Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Check out this revolutionary Mac

HAVE you seen those cute little notebooks? All the PC manufacturers sell a few except Apple. The Mac makers has managed to resist making these so-called netbooks, until last week.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple finally succumbed to market demand for netbooks. And no, it's not in tablet form as some smart-Aleck pundits had predicted but a normal looking netbook.

The product is called Apple MacBook Poor.

It has all the makings of a typical netbook: 28cm monochrome display, Intel 486 processor, 128KB of RAM and a cramped keyboard. In short, something that conforms to Microsoft's specification of what a netbook is.

However, it is devoid of the various colourful stickers that adorn the palm rests and undersides of other netbooks.

Another difference is that it runs Mac OS X Kitten as opposed to Windows XP or Vista.

"We christened it MacBook Poor to make it clear who it's for: those who can't afford real Apple products," said Apple's senior vice president for worldwide product maketing Phil Schiller.

"It is designed for those who after all these years still think Macs are expensive computers meant for graphic artists.

"And it's just a nice coincidence that the name has a similar ring to our real laptops, MacBook Pro," Schiller said.

Laptop purists may balk at the MacBook Poor's cramped keyboard but a revolutionary voice control feature in the laptop more than makes up for this shortcoming.

Users may simply bark the appropriate commands into the laptop's microphone.

"With voice control you can play music by artiste, album or playlist and activate the Genius feature by saying `play more songs like this.' You can also tell the MacBook to `do my homework' or ask `who's poking me on Facebook right now?'"

Another of its selling point is its built-in camera, which has an autofocus feature that allows users to tap on the screen and choose the good side of their face for Facebook profile.

And finally, a biggie. Because most netbook users are women, the MacBook Poor has a Find My MacBook feature that works together with MobileMe, so users can locate their lost MacBook on Google Maps.

For the more discerning netbookers however, Apple has a surprise for them in the form of Apple MacBook Poor S.

"Duh, that looks exactly like the one you just showed us," said a member of the audience at the product unveiling recently. At which point, the Schiller pointed out the S in the name.

"Aha, the MacBook Poor S may look similar to its more inferior cousin, but it runs the next-generation Mac OS X Snow Kitten," he explained.

The `S', he added, stands for speed.

"This is the fastest MacBook Poor yet - up to two times faster and more responsive than the previous MacBook Poor. Apps launch faster and it takes less time to open a Web page in the Safari browser.

During the demo, icons bounced just 20 times in the Dock before their respective applications finally opened.

"We hope by giving the pro-netbook market segment what they want upfront, we can keep them happy and get down to doing more useful work - like lording over the smartphone market," said Schiller.

While the article above is just a figment of the writer's imagination, it is inspired by real announcements by Apple last week at its Worldwide Developer Conference.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mac tablet to debut soon?

THIS should be a very interesting month for gadget lovers as Apple will be unveiling a new operating system for its iPhone.

Called iPhone OS 3.0, the OS has been in beta for the last couple of months to enable third-party developers to write new applications for it.

So what's new with iPhone OS 3.0? A lot. There will be more than 100 new features, including the much anticipated ability to copy and paste text. You see, the iPhone is the world's most brilliant mobile phone without copy-and-paste technology. If that sounds so wrong, it is. Thankfully, that will be rectified soon.

But what about a new iPhone, will there be one as well? No announcement of that sort. When it comes to hardware, Apple reverts to its usual policy of absolute secrecy. It is however widely speculated that Apple will unveil a new iPhone to go with the new OS based on the fact that the last two iterations of the OS were all loaded on new hardware (the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G).

But wait, that's not all there is to it. Speculation is also rife that Apple is preparing to introduce a revolutionary Mac computer based on tablet computing/touch screen technology.

Sites like ZDNet and TechCrunch have been fuelling the rumour since it was discovered that a patent filed in 2004 for some sort of tablet computer was credited to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and 14 other inventors.

The rumour gained momentum again early this year when it was reported that OEMs in Asia have been contacted about mass producing the device.

This rumoured Mac tablet has been likened to an oversized iPhone or iPod Touch. The screen can be anywhere between 7-inch and 10-inch and the operating system is expected to be iPhone OS.

Another sign is that the 2004 patent has Jobs' name on it, which has never happened with other Apple products. Jobs' name tend to appear only on patents that show real Apple products in their somewhat final form.

Having lived with the keyboard and screen all our computing life, it is indeed an enticing proposition, this touch screen interface. The original iPhone ushered in the era of MultiTouch for mobile devices when it debuted in 2007, so the next logical step for Apple is to equip something similar on its full-fledged computers.

After all, the line between laptops and mobile devices in terms of what you can do has blurred considerably in the last few years.