New Toyota Yaris more competitive for 2012

2012 Toyota Yaris

The first Toyota Yaris was an attempt for the company to get back its good mileage mojo in the well-built small car market. It worked, kinda.

The Yaris got great gas mileage but the quality was a little suspect. Much de-contenting went on, making Toyota cut corners to keep the price reasonable. Handling and looks weren’t even in the picture.

Now comes the latest Yaris and Toyota has done a great job in making this as good a small car as you can get. There’s even a splash of style. I think it’s handsome with the new chiseled features and neatly done rear end.

And there is that near 40 miles-per-gallon that makes this piece even sweeter. Handling? Well, for a Yaris, yes. There’s a little, enough to make you feel comfortable if you approach a curve a little too fast. You will not feel as if you will be launched into the woods. The brakes are good and the steering is about average for small car fair.

It’s still smaller than most of the ever expanding competition, but it’s still bigger than the outgoing model. There is also no more sedan. Nope, either a two or four door hatch.

My four door was a Lagoon Blue Mica  SE. The suspension was retuned a bit and the antilock brakes featured discs all around. There’s a rear spoiler, bigger wheels and a few more chrome bits and pieces.

Interior is simple and uncluttered.

The steering on the SE is nicely weighted and provides quick turns. The firmer suspension allows the Yaris to keep and sometimes outpace the competition in the corners. It will not outrun anything, however. The 1.5-liter four cylinder engine is a carry-over with 106 horses and 103 pounds feet of torque. That’s enough to get you through traffic without white knuckles, but you won’t set any speed records either. The smooth five-speed manual doesn’t offer much sportiness but its ease of use does not detract.

The Yaris is about two inches bigger with gives you more luggage space and a little more room in the passenger compartment. The dash has been redesigned for a clean and uncluttered look which is pleasing to the eye. The textures of the materials used feel better than average.

The 2012 Yaris is more expensive, but Toyota has made a lot more standard. There are nine airbags, stability and traction control, a much better radio unit, Bluetooth and an iPod connection. With destination, I think my test car was a little over $17,000.

That’s still good value. The Yaris is going to do nicely against the competition but I don’t think it’s the best car in the class. It doesn’t have to be because there seems to be enough buyers to go around for small, fuel efficient, well-built cars. This time Toyota has hit all the marks and scored above average in nearly every category. Yep, the Yaris is improving with age.

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Now that you’ve seen the new iPad, which one should you buy?

new Apple iPadApple introduced its latest iPad Wednesday at a big news event in San Francisco.

It has a much better screen, a faster processor and it’ll operate on the new high-speed cellular networks, called LTE, from AT&T and Verizon. Pricing has remained the same as last year, from $499 to $829.

But which model should you buy?

Ultimately you’re choosing between a WiFi only model or a 4G/3G model that will instantly surf the Net.

The iPad is a wonderful machine, but without Internet connectivity it’s only about half as wonderful. You need to be online. And up to now it’s been a tough choice about how to get there. You could save the $129 up-charge Apple applies to the Internet-enabled version and use your cellphone’s hotspot capability. And if you’re iPad stays at home all the time, or most of the time, that makes a lot of sense.

The cellphone hotspot route costs roughly the same price as it would cost to power up the iPad monthly, but you save the $129. But using, say, an iPhone’s hotspot drains the battery at a rapid rate and on Verizon and Sprint iPhones, you cannot make calls at the same time (you can on 4G Android models).

The trade-off, for us, has always been, if you were paying the additional money for hotspot data on your phone, at least you could power up other devices, too, whereas if you had a 3G iPad, you could only use it.

Now that Apple has made the iPad a hotspot, it’s a little easier choice. We say get the 4G iPad. You get advantages with battery life — up to nine hours of using the device in 4G mode and you can now power other devices with the iPad, which saves your phone battery for things like, well, calls.

In fact, some users may find they don’t need an Android or iPhone or Windows phone at all with a Internet enabled tablet.

We wouldn’t go that far, but we will probably be ditching the hotspot AT&T plan and jumping on a Verizon 4G iPad sometime soon.ОХРАНА ДОМАраскрутить сайтФотоловушки оптомдержательчехол Zimmercar covers roof onlyрусские дайв центры на пхукетеЕгерь-5 EG-5.05DMсоздание и продвижение сайтов в алматы

Apple introduces newest iPad and new Apple TV

Tim Cook, new Apple head man, said the company has sold 315 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices through “last year and 62 million in quarter 4 2011.”

Those are staggering numbers.

And the company seems poised to continue its amazing sales with the introduction of its latest iPad, which Apple execs called “the poster child of the post-PC world.”

Apple sold 15.4 million iPad 2s in the last quarter.

It introduced the new iPad Wednesday. It goes on sale March 16.

What’s it look like? Well, it’s 9.44 millimeters thin and weighs 1.4 pounds, a tad heavier than its younger brother, the iPad 2. But it basically looks the same as the unit you’ve seen a million times.

It’s got a powerful “quad-core” processing chip (it’ll let you do things much faster). Pricing? It’ll be $499 for 16 gigs or $629 for 32 gig hard drive and $699 for 64.

The current iPad 2 will drop to $399 for 16 gigabyte WiFi model, $100 less than before.

There’s no iPad 3 or iPad HD naming scheme as been rumored, just a new iPad that has a Retina Display screen, similar to the dazzlingly clear screen on iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. It also will support 4G LTE high-speed wireless networks on AT&T and Verizon (users will have to choose between the two versions). It will also support several advanced versions of 3G, called HSPA.

iPad will also support LTE networks from Rogers, Bell and Telus. All the iPad versions that are not WiFi only will also be 3G world-ready so you can roam anywhere.

Want the new 4G versions? They’ll run $629, $729 and $829, same as currently. Pre-orders will start today for customers in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan.

Better? The new iPad can also act as a hot spot if the carrier supports it.

Apple showed a demo of how much faster photos loaded via AT&T’s LTE network versus an HSPA connection.

As for the Retina Display, if you’ve seen an iPhone 4 or 4S, you get the picture. Apple showed text on the new machine that looked clear as text in a book. Apple says the new display is 2048 x 1536, more than a 1080P display (1920 x 1080). What’s does all that math mean? The iPad will have incredibly clear photos, text and videos (depending on video source). It’s also got 44 percent better color saturation than on previous models.

The new device has a similar camera as the iPhone 4s, which earned rave reviews. It will record video, like iPhone 4S, in 1080P. It also has stabilization software built in.

Other new features:

— Voice dictation. It’ll support US English, British, Australian, French, German and Japanese.

— Apple said the new iPad will have nine hours of battery life on 4G. It claims up to 10 hours off cellular network use. This is the same as iPad 2.

— Apple said existing iPad apps would be scaled up and text rendered in a higher resolution to look better on the new screen.

— Epic Games president Mike Capps demo’d a version of the “Infinity Blade” videogame called “Dungeons.” He said the new iPad, in what may create a touch of controversy, had more memory and screen resolution than PS3 or Xbox 360.

— Apple has updates for its iWork productivity suite ready for Retina as well. Current owners get free updates. It’s $9.99 otherwise. GarageBand creations can now be pushed to iCloud or shared. Multiple iPad-wielding GarageBand users can now play together.

— Via iMovie, you can edit movies made on the iPad on the iPad and use new features in the software, including creating trailers

—  iPhoto for iPad ($4.99) allows users to merge their camera and photo library apps together with new editing touches and the ability to “beam” photos from one device to another. iPhoto supports up to 19 megapixel photos. It also has some sophisticated, and easy to use, editing tools. You can even create “PhotoJournals” save them on iCloud and share as a web link.

Other News:

— Apple demo’d a new Japanese version of its Siri software that helps users of iPhone 4S set meetings, have text message read back to them, check the weather and surf the Internet. The Japanese variant is available today as part of Apple’s new iOS 5.1 software operating system update (from 5.0).

— Apple said more than 200,000 apps in the App Store are now specifically designed for iPad.

— Apple’s iCloud now has 100 million users and now Apple will be supporting movies over its “hard drive in the sky.” Cook said users will be able to redownload movies purchased on any Apple device and movies and TV shows now support Blue-Ray DVD quality video, or 1080P playback. Not all studios are supporting the re-downloading feature so all the titles you’re interested in may not have this feature.

— Apple is introducing a new version of its Apple TV, which will take advantage of the 1080P movies and TV shows. Third party content will be easier to access via the new device. The maintains its $99 price point.

 Here’s the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO―March 7, 2012―Apple® today introduced the new iPad®, the third generation of its category defining mobile device, featuring a stunning new Retina™ display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel iSight® camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video. iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G connects to fast networks worldwide, including AT&T’s and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks, and still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life* while remaining amazingly thin and light. Beginning today, iPad 2 will be offered at an even more affordable price starting at just $399.

“The new iPad redefines the category Apple created less than two years ago, delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new iPad now has the highest resolution display ever seen on a mobile device with 3.1 million pixels, delivering razor sharp text and unbelievable detail in photos and videos.”

The new iPad’s Retina display delivers four times the number of pixels of iPad 2, so dense that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels when held at a normal distance, making web pages, text, images and video look incredibly sharp and realistic. The 3.1 million pixels in the Retina display are more than one million more pixels than an HD TV, and with 44 percent increased color saturation the new iPad displays colors that are unbelievably richer, deeper and more vivid. Movies are now capable of playing at full 1080p HD-resolution, delivering an incomparable viewing experience on a mobile device.

The powerful new A5X chip with quad-core graphics was specifically designed by Apple to deliver a fast, responsive user experience while supporting the incredible Retina display. With double the graphics performance of the A5 chip, the A5X provides a superb balance between performance and power efficiency so users can enjoy all the benefits of the stunning new display while experiencing a smooth Multi-Touch™ interface, immersive gameplay, incredible visual depth and all-day battery life that iPad is known for delivering.

The 5 megapixel iSight camera features advanced optics for taking stunning pictures and recording full HD video. Backside illumination allows you to take great photos in low-light conditions and a new video image stabilization feature removes the bumps and shakes typically seen when filming with a hand-held device. Images can be enjoyed on the large Retina display, then edited, enhanced and easily shared with friends and family using the built-in Photos app on iPad.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G with built-in next generation 4G LTE has the most comprehensive support for fast networks worldwide including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, and now both CDMA and GSM iPad users have the ability to easily roam internationally. The world-ready iPad delivers blazing download and upload speeds so web pages load incredibly quickly and email with large attachments can be sent and received easily. Personal Hotspot can be used to share the fast network connection on your iPad with up to 5 other devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB**.

With iOS 5.1, the latest update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, the new iPad has a number of new features and enhancements including: a redesigned Camera app with video stabilization technology; the ability to delete photos from Photo Stream; support for dictation in English, French, German and Japanese; and Personal Hotspot. iOS 5.1 also works seamlessly with iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free cloud services including iTunes® in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that works seamlessly with your iPhone®, iPad, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content and push it to your devices. When content changes on one of your devices, your other devices are updated automatically.

The new iPad also supports dictation, another amazing way to get things done just using your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard, then say what you want to say and the new iPad listens. Tap done, and iPad converts your words into text. You can use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write Instagram captions.

Apple also introduced the iPhoto® app, along with major updates to iMovie® and GarageBand®, completing its suite of iLife® apps for iOS. iLife and the iWork® apps, Pages®, Keynote® and Numbers®, have all been updated to take advantage of the new iPad Retina display. iPhoto includes breakthrough Multi-Touch features so you can use simple gestures to sort through hundreds of photos and find your best shots, enhance and retouch your images using fingertip brushes and share stunning photo journals with iCloud. iMovie now gives you the ability to create amazing Hollywood-style trailers as you record HD video, and GarageBand introduces Jam Session, an innovative and fun new feature that allows a group of friends to wirelessly connect to play instruments and record music together live on their iOS devices.

iPad runs almost all of the over 585,000 apps available on the App Store™, including more than 200,000 native iPad apps, from a wide range of categories, including books, games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The iTunes Store® puts the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store at your fingertips with a catalog of over 20 million songs, over 90,000 TV episodes and over 15,000 movies. The new iBooks® 2 app for iPad lets users experience an entirely new kind of ebook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks created with Apple’s new iBooks Author offer gorgeous, fullscreen ebooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more.

Pricing & Availability
The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model and $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (, Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPad will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands on Friday, March 16. Customers can begin pre-ordering their new iPad today, and the incredible iPad 2 is now offered at a more affordable price of $399 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and just $529 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

iOS 5.1 and iTunes 10.6 are available today as free software updates. iPhoto, iMovie 1.3 and GarageBand 1.2 are available today for $4.99 (US) each from the App Store ( Keynote 1.6, Pages 1.6 and Numbers 1.6 are available today for $9.99 (US) each from the App Store. Updates are available for free to existing customers. By the end of March iPad will be available in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.

**Personal Hotspot requires supporting data plan. Customers should check with their carrier for availability.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT/8 is a beast

2012 Grand Cherokee SRT/8

There are times when I get out of a test vehicle and just shake my head. Why did they do this? What was the purpose? The need?

Most of the time that’s a bad thing, but in the case of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT/8, it was a mighty good thing. No one needs 470 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque in an SUV. No one. No one needs a SUV that has a suspension setting called “track” which will allow you to throw it around your favorite oval.

No one needs a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that can propel you to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds.

Nope. No one needs any of that, but that’s exactly what Chrysler Corp. gives you in this specific Grand Cherokee.

I’m soooooooo glad it did.

This was the most fun I’ve had in an SUV ever! The menacing looks got me from the word hello. The hood with the massive air vents. The body kit add ons. The 20-inch Pirelli tires. The dual exhaust. The black metallic paint. The really big brake calipers. Yep, that was enough.

Of course when I opened the door I got much more. The leather and suede recaro-like seats, the stunning dash and options enough to open your own auto parts store were waiting.

Dash cluster of SRT/8

And. That. Engine. Push the start button and you get an exhaust note that will make Mustang Cobra owners turn heads. It’s a deep, throaty musical note that is intoxicating. Give it some gas and you are off to the races. Yep, this thing flies on the highway. As I said, expect to see 60 mph in about five seconds. Gather your courage, hit the “track” setting for the suspension and approach speeds that will keep your license in the hands of the po-po for a long, long, loooong time.

You can enjoy the Grand Cherokee SRT/8 at normal highway speeds but you will draw LOTS of attention, especially if the person beside you is driving any Chrysler product. The car is stunning, but all who own a Dodge or Chrysler know how special and sometimes rare SRT/8 vehicles are.

Actually, none of the dealers had such a Jeep on their lots when I drove this thing a couple of weeks ago. Once the salesman stopped drooling, I asked how much it was since I didn’t get a window sticker.

More on that later.

The SRT/8, like all Grand Cherokees is based on the current Mercedes ML vehicles. Benz still owned Chrysler Corp. when this model was under development so using the chassis was a no-brainer. It also pushed the company to offer better interior trim, switchgear and build quality. This Cherokee is a beast in all categories.

Alas, the one area it really sucks at is gas mileage. Jeep claims  12 mpg in the city and 17 on the highway for a combined 14 mpg. Uuuh, how ‘bout no. The best I got according to the onboard calculator was 12 mpg at any point.

Seriously, anyone looking to buy this vehicle isn’t thinking green, just black, which will be the color of the tire treads left each time you launch toward the street. Nope, environmentalist should stay far away.

Leather and suede seats keep you in place.

The SRT/8 gets all of the equipment available on the Overland trim level and adds all that stuff I said you don’t need at the beginning of this article. That’s at a hefty $54,495. Add all the extra packages (included rear dvd, heated steering wheel, high-dollar stereo and a gazillion other things) and I think the vehicle approached $65,000.

Too much? Back off a few options and you can stay under $60,000. That’s still less than the zooted out Mercedes, BMW or Porsche models which may not have any significant performance advantages. I said it. May be incorrect, but I said it.

I’d own this Jeep in a heart beat if it came with it’s own field. Still, If I were looking for a high performance SUV, I’d look very, very closely at this Cherokee SRT/8.


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