State of the Apple: The Big If

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Date: Thursday, February 8th, 2007, 23:35
Category: Opinion

So here we are, post-Macworld Expo drifting off into rueful looks at iCal and thinking “when can I get my hands on an iPhone?” Apple’s release of colored iPod shuffles hardly satisfies a growing desire to see the new product. It makes me wonder how much MacBooks and MBP’s will actually change in the near future – will they morph into touch-screen tablets too?
As Apple prepares to embark on its post-iPod world I wonder whether the bravado it employs has not grown a little too big. After all, the iPod emerged slowly over 18 months and wasn’t really touted with a fraction of the iPhone’s hype at the outset. Its massive success (and this is true of all great Apple products) was due to the fact that they locked everything down including the hardware, software and the selling of music.
The big “if” in this new iPhone era is how Apple will work with a cell phone provider when they’re accustomed to owning the entire process.
It also bothers me, for example, that I won’t be able to download iTunes music OTA (over the air) to iPhone. Although I understand that this may be a contractual limitation with the record labels, Apple sure hasn’t said much on the topic.
Also, although the polycarbonate shell is supposed to be harder than the iPod’s, is anyone else worried that iPhone’s ultra high gloss enclosure may get as scratched as the original iPod nano inside a bag or with a bunch of keys on the way home from the bar? Surely Apple’s thought of this, haven’t they?
For the price they’re demanding, the least Apple could do is to include a decent case with iPhone. Although with Apple’s track record on this, I’m not holding my breath.


Review: No Love for the iLuv

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Date: Thursday, February 8th, 2007, 00:00
Category: Review

As an iPod with Video owner, it doesn’t take long to realize that watching a full-length movie on that tiny screen just isn’t realistic. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it draws attention from my kids’ friends (and mine too). And, in a pinch, it does the trick. But after a year with it, mainly what I’ve found is it’s simply an easier way to carry around movies and TV shows to watch someplace else (of course, besides a music player). Where I used to carry around 20+ DVDs, I now simply plug my iPod with Video into the video-in of most TVs (using Apple’s iPod AV cable – $19) and off I go. My kids love it, especially in the van using the built-in video player.
This past weekend, while shopping for myself for my big 4-0, I happened across the Sonic Impact SI5 at the Apple Store. Basically, the SI5 looks like a portable DVD player, but the iPod sits in a tray to play the movies. For $200 it plays the movies, but little else. So I went searching for other options when I came across the iLuv Portable iPod player AND DVD player.
I picked it up at Micro Center for under $150. I thought “what a great idea – a portable DVD player AND a large 7″ screen for my iPod.” I unpacked it, excitedly thinking I could get caught up on some last-season episodes of Lost before this season starts in February.
Click the jump for the full review…


Missing From The iPhone: One More Thing

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 18th, 2007, 11:00
Category: iPhone

Jason wrote his top 13 missing iPhone features in his ZDNet blog, The Apple Core, and he makes good points; the only ones I disagree on are more related to my own work style: I don’t need OTA downloads from iTMS because I shun DRM; I don’t use Office so I don’t need Office support, and I personally like the sealed battery if it cuts down on size (it does) and gives better clean lines (it does). But these are just me, and most people will find those important.
But the one thing Jason missed – the big missing functionality in my world – is handwriting recognition.
I’ve written on a handheld device for years; first it was a series of Palm OS devices, then a Sony Ericsson P800. (OK, fine, there were two Newtons before any of that.) It’s just so much more natural to write than to type with your thumbs on tiny keypads. I know the whole opposable thumbs thing is cool, but just because we have them doesn’t mean we must be reduced to them. Writing is natural, and hey – isn’t the iPhone UI all about natural gestures and movement?
OS X has had Inkwell in there for a couple of years, quietly lurking below the surface, and it still hasn’t been taken advantage of. If you read Lev Grossman’s article in Time about the origin of the iPhone, it’s easy to guess that Inkwell came about because Apple was thinking tablet (and Steve spake, saying unto them, “makest me handwriting recognition software, for lo, I may want to use it!”), but by the time they changed directions, Inkwell was done and released. So maybe now’s the perfect time: Inkwell on an iPhone? Killer.
I’m also holding out hope for the “next” iPhone. So soon, you ask? Well, remember the time in the way back, before the keynote last week? There were rumors going around about how there were going to be two iPhones, one consumer, one smartphone. The iPhone that Steve demo’d wowed everyone so well, and does things so much better than any smartphone does, that we all thought that was it… but what if it’s not? What if (are you sitting down?)… what if that was Apple’s idea of a consumer level phone? What if there’s a higher-end phone, a real smart phone, waiting in the wings?
A lot can happen between now and June. I’m holding out hope.
Contributed by: Steve Abrahamson


The Browning of Greenpeace

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Date: Friday, January 12th, 2007, 08:00
Category: Opinion

Lately Greenpeace has been targeting Apple with a “GreenMyApple” campaign, including the infamous “Greening of Apple” publicity stunt in New York a little while back. OK, point made, good to be aware that Apple, like many, could do better.
The problem is, they’re going too far. Way, way too far.
They claim that they’re targeting Apple because Apple should be better because they’re, well, Apple. But like a teenager who’s crushed upon learning that their parents are imperfect and only human, Greenpeace doesn’t seem to want to accept that Apple is a corporation like any other, that they try to do their best, and they’re not perfect. Greenpeace is running the risk of alienating people who support them. And they don’t care.
How do I know? I called them. I spoke to someone about the GreenMyApple
campaign, and explained to him, in the most rational way possible, that
while I sympathized with their goals, there was a backlash going on;
that when I read about their activities I found myself thinking badly of
Greenpeace, not of Apple. I may as well have been talking to my iPod; he
told me about the validity of the campaign, and even said, “we alienate
people with every campaign we do. That’s just how it goes.” He couldn’t
have been less interested.
Hmm. Nice. Chalk up one more alienated person.
Of course, there’s plenty of holes in Greenpeace’s story, too. You could read Roughly Drafted who wrote After spending at least $50,000 on expensive lab work, Greenpeace ignored the data they discovered, or AppleInsider who reported Greenpeace admits placing Apple under more scrutiny than any other electronics manufacturer. But that’s facts, and Greenpeace prefers factiness.
Like that teenager seeking attention by whatever means necessary, Greenpeace seems hell-bent on trying to cause Apple problems, from unruly protests (that get them kicked out of Macworld Expo) to botched “greening events” – but not out of high moral ground; they do it purely because they know that attacking Apple gets them publicity.
Here’s the problem with that…. Read more after the jump…


iPhone: The Ultimate iTV Remote?

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Date: Friday, January 5th, 2007, 10:00
Category: iPhone

With all the discussion surrounding Apple and an iPhone device, could an Apple phone turn up as the ultimate remote for Apple’s iTV. Front Row + Apple Remotes are already bundled with Mac hardware. Wouldn’t it seem reasonable that a new phone would provide remote control for the upcoming iTV?
The thought is that a new Apple phone will integrate with iTV as a remote that you can use within the house… never misplacing your phone or remote and be a nearby and available phone to use. I imagine that the phone/remote would pile up the minutes as it would be the first choice of a phone to use while using your home media.
Smart phones are no more clumsy than other (TV, CD, DVD, VCR) remotes. An all-in-one Apple device that simplifies this media experience would be welcome. I’d imagine someone in Cupertino would think so.
Contributed by: Dave Walter


Inside Apple’s iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 25th, 2006, 12:42
Category: Uncategorized

Apple’s market position and recent performance suggest the company has the ability, capacity, and interest in shaking up the mobile phone industry, something that service providers, manufacturers, and consumers desperately need. Here’s why.
Read More…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM


iPod, iPhone, iTV: How Apple’s New Platform Works

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Date: Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 18:49
Category: Uncategorized

Apple’s iPod is a runaway hit, but will any of that success translate into different product categories? There are significant reasons why Apple is poised to repeat the same iPod success in new arenas. It has little to do with music playback, and instead relates to the integrated network of services Apple has built to support the iPod. Read More…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM


iPod, iPhone, iTV: Why Apple’s New Platform Works

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Date: Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 07:00
Category: Opinion

Apple’s strategy for a new set of consumer electronics devices seems to be beyond the grasp of most industry analysts. That should really come as no surprise, because they don’t seem to understand what made the iPod a success over the last five years either.
Since its release, analysts have been falling all over themselves to identify the next “iPod killer.” They still throw out the phrase every time Sony releases a new version of a Walkman branded phone or Microsoft renames its latest version of Janus DRM, to suggest that the iPod is on the verge of being eclipsed.
In reality however, the iPod is not only experiencing dramatic growth, but also moving into new markets and new form factors. Not only are there three lines of iPods, but there are at least two more iPod cousins on the way: the already announced iTV device, and the rumored iPhone.
Read More…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM


Extreme: Yes, I Destroyed my MacBook

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 08:00
Category: News

Fans of yesterday’s “Anyone Knee’d a PowerBook?” will appreciate today’s Extreme MacBook installment. Those that really love their MacBooks may want to skip ahead to the next story as this one’s kinda gory.

Yes, I destroyed my MacBook
This was actually my third one. The others went back as DOA. This one almost worked, enough for me to keep it. It never really worked right though. Random lockups, wireless dropouts, wireless not working when returning from sleep. Weird stuff like my whole desktop just disappearing. Yes I tried different memory, and it always passed the Apple hardware test fine.
After six months of this crap, In a fit of rage I did this to it. The rage was probably caused by the crazy amounts of drugs I am on for Lupus at the moment.
It cut my hand pretty bad in the process, hence the blood. I can’t afford another one, so now I have to use my Windows PC 🙁
I was really disappointed in this computer as my previous Mac (Mac mini) was the best computer I have ever owned.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, there’s eight more pictures of MacBook murder.
Contributed by: carbuncle


Extreme: Anyone Knee’d a PowerBook?

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 19th, 2006, 08:00
Category: News

A reader sent in the following story about an extremely damaged PowerBook – the result of apparent anger management issues:


One-two over the knee.
And a slam to the floor makes PB no more.
I am a very busy kinda guy, with little tolerance for imperfection, and every once in a while the pressure valve just pops!
In any case, I had a fairly recent backup and thanks to .Mac syncing, I’m back up and running with a new MBP.
And to tell the truth my new machine is much nicer than my 1.33 PB.

Another, even worse picture after the jump…
Contributed by: EtyHead