Back in January, I got my MacBook. We’ve lived a happy life together since then, but I was apprehensive before I got it. Would I get on with Mac OS X? Surely no one could live with just one mouse button?
Of course, there is baggage attached to owning a MacBook. That is, the MacBook is the “junior” model in the Apple laptop range. Do I think I should have gone for a MacBook Pro? There are a few features that the Pro has that the MacBook doesn’t.
I think the main ones are a proper 3D graphics processor, a metal case and most tempting of all, a backlit keyboard. On the otherside though, the MacBook does have a couple of things in it’s favour over the Pro though. First off, it’s smaller and therefore slightly more portable. The smallest size you can get a Pro in is 15.4″, whereas a MacBook is a lightweight 13.3″. The second thing is price. It’s a lot cheaper than the Pro model. I haven’t really missed the 3D graphics because the only games I’ve played on here are Civ 4 and Chess. I would love to have a backlit keyboard though and that is perhaps the only thing I envy about the MacBook Pro. I wanted to find the extra few hundred pounds just to have one, but in the end I couldn’t justify the extra cost. After all, most of the time I’m listening to music, writing stuff on my blog or in Pages (the word processor in iWork) or doing some web development, all of which the MacBook does perfectly. So yeah, I’m glad I made the switch to a Mac, and I’m very happy with my MacBook.
Regular readers at a certain Herefordshire based bill payments company may wish to note that my comments about Microsoft products aren’t defamatory
I’ve been trying out Safari on Windows recently. It seems pretty good – it renders fonts really nicely, just as it does on a Mac. Performance seems good, although I don’t know how much quicker it is than Firefox, other than what Apple claims. Firefox has never felt particularly sluggish to me, but I guess in these times of broadband it will start to become the browser that affects render times rather than download speed. I wonder if that’ll start to affect how we design web pages? I guess the simplest, standard compliant ways will continue to be the best.
I think at least in the short to medium term, I’ll be sticking to Firefox as my main browser – tools like Firebug and the Web Developer extension just make it the perfect platform for development. However, the new Web Inspector in Safari 3 looks like it might be offering some strong competition for the hearts and minds of developers. I have been trying to make sure I do my morning reading on Google Reader using Safari, and I try and keep my to-do list on Basecamp open in Safari. We’ll see where we go from here…
I saw this a while back on TechCrunch and it made me laugh. I think there are good uses for something like this, but I don’t think we’ll see it on a large scale for consumers for another 10-20 years yet…
Autosport has a new podcast, which I downloaded last night to listen to on my way to my kart race yesterday morning. I haven’t really been keeping up with my podcasts of late, so I put them on for the journey to and from Whilton Mill. It certainly helped the journey go quickly on the way there and kept me awake on the drive back. I think I’m going to start listening to them more while I’m in the car because it seems like the perfect environment for them and I rarely seem to be able to listen to them any other time. Radio and by extension podcasts seem to work best when you’re doing something that leaves a lot of your brain free for something else, like driving. Listening in work is a bit of a problem because it’s harder to concentrate on the stuff I’m actually paid to do and listen to what someone is saying. Listening at home is hard because I’ve usually got so many jobs to do it’s difficult to sort out the time to do something were I can actually pay attention to the podcast as it plays.
Anyway, the current list of podcasts on my (now 3 year old) iPod are as follows:
The Now Show
Mark Kermode’s Film Reviews
Gareth Jones on Speed
Those seem to suit my tastes, on demand, much better than any radio station could.
The karting itself didn’t go great. I’m not sure where we finished but it wasn’t anywhere worth mentioning. I did qualifying and was 7th when I came in, but then the sun came out and we were pushed down to 19th, which was a bit disappointing. Still, next race in two weeks so a chance to put it right will come soon.
Last week Apple introduced the iPhone at MacWorld. As you probably know from the extensive coverage that there has been, it brings together a new widescreen video iPod, mobile phone and a range of Internet features.
I think Apple might be onto something big with the iPhone. The problem with nearly all phones that I have come across is that they just aren’t enjoyable to use. My one person test of this is the fact that I’m still soldiering on with my slightly broken Sony EricssonT610 instead of upgrading. I’m a gadget loving person, so why aren’t I upgrading to the latest thing? Mainly because none of them give me enough more than my current phone does, let alone any already existing gadget I have. Think about it. Does any phone come close to an iPod for playing music? No. Does any phone come close to my Canon Powershot G3 for photo taking? No. Does any phone come close to my MacBook for surfing the Internet or reading my e-mail? No. The problem is that while a lot of phones can do all of those things none of does them well. In fact, most of the time, the features seem barely implemented.
Now, I’m not an Apple zealot. I can see that the iPhone is not perfect because the battery life is not great and considering it’s touted as being the widescreen video iPod the battery life for watching videos is only 5 hours. Not great. One of the things Apple does better than virtually any other company is design and from the look of it the iPhone has got loads of bloody brilliant design in it. Everything (and importantly that includes the job of being a phone) looks like it not only works but works brilliantly, something that knocks all other phones into a cocked hat. Apple says it is aiming for 1% of the market but I reckon it’l get way more than that.
Now, there is an “interesting” piece on bloomberg about how Apple won’t make a difference in the mobile phone market. This guy clearly has little idea about how technology works, although his opening paragraph almost grasps they way things do work.
To its many fans, Apple is more of a religious cult than a company. An iToaster that downloads music while toasting bread would probably get the same kind of worldwide attention.
There is a reason why the followers of Apple have such a “religious” following. As Alan Cooper pointed out in his book “The Inmates Are Running The Asylum” good design generates loyalty and Apple have such phenomenal design that people who use their products love them. I’m not sure an iToaster would get the same worldwide attention, but you can bet on it being well designed and that it would give you consistent toast. Now, Mr Matthew Lynn from Bloomberg doesn’t think Nokia or Motorola should worry and that Apple will fail. Motorola historically have terrible user interfaces and Nokia’s N80 (which my girlfriend has) is one of the most buggy phones I’ve used. Nokia themselves have already missed the point by saying they’re “surprised” that the phone doesn’t have 3G. This isn’t about features and it isn’t about the market already existing. Apple will get their 1% they’re aiming for and almost certainly more. People want the iPhone because they love their iPods and how well they work and they want an phone that works at least nearly as well as their iPod. If they get that then Apple could well have customers for life. That is something that Nokia and Motorola don’t have and they should be running scared to their R&D labs fast.