Today, Apple announced the iPhone 4S. It’s so simple I can say it in a single sentence.
The iPhone 4S features a better camera, A5 processor, Sprint support, another antenna, and a voice assistant.
The better camera is 8 megapixels which is capable of recording 1080p video, and the other aspect of the new camera is an additional lens and a wider aperture.
The A5 processor is dual-core and can run things quite a bit faster.
Apple decided that the iPhone needs two antennas to make calls – one to transmit and one to receive. After all, one antenna just doesn’t seem to do quite well on other phones…?
Last but not least there’s Siri. Apple bought this company a while back to create a fancy digital assistant, and my have they succeeded. Siri can understand what you say and create reminders, events, schedule meetings, move meetings, reply to text messages, find restaurants, and more with just your voice. I think it looks pretty cool – but there’s one question that I can’t seem to find the answer to: will it be available on the iPhone 4? If they only have it on the 4S it will really just be a letdown. After all, the iPhone 4’s hardware is definitely capable of handling that kind of processing pressure, and I don’t think Apple should use its software as an incentive to get the hardware.
This leads me to my next point – where’s the innovation?
With the last iOS announcement being the iPad 2, this leaves me wondering what Apple is thinking. The iPhone 4 was completely revolutionary compared to it’s predecessor. The iPad was completely revolutionary compared to it’s predecessor as well (there was no predecessor). But with the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2, I feel like Apple is having a hard time thinking of something revolutionary to release.
Everyone has been waiting for the new iPhone for quite a while now. But at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit today, Apple board member Al Gore said that the new iPhones come out in a month.
Oddly, this all makes sense. Would Apple really skip their usual Summer update to bring us just a performance bump?
This is what I think – there is going to be a model of iPhone with a performance bump, however there will also be a new iPhone 5 that is a complete do-over.
The performance bumped iPhone 4 would most likely be called the iPhone 4S, and would sell for cheap – $99-$150 ish. Then, there would be the long-anticipated iPhone 5 for the usual price of $199-$299 with the complete reinvention thing going on.
That’s the interpretive, bright side of this quote.
However, we don’t really know Al Gore’s actual perspective. It’s possible that he could have accidentally added an S to the end of iPhone, and/or it was just amplified by the sound system. It’s also possible that he meant next iPhones as there will be one model of new iPhone, but MANY will be sold.
The one thing that couldn’t have been a mistake is the fact that he said “next month.” That means October – So for those of you who have been waiting months and months for the next iPhone, it will be coming next month – whether it has an extra model or not.
The iPhone can take some pretty dang good pictures. In fact, many different phones can take mind-blowing shots. But your little phone can do even more if you treat it to these mini-lenses from Photojojo!
There are three lenses available from Photojojo: 2X telephoto, 180 Fisheye, and a 0.68x wide/macro lens. I won’t go over individual pricing, but the whole pack is $50.
Installing the lenses is painless. In your package you’ll get a few tiny, metal magnetic rings. Undo the plastic on the adhesive side and stick it around the lens of your device. If you have an iPhone, however, you should probably put the ring on a case; the sleek glass doesn’t play well with their adhesive.
Now to use the lenses, you just attach the lens to the metal ring and it magnetically locks on. Neat!
For those times when you want to get closer to your subject, the 2x telephoto lens will do exactly what you’d expect. Unfortunately it will cause a tiny bit of distortion, but not enough to make a big difference.
As you can tell by that comparison, the lens does a nice job of zooming in, but has a bit of distortion (visible near the door handle).
This lens I believe is my favorite. It can capture just about everything you can see without turning your head. If you want to really capture an entire scene, this is exactly what you need.
Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, this lens causes a particularly noticeable amount of vignetting, but I think that it adds a nice effect. If you want to get rid of it, you can always crop it with whatever application you desire, however you’ll end up losing a bit of the image.
Wide Angle / Macro
This lens confuses a lot of people. Is it wide angle or is it macro?!
Alone, the magnetic part of the lens is just Macro. However, there’s an adaptor that screws in to the macro lens to convert it to a wide angle lens.
The macro lens doesn’t zoom in at all. It just allows you to focus WAY closer to objects. Here’s a comparison – remember, I took the first picture as close as I could while staying in focus, then I took the second as close as I could while staying in focus. This lens does NOT zoom.
Pretty cool, right? You can get ridiculously close to capture textures that previously went unnoticed. On the second picture, I’m holding my iPhone a tiny bit less than an inch away from the keyboard.
The wide angle addition to this lens isn’t very fancy, it just makes the picture a tiny bit wider. It will cause some straight lines to bend in odd ways, but it still comes in handy when wanting to capture wide shots without going crazy with the fisheye.
Doesn’t that doorway look kind of round? As you can tell, it makes the picture a bit wider but can’t capture the amount (and distortion) of the wide angle lens.
Yup, these work great with a phone camera. But there’s one use that I recently found – your webcam! It’s a small camera, just about as small as the one in an iPhone. Take a metal ring and stick it around, and you can use these lenses while video chatting! I personally have an LED cinema display, and although it makes my screen look a little funny, the results are totally worth it.
Here’s the display:
Ha! By the way, those things on top of my monitor are dinosaurs; you’ll get one with every photojojo order! I’ve ordered two things from Photojojo, so that’s why I have two dinosaurs.
OS X Lion removes the need for any kind of media for the installation. That’s nice, because there’s no disk for you to lose!
However, if something terrible happens to your computer, you’ll end up installing Snow Leopard, then upgrading to Lion once again. Thankfully, Apple has made a utility that allows us to easily and painlessly create a bootable USB Lion Recovery Disk. Unfortunately, you must have either the MacBook Air or Mac Mini Mid 2011 for this to work. This is because those are (currently) the only computers with the Lion Recovery Partition.
Click here to download the Recovery Disk Assistant from Apple. Once downloaded, open the Disk Image and launch the Application.
Now would be a good time to plug in a USB disk. Plug it in and continue through the installation. There’s nothing for you to configure, so this is extremely straightforward.
If your computer stops booting, or you get a new hard drive, it’s time to use this disk. Plug it in to a slot on your computer, then boot holding the alt/option key. In the menu that appears, select the recovery disk. Now you can download and install Lion right back on to your computer!
The MacBook Air is a great computer. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a bigger display. That’s an easy task if you have an external monitor.
Okay, so now you have two displays. Cool! The only problem with this is that it can sometimes be confusing and/or distracting to deal with two displays at a time. Okay, simple enough, just close the lid to the MacBook Air and use an external keyboard and mouse. That was easy.
This would be the answer to all of our problems, however a closed computer does take up quite an amount of valuable desk real-estate. That’s why the BookArc is here to save us.
As you can tell, it is really just a stand for the Air that holds it up sideways. The stand is made of solid aluminum, and has rubber inside so that you don’t scratch or in any way damage your beloved MacBook Air. It also has a small indent in the side to manage any cables you might have, and was designed to fit the cable from an LED Cinema/Thunderbolt Display quite well.
This saves a ton of desk real estate, and can really come in handy. But the fun doesn’t stop there!
Usually laptop cooling requires some fancy advanced stand that usually doesn’t even work well. Well, here’s my personal cooling system.
Yeah, that’s it. I have the MacBook Air and a desk fan pointed at the bottom. This will keep your Mac nice and cool, so you won’t have to worry about heating issues ever again. Nifty!
The BookArc is a simple, elegant stand that serves its purpose quite nicely. If this stand were any more, it would be too complicated and much less attractive. It saves you a ton of desk real estate, and at the same time you can cool down your computer!
As you may have read in a previous post, my beloved MacBook of three years has finally bit the dust. That MacBook treated me well, and with an SSD and upgraded RAM it was able to work wonders.
Now, however, it is time to move on. And as you may be able to tell by the title, I have decided to continue my Mac collection with the newfangled MacBook Air.
Which one did you get?
One of the big reasons I wanted the MacBook Air was because of its portability and the offering of an 11 inch version. Due to this, I got the 11 inch MacBook Air with a 1.8 ghz Core i7, 256GB flash storage, and 4GB of ram.
I can hear a lot of you saying “Isn’t 11 inches a little small?” Why yes, it is. However, when I’m at home, I have an LED Cinema Display to hook it up to – no lack of pixels over here.
The design of the MacBook Air does NOT fail to amaze. It feels so thin and light in your hands, but at the same time it feels incredibly solid. Because it’s a “unibody” MacBook, it was manufactured from one single piece of aluminum – it’s strong. Tapering from 0.68 inches down to 0.11 inches, you can bet your bank account it’s thin. Thanks to this, I can finally accomplish my dream of slipping my computer into a manilla envelope. The one problem with this pencil-thin design, however, is that on the whole computer you get a total of five ports. On the left side, we have a MagSafe power adapter, USB port, and microphone/headphone jack. On the right side we have a thunderbolt port and a USB port. Sorry, disc lovers!
Upon opening the computer, you get some more goodies.
The first thing you’ll notice is the screen. It’s bright and, well, beautiful. It packs a very nice DPI, featuring a 1366 by 768 resolution squeezed into 11.6 inches of glossy glory.
Next, you’ll notice the keyboard. The keyboard is full-size, featuring every key you’ll find on that thick MacBook Pro. In addition to being full-size, the keyboard is also backlit – a feature that was definitely missed on the previous version of MacBook Air.
The next thing you’ll notice is the giant trackpad. This trackpad resembles that of the MacBook Pro, although on the 11 inch version of the MacBook Air it’s a tiny bit thinner. The glass surface is a cinch to move your fingers across, and is extremely responsive to say the least.
Last and, well, least, would be the FaceTime camera embedded in the bezel of the screen. Apple decided not to put in one of the new FaceTime HD cameras, and will probably bring it back in the next version of the MacBook Air. Nonetheless, it’s still a standard functional webcam that is definitely a good addition.
In addition to being quite the looker, it gets a high score in the area of performance as well. As far as processing goes, the 1.8ghz hyper threaded dual-core i7 works wonders. The 256GB SSD performs at ~250mbps Read/Write speeds. The 4GB of RAM is sufficient.
For comparison, I’ll test the performance of the Air versus a pro using Geekbench. I first ran it on my mother’s MacBook Pro (Late 2009), which features an intel Core 2 Duo and 8GB of ram. It scored a Geekbench score of 3002. Not bad.
Then I ran it on the Air. It scored a whopping 5200 – which is a 70% increase from the pro, in 30% of the space.
The one setback of the Air’s performance would be graphics. It’s running an Intel HD 3000 chip, which is integrated so it doesn’t boast the same performance that you might get with an nvidia card. Although it might not be on par with an nvidia, it’s still a perfectly good graphics card nonetheless.
If you’re thinking of buying one of these, there’s one thing that you might be at risk of. The SSDs in the Airs are provided both from Toshiba and Samsung. This would be no problem, however the Toshiba SSDs are about 100MBPS less than the Samsungs. Yeah, that’s a big difference.
Here’s a video to find out if your Air boasts a samsung or a toshiba:
The MacBook Air combines the two most wanted/needed components of a notebook computer: power and portability. The powerful processors and fast memory give it some meaty specs, and then the 0.68 to 0.11 inch body makes it a lean, mean, working machine. I definitely recommend this computer to everyone, whether you’re a professional video producer or an under-appreciated artist living in a college dorm.
Today, Wednesday August 24th 2011, marks an important day in hi-tech history.
Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, the most valuable company in the world, has officially resigned.
” I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Steve Jobs said in his resignation letter. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”
The exact reason for Steve’s resignation has not been published. Steve has been on many medical leaves recently, and this day was unfortunately expected.
The new CEO of Apple will be Tim Cook, the current COO of Apple. During Steve’s medical leaves, Tim Cook has taken over – so we won’t be stranded with someone who’s new to the job.
Steve Jobs has made many contributions to this world, and nothing would quite be the same without him. He’s the mind that was able to build the worlds most valuable company, with more money than the US Government, from a garage in Palo Alto, CA.
Steve will be taking place as “Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee,” as stated in his resignation letter.
“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.”
The HP TouchPad has had terrible sales, and as a result it was discontinued by HP and put on a sale of $99. Within hours, the HP online store was sold out, and every store that carries them in the bay area was out of stock within 3 hours of opening.
At $99, I wanted one. Last night I called best buy and they said that they would start the sale this morning. This morning I call 10 minutes after opening and they tell me they’re out of stock. I call every Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, and Radio Shack in the area – all out of stock.
Now it’s 11:00. Nobody has them anymore, and it’s as if they never existed.
It’s amazing how an unwanted product can sell out at the right price. Every product is a features:price ratio. If you have terrible features (HP TouchPad) and a low price ($99) you will get good sales (out of stock in 3 hours).
If your’e looking for a Touchpad, you’re probably out of luck. The 32GB version is still available on the HP online store for $150, but I think that’s a little bit of a ripoff.
Apple recently announced a refresh to the MacBook Air line which includes a much faster processor, bringing it up to par with other more-powerful machines. I didn’t think of it as much – MacBook Air is less slow and more go. This means that instead of being a shiny piece of cutlery, it can now actually be used for real life applications.
But what Apple didn’t make obvious is that they have completely eliminated the white MacBook from the line of their computers. Completely.
Not a trace of polycarbonate shells anywhere.
This means that the MacBook Air is now the entry-level MacBook, and it features a faster processor and better graphics card while only taking up half of the space – for the same price. Sounds pretty good, right?
However there’s a downside: for the entry-level Macbook Air, you only get half as much storage as you would for the now eliminated entry-level white MacBook. The entry-level white MacBook came with a 160GB internal HDD standard, but the identically-priced entry-level MacBook Air comes with a mere 64GB of Solid State Storage. Solid State does have a benefit over normal HDDs in that they boast much faster read and write speeds, however media junkies will have to pay a bit more to get the space that their data craves in the MacBook Air.
I’m afraid this marks the end of the MacBook in general. Now there are only two notebook lines from Apple, both of which have a three letter word stuck to the end (Pro and Air). This also means that we are unibody-only; you will now be seeing VERY little plastic in the Apple stores in general (including the fake ones in china).
The MacBook had a great run and attracted TONS of sales – but with everyone investing their money in more updated and capable aluminum MacBooks, the original MacBook simply had to go.
Yes, there’s those few big announcements that Apple made at Back to the Mac and are constantly being advertised. But here’s a few little features that people don’t really take note of.
Change Background on Desktop Right Click
In the past, to change your desktop background you had to open System Preferences and open Desktop & Screensaver to change your Desktop Background. Now, you can simply right click anywhere on the desktop and there is a selection to change your background.
Different Backgrounds for Different Spaces
It used to be that you could have different wallpapers on different displays, but now you can also have different wallpapers on different spaces. Just go to the space for which background you would like to change, then right-click and select “Change Desktop Background.” Make sure you quit System Preferences every time you change the background on a Space.
Web Search in Spotlight
Spotlight is a great way for you to find files, look up definitions, and do basic arithmetic problems. With the update to OS X Lion, you can now also use it to search the Web or Wikipedia. Just type in your search and the Web and Wikipedia selections will always show up in the list.
Plus Button now Maximizes
In the top left of every window, there are three distinct buttons: an x to close, a – to minimize, and a +. The + usually made the window some weird bigger size, and you could set it and toggle between them. It was so confusing that nobody really ever bothered to try and figure out how to use it. Now, however, it will actually make the window take up the screen (without using Lion’s full screen application feature).
With an External Display, closing the lid no longer sleeps
Previously, to use an external display with your MacBook’s lid closed you had to close the lid, wait for the computer to fall asleep, then use a bluetooth/external mouse to wake it up again. This is no longer the case; when you close the lid with an external monitor connected, your display will flash blue to adjust to the new display settings, but your computer will not go to sleep.
I hope you enjoyed this little guide on a few of the hidden features of Lion. They may come in handy someday, and they’re good to know. I’ll continue to post as I find others.
For the longest time, if you wanted to get to your information about your computer, you used System Profiler. The interface was clunky and confusing, obviously aimed at more advanced users.
Although it’s not advertised much, there is a new app replacing System Profiler called About This Mac, introduced in Lion.
Unlike system profiler, About This Mac is easy to use, and makes the more important things stand out. It also uses graphics to make explanations easier to understand.
As you can tell by the above picture, it’s a very easy to understand and streamlined interface.
The Displays Pane is simple and easy to understand.
As you can tell, it’s quite easy to understand.
It gives you a graphic of the display, and the name of the display. Then, in smaller text (indicating that it’s probably less important to you) it tells you the dimensions, size, and graphics card.
If it’s an Apple monitor, it will even give you a link to the user manual – handy!
The storage pane gives you some quite-welcome insight into what’s taking up your disk space. It may seem similar to something you’ve seen in iTunes.
It’s definitely handy that it gives you this info.
It also lists other volumes that you have mounted/installed, such as your CD/DVD Drive and any USB drives.
Memory, the easier term for RAM, is crucial to your computer. If you didn’t have any Memory installed, you would have an EXTREMELY slow computer. The Memory Pane gives you an easy explanation using graphics and easy to understand english.
It gives you a simple box telling you how much total memory you’ve installed in your computer. It then tells you how many slots your computer has, and tells you the specifications for what Memory modules can go in .
Then it gives you an easy to comprehend graphic telling you how much Memory is in each slot. So easy to understand, even your grandpa can understand it.
In case it needed to get even more useful, they added a link to the Memory Upgrade Instructions – just in case you want to add some more, and don’t want to go around fishing online. Handy!
The support pane just gives you links to different online Apple support resources.
This is definitely an extremely useful pane. Use this pane to clearly understand your warranty information, and get more information about the AppleCare support plan.
In addition to giving easy to understand repair descriptions, it also gives you links that you can use to check the status of your current warranty. It will send your serial number to Apple, then you will get a page telling you about the warranty status of your computer.
About This Mac is definitely a welcome replacement to system profiler, especially because it brings easier to understand graphics and descriptions, all in basic english. This will definitely be a big help for Mac users who need to learn more about their computers, but aren’t rocket scientists.
About This Mac can be found under the Utilities folder in the Applications Folder.
As you may know, Lion recently came out. Lion relies heavily on multi-touch gestures to be taken full advantage of. So I decided to break out the magic trackpad and try it out.
I’ve had many problems with the magic trackpad recently, mostly with it jumping around the screen a lot – I would touch it, and suddenly it would be on the other side of the screen. This time was no exception.
So why does my trackpad keep doing this? I’ve replaced the batteries, cleaned it off, and even tried someone else’s.
After a bit of research, I finally found the problem:
I don’t know why, but after I read this I noticed that Time Machine was backing up. Hmm…. I stopped the backup and Voilla, the trackpad is back to its normal, behaving self.
This is going to get in the way, considering that Time Machine likes to back up every hour; make sure you keep an extra USB mouse on hand just in case.
To tell you the truth, I have absolutely NO idea why Time machine causes a problem with the trackpad. Time Machine connects over WiFi, and the Trackpad connects over Bluetooth. They’re totally seperate antennaes – why are they interfering with each other?
Although there is no explanation to this solution, it’s still a solution. So remember – if your trackpad is acting up, check to see if Time Machine is backing up. (HEY THAT RHYMES!)