Hi! My name is Cédric Bozzi, I make websites and iOS apps, and this is my blog about technology (mostly a Twitter archive, really).

1 September 2010

Apple Keynote – September 1st, 2010

I’m glad that streaming the keynote turned out not to be part of a huge PR plan, and mostly just a nod to the fans. (It’s not like they thought streaming the keynote only to Apple devices was gonna convince PC-using iPhone owners to buy a Mac. That’s a job for the Windows version of iTunes.) I hope they didn’t see it as a full-scale test of their video streaming architecture, because by the second half-hour it started blinking and skipping on me — but I guess there are vastly different constraints when it comes to streaming live video.

Although, considering how trigger-happy QuickTime is when it comes to beginning to play a video while it’s loading, even though it hasn’t buffered enough to last for more than ten seconds, I wouldn’t want to be watching rented videos on an Apple TV. But I digress.

 

iOS

The first thing I typed into my Twitter client was “Today Apple killed photography.” (I am among those who despise HDR when it’s used poorly, and find that it’s almost always used poorly.) Then Steve showed examples and I stayed my hand. It is possible to make good photography using HDR, if you don’t abuse the filtering, and it looks like iOS 4.1 may be erring on the conservative side here. You can be sure I’ll do some extensive testing when I get the update on my iPhone.

Game Center is nothing we didn’t expect, but the same can’t be said of that Epic Games demo. Better place the Playstation team on suicide watch tonight, because those visuals were stunning. (But damn those stupid virtual-stick controls.) Sure, if you play this game on your iPhone, I expect your battery will be empty in an hour and you’ll be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no means of communication — but this is all about the iPod touch as a game platform.

As for iOS 4.2 for iPad, I’m guessing it will be the first time I can’t resist installing a beta OS on one of my devices — can’t wait for multitasking until November. I was afraid for a while that Apple intended to keep the segregation going between iPhone and iPad, to maintain separate version numbers for each (which would have been insanely dumb), but it sounds like 4.2 will also bring new functionality to the iPhone (starting with AirPlay), so I figure it should exist for iPhone.

I kinda hoped there would be more enhancements, or tweaks, to the multitasking dock and home screen folders, though, to make better use of the iPad’s form factor. Oh well.

 

iPod shuffle

It’s always nice when Apple can admit that it made a mistake. Well, not exactly “admit” nor “mistake,” but they can just come back and fix it. So… yeah, buttons.

 

iPod nano

That form factor just looks insanely inconvenient to me. Holding this tiny thing between your fingers while fiddling with the on-screen controls… I’m sad that Steve actually made a joke about wearing it as a wristwatch, because that’s in fact the only way it would be convenient to use. I think it’s an actual missed opportunity.

Instead, we get the rotating-screen gimmick, which is cute, but dictates a square form factor that’s not gonna help watching videos. Oh, wait, this thing doesn’t play videos at all anymore — you’re just expected to buy an iPod touch instead.

I never thought it made much sense to watch videos on a Nano, but it still a little weird to go from the 2009 model that can play and shoot videos to the 2010 version that does neither. (And I always thought there was a market for the Nano as a camcorder. But maybe I’m wrong and real-world users didn’t actually use it.)

 

iPod touch

Nothing unexpected here, I’m just curious to hold one; the previous Touch was already impressively thin, and the thinner those devices the more they feel like magical artefacts — Harry Potter playing cards (especially with the Retina display).

 

iPod classic

Well, it’s still on the site even though it didn’t get the faintest mention in the keynote. I find more significant, however, that it doesn’t appear in the iPod comparator page either. It’s clear that Apple only reluctantly keeps it in the store until it becomes pratical to offer a 128GB iPod touch. (Which I assume should be next September.)

I’m sincerely curious as to what would be the reason not to just make a separate iPod touch line with 160GB and 250GB drives. Or did they do too much SSD-optimization on iOS for that to work?

 

iTunes 10

Oh god, like, whatever.

Just who approved those window control widgets?

And you better hope that Facebook already infringes on some Apple patents, or there’s a lawsuit coming. Never mind that I don’t think Facebook should have been able to patent the news feed concept; the Ping pages might as well have been ripped straight from an Apple engineer’s Facebook account, CSS and all.

 

Apple TV

I actually burst out laughing when Steve showed the photo comparing the older and new model’s sizes. Most of the changes — including the price — had leaked in the last few weeks, so there wasn’t much to be surprised about, yet nobody thought it would be that small. The drastic simplification of the device is a great idea, and at this price it’s getting hard to argue against buying it (if you have a living room TV, which I don’t). The interface is terribly bland, though; I’d even take the very first Apple TV’s navigation over this.

If it weren’t for Netflix (not that it applies to us in Europe), the rental prices would be a joke. Prices so low you can afford to rent the same video several times and it’ll still be cheaper than buying it, the guy said. Well, at $0.99 the TV show episode, you’ve got to be some serious OCD bean counter to agree.

As for AirPlay, is it anything other than a license to add a “Buy an Apple TV” button on all iPods and iPhones?

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