What’s New In The Apple Orchard

15 Sep What’s New In The Apple Orchard

Well, if you haven’t been following, there have been some pretty big things happening with Apple recently.

Snow Leopard, or OSX 10.6, was released a few weeks ago.  I upgraded my MacBook Pro, but there’s not much to write home about for average users.  In fact, average users should probably hold off on upgrading for a bit.  The upgrade stops some software from running (Handbrake was the most notable thing that broke on my machine) and doesn’t really offer much above the covers.  Most of the refinements are under the hood where the average user won’t even see.  So, $29, cheap as it is, is too much to potentially break what you already have.  But take heart, software authors are assuredly bringing all of their code up to Snow Leopard spec, so it won’t be long.  Just Google around for any issues with the software that you must have and upgrade once they’ve been resolved.  I, for one, am leaving my Mac Mini on Leopard for the foreseeable future.

Apple had a “special event” last week where they mentioned some new iPods.  However, the big rumors didn’t come true.  The new stuff wasn’t all that great, actually.  But there were some really nice things.

First, new iPods.  They’ve upgraded the Shuffle and the Nano.  The Shuffle mainly got a new color and some refinements to the text-to-speech stuff.  The Nano got a video camera, which is a pretty big WOW but in the end, it really depends on the user.  The camera isn’t enough to outdo a point-n-shoot, and the Nano isn’t something that will necessarily be carried everywhere.  Still, a video camera in that little of a package is a pretty good feat.  Both models got price breaks and higher capacities.

The iPod Touch was rumored to be getting a camera as well, but that wasn’t announced.  The buzz is that there was some sort of technical issue and the Touch with Video should be announced soon.  But that’s still just a rumor.

A new iPhone/iPod Touch release was announced, 3.1.  There’s not a lot huge here.  App Genius, which is Apple’s way of saying, “please buy more apps… we’ll even tell you which ones to get now.”  There’s app sorting with iTunes 9 (more on that in a bit).  And then the standard set of stuff was shut down, such as the AT&T MMS hack.

iTunes 9 was also announced.  This, again, isn’t a huge revolution, but there are some nice new features.  Most notably, app sorting.  Now, an iPhone/iPod Touch with the 3.1 firmware, when attached to iTunes 9, will allow you to move your apps around on the device from iTunes itself.  It’s pretty slick, and a long time overdue.  Now there’s no more dragging icons from page to page to page with your finger.  The interface allows apps to be dragged around from page to page, from slot to slot, and pages can even be moved.  Apps can also be dragged en masse.

iPhone/iPod syncing is improved, too.  It’s supposedly faster.

iTunes 9 also adds Genius DJ, which is like a Genius playlist that’s never-ending.

Finally, iTunes 9 adds family sharing.  Rather than only being able to stream tracks from computer to computer, now they can be dragged and dropped right into your library.  Although, I have to say big whoop.  Since DRM was dropped, wasn’t this always an easy thing to do?  I guess iTunes 9 just gives us an interface to do it now.

So, all in all, there were some sizeable additions to the Apple repertoire of late.  Nothing too huge, but I am thinking Apple is making some small moves to position things for a larger announcement to come in the next few months.  Just my gut feeling.

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