Category Archives: Apple

apple_tv_hero

Apple TV 2nd gen unboxing and first impressions

I had my first generation Apple TV for 4 years now since 2007. The time has come for an upgrade, luckily I was given the new second gen. Apple TV for my birthday.

It is a huge improvement over the original in both hardware and software. First of all it’s tiny compared to the original, saving space and packaging. Thanks to the A4 processor Apple TV now consumes only less then 2.5W when streaming HD video, it’s 25 times less then conventional 60W lightbulb. In the sleep mode it only consumes 0.8W. Original x86-based Apple TV was rather power-hungry, getting really hot all the time even in the sleep mode. I had to unplug it from the socket most of the time, but that was hardly convenient. It really shows how efficient ARM processors really are. Power consumption is quite important for me as I’m always trying to cut back where I can.

The biggest new feature of the new Apple TV is of course AirPlay. It let’s you stream most of media content from iPhone or iPad to your TV, be it photos, music or videos. There is no settings or configuration required. It’s just magically works like all things from Apple. You tap on the AirPlay button , select Apple TV and that’s it, your content is on the big screen. It’s amazing!

Another nifty feature is that Apple TV pulls photos from my Instagram set on Flickr and displays them as a screensaver. This was possible on the 1st gen. Apple TV as well, but is very neat nonetheless. I love when my IG photos start flying across my TV screen.

Unboxing pictures after the break

apple_store_2_0_hero_2

Apple Store 2.0 is here

As rumoured today Apple replaced traditional paper price tags with iPads. I went to my local Apple Store in Brighton to check it out. I was lucky that the store wasn’t too busy so I was able to take a few pictures.

The iPads are incased in solid blocks of transparent plastic. You can check specs, compare different models or price plans if it’s an iPhone or an iPad. Also you can see support plans and other information. Interacting with such screen feels like an obvious and organic thing to do and you don’t get a feel as if it’s a cool tech demo but not really practical. There is a wealth of useful information to explore, it’s so much better then the old paper tags/signs.

Killer feature of course is ability to call Specialist right from the device. In the past I could spend a very long time in the busy Apple Store trying to get help, but it looks like it’s going to be a thing of the past now. Retail stuff were excited about new displays too and a very kind Specialist showed me how the feature works. When you call for assistance ‘Specialist’ button changes to ‘You are in the queue.’ and ‘Let’s meet here.’ with text animation similar to slide to unlock on iOS lock screen. Specialists can then see the list of calls on their iPod Touch-based EasyPay devices. I’m not sure if Specialists have to check manually or if they are notified with push messages. This will definitely improve retail experience of a lot of people.

There are a few other things to note:

  • All the iPads are black;
  • iPads reset back to the first screen after a few minutes of inactivity;
  • It doesn’t look like anything is connected to the Dock connector on the right, so the cable might run through the back panel;
  • Pressing home button doesn’t seem to do anything.

Pictures after the brake

macbook_pro_2011_unboxing_hero

Early 2011 MacBook Pro Unboxing

I was going to buy one of the latest MacBook Pros for a while and yesterday I finally got it! First impressions are great, quad-core Core i7 is so much faster then old dusty Core 2 Duo in my Early 2009 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Here’s a usual set of unboxing pictures. This time I went a little bit over the top, taking just over 180 pictures in total. The sky was a bit cloudy today so photos turned out a bit darker then I would like them to be. But I hope they are not too bad.

First time I’ve started taking unboxing photos was 9 years ago. In 2002 I’ve got my first proper Mac, 800MHz PowerBook G4 Ti. Back then I’ve taken 32 photos. 9 years later I’m taking almost 6 times more pictures. I wonder how many I’ll be taking in the coming years.

Gallery after the break

facetime_hero

FaceTime makes it easy to stay in touch when travelling

Video calling has been around for a long time, several years ago in Europe it was advertised as one of the biggest features of 3G. Every new flagship phone had a front-facing camera and billed as video calling capable, but it never really took off. It got quickly forgotten and everyone has moved on. But Apple re-invented video calling with introduction of FaceTime. And there is one area where it’s especially useful – staying connected abroad.

For me FaceTime has become and invaluable tool for travelling. Staying in touch with people I care about has always quite a struggle. FaceTime made contacting someone on the other side of the globe as trivial and simple as making a phone call. The beauty of it is that it integrates seamlessly with iOS and does not require almost any setup or configuration. It just works, period. No need to open any apps, remember passwords and log in to anything. I get to see my family and can talk for hours without paying a penny. The biggest limitation of FaceTime is said that it can’t work over mobile 3G networks, but this is actually not that important when travelling. I’m not crazy enough to video chat while roaming anyway and no 3G means that service stays free.

Since getting an iPhone 4 it became so easy to talk to people I care about for as long as I like. FaceTime brings people together no matter where they are.

app_store_control_hero

Why Apple is not trying to control you with App Store

When reading my daily mix of RSS feeds I came across interesting article on Cult of Mac. It’s about what Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde thinks of Mac App Store. In his e-mail to Forbes he claims that Apple is forcing users to get programs in App Store and that Apple is becoming more like Microsoft.

I just couldn’t disagree more. Everything what he says is simply not true and he does not have any facts to back it up. Instead of wanting to control people as Sunde says, Apple wants to make it more convenient and easier for people to get new software. App Store was never meant to be the only way to load 3rd party apps, you still can install from DVD, download or any other source. In post-iPhone days solution like App Store was biggest thing missing on Mac. And Apple finally delivered it.

Besides obvious benefits for developers, customers will in the end benefit the most from the App Store, both directly and indirectly. First of all they’ll have easy to use, integrated place to get new software for their Macs. And indirectly because App Store will without a doubt act like a catalyst for innovation. Developers will take Mac development more seriously which will result in new and better apps. And competitors will launch their own stores. Cydia already stated that they will make store for Mac that will sell all the apps that won’t be allowed in Apple’s store. And Bodega, existing app store will see improvements thanks to competition. App Store will make Mac software market booming. And this sure is a good thing!

macappstore_hero

App Store is coming to Mac

Only several days left till Apple launches App Store for Mac. Original App Store was introduced back in summer 2008 and it was a runway success. It redefined mobile application development and grown to become one of the strongest points of iPhone and later iPad. Over 7 billion apps have been downloaded for iOS. It is a biggest mobile application store in the word and it’s success inspired a range of ‘app stores’ from other companies on just about any device imaginable. It was logical for Apple to bring it to the Mac.

There are many awesome Mac apps, but developers have to spend time and resources to promote their products, run their own stores and process payments from around the world. This is quite hard and takes their time away from development. With App Store they won’t have to do any of that. Instead developers will have more time for making and improving their software. Especially it will be very important for smaller companies. Mac App Store will give a giant boost to Mac software market and bring to the Mac innovation that’s seen on iOS.

App Store will provide a brilliant and simple way to discover new software, be it games or apps. Currently on the Mac getting new software is not quite straightforward unless you already know where to look. There is no centralised go-to place for finding and downloading new apps. App Store will be the main spot to go to. Yes, not everything will be allowed  in the App Store, but most apps are safe. On the Mac App Store will never become the only allowed source of software, so anything that won’t meet Apple’s criteria can always be delivered using conventional means.

It is going to be very exciting times on Mac. And it remains to be seen how exactly App Store will impact Mac application market. But one thing is for sure – it will be huge!

newton2100

Newton MessagePad at iPad launch

For iPad launch I brought to Apple Store the first Apple tablet, Newton MessagePad. It was a great device but was released ahead of its time and never gained a significant market share. But nonetheless it was the first touch screen PDA that inspired a whole new category of devices. I have the last version, MessagePad 2100 released in 1997, some 13 years before the iPad. Comparing Newton to both iPhone and iPad I certainly can find some similarities in both software and hardware. Even the names are similar MessagePad and iPad. I think that iPad is in a way a rethought and re-imagined version of Newton.

Continue reading