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Old 01-16-2008, 01:00 AM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Default All That Apple Stuff Today...

Apple unleashed several new products today, and updates to older products, so I thought I'd jot down some thoughts and reactions about what I read about (this text is adapted from a series of emails I sent to the Mobius email list while discussing this).

Apple Charging $19.95 for the iPod Touch Software Update
Utterly ridiculous, but it's what Apple does - remember the $2 charge for 802.11n? Apple has the worst type of corporate arrogance imaginable, and almost everyone lets them get away with it. But that's also how they're able to create some pretty impressive products - so you take the bad with the good. Myself, I take none of it (for now - I continue to be tempted by some of their products).

iTunes Movie Rentals
It's so incredibly frustrating seeing Microsoft have all the same pieces - Xbox Live videos, Windows Mobile + Zune hardware - and not do a damn thing with it. Microsoft could have beaten Apple to the punch by more than a year, but there's probably still some committee arguing about it. The Apple solution looks slick, and the pricing looks a bit better than the Xbox Live pricing (I think - points confuse matters somewhat).

Apple TV v2
The update looks great, lots of cool features. Finally, the product is no longer a joke - they evolved it to what it should have been when it was first released. The UI is slick, I love it. And at least current Apple TV owners don't need to pay for the upgrade. I finally got access to Xbox Marketplace movies in December, and it was a truly pathetic launch - about 30 movies, no TV shows, only a handful are in HD or even movies you've ever heard of. Apple now had a powerful round-trip solution from TV room to computer to mobile device.

MacBook Air
So it's a thin laptop - is that so exciting? Maybe it's more impressive in person. Multi-touch on the touchpad is pretty cool, though I think it's one of those "makes a great bullet point" but most people won't use it past the first day. Seems like it would be useful in iPhoto more than anywhere else. I watched the demo video for Macbook Air and I had to chuckle at how they made the lack of an optical drive a feature rather than a limitation. The "remote optical drive" thing is pretty slick though. 80 GB 4200 RPM hard drive? Bleh. 5 hours of battery life is good, and I sure wish my XPS M1330 came with a back-lit keyboard! I don't see any mention of a memory card reader either. What's with Apple's hate-on for memory card readers? It's silly their monitors don't have them, but it's inexcusable for a laptop not to have an SD/Memory Stick/XD card slot at the bare minimum. It's like if they didn't invent it, or they don't sell it, it doesn't exist. One USB port? No Ethernet port? No Firewire? This laptop is obviously aimed at a very specific niche, so while it might be a killer solution for some, it doesn't seem to be very well-rounded. I have to admire Apple's engineering though, and it's impressive that Intel designed a smaller CPU for them - I wish more notebook makers would care about making their notebooks as small as possible. Every spare millimetre matters.

iPhone January Update
This video was interesting to watch. Apple added significantly useful features to the iPhone only a few months after release - by controlling the hardware, the software, and ultimately the customer, they're able to innovate much faster than Windows Mobile can. We've all known this for a long time, but this is real-world proof of the huge liability that Microsoft finds itself in.

Time Capsule
So this is Apple's answer to Windows Home Server? Seems nice and simple, and has some good features, but it's insane that they didn't make it dual hard drive setup in case the drive fails. I suppose if it's ONLY a backup and no unique data is being stored on it, then you have a copy of that data on your Mac/PC and it's not such a big deal of your Time Capsule drive crashes. But hard drives do fail, "enterprise class" or not.

Did anyone else notice how much of this new stuff is "Windows friendly" in terms of inter-operating with a Windows ecosystem? Apple is really stepping into Microsoft's turf, which is quite interesting to see.

So what are your thoughts on what Apple unveiled today?

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys mobile devices, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He's still not ready to buy a Mac.
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