With Macworld in full swing, throngs of people are flooding the streets of San Francisco to check out the latest offerings from Apple and all the other vendors exhibiting their wares at the expo. But some Mac-related stuff is only indirectly related to what's happening on the showroom floor or how thin the new MacBook Air is.
One thing I've noticed as a Mac software editor is how, when Apple has its biggest show of the year, the majority of Mac software developers figure it is the best time to release an update for their apps. I've … 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:
Of the major announcements blasting out of Macworld (see coverage), the release of iTunes 7.6 for Windows and Mac touches more users most immediately. Unlike the ultrathin MacBook Air, you can get the iTunes update right now. Stick with us as CNET editor Donald Bell cruises through the new video rental features in this video shot from the show floor.
It's no shock that contact management site Plaxo has been a fierce advocate of data portability. As a result, it's not particularly surprising that the service continues to expand browser-to-desktop application functions: on Wednesday, the company announced that the latest version of its downloadable Mac client will sync the Plaxo Pulse social network to Apple's Address Book software. This comes in the wake of an announcement that data from Pulse--which aggregates feeds from social media sites like Flickr and Twitter into a common profile--would also sync with Microsoft Outlook.
The new version of Plaxo's Mac client, … Read more
Every year in early January, Apple aficionados gather together in San Francisco to celebrate the big Mac news of the year at the Macworld Conference and Exposition. Windows users, on the other hand, celebrate...Rubber Ducky? Or a public prerelease of the first service pack for Windows Vista? It doesn't seem fair.
However, except for the hardware news (the MacBook Air is very thin), this year's report from Steve Jobs wasn't nearly as exciting as last year's iPhone announcement. In fact, some of the news--and rumors--are old hat for Windows fans.
For example, Apple TV will … Read more
Among the new product announcements at the Macworld 2008 keynote, iTunes received a brand new feature: movie rentals! With the latest version of iTunes for both Windows and Mac, you will be able to rent movies from all the major studios including Touchstone, MGM, Miramax, Lions Gate, Fox, WB, Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony. Apple was able to strike a deal with studios which allowed iTunes to receive new releases 30 days after the DVD release. The first wave of movie rentals will launch by the end of February with over 1,000 titles.
Once you find a movie … Read more
One thing iPhone and iPod Touch users have been enjoying over the past year has been a finger optimized version of YouTube that pulls in videos on demand. However, users of older video-enabled iPods have been left to fend for themselves using a bevy of services to pull down videos from popular hosting sites and reformat them to fit using third-party conversion apps. A new service called Tooble (download) that aims to streamline this process is showing off its wares on the Macworld Expo show floor tomorrow. We thought it would be a good idea to give it a spin, … Read more
Here's a quick way to make sure you never need to open your Google Calendar in a tab again: Open it in your Firefox sidebar instead. Discovered at Firefox Facts, it adapts some code from iGoogle and streamlines it down to just the calendar. This is a great hack if you can't or won't use the Google Desktop Sidebar.
Log in to your Google account first, and then load up this Google Calendar link in a regular tab.
Checking Web sites by typing in the URL feels like firing up a rickety 56k baud modem and logging on to CompuServe. It gets the job done, but really should only be used under extreme duress or nostalgia. Syndicated feeds bring the Web site to you, and when NewsGator made all its RSS clients free on Wednesday, they suddenly made a top-notch suite with tools for Windows, Mac, mobile, the Web, a podcast manager, and a Microsoft Outlook extension incredibly appealing. And by appealing, I mean you might not be able to imagine feeds the same way afterwards. It's that good.