iOS 7

iOS7 screenshots

I’m pretty sure there is going to be much to love when iOS7 is released but the above tweets express my initial reaction – too many horizontal lines in parts of the UI. I never liked the extent that Apple incorporated skeuomorphic-design into their software but this feels like it needs more polish before being introduced to the mass market that accepted so readily the garishness of the old interface.

Apple most desired smartphone brand among U.S. teens

iphone preferred brand

The results of Piper Jaffray’s 25th bi-annual teen survey came in Tuesday afternoon. Once again, it showed Apple to be the most desired brand among American teenagers who care about things like smartphones and tablets, although Google’s Android did make some gains.

From the results, 91% of teens say they plan to buy a smartphone for their next high-tech device, up from 86% last spring and 90% last fall and 59% of teens say they are likely to buy an iOS device and 21% are likely to buy an Android device.

Via. The study is available as a pdf at Taking Stock With Teens.

We believe Apple will release a miniature device called ‘iRing’ that will be placed on a user’s finger and act as a navigation pointer for ‘iTV’.
Yaaa ok. Not a joke.

Samsung confirms it also copies Apple’s rumoured products

Samsung is indeed working on a smart watch, the company’s Executive Vice President of Mobile told Bloomberg in an interview today. “We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them,,” Hee told the publication in no uncertain terms, adding that between itself and Apple, the “issue here is who will first commercialize it so consumers can use it meaningfully.”

Via techcrunch.

The difficulties in choosing a Mac

Lately Apple seems to make the process of choosing which Mac to purchase more and more difficult. They have this nasty habit of leaving out 1 essential feature in lower priced laptops in order to ‘encourage’ pros. to buy the more expensive model. Boo hoo.
Today was no different with the revamped MacBook and MacBook Pro lineup.
First it was the lack of a dedicated graphics card in the MacBook. Now that they have fixed that issue (in spades), they cripple an otherwise fine production machine by leaving out a firewire port. I’ll do some real world tests to ensure my assumption is correct but I can’t see using usb 2.0 for large file transfers or for reading large files from disc.
This was the month I was going to upgrade my studio equipment. It’s been 3 years since I purchased my venerable 12″ Powerbook and it’s starting to show it’s age. Replacing my Powerbook and Eizo monitor with a MacBook Pro and similar quality but larger display is not something I can budget this year.
With each successive MacBook crippled in some way, this might be the first time in 10 years that my main studio machine is a desktop. It looks like I see an iMac in my future (still a win for Apple).

iPod Touch apps

Forgetting for a moment that I really have no pressing need for an iPod touch I feel that I finally have a replacement for the Palm Pilot that has been collecting dust since shortly after the day I bought it. Syncing with my Mac was hardly possible and was a hack at best. With the addition of the mail, notes, weather, and map apps. this magical little device has just been put on my shopping list – albeit as an expensive toy not a tool. An absolute gem of a device for traveling. I won’t mind paying the extra $20 at all.

MacBook Thinnovation

It’s “ultrathin, ultraportable, and ultra unlike anything else” but it’s still not a fitting replacement for it’s stubby predecessor.
Typically for Apple the MacBook Air marries complicated engineering with a beautiful and easy to use form. Looking at the press photos one would think it’s almost impossible to make a notebook so thin and light. If able to handle the rigors of use I think it will be the option for those needing the ultimate in mobility.
But unfortunately I am still without a true replacement for my aging 12-inch Powerbook. I don’t need nor can I afford a secondary machine which is what this would be for me. I prefer to use laptops for everything and tend to take them everywhere. I need (almost) pro-level performance in a small package.
I’d have rather seen a true replacement for the 12-inch PowerBook — something as wide. I don’t need a large wide screen when I am on the road and I assume that when I am in the office I will be using my large screen display (a small screen is fine for text entry which is all I would ever do outside of the office). Though I appreciate the MacBook Air, for now I’ll aim for a MacBook pro and reluctantly live with it’s large size and weight.
Apple – MacBook Air

The iMac’s Refreshed Design

The refreshed iMac. I love how Apple develops a design language through-out it’s product line. As they iterate, one product influences the other creating continuity and familiarity with all their products. The new iMac is clearly influenced by the iPhone just as the old was by the iPod. Not just in their hardware but in their software too. No other company is able to create what is great design like this, Sony tries but doesn’t in the end come close.
There is always at least one caveat. One aspect I would look at closely before purchase is the LCD. I’m not a fan of glossy screens and after realizing that the MacBook we purchased for my mother wasn’t able to display the complete colour spectrum I would spend far more time ensuring that the display was up to expectations (the lack of colour as compared to my Powerbook was not a unit specific flaw).
Apple’s product page.

Beautiful Profile

Beautiful work from Apple on their new keyboards. The above is the side for the bluetooth version which is a more compact version of the usb version. I can’t quite understand why they chose make the bluetooth version with a different keyboard layout – you lose the number pad. It also lacks the usb ports found on the usb version. Both keyboards are crafted from anodized aluminum, and include dedicated keys for screen dimmer / brighter, expose, media controls, volume controls, and eject for optical drive.
Of course input devices succeed in more ways than just form and Apple is not renounced for the ergonomic design of it’s input devices (the hockey puck stunk). It will be interesting to see if the notebook style keys are as much of a pleasure to use as they are to look at.
More at Apple.

AirPort Extreme Base Station Review

Very detailed review by Glenn Fleishman, for Macworld, of the new 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station.

Apple’s new AirPort Extreme Base Station solves three major wireless networking problems in one blow: speed, range, and configuration. The gateway also makes sharing multiple printers and hard drives across a network as easy as plugging in a cable.
This new wireless router promises roughly five times the throughput and twice the range of the previous model. And because it’s based on a new wireless standard, 802.11n, which incorporates both the older b and g standards, it is backward compatible with Apple’s earlier AirPort (802.11b) and AirPort Extreme (802.11g) adapters. Best results, however, require leaving b and gstandards behind.

Macworld’s Review. Available at the Apple Store for $179.00US.
Also, a not so favorable review from Robert Mohns at Macintouch.

Apple Inc.’s Bluetooth Headset

I’m sure we will learn more about this Apple bluetooth headset in the near future – perhaps with some better photos – but I’m happy to see that someone is taking a minimalist approach to one of the geekiest looking extensions to your mobile ‘phone’. I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that it seems like you are talking to yourself but at least this won’t make you look as silly as you sound.
via Engadget.

My Next Mac – The iPhone

The rumours were true Apple introduced the iPhone. It appears to be a beautiful device that raises the bar on mobile user interfaces – it’s not the revolution that Apple states but it’s a definite improvement over the sickly devices I own and have used. Hardcore techies might be disappointed, this is a closed platform and the specs may seem familiar. This is all about trying to reduce complexity to make the phone almost a pleasure to use. And this is a complex device- it’s no ‘simple’ phone. We have been moving in this direction for some time and I wish we would once and for all kill the phone moniker. It’s a mobile Mac with built in cellular function. Watching the keynote this morning you can start to see the depth of this product, it’s a device that would entertain me for hours on end. Which in in itself gives me pause – do I really want to carry around a device so fun? I am worried about mobile email and the terrific productivity waster (yes waster) that that is. Imagine having so much fun in your pocket, would we ever work? There are a couple caveats. 1) It’s tied to a Cingular contract. The North American market is restrictive and backward. Apple didn’t try to change this. 2) Buying mobile phones has been much to date much more enjoyable in Asia. We always get the cool tech first and are never tied to a provider. Now for the fiorst time we must wait for the coolest phone to hit the market. It won’t arrive in Asia until 2008!
Follow a discussion here, Engadgets exhaustive coverage here and Apples excellent overview videos here.

Second Generation iPod Shuffle Shipping

Just in time to meet their self imposed October ship deadline, some iPod shuffles have been trickling out of the factory into the hands of their new owners.
The new aluminum shuffle is only half the size of it’s white predecessor yet still is able to hold 1GB of storage. Unfortunately Apple seems to have given up trying to design the Shuffle to plug directly into the usb port instead opting for a dock to allow you to sync. The size of the first generation Shuffle prohibited me from ever conveniently popping it into an available usb port as it was just a smidgin too wide. Expect a Taiwanese or Chinese knock-off within 6 months. Via TUAW

Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo

I still find myself getting confused with all the Intel processor nomenclature but if you have been waiting on a new notebook then now is the time. The latest Apple MacBook Pro comes with Intel’s latest Core 2 Duo processors with speeds ranging from 2.16 to 2.33 GHz and screen sizes of 15″ (1440 x 900) and 17″ (1680 x 1050). Confusion aside these laptops should be considerably faster. Other features include 1GB – 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 memory out of the box — expandable up to 3GB, ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics, a 6x Dual-Layer SuperDrive, and both FireWire 400 and 800 ports. It includes an excellent software suite and if you must it will run windows. Certainly one of the best laptops on the market. Competitively priced at $1999-$2799.00US.

Apple Black MacBook

The new MacBook is a 13-inch laptop that replaces both the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook G4. I’m a fervent 12″ Powerbook user so in the future this product announcement will have a decided effect on my purchase of a replacement. The new black MacBook ($1,500US) comes with many of the same features as the MacBook Pro including a built-in iSight video camera, Apple’s MagSafe Power Adapter, Front Row, Apple Remote, DVI with dual display support (up to 23-inch), optical digital audio input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, Sudden Motion Sensor and a Scrolling TrackPad. Apple’s award-winning iLife software suite is included as well.
The new Glossy screens make for beautiful looking imagery but the glare makes them almost unusable but in the most controlled lighting environments. We can’t always choose an ideal environment for working when we are traveling so I see this as a potential deal breaker for many. Trying to read text on a screen with glare is not only difficult but causes eye strain. I wonder if the use of Intel Graphics will make it a no go for those of us who use graphic intensive applications.
While I am less than knocked out with their new portable strategy (I really don’t want to go back to carrying around a 15″ Powerbook MacBook Pro again) these new MacBooks look like winners and should look great sitting next to your black iPod Nano’s. Available at the Apple Store.