If you want to look at how the personalities of Apple's two co-founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, differ, perhaps one way would be to measure their responses when asked to pose for pictures.
Let's start with Woz. Though he claims to have been acutely shy in his early life, these days Woz is a social butterfly. He shows up at tech event after tech event in Silicon Valley, such as the 30th anniversary of Apple, or the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64, and is almost eager to glad-hand anyone who comes by. Want a picture of … Read more
From the moment I played with the iPhone and Microsoft's Surface tabletop computing technology, I have been waiting for pinch-zooming and other motions to make their way into mainstream PCs.
The wait is essentially over.
Although it's the MacBook Air that's been getting all the ink for adding such gestures, Synaptics announced at the Consumer Electronics show last week a version of its touchpad for Windows notebooks that will also support a range of gestures, including methods for continuous scrolling, zooming in and out, and trackball-like movement.
And that's just the start.
"There will be … Read more
A brief run through Macworld gave two major impressions:
1. It was packed. Even more crowded than CES (though much smaller of course). 2. The signal-to-noise ratio of interesting products was way better than CES.
Let's take a look at some of the things that caught my interest from a design point of view, starting with Apple.
The MacBook Air really is quite breathtaking. It feels great in the hand, and the break from pure rectangular geometry makes it more interesting to tumble in your hands. It's sort of a giant iPod, taking on the pillowed look. The … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--On first glance, Axiotron's Modbook is unsettling. It takes a moment before you realize it's because you've been programmed by countless Apple advertisements to expect a keyboard down there below the screen.
But Axiotron thinks its Modbook machines look just fine, thank you. The start-up, founded in 2005, just began selling its "Tablet Mac" machines the last day of 2007 and is showing them off at the Macworld trade show here.
The company hopes to appeal to artists, designers, and photographers who want to be able to draw or otherwise directly interact with the … Read more
One thing that struck me during Steve Jobs' keynote yesterday was this odd moment when Jobs was trying to rationalize many of the reasons MacBook Air owners would be happy not having an optical drive in their laptop. He was going down a list of things we need optical media for and replacing them one by one with various Apple creations. Apple's perceived solution for not having a drive would be to buy all your media through iTunes and play it on your iPod, delegate the task of reading discs to another computer in your house, or simplify things with a new and proprietary $99 external drive. Sounds simple, right?
It's commonly been referred to as the "Steve Jobs reality distortion field" and there hasn't really been a clearer example of it since Apple launched the "simpler" version of its one-button mouse that actually had five. In this case, it's the importance of optical media and the role it still plays in our lives. While I applaud Jobs and Apple trying to get rid of what's admittedly become a weak and cumbersome format, I'm a little disappointed that Apple hasn't decided to offer a real solution to the problem they're creating for novice computer users and road warriors who want to avoid optical media altogether--at least not yet.
What I'm getting at is that Apple's in the perfect position to start offering digital software downloads to the masses, and tie it into a software system that millions of people are comfortable with giving their credit card information to on a daily basis. I'm speaking of course, about iTunes.
Apple's got all the pieces in place to start offering people computer software the same way Valve's been doing with video games with its hugely successful Steam service for the last six years. I love Steam for many reasons, but primarily for its built-in updating tools and easy-to-navigate digital storefront that make it easy to buy software with one click and not have to worry about it again. If I could get the same performance from an app that's admittedly become a little bloated but already has a decent updating system, I'd be happy as a pig in mud.
Two things stick out in my mind as being good signs such a service is in the works via iTunes:
Despite some anticipation of weakening U.S. consumer confidence, PC shipment growth here nearly doubled between the third and fourth quarters of 2007, to reach 8.8 percent, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report released Wednesday.
Dell actually expanded its market share in the fourth quarter, after a string of disappointing quarters while it reshuffled its ranks and its product lineup. Dell used momentum derived from its new retail push to drive its shipments up by more than 15 percent in the quarter--growth far ahead of the rest of the U.S. The Texas PC maker finished … Read more
I've had a love/hate relationship with Apple TV since its release. Despite yesterday's price cut, the addition of the movie rental service, and computer-free content acquisition for things like Podcasts and music tracks, to me it's still not a necessary living-room entertainment device. The big deal-killer for me is still the closed system, which, for a modern-day streaming device, continues to act as if certain file formats don't exist, despite the competition's (including Microsoft) beginning to accept them with open arms.
However, the one thing that does interest me and gets me actually wanting … Read more
Apple's announcement of its new ultrathin laptop couldn't have come at a better time. After lugging around a huge pack at CES last week and nearly breaking my back, my top wish coming out of the convention was for a truly portable laptop, and I have always used Macs.
I have been trying to be less consumeristic lately (going to CES didn't help that either!) but I have to say that the MacBook Air inspired an instantaneous, primal reflex of consumer lust: Me want that.