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To repeat: The iPhone Will Be a Killer Game Platform



My colleague Chris Kohler at Wired News has a thought-provoking piece on the iPhone’s potential as a games platform. Since the day Apple introduced it, I’ve been waiting for Apple to unleash multi-touch games, and many of Chris’ sources think that the impending release of Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch SDK might let that happen at long last:

Whether or not iPhone gets a gaming-centric redesign, the release of the SDK makes it all but certain that we’ll see some touchscreen games from the development community.

Ehrenberg sees iPhone games as a sort of warm-up for a dedicated gaming system to come later: “This could be a launching point to get people thinking: Apple, games, Apple, games. A device may well follow from that that’s more tailored to the gaming experience.”

What’s really interesting is that 2008 promises to be a huge battle in mobile gaming. Nokia has relaunched N-Gage as an Xbox Live-like social gaming service for its highest-end phones like the N82 and the impending N96. Samsung could easily go this direction in a heartbeat, and if Microsoft ever does make a ZunePhone (as Zune fans believe), you can bet that gaming would be a major component of it to leverage the Xbox brand. Can Apple get there first and best? Only time will tell.

One thing is certain, however. Analyst Roger Ehrenberg of Information Arbitrage could stand to do some more research on the screen resolution of most handheld game systems:

But if the iPhone and iPod Touch are going to be serious contenders for gamers’ attention, they’ll need a screen upgrade, in more ways than one. Ehrenberg says gamers will want a higher-res display: “Right now, the screens generally don’t have the clarity to get the most out of the videogame programming that exists today.”

Um…yeah. Here’s the thing. The Nintendo DS? Uses two screens, each at 256×192, which is a total of 98,304 pixels. The Sony PlayStation Portable? One screen at 480*272, which is 130,560 pixels. The iPhone? One screen at 480×320, or 153,600 pixels. It would be the highest-res gaming platform on the market, not the lowest. That said, maybe there’s a screen-refresh issue that I don’t know about that could make the iPhone weak for action games. It would surprise me, given how nice “Pirates of the Caribbean” looks on it, but one never knows.

Gamers Eye the iPhone, As SDK Approaches

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America’s Best Independent Mac Store



Greatest of all time.
I just got back from visiting a friend in San Luis Obispo, California, and he pointed me towards the Mac Superstore. I’d never heard of the place, and Apple has so thoroughly eradicated all unofficial Mac retailers that I didn’t think there were many left (sadly). But I decided to give the place a close look from the inside. What follows, here and on the jump, is a photo-tour to the coolest Apple store that the company doesn’t own – and maybe ever.
Best Doorstops Ever.
The experience at the MacSuperstore, founded in 1998 by Shane Williams, a graduate of Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, begins before you even walk in the door. Since the weather is almost always sunny and calm in SLO, Williams and staff use vintage all-in-one Macs to hold the doors open to the faithful. I checked closely, and one door is propped by a Mac Plus while the others are SE/30s. The effect is inviting – and a bit disturbing. I last used an SE/30 in mid-1999, and it seemed pretty far from a doorstop then.

All the most interesting stuff is inside, however, so please read on.

Rumor: Apple Event By the End of February?



MacWorld was oddly devoid of non-MacBook Air, AppleTV software and Time Capsule product announcements this year. No new MacBooks, iMacs, or MacBook Pros, and no new iPods or iPhones. Apple remedied the latter this Tuesday with double-capacity iPod touch and iPhones, but other new hardware or the iPhone and touch SDK were nowhere to be seen.

TUAW claims to have a tip that the company that typically broadcasts Apple events, MIRA Mobile, is looking to hire people for an unannounced Apple event at the end of the month. My top priority is a new MacBook Pro, but my old iPod just conked out, so the SDK for the touch would be pretty compelling, too…


Apple Doubles Storage for iPhone, iPod touch



Though many, including me, had looked to this morning as an opportunity for Apple to release upgrade MacBook Pros, Apple pulled a switcheroo and rolled out upgraded iPhones and iPod touches. They’re tricksome, they are!

Unfortunately, the new models – a 16 gig iPhone for and a 32 gig iPod touch – offer nothing more than additional storage and a higher price tag. Each will go for $499. Other than the capacity, they’re identical under the hood. Anyone waiting for 3G data or a GPS chip? You’ll just have to wait. My guess is we’ll see a true second-generation iPhone in June, for the one-year anniversary of the original’s release date.

Unboxing a Mint Apple //c 20 Years Later



Geek porn – taking painstaking photos of every step of the unboxing progress – has been around for just a short while on the Internet. It’s so recent in fact, that it didn’t exist when the Apple //c was brand new. Fortunately, there are still unopened Apple //c’s out there in the world, and Flicker user Dansays found one on eBay. And because he’s a contemporary geek, he documented every step of the process. Fascinating reminder of just how completely Apple went design in the mid-1980s. Frog Design’s Snow White language is still as sophisticated today as it was then. And the intricacies of the packaging! It’s like looking into the future – 20 years ago. Make sure to click through to see many, many more images.

Flickr via Boing Boing via Andre Torrez’s notes.

Tougher Than an 18-Wheeler’s Treads



Mike Beauchamp’s iPhone has been through hell and back – and it’s still working. He tells the story in graphic detail at Flickr.

As the last pair of headlights approached, the semi got over to the far outside lane because he saw me standing on the side of the road. I knew this was trouble. As I watched helplessly from the shoulder, the semi plowed my phone at full speed, throwing it to the ditch on the other side of the highway. At this point, I figured I’d retrieve it just for the purpose of seeing the crushed iPhone in disarray, mangled and crunched lifeless in the grass.

Much to my surprise, as I approached, I heard the familiar sound of my ringtone — the iPhone was alive and ringing! As I picked it up and cradled it gently in my hands, I saw the screen displaying my caller ID — the screen still worked! I slid my finger gently over the answer slide and paused as I held the tattered and torn device to my ear — my heart must have skipped a beat when I heard my mom’s voice at the other end of the phone — the phone still worked!

Glorious. Apple should hire him.

Via Daring Fireball

Design Critics: Obama’s Mac, Hillary’s a PC



In a clear sign that everyone is really frantic to get Super Tuesday over with already, the New York Times has published the article contrasting Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama the world wasn’t waiting for. Noam Cohen has the temerity to ask: Is Obama a Mac and Hillary a PC?

I started cringing before I even started reading. Essentially, it comes down to the idea that Obama’s website looks like Apple’s (it doesn’t – looks more generic Web 2.0), and that Hillary’s looks like a typical business-solutions provider (maybe? I’d say it looks more like Some of the quotes are quite hilarious.

With Obama’s site, all the features and elements are seamlessly integrated, just like the experience of using a program on a Macintosh computer,” said Alice Twemlow, chairwoman of the M.F.A. program in design criticism at the School of Visual Arts (who is a Mac user).

And what does this mean for those of us voting on Tuesday? Absolutely nothing. The story doesn’t even bother to mention if either Obama or Hillary use Macs. Seems like that might have proven relevant…

On a more relevant front, I’ve reposted the Hillary 1984 video after the jump.

MacBook Air: The Laptop As Fashion Accessory



Picture: Malabooboo

The tech press is missing the boat with the MacBook Air.

All the grumbling about the price, the absence of an optical drive, the irreplaceable battery, shows that the technical minded misunderstand the machine.

Of course it’s not practical, it’s a fashion computer.

But it seems the target audience — fashionistas — are taking note. A quick Google shows that fashion blogs are raving about the Air.

Coquette, a blog about ‘digital fashion and style by natalie zee drieu, raves about the Air’s potential as an accessory: “This little thing is ready to tote around in your Balenciaga or Gucci bag,” it says. “I’m so getting one!!!!!”

Judging from the comments on those blogs, lots of their readers are bonkers for it too.

Compared to a $1,800 Prada handbag, the MacBook Air is a steal.

Expect long lines at the NYC Soho and Meatpacking stores.

Via Carl Howe at Blackfriars: The MacBook Air is an ideal product — in the right market

The Reason Behind Apple’s Stock Slide: The iPod’s Zero Growth



This afternoon’s stock sell off after Apple reported some amazing Christmas numbers was initially puzzling. Apple had its best quarter ever — selling a record 2.3 million Macs — yet Wall Street dumped the stock in after hours trading.

Initial reports blamed the sell off on Apple’s cautious guidance for the current quarter. Plus there’s the receding economy, which will put a pinch on Americans’ gadget buying habits.

But here’s the reason: the iPod’s amazing growth has finally slowed to zero.

For the first time in six years, Apple’s key product saw no growth year-to-year in the crucial Christmas period. And there’s only one way to go form here: down.

Looks like the iPod gravy train is finally slowing, and from here on in, we’ll see declining year-on-year sales of Apple’s key gadget.

Chart: Silicon Alley Insider

Via: Infectious Greed

New Mac OS X Mail App Correo Blends Thunderbird and Camino



Though I’m happy enough with OS X, I am always on the look-out for great new freeware mail programs for the Mac that can out-do it. The most intriguing new kid on the block is Correo, which promises to blend Mozilla’s Thunderbird mail client with the beautiful interface of Camino, my favorite web browser ever.

It’s definitely early in its development cycle, but I’m interested to see where this goes. I love the features of Thunderbird, but its poor performance on my computer and bizarre non-standard UI always kept me from switching fully. Correo definitely appears to address the second part of that problem, at least. Once it gets above 0.5, I’m going to give it a shop. Anyone else tried it yet?

Via Digg.