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Why you would love Apple’s IPhone 5-Three Reasons

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Apple has come up with another product that will compel hordes of people to line up outside its stores before its September 21 release in the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and four other countries. The mad dash to buy the iPhone 5 will be repeated again on September 28 when it goes on sale in 22 other countries. All the models of the iPhone 5 will sell for the same prices as its predecessor, starting at $199 with a two-year data and calling plan.

An important caveat about these impressions: I was only allotted about 15 minutes with the iPhone 5 at Wednesday’s launch event, not enough time to discover if it might have some technological bugs. I am sure in the coming days other reviewers will have the opportunity to give the phone a more thorough vetting.

For many people, the iPhone is going to be a case of love at first touch. It’s incredibly light and seems to be easier to hold. That means it might not be dropped as frequently as previous iPhones, reducing the chances of the glass on the display screen getting damaged.

One woman who also was testing out an iPhone 5 couldn’t stop raving about how ideal the new design was for people with smaller hands. “All the other iPhones were made with men in mind because they could easily slip from your grasp if you didn’t have big hands,” she said. “Now we finally have an iPhone for women.”

The new iPhone also is easy on the eyes, thanks to a larger screen and its “Retina Display,” the high-definition technology that Apple introduced in previous models. Video and photos look even more lush on the iPhone 5’s bigger and better screen.

At 4 inches diagonally, the iPhone 5’s screen is a half-inch larger than previous generations and Apple make sure to take advantage of it. On the more prosaic side of things, the extra space means you can now see five rows of apps on the home screen instead of the previous limit of four rows. Open the calendar and you can see five days of events on the screen in horizontal mode, instead of just three.

The larger screen really comes to life, though, with what is perhaps its coolest feature – a tool called “Panorama” that automatically stitches together a series of pictures into a majestic vista. Panorama can be turned on simply by going into the iPhone 5’s camera mode and then selecting it on an option menu. Once it’s activated, an arrow guides you as you slowly pan the camera around whatever scenery you desire (if you move too fast, Panorama tells you to slow down and also advises you if you are moving the camera too high or low). Once you are done, you can look at the panoramic shot within seconds and zoom into whichever areas of the picture look most interesting.

Not surprisingly, watching video on the larger screen is also more pleasurable, although I still think the iPad and other tablet computers are a much better way to watch movies and TV shows on the go.

The device is also speedier because of a more powerful processing chip and upgraded wireless technology that accelerates Web surfing.

Apple also has equipped the iPhone 5 with a superior sound system, courtesy of the new headphones that the company says it spent three years developing. The headphones, called “EarPods,” are a vast improvement on the ear buds that Apple has been giving away with its devices for more than a decade. The new headphones actually stay in your ears and make it seem as if the sound is playing inside your head. The EarPods come free with the iPhone 5, and they sounded as good as $100 headphones sold by a variety of other companies.

The new phone’s operating system, iOS 6, also introduces another fun toy that makes it easy to share photos with your friends and family. Just select a picture, or even a series of photos, then email them to whomever you want. Assuming the recipients also has an Apple device running on iOS 6, they will get a notification that will send the designated photos to their iPhone, iPad oriPod Touch. The recipients don’t necessarily have to own an iPhone 5 because the new iOS can be downloaded for free beginning Sept. 19 on a wide range of older Apple devices, including the three previous versions of the iPhone and the last two versions of the iPad.

The new operating system also stands out for what’s missing.

The pre-installed YouTube app that had been part of the iPhone since it came out in 2007 is gone (you can now download a new application made by YouTube owner Google Inc. in Apple’siTunes store). Even more noticeable is the absence of Google Maps. Apple has cast aside one of Google’s most popular services for its own mapping system and, from what I saw, it looks like it’s going to keep users happy. It offers three-dimensional renderings of many major cities, aerial views, and, best of all, turn-by-turn directions narrated by the iPhone’s virtual assistant, Siri. Assuming the directions are accurate, I doubt Google Maps is going to be missed.

The new iOS also offers a feature called “Passbook,” where digital coupons, airline tickets and gift cards can be conveniently stored in one location. This, too, is going to be popular. Yet, Passbook would be an even handier tool if the iPhone 5 boasted a near-field communication chip to enable wireless payments at the checkout stands equipped for the still-nascent technology. Some phones running Google’s Android software are able to process payments because they have the NFC chip.

Siri is also supposed to be smarter and even more helpful in the iPhone 5, although I didn’t get a chance to challenge her in Apple’s noisy testing room.

Too bad because I would have liked to ask Siri what Steve Jobs might have thought of the iPhone 5. But, I am pretty sure I know the answer.

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4G SIM में चलेगा 5G या खरीदना होगा नया सिम कार्ड और फोन: जानिए हर सवाल का जवाब

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5G launch होने के बाद कई लोग सोच रहे होंगे कि अब 4G SIM card का क्या करें? और 4G Phone का क्या? क्या उन्हें फेंकने और 5G पर स्विच होने का समय आ गया है? यदि आपके मन में भी ये सवाल उठ रहे हैं, तो पढ़ें

भारत में प्रधान मंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने आज आधिकारिक तौर पर 5G launch कर दिया है। आने वाले कुछ सालों में पूरे भारत में 5G services मिलना शुरू हो जाएंगी। रिलायंस जियो के साथ एयरटेल ने बताया कि जल्द ही 5G सर्विसेस को देशभर में रोलआउट किया जाएगा। भारत में 5G तेज इंटरनेट स्पीड लो लेटेंसी, साथ ही साथ विश्वसनीय कनेक्टिविटी जैसी सुविधाएं प्रदान करेगा। ऐसे में कई लोग सोच रहे होंगे कि अब 4G सिम कार्ड का क्या करें? क्या उन्हें दूर करने और 5G को पूरी तरह से अपनाने का समय आ गया है? और उन पुराने 4G स्मार्टफोन का क्या? क्या उन्हें दूर फेंकने और 5G कनेक्टिविटी पर स्विच करने का समय आ गया है? यदि आपके मन में भी ये सवाल उठ रहे हैं और आप कंफ्यूजन की स्थिति में हैं, तो यहां वह सब कुछ है जो आपको जानना आवश्यक है।

भारत में 5G लॉन्च, क्या अब 4G सिम कार्ड फेंकने का समय आ गया है?

– नहीं, फिलहाल कुछ सालों तो बिल्कुल नहीं! 5G के आने के बावजूद, 4G LTE है जो भारत के टेलीकम्युनिकेशन इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर की रीढ़ बना रहेगा। अगले दो सालों में, एयरटेल और जियो जैसे दूरसंचार ऑपरेटर जितना संभव हो सके अपने 5G नेटवर्क का विस्तार करेंगे। तब तक, आपका 4G सिम कार्ड आज की तरह ही काम करता रहेगा।

– 5G अपने शुरुआती दिनों में उतना विश्वसनीय और आसानी से उपलब्ध नहीं होगा जितना आज 4G है। 5G केवल कुछ ही पॉकेट में उपलब्ध होगा, वह भी कुछ ही शहरों में। इसलिए, आपको कुछ क्षेत्रों में केवल 5G स्पीड मिलेगी और 4G वह है जिस पर उद्योग बाकी क्षेत्रों के लिए निर्भर करेगा।

– एयरटेल का कहना है कि उसके 4G सिम कार्ड यूज करने वाले ग्राहक बिना सिम कार्ड बदले 5G सर्विसेस का उपयोग तब कर सकेंगे, जब सर्विस उनके क्षेत्र में एक्टिवेट हो जाएगी। इसलिए आपको अपना 4G सिम कार्ड बिल्कुल भी फेंकना नहीं चाहिए। जियो ने अभी तक इस पर कोई स्पष्टीकरण जारी नहीं किया है।

– हम नहीं जानते कि भारत में 5G सर्विसेस की कीमत कितनी होगी। ऑपरेटरों ने संकेत दिया है कि भारत में 4G सर्विसेस की तुलना में 5G थोड़ा अधिक महंगा है और इसलिए अधिकांश लोगों के लिए 4G अधिक किफायती विकल्प बना रह सकता है। अधिकांश यूजर्स के लिए, 4G LTE सस्ती कीमतों पर पर्याप्त डेटा स्पीड प्रदान करना जारी रखेगा, जबकि 5G हाई स्पीड चाहने वाले प्रो यूजर्स की जरूरतों को पूरा कर सकता है।

क्या अब किसी काम के नहीं रहेंगे 4G स्मार्टफोन: क्या इन्हें फेंकन का समय आ गया है?

– बिल्कुल भी नहीं। यदि आप 4G स्मार्टफोन का उपयोग कर रहे हैं, तो 5G प्राप्त करने के लिए इसे फेंकने की कोई आवश्यकता नहीं है। कम से कम अगले कुछ सालों तक को बिल्कुल नहीं, 4G LTE ऑनलाइन होने का प्राइमरी तरीका बना रह सकता है। तो आपका 4G स्मार्टफोन आज की तरह काम करता रहेगा।

– जब 5G चलन में आता है, तब भी आपका 4G फोन और उसका 4G सिम कार्ड अच्छी तरह काम करता रहेगा। आप अपने पुराने फोन से हमेशा कोई न कोई उपयोग कर सकते हैं- जैसे कि आपकी कार के लिए एक GPS नेविगेशन यूनिट या आपके बच्चे के लिए पहला स्मार्टफोन।

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How design beats functionality in Technology

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Philip W Schiller, Apple’s vice president for marketing, strode across the stage of the California Theater in San Jose last week trumpeting the virtues of new Apple products. As he caressed the side of the latest iMac personal computer, he noted how thin it was – 5 millimeters, 80 percent thinner than the last one. Then he said, with an air of surprise, as if he had just thought of it: “Isn’t itamazing how something new makes the previous thing instantly look old?”

Umm, yes, Mr Schiller, you design your products that way. It is part of a strategy that Apple has perfected. How else can the company persuade people to replace their perfectly fine iPhone, iPad, iMac and iEverything else year after year?

In the past, electronics makers could convince consumers that the design was different, because it actually was. The first iMac, for example, was a blue bubble. Then it looked like a desk lamp, and now it is a rectangular sheet of glass with the electronics hidden behind it. The iPod designs changed, too, over time, before they became progressively smaller sheets of glass.

Certainly makers add features like better cameras or tweak the software – Siri and Passbook on theiPhone are examples of that for Apple – to persuade people to upgrade. But in the last few years, consumer electronics have started to share one characteristic, no matter who makes them: They are all rectangles. Now, companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google need to persuade consumers to buy new rectangles once a year.

“This phenomenon happened to the TV manufacturers a few years ago. They all started to look the same: flat panels on a wall,” said Donald A Norman, author of “The Design of Everyday Things.”

The consequences for manufacturers were disastrous. “Customers no longer had to buy the higher-end Sony model; instead, they could get the cheaper, Chinese one,” Norman said. “This is what today’s companies are scared of. Turn off the screen on a smartphone or tablet and they look identical. They’re just rectangles.”

Each year, Apple and other companies seem to put those rectangles in a vise, flatten them slightly, alter the exterior dimensions and showcase them as the next big, or little, thing. (Apple did not comment on its design strategy.)

This was not always the case. As a child I remember exploring my father’s Minolta film camera – a camera from the mid-1950s that was given to him by his father. Although film cameras are now for the most part obsolete, you can bet that camera can still take 36 pictures without a hitch.

Yet can you imagine, 10 years from now, someone handing a child an iPad Mini, the latest Apple gadget? They would scoff, just as people do today when they see an older – 2 or 3 years old – version of the iPhone.

There is a term for all of this: “planned obsolescence,” which was popularised in the 1950s by Brooks Stevens, an industrial designer who specialised in making new cars. Briskly adopted by post-war consumer goods industries, the strategy coaxed Americans to sell their 1955 Cadillacs for the 1956 Cadillacs with their pronounced tail fins, and then the 1957s with even more exaggerated fins, and then ’58s, ’59s and so on.

Stevens’ term was often misinterpreted as meaning things were designed to fall apart on a regular schedule. But he believed that true upgrades and design changes would make people want to buy the latest thing. That still holds true in this era, when consumers are supposedly wary of the hucksterism of manufacturers. If you don’t upgrade to the latest iPhone or iPad, you fear you may look dated and clueless, even though the rational part of your brain says, “This is a perfectly fine, useful device.”

Consumer electronics companies, Norman noted, have adopted the same marketing techniques the automobile industry perfected decades ago.

“This is an old-time trick – they’re not inventing anything new,” he said. “Yet it’s to the detriment of the consumer and the environment, but perhaps to the betterment of the stockholder.”

He added: “For Apple, you forgot the other trick: change the plugs!” While the rest of the electronics industry has adopted micro-USB ports, Apple just changed the proprietary ports and plugs on all of its latest devices – laptops, iPads and iPhones included.

Even so, my first iPod still plays music. My laptop from four years ago can still browse the Web. And my first e-readers can still display books.

It seems some consumers are starting to feel upgrade fatigue. There is no lift in PC sales, and people are owning them longer. A report by Recon Analytics, a market research firm, found that people around the globe were waiting longer to buy new mobile phones. In 2007, Americans upgraded their phones every 18.7 months on average; three years later, that number had stretched to 21.1 months. In Finland, people now wait 74.5 months to upgrade, compared with 41.8 months in 2007.

Maybe Schiller’s comment about the iMac isn’t how consumers see it anymore. Instead, people are starting to realise that these upgraded products are simply flatter rectangles that don’t really offer much more than the last model. Just like the tail fins on the ’56 Cadillac.

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Can Windows Phone 8 stop Nokia’s downward spiral?

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For Nokia, it comes down to this: Is Microsoft’s new phone software going to get it back in the smartphone race, or is it going to be too late?

After being the top seller of cellphones in the world for 14 years, Nokia failed to meet the challenge when Apple in 2007 introduced thedazzling iPhone that caught the imagination of design-conscious customers and rattled mobile markets.

The Finnish company hit a downward spiral that has led to shrinking sales and market share, plant closures, thousands of layoffs and downgrades by credit agencies to junk status.

On Friday, research firm IDC said that in the July-to-September period, Nokia slid for the first time off the list of the top five smartphone makers in the world. It’s still the second-largest maker of phones overall, but sales of non-smartphones are shrinking across the industry, and there’s little profit there.

The ailing company’s CEO, Stephen Elop, sees Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 software as a chance to reverse that trend, describing it as a catalyst for the new models.

On Monday, Microsoft is hosting a big launch event for the software at an arena in San Francisco. The first Windows 8 phones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC are expected to hit store shelves next month.

The launch of Windows Phone 8 follows on the heels of Windows 8 for PCs and tablets, which Microsoft released on Friday. That operating system has borrowed its look from Windows Phone, meaning Microsoft now has a unified look across PCs and phones – at least if people take to Windows 8. The company has also made it easy for developers to create software that runs on both platforms with minor modifications.

Analysts are calling this a make-or-break moment for Nokia.

“Nokia is placing a huge bet on Microsoft and if the gamble doesn’t pay off, the losses can be high,” said Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics, near London. “It’s putting all its eggs in one basket and that’s quite a high-risk strategy.”

In February last year, Nokia announced it was teaming up with Microsoft to replace its old Symbian and next-generation MeeGo software platforms with Windows. This move was made in the hope that it would rejuvenate the company and claw back lost ground.

Eight months later, they produced the first Nokia Windows Phone. Consumers didn’t warm to it, and it soon became clear that these phones, based on Windows Phone 7, were going to become obsolete. They can’t be upgraded to Windows Phone 8. Lumia sales slumped to 2.9 million units in the third quarter after reaching 4 million in the previous three months.

“Retailers withdrew marketing and promotion because no one wants to sell customers a device that ages in a few months,” says Michael Schroeder, analyst at FIM Bank in Helsinki.

“Had there been a seamless transfer to Windows 8 from the old (Lumia) devices, sales figures would have been much higher last quarter.”

Mawston gives Nokia until April to prove it’s still in the race.

“If Nokia does not have more than 5 percent of the global smartphone market by the end of the first quarter 2013, alarm bells will be ringing,” Mawston said.

Analysts estimate Nokia’s current global smartphone market share to be some 4 percent – down from 14 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, uncertainty clouds its new venture with Microsoft.

“We’re a bit in the dark here,” Schroeder said. “Right now we can’t really say anything about Nokia’s future. Everything depends on how the new devices are received in the market.”

Nokia says its Lumia 920 and 820 phones are just the beginning of a new range of Windows Phone 8 devices, but early evaluations suggest they lack the “wow” effect necessary to make a dent in the smartphone market.

Also, Windows Phone 8 lags behind in the number of third-party applications available. There are some 100,000 available. Google’s and Apple’s stores have six or seven times as many.

“It’s a perception thing really,” Mawston of Strategy Analytics said. “Like in supermarket wars, if you have a store with lots of shelves with lots of apps, then consumers will choose you over a smaller store that has a smaller offering – even if you can’t use all those apps.”

Analysts expect 700 million smartphones to be sold worldwide this year. While network operators and retailers may welcome a third software system to challenge the dominance of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, it is the consumer who will ultimately decide Nokia’s and Windows Phone 8’s fate.

Beside the smartphone challenge, Nokia is feeling the pinch in the lower end with manufacturers in China and in Asia producing cut-rate non-smartphones – Nokia’s former domain. Earlier this year, Samsung overtook it as the world’s no. 1 mobile phone vendor, ending Nokia’s reign that peaked in 2008 with a 40 percent market share.

“Dumb” phones continue to be the backbone of Nokia operations, including in India where it’s a top seller. With strong and extensive distribution networks and a brand well-known in emerging markets, all might not be lost for the company that grew from making paper and rubber boots to being the biggest manufacturer of cellphones.

Mawston says that in theory, Nokia and Microsoft have a good chance of success as they offer an across-the-board system that stretches across home computers, mobiles, laptops, tablets as well as in the office, backed by Nokia’s strong distribution and hardware and Microsoft’s multi-platform software.

“If they can exploit that underlying market platform… and tie it all together in a good hardware portfolio, then potentially Microsoft and Nokia could be a very, very strong partnership – a bit like bringing together Batman and Robin,” Mawston said. “But, in practice, whether they can execute on that reality still is a great unknown and remains to be seen.”

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