Based on market capitalization, Apple has official become the largest tech company in the world, passing Microsoft. Thanks in large part to ridiculously successful sales of the iPhone, iPod, and now the iPad as well as continually growing Mac sales, the company has slowly but steadily chipped a way at a market once entirely dominated by Windows-based products. Market cap, according to Wikipedia, is “a measurement of size of a business enterprise (corporation) equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding of a public company.” During regular trading hours today, Apple’s shares (AAPL) dropped $1.11 to finish the day at $244.11, which sets its market cap somewhere around $222 billion. By comparison, Microsoft’s stock (MSFT) fell $1.06 to $25.01, for market cap of about $219 billion. Although this is mostly important to stock investors, specifically those who invest in those two companies, it is a huge first for Apple and is a title I’m sure they are hoping to hold on to for quite some time.
Once upon a time there was a @Twitter client for the iPhone named Tweetie. Although it was not a free client like some of it’s stiffer competition (Read: @Twitterrific), Tweetie was generally considered the best Twitter app available for the iPhone. Then, on April 9th, 2010, Twitter itself announced that had purchased the parent company of Tweetie and would be updating the iPhone client, re-releasing it as “Twitter for iPhone”, and dropping the price all the way down to the low low price of free.
This brings us to today, where the first and only official Twitter client has been unleashed on the world. I never used Tweetie, so I can’t really say if the differences between Tweetie 2 and Twitter for iPhone are big changes or even if there are any changes other than the name and icon, but I have been using Twitterrific, so that is my baseline of comparison. With that in mind, the new Twitter client is awesome.
Virtually anything that you can do on the web via Twitter’s website is integrated in to the client. The client goes even beyond that, though. The interface is extremely clean and easy to navigate and understand. The pull-down to refresh method integrated in the client is my personal favorite way of doing it. You can easily view top tweets, popular tweeters, view maps of localized tweets, and just about anything else you might want. You can even edit virtually every part of your profile with the exception of the web design options. If that’s not enough for you, then try swiping across a tweet. It gives you instant easy access to retweet, set it as a favorite, reply, view the tweeter’s profile, and more.
Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is, but it isn’t quite perfect. Ok, so functionally it is pretty close, but visually it is frankly a bit bland. This is where Twitter could really take a page out of the Twitterrific playbook. Twitterrific has an absolutely fantastic look two it and even offers three different style options, whereas the official Twitter app is visually the closest to Twitterrific’s most basic and likely least used style. I’m not asking for them to have a graphic designer spend the next month working full time on revamp of the App’s visual style, but spicing it up a bit wouldn’t hurt.
Despite a few flaws, if you have an iPhone and use Twitter, this is a must have. There really isn’t another free client available that offers everything that Twitter for iPhone does and you wouldn’t want to pay for something you can get for free.
As of first thing this morning, Apple has rather quietly announced an update to it’s entry-level White MacBook. Keeping its price of $999, the laptop now offers a faster 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor as well as the NVIDIA 320M graphics chip used in the latest revision of the 13″ MacBook Pro. It also now boasts the same higher capacity 63.5Whr battery first introduced in the 13″ MacBook Pro. According to the Apple Store online, it is available immediately and ships within 24 hours.
See that shiny new toolbar at the bottom of your screen? That’s our new social media toolbar here at The Apple Vine, courtesy of Wibiya. What does this mean for you, our loyal reader? Easy access to your preferred social media outlets, that’s what! You can now easily keep track of us on Facebook and Twitter, share a post you like on various different social bookmarking sites, and “Like” any page or post. If English isn’t your native language, you can even automatically translate TAV in to one of many common languages. I hope it helps improve your reading experience and if it doesn’t, you can even click to hide it away.
You know you’ve thought about it. Ditching cable and hooking a small computer up to your TV to stream videos, TV shows, movies, music and more is something that every geek would love to do. Well, there isn’t really a better computer on the market for doing this than the Mac Mini from Apple. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to get and install to be able to hook your Mac Mini up to your TV and maximize your viewing experience.
There are a few things you’ll need to buy (or already own) for this to work.
- Mac Mini – You won’t get too far without actually owning a Mac Mini. Coughing up a little extra cash for more RAM and a larger hard drive is likely something you will not regret.
- Wide-Screen HDTV – This really isn’t worth doing without a good TV.
- Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter – Gives your Mac Mini an HDMI port.
- HDMI Cable – Along with the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, this will allow you to hook up your Mac Mini to virtually any modern television.
- Apple Remote – This will allow you to control and navigate through most of the programs you’ll be using in your media center.
- Apple Wireless Keyboard + Magic Mouse – There will be times when you’ll need and/or want to do something that just can’t be done easily or quickly with the remote. This duo will make life at your couch a lot easier.
Setting everything up is relatively straightforward and really much more complicated than setting up any other Mac. Find a good place to put your Mac Mini near your TV where it is visible and has room to breathe (overheating is bad, mmkay?). Once you’ve got it where you want it, simply plug everything in (power, hdmi adapter, and hdmi cable) and power up the Mac. It should automatically adjust to display correctly on your TV, but you can always adjust the resolution to suit your needs. If this is a brand new Mac Mini, just run through the set up and configure it like you would any other Mac. The initial setup is where you will find that having a keyboard and mouse is needed the most. Once you’ve got everything in place and working, it’s time to decide what software you want to use to view various different shows and programs on your Mac Mini.
There is a decent selection of different programs you can install (or come preinstalled) on your Mac Mini to improve your viewing experience. Here’s a quick selection of the best options and what they offer you. Are there more than just these three? You bet there are, but many of the features overlap with these or aren’t as extensively developed.
Front Row is Apple’s very own media center application. It will seamlessly integrate with anything you’ve added to iTunes or iPhoto and give you a nice clean full-screen interface with with to view your movies, tv shows, pictures, or listen to music. It also has access to a huge assortment of movie trailers, if you’re looking to catch up on what will be hitting the theaters soon.
Boxee is a beta product and comes with its fair share of bugs, but it is still one of the absolute best media center solutions that you can get. It can play back just about any type of audio and/or video file format that you throw at it, scrapes the web for coverart and information on whatever you’re playing, will function as your DVD player, offers social networking integration, and much more.
Hulu’s Desktop Client gives you access to all of the content of the net’s most successful destination of streaming TV & movies without having to open up your web browser. As a joint venture of Fox, ABC, and NBC, this offers you access some of the biggest hit shows on network and cable television, not to mention feature length films, trailers, and more.
If you’re doing this as a replacement for your Cable or Satellite TV as opposed to a supplement, then there are some caveats you should be aware of. Unless you are one to illegally pirate all of your viewing materials, there is a plethora of content that you might have access to now that simply isn’t available on the Internet, free or otherwise. One huge glaring example of this is the hugely popular programming on pay channels such as Showtime or HBO. Neither of these networks currently offer any kind of online access to their content, even as a paid subscription (Which I would gladly pay if any executives happen to be reading this!). Another factor to keep in mind is new programming. Not everything that is available through services such as Hulu is available as soon as it has aired through traditional means. Sometimes you have to wait a day, week, or more and sometimes it won’t be available until it has been released on DVD.
If none of the above drawbacks are a huge concern to you, then setting up a Mac Mini as your new media center solution is a fantastic and fun idea that can provide you, your friends, and your family with endless entertainment. It requires a decent initial investment to get any hardware that you might not already have, but can save you hundreds of dollars a year in cable or satellite costs, if not more.
According to the NPD Group, a market research firm, Android has usurped Apple for the #2 spot in the US smartphone market. RIM still leads the pack with it’s Blackberrys (-ies?) commanding a 36% market share, with Google’s Android OS now at 28% and Apple’s iPhone at 21%. AT&T, amazingly still the only company to offer the iPhone in the US, is still the leader of the pack with a total 32% of the smartphone market with Verizon trailing closely behind at 30%.
With the release of the iPhone OS 4.0, the next generation iPhone (Potentially called the iPhone HD), and a rumored Verizon offering all coming this summer, one can likely expect the iPhone’s market share to climb back up by fall and potentially retake second place.
It is not news to anyone who has an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, that it does not support Flash. Apple has received a lot of flak about not including it and Adobe has certainly heard its share for not working with Apple to make it happen. The following posting is taken from Apple’s website and is an open letter to their customers from Steve Jobs himself explaining exactly where they stand and why they’re standing there. This really is a great read and gives a lot of insight in to how they make their decisions and where they see the mobile market going in the future.
Thoughts on Flash
Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.
I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.
First, there’s “Open”.
Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.
Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.
Second, there’s the “full web”.
Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.
Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.
Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.
Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.
In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?
Fourth, there’s battery life.
To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.
Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.
When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.
Fifth, there’s Touch.
Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.
Sixth, the most important reason.
Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.
We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.
This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.
Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.
Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
This likely won’t matter to most of you reading this, but to any webmasters reading this out there who are familiar with the ongoing argument about the merits of dofollow vs. nofollow linking, I just wanted to let you know that The Apple Vine’s comments have turned off the rel=”nofollow” attribute for the comment author’s name. Just like always, however, comments that are clearly spam and make it clear that you have not read the post (beyond perhaps the title) will be marked as such. Let the link juice flow.
One of the best uses of your iPhone or iPod Touch is to stay on top of the latest news. There are dozens of decent news Apps out there, but here are some of the best.
The Huffington Post is my preferred source of news. It is my homepage on my computer and the App is on the upper left hand corner of my home screen. The App itself delivers virtually everything the website does in a clean, straightforward manner and is easy to navigate. [iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad Compatible]
Digg‘s official iPhone App truly is the definitive App for access to Digg. There have been plenty of unofficial Apps in the past, but this one renders the rest obsolete. Aside from not being able to display sites with Flash (Can’t blame Digg for that one), the interface is almost better than the actual website. [iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad Compatible]
Mashable, for those not familiar with the website, is the premier news blog for anything pertaining to Web 2.0 or Social Media. Their official App offers all of the content that their website does with a clean interface. It even offers push notifications when new content is available. [iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad Compatible]
AP Mobile was probably the first widely installed news App for the iPhone. The interface isn’t as polished as the newer Apps listed above, but the content makes up for it. As “the world’s oldest and largest newsgathering organization”, the free content provided in the App is worth having at your fingertips. [iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad Compatible]
Public Radio Tuner is the only audio App on this list, but is nonetheless a must-have. More than simply news, it offers live streaming of just about any NPR affiliate station throughout the country as well as on-demand playback of many of their most popular syndicated programs. [iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad Compatible]
The Onion uses a layout very similar to The Huffington Post’s App and truly is “America’s Finest News Source”. Only problem? The news is made up. As the premier newspaper devoted to reporting you the latest fake news, The Onion is always good for a laugh and definitely worth installing. [iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad Compatible]
Do you love a news app you don’t see in our list? Leave a comment and let us know about it.
Your hard drive is arguably one of the most important parts of your system, as it stores all of your data. Here are a few quick and easy tips for how to keep track of the health and capacity of your drive.
See The Total Count of Files & Folders
Sure, this is a relatively useless number to know, but it is none-the-less still interesting to find out just how many total files there are on your computer. It is without fail a much higher number than you’d expect. Here’s how to find out exactly what that number is.
- Open up a Finder window (Cmd+N when at your Desktop)
- Click open the “Applications” folder
- Scroll down to the “Utilities” folder and open it
- Within the “Utilities Folder”, open an application named “Disk Utility”
- Select your hard drive from the list on the left (The default name will be “Macintosh HD”, unless you’ve changed it)
- At the very bottom of that window, you will see “Number of Folders” and “Number of Files”
Here’s an example of what you’ll see:
Verify & Repair Your Hard Drive
As one of the hardest working parts of your computer, your hard disk can sometimes have some issues that the operating system is able to repair. To make sure that everything is just how it should be, go through steps 1-5 again above to open up your Disk Utility. Once it is open, take the following steps to verify and, if need be, repair your disk.
- Select your hard disk
- Click “Verify Disk”
- Wait several minutes (Your computer will likely be quite slow during this process)
- If all is well, you’ll get a green message stating that there are no errors and you’re done
- If all is not well, you’ll get a red message telling you what the issue is and to click “Repair Disk”
- Click “Repair Disk”
Check Total vs. Remaining Disk Space
The average users now-a-days likely has significantly more storage space on their primary hard drive than they will ever need. If, however, you want to or need to know how much total space you’ve got and how much free space you’ve got left, here’s how.
- Go to your Desktop
- Select the icon for your hard drive
- Control-Click on the drive and select “Get Info” (Alternately, you can hit Cmd+I on your keyboard)
- The info screen will show you the total disk space available, the remaining free disk space, as well as other pertinent information about your drive
- Alternately, you can also press the space-bar after step 1 to bring up a preview screen with significantly less info than the full get info screen, but will still tell you the total and remaining space.
Missing Hard Drive!?
For one reason or another you may have inadvertently or possibly even intentionally removed your hard drive icon from the desktop. Don’t worry, though, if you’re able to boot up and use your computer your hard drive is definitely still there, but its icon is just hidden and you simply need to unhide it.
- Go to your Desktop (Finder)
- Click the “Finder” menu on the top left of your screen and select “Preferences” (Cmd+,)
- At the top of the window that opens, select the “General Tab”
- Select the very top check box, named “Hard disks”
- That’s it! Your disk’s icon is back on your desktop
S.M.A.R.T. Status Checking
This one is a biggie. If you check your S.M.A.R.T. status (Also known as “Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology”) and it’s failing, your hard drive has seen better days. Here’s how to check whether or not your hard drive is in imminent danger of failing.
- Following the steps at the beginning of this post, open up the Disk Utility application.
- Select your hard disk product name, listed directly above your hard drive name
- Look at the bottom right-hand side of the screen and you will see the “S.M.A.R.T. Status”
- If it says “Verified”, that means you’re fine
- If it says “Failing”, continue reading
- Don’t Panic
- Do not turn your computer off, as it may not boot back up again
- Back up any data that you haven’t already backed up (which in an ideal scenario should be nothing, because we all back up everything daily, right!?)
- Once your system is all backed up, you’ll need a new hard drive. Either replace it yourself if you’re confident enough to do that or bring it to your friendly neighborhood Apple service provider to do it for you.