MaCinJay’s Musings

another case of inverse vandalism

Posts Tagged ‘Macworld Expo

Updates to iPhone, iPod touch

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On the eve of the Macworld Expo I speculated that Steve Jobs might announce a 3G iPhone during his keynote but it was not to be. However today Apple announced that it would be releasing a 16 GB version of the iPhone, as well as a 32 GB iPod touch. Both will cost $499. I’m sure that this will please consumers with large media libraries or those that prefer lossless playback.

Existing owners of these devices will be looking forward to the SDK, which is due for release this month. It’s going to be really interesting what third-party developers will come up with, especially considering the incredible variety of iPhone applications that have been developed without Apple’s support.

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Written by macinjay

February 5, 2008 at 7:57 pm

iPod touch update

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Following Steve Jobs’s keynote at last week’s Macworld Expo I made the observation that international iPod touch owners (or at least those without iTunes Stores in their countries) had been left high and dry because they were unable to buy the upgrade that he announced. In fact though there is a workaround, albeit a convoluted one.

A while back I tried to open an iTunes account but was stymied because I didn’t have a US credit card or address. After that I read somewhere that you could also make purchases from the iTunes Stores using iTunes vouchers but never bothered to look into it further. My interest was rekindled after Jobs’s keynote – I wanted that upgrade.

I learned that iTunes vouchers were available for purchase on eBay and bought a $25 voucher with a $4 markup using PayPal. All that remained was to find a suitable address in the US so that I could redeem the voucher under “Quick Links” in the iTunes Store.

Once all that had been done I was able to buy the upgrade. Even better, I’ve bought a few songs and downloaded the pilot to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles for free!

I still have to question Apple’s wisdom here though. While it may be convenient for the company to leverage off the iTunes Store to sell these type of upgrades, it doesn’t make much sense from a distribution standpoint. In countries like South Africa distribution rights for music content are jealousy protected, which is presumably why there is no iTunes Store here yet. But Apple is free to sell its software anywhere in the world, so why restrict sales unnecessarily and leave people to resort to complicated workarounds?

Surely Apple should have come up with a more appropriate platform.

Written by macinjay

January 24, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Macworld Expo Keynote

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I concluded my last post by predicting that Steve Jobs would have a few surprises in store for us. For the first time since I’ve been following the Macworld Expo though I can honestly say that I wasn’t actually surprised by anything revealed in his keynote!

There was no new iPhone announced. Jobs compensated by talking about the new features and enhancements included in its latest firmware update. Not exactly earth-shattering though by Apple’s standards, especially considering that these had been leaked to the rumour sites weeks ago. The update will also be available to iPod touch owners but they will have to pay $20 for what their iPhone-owning counterparts get for nothing – go figure. Also the upgrade is only available via the iTunes Store, which leaves a lot of Apple’s international clients, including me, out in the cold.

The rumour sites were also spot on about Apple’s new ultra-portable, even getting the name right – the MacBook Air! Thin enough to make your average supermodel green with envy, it’s a small engineering marvel that Jobs was able to fit into a manila envelope. Very nice, only it doesn’t have an optical drive and sports slower processors than the less-expensive MacBooks. By leaving out the optical drive Apple seems to be prematurely consigning another technology to the scrapheap, like they did with the floppy drive and dial-up modems. From a connectivity standpoint the Air is limited to USB, WiFi and Bluetooth. It isn’t all about aesthetics; the Air shares the iPhone’s Multi-touch technology for zooming images and rapid scrolling using its generous touchpad and there is a flash-based version that should improve boot-up times. But I have to wonder if the Air is going to find a market considering all the design compromises that had to be made so that Apple could market it as the “world’s thinnest laptop”. Time will tell but I’m certainly not regretting buying my MacBook Pro now.

Jobs also announced a wireless storage and networking solution to work hand-in-hand with Leopard’s back-up utility Time Machine called, aptly, Time Capsule. I may actually consider buying one of these for back-ups and to provide a wireless connection to my printer, as plugging and unplugging cables into my MacBook Pro everytime I need to move it has become a chore. Still, not really a headline-grabber.

As predicted, Jobs revealed that movie rentals were coming to iTunes. He also detailed related changes to the Apple TV, which will allow users to view, rent or buy media directly from the device instead of having to synch it with their computers first. The upgrade will also enable high-definition content. No doubt this will address criticisms of the original product. (The improvements will be available to existing Apple TV owners as a firmware update.)

That was the meat of it; of course there was the usual padding about how many billion songs had been downloaded from iTunes and all the rest. But this is not what keeps Mac fans glued to their computer screens for updates from the Expo blogs. Sadly I fear this year’s Expo will leave many of them disappointed.

Written by macinjay

January 16, 2008 at 11:43 am