Rumor: Apple Working on 7.85 inch iPads

Despite not having a very good track record, almost all reports by Digitimes make their way into mainstream technology blogs, however speculative they may be. Here’s the latest rumor by Digitimes – Apple is working on 7.85 inch iPads, which it will launch before the fourth quarter of 2012.

This isn’t the iPad 3, which is supposed to be launched in the first quarter of 2012, and is under production already.

Apparently, Apple is launching these smaller 7.85 inch iPads to compete with the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire, which is now the second most popular tablet after the iPad 2.

Apple is purchasing display panels from LG Display, as well as AU Optronics. Its supply partners are expected to start production after the second quarter of 2012.

Despite what all these rumors suggest, I find it hard to believe that Apple will indulge in any kind of price wars with Android tablet makers, especially when it is hardly able to meet the global demand for the iPad. It is already selling as many iPads as it can, and no other tablet has come even come close to challenging its dominance in the tablet space, not even the much hyped Kindle Fire, which is being slammed by reviewers.

Check out this report to see the impact of Apple’s iPad on the computing industry: How Apple’s iPad Disrupted an Entire Industry

Samsung Gets Cocky; Takes Potshots at Apple with Australian Galaxy Tab Launch Ads

After a long drawn battle with Apple in Australian courts, Samsung finally won the right to sell the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. It will now be able to cash in on the lucrative holiday sales period, after missing out on sales for months due to Apple’s temporary injunction on Galaxy Tab sales in Australia.

Samsung is now trying to make the most of its clash with Apple. It advertised the Samsung Galaxy Tab in an Australian newspaper as “The Tablet Apple Tried to Stop”.

Samsung also recently credited Apple for the increased media awareness of the Galaxy Tab, implying that it might result in increased sales of the Galaxy Tab.

“At the end of the day the media awareness certainly made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a household name compared to probably what it would’ve been based on the investment that we would’ve put into it from a marketing perspective,” said Samsung Australia’s Vice President of Telecommunications, Tyler McGee.

While it wasn’t exactly a David vs. Goliath scenario, Samsung was definitely the underdog here. And we all love to root for the underdog, don’t we?

What remains to be seen is if Samsung’s courtroom victory translates into actual sales.

Here’s a scan of the ad, courtesy Engadget:

Galaxy Tab Ad

Samsung Wins Against Apple in Australia; Free to Sell Galaxy Tabs

After a long drawn battle against Apple in Australia, Samsung has finally won, and is now free to import and sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. The decision came in Samsung’s favor just in time for the Christmas holiday season, which should help sales of the tablet.

The panel of judges dismissed Apple’s request for special leave to appeal a Federal Court decision which stated that the ban wasn’t terribly fairto Samsung.

Adding insult to injury, the court also ordered Apple to pay Samsung’s legal costs for the entire proceedings.

Samsung officially stated:

“Samsung Electronics Australia is pleased with today’s judgement by the High Court of Australia to deny Apple’s request to appeal the decision of the Full Court. The Full Court of Australia decision on 30 November clearly affirmed our view that Apple’s claims lack merit and that an injunction should not have been imposed on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.”

Apple’s hasn’t had a very good week, when it comes to lawsuits. Even Motorola won a patent ruling against Apple in Germany today, which could force Apple to pay licensing fees to Motorola to license a GPRS patent for its iPhone and iPad.

Samsung is involved in patent lawsuits with Apple in multiple countries across the world. It has also built up a $200 million war chest, specifically to fight Apple.

Galaxy Tab

Barnes & Noble Orders 1 Million Nook Tablets From Suppliers

Barnes & Noble had a surprise hit on its hands last year, when it launched the Nook Color ebook reader. No one knew it would become as popular as it did. It was probably the most popular tablet of 2010, after the Apple iPad.

Anyway, seeing the success of the Nook Color, and the potential of an inexpensive tablet, Amazon got into the game last month, with the Kindle Fire. It is expected to be the most popular Android tablet this year, in terms of sales.

Barnes & Noble have also announced the Nook Tablet, which is an upgraded version of the Nook Color with much better specifications. Presumably, it should become a hit too, as it is much better than the Nook Color, almost equal to the Kindle Fire, and half the price of the iPad 2.

According to a report by Digitimes, our favorite source for Taiwanese supplier intel, Barnes & Noble has already ordered and taken delivery of more than a million units of the Nook Tablet. While that’s much less than the estimated sales of the Amazon Kindle Fire, it’s still much more than most other tablets out there. B&N had originally ordered 800,000 tablets, but anticipating increased demand, they upped their order by 25%.

Now obviously, these are just orders, not actual sales, but these numbers do help us arrive at a ballpark estimate of what the sales numbers should look like.

Nook Tablet

Amazon Brings Christmas Wish Lists to Kindle Fire and iPad has announced Amazon Santa, a free app for Kindle Fire and iPad that makes it fun and easy for children and their parents to create holiday wish lists to share with friends, family, and maybe Santa Claus.


The app provides a visual creation experience to browse and search more than five-hundred thousand kid-friendly items. Kids and their parents can explore by a product category or type a search to find the perfect gift with just the tap of a finger. Parents can review or edit the list as needed, and share the same with the child’s family and friends to help them with their holiday shopping. While the app makes it fun, easy, and intuitive for kids to figure out exactly what they want, it would help parents to spend quality time with their kids to bring in the holidays.

“Sometimes Santa can use help sorting out what gifts to give everyone and this new app makes it easy and fun for kids to create their perfect Wish List.”

– Sam Hall, Director, Amazon Mobile.

The Amazon Santa app is available for free from the Amazon Appstore or from iTunes. Download: iPad | Kindle Fire

How Apple’s iPad Disrupted an Entire Industry

“The Enlarged iPod Touch”

When Apple unveiled the iPad in January 2010, the first reaction from most of us was one of ridicule. “It’s only a bigger iPhone / iPod Touch” is what I first thought. In a way, I was right, but the iPad was much more for most of its target user base.

It was a huge hit; Apple has sold more than 40 million iPads to date, generating more than $25 billion in revenue from its tablet business. It revived the almost dead tablet industry, which many had tried and failed to do before. Scores of Android tablets have been launched since the iPad’s launch, but most of them have failed miserably. Android for tablets – Honeycomb – was a major disappointment. Other tablet platforms did even worse. HP was forced to discontinue webOS as no one wanted to buy the HP TouchPad, not at the price it was originally launched at. Even the Blackberry Playbook by RIM has been a failure.

With the iPad, Apple has offered the best tablet experience, at a surprisingly (by Apple standards) low price. For an entire year, no one was able to beat Apple on price, which enabled Apple to capture a majority market share in the exploding tablet market with virtually no serious competition.

The Winners and the Losers

Apple has been the obvious winner, ringing up billions of dollars in sales, thanks to the iPad.

ARM has been another major winner. With the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010, Apple redefined two industries – smartphones and tablets. Even the standard smartphones and tablets available these days are much more powerful than the average computer was a decade ago. We now have quad-core tablets and dual-core smartphones, all of which have one common factor – ARM.

Most desktop and notebook processors are based on the X86 architecture, and are made by Intel. However, Intel’s chips have traditionally been power guzzlers, which is something you absolutely don’t want in any mobile device.

Almost every mobile chip is based on ARM’s reference designs, and manufactured by Qualcomm, Nvidia or Texas Instruments. Intel hasn’t yet been able to crack the mobile processor market. Its Atom processors failed miserably when it came to efficient power consumption and performance. It’s working on a new set of processors for tablets, and is trying to push the Ultrabook onto consumers, as an alternative to tablets. It even launched a $300 million fund to encourage manufacturers to build ultrabooks.

Apple iPad

Microsoft has been another casualty of the tablet revolution. It was late to the smartphone party with Windows Phone, and won’t be launching Windows 8 until mid-2012, leaving the market open for Apple and Google to conquer.

It has also been affected indirectly by the growing popularity of tablets. Desktop sales in the last couple years have almost plateaued, and even notebook sales have slowed down considerably.

As Windows sales account for a major portion of Microsoft’s revenues, and are directly linked to global desktop and notebook sales, Microsoft has seen a slump in its revenue growth in the past few quarters, which is expected to continue until the launch of Windows 8, which will run on tablets as well as computers.

According to a recent report by Bloomberg, even DRAM manufacturers have been facing losses as sales have decreased in lockstep with notebook sales.

On the other hand, flash memory manufacturers like Samsung have seen a jump in revenue, as flash memory is being increasingly used in tablets, smartphones and notebooks (thanks to the popularity of the MacBook Air, many notebook manufacturers have starting using SSDs).

Tablets may very well be the future of computing. Desktops are almost dead, and notebooks are becoming more and more like tablets – increasingly slim, portable and fast with flash storage and excellent battery life.

Winners: Apple, Samsung & ARM
Losers: Intel & Microsoft

TouchPad Firesale Makes HP Top Tablet Maker After Apple

When HP first launched the TouchPad, no one wanted it. However, when it discontinued it and tried to offload its entire TouchPad inventory in a firesale for just $99 a pop, everyone on the planet wanted one.

HP may have lost a ton of money in the firesale, but here’s some good news. According to a report by NPD, HP’s TouchPad was the most popular tablet after the iPad in the U.S tablet market, for the first three quarters of 2011.

HP TouchPad

While Apple sold close to 11 million iPads in the last quarter alone, around 1.2 million tablets were sold by all the other manufacturers combined, from January to October 2011.

Of those 1.2 million, HP managed to grab 17% share with the TouchPad, while the most popular Android tablet manufacturer, Samsung, captured a 16% share. I’m really surprised to see HP beat Samsung, but then Samsung’s tablet offerings were priced much higher than the TouchPad.

HP’s TouchPad firesale validated the fact that despite the tremendous popularity of the iPad, there is still a market for budget tablets. Amazon has already launched the Kindle Fire to capture a majority market share in that space.

Asus, Motorola and Acer trailed Samsung in the list. Hopefully, the coming year will be better for Android tablet manufacturers, considering that Android Ice Cream Sandwich tablets should be coming out soon.

Amazon to Launch 8.9 inch Kindle Fire in Q2 2012

Amazon recently launched the Kindle Fire, and by all measures, it has been a huge hit. It’s priced at just under $200, making it one of the cheapest tablets around. It is expected to sell nearly 4-5 million units in Q4 2011.

It may not be as good as the iPad, but it offers plenty of value to budget consumers who want a cheap tablet to read ebooks, watch videos, browse the web and maybe play with a few apps.

According to a report by Digitimes, Amazon is already working on the Kindle Fire 2. Rumors suggest that Amazon is developing 8.9 inch and 10.1 inch Kindle Fire models, and will be launching the 8.9 inch model first.

We don’t have any details about the exact specifications of either model, but they will presumably have slightly better specifications than the Kindle Fire, and Amazon will probably try to iron out all the bugs and issues with the first Kindle Fire before launching them.

Foxconn will also be manufacturing the future versions of the device, along with Quanta, the exclusive ODM for the Kindle Fire.

Maybe Apple should rethink its plans and create a cheaper iPad Mini, if it hasn’t already. With the operational expertise of Tim Cook and their hefty margins, it’s probably the only company that can bring a better device at a price of around $300. But then, they aren’t as willing as Amazon to sacrifice their margins. And they don’t need to.

iOS 5.0.1 IPSW Direct Download Links

Apple has started rolling out the much awaited iOS 5.0.1 to all iDevices including the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4S, along with the iPod Touch line-up.

Owners of the latest generation iPhone state that they have been getting horrible battery life from their phone, and that the phone is unable to last even half a day on standby!  With the release of iOS 5.0.1, Apple aims to fix the poor battery life issues faced by a majority of iPhone 4S owners.

Along with an improvement in battery life, the update also add multitasking gestures to the original iPad, and improves voice  recognition  a.k.a Siri for Australian iPhone 4S users. There should also be some improvements in iCloud document syncing as well. iDevice owners can update to iOS 5.0.1 either via OTA, or via iTunes. The OTA update weighs in a mere 44.6MB.

Alternatively, users can directly download the IPSW file and upgrade manually. iPhone 4S owners can download the IPSW file from here, while iPhone 4 GSM and CDMA owners should head over to this and this link, respectively. iPhone 3GS owners can find the required iOS 5.0.1 IPSW file here.

Original iPad owners can download the IPSW file from here, while Wi-Fi and GSM versions of iPad 2 owners can download the IPSW file from here and here. iPad 2 CDMA owners can download the IPSW file from here. Owners of 3rd and 4th gen iPod Touch should head over to this and this link.

Remote Control Your PC from Your iPad with Splashtop Remote!

OK, IT managers out there, listen up! If you want to make a real splash with your boss, then listen to what I am about to tell you. My boss came to me the other day and told me he was going on a trip. He was taking his iPad with him and he wanted to be able to access his files that reside on his work computer. Now, you know there are tons of ways to go about this. The first thing that came to mind was Dropbox. The problem with this was that I would either have to redirect his My Documents folder to his Dropbox folder, or he would have to move into there whatever files he thought he would need to access while he was away. I decided against this option. I did a little homework and came across a great app for the iPad called Splashtop Remote.

Splashtop Remote

Splashtop has developed several nice apps, including one previously covered on Techie Buzz called Splashtop OS. Splashtop Remote can be purchased from the iTunes store for a very small fee. After you purchase the app, there is one more FREE piece of software that you need to make this all work. It is called the Splashtop Streamer. As a side note, this might be a good time to let you know that the PC version of SplashTop Remote, which allows you to remote control a PC from another PC, is a FREE app. It’s a decent way to connect to a remote PC. The Splashtop Streamer runs as a service on the PC that you wish to remotely access. It is what makes it possible for the Splashtop Remote iPad app to connect.

Installing the Splashtop Streamer on your PC is pretty simple. Below, I will outline the basic steps to getting it set up. First, you will see the image pictured below. Click Go and agree to the license agreement.

Streamer Setup

The next major step is entering an access code for your computer. This adds a layer of security so people just can’t hop on and take over your PC at will.

Enter Code

That is pretty much all there is to installing the software. Now, if you plan on being away from your PC, like on a vacation, and you want to access it on the iPad, you will need to set up the “Network” settings on the Streamer. In the picture below, you can see where I have the “Network” tab selected. Notice that it uses a Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, just click the link that says “Create One”. It is free and  quick to do. Without this account, you will have a hard time accessing your PC when you are away from your office.

Google Sign In

The app on the iPad will also need to be configured to use the same Google account. This will synchronize the PC and the iPad, which will allow you to access the PC from the iPad via the internet.

Once you connect to your PC from the iPad, you enter your security code and you will be remote controlling your PC from your iPad. Now you can edit Word documents, read Outlook email, or watch YouTube videos that are playing on your PC from your iPad. The remote app on the iPad uses finger gestures to do common Windows tasks. For instance, pressing and holding your finger on the screen will perform a right-click on the PC.

I hope that you enjoy Splashtop Remote as much as I have. My boss was thrilled with how easy it was to use. There is nothing fancy to overwhelm him. It just plain works. He doesn’t have to worry about keeping files in separate places or trying to access them via a VPN connection. Everything looks the way he is used to seeing them on his PC. I also would like to point out that there are Android and iPhone versions of this app as well.

What about you? Would you like to be able to remote control your PC from your iPad? What ways would you use this software?

As always, we love to hear from our readers!