The Possibility of Apple TV Shows (Again)

March 17, 2011

Okay, things are FINALLY clearing up with schoolwork (and just in time too, as my 25th birthday is just 8 days away!!!), and so I have something I’d like to talk about with all of you.

TipB.com, which is an iOS blog mainly (though they cover other Apple products other than iOS devices), asked the question: “Should Apple get into the production end of TV shows?”

My answer to this is a resounding yes.  Apple has this incredible new data center near where I live here in North Carolina, in a town called Maiden, where they need the jobs oh so very badly.  So I want really, really badly for Apple to really revamp iTunes and MobileMe to take advantage of this incredible opportunity for growth.

But what about TV shows?  Apple has a pretty large variety of TV shows already, but would people like Apple to do it?  Let’s face it folks, Apple has so many different departments within the structure of their company, each run as an independent entity.  It only makes sense that Apple gets to either hire TV people, or buy out a TV production company for the rights to not only every show that company has ever done, but also any catalog shows that company has picked up, and hopefully turn that company into something that Apple can and should be proud of.

Take Fremantle Media, as just a single example.  Fremantle Media has a somewhat powerful position, as the owners of the shows American Idol, The Price Is Right, Let’s Make A Deal, among many, many others in the Goodson-Todman library stacked to the gills with classic game shows such as Press Your Luck, Family Feud, Match Game, Trivia Trap, and many, many others along these same lines.

So what if, instead of just getting in on the production side of TV themselves, they can buy a production company like Fremantle Media and have instant access to a vast library of TV shows, all of which they can use in their promotional material incident-free.

Apple would be very, very smart to move to this model, especially since Fremantle Media has become quite famous for holding out on selling its vast catalog of TV shows on iTunes, but they are giving iTunes “special bonus content” from its biggest hit currently, American Idol.  Maybe soon it will all become irrelevant, much like my criticism of Food Network for not getting onto iTunes in the first place.


iPad 2 Event Wrap-Up

March 2, 2011

Yep, today was the day of iPad 2.  And 2011 will be the year of iPad 2 as well.  So, let’s go over all the highlights.

Steve Jobs was onstage!!  Yep, he didn’t want to miss this one.

Random House is now on the iBookStore.  Yes, Virginia (and all my PassPorter buddies), that means books from The Da Vinci Code to The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (and the remainder of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, huzzah) are now available to buy and/or download from the iBookStore!!  Hip hip HOORAY!!

Then came the main event: iPad 2.  It is NOT a spec-bump, as a few of us bloggers were quick to say.  It is NOT a first-gen iPad with marginal improvements, again as us bloggers were pretty quick to say.  The 1st-gen iPad will hereafter be called the iPad Prime.

There’s a new processor in it, called the Apple A5, which is a dual-core processor, meaning a 2x faster CPU and 9x faster graphics, with the same low power as the A4 seen in the iPad Prime.  It’s got front- and rear-facing cameras (ehh), BUT the front-facing camera CAN do FaceTime HD in 720p, so I guess that’d work out okay, but until I get my dirty paws on one at the Apple Store, I cannot make a judgement on the cameras.

It’s 33% thinner than the iPad Prime (will fit nicely into my Scottevest I am guessing).  Also, the iPad 2 is 0.2 pounds lighter than the iPad Prime.  Surprisingly, the iPad 2 comes in not one, but two colors: Black as well as (!!) white.

Both colors will be shipping from day one (also very surprising).  There will be 3G models for both AT&T and Verizon from day one (nice job Apple), and the battery life is unchanged from its 10-hour lifespan on the iPad Prime.  Same price points (AAAARGH), at $499/599/699 for the Wi-Fi only models and $529/629/729 for the Wi-Fi + 3G models, and the iPad 2 launches March 11th here in the States, with 26 more countries getting it on the 25th (which is my birthday… and I don’t get the presents this time. sad face).

But, that wasn’t all the new products Apple decided to announce today.

First, they announced an HDMI mirrored video out adaptor for $39.  My guess is that if you have a Mac Pro and a Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro HDMI capture card (only $200 at the Apple Store!), you will be able to screencast your app demonstration, and then be able to place it up online.  Maybe my friends at PassPorter were waiting for exactly that sort of thing to put out an iPad app??  I at least know the hosts of iPad Today on the TWiT network, Leo Laporte and Sarah Lane, will be thrilled, as they’ve had to focus cameras onto iPads and show their hands demoing the iPad apps that they feature!

Second, they announced a Smart Cover that will work with the iPad 2.  It’ll wake up your iPad when you remove the cover, you can set up your Smart Cover however you like, and when you want to stop playing with the iPad 2, you can put the Smart Cover back on.  However, full disclosure for the accident-prone: this thing DOES have magnets in it to keep it all fastened together, so it might be smart to keep this thing away from your hard drive.

Third, they talked about and demoed iOS 4.3, which not only includes features like this and this, but also faster Safari browsing, using your mute/rotation lock switch how YOU choose, Home Sharing, Photo Booth for iPad (uhh… I don’t even use it on my Mac, that’s how excited I am about it on the iPad), and more, available for download March 11th.

Finally, Steve Jobs brought two software engineers up onstage to raise the bar even higher for iPad apps.  First, they showed off iMovie for iPad, which WILL be a universal update (thank goodness), and showcased all that iMovie for iPad can do.  Second, they showed off (IMO one of the coolest apps) Garageband for iPad.  You can make music on the iPad version with touch-based instruments, as well as plug in your own instruments.  Me likey.  Both the iMovie universal update and Garageband for iPad will launch March 11th, so March 11th should be a red letter day for a number of you US Apple fanatics out there.

So, the iPad 2.  I’m impressed with what I saw.  How about you?


iPad 2 Possibilities and An Update

February 27, 2011

Before I get into the meat of this post, I have an announcement to make: If you are friends with me on Facebook, or are following me on Twitter, you will now get notifications in your respective feeds on those sites thanks to the WordPress Publicize feature, which came at just the right time for this blogger.  Can’t wait to do more blogging now!

So, the meat of this post will be the iPad 2… a mythical device, but not for much longer.  Wednesday will bring us those glorious details of the next iPad, but I’ve been trying to make sense of the rumors and misinformation floating around the blogosphere, and am coming up empty.

First, the obvious one: The thinness.  I was unsure of this one at first, but now that I think of it, (and now that I have an iPad-sized pocket on my relatively new ScotteVest I got for Christmas), the thinness of the new device, especially if the rumors are true of a thinner iPad, will probably prove to be easier to take in the long run.  Plus, the thinner iPad might have an easier time coming into and out of said pocket, but since I have no iPad 1 to test this theory, I dunno.

Second, the cameras.  I’m really not sure why everybody and their brother is screaming about how they *need* cameras on the iPad. With the iPad’s current form factor, a 10-inch tablet, there is absolutely no way that cameras would work on the iPad (especially rear-facing cameras).  However, if the iPad were to have a somewhat smaller brother that sacrificed none of the screen resolution of the iPad 10-inch, then I think that makes sense.  Also, I would like to see that Apple learned their lesson from using less-than-ideal cameras on the iPod touch 4 to completely blow out the camera resolution on the iPad 2, especially if it could take exceptionally good photos as well as take some majorly good videos.  And can we please have an LED flash?  Thanks!

Third, the internals.  Everybody and their brother screams about specifications (“specs” for short), but really, all I care about is how those internals combine to create a special experience for all iPad 2 owners.  Hopefully they include a few features that have been implemented in the iPhone 4, but not the iPad as yet, such as the gyroscope and the dual-band 3G chips from Qualcomm found in the Verizon iPhone 4.

Finally, the price tag.  The text of Apple’s invitation to Wednesday’s event was pretty much an open invitation to speculate wildly: “Come see what 2011 will be the year of.”  This week is GDC (Game Developers Conference) in San Francisco, and then Apple has their event this week.  Uncanny timing, Apple.  But I digress.  I personally think 2011 will be the year of the cloud, the year of the cheaper iPads, and the year of iPhones being free on contract starting with the iPhone 5.  But what price should the iPad 2 come in at?  Apple has started to make serious inroads into business and education markets with the iPad, but those inroads could very easily be magnified by a power of 10 by making the iPad $200-$300 cheaper.  Yes, their price targets were extremely aggressive the last time around, but they could do better.  They priced a great many e-reading-curious customers out of the market in my opinion, and the Kindle is actually a better deal if you just buy Kindle stuff off Amazon.


Hiatus Over (For Now)

February 27, 2011

Yes, I’m still here, and have found my time to be increasingly limited for things like this as of recently.  I’m actually currently on Spring Break from school for the rest of this week, so that might make getting back into the habit of posting a bit easier.

My main reason for coming out of hiding, however, is to comment on a couple of iPad-related items that have popped up recently.

First, there will be an iPad 2 press event on Wednesday, March 2nd (what would have been my maternal grandmother’s 86th birthday), and I may do a wrap-up post, or maybe not.  It all depends on whether I’ll be doing any traveling or not, or whether I’ll be stuck at home, possibly having to hear two lawyers going at it to try to convince me of some nutjob’s innocence or guilt.

Secondly, I’ve been looking for any reason at all to mention my very favourite Disney travel book publisher, PassPorter Travel Press, in a post. I don’t remember if I threw it into an off-topic post or not, but I digress.  The timing for my (temporary) return could not have been more perfect for this.  PassPorter is holding a contest right now that I think is way cool. DISCLAIMER: I only am mentioning it here because some of us don’t have iPads yet (your humble blogger included), and it is NOT in any way my trying to help my chances of getting that prize (I think it’ll only get less likely I’ll win if I mention it).  The prize in question is an Apple iPad loaded with all the PassPorter eBooks, as well as eBook versions of all of the PassPorter guidebooks, including Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and Disney Cruise Line!  More details can be found here.

NOTE: I think a Passporter message board membership is required, so if you haven’t had any knowledge of these wonderful guidebooks before, you can register for the Concierge Desk, but it is very much in beta, with the typical minor problems of any beta release of anything.

So, hope you guys have had fun in my absence (and not made TOO much of a mess!! ;)), and hopefully I’ll get to talk to you soon!


What I Use 2.0

February 1, 2011

With the advent of the Mac App Store, the apps I use have been upended considerably, especially since MAS apps actually install to the Dock, instead to another place within OS X, which is actually kind of surprising.

WHAT I USE OF THE BUILT-IN APPS:

  • Finder: This is always in the Dock, I don’t think that this can essentially be removed, except on pain of death.
  • App Store: The new Dock-sitter, ever since Mac OS X 10.6.6 came out.  Some very neat apps, but most of the apps are excruciatingly expensive, especially for college students.  And Apple not providing app redemption codes is a bit underhanded, especially because for those of us who are broke college students, we would have to scrimp and save our money just to get, say, Borderlands Game of the Year edition on the Mac App Store.
  • QuickTime Player X: Since I use Snow Leopard, I tend to always come back to this.  This is usually in my Dock most times.
  • Mail: This app is another one that tends to be in my Dock as well. Usually, I’m in this just to check my email when I’m not at my iPhone at the current moment.
  • Safari: Absolute must-have for me, and I use it all the time.
  • iTunes: Ditto.

WHAT I USE OF THE OTHER APPS:

  • NetNewsWire: Another app I use all of the time, it’s basically my way to keep up-to-date with all the things I would like to keep up with.
  • Miro: Another app I use all of the time, and I usually use it to keep up with YouTube users I like to follow.
  • Twitter for Mac: The replacement to Tweetie for Mac, but the ever-changing icon, especially in the early days, was HIGHLY annoying.
  • EyeTV: I made a post a week or two ago about EyeTV, but this one is my favourite app in the bunch.
  • 1Password: After the Gawker Media breach, this became my lifeline, and now permanently sits in my Dock.
  • Word & Excel 2011: Well, I had to start using Office 2011, and I actually can somewhat understand and enjoy using these new versions, but it is no replacement for my preferred word processor of choice (and my spreadsheet of choice has changed).
  • Steam for Mac: Whatever, I appreciate looking through different stores!
  • Angry Birds: Oh come on, how can I not have Angry Birds?? I’m addicted, just like the rest of you!

APPS THAT HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE DOCK AND/OR FROM THE COMPUTER SINCE THE LAST WHAT I USE POST:

  • MacScan
  • Pages (haven’t picked up the MAS version yet)
  • Tweetie for Mac (replaced by Twitter for Mac, above)

Update

February 1, 2011

Big update today!

First, I have made major updates to how categories are working.  I no longer have a truckload of categories, as only Apple and Off-Topic remain (and Uncategorized is always there in WordPress-hosted blogs).

Secondly, I made a decision retroactively to start using tags on my posts.  This will allow my posts to be more easily findable on Google searches, although I do not have any intention on making a screencast to show you how it would work right now.

Thirdly, I have also removed any posts older than December 2010, as well as any “update” or “no post” posts.  This will allow for me to work on building posts without worrying about older posts and comments, as well as a more streamlined blog for you to read.

Fourth, I will give you guys a What I Use post tonight, as I feel that there have been major enough changes made to my workflow as a result of the Mac App Store being available over the last few weeks to warrant a new What I Use post.

Fifth, as of tomorrow, posts will start back up again on a regular basis, mainly because I actually freed up some time after going from 15 hours to 12 hours as a result of dropping a class that, while I liked the professor (Mac user, surprisingly), I found that the class was going to fall by the wayside and I had to withdraw from that class.


Hiatus Over (For Now Anyway)

January 30, 2011

Okay, after much consideration and thought, I have made a decision on how to do this Mac blog.  What I am going to do from here on in is just take whatever topic I want whenever the mood strikes me, which is much more relaxed than having to come up with a topic that is in strict, confined boundaries.  So, either Apple or Off-Topic will be the categories, and Apple will probably be the category of each day’s blog entry more often than not.