Apple’s October 2014 Event – A Summary


Starting with perhaps their most cult-like intro video ever, Apple kicked the keynote off with an ode to iPhone 6. Tim has “a few more things [to show] before we close out the year” – rather sounds like this could be the last event of the year then.

After some sales and pre-order figures for iPhone 6 making it the “biggest iPhone release ever”, Tim WatchKit SDK rolling out in November, Apple Watch still scheduled for an early 2015 release.

Craig on stage to talk about iOS and OS X. Stats such as 48% of iOS users running iOS, and a reminder of how great both operating systems are, reminding us of all the features announced earlier in the year, including how useful Continuity is for consumers who completely buy into the Apple ecosystem. Craig then demonstrates Continuity including a phone call on an iMac through an iPhone, and it really does work very well. Yosemite and iWork updates available today, iOS 8.1 available on Monday, all for free.

iPad Air 2it’s thinner than a laser-sliced pencil!

  • 6.1mm thin, thinnest iPad ever, also the “world’s thinnest tablet”
  • Display components are laminated together to minimize internal reflection
  • A8X chips specifically for iPad Air 2 – 64-bit, 3bn transistor. Also sports the M8 motion co-processor.
  • 10 hour battery life
  • 8MP iSight camera with 1080p HD video – not bad compared to other tablets, but nothing revolutionary. Dual microphones either side of the least different angles.
  • TouchID sensor
  • WiFi $499 16GB/$599 64GB / $699 128GB
  • WiFi + Cellular $629 16GB / $729 64GB / $829 128GB
  • Shipping by end of next week

iPad mini 3

  • I swear this was announced in less than 30 seconds. Specs are lesser such as 5MP camera, but still comes with TouchID
  • WiFi $399 16GB/$499 64GB / $599 128GB
  • WiFi + Cellular $529 16GB / $629 64GB / $729 128GB
  • Shipping by end of next week

 

iMac with Retina display

  • 27″ 5120×2880 “5K display”
  • 5mm thin tapered edges
  • 3.5GHz quad core i5 as the base 27″ option
  • AMD graphics, which Phil didn’t make a fuss about, but that’s a pretty big change
  • Starts at $2,499, shipping from today

 

New Mac mini

  • 4th gen Intel processors
  • Starts from $499, shipping from today

 

Sorry there’s not much detail in the specifications list – All the presenters apart from Craig were speeding through their presentation points like there was no tomorrow. Personally, I think this was a much more bountiful keynote than the iPhone 6 one, as we’ve seen four product refreshes and several major software releases. Does look like the MacBook Pro with Retina display will be waiting a while before it’s refreshed though, and nobody exactly mentioned any updated Apple standalone display to match the new 27″ iMac resolution.

A week with Mac OS Yosemite


Available to developers since June 2nd, Yosemite is currently in beta, so there are bugs and glitches that won’t appear later this year when it’s released.

A premium OS for a premium range of computers. That’s not elitist, just look at the price tags, and after all, despite writing about Apple for years, I haven’t owned a Mac for very long, but, Mac OS is simply where I’m at my most productive. I still have a Windows desktop for doing heavy lifting and media serving, but the MacBook is where I spend all of my online time. Anyway, my point is that Yosemite feels like a ‘premium’ improvement on an already premium experience.

That said, I’m enjoying Yosemite. When I first saw the new dock leaked a few days before the WWDC keynote, my first thought was “Are they bringing back OS X Tiger?” But, perhaps in order to move forwards you have to look to the past first. While I’m a stickler for continuity and nostalgia, I don’t think the general dock design from Leopard to Mavericks had much of a future left in it, as it had been evolved as much as possible. In essence, a new dock design was due, and I’m happy with the way it went. The subtle translucency is very reminiscent of the iOS 7 and iOS 8 Control Center, and something I am a fan of as it makes the OS feel even more personal.

The fullscreen button on the left of title bars has gone, and instead been merged with the maximize button to the right. What this achieves is cleaner title bars, and may make the possibility of making apps go fullscreen more obvious to less savvy users (it happens). I don’t dislike it, and it means less cursor movement is required, so I suppose it’s a good change.

(This paragraph is a mess, but I can’t think how to rewrite it with improvements) Tabs in Chrome were crashing every second after loading content, so I have temporarily returned to Safari for web browsing on my MacBook. While this dents my tab continuity across my three key devices, it also means I’m experiencing the improvements to Safari. The bird’s eye view for tabs is a bit slow at the moment when transitioning, and feels like the Windows Phone 7 multitasking view, where upon selecting a tab, it zooms in to a screenshot of it, then visibly transitions into the live page. What would be nice is a trackpad gesture to enter the tab birds eye view. If that already exists, I’ve not noticed it, but could very much do with it. I tend to get carried away with tabs, often running into the eighties, where in Chrome that would be so many that i can’t actually distinguish between tabs. In Safari, thanks to the bird’s eye view and scrolling through the tab bar, I can easily get to the tab I’m looking for, and birds eye view makes mass closing of certain tabs a relative breeze. However, I reached a stage where I had so many tabs that in bird’s eye view they became a sliver of their former selves at the bottom of the list, and switching between any tabs became a very lengthy process with Safari becoming unresponsive. One pain that I’ve been reintroduced to through using Safari again is how the new tab text input is never ready instantly when I open a new tab, but rather responsive after a few seconds – which hits productivity. Pair that with the slowness that the shared links sidebar can bring, and some otherwise decent features become useless. However, I’ve had these responsiveness issues before Yosemite, so it isn’t a flaw in 10.10 specifically, just an ongoing lack of optimization.

As far as I can tell, the Calendar (which I run as a fullscreen window) keeps silently crashing or vanishing somewhere, but that’s not much of a pain. Mail has also become unreliable when fetching new emails, but that may just be the network. Dark mode isn’t present in the current beta, but I am eagerly anticipating it.  In its current state, Yosemite is a visual breath of fresh air for me, which alone would be a welcome upgrade. That there’s certain new functionality as well simply sweetens the deal, and I can’t wait to see what developers do in the way of widgets for the Notification Center.

WWDC 2014 Keynote Summary


The Keynote started with a video remind you how amazingly fantastic apps, specifically ones used on Apple platforms, are, with people thanking developers (specifically, those who develop for Apple platforms). After this, Tim Cook walked on stage, continuing to praise developers, and mentioned some facts and figures about WWDC, such as the youngest developer in the audience being thirteen. Segues into reminding the audience that today is not only about iOS, but Mac OS as well, and “the mother of all releases for developers” – which will get an entire section of the keynote devoted to it, which the public will undoubtedly care less about than the other two, but developers cheered.

The Mac OS announcements:

Mr Hair-to-rival-John-Slattery strolled on stage, to crack jokes… shapographic (is that a thing) video ensues, showing the new dock, toolbars, and windows

Translucent windows and dock

New icons of an iOS 7 flavor,  including a translucent trash can.

A dark mode for Mac OS. That’s it, I’m sold now on the design change.

New notification center with an improved Today view with widgets such as clocks, stocks, reminders, as well as 3rd party ones such as ESPN

Spotlight Search is now a big field in the middle of the display, with in-line previews for documents, and web search at the same time. Federighi continues to throw jokes left, right, and center, such as Jony Ive’s custom aluminium spoons with chamfered edges, at such a speed there’s no time for laughs. Maps, movies, and iTunes Store results all show in-line in Spotlight. I wonder if that includes

Calendar has a new Day View

iCloud Drive – access content from Mac OS, iOS, and Windows

Mail – New “Mail Drop” technology, that sends attachments via iCloud for large attachments up to 5GB in size. Markup to doodle over images.

Safari – favorites now hidden in the search bar. Easy subscription to RSS feeds, easier sharing between people, birds eye view of tabs. Visually, Safari now looks exactly like an elongated version of Safari on iOS 7 does. Also features Markup in sharing.

Announcing “Continuity”. That’s right, picking nouns from a dictionary counts as naming a product. AirDrop now works across iOS and Mac OS, devices in proximity can pick up where you left off with documents, emails, and websites. Instant Hotspot lets you automatically turn your phone into a hotspot from your Mac.

Texts and calls can now work through your Mac. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like.

Craig continues to perform his comedy act, including brushing off a call from his mother, opting instead to call Dr. Dre. Yosemite available to developers today, and a Fall release for the public at the price of nothing. In a turn of events, Apple will be offering a Public Beta of Yosemite this Summer.

On to iOS 8:

Interactive notifications, much like on Mac OS. Also works on the lockscreen.

Double tap now not only shows recent apps now, but people as well.

Safari has the same new tab view

Mail is now a more efficient experience with gestures and a floating compose window

Spotlight does iTunes, Apps, and Movies, and the search bar in Safari does the same Wikipedia trick as on Mac OS

QuickType – locally stored predictive typing for iOS, which stores different language usage with different contacts

iMessage – Message threads can now be left or set to do not disturb. Other new features include tap to talk (and video), people locations, and view all images shared in a thread in one place.

A demonstration happens, with an on-stage selfie and a hair crisis from Craig. Looks like the fun never ends at Apple.

Enterprise enhancements are mentioned, but I’m afraid I don’t understand much about it.

On to Health then. Now, after so many years, you can consolidate all your health information in one single place. Provided you use iOS, naturally. Surely you didn’t expect Apple would actually solve a problem rather than adding to it.

Family Sharing – “The easy way to share what’s important”. Create a family unit with iOS devices and share things with them. That’s right, you have to convert your entire family to iOS. You are free to use what your family dictates. On a positive note though, you can now access the iTunes purchases of up to six family members… providing you all share the same credit card. Enjoy cleaning that mess up.

Photos – search has been improved for albums, locations, times etc. New simplified photo effect editing has been added. Photos for Mac OS will be updated next year to work in similar ways, and work online as well.

App Store – app previews (videos) and app bundles with discounted pricing.

Notification Center gets interactive widgets

3rd party keyboards can now be used in iOS

 

I don’t think the word “Google” was mentioned a single time during this… Bing seemed to be getting a lot of shout-outs though. Your other bingo word to look out for was “Kit”.

Summary of Apple’s ‘Special October Event’, 2013


(Introductory paragraph written before the event, the rest was written as it unfolded. Look through for bold text for information of different products.)

In June, Apple spawned a lot of questions, most of which weren’t answered at last month’s event, such as specifics on the upcoming Mac Pro and Mac OS Mavericks – for example, a presumed launch of Mavericks either today or very soon, as it went gold a few weeks ago. It should also be noted that despite September being Apple’s traditional month for their music event, the various iPod models didn’t see an update – we haven’t seen a new iPod since May, which was a ‘budget’ version of the iPod touch. Not to mention the iPod classic, which hasn’t really been spoken of since 2009. Apple has a reputation for releasing products on yearly cycles, which has fallen slightly out of sync in recent years, but still stands – leaving expectations of new iPods, a new Apple TV, new MacBook Pros, the new Mac Pro, a new Mac Mini, Mac OS, and potentially an entirely new product.

Tim Cook walks on stage and starts with what we’ve all come to expect – updates of the news sort rather than the software/hardware sort.

Plenty of figures and opinions about the iPhone 5s and 5c sales and reception, and a video of their retail stores. Figures such as 200 million devices updated to iOS 7 in five days, 20 million users have listened to iTunes radio, developers have earned over $13 billion.

Now onto the updates we’re all waiting for:

Craig Federighi talking about Mavericks:

  • current 13″ MacBook Air will see up to an hour more battery life for web browsing with Mavericks installed (rather what I was expecting what with App Nap and other power saving features announced in June)
  • Reminders about all the other features we’re so eagerly anticipating such as iBooks, Maps, Notifications, Finder tags & tabs, and better multiple display functionality. Ironically, better display functionality could make covering this a lot easier.
  • The Mavericks update will be free to download, even if you’re upgrading from Snow Leopard. Hardware compatible-wise, you can get Mavericks if you have a 2007+ iMac or MacBook Pro, 2008+ MacBook Air, MacBook, or Mac Pro, and 2009+ for the Mac mini.
  • And as expected, available today. “Go out and get it” I’d love to, just as soon as the update appears.

Phil Schiller on to talk about the MacBook Pro:

  • The ‘MacBook Pro’ has been abandoned, Apple now only sell the Retina variant.
  • 13″ gets up to nine hours battery life. 15″ gets up to eight hours.
  • faster flash storage, more video RAM, 802.11ac WiFi, Thunderbolt.
  • All shipping from today.

Now on to the Mac Pro:

  • 4, 6, 8, or 12 core configurations available with the Intel Xeon e5.
  • up to 64GB of 1866MHz of RAM
  • up to 12GB of video RAM (with the dual AMD FirePro configuration)
  • Four USB 3 ports, six ThunderBolt 2 ports, and an HDMI port. With ThunderBolt you can have up to three 4K displays.
  • It really is amazingly small – I doubt it’s much bigger than the latest AirPort Time Capsule. It’ll blend in nicely on the top of a desk (where it’s really intended to be) and makes the same amount of noise as the Mac mini.
  • Ships in December, starting at $2,999.

Now onto iLife with Eddy Cue:

  • New versions of iMovie, iPhoto, and Garage Band for Mavericks and iOS.
  • 64 bit and iCloud compatible
  • you can now edit and order photo books with iLife on iPad
  • iMove Theater integrates with iCloud so you can see everything you’ve made in it on all devices, including Apple TV.
  • The iOS version of GarageBand now has a 16 track limit, up from 8, and 32 tracks on 64 bit devices. And, as you’d expect, everything is synced with iCloud.
  • GarageBand now has a Drummer feature – a virtual drummer that you can easiy modify to play along in a different way. Ships with one drummer, you can add 14 more and more instruments with a single in-app purchase.
  • All available today, and ships free with new Macs and iOS devices.

iWork:

  • 64 bit with redesigned UIs – including new icons.
  • It looks like Pages on Mac now allows you to view a document like in Word rather than some borderless monstrosity…. (Update: I just installed it, and you can easily zoom in and out, allowing the page to actually look like a page now) It also has a format panel on the right hand side – another welcome timesaving addition.
  • Numbers has interactive charts so you can watch a bar chart change, showing past figures to present.
  • Keynote has some new animations and transitions that look quite nice.
  • iWork documents can be instantly shared with iCloud to anyone you give the link to – they don’t need an iCloud account to view it. You can also collaboratively edit documents Google Drive style.
  • Available today, ships free on new Macs and iOS devices.

Tim takes the stage again, for the iPad. He starts off with looking back at initial press slating of the 1st generation iPad “I can’t see a need for the thing”, then revealing that the 170 millionth iPad was sold earlier this month. There are 475,000 apps specifically designed for iPad, and Apple claim that the iPad is used up to four times more than any other tablet, and ranks number one for customer satisfaction. Some source for these figures would be nice… Tim follows up the figures with a video that basically shows iPads everywhere – restaurants, fire trucks, operating rooms, ice rinks, DJs, business meetings, and a tent hung on the side of a mountain.

Anyway, what’s new:

A name… the new iPad isn’t the “new new iPad” or “iPad 5th generation”, it’s the iPad Air, replacing the 4th generation iPad in the way that the Retina MacBook Pro replaced the MacBook Pro.

  • 9.7″ retina display, 43% thinner bezel, 7.5mm thin, 1lb. In the advert it’s portrayed to be thinner than a pencil, so watch your back Kindle.
  • 64 bit A7 chip (same as the iPhone 5s)
  • 8x faster than the original iPad, with 72x faster graphics.
  • 5MP iSight camera with 1080p video and dual microphones.
  • up to 10 hours battery life
  • Available from November 1st, in silver/white and space gray/black starting at $499

iPad mini:

  • Now has retina display (2,048×1,536 – the same as iPad 3, 4, and Air)
  • 64 bit A7 chip, proving that it’s just a smaller form factor, not a budget device.
  • 10 hours battery life
  • Available “later in November” from $399

Tim closes with an advert for the iPad Air, and says goodbye.

A couple of closing thoughts:

So, the iPad 2 is the ‘cheaper past-gen option’ Apple offer, but only $100 less than the iPad Air. Given how much more advanced the iPad Air, even how much more advanced the 4th generation iPad is, I think Apple is really missing a trick charging so much for what is now so little – I think they should either drop the price for the iPad 2 a lot more to expand their consumer base, or offer a different past generation iPad as the cheaper alternative.

No new gadget, no iPod updates, and no Mac mini update – will there be another even this year? I doubt it, as that would be far too many events for one year. Perhaps we’ll see something new in January?

WWDC 2013 – keynote summary


(skim through and look for the bold/underlined headings for the products you’re interested in knowing about)

So, it opened with a slightly pretentious feeling video, although Apple can usually get away with that. Most of the time…

Anyway, Tim’s first large point is the typical sales update. “We made a video”. No surprise there. An Apple Store in Berlin with meander patterns and Ionic columns on the outside – a classical far cry from the glass buildings seen in other cities, although the interior is the usual bare stylishness. “Only Apple could do this”. Could or would? They’re certainly the only tech company who bother to put this much effort into physical outlets.

“More accounts with credit cards than any other store on the internet that we’re aware of.” That’s not the first time he’s said “that we’re aware of” today, and I’m sure Steve Jobs never threw doubts into people’s minds like that.

Quickly into a third party demo with Anki which looked cool although ran into a difficulty. I’d love to buy something like this, controlling real miniature vehicles with an iPhone – like Death Rally but in real life. This really doesn’t feel like a traditional Apple keynote.

Tim now moves on to Mac, looking at figures for MacBooks. Craig Federighi comes on stage making jokes about running out of cat names and then a joke about the next iteration of Mac OS being called OS X Sea Lion. The name turns out to be OS X Mavericks, named after this place. It’ll be released to consumers in Autumn, but now on to the features:

  • Finder tabs – perfect, much easier than using multiple windows
  • Tagging – adding tags to documents that can appear in the finder sidebar
  • Multiple Displays – it works the way multiple displays should do, works really well. You can even turn your Apple TV into a third monitor and still use your computer as normal.
  • Lots of OS performance changes to improve battery life, faster performance under load, and quicker wake from standby. App Nap balances how system resources are shared so that your battery doesn’t pay for what you aren’t currently using.
  • Improved notifications, even enabling push notifications from iOS to come through. Shows on lockscreen. On a related note,
  • Apps update in the background.

Now Safari, they’re making it “even better”. Well, that’s better than making it worse. Anyway:

  • continuously scroll through articles saved to your Reading List
  • browse shared links seamlessly from Twitter
  • Safari wins on SunSpider and JSBench comparisons
  • iCloud Keychain not only remembers your website logins across devices, but also your WiFi passwords. Also saves your credit card information, excluding the security code.

The Calendar:

  • Aware of location, travel time, weather. Flatter visuals and bland colours – he made a joke about skeuomorphics going
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Tells you travel information right in the calendar – notifies you when you need to leave to get to your appointment on time

Maps:

  • Flyover and other iOS style features
  • You can send directions from desktop maps instantly to your iPhone

iBooks:

  • On the Mac at long last – does everything the iOS iBooks does, including the night mode.
  • Textbooks work fantastically – pity hardly any educational outfits adopted it.

Phil Schiller now takes the stage to talk about the MacBook Air, with an entire new line, shipping from today:

  • New 4th generation Intel Haswell processors – 40% faster graphics and much better battery life. For example, 11 inch going from previous 5 hours battery to up to 9. 13 inch from 7 hours to 12 hours – “all day battery life”
  • 802.11ac WiFi (yes, that’s better than Wireless N) – on a related note, there’s a new AirPort Extreme Base Station that has a HDD inside so it can also act as a Time Capsule (hence the incredibly tall form-factor)
  • More storage for the same price as the last generation.

At long last, after only a slight silent improvement last year, the Mac Pro is finally getting a big update. This time round it even comes with a new design (it’s had the same basic design of the 2003 PowerMac G5). Unfortunately,It looks like a shiny black trash can. Same 12-core maximum, but newer Xeons. 1866MHz DDR3 RAM, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe Flash storage, dual AMD FirePro GPUs as default that can output to up to three 4K (that’s a lot better than 1080p HD) displays. The ports light up, it is tiny compared to the original Mac Pro, and assembled in the USA. Awkward but impressive form. This was only a sneak peek though – released later this year.

On to iCloud services:

  • Some facts and figures
  • iWork for iCloud – looks like it works in a web browser. Nothing new in comparison to Microsoft, but it works just as well.

Time for iOS 7 – it’ll run on iPhone 4+, iPad 2nd gen, iPad mini, 5th gen iPod touch, but some features run on only the current lineup. Consumer release in Autumn.

  • Figures such as 600 million iOS devices sold and 82 percent tablet market share for the iPad. Apple also claim to have the most very satisfied users – Windows Phone comes in second place.
  • “The biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone” – much like the iPhone 5 was the biggest change to iPhone since the original iPhone. “Amazing new features” and a “stunning new user interface”.
  • It looks extremely psychedelic and INCREDIBLY different. I’m hoping that it’s not quite as extreme as it looks due to pressure for Apple to change it as much as possible.
  • Pastel colours, WebOS style multi-tasking, wallpaper moves around, new icons, slide to the side to unlock lockscreen, round lockscreen numbers, multiple pages in folders, new notification center (also accessible on lock screen), slide up to get instant access to some settings, playback controls, and flashlight etc. shortcuts…. there’s really too much for me to list. Imagine everything you see on your iOS device at the moment. Now it’s ALL different. Well, App icons are in the same grid. But everything else is new.
  • I’ll just list some adjectives as the changes – flat. pastel Google-esque colours. transparency. fluid. more of a fullscreen sense. Blackberry OS 10 style sliding in mail, slower looking transitions, ghostly keyboard.
  • Craig says it’s like getting a new phone – I agree, as what you see is a major part of a phone’s user experience. I think this is going to take a lot of getting used to for people.

Here’s a few key iOS features in a formal style of listing:

  • Apps update intelligently and automatically
  • Card style interface for Safari tabs like on Chrome mobile but more of a rolodex swirl – also, the 8 tab limit is gone.
  • All apps can multitask and run typically used apps ready to go before you tap on them
  • Control Center works from within any app (for example, you can turn the flashlight on instantly)
  • live filters in the redesigned Camera app
  • Images in Photos are organized into ‘moments’
  • Siri has more human-like voice, can control parts of the system (such as change the brightness), and fills the whole screen in a cleaner interface.
  • Deals with 16 vehicle manufacturers such as Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Volvo, and Jaguar  to have iOS-linked displays in the car
  • App Store can show apps popular near you.
  • Music app has artist images, album grid instead of the now non-existent coverflow
  • iTunes Radio (starting in the US only) – free with ads, no ads if you have an iTunes Match account (at last, now I get more than consistent iTunes crashes for my £21.99 a year). Doesn’t seem as good as the Xbox Music Pass to be honest, but the ecosystem is wider-spread
  • Dismissing a notification on iOS dismisses it across all your devices

And that’s ‘it’ – new MacBook Air available now, OS X and iOS available in Autumn, Mac Pro available “later this year”.

UPDATE – if you want to see how iOS 7 looks like, you can visit Apple’s gallery here.

Two hours to go…


So, just two hours until the WWDC 2011 keynote. It’s pretty obvious even just from the banner outside the Moscone Centre that the key featres will be OS X Lion, iOS 5 and ‘iCloud’. Just going to throw this out there; has Apple said it will be called iCloud? If not, this will probably be another fun game of guessing the new Apple product/service name, such as iTab, iSlate etc. that was just called ‘iPad’ by Apple. iEther anyone? (yes, I know it’s officially iCloud. Rather takes the fun out of it…)

Anyway, pretty much everyone who’s interested in Apple stuff is eagerly awaiting the keynote, whether being their in person to see it, getting the vidcast or reading live updates as the events unfold. Apple may or may not be streaming it live.

Apple updates leap out of nowhere


As you probably know, Steve Jobs took a medical leave of absence and is still away (and apparently getting worse). Normally for these recent updates we would expect some news, a brief keynote at most, that could have coincided with the imminent iPad 2 launch.  Anyway, Apple has launched their new generation of MacBook Pros! They sound pretty cool, and from what I could see, same base price (couldn’t get further dues to the iconic updating).

 

So, can’t wait for them and hopefully I will buy one this year to release me from the clutches of a five year old HP laptop. Don’t worry, I would still run Windows under bootcamp, as I can’t live without it. Also announced (allegedly) is that there is no more Mac OS Server Edition! That’s right, it’ll be part of Mac OS Lion, thus completely killing the small gap that so many compared to Microsoft’s many versions/tiers of Windows.

Happy New Year!


Happy 2011! May it be a happy and prosperous new year.

What do we expect on the Apple side of things? An iPhone 5/4Gs (who knows), new iPods (maybe the Classic will get updated at last), hopefully at least the second generation of iPad, maybe a new generation of MacBook Pro. Not forgetting the imminent launch of Mac OS Lion and the Mac App Store.

Why do we put up with it?


They make some amazing hardware, however, software/firmware? Not so good, and never really has been. Got an iPod? /probably. Got a computer? Even more likely. Is it a Mac? Less likely. If your computer has average/below average, you have been sharing the hell I have been (trying)to endure. You will know how painfully slow iTunes is on Windows, yet with OS X on a machine with the same specifications, it is very responsive and instantaneous. Is this just Apple ‘screwing Windows users over’? It does look like a big marketing ploy to get people to buy a Mac instead. Maybe it is, but I’ll leave that for you to decide in the comments.

I keep getting problems with my iPod, problems that I am not the only one to suffer from, and I can only imagine the problems people probably get with Macs. For example, the Photo Library never ending ‘Rebuilding Database’ (it just crashes after a bit), podcast time getting reset to –:– resulting in no audio navigation, apps disappearing from the home screen, music removing itself, music duplicating itself, albums splitting into several parts across the library, Safari constantly visually messing up… the list could go on. I gave up using iTunes to manage my iPod since iTunes 9.2 was released (see more in the upcoming ‘Avoiding iTunes’ post) apart from to update to iOS 4.0. I have downloaded podcasts and music on the iPod itself and watched other items (such as Revision3 shows and Apple Keynotes that fail to download in (mobile) iTunes) by copying the to FileApp or the VLC app. This is not the way Apple intended it to be, and people wouldn’t deviate from the Apple’s chosen path if the software worked. But it doesn’t so people jailbreak and hack to make their Apple experience better.

After: The ‘Back To The Mac’ event


n.b. It has taken a while for me to write this as I have been trying to recover from what they released.

And not in a good way. Well, before the bulk of my views, what did Apple announce?

  • A new MacBook Air
  • iLife ’11
  • Mac OS 10.7

The MacBook Air.

Available in 11″ and 13″ screen sizes and less than 2cm thin, it is definitely impressive. A screen that’s 11.6″? Suspicious, that’s just over an inch off a good netbook, but I thought Apple didn’t like netbooks?!? For example, the Alienware M11X is considered a gaming netbook, so surely this qualifies as a netbook too? Anyway, it is scarily thin and basically just awesome. It even has a proper keyboard, not a cramped mess! And of course, it is insanely fast for something of this size. If you can to your desktop from off in about 12 seconds or watch 1080p videos seamlessly, I consider that to be pretty powerful.

iLife ’11

iLife is a crucial ‘add on’ to OS X. Basically necessary ‘forgotten’ features that you have to pay for (unless you buy a new Mac or can cope with the old versions (not likely)). I have never been much of a fan of iLife, but the new features in ’11 caught my eye. iPhoto has some pretty nice new/updated features. Not much, but after all, it is a glorified photo viewer with some editing tools and nice social features. For example, the photo album feature has been improved and an email photos feature has been added. On to GarageBand.  I used to use GarageBand to make completely computerised music. Apple seems to be moving further and further away from that, which is a good thing for customers. To be honest, it seems rather like Guitar Hero with the ‘How Did I Play’ feature, but it is a nice touch, a touch that my (piano, not computer) keyboard has had for several years. Tools that improve your rhythm, new amps and new lessons are also added. Anyway, if you have a lot more money lying around, you could buy Logic StudioAnd finally, saving the biggest and best till last, iMovie! Also, not really a big fan of, but there were lots of people who were anticipating nothing but this from the event. Apple delivers several big necessary and unnecessary (but helpful) new features. For example, movie trailers. Seems unnecessary for people compiling clips of their holiday for their relatives to see, but could be handy for budding filmmakers. Also added, and needed by many, is audio editing! Sounds awfully like Windows Movie Maker from 2000/2001… anyway, also added is special effects such as instant replays, slow motion and ‘flash and hold’. News/sports coverage makes your special moments rather creepy, and has a rather long-winded setting up process. Finally, you can upload/export videos to even more places. Overall, iLife ’11 is a pretty big update with some unmissable features.

Mac OS 7 – ‘Lion’

Well, the king of the jungle is finally here and probably won’t be lasting long. If you hear the words ‘app store’ and ‘desktop (/MacBook)’ in the same sentence, you can tell it won’t be good. Yes, Apple is adding an App Store to OS 10.7. As if Apple taking 30% (pre-tax) of your hard earned money on the iDevice App Store, they now want to take some of your your hard earned money when you develop for Mac. (I am guessing that they will take the same cut, make your own judgement). Of course, you can still make Mac software for discs and downloads (so far (also, a guess)). If they had stopped there, I would have thought they still have a chance this could sell. But no, they kept on adding.

The name of the event: ‘Back To The Mac’:

Not quite the meaning of back I or probably anybody else had in mind, it wasn’t ‘returning to the Mac, we haven’t forgotten it despite nearly our last 2 years worth of events having very little to do with the Mac and us no longer being ‘Apple Computer Inc.’ ‘  but more of a ‘back’ as in ‘we are taking these features from iOS and taking them back to Mac OS’

(At time of writing, I have not yet seen the keynote, as many unhappy iDevice owners know, the podcast fails and is ‘unable to play’. I shall watch it as soon as I can, and that may broaden my views on iLife ’11, but my views will probably stay the same for the MacBook Air and Mac OS 10.7)