The Curious Case Of The iPad Mini

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days, you’d probably know that Apple plans to release a new 7″ (or 7.8″) iPad sometime this month. Well, actually, Apple hasn’t confirmed anything except sent out an invite to the tech press which seems to all but confirm the existence of the said device. There has been speculation about the device’s size, price and the ability to conjure up the Patronus Charm and blow the competition away.

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‘The New iPad’

Apple announced the release of a new iPad yesterday. According to Apple, this new iPad is going to be the best ever.

It has the best screen of any mobile device ever. It has battery life that is equal or better to the previous iPad and it runs the 2,00,000 excellent applications already written for the iPad flawlessly.

This is the iPad that could have been called the iPad 3, iPad HD or maybe even iPad ‘insanely great’ !

Instead, Apple decided to name their new iPad, ‘iPad’ !

That’s it ! Just iPad.

I’ve read a number of articles and opinions in the last 24 hours as to why Apple has chosen to defy convention and not give the new iPad a version number. No one but Apple knows why. But, we can speculate, can’t we ?

First of all, anyone who thinks the name iPad is a bad choice. You’re wrong!

What’s in a name?

In my opinion, the dropping of the version number means that the iPad has finally come into it’s own. No, it does not mean that CEO Tim Cook has no control over the company and that Apple will not be able to maintain the momentum that is has without Steve Jobs. If anything, it means that Apple is still executing on all cylinders. It means that Apple is confident enough in itself and will continue to defy convention and create products that people will queue miles and miles to buy. Again and Again.

The iPad is now a major contributor to Apple’s bottom-line and the success of the iPad in the future will define the success of Apple. For that to happen, Apple needs to make the iPad a brand, a single entity. Like the iMac, the MacBook and not the MacBook ‘HD’ or iMac ‘Bazoonga’. The iPad like the other major products in Apple’s lineup is just the iPad. When the next iPad comes out next year, it will still be the best tablet computer on the planet and will still be called the iPad. Wether you’re buying an iPad this year or the next or the year after that, you can’t go wrong with the ‘iPad’.

Apple wants to make sure that kids don’t have to tell their parents to get an iPad 10 or an iPad 2o and not the iPad 11.5 since that one sucks ! The message is that this great product is just the iPad and it is the same iPad no matter when and where you buy it from.

No one needs to know if the iPad that you’re going to buy today is the latest one or not. It always is. And no matter which one you get, you’ll get the best tablet available.

In the end it really doesn’t matter what the new iPad is called. It still has the gorgeous retina display, amazing apps and outstanding graphics performance. It is still the best tablet computer in the market, by a long shot!

How To Convert Any Video File to Play On Your iPhone

Apple’s iPhone and iPad are considered to be really picky when it comes to the type of video formats they play. And rightfully so. The iOS family of devices, that include the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch, support only a few video formats and refuse to play anything else. In fact, iTunes itself refuses to sync any file that it knows will not play on the iOS device.

If you download a lot of movies from the Internet, this might be a problem for you since most of those movies are stored in the Divx format to save space and bandwidth and Apple’s devices don’t support playing Divx or most other popular formats.

The only way to play such a file on an iOS device is by converting it to a supported format. We’ve written about how to convert video files¬†earlier using the open source ffmpeg and WinFF. If you’re a geek and are comfortable using the command line, by all means use those methods. You’ll have the maximum flexibility and ffmpeg is an excellent and reliable piece of software.

If you’re not a geek and would rather have a nice GUI to handle the conversion, fret not ! I’m going to tell you about exactly the thing you need.

Handbrake

The developers of Handbrake describe it as a multi platform, multithreaded video transcoder available for Mac OS X, Linux or Windows. Which, in simple English, means that it is a video conversion utility available for the three major platforms that exist. I’m using Handbrake on my Mac OS X machine but the instructions for Windows or Linux should be similar and you will be able to follow along.

The first step is to, if it wasn’t obvious, download and install Handbrake.

When you launch Handbrake, you will be presented with a file open dialogue box. Select the file that you want to transcode (convert).

Handbrake will automatically fill in the Destination path for you but if you want to store the converted file in a different path, select that using the Browse button.

Now, there are two kinds of conversion that you can do. The first is to create a file, specifically encoded for the device you want to run it on, for example and iPod or an iPad and the second method is to create a generic file that’ll run on almost any iOS device. I’ll take you through both methods.

Create a device specific file

This is the easiest method, just select the Apple device that you want to encode the video file for from the Apple drop down in the sidebar and Handbrake will preselect the best settings for that device. Hit Start and you’re done!

Create a generic file

To convert the file to a format that can run on any iOS device, make sure the Format selected is “MP4” and video codec “H.264”.

From the Audio tab, make sure the Track and Codec are MP3 or AAC.

This really should take care of everything. Press the Start button and Handbrake will get to work immediately. Video conversion is a CPU intensive task and depending on the capabilities of your machine and the size of the file you’re converting, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours or more.¬†Get a cup of coffee, listen to some music and relax a little.

 

How To view iPad version of websites on your Computer

iPadThe iPad has been a roaring success. There are no two ways about it. It is an awesome device and the built-in web browser is the best in it’s class.

Even though most websites work perfectly fine on an iPad, a lot of web publishers have optimized versions of their websites available for just the iPad. Often, the iPad optimized versions are designed with a touch interface in mind but sometimes the desingers get a little more creative and take the single tasking focussed of the iPad and design an interface that is not only a delight to use on the iPad, but would also serve as a better interface for the desktop version.

Take, for example, the iPad version of Gmail. The regular desktop browser based Gmail is fun to use and, IMHO, has one of the best interfaces for email on the web. But, the iPad optimized version of Gmail takes GTD to a whole new level.

If you want to use the iPad version of Gmail on your desktop computer, all you’ve got to do is fool Gmail into thinking that you’re actually visiting the site from your iPad instead of your desktop browser.

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