Apple declares 2009 done

Sorry, Mac fans and foes alike, but it looks like you’ll have nothing to celebrate/desecrate until the clock strikes midnight on December 31 and finally rings in a decade without the ridiculous nomenclature of "The Aughts." A couple of things happened within the last week or so that tell me the nerds at Cupertino have gone all European on us and are taking the next couple of months off. Hopefully not wearing the man-capris so many mildly (or not so) corpulent Austrians seem to favor, but still—they’ve commenced phoning it in, even if it’s from San Jose and not San Marcos Square.

First, Apple Senior Vice Poobah Phil Schiller declared to Gizmodo that Apple’s "holiday lineup is set." So, well, there you go. No iTablet for you! Come back first quarter! Guess we’ll all just have to cuddle close with our new touch-sensitive Magic Mouses and hope they don’t end up infesting our Slankets. Although one could sell the resultant infestation on eBay for quite a chunk. Hmmmm.

Anyway, after a year of Unibodies, 3GSs, reappearing and disappearing FW400 ports, Final Cut Studio 3, OS 10.6 Blizzard Kitty, Mac Pros with the same skins but new guts, iMacs that finally feature desktop-class processors and a mouse that still probably won’t usurp my aging Logitech MX700 (among other things), what more do you people want? A netbook? A tablet? A Snow Leopard Server in Mac mini form? Oh, wait, you got that one. Good for you.

Segue alert: How about a new Apple TV?

Yes, the real sign that Apple’s calling it a year product-wise isn’t that Phil the Pill said so; it’s that Apple released a new software update for Apple TV. That’s right: a software update. Because that’s what Apple TV needed. Not a new processor to supplant the barely 1GHz Pentium M that Apple was forced to use because they finally ran out of old 68020s. Certainly not a new, read "current," hard drive interface like, gee willikers, SATA. Or increased storage space for something that’s supposed to be a media hub. No, no. We’re stuck with 720p as the max and having to add our own ATA hard drives. And yet another software update that adds a whole bunch of jack squat.

Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Apple TV 3.0.

As an Apple TV owner for the past 10 months I can say with no hint of deceit that the device has integrated itself into our monthly lives almost seamlessly. Sure, I asked for the thing for Christmas mainly so my wife and kids would have an easy way to look at photos and videos, as well as access to my iTunes library on the main stereophonic system in the living room. In that regard, the ATV works well. However, I was hoping for a little more geek juice under the hood. And after using a patchstick to install Boxee and XBMC and other hacks onto to it (as well as upgrading the hard drive, of course), I just had to say, "Wow, that’s way too much effort to deal with on a regular basis." So I haven’t.

But here comes Apple TV 3.0 to save the day. With such upgrades as compatibility with the new iTunes LPs and DVD extras. And streaming Internet radio. Zowie! I guess when Steve Jobs said the Apple TV was a hobby, he wasn’t kidding. It’s literally his own hobby. And he obviously ranks it somewhere below harvesting livers on his list of fun things to do over the weekend.

Oh, the Apple TV also got a UI update. Much nicer than before, but when your list of compatible video codecs won’t max out the fingers on my hand (and I’m not the bastard love child of the Six-Fingered Man), a shiny new UI doesn’t exactly cut it. Unless the "it" in question is "the cheese." Yes, I resorted to second grade taunting.

Maybe one day I’ll have the time to delve into a more proper home media serving setup. Or I’ll just get a mini and be done with it. Or, more than probable, by the time I have both the time and money to do this, Apple will have released a 65-inch iMac that’s printed on OLED circuit paper and rolls up like an elementary school film screen of yore.

Although I’m betting they still won’t have solved the jackassery UI changes to QuickTime X. But that’s another issue.

So there you go. Apple is finished for the calendar year. Time spend, spend, spend this holiday season and keep the coffers full at One Infinite Loop. Otherwise, Apple TV 4.0 may not arrive with the long-desired ability to actually turn off.

Sorry, Apple, but this update does not make my HDTV "everything it should be." Unless you think it should be turned off more. Hippies.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Lookinat at Macrumors and seeing the actual UI update now, it appears to be something very similar to Sony’s Xross-Media Bar (XMB) interface used on alot of their electronics, including the PS3.

    Also, the accompanying 9.02 iTunes update again breaks Palm Pre syncing:

    ยง[< http://www.precentral.net/itunes-updated-902-pre-sync-dead-again<]ยง

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 10 years ago

    LOL Blizzard Kitty.

    • TO11MTM
    • 10 years ago

    The DVR market is in a sorry state indeed. BeyondTV just announced that they aren’t gonna give a crap about consumer market anymore, to he point we won’t get fixed HD-PVR support.

    Apple TV sounds scarily out of date.

    Is it worth it, to jump to Sage?

      • Taddeusz
      • 10 years ago

      I’ve personally never used BeyondTV. I’ve been a SageTV user from day one. Never even toyed with Windows Media Center. My HDPVR runs quite well. I have more problems with the STB that it’s hooked to than the HDPVR itself.

      Now there is work being done by a third party to use Windows 7 Media Center as a network tuner for SageTV. The idea behind this is that W7MC is the only place you can use Cable Card tuners. Now that they’ve loosened the DRM restrictions of that content it should be possible to take un-encrypted content from W7MC and import it into SageTV as a recording.

      Of course, this hinges entirely on how your cable company flags the content. It would be wonderful to take the HDPVR out of the loop and have completely digital recording.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 10 years ago

    Seemed we went though a bit of a dry spell there with the blogs. Glad to see a new one.

    Jason, I always enjoy reading your blogs, keep it up.

    • Decelerate
    • 10 years ago

    The more time passes the more I truely think that AppleTV is purely a hobby.

    I’m starting to think that Apple’s merely feeling the playing field, trying to find an economically viable way of the market segment.

    As for 2009 being done, I’m not too surprised considering the massive update we just had.

    I am curious about the January announcement, as everything has just been updated, but I am still pissed that the new touch didn’t have a camera…

    Dammit I want a Touch. With camera!

    • lycium
    • 10 years ago

    that was a very quick decade :'(

    *searches for walking stick to shoo kids off his lawn*

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, now that I look back, I’m thinking to myself “…what happened?”

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Technically, the decade isn’t over until Jan 1 2011, for the same reason the 20th century actually didn’t end until Dec 31, 2000 (there was no year 0). So this silly decade grinds on one more year without a good name, before we can all embrace the “teens.”

      But in popular usage… tonight we’re going to party like it’s, uh, twenty oh nine.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    Ah the venerable Apple TV. And Apple should fix the Win7x64 issues with iTunes/iPhones (sync problems apparently). Oh, and how about boot camp for Win7?

    Yup! Sounds like 2009 is done to me.

    • crazybus
    • 10 years ago

    q[

    • deathBOB
    • 10 years ago

    Apple should make a TV.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      No, because they’ll make it shiny and white and this is one area where they’d be _[

    • Welch
    • 10 years ago

    I’d comment on the Apple issue but sadly enough I not only don’t care about the Apple products that haven’t and apparently aren’t going to be coming out… but to top it off the endless amounts of horrible sarcasm in this article had me hungry for so much more information. Chalking your article with quirky little jokes and references doesn’t help to address the issue that you are “reporting” on. Not attempting to be harsh or rude, just putting in my 2 cents.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      That’s what the subtitle “a blog by Jason Fox” is all about.

      • BooTs
      • 10 years ago

      Blogging and reporting are supposed to be different. If you don’t already know that, wtf dude.

        • _Sigma
        • 10 years ago

        I read this blog for the jokes and wit, not for in depth reporting like Cyril’s posts.
        As stated above blogging != reporting.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          yeah, but every single blog post seems to draw at least one such comment. I don’t know if it would help, but perhaps the “a blog” part of the subtitle should be bigger. Like bigger than the freaking title, and with a footnote that explains what a blog is and how it differs from news.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 10 years ago

            I know that some TR readers delight in shunning “Web 2.0” social interaction, but do you really think they don’t know what a blog is?

            Well, as you rightly point out, every one of these gets a comment like this, so maybe you’re right.

            • indeego
            • 10 years ago

            The blog section is lower right, the blog is rotated in a picture in upper left. I can easily see thousands of TR nonregulars confusing the news/blog pictures with articles. It doesn’t make good design sense, ESPECIALLY since “featured articles” is right below the graphic.

            Also, and I’m guilty of this myself. I often find myself skipping over titles and bylines of things online, because presumably I’ve already read the title/subject on the previous page, or I just don’t care who the author is. I immediately go to “get to the text,” and that may be what is happening here as wellg{<.<}g

            • Welch
            • 10 years ago

            I will have to admit dumb on this one… I did not notice NOR realize that we had blogs coming across on TR. This would be the first time that I have read a post of TR (Blog or Article) and felt like I was missing the point.

            Clearly not my style, no biggie.

            • UberGerbil
            • 10 years ago

            Yeah, it’s arguably a flaw in the way the front page works, but there are ways it could be handled if blog posts /[

    • adisor19
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • _Sigma
      • 10 years ago

      No kidding eh? I also enjoyed

      l[

    • jdaven
    • 10 years ago

    I’m pretty disappointed that Apple hasn’t made the obvious upgrade to the Ion platform for AppleTV. A dual core Atom 330 and an Nvidia 9400M chipset would do 1080p just fine.

    Then again how much faster would a dual core 1.6 Ghz atom be over a single core 1 GHz Dothan Pentium M with an old NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300.

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      It feels like Apple is better off using one of those ULV versions of Core 2 Duo…Maybe from the CULV platform?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • TheEmrys
      • 10 years ago

      Its a pretty non-intuitive product. It could be so much, but it just isn’t utilized. Why not a Cable Card slot? Or 1080 HD? Its odd that Apple, who generally is pretty smart about not only giving people what is needed, but trying to go above and beyond, would settle for mediocrity.

      • End User
      • 10 years ago

      Mac mini + Plex + iPhone remote = awesome HTPC

        • A_Pickle
        • 10 years ago

        Could you make an iPod Touch remote?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          the remote app runs on both platforms – it was originally (I believe) released specifically for iWork but has many other uses.

        • d0g_p00p
        • 10 years ago

        $50 used Xbox + XBMC + MAME = awesome HTPC

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