Archive for the ‘Apple’ Tag

Instinctiv takes a shot at mood shuffle

Music and mood are very much related. Music can amplify what you’re feeling; it can bring you down; it can cheer you up. Often times I adjust what I’m listening to depending on my mood.

A year ago I posted about the idea for an iTunes “mood predictor” that watches your listening habits and adapts the playlist to your current mood. It seems there was certainly a market for it, as evidenced by the new iPhone application called Instinctiv Shuffle. Currently a Jailbreak-only app, Instinctiv wathces your listening habits and makes an educated guess about which similar songs in your library fit the way you’re feeling.

I don’t have an iPhone so unfortunately I can’t test it out, but the YouTube commerical for it seems fairly convincing. Also the fact that the Web start-up company has already raised three-quarters of a million dollars in funding should be a good indication (though, as we know, not necessarily indicative of its quality).

Instinctiv will be available on the iPhone App Store, whenever that comes out.

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The Web Doesn’t Belong in the Living Room

Computers and the Web are very personal entities. A PC is normally found in a computer room or bedroom. They haven’t really broken into the social realm that the TV currently holds. But does the Web belong in the living room?

Fred Wilson thinks so. He writes on his AVC blog that he installed a Mac mini in the living room of his new home, and is loving the benefits. He can access music and videos stored on computers throughout the house over his wireless network. He watches DVDs on the computer, and can surf the Web from his couch.

Personally I don’t think the Web really belongs in the living room. Aside from sites like YouTube, it’s not really a social activity. Apple TV finds a happy medium, allowing you to stream media from your computers, and also providing access to YouTube.

I have a Nintendo Wii in my living room, which also happens to provide Internet browsing, but I almost never use that feature. If I need to look something up on the Web, I’ll grab my laptop. I just don’t see the benefits.

Apple Not Showing Students the Love

The Mac OS X Leopard announcement wasn’t all good news. The software is up on the Apple Store web site, and apparently Apple Inc. has stopped showing students the love. Whereas all previous OS X updates cost students $79, reduced from the $129 retail price, Leopard’s education discount is now a measly $13–a price tag of $116 for students.

There has been a disturbing trend in the past few years–along the timeline of the company’s rebirth success story–of Apple giving fewer and fewer perks to students. Apple’s summer hardware program, where it gives a free outdated iPod to students who purchase a new computer, still seems to be in place. But software discounts–iLife and iWork ’08 saw price increases as well–and discounts on less expensive hardware–forget about discounted iPods anymore– are over.

Students are an incredibly important demographic for Apple, a company that prides itself on making hardware for artists. What group has incredible ambitions but little money to act on them? College kids. So when your company’s Facebook group has more than 400,000 members, it’s probably a good idea to keep that demographic happy.

Apple to Open Multi-touch Platform

In a letter posted to the Hot News section on Apple.com, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs finally put the concerns of techie iPhone owners and developers to rest with confirmation that a software development kit (SDK) for the iPhone and iPod touch will be available to devs in February, 2008.

I had recently managed to tone down the unending amount of Apple news on the blog (well, kind of), but this is simply too interesting not to post. After a rather baffling game of cat-and-mouse since the iPhone’s release and subsequent hacking and then subsequent firmware update from Apple locking out the modifications, Jobs lays his hand on the table–to an extent.

“It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once–provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.,” Jobs writes.

Sounds well and good. Apple wants to get its new OS out the door and then focus its development resources on making the SDK as stable as possible. Then it will be all clear for JailBreak-like open app development, right? Well, maybe not.

“Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer,” Jobs writes. “While this makes such a phone less than ‘totally open,’ we believe it is a step in the right direction.”

Could this mean developers may have to go through a lengthy authorization process whenever they want to offer an app up to consumers? Apple has been very lenient with Dashboard widget authorization, but will the trend continue? We won’t know for sure for another four months, but this news is enough for me to change my mind on the iPod touch as a platform. Me want.

iCal Dropbox in New Mac OS X Version

The 10.5 Leopard version of the Mac operating system has been confirmed for release next Friday, Oct. 26. Among its list of 300+ new features is a much improved version of iCal. Aside from the new interface, CalDAV sync support and the correctly predicted iPhone notes syncing is one feature I suggested last month in “A Better To-do List.”

Apple’s feature list details a new option called Event Dropbox. “Share the information you need for a successful meeting,” reads the iCal Leopard feature list. “Simply drag photos, video, or any kind of document into an event. Send email invitations to attendees and your attachments go along for the ride.”

My idea was for iCal to include “the ability to drag files and emails onto a to-do entry and have them linked. I could then easily access any related materials through the to-do entry.”

Apple’s description doesn’t specify whether this applies to to-do entries as well as events, but I think we have a good chance. Finally iCal is on its way to becoming a fully featured project center.

Maps Made for iPod touch

I did a post last month on Web-based substitutes for iPhone applications missing from the iPod touch. There wasn’t really a suitable alternative to the iPhone’s nifty, Google-developed maps app, so I simply suggested the Google Maps web site. It’s not custom-tailored to the i-products, but it does the job.

Thanks to a tip from web developer Al, he pointed me toward his new baby, iTouchMap.com. Complete with an Apple-like interface, iTouchMap offers many of the great features of the maps application setup in a compact interface suitable for the iPod touch.

While the site’s driving directions feature doesn’t operate exactly like the iPhone’s handy turn-by-turn directions, you can load up separate Safari tabs on your WiFi connection before you head on the road, so you have all of them with you without killing a bunch of trees.

Organize Your Thoughts: iPhone

I posted some tips a couple weeks ago on why you should write down your thoughts in a notebook and on how to keep it all organized. So for everyone who bought a notebook and started writing, keep at it! If you’d prefer a more high-tech alternative, this one’s for you.

While a PC is fine for jotting down some streams of consciousness, it’s not all that portable because it can’t be kept in your pocket. However, an iPhone can.

(Yes, I realize I’ve been talking a lot about the iPhone the past couple months — and I don’t even own one — but this is related to any PDA, smart phone or even most cell phones — although it really sucks typing on the latter.)

Create separate notes on the device for categories like “ideas” and “thoughts.” Then whenever something comes to mind, no matter where you are, just pull out your cell phone and jot it down. I’ll often type in my cell phone if I think of something I want to remember when I’m out. It’s a lot less geeky than pulling a loose-leaf notebook and pen out of my pocket.

For iPod touch owners, you can keep your notes as separate contacts. Just create separate contacts for the categories we talked about earlier, and then in the notes field you can enter whatever is on your mind. It’s a decent substitute for Apple Inc.’s annoying choice not to include the iPhone’s notes application. The beauty of using the contacts area is that, unlike the iPhone’s notes app, the contacts will sync to your Mac Address Book.

Apple Cripples iPod touch Calendar

Look, I was trying to be optimistic when I wrote “No Maps? No Problem,” listing a bunch of online tools that could fill the gap left by Apple Inc.’s removal from the iPod touch of many great iPhone applications, like Mail and Google Maps.

But now we find out that Apple has purposely crippled the calendar on the iPod touch to only display events, removing the ability to create new ones on the device. And I’m really fuming.

All this means is that I would have to use Google Calendar instead of iCal from now on, but is this Apple’s goal? To drive everyone away from using its applications to web-based alternatives.

Going back to my predictions, it seems we only got two-thirds of the equation. We got the widescreen iPod; we got the internet communications device; but Apple isn’t giving us the PDA.

And this is a deal breaker for me. So until the hackers find a way to get the iPhone apps onto the iPod touch (and how hard could it be? It’s the same freakin’ software and mostly the same hardware), count me out.

iPod touch: It All Came True

The predictions could not have been more spot on.

Sept. 5 announcement? Check.

Chubby, video iPod nanos? Check.

New iPod interface? Check.

An iPod that’s an iPhone minus the phone? Hell yeah!

I should probably apologize on behalf of the internet for ruining Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs’ surprise. Okay, the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store was a bit of a shock, and I didn’t expect Apple to keep the iPod classic line around after introducing the iPod touch. But overall the blogs did well.

How well did this one do? Let’s take a look back at the predictions.

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Drastically New iPod May Come Sooner Than Expected

Can you believe it? The full screen OS X iPod I forecasted exactly one month ago may actually become a reality in less than two weeks. A trusted source has let slip an Apple Inc. media event announcing the new iPods, Ars Technica repots.

Apple Insider posted yesterday a more detailed analysis of the new products, citing a source saying the announcement will happen some time in mid- to late-September. But Ars explains that the unveiling is expected to take place on Sept. 5, with the products appearing in stores later that month.