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With 2012 coming to a close and soon to be in the rear view mirror, I thought it would be appropriate to take a quick look back on what happened in 2012, specifically with one company, Apple. Apple is one of the most iconic brands in the world, and they rarely ever disappoint. Apple did some awesome things in 2012 and launched some great products. There are probably too many to list, so I’ve narrowed it down to a list of my top five Apple products of 2012.
5) New iMac
This new iMac was unexpected, at least in my eyes. I wasn’t expecting such a big update to the iMac in 2012 and I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. The new iMac is razor thin, and looks beautiful. It also introduces a fusion drive. It’s Apple’s SSD + HDD combo drive, which is great for everyone. You can go with a 21.5 inch display or a 27 inch display. It’s easily the best all in one computer on the open market.
4) iPad Mini
Now, I know, I kind of ragged on the iPad mini earlier in the year, but there’s no denying it’s cool factor. It’s the perfect sized tablet in my opinion, with a 7.9 inch display, it’s one hand-able and perfect for being on the go. All of the apps you know and love run smoothly on the iPad mini. Apple may not be ahead of the competition in this market of smaller sized tablets, but they have the right idea.
3) iPad with Retina Display (4th Generation)
The iPad is easily one of the coolest gadgets out there. I chose this to be ahead of the iPad mini, because it’s my personal preference. Apple introduced the Retina Display to it’s iPad added a HD FaceTime camera and is packed with major horsepower (an A6X Processor). The iPad with Retina Display is easily provides the most bang for your buck in the tablet industry.
2) MacBook Pro (s) with Retina Display
In 2012, Apple introduced two of the best laptops the world has ever seen. First, Apple introduced a 15 inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and later released their 13 inch model. No laptop display can match that of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. These laptops are also the thinnest and easily the most portable laptops out there. You can’t go wrong when picking up a MacBook Pro with Retina display.
1) iPhone 5
The iPhone has been changing the smartphone game since 2007. This is the first major re-design of the iPhone since the iPhone 4 launched. The iPhone 5 brought a 4 inch display people have wanted for years, a new lightning connector, LTE coverage on Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon. The iPhone 5 is also the thinnest and lightest smartphone on the market. Apple has the best smartphone on the market with their iPhone 5.
Those are my top five Apple products of 2012. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store.
With so many applications to choose from in the App. Store, some might not even know where to begin. It’s hard to find the ones that might actually be useful. A few days ago, I stumbled upon a really useful application, Voxer.
Voxer is a free application in the App Store and the Android Market. IVoxer turns your phone into a Walkie Talkie and his an easy to use interface. You can send short audio clips to your friends. It’s an application I have been waiting for a long time. So, it adds the walkie talkie function to your phone, which can be a useful functionality.
Voxer is also an all in one messaging application as well as a walkie talkie. You can send pictures and text messages right in the application. It’s nothing revolutionary, but does add functionality to a great application.
Facebook is completely integrated into Voxer, so everyone who’s using Voxer on your Facebook friends list is automatically on your Voxer friends list. It saves some hassle, that’s for sure.
Overall Voxer is definitely worth a download. Recently, I’ve been kind of getting tired of text messaging, so this application will help me spend less time on the keyboard. I could see this being a very handy tool in the business environment and it’s something everyone can use and have access to because it’s free. Go check it out in the App. Store and Android Market today.
Over the past couple years, Apple has been speculated to release a TV. Not the Apple TV, but an actual TV. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.” As someone who is an owner of multiple Apple products, I’d love to have Apple launch a TV. Here’s what I’d like to see Apple do with the Apple TV moving forward.
Siri Remote Integration
By the television set in my room, we have a basket full of remotes. Having multiple remotes in the house is honestly an annoyance in today’s world. With Microsoft creating Kinect for the Xbox 360 and implementing voice control, I’d love to do that on my TV. Apple has the ultimate tool to implement that, Siri. It’d be cool to talk with my TV and tell Siri to change the channel to the Vikings game on Sundays. With a voice remote integration system, I could finally get rid of the remote clutter in the living room.
FaceTime on the Big Screen
Recently, I’ve seen Samsung build TV’s with cameras in their TV’s and integrate Skype right in the TV itself. It’s fascinating. FaceTime is something everyone with an iOS device built in the last 2-3 years uses. It’s a fun experience. Bringing it’s video calling service to a living room on a TV would be something everyone would love to use.
Web Browser and App Store Integration
Apple has the biggest App Store of any company in the world right now. For the longest time, I’ve always wondered why all these awesome Apps aren’t on the Apple TV. If Apple put their App. Store on the Apple TV, companies and independent developers could do some amazing things. Apple also needs to put full web integration into the Apple TV.
Those are the main features I’d like to see included in an Apple TV. There’s a lot more that could be done with the product and I can’t wait to see what Apple does. They rarely disappoint.
A couple months ago, Apple unveiled their newest tablet, the iPad mini. It seems like every time I turn on the TV, there’s a commercial for it. The iPad mini is a cool concept for sure, but I don’t believe it’s worth spending the kind of money Apple is charging for it.
Here’s why you should probably hold off from buying an iPad mini this holiday season.
The Price Point: Now, I know Apple products are usually higher than their competitors, and Apple has every right to charge the amount they do for their products. But, for what the iPad mini is right now, it’s overpriced. You have to pay $329 just to get your hands on a 16 GB Wi-Fi only model when the competitors to this iPad mini are usually only charging $199 for their tablets. If Apple would’ve kept the cost low on this device, it would be worth picking up at this point.
1st Generation Product: Most of the time, 1st Generation products aren’t going to be the best, especially with Apple. This iPad Mini is a 1st Generation product and Apple will have to come out with a new iPad mini shortly to keep pace or gain an edge on the competition.
The Display: Most of you technology consumers know about the Retina display Apple has on their regular sized iPads. It’s the best display out on the market today and is a big reason Apple is so far ahead in the tablet market. So, I have to wonder, why didn’t Apple put a Retina display on the iPad mini? I’d bet my last dollar that Apple will be putting a retina display in the next generation iPad mini.
Those are a few reasons to hold off on the iPad mini. Being an owner of many Apple products, I usually don’t criticize the company too much, but I felt there was no way around it in this scenario. Apple, you have a lot of work to do with your iPad mini, the ball is in your court.
Recently Nike came out with a product called the fuel band. It’s a band that wraps around your wrist and keeps track of your daily activity. For someone like myself who tries to stay active, this product would be great for actually knowing what your daily activity is. Products like this have been released before, but they were mostly gimmicks. Nike has nailed it with the Nike Fuel Band. The concept is simple but effective, the more you move, the more Nike Fuel you earn. I think Nike is trying to take a stand against obesity in America, which is a good thing. Americans love gadgets and love competing, so the Nike Fuel Band is a great gadget to do that with. You can connect your Fuel Band to your iPhone or iPod touch via Bluetooth and there’s even a Nike+ FuelBand App in the App Store. For anyone who wants to be more active, or aware of your activity, the Nike Fuel Band is for you. It comes in three colors; black, white, and grey. It’s currently available on Nike’s website for $149.95. If you have any family members who are leading an active lifestyle, or need encouragement to do so, this would make a great gift over the holidays. Life is a sport. Make it count.
One of my favorite winter hobbies is skiing and I’m always looking around the web or in certain stores for the coolest gear. Oakley, a company known for their sunglasses and goggles has come out with their latest and greatest goggles, the Airwaves. The cool feature about these particular set of goggles is a heads up display. Airwave goggles deliver crisp, widescreen graphics using innovative prism technology. This technology provides a heads-up display perceived to be the size of a 14-inch screen viewed from a distance of 5 feet. You can even connect your smartphone to these goggles for on screen text messaging, caller ID, buddy tracking, and more. One of my favorite things to do while I ski is listen to music. With these goggles, you can interact with the music directly, so you can change the song, see what songs you are listening to, etc. These goggles are probably every skiers dream. You can even track your stats for the day, such as speed, vertical, max air time, etc. The Oakley Airwave goggles are a game changer in the ski/snowboard industry and are available for a steep $599.99 at the Oakley website or the Oakley store.
Every year, it seems smartphones are getting more and more capable. Phones are like mini on-the-go computers. There are also many options to pick from when it comes to smartphones. You have Windows phone 8, iPhone (iOS), and Android (google) all competing for market share in the smartphone market. Right now, Apple has the edge, but every individual is different and an iPhone might not be best for everyone. Today’s post is all about which phones are the best gifts for the holiday season. Let’s get started.
In late October, Apple unveiled the newest iPhone, the iPhone 5. I believe this is the best iPhone yet. There’s now a 4 inch Retina display, the phone has LTE capability, and it’s thinner than ever before. The device runs iOS 6 which has iCloud which makes it attractive for people who already have Apple devices. iCloud syncs everything up across the Mac, iPad, and iPhone and it just works, the customer has nothing to worry about. iOS 6 is definitely one of the best mobile operating systems, with the largest app store and the best apps on a mobile device, everyone would love to have an iPhone. The iPhone 5 is available for Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T starting at $199 on a 2 year contract.
This is Google’s newest flagship smartphone. The device runs Android 4.2 Jellybean. Personally I’m not the biggest Android guy, but Google has definitely improved the O.S over the years. Google is currently selling the phone through the Google Play Store unlocked (meaning you could activate for any carrier) for $299, which is a steep price point in my opinion, or you can get it on a contract through T-Mobile. The Nexus 4 rocks a 4.7 inch display with 1280×768 pixel resolution, a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera, an 8 megapixel back camera, and there are 8GB and 16 GB configurations. It does lack LTE, which is a big reason to go with an iPhone instead of a Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 is a great option for someone who wants to try something new, or prefers Android to iOS.
Nokia Lumia 920
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Nokia sucks now.” I’m here to tell you, Nokia is back and they belong. The screen looks nice, but the hardware itself is bulky, which can be a drawback. The phone has a 1.5 GHz speedy Snapdragon processor, an 8.7 Mega pixel camera,1 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. I love the way Windows Phone looks with the Tiles interface. But one thing Windows Phone lacks is Apps! They’re simply not there yet, so if you love loading up your phone with apps, windows phone is not the way to go for now. Battery life is great especially compared to its’ competition. This phone is priced at a low $99 on a 2 year contract with AT&T.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
Samsung is one of Apple’s biggest competitors in the mobile phone market. One of their top selling phones is the Galaxy Note II, and rightfully so. This phone runs Android 4.1 Jellybean, packs a 5.5 inch AMOLED HD display, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage and an 8 Mega pixel camera. You can also take beautiful 1080p videos and get 4G coverage. This phone is pretty close to being a hybrid of a tablet and a smartphone. The phone is available for $299 at AT&T and Sprint on contract, but a huge $369.99 price point at T-Mobile.
Samsung Galaxy S III
The Samsung Galaxy S III is a really nice phone, nice hardware and nice software. I’d say it’s second only to the iPhone 5. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung’s custom TouchWiz interface. And yes, it is the phone in those commercials that people can bump their phones together to share files, which isn’t necessarily new, but I think it’s insanely cool and something it’s got on the iPhone. It’s available on all carriers and is LTE compatible. The phone has a big display that has a 1280×720 resolution HD Super AMOLED display. This is a great option for anyone looking to give a cool gift to someone this holiday season.
That wraps up this post. Hopefully you all found some good ideas for gifts this holiday season and I hopefully cleared up a few things about which phones you should get.
One of the most asked questions around the holidays is; Which games should I buy to give to my loved ones? In this post, we will be covering that exact question. Let’s take a look into which games are worth buying as holiday gifts.
Nintendo Wii U
Now, I know this isn’t a specific game, but a console. It’s fresh, it’s brand new, launching earlier this month, all the kids are going to want it. The Wii U definitely looks cool, but consumers will have to pay $300 to buy one. Or they can go up to the $350 deluxe bundle. This console also has some great launch titles, including Super Mario Bros and Call of Duty Black Ops 2.
Launching in November, Halo 4 took the world by storm. Halo 3 was one of the best selling games of all time, so Halo 4 would be a disappointment compared to its’ predecessor right? No, the campaign is great, the multiplayer is very fun and adds a ton of replay value. There is also a new dimension to the game called Spartan Ops, which is a lot like Spec Ops to it’s competitor Call of Duty. This first person shooter would make a great holiday gift for any gamers in the family. (available for Xbox 360)
Call of Duty Black Ops II
You know those really cool commercials for Call of Duty you keep seeing on TV? They are for the newest addition to the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops II. Picking up from where Black Ops left off, this game is probably the best Call of Duty game to date. This first person shooter has many more futuristic elements to the game than it ever has before. Anyone who receives Black Ops II this holiday season will be happy with the game. (available for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U)
Assassins Creed III
A few years after the last major release in the Assassins Creed series, Assassins Creed III is now here. The game takes place in the time America and Great Britain were fighting the Revolutionary War. The commercials make the game look really cool, and for someone who is into First Person shooters, this is a nice change of pace as a role playing game. With this particular series, you either hate it or love it. (available for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
The NBA 2K series is one of the best sports gaming series on the market. The graphics for this game are great, the gameplay is fun, and the game modes will keep you engaged for a long time. You can create a player and try to become the next Michael Jordan. Or you can take the reigns of your favorite team and try to win and NBA title. Any fans of the NBA are to have a great time with this game. (available for Xbox 360, PS3)
Madden NFL 13
Madden has been the best NFL video game for the past several years. In this years version of the game, EA did not disappoint. The graphics improvements and the addition of the Ifinity physics engine make this game extremely fun to play. You can also create a player or coach in Connected Careers Mode which adds a whole new dimension to everyone’s favorite NFL game. (available for Xbox 360, PS3)
That wraps up our holiday game guide. We hope this game guide helps you pick out some games to buy this holiday season for your loved ones, or even for yourself. Hope everyone has a great holiday season!
At WWDC, Apple announced they would be releasing their 8th major release of OS X, Mountain Lion. Today, Apple reported their 3rd quarter results and confirmed that Mountain Lion will be launched tomorrow. Mac OS X Lion has been in beta for developers since WWDC. I think developers will be able to create great applications for OS X Mountain Lion. I’ve been a Mac user for almost 3 years and this looks like the best version of OS X to date. Some major features of OS X Mountain Lion include iCloud, Power Nap (only on the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display), Dictation, and Notification Center. Another major feature is the ability of Airplay Mirroring to an Apple TV (2nd or 3rd Generation). Apple seems to be merging the world of iOS and OS X, which I really like. I am currently the owner of an iPad, iPhone, and Mac, so having a unified experience really simplifies things for me. OS X Snow Leopard and Lion users will be able to upgrade tomorrow. Apple will not be selling USB Sticks with a copy of Mountain Lion on it, like they initially did with OS X Lion. Mountain Lion will be available on the Mac App Store for $19.99.
The Madden NFL Football gaming franchise has revolutionized the sports gaming world. Every year, NFL fans around America pick up the newest version of Madden. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a hard core competitor, Madden should provide entertainment for you. It’s amazing what the developers at EA Sports have done with the game this year. Each year the EA developers do minor tweaks and some big tweaks to make Madden a more enjoyable game for the consumers. Let’s see what the developers did to put Madden 13 on top of the sports gaming world.
I believe one of the most important elements to any game is presentation. In Madden 12, I believe EA took a big leap forward from previous versions of the game, adding home teams running out of the tunnel and announcing their star players as the run out onto the field. In Madden 13, I believe EA is taking a step forward again. In Madden 13, EA has continued it’s path to world class presentation. Switching it up from previous years, Madden 13 will feature CBS Sports commentators Phil Simms and Jim Nantz instead of Cris Collinsworth and Gus Johnson. I thought the commentary in Madden 12 was really bad, so I’m glad that EA took their time to develop the commentary part of the game this time around. Another cool add on is the commentators sitting in a virtual 3D booth. For a detail oriented person such as myself, little things like that will make the game more enjoyable to play. Going away from the commentary, Madden 13 will also feature dynamic in-game transitions, a live ticker, and improved usability.
Going onto the gameplay side of things, EA developed a completely new physics engine for Madden 13. This engine is called the Infinity Engine, which creates physics you can feel, Madden 13 delivers Next Generation gameplay today! As many NFL fans know, the passing game has taken over the NFL. Last season there were 3 Quarterbacks who passed for over 5,000 yards. So, EA had to take action to improve the passing game in Madden. EA did just that by improving the play action (now your Quarterback won’t get sacked right after faking the hand off to a running back), so you can actually run play action as effectively as the pros do in real life. There are also over 400 new pass trajectory zones which will emphasize passing accuracy, just like the real NFL. On the defensive side of the ball, there is an all new read and defensive AI system which features very intelligent pass defense. All of these tweaks to the gameplay make the game a lot more realistic. If those add ons and tweaks weren’t enough, in Madden 13 you will also be able to control the line of scrimmage and make pre-snap adjustments with your voice using Kinect on the Xbox 360. That adds power to the user.
One new addition to Madden 13 is Connected Careers. This allows you to live the NFL dream virtually in an interactive and social online experience. You can create your own player or play as an NFL Legend from the past. You can also create a coach, something I’ve always wanted to be able to do in Madden. Since Connected Careers is new this year, there are some drawbacks to it. You can no longer import draft classes from NCAA Football or import your Road to Glory player from NCAA Football. You’ve been able to do this in year’s past, so it frustrates me that I’ll no longer be able to do this. Connected Careers should be a fun new addition to the Madden Series.
Madden 13 is a step forward from previous years. Not only does it have new features, such as Connected Careers and being able to create a coach, but it also makes the familiar features such as Madden Ultimate Team even better. I believe with the advancements EA has made with Madden this year, Madden should remain atop of the sports gaming world.