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.
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!).
We’ve had out family iPad for some time now and whilst it truly is a ‘magical’ device it still falls a little short of being the perfect family computer. For many the iPad is a ‘personal’ device but for others it serves as a ‘shared’ device. Ours is used by all members of the family and often found in the lounge on the coffee table, or in the kitchen, or in one of the kids bedrooms!
What the iPad (or more specifically iOS) really lacks is multi user accounts though. Both my wife and I use the iPad a fair bit – I’d love to be able to check my mail on it but that means giving 3 young children access to my work mail account (hmmm!). By the same token the girls hate having to wade through screen after screen of ‘boy games’ and well myself and my wife can’t both be signed into Facebook at the same time.
The iPad is a social device which lends itself naturally to being shared, here’s hoping Apple makes more of this in a future software update! :)
Having lived day to day with a Mac now for a good few years I thought it was about time I documented some of my pet peeves as a one time Windows user. So here they are in the form of a brief wish list for OS X Snow Leopard. This is in the vein hope that Steve Jobs is a regular reader of my blog (pft – yea right!) and that he will do something about these very minor issues. :)
Fix the ‘Zoom’ button
Seriously what is up with that thing. As a Windows user the expected behavior of a button with a + on it is that it should maximize/zoom the application you are currently running with a single click. With OS X there is no consistency. Clicking + on a finder window reduces it in size (WTF?) and then proceeds to do nothing. Clicking + in iTunes switches between the full and minimal interface. Clicking + suggests to the user that the window will increase in size surely?
Make it easier to email files to contacts
Perhaps I’m missing something obvious, but there is simply no way to just option/right click a file and select to send it to a email recipient? On windows this is an item in the contextual menu, right click, send to email recipient, default mail client opens a new message and attaches said file. Easy. Ok so I know I can write an automator script carry out said task but that then requires a ridiculous number of clicks to execute (Right click > More > Automator > Email Files…).
Show Hidden Files
Please give us OS X users a way to have hidden files within specific folders revealed. I need to see hidden files by default on network shares and elsewhere – but not on my desktop. A simple option under Finder Preferences would be a step in the right direction.
Page 1 of 3 pages 1 2 3 >