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from June 2014, Review

Review: Apple iPad Air vs Surface Pro 3

by: Mark Reschke | Jun 27, 2014

Ipad_air_vs_surface_pro_3Earlier this week I reviewed the Surface Pro 3 and how it stacked up against the MacBook Air as an ultrabook laptop. I wore the objectivity cape as long as possible, but it was simply no contest. From hardware to operating system, the MacBook Air delivered a vastly superior ultrabook experience. But the Surface Pro 3 claims something the MacBook Air does not – that it is the best of a laptop and best of a tablet. The former was covered, but now it is time to dig into the latter. Does the Surface Pro 3 make for the best tablet when compared against the leader of the pack, the iPad Air?

Hardware:

Microsoft has been keen to market the Surface Pro 3 against the MacBook Air, but raw processing power of the Surface seemingly gives it an advantage over the iPad Air, not the MacBook Air. Geekbench testing reveals Surface has the power edge over the iPad Air:

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Macbook_air_vs_surface_pro_3There is little doubt that you have seen the ads: Microsoft continuing to desperately promote Surface Pro 3 as the everything tablet — and — the everything laptop computer. However, there are two important problems with Microsoft’s “Best of a laptop, best of a tablet” claim:

  • Surface Pro 3 is not a great tablet.
  • Surface Pro 3 is a poor choice when compared to an ultra-book laptop.

I could make this article short and sweet by stating the Surface Pro 3 is truly flawed product, grasping at MacBook Air and iPad Air straws, but there are serious reasons why the Surface is a solution in search of a problem and they deserve, at least, some attention.

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Amazon_fire_phone

Yesterday Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos introduced the company’s first smartphone called fire Phone. Taking queues from the popular fire brand Amazon had built from their tablets, it seemed a logical extension of their tablet offering. The questions surrounding the fire Phone have largely been answered.

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Macbook-air-v-macbook-pro

The MacBook Air has been available since Macworld 2008. At the time of the original announcement, Steve Jobs was particularly proud of Apple’s partnership with Intel, which delivered a powerful and yet very efficient custom Core Duo processor. The announcement was such a big deal that Jobs had Intel’s CEO (at the time), Paul Otellini, take center stage to give a brief speech. Moreover, this was Apple’s first Mac OS X product that did not use a traditional hard drive but a solid state drive (SSD) instead. While the price:performance ratio wasn’t as impressive, Apple did what it always does — deliver value. Apple continued to push the envelop of technology and design through the MacBook Air, and over time, extended their lead over the competition, in what is now known as the ultrabook market.

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Metal_crisis_and_riseApple’s developer conference keynote held at San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center left developers’ heads spinning. The flood of new technologies Cook and his VP’s delivered was simply staggering. Among the slew of announcements was Apple’s impressive new technology called Metal. 

Metal is a graphics API for iOS, squarely targeted at game developers. Metal’s objective is to eliminate OpenGL by giving developers more power with direct access to the graphics processor. This will allow high-end gaming developers to push the limits of Apple’s A7 (and likely forthcoming A8) processor found within the latest iOS devices. The result is Apple’s CPU and GPU will work together in “seamless harmony” as Apple says, allowing games like Ryse: Son of Rome, to look and feel like its high-end console counterpart on xBOX ONE.

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WWDC 14 Recap: OS X Yosemite Mail Enhancements

by: E. Werner Reschke | Jun 02, 2014

OS X Yosemite Mail EnhancementsOS X Mail is as old as is OS X — as Mail was one of the core apps with the original OS X 10.0 release. Since then Mail has gone through many updates as has OS X. While the Keynote at WWDC 14 introduced the predictable bug fixes and enhancements to Mail syncing and application speed, there were three absolutely huge new productivity tools added to Mail in OS X Yosemite.

Mail Drop

Mail Drop is an incredible idea, and once you use it you’ll wonder why someone didn’t think of this before. Mail Drop solves the problem of sending large attachments through email. As we all know, the experience is iffy at best when emailing someone a large attachment. Sometimes the email goes through, sometimes it doesn’t — for a myriad of reasons.

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IphotoMany people rely iPhoto as their sole photo management tool on the Mac. That is because iPhoto is well designed with all the basic features one needs. However iPhoto does have some room for improvement. Problems can occur when users want to switch to a different application for either editing or managing those files.

To edit photos in a different application, users can either export the modified file, the original file, or go digging into the library to find the original files. The original file is the best to use with other applications. The problem occurs when users add meta-data to pictures in iPhoto. Meta-data includes geolocation information, captions, keywords, etc. This information is not stored in the original file, but in the iPhoto library. The only way to transfer this information, is to export a copy from iPhoto. However, if the iPhoto library gets corrupted or iPhoto stops working, that data could be lost. All the time adding meta-data to photos would not be lost if that meta-data could be saved to a file instead of just within iPhoto library. Those original files can then be transferred to other applications.

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