July 29, 2012
Applesauce: All Things Apple – July 29, 2012
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Mountain Lion has officially roared onto the scene, and Apple has had their cloak of secrecy blown, all because they wanted to sue Samsung over some little IP infringements. Let´s get sporty and give the world a hug. I´ve prepared your Applesauce just the way you like it.
The Big News this week was the long awaited arrival of Mac OS 10.8, or Mountain Lion, to the layperson.
With many typically iOS features, Mountain Lion marks for what many long-time Apple users call “The End,” as the Mac OS becomes a little more, how do I say, “user friendly.” It´s not so much the dumbing down of the system that´s got many of these users up in arms. Sure, the file system as we know it is going way of the buffalo. After all, where are these documents going when we save them? It´s an issue which first arrived with the previous release of Lion, but Mountain Lion has ensured that this new practice is here to stay. It seems Apple wants us to simply think of the Mac as an iPad now. Your documents will be right there in the same app where you left them. No need to save, no need to go juggling things around, the document will always be right there where you left it, and if something horrible happens to your brand new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, you´ll simply be able to walk into any Apple store, pick up a new one, type in your Apple ID and *presto!* your apps, documents, emails and what not will be right there waiting for you, almost like they never left. It´s magic, I tell you. Pure magic. You can also chat with your friends, neighbors, co-workers and spouse from your computer, instead of having to pull your hands from your keyboard and grab your iPhone, a great little feature for those of us who have one of those fancy “Internet” jobs. It´s already hard enough trying to convince those close to you that you actually have things to do during the day and can´t drop everything to help them move at 2 PM. Nothing defeats all the work you´ve done to convince these people that you´re a busy person like them seeing you pull your hands away from the keyboard for a moment to answer a text.
“So, they have enough time to chat all day, but they don´t have enough time to help a friend in time of need. How very interesting“¦” they undoubtedly say to themselves, keeping a mental note of this supposed betrayal. Now, you can actually skip work all day AND chat with your friends, and it looks just like work. How clever, Apple developers. I thank you.
What can you chat with your friends about? Well, how about your latest high score in popular Game Center Games, such as Angry Birds or The Incident? Mountain Lion now lets users of any Apple product (assuming they can run the latest software, of course) compete against one another in friendly sport across all platforms. Now, you can take a “digital lunch” with your bum, jobless friend while you school them in Real Racing 2 HD or Cut the Rope – both very intense games – as you show them what a college degree and a dash of ambition can accomplish.
Mountain Lion is also incredibly affordable to anyone with a Mac desktop or laptop. Very clever of Apple, actually, to price the OS at such an affordable price-point. Not only can anyone with the right hardware take advantage of all the latest goodies, Apple is also ensuring that the majority of users are on the most recent version, making life a little easier for those poor Geniuses at the Apple store. Apple also gets to create a back-patting slide for their next product unveil (most likely the next iPhone) boasting their 60 to 70 percent adoption rate, which will most certainly be a greater piece of the pie than that of their “competition.” After all, it´s not gaming the system if it´s true“¦
If you´re ready to mingle with the Mountain Lion, may I suggest taking a look at this handy tutorial by the fine folks of The Unofficial Apple Weblog, before visiting your local Mac App Store? (it´s right there on the bottom right of your dock) It´s only 20 bucks after all, and unless you´re doing some major production work, it´s unlikely this update will crash anything for you. Plus, you´ll finally be able to wirelessly stream content from your Mac to your Apple TV. You do have an Apple TV, right?
Too Many People
It´s time we had a talk, you and I. I know it´s hard to believe, but I think you´re finally old enough to hear the truth, and I don´t want you to find out about it on the streets or from some fuzzied TV show. Not everyone loves Apple like you and I. In fact, some people go out of their way to avoid Apple products. Odd, I know. Where these people take legitimate umbrage with Apple is their attitude towards security. Apple doesn´t like to talk. They prefer their products to do the talking for them, which is great when the products work. We live in the real world, however, where every piece of electronics is prone to fail from time to time. When this failure comes at the hand of an ill-intentioned hacker, Apple gets suspiciously quiet as they hide behind their pristine wall of white.
It´s a new dawn and a new age for Apple, however, as they sent their platform security manager, Dallas De Atley, to face those who question Apple´s motives the most. It´s not going to be an easy crowd for De Atley, either. This is the same crowd which was unmoved by an ex-FBI executive after he showed them footage of military personnel fighting the terrorists, issuing a rallying cry to fight for America. Tough crowd. So how did he do? Based on reviews from both CNET and the New York Times, Atley´s presence at the conference was meant more to keep up appearances rather than directly address any issues or present any new information that couldn´t be found in Apple´s iOS Security white paper they released earlier this year. As the New York Times tells it, hackers and security experts left the hour-long talk in a state of catatonic boredom. As the fates would have it, another Apple-themed talk was taking place simultaneously in another room, entitled “The dark art of iOS application hacking.”
“Our attitude is: security is architecture. It has to be built in from the very beginning,” Mr. De Atley said, explaining Apple´s reasoning for not allowing remote log-in access. “There´s an entire set of attack vectors we don´t have to fundamentally worry about on iOS,” he said. De Atley was then quickly ushered from the room after his presentation, without giving the hackers the pleasure of a question and answer period. Elinor Mills of CNET described the talk this way: ““¦ it left me feeling like I'd had a really disappointing Match.com date with the hottest guy on the dating site.” According to the Times, one attendee later described the talk on Twitter, saying “It was very, very meh.” Apple´s platform security manager may have left everyone wanting more, but at least they made an appearance, and hopefully that´s enough to keep Apple´s detractors in line for another year or two. Until then, we´ll likely have to put up with some ridicule whenever we stay up late at night to pre-order the next piece of Apple goodness.
A week or so ago, the sleuths at NetWorkWorld.com dug up some very interesting mock-ups of what could have been the earliest iteration of the iPad, dating back as early as 2002. Jony Ive had been deposed in the months leading up to their monumental legal showdown with Samsung in a California court on Monday, and was asked about products and designs he had seen 10 years ago. Thus, all the care and effort Steve Jobs and Apple took to keep their designs, mock-ups, and final products a secret were thrown out the door as these drawings became publicly accessible. It´s almost sad when you think about it. As it turns out, there was much more where that first mock-up came from, and now The Verge has each of these mock-ups and prototypes posted on their site. The most interesting and controversial of these prototypes is an early iPad bearing the iPod name and, wonder of wonders, a kickstand. An honest-to-god kickstand. Take that, HTC!
It shouldn´t be any surprise that Apple built prototypes. When Steve Jobs made any one of his controversial statements about Styluses or 7-inch tablets or netbooks, it wasn´t only because he was an opinionated tyrant. It´s likely because Apple gave these designs and their prototypes a shot before realizing that they simply wouldn´t work. To my memory, Steve Jobs never made any outlandish comments about kickstands, but it also seemed pretty obvious that no Apple product would ever ship with one. Sure, they might be handy, but so are pocket protectors, and everyone knows there is no fashionable quality about pocket protectors. Even the pictures of the prototypes which largely resemble the iPads we know and love today look so awkward with that little leg sticking out from the back of it. So good call, Apple, say I. Leave those designs on the cutting room floor for those scavenger companies who could do worse than using your leftovers.
It´s not just iPad prototypes pictured, of course. There are a few very, very ugly iPhone prototypes shown in these court documents, some of which look suspiciously close to some previously rumored redesigns. However, it´s interesting to see just how close Apple came to their now famous bauhaus-style design of the iPhone 4. Many of the early iPhone prototypes feature some measure of glass wrapped in a metal frame, including one which looks like a fatter, uglier version of the rumored iPhone “5” we´ve been seeing scattered about the Internet. When Apple didn´t announce the “iPhone 5” last year, many chalked it up to a pattern the company was trying to set into place, redesigning the phone every other year, as opposed to every release. Others, however, wondered if Apple stuck with the iPhone 4 body style because they felt they had finally gotten it right.
After looking at these pictures, I think it´s safe to say that Jobs´ and Ive´s ideal iPhone looks an awful lot like the iPhone 4 and 4S. Oh, and there´s also the matter of the “Sony” iPhone which Samsung wants to use in their arguments against Apple. This prototype was drawn by Apple designer Shin Nishibori, under the direction to draft an Apple phone with “Sony-like” design. The result? A beautiful yet stark iPhone 4, with a few more buttons. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Nishibori drew this phone in 2006. I think it´s safe to say Apple is pretty fond of their glass-wrapped-in-metal approach, so much so that I wouldn´t be the least bit surprised if the next iPhone is more of a design update than a total redesign.
Monkberry Moon Delight
Here´s something for the “No Duh” column: People are waiting to buy a phone which has routinely been issued on an annual cycle.
In the days leading up the Apple´s Q3 earnings call, analysts started setting the bar low for Apple´s performance, saying their popular smartphone hasn´t been selling well in recent months.
Despite Tim Cook´s solemn oath of secrecy, it seems everyone knows a new iPhone is on the way, and they´re willing to wait another 3 months or so to see what Apple has up their sleeves.
“People are waiting,” said Andy Hargreaves, analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. “It´s going to be bad now, but great later.”
This didn´t stop some of the naysayers from trotting out some headlines they´ve been sitting on for years, of course. There were plenty of news sources who ran stories about how Apple “missed” this and “disappointed” that. Not everyone was predicting doom and gloom, however. Many were even willing to go so far as to suggest that demand for this unreleased smartphone is higher than it´s ever been.
And who wouldn´t want an iPhone with 4G LTE, NFC capabilities and a slightly larger screen?
As for rumors, Reuters jumped into the fray, saying they´ve “confirmed” that the next iPhone will in fact have that new-fangled 19-pin connector, a change which could annoy many long-time iDevice users, but please those third-party accessory makers.
The big question now, of course, is if Apple will offer some salve to the wounded by way of a 19-pin to 30-pin adapter. According to Rene Ritchie of iMore.com, Apple doesn´t plan to leave us all hanging.
“We haven´t heard if one will be included in the box along with the iPhone 5, or will only be sold separately, but either way, come October, you´ll be able to get a new-to-old Dock adapter from Apple.”
“Of course, there will likely be some accessories that, due to the physical size or shape, are awkward or impossible to use with the Dock connector adapter, but anything that doesn´t require tight, flush contact should be okay.”
Apple has been shipping MagSafe adapters with their newest MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros, suggesting that maybe they´re more likely to offer their customers a helping hand these days. Just remember what I said last week. We should know “something” by October 9th. “Something,” of course, could mean anything, but I´m pretty sure we´ll have a better picture of what the next iPhone has in store for us by then.