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Above Expectations

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The yearly launch of the latest iPhone is a bit like a big-ticket movie release. Intense anticipation and hype followed by a craze to be among the first few to experience it. And much like the movies, if you don't snag it in the opening weekend, all the best with catching it easily thereafter. Just ask the droves who didn't pre-book the iPhone 5 when it launched in India and are still looking for one…
 
But wait a minute? Haven't the naysayers already said this is just an incremental upgrade to the previous generation iPhone, meant only to play catch-up with the Android super phones? Or, for that matter, one that stakes claims on no records — not the biggest screen, not the thinnest specs, nor world's-first hardware feature.
 
All these reasons to be seemingly disappointed with the new iPhone 5 go away when you first pick it up. First reaction: is this a dummy unit? It really is that light, and no amount of knowing that it is lighter than the 4S by 20 per cent prepares you for it. And unlike the plastic bodies that you see on a number of competitors, the reduced weight in no way feels any less premium than the previous iPhone - this is a phone frame designed for strength, it just does so a little more subtly. And the finish! Comparisons to a handcrafted piece of jewelry abound, and they're not off the mark.
 
Get past this and there's the taller (but not wider) 1136x640 pixel Retina display, ostensibly meant to let you still swipe across it with your thumb, unlike its significantly larger competition that are, quite literally, a handful. Maybe I'm spoilt by the bevy of large screen devices of late, but I personally would have preferred a bigger, wider screen. As it stands, most apps are being updated to the new resolution, but you may still have the odd app that is letterboxed (black borders along the short edge of the phone).
 
There're a fair number of spec bumps as well — an updated processor, better cameras, better call quality and the most controversial - a new reversible Lighting connector that renders the 2003-spec older analog connector and all your accessories obsolete (or you pony up for an adapter). It may be tough to stomach in the beginning, but then again, obsolescence is never pretty.
 
The iPhone 5 then is a much-polished and highly refined revision to Apple's flagship device, and if anything, it's the operating system here that's beginning to show its age and feel a bit dated.
 
Rating: 9/10
Price: Starts at Rs 45,500 for the 16GB variant
URL: http://bit.ly/YUR7qM
 
 
Integrated Innovation
If you own a Mac and have been secretly eyeing all the fun your friends have been having with Windows 8, or you'd just like to take Microsoft's new app-friendly OS for a spin, Parallels Desktop 8 is something you should strongly consider. Much like its stellar previous versions, PD8 makes getting started with a virtual OS - an operating system that sits inside the Parallels environment, letting you run Windows or Linux, or another version of Mac OS within a window alongside your current Mac OS - really easy. I had a copy of Windows 8 up and running alongside Mac OS X Mountain Lion in less than 30 minutes from installing the software. The wizard even asks you whether you'd like to integrate your Windows programs with your Mac OS, sharing folders and even better - running in Coherence mode, which lets Windows apps be placed on the Launchpad and run in their own window on the Mac desktop. Or you could choose to keep Windows desktops and programs in their own window, but still have the ability to drag and drop objects or perform cut-and-paste between the OS X desktop and the virtual Windows desktop.
 
Naturally, most processor or graphics intensive will push your Mac a bit hard, but everyday use apps work without a stutter. I'd gladly accept the mild performance tradeoff for the ability to run all my favorite Windows software (and most games) without starting up my PC. And with version 8, I get to use some of Mountain Lion's new features - voice dictation, receiving notifications from both Mac and Windows software in Mountain Lion's notification screen, and using Mountain Lion gestures in Windows 8 apps - which makes the process of switching between Windows and Mac OS so very seamless.
 
Rating: 8/10
Price: Rs 3,999
URL: http://bit.ly/SQdBGZ

technocool at kanwar dot net
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