Apple unveils the new, thinner, more powerful iPad Air 2 with Touch ID and a gold option

Yesterday, Apple revealed the next generation of it full-sized iPad Air, the iPad Air 2 along with its smaller sibling the iPad Mini 3 (with Retina), at its event at Town Hall.

Apple CEO Tim Cook described the tablet as the perfect combination of simplicity and capability. “Beautifully simple on the outside, but packed with tech inside,” he said.

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He also touted figures showing that iPad sales were more than sales of computers from any of the top four PC manufacturers over the last 12 months. Phil Schiller, SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Apple, also brought on stage third party developers to help show off new photo and video-editing apps (Pixelmator and Replay respectively) running on the iPad Air 2 that previously would have required a high-end desktop computer to run.

To deliver the aforementioned performance, Apple has upgraded the processor inside the iPad to the new A8X chip, which is a more powerful version of the A8 cup found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. According to Apple, it’s 40% faster and that some apps will run twice as quick. It also claims a 2.5x increase in graphics performance. What wasn’t revealed is whether there’s more RAM in it than the 1GB available on the iPhoandne. Some examination of the parts suggests the RAM has, in fact, been doubled to 2GB.

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According to Schiller, the new iPad Air 2 is 56% less reflective than the previous generation. This feat was accomplished by removing the “air gap” between the glass, the touchscreen layer and the panel itself and by adding an anti-reflective coating on top of it. “This is better than any tablet on the market,” says Schiller.

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Schiller also showed off the new thickness of the iPad Air 2, a mere 6.1mm. This is 18% thinner than the previous generation and less than half of the thickness of the first generation iPad, launched in 2010 (on left in the above comparison picture). Apple has also managed to trim .04 pounds off the weight of the iPad Air.

Apple has also upgraded the shooter of the new iPad with larger 1.5 micron pixels, slo-mo, time-lapse, burst mode and other software features already available for the iPhone. The front-facing camera has also been upgraded to allow better FaceTime-ing and better selfies.

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Another much awaited and much rumoured feature added to the iPad is the Touch ID feature allowing you to unlock your iPad just by touching the home button and giving your fingerprint. This feature can be used to make purchases on the iTunes Store as well as the new Apple Pay, though only via apps. Since the iPad Air 2 lacks the NFC chip needed to use Apple Pay at physical retailers, Apple Pay on the iPad won’t work there (unless the retailer allows you to pay with an app, not by swiping your device over a credit-card terminal).

Apple’s iPad Air 2 will be available in Space Gray, Gold, and Silver starting at just $499 for the 16GB model. Though, like the iPhone 6/Plus storage configurations the next tier jumps up to 64GB for $599 and 128GB for $699.

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Where the iPad Air 2 seems to have grown by leaps and bounds over its predecessor, the iPad Mini 3 seems to be just like the Mini 2 repackaged with a new Touch ID sensor and a gold colour option.  It was the most disappointing product to be unveiled at the event. All of the internal specifications match its predecessor, but it’ll also be available in Gold. That being said, you can pickup an iPad mini 2 for only $299 now. If you need to have Touch ID or fancy the color gold, you’ll have to shell out $399 for the iPad mini 3.

How to watch Apple’s iPad and Mac Event on Mac and Windows

Just under a month after it’s last event, Apple is here with yet another event which is set to reveal updates to the iPad and Mac product lines.

Mac

The live stream will require Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Mac and iOS users can stream the event through Apple’s website here when it kicks off at 10 a.m. PDT tomorrow.

Apple TV

Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later.

Windows

Like the iPhone 6/ Apple Watch event, Apple’s iPad/Mac Oct. 16 press event won’t be streaming on Windows and will requires Safari on a Mac, iOS device or an Apple TV. That means that Windows users will have to figure how to get the stream going using the workaround (via 9to5Mac).

You’ll need to download VLC player and check back here tomorrow for the final streaming link to complete the instructions:

  1. Download VLC Player from here: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html
  2. Install it.
  3. Open VLC. Click Media (top left) > Open Network Stream.
  4. You will see this screen:
    ss+(2014-09-08+at+06.53.18)
  5. Paste this link into that field: http://p.events-delivery.apple.com.edgesuite.net/14pounqefvoiubefvpiub10/m3u8/atv_mvp.m3u8
  6. An “Unable to open the MRU file …”  will appear until the stream has started.

Apple is expected to unveil a new iPad Air, iPad mini, and Retina iMac alongside a possible Retina MacBook Air and a release date for OS X Yosemite. 

Apple sends out invites for its iPad and Mac event on October 16th

Apple has recently announced that it will be hosting a keynote address on Thursday, October 16th at the Town Hall auditorium on its Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, CA. Invitations to select members of the media and special guests indicate that the event will, as always, begin at 10 AM Pacific time/1 PM Eastern Time.

As the second Apple event this fall, the Cupertino-giant will likely use its smaller, home court stage to debut updates to its iPad and Mac lines…

Continue reading Apple sends out invites for its iPad and Mac event on October 16th

Three weeks in, Here’s our Review of the Digiflip Pro XT712, Flipkart’s own Android tablet

Flipkart had recently released its first tablet device, the Digiflip Pro XT 712, offering lots and lots of offers on Launch Day. Given the tablet’s hardware specs and its price, as compared to other companies’ tablets, we pounced on it on Launch Day itself. Check out the Unboxing video below:

Excited, I used the tablet as my sole internet consumption device as well as voice-calling device for the past three weeks. The tablet performed almost up to but not beyond my expectations.

Design

The tablet has a nice design enough design. The back has a matt finish with a Digiflip brand logo in the middle. Also on the back are the 5MP primary camera in the top left accompanied by a single LED flash and a the speaker grille at bottom-middle. The company has also marked certain ports and buttons on the actual cover rather than the buttons themselves like the audio jack, mic, volume rockers, etc..

digiflip-pro-xt-712-400x400-imadxegqazap7ykv

A nice touch is the already installed screen protector which protects the glossy display of the Pro XT712 from scratches. The front of the tablet is dominated by the 7-inch display of the tablet. It is accompanied by the 2MP secondary camera, light and proximity sensors.

After a while of using the tablet solely, I didn’t quite feel the weight of the tablet as overwhelming as I felt it the first time. Though the display measures in at 7 inches diagonally, the whole tablet actually comes off to around 8 inches. The tablet can be held single-handedly, though not for anything other than unlocking and/or scrolling through text. For everything else, you have to use it with two hands.

Another drawback of the tablet is its back panel/cover for fitting in a Micro SD card or SIM, which is very fragile and flimsy. Also, the lock button is on the left which might upset right-handed people. Another source of frustration might be the boot up splash video which keeps on running, on loop, until the tablet is ready for use

Performance

The tablet performed good enough for its price. At ₹9999, you get a 7-inch tablet with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM, accompanied by the Mali-400MP2 GPU clocked at 500MHz. The company does not disclose that the processor used is manufactured by MediaTek.

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Benchmarks-wise, it got a score of 15535 on AnTuTu Benchmark. Though, the score did fall by about a hundred when apps were added to it.

It comes pre-loaded with five apps: Flipkart, Flipkart eBooks, Adobe Flash, MX Player and Facebook.

The tablet gets unbearably hot after just half an hour of playing a graphics-intensive game. While you’re playing a casual game, the tablet will still become hot but only after about an hour or so, and you know you should not be playing that long.

The tablet lasts about 7-8 hours on a full charge idly. While watching a HD movie, the playback was smooth but the battery percentage dropped from a full 100% to 86% in just an hour! Also, the sound quality of the tablet while listening to music very sub-par.

Another drawback which I came across was a lag in starting up. While its was fine for the first week, the next week when I started putting all kinds of apps on it, the tab started to lag, for a good 3-4 seconds, while the display was switched on from sleep.

Camera performance is another one of its downsides, with a lot of noise. By comparison, a Samsung with 3.2 MP primary camera performs better. Its no the number of pixels but the quality of camera sensor which is more important.

Software

The tablet runs on stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which is two generations older than 4.4 KitKat. There’s a slight UI change due to which when you pull the notification bar down from the left, it shows all your notifications and when you do it from the right, it shows all your toggles. It also lacks a built-in Battery Saver Mode toggle, found in many other of its contemporaries.

In-the-box Accessories

Along with the tablet, you are provided with a nice charger with a very sturdy and thick USB cable, a pair of sub-par cheap earphones, a USB On-the-go cable and a very small auxiliary cable. While the headphones worked fine for calling, they performed decently for listening to music, though only on the tablet. The headphones don’t work with other devices like iPods.

Also, the applied screen protector had lots of bubbles under it and was scratched but that might just be for the piece delivered to us. The touch did get a little messy after about a couple of weeks’ use due to it though.

[You can check out all the accessories in the unboxing video above as well. Do subscribe to us on YouTube as well. Thanks!!]

Round Up

Pros

  • Nice Build Quality
  • A Quad-core processor
  • Sturdy Charger with thick USB cable
  • Feels light enough to hold in one hand
  • Good enough display

Cons

  • Older version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2.2)
  • Sub-par bundled headphones
  • Short USB Cable
  • Poorly applied screen protector
  • Large Bezels
  • Difficult to use single handedly
  • Lags after weeks of daily use, tends to get slow
  • Poor Sound Quality

Overall, the tablet is a nice one for ₹ 10k and performs according to its price. As can be seen, the cons outweigh the pros significantly.

Thus, we would advice you to

Buy It if you have a budget of ₹ 10,000 and want a starter, not very powerful Android tablet.

Leave It If you are looking for a powerful budget tablet device. Power does not come cheap. Save some more money and buy a better tablet.


NOTE: We got the tablet on “Try and Buy,” the offer is no longer available. We also got a Plantronics ML2 headset free with it. That Offer is also no longer available.


 

iBM – An Unexpected Partnership between Apple and IBM

On Tuesday, Apple and IBM announced a partnership which will see the companies collaborate to bring over 100 enterprise apps & cloud services to the iPhone and iPad and launch a new AppleCare service specifically for enterprise customers. The products will be branded “IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions” and IBM will also soon sell iPhones and iPads to enterprise customers along with the new services:

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

There’s no question that the business sector has been increasingly looking towards Apple products, especially after with BlackBerry’s fall from grace, but with a partnership having just been made with IBM, that consumer-level fanaticism over the iPhone and iPad will do Apple’s pursuit in the lucrative field of enterprise very little harm.

As well as bringing “more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions” to Apple’s iOS device range, IBM will bake in many of its cloud-based functions, and given that IBM is renowned for providing robust, secure and trustworthy services that companies can rely upon, Apple’s stock among businesses would have automatically shot up as a result of this deal alone… Continue reading iBM – An Unexpected Partnership between Apple and IBM

Flipkart launches its own quad-core voice-calling 7-inch tablet under the Digiflip brand

As if there weren’t enough budget tablets to choose from, the people at Flipkart have now released their own tablet under their own brand of Digiflip.

Christened the Digiflip Pro XT 712, the tablet offers a lot of what its other bigwig competitors like HP, Lenovo and Samsung offer at a higher price. The tablet comes with a 1.3GHz Cortex A7 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, a Mali400 MP2 GPU clocked in at 500MHz and a 3000 mAh battery under the hood.

Flipkart Digiflip Pro comparison
A quick comparison with similarly specced tablets from bigger brands with the Digiflip Pro, put up by Flipkart themselves.

 

It also sports a 7-inch HD IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 216 PPI which is good enough for the price. The tablet also features a 5 MP primary camera with an LED Flash as well as a 2MP secondary camera for video chatting and the selfie sessions and also comes loaded with an accelerometer, a light sensor and a proximity sensor.

The tablet features various connectivity features like Dual SIM, 2G, 3G, WiFi and also touts Voice Calling as one of its main features with a promise of up to 8 hours of talk time and a week of standby time, the reality of which will be tested in the coming week as we get our test unit.

The tablet has 16GB of internal storage, of which approximately 13GB is user-accessible. It also comes pre-installed with the Flipkart eBooks app as well as the Flipkart app for shopping from the e-retailer.

One downside of the tablet is that it runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which was released over an year ago! There is no information regarding whether the device is upgradeable to the current version 4.0 KitKat or the upcoming version 5.0, called ‘L.’

Flipkart seems to be pushing its new tablet with the help of launch time offers and other lucrative deals including free eBooks worth Rs 2000 and shopping benefits worth Rs 5,000 along with purchase of the tablet.Also, the company is offering a 50 per cent discount on its cover that comes separately for Rs 799 and a bluetooth headset worth ₹1199 for free.

While the deals may tempt you, but a buying decision should not be taken at the cost of your primary product itself. For which the company is also offering a “Try-and-Buy” deal according to which you can try the tablet and return it within 30 days if you are not comfortable using it and get a refund. This offer is for limited period only, so we recommend if you want to try this product, you should go for it right now! The White version has already sold out but is still open for booking and will be back in stock in about 10 to 20 days!

We will post a more detailed review of this device once we get our hands on one!

Microsoft leaks its Surface Mini in Pro’s user manual

When Microsoft announced its Surface Pro 3 back in May, everyone expected a new Surface Mini tablet to accompany it. Although we didn’t get one, it seems the device was (still is?) definitely a part of Microsoft’s plans. The Surface Mini has been mentioned numerous times in an official Surface Pro 3 user manual that was published online.

It’s been reported that Microsoft axed its plans to announce the Surface Mini just days before its May 20 event in New York City. It’s still unclear why that happened, or whether the device will be unveiled at a later date. But with no Surface RT part of Microsoft’s future plans, it seems feasible to think that the Surface Mini could take its place.

 

“You’ll pair your new pen with Surface Mini a little later during setup,” reads the Microsoft user manual, in reference to Surface Pen setup.

 

The device is also mentioned in a section on using OneNote, and another on the rotation lock feature in Windows 8, The Verge reports. However, it seems the online manual has now been pulled.

If the Surface Mini does come to fruition, it will probably be powered by Windows 8 RT and carry a comparably more affordable price tag enabling Microsoft to compete with rival tablets such as the iPad mini. The cheapest Surface Pro 3 will cost you a whopping $799, while last year’s Surface 2 starts at $449. The latest iPad mini, on the other hand, starts at just $399.

Apple releases iOS 8 beta 2 along with new Apple TV OS update

Two weeks after the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference and the release of the first beta build of iOS 8 to developers, Apple has released the iOS 8 beta 2 to developers. The new release is available over-the-air in iOS 8’s Settings menu, and it’s available for supported iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches.

iOS 8 officially launches this fall and includes several new features for both consumers and developers alike. iOS Device users will experience a new Health app for integrating health and fitness data from different wearables, improvements to Safari, enhanced Messages features, design tweaks in Mail, and significant changes to notifications, photo management, and the keyboard. Developers will now be able to create and embed third-party keyboards, integrate the Touch ID fingerprint scanner into apps, and integrate third-party home automation products with iOS.

Here are the consumer focussed changes to the UI, etc.:

Continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 2 along with new Apple TV OS update

New iPad Air featuring 8MP rear camera and a more efficient A8 chip to enter production this month

Apple is reportedly set to begin production of its next-generation iPad Air this month with display components going into mass production in the middle of this month and components such as the processor and camera sensors going into production next month. The design of the sixth-generation full-sized iPad will mimic that of the current model and the display resolution will stay at 2048 x 1536, according to ETNews.

The new iPad Air will feature a more advanced A8 processor, which sources previously noted focuses on efficiency and battery performance for the iPhone (likely for the iPad too):

Sources also say that Apple has developed a new A8 system-on-a-chip for the next iPhone that focuses on marginal speed improvements rather than core architectural changes, but adds significant performance and efficiency enhancements in order to improve the iPhone’s battery life. With a larger, higher-resolution display combined with the next iPhone’s far thinner body, the A8 chip will be essential to maintaining the seamless, fluid iPhone experience that Apple prides itself on.

The new rear-camera is expected to move from a 5 megapixel sensor to an 8 megapixel sensor (which would bring the tablet in line with the current crop of iPhones), and the front camera might make the jump from 1.2 megapixels to 1.5 megapixels. That’s a small jump on paper, but will likely make significant improvements in the quality of FaceTime calls as well as Photo Booth selfies. The iPhone still beats the iPad in the camera department with its True Tone dual-LED flash, Burst Mode, and Slow-Mo video capture mode, so perhaps Apple might also bring further parity in those areas upon launching the new iPad Air.

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The current iPad Air model features a 5MP iSight Camera as seen above

While this report does not mention Touch ID, we’re expecting the new iPad Air’s main selling point to be the addition of the fingerprint scanner in the Home button. As Apple launches iOS 8 with new Touch ID APIs for developers, Apple will want to spread the technology across its high-end device lineup.

On the other sides of the iPad line, Apple is also working on a new iPad mini with similar upgrades as well as a larger model with split-screen app multitasking. We’re expecting at least the new iPad Air and Mini to hit sometime this fall, but the launch timeframe on the rumoured larger “Pro” model is not as clear.

Perhaps indicating that the new iPad Air and Mini models will be hitting the marketplace sooner rather than later, the devices are already seeing some significant discounts from big name retailers.

Tim Cook shares video of ‘stunning’ new Apple Store to open in Ometosando, Tokyo tomorrow

Tim Cook has shared a video on Twitter of Apple’s preparations for the June 13th grand opening of the Omotesando, Tokyo Apple Store.

The video is just under a minute long, but it does provide some perspective into the lengths that Apple takes to prepare stores for their openings. Check out the video below: