Apple Updates iPhone Line with 16 GB Model

Today I see that Apple is giving a storage bump to the iPhone product line. The iPhone will now be coming in 8- and 16 GB flavors.  With the formal release of the iPhone SDK and some way of getting third party apps onto the phone, it's looking very promising. Several guys in the office have them, and I am quite impressed with what I'm seeing of the stock iPhone models already; this storage bump only sweetens the deal more.

I'm still not sure if it's really going to be the phone for me when my existing contract is up in a few months, but I have plenty of time to observe and make the decision.  I note that the iPhone setup is similar in philosophy to the Sidekick, which I liked very much and even miss today (having converted to a low-end Blackberry), though the iPhone is much more powerful.

I'd like to add more to these observations but I must get my sleep.

Posted on February 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apple Teams Up With Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM & United to Deliver iPod Integration

The headline is lifted straight from Apple's site, and tells the story pretty accurately: Apple has made agreements with several airlines to build iPod integration into the seat back entertainment systems on passenger planes.

Due to debut in 2007, this system sounds awesome (for iPod owners, anyway) due to its total integration. You can charge your iPod in your seat's dock, while the seat-back display screen will play your iPod movies! No word on whether the system will support multiple media formats other than what Apple sells on the iTunes store, but presumably for the system to work well enough that people will actually use it they would have to support whatever iPod supports.

And so the iPod "ecosystem" grows and grows. Some have speculated that the days of iPod are waning, but with the integration of iPod into cars, multiple gadget accessories, and now airplanes, perhaps those prognostications are a bit premature.

It's almost as if the iPod is slowly evolving from a product line into a de facto standard for digital media integration at the consumer level. While individual superior mp3 players might come along, their success will be affected by whether or not they can play within this ecosystem.

Maybe I'm too excited about this, but if you're not at least a little interested in this development, then perhaps you haven't been wedged in the middle seat on an 8-hour flight. The entertainment system is sometimes all you've got if you are travelling light. Perhaps you didn't bring or can't get to your laptop; this integration will bring your choice of movies or TV shows to your seat with very little fuss.

Posted on November 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apple Expands the Digital Hub - iPod Games, iTv, Movie Downloads

Today's "Showtime" event from Apple brings many of the speculated products into reality. One less-common rumor, the iPod games rumor, has come true! 5th-gen iPods can play Texas Hold'em, Tetris, Bejeweled,Pac Man and other classics. The games cannot be played in the iTunes client software, but should make iPodding more enjoyable.

The iTunes movie downloads have come into being as well. A quick glance at the iTunes movie store looks promising, with Apple saying they have over 75 movies to start with. Studios include Disney, Pixar, Touchstone and Miramax Films.

iPod Shuffle has been redesigned into a clothespin/clip form factor. Very clever; it will be interesting to see if this takes off, or if the hinge will have breakage problems due to its being a moving part.

Regular iPod now comes in an 80 gig variety, and the Nanos have dramatically expanded battery life (sounds like Apple has addressed at least some of the common complaints with this round of releases).

The iTV (shame the name is so similar to EyeTV... one of my favorite Mac peripherals) has been predicted by many for quite some time. It's a small box, comparable to a Mac Mini, which has a whole slew of video outputs (including HDMI support), Ethernet, WiFi, a USB port, etc. It is controlled by the Apple remote and allows your Mac to become a media server while you view content from your living room. It will retail for $299, according to MacNN.

So finally we have the video equivalent to the Airport Express with Airtunes... but perhaps more media-centric. I wonder if it will have printer capabilities.

With last week bringing us a revamped iMac line entirely based on the Intel Core 2 Duo processors, we now see why they want such aggressive increases in computing power, which IBM could not have (did not want to) provided through the PowerPC platform.

Posted on September 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Second iGo Wallpower 6500 Power Adapter Fails

In February I wrote about how I exchanged my first iGo Wallpower adapter for a new unit after the first one ceased powering my iBook and decided instead to emit a bizarre buzzing sound.

A few short months later, I'm sorry to report that the second adapter has gone bad. This one emits no noise, but gets very hot very fast. I imagine I was lucky to discover this before my home was incinerated.

I'm left with a dilemma- do I begin shouting at iGo in hopes of getting a new unit (I pay shipping and handling), or do I just go get a new Apple adapter? Well, despite my concerns over the thin wire on the Apple adapter, I'm leaning toward getting it because the thin wire is my only material concern.

The iGo system is a really great concept, but if I can't trust the hardware then what good is it? If they send me a third unit, how can I be sure it's safe after two incidents that indicate the opposite? Should I really have to install a halon fire protection system just to use what should be a simple power adapter?

The original iBook power adapter that came with my iBook was of the yo-yo design and lasted for years, until the unit was damaged by my own lack of care. I've taken good care of the iGo device, and two of them have failed utterly.

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Posted on May 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Firefly, Buffy, and Lost in Space Available for Download on iTunes!

This seems to have slipped under the radar in many of the sites I frequent. iTunes now has in its television download section Joss Whedon's Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even Lost in Space.

If you haven't caught Firefly during its unfortunately short run on television, I highly recommend viewing an episode or two now that it's a low-rish proposition. (one download versus a complete DVD set)  Once you've been hooked, check the fan sites for the proper order in which you should watch the
episodes because Fox aired them in the wrong story order.

iTunes is building up a nice collection of television programming. The A0-Team, Knight Rider, South Park, Lost, Weeds, BSG, Law and Order, and even Project Runway, along with countless others.

The rumor sites were claiming new iBook (MacBook?) releases on Tuesday.
Instead, we got Firefly and Buffy. I know which one I would rather have and  they delivered :-)

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Posted on May 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Get a Mac Campaign Launched

Apple has launched their latest ad campaign, a strong followup to the Switch campaign called "Get a Mac". In it, they are giving away free Macintosh computers to the first 500 people to enter each of their retail stores on a certain unannounced date, thereby inducing thousands of people to "Get a Mac".

Just kidding!

The real Get a Mac campaign is summed up in the Get a Mac section of the Apple web site. Basically we get two numbered lists: Reasons to get a Mac, and a list of debunked urban myths about Mac vs. PC performance.

And the real gem is the page allowing you to watch the new series of TV ads, even in HD if you like. These ads are every bit as bold, humorous, and entertaining as the Switch ads we saw a couple of years ago.

As the Intel transition continues, and we head toward the WWDC where we'll get a preview of Leopard, they are really pushing for increased sales. Will we see it? Will we see what Jobs was talking about on the earnings call when he said the new products in the pipeline were the best he's ever seen?

All I know is that technology in general is always getting more and  more interesting. ABC is offering free streaming of some of the same programming that's available on iTunes for a small price, but the ABC streams have advertising embedded. Free viewing, have unskippable ads; pay viewing, have an archived ad-free version for your iPod.

Meanwhile, we see patents from Apple for multiple-touch point touchscreens, or LCDs that double as cameras. So, what is in the pipeline? Touchscreen video iPods, Macs with LCD screens doubling as an iSight camera, tablet Mac (with multiple touchpoint sensitivity!)... or are they just following the trend of patenting technology for a rainy day.

Many dynamics are coming into play, thus ensuring nobody can sit on their butts and get lazy about producing good offerings.

By the way, it's still possible to get a free Mac Mini from Gratis Internet, so while Apple isn't giving away 500 Macs per retail store, you can still get a Mac sent to you for just completing an offer and referring a few friends.

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Posted on May 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why Boot Camp is Not The End of OS X Development

It's been one day, and already the 'sphere is buzzing about Boot Camp and how allowing XP to run on the Intel Macs is going to allow software developers a way out from building Mac OS X versions of ther software. Why, they ask, would a developer spend the extra money to build for OS X when now they can simply ask their Mac customers to boot into XP?

Huh? These people are missing the point. We're talking about a dual boot setup! You have to leave OS X to run XP, and vice versa (we'll leave the Parallels announcement for another topic). 

Any developer that says "just reboot into XP instead of using OS X" is seriously delinquent in their customer service. Does anyone really think that software developers could get away with requiring customers to purchase an XP license just to save them money?

Mac developers will remain Mac developers.  Virtual PC didn't seem to harm the Mac OS development ecosphere, although that could be explained by the slowness of full processor architecture emulation. But remember, the successful companies are the companies that put the customer first. Saying "buy an XP license and boot into XP just to run our software" is exceptionally poor customer service... it's engineer-centric rather than customer-centric.

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Posted on April 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apple's 30th Anniversary Approaches: Top 10 Guesses

We're just about two weeks away from April 1st, which this year is the 30th anniversary of Apple Computer. Knowing that Apple loves using auspicious occasions like anniversaries to launch new and exciting products, what might we encounter this year?

Since April 1st is a Saturday, it may be that they will make an announcement on the Friday before, or the Monday after.

Top 10 Guesses

Here are my top ten guesses, which are just that - guesses - and are in no particular order. Some of these are completely off the wall, yet almost plausible (a crucial ingredient in urban legends):

  1. Intel-based iBook
  2. "Asteroid" is released and we discover what it really is
  3. iTunes Movie downloads
  4. Video iPod with touchscreen interface
  5. Apple Tablet or PDA
  6. iPhone
  7. Wireless iPod
  8. FrontRow enhanced and packaged for separate purchase
  9. Apple buys EyeTV/elgato
  10. MacTV - Large LCD TV with Mac built in

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Posted on March 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apple in the Living Room

Now it's getting interesting. Steve Jobs has announced the iPod Hi-Fi, which is an audiophile-quality boombox iPod dock. Featuring three speakers, a sealed resin case (to keep vibration down), and even SPDIF optical input (!!!), the iPod Hi-Fi brings Apple into the living room.  And the kitchen. And the garage. And even outdoors, because the unit can be powered by D batteries like any boom box. It comes with adaptors for every current iPod, and the Shuffle can plug into an Aux input.

The electronics in your living room, other than your stereo, is usually the television. Apple hasn't announced an explicit PVR unit, but with the new Mac Mini they probably don't need to. There is a Core Duo and Core Solo version, each one far outperforming the G4-based predecessor while keeping the same form factor. The Mac Mini sports 4 USB ports, a Firewire port, and Gigabit Ethernet. And due to its small size, quiet operation, built-in infared port/Apple Remote and the option to attach a television as a display, the Mini can be used in your entertainment center.

Why would we want to do that? Well, the new Front Row media center software from Apple ships with the Mac Mini, and the updated version (available later this week via Software Update) will support Bonjour/Zeroconf ad hoc networking. In English, this means your Mac Mini will have full, automatic access to your iTunes Video library no matter what computer in your network it happens to be stored on.

Now, pair this Mac Mini with Elgato's EyeTV PVR, and you have your functioning living room Mac PVR. The newer EyeTVs have their own remote control, but perhaps an update will allow EyeTV recordings to be shared with FrontRow just like the iTunes downloads, which would be the killer app for me- my EyeTV is installed in my office on my main computer with lots of storage available, so I end up watching shows on my Mac. What would be great is to have that streamed automagically to any Mac in the house.... possible with open source streaming apps like VLC, but most desirable when done in a no-fuss automatic fashion.

The Bomjour networking in FrontRow will also support iPhoto for photo slideshows.

Some of the other rumored products that were much anticipated but not announced (and so may not even exist): a Mac Tablet computer, an Apple Phone, a Video iPod with large touchscreen display, and studio movie downloads via iTMS.

So, Elgato, care to up the ante and get EyeTV speaking Bonjour?

Posted on February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

iWeb Reviewer Uses iWeb to Publish Lackluster Review

By way of MacSlash, I found this review of iWeb 1.0.  It looks like my enthusiasm was premature to say the least, although I stand by my statements regarding the web integration of all of the other iLife 2006 tools - they are exciting to put it mildly.

On the other hand, I have not yet tried it myself to it's equally premature for me to say anything in the negative. My local CompUSA does not have the new software on the shelves yet so it may be some time before I get a chance to try it out and give it a thorough test drive. The SteveNote made it look pretty good - centered around the concept explained in his easy/hard/ugly/beautiful matrix.

The cool factor here, despite the insanely huge URLs this thing generates, it visible without a personal test drive: iWeb is almost like the iSync of all your iLife content, publishing your photos, movies, and GarageBand recordings to the world.

The review page has a large amount of traffic according to its site counter. Maybe the author should think about monetizing :-)

But for now, I think I'll stick with Typepad, Wordpress, and my own custom coded solutions.

Posted on January 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack