Technophobe: Faster device revisions and more choices
Megan Youngren/Sun Star Columnist
October 30, 2012
We’re probably in the golden age of technology right now. It’s not implanted in our bodies yet but despite that we are attached. To help us with our attachment, companies like Google and Apple are competing to make tablets with crisper screens, longer battery life and faster processors. Microsoft has officially entered the game now, with a tablet-friendly interface that is different from the standard grids of icons. Apple and Google are updating their devices more often, making it hard for users to stay up with the cutting edge.
Last week Apple took the unprecedented step of upgrading their tablet not after a year’s time, but after only 7 months. As much as we like the idea of having the newest and best, technology advances fast. Especially as we move towards physically integrated tech, we must get used to not upgrading so often.
Rooting ourselves in the present time to decide what we’re going to buy is getting tough. Either you
buy things close to their announcement, or you prepare for something better to be released right after you buy yours.
One thing that people keep upgrading are tablets; is this justified for what is often called only a luxury device? Commentators often state that as a matter of fact. But for many people, buying a Microsoft Surface with its free copy of full Office changes that situation. Soon that will be no different than any other tablet as Microsoft Office for iOS and Android should be released next year.
With Office available, many will finally be ready to ditch their laptop for their tablet of choice. Google wants you to consider their tablet by putting premium components in it for very low prices. There is much less selection for tablet apps on Google’s Play Store in comparison to the App Store, but spending less and getting a better device could be worth it for many.
In the recent and upcoming weeks, Google will announce its plans for Nexus with the 4.7” LG Nexus 4 phone and 10” Samsung Nexus 10 tablet, Apple has already announced its iPad Mini alongside the newer New iPad and Microsoft will ask politely for you not to laugh at its interface for Windows 8 and to please give it a shot. It’s the end of a busy season of announcements, and I can finally stop writing about them.
Apple announced a thinner iMac and upgraded Mac Mini. My theory about the thinner iMac is that we are only a few hardware revisions away from a fully touchscreen enabled OS X. A thin and adjustable iMac will be its vector. That certainly isn’t happening yet as it as at Microsoft with Windows 8.
Windows 8 has many backend improvements. If you are keeping a keyboard and mouse, avoiding the major interface changes is possible; there are several Start menu replacements keeping ahead of Microsoft’s plans to patch them out. Examples are Start8, ViStart and Pokki. Windows 8 really isn’t that bad unless you get a Windows RT tablet and laptop. They cannot run ‘standard’ or preexisting Windows programs and programs can only be installed through the Microsoft App Store.
Microsoft is leading its flock of manufacturers with their well-built Surface RT tablet. Unlike my guess that the Touch or Keyboard Covers would be inexpensive, Microsoft wants ~$130 for them. Buying them with the tablet they’re only $100, but that’s on top of a $500 base price.
Obviously, they’ve tried to avoid underpricing their partner manufacturers – but this is reminiscent of their overpriced Xbox accessories. It’s not exactly a plan for market domination when there’s the equivalent of other companies making Xboxes in the other Windows device manufacturers.
Staying ahead of the game is getting easier and easier because rumors of upcoming changes are so accurate. We’ve known about the iPad Mini, new New iPad, Nexus 4 and more recently Nexus 10 for a while. Often we know weeks or months before a device announcement. Either keep up with rumors, or just purchase what you need and live with it. Buyer beware.