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GreenCine Tech Talk
Hardware, Software, Tech.
The nuts and bolts of movie making, home theater, and DVD.
76

GCMUG (GreenCine Mac Users' Group)
Topic by: hamano
Posted: November 22, 2003 - 12:43 AM PST
Last Reply: February 6, 2007 - 5:12 PM PST

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author topic: GCMUG (GreenCine Mac Users' Group)
hamano
post #141  on January 16, 2007 - 5:51 AM PST  
So you can download episodes of "24" and lick Kiefer's ugly mug AND make him shake and jiggle. Let's see Zune users do THAT!
dpowers
post #142  on January 16, 2007 - 10:55 AM PST  
i'd pay money for that, in fact. i'm not sure i haven't.

but of course, we are all looking forward to the bright future where you have to experience a 4D commercial before making a telephone call. these devices are just the beginning.
dpowers
post #143  on January 19, 2007 - 7:39 AM PST  
an original macintosh interface designer talks about the iphone. i best liked the "$497 for cool, $2 for phone" description of rich geeks.
hamano
post #144  on January 19, 2007 - 9:57 AM PST  
My question is how fast they'll be able to switch iPods to the cooler new interface. The higher end iPods should instantly switch away from the clickwheel interface to the iPhone interface. Maybe they should include a virtual clickwheel on the large full-face screen for old fashioned iPod users.

Apple should also offer a smaller, music&phone-only version of the iPhone and call it the iPhone Nano, in the same bright colors that the iPod Nano comes in. I don't really want to browse the 'net or do e-mail on my cell phone or iPod, and I bet a lot of cell phone users who own iPods would agree.

I don't really see the point of having two lines of devices. Switch the iPods to the new big screen interface, and call the one with cell phone features the iPod+Phone, and the Nano+Phone. Why bother with two separate lines of hardware when they can easily be integrated?
dpowers
post #145  on January 19, 2007 - 11:58 AM PST  
the shuffle is already switched. once apple officially rolls out the touch your music slogan for all the ipods, the shuffle version will be touch, but don't look.

here's the rundown of what i know from apple rumor sites lately.

all these devices run components of the new operating system, 10.5, aka leopard. whatever pieces of the new OS they need, they run. for instance the phone needs some graphics and communications subsystems but obviously doesn't need developer tools, web server, printer drivers, etc. on that device the whole OS subset is about 500MB. (leopard has some nifty optimizations to meet this multi-platform requirement, such as increased modularity and resolution independence for displays. 72 dpi assumption, be gone.)

a touchable widescreen ipod seems to be in the works for june-ish, same time as the mostly-phone and leopard. the mostly-ipod will have big hard drive, 80GB+. this may be the gizmo they've been calling asteroid internally for a little while. it's expected to do significantly more than the top ipod now, like maybe having a straight-line connection to a tivo or other DVR? and with wifi, which probably means you'll be able to browse and play back from it with an apple-tv box (like i care). anyway the phrase in the rumors is bridge device.

there's some noise about a smaller version of the phone, even some hints dropped by cingular people. it'd be tough on apple, though. first, it would steal thunder and money from the fancy version. second, that's a lot of new, unproven devices to be working on at the same time, even with the nifty portable OS design they've figured out. third, i don't think a significantly smaller version of that phone interface would work well -- the visuals would be cramped and the touchscreen sensor would have to be more precise, making it more costly.

my doubts have nothing to do with what will really come or go. it's definitely something people want. i want it. but, remember that the ipod mini took about 3 years to show up and it was only possible because there was a 3rd generation of scroll-wheels. now, a scroll-wheel based phone interface would work, but, with all the extra innards, it'd be a lot bigger than the nano and cost more than $200, even with component costs going down.

there will probably be a large-sized touchscreen device next year. basically a small tablet computer like the recent microsoft-inspired halfpints, only lickable. hospitals and schools are supposedly the target buyers.

> I don't really see the point of having two lines of devices. Switch the iPods to the new big screen interface, and call the one with cell phone features the iPod+Phone, and the Nano+Phone. Why bother with two separate lines of hardware when they can easily be integrated?

jobs probably wants to do this but it may take years, because:

(1) they can't be easily integrated yet. the power requirements and other aspects may not make a combo device feasible at the nano size. all the other stuff above, too.

(2) the phone and music player markets don't entirely overlap. to assume that people are ready to abandon the music-only device is risky, when you're about to float a huge new set of assumptions. phoneless-ipod revenue -- particularly from the nano -- is paying for the phone development.

(3) many people don't like the long-cingular-contract issue, which seems to be a compromise apple made in order to get some concessions from cingular like the changes that allowed visual voicemail and some as-yet-undisclosed network niftiness. would a nano phone be sexy enough to make up the difference, so it'd be as popular as the nano?

as far as a few other features that people mentioned in the other thread,

- 3G isn't widely available in the US yet but when it is it will be in the phone, that's been announced.

- video chat is also an obvious thing. in fact nothing IM-related has been shown on the phone, which is such a weird oversight for a wifi gadget from a company that builds cameras into their computers that apple's probably got a secret they're saving for the real product release.

- if GPS isn't in the final release i'll be really surprised because with its built-in maps, speakerphone and music, the phone'd be a great all-in-one vehicular gizmo (just in time to take advantage of what will hopefully be the last few years of solo car commuting). there's another tidbit here, that iphoto recently got built-in hooks to googlemaps, allowing it to show you exactly where your GPS-enabled camera took a photo. on the other hand, GPS has a heap of liability problems, and apple's lawyers are a world unto themselves.

- tog's review mentioned how the voice mail, texting and email were separated. i would expect that people would be able to look at them together, at some point, with a click of a preference. for the demo it made dramatic sense to show them apart. as far as why someone would want to keep them apart, when the interfaces were really similar, well, handling all your voice mail at once, email at once, and keeping chatting apart from that, it's a little better organized.
dpowers
post #146  on January 19, 2007 - 12:06 PM PST  
> - video chat ... apple's probably got a secret they're saving for the real product release.

and what kind of secret could that be? hmm. let's see.

the built-in chat software on apple computers excels at video conferencing, in a three-up widescreen format.

and the phone excels at displaying widescreen animations.

hmm.
hamano
post #147  on January 19, 2007 - 12:17 PM PST  
And what about all the Beatles songs and images during the Keynote? I thought maybe a merger agreement with Apple Corp. fell through at the last moment, maybe. Otherwise why bother dropping Computer from the company name? Something big was missing from the keynote address, the way it was stretched out soooooo slow. iPhone is still largely vaporware, after all. That's so unlike Apple, because they usually show new stuff that's available immediately.

Things don't always turn out exactly the way Jobs envisions, as we know from the past....
dpowers
post #148  on January 19, 2007 - 12:37 PM PST  
yeah it seemed like something was missing. there's a mess of hardware ready to go that they didn't talk about, apparently. 8-core desktop tower, notebook updates, a few others. there's some speculation that a beatles announcement will happen on valentine's day because of the popularity of love. "match made in heaven," anyone? bleah.

it was also strange they showed nothing of the upcoming OS, but then some writers like david pogue have said, "they did, it's in the phone." the phone will work with windows, that's why it syncs with itunes not isync; but it will rock with the new OS.

the trouble is they're drowning in secrets. everything seems tied together. they're still not letting people beta test major parts of leopard. so there is another big secret, maybe bigger than the widescreen video ipod. i'm pretty convinced it's handheld video conferencing but we'll see.

their reason for showing the apple-tv thing in advance was probably to drum up studio interest. i believe their explanation for talking about the phone in advance was to keep the details from coming out through FCC documents in advance of a jobs-and-pony show, and to get people talking, and to knock CES smartphone announcements on their butts. people can call the iphone vaporware but lately apple has hit or beat its announced hardware deadlines. i doubt palm, sony or RIM are thinking "2008."
hamano
post #149  on January 19, 2007 - 2:15 PM PST  
I thought it was kinda pathetic that Steve's buddies planted in the audience weren't calling from iPhones... There should be some awesome iPhone-to-iPhone stuff, like, as you say, video conferencing. It would also be cool if there was a way they could flip the camera around, but a swiveling mechanism might become a weak point, like long antennas and flip doors on regular cell phones.

A 5 hour battery life is also pretty sucky, but if iPhone accessories come out as fast as iPod accessories, an external power source probably will come around pretty quick. I wonder if the dock for the iPod and iPhone will be the same....
dpowers
post #150  on January 19, 2007 - 3:50 PM PST  
> It would also be cool if there was a way they could flip the camera around

i like that setup, too. i think it's against apple's hardware design rules, though. unbroken lines. mysterious white or black monoliths.

> A 5 hour battery life is also pretty sucky...

that's talk time/video time. music playback is 16 hrs, something like that.

current 30GB video-ipod: 3.5 hrs video, 14 hrs audio
80GB v-ipod: 6.5 hrs video, 20 hrs audio
motorola razr v3: 2-7 hrs talk time (depending who you ask)

since this is apple's first phone, nobody knows how to read their 5 hr estimate for talk time. their spec calls that "up to" but only their power management coders know the "down to" value. for ipods, their playback estimates tend to be in the ballpark but that doesn't mean anything with phones, since talk time is related to how hard the phone is having to work to keep the radio connection alive (i.e., how strong the signal is).

> I wonder if the dock for the iPod and iPhone will be the same....

no idea. i was assuming the mostly-ipod would be thicker, with hard drive and bigger battery.
hamano
post #151  on January 19, 2007 - 7:50 PM PST  
I thought it was kinda sucky how they went from a simple USB plug for the Shuffle to a mini-dock thingie for the new clip Shuffle. Too many different Docks, which all end up going to a USB port anyway. Why don't they make them all the same?
hamano
post #152  on January 19, 2007 - 7:54 PM PST  
> On January 19, 2007 - 3:50 PM PST dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > A 5 hour battery life is also pretty sucky...
>
> that's talk time/video time.

Yeah, but if they're gonna sell it as a phone, I've got a 3 year old cell phone now that stays on 3 days without charging. Sure I don't play any videos on it, but there's a perception there... I'm wondering if you use it as an iPod+phone how long it would last on a typical day out. Listen to music, watch a video on the subway, make a few calls. Leave home at 8 am and come home around 6 pm. Will I be able to do that without a recharge?
dpowers
post #153  on January 19, 2007 - 8:52 PM PST  
no no wait. talk time means "time when you're talking on the phone." what your phone is doing is usually called standby time -- how long between recharges, without using it. in this case they don't say how long that is. but it's probably days and days.
hamano
post #154  on January 19, 2007 - 9:16 PM PST  
Yeah, I know that, although my phone seems to expend the most energy when trying to find a signal in a rural area rather than when I'm talking on it. I'm just wondering how "5 hours" translates to a "typical working day".... if I just use it to make phone calls it'll probably last more than a day, but if the point is that I can listen to music or watch videos on it, I wonder how long it'll keep going. Nobody is going to use it as "just a phone" or "just a music player"... it's gonna get used like a little desktop computer that fits in your pocket.

Every time you flip through your address book or use the "pinch" on a photograph, or zoom in on a web page article, there's gotta be some serious CPU work going on. THAT's what's gonna drain the battery, not necessarily watching last night's episode of LOST.
dpowers
post #155  on January 20, 2007 - 5:24 AM PST  
> Every time you flip through your address book or use the "pinch" on a photograph, or zoom in on a web page article, there's gotta be some serious CPU work going on.

antenna-on-and-transmitting uses the most. CPU/GPU tandem handling of partial simple animations will probably take moderate power compared to rendering full video with amplified sound.

they've said one reason they're controlling which apps will run on the device is so it's stable and pretty, and obviously another is they want to control the iphone-app sales channel, but a problem the palms have had in the past is how fast a particularly badly-written background app can drain the battery.

i figure none of this will matter as little batteries get better and better. you know, in a year or two, just before sony introduces the pocket PS3.
dpowers
post #156  on January 26, 2007 - 5:55 PM PST  
so the rumors are really going nuts now. apple's about ready to shower us all with the results of combining the ipod-funded R&D with the new small combo components and an OS that can shrink and grow to any size as needed.

macosrumors is saying that the rumors of a tablet device are true, with an iphone touch interface, only it has a stand so you can use it facing you, on a table. it may have an optical drive on the back of it with a hinged door. maybe it's the low cost PC people have been begging them to make. maybe it's the ultimate super simple take-it-on-the-road device, maybe it's a universal remote for every wifi device in your house, maybe it's the perfect kid computer. maybe it's a dragon with liquid wings, fiery claws, and a cybernetic tongue! grraaarrrr!

well, this is the first time steve jobs has ever had this much money and this many cheap components to play with. fun!
hamano
post #157  on January 26, 2007 - 10:55 PM PST  
It's funny how Apple's become a target for civil lawsuits since they settled with Creative... Let's shake down Apple, they're loaded with cash!

Now a major pension fund is leading a class action shareholders' lawsuit over the stock options back-dating thing. Isn't it a stretch to prove that Apple stock holders have been "harmed" by anything Apple execs have done since iMacs and iPods came out?

OK, now I feel like pinching something... where's my fat-cheeked son? Oh, he's sleeping....
hamano
post #158  on January 26, 2007 - 11:23 PM PST  
> On January 26, 2007 - 5:55 PM PST dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> maybe it's the ultimate super simple take-it-on-the-road device, maybe it's a universal remote for every wifi device in your house, maybe it's the perfect kid computer. maybe it's a dragon with liquid wings, fiery claws, and a cybernetic tongue! grraaarrrr!

Hee hee, remember the eMate?
dpowers
post #159  on January 27, 2007 - 5:09 AM PST  
i was talking of the emate not a week ago. do not start me on this. to me, the newton interface is one of the sad losses in the sea of past-gone computers. however i think where the emate fell down was having to move hand from keys to stylus to screen. a touch screen would have been so much nicer, particularly if it tasted like cherry.
hamano
post #160  on January 27, 2007 - 6:36 AM PST  
For a while I thought the thumb-sized QWERTY keyboard was going to be the way to go, like on the current Treo and the Blackberry. Now that we have a DS I'm not so sure. But needing a stylus is inelegant for an on-the-go interface.

The problem with the virtual keypad/keyboard is that it's gonna be hard to learn to touchtype. You have to look at the keys to see what you're poking.

Say I got a Mac connected to a flat screen HDTV on the wall, and I'm sitting on the couch, and I want to send an e-mail. What would be the best input device? I don't like a full-size wireless keyboard because I'd have to glue it so a lap pad of some sort, and in that situation having a separate wireless mouse seems just dumb. I thought a bluetooth keyboard with a trackpad or trackpoint?

But now I think, for couch use, the best thing will be like a cross between the Wii remote and a thumb keyboard. Like a bluetooth thumb keyboard with a built-in gyromouse, maybe shaped like a game controller.

Anyway, I'm a bit skeptical about the iPhone poke-typing interface becoming useful for anything else, like desktop and media center configurations.

A tablet device really needs a one-handed text input method... how about a little bowl with keys arranged like notes on steel drums?
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