Tag Archives | iPad

Parallels Access 2.0 Lets You Use Mac or Windows Apps From Any iOS or Android Device

Photoshop CC for OS X running on an iPad via Parallels Access 2.0

Photoshop CC for OS X running on an iPad via Parallels Access 2.0

Last year, Parallels–the company behind the best-selling virtualization software for OS X–introduced a service called Parallels Access.

It let you use an iPad to remote-control your Windows PC or Mac across the Internet, allowing you to run PC apps from your tablet. Other companies had done that before, but Parallels didn’t just cram your PC’s screen onto the iPad: It created an environment which made using Windows or Mac apps as much like using iPad apps as possible, with features such as iOS-style cut-and-paste and a touch-friendly app launcher which looked like the iPad’s own home screen.

When I reviewed the first version of Access, I had some quibbles but was still dazzled by the whole concept, which was bursting with cleverness and technical derring-do.

Parallels Access running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Parallels Access running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Now Parallels is releasing Parallels Access 2.0. There’s quite a bit that’s new–including the fact that it now works on iPhones and Android devices as well as iPads.

The iOS and Android variants of Parallels Access are similar, but not identical. For one thing, they both do a good job of hewing to the interface style of the mobile operating system they’re running on: Cut and paste, for instance, look like they should in both cases.

Both versions also have a new feature or two not seen in the other one. The iOS app lets you use the mobile device’s microphone with apps running on the remote computer, and includes a new file manager which looks like iOS while providing access to files on the distant computer. The Android app, meanwhile, lets you plunk shortcuts to specific PC apps on the Android home screen, a feat which isn’t technically possible in iOS.

Parallels Access for iOS's new file manager

Parallels Access for iOS’s new file manager

Oh yeah, there’s the pricetag. When Parallels originally released Access, it charged $80 to control one computer for one year. It quickly lowered that price. And now it’s slashed it again: For $20 a year or $35 for two years (or $30 for two years for a limited time), you can control up to five computers from as many iOS and/or Android devices as you want. There’s also a new business plan for companies which want to roll out Access to multiple staffers at once.

As before, Parallels Access is amazing: I can’t imagine anyone coming up with a better way to put OS X and Windows apps onto a mobile device which can’t run them natively. But there are some technical limitations which are beyond Parallels’ control. The OS X apps I used on my iPad didn’t have a Retina-like crispness–text was a tad fuzzy even though you can now choose between three different screen resolutions. Not surprisingly, the experience feels most like the apps are right on your mobile device if you’ve got a fast Internet connection. And for all that Access does to make desktop apps more touch-friendly, there are still tasks which are tough to perform with your fingertip, such as selecting part of an image in Photoshop.

For all these reasons, Access doesn’t reduce the need for powerful native apps for iOS and Android–and there are more of those today than there were last year when the first version of Access shipped, including Microsoft’s very credible version of Office for the iPad. But when you want to get your hands on an app or file which isn’t available on your mobile device, Parallels Access could be a lifesaver–and at $20 a year, it’s a reasonable deal even if you don’t use it all that often.


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Here Comes iOS 5

While iOS 5 is slated to have “200+ new features,” at WWDC we only got to see ten of them. The first is something that probably would remind you of Android: the notifications list. Instead of the old way of notifications being displayed as they arrive, they’d now be in list form accessible by swiping down from the top of the device.

Another new feature is the “Newsstand,” essentially a formal launch of Apple’s subscription option for iOS content. A dedicated section would now be included in the iTunes Store, with a companion app created to read this content exclusively.

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Apple's Holiday 2010 Quarter Was a Barnburner

Apple’s quarterly numbers are in, and they’re pretty stunning. The Cupertino company reported record revenue of $26.47 billion, nearly twice last year’s $15.68 billion. This was powered by record numbers across all its major businesses: 4.16 million Macs, 16.24 million iPhones, and some 7.33 million iPads sold. Adding in these sales means Apple sold some 15 million iPads during 2010 alone, well above even the rosiest predictions. More to come if the analyst call produces any interesting tidbits…


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Kensington's KeyFolio Adds Keyboard to iPad

Accessory maker Kensington has debuted the KeyFolio, essentially an iPad case with an integrated Bluetooth keyboard. The $99 accessory is slated to debut by the end of the October, the company told me.

The KeyFolio offers some handy features, such as iPad-specific keys to access functions (such as home, etc.) and a stand that allows you to use your device much like a laptop. The battery within the keyboard itself must be charged; Kensington says it would last through about 90 hours of use before needing another charge.

It’s not too heavy–it only adds another pound or so to the overall weight. The keyboard is a tad small, think of it as close to netbook size- a bit larger maybe, but still comfortable to type on.

If you’re worried about the keys scratching the screen itself, don’t. This is because the keyboard itself is rubberized — a good feature too just in case you spill that cup of coffee on it early in the morning.


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Notebook Growth is Negative, Time to Blame Everything

Blaming the iPad for the greater computer industry’s woes is the new trend, and it just got hotter with a report from Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty on the slowing growth of notebooks.

Huberty’s research shows that notebook growth is negative for the first time in recent memory, down 4 percent in August compared to the same period last year. That doesn’t mean notebook sales are down, it just means the year-over-year increase in notebook sales is less in August 2010 than it was in August 2009. Anyway, the report fits nicely with a quote from Best Buy Chief Executive Brian Dunn, who said the iPad is stealing up to half of laptop sales.

It’s entirely realistic that some people end up with an iPad when setting out to buy a new computer. Apple is, after all, selling millions of them. Buying habits are going to change unless the iPad is only being purchased in addition to, not instead of, other computers. (It isn’t). But let’s not blow this out of proportion by pointing a finger only at Apple.

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Apple Ramping Up iPad Production

Industry watchers typically like to use shipping times as a gauge of popularity. Under this logic, the reduction of shipping times for the iPad from several days down to less than 24 hours may lead you to believe that demand may finally be cooling. Not so fast, says Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.

Huberty is pointing out that the company recently boosted production up to two million devices per month, double its initial manufacturing capacity. Apple is not satisfied either: it plans to ramp this up to three million a month during the crucial holiday shopping season. With a production rate like that, it’s hard to imagine Apple having any problem keeping it on the shelves.

Apple has repeatedly said it has been “surprised” by the heavy demand for the product since it launched in April. About one milion per month have sold, leading several analysts to believe that the Cupertino company could ship as many as 10 million units during 2010 alone.

It’s success is also making it that much harder for new entrants into the sector, given that Apple has a large marketshare and practically all the buzz in the tablet PC sector. Say what you want about Apple, but they certainly have positioned the iPad well to maintain its dominance for at least the near future if not longer.


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So Was This the Verizon TV Tablet?

You may remember my post earlier this month on a supposed Verizon TV tablet. Well, it became reality I guess, somewhat. Verizon on Wednesday demoed an upcoming iPad app that would allow its users to watch live television from it’s FiOS service. The app would essentially stream whatever is being played on the users home FiOS box.

According to Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir, the company is in the process of getting the go-ahead from the content owners — the technology to make this app a reality is already in place. If Verizon gets it out quick enough, it could be one of the first with live streaming capabilities.

Probably not though — Kheradpir said the app is targeted for a fourth quarter release. But it could be faster if the content owners move quickly to give Verizon the go ahead, his comments seem to suggest.

Dish has announced a Sling-based app for iOS and Blackberry, but that is not slated to debut until October. Other offerings, such as AT&T’s UVerse TV app, allow for streaming but it’s prerecorded content delivered from the company itself and not the user’s set-top box at home.

Now, I’m not saying that the Verizon TV tablet as reported is not going to materialize, but it looks clear that the company is at least ready to work with already existing platforms — which is a good business move overall.

[Hat tip: GigaOm]


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Report: Motorola, Verizon Working on TV Tablet

The Financial Times is reporting that Motorola has teamed up with Verizon Wireless to develop a Android-based tablet device that would allow users to watch television on it. While it’s not clear if this is a mobile DTV-based offering or what, it appears somehow tied to Verizon’s FiOS entertainment service.

The device would have a 10-inch screen — which is in line with Apple’s iPad and BlackBerry’s apparently upcoming tablet device — and would likely launch in the fall. That autumn release date is also what RIM is targeting, meaning it could be an all out battle royale for tablet supremacy this winter.

Motorola has made it no secret that they are lusting after carving out their own spot in the tablet market, one that is all but owned by Apple’s iPad at the moment. The television functionality, depending on how it works, could provide a crucial differentiating point in attracting consumers to the device. Also working with Verizon Wireless, who currently has the most widespread 3G network, is also a crucial selling point.

The device will also support Flash, just like RIM’s tablet, which means the iPad again stands alone as the only modern tablet device not to support the now near-ubiquitous multimedia format.

My question is now with all these competitors, is Apple itself prepared for trench warfare? Obviously the easiest way to compete with Apple is on price — the “Apple tax” is well documented. But functionality of the iPad is going to have to also increase, meaning we may see new versions of the device sooner than the typical upgrade cycle from Cupertino.

Personally, a price break is what I’m waiting for.


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Frash Could Be Apple's Flash Waterloo

An enterprising developer has proven that with a little work, Flash will work just fine on the iPad and iPhone, as long as you’re comfortable jailbreaking your device. Yes you will have problems–Flash is intended for use with a mouse, and not touch-based input methods. But certainly it gives hope that enterprising developers can be able to force Apple’s hand.

The program is called “Frash,” and will work in Safari Mobile through a compatibility layer. The program is actually a port of the official Adobe Flash plug-in that is already available for Android devices. Performance is actually pretty decent–sorry Mr. Jobs, there goes your trademark excuse for not allowing Flash at all.

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Apple iPad Sales Show Little Signs of Slowing

Even the most die-hard Apple fans need to admit the company’s sales of the iPad are somewhat surprising. It took the company four weeks to sell one million units, and another four weeks to sell an additional million.

This torrid pace would put it on par to possibly surpass even the most rosy predictions put out by analysts before the device’s launch in April of this year. It now puts into doubt whether Apple will really need to make adjustments to the price of the device, which it had said it would be willing to do in order to ensure the device meets its sales goals.

If it’s selling well now and hard to keep in stock, why make less of a profit now? May not be great for us consumers, but it is surely good for Apple’s investors.

Apple’s iPad successes make the current tiff between Microsoft and Google somewhat amusing. For those that missed it, Microsoft’s Steve Guggenheimer told the Wall Street Journal that manufacturer’s current apparent preference for Android on tablets was nothing more than a red herring, and that the company would lead the market overall in due time.

Kind of funny for two companies squabbling over products which for the most part haven’t even shipped yet, no? On top of that, I’d argue that Microsoft should be worrying about surpassing Apple in the space, not Google.

I am definitely interested to see how Apple does once Microsoft and Google have their own tablet devices on the market and in front of the customer. I believe that the iPad’s success has a lot to do with the popularity of the iPhon–a “halo effect” of a different kind if you will–and the device really does not have any competition at this point.

With alternatives on the market, and quite possibly at a lower price, will Apple’s name be enough to carry the day? I guess we’ll be finding out.


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