Monthly Archives: February 2014

Google Glass: Why Is The Initial Response Only Lukewarm?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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The tremendously hyped Google Glass was launched last year, with initial user-feedback ranging from mixed to downright unfavorable (except for select geeks). We here analyze why the response to Glass has not been as enthusiastic as Google had hoped it would be.

 

Going by the pre-release hype about Google Glass, it was being hailed as the next big thing in the domain of portable computing. Since its launch in 2013, Glass has become available to many developers and techies in the United States – and surprisingly, the response has not been too positive. A research survey revealed that, only about ten percent of the regular smartphone-users in the country were willing to try out Google Glass, while over 45% of respondents stated that they would never go for it – even if the wearable computer had a lower price tag. Where has Google gone wrong with Glass? Let’s take a look:

  1. Voice command feature disappoints – Apart from limited tapping and swiping options, Google Glass has to be mostly operated via voice commands. Users have reported that, even mildly accented commands led to Glass completely misinterpreting them, and carrying out the wrong functions. Using Google Glass in a room full of chattering people can be a real tough task. The makers had touted Google Glass to be a worthy competitor of iPhone apps in India and abroad – but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

  2. Google Glass appears to be targeting nerds – Own a Google Glass, and bid your general social life goodbye – or so it seems at present. People have, understandably, felt that it would appear somewhat disrespectful (creepy even!) to actually talk with a friend/colleague, with the Glass plugged to their eyes. In any case, the new gadget encourages users to talk with…well…themselves only, replacing healthy social interactions somewhat.

  3. Suitable only for those with close-cropped hair – To be fair, the neat arrangement of the touchpad, battery and other control sections of Glass on its right-side arm impresses. There’s only one problem – if a user has long hair (at least most females do), (s)he will have no option to tuck it in behind his/her right ear. The hair would have to be kept loose over the touchpad, which can lead to erroneous functions in the gadget.

  4. Google Glass burns a hole in users’ pockets – The initial price-tag of Google Glass is $1500, and it is way too expensive for average users. By the looks of things, Google probably wanted to make a gadget that would double up as a status symbol – just like the high-end apps created by mobile application development companies – but the astoundingly high price-level would keep its appeal limited. Even the ambitious Google Nexus phones failed, and they were priced at much lower levels.

  5. Too much of notifications – Information and real-time updates of practically all types are available on Glass – but that does not necessarily make it a user-friendly product. If anything, the fact that push-notifications keep arriving after every few minutes tends to distract users. Like in iOS devices, there is no way of seamlessly filtering the notifications either. If you buy Google Glass, be prepared to receive notifications – important and unnecessary ones!

  6. Glass puts personal privacy of people at risk – The marketing pitch of Google, while promoting Glass, has been all wrong. The multi-billion company has been harping on how the Glass can snap pictures of anyone, anywhere – or record conversations with any person – and post them in the World Wide Web with so much of ease. The assumption that everyone is dying for such unwanted publicity is a mistaken one, and most people prefer to stay inconspicuous than having random photos of themselves getting posted on the internet.

  7. Taking good photos with Google Glass is a matter of luck – For a gadget that has camera features as its standout function, Google Glass lags behind most smartphone models and camera-based mobile applications. People are supposed to point their nose towards the person/thing that they wish to snap, and take photos with a slight downward angle. There are no options to check a preview before giving the voice command, and the device lacks essential camera settings as well. If Google Glass is to sustain, it needs an upgrade, soon!

  8. The display is far from extraordinary – If you are used to watching high-definition TV and have cell phones with crystal clear displays, Google Glass is bound to come across as a ho-hum product. The display resolution is nothing great, and it is often difficult to even see all the four edges of the view through Glass. Instead of having projector functionality, all that the gadget offers are physical images – and that too, often blurred. People looking for a more immersive viewing experience have, as a result, stayed away.

  9. Battery life is unsatisfactory – If you are very, very careful in your usage of Google Glass, you can expect its battery to last for a grand total of…around eight hours! On the other hand, if you randomly click about and/or use apps on it – you might run out of battery juice on Glass within three to four hours. Most smartphones face criticisms for their low battery backup, but Google Glass performs even worse on this count.

  10. Timeline often gets overloaded quickly – From app-notifications to images and videos, everything on the Google Glass gets stored on the timeline of the device. Initially, this might seem rather convenient – but as soon as the timeline starts getting cluttered, using the Glass becomes a problem. Users are expected to go through elaborate search procedures, to retrieve the media files that they might be looking for at any time.

The general HUD-based user interface of Google Glass has not wowed many users either. Random tests have shown that, activating the Glass can be a time-consuming task as well. The gadget is not suitable for ‘prolonged interactions’ (e.g., watching hour-long television programs). Just like gimmicky apps released by Android and iPhone application development companies in India and overseas, Google Glass has all the potential of being an overhyped failure. Google wins brownie points for bringing an innovative product to the market – but the latter’s functionality leaves much to be desired!

 

12 Features That iOS 8 Should Definitely Have

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Everyone is talking about the Apple iOS 8 platform, which is reportedly in the development stage at present. Can it really bring in any improvements over the already popular iOS 7? It definitely can, and here’s how!

 

Since its release in September last year, the iOS 7 mobile application platform has garnered an enormous fan-following across the globe, among techies and general users alike. Adding to the excitements of iPhone/iPad fans is the rumor that, the all-new iOS 8 would also be probably ready for launch, by the end of 2014. Let us here focus on certain features that would make the iOS 8 platform even more efficient and user-friendly than its predecessor:

  1. A revamped iCloud – Dropbox can be used as the document manager application on iOS 7 – but that does not really mask over the grossly unsatisfactory workflow performance of the iCloud setup. We can reasonably hope that, on the iOS 8 platform, it would be much easier to securely store documents in the cloud network. Oh, and could Apple please see to it that files can be attached to emails?

  2. A quicker way to clear app notifications – On iOS 7 handsets with a fairly large number of mobile apps with push-notification feature, clearing these notifications can be a trying task. There is a tiny cross sign on the screen, which has to be double-tapped – to clear one notification at a time. Apple can take a cue from the Android phones, and offer a single swiping option to check all app-notifications at once.

  3. The Healthbook app – One of the first things that got most people hooked on to the rumors about iOS 8 was that, it would be having an exclusive Healthbook mobile application. As per early reports, the functions of Healthbook are going to be much more holistic and useful, than the reports generated by any random apps created by iPhone app development companies in India or abroad. Apart from monitoring vital health metrics, the default application would also have options to set reminders. Health-conscious users are surely looking forward to using it!

  4. Arranging the pre-installed apps on the display screen – We have accepted the fact that, without doing an iOS jailbreak, it would never be possible to install third-party apps on an iPhone/iPad. However, users should at least have the option to move/hide the pre-installed widgets and applications as per their requirements. A bit of personalization would surely bolster the popularity of iOS 8.

  5. Provision of real-time device status information – You have probably heard about the ill-effects of launching multiple smartphone apps on an iOS 7 device simultaneously. It would be handy if, on iOS 8, the actual bandwidth consumption, CPU usage and battery drain that every app causes could be monitored. Designers can either put such information on a panel near the bottom of the screen, or put it in a separate dialog box.

  6. A separate folder for Screenshots – It has been nearly half a decade since Apple announced that screenshots could be taken with iPhones. While this has been a great addition to the overall phone features, confusions often crop up – since the screenshots are stored under the common ‘Camera Roll’ folder. It would only take a minor tweak to create a separate folder for all the screenshots taken with a device powered by the latest version of iOS.

  7. Multiple user accounts – This one is really necessary. There can be times when a family-member or a friend borrows your iPhone for some time – and you definitely do not want him/her to unwillingly damage the important files and data stored in the device. Hence, iOS 8 should have provisions for separate ‘Guest’ accounts – to accommodate other people needing to use your handset. If you have a toddler at home, you would like to download a few cool iPhone apps for kids as well, which makes the presence of a ‘Child’ account essential too.

  8. More advanced Touch ID features – On most iOS 7 devices, Touch ID is required only for unlocking them. News is in the air that on the soon-to-release iOS version, Touch ID is going to get a significant lift in its functionality. It should ideally be able to store fingerprint data, so that downloading apps become easier and quicker. Provided that Guest Account options are indeed provided on iOS 8, anyone other than the main user (identified by Touch ID) of the device would automatically be redirected to a new account.

  9. Split-screen display – Slightly far-fetched, but it would indeed be a valuable feature on the new iOS platform. Toggling between multiple apps is not the easiest task on iOS 7 devices, and things would become a lot easier if the screen could be divided into two parts – for simultaneously working on more than one application. It is definitely possible on an iPad – and since iPhone 6 would probably have a larger screen too, Apple can give this a serious thought for its mobile handsets as well.

  10. Instant reply option to messages – The OS X Mavericks has it, and there is no reason why iOS 8 can’t have it either. Instead of tapping on a WhatsApp or iMessage notification, navigating to the new message and then composing a reply – it would be great if all this could be done on a separate popup dialog box. That way, users won’t have to quit from the apps that they are currently using, to reply to messages.

  11. Presence of a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode – With techniques for iPhone development in India and overseas gathering pace with every passing quarter, why should users have to remain content with only caller-block features? It can well happen that a person is not in a position to place/receive calls (maybe, during a meeting) – but needs to access the other features of the iPhone. Activating the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode would block out all calls for specific periods of time, without your having to block any individual caller.

  12. Better parental control features – These are not only necessary for monitoring the usage of engaging apps for kids on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Secure parental lock would rule out the possibility of accidental in-app purchases. Only recently, Apple had to cough up a pretty hefty penalty – precisely on this count. With its main rival, Google Android, also lacking proper web filtering and parental control functionality, Apple has the opportunity to surge ahead with iOS 8.

An advanced iOS 8-powered device should support group calls via FaceTime too (at present, only single two-way calls are supported). There is a common complaint that notifications have to be separately cleared from multiple devices (if being used) – and that also needs to be addressed. The navigation features, already a delight on iOS 7, can become even more intuitive on iOS 8. Apple can make us fall in love with its devices all over again…only if it pays heed to the above factors, while chalking out plans for the new platform.

iPhone 6: The Changes That We Want To See

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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From general Apple fans, to professionals from iPhone app development companies worldwide – everyone is looking forward to the impending release of the iPhone 6. We here present a wishlist of features, that would truly endear it to users.

 

Going by the sheer range of rumors and conjectures about it, the soon-to-be-released iPhone 6 has already become one of the most hyped smartphones in recent times. Apple fans have been scouring the web for months now, looking for leaked pictures, random concept designs and technical spec details of the latest addition to the line of iPhone models – each of them hugely successful ones. We have here jotted down some of the changes and added features we would love to see in iPhone 6, which is expected to hit the markets later this year:

  1. A stronger sapphire screen – The iPhone 5S ranks relatively high on the sturdiness count – thanks to its strong metal back support. However, the Gorilla glass display screen remains a cause for concern, and the device can get broken after a slightly heavy drop. A sapphire screen would be practically unbreakable, putting the apprehensions of iPhone-lovers to rest.

  2. Near Field Communication support – With global mobile transactions projected to move beyond $750 billion by the end of 2017, it is rather reasonable to hope that the next-generation iOS device would allow users to make payments in a secure, seamless manner. According to executives from iPhone application development companies in India and overseas, a Near Field Communications (NFC) integration is essential for the coming-soon device to double up as a portable transactions hub.

  3. Quad-core processor – There has hardly been any complaints about the device speeds of the iPhone 5S – which is powered by the A7 processor. Even so, we would prefer the iPhone 6 to have a built-in 64-bit chip, which would make the task of launching mobile apps on it even quicker. Chances of it being the pioneering quad-core handset from Apple cannot be ruled out either – and if it is, users will be delighted!

  4. Changeable battery options – If there is any fault that can be pinpointed about an iPhone (on any smartphone, for that matter) – it would be the low battery-life of the devices. In particular, if the wi-fi on iOS devices is switched on at all times, the battery drain can be at an alarming rate. Everyone would appreciate if the iPhone 6 finally offered the much talked-about changeable battery feature. The need to carry the phone charger everywhere would disappear.

  5. A better iSight – For a high-end phone like the iPhone 5S, the 8MP iSight camera comes across as a slight disappointment. Apple fanboys/girls are keeping their fingers crossed about the company finally bringing a 12-13 MP camera on the new handset. A reliable optical image stabilization feature would also be a nice addition to the iSight settings. The camera sensor is just fine though, there ain’t any reason to tweak with it.

  6. A customized home screen option, maybe? – Ah well, this is probably not going to happen – but let’s include it in our wishlist anyway. Android phones are often deemed to be more user-friendly than iOS devices – simply because the latter do not provide people the option to arrange icons and widgets on the home screen, according to their preference. After downloading an app from the store of any mobile application development company, we should be able to save it right on the home screen – instead of having to search the device for it. Is Apple listening?

  7. Better memory management – This one is way more realistic. Given the volume of multimedia content that average users store on their iPhones – it would be greatly convenient if the iPhone 6 had 128 GB of built-in memory (at present, the maximum memory limit is 64 GB). Apple has already released a 128 GB iPad, so an iPhone version with similar memory capacity should not be a long way off.

  8. Faster data transfer options – This would be required only if the new iPhone indeed has an enhanced memory capacity. The existing Lightning connection is good enough for 64 GB or lower phones – but it might become too slow for properly syncing about double that volume of data across devices. No one has minutes to waste while files are being transferred, and a faster Lightning would serve us well.

  9. A mini screen projector – There was a projector application on the Samsung Galaxy S Beam – but it was hardly anything more than a gimmicky add-on. On the iPhone 6, a mini projector can be present – to remove the edges from the display, offering a richer gaming and video-watching experience to users. The various interactive iPhone apps for kids would also appear more charming on a projector-supported display screen.

  10. A scratch-resistant back surface – A patent has already been obtained by Apple, indicating that the iPhone 6 might very well have a super-strong amorphous alloy metal back. It would practically rule out the possibility of accidental scratches on the phone body, and would make the device more conducive to relatively more rough usage too. No one likes their expensive smartphone getting scratched too soon!

  11. A larger screen – iPhone 5 has a four-inch display, which is already higher than that on the iPhone 4S. However, there have been rumors in various Apple forums and panels, that an even larger display screen could be in the offing for the iPhone 6. The dimension can be anything between 4.7 inches to 5.5 inches, and would probably boast of even better resolution features too.

An advanced FaceTime camera feature would also enable Apple to include accurate eye-tracking methods for screen-scrolling, on iPhone 6. Movie buffs would love it, if the handset came with blu-ray playback options (some Android phones already have this). With the release of the iOS 8 mobile platform also in the offing – the iPhone 6 already seems to be a big hit, months before its launch!

 

Minimize Chances Of Your Mobile Apps Getting Rejected At Apple iTunes

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Just because you have a valid iTunes account and have been acknowledged as an expert mobile app developer does not mean all the applications you make will easily get approved at the Apple store. You need to follow these guidelines, to ensure that your apps do not get rejected.

 

The approval process for mobile applications at the iTunes store is rather stringent. While this means that buyers are almost always ensured to get apps with quality assurance, many developers often view the task of getting their apps approved at the store to be cumbersome. Given the significant number of app-rejections done by Apple every quarter, a bit of apprehension creeping in the minds of app developers is not entirely inexplicable. However, if you are interested in mobile application development for the Apple iTunes store, the following tips would help in keeping chances of rejections pretty much minimal:

  1. Test your app for bugs and malware – This is self-explanatory. If you rush through the mobile app testing phase in a hurry, bugs and viruses can remain undetected – and such faulty applications would immediately be chucked out by the Apple authorities. You need to test new apps in focus groups, as well as on devices connected to the cloud network.

  2. Avoid including complicated app operations – The simpler and user-friendly your mobile applications are, the greater is the chance of their getting approved quickly at iTunes. The initial version of the app you submit should be simplistic – focusing only on the primary purpose it is supposed to serve. Later on, you can always release upgrades, implementing progressively advanced controls, features and functionality.

  3. Apple hates apps in demo mode – Wouldn’t it be just great, if your app could have a trial run on the Apple store – before you went ahead with the full release? Unfortunately, that’s not possible, since smartphone applications in beta mode or demo mode are never accepted by the authorities. You need to submit the final version of an optimized app, to be hopeful about its approval.

  4. Make sure that the app interface adheres to Apple guidelines – There are set guidelines about the user-interface (UI) features that developers from an iPhone application development company should always be aware of. An app with even ‘minor’ touch-related glitches can be promptly disapproved by Apple. For instance, if you have created a mobile app for kids with text highlighting options, make sure that the feature gets activated only when the screen surface is tapped.

  5. Be careful while naming your app – iPhone apps whose name suggest any form of violence have practically zero chance of getting accepted at Apple iTunes. The trick here lies in choosing an appropriate name for your new application, that would make it stand out from other similar apps, without having any suggestions of offensiveness. Do not get too excited and end up choosing a misleading name, however.

  6. Unpublished API-s are an absolute ‘no-no’ – As the methods for iPhone application development in India and overseas have evolved, the set of API-s you can use for new apps has expanded too. Remember, you need to publish the names and brief descriptions (in most cases) of all the application programming interfaces used in your product. Apps with unpublished APIs are, more often than not, rejected outright. For monetized applications, following the in-app purchase regulations of Apple, and having the Cordova plug-in, are also essential.

  7. Make your app quick to load – If the app you have submitted at iTunes takes over 12 seconds (on average) to launch on devices, you can stop hoping about it getting approved. In addition, you need to ensure that the bandwidth requirements of your application is, almost always, on the lower side. Mobile users hate apps that take too long to load and/or require heavy data downloads – and Apple, understandably, is not a fan of such apps either!

  8. Provide all relevant information – Negligence while providing information about new applications can cost a mobile app development company dear. To get your apps featured at iTunes, you need to provide information on the types of icons, pictures and other visual elements that they include (having a couple of unnecessary Apple logos is not going to please anyone!). Do not forget to give detailed contact information (phone/fax nos., email ids, etc.) as well.

  9. Do not plagiarize app-ideas from other developers – It’s not bad luck when the app you have developed turns out to be almost identical to an application already displayed at the iTunes store. It only indicates that you either neglected to do a proper research before starting the app development process, or were hoping to simply ‘copy’ someone else’s idea and get away with it. With the Apple store currently having well over a million apps, it’s tough to come up with totally unique stuff every time. You only have to ensure that your products do not bear uncanny resemblances to already existing apps.

  10. Do your apps work only when internet coverage is available? – If yes, that takes down the its chances of getting approved considerably. To be regarded as good, a mobile application should remain functional even when the device network coverage is not available. In case the app has links to external web pages, publish such information from beforehand. A 12+ rating is necessary for your app, if you have implemented the UIWebView feature in it.

  11. Avoid targeting a niche that is too small – Apple gauges whether newly submitted apps would be useful for a relatively high percentage of users – and your application should not come up short on this count. Do not create an app that offers only a glimpse of your organizational workflow, or one that provides a service that has a very limited demand. Mobile apps that target very narrow niches are either rejected, or remain present on iTunes – but with disappointing download figures.

  12. Interact with other Apple app developers – Networking with professional peers can be instrumental in preventing you from making serious mistakes while developing iPhone/iPad applications. You can learn from the cases of app-rejections (if any) that other mobile application development companies might have suffered. In general too, seamless exchange of ideas between different teams of developers often helps in the generation of original, interesting, viable app concepts.

 

On average, you might have to wait for up to four weeks for your iOS applications to get approved at iTunes. Remember, the reviewers get scores of new apps everyday, and it takes time to properly check each of them. Do not get too disappointed if your first couple of apps do get rejected – you can learn from your mistakes and make better software products later. If you adhere to the basic app development guidelines, the probability of your application getting approved and featured at iTunes would go up, significantly!

9 Reasons Why WhatsApp Is Indeed Worth $19 Billion To Facebook

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Many eyebrows were raised, when Facebook announced that it would be taking over WhatsApp for an astounding $19 billion – a deal that did not take even two weeks to be formed. We have here focused on certain factors that make this move a smart one on the part of Facebook, from a long-term perspective.

 

It’s the corporate acquisition deal from the IT and social media sector that everyone is talking about. When Mark Zuckerberg finally decided to shell out $ 19 billion to Jan Koum’s wildly popular instant messaging application, WhatsApp – several business records were broken. It was by far the most expensive acquisition in the history of Facebook – comfortably beating the $ 1 billion paid for Instagram, two years back. Overall too, the Facebook-WhatsApp deal was more than double the value of the Microsoft-Skype agreement (which involved $ 8.5 billion). What made WhatsApp indeed worth so much to Facebook? Let’s take a look:

  1. Tackling the problem of dwindling interest among young users – According to cumulative research figures covering the last three years, the total number of Facebook users in the 18-25 age group had gone down by an alarming 3.5 million. In fact, it had been projected that FB would lose as much as eighty percent of its current user-base, by the end of 2017 (a Princeton study). The money shelled out for acquiring WhatsApp was necessary for steadying the existence of Facebook, which was on somewhat shaky grounds.

  2. Effort to reach out to young audience worldwide – A pattern can be detected in Facebook’s recent market activities and acquisitions. It went for Instagram in 2012, had a failed bid for Snapchat, and now it has the ownership of WhatsApp. Clearly, young users – who are the primary subscribers of these IM/image-sharing mobile apps – are the principal target audience of Mark Zuckerberg’s empire. WhatsApp was in a position to bargain for the deal value and raise it so much – simple.

  3. No extra cost for monetization – The $ 19 billion paid by Facebook is, for all practical purposes, a one-time spending. Unlike what was the case with Instagram, Zuckerberg’s team does not need to spend more money on devising a monetization/business policy for WhatsApp. Users who are using WhatsApp for more than a year are already charged $ 1. Provided that the app would be bringing in about a million new users daily, Facebook can be confident of getting a handsome return on its investment over the long-run.

  4. Was WhatsApp’s popularity becoming a threat? – Any random iphone application development company in India or abroad could not have challenged Facebook – but WhatsApp was probably already doing so. The monthly users of the instant messaging app is around 460 million, and approximately 71% of that figure use WhatsApp every single day. The actual daily usage figure of Facebook (about 62%) is way lower. With this acquisition deal, chances of WhatsApp becoming ‘the new Facebook’ have been effectively quashed.

  5. Giving people more interaction reasons – Apps like Instagram and WhatsApp offer specific services to users – like texting, and photo and video-sharing. Now compare that with Facebook – which, in itself, do not provide any extra motive for people to use it. The FB chat has a more than worthy rival in Gmail chat/Gtalk, while Facebook mail is already a flop. Now that WhatsApp legally belongs to Facebook, individuals are likely to be more interested in interacting with the latter. Only status and photo-uploads were no longer enough!

  6. Mark Zuckerberg did not want another ‘Snapchat scenario’ – The attempts of Facebook to take over Snapchat were frustrating, to say the least, for Zuckerberg and his colleagues. The final price offered was a whopping $ 3 billion – and even then they had failed to woo over Snapchat. Facebook did not want another failed bid with WhatsApp, which was, in any case, way more lucrative than Snapchat. Maybe the deal could have been concluded at a couple of billion dollars less, but Facebook did not want to take a chance.

  7. The revenue-to-profit model is simple – WhatsApp is a ‘small’ company, with 50-odd employees – a far cry from social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. On FB, maintaining the staff and chalking up viable business expansion plans are both expensive and time-consuming affairs. Such would not be the case with WhatsApp, and the mind-numbing revenue figures would almost entirely be available as actual profit. It’s a cash-cow that Mark Zuckerberg has purchased – one that does not need much maintenance either.

  8. Opportunity of penetrating the international markets better – Facebook is holding firm in the United States and Canada, but there are places across the globe where it is yet to really catch on. For instance, the engagement rate of average internet-users is on the lower side in most Latin American nations and, to a lesser extent, even in India. Interestingly, these are the places where WhatsApp is extremely popular (ironically, its position in the US is not anything to write home about). The $ 19 billion agreement allows both Facebook and WhatsApp to become ‘global brands’ in the truest sense.

  9. Facebook’s attempts to adopt futuristic policies make the acquisition worthwhile – In 2006, when Google bought YouTube for $ 1.65 billion, most business experts were of the opinion that the deal was ‘overpriced’. They have since been proved wrong, given the exponential rate at which YouTube’s regular fan-base has expanded across the world. At the other extreme, there was Yahoo – which committed the blunder of acquiring hardly anything, at a time when it was in a market-dominant position. Facebook does not want to go the Yahoo way – it has the money to acquire potentially rewarding apps and software, and Zuckerberg is not shy to use his financial power to secure FB’s future.

 

 

Other things aside, the very fact that WhatsApp had become the fastest growing organization in the world (leaving Facebook itself way behind) justifies that FB would try to acquire it, even at an exorbitant price. Since Zuckerberg has categorically stated that ads won’t be run on WhatsApp’s interface – he clearly has the confidence that the app would be reaping handsome profits from its users worldwide. It took only eleven days to strike up the $19 billion deal between Facebook and WhatsApp, and it sure seems to be a smart piece of investment by the Mark Zuckerberg and his team.

 

We only hope WhatsApp won’t have a ‘Log in with Facebook’ box on its welcome screen!

 

The Fall Of The Symbian OS: A Case Study

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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Intense competition from Android and iOS is often highlighted as the chief cause for the rapid decline in popularity of Symbian. There are plenty of other factors that contributed to the downfall of this mobile platform too, and we take a look at some of them here.

The Symbian mobile operating platform had a lot of things going for it. Launched in 1998, the OS definitely had the first-mover’s advantage in the internet-enabled handset market, and even had the backing of major players like Nokia and Samsung. The general battery backup feature of Symbian was also relatively high – something that can’t be asserted about most of its more successful competitors. All this makes the spectacular fall of the Symbian OS an interesting study. We here try to pinpoint the causes that led to the ultimate demise of Symbian:

  1. Poor internet performance – Mobile web surfing is all about speed (at least for most users), and Symbian fails miserably on this count. On handsets powered by this mobile platform, it became almost imperative for people to download a third-party browser app, to be able to access the web. Even so, the internet speed was nowhere close to the sophisticated iOS or Android devices.

  2. Failure to gain advantage from being open-source – Open-source software applications generally get a headstart over competitors – but such was not the case with the Symbian OS. In fact, when Symbian first came into being (from Psion Software) – it had hardly any competitors from the same market niche. When other players did start to arrive (e.g., the arrival of iPhone in 2007), Symbian was just not prepared to keep up.

  3. The unsatisfactory app-availability – Hardcore Symbian fanboys/girls would argue that there are well over ten thousand mobile applications native to the Symbian platform. However, the fact that it took the OS as many as seven years to reach that mark also has to be taken into account. Compare the scenario with that in iTunes, where the app-count is already in excess of one million – and iPhone application development companies in India and overseas releasing many new apps every quarter – and you get the picture.

  4. Developers started to hate Symbian – The intricate, often downright complex, ANSI and STL-based codes for Symbian were something the developers took pride in during the early 2000s – but the love story soon turned sour. The extension for the Behemoth API was an absolute washout, and the system experts struggled to resolve even relatively simple handset problems. Compared to Symbian, the Android and the iOS codes are way simpler.

  5. The boring user-interface (UI) – Symbian initially wowed first-time users of the Nokia E-series and N-series phones. As the popularity of these handsets waned, so did the charms of the mobile operating platform. Those in charge of maintaining Symbian made hardly any efforts to upgrade the UI and include more dynamic features in it. The OS made the mistake of remaining static, and hitherto loyal users soon got bored with it.

  6. Did Symbian ever really target the smartphone market? – Symbian was the pioneering handset for mobile phones and PDAs, but it hardly had any focused functionality/support for smartphones/feature phones. As internet-enabled devices grew in popularity, people stopped remaining content with the high stability features that Symbian offered. Even Nokia – Symbian’s long-standing partner, ditched it in favor of the Windows Phone – underlining the Finnish company’s lack of confidence in Symbian. Windows Phone has also flopped, but that’s a separate issue altogether.

  7. The presence of four alternative user interface systems – The frustrations of experts from mobile app development companies stemmed not only from the difficulty of coding. Symbian OS had, at one time, four different UI systems (S90, S60, S80 and UIQ) – and applications developed for one of them could not be used on the others. Even the underlying app codes were not reusable. Symbian also faced an unexpected competition from Nokia’s very own NOS/S40 platform.

  8. The perceived lack of profitability – Android has the Google Play Store, iPhone/iPad has the iTunes store – but there was no such systematic channel for app-sales and revenue-generation for Symbian apps (the Ovi Store came too late). Manufacturers, in fact, had to compete with each other, to promote their mobile applications. When other mobile platforms, with their higher profitability potentials, came calling, the disgruntled marketers did not need much added incentive to bid adieu to Symbian.

  9. Frequent screen freezes and call drops – Nokia E7 and N8 were two of the most high-end Symbian handsets in the late-2000s, and neither of them provided that seamless mobile handling experience that iPhones and Android phones now offer. The general operational speed of Symbian was rather ho-hum, and there were complaints about devices getting hung due to no apparent cause. Cases of calls getting dropped on Symbian-powered phones were also not uncommon.

  10. The unmanageable network of Symbian partners – The frustratingly long time-lags between planning and implementing an update on the Symbian platform did not help either. For instance, to port Symbian products on a new carrier, approvals had to be taken from literally thousands of partner companies. The mobile app designing themes and system architecture of Symbian were already creaking – and this uncalled-for bureaucracy totally killed it of.

In the late-90s and the early-2000s, when Real Time Operating Systems for PDAs were in vogue, Symbian OS ruled the market. Thanks a combination of poor maintenance, over complicated coding, and a total failure to keep up with the latest smartphone market trends, the platform is in a truly dismal position now. Symbian is currently maintained by Accenture – but after 2016, whether it would continue to exist remains a question.

 

How to expedite a review in App Store?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Follow these simple steps to expedite a review in App Store:

1. Login with itunes connect. Then  click on  “Contact us.”

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2. Now choose the option “App review” from drop down menu.

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3. Choose the option “Request Expedited review” from the next drop down menu.

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4. Now click on “Request an Expedited App Review” that is highlighted

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5. Fill in all the required details

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6. Do not forget to fill in the reason for the expedited review and all the descriptions. It’s mandatory! For example- If you want to expedite a review for a minor bug fix, you have to fill in all the details of reproducing the bug and also mention a valid reason for fixing.

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7. Once you are done with the above mentioned steps, just submit your form.

 

 

 

 

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development – Merits & Demerits

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Wouldn’t it be simply great for mobile app developers, if they did not have to worry about the specifications of the different smartphone platforms? Considering cross-platform mobile apps to be problem-free on all counts would be rather too naive though. We have here gauged the merits and demerits of such apps against a few relevant criteria.

If you feel that a smartphone is meant only for talking, texting, and maybe for surfing the web a bit – you are, for all purposes, living in the Stone Age. Mobile-users from across the world expect their handsets to serve as fast and efficient multitasking devices. This, in turn, brings to light the importance of mobile applications. With multiple mobile OS platforms being present, professional developers often face the dilemma of whether they should create native apps for each system, or go for cross-platform mobile app development. Let us here take you through some key advantages and disadvantages of the latter option:

 

  1. Ease of development – Apps with cross-platform compatibility features require only a single set of coding. That, in turn, makes the task of mobile application developers easier. If separate, customized versions have to be developed for Blackberry, iOS and Android platforms, risks of a coding error cropping up also becomes higher. Developing a cross-platform smartphone app is a quicker process too, ensuring that there are no delays in its deployment.

  2. Availability of app development tools – The tools and software supported by the different frameworks vary – and that can pose a problem for seamless cross-platform mobile app development. For instance, if an expert is involved in iPhone app development in India – (s)he won’t be able to use most of the tools that work for the Android platform. Of late, tools like Eclipse and PhoneGap have reduced this problem somewhat though.

  3. Security and cloud functionality – While high-end custom mobile applications are not ‘unsafe’ or anything, you do not need to worry about implementing separate security methods for the different versions, while creating a cross-platform app. The overall features and functionality of such an application in the cloud network are generally robust too. A wide range of enterprise features can be smoothly integrated in cross-platform applications.

  4. UI considerations – The key to the ultimate success or failure of a mobile app is its user-friendliness. This is the point where cross-platform app developers face the biggest challenge. Professionals from mobile application development companies have to be aware of the screen size, resolution, layout, and all other features of the popular handheld devices, powered by the different platforms. On the other hand, the design schemes for exclusive iOS or Android apps are more easily optimized.

  5. App speed – There remains a risk of cross-platform mobile apps being just a tad slower than those developed specifically for select frameworks. This generally happens since the umbrella code used for the app has to rendered properly by devices running on different OS. Users might also find that certain features of an app are not working on one platform, and are functioning okay on another.

  6. Help in brand-building – Let’s move away from the technical considerations for a moment. A cross-platform mobile application invariably has uniform display features (complete with logos, punch lines, symbols, etc.) on all the platforms – which helps in maintaining a continuity in the process of brand-building of a smartphone application development company. Customized mobile apps for different platforms can also be broadly similar, but such absolute syncing is almost impossible to achieve.

  7. App development costs – The mobile application development cost associated with most (if not all) cross-platform software is lower than the required expenses for native apps. This automatically enhances the financial viability of the former type of applications. What’s more – the code used for cross-platform mobile application development is mostly reusable, adding to the convenience of developers.

  8. App-upgradation – Yet another major disadvantage of relying solely on cross-platform mobile applications. New software systems are released and framework changes are announced by Google Android, Apple, Windows and the other platforms at regular intervals – and it becomes rather tough to keep tweaking the app code, so that it still remains properly functional on all the platforms. However, an expert from an iPhone app development company in India does not need to closely monitor all the Android and Blackberry updates, (s)he only has to upgrade his/her mobile applications according to the latest iOS updates.

  9. Reproduction of 3D app development graphics – There are a few tools (e.g., Unity) to ensure that the high-res graphics used in cross-platform applications are displayed correctly on all types of mobile devices. However, if the code includes the implementation of 3D features, the chances of it functioning properly on each development platform is extremely remote. Except for gaming apps, it is generally inadvisable to put 3D features in cross-platform apps.

  10. Linking to APIs – Both APIs and additional plugins are easy to access, through cross-platform smartphone apps. Mobile application developers only need to ensure that the linking has been done in an error-free manner, in the app’s source code. An efficient, platform-independent app can also call upon basic mobile resources (camera, voice/video recorder, GPS, etc.) without any hassles.

Most mobile platforms have unique vendor lock-in features, as a result of which reusability of app development codes takes a hit. Testing a single version of a mobile app is, on the other hand, quicker and way easier, than having to look for bugs in separately designed versions for the different platforms. With cross-platform mobile app development having several points going for and against it – there is no way of clearly recommending it, or advising developers to stay away of it. At the end of the day, the nature of the application that is being developed, and the target buyers, should determine whether you should go for a cross-platform app or not.

 

12 Apple Products That Were Huge Flops

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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In terms of market capitalization, Apple currently ranks as the most valuable company in the world. However, the company behind the wildly popular iPhones and iMac-s has, over time, come out with flop products too – some of which have been listed below.

Last November, the media was all abuzz with how the newly launched iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C were breaking all types of initial sales records in the Indian markets. On the global level too, Apple Inc. has every reason to be pleased with the revenue figures generated by its major gadgets – right from iPhones and iPads, to iPod Touch and Apple TV. However, that does not mean that the company has never come up with disappointing products. Here are twelve Apple products that turned out to be humongous flops:

 

  1. Macintosh TV – In 1993, Apple planned to release a gadget that combined the functionality of a television and a computer, but the end-product – the Macintosh TV – was horribly bad. There were complaints about problems in the TV tuner card, while the performance of the device as a computer was not up to the mark either. The price tag of Macintosh TV was rather exorbitant too, and people stayed well away from it.

  2. Pippin – The range of iPhone and iPad apps in India and abroad is nothing short of phenomenal – but Apple’s foray into the video gaming market was shockingly dismal. The Pippin gaming console was developed on the outdated Mac OS 7 system, and its game library was surprisingly limited. The processor speed of the console was well below 70 MHz, which was another disadvantage. With Nintendo and PlayStation starting to expand their user bases worldwide, the loss-making Pippin had to be withdrawn.

  3. iMac USB Mouse – Launched in 1998, this strangely-shaped USB mouse was a far cry from the user-friendly Magic Mouse that is so popular at present. The roundish structure of the mouse made it difficult to operate, and its responsiveness was not always reliable either. Single-touch input gadgets are a specialty of Apple Inc, but this one simply did not work.

  4. Newton – When an ambitious line of PDA devices has comic strips dedicated to it – you can well imagine how bad it was. The Newton operating system came out in 1993, and boasted of unique handwriting recognition features as its standout feature. Ironically, this property turned out to be Newton’s bane, with the recognition often being faulty and erroneous. No wonder Doonesbury cartoon found inspiration from it!

  5. PowerPC – The decision of Steve Jobs to collaborate with IBM to create the PowerPC central processing unit (CPU) is one of the worst ever in the entire timeline of Apple. The haphazardly put together computing platform supposedly had chips with high-end megahertz properties – but its sales figures, after a steady start, fell away drastically. To its credit, Apple kept trying to revive Power PC till 2005, after which it simply had to give up the ghost. The Intel processors had moved way ahead by that time.

  6. Ping – Hyped to the skies, Ping was one of the biggest disappointments in the domain of music-related products from Apple. Critics from iPhone app development companies worldwide pointed at the absence of playlist-sharing features as the biggest drawback of Ping. In essence, all that it did was recommend such music to people that were already present in the iTunes store. Let alone being a big breakthrough, Ping was not even looked upon as necessary.

  7. Macintosh (20th Anniversary Edition) – Progressive reductions in price were not enough to save this poorly conceived product from turning out into a turkey. Launched to mark the 20th anniversary of Apple Inc, the limited edition Mac had side speakers, a slim LCD screen, and thoroughly inconvenient vertical disc drives. It looked ungainly, and most people did not consider it to be worth buying.

  8. QuickTake – QuickTake was Apple’s attempt at making a digital camera, and to be fair, its technical specifications were pretty impressive. The shutter speed was good, the battery performance (three AA batteries) was satisfactory, and the overall design was simplistic yet elegant. What really killed off the product was the intense competition from companies like Canon and Kodak – which offered similar cameras, at significantly lower prices. Launched in 1994, QuickTake went off the shelves after three years of struggle.

  9. Copland – In the mid-90s, Apple’s iPhone app development in India or other countries was not strong, the company was reeling under a couple of major flops – and the time was not quite right to bring out the futuristic Copland vaporware tool. Copland was intended to provide superior multitasking features and smarter memory management, along with seamless integration with most Mac devices. The response to the release of the beta version of Copland (in 1995) was lukewarm at best, and the full-version – released much later – was a predictable flop. To its credit, Apple managed to use elements of Copland in its successful Mac OS 8.

  10. iPod Photo – People who love music on the go swear by the Apple iPod, but the response to the iPod Photo was not half as enthusiastic. Billed as a unique video iPod, the shockingly low-resolution of the images on the device was the biggest factor behind its failure. The 40 GB iPod Photo was more expensive than the regular iPod too, and was, understandably, not worth purchasing.

  11. G4 Cube – Make no mistake, the concept of placing a full-feature Mac inside a eight inch cube did not lack in the novelty factor. The design of the G4 Cube – the handiwork of Jonathan Ive – won decent reviews and a couple of awards too. After all the hype and hoopla about the G4 Cube, people finally noticed its price tag – which was an unbelievable $1599! A classic example of a good enough product, destroyed by a wrong pricing strategy.

  12. Lisa – The year was 1983, the Macintosh had not yet made an appearance, and Steve Jobs and his colleagues had high hopes from Apple Lisa – the first Apple computer with a graphic user interface (GUI). The strategy of naming the computer after Jobs’ own daughter did not prove to be a lucky charm – partly due to its chunky design features, and mostly due to its extremely high price (a shade under $10000). Thank goodness, Jobs managed to ensure that ‘1984 will not be like 1984’ – and company returned to profit-making ways, with Mac.

 

While the Apple TV is making waves in the international markets, its initial version (the first-generation Apple TV) was a flop as well. Macintosh Portable, which is often considered the precursor of the modern-day Apple laptops, did not find much favor among end-users either. The iPod 3G turned out to be too minimalistic for its own good. Like every big company, Apple Inc. made products that bombed in the markets – but the company learnt from such mistakes, and of late, flop products from the company have become pretty much unheard of!

Apple TV – Worth The Hype?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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In terms of quarterly and annual sales in 2012 and 2013, Apple TV has definitely taken the worldwide market by storm. However, is the latest expansion of Apple’s so-called ‘experimental strategy’ as good as it is being made out to be? We try to find the answers here.

 

The recent endeavors of Apple Inc. to literally reach the ‘living room’ of people are best epitomized by Apple TV. Annual sales figures of this high-definition content-streaming device have soared over the years, with company CEO Tim Cook claiming that as many as 6.5 million units were sold in 2012-13. While all this point to Apple TV being a grand success, there have been certain complaints about it – coming in from different quarters. Let us here take a look at how good the much-hyped Apple TV really is:

 

  1. Design and UI – Trust Apple to come up with attractive, sleek designs for the high-end second-generation (black) Apple TV. The aesthetic appeal of the gadget has definitely played a part in its burgeoning sales over the last few years. Provided that you own an iPhone and/or an iPod Touch, you won’t face any problems with the user-interface (UI) of Apple TV either.

  2. Connectivity – The video streaming device from Apple can be used to stream content from practically all types of iOS devices (ranging from iPhone, to a PC or an iMac) to a HD television. The only catch here is that, the TV has to be HDMI-enabled, for it to be able to receive content from Apple TV. There have been cases when users unaware of this factor have faced problems, while using the device.

  3. Display – Just as the iPhone and mobile app designing plans used at Apple Inc. are excellent, the display features of the Apple TV are nothing short of extraordinary. The full HD (1080p) screen makes for crystal-clear display, while the Base-T Ethernet support serves as an added advantage. The optically-enhanced digital audio system is yet another high point. One has to admit, watching video content on Apple TV is fun!

  4. Menu flexibility – Apple apparently does not believe in giving too much of flexibility to its users. Unless you do an iPhone jailbreak, you can’t install third-party apps on it – and there are no options to customize/rearrange the main menu items on the home screen of Apple TV either. Most people like the default arrangement, but a facility to change up the screen should have been present.

  5. Price – At first glance, the price tag of the Apple TV seems competitive enough. However, you would get a clearer picture when you compare its features with that of other similar gadgets, in the same price-bracket (e.g., Roku 2XS). Most such alternative devices offer far greater content-streaming options than what Apple’s aggressively promoted product does. Apple TV might not burn a hole in your pocket, but it’s not the last word in video streaming either.

  6. Disc playback – Another significant con of the Apple TV. You cannot play back videos from CDs or DVDs on the gadget – no matter in which format the disc has been recorded and formatted. The TV does not come with any facility to record select content either. The absence of Hulu Plus subscription service has also disappointed many Apple fans across the globe.

  7. Screen Mirroring – Apple TV is not only about video streaming from iOS devices. As the technology related to iPhone app development in India has improved, so have the built-in features in the third-generation (3G) Apple TV set. It now has AirPlay features, which helps people to perform screen mirroring with absolute ease. Extra mirror drivers are, generally, not required.

  8. Storage capacity – For an advanced content-streaming and viewing Apple device, it’s rather surprising that the TV lacks any designated internal memory space for storing video content. While it’s true that Apple TV has a 8 GB memory, it is entirely meant to be used for caching purposes. Even if you absolutely love a piece of content and want it for repeat viewing, you cannot sideload it on the device.

  9. The iTunes restriction – The point that often takes away the gloss from many otherwise great Apple appliances. Apart from content from the iTunes store (and very few of its partners), other stuff cannot be played on the Apple TV. You cannot buy content from the online app store either. Planning to hire content from iTunes for your Apple TV? You will find the available range of videos frustratingly small!

  10. Upgrading – If you feel that the processor or the RAM of your Apple TV needs an upgrade – don’t worry, you won’t get it. No type of hardware upgrade support is available till date on the device. As already mentioned above, the engineers at Apple Inc. really need to at least upgrade the thoroughly unsatisfactory memory features of the TV.

 

When someone purchases an Apple TV, (s)he has to separately buy the necessary cables and cords – which can be slightly problematic. While the streaming process from iPhone/iPod Touch is fast and seamless, you can enjoy 1080p display only on the third-generation version of the device. There is no doubt that Apple TV is a breakthrough gadget with loads of features going for it – but certain issues need to be addressed, if it has to sustain its initial whopping sales numbers!