Rant

Snow Leopard

The new Mac operating system, Mac OS X 10.6 (aka “Snow Leopard”) is out this month. The upgrade price, a very reasonable $29, or £25. Not bad.

So why the rant? Because $29 ≠ £25. $29 = £17.60. Why the hell does Apple *always* insist on ripping off it’s UK customers? It does not cost 60% more to print a DVD in the UK, or to ship one. And VAT would not make up anything like that amount. It’s bl**dy ridiculous

/end rant

Applesauce

[Must… resist… blogging… about… WWDC…]

His JobbsnessIts no use, I can’t do it!

On Monday Apples World Wide Developers Conference kicks off with the biannual keynote speech by his Jobbsness. These two speeches, one in February the other in June are the main occasions for Apple to launch new products.

This year the techblogs are alive with rumours about the new 3G iPhone, which is almost certain to be a big feature of the keynote (given that the current model is out of stock everywhere). Blogs like Gizmodo have even gone so far as to create a feature wish list for the product, along with design competitions for what it may or may not look like.

I’d be interested in a new iPhone, especially if it was a) cheaper (subsidise Apple, like everyone else does!) and b) had some usable GPS – cell-tower triangulation is ok for in cities, but rubbish when it comes to being halfway up a mountain. [My ideal would be for someone to release an Ordinance Survey programme for it, I’d happily pay extra for detailed topographical maps and waypoints].

The rest of the cellphone market is catching up with Apple, and the current iPhone doesn’t look as unique and revolutionary as it did a year ago. Yet the concept is a good one – we are moving towards the idea of a single, portable device that carries out all your electronic needs: PDA, phone, camera, music player, etc etc. Apple seem to be playing the iPhone as a software platform that will eventually run programmes to meet your various needs, which compounds the integration aim. Good on them, but I agree with Gizmodo again; we need cut and paste, or the iPhone will never even meet the usefulness of my ageing iPaq.

There are also rumours of a refresh of the Mac Operating system, and the possibilities of new laptops of various forms. Who knows. One thing we can be sure of is that Apple will do its upmost to surprise us.

In the spirit of all the other wish list s out there, here is mine (I don’t expect any of these to be true*)

Apple Radio
In the spirit of Nokia’s Comes with Music service, an update to iTunes that allows for unlimited music for a fixed fee, combined with the ability to send people playlists. You could even combine it with a ‘broadcast’ feature for the iPhone/iPod Touch that would allow you to share what you are listening to with other users you pass in the street. Apple expanding the musical vocabulary of the world – surely a good thing.

New Laptops
Preferably thinner, lighter, more powerful, but without the loss of functionality. The MacBook Air is just unusable in my opinion, as pretty as it is, you can’t lose the optical drive and go down to one USB port – what you gain in portability is immediately lost by the number of wires and accessories you need to cart round with you! No, a nice light version of the MacBook Pro would be good, Steve, please?

3D Graphics
Macs are beautiful, functional things, incredibly easy to use. But there are plenty of PC users who are tempted to move over to the dark side, only to be put off by the fact that their games just won’t run. Even running XP through bootcamp, iMacs and MacBooks of all sorts still have issues with even last generation PC games (and there are no Mac versions of decent games). I know that the diehards will stick with their Alienware whatever, but us casual PC gamers (like me!) could be welcomed into the fold with just a little effort.

Virtualisation
There was a rumour earlier in the year that Leopard contained threads of code that might, theoretically, one day allow Macs to natively run Windows programmes without having to run Windows (either through bootcamp, or through a virtualisation like Parallels). Personally, I think this would be the killer: you would see whole hosts of companies and individuals going over to Apple to escape Microsoft’s bloated, buggy, virus ridden domain. It will never happen, but we can dream…iphone_twist_by_chris_doan

OK, I’m going to stop wishing. We will just have to wait and see what happens (6pm BST!). Lets see what we’ll be surprised by, disappointed by, and what delights Steve unveils when he goes “One more thing…”

We can pretty much be sure it won’t be this.
See you the other side…

*but it would be nice if they were

Hackintosh

I peruse a few gadget blogs, as part of my sanity-saving feed-reading while at work. One of the stories that has been exciting and infuriating said bloggers for weeks now has been the whole Psystar debacle.

(For those who don’t know/aren’t interested, Psystar has been the first company to sell ‘Hackintoshes’ commercially: PC hardware pre-installed with Apple’s OS X as the operating system)

I don’t want to talk majorly on this, as its really not that interesting, but a line from Wired’s blog post today caught my attention:

This isn’t to knock PCs – there will always be incompatibilities with such a huge array of hardware and software available. Apple makes the whole shebang, inside and out. That’s why it just works. And Psystar’s little science project is the best argument yet against Apple licensing its OS to third parties.

Which just makes me wonder: could this whole thing be a marketing ploy by Apple?

All the Psystar issue has done is generate tons and tons of copy reinforcing why Apple’s own hardware/software combination is so good… Its amazing publicity for them; so could they have thought this up themselves?

Something in the Air?

So, no great innovations – nothing judged ‘newsworthy’ came from San Francisco last night. But we did get this:

 MacBookAir1

Pretty.

 MacBookAir2

Unfortunately, its only available on pre-order, so I can’t ask my friends currently on holiday in New York to bring me one home. 😦

Which is a shame, because the base model will be £1,199.00 over here, while its in the US at $1,799.00 – a good £280.00 cheaper in the states!

MacBookAir?

Today is probably the biggest day of the year if you’re a fan of Apple’s products. It’s the start of Macworld, their annual product conference, and this afternoon Steve Jobs will stand up and give his ‘keynote’ speech. This is classically the time when major new product announcements are made (like last year, when he announced a little-heard-of product called an iPhone).

This year the rumour mill is being wildly stoked at the prospect of some form of ultra-portable laptop, with Apple fulling the fire with teaser ads like this:

something in the air

The name on everyone’s lips today is MacBookAir… I wonder what this afternoon will bring?

10 Predictions for 2008

OK, these aren’t really that serious, but I thought I’d have a go… 10 predictions for things that might just happen in 2008. Some are more plausible than others; none of them should be used to elevate me to a position of sage or futurologist (unless they all come true!)

  1. The American presidential election race will comprise at least 50% of all international news on TV and radio in the UK this year.
  2. This will be despite the fact that violent political instability will continue in Kenya, Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar) and (eventually) Zimbabwe…
  3. Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) will look increasingly incompetent and will continue to wobble precariously in the poles, especially as his collection of neophytes cabinet ministers will continue to be inexperienced, anonymous and ignorant of basic law (like data protection).
  4. The Conservatives will capitalise on this instability, without ever actually looking electable (never mind a plausible alternative government). Dave Cameron will continue in cheeky-chapy status; no one will know who the other guy is…
  5. An utterly disproportionate amount of media attention will be given to every product released by a small California-based technology firm named after a piece of fruit. Carla Harding will blog about her lusting for each new item.
  6. Capitalising on the moves of mobile phone companies towards IP-based infrastructure, the mighty Google will continue its move towards total control of the whole world by releasing a mobile phone that can operate across all networks simultaneously. Everyone will want one.
  7. Technology pundits and Google staffers will say that this finally “[makes] the mobile internet work properly for the first time
  8. The Anglican Church worldwide will spend the whole year talking about gay bishops (ok, occasionally about women bishops), continuing to reinforce the media’s perception that Christians are totally obsessed with sex. They will end the 2008 Lambeth Conference by utterly failing to resolve the issue, proving yet again that their greatest weakness is their greatest strength*.
  9. The phrase Emerging Church will only be used by people who are attacking it, allowing the good work of individual churches to continue under the radar, while really confusing irate Reformed Evangelicals.
  10. Towards the end of the year, I will finally get round to buying a laptop, after talking about doing so for more than 2 years. It will probably have a piece of fruit on the front…

* They never actually make a decision on divisive issues, meaning that people with utterly opposing opinions can (somewhat) successfully coexist.