Saturday, September 04, 2010

Saturation

Steve's latest gift bestowed upon humanity
The iPod Touch, version 4
The latest Apple Carnivàle, replete with Stevenote, has come and gone once again. In its wake we've been blessed with new versions of iPods, various and sundry new products, and iTunes version 10, the latest and greatest release, to help tie it all a little tighter to the Apple mothership.

Pardon my Apple apostasy, but the Jobs' Reality Distortion Field (or RDF) doesn't reach as far nor have the potent sway it once held over me. I've lived with enough contemporary Apple technology produced after the Second Coming of Jobs to see the spots on the Apple. Saturation, indeed. I've been repeatedly exposed to the point where I could probably do Steve better than Steve.

And this latest batch of iPods shows a fresh set of spots. Let's count them all, shall we?
  • Apple TV - This second generation is 1/4 the size of the original, and made completely out of plastic. It's lost its Mac OS X roots along with the Intel processor and hard drive. In its place is an ARM-based Cortex A8 class processor, the same as used in all the iPod and iPhone devices. That means iOS running on the device. You no longer have composite outputs, just HDMI only. You have no way to sync. In fact, the only way to get content into the device and on your TV is to stream it from somewhere else, preferably Apple. The idea of owning DVDs or Blu-Ray discs is something Apple wants to kill. With Jobs as a major shareholder in Disney, it's no wonder Apple TV is evolving into little more than a gateway to pay-for-content, where you pay a little every time you access it. The DVD ecosystem, with its buy-it-once-use-it-forever market, is counter to what Big Content, and by association, Steve Jobs and Apple want.
  • Steve giveth, and then he taketh away. After the disaster with the last generation iPod Shuffle, where all the buttons were removed and you were forced to control the device through special Apple earbuds, they put the buttons back. Hurray for Apple. But then Apple took all the buttons off the latest Nano, shrinking the device by 40% compared with the last generation, and covered one side with a touch screen. Usability takes a serious hit. Boo to Apple. But wait, there's more! It looses its video recording and camera capabilities, simple though they may be. Yes, it has a greater storage capacity, but it costs more. What's not to like there (if you're Apple)?
  • Finally we come to the forth generation iPod Touch. Slightly thinner, twice the capacity of my paltry second generation (32 GB vs 64 GB), the latest Retina screen, and not one, but two cameras in the body. The processor has been upgraded to a faster Cortex A8 processor, the same as the iPhone v4, the better chew through battery power. Now about those cameras... The backward facing camera is 960 x 720 resolution for stills, or 0.7 MPx. That's worse than the original iPhone's 2MPx camera. Just about every cell phone on the planet, if it does have a built-in camera, outperforms what Apple deigned to drop into this Touch.
It should go without saying I won't be burning up the roads to my nearest Apple store just so I can purchase my very own St. Steve relic. As time has progressed, Jobs has in fact grown into something of a living parody, with his emaciated looks draped in stylish denim and black. He reminds me now of another parody I once saw in a movie, Edna Mode, a.k.a. 'E', from the Disney Pixar movie "The Incredibles".

Steve Jobs Edna Mode

I really enjoyed The Incredibles, and thought all the characterizations were spot on, especially Edna. It's been size years since its release, but it's still timeless entertainment. Far more so than what's coming out of Steve's other company, Apple. Just as Emma told Mr. Incredible "No capes!", I can imagine Steve telling his minions "No buttons!"


"I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now!"

Enough of this rant. Time to go take some photos.

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