Posts categorized “apple”.

All In

October 6th, 2011

I learned to type on a Macintosh. A Color Classic, I believe, because of what I remember from the size, shape, and color-ness of it. That was seventh grade.

From there, I didn’t touch a Macintosh until college, where our newspaper office held a room full of PowerMac G4s. We did our design on Quark, and then on Indesign. I remember coming into that dark office, with all those sleep lights pulsating, and feeling the power of those machines.

Apple was always just on the periphery of my attention back then. I remember being a resident assistant in one of the dorms, walking into a student’s room and seeing a candy-colored iMac G3 sitting on her desk. “What a cool computer,” I thought – me being a computer guy. When the iMac G4 was released, I thought that was even cooler. Back in our newspaper office, I remember Jeremy talking about buying his iBook G3, and how he was wary of buying the “new operating system” and opting for OS 9 instead.

It wasn’t until after college, in 2005, when I thought about buying my very own computer, my first, and I considered the iBook G4. After a lot of research, and a few conversations with friends, I bought into the Apple way of life with that iBook.

And I’ve never looked back.

I went all-in on the Apple lifestyle. The iBook arrived in November, and that January I bought my iPod. It’s still working, and is still my main iPod, five years later. From there I picked up the beginnings of my classic Mac collection, my Newton, and then my iPhone. Each experience was exciting, exploratory, and a lot of damn fun.

Now, six years later, Apple is a part of my everyday life. Not just my working or productive life, with the Mac and the iPhone and all my iPods, but in my mental space as well. I check Macsurfer religiously, every day, at 10 a.m. I read Daring Fireball and listen to MacBreak Weekly. David and I do a podcast where we talk about this stuff. Apple is my hobby. I’ve never been sorry about that.

I still have that iBook G4. It serves as my living room jukebox. It still runs OS X 10.4 like a dream. And every time I start fiddling with it, I remember what it was like, back in those first few months of using the Mac, to have my life changed by a computer. To have so much fun on a computer. To enjoy – really enjoy – using a computer.

Like most Apple fans, I’m extremely biased when it comes to computers. When people ask me what computer to buy, they know what I’m going to say. When they ask which phone to get, well – they should know better than to ask. And as far as spreading the Apple virus, I’m pretty contagious. I have several friends who have gone all-in for Apple, too, thanks to my suggestions.

It’s like that with this stuff. It grabs hold of you and makes you wonder why you ever used anything else.

And not just that, but there’s this rich story behind Apple: couple of guys build a computer, then build one of the best-selling computers of all time, then the company goes on to make computers as we know them with the Macintosh. Founder leaves. Company flounders. Founder returns with a rocket to the moon, invents several more industries, and dies as his company becomes the largest on Earth.

If the products weren’t enough, it’s the story that gets me every time. These are the guys we’re supposed to root for.

So today my thoughts are with all those who lived and worked with Steve Jobs. I feel for his family. I feel for everyone who walks down a hallway at One Infinite Loop. And I feel for Apple, because now I really wonder what happens when the guy you paid $1 a year to say “no” a bunch of times goes away.

Thanks Steve.

First post-Steve Apple product

August 26th, 2011

[Via Wired, via Morgan.]

Apple.com, circa never (but we can wish)

March 7th, 2011

Apple.com, circa never

It was soon after the iPad 2 announcement that the trouble started brewing.

Thomas Brand on Twitter: “If you think the white iPad 2 looks cheap you should see the Bondie Blue model with pinstripes.”

Neat, I thought – I’d take a Bondi Blue one any day. So Thomas made one. And then another. And then more.

We had so much fun watching all of Thomas’s retro iPads come through that, shucks, why not make a retro Apple.com page again? So there you have it: Apple.com, circa never.

This time, I used the OS X 10.2 Jaguar-era Apple.com, with a fun iPhone fake mockup and an announcement that will never, ever come.

As far as the iPad goes: the white iPad 2 is the first time I’ve actually considered wanting an iPad. I still don’t have an iPad-shaped hole in my life, and the $499 could be used more productively in a lot of other places, but who knows. It’s a wonderful-looking product, and put me down as a fan of the white versions of Apple’s mobile devices.

Another side note: Thomas has been on fire over at Egg Freckles. Not only is his the best-looking blog on the web, but he’s cranking out great stuff lately.

Apple’s tablet history

November 11th, 2010

Ryan Vetter at Liquidpubs:

Since the Macintosh division, as well as many others at Apple, saw the Newton as something that could very well make desktop computers extinct, they decided to develop a Newton-like Mac. Something that could act like a portable, slate-like device. But, unlike the Newton, these devices would run Mac software, with a full Mac operating system, and work with a keyboard and mouse. It was a bridge between the original Macintosh and the new, mobile powerhouse: the Newton.

What proceeds this is a fascinating tour of Apple’s history designing tablet computers – and not just the Newton, but tablet-style Apple IIs and Macs as well.

Reading through this, you get the impression that the folks at Apple have been obsessed with portables for a very long time. All these years later, it’s what the company is best know for.

[Via Minimal Mac.]

Apple’s gravitational pull

September 2nd, 2010

Apple dominates news

No one attracts news like Apple. Man.

On the pace of innovation

July 16th, 2010

Marco Arment sees that the progress of computing hardware is slowing down. So, too, is software innovation:

I use desktop computers for many hours every day. They are my profession, my hobby, and my leisure. But the pace of their software innovation that’s relevant to my everyday use has dramatically slowed. It’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s great that I don’t need to constantly update and upgrade everything to maintain a stable, full-featured computing environment. This is what mature, stable products and industries are like. They work, and they’re built on decades of progress, but modern advances are infrequent and incremental.

In other words, there’s not much whiz bang happening in the personal computer world these days. It seemed, back in the PowerPC era, that we zipped from 233 Mhz to 3 Ghz in a matter of years. Since then, the only way to get more speed (as Arment mentions) is by adding an SSD drive, or maybe more RAM.

The personal computer has plateaued, argues Arment, so the focus – and, maybe most importantly, the excitement – switches to mobile computers. Not what are these devices, but what can these devices do.

This is where Apple shines. “Forget the details,” they tell us, “here’s how it makes your life better.”

Apple’s HTML5 showcase on the Newton

June 8th, 2010

HTML5 Showcase: VR by Splorp

Maybe there’s some chicanery surrounding Apple’s HTML5 showcase being “Safari only,” but Grant Hutchinson has proved one thing – the thing is still usable with the Newton MessagePad 2100′s ancient browsers.

His Flickr set, HTML5 vs. Newton, shows that the HTML5 examples render even on the Newton’s modest Courier and Newt’s Cape browsers.

Says Splorp:

Keep in mind that both browsers were developed prior to the existence of HTML5. While neither piece of software supports the advanced interaction or layout effects afforded by JavaScript and CSS3, the clean HTML5 markup is completely accessible.

That’s called gracefully degraded content.

There are no actual VR demos or typography playgrounds, of course, since the Newton is stuck in mostly a text-only, sliders-free environment. But still. The page they sit on looks just fine, with standard links and formatting.

As Darcy Norman says, web standards ensure a smooth transition from old to new:

Standards, especially ones that support graceful degradation of presentation by devices at runtime, ensure we have access to our content long after it’s built, on devices we didn’t have in mind when we built it.

If Grant were to try to view any of the content I built years ago using Director/Shockwave, or any of 47 terabytes of content built in Flash, the poor little Newton would have barfed violently.

And we don’t want to see any barfing Newtons now, do we?

The day may come when HTML is no longer supported by anything. But then there will always be the classic hobbyists, who ensure that everything gets backed up to something and that there’s a spare Mac around to read those old files.

[Photo courtesy of Splorp at Flickr under the Creative Common License, and link help via Newtontalk on Twitter.]

Quote of the week: leaving Apple

June 2nd, 2010

“Even with July 11 behind the company, the focus is still on mobile devices, not the Macintosh. The Mac is why I went to work for Apple, but sadly, it is not where Apple is putting their time and money.”

- Stephen M. Hackett, over at Forkbomber, on why he quit as an Apple retail Lead Mac Genius. His thoughts on the switch to “gadgets” and the hectic repair schedule are fascinating.

Disappeared: Apple’s Mac Download page

May 10th, 2010

Chris Foresman at Ars Technica:

A link to the Downloads page was also featured as one of the top navigation links on Apple’s website until a section for the iPad replaced it several weeks ago. Of course, the Downloads page has gone without updates for several days in a row in the past. The most recent month-long update drought, however, has many developers wondering if Apple plans to discontinue the Downloads page altogether.

I like the idea of a Mac “App Store Lite” – because that’s exactly how I thought of Apple’s Download page when I bought my first Macintosh in 2005. As a new subscriber to the Apple way of life, the Downloads page was an easily-browsable headquarters.

In fact, I still go there from time to time and browse through the apps. Most offer a free trial period, unlike the iTunes-based App Store, so there is little barrier to entry. Try an app. Don’t like it? Try another.

The Downloads page disappearing from the Apple title makes sense, given that the iPad is the new focus, and actually gives clarity to Apple’s lineup:

Apple link bar

Here’s an older version of the nav bar, with the Downloads link:

Apple's Download link

Before that, we had iCards and QuickTime and all kinds of nonsense. To me, the Downloads page makes more sense under the Mac heading – since it’s all software for the Macintosh.

(And speaking of organization: I know that FileMaker is its own pseudo company thingy, with its own headquarters and software for both Mac and Windows, but really? Why not lump Bento in with iWork and have FileMaker serve as a pro app, like Aperture?)

The thing is, the Downloads page isn’t found in the Mac section. After digging, I found it on the Support Downloads page in a inconspicuous location:

Apple Downloads link

Even worse: it’s nowhere to be found on the Site Map page. As Foresman points out in the Ars Technica article, the only easy way to get to the Downloads page is via the Apple menu in OS X:

Mac OS X Software

The downloads page languishing and hidden in the remote corners of apple.com is not a good sign. It reminds me of what Apple’s doing to AppleTV.

What could it mean?

  • That, just as Ars postulates, Apple could be moving to an App Store for the Mac
  • That Apple has turned their attention away from the Mac, spelling doom and ruin
  • Apple has been so busy with other things that…well…it just hasn’t gotten around to playing with the Downloads page

I’m not a fan of any of those options.

What if…

May 4th, 2010

Bryan Lunduke at Lunduke.com:

The Newton was, for those who can remember back that far, revolutionary. It was a huge deal. The company had some serious problems with it (marketing being one of the big ones), but the devices (and the Newton OS that powered them) were many years ahead of their time. Case in point: it still holds up strangely well against a current iPhone (Newton’s had multi-tasking, etc. way back in the old days). And, of course, there was the eMate 300 (which was a Newton-powered laptop that featured a rechargeable battery that, I kid you not, lasted through 28 hours of continuous usage).

This after rebutting whether Apple would’ve done fine without Steve Jobs’ return in 1997.

Lunduke probably assumes that the Newton platform could have, somehow, become profitable for Apple somewhere down the road. It’s an interesting thought experiment, but one fraught with unknowns.

If Steve Jobs hadn’t returned, would Apple still have avoided a buyout/bankruptcy/total meltdown? Would we be using bMates and cMates?