I have to admit, I am a huge Apple fan. When I bought my laptop last year, I was this close to getting a cute little 12″ iBook. But I wasn’t ready to make the application leap to Apple.
Of course, shortly after I bought my current laptop, Apple released versions that would allow Windows to be installed on top. Drat.
When they first came out, I pined for an iPod. Pined! Shortly before leaving for Italy 3 years ago, two great friends bought me the first generation 5GB. It was my companion for many years, and until I started riding my bike to work recently, I used it every day. Now my “commute” really only warrants one song or maybe two so I don’t bring it with me, but I use iTunes Internet Radio all day at work. I like how the radio stations are grouped by genre and there’s always new music coming up – I jump between my favorite stations with a “Favorite Radio Stations” playlist I created.
In March I bought Sante an iPod Nano, something I secretly coveted for myself, and in comparison it made my first generation iPod seem like a brick. I now “borrow” it from him to go running as at least when it falls (sometimes) I know it won’t break because it’s so light.
Now, there are all kinds of cool things to do with your iPod – Apple even has a partnership with Nike, for the iPod Sport Kit, that allows its special “receiver” you wear on your shoes to communicate directly with your iPod with run data and statistics. You can even manage this later on a website. Just in case you’re not interested in buying the Nike Shoes to go with the kit, there are several hacks posted to make it work with any shoe.
I decided to download a movie with iTunes just to try it out the new release. For $9.99, I saved shipping and subsequent frustration waiting for the product to arrive. And as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m trying to move my libraries to digital as much as I can. I missed seeing Pirates 2 when I was at home because everyone had already seen it, and it’s just now coming out here in Italy, but Sante hasn’t seen the first one so I thought I’d get us a copy. And I just can’t do Italian to Johnny Depp. There are several voices you can’t dub over – James Earl Jones, Sean Connery, and Johnny Depp come to mind. It blows my mind that some of my Italian colleagues have never heard Sean’s real voice! I see a lunch hour movie coming up. This is a very interesting article about Italian dubbers published recently.
But I digress.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Estimated download time: 78 minutes.
Starting time: 8:19pm Seemed to be downloading about 500k/sec which is pretty fast.
Total file size: 1.64GB. Download complete: 9:35pm.
Ok, so far so good. Estimate was pretty spot on. Next, it started this “processing file” thing that went on forever. In fact, it took another 1.5 hours before the “Downloads” icon stopped spinning. Towards the end, I tried to click on the movie to play it while it was finishing but decided to wait for it to complete.
Playback: I am really lucky in that my screen is very crisp and is often remarked on, so I didn’t really notice a difference in quality between the download and another DVD. I would like to try it on a larger monitor to see if it’s noticeable. Sometimes when playing our downloaded LOST episodes (again with iTunes), there were some bits missing or floating around.
Navigation: A floating navigation bar helped you move through the movie, but it annoyed me as it had to stay within the picture frame. It went away after a few seconds but I was a bit more impatient than that. “Chapters” were built into the mini floating navigation bar, but I was surprised to find there weren’t any subtitles, even original language, included. This is important for us especially when a movie is as fast-paced as this.
So, you have this movie now, which you can burn to a CD or DVD for safekeeping, but you can’t play it on your DVD player hooked to your TV. You can still authorize up to 5 Apple IDs to have access to it, so you can share it. But it’s still being played on a computer, right?
Besides the fact that many computers can output to a TV or larger monitor, Apple has thought of a solution: the iTV. Jobs mentioned this is not its final name, which is probably due to another company already having that name trademarked.
So now, you can output directly from your iTV to a real TV and watch all your Apple content, listen to all your iTunes as well, and even watch trailers and downloads live from the Apple website. The iTV box itself appears tp be pretty small and has about a bazillion input options – from USB to Audio to Ethernet.
This could be the future of computing, at least in my house. More and more options for all the digital content I own. :) I am awaiting more news on this. Here’s a good writeup from Business Week on the iTV.
Secretly, I was hoping for a widescreen iPod that could also display digital content (e-BOOKS!) and that might have spurred on an immediate purchase. I’ll just have to wait!