Saturday, September 22, 2007

iPod Touch

The iPhone met or exceeded the hype in most instances. After living with the godphone for a few months now, I have very few complaints. I wish it was louder with less distortion. That's about it.

I saw the iPod Touch today and admit it's a sexy device. It's half as thin as the iPhone and noticably lighter. The screen is the same beautiful 3.5 inch the iPhone sports.

So why didn't I buy one? One simple reason. Storage. At 8GB or 16GB I have no need for it. My iPhone covers that space. What I really really wanted was an 80GB iPod touch. For that I would have sold my current 5th Generation 60GB iPod. While the iPod classic is nice - it's lighter, thinner and has more storage - it doesn't really offer much above and beyond what I already have. Sure, battery life is much better, but I don't really need that.

I think Apple really missed the boat on the iPod Touch. Sure, they'll sell a crapload of them, but I think they'd sell a couple craploads if they offered a high-capacity version which is thicker, but has the storage people want.

iPod nano - Insanely Small

Wow. I checked out the nano today at one of my local Apple stores. Wow. Gives a whole new meaning to impossibly small. I was surprised at how much better it looks in person, including color. Images just don't do this wonder justice. The scroll wheel is small, but completely fine even for my fat sausage fingers.

Did I mention this thing is small? Incredible engineering. This thing really has it all - might even be the perfect storm. Decent screen size for movies, insanely small, ridiculous battery life, cover flow, games and more.

If the look was putting you off, seriously give this thing a chance by seeing it in person. I think you'll be surprised.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Deal on 2GB MacBook Memory Sticks

Not sure of the quality of “Transcend” brand memory, but one of the comments says it’s really Micron which I’ve at least heard of.

2GB DDR2 667 (PC2-5300) Notebook Memory - $88.99 each after $5 instant rebate and another $5 with promo code EMC918SYME03

Friday, September 14, 2007

High-Quality Album Art

Josh's iTunes Album Art Grabber goes straight to the source - iTunes itself for album art. What's great is that the album art is up to 1425x1425 pixels - sweet! The downside is that it's one artist & album at a time, and you need both the album and the artist. Sometimes the picture returned will give you a 404 error. If you change the ".jpg" to ".tif" it sometimes will work.

iTop and iStub

Popsci.com iTopPopsci.com is featuring an interesting use for a broken or obsolete iPod: the "iTop" (original by Owen McGarry here.) Very simple actually, it just involves a bit of slicing and hinging and hacking. Have a need? Have a go.

On a side note, I finally checked out the iPod stub nano at the Apple store today and I have to admit, the pictures and ads do not do it justice. This is a neat little device. For some reason, it feels more out of science fiction or some retro-futurism idea than any other incarnation of the iPod, probably because it's so damned tiny and packs quite a wallop. I still have no need for said device, but get your hands on it and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ringtones Are Live

Apple turned on ringtones in the iTunes store yesterday. I finally had a chance to try it and for the most part, it's pretty cool. As always, Apple has done an exceptional job of making it easy. The hardest part was selecting which part of the songs I wanted to use as the ringtone.

As covered elsewhere, you can only make ringtones of songs you purchased from the iTunes Store. That goes for songs purchased prior to yesterday too.

You cannot make ringtones of songs you already own but did not purchase through iTunes. It's all in the licensing and you have the RIAA to blame for this one. Believe it or not, ringtones are not considered derivative works and record companies can do as they please with them.

My beefs:

1. Your $0.99 purchase price only gets you the portion of the song you select. If you decide later you want a different part of the song, it's another $0.99.

2. One song, Happier by Guster, was indicated in the store as a ringtonable song, but once purchased it was not. Outcome of this pending with iTunes Customer Support. UPDATE: The helpful folks at iTunes support suggested ignoring the missing bell and right-clicking and selecting "Create Ringtone". Duh. That worked. The bell icon should still be showing tho.

3. The little bell icon needs to be added to your view. Go to view options and then select ringtone. Seems Apple would have turned this on by default for iPhone users. Nit-picky I know, but deal with it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Starbucks & iTunes & Apple

Okay - let's dismiss the fact that it's Starbucks. Their coffee truly sucks. If you like it, you really don't like coffee. Bitter and ewww, just yuck. What's truly significant about this.

Let's disect it. You have an iPod touch. You walk into a Starbucks and you're working and listening to the music playing over the loudspeakers. I'd be lieing if I said I never wondered what a song was while I was working at my local Caribou.

Think about it. You're in the coffee shop, and on your iPod it shows you what's playing. Think about the technology to make that happen. Regardless of the fact that it's Starbucks (with coffee that sucks). Think about the integration and the customer ease-of-use. Incredible. This will be popular over the long haul.

iPhone Price Cut

We can certainly debate what it means. Is it that Apple is not selling them as they hoped or as some have suggested that Apple wants in the mobile phone business in a big way and are willing to do the unthinkable (for Apple) and discount their product.

I actually don't care (too much). I love my iPhone and knew while standing in line for 6 hours that I was taking a risk. The same is true with any technology that you buy early.

There are three things that make this particularly frustrating for us reasonable early Apple adopters:

1. Apple doesn't discount. Ever. Well, okay, once a year the day after Thanksgiving, but never like this. A 5%-10% discount maybe, but 30%?

2. Timing. We Apple fans know that within 6-10 months Apple will release new hardware with more features at the same price. In this instance, the same exact product is getting a price reduction instead of the same price for an upgraded product. And this is happening after 2 months? If Apple had released a new 16GB iPhone at $599 and discounted the 8GB to $399 this wouldn't sting so bad. And get ready, there will be a 16GB iPhone in the very near future.

3. Visibilty. When Sony lowers the price on some Blu-Ray player or other electronic item, it's not plastered across the front page of every newspaper. So the people who bought the player earlier don't even know the pain of the lower price. Apple can't do anything nowadays without a bazillion people watching.

Regardless, it's the risk you take with technology. Would I like to see Apple offer something for us loyal early adopters? Sure - who wouldn't. Will I be all pissy and whiny like many out there and threaten to stop buying Apple products? Hell no.

If you purchased your iPhone within the last 14 days from Apple or 30 days from AT&T, you can return it to the store for a credit. If you waited in line for 6 hours and are now pissed that it's cheaper, suck it up and get a life.

R.I.P. iPod Hi-Fi

Yep, that's gone too. No loss. It had great sound, but was a bit bulky especially for Apple.

Pissed About $2 Ringtones?

Well, if you compare with what other carriers are charging for a 30 second or shorter clip of a song, Apple's $2 is either right on par or even slightly lower. I know with Cingular (which AT&T has already screwed up, but that's for another post) musical ring tones were almost $3 and you had no control on what part of the song the ring tone used.

With the new ringtone service from Apple, you get to choose what part of the song is the ringtone.

If you were willing to cough up $3 for a ringtone before, you'll surely cough up $2 and have full control. Damn kids.

But if you're going to be stubborn about it, TUAW has a few ways to get ringtones on the cheap (or less).

UPDATE: TUAW also has a review of the actual iTunes functionality.

R.I.P. 4GB iPhone

Apple unceremoniously killed the 4GB iPhone today due to lack of consumer demand. Can't say I blame them. If you're spending $500 on a phone, you might as well go a step up ($100) and get the most storage you can so it obsolescence comes a tad bit slower.

But if storage isn't an issue and you want a great deal, Apple is selling the remaining stock of 4GB iPhones for $299.

R.I.P. White iPod

A little-noticed item in today's announcements was the death of the white iPod. There are now no iPods in the iconic white. The new iPod Classic comes in Silver or Black. The iPod nano comes in every (might I add "unique") color except white.

While I personally carry a black iPod, there will always be a place in my heart for my first iPod - 5GB of storage, solid state wheel that actually turned, big clunky buttons around the wheel. Ah, memories.

Gizmodo has a fitting tribute to the white iPod.

The Beat Goes On

Summary:
New iPod Shuffle colors including a RED model.
New funky-looking iPod nano with 2” screen, video playback, new colors
New iPod classics with thinner metal enclosures, longer battery life, new UI, 80GB and 160GB storage.
New iPod Touch – basically an iPhone without the phone at 8GB and 16GB, Wi-Fi, YouTube, Safari.
Wi-Fi iTunes Store for iPod Touch and iPhone with lame Starbucks integration.
8GB iPhone Price Drops $200 to $399. No word on 4GB model.
Ringtone Service for iPhone – 99 cents for song and another 99 cents to turn it into a ringtone

Monday, September 03, 2007

NBC Doesn't Trust You

A bit more on NBC's recent idiocy regarding iTunes.