AppleTV Take 3?
Christian Zibreg notes 5 "main" features of AppleTV Take 3
on tgdaily.com (link goes to second page, where the list of 5 points is). But I have to say no to at least a couple of those five...
5.) Full HD and DVR capabilities.
This just shows a badly written article. Why do you combine those _two_ features as one feature request? One has nothing to do with the other, and quite clearly, Apple has _no_ interest whatsoever to bring actual OTA/OTC TV to AppleTV. The whole point of AppleTV is to bring us content _directly_ over the net. When we want it, without ads, at a price.
I of course agree that 1080i/1080p is a logical next step for the device or the software. Currently, AppleTV can put out 1080i, but it really just extrapolates 720p and lower quality to 1080i.
4.) Built-in digital TV (ATSC) tuner.
No. It simply isn't Apple's goal. Apple wants you to get your media from the iTunes Store (whether it be free podcasts, paid movies/shows or rentals). A TV tuner and DVR would maybe expand ATV's appeal to customers, but Apple has a clear goal here. So: No. Very simple.
3.) Built-in Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme.
Would be possible, feasible and certainly on my wishlist. Since it doesn't distract from Apple's main goal with AppleTV, I'd say this one's okay.
2.) Premium TV channels via iTS.
The way Christian describes this, it sounds like he's talking "live TV" again. That's simply not what AppleTV is about. Whether they add higher-priced premium content to the iTunes Store: Who knows. It would make sense.
1.) The App Store.
Games on the AppleTV would've been a better title. Of course it's an option. But the hardware is only up for "casual gaming" so far, i.e. it wouldn't really be a competitor for Wii, XBox 360 and PS3. Since you couldn't very well play iPhone games on the AppleTV without an actual iPhone as a controller, it would mean completely incompatible, separate development. And since AppleTV isn't the hit the iPhone is, so far, I don't just see it. It could be interesting, but it'd also distract from AppleTV's main goal.
And that's the main thing that bothers me about the article. It ignores Apple's main goal. Just keep in mind that Apple wants to
1.) have you as a returning iTunes Store customer.
2.) sell you content on top of what you're getting for free (podcasts and the likes).
3.) be the _next_ thing.
With these three points in mind, it becomes very clear that any OTA/OTC TV tuner stuff and DVR capabilities are _not_ part of the AppleTV plans. See: iTunes doesn't let you buy an FM tuner and record it to AAC/MP3. It gives you free streaming radio instead. So _if_ there'll ever be "live TV" on iTunes/AppleTV, it'll be some sort of streaming stuff. But even that just isn't a goal for Apple. With streaming radio, Apple could simply "add support" for an already established service. There's no such thing for TV on the 'net. (Except video podcasts, of course.)
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 007
(continuing the previous post...) Next up: iTunes Music Store
. There's new pricing. Older songs (6+ years) are now 0.69 USD, new ones (0-6 years) are 0.99 USD, starting April 1, 2009. Some songs, however, will be priced at 1.29 USD. All songs will be DRM-free.
(No, this is *not* an early April Fool's joke.)
Additionally, you can now get the iTunes store over 3G on the iPhone. Same experience, just a tad slower. You get the same music, of course (not lower-quality) and can synch back to your iTunes library. It's simply an addition of 3G to the mobile version of iTunes Store.
Tony Bennett on stage for the retro-outro. This is it, folks. No new iMacs, no new Mac mini, no new Cinema Displays, no iPhone nano. And still: It wasn't the most uninteresting MWSF keynote ever. What do I take from it? I want an eight to ten-hour battery in a MacBook Air. But I guess that has to wait 'til later in the year or next year. Until then, my 1st gen MacBook Air will have to do...
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 006
Moving on to hardware: The 17" MacBook Pro
. Features the same 1920x1200 pixel display at 700:1 contrast and 60% greater colour gamut. It has a 50 USD anti-glare option!!! Like rumours mentioned, the battery is not user-replaceable. But it lasts 8 hours (!!!) and should be rechargeable a thousand times. The notebook has a 2.66 GHz processor (plus CTO options), up to 8 GB of memory (4 GB standard), same graphics as the MBP 15", 320 GB HD standard, 256 GB SSD option, 3 USB ports, FireWire 800 (1 port), ExpressCard 34 slot, Ethernet, Mini DisplayPort, basically what we're used to. Same glass trackpad as MB/MBP.
The battery is talked about rather longishly in a tech demo video. Apparently, it's Lithium Polymer, takes on strange forms and has on-battery chips that adjusts currents, so the battery life (over its lifetime) can be as healthy as it can. (Instead of failing just as the warranty runs out.) I guess we're seeing the future of MacBook/MacBook Pro batteries here, so expect the next iteration of 15" and 13" models to also not have user-replaceable batteries. The RDF is in place, I'd say. Looking at it as they're putting it, it makes sense. It'll get slammed on forums and in the press, though, I guess, if the RDF ain't good enough... Shipments start at the end of January '09.
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 005
(continuing the previous post...) Pages '09
. There's a full screen view that lets you focus on your writing. (Very important, I'm a writer after all.) There's the obvious new templates frenzy, but more importantly, Pages '09 includes MathType and EndNote. Scientists, engineers and students will appreciate these. "And that's Pages '09."Numbers '09
. More powerful formulas. Over 250 functions, all colour-coded. Very nicely done. (I'm sure there's new templates, too, but I won't mention it, even if it's specifically mentioned. I'm no fan of ever-more templates.)
iWork '09, btw., is shipping today!
Apple will offer a 169 USD package (Mac Box Set) with Mac OS X 10.5, iWork '09 and iLife '09 for those who haven't upgraded to Leopard yet. (I guess Snow Leopard won't be mentioned, then, until it's suddenly released in Spring or Summer, now there's a ploy to milk the Leopard...)
One more thing with iWork: iWork.com
. This service lets you publish your iWork documents and share them with contacts from AddressBook.app easily. Automatically shares documents in various formats (iWork/Office/PDF). Sign up for a free beta today, but later on, it'll cost a fee, so it's separate from iWork and separate from MobileMe, which is a pity, since that would have made a great MobileMe extension, I find. (So let's move on to the actual "Mac" stuff, as in hardware, please?) ;)
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 004
(continuing the previous post...) still on GarageBand '09. Apart from the beginners' instructional videos done by "Instructor Tim", you can also learn "real" artist lessons: John Fogerty, Colbie Caillat, Patrick Stump, Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Ryan Tedder, Norah Jones and others (more will be added) teach you their songs. Very impressive.iLife '09 will be released in late January.
Same pricing as before, and of course new Macs will come with it preinstalled once it's available.
Now, on to iWork '09
. First up: Keynote '09
. One new feature is "Magic Move". You set up your slides, and the feature does the animation of the various objects on one click. This is Apple's Core Animation implemented, of course. They've shown us similar stuff when Leopard was new.
More importantly: There's Keynote Remote
, i.e. you can use your iPod touch or iPhone to remote control your presentations like you can do with a dual monitor setup, basically. This is nifty. Jokingly, Phil Schiller says: "You can see we've already given it five star reviews."
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 003
(continuing the previous post...) next: iMovie '09
. The new version offers a precision editor, advanced drag & drop, dynamic themes and animated travel maps. Plus automatic video stabilisation. These features are demoed by Randy Ubillos, chief architect for video applications. There's not much sense in repeating the demo in words, though. Since my input is basically words (and I've never even used iMovie, really), I wouldn't do it justice. Let's just say Apple has to some extent apologised for iMovie '08 (to iMovie 6 fans) and is hoping that iMovie '09 will be a much better product. Although in some ways it seems to me that they just added new features and didn't "bring iMovie 6 back into it", so to speak.GarageBand '09
: It can teach you how to play an instrument. This clearly shows that GarageBand is the introduction-application for everything music-creation on the Mac. With its roots still in Logic, of course, it'll try to take you in from the very start and take you to the logical (pardon) next level: Logic Express or Logic Studio. The instruction videos are in HD quality, of course, and show you, for example, how to play blues chords on a guitar. I guess I'll have to pickup a six-string now very soon. No more excuses, no more Guitar Hero on the Wii... Instead I'll do my own guitar samples instead of faking them on a software instrument.
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 002
(continuing the previous post...) Setting an event's location is based on Google Maps. There's also support for Facebook and Flickr in iPhoto '09, meaning that you can tag people on Facebook photos and that information is transmitted back to iPhoto. (Of course other Facebook users can tag your photos as well.)
There are new themes for slideshows in iPhoto '09. These use face detection to automatically zoom/center photos. Slideshows can be saved to iTunes and synched to iPhone and iPod touch. This, of course, makes a lot of sense. With the iPod family probably moving to an all-touch family (except the shuffle) in 2009, this'll mean something
. You can also insert maps with pins into projects (books) to show where pictures were taken. Such a map can also be printed on the hardcover of the new books. Phil Schiller then gives a demo of iPhoto's new face detection feature and how quickly you can tag a person - and then places.
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 001
The show starts, and as usual (although not delivered by Steve Jobs, obviously) the audience is told first about how well Apple is doing, albeit with a touch of financial crisis, as in: Apple's not hurt as much as other companies, because Apple's got a lot of money. Phil informs the audience about some of the new international stores (Beijing, Munich, Sydney).
The ongoing retail effort is called very important because it offers people a chance to try out the actual products. "Today, we are focusing on the Mac."
Three new things, promises Schiller. iLife '09 is first
. Of course we're led through each of iLife's already existing applications. The most controversial from last year's version is of course iMovie, since version 8 was a completely new version, leaving most of iMovie 6's features behind - so much so that Apple had to let iLife '08 users download version 6 of the app as well. We're certainly interested to see whether iMovie '09 can get things together again...iPhoto '09
offers a new organisational system: Faces. Based on face detection (to assist in tagging), you can quickly identify people in your photos. iPhoto will then show you photos of similar faces it believes is the same person. "... isn't perfect, but this is incredibly good."
A third way to organise (after events and faces) is "places", i.e. geotagging. With more and more cameras offering GPS for automatically geotagging photos, this makes a lot of sense. iPhoto can show you a map with pins for your photos' locations. Additionally, you can add event locations for photo events that aren't geotagged.
MWSF, The Keynote by Phil Schiller, Part 000
I'm not doing this live, since I can't be at MWSF this time around - and I don't have a direct contact over phone/chat. So what you're reading here is comment on the news that are dropping in from other sites. You'll still get the important stuff here, too, of course. I'll post these things every quarter hour, so we should end up with at least 5 such articles, the newest on top, but each to be read down, like, normal. The keynote should begin in a couple of minutes.
MWSF Keynote Expectations...
Despite Steve Jobs' absence, rumours about what Phil Schiller (or any other spokesperson) will unveil next week are flying quite high. If all rumours come true, we'll see Apple's netbook, the iPhone nano, a new mouse, the new Mac mini, the new iMac as well as flying pigs and a car with zero emission and unlimited reach.
Putting the wishful-thinking aside, we're left with probably a new Mac mini, which has been hinted at in recent OS updates and it really _does_ need an upgrade, probably a new iMac - both of which will get the Mini DisplayPort and nVidia graphics from the MacBook/MacBook Pro lines as well as the iPhone nano, which will probably be the most discussed product after the whole show is over. Whether a new mouse is included with the iMac is certainly of lesser importance, although I hate its trackpaddiness and seven-finger gestures even before I've heard about them.
What I'm really looking forward to is the Mac mini. Of course it will be inexpensive - and of course it will remain seriously flawed in game performance and upgradability. It will not be the "headless iMac" proposed for so many years, because that would eat too much into the iMac's market - and Apple simply _wants_ to reign supreme with an AIO desktop.
So what about the netbook or tablet route? Netbooks _are_ selling like hotcakes and Steve Jobs has personally said that Apple's looking at that market closely. Yet, Apple wants to seriously push the iPhone base, so my guess is that Apple's _not_ releasing a netbook now and instead is working feverishly on a larger tablet based device that _won't_ be a full Mac, but rather an expanded iPod touch-style device. This probably won't be ready for MWSF, though. And once it'll arrive, it _will_ seem too expensive to compete with netbooks, but it'll also be incredibly thin, so people won't mind the price tag (although a lot will be said about its price nonetheless).
Either way: I'm looking forward to next week's show. Let's see if somebody else _can_ create enough Reality Distortion Field (RDF).