How They Compare: Dell Studio 15 vs. 15” MacBook Pro

21 09 2008

My name is Keith Hobin, and I’m the managing editor here at theiLife. I originally joined theiLife back in June, but now I’m making my first post. I grew up in Montclair, NJ with Matt, Sidney, and a few of the other iLife writers. I graduated from Montclair High School this year and will be attending Drexel University as an Information Systems major. I prefer the Microsoft side of computers and plan on adding a little diversification into this blog. You will be hearing from me from time to time with new stories and information about the goings on of the blog. If you want to contact me, you can email me at [email protected] . For my full biography, check out the about page section.

In getting ready for my attendance of Drexel, I have recently purchased one of Dell newest Laptop, the Studio 15. The Studio line is intended to have a mix of features from the XPS and Inspiron line at prices starting around $650 and around $750 for a decent configuration. For my Studio 15, I paid $ 1,839.94 with a 4 year warranty, accidental damage protection, and lojack, before tax and shipping. A PDF of the invoice / configuration will be posted along with this (Here). Just the price difference of $460 alone, a MacBook Pro being $2,300, is a good reason to consider another brand. But let’s delve into the features of each computer.

NOTE: All Comparisons made will be between MY Dell Studio 15 and the 15″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro. However, I will note the optional features I selected for my dell and will note higher features that I opted not to get. When I discuss option prices, the price increase will be from the cheapest configuration available to the general public at the time of writing. To be fair, both of the base prices of the computers are with educational discounts and I received an extra discount for taking the 4 year warranty.

Read more…

Apple Introduces iPhone OS firmware 2.1 and iTunes 8!

9 09 2008

Today, at the Let’s Rock iPod event held at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Apple has released two major upgrades to it’s current software offerings.

True to the rumors, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off of iTunes 8 today. iTunes 8 contains a number of new features including Accessibility (through VoiceOver), New “Grid” Browsing, and Genius. The Grid browsing is similar to the iPhoto layout where you can browse albums by cover and switch between viewing by Albums, Artists, Genres and Composers in respective tabs above. For any given artist, you can mouse over and see the different album artworks, like you would an event in iPhoto. The Genius feature in iTunes 8 Automatically makes playlists from songs in your library that go great together with just one click. Additionally, the Genius sidebar will make recommendations from the iTunes Store based on the music you already have. Genius information is sent to iTunes servers anonymously (which is optional) and will be used to generate better results for you every week. iTunes 8 is a free download and will be available today for both Mac and PC from

Apple also introduced a new version of it’s iPhone OS, version 2.1 at it’s media event today. iPhone firmware 2.1 is said to contain much better battery life, fewer dropped calls, bug fixes, faster backups to iTunes and no more App crashes. However, it is unclear if the Push Notification made it’s way into the 2.1 version of the firmware. The iPhone OS version 2.1 software will be available as a free download to iPhone users and free to all iPod touch owners who already have the 2.0 firmware (paid for) and installed and will be available for download this Friday, September 12th.

Stay tuned for the latest information regarding Apple’s latest hardware and software announcements here at

Reports from an iPhone 3G and iPod Touch running firmware 2.0.2

18 08 2008

Here are some notes from the 2.0.2 firmware update installation.

Here are my notes, in chronological order since installation:

Downloading the firmware took about 15 minutes on a 5 Mbit/s / 1.5Mbit/s connection. FiOS has me spoiled at home.

My iPhone update took about 10 minutes. Note that I have recently synced and backed up my iPhone with my computer about 15 minutes prior to the installation.

Taking a screenshot just froze my iPhone while in Settings. It eventually quit and brought me back to the dashboard.

More updates coming soon.

The iMac’s 10th Anniversary

15 08 2008

10 years ago today, Apple shipped it’s very first in the line of its new generation computers. This new computer set Apple apart from the rest of the previously all beige Apple lineup. The new sleek all-in-one computer was the first of its kind. As Steve Jobs said when introducing the new iMac; “Today, I’m incredibly pleased to introduce iMac, our consumer product. And iMac comes from the marriage of the excitement of the internet, with the simplicity of the Macintosh.”

Beige Mac Plus

The introduction of the iMac computer brought Apple to new heights. It was the first computer to come in color, Bondi Blue, other than beige. The release was a breath of fresh air into the Apple lineup. Before Steve Jobs return to the company in 1997, Apple tried to rejuvenate their lineup with new inventions such as the Newton PDA and the Taligent project. While the Newton failed from a financial stand point, it was a big technical step for mobile computing and set the way for future PDA’s such as the Palm Pilot and eventually the iPhone.

The original iMac was designed by Johnathan Ive, famed designer of the iPod and iPhone. The iMac sold 800,000 units in its first five months. Predecessed by the second generation, slot loading iMac G3 in 1999 the iMac G4 again set another new standard in design. The iMac G4 came with a base made the shape of half a sphere with a LCD screen attached by a rotating metal pole. Many people considered this to be another large leap in the shape and design of computers.

iMac G4

The design of the iMac G4 was soon abandoned for the design of the iMac G5. A sleek, plastic, 3″ think, all-in-one computer. One of, if not the first, sleek all-in-one computers. Starting out with a 1.6 GHz G5 PowerPC processor, it truly was the best and most innovative in its class. It also included 256 MB of RAM which was upgradable to 2 GB of RAM. And while many might think this is small and insuffuficent, Panther only required a minimum of 128 MB and a G3 processor. So thus the new iMac G5 easily surpassed the requirements of it era.

The iMac G5 was later redesigned into what we know today. The first Mac to get an Intel processor at Macworld 2006, the G5’s design was later redesigned into an even sleeker 1.24″ think metal case. It now has up to 4 GB of RAM, comes with either a 20″ or 24″ screen, and has a processor with speeds of up to 3.06 GHz! With its enhanced preformance, the iMac has become one of Apple’s most popular desktop offering.

With Apple constantly redefining the technology industry, we are always looking for their next big wonder to be unveiled. staring with a simple little computer made in Steve Jobs’ garage, Apple has grown to be more than just as computer phenomenon, but a god in the technology field. And with the iMac now 10 years young, who know what we can expect next.

Thoughts on leaked MacBook case pictures?

5 08 2008

The MacBook & MacBook Pro haven’t seen any major revisions since their release date of 2006. With redesigns long overdue, there is word that Apple will be releasing new MacBooks and MacBook Pros this September. I think we all figured that the new MacBook design would be very similar to the MacBook Air, but is that what the buyers really want? With the release of the new iMac about a year or so ago, many people said over and over again how they disliked the new look, but we adapted to it over time. Apple is known for trying to keep unreleased products under tight control, so that makes me doubt that these new pictures are real. Also, if you’re a college student, don’t forget about Apple’s student deal! Now, one of the only pros of getting a MacBook before the highly expected MacBook 2.0, is that you can still get that iPod of your desires.

“Are these really leaked pics of a redesigned MacBook, widely expected later this year? Probably not, as Apple has always done an excellent job of keeping its new designs under wraps. But the Interwebs are abuzz with this series of shots that generally fit in with the conventional wisdom–that the MacBook line is getting an aluminum makeover, to look more like the high-end MacBook Pro.”

[Via: Crave]

The new MacBook casing possibly revealed in photos and more than 2.4 Million 3G iPhones manufactured to date!

4 08 2008

Photos that could prove to be the new MacBook casing have surfaced and could Foxconn be manufacturing 800,000 iPhones a week?!

This morning, according to a TechCrunch article, citing a source “close to Apple”; Apple has ordered Foxconn to build 800,000 iPhones per week. 800,000 is the full operating capacity at which Foxconn can manufacture, which brings up concerns of quality control as there already seems to be small casing issues with the some of the new plastic backings. After launching in 20 countries more than three weeks ago, with over one million iPhones sold in just the opening weekend, Foxconn could have theoretically built over 2.4 million iPhones since the 11th.

Meanwhile, Chinese blog (which is experiencing high server load right now) has leaked four new images supposedly of the unreleased MacBook to Engadget. While the images appear very similar to the existing MacBook Air display, they could indeed be of a new MacBook since both laptops have a 13.3 inch widescreen display. Currently the legitimacy of these images are in question. Both the MacBook Pro and MacBook are rumored to see a revision around September.

Stick with theiLife for developing news on both the iPhone 3G and MacBook revisions.

We’re In The News!!

10 07 2008

So while the writers at have been patiently waiting for the release of the 3G iPhone outside the 5th Avenue Apple Store in New York City; we have had the pleasure of being interviewed by many other blogs, papers, radio stations, as well as various other media outlets. Here is an up to the minute list of all the published interviews with various publications:

Kyle Being Interviewed By WCBS 880 Radio!

Interview by Fortune!

Store Line Check by Racked. We’re the site that’s liveblogging!

Matt R. and Geoff K., were quoted by the New York Sun.

Matt Dodd was featured in an interview with NBC 4. video featured a number of iLife writers!

We are seen a number of times in this Fox 5 video!

Matt Dodd was featured in an article in Information Week.

Geoff K. was quoted in Bloomberg News.

We’ve on CNN Money.

We’ve been video posted on NPR.

The article on MacLife about waiting on the line is up here.

Matt Dodd and various other bloggers were featured on the 10 o’clock Channel 11 news here.

CBS used Matt Dodd’s new iPhone in this segment.

Apple has posted an image of theiLife crew activating their new phone in the store!

We were told we have appeared on multiple TV news channels such as CW11, CBS, NBC, and more as well as WCBS 880 Radio and Fox News Radio.

iPhone 3G to launch at 8AM, Apple Store Goes Down and MobileMe Officially Launches Wednesday 7/9!

8 07 2008

Late this evening, visitors to the Apple Online Store were met with the typical “We’ll Be Back Soon” message.

Additionally this evening, Apple has posted a message on the dotMac service section for current dotMac subscribers reading:

“MobileMe Launch
7/9/2008, 6pm-12am PT

As part of the MobileMe launch, will be taken offline at 6pm PT on Wednesday, July 9th.

Members will be unable to access or any .Mac services during this time with the exception of .Mac Mail accessed via a desktop application, iPhone, or iPod touch.

MobileMe will be available as soon as possible during this maintenance window.”

It is unknown if these two events have anything in common, as the online Apple Store always goes down prior to new product announcements but does periodically go down for maintenance. Finally, Apple today has confirmed an 8AM launch time for the iPhone 3G in its own retail stores. On the page, “iPhone 3G July 11th” graphics have been updated to “iPhone 3G July 11 at 8AM”. The 8AM launch time reflects the AT&T store official launch time which was revealed earlier last week. Stay tuned to theiLife for continuing coverage of MobileMe and the iPhone 3G launch later this week.

WWDC 2008 Mac OS X State of the Union: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

9 06 2008

Mac OS X State of the Union Address 10.6 Developer Preview

What started as a rumor, then revealed at the WWDC Keynote: the next iteration of Mac OS X, version 10.6 will indeed be called Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard will “ on the incredible success of OS X Leopard..” by “..focusing primarily on new features, Snow Leopard will enhance the performance of OS X”. Rumors say that this means no PowerPC support, and could possibly mark the end of existence for Carbon UI.

Apple says that by optimizing the new OS X for multi-core processors and tapping into the potential of graphic processing units (GPU) OS X become faster and more reliable and allow more vast amounts of RAM. Additionally, Snow Leopard will ship with Microsoft Exchange support out of the box and features QuickTime X, a “new, modern media platform”.

According to Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senioer vice president of Software Engineering:

“We have delivered more than a thousand new features to OS X in just seven years and Snow Leopard lays the foundation for thousands more”. “In our continued effort to deliver the best user experience, we hit the pause button on new features to focus on perfecting the world’s most advanced operating system.”

Using new technologies, coded named “Grand Central” future developers will be able to take full advantage of multi-core processors. Also, Open Computing Language (OpenCL), based off the C programming language, will allow for applications to ‘tap’ into the power of the GPU- which is typically reserved for graphics applications. Snow Leopard, thanks to 64-bit technology, will be able to support system memory up to a theoretical 16TB of RAM.

According to Apple, QuickTime X optimizes support for ‘modern audio and video formats’ which will result in more efficient media playback. Snow Leopard will include Safari with improved JavaScript implementation, which can be up to 53 percent faster- allowing heavy Web 2.0 applications respond faster. Microsoft Exchange 2007 support will be integrated into upcoming versions of Mail, iCal and Address Book.

The Mac OS X State of the Union address took place today at 2:00 – 3:15 PM at Presidio. You can read more about Mac OS X Snow Leopard here.

Check more the pictures below!

Mac OS X State of the Union Address 10.6 Exchange Support
Mac OS X State of the Union Address 10.6 New Features
10.6 Snow Leopard OS X State of the Union
0 New Features OS X 10.6 State of the Union Address

Apple to replace .Mac service with MobileMe application suite

9 06 2008

During todays WWDC keynote, Phil Schiller revealed the successor to Apple’s .Mac service, titled MobileMe. Speculation has been rampant in the past weeks concerning Apple’s aging web service, and many reports of trademark filings and software references had been made the term ‘MobileMe’.

Login to the MobileMe webclient

The new service is a three part suite, that is targeted at the mobile OS X platforms for the iPhone and iPod touch, natively coded calender and email clients, and a multi platform capable web based suite that contains an email client, iDisk, and media sharing. Information can be added to the iPhone and automatically synced with your MobileMe account, allowing you to access contacts, pictures and email from anywhere.

The web based client is notable for its extremely slick Ajax based interface, that is highly reminiscent of a native OS X application. The web app allows drag and drop objects, object animations, instantaneous spotlight style searching and photo album managing. Photos are also available onto the Apple TV’s photo viewing application, and can be managed and viewed in iPhoto, selected from a new MobileMe menu. Updates for Mail, Address Book, iPhoto and the Apple TV are likely pending in order to integrate the new features into these applications.

iDisk capacity has been doubled from 10GB to 20GB, and is available for access from within the web based client, OS X’s finder, and is mountable as a network drive in Windows Vista.

MobileMe will be launched in early July with a 60 day free trial, after which there will be a $99 subscription. A guided tour of MobileMe is available at Apple’s website.