iNews Review

More iOS Devices Sold Than All Macs Ever, Half of Kindle Fire Owners Want an iPad 3, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.02.27

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

More iOS Devices Sold in 2011 Than All Macs Ever Made

cumulative sales for Apple computing productsAsymco's Horace Dediu comments on Apple CEO Tim Cook this week at Goldman Sachs citing 55 million iPads sold to date, observing that to put that metric in context, "it took us 22 years to sell 55 million Macs. It took us about five years to sell 22 million iPods, and it took us about three years to sell that many iPhones.

Dediu notes that the iOS platform as a whole reached 316 million cumulative units at the end of last year, overtook the OS X platform in under four years, and more iOS devices were sold in 2011 (156 million) than all the Macs ever sold (122 million).

Apple's Toughest Competition Is Apple

PR: Rhoda Alexander, senior manager, tablet and monitor research for IHS iSuppli, says that although soaring sales of Amazon's Kindle Fire and other low-priced tablets trimmed Apple's media tablet market share in the fourth-quarter, it was Apple's own newly introduced iPhone 4S that proved to be the strongest competitor for the iPad during the final three months of 2011.

Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads and iPad 2s during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the IHS iSuppli Display Materials & Systems Service at information and analysis provider IHS (NYSE: IHS). But while shipments were up 39% from 11.1 million in the third quarter, Apple's share of the global media tablet market slipped to 57% in the fourth quarter, down from 64% in the third quarter, as presented in the table below.

Top 5 tablets, Q4 2011

"Shipments of the iPad line fell short of IHS estimates in the fourth quarter as many loyal Apple customers devoted their dollars to shiny new alternatives," says Ms. Alexander. "However, the primary alternative wasn't the Kindle Fire - which debuted to solid sales in the fourth quarter - but Apple's own iPhone 4S smartphone. The rollout of the iPhone 4S in October generated intense competition for Apple purchasers disposable income, doing more to limit iPad shipment growth than competition from the Kindle Fire and other media tablets.

Amazon Opens Fire on Apple

The debut performance of the Kindle Fire played a strong role in the share shift as well, particularly in the US market, which accounted for more than half of global fourth-quarter media tablet sales. Amazon shipped 3.9 million Fire tablets in the fourth quarter, allowing the company to garner a double-digit share of the market, at 14.3%. This drove Amazon to become the world's second-largest tablet shipper in the fourth quarter, surpassing Samsung Electronics.

"Kindle Fire shipments in the fourth quarter came right in line with the IHS early December forecast of 3.9 million units, representing a respectable start for the Fire," Alexander notes. "However, the long-term viability of the product will hinge on the success of Amazon's business gamble, which depends on tablet sales driving substantial new online merchandise sales at Amazon.com in order to attain profitability."

Sharing the Tablet Wealth

For the entire year of 2011, Apple shipped 40.5 million iPads and iPad 2s, up 168% from 15.1 million in 2010. This gave the company a 62% share for the year, down from the dominant 87% in 2010, when Apple had the media tablet market all to itself for most of the year.

Despite Amazon's strong showing at the end of the year, Samsung held on to second place, with shipments of its Galaxy Tab line amounting to 6.1 million units, or 9.4% of the 2011 market. Amazons share for the year amounted to 6%.

Stress Tablets

The fourth-quarter introduction of value-priced tablets, most notably the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook, created chaos across the Android tablet marketplace, forcing competitors to slash pricing in order to clear inventory.

"The surge in non-iPad shipments in the fourth quarter was achieved at considerable financial cost, with sharp price reductions across most of the competing Android tablets and actual product giveaways from a number of vendors as part of promotional efforts for other electronic products," Ms. Alexander notes.

In the wake of the new low bar for pricing set by the Fire and the Nook and the looming Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility, manufacturers and branded vendors are looking to Windows 8 tablets as a more profitable alternative. Watch for a surge of Windows 8 and ARM microprocessor-based tablets in late 2012 and early 2013.

Apple's Tablet Plans

Apple is set to reclaim its tablet market share when it commences volume shipments of the next version of the iPad, which is expected in the second quarter of this year.

IHS iSuppli anticipates strong sales for the iPad 3, with demand expected to outstrip supply for several months. The new device is reported to feature a QXGA retina display with a pixel format of 2048 x 1536, as well as Siri, the popular voice interface of the iPhone 4S. As with previous iPad releases, Apple is anticipated to stage a staggered rollout, introducing the new product in different countries around the globe as supply improves.

iPad Owners Older and Wealthier Than Other Tablet Owners

PR: iPad owners tend to be older and have more money, but as tablets have become more mainstream and more widely distributed, those high-end demographics are shifting.

tablet owner demographicsAccording to market research firm NPD Groups' new study, "Tablet Adoption and Insights Report", more than 40% of iPad owners have a household income of $100 thousand or more, compared to 26% of non-iPad owners. More recent tablet owners make less money and are younger than the early adopters, with buyers at the end of 2011 being 50% more likely to have an income under $45 thousand, and 33% more likely to be under 34 years of age.

"As the demographic of the tablet owner continues to change, the tablet market is beginning to take on a new role," says Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, "We are seeing some of the tasks traditionally performed on devices, such as PCs, now being performed on the tablet. In fact, all five of the top activities shifted towards the tablet between early and late 2011."

Yet, regardless of usage trends, the vast majority of consumers are not rejecting other devices. Only 10% of tablet owners have decided they don't need a PC notebook that they were once considering. This same trend is also reflected among non-tablet owners, 26% of whom say they are likely to buy a notebook in the next year, while just 18% say they will purchase a tablet.

"Even as consumers increasingly use tablets for tasks that were once exclusively done on their PC, they continue to plan new PC purchases," says Baker. "Usage is still evolving and most people, being inherently conservative in their device outlook, continue to hedge their bets on their device preference by planning to maintain an array of products to afford them maximum flexibility."

The survey is based on a US rep sample of more than 1,114 consumers completed the survey through NPD's online panel in December 2011. A pre-identified sample of 3, 600 tablet owners were part of the survey.

iPad 2 vs. Kindle Fire: Report Reveals Top Consumer Issues

It is well documented how the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire stack up when it comes to features and pricing, but FixYa, the leading product Q&A destination on the Internet, sheds light on the top consumer issues on each device. The findings, which are included in the FixYa Tablet Index, are based on tens of thousands of issues for each product.

Top Kindle Fire Issues

  • One-Click Shopping Security: Amazon has made online shopping a breeze, with the Kindle Fire storing your credit card information as well as instituting one-click shopping. Although convenient, consumers complain that the lack of password authorization represents a huge security issue, with the possibility of accidental purchases (such as children or touchscreen foul-ups) and greater losses in the case of theft. This is an especially important issue due to the social nature of tablets, which are often being used as family devices. Worse, there is no direct fix for the issue (although Amazon has signaled that they are working on one), aside from password protecting your WiFi connection and device.
  • WiFi Connection Issues: The Kindle Fire's WiFi has been plagued with significant issues from the start, with numerous FixYa users complaining of faulty connections, getting kicked off in the middle of browsing, and being unable to connect to the Internet at all. Considering the fact that WiFi is the only way users can access the Internet on the Kindle, this problem is a significant one for anyone who wants to spend a lot of time online. Updating Kindle software to the latest version has a 30% chance of solving a WiFi related issue.
  • Lack of Parental Settings: A common issue owners have with their Kindle Fire is the lack of parental controls for children safety. Once again, this poses a larger issue due to the social and family nature of tablet devices: children can easily access content that parents don't want them to see. Setting a WiFi password only solves this problem for web browsing.

Although more reliable overall, the iPad 2 also has some serious issues:

  • WiFi Connection Issues: iPad 2 owners have reported fairly widespread issues with connecting to (and staying connected to) WiFi. Although this is a widespread issue that affects those without a 3G-enabled iPad or those close to their monthly data cap, there are a number of successful fixes. Turning WiFi on and off, renewing the DHCP lease, and resetting the WiFi network settings usually solves the issue.
  • Backlight Bleeding: 15% of iPad 2 issues registered are related to display problems, mostly the prominence of splotchy light patches around the edges of the device. This is an eyesore that becomes more noticeable in the dark. Adjusting device screen brightness can alleviate this somewhat, although a full fix is more difficult because it is a hardware issue.

Below is how the top 5 troubleshooting issues broke down for each device:

Top 5 Kindle Fire Problems

  1. Cant Turn Off One-Click Shopping, 30%
  2. WiFi Connection Issues, 25%
  3. No Parental Settings, 15%
  4. Touchscreen Precision, 15%
  5. USB Issues, 10%

Top 5 iPad 2 Problems

  1. WiFi Connection Issues, 35%
  2. LED Display Issues, 15%
  3. Microphone Quality, 15%
  4. USB Issues, 10%
  5. Screen Issues, 10%

"Product call centers are the closest thing to consumer hell, making the Web the new owners manual," says FixYa CEO Yaniv Bensadon. "We see this firsthand and have experienced an explosion in consumer issues with tablets, mainly the variety of devices running Android software. Despite Apple's godlike status with consumers, it is no stranger to consumer issues, as noted in toady's report."

FixYa brings consumers the most comprehensive solution database in the world. The FixYa Tablet Index was generated from over 20 million users, 650,000 experts and 10 million product problems and solutions. FixYa's unique access to crowd-sourced product Q&A from consumers grants the company transparent data that no other service can claim to provide. FixYa's troubleshooting data comes from real-life consumer experience with products and product problems.

About FixYa

In 2005, entrepreneur Yaniv Bensadon set out to build a community resource capable of providing relevant and up-to-date troubleshooting information, gathering consumer-generated practical product tips and sharing them in one user-friendly site. Today, with over 20 million visitors and two million products in its database, FixYa continues to empower individuals to repair and improve upon their already-purchased possessions. FixYa is a place where individuals can share real world experience and connect to provide each other practical advice. From fixing cars, to cameras, to iPhones, FixYans are part of a DIY revolution that helps empower techies, tinkerers and hobbyists across the globe.

FixYa is a venture-funded Web 2.0 company located in the heart of Silicon Valley with offices in San Mateo, California.

More Than Half of Kindle Fire Owners Plan to Buy an iPad 3

PR: TechBargains.com, a deal aggregation website for electronic products, has released its iPad 3 survey results, revealing that a surprising 48% of those surveyed will buy an iPad 3. Of the respondents, 58% want to upgrade their current tablet and 74% concede that no tablet compares to an iPad. The anticipated high price tag of Apple's next iPad is the main reason 16% of shoppers will not buy the iPad 3 and why 35% remain undecided. The survey also found that more than half of owners of the recently released Kindle Fire will buy an iPad 3.

"When it comes to tablets, Apple's iPad will continue to remain the leader," says Yung Trang, President and Editor in Chief of TechBargains.com. "But what's very interesting is that Kindle Fire was released just three months ago and yet more than half of Fire owners already know that they will, in fact, buy the iPad 3. This could be a commentary on consumer dissatisfaction with Amazon's product or simply a message that the iPad's user experience remains unparalleled."

Kindle Fire vs. iPad 3

With the recent release of Amazon's Kindle Fire, a surprising 53% will buy the iPad 3 (6% will wait in line on the release date, 17% will buy online on the release date, and 30% will wait and buy the iPad, but with no set time frame). The survey indicated that 85% of those Kindle Fire owners who will buy the iPad 3 want to upgrade their current tablet and 73% say no tablet compares to an iPad. Additionally, 31% of Kindle Fire owners are undecided about their plans to purchase an iPad 3 and 16% do not plan to buy the iPad 3 (of those respondents, 78% wont buy an iPad 3 already own a tablet and 71% say iPads are too expensive).

iPad & iPad 2 vs. iPad 3

Of the survey respondents 66% of iPad owners and 56% of iPad 2 owners plan to purchase the iPad 3 which indicates consumers' strong Apple loyalty and the eagerness to have the latest products available. Additional survey results indicate:

iPad Owners

  • 35% are undecided if they will purchase the iPad 3
  • 8% will not purchase the iPad 3 (of those 91% already own a tablet and 72% believe its too expensive)

iPad Owners iPad 3 Wish List

  • 85% want a quad core processor in the iPad 3, 80% want a memory card slot, 80% also want a USB port, and 76% want a better speaker

iPad 2 Owners

  • 32% undecided if they will purchase the iPad 3
  • 13% will not purchase the iPad 3 (of those 94% already own a tablet, 65% say iPad is too expensive)

iPad 2 Owners iPad 3 Wish List

  • 83% want a better speaker in the iPad 3, 83% quad core processor, 79% memory card slot, 77% USB port

Who Is Buying the iPad 3?

The survey revealed that men (51%) are more likely than women (35%) to purchase the iPad 3. The main reason men and women were either undecided or were not going to purchase an iPad 3 was because they felt it was too expensive. On the other hand, the main reason men and women will purchase an iPad 3 is because they believe no other tablets compare to iPad. Additionally, the survey found that respondents ages 31-50 are most likely to buy an iPad 3.

Consumers' iPad 3 Wish List

The survey included questions regarding what features consumers predict will be included in the iPad 3 and additions they wish Apple would make. The majority of people (67%) believe the iPad 3 will have an upgraded camera to record video in 1080p and 8 MP for high resolution photos. 92% of respondents predict the iPad 3 display will have an increased pixel resolution than the 1024 x 768 of the iPad 2, but people were split on what the new resolution will be. The display size and price of the iPad 3 will remain the same as its predecessor, according to the majority of shoppers. Consumers also shared a wish list of features they would like to see included in the iPad 3. The results include the percent of people who want the following features:

  • Quad Core Processor: 85%
  • Better Speaker: 82%
  • USB Port: 82%
  • Memory Card Slot: 81%
  • Less Reflective Screen: 72%
  • Siri: 65%
  • Support for Thunderbolt (42%) and Multiple User (51%) accounts ranked low on wish list

"It's clear from the wish list results that consumers don't want the iPad 3 to be a slight improvement over the iPad 2; they're looking for a significant leap in tablet functionality and specs from Apple's newest device. That means addressing some elements that left users underwhelmed, like wanting a faster processor or a less reflective screen," says Techbargains.com Editor Jeff Haynes. "The storage features from the wish list probably wont be included, but those stats speak to the consumers desire for Apple to increase its storage options away from iCloud, especially if it wants memory intensive apps or initiatives, like the new textbooks through iBooks, to really take off."

Apple, Please Steal These webOS Features

IgnoreTheCode blogger Lukas Mathis says that when Apple introduced the first iPad in 2010, he bought one immediately. He didn't know what he'd use it for but was sure that he would find some use for it. However, he says he never did. He played around with it, wrote some code for it, but eventually stopped using it.

"I would pick it up from time to time to read something or watch a YouTube movie," he relates, but even that was a rare occurrence. "I have since picked up an iPad 2, and I'm using it a lot more than the first iPad, but again, I'm pretty much only using it to consume content."

Mathis says he suspects that most people use their iPad's similarly to surf the Web, watch movies, play games, and read books and graphic novels. Essentially, to consume, so when he bought a TouchPad after HP discontinued it, he never assumed he would end up using it for actual work, but he affirms that he's doing just that.

The operative question is why was it so easy to use the TouchPad for work, but not the iPad? He thinks it's because there are a number of things the TouchPad does that make it more suitable for work and suggests that with it becoming increasingly obvious that HP won't do anything useful with webOS, it's time for Apple to start "stealing" the things it does well, such as:

  • Switching Apps
  • Document management on iOS is a mess.
  • Multiple Document and Application Windows Open
  • The Keyboard

And these are just some of the things that make it easier to do actual work on a TouchPad, compared to an iPad.

Is Texting Dumbing Us Down?

TG Daily Staff note that University of Calgary researcher Joan Lee suggests it is, that individuals who text more are less accepting of new words, while those who read more traditional print media - such as books, magazines, and newspapers - are more accepting unfamiliar terms, noting that traditional print media expose people to variety and creativity in language that is conspicuously absent in the colloquial peer-to-peer text messaging used among youth or "generation text," and that while reading encourages flexibility in language use, along with tolerance of different words, also helping individuals develop skills that allow them to generate viable interpretations of new or unusual words, texting, by contrast, is associated with rigid linguistic constraints that caused students to reject many of the words in the study.

US Department of Transportation Proposes Distraction Guidelines for Automakers

PR: Welcome news for those of us increasingly concerned about the safety implications of increasing presence of attention-distracting electronic features in automobiles, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices. The proposed voluntary guidelines would apply to communications, entertainment, information gathering and navigation devices or functions that are not required to safely operate the vehicle.

Issued by the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the guidelines would establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require visual or manual operation by drivers. The announcement of the guidelines comes just days after President Obama's FY 2013 budget request, which includes $330 million over six years for distracted driving programs that increase awareness of the issue and encourage stakeholders to take action.

"Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America's roadways that's why I've made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel," said Secretary LaHood. "These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages."

Geared toward light vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, and other vehicles rated at not more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight), the guidelines proposed today are the first in a series of guidance documents NHTSA plans to issue to address sources of distraction that require use of the hands and/or diversion of the eyes from the primary task of driving.

In particular, the Phase I proposed guidelines released today recommend criteria that manufacturers can use to ensure the systems or devices they provide in their vehicles are less likely to distract the driver with tasks not directly relevant to safely operating the vehicle, or cause undue distraction by engaging the driver's eyes or hands for more than a very limited duration while driving. Electronic warning system functions such as forward-collision or lane departure alerts would not be subject to the proposed guidelines, since they are intended to warn a driver of a potential crash and are not considered distracting devices.

"We recognize that vehicle manufacturers want to build vehicles that include the tools and conveniences expected by today's American drivers," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "The guidelines we're proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want without disrupting a driver's attention or sacrificing safety."

The proposed Phase I distraction guidelines include recommendations to:

  • Reduce complexity and task length required by the device;
  • Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel to control the vehicle);
  • Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration;
  • Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view;
  • Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation.

The proposed guidelines would also recommend the disabling of the following operations by in-vehicle electronic devices while driving, unless the devices are intended for use by passengers and cannot reasonably be accessed or seen by the driver, or unless the vehicle is stopped and the transmission shift lever is in park.

  • Visual-manual text messaging;
  • Visual-manual Internet browsing;
  • Visual-manual social media browsing;
  • Visual-manual navigation system destination entry by address;
  • Visual-manual 10-digit phone dialing;
  • Displaying to the driver more than 30 characters of text unrelated to the driving task.

NHTSA is also considering future, Phase II proposed guidelines that might address devices or systems that are not built into the vehicle but are brought into the vehicle and used while driving, including after-market and portable personal electronic devices such as navigation systems, smart phones, electronic tablets and pads, and other mobile communications devices. A third set of proposed guidelines (Phase III) may address voice-activated controls to further minimize distraction in factory-installed, after-market, and portable devices.

The Phase I guidelines were published in today's Federal Register and members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal for 60 days. Final guidelines will be issued after the agency reviews and analyzes and responds to public input.

NHTSA will also hold public hearings on the proposed guidelines to solicit public comment. The hearings will take place in March and will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

Rumor Roundup

iPad 3 Chip Leak Indicates Dual-core, Not Quad-Core

Apple A5X processorThe Register's Caleb Cox reports that the next-generation iPad will feature a dual-core A5X system-on-a-chip, if spy shots of a supposed iPad 3 logic board that surfaced online are of the real thing.

Cox thinks that the quad-core A6 silicon some have been predicting for the iPad 3 was also cast into doubt earlier this month, when photos purported to be of Apple's iBoot bootloader programming tool were leaked, referring to an ARM chip dubbed the "S5L8945X", a revelation that now is further backed by these images of an AX5 chip posted on Chinese site WeiPhone.

iPad 3 Rumor Roundup

M.I.C. Gadget's Steve Lo has posted a compendium of iPad 3 rumorobilia, with all the purported specs covered and what he says is an exclusive in-depth look at the back shell of the iPad 3, claimed to be a production piece from one of his most reliable sources.

From a Chinese forum comes a gallery of photos claimed to be showing the production facilities for iPad 3 Retina Display screens said to have been taken at Taiwan-based LCD backlight unit maker Radiant Opto-Electronics' plant in Wujiang city.

There's also the Chinese Weiphone forums shots of a prototype iPad 3 logic board showing an A5X system-on-a-chip.

Rounding up everything he's seen and heard from his sources, Lo says he believes the specs of the new Apple tablet will include:

  • A 9.7" 2048 x 1536 Retina Display.
  • Possible quad core A6, but dual core for sure with processing power required for the Retina Display.
  • A much improved camera, although maybe not be 8 MP as production costs are high, but photos show the iPad 3 camera lens is noticeably larger than its predecessor
  • The unit is expected to be about 1-1.5mm thicker depending on your model, but it does fit inside some iPad 2 cases despite this, being only marginally thicker than the iPad 2, but with edges tapered and a narrower bezel.
  • LTE/4G has been tested, but the market is limited, so perhaps we will not see anything outside of 3G connectivity.
  • The memory capacities will stay the same at 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB.
  • According to one of M.I.C. Gadget's sources, a sub-$400 device with 7" screen is in development and will be offered with a low voltage ARM processor, a powerful GPU, and a large battery. It is targeted at developing nations like Brazil and China to compete with the smaller tablets, and with a Q4 release date in time for Christmas 2012.

Apps & Services

Nebulous Notes Dropbox-Enabled Text Editor

Nebulous NotesPR: Featured three times on Lifehacker.com as one of the best tools for getting things done, Nebulous Notes is a powerful, yet simple, text editor for note-takers, writers, and coders. Your notes are backed up and available from Dropbox, the best back-up service in the world. Free accounts on Dropbox come with 2 GB of space, enough to store 500 copies of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Nebulous Notes Features

  • Open and edit all plain text files (.txt, .md, .c, etc.)
  • Preview files in HTML, MarkDown
  • Supports saving and opening in all file encodings (useful for international users)
  • VoiceOver hints
  • Print documents using AirPrint
  • Supports TextExpander touch snippet expansion

Features Lacking in Competing Apps

  • Nebulous NotesOpen files from any Dropbox folder
  • Customizable themes
  • Macro system lets you add frequently used keys to a toolbar (like { } [ ] = %, etc.).
  • Macro system also has basic text-substitutions for convenient HTML tags
  • Protect the app with a PIN
  • Search for text with a document
  • Customizable themes
  • Fullscreen support for "Writeroom"-style editing
  • "Insert Tab" key (multiline tabbing and un-tabbing supported)
  • Turn off word-wrapping

Nebulous NotesNOTE: Nebulous Notes is only for plain text editing, and can't edit Word Documents or PDFs.

New in Version 5.1

Major Updates:

  • Now you can change line spacing
  • Now you can sort local files (I know, long time coming)

Minor Updates:

  • Added Gentium Plus (Full Unicode) Font
  • Added Inconsolata Font
  • All connections use HTTPS
  • Tapping the line number in the popup selects the line
  • Added $line macro to select the line

Nebulous NotesUpdates To Preview Markup:

  • Now you can use custom CSS for Markdown Previews
  • Preview Markup now clears its cache before loading
  • Addresses and links are automatically detected in Preview Markup

System Requirements:

  • Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Nebulous Notes sells for $3.99. An ad-supported "lite" version is also available.

Dragon Go! Travel Search Now Powered by Expedia

PR: Nuance Communications, Inc. has announced that its Dragon Go! app for iOS and Android now lets people truly go anywhere with the ability to speak and quickly find and book flights, hotels, and more with direct access to Expedia. Dragon Go!s all new travel search capability allows people with iPhones and Android devices to easily find and book the best travel deals available just by using their voice.

Expedia joins the more than 200 content providers that have made Dragon Go! a success for iPhone, iPod Touch and most recently, Android. Dragon Go! combines Nuance's Dragon voice recognition with natural language understanding to understand not only what people say, but what they mean. The result is direct, instant access to the most relevant content and knowledge on the mobile Web to get more done, faster and easier. Forget the hurdles posed by traditional mobile search applications no boundaries and no scrolling through blue links. And with Dragon Go!'s unique, open design consumers and content partners experience each brands familiar look and feel.

"Old school mobile search is fading. The majority of consumers don't like blue links, scrolling, or pecking. Consumers want personal mobile assistant capabilities with unfiltered access to content and knowledge," says Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. "With direct access to services like Expedia, consumers can do just about anything from anywhere - even book a last minute trip with just a few spoken words.

Dragon Go! lets consumers say virtually anything and immediately jump to relevant destinations and with the addition of Expedia, people can find and book accommodations for their favorite destinations. For example, say: "Available flights from Boston to San Francisco in March" to instantly see flight schedules and pricing, and the opportunity to buy tickets directly from Expedia.

"Find 4-star hotels near me," when traveling and you need to book a room at a hotel closest to your current location on Expedia. Swipe over to the Yelp tab for additional feedback.

"What are the best resorts in Cancun?" to see reviews and ratings of the top resorts on Expedia, and see what others have to say with just a quick flick on over to the Twitter tab.

"Our consumers already love that they can find and book a flight, hotel room and more on Expedia from just about anywhere with their iPhone or Android device. And with the addition of Expedia to Dragon Go!, even more mobile consumers will have direct voice access to the best travel deals around," says Jeff Warren, vice president, product management, Expedia Worldwide.

When traveling, Dragon Go! gives people direct access to local restaurant reviews, directions, weather, and more. For instance, say:

  • "Where can I get the best Italian food in Las Vegas?" to get reviews from Yelp as well as book a reservation via OpenTable.
  • "Find sunglasses near me," and be taken to Milo.com for a list of local retail shops that sell the shades you want, as well as the ability to purchase sunglasses online.
  • "What is the weather going to be like in Tahoe today?" to get detailed weather forecasts from Accuweather.com and other top weather services.
  • "Play Drive By by Train" to instantly play the song downloaded to your device, or play it from your Pandora station.

"We've combined natural language understanding with a unique design and open access to content to deliver what consumers truly want - a better search experience," says Vlad Sejnoha, chief technology officer, Nuance. "We're committed to the continuous enhancement of our natural language technology and the addition of new content providers to make Dragon Go! the go-to mobile concierge."

Dragon Go! features the largest direct-access content ecosystem in mobile today, with content provided by AccuWeather, Ask.com, Bing, Dictionary.com, ESPN, Facebook, Fandango, Last.fm, LiveNation, Milo.com, OpenTable, Pandora internet radio, Rotten Tomatoes, Spotify, Twitter, Wikipedia, Wolfram|Alpha, Yelp, YouTube, Yahoo!, and many others - and now Expedia.

Dragon Go! is available for free in the iOS App Store.

MobileLutions Makes Major Improvement of iPhone Distracted Driving Software

PR: MobileLutions has announced a new release of the iPhone MobiLoc software, incorporating a significant modification so the phone will not be as dramatically affected by the use of GPS for calculating speed, but still protect the customer from the dangers of distracted driving. Couple the iPhone software with a strong cell phone policy and corporations will significantly enhance their ability to deal with distracted driving.

While many firms believe a solution needs to be implemented to protect their employees, their company and the public from the dangers and the liability of distracted driving, if the iPhone is hampered by having to be constantly charged, it prevents the workforce from adopting the technology.

Larry Eppard, MobileLutions founder, says, "This is a critical upgrade to the iPhone software. Since MobiLoc is the only iPhone solution for distracted driving for the business community, it is critical the battery not be the obstacle for adoption. This upgrade should allow potential customers sitting on the sidelines because their mobile workforce does not always have a way to immediately charge their iPhones to now move forward."

The dangers of driving and using a cell phone continue, firms are being held liable for their employees actions and continue to move to the forefront of the legal process. Add to this the NTSB announcement in December of 2011; calling for a nationwide ban on cell phone use in a vehicle, the motivation for companies to be proactive in addressing distracted driving has taken a front seat. See http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2011/111213.html for full details of this announcement.

With this release of software another barrier has been removed from using MobiLoc. With a cost of pennies a day per phone, it's arguably a no-brainer to lockdown and control your employees phones, especially if you provide the phone and/or the vehicle they are in.

A strong defense for employers to protect against liability is to adopt and implement written policies that ban the use of mobile devices while driving; and ensure that these policies are adequately communicated to employees. MobiLoc is an employers added assurance that their safety policies are being enforced.

The upgraded software is immediately available to all MobileLutions customers as well as for sale in the App Store.

Free Medical Marijuana App

PR: As more people own smartphones, it is important to create mobile marketing apps that focus on three key principles: immediacy, simplicity and context, according to a new research report by Forrester. With this in mind, Doobons.com has launched its new iPhone/iPod/iPad app as a discreet and easy way for patients to instantly locate nearby medical marijuana dispensaries and other resources. The easy-to-use medical marijuana app is already earning rave reviews from users, and has a five-star rating, the highest rating available in iTunes.

The Doobons.com website was just launched in November 2011 as a way to simplify online searches for medical cannabis resources and make medical cannabis approachable to all adults, even those with no previous experience with the medical marijuana industry. As a smartphone app, Doobons offers an even more convenient, on-the-go tool.

"Mobile apps are a necessity - people are always on the go and not in front of their laptop," says John, founder of Doobons.com. "We launched the app 10 days ago, and without even marketing it, over a hundred people have downloaded it - and the number of daily downloads is growing fast."

The Doobons app's simple interface allows users to quickly find resources like dispensaries, doctors, lawyers, delivery services and discounts in the immediate area. Users can either allow their device to use geolocation to pull up medical marijuana resources nearby, or search by city name or zip code and customize the type of search results in the settings tab.

Users can also choose to have the app display search results as icons on a Google map or as a list. A single click on a location reveals contact information and directions to the business. The simplicity and usefulness of these features make the app highly recommended by users, who describe it as easy to use and extremely handy.

Doobons.com was designed to be convenient and to appeal to everyone, including those who are new to the world of medical cannabis. While most of today's online medical marijuana directories are designed for patients who already know at least something about using medical marijuana, Doobons.com is designed to be user friendly for patients of all ages and experience levels.

Doobons.com is more than just another online medical marijuana directory. The sites News, Resource, and Blog pages provide valuable information and advice for patients and caregivers. The information posted helps new patients learn about the ins and outs of the world of medical marijuana, and existing patients stay abreast of developments.

The five-star-rated Doobons app is now available for free on the iTunes app store for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad that runs on iOS 4.3 or later.

For more information about Doobons.com, call (415) 524-8099 or go to http://www.Doobons.com .

Accessories

Tubi Natural Sound Amplifier for iPhone Inspired by Classic Phonograph Design

Tubi Natural Sound Amplifier for iPhonePR: IPEVO, Inc. has announced the release of its Tubi Sound Amplifier for the 3rd and 4th generations of Apple's iPhone. Tubi takes advantage of precise shape and dimensions to naturally amplify and enhance the audio output from a mounted iPhone. Tubi is available now through IPEVO's online store at a price of $999.

Via passive amplification, Tubi significantly increases the volume of music output from iPhone's built-in speakers. Amplification occurs naturally and without electricity. In addition to increasing volume, Tubi creates a "fuller" sound by casting sound waves in a variety of directions, increasing reverberation. This fuller sound also characterized by listeners as richer or warmer is ideal for instrument-focused, non-electronic music such as classical music, jazz and mood music.

Tubi's most striking feature is the brass horn that rises high above the mounted iPhone. This warm yellow horn, constructed with real hand-crafted brass, pays homage to the classic phonograph of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The black base is made from a solid block of aluminum. Due to these top-grade materials, Tubi's impressive dimensions, and the piece's overall "throwback" conception, IPEVO intends Tubi as an exclusive, premium accessory piece for music aficionados, and particularly fans of classic instrumental music.

Tubi accepts iPhone 3G/3S as well as the newer 4G/4S. Swappable adapters for either generation are included. And while no electronic technology is necessary for sound amplification, a USB port in the rear of the base allows the user to charge the iPhone while the device is mounted.

"We pulled no punches with Tubi," explains Royce Hong, CEO and big head of design of IPEVO. "We wanted to offer a bold, unmistakable showpiece for iPhone owners and music lovers. Tubi's high-quality construction and sweeping dimensions reflect this approach. The iconic phonograph horn has been updated with the elegant, modern aesthetic that our customers have come to expect from IPEVO products. Aurally and visually, Tubi is simply enchanting. It has a unique ability to impress and excite."

Tubi Natural Sound Amplifier for iPhone 3 and 4 is available exclusively through IPEVO's online store.

spiderArm iPad 2 Modular Mount System Holds iPad Where You Want It

spiderArmPR: spiderArm Ltd. has announced worldwide availability of its spiderArm iPad mount system, a complete interchangeable ergonomic support system for the iPad 2 with 360° adjustability and home-to-work versatility that helps reduce neck strain and long-term injuries. The modular system allows users to create a handsfree viewing set up that provides the most precise and enjoyable experience with their device; therefore reducing potential muscle fatigue, eye strain and neck strain that can occur from extended use of technology devices.

The spiderArm retails for $79.99 and is available at spiderArm.com.

The system includes two base units; a two-way SurfaceMount that is padded to protect furniture and can be secured to a table or desk, and a three-way VersaMount for securing onto a wall, under a cabinet or near your work station. Much like spiders themselves who can survive in all types of habitats, the spiderArm system can be used in nearly any environment and the multiple mounts provided in the system means you can move your iPad from room to room even from home to office wherever you use your iPad the most.

Additional product features include:

  • Three modular extension arms with 270 degree joints that freely adjust to any angle and height. These arms help the user to build a system using either one, two or three of the arms, resulting in a set up that provides a precise, ergonomic and handsfree viewing experience customized just for them.
  • The spiderArm mount system provides endless uses and its versatility allows the user to place it nearly anywhere. The spiderArm may be used around the home, in the office, or for commercial and professional uses due to its rugged, polycarbonate construction.
  • The secureSnap outer casing allows for a quick attachment of the iPad; the device eases onto the base and is snapped onto the unit at all four corners for a secure fit. This casing is connected to the first and shortest arm provided in the system which features a ball joint connection and a 360 degree adjustment knob that provides a secure connection as well as the ability to angle it based on viewing preferences.
  • A fashionable yet durable, quality finish in piano-key white color and soft, anodized-finish aluminum tubes.

Under counter mount option keeps iPad safe from harm and away from spills and splashes in the kitchen, in a lab or on your desk.

"Each day we are seeing more medical reports and media coverage about the injuries being caused by poor posture, abnormal neck positioning and over exertion of arm muscles due to the extended use of electronic devices," comments Tim Henderson, inventor of the spiderArm. "We expect our system to stand apart from other cases or stands on the market because it was designed with the iPad users versatile lifestyle in mind one minute they are accessing recipes while cooking in the kitchen and the next they are viewing movies on their iPad in bed. The spiderArm is there for every situation to support their device and accommodate their viewing needs."

Tim Henderson is the creator of the patented design behind the spiderArm. His background in design and production are evident in its superior construction and functionality. The product has been designed to accommodate the users personal lifestyle, and accessories are being introduced rapidly by the company to provide even more mobility of the product.

For more information, visit spiderArm.com or call (800) 531-8289

Caze Zero 5 Pro Claimed to Be Thinnest Case for iPhone 4S/4

Caze Zero 5 ProPR: Caze has released the Zero 5 Pro Clear collection for iPhone 4S/4. It's an advanced version of Zero 5 (0.5mm) which Caze claims is the world's thinnest clear iPhone case and the perfect mix of Zero 5 and Bumper. It adds just 0.5 millimeter in thickness so you will hardly even know that it is on. The sleek, one-piece design shields your phone from scratches with an ultrathin but very durable polycarbonate back plate. Its ultra-slim rubber frame cushions and protects the edges of your phone.

Zero 5 Pro provides protection for your iPhone 4/4S with all around coverage, including the built-in Dock Connector port cover, headphone port cover and back & front screen protectors. With an extra coating, Zero 5 Pro is more scratch resistant than ever. The back of the case has a precise cutout for the iPhone's camera and flash.

Caze Zero 5 ProAs the name implies, Zero 5 Pro is very slim and only has a 0.5mm wall thickness. It is made of GRILAMID TR-90 which is lightweight, remarkably tough, highly flexible, shatterproof and highly resistant to UV damage. Besides its super slim body that measures only 0.5mm in thickness, Zero 5 Pro is durable and offers comprehensive protection to your iPhone 4S/4 without adding any extra bulk. A stragetically-placed Dock Connector port cover and headphone port cover can effectively prevent the dust from getting into your iPhone 4S/4. It has complete access to all the main ports and buttons of your device. Charging doesn't require removal from the case.

Zero 5 (0.5mm) Pro Clear collection features a 0.5mm clear back plate and an ultra-slim bumper. It is a bit raised to protect your screen from further scratches when laid on a flat surface. To ensure all-around protection, the package comes with a free screen protection kit (front & back films) for added shield.

If you're looking for an ultra-slim one piece case that is not only able to shield your iPhone from scratches and bumps but also prevents dust from getting into the Dock Connector port and headphone port of your iPhone 4S/4, Caze Zero 5 (0.5mm) Pro Clear collection could be your choice.

Colors obtainable for now are clear, black and white. It works with the AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint iPhone 4/4S, and will fit both the Black and White models. You can preorder now at iPhone Caze official website and shipping will start on the 21st of February.

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