Macworld’s sister publication, PC World, has an annual tradition based on the release of the new iPhone. In addition to the traditional review process, they like to have a little bit of fun by performing a few torture tests. In the past, they’ve driven over the iPhone with a motorcycle, dropped the iPhone into a bowl of cereal, dragged a key along the iPhone screen, and more.
This time around, the tests are less physical but just as demanding. In this video, PC World's Tim Moynihan takes a look at how well the iPhone 3G S handles the following tests.
How well the iPhone’s Voice Control handles different spoken accents
What happens to the iPhone’s digital compass when the iPhone is spun around
Now, I’m not doubting Apple's numbers. Why would I? But as someone with three Macs at home, I couldn’t help but notice that Apple pushed Safari 4 out as an automatic update to all of its users this week. Yesterday, all three of the Macs in my household received the update, and we don’t even use Safari. (We prefer Firefox.)
Now this was something I never thought I’d need again, ever. A floppy disk drive.
Seriously, it has been many years since I’ve even pondered the concept of a floppy disk or the device that reads it. But the other night night I was confronted with no choice. I had found some old floppy disks in the back of a cabinet nestled comfortably in one of those wood cassette boxes alongside the ZIP disks that I was busily transferring data from. Yes, I do still have my ZIP 250 drive—for the moment—and no SCSI jokes, please. For a split second (OK, a minute, maybe two), I thought they were low-capacity ZIP disks, until they literally swam in the drive bay.
Sure enough, just 12 days later, Apple announced updates to nearly the entire MacBook line. The MacBook Air gains faster processors; the 17-inch MacBook Pro gets a faster processor and a larger hard drive; and the 15-inch MacBook Pro sports faster processors, higher RAM capacity, a solid-state drive option, a longer-life battery, an improved display, and an SD memory-card slot (in lieu of the ExpressCard slot found on the previous version). All of these changes are accompanied by lower prices.
These are notable upgrades, but it’s the changes to the 13-inch MacBook that are generating the most buzz. Keep in mind that Apple’s consumer laptop line got a dramatic overhaul just last October, when the company switched all but the entry-level model to a new aluminum unibody enclosure, converted to LED displays, added a multi-touch trackpad, upgraded the graphics and processor performance, and even added the “pro”-level backlit-keyboard feature (albeit only to the most-expensive model).
After Monday’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference keynote, we now know that Snow Leopard will cost Leopard users $29 ($49 for the family pack) when it ships in September. In my pre-WWDC OS X Snow Leopard piece, I’d guessed either free or $20—so I was closer to right than wrong, though still wrong. But what do you get for your $29? Are there more features than the five big ones I covered last week?
If you expect the team of Apple executives presenting the keynote at the Worldwide Developer Conference to pull back the curtain on some game-changing piece of Mac hardware, you’re likely to wind up disappointed on Monday. At least if the history of WWDC announcements is anything to go by.
To be sure, Apple has used its annual gathering of Mac developers to lift the lid on new hardware. But those announcements have been few and far between, especially compared to that other launch pad for big Apple unveilings, Macworld Expo.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the highlights of the last 10 WWDC keynotes, pulled from Macworld archives and my Wikipedia-aided memory. For easy reference, I’ve put the hardware announcements in bold.
Long-time readers know that I’m something of a browser fanatic. (There are presently 30 or so installed on my Mac). Perhaps my interest in anything related to Web browsers has its roots in the dark old days when (shudder) Internet Explorer was really the only Mac browser.
Whatever the reason, if there’s something new in the browsersphere, I’m interested in it. Recently, that meant taking a look at both Safari 4 and Chromium.
Now comes word that Opera has released Opera 10 Beta. I’ve had Opera on my machine for years, and would occasionally use it, mainly to make sure my sites were at least readable for someone using it. I was never really comfortable with the user interface, though; it just felt disjointed and not all that well put together.