Friday, April 6, 2007

Secret HP edition iPod feature unvieled!

Sure the Microsoft Zune may let you share songs wirelessly and play widescreen movies, but can it protect you from an AK-47? American soldier Kevin Garrad was saved by the very corner of his HP edition iPod, which slowed the bullet down enough to stop it from penetrating his body armor! If that's not functionality, I don't know what is.
But hopefully Steve Jobs will take note and send Garrad a newer iPod? Heck, maybe Apple'll use iPod case technology to come up with some iArmor ($500 per square inch, but really easy to use).

Update: It looks like Nitrozac and Snaggy at The Joy of Tech illustrated the iArmor idea quite well, as they always do.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

New prices for Apple Cinema Displays

Although most people may think that the new Mac Pro is the only major announcement by Apple today, Apple has also surreptitiously lowered all prices for their Cinema Displays. So if you bought one of those Mac Pros and you need a shiny new "widescreen wonder" to go along with it, you'll be happy to know that the 20-inch display's price has been dropped to $599, the 23" to $899, and the 30" to $1799. That's a $200, $400, and $200 price drops, respectively. For some reason Apple has decided to drop the 23" display's price twice as much as the others, so you should probably buy that one...

But wait, there's more! Apple is still offering Educational Discounts on the displays so if you qualify for such a discount your display prices would be $549, $799, and $1599, respectively. So, you can get a whopping 30-inch Apple Cinema Display for $1599, less than the regular price of a 23" display. By the way, I would only be spurring Apple's sales if I told you from experience that Apple doesn't really check if you qualify for educational discounts, right (probably to keep the buying process simple for us)?

Professional Velocity? You could say that.

This morning Apple released an improved set of Mac Pro configurations, namely a faster processor. With up to 8 core Intel Xeon (Cloverton) processors, the Mac Pro has consolidated its place as the computer of choice for graphics rendering and video editing. The Mac Pro is now up to 2.1x faster than the previous model, the Power Mac G5 Quad core. Apple is using two quad core processors instead of the old (yet not so old) dual core processors, with each running at 3.0 Ghz. With its equivalent of eight cores at 3.0 Ghz, the Mac Pro is staying ahead of the game (Dell doesn't offer the 3.0Ghz Cloverton chip in any computer yet).

Check it out here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

France breaks world's speed record on rails

While this doesn't have anything to do with computers, it's still is an interesting bit of tech news. Today a French TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) broke the world speed record for conventional rail trains with a speed of 574.8kph (357.2 mph), almost breaking the record for all train types which is held by Japan's Mag-Lev train of 581 km/h (363 mph).

The train used to break the record was specially modified for the feat: larger wheels and a stronger engine (25,000 hp) were installed (that's like having 25,000 horses pulling you!)

If you can understand French as I do you can watch a nice long clip featuring today's feat, but if not you just get a few seconds while the train speeds by the camera.

The Lie Starts Now

Microsoft is being sued for misleading buyers into thinking that all PC's with Vista-capable stickers are capable of running Vista highest technologies, like Windows Aero and Flip3D. Instead, it seems that Vista-ready stickers merely signify the ability to run Windows Home Basic, which does not support those features.

While that may true though, I think there's a more evident lawsuit that could be initiated, for making people think that you can run Windows Vista on an iBook. As you can see from the snapshot above, some of Microsoft's new ads display not even a Vista capable MacBook, but an old, discontinued iBook (you can distinguish between the two by looking at the ports on the side). Honestly, doesn't Microsoft's marketing department have enough PC laptop lying around for ads? Tough luck now to anyone that tries to argue that Macs aren't at least better looking than PC's.

Monday, April 2, 2007

LG Prada Interface Revealed

Engadget uploaded avideo walkthrough of the LG Prada phone's full interface, which if you recall was the subject of many a heated discussions for its similarity to the iPhone. After watching this video I have decided to write my impressions on the Prada in comparison to the iPhone:

1- The start time seems very long, unlike what Engadget said about it. If the iPhone is truly based on OS X then it should be able to boot up much faster than the Prada.

2- No Qwerty keypad but yes e-mail and messaging. I think the iPhone wins hands down: even if the pop-up keypad's keys are a bit small this will still be way faster than the Prada.

3- Why only two colors at a time? Black and white, blue and light blue. I looked at some iPhone pictures after watching this video and it is much more pleasing to look at.

3.5- Lack of pictures and extra visuals. Sure the tabs kid of animate, but the icons are tiny, look the same, and lack color.

4- Hard to scroll. From what I saw it can be pretty challenging to get the finger to activate the scroll bar without pushing another button.

5- No WiFi access or comparable web browser to the iPhone.

6- Not from the video, but I hear the Prada costs around $799.

7- The camera application looks very nice in wide screen.

8- The blue theme actually makes the Prada look a lot better and more usable, somehow giving the icons more colors (more than blue) than the black and white theme.

9- Nice clean calendar application, like Engadget said, easy to read.

The Prada does not seem to offer any better essential features than the iPhone, has 3 hours of talk time versus 5 on the iPhone, and will ship for around $800, more than the iPhone even when configured for 8Gb of memory.

Apple speaks with EMI, offers DRM-free music

Today Apple CEO Steve Jobs and EMI CEO Eric Nicoli met at a joint press conference to announce new "digital offerings," which turned out to be DRM-free music availability on the iTunes Store for all EMI music offerings. As you may know, EMI is a record company that was rumored to offer completely DRM-free music to their music retailers but had not done such until today. Not only that, but Jobs and Nicoli have also announced that this new DRM-free music will be available at a lower compression rate for better quality listening, up to 256kbps from 128kbps.

However there is a small, small catch. Buying DRM-free songs from iTunes will be completely optional, and will cost 30 cents more than a usual track, for a total of $1.29. So far EMI is the only record company to offer DRM-free music on iTunes, but Apple expects all other such companies to see the light and follow the lead.

What this means for you and I is that starting in May, any EMI song or album bought from the iTunes Store will be able to be stored and played in any other MP3 players, not just iPods. Also, if you own any previously purchased EMI songs from iTunes, you will be able to upgrade them to the higher quality and freedom for 30 cents extra per song.

For more detailed details, you can listen to EMI's audio webcast on their site or read MacUser's liveblog entry (if you don't have speakers).