iPhone 5 cometh…

With Apple’s conference confirmed on the 4th October, and the iPhone 5 all but a certainty, just what can we expect the new CEO Tim Cook to unveil to us? Here’s some of what we can be expecting from the conference next week.

iPhone 5

Maybe? Probably not...

The iPhone 5 is largely expected to undergo some kind of redesign in terms of the hardware. While it’s expected to look very much the same as the iPhone 4, the internals are expected to address the hazardous antennae issue which gave Apple so many headaches not long ago among other things which aim to generally give the new iPhone a bit more Oomph. Some speculation over the thickness of the handset has arisen, suggesting that the actual handset will be thinner and lighter than previous models. There has also been some comments over the phone’s screen size which is expected to increase to match the growing displays from rivals like Samsung and HTC. Personally I think Apple did well with the iPhone 4 in terms of design, it’s a usable size with little weight and feels good to hold so I can’t see any hugely outlandish overhauls in this field.

Some of the internal changes however aside from the antennae fix, will be big ones. It’s expected that thus iPhone will be made even faster, getting rid of the already short lags present in the current range of iPhones. It’s expected that with the larger screen, Apple will need to invest in much punchier processor power as well as some updates to the excellent Retina Display. Another internal change which would be welcome is the inclusion of an NFC chip, which would allow for contact-less payments to be made. Google already allows this in their own Nexus handsets, and last week activated the feature allowing people to pay for items with Google Wallet, through their smartphone and it’s expected that more and more Android handsets will begin carrying this soon. With PayPal already working on their own apps it makes some sense to do this. But we’ll have to see, Apple tend to wait until a method is more tried and tested.

There has also been some discussion around the possibility of the new iPhone being 4G, I personally don’t really see this as being a major deal breaker, most people won’t have anything above 3G connection and really don’t care much about 4G. So while this might be a bit of Future-proofing on Apple’s part, like the Thunderbolt connection on the new MacBook Air, it’s really not something to get excited about yet.

It will be an intersecting presentation, marking the first major product launch that Jobs hasn’t helmed. iOS5 will also be released to customers in and around, which looks set to add a host of new features to the iPhone. I for one, won’t be buying the new iPhone, I think the iPhone 4 with iOS5 will be able to do much of what the iPhone 5 will be packing.

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The Nokia N8 that stole my heart.

Everyone remembers Nokia as the handset we all owned, it was the ultimate cool symbol before phones got smart and is still renowned for their solid build and durable nature. In fact, you’ll still see many people wandering around with the old 3210! But while we remember the 3210, Nokia has come on leaps and bounds, launching it’s new flagship smartphone the N8 earlier this year.

Nokia 3210

The Nokia 3210, one of the old reliables

I’ve had the chance to play around with the N8 and I have to say it’s an impressive phone. All that I knew and loved about Nokia came flooding back, the N8 really is a winner and I almost considered swapping my iPhone for it (almost).

Once you pick up the N8 you’re instantly surprised by just how light it feels, weighing less than the iPhone it’s almost featherlight. It is a bit more bulky though, thicker than the iPhone 4 and still again that bit bigger than the 3G. This is mostly from the camera lens on the back, but I’ll get to that soon. On the looks, it’s a real contender. Very sleek and smooth, it looks and feels durable, much more so than any HTC phone or the iPhone. You really do feel like you could chuck it at a wall and pick it up and go on texting.

The Nokia N8

The very solid, very sleek N8!

The screen is slightly smaller than the iPhone, and the difference between the retina display and the N8’s AMOLED capacitive touch screen is noticeable, the N8 display when viewing text heavy websites is not the easiest to read. The screen is responsive though, you can glide around withe relative ease, again it doesn’t feel as smooth as the iPhone but you get used to it and it does feel just as comfortable. You’ll also notice a small feedback vibration at each tap, it’s nice but gets a bit old fast and I haven’t figured out how to switch it off.

The camera is the most impressive piece of this hardware, 12 megapixel it’s truly a monster, the quality is perfect and unmistakeable. Streets ahead of the iPhone, it’s worth the little bit extra bulk on the back. Personally I’m trying to figure out how e camera quality can actually be so good when squeezed into such a light handset, it has some echoes of a Mary Poppins handbag.

The battery is also pretty strong, I’ve been messing around with this for a few days now all on one charge, and it hasn’t made a peep about running even 50% power. WiFi ANC 3G capable with two cameras, one front facing for video calls and 16GB storage natively with room for up to 32GB more using an SD card.

What probably let’s the phone down the most is the software. Sum Ian just never daunt onto the smartphone Market and just couldn’t make the leap over, hence the attempted jump onto Meego with the N9 and the Microsoft deal earlier in the year.

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9, big attempt to refine the N8 design

There’s a lot to like about Symbian ^3, multi-tasking out of the box, a lot of focus given to mobile data with social networks, news feeds and mail all being accessible from the home screen from the moment you switch it on. While it’s a nice operating system, it’s just not as smooth as iOS or Android. There’s a clunkiness you just can’t ignore, and it can feel a little exerting navigating your way around.

The main problem for Symbian is that whereas the other two major OS’s were build from the ground up with smartphones in mind, Symbian is very much an evolution of older systems and seems to be slightly stuck in the days of Nokia’s dominance of the phone Market, before smartphones arrived on the scene. So the whole navigation structure is rigged towards what used to work on button based handsets. Another major gripe I’ve had is a lack of Mac compatibility, which took me a while to work around.

If you’re looking to download apps for your phone, the Ovi Store comes preloaded, and works very similar to the other app stores. The selection isn’t as wide, but it offers everything from apps to themes and ringtones for your phone, and it’s actually pretty easy to get around. There’s no Facebook or Twitter apps, but you can use MySocial, which is preloaded on the phone as a nice alternative.

Nokia Ovi store

The very handy, Nokia Ovi Store with over 1.7 million downloads daily

Overall the N8 is a winning handset. It looks good, feels good and is a joy to use. Mostly let down by the operating system which just doesn’t cut the mustard in the age of the iPhone. If Nokia want to keep ahead, they need to utilise their innovation in software, as it seems to be that the other handsets are using their ideas before they do. NFC Payments on phones are a good example, Nokia patented this ages ago, but there seems to be no plans to implement this on any handsets!

Software 5.5/10 – nice, but not wowed

Hardware 10/10 – solid, sleek and simple

Camera 10/10 – Stunning.

Overall 8.5/10 – great phone, pleasure to use.

What to Expect from the iPhone 5

It seems like just yesterday that we were all lining up outside stores for the iPhone 4, eagerly awaiting the newest of Apple’s smartphones. Now we’re beginning to speculate over the iPhone 5 which will apparently be the pinnacle of mobile technology.

It’s exected that the iPhone 5 will be released this summer, with a similar date to the iPhone 4, which means we in Ireland should be getting it sometime in early August.  It’s widely believed that there’s going to be a few big changes to the next generation of the world’s most famous handset and in Ireland, should be on all the main networks apart from HTC-tastic Meteor and Emobile.

So, some of the big changes which are being rumoured for the iPhone 5 are the new A5 chip, which is already being used in the iPad 2 so that one pretty much makes sense. Another bunch of changes being rumoured are a better camera, larger memory storage and in the long run the new iOS5 which could potentially be sometime around the iPhone 5 launch.

Some of the more interesting suggestions, which have been put forward, are that there will be two models brought out, one lower end which would be an iPhone Nano with a smaller screen and lower storage capacity and a larger screen version (possibly 5inches) to combat the growing popularity of the HTC Desire HD. This is all speculation, but does seem to fit into Apple looking to take on a more pro-active approach to combat the growth of Android. However, Apple still control one of the largest market shares and the largest app store so whether they really want to branch out beyond their niche is questionable.

Personally, I don’t think Apple will go for a lower-end model. It doesn’t fit in with Apple’s image, and they essentially control the niche market in which they inhabit. Is the iPhone 5 worth buying? Possibly. If you haven’t gotten the iPhone 4, you should definitely upgrade to the iPhone 5 and ditch your 3G/S but if you’re on the iPhone 4 I don’t really see any great advancements being made with the 5th generation.

 

9 Reasons not to buy an iPhone 5

9 Reasons not to buy the iPhone 5

Info graph on mobile usage in the modern world

Our portable world.
It’s easy to assume, walking into Starbucks or along the street and seeing people surfing the net on iPads and iPhones that the world is a pretty connected place. You’d be right, depending on where you’re living, theres no doubt that in Dublin, Paris, London, Tokyo etc. That the modern life is a networked one,

I recently came by this interesting info graph on the Nokia Conversations blog which actually reminded me of how really its not as connected as I always think! Its worth taking a peek at, of only to remind us how lucky we are to be well connected but also worth bearing in mind that the level of phone and data usage is increasing at an exponential rate across the world as the developing world comes more in line with the developed.

Nokia Mobile use

The mobile usage of the world

A book for every worm, combined with a gadget for every nerd

Since the first Kindle was brought out, e-readers have flooded the market, turning what was the reserve of the highly tech-savvy nerds who were going around with clunky PDA’s into something for the mainstream user, an electronic method of reading that appealed to everyone using some basic principles; strong battery life, competitive pricing and most of all convenience; the availability of ebooks which was stifling to the original models along with their technological constraints.

As readers of this blog will know, I own a Sony PRS-505. It’s a fantastic device, lightweight, comfortable to hold, good screen and it feels good and solid in your hand. There are some drawbacks, the basic memory isn’t strong (thought this can be fixed with the various SD cards on the market) it’s buttons are slightly all over the place which can be annoying and it has a general lack of connectivity; it just doesn’t like to play nice with other devices.

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iPhone 4, all the things you should know…

The long awaited day has finally arrived, yes, earlier this week Apple presented to the world the new iPhone 4, the biggest update to smart phones, well since the iphone itself was launched only three years ago.

The keynote given by Steve jobs the other day brushed over a few other updates, and omitted others, such as Safari 5 and general updates to the Mac mini line, all in between WiFi fails while trying to demonstrate sites on the iPhone.

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iPads reach 2million + and why Wired doesn’t get top marks…

It has been announced that Apple, expect to ship 8million iPads in 2010, roundly trumping all previous expectations.

With the successful launch of the iPad across the world, Apple is now confident that it can ship up to 8million units by the end of the year. Hoping to continue on it’s wave of popularity, the iPad is still the most wanted device, and is set to be upgraded in late June with the latest operating system, OS 4 which is also being released for the iPhone.

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