It’s pretty fair to say that 2013 has been an incredible year for Apple. With the company’s stock price currently reflecting upwards of $550 a share, it’s clear that investors have renewed faith in the firm’s ability to deliver on its mission to create some of the world’s most desirable products.
One such investor is billionaire business mogul Carl Icahn. Publicly announcing back in August that he now holds a “large stake” in $AAPL, Icahn is perhaps most known for his reported hostile takeover of Trans World Airlines in 1985.
While Icahn is keeping quiet on exactly how big his stake in $AAPL is, the Wall Street investor is said to be in ongoing negotiations with company CEO, Tim Cook. These talks, if successful, could see Apple increase its recently announced stock buyback program for investors, resulting in Icahn potentially buying back as much as $60 Billion in stock options.
There’s a rumor out there about the cost involved in building the new iPad Air, which is estimated at 13% less than previous iPad models. Mac Rumors reports that IHS estimates the component cost of the iPad Air is between $274 and $361 depending on the model. The base model totals at $42 less than the entry-level third generation iPad, even with the technology improvements that the iPad Air sports.
iFixit got their hands on the iPad Air and did their thing with it; taking it apart to see just how difficult it would be for the user to repair. The iPads have always been difficult to take apart, and the iPad Air is no exception. Check out their video review to hear just how problematic it is to take this thing apart.
Announced at the company’s special media event held last month, the iPad Air will go on-sale today at Apple retail stores, the Apple Online Store, and select wireless carriers in the U.S, Canada, Europe, and select parts of mainland China. Apple began taking orders for the redesigned tablet device – which arrives at a thickness of just 7.5 millimeters, and weighs in at a super-light one pound – around Midnight (Pacific Time); with the company focusing heavily on conveying the added convenience that the tablet’s new weightlessness will bring to customers looking to carry the device on them or simply hold the device for long periods of time in one hand.
However, weight isn’t the only factor new with the iPad Air. Still boasting Apple’s ‘Retina’ display, the Air also features the A7 system-on-a-chip processor. Built for both speed and performance, the new chip offers 64-bit architecture; making the iPad Air the first tablet of its kind to do so. This, Apple says, will ensure the new tablet is able to deliver “killer performance,” whilst at the same time retaining that all-important battery life.
The iPad Air going on-sale in Australia has already sent the internet abuzz with photos and unboxing videos detailing what’s new, as Apple has once again seemingly managed to convince people to line up at its many retail stores to grab a taste of the action.
Shoppers line-up at Apple Store in Sydney – [credit: CNET/CBS]
Available in both Space Gray + Black and Silver + White, the iPad Air will run anyone looking to take advantage of its new features the same $499, $599, $699, and $799 for the Wi-Fi Only models (16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB respectively), then jumping to the more premium entry price of $629 if you wish to add cellular connectivity. The line maxes out at $929 for the 128GB cellular version.
At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Tweetbot is the best Twitter app that’s out there, hands down. It’s feature-packed and easy to use. Tweetbot 3 continues this app’s legacy as the best, and is a must for anyone who uses Twitter. Now, Tweetbot 3 is a new app, not just an update to the now-previous version of Tweetbot. While the two apps are pretty much feature-identical, there’s been some usability tweaks and a revamped look and feel for iOS 7. It no longer sticks out like a sore thumb – it fits, and it’s a welcome redesign. It is a bit jarring jumping from the new look to a version using the old one, but the Mac version will be updated for Mavericks soon, and Tweetbot for iPad is in the works down the road. –Carter Dotson
Pocket Titans mixes a puzzle game with the kind of row and column switching seen in Candy Crush Saga and 10000000. Yet this casual puzzle gameplay is all wrapped up in the veneer of a squad-based RPG. The way it works? Players have their squad of heroes from the various RPG archetypes: warriors, rogues, archers, et cetera. They and the enemies are on a small grid, with the ability to move an entire row or column in one’s turn. Players get to make two moves to put their characters in their ideal position to attack enemies or use their character’s ability. For example, warriors attack enemies nearby (and their attacks can hit all enemies in a nearby radius), archers can hit enemies either diagonally or straight away from them in their line of sight (no obstructions in the way), healers can, well, heal. As well, each class has secondary abilities that activate when they can’t use their primary one. Everything happens automatically, so to learn how to play just requires learning how the various classes work, which is simple enough. –Carter Dotson
Zombie games aren’t going away anytime soon, but a new zombie game that has landed in the App Store puts a spin on the craze. Starring Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman, Zombie Cupcake Attack features undead treats that need to be annihilated in order to save the world from the apocalypse. The graphics are quite impressive for an endless runner. At the start of the game, it’s evident that the developers put a lot of details in all five endless levels. While it has more of a kid-friendly appeal, adults will find themselves having a lot of fun as well. –Angela LaFollette
Imagine a magical and whimsical fantasy world full of interesting people, epic battles, mediocre coffee, and a talking cat. This is where the story of Hello World takes us; on a journey through a 3D universe populated by a whole variety of mythical creatures and bizarre people. Hippies, vampires, zombies, trolls, chupacabras; there is no shortage of strange beings. In this first-person adventure, Cap and Leet must quest through a universe unlike any other in order to save the magical and semi-sentient land of “Fred.” Set in the style of an RPG, players must explore forests, caves, and sail the sea, all while meeting the most unique of characters and poking squirrels with sticks. –Lucy Ingram
My PlayHome Stores is the much-awaited sequel to the popular app My PlayHome; a digital dollhouse app that allows children to interact with a play family within their house, including a vast amount of interactive options. My PlayHome Stores now allows this family a day of shopping as children can explore a variety of stores including clothing and ice cream shops, a smoothie shop, and a restaurant. These apps are lovely, simple, and sweet, bringing the creative play of a traditional dollhouse and other creative play to the iPad and iPhone, and as such bring an intuitiveness children will enjoy a great deal. Fans of My PlayHouse as well as those new to this series will enjoy the many interactions as one places a character into these scenes. Do note that although the family from My PlayHome (a mom, dad and three kids) can be seen at the top right of the screen, one also has easy access to a large cast of characters that include men, women, and children of various races and backgrounds – a very nice touch. –Amy Solomon
Other 148Apps Network Sites
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
More and more mobile games are utilizing physics in unique ways. Ever since the rise of Angry Birds, developers are looking for new ways to bring the force that dictates all things in the real world into the games that appear on phones and tablets. Physics are implemented in a variety of different games, offering unique game play options and interesting ways of using the laws of science within the game. Look Out Below is one of those games that offers an uncommon usage of physics while offering a simple, but testing game play. –Mike Deneen
IceBurgers is an environmental tale. Two ships collide in the Antarctic, spewing burgers and letters, and a penguin has to clean it up. Alrighty. Interestingly enough, what makes this game unique is what probably is its best feature: the lack of frills. It rocks a simple motif and features even simpler gameplay, and, as such, can be a formidable time waster. The gameplay is an atypical mix of crossword puzzle and Scrabble. A square grid of 25 tiled letters makes up the playing area, and words are supposed to be created via swiping a finger across letters in fairly liberal fashion. When a word is formed, it lightens up and explodes, and the tiled letters are replaced randomly by falling tiles from above. –Tre Lawrence
Yes, BlackBerry (formerly RIM) has had better days. The iconic technology company made devices that signified corporate success and helped shape the smartphone market. It’s current troubles are well known, and the company and its devices have arguably lost some of their previous luster. One piece of the BlackBerry ecosystem that has always been respected is BlackBerry Messenger, its eponymous messaging system. It’s always-on nature, perceived reliability and PIN-based connection service is almost universally respected, even by non-BlackBerry device users. So, when BlackBerry announced that it would be opening up the hitherto proprietary messenger to iOS and Android users, ears perked up. –Tre Lawrence
And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Dead Trigger 2, highlighted the stand-out hits from its Big Indie Pitch event, found 8 tablet-only games to play on the new iPad Air, reviewed Ace Attorney on 3DS, and went hands-on with Vita charmfest Tearaway. Head to Pocket Gamer now for their weekly wrap-up.
Rob Rich and I enjoyed the seemingly short Apple event yesterday when they unveiled the new iPad Air and iPad Mini. I currently run with the first model iPad Mini while he does his thing with an iPad 3. We both came away from the event impressed with the Air, but with the new power of the Mini I had to ask the question: which one to get? We figured a lot of you would have the same question, so we had a nice little discussion that might be of benefit to you as well.
Andrew Stevens: What makes the iPad Air more desirable than the iPad you currently use? Of course the overall power of it is most impressive, and needed.
Rob Rich: Well I’m currently using an iPad 3, so the technological leap is a bit more significant for me. In my case, I really like the decreased bulk and weight as well as the overall better performance. I’ve had issues with apps and games chugging a bit on the 3 and imagine they’d run a lot faster on the iPad Air.
Andrew: That’s my same issue with the current iPad Mini. I have multiple games lagging behind just enough to where I need to upgrade right away. The iPad Air looks very impressive and I was originally thinking I would be getting the newest iPad rather than the Mini. However, with its similar performance to the iPad Air I’m really intrigued once again by the Mini.
Rob: This is true. I mean ultimately the iPad Air and new Mini aren’t all that different.
Andrew: Yeah, it actually comes down to size this time around where previously I felt like I made the wrong decision by going with the first generation Mini instead of the latest iPad. I love the size, but its lack in performance has been noticeable as of late. This time around might be the best time to get the Mini and really enjoy all the benefits of a regular iPad but in a miniature size.
Rob: The problem I have with the Mini, which I’ve always had, is that it’s in this weird middle ground between an iPhone and regular iPad. It’s too small to allow users to truly benefit from a full-sized screen and it’s too big to be as conveniently portable as the iPhone. I mean, if I can use my iPhone 5 for portable stuff, then set my iPad up for some almost-but-not-quite computing stuff, what do I really need the Mini for?
Andrew: I think the Mini’s size is brilliant for me, especially as a gamer. I look at the Mini as a slightly larger console controller. I have bigger hands so it’s easy for my thumbs to navigate the screen as I hold it like a controller. This was the biggest factor for me buying a Mini instead of the regular iPad. The iPhone screen is too small, and the regular iPad is too big to handle the way I want.
Rob: I suppose that’s a good way of looking at it, although I still prefer the portability of the iPhone even if I have to bring the screen closer to my face. But I do sort of see the value in the Mini as a gaming device.
Andrew: I see what you’re saying, but sometimes with games there are objects that are just too small to handle even with putting the phone right up in your face. Plus, I don’t want to hold a phone close to my face; I like a little bit of distance. The Mini is a good in-between that isn’t too big, but also isn’t too small. It’s is great as a mobile gaming device, and the new iPad Mini really improves upon that. I can also (barely) fit the mini in my jeans! It’s totally portable!
Rob: Riiiiiight. Anyway, I think it’s interesting how Apple has been updating a lot of its apps, seemingly in preparation for the updated hardware. I mean all that stuff about iWork and collaborative projects over multiple devices seems like the sort of thing that the Air and new Mini would showcase really well.
Andrew: This November really leaves Apple users with an interesting decision to make. All year I would have told people to go with the regular iPad rather than the Mini just because it’s a more powerful device. Like you’ve seen, I love the size of the Mini but its performance has lacked. Now that the new Mini is basically a miniature iPad Air, it really comes down to size this time around. It also comes at a minier price: $100 cheaper than the Air. Hmm!
Rob: Yeah, personally I think the $100 savings might be more of a deciding factor for the average consumer than the dimensions. Of course that also means that Apple is effectively cutting into their own sales by pricing the Mini at $399 while keeping the iPad 2 at the same price. I mean who’s really going to want to spend $400 on something that outdated when they could easily buy something better, lighter, and smaller for the exact same price? Then again, that may have been their intent all along. By keeping the iPad 2 at $399 and making it their “default” tablet, it makes the new Mini look MUCH more attractive.
Andrew: Maybe the new Mini will be the highest selling iPad yet!
Rob: I don’t know about that. I mean it certainly seems more appealing when considering the price point and all, but people are going to want the iPad Air something fierce. It’s the newest Apple thing, you know?
Andrew: That’s true. I’m just enjoying my pro Mini, praise the ewoks discussion. The iPad Air certainly has much appeal, design, and name. I bet there are people out there that get the Air just so they can say “I have the iPad Air” That’s usually how it goes with something new.
Andrew: So what are you getting? The iPad Air or the new Mini?
Rob: Considering I don’t have $400~$500 laying around, neither. However if I were to choose between the two it would probably be the Air because the larger screen would be ideal for what I typically use my iPad for (i.e. document editing, etc).
Andrew: As a gamer, I love the smaller screen and how I am able to handle the Mini. It’s tempting for that reason and the fact I love my previous Mini so much, even though it lacks in power. However, I want the best iPad that’s out there so I can enjoy every little bit of what every app has to offer. Plus, it’ll probably be a good device to have while skipping the next generation of iPads. The new Mini is a huge improvement over the previous, and it’s comparable to the Air, but it’s time for me to make a move to the larger iPad. I want some Air time!
Rob: Oh lord.
And that’s what we see between the iPad Air and iPad Mini; hopefully it was sort of educational for you. Both are clearly fine options as they each sport the same processor, graphics, camera – everything. The difference is in the size. What do you think? Are you going with the iPad Air and its regular size screen for $100 more or the slightly smaller screen for a better handle with the iPad Mini?
We were all expecting some big things from Apple’s conference today – Mavericks, details on the new iPad and possibly iPad Mini, and so on – but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the big bombshell. I am, of course, talking about Apple’s videos.
The keynote was accentuated throughout by a series of beautifully constructed and masterfully presented videos showcasing the technology giant’s latest and greatest achievements. And what about that iPad Air video? Did you see that iPad Air video? Holy jeeze! At one point it had a truck jumping over sand dunes in it!
We won’t know how the world will receive the new iPad Air and iPad Mini until November, but I think it’s safe to say that those of us who were able to catch the live stream of the presentation will be forever changed. Apple is a fantastic hardware and software developer, but their video creation skills are nothing short of mind-blowing.
If you wept openly the moment the word “Video” popped up on the big screen, or if you had to pause the presentation for a moment to collect yourself, please chime in below!
A new iPad announcement isn’t exactly a shock, but Apple’s new iPad Air is still quite impressive. As the name implies, the new tablet is both thinner and lighter than other full-sized iPads. The Air is 7.5 MM thick, only weighs one pound (as opposed to the iPad 4′s 1.4 pounds), and features a 9.7″ Retina display. It’s pretty much the lightest full-sized tablet ever, so there’s that. And this is with all the added features; such as a 5 MP iSight Camera, 1080p HD video, dual microphones, and improved backside illumination. It will also maintain the expected 10-hour battery life.
In addition, the iPad Air uses the new 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s, along with an M7 motion coprocessor, making the CPU twice as fast as the iPad 4. This means big files will open noticeably faster, and games will perform even better. The WiFi has also received some TLC with the incorporation of MIMO technology that uses multiple antennas, which equates to faster overall speeds. Couple that with the expanded LTE coverage Apple also announced and we’ve got ourselves a party!
The iPad Air will be available in Silver/White and Space Gray/Black starting November 1 and set you back $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for the super-storage 64GB model. Although if $500~$700 still seems a bit steep for you, you’ll still have the ability to get your hands on the iPad 2 for the standard price of $399 and up. Plus there’s the iPad Mini, but we’ve got that covered in another post.
Seems pretty slick to me, but what do you all think? Will you be trading in your iPad 4 come November or would you rather stick with what you’ve got a little longer? If you don’t already own an iPad, do you consider the iPad Air a good place to start? Chime in below and tell us what you think!