Apple’s September (Not To Remember) Event

apple invite september

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will just come right out and say it: Apple’s 2013 “September Event” was the most boring, typical, ‘Apple cookie-cutter’ of an event, ever. It could not have been worse.

Apple has not done anything different with their keynotes for three years now, and it is absolutely sad. The keynotes were the keynotes, because it was STEVE JOBS. Move on from that. Move on from that because the remaining cast sucks at it. Without Steve to open, announce, and close, things are horrible. It is just plain sad because they try so hard to keep that “Steve Keynote feel”. Heck, I’d take a Ballmer moment at anytime now.

I can’t believe I just said that.

The ‘script’ that Steve was able to make entertaining, or believable (i.e. the ‘Steve distortion field’), does not work under Tim Cook and company. The low lights, the same-exact-presentation of numbers, ‘facts’, and hype, really only worked to a point. IMO, that point was when Apple didn’t have near the competition it has now. It worked for Steve because he was the tech celebrity, prodigal son of the underdog tech company talking about crazy stats and statements. Remember “Flash is dead?”.  :)

Yes, yes it is.

But Apple isn’t the underdog in the post PC world now… they’re the top dog.  Number 1 or Number 2, depending on the week and the tech journalist.

Tim and company need to change the keynote m.o.

The only way you can look at this latest Apple yawn-fest is to look at them with no expectations. It’s kinda hard now though when the tech journalists “wag the tech-dog” so bad months prior to. With this being said, I will try to remove my expectations. I am going to try and look at this from a logical, neutral POV.

Apple discontinued the ‘carrying of the former product’, or former iPhone model, and instead gave us a huge presentation why the former iPhone is going to be great in plastic. This was the most overhyped product launch event Apple has ever done. It is ‘literally’ an iPhone 5 in a plastic shell. B… F… D.

tim cook iphone 5c colors

Look, I get it, an iPhone 5 that feels like an iPhone 3GS. That’s cool… it’s a smaller Galaxy S3, or a Nokia Windows 8 phone. Why in the world spend 30% or more of the event discussing this? It’s an iPhone 5 in a colorful package. Colors.

Dare I say it, Steve would not have agreed with this.

Okay, so Apple needs something “fun” to entertain other markets that have money (China). I get that, but Steve would have insisted they offer a mute color, like black and grey to the line up. What if I wanted to get a less expensive iPhone 5 this year? My color choices, (which they made a big deal about) are colors not even found in a Crayola box, but the ones from shirts from George Michael concerts from the ’80′s. C’mon, the only safe color for a 36 year-old dude in the 5C class is white. I want black. Thus, I think this is a fail for Apple. Heck, they could have marketed it along with the new “Darth” Mac Pros. Personally, I am sad that I will not be able to get a ‘slate black’ iPhone now. But I could get a yellow one! Seriously. WTH.

The 5C is an iPhone 5 in a 3GS feeling plastic case targeting kids that like bright colors. And as much as that is not a bad thing, (and as cool as it may be to see the technology behind making a plastic case), it is not worth more than a quarter of the stage time it got during the revealing parts of the event. When we got to see a video of a robot making the plastic case in a plastic mold (for last year’s phone) and being told how awesome that plastic case is, that was the moment when I realized how ridiculous the hype I was hearing was. No, really… a robot, filling a mold with plastic… and that was supposed to be ‘amazing’. We’ve been doing that since 19-forever. To actually spend the money and effort to make a video, and then have a script talking about the design of last year’s phone in a plastic case… and… oh well…  I just have to stop. I am losing respect for Apple.

I can imagine what Apple’s board room was like:

“What do we have this year?”

{crickets}

“Nothing? Okay… show a robot making a plastic case for the iPhone 5″!

Getting away from the presentation and focal points and on the the actual iPhone 5S itself, the device is actually sort of exciting. I was kind of floored by the ‘S’ specs, and I know many are asking the logical question… “Who needs a freaking 64 bit processor in a ‘phone’”? ANSWER: ”This Guy”!

iphone 5s 64 bitAgain, away from the presentation and focal points, Apple literally just ran another year ahead with technical specifications – all the while throwing colorful (but not black!) plastic duds at them in their wake. In my opinion, having a 64 bit processor in a phone is complete overkill. There are no apps that will utilize it 100%, and that’s really because there’s not enough RAM in an iPhone to make a 64 bit hum. What gets me excited though, is having a 64 bit processor in an iPad (the “PC Killer”). Yeah, an iPad can use a 64 bit processor and some nice RAM to go along with it. But what I think is going to happen…and call me crazy… I think the Macbook Airs are going to receive a processor like this in the years to come. And as much as I will not like the draw away from the industry standard Intel processor, (thus killing the major uses of VM’s in OS X), I can see Apple doing this.

If I have to be honest here…I wish this ’64 bit processor’ was on a tablet with 4+GB of RAM, along with an OS with apps that will actually use it.

iphone 5 fingerprintThe new finger print technology was delivered really well. Really well. It was the only thing that made me even consider upgrading my phone. It was the first thing I heard that made me say “I gotta have a 5S”. I really enjoyed the technical presentation behind such a small feature. Being a security guy in tech, I agree with Phil’s statement behind passwords. Most peeps don’t use them or have REALLY weak ones (thus defeating the point of having one to begin with). Enforcing that the person to use the Fingerprint scanner through the use of a MDM or something, interests me greatly. I am left wondering just how good and fast that “Touch ID” technology is. I remember the Android ATRIX 4G’s fingerprint scanner worked, but it was clunky and only worked if you did it ‘just right’. I watched many a people swipe their fingers over and over to ‘log into’ their ATRIX. By that time, my “weak password” and I were already in my phone. Apple touts Touch ID will work in 360 degrees – so I want to see it.

The new camera is as always, awesome. This is one area of technology that really have a good handle on… digital photography. It used to make me sick when someone bragged about having an Android phone with a 12, 15+ megapixel camera, when real digital photography is all about the light sensor in the camera – and then the lens taking that photo. Photography itself is all about light. If your lens sucks with letting light in (and then the digital sensor not being able to manipulate the white balance), who cares how big your megapixel count is? You can easily brag about having a 41 megapixel camera (phone), but that light sensor and your lens better be amazingly awesome – or you’re bragging about taking really big horrible pictures that waste your hard drive space. The iPhone 4, 5, etc., cameras have ALWAYS been the best in the market for very good reasons.

What’s the number one camera used on Flickr? Wait for it… an iPhone.

Lastly, I’ll have to wait to see the new camera flash to believe it. Currently, I turn my flash off – because flash is only worthwhile if you have a defuser or can bounce the flash off of an object. Flash (when used straight-on) kills any picture – it doesn’t matter what camera you use. It could be a $3k camera… doesn’t matter… if you use flash straight on, you’re a photo-taking-poser. Oh, I’ve met quite a few of them in the last five years. If I have to use flash for a picture, I won’t take the picture. It’s a waste. So if Apple really did come up with a flash “not even professional cameras can do”, call me skeptical. Besides, I think a statement like that only Steve could pull off. And by the time this technology was discussed during a “Steve Keynote”, he already would have sucked me into his reality distortion field.

One last thing… RIP slate black iPhone. You were probably killed because you couldn’t hang with the scratches – but you were beautiful out of the box. I am still enjoying your slate blackness on my iPad Mini (which I baby in a nice black leather case, because you suck so bad against the mighty scratch). But seriously… you were hawt. Ah well, at least I’ll have your half-breed brother from planet Zelex, “Space Grey”.

Alas, we’re at the end of the show and this piece. The presentation is now over, and it was not enough for me. iOS 7 is enough of an upgrade for my iPhone 4S – which I still love. At this point, I am fine holding out for an iPhone 6 or 6S.

A Review of Apple’s WWDC 2013

Apple WWDC 2013
Last week at Apple’s WorldWide Developer’s Conference, the company announced some cool changes and additions to its lineup. iOS 7, iRadio and new Mac Pros all hit the stage, so here’s my take on what went down.

I’ll start with iOS 7 – which made massive, almost shocking, visual changes. But did they introduce anything “new”? Not really. Just another evolution of iOS, or more touting of fluff features that no one will use. There’s some nice new eye-candy features, but nothing mind-blowing IMO.

So what would have been mind-blowing? User accounts, true multi-tasking, side-by-side apps, maybe a hardware dock to dock it up, wireless charging, better syncing features, better battery usage because the OS is so slim and sexy.

The only real new ‘feature’ is background usage, or how the OS utilizes apps that are in the background, is nicer, but it’s still not true multi-tasking (like Blackberry and now Android 4.1). They made massive upgrades to the stock camera app and that’s real nice, so yeah, I like that.

One big thing is that there’s no iOS 7 love for iPads… yet. iOS 7 ships in the fall, which means I can’t test iOS 7 out on iPad for a bit. That’s BS. I’m sorry, but iOS 7 beta should be available for iPads, ‘today’ like the iPhone’s is. Why? Because the iPad is supposed to be this great mobile device slayer-of-traditional-PCs and they don’t have its new OS beta, filled with a bunch of new “features” (

Apple iradio WWDCNext up is something I really did like… the introduction of iRadio!!! And the price!? FREE! (with ads) and FREE with an iTunes Match account which has no ads, (25 bucks a year). That’s just huge. I like how Siri is bigger, integrates with iRadio, and hopefully she’s better. As documented in other pieces on this blog, I have an iTunes Match account… and I’ll certainly be enjoying this.

Now on to the new Mac Pro… and finally, they brought out a new form factor. After ALL THESE YEARS they bring out a new form factor and… it’s BS. What in the hell were they thinking here? I mean, it’s almost like Apple said, “G4 Cube, meet the Intel Cylinder”. HA… BS. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s something else that really gets to me about this. It’s not the form factor, or its guts, but it’s what it doesn’t offer. If you want to “expand” your ‘tower’ or ‘desktop’, you have to go ‘external’ peripherals. BULL. SH*T.

Apple new mac pro WWDCOkay, so tell me again what is the difference between the new Mac Pro and a Mac Mini, other than massive video and processor etc.? Nothing. I mean that’s a silly statement sure (the hardware pales in comparison), but geeks like ‘desktops’ because you can expand them and add upgrades over time. This new cylinder is garbage. Apple is forcing me to buy an extremely limited and expensive ‘Thunderbolt’ connected external devices to match the current internal speeds of these said devices. BULL. SH*T.

That brings the score to: Design, 1 – Useful Needs of the Consumer, 0.

It is the exact same crap they pulled with the iMac, etc.

At this point, your best bet is a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air (at least with the Air you know you’re buying a throw-away laptop). I guess their angle is that they took the ‘traditional’ desktop and made it (nothing but) a Mac Mini on steroids. What really happened was that they took the ‘PC’ and killed its form factor, neutering any internal geek love. The iPad didn’t kill the PC, Apple just did. Now if I want to upgrade, I have to build it at checkout, and that is going to be über $$.

Speaking of their notebook line, I LOVE the MacBook Air I have. I absolutely love it. The new MacBook Airs will finally be on the cutting edge, shipping with the brand spanking new Haswell chipset from Intel. This is huge. If I were to own a new Mac, for my dwindling usage of a ‘PC’, I’d own a phat new MacBook Air, hands down.

OVERALL… I’d say it was a half-decent event. I give them a solid ‘B’ today – ‘B’ for, yup… Bullsh*t. I’m sure some out there might still wonder, “Why so harsh, Aaron?” Well, I’ll tell ya. It is because they are the second richest company on the planet, and all they gave me today was a new UI for stock apps on my iPhone and iPad. BFD.

Apple iOS 7 WWDCI mean, this new interface must be the greatest thing in the world to develop. I mean, it must be the hardest most expensive thing in the world to have done – and not have done for the iPad (today). I mean, truly a new UI borrowing features from existing competitive companies, introducing new ‘features’ that have been around for years with other phones, and hacks, etc., must have been so expensive to develop – OF COURSE that’s all we get! Cupertino… start YOUR copiers. At least Redmond designed something different (sucks, but different).

Apple Inc. is the richest tech company in the world, and Google (bless their privacy stealing, sometimes pathetic apps, and wasteful, black hearts) are running circles around them. Why can’t we have built-in ad blocking in the new Safari? (I know why BTW) Why can’t OS X have received a UI overhaul to match iOS 7? Oh, because they needed ALL their resources on iOS… bullsh*t. Developers have redesigned UIs for years now (I used to for both Windows and OS X) and it’s not ‘that’ hard.

Apple is the richest tech company in the world… how about they hire more people if this is all they can put out?

iPad Mini Retina Display Could Add 30% To Total Parts Cost

ipad miniAccording to a recent report, adding a Retina Display to the iPad mini could add 30% to Apple’s total parts cost. Like the original iPad, however, I think the Mini is two years away from Retina. Also, (like I said about the iPad with Retina), I don’t really care unless the weight is the same or lighter than the current model AND the thickness remains the same or thinner. It is all about size, not the display… that is, even if they did bring it to market this year.

Now that I have switched to a Mini, do I miss a sexy Retina display on an iPad? Yes, but not nearly as much as you would think. The iPad Mini’s display is just fine in comparison, for now – although I do think Apple can bring in a better display (one akin to the Nexus 7). I also believe the big mods this year will be a faster processor, hard drive space (@128GB), and (hopefully) more RAM. These are all specs I would gladly upgrade to, but I won’t.

In my opinion, the Mini IS the iPad to get – even right now, without the Retina. Give me a Retina, but refuse to compromise on size and weight, as the size and weight is the Mini’s biggest advantage.

My Brief iPad Mini Review

apple ipad miniFrom the start, my eyebrows were raised ONLY because of the way Apple unveiled the new Mini (as I watched it live on the AppleTV in 1080p!). The unveiling of it was almost as good as that of the original iPhone in 2007. Almost, though, as NOTHING will be beat that. I mean, it is an iconic moment in technology history (I still watch it if I’m bored). Really, the Mini’s unveiling is the only reason why I wanted to even see one, as I’ve always considered it a niche product for the holidays. I see it pretty much as an attempt to compete with the Nexus 7, and more or less a shrunken iPad 2. I had some serious doubts from the start.

The reality is quite the contrary. I finally saw and played with one in person and I immediately knew this is the tablet for me. I’ve always thought that 7″ inch tablets were devices that just couldn’t compete with the iPad, and I laughed at the people that gushed all over their 7″ inch whatevers. Then I saw the Nexus 7 and shockingly I said to myself, “Man, this is actually really nice”. What was so nice about it was the OS (Android Jellybean 4.2) finally had that Apple “polish” to it. It only took Google 5 years to catch up… and then they broke that very same Apple polish with a patch… and broke it worse with a patch to fix that patch (begin evil laughter).

google nexus 7What really impressed me, though, was the form factor, as the design and weight of the Nexus 7 is amazing. Picking it up is like picking up a feather, and I *immediately* said to myself, “Now THIS is portable. I really wish this was an iPad”. Unfortunately, it still is the Nexus 7, as it is still Android… so it still sucks. Always remember peeps… it could look like a Ferrari, but if the engine is a 4-banger… what’s the point? And all the Windows 8 peeps say “WHAAT!”.

 

Apple met, matched, and beat (IMO) the Nexus 7 with one arm behind its back, or at least the unveiling said so. What I saw at first glance was a shrunken iPad 2, and then I started to read more. I read positive reviews, negative reviews, neutral reviews, and biased in both direction reviews. I’m a geek… it’s what I do. But no matter what type of review I read, one thing was consistent… portability. Then I looked in the mirror and admitted, I hardly ever use my iPad as a portable device… so what’s the point in owning the absolute best model you can get? The display? Well, that is a plus. But do I really use it as it’s designed? Honestly, not really. The iPad Mini, however, truly fits that build.

So, I went to the mall, walked by the Windows Store (the only store not busy during the Christmas holidays) and ended up the Apple Store. After waiting my turn, I played on the iPad Mini and I knew right then and there after picking it up that, this was the iPad as it is supposed to be. Turns out, I was wrong with my original assumptions.

One thing that ALL types of reviews talk about is the Mini’s lack of Retina display. For me – one who looks at displays daily for long periods of time – yes, I absolutely notice it is not Retina. Between my iPhone 4S and iPad 3, I can tell in immediately that it’s not Retina. I miss the Retina display on my iPad Mini, I really do. BUT… it’s all mental for a spoiled geek. Bear with me here. Until Retina displays are the norm, they’re a luxury item in my opinion. They are something Apple has over its competitors. Other screens are nice, but nothing compares to a Retina display.

macbook pro retinaThe MacBook Pro Retina is the biggest example of display awesomeness. You simply have to see it to believe it. But, is a 15″ MBP Retina as mobile as say, a 11″ or 13″ Mac Book Air? No. And there’s the difference. A laptop is meant to be mobile, or portable. One obviously does this better than the other. One obviously looks better than the other, too. The iPad is truly meant to be portable, but comparing the portability of the iPad vs. the iPad Mini is no contest.

My take from 10,000 feet in the air? It depends on your usage and needs (as anything in this cluttered tech boom is). Four years ago, I would have said that the Sony PS3 was the better buy because of its BluRay capabilities. Now, I’d say the latest edition of the XBox 360 is. I’ve said before that the iPad 3 is the only iPad worth owning – but now, not so much. Currently, my personal needs are mobility and portability – and enter the 64GB Verizon LTE iPad Mini.

Coming from an IBM Lenovo laptop, walking around with a MacBook Air feels like I’m carrying nothing – but still doing my job. It’s weird. Walking around with an iPad Mini and still being able to have my entire digital life and doing my job (feeling like I’m carrying nothing)… it’s weird. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg had something when he arrogantly said the iPad wasn’t mobile. Well, the iPad Mini is.

If you’re looking for a new iPad or looking to ‘upgrade’ from an iPad 1 or 2, then seriously consider the iPad Mini. It’s cheaper and better in a lot of ways (check out the benchmarks in this piece), and once you have it (pending you have a 4G version) you will wonder how you ever lived without one. The only hard decision is, should you get the white or the black one?

I have read in a few places that Apple is two years out from a Retina iPad Mini, and that sounds about right. But if they do to it what they had to do with the iPad 3 (or 4) Retina (as they had to make it heavier, thicker, awkward weight distribution), then no thanks – I’ll wait till you can meet its current mobile specs (super-feather-light, and form factor).

Mobility… it’s where it’s at… and I’m a fan of the iPad Mini.

My (Slightly More Extended) Microsoft Surface Experience

Surface in Microsoft StoreLast month I provided some quick thoughts on the Microsoft Surface vs. Apple iPad. Recently I had the opportunity to play a little more with a Surface – in a much Apple-copied (however pretty cool) Microsoft retail store. (As a side note –> Hey Apple, you’ll sue Samsung for copying products… so why not Microsoft for copying your stores? Anyway… )

Moving on, in my time with the Surface, here’s what I picked up. First off, I noticed that the Surface suffers from the same issues as the desktop Windows 8, IMO. Shocker, I know. With no onscreen clues to tell you what to do, the Surface is frustrating. If I have no experience with Win8 and I am coming from a simple interface like the iPad, (and heck, even Android), I have to assume the Surface follows suit, right?

Nope.

Like the desktop of Windows 8 there are no on-screen clues to guide you in the OS. Therefore… how am I supposed to know to pull up the contextual menu (something neither Android or iOS has mind you), to change settings of the Surface? How am I to know to swipe from the right hand side of the screen? How?

Am I an idiot user? Or an average consumer – aka not a geek?  So, how?  I didn’t have to do that with my iPad?

Oh yeah, I knew to do this because I’m coming from desktop Windows 8, something not being as adopted (or upgraded) to as much as Microsoft hoped. Welp… there goes that plan. Ballmer, again, you’re a genius!

In all fairness though, the owner/user would obviously learn these mysteries and tout how amazing of an experience it is. But we have lived under the iOS and Android rule for five years now (including the similar functionality starting in 2007 with the original iPhone), and it’s just the standard/norm.

Does it work? Yeah.
Is it frustrating? Yup.

Only Microsoft can make ‘multi-touch’ feel like, well… Microsoft.

As for the hardware… yawn. Seriously. It’s a nicely built device, I will say that at least. However, there’s nothing “sleek” or cool about it, like the iPad and some Android tablets. The “awesome, cool, clever, keyboard ‘smart cover’”, is hardly anything to write home about. It’s being touted as a ‘keyboard’, but yet doesn’t function nearly as well as one. This = fail. Oh yeah, and that “awesome, cool, clever, keyboard ‘smart cover’” that is shown synonymously in ALL ads for the Surface… is 100 bucks extra. Wait? What? I’m an average consumer that believes everything he/she sees? Where’s my damn “awesome, cool, clever…” keyboard? Even if I extend my 500 dollar Surface (iPad wannabe) to 600 dollars, it still didn’t seem worth it. At least for me (maybe I did it wrong) – when I folded the keyboard cover back (or tried to, as it was tethered to the table), I was hitting keys. Again, fail.

And that’s only on its surface (no pun intended). “Underneath the hood”, no one is talking about (or rarely talking about) how much storage is left (for the standard 32GB Surface tablet). What is this?! Yes, close to 50% of its space is gone to the OS!  Not even the full Win8 OS. WHAT?! <sigh>

“But, hey customer!  You can get twice the storage for the same price as a 16GB iPad!”

No, you can’t.

ipad versus surfaceWhen it comes down to it, what isn’t being talked about (or has just been forgotten) is how much Apple really changed the game. Not so much with its hardware, but its software. Playing with Windows in the way that a lot of people say it was really designed for, on a touch tablet, really made me think about “stale, old iOS”  - and how much I really do like it. Say what you want about the aging iOS but if a two year-old, or an 80 year-old person can effortlessly use an iPad out of the box – that’s saying something. But, to the contrary, if my five year-old can only click the über ugly, constantly notifying changing, seizure inducing Chinese cartoon-like, flashing, interface formerly known as ‘Metro’ and never officially renamed, tiles… and nothing else… <sigh> I lost my train of thought. You get my point.

In the end, I do have hope for the Surface in a couple of years. I believe Microsoft will right its wronged ship with the Surface 3 (or whatever it will be called, probably “Surface 2014!” or something stupid like that). I do agree with a harmonious ‘OS’ ecosystem, between one’s phone, tablet, and desktop. Like I’ve said for a year now… Apple and Microsoft are doing the same thing but from two completely different sides. It’s just that one works better ‘right now’ – and that’s OS X & iOS.

The New Macs Suck (For My Wallet)

This is yet another reason why Apple is on top (right now).

If you go to the Apple store and try to ‘build’ a new Mac, you REALLY have to consider that you will have zero possibility for doing ‘DIY’ upgrades later. Therefore, you are stuck with maxing your system out from the build, where Apple is infamous on making money on some of their mark-ups. This is a large profit margin… straight money.

apple macbook airThrough the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and now iPad, they’ve convinced the consumer that ‘looks’ are as important as performance. They’ve convinced the consumer, now pretty much all of them (geeks included), that you don’t need to tinker with your machine afterwards… “it just works” – so we’re going to build everything on the board directly. With these concepts combined together, you get this year’s Mac products. ALL but two Mac models are not upgradable afterwards (all but one below as you’ll see, and I didn’t add the MBP). So you MUST upgrade at the time of purchase, or you WILL be screwed just two years later.

 

I ‘built’ what I would buy as a sustainable 4-5 yr. PC:
- 13″ MacBook Air: $2,526.00 – (stock: $1,499.00, with TB LED Display: $3,526.00)
- (would order 999.99 Apple Thunderbolt Display as this would be a ‘desktop’ replacement with a much needed additional Thunderbolt port).
- (would order “Mac Care”, as this is an unserviceable mobile laptop).

- 15″ MacBook Pro Retina: $4,176.00 – (stock: $2,799.00, with TB LED Display: $5,176.00)
- (would order 999.99 Apple Thunderbolt Display as this would be a ‘desktop’ replacement with a much needed additional Thunderbolt port).
- (would order “Mac Care”, as this is an unserviceable mobile laptop).

- 2012 Mac Mini: $1,527.00 – (stock $799.00, with TB LED Display: $2,527.00)
- (would order 999.99 Apple Thunderbolt Display as this would be a ‘desktop’ replacement with a much needed additional Thunderbolt port).

- 2012 27″ iMac: $3,597.00 – (stock $1,999.00)
- (would order “Mac Care”, as this is an unserviceable desktop).

As I said before, this is what ‘I’ would buy, as something that would sustain me for the next four to five years. The problem is, ‘I’ paid $2,100 (after taxes and shipping) for my iMac four years ago, and I am able to service it if I need to (RAM, hard drive, no “Mac Care”, etc.). AND I got a great display with it (again, 2,100 bucks four years ago). To repeat that now, I would have to spend $3,500! I just don’t see that happening for me anytime soon. I’m kinda screwed.

More Thoughts & Ramblings

All of the above are the future for both Apple and other manufacturers (as they are trying desperately to catch up). Other manufacturers have a horrible OS in stock now with Windows 8 (this is a huge win for Apple, as I’m learning how Win8 is just so damn bad as time goes on).

Apple has the lockdown on supply chain and patents. If you look at the ‘blue’ stock prices, and then what the maximum price would be with ‘their’ upgrades, you’re easily looking at a 85% – 200% markup (300% with a Thunderbolt display). THAT is money. You could shave a grand off without the LED Thunderbolt [TB] display, but Thunderbolt is a huge technology, and the more the better. I guess at ‘purchase’ you could remove the display and get it at a later time. But still, this is their model.

macbook proAlthough you’re buying absolutely awesome products that should last you four to five plus years, as consumers it sucks to be ‘us’. The MacPro was the last real serviceable product they made, and they haven’t upgraded the MacPro but once over the past few years (and that was a very modest upgrade to the CPU speed). What does that tell you about where they’re making their money, where they want to be, and what the consumer is buying?

All of that said, I wonder how long Apple as a company can sustain this growth? I wonder how their lockdown of the products and supply chain will continue. I wonder how long it’s going to take for the consumer to revolt against such a model. From the start, this has been their model, and I don’t ever seeing that changing. The MacMini was supposed to be their ‘consumer level intro’ computer, but with all the necessary upgrades at $1,500, you might as well shop elsewhere.

I just don’t see this lasting with the consumer past five more years at the rate they’re growing. Maybe Tim Cook will change this once they start to lose share, but I doubt it. What I sincerely hope happens is Microsoft starts building their own hardware, as it is rumored to be happening. I would love to see Microsoft inch towards this model as it will put pressure on Apple to reduce their price. Macs are what they are because the software maker and the hardware maker are the same, as this allows for a near perfect computer. If Microsoft should do this (again as it’s rumored), not only will that provide a better PC, but it’ll be direct competition to Apple’s methodology.

All of that said… I would seriously buy that 15″ MacBook Pro Retina. A co-worker of mine ordered the model I specced out at $4,000. It’s amazing. Light, portable, fast, beautiful design, the screen is…. beautiful. But to replace ‘my’ iMac I’d need a screen, and the only screen I’d want is that TB LED, and that’s another grand on top of four. That’s pretty rich. Also, with the flipping back and forth between a retina screen and the TB LED – I don’t know if that would hurt my eyes. Once you go retina, it’s hard to go back, heh. The next comparable screen like the TB LED is probably around $2,000 – $4,000 by itself.

My runner-up would be the MacBook Air. After using an Air for a week now, it’s a great little laptop (seriously great, almost an iPad replacement). The model I have is stock, and is slower than ‘I’ would like, but it’s a great portable laptop with a GREAT battery. In fact, I’d say it’s the best battery I’ve ever seen/used in a laptop ever. As I write, I’m on my second day with no charge!

To bring this extended piece to a close, I’ll say that the most economical bang for your buck is a regular MacBook Pro with a TB LED Apple display (eventually). Still crazy expensive, but at least you only have to upgrade your CPU and maybe the hard drive at build. Everything else is serviceable.

Have any thoughts or questions? Please leave them in the comments… thanks!

Surface vs. iPad: A Quick Glance

microsoft surface apple ipadSo I was tech-reading on the net (like I often do) and I came upon how Microsoft had a ‘question and answer’ session about their new ‘Surface’. One user asked about its display vs. the iPad’s Retina display. He said (basically) that even though the Surface’s display has a lower resolution (by a lot), because of the way that Microsoft is utilizing ‘Clear Font’, that it’s actually better than the Retina display.

I’m still laughing, and laughing hard at this horrible answer by Microsoft… and I’m not alone. One user said:


“Microsoft blows. The only area the Surface outperforms the iPad is in blowing real hard.”

This, is a true statement. I mean, FanBoys get nailed about ‘drinking the kool-aid’, but seriously Microsoft… wow.

Look, the ONLY thing the Surface has over the iPad is a FULL OS, depending heavily on the fact that you get the “right” Windows 8 tablet. Yes, there are two of them.

It’s the full version of Windows 8, new UI and traditional desktop, on a 10″ tablet. You’re going to pay for that Full OS tablet by the way. #ProTip – customers should really think about how they will be using their tablet device before they choose.

So if you “need” a full OS on a 10″ piece of glass, that’s fine. I can think of a lot of reasons to have a full-blown version of Apple OS X on a 10″ piece of glass. But don’t sit there and try to tell me that the screen, that is subpar to a technically-built display, is better. That’s just garbage.

The problem that I have for a full OS on a 10″ piece of glass is, ergonomics. This is huge. Using my iPad for longer than an hour, my neck and arms tire. This has to do the weight of the iPad 3, and the Surface is heavier. If I think about a traditional desktop, and what I use a traditional desktop for, I cannot do this on a 10″ piece of glass whilst sitting on my couch. Nor would I want to do that on an office chair and desk. Most “desktop” applications (if not all) require a keyboard AND a mouse. Which, that keyboard cover by the way, is not standard with the Surface. That’s 100 dollars extra (notice how they’re not touting that, eh?).

So, that’s 500 bucks to get the “regular version” of the Surface, or 600 bucks for the “full” Windows 8 version. THEN another 100 bucks for the keyboard cover – which isn’t all that great for using “as a keyboard”. That totals around 700 bucks for a 16GB tablet. What?!

Like anything, it depends on what you use a ‘computer’ for. For me… when I want a desktop, I WANT a desktop, and I DON’T WANT Windows 8.

Like my original quick review of Windows 8, I said I thought it was brilliant in concept, but it doesn’t work in practice. I do think that Apple’s approach is better by taking the tablet back to the desktop, vs. the desktop to the tablet (like Microsoft). They are two different approaches that will eventually meet in the next five years. Windows 8 is still a good five years out. Well, maybe make that ten years for Microsoft, and five years for The Fruit.

Apple Roundup: The iPad Mini, iPhone 5 & More

iPad mini In my opinion, yesterday’s Apple product announcements were finally on par with what they are known and respected for – announcing a bunch of crazy things that continue to make other PC makers sweat.

If you’ve never had time with a 7″ tablet, spend some. Believe it or not, they are awesome and a perfect ‘mobile’ size PENDING if the OS is good (no Amazon Fire crap, but the Nexus 7 is a great device).

Do I want an iPad Mini?

Yes, a white one.

A white Verizon LTE one. (I will never be an AT&T customer again. My ATT 3rd Gen iPad is only decent in its coverage).

I’m REALLY tempted in selling my now “defunct” iPad for an iPad Mini. Something tells me next year’s will be Retina, and I can’t go back to a non-Retina display. I have to see that screen first before any stupid decision is made. But wow… after spending time with the Nexus 7, I really want an iPad Mini.

Speaking of ‘iPads’… of all the announcements, the introduction to a 4th generation iPad with 20% faster CPU (thus making it faster than the iPhone 5, only mere months after the 3rd gen iPad) is bullshit. Sorry, but it just is. It’s 100% bullshit and I have to believe if Steve Jobs was still at the helm, this would not have happened. “Us” 3rd gen owners feel dooped.

Just wait, you’ll read it in the tech tabloids… the 3rd gen iPad announced in March, was available April, and not in stock fully until May. May, June, July, August, September, October… 6 months later a much faster model becomes available, and my (total of) 900 bucks is null (in comparison). Bullshit.

Now, on to the iPhone 5… with its A6 processor, it… is… FAST. If I had to write some sort of review for the product, the first thing I’d say is: “The iPhone 5 finally achieves desktop computing speeds, in your hands”. Since the iPad ushered in the ‘Post PC’ era, shouldn’t the device BE desktop speeds – cause right now its close, but not quite. The iPhone 5 HAS desktop speeds, and with the ‘Post PC’ device carrying the ‘A6X’ processor, everything’s in its correct place.

Of all of the announcements yesterday though, I was so happy for the iMac. That thing is a work of art. I mean, the design of the new iMac is so amazing, you should probably BUILD an office or a house around it. Not only does the carpet match the drapes, but it’s just flat out gorgeous. And this is what Apple excels at. Other manufacturers catch up in design, and then Apple throws a new curve. Dell and HP both have impressive ‘all-in-one’ computers, but this new iMac puts them to shame. What I am most intrigued by this though, is that they decided to use ‘hybrid’ hard drives instead of all SSD. Interesting. I always thought that these hybrid SSD hard drives were unreliable. But, if ‘Apple’ is using it maybe the technology has finally caught up to their standards. OR maybe their standards have slipped. I’m hoping the latter doesn’t apply.

My secondary surprise and excitement behind the iMac is the new Mac Mini. Arguably, the Mac Mini of all things replaced the Mac Pro. Now, truth be told, the technologies are completely different with different usage needs – but if you look at speed tests on paper, the numbers of the Mac Mini (at this point) are much much faster, except in video processing. I mean, Apple sells ‘Minis’” as ‘servers’ for Pete’s sake. Considering that you can get one for 500 bucks (what once was their ‘entry level’ Macs), it is now quite the little force to reckoned with.

As a whole, Apple did good yesterday. I was finally about to watch the event ‘live’ on my TV, with their Apple TV channel, and they picked a great event to start off their new channel. I’m quite pleased and am looking forward to trying these new products.

I absolutely adore Spotify, but…

spotify music… I really, really wish they offered a better app experience.

I pay for Spotify’s best service. Nine bucks a month gives me everything I want from an online music service.

The quality… is awesome.

The catalog… is great.

But… that nine bucks a month really misses the mark with the iPad – and other ‘mobile’ or streaming options for that matter. I am complaining more than anything, that Spotify should have an iPad app by now. Quite frankly, it is crap that they do not. Also, Spotify should be available for multimedia outlets like Apple TV, Roku, Boxee, and the rest of the list. Rdio & Moog.

The app itself for Windows or OSX is junk. JUNK. It’s a ‘Songbird’ wanna be, and it’s horrible. It’s not fully featured, at all.

While I’m not happy about the lack of an app or multimedia availability, I’ll end by going back to the title of this post… I absolutely love Spotify. If you haven’t made the plunge, do so… iPad app or not. You’re really missing out on something great.

Google Changing Its Own Android Game? Good!

Google Android malware

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Friday morning, everyone. I figured I’d chime in real quick with some potential big news regarding Google’s Android. Most who know me personally know of the extreme caution I recommend when it comes to Android. It is absolutely abysmal in terms of security. Then yesterday afternoon, this comes out:

Google Now Scanning Android Apps For Malware

My reaction?

WOW… what is absolutely needed to ‘help’ bring rational security to Android… is happening.

This isn’t a walled garden like Apple’s solution, but it’s a start. This also isn’t full-proof, as this is reactionary based on existing known threats. But again… it’s a start.

This really could be something promising for making Android better. I personally want to see what they’ve caught after they go live with this. The number could be good or bad.

My fear… this works ‘well’ and prompts Apple to ‘open’ up a little more with their depot of iPhone & iPad applications.

I’m actually kinda shocked, personally – but good for Google!