It’s interesting to note though how Apple are learning from the iPhone and iPad with the new Retina MacBook Pro and the imminent release of Mountain Lion. OS X releases are tumbling in price while devices are seemingly becoming more ‘fixed’ at the point if purchase. Just as you can’t upgrade the internals of your iPhone or iPad you can’t upgrade a new Retina MacBook once you commit to a configuration.
I think Apple are pursuing the model they’ve used in the mobile and tablet sector – working towards a scenario where OS X releases are free and devices are obsoleted not by the age of the hardware, but by incompatibility with the latest OS update. From Apples perspective it makes complete sense, it reduces the requirement of developers to support multiple OS versions (making OS X a more attractive development platform) and most importantly (for Apple) drives hardware sales.
Anton is trying to raise the funds to author, illustrate and publish a graphic novel called ‘GATHER’ using Kickstarter. You should back him!
I’ve never previously been convinced by the Apple TV, for me it always fell short of what I could do with a Mac Mini hooked up to the TV in the lounge. I tried numerous different packages for media playback but always found myself back with good old Front Row – it’s simplicity and wife/child compatability being the stamp of approval required to make it a long term solution for audio/video playback in our lounge. Eventually as with all good things it came to an end… stuttering and spluttering I put the Mac Mini out to pasture and decided to have a shot at replacing it with a 3rd gen Apple TV.
The Apple TV has no ‘accessible’ local storage so I was in part only convinced by the recent introduction of iTunes Match (£21.99 per annum) which would mean that we would be able to access and play any/all of our music collection without the need for another machine running iTunes somewhere else in the vicinity. I surmised that for £99 even if it didn’t do everything I wanted then I wouldn’t begrudge it.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Apple TV is it’s size (or lack of). This box of tricks is epic in it’s minimal proportions and silent running, a welcome change from the humming Mac Mini it replaced in our Lounge. Set up is super quick and easy, only slightly delayed by having to input text with a directional keypad.
Despite much ridicule on Twitter the revised ‘dashboard’ is quick and easy to use – however as you navigate down through the menus it very quickly becomes apparent this is the OS equivalent of a nose job. Elsewhere the menu system feels (and looks) exactly like Front Row did when it made it’s debut back in 2005. Hopefully future iterations of the operating system will see a more complete overhaul which makes better use of screen space to display more content at once.
The beauty of the Apple TV is it’s simplicity, it’s ‘Wife approved’ and that means a great deal if you don’t want to spend your life providing IT support when the other half wants to catch up on some Prison Break – or other dramas featuring men that might be marginally more attractive than yourself. Streaming of iTunes purchased (or otherwise acquired) movies from a nearby iTunes library works a treat (smooth as butter with HD content) and the built in video apps work as expected.
For me the biggest surprise of all is Netflix, a service that I’d never even considered previously had suddenly become the most used feature on our Apple TV. Yes the selection is mostly ‘older stuff’ but when you consider the cost (currently £6 per month / £72 per annum) it’s an absolute bargain. We’ve already watching 4 series of a particular ‘prison related tv drama’ which on iTunes at least would have set us back £80! Netflix has proved ‘very’ popular with the kids too, completely replacing what TV they did watch on cable with a great selection of classics (anyone remember Inspector Gadget?).
So, is it worth the £99 price tag? If you subscribe to iTunes Match and Netflix then it’s an absolute no brainer, if not then at this price it’s almost worth a punt anyway. Hopefully future iterations of the Apple TV will continue to make it more relevant to wider user base with the introduction of other streaming services (fingers crossed!).
Working day in and day out with ExpressionEngine 2 I’m seeing ‘A LOT’ of things that really peeve me off from a usability perspective. I keep meaning to make note of them so perhaps someone will take notice… this is going to be an evolving blog post which sets about doing just that.
- jQuery crazyness is ruining the ‘Content > Edit’ screen – The number of times I click through to the edit screen and then click on a entry title to edit it ‘before the page has completely loaded’ escapes me, but every time I do I get a ‘different entry’. I can only assume this is because some kind of post page load processing hasn’t completed yet and so what I’m seeing in front of me isn’t actually accurate.
- Publish layouts are completely borked – Yes, sometimes we might want to install a module, extension or field type after having set up a publish layout. If doing so results in a billion PHP errors on the edit entry screen then I’m simply not going to use publish layouts.
- Primary navigation is lethargic – Again, I’m pretty sure this is jQuery related… the primary navigation drop downs are sloooooooooow. They need to be super fast responsive becuase right now I’m tripping up on them left right and center.
- Entry ordering – In EE1 entries in the ‘Content > Edit’ screen had a fixed order (by entry ID). EE2 apparently does away with that approach and gives us sporadic ordering. Everything is just fine until you start editing previously created entries, ordering then apparently takes on a mind of it’s own. Go figure.
- Forgetful Dialogs – The new File dialog is a big improvement over the complete mess that came before it, however all I really want is for it to have some memory. Make life easier for me if I’m uploading 30 images… pre-select that same upload location I used last time… you’re gonna save me 60 clicks!
- Inconsistent Terminology – This one manifests itself in numerous places but here’s an example. In the Admin area a ‘Channel’ has a “Full Channel Name” and a “Channel Name” whilst a custom field has a “Field Label” and a “Field Name”, why not make things uniform… “Channel Name, Channel Reference, Field Name, Field Reference”.
More to come as they hit me.
We all know it… it’s been a common accepted fact for far too long. We’ve been talking about the lack of interest from app developers at a regular local meet-up and decided it was about time we did something positive about it.
Project Meteor is a campaign for the web design app we all need, if you agree that current tools don’t cut it – visit the site and add your voice to the campaign by tweeting for the cause.