Early predictions for the iPhone 5 were nothing short of miraculous, with some analysts going on record with a sales target of 10 million units sold in the first 30 days. Others went so far as to suggest the mighty iPhone would contribute a whopping 0.5% to the entire U.S. GDP. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a phone here, an expensive one at that, and thus not a necessity for anyone. I agreed that there was pent-up demand for Apple’s latest device, but these numbers seemed liked hype and not reality.
But I’m beginning to think the bulls were right.
TechCrunch is reporting that today, as pre-orders for the iPhone began at midnight, the demand for the iPhone 5 obliterated the previous sales records set by the iPhone 4 and 4S. Unlike the older models which took 20 and 22 hours respectively to sell-out of Apple’s first week stock, the iPhone 5 hit this milestone after 60 minutes.
Now, we need to be somewhat circumspect with our amazement, after all, only Apple knows the true number of units this represents. It’s quite conceivable that they simply had fewer units available for the September 21st launch date than with their previous models. And yet, there’s no question, despite lacking a single big “wow” factor feature, the iPhone 5 is likely going to be the most popular iPhone yet.
Update, September 17: Looks like the early reports of sell-outs weren’t just the result of low-inventory. Apple says that the iPhone 5 shattered the previous first day-sales record for an iPhone – the company sold more than 2 million units in the first 24 hours. That’s nearly double the amount of iPhone 4S units sold in the same period post-launch.
If you’re a Canadian looking to hop on the iPhone bandwagon, we’ve got good news: The $199 starting price quoted by Apple at their launch event on Wednesday is the U.S. contract price. Here in Canada, with our longer 3-year terms, the starting price is a little lower: $179 for a three-year term with all of the major carriers.
The first Canadian location for the high-end European design marque that takes its pedigree from the legendary sports car manufacturer, will open in Toronto on June 14th.
Beyond giving Bloor Street shoppers access to an exclusive collection of sunglasses, footwear and even tobacco pipes (people still smoke these things??) Porsche Design will be the only place in Canada where you can pick up the most expensive BlackBerry ever created: the somewhat blandly-named P’9981.
If this sounds familiar it’s because RIM actually debuted the angular smartphone months ago to a much more discerning crowd in Dubai.
At the time, I was irked by the Canadian company’s decision to ignore its home town (loosely speaking) instead choosing to go half way around the world to introduce their new gadget. But in hindsight, maybe it was the right decision. Given that the Porsche Design P’9981 retails for a cool
$2,000 $1,800 you can’t blame RIM for wanting to test the product with a group of people who think nothing of spending that kind of cash (and more) on a single night in a hotel.
I’m no more convinced that RIM can justify the price on the P’9981 now than I was then, but it seems like now is an especially bad time for the company to be putting the focus on a high-end BlackBerry when clearly, a much different strategy is needed.
But hey, if you have an extra two grand lying around, and you’re in Toronto on June 14th, why not drop by 77 Bloor St. West – it will be the one place you can pick up the BlackBerry that is a guaranteed collector’s item: It will either be the last model before the company springs back from one of the worst chapters in tech history, or it will be a flashy reminder of the company that once had the tech world by the horns.
If you haven’t already checked out a friend or family member’s Kindle, and have harboured an intense curiosity about how the e-reader from Amazon feels in your hand, or how its screen handles the display of text, today’s your lucky day.
That’s because The Source is the first retailer in Canada to stock the Kindle and odds are, you live within a few minutes of a Source location (they have over 700 locations across the country). You’ll find the Kindle at most locations except those in Quebec.
While you’re there, be sure to get a sales associate to pull out one the other e-readers the Source carries – say the Sony PRS650, or the Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro, so you can compare them to the Kindle. The Sony and the Aluratek are great products, but I have a feeling that once you get your hands on a Kindle, you won’t want to put it down.
The Kindle’s pearl e-ink screen is easy on the eyes, and actually gets easier to read the brighter your environment which makes it the perfect outdoor companion this summer. Tablets are great and they can do so much – same with smart phones – but they have yet to create a tablet screen that handles sunlight as well as e-Ink.
I’m also a big fan of Amazon’s online bookstore and they way they’ve integrated it right into the Kindle. As soon as you’ve finished reading one book, you can immediately receive recommendations and have your next title sent to your device within minutes. It’s incredibly easy.
If there’s any downside to the Kindle, it’s the current lack of compatibility with lending libraries, at least in Canada. In the U.S., Amazon has a solution they are rolling out to enable library lending and with any luck, it won’t be long before that solution comes up here.
Pricing is $159 for the Wi-Fi only model and $209.99 for the Wi-Fi+3G model – which includes free 3G access for downloading books, magazines etc, in hundreds of countries. Interestingly, unlike the vast majority of the The Source’s product selection, the Kindle is only for sale in-store, not online.
If you’re still hunting around for that perfect Father’s Day gift, I highly recommend the Kindle. If, however, you can wait a little longer, the rumour mill is heavily favouring a price drop on the Kindle before the holidays.
Full Disclosure: Sync is owned and operated by Bell Canada which also owns The Source
It always amazes me how long media-related changes take to get full regulatory approval here in Canada. It took a year for iTunes to open here after its launch in the U.S., it took nearly three years for Slacker Radio to open its doors here and other ventures such as Pandora and Spotify are still waiting in the wings with no indication as to when (if ever) they will be able to operate here legally.
Today however, we can finally check one more change off the list: XM and Sirius have been cleared for their merger by the CRTC. The new entity, “Sirius|XM Canada,” will become official in June as long as they meet all of the conditions of the merger.
Here’s the full press release for your reading pleasure:
XM Canada and Sirius Canada Receive CRTC Approval to Merge
Merger on track to close by June 2011
Toronto, Ontario, April 11, 2011 – Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (“CSR” or the “Company”), parent company of XM Canada (TSX: XSR), along with SIRIUS Canada Inc., welcome today’s Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruling which includes authorization of the transaction that will result in the merger of Canada’s two satellite radio businesses, XM Canada and SIRIUS Canada (the “Merger”).
“This decision will lead to the creation of a stronger combined organization, better equipped to innovate and compete in the broader audio entertainment marketplace,” said Mark Redmond, President & CEO of both SIRIUS Canada and the merged entity. “We are pleased that the CRTC recognized the clear benefits derived from this merger. This is an exciting time for SIRIUS|XM Canada, and we look forward to continuing to offer a world-class entertainment experience for our current and future subscribers.”
“Today’s decision is great news for our subscribers, shareholders, employees and partners, keeping us on track for completing this transaction by June,” said John Bitove, Executive Chairman of CSR. “SIRIUS|XM Canada will now have more than 1.8 million subscribers in Canada, and this merger will create long-term shareholder value.”
In November 2010, SIRIUS Canada and CSR agreed to merge in order to create a stronger platform for future innovation within the Canadian audio entertainment industry. The combined company will leverage key content and programming relationships and distribution agreements with every major automaker and retailers nationwide. Subscribers will continue to enjoy a broad spectrum of commercial-free music channels, plus exclusive sports, talk and news content featuring today’s biggest names in audio entertainment.
At the CSR (XM Canada) annual general meeting held in Toronto on February 17, 2011, shareholders unanimously approved the Merger recognizing that the merger would enhance the long-term success of satellite radio in Canada.
On February 23, 2011, the Competition Bureau issued to the Company a No-Action Letter under the Competition Act, and announced that it did not intend to make an application to the Competition Tribunal to challenge the proposed merger with Sirius Canada Inc. under the merger provisions of the Competition Act, recognizing that the proposed transaction would not likely give rise to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.
The approximate ownership interest in CSR following closing of the transaction will be as follows, the balance being widely held:
· CSRI Inc., 30.0% voting interest
· CBC/Radio-Canada 20.2% voting interest
· Slaight Communications, 20.2% voting interest
· Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) 25.0% voting interest
The Merger remains subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions and is scheduled to close by June 2011.
It’s almost tragic. The iPad 2 has proven yet again that Apple’s “magical” device is still magical – at least as far as sales are concerned. The line ups for the latest Apple tablet in the U.S. have been unprecedented, and perhaps predictably, have led to shortages across the country and online where wait times are now pegged at 4-5 weeks.
And while many who have shown up at their local Apple store have been turned away disappointed and empty-handed, it has now come to light that still others who successfully acquired the much sought-after device are also disappointed – but for a very different reason.
Apple’s online support forums are slowly filling with complaints from iPad 2 buyers regarding a backlight leak problem.
Light leakage is a problem that can happen with any back-lit device. It occurs when the glass of the screen isn’t completely adhered to the chassis of the device – often a result of uneven or inadequate adhesive during the manufacturing process.
When this happens, blotchy pale areas can appear on the edges of the screen. Typically, it’s only noticeable when the screen is trying to show very dark background colours – effectively “blocking” the backlight. But because light is managing to escape around the edges, it becomes visible as a localized “halo” effect.
A lot of people might never notice the problem. Some that do might not be bothered by it. But if you are the kind that notice it and dislike it, it can be a huge frustration – especially if you just spent 24 hours in line to drop $499 USD on a new gadget.
Now I have no doubt whatsoever that Apple will do the right thing for these customers and replace the defective units. But given the supply problems in the U.S., it’s hard to say when that replacement will come.
My advice to you if you are determined to be first in line for Friday’s Canadian launch of the iPad 2, is to ask your sales associate to let you open the box and turn the device on before leaving the store. Given the insane crowds the stores will be faced with, this won’t be a popular request. But the good news is that you should be able to tell if your unit has the problem almost immediately.
The start-up screen on i-devices is black, with the silver Apple logo in the middle. The start-up sequence takes about 15 seconds. During that time take a good look around the edges of the screen. Even in the bright store lights, you should be able to detect a bad leak as a slightly pale area on the otherwise dark screen, near the edge.
Good luck, and happy shopping!
The device that won best of show for this year’s CES, is finally destined for Canada, at least in Wi-Fi flavour.
According to a Motorola press release sent out today, the Android Honeycomb-powered tablet will be in retail “beginning April 2011.” If that wasn’t vague enough, there was no pricing info included either.
Beyond just a repeat of the specs for the Xoom, which most people are probably familiar with by now, the only new info that was offered was a list of the accessories that will be available at launch:
- Standard Dock for watching videos on the Xoom while you listen through external speakers
- A Speaker HD Dock “for sending HD content directly to a TV or clearly listening to music through two built-in speakers”
- A Bluetooth keyboard with Android-specific shortcut keys
And – you guessed it – no pricing on these items either.
So stay tuned. Oh BTW, the 3G version is coming “mid-year”.
Update 2:54 p.m.: Okay looks like we have a price by way of a TELUS press release… $599. Interestingly, nowhere do they say that they have an exclusive on the Xoom, so hopefully more retailers will join the fray before the April launch.
Update Mar 22: You can pre-order the Xoom on FutureShop or BestBuy, both sites selling for $599 for the 32GB version. For some reason Motorola hasn’t seen fit to offer a 16GB version to match the 16GB iPad 2, though some rumours suggest this may yet change.
We don’t have much on this, so it could all turn out to be horribly wrong, but if Will Robertson is right, it looks like Sears Canada will begin taking pre-orders for the BlackBerry PlayBook tomorrow, with shipping to follow on April 10th. As unusual as it seems for Sears of all places to be getting the jump on a hot gadget like the PlayBook, Robertson appears to have received an affiliate program email from them claiming that they will have it and that he should let his readers know.
Sadly, there’s no pricing attached to that email. I guess we’ll just have to wait.
So if you’ve already decided that the iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom hold no interest for you and the PlayBook is the tablet to have, it may be worthwhile to check out Sears.ca when you wake up tomorrow.
Update, Mar 12: Looks like it was horribly wrong after all. No sign of a pre-order on Sears.ca and Will Robertson’s original post has been updated to say “date is unconfirmed, hope it comes out soon, I can’t wait to get one.” That’s because Sears slipped up and sent that first email by mistake. Check out their back-peddle:
***Playbook Correction Notice ***
Please note that the information about the Playbook launch dates is incorrect. While Sears Canada will be selling the Playbook, the date that pre-ordering starts and the date that the Playbook will be available for sale are not yet confirmed.
Please remove any reference to the Playbook date immediately as they are not endorsed by Sears Canada
We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to sharing Playbook order dates as they become available.
And in case you missed it, here’s our tablet round-up… er, minus the iPad 2…
Last year, Google broke new ground in the mobile space when they announced the “Google phone” which was to become known as the Nexus 1. HTC built the handset but Google took the unusual step of marketing it directly to consumers from their own e-commerce website.
And while this “selling direct” model didn’t last long (Google eventually stopped selling this way and partnered with Best Buy in the U.S. to sell the phone) the Google phone itself has continued to evolve.
And while Canada missed out on the first version The latest iteration is the Nexus S. This time around it’s built by Samsung (that’s the ‘S’ part of the name) and if you’ve ever used Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone, you’ll feel right at home with the Nexus S. The two phones share much in common, including the dazzling Super AMOLED screen, which is incredibly vivid. But there are some significant differences too. The Nexus S has a slightly curved screen – curved from top to bottom, not side to side. Samsung claims this not only makes the phone more comfortable to hold as it matches the contour of your head and hand, but also helps to improve visibility by better handling reflections off the glossy surface of the screen.
The other big difference is that while the handset itself is 100% Samsung, the OS is 100% Google. Unlike other Samsung phones running Android and in fact unlike *any* other Android phone from other manufacturers, the Nexus S has no 3rd party software on it whatsoever. No TouchWiz or other manufacturer layer on top of Android, no third party app store like Samsung Apps, and no carrier apps (such as carrier-specific GPS apps) pre-loaded.
The whole user interface is unadulterated Android Gingerbread. Now, depending on your experiences with other Android devices this may or may not be a good thing. If you’ve come to enjoy the extras that TouchWiz or HTC Sense bring to Android, you won’t find them on the Nexus S. One of the biggest downsides to this in my opinion is the lack of the superb “Swype” application that gives users a whole new (and I think far more efficient) way of inputting text from the on-screen keyboard.
On the upside – and many folks will be delighted with this – there is no longer an middle man between you and upgrades to your mobile OS from Google. As soon as Google releases an update for Android, it will be available to Nexus S users.
This positions the Nexus S as the ultimate smartphone for those who simply must have the latest upgrades and can’t stand the idea of waiting while the manufacturer figures out all of the compatibility issues with their proprietary software. When you hear people refer to the Nexus as a “Google phone” – that’s why. The hardware might be Samsung, but everything else is Google.
Interestingly, both carriers and Samsung will provide first-line tech support for the Nexus S, only handing off to Google if they can’t resolve the problem themselves.
Speaking of carriers, the Nexus S represents the first time a new handset will launch simultaneously on every provider in Canada. And I mean *every* carrier. In addition to the big three (Bell, TELUS, Rogers) there will be a version for WIND and Mobilicity too and Videotron in Quebec. This is unusual if only because most manufacturers release their GSM (or EVDO) versions first, and then only after an initial exclusivity period move on to the AWS version – that is if they do one at all.
I know you’re probably itching for a firm launch date and price point but Samsung wasn’t offering either up when I met with them today. All they would say is “early April.”
They did mention that in addition to the usual batch of carrier store locations, there would be a big retail partner too. Your guess is as good as mine.
I’ve got a demo unit in my hands as I write this, so you can expect a full review as soon as I’ve put the device through its paces. In the meantime, here are some images to keep you entertained as well as this link to Engadget’s review of the U.S. Nexus S.
Remember we also mentioned it would be a Bell Mobility exclusive when it finally came to Canada?
Well we finally have a confirmed launch date: March 17.
If you’re curious how folks in the U.S. have reacted to the ATRIX, here are some good reviews we’ve rounded up:
Engadget: They give it a 9/10… that’s quite a statement. “this device more than holds its own against the the best of the best on the market right now”
CNET: 4 out of 5 stars “earns its place at the top of AT&T’s Android lineup”
BoyGeniusReport (BGR): “The device is so powerful that it can power a laptop with full Firefox browser, and spit out 1080p video like it’s nothing”
We’ll be getting our own review model shortly and should be able to pass along our impressions in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s what we can tell you about the Canadian debut:
- $169.95 on a 3-year contract with a minimum $50 voice/data plan or
- $599.95 no-contract price
The ATRIX of course is compatible with two unique accessories: the Lapdock, which effectively turns the ATRIX into a full-fledged netbook equivalent, and the HD Multimedia Dock which lets you turn the ATRIX into a media hub for your living room. Unfortunately Bell remains mum on the pricing for these accessories at launch, but it’s a fair bet they’ll be priced in-line with the U.S. market which currently has the Lapdock at $500 and the HD dock at $99 USD, but as is the case in the U.S., there might be bundle deals here too.
Onboard the ATRIX, you’ll find:
- A dual-core processor
- qHD display – 540×960 resolution in a 4” screen
- 1GB of RAM
- Android 2.2
- Front- and rear-facing cameras for video chat and the ability to record and output in HD
- Biometric fingerprint reader for unlocking your phone and extra security
- 1930 mAh battery
- the ability to locate, wipe and restore data if the device is lost or stolen
- Up to 48GB of storage (16GB internal and optional 32GB MicroSD card)
- Download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps and Mobile Hotspot service for connecting up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices
- preloaded apps: Bell Remote PVR, GPS Navigator and Kobo eReader
Another interesting fact for those of you who have been following the U.S. mobile scene and wondered what all the fuss around “4G” was: Turns out, the ITU which is the governing body for mobile telecommunication standards, decided late last year that networks which had been calling themselves “3G or 3.5G” – such as the Bell/TELUS HSPA+ network – could now refer to themselves as “4G”. This despite the fact that the ITU had always said that you needed 100mbps service in order to be considered 4G.
Anyway, bottom line is that the ATRIX, which is marketed as the “ATRIX 4G” in the U.S., is officially running on a 4G network here too. It’s the same network that was running yesterday, but with a brand new name. I know. Don’t be surprised if you start hearing that term used a LOT more in advertisements in the near future.
Let me leave you with one more tidbit… if you’re dying to get your hands on the ATRIX but don’t want to pony up the cash, Bell will be giving away 5 ATRIX prize packs including the phone, Lapdock and HD dock… you can sign up for the giveaway here.
Update Mar 18: The ATRIX is now for sale and we have confirmation on final pricing from Bell. Lapdock accessory: $329, HD Multimedia Dock: $129, Standard Dock: $49.95, Vehicle Dock: $59.95. Also, be sure to check out Marc’s video overview of the ATRIX and accessories.
Disclosure: Sync is owned and operated by Bell Canada.
Once again, and despite being on medical leave from Apple, Steve Jobs took the stage to debut the latest iteration of the iPad – the device that single-handedly started a gadget category which it has since come to dominate.
Our very own Marc Saltzman was at the event and got some hands-on time with the iPad 2. Here’s his initial impressions:
And here’s the rundown on what was announced at the event in San Francisco today:
” iPad 2″ officially announced (starting at $499 USD avail. March 11 for U.S., March 25th for most other countries including Canada)
- A5 dual-core processor
- “Dramatically faster” says Jobs
- 2x faster CPU
- 9x faster Graphics
- front and rear cameras with the same specs as the iPod Touch (VGA front, 720p rear)
- same gyroscope as the iPhone and iPod Touch
- 8.8 mm thick – that’s thinner than an iPhone 4, 1.3 lbs vs. iPad 1’s 1.5 lbs
- comes in white and black (yes white is actually available this time)
- same price points as first iPad
- optional HDMI accessory that enables 1080p output. Good news is that this cable is apparently compatible with a host of iDevices and not just the iPad 2.
- specially designed magnetic case available which has a microfiber inner lining to clean the screen. Also sleeps and wakes the iPad 2.
- Faster web browsing
- Improved home sharing
- AirPlay improvements: Photos get all slideshow options, audio and video can be done from all apps and websites too.
- Personal hotspot for iPhone 4 users
- Lock switch can be customized: rotation lock or mute function
- New PhotoBooth software for camera-equipped devices
- FaceTime now supports the iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPod Touch and any Mac with an isight/facetime camera
- available March 11
– iMovie for iPad ($4.99, March 11)
– GarageBand for iPad ($4.99 March 11) lets you plug in a guitar and turns your iPad into an 8-track recording studio. It also has a wild selection of virtual instruments you can play, most of which have “magic” options that help you out if you don’t know how to play a single note.
There you have it. Now for some initial impressions while we wait for some hands-on video from Marc…
Is this a must-have upgrade for current iPad owners?
No. In typical Apple fashion, the iPad 2 represents a logical yet incremental set of improvements on an already very well thought-out device. Making it thinner, lighter and faster were must-have improvements in order to make sure that anyone thinking of buying a competing product would keep the iPad at the top of their wish list. Same thing with the dual cameras. Given that every other tablet maker has these features, Apple had to ante-up. But none of these improvements should be driving current iPad owners to list their devices on eBay. Instead, the iPad 2 should be seen as the iPad for those who decided to hold off on the whole tablet space when the original iPad was announced.Here in our office, there was a lot of consensus that the lack of cameras was a problem on the initial iPad. Now that they’re included, I think a lot of people who didn’t buy in the first round and have been quietly envying those who did, can now jump on the bandwagon and smugly declare “See? I told you you should have waited” while current owners can equally say “Yeah, yeah, I’m waiting for the iPad 3.” which, given the pervasive rumours, might just be the next big thing from Cupertino.
Interestingly, the original iPad is no longer for sale on Apple’s U.S. site. Yet you can still buy one in Canada and the prices have dropped: It’s now $419 for the base 16GB Wi-Fi model
Curious how the iPad 2 stacks up in the specs department compared to its closest competitors? Engadget has you covered.
What about iOS 4.3?
As a current iPad / iPhone 4 owner, this announcement is almost more exciting. I’ve known for a while that the new OS will enable personal hotspotting on the iPhone – something which I have been eager for. See, I decided to buy the Wi-Fi only iPad, based on the logic that I would be using it mainly at home or at the office, both places where I have Wi-Fi. But there have been times when I’ve regretted that decision. Now, all I need to do is turn on the hotspot on my iPhone and voila – instant connectivity for my iPad or any other Wi-Fi device. Nice! I am however a little confused by Apple’s press release on the enhancement: “The new Personal Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 lets you bring Wi-Fi with you anywhere you go, by allowing you to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to five devices in a combination of up to three Wi-Fi, three Bluetooth and one USB device.” I’ll have to check this out when it gets released to see if this really means only 3 Wi-Fi connections. Most other devices that have this feature including the Palm (HP) Pre 2, allow up to 5 Wi-Fi connections.
Also, letting apps and websites run audio and video through AirPlay is a huge improvement. AirPlay lets you stream content from your iOS device to your Apple TV, but until now, the only apps that could do this were the embedded audio, video and photos apps. Want to stream any other app? You were out of luck. Great improvement here.