Category: MacJury

Exploring Apple’s iPhone 6 and iWatch announcements on the MacJury

I joined TMO Alumnus Ted Landau, Joe Kissell and host Chuck Joiner on the latest edition of The MacJury. The panel pontificated on new iPhones and analyzed the long term implications of the new “i-less” offerings: Apple Pay and Apple Watch.

What makes Apple’s NFC payment system better than Google’s? (Hint: It’s about who gets to see your data.) Can southpaws get as much out of the Apple Watch as righties? (Spoiler: Yes.) These and other burning questions are answered in The MacJury’s typical light-hearted (yet oh-so-authoritative) style.

The MacJury is available as a video podcast at Apple’s iTunes Store and the MacVoices website.

‘Open vs. Closed’ and other mythical battles on The MacJury

I joined a panel of pretty smart pundits on the latest edition of Chuck Joiner’s MacJury podcast. We started out with a look at the “battle” between so-called Open and Closed ecosystems, including of course Android and iOS (and some thoughts on why Android is ahead of iOS in market share), and then delved into TV and movie content distribution and other tangents. As usual, it was a lively discussion that I think shed some light on some of the issues at play. Guests Peter Cohen of The Loop and iMore and Weldon Dodd of Rewind Technology were lots of fun to banter with.

The episode’s worth checking out if for no other reason that to see how much grayer my hair’s gotten since my last appearance.

‘First weekend with the iPhone 5’ on MacJury

You may have already heard, but Apple released some sort of new phone last week and Chuck Joiner was kind enough to ask me to talk about it on his excellent MacJury podcast.

Also on the panel were Adam Engst, publisher of TidBITs and Take Control Books, Katie Floyd, host of the Mac Power Users podcast and Mark Tuccio, principle at The show focused on first impressions of Apple’s latest phone, as well as upgrade options and advice, some advice on solving battery issues with the new phone/iOS and what makes Chuck and his wife the greatest parents ever, according to Twitter.

MacJury episode 1213 is available as a free download at the MacJury website.

RandomMaccess LookBack: ‘The revolution at 20; save the trip down memory lane, Apple—keep looking ahead’

The one-year anniversary of the iPad (I discussed it on a MacJury panel this week) and an episode of Shawn King’s Your Mac Life brought to mind a piece I wrote in 2004 to discuss the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh. Although the article is now seven years old, I think the analysis is still relevant, with one caveat: I think Steve Jobs’ well-publicized health issues have given him a greater fondness for past achievements. I’m not saying he’s now content to rest on his laurels — far from it — but I do think he’s got a greater fondness for acknowledging (albeit it not reflecting) the past. Maybe it’s all just a matter of perspective.

By Chuck La Tournous | First published January 24, 2004

Yes, this column is about Apple and the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh, but I promise it won’t be another of those walks down memory lane, where we talk about how Apple had it all only to bungle its way into irrelevance against the mighty onslaught of Microsoft. Sheesh. There are enough Monday-morning quarterbacks opining Apple’s “should-woulda-couldas” to fill a football stadium.

In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons Apple itself has kept so low-key about its milestone. How does the company talk about its history without touching on those issues? For those only following the Mac since Steve Jobs returned to Apple’s helm, it’s easy to forget that Apple had its Dark Ages — and some pretty pitch-black ones at that. And even if the company were to dance its way around issues of licensing and shrinking market share and a zillion and one different models of Performas and spin it into a lovely little fairy tale — that’s just not Steve Jobs.

Jobs has always struck me as someone who looks forward, not back. He plots his course by seeing what’s ahead, not lingering on what he’s done. Even the nod to the past in his keynote was more of a statement of where the company is now than where it was then. Jobs played the famous “1984” commercial, which aired as a paid spot just once — during the 1984 Superbowl. But in this rendition, the freespirited revolutionary heroine rushes past the legions of listless masses ready to shatter the status quo — wearing an iPod. The spot is no longer about the original Macintosh, but about Apple and what it represents today.

So what does Apple represent today? It’s a big question, and certainly a bigger one that can be fully answered here. Jobs has given the “sound bite” answer himself; he want the Macintosh to be the hub of your “digital lifestyle.” When he first said that, it seemed a pretty vague statement, but what Apple’s done since then has made it a lot clearer. The Mac, then, is more than a just a traditional computer. It’s not just the place to bang away on your word processor, plan your family budget and let your kids play a game or two. As heretical as this may sound, the Mac isn’t the best way to do any of those things. You can write letters and spreadsheets on a cheap PC just as well as on a Mac, and with the money you save, you can buy a console system that will do a much better job of playing games than a PC or a Mac.

But think beyond those traditional computing tasks, and imagine what someone on Star Trek would do with a sort of computerized assistant. “Computer — display the pictures of Alex and James’ baseball games; put them in an email addressed to grandma.” iPhoto. “Computer, take the movies of Nicole’s birthday party. Delete the part where the neighbor kid picks his nose. Add some nice music from my selection of songs from the 1950s. Assemble the movie and put it on a disc so I can send it to Aunt Patty in Florida to watch on her TV.” iMovie & iDVD. “Computer — play a random selection of my top-rated songs — but no slow ones. And don’t play anything by The Beatles — I’ve been listening to them a lot lately.” iTunes. “Computer — My friend David has a new email address. I’ve changed it in my Address Book, but make sure my work computer, cell phone, PDA and iPod are all updated with the new information.” iSync.

I could go on and on. My daughter asked me once, (OK, more than once) why I spend so much time on the computer. I told her that I was actually doing a lot of different things — it just so happened that now, most of them can be done better and faster on the computer. I might be reading the news on the Internet; downloading photos from my camera and printing or sharing them with family and friends; scanning and restoring photos of family members who lived a hundred or more years ago; helping her do research for her homework; making a movie of the apple-picking trip we just took; chatting with a friend who lives in California; or writing a song for her mom. A lot of these are things I couldn’t have done a few years ago; some are things that would’ve taken me much longer or been so hard I might not have tried them.

The image of the woman in the 1984 ad remains a potent and fitting symbol for Apple and the Mac. Because distilled down to one word, the Macintosh is about revolution. It’s what the old slogan “the computer for the rest of us” really means. None of what the Mac allows us to do is impossible without the Mac. But it is beyond the reach of most of us, reserved for the rich or very gifted. The revolution is that these abilities are now in the hands of us — the masses. The revolution that started with the power to create professional-looking documents and spreadsheets continues to this day in GarageBand, which lets the most tone-deaf among us make “real” music. And in between, we’ve been given other tools to do what was once, if not impossible, then highly impractical.

I, for one, am glad Apple’s not devoting a whole lot of its time and energy looking at the past. I’d much rather they keep working on bringing me the future.

Apple’s Music Event announcements explored on MacJury

I took part in the latest MacJury podcast, where we discussed the announcements made at Apple’s September Music Event. I joined Host Chuck Joiner and panelists Dave Hamilton, Don McAllister and Omaha Sternberg to give our thoughts on the slew of product updates ranging from new iPod shuffles, nanos and touches; iTunes 10; iOS 4.1 (and beyond); the updated AppleTV and more—even the marketing strategy behind Apple’s return to live streaming of events.

I like the MacJury whether I’m on the panel or not. I’ve said it before, but Chuck does a great job of bringing together people with interesting points of view and importantly, objectivity. MacJury also provides enough time to delve beneath the surface on issues and get into the details—this is not just a bullet-point listing of what was said, but an exploration of how we got here and what it might mean for the future.

The show can be downloaded for free from iTunes or you can listen directly from the MacJury website. It’s a smart group of people and I’m happy to be asked to participate so often.

MacJury Live at Macworld 2010 video now available

I got to meet my fellow MacJurors face-to-face at Macworld San Francisco 2010 for a live version of the MacJury podcast. Host Chuck Joiner and our panel recorded the session live on the floor of the Moscone Center — in the Music Theater stage, to be more specific — in front of a live audience. The panel consisted of Tanya Engst, from TidBITS and TakeControl Books, Ted Landau from Macworld and The Mac Observer, Jeff Gamet from The Mac Observer and the Design Weekly Podcast and yours truly. The audience was super, the conversation lively and it was a typically fun session. Thanks to all who attended and for Chuck for putting it together. The session — in all its video glory — is now available on the website.

Greetings from Macworld Expo 2010!

I just returned from a week at San Francisco’s Macworld Conference and Expo 2010. Hopefully, you’ve been frequenting The Mac Observer, where I’ve had a few posts on the subject lately, including one that appeared today entitled “They Said it Couldn’t Be Done: IDG Pulls Off an Apple-less Expo Hit.

I also spoke at the Conference, delivering a session called on keyboard shortcuts called “Look Ma, No Mouse!” If you attended the conference, you already know where to find the slides. IDG, the show’s organizer, will be sending out more information on that soon as well.

On the show floor, I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in MacJury Live – a session of Chuck Joiner’s excellent podcast done in front of a live audience. It was great fun talking about the show with Chuck and fellow jurors Jeff Gamet, Tanya Engst and Ted Landau — some of the smartest people in the Mac community. As soon as the show is posted (in video, no less!) I’ll put a link to it here.

Between the Mac Observer article and the MacJury podcast, I’ve said pretty much all I have to say on the topic, other than to reiterate that it was a great show, ironically made perhaps even better by Apple’s absence.

I should’ve predicted world peace

On a recent MacJury, during a discussion on the new ability for iPhone applications to send “push” notifications, I joked about a Twitter client with that capability and what a nightmare it would be. We all had a good laugh at the ridiculousness of the suggestion and moved on to more serious topics.

I was surprised then to hear about Twitbit, a new Twitter client for the iPhone that features — you guessed it — push notifications. I’m struggling to comprehend the benefit of this. Unless you’re following very few people (and if you are I’d argue you’re not a good candidate for a for-pay Twitter client for the iPhone) it seems like the near-constant notifications of new Tweets would quickly drive you crazy — not to mention kill your battery.

Twitbit’s developers say the app will be configurable in future versions, so you can turn notification off for regular Tweets, but on for Direct Messages. Since you can already set that to happen via email, I still don’t see a big benefit. It will be interesting to see how Twitbit does (or evolves).

Had I known my predictions carried such power, I surely would have gone with something other than a Twitter client with push notifications.

Twitbit is available in the iTunes store for $4.99. More information is available on the app’s website.

iPhone tips and recommendations on MacJury

macjuryI took part in another session of The MacJury, Chuck Joiner’s excellent panel-based podcast. This time out, we talked about our favorite tips, features and accessories for the iPhone — particularly for the new iPhone 3GS and 3.0 software. These are always lots of fun to do, and entertaining to listen to (I hope.) On this session were Steve Sande from The Unauthorized Apple Weblog, Pat Fauquet of MacMouseCalls, author Tom Negrino and my Mac Observer compatriot Jeff Gamet. If you’re a reader of this site, I hope you’re also a subscriber to this podcast — it’s always a good discussion, whether I’m a participant or not.

iPhone 3.0 discussed on MacJury

macjuryThe latest installment of Chuck Joiner’s MacJury podcast is up. In it, I take part in a great panel discussion with a stellar lineup of “jurors:” Macworld’s Peter Cohen, Tonya Engst of TidBITs and Take Control, John Braun of The Mac Observer, Don McAllister of Screencasts Online and Adobe’s Terry White.

It’s a lively hour’s worth of talk about what’s in the update, what’s not and a little digging into what’s important and why. Panels this large can tend to get a little unwieldy, but thanks to Chuck Joiner’s expert choreography and the terrific panelists, the result is a spirited, friendly and fun discussion.

If you don’t already subscribe to the MacJury podcast, you should. It’s a consistently relevant, interesting and entertaining look at the issues surrounding Apple and the Macintosh.