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#709: iPademonium (continued), iPhone OS 4

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

A federal appeals court ruled today that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can selectively limit the speed of certain types of internet traffic. In this blow for advocates of “Net Neutrality,” companies like Comcast and Verizon will be able to throttle download speeds and access itself to sites of their choosing, particularly those serving large files like Hulu and YouTube. This also includes large downloads from the likes of the iTunes Music Store, and opens up the option to charge more for heavy users.

As Comcast moves ahead in its attempt to acquire the majority of NBC Universal, the threat of one company controlling distribution and content is clear. Theoretically, this new corporation could restrict or dramatically slow access to competing television networks and internet service providers.

What a shame.

But hey, we’ve got iPads and they’re flying off the shelves. I’m smitten with mine, as you’ll gather from my first impressions below. I’m proud to announce that Small Dog is one of a few select service providers authorized to repair the devices, so if your iPad is acting up—even if you didn’t buy it from us—we can take care of it with the same skill and verve applied to Macs.

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Tip of the Week: Special Characters on iPhone OS (including iPad)  
   
 

While it’s true that the interface for the iPad is amazingly intuitive, its simplicity can sometimes hide a number of important advanced features. One such feature I recently discovered is the ability to type accent marks with the on-screen keyboard. This feature is part of the keyboard, not a particular app, so it can be used with Mail, Notes or even Pages.

To type a letter with an accent, simply hold your finger down on the letter for a second or two, and a number of options will appear. While still holding down your finger, just slide to the accented letter you want and release. It’s that simple to type è, ñ, or even ü. Try holding down other buttons on the keyboard and see what happens. As another example, try holding down the “.com” button in the safari keyboard. It will give you options for other suffixes like “.org” or “.edu.”

These options are incredibly useful and I honestly had no idea they were there until someone who needed them asked me how to get accents. I wonder what other hidden powers I can find in the iPad and iPhone OS.

Let me know what you’ve found! sebastian@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  iPad: My First Impressions  
   
 

I picked up an iPad Saturday at our Waitsfield store, and eagerly ripped open the box to start exploring. At first glance, the iPad really seems like little more than a giant iPod touch, but a few hours of use later the differences became apparent. I spent some time watching customers pick up the device and just start using it; the intuitive interface appeals to most everyone regardless of experience.

One customer had never used a Mac or an iPhone and was able to browse the web, view and email photos, and even search for books on the iBooks store without assistance. I only learned of her inexperience after she was done playing with it. It seems difficult to not buy one once one is in your hands.

I was initially frustrated at how long it took to prepare my iPhoto library for iPad. This processing took well over an hour on my top-of-the-line MacBook Pro, but I do have about 4,500 ten megapixel images to process. The photo album preview animation was the first feature I really thought of as magical, and the very fast processor makes browsing through a collection of photos a breeze; there truly is no comparison to flipping through a traditional “analog” photo album.

Had it not been 80 degree outside, I probably would’ve spent the entire afternoon playing with it. I realized by Sunday night that I had only used my MacBook Pro once since picking up the iPad. The battery is still on its original charge today.

Typing is very satisfying on the iPad, particularly in landscape mode. I found myself typing about 45 words per minute this morning according to an online speed test; after years of using an iPod touch I can barely reach 30 words per minute on the smaller screen.

Browsing the web truly is more immersive and satisfying on the iPad than on any other device. I don’t miss the flash-based websites—in fact, the lack of flash support seems to mean fewer ads are displayed. The one flash-intensive site I thought I’d miss is YouTube, but it has its own dedicated app that is a better way to consume the content anyway.

David Pogue of The New York Times probably put it best: “…[T]he iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it—books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on. For most people, manipulating these digital materials directly by touching them is a completely new experience—and a deeply satisfying one.”

That said, Apple has done a terrific job with the iWork apps. MobileMe integration is perfect and the iwork.com concept makes much more sense now that the iPad exists.

I cannot wait to see how this platform develops, and how the App Store and developer ecosystem evolves. It’s an exciting time.

Now, if only the iBooks store had more titles!

 
   
     
  iPhone OS 4.0: Coming Soon  
   
 

At the risk of overloading you with iPad information, I couldn’t resist mentioning the anticipated announcement of the next version of the iPhone operating system. The iPhone OS powers not only the iPhone, but also the iPod touch and iPad.

It is certainly true that there are justified gripes about the operating system itself, particularly the inability to multitask. It’s said that the new version of the OS will allow for multitasking (running more than one app at a time), which is a must-have feature, particularly on the iPad.

If customers want to adopt the iPad as a computer replacement, this is a must. Multitasking is a major distinguishing feature of Google’s Android system, an smartphone operating system; successfully implementing it on the iPhone will be big.

Apple press event is this Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time. Keep an eye out on our blog, Barkings and an in-depth analysis in this Friday’s Kibbles & Bytes.

 
   
     
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