Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Toe Into the Apple Well, And Other News

Several months ago we made the switch to Apple, at least in the main mp3 player of choice. Over the years we've had a number of mp3 players for various members of the family. I have Creative Labs Micro photo 8 gig unit that in spite of the small screen I can read pretty good. However, lately it has taken to not wanting to play with my xp, or Vista laptop. It wouldn't show up on boxes, or even charge properly. My wife had a small RCA unit that worked pretty good, but had issues charging or not working right in general.

My wife had seen the Ipod and liked it and decided to look at them. . What she finely got was the new Ipod Touch. 8gig unit. We brought it home and set up I-tunes, and her music library and hooked it up and it worked...!! It just worked... And continues to work..Flawlessy..We have a wall charger and charge it on that mostly.

The more we play with it the more we like it. Over the last few weeks we've used it constantly and it it just keep working. Flawlessly .
The library of programs and application that it comes with is astonishing. This little unit dose so much more then just play music, it allows us to carry pictures, play games and even get on a local wif-fi and check email and generally surf the web. Granted in some cases the screen is a bit small, but the touchscreen is excellent.
If the rest of Apples product line can be judged by the the experience with the ipods in general and the Touch is is closer to being a real miniature computer. Then the praise for the Apple is deserved. Now if they could just lower the prices some...

As many of you know the Touch is the little brother to the Iphone, essentially the IPhone without the phone. The recent news is that the IPhone and Touch sales have driven up Apple sales numbers up. AT&T is also making out like a bandit due to the fact that they're selling bundled data planes with the I Phones . There is criticism of the service provided by AT&T in relation to their 3G service. I suspect the customer service is lacking also. While it would be nice is Apple open up the IPhone to other carries, AT&T is fighting tooth and nail to keep exclusive rights to the IPhone to at least 2011. Thus insuring that it can survive at least that long. The numbers of new subscribers carried on the backs of the IPhone is huge, but 2010-11 most of those contracts will be up and many will have the new 3G version that is set to be released soon, and it hopes to grab that market also. In many ways this is like the old day when a ipod would only work on a apple computer. Once it was opened up to windows the sales number increased dramatically, Apple would be wise to open the IPhone to the other carries. This would give the other carries more incentive to build out their 3G networks and work out the bugs and generally level the playing field for the consumer.

In other news....

The merge of web and television continues.. Every ones favorite streaming media site has been making news both good and bad. As anyone who has read my blogs before know I'm a big fan of and the whole whole idea of any media on any platform in general. As I've said before, Hulu has done many things right, and essentially set the bar for online streaming of video content, both in quality and in site layout and navigation, They seemed to have found the right mix of advertising and content. Earlier this year there was a issue with Hulu not allowing their content to be streamed on Boxee players directly to tv set. There was a work around for that and that was fixed so it wouldn't work. I'm not sure what the situation is now with Boxee. The feeling I had, at the time I was reading the articles, was the the content owners were shooting themselves in the foot. Not allowing their content to be streamed to units like the Boxee was biting the hand that was feeding them. No ads were being striped from the content, so it was like watching it on the computer,only on a nice big screen. A google news search for Hulu shows a number articles pointing to their huge success in general, several pointing to new materials to stream, and venues to showcase its wares. Hulu is in talks with record labels to ad music videos to the content they carry.Also, more importantly there are talks that there will soon be a native ap to view Hulu on the Apple IPhone, and probably the touch, through WI-fi. I know that the idea of being able to watch Hulu at say a Dr's office waiting room or other such place would be a killer AP and a deal maker . Bringing it to other handheld devices would also expand their reach and thus advertisers reach to a grater range. As long as they keep the ads short and well spaced out people will tolerate and use Hulu. Bringing it to new tvs that have web access would also be a huge draw. Right now from what I've seen tvs with web access are very limited. what is needed is a tv with a full blown web browser and flash and other web specific programs built in . It would really be nice if they came with a wireless keyboard for entering urls and general typing and data entry. The ability to connect a usb hard drive in the usb port many new tvs have would allow for saving bookmarks and pictures to a local hard drive. Also allowing the tv to get on your local network would make streaming everything on your local network storage a breeze.
(At least in Theory)

The list of things to be covered is long and winding, like the path to tech nirvana, The other big thing in computer is the All-in Ones. a monitor with the computer built into it. adding a wireless keyboard and mouse and you have a simple elegant way to ad a computer to places that you don't necessarily want to add a tower or extra wires that go with a traditional desktop unit. Putting that together with a tv tuner and hooking it up to the cable or sat box, give you both computer and tv in places you wouldn't have been able to ad both easily. While probably wouldn't want it as a main computer for mission critical work, Ie, date book, other work that is very important, However, as a second or third machine in the house connected to the local network, they would be fine.
The latest curve in the road is the recent transition from an analouge to digital transmission by all of the nations tv stations. I have been reading of various unexpected issues that have come up and will continue to come up as the summer wares on. I will delve into my ideas, in details, on the transition in a new entry.

Ken Lawson