FutureFive NZ - The TechDay Weekender - Mar 24th 2012

Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.

The TechDay Weekender - Mar 24th 2012

After selling three million units in its first weekend on the market internationally, Apple’s new iPad (don’t call it the iPad 3) finally hit the shelves in New Zealand this week. However, the release didn’t go entirely according to plan for Apple, with The Warehouse announcing on Tuesday that it had gotten hold of 100 of the devices via parallel importing, and would be selling them on its website two days before the manufacturer started taking orders.

The price was set at $729, and the devices were quickly snapped up, despite Apple setting the same price for its own units that same day. By the way, that price is $70 lower than what consumers were paying for the iPad 2 just a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Apple release without someone griping about a fault, and in this case Apple is in hot water over the device’s heat output. The new tablet packs more processing power into the same frame so it’s no surprise it runs a little warmer; indeed, an independent test found the back reached 46.7 degrees Celsius after running a high-intensity game for about 45 minutes, with the power plugged in. That’s about seven degrees hotter than the previous device, but still not exactly something you’d boil a jug on. Apple, for its part, has dismissed the complaints, saying the new iPad ‘operates well within our thermal specifications’.

While we’re on Apple, CEO Tim Cook finally addressed a growing thorn in the company’s side this week by announcing plans to buy back shares and pay a quarterly dividend in order to reduce Apple’s monumental cash pile. They’re not putting up much money yet, because so much of their cash is tied up offshore, unable to be repatriated because of the significant cost in tax (although Uncle Sam could surely use the extra dough). It’s a start though, and is sure to send Apple’s stock through the roof as investors who only buy dividend-paying stocks climb on board.

Sticking with hardware, HP gave journalists and retailers a sneak peek at its new consumer range this week, announcing that it will divide its laptops into two categories, ‘notebook’ and ‘thin and light’, to make it easier for tech-illiterate consumers to get their heads around. There’s some seriously cool stuff here, so definitely keep an eye out.

While this was happening, back at the HP headquarters CEO Meg Whitman was announcing that the company will merge its PC division, Personal Systems Group, with its printer division, Imaging and Printing Group, to form – like Voltron – the Printing and Personal Systems Group. The company indicated something needed to change with the PC division last year when then-CEO Leo Apotheker announced plans to shave it off completely. The current course of action seems like a better solution – even if PCs aren’t a growing sector there must be benefits from being involved in all aspects of the process.

In gaming news, the waves of criticism that have followed the release of Mass Effect 3 – particularly surrounding its supposedly disappointing ending – were addressed by the co-founder of the publishing company, BioWare, in an open letter on the company blog this week.

If you haven’t been following it, the ending of Mass Effect 3 has spawned a vociferous internet backlash (is there any other kind of internet backlash?), with many fans begging BioWare to release a downloadable update to ‘fix’ the problem.

With the uproar having run for two weeks with no sign of abating, BioWare’s Ray Muzyka posted this message on the blog page, admitting the negative feedback had been ‘incredibly painful’ and confirming the company is working on some DLC to try to appease angry fans.

What’s been really interesting has been the effect on the long-running argument about whether games can be considered art. Gamers are always keen to argue that the medium has integrity, and is about more than just blowing things – usually people – up. Surely, though, to have integrity an art form must be allowed to stand alone, and not be subject to the whims of the fans who don’t like it? Mustn’t it?

We’ve had heaps more cool stories this week and don’t have time to write about them all here, but if you have time definitely check out this article about the launch of new networking service LetsLunch, this one about the new guitar game Rocksmith, this one about the naming of the NZ Hi-Tech Awards finalists, and this one about the first company moving into the Wynyard Quarter ‘Innovation Precinct’ in Auckland.

Oh, and we’ve also just posted a couple of video interviews, one with 2degrees chief sales officer Mark Cleary and one with Justin Scott, one of the people behind the Startup Weekends in New Zealand, so check those out if you get a chance.

Have a great weekend!

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