Good Apple, bad Apple

Lots of Apple news since Macworld in January. Figured I’d weigh in for those of you who look exclusively to me for technology guidance. (Tip: bad idea.)

In a very un-Apple-like move they provided significant software-based functionality upgrades to two existing products — the iPhone and the Apple TV — at no cost to owners. Now, I know that iPod touch owners bitched about having to pay $20 to make their units phone-less iPhones, but I have no sympathy for that. If you really wanted the extra functionality when you bought the touch you should have just bought an iPhone.

The new location-awareness functionality on the iPhone is jaw-dropping, not only in its accuracy but in the fact that it was software-only (no GPS) and cleverly uses cell tower and WIFI triangulation to figure out your location. It is like getting a whole new device for free. LOVE it.

But … where oh where is the iPhone SDK? I think pretty much everyone is tired of web-based apps that try to do things that a native, Cocoa app was clearly meant to. C’mon, Apple!

Today the Apple TV upgrade rolled out. Pretty much what Jobs announced — HD video, redesigned interface, rentals — but there is one feature no one talked about and it, too, is like getting a new device. The Apple TV now acts exactly like an Airport Express, showing up in network-connected iTunes in your home as just another set of speakers. Not only that, but the connection is two-way (unlike the Airport Express). That is, changes you make at the Apple TV by remote flow back to iTunes. Superb! Now my Airport Express is superfluous. Might have to stow that in my travel bag for hotel room rocking-out. (PVRblog has great coverage of the new stuff.)

But … the movie rentals. Apple, thank you for high-def, thank you for 5.1 audio, but what the hell were you thinking limiting movie playback to a 24 hour period? Do none of you have children? Have none of you travelled overseas before? I rarely watch a movie in a single 24 hour period. That’s just asinine. Please tell me this is just more movie studio idiocy (like DRM) and that you didn’t actually think this was a good idea.

Leopard: QuickLook may be the best thing in OSX in the last three major revs. Seriously. Has changed the way I work. Time Machine, well the jury is still out. I’ve not needed it (he says as his hard drive armature plows a furrow into the disk platter.)

But … Spaces? Useless to me. And if I initiate it one more time by dragging a window to the screen edge accidentally I am going to scream. Stacks? Totally useless. If someone can show me how this is any way more usable than a flat depiction of filesystem hierarchy I would be willing to buy you a tasty beverage.

MacBook Air: sexy, awesome. Love the lack of CD/DVD drive.

But … would this really last five minutes in a house with mischievous children? No, it would not.

And lastly, where praytell are the new MacBook Pros? Gotta have some of that Air multitouch trackpad goodness!

One response to “Good Apple, bad Apple”

  1. Bryce says :

    Yeah, Gruber was bitchin’ about the 24-hour rental timeout, too—final explanation was that it’s forced by the studios, to keep their cable pay-per-view customers happy. (FWIW, Xbox Live has the same limitation – drives me crazy.)