The thinnest and lightest small tablets

In the beginning, tablets looked more like the televisions that strap onto the back of a car's seat more than something out of "2001: A Space Odyssey." However, I'm happy to report that the times have changed and so have tablet designs.

After Apple released the iPad (let's give credit where credit is due), aesthetics and design became a more prominent selling-point for the emerging portable devices. Overall, tablet girth has declined, ushering in the new era of thin slates, and we've gathered the ones so sleek, their predecessors wouldn't even recognize them … Read more

Which iPad should you buy?

Want to buy an iPad? Not every one does -- or should (see our Android picks for alternatives) -- but as of this moment, Apple is selling four distinct versions of its tablet. Now that the fourth-gen Retina iPad has replaced the iPad 2 in the roster, which of Apple's tablets is the right one? Which is the best value? What should you do?

Let's take a look at each: there are two iPad Minis, and two larger 9.7-inch iPads. The good news is this is a better selection of iPads than before. But, I also think … Read more

iPad with Retina Display makes $399 comeback, knocks out iPad 2

Apple tweaked its iPad lineup Tuesday morning, bringing back the fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display in place of the elderly iPad 2.

Available with only 16GB of storage, the comeback tablet is listed on Apple's US Web site either with just Wi-Fi for $399, or with Wi-Fi and cellular for $529. Consumers can choose between models from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Apple CEO Tim Cook canned the Retina-enabled iPad last year when he launched the super-skinny iPad Air. The high-end iPad still starts at $499, while the Retina iPad Mini is still $399.

It … Read more

Citi paints not-so-pretty picture for Apple's iPad, future market

Citi Research has released a report that doesn't bode well for the iPad if its conclusions prove to be accurate.

In data-dense presentation titled, "Mobility Hardware and Components, Marketing Presentation, March 2014" released Wednesday, a team of analysts reiterated a familiar Citi theme, saying the era of "device exhaustion" has arrived, adding in the same set of bullet points that "we are NOT positive on Apple" (emphasis Citi's).

Though this wouldn't be the first time Citi has been sour on Apple, Citi's forecast for the tablet market makes Apple the … Read more

More signs that Apple A8 chip production is approaching

Apple may be getting closer to production of its A8 processor as news from Asia points to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as the main supplier.

Taiwan-based TechNews (via MacRumors) reported that TSMC has already started production of Apple's next-generation A8 processor.

That report jibes with a source who CNET spoke to December. That person, who is familiar with TSMC's plans, said that Taiwanese contract chip manufacturer had already begun making Apple's A series processors. To date, Samsung has been the sole manufacturer of Apple's processors.

But TechNews takes this a step further, claiming that TSMC … Read more

Apple needs to catch Samsung, Amazon in displays, researcher says

Apple risks falling behind in display tech in 2014, DisplayMate Technologies said in a research note.

Echoing an earlier note, DisplayMate Technologies Raymond Soneira said this week that "Apple has recently given up the lead in displays -- now Amazon, Google, LG, and Samsung are launching products with the best and most innovative displays."

He cited the example of an emerging LCD technology called Quantum Dots that Amazon has tapped for the Kindle Fire HDX 7 (now $199 at Amazon).

"Quantum Dots are going to revolutionize and reenergize LCDs for the next 5+ years," he wrote. &… Read more

'New Kind of Science' falls short of its iPad e-book potential

An update on Wednesday night brought Retina display support to the iPad e-book app of "A New Kind of Science," Stephen Wolfram's mammoth tome on mathematics, computing, cellular automata, and the nature of the universe.

Ordinarily, you'd think that would be a good thing. But for this particular project, it reveals how much more needs to be done to really meet the potential.

NKS, as it's called for short, embodies decades of Wolfram's work. An entire business -- Wolfram Research's Mathematica software for mathematical analysis and visualization -- grew out of a mere … Read more

Browser makers get past high-resolution image impasse

It looks like browser makers have settled on a way to handle high-resolution images, which are now common with the arrival of screens like Apple's Retina displays.

Browser makers haven't offered Web developers a consistent, easy way to show the right image for a given screen's size and resolution -- an idea called responsive design. That's been a shame, because screens with high-pixel densities are increasingly common on laptops, tablets, and smartphones and can offer crisp, detailed photos and graphics.

The first breakthrough came in September when support emerged for a standard called srcset, which was … Read more

Sharp's IGZO display tech: Think iPad Mini -- and Dell's XPS 15

LAS VEGAS -- The iPad Mini Retina isn't the only product out there using Sharp's IGZO tech.

Sharp was showing off the 3,200x1,800 IGZO display on the 15.6-inch Dell XPS 15.

For those keeping track, that edges out the resolution on Apple's 15.4-inch MacBook Pro Retina. Dell's comes to 229 pixels per inch, while the MacBook Pro's is 220.

Sharp was also parading the 3,200x1,800 display on the Fujitsu UH90/M laptop.

(That said, Samsung wins the laptop pixel density wars with its Ativ Book 9 Plus, which shrinks … Read more

iPad, Surface, Kindle owners reveal their top gripes

Got a beef about your iPad, Surface, or Kindle tablet? Join the club.

The new holiday report from Q&A site FixYa sifted through thousands of problems reported by its Web site users to determine the most common grievances. The tablets that faced the firing squad included Apple's iPad Air and Retina Display iPad Mini, Microsoft's Surface 2, and Amazon's Kindle HDX. Let's see how they fared.

Microsoft's Surface 2 The Surface 2 was dinged for its poor app support, speaker quality, and Touch Cover keyboard. Users applauded the Microsoft Office suite that comes … Read more