Category Archives: Apple

How Apple Makes the Watch

While we all are massively impressed with the scale of Apple’s operations, there is constant intrigue as to exactly how they pull it all off with the level of fit, finish and precision obvious to anyone who has examined their hardware.

Not planning on getting an Apple watch just yet. But this detailed explanation of the process is fascinating and really shows off what makes Apple different. The olde engineering student inside me is deeply impressed.

I’ve said many times, the introduction of the original unibody MacBook is probably one of the most underappreciated Apple events. Everything since, iPhone, iPad, Air, keyboards, Apple TV remotes, and now Apple Watch. It all started with that.

Atomic Delights – How the Apple Watch is made

Steve Jobs passes.

I saw the notification from CNN pop up on my iPhone sometime around the hour. Steve Jobs is dead.

My thoughts: Fuck. I hope this is another hoax. They are referencing the Apple website. Probably not a hoax. Fuck. Some kids just lost their daddy.

All in the space of a moment.


Today I was going to start blogging again on Down Under Geek.

I’ve been learning all about WordPress Multi Sites for a month or so in my spare time, tried a couple of test installations. WordPress MU sites allow you to run squillions of sites off one WP install. So when it comes time to upgrade something, you only do it once for all sites, not over and over again which was shitting me before.

So for the last few days I’ve been copying over the old DUG site to the new WP MU site and fiddling about with the settings. To blow smoke up my own ass I was impressed with a few of the predictions and thoughts. You can read them if you want. So I was keen to write more stuff down and get on with it, get it set up on my iPad and other places so I could blog from wherever. I twittered with Daniel from Mars Edit (Red Sweater) about his awesome app and the Mac App Store, possible future updates, iOS versions and updating.

I was almost good to go. Then the notification popped up.

To relaunch a tech opinion blog on such a sad day felt odd. Would it feel/seem opportunistic? Every many and his blog would be writing many inane pieces bemoaning the loss of their great leader. I mean no disrespect, but so few do it respectfully. I even saw doing a “live blog” of the news. Whores.

But no one reads this blog – it’s barely existed over the years since the domain was registered in a fit of inspiration one night. I would feel stranger to me to not say something, put some thoughts down, if only for me to read and look back on years later.

So today, I took my 2 year old daughter out to lunch with her mum, picked up the car from the dodgy auto mechanic who said we could drive our suv in NSW instead of Victoria from now on, came home, finished fiddling with WordPress, and started writing.

Although his kids will no doubt inherit a Fairly Large Trust, there is a 13 year old girl who lost her daddy tonight. And that sucks.

iPhone 3.0 Predictions

(originally posted on

Apple have announced an event to discuss what they are working on in the next version of software for the iPhone – iPhone 3.0. It’s going to be held March 17 US time – in about 17 hours from now. So time for a few quick predictions.

My SHUT UP List (just do it to shut everyone up)

  • Cut & Paste
  • MMS
  • Landscape Mail
  • Video Recording
  • Turn by Turn GPS
  • To Do list
  • Custom ring settings / profiles

I’d be VERY surprised if all of these (except maybe video) wasn’t included. And seriously – after 3 revs of the software – people can rightly feel pissed if they aren’t.

Improvements to existing stuff

There are a lot of little improvements Apple could make to existing Apps.

  • Camera – timer / press anywhere to take pic etc. Build in the best ideas from the App Store
  • Better for uploading to FlickR / MobileMe / Facebook
  • Some iLife / iWork / MobileMe integration
  • Faces / Places ala iPhoto 09?
  • Integrated Synch with iCal and Google Calendars
  • Add Google Groups – Contacts Groups sync

NEW Features for iPhone 3.0

  • Remote Wipe for the Rest-Of-Us
  • XCode – more templates to make apps even easier (compare number of iPhone templates to Mac templates
  • Wireless Syncing to iTunes
  • And One More Thing – the big one – Core Fart Noises Layer for OSX 10.6

It will be interesting to see how many ideas Apple takes from Apps selling in the App Store. Yes it will suck for the developer, but you can’t use that as an excuse not to improve the OS. Not like they haven’t done it before with Mac OSX (Spaces, Dashboard etc)


Updated to add more.

There is nothing like hitting Publish on a post to unlock a flood of new ideas. Lets add a couple more to the list:

(this is the Wu Method of naming everything you and everyone else can think of, analysts get paid big bucks for this)

  • PUSH
  • Voice Dialing
  • Tethering (I could care less, till I need it)
  • Bluetooth support for Keyboards etc

One More Thing…

Support for larger sized screen – 7 or 10 inch – for Apple Tablet product to be released in September / October (with next iPod rev). If Apple plans to release something like this in 09 – this will be the occasion for developers to be told about it so they can.. develop.

Oh. And if Voice Play is announced – that one was mine too.

UPDATE: The silly section.

  • New Version of iTunes
  • Beatles on iTunes
  • Stability updates
  • and Flash support – why is no one talking about Flash support?

WWDC 2008 Prediction Results

(originally posted on

Now that the “SteveNote” from WWDC has been finished – lets see how I went with my predictions.


100% – 3G iPhone
100% – iPhone 2.0 software & App Store
95% – 3G iPhone to be triple or quad band
90% – GPS on 3G iPhone
75% – 3G iPhone in different colors
70% – OSX 10.6 announced
95% – OSX 10.6 called Snow Leopard
50% – .Mac refresh announcement
10% – iPhone Nano / Alternate models
0% – OSX 10.6 to have no new features


75% – New MacBooks announced
65% – BluRay available
95% – .Mac Free (95% the basic service will be made free if its refreshed)
20% – MacBook Air 2.0
10% – iPhone gets plastic back
10% – MacBook Air Pro


95% – Better camera on iPhone
65% – OSX 10.6 to be Intel Macs only


10 right, 6 wrong (including a couple of long shots), 2 we don’t know yet.

Pretty happy with my guesses. I was pretty sure this was going to be the 3G iPhone 2.0 show with not a lot of room for other things like new Macs. Thought one of those I got wrong might have made a sexy “One More Thing” – but I guess Apple want the next 4 weeks of millions of dollars of free press to be all about the iPhone.

I like the changes to .Mac – now MobileMe. Pity the logo reminds me so much of Windows ME. Don’t think MobileME will ever really take off until it become a free service for all. $99 for a solo user with a iPhone is just a little too much. It rocks when you have multiple machines, but really it should just be free.

iTunes Music Store would never gotten to 80% market if people had to pay for it.

I kinda hate the plastic backs on the 3G iPhones. But as someone who has spent last few years with Motorola phones (with metal backs) and the crappy reception – it might not be such a bad thing.

No (RED)?

No 32Gig version?

Quick note on 10.6 Snow Leopard

I think the “low key” treatment of Snow Leopard was a good idea. The next 3 months are going to be a press frenzy on the 3G iPhone. The gestation of 10.5 Leopard from public announcement to release was way too long. But given 5000 developers are there for WWDC – your not going to call them back in a few months to show em 10.6. No doubt there will be a big Snow Leopard feature in January 09, when the software will be only a few months away from release.

No new features? Hardly. Improved enterprise support, new video with QuickTime X, no doubt the next generation of MobileME integration. Maybe nothing as shiny as Time Machine or Quick Look – but all important improvements nonetheless.

Roll on July 11.

WWDC 2008 Prediction Summary

(originally posted on

Thought I would make a quick summary of my predictions for the WWDC 2008 – then tomorrow I’ll post my score card.

From Top to Bottom

100% – 3G iPhone
100% – iPhone 2.0 software & App Store

95% – Better camera on iPhone
95% – 3G iPhone to be triple or quad band

90% – GPS on 3G iPhone

75% – 3G iPhone in different colors
75% – New MacBooks announced

70% – OSX 10.6 announced
95% – OSX 10.6 called Snow Leopard

65% – OSX 10.6 to be Intel Macs only
65% – BluRay available

50% – .Mac refresh announcement
95% – .Mac Free (95% the basic service will be made free if its refreshed)

20% – MacBook Air 2.0

10% – iPhone Nano / Alternate models
10% – iPhone gets plastic back
10% – MacBook Air Pro

0% – OSX 10.6 to have no new features

Time to get some sleep and prepare the score cards for the morning.

Getting access to USA iTunes music store

Although the iTunes Music Store has been made available I have been looking for ages to find a way to purchase US iTunes content (especially the video stuff – big fan of Lost).

Unfortunately i am not lucky enough to know anyone in the states, or anyone with a US card. But i came across a site that is selling US iTunes gift vouchers. Basically they email you an electronic US store voucher.

Tried it out and it works fine. Although you need to register a US account, which means you need a US address (but appears as though Apple dont care what address you use – ie just make one up).. but, you dont need to register a credit card (unlike the aussie store).

But, makes me wonder about the legality of it all? Aussie can not buy from t he US store without a US card… but.. if you get a US gift voucher.. then you can use it…?? Loop hole?

anyway.. for those who are interested…

Mighty Mouse Review

Well i have been using a Mighty Mouse as my “back-up” mouse for a few days.? ?

Not overly impressed so far.? ?

The tracking of the cursor is nice – nothing wrong there.? ?

The cord is definitely long enough – much more manageable around my laptop. I mentioned previously that it had been reported as being too short but I think the length is fine.? ?

Not real happy with the nipple / track ball. Unless you drag more or less straight down and up, it misses your scrolling. I tend to drag top right to bottom left a bit – just the way I hold the mouse. So I find myself having to concentrate on scrolling. I suppose over time I will adjust.

The scrolling feels a bit rougher / jerkier than usual on XP. I look forward to testing it again on my iBook once its delivered.

The “squeeze buttons” on the side work well enough. On XP they default to “Back” which is good enough. Doesn’t seem to be any software or drivers to let you program it to do anything else. The feel like they are in a funny place too – I keep having to reposition my fingers to use them.

The look of the Apple mouse has been described as either “clean, beautiful, stylish” or “bar of soap” – which I am pretty sure is not a term of endearment. It does look nice and clean – but I think it loses some functionality to style. That’s why we have ergonomic mice – they are easier to use.

Insert whiney comment here about lack of bluetooth option Well everyone else complains about the no bluetooth option – I might as well. It is a bit surprising. Well not really – I am sure there is a Bluetooth option not too far away and we will all buy new mice again.

Bastards. Clever – but bastards. No one will point this out in a few months when Apple announce another massive profit for the quarter. Slowing iPod sales were balanced by everyone buying not one mouse – but two !!

Overall – it feels a bit rushed. I know Apple wanted to release this with Tiger and there were some delays. To get it running on Tiger you must have either 10.2 or use the included software CD. That just seems strange – to have something as “basic” as a mouse needing a OS upgrade.

I’d give it 6/10. For $79 there are much better corded mice out there.

Mighty Mouse a glimpse of 5th Generation Video iPods ?

Apple have finally released a mouse with multiple buttons – the Mighty Mouse. But is this mouse a glimpse of what might be around the corner for 5G video iPods?

The new Mighty Mouse (love the name) appears to look like a standard Apple Mouse with a small nipple on it. However that “nipple” is in fact a mini track ball that lets the user scroll vertically, horizontally – in fact 360 degrees.

Instead of a distinctive left and right mouse button, the front of the mouse looks solid. However it can detect if the left or right side of the mouse is being pressed.

The Mighty Mouse has a tiny tail. As usual for Apple – Mighty Mouse has a fairly short USB cord. But with Apple only just recently adding Bluetooth (and wireless) to all of its iBooks and Mac Mini’s – wouldn’t it make sense to have a Bluetooth mouse? I guess that’s next month.

Reviews of the mouse have been a bit mixed. I have yet to try one but many reports are saying its a little awkward to use – you must lift your left finger to use the right click. The “Bar Of Soap” look and feel might seem nice – but using it is just not as nice as an “ergonomic” mouse.

Video iPod Interface ?

However I am wondering if the Mighty Mouse is a sign of a new interface for the rumoured 5th Generation of iPods?

Steve Jobs (the person who only recently said you only need one button on a mouse) has said he isn’t convinced people will want to watch videos on a small screen like the iPod. I agree – it needs to be a bigger screen. Not something as big as the Sony PSP as that would sacrifice convenience. A landscape screen for watching videos would make sense.

Moving to a larger screen and keeping the same form factor obviously means a redesign of the touch wheel. The current touch wheel is slightly bigger than the actual screen. Some have even speculated it might be a touch screen interface. That would be nice – perhaps even a segue for an Apple based PDA returning to the market?

But wouldn’t this new “nipple” trackball also be great for a minimal interface when coupled with a couple of buttons? You could have a decent size screen on the current iPod if you just get ride of the scroll wheel. Mighty Mouses’ trackball might be the key.

Dancing to Apple’s iTune

The impact of Apple adding podcasting to iTunes 4.9 has been amazing.

In one small product point release, they seem to have gone from one piece of the podcasting puzzle, to the only game in town.

Sensible, grown men, have been bending over backwards to reconfigure RSS feeds that worked perfectly fine only a few weeks ago. Podcasters have stopped calling for people to vote for them on Podcast Alley. Almost instantly the only ladder that mattered was the iTunes ranking.

After encouraging listeners to download the podcasts using tools like iPodder Lemon and iPodderX – almost within a week the call went out to switch to the iTunes feed. Please. For the sake of the children !!!!

All this fuss over something that has generally been received by existing podcasters, as a bit of a muffed launch. I doubt there is anyone who thinks Apple got it right when they released 4.9. It just reeks of a rushed job. Unusual for them really.

No doubt iTunes 5.0 when its released (probably to coincide with 5th Generation iPods – RSN) there will be fixes and within 12 months all will be well and dandy. All will be forgiven.

I tried iTunes 4.9 when it first came out. Unfortunately I was one of the many burnt badly by trying the shiny new toy when millions were also trying at the same time. My experience was a pretty crap one – slow responses, missing links etc. I know most of these things have been fixed, but I still like my iPodder Lemon software.

Maybe iTunes 5.0 will have me dancing a different tune?

Why iTunes 4.9 ??

Much anticipation was made of it in the podcasting community – people were excited they are going “prime time”. And scared what 35 million new users might do to their servers.

iTunes 4.9 would be the first iTunes to incorperate Podcasting subscriptions.

It was – A Big Deal. Steve told us it was so.

So why 4.9? Why a simply point release? So close to 5.0 you might have thought an improvement this big might warrant a major update in the naming?

Did Apple know that 4.9 was really a “rough and ready” version that would cause the problems it has?

Is there a 5.0 version around the corner to coincide with fifth generation ipods?

Perhaps 5G iPods have some new shiny features that can only be accessed by iTunes 5.0?

Videos??FM Radio??Recorder?