This week (or three) in MacHole

I hope you channeled Mel Allen while reading this post’s title. If you don’t know who Mel Allen is, you’re probably a soccer fan. Now excuse me while I search for torrents of old Baseball Bunch episodes.

Okay, that failed.

Since I last darkened the halls of The Tech Report with my shambolic musing, much has happened in the world of Apple. Assuming you interpret "much" as "three." These events, in ascending order of geekfroth-inducing power: new MacBook Pro models, iPhone OS 4.0 development preview and, what was it, oh yeah, the iPad went on sale. Or, as I responded to them, "Cool, too bad I’m broke," "Cool, multitasking at last," and "Meh, a big iPod touch."

In terms of upgrades, the new MacBook Pros feature Core i5 and i7 processors, Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics chips, higher-capacity standard hard drives, and Mini DisplayPort outputs that now support audio. Early benchmarks show the new machines to be faster than their previous counterparts. Yeah, I know. Shocking. Nonetheless, I must now devise a plan to pawn off my now previous-gen MBP to the new guy at work and score one of these. This plan will involve marshmallow crème, a Flip HD and a gaggle of Billy Barty impersonators. And, naturally, keyboard cat.

Apple’s preview of iPhone 4.0 on April 8 was stuffed full of so many new features, enhancements, and APIs that I kept waiting for Steve Jobs to offer the assembled media a "wafer-thin mint." To make the gluttony more palatable, Apple broke out the feature set into seven "tent poles," the biggest of which, in my opinion, were the aforementioned multitasking and Apple’s new iAd advertising system. Some have argued that Apple’s multitasking scheme for the iPhone is nothing more than a fancy process switcher masquerading at the Multithreaders Ball. Are the proponents of such a silly metaphor correct? Who cares? People want background processes running to VoIP notifications, audio control, etc., etc. without perceived loss of battery life. If this works, fantastic. Still better than MultiFinder.

I haven’t delved into the nuts and bolts of iAd enough to spew forth my opinion, but it’s probably coming. After all, I’ll undoubtedly be creating some super-sweet tiny ads for it in my day job. Like others, though, I hope this doesn’t spell the end of ad-free paid apps. Hopefully, the pseudoscience of impressions and clicks doesn’t infect every developer out there who hopes for a continuous revenue stream via iAd placements. Word to the potentially unwise: ads are supposed to make you like something, not loathe it.

And so we’ve come to the iPad. As neato keen observers of this blog may recall, in my preview of the iPad, I fell fairly squarely in the camp of believing Cupertino’s "magical" new device would be little more than a midnormous iPod touch. Within moments of the iPad going on sale, lo, two Saturdays ago, the blogocube was awash with instareviews declaring that those of us bivouacked in said camp just didn’t get it and were probably proud owners of Google G1s.

Obviously, a trip to the Apple Store was in order. But not on that Saturday. Or Sunday. Or even that week.

Eventually, I trekked to one of the four Apple Stores within 10 miles of my residence (so spoiled compared to my Amiga-owning days), joined by a couple of co-workers. Mac-dweebs all, we descended upon the semi-barren store (middays at this particular mall are heavy on strollers, light on Macheads) and each settled in front of a delightfully tethered 16GB iPad.

We touched, we pinched, we swiped, we shook, we opened Mail, we played movies, we tried to cut the tether with a pair of blunt nail clippers while the Geniusii were distracted by soccer moms looking for iPhone cases to match their track suits (fail).

Three minutes later, we hit the food court as a collective "meh" exited our not-so-collective mouths. Indeed, the iPad did seem to be a giant iPod touch. Perhaps it was the lack of iPad-specific apps the Generati had installed. Or that spending a combined $1,200 to have a really slick Scrabble board wasn’t all that appealing to me. Or maybe I just don’t get it.

Which is fine by me, since it saves me a nifty chunk of cash.

I hope the iPad does turn into something supercool. But I’ve been hoping that about my Apple TV for almost two years and, well, I think we all know how that’s turned out. Of course, the iPad is definitely not a "hobby" for Jobs & Co., so it could eventually become some sort of quasi netbooky thing of value in my arsenal. But for now, it’s really hard to justify filling a gap between my iPhone and MacBook Pro when I can’t even see any light peeking through.

But if you’ve got one and dig it, share the love and let us know why. I promise only 68% of readers will taunt you.




Comments closed
    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    Can someone summarize the history and point of this blog?
    IMO, it seems like apple viral marketing, so is it?
    What is the pay involved for writing RDF propaganda?

    I generally avoid mac stuff, but in all seriousness I’d like to know what the deal is here.

    Sure apple products deserve reviews like any other product, but an apple blog is over the top, and gives the appearance of typical apple brainwashing that apple is hip, trendy, and all that, when it’s nothing but propaganda.

    If that’s what this is, no big deal to the blog, I just won’t read it, since either way, I’m not interested in apple products.
    However, if this is apple sponsored that will lessen my opinion of TR’s credibility of being unbiased, because how can you be an unbiased website with a sponsored blog.
    Still, it’s easy enough to notice bias if you compare reviews with other sites.

      • Jason_Fox
      • 9 years ago

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Apple-sponsored? Sweet jeezo, I wish. I’m sitting here on my company (as in my real job, not TR) MBP as I reinstall OSX for the eighth or ninth time on my Hackintosh. Which I built partially to write about here, and partially to avoid shelling out a giant wad of unavailable cash for a Mac Pro.

      I get zip from Apple. Heck, most high-level reviewers get zip from Apple aside from review units they don’t get to keep. Think a non-reviewing blogger with my readership and penchant for harassing Cupertino is anywhere on their swag-donation list?

      If you don’t want to read this blog, that’s cool. You don’t like Apple stuff and you might find my style grating. You wouldn’t be the first. But here’s the brief history of this blog for you just so you know:

      1984 — Scott “Damage” Wasson and I meet in 7th grade homeroom. We remain friends since. Along the way, Scott becomes a super-tech dude and I become a writer. Scott founds TR. I do not. Scott, knowing I’ve used Macs for 15+ years, asks if I want to write a blog for him. I say yes. The end.


    • floodo1
    • 9 years ago

    the compelling use for the ipad is just having it on the couch. nothing like watching tv, and going “hmm let me look that up on the interweb” and dropping the sexy ipad into your lap for some touch-based internet browsing 🙂

    can’t say that this alone is enough to make me want one, but I WILL own one one day 🙂 tons of other reasons add up to me wanting it 🙂

    mlb app is ridiculous, fyi for baseball fans

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 9 years ago

    lol a mac blog….lol once again they are late to the new tech game and and as usual way over priced.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    So when is TR getting a Microsoft, Google, asus, newegg, etc Blog? I mean, Apple is a $100+ Billion publicly traded company. Why should all your /[

    • WillBach
    • 9 years ago

    q[<"[...] the Geniusii were distracted by soccer moms looking for iPhone cases to match their track suits"<]q This is why I love shopping at whole foods around noon or 2:00 PM. It's not soccer moms, it's pilates and yoga moms. You run into so many good looking women there that you forget they sell food.

      • wobbles-grogan
      • 9 years ago

      Which is why you end up going home hungry wondering what you forgot to get at the food store….

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    What’s with the kid hugging her iPad?

    She’s gonna grow up to be one healthy, helluva Apple fan-girl, for sure.

      • dmjifn
      • 9 years ago

      You know, I was thinking something similar.
      It kind of reminds me of the Nintendo 64 kid somehow.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    The only correct purpose for the iPad to date is entertaining your cats. I have seen zero /[

    • Synchromesh
    • 9 years ago

    I’ll stick with my Macbook Air, thank you. I went to look at iPads at the Apple store recently just to realize how much I like anything Macbook better. I prefer a real computer to the PDA.

      • njenabnit
      • 9 years ago

      ” I prefer a real* computer to the PDA.”

      *Real does not required an internal CD/DVD drive, only needs a 1280- by 800-pixel screen, doesn’t have ethernet or multiple USB ports, and a non-removable battery.

      • DrCR
      • 9 years ago


    • methodmadness
    • 9 years ago

    I traded in my iPhone for a Droid a few months back because I got sick of Apple’s “1984” tactics. Have been very happy with Android and the Motophone (although would be nice if it wasn’t such a retro-looking brick).

    Nevertheless, I fell for the allure of the iPad and bought one. I have to say, it’s exactly what I needed. It IS basically a giant iPod touch, but that kind of misses the point. In less than a week and a half I’ve used it extensively as an ebook reader, web browser, video player, music player, game machine (Dungeon Hunter HD makes me pine for a real Diablo port), and, yes, a way to do actual (admittedly light) work while traveling (editing and reviewing docs, spreadsheets, presentations – no real content creation). It’s a bit heavy for long-term holding, but overall the form factor is really good. The keyboard takes a little getting used to but it works surprisingly well. So basically I’ve replaced my iPod touch, Kindle, laptop and DSi with one device that lasts 11 hours. Awesome for long flights (which I do at least once every three weeks).

    Now let’s see how long it takes before I start getting sick of the AppStore’s draconian policies and Apple’s extremely overpriced accessories (again), and how angry I’ll be when they release the 128GB model with dual cameras, a true HD screen and a 1+ GHz processor and 1GB of RAM next year for $599…

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      If that happens, you sell the one you have for $400 and buy the new one. Thats the beauty of Apple products. They are actually still worth something in a year.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 9 years ago

    Excellent post.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    If you’re going for the “This Week in Baseball” vibe you really need Mel Allen, not Vin Scully.

      • Jason_Fox
      • 9 years ago

      Gahhhh! You are so right. I can’t believe I did that. I shall fix accordingly, thank you.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    “Walker told me I have AIDS” 😮

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Keep up the good work Jason.

    Although the only Apple product I own is a 2GB Nano from back in the day, I find it refreshing to read blogs from a Mac guy that hasn’t drinked the kool-aid (or at least as much as all the Job worshippers).

    That being said, Dell seems to have some nifty tablets coming, in 5, 7 and 10″ sizes.

      • jdaven
      • 9 years ago

      What other blogs drink the kool-aid?

        • Preyfar
        • 9 years ago

        Gizmodo for one. They’re so pro-Apple there at times half their blog feels dedicated to it. They start the iThing hype months in advance, with multiple posts per day about every single possible rumor they hear.

        I still like Gizmodo, but…

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    you cant promise that. it is more like 88% on this site.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    We’re actually looking at it for development, and the reason is basically that it’s a portable web browser with a decent-sized screen that’s going to be out there whether we like it or not. Or, “yes, it’s an iPod Touch – that you can finally display something useful on”

      • Jason_Fox
      • 9 years ago

      Good points. I realize it will be useful for some people, but currently fail to see how it’s a game-changer in the vein of the original iPod or iPhone. I’d love it if I had to use a clipboard all day or, like you, wanted to actually *see* stuff on a touch-like screen. Or if it had lasers.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve seen basically two really appealing things about the iPad. The 13.6 hours of video battery life that Anandtech found in its review and the native iPad apps that I’ve been reading about on Engadget. I’m a chemist and the reference apps such as the periodic table one are looking really good.

    For the more creative, I’ve seen turntable mixing apps, synthesizer and equalizer programs, drawing programs, etc.

    My work provides me with a laptop, so I’m considering the iPad for long flights watching video and carrying with me into the lab to type notes about the laser systems I build (and yes I know the Courier might be good for this too).

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