The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

WWDC delivers … no suprises

Tuesday 10 June 2008 at 6:20 am

3G iPhone? I’m underwhelmed. Steve Jobs was going on about how much faster it is than 2G EDGE and how five hours of battery life is amazing … and while that’d probably wow an American audience, the rest of us have had phones that can beat that for years.

(At least it speaks HSDPA as well as UMTS — which is to say that in places such as, oh, Perth, it’ll work on faster networks like Telstra Next G.)

But that said, GPS that neatly integrates with Google Maps is pretty cool.


OMG WTF iPhone!

Wednesday 10 January 2007 at 3:42 am

I think every Mac nerd in the world just experienced some form of out-of-body nirvana-like experience.

Apple's new iPhone; Creative Commons licence doesn't apply to this image Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynote (which isn’t even finished) has just confirmed that Apple are releasing a mobile phone, it will indeed be called iPhone, and it is quite literally years ahead of what other phone manufacturers are putting out.

So awesome is iPhone that its announcement will overshadow the even bigger news from MacWorld — the Apple TV set-top box, which is equally game-changing, and Apple’s new partnerships with both Google and Yahoo, which IMHO will mark a big shift in the computing industry.

But back to the phone: it’s tiny! It has 8Gb of storage for music and movies! The reports say it runs OS X! (though it appears to be a mobile version thereof.)

And it has a multi-contact screen, so you can move or zoom or rotate things by touching them!


Mr. Jobs finally plays his hand

Wednesday 13 September 2006 at 2:37 am

I was going to resist, but the nerd in me just has to post about this.

Steve Job’s big “Showtime” media event has just finished, and aside from some major (but hardly earth-shattering) software upgrades to iTunes and the iPod, he announced two very significant new bits of hardware. If there was any doubt that Apple were going after Sony’s turf and transforming into a consumer electronics company, it is put to rest as of right now.

[Tiny new iPod Shuffle; note that Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image] Announcement one is the ridiculously tiny, and very aggressively priced, new iPod shuffle. Expect to see buses and trains near you absolutely littered with these things in a month or two.

[Apple media centre, code name iTV; note that Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image] Number two: the “iTV” is so new it lacks a real name, but it’s basically a device that plugs into your TV and runs an upgraded version of Front Row. In other words, it’s an Apple media centre.

It’s due for release early next year, looks like a Mac Mini, and has Ethernet, HDMI, and wireless. The networked home-theatre PC world has so far solely been the preserve of geeks with homebrew setups; for Apple to move into this space is a very big deal.

If it takes off, I dare say this thing is going to be big, like iPod big. And even if it doesn’t, Steve has now played enough of his hand that we know his new plan for world domination, summarised nicely in this slide from the talk.

[Apple is in your den, Apple is in your living room, Apple is in your car, Apple is in your pocket; note that Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image]


Leopard: like Tiger, but betterer!

Tuesday 8 August 2006 at 2:49 am

The WWDC keynote has just finished, and Steve has just announced the first details of OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Some new features are overhyped. For instance, Apple Mail now comes with templates! And Outlook Express had that in, what, 1996? (I always thought it was a good thing that ‘serious’ clients like Mail and Thunderbird didn’t go down that path …).

Also, OS X will now have virtual-desktop functionality called Spaces — something that’s been in KDE and GNOME for years. Heck, with Xgl the Apple fanboys can’t even claim that their desktop switcher looks cooler.

But there are two new features that caught my eye. One is Time Machine, which on the face of it is just another incremental backup utility with a shiny interface. But turn it on by default and add a little Apple simplicity magic, and I think this may finally be the solution to everyone’s tendency to never back stuff up. Kinda like System Restore in Windows XP, but actually useful, because it automatically backs up your data.

The other is the planned improvements to OS X accessibility. The lack of accessibility features in most computer software has long annoyed me, and while Apple have done a better job than most, up until now it’s been a matter of “if you can’t use this, your best bet is OS X, if you have this other disability, use Linux, otherwise, use Windows”. Leopard may change that — which can only be a good thing. Also, lots of people are saying the system text-to-speech (which hasn’t been updated since OS 8!) now sounds awesome.

Steve’s WWDC keynote also announced the ‘fastest Mac ever’ and new Xserves, but (surprise, surprise!) none of the crazy rumours like an Apple mobile phone.

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Zune-er or later, will MS trump iPod?

Saturday 22 July 2006 at 3:05 pm

So what’s Zune? It’s Microsoft’s new, holistic approach to music and entertainment.

Wow, Microsoft (finally) confirmed the existence of their ‘iPod killer’ today.

Few details about the device(s) beyond what’s already known, but there’s some vague info on the semi-official blogs of Cesar Menendez (source of the quote) and Richard Winn, two of Zune’s marketeers. Said blogs feature videos from YouTube, have a very Scoble-esque personal touch, and even link to various unofficial Zune blogs. This is definitely not the Microsoft of old.

The only other official announcements are a teaser ad and a slightly disturbing Flash animation.

It’s obviously far too early to pass any serious judgement on this thing, but the early signs are that Microsoft (or at least this product group) actually get it. They’re talking about moves straight out of the playbooks of MySpace,, and perhaps also Pandora. If that’s the case, I’d be worried for the iPod — I dare say that even Apple’s mindshare monopoly over the word ‘cool’ is no match for the power of properly-executed social media services.

(via TechCrunch, et al.)

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