We live in a world where science fiction is hardly fiction at all.
Stephen Hackett's weblog about Apple, Apple history, technology, journalism and design.
John Gruber, linking to this article on Macworld:
What this piece made clear for me is that (a) something similar is going to happen to Mac OS X, almost certainly this year; but (b) there’s no way to look at iOS 7 and predict what a corresponding refresh for Mac OS X will look like. Maybe the only things I’ll predict are lots of white backgrounds, and Helvetica Neue as the system font.
As I wrote in my Mavericks review, I think previous design experiments in this realm haven't been great, but I do think it's time for Apple to apply some fresh paint to OS X. For the most part, Mavericks looks very similar to Leopard.
The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster is a dark chapter in NASA's history, and many asked if things could have ended differently.
Lee Hutchinson at Ars has put together an amazing feature attempting to answer that question.
Jeff Gamet at The Mac Observer:
Apple's non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro will be discontinued later this year, bringing an end to the non-Retina MacBook Pro line, and built-in optical drives in any Mac model. If the sources sharing the information are correct, that will leave just the MacBook Air without a high resolution Retina Display.
News of the planned product end come via sources speaking with DigiTimes. While DigiTimes doesn't always have the most reliable of sources, they are correct even if they have the timing wrong. Apple will discontinue the non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro at some point.
When talking about the 13-inch MacBook Pro, most people comment that Apple keeps it around for schools, as its combination of optical drive, low price and decent power is hard to beat when buying in bulk. While I'm not surprised by the rumors of the machine's demise, I wouldn't be shocked if Apple makes it edu-only for a while longer.
Apple PR, back in 2004:
Apple and BMW Group today announced the BMW iPod Adapter, the first seamless integration between iPod and a car audio system. The new system developed by Apple and BMW enables drivers to seamlessly use their iPod in BMW’s 3 Series, Z4 Roadster, X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and MINI Cooper by simply plugging their iPod into a cable located in the car’s glove compartment. With the iPod safely located in the glove compartment and powered by the car’s battery, drivers can now enjoy high fidelity sound through their car’s stereo system and control their iPod using the standard buttons on their BMW or MINI steering wheel.
“One of the next frontiers for a seamless digital music experience is the car,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We all spend a lot of time driving, and now this elegant solution lets iPod users enjoy their entire music collection in their BMW or MINI.”
I guess this is what Apple meant when it said it had "led consumer technology integration in the car for more than a decade" in the CarPlay press release.
We believe there’s so much more that your portable wireless speaker should do for you. That’s why we made the AXX 200.
The AXX 200 is a Bluetooth wireless speaker + Sound Blaster audio processor. This means a portable wireless speaker with power for real-time audio enhancement.
Intelligence. That's what the AXX 200 brings to the table.
- Make a call. Listen to music. AXX 200 intelligently adjusts the audio settings for you.
- The Sound Blaster Central App for your iOS or Android device places the control in your hands.
- Built-in quad array microphone - That's FOUR microphones in a single wireless speaker for 360° of clear, unmatched audio pickup for voice calls and recording.
- A wireless speaker that automatically cancels out noise during voice calls. For real.
It's for work, it's for play.
It can be everything you need it to be.
Matt Brian has a great look at Apple's new CarPlay technology.
While the demo is great, who gives it is interesting as well. It's the only Apple product demo I can think of given by a non-executive in years.
While FaceTime Audio was introduced with iOS 7, with OS X 10.9.2, Apple added audio-only calls to the desktop FaceTime application.
I — like many other podcasters — have thought about trying to harness Apple's service to record shows, as opposed to the venerable solution, Skype.
FaceTime Audio only supports calls with two people, so it isn't helpful for podcasts like mine, but it is possible to capture the incoming and outgoing audio fairly easily.
Recording a podcast via the "double-ender" method is the best way to get the highest possible audio quality, as each host is recording their own audio input locally on their Mac or PC.
On The Prompt, each of the three of us use QuickTime to record our own audio. Once the show is done, we get our files to Myke via Dropbox, and he uses them to edit and mix the show. To aide in the timing of these tracks, he uses a file he captures with Ecamm Call Recorder that include audio from each "side" of the conversation.
Since double-ending is really just syncing up a bunch of locally-recorded files, Skype is relegated to being the middle man. In that regard, FaceTime Audio can easily become a replacement for Skype.
But what if you want to live on the edge and go straight to tape, assuming you have your mic input set correctly?
Recording a FaceTime Audio Conversation
Piezo is $15, but records FaceTime Audio calls only in stereo, with the local caller on one side and the remote guest on the other. While this easy enough to fix in post, the $32 Audio Hijack Pro can be configured to record directly to mono, once it's pointed at the FaceTime app:
While Skype has a fairly poor reputation, FaceTime Audio isn't immune to dropping packets or calls, either. In fact, at times, Skype has proved much more reliable than FaceTime Audio.
Acknowledging that no VoIP system is perfect, it is important to note that FaceTime Audio and Skype sound very different.
Here is 5by5's Myke Hurley:
My conversations with podcasters that are smarter than me tell me that they do a lot of work on compression to ensure that Skype sounds closest to telephone conversation and has a warm, rich tone. I am inclined to agree with this. When the call connection is good, Skype sounds great.
I agree with Myke's assessment. I wouldn't want to switch back and forth between FaceTime Audio and Skype, as the sound is noticeably different.
At this point, I think it's best to think of FaceTime Audio as a good backup for Skype, but I won't be moving to it anytime soon.
Update: On episode 38 of The Prompt, we tested FaceTime Audio on the air. Be sure to check out the difference in audio quality. It's crazy.