Saturday, April 30, 2011

iPad 2 a hit in Singapore

The iPad 2 debuted in Singapore yesterday to lines around the island at the various Apple resellers.

The EpiCentre outlet at ION Orchard had a queue that was estimated to be 100 strong. Their outlet at Wheelock Place had about 120 people waiting. Over at iStudio at Orchard Central, about 80 people were spotted in line. Other outlets around Singapore saw shorter queues.

Some of the people in the queue came early to ensure that they would get their unit of choice. Among them was Chong Sui Siang, who started queuing up at the NuBox outlet in Tampines from 11.30pm on Thursday night.

If you weren't among those in line yesterday, we have bad news. The iPad 2s have sold out at EpiCentre, Best Denki, NuBox and Challenger outlets, according to the Straits Times. It's unlikely the smaller retailers will have anything either. One rumour puts new stock as arriving in about a week at the earliest.

If you want to get your hands on a specific model, one solution is to order from the online Apple Store in Singapore. The shipping time is estimated to be between one and two weeks.

Those looking to save money should consider buying their iPad 2s from across the Causeway where the unit is a little cheaper. You can save up to S$76 by buying the iPad 2 in Malaysia.

Here are the prices in Singapore (including GST), compared to prices in Malaysia.

iPad 2 WiFi model

16GB = S$668 / RM1,499 (S$619) A difference of S$49
32GB = S$798 / RM1,799 (S$743) A difference of S$55
64GB = S$928 /RM2,099 (S$867) A difference of S$61

iPad 2 WiFi + 3G model

16GB = S$848 / RM1,899 (S$784) A difference of S$64
32GB = S$978 / RM 2,199 (S$908) A difference of S$70
64GB = S$1,108 / RM 2,499 (S$1,032) A difference of S$76


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

iPad 2 will start at S$668 from Friday; white iPhone 4 will go on sale from Thursday

As predicted, the iPad 2 will be released in Singapore this Friday. Apple has just announced that the iPad 2 will be available from 1am from the online Apple Store at www.apple.com/sg. It will also be sold at authorised Apple resellers.

Apart from Singapore, it will also be launched on the same day in Hong Kong, India, Israel, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey and the UAE.

The Singapore prices are as follows:

iPad 2 WiFi model

16GB = S$668
32GB = S$798
64GB = S$928

iPad 2 WiFi + 3G model

16GB = S$848
32GB = S$978
64GB = S$1,108

In addition, Apple also announced that the white iPhone 4 will be available in Singapore from tomorrow (Thursday, April 28). The 16GB model will cost S$888 while the 32GB model will go for S$1,048.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Digital Life apps round-up

Here are the links to the apps mentioned in my column in this week's Digital Life:

- SG Election (free): Election news from the Straits Times.
- BuyNow@SG (free): Stuff from eBay Singapore under S$10.
- SG Showtime (free): Excellent app for getting movie showtimes in Singapore.
- Property Market Information, Singapore (free): Data on property transactions from the URA.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New app: The Online Citizen

The Online Citizen has done a great job providing independent political news coverage in Singapore. As part of that effort, they have just released an iPhone app that is focussed on the upcoming General Elections.

The Online Citizen app, which was recently approved by Apple, delivers breaking news from the website. You can also drill down to get news about the different political parties.

The app is free and is available here.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Updated Due app allows for sophisticated alerts

Lin Junjie's excellent app, Due, has just been updated. It has the following features:

1) You can set more sophisticated alerts, for example,
— every N days/weeks/months/years,
— 1st/2nd/3rd/4th/last day/weekday/day of the week
— weekdays/weekends only,
— certain days of the week, every N weeks

2) You can turn off sound and popup notifications for each device so you don't receive the same alerts on multiple devices

3) Four new alert sounds

Due is US$4.99 and is available for the iPhone and iPad.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New app: SG Election

This app is the perfect companion to Singapore's upcoming general elections on May 7.

Get news from The Straits Times, blog posts from ST reporters, as well as video.

Once nomination day is over (April 27) and all the papers have been filed, the app will have a table of the different battles around Singapore.

And of course, once the results are available, the app will also bring you the latest results.

SG Election is free. You can download it here.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Free! Get it while you can!

Two locally developed paid apps, NewtonApples and Definition, are currently free, at least for a while.

Get them now before they become paid apps again.

NewtonApples is a game while Definition, as its name implies, is a dictionary for the iPhone.
.
Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New app: BuyNow@SG

If you enjoy bargain hunting, this app will come in handy.

BuyNow@SG allows you to look through all the products selling on eBay Singapore under S$10.

Given that the existing eBay app doesn't allow you to drill down to just eBay Singapore, this app is offering a pretty useful service.

I've taken the app for a test drive and it's amazing what you can find for under S$10. And I don't mean amazing in a good way. But there are undoubtedly gems to be found if you search hard enough.

BuyNow@SG is free. You can download it here.

Hopefully, the developer will add other local online market places soon.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Less than two days left to win an iPad 2

Their cheeky ad
Sign-up for Groupon clone SGDeal and you might win an iPad 2. SGDeal is giving away two 16 GB iPad 2s (WiFi) if you "like" them on Facebook and sign up for an account.

Click here for full details. About a day and a half before the contest closes.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

New app: SG Showtime


Our long national nightmare is over. We finally have a terrific app that delivers local movie times: SG Showtime.

I can't say enough how great this app is. It ticks all the boxes that an app like this needs to have, it does them well and it has nice-to-have features that other apps don't have. Here's a quick summary of its features:

- It's fast. Screening times load very quickly.
- The user interface is well thought out. Looking up screening times is really easy.
- It links to the official trailer.
- It links directly to the relevant online booking page of the cinema chain in question.
- It is location aware so that you see cinemas closest to you. This is in addition to being able to look up cinemas arranged by chain (Shaw, Cathay etc).
- It's easy to use and the information is clearly laid out.
- You can email showtimes from within the app. Very useful for sharing with friends.
- Within Now Playing, turn it sideways and get a Cover Flow like navigation for looking up movies. A nice touch.


It's not perfect. I wish the app would link to Rotten Tomatoes so you could look up reviews. In addition, the tab bar (the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen) is only visible on the home page of the major sections. But quite frankly, this is nit picking. SG Showtime is, by far, the best app of its category. And best of all, it's free.

If you're a movie goer, this is the one app to rule them all.

Download SG Showtime here.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Apple's quarterly revenue up 83%, net profit up 95%

This is a summary of Apple's Q2 results vs year ago (from Apple's press release)

Revenue of $24.67 billion vs $13.50 billion (up 83 percent)
Net profit of $5.99 billion vs  $3.07 billion (up 95 percent)
EPS of $6.40 vs $3.33

Macs sold = 3.76 million Macs (28 percent unit increase)
iPhones sold = 18.65 million  (113 percent unit growth)
iPods sold = 9.02 million iPods (17 percent unit decline)
iPads sold = 4.69 million iPads

“We are extremely pleased with our record March quarter revenue and earnings and cash flow from operations of over $6.2 billion,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $23 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $5.03.”



Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

September timeframe for iPhone 5

Reuters reported today that the next iPhone will be shipping in September.

The Reuters report said: "Apple's next-generation iPhone will have a faster processor and will begin shipping in September, three people with direct knowledge of the company's supply chain said."

Production will begin in July or August and the smartphone will look largely similar to the iPhone 4, according to one source in the Reuters story.

The iPhone is expected to use the A5 chip found in the iPad 2. It is also a safe bet that there will be improvements to the existing camera used.

Others rumours suggest that a dual GSM/CDMA chip might find its way into the new iPhone, allowing Apple to merge its product line and thus simplify production and inventory management.


This week's apps round-up in Digital Life

This week, the column featured:

Turbanizer (free): Add a turban to any photo! (And yes, that's me in the blue turban!)

Daily Doas (free): Doas (prayers), certified by the Islamic Learning Unit of the Al-Iman Mosque in Singapore.

asia! feasts Peranakan (free): Learn about the Babas and Nonyas and get a recipe for nonya curry chicken.

Singlish dictionary (US$0.99): Use it to look up naughty Hokkien words.

SBS Transit Iris (free): Bus times and journey planner. App has push notification for bus arrival times. However, the journey planner ignores the North-South line and the East-West line because those are run by rival SMRT.

iCathay (free): Look up movies, book tickets and snag promotions.

AsiaOne (free): News from SPH's AsiaOne.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Apple releases 10.2.2

Apple recently released an update to iTunes bringing to 10.2.2.

Among other things, the update provides bug fixes during syncing, and improved home sharing.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Monday, April 18, 2011

iOS 4.3.2 released

This news is a little late, but Apple has released iOS 4.3.2. It weighs in at 666.2 MB for the iPhone. Among other things, it:

- Fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call
- Fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on iPad Wi-Fi + 3G
- Contains the latest security updates


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New app: Turbanizer

Clearly, everyone looks better with a turban.
If you've always wondered how you would look in a turban, wonder no more! With Turbanizer, you can add a turban onto a photo of yourself to see how you'll look.

According to developer Ash Singh, Turbanizer's aim is to "make the turban an international fashion phenomenon".

Turbanizer comes with a whole bunch of turbans: fashionable ones, plain ones and vibrant ones too. In addition, he developer is also selling 15 premium turbans for US$0.99 each. The proceeds from the sale will go to helping the Central Sikh Gurdwara Renovation Project so buy a turban or two to help the Central Sikh Temple.

The app also has a sweet and easy-to-find Easter egg that you should try to locate.

Turbanizer is free. You can download it here.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

New app: asia! feasts Peranakan


Peranakan culture is on the wane and soon, all we will have left are beaded slippers, bits of silver jewellery and pieces of gaudy porcelain, stored behind glass in our museums, the final physical remains of what was once a vibrant and politically important community in this part of the world.

Fortunately, while few people these days speak Baba Malay or adhere to Baba customs, the tradition of Peranakan food is still being kept alive by Nonyas (and Babas) who slave away in the kitchen to prepare dishes like Babi Pongteh or Ayam Buah Keluak.

Now with asia! feasts Peranakan (free), you too can join them in whipping up traditional Peranakan dishes. The app has recipes for Assam Babi, Kari Ayam, Rojak and a few other dishes (sadly not Babi Pongteh or Ayam Buah Keluak though). It also talks about the different ingredients needed like coconut milk and the spice paste (rempah) and tells you how to make them.

For those curious about the history of Babas and Nonyas, the app has a nice section that touches on the origins of Baba culture as well.

The app is a taster for those interested in Peranakan food and culture. Hopefully, the developers will add on more recipes in future.

You can download this app here.

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This week's apps round-up in Digital Life

Here are the direct links to the apps that were featured in this week's Digital Life:

Roam Track (free)
This allows you to keep track of your roaming charges but you need to be a SingTel post-paid subscriber to use this app.

FrenzApp (free)
With this locally developed app, you can see what apps your friends use so that you can discover new cool stuff.

Note: Singapore Arts Festival was listed in the apps round-up but this app is currently missing from the app store for some reason.





Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Is April 29 the Singapore launch date for the iPad 2?

Based on information from Apple and some educated guesswork, we believe strongly that the iPad 2 will be launched in Singapore on Friday, April 29.

According to an email today from Apple promoting Apple products as Mother's Day gifts, the iPad 2 will be launched in Singapore towards the end of this month. At the end of a description of the iPad 2 as an ideal Mother's Day gift, the email says: "iPad 2 is slated for an end April launch in Singapore."

Apple has a tendency to launch the iPad 2 on a Friday (the US launch was Friday, March 11 while the international launch was Friday, March 25). If Apple stays true to form, we can expect Apple to launch the iPad 2 in Singapore on a Friday as well. An end April launch suggests either the last or second last Friday of April. However, because April 22 is Good Friday, it would be crass to launch the iPad 2 on a religious holiday. This suggests that date for the launch would be the week after, namely, April 29.

On the other hand, since Good Friday is a public holiday, it would make it possible to have a midnight launch for the iPad as people won't have to work on Friday.

On balance, we vote for April 29. It's certainly much close to "end April" than April 22. But we won't complain if it's launched a week earlier!


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

The WeatherLah weather report on April 1


In case you missed it, WeatherLah reported that there would be "Occasional snow flurries on higher ground" on April 1. A pity it wasn't true. Some snow would be welcome relief from this very hot weather!

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Brand new iPad 2 eventually sold at auction for under S$140

The iPad 2 that was on the block at blick.sg eventually went for just S$139.90 to blick user "Justin". Not surprisingly, the bidding was fierce. The auction, which was slated to close at 3pm, eventually ended at 6.32am the next day, some 15 hours later. This happens because every new bid sets the countdown clock back 20 seconds. Every time the auction looked like it would end in 30 seconds, a new bid would come in, setting back the clock and keeping the auction alive.

While the iPad was eventually sold for S$139.90, the winner probably paid much more because each bid on blick will cost $0.75. It is estimated that "Justin" probably spent about S$700 in total to snag the device.

While S$700 is considerably more than S$139.90, it is still much less than what he would have had to pay had he bought it from the grey market in Sim Lim Square.

(Full disclosure: The website, blick.sg is an advertiser on this site.)

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Digital Life apps round-up

I write a weekly column for Digital Life about iPhone apps. This week, the focus was on new, locally developed apps. If you read the column and you want find those apps quickly, here's the list:

- NewtonApples (US$0.99). Note: Free lite version available.
- Shinobi Pest Control (US$0.99)
- Piggie (Free)
- ORD Countdown (Free)

Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

iPad 2s (888GB version) are popular during Qing Ming

The iPad 2 is so popular that even the shops selling paper replicas for Qing Ming can't handle the demand.

Reuters has a story about how shopkeeper Jeffrey Se brought in 300 iPad 2 replicas (888GB) which were snapped up. All he has left in his shop, located outside KL, are the original iPads and the Samsung Galaxy Tabs.

The iPad 2s are not for everyone though. Some people are worried that the older generation may have problems using an iPad 2 so they are sticking to traditional items like shirts and shoes.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

iPhone 4s are back in the Singapore online Apple store

The iPhone 4s are now finally back in the Singapore online Apple store, after being unavailable since January. The site promises to ship the devices within one to two weeks.

Prices have remained unchanged. The 16GB iPhone 4 is S$888 while the 32GB iPhone 4 is S$1,048.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

iPad 2 on auction in Singapore. Current bid is under S$2.

Want to buy a new iPad 2 without paying the grey market premium? You might want to check out local auction site blick.sg (which happens to be an advertiser on this website). A new 32GB white iPad 2 (WiFi only) is on the block and the current bid is just S$1.15 with just three hours to go.

In previous auctions, high priced items have been sold off for a song. In the last week, one lucky person paid S$153.90 for a brand new 16GB iPhone 4 while someone else paid just S$6.90 for a 16GB WiFi+3G original iPad.

These sound like outrageously low prices, considering that a new 16GB iPhone 4 costs S$888 while the iPad costs S$718. However, as blick.sg co-founder Kee Yi Arn explained, the site's business model is to get people to pay for the priviledge of bidding for an item (it costs S$0.75 to place a bid). The final price is low because each bid only increases the cost of the item by just S$0.05. However, since blick makes money when more people bid for the item, they are actually able to make a profit per item even if the item is sold for a fraction of its retail price. As a result, the site actually made money selling the iPhone 4 though they did lose money on the iPad, said Yi Arn.

He describes the auction site as form of entertainment. "It's for risk takers who enjoy the thrill," he said.

Apart from the iPad 2, blick's site currently has auctions running for the Razer Onza Pro Xbox game controller, Nintendo's 3DS launch pack and a silver iPod shuffle.




Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Friday, April 1, 2011

New app: Piggie


I hate tracking my expenses. I know I ought to do it but I hate it. I hate keeping tabs on what I spend my money on because I'd rather not know how I fritter away my money. This goes some way to explaining my current penurious state.

Fortunately for the developers of Piggie, not everyone feels like me. There are probably millions of people who anxiously track every cent to make sure that they keep within budget. These are the people who will buy a BMW before they are 40.

For these people, Piggie is the answer. Piggie, by local developer Fu Meiwin is an excellent app for tracking expenses.

There are preset categories -- lunch, electronics, gifts, insurance -- to make it easy to input your spending. You can also take a photo to remind yourself of what you spent your money on.

But where the app shines is how it puts the data together. With a simple tap, you can see all your spending arranged in a pie chart or a bar chart so you know exactly where all your money is going to.

This explains why I personally will not be using Piggie but why I think other people should if they are serious about tracking their spending.

Piggie is currently free. You can download it here.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.

Singapore far behind Hong Kong in terms of iPad 2 interest

People in gadget-crazy Singapore may be interested in the iPad 2, but that interest lags behind other countries, at least according to eBay sales data that AppleInsider obtained.

Singapore is in 11th place on the list of countries where eBay sellers are shipping the device to. Leading by a wide margin is the US, with some 65 percent of iPad 2s being re-sold to people in America. Russia, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan occupy the second to fifth place respectively. Malaysia is in 14th position while Thailand comes in at number 18.

According to the data, 137 iPad 2s were sold to buyers in Singapore. In contrast, some 357 devices were sold to people in Hong Kong.

Here's the list from AppleInsider:

(1) US: 7,919
(2) Russia: 500
(3) Canada: 430
(4) Hong Kong: 357
(5) Japan: 353
(6) UK: 341
(7) France: 209
(8) Poland: 191
(9) Saudi Arabia: 165
(10) UAE: 147
(11) Singapore: 137
(12) Brazil: 113
(13) Australia: 110
(14) Malaysia: 70
(15) S. Korea: 62
(16) Belgium: 57
(17) Qatar: 55
(18) Thailand: 53
(19) China: 51

Apple has said that the iPad 2 will be launched this month in Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea but no date has been announced yet.

The iPad 2 was available in stores in Singapore within days of the official launch in the US. At Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim Square, it was selling at a mark-up of more than 50 percent, with the 3G version commanding a premium of more than 140 percent.


Follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook!
.