SciTechBlog
May 14, 2010

Gold-and-diamond iPad could be yours for $190,000

Posted: 12:32 PM ET

Got an extra $190,000?

Then you could have an Apple product that you REALLY don't want to leave behind at a California beer hall.

Stuart Hughes, a British company that bills itself as a purveyor of "ultimate luxury," is offering a 22-carat gold iPad encrusted with more than 25 carats of flawless diamonds (including a diamond Apple logo).

The company has made 10 copies of their Gold iPad Supreme.

"This most luxurious iPad's appearance is outstanding even down to the precise polishing to reveal its most beautiful harmonious appearance," the company's website says in a curiously worded sales pitch.

The tablet computer costs 129,995 British pounds - roughly $190,000, depending on the exchange rate at the moment. No word on whether that price include personal hand delivery by Steve Jobs.

And, for the record, Stuart Hughes shelled out the extra $300 or so to get the top-of-the-line 3G, 64GB version. You know ... ultimate luxury and all.

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Filed under: iPad


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May 10, 2010

Obama can't work an iPod. Really?

Posted: 10:24 AM ET

He's the tech president - the one who totes around a BlackBerry, and who gave the Queen of England an iPod as a gift.

But in a commencement address at Hampton University in Virginia on Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama said there's a darker side to the technologies that have helped build his image as a hip and digitally enabled public servant.

"With iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations - none of which I know how to work - information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," he said in the address, according to a transcript posted by KTKR. "So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy."

Education is the key to keeping these digital distractions in check, Obama said.

"Class of 2010, this is a period of breathtaking change, like few others in our history," he said. "We can't stop these changes, but we can channel them, we can shape them, we can adapt to them. And education is what can allow us to do so. It can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time."

Some tech bloggers sympathized with the concerns.

"I worry that some of these students will have been tweeting his words from their cell phones as he spoke them," writes Chris Matyszczyk at CNET.

Others find the comments curious, given Obama's history of promoting digital information.

"Since Obama coordinated his entire campaign on his Blackberry (sic), his comments here border on hypocrisy," writes a commenter called "Camp David" on an AppleInsider forum.

In a 2009 interview with CNBC, Obama sounds rather attached to that BlackBerry:

"I'm still clinging to my BlackBerry," he said, according to an online transcript. "They're going to pry it out of my hands."

Given his apparent tech literacy, I wonder if Obama was kidding about not knowing how to work an iPod, iPad, Xbox or PlayStation. During the 2008 presidential campaign he told Rolling Stone his iPod contained songs by Bob Dylan, Jay-Z and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, among others. Presumably, his staffers didn't turn it on and work it for him.

I watched a YouTube clip of the speech to get more context. Check it out for yourself (the tech comments start at 7:50 on the timeline) and let us know what you think. People did laugh at the remark. (Here's a similar cut on CNN)

Does Obama have a point? He seems to be focused more on criticizing the speed and potential inaccuracy of digital information than these gadgets, in particular. (From the speech: "You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter.")

Or do these comments seem disingenuous? Can the president who gave the Queen an iPod really not know how to use one himself? Let us know in the comments (and try not to ruin democracy while you're at it).

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Filed under: Barack Obama • BlackBerry • iPad • iPod


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May 3, 2010

iPad hits 1 million sold - faster than the iPhone

Posted: 10:02 AM ET

Will the iPad be bigger than the iPhone?

That's true in a physical sense, obviously. Apple's iPhone fits in your pocket. Its iPad - which is a touch-screen computer without a keyboard - would look ridiculous if you put it up to your ear.

But the iPad, it turns out, is also bigger in terms of initial sales.

Apple on Monday announced it has sold 1 million iPad computers in the 28 days the device has been available. The iPhone, which debuted in 2007, didn't hit the million mark until 74 days after it went on sale.

“Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers," Apple CEO Steve Jobs says in a press release.

That begs the question: Will the iPad end up being a bigger hit than the iPhone, which has revolutionized the smartphone industry?

It's very early, and the iPad still has a long way to go. While 1 million iPads have been sold this year, the analyst firm Piper Jaffray says 36 millions iPhones will be sold this year worldwide, according to the blog AppleInsider.

It's also important to note that the iPhone cost $499 and $599 when it first hit the market. Sales didn't really take off until 2008, when Apple slashed the entry-level price of the device to $200, putting it within reach of more consumers.

Let us know what you think in the comments. What, if anything, do these sales figures mean? Is the iPad on track to change popular computing the way the iPhone changed what a mobile phone could be?

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Filed under: Apple • iPad • iPhone


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April 29, 2010

Steve Jobs: Why Apple snubs Flash

Posted: 11:50 AM ET

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Thursday said 200,000 applications are available in his company's mobile app store - and they all benefit because they're not built in Flash.

In a post on Apple's website, Jobs listed reasons none of those apps support Flash, a format that supports video, animation, games and other content and is made by tech competitor Adobe.

Some tech bloggers have criticized Apple for not supporting Flash on its mobile devices, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod. But Jobs said Adobe Flash is a format for the past.

Performance, not business strategy, guides Apple's decision not to use the format, he said.

"Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice," he wrote in the post. "Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short."

Adobe has complained its business "could be harmed" by Apple's decision not to use the format.

Jobs listed several specific reasons Apple doesn't use Flash. Some of the more interesting ones:

_ "iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video," he wrote.

_Apple products run more reliably without Flash: "Flash is the number one reason Macs crash."

_Flash isn't made for touch-screen devices: "... Many Flash websites rely on 'rollovers,' which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot." Apple's touch screens don't use rollovers.

_And, most important, Jobs said, is that Flash slows down app development: " We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers."

What do you think? Is Jobs right, or should Apple support Flash on its devices?

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Filed under: Apple • iPad • iPhone • iPod


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April 20, 2010

3G iPad goes on sale April 30

Posted: 11:23 AM ET

The 3G version of the iPad, which connects to the Internet over AT&T's wireless network, will go on sale in the U.S. on April 30, Apple announced Tuesday.

The suggested retail price is $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

The Wi-Fi + 3G model is priced higher than the Wi-Fi-only model released in the U.S. on April 3 because its 3G capability will allow users to surf the Web without a Wi-Fi connection.

Customers who have not pre-ordered a 3G iPad will have to wait until 5 p.m. on April 30 to get their hands on the new model.

“Apple retail stores will offer a free Personal Setup service to every customer who buys an iPad at the store,” according to the company's press release.

All versions of the iPad will go on sale at the end of May in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, Apple said.

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Filed under: Apple • iPad


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April 14, 2010

Apple delays iPad's international release

Posted: 11:01 AM ET

Apple fans in Japan, the United Kingdom and seven other countries will have to wait longer to get their hands on iPads.

Apple is postponing the international release of its new iPad because of stronger-than-expected demand for the device in the United States, the company said Wednesday.

A statement posted on Apple’s Web site said Apple has delivered more than 500,000 iPads since they went on sale in the United States on April 3 and the company expects demand to stay high.

“Faced with this surprisingly strong U.S. demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May,” the post said.

The slate computer was originally scheduled to go on sale April 24 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Apple now will begin taking international pre-orders on May 10.

“We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason - the iPad is a runaway success in the U.S. thus far,” Apple's post read.

The iPad is a touch-screen, wireless computer that occupies the digital turf somewhere between a laptop and a smartphone. The model available now in the U.S. connects to the Internet over a Wi-Fi connection. Later this month Apple will start selling an iPad version that connects to the Web via 3G wireless service from AT&T.

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Filed under: consumer tech • iPad


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April 7, 2010

iPad destruction videos go viral

Posted: 10:10 AM ET

The Web's latest viral video hit comes from the popular online series called "Will it Blend?"

The premise of the show is simple. A guy in glasses and a lab coat (who just so happens to be the founder of a blender company) puts stuff in a kitchen blender and then declares the objects blendable or not.

Monday's iPad blender test has been watched 2.8 million times on YouTube.

So does the iPad blend? Tom Dickson, the show's host and founder of Blendtec, says yes in the video, as he pours the ashy remains of an iPad onto the counter top.

But with a caveat. Dickson has to bust the iPad into two pieces for the 9.7-inch screen to fit inside the appliance.

A number of other iPad-destruction videos are getting passed around the Web, too. Some guys decided to bust their iPads within moments of purchasing them.

Not everyone is happy about this trend.

On the Apple-fan blog Macgasm, Joshua Schnell seems disturbed:

"Why is it that all these people on the internet want to destroy iPads? It makes me weep," he writes.

Some environmentalists see the stunts as wasteful.

Referring to the young men who smashed iPads right after purchasing them, the green blog Treehugger writes:

"This joker and cohorts need to go tour some of the horrendous precious metal mines, the manufacturing facilities, an e-waste dump and get first hand experience with how much goes into creating and disassembling one of these devices so that they begin to grasp that this is not funny."

What do you think?

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Filed under: Apple • iPad


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April 5, 2010

HP's iPad competitor will have two video cameras

Posted: 12:44 PM ET

In an apparent attempt to steal some buzz from Apple's brand-new iPad, Hewlett-Packard on Monday released some details about its "slate" computer, which will go on sale later this year.

A new blog post and video highlight some apparent differences between the two gadgets: The HP device has two video cameras, a USB connection and also support for Flash animations.

The lack of those features has been a consistent gripe among iPad reviewers.

Like the iPad, the HP gadget is a medium-sized, touch-screen device that acts kind of like a laptop without a keyboard, and kind of like a stretched-out smartphone. In a blog post, HP vice president and chief technology officer Phil McKinney says the Slate will let people create content as well as consume it:

Think about the last time you chatted with friends over Skype on your notebook. Or uploaded a picture from your mobile phone to Facebook or Flickr. How about the last time you viewed images or video from an SD card or a USB device. We know that you expect to be able to capture and share digital content on your mobile devices. And the HP slate device excels there.

A short YouTube video posted by HP indicates the tablet-like device will have two video cameras - one for taking images of the environment, and one that captures the person holding the device. That second camera could be used in live video chats, for example.

HP briefly showed off the device at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and has since been leaking videos with new details about how it will work. There's no word yet on how much HP's device will cost, or exactly when it will be released.

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Filed under: HP • iPad • slate computers


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Steve Jobs drops by Apple store on iPad Day

Posted: 12:27 PM ET

Apple CEO Steve Jobs stopped by the company's Palo Alto, California, store on Saturday as people lined up to buy Apple's new lust-device, the iPad.

The Apple guru, wearing jeans and a black hoodie, sneaks out of the store unmolested in this video, shot by CNN affiliate KTVU. Jobs is said to live nearby.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Jobs sauntered into the store about noon and spent about a half-hour inside, chatting with shoppers who appeared stunned to see him.

During his visit, Jobs gave a brief demo of the iPad to a young customer, according to this report.

Jobs, who is a cult hero among Apple fans, has called the iPad "magical" and "revolutionary."

For more on the iPad, check out our list of 12 commonly asked questions about the iPad, and this Wired story on choosing the iPad configuration that's right for you.

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Filed under: Apple • iPad • Steve Jobs


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So, do people actually like the iPad?

Posted: 10:30 AM ET

After months of hype, dozens of reviews, plenty of television promos and an Easter weekend appearance at an Apple store by the high priest of gadgetry himself, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the company's long-awaited iPad is finally in the hands of consumers.

So how did they like it? Is the iPad a runaway early success? Here are a few ways to measure:

  • Sales: On Saturday, the day the product was released, Apple says it sold 300,000 iPads. Analysts estimate the company sold between 300,000 to 700,000 of the touch-screen "slate" computers over the weekend.
  • [Read the full story on sales at CNNMoney.com]
  • Anticipation: 300,000 iPads is about what analysts expected Apple to sell on opening day.
  • Comparison: The iPhone - which some think is basically a smaller version of the iPad - launched in 2007 as Apple's greatest hit in recent memory. Analysts estimated 200,000 iPhones were sold on the day it debuted, which is a third less than the iPad. The iPhone sold its millionth unit 74 days after it hit the market.
  • Reviews: The mainstream press wrote mostly glowing reviews for the iPad in advance of its release on Saturday. Some consumers have expressed disappointment with their purchases. Others find pros and cons, but many say they really love the device. [Here's a wrap-up of reviews from CNN iReporters].
  • Mainstream appeal: By some accounts, most of the people who bought iPads already were Apple fans - i.e., nearly three-fourths of them already owned a Mac, according to a Piper Jaffray survey. How the device will fare with people outside the Cult of Mac is a question up for debate.
  • Apps: Apps - or the games, applications and programs that run on a gadget - really made the iPhone sing with consumers, because apps determine what a device can do. More than 1,000 apps have been designed specifically for the iPad's 9.7-inch screen, and the New York Times says developers are rushing to update them now that the device is out. Consumers already have downloaded more than 1 million iPad apps, according to an Apple press release - so that's about three apps per iPad to date.
  • Revolution: Some analysts expect the iPad to revolutionize the area of tablet computing, which Microsoft and others have tried to push on consumers in the past, but with only limited success. The iPad's success may buoy the entire tablet market, says USA TODAY. The newspaper says once-stale tablets "may be the new hot thing."
  • Debauchery: Finally, if the hackers don't like your gadget, you know you have a problem. But, in what could be read as a good or bad sign for Apple, a video of someone "jailbreaking" the iPad has already surfaced.

Have you gotten your hands on an iPad? If so, let us know what you think of it, either by posting a comment below or by submitting a video to this CNN iReport assignment. (You can find other consumer reviews there, too).

Also, if you still have questions about what the iPad is and what exactly it does (don't worry, some people in line to buy the device still were unsure of what it was), here are two guides to understanding the iPad, and picking the right one.

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Filed under: Apple • Apps • iPad


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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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