The Weekly Report (3/17)

17 03 2008

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! We are continuing to keep content coming out on a regular basis. Even while on the road competing in Hartford last week, the other writers and I were able to get content out everyday. This week should be no different, and the podcast Sidney and I have been meaning to do will finally surface- I promise. The Apple news was fairly quiet besides the small rumblings of DVR patents, Intel SSD’s and 100,000 downloads of the SDK in four days. Maybe this week we will see more (AirPort Express with N?)- who knows?! Have a great day, and lets hope for an enjoyable week!

The iBook Story

14 03 2008

Sometimes, you wonder if some things could tell stories, what they might say. After explaining some of my laptops quarks to Sidney a few months ago, he suggested I write a story.

It was a fairly mild May day, May 23rd to be exact. The model iBook had been out for approximately a month when an Army solider decided to purchase his first Mac. He customized it to have 512MB of RAM and even opted for the Bluetooth wireless option. At the cost of approximately $1,200 it was a very respectable system- including AppleCare! After treating it like his baby, a little more than 2 months of owning it, he found out his was deployed to Iraq. Understanding that the computer wouldn’t get used very much while he was gone, he decided to sell it on eBay.

I was a sophomore in high school at the point, and was in the market for a new computer. After my iMac G3 was damaged by lightning in a recent storm, I wanted to get a laptop. The decision to get a new computer, as WWDC had recently taken place did require some thought into the future. I knew that I couldn’t stand another two years with my aging iMac G3, that I would have to live through the transition- I knew I would be getting a new computer by the end of my senior year. I originally thought to get a brand new computer from the Apple Store online, but had a whim to go on eBay and see if I couldn’t fetch a better deal there.

After much searching, I stumbled upon a few auctions that fit my needs. Being a good eBay buyer, I closely monitored the activity with these (three or so) auctions- looking for the right time to snatch my deal. Behold my connection with the Army solider. I won the auction, paying about $900 with shipping. I was amazed- I got a computer worth more than $1,200 retail at the time at a discount of almost $300. Not only did I save money, but I saved a computer from going to waste.

The seller was extremely nice, and sent me an email wishing me good luck with the computer, and to take care of it- because he would miss it. I tried contacting him upon compiling this story, but haven’t yet received a response. Not only have I taken care of this computer, I have put it to good use. I almost see it as a physical representation of my high school career- it has been with me for these past 4 years reliably and has seen a lot.

I couldn’t even begin to count the miles I have put on it- but I can estimate that it is at least 10,000. Where did I get this number? Well, in the past 4 years, I’ve taken my laptop with me to Amsterdam, San Francisco, Denver, Florida, Canada, North Carolina, St. Louis, Atlanta- to name a few. In fact, I’m writing this story on it currently en-route to Hartford, Connecticut. I also have been in and out of New York City, New York State, Connecticut, Massachusetts on a monthly basis. I bring my laptop with me virtually everywhere- from trips to the Diner with my family, to the mall, friends houses and often to school. Even with the excessive amount of traveling and milage put on it, it has stood up well.

Stood up well… for the most part: It has made a few trips to the repair center, for numerous issues, nothing too serious. I have had the battery replaced, new bottom case installed, gone through more rubber ‘feet’ than I can care to remember, had the hard drive swapped out and the bezel changed. Otherwise, my computer (which is now out of AppleCare) has remained solid. Even through in this time of Intel processors ‘screaming’, the G4 has kept me running fairly well- I’ve been on Leopard since it came out, and besides intensive media work (mainly Final Cut, or rendering of any kind) it can keep me up to speed. Sadly, I have to admit that even with my love for it, I will have to replace it with a new MacBook Pro for college in June. I won’t abandon it- it will stick with me and I will never forget the service it has given me.

I would be interested- what is the story behind your computer? Let us know!

Record Labels: Ghosts of the 20th Century

13 03 2008



Last week Trent Reznor released a collection of instrumental tracks independently, in a surprise move even his fans couldn’t anticipate. The collection, called Ghosts I-IV, was done in a ten week period last fall, produced mostly by himself and a few of his friends. The album’s first 9 tracks can be downloaded on Bittorrent officially for free, while users can also choose to download just the music and a 40 page PDF for $5. If listeners really want a physical product, they can pay $10 for two CDs, $75 for a deluxe edition, or $300 for a limited edition with vinyl, CDs, and even a data DVD of all the multitracks.


Astoundingly, the download site was hit with so many requests that it had to be shutdown for several hours so it could handle all the traffic. Thankfully for some, the album was still available on Amazon, where this author was happily able to download 36 high quality tracks for the very low price of $5. Most people would see this as just an attempt to copy Radiohead and gain free publicity; however, by looking deeper into the way the idea was executed, it is clear that Trent Reznor takes it one step, if not three steps, into the future of the music industry.

Read more…

Is the iPhone Distracting Apple?

13 03 2008

Often times, people request features for the iPhone. What about features found on the iPhone but not the Mac?

iPhone Distracting

With the release of the iPhone firmware version 2.0, Apple has launched a set of enterprise features aimed at companies with mobile cell phones- support for Exchange servers, Cisco IPSec VPN and more. While this may be great for the iPhone, and help gain support from large companies and professionals alike- what about the Mac? If Apple supports these features for the iPhone, why can’t they give native support in OS X?

The initiative from Apple to open up the iPhone to developers and natively support a wide host of enterprise features is welcomed by all, as this is something Apple usually stays away from. In the past, Apple has typically made anyone wishing to use such enterprise features found in the iPhone firmware 2.0 relay on 3rd party developers such as Microsoft or Cisco. Why can’t Mail have Exchange support?! If Apple is going to continue to add features to the iPhone, will the Mac be left in the dark?

There is a long standing rumor that Leopard was delayed because of the June iPhone release date. This wouldn’t be the first time that Apple has neglected the Mac over the iPhone- but with good reason. The iPhone marks a new chapter of Apple, one that is showing a more mature Apple- and could become extremely successful over the coarse of the next few months. All I ask from Apple is- can we have all the iPhone features on the Mac?

The Smartphone Market Never Saw it Coming…

12 03 2008

The iPhone has so much potential. The cell phone market is ripe for change. Can the iPhone do it?

Happening Again 2001, 2008 iPod Creative iPhone RIM

The definition of a smartphone, according to Wikipedia: “A smartphone is a mobile phone offering advanced capabilities beyond a typical mobile phone, often with PC-like functionality.” The smartphone market is growing larger and larger everyday- dating back to 2001, when the first BlackBerry was released. However, since their inception almost 8 years ago, the technology and software behind these devices (BlackBerry, Treo, etc) have changed little. That was, until last year.

With the introduction of the iPhone in January 2007, the technology world was suddenly mesmerized with what is still referred to as the “most anticipated cell phone”. The iPhone broke the mold of all other ‘traditional’ cell phones in many ways- it’s touch interface, slick integration of 3 devices into one, core software being OS X- not to mention that Apple designed alone- there was no influence from the carrier. While the iPhone’s concept is great, execution was good and has proved midly successful, we are only seeing the foundation laid by Apple. Until June 2008, the iPhone has been under the sole control of Apple.

In a situation strikingly similar to the original Macintosh, the iPhone is innovative and has revolutionized the cell phone market already like the Macintosh. Now that Apple has laid the groundwork, it is time for the developers to step in and give the world another reason to buy an iPhone, to build the metaphorical house. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the Macintosh never saw this stage in 1984- it was crippled by a limited amount of 3rd party software.

The iPhone is in entirely different situation. While developers were initally scared by the GUI in the Macintosh, developers have been begging to develop for the iPhone since it’s introduction! Last week, developers were finally given the opportunity to start writing their app’s for the iPhone- not to mention Apple’s commitment to add enterprise features! This announcement was met with very positive reaction from the technology community. There is no question: the iPhone is headed in a really great direction. Not only strengthening the iPhone platform, Apple is getting ready to compete with the biggest smartphone maker- RIM.

Just as it did with it’s iPod years ago, Apple is slowly beginning to dominate the smartphone market and with the latest trajectories, could leave its competitors in the dust. The more I think about it, RIM and its BlackBerry devices are almost reminiscent of Creative’s music players 7 years ago compared to the iPod. And after last weeks announcement, all the sudden the iPhone is a full-blown competitor to RIM’s BlackBerry. The iPhone may become the next iPod for cell phones. Will the competitors see it coming this time around?

Looking into OS X’s future

11 03 2008

Over the past few years, I have always wondered- how far can Mac OS X go?

OS X Future

Mac OS X was first released in 1999, with Mac OS X Server 1.0. In 2001, Mac OS X version 10.0 was released for desktop consumption. Based on UNIX, and taking many hints from NeXTSTEP, the NeXT Operating System, OS X brought us Aqua- a new GUI that reflected Apple’s colorful product lineup at the time. Now, almost ten years later, what has become of OS X?

Speaking about the recent Mac OS Tiger v10.4 release at WWDC 2005, Steve Jobs said:

“It [OS X] has set Apple up for the next 20 years.”

Funny, that makes a lot sense- with last October’s release of the latest iteration of OS X, 10.5 Leopard- we are not even halfway into the 20 years Steve mentioned, but halfway through the 10.x cycle. In 2007, the Mac saw its market share rise to almost 8% by years end. Apple sold almost 4 million iPhones worldwide. Both product lines rely on OS X for software. From its inception in 1999, this is significant progress. OS X has become more than an Operating System- it is working its way into the core of Apple.

Last week’s iPhone Road Map event is a great example of the power in OS X and what it can do beyond the personal computer. The iPhone SDK will probably become another landmark event for OS X, as developers harness the power of the software running in the iPhone. Intern, not only will that sell more iPhones, but it will expand and solidify Mac OS X’s presence.

Later this year, we will see more and more integration of OS X into Apple’s other products that aren’t a desktop or laptop. For example, last year, we saw the iPhone, iPod Touch and AppleTV introduced- all of which run OS X at the core. This year, and as we continue into the future, we will see more devises shipping with OS X and continue to see it’s market share increase.

With more products running OS X, and continued demand for these products- be it iPods, Macs or iPhones- OS X has a very bright future. The shear fact that one OS is powering a Phone, an iPod, a set top media box and personal computers demonstrates its power and potential for future devices. The question is… what will OS XI bring us?

WebKit Takes an Acid3 Trip

10 03 2008

Writer Matt Rosenhein explains WebKits latest endeavors to pass the Acid3 test.

A mock up of what the Acid3 render should look like

The Acid web standards test has just gone into its third itineration, and the WebKit team is already racing to make their engine as compliant as possible. The Acid3 test builds upon many of the goals that were presented in the much praised Acid2 test, which served as one of the best indicators as to the CSS compatibility of browsers. Safari was the first major browser to pass the test, followed immediately by Konqueror (whose engine provided the code base for WebKit), iCab (the current version now uses WebKit) and Opera. Firefox and Internet Explorer, the two most widely used browsers, have yet to publish a stable release that passes the Acid2, though both teams have demonstrated betas and nightlies that pass and will be released in their next major releases (Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8).

Read more…

The Weekly Report (3/10)

10 03 2008

So yet another week has passed us by. We’ve been working diligently to get more content and so far, I would say we were successful. The site is back to its functional state again, and you should continue to see a steady stream of content. Because of a job I had to take on this weekend, Sidney and I weren’t able to record a podcast, but we will try to get it done before mid-week, as I am going to Hartford on Wednesday. In the Apple world, last week, we saw the introduction of the iPhone SDK to the public, which I must say- has been met with good reception. I was impressed with the Enterprise features and inspired by the SDK itself (which I have been playing around with). I think Apple and the iPhone are headed in a very good direction. Happy Monday, everyone.

iPhone 2.0

7 03 2008

iLife on iPhone

This June, iPhone’s going 2.0. Apple is adding a host of much-clamored-for features (mostly for enterprise users) in addition to, finally, official support for third-party software.

As with the Apple TV, the early adopters (all four million of them) won’t be left out of the fun — iPhone 2.0 is coming as a free software update and includes licensed ActiveSync support, 802.1x networking (a must at many colleges and businesses), and the App Store, where developers can list their programs at prices from $0 up. The message behind 2.0 is clear: iPhone is being evicted from its niche. Apple aims for it to be the mobile communicator of the future, King Smartphone, handed out by the thousands at the world’s largest corporations and purchased by any individual with the desire to stay connected.
Read more…

Top Ten Unused Apple Patents, Part I

7 03 2008

Writer Matt Rosenhein details some of the more interesting patents Apple holds that still remain unused and what it could mean for future Apple products.

Integrated Sensing Display
“Integrated Sensing Display”

Dubbed the ‘telescreen’ by some, this fantastic patent calls for an LCD like display with an integrated image sensor, that would be able to simultaneously display content and capture images. The claimed application for this patent would be an invisible iSight allowing the front of the iMac to remain completely bare of extraneous marks. Alternatively, the filing specifically refers to the uses attractiveness in portable electronics in order to conserve precious space. Sadly the patent was filed in 2004 and remains unused, suggesting that the idea was nothing more than a conceptual design rather than any sort of product in development. Of course, it is entirely possible that this patent has already been implemented on all existing Apple products, making way Apple’s inevitable overthrow of the major world powers and the creation of a New iWorld Order.

“In addition, portable devices, such as portable digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones, have very limited space for displays and would benefit if additional real estate were not used for a camera.”

4 more after the jump! Read more…