RSS

Tag Archives: os x

WWDC 2014 Impression

Apple was streaming the keynote live, and it is up for streaming on demand. This is a great trend as couch commentators like me can talk crap about it without having to wait for Apple to “post produce” it.

Anyway, let’s get on it.

As usual, the keynote started with a video of people saying how various apps have changed their lives. Looks like the focus is on the people. It would’ve been great if Apple had mentioned more groundbreaking apps instead of some useless ones like Candy Crush, but oh well. Tim Cook started with the usual stats. Mavericks vs Windows 8. Oh, Windows 8 only has 14% of market share. But 14% of how many users Tim? Remember that world wide market share of OS X is really tiny, minuscule compared to Windows. So even 10% of Windows users count as a LOT. Typical Apple reality distortion technique. Fact is, we are seeing more and more Windows devices in tablet form factors that are only $300-$500.Β 

Craig was up next to talk about the new OS X. Craig Federighi always seems like a d-bag to me, but the script of the keynotes and his jokes were usually quite funny. The joke was on trying to find new name for the next OS X. OS X Weed? That would’ve been awesome. πŸ˜€ So the next OS X will be named Yosemite. And, another video, showing the new flatter look, inspired by iOS7.

So, what’s new? Translucency everywhere. Kinda like Windows Vista. New dock (flat, just like right now if you put the dock on the sides), new trash can icon. Dark mode, with white on black translucent background. I have a feeling I will like the dark mode, a lot.

A big update is for the notification center. Now you can have different widgets on it. Just like… yes, Windows Vista’s Gadgets. Remember those? πŸ˜€ New Spotlight. In previous versions of the OS, Spotlight has always been on the top right corner, out of the way, simple. In Yosemite, it will be at the center of the screen with huge search bar. I don’t like it. It feels that it is on my way, blocking what I am doing. Why the change? It was fine on the top right corner. Context wise, it fits as the search icon is on the top right corner. In Yosemite, having it in the middle of the screen just doesn’t feel natural. Boo. On the bright side, you can do unit conversion on Spotlight now. Sounds like it’s baby step of putting Siri on OS X. Maybe next version. Spotlight has become universal search ala Siri.

Oh, Craig kept showing the translucency. Seriously, who cares? Do people really want to be reminded how Yosemite is copying Windows Vista?

Next, iCloud Drive. What? Remember when Steve Jobs announced iCloud, how it’s not another “drive in the sky.” Well, Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave now. iCloud is basically just like Dropbox/SkydriveOneDrive/Google Drive in Finder. I don’t think this is the vision of iCloud. Is this the signs of Apple crumbling without the vision of Jobs? Mail drop, basically using iCloud as a reservoir for your email attachments, kinda what Microsoft and Google have been doing (using OneDrive and GDrive respectively). Oh, the file size can be up to 5GB. Whoop dee doo, as free iCloud accounts has ONLY 5GB. :roll eyes: An interesting feature is the built-in markup within Mail. Signature on PDFs isΒ also great.

Safari now has more awesome bar, with built-in Siri Spotlight. More power efficient, which is great (poor Firefox, but I still prefer Firefox). Demo by somebody named Brian. Err, yeah, not sure who he is… πŸ˜€ I don’t think Favorites in the search bar is good. If you only have few websites, sure, but I have a boatload of sites in my Favorites. I never realized the “Send to” feature though, even though it’s been there, at least on Mavericks. The auto shape and dialog bubble recognition of the new Markup feature in Mail looks neat though, but I hardly use the OS X Mail app anymore ever since I have the iPad.

Airdrop between iOS and OS X. Finally! Although I wonder if there’s a limitation on which hardware is supported. The Hand-off feature seems too good to be true. Will have to see how it works in real life. Ability to do a hotspot when you have an iPhone nearby is awesome though. iMessage syncing all messages with all devices. And phone calls too, including using the Mac as a speakerphone. Gee, sounds familiar… I think Palm did this, and Motorola also did something similar. Of course, Palm is gone and Motorola is bought by Lenovo. These features may not be new, but Apple’s implementation across all Apple devices and Apple’s presence would probably put these feature to the mainstream. Oh, and a call to Dr Dre, hinting on Apple’s purchase of Beats Audio.

Free OS X Yosemite in the fall, with public beta program in the summer.

100 million iPod Touches. Maybe it’s time to update that Tim. Oh, time for a jab at Android, and how people bought an Android device by mistake. Ha ha Tim, very funny. Your iPhone is not water proof yet Tim. What Tim Cook was suggesting is the superior experience of iOS, unless if you have A5 devices or older, which are bogged down by iOS7. Another jab to Android is fragmentation. Valid point this time. Malware on Android, 99%… Err, oookay, good point, but Apple has its own problems.

iOS 8. “Giant release.” Spoiler: new programming language with Swift.

Craig is back (since no more Scott Forstall). Interactive notification, eg. ability to reply to a message right in notification. Android has something similar, but it’s not universally supported, and the variants between OEMs don’t help either. Better Safari UI for the iPad. One thing I find annoying with the Mail app on iOS is that when I’m composing a new email, I cannot do anything else. No multi-tasking within the mail app. This is highly annoying. Luckily, looks like Apple noticed that, and on iOS 8, you can swipe down the compose “window” to get back to there mails. Nice! People probably won’t appreciate this as I see most people are still using web-based emails (instead of using the mail app to access their accounts).

The task switching screen is now cluttered with favorited contacts at the top. Not sure if this is a good idea as there’s no context between the task switching screen and contacts. On the iPad demo, the auto recognition of messages for calendar events seems neat. Spotlight on iOS gets richer ala Yosemite (and overlapping with Siri). This extends to the search bar on Safari. QuickType, predictive typing. Just like the various keyboards on Android like Swype or Swift key. Neat, but I rather have support for multiple language in one keyboard instead of switching keyboards back and forth. Continuity brings integration with iDevices. This is going to be great.

Messaging app gets a lot of improvement. I still think iOS Messages to be better than the dozens of SMS apps on Android. Video and voice messages. Nothing new, but iOS 8 makes it easier to actually do it right on the Messages app. The summary on group messaging is great. Many SMS apps, even well known ones, on Android cannot even handle location on Vcards properly (many not at all). The skit with Craig is pretty funny. I can see the auto reply audio messages can be frustrating though, with people sending unintentional messages. Looks like now Apps can share files, instead of importing and exporting stuff when dealing with multiple apps.

Enterprise, with Craig focusing on security and privacy. Those two words seem to be the buzz words of the year. Imo this is where Android is lagging.

Health. Yup, the rumored Healthbook, dubbed HealthKit and Health app. Integration with other apps and Mayo Clinic. This is going to be interesting, and we will see which companies that can adopt this. Healthcare companies are usually slow in adopting new techs. Interesting is also the mention of Epic. Many hospitals are using Epic, so this can be huge. See, a lot of tech bloggers only care about iWatch, but Apple is taking a much bigger leap than the others by working together with healthcare providers. That’s real innovation.Β 

Family Sharing, a long awaited feature. It’s basically the ability to aggregate purchases of family members, and great notifications for parents.

Updated Photos app. Seriously, I think it’s time for Apple to just consolidate iPhoto into this. Updating the stock Photos app seems dysfunctional when there’s iPhoto (that seems to be ignored). The new editing features are really great. It basically make the editing I usually do in Lightroom into a simple scrollable setting. The inter-devices editing is great as previously, you will have multiple copies of the photo. Photos on the Mac? WTF happened to iPhoto? Did Apple just kill iPhoto? Oh, and an app for Windows too? This is BIG imo.

And now, your photos, and videos, will be using the iCloud drive’s storage space (previously, photo stream doesn’t count). Oh and yes, stingy Apple only gives you 5GB free. For photos, that may be okay, but for videos? Come on Apple. Of course, Apple wants you to pay more. 99c per month for 20GB. In contrast, Google gives you 15GB free. Microsoft gives you 7GB free, and an additional 3GB if you use the auto camera upload feature. Apple’s 5GB free doesn’t look as great anymore. Apple has 200GB plan for $3.99 a month. This is actually not that bad. In comparison, Google gives 100GB for $1.99 a month, while Microsoft wants $100 annually for 200GB. Dropbox, which imo is the gold standard, offers 2GB free (with many promotions to add more free storage), and 100GB for $9.99 per month. So iCloud drive is not bad if you are willing to spend some money, but for freebies, you get better deal elsewhere.

Okay Hey Siri, basically a copy of Okay Google. No demo, so I wonder if this would be more of a feature for the new iPhone. I would think the “always on” feature would drain the battery on current and older iPhones.

Tim is back. Now developers can bundle apps. App previews, which is just a video trailer/preview for an app, something that is nothing new on Google Play. TestFlight, ability for debs to invite users to beta test their apps. Craig (Superman… Really? :roll eyes) came back to the stage with some new features form the SDK, namely extensibility. It allows apps to share things back and forth more openly, just like Android, but Craig said it is still secure. Yes, hopefully more apps will utilize the sharing feature. Widget on notification tray. By the way, the extension has three dots, just like… Android. The extension on Safari seems awesome though. The demo is for Bing translate, but I’m hoping there will be deeper extensions to allow things like Adblock or things like that.

Third party keyboards. Say what? Yeah, now iOS allows third party keyboards. Hopefully there will by Swype for iOS. TouchID for 3rd party apps. Camera APIs for manual controls. I can sense more fancy camera apps. HomeKit API, common protocol for home automation. CloudKit, basically offering developers a free “server.”

Metal, replacing OpenGL. (?) Yeah, Apple was big in pushing OpenGL ES as the standard, but now that they are the major player in portable gaming, looks like Apple decided to do its own, called Metal. SpriteKit for more casual games.Β SceneKit, to create 3D games easier, I guess? I sense Apple pushing more into gaming. Maybe a new beefier iPod Touch? Of even games on an Apple TV? Very interesting, but I wonder if this is more of an incentive to make games exclusive to iOS.

New programming language. This is very big. From Objective-C to Swift. Native Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. It is going to be interesting how this would attract new developers, and how current developers would adopt it.

iOS 8 in fall, supporting anything with an A5 chip onward. Yes, no iPhone 4 there, so that’s it for iPhone 4 users. The support for A5 is important as many small businesses are still using the iPad 2 (since Apple themselves was still selling it until recently).

Tim returned to wrap up the keynote. No hardware here folks, purely software. We actually saw a lot of new stuff here. iOS 8 is pretty much redesigning iOS under the hood with Metal, Swift, and the various Kits in the new SDK. Now I’m actually excited to see what Apple has in store for the iPhone 6 to take advantage of many of these new features. My 2 cents.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

OS X Mavericks Impression Addendum: Time Machine

On my previous post, I mentioned how Time Machine in my new installation of Mavericks is reset to start over. After spending a lot of time cleaning up my Time Machine drive to make room for another full backup, I turned Time Machine on, and surprisingly, it re-detected the old backups and thus did not require as much space as originally thought.

Note how it knows again when the oldest backup is, back from Lion. Phew. I wished this was indicated from the get go though so I didn’t have to spend so much time doing clean up. Oh well, all is good now. πŸ™‚

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2013 in apple, impression

 

Tags: , ,

Upgraded to Mavericks

An Apple event has come and gone. In the aftermath, we have a free OS X upgrade. Guess what my main machine is running… OS X Lion. πŸ˜€

Why did I not upgrade to Mountain Lion? Well, first and foremost, I was lazy. I mean I upgraded my laptop to Mountain Lion, but my iMac is my main machine, and I don’t really want to mess with it unless I have to. Besides, Lion was fine. From using my laptop with Mountain Lion, I don’t see much difference when going back to Lion on my iMac.

Mavericks gives me several incentive to upgrade. First, is tabs in Finders. OS X has this spring-loaded folders that makes it pretty easy to copy files form a drive/folder to a different one. However, if you have a pretty deep folder structure that you want to go to, it’s pretty tedious. Windows 7 has Aero snap, where you can quickly snap two Windows side by side just by dragging each window to the opposite side of the desktop. It makes copying files easy as I can easily set a source folder in one Explorer window, set the destination on another Explorer window, and just use Aero snap to put them side by side.

In OS X, there’s no Aero snap. Unless you opted for 3rd party apps, there’s no way to quickly re-arrange windows. In the olden days, I used the expose feature a lot, which is useful in this scenario. I usually open two Finder windows, one showing the source and one showing the destination, and use expose to copy files between them easily. Well, things have changed. Apple made Expose to cluster windows from the same app together. This actually makes things more difficult in my usage scenario as I cannot pick the destination window quickly from the pile of windows. Mission Control doesn’t improve this, and makes the experience more jarring as now everything moves back, including the different desktops. Copying files becomes a chore (yeah, first world problem). Oh, another annoying thing is that if you have a Finder window open, clicking the Finder icon on the dock only put that window in focus. To open a new window, you have to go to the menu bar and select New Finder Window. In contrast on Windows 7, I can put a shortcut of Explorer on the task bar and clicking that will automatically open up a new window. Yeah yeah, I’m sure there’s a better way, like memorizing keyboard shortcuts, but I just find things more tedious on OS X.

Enter Mavericks with Finders tab. Instead of opening a new window, now I can simply open one tab for the source, open a new tab for the destination, and I can copy files between those tabs by drag-n-dropping the files to the tabs. It makes things more convenient. Plus with Finder being able to go full screen in Mavericks, I no longer have to wrestle with OS X’s windows resizing, especially in columns view.Β One tiny thing like this can make using an OS a night and day difference, at least for me.

Mavericks have a bunch of other goodies, mainly power efficiency, which is useful if you have Mac laptops. Another point of interest is its better RAM management and memory compression, which should be helpful when I run Lightroom or Final Cut Pro X.

So, I decided to jump on the Mavericks bandwagon, setting loose my old cat to brave the new wave.

Installing Mavericks is just like Lion or Mountain Lion, a simple download from the Mac App Store (MAS). There is a big catch though. In the past, after downloading the OS upgrade, you can drill down into the application package to extract the dmg file of the actual OS installation, and make a USB disk/DVD out of it easily to get a full OS X installation disk. It is very useful for doing clean installs. Not the case anymore with Mavericks. You can still see the installESD.dmg file inside the Mavericks installation package, but inside it is just a bunch of .pkg files. Luckily, there are utilities showing up almost right away to help you create a Mavericks installation disk. Ars Technica has a great tidbit about this and a how to, even a manual way to do it.

In the past, whenever I upgraded OS X (from Tiger to Leopard to Snow Leopard), I always do a clean install and do a restore from Time Machine afterwards (which is another reason I have been delaying upgrading my iMac from Lion). This time, I’m going to put the faith on Apple’s programmers for a smooth upgrade from the App store.

The overall process is very easy. Once you download Mavericks from the App store, it shows an installation screen, asks you to accept the license agreement and select your main drive, and then it will reboot your Mac and does it thing. Probably after about half an hour to 45 minutes, it should be done. A plain non-linen log-in screen greeted me, and voila. Mavericks is installed. Upon logging in, I noticed the new 2D dock, where it is in lighter gray. I don’t actually like this as it makes certain icons harder to see. I prefer the old darker dock that provided more contrast.

Well, things didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted it to be. First thing I noticed, my external Firewire drobo is no longer listed in Finder. I panicked, as this is not only my Time Machine drive, it also contains many of my media files. I ran Disk Utility, and it still listed the drobo in there. It’s just that for some reason, Finder is not showing them. Apps that access it directly could still see it too, as Drobo dashboard could see it. Just not me via Finder. So all hope was not lost. Going to drobo support proved unhelpful as they just started their knowledge base page for Mavericks without any info in it other than links to the latest firmwares (which I already had).

I tried a simple reboot, no go. Worse, even Drobo dashboard started acting up, saying something is not loaded properly. Uh oh. Also, Disk Utility now said something is wrong with the Time Machine partition. Double uh oh. It seems like when booting Mavericks, it does not load everything right away, so when you log in to the desktop right away after a reboot, things can get weird. I rebooted my iMac, let it sit on the log-in screen for a moment (just like Windows), logged in, and everything seemed fine. The drobo was still invincible in Finder, but at least there were no weird errors.

So, what’s the solution? I turned off my iMac, turned off my drobo, turned it back on, turned my iMac on, still no go. *sigh. I turned off everything again, unplugged the drobo, booted my iMac without the drobo, and then hot-plugged the Firewire cable. Voila, Finder was showing my drobo. Huge relief! Right now, apparently this is the only solution as this issue popped back up again, and I had to unplug and replug the drobo back to bring it back from invincibility. Hopefully a more permanent solution would be provided by drobo.

Okay, problem one solved. Oh wait, there’s more! Take a look at this.

Yes, Time Machine had reset itself back to zero. All those hundreds of gigabytes of backups I have accumulated over the previous years are just sitting there ignored. This creates another problem, as now I have to make sure my Time Machine partition has enough space for the new backup from Mavericks (with the way drobo works, the OS can show that it has more free space that what is actually available on the drobo itself). Boo! 😦 So I have been busy cleaning up things. Oh and of course, this initial backup will be huge and take a looooong time.

Well, at least there’s an upside. Apple announced that iWork will be free, but with a new purchase of a new Mac. Well, I didn’t really care as I don’t use iWork, and I’m sure I’m not qualified anyway. Checking the MAS showed that iWork would still cost me $20 each.

However, when I logged in to the MAS from my Macbook Air, I was treated with a confirmation to get all the iWork apps for free. Sweet! Funny thing was, my Macbook Air was not even running Mavericks, it was still on Mountain Lion. I don’t know how, but my Macbook Air was the Haswell one, refurbished. Apple posted an information on their site that those that purchased Macs from October 1st can get iWork for free. I purchased my Macbook Air I think in September. Maybe Apple had some leeway in giving these apps for free. Or maybe all 2013 models are eligible. Nonetheless, it’s icing on the cake. πŸ™‚

Using Mavericks on a desktop is, well, not much different than previous versions of OS X. Sure, skeumorphism is gone, but base functionalities of things are still practically the same, which is great. Oh, the new Maps app? It requires wifi (obviously, for triangulation) to find my location. But I don’t want to use wifi on my iMac. I have gigabit ethernet for a reason. I guess I have to enter my location manually. First world problem, again. πŸ˜€

Activity Monitor has new more detailed graphs, more likely to show off Mavericks memory management and power saving features. Game Center is still covered with skeumorphism, unlike the iOS7 version. Notifications are now displayed automatically on your Mac’s lock screen. This is no good. You have to go into Settings and disable this on per app basis. Annoying. Keychain syncing is back as iCloud keychain. You have to set up a couple verification steps to use it. A phone number is optional, but can be a good 2-step verification via SMS. Note that I tried my Google Voice number, it did not work. It failed to receive any SMS from iCloud.

On the desktop, I think that’s about it. I have not noticed major application issues so far. Lightroom still runs fine, so I’m good. πŸ™‚

On my Macbook Air, there are other things I noticed. The power button behavior has changed in Mavericks. Previously, pressing the power button will trigger a prompt asking what you want to do, ie. shut down, restart, etc. Now, it just makes the laptop sleeps. To trigger the same dialog, you have to press and hold the power button a little bit. I don’t see any way to change this behavior. In Windows, you can customize what Windows should do when you press the power button or close the lid of the laptop. The new iTunes seems unstable. Crashing quite a bit, requiring a force quit.

Well, that’s about it for now. Overall, Mavericks is a welcomed update. One, it’s free. Second, even the new iLife updates require it. Third, the power savings and memory management will be appreciated, especially if you have a Mac laptop. If you have a Firewire drobo, take note of the issues. iCloud integration will be useful to those that rely on it.Β I am quite pleased that Apple can still squeeze things out of OS X, considering how mature it is at this point. There are annoying things here and there, but it’s Apple, so the glossy rainbow usually makes up for them. πŸ˜€

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2013 in apple, impression

 

Tags: , , , ,

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 »

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Apple WWDC 2012 Keynote Impression

Well, Apple’s WWDC 2012 Keynote is now online.

Let’s do a recap and impression.
Just like any Apple keynote, it started with Tim Cook talking about stats here and there, how great WWDC is and will be, how great the App store is, etc. Oh, and also the obligatory touchy feely warmy video. Apple really do quite a bit of work to make their devices and OS more accessible imo. Surprisingly, this segment is a bit short this time as Apple had a lot to show.

Phil Schiller started with the new Macbook Air. Ivy bridge, Intel HD graphics 4000, USB3, 720p Facetime camera, all expected. Phil kindly reminded us that all the USB ports are USB3, unlike those Windows laptops. Sure. Okay refresh. Shipping that day. Same price points as before.

Next, a light refresh on the existing Macbook Pro. Same stuff, Ivy Bridge, Intel HD graphics 4000 for the 13″ and nVidia Geforce GT 650M for the 15″, USB3. Nothing much changed though, still has the optical drive, same screen resolution (the 13″ MBP is still lower res than the 13″ MBA). Shipping that day. Same price points as before, but 17″ went bye bye.

Of course, the one more thing. This is what we’re waiting for. The Next Generation Macbook Pro. This is the MBA-styled MBP. Super thin, 15″, Ivy Bridge, GeForce GT 650M, USB3, no optical drive, SSD only, HDMI port (!), but no more Firewire nor ethernet ports. The trade-off, you get 2 thunderbolt ports, and Apple will gladly sell you a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 and a Thunderbolt to Gigabit ethernet adapter. But the big thing is, retina display. Yes, the 15″ screen has 2880 x 1800 resolution. It’s mind boggling. Editing photos on this is going to be amazing. I mean viewing photos on the iPad 3 is already amazing enough. Just like the MBA, the next gen MBP has most of its inside filled with battery, with 7 hours battery life. Oh, you can put in up to 768GB of SSD, if you have the money that is. Basically, this is THE Macbook Pro you want, not the ones that just got updated. Oh, Johnny Ive wants you to know that it has asymmetrically spaced blades in the fans. Yeah, in case you’re wondering… Priced at $2199 starting. Expensive, yes, but for that screen, it’s probably decently priced. Oh, shipping that day.

See the pattern? Every single products announced are shipping that day. Compare this to the other OEMs that cannot even ship their tablets, phones, ultrabooks, on time or in more than few countries. This is why Apple is winning, the fact that they actually deliver their products so people can buy them. The competitors just talk big during announcement.

Next stop, OS X Mountain Lion. I remembered when a new OS is announced, the features that people are talking about would be the file system, things like Open CL, etc. Well, OS X is so mature now that what Apple is talking about is more like consumer features. All the stuff parodying iOS, like Messages and Documents in the Cloud. Not new concepts, as we’ve seen the basis of these before. In any case, that free 5GB storage on iCloud will soon feel small. I do like the idea of having iOS-style (or Android-style if you want) notification system. It would be more intuitive. Amazingly, it is pretty much a built-in twitter client too as you can post tweets right on it.

Dictation on the Mac. I don’t think this is new, but it’s just more featured. OS X also has quick sharing to Twitter or Flickr. Great way to share stuff on Twitter without having to cut-n-paste URLs and whatnot. New Safari now has an awesome bar, one bar for URLs and search, just like Chrome. It will also sync its tabs through iCloud with iDevices and Macs. So careful when you have that porn site up on one of your tabs. πŸ˜›

Power nap, keeping your Mac up to date while it sleeps. Err… is this why my iMac with Lion now refuses to sleep automatically? Looks like it’s only compatible with the 2nd gen MBA and the next gen MBP. System wide Airplay is long overdue, previously only available on iTunes. Game Center is a meh. I never use it. Steam is where gaming is. What is interesting is that Craig was showing Game Center and a game playing over Airplay to Apple TV. Is this a hint of something coming?

Next is the intensive improvements of Chinese language support and integration with various Chinese services like Baidu. This is huge. I bet many US tech blogs and analysts will skim over this, but Apple’s decision to support these Chinese sites shows what Apple thinks about China. Even Craig said “get your apps ready for China.” That is a big hint.

OS X Mountain Lion, next month, $20, for ALL your Macs. Yup, just $20 will upgrade ALL Macs you have, even from Snow Leopard. Take that Microsoft. How much do you have to pay for a single license for Windows? And only Upgrade license? Yeah.

Scott was up next with iOS6. He started with an obvious jab against Android, and how iOS 5 is more prevalent than ICS Android 4.0. Yeah, suck on that Google. I love my Galaxy Nexus though. πŸ™‚
Improvement on Siri, now you can have her launch apps. Oh, she also learned a LOT more languages, including Spanish, Chinese (both mandarin and Cantonese), and Korean. Scott is showing off Siri knowing a bunch of sports info, pulling restaurant info from Yelp and partnering with Open Table for reservation (something that the old Siri could already do, before Apple bought it), and pulling movie information. Cool, but my iPhone 4 doesn’t have Siri, so bah.

An exciting feature is Eyes Free. It’s basically Apple working together with car manufactures to integrate Siri’s voice commands, and those manufactures includes Honda and Toyota (but no Nisan, and clearly absent, Ford). All I want is for car manufactures to have a slot for an iPad as the center console.
Oh, and finally, iOS 6 will enable Siri on the new iPad.

Next, Facebook integration. Considering how sucky the Facebook app is becoming, this is highly welcomed. Sharing photos has been quite a chore as Facebook’s own app is dog slow. Being able to do that straight from the photos app would be great. Contacts integration and birthday integration with calendar is great too. Oh, the app store will have Facebook like button now. Wonder what would happen to Ping.

Other features include call options, including features to text a reply quickly or set up a reminder when somebody is calling. Then there’s a “Do not Disturb” toggle. Hmm, that’s the point of having silent mode, no? The nice thing is it has granular control, eg. allowing certain calls to go trough. Facetime over 3G. Big whoop, all the carriers are already imposing draconian caps that I doubt people would use this. Heck, even Singapore carriers are now axing down their data quota to 2GB, mimicking the US carriers. Video calls over cellular is dead.

Safari on iOS6 allows you to upload pictures on websites. This is huge as before, iOS didn’t allow access to the filesystem via the browser. Photo Stream finally can be shared and selectively. This is the answer to the missing feature in iPhoto that used to be called photocasting. Flagged inbox in mail is nice too.

A new app, pass book. It’s collecting stuff like boarding passes, store cards, movie tickets, etc in 1 app. This is Apple testing the waters on mobile transaction. Guided Access, allowing fine tune control of UIs on apps, even disallowing the home button to exit the app. This is great as it finally allows you to lend your iDevices to your friends, without being afraid they mess with your other stuff (like checking out your porn tab in the new Safari that got synced with your desktop).

Oh and it’s final, Apple ditched Google Maps. New maps app, with local search and Yelp integration (nice), traffic service with incident reports, and the biggie, turn-by-turn navigation complete with Siri integration. So yeah, finally those ads about iOS not having turn-by-turn navigation can be cancelled/taken down. This is great and huge, pitting iOS squarely head to head with Android. Another thing is 3D flyover, another jab at Google’s own Maps and Earth. Cool, especially on an iPad, but it’s just eye candy imo. I can’t wait for the turn-by-turn direction feature, but I wonder if Apple would make it work on the iPhone 4 without Siri.

Couple on the side features, Lost Mode, allowing you to send a call-able phone number on your lost iPhone screen. Also, a new iPad clock app. FYI, the iPad didn’t actually have a clock app before. And another huge hint, the integration with China web services.

iOS 6 shipping this fall (with new iPhone too probably), and it’s for iPhone 3GS and later, iPad 2 and later, and iPod Touch 4th gen. Err…. did you see something’s missing? Yeah, no iPad 1 and no iPod Touch 3rd gen. Thing is, these 2 devices are faster than the iPhone 3GS hardware wise, so it’s interesting that Apple decided to ditch those 2 devices. The iPad 1 is practically useless anyway, it’s so slow that even browsing the net with it is no longer enjoyable. Still, I was hoping for a bit more longevity.

The keynote ended with Tim Cook promoting how great it is working at Apple. It’s a recruitment!

Let’s recap on my prediction:
1. OS X Mountain Lion. I thought it would be free, but $20 is still cheaper than $30.
2. iOS6. Still no shuffle-by-album? The ditching of Google maps is well-known already.
3. Hardware: No updates on the desktops. I did guess right that the new MBA_style MBP was the “one more thing.” Although they did axe the 17″.
4. And yes, no iPhone nor iPod Touch.

Ok, new tasty Apple products, as always. Great keynote despite not having Steve Jobs. I’ll just wait for the new iPhone though.
Enough with WWDC and Apple, time to go back to making another Accel World AMV (and patiently waiting for Accel World Ep 10). πŸ™‚

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 12, 2012 in apple, impression, Keynote, WWDC

 

Tags: , , , ,

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 2010 in apple, event

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,