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.

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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?

pre-Apple iPhone 5 event


Well, tomorrow is once again the big day.

Firstly, I wonder who will be presenting it? At a guess, I’d say Tim Cook. However, he doesn’t seem quite as enigmatic and enthusiastic as Steve Jobs was.

What’s on the list to appear? Well, the next iPhone (be it iPhone 5, iPhone 4S etc.).

What do I hope will be announced? I’m hoping that they’ll announce the release of iOS 5 tomorrow. Well, it’d be a smooth time to deploy it.

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.

The white iPhone is even more imminent…


Need I even bother saying? It’s been going round the internet faster than any other Apple rumor I’ve seen before. Anyhow, the (well, ‘a’) white iPhone is going to be coming out on Wednesday. With it being this soon, I’m guessing it’s just going to be a white iPhone 4 and not the next generation, but some suspicious photos of it have been circulating that don’t look like just a black iPhone 4 but in white. Intriguing…

iPad 2!


At long last, Apple have finally announced the iPad 2! First thing to notice is that yes, everyone got the name right in their predictions (unlike the 3Gs). It looks amazing. 33% more amazing to be precise. With a rear style akin to the iPod Touch and a grill on the back, this looks old yet very, very new. Why a grill? My guess is because of the 1Ghz dual-core A5 chip. Everything has improved. Two cameras, better graphics, thinner than the iPhone 4 (the world’s thinnest smartphone) and a fast processor. And you’ll be able to get some great new Apple apps for it, such as GarageBand! I have to say, this seems to be Apple’s biggest update to a product ever (e.g. this is like jumping from the original iPhone straight to the iPhone 4). Oh, and it’s being released in a week (in the US, later this month for most other big-on-Apple-products countries).

 

 

 

More in-depth post about the event coming soon – *spoiler alert*  Steve Jobs was back on the stage presenting it!

Or maybe the Apple September 2010 event wasn’t so great…


I just installed iTunes 10 and I hate it. Sure, Ping is cool, but that is just about it’s only redeeming feature. Apple has sucked all the colour out of it and changed the logo. Please Apple, I want iTunes 10, but with the old theme and logo.
Also, I have heard that the stills camera on the iPod Touch fourth generation isn’t that great. 0.7 megapixels apparently, which is worse than my four year old HTC Wizard. Of course the iPod thing is just what I have heard, but if Apple was proud of the camera they would have put the amount of mega pixels in the specs sheet.

Also, the new Apple TV. Streaming only? Well, the cloud does seem to be the future (may God help those with dialup) so I’ll leave Apple TV alone, as it is basically awesome.

After: Apple September 2010 Event


As usual, Apple held it’s September music centered event and launched several fantastic updates. iPods, iTunes and even the long awaited Apple TV update.

iPods:

Fourth Generation iPod Touch:
The rumors had been flying about before the event, mainly about the camera, and almost every rumor came true! The new iPod Touch has now been brought another step closer to the iPhone. It features:
Two cameras. One on the front for Face Time and one on the back for photos and HD video recording (so I presume it’s 5MP).
Retina Display. The fantastic crispness of the iPhone 4’s screen has been integrated into the new iPod Touch.
The A4 processor. The iPod Touch now has the same Apple-made processor as the iPad and the iPhone 4. I presume this also means that it has 512MB of RAM.

Sixth Generation iPod Nano:
A massive change (as usual) to the overall design of the Nano. The first two generation Nano’s were sticks, the third gen Nano was the awesome rectangular mini iPod classic style (you can probably tell it was my favourite!) then followed by two generations of the newer design, and now, basically a square. It does look cool, but rather impractical. For starters, how do you use it? Well, it’s got a multi touch screen, yet you can hardly get two fingers on it. Where’s the camera? The old one had a video camera, so where is it in this. Well, as far as I have heard, there isn’t one. Mainly because the new nano, is, well… nano, and it’s got a massive clip on the back of it. It’s not massive if you look at it, as it’s a normal size clip, but it’s as big as the nano itself in comparison.

Fourth generation iPod Shuffle:

I’ve never really been a fan of the shuffle, or even the shuffle feature in music players. Sure, it reintroduces you to tunes you liked but forgot about, but if I want to listen to a specific tune or podcast, I can’t. And for the money you pay, you could get a relatively good MP3 player with what is loosely referred to as a ‘screen’ (the worst PPI scrolling display you have ever seen). But that’s what you get when you buy Apple products. Apple products aren’t perfect, but nothing is, and they’re massively better than any alternative. Sure, the firmware on my iPod messes up sometimes and I need to sync to fix a very inconvenient problem, but on the whole, it works flawlessly. I’ll be honest with you, I was staring at a picture of the new shuffle thinking ‘what in earth am I meant to write about this, it’s the same!’, but then I looked at the MacTracker app and remembered. I was thinking it was the same as the shuffle it think of as THE iPod shuffle is the second generation one (That would be why I was so confused). So, the new iPod shuffle is basically a reincarnation of the second generation one but with the empty space that didn’t have buttons now removed. Now it’s tiny and useable, but if you want a small, actually useable iPod, then go buy a third generation nano, as 8GB of storage, a screen, a clickwheel and a real iPod look is hard to say no to when your other choice is an awkward touch screen or a square so small you can’t press the buttons. Smaller is generally better with technology, but there is generally a point where it gets ridiculous.

I’m pretty sure news websites said that all the iPod’s would be updated. Did they update the classic a tiny bit or did they drop it? I hope they didn’t drop it, as 160GB of storage in your pocket kind of goes unrivaled. I mean, come on, my laptop only has a 40GB hard drive, and my PC’s main hard drive is only 80GB (I have an external desktop drive though) so 160GB is pretty amazing. Sure the screen is small, but it’s worth it.

Other Apple products:

iTunes 10!
That’s right, ten! Sure, there was a huge iTunes update with movies and TV show a while ago, and updates after that seemed more like bug fixes with an extra button and making it impossible to sync an iOS device if it’s firmware is too new for your version of iTunes, but this time Apple has added a social network. And no, not Twitter integration, but their own social network! It’s called Ping, and it’s a social network for (duh) music. All in all, iTunes 10 is a really cool way to slow down your PC and hardly be able to use any of it, but if you have a Mac, then you can use every aspect of iTunes 10 at a fast speed.

Apple TV

Thankfully, not renamed to iTV (because of the UK broadcaster and that iTV kind of sucks as a name for it). Apple TV has been changed kind of in the way the Nano has. In other words, it has been made smaller and a key feature has been removed. It is now tiny. And there’s no storage. If you had a slow Internet connection at home and downloaded all your stuff with an iPod Touch/iPhone somewhere else, then synced it to your PC and then put it on your Apple TV to watch, now you can’t. The new Apple TV is focussed on streaming. Ie, you rent stuff. I heard somewhere (GPRS on a phone is no way to hunt down stuff you thought you heard!) that renting a TV episode would be 99 cents, which will hopefully mean 59p (that’s how the app store currency conversion worked) in the UK. For $99 you can’t argue that it’s awesome, but $99 for the Americans should mean about £59 in England, but like almost all Apple hardware it will probably be closer to ninety nine than fifty nine. Still, pretty cheap for what you get.

Some of the facts may be wrong in the above post as at the time of writing I only had a GPRS connection on a not very good for browsing the web phone. Also, some of the opinions on the products may look unfinished, that’s because I needed a bit of info to continue, and either found it and continued or couldn’t find it and forgot I needed it.

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TV Writer Podcast. Watch the latest episode at http://www.tvwriterpodcast.com

Before: Apple September 2010 Event


Tomorrow, Apple will be having the usual September iPod update announcement. Most people are focused on the next generation of iPod Touch. The latest mini-rumor is that it will have more than 64GB of storage. Now, that would be ridiculous, but I (as you probably know) have the 64GB third generation model, and 64GB really isn’t enough. I ‘only’ have 5GB left. Now, that may seem like a lot, and in Windows Mobile or Windows itself terms, yes, that is a lot. But in Apple terms, that is not very much. For example, that’s just short of a whole season of Friends, or about 5 normal length films or 15 really good apps based on real games. In Windows terms, that’s nearly XP installed (off hand, it’s either 4 or 6 GB) or 6/7 films. Anyway, if they make the storage space in the iPod Touch bigger, surely they would have to increase the hard drive space for the iPod Classic. Isn’t flash memory really expensive? So if they do increase it, could we see a huge price rise, however that would then mean Apple wouldn’t loose so much money if they added 3G to the top model. To sum up, I can’t wait to get the keynote podcast, and I’ll probably be constantly refreshing a news website for comedic status updates on what’s being announced.

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TV Writer Podcast. Watch the latest episode at http://www.tvwriterpodcast.com