Posts in category apple - page 8

iPod refresh and ring-tones

iPod shuffle

New colors. Zzzz.

iPod nano

iPod nano really is just a smaller version of the iPod now, full video and games (Vortex and two others included plus others available to buy) on a full metal stubby device that has a large 200ppi 2.0″ display. Now available in $149 4GB and $199 8GB models. Yummy.

iPod classic

Thinner than the old video iPod but with new UI, full metal enclosure, 80GB and 160GB models and with 30 and 40 hour music playback battery life respectively. Nice, would probably make a great backup device in that 160GB format in fact has more storage than my laptop…

iPod touch

Essentially a cut-down iPhone that retains WiFi and the Safari browser (including “made for iPhone” sites), YouTube videos and iCal on top of the traditional iPod music, video and photos and unlike the iPhone is available worldwide with a 22 hour battery life.

The real new feature here is the buy directly from iTunes music store over WiFi without a computer. The clever bit is next time you dock it the sync will add it to your computer – bi-directional music sync!

Curiously they have partnered with Starbucks so that when you walk into a store you get an extra tab showing you what they are playing in-store and the last few tracks and then directly buy-it… It’s a little odd but will probably extend to other stores especially if they are getting a commission. Shame you can’t order coffee with a couple of taps and bill it to your iTunes account ;-)

There are a few disappointments – the storage options are $299 8GB and $399 16GB which prevent it from being a real high-end music or video player. The other disappointments are the stripping back of the notes, maps, stocks and weather applications and the complete removal of the built-in camera.

iPhone

Dropping the 4GB model and cutting the 8GB model from $599 to $399 and adding the iTunes WiFi store. I guess they managed to persuade AT&T and other forthcoming providers that buying music has nothing to do with the mobile provider (or perhaps are giving them a cut?)

With the iPhone being so much richer in functionality and only costing $100 more than the equivalent iPod touch 8GB you have to wonder who will be buying the 8GB touch at least within the USA.

Those who already paid $599 may be lucky – Apple offer a 10 day price match so you can get a credit to the tune of $200 if you bought one within that time frame. Failing that there is a 14 day returns policy that would net you a $160 credit after the $40 restocking fee. Some people at TUAW are having luck with Amex price matches and AT&T offering line credits.

Ringtone rip-off

Quite how a seemingly endless number of people are prepared to pay 2-3 times the original cost of a song for a few seconds of it when they own the original has always amazed me.

With Apple moving away from DRM with iTunes+ and now producing a mobile phone this was always going to be an interesting development but sadly Apple believe the “your music how you want where you want” doesn’t extend to using a song as a ring tone and instead will charge you another 99 cents on top of the original price of the song to use it as a ring tone.

Sadly the music selection seems to be limited to specific songs and they don’t seem to want to let you use any music you required elsewhere, e.g. your own CD’s and legally acquired MP3’s. Thankfully there are charge-less ring tone makers available for the iPhone.

Where next?

Sadly I find that there is nothing in the line-up for me and it seems I’m not alone.

If the iPhone had GPS, 3G, 16GB flash and was available here in Guernsey (fat chance) I’d buy one. If I’m going to carry a second device alongside my phone it better have great storage (32GB+) but the iPod touch doesn’t. This leaves me with a choice of iPod nano or iPod classic and as my current iPod photo has just died what now but neither has a screen suitable for wide-screen movie viewing.

It is strange how the devices in Apple’s line-up with large wide-screen displays that would make them great portable video players don’t have the capacity to match.

[)amien

Write your own Skype license agreement

Skype EULA being editedWhilst installing the latest version of Skype on my Mac a few days ago I noticed something very unusual.

The text of the end user license agreement was editable.

Being that software companies claim these are legally binding agreements between them and the user perhaps I now own the rights to Skype after my little creative writing ;-)

Which would make me a rich man indeed, the cakes are on me!

[)amien

New iMac available only with glossy display

Showing the glossy MacBook screen</a> When I use a computer I want to view my email, pages and work and not watch a light-show of what’s going on behind me. Glossy displays are therefore rather unappealing and Apple’s latest iMac update has me suitably worried.

First it was the cheap-end MacBooks available only with a glossy display, then it was an option on the MacBook Pro and now the iMac is blemished with its mirror-like display (and downgraded video card from Nvidia 7300 GT to ATI HD2400 XT).

John Siracusa published a great article on Ars Technica last year called And we all shine on that covered the subject in some detail including his take on the reasons why they are popular.

John believes it comes down to shopping being an emotional experience and not a logical one with shoppers easily distracted by shiny things, loud things and bright things all of which they irrationally consider ‘better’ without a thought. This translates to purchases of reflective laptops, deafening speakers and glaring TV screens being purchased over devices that deliver solid, accurate and balanced results.

It is a sad state of affairs if we consumers are nothing more than magpies with wallets.

Do the purchasers of these devices not find their eyes and ears fatigued by the strain of dealing with displays that glare and require the brightness whacked up or speakers that sound so muddy you can’t make out detail?

The only hope is the mention of “glass cover” and “SiO2” on the iMac page. Perhaps Apple has worked out how to increase contrast without introducing copious amounts of glare by using glass rather than plastics but I doubt it.

Still iWork 08 and iLife 08 look great and the keyboard will be worth trying although I doubt it feels as good as the DAS 2.

Shame Apple are still locking out Channel Islanders from their on-line store, even when it is just to purchase a serial number. Guess I’ll have to wait a couple of days for iQ Guernsey to get some in.

[)amien

Great free system tools for Mac OS X

Deeper

Deeper takes you further that System Preferences and provides access to a number of extra options such as Finders graphical effects, layout, spacing and menus, as well as some extra options for Dashboard, Dock, Expose, Login and more.

As an extra cool treat you can also select a screen-saver to be your desktop background just to show off how smooth, slick and system-deep the transparency, scaling and hardware acceleration go in OS X.

AppTrap

I’ve commented before on how I like the Mac’s simple installation mechanism that involves just dragging a folder out of the disk image to where you want it, or in some cases running a package but uninstalling should be just as simple. Thanks to AppTrap it is.

AppTrap watches your Trash and if it detects an application being disposed of asks you if you would like to remove the support files. Great.

0xED Cocoa hex editor

Every hardcore user needs a hex editor from time to time and 0xED is free and very capable.

Features include unlimited file size, interpreting bytes as strings in a variety of encodings, or as integers, floats, doubles and support both big and little endian bytes.

0xED also supports a plug-in mechanism so you can write your own custom data types. The plug-in page includes one for interpreting four bytes as an IP address (v4).

TrimTheFat

Until I can get my hands on a Hitachi’s 200GB/7200 replacement internal drive for my MacBook Pro I’m stuck having to prune my photo, music and applications in order to make space.

Most Mac applications now ship in Universal format which means they contain binaries for both PowerPC and Intel architectures. Drag one of these applications to TrimTheFat and it will remove the part your current machine doesn’t need.

SafariStand

SafariStand is a plug-in that lets you tweak tweak Safari’s behavior such as applying alternative style-sheets, disabling JavaScript, Java or images, modifying encoding and minimum font sizes on a site-by-site basis as well as enhancing the bookmarks with colors and categories, disabling animated GIFs and FavIcons.

If you need a reason to install this try Hicksdesign’s Google Reader Theme to make Google Reader look much more like a Mac application.

The Unarchiver

The Mac’s built-in BOMArchiveHelper is a useful de-compressor for archives but for when it can’t handle a format turn to The Unarchiver.

Thanks to the libxad library it uses formats include: Zip .zip, RAR .rar, 7-Zip .7z, LhA .lha .lzh, StuffIt .sit, BinHex .hqx, MacBinary .bin, .macbin, Gzip .gz, .gzip .tgz, .tar-gz, BZip2 .bz2, .bz, .bzip2 .tbz .tbz2, Tar .tar .gnutar, Unix compress .z .taz .tar-z, ACE .ace, Microsoft CAB .cab, Comic Book .cbz .cbr, Linux RPM .rpm, DiskDoubler .dd, Self-Extracting .sea .exe, CPIO .cpio .cpgz, Pax .pax, HA .ha, Amiga disk image .adf, .adz .dms .dcs .pkd .xms .zom, Amiga archive .f .lzx

[)amien