Monday, 21 March 2011

Full OS X and Facetime on 1st Gen iPad

OK, well, not quite! It is technically my iPad running Splashtop Remote and basically mirroring my MacBook Display. But it does give me full control from my iPad, and is quite handy. Means I can watch .avi files on my ipad without messing around in iTunes, and also means full flash is supported, and also Facebook chat, straight in the web browser. Not sure you would find Facetime handy, as you have to use the MacBook cam, so if your close enough to use the cam, surely its easier to use the MacBook...that aside, its actually a useful program, and you guys should really use it. Works in Windows too, not sure about Linux.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Apple OS X 10.7 Lion Developers Preview

While installing OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on my latest Hackintosh, I got bored. So I decided to download the Developers preview of Lion. I won't beat about the bush. Getting the dam thing to install on my late 2009 White MacBook was a pain in the ass. It would almost install, then decide it couldn't be bothered, and quit. I managed to solve this by booting back into Snow Leopard, running the install disc, telling it to install on the correct partition, and letting it run. I still got errors, but instead of just quitting, it let me "Try Again", and finally, after about 30 minutes, it was ready for its first boot.
After the normal OS X first boot video, and the registration details, I finally got presented with the desktop. So what has changed? Well not a lot visually. Aqua has finally disappeared, but that is really it. If you have Snow Leopard and Lion side by side, they look almost exactly the same. Of course on the dock you get a icon for both App Store and FaceTime straight away, but more importantly, you get a Launchpad icon where the Dashboard icon is normally on a fresh install.
Clicking on Launchpad brings up a screen very similar too the iPad/iPhone home screen. All you applications are there, and you can even drag one on top of the other to make a folder a'la iOS. If, like me, this is your first port of call, you also find something else inspired by iOS. Two finger scrolling is now in reverse. So scroll down on the trackpad, and the screen scrolls up. Scroll left, and the screen scrolls right and so on and so on. At first its a little hard to get used to, but if you have an iOS device, then soon it becomes second nature. 
Another thing Apple made a big fuss about was full screen apps. When I was watching the "Back to the Mac" media event, I didn't really think much of it. After all, you can normally expand a window to fill a screen, and thought that was basically it. On launching Safari in the top right corner of the window is a small icon, similar to Microsoft Windows resize icon. Click on this and the browser goes full screen, much like hitting F11 in IE. Three finger scroll then the browser, or app, is thrown to the side and you are returned to the desktop. (Keep scrolling to get to Dashboard). It is actually a really nice touch, and I think it works better then Exposé. Taking the mouse to the top of the screen brings down the desktop bar, and to the far right is the icon to come out of full screen.
There are a few UI tweaks. Status bars look neater, no scroll bar buttons, with scroll bars only appearing when you are actually scrolling. That could be a nightmare if you don't have a trackpad. But thats about it really. After all this isn't an update like Windows 3.11 to Windows 95. I like the OS X interface, and tweaking it seems right, a complete overhaul isn't needed right now. Maybe for OS XI. 
For a Developers preview, its snappy. Its actually faster then my Snow Leopard install. Although that is now 2 years old, and Im not good at house keeping, so its bound to be faster. Safari seems faster too to render the pages and switch tabs etc. 
Overall Im loving Lion at the moment. People on the web bashing it because it hasn't changed much, or it isn't Linux/Unix/Windows 7, don't listen to them. Everybody likes different things. If you like Snow Leopard, or even Leopard, then you will love Lion. HOPEFULLY Apple will keep it a low price upgrade. I think £20 like Snow Leopard is wishful thinking, but I think £50 is fair. Like I said, this isn't a major overhaul like the jump from Tiger to Leopard. But only time will tell on that front. And hopefully Apple will include over new features too in the official Beta.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

XBMC Apple TV 2 madness

Well I gave up. Apple didn't announce apps for the Apple TV, so I jailbroke mine. I have to be honest, Im so glad i did! I love my Apple TV but having to recode all my video's in order to watch them was stupid. And so is having to have another device on to stream from. So I installed XBMC, and now I can watch all my .avi and .mkv files direct from my NAS. I can even watch BBC iPlayer, and live TV via TVCatchUp. Come on Apple sort it out! Why couldnt I do these out of the box. If a group of hackers with limited resourses can get the best out of this box, including 1080p, think what you guys could do with all that money. Also stop giving the Americans everything. Us Brits dont even have TV Show rentals. Stick Sky Player on there!

Monday, 7 March 2011

iPhone 5

Apparently, according to MacRumors, this could well be the next iPhone. Gone are the days of flat glass and aerial's that don't work when held in an incorrect position. Back to square one with a nice aluminium back, like the first iPhone.
I think it looks good, although will need a small black patch of plastic some where to let the radio waves in, like the iPod touch or the black band on the bottom of the first iPhone.
Only time will tell if this is correct, expect the new iPhone to be releases June/July.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Cheap iPhone! ATLAST!

Remember all those iPhone Mini rumors that were later assumed to actually be about a cheaper iPhone? Apple’s COO Tim Cook has thrown some more fuel on the fire after a meeting with a research analyst about iPhone market share, as reported by Forbes. The most notable comment attributed to Apple’s COO is this:
Cook “appeared to reaffirm the notion that Apple is likely to develop lower priced offerings” to expand the market for the iPhone. Cook said the company is planning “clever things” to address the prepaid market, and that Apple did not want its products to be “just for the rich,” and that the company is “not ceding any market.”
A ‘lower priced offering’ would be in line with past reports by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times that have mentioned a cheaper iPhone/iPhone Mini.
Many possibilities and questions remain, including whether or not a low cost iPhone offering will be announced alongside an all new iPhone 5, or if a cheaper model is going to just be the current iPhone 4 sold at reduced prices, which some rumors seem to suggest.
The comment about the prepaid market is also interesting. Currently, the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS can be converted into a prepaid phone rather easily just by inserting an AT&T pay-as-you-go sim card to make phone calls, and enabling data is just slightly more difficult. Offering an iPhone that is specifically intended for the pay-go market would be a bold move away from their current contract offerings. The iPhone 5 is expected to be released at WWDC 2011.