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Stewart Wolpin

Stewart Wolpin has been writing about consumer electronics for more than 30 years and has attended more than 40 CESs (there used to be a summer show in Chicago). He is a judge for the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame and writes the bios of the electees. He also has written on small stakes poker ("The Rules of Neighborhood Poker") and baseball ("Bums No More: The Championship Season of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers").

 
In the days and weeks following the passing of Steve Jobs nearly a year ago, there was much speculation about how Apple would fare without its visionary-in-chief. Sure, Tim Cook was a wizard at managing Apple's supply chain and complex web of partnerships, and Jony Ive is a masterful designer. But like any game of Jenga, remove one key piece and the whole structure collapses, regardless of its previous integrity. Yes, the iPhone 5 is a wonderful phone, and Apple will sell a gazillion of them. But it's not a peerless phone. And given Apple's recent iOS 6 issues, one has to wonder just how much Jobs's magical eye for detail and anticipating what we want before we knew we wanted it is missed. The clue that Steve Jobs's presence at Apple's helm is missed isn't what's amiss with iPhone and iOS 6, but what's missing.
 
Just as in politics, the vast majority of the smartphone universe is made up of iOSocrats and Androidicans (or, if you will, Androidicrats and iOSicans) with only a small sliver of undecided (or older BlackBerry users deciding to reject the useless protest third party candidate vote, and non-smartphone users finally willing to dive in). Androdicans will buy only Android phones; iOSocrats will stick with whatever candidate Apple annually nominates. So any review of the new iPhone 5, such as this one, will appeal largely to current iPhone owners and the small slice of the feature phone undecided. So the question then is this: should current iPhone owners move up to the iPhone 5? Based on two fun-filled days playing with my new iPhone 5, I'd say this: Are you friggin' kidding me? You will love this new iPhone.
 
A few months after the iPad came out, computer makers who had made convertible laptops started phasing them out, believing the iPad usurped their need. What's old is new again: several computer makers are planning to introduce new Windows 8 convertible laptops soon after Microsoft makes the OS official on October 26. I agree with the assessment that the iPad stymied the need for convertible laptops; if you need a keyboard with the lighter-than-a-convertible iPad, or even an Android tablet, you could buy an auxiliary Bluetooth QWERTY keypad. In fact, your bag would probably be lighter with an iPad and an ultrabook both contained therein, as opposed to a single convertible laptop. But if these new hybrids succeed, we can't keep calling them "convertible laptops" (for one thing, it takes too long to type). So, I'm inventing a new name for these sometimes-a-laptop, sometimes-a-tablet combo computers.
 
Ever since I saw her open for Bob Dylan at Roseland just before or just after Tuesday Night Music Club hit, I've been a fan of Sheryl Crow. Everyday is a winding road. But earlier this week, Crow really did go out of her head on Katie Couric, when she claimed her cellphone could have been a contributing factor to the development of her meningioma, a benign brain tumor. Horse petooties. The odds of Sheryl Crow's cellphone causing her brain tumor are about the same as her on-stage ear monitors triggering it, or perhaps it was the one other product her head spends the most time against — her bed pillow. How do I know cellphones didn't cause her tumors? Science.

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