Dictating to your iPad


The operating system on the new iPad introduced (ios5) a subtle yet powerful voice to text dictation feature.   Activating it was as simple as clicking a tiny microphone icon and saying what you wanted typed.


Voice dictation is not a new to Apple computers. The iPhone 3GS featured voice commands, followed by the release last year of the iPhone 4S, which provides this service through an assistant known as Siri. Some believed that Siri could potentially be included on the new iPad. While some Siri features could be ported to the iPad, many of the tasks that Siri is capable of performing are to do with phones. This would present problems on the iPad, which was not created to conduct voice calls.

Voice dictation gives an alternative to those who don’t like using the on-screen keyboard or an external unit. One of the main selling points of the iPad for many people is the stylish thinness of the design. After-market keyboards such as the Logitech Keyboard Case have made keyboards mitigate this somewhat, but they do make the iPad look like a laptop.

Most native and web applications on the iPad are able to utilise voice dictation, as most of these are integrated with the keyboard popup. Some find it useful for dictating short emails and social media updates, although not being able to correct entries using voice is limiting.

Although pervasive, but it doesn’t ensure “hands free” operation, as one always has to tap that keyboard icon to activate the dictation.

Speech Recognition – Gets Better

The history of voice recognition has been a rocky one. Susan Fulton, who used to run a site documenting goofs of speech recognition tells a story of phrases such as “The patient was prepped and raped in the usual fashion” being the result of “The patient was prepped and draped in the usual fashion”, or the more profound “she is buried” for “she is married”. The iPad is fully capable of gaffs just like this one.

Getting Better Results

For accuracy it is recommended that you use a good microphone if you want to do speech recognition on an iPad. Obviously bluetooth is more convenient, but once again, check the quality.

Obviously it helps to speak succinctly and clearly, but you knew that didn’t you?


In iOS6, the new iPad now features “Siri”. Siri is known to have better voice recognition than the dictation engine as the voice processing uses powerful cloud base servers whereas dictation utilises local processing. For example, the “Add Note” request allows a fluid, almost “hands free” means of doing dictation.

Overall the addition of voice recognition capabilities into iPad is welcome. Although acknowledged as not being perfect, it does deliver the essentials and promises to be so much more. Just remember to speak slowly.



Image by ST

By anoriginalidea

Showing an iOS screencast over the internet



Until recently it was very difficult to present a screencast of the iPad or iPhone over the internet using webcasting applications such as WebEx or GotoMeeting.

Although both of these applications are available on iOS, they only allow viewing meetings, not actually screen casting.  This allegedly due to the inability of 3rd party applications to access the apis required to do this without “Jail Breaking”.

It seems however that a company has finally delivered the impossible.  The “Reflection” app gives users of PCs and Macs the ability to view a screencast from an iPad or iPhone. From there, a conventional desktop based screencast application can be used to record or webcast the demo from the device.

Reflections works by using the new Airplay Mirroring capability built into more recent versions of iOS.


Find more about Reflection here:


Article about broadcasting to Google Hangouts:


iPad mini in the workplace, does 7 inches really work, and does size really matter anyway?



The speculation about the iPad mini has moved from the usual optomistic rumours to “fact””. Allegations have been made that Apple is “leaking”the news to leading newspapers in order to rain on Google’s Nexus 7 parade. If they are making that kind of effort, maybe Nexus is worth looking at.

Android Tablets

The Nexus 7 has been described as a “game changer””. It has been described as being “far ahead”of existing android tablets with it’s high quality hardware and relatively inexpensive price. It is also the only tablet so far to ship with “Jelly Bean”, or Android 4.1.

In the last quarter of 2011, Android tablet shipments reached 39.1%, with iPad accounting for 58% of the market. Interestingly of the Android tablet sales, 40% of these were Amazon Fire or the Nook, which are eReaders. These devices use the 7 inch form factor and show that there is substantial consumer demand for the form factor.

Will we see 7 inches in the enterprise?

The Samsung Q1 UMPC, released in 2006 was a 7 inch tablet designed for enterprise use. It ran Windows XP and used a stylus and buttons for cursor manipulation. Like it’s competiors and successors, the lack of tablet based applications prevented widespread adoption. Interestingly though it’s portability and battery life made it popular with field workers.

Perhaps this will be the case for the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini.

According to an article in CIO Magazine, Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit and an iOS developer, says Not only will the iPad mini have a smaller, eye-straining screen, It probably won’t have a Retina display, either.”

Wiens, though, believes that the iPad mini will be used extensively in the field by service technicians, where mobility trumps everything else. Such employees don’t have much use for fancy Retina displays.

“With service manuals, you need to see pictures to do repairs, which makes the iPad much more usable than the iPhone,” Wiens says. “Yet you might be in tight places, so something in between would be reasonable.”

In the same article Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi says that a small tablet probably won’t have much of an impact on the enterprise. Milanesi covers the tablet market at Gartner and is very familiar with small tablets such as the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, which she says are too small to get much work done.

Milanesi says a 7-inch Apple tablet, along with a cheap price point, will resonate with consumers, which somewhat undermines her anti-enterprise adoption argument. The thinking goes: If an iPad mini is a consumer hit, then it will likely ride BYOD to the enterprise anyway.

iPad software won’t work at 7 inches

There are fears that scaled down iPad applications wont work well with the new form factor. This is unlikely, considering the efforts developers already go to support multiple form factors on other platforms.

Useful productivity applications have been made to work on smartphones, so enterprise applications that use the new form factor (rather than just scaling down 10 inch) will adapt the new form factor.

For those that believe you can’t fit enough text on this screen, keep in mind that this form factor is already the leading size for eReaders.

The future is bright for the 7 inch form factor. Its affordabilty and ubitquity in the consumer market will mean it’s adoption into enterprise is inevitable. The software applications that win will be those that take advantage of this “mid” screen size.











Bouncing Back

In the world of mobile, established hardware and software vendors believe they will be able to topple the market leader given time.

In an interesting article about Nokia, we read that “All evidence suggests that Elop has moved mountains to improve the company’s product old line-up and its culture since then. But the task he faces is just too gargantuan. Once you miss the boat on an ecosystem, it’s just about impossible to recover. There are too many moving parts to coordinate, too many different parties to please. It happened to Apple in the 1990s with the Mac—once Windows took over, Apple faced permanent decline in the PC business. Only by changing the rules of the game—by going entirely beyond the PC business—did it manage to rebound.”

Nokia is doing the right thing. Adopting Android would have lost it in a “me too” world of similar hardware. Unfortunately Windows phone may not be enough to save it.

Examples of companies trying the catchup game abound. Can they succeed without introducing a paradigm shift? It appears not. The change has to be focused and drastic.

Rip Nokia – http://pandodaily.com/2012/06/16/rip-nokia-1965-2014/

By anoriginalidea

The good news about the new iPad 4G and Australia



Unfortunately it seems that the “4G” supported by the “new iPad” will not support existing Australian 4G networks such as Telstra’s NextG network.  (It is predicted however that this will be available in 2015)

This seems to be due to a limititation in the chipset used in the new iPad.  Nevertheless it seems that users of bandwidth hungry business applications may still benefit from the new device.

But the news isn’t all bad for iPad users needing mobile network connectivity. The inclusion of High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) plus 850MHz and 2100MHz means the new iPads in theory are capable of much faster download speeds on Telstra’s NextG network, and Optus and Vodafone networks.

That means the iPad will be more attractive to businesses seeking to use them for data downloads and uploads while out and about.

It seems that at least for a while,  the mobile applications that enterprise use should still be responsive regardless of network performance.


How the “new iPad” will change the way we read forever


The “new iPad” finally brings the retina display technology the worlds leading business tablet computer.  This will have a powerful effect on the way work is done, by revolutionising print.

The Retina Display

The “retina display” packs more pixels into a smaller area than anything before it.  The following image from the apple website shows how the resolution compares to a HDTV:


Keep in mind a HDTV is designed to be rather large (eg 42 inches), yet this is put in a relatively small tablet display.  (10 inches).  Some claim such high resolution is unnecessary.  What is this actually for?

Some media claim that the retina display is about photos, video and games.  Another view could be that the retina display is equally about type.:

Apple’s head of worldwide marketing, Philip Schiller, also pointed to the display’s clearer, sharper text — none of the blocky pixels that would show up when users wanted to take a closer look. (Washington Post)


The iPhone’s LCD screen includes Apple’s “in-plane switching” technology. This is the same technology used in the iPad and the Apple LED cinema display. It provides a wider viewing angle so that you can see the screen even if it is tilted away from you.  As any book reader will tell you, we rarely stay looking at the screen at a single angle.

The new iPad delivers an unprecedented level of high-quality type.  Take a look at the comparison from the Apple website:


The Revolution of Type

With the move to the retina display you are now able to view high quality type combined with fast graphics.  Combine this with the existing iBook announcements and you can see that this device change the world of text forever.

“Throughout the campus,” he remembered Steve Jobs at an address to students at Stanford in 2005, ‘”every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphied.” So, having dropped out and finding himself a free agent, he decided to take a class in this art. “I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.”. 

He went on to talk about his love of type and how he was able to express this in the Lisa and Macintosh computers of the era.  The “new iPad” continues his legacy by moving the consumption of excellent type to a new level.

The iPad adds to amazing type, moving beyond other eReaders by also offering high speed graphics, sound and video. 


Already some amazing “books” have been created combining multimedia and conventional type.   Imagine if the print quality was equal to a paper book. 


The iPad brings about new ways of experiencing books.   “Booktrack” for example is a way of authoring eBooks to allow readers to experience sound whilst reading type.  It is able to determine your reading pace using queues such as page-turns to ensure that the sound stays up to date.

Booktrack is a new technology which lets you experience books in a whole new way. By adding sound effects, musical score  and ambient audio, readers are immersed in the sounds of the story, adding a whole new layer to the reading experience. 

For organisations concerned with the quality of books on a tablet computer, the “new iPad” now offers a real alternative paper books and reports.   Everywhere that print is experienced today we will see even more of these devices.  I believe that the “new iPad” represents nothing less than a revolution in print.


Send in the Drones – Using your flying robot more productively in business


The increasing use of drones by the military has led to increased interest in remote controlled AV’s. 

The AR Drone in your Smartphone

The amazing Parrot AR drone allows a smartphone user to easily control a remote controlled flying camera using a smartphone.  It’s easy to setup and easy to fly.

It’s worth seeing the CES video if you haven’t already:


It seems that the accessibility of a drone of this quality and ease to consumers will lead to use in the private sector.  

The River of Blood

In a January 2012 news article an AV Drone Enthusiast discovered a “River of Blood” using a drone. He was using the drone to survey the course of a local river when he photographed an environmental hazard.

The applications here for law enforcement and of course the media are obvious.  Where else might this be applicable?

Drones for the Enterprise

For the past decade the ability access previously inaccessible underground places using “pipe cameras” has meant more accurate assessment of infrastructure.  These range from simple fibre optics to remote controlled drones.

Now the use of flying drones will mean accessibility to inaccessible places that would have required helicopters or similar.

For inspection and maintenance, the assistance of a flying “friend” may soon be essential.   Because outside areas, roofs, ceiling cavities, yards with vicious dogs and other previously hard to get at places are now quickly accessible, it inspections will be quicker and more effective. 

The use of mobile devices such as iPad to control the drone and record the video delivers many advantages.  These include integration to enterprise applications for logging and analysis.   

The size, shape and manuverability of drones will vary.  The “Hummingbird” surveillance drone for example looks and behaves like a bird in the air.


The drone, built by AeroVironment with funding from DARPA, is able to fly forwards, backwards, and sideways, as well as rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. Not only does the ‘bot resemble its avian inspiration in size (it’s only slightly larger than a hummingbird, with a 6.5-inch wingspan and a weight of 19 grams), it also looks impressively like a hummingbird in flight.

The limited battery life of the current generation of commercial drones limit the use of the devices now, but as the technology improves I think we can expect our skies to be filled with all kinds of flying robots.  Perhaps you’ll be using one soon.


Smartphone Screen Size – Is bigger bad for business?

The automatic assumption by consumers seems to be that “bigger is better”. The lovely bright displays of the new Android devices outshine smug little iPhones.

Apparently Apple deliberately chose the 3.5 screen size in order to allow to allow single handed texting. In the diagram above shows the difference.

Another reason is battery life. Tim Cook says that the new OLED displays cause “design compromises”. One of these appears to be battery life.

This also explains why many Android phones are bigger. A bigger phone means a bigger battery.

According to a recent article the larger battery size doesn’t necessarily ensure more usage.

For example, the Galaxy Nexus (GSM, HSPA+ version, not LTE) comes with a 1,750 mAh battery to the iPhone 4S’s (again, GSM, HSPA+) 1432mAh battery. Despite the fact that the Galaxy Nexus’s battery is almost 20% larger than the iPhone 4S’s, battery test results show that overall, the iPhone 4S has better battery life:

• Talk Time: The Galaxy Nexus gets 8 hours and 23 minutes of 3G talk time to the iPhone 4S’s 7hours and 41 minutes. That’s roughly 8.5% more talk time for the Galaxy Nexus, for a 20% increase in battery size.

• Web Browsing: The Galaxy Nexus gets just 3 hours and 1 minute of web browsing over 3G, to the iPhone 4S’s 6 hours and 46 minutes. This is despite a larger battery.

• Video Playback: Again, the iPhone 4S is on top, managing 9 hours and 24 minutes of video playback to the Galaxy Nexus’s 6 hours and 32 minutes.

Those are terrible results, and keep in mind that right now, the Galaxy Nexus is being positioned as the best smartphone on the Android platform, the one all other Android phones should be measured up to. According to our calculations, though, if the Galaxy Nexus had a display the same size as an iPhone 4S’s, it would manage a mere 6.8 hours of of talk time, 2.5 hours of web browsing or 2.9 hours of video playback on a single charge. And keep in mind that this is just out-of-the-box: install any number of apps on your Android phone that suck down data in the background and these results would get even lower.

For enterprise users, a smartphone can deliver significant productivity benefits. A dead phone is just a brick. Consider this before investing in your next smartphone or tablet.



By anoriginalidea

Colour tablet computers with a battery that lasts over a week?


Although the current generation of tablet computers, led by the iPad are highly functional devices, a charger must always be in reach. The Battery life of an iPad is only slightly more than a working day (about 8 hours) but this really spends on what the person is doing.

The Kindle and other eReaders deliver a good reading experience, yet they last battery wise for weeks.

Tablet computers provide rich colours and fast screen update, whereas eInk is black and white with slow screen refresh.

At CES 2010, “the colour eInk” was announced, called Mirasol. This delivers a colour display with long battery life. It also refreshes more quickly, introducing the possibility of video.

By mimicking nature’s processes and structures – a field of study called Biomimicry – Qualcomm engineers developed the nature-inspired mirasol display. Humans view the world by sensing the light reflecting from various surfaces. As a result, a reflected image, from paper for instance, is more appealing and easier to view for the human eye, compared to a backlit image. Qualcomm’s mirasol display technology is based on a reflective technology called IMOD (Interferometric Modulation), with MEMS structures at its core. This MEMS–based innovation is both bi-stable, meaning it is both extremely low power, and highly reflective. It also means that the display can be seen in direct sunlight. (From The Story of Mirasol)

Unlike LCD displays, the brighter the ambient lighting is the better the display can be seen.

Currently only eReaders are using this technology and only in Asian markets. (such as Hanvon). Amazon have been experimenting with the technology since 2010, but there’s no announcements yet.

It seems obvious that this technology is relevant to tablet computing, so expect to see soon. It will deliver an experience with more of the robustness and reliability of paper, which will bring even more mobile workers over to tablet computers.


Mirasol displays: running late, worth the wait? – http://m.cnet.com/Article.rbml?nid=57356736&cid=null&bcid=&bid=-290
Story of Mirasol –

Siri takes a bath

In this video Siri gets wet and doesn’t complain at all!

Liquipel is an amazing product that provides a thin water repellant coating to electronics.

The utility of this kind of coating for field workers is obvious. Weather proofing devices makes them ungainly an hard to use.

The bright screens of modern and touch ui smartphones combined with liquipel makes field devices much more useful.

It seems that the company is posting videos of submerging every piece of consumer electronics they can find!