Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

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.


Is AirPlay the secret sauce?

Posted: September 10, 2010 in Apple TV, media, Technology
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Interesting piece by Gizmodo’s Joel Johnson on why Airplay may be the key to Apple TV’s success:

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 …