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Xbox One: First Impression

Being an early adaptor of both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 I might seem like a loss of confidence that I have only just got my hands on an Xbox One in the last month, but growing up does place other demands on both my time and wallet. So with the arrival of school holidays and some good budgeting I was finally able to pick up my new toy complete with 7 games and Kinect. Keen to jump straight in after the long wait I’m only now getting the chance to go through my first impressions.

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Set up was easy and in no time I had downloaded all my apps, fixed up my profile and organised my home screen.  I was generally surprised at the list of Australian apps available including SBS on demand and 7 Plus however the absence of ABC iview and Foxtel are cause for disappointment.  Yet, for me research has always helped me stay level-headed as I was already aware of this short coming and knew that both developers had made commitments to change this in coming months. Besides connecting my 360 using the HDMI in socket was an easy solution since I don’t even have to switch source.

My only real gripe with the Xbox One is the requirement to install games on the hard drive rather than play them from the disk. Wanting nothing more than to give into nostalgia with the Master Chief Collection this expected delay was still frustrating. Unfortunately, no matter on your choice of new gen console this is a necessary evil as read speeds are too slow for the amount of data required by games. Considering this it would have been nice to have larger internal storage but with the price of 2TB external hard drives it is only an annoying inconvenience.

Finally, lets talk about Kinect which for many remains a take it or leave it extra. This especially true for hard-core gamers since voice commands require the 7th core of the processor and decreases what is available to game developers which has recently been changed. In addition space continues to limit the use of Kinect as someone with a console in their bedroom like me in my younger years will only ever get to use voice commands.

This all being said I love the “Xbox On” feature as it has quickly become second nature to use the command as I walk into the room knowing that I won’t even have to touch the TV remote. This is ideal if I’m only planning to watch Foxtel on the 360 as I can follow-up with “watch TV” and go straight to my old 360 remote without touching anything else. Unsurprisingly, Kinect still has problems with my accent which can quickly become frustrating. Yet, it is in apps like Xbox Fitness where Kinect really comes into its own as it tracks how accurately you are following the exercises and creates a score to motivate your competitive instincts. Until now my fiancé had only ever used the 360 to watch TV but has found this combination of features on the Xbox One an easy way to complete a 10 minute workout before work.

These are just some early thoughts so keep watching as I will be touching base soon on some of the other aspects of the Xbox One.

Cheers

Jono

iSheep

Apples most recent releases the iPhone 5 and iPad mini depicts a movement away from their previous willingness to innovate and capture new consumers. In fact, both these products demonstrate Apples complacency in the mobile market place and their reliance on maintaining their current users. These products are both good commercial performers and have the stereotypical build quality that the world associates with Apple.  In fact both are highly competitive pieces of technology in terms of their physical specifications and performance with other devices but their existence shows an alarming trend for Apple Fan-boys.

Simply that Apple have begun to follow the lead of their competitors rather than provide the innovative leadership which brought them success with the original versions of the iPod, iPhone and eventually the iPad. In the case of the iPhone 5 the major change for consumers was a larger 4′ screen and a slimmer design. These changes were clearly following the lead of Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy which had already gained significant market share before the 5 was announced.  In the same way Apple’s release of the iPad mini was reacting to the success of other small tablets in the market place like Amazon’s kindle line and other Android tablets.

Despite this both products have been successful and continue to add to Apple’s bottom-line.  However, it would be interesting to know how many of these sales is due to the familiarity of IOS and existing costumers upgrading to the latest phone from an older model. this represents a logical reason to explain some of Apple’s more recent success as people familiar with an iPhone but not already iPad users could easily have considered purchasing the more affordable mini.

By no means is this doom and gloom but this strategy is unlikely to capture new uses for the Apple ecosystem and seems to focus on maintaining their existing costumer base with the expectation that they will buy new products when they are released.  It’s obvious that these thoughts have been plaguing shareholders from the last 6 months of constant falls. After-all if the mobile industry has shown us anything it is that companies find it hard to stay on top for long. The clear example is Nokia which  dominated the market as people went from snake to snake 2  and then Motorola made a dent with the V3 which introduced a bit of slick style to the game, even more recently RIM’s  Blackberry had a clear advantage in the business sector and now has less than 3% of the market share.

Apple’s rumored upcoming releases could provide us with a statement of the company’s future direction. The much hyped iTV has been in the works for what seems like forever and the question is has the delay meant other companies have made the first move. Already smart TVs are becoming common place and the Xbox 360 is the most dominant living room accessory with 77 Million units sold compared to Apple TV’s 7 Million, while products have clear differences Microsoft are pushing the towards Steve Jobs vision of a single device in the living room with the up coming Xbox One. In this setting will the next big Apple release be an innovation or just a sheep.