Category Archives: Gadgets

2011 Apple Wish List

I’ve slowly accumulated a slew of Apple gear over the past couple years, not entirely intentional.  I use a 2008 MacBook Pro for work and a 2009 iMac at home, both of which have held up nicely.  However, times have changed, as have my needs.  Today I want (and to some degree) need MORE!

I expect to upgrade both my laptop and desktop in 2011, IF Apple can provide the gear to satisfy my discerning needs.  I’m what you call a power user.  In my day job, I run Windows 7 (via bootcamp) for Office, Visual Studio, SQL, etc. with most of my personal computing done via Mac OSX; Adobe Suite, Aperture & Final Cut Pro.  I also run VM Fusion with RedHat & Ubuntu and of course, expect everything to place nice together.  I’ll publish another post outlining my home-network (spoiler alert: I have a 42U rack, cisco/juniper equipment w/native 1GB connectivity & 10+TB of home storage!)

Today, I’d like to cast my 2011 Apple Wish List; and I promise if Apple upholds their end of the bargin, I’ll gladly acquire equipment upon pre-order.  I’m intimately aware there are many reasons why they have not shipped such amenities to date, but the ‘consumer’ in me doesn’t care about that – I just want the goods Apple, make it happen.

2011 MacBook Pro/iMac:

  • 3.4 Ghz 4+ Core, 2nd Generation i7 (aka Sandy Bridge) Processor (likely) or 6-core Gulftown i7 (unlikely)
  • USB 3.0 (unlikely, but possible)
  • 500GB SSD primary hard-drive (possible, 256gb likely)
  • 1TB SATA secondary hard-drive (likely)
  • eSata External Port (possible)
  • Blu-Ray BDR & BD-RE Drive (unlikely)
  • 8+ GB DDR3 RAM (likely)
  • 2560 by 1600 native resolution (unlikely) w/Open CL – 1920 by 1200 (likely)
  • Intel Light Peak
  • 10+ hr battery for MacBook Pro (likely)
  • And of course, all the standard stuff: 802.11n, bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, SD card slot, Firewire 800, Mini DisplayPort, audio in/out, etc.)

iPhone 5

  • VERIZON!
  • GSM/CDMA/LTE (4G) WORLD PHONE
  • Dual-Core ARM11 processor
  • 4X more memory
  • Accessories that work with the apple bumper
  • Drastically improved battery life with removable/replaceable battery
  • FM Radio
  • iOS 5 (unlikely, not yet seeded to developer community)
  • RFID-enabled

iPad 2

  • Of course, dual-camera’s (although, I only need 1 high-quality front-facing, won’t be taking pics with it, but some might?)
  • Dual-Core ARM11 Processor
  • 4X more memory
  • Price reduction (to justify my 3G/Wifi model upgrade)
  • Retina Display
  • Intel Light Peak
  • $99 iPad Mini offering to compete with Kindle
  • Multi-User support w/separate profiles!
  • More Storage – 256GB!?
  • Dare I say it?  Flash support!

Apple TV

  • Tivo-integration (or comparable recorder, hosted in the cloud?)
  • App-store capabilities (e.g. hulu plus, boxee & slingbox players)
  • Offer a hard-drive version (else, support usb-hacks for external USB hard-drives)
  • USB 3.0 external port!
  • AirPlay support for older AppleTV unit (w/Hard-Drive!)

 

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Bowers & Wilkins announces Zeppelin Mini

‘ve been a big fan for Bowers & Wilkins for years, having outfitted several rooms with their speakers.  I recently discovered they’ve announced a new iPod speaker system, as the baby brother of their award-winning Zeppelin speaker system.  The Zepplin mini seems interesting, as they’ve again lowered the price point to help put B&W quality into the hands of everyday consumers.  The speaker begins shipping October 20th, for $399 and I hope to pick one up shortly thereafter and will be sure to post a review.

Here’s the official B&W announcement – Posted on Monday, 14 September 2009 @ http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/theinsider/?p=179

Bowers & Wilkins’ iconic Zeppelin redefined what could be expected from an iPod speaker system. Digital music needn’t be harsh, brash, or unpalatable – it can be delivered in glorious high-fidelity. Plus, the device that provided this amazing sound could be a thing of beauty. Two years and an unprecedented collection of glowing reviews and prestigious awards later, Zeppelin is joined by Zeppelin Mini.

Zeppelin Mini attains the same high standards in sound quality and design set by Zeppelin, but in a more compact form. It is reduced in size, not in sound, and has amazing volume levels for such a diminutive package.  It’s ideal for lounges just like its larger sibling, but it can easily be slotted into a bedroom, kitchen, or student digs.

Key differentiating features include an updated docking arm. On the original this innovative solution worked incredibly well, allowing hassle-free mounting of any iPod, and easy access to Apple’s user-friendly interface. These qualities remain, but the addition of USB connectivity allows Zeppelin Mini to bypass the analogue output stage of any iPod, providing access to the very best digital sound an iPod has to offer.

From this beneficial acoustic starting point Bowers & Wilkins’ decades of experience producing the very best speakers for demanding customers such as Abbey Road Studios, and advanced Digital Signal Processing combine to create a sonic experience that belies the compact stature of Zeppelin Mini.

The recent work Bowers & Wilkins has undertaken in the area of DSP-intensive projects such as the in-car system for the new Jaguar XJ have provided knowledge and advances found in Zeppelin Mini, in the same way the legendary NautilusTM informs all Bowers & Wilkins current speakers. For example, a key Bowers & Wilkins technology such as FlowportTM combines with digital advances such as Digital EQ to provide a clean, room filling sound, with base levels that have to be heard to be believed.

But Zeppelin is about more than amazing sound – it has been hailed by many as a design classic – and the iconic design of the original is reflected in the Zeppelin Mini’s subtle curves. Add to this the attention to detail in terms of materials and construction that Bowers & Wilkins is justifiably famous for and it’s a worthy addition to the Zeppelin family.

There are major design advances, too, including an updated version of the docking arm. On Zeppelin Mini it rotates 90 degrees, allowing you even easier access to your music through the Cover Flow menu system. You can also watch videos and enhanced podcasts in this manner.

zeppelin mini office small 150x150 Bowers & Wilkins announces Zeppelin Mini
zeppelin mini small 150x150 Bowers & Wilkins announces Zeppelin Mini

The Zeppelin Mini also adds the ability to stream music direct from your PC or Mac via a dedicated USB socket. This allows you even more flexibility in terms of how you play your music, and any computer system will benefit from the improved sound quality and digital processing that Zeppelin Mini’s advanced Digital Signal Processing and drive unit technology offer. This USB connection also has the advantage of letting you synchronise your iPod or iPhone with your computer.

As Bowers & Wilkins has proved with Zeppelin, constant attention to iPod developments and customer demands through the medium of freely available firmware upgrades allows Zeppelin users to keep pace with new technology. This level of support will again be key to the continued success of Zeppelin Mini.

Zeppelin Mini boasts all the quality of the original Zeppelin, but in a more compact package perfect for smaller spaces.

MiFi Hotspot

Verizon is now the first carrier to launch Novatel’s MiFi personal hotspot gadget, and there’s no subscription required.

Yes, if you want to, you can pay $99.99 for the hotspot and $59.99 a month for 5GB of data. But to me, the killer combination for occasional travelers is $269.99 for the device and $15 for an unlimited use ‘day pass’ – no commitment required. There’s also a 250MB plan for $39.99/month.

The MiFi is a Wi-Fi router with a twist: it’s battery powered and has a cellular modem built in. So just turn it on anywhere Verizon has a signal, and pow, you’re broadcasting Wi-Fi to up to five PCs. The battery lasts for about four hours of use and 40 hours of standby on a charge, according to Verizon Wireless. And the MiFi is pretty tiny: only 3.5″ x 2.3″ x .4″ and 2.05 oz.

All five computers will share one EVDO Rev A connection, so you’ll be splitting about a megabit down and 500 kilobits up between whomever’s on the hotspot. And they’ll all contribute to filling the monthly data quota. But still, this makes getting online with Verizon’s network easier than ever.

 When originally announced last December, Novatel pointed out that the router is actually a tiny Linux PC, capable of running its own software. The router could check e-mail and store messages on a memory card without a PC, in theory. But Verizon’s version looks like it’s just a Wi-Fi router – for now, at least.

The MiFi will go on sale May 17. This post originally appeared on Gearlog.

A few noteworthy gadgets..

Just when i think i have about everything i need, i stumble upon something else that would seemingly to make my life easier.  Here are a few noteworthy items I’ve come across lately..

  • Mophie Juice Pack Air – protective case and external battery for iPhone 3G.

Read Engadget review here or visit retail site here.

  • Live Scribe Pulse – record audio and links it to your notes!

Visit website here.

  • PowerMonkey – Explorer – portable solar panel charger.

Visit website here, or buy on Amazon here.

iPhone 3.0 Tethering How To

After recently upgrading my iPhone to OS 3.0 I was interested in evaluating all the new features, esp. A2DP and tethering.  Since my car is in the shop, A2DP is going to have to wait a couple more days which left me some time to tinker with tethering.  

At first impression, os 3.0 is pretty slick, small subtle changes throughout the UI, you can activate spotlight search by swiping your finger right (as opposed to left to see additional applications screens.)  Several applications have been updated making them even more usable, stocks, mail (auto-rotate calendar) and of course, copy/paste.  One thing i did notice, the keyboard didn’t auto-rotate when working with calendar, which I have sync’d to our office exchange server, so it seems not everything got the keyboard auto-rotate update, at least not in the initial beta drop.

On to tethering, since it was not obvious (to me) how to enable and activate tethering, i reverted to the web and quickly discovered the link below which includes full details on how to get it setup!  I’ve included a few pics below to show you how it looks.

http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/03/19/complete-how-to-tethering-an-iphone-with-30-firmware/ – how to activate iPhone 3 tethering, step by step.

Or, you can skip the config file updates and just download this file, ATT_US.ipcc, (assuming your carrier is AT&T ) – then connect your iPhone to iTunes, option-click on the “Check for Updates” button, and select the ATT_US.ipcc file you just downloaded. Next, restart your iPhone.  After reboot, you then should be able pair your iPhone over Bluetooth by going to Settings-General-Network-Internet Tethering on the iPhone, and pair your iPhone with you Mac as you would with a normal Bluetooth device.  Once paired, click your blueTooth icon (on your mac) choose your iphone|Connect to Network – now you can surf the web using your iPhone and 3G!

iPhone OS 3 Highlights

Apple today hosted a preview event for its upcoming iPhone OS 3.0, highlighting a few of over 1,000 new APIs for developers and over 100 new features for users. Here are some of the highlights:

  • In-App Purchasing: Allows developers to sell additional content from within applications. Highlighted uses include magazine subscriptions, eBooks, additional levels and items for games.
  • Peer-to-Peer Connectivity: Find other devices running the app via Bonjour over Wi-Fi of Bluetooth. Good for gaming, but also other applications for sharing data.
  • Third-Party Accessory Apps: Allowing accessory manufacturers to create applications to interface with their hardware accessories.
  • Push Notification: Rather than using background processes that hamper battery life, utilize third-party server to push badge, text, and audio alerts from applications.
  • Turn by Turn: Apple will allow developers to use CoreLocation for turn-by-turn GPS directions.
  • Cut, Copy and Paste: Available across all apps. Shake to undo or redo (finally).
  • Landscape keyboard: Available in all key applications, including Mail.
  • MMS: Picture messaging now available.
  • Voice Memos: Record notes, lectures, interviews, etc.
  • Spotlight Search: Available across all applications. Systemwide search available from main home screen by flicking to the left.
  • A2DP Bluetooth: Support for stereo bluetooth headsets (finally).

Tethering, another much-requested feature, was addressed in the Q&A section of the event. Apple is building the client side of tethering into OS 3.0, but cooperation from carriers is also required in order for it to be offered.

The new iPhone OS 3.0 is available to all registered iPhone developers today as a free beta. Full release to customers will be this summer. OS 3.0 will be free for all iPhone users and a $9.95 upgrade for all iPod touch users. Most features will be available for the first-generation iPhone, although hardware limitations will prevent some features, such as MMS and stereo Bluetooth, from being added to those devices. Meanwhile, Apple also revealed that Bluetooth support can be activated in the 2nd generation iPod Touches.

Apple has posted an iPhone OS 3.0 Preview page listing a few of the highlights. A video of today’s media event will also be posted to the page later today.

iPhone 3.0 – copy and paste details

During a live taping of Diggnation, Kevin Rose revealed details about the expected “Copy and Paste” functionality coming in iPhone 3.0. World of Apple reports on the event with a link to a video of the moment (warning: strong language).

According to Rose, to invoke Copy and Paste, you simply double tap on the word, and a magnifier bubble will appear with two quotes that you can drag around your selection. Once you make your selection, you can copy, paste or cut. Rose has been accurate in the past with details about upcoming Apple product revisions. Rumor has it that Copy and Paste will be arriving in 3.0 alongside a much improved homepage/springboard with the ability to organize in categories.

Apple will be revealing iPhone 3.0 in detail on Tuesday, March 17th at a special media event.