Tag: apple (page 1 of 2)

Are stock iOS apps more than sufficient? — Part II

Exactly one year ago I wrote an article on using stock apps on iOS. Specifically, the case I was making was that for most people, stock apps will do just fine and our seemingly natural gravitation towards third-party apps exists, not always as a consequence of their being better, but as a result of us not giving stock apps enough time to show us their worth. Once again this is mostly because we are used to encountering shoddy bundled apps elsewhere and the trend that stock apps are all bad just sticks.

Now, having spent an entire year with my iPhone, I decided to return to address the same issue (naturally with the same title), and with considerably more experience backing me. One particularly useful trend I noticed through the year as I switched to third-party alternatives was that I found myself returning to stock apps. At the end of the day, this stands as an opinion piece, but one that is worthwhile to everyone contemplating this issue — and especially to those who discard stock Apple apps just by habit.

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iPhone 6S — two weeks later

A little over two weeks ago I bought an iPhone 6S. Coming from a 6 Plus (for reasons outlined below) I found the device to be wonderful, but not without a couple of complaints.

This time I bought a space grey 6S (not the Plus edition). Having used it as my main mobile device in my regular environment, with my usual above–average to heave use, there are a lot of things I find similar to the 6 with one key difference — this device will probably last longer as an old model than an iPhone 6 would, I would bet at least till iOS 12, and this longer shelf life in the future means better performance now, and that really is what it all comes down to. In any case, let us try to keep this review as brief as possible.

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Ad-blockers are a good thing

The concept of the web being free comes with strings attached. Although most websites are free to read, their owners need to pay for storage space and servers (besides various licenses), and storages and servers and networks run on electricity. In order to keep website content free to read, these expenditures are met indirectly.

Broadly, there are mainly two things that pay for the web: advertisements and paywalls. Bots track your usage via your browser and tell advertisors what you like so they can show you ads you are most likely to click on. Websites act as platforms to show these ads, possibly coax you into clicking on them and exploring advertised products or content, and make money in turn.

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An e-mail reply from Tim Cook

Steve Jobs was known to reply to every e-mail he got, often tersely, but reply nonetheless; or at least he would direct it to concerned employees to handle issues immediately.

The practice has stuck with Tim Cook taking over the company as CEO. I, for one, have come to look at Tim in the same light as Jobs, as a capable leader, a dedicated worker and an analytical mind seeing whose decisions and lifestyle we can all take home something. And a couple of days back, he replied to an e-mail I sent.

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Apple, Google or Microsoft — whoever wins, you lose

It is entertaining — perhaps even pleasing — to watch such tech giants as Apple, Google and Microsoft battle it out year after year. And it is fun to take sides (we always do that). But it is becoming increasingly clear that no matter who wins in the end, and at whatever rate, us consumers will be little more than sore losers.

I must admit, this was neither clear nor obvious to me a couple of years back — and why should it be? I was immersed in the Android ecosystem; and I can say this much for certain: anybody who has not seen outside Android cannot possibly understand the gravity of this situation.

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How I arrange my iPhone 6 Plus home screen

To many people, their home screens seem like a trivial aspect of smartphone usage. But having a cluttered home screen goes against the concept of a smart phone itself: if you cannot find what you need when you need it without searching for it for hither and thither, it becomes clear that your phone is smarter than you. Which is a pretty dangerous thing when you think of it.

Whatever platform you are on, having your phone set up for the most efficient use is a no-brainer. Having moved from the freedom of Android to the decidedly more sophisticated approach of iOS, I will focus on setting up your iPhone 6 Plus home screen. But the basic ideas should carry on for most devices.

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Why I moved from the Galaxy Note 3 to iPhone 6 Plus

After I recently bought a silver iPhone 6 Plus, I received several e-mails asking me about my jump to iOS, why I bought a silver/white device as opposed to my customary black and a few other comments. I decided to address them in a brief article here instead of answering several mails. (And before we go ahead, please know that I still own and use my Note 3, and still think of it as an extremely capable, future-proof device — and recommend it.)

After Apple’s iPhone 3GS came out in 2009, Google replied with the first of its now-successful Nexus lineup, the Nexus One. Android was customisable, seemingly the tech of the future, thanks to its fearless attempt at everything from NFC to underwater phones to wireless charging. With the iPhone 6/6 Plus, two things changed for me: Apple seemed to awaken and see the smartphone scene from a different perspective, and my own smartphone usage changed in certain ways.

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OS X Yosemite: thoughts

I have often complained that Apple’s lack of innovation is showing lately, and it is hard to argue with that: the company’s last trademark introduction was the first iPad back in 2010 — if you count the Newton MessagePad 100 as their first tablet, then their last introduction would be 2008’s original MacBook Air. From then on, everything was a fuzzy, confused release of hardware and software that consistently failed to impress.

It took them till June 2014 to give any further promising signs, but it is here at last — as far as software goes. OS X Yosemite, the eleventh iteration of OS X, brings in the concept of continuity to the iEcosystem, in effect strengthening Apple’s core business strategy — to craft an experience for its users.

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How to use Alfred on Mac — an introduction

OS X is certainly built around getting things done in a straightforward manner. The workings of the operating system, its user-friendly approach to everything and the clean interface makes working a pleasure.

However there is still room for speeding up interactions; not the system itself, but the way we go about getting things done. What takes several clicks and wading through window after window to initiate or terminate can be reduced to a handful of clicks.

Alfred is an extremely popular app on Mac that can help you get nearly everything done with just a few clicks, often just two. But a lot of people are either still unaware of it or hesitant to try it out owing to its slightly steep learning curve. That was why I wanted to go over Alfred in this quick introductory article, and share my own experiences of how I became a consistent user of the app.

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5 simple ways Apple could vastly improve iCloud

Apple took the world by storm when it rained on its users access to a thundering 5GB of lightning-fast storage space on the cloud. Now before I get ahead of myself using more weather puns, let us step back and see where Apple’s cloud storage service, iCloud, should be standing, considering it led the cloud storage movement.

But it is simply not where it should have been: iCloud is nowhere near perfect, but unfortunately it is nowhere near useful either, especially if you use OS X and not iOS.

By contrast, Google’s Drive storage is not only superior, but it does not create a fuss about OS. It simply works, much like an Apple product is supposed to. It is the same case with Box, SugarSync, Copy, Dropbox (of which I have never been a big fan) etc. So what can Apple do with iCloud to to make people take notice of it?

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7 OS X Terminal commands you should know

Having been a Windows and Ubuntu user, joining the Mac tribe was extremely refreshing for me. And one of the things I noticed was that somehow, my Mac seemed to be made for me out of the box — leaving me with only a couple of minor tweaks to make.

That is not to say Macs are perfect; but they are a lot more understanding of humans than Windows. That means a majority of Mac users never explore the Terminal that comes with their computers: a lovely UNIX footprint available on the Mac.

But using the terminal, while not strictly necessary, is fun to do once-in-a-while. So whether you hope to get started or just see what the fuss is all about (and if you have a Mac) then these are seven OS X Terminal commands you should know.

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MacBook Air

Today, as we move from an age of utility to portability, we find an increasing need to carry devices around with us that can do everything yet weigh no more than a pebble.

My powerhouse laptop is a great looking Lenovo Z500 customised with a 2TB hard disc, 6GB RAM, 2GB NVIDIA GT645 series graphics card, Dolby and the whole nine yards; it even runs Windows 8 64-bit smooth as silk. But it weighs close to 3kg. With it tossed into my dSLR bag, I end up carrying around 7kg on my back. Read more →

Apple vs Samsung: an explanation and an in-depth look with the latest updates

Since Apple sued Samsung in the US in April last year — and Samsung sued Apple in return in Japan, Korea and Germany — the Apple vs Samsung feud has been under keen watch in tech circles around the world.

While we have, inevitably, seen people taking sides, we have also seen several funny memes and other, more serious, discussions for both sides. And there are enough grounds to justify all of them.

[hr_padding] [notice type=”green”] This article is also available as a .pdf file for you to carry around and read at your leisure. Right click here and save link as… 

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Apple sues fridge for looking like an iPad

Image courtesy, original artist/s: as seen on TechlineInfo

In this article we will take a look at what exactly the biggest lawsuits are all about so you can make an informed decision before picking sides (you know you want to!) We will see what Apple and Samsung are fighting over, in common man’s language; what is at stake here; and how, as the two biggest technological companies in the world battle it out, the rest of us turn out to be the biggest losers.

If you are legally inclined, you can also read the latest lawsuit filed by Apple, Inc., but it’s alright, because we will be talking enough about that right here!

Here is a nice quote of the late (and awesome) Steve Jobs, to begin with:

We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas

— Steve Jobs, ex-CEO of Apple


How it got here: a very brief but interesting history

Back in April of 2011, Apple, Inc. moved a North California district court against Samsung Electronics Co., on three (among other) major charges: trademark infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment (meaning Samsung was benefited technologically — yes, we all know they really mean monetarily — by the efforts that Apple put in because Samsung copied Apple.)

As you can see, these are pretty huge accusations and Samsung was not one to keep quite. CEO Lee Kun-hee of the South Korean electronics giant led the charge and his company filed suits against Apple in Japan, Korea and Germany less than a fortnight later. They would eventually go on to with two of the cases and lose in Germany.

However, by then Apple had lost their first case as the evidence they had supplied was proved to have been tampered with. It included two images, one of the old iPhone 3GS and one of its contemporary Galaxy S, side-by-side; but the image had been resized to make them look exactly similar in all ways.

A couple of months later, Samsung filed more lawsuits: they had approached the British high court, the Delaware district court and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) by June of 2011.

At the heart of all these cases was really a simple truth: the United States being the largest consumer of gadgets from either company, it mattered little who won a case elsewhere. The verdicts that mattered had to come from courts in the United States and Apple had a clean upper hand here (although no juror would like to confess to this,) what with Apple being an American company.

It soon turned out to be true and Samsung began losing a whole slew of cases in the US, one after another. But what exactly were these companies fighting about?


Apple vs Samsung: Design patents

There are several things from its devices — hardware and software alike — that Apple seems to strongly believe Samsung has knowingly copied. Let us take a look at the most important of the lot.


Body design

Apple Patent Body Design_VHBelvadi

Fig 1

This one has perhaps been making the biggest circles around the internet.

Apple has a patent that protects a doodle they made about their iPhone (see Fig 1.) Perhaps it isn’t a doodle, and is more of a fairly accurate design, but the factors in play here are that this level of depiction is all the patent office needs and this actually patents a lot: the shape, the corners, the steel rim and the button layout.

And below it you see the Samsung Galaxy phone they have filed a case about (Fig 2.)

What is the moral of the story? If you are ever making a phone, make sure it is not rectangular, longer lengthwise, does not have rounded corners, does not have steel surrounding it anywhere, and, not to mention, no buttons at the bottom centre. Right now, Apple owns exclusive rights to all that courtesy of an ingenious US patent office.

Apple Patent Body Design Samsung_VHBelvadi

Fig 2

I am not an Apple-hater, and you can feel free to erase out the last bit you read, but that is the hard truth in lay man’s terms. Refer Apple’s D790, D016 and D677 patents for a legal version of what I just said.

It gets worse from here on.

[P.S. We will talk more about body design in the Trade Dress section of this article later.]



Another important ground on which Apple is suing Samsung is its use of icons. Once again, like the body design, there seems to be an outright grant of exclusive rights here too.

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The 10 best upgrades from Apple at WWDC 2012

A LOT HAPPENED AT WWDC this year, and taking centre stage were Tim Cook’s promised slew of upgrades from Apple (which kept telling people it was the industry leader with almost every other product, for some reason.) And, of course, Siri cracked a few jokes.

We’re going to take a look at the top 10 things to watch out for (some released, others promised) in the coming months so you’ll know where to invest your money in an Apple product. While there were a host of things introduced, these ten really stood out.

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[highlighted]iOS 6[/highlighted]

Hands down the best upgrade  yet, this new mobile OS is supposedly going to come with about 200 new (many minor) features, competing with Google’s upcoming Android 5 OS. Developers were given the beta version to test and come up with new things to be finalised before the official release later this year.

While all devices will get the new OS — including Apple’s long time masterpiece, the iPhone 3GS — iPad 1 will not be getting an upgrade owing to support issues. It seems Apple has got back to snubbing its older devices, but when hardware gets laggy and unco-operative, there is very little even Tim Cook and his men can do.

View Apple’s iOS 6 Preview

[highlighted]Apple Mapping Software to rival Google Maps[/highlighted]

For some reason Apple has chosen to get rid of Google Maps — which was originally a permanent pre-installed app in Steve Job’s time — to replace it with their own new mapping software. Some wonder whether this foray into Google territory will not raise the Search engine-cum-maps-cum-analytics-cum-open source ware-cum-weird innovations giant with a lashing fury.

Actually, it already has. In reply to Apple’s new Maps software, Google has overhauled its entire Maps database and made it fully 3D. So Apple is now looking to one-up the game introducing Siri to Maps (and redirection based on traffic, some say.) Either way, this looks like a nice game to watch from the sidelines (like I always do) and only time will tell if Apple will ever be able to topple Google Maps, but as a user, all I am looking for is new features that are of use to me. So far, both these companies have satisfied us all.

Read More About Apple’s new Maps Software

[highlighted]Mountain Lions to attack this July[/highlighted]

While iOS 6 is reigning over Apple’s mobile devices (and the mobile industry, as Apple likes to believe) the latest Mac version, code named Mountain Lion, is set to come with Apple’s laptop and desktop lineups this July onwards. It’s is believed to cost about $20 if you are interested to upgrade straight from the App Store.

The Mountain Lion OS boasts AirPlay, Game Centre, better (and hopefully a more useful) iCloud, iChat and a lot of other typical Apple iThings to entertain users. Two interesting functions, though, (which do not have cool-ish names for some reason,) are reminders and notes similar to the stick-it available on Windows 7 taskbars; and, lastly, a voice-to-text translation app that comes pre-installed — not to mention takes users back to the 1960s dictaphones (which, by the way, are among my favourite devices.)

Find out what is new in Mountain Lion

[highlighted]All-Round Retina Display [/highlighted]

It was hardly unexpected in tech circles that Apple would put its signature Retina Display on all its devices.

Migrating from the iPhone and the new iPad, Apple is releasing its latest laptop lineup with full Retina screens; from the Macbook Pro to Air to anything else you can think of, the screen is going to be a Retina. While this is analogous to companies supplying laptops with Gorilla(R) Glass, what remains to be seen is what this addition can really do; how useful will a Retina Display prove to be on a laptop such as the Macbook Pro, for instance?

Read More About the New Retina Display

[highlighted]The New Macbook Pro[/highlighted]

For years we saw the Macbook Pro as Apple’s leading product in its category and we also noticed that major upgradation — except, perhaps, the OS — was more or less stagnant. So this time Tim Cook has decided to give customers a lot more eye candy with a full High Quality Retina display.

The science is simply that the Retina, SuperAMOLED and LG‘s rumoured new screen type have such high resolutions that it would make it pointless to increase it because it would cross human visual capabilities: we would not be able to notice it even if there was any pixellation. So how would that look on a laptop? Is it useful at all? Why don’t you buy a Macbook Pro and let us know? (It costs, on average, a paltry $2,000 so what are you waiting for?)

Oh, and did I mention it is as thin as a Macbook Air now?

Read More About the New Retina Display

[highlighted]Deep Facebook Integration[/highlighted]

It appears Apple is trying to make a statement to Samsung by asking LG to make screens for it too (which Samsung does not seem to be bothered by much,) and it is trying to make another statement, this time directed straight at Google, by integrating Facebook into iOS 6 and leaving out Google+. Needless to say, like Samsung, Google does not seem to care either. To me, it just seems like Apple took to Facebook just to stab at Google+, in turn Google, and in turn Android, and in turn benefit itself. Like a linchpin. (Yes, that is a Castle S04 hangover.)

But the point remains: if you are a heavy user of Facebook you will find lots to drool over in your next Apple mobile or tablet. Following the same footsteps as they did with Twitter, Apple has almost every screen at every step of the way somehow connected to Facebook — called Depp Facebook Integration. In other words, no matter what you are doing, where ever you are doing it, Facebook can know. Hm.

Find out more about the Apple-Facebook connection

[highlighted]Advanced (but better?) iCloud[/highlighted]

When Apple launched iCloud with all that flourish, the end product seemed rather below standards. But now the company has decided it was time to upgrade their cloud hosting service (which still costs a fortune, mind you) with support for documents, both reading and editing, as well as sharing your photo stream across all Macs and iOSes via drag and drop.

I hate to be a pull down, but when you take a second look at it, iCloud is actually behind its time. All its features are already on Google Drive, which is much older (it just had a different name, so what?) But if that does not satisfy you, how about Dropbox and Box and Sugarsync? They all had drag and drop, instant syncing across all devices, from Apple to iOS to Windows mobile. So, in a way, iCloud is not really helping Apple any.

What else is new in the new iCloud?

[highlighted]Siri is going to be everywhere. Oh dear![/highlighted]

If Siri’s strange voice irritates you, you have another thing coming: Siri. Yes, this time on an iPad too! Maybe that last exclamatory mark was misplaced, maybe not, but the fact is, Siri is also coming without any options for different voices/tones/pitches.

Siri can also crack jokes (apparently it cracked one right at the start of WWDC) but, in her (its?) own words, she (it?) loves us all, but “[she (it?) is] still not programmed for emotions.”

That is a good thing, if you are unable to decide. And, given that statistically, iPads are used far more than iPhones for ridiculous but cool things like controlling stuff at home via wireless and also in cars via dangerousness, it makes sense to have a virtual assistant on hand. And that again if you actually like to talk to a phone all day. (And you thought Facebook was killing real-life social interaction?)

In any case, Skynet Google does not seem to be interested in coming up with their own, official version of a Siri counterpart on Android mostly because they are busier in cooler stuff like glasses with integrated TV viewing, raising $2,718,281,828 on IPO, tweeting things like I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010, renting goats and owning a personal dinausaur pet they call Stan. But, yeah, Siri is cooler.

Find out (a lot) more about Siri

[highlighted]Macbook Air gets airier[/highlighted]

As Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing put it, they have “made the world’s best portable family even better.” In a phrase, he is absolutely right. The new Macbook Air gets core i5 and i7 processors on it 11″ and 13″ versions; alongside this is a powerful graphics processing unit making it 60% faster.

There is a 720p capturing capability on the new FaceTime camera (that is Apple’s supposedly cool name for what we commoners call the front-facing camera — which is more descriptive in any case.) Although why anybody would want to video chat at 720p HD is beyond me. But what is useful, though, is the new integrated USB 3.0 port that also supports USB 2.0, and along with this, topping of the list, is the equally high-end price tag of $999 for the 13″ version.

Compare the Macbook Air 2012 and the 2011 model


I simply had to put this on the list because this Safari upgrade brings so many important things to the browser. In fact it was because these things were missing that I ended up opting for other browsers, but — I hate to spoil the moment — nothing in here is not already present on Chrome or Firefox as we will see.

Apple loves to give things names: presenting the new Omnibar. What does it do? The same thing Firefox and Chrome were doing ever since their beta versions, years ago. The difference is, neither Firefox nor Chrome gave it special names like Omnibar. Anyway, this is just that long white text block where you used to type in website addresses and, if you remember (or have ever done this like me) typing a google search like Redskins vs Panthers would take you to some weird looking website like http://redskins%20vs&r&20pathers%2f&.com. Now it takes you to Google (at least they did not ditch Google here.)

There is also another named feature called iCloud Tabs on the new Safari which lets you access tabs you have opened on your Mac on your iPhone or tabs from your iPhone on your iPad and Mac etc. This again is a feature already in Chrome (unnamed, of course) so the major upgrades for Safari, like iCloud itself, are more to bring the product up to industry standards than to cross it.

The new pinching-tabs view looks pretty much like it does on Chrome on Android or Dolphin Browser or the ICS task manager, which means it is very useful even if not entirely new (except the pinch gesture of course.) Lastly, it also has a feature to save webpages for offline vewing — something that is present in Android since 2.2 Froyo and on Chrome and Firefox desktops since much before that. So, right now it all sounds good, but Apple will have to make things even better if it wants to lead the pack; and again, as some would argue, getting to the same page of the competition is how you go on to the next.

Will Apple go on to the next page before Google and the others make it? Only time will tell.

Read more about the new, improved Safari

What we do together is much more important than any set of numbers could reflect. Our goal has always been to do great work and make a difference in other people’s lives.

— Tim Cook (CEO) Apple, Inc.


3 Things nobody will tell you about iPad 3

With Apple’s iPad 3 released recently, here are 3 things they safely left out of their device specifications, videos and release conference. We examine what is new in the device, how great it is and where all it can improve. Perhaps there is also a little disappointment for us photographers?
[W]ith Apple’s latest addition to its tablet lineup released a few days back, it is worth taking a closer look at some of the things that Apple have not been making too much noise about. Make no mistake, the new iPad is a great device, incorporating the iPhone Retina display (which is a great news since this website optimised Retina on the iPhone all this while and is now supported by the iPad!) and the striking Gorilla glass accompanied by an impractical, but pleasurably huge, 2,048 by 1,536 pixel display.

But, in spite of Apple resorting to its usual bar tricks and releasing what seemed to be a complete specifications video on their device, there appear to be some subtle points the company thought wise to leave out. In today’s post I examine some of those.

Bigger apps, smaller memory

Oh, yes, HTC’s signature problem, the lack of internal memory — and, at times, expandable memory — does not seem to have left Apple alone. With Retina being introduced in the new iPad, it was quite obvious that the initial memory to be provided must be increased; but Cook and his men have stayed on with the iPad 2 16GB and 32GB variant habit.

In other words, with Retina compatible apps now being made available for the new iPad, users will have to continually make space (read ‘delete stuff’) because these things are known to take tonnes of bytes of space. In fact, they were solely and directly responsible for the surge in the company’s 3G download upper limit.

Photographers cannot rejoice after all

On the one hand, the huge resolution of display is sending waves of cheers in the photography community, but, on the other, as some of us pointed out, this really is incompatible with most full-resolution photographs. That is to say, photographers cannot carry around the best looking versions of their work as they had hoped to with the release of iPad 3. So, any photographer with a 19 mega-pixel (or more) camera cannot see his full images.

Moreover, 1080p videos happen to be the upper end of the new device, so an unimpressive expansion to its 2,000 by 1,500-odd screen size is practically useless; but some might be satisfied with the Retina making it up for this, so it is not too much of a problem, but one that certainly can do with more improvements.

Dimensional problems

Apple perhaps wants the new iPad to be a photographer’s companion, as Discovery News puts it. The way I see it, this highlights its near-impractical dimensions, that handling-unfriendliness that I have so often pointed out (and which has also convinced me not to give away my awesome 7″ tablet for a bigger one.)

In order to make for a bulkier battery, the iPad has got physically bulkier — heavier. With its thickness increased by about 0.05″ and its mass by 0.11lbs, the iPad probably wants to redefine some sort of chic style in lugging around bulk. But fitting in Retina and so little space that you can hardly do anything seamlessly with it without getting bugged by space scarcity is not the most welcome screen for an iPad 3 buyer.

Besides, think of the stares you will attract when you hold up your 10-inch, slate-like, device in front of your face, armed with a paltry 5 mega-pixel camera trying in almost certain vanity to shoot a quality photograph.

  • What do you think of the new iPad?

  • What other areas could Apple improve its product in?

  • Or are you convinced with iPad 3?

  • Will you buy it?

Do share your thoughts with us below!



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