The iPad: What The South African Media Needs to Know


Apple’s media-consuming tablet offering, the iPad, has finally released in Apple Authorised dealers in South Africa (unfortunately, we’re not blessed with the elegance of an actual Apple Store here, and have to settle for third-party retail outlets to get our fruity fix). As expected, the growing technology market in this country has been “wowed” by such a remarkable device — and rightly so, seeing as the iPad is set to revolutionise the way we consume digital content.

Already, American publication houses like The New York Times, Wired and MARVEL have created stunning iPad apps to complement their physical print publications, partly in a bid to exploit the iPad’s awesome multitouch interface and larger screen, and partly to save their skins. It’s a kind of “insurance”, if you like — these companies are “securing” themselves for the impending moment when devices like the iPad democratise and completely digitise the print industry to the extent that more people will be reading the news in an interactive format on a slate or tablet device rather than the actual physical paper.

Thus, as South Africans, although our time to consume the news entirely digitally is still some way off into the future, our media companies must not dawdle and fumble, especially in the face of the incredibly successful FIFA World Cup 2010 where this country received a major IT infrastructure overhaul.

The market leaders in South Africa’s print industry — media houses like Media24 and Independent Newspapers — need to invest in developing digitised versions of their content, and must devise innovative pricing schemes so as not to exploit the average news-seeking citizen. Thus significant research into American companies’ experiences could prove to go a long way in making the next generation of newspapers in South Africa truly successful. One clear example is Wired’s iPad app, which integrates audio, video, 3D content and text in interesting, engaging ways. The New York Times’ pricing schemes, devised to as not to discourage their actual, award-winning print publication, entices readers to embrace the digital news revolution whilst still remaining faithful to the dead-tree version.

So take heed, South African media: the time to go digital is here. Secure yourself now, and our country will continue to leap ahead into the next generation of technological advances.

Kinect for XBOX 360: Announced and Launching November 4th


(source: Endgadget) Microsoft Kinect (left) next to 360 Elite Console and controller

Formerly known as "Project Natal", Microsoft's motion-sensing add-on for the XBOX 360 was officially announced on Jun 13th, and has been set to launch on November 4th 2010 (Microsoft were very specific about this), and so far, this is deemed as a worldwide launch.

The announcement was made a day before the "new XBOX 360" was launched, with a starting price of $299, but more on that in the next post ;). 

For those of you who haven't been following, Kinect is a "controller free gaming and entertainment experience". An add-on peripheral for the 360 console, it allows the user to control the console without the need for a gamepad, through use of spoken commands, physical gestures, or the presentation of objects and images. 

If you have not seen the Kinect in action, click here to watch a demo video with one of the games to be released at that launch.

There will be 15 titles released at the launch, including:

  • Kinectimals - similar to Nintendogs, but the animals are oh so cute 
  • Kinect Sports - soccer, bowling, various track and field games
  • Joyride - kart racing, but controller free
  • Kinect Adventures - lots of jumping around
  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved - frankly, this fitness game looks amazing, from Ubisoft
  • Dance Central - a dance game WITHOUT dance pads, from Harmonix

The Kinect is set to sell for $149, and $399 when bundled with the XBOX 360 Elite (new slim version)

[source] Endgadget

Sony's new OLED screen can wrap around a pencil


This small screen is a glimpse of what will one day be Sony's 80μm-thick TFT Organic-LED (OLED) display.  The 4.1" display uses Sony's organic TFT (thin-film transistor) coupled with OLED technology, and is bound to a flexible 20μm substrate. This substrate does not have any rigid Integrated Circuit (IC) chips, and it is because of this that the screen can be wrapped around a cylinder with a 4mm radius (or a pencil). The screen has a 432x240 pixel resolution (or 121 pixels per inch - ppi), and can output 16M colours, with brightness surpassing 100nits and 1000:1 contrast ratio. This is still at a highly developmental stage, but a final product will definitely be released, sometime....

Click here to see this screen in action

[source] Sony

Desktop Graphics Card connected to Lenovo T410s - Let the games begin


In spite of various technologies that give laptops better graphics performance while still maintaining a long battery life (nVidia Ion, Optimus etc), there are times when you have access to an AC outlet, and you just want to game.  This is where an external graphics solution comes into play, and although there are a few official solutions, this very unofficial solution by HardForum member Cyclone deserves a special mention. What Cyclone has done is take hook up a 2GB Radeon HD 5850 with an $85 PCIe to ExpressCard Adapter, add a 550W Power supply for the graphics card, and connect the whole system to his Lenovo T410s

(Connector for graphics card (upper) and ExpressCard adapter (lower))

What is described as a "major pain in the ass" to configure, has bumped his 3DMark06 (benchmarking program) score from 1720 (with integrated graphics) to a whopping 12765! This score is lower than if the graphics card was used in a desktop system, so therefore the adapter itself is a bottleneck, but nonetheless this score is very, very impressive nonetheless. If you ane seriously considering turning your humble laptop into a better performing gaming machine, then I suggest you head over to HardForum and read the full article. Beware however, this is not for the faint  hearted.

[source] HardForum

(Edit: this setup is designed to output video to an external monitor)

New iPhone Expected Tomorrow: Here's What It's About


Tomorrow is an important day for Apple fans the world over. In fact, it's an important day for Apple themselves. They host the WWDC — the Worldwide Developers Conference, a huge gathering of Apple software designers from around the world who will discuss and innovate around the Mac and iPhone — particularly the iPhone.

On Monday, June 7, CEO Steve Jobs will take to the stage at Moscone West, San Francisco, to deliver the week-long conference's keynote address.

And at that keynote, Mr Jobs is widely expected to announce the next iPhone — what we're calling the iPhone HD.

Here's what you can expect in this next mobile product from everyone's favourite fruity company:
  • It'll be called the iPhone HD (iPhone 4G would be too confusing, given the fact that next-generation mobile networks will be called "4G" networks, and this phone won't support that yet).
  • It will have a front-facing camera for face-to-face video chats using a mobile version of iChat

  • It will certainly be running iPhone OS 4, which means it will have the following new features:
    • Run more than one app at the same time with multitasking
    • Group homescreen apps in folders according to their genres
    • A more informative standby screen
    • Hundreds of new APIs that will allow developers to create stunning new app
    • The Game Centre, for interaction with fellow iPhone gamers, allowing you to share scores, participate in a leaderboard, and engage in multiplayer battle
    • An all-round faster experience
    • A more informative standby screen
  • A 5 megapixel camera with flash
Apple may even surprise us (as they usually do) with more features for this device.

The iPhone HD (if it ends up being called that) will most likely be released in South Africa not long after WWDC, as was the case last year with the current iPhone 3GS.

What feature are you looking forward to the most? Is there a feature the new iPhone lacks that you feel Apple should include? Drop us a line in the comments below!

The Flyfire Project


Here's a really awesome clip of a project from MIT, called the Flyfire Project. It basically takes any ordinary, mundane living space and transforms it into a fantastical, futuristic sphere of incredible light displays, using a multitude of mini toy-like helicopters with specialized digital lights attached to the rotors.

Now if only we could get these in South Africa, in time for the World Cup parties... a surefire way to impress the guests at home with variations of the playing teams' national flags and LED-like recreations of the players faces... ah, a geek can dream, right?

3D Photo Frame that lets you 'see around' images without the glasses


Some people may call a 3D photo frame a bit of an overkill, but the people at Newsight seem to have turned around (no pun intended) the idea with this frame that was on display at the recent SID 2010 (Society for Information Display). The display is AUTO-stereoscopic, so no glasses needed, but Newsight moves the frame one step further by supporting a technology known as "motion parallax", a technology that allows you to look around the image (look closely at the image above, see how you can almost see around the animal). 

As one would expect, there is some trickery and tweaking that goes into making the image. Newsight says that the processing software can use any traditional 3D (or even 2D for that matter) and bring it to life so to speak. The software creates five separate images out of the source image, and when put together, you can see the same image from different angles. The only downside is that this processing must be done on a PC first, but Newsight promises that with the next model will feature built-in processing capabilities. There is even talk of a third model that allows two frames send images to each other.

In-Depth Info on the Nokia N8 from the Nseries Team


Nokia today announced a 3-part video series, fronted by product manager for the Finnish mobile giant, that takes a detailed look at their upcoming flagship device, the Nokia N8.

The N8 boasts new-generation software developed by Nokia, titled Symbian 3. This is the pinnacle of the phone maker's hope in re-inventing its product lines. Symbian 3 effectively cleans-up the mess that the previous-gen software powering many of today's Nseries, Eseries, Xseries and other Nokia mobiles.

The first of the three-part series is embedded below, and was flighted on the official Nseries blog earlier today. This is really some exciting stuff coming out of the world's largest phone maker; if Nokia can pull this phone off right, they might just have a chance to redeem themselves in the latest mobile wars being fought between titans Apple and HTC.

What do you think? Will you be considering the N8 as your next phone? Drop a line in the comments and let us know!

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