Posts tagged “macworld”.

An iPod for music lovers

August 24th, 2011

iPod classic

Kirk McElhearn at Macworld:

Both iPod classics (black and silver) are ahead of the iPod nano and shuffle in any of their colors. So while many people think the classic is a niche device, this might not be the case. Even if it were a niche, it would be one worth holding onto, because the buyers of this model are the real music fans, with lots of tunes, and want a device that holds as much as possible.

Agreed. My first iPod, a 30 GB iPod video from 2005, is still my only classic iPod, and it’s no longer big enough for my music library. I’ve thought about shopping for a refurbished model just so I don’t have to worry about the song juggling that McElhearn talks about.

For true music lovers, and especially for those of us with large music libraries, the iPod classic is still a viable option – sort of like a Mac Pro for tunes.

Macworld: ‘How green is Apple?’

April 22nd, 2009

Macworld has a four-part “How green is Apple?” series going, exploring the company’s e-waste practices and altruistic motivations.

Many environmental groups, like Greenpeace, say its hard to rate Apple effectively when they’re so damn secretive:

Yet Apple earned just 4.7 points out of a possible 10—dramatically lower than competitors Samsung and Nokia. That low score was largely due to Apple’s reluctance to open up more about the environmental impact of its overall corporate operations. “They could elevate their score quite easily with just a couple of fixes,” says Greenpeace’s Harrell. “They could do a greenhouse-gas inventory of their supply chain, which they probably have done. But they haven’t talked about it.”

As someone who deals with e-waste on a regular basis, I’ve had my own ethical struggle with Apple’s environmental practices. But it’s this kind of pressure, and pressure from their customers, that will ultimately make Apple more open about its “green” behavior.

[Via Macsurfer.]

Newton quote of the week – 3.24.09

March 24th, 2009

“The iPod proved that $500 gadgets can sell. The Newton showed that $1,000 gadgets don’t.”

- John Gruber of Daring Fireball, right before Macworld 2003.

What’s your favorite Mac?

January 23rd, 2009

iMac G4

Macworld is hosting a “Best Mac Ever” roundup, with one model – the Mac SE/30 – getting the most nods. Andy Ihnatko, however, says the best Macintosh is always “the first one you owned.”

And there’s some truth to that. My iBook G4 is still my main computer, and I’ll probably never (ever) get rid of it.

But the best Mac? It has to be the iMac G4.

You, dear reader, probably saw that one coming, right? My time with Macs has been relatively short, but I remember the iMac G4 taking my breath away when I first saw it, and it was the first Mac to really get me thinking about switching to Apple.

Now I use mine every single day. The entire G4 line has been good to me, and they’re the fastest and newest Macs I’ve owned.

What do you think? What’s the best Mac ever?

Apple history for the rest of us

January 8th, 2009

appleriseandfall

For history buffs, Apple is a natural attraction for how modern technology companies evolve, behave, and operate. Since its founding, Apple has attracted pirate programmers and designers, a dedicated fan following, and tons of media attention. In just 30 years, the company has ridden a roller coaster of success and near-death – multiple times – has today lives on as a super-successful electronics company.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Mac, and as Wired’s Steven Levy puts it, Apple will look forward instead of back.

Which is just as well. While doing research on some design work for my day job, in the design archives of AIGA, I stumbled upon Jeff Goodell’s Rolling Stone article, “The Rise and Fall of Apple, Inc” (part two is here). Goodell writes in 1996:

The story of Apple’s decline is a morality tale for the Information Age. It is not, as one might expect, a story about how quickly the technology moves, or about how unforgiving and brutal business has become in Silicon Valley. In fact, Apple had many, many chances to save itself. But it didn’t. It was the company of the future that failed to see what was right in front of its nose. And while Apple will no doubt reinvent itself in the years to come, the central idea that animated the company for so long – that Apple is a revolutionary force, that it could change the world – is dead.

Not any more, it’s not. But there is a weird feeling of dread and uncertainty, not unlike what a lot of people are feeling about the economy, or about Steve Jobs’s succession plan, and a lot of it stems from what we don’t know about Apple. What’s the “next big thing?” What effect will the economy have on Mac, iPod, and iPhone sales?

“There is no happy ending here,” Goodell writes. At the time, it must have seen certain. But soon after Rolling Stone published that article, Steve Jobs returned, and things turned around. Taking the long view, Apple has been in far worse situations (coincidentally, mostly when Jobs was absent).

One thing hasn’t changed, with or without Jobs. The theme struck me, after I watched an interview with Bill Atkinson during the launch of Apple’s HyperCard “erector set” programming application, was that Apple truly puts the power to create in peoples’ hands. As in “for the rest of us.”

Think about it. HyperCard was designed as a application builder for non-hackers. As Atkinson put it in the interview:

A whole new body of people who have creative ideas, but aren’t programmers, will be able to express their ideas – or their expertise in a certain subject.

The original Macintosh was designed to be intuitive. Its design and interface has functioned as the standard since 1984. VisiCalc, on the Apple II, gave people the power to create spreadsheets. Apps like Garage Band and iMovie and iWeb give users a simple way to be creative (actual talent helps, of course). PageMaker was the app that launched an industry, and my very profession. iTunes and iPods give us the ability to manage and enjoy our music library like never before. It’s music, or design, or information, or programming “for the rest of us.”

Even the Newton was a product ahead of its time, giving business professionals and regular folks the ability to manage their day-to-day data in a simple and intuitive way.

As a history buff, I like reading about Apple’s early successes and tribulations. It shows a company constantly growing, constantly in flux, and – for the most part – learning from its mistakes. The common thread that runs through Apple’s story is a company setting out to make machines and applications that make our lives easier.

I almost typed “better” there, but I don’t think that’s true: if we didn’t have the iPod, we may not miss it.

But simple. Easy. More intuitive. Even fun. That’s what Apple has given us the past 30 years. The success of the Mac is a testament to that ideal.

So while Steve Jobs and Apple in general may not celebrate the Macintosh’s birthday this month, us Mac fans can in our own way. We do, everyday, when we wake our iMac up from sleep, or scroll through our music library on our iPhone, and live our lives a little easier.

My dream office, starring an iMac G4

January 6th, 2009

Tons of books and all. I wish my own office were that clean and tidy.

Happy Macworld Keynote Day. I’ll probably be catching the live blog feed somewhere (Gizmodo usually does a nice job) and hoping for some kind of cool announcement. I actually thought about going to Macworld this year, and just as I was about to hit the “purchase tickets” button, the news hit that Steve Jobs wasn’t going to be there.

Much like Apple, my decision was financially-based: can I really afford a trip out to California?

So I may have missed my chance to see Steve Jobs deliver a “one more thing” announcement forever. But hey, there’s always WWNC.

[Courtesy Remodelista.]

NewtVid: the iPhone cometh at Macworld 2007

November 5th, 2008

This Macworld keynote from Steve Jobs, as he announced the original iPhone in January 2007, remains one of the best ever.

Now we learn that Apple has breached the 10 million iPhone mark, with 7 million iPhone sold last quarter alone, I think it’s pretty cool to look back and see how all this started. It still gives me chills when he lets his crowd in on the joke.

Flashback to Copland.

October 23rd, 2008

Apple\'s Copland Assistant helps with backups.

I’m all about the classic Mac’ing around these parts. That’s why I thought Jason Snell’s “A Time Machine trip to the mid-’90s” article for Macworld.com was so darned cool: he lets us know about some of the never-to-see-the-light-of-day features of Copland, Apple’s vaporOS.

I remember reading about Copland and Pink and all the other weird OSes Apple was planning, but it was cool to see the operating system screen shots. Love that ’90s styling – takes me back to the Packard Bell computer my dad bought (and I ruined).

Check it out for a neat comparison on features in Copland and today’s OS X Leopard.

NewtVid: Year-old Newton at MacWorld ’94

May 21st, 2008

Boy, that first guy, Stewart, reall is grumpy, isn’t he? By this time, PDA (or “palmtop” as the reporter says) technology was in the “Model T” stage, as Tim the Analyst says in the video.

Neat to see the Windows 3.1 desktop there, as well as real, live people actually working with the Newton. Talk about retro.

iPod Touch as Newton, but Newton 2 may still come

January 18th, 2008

iPod Touch

Steve Jobs introduced new iPod Touch features that are bringing it closer and closer to a modern-day Newton. “Now there’s even more to touch” touts the new Apple.com page, and it’s true: Mail, Notes, Maps, etc. It all adds up to a more Newton-like device than the previous iPod Touches.

The iPod Touch is now a true iPhone-clone, without the phone and subscription model.

It makes me wonder what the GTD crowd thinks of this updated Touch (Macrumors has a forum dedicated to just this subject). The Newtonlist has been buzzing with Newton software packages that make the MessagePad a handy tool for GTDers.

And I suppose that, after the SDK comes out for the iPhone and iPod Touch, developers will be builder 43folders-ish software all over the place. Jailbroken iTouches already have these kind of capabilities.

But does all this spell the end of those Newton 2.0 rumors that were flying pre-Macworld? John Gruber thinks, perhaps, not:

I am nearly convinced that this product exists, at least as a project in development. My hunch is that AppleInsider has it spot-on: it’s in development, but not yet ready to launch, and, perhaps, never will if Apple can’t get it right…A successful tablet-like device from Apple, I think, would clearly be designed as a secondary computing device — a satellite attached and synched to a Mac or PC (probably, of course, through iTunes).

What’s missing, says Gruber, is the “why should I buy this?” factor that accompanies most new Apple products. Tablets have failed to catch on, he argues, so why release one if it doesn’t blow people away?

(Gruber’s predictions of Macworld were, by the way, spot-on, except for his plea for new Cinema Displays. Everything else he got right. Kudos.)

So here we Newton fans still sit, stuck between a maybe-it’ll-happen Newton 2.0 and an iPod Touch that, as it adds features, becomes more and more like Apple’s long-abandoned PDA.