Building notes, projects, and occasional rants

Apple showtime

I've just finished watching the Quicktime stream of the Apple Showtime presentation. My first impression is positive, but there are some issues.

The iPod revamps are nothing spectacular in my opinion, with the exception of the iPod Shuffle which I find truly amazing. The extended batteries are cool for some of you, but I already get enough juice from my iPod Video. The new search features feel strange to me. I'll have to experiment a bit to see if they match with my brain.

The cool stuff really started flowing with iTunes 7. I think it really a great upgrade. I love the new iPod ground control, and the new source list is much easier to navigate, although I never had problems finding anything with the search field. I do wonder where do I go now to search everywhere. Until now, I would click on Library and whatever I did, I knew that if it where inside iTunes, it would pop up.

The upgrade to TV shows to 640x480 (and in the new Movie option) is a decent one, and long overdue, but until I can buy them in Portugal, I couldn't care less. Also, I still find the lack of a re-download option for these kind of media, even if we had to pay a few cents, disturbing. I don't want to keep every item I download from iTMS on my laptop hard-drive. At first I was thinking that a direct-to-S3 option of storage would be great, but we have a new feature that also solves my problem.

It's probably my favorite feature of them all, the ability to sync your iPod with multiple computers, bi-directional. So you can have a desktop computer with a big disk at home with all your music purchases on it, and sync to your laptop using the iPod as a glorious sneaker-net device. That is a killer feature for me. Unfortunately, it only works with music you bought from iTMS, so this is not a universal sync. Yet.

Apart from that, we also got games, and I've already played my fetish game on my iPod, Mini-Golf. It will be an excellent wast of time. If my wife had a supported iPod, I'm sure that Bejeweled and Cubis would also be in my credit card statement by now. Now that I'm thinking about it, it's probably safer not to tell her that they are available, or I might not only spend the money on them, but also loose my iPod to her. Heh :).

There are other features in there that are cool or useful, Coverflow and the new download manager, for example, but I don't expect to make much use of them.

Lastly, and for me and Rui, most surprising, a preview of a upcoming product: code-named iTV, its a media-center to plug into your TV and Stereo, that will be available sometime in Q1 2007 for $299. The box looks good, and the interface seems mother-in-law-proof, so it might make it to my home soon.

There are some questions though: does it play other open codec's, like XViD or Divx, or do I have to transcode it to H.264 MOVs? Can I have several of these boxes pulling from a single Mac? What about DVDs? Can I stream a DVD from another computer?

Will see. For now, my opinion is that this will be an excellent opportunity to sell more desktop computers to become the household server. Mini X-Serve's anyone? :)

All in all, a cool event, but nothing spectacular. For my friends waiting for laptop updates with Intel Meron's, don't despair, I'm sure you'll have something for Christmas. I was hoping something at Apple Paris Expo, but I noticed that it started today, and Jobs will not be present, so no updates for now.