Friday, 28 May 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

iPad review: One month on

Posted: 27 May 2010 11:59 PM PDT

The iPad has had a strange effect on my life. The first month as a tablet owner is a lot like being a new parent. There are soaring highs, as well as long periods of frustration and crashing lows. Apple's new baby was a joy to welcome into my life, but it has also ushered in its own share of headaches and annoyances.

Read the rest of our iPad UK review:
iPad UK review: Overall verdict
iPad UK review: Design and build
iPad UK review: Kindle vs iBooks
iPad UK review: iPad OS

Using the iPad is a revelation. On the sofa, or lying on a bed, it's a dream device. Nothing comes close to it for surfing the web, and reading books in the warm glow of its 10 inch screen has become a nightly ritual.

The weight of Apple's tablet, while at first a surprise and slightly uncomfortable, has melted away. It's now second nature to grab the iPad, throw it onto the bed and curl up with a website, book, or TV show.

What's not natural, however, is using the iPad to listen to music. While my iPhone is stuffed to its shiny gills with tracks, the iPad is instead a repository for apps and video. In the last month my gripe over Apple's stinginess in not including earphones with the iPad has given way to a dawning realisation that they're really not necessary, at least not in the casual confines of the home.

And that's where the iPad has resided for its first month of ownership. Maybe it's the lack of 3G in my model, maybe it's that I rarely commute for more than 20 minutes at a time, but the iPad has resolutely refused to earn a place in my portable tech arsenal. To date, its most daring outdoor adventure has been to act as an e-reader on the Tube.

I've long been a laptop-lugger, and for my day to day computing the iPad is still vastly underpowered. I had a hearty whinge about its dumbed down file system in our overall review, and those grievances still stand.

I'd dearly love the iPad to replace my bulky MacBook Pro, but without the ability to upload files to the web, add attachments (other than photos) to e-mails, and fling bits and bytes to the cloud, it's too simplistic to be anything other than an entertainment machine.

I long for the day when the iPad can displace the laptop from my hand luggage. Its form factor is divine. The screen is a joy to gaze upon, and the speed at which certain tasks, such as navigating the web, sketching and re-touching photos can be accomplished makes me a true believer that for many everyday computing tasks, the days of the keyboard are numbered.

I'm sure, with the advent of iPhone OS 4 this Autumn, that will happen. Apple owes the iPad a true computing underbelly. Its shiny face and glistening apps have brought me untold hours of joy in the past 30 days, but its inability to perform as a business machine mean its critics are right: for the time being at least, this is an expensive plaything, and not yet the future of computing.

Read the rest of our iPad UK review:
iPad UK review: Overall verdict
iPad UK review: Design and build
iPad UK review: Kindle vs iBooks
iPad UK review: iPad OS

Related posts:

  1. iPad UK review: iPad OS
  2. iPad UK review: Kindle vs iBooks
  3. iPad UK review: Design and build

iPlayer iPad version goes live: photos

Posted: 27 May 2010 09:15 AM PDT

The iPlayer iPad version has gone live so if you've just got your mitts on your iPad, you can now head to the sofa to stream some telly. The BBC had promised the iPlayer iPad site would be up by Friday but it seems it's slipped it into the new BBC iPlayer beta already. We've had a nose round and put together the gallery above and our first impressions of the iPlayer iPad version after the jump…

The iPlayer iPad version uses big simple tabs for TV, Radio and Search. Hop into TV or Radio and you'll find the stations as well as the option to flick through categories or see which shows are most popular.

Pick a channel and you'll get a list of the show available through the iPlayer iPad interface sorted by broadcast date. It's easy to flick through them as the scroll bars have massive finger friendly buttons.

You can watch iPlayer on your iPad via Wi-Fi. Hop into settings and you can choose between high or normal bandwidth and stick on the parental lock if you're worried about impressionable minds hijacking the iPad for inappropriate viewing.

iPlayer on the iPad doesn't currently remember where you are in a show so if you quit you'll have to go back to the beginning. There's also no full-screen mode at the moment so you'll have to bear with the Safari address bar.

The Big Screen designation for the iPad iPlayer interface shows it's got lots of its smarts from the current Nintendo Wii iPlayer interface which shares the same tag. Let us know what you think of iPlayer on the iPad below.

Out now | £free | BBC iPlayer

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iPad UK: 40% of Brits would ditch their laptop for one

Posted: 27 May 2010 08:15 AM PDT

The iPad UK launch could be bad news for laptops like the Acer Aspire Timeline X. The latest in a rash of iPad-inspired survey suggests 40% of British gadget buyers would be willing to toss away their traditional laptop in favour of the Apple tablet. Are they right to ditch a keyboard and trackpad for the touchscreen delights of the iPad?

An iPad survey by the shopping comparison folk at Kelkoo asked 965 British gadget fans whether they'd be willing to replace their current laptop with the iPad. 40% of them said they would. With plenty of you already hitting our post about iPad UK orders arriving early to tell us about your new pride and joy, do you think they're right?

If after all the iPad talk, you're still not convinced, fear not. 18% of the people surveyed said the iPad won't be popular. Among those iPad cynics, 20% said they're planning to wait for the iPad 2 to roll around while 23% said it's functionality is too limited and 32% just couldn't see the point of the wonder 'pad at all.

Check out our iPad UK review to see why we were convinced by its charms and hit the comments to tell us whether you could replace your PC with an iPad.

Out tomorrow | From £429 | Apple

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iPad UK queue: We give gadget fans first taste of Apple’s tablet

Posted: 27 May 2010 08:05 AM PDT

Prospective iPad purchasers have already set up camp outside Apple stores across the UK, but many of those facing a night in the cold have yet to try the iPad for themselves. We thought that was a bit unfair, so we took our American iPad in London down to Apple's flagship Regent St store to see how it went down.

The UK's first iPad owners are already out in force. There was a small crowd outside Apple's biggest store, and at the head of the queue was 17 year old Jake Lee (pictured right). He'd never held an iPad until today, so we gave him a few minutes with Electricpig's own Apple tablet.

"It's amazing," he said, "I'll be getting the 64GB Wi-Fi – I already have 3G on my phone, so I don't want to pay twice… although I've already spent £100 on apps, TV shows and movies. I'm ready for it.

"I'll be using it mostly for entertainment, although I've bought all the iWorks apps, so I can take it to school too."

Jake's not alone outside the Apple store though. Camped out with jackets, sleeping bags and camping chairs, he's accompanied by two friends who say they weren't planning on buying an iPad tomorrow, but after playing with Electricpig's will be buying a 16GB model each.

And we weren't the only passers by bringing gifts for the UK's most intrepid Apple fanboys. Members of the public bought the boys Subway sandwiches and drinks while we watched, and so far they've only been camped out for four hours.

Good luck on London's chilly streets tonight, boys!

Out tomorrow | From £429 | Apple

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Nokia N8 to be beaten by mystery Symbian 3 phone?

Posted: 27 May 2010 07:00 AM PDT

The Nokia N8 has only just been confirmed as heading to Vodafone but new talk from the Far East suggests it might not be the first Symbian ^3 phone out of the gate. After waiting so patiently for the Nokia N8 to emerge, could we really see another phone stealing its thunder?

Since we got hold of it for our Nokia N8 photos and hearing that it'll be headed to Vodafone imminently, we were pretty certain that the Nokia N8 would be the first Symbian ^3 phone. But Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation has suggested otherwise.

The Symbian supremo says that although Nokia has been suggesting that the OS is not quite ready yet, it is in fact on the cusp of shipping. He described the Symbian ^3 OS code as "almost completely mature". And it's already in the hands of an Asian manufacturer which plans to put out its phone imminently.

With Nokia N8 preorders reportedly planned in July and the phone itself apparently set to arrive in time for Nokia World in September, that would mean we'd have to see this mystery Symbian ^3 phone sometime next month. But with no other details who knows whether it will be able to match the 12MP camera and AMOLED screen offered up by the Nokia N8.

Do you think Symbian ^3 will deliver a batch of brilliant phones? Or are you all in for Android or iPhone 4.0 now?

Out TBC | TBC | Nokia (via Nok Nok)

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Vodafone: iPad 3G buyers can have free breakfast!

Posted: 27 May 2010 06:00 AM PDT

Vodafone will give 100 lucky iPad 3G buyers free breakfast tomorrow. All you have to do is grab an iPad Wi-Fi + 3G with a Vodafone iPad 3G data plan and dance across to the Vodafone Experience. Well, if you're planning to to join the iPad queue tonight at the Apple Store on Regent's Street, you'll need something to warm you up! Head through for more details on how to grab free grub…

Vodafone will give a free £10 breakfast voucher to the first 100 iPad UK buyers who march into the Vodafone Experience (341-349 Oxford Street) with a receipt showing they've bought an iPad WiFi + 3G with Vodafone iPad 3G data plan. The vouchers will entitle you to some free scram at Costa Coffee cafes which are more common in London than cabs.

If you're feeling sneaky, you could always stake out one of the other nearby iPad UK launch stores to try and get the jump on your breakfast hunting rivals. And if you're not near London at all, we revealed earlier that PC World will be stocking the Vodafone iPad deal.

Let us know what how your planning to get your iPad tomorrow and hit our iPad UK orders post if you've already got it to tell us how you're getting on.

Out tomorrow | £free | Vodafone (via Fonehome)

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Rock Band 3 rumours: keyboard is a keytar and pro mode incoming

Posted: 27 May 2010 05:30 AM PDT

When Rock Band 3 was teased with a keyboard peripheral the other day, we jokingly suggested that we were hoping for a keytar. Now new rumours suggest our dreams of recreating '80s rock posturing may actually be coming true – Rock Band 3's keyboard could in fact be a keytar. And people actually hoping to play instruments for real may be in luck too. Stage whispers suggest Rock Band 3 will pack a new pro mode that will teach you proper technique…

The keyboard peripheral that appeared as an icon in the Green Day: Rock Band demo's Rock Band 3 tease will apparently come packing a strap. That would turn it from the standard tool of the ivory twinkler into a Level 42-style oddity.

The source spilling the beans on the Rock Band 3 keytar claims that the game will use peripherals built by third party controller maker Mad Catz with EA just handling the software. We're promised a bigger selection of instrument bundles than we've seen predicted for Rock Band 3's rival Guitar Hero 6 with the option to pick up only what you need. So if you're already piled high with plastic guitars but need some drums you'll be able to do that.

Most interestingly, Rock Band 3 is rumoured to included a pro mode which will require you to use proper technique to play your instrument and will aim to teach you some real licks on the guitar or bass. That suggests that Rock Band 3 will arrive with a more realistic guitar.

Plenty of you were stoked about the idea of a keyboard coming to Rock Band 3, would a keytar still get you vote? And if a pro mode is part of the new game, might it just be time to cut out the middle man and buy a real guitar?

Due TBC | £TBC | Rock Band (via Ars Technica)

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Google electricity meters hit the UK

Posted: 27 May 2010 05:00 AM PDT

Google electricity meters that will let you keep track of your energy use online have hit the UK. Current Cost home energy monitors which keep track of your power consumption will now hook up with Google Power Meter, an online tool that will show you how much juice your using in real time. Could this finally put an end to the tyranny of gadgets on standby stealthily putting pounds on your electricity bill?

Current Cost's EnviR energy monitor connects to a meter reader to show how much energy you're using at any one time. But up until now, if you'd were away from home, its display would have been ticking away without you being able to watch it. The newly added support for Google Power Meter means you can log on and see realtime data on how much power you're pulling in.

Google Power Meter gives you stats on how much energy you've used over time and lets you set targets for how much you want to be saving. It'll also calculate how much your next bill should be and you can set the Google electricity meter to send you regular emails to keep you updated on how power hungry all your tech has been.

If you have a tendency to leave your PS3 sat in the corner of your lounge sucking up energy and putting up your bill, the combination of a Current Cost monitor and Google Power Meter could be perfect. Let us know: how you keep a handle on your electricity costs with a tonne of tech in your house? Would this help?

Out now | £varies | Current Cost

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Lunchtime Lowdown: Acer gadgets galore, Facebook privacy changes and Nokia N8 network revealed

Posted: 27 May 2010 04:30 AM PDT

Happy Thursday lunchtime to you! Even if you think there’s no reason to celebrate, take a look at all the headlines rounded up right here, and you’ll see why we’re feeling festive: we’ve got plenty of new tech and juicy stories for you, so read on to see them.

First up, Acer’s been extremely busy this morning, serving up a new e-reader and a fancy Android phone, the Acer Stream – it’s not the only high powered Google phone on the market though, so be sure to check out the rivals at our Android hub, and see what the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 can do for you in under a minute.

Over on the Symbian front meanwhile, the Nokia N8 has been confirmed for Vodafone in the UK, so Espoo fans can rest assured that at least one network will sell the N97 follow up soon.

Over in computing meanwhile, Asus teased a new Lamborghini laptop due to be unveiled next week, and we took a look at how to stream your PC screen to your TV for online video watching from the sofa using Q-waves‘ clever gear. Find out more about Q-waves.

Finally, online, Facebook revealed its privacy changes. But are they enough to quell user complaints?

Still starving for more news? Head on through to the homepage and help yourself to all you can eat, ASAP!

Check out our Android Invasion, starting with our first robot romance video below!

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Apple discounts make Back To School comeback

Posted: 27 May 2010 04:00 AM PDT

Apple discounts have bounced back into view for students headed to university at the end of the summer as well as teachers and other folk working in education. You can nab money off a Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air or iMac and if you grab an iPod Touch at the same time, Apple will give you a chunk of change back. If you're not a student, it could be time to hunt a tame one down…

The Apple discounts will cut up to £119 off a new Macbook, £270 on a Macbook Pro, £192 on a Macbook Air (if you're feeling really flash) and £195 on an iMac.

If you go for the educational Apple discounts between now and September 7 and pick up an iPod Touch at the same time, Apple will give you a rebate of up to £130 depending on what combination you go for. That's not quite a free iPod Touch but it's close.

If you're planning on picking up a new Mac before you head to university, read up on the new Macbook and check out our Macbook Pro review to help you make your decision. And if you're not, head to the comments and let us know what PC you're planning on packing and why.

Out now | £varies | Apple

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