The iPad killer has arrived!The tablet wars are heating up after RIM's recently announced PlayBook, and the new Apple TV is getting shipped out. All that and more on this week's Apple Byte.
-What's happening? Welcome to The Apple Byte for all the good and bad inside the world of Apple. I'm Brian Tong, and you might recognize me from such shows as The Apple Byte. So, let's get to the show. Alright, the tablet wars are heating up after RIM's recently announced PlayBook. It's a 7-inch-screen tablet that will be geared toward enterprising current Blackberry users. But check out the initial specs on this thing. It'll have a 1 gigahertz dual-core chip, 1 gig of RAM, Wi-Fi, HDMI, Bluetooth, USB, and front- and rear-facing cameras. It will be thinner than the iPad. It will support Flash and HTML. But there are no hands-on demos and it will be coming sometime early next year, which translates to we'll get this thing out by March if we're lucky. Now, Dell's already pushed out the 5-inch Streak tablet, and the Wall Street Journal reports that a 7-inch tablet will be launched within the next few weeks, with a 10-inch coming later according to a Dell executive. Samsung has their hotly anticipated 7-inch Galaxy Tab that will be available on all four U.S. phone carriers as expected to be released in time for the holiday season. So, you could just see how fierce the competition is in the tablet space. So what is the iPad doing? Well, a Goldman Sachs analyst decided to really go out on a limb and say that the next iPad will feature a front-facing camera, which I haven't heard about, with a thinner and lighter form factor, and will feature mini-USB instead of Apple's proprietary dock. Apple's not getting rid of their dock connection because they make a boat load of royalties on it, but I've got to commend Goldman Sachs for really shaking things up with this new report. The new Apple TV is getting shipped out to customers who pre-ordered early, and we have a first look at it. -I'm John Falcone from CNET, and this is the 2010 version of the Apple TV. The enclosure has been shrunk down to this incredibly tiny size, less than a quarter of the size of the original model. Now, instead of the entire iTunes store, you can choose from a rental-only subset of instant streaming content from TV providers like ABC, Disney, Fox, and the BBC. The other new viewing option on Apple TV is Netflix streaming, where a huge fan of Netflix's online streaming service which offers unlimited viewing of movies and TV shows for as little as $9 per month. Apple TV also offers access to YouTube videos, Flickr photos, MobileMe photos, and several online internet radio stations, as well as podcasts. The box itself has only HDMI and optical audio outputs. Unlike Roku's competing product, that means you can't connect it to older non-HD TVs. The Apple TV does have state-of-the-art dual-band wireless N Wi-Fi, and it can also connect to wired Ethernet networks as well. Image and sound quality on the Apple TV were largely superb. We found the picture quality of the Apple content to be competitive with that of most satellite and cable programming. HD content is limited to 720p, but most viewers won't find anything to complain about. The key here, as with all streaming boxes, is making sure you have enough network bandwidth for smooth downloads. While the included remote gets the job done, we love that any iOS handheld can also act as a touchscreen remote via Apple's free Remote app. Perhaps the biggest improvement on the new Apple TV is the price. It's just $99, which is less than half the price of the original model. But if you don't count Netflix, the list of rent-only content available on Apple TV right now is disappointingly small. We hope that Apple adds even more TV content and third-party services to the device, and we're looking forward to seeing how much the AirPlay feature helps accomplish that in just a few short weeks. Until then, stay tuned. I'm John Falcone for CNET, and this is the new Apple TV. -Thanks to our team in the NYC for that. We know about AirPlay and streaming content from your devices to the Apple TV, but the latest firmware has been released and the unofficial Apple webblog found the Lowtide application inside of it. It enables the Apple TV interface to be run on other iOS devices like the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. They made it work on a Touch, it looks a little rough, but it's the first hint that the Apple TV interface can possibly be used and controlled by other devices with a touchscreen. In a recent study by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, they found that 15.1% of tech stories were primarily about Apple, commanding an inordinate amount of the media's attention. Now, we here at The Apple Byte try to keep it fair and balanced with 100% of Apple news for you. Now, let's take a look at our app of the week. The app of the week is Hungry Shark. Now look for Hungry Shark- Part 1, that's free, or Part 2, that's $0.99. You're a shark and you need to eat things: fish, bigger fish, people, and birds. It uses the accelerometer. It's addicting and fun. And chomping down on an innocent snorkeler is like one of my top 3 feelings in life. So check it out. Alright, let's get to the quick bytes. The latest iOS 4.2 beta and iTunes 10.1 beta have been released by Apple. The most noticeable improvements are performance gains since the iPad only has 256 megs of RAM and a new snazzy multitasking animation. They also removed the AirPlay icon and feature in the iPod, video and YouTube apps that we've previously showed you. So, I'm sure that'll be coming back soon. Now, Apple has also released its tight control on certain app restrictions for the iPhone, and according to TechCrunch, the official Goggle Voice app has been approved and will be coming to an iPhone near you. Apple's Remote application to control your iTunes through your phone has now been updated and also supports the iPad now. And we like accessories, but this one has decided to bring us the first huggable case for the iPod Touch and iPhone called the Woogie. It looks so silly! So childish! But I can't wait to get my hands on one. Alright, that's gonna do it for this week's show. Send me your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm Brian Tong, thanks for watching, and we'll see you next week for another byte of the Apple.