For next years’ list

Christmas is closing in and it is probably too late to do much in the way of shopping in the few hours left before then, so I have made a start on the list for next year.

Top of my list is will be Apple’s iPad tablet computer which, it is rumoured, is probably going be updated soon.


It has been an absolute game changer in the mobile computing space and Apple has sold  many millions of them in a very short space of time. Most other manufacturers are attempting to compete, and some have even launched products, but I don’t believe that anyone has yet achieved the level of coolness that Apple has.

People are using iPads for all sorts of things including browsing the Internet, listening to music and watching video and even as a work tool for displaying portfolio pictures, taking notes at meetings and many more tasks. I want one badly.

The latest version of the iPad operating system, iOS 4.2, which applies to the iPhone and iPod touch as well, offers a new facility known as AirPlay. It sounds great and allows you to stream music and video wirelessly from your Apple device to any AirPlay-enabled video or music system.

What this means is that entertainment content can be easily transmitted from the device in your pocket and played on any compatible television set, music centre or external speaker. I can see AirPlay in my future, that’s for sure.

Another technology that has recently arrived in South Africa is called Powermat and it is able to charge electronic devices without the need to plug them in. All you do is place the device on the Powermat and exactly the right amount of power is transmitted to it, via the mysterious process of induction.

It sounds like witchcraft, but it’s apparently true and you can get a Powermat that can charge two devices at a time for $99.95. There are also a selection of receivers which you attach to your devices to enable induction charging.

There is also a power cube available, with a selection of pins on it, that will allow you to charge a wide variety of devices that do not have dedicated Powermat receivers. The technology has arrived in South Africa, but so recently that it does not yet feature on the importer’s own website.

Another technology which I’ve noticed and which will probably come into its own next year is solid-state drive (SSD) devices. These are essentially hard drives without moving parts.

They are still pretty expensive but are significantly faster than conventional hard drives and, because they have no moving parts, are going to be much less prone to failure as well.

Western Digital SSDs are already available in South Africa and the recommended price for a 64 GB drive and the associated kit to upgrade an existing computer is R 1499.

The prices will certainly come down as more of these things are produced and it may soon become common practice to have one in your computer to store its programs and operating system, a step which would significantly improve the computer’s performance.


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