Gadgets: The Pi Has Landed


Raspberry Pi, the absolutely bonkers small, cheap PC board has arrived and is on sale now from RS Components and Farnell.

Demand is very very high for these little beauties, the Farnell UK site has been down most of the morning.

Not surprising really, with this little board you can build media players, home automation, complex robotics, your imagination is quite literally the limit.

This little thing is going to change the world as we know it, and it doesn’t even have an Apple logo on it!

More details on Raspberry Pi and it’s capabilities here.


Gadgets: ATV 3 will arrive before Apple HDTVs


I do have my smug moments. Most recently in January I correctly predicted that Apple would not be launching the iPad3 or a new iPod at their educational event. Despite all the gadget-press going mad as a tabby-cat in a catnip factory.

Also back when the iPhone 4s was released in 2011, I came up with my own roadmap of when Apple would be announcing their products for 2012.

Primarily, that the iPhone 5 will not be appearing till September 2012.

The iPad3 to make an appearance in March 2012.

And also I mused over the Apple HDTV rumours. It didn’t seem to make sense looking at Apple’s movements, the quest for perfection, for them to move from the current ATV2 to a full-blown integrated HDTV set.

The key for Apple is to ensure they have the content first, and it’s pointless selling a $1000 LCD unit with no unique content.

I said at the time that I was confident Apple would refresh the ATV, replace the A4 chip with an A5 (or if we’re lucky an A6). And they would invest in more content. Mostly in the US, but also in Europe (recent Premiership football rumours).

And only now, the gadget-press are starting to come round to my way of thinking. Developers tinkering in the iOS 5.1B software have found mention of the AppleTV 3.1.

Now it can’t get any smaller, it’s insanely small at the moment (but I wouldn’t put it past Apple to try), so you have to logically guess that the internals are getting an upgrade.

A new processor (A5/A6) would make sense, to bring its power in line with other iOS devices. Upgrading the 720p output to 1080p would put a smile on a lot of people’s faces – mine included. And the addition of some neat little apps and multitasking.

We’re only weeks away from March now. Amazon are showing ATV2’s out of stock for 2-5 weeks, perfect if they’re expecting a shipment of ATV3’s soon.

Fingers crossed that Tim Cook has some ATV goodness for us this March, or I’ll eat my ATV controller… mmm…. Aluminium!

Gadgets: iPhone 4 won’t get Siri


It’s a common issue with Apple, they put all the new features into their latest products and that feature set gets smaller as you work your way down the product line.

So with iOS 5.0 the iPhone 4S has all the bells and whistles, the 4 has most, 3GS has a few less, and the 3G has joined looking for someone to love it.

Most of those new features just don’t work on that older silicon.

But there is one recent feature that has iPhone 4 users baffled and feeling cheated. Why does the 4S have Siri, but not the 4?

Well, naturally people point to the A5 chip inside the 4S. Perhaps the A4 cannot support Siri, perhaps Siri requires some mightily beefy processing?

And the answer is no. It’s not a speed issue. Infact Siri can quite happily run on the A4. If you’ve jailbroken your iPhone 4, you can install it for yourself.

No, the real answer is, it doesn’t work very well. Why, you ask?

Because the A4 isn’t a very good listener. No really, the A5 is a much better listener than the A4, because Apple have integrated EarSmart technology from Audience into the chip.

This allows the A5 to cut through the noise and provide the Siri software with a clearer signal to interpret. So when you ask your 4S to “text mum i love you” it sends a lovely SMS to your mother. Ask your 4 to do the same and it will want to know who “mommalove” is.

So the real reason Apple won’t let you have Siri on the 4 is due to their quality control. Siri works great on the 4S, but the Android Army would have teared them apart if they had dropped Siri onto the 4, and the resulting problems owners would have had with it.

However, perhaps its a blessing in disguise that we poor iPhone 4 owners cannot get Siri, a recent viral video reveals that Siri may have a crossed-wire (it’s a fan-film, but excellently made – safe for viewing at work)

Source: CNET