In Your Face!

October 31, 2008

Apparently, Microsoft has summoned up all it’s gumption and is setting up “I’m a PC” booths outside of Apple stores.  Inside the booth are people prepared to tell you about the great things Microsoft has to offer and then you can even make your own “I’m a PC” video.  Well, Microsoft is sure going hardcore aren’t they?  Taking the fight to the streets, guerrilla style.  So intimidating with that corporate box.  Maybe if they wanted to persuade people to stay wit

"I'm a PC" Booth

h Windows they should be going into peoples houses and fixing the viruses, spyware, crashes and other problems (like I am forced to do when ever I go home to visit my parents!). In reality this

is more for a shock factor and press reaction then for any actual results.  So in that respect, I guess they did a good job.  Their $300 million advertising sure is effective (sarcasm), but as many people have pointed out, maybe that $300 million should have been spent on actually solving their software woes.

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Fat Lady Already Sang

October 31, 2008

According to reports, Opera has already completed a ‘mini’ web browser that would potentially compete with the Safari browser already provided on the iPhone and iPod Touch.  Word has it that because of the rules of the Apple App Store, the Opera browser is not being permitted for listing as a download.  

Some people are upset saying that Apple should allow more options for using the iPhone/iPod Touch. Being an iPhone 3G user, I have to say that I do have some qualms in regard to Safari.  The recently released T-Mobile G1 Android phone includes a feature with it’s web browser that enables a ‘zoom out’ view’ with a magnifying square (click for video).  The square makes it possible to view the entire webpage and scroll around until you want to drop back in to a close up of the page.  I think this option would be very useful especially when viewing webpages not really formatted for mobile devices.  

I think it’s a step backward for Apple to not allow more variety and choices for consumers, but obviously it is a step forward in keeping their product in the spotlight.

Mac Mini Update?

October 30, 2008

New Mini Mockup

Again, the rumor mills are churning, and they’re spitting out more talk about an ‘inevitable’ update to the ‘often neglected’ Mac Mini.  After reading everything they’ve been going on about, and considering how long it has been since a Mac Mini update (Aug ’07), I think that we’re probably pretty close to a revision.  What I’d really like to see for the Mac Mini is the new Nvidia graphics from the macbook, support for more ram, and maybe even a little bit of a size trimming.  You guys might say “but the mini is so tiny already!”, bah.  Smaller can always be better, especially if you’ve got limited space.  I like the Mini, but I’d like it MUCH more with a price neutral update. I say price neutral and not price reduced. This is because after anticipating a price drop in the macbook and actually seeing an increase, I’m not getting my hopes too high.

NOTE: This is Gus Loukaniko’s first Mac Soda post. He will be joining the Mac Soda team consisiting of lead blogger Mike Contaxis, editor Art Vandelay, and contributor Eric Sabourin.

Would you be interested in writing for an Apple blog for the next month or two, giving your take on everything Apple? Mac Soda is looking for talented writers who know a lot about Apple to write for us through the end of the year. If you are interested, simply follow the following three steps.

1. Read these three stories (First, Second, Third)

2. Write a sample blog post on two (or three) of these stories.

3. Email them to me, at kontaxis@me.com.

If you can demonstrate that you know about Apple, and you know how to write, chances are you will get chosen! While a salary won’t be given at this time, this will give you the opportunity to work on your writing, and post for a up-and-coming blog!

If you have any more questions, shoot me an email.

Never Mind!

October 23, 2008

Fellow blogger Art Vandelay is going to step in and post for me while I am gone. Keep checking Mac Soda for posts!

Temporary Break

October 22, 2008

I will be unable to post for the next two weeks. Mac Soda will be back in full form on the first Tuesday of November. I am sorry for the inconvenience. If you would like to receive an email from Mac Soda when we start posting again, send me an email.

You have 4 minutes

UPDATE: Long live the Mini! It could die a silent death, but Steve sure seemed happy with the current Mac lineup.

I Told You So

October 20, 2008

Via Boxee…

—-At boxee, one of our main goals is to bring all your entertainment into one place.  Next Monday we take a big step in that direction, announcing that users can now watch and share TV shows and movies from Hulu.com within boxee (and on their AppleTVs).

Users now have free access to Hulu’s entire catalogue of great high-quality shows like The Office, The Daily Show (a company favorite), Heroes, and more, along with hundreds of movies whenever they want.  Whether on AppleTV, Mac or Linux, boxee offers more flexibility and access to online content than any other media center. People can also more easily share Hulu videos now with friends through boxee’s social feed and recommendation feature.

In addition to Hulu we’ve also added CBS.com to our Internet video sources.  The flash player for both sites was specially adapted by boxee’s team and embedded into our interface.  We’ve also done a lot of work to optimize the way content from each site is displayed to enable people to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. While both sites know of the announcement, boxee does not have specific partnerships with either site.

We’re officially announcing this during our presentation this Monday at CEA i-Stage in Las Vegas, an exclusive event for cutting edge consumer technology companies.

You can find logos/screenshots at http://drop.io/boxeetv password: huluishere

I for one am going to download it as soon as I can. Apple TV will be awesome with Hulu!

Alright everyone, listen up. Mac Soda has heard reliable word that Boxee is going to announce on Moday at CEA i-Stage that their popular media-center app, which is available for the Apple TV, is going to now support streaming videos from Hulu.com. This means that you will have access to all of Hulu’s catalogue, with shows such as The Office, Flipping Out, and Saturday Night Live, for the fantastic price of free! The content has been optimized for their player and fits in perfectly with their interface. Boxee will also announce that content from CBS.com is now supported as well.

I haven’t had a compelling reason to get Boxee for my Apple TV yet, but this will change everything. Having free TV Shows on the Apple TV is almost like having a TV tuner in the system, so this announcement is definitely something I am looking forward to.

UPDATE: It’s official!

Tuesday’s Keynote came, and went, giving us a ton of new cool stuff. Mac Soda published its predictions prior to the event: here’s how we did.

MacBook

 

Oops…

Enclosure: Despite popular belief, Mac Soda believes that the outside enclosure will not be made of aluminum (UPDATE9 to 5 Mac has heard the same thing). Similar to the iMac, we believe that the exterior will be made of black, iPhone-like plastic, but the inside will be made of aluminum. Expect the machine to be slightly thicker than a Firewire port (.5+ inches).

ACTUAL: We misunderstood our source. He told us the MacBooks will be Plastic and Aluminum, and we assumed that he meant the new computers would be both plastic and aluminum on the same computer. As it turned out, the MacBooks did turn out to be plastic and aluminum: just on two separate computers. Since they kept the white MacBook and added an aluminum model, our guy was right, in that the MacBooks were made out of two different materials. We just interpreted it wrong.

Screen: 14 inch, 16:9, LED display, with an iSight camera with improved quality at the top. 

ACTUAL: 13 inch, LED, with the same iSight camera at the top. I’m not sure if its 16:9 or not, but from the looks of it, its not.

Keyboard: Chicklet keyboard, similar to the one it currently has, but backlit (more like the MacBook Air’s).

ACTUAL: What we predicted, except the low-end isn’t backlit.

Trackpad: Glass! More advanced gestures.

ACTUAL: Exactly as we said.

Processor: The processor will be from the Centrino 2 family. Expect 2.1-2.4 GHZ speeds, but improved battery life to go with it.

ACTUAL: Yup, but it starts at 2.0 GHZ, not 2.1.

RAM: Up to 4 GB.

ACTUAL: Yes.

Graphics Card: As reported first by Mac Soda, the MacBook will replace Intel’s integrated graphics card with nVIDIA’s chipset. Read more about it here.

ACTUAL: We nailed this one.

Ports: MagSafe, Ethernet, two USB ports, mini-DVI, audio in/out, Kensington slot.

ACTUAL: Yes, except for mini-DVI. We got a tip from someone telling us it would be Displayport, but after the iLife/iWork fiasco, we didn’t post it. Turns out he was right.

Optical Drive: Expect an updated Superdrive, with support for Blu-Ray.

ACTUAL: Darn. Turns out Steve wants Blu-Ray in the MacBooks, but the licensing is messed up. What a bag of hurt…

Bonus Goodies: Possibly a smaller power adapter.

ACTUAL: Nope.

Price: As we predicted earlier, expect the MacBook to drop fairly significantly in price. We are expecting a 300-400 dollar price cut, pricing the MacBook at 699-799 for the base model.

ACTUAL: Ummm… yeah. Turns out our speculation was way off. While this Brick-technology will turn out to drive prices down in the long run, it appears Apple decided not to tap into their cash reserves for this. We did see the MacBook Plastic stay for 999, although they really should have dropped that to 799, at most.

MacBook Pro

Enclosure: All aluminum, all the way around, like it is today. It will be about the same thickness as the MacBook (.5 inches+).

ACTUAL: Yes to aluminum, no to thickness. Its a tad chunkier than we anticipated.

Screen: 16 inch, 16:9, LED, iSight for the base, and 18 inch, 16:9, LED, iSight for the top model.

ACTUAL: 15 inch, LED, iSight. Amazingly enough, and I still am in awe regarding this, the 17 inch model wasn’t updated. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?

Keyboard: Chicklet keyboard, backlit.

ACTUAL: Uh-huh.

Trackpad: Glass. Advanced gestures.

ACTUAL: Bingo!

Processor: Centrino 2 family, up to 3 GHZ, Quad Core offered, improved battery life for all models but Quad Core.

ACTUAL: No Quad-Core, probably because the 17 inch didn’t get updated.

RAM: We anticipate that the MBPs will allow for up to 8 GB of RAM. 

ACTUAL: Darn. 4 GB tops. However, perhaps the 17 inch model would’ve enabled 8 GB.

Graphics Card: In order to please video professionals like myself, Apple will definitely offer a better graphics card than they do now. We have not heard exactly which cards they will offer.

ACTUAL: They sure offered a better card! While we knew it would be nVIDIA, we didn’t know just how good it would be: turns out, it was the same card + a better one to go with it.

Ports: ExpressCard/34, audio in/out, mini-DVI, two USB, FireWire 800, Ethernet.

ACTUAL: Yes, except Displayport (see MacBooks).

Optical Drive: SuperDrive updated to Blu-Ray!

ACTUAL: Bag of Hurt!

Bonus Goodies: The obnoxious latch the MacBook Pro has now will be replaced, as will the denting power button. The sound quality will be improved greatly, as Steve has been obsessing over sound lately. Potentially a new Firewire standard.

ACTUAL: Yes to all, but the new Firewire standard.

Price: While I wouldn’t be surprised if the price stayed the same, I believe that the MacBook Pro will boast a 1799 starting price.

ACTUAL: I’m not surprised. 1999 it is. If you consider the MacBook a mini-MBP, then the price dropped 700 dollars. Perhaps we were right after all…

MacBook Air:

Enclosure: Same as it is now. If it changes, I would be very surprised.

ACTUAL: Yah.

Screen: Same.

ACTUAL: Uh-huh.

Keyboard: Same.

ACTUAL: Yeppers.

Trackpad: Glass. More advanced Gestures.

ACTUAL: No. Looks like they decided to keep it the same.

Processor: A better, more efficient, 45 nm, faster, processor will be added to the air.

ACTUAL: Exactly.

RAM: 4 GB.

ACTUAL: Yes.

Graphics Card: Not much improvement, if any.

ACTUAL: Don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this, but we saw a fairly substantial improvement.

Hard Drive: Bigger, and cheaper.

ACTUAL: Yes and Yes.

Optical Drive: Nowhere to be seen!

ACTUAL: Duh…

Bonus Goodies: Can’t really think of any…

ACTUAL: There weren’t any…

Price: 1499 (or cheaper).

ACTUAL: Same. Weird…

iLife + iWork

See here.

ACTUAL: See here.

BONUS: 24 inch Display.

If you add up how many we got right, how many we got wrong, and take a percentage, we got 46/65 of our predictions right for the event, which is equal to a 70 percent. Not stellar, but not bad.