Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

Apple cuts the cord

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Apple, iPad
Tags: , , , , ,

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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Setting a new Standard

Posted: April 20, 2011 in iPad, iPhone, media, Technology

With the plethora of devices on the market, designing a website – especially a news media one – that works well on all platforms is getting to be more of a headache. Many companies are finding themselves having to develop apps for specific devices – PC, smartphone (with separate versions for Blackberry, Android and iPhone) and iPads and tablets.

The recently launched Toronto Standard  however, is an elegant example of a one-stop solution.

The site features a “liquid layout” built by Toronto design firm Playground Digital which automatically adapts content to suit a reader’s device, whether it’s a desktop or an iPad, thus eliminating the need for device-specific apps.

It looks superb and works really well. And it certainly sets “a new Standard” – the original Toronto Standard last published in 1850, as a printed newspaper, having lasted just two years in business!

If you’re interested in finding out more about adding adaptive elements for your website, Net. magazine also has a good tutorial.

The Atavist is an intriguing new take on digital publishing. Founded by two former Wired writers/editors, it aims to be a home for the type of long-form journalism that is disappearing fast as publications fold and the web fragments into social media and soundbites.

Basically, Atavist produces original, in-depth articles that it offers like music tracks for iPad/iPhone, Kindle or Nook (Android versions are in the pipeline). Prices range from $1.99 for a text-and-photos version to $2.99 for a fully-loaded article with audiobook – you can switch between text and audio without losing your place – and other multimedia content and features.

Atavist says it sees its articles as “a new genre of nonfiction, a digital form that lies in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and e-books”.

See also: Long-form journalism finds a home (New York Times).