Leigh McMullen, author at Cult of Mac

Thank You, Bo Hume of American Airlines



This article was supposed to be about my first real road trip with the iPad, and how it fared being unplugged and disconnected for a three-day journey. Instead that report goes on the back burner while I tell you another story.

Since 9/11 the airline industry has taken a lot of flack for things outside their control: long security lines, additional passenger screening, and any number of other complaints. In fact you usually only ever hear about an airline when something goes either absurdly or disastrously wrong.

Today was another day of travel for me, upgraded to first class, I enjoyed my lunch and marveled at how enjoyable a traveling companion my iPad is, though I was a bit frustrated by a few games that required network connections to work (the AppStore needs to force apps to note that if it’s the case).

Everything went smoothly, no complaints. Got home, unpacked, changed into beer drinkin’ clothes, and got a phone call from some guy named Bo Hume. Figuring it to be a telemarketer or something, I answered gruffly, “Yes.”

“Is this Leigh McMullen.” Bo asked. Sure sign of someone who doesn’t know me, calling to sell me something, I nearly hung up on him

“Yes.” I said flatly.

“Sir, this is Bo Hume from American Airlines, are you still in the airport?”

I answered that I wasn’t, now a little curious, I travel a lot (executive platinum), maybe they wanted to give me a voucher or something for making me sit in the middle seat in the back of the bus on my way out.

“Well, Sir, the reason I ask is that I found a notebook, or pad or something I think belongs to you.”

My iPad. I hadn’t even realized I’d lost it.

Now stop. How the hell often does it happen that someone calls you to report that you lost something you hadn’t even realized was gone.

We make arrangements to meet, I rush back to the airport, Bo meets me outside, he’s exactly the kind of fella you’d want to have a beer with, even wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat, how could you not like the guy?

He gives me back my iPad, I say to him, “Bo, I really appreciate you getting this back to me, would you accept a small reward for your trouble.”

He smiles back, “No trouble, Sir, just thank you for flying American.”

No, Bo, thank you. Hopefully someone at American will see this, find some creative way to thank you and your whole team. You men and women keep the airplanes I rely on in the air and you do it 30,000 times a day, flawlessly.

Seriously, Thank you.

Hands On: 17″ i7 MacBook Pro



After one of the longest waits in the Intel era, the MacBook Pros were updated Tuesday complete with a migration to the new Intel i5 and i7 architecture. In addition to the CPU update these new top-end notebooks feature better battery life, and the ability to switch from integrated to high performance graphics on the fly. We here at the Cult managed to get our hands on one of the top-dog 17 inch i7 models on Wednesday have have been putting it though it’s paces.

Follow us after the jump for out first impressions and a detailed rundown of the King of the Hill’s real world performance.

i7 Mac Pros Coming?



‘Conventional Wisdom’ (and the rumor mill) suggest that Apple will remain on the Xenon platform for it’s Mac Pro line. Yet, while browsing Geekbench results, I came across this result indicating an i7 powered Mac Pro 4,1, published less than a Half Hour Ago on Geekbench (which also if we remember broke the existence of i7 powered Mac Book Pro’s a couple of months back).

It’s not too far fetched that Apple might use i7’s in its entry-level Mac Pro. While previously the single and dual processor versions of Apples top box were effectively the same, with the only difference being the number of processors installed, the current version changed that. The current Mac Pro’s have already segmented the line with the entry level being powered by Intel Xeon X3540 processors (which can not be deployed in a dual processor configuration), and the top model being powered by the Intel Xeon X5570.

This split is important because for the first time it require Mac Pro’s to have different motherboards, EFI, etc depending on the variant of the pro machine. Since they’ve already segmented the line based upon architecture, it’s all the more reasonable that they might use the i7 in the low-end Mac Pro.

The only argument against this is performance. As bench-marked, the alleged i7 pro-box scores lower than the current entry model. Turning lemons into lemon-aid however, perhaps this is the mid-level (ie between the Mini and the Mac Pro) tower many of us have been waiting for forever.

MacBook Pros UPDATED!!! — Finally



As we reported eariler the Apple Store was closed this morning when I went for my ‘O-Dark-Thirty’ run, and as anticipated, we’ve got new i5 and i7 Macbook Pros to enjoy. I will be picking one up today if possible and will give a full rundown later in the week for an in-depth hands on.

Pricing looks great too, with $200 off the 17″ model. The 17″ configured as I’d buy it with an i7, is just $200 more (or in other words back to the original pricing).

No updates today for Macbook Air, or Macbook Pro… Which is good ’cause I don’t think I could justify to even my generious and understanding wife, upgrading two three thousand dollar machines at once!

Beautiful. Thanks Steve.

Check back here this weekend for a deep-dive hands on.

How iPad Changed My Life



Update: This article is not intended for the Irony challenged.

So I’m a hypocrite. After swearing that there was no way I’d ever own a tablet with a phone operating system, I broke down and got one. At this price point, I don’t see how I couldn’t. The wife couldn’t be happier, one needs just look at my bathroom above to see why. Gone are the endless stacks of magazines and books. Gone, is the image of her husband stuck behind his desk, nose in the computer (now, I’m on the couch, nose in the iPad, but at least being in the same room gives the impression of being engaged with the family).

Follow me after the jump for my impressions after week one.

New Macbooks expected Tuesday



Apparently MicroCenter has got new part numbers in their system for Macbooks, the pricing and models seem to line up nicely to the Macbook Pro lineup. Will this Tuesday be upgrade day? Steve only knows, but my fingers are crossed.

via Macdailynews

Apple Updates Pro Apps, but Where are the Pro Machines?



With the update of many of Apple’s pro apps including Final Cut, and Aperture, the hardware they’re designed to run on is starting to feel a little stale.  Certainly the top of the line Mac Pros, still dominate Geekbench scores for the first thousand pages or so,  but for the first time in the Intel era, the MacBook Pro is no longer the dominant laptop.  So too, is the fate of the entry model Mac Pro, which is finding itself out-classes by average gaming rigs on the PC side.

These updates are Waaaaay past due, I know I’ve got both a Mac Pro and  a 17” Macbook Pro in need of an update, but for those of you not staying up every Monday night in the hopes of a Christmas-like Tuesday morning, here’s the skinny:

  • Mac Pro: last updated 03 March 2009, 388 days ago. Average release cycle: 236 days.
  • Macbook Pro: last updated 08 June 2009, 291 days ago. Average release cycle: 200 days.

Certainly Apple dominates profitability in the computer market, but they do that by staying far, far ahead of the curve in technology, innovation and design.   But that competitive advantage is only sustainable as long as you drive as hard as Apple has historically to stay out front. That’s not happening here with this generation of machines.  This has been the longest wait for Pro Laptops in the Intel era, and so far the second longest wait for a pro tower.

Of course, Steve has words of comfort for the faithful, “Not to Worry” he wrote in response to a like-minded cultist’s query last week.

I’m not worried, Steve. I’d like to say I’m running out of patience, but what choice do I have, really?

…and so the wait continues, see ya on Tuesday…