MacBook Pro 13″ Retina > MacBook Air

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If you are deciding between these two new machines, highly recommend you walk into an Apple store and literally hold each laptop in your hand — you’ll be amazed that there is nearly no difference in weight, and the MacBook Pro is actually narrower.

And I was a bit of a skeptic on the whole Retina thing, but the high resolution display does in fact makes a huge difference, to the point of making non Retina screens pretty tough to look at. Battery life has a slight edge on the Air, but still solid overall (12 hours for Air VS 9 hours for the MacBook Pro 13″).

Mashable literally just weighed-in with the same conclusion:

The 13-inch rMBP weighs just 3.46 pounds.

While that weight is north of many Ultrabooks, it’s still plenty light (which I acknowledge is an oxymoron). I had no issues with taking it to meetings, throwing it in my bag to take home every night, and flipping it open for some comfy computing on the couch when I got there. The 13-inch MacBook Air, at 2.96 pounds, may be lighter, but its overall footprint is actually larger than the 13-inch Pro’s by about a centimeter in width. The Pro’s thickness is just 0.71 inch, almost the same as the Air at its thickest point (0.69 inch).

Did a Reset to Get iPhone 4S Battery Life Back to Normal

File this under #firstworldproblems, but somehow in one of the latest iOS updates or new app installs, my battery life on the iPhone 4S started dropping insanely fast, easily 5-10% per hour even when unused.

I’ve been using a Mophie battery case since SXSW, so I almost didn’t notice the real problem, but decided yesterday to go hunting for a solution.

I found a thread on the Apple support forums, and was skeptical, but gave it a try:

1. Reset all settings (GO TO: settings -then> general-> reset all settings)

2 a. Go through initial setup steps (lang, wifi, siri, enable location, etc) and choose setup as new phone (don’t worry your apps, data, contacts, mail will still be there). Do NOT restore from iCloud or iTunes (It can copy back corrupt settings)

2 b. If you do not get the complete new setup screen with language setup and setup as new phone or restore from iTune/iCloud backup, be sure to go back to #1 and reset all settings again (it should happen the second time)

3. Turn off system location services timezone and iAd (settings -> location services -> system services)

4. Fully discharge battery (until you get the spinning wheel and it shuts off)

5. Fully recharge battery (overnight if possible)

And 48 hours later I’m happy to report that my battery life has never been better. It’s nearly midnight now, and I was on a few hours of calls today, and the battery is at 14%.

YMMV, but worth a try if you are seeing issues.

Polaroid and Apple: Innovation Through Mental Invention

Ran across this fascinating article, Polaroid and Apple: Innovation Through Mental Invention from Fast Company – which excerpted a few section from the book, Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us.

Steve Jobs admits to few idols. But one is Edwin Land, the college dropout who invented the polarizing filters used in everything from car headlights to sunglasses. Land, of course, also invented the Polaroid Land Camera. It happened like this: One time when Land and his three-year-old daughter were in New Mexico, she asked why she couldn’t immediately see a photograph that he had snapped. He took a short walk through the desert, pondering that question. By the time he had returned (and it was no more than an hour, he recalled), he had visualized the elements of the instant camera. “You always start with a fantasy,” he said. “Part of the fantasy technique is to visualize something as perfect. Then with experiments you work back from the fantasy to reality, hacking away at the components.”

Now, some 40 years later, Land had agreed to meet with Jobs at Land’s laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jobs was on one side of the conference table, Land on the other. They were of different generations, but cut from similar cloth: Jobs, the dropout from Reed College; Land, the dropout from Harvard. Jobs, working nights inventing video games at Atari; Land, lifting a window and sneaking into a lab at Columbia University at night to use the school’s equipment. Jobs, neglecting his clothes and his health to build his PCs. Land, who in his prime worked 20 hours a day, forgetting to eat, and wearing the same clothes for days on end.

Land once told a reporter, “If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing to excess … My whole life has been spent trying to teach people that intense concentration for hour after hour can bring out in people resources they didn’t know they had.” Similarly, Jobs had once remarked, “We have a short period of time on this earth … My feeling is that I’ve got to accomplish a lot of things while I’m young.”

Looks like a good read.

The Making of WordPress for iPad

Back in late February I met up with Raven Zachary and his team from Small Society as well as our own Matt Mullenweg, to figure out if we could get an iPad app for WordPress ready in less than 30 days.

We sketched out a rough plan that I captured from my iPhone:

Whiteboard sketch from initial meeting re: WordPress iPad app

We were committed to getting the app out for the iPad launch, and leveraged much of what was already in the popular WordPress for iPhone app functionality wise, but completely redid the UI and interactions for the iPad version. Matt Thomas who did a ton of great work on this app and redesigned iphone.wordpress.org, described the goals of the initial app like this:

So what’s new for the iPad? In order to ensure that using WordPress on your iPad would be a great experience from day one, we decided not to add any new features. Nada. This release is all about taking advantage of a huge 9.7″ touchscreen. Writing and editing posts is far easier than before. Skimming through your comments and moderating them is far faster than before. And using the app is simply more beautiful than before. “

And thankfully, after hundreds of trac tickets and around the clock testing, our universal iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch WordPress app is now available via iTunes:

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On a personal note, I’m excited to get my iPad tomorrow and ditch the simulator for a while :) I’m eager to see what my usage patterns will be with a device that clearly falls in between my iPhone and MacBook Pro. I’m already seeing positive anticipation from top bloggers as well, such as Om Malik — and my hunch is that for content consumption and drafting of new content, this will be a killer device. And no question that for managing your WordPress site — managing comments, editing posts, and even writing some long form posts — this will be an experience unlike any other.

Upgraded to iPhone 3GS from 3G. Veridct: Worth it !

Read lots of coverage last week that for those with iPhone 3Gs, you may want to hold off on the 3GS upgrade. Most reviewers had two rationals — 1) the upgrade price with how at&t works wasn’t very attractive and 2) that the spec upgrade wasn’t dramatic.

So a few thoughts on the upgrade and the whole 3G vs 3Gs debate:

On the pricing, it is true that at&t handled this pretty poorly and “penalized” those who bought the 3G in that they weren’t eligible for the new 3Gs pricing. On the other hand early adopters have traditionally always paid a premium. But more importantly, even at the non-upgrade price, if you look at the annual “cost of ownership” with monthly cell bills easily in the $100+ range, adding $200 to a device price isn’t as dramatic as one would think. I have a few accounts with at&t, and was lucky that one of them was upgradeable, so I got the better price.

Re: the spec upgrade. For anyone like me who started with a TI99, moved to the Apple IIe world, and then upgraded to 286s, 386, 486DX, etc — you remember what a big deal it was when the processor got a speed bump. It made tasks that once took 10 second takes just 2 secs.

It was with that in mind that I read the excellent blog by John Gruber, Daring Fireball, and his post titled “The Next iPhone” that I knew I would upgrade:

So, that guy was the first one on the team to get a Pentium-based machine, running at, if I recall correctly, 90 MHz. (The rest of us all had 486-based machines.) A few hours after he’d started using the new machine, word started to spread about just how fast it was. “You should see him do a build.” Soon there were a dozen of us crowded into his office, marveling, maybe even slobbering, at the speed of his C compiler’s progress bar.

A new computer almost always feels faster than the one it replaces. In the old days, though, every few years you’d get a computer with not just a faster processor but a next-generation processor, and the resulting performance increase was dramatic. For the Mac, those were bumps like the first 68030s and 68040s, or the first batch of PowerPCs. For the PC, the 386, 486, and Pentium.

Based on information from informed sources, I believe the processor in the next-generation iPhone is going to be that kind of upgrade.

(emphasis mine).

So last week I ordered the new 3GS, and after going through a day where all my phones were bricked as at&t sorted out the activation ( 3 phone calls to “611″, 2 trips to the at&t store, and 4 sim cards ! ) I can now safely report that the processor upgrade makes a huge difference.

The way I use the device I’m often switching between applications, clicking on links, etc — and things now just bounce right open without delay. Search is snappy, and that annoying text entry lag that still popped up on occasion is totally gone. Browsing is faster too, and many iPhone optimized sites like Google Apps actually feel like native apps now. Add in the video feature which rivals Flip for quality (original, not Flip HD) and the 32 gigs of space, and it’s a big upgrade.

Bottom line — just the speed improvement of the processor and the underlying performance makes this a worthwhile upgrade for heavy users out there. Speed wise, everyone I’ve shown the new device to who also has the original 3G , comments that it’s hard to go back to the original 3G after using the 3GS for a few minutes.

7 iPhone Improvements

I’ve pretty much been a lifelong BlackBerry user from the two-way beeper days before picking up the iPhone 3G a couple of months ago.  I also lead our WordPress for iPhone app so I got sucked into the iPhone world a bit more than I expected :)

Overall I’m super happy w/ the iPhone 3G so far – the browser rocks, having an iPod on me at all times is ideal, and the typical slick Apple UI is a joy to use.  Now with the 2.1 update, my biggest gripe – occasional keyboard lag – has been solved.

Like anyone though, I have a few other complaints/suggestions, and I figured I’d summarize them here with a digg inspired “7 feature requests/tweaks/fixes” I’d like to see:

1) Automatic zoom on double-tap.  Some emails and web sites zoom in perfectly when you double tap.   Others don’t zoom at all, and require the pinch/open gesture to control the zoom.  I’m sure this is a CSS things on the content site, but would like to see an option to override that.  One big offender is google email alerts – almost unreadable in iPhone mail with a tiny font, it requires the gesture to zoom in.

2) Google app support isn’t great and is buggy.  I get a “Safari cannot download this file” for my email on google apps.  Speaking of which, where is the native google calendar “sync” app – which works beautifully on blackberry

3) No way to search mail on the iPhone is a rally bummer.  I guess I got spoiled on the blackberry to the very slick google apps email client.

4) Photo browsing on the iPhone really kicks-ass, but the iPhoto sync options are too basic. Instead of “all” which is gigs for me of photos, or last import – which can be very random – how about a setting for “last 200 photos” – or “top viewed” photos ?  This issue for me would also be helped by a native Flickr app.

5) Battery management. Lots of people have complained about the battery.  I actually think the real issue is that it’s so fun and useful to use the iPhone that people are just using it way more than they did with their other phones.

But the bottom line is that the iPhone battery is running out mid-day for lots of people, and that is simply unacceptable.  So my suggestion, a smarter battery management system.  The system should guard and protect the most essential functions of the iPhone, which in my mind are the actual phone functions and SMS.  How could this be done ?  How about a setting that would trigger rationing and battery saving features when the battery hit 50% – such as dimming the screen, changing to manual for email, turning off wifi, etc.  Basically kick in all the suggestions Brian Lam of Gizmodo has made, but only when the battery is at X% – and have that X be user defined.

6) Way too easy to call someone by mistake. Make the contact screen selection ask you to “call” or sms” – I often try to click the arrow to the right to send a text, and call the person by mistake.

7) Add more shortcuts like the “home” button. I have my settings for “double clicking” the home button going into my phone favorites.  I’d like to see a few more options like one to take you to camera mode, and the other to the iPod.

And not even worth putting on the list since it’s so obvious, but copy&paste – pretty tough not to have that at least within an app like email.

So we’ll see what Apple has in the works, and being the gadget guy that I am – also keeping an eye on the BlackBerry Bold which should be out soon — looks pretty sweet.

Like a bunch of people that I know who do this already -  I’m not against carrying two devices :)

Apple MacBook Air Commercial – Catchy Song

The marketing geniuses at Apple have done it again ! :)

From the second I saw & heard the MacBook Air commercial I felt that I knew the background song.

Well I finally realized that I did – it was a song from the French-Israeli singer Yael Naim (iTunes Album, official site). I had heard the song a few times on 102fm Tel Aviv.


(direct video link for RSS readers)