Thursday, September 10, 2009
First, Apple released Snow Leopard (the new version of OS X) ahead of schedule, while I was on holidays. The day after I got back was a holiday but I headed for London Drugs who I knew would still be open. Unfortunately, they were all sold out. The next day I tried a few more places including Neural Net (our local Apple oriented computer store). They were all sold out!
Obviously the demand for Snow Leopard was higher than expected, even though there are no really big new features.
In a way the delay turned out to have a positive side. While I was waiting I decided I might as well get the "Boxed Set" which includes the latest iLife and iWork. I'd been thinking about buying iWork anyway and my Mini had an old version of iLife, so it seemed like a good deal. Even better, Neural Net had the Boxed Set Family Pack in stock :-)
Although there were some people recommending waiting to upgrade in case of problems, most people seemed to say it was ok. I updated my MacBook first and when that went smoothly, went ahead and updated my iMac and Mini. So far I haven't had any problems, but I haven't done too much.
OS X finally includes Java 6 :-) so I wondered if there'd be any glitches with Eclipse and jSuneido, but so far so good.
Coincidentally, iTunes 9 was released yesterday so I updated that on all my machines. iTunes finally has a Wish List :-) I always wondered why they didn't have this. Was it because they wanted people to buy right away? But then why would Amazon have a wish list?
The wish list is somewhat hidden. To add items you use the pull down menu attached to the Buy button. The annoying part about this design choice is that items that only have a Rent button (certain movies) can't be added to your wish list. To actually view the wish list, the only link I could find was at the very bottom of the iTunes home page under "Manage". The help describes a different location - under Quick Links on the right hand side - which seems like a better location. It's almost as if they still aren't sure about the feature so they're making it somewhat hidden.
Another major new feature in iTunes 9 is "Home Sharing" which lets you move your media between your different home computers. This should help me keep my living room Mini's music library up to date with purchases (which I mostly make on my main iMac).
You can only use Home Sharing between computers you have "authorized" for your iTunes account. (You're allowed to authorize up to 5 computers.) Originally authorization was for DRM protected music. Since I refused to buy any DRM protected music I never had to worry about authorization. Now I do. I find I have authorized 4 out of my allowance of 5 computers. At least one of those was a machine I no longer own (my old MacBook). I don't think there's any way to un-authorize a machine after the fact (you have to remember to do it before you get rid of the machine or reinstall the OS) As far as I know, the only solution Apple offers is that you can un-authorize all your machines, allowing you to re-authorize the ones you want. (But you can only do this once a year.)
After some searching I found the setting to automatically copy music purchased on other machines. I turned it on and waited. I knew I had purchased music since I last synced my library. Nothing seemed to be happening. I made sure iTunes was running on both machines. I left it for an hour in case it was a slow background task. Nope. I'm guessing that it only works for music you purchase after turning on this option. I guess it all depends how you interpret "automatic". No big deal, it was easy enough to view my iMac library, sort by date added, shift-select all the new stuff and drag it over. I'll have to wait till I purchase some new music to see if it actually syncs automatically then.
On top of all this, Apple released iPhone OS 3.1. I installed it, but there doesn't appear to be anything too exciting in it.
The other big announcement from Apple yesterday was the new version of the iPod Nano with video camera, microphone, speaker, FM radio, and pedometer (!?). I was surprised that the camera was video only, but according to comments by Steve Jobs, this was due to size/space limitations. The FM radio even has a "pause" feature like DVR's. It was nice to see Steve back up on the stage after all his health problems.
The iPod Touch (I keep wanting to call it the iTouch) is now being targeted as a game machine. I would never have predicted that, but then again, I very rarely play games so I tend to forget what a big market it is.