This was a busy week for technology enthusiasts. With CES going in Las Vegas and Macworld Expo going in San Fransisco, there’s a lot of new ways to spend cash.
While my CES coverage has consisted mainly of reading Engadget, I’ve been following Macworld a little closer. You may remember that earlier I mentioned that this is Apple’s last participation in the Expo and that Phil Schiller gave the Keynote presentation instead of Steve Jobs (check out this article for more on his health).
I’ve gotta say: I wasn’t too blown away by Apple’s keynote announcements. Sure there was a new iLife and iWork, but there was nothing quite like the iPhone, Mac mini and PowerBooks (going back a few years). I was hoping for something that I would really consider saving up for.
Instead, this is what we got.
The 17″ MacBook Pro now joins the rest of the MacBook and MacBook Pro line with a unibody aluminum enclosure, glass trackpad and LED backlit screen. It separates itself from the other models by including a new 8 hour battery, which I can only hope will make its way to the other models soon. Interestingly, this model has an optional $50 anti-glare cover, which should satisfy the many users who complained about the glossy screen on the other models. I don’t think I would ever consider purchasing a machine like this. Not just for the price tag (starting at $2,999 CAN) but also because I could get an even large screen, using a smaller MacBook for less money. Maybe a 15″ MacBook Pro, but even that would require careful consideration.
The previously mentioned iLife and iWork updates include some interesting new features that I would like to see in person. As soon as I saw iMovie ’08 I refused to upgrade, so this package needs to have more benefits for me to even consider it.
Perhaps the biggest news from the keynote is that the iTunes store will be transitioning to completely DRM free tracks. Music will now be offered in a 3 tier system: $0.69, $0.99 and $1.29 per track. That should make a lot of people happy.
Overall, I think both trade shows could be considered successes, and even with Apple’s decision to pull out of next year’s expo, I still want to go.
Back in April of 2008 I put a 20GB iPod on eBay and learned a few things about PayPal scams and phishing (attempting to get personal information by making a page look legitimate when it is not). Someone tried getting me to ship iPod before I had payment, and I refused.
Fast forward to November and Macworld published an article about avoiding these phishing scams by using OpenDNS to double check websites you visit. I liked what the article had to say, and wanted to get my name in the magazine, so I wrote a letter suggesting that users check that emails use your actual name rather than a public screen name. In the February 2009 issue, which I just opened today, I read through the letters and there I was!
The letter is shown at the right, and reprinted below.
Using OpenDNS to avoid phishing scams is a great start, and the commonsense practices you listed certainly help. Here’s another trick: all email correspondence with sites like eBay and Paypal includes your real name in the body of the message. If you see a message purporting to be from one of these sites that instead uses your user name on the site, chances are the sender just wants your personal information.
Wow, I compared that with what I had written originally and either I didn’t say exactly what they wanted or me don’t speak good Engrish.
Now that Christmas is over, a Mac nerd’s thoughts turn to January. More specifically, January 5 – 9. That is the time of the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Traditionally, this is when Apple releases their big products that have been in development for some time (in 2007 they released this little think called the iPhone). Sadly, those days are all but over, as Apple has announced 2009 will be their last. No more Stevenotes, no more Bingo, no more Boom!, and no more one more thing…. Ah, the memories.
What was the reason for this?
The prevailing theory is that Stevie J’s health has degraded to the point where making the keynotes he is famous for is now simply too draining. That is acceptable, because health should always be your primary concern.
The other opinion — and one that I tend to agree with — is that Apple has decided to release products on their own terms. With the prevalence of rumor sites like Macrumors, AppleInsider and even AppleTell, Apple has lost much of the surprise that comes along with releasing new products. If you trace Apple’s stock price back to the time before and after keynote presentations, often it falls as a result of people seeing products they were completely expecting. No surprises means no blown-away investors. Instead, Apple appears to be going to more toned-down events on their own campus, at a time of their choosing. Rather than have a huge affair in San Francisco, they instead invite select media people to view their latest product. This way they can retain some element of surprise and release the product when they feel the time is exactly right.
What does this mean for Macworld Expo? It means that exhibitors that once suffered by competing with whatever Apple released at the conference can now show their products with the full attention of the present media. I’m slightly disappointed, because I was always hoping that someday I could make it out to San Francisco to see one of the legendary presentations.
I guess instead I’ll be saving my money for whatever gets released instead.