Latest news from the Apple world
I would like to write about some my thoughts about the latest and greatest from Apple world. What’s coming maybe, what’s already arrived and what would be great to see.
Mac App Store
Mac App store already arrived together with Mac OSX 10.6.6 update. Well, when I first launched that app, I immediately noticed that was not a final product. No preference pane, no any options for user and not any application available in the store. That is a developer decision to put his app to that store.
What is nice in the Mac App Store, at least now, you can find amazing special price for some applications like Aperture for example or you are able to buy separate apps from the iWork package — best option for those who care only about Keynote or Pages.
Another nice concept is application updates section. The idea is to be able to automatically be informed that new updates are available for your already bought apps. I said idea, because now it works for some apps (for sure when you buy the app from the store), but if you have an app already installed on your disk, Mac App Store might not recognize it and do not provide you any future updates for that app.
I think Apple will improve Mac App Store in the future and fix all these problems. Having one place to install the app and what is more important, one place to hit a button and update all your apps it is definitely a good idea.
What is also very important, that is a fact, that Mac App Store, similar to iTunes Store, is not available in any countries. If Apple pushes developers to treat the Mac App Store as a primary channel for their software distribution it has to open the ‘gates’ to all countries and accept any credit card.
Another, also important things are Apple Store rules. No background applications, no possibility to try out the app, no special licence for a ‘big’ business applications and than limitation regarding the application installation privileges — application cannot escalate its privileges and install any files outside the Application folder. Those limits may distract future developers to think serious about the App Store.
At the end of this section finally, I would like to say what came to my mind when I saw the Mac App Store. How many “stores” Apple is going to maintain? Now, we have iTunes Store, Mac App Store and iBooks Store and I think this is extremely confusing! Wouldn’t be nice to just integrate all this places in one app or do something to prevent users from going back and forth between different programs to buy something? That’s not Apple way of design, but as I said it might be changed in the future.
From the Europe perspective it is not something spectacular. Apple is going to launch CDMA version of iPhone 4 to the Verizon customers. What is important however here, it is a fact, that now we have CDMA iPhone as well. It might be a sign, that in the future iPhone might be available in any CDMA carriers and eventually we can get something like ‘world phone’, which is able to work on both technologies out from the box – I am thinking about iPhone 5. If it happens, Apple will be the first smartphone maker in the world, or at least the second one. We have to wait and see what this summer is going to bring to us.
The future of iPad
The iPad is meant to be a consumer device, designed to consume media mainly. Of course, having big screen real estate and some productivity or creation tools we are also able to produce some content on that device. It is not your laptop replacement, but for some people might be good enough to prevent them not buying or using laptop so often. I found myself, that since I have got an iPhone 3GS, I use my laptop less — especially when I check emails, RSS feeds or Twitter timeline. That is a perfect fit to iPad — bigger display, bigger virtual keyboard, very nice to watch HD video content.
The most important think about the iPad is the impact on the press publishers. That is something which we see to be already adopted by more and more ‘big fish’ publishers like NYT, Washington Post, etc. The same thing is going on with books publishers. iPad is a perfect device to read newspaper or a book. The content might be reacher with live videos, interviews or special, premium materials. We do not have to carry two or three newspapers or two or three books. All are available in one device. I think, that in the future, paper materials will be only for connoisseurs, like vinyls today for music connoisseurs.
The real question is what the next, more mature version of iPad will be? What Apple has to do, to be more open for publishers and what they should to improve in the hardware to be more useful for consumers? Well, of course we will see more powerful CPU and more RAM in the device, that is for sure. Lighter and thinner chassis will be also welcome and knowing Apple it might finally appear in the summer. So, what next? I think Apple should to add front facing camera and more flash storage to the device. First thing regarding the storage is the SD card slot right? Well, maybe, but keep in mind that on the market we have many varieties of flash cards and Apple may leave this for third party hardware developers. However, SD card slot is not a bad idea — just imagine that you can pull out you card from the camera, hook it up to the iPad and you are good to go for your photos presentation! Those things will improve the iPad hardware.
Additionally, we have to see more publishers and book authors going to that device and more websites redesigning their content to be HTML5 ready instead of Adobe Flash. We have to see real subscription model with ability to buy the premium content in app without re-downloading another version of that app. That is something what now keep some content creators away from the iPad.
If Apple improve the above things, finally we will see more and more content available electronically and iPad become our normal, regular device for reading the news.
02.02.2011. Latest news. Seems the iOS subscription model finally appears together with The Daily iPad app. This is the story. App Store terms and conditions were also updated based on the TUAW article.
New Macbook Pros
As always we are waiting for new hardware in the Apple’s laptop line as well. Especially, that the latest model of Macbook Air revolutionize the laptop concept little bit. Thin, lightweight, with SSD hard drive and without CD drive. Apple is known to abandoning some technologies like 5.25” floppies or serial ports, so now they saying to us, that CD drive is an old technology and eventually goes to its grave. Well, I used mine, maybe three time in a year! So, maybe they are right. I can certainly get rid of the CD drive and have lighter and thinner portable device with bigger — means better battery life.
I think that this trend will be eventually adopted to the whole Macbook product line. What I don’t like though, and what is not so good in the pro level are limitations like soldered RAM, small SSD capacity and no pro-level, fast connections – or in another word, no new, pro-level fast connection.
Apple did not implement USB3.0 to their new Macbook Pros, eSATA is also not available. What however might be implemented in the future is Intel’s LightPeak technology. Very fast, based on the fiber connection designed to transmit almost everything via this fiber. Intel said that this technology is ready to implement, but I think it will take time to see it available in the production and I think it will not be there in this year, maybe at the end of the year. So, definitely Apple has to do something with that and provide to the pro, laptop consumers something new, what might be quickly adopted by the third party hardware producers and than they will be able to be compatible with this type of connection.
Regarding new CPU, we are waiting of course for new Intel Sandy Bridge chips, but last news are little bit worrisome. Based on this post seems that Intel screw up something in their architecture what might delay its appearance in Apple’s laptops. Not good! Anyway, finally we will see Sandy Bridge in our laptops which might improve the performance, especially in the pro applications.