Funny or Die poised to release ‘iSteve’, their own Steve Jobs biopic starring Justin Long

Posted in Hilarity,Video by Scott Meisner on April 6th, 2013

Following in the footsteps of Joshua Michael Stern (Jobs) and Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs), viral video maker Funny or Die is poised to release a bio-pic based on the life of the Apple founder. iSteve stars Justin Long as Steve Jobs, an appropriate choice since the Dodgeball actor played the Mac in those Mac/PC commercials way back when. James Urbaniak as Bill Gates, Michaela Watkins as Melinda Gates, and Lost‘s Jorge Garcia as Steve Wozniak round out the cast.

Unlike the majority of FoD videos, iSteve will play out as if it were a theatrical movie; it’s 81 page script was written in three days and taped in five. The “film’s” writer and director Ryan Perez spoke with The New York Times about the project. “In true Internet fashion, it’s not based on very thorough research — essentially a cursory look at the Steve Jobs Wikipedia page. It’s very silly. But it looks at his whole life.” He added, “We might not be the best, but we will be the first.” Stern’s Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival but its nationwide release has been delayed; Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic doesn’t have a release date yet but is expected to come out sometime in 2013.

iSteve premieres at Funny or Die a week from this Monday on April 15. Catch the laugh-out-loud trailer here; “You’ve got to ride the wave of the future” … Justin Long as Steve Jobs: “What if I am the wave of the future?” Ha! When the parody releases in full you will find it here.

Apple reflects on the passing of Steve Jobs, and you should too

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 5th, 2012

One year ago today visionary leader Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56. When you visit Apple.com you will notice the effort that his company put into remembering him on this mournful day in history that is still ripe in memory. Load the homepage and it immediately starts to play a touching tribute; a montage of powerful images fade in and out as we hear Steve introduce some of the most influential technological advances of our time. The video also includes some of Steve’s most impactful quotes regarding Apple’s DNA. When it ends, a note from his successor Tim Cook appears and it opens like this: “Steve’s passing one year ago today was a sad and difficult time for all of us. I hope that today everyone will reflect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.”

I never met the man, but I miss him dearly. I will forever be grateful to have served my part at his company during the Apple retail revolution. Each and every day I experience Steve’s contributions to society when I boot up my computer, listen to music, and flick away at my phone. But it’s more than that; his inspiration and motivation to work hard, succeed, and love what you do is keen advice that sits with me at my core. Thank you, Steve, and rest in peace.

Apple employees celebrate Steve Jobs’ life at One Infinite Loop

Posted in Image cache,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 20th, 2011

Today Apple released this enormous photograph. After the world celebrated “Steve Jobs Day” on October 16, the company he built more intimately celebrated his life at One Infinite Loop, Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. Here we can see newly appointed Apple CEO Tim Cook addressing all of his hardworking employees as a giant, iconic image of their former boss and inspiration hangs high above them. In addition to letting the public get a glimpse of the celebration, Apple also updated the www.apple.com/stevejobs website to include all of the messages people sent in following the passing of Steve. Apple claims: “Over a million people from all over the world have shared their memories, thoughts, and feelings about Steve. One thing they all have in common — from personal friends to colleagues to owners of Apple products — is how they’ve been touched by his passion and creativity.” Click the link to see them scroll by and share a message by emailing it to rememberingsteve@apple.com.

Rest in peace, Steve. We miss you.

[Image via Apple]

Rest in peace, Steve

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 5th, 2011

Shortly after stepping down as CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs passed away on October 5 at the age of 56. Newly appointed CEO Tim Cook released this statement to Apple employees:

Team,

I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email rememberingsteve@apple.com.

No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.

Tim

The company has signified the passing of Steve at www.apple.com by stripping the homepage of all products and replacing it with an enlarged picture of the innovative leader, his name, and the years 1955-2011. Clicking this image brings you to a new portal www.apple.com/stevejobs that contains a part of Cook’s message and a way to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences with the company and Steve’s family.

Rest in peace, Steve. Thanks for inspiring to think different and transforming the world into a better place. Your contribution to society will reign for all time.

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO, Tim Cook takes over

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 24th, 2011

I don’t think anybody was expecting this day to come for a very long time, and yet here it is. Steve Jobs has stepped down from his post as CEO of Apple. Steve penned this letter for all to read:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

The Apple Board of Directors has granted Steve’s wishes; effective immediately former Apple COO Tim Cook is taking over Steve’s vacated position and Steve has been elected Chairman of the Board. In a press release announcing the news, Steve’s achievements are praised and his new role is briefly described:

“Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

Tim Cook joined Apple in 1998 and nine years later he became COO of the company. In that position he “played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.” Cook is no stranger to the CEO position; he filled in as interim CEO three times (in 2004, 2009, and January 2011) when Steve was forced to go on medical leave. In his letter Steve says that the day has come when he “[can] no longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO.” Whether or not this means his medical condition has taken a turn for the worse, I wish him good health.

Though the question on everybody’s mind is going to be Can Apple exist without its leader?, we must take time to realize everything that Steve has done for this company, the technology industry, and the world. Under his leadership, Apple has churned out some of the most innovative products and services for consumers and businesses. He forever changed the music industry with the introduction of the iPod and iTunes, he reinvented the cell phone with the iPhone, he figured out how to make tablet computing popular with the iPad, with Apple designer Jony Ive he set a very high bar in terms of device craftsmanship, and last but certainly not least he pushed personal computing into the future with Mac OS X. Steve Jobs is synonymous with Apple. Whether or not the company will continue to be as successful as it has become over the years under new leadership remains to be seen. Cook has been with the company long enough alongside Steve for me to reside full faith in his ability to carry the company and Steve’s magical legacy onward. As Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to guide Cook and the company on right path.

In 1985 Steve said this: “I’ll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I’ll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I’m not there, but I’ll always come back.” No matter what happens to Steve his sheer genius and passion for the development of how we interact in the world will always be apart of Apple’s DNA. Steve, we’ll miss you at the top and we’ll never forget all of your invaluable contributions.

(Click here for more…)

Apple reports 2011 Q1 earnings: $6b profit, Macs up 23%, iPhones up 86%, iPods down 7%, iPad…

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on January 19th, 2011

Apple’s first quarter financial results are in!  And it’s another record-breaking quarter for Jobs & co.  Number crunching time.  Apple posted a $6 billion profit on $26.74 billion in revenue.  Compare this to one year ago, that’s up from a profit of $3.38 billion on $15.68 billion in revenue.  Says CEO Steve Jobs: “We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales. We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”

Now let’s break it down by product category.  Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter (representing a 23 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter); 16.24 million iPhones (representing a 86 percent unit growth); and 19.45 million iPods (representing an 7 percent unit decline).  This is the second quarter that includes iPad sales, and how did they do?  7.33 million iPads were sold and that’s way up from the total sold last quarter (3.27 million, in case you’re wondering).

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expects revenue of about $22 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $4.90.

Unfortunately the earnings call administered by Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook did not shed light on the health of Steve Jobs who decided to take a medical leave of absence from the company yesterday.  However, the call did bring to light an interesting news bite.  Cook spilled that Apple has invested a ton of money to secure a “very strategic” component for its products.  Though he failed to mention the mystery component, most sources are pinpointing it on the development of extremely high-resolution displays for future iterations of the iPhone and iPad.

Also during the call, Cook commented on iPad’s competitors.  “If you look at what’s out there today, there’s not much,” said Cook. “There’s the ones that use Windows, they’re generally big and heavy and expensive. They have weak battery life, they require a keyboard or a stylus as an input device, customers are frankly just not interested in them. Then you have Android tablets, and the varieties that are out shipping today, their operating system wasn’t designed for tablets. Google has said this, this isn’t just Apple saying this. That means you have the size of a tablet that just isn’t reasonable for what we call a ‘real tablet experience.’ That’s just a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product category. If you do a side-by-side with an iPad, you’ll pick an iPad.”  He went on to uphold Job’s stance on Android from last quarter’s call: “We firmly believe that our integrated approach is better than the fragmented approach.”

[Via Apple; Engadget, here & here]

Steve Jobs takes medical leave from Apple

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on January 18th, 2011

For the second time this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave from the company.  Jobs will remain CEO, and again he has called upon COO Tim Cook to take over Apple’s day to day operations while he’s gone.  Here’s the letter Jobs sent to his employees on Monday:

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

Steve

Details surrounding his leave have not surfaced, and Jobs hopes it remains that way.  Get better soon Steve!

[Via Engadget]

Back to the Mac: iLife ’11, FaceTime, Mac OS X Lion, MacBook Air

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 20th, 2010

Today Steve Jobs hosted an Apple keynote presentation appropriately titled Back to the Mac.  In it he demonstrated the new version of iLife ’11, highlighting major upgrades to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand; introduced FaceTime for the Mac; previewed the next version of Mac OS X; and unveiled two new MacBook Air notebooks.  It’s breakdown time.

iLife ’11: The latest version of iLife packs the usual suspects–iPhone, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD.  The former three have been given major upgrades in functionality.

iPhoto ’11 features a new full-screen mode.  With a click of a button (the green [+] located at the top left corner of the window), desktop applications, the menu bar, and other distractions disappear.  In full-screen mode you take advantage of more screen real estate when viewing pictures in Events, Faces, Places, Albums, and Projects.  Projects is a new way to view your collection of books and letterpress cards on a wooden bookshelf.  The ability to create custom letterpress cards is a new feature; 15 distinct themes are at your disposal to customize and order directly from Apple to send to relatives and friends.  When you go to create a book or letterpress card, a new dynamic theme browser in carousel style will be presented to you.  There are also a bunch of new slideshow themes including Holiday Mobile, Reflections, and Places.  Want to email a group of photos to a friend?  Now you can create and send an email message within iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a mail client.  You can choose from eight themes to customize how you want your pictures to be presented in the email.  And lastly there’s Facebook enhancements.  Within iPhoto you can now publish photos directly to your wall or to an existing album, and if your friends leave comments on your photos you’ll be able to view them in iPhoto.  You can also tag faces and browse all of your Facebook albums in iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a browser.

iMovie ’11 features new audio editing tools.  Detailed wave forms are color coded, so now you can see where audio levels are too loud or quiet and adjust them properly.  Also there’s a new single-row view that shows you your entire movie project in one horizontal row, making it easier to edit your soundtrack.  One-step effects are also at your disposal.  Adding visual effects like instant replay, flash and hold, and jump cuts at beats can be done with minimal amount of clicks.  The new People Finder feature works similarly to Faces in iPhoto; the software will analyze your video to identify the parts with people in them.  It also finds the close-ups, medium shots, or wide angles making it easier to find these specific shots during an edit session.  There are two new themes: sports and news.  And now you can publish your movies directly Vimeo,CNN iReport, and Apple Podcast Producer in addition to iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, and your mobile devices.  Last there’s movie trailers.  You can choose from 15 templates to create professional-looking movie trailers out of your clips.  Apple commissioned the London Symphony Orchestra to record (in Abbey Road Studios) and perform original tracks for you to use when creating movie trailers.  Outline and storyboard views make it simple to put together a movie trailer in no time.

GarageBand ’11 includes two new features called Flex Time and Groove Matching.  Flex Time allows you to fix timing mistakes on the fly; you can literally click and drag any part of a waveform to change the timing of a note or beat.  Groove Matching is described as “an automatic spell checker for bad rhythm.”  If one (or multiple) instruments appears to be out of rhythm, all you have to do is select the one instrument that has the perfect rhythm (called the Groove Track) and all the other instrument tracks will instantly match it.  A new feature called “How Did I Play?” gives you the opportunity to play along with a piano or guitar lesson, record yourself, and test how you’re doing in real time.  Like Guitar Hero, the GarageBand lesson will keep track of your performance with a performance meter and show you missed notes in red to help you perfect your skills.  A track progess bar will show you how better (or worse) you’re performing a particular song by date.  Finally, there’s new lessons for piano and guitar, as well as new guitar amps and stompbox effects.

iLife ’11 is available for purchase today at $49.  A family pack, which includes 5 licenses, goes for $79.  Keep in mind iLife ships free with every new Mac. (Click here for more…)

Apple reports 2010 Q4 earnings: “highest revenue and earnings ever”; Steve Jobs calls out Google & RIM

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 19th, 2010

As 2010 nears its end, it’s time for companies to share how well (or poorly) they performed during the fourth quarter of the year.  As is the norm for Apple, Inc., Q4 has been another record breaker for them.  Apple posted a record revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion.  Compare this to one year ago, that’s up from a revenue of $12.21 billion and profit of $2.53 billion.  Says CEO Steve Jobs: “We are blown away to report over $20 billion in revenue and over $4 billion in after-tax earnings-both all-time records for Apple.  iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91 percent year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million phones RIM sold in their most recent quarter.  We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of this calendar year.”

Now let’s break it down by product category.  Apple sold 3.89 million Macs during the quarter (representing a 27 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter); 14.1 million iPhones (representing a 91 percent unit growth); 9.05 million iPods (representing an 11 percent unit decline); and 4.19 million iPads were sold, succeeding the number of Macs sold!  That’s some crazy stuff right there.  And as for Jobs’ “hobby” that is Apple TV?  The new model sold 250,000 units over the course of its first 18 days on sale.

Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2011, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expects revenue of about $23 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $4.80.  Saying this was a tremendous quarter for Apple is a huge understatement.

Normally this is where the Apple quarterly earnings post would conclude, but El Jobso couldn’t contain his excitement over the record breaking numbers so he decided to jump onto the conference call (listen to it here) and share some thoughts.  Charged thoughts on the competition.  Some choice quotes:

On RIM’s business model: “[iPhone] handily beat RIM’s most recent quarter.  We’ve now passed RIM and I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future.  They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company.  I think it’s going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform and to convince developers to create apps for yet a third software platform, after iOS and Android.  With 300k apps on Apple’s app store, RIM has a high mountain ahead of them to climb.”  “I think at least now it’s a battle for developers, and a battle for the mindshare of developers, and a battle for the mindshare of customers, and I think right now iPhone and Android are winning that battle.”

On Google’s Android “openess” & fragmentation: “Google wants to characterize Android as open, and iOS and the iPhone as closed.  We think this is disingenuous.  Unlike Windows, which has the same interface on every machine, Android is very fragmented.  Compare this with iPhone, where every interface is the same.”  “Twitter client TwitterDeck recently launched their app for Android.  They reported that they had to contend with more than 100 different version of Android software on 244 different handsets.  The multiple hardware and software iterations presented developers with a daunting challenge.”  “We think this open versus closed argument is a smokescreen that hides the real question: What’s better for users, fragmented versus integrated?”  “We are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google characterizes it as closed, and we believe that it will trump the fragmented approach, no matter how many times Google characterizes it as open.”

(Click here for more…)

Apple September event roundup: New iPods, iTunes 10, refreshed Apple TV, iOS4 updates

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on September 1st, 2010

Today Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to announce a new lineup of iPods, the next version of iTunes, and a refreshed Apple TV.  He also talked about the next two iOS4 software updates.  Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

iPod shuffle: The redesigned fourth generation iPod shuffle brings back the clickable front-facing ring buttons (play/pause, previous, next, volume up, volume down) and keeps VoiceOver control (it speaks artist and song name, multiple playlists, and battery status in 25 different languages) and the back clip.  It now supports playlists and Genius Mixes.  The tiny sqaure casing includes the on/off/play in order/shuffle switch, a VoiceOver button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio and USB charging.  The battery holds up to 15 hours of audio playback.  The shuffle will be available in 5 different colors (grey, blue, green, orange, and pink).  A 2GB model will start shipping in one week for $49.

iPod nano: The redesigned sixth generation iPod nano does away with the click wheel and adds a 1.54 inch (240×240) multitouch display.  It adopts the tiny iPod shuffle aesthetic; it’s even got the built-in back clip.  It is 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than the previous nano model.  To navigate around the iOS-like touch interface, swipe left and right to access different pages of icons, up and down to scroll through lists, double tap to zoom in on photos (there is no pinch-to-zoom), and tap to access other areas.  Any time you want to go back to the home screen simply tap and hold anywhere on the screen (there is no home button).  You can even rotate the screen using two fingers.  You can customize the pages of icons by touching and holding an icon down until it jiggles then dragging it to the desired position.  Everything here should be very familiar to iPhone and iPod touch users; it’s all just miniturized.  The home screen gives you access to playlists, now playing, artists, and Genius Mixes.  Also available is an FM radio, Nike+, a clock, Voice Memo, and access to Photos, Podcasts, Settings, and music categorized by song, album, genre, and composer.  The small enclosure includes a sleep/wake switch and volume up and down buttons on top and the 30-pin dock connector and 3.5mm headphone jack on bottom.  It also has a built-in accelerometer and supports VoiceOver in 29 different languages.  The battery holds up to 24 hours of audio playback.  The nano will be available in 7 different colors (grey, blue, green, orange, pink, charcoal, and Product (RED)).  8GB ($149) and 16GB ($179) models will start shipping in one week.

iPod touch: The fourth generation iPod touch gets even closer in design and functionality to its iPhone cousin.  The new touch features the same 3.5 inch (960×640) Retina Display, Apple A4 processor, back camera, and  front-facing camera, and three-axis gyro sensor as the iPhone 4.  The back camera shoots HD (720p, up to 30fps) video that can be edited on the device with simple trimming (included) or with more advanced editing (the $4.99 iMovie app now supports the iPod touch); it can also shoot stills.  The front-facing camera can shoot stills and supports FaceTime chats over WiFi with other iPod touches and iPhone 4s.  The external buttons and input/output holes remain the same: sleep/wake switch, volume up and volume down, the home button, 30-pin dock connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, build-in speaker and microphone.  802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, Nike+, accelerometer, ambient light sensor are still there as well.  The battery holds up to 40 hours of audio and 7 hours of video playback.  The touch will be available in polished aluminium on black only.  8GB ($229), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399) will start shipping in one week.

iTunes 10, Apple TV, iOS4 after the break ::   (Click here for more…)

Apple’s answer to iPhone 4 deathgrippers: free cases

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 16th, 2010

Today Apple held a press conference to address the iPhone 4 antenna problem that’s been making waves in the news recently.  Just to recap, the antenna problem occurs when an iPhone 4 user grips the lower left side of the phone.  AT&T signal strengh drops from five bars to none at a rapid rate when the user touches and/or grips that specific part of the phone.  An official statement from Apple advised users to hold their phones differently or slap on a case.  A case would cover the vulnerable lower left side and result in better signal strength during day-to-day use.  Today Jobs announced that Apple will begin offering their Bumper case for free for all iPhone 4 owners who purchase their device before September 30.  In regards to extending the free case offer Apple says they will evaluate the situation again in late September.  If you’ve already purchased a Bumper case, you can receive a full refund on it.  Since Apple cannot manufacture enough Bumpers fast enough, they will offer a choice of free cases to choose from (these have not been specified yet).  Starting late next week you can apply for a free case at Apple’s online store.  And if you’re totally unsatisfied with your purchase you can get a full refund on the phone; Apple’s got a 30 day return policy and a restocking fee will not be applied.

What led Apple to making this decision to offer free cases?  Read on to find out. (Click here for more…)

WWDC ’10: All about iPhone 4

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on June 13th, 2010

This year’s World Wide Developers Conference in San Fransisco *officially* introduced the world to the next super phone from Apple dubbed iPhone 4.  Want all the details from the Steve Jobs hosted keynote?  Read on.

Jobs ignited the introduction of the next phone with this choice quote: “It’s the biggest leap since the original iPhone.”  It packs over 100 new features, but per usual, Jobs offers a glimpse into arguably the nine most exciting new features.

(1) All new design

Jobs compares iPhone 4′s design to a “beautiful old Leica camera.”  The phone features a glass surface front and back for optical quality & scratch resistance (plus it’s 30x harder than plastic) and a stainless steel band around the perimeter for strength and antenna integration (plus it provides for extraordinary build quality).  The band is “the primary structural element of the phone.”  It’s used as part of the phone’s antenna system.  Jobs says this is all part of “brilliant engineering.”  There are three slits in the band; one piece is for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS, and the other piece for UMTS & GSM.  Now here’s what buttons and levers you’ll find on the phone.  Left side: volume +, volume -, mute; Right side: micro SIM tray; Front: home button, receiver, front-facing camera; Back: camera w/ LED flash; Top: 3.5mm headset jack, second mic for noise cancellation, sleep/wake button; Bottom: mic, 30-pin connector, speaker.  iPhone 4 is just 9.3mm thick, that’s 24% thinner than iPhone 3GS.  Jobs is happy to say “it is the thinnest smartphone on the planet.”

(2) Retina display

That’s the name for Apple’s latest display technology.  iPhone 4′s display contains packs four times the number of pixels into the same 3.5-inch screen found on older iPhone models.  At 326 pixels per inch, Jobs claims that 300ppi is the limit of the human retina and so iPhone 4′s display is “comfortably over that limit.”  This results in incredibly sharp and precise text, images, and video.  Jobs compares it to how text looks in a fine-printed book.  He also throws out this stat: “the retina display has got 78% of the pixels on the iPad, right in the palm of your hand.”

iPhone OS 4 (renamed iOS 4) makes it so that your apps automatically run full size on the retina display.  Apps will look even better on an iOS 4 device because the software automatically renders text and controls in the higher resolution.  So in other words, developers do not have to do any work on their apps to make them look better for the new display.  However, Jobs points out, if devs choose to open up the hood of their apps and add higher resolution artwork “then they will look stunning.”

Here’s some hard specs for you.  iPhone 4 features a 3.5 inch display, 940 x 640 resolution (4x more than iPhone 3GS), 800:1 contrast ratio (4x more than 3GS), and IPS technology for “superb color and wide viewing angle.”  Jobs: “The display is your window into the Internet, into your apps, into your media, into your software. .. We’ve got something here that’s the best window in the planet.”

(Click here for more…)

Steve Jobs shares his “thoughts on Flash” [Update: Adobe responds, Microsoft jumps in]

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 29th, 2010

Apple CEO Steve Jobs released an open letter today regarding his position on Adobe’s Flash standard for video.  He breaks down his argument against Flash with the following categories: there’s “open”; the full web; reliability, security and performance; battery life; touch; and “the most important reason.”  That is, “If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features.”  Quick summation: Jobs calls Flash proprietary and closed; he shares his excitement on the rise of H.264 and the coming of HTML5; Flash makes Macs crash; since Flash decodes in software it eats away battery life; and Flash was not designed for a touch environment.  His concludes: 

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

But you should really read it for yourself, just look after the break.  Pretty compelling argument, eh?  Sure, H.264 and HTML5 are the future of video for mobile devices.  But Flash is in the here and now.  Ah, Jobs you’ve got me arguing for both sides now.  Form your own opinions in the comments below!

Update: Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch formally responded to Jobs’ open letter.  His short blog post is called “Moving Forward” but after reading it what he really means to say is moving past Apple.  Look after the break to see the rebuttal. (Click here for more…)

Apple details iPhone OS 4: Multitasking! & more

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 9th, 2010

Today Apple unveiled the developer preview of iPhone OS 4, the next major release of the iPhone operating system.  OS 4 includes over 1500 new APIs for developers and over 100 new user features.  Of these new features, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall talked about seven “tentpole” features.  Let’s dive right in, shall we?

1. Multitasking: Apple has finally figured out a way to implement multitasking for third-party apps that preserves battery life and overall performance of the iPhone.  The user interface for multitasking is simple.  When you are inside an app, just double tap the home button to raise the window and reveal a new dock at the bottom of the screen.  This dock houses all of your running apps, and you can jump in and out of them by clicking on them.  When asked about how to close applications, Forstall replied, “You don’t have to.  The user just uses things and doesn’t ever have to worry about it.”  Though that sounds nice and cheery, there actually is a way to close out of an app if you are not using it.  Tap and hold an app in the multitask dock and tap the minus button that appears; this confirms the app is now closed.  Seven multitasking services were detailed:

Background audio – Now you can listen to third-party music players in the background just like you could with iPod.  At the keynote, Pandora was demoed and worked without a hitch.  While listening to your custom playlist in Pandora you can jump into Safari to browse a site or jump into Mail to check your inbox for new messages.  Also, if you are in the lock screen you can double tap the home button and use the audio buttons to control Pandora.

VoIP – Now you can receive and hold onto VoIP conversations even if you jump out of the VoIP third-party app.  At the keynote, Skype was demoed.  Once a call is initiated, you can leave the app and jump into another without losing the call.  A double-high status bar appears at the top of the screen that shows your still on the call.  Also, you can still receive Skype calls even if you are in the lock screen; a notification bubble alerts an incoming call.

Background location – Apple says there are two classes of applications that like to use your location in the background:  turn-by-turn direction apps (like TomTom) and social networking apps (like Loopt).  With an app like TomTom becoming location-aware in the background, now you can leave the app and still receive turn-by-turn directions.  For example, you can set and begin your route, jump into iPod to select a song, and TomTom will still read aloud the directions using GPS.  Turn-by-turn direction apps are fairly power intensive apps, but most users have them running in the car when their device is connected to a power source.  An app like Loopt, which is used more often when an external power source is not charging the device, will use cell towers rather than GPS to find your location.  Privacy concerns are also addressed.  Today, whenever an app wants to use location services, a notification bubble asks you to approve the service.  In OS 4, a new status icon (shaped like an arrow) will appear in the status bar at the top of the screen to inform you exactly when an app is tracking your location.  In the settings menu you can enable or disable location services per app.  Also, an icon will appear next to the app name in the settings menu if that app has tried to access location services within the last 24 hours.

Push notifications – We already know all about Apple’s Push Notification service.  A third-party sets up a server, they send their notification to Apple’s Push Notification server, then Apple sends it to the phone.  Building on push notifications is a new service called…

Local notifications – These are just like push notifications except you do not need a server.  The notifications can come right from the phone.  For example, a TV Guide app can alert you to the premiere of a new TV program you wanted to be reminded of, and all this can be done right on the phone instead of going through back-end servers.

Task completion – This service works just like Xbox’s Active Downloads feature.  Say you are uploading photos to your Flickr account.  Today if you were to exit the Flickr app, the upload would stop immediately.  With OS 4, if you leave the app the photos will continue to upload in the background.

Fast app switching – This is what allows an app to pause and save its state in the background when you leave it for another app.  When you return to it, the app will resume exactly where you left off.  So if you are playing a game of Tap Tap Revenge and decide to check your missed calls, when you return to the game it will start right where you left off.  All this is done without using any CPU power. (Click here for more…)

Steve Jobs receives best birthday gift ever: 10 billion iTunes songs sold all-time

Posted in Music,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 25th, 2010

Apple CEO Steve Jobs celebrated his 55th birthday yesterday.  What also happened that day?  iTunes sold its 10 billionth song.  Greatest birthday gift ever?  Yeah I think so.  Congratulations, Apple.  This is quite the achievement and deserves a top spot among the rest of them.

Fun fact #1: The 10 billionth song download was Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.”  It was downloaded by Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia who was granted a $10,000 iTunes gift card for being the one to hit the milestone number.  Also tomorrow (2/26) is Cash’s birthday; he would have been 78 years old.

Fun fact #2: Click here to see the top 20 most downloaded songs on iTunes since its inception.  They include songs from Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Kary Perry, and Miley Cyrus.  Scary, I know.

[Via Apple]

Walt Mosspuppet sits down with Steve Jobs to discuss the iPad

Posted in Hilarity,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 2nd, 2010

And man is Jobs brutally honest about the whole thing!

*Warning: This video contains many expletives.

[Via Gizmodo]

iPad keynote event…in adjectives

Posted in Hilarity,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 2nd, 2010

When Steve Jobs hosts an Apple keynote event it’s a given that someone will splice together all of the superfluous adjectives used to describe the new product or service at hand.  Last week’s announcement of the iPad is no exception, and this time that someone is Neil Curtis.  Curtis says all adjectives used in this video were taken from the iPad keynote alone, and no scene is ever repeated.  Magical!

[Via Gizmodo]

Apple introduces the iPad; does it live up to the hype?

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on January 28th, 2010

Today Apple announced its latest technological advancement, the Apple iPad.  Before I jump to my initial reactions let’s break down all the announcements from the keynote event led by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The specs: The iPad features a 9.7 inch (1024×768 VGA) LED-backlit glossy fully capacitive multi-touch display with ISP technology (allowing for a wide 178° viewing angle); it’s powered by Apple’s custom-designed 1GHz Apple A4 chip (it’s a system-on-a-chip, packing the processor, graphics, I/O, and memory controller); it also includes a built-in accelerometer and ambient light sensor, AGPS, a digital compass, WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1, and 3G (more on that later).  It will ship with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB solid state drives.  Input and output includes a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, a 30-pin dock connector, a microphone, built-in speakers, and a SIM card tray.  It supports the usual video, mail attachment, language, and accessibility extensions.  It packs a built-in rechargable lithium-polymer battery that lasts up to ten hours with usage and supports over a month of standby life.  It’s also environmentally friendly.  It has a very minimalist design; the external controls include the on/off (or sleep/wake) button at the top, mute and volume up/down switches to the right, and the home button at the bottom of the face.  It’s dimensions are 9.56×7.47, 0.5 inches thin, and it weighs 1.5 pounds.

The software: Although it was not specified, the iPad runs an updated and iPad-optimized version of the iPhone OS software, presumably version 3.2.  When you press the home button you enter an all-touch experience that is extremely similar to what you find on an iPhone or iPod touch today.  After you get passed the lock screen, you are brought to your customizable home screen.  Jobs noted that users will have the option to change their background images with preloaded screens or their pictures.  The iPad will ship with the following apps: mobile Safari, Mail, Photos, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, YouTube, iPod, Video, and Maps (powered by Google).  All of these apps are similar to their iPhone/iPod touch counterparts; they have simply been modified and enhanced by Apple to perform on a larger touch-based device.  Two noteworthy enhancements include menu popovers and split-view workspaces that really take advantage of the larger display.  And thanks to the built-in accelerometer, all apps support landscape and portrait modes.  Side note: If you own a Mac and use iPhoto, the iPad will recognize this and further organize your photos into events, faces, and places categories.  Most apps support an “almost life-size” virtual QWERTY keyboard that pops up when it’s needed.

The iPad comes with modified but familiar iTunes and Apps Stores.  It will run “almost all” of the current 400,000 apps that exist in the App Store today.  It runs the apps unmodified in two ways: you have the option to use them in a tiny format (so you don’t lose pixel quality) or you can tap a “x2″ button that expands and scales the app full screen by automatically doubling the amount of pixels.  Apple was quick to note that an updated version of the iPhone SDK (available today) will give developers the tools to modify and enhance their apps for the iPad.  This will allow devs to take advantage of the larger screen and more powerful internals the same way Apple did with their apps.  The keynote featured modified apps from Gameloft (Nova), EA (Need for Speed: Shift), MLB.com At Bat, The New York Times, and a paint app with Photoshop-like capabilities called Brushes.

Apple introduced a few new apps themselves.  iBooks is Apple’s new e-reader app that serves as a place to read your collection of books and a portal to Apple’s brand new iBookstore.  Here you can browse, preview, and purchase books from HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillian, and Hachette Book Group.  Apples notes that they welcome all book and textbook publishers to join this new outlet for readers.  Pricing details were not enclosed, but a demo revealed a number of books costing $12.99 and $14.99.  The eBooks support the popular ePub format and are a visual treat.  Once you purchase a book it is placed on your Bookshelf.  Simply tap a book’s cover to start reading.  You can change the font, font size, and search the text for keywords.  The sleek UI includes tap or swipe gestures for page turning.  Apple also intro’d a new version of iWork, built from the ground up for the iPad.  iWork’s Keynote, Pages, and Numbers can be used to create slideshows, documents, and spreadsheets, respectively, right on the iPad.  They will be sold separately at $9.99 each in the App Store.

Syncing the iPad to iTunes with a PC or Mac is done just like an iPhone or iPod does it.  You can sync photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, and apps to it via the included 30-pin connector to USB cable.

Internet access: Apple is giving the user two options here.  You can buy the iPad with built-in WiFi or you can opt to purchase an iPad that packs both WiFi and 3G service.  The 3G service will be provided by AT&T with two different plans: (1) up to 250MB of data per month for $14.99; (2) unlimited data for $29.99.  AT&T also throws in free use of designated WiFi hotspots.  The AT&T plans are prepaid with no contract, so you are free to cancel a plan at any time.  You also have the leisure of activating the 3G service on the iPad without going to a store or calling a company.  It was noted that international deals should be sorted out by June, all iPad 3G models will come unlocked, and they use “new GSM micro SIM cards.”

Pricing and availability: There will be a total of eight different iPad models on the market.  The first group of three are WiFi only and include 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities priced at $499, $599, and $699, respectively.  The second group of three are WiFi +3G and include the same capacities, each with a $129 price increase (so $629, $729, $829).  The WiFi models will be available for purchase in about 60 days (late March) and the WiFi + 3G models will come soon after in about 90 days (sometime in April).

  

Accessories: Apple unveiled four accessories for the iPad.  The first is a standard charging dock that doubles as a digital picture frame.  The second is a keyboard dock ($69); it charges the device and also includes a full-sized physical QWERTY keyboard that attaches to the iPad via the 30-pin connector.  The third is an Apple designed black case ($39) that can also be used as a stand for watching video.  The fourth is a camera connection kit ($29) that allows you to import photos to the iPad via your camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card.

What’s missing: Multitasking, camera(s), Flash video support, and HDMI out, for starters.  We’ve come to accept that the iPhone and iPod touch cannot do multitasking, but there is no reason that the iPad cannot support at least two applications running at the same time.  The powerful 1GHz chip can beautifully render HD video, load up and present pictures extremely quickly, and run graphics and power intensive games.  For a processor that’s described as “a screamer,” the lack of multitasking capabilities is a real shame.  How about a camera?  Though rumors pointed to front-facing and standard webcam implementation, there should at least be one backfacing camera installed for video chat.  And don’t tell me the the processor can’t handle that.  The lack of Flash video support in mobile Safari is a real bummer; forget about watching Hulu videos on it.  (This is Apple’s decision; Adobe is able and willing to share Flash software.)  The inclusion of HDMI out would have made perfect sense.  The device can play HD videos downloaded from iTunes; why not give the user the ability to extend their viewing experience to the TV?  What of the newspaper/magazine digital revolution?  I expected Apple to make a big push with partnerships with Time and The Wall Street Journal, formulate subscription-based models, and so forth.  I guess things will start small with the intro of updated apps and this will eventually lead to more significant changes.  Lastly there’s the decision to go with AT&T for data, again.  The latest round of rumors were really pushing for an Apple-Verizon Wireless partnership for the iPhone and the tablet.  Guess we’ll have to wait on that, too.

And that brings me to my initial reactions.  Rumors of an Apple tablet have been swirling for years, nearly for a decade, in fact.  All of us highly anticipated and theorized its pending existence as the never-ending rumors continued to pile up over the years.  I imagined the mysterious Apple tablet to revolutionize the portable computer industry just as Apple forever changed the landscape of the mobile phone arena with the iPhone.  Having watched today’s keynote in its entirety I was left surprisingly underwhelmed by the announcement of the iPad, though I do see a bright future for it. (Click here for more…)

Happy New Year! Now watch this in its entirety.

Posted in Video by Scott Meisner on January 1st, 2010

INSPIRATIONAL.  MOTIVATIONAL.

Those are just two words that instantly come to mind when I think back to this video.  In 2005 Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave the commencement address to the graduating class at Stanford University.  In it he urges them “to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself.”  He harkens back to three pivotal moments in his life (when he dropped out of college, when he was fired from Apple, and when he was diagnosed with cancer) and shares the life lessons he learned from each of them.  This speech shook me at the core and I thought it’d be best to share it with all of you.  As we enter a brand new year and make those obligatory resolutions, take to heart what Jobs says here and think about your place and purpose in life.

“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

[Via TED]

Apple Keynote [September 2009] roundup

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on September 11th, 2009

Guess who’s back, back again?  Steve Jobs graciously owned the stage in San Fransisco on Thursday during the latest Apple keynote presentation.  There was lots of discussion and reveals on the iTunes and iPod front.  Let’s not waste any time and get right to it.  Read on for all the juicy details of the keynote.

  • iPhone OS 3.1
    • Genius will now “automatically make recommendations from the App Store based on the applications you own.”  Think of it as iTunes Genius for your music, but now for your purchased apps.
    • Ringtones – over 30,000 ringtones available to purchase at $1.29 each.  All four major record labels are on-board.
    • 3.1 firmware update is a free download available now for iPhone and iPod touch owners (there is a $5 upgrade price for those iPod touch users who have not upgraded to 3.0)
  •  iTunes 9
    • Features a cleaner, easier-to-navigate UI with a redesigned store
    • Genius Mixes – Think of this as your own personal DJ spinning your favorite songs continuously.  Genius Mixes takes your current music library and groups songs/artists/genres together for you to listen to; it’s like listening to your preferred radio station.
    • Improved syncing – Now you have the option to manually sync exactly what you want (for example, you can sync specific artists, genres, albums, etc.)
    • App organization – You can arrange your apps in iTunes.  Plug in your iPhone or iPod touch and you get a visual copy of your home screen and your multiple pages; you simply drag and drop 1 or more apps at a time.  This couldn’t be any simpler.
    • Home Sharing – Allows you to “manage your family’s iTunes collection between computers in your home.”  You can copy songs, movies, TV shows, etc. with up to 5 computers.  For example, say you have 5 family members each with their own computer and iTunes accounts.  Now you can all easily share your iTunes content by dragging and dropping other family members’ songs into your library.  The files copy right over and viola–you now have songs in your library that originally resided in your brother’s music library.
    • iTunes LP – Tools are now given to record labels and artists to create and distribute  many album extras in their digital music albums.  These extras include behind-the-scenes videos, photos, liner notes, lyrics, chronology of albums, credits, animations, and more.  Although digital downloads will never be the same as buying a physical CD or record in a retail store, iTunes LP is a step in the right direction for those who have switched to digital music and who miss receiving the entire “album experience” you get when you purchase your favorite artist’s latest album.
    • iTunes Extras (for movies) – Think of the extras you would find on a DVD; they will now be included when you purchase a movie from the iTunes Store
    • Facebook and Twitter integration – You now have the option to share your favorite songs and artists with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  There is an embedded option that allows you to link a song, artist, or album information to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
    • iTunes 9 is available today as a free download
  • iPod
    • iPod touch
      • Lineup: $199 (8GB); $299 (32GB); $399 (64GB)
      • cheaper and new storage capacity
      • up to 50% faster; OpenGL|ES Version 2.0 (adds more realism in games)
      • Publishers discuss upcoming games for the App Store – Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II Discovery; Tapulous’s Riddim Ribbon (an awesome music game that incorporates racing and DJ control); Gameloft’s Nova; EA’s Madden NFL 10
    • iPod classic
      • Lineup: $250 (160GB) (holds 40,000 songs)
      • Same price, capacity upgrade from 120GB
    • iPod shuffle
      • Lineup: $59 (2GB); $79 (4GB); $99 (4GB Special Edition in stainless steel, Apple Store exclusive)
      • all new shiny colors: black, silver, pink, green, blue
      • expand range of headphones with an adapter that will allow you to change volume/tracks
      • new VoiceOver features ( reads statuses, like battery level)
    • iPod nano
      • Lineup: $149 (8GB) and $179 (16GB)
      • all new colors in polished anodized aluminium: green, blue, purple, black, silver, pink, red, orange, yellow
      • larger 2.2 inch display
      • new included apps: FM radio, Voice Recorder, pedometer (syncs with Nike +)
      • VIDEO CAMERA (the one more thing) – Integrated video camera; only shoots videos (no picture stills); VGA resolution (640×480); includes microphone and speaker

Note:  When asked why Apple did not include a video camera in the new iPod touch, Jobs responded: “Originally, we weren’t exactly sure how to market the Touch. Was it an iPhone without the phone? Was it a pocket computer? What happened was, what customers told us was, they started to see it as a game machine.  We started to market it that way, and it just took off. And now what we really see is it’s the lowest-cost way to the App Store, and that’s the big draw. So what we were focused on is just reducing the price to $199. We don’t need to add new stuff. We need to get the price down where everyone can afford it.”

Check out the gallery below for some official press shots of the new products and services.

[Gallery images via Apple]