Mobile Update for March 23, 2012

Here are some of the interesting things that happened this week in the mobile industry with my usual witty commentary.

iPad News

Last week’s big story was the release of the new iPad. Now that people have had a chance to play with them, iPad continued to dominate the news.

Apple sells 3 million iPads in opening weekend

First of all – holy cow! Selling 3 million of anything over a three day period is impressive but of a device costing between $499 and $829 is amazing. At $499 each, 3 million units comes to $1.5B.

It took the first iPad 80 days to sell 3 million units, but iPad 3 was available in more markets at launch than earlier models.

See Apple’s press release.

Analysts predict over 60 million iPads to be sold in 2012

TechCrunch is saying analysts are predicting Apple may sell 66 million iPads this year. Combined with the 55 million already sold, that is huge user base. It’s not clear how many of those are in the US though.

iPad runs too hot!

People noticed their iPads were getting warm and suddenly the story that iPads run hot spread… well… like wild fire. Consumer Reports said the device can get up to 116 degrees while playing games but later said in the same article that it was warm, but not uncomforably so. Even the local news carried the story.

The truth is that the new iPad can run about 10 degrees (F) hotter than the iPad 2 when pushed hard (i.e. playing a graphically intensive game for 45 minutes with the iPad plugged in). I’ve felt mine get warm, but certainly not hot.

Apple even comments on the issue by saying the iPad runs to their thermal specs (i.e. Move along, nothing to see here.)

Also see here.

Or maybe it is too cold? Some people are never happy!

The retina display too good?

This NY Times article is kind of interesting. They claim that the razor sharp text on the iPad makes graphics on web pages look awful, particularly those graphics with text in them. They aren’t wrong. Graphics can look noticeably fuzzy next to hires text. Should websites serve up different graphics for the new iPad?

Wifi Issues

This is the only legitimate problem with iPad I have heard about and believe. Many users are complaining that wifi reception on an iPad 3 is worse than an iPad 2 and other wifi devices (laptops, phones, etc.) I have not experienced it myself but it wouldn’t be the first time Apple products have had problems with wifi (ahem iPad 2 ahem MacBook Air ahem) The iPad 2 problem was fixed with a firmware update. Lets hope that this can be fixed with software also.

Pro Tips

And finally a couple of pro tips about caring for your iPad: Don’t drop it and don’t shoot it!

Google considering changing Wallet strategies

Google Wallet has had slow adoption and Google has recently lost two executive within the Wallet division. To help accelerate adoption Google is considering wooing other carriers (AT&T and Verizon) by giving them cut of the action.

My Take: Google is in a tight corner with Wallet. I can’t believe they’re surprised by the “weak uptake” though. The only carrier that endorses Wallet is Sprint and as of today there is only one phone on Sprint that will run Wallet (for the record, that phone is the one year old Nexus S 4G). Sprint promises to have 12 Wallet capable phones in the market this year but that is still a small pool of users to get a mobile payment technology to reach critical mass.

Trying to AT&T and Verizon on board will be a hard sell since each is invested in the Isis payment system. Isis has been showing off its product at SXSW and plans to be doing field tests soon with the goal to be in production by end of the year.

See Bloomberg and Ars Technica.

iPads mostly access the Internet through Wifi

Localytics just posted a report about how much iPads access the Internet via wifi and cellular. Overall they claim that 94% of Internet sessions on an iPad take place over Wifi and only 6% on cellular. This aligns with data reported by comScore. From this analysts conclude that iPads are used mostly at home for couch surfing.

Yet, Localytics also claim that for 3G and 4G enabled iPads the wifi/cellular split is closer to 50/50. From this the conclusion are:

1) The vast majority of iPads are wifi only. This contradicts a UBS analyst’s prediction that 50% of new iPads will be 4G enabled.

2) People who buy 3G/4G enabled iPads do use them on the go where wifi is not available.

(BTW, Take Localytics 4G numbers with a grain of salt – 4G iPads have only been in the market for one week.)

Ad supported apps use more battery power

You think those “free” apps aren’t costing you anything? Think again. They’re costing battery life! The claim is that to display location relevant ads, the software frequently uses GPS to get your location and the network to get the ads, both of which are power intensive operations. This additional work can noticeably affect battery life. So, pony up the $0.99 for that game and save some battery!

See AppAdvice Fierce Developer, and the Verge.

And that’s the news! Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow…

About Lee J.

Mobile Guy!
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