Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
The iPad 2 launched today with great fanfare and a solid, if not modest, hardware update. Apple's hardware team showed us how they can industrial engineer like no one else, delivering a razor thin iPad 2 — which is even thinner than the iPhone 4. The iPad 2 shows us Apple's hardware prowess, but a few major pieces were missing amongst the mix.
The iPad 2 sports the same resolution screen as iPad 1, humble camera specs, and ho-hum software updates — for now. The big reveal in hardware and software looks to be on the horizon, arriving in the in iPad 3.
Apple introduced a new connection port called Thunderbolt with their Macbook Pros Last Month. Thunderbolt has replaced the Mini Display Port and will replace USB and Firewire over time. Apple will need to refresh their Macintosh product line-up to add this new port to keep the sales figures up.
The Mac Mini went through a major redesign this last summer. The new version uses Apple's unibody manufacturing process that was first used on the Macbook Air in 2008. Since the mini's redesign is less than a year old, Apple is unlikely to do another overhaul this year. When is the next Mac Mini refresh likely to happen? The table below shows previous release dates, introduction date, and length of time between between updates.
Motorola's XOOM tablet has arrived, and with it a slew of other Android Honeycomb products are on the precipice of reaching out to the masses, crushing the iPad! Tech media and Apple critics alike are weaving their webs, claiming Honeycomb is the OS we've all been waiting for — which will bring iPad to it's knees and relegate the iPad as a niche player at best. I'm sorry to break it to all the Apple-haters, but the demise of the iPad is greatly exaggerated.
The problem with this premise is that while Honeycomb may be a big improvement to Android for tablet use, Android has nothing to do with tablet production costs, and ultimately, retail prices. When it comes to tablets and pricing, there is a massive pricing chasm between the horrifically bad product and a good enough solution.
The clock struck midnight and February 10, 2011 was born, but apparently no lines materialized at Verizon retailers. Why?
We heard a lot of hoopla surrounding the supposed "event everyone has been waiting for." Verizon made a special commercial with clocks just about to strike midnight and people in anticipation of being able to get an iPhone on the Verizon network. Jon Stewart was exuberant, claiming "a spring in my step... a certain twinkle in my eye" about the iPhone Verizon announcement. Apple even made the "Twins" commercial showing an iPhone on an AT&T and Verizon network simultaneously. So where are all the Verizon iPhone customers?
Apple's earbuds are neither the best sounding nor best fitting earbuds on the market. They do have two things going for them: they are relatively cheap and have a really nice remote and microphone. Acoustibuds might be the answer for those who don't like the way normal earbuds fit or sound, but don't want to shell out $100 for a nice pair.
Acoustibuds are small pieces of flexible silicone rubber that fit over most standard earbuds to channel the sound directly into the ear. This silicone rubber fits into the ear and helps to prevent the earbud from falling out. They may look like a gimmick, but how do they feel and sound after 9 months?
Adobe released version 10.2 of their Flash Player plugin at the beginning of the month. This latest version adds preliminary support for Stage Video, which is supposed to reduce CPU usage during video playback. In order for Adobe to improve the Flash Player, they need to improve battery life by reducing CPU usage during flash playback. Heavy CPU usage may not be a major factor on desktop computers, but it is on anything using a battery, as it drains the battery quickly. Is this new version any better on the Mac?
Looking at CPU usage will be the way to determine if Adobe Flash has improved or not. The best way to test this new version is to compare it with older versions of the Flash Player and similar sites running HTML5. This test was conducted with Adobe's Flash Player 10.0, 10.1, and 10.2. An Aluminum 24" iMac with 4GB of memory, 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo, and running Mac OS X 10.6.6 was used as the test platform. Safari version 5.0.3 and Firefox version 4.0b11 were both used to conduct this test.
If you're like me, you have an iPhone and you like it. I started with an iPhone 3G back in the day and recently upgraded to the iPhone 4. It's a great phone. It's a great mobile device. It's just great.
Each weekday I spend anywhere from 60-90 minutes in my car driving to and from the office. I have a handy Kenningston cradle that holds my iPhone 4 front and center while I drive. I use the Jawbone ICON (Thinker) to take incoming calls. It's a driver's perfect world... almost. What can cause frustration is an incoming text message or the "bing" of an incoming e-mail. Currently there is no good way to process and respond to a text message or read an e-mail while speeding along at 60+ mph. There are some that can use one hand to drive and one hand to navigate their iPhone. While I might be able to do that, I'm not willing to press my luck by taking my eyes off the road for more than a second, let alone read while driving.
Apple's Discussion Forum has been down the last two times we checked. Once a few moments ago (16:45 Pacific Time) and once last night (22:00 Pacific Time)..
We have to wonder if this has anything to do with the forthcoming rumored launch of the MacBook Pros or any forthcoming launch. It could be just a maintenance update, or worse — if Apple isn't using Xserves to host this site we can see all sorts of potential problems.
Back in November we delivered the forthcoming MacBook Pro specifications and the radical new direction Apple would be taking the lineup. Since that time, dozens of reports have surfaced with claims of liquid metal chassis to generic MacBook Air-like designs.
Our sources tell us the liquid metal chassis is out, but so is any optical drive. The lack of an optical drive is a radical departure vs the rest of the market, but it is information we believe to be accurate. Apple's optional USB Superdrive should quell any fears for those requiring optical requirements. Dropping the optical drive will extend battery life (larger battery) and allow for a much thinner design. But many more radical design features appear to be arriving in the new MacBook Pros...
Apple's announcement to end production and sales of XServes on January 31, 2011 was a sad day for many Apple IT professionals. To read about the frustration it brings to the Mac community you need to look no further than Apple's own discussion forum on the topic.
One person in the forum said, "This is so unlike Apple, pulling the rug out on us - it's more like a MS move, sounds like they're slipping." Another lamented, "This is horrible news for any ACN out there. We fight tooth and nail to convince business and enterprise that Apple is a valid contender. How OSX Server is "real UNIX' and how Apple servers are more cost effective for licensing and support... To then have to sheepishly explain we have no rack-mounted option, no hot-swap drives or redundant power, no LOM, no actual 'server' - it's embarrassing and destroys Apple's presence in the server room." So this begs the question, does Apple need to be in the Server market? Yes.