New iBook's Radeon 9550
One change in the new iBook generation is a newer graphics chip, which supports Core Image. With 32 MB VRAM, it certainly isn't a decent graphics card, but it's enough to choppily display the effect when adding a widget. (Other uses of Core Image are currently unknown.) ;)
iBooks and PowerBooks future...
In recent years, Apple has rarely surprised us with notebook updates that caught the crowds off-guard. The last time that happened was when the 17" and 12" PowerBooks were released. That was in January 2003. Since then, we've seen gradual updates. Highend features have been given to the middle model. But real progress? Nope.
Yesterday's iBook updates are nice. The 12" model certainly appeals to many - and it has been the most successful iBook model, anyway. Cutting prices has helped the PowerBooks and iBooks in the past, too, but it seems to me that Apple has been releasing the iBooks and PB models always some months late. This started in January 2003. Steve Jobs called it "the year of the notebook", but then nothing
happened for nine months. The 15" model stayed in its Titanium state and didn't earn the aluminum body until September.
Now let's cut to the end of 2006, when I believe all notebook models will sport intel processors. Suddenly, we can't claim that Apple's notebooks are somehow better because of the PPC. So let's say (I'm just taking a number here) Apple uses the fastest and bestest intel mobile processor available for the PowerBooks, the 2.3 GHz dual-core Yonah part with 64-bit extension. Great! Finally a 64bit processor in the PowerBook. But can Apple then keep the highend PowerBook using this processor for 6-9 months? While competitors like hp, Dell, Sony etc. are already using the next generation of intel's mobile processors?
While Apple's previous situation certainly wasn't comfortable in that Motorola only made slow progress with the G4, the situation was
comfortable for Apple's hardware engineers. They only had to build computers once, basically. The aluminum PowerBooks have not seen drastic changes for more than two years. Now with the market telling Apple that their hardware suddenly is older faster, will they be able to keep up - or will they (again and again) have to fight the image of advancing notebooks "too little, too late"?
Sure, part of the argument is mute, because if you want to use Mac OS X, you'll have to
buy a Mac, even if that means using "last year's" intel processor. Also, if you buy them when they're new and replace them with another
PowerBook when that
is new, you're fine.
Still: I hope that Apple finally gets its act together and switches to much
quicker adoption of available new processors. If I head on to store.apple.com, I want to select "PowerBook", then "15 inch", and then I want to be able to choose the processors that are actually available on the market. But that's not how Apple's been working in the past. Should I fear? Or hope? Let's hope.
For example, I hope that Apple doesn't expect applause for bringing a 1.33 GHz processor to the world's favourite iBook, the 12 inch model.
iTunes Music Store Tokyo in a week
Apple is to introduce the iTMS to Japan on the 4th of August, in a special "music event" at the Tokyo International Forum.
After Japan, there'll still be some important countries without access to iTMS.
In other rumours, there's the possibility of a 2 GB iPod mini. It would be flash memory based. I like the thought of a cheaper iPod mini - and also the idea of the iPod's "real" interface for a flash-memory device. If the iPod minis all go colour display this Autumn, I might get lured into buying one...
iPhoto 5.0.4 released
Apple has released the 40 MB update through Software Update. It corrects an issue with pictures that have been auto-rotated by a camera, according to the notes.
New Mac mini and iBook models arrive...
As anticipated, Apple today announced new versions of their Mac mini and iBook computers. The iBooks now have 1.33 and 1.42 GHz G4 processors and built-in Airport Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0, bringing them (again) closer to the PowerBook models. The Mac mini basically stays the same as before (1.25 and 1.42 GHz models) but - like the iBooks - comes with 512 MB RAM as standard. This, of course, is needed with Mac OS X Tiger, which doesn't exactly 'fly' with less than 512 MB memory. Overall, the update of the two lines is to be called moderate.
One year without an iTunes phone
Yesterday's MOTONOW did not
show the iTunes phone. A year ago, Apple and Motorola announced that future mobile phones by Motorola would include "a mobile version of the iTunes software". Is it really clever to announce such a thing more than a year before the release? Is it Apple's or Moto's fault that the thing's not yet on the market? Well: Yesterday Motorola read a statement by Apple that an announcement would be made within the following 66 days. Are we looking at a delay until September - or maybe even an October?
Seed of Safari 2.0 Update 1
Along with the aforementioned Safari 1.3 Update 6 seed, Apple seeded a development version of Safari 2.0. As expected with much of the same bugfixes and changes.
Continued development of Safari 1.3 (for 10.3.9)
Apple has seeded "Safari 1.3 Update 6" to developers. Safari 1.3 will apparently follow the development of Safari 2.0 (Tiger) with bugfixes, but won't ever earn the UI and RSS features - only the web compatibility and performance improvements.
New iBook, Mac mini configs coming early next week
A look into Apple's databases reveals that we'll see a 999 and 1299 USD iBook lineup (missing is the old 'highend' at 1499 USD) and a 499, 599 and 699 USD Mac mini lineup, introducing a new highend version of the mini at the 699 price point.
iPod Video: When, not whether.
Apple will try to repeat the success story of the iPod with the iPod Video. Pieces have been falling into their places already. iPhoto and iTunes both have support for QuickTime movies. QuickTime 7 has support for the "highly scalable" H.264 codec, an extension to the MPEG-4 standard. Apple also has the store technology from iTunes.
Critics say that "people don't want to watch video on such small screens". Yet they do. They're converting whole movies and watch them on devices with screens smaller
than the current colour screen iPods. But of course the iPod Video will have a bigger screen than that.
So what will you do this Christmas? You'll think about whether 699 or 799 USD is too much for such a player. You'll probably still buy it. (Remember the iPod? It was considered "much too expensive to be successful". Yeah, right...)
You'll unpack it. Synch it with iTunes. It'll have all your songs, your photos and your movies. Nice, eh? Videocasts are already a feature of iTunes. Music videos are already part of the iTunes Music Store, albeit only on rare occasions. This will change, of course. You'll be able to buy music videos. According to rumours, Apple's in talks with Disney to also license cartoons and other "smaller" video content. While the iPod Video probably won't be the device of choice to view the latest blockbuster movie release, it'll be a fun device to watch a Simpsons episode on. Spend 30 minutes in a train on your way to work? Perfect. Now you can watch the latest news etc. while you're travelling.
But let's not
forget the blockbuster movies. First: Apple's been doing trailers on the QuickTime website for years now. Very successfully so. Where do people find movie trailers? IMDb and QuickTime. But second: The iPod Photo already allows you to connect the device to an external video display. For example a video beamer. The iPod Video will let you watch movies on your home cinema. At a resolution that rivals the DVD. The DRM issues are the same as with music. And Apple's solved those already. (Sure, there have been some problems, but Apple has handled them, and the music industry, which has many a connection to the movie industry, is comfortable with Apple's solution.)
So... You might say: "Apple's not going to do it." - And you might be right. But Apple would be wrong not to do it. The question is the timing, of course. If Apple wants the iPod Video to succeed, it has to wait a little. Until people around the world start to really want
the thing. And that's happening already. PDAs do it. The PlayStation Portable does it. Mobile phones do it. They all suck in one way or another. The worst are the ones that actually try to fight the iPod by adding video capability in order to have a USP over it. Apple's in the right position to do it right the first time. And that's important. Apple certainly did the right thing with the iPod. Who's gonna stop them doing the right thing with the iPod Video? You? I hope not.
IDC: Apple's 4th
Apple took fourth place in the US PC market in Q2/2005. 4.5 per cent, apparently. Worldwide, Apple's still out of the top five, but the iPod's halo effect and the Mac mini are
working in Apple's favour.
iBook update coming...
According to several sources, Apple's finally ready to update the iBook line. In recent years, Digitimes several times 'reported' that widescreen iBooks were right around the corner. On the other hand, Digitimes also 'reported' that both the iBook and the PowerBook line would have G5 processors.
Our sources expect a modest update inside
and that on the outside, the 12" iBook will remain, while the 14" model will be replaced with a 14.1" widescreen model.
How quick iPod's star might vanish...
According to Yahoo
, BCN has stated that the iPod's success is waning in Japan. And if Japan once was a good market for Apple, it certainly seems that Sony is slowly - but steadily - taking the market back again. Sony's beat the iPod shuffle with its "Network Walkmen", and it also took a large bite out of the Apple for the digital music players with more than 10 GB space. The iPod mini is still faring well, but the rest...
Certainly, iTMS Japan (when it finally arrives this August) can make a difference. But is it enough? Or too late already? And: Is this a first sign that the iPod's success story could end as abruptly as it began?
How Microsoft sees the Macintosh future...
Keepin' in touch with people working at Microsoft is not something I'm proud of, but I've asked a person in the MBU as well as a person working on Longhorn about how they view the Macintosh and its future using intel processors, and their answers are very interesting to me, so I'll share them.
Not surprisingly, the MBU doesn't see much change with the Mac moving to intel. They're in the process of creating the next version of Office for the mac, and it'll run on both PowerPC and intel Macs. Universal Binary. So: The Mac's still the Mac for them, although it might cost them a little more time to get the next version of Office ready.
On the other hand, there's Microsoft. (Somehow, the MBU just isn't the same thing...) And for Windows development, Apple suddenly creates PCs, too. "We've heard that Apple won't keep people from installing Windows on Macs." Yes, that's what Phil Schiller said. One of my questions was whether the slow move to the PC side did scare them. But obviously, it doesn't: "We're not in the business of selling PCs ourselves. We sell software licenses. A Mac user who buys Virtual PC with a Windows license or buys a Windows license for an intel Mac or buys a Windows license for a noname PC: Same thing for us - we sell a Windows license."
Interesting years ahead, I guess... One quote that I found particularly share-worthy: "Also, this whole thing will probably change the meaning of 'comparing apples and oranges'. ;-)"
Apple posts profit
iPod sales rose over 600 percent year over year. Read more here
Apple releases Mac OS X 10.4.2
Apple's released the update, finally. You can get your system updated through software update, but if you want to be on the safe side, get the combo updater
from Apple's update page.
Apple seeds Xcode Tools 2.2 DP1
Apple's at work for the developers. After releasing Xcode 2.1 at WWDC (which included the ability to create Universal Binaries for the first time), Apple's now starting development on Xcode 2.2.
News for developers: The CodeWarrior importer sees improvements. - This is important, of course, since Apple wants as many devs who're currently using CodeWarrior to move to Xcode for the creation of Universal Binaries. Also, there are smaller improvements and bug fixes.
What we're seeing is that Apple wants to make sure that when the first Mac - speculation's still that it will be a Mac mini - using an intel chip appears on the market, the software will be ready. Since WWDC, quite a few big name developers have said they're already hard at work to make their software Universal Binary ready.
The Xcode 2.2 DP1 runs on Tiger - on PowerPC as well as intel machines (the Developer Transition machines).
Mac OS X 10.4.2 8C46 seeded
Apple has seeded 8C46 to developers. According to the release notes, they've improved Dashboard's memory management and something about iChat video conferencing.
PowerPC 970MP and low-power 970FX announced
IBM has officially announced the long awaited dual-core PowerPC 970MP. They'll arrive at 1.4-2.5 GHz with 1 MB L2-Cache per core, one core can be disabled for powersaving. The chips are believed to find their way into the next round of PowerMacs.
IBM also announced a low-power variant of the PowerPC 970FX, the chip currently used in PowerMacs and iMacs. The parts will arrive at 1.2-1.6 GHz and are
aimed at notebooks and low-profile desktops - such as the Mac mini.
This certainly sounds like we will
see some good PowerPC products by Apple before the chip family is left behind. We even might see the PowerBook G5.
Mac OS X/intel leaks
And this time "for real". Someone apparently grabbed the live system (or parts thereof) from an intel Mac at WWDC. People are now sharing this archive on the net, trying to get this system running on PCs with Darwin X86 8.x. While there are no reports of running systems yet, two important bits of information could be gathered nonetheless.
First: It seems that the intel version of Mac OS X is "full of universal binaries" that also run on PowerPC Macs. Second: The graphics drivers seem to be present, i.e. once somebody finds a way to get this code running on their PCs, 'normal' ATi and nVidia graphics cards should be supported.
People are now trying to get Darwin X86 to boot into Mac OS X. They came as far as the grey screen with the Apple logo and the clockwise-turning circle. There are some screen photos floating around, one showing a kernel panic.
It's hard sometimes. Really hard. Even column writers at MacWorld seem to go blind with anger about Apple's transition to intel. How come one of them writes: "I’d like to be reassured that something better than what Intel is selling to Dell today will replace G5."
Really?! You need reassurance that Apple, 11 months after today (or even 18 or 24 months, since the PowerMac doesn't necessarily have to be the first
product to go intel) will get something better than Dell gets today
? I think the reassurance is in the question, buddy.
I must say, I get angry myself. (For example because of reading aforequoted column
...) But the other way 'round. IBM says they could deliver what Apple wants, for the entire line-up. Heck: Okay, then give Apple the dual core 3 GHz G5s for the desktops and some cool-running 64bit processors at 2 GHz at least for the notebooks. After that's happened and I've bought my 2 GHz G5 Mac mini for 499 USD, maybe I'll rethink my opinion about Apple's move to intel. But as of now, the move to intel seems the right thing to do, anyway.
10.4.2 mentioned on an AppleScript page
While the update's still missing from Software Update, this page about Standard Additions
to AppleScript mentions the upcoming update. So here's to the hope this means it'll be released soon. The latest build (8C44) feels very stable indeed, ready for production, our sources say. Alas, the "no known issues in this build" message doesn't say much, since no build of 10.4.2 had any known issues in the release notes.
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.2 8C44
Yesterday, Apple seeded yet another build of Mac OS X 10.4.2, this time fixing a couple of issues with AirPort connections after switching network locations as well as some Dashboard widget issues.