Well, another Apple Event has come and gone. As per usual at these events, things started out with the requisite Apple cheerleading…
- iPad “reinvented” portable computing.
- “Post PC” Devices making up 76% of Apple’s sales.
- 25 billion apps downloaded from the App Store.
- Apple stores all around the world – turnout is astronomical.
and so on. If you want to hear all that for yourself, you can view the whole presentation on Apple’s Events site.
Finally, though, Tim Cook and Company got down off the soapbox and started talking about the things we were looking for: new hardware and software.
Cook started out by talking about Siri and how it’s easily his favorite feature. He then went on to mention that the service will now be available in Japan today – in iOS 5.1. Other announcements were made (we’ll get to those in a sec), and the only other mention was that the stock apps were updated to take advantage of the new hardware. Article Continues…
There are two major gift-giving occasions in June: Fathers’ Day and graduation from various levels of education. This has led to the “Dads and Grads” phrasing heard in just about every marketing platform out there. As cliché as it is, though, there’s probably someone out there looking for gift suggestions for one or both of these groups. Since we covered gifts for “Dads” earlier in the month, let’s look at “Grads” this time around.
High School Grads
For many high school graduates, college is right around the corner. What better way to get your grad started on the right track to their higher education than by making sure their most important educational tool—their computer—is in top form? Here’s a short list of great gift ideas to make undergraduate life a little more bearable.
- An External Hard Drive - Picture this: it’s the night before your Organic Chemistry paper is due—a paper that’s worth 51% of your grade. You put the final touches on it and have now brought your laptop to the computer lab in order to print. Except, rather than the normal screen and power-up sounds, all you get is “whirr…click…whirrrrrr…click”. That’s a dead hard drive, and it’s not very likely that you’re getting your paper back from it. Good thing you have an OWC External Storage Solution. As long as you’ve backed up (and with an important paper like this, you better have!) your file is safe and sound.
- More memory - Let’s face it, college students are invariably broke, so buying the latest and greatest computer every year is probably not within budget. Dollar-for-dollar, upgrading the memory still remains the best way to get more performance out of the computer they already have. For a fraction of the price of a new computer, a memory upgrade a simple memory upgrade can breathe new life into their current machine.
- Software - having a computer is great, but without software, it doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot. Microsoft Office seems to be pretty much the de facto software package in use for document transfer, but you may also want to consider Apple’s iWork suite for more Mac-like document creation. Utility software, such as Drive Genius can help when your computer starts acting funny at inopportune times, and if your student is going to be working in an environment where Windows is mandatory, you may want to look into compatibility software, so they can run their Windows applications alongside their Mac ones or just use their Mac-formatted drives on a PC.
- Accessories - Of course, all studying and no fun makes for a pretty dull college experience. Odds are, your student either has, or will have, an iPod, an iPhone, or an iPad. Fortunately, there are a myriad of accessories to protect or enhance their iDevice, helping them get the most enjoyment out of it as possible.
While pretty much all of the gifts suggested above will also work for the college graduate (especially those doing post-graduate work), you may also want to consider a gift certificate for some decent food. Between all those student loans and the fact that they’ve likely just spent the last 4+ years living on little more than ramen noodles and canned beans; they could probably use a good meal.
Since at least September (and, really, quite a bit of time before then), rumors and speculation have abounded about Apple’s amazing new tablet device. How big was it going to be? What OS would it run? What price points are we looking at? How would it integrate with our current systems? How many unicorns would it be brought in upon the backs of?
Well, the waiting is over. Today, Apple introduced it’s new product, the unfortunately-named iPad.
We’ll save the pondering of the intangibles for later, once it’s all had some time to sink in. For now, let’s take a look at what is being offered.
- It’s fairly compact—half an inch thick, 9.56″ tall and 7.47″ wide—and it weighs in at about 1.5 pounds.
- It sports a 9.7″ backlit LED Multi-touch display that runs at a 1024×768 pixel resolution.
- The iPad is powered by a 1GHz Apple A4 processor.
- All iPhone apps will run natively, both in standard size and in full screen via pixel doubling.
- A version of iWork for the iPad will be available, with many of the features found in the full version.
- All the “Standard” applications from the iPhone (Safari, Mail, Maps, YouTube, etc.) are updated to work additional features like the new pop-up menus.
- iBooks is the new feature, with a built-in store, much like the iTMS or the App Store. Books are sent/saved in the EPUB format.
- Adapters will be available to export 1024×768 resolutions via VGA, or up to 576 and 480p.
- The battery supports up to 10 hours of Web surfing via Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music. In standby mode, it’ll be good for up to a month on a full charge.
- An optional keyboard dock is available, and it will also work with an Apple Wireless keyboard.
- Apple will also offer a “camera connection kit” which will allow you to plug your camera in via USB or use an SD card to import pictures.
- WiFi connectivity is available on all models
- A version with 3G data connectivity will be available, with 2 Data plans via AT&T – 250MB/month for $14.99 or unlimited for $29.99
- The WiFi-only versions will be available within 60 days. The “WiFi+3G” version will be available in about 90 days.
- Pricing for the unit itself breaks down as follows:
That’s the “hard data” rundown. However, there is a lot more to this device that can’t be broken down into technical specifications. Stay tuned to the OWC Blog for a closer look into the pros and cons of the new iPad.
For those of you who need some quick-n-easy animations for a movie, but don’t want to lay out the cash for high-end post-processing software, there is another, less expensive option.
You can use Keynote – part of iWork – to set up your text and photo animations. If you make a 1920 x 1080 slideshow in Keynote, you will have a file that’s the same size as an HD video.
Once you’re done with your animation, save it as a Quicktime movie using the “Export” option in the “Share” menu. By exporting it using Apple Intermediate Codec and using the same frame rate your video camera normally uses, you will have a high-quality animation that can drop right into iMovie.
It isn’t an After Effects killer by any stretch of the imagination, but for dropping a simple animation into your home movies, its definitely one to try.