The Post-PC World: Is It Here?

If there’s only one reason why I love Apple, it is their dedication to morphing the landscape for the post-PC world. Apple has made great strides in innovating technology to get people away from their PCs and more in-line with the mobile generation. Other companies are following suit, releasing new products and services to help end the home computer era.

In 2007, Apple unleashed the original iPhone, a device unlike any other, that changed the game for the the mobile world. It launched along with the App Store, a new service, similar to iTunes, where owners of the iPhone could purchase and download apps and games directly onto their devices. Fast forward a few years, and Apple announces and releases the iPad, a new tablet computer running iOS, that became an affordable, lightweight alternative to the laptop. With it’s 9.1″ screen, the iPad seemed like a viable solution for the on-the-go person. Featuring everything that made the iPhone so great on a much larger screen, the iPad became an instant success. Accessories like keyboards have become available for the iPad, which further makes it more of an option against the laptop.

One appealing feature about the iPad is how well it replaces the PC experience. For example, applications, such as Pages on the iPad, are a much cheaper and very functional replacement to your current word processing application. These apps feature the same functionality that you would find a PC version, at an extremely significant fraction of the price. Gaming has become even more significantly easy on the iPad than it ever was on a PC–no lag, no having to change out graphic cards or memory to support a game, and better control scheme. The user experience of a PC becomes irrelevant and unnecessary compared to what you see on a tablet.

Others have tried to emulate the experience. Google, which released the first version of it’s popular Android operating system in October 2008, has been working to perfect their open-source project into something that will help further shape the mobile landscape to its highest potential. Microsoft, too, has worked to perfect the new Windows Phone experience, where everything is more easily available by simple tiles on the home screen. The amount of mobile usage is at it’s highest point ever, with some users, myself included, completely abandoning the home computer in favor of smartphones and tablets.

Last month, Apple held a press conference to announce iCloud, their new online storage product that allows users to store practically everything “in the cloud.” Word documents, music, photos, applications, and other files will soon have the capability to be stored in your own virtual hard drive, powered by Apple, and accessible across all of your devices, with no wires or syncing required. The cloud concept is not new of course, with companies like Amazon and Google already offering these services for music. Apple is ultimately looking to keep users from using their PCs even more, by backing everything up to the cloud and turning the computer off. Apple is also eliminating the need to sync to iTunes to activate or update your iPad or other iDevice. All updates, starting with iOS 5 when it releases in September, will be handled over-the-air. The need for a physical hard drive is diminishing. The need for wires is diminishing. An era is ending.

What does this mean for companies like Microsoft, who have strived to maintain their Windows operating system? Microsoft is hard at work on Windows 8, which is a complete and total revamp of anything that you have ever seen on the platform. Windows 8 takes the tile concept first seen in the new Windows Phone 7, and evolves it into a desktop experience that promises to be unique and revolutionary. Windows 8 is designed specifically with tablets in mind, as Microsoft is well aware of this new revolution.

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Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 utilizes the MetroUI look first seen on Windows Phone 7.

It will be interesting to see where this new mobile generation takes us. With cords disappearing, syncing becoming a thing of the past, and tablets becoming more and more affordable and easier to use, it may be time to retire your ol’ PC. It’s something that I have recently done, and couldn’t be happier with. What do you think?

Digital Lust Daily Feed: July 1st, 2011

I hope you’re enjoying our grand opening day celebrations! It’s now time to take a look at the top stories dominating the tech world today:

Google in Talks to buy Hulu?
Various media are reporting today that Google is in preliminary talks with Hulu in an effort to add them to the unstoppable Internet empire’s already sterling portfolio of services. Hulu, the top online distributor of television shows on the Internet, has prepared itself for sale by working with creators of the content that is shown on it’s website. The media is also reporting that Yahoo is a potential buyer for the company. Who will win the war? Only time will tell!

Facebook to Launch Video Chat Service?
Facebook sent out an invitation to the media today inviting them to an announcement that they will be making next week. Popular tech site TechCrunch has reported that the social media giant will announce a video chatting service, similar to the Google+ Hangouts feature on Google+. Furthermore, TechCrunch is reporting that the video chat service will be created in a partnership with Skype. If not a video chat service that will be announced, another possibility is the long-awaited iPad app.

Twitter hits 200,000,000 tweets per day!
Lots of milestones hit this week. Twitter announced that their popular microblogging service has surpassed 200 million tweets per day. This is up from 65 million tweets per day around a year ago. It makes you wonder, though–how many of these tweets are considered spam? To put this into perspective: Digital Lust’s new Twitter account was just launched today and has already turned away a few prosti-twits from following it.

Windows Phone Marketplace hits 25,000 apps
Windows Phone 7 launched late last year, and already has hit 25,000 apps. Of course, this is nowhere near the amount of apps that are present on the Android Market or the Apple App Store. Windows Phone 7 is quickly gaining steam, however, and it will certainly be interesting to see how it is performing this time next year.

App Store hits 100,000 iPad apps
It seems that all of the major mobile corporations with the exception of RIM have great milestones to celebrate this week. The Apple App Store hit 100,000 iPad-optimized apps today, which is a number several times greater than other tablet app providers. Now if only Hanging with Friends HD would hurry up and come out…

Android hits 500,000 activations per day!
Finally in milestones, perhaps even the most impressive: Android has achieved over 500,000 activations per day worldwide. This is significant, folks. At this rate, Android is poised to take over all other mobile operating systems in a very short amount of time. It will certainly be interesting to see how long this growth continues before slowing down, and also what other developers will do to try and steal some of that growth away from Google.

Google+ Invites Invade eBay
Google+ launched this week for a very limited beta. Shortly after the beta began, Google opened up invites for it’s users to begin handing out to their friends. These invites were unlimited, and it became insanely popular very quickly–even to the point where they had to shut down invites to alleviate traffic issues that they began having on the new service. On eBay, various Google+ users are posting new auctions for invites, with prices ranging right around $75. Is it worth it? Probably not. But seriously, if someone wants to toss a Google+ invite my way, I’ll totally understand.

Playstation Network Welcome Back Package Ends This Sunday
After the Playstation Network relaunched late last month after being hacked and shut down for 4 weeks, Sony released a comprehensive Welcome Back package that included 2 free games (inFamous and Dead Nation, FTW!), a 30 day free subscription to Playstation Plus, movie rentals, and other free content. This Sunday, the plug will be pulled on the package, so if you haven’t already, make sure to go and get your free stuff!

And that about does it for today’s installment of Digital Lust Daily. Be sure to check back every weekday for a quick summation of all of the latest news in the digital world.

App Attack: Flipboard

This is the first edition of App Attack, a headlining feature here on Digital Lust that will focus on giving you the scoop on the latest and greatest mobile apps. Today, I’ll be talking a little bit about Flipboard for iOS, the social aggregator that turns your social networking habits into a magazine. Let’s take a closer look!

The concept of Flipboard is very similar to other aggregation apps, like Pulse, for example. With Flipboard, everything turns into a magazine layout. For example, by logging into your Twitter page, you are able to view news stories that pop up in your feed as if they were a page out of today’s issue of The Daily. The layouts are incredibly clean, and the end result is unlike anything else I’ve played with thus far.

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In the above image, you see my Twitter feed, shown in the aforementioned magazine layout. You can see a news story from a Disney fan site, but instead of showing it as a link, it shows the story. Clicking on that portion of the story will bring up a new window with the rest of the story. You can just click back and continue reading. You can also see all of the other updates in my feed on the sidebar (XL 106.7 got a little tweet-happy this morning). By swiping to the next page, you’ll see the next set of stories and tweets. Everything looks so clean, accessible, and easy to read–something that is becoming more and more necessary for a good app.

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Next, let’s take a look at the home screen (yes, this probably should have been covered first, but the Twitter functionality had me too excited). The home screen displays all of the subscriptions that you’ve added to your page. A simple click on these tiles will bring up all of the latest stories that have been posted. Anything with an RSS can be added, and there are plenty of other sites that are already built in. Your tiles on the home screen will update with an image of the latest story. In a sense, it kind of reminds me of Windows Phone 7. And finally, clicking on the More icon at the top right will bring up an entire list of feeds that you can add to your page. You can easily add existing feeds that are already supported, or you can search for your own and add them that way. Hint: Add Digital Lust to your Flipboard!

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As I mentioned above, the manner in which Flipboard displays your news is very much like a magazine layout. A white background dominates the app, giving it a much cleaner and presentable appearance. Images appear large and crisp, and text shows up in a way that is extremely easy to read. Viewing in either Portrait or Landscape mode is equally the same, with Portrait giving you more of the content at once.

In this new era of the Internet, app inventors are really looking to get users away from their browsers and spend more time in-app. Apps like Flipboard are the easiest way to get your news together, and this one will definitely be a hit for years to come. At a price of free, it makes it even more worth the download. Flipboard is available on iPad.