – at the moment – not available to Malaysian users, this is because beyond apps, there are really not much else we can purchase online via the service. Content like music, videos and books are not available for most Malaysians to purchase online. This is mostly because of copyrights issues that need to be sorted out. For now, we can only hope for the ability to purchase content online come to Malaysia soon.
In any case, to celebrate the launch of Google Play, Google is offering massive discounts for a lot of great apps like “World of Goo” (US$0.49) and “Where’s My Water?” (US$0.25). The SwiftKey X Keyboard is also on offer going for US$0.49 in conjunction with the launch of Google Play