Monthly Archives: September 2012

iPhone 5 launch reveals few surprises … but will it matter?

This article was originally published at The Conversation by our CTO, Dr James Broberg. Read the original article.

The Conversation

As had long been predicted, Apple today (AEST) announced the launch of the iPhone 5. The famously secretive Apple had sprung many leaks over the past few months, despite claiming it would be doubling down on secrecy.

In fact, nearly every detail about the new iPhone was revealed in advance but now the rumours have been confirmed, how does the new iPhone stack up?

Longer, skinnier, lighter

The iPhone 5 delivers a new form – it’s slightly longer than previous models and is also skinnier and lighter. The screen is a four-inch (10cm), 1136 x 640 pixel “retina” display (close to a 16:9 aspect ratio), which will be well received by those who watch movies on their phone.

The screen is longer than in previous models, with the home screen now fitting five rows of icons rather than four. Native applications from Apple will support this new screen size, with existing apps “letterboxed” – with black bars placed above and below the app – until they are updated to natively support the new resolution.

The iPhone 5 features an A6 processor which, according to Apple, doubles the processor and graphics capabilities of the A5 processor (the processor behind the iPhone 4S and the two most recent versions of the iPad). Operations such as rendering a web page or opening a document are expected to be considerably faster.

4G, finally

Support for 4G (LTE) networks has finally arrived for the Apple faithful, who, until now, have had to look on in envy at their Android-touting counterparts.

The new iPhone packs 4G support for countless carriers across the globe. Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller confirmed during the keynote that the new iPhone will work on 4G networks in Australia including Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile.

New phone, new connectivity

To achieve a slimmer form factor, Apple has moved to a smaller connection interface called “Lightning”, a move that’s sure to cause thousands of accessory makers and millions of owners to cry out in terror. A bridge between the old and the new connection has been offered by Apple in the form of a clumsy US$29 adaptor, which will be cold comfort for many.

The new iPhone has also introduced a new form factor for the SIM card. Apple was one of the first manufacturers to embrace micro sims in an ongoing effort to reduce the size and weight of its phones. Now, Apple is using “nano sims” which are smaller and lighter again.

Consumers must hope that their network carriers produce nano sims in sufficient quantity to keep up with the demand.

iOS 6

Alongside the new iPhone model, Apple has also announced the release version of iOS 6 — the operating system that powers iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices.

The iPhone 5 will ship with iOS 6 pre-installed and the operating system will also be available as a software update from September 19 for recent Apple products, such as the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and 4S, iPad 2/3, and the most recent iPod touch (4th generation).

The latest iOS has a number of enhancements to satisfy existing and new iPhone owners. Apple very publicly dropped support for Google Maps, replacing it with its own native mapping solution – “Maps”.

Maps includes turn-by-turn navigation, traffic overlays and a 3D “flyover” view. But the jury is still out on how Apple’s own mapping service compares with Google’s more-mature and well-loved service.

After numerous false-starts, the long-awaited native Facebook support is now available as part of iOS 6. This upgrade deeply integrates Facebook into the operating system, enabling sharing from many native and 3rd-party iOS applications.

Safari users will find iCloud tab-syncing invaluable, allowing to view all open browser tabs across mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads, and Safari browsers on the desktop.

Apple has also launched Passbook, a centralised place where you can store electronic versions of plane tickets, movie passes, loyalty cards and more. Disappointingly, the iPhone 5 (just like previous iPhones) doesn’t support Near-Field Communication (NFC) – the technology found in transaction systems such as Mastercard’s PayPass.

NFC has already been deployed in some Android phones and tablets and the lack of this technology in the iPhone 5 potentially limits the usefulness of the new Passbook feature.

For folks tired of their phone vibrating throughout the night as emails and Facebook notifications arrive on their phone, iOS 6 introduces a “Do Not Disturb” mode, allowing you to suppress notifications while you get some rest.

Finally, Apple’s Facetime video chat feature is now available via 3G, making the service more accessible when you are out of the range of a wireless hotspot. Previously, Facetime was only available over Wi-Fi.

It’s nearly here

Many were expecting Apple to launch the iPhone 5 last October. Instead, to the disappointment of many, Apple launched the iPhone 4S which contained only modest internal hardware and software improvements over the iPhone 4.

Siri was initially lauded but the novelty wore off quickly. The faster processor in the 4S was nice but not a game changer and the lack of 4G was conspicuous.

The iPhone 5 brings a new form factor to the table, delivering a higher resolution screen with a cinematic 16:9 aspect ratio. A faster processor and support for high speed 4G (LTE) networks represents a significant upgrade over previous models. This pairs nicely with the growing trend of streaming media over iCloud, Spotify and other similar services.

Version 1.5 of MetaCDN is out!

We are pleased to announce the release of version 1.5 of the MetaCDN platform. Some notable updates for this release include:

  • 44% reduction in data transfer pricing: We are always working hard to drive down our underlying costs and pass those savings back to our customers. We have reduced data transfer out prices by 44% across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Along side this price reduction, MetaCDN pre-paid plans have been retired. Customers will benefit by receiving our best possible prices, all of the time. Existing customers on pre-paid plans will be contacted shortly for migration over the next 30 days to our PAYG plan. Read more about it here.
  • Brand new dashboard: Get an at-a-glance view of all activity in your MetaCDN account. View trends for the last day, week and month (and compare them to past periods) for requests, downloads, storage and encodes. Stay on top of your most recently accelerated sites and deployed content, and check on the status of your recent support queries. Check out a screenshot below of the new dash.
  • Website speed testing tool: How does your website measure up? Try our website speed testing tool to gain insights into how your site performs across the globe. Read more about it here.
  • Improved defaults for content deployment: By default, all content deployments are now continuously optimised by MetaCDN to ensure the best delivery experience for your customers, no matter where they are. Manual content management is still available for power users.
  • Improved presets for media deployment: Choose presets to match your target audience and devices, such as Mobile, Desktop, Mobile + Desktop, or customise your output formats and qualities to your individual needs.
  • Direct support via the MetaCDN portal: Have an issue or a question? You can now lodge a support ticket and check the status of your tickets directly via the MetaCDN portal.

Screenshot: MetaCDN Dashboard

MetaCDN Dashboard

If you are an existing customer, these features are available right now – so log into your MetaCDN account and try them out. If you are a new customer, sign-up now to get access to smarter content delivery! New sign-ups will receive $30 credit to get them started.

How fast is your website? Find out now at metacdn.com

The world wide web has allowed businesses large and small to reach a global audience. But how do you really know how your website is performing across the globe? If you are a US-based customer, do you know how your website performs in Asia or Europe? What if you are an Australian company wanting to break into the US market – do you know how long your website takes to load on the East and West coast of the United States?

Usually the answer is no. You often don’t know how your website performs in regions where you do not have a physical presence. If you have a slow loading website, you cannot depend on your customers or readers to tell you – they will simply become frustrated and move on to a different website; perhaps even your competitors!

MetaCDN has launched a new tool, now available on our homepage, to test the performance of your website from key regions (East and West Coast USA, Europe and Asia-Pacific) to give you insights into how your website performs across the globe.

Screenshot: MetaCDN Website Testing tool

MetaCDN Website Testing tool

The tool compares the speed of your website against your peers, breaking down the total time to load your webpage across key locations across the US, Asia and Europe. You can also break down the load time taken by content type, such as images, html, scripts and video.

Last month MetaCDN launched its Site Acceleration product – focused on improving the performance of your website to ensure your customers get blazingly fast load speeds every time they visit your site, no matter where they are. To maximise user engagement, clicks, conversions (e.g. sign-ups or sales) and ad views on your website, you need to ensure that your site is is always available and performing 24/7 in all the regions that you care about. MetaCDN Site Acceleration helps you and your website to achieve that goal.

Not happy with your website speed? Sign-up to MetaCDN now to access our Site Accelerator feature, which turbo-charges your website speed across the globe. Your customers will love it.

MetaCDN lowers prices on data transfer

We are always working hard to drive down our underlying costs and pass those savings back to our customers. As such, we are very pleased to announce that we have reduced data transfer out prices by 44% across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. We have also made branded video templates free of charge. The pricing changes are as follows:

  • Data transfer out (North America/Europe): $0.10/GB ($0.18)
  • Data transfer out (Asia Pacific): $0.14/GB ($0.25)
  • Video templates: Free  ($1.00)

Along side this price reduction, MetaCDN has significantly streamlined its plan offerings. New customers can take advantage of our low cost PAYG offering, and enjoy a $30 credit upon signing up. The previously offered MetaCDN pre-paid plans (Standard, Advanced, Bulk) have all been retired. All existing customers will be contacted shortly for migration within the next 30 days to our new, lower cost PAYG plan.

All customers big or small will benefit by receiving highly competitive prices at all times, without having to pre-commit to a plan. As always, if you are a high volume user you can contact us directly for even greater savings.