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Apple updates the MacBook Pro line

Apple today updated the MacBook Pro line with a number of amazing technical advances. First the processor has been updated with new intel processors, updated graphic chip, FaceTime with HD capabilities and the inclusion of the new input/output system from Intel (Thunderbolt).
Thunderbolt is a combination of PCI Express and Mini Display port. Using an existing mini adapter a monitor can be connected and used as it is currently. Using the new thunderbolt system (which will be coming shortly from companies like Lacie for storage and video devices can be chained together (up to six devices) and powered to drive certain devices.
Thunderbolt is 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and 20 times faster than USB 2.0 so this will allow for super fast access to media and storage.
This update to the MacBook Pro line is an amazing and powerful step forward with cutting edge next generation technologies for processing professional level photography and video.

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RunKeeper Pro FREE through January 2011

RunKeeper, a FANTASTIC application (and one of LifeHacker’s favorites)I have been using for about a year on the iPhone is available for about a month for FREE (normally $10).

If you are a runner or plan on running in 2011, this application tracks (using GPS or manual input) runs (or walks or cycling etc) and keeps tracks of this information for you on their website.  Looking for how long, how fast and maybe even how high your last run was, look no further!  This is an AWESOME app and worth the $10 BUT save the money and grab it right now…

A few notes.  I have found it works best with an arm band (I have been using the Belkin) so it has good GPS reception.  As RunKeeper has been doing their updates, they have become more accurate and very stable.

Again, if a 2011 resolution is running (or running more), grab this app for your iPhone or Android phone and enjoy.  Great work guys…

UPDATE Feb 2011:  Runkeeper announced in January that they would keep Runkeeper Pro free permanently!  Many people ask me what apps are must have for an iPhone – if you are a runner (or just generally active), Runkeeper Pro is a no-brainer.  Grab it for your iPhone (or Android phone) today!

Apple iTunes Event Tomorrow (Tuesday 11-16-10)

Apple has announced that tomorrow is “just another day.  That you’ll never forget.”

Cryptic to say the least, but wonder what this is leading to.  There will be an updated iOS in the next week (as expected by almost everyone).  iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch along with some AirPlay with the AppleTV.

More to come and I’ll be sure to post following the 10am EDT announcement.

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AppleTV Review part 1

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As a wonderful gift from my family I received an early gift of a shiny new black AppleTV.  It is small yet powerful.  Unfortunately the one question not asked by the Apple sales rep in the Short Hills store where my wife picked it up was – Do you have a TV with HDMI…

We do not have a TV with HDMI (the last TV we bought was a very heavy Phillips 32″ CRT about 6 years ago).  I do have a computer monitor with HDMI and that is where I connected it to begin the playing…  I would love to see the AppleTV in the TV cabinet (and it will be there someday soon) in all it’s small little glory.

Setup was all of 3 minutes.  Pick a language, pick a WiFi access point to connect to and off you go.  Once you get to the main menu, connect to your library via Home Sharing in iTunes to one of the home machines and off you go…  Music, movies, TV shows, anything in the iTunes library is available to the AppleTV.

A few first impressions:

  • 802.11g network seems to work fine, but 802.11n would be much snappier
  • A TV with HDMI is imperative (no longer options for a composite connection)
  • Items cannot be purchased on the AppleTV (they can be rented)
  • The iTunes library must be online and available to access the media

I’m going to do a little more work with this tonight and followup with a part two.

Please post comments or email with questions you may have or like answered…

 

 

SquareUp with your iPhone/iPad or iPod Touch

David Pogue from the NYTimes outlines the benefit of taking credit card purchases right from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. A company called Square has made a free solution for the iPhone and iPad that allows the device to swipe or type in a credit card and take payments right into your bank account.

This is a great solution for the small business. I have it for my consulting company. Square takes a percentage (though smaller than most credit card companies at 2.5-3.5% of the purchase) and a $0.15 processing flat fee.

Interesting enough, it does bring up questions about why don’t people consider Square for their garage sales, bake sales and payment for the landscaper. It makes payment easy, cool and protects the seller and “store”.

Have a iPhone and a small business, seriously consider Square.

Read David Pogue’s article from the NYTimes
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iTV appearing tomorrow (Sept 1) at the Apple Event

Apple is expected to release a series of things tomorrow during their “music themed” Sept 1 event in CA. iPod Nano and Touch devices are expected to be revamped for the fall and with the Touch getting a forward facing camera and access to FaceTime over wifi. Cool for sure…

The other long-standing rumor is the revisiting of Apple’s “hobby” the AppleTV. This AppleTV system is long overdue for a update. The hardware and storage were both showing their age in storage, hardware performance and the abilities to support newer 1080p HDTVs. This all appears to be changing September 1, 2010.

The updated AppleTV is expected to be re-branded the iTV and will use the Apple iOS that is running on the iPhones and iPads now. Storage is not expected to be one of the cornerstones of the new device, but streaming access to media from personal iTunes libraries, the internet from Netflix and possibly Apple Apps from iTunes similar to ABC, Hulu and others for streaming content. This would finally bring the AppleTV to a place where cable could disappear a little easier and the big ‘ole TV in the family still got some family time…

More to come following the Apple event Wednesday afternoon.

UPDATE: Apple will stream the event live on their website. Check apple.com tomorrow at 10am PDT and read the press release now:

iPhone 4’s FaceTime is amazing!

Along with the new iPhone 4, Apple included a forward facing camera for video chats and a solution called FaceTime. Now personally I was not sold. Don’t get me wrong, I love video chats. We spent hours with friends and family on iChat for the last few years while the kids were growing up and we were a few hundred miles South. Now that we live close together it is not that big of a deal.

Apple set a test number (1-888-FaceTime) to try out a call with an Apple Rep. The connection is established with the rep via a voice call, they ask if you are trying out the solutions from your phone and if you are connected to a wifi network (this will not work over 3G yet). Once you confirm these things, the rep switch over to an iPhone 4 and invites you into a FaceTime chat.

Once you accept the chat, there you are (in a small preview windows). The rep is staring right back at you… Now the call has switched over to the wifi network, the voice call is disconnected from AT&T’s network so no more long-distance, roaming or minutes being used. If you know someone has a iPhone 4, you can start the chat without even having to place a phone call.

If you have an iPhone 4 and want to try out FaceTime, give Apple a call and try it out. It is the beginning of something new…

Apple has posted a few FaceTime ads on their website that have gone into rotation (you may soon see them during your favorite shows). They all show how much of a connection FaceTime can help people make. It will not happen overnight, but it very well may be the future of portable communications.