Hardware software disintegration

HP’s webOS Reportedly Runs Significantly Faster on iPad 2 Than on TouchPad

It’s old news that HP has decided to sell off its computer business. The fact that the tablet and smartphone OS that Palm had in the works that HP bought runs faster on an iPad (iOS) or even as a web application under Safari is significant. What’s even more significant to me is the reason for the sluggishness:

The report notes that the TouchPad hardware had essentially already been designed when HP acquired Palm last year, with the engineers tasked with getting webOS running on the existing design. The resulting handicap of outdated hardware reportedly crippled the webOS team’s ability to innovate for the tablet platform and ultimately led to the poor market reception.

This strikes me as a blunder of enormous proportions and this is the place where Apple has consistently done better than the competition: Macs are designed to run OS X and OS X is designed to run on Macs. iPhones and iPads (and other devices) are designed to run iOS and iOS is designed to run on these devices.

Tight integration between hardware and software is one of the many ingredients of Apple’s success. It seems a shame that webOS, what many have considered a decent operating system, is orphaned because HP didn’t built hardware specifically for it. Why they didn’t do that is no doubt all about internal politics.

Which leads me to this: Steve Jobs is certainly a genius when it comes to product innovation and marketing but what may be his most important attribute is his ability to cut through the politics and push through what needs to be pushed through to get well designed products shipped.

Line2 and the sea of communications apps

Line2 is an app for the iPad that offers voice over IP and other integrated communications for $10 a month.

Whether this particular application does well or not this class of application coupled with the explosion in smart cell phone use is putting even more pressure on land lines. Skype, FaceTime , iChat, iMessage, and no doubt many more communications tools running on IP including those from Google will make the breakup of AT&T seem like a non-event. May the best one win and may there continue to be plenty of competition. So far competition isn’t keeping prices down anywhere but maybe we’ll all live long enough to see inexpensive or even free ad-supported communication over IP.

I continue to use and love iChat for text chatting and video but am using FaceTime as well. And, yes, I do text on my iPhone although I’d prefer texting and chatting merged at some point.

[via endgadget]


Snapseed is is a photo editing app for the iPad that takes full advantage of the iPad’s multi-touch interface and allows basic image editing as well as creative filters to be applied to images taken with any camera and imported.

Watch their introductory video tutorial for an overview. More video tutorials at the bottom of the page.

I have to say, I’ve not used my iPad to edit images but watching their intro video makes me want to. Fun stuff and very well designed.

[via Steve Splonskowski]

iPad vs MacBook Air for a serious photo trip

On the road with a camera, an iPad, and a Hyperdrive

Ben Long at Macworld does a nice job of framing the various issues of traveling (in Turkey) on a photo assignment with what sounds like a Canon 5D MK II (large RAW files), an iPad, and other tools for working with his images on the road.

Ben goes to great lengths to use an iPad by adding a folding keyboard and a HyperDrive (storage device for photos) but commenter “ekornblum” calls him on the portability factor with this insightful comment:

OK, let’s stop the madness.

The iPad 2 weighs 607 grams. The HyperDrive (including drive module & battery) weighs 298 g. The keyboard weighs 159 g. Combined that’s 1064 g, or 1.064 kg.

A MacBook Air 11 inch weighs… 1.06 kg.

It weighs less and is much more functional (faster processors, more ram, full fledged apps, higher res screen), and is smaller than all 3 of the above items combined.

Yeah, you only get 128 GB storage, but you could just add a regular external bus powered drive that’s about 200 g (smaller & lighter than the HyperDrive), so the weight difference is minimal.

Or a MacBook Air 13 inch weighs 1.32 kg and provides 256 GB, with even higher screen res. Once again, that’s only 256 grams more weight than the iPad, HyperDrive, & keyboard.

I gotta call silly on this one…

There are times when it will make sense to carry a computer running Mac OS to have better access to files and software and a real keyboard and it seems to me that this is one of them. Even an 11″ MacBook Air would be an improvement here but as the commenter says, there’s room for a 13″ model and one still has a lighter solution.

I think I might trust a service like DropBox or in the future, iCloud for storage rather than the HyperDrive which runs the risk of being stolen or breaking down on a trip. Or, why not just have a lot of CF cards and maybe some pre-paid mailers to send them home.

This is an interesting “problem” and no doubt there are many ways to handle it. Of course, first you need to book a trip.

3/11 Tsunami Photo Project

The 3/11 Project: Photographs from Japan, Helping Japan

The 3/11 Tsunami Photo Project is a new app featuring the work of fourteen photographers who documented the tragic aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The .99 app, published by Kodansha, is an innovative fundraiser as well – all proceeds from the project go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

iTunes Preview page: 3/11 Tsunami Photo Project.

An iOS app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch the proceeds from which will go to the Japanese Red Cross.

iPhone needs to be burped to find MicroCell

We put an AT&T 3G MicroCell in our house and we now have five bars on both iPhone 4s in and around the house. We did this because we have very poor coverage here in Warren, one or two bars in the house most of the time.

The problem with this set up is that when we come home our phones will not let go of the weak local tower signal and pick up the MicroCell automatically. We have to turn the iPhone’s cellular radio off by putting it in airplane mode, then turn the radio back on by turning off airplane mode to get the phone to pick up the MicroCell.

This is not a once in a while thing, we have to do it every time.

It seems to me that this isn’t a problem with the MicroCell but a problem with the iPhone’s ability to determine that one signal is stronger than another and switch to it in the background. No doubt many of us have experienced this with wifi signals as well; you’re sitting right next to a wireless router but your device (iPhone, iPad, Mac or other wifi equipped device) won’t drop a weaker one it was connected to.

Somehow this seems similar to the problem iPad 2 owners are having picking up Verizon’s signal but who knows?

We were and are hoping to use our iPhones enough with the new MicroCell to consider dropping our landlines but this is certainly a bump in that process.