iPad 2: Thinner. Lighter. Faster.

iPad 2: Thinner. Lighter. Faster.

iPad 2: Thinner. Lighter. Faster.

Despite being on sick leave, Steve Jobs took center stage today to unveil the all new, iPad 2. The new model has been totally redesigned, and will be available March 11th.

  • Available in black or white. Unlike the (mythical) white iPhone, the white iPad will be available from day 1.
  • New 1GHz dual-core A5 chip. Apple says it will have the same 10 hour battery life, but have double the overall performance, and 9-times the graphics performance as the original iPad.
  • 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter.
  • Front and rear-facing cameras.
  • HDMI-out through a $39 adaptor.
  • Same price and storage-capacity options as the original iPad
  • Same 9.7 inch, 1024×768 display

Apple also announced a nifty new Smart Cover, and versions of Garage Band and iMove for the iPad. There’s a couple of great videos on Apple’s iPad page that really give a sense of just how cool the iPad 2 and Smart Covers really are.

I would be a liar if I said I didn’t totally want this! But, I already have the original iPad (and I love it), and I just can’t justify the upgrade right now. I can’t say I’ll be able to resist upgrading until iPad 3, but I probably won’t be running out anytime too soon.

One Big Problem with Apple’s ‘Thunderbolt’

Macbook Pro with Cinema Display Cable

If you haven’t already heard, Apple updated its entire line of Macbook Pros this morning. Like usual, the new models have updated processors, graphics cards, etc… But the biggest new feature is the addition of a new port called, Thunderbolt.

From Apple:
“…Ultrafast and ultraflexible, the Thunderbolt pipeline is more than 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0, and it offers unprecedented expansion capabilities. It changes what you can do on a notebook.”

Sounds great, right? But, there’s one important thing to know – the new port isn’t an additional port, it replaces the existing Mini DisplayPort. You might be asking, how can this be?

From Apple:
“The Thunderbolt port will give you plug-and-play performance with a whole new world of Thunderbolt peripherals, as well as with the Apple LED Cinema Display and other Mini DisplayPort peripherals. You can daisy-chain as many as six devices, including your display.”

OK, that answers that. But, there’s just one BIG problem with this setup – the cable! Apple Cinema Displays have a wonderful 3-pronged cable that carries power, video signal, and usb (to power the usb ports on the back of the display). If you use the cable the way it’s intended, there’s no way to plug anything else into that port.

Currently, the only way to use your display and an additional device at the same time, is to physically position that device within a few inches of the Thunderbolt port on the computer and divert the (short) video cable to that other device – then run a cable from the secondary device to the computer. Am I the only one who thinks that’s just plain stupid?

At some point (soon) Apple will probably come out with new displays that either have Thunderbolt ports on the back, or have a reworked cable, but until then, this implementation isn’t very practical.

I’m all for reducing the number of ports / cables required for a given system, but I’m not sure how well it works to include your display in a daisy chain. It requires you to either have additional ports on the back of the display (so it can be first in the chain), or have your display at the end of the chain – which seems impractical for most workflows. Realistically, a good chain should have your most-used device at the front, and the least used device at the back. Of course, another option would be to use a hub, but now you need an additional piece of hardware, which to some degree works against the whole idea of reducing.

Apple “Switch” still Relevant

My wife was in Phoenix recently visiting her parents. She sent me this email (she has a Macbook):

So I was printing out my boarding card… I plugged dad’s printer into my computer… and he said “oh, oh you will need a driver” and I replied “really???, well let me try.”

I checked my control panel, saw the printer, and printed, VOILA!… my dad looked slightly impressed and asked a few questions (wink, I think I won that round).

I absolutely loved reading this. It totally reminded me of those Apple “Switch” ads. Apple could start using those again, today, and they would still be relevant.

Apple’s offering a sneak peak at iPhone 3.0 Software

iPhone 3.0 Software Preview

Apple will be holding a special media event at 10:00am (pdt) next Tuesday, March 17th to give us a sneak peak at the next major revision to the iPhone operating system (3.0).

Don’t expect to be downloading it though. I’m guessing it probably won’t be released until the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). A date for WWDC 2009 hasn’t been set yet, but it usually takes place around June.

via AppleInsider

New 4GB iPod Shuffles

3rd Generation iPod Shuffle

If you haven’t already heard, Apple introduced a brand new 4GB iPod Shuffle today. It’s a complete redesign, and by far the most notable change is the lack of any playback controls on the Shuffle itself. You control playback entirely from the small remote on the earbud cord.

Understandably, the change in user-controls has a few people miffed because it means you must use Apple’s earbuds, at least until 3rd parties start coming out with compatible earbuds or controllers.

In terms of features, one of the biggest additions is what Apple is calling, VoiceOver. Basically, the Shuffle has the ability to talk to you… it can tell you what track or playlist you’re listening to, and provide some level of navigation.

If you can live with the new controls, it looks like a pretty sweet little redesign. The new 4GB model comes in silver or charcoal grey (black?), and costs U.S. $79.

Apple Releases Safari 4 Beta

Safari 4 Beta

Today Apple released a public beta of Safari 4. It has some impressive new features, but what really caught my eye was the new Cover Flow view for browser history. Currently I use SafariStand to get this feature under Safari 3, and I’ve come to rely on it heavily. I’m extremely glad to see it’s going to be built right in to Safari 4.

Safari 4 Beta is available for both Mac and PC. As with all software, you should understand what the word, “Beta” means if you plan on installing it.

UPDATE: After seeing this post over at Daring Fireball, I thought it worth mentioning that you’ll want to be especially cautious upgrading to Safari 4 Beta if you use any Input Managers, such as the excellent 1Password. It’s important to remember that these things are unsupported hacks, and it’s entirely possible for new versions of Safari to break these “plugins”. Don’t upgrade yet if there’s any third party add-ons that you absolutely rely on.

UPDATE #2: Thanks to this post at The Graphic Mac, I’ve learned that Safari 4 now stores bookmarks in a .plist file, rather than a standard HTML file, like previous versions of Safari. Unfortunately, this probably means that most bookmark syncing utilities will probably be broken as well.

UPDATE #3 (2/25/2009): Just 1 day after Apple released Safari 4 Beta, Agile Web Solutions has updated 1Password to be compatible (and include several other bug fixes). Awesome!