Archive for January, 2010

Apple’s New Tablet – the iPad

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Apple iPad

This morning Apple officially released the much-rumoured Tablet they have been working on called the "iPad".

Some specific details:

  • 9.7 inch IPS Display
  • 1024 x 768 resolution at 132 ppi
  • 1.5 pounds
  • 1/2 inch thin
  • Onscreen Virtual Keyboard
  • Custom Apple 1Ghz CPU – the "A4"
  • Comes in 3 sizes: 16Gb, 32Gb, 64Gb
  • WiFi / Bluetooth
  • Optional 3G
  • Assisted GPS on 3G models
  • Appcelerometer / Compass
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 30 days standby
  • Case that doubles as a stand (optional extra)
  • External keyboard dock (optional extra)

The iPad runs all existing iPhone Apps in 2 modes – actual size in center of screen, or full screen using pixel doubling. Developers can also officially support the iPad display natively by developing apps using the new iPhone SDK which will be released later today.

Apple is now moving into the e-book space as predicted. You will be able to purchase "iBooks" via iTunes and read them on the iPad. Apple has made deals with several major book and magazine publishers. Can they do for electronic books and magazines what the iPod and iTunes did for music? Time will tell.

Apple is also releasing a completely new version of iWorks (Keynote, Pages, Numbers), with iPad versions at USD $9.99 each app to be purchased via the App Store.

Initial pricing in USD is $499: 16GB/WiFi, $599: 32GB/WiFi, $699: 64GB/WiFi. Add $130 for 3G.

Apple is expecting the iPads to be available for purchase in 2 months, and 3 months for the 3G models.

You can view a YouTube video of the iPad launch here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEiUlf9BAYU

Update: You can now view full details of the iPad on the Apple website.

moneyStrands – Another Free Budgeting Tool

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

moneyStrandsI just recently wrote a detailed review of online budgeting software targeted at New Zealanders. And this morning I discovered moneyStrands.

I have not had a chance to play with this much in detail as yet but I have been impressed with every single part of my exposure to this tool so far. The website is fantastic, the software looks intuitive, and the features look very impressive. Comprehensive budgeting, alerts, and reports. Compare your budgets and spending behaviour to the wider community. Budgeting and spending recommendations targeted to you based on your activity history. So new things in here not found in any of the software I have reviewed in the past.

And yes it does offer automatic bank feeds for ANZ, Westpac, ASB, TSB – and maybe others.

Oh wait – and there is a native iPhone app for moneyStrands that at first glance is one of the nicest looking iPhone apps I have seen.

Looks like Mint.com for New Zealand may have arrived. In fact one reviewer said:

When put head to head with its competitor, mint.com, we believe that moneyStrands is a more complete personal finance app and much more user-friendly.

Stay tuned for a more detailed review in the future – I am off to have a play…

UPDATE: I have now spent some time in moneyStrands. It is a nice start, but a few key features are missing such as recurring budget items, being able to see upcoming bill payments, and any type of forecasting. It is basically a ASB "Track My Spending" on steroids. If you want to be able to categorise your spending and compare your budget to a wider community then moneyStrands is for you. If you need more functionality (as I do) then you should be looking at tools such as Buxfer, PocketSmith and others that I reviewed in my last post.