Is Jobs wrong about the netbook?
We get it: Apple's not in this world to create cheap computers for everyone. Instead, Apple places itself somewhere in the middle and offers the user (far!) more. But Apple might be fast asleep and losing out to the netbook crowd. Steve Jobs said something along the lines of the iPhone being something like a netbook. Well: It is, and it isn't.
The argument for it being
a netbook goes: You want a cheaper-than-notebook device that you can use to quickly get on the 'net. And that the iPhone certainly does. It lets you check mail, update your facebook status and get the latest news anywhere on the planet as long as you get a decent 3G signal.
The argument against it, though, is quite important right now. That's *not* what all these netbooks are sold for, Stevo! These netbooks sell so bloody well because they're actually small notebooks that are inexpensive. Parents buy them for kids, youngsters buy them for themselves and adults buy them as their secondary or third computer. They're dirt-cheap and still manage to run a full office suite. Their keyboards may not be ideal (don't tell me the iPhone's keyboard's ideal compared to them, though), but I can write up a first draft for anything on such a machine.
An even worse argument however goes like this: Apple could *rock* the netbook world. Most of the netbooks have all the same mistakes the entire notebook world has had for years. You *don't* need VGA out on those. You don't need two or more USB ports. Give it the measly one USB port of the MacBook Air *without* the MiniDisplayPort. That's all it needs. A decent keyboard? Apple can certainly do that. (Most companies can't, it seems.) And make it slim with good battery life. Apple can do that, others can't. (Just look at how HP's 2133 becomes inCREDIBLY fat with the battery it needs to be considered anything, really.)
So please, Apple: Reconsider.
iPhone nano - yes or no?
I'm positive you've seen some mockups and concept shots by now. -> See the photos
... Of course I'd want one. But, and that's a *big* "but": If the current iPhone has anything to say about battery life, then the nano would need to be about 4 times the thickness of the 3G in order to work fine. If it ditches 3G-networks, it'd still need to be twice as thick as the iPhone 3G in order to have decent battery life. Really: You wouldn't _want_ an iPhone that only works 3-4 hours, would you?
Replacing a Hackintosh with a real Mac...
I've just replaced my Hackintosh with a brandnew (sellout) iMac 24". It's more or less capable of the same things, although I've got 4 GB of RAM in this one, whereas I had 2 in the Hackintosh. It was a nice project keeping Leopard running and up-to-date on a "vanilla" PC that was close to a real Mac, but it was also a bit of a headache to use the machine from day to day. Any system updates could hose the system, so it was always about reading first, installing later (after patching some stuff beforehand). With 10.5.5, the machine ran great, actually. I had an *almost* vanilla install, meaning there was EFI emulation running on the PC – and Mac OS X 10.5.4 Retail thought it was actually a Mac. I only had to inject a special sound driver and something about a TimeMachine incompatibility. The rest was "clean", so to speak.
The 10.5.6 update would have broken it, if I had simply installed it. It's been replaced by the iMac now, and I was up and running with the same basic setup with three external harddrives in about two hours. The main difficulty was getting rid of one or two kernel extensions that I had installed at some point, instead of letting the EFI emulation inject it on-the-go.
The whole year or so I've dealt with all that was pain & pleasure, but it mostly showed me that Apple is going about this in a very artificial way. The OSX86 crowd is quite quick with updates, and most problems can be solved easily, if you know your way around the Mac OS X system and a bit about the Terminal. If Apple *wanted* to, they could release a Mac OS X version for the "vanilla PC" anytime, basically. They could release a hardware compatibility list that would be a tad small compared to Windows Vista, but it would allow many PC users to switch to the Mac without replacing their whole setup - as long as that setup includes a motherboard, chipset, graphics card etc. close to a real Mac's. But Apple won't do that anytime soon, it seems, and I think that's not the worst state of the Mac world. Apple is thriving, the OSX86 crowd is thriving - and as long as Psystar and EFI-X USA don't mess things up too badly for everyone, most people are quite happy.
All that said and done, I'm glad I'm back on a real Mac setup again. The machine is much quieter, it'll update to 10.5.7 and 10.6 just fine thankyouverymuch and I can go back to synching my huge iTunes library to the AppleTV and iPhone in my household. Maybe I'll bring the Hackintosh back to try Mac OS X 10.6 on it, if the wonderful people in the OSX86 world find a neat, clean way to have it as vanilla as possible, but I doubt it right now. I guess I'll sell that PC after cleaning it and reinstalling some linux distro on it.
Where's the push-notification?
When Apple started talking about the iPhone 2.0 software, one main thing was that applications *wouldn't* have the capability of running in the background. But in the same sentence, basically, Apple has said that push-notification would solve this problem in September 2008. Of course the 2.1 and 2.2 updates have come without such support and with an excuse of "we want to get it right the first time". I, too, want them to get it right the first time, but really: The lack of support for this makes the iPhone a single-task phone mostly. Sure: We *do* get E-Mails in the background. We also get SMS and phone calls even if we're running some application in the foreground. We take those for granted, of course.
But what about online chat applications like AIM? Why can't I get facebook-updates pushed at least to the icon on the desktop? It seriously damages the iPhone as a smartphone. It just ain't that smart. I don't mind the lack of copy-n-paste (why does everybody call it cut & paste nowadays, btw.? I don't need to cut, I need to copy!) that much, since most apps that would need it, find a way around it. But everytime I think "Hey, now I *am* going to download AIM for the iPhone!", I'm reminded that it just wouldn't work the way it should. *All* smartphone platforms out there support background notification. I've enjoyed this on various Series 80 and Series 60 mobile phones. The iPhone beats all of them hands-down in most areas, not the least of which is interface speed. But as long as the iPhone can't let apps get notified in the background, it simply *isn't* a real multitasking device.
Okay. It's been more than a year that I've posted on macnews.net.tc. Obviously the company providing the domain macnews.net.tc now doesn't let me do that without ads. If you want to enjoy macnews.net.tc (I'm going to post more from now on...), just save http://haligon.blogspot.com as your bookmark. There are interesting things coming up: MWSF 2009, of course, and Mac OS X 10.6 in Spring 2009. We'll have details about those available, and lots of opinionated thoughts about them for you to read and comment. Stay tuned... :)
(Edit: Obviously, I was wrong. My turning off the ads just took a little longer, so you can still use the domain http://macnews.net.tc just fine.)