HP has balls of steel, Engadget lacks a backbone

Well maybe not balls of steel, more like aluminium.

And on a side-note, why aren’t Engadget calling HP out on this? The keyboard and trackpad are a blatant rip-off. But throughout the article Engadget fails to mention the similarities between this new HP desktop and the iMac even once.

UK broadband aided by planning permission rule changes

BBC News:

The government is changing planning permission rules to aid the rollout of faster internet speeds across the UK.

This includes permission for firms to install broadband cabinets and other related infrastructure on public land without local councils’ permission in England.

About time. Broadband in the UK has seen great leaps in the last few years but there’s still a long way to go. This is even better news for residents of Kensington and Chelsea who’s council refused BT planning permission for their cabinets that would provide fibre access on the basis that they were “big and ugly” and “not in keeping with the historic buildings”.

AppleCare: The Ultimate Guide

My latest article over at Mactuts+ is a comprehensive guide on all things AppleCare. If you’ve often wondered what AppleCare actually is and what is covered, it’s well worth a read.

6Wunderkinder halts development of Wunderkit to focus on Wunderlist

Christian Reber (founder of 6Wunderkinder):

We were lost in perpetual discussions about how features should work and what they should look like. Unfortunately we were never fully satisfied with the result. That was when we understood we had to make a decision, it’s either the one or the other. Either we focus on Wunderkit or Wunderlist – both would be too much of a challenge. In the end the decision was pretty obvious, but it was still hard to make.

It’s a shame but reading his blog post I couldn’t help but nod in agreement at every point he made. Wunderlist is an amazing cross-platform task manager and should be their core focus.

I used Wunderkit for a few months when I became my own boss and started freelancing earlier this year but syncing issues, service outages and just general bugginess caused so many problems that I ultimately switched to Things.

I don’t see Wunderkit as their failed second album, it’s more like their b-side to Wunderlist. It’s not bad, it’s just Wunderlist has far wider appeal.

iOS 6 will dictate which iPhones will survive the 12th

The More/real blog reporting that the iPhone 3GS is likely to be dropped after the upcoming Apple event on the 12th:

On the 12th, Apple will presumably start selling an iPhone 5 that would most likely take over the iPhone 4S’ position in the lineup. The 3GS will almost certainly be killed on the 12th. It was introduced in 2009, has been in service for three and a half years and has done it’s job well.

I disagree and think the iPhone 3GS will still be around. John Gruber speculates that it will continue life as a pre-paid option:

I wouldn’t count the 3GS out. I presume it will indeed lose its spot as the free-with-contract phone in the lineup, to be replaced by the iPhone 4, and the 4S will take over the $99-with-contract spot. But what about the low-cost prepaid market? If Apple wants to start taking market share in that market, my guess is they’d do with the 3GS.

There’s one other factor which seems to be overlooked and that’s iOS 6. Apple surprised everyone when they announced iOS 6 will be supported on the 3GS. (Even more surprising was that iOS 6 won’t be supported by the 1st generation iPad). The only reason I can think of that Apple would be wanting to push iOS 6 on to the 3GS is that they intend to keep selling it. We all remember the performance issues that the original iPhone 3G suffered when upgrading it to iOS 4. I’d hazard a guess that Apple spent additional time and resources slimming down iOS 6 enough that it can run on a 3GS so that they could keep it around.

If the iPhone 3GS indeed does stay on after the 12th, Apple will be taking a unique approach to budget smartphones. Unlike Android where “budget” usually means “outdated OS”, your budget Apple smartphone will run the same apps as the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S or whatever the new iPhone will be called.

Nokia at it again, this time they may have faked photos as well

Youseff Sarhan:

A Hacker News user by the alias exDM69 astutely shared a photograph of the photoshoot in Helsinki city center. The photo was taken by a friend of his. I knew an image of the photoshoot would surface sooner or later, how could it not.

You can just about see the DSLR lens on the very left center of the photo.

Nokia just keeps on digging.

Ice Cream Shit Sandwich

Aaron Souppouris at The Verge:

Google’s monthly Android distribution figures are out again, revealing a significant leap in uptake for the two latest iterations of the mobile OS. Ice Cream Sandwich is now running on 20.8 percent — that’s up from 15.9 percent last month, and 10.9 percent the month before.

While the rise of Android 4.0 is clearly a good thing, Ice Cream Sandwich is no longer Google’s latest and greatest; Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has a lowly 1.2 percent share of the Android market. Although that represents a tiny proportion of Android devices, the relative increase from last month’s 0.8 percent share is huge. We expect both Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean to continue to rise as new devices and updates are released.

You can view a full break-down to Android adoption at the Android Developer site. Figures are based on devices accessing Google Play.

Let’s take the glass-is-half-empty view on this. 4.1 Jelly Bean is the latest release of Android from a few months ago and it’s in single digits. The previous release came out almost a year ago is at just over 20%. Nearly 75% of all Android devices are running an OS from 2010 or earlier.

Eric Scmidt stated earlier today that Android has now reached 1.3 million activations a day. Doing the maths, that’s 16,900 android devices being activated every day that run ICS. That’ still over 1.2 million devices that are being activated every day that are running an older version of Android.

Arnold Kim at MacRumors back in March 2012, a few weeks after iOS 5. 1 was released:

iOS developer David Smith has been posting iOS version stats for his Universal app Audiobooks. Smith gets about 100,000 weekly downloads to both his paid and free versions and believes it is a statistically meaningful data set.

With the launch of iOS 5.1 on March 7th, 2012, Smith has been tracking the adoption rate which he suspected would be faster than in the past due to the availability of over the air (OTA) iOS updates. Indeed, after only 5 days after its initial release, Smith found that 50% of his OTA-eligible customers were already at iOS 5.1. Now, after 15 days, he’s found that 77% of OTA-eligible iOS customers have upgraded to the latest version.

This isn’t an argument for iOS over Android. This is an argument against carrier customisation of Android. With an iPhone, if an update is available – you can install it. With Android, unless you bought your device SIM and carrier-free, you’re likely to have a carrier-customised flavour of Android. There’s so many distributions of Android that one carrier’s version for a Samsung device won’t work on an identical device that’s on a different carrier.

The problem is the carrier isn’t interested in releasing an update for an 18-24 month old device. Why should they when they can just stop releasing updates and those frustrated with their device have to look towards a new service plan?

Outlook.com and Custom Domains as a Google Apps Alternative

This somehow passed me by. Microsoft have a service called Windows Live Admin Center which, among other things, let’s you use Outlook.com as your domain’s mail server. Effectively you’re able to set up a free Exchange server for your domain’s users. A quick search revealed a tutorial on the subject.

Google has been offering this as part of their Google Apps service for a few years now and have a free 10-user edition. Whilst I don’t think Microsoft’s service offers as many features as Google’s, the core features of mail, contacts and calendars are there. But the really surprising feature is Microsoft allows up to 500 users for free.

But, and it’s a pretty big one if you’re a lover of desktop email clients, one caveat is their (lack of) IMAP support. If you’re not a Windows user and want desktop email, you’re either having to use outlook.com or suffer the horror of POP3. Microsoft have stated they’re working on improved IMAP and Mac support. Outlook 2011 is basically a re-skinned Entourage 2008 and neither of them work with outlook.com.

I’m going be testing this out further in the coming weeks so will post a follow-up with how it’s going.