iPad Mini – Finally Arriving

After an incredibly long wait, it’s finally going to be here. 

Tracking the iPad Mini

I’m not going to do unboxing videos. There are tons of people doing that. Let’s just talk about why I bought the iPad Mini. First of all, I do not own the latest iPad. While I have been using the iPhone from 3GS up to the current iPhone 5, I have only gotten the first generation iPad. And it’s without cellular, so the use is restricted mainly to home. 

The iPad is a great device. It’s a nice fit between the PC and the smart phones. Nevertheless, I always thought the iPad is too big to bring around. That’s why I stopped at the 1st Generation iPad. I would rather use my phone than to carry the huge, bulky iPad wherever I go.

When the Google Nexus 7 was launched, I thought it was the perfect fit. The size is perfect for bringing around. Not too bulky, not too heavy and has reasonable real estate on the screen. Was close to getting one. 2 reasons why I didn’t get it. Firstly, it runs Android. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nothing against Android but most of my apps are on iOS. Secondly, the cellular version is not available in Singapore. And even up to today, it’s still not available.

Now, here comes the iPad Mini. Slightly bigger than the Nexus 7. Less plasticky feel. (I must stress that this is a personal preference.). Runs iOS. Didn’t take me too long to decide to get one. And I got the cellular version. Well, some people might say, Apple fanboys, surely the decision is irrational. Well, partly I must admit, but I would say it’s only 10% of the whole decision process. The main thing is I needed something small enough to bring around, but yet more comfortable to read on compared to my iPhone. 

Now eagerly anticipating the delivery. :)

TomTom Maps and iOS 6 Maps Are Not In Sync

Everyone should know by now that Apple has ditched Google for their map application. TomTom is now the map provider instead.

Data Provided By TomTom

I have a colleague who uses TomTom and swears by the accuracy and up-to-date maps. There’s a certain road near our office that he takes for reference to determine if the maps are actually current. Take a look at the images below.

The first image is an updated TomTom map. 

Up To Date TomTom Map

Now look at the second image taken from iOS 6.

Outdate iOS 6 Map

See the difference? In the TomTom map, Tai Seng Avenue is joined to Kim Chuan. And the road has been joined for more than 1 year. The segment that joins the 2 road is missing. In fact, there are 2 other roads missing if you compare the 2 screenshots.

For interest sake, the next map is from the original Google map.

Outdate Google Map

The map is outdated as well. Kim Chuan Road and Tai Seng Avenue is still not linked, but it has Tai Seng Link and Tai Seng Street, the 2 roads that are missing from the iOS 6 maps. Uh oh?! Even Google Maps is more current here. What’s going on?

We do not know what’s the arrangement between TomTom and Apple and whether TomTom is obligated to provide the most updated map. And to be fair, iOS 6 is still in beta. Let’s give it some time. Hopefully when the official iOS 6 is out, the Apple Maps are updated.

When Is iMessage Coming To OS X?

iMessage has been out for a couple of weeks. It’s transparent, so I don’t really seeing any real impact yet. Don’t get me wrong. I know my SMS quota will intact by the end of the month.

Now, the next thing that I’m anticipating is iMessage coming to OS X. iMessage is instant messaging. It should and has to be on the desktop.

The Implications Of Siri

I was reading an article in the papers today about Google saying Siri is competition to their search business. This is something that many people have been talking about, i.e. Siri changing the paradigm for internet search etc.

In my opinion however, what Siri really threatens is Google’s advertising business.

For those unfamiliar with Google’s advertising business, Google basically has 2 products, namely Adsense and Adwords. In Adwords, advertisers bid for keywords and air their advertisement on websites that displays Google Adsense. Google decides what advertisement to display based on user’s history, keywords on that user search etc. One problem with this model is that users are searching for contents and information, not the advertisements.

In Siri however, the search is very specific. If I tell Siri I want to get a pair of shoes, Apple can throw very specific advertisements to me. The conversion rate and effectiveness of the advertisement is significantly higher because Google Adsense is very passive compared to Siri. The advertising experience become personal rather than guesswork in Google’s case.

Apple has not done targeted advertisements yet in Siri’s search results, but I think they would do so soon as Siri matures more over the next few months. When this comes, Google’s going to be in an awkward position since their main revenue source is from advertisement. Bear in mind that Facebook has already splitted a portion of the pie, so Google is going to lose more should Apple grow the advertising business.

Why iOS And Not Android?

Android Orphans

A friend posted this article on my Facebook wall.


This article talks about how the various generations of Android phones are left behind while newer phones get the latest Android.

I don’t to leave this open-ended and have people think that I’m an Apple fanboy. I’m a Linux admin and I have been using Linux on my office laptop for a very long time. So why iPhone and not Android phones?

Upgrade Woes

I have never owned an Android phone. The number 1 reason is that I dislike the customizations that the individual phone makers do to the OS. The implication is that certain models will be left behind in the upgrade process. We have been this in the Windows PDA phones in the past. Because of the difference in hardware, there’s tremendous effort for the phone makers to ensure that every single model runs the most current OS. So the easy way out is to leave them behind. I forecasted this since the very first version of Android and I have been proven right all these while.

Android vs iOS

So came the Nexus One. Google supported, plain vanilla Android. I was actually contemplating getting that but I chose the iPhone 3GS. Why? My choice was very much affected by my experience on the Mac.

While I still use Linux on my office laptop, I find myself doing most of my work on my Mac. I bought my first Macbook in 2007 and after using OS X, the impression was: It just works! No tinkering. No fiddling. I don’t getting into the situation where I need to solve the machine problem even before I get down to doing work. It’s a lot of time wasted.

Similarly on the iOS, a lot of things just work out of the box. One example was configuring of L2TP over IPSEC VPN on the iPhone. It takes less than 2 mins to get the iPhone setup and connected. 3 steps to get to the configuration screen, enter configuration details and we are done. My colleague tried it on their Android phone. The first phone took us close to 10 mins to figure out how to configure the connection. He later gave up his Samsung Galaxy for a new iPhone  4.

Now Google has announced that the Nexus One is not getting the latest OS. To fair, I haven’t read the details and I’m not sure what’s the rationale. But if you look at the chart, even the iPhone 3GS gets iOS 5. While some features are not available, the major key enhancement are made available to the 3GS user. They are not left behind.

I was thinking of getting the Nexus Galaxy actually after looking at the features of Android 4, but it looks like my next phone will still be a Apple phone after all.

Internet Recovery For Lion On 2007 Macbook

My Old Macbook

My 2007 Macbook has been sitting idling since I got my new Macbook Pro in September. The old Macbook has a 500GB hard disk and tons of junk inside, so I have been waiting for reinstall OS X from scratch.

Apple has this Internet Recovery feature now with Lion, where we can install Lion from scratch without the use of a DVD like the older OS X versions. Since the intention is to clean up the hard disk in my Macbook, I decided to have a go at Internet Recovery.

The Recovery

To start the recovery, press Command+R and boot up the system. The system will come to a screen with a few options to choose from.

Recovery Options

My hard disk contains at existing OS, so I have to go to “Disk Utility” to erase the target partition. If it’s a new disk, just go direct to “Reinstall OS X Lion”.

The recovery procedure will connect to Apple and verify the validity of the machine. Apple ID is required, so I think the procedure validates if a purchase been made from the App Store. So, for those who did not get a copy of Lion from the App Store, I suspect the recovery will fail or you might be prompted to purchase Lion on the spot from the App Store. By the way, the recovery can be done over WiFi.

The recovery downloads the packages from the internet, so the internet connectivity is important. I’m subscribed to the the M1 Fibre Broadband at home, so I’m downloading at about 35Mbit/s. The package is 3.79Gb, so the download takes about 30mins.

Reinstalling Lion

Installer Log

Once the download is complete, my Macbook reboots and starts installing the OS. This takes another 20mins or so.

The Result

After 1 hour, I have a spanking clean OS X Lion on my 2007 Macbook. Thumbs up for Apple!

The Apple Customer Service Experience

I’ll just like to share my 2 recent experiences with Apple’s Service Centre and why they have convinced me to continue using Apple products.

Like many people, I own a couple of Apple devices, from my first Macbook, to my iPhone and iPad. In general, the products have not given me much problems. In August last year, my Magsafe adapter decided to quit on me, after about 2 plus years of very rigorous usage. I bought another adapter from the Apple Store which unfortunately broke down after a couple of months. There’s this Authorized Service Centre near my office so I popped by and checked if they could repair the adapter.

At the Service Centre, the staff went through the usual procedure to check etc. I was expecting them to take in my adapter for repair then. The folks there checked the serial number from the adapter (yes the adapter has a serial ) and managed to verify from their system that the adapter was less than a year old. So, what did they do? They gave me a brand new adapter on the spot. No questions asked. I was impressed.

Just yesterday, I went back to the same service centre to send in my iPad. The iPad screen was not sensitive at times and it would hang intermittently. I was trying hard to replicate the problem before going up to the service centre, but it just wouldn’t hang when I wanted it to do so so badly. The staff again, went through the usual checks for cosmetic damages and took in the iPad. They explained to me that they did not keep spares there and they had to send the iPad to the HQ at Ang Mo Kio for diagnostic. They also told me to expect 3-5 days for troubleshooting and processing.

This afternoon, I got an SMS from Apple. My iPad was ready for collection. Impressive right? 24 hours and they got everything sorted out. No haggling with me on repairs, no holding on to my iPad for weeks. They simply replaced my set. It’s clearly a refurbished set, but there’s no cosmetic damages. From what I understand refurbished units get new batteries.

Frankly speaking, after years of buying gadgets, I have yet to come across such painless experiences with Service Centres. I’m sure many will agree with me. Next Apple product, Macbook Pro. :)

The Service Centre I went to is:


138 Joo Seng Road

#04-03 Trivec House

Singapore 368361

Tel: +65 6295 3998

Fax: +65 6487 3179