Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Sleeping Lion

OS X LionWith all the rumours flying around about the iPhone Nano or pending iPhone 5, iPad 2 and countless other iDevices that are coming, there’s little talk about what we KNOW for sure is coming: OS X Lion (v 10.7) for you Mac.

Last week’s announcement of the latest line ups of the MacBook Pros was great news for anyone anxiously awaiting OS X Lion, due out this summer. And coincidentally enough, it was released for developers beta testing this past Friday, February 24, 2011.

From what I’ve gather so far, all Mac staff has been testing internally for at least the past month, which means that the release should be on schedule. But what does this latest OS mean for Mac users? … It means ALOT! I’ve highlighted some of the key features of what to expect when Lion drops this summer.

First off, if you own and iPad, consider OSX the greatness of the Mac OS combined with the magic of your iPad. The end result is OS X Lion.

Launchpad IconThe greatest new feature of the latest OS, will be known as Launchpad. Instant access to your apps – iPad style. Click the Launchpad icon on your dock and the open windows fade away, replaced by a full-screen display of all your apps. The great thing about navigating the newest OS X will benefit those using the Magic Trackpad …. you’ll be in full control with gestures. 3 and 4-finger swipes and you’re able to setup shortcuts to launch various apps with ease. A quick swipe allows you to see multiple pages of apps, and you can arrange them anyway you like (just like on the iPad)

Preview of Launchpad

Full Screen IconThe Mac App store is also an integral part of OS X Lion, but also you’ll be able to run full-screen apps also! Purchase apps right on your laptop/desktop without running out the local computer store to get your software and when you launch them, they’re not just part of a floating window. They’re full screen, just like any other application you’re running. You enter your iTunes ID and you’re ready to start buying!

Full Screen Preview

Mission Control IconMission Control. It’s like the “task manager” all PC users have been accustomed to, but instead of just holding the alt+tab button, now you can launch this new feature that display a comprehensive look at what’s running on your Mac. With this bird’s eye view of what’s giong on on your Mac, you can quickly jump from one full-screen app to the dashboard with just a click. No more wondering… you control it all!

Preview of Mission Control

Gestures IconGestures and animations also play a huge part as part of the new OS X. To take full advantage of this features you’re going to either have to be on a MacBook Pro or have Apple’s Magic Trackpad. You’re able to swipe from app to app with 4-fingers or forward and reverse in browser windows by using two fingers. You can zoom in and out by pinching and so on. Also all gestures will have a closely mimicked animation, so the action feels very fluid to the user with virtually no delay.

Gesture Sample

Additional features for OSX Lion:

  • Auto Save (Automatic back ups of your OS, so you never lose anything)
  • Versions (Think about the UNDO function, only better)
  • Resume (Pick up where you left off without re-launching an app a.k.a. multitasking on your iPhone/iPad)
  • Mail 5 (A newer, better version of Mail)
  • Conversations come to Mail (Chronological list order of email inboxes to appear as flowing conversations)
  • Air Drop (Send files to any other mac on your network even easier than before)
  • FileVault (A new level of protection, in case you needed it)

..and a slew of other features. For the complete list, you can visit Apple’s website. Developers can start testing here.

Looks like it’s going to be a great summer!



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Boxed Software, No More!

Boxes on Apple Retail Store Shelves

Looks like those bulky software boxes could be a thing of the past thanks to the success of the iTunes App Store and now the launch of the Mac App Store. No more CDs/DVDs to get your software, it’s all heading towards digital distribution.

No more waiting in line at the store to buy your software, or figuring out what to do with all the overpacking that comes with it. Now you can purchase your ‘app’ in the privacy and comfort of your own home and download it directly to your computer any time you wish.

Apple has confirmed that they are working towards eliminating boxed software in their retails stores and focusing on sales through the Mac App Store. When you buy a Mac at the Apple retail store an employee helps you setup your email accounts, walks you through the Mac App Store, setup an iTunes account with you and show you the basic pointers of owning a Mac.

Guiding new customers on how to buy their software from the Mac App Store. Brilliant!

Boxed software takes up too much floor space in stores that could be better used for iDevice accessories. The one hurdle that still needs to be figured out before the boxes are gone for good is how to get the bigger titles in the Mac App Store, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.

The Mac App Store was introduced as part of the Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard update, but will be a key component in Mac OSX Lion which is due out this summer. I’m sure we’ll hear more about Lion at the WWDC.

Bye bye boxes. See ya!

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iPad Hotel in New York

The Plaza Hotel, New York Exterior In yet another step towards a complete “MacWorld” the ritzy Plaza Hotel in New York City is adding Apple’s iPad to every luxury room – adding to the ‘you never have to leave your bed’ experience. The iPad will come loaded with ICE (Interactive Customer Experience), which allows users to order room services, talk to the front desk, schedule wake up calls, make dinner reservations, browse local destinations and even check airline information – *gasp* – oh, and you can use the iPad to control the room’s lighting and adjust the temperature too!

Imagine how great that would be. Paying a couple of grand for the night and having a complete Apple experience at your fingertips! Fast-forward 5 or 10 years and think about how many people this device (and the countless others that are coming) can do to replace living, breathing hotel workers.

However, the hotel insists that they are not meant to replace staff, but rather are put in place to give customers the chance to have access to services anytime they desire without having to wait in line, stay on hold or fire up their own laptops. An “all-in-one” of sorts.

If you’re heading to the US anytime soon and want to experience this adaptation first hand, The Plaza hotel is located at Central Park South and 5th Ave. in Manhattan, conveniently across the street from Apple’s flagship store.

(Thanks to @WesPerma on Twitter for the topic suggestion.)

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Apple will hold the iPad 2 event on March 2

Apple Keynote Event

Speculation is swirling today that the next media event planned for Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 (a little over a week away) will unveil the next-generation iPad.

The venue has not been named, according to Kara Swisher or All Things D, but is expected to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where previous Apple events have been held.

Apple is expected to be sending out invitations to the event soon. No details of the “iPad 2” were given or further details on the event.

The original iPad was unveiled in January 2010 and was launched in the US by April (wi-fi model) and the 3G version launched over the following weeks worldwide selling over 15 million units in a calendar year.

As I posted in the past, the iPad 2 would be lighter and thinner with a faster processor, more RAM and duelling cameras. Additional rumours reported a USB port, FaceTime capabilities and will allow playback of HD video with 3D graphics.

As we wait for the release of the iPad 2, there’s already new speculation that another variable of the iPad could unveil for the holiday season later this year. Although two major hardware changes to the iPad would seem highly unlikely, there’s firm evidence to suggest that an ‘iPad 3″ would align with the revamped release of the iPods.

What do you think?

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Apple Looking For an Apple HDTV Engineer

Mock Up Apple HDTV

According to CrunchGear, Apple has recently posted a job opening looking for a TV Power Supply Engineer – Could this mean that Apple is working on developing their very own Apple HDTV?

Here’s the posting via 9to5mac:

The position primarily involves high-density offline power supply’s development for Apple’s next generation Macintosh platforms spanning from notebook computers, desktop computers, servers, standalone displays and TV.

The listing is pretty clear. Imagine an Apple HDTV that comes pre-loaded with the app store, iTunes access and all the cool features that are part of AppleTV, but instead of having to add a box to your existing TV, it was built by Apple? … I can see it working like a computer TV unit, with a USB for adding an external HD (or how about having the HD built into the set) .. Wi-Fi connectivity for updating on it’s own, maybe even playing off of Xbox Kinect’s intuitive gesture controls, without a physical remote – and other endless possibilities of having a TV that’s hooked up to the internet.

While Apple is widely known for access to the best LCD technology available, which will help them when it comes to offering competitive pricing, they’ll have access to technology form other brands like Sony, Toshiba, Sharp and a slew of others. For Apple it’s always been about increasing profits, so expanding the “Apple TV” to actually bring you a television set in your living room will expand their reach into your daily life. Consider what can be accomplished with iAds and their reach if an HDTV made by Apple was release to the market.

What do you think: Are they gearing up for an HDTV?

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Is the iPhone Nano Coming? (Rumour)

A new report that came out today suggests that Apple could be working on at least one new model of the iPhone that is one-third smaller than the size of the current iPhone 4 and cheaper.

The news makes sense because of the growing market shares Google’s Android phones are getting, this would be Apple’s way of appealing to those customers. The new version would cost $200 without a two-year contract. The current iPhone 4 without a contract comes in at $599.

The source that claims to have seen the iPhone sometimes last year, says that even though it was one-third smaller, it may have changed by now.

In addition to that, Apple is also working on Universal SIM technology and dual-mode phones that can work on CDMA and GSM networks. Not surprising since Qualcomm delivers the chip technology to make this happen, which is the same dual-mode chip used in Verizon’s iPhone 4, released this past week.

The question now becomes, would a smaller iPhone version compromise the user experience of an iOS-capable device? I’d think not. It’s an existing product with a twist. Smaller can appeal to those that complain about how ‘bulky’ and ‘big’ the iPhone is when compared to the competition. With a reduced price being offered I can see a lot of people in the market that have considered an iPhone in the past but thought it was too expensive, would now have a clear choice.

Keep in mind that Apple has done this before with other products (ie: iPod nano), so this may be more accurate than one might think.

Possible names are rumoured to be “iPhone Mini” or “iPhone Nano”.

Let’s hope it makes it to production before it gets scrapped.

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Pre-Valentine’s Day App Sales

Look’s like the App Store has some Valentine’s Day sales lined up for the next few days. Today, Capcom dropped the price of some of their apps for a limited time. Search “Sega” in the App Store to get hits on other titles – I’ve highlighted some of my top picks:

Street Fighter App Store IconStreet Fighter IV (iPhone)
Regular Price: $9.99
On Sale: $0.99

Bringing Capcom’s all-time classic from the console to your iPhone is a great way to relive your childhood (I did). SF4 uses on-screen virtual controls and visually stunning graphics that had me hooked for hours. Each character has a full set of special moves along with devastating combos. You can read a longer review here.

Street Fighter 4 Battle Screen

RE4 App Store IconResident Evil 4: Platinum (iPhone, iPad)
Regular Price: $4.99
On Sale: $0.99

From the Nintendo GameCube to your iPhone/iPad, Resident Evil 4 from Capcom is solid and reliable, emulating the tense action and survival-horror feel of the classic console original. The controls oren’t the greatest, but they’re not bad. You’ll get a story mode, time-based arcade-styled ‘mercenaries’ mode that can be unlocked when you’ve successfully completed the story campaign. Great value for the price.

RE4 Gameplay Screen Capture

Sonic Hedgehog App Store IconSonic the Hedgehog (iPhone)
Regular Price: $4.99
On Sale: $2.99

Sega’s 2D classic platform speedy side-scroller features all seven of the game’s original zones and all it’s original gameplay. You won’t find much differences in content from the console ancestor – but it’s a great duplicate! Sonic was such a good game originally that any type of changes or updates to the gameplay wouldn’t do the game justice. Great price for gaming nostalgia.

Sonic Hedgehog Gameplay Screen Capture

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App Review: Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter App Store IconProbably one of the nicest looking games on the iPhone screen has to go to Capcom’s Street Fighter 4 available for a limited time for 99 cents through the App Store. The game includes 14 fighters to choose for battle – Ryu, Ken, Guile and more. It’s not long before you pick your favourite and start kicking ass in no time!

Simplified controls and responsive button mapping makes it one of the only playable fighting games on iOS. Since it’s release in the App store in March 2010, there’s been weekly updates from Capcom either adding new fighters to the roster or tightening up the gameplay.

Street Fighter 4 Fighter Select Screen

Street Fighter 4 Battle Screen

Plus, the game includes Bluetooth multiplayer battles, allowing you to challenge your friends simulating the arcade experience without the quarters.

Regular price for this game before the price drop was $9.99. Just based on price for what you’re getting it makes the purchase worth it. The awesome controls and beautiful graphics is just bonus. I’m rating this 5/5

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iOS 4.3 Debuts on Monday

MacStories reports that it has heard from a “reliable source” that Apple is planning to release iOS 4.3 to the public on February 14th at its typical iOS software update time of 10:00 AM Pacific Time / 1:00 PM Eastern Time.

iOS 4.3 Beta Notice

I’ve highlighted some of the cool new features that are part of the iOS 4.3 release a few weeks ago.

Is Apple showing love by release this sweetness on Valentine’s Day?

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Is the iPod Classic Ready for Retirement?

iPod Classics

When Toshiba unveiled (PDF) a new 1.8-inch hard drive capable of holding up to 220 GB of data, rumours started flying that the iPod Classic, which currently tops out at 160GB, would be phased out or discontinued.

As file sizes continue to grow, and the demand to never leave home without your ENTIRE music collection on your iDevice, it looks like Apple may be looking at introduction a bigger and better iPod soon?

The Apple Store shows that the silver iPod Classic now ships in 1-3 days, down from 24 hours last week. In addition, Best Buy has updated their website to say that the device is backordered for 1-2 weeks (last week it was shipped in 1 day) and Target also has it backordered for 2-4 weeks. Currently the shortage only seems to be affecting the silver colored model, the dark colored version appears relatively unaffected. – Quote from

Could this mean a refreshed line up of iPods coming, or is Apple finally discontinuing the iPod classic altogether? The iPod classic hasn’t been updated in a year and half (in tech terms – way too long) and Apple CEO, Steve Jobs did mention in September’s 2010 iPod-focused event that an “all new” iPod line-up will soon be announced.

I’m predicting that Apple phases out the iPod classic in the coming years.

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