Tag Archives: iPod

Tony Fadell: Father of the iPod

This is an interesting article from the BBC about what Tony Fadell, the person widely credited as the Father of the iPod is doing now – starting again with a great little intelligent thermostat that learns patterns of how you control the temperature.

However whilst Nest is interesting, the article is more interesting for his comments about Scott Forstall who was recently ousted from Apple, and who had a rather bumpy relationship with Fadell to put it mildly…

So what does he make of the news that Mr Forstall lost his post in October after reports of rifts with other executives and a refusal to apologise for the release of a flawed Maps app.

“Scott got what he deserved,” Mr Fadell told the BBC.

When pressed, he adds: “I think what happened just a few weeks back was deserved and justified and it happened.”

So where does that leave Apple

and the shares he still holds in it?

“If you read some of the reports, people were cheering in Cupertino when that event happened,” he answers, referring to Apple headquarters in California.

“So, I think Apple is in a great space, it has great products and there are amazing people at the company, and those people actually have a chance to have a firm footing now and continue the legacy Steve [Jobs] left.”

Click here to view original web page at www.bbc.co.uk

Dear Steve

Dear Steve,

Yesterday we headed down to the opening day of your new store in Festival Place, Basingstoke. First off I have to say that after many years having to either head into London or drive a long way to find an Apple Store it is great having two within a short drive, with you having opened a store in the Oracle, Reading just last month. We did avoid the craziness in the morning but we had a great time none the less.

I went along with my two year old daughter, who has been using Apple products for pretty well all of her life. It didn’t take long for her to get the hang of the touchscreen interface on my iPhone, iPod and iPad, indeed now she expects most devices to have such a screen and gets frustrated when they don’t. This brings me to a first suggestion, your children’s area. Whilst it is nice having a low level table, and child sized seating, the devices there are all Mac’s. Although children do quite easily pick up the concept of a mouse and pointer, my daughter is much happier with the direct interaction of a touch screen – as you have said on a number of occasions recently, we’re living in a post PC world now.

Look where we ended up... As a result we went to look at the iPad’s which do have children’s software installed, but are all on tables at a very child unfriendly height. In the end my daughter asked for a chair, and one of your excellent staff kindly obliged with a stool from the Genius Bar.

As you can see from the picture that put her on just the right height to play some games on the iPad.

Games weren’t the only thing we tried. My daughter wanted to talk to Mummy, so we thought we’d try out another of the features of the iPad – Facetime.

We have used your video calling application quite frequently at home – calling between Apple products it seems to pretty consistently produce a better quality video connection than the most obvious competitor Skype, indeed in one situation recently Facetime made a connection easily when Skype couldn’t get through at all. However as I’m sure you’re aware Facetime only works over wi-fi.

No problem of course as your stores have free wi-fi. Looking at the strength display it had a full strength signal, however it fairly obviously was not a good internet connection, the demonstration iPad struggled to produce a reasonable picture with a decidedly low quality result. It would certainly be worthwhile investing in some faster wi-fi connections for the store to enable a good demonstration of this feature.

Anyway, one last idea which comes from my daughter – she would like you to provide beds at the Apple Store so she doesn’t have to go home. The store kept her occupied and entertained for all of a wet afternoon, and she didn’t want to leave! I did eventually manage to get her out and heading home, but I am sure we will be back.

Yours,

An Apple Owning Parent

Photo on the BBC (Sort Of)

If you happen to read the BBC Internet Blog, the picture that has appeared today on one of their postings might be familiar, especially if you’ve read my post about the BBC iPlayer. One interesting thing I’ve learnt from the e-mail exchange with the BBC guy who asked to use the picture though, Apple apparently don’t like you using a capital ‘T’ when referring to a certain iPod – so it’s iPod touch rather than iPod Touch. Looking back over my previous postings, I guess that’s me off Steve Jobs Christmas card list…

iPod Touch First Impressions

iPod Touch Web Browsing

So having had an iPod Touch to play with for a couple of days, I thought I’d give my first impressions.

Firstly, being an Apple device, the integration between the iPod Touch and the Mac is great. Effectively all you have to do is plug the iPod Touch into the computer and you can sync music from iTunes and pictures from iPhoto straight down onto the device. Needless to say, in my situation where both databases are much larger than the capacity of the device you need to take some level of manual control, but compared to getting stuff onto the Nokia N770 it’s a lot more straightforward. By way of comparison, putting music onto the Nokia involved a bit of care with file formats – and also remembering that anything protected probably wouldn’t work, putting on pictures you’d have to manually ensure they were the right dimensions – with the iPod that is all automatic.

Once loaded onto the iPod the slick experience continues. You can browse through music either in familiar list form, or alternatively turning the device to a landscape orientation automatically activates cover flow mode where you can flip through albums via their album art. Pictures are similarly presented, again allowing you to flick through the images.

All of the interface operates through a touch-screen – in total the device has only two buttons, the ‘power’ button on the top, and a home button that always takes you back to the main menu. Unlike almost all similar devices there is no stylus – you operate the interface with your finger. Flicking through photographs or songs is all carried out by sliding your finger across the screen. Surprisingly there isn’t too much of a problem with finger marks on the screen either – although the metal casing shows them up, the screen is readable even after quite heavy use of the screen.

The other great feature of the interface is the momentum. When you flick, much as if you push an object in the real world, it carries on moving and slowly decelerates. If you are scrolling down a long list of tracks for example you can also catch the list by touching the screen, which brings the scrolling to an immediate halt. Comparing this to other interfaces where you’re repeatedly pressing an arrow key to scroll down, or that come to an immediate halt, it is much more intuitive, and even though I have over 2000 songs loaded onto it is still relatively quick to locate them.

The momentum in the interface also extends to the built in web browser, which in part goes towards making the iPod Touch far and away the best mobile browsing experience I have come across. The Nokia N770 may have the best screen (well at least until it failed), but the iPod more than makes up for it with the ease with which I can move around a web page and zoom in and out onto content. Hitting links accurately with a finger rather than a stylus takes some work, as does typing on the on-screen keyboard, but it is still streaks ahead of anything else.

Perhaps the only disappointment is the YouTube application. Whilst it does manage to make videos from YouTube look considerably better than they do on the web, it has one major flaw – when it is running it hogs the machine, and if the flow of data from the site stalls, so does the application. It doesn’t actually crash the iPod, but it does render it unresponsive until the data stream settles down again.

Looking at other things you can do with it, one of the big criticisms when compared to the iPhone was the lack of an e-mail application. Whilst you can add mail by copying the app over from an iPhone, you can do it without hacking the device using a site called Mail Coaster. This very simply provides an iPod Touch style web interface to whatever mail server you specify. It’s not the most feature rich application, but for a simple mail check it is fine. Google Reader is also among the sites that now also have an iPod Touch friendly user interface.

By far the most impressive thing about the whole device, especially having used Windows Mobile, Symbian and the Nokia N770 is how rock solid the whole device feels. That’s not to say there aren’t bugs – the aforementioned problem with the YouTube application for a start, and on one occasion it has inexplicably lost the wi-fi connection – but it has yet to properly crash, unlike the multitude of mobile devices I’ve owned from the other stables. It also doesn’t suffer from the annoying and inexplicable pauses that those suffer too, aside from the YouTube problems everything moves along at a nice responsive speed.

It may be being marketed purely as a music player, but alongside this Apple have converged enough with the features of the PDA that they’ve produced a pretty good stand-alone PDA too!

New Toy

iPod Touch

So this morning at work a small package turned up on my desk containing my new toy, an iPod Touch.

Depending on your point of view, this is either the ultimate touch screen and wi-fi equipped iPod or it’s a cut down iPhone with loads of functionality missing. Needless to say I’m thinking of it more in the former category, and thinking that I could use it for all the things that my short lived Nokia N770 – which produced a white screen of death a couple of weeks ago – was doing, so as a general media device with a bit of internet browsing. With the news that Apple are going to open up the platform it certainly seems like an iPod Touch will in the future become a good platform for that sort of thing – and probably a lot easier to sync up with my desktop than the Nokia N770!

As is traditional, I’m just waiting for it to sync large amounts of my music and pictures before I’ll get to play with it – I guess it will be tomorrow before I get a chance to seriously try it out!

Crippled

Last week I was speculating over whether I could use the new iPod Touch as a PDA. Unfortunately, having read the Ars Technica review it seems not – although it regards the browsing support as better than the Nokia N800 it confirmed that the calendar function on the iPod Touch has been crippled, giving it the read only functionality available elsewhere in the iPod line, rather than the full read/write calendar available on the iPhone. I assume this is in part to try and protect the iPhone market, but then as a result I’ll probably not buy either, so there are some customers that they’ve lost through this. Bizarrely it is only the calendar application that is crippled – contacts does allow you to edit records.

Anyway, hype is building up in anticipation of the expected iPhone launch tomorrow in London. The Guardian today reports that O2 have got the UK rights, with Orange and T-Mobile getting rights in other European markets.

Interestingly it seems that Apple played off the four major networks in the UK against each other, so that at certain points all of them thought they had an exclusive deal. Vodafone walked away when they realised that they couldn’t get a Europe wide deal.

Interestingly Carphone Warehouse is on board to sell the iPhone through it’s stores, so perhaps Apple aren’t as confident in the O2 retail network. There is also a good deal of speculation as to quite how O2 hope to make any money out of the deal at all since Apple have retained the same stringent controls over pricing, and also upgrading their network to support EDGE – unless of course the other big announcement tomorrow will be a 3G iPhone… Now if I were an American early adopter and they did that I’d be really annoyed!

iPod or Zune

Last week Scoble posted an interesting item comparing the iPod to the Microsoft Zune.

Subsequent to that David Caulton, who works on the Zune posted a response countering many of the points that Scoble raised.

However, what struck me as interesting is that the points that aren’t countered are the cool factor, nor the iTunes lock-in – something that all the competition in the marketplace has to try to beat, and has so far failed to do so.

Whilst I’ve seen various other geeks with different sorts of MP3 players, Scoble is absolutely right, for the kids we know in the UK it has to be an iPod too. He’s also correct that they’ve bought a lot of songs from the iTunes Store. Even if any of the competition produce a better player than the iPod (and indeed they have), the fact that it isn’t an iPod, and isn’t compatible with all the songs they’ve bought means that I doubt it will come close to knocking the iPod off the top spot.