Thursday, October 7, 2010

iPad 2, iPhone 5, 3D iDTV and more

Most men love gadgets, particular electronic stuff. We usually wish to own more than we eventually bought, that’s usually the results of various restrictions ($$$, space at home, pressure from spouse and kids, etc.) Anyway, based on my current workflow and daily living routine, I don’t have any ‘need’ to buy anything, but I’m tempting to get something for myself that can ‘enrich’ my life, that’s for sure. Currently, I’ve an eye for few items and I like to talk about my thoughts towards them.

iPad 2 – I think it is a gadget that I will eventually buy soon or later, particularly for its portable reading capability. I’ve not bought the current first generation iPad because I always like to stay put of new products till its bugs are fixed (surprisingly there is no significant bug reported on iPad). Nevertheless, as competitive products like RIM’s Playbook and other Android based tablets have started to show up on public radar. I think they would more or less give pressure to Apple to enhance iPad in next version. iPhone and iPad are basically siblings in terms of technology being deployed. So, iPad 2 is expected to have Retina display, front and back camera for Facetime, and most likely thinner body and longer battery life. I think those 4 factors should be good enough for me to wait till mid 2011 to open my wallet. There is a rumor of a mini-USB on iPad 2, I would careless for that. There is also a rumor of a 7” version, I would not opt for that neither. My rationale is that, first of all, 7” is the choice of size of iPad competitors for the sake of making the device more portable and energy saving. However, iPad create this tablet market itself and has prospered so far. I believe that Apple has reason to opt for the current 9.3” size which is optimal for reading magazine from my point of view. 7” is nice for reading paperbacks, but not that good for magazine or newspaper. In terms of consuming other media, i.e. games and video, the additional space serves better too. Also, 7” virtual keyboard is even worse than those of netbook, I don’t think Apple will really go for it. Though my dream of haven’t an even greater storage size for both iPhone and iPad will not be realized in next version, I still think iPad 2 would be my next gadget purchase. As a matter of fact, I’m actively collecting free ebooks, so I can read them when I got my hand on my iPad 2 next year.

iPhone 5 – Apple has a habit of releasing new iPhone in mid-year since its launch in 2007. Announcement of new iPhone have usually been made in late January every year. However, I do have doubt about the upcoming one in 2011. iPhone 5 is definitely in development, I’m not even wanna guess what new functions will be added to it. Cuz, I’m gonna buy one anyway just to upgrade from my current 3GS. Also, I would like to change my current carrier to a better one after my current contract runs out. My concern is the timing of release of iPhone 5 which is put in doubt by the rumor release of CDMA compatible Verizon iPhone and the still not yet release of ‘White case’ iPhone 4. On top of them, the latest rumor about iPhone 5 that it will come with a ‘new form factor’ which means that its design may deviate from iPhone 4, have complicated the situation more. Let me explain how these things would affect the traditional iPhone release time.

Verizon iPhone has been a rumor for few years, for the sake of getting a bigger share of the market as numerous reports that close to one fifth of current Verizon users will pick up iPhone if it is available for them. Apple is certainly working on that. However, I still think that a 3G Verizon iPhone has probably 50% of the chance being released. Cuz, Verizon is heavily making effort in moving on to 4G LTE standard. I think it would make more sense for Apple to be part of Verizon’s camp under 4G LTE standard which is rumored to be widely rolled out in late 2011-2012 in the U.S. That will more coincide to the release of iPhone 6 rather than iPhone 5. So, I don’t know if 2 different versions of iPhone 5 are what Apple really targets for at the moment. The white-case iPhone 4 is supposed to be in the market soon, nonetheless, it is late for Apple standard. The black case iPhone 4 has been out for few months, God knows how many months later that the white one will be released. Would it make sense to have the white one in the market for just few months before a new iPhone 5 is announced? I’m not sure if Apple would do that. Instead, I think Apple will milk every penny out of white case iPhone 4 as possible. The new form factor is a rumor, I would believe it to be 50%t rue. Apple usually keeps its form factor of its portable products (iPod nano and iPod Shuffle are exceptions) for 2 generations before making major change (e.g. iPhone 3G and 3Gs). I think that iPhone 4 has a beautiful design, I didn’t think its design needs to be changed until the external antenna problem was reported. That may be the trigger point of redesign of the product. Cuz, I don’t think Apple would like to put a bumper on iPhone 5 as part of its design. On top of the delayed release of white-case iPhone 4, a new form factor iPhone 5 being announced/released in few months time may be more unlikely than ever. So, my guess is, iPhone 5 announcement/release will be delayed in 2011. Anyway, the bottom line is that I will still buy it.

3D iDTV – my TV at home is a 5 years old 32”LCD TV. Yes, it is still working and I’m not planning to replace it soon unless it is broken (touch wood!). TV technology is not something I usually pay attention to, but it was a topic of conversation with my colleague today at lunch today. He shared with me his enjoyable viewing experience with his HDTV. Then, we visited an electronic store nearby to check out what’s out there in the market. Well, I was really blown away by some of the LED TVs out there, particularly one from Samsung, the thickness of it is really not much more than an iPad and it is huge of 50-60” in dimension! I touch the smooth back of it which doesn’t have any visible traditional cooling design, it wasn’t amazingly hot at all! In the store, most of those LCD/LED TVs are iDTV and some of them are 3D capable. Well, that doesn’t attract to me at all as I think the latest announcement from Toshiba of their 3D TV which doesn’t require audience to wear 3D glasses will definitely be a game changer in the market. Rather than the existing 3D TV technology, I think that the glasses-less 3D iDTV will certainly be the trend in the coming years. However, the upcoming release of Apple TV, Google TV, and their battle against TiVo and Roku will be bloody. Their specs and functions vary, and I would like to see who can evolve and win in that market to become standard in the industry, and then how that would merge/consolidate with the TV itself. I guess that would take another 3-4 years before dust finally settle. I don’t know if I will wait till then to upgrade my TV viewing experience at home. However, considering my current TV viewing habit, I think I can certainly wait and don’t mind to do so.

‘more’ – well, there is one more piece of gadget that I may buy in few years. That may not be my choice, but I may have a need to get it – i.e. a game console (not sure it will be Xbox, PS? Or Wii version ?, but it must be with motion control, so that I can play). Cuz, soon or later, I believe that my son will ask for it under peer pressure. Not that I will buy anything just because he wants it, if he does well in school and behave well, I may buy that as a reward. In fact, I hope he will pick up video games as late as possible, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I don’t know how long my hope will last….


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