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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.

IMAP vs. POP (and who cares…)

Over the years, email has changed dramatically.  In the current 2010 world, most companies still offer POP as well as IMAP for receiving email.  In many cases, automatically adding an email address to a new computer or iPhone will use the POP method for getting email to you.  What difference does it make?  Ah, hence this little post…

Again in our 2010 world where many of us have a personal computer at home, a Blackberry or iPhone and occasionally (or more) work computers provide web access to our personal email it can be a pain to read and re-read a message on multiple devices.  This is where the IMAP and POP difference comes into effect.

When using POP [wikipedia] the device (in this case, iPhone, computer or other device), grabs the new mail from the server and removes the email (unless some settings are changed on the system to “keep mail on the server”).  In cases where you see the same mail on your phone and computer but they both show as unread (until you read them in two places) the system is using POP.  The other drawback is when you send a message using POP the device that sends the message retains the message locally (meaning if you are at work and you send a message that morning from your home PC, you will not see that message).

POP was valuable in the past, especially in years past when email storage was very limited (10-100MB, not the 7.5GB world of gmail).  Getting emails off the servers was important and a requirement to keep from “bouncing” mailbox full messages.

The thing that bothers me these days is if you set an email address up on an iPhone or iPad using GMail, the system makes it very easy but uses POP.  A quick adjustment to the account will make email a much more efficient tool with the use of IMAP.

IMAP [wikipedia] is the newer of the two protocols and again is supported by most email systems.  With Google’s email system, using IMAP allows you to read a message on your iPhone or Droid and when you check the message on your home computer, that message will show as read.  If you replied, that too will show up.  Do you have folders (or labels as google calls them)?  IMAP will also display those in your email program.

The bottom line is check your email settings and switch to IMAP if you are comfortable doing so.  It will make the use of email so much more seamless.

  • For Google’s GMail, check this page for clients and settings
  • The page for setting GMail up on an Apple mobile device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
  • Apple’s MobileMe IMAP setting page
  • Yahoo does NOT provide IMAP without purchasing Yahoo Plus (I would not suggest investing in this)
  • AOL’s page for setting up IMAP

If you have questions or concerns about changing your email setting, please let me know.

If you made these changes to your system and have seen improvements with the way the system(s) work, again, let us know.

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.

Updating an iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4.0

Apple makes the process of updating an existing iPhone very simple by using iTunes as the tool for all software updates, applications and backup of the settings, content and other information.

If you have an iPhone 3GS (there appear to be some issues with the first generation phone, iPhone 3G, so updating at this time is NOT recommended), a connection to your computer with the USB cable should start iTunes and let you know there is a software update for the iPhone. I would recommend a Download and Install choice and give the process at least 30 minutes.

iTunes first downloads the latest version of the iPhone software (iOS 4) and then will erase, update and ask if you want to restore all your information to the iPhone as it was before you began the update. For most users, this is what I would recommend since the system will put music, movies, settings for email and calendars as well as photos back onto the device. Again, this could take another 15-30 minutes depending on how much info you have or had on the phone, so it is recommended that you do not do this when in a rush or heading out of the house for some reason…

Since iTunes manages your media and your iPhone, it is recommended you connect the iPhone to a computer once every week or two. This accomplishes a few things. It backs up your phone, data and settings. It will pull photos and videos from your phone into iPhoto for sharing and checks with Apple to see if there are updates to your phone which could improve performance, stability or reliability.

Questions – let us know…

Hulu Plus announced

Hulu has announced the roll-out of Hulu Plus subscription service. For $9.99 a month, the solution will allow full runs/seasons of many FOX, NBC and ABC programs and they can play to iPhones (over 3G and wifi), iPads and BluRay devices (Samsung right now). The system will support up to 720p hi-def streaming (at this time).

You can sign up for a preview invite and see if you get one. I’m excited to see what is happening with the Hulu App and online solutions for both desktops and mobile devices.

Yet another option to full-blown cable service for $30+ dollars/month to ride along with Netflix and ABC’s own iPad App.

UPDATED: 06-30-10
The iTunes App Store now has an App for the iPad and iPhone that will allow access to the “free” content (I’m guessing to get people hooked) and test the waters. The system is not yet open to the public but as mentioned above you can request an invite and maybe get lucky.

I also tried the app on the way into the office on good ole NJTransit. I had a good 3G signal and the stream of NBC’s 30 Rock started almost instantly. The quality (both audio and video) lowered at one point but continued to stream. I know Pandora and other audio streaming services do this too, but it is much more apparent with video content (obviously).

One other very interesting take on all this is the expected update of the AppleTV to more of a streaming device that would work on the foundation of the iOS4. With iOS4 and access to the Apple App Store, an AppleTV could not only have access to your home personal iTunes audio and video collection, but finally tie into the internet so many people could discontinue their cable subscriptions and sit back on a comfortable couch and watch TV (granted it may not be live, but would work VERY well).

More to come when Apple updates their AppleTV device and we see how it will work with existing media and new internet content.

Google Docs becomes mobile ready

Google Docs now works smoothly and provides with mobile devices (specifically iPhones, iPad and Android devices). Google continues to move to HTML5 and optimizing their solutions to work better with numerous mobile devices…

In this Google blog post, another goal of Google is to have gmail load on mobile devices with HTML5 in under 1 second!

For as contentious a relationship Google and Apple have had lately, their technology goals seem to be lining up. Hopefully we will see them holding hands again soon and making up 🙂

Thoughts about Google docs on mobile devices – please share…