Category Archives: apple

Publishers may be preparing for the death of e-ink

ibooksBookNet Canada has published an interesting compendium of statistics on ebooks in The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2013. The headline numbers from the organization, which tracks the business of books, include the percentage of ebooks sold compared to printed works and how much publishers have digitized their back catalogs.

As it stands, the vast majority - or 90 per cent - of publishers are indeed publishing ebooks, while about 19 per cent have made their entire libraries available in digital format. You can check out the whole report here (links to PDF).

The stats I found most interesting were those that effectively measured publishers’ realities and where they expect things to go. Judging by the numbers, it looks like they’re expecting Apple to dominate the ebook business sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in apple, ebooks, ipad, kobo


In which I entrust my life to Samsung’s Note Pro

note-proIf you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m something of an iPad Mini fanboy. I’ve written before - without a trace of hyperbole - about how the device has changed my life. I rarely surf the web or use social media on a computer anymore, opting instead for the tablet, which I also use to take notes when out on assignment. It also comes in handy for signing documents digitally, a feature that lets me live a printer-free existence. It has also, amazingly, helped me become a more patient person; I almost look forward to delays when traveling because it gives me more time to catch up on movies and books.

But there is still one problem with it, if it can really be considered as such, in that it’s still a supplemental device when I’m on the road for work purposes. While the Mini is fine for taking notes during an interview or press conference, it’s not something I really want to write a full story on. A full keyboard is still a necessity for that, so I inevitably end up toting a laptop along as well.

This issue is at the core of efforts by several tablet manufacturers to bridge the gap with hybrid devices. Microsoft took the highest-profile stab at it with the Surface Pro, a device that sought to emulate the best features of both tablets and laptops. The initial effort, however, flopped for a host of reasons - it was too heavy and too pricey and had limited battery life and app selection. The Surface Pro 2, released last fall, is an improvement, but it still suffers from many of the same problems.

Lo and behold, Samsung is now stepping into this realm with its new Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note Pro tablets, both of which are hybrid devices designed to appeal to professional power users. The Tab Pro series comes in three screen sizes: 8.4-inch, 10.1-inch and 12.1-inch, at respective (Canadian) price points of $419, $519 and $669. The Note Pro is available with only a 12.2-inch screen at $769, but it also comes with Samsung’s S-pen stylus, which accounts for the extra $100 premium over the Tab Pro. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 7, 2014 in apple, ipad, microsoft, samsung


CES gadget showcase: Roku TV

SAMSUNG CSCIt doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that media-streaming set-top boxes are an endangered species. With the advent of “smart,” app-running, internet-connected TVs a few years ago, the writing has been on the wall for the likes of Roku and Apple TV.

Rumours about Apple producing its own television reached fever pitch shortly after Steve Jobs’ passing, with the company founder telling his biographer that he had finally “cracked” television. Of course, it’s been a few years now and we’re still waiting.

Roku has beaten Apple to the punch by combining with a pair of lesser-known Chinese TV manufacturers - at least to North Americans - in the form of TCL and Hisense to indeed produce a pair of integrated smart TVs. After checking out a demo here at the Consumer Electronics Show, I got the sense that Roku TV may very well be the first smart television whose actual smart functions aren’t all that dumb. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in apple, CES, roku


2014: The smartphone showdown ramps up

smartphones1With just about every major smartphone maker performing below expectations in 2013, it’s clear the market - at least in rich, developed countries - is starting to mature. As industry observers such as tracking firm IDC have surmised, that’s going to result in some good news for consumers in 2014 and onward: lower prices.

On the face of it, such a prediction makes sense. The likes of Apple and Samsung are going to want to continue selling people new products, yet with many smartphone owners either stuck in the middle of contracts or quite happy with their existing devices, there are going to be fewer takers than in previous years. Naturally, the best way for manufacturers to entice stodgy consumers into buying something newer and shinier is to offer it a lower price.

But, as I’ve written before, that’s not necessarily how the smartphone market works thanks to the presence of middle-men: wireless carriers. For the most part, it’s cellphone companies who buy the devices and then effectively resell them to customers, usually with subsidies in exchange for those long-term contracts. Those contracts then allow carriers to keep monthly service prices higher than they might be otherwise, since customers aren’t easily able to defect to competing providers, who might offer them a better deal.

Lower prices are thus about to butt into contract subsidies, which means that the interests of wireless carriers are about to clash with those of phone manufacturers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in apple, Google, mobile, samsung


Moto X: The best new gadget of 2013

moto-x620When I sat down to think about my 10 favourite gadgets of the year, I found myself hitting a wall - I actually couldn’t think of 10 that I liked all that much.

After a heady few years in which important new gizmos appeared just about every week, 2013 was more of an iterative time bereft of that One Big Thing. I tried to narrow my field down to five, but then figured heck, why cut corners? Why not just go with the one thing I really did like?

There were a few contenders. Obviously, I like the updated iPad Mini, which now has a sharper Retina screen. If it’s a case of what I use most, the Mini wins hands down - it goes everywhere and does everything with me. If it was waterproof, I’d probably use it in the shower. However, it is merely an iterative product that’s a touch better than its predecessor. That’s not enough for it to be my favourite new thing of the year.

I also like the Xbox one and the PlayStation 4 - both new consoles are fun and show a ton of promise. But they’re only as good as the games that are made for them, and so far there aren’t a whole lot of those, which is why I’m hesitant to bestow my Oprah-esque title on them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in android, apple, Google, motorola


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