Thursday, September 28, 2006

Top 10 Rules for Buying Apple has a great article that all new buyers of Apple products should read.

The Zune Price Match

Microsoft's iPod-killer the Zune's price was announced today. A shocking $249. Hmmmm....what is the price of the iPod again? Hmmmm...I wonder.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wal*Mart Is Evil is reporting that Wal*Mart is threatening to retaliate against movie studios who work with Apple.

**UpdateWal*Mart claims these stories are not true and that they are not threatening movie studios. Yeah, right.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Awesome Prices on Refurbished iPods

Apple has lowered prices on refurbished iPods. I've always been a big fan of refurbished items and have rarely if ever had a problem with one.

60 GB iPod video for just $229? That's $170 off the original price!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Difference between old 5 and new 5.5 generation iPods

With the new 1.2 iPod updater the 5th generation iPod gets nearly everything the new 5.5 iPod gets with some notable and important differences.

5th Generation iPods updated with 1.2 have the quick scroll feature, gapless playback, game support, 640x480 video resolution, iTS movies, new brightness control.

5.5 iPods offer all of the above, plus a 60% brighter display, longer battery life (3.5 video hours for 30GB, 6.5 video hours for 80GB), more storage for the high end model (80GB vs 60GB), new ear buds and the search-by-letter enhancement.

If I did a ton of cross-Atlantic travel, I'd really want the new iPod for the battery life. I have 8GB free on my 60GB iPod, so I'm not desperate for extra space (yet) and as cool as the search feature is, I can live without it for a while. I'm waiting for the 6th generation iPod anyway.

iTIP - Make songs gapless

In iTunes 7 if you want to make a song gapless with another, highlight the song and select Get Info. In the options tab select "Part of a gapless album".

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fix iPod Scratches is providing a unique way to fix iPod scratches with a CD/DVD scratch kit. I prefer Brasso myself.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Gum Does the Zune

Brown Zune Is Ugly as ShitMy favorite music blog (stereogum) was invited to a special preview event of Microsoft's Zune - the next supposed iPod killer. Scott does an excellent job of analyzing what is right and wrong about Zune.

What's definitely wrong? Brown. Jesus, brown. What the hell are they thinking?! And what's definitely right? Well, close to right is the capability to share music for three days or three plays, whichever occurs first. That's really the only new feature that Zune offers that intrigues me in the least. It would be cool when I'm out drinking with my buds talking music to share this easily, but it simply is not enough. They sure have a hell of a lot of resources to throw at this thing, but brown ain't going to kill the king.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another Observation

Not sure if you caught it, but Steve did not wear his usual uniform of a black turtleneck and jeans. The jeans were still there, but the turtleneck was replaced with a black button-down shirt. The times, they are a-changin'.

Minor Observations

iTunes 7 -

- "iTunes Music Store" has quietly changed to "iTunes Store".
- New "Skip Count" view option shows you how many times you've skipped a song.
- Transfer songs from your iPod to a 2nd authorized computer.
- By god, gapless works. Thank the maker. This has been too long coming. However, it is not compatible with crossfade playback, meaning if you have crossfade playback on, it crossfades AND gapless plays the songs. Annoying. Gapless songs should be ignored in crossfade.
- CoverFlow is awesome. Very slick.
- iPod preferences easier than ever with more information than ever.

iPod nano -

- Saw them today at my local Apple Store. Wow - very (very!) bright. Neon-hurt-your-eyes-neon. Pink is hot pink. Green and blue look good though.
- Cool packaging.

24" iMac -

- WOW. I mean WOW. Gotta have one of these. Only 6 inches shy of the incredible 30" display. This is an awesome computer.

Just Watch Us Now

I don't know why anybody would want to make a major tech announcement on the same day as Apple, but NBC did just that. Welcome NBBC. NBC is the latest to try to cash into the YouTube craze. With everybody doing online video these days, it makes me wonder how much better Apple could make it if they ever decided to do something similar (think video iMixes). Until then, you'll just have to be content with music videos, TV shows, and movies on your iPod.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

iTunes 7 Now Available

iTunes 7
iTunes 7 is now available for free download. This is a first major overhaul of iTunes in some time. Lots of new features and so far all rock-solid in my short experience with it.

Of course the major (expected) announcement is movies. You can now download movies in near-DVD quality from Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Pixar. 75 movies are now available with more being added all the time. New releases during pre-order and the first week of release are $12.99, $14.99 after the first week. Most library titles are $9.99. Movies and TV shows' resolution are improved 4x to 640x480 resolution. People with 5-6 megabit broadband (cable modem) can download a movie in about a 1/2 hour.

On to the interface. The source menu is new and better organized. Instead of a library bucket, it is now organized by media type. The new device section shows your connected iPod and CDs. Highlight your iPod and you can now fully control preferences in the main window. The interface is really nicely done and makes so much more sense than how you previously managed iPod preferences.

There are two new views - album and coverflow. Album view organizes your song list by album with the album art. Coverflow is really slick and enables you to quickly scroll through your album art. I think it will be a fantastic way to discover music that might be forgotten. It's a much more visible way to experience music selection. To accompany this, iTunes will find and download free album art. Coverflow also works with TV and Movies.

To me the most important new feature is gapless playback. Experience two songs that were meant to flow seamlessly together without the annoying 1 second gap.

There are lots of other nice tweaks here and there. Download it today.

New iPod Shuffle

iPod Shuffle
I'll admit that I've never really liked the iPod Shuffle. Every single time I've tried to play with it at the Apple Store I've never been able to get it to work. Yes, I'm sure it's a problem between the ear buds, but nonetheless it never works for me.

Anyway, today Apple announced the new iPod Shuffle. It looks much better than the first version. Bathed in annodized aluminum, its most impressive feature is the built-in clip. Now I finally get it. I can seriously see getting one of these for my less-than-consistent workouts.

Pre-order yours today for only $79.

Refreshed iPods

refreshed iPod
In perhaps the most disappointing announcement today was the refreshed iPods. Same screen size, same profile, same concept. I was really hoping for the much-rumored "true" video iPod. Perhaps another day. This is a true refresh; Apple still refers to the "new" iPods as "5th generation". Rumors have it that the 6th generation is on track for Q1 2007.

The screen is 60% brighter than the current model, has twice the battery power for video, enhanced ear buds and has some new interface features.

The most important and significant feature is gapless playback. Finally you can listen to The Wall without that annoying gap between songs. iTunes is also now gapless.

Included with gapless playback is the ability to purchase, download and play enhanced games. Tetris, Pac-Man, Mahjong and others for only $4.99. I enjoy playing solitare, brick and parachute, but they get old fast. The new games look great. These are available for the new iPods as well as all 5th generation iPods.

You can now also search for songs by scrolling in letters in a new search interface. I like the idea. Also, as you scroll through your list the letter you are scrolling through will appear. Nice and much-needed tweaks to the interface.

Overall a decent refresh, but not what I or many people were hoping for. The 30GB model is now more affordable at $249 and the top-of-the-line 80GB model (up from 60GB) is $349.

New iPod nano

Apple iPod Nano

As expected, the iPod nano line was updated today with 2x higher capacities, a thinner (is that really possible) design, and most importantly in colors!

At first glance, they look suspiciously like iPod minis - the colors, the rounded edges, the clickwheel. Just imagine that old-school iPod nano as thin as a couple credit cards and as wide as a thumb and a half.

The 2GB model comes only in silver and is $149. The 4GB model comes in silver, blue, pink and green for $199. The 8GB model comes only in black for $249.

I Want My iTV

Apple iTV
Among the various announcements today, the one that was most interesting is the iTV set top box. The iTV (working name) will enable you to stream all your video, movies, music, podcasts, photos and more to your TV wirelessly from iTunes on your Mac or PC. About the same diameter as the Mac Mini, but half the thickness, it sports the latest HDMI connectivity along with component video, analog and optical audio. It also includes ethernet and USB ports.

Available in Q1 2007, it will be priced at $299, more than reasonable. Video from the new iTunes 7 is at near-DVD quality and will only get better as compression and broadband technologies improve. I'm pretty sure this will be on my list of must-haves.

Friday, September 08, 2006

New Mac Minis

Apple Mac Mini
In addition to the new iMacs, Apple also announced upgrades to the Mac Mini. Now sporting new Core Duo processors, upgrade software bundle and expanded upgrade options. These are really cool machines. The call centers of my company use these to run the front-end GUI of our mainframe reservation system.

iMac Line Updated

Apple iMac
Apple upgraded the iMac this week. In addition to new Core 2 Duo chips, they added an awesome 24-inch iMac. Not only is it obviously bigger, but for the first time it sports a FireWire 800 port. This makes it a serious contender for professionals who need speedy external storage.

The new line is also about 1.5 times faster than the previous version and about 6 times faster than my iMac G5.

World Domination

Could it be that Apple has more on its mind than iTunes movies? Macworld speculates how our digital world might change on September 12.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Apple iPhone Imminent (again) is reporting an analyst's view of the pending Apple iPhone. The analyst has surprising details about the device.