Why I’m not in the market for a new iPod

This is probably the first time since before the 3rd generation iPod (the one with the 4 buttons across the top) that I’m not in the market for a new iPod. My first iPod was the original 5GB iPod back in 2001. I skipped all the upgrades until the 3rd generation iPod for one simple reason. All of the iPods that came after the first generation didn’t solve my biggest issue and that was storage. Apple released a 10GB iPod and a 20GB model and I passed on those because they still wouldn’t hold my entire music collection and provide room for growth. It wasn’t until April 2003 when Apple released the 3rd generation iPod with the dock connector and it came in a 30GB capacity that I decided it was time for a new iPod. That was TWO YEARS of using the same iPod! No battery issues either folks.

I’ve been buying each iPod upgrade since then and even an occasional shuffle, mini and nano along the way. Why? Because each iPod that was introduced after the 3rd generation increased significantly in storage and capabilities. Sure I’d  pass the older ones on to family members and friends. However, when the iPhone came out in June, although it was sorely lacking in capacity, I decided that I was going to try to make due with ONE device. I no longer wanted to carry around my 80GB iPod video AND a cellphone. So I decided that I would forego carrying every song and video I own and judiciously sync playlists of my favorite tracks and clips. It’s not easy and it’s even sometimes frustrating living in only 8GB of iPod storage when I’m used to 80GB’s. I’m usually down to only 500MB of free space on my iPhone at any given time. However, I’d rather do this than carry two devices. So my 80GB iPod lives on an iPod speaker in the recreation area of my home and my iPhone is on my belt whenever I leave the house.


The new iPods look great, but…

The new iPod nano, classic and touch look like some pretty nice upgrades. However, when I look at each one I just have no interest in them. Let’s start with the shuffle. The only real difference here is color. I already have a shuffle now (a couple if you count the first generation models) that I don’t use. Then that brings us to the nano. I could see maybe getting a new nano. I have a 4GB nano now that stays in the car 99% of the time connected to my iPod integration kit. I like the nano because it’s the only iPod that works with the Nike+ kit. I haven’t been running as much this year as I did last year and when I do, I just take it out the of the car and use it. Having a new nano that plays video would be a waste for this application. I certainly don’t need video in the car while it’s tucked away and I don’t need video while running either. Since I already have an 80GB iPod that holds my entire iTunes collection with plenty of room left over, the new higher capacity 160GB iPod classic has no appeal to me what so ever. Lastly there’s the iPod touch, which most of you know is basically the iPod from the iPhone and since I already have an iPhone that I love, there is nothing to be gained here either.

So Apple if you want some more "i" cash out of me, bring on the iPhone 2.0 with 16GB of storage (or more) and 3g support. When you bring out that device, I’d be first in line (well probably not, I hate lines!, but you know what I mean).

A new Creative Suite Podcast is born

The good folks who bring you Layers Magazine have launched a NEW video podcast called "Layers TV". Layers Magazine is dedicated to all learning all things Adobe. While Photoshop User TV is a great show, it was lacking in other Creative Suite content. So now you’ll have another great show hosted by Corey Barker and Rafael "RC" Concepcion. These guys will be convering all of the products in the Creative Suite.

You can check it out here on the web or here in iTunes.

iPhone early adopters get your $100 credit FAST

Today Apple released the details on getting your $100 Apple Store Credit if you bought AND activated an iPhone before August 22nd. I have to admit that I was expecting Apple to make it harder than this. I was expecting to download a PDF, fill it out, mail it in and wait 4-8 weeks for a snail mail certificate. Apple could teach the world how to do rebates! Go to the link above on your computer and you basically enter your iPhone phone number and serial number. You then get a SMS text message on your iPhone with your code. You input your code on the same page you were on above and a couple seconds later your rebate certificate is there in your browser (on your computer) for you to print!

Kudos Apple, the whole process took about 15 seconds and now I have two $100 store credits (for our two iPhones) in my hands!

Lightroom 1.2 & Camera RAW 4.2

Adobe has released two important updates today. One being Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.2 and the other being Camera RAW 4.2 (for Photoshop CS3, Photoshop Elements 4 and 5). Lightroom 1.2 offers an array of bug fixes, but also brings new camera support on board:

Canon EOS 40D, Fuji FinePix IS-1, Olympus EVOLT E-510, Panasonic DMC-FZ18 and more. Of course the Camera RAW update also supports these cameras too.

Download the updates here.

Adobe keynote at Photoshop World

Terry White & Lesa Snider-King introduce the Histograms

Terry White and Lesa Snider-King introducing the Histograms


I had a blast at Photoshop World – Vegas last week and while I still going through all the material and shots that I took, I thought I would share with you the Adobe keynote address by Adobe’s SVP Johnny L. The keynote was great and you’ll see Johnny L introduce the new Photoshop brand as well as some never before seen technology. However, you’ve got to check out the humorous intro that Scott Kelby did which shows us what Photoshop would be like on the iPhone.

See the video here.

Johnny L rolling out the New Photoshop Brand

Mount your AirPort Extreme N

I’ve learned that wireless routers work best when mounted higher. The original AirPort Base Stations came with acrylic mounts for mounting on walls and ceilings. However, the newest AirPort Extreme 802.11n doesn’t. This is due largely in part to the antenna array that is built in. The experts say that the new Extreme Base Station is best positioned into a horizontal flat orientation. Knowing this doesn’t change the fact that your range will increase drastically when positioned higher.

One of the base stations that I manage is located in a garage just outside the meeting room that MacGroup-Detroit meets in. Luckily the ceiling is open and I have access to the rafters. This meant that I could mount the AirPort up high for maximum coverage. However, the beams are only 2 inches wide and the AirPort is much wider. So I turned to the folks over at H-Squared who make the tvTray for the Apple TV. They enhanced their Air Mount product for the new AirPort Base Station. This mount is custom designed for the AirPort Extreme and therefore is a PERFECT FIT.  It comes with the base and the screws for mounting to a wall or ceiling.

I mounted it horizontally up high and like I suspected, this position provides coverage for the entire area. They even make an optional $15 USB backlight to add a little flare to your AirPort Base Station. However, since this one is mounted where no one will see it, the light would go unappreciated.

The bottom line is that if you need to mount your Apple gear there are no better mounts than those from H-Squared. The Air Mount is $37.99.

Forgot your charger?

It happens to all of us at some point. You pack and you check your list and you do all the things you are supposed to do before leaving for a trip, but you forget your charger for your cell phone or iPod. I was coming home from Photoshop World in Las Vegas and I spotted this "Rapid Charger" charging station in the Las Vegas airport. What caught my eye was the various adapters just dangling there.

Just about all the major brands were covered. This is capitalism at its best! For a mere $3 you can get 30 minutes of power. My first thought was, "who would use this?" Then I remembered that yes, we do occasionally forget our chargers, because if you had your charger, you would simply find an outlet somewhere in the airport and plug in (unless that airport is Dallas/Fort Worth – they have no outlets ANYWHERE).

So the next time you’re running low on juice, forgot your charger, have 30 minutes to kill, and have $3 bucks, these folks have got you covered. Also you’ll have to stand there the whole time so no one walks off with your shinny device. Better bring a book or magazine too.

Good Apple, bad Apple

Steve Jobs did a very cool thing today! In this open letter, Steve has promised that all early adopter iPhone buyers would receive a $100 refund (store credit) due to the public outcry over the recent iPhone $200 price drop. Like I said yesterday, I wasn’t too upset over the price drop as this kind of thing happens in the tech world, especially to those of us who live on the bleeding edge. I gotta say though, this is pretty cool to know that I’ve got $100 coming back which was totally unexpected and goes a long way towards making me even happier that I own Apple products and stock. Apple didn’t have to do this (even with people complaining), but they did. Prices drop/items go on sale all the time on other things we buy and yes sometimes only a couple of months after we bought them, however we don’t usually expect any kind of refund.


Apple also did a very uncool thing today! It seems that the new iTunes 7.4 (which features Apples iPhone ringtone maker utility) will remove the custom ringtones that you may have already put on your iPhone. Actually upon further study, it doesn’t actually remove the ringtones, but it simply rewrites the index file upon each sync to make the iPhone not look at any other ringtones than the ones that iTunes puts there. I understand that Apple wants to sell ringtones. Hey, it’s America and if you got a legal product that people want to buy, more power to you. However, I don’t have any desire to buy ringtones and I had a perfect solution for putting ringtones on my iPhone with iToner. So it’s a bit unfair to take that ability away in favor of an Apple ONLY monopolistic solution. While it’s true that I could simply put the ringtones back on after each data sync with iTunes, I would also have to reassign them to the contacts that I’ve designated to ring a certain way when they call.

Luckily the folks over at Ambrosia Software are hard at work figuring out a way around this in a update to iToner. I also got wind of this before I downloaded iTunes 7.4 so I’m good for now. I just think it’s wrong for Apple to try to “control” the iPhone in this manner. It’s almost as bad as if they made it so that you could only put music on your iPod that you bought from the iTunes music store. No one would go for that and no one should have to be limited to ringtones purchased from iTunes either.

If you have custom ringtones and want to keep them intact, don’t go to iTunes 7.4 just yet.

New iPods, iPhone price drop and more

iPod touch

Besides dropping the price of the iPhone (read below), the big news today is the brand new iPod Touch. I gotta admit, that while I predicted Apple would come out with an iPod that was everything that the iPhone was without the phone, I didn’t think that they would actually have the guts to do it. Apple will sell boat loads of these. While the iPhone appeals to many (including yours truly), there are millions that won’t buy it. Some of those millions would love to have a touch/wide screen iPod that also has Wi-Fi and internet surfing capabilities. Does this mean that the iPhone is a failure? Absolutely not! It means that Apple is smart enough to try to sell the right product mix to EVERYONE! If I was stuck in a contract or for whatever reason (such as AT&T) didn’t want an iPhone or was happy with my existing phone, I would definitely want an iPod Touch.

With the iPod Touch you basically get an iPod that looks very much like the iPhone. You get a gorgeous 3.5" touch screen, 8GB or 16GB of storage (which the iPhone sorely needs), Wi-Fi, Safari, YouTube, and Wi-Fi music downloads from the iTunes store.

How is this different from the iPhone?

The obvious one is that there is no phone and therefore no EDGE data network. So you can only surf the web and use YouTube when you’re in a Wi-Fi covered area. There’s also no Bluetooth, not that you’d need it since there is no Bluetooth syncing yet. No camera, no Widgets, no SMS texting and no Google Maps.

Where’s Mail ?

The one BIG thing that is mysteriously missing from the iPod Touch is email? Granted if you have access to webmail, you can check your email with Safari, but it would be nice to have the Mail app that comes with the iPhone. I guess Apple had to draw the line somewhere and to entice you to move up to iPhone, Mail was that line.

Although the iPod touch is missing some of the iPhone goodies, it’s still a great iPod for those that want their music, videos and do a little surfing while waiting in a line somewhere. Hey Apple, are we ever gonna see games again on these touch screen iPods/iPhones?


Apple drops the iPhone 8GB price by $200 bones

You knew the day would come when Apple would drop the price of the iPhone. However, you probably didn’t think it would happen in just over two months and by $200. Yeah, that’s one is kind of a shocker and I’m sure there are some $600 iPhone owners out there that are a bit steamed at the moment. However, I’m not one of them. Why? Is it that I have this unlimited fountain of money? Nope, I just don’t get ticked about money I’ve spent months ago for a product that I’ve been enjoying. Sure, if I had just bought an iPhone this past week, I’d be marching down to the Apple store for a refund. However, I’m just not going to sweat money I spent on bleeding edge technology 65 days ago. Ouch! OK, I’m over it.

Now the real question is, how much is the 4GB model? Apple says they will sell the 4GB model while supplies last (read – they don’t have many left), but they didn’t say at what price. Does that mean that the 4GB model is now $299? If so, that would be a steal  for someone that could get by with 4GB of storage. NOTE: A quick call to my Apple store and yes the 4GB model is $299 while supplies last. So if you want one at that price, don’t hesitate.

iPod Classic

Apple kept the award winning iPod interface intact. They realize that everyone doesn’t want a touch screen (you know who you are). So if you still want the very easy to use without looking at it click wheel, you can get an iPod Classic. You might also note that Apple did away with the “white” color and now uses a grey to match the rest of their new products. Also if your music/video collection didn’t fit on the previous iPods, there’s now a 160GB version! Wow! Is that a music store in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

iPod nano gets phat (fat too)

Woah! Now you too can watch videos on your iPod nano. Basically Apple is allowing video (and photo) playback on any iPod with a screen. I’m not sold on the design though. It looks like someone took a regular iPod and squished it in Photoshop. The nano was very popular because it was just so darn small and thin. The new nano (aka fatty as some are calling it), kind of loses some of that sleekness. However, it is still very thin since it doesn’t have a hard drive. iPod case manufacturers, get your pencils out. You now have a new market to go after.

iPod shuffle

Not a lot of news here. Apple refreshed the line with some new colors. Quite honestly I couldn’t tell you what the old colors were. I do own the original second generation shuffle in silver and since I got my iPhone I haven’t used it. So I haven’t been keeping up with what’s going on in the iPod shuffle world.


iPod/iPhone pricing

Here’s a break down of what the iPods and iPhones cost. I still don’t get why you’d buy a 8GB nano for $199 when you can get an 80GB Classic for only $50 more, but hey, Apple sells a ton of nanos.

  Capacity/Price Capacity/Price
iPod Touch 8GB $299 16GB $399
iPod Classic 80GB $249 160GB $349
iPod nano 4GB $149 8GB $199
iPod shuffle 1GB $79  
iPhone 8GB $399 4GB $299


iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store & Custom iPhone Ringtone Maker

OK, where do I begin here? I think it’s very cool that you’ll now be able to buy a song right on your iPod and listen to it right away. That makes total sense to me and it’s hot! However, I just don’t get the whole "buying ringtones" thing. I’m not just talking about Apple, I’m talking about the market as a whole which brings in MILLIONS of dollars every year. It’s only natural that Apple would want their fair cut of this growing pie.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally love custom ringtones. I have some on my iPhone right now and had them on my Treo and RAZR before that. However, in each of those cases I made them myself out of songs that I already bought. I just don’t understand the business model of selling "ringtones" specifically. A quick sanity check over at Sprint.com reveals ringtones that they are currently selling (Beyoncé just started blaring "Me, Myself and I" – I hate when sites play music that I didn’t click on. I love Beyoncé, but that’s besides the point) for $2.50 each! How can this be? I can go to iTunes and buy the WHOLE SONG for .99¢ and play it back on several devices and even burn it to an Audio CD. Yet, Apple (and others) expect me to pay MORE for a 30 second version that only plays on my phone? Help me understand this. Apple’s price is a little better than Sprint’s. Here’s the deal. You buy the song you want (out of only 1 Million of the millions of iTunes songs. So you might not even get the one you want), and then you pay another 99¢ for the ability to customize it down to the 30 seconds you want to be a ringtone on your iPhone. Granted you still get to keep the full song and use it anyway you want just as before, but to use it as an iPhone ringtone, you pay $1.98.

No thanks! I’ll continue to use iToner and put my own ringtones on my iPhone (unless of course Apple breaks this ability with an iPhone software update and then I would be ticked off).


Apple and Starbucks

Apple just got all chummy with Starbucks in an exclusive deal that you will be able to go to a Starbucks location with your Wi-Fi enabled iPod touch/iPhone and download music from the iTunes store without paying a Wi-Fi charge to Starbucks. OK, whatever.

If you really want to get my attention, let me surf on my iPhone free of charge while I’m in a Starbucks. I don’t even drink coffee, never mind.

Buh-bye iPod Hi-Fi

Looks like sales of the iPod Hi-Fi were disappointing enough that Apple quietly removed the iPod Hi-Fi from its online store. I’ll kind of miss the Storm Trooper. Oh well. Bose and all the others win this round.

I’m headed to Photoshop World

I’m headed out to Photoshop World today! This is one of the few shows that I go to anymore and it continues to get better and bigger each year. I’m teaching two InDesign CS3 sessions at the show. I’ll also be doing some podcasting for the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and hanging out at the tech expo. I also can’t wait to get my hands on the Nikon D3 and D300 which Nikon will be giving previews at the show to show attendees. Hopefully I can get some test shots and share my findings here. If you’re around the show be sure to say hi.

Also today is Apple’s big "The beat goes on" announcement (1PM EDT) where they are rumored to be announcing new iPods, and possibly a ringtone service through iTunes. Most likely Steve has a few surprises up his sleeve too. As usual I’ll share my thoughts and opinions on the announcements and what’s hot and what’s not about the new gear.

So stay tuned for more from the world of Photoshop and Apple this week…