Tag Archives: ipod

End of the zune, ipod and the pacemaker?

The Pacemaker in use

I think we can pretty much say its the end of the road for the Mpeg3 players.

Microsoft pretty much ported the zune software to their new Microsoft Phone 7 operating system, Apple have done the same and look to be killing the ipod range finally. The single purpose music player is pretty much out for the count.

So what about the Tonium Pacemaker?

Well Tonium went bust a while ago… and the thread is tonium alive? charts the disastrous mistakes which were made over time…

Now everyones trying to get the source code, so we can try and extend the life of such a great product…

Can’t believe I’ve owned the product for over 3 years now, I was one of the first to get it. A whole year before Engadget even. I really hope the community can get the source code because besides the poor battery life and dodgy recording of mixes on the device. There’s already people hacking in SSDs into the Pacemaker, so there’s plenty of people up for compiling and hacking around.

Interesting segway – we’re finally setting a challenge for the next evolution or even revolution in djing at the Mozilla festival later this year…

Comparing Apples to Oranges in advertising

Apples & Oranges - They Don't Compare

Everyone knows I’m not a fan of Apple but after watching the mass hysteria over the ipad2 which was a massive yawn. I’ve been thinking what is it with the iphone/ipad which bugs me. besides the obvious stuff like a closed platform and ecosystem, etc… Then I saw Charlie Brooker on Channel4′s 10 o’clock show ranting about the Apple ipad 2… and trust me the rant is hysterical…

Anyhow it got me thinking… after drying the tears from my eyes (from all the laughing of course) the Apple iphone and ipad adverts kind of suck.

Why? Well let me explain… Here’s a series of iphone adverts.

In my view (and I’m not a advertising exec) the iphone is too in your face. Its all about the iphone and not much else. Heck even the human is reduced down to a hand puppet. Here’s the ipad advert. Shiny Shiny... Yes you have Johny Ive talking but frankly thats not enough to break it up, because he’s talking about the device and not what it could enable.

Here’s the Microsoft Phone 7 advert which to be fair does take the mick out of the people’s use of phones but look how much time the phone actually gets on screen? Microsoft was right, the phone distracts you from whats going on around you. This can be a good thing sometimes but most of the time its a bad thing. Charlie Brooker in his lovely crafted rant hits it right on the mark. You might as well burn down the locations around the users, the users are so distracted by the ipad, they might as well be no where. Its of course not just the ipad and iphone… Here’s the mac book air advert.

Orange a long time ago use (the animals not so much) to create amazing adverts which don’t include technology. Here’s the new range of adverts which don’t include a single phone at all. This one shows some quite difficult concepts using non-tech ideas. Heck even Apple use to create interesting adverts for there ipod range.

Ok I hear the cries of fowl play. Comparing Orange to Apple is like… well comparing Oranges and Apples :) But seriously, Orange are well known for there excellent adverts so maybe its slightly unfair. But you would slightly expect well thought out adverts for a company who prides themselves so much on the obsessive methods they use to make there products and the packaging. So lets look at Sony and Apple.

Sony’s make believe adverts, not quite as good as Orange’s but once again, the technology takes a back seat in the adverts. (of course here’s the new foam one, the paint one and of course the balls one) Its all about what it enables you to do.

Its about enabling and the experiences you could have. For me this is much more seductive and fore-filling than looking at shiny shiny objects.

But heck what do I know, I’m again, not a TV exec!

The rainforrest will dry out if you don’t let it grow into the open

The Apple iPad

Everyone is talking about Steven Johnson piece in the New York Times titled Rethinking a Gospel of the Web. Steven Johnson a very good author of some fine books and clever guy generally, is starting to question if open platforms is not a technological-utopianism.

FOR about a decade now, ever since it became clear that the jungle of the World Wide Web would triumph over the walled gardens of CompuServe, AOL and MSN, a general consensus has solidified among the otherwise fractious population of People Who Think Big Thoughts About the Internet.

That unifying creed is this: Open platforms promote innovation and diversity more effectively than proprietary ones.

In the words of one of the Web’s brightest theorists, Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard, the Web displays the “generative” power of a platform where you don’t have to ask permission to create and share new ideas. If you want democratic media, where small, innovative start-ups can compete with giant multinationals, open platforms are the way to go.

I’ve long considered myself a believer in this gospel and have probably written a hundred pages of book chapters, essays and blog posts spreading the word. Believing in open platforms is not simple techno-utopianism. Open platforms come with undeniable costs. The Web is rife with pornography and vitriol for the very same reasons it’s so consistently ingenious. It’s not that the Web is perfect, by any means, but as an engine of innovation and democratization, its supremacy has been undeniable.

Over the last two years, however, that story has grown far more complicated, thanks to the runaway success of the iPhone (and now iPad) developers platform — known as the App Store to consumers.

He then lists what he sees as the successes of the appstore, iphone platform.

More than 150,000 applications have been created for it in less than two years, transforming the iPhone into an e-book reader, a flight control deck, a musical instrument, a physician’s companion, a dictation device and countless other things that were impossible just 24 months ago.

Hold on a second, this is also true of other platforms like windows mobile. Yes there hasn’t been 150k of apps but I’ve seen all type of things developers for windows mobile have done.

The decision to route all purchases through a single payment mechanism makes great sense for Apple, which takes 30 percent of all sales, but it has also helped nurture the ecosystem by making it easier for consumers to buy small apps impulsively with one-click ordering.

Agreed but I think a open system could also have benefited some very interesting payment and delivery models. Up till recently Bluetooth transfering of apps and media was huge but with the apps store everything has to go through a central server, how else will apple get there 30%?

And I think this is the point, an open system gives you the freedom to get really creative.

Apple could certainly quiet a lot of its critics by creating some kind of side door that enables developers to bypass the App Store if they wish. An overwhelming majority of developers and consumers would continue to use the store, retaining all the benefits of that closed system, but a secondary market could develop where more experimental ideas could flourish.

But whatever Apple chooses to do with its platform in the coming years, it has made one thing clear: sometimes, if you get the conditions right, a walled garden can turn into a rain forest.

I will be the first to admit Apple have done a good job with the illusion of freedom, its a bit like dark city where people forget there is a daytime and how to get to shell beach. Few people rub against the sides of the rain forrest or the dark city. However this illusion is only sustainable for so long.

Even those who bought ipads and tried to use them on the way home noticed the lack of ability to be used till synced with itunes on a laptop. Theres also something Apple did in there recent announcement about iphone software v4 development. New iPhone Developer Agreement Bans the Use of anything but there own software to build software for the appstore.

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

So something like Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone Compiler is completely out the window. As you can imagine this has outraged developers and pissing off developers. This has to be like poking in the eye of each one of the great apes, its just not what you want in a rainforrest, unless you want chaos. Or back to the darkcity analogy, John Smith is working things out. And finally Apple’s idea of one device for everyone is now just a theory,

The fact that the iPhone platform runs exclusively on Apple hardware helps developers innovate, because it means they have a finite number of hardware configurations to surmount. Developers building apps for, say, Windows Mobile have to create programs that work on hundreds of different devices, each with its own set of hardware features. But a developer who wants to build a game that uses an accelerometer for control, for example, knows that every iPhone OS device in the world contains an accelerometer.

The iphone 3GS has different features to the ipod touch 2nd generation. Not only that but some generations will now have the iphone 4th generation software with all those extra apis and older phones wont. Same for the ipod touch, some will some won’t. Throw in a ipad with its already different screen size, cpu, etc then give it different software based on when the upgrade comes out in the world. Yes this is sounding a lot closer to the Windows Mobile world than Steve Jobs would care to admit. From my understanding by Christmas this year, there will be 2 types of iphones running v4 software, ipod wise, 1 v4 and 1 v3. throw in a Ipad and who knows what happens when the Apple TV joins in on the fun? Theres no doubt that Apple will tie the AppleTV to the rainforrest in someway and apps will make it on the platform at some point. Goodness knows what specs and capabilities that device will have, lets alone what software platform?

Nope shame on you Steve Johnson for falling for this trap (its a trap!) Open systems are better, there just unpredictable and when your worried about the stock price, this is would be off putting.

Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard and the book I’ve been shouting about the future of the internet is right, the Web does display the “generative” power of a platform where you don’t have to ask permission to create and share new ideas. If you want democratic media, where small, innovative start-ups can compete with giant multinationals, open platforms are the way to go.

The Apple iPad: Underwelming but not a bad price

Apple Ipad

Apple release the islate, itablet as the ipad today. I’m sure many people will write about the device and how they really want one but even with my mac bashing hat on the table its not enough.

If you’ve not seen it, think of a ipod touch and grow it quite a bit and you got yourself a ipad.

The first thing which puts me off is the size, its too big to slot into my life. I want something which I can discreetly hold on the bus without people going hey whats that he’s got there? Something you don’t need another case or bag for. Something I can just carry with me just incase I got 30mins to do something. Some of you will argue that the smartphone is that device but I’m not so convinced. Its also quite weighty, which don’t get me wrong – is good for a large LCD but I want something really light. The real deal breaker and to be fair this was always the case even before it had come out. The Apple App store and Apple Ecosystem.

I can’t express how sick to death of the Apple Ecosystem I am. Everytime I even consider the ipad, I think about my experience with the ipod touch I bought last year. I couldn’t even turn on and use the device without the device talking to iTunes, which meant installing itunes on a work machine to just use the damm thing. Then there was the problem with storage. If I wanted to transfer something over to the device, it had to be via iTunes again. Not even Bluetooth push/ftp/send would work.

Compared that experience to my Sony Ebook reader. First day, I plug it into my Ubuntu machine and it pops up as a storage device with simply named folders for ebooks, pictures and audio. This also means later I can do automated file transfers from any media player I’m using at the moment (I tend to bounce between Rhythmbox and Banshee). Yes the Sony is a less complex device but they got the basics right. In actual fact the Sony ebook reader is the model of what I’m looking for. When I first bought it, I never knew I wanted something like it for size and use outside of reading ebooks. This is why I switched from the Sony PRS505 to the PRS600 with touch screen and ability to write/draw notes.

Since all this hype about the ipad (the last 4 weeks at least) I’ve been thinking what would I personally do to the Sony EReader to improve it.

Essentials

Add Bluetooth for file transfer, dialup, networking, etc. (Sony could still do this if the SD slot is SDIO)
Run an open operating system like a cleverly crafted Andriod on it
Add accelerometers, proximity sensors and some haptic feedback
Wireless 802.11b/g (Sony could still do this if the SD slot is SDIO)

Some would ask why not a colour screen? Well the problem is colour screens require a LCD or OLED as mentioned in the last blog post, which means less that 12hours battery life at the very best. Having over 2 weeks battery life on E-ink takes some getting use to, but I think the benefits of having e-ink certainly puts it in a different category of device and thats a good thing. Steve Jobs was trying to create a device which is in a different category but I think ended up which is too computer like in hardware but too consumer device in software.

Android would be great to have on there with a open marketplace so people can really develop for it. I don’t know if Android would work on a e-ink screen but you could imagine it wouldn’t take much to build a custom build just for E-ink screens. Bluetooth, Wifi and Accelerometers would open up a whole bunch of applications which the ipad has demonstrated. But the smaller screen would be much more mobile and friendly.

Agreed it wouldn’t be as flash but boy would it be useful and something which people might happily carry around more that this massive pad thing.

I also hope this isn’t going to start a media revolution, because if it is the publishing industry is going to put its eggs in the Apple itunes/apps store they’re crazy. This device isn’t anywhere near impressive. The only slightly impressive part is the price but I assume Apple are gambling that people will use the store to make up the difference in price. Maybe in the end the store will be the undoing of Apple, if developers move elsewhere and/or get fed up of Apple’s treatment, a sudden drop in app downloads and itunes usage could spell a lot more trouble than expected.

Why I dont want a Ipod or PSP

Going digital

This post to slashdot by Zonk sums up my thoughts too,

As the owner of a PocketPC PDA I am a very happy camper, with wifi internet access, Skype Voip, video playback, and of course the ubiquitous mp3 playback. In an era were everyone seems to talk about the Video iPod, and the next generation of mobile devices, it leaves me wondering – I already have all those abilities in a PDA that costs about as much as an iPod. My question for Slashdot: Given that modern PDAs have almost all the functionality of these separate devices, how has Palm and Microsoft/PocketPC developers failed in making PDAs a force in this new era of portable media devices? It is the poor marketing, bad media apps, public perception, or do people simply not want an all-in-one for mobile media?

And as I expect, its horse's for course's as my dad says.

Gumber says

Because more functionality isn’t aways better, especially in a smaller device.

You might as well be asking why people buy screwdrivers and pliers instead of a single Leathermen.

Some more comments for thought,

From ciroknight

PDAs might be cool toys, they do a lot that a PC can do, and you can carry it in your pocket. Pretty cool eh? But when it comes down to it, what does the device actually do? Hard to define; it can do calendars, it can do media playback, it can do telephony, it can do internet-related tasks. But on the overall, it's a very obscure device.

– Indeed, its one of the things which makes it difficult to explain to people. One moment I'm using it as a mp3 player then a video player next moment a skype or im device and at the end of the day I'm using it to take notes at a meeting. It works for me but its a hard concept to sell and it requires installing many pieces of software and some configuration.

There was lots of talk about storage too.

Unless you sprung for extra storage, the space on your PDA is measured in tens of megabytes. On an iPod, it's measured in tens of gigabytes.

I dont think that's the main issue, because the psp has equal storage levels to a modern PocketPC (1/2gig maximum). Yes its nothing compared to the 100gigs which are now possible. But I expect Flash Drive pocketpc will be arriving soon, as hard drives are still very power hungrey.

The impact of Crackberries (backberries) has also had an effect on the image of pocketpc in the business world just like how most pocketpc have moved into the mobile world. Hence the change of operating system name, WindowsCE to PocketPC to Windows Mobile.

As someone said,
People who make generic statements such as “PDAs have failed” are just simply wrong.

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Video ipod is official, but is this it?

Video Ipod

I'm following the coverage from Engadget, Gizmodo and believe it or not Stuffmag

The new iPod, as speculated, features video capabilities and the wider display, but it�s still a music-first device.

The device will feature a 2.5-inch display, QVGA resolution (320 x 240), and will MPEG-4 h.264 (natch), and presumably Quicktime.

The new iPod will be 30% thinner than the current 20GB iPod (making it 0.44-inches thick�say wha?), and will feature a 60GB version and editions of both in black. The 20GB should go for $299, and the 60GB for $399. They�ll be shipping next week.

I'm not sure this is the actual video ipod, more a inbetween ipod.

New news just coming in…

You'll be able to buy TV shows from the iTunes Music Store – Desperate Housewives, Lost and more shows from ABC and Disney. Five shows will be available to watch on iPod or computer: Lost, Desperate Housewives, Nightstalker, The Suite Life and some other Disney thang. $1.99 an episode.

So its over, the apple index page has been updated and world now has a Video ipod to play with, we already knew about iTunes 6 before.

Here's the complete list

  • iMac: faster, larger disk, built in iSight. Includes FrontRow (app)
  • iPod: 30GB/60GB with Video – realtime decoding of MPEG4 and H.264. 260,000 colors. Video out, perfect for the car?
  • FrontRow and PhotoBooth Apps.
  • 30GB iPod: $299 – 31% thinner than current 20GB; – 60GB iPod: $399.
  • New video iPods avail next week.
  • New TV adverts for video ipods
  • iMac: $1299 for 17″ model with 1.5GHz, $1799 for 20″ model with 2.1GHz
  • iTunes 6 to be released with video support, You will be able to buy TV shows from iTunes Music Store. $1.99 per episode. ABC on board /images/emoticons/laugh.gifesperate Housewives, Lost)
  • Front Row – comes with new iMacs. Lets you enjoy video/music/pictures from sofa. Everything still displayed on iMac screen. iPod-like remote. 6 button remote.
  • Photobooth – appears to be slide show application.
  • Music Videos. 2000 available to buy. $1.99 each.
  • Can “gift” music to other people. Peer reviews and recommendation service.
  • Videos have Digital Rights Management built in. Can play on up to 5 computers.

Ok wheres the HD laptops and Video enabled airport express? (airport express video anyone?). Engadget has the first lot of real screen shots of the new vido ipod including the black version. Also wheres the UK video store? I'm sure the BBC could have a role to play in that, its fits with our licencing and its a little more flexable than the imp right now.

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BBC accidentally reveals video iPod?

Photoshopped made up version of the video ipod

Steve Jobs is not going to be happy with us at the BBC. See there's a big date of the 12th October crossed in Apples diary and there were rumours of some Apple run BBC broadcast at TVC (BBC Telelvision centre) on the same day. Then there was other clues.

http://www.apple.com/movies – Forbidden, usually Apple has a nice redirect like this http://www.apple.com/geekdinner. The hidden video buttons in iTunes. Plus you've got the Nano disappointment (yes you heard me correctly) and the PSP's mass takeup and adoption across the world.
The evidance is growing everyday
Google Cache of iTunes + ipod video page

So we were all scratching our heads till BBC 6 accidentally let slip yesterday.

Apple is set to unveil a new video iPod at the BBC Television Centre in London on October the 12th

Ahh ha, so its a dead set now then. The specs may still be up for debate but I'm wondering if the iMP trial will extend to the video ipod and give the worldwide audience the ability to pay for BBC programming? Its all very fitting when you listen to Paula Le Dieu's talk at Emerging Massive media.

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Apple nano, phone and itunes5? What a disappointment

So after all the usual marketing hype, Kevin was right. Cingular will sell the iTunes shuffle Motorola phone. Theres a replacement to the ipod mini called the ipod “Nano” which has a colour screen and is very light and very thin. Oh an theres iTunes5 which syncs with outlook and has a few extra features. Yeah big deal… If your interested, Engadget had a live blog for the event, which included a ichatAV call to some stars and lots of Steve Jobs type charisma.

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