iPhone Apps I'd Love to See

Apple is scheduled to release the official iPhone/iPod Touch SDK at the end of the month soon, which means we should see the first "official" iPhone/iPod Touch applications shortly thereafter.  Here are some apps, I'm can't wait to see:

  1. TI-8X Graphing calculator
  2. iPhone as Modem
  3. Gesture Commands (also here)
  4. Voice Commands ("Call Steve", "Next Track", "Volume Down", etc..)
  5. A2DP Support
  6. Pandora player
  7. Some games (sudoku, tetris, etc.)
  8. Hulu Player

Keep reading for more on the Graphic Calculator idea.

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Updated MacBook Pros Finally Arrive


MacBook Pros were just released sporting faster Penryn processors and the Multi-touch trackpad.  Also, the base configuration starts with a 256MB video card (up from 128), while the faster models have 512MB.  Oddly, the remote is now a $19 add-on (it used to be free).  MacBook Pros are still sporting the same design as PowerBooks from 2003, and there's still no high-resolution 15" display option.  I can't help but see these MBPs as just the appetizer before the all-new MacBook Pro feast that should be served up with the new Intel Chipset Montevina (or Centrino 2, or whatever).

Study confirms Mac users like Starbucks, cosmetic dentistry

This new study about Mac users pretty much confirms what most of us already knew from watching Best in Show:

Still this new study by Mindset Media hits a little too close to home.  Here some of the trends among Mac users:

  • More likely to use laptops. Check (my last 3 computer have all been notebooks).
  • Buy organic food. Check
  • Pay to download music. Check.
  • Have bought 5 new pairs of sneakers in the last year.  I'm at 3 and counting...
  • Drive a station wagon.  Check.
  • Drive a hybrid.  Maybe one day...
  • Use teeth whitening products.  Nope
  • Liberal. Check
  • Frequent Starbucks.  Nope, their tea selection is lame, but (much to my embarrassment) I do get their Chai Tea Latte from time to time.

Man, am I really that much of a cliche?  My next computer might have to be a Dell Latitude E just to shake things up.

Finally a MacBook under 5lbs: The MacBook Air


Apple's brand new ultra-portable notebook, the MacBook Air, was just announced at MacWorld.  The Air, like the normal Macbook, sports a 13.3" screen and a full size keyboard, but at just 3 lbs it's 2 lbs lighter than the MacBook.  Also, the trackpad supports several new multi-touch gestures, like the pinch-zoom gesture.  Looks like multi-touch is slowly appearing in more and more Apple products.  The Air seems like a great machine that will finally satisfy customers who have been eager for a Mac under 5 lbs (something which has been conspicuously absent since the MacBook).  The Air lacks an internal optical drive, but there is a new external Apple SuperDrive for $99.  Also, the battery is not removable, which is already drawing some criticism.  With the Air, it looks like Apple will have to replace the battery for you (for $129).  Hopefully, Apple Stores will even do the replacement.

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Where are the New MacBook Pros?

Well MacWorld is over, and Pro notebooks are still sporting pretty much the same design of PowerBooks from 2003.  I'm pretty bummed, I really thought the stars had finally aligned for new MacBook Pros to be unveiled at MacWorld this year. On the upside, the new MacBook Air gives a lot of clues about new MacBook Pros.  I fully expect new MBPs to take a lot of design cues from the Air, be lighter and sleeker, and support more multi-touch gestures on the trackpad.  On the downside, it looks like totally new MacBook Pros are still a few months off, as the Montevina chipset isn't set to drop until mid 2008.  Which sucks, because I really need a new notebook now.  Looks like I'm stuck playing the waiting game...

Last Minute MacWorld '08 Predictions

I'm counting down the minutes to MacWorld '08.  Here are a few predictions.

  • Lots of news about how great Leopard is doing
  • Lots of news about how great the iPhone is doing
  • iPhone SDK released early
  • 16GB iPhone
  • iTunes movie rentals
  • iTunes Wi-fi store for Apple TV
  • New Apple TV that supports HD, probably with larger capacity
  • Something about Blu-Ray
  • Ultra-portable/tablet MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Pro line updated with Penryn processors and new styling

New MacBook Pro Design at Macworld '08?

For the last two MacWorlds I've been hoping Apple would unveil a new design for it's Pro notebooks. So far it hasn't happened, but this should finally be the year for the MacBook Pro line to be totally refreshed from the inside out: Intel's new mobile processor family, Penryn, is set to be released this month; also there are rumors of a new addition to the MacBook Pro line in the form of a ultra-portable notebook or a multi-touch tablet; and lastly, the appearance of Apple's Pro notebooks pretty much hasn't changed since 2003.  Read on for what I'm hoping for in new MacBook Pros.

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Dell XT and the Rumored Apple Tablet


Rumours are circulating that Apple will announce an ultra-portable notebook at January's MacWorld. There are also rumors that Apple is working on a (multi-touch) tablet computer.  I can't help but think the ultra-portable and the tablet are actually the same product, just like the "true video iPod" and the "Apple cell phone" turned out to be the iPhone.  Also, Dell will soon release the Latitude XT tablet with a multi-touch display.  I won't be at all surprised if the specs of the Apple's ultra-portable/tablet and the Dell XT are almost identical.

Apple Needs an Equal Rival

Daring Fireball has a very eloquent entry on how Apple has no rival to push them to be better and give consumers more choice.

If Apple is BMW, who is the Audi pushing them to be more elegant, or the Acura or Lexus pushing them to be more reliable?

The sensibility and technical expertise that Apple brings to its product is simply unmatched in consumer technology.  And while I'd love for a rival to emerge, I don't think any major tech company actually wants to play the same game as Apple.  Although if one were to emerge, my money's on HP, I think Sam Lucente is doing amazing things.

A2DP Support Now In Leopard, Could an Apple Bluetooth Audio Gateway Be Far Behind?

The newest version of Apple's OS X, Leopard, finally brings A2DP support to the Mac.  A2DP is a technology that allows audio to be wirelessly streamed from a device, like a computer or cell phone, to a set of speakers or your home stereo.  One can only expect that A2DP support will soon be coming to the iPhone too.  Apple was a pioneer of wireless music when it created AirTunes, a nifty feature of it's Airport Express Base Station that enabled iTunes music to be played over your wireless network.  But now that Leopard supports A2DP, it seems very possible that Apple will create it's own Bluetooth Audio Gateway.

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$100 Store Credit for iPhone Early Adopters

Faster than you can say "they should do that," Steve Jobs to the rescue. Read the full response here.

Attach Pages Documents in Gmail


Every time I try to e-mail a document created in Apple's Pages using Gmail, it gets stuck in this this endless "Loading" loop.  It seems that Gmail can't send Pages documents, and perhaps even other documents created in iWork.  And I thought Google and Apple were all buddy-buddy lately.  Anyways, they should really do something about this.  So far the only work-around I've found is to change the extension before e-mailing it, and then restoring the extension when you download the file.

A Second Look at the iPhone Copy and Paste Video

I was watching this iPhone copy paste video again and something didn't add up.  Watch it again and see if you can figure it out for yourself.  Otherwise, hit the jump...

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Recent Apple Ideas from Around the Web

They Should Do That is all about ideas for products that individuals can't carry out themselves.  So I love to see work from around the web with a similar purpose.  Just after the iMac announcement this great "Where's the Mac?" entry appeared.  The author's basic point is that Apple offers the Mac Mini, the iMac, and the Mac Pro, but no "Mac" which he proposes should be less powerful and less expensive than the Mac Pro but offer comparable expandability.  It's a great little read, and the comments are priceless. 

Also, this really cool video appeared demonstrating how copy-and-paste could be implemented on the iPhone.  Apparently iPhones can't copy/paste, which is probably pretty annoying for people who do a lot of e-mail on their phone.  The production is awesome and weird, but it seems like only one of a number of ways copy and paste could be implemented.

iPhone Copy and Paste from lonelysandwich and Vimeo.

New iMac Released: Evolutionary more than Revolutionary


Apple did release the new iMac on Tuesday pretty much like everyone expected. It has a new aluminum enclosure, a glass covered screen and it's even slimmer than before. Much to my disappointment, but not surprise, none of the things I mentioned in my little iMac wishlist came true. Actually, I am a little surprised about the whole Leopard thing. Mostly because I really thought there was a good chance Leopard would be released early, especially since all the developers at WWDC got a copy of Leopard back in June. Also, two months before a major OS X release seems like sort of an awkward time to update any Mac. That said, I'm sure if Apple could release Leopard early, they would.

Last Minute iMac Wishlist


Apple is widely expected to unveil new iMacs tomorrow along with a new slim keyboard design.  There are a lot of features that I hope will be integrated into the new iMac (like a nice big muliti-touch screen or a TV tuner), but instead I'm going to focus on just a few.  The biggest thing I'd like to see with the new iMac is inductive charging along with new Apple wireless keyboards and mice that can be inductively charged.  With inductive charging a wireless keyboard and mouse could be recharged just by being placed in contact with the iMac; no more replacing batteries or plugging-in charging cables.  The stand of the current iMac is a great place to stash the keyboard and mouse, and with inductive charging it could be a great place to charge those devices too.  The other thing I'd love to see included with the new iMacs is OS X Leopard, and that Leopard will be available early. Also, I can't believe Apple would launch a new computer in August only to release their latest and greatest new operating system in October.  If the new iMacs don't ship with Leopard they should at least come with a coupon for a free upgrade to Leopard.  The last two things I think Apple should include with the new iMac are really minor: more USB ports (current iMacs just have 3 USB 2.0 ports), and LED backlit screens for better energy efficiency.

Apple's Product Design Strategy

In my last entry I discussed how Apple's approach to product development is affecting the technology industry, and citied some examples of how other companies are responding.  I'd like to describe, what I believe to be, an important aspect of Apple's design strategy by way of this awesome image of Apple's products:


To me this image demonstrates that Apple approaches almost every product as though it's creating a design icon for the ages.  The products have an incredibly long lifespan, for instance: the basic iBook design was basically unchanged from 2001 through 2005, the iMac design is basically unchanged from 2004 to the present, and the aluminum PowerBook (now MacBook Pro) and full tower desktop designs have lasted from 2003 to the present. On the surface this might be seen as a decision purely motived by aesthetics, but it's also enables Apple to minimize design and manufacturing costs. Instead of creating all new product designs (with new parts that have to be tooled and manufactured), Apple can focus on incremental refinements and improvements. By comparison companies like Dell and HP seem to release totally new (and often unremarkable) product designs almost every year.  All those designs seem to be piling up.  For instance Dell currently offers 8 different desktop enclosures to home customers, despite there really only being 3 distinct sizes.  Even worse, most likely all those enclosures will be totally forgotten within a year.

The Other iPod Halo Effect


Something often attributed to Apple's astonishing growth is the "iPod Halo Effect" which is the idea that lots of people who bought iPods will buy other Apple product because they like the iPod so much.  But there's another iPod Halo Effect at work that's reaching beyond Apple to the entire technology industry.  The other iPod Halo Effect is that technology companies are finally realizing that customers want attractive, easy to use products, that interface seamlessly with their computers and, furthermore, that all new products need to be expertly marketed.  The effects of this newfound interest in design can already be seen.  Belkin has released a steady stream of new computer accessories with compelling designs, like the laptop@home products designed by Mike and Maaike and their line of attractive surge protectors.  Also, Microsoft's Zune is another great example.  With the Zune Microsoft abandoned their normal strategy of making the software platform and letting other companies make the hardware.  Instead Microsoft created the Zune device as well as the Zune software and music store to deliver a much more cohesive user experience (at least in theory).  Dell and HP have even stepped up their advertising with some pretty sweet tv spots.  Dell also is ramping up their design capabilities, as evidenced with the new M1330.  In this interview with Vio Luminosu, one of Dell's lead industrial designers, he says:

we've built up our internal design department we have a stronger goal and a stronger focus on design within our group

Of course companies trying to match Apple's product design may still find it difficult without also making some serious changes to how they approach hardware.  One of the reasons Apple is able to execute such attractive and specific designs is that many of the components inside Apple's devices are custom manufactured just for Apple.  Companies like Dell and HP, for instance, typically just design their own enclosures for someone someone else's hardware, which is often the same hardware used by countless other companies.  That can make it difficult to achieve a unique appearance, feature set or sleek form factor.  Of course, the M1330 is good indication that we may see Dell begin to change all that, and hopefully the M1330 will work as good as it looks.  Also, while Microsoft's XBOX 360 looks great and is a leader in the current generation of game consoles, it's also suffering from terrible hardware failure rates.  Microsoft made a big splash with Surface, but it's bulky hardware is destined to be upstaged by something thinner and more advanced.  While hiring great industrial designers designers, user interface designers, experience designers, and marketing companies is a great first step, many tech companies will also need to increase their hardware capabilities so that the are able to support the vision of the designers and marketers they hire.

Next Apple Multi-Touch Products Reprise

So after stepping back a bit, I think I may have to scale back my Apple multi-touch predictions.  I still believe that multi-touch will be the next big thing, but I think the transition may be a little more incremental than I originally thought.  After all, before Apple jumps into multi-touch with both feet they're going to need to be confident people really like it.  And that will probably mean a few baby steps along the way.  The news of a multi-touch mouse from Apple is a good example of such a step, even though I'm a little dubious that Apple will ever release it.

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Apple's Next Multi-Touch Products

Shortly after the Apple Store opened back home, my mom and I were in the mall and we stopped in.  One of the things I showed her was the first generation iMac with LCD screen.  I adjusted the screen to be a comfortable angle for us both to look at it, and started to show her around the desktop.  While pointing to one of the icons on the Dock, my finger accidentally tapped the LCD screen which caused a little ripple around my finger as can happen with an LCD when you tap at little too hard.  My mom noticed the ripple too, an her eyes instantly lit up, "Can you just touch the screen?"  she said.  "No," I said, "not quite yet."  That simple experience was enough to convince me that touchscreens are the next big thing in modern computing; on the same order of the mouse and the graphical user interface.  On June 29th, Apple will release the iPhone, their first product with a touchscreen since the Newton.  So the question is, what will be Apple's next Multi-Touch product?

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Leopard Features Wishlist


At this year's WWDC keynote, Steve Jobs gave a preview of 10 new features in OS X Leopard.  So far, my favorite is definitely Quick Look.  Not having to load Word or Excel just to make sure it's the file I'm looking for will be such a huge time-saver.  After watching the whole keynote, I got to thinking about what features I'd like to see in OS X.  Read on for my little list:

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Bill and Steve: The Historic Interview

Check out the historic interview of Bill Gates and Steve Job from the "All Things Digital" conference, courtesy of Gizmodo.com. I was shocked at the number of times I laughed out loud while watching these interviews. Both Bill and Steve came out huge winners in this interview.

Will the iPod remote make a comeback?


I love my iPod, but my one gripe is that it's very hard to do things like change the volume with the iPod in my pocket. Oh how I've longed for a little volume dial on the top of my iPod like on my old Walkmans. It's only really a problem when you're walking on the street at a good clip and don't want to risk pulling that ever so smooth and slippery iPod out of your pocket to change the volume or skip a track. This problem may only get worse if the next iPod's whole front surface is a touchscreen, similar to the iPhone, which will offer no tactile feedback. Hopefully they'll be able to offer simple controls that can be used without looking at the screen, perhaps using simple gestures. For instance, changing the volume could be done by sliding two fingers up or down the screen. But that could be hard to do from your pocket, and for those of us that like to keep our iPods in protective sleeves. Also, I can't imagine Apple will disrupt the design of the new iPod for a few buttons on an edge or front. But they may bring back the iPod remote as freebie with some model iPods, perhaps even one using Bluetooth. Back when I purchased my 15GB 3rd generation iPod it came with this great little remote pictured above. If Apple doesn't bundle a remote with the touchscreen iPod, I could see a huge market for attractive iPod remotes.

No iTunes Subscription Model for Music, but What about Videos?

Recently Steve Jobs has again denied the possibility of a subscription model for music on iTunes, but conspicuously made no mention about a subscription model for videos.  "People want to own their music," he said.  What he means by this is that while many music subscriptions offer unlimited downloads, the catch is that when you end your subscription all the music you downloaded becomes unplayable.  So essentially, customers of these plans are just renting music.  While the concept of renting music may be unpopular, renting videos is something that everyone does.  And Jobs made no mention about the possibility of a subscription-based model for iTunes videos that would essentially allow people to rent videos.  A subscription plan for iTunes videos could be widely popular; even with the same people who would never want to rent music.  I've written about the need for an iTunes subscription plan for videos here and here, and now that the iTV is out I still maintain that a subscription plan for videos is inevitable.

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Hey Apple, after you fix the green button how about the red button next?


TheAppleBlog has a great article on why the green button in OS X is broken and needs fixing.  To me the bigger annoyance is the red button.  Sometimes the red button quits the application other times it just closes the window and leaves the application running.  The logic behind the behavior is that if the application only ever has one window, such as System Preferences or Calculator, the red button quits. But if the application can have multiple windows like Microsoft Word or Safari the red button closes the window, but leaves the application running.  It sort of makes sense, but unfortunately the logic is so obtuse that the button ends up seeming totally inconsistent.  The big problem is the behavior is based on what the program is capable of, not it's current state.  Most user don't have a clue which programs can have multiple windows and which cannot, nor should they really care.  If I had to guess between iPhoto and iTunes which could have multiple windows, I'd guess iPhoto... and I'd be wrong.  It would make much more sense if the behavior of the button were based on the current state of the application, i.e. how many windows the program currently had open.

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Standalone Apple AirTunes


I love AirTunes!  For those unfamiliar, AirTunes is a feature of the Airport Express Base Station that allows your computer to wirelessly stream music to a stereo or set of speakers.  It works great and it's incredibly convenient for freeing your music from your computer without transferring music to an iPod or (bleh) burning a CD.  The problem is that the only way to get AirTunes is with the $150 Airport Express Base Station which is also a wireless router, wireless range extender and wireless print server.  While $150 for all that really is a good value, it's a little steep if all you want is AirTunes or already have a happily working router.  However, it would be really great if Apple made a $40 or $50 device that just provided the AirTunes functionality.  I'd pick one up in a heartbeat, maybe even two.  Who knows, maybe Apple could never make a standalone AirTunes device in the $40-$50 price range, but it seems pretty feasible to me.  Alternatively, it would be great if Apple added AirTunes to more devices like the iPod Hifi (as I proposed ages ago) or even an iPod dock.

Steve Jobs on DRM-Free Music

Wow, talk about confluence. Just after posting about how great eMusic is, Steve Jobs releases a statement endorsing DRM-free music. When I wrote that hopefully we'll see other companies follow in eMusic's path I never thought Apple would be among the first. Here are some highlights, but I do recommend reading the whole statement, it's very readable and very interesting. Ok, now the highlights:

Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music.

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store.

...the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none.


The question is, how can we convince the big four music companies to license their music without the DRM requirement? Oh I know...

Witch, Window Switching on OS X Done Right


For any Windows users that are switching to Mac, or even OS X power users, Witch is an absolute life saver. Any long-time Windows user knows that the fastest way to switch applications or windows isn't the taskbar, it's good old Alt+Tab. However, to switchers the OS X equivalent doesn't quite cut it. Apple+Tab switches applications and Apple+` switches application windows. It’s two keyboard chords to do the work of one in Windows. But the real frustration, is that if the application window is minimized Apple+Tab (or Apple+`) doesn’t un-minimize it. Which is super annoying, why would anyone want to switch to an application and not see it? That's where Witch comes in. Witch is an application switcher AND a window switching in one handy keyboard chord. But best of all it will automatically un-minimize windows, it will even re-launch an application if it doesn’t have any windows (i.e. Finder). It uses a nice little heads-up display which lists all windows, plus it's very customizable (almost to the point of confusion). Read on for some handy customization tips for Windows Switchers.

Download Witch (via Shiflett.org)

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Apple Multi-Touch and Han’s Multi-Touch


Since the iPhone announcement at MacWorld some interest has developed in the similarity between Jeff Han’s multi-touch demonstration and Apple’s multi-touch. They both sense multiple fingers touches and they both demonstrated the “pinch” zoom gesture. However, there are some pretty fundamental differences in the hardware driving the two multi-touch interfaces. Read on for a more on this….

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Apple TV: The Real Scoop


Admittedly, I'm a little obsessed with the AppleTV and after the announcement I eagerly went online to pull up some more info about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find answers to my questions, so I called up Apple and spoke to an unbelievably helpful and gregarious sales rep. Most of my questions seemed to stump him and he had to ask someone else for clarification, so here's what I found out.

Things you can't do with Apple TV:

  1. Shop on iTunes - You can't buy music or movies directly from the Apple TV you have to shop from a computer.
  2. Connect an iPod - You can't connect an iPod to the USB port and access it's media.
  3. Access the Media on the Apple TV from your computer - You can sync media to the Apple TV, but you can't access media on the Apple TV from other computers on the network.
  4. Record Live TV, Play DVDs - Yeah, the Apple TV is not a DVR, just like we all expected. And it doesn't have a DVD drive.

I have to say I'm a little disappointed with the Apple TV. I think it should be able to do more, and perhaps it will through software updates. Anyways, one question the sales rep asked me is "When do you think you might order one?" To which I answered "When it can do the things, I've just asked you about." But it was a really good question and it got me thinking about what would make be plunk down $300 for an Apple TV. Read on for my list.

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Is the iTV a NAS?


At Apple's September 12 event, Steve Jobs announced the iTV, a little device that allows access to your iTunes Library on your big screen TV. The iTV won't be available until early 2007, and while the demo was very impressive it still leaves a lot of questions about what the final version will do. In particular whether or not the iTV has a built-in hard drive is not yet known for sure. However, this may not be so important because the iTV definitely has a USB port. So the real question is: "What can I plug into that USB port?" While the USB port is probably for connecting an iPod, perhaps it can also be used to connect an external hard drive to the network. Read on to learn why the iTV may just be the NAS (network attached storage) solution no one expected.

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iTunes 7: They did it!


Last week Apple released iTunes 7 and it features not one but TWO enhancements previously described on "They should do that," needless to say I'm delighted. The first, and more hyped new addition is browsing by album artwork. The second new feature, which hasn't gotten as much attention, is that iTunes purchased music can now be transfered from an iPod to a computer. This means that if your computer hard drive dies, but you had all your purchased music on your iPod you haven't lost it. Woo hoo!
Apple iTunes Album View and Cover Flow View
Apple iTunes Sync both Ways

Apple’s Touchscreen Ambitions

About a week ago I wrote about Jeff Han’s awesome multipoint touchscreen, and questioned if Apple was working on anything like this. Well, it turns out the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Going as far back as 2004, Apple submitted patent applications for a multipoint touchscreen, gestures for a multipoint touchscreen (including the “pinch” gesture), and other important touchscreen related stuff. So, yeah…pretty sweet…

Read on for a summary of Apple’s more interesting patent application with lots of help from hrmph.com.

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It’s Alive! High Resolution PowerBook Created?!


Well it looks like I’m not the only person eager for Apple to release high resolution laptops. BaxterBrittle, so totally fed up with waiting for Apple, has taken matters into his own hands. He has successfully retrofitted his Aluminum 1GHz PowerBook with a 15.4” WUXGA display (that’s 1920 x 1200 resolution). To accommodate the 15.4” screen, the display enclosure from a MacBook Pro was used as the original PowerBook enclosure can only handle a 15.2” display. Reportedly the laptop does close and latch properly, but the display does overhang a bit. The combination of mismatched parts, and overall beastieness, has prompted the laptop to be dubbed “Frankenbook.”

Thorough instructions have not yet been posted, and the mod hasn’t been successfully completed on a MacBook Pro. If I were BaxterBrittle, I’d offer to retrofit anyone’s PowerBook for $100 plus the price of the new display.

MacRumors discussion thread (via Gizmodo)

Dude, where's my Apple Tablet PC?


Since playing with my friend’s Nintendo DS Lite, I’ve been totally convinced that touch screen displays will be the next major disruption to computer user interfaces. I was shocked not only by how fun and rewarding the games were but how the touch screen opened up so many possibilities for game play. I found myself instantly wanting a touch screen experience for my computer that offered the same level of creative thinking about the interface. Which led to one invariable conclusion, Apple needs to release a tablet based computer, and not one of these dinky UMPCs, I’m talking about a real computer.

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Display Resolution Options on MacBook Pro


I'll be the first to admit that I probably focus on screen resolution a smidge more than the average computer user. So I'm incredibly disappointed that after finally adopting a 15.4" display on the 15" MacBook Pro, Apple is not offering different resolution options. What's most surprising about this move is that the current 15" MacBook Pro has a lower resolution than 15" PowerBook. Apple should really take better advantage of the 15.4" screen size and offer resolution options on the MacBook Pro.

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Subscription Model for iTunes Video Store

As much as the iTunes “Multi-Pass” and “Season Pass” for videos are great new purchasing options, a true subscription model for videos may still be preferable. Sure purchasing 16 episodes of the Daily show for $10 instead of $32 is great, but who really wants to own every episode of a daily TV show (even if it is as awesome as the Daily Show)? iTunes should offer a monthly subscription plan for videos, similar to the other music stores’ subscription model for music.

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More Sketch Comedy on iTunes

Apple is definitely on to something with selling Saturday Night Live sketches on iTunes. They should quickly expand to selling sketches of other beloved and short lived sketch comedy, such as The Ben Stiller Show, Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show, and, of course, The State. iTunes and the iPod could be the best thing to happen to sketch comedy since Lorne Michales.

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Browse by Album Art in iTunes


Album artwork has been largely peripheral to the experience of using iTunes, and it's time for this to change. Simply being able to browse artists and albums by CD covers would begin to restore what has long been a big part of enjoying music and artists, and is still largely lacking in digital music.

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Transfer iTunes Purchased Music from iPod

This is a simple one, iTunes purchased music should be able to be transferred from an iPod. If I accidentally delete a song file, or my hard drive crashes I should be able to restore any iTunes purchased music back to my computer from my iPod, that just seems fair.

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iTunes Lossless Downloads

The current generation of iPods maxes at 60GB, and a 100GB iPod by year's end seems more than likely. With such high capacity hard drives, song file size is quickly becoming an afterthought to most consumers. After all, who's really counting after 10,000 songs. So I'm surprised that Apple still hasn't become the first mainstream digital music store to offer lossless downloads, especially given their recent product announcements and the growing popularity of Apple Lossless format.

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iTunes Needs Tags not Genres

As much as I enjoy using iTunes, I'm perpetually frustrated by how to organize my music with it. To be fair, I have similar problems when I arrange CDs on a shelf or in one of those 200 CD nylon cases. My preference for browsing through music is looking at set of albums with some thematic connection. Currently the best way to do that in iTunes is by browsing by "genre." However, with so much new music crossing genres or existing squarely between two or three genres, this rarely works well (the whole notion of a music "genre" is a bit of an anachronism if you ask me). For instance you can have a genre for soundtracks and jazz and Latin, but that doesn't help at all when you come to the "Buena Vista Social Club", a soundtrack for a film about Cuban jazz. What would make much more sense is if multiple tags (or labels) could be applied to each song instead of just a single "genre."

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iTunes Week!


So in an attempt to get a whole bunch of ideas out at once about iTunes, I'm announcing this to be "iTunes Week" here at theyshouldothat. Check back all this week for new ideas all about iTunes.

iPod Hi-Fi with AirTunes


Like most people I was a bit disappointed by the iPop Hi-Fi. I still can't understand why Apple bothered to make a dockable speaker system, which is objectively just like all the other dockable speaker systems. It just doesn't seem worth their time. I'm also incredibly suprised and confused that they did not build "AirTunes" into the iPod Hi-Fi. Being able to stream music from iTunes to the iPod Hi-Fi is not only an obvious feature, but it would have clearly distinguished the iPod Hi-Fi from all the other high end dockable speaker systems.

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