Category Archives: ipad

Publishers may be preparing for the death of e-ink

ibooksBookNet Canada has published an interesting compendium of statistics on ebooks in The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2013. The headline numbers from the organization, which tracks the business of books, include the percentage of ebooks sold compared to printed works and how much publishers have digitized their back catalogs.

As it stands, the vast majority – or 90 per cent – of publishers are indeed publishing ebooks, while about 19 per cent have made their entire libraries available in digital format. You can check out the whole report here (links to PDF).

The stats I found most interesting were those that effectively measured publishers’ realities and where they expect things to go. Judging by the numbers, it looks like they’re expecting Apple to dominate the ebook business sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in apple, ebooks, ipad, kobo


In which I entrust my life to Samsung’s Note Pro

note-proIf you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m something of an iPad Mini fanboy. I’ve written before – without a trace of hyperbole – about how the device has changed my life. I rarely surf the web or use social media on a computer anymore, opting instead for the tablet, which I also use to take notes when out on assignment. It also comes in handy for signing documents digitally, a feature that lets me live a printer-free existence. It has also, amazingly, helped me become a more patient person; I almost look forward to delays when traveling because it gives me more time to catch up on movies and books.

But there is still one problem with it, if it can really be considered as such, in that it’s still a supplemental device when I’m on the road for work purposes. While the Mini is fine for taking notes during an interview or press conference, it’s not something I really want to write a full story on. A full keyboard is still a necessity for that, so I inevitably end up toting a laptop along as well.

This issue is at the core of efforts by several tablet manufacturers to bridge the gap with hybrid devices. Microsoft took the highest-profile stab at it with the Surface Pro, a device that sought to emulate the best features of both tablets and laptops. The initial effort, however, flopped for a host of reasons – it was too heavy and too pricey and had limited battery life and app selection. The Surface Pro 2, released last fall, is an improvement, but it still suffers from many of the same problems.

Lo and behold, Samsung is now stepping into this realm with its new Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note Pro tablets, both of which are hybrid devices designed to appeal to professional power users. The Tab Pro series comes in three screen sizes: 8.4-inch, 10.1-inch and 12.1-inch, at respective (Canadian) price points of $419, $519 and $669. The Note Pro is available with only a 12.2-inch screen at $769, but it also comes with Samsung’s S-pen stylus, which accounts for the extra $100 premium over the Tab Pro. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 7, 2014 in apple, ipad, microsoft, samsung


Review: iPad Mini gets even better with Retina

tapped outIt’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the iPad Mini. It was my favourite gadget of 2012, simply because it was the one that changed my life the most. That’s not hyperbole, it’s actually true – I do everything with it now. The Mini is my device of choice for web surfing, sending emails, signing contracts, playing casual games, reading comic books and even writing stories when I’m on a plane or train. This year, I did away with paper notebooks – a staple in the journalism business – and now take all my notes on the tablet. I often joke that because of its indispensability, the Mini is the first thing I pack on my frequent travels, followed by a toothbrush and underwear.

The one flaw with last year’s model was its lack of Apple’s sharper Retina display. It was an unfortunate tradeoff in moving from a full-sized iPad since the most obvious result was text that almost looked blurry in comparison. Still, it was worthwhile in the long run for its size/weight and price benefits. You just can’t beat a $320 tablet that can fit in your back pocket.

So, to no one’s surprise, the iPad Mini with Retina screen is out now. It’s music to my ears but, as always, there’s a tradeoff. In this case, it’s an extra $100 on the price tag. Is it worth it? I’ve been using the new Mini for a few days now and I think I have some answers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in apple, ipad


Updated Surface tablets still don’t have a market

surface-2With Microsoft launching its second-generation Surface products and Apple announcing a refresh of its iPad line today, we might as well call this Tablet Tuesday. Yet, while Apple is certain to get the majority of the day’s headlines, it’s actually Microsoft’s products that are more interesting, mainly because they illustrate the rather decided state of the market and how difficult it’s going to be to crack.

I got to play around with the two new Surface tablets last week at an event in Toronto and I generally liked what I saw. Microsoft is bringing two new products to bear, with each apparently aimed at different markets, although both are being billed as productivity tools. The lighter and cheaper Surface 2 is the company’s main tablet competitor to the likes of the iPad or Nexus 7 while the Surface Pro 2 is the next iteration of its effort at tablet-laptop hybrids.

However, despite both devices having some neat features, upsides and improvements over their progenitors, I’m still not sure whether there’s really a market for either. I don’t think I would buy either of them for their intended purposes, if at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in apple, ipad, microsoft


Five ways Apple should improve iOS

iPhones-iPadsNext week will be a busy one in the tech world, with both the Electronic Entertainment Expo video game convention and Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference happening at the same time. I’ll be down at E3, covering the show for The Globe and Mail.

WWDC, meanwhile, will focus on the software side of Apple’s business, with the company talking up the latest improvements in both its mobile iOS and desktop/laptop OS X operating systems. I honestly have no idea what the company will do with the traditional computer OS other than integrate it more fully with iOS, but there are definitely a few things I’d like to see on the mobile side.

Most of them are selfish, but some of my suggestions would go a long way to improving the overall experience of using iPhoness, iPods and iPads for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on June 7, 2013 in apple, ipad, iphone


10 best (or most important) gadgets of the year

With technology advancing exponentially, so too are the number of new gadgets flooding the market. There are indeed so many gizmos coming out on a daily basis that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them.

That’s why, love them or hate them, top-10 lists are especially useful when it comes to this particular theme. All such lists are purely subjective, as is the one I’ve put together below, but they are handy in identifying some of the standouts amid the sea of stuff out there.

Here are the 10 gadgets I liked best – or that I thought were important – in 2012:

10. Sony 4K TV


With everyone already owning an HDTV, it was inevitable that manufacturers would eventually start pushing the next big thing. Sony is one of the first with its 4K TV, with the 4K standing for the more than 4,000 pixels along its width, making it twice as sharp as a regular 1080p model. This 84-inch beast costs $25,000 so it’s clearly not something I’ll be getting any time soon, but it did look sweet in the demo I saw earlier this year. The only question is: how would Santa get it down the chimney? Read the rest of this entry »


The iPad Mini is a big dilemma for Apple

The question now is: Why would anyone want a full-sized iPad?

One thing I didn’t get into when talking about the iPad Mini the other day is its effect on Apple. As the markets have been indicating recently by sending shares tumbling, the device may indeed be a sign of bad things to come for the company.

At $329, the basic iPad Mini is still relatively expensive for a 7-inch-or-thereabouts tablet, but it’s almost $200 cheaper than the latest full-sized iPad. Yet, as I wrote last week, the Mini has a major advantage over its bigger cousin: it’s much smaller and lighter. The only thing it’s missing is a full Retina display, which we can be relatively sure will be in the next model at the same price some time next year. Is a couple inches of screen size and a faster processor inside worth $200? It’s a safe bet that most consumers don’t think so, which is why Apple sold three million a ton of Minis in no time flat.

Once the smaller device gets that Retina display, there’s going to be little reason for the mass market to buy full-sized iPads. The larger tablet, which has been criticized from many corners for being primarily a media consumption toy rather than a productivity device, may ironically see its main use become business situations. Visual artists or sales personnel who need the larger screen might turn out to be the only people who really want these larger tablets. The rest of the mainstream consumer market will likely be quite happy with the smaller, lighter and – most importantly – cheaper iPad Mini. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 12, 2012 in apple, ipad