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Apple WWDC 2013 Impression

The streaming keynote is up at Apple.

The keynote started with a video about design and feeling, emphasizing that unlike other companies, Apple doesn’t just churn out products after products, that each Apple products involved something more. Pretty cool message, considering how people and the tech “journalists” are whining about Apple not innovating anymore because they don’t ship products every other month like Samsung. Also, looks like each Apple videos now will end with “Designed by Apple in California,” a PR spin, considering that most of Apple products are made in China.

Just with any Apple keynotes, it started with Apple stores’ experience, how great the app store, etc. Tim Cook looked more comfortable, but it’s hard to match the Steve Jobs’ energy on past keynotes.

First is demo of anki drive, a car toy using robotics technology and controlled by iOS. There was an almost demo fail. Neat idea showing what kind of uses iDevices can be, but this is probably going to be just an expensive toy. I want to see more medical devices powered by iOS as promised a while back.

Next, the Mac. As expected, new OS X. Running out of cat names? OS X Sea Lion? Well, Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in apple, impression, Keynote

 

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WWDC 2013 Prediction

Just in case you don’t know, Apple is starting WWDC on Monday. Of course, anytime Apple does a keynote presentation, a ton of rumors are flying around in regards to what Apple is going to unveil. As usual, the analyst are predicting anything they can think of, from new Macs to new iPhone, iPads, etc.

Based on the posters going up at the event, obviously Apple is going to talk about iOS7 and a new OS X. WWDC is a developer conference, so these are expected. It’s just that sometimes Apple announced a product too, and the big one was the iPhone 3G, that people are expecting new products instead.

My prediction would be refreshed Mac lineup, in conjunction with intel releasing their new chips Haswell. I expect a refresh across all Macs, from the Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, retina Macbook Pro, and the iMac. I don’t think we will see a retina Macbook Air, although the 13″ retina Macbook Pro will be very interesting with the upgraded internals to Haswell. The Mac mini, maybe, but it seems that the mini is on a longer cycle than the rest of the Macs, so maybe not right away. The Mac Pro? Well, who knows. Apple has been saying they would do something, but never did. It’s the only Mac that doesn’t even support Thunderbolt. Apple is making their money on iOS devices now, so a low volume and premium priced Mac Pro may not be their priority.

Oh, and all those Macs will come with Mountain Lion. Apple cannot just release a new OS and ship it right off the bat. They have to give developers time to actually look at it. So I’m guessing after the hardware announcements, then we will see a preview of the next OS X.

Same thing with iOS. I don’t think we will see any new iDevices on this upcoming WWDC. Apple usually did another event beforehand to preview a new version of iOS and to let developers use the beta, but so far they have not done that. So this would be the announcement, and then, new iDevices will be out in September/October.

One more thing? Maybe new routers with 802.11AC. Oh, and there’s iRadio. Not sure if Apple would do this on WWDC, as music related stuff are usually announced in September, together with the new iDevices. I think the new version of OS X and iOS7 will be the bulk of the keynote. I think Apple would have quite a bit of new things with these two OSes that they need the time to talk about them. Besides, it is WWDC, for developers.

Okay, that’s my two cents. Not much “leaks” around, meaning that we will see actual new iDevices later this year. The refreshed Macs are expected with Haswell. As usual, it is always exciting to watch Apple’s performance in their keynotes. I’ll be following Engadget’s live blogging. I like gdgt’s but they are part of Engadget now. UPDATE: Also, looks like Apple is going to live stream the keynote.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in apple, Keynote

 

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Apple’s “a little more” November 2 Event Prediction

The iPhone 5 was just released, but it feels like an old news now. The rumors are now focused on the next Apple event on November 2nd. The speculations are highly geared towards the venerable iPad mini, a smaller ~8″ iPad. The photo leaks are bountiful, so it’s pretty much a given imo. So now the speculations move on to the spec and price. I’m joining in with my 2 cents.

There are many speculations around the screen, how it’s going to be similar to the iPhone 3GS, ie. an inferior screen to the IPS panels used for the regular iPads and iPhone 4/4S/5. Imo Apple wouldn’t do this. Apple is not that stupid. The 5th gen iPod Touch itself has an IPS screen, so it wouldn’t make sense to “downgrade” the iPad mini. Apple is proud for its choice of panels on its various products (Macs, Macbooks, etc). The iPad mini will have the same IPS panel. Resolution wise, per the rumors, would be 1024 x 768, making it denser than the original/iPad 2’s screen, but not retina. Considering the yield and cost for retina screens (for the “new” iPad, iPhone 5, and “new” Macbook Pro), I’m going to guess Apple will do this and save a retina version for next revision. It will be highly criticized as the competitors are employing 720p screens for their 7″ tablets, but I bet Apple’s marketing machine will spin it in a magical way that you won’t care.

Going down to the chip used, IMO it’s going to be the A6. The rumors are speculating that Apple would use the A5 (to differentiate it as a lower model than the big iPad). I doubt it. The iPad is a flagship brand, and I don’t think Apple would treat the iPad mini like the iPod Touch, which is the step-child of the iPhone. I was already surprised that Apple put the A6 inside the iPhone 5, instead of parodying the “new” iPad (using A5X). The A6 has the advantage of being smaller and more power efficient than the A5/A5X, something that is needed by the smaller iPad to keep the tag of “legendary” battery life.

RAM wise, I hope it would be 1GB just like its bigger brother, but I won’t be surprised if Apple decided to put 512MB instead. 512MB is still usable (iPad 2, iPhone 4S, 5th gen iPod Touch).

The leaked SKUs is showing multiple models, parodying the lineup of the regular iPad, ranging from 16GB to 64GB, each with 3G/4G wireless version. Having cellular radio version from day 1 will definitely be an advantage against the popular Android tablet, Nexus 7.

The highly controversial topic is the pricing. In the past, Apple used to have fairly comfortable price gaps for their lineup (I remember the 64GB original iPod Touch selling for like $600). Today, with the ceiling being $499 from the 16GB wifi “new” iPad, and the floor being $299 from the 32GB 5th gen Touch, there’s not much wiggle room. Currently, the rumor is $329 for the lowest end (presumably 16GB wifi version), adding $100 for double the capacity, up to 64GB, and just like the regular iPad, adding $130 premium for the models equipped with cellular radio. As you can see, the pricing becomes a jumble of mess. I don’t know how Apple is going to approach this.

Speaking about price, the obvious thorn is the iPad 2, which is still being sold today at the $399 price point. I’m going to guess that it will be discontinued (relegated to the refurbished section) to at least leave a bit of breathing room for the iPad mini. The iPad 2 itself is still a great device, and if an even further price drop happened, it will be a good deal snatching one up from the refurbished store.

Oh, and how about the name? iPad mini makes sense. Simple, straight, and parodied the Mac mini (and the defunct iPod mini).

Besides the iPad mini, there are other Apple products that are due for an update. The regular iPad themselves are rumored to be refreshed with the lightning dock connector, eliminating the 30-pin models. The Mac mini is als overdue for Ivy bridge update. Same thing with the iMac. Another contender is also a 13″ retina Macbook Pro, which would also fit the “little more” tagline, to go side-by-side the previously announced 15″. The dilemma here is due to the late update, one may want to actually pass on these Ivy Bridge Macs, especially the retina Macbook Pro, and wait for Intel’s Haswell next year.

So there you go. Imo this is going to be a smaller event, unlike the iPhone 5/iPod announcement. Focus will be the iPad mini. I’ve been liking the 7″ form factor of my Nexus 7, as it’s a lot more convenient to take with you, while still having a decent screen space compared to a smartphone. The downside of the Nexus 7 is the limited storage and the lack of cellular radio version. If Apple makes a 64GB iPad mini with cellular radio, that’s it, I’m getting one.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2012 in 2012, apple, event, Keynote

 

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WWDC 2012 final prediction

Well, it’s mere hours till the event, so here are my final prediction (since I’m bored due to the delay of Accel World Ep 10).
1. OS X Mountain Lion
Kinda obvious. The beta is already out. Probably just a bunch more iOS-related enhancements like notification, which could be useful. I can’t think of anything significant since the OS is so mature already. Wonder if Apple would just give it away for free through an update via the app store.

2. iOS 6
Announcement and start of the beta. Again, not sure what Apple would add to the maturing OS. The rumors are that Apple ditching Google Maps and using their own mapping technology. And maybe pimped up SIRI. All I want is shuffle-by-album feature on the music app, something that Apple neglected to do.

3. Refresh Mac lineup
This is where the rumors are hot. Every Macs, including the Macbook Pro and Mac Pro are going to be updated. Question is, how? The rumors are redesigned Mac Pro casing and MBA-style Macbook Pros. Also, rumor is the 17″ MBP is going to be axed. I don’t know. The MBP is Apple’s only “pro” laptop with desktop class processing power. I doubt that they would drop the 17″. I can see the 13″ and 15″ getting a redesign, ditching the optical drive in favor of more battery, possibly dual-HDD/dual-SSD/SSD-HDD combo, and retina display. The resolution update is overdue as the MBA now has higher screen res. Everything will be Ivy Bridge, and maybe USB3 (finally?). iMac with retina screen? Not sure as it will jack up the price too much at that size.

4. New iPhone? New iPod Touch?
Nope. Many rumors are hyped for a new iPhone, but there’s a reason why Apple released the 4S fairly late last year. I mean iOS6 is not even announced yet, so I doubt Apple would release a new iPhone without a new OS right off the gate. This WWDC will be dev-centric, the software development. iPhone will be later this year. Same thing with the new iPod Touch, which imo would be the larger screen device that has been floating around.

Well, there you go. My last minute prediction. I think the new Mac hardware would be enough for Apple to garner attention. I’m also predicting that the MBA-styled Macbook Pros will be the “One More Thing,” in addition to a standard MBPs with optical drive.

For the live blogging of the keynote, I’ll be following TheVerge and gdgt as they usually have great commentaries and pictures.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in apple, Keynote, WWDC

 

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iPhone 4S Keynote Impression

Well, the iPhone 4S Keynote is available now, for download and for streaming. Here goes my impression:

First, we have Tim Cook, looked and sounded subdued for whatever reason, talking about the new Apple stores in Hong Kong and China. For some reason, he kept talking about the glass staircase, saying how only Apple could do that. Hmmm, maybe Apple patented glass staircases now? πŸ˜› The Hong Kong stores look great though.

Then he talked about Lion. Errr, I thought this was iPhone keynote? 6 million downloads of Lion. Tim Cook is comparing Lion to Windows 7, and how it took longer for Windows 7 to reach 10%. Well, 10% of Windows users is a heck lot more than 10% of Mac users. :roll eyes: Just the typical statistic spin of Apple. Mac outgrows PC… well duh. It’s easy to grow from 1% than 99%. πŸ˜›

Next he talked about music, iTunes, revolutionize, blah blah. Guess what Tim Cook, I still cannot buy many J-Pop and Eurobeat tracks from iTunes US as they are only available in iTunes Japan. So much for “revolution.”

iPod sales. With the death of the Zune player, it’s a clear win for Apple. As such, being the dominant player, things are slowing down. It’s a given ever since Apple jumped the shark and added a camera to the nano. The classic has not been updated, again. And, well, no updates on the iPod lineup at all. We’ll talk about this later.

iPhone 4 (finally, he’s talking about iPhone), best selling smartphone, “ever.” Well, considering it was selling out in countries like Singapore at the beginning of the year, yeah, it’s selling a lot. Mobile phone satisfaction…. yeah yeah, this BS talk is getting old.

iPad sale. You know, for a keynote that secifically said “Let’s Talk iPhone,” Tim Cook sure did talk a lot about everything else. Everybody loves iPad, sure, blah blah. Watch for the Kindle Fire. Tim Cook sounded like a really old person. Steve Jobs had so much more energy, even at the later days where he’s so skinny.

Next, Scott Forstall. Good, as he sounded more energetic than the tired Tim Cook. Blah blah apps blah blah app store blah blah number one blah blah billion.

New app, Cards. You can create and mail cards directly from the iPhone. Yeah… when the last time you send a card to somebody? There’s something called email and Facebook. Push notification when the card is sent. Sure, knowing how “reliable” the USPS, this is not anything you can rely on. $2.99. Meh.

iOS5. Urgh, just a recap from WWDC. 200 new features, notifications, iMessage, Reminders, Twitter integration (yup, no Facebook here), Newsstand, Camera, Photos, Game Center, Safari, Mail, PC free (it’s weird the he didn’t talk more on this other than what we already know from WWDC). October 12th.

Eddy, iCloud. Again, more rehashes from WWDC. *yawn Something new though, Find My Friends. Yeah, an official stalking app. I’m guessing a more controlled version of Google Latitude. 5GB free storage for documents (music and photos are not counted against the 5GB). iTunes Match, $25 a year, the service to legalize your downloaded music. Not something I’m interested as most of my music are not available in iTunes anyway. Same ship date as iOS5.

By the way, Apple is very good in making these videos of their own products to show the features and whatnot. I mean they have an iPhone downloading music automatically while a dad is taking care of his baby in the background. Talk about subconscious marketing.

Phil has been downgraded to talk about nothing new on iPods. LOL. Big icons on the nano and more skins for the watch feature. Whoop dee doo. Previous nano users should be able to get all these new features via an update as nothing has changed hardware wise. Phil said how people are using the nano as wristwatches by themselves. No Phil, Steve Jobs actually hinted at it when he said one of the board member was going to clip it to his arm band as a watch. It has been planned all along by Apple. Slight price drop, 8GB for $129 and 16GB for $149.

iPod Touch, nothing new. Only a white version and price drop on the 8GB version to $200. Nothing else changed, not even the prices of the 32GB/64GB Touch. Sad. What’s the point of trying to push the Touch as a gaming device if you don’t even put the A5 in it? This is another sign how innovation slows down to a halt as Apple has virtually no competition in this market.

Well, Phil finally talked about the new iPhone 4S. Sound similar? Yes, Phil also did the keynote for iPhone 3GS. iPhone 4S has A5 chip (dual core), like the iPad 2. Who knows if it’s clocked as fast as the iPad 2 though.

Mid intermission, Epic Games was showing Infinity Blade 2. Ooooh, Koi in the pond. Phil doesn’t look too amazed though.

Okay, back to iPhone 4S. 8 hours 3G talk time. “Fantastic battery life.” Sounds good, right? But what Phil didn’t mention is the standby time is a lot less than the iPhone 4, down to 200 hours from 300 hours. New switching antenna. LOL. Now you don’t have to worry if you hold your phone wrong. HSDPA+, 14.4Mbps down, fake 4G. World phone, meaning there’s only 1 version of iPhone 4S, having both GSM and CDMA radio. Question is, will it be unlocked? Nobody knows.

New camera. 8MP sensor, backside illuminated CMOS (sounds like the one Sony was talking about), f/2.4, software features like face detection (something that is commonly available in point-n-shoot digicams), faster than Droid Bionic (getting a cup of coffee?) and SGS2 (well, better be). One of the sample photos showed no barrel distortion, something that is a problem in most compact digicams.

1080p video recording. Meh, I hope it can be scaled back down to 720p. Also I find it funny that Apple never supported their own iFrame format in their own hardware. The big thing is video image stabilization. If this works, it will be a God send. The camera features themselves imo is worth getting the iPhone 4S.

Airplay. Meh, I don’t have the Apple TV.

“Most amazing iPhone yet.”

Oh, Phil forgot something. Yup, as rumored, Siri personal assistant, built-in to the iPhone 4S. The idea is mind blowing. Yeah, it’s Star Trek’s computer that you talk to. Scott Forstall doing the demo. The problem with voice recognition is recognizing the words for a non-perfect-English-speaker. Hopefully this will work, because currently the voice recognition of iOS4 is mediocre at best (I cannot have it do anything). Siri + wikipedia + wolfram alpha = ultimate exam machine. God, I wish we had this technology when I was in school. πŸ˜€ This is going to freak out a lot of old school teachers that think you have to memorize everything on earth. Now in beta. Can’t wait for the technology to enable automatic real-time translation, just like Start Trek’s Universal Translator.

More videos. Where’s Johnny Ive?

Black and white, 64GB option. Apple also keeps the 3GS and iPhone 4 (downgraded to 8GB). Subsidized price for 8GB 3GS is $0, or $375 unlocked. Yeah, it’s the first time Apple made an unlocked 3GS available in the US. It took them like what, 2 years? iPhone 4 8GB subsidized price is $99, $549 unlocked. Subsidized price for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB 4S are $199, $299, and $399 respectively. No info on unlocked price yet, but looks like it’s going to be $649 for the 16GB version (and adding $100 for the next size up). New carriers mentioned, Sprint for US and KDDI for Japan. My biggest question is, since the 4S is a world phone and (maybe) unlocked, does it mean users can jump from AT&T to Verizon to Sprint and back willy nilly? I hope so, but US carriers are notorious for their anti-consumer and anti-competitive business practices of provider locking. Hopefully Apple can lead the way to a world without provider-locked phones in the US.

October 14th, shipping to 7 countries. October 28th, pretty much everywhere else. Compare this to Android OEMs that are dragging their feet in releasing their phones in the US. Yeah, I’m looking at you Sony Ericsson, Samsung, taking 6 months after releasing their phones in Europe/Asia to the US.

Keynote ended with an old and tired sounding Tim Cook. I hope he’s just nervous. He needs to be more upbeat and energetic like Scott Forstall.

Well, there you go. And yes, I’m going to get one as to me the camera and A5 alone are huge improvements. Besides, I’m a sucker for new gadgets anyway. Gotta cath-em-all!

PS: I’m typing this entirely on my iPad (with a bluetooth keyboard of course, the touch keyboard on the iPad sux). Just trying to live in a post-PC world. πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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WWDC 2011 Impression

The streaming video is available on Apple’s site now.

1. OS X Lion.
The show started with Phil Schiller talking about Lion and some of the features like gestures and what not. We’ve seen this before. Craig was showing the demo, showing the new scrolling paradigm and the new photo booth app. The focus is full-screen apps. What’s nice about it is how smooth things are. Whenever Craig swiped stuff around, the OS looks just silky smooth, something I like about Apple. Craig also showed the more intuitive mission control for spaces. Not bad, but nothing superbly amazing.
Launchpad is basically iOS-like launcher for OS X. Resume and auto-save seem like basic ideas, but I bet these will require app support for full functionality. Versions has the similar vibe of something that Microsoft is already doing on Windows (shadow copy, previous versions, etc). But obviously Apple is doing it with a lot more flair, with a Time-Machine-like UI and interactivity.
Airdrop is a nice feature, peer to peer encrypted wifi file-sharing. No more trying to find that USB stick. Oh, and also a confirmation that the server “version” will be an add-on, probably via the app store. Available July, but only available via the app store? What about a clean install? As for price, as I predicted, it’s just $30. The beauty is, since it’s part of the app store, it means you just spend $30 to upgrade ALL your Macs. Amazing! No more family pricing and whatnot. Microsoft, take a hint here, how much are you going to charge for Windows 8?

2. Mac App store
Yeah. Apple wants that cut, and at the same time, developers want the sales. Phil was saying how the Mac App store is the number one software retailer (not sure what measurement they are using, but whatever). The biggest change is app updates. Right now, as with iOS app store, whenever there’s an update for any of the apps, you’re downloading the whole apps again. Looks like Lion will allow delta updates. Hopefully this means everytime Apple updates iTunes, I don’t have to re-download the whole iTunes software anymore. πŸ˜›

3. New Mail.
Basically Mail on OS X is getting a UI refresh based on Mail on iOS with additional niceties like conversation view. By the way, Craig is just good at demo-in all of these. The way he talked and what not definitely shows you that the whole keynote is well produced, especially when you start comparing keynotes from Google/Microsoft/HP.

4. iOS5.
Scott is up, talking about the typical sales and whatnot. Yadda yadda. iOS5 is the news here. Finally, a revamped notification. The dumbphone-level notification is too silly for a smartphone. Notification Center. What is it? A copy of Android’s notification system. Yeah, it is even invoked by dragging the top bar down, JUST like Android. LOL @ Apple. Lock screen is improved by showing the notification with direct access to the app that got the notification.
Newsstand is just an extension of the iBook store, but for newspaper and magazine subscription. Meh, can’t remember when the last time I read newspaper or magazine. There’s already something better, it’s called RSS feed. πŸ˜›
Tighter twitter integration with support for single sign-on right on iOS, and twitter services from other apps.
Mobile Safari is improved with the same reader function like the desktop version. Many websites actually don’t like this as it gets rid of ads and page click. Oh, and full tab browsing for the iPad, with the tabs on the screen instead of having to go to the thumbnails of websites.
Reminders. Uh oh, this doesn’t bode well to some apps as before, you need a 3rd party app. The beauty is the geo location where you can trigger a reminder when entering or leaving a particular location.
Improved Camera app. Now there’s a camera icon on the lock screen of iOS5 that immediately brings you to the camera app. Gee, how did Apple get this idea? *cough*Windows Phone 7*cough*. Even funnier, using the volume button to take picture. The irony here is that Apple took down an app in the past that brought that functionality. There’s also AE/AF lock when you touch the area on the screen, a great feature. Editing is now built-in so no more trying to find a 3rd party apps for simple cropping. Of course, 3rd party devs may not be as happy.
Improved Mail… meh.
And, a split keyboard for thumb typing on the iPad. Hmm, where didn’t we see this very recently? Yeah, on Windows 8. LOL @ Apple.
One of the biggest feature would be PC free. This means no need for iTunes activation (phone can be used out of the box), OTA OS updates (delta, not redownloading the whole OS like before), just like, oh, any other phones out there. LOL.
I couldn’t care less about Game Center.
iMessage (gee, what a creative name), a messaging service for any iOS devices, including iPod Touch and iPad (not just iPhones). If you and your family/friends have iOS devices, pretty much you don’t need any of those IM apps anymore. Oh, and this could mean you can bypass your greedy wireless carrier’s SMS charges extortion. Neat. πŸ˜€
Other stuff: AirPlay Mirroring, Wi-Fi sync to iTunes (Finally!). Not mentioned: LED flash for incoming calls/alerts (obviously iPhone 4 only), Smart Playlist sync from iTunes, different tones for voicemail/mail/calendar alerts, emoji, ability to delete songs, and oh, custom vibration patters. LOL. Available this Fall, and still supports the 3GS! Hopefully it won’t bog down the 3GS like iOS4 did for the 3G.

5. iCloud.
Steve is back on stage and talked about multiple devices syncing driving them crazy. Agreed. Thus iCloud as the “hub,” automatically upload and push content from/to all your devices (presumably just Apple devices, meaning iDevices and Macs). Oh, and Steve poked fun at MobileME. Good one. iCloud is going to replace MobileME and available for free (What happens to my subscription?). I think I’m gonna love this, and makes drinking Apple’s kool-aid a bit sweeter with this kind of integration, but since I also have Android, I think I may have to stick with Google services for things like contacts and calendar.
App and iBook syncing, which is crucial to the PC-free idea for iOS5. Also backup to iCloud, and just like Google’s Android, you will be able to buy a new iPhone and once you signed on, iCloud will push down all your stuff to the new device.
Documents in the cloud pretty much syncs your projects from Pages, Keynote, and Numbers via iCloud. Not a new idea, but neat for those that use those apps.
Photo stream, same iCloud syncing for photos. This would be awesome, but how about capacity? Apple is only going to store the last 1000 photos, and only for 30 days. Errr, yeah, what happens after 30 days? What if I want to view it a month or 2 later? You have to save it to an album. Fair enough I guess, but it means it’s still a local copy then. So the iCloud is just a temporary basket, not a true picasa/flickr replacement.
iTunes in the cloud, which basically allows you to re-download previous iTunes purchases on any iDevices. Make sense I guess, and should’ve been a feature from way back when. It also pushes new purchases to other devices. Again, critical for the no-PC idea, but you’re stuck with the iTunes ecosystem. What if you have your own music? That’s the one more thing. Well, Apple is offering iTunes match for $25 a year. Basically iTunes will match your songs to see if it has it in the store. If it does, it uses its 256kbps AAC for the song (wonder how this will work with the recording labels? Will it require the CD? Or can people get matches based on MP3s?). If not, it will upload the track. But then how about storage? Need more explanations here.

5GB free storage for mail and backups, and oh, photo stream is not counted! Well duh, because Apple deletes them after 30 days.
Beta today, and will launch together with IOS5 in the Fall.

so what happen if I already paid for MobileME? And where’s the new iPhone? 😦
Update: I logged in to my MobileME account, and there’s an option to request a refund. Phew. πŸ™‚
So MobileME will officially end on June 30th, 2012.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Back to the Mac

Apple did yet another event yesterday, Back to the Mac. The video is available streaming via Apple’s website and iTunes. If you downloaded the podcast version via iTunes, redownload it. The first video is botched, won’t work on iOS devices.

So let’s get to it.

1. Steve Jobs opened up the keynote, but handed it off to Tim Cook right off the bat to talk about sales. Marketshare, blah blah, Steam & Autodesk, blah blah, Shanghai store, blah blah. Next please.

2. Job’s back to introduce iLife 11, as expected. Phil went on stage to show off iPhoto 11. Nothing too drastic. Full screen mode for events is great, presumably a transition towards touch-based UI of future Macs. It made the UI a bit more similar towards the photo app on the iPad. A bunch of new slideshow themes, great, but I expect they’re going to be overused fairly quickly as everybody is using the same templates. Email and Facebook integration inside iPhoto is great too. Hopefully Apple will allow iPhoto to upload higher res photo to Facebook. Previously, iPhoto is stuck at lower than VGA res photo for Facebook uploads. Book creation is neat, but I have never done/ordered one. Interestingly enough, there’s a Letterpress documentary built-in into iPhoto. Nice, but really?

3. iMovie 11. Randy is up. New features are:
-Improved audio editing. More granular control over fade-in/out and audio levels. Very neat, not needing to deal with Garage Band. Audio effects is also a nice touch.
-The new video effects are awesome, especially the freeze frame effect. Wow, I can’t wait to play with this.
-Movie trailers. Basically themes that present videos like movie trailers. Simply awesome. It can make plain videos into amazing videos, with just a couple of clicks. I truly can’t wait to get my hands on this. People that got bored watching this demo don’t know what they’re watching. Imo iMovie is the killer app on the Mac. You cannot simply do the same thing with any other app on any platform with the same ease of use.
Really, iMovie 11 alone is probably worth the price of the iLife bundle. Super awesome.

4. Garage Band 11. A product manager called Xander is up. Who is he again? Ah who cares.
-Groove matching. This is probably one awesome feature that you could only find in pro apps in the past. It basically syncs up all tracks to match into a single track’s rhythm in 1 click. Amazing! I probably would hardly use Garage Band, but this is just too cool.
-Flextime. Uh, yeah, you can lengthen or shorten a clip. I mean really, if you think about it, with this and groove matching, you don’t really have to know how to play music anymore, just like some of the artists out there. LOL.
-More lessons.
Garage Band is one of those apps that most people wouldn’t know what it is, but those that do will love it.

5. iLife 11, $50. And yeah, I ordered it already.

6. Facetime, on the Mac. Yeah, move aside iChat, the new meme is Facetime. It’s strange that Apple did this in the first place instead of building on top of iChat, but I guess there’s gotta be a technical reason, especially on iOS. Seems to work great as it auto-detects the rotation on the iOS devices. Interesting enough, Apple doesn’t call the camera on Macs as iSight anymore. It’s Facetime camera. so peeps, learn the new meme.

7. Mac OS X Lion. Yup, the next OS X, 10.7. The idea is taking some ideas from iOS back to the Mac. Touchscreen iMac? Steve said no way. LOL. He’s right though. Touch screen on a vertical screen is weird, and doesn’t work. Just look at those touch screen PCs by HP. I’m guessing the magic trackpad will have a bit more focus in the near future.
App store for the Mac. A lot of people started to be leery about this, thinking Mac will be as closed as iOS for apps. I don’t think that will be the case, but we’ll see. Some nice features for the regular consumers would be auto-updates for all apps and licenses of apps for ALL your Macs. Yeah, see that Microsoft?
Craig is up for demo.
Launch pad. Well, it’s iOS home screen on the Mac. Not too thrilled about it. It’s the same as iOS, including folders. You know what it is? A full screen Start menu. LOL.
Full screen view is pretty neat. Unlike Windows, looks like Full-screen in Lion removes the menu bar too. I guess devs have to re-engineer their apps.
Mission Control. Huh? Yeah, it’s unlike Apple having a feature named “Mission Control.” It seems silly. It’s basically expose 2.0. Oh, and the Magic Mouse sucks. Even Craig is having a hardtime swiping here and there. Should’ve used that Magic Trackpad.
OS X Lion, Summer 2011. Heck, I’m not even on Snow Leopard yet, still on Leopard.

8. One More Thing. Macbook + iPad? Yeah, new Macbook Air. The leaked pictures are true.
-13.3″, 2 USB ports, SD card slot, SSD only (good!), full size keyboard (but not backlit anymore, boo), 1440×900 screen res, Core 2 Duo (Steve re-emphasize that this is a fast processor, probably to ease users since everybody is expecting the Core i3 at least), GeForce 320m, 7 hours battery life, 30 days (!) stand-by time.
-11.6″ version. Yeah, the rumors were true too. 1366×768 screen res, 5 hours battery life, but no SD card slot (boo!).
Prices? Apple is going aggressive here. $999 gets you 11.6″ with 64GB, 1.4GHz CPU, 2GB RAM. Wait, 2GB RAM? Yeah, Apple cut off a corner there. Good thing is, unlike the previous Macbook Air, you can order BTO to 4GB RAM for another $100. Downside, it’s BTO only as the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so you cannot upgrade the RAM yourself. The 13.3″ starts at $1299 with 1.86GHz and 128GB, and same 2GB RAM. Apple is going to rake in a lot of $100 4GB upgrade.
One weird thing is a microphone on the side of the Macbook Air. WTF? I don’t understand the logic. Wouldn’t it be better to place that near the camera? And how does the 30-day stand-by time works? Hibernation? But it’s instant-on? Huh?

Oh, of course, the obligatory documentary by Jony Ive. I think he should voice all documentary videos about anything. LOL.

Having the iPad, I don’t really see a need for these ultra-portable laptops anymore, but boy, it’s Apple, and I’m still drooling over it. LOL.

Overall, great keynote. I’m really surprised how a lot of people are “disappointed” and/or got bored with this. Apple has always demo iLife apps on every new version, and nobody ever got bored before. I guess it’s just a trend to hate anything Apple. It’s the “cool” thing to do. iLife allows normal people to make great photo slideshows and videos. I love it, and I think iLife 11 is another awesome update. The catch is, it requires Snow Leopard, and I’m still using Leopard. GRRRR! So I have to shell out $29 for SL too. Oh, and I’m not looking forward towards re-formatting my iMac.

Well, that’s it, my rundown on Apple’s latest event. No pro apps updates. No Verizon iPhone. We’ll see what’s more to come before the holidays.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2010 in apple, event

 

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