By macleans.ca - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 0 Comments
The tech marvel takes on the corporate pariah
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January at a company event in San Francisco, somebody in the audience wolf whistled. Nicknamed the Jesus tablet, Apple’s iPad (a portable touch-screen computer that can play videos, surf the Net, and serve as an e-reader, to name just a few of its functions) hit store shelves in April, selling over 300,000 units in its ﬁrst day. Its success sent traditional media stalwarts (the Washington Post, the New Yorker) scrambling to become iPad-compatible. This sleek tablet turned out to be so good, it made everyone forget how ridiculous the name “iPad” once seemed.
Former CEO Tony Hayward—the man tasked with explaining the world’s largest-ever oil spill—climbed to the top of oil giant BP as a reformer who stated, after a 2005 refinery explosion, that his company’s leadership “doesn’t listen sufficiently well.” But after the Deepwater Horizon spill, Hayward, 53, didn’t seem to have absorbed his own lessons. He told reporters he “wanted his life back,” refused to answer queries from congressmen, and attended a yacht race while one of the worst environmental catastrophes on record slowly unfolded.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 10:40 AM - 5 Comments
RIM has finally unveiled a working demo of its rival to the iPad—the BlackBerry Playbook
Research In Motion has been locked in a bitter battle with tech rivals like Apple, but lately it seems shareholders couldn’t be happier. The company, which has been losing ground in the battle over smartphones, finally unveiled a working demo of its rival to the iPad—the BlackBerry Playbook—last Tuesday. Company co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis debuted the seven-inch, multi-touch tablet at the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, showcasing its integrated camera for video conferencing, high-definition screen and full Flash support—all features the iPad has been criticized for lacking.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has dismissed the Playbook as being “too small,” but RIM shareholders seem to disagree. The device, which hits store shelves as early as next March and is marketed as the world’s first “professional” tablet, drove RIM stock up 5.8 per cent on Tuesday and 10 per cent overall last week.
By Stephanie Findlay - Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 2:20 PM - 0 Comments
In the juggle of priorities on campus, books are falling off the shelf
Earlier this month, the University of Texas at San Antonio announced it had built the world’s first bookless library. Its Applied Engineering and Technology Library offers access to 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions, and librarians say they’ve yet to hear a complaint from the 350-plus students and faculty who pass through its doors daily. “We’ve gotten no negative feedback,” says Krisellen Maloney, library dean at the University of Texas. “We looked at circulation rates, we looked at electronic resources, we looked at requests, and we decided that having the services was more important than the physical books.” She adds bluntly: “When we prioritized the needs, the books weren’t the priority.”
It used to be that the size of a collection defined a library’s greatness, but now with access to online academic journals and e-books, a large physical collection doesn’t yield the same competitive advantage.
Now the bookless trend is taking hold in Canada, where more and more libraries are expanding their electronic resources. “My own institution has increased its holdings exponentially,” says Ernie Ingles, vice-provost and chief librarian at the University of Alberta and president of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). “Virtually 90 per cent of our journals are electronic now, without print equivalents, and I believe we have approaching one million e-books in one kind or another.” Ingles says that all the members of CARL, including the University of British Columbia, the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University, are moving in a similar direction.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Amazon slashes prices on the Kindle e-reader
Online bookseller Amazon generated big buzz when its Kindle e-reader went on sale for $399 in 2007. But the arrival of the iPad this year, with its full-colour touchscreen, e-reader and Internet-browsing capabilities, had the effect of making the Kindle and its black-and-white display seem dated literally overnight. As a result, Amazon and other makers of e-readers are now hoping their machines will find a comfortable home down-market. This week Amazon slashed the Kindle’s price by US$70 to US$189.
By Kate Lunau - Monday, June 28, 2010 at 9:55 AM - 8 Comments
DivorceApps.com aims at helping people who can’t afford the services of a lawyer
Most people going through a divorce could probably do without the stress and expense of endless consultations with a lawyer. Now, some—in the U.S., anyway—can consult with their iPhones instead.
A new company out of Dallas, called DivorceApps.com, is selling iPhone applications aimed at helping people who “can’t afford the services of a lawyer and need to help themselves,” says family lawyer Michelle May O’Neil, its co-creator. O’Neil’s company, which launched in March, sells two apps through the iTunes store (both cost US$9.99). The Cost & Prep app helps people “calculate the hidden costs of divorce,” she says, from the “double cost of housing,” to extra kids’ clothes, down to “how much it costs to park at a lawyer’s office.” It also helps create a list of necessary documents, saving money on “the back-and-forth with a lawyer,” O’Neil says.
By Claire Ward - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
One expert says Jobs’s emails to fans are ‘baby steps’
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been a hot topic on tech blogs lately for something other than the iPad: his emails. Responding to frustrated Apple users and fans alike, Jobs’s terse responses to emails sent to his work address—email@example.com—are being republished online by excited recipients.
While most are one-word replies to questions about Apple products, Jobs has been stringing together more elaborate responses of late. In March, when asked whether the iPad will support Google’s Picasa library format, Jobs replied with a light jab: “No, but iPhoto on the Mac has much better faces and places features.”
By Jason Kirby - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 6:05 PM - 10 Comments
After all the frenzy and the hype, Apple’s mythical tablet computer is finally here. But will customers buy the thing?
After months of intense anticipation and wild rumour mongering by Apple enthusiasts, the company’s CEO finally unveiled its latest offering today to the assembled masses in San Francisco—a tablet device that aims to meld the mobility of a smartphone with the functionality of a laptop. As Jobs said, it’s “way better than a laptop, way better than a phone.”
But now that we know what it is, can it live up to the hype?
By Colby Cosh - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 5:54 PM - 29 Comments
I paid a combined $550 last year for an Asus netbook AND an 8G iPod Touch, Steve Jobs! The “big” one has a camera and can run Flash and Skype—in fact, it can run all those applications, and many others besides, at the same time! Meanwhile, the little one fits in a pants pocket; it’s pretty much the futuristic miniaturized version of the product you rolled out with such fanfare today. I was already fairly sure I didn’t personally have room in my life or budget for your tablet device (isn’t it funny how Apple can make everyone forget there’s a recession?), but I thought maybe there was a chance of some kind of crazy breakthrough in data pricing or mesh computing or gesture recognition or something. Like, maybe you would have something more fundamental to show us than just an overgrown, overpriced iPod?
And I’ve underestimated you before, Steve, but when it comes to this device that’s supposed to rescue my industry—well, are you really married to “iPad”? Because you kind of have the reputation of being an autocrat, and this seems like the paradigm of a marketing decision that an autocrat would make; everyone around him knows it’s messed up, but nobody wants to say anything and have their head bitten off. It seems to me that if you’re trying to move a product that nobody has a crystal-clear need for, that sort of consideration counts double. I’ll shut up now.