• 10 June, 2008

    iPhone 3G Drops, and Apple Unveils MobileMe Service

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 8:18 am permalink

    In case you were hiding under a rock, here’s some news: Apple has announced their new iteration of the iPhone, now featuring 3G and GPS. There’s not much to say about this that others haven’t already, so this will be a short one. As is usually the case, I agree with John Gruber’s analysis, and have the same gripes about the camera that Elliot Jay Stocks outlines here. In addition, I have to add that I’m slightly disappointed in the fact that there’s still no copy/paste functionality (unless Jobs just didin’t go into it in his keynote). On the other hand, I think that Apple’s alternative to background application processes, in the form of push notification services, seems like an elegant solution to the problem. It takes advantage of Apple’s already considerable IT infrastructure, and extends their array of IP services.

    Oh and yes, I’ll be buying one. But I won’t stand in line for one again. That was a one-time thing.

    Apple also unveiled their much anticipated update to the .Mac service, re-branded as MobileMe. This looks very interesting, and as a long-time .Mac subscriber, I can’t wait to see how it shapes up.

    The big news, though, which has been somewhat glossed over in favor of iPhone hype, is the next iteration of Mac OS X, code-named Snow Leopard. According to Apple’s OS X website, Snow Leopard

    builds on Leopard’s enormous innovations by delivering a new generation of core software technologies that will streamline Mac OS X, enhance its performance, and set new standards for quality. Snow Leopard dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X, making it even more efficient for users, and giving them back valuable hard drive space for their music and photos.

    Smart move, I think. Leveraging their considerable lead in features and stability over Vista, Apple has decided to take some time to refine their product (and squeeze a bit more life out of an ever-dwindling pool of ‘big cat names’ for their OS line). Additionally, one of the key phrases in the above quote is ‘delivering a new generation of core software technologies.’ Core multitouch, anyone?

  • 8 April, 2008

    Web fonts in Safari (yay!), and a copyfight brouhaha (boo!).

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 6:47 am permalink

    Typophile has a short rant about Apple’s claims that designers can now use any font when creating websites, using CSS3 specs, and that Safari will correctly render the typefaces:

    Apple says: “With CSS3 web fonts in Safari 3.1, web designers can go beyond web-safe fonts and use any font they want to create stunning new websites using standards-based technology. Safari automatically recognizes websites that use custom fonts and downloads them as they’re needed.”

    One of the biggest concerns around the Web fonts scheme is that Web designers would post commercial fonts through either ignorance or disregard of font licensing rights. Apple were aware of this (both Safari folks and Font folks) so I find it hard to understand why they’re telling web designers that they can post any font to the Web.

    Technically, Typophile is correct. And technically, so is Apple. The technology for embedding fonts is there, via the CSS3 standard and Safari’s ability to correctly parse this code. Legally, however, font foundries normally include a ‘no embedding’ clause in their EULAs, so using this (in my opinion, great and a-long-time-coming) technology is, in effect, a breach of contract. As some in the article’s comments section have mentioned, the fault here lies not with Apple, who are simply touting their product’s capability to do something, but with the foundries, whose legal language is outdated and doesn’t reflect changes regarding how their product is used.

    Granted, Apple probably should have included some sort of legalese warning about font licensing, like their infamous “Don’t Steal Music” warning back in the early days of iTunes, but criticizing them for this is akin to criticizing Xerox for making products that enable and facilitate the infringement of copyrights. 

    Will this make designers not use the Web Fonts feature? I doubt it. Personally, I find it incredibly compelling to be able to design for the web with any typeface. This bears re-stating, because I feel very strongly about it: incredibly compelling. The prospect of using fonts other than Verdana, Times, and Arial (bloody Arial, FFS!!) in online designs without having to resort to either tricky, image-based workarounds or the use of Flash is a very, very tempting proposition.

    This will make one of several scenarios come to pass: either 1) foundries will have to find a way to compromise, and change their EULAs to reflect modern usage of their products; 2) the technology will be crippled with some form of DRM, at the behest of the foundries (remember, Adobe is a foundry, and they have clout); 3) the foundries will form some sort of MAFIAA-esque litigating body to go after infringers, with craptacular results. Just one more example of how our copyright system just isn’t working, I suppose. Let’s hope that the foundries learn from the experience of the music and film industry (can’t stop the signal!), and come correct.

  • 7 April, 2008

    Daring Fireball on Safari 3 v. Firefox 3

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 7:43 am permalink

    The always-engaging John Gruber over on Daring Fireball has written up a great breakdown pitting the just released versions of the two most popular web browsers for the Mac: Firefox and Safari.

    I have to say, as much as I love the idea of open source, and generally love Firefox and its myriad extensions, I agree with Gruber: I’m sticking with Safari, for many of the reasons he enumerates.

  • 20 March, 2008

    Pandora on iPhone. . . .

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 7:27 am permalink

    This very short article on posits that one of the reasons that Apple is so reluctant to include the Flash Player in the iPhone is because of fear that Pandora, the amazing user-customizable internet radio station based on the Music Genome Project, could cut into its iTunes sales. While a little far-fetched, it’s worth reading nonetheless. 

    Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favour and check out Pandora. Yes, it’s so good, I’ve linked to it twice.