Category Archives: Steve Jobs

MacBook Pro Case Redesigns?

As regular visitors to this page may be aware, I’ve just sunk a whack of cash on a new MacBook Pro to replace my ailing Powerbook G4. The new machine should make mincemeat of tasks that the PB toiled over as it limped on with a nearly-full hard drive and one dead RAM slot. I should notice HUGE performance improvements in just about every area with the MBP. I held on for a few months knowing an update was round the corner with the Penryn chips, but when they finally dropped on Tuesday, I almost didn’t jump for it because they didn’t have the case redesign I had expected. When I thought it through, though, I took the plunge.
It seems the Editor of MacWorld is in the same situation as I was, but as he mulled it over he hit on the notion that Apple have actually perfected the designs of its product lines, and thus, any changes to come will only be minor. Perfected?? I don’t think so, but to an extent, he has a point. I’m glad I bought one when I did.

The basic design of my new machine is virtually identical to that of the 4 year-old Powerbook it’s replacing. Why leave it as it is? Well, the simple fact is, even though it’s getting old, the design is still sleeker and nicer than pretty much any other machine out there. There have been a few refinements, and I dare say they could make some more, but it really is exceptionally beautiful.  And don’t forget, it’s just the external case! The real meat & potatoes are inside, and that part certainly HAS been changing.

So why chould they change the case? Well, I have a couple of minor gripes.

1) The paint-pitting issue on the wrist area. My Powerbook looks vile there now and it’s actually uncomfortable to use. There must be some sort of compound they can use to sort this out. Also, that front edge is pretty sharp…

2) The latch. The hook-latch system is horribly flawed. Surely the next revision will have the magnetic latch of the MacBook and the Air?

Neither of these is a deal-breaker for me. OK, I was also a little disappointed at the lack of a MacBook/Air-style  keyboard, but again, that’s nothing serious. It’s still the sexiest darn machine that’s out there right now.
So will they change the case? Will there be a major facelift when the Montevina architecture comes in this summer? I’d be surprised if they didn’t, quite honestly. At least a little. Maybe a lot.

I could have held on for another 6 months. I could have waited for a new design. I could have held off buying because something better was round the corner. The problem is that there’s ALWAYS something better round the corner and I need the machine NOW. And in two or three years time, my MacBook Pro will still be a great computer, just as my Powerbook has been.

And if Steve does release a new case design later this year?

Well, I’ll probably post my MBP up on eBay before you can blink and get the new machine like the blinkered, materialistic, hypocritical Apple fanboy that I am.

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Macworld ’08 Rumors

Oh boy…The MWSF ’08 Rumor Mill is hitting full-grind now. So what’s it to be this year? Let’s face it, after last year’s iPhone mania, it’s bound to be something big simply to avoid losing momentum. A brand new gadget? A tablet mac? Steve wearing bootcut jeans?I would hazard a guess that due to iPhone saturation last year, this year is almost certain to be more mac-based. Bring on the hardware! So, if there’s gonna be new hardware, what are the possibilities?The obvious thing for me would be the portable line. With recent reports of 13.3″ LED backlit screen being delivered, it isn’t too much of a stretch to suppose that the long-fabled ultraportable MBP is in prep as we speak. I would say that’s almost a certainty. I’m also hoping like mad that Jonny Ive & his minions have been tinkering with the rest of the MBP line as well. There hasn’t been a significant form-factor change for the MBP for years now and I think the time is ripe. At least a macbook style keyboard would be nice…As for the other ranges, well, the iMac is a definite no-no. The mini, I suspect is beyond refreshing (would be nice to see it replaced by something else – how about resurrecting the cube!), the macPro should get a little speedbump (as if it needs one!) and the macbook will presumably stay as-is. The iPhone shouldn’t be refreshed yet as it’s only just been launched in 1.0 state in most places outside the US. The SDK will probably be shown off, I would imagine and the sales stats bragged about, but that should be all.Which only leaves us with the poor AppleTV. It’s do or die there I reckon. Either something spectacular happens to it or it’ll go the way of the iPod Hi Fi thing that was paraded a couple of years back! SURELY something will be done to it soon….What do you reckon? Go on and post your ideas. Let’s face it- we always guess and we’re always wrong, but it’s a huge amount of fun!EDIT – Well, according to Jim Goldman at CNBC, it looks like the ultraportable is definitely  on the cards: 50% thinner than the current MBPs, with no optical drive and  flash memory, retailing for around $1500.Will be interesting to see how that translates to pounds… A straight currency exchange would make that £740. Yeah right. The current mid range MBP sells in the US for $2499. That’s £1232. In the UK they cost £1599. What’s with the £367 increase? Entry level MBP – $1999 (£985). UK cost? £1299. £314 difference. The 17″? $2799 (£1380). UK price? £1799. £419 difference!! WHA???

Top Ten Reasons for Buying a PC, not a Mac

1. All your friends are doing it.
2. Solitaire is your crack cocaine.
3. You love the visceral knife-edge thrill of wondering if your app will remain stable until you save your work.
4. You think that processor power and RAM are better employed running Antivirus than on doing anything productive or useful.
5. You have had a designectomy.
6. You enjoy the irony of the phrase “Plug & Play”.
7. You want your new OS to have more available flavours then Baskin Robbins.
8. You would have to fill all that free deskspace with paperwork if all those cables weren’t there.
9. You only know how to delete forwards.
10. You want the free cupholder.

New Mac Pro

Oh my word. Check this bad boy out!

Mac Pro

Specifications

Two 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
16GB (8 x 2GB)
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 512MB, Stereo 3D (2 x dual-link DVI)
4 x 750GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
Two 16x SuperDrives
Both Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and AirPort Extreme
Quad Channel 4Gb Fibre Channel PCI Express Card
Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse – British (wireless)
Mac OS X (English)
Apple Cinema HD Display (30″ flat panel)
Apple Cinema HD Display (30″ LCD)
Five USB ports
Two FireWire 400 ports
Two FireWire 800 ports

And all for a measly £12,616.03!

Apple Dances to the Beat of a Distant DRM

Hmmm. Steve Jobs has just spoken out against the DRM (Digital Rights Management) syetem that’s in play at the moment in the digital music world. The upshot of this currently is that if you buy tracks from iTunes, you are limited to playing that back on an iPod.

This is all because…

“Since Apple does not own or control any music itself, it must license the rights to distribute music from others, primarily the “big four” music companies: Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI. These four companies control the distribution of over 70% of the world’s music. When Apple approached these companies to license their music to distribute legally over the Internet, they were extremely cautious and required Apple to protect their music from being illegally copied. The solution was to create a DRM system, which envelopes each song purchased from the iTunes store in special and secret software so that it cannot be played on unauthorized devices.”

DRM drives a lot of people nuts, and it sounds like Steve is among them as he is calling now for the “Big 4” to stop being so paranoid and let people who buy music legally do with it as they wish after purchase. The best argument for this is that the very CDs which are sold directly by the “big 4” can be imported or ripped to any number of computers, and copied at home countless thousands of times (if anyone could be bothered) whereas those who make the effort to get their online music legally have all sorts of restrictions placed upon them, despite the fact that if they wanted to, they could find the same tracks DRM-free on a filesharing site and not pay a cent. What are these companies thinking about??

I’m with Steve on this one. It makes for a much fairer and competitive market when people aren’t locked to one particular music player, one particular music store or limited numbers of copies or plays.

If the record companies are really serious about the future of music and want to promote legal downloads, then axing DRM is probably the single best thing they could do.

Steve JobsJobs

The iPhone’s Arrival & Steve’s Reality Distortion Field

Hopefully, now that the long rumoured, oft-imagined, frequently faked, mac-head’s fantasy ‘iPhone’ has been put on display for the world to see, hopefully the rumour mills can stop grinding and people can get to grips with what this means for the consumer, Apple and the mobile market in general.

the iPhone

In terms of sheer tech-wizardry, this thing is a marvel. I showed some of the kids I teach the features on the device and one piped up “how do they fit it all in?”. How indeed? Well, at a guess, I’d say at the cost of certain sacrifices- memory for a start. Anyone wanting any huge amount of data to be stored on this thing will be disappointed, but bear in mind, this is the first iteration of the product. The first iPod was 5 gb, right? What are they up to now? Patience. It will come.

The features are fantastic, and whatever your gripes about the cost, the U.S. only availability, the carrier choice – cingular, and whatever else that insatiable lot in the forums have been banging on about, you cannot disagree that this is an incredible piece of kit which sets the bar so high that the others in the field need a radio telescope to try and locate it.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen what this thing can do, go to www.apple.com/iphone and check it out for yourself. It’s an iPod, iTunes, video player, portable true internet device, e-mail device, and along with all the applications and widgets which run on it (on OSx, no less) it’s also a ‘phone’. I say ‘phone’ because when you compare this thing to what you or I, until yesterday, called a phone, you realise this iPhone is in a different league entirely. It’s simply astounding.

Whether or not I actually need this piece of wizardry is a different question, but for some folks it will be invaluable and will, in my opinion, simply annhilate the likes of Palm and Blackberry unless they do something, and do it quick.

As a personal side note, I found it rather amusing to watch Steve Jobs’ legendary “Reality Distortion Field” in action. My wife was sitting next to me playing about on her iBook as I watched the Keynote on my Powerbook. Although she uses a mac, she’s not a mac nut like me. “Why on earth are you watching that rubbish?” she asks me with thinly veiled contempt. “You already saw what he was announcing. Turn it off”. A couple of minutes later, I notice her looking across. She says, “It’s all very clever, but I don’t see why anyone would need all that”. A few minutes later she’s listening pretty intently and she turns to me and says. “He’s a really great speaker. And he seems like such a nice guy. He’d be a brilliant minister…”

Steve, whatever it is, bottle it and sell it as iEssence or whatever, but you’ll make more off the back of it than all the hardware Apple has sold since 1984.