If you’re not one of the people who follows the Mac blogosphere, you may have missed last week’s tempest in a teapot involving Intel Inside stickers, journalistic behavior, and the zealousness of that same blogosphere. As one of the people responsible for fanning the flames, I felt it was worth looking at what happened — and what it taught me about how different media and different points of view can make an innocuous comment into a strange sort of scandal.
iPhoto is one of the most mature of the iLife applications, so with the more-feature-laden Aperture casting a large shadow over it, Apple could very well have turned its photo-management application into Aperture Lite. While undoubtedly there are people who would like a more complex version of iPhoto, Apple chose a more tempered approach with this latest update.
With iLife ’08, GarageBand turns 4. And in its fourth iteration, Apple’s music creation/podcasting/movie-scoring application adopts improvements largely targeted to musicians and musician wanna-bes, though podcasters will find a couple of less-touted features to like.
With a new aluminum-and-glass enclosure, the iMacs unveiled by Apple earlier this week look markedly different from their immediate predecessors. But the more modest changes inside—a speed bump to the Intel Core 2 Duo chip that powers the machine—translate to only a slight boost in performance from one version of Intel-based iMacs to the next.
I’ve spent the past 24 hours letting Tuesday’s round of Apple announcements sink in. Coverage from the mainstream media has been pretty two-dimensional, and overly iMac focused. Besides which, I think the past 12 months of nonstop iPod and iPhone news from Apple has gotten us all out of the habit of reacting to pure Mac news from Apple.
But Tuesday provided us with more Mac news than you could shake a very large stick at. So let’s break it down.
Since Numbers is part of iWork, it shares many features with both Pages and Keynote. There’s the familiar Inspector window; a toolbar with buttons for View, Charts, Shapes, Media, Colors, and Fonts; and a work area with a left-hand sidebar and an open area on the right. It also shares the super-useful contextual format bar, which is sort of like the most-used portions of many of the Inspector tabs, all laid out in a thin strip whose features change depending on what item (or items) you have selected in the work area. So instead of having to visit three inspector tabs to change the settings on a block of text, you can do it all with a quick run across the contextual format bar.
But what else does this new application offer? Let’s take a closer look at how Numbers handles spreadsheets.
Yesterday’s Apple press event saw the unveiling of new iMacs and major updates to the company’s iLife and iWorks software suites. But it also provided further insight into the cosy relationship developing between Apple and Google, with greater integration between the two companies’ product lines.
Combine these efforts with the existing iPhone tie-ins — Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail — along with AppleTV’s recently added support for YouTube, and we can see how the Apple/Google alliance is strengthening.
And there’s more to come.
Tuesday morning, I sat with a roomful of journalists at Apple as Steve Jobs introduced a redesigned iMac, as well as new versions of iLife and iWork. I took Jobs’ proclamation that all products were “shipping today” with a grain of salt, since that usually means products begin shipping out to stores on that date and aren’t always available to customers until a few days later.
To my surprise, by the time I got back to the office, the Macworld Lab had already procured all three of the standard iMac configurations. As the person who’ll be writing the iMac review later this week, I snagged one from the lab and (after wolfing down a salad for lunch) unpacked it at my desk.
From the Wall Street Journal
In classrooms and offices, homes and coffee shops, Macs are far more visible in the United States than they were just a few years ago. Part of this success results from the fact that Macs are excellent machines that handle the most important and common tasks as well as -- or better than -- computers running Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows.
However, the Mac's new popularity is also partly tied to the fact that it can now run Windows along with Apple's superior Mac OS X operating system . That means that if there's a program you need that comes only in a Windows version, you can run it on any current Mac model, speedily and with all its features.
Starting this week, there will be a new way to do this.
Apple could wow the technology world again tomorrow, most likely releasing a long-awaited redesign of its popular iMac line along with a slew of other technology innovations. Analysts and the press now stalk Apple’s every move and sift through every word from Apple PR with a fine-toothed comb, looking for information on the company’s plans. Apple’s stock price keeps hitting new highs on what seems like a weekly basis, and its retail stores are filled to capacity.
In other words, things are going well for Steve Jobs and company.
Times weren’t always this good for Apple. Aug. 7 also marks another milestone: The 10th anniversary of Steve Jobs at his first event at Apple as the returning iCEO.
Is iTunes headed down the "Highway to Hell" as Aussie rock band AC/DC puts it? Recently recording artists and music services are giving iTunes some push back and a run for its money.
Today the band AC/DC says it's bypassing Apple's iTunes and has brokered an exclusive deal with Verizon to sell its music through Verizon's online music store.
It's a sign of the times. Record labels and artists are starting to stand up to Steve Jobs and iTunes. If this is a growing trend things could get ugly for consumers.
I'm going to to do an overview of POP and IMAP, then talk a little about Yahoo's Push email. If you're fairly technical, this isn't the article you want, it's really for people who are perhaps dealing with things like IMAP for the first time, and want to know just what the heck is going on. I will do my best to avoid waxing technophile but it's kinda hard for me to avoid ;-)
So the iTunes Store just sold its three billionth song.
Looking at it as precisely as possible, if we assume the two and three billion song targets were hit the same day as the press releases went out (January 9, 2007, and July 31, 2007, respectively), that means it took 203 days to sell one billion songs. The Store had to average about 4,926,108 song purchases per day, or 205,255 per hour. Breaking it down even further, that's 3,421 songs sold per minute, or an astounding 57 songs sold every second for those 203 days!
If each song is an average of 5MB, then the Store’s bandwidth usage—just for songs, not counting movies, TV shows, games, podcasts, or any other non-song-related Store item—is a staggering 1,002GB per hour.
From the Motley Fool
Has the media gone loony? Seriously, I'm asking.
Here's why. When AT&T earlier reported that it activated 146,000 iPhone subscriptions in two days, many reporters cracked a smile and threw a stiff arm. For example, here's how Forbes put it: "So, there are 146,000 iPhone subscribers? Please AT&T, let us know when you have something interesting to report."
You're kidding, right? Yeah, good one. Oh, wait. You're not kidding. Really?!?
Look, even if 146,000 subscribers isn't a lot by iPhone standards -- some estimates were for 700,000 phones sold during the opening weekend -- most of that took place over just 30 hours. (AT&T and Apple opened at 6 p.m. on June 29 to begin sales.) That's 4,867 phones activated per hour.
But that's not even the best part.
From Ars Technica
I have to warn you that this roundup is intended for the non-audiophile readers who might be on a budget and are looking for a set of 5.1 speakers that aren't going to burn a hole in their pockets.
When it comes to wireless connections, Apple’s iPhone is not unlike an excited toddler who first learns to point out animals. “Dog! Dog! Cat! Dog! Bird!” the toddler might shriek walking down the street. The iPhone’s equivalent when you walk down the street? “Linksys! Default! T-Mobile! Surf and Sip! FreeNetSpot!”
The iPhone wants to connect, and, in its default mode, it’s not shy about trying to get you from AT&T’s 100 to 200 Kbps EDGE network on to some faster Wi-Fi, whether it’s in your home or in a coffee shop.
But that eagerness to join other networks is not necessarily good for you when you're trying to ensure your data sent through the air doesn't wind up in someone else's hands.
While Apple's public focus recently has been on the iPhone, the company has likely been focusing on the iPod behind the scenes. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster expects consumers will see the fruits of those labors before the end of the year in the form of new iPods with iPhone-like features and a new operating system: OS X.
"We believe the iPhone reveals much of what the iPod will soon be. Specifically, we expect Apple to release high capacity iPods based on OS X sometime during or before MacWorld '08 in January," he said. "These iPods will likely have touch screen media features similar to the iPhone, but will not have the wireless phone or internet features."
Based on his research, Mr. Munster sees iPhone buyers as cell phone owners looking for a better smartphone. For these people, the iPod features are an added bonus. iPod owners, however, are looking for Apple to release better iPods, so for now are looking at the iPhone. iPhone sales may be eating into iPod sales right now, but that would likely change once new iPod models are released.
It's hard to determine the wackiest aspect of iPhone craziness leading up to the launch of Apple's eagerly (to say the least) awaited venture into the cell-phone world on June 29. Was it the relentless media attention, which blended nuts-and-bolts business coverage with the obsessive overkill of a Paris Hilton stalkfest? Or was it the lunacy of the people dying to get those phones at the earliest possible moment? Standing outside New York's Fifth Avenue Apple store on launch day, with dozens of reporters interviewing the masses who braved days of heat and rain to snare their palm-size prize, there was a sense of being in the middle of a Zeitgeist hurricane.
From the New York Times
When I took my iPhone out of the box on Friday to prove to my children that we were the first family on the block with one, I had a glimpse of what life will be like after I’m dead and they’re fighting over my jewelry.
The hundreds of thousands of people who have bought the Apple iPhone since its debut Friday may soon start looking for add-on hardware and software for their shiny new devices.
At first glance, this should be easy. The iPhone uses the same hardware ports as the iPod, which has attracted thousands of accessories. And the iPhone uses a modified version of Apple's Macintosh operating system, which runs numerous small programs called "widgets" that would be perfect for the iPhone.
But, in fact, using add-on hardware for the iPhone will, in many cases, require buying new gear, or at least adapters to make the old iPod gear work, because of subtle differences in the way its hardware ports work.
Otherwise known as "Fake Steve Jobs (FSJ)," the author--who writes as if he is, in fact, Steve Jobs, uses his blog to poke vicious fun at anything Apple, technology or Silicon Valley, all the while claiming the mantle of the marketing genius that is Steve Jobs. His motto? "Dude, I invented the friggin' iPod. Have you heard of it?"
CNET News.com doesn't know who FSJ is. But we do know what he thinks. On Monday, just days after Jobs' huge public relations effort build around the launch of the iPhone went off mainly as planned, FSJ sat down for an open-ended instant-message conversation with News.com.
An early adapter shares his first thoughts on a few iPhone features
(Shawn's Comment: My 1st Macworld.com article!)
A new report from In-Stat says that IEEE 1394, known to Mac users as FireWire, is heading for a slow decline in the face of major challenges from other interfaces and a stagnating market share.
FireWire, long a staple of Macintosh computers, is a high-speed serial interface that's been used to connect digital camcorders, hard disk drives and other devices. Although the FireWire standard has seen evolution with IEEE 1394b, also known as FireWire 800, In-Stat analyst Brian O'Rourke said FireWire "suffers from being the second-choice technology in many market segments."
From Pocket Picks
Apple has just unleashed a 25-minute guided tour of the iPhone, in the shape of an online or downloadable trailer. To save you the hassle, we went through it step-by-step to pick out the things that we hadn’t seen before. Read on for details of multiple pages in the web browser, customising menus, reading Word doc attachments, flight-safe mode, Google Maps traffic details and more.
From the Chicago Sun-Times
Despite its tech, despite its features, despite its glorious hype, it's entirely possible that when Apple's iPhone debuts on June 29, you don't want one at all.
Wow. OK, fair enough. You're still a very good person. Plus, hey: more iPhones for the rest of us.
Many of the iPhone's ginchiest features aren't unique to the iPhone. They're available to anybody with a sufficiently-slick phone plus some of these add-on apps and services. It won't be nearly as slick as an iPhone -- do not say that it's "just as good" -- but it'll make you a little less envious.
So why not turn your existing phone into an iFaux?
Can you get help when you need it? We went undercover to see which major notebook vendors' technical support makes the grade.
Aperture and Lightroom both promise to help you take control of your photo collection. So which is right for you?
From JW Croft
It’s tough being a Mac user in Australia sometimes. Especially this year; it just seems like sometimes we are a country that Apple says “Oh, we have a market in Australia? Alright, I s’pose we’d better send something their way.” We get products that are geared for an American market (Apple TV, Video iPod are two great examples) which with our video-less iTunes, are laughable as a ’seamless’ way to load and enjoy media. Is this entirely their fault that they have a neglected market in Australia? Not really, but let’s examine some of the issues at play here.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the iPhone since its January preview was whether developers outside of Apple would be able to create software that would run on the phone.
And just 18 days before the iPhone’s June 29 release, Steve Jobs stood on stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference and told software makers that Apple had found an answer: a “sweet” way to support outside iPhone development.
Unfortunately, if you’re thinking that Apple really addressed third-party development in Steve Jobs’s keynote, you’d be wrong.