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Three Reasons I’m Actually Looking Forward To Phil Schiller’s Keynote

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Phil Schiller at a WWDC beerbash. Photo by Graham Ballantyne (CC license).

I’m actually looking forward to Phil Schiller’s keynote on Tuesday for three reasons:

1. He is genuinely funny. He’s been great in keynotes past, and he can easily carry a whole keynote alone. See Charles Arthur’s report from Paris Macworld in 2004, after Schiller stepped in for Jobs. The big surprise? Schiller was a gas: The dramatic news from the Apple Expo: Phil Schiller is *funny*!

2. He’s not Steve Jobs. He’s not perfect like Steve Jobs. He seems like a regular guy and a bit of a schlub — and I like that. Here he is at a programmer’s beer bash — the kind of event you could NEVER imagine Jobs attending.

3. He’ll deliver a great “One Last Thing.” Because of the controversy and disappointment surrounding the speech, Phil must go out on a high note. I’m hoping for a surprise appearance from Steve Jobs. Hopefully he won’t announce his retirement from Apple.

Phil Schiller has a posse; CC photo by JL! who snapped the poster near his office — no other info is given.

Apple’s Last Macworld: Don’t Panic

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Apple’s decision not to attend Macworld might mean any of the following:

  • – Yeah, maybe Steve Jobs is really ill. It’s none of our business, though
  • – Apple no longer wishes to indulge the trade show industry
  • – Apple would rather present stuff on its own agenda, to its own timetable, when there is stuff ready to present. And if it wishes to hire a big room in which to do so, it will certainly have the money to do that
  • – Apple would rather devote itself to WWDC
  • – Perhaps, given the success of the iPhone, Apple would rather devote its energies to publicising and marketing the iPhone and the App Store

What Apple’s decision not to attend Macworld might NOT mean:

  • – All of the above
  • – Any other speculation you read elsewhere today

Meanwhile, keep injecting the rumor sites if that’s what grabs you. New Mac minis! Some kind of netbook! iPhones on skis! Yeah yeah yeah; it’s all just hot air and page impressions until Phil Schiller stands on that stage. And even after that, it’ll mostly be page impressions.

Can Apple and the Mac mini learn from Dell’s Studio Hybrid?

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Although once famously proud of annihilating its R&D budget, it appears Dell is now in some cases reading from the Book of Apple, in taking existing ideas and–at least in some ways–improving them. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the Dell Dock, taking the UI device from OS X that’s loved and loathed in equal measure and adding handy auto-categorization. (And, yes, I’m well aware Apple didn’t invent docks, but if you’ve been paying attention, that’s kind of my point.)

However, while the Dell Dock is an interesting curiosity, the Studio Hybrid (depicted) is a rather more ballsy production, not only taking on the Mac mini and AppleTV, but exposing some of the shortcomings in Apple’s range of highly consumer-oriented desktop machines.

In terms of hardware, the Studio Hybrid is nothing new: Dell has shoe-horned a laptop’s guts into a small and fairly contemporary form factor. But when it comes to options, Apple’s machine is trumped in some key areas. Dell offers Blu-ray as an option (albeit with a $250 price-tag), HDMI video out, a card reader, and also pushes adding a TV tuner. (Amusingly, you can also add a bamboo shell for $130, which almost makes Apple’s black MacBook price-tag look sensible.)

Sure, there are compromises, not least the Dell lacking Mac OS X, the bizarre omission of wireless in the stock model, and the fact that on Dell’s online store, you have to click ‘Go to Next Component’ about 56 billion times to configure your unit (versus the streamlined and efficient approach taken on the Apple Store). But, to some extent, it does highlight the manner in which Apple is almost dropping the ball when it comes to living-room computing.

AppleTV shows promise, and the future of media is undoubtedly going to be centered around downloads. However, we’re not there yet, and people have too much investment in optical media. Therefore, AppleTV becomes an additional unit to homes already suffering from clutter under their televisions. And the mini, despite offering loads of potential, seems to have been practically shunned by Apple, banished to the corner like an unloved and unwanted child.

Rumors always abound regarding future Apple kit, with pie-in-the-sky wishes dashed by the brutal hand of reality upon an Expo or WWDC keynote. My wishes are rather simpler, though: a Mac mini that genuniely makes a play for the living room. Take a leaf out of Dell’s book, Apple, and bundle in that card reader, so people can more easily bung photos on their TV screen. Add that Blu-ray option for people who want to own media rather than rent downloads. And add HDMI video out by default, so people can connect their mini to a new TV without faffing about with additional leads.

Don’t worry about the bamboo option, though.

Jobs Reassures Colleagues on Health Front

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Steve Jobs has been reassuring associates and colleagues about the state of his health, according to the New York Times. After undergoing treatment four years ago for a rare form of pancreatic cancer, Jobs is “cancer-free,” according to sources close to him, but he did undergo a surgical procedure this year to address a problem that was contributing to a loss of weight.

A great deal of speculation over Job’s health and uncertainty regarding his future prospects as CEO of Apple contributed to a sharp decline in Apple’s stock yesterday, after the company reported solid earnings and a muted outlook for the next quarter on Monday after the markets closed. Today AAPL is trading at $164 per share, $2 higher than yesterday’s close, but up $18 from yesterday’s intra-session lows.

Much of the speculation surrounding Jobs’ health began in response to his appearance at the WWDC conference last month, where he appeared wan and quite thin. According to an industry executive who spoke with Jobs and was a source for the Times report, Jobs had run a high fever for the week preceding WWDC. Apple had previously said that Jobs had come down with a “common bug” which was treated with antibiotics, and additional speculation and concern were sparked by remarks in the Monday conference call, in which the company said Jobs’ health is “a private matter.”

What Price iPhone 3G, AAPL Stock?

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Steve Jobs saw fit to ballyhoo the price reduction for the iPhone 3G when he announced it at WWDC earlier this month, calling his newest release “twice as fast at half the price.” On the surface of it, $199 for the 8GB and $299 for the 16GB versions seems a grand gesture from the company that charged the phone’s earliest adopters $599 for the 8GB model.

It wasn’t long before plenty of people had figured out that, when the true costs of not only buying the phone but putting it into service with AT&T were factored in, the 3G model is actually a bit more expensive than iPhones purchased after the initial price reduction to $399 for the 8GB model last September.

How to hide an iPhone Purchase From My Wife?

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Update: Reader imajoebob has got a really funny response in the comments. Worth a read.

Trying to write this post on a Blackberry has taught me something, this thing’s web browser stinks. Now that the 3G iPhones will be on-sale in July, I’m gonna hafta break-down and get one. That said, only one-question remains: How to hide the purchase from my wife?

After the break, we’ll talk through my strategy, in the hopes that a fellow husband in a similar pickle might benefit from my experience, or maybe even able to help me devise a better strategy.

Crazy Overnight 3G iPhone Leaks! Tri-Band UMTS! GPS! Video Calls!

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Good heavens, but a lot can change when you get on one plane. I just arrived in Atlanta (friend’s wedding), hopped online, and the Intertubes have gone mad with credible leaks for the iPhone 2 that is universally expected to be introduced at Monday’s WWDC keynote. None of it is 100 percent confirmed, obviously (lots of commeters are skeptical about the missing lock button on the RED model), but these are much better than typical pre-keynote speculation. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. True iChat mobile looks to be a go. CrunchGear obtained what appears to be an AT&T or Apple promotional flier showing off the industrial design and features of the iPhone 2 that spotlights its front-facing camera for video phone calls over 3G networks, and video conferencing with iChat users over WiFi where available.
  2. Subtle Changes to Industrial Design. The front of the new iPhone looks virtually identical, but the back has changed, using a matte black back with shiny silver Apple, as well as a (Product) RED model that swaps in a red back to fight AIDS. The tapering evokes the industrial design of the MacBook Air and might offer clues to the look of the rumored new MacBooks, as well. Still no flash on the camera, either.
  3. iChat for Windows. To really push video chat on iPhone, it looks like Apple will roll out iChat for Windows. I repeat: iChat for Windows will soon be available.
  4. 3G Networking, 5 MP camera, GPS. Engadget reports that a source got a copy of the firmware for the device, which discloses the actual silicon that the iPhone 2 runs on. We’re talking about quad-band GSM with tri-band UMTS, which basically means that the new iPhone can run at blazing speeds in virtually every market in the world (except lots of the United States, of course). The chip powering it is confirmed to be Infineon’s S-GOLD3H, which has support for up to 7.2 Mbps networking, 5 megapixel camera support and mobile TV access. I would still be shocked to see mobile TV, of course. The firmware also includes hooks for GPS connectivity, so that looks likely, too.

Quite a flurry of activity. Only Steve will prove or disprove the accuracy of these reports.

“Just One More Thing…” Timeline

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With WWDC on the horizon, and keynote fever ramping up, we thought it might be nice to take a stroll down memory lane. The “One More Thing” timeline below covers every Stevenote we could find, focusing on the “Just One More Thing…” product announcement, with video clips for most of them.

Of course if we got anything wrong, or if you have additions, or clips we don’t have, please let us know in the comments, and we’ll get them added — Enjoy!

Tutorial: How to Sell your iPhone Online

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It’s iPhone upgrade season. With the deluge of iPhone 3G rumors convincing just about everyone that now might be a good time to dump the old phone, in anticipation of getting one of the new models, here’s a tutorial to help you sell your iPhone safely, and get the best price.