Apple


One feature that I love on the iPhone’s version of Safari is tapping the top status bar to quickly scroll a web page back to the top. Great little timesaver. My question is: what hasn’t Apple done this with the desktop version of Safari? Perhaps a double-click of the current tab? Double-clicking the title bar minimizes the window, so that action is out. How about a contextual menu item, “Scroll to top”? If the new multitouch trackpad on the MacBook Air is extended to the rest of the MacBook family, then perhaps a custom gesture could be used. Although it would need to be something that could be accomplished ideally from the trackpad, a mouse or even the keyboard.

Update: Doh. Pressing the Home key does this. It’d still be cooler to have a mouse action or a gesture to perform the scroll-to-top function.

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I’d love to see iPhoto ’08’s skimming feature added to Leopard’s Quick Look previewing user interface. When you select multiple files in the Finder and hit the space bar, you have the option of seeing a “contact sheet” view of the files in Quick Look — a perfect place to be able to skim over PowerPoint or Keynote slideshows for instance. Oh Internets, please make it so.

I was downloading some QFX files to import into Quicken. Upon double-clicking, Numbers launched and rendered a nice view of the QFX data. Nice feature!

I was reading Roughly Drafted’s recent piece on Leopard and the History and Future of Mac OS X on PowerPC and it really pointed out to me, via some tangential identification, of just how badly Microsoft missed the Mac OS X virtualization market opportunity.

Parallels and VMWare now own a market that a measly two years ago, they had zero presence on and that Microsoft had all sewn up. Microsoft officially discontinued Virtual PC for Macintosh on August 7, 2006 (just about 14 months ago) and since then it appears the Mac virtualization market exploded once it was clear that Microsoft would have no product to offer on Intel-based Macs. There was no company better positioned to deliver a high-quality and highly-performant virtualization solution for Windows, but Microsoft had trouble seeing through the internal rationalization process of creating a product that would discourage the use of a physical Intel PC to run Windows and in fact, largely alter the method by which Windows is virtualized. Would Microsoft have ever implemented a feature like Coherence or Unity and refined it so well, that it made the Windows desktop and Start Menu an afterthought?

I wonder what MacBU management thinks of the decision to drop Virtual PC a year later — would they still make the same decision?

I recently upgraded my Parallels Desktop install to latest-and-greatest 3.0 RC version. I had been driven back to 2.5 due to significant networking issues, but the latest code seems to have solved most of my problems. Another draw is the enhanced Coherence feature, which is now very usable. Now that I’m primarily running Windows in Coherence, it strikes me that Windows biggest UI flaw (application menus located within application windows) is the primary reason that Coherence is successful. I’m amazed not only at how well this feature works, but how running Windows-based apps is now an entirely different proposition. Once you strip away the UI pain of the Windows desktop, integrate your key home folders (documents, music, photos, etc.), you’re left with a seamless computing experience that, in my mind, continues to highlight the extraordinarily high quality of native Macintosh applications while facilitating a better cross-platform workflow.

Ouch. I was an iPhone early adopter and paid dearly for it. You never, ever could foresee Apple cutting the price on an existing device; that’s aberrant behavior from them. It is however, a throwdown to the other players in the smartphone category. Apple wants the category as badly as what used to be called MP3 players or digital audio players — they’re now just called iPods.

Expanding the multitouch-enabled product portfolio is a key strategic move for Apple. Multitouch is a new user experience paradigm and a huge differentiator for Apple in the market. It’s no coincidence that Steve Jobs very clearly stated that they patented the heck out of it when rolling out the iPhone last January.

I was thrilled that the new enhancements will be available on the iPhone. I can’t say that I’ll use the WiFi iTunes Music Store that much, but one never knows. I do hope that the software update brings the iPhone and iPod touch UIs closer together. Did anyone else notice that the Calculator icon has changed?

Once again, another Apple event that will leave their competitors scrambling and all of the existing Zune owners figuring out how they can unload that thing for an iPod.

As usual, there’s a tremendous amount of speculation about tomorrow’s Apple Event stoked by the invitation and rumors about the next generation of iPods. I find it interesting that most are focused on new iPod hardware and really aren’t thinking about the impact to the new iPod hardware Apple released in June: the iPhone.

Steve Jobs has gone on record saying that the iPhone “is the best iPod we’ve ever made.” It would stand to reason that whatever new capabilities are released tomorrow, they’ll not only manifest themselves inside of new iPod hardware, but they extend to the iPhone as well. Logic would dictate that Apple would seek to reduce its production costs by aligning the iPhone and iPod platforms at many levels: software, components, manufacturing, etc.

I hope the new devices aren’t an iPhone without a phone; they should be unique physically as there’s still tremendous upside to keeping the iPhone and the iPod similar but distinct. The iPod is an established platform with a vibrant ecosystem of 3rd-party accessories, whereas the iPhone is a new platform with unclear iPod ecosystem impact.

If Apple does release iPods with new software capabilities that cannot be leveraged on existing iPhones, they’ll have some serious explaining to do. After I just shelled out $599 for the “best iPod we’ve ever made,” and one that’s based on an architecture that lends itself to a level of dynamism not seen in previous iPod platforms, I better see an iPhone update sitting in iTunes this week.

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