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Happy Birthday iPad!

One year ago today Steve Jobs announced a “magical new device” that would revolutionize the tech world. While his words may have sounded like hyperbole then, few now are arguing that the iPad was a failure. Apple sold around 15 million units during the nine months the iPad was on the market in 2010, leading some analysts to claim the launch of the iPad was the most successful launch of a tech device ever. Daily Finance Rumors are rampant about the iPad 2, expected to be announced soon,  but let’s take a moment to celebrate the success of the original iPad.

Happy Birthday iPad! *

Many people have asked, “What’s so great about the iPad?” In fact, I asked this until I got one. I was fortunate to have dear and trusted friends who, knowing my love of tech, insisted that I get one. Actually, that’s not entirely true. They insisted I get two, one for me and one for my husband. This couple had started off getting one iPad and discovered it was a danger to married couples to have just one iPad. Better to have two and a happy marriage. They were right. My husband, not a big tech fan, adores his iPad and takes it with him on his travels. I would not be very happy if I had to share my iPad with him.

So what makes the iPad such a powerful tech device? Naysayers will list all of the shortcomings with the iPad (no Flash video, no camera, no physical keyboard, etc.) and they are right. The iPad itself isn’t much to get excited about. When you first get an iPad, it doesn’t even have as much functionality as an iPhone or an iPod Touch.

What makes the iPad so great? The apps! It’s no coincidence that the 10 billionth app was downloaded from the iTunes App Store over the weekend. These apps are the powerhouse of the iPad.

Apps turn the iPad into a(n):

  • Viewer of movies and tv shows => Netflix, Sling Player, Hulu+
  • Ebook reader => Kindle and iBooks
  • News reader => Pulse, Newsy, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today
  • Magazine reader => Zinio, Wired, Time, National Geographic, People
  • Game player => Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Plants vs. Zombies, Scrabble, Monopoly
  • Phone => Skype, Vonage, Fring, TruPhone
  • Word processor => Pages and Evernote
  • GPS (the iPad may be the GPS device with the largest screen)=> Navagon, TomTom,  Garmin and Motion X
  • Photo editor => Adobe Photoshop Express, tinker Photo, Photo Delight
  • Weather forecaster => Weather Bug, The Weather Channel
  • Dictation device => Dragon Dictation and Voice Memo
  • Musical instrument => Pocket Piano HD, Ocarina, Magic Fiddle

The list just keeps growing as new apps are added to the App Store daily.

Many new tablet devices to compete with the iPad were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month and more are expected in 2011. But what makes tablets so useful is the apps they have. With over 300,000 apps in the App Store, 60,000 just for the iPad, the iPad has a huge advantage over any other tablet which may be why iPad now commands over 95% of the market share for tablets.

When the iPad 2 is released soon, the reasons for getting an iPad will only increase. So, think about it, save your pennies, and look forward to the  iPad 2 launch coming soon!

Are you considering getting an iPad? If you have one already, what do you use your iPad for? What are your favorite iPad apps?

*Photo by Michael Surran

Waiting Is the Hardest Part

If you have an interest in tech, or even if you don’t, you might have heard earlier this month that the Apple iPhone will be available through Verizon in February. This is very exciting news to many loyal Verizon customers who want to get an iPhone but also want to stay with Verizon. Some  AT&T customers are also excited about the iPhone coming to Verizon and are planning to switch carriers in the hopes of getting better cell phone service in their area while some other AT&T customers are rooting for lots of people to switch to Verizon to lighten the iPhone load on AT&T’s network.

iPhone 4

As a bit of background, when you sign an agreement for cell phone service with most major US carriers, the contract is for two years and when you sign the contract you are given the opportunity to buy a cell phone at a discount off of the retail price. It’s sort of like you are financing the phone, though that analogy doesn’t really work because at the end of the contract the price of your cell phone service isn’t lowered even though you have paid off the cost of the phone. Also, if you already have a phone, generally you won’t get a discount off of a new plan, so it makes sense to buy a new cell phone when you sign a new contract. For example, the price of an iPhone 4 if you sign a new contract with Verizon will be $199 for the 16gb model and $299 for the 32gb model, much less expensive than the full retail price of $599 for 16gb and $699 for 32gb.

Why You Should Wait

Although it has been a very long wait, I suggest waiting just a little bit longer. “Why?” you may ask. “I’ve been waiting for almost 4 years. This is my dream come true! Why do you want me to give up on my dream?” Well, I don’t want you to give up on your dream, but I am suggesting you to wait until June to fulfill that dream.

First, the iPhone that Verizon will be selling beginning in February is the iPhone 4 which was first sold last June. Each year since the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, Apple has begun selling the new iPhone in the month of June. When a new model is launched, Apple significantly discounts the previous model. So whether you want to have the latest and greatest model of the iPhone or you want to save money on the iPhone 4, June is a much better month to make your switch to the Verizon iPhone.

Kent German of CNET, a major tech website, stated yesterday that he doesn’t think Verizon will be getting an iPhone 5 in June. Link: CNET On Call.  I respectfully disagree because if AT&T were selling the iPhone 5 in June but Verizon were not, Verizon customers would be the equivalent of second class citizens to Apple. Also, Verizon would have a very hard time selling iPhone 4 models after iPhone 5 models were available from AT&T.

Second, no one knows how well Verizon’s network will hold up to a huge number of new iPhone customers. Verizon has said they can handle the added traffic on their network, but only time will tell if this is true.

Third, if you are already an iPhone owner on AT&T, your contract may be up in June, meaning you would not have to pay an early termination penalty to switch to the Verizon iPhone. Make sure you find out when your contract with AT&T is over before switching to Verizon because early termination penalties can be expensive.

Fourth, if you make the switch in June, you will be on the new release schedule aligning with Apple’s consistent record of introducing new iPhones in June. As most cell phone contracts in the US are two years long, you are committing to both the phone and the service for quite a while.

Why You Should Switch in February

“But I just can’t wait,” you reply. “I want a Verizon iPhone and I want it now!” True, maybe you can’t or shouldn’t wait until June. Perhaps your current phone is damaged or lost, or you keep dropping AT&T calls from your boss who is threatening to find someone with a Verizon phone to take your job.  Or maybe you have oodles of money and don’t mind paying full price for the iPhone 5 in June. Maybe you really don’t care about having the latest model of the iPhone as long as you can get your hands on a Verizon iPhone, the sooner the better.

If any or all of those reasons apply to you, then go ahead and get the Verizon iPhone in February. The good news is that iPhones tend to retain their value so if you get a Verizon iPhone in February and then decide you really want the iPhone 5 in June, you could re-sell your Verizon iPhone 4 on eBay or Craig’s List or to a dear friend to help pay for your new toy. Bids for iPhone 4 models on eBay are very close to full retail price, so if you planned to sell your Verizon iPhone 4 in June to help pay for an iPhone 5, chances are you wouldn’t lose all of your money on the deal.

What to Do?

Unless you feel you have to switch to a Verizon iPhone in February, you should try to wait until June. Believe me, I know what it’s like to crave tech, but frequently there are good reasons to wait on a purchase. And this is one of those times.

What are you going to do?  Are you getting the iPhone on Verizon? Are you sticking with AT&T? Are you sticking with the phone you have now and waiting to see what else comes along?  If you decide to go ahead and get your Verizon iPhone in February, please post a comment to let us know how you like it! And check back for my upcoming blog post on the difference between having an iPhone on Verizon versus on  AT&T.

 

As I begin this blog, I plan to write a lot about technology products. I want you as readers to know that I own a small number of shares in Apple, Intel and Cisco directly. I also want readers to know that I am not a fan of Apple products merely because I own stock in Apple. I own stock in Apple because I am a fan of Apple products. Next time you’re in a shopping mall with an Apple store, see if it’s the most crowded store in the mall.  Chances are, it is.

Welcome!

From this...

Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! This blog is designed for tech lovers, tech haters and anyone else who wants or needs to learn about the world of personal technology. I’m starting this blog because of all the amazing and rapid developments in personal technology over the past year. In fact, Stewart Wolpin of the Consumer Electronics Association (the organization that holds the Consumer Electronics Show) says that 2010-2011 will be remembered as the greatest tech years ever. Link:  2010-2011 The Greatest Tech Years Ever

...to this! *

From talking to many friends and family members, I realize that there are quite a few people who feel left behind by the recent advancements in technology.  This blog is designed to sort through the tech world and let you know all about personal technology in plain English. I’ll let you know how tech can improve your life by making it more efficient, knowledgeable and fun! No such thing as a stupid question for this blog, we’re all here to learn.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*Photo by Christian Lo

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