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Steve Jobs is dead

Steve Jobs Steps Down as Apple’s CEO

Steve JobsEarlier today, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs has resigned from his CEO position. Below is the letter he published to announce the news:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

Of course, the tech community is shocked since Steve’s reign as CEO was by far a memorable one. Jobs basically brought Apple back to life in 1997 when he came back to the company as CEO. It is easy to say that with Jobs in power, Apple has had the most successful years in the history of the company. Now, will this change impact the future of the company? We don’t know but I think we can all expect Apple’s stock to drop tomorrow as the general public reacts to this news.

To think rationally, Apple as a company will succeed. They are a very rich company and many people are familiar with the products. For Apple to fall off its throne, they need to come out with some horrible products and make some pretty big mistakes. If you look back into the history of the company, when Steve was not in charge, things certainly went down hill but I believe everything will be fine. I guess we will all find out in the upcoming months.

WWDC 2011

WWDC

Today, Steve Jobs and co. took the stage in San Francisco at WWDC to show off some new software coming to Apple devices. Lion, the new operating system for Macs, iOS 5, the new OS for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad’s and finally Apple’s new cloud service, iCloud.

Mac OS X Lion:

Being a Mac user, my favorite Apple product will always be the Mac since, in my opinion, the Mac is and always will be miles ahead of the PC. Lion widened the gap between Mac and PC even more.

Lion doesn’t look much different than the latest Mac OS, Snow Leopard, but it does have some new features which are sure to become things that I use everyday. Lion has 250 new features but Apple only showcased 10. I’ll summarize these 9 of these features since the Mac App Store isn’t a huge deal.

New Multi-touch gestures: All new MacBook/MacBook Pros and MacBook Air’s come with a multi-touch trackpad allowing the user to do iPhone/iPad-like gestures on the trackpad to either zoom, move windows around, or to trigger Mac OS X features like Exposé. Don’t have a Mac notebook, you can get the Magic Trackpad to use this gestures on an iMac. Nothing drastically noteworthy here. It’s sure to save time but nothing to really write home about.

Full Screen Apps: I like this a lot. In Snow Leopard, there are some apps that can be viewed full screen (iPhoto and Pages, to name a few) but in Snow Leopard, all native apps will get this feature. Developers will also get the chance to add this to their own applications. Safari will definitely be something I will be using full screen all the time. It’s basically viewing apps the way they are viewed on iDevices. Nothing getting in the way between you and the content.

Mission Control: It’s Exposé on steroids. With a single gesture, you can view everything that is opened on your Mac, including full screen apps, and you get the option to group these windows neatly into it’s own little stack based on application. You can also move windows into their own space (Spaces is a Leopard feature allowing you to have multiple workspaces/desktops). It basically combines Exposé, Spaces and App Switching into one powerful, and useful feature.

Mission Control

Mission Control in Lion. Credit: Apple

Launchpad: I’m not sure if I will be using this all that much. Launchpad displays your apps in an iOS sort of way. It basically turns your Mac screen into an iPad screen and you get to view, create folders and open apps the same way you would in iOS. I understand that Lion is all about bringing features from iOS into Mac OS X but I don’t see how this could be a very useful feature, especially with Finder staying the same way that it is now.

Resume: LOVE this feature. Once again, think of multitasking on iOS. You launch the Facebook app, go to a friends profile and then close down the application to write a text message. When you go back to the Facebook app, you are right back on your friend’s profile, exactly where you left. This is what Resume does on your Mac. When you close a program on your Mac, you will be greeted by the same windows that you left when you re-open the program. Additionally, when you have to restart your Mac, say when you have to do a Software Update, you no longer have to close down all of your applications and start on a blank desktop after the updates are installed. Everything will stay exactly as you left it.

Auto Save: We’ve all been conditioned as computer users to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! We all know what happens when you are typing up that 15 page paper for class and you either close the word processing program you are working in without saving or something happens to your computer and all your work is gone. In Lion, that won’t happen. Now, when you are working in an application, let’s say Keynote, the application will auto save during every pause and every 5 minutes while you work. Lion does not save the entire document, only the changes you created (saving disk space). You have the option to revert to last saved, incase you hate the changes you created, or lock the document if you do not want an accidental save-over. When you close a document, you will never get the window promoting you to save, Lion takes care of that for you.

Versions

Versions interface. Credit: Apple

Versions: In addition to Auto Save, you now have the option to go back and look at all the versions of the document you are working on.  You can look back on your progress and make revisions to your work. If you started off with a really good paragraph which didn’t make it to the version of the document you are working on now, you can easily go back to an older version of the document and get that paragraph back. Think of it as Time Machine (an hourly backup on Mac OS X) for your individual documents.

AirDrop: Ever wanted to send someone a file but it’s too big to be emailed and you didn’t have a USB flash drive with you? Of course you have. With AirDrop, all you need is a wireless internet connection and a Mac. Now, in the Finder, there is a window for AirDrop, once selected, it will scan the surrounding area looking for users who are also using AirDrop, once you see the person you want to send a file to, you just drag the file onto their picture and they get a notification that you want to send them a file. Once approved, the file will be downloaded to their downloads stack. No wires, no USB drives. Instant and wireless. If only I had more friends who used a Mac. Oh well.

Launch Pad

Launch Pad in Lion. Credit: Apple

Finally, Mail: Being a Mac user, I can say this: THE MAIL APP ON MAC OS X SUCKS! It’s always doing odd things, it’s a pain in the ass to control and is the one native application on the Mac that I wish would just go away or get better. Hopefully, this new version makes it somewhat useable. Mail looks a lot like the way it does on the iPad with pretty much the same controls. The newest feature is Conversations view, threaded emails, if you will. Not something I really wanted but whatever. We’ll see how it works.

Lion comes out via the Mac App Store ONLY, in July for $29. Now, here is the problem. You need a Mac running Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor (basically any Mac that is less than 5 years old) and you need Snow Leopard first. So if you are running Leopard, you will need to spend $60 to get Lion. $30 for Snow Leopard to download the $30 Lion. Stupid and a complete pain for any Leopard user but this is how Apple decided to do it.

2nd, iOS 5. Apple played catch up today with iOS 5 and sadly, there is nothing NEW to report and by new I mean new to the phone industry.

iOS 5

Credit: Apple

Notifications Center: FINALLY, Apple gets rid of those annoying, crippling, pop-up style notifications and goes with a simple notifications bar which lives at the top of the screen and houses all of your notifications. So while I’m trying to watch a video podcast, I will no longer have a huge pop-up come across my screen, pause my video and basically yell at me “YOU HAVE A TEXT MESSAGE!”, instead, a simple bar will fold out on top of the screen and go away a few seconds later. The lock screen is also changed greatly to allow you to swipe right into an application if you have a notification. So let’s say that I have a text message, it will display on the lock screen the name of the person and a small snippet of the text. I can now slide the messaging icon across the screen which will take me right into the messaging app where I can respond. Pretty cool and useful stuff.

Notifications

Notifications in iOS 5. Credit: Apple

iMessage: It’s BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) but for iDevices. I can now send a message to anyone using an iDevice, WiFi or 3G, without it being counted toward my text messages or email. I can see when it is being read or when the person is typing back to me. I can also send pictures, video, contacts and location data. If you know what BBM does, than you already know what iMessages is. It’s a nice addition and I’m sure I’ll use it and it will probably replace texting in most cases.

Newsstand: You can buy magazines in the iBookstore now but since you don’t use the iBookstore, why even go into detail about this?

Reminders: It’s a to-do list. Yeah. Can’t say much other than…it’s a to-do list. The only little nugget of coolness here is that you can get a reminder based on location. For example, I can set a reminder to say “Call mom when you get to SoHo” and once I get to SoHo, my phone will alert me to call my mom. Location based reminders, not bad.

Twitter: Twitter is integrated into iOS 5. Not sure why…it doesn’t do anything the Twitter app cannot do.

Camera: In another “FINALLY!” moment, there is now a camera icon on the lock screen allowing you to access the camera and take a picture without having to unlock the phone and launch the camera app. There is also built-in red-eye reduction and auto focus/auto exposure lock. You can also use the volume up button on the iPhone 4 as the shutter button.

And…DRUM ROLL, PLEASE. The feature every single iDevice user has been waiting for:

WIRELESS iTUNES SYNCING!

That’s right! After all these years, you no longer need to connect that damn white USB wire to your computer to sync your iTunes content. Applications and OS updates will sync wirelessly and all your iTunes content will sync wirelessly as long as your iDevice is plugged into a power source and you are in the general area of your computer.

iOS 5 is NOT compatible with the iPhone 3G or the first and 2nd generation of the iPod Touch. iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 3rd and 4th gen, iPad and iPad 2 are all fine. iOS 5 will be out in the Fall and I ASSUME it will be free. Why the Fall? That’s when the rumored iPhone 5 will come out. History shows us that Apple always releases a major update to iOS around the launch of new iPhone hardware.

Now here is the confusing part: iCloud. I consider myself a nerd and I have a very hard time understanding what iCloud is and I am not the only techie with this problem.

iCloud

Credit: Apple

iCloud is NOT a streaming service and it is not a digital locker. What it is is kinda pointless.

iCloud syncs your data across your devices. For example, I can work on a Keynote presentation on my iPad and when I get home to my Mac, the presentation will be exactly the same as on my iPad. The issue however, is you still need to buy Keynote (or any application you are working on) on all of your devices. These are not web apps. To be able to get your document, you need to have the application installed on the device you want to use. Thankfully, this service is free because who would pay for this? iCloud syncs calendars, contacts, mail, apps…all that good stuff.

It gets more confusing when you get to Photo Stream. Photo Stream allows you to take a photo on your iPhone and have it be on your Mac/PC/iPad without having to sync. This is pretty neat, however, you need to move those photos onto your computer within 30 days or those photos will get deleted off of Photo Stream and will only be on the device you took them on. God forbid if you delete the photo on the original device. This is not a cloud service. A cloud service stores your content FOREVER and allows you to access it on all your devices for the lifetime of the service. This is wireless syncing but still puts the burden on the user to make sure they sync their device to their computer before they lose their content.

One more thing: iTunes in the cloud. Well, not really.

iCloud

Credit: Apple

If you brought all of your music on iTunes, ALL OF IT, than you are fine. Apple will sync all of your purchased iTunes music to all of your devices. Wait, what? You are trying to tell me that people might have music that are ripped from CD’s, pirated or maybe even purchased from other legal online stores? Well, if you DARE leave the Apple world to get your music, prepare to pay a “HOW DARE YOU USE CD’s” tax.

For $24 a year, you can use iTunes Matching, which will scan your iTunes library and match it with songs in iTunes which will sync to your devices. $24 a year only because you did not buy every single thing in iTunes.

Steve Jobs suggests, if you don’t want to pay $24, to just sync your music via iTunes sync in iOS 5 or to just buy the songs you REALLY, REALLY want in iTunes. Pay…again, for songs you already brought, in iTunes…just so they can be wirelessly synced. No thanks.

To end this VERY long post, I was very pleased with Lion and it was nice to see iOS catch up to everyone else and give me a feature that is much needed. However, I don’t understand why anyone would use iCloud. Sure, it’s free (if you live only in iTunes) but if you don’t, are you really going to pay $24 a year just for the convenience of having your music be on all your devices without having to sync? I’d rather save my money and sync with my computer. At least I don’t need that wire anymore.

iCloud 3

Apple comparing iCloud to the other cloud services out there today. Credit: Apple

Apple Plays Catch Up – Shows Off iPad 2

 

iPad 2

Credit: Apple.com

So Steve Jobs took the stage on March 2nd and showed off the new magical device. Magical being the word they used. I for one don’t see the magical-ness of this product upgrade.

I should say that I have the iPad and had it for pretty much a year. I no longer use it as much as I used to since I don’t have a true use for it (no one does). I posted a blog post on here before discussing the HP TouchPad that impressed me and caused to me consider dumping my iPad. Being a bit of an Apple fanboy, I was hoping that Apple would show off the iPad 2 today and blow me away.

iPad 2

Black and white models. Credit: Apple.com

The iPad 2 now comes in white, which Jobs made an effort to point out that it would be available on launch. Apple has struggled with getting the white iPhone 4 out the door, in fact, it’s almost a year since Apple released the iPhone 4 and there is still no white iPhone 4 on the market. The iPad 2, in my opinion, looks horrible in white. It kind of looks cheap and I would imagine the white being a distraction. Thankfully, it also comes in black. Besides the colors, it has two cameras for Facetime calls, comes with a Photobooth app which is just like the app that comes on Macs, and has the option to purchase iMovie and GarageBand for $4.99 each (more on that later). The hardware is stepped up to match the competition. It now has an Apple A5 chip/dual core with advanced graphics. As I write this, there is little known of the actual specs since Apple’s website is being rather vague on the details. There is still only one port on the iPad, which is the Apple 30-Pin connector. There is an adaptor you can buy for $39 which allows you to connect the iPad 2 to a HDMI screen via a HDMI-out port. It also has the same 10 hour battery life.

Thankfully, the iPad is now thinner and lighter and made out of an unibody encasing. It is thinner than the iPhone 4, which is saying something.

GarageBand on the iPad

GarageBand on the iPad. Credit: Apple.com

Let’s talk about apps: iMovie and GarageBand. The original iPad was a media consumption device. You read on it, watched videos on it, listened to music on it but you never had the chance to really create your own content on it. Apple changed that. If you pay for the app, you can have  powerful video

iMovie on the iPad

iMovie on the iPad. Credit: Apple.com

editing software right on your iPad. iMovie on the iPad looks very similar to iMovie on the Mac. If you ever used iMovie, you know that it is a powerful program for consumer needs that is simple to use. That type of power on a tablet is rather impressive. GarageBand looks interesting but since I am not a musician and I don’t care about creating my own music, I didn’t pay much attention to the GarageBand demo.

Let’s talk about that case. That case that Apple made a huge deal about, including it’s own video on Apple’s website. Ever since the original iPad, Apple has made it’s own branded case. The original case wasn’t bad but it was poorly made and got dirty very easily. Apple decided to create a new “case” for the iPad 2 that doesn’t take away from the thinness and design of the iPad.  The “Smart Cover” is a magnetic flap that goes across the front of the screen…that’s it. Jobs seems to love this thing but I thought it looked rather silly looking. Unless the magnetic connection is really strong, I see this cover coming loose easily. You will pay $40 for the Polyurethane one or $80 for the leather. Who says Apple is overpriced?

Smart Cover

Smart Cover used as a stand. Credit: Apple.com

Smart Cover

Smart Cover. Credit: Apple.com

Finally, let’s discuss pricing. The iPad 2 is the same price as the original, across the board. If you wanted an iPad yesterday, the price are the same today. This kills the Motorola Xoom. The Xoom is priced very high and now the iPad 2 does not differ in terms of specs as greatly as it once did. Motorola needs to drastically cut the price if they want a chance in this tablet war.

The iPad 2 also comes on Verizon’s network instead of just AT&T. So now if you want a iPad with a Verizon 3G chip built-in, you can.

HDMI iPad 2

Teacher using iPad 2 via HDMI. Credit: Apple.com

This is the 2nd iPad but I would not consider it the iPad 2. It’s more like the iPad 1.5 since it did not change anything in terms of what tablets have to offer. Apple created a new tablet market, other companies created their own tablets which 9 times out of 10 were way over powered in comparison to the original iPad and now Apple is changing that by boosting the power of the iPad to match the competition. Nothing is really new here…besides that oh so wonderful “Smart Cover”.

The iPad 2 comes out in the US on March 11th on Apple.com and retail stores. There is no pre-ordering so if you want one on launch day, prepare to wait in line.

Oh, and One More Thing: iOS 4.3 is coming out soon which gives updates to Safari and AirPlay, the iPhone 4 get’s a hotspot feature, iTunes home sharing is enabled and the iPad’s once orientation switch, now mute switch gets the option for being used as a mute or an orientation lock. Apple is allowing users to control what that switch is used for.

Facetime iPad 2

Facetime on the iPad 2. Credit: Apple.com