Our World. Our Minutae.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

MacWorld 2006 MIA: Why You Don¹t Want It & People, ExpressCard = new FW800

PRE-SHOW RUMORS

The Mac DTV/PVR
 
On the surface, who wouldn’t want one? But the reality is that as a large corporate-America company, there is NO WAY Apple could release a Mac DVR feature without DRM. Smaller companies can fly under the radar and release a DVR without any DRM or even strip out Macrovision but Apple CANNOT do it – especially since they are building up a video store. Right now, you can plug in a card or an external device and record to your Mac without any restriction. You can then convert and make discs or files choosing from a dozen formats all un-encumbered by DRM.
 
Just look at TiVo to Go and all the work TiVo has to do to make the “rights holders” happy and yet, they are still grumbling there’s not a “broadcast-flag” DRM.
 
So be VERY careful what you wish for.
 
A 42” Apple Plasma Monitor
 
It would one dull MacWorld if this were part of the keynote.  Whether it’s true or not, who cares – it’s a monitor. Should Apple sell one, sure – but it’s like an iPod dock – if Apple doesn’t make one, three dozen 3rd party companies can step forward and do it. It’s something you might announce on the third day of the Developer’s Conference. It’s nice but it’s not a major announcement.
 
Fox joins the iTunes Store
 
From all the interviews in the trade ads, it looks like it’s going to happen at any time (along with CBS) but frankly, I’m sure Apple told Fox that it would get lost in the frenzy of their “other” announcements and let’s hold off and give you your own day. It’s no biggie. Besides, the March sweeps are just around the corner so that would be a better showcase such as when PRISON BREAK returns; you can buy all the episodes so far to catch up. For CBS, March is of course, March Madness.
 
The Mythical “Numbers 1.0”
 
A word processor (PAGES) that is set up as a mini-mini desktop publishing makes sense since there are still thousands of newsletters and SoHo “creators” who find Word’s newsletter templates appallingly stupid and inept and $799 a bit much to pay for a full powered desktop publisher to use 3% of its power and features. KEYNOTE makes sense since Steve Jobs wanted presentation software that didn’t hurt your eyes to look at it but why do people want another spreadsheet app? IT’S BORING. NO ONE CARES. People who use spreadsheets are not going to switch from EXCEL. Hell, I’ll bet MS can’t convert the last 50,000 people using LOTUS 1,2,3 – so there’s ZERO point to releasing “Numbers” since if you really, really need Excel – you’re not going to switch and why go out of your way to tick off MS to sell 5,000 copies of some boring piece of software. I cannot figure out anyone is even bothering to talk about it.
 
The Tablet PC
 
The 72 of you who want a Mac tablet – please switch to the Commodore. You are needed there.
 
The Mac PDA
 
It’s called an iPod. Please refresh your browser.
 
The “iPhone”
 
The cell phone companies are like prison gangs. Do you really want to go out of your way to get a shive? Is it better to fly under the radar and give them the impression you’re working with them but really keep a wary eye on where they are at all times? Just look at Verizon – first they disable Bluetooth (for your “protection”) and now with V-Cast, you have to pay $15 a month for “advanced” services and every song costs you $1.99 so it’s $16.99 for the first single you buy. That’s the kind of pricing scheme they want.
 
So there are two scenarios:
 
At $.99 per track, the phone companies cannot make more than a couple pennies at most.
 
They know and Apple knows if you create an iPhone that’s a real iPod + Phone, people are just going to buying their tracks from iTunes at $.99 per or simply download their own CD collection.
 
Unless you are trapped at an airport and must listen to I WANNA BE SEDATED, you will not pay $1.99 nor will you bother paying them $15 a month.
 
Apple and the cell phone company looks like an idiot if it’s $.99 at home but $16.99 on the road – that is NOT going to fly so until the phone companies are willing to give, there will be no iPhone.
 
With that said, at some point after the iPod is no longer flying off the shelves – just merely selling a lot of (in 2 years?), there’s the possibility of creating a VOIP or WiMax phone that simply bypasses the cell phone companies … or Apple simply points out, take the SIM card out of your present phone – drop it in ours. You’re still on the cell phone network using your number & service. But that would tick off the cell phone companies and there’s no point in doing it right now – let’s wait until iPod’s hit the 150 million mark and then go after the cell phone companies.
 
THE SHOW ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
The ExpressWay and Not Firewire Highway 800

As we predicted (On November 12, 2005 BTW), there was no reason not to start selling the Intel Macs especially since Steve Jobs claimed they were building Universal Binary/Intel versions of everything in the past 4 years – Apple just had to get the chip order in and so forth … the laptops look great and is yet another cool must-have gadget for tech head – MUST BE THE FIRST ON THE BLOCK to get an Intel Mac. Love it or hate it – they have to be the first to know and get their hands on it. As usual, Apple/Steve Jobs is smart – let’s sell the MOST EXPENSIVE laptops first :-)
 
On thing that some people are grumbling about is the lack of Firewire 800 on board … well, this PC mag except should explain everything and the possibilities that ExpressCard offers not just for storage connectivity but even enough bandwidth for HDTV tuners:
 
ExpressCard's throughput is ideal for video transfers and uncompressed files. To compare it with throughputs you're familiar with: Gigabit Ethernet has a throughput of 125 MBps, FireWire 800 (seen only in new Apple notebooks so far) runs at 100 MBps, and USB 2.0 can reach 60 MBps.
 
ExpressCard will have the theoretical maximum throughput to transfer data at a whopping 250 MBps (actually, 500 MBps total; 250 MBps to the computer in one direction and 250 MBps to the card in the other). This is in comparison to the now seemingly sluggish 132-MBps PC Card standard.”
 
Full Article Here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1472734,00.asp
 
So if you trust Apple & Steve Jobs to make it better – it’s a minor thing. The only real problem is for video editors who edit with a PB (on the go) so they cannot really switch over until there are ExpressCard connectors to HDD’s but how hard can that be? I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something before the week is out.
 
The .Mac Integration

First, iWeb looks great - a very cool (finally) intro/newbie web design app – the last being PAGEMILL that was as easy to use (And while PageMill was quirky and had weird coding to HTML, it was 1996 after all and yes, I’ve tested out all the pretenders since then and NONE offer the ease of iWeb already). It’s CLEARLY not for HTML coding junkies but it’s for the rest of us who don’t care to know or know any HTML.
 
And yes, there is more integration between iMac and iLife apps and so for some reason – that seems to tick people off.
 
As a .Mac user from Day 1 and a continual user, I’m not sure why people loathe .Mac so much because they really know so little about it.
 
They sneer at it as a $100 email/storage as if we were “dupes” because they can get it for “free.”
 
First, you could not be more wrong – you could try but you not be successful to quote a TV series character.
 
.Mac is so much more than just an email/storage service even before iLife ’06.
 
First, maybe some of us don’t want an email that signals something wholly unprofessional like ‘hotmail,’ what the hell is that?
 
And yes, you can get storage on the ‘net for free – how trustworthy? How many people have had ISP’s just disappear on them?
 
Is there a place that can sync your ADDRESS BOOK app files on the ‘net so you can access anywhere there is an Internet connection? Aren’t you tired of exporting, importing, creating and trying to keep your address books straight and the same?
 
Or how about a backup and sync of your Safari bookmarks? Again, accessible WORLDWIDE with an Internet connection – of course, bookmarks without an Internet connection is like water without a glass.
 
Or the fact that I can backup selected files on a schedule or manually to a site accessible worldwide?
 
Or that my storage space is represented graphically as a HDD icon and I can see files & folders just as if it were physically attached to my Mac? That I can drag files to and from it?
 
Or that I can easily assign passwords to folders for people to drag or drop in files?
 
Never mind that we get free sounds, GarageBand loops or free games every few months …
 
Or even before iLife ’06, I could highlight some photos and get them published in a classy template by clicking a few times?
 
Same with video? Or even before iWeb, I could create webpages by selecting a template and a few minutes be on the web?
 
Of course, if you are a webmaster and a coder using BBEdit or DreamWeaver, of course. Mac seems like child’s play to you but does that mean if you don’t have use for an app or service, no one should get to use it?
 
And yes, .Mac is integrated with Mac apps but it’s OPTIONAL and ENTIRELY YOUR CHOICE. It’s not like iLife is $179 and you have to “waste” .Mac. It’s a very clear and separate charge – if you want it – great – if not, you can continue to run iLife 3,4,5 and now 6 and have every single feature except easy web publishing – it that really worthy of scorn and almost outright hatred?
 
Also, there are no two ISP/web hosts that accept files the exact same way. How is Apple supposed to sort through all the offerings from the thousands of webhosts? Even no blog site accepts files the same way – how is Apple supposed to create one app to handle all that? While DreamWeaver can consolidate all your files and build you a map, you still have to upload properly – basically Apple creates an app to upload to a site they control. If it’s not enough for you for whatever reason, don’t use it. It’s not for everyone.
 
It’s not like MS anti-virus maintenance program where if you don’t pay up, your machine gets too bogged down to run.
 
NOT every app is designed for you and if you don’t like or don’t need or can’t afford .Mac – no biggie – MOVE ON.
 
But also don’t bad mouth an app or service unless you know EXACTLY what it is and what it does. That would be like dismissing email in its entirety because you get spam.
 
MOVE ON.

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