Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Death of a visionary

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Apple, Mac
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We all knew he had serious health problems. The absences, resignation as CEO and his increasingly gaunt appearance told their own story. But I don’t think any of us expected Steve Jobs to die now. Not at 56.

His legacy not only as a business leader and a technologist but also as a major influence on popular culture is without question.

I never met the man but his DNA is everywhere in my life.  I am writing this on the iMac I work on every day. I rarely go anywhere without my iPhone. Every member of our family has an iPod of some description and one is usually jacked into the car stereo. We have MacBooks and Mac Minis. We download movies every week on Apple TV. The iPad goes with us on every trip.

Millions of others will have a similar inventory of Apple products they never knew they needed but now can’t live without. We’re not all myopic Apple fanboys – we buy the products for the simple reason that they are well-made, innovative and intuitive to use. You just don’t sell more than 28 million iPads [at June 2011] if it isn’t any good.

Jobs and Apple did not invent the personal computer, the MP3 music player, the mobile phone or the table PC. Jobs’ genius – and there is no question that he drove Apple’s transformation over the last 10-15 years – was to redefine what those devices looked like and how they functioned. So radical and successful has this been that the very names – iPod, iPhone and iPad – have become synonymous with those market segments and rivals stumble over themselves to copy and catch up. To do that in one industry segment (Blackberry, Hoover, Sellotape, for example) is an achievement. To do it across three is astonishing.

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Apple cuts the cord

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Apple, iPad
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Having had a day to digest all the Apple announcements at WWDC, it’s clear that iCloud, iOS 5 and Lion represent an evolution in how we will use and interact with our digital devices.

The huge popularity of Apple’s iPhone and iPad clearly point the way to an increasingly wireless and post-PC era and Monday’s keynote promised some welcome developments.

Wireless syncing for one was long overdue. As our home’s one-man IT department, syncing up the iPods, Touches and iPads that have proliferated in our household through my iMac-cum-media hub was becoming a chore. The ability to have all our apps, music, photos, calendars and contacts synced through iCloud will make managing our digital life so much easier and enjoyable. In fact, you will no longer need a Mac at all to activate and start using an iPhone or iPad.

If you have iTunes 10.3 installed, you can already see iCloud in action. New iTunes purchases are automatically synced to all your Apple devices and a new Purchased option shows all the apps or music you’ve ever bought from iTunes and indicates which ones are not on the device you’re using. On your iPad and desperately want to listen to that Lady Gaga album that’s on your iPhone? Just click and iCloud will download it to your iPad.

The full Fall release of iCloud will documents, books and other data between your iPad and desktop and in doing so will make the iPad a much more compelling work device for many people as well as an additional backup and sharing option.

iCloud will also offer iTunes Match – a $24.99 a year service that will mirror up to 20,000 tracks in your iTunes library (not just iTunes purchases) and allow you to stream it anywhere, anytime. Unlike Amazon’s Cloud Player or Google’s Music Beta, you do not have to spend days uploading your music library so all that data will not be counted against your free 5GB of iCloud storage. It remains to be seen if Apple’s service – like Amazon and Google – is US-only and not available to Bermuda users without using a proxy server.

Apple stopped short of offering a Rhapsody or Napster-style subscription service that would enable you to stream virtually any music, but I would not be surprised to see them roll out something along those lines at some point – especially if and when the hugely popular Spotify becomes available in the US.

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Crux of the matter

Posted: November 6, 2010 in Apple, crux, iPad, ipad case

So why didn’t Apple think of this? Looks like what a lot of people are looking for and it’s definitely going on my Xmas list. (No, really, Santa I have been good this year …)
http://player.vimeo.com/video/16274294

CruxCase™ The iPad’s® New Best Friend from CruxCase on Vimeo.

Without being able to test-drive it, it’s hard to know quite what to make of the revamped Apple TV.

Apple TV has become an integral and much-loved part of our family’s leisure time – as much for the promise of TV a la carte as for the convenience of renting movies on a whim and banishing video store late fees forever – and we’d just picked up a 160Gb version as we are increasingly loading it up with family movies and slideshows from the Mac. Even with Bermuda’s sluggish speeds, it works well enough for us to never go back to renting DVDs. Ever.

But I have to say I was hoping for a bit more from this next generation. Netflix is nice but you can’t get access from Bermuda without a US VPN – and given that the new Apple TV is apparently a purely streaming device with no storage, I’m not sure how that might work. At present you have to do a hack using aTV, and my experience is that the VPN doesn’t work easily – and of course there’s the hassle of having to renstall aTV if you update the Apple software.

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Apple fan zone

Posted: July 21, 2010 in Apple, humour, Mac, Uncategorized

This is pretty funny …

New Apple Friend Bar Gives Customers Someone To Talk At About Mac Products

The iPad and I

Posted: May 29, 2010 in Apple, iPad, Technology
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I know the last thing the world needs is another hyperventilating iPad review but it’s my blog and if I want to write about it (quite easily and quickly on the iPad’s touch keyboard as it happens) then so be it.

It’s about two weeks since the iPad moved into our pad, so we’ve ample time to play and assess Apple’s latest wunderdevice. Having initially been sceptical about buying a first generation device, I am so glad I decided otherwise – the iPad is far more fun and useful than even I (a long-time tablet advocate) thought possible.

And the emphasis is on that word fun.

While I can and do use it to bang out the occasional email or blog (irritating the WordPress app doesn’t let you add links and other formatting) this often feels like not using a computer at all. As someone who spends a lot of the day hunched up in front of a desktop, the last thing I want to do is spend my leisure hours in front of one so although I find myself doing more on the iPad and less on my desktop, I definitely use the iPad to relax more than anything.

It really is “lean back” technology, whether it’s lying on the couch reading a newspaper or magazine (both the NY and London Times are terrific on the iPad), watching a video, reading a book or playing a game, this is computing as it should be – fast and simple. The games we love on the iPhone/iPod are so much more fun on the bigger screen and apps like Maps, Elements and Star Walk are as stunning as they are useful and educational.

All the things I thought would bug me about it – lack of Flash, that big bezel, no multitasking – simply haven’t been an issue. I find I’m using purpose-built apps (like The Times) more than the paper’s Flash-using website and most of the sites I use seem to have quickly found an alternative. And the thing is so damned fast that switching between apps feels like multitasking anyway.

What has been surprising is how quickly it has become part of the family, living mostly on our lounge coffee table. Because it’s light, fast and so responsive to use (no waiting for that cumbersome laptop to boot up), it’s something that everyone in the family just picks up and uses almost without thinking.

This morning for example, the wife did some Facebooking over breakfast and later did her Land’s End order over coffee on the sofa; my son was enthralled (as your kids will be) by the Magic Piano app, tinkling away at Fur Elise, and playing the video of K’naan’s World Cup theme song over and over again. My daughter doodled away on an arts programme while I kicked back with today’s Times. It’s been a handy resource for homework and great in-car entertainment on the school run. It will be one of the first things we pack for our travels this summer, loaded up with movies and TV favourites – and of course we can download any extras using our hotel room wi-fi.

For a first generation device it is very, very impressive – but then you could argue that as the software was tested and proven on the iPhone, it’s more of an evolution than something entirely new.

Does it have flaws? Sure, but these depend on what you use it for. It is primarily a consumption device rather than a creative one but the inability to print, store files locally, synch wirelessly with my iTunes library are among the immediate shortcomings that hopefully iPhone 4.0 will address in the Fall. Oh – and a camera and a USB port would be definite plusses of course.

But overall, there’s no question in our house – the iPad is here to stay. I have a feeling it won’t be alone for long …

The iPad is so easy to use,a cat can play with it. So can a dog! But what about a centenarian? Virginia of Oregon bought her first computer—an iPad—and is already an “old hand”!

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