Whenever I travel to Asia, I find myself up at odd hours of the night, which of course has been the case since arriving in Singapore.
So it's given me an opportunity to troll the Interwebs and find stories of interest that I can then share here in the Turbo blog.
In my overnight musings, I discovered a few choice items that are largely on topic with some of the narrative we'll hear discussed at IBM InterConnect 2013.
First, on the mobile front: AllThingsD is reporting that Apple will hold a Fall iPad event on October 22.
We'd already been hearing reports of an iPad Mini refresh, although we'd also been hearing there were supply problems with the retina displays and that perhaps Apple would miss the Christmas rush.
Ho Ho Ho.
Err, maybe not.
In any case, D's reporting we'll see a new fifth-gen iPad running with a 64-bit A7 chip, and that the A7 will also find its way into the iPad Mini.
Because I like to travel light, I opted for a new fifth-gen iPod Touch earlier this year after the first Minis made their way into the market, and the major downside I've seen with the device is battery life -- that retina display is one power hungry screen.
So, it'll be interesting to see the speeds n' feeds on the new Mini, and whether or not that bigger battery can keep pace with the new retinas.
Also on the mobile front: If you're looking for a device that can replace that soon-to-be-retired CrackBerry that has a physical keyboard, Nokia has some options: I saw the Nokia Asha 210 sitting all colorfully pretty in a mobile storefront here at the Marina Sands yesterday.
It appears to have quad-band GSM, and the keyboard is nice -- but it's not for the serious smartphone user. It runs on 2G, and is geared to the low end of the market, but if your fingers need to do the walking on a real keyboard and all you do is text and email, well, it could be just the ticket out of CrackBerry jail.
I expect to see more mobile players trying to bring to market a physical keyboard and smartphone screen hybrid to further narrow the missing mobile keyboard gap soon.
Down at Gartner Symposium ITExpo in Florida, soon-to-retire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer apparently revealed MS is planning to bring a touch-friendly version of Office to the iPad, but not before it first makes a pitstop on the Surface, 'natch. This according to The Verge.
This has been my key issue with the iPad: the fact it's largely been a not-for-productivity device (but fantastic for productivity-sucking games like Madden NFL 12 -- Halfback inside right on 2, Hut Hut!).
And after 20+ years of being trained to use a mouse with my computer, that "ghost" effect of reaching for the non-existent mouse dies hard.
On the mobile payment front, Silk Road may have been taken down hard by the FBI, but Bitcoins were never going to be a mass-market currency play, anyhow.
But Amazon may be stepping in to fill the void (presuming you think PayPal doesn't already fill it itself).
It launched a new service overnight called Login and Pay at the Money 2020 conference, reports TechCrunch.
This new offering lets partner sites enable a payments button that will "compete with PayPal and credit cards for customer checkout."
The story goes on to reveal Amazon has more than 215 million active customer accounts, and if you're a member of the Amazon ecosystem (particularly vis a vis the Kindle tablet platform), you know how frickin' easy it is to hand Amazon a bunch of bucks with very little friction.
IMHO, easy-to-use identity and payment systems, particularly in the mobile realm, continue to be the big elephant in the virtual money room, and if someone cracks that door even just a wee bit wider, Katie bar that door, 'cause someone's about to make a whole bunch of money off a few gazillion transactions.
Of course, if you have any issues with this new and better virtual money mousetrap, just stop on by the Amazon Mayday customer service lounge -- Walt Mossberg tested out Amazon's new CSR play for the new Kindle HDX and wrote that "the support people appeared in 10 seconds or less and were unfailingly friendly."
Will it be enough to get folks to buy a new Kindle Fire HDX in time for the holidays?
That may very well depend on just how many folks put the new Apple iPad Mini on their Christmas shopping lists -- if Santa (err, Apple) can't deliver, a little bit of Mayday assistance in Amazon's virtual storefront could go a very long way this holiday season.