Apple’s October Event: The good, the bad, and the boring.

Apple’s October Event: The good, the bad, and the boring.

Make no mistake: I don’t hate Apple. I’ve admired their sense of style, simplicity, and ability to “just work”. But the most recent Apple Event, the one that occurred just last Tuesday, honestly could’ve been better. So, before I start sounding like an Apple hater, let’s go through the good, the bad, and the boring of the most recent Apple Event.

The good:

  • The new iPad, known as the iPad Air, brings a thinner and lighter design, while still keeping the battery life, screen resolution, and even better performance than the iPad 4, or new iPad, which is now the old iPad, or…you get the idea. The smaller bezels would bring lots of screen room, and the new 64-bit A7 chip could mean more powerful apps for the iPad in the future.

  • The new iPad Mini, the iPad Mini with a Retina Display (creative name, huh?), brings an amazingly sharp 2048×1536 screen resolution, along with the A7 Processor. It also brings Apple’s premium design style along with it.

  • The new Mac Pro, barrels through with powerful hardware: an Intel Xeon E5 processor, which can bring up to 12 cores of computing power, 12-64 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, dual AMD FirePro GPUs, and PCIe-based flash storage. It packs all of this into a 9.9” tall body with a 6.6” diameter, and yes, I said diameter, because this thing is cylindrical. New, huh?

  • The new MacBook Pro features Intel’s new Haswell chip, which means improved battery life. It’s also thinner and lighter than the original.

  • OS X Maverix is available as a free upgrade, supporting versions as far back as Snow Leopard. It brings new features such as a tabbed file manager, and the ability to reply to an iMessage when you get the notification.

The bad:

  • The iPad Air does not bring the TouchID which is in the iPhone 5S. They probably left it out because the difficulty it takes to produce that sensor could be an issue, but otherwise, why leave it out?

  • The iPad Mini with a Retina Display costs $399: that’s as much as the iPad 2, which Apple is still selling. But $399?! There are 2 things I’ve always liked about 7” tablets: their price and size. The new iPad Mini defies these pros by being sized at 7.9” and costing $399. I know Apple’s supposed to be the BMW of consumer electronics: I understand. But when compared to the ASUS Nexus 7, which only costs $229 dollars, it seems like Apple’s going to go through the whole Mac thing again, when their products are great, but ignored for their price tag.

The boring:

  • Other than the new processor, the new MacBook Pro barely has any new features to talk about.

  • The iPad Air is like most product upgrades in general: thinner and lighter with upgraded components. There’s a lack of new features. But then again, most people don’t buy the iPad for its features, right?

Of course, all these products aren’t for everyone. The new Mac Pro’s specs are absolutely overkill for the average consumer, and it starts at $2999 anyways, so I can’t see the average consumer buying it anyways. But graphics designers will definitely drool over this powerful workstation, since it can support up to three 4K displays.

That iPad Air isn’t for everyone, either. If you own the old iPad with a Retina Display, the iPad Air gives you little reason to upgrade. The new form factor will require a new case, the thinner and lighter design may be better, but it isn’t worth giving up on your old tablet.

If you’re one of those people that wants a compact tablet, this iPad Mini is a maybe. When it comes to upgrading, it isn’t worth it. I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference between the old Mini’s display and the Retina Display unless you put them side by side, which you probably won’t. That 7.9” screen makes it a little harder to hold in one hand, so if you want a glorified eReader, the cheaper Nexus 7 will do you more good.

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Ubuntu 13.10: Great, but could use some polishing

Ubuntu 13.10 “Saucy Salamander” Review

It seems to be the month of new upgrades: Windows 8.1 was recently released, as was Ubuntu 13.10, with OS X Maverix and Android Kit-Kat soon to be released. With all of these wonderful new systems, I decided to take the liberty to try the ones I could. So here it is, my review of Ubuntu 13.10.

Out of the box differences

Ubuntu 13.10, the update to a pretty great Linux distro.

Ubuntu 13.10, the update to a pretty great Linux distro.

The new features in Ubuntu 13.10 are fairly minimal. The Mir window server was delayed, but the long-awaited “Smart Scopes” feature has arrived.

So, how are Smart Scopes?

Smart Scopes in all its resourceful glory.

Smart Scopes in all its resourceful glory.

Smart Scopes is 13.10’s best and worst feature. The good thing is, you can search people, products, pictures, from many, MANY different sources all from your home lens. If you need to find out the age of a certain actor, the latitude and longitude of a city, or an animal’s biome, the new Smart Scopes feature makes it easy.

This feature is great for bloggers (like me) and students that need a quick fact or two, as well as a source to trace that back to. You can also use it to hunt images, posts, and people on social networks like Flickr and Facebook. Among some of the other sources are eBay, Amazon, SoundCloud, Picassa, Reddit, and deviantART.

But the issue with Smart Scopes is when I’m not searching the internet. Looking up a file on the computer brings headaches with all the usually unrelated sources from all sorts of websites…it seriously ruins the Dash experience. I wouldn’t count out Smart Scopes yet, though. It’s worth putting up with the headaches and praying for Canonical to improve it. (EDIT: You can turn off Smart Scopes, which I realized a little late.)

What else is new?

13.10 offers great new wallpaper options.

13.10 offers great new wallpaper options.

There are a lot more desktop wallpaper choices, and maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed some MAJOR speed improvements with Ubuntu 13.10 as opposed to other versions of Ubuntu. Shutdown works in the blink of an eye, boot only takes seconds. But there’s always that occasional “Ubuntu experienced an internal error.” that comes up. Otherwise, there are no new features that I can find.

What about apps?

Steam needs to update for 13.10 (bad news, gamers).

Steam needs to update for 13.10 (bad news, gamers).

As far as I know, don’t expect to run Steam on Ubuntu yet. Right now, Steam is unavailable, so if you’re one of those rare Linux gamers, you should holdup on the update until Steam is updated for 13.10.

Is it a worthy upgrade?

It’s a good upgrade, but it’s one that’s okay to skip. There are few new features, and the Smart Scopes is still in its infancy. But before you go and download the ISO image, realize that it doesn’t hurt to wait. Look at it this way: by 14.04, Scopes will be refined, there will be even more performance, and hey, I think it’ll have Mir.

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Welcome to TimTalk

Hello! Welcome to TimTalk! I am new to blogging, so if I don’t do anything right make sure to tell me in a comment! In TimTalk blog, I write about consumer electronics from Google, Microsoft, Apple, and more! I will make a new post every week: If you have any suggestions or requests, leave them in a comment below or email me at I hope you enjoy my blog!

-Timothy Linux