Ask GadgetGuy: Why SHOULDN’T I buy an iPad Mini right now?

ipad miniRoss from Facebook asks:

Hey Gadget Guy… tell me why I shouldn’t buy an iPad Mini, and what I should buy instead, and why it’d be better. I don’t want to admit to drinking the apple-flavored kool-aid, but I love my iPhone, and wanna get a pair of tablets for me and my special lady friend… yeah, we gotta get 2 because we can’t share. hehe…
Thanks!

No worries on “drinking the kool-aid”, I’d be daft to say Apple doesn’t make fine products. The Mini is in an interesting position at the moment however, and buying one now, might not be the best move.

It’s old hardware. It was old-ish hardware when it was released, essentially a shrunk iPad 2. This brings up numerous support questions, like whether it will receive two full proper updates of iOS, as the iPad 2 is most likely done with major updates this year. That and I would fully expect we’ll see an iPad Mini refresh this November. Plus for hardware almost three years old, it’s really expensive compared to the current crop of Android Mini tablets.

And to answer your question about what else to buy, I’d start by looking at the Nexus 7.

Nexus 7 - hero - press siteFor $100 less you get a MUCH nicer true HD 1080p screen, in proper widescreen (so if you watch movies, you don’t lose half your display to letter-boxing). Remember the current Mini isn’t a “Retina” device.

Other things like stereo speakers and NFC might be a wash, but it’s much more current technology.

It’s not out yet, but the LTE variant of the Nexus 7 will likely sell for about $20 more than the least expensive, WiFi only iPad Mini. Ouch.

In conclusion, depending on what you want to do with a tablet, an iPad Mini today would still be a fine purchase. It is a sexy little tablet. However, if you can hold off, treat yourself to more of a Thanksgiving present, you’ll probably get a better “bang for buck”.

Friday Retro Fun: Walter Cronkite shows us the home office of 2001 (from 1967)

It’s always kinda cool to see how much futurists of the past got correct. It’s also kind of crazy to think that today a phone which fits in our pocket replicates all of the functionality on display here (and more).

Happy Friday!

Review: The AfterShokz Sportz M2 Bone Conduction Headphones with Microphone (video)

Aftershockz spotz m2 bone conduction headphones with mic somegadgetguy reviewIt’s like listening to the future.

Bone conduction is a fascinating tech which is starting to work its way into the consumer space. The ability to interact with audio without blocking or covering your natural sense of hearing is like having a super power. Plus this tech should encourage safer behavior from people who use headphones while jogging or (cringe) operating a motor vehicle.

Plus they’re even cheaper on Amazon than when I originally shot this video: http://goo.gl/6PgjVU

Google Fiber continues expansion in Kansas

roeland parkColor me jealous.

Posted on the official Google Fiber blog, the Roeland Park City Council has voted to approve a measure which will allow Google to provide internet and TV services to their residents. Great news for folks living in Roeland Park, as they’re going to get a little more competition for digital connectivity, and 1Gbps broadband sounds like it’ll be just the ticket.

No ETA on the rollout, but Google is encouraging residents to sign up for email alerts for when more info is available.

Second successful flight for Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo!

SpaceShipTwo_technical_diagramVirgin Galactic looks to be on track to deliver commercial space flight next year!

SpaceShipTwo completed its second test flight today at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The little spaceship which could was ferried up to 40,000 feet where it’s boosters took over and it climbed to 69,000 feet and hit a top speed of Mach 1.4. Seriously impressive numbers for a commercial craft.

Hit the video below for some “science fiction becoming reality”.

Are 2011 MacBook Pro GPU’s failing?

Macbook proThe cool thing about Apple is how hard they work at software+hardware integration. The bummer is you can only buy an Apple from Apple, so if there’s a problem with a certain batch of Apple products, you’re kinda stuck.

Currently on the Apple message boards, a post has racked up over 136 pages of replies from folks having, and trying to fix, issues with older MacBook Pros using discrete graphics chips. Computers freezing, information getting corrupted, locking up, even some stories of blue screens of death. With a thread this long, it’s difficult to establish a clear pattern of what might be failing, but enough people are pointing to logic board and GPU issues that it might just be a theme.

No official word from Apple regarding any potential issues with this line of MacBooks. Do yo own a MacBook Pro from 2011? Are you/ were you having problems?

MacBook Pro 2011 17″ hard freeze (136 pages)

Former Nokia CEO to build Newkia Android handsets, restore Nokia’s “glory days”.

nokia running android newkia somegadgetguy lumia 1020Here’s the deal. It doesn’t matter how good a phone is. A single handset, or a couple of phones, the mobile phone market is viscerally competitive. Without an ecosystem surrounding your products, and an established reputation in the market, consumers will be wary. We’ve been burned too many times before. I still mourn HP/Palm for example. Poor webOS…

Anywho, Thomas Zilliacus speaks openly and candidly about his plans to form a new company to utilize Nokia talent to build Android handsets. Following a failed Nokia takeover, Mr. Zilliacus  is forming Newkia with plans to marry Finnish hardware design with Google’s operating system.

I welcome more competition, but pairing good or great hardware, even while piggybacking on Nokia’s build reputation, isn’t a sure-fire recipe for success. Any company walking into the smartphone arena has to demonstrate their ability to compete over time as well. That said, I’m tentatively very excited to play with a Newkia if and when they actually arrive.

Thomas Zilliacus on Channel News Asia, to form Newkia (video interview)

American Society of Media Photographers warns of Facebook’s new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

facebook camera iconWe keep dancing around this issue. Facebook needs to monetize somehow, and one avenue to explore is using the media being uploaded to Facebook and pairing it with advertisers. As of September 5th, Facebook’s new ToS has added the following passage:

You give us permission to use your name, and profile picture,content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us, subject to the limits you place. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.

The strike-through is language being cut from the new ToS.

Which looks pretty damning. See those ads on the right hand side of the screen? See those sponsored posts? If you’ve got photos uploaded to Facebook, they can attach those pics to ads. You receive zero compensation for this ad enhancement. Regardless if Facebook actively pursues this kind of monetization or not, the fact that these ToS changes are always snuck in under our radars just makes the whole affair feel slimy and invasive.

And the bummer is FB is missing out on an opportunity to go semi-pro. If they were upfront with their users, and even offered some kind of partner or affiliate program, they’d probably have scores of people sign up. Facebook could single-handedly shut down all other stock photo and video sites on the web with the amount of photo and video traffic they receive.

Instead, now they look greedy and sneaky. A bad combo for the internet.

The ASMP site has an FAQ you can read if you’re concerned about Facebook’s new policy.