Earlier today, Apple announced a new iPod nano model, which will ship with an updated version of its software pre-installed. This new iPod nano software will include new clock faces, new fitness features, and a refreshed user interface with bigger icon navigation. From Apple's press release:
iPod nano now features larger icons for even easier navigation of its intuitive Multi-Touch™ user interface, and you can choose from 16 new digital clock faces, ranging from classic analog looks to your favorite Disney characters including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. iPod nano now tracks your runs and walks right out of the box with no accessory required, making it even easier to get your fitness program up and running. iPod nano can track the time, pace and distance of your run, the calories you burn, and the number of steps you walk. iPod nano encourages you with motivational real-time voice feedback during your run, available in seven languages, while listening to your favorite music or FM radio station. You can also easily upload workouts to the Nike+ website to set goals, track your progress and challenge friends. The ultra portable iPod nano is available in seven colors including silver, graphite, blue, green, orange, pink and (PRODUCT) RED.
Whereas many had initially claimed the new iPod nano software would be exclusive to the latest nano model, Apple has made available a software update in iTunes that enables the latest functionalities on the 2010 iPod nano. The update can be installed now by iPod nano 2010 owners by checking for updates in iTunes, as shown below. Interestingly enough, the new navigation UI is optional and users can revert back to the old grid interface in the iPod's settings.
One year ago today, the original iPad went on sale in the United States. It was 365 days ago, and we really didn't know what to expect from the "magical device" Steve Jobs unveiled on stage roughly two months before, at a special event on January 27th. We just knew that Apple was up to something, and we needed to check out this "new thing". Then many of us realized an Apple tablet was exactly what they had been looking for: smaller than a laptop but bigger than a smartphone, the iPad was meant to create a new market for all those who didn't need a physical keyboard anymore, for all those who wanted the simplicity of iOS on a large multitouch screen, for all those who believed technology wasn't just about the RAM and Gigahertz. That was April 3, 2010.
One year later, the iPad has been a terrific commercial success for Apple. More than 15 million copies sold, over 75,000 native apps available in the App Store, long lines around the globe to get the chance of buying an iPad 2. The iPad has become an iconic device in 12 months; and for those who believe, it's become more than a simple piece of glass and aluminum. One year of iPad has changed everything for Apple, and the millions of consumers who get things done with it every day. The doctors, the journalists, the school teachers, the students, the writers and the sports fans. A single device with simple hardware features (touch, large screen, thin design) has proved that apps and a well-designed operating system can make a huge difference. And one year later, I still have the feeling we're just getting started.
So happy birthday, iPad. It's been a year already, but we know the best has yet to come. Read more
Instapaper developer Marco Arment makes the point on his personal blog about the iPad fitting more the entertainment category, rather than the productivity one. He thinks that, one year after its introduction, Apple hasn't found the "sweet spot" yet for this new device:
Apple is now adapting to the market’s actual use by retreating somewhat from office productivity and pushing strongly into new territory — casual media creation — to see if that gets a stronger uptake in practice. I think it will be a lot more interesting than office productivity, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in iOS to make it practical (especially regarding file transfers with computers).
I still don’t think Apple has found the sweet spot for the iPad’s usage: the ideal role it fills in personal computing. And I don’t think we, as developers or iPad owners, have found it, either. But I know that sweet spot exists, and for a computer category that has only existed for one year, we’re rushing towards it remarkably quickly.
Maybe it's just me, but in this past year I've found a number of ways the iPad can help me be more productive to complete a series of tasks that would require a laptop otherwise. More importantly, the iPad has also created a new category of tasks that didn't exist before. Read more
The only real gem I remember from last year's iPad announcement backlash is this one, courtesy of Mike Halsey:
Quite simply this time Apple have got it wrong. All the tech press is saying the same thing and comments made by readers of those websites are echoing, mostly anyway, their sentiments.
The iPad is nothing more than a large iPod Touch. It’s lacking a 16:9 screen and while the bezel has to be of a reasonable size to allow for holding the device with your hand without your thumb poking the screen all the time, it’s simply too big. Finally those few people who’ve already used it are saying that having a standard keyboard on a device that you can’t rest easily on your lap and that is intended to be used one-handed is lunacy. Just look at the curved corner keyboards Microsoft introduced with the tablet editions of Windows to see how they should have done it.
It turns out, there is a large market for "large iPod touches" and it may even grant you billions of dollars of revenue. But then again, Microsoft nailed the "large iPod touch" segment in 2010, right?
The American Dialect Society has chosen "app" as 2010's word of the year, which isn't surprising considering the media's focus on all things "apps." Apple took the phrase and injected it straight into the heart of commercial marketing as they continually aired commercials for both the iPhone and iPad showcasing apps available on the App Store, while Verizon's Droid Does commercials showcased the "limitless potential" of the Android Marketplace. 2011 will continue this trend as devices like the iPad introduce more powerful gestures, and as the iPhone penetrates Verizon for the first time. If 2010 wasn't the year of apps, do you think it would have been the year of the iPad? I think so.
It was June, summer was about to start, we just bought our shiny new iPhone 4s...and the Internet went crazy about what eventually got the name of "Antennagate". You remember this story. The "weak spot" of the iPhone 4 which, due to a new antenna design, can make the device lose signal when you're holding it in a specific way. Again, this is not something we're going to forget easily. Perhaps one day we'll tell our grandkids "I was there". Whatever.
Still, CNN thought it was time to bring the whole Antennagate thing to the surface again and name it the biggest tech fail of 2010. We tried to bury Cupertino's most favorite scandal deep down in our minds; CNN makes it clear that 2010 in tech was all about Antennagate:
First Apple said the problem didn't exist. Then they said it was a software issue. Then they kind-of admitted it existed and gave away free cases to help. Then, they said it doesn't really exist anymore and stopped giving away the bumpers. Months later, the problem is all but forgotten and the phones show no sign of dipping in popularity. So "fail," in this case, is a pretty relative term.
Antennagate is not alone in the chart, though. 3D TVs made the list as well (seriously, I haven't seen one or heard of a single friend of mine who bought / considered buying one) together with the Nexus One, the Microsoft Kin, Facebook's privacy issues and the Gawker media security breach. Looking back, it looks like we had a great 2010 full of interesting tech stories and theories.
There's only one sad point: Ping is, again, listed as one of the fails of 2o10. I feel bad for Ping: no onelikes it. It just needs...a little bit of everything.
WSJ tech journalist Walt Mossberg thinks Apple's iPad is the best product of 2010. The iPad is "amazing" and thanks to the new iOS 4.2 and huge selection of apps available, it "continues to stay ahead of the competition". Competition that saw devices like the Dell Streak released in 2010, which Mossberg calls a "tweener" that's "too big to be a phone yet too small to be a tablet". The Samsung Galaxy S and iPhone 4 both ranked third in Mossberg's chart of best products.
As for the second place:
High-speed 4G networks in the United States took the second spot. As the world goes more mobile, the availability of faster networks is critical. Today, 3G networks are bursting at the seams, and the promise of these networks will be something to watch closely in 2011.
We might argue on the relevance of 4G networks in 2010, as they seem more "promising" than actually available right now. There's no doubt, though, that better and faster mobile networks will expand in 2011. We look forward to seeing what Mossberg's "best & worst" chart will look like in 2011.
We know 2010 has been a terrific year for Apple. New MacBooks, New iMacs / Mac Minis and Mac Pros, the iPhone 4, the iPad. Not to mention the new & improved Apple TV, iOS 4, Retina Display on the iPod touch, the fiscal results....overall, it's been a good year. One of those that will end up on Wikipedia someday.
The video below puts all of this in perspective by placing all the events that marked Apple's 2010 in chronological order.
When Steven Paul Jobs first hit the headlines, he was younger even than Mark Zuckerberg is now. Long before it was cool to be a nerd, his formative role in popularising the personal computer, and Apple's initial public offering on Wall Street – which came when Mr Jobs was still only 25 – made him the tech industry's first rock star.
Now, three decades on, he has secured his place in the foremost ranks of the West Coast tech titans who have done so much to shape the world around the turn of the millennium.
And here's why: "The worst thing that could possibly happen as we get big and a get a little more influence in the world is if we change our core values and start letting it slide. I can't do that. I'd rather quit."