(Reprinted from the Metro Spirit, 6/14/2012)
It’s All About Apple – This week is the 2012 edition of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, or affectionately known as WWDC. Typically, Apple uses this event to introduce its new products. In typical Apple fashion, the announcements were shrouded in secrecy up until Monday’s keynote. Was Apple finally going to announce Apple TV?
Alas, no. WWDC 2012 biggest announcement focused on the MacBook, a neglected product line that has been woefully in need of a refresh. Prior to the conference, speculation centered around the combination of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro products, and while that didn’t happen, the two product lines continue come together.
The MacBook Air features only modest processor upgrades over the prior models. The new models support the Intel Core i-series processor, providing modest improvements in processing speed and battery life and significant improvements in graphics processing. Two new models were introduced, an 11-inch screen and a 13-inch screens. Each model is configurable with either a Core i5 or Core i7 processor and up to a 512 GB solid state hard drive.
The next-generation MacBook Pros featured the most significant changes with the availability of a 15.4-inch Retina Display. This 220 pixel per inch display was introduced last year on the new iPad and gives the MacBook Pro an astonishing pixel count of 2880 x 1800. In addition, Apple has reduced the width of the MacBook Pro to 0.71-inches, making it the lightest MacBook Pro ever made. (Writer’s Note: I’m feeling a twinge of envy as I sit here typing on my 1.4-inch HP Compaq 6715b. I fear I might pull a muscle if I have to pick it up.)
Apple also made a couple of ho-hum announcements. The new iPhone operating system, iOS6, was introduced. Facetime will now work over cellular networks, which is fine except that you will go through your Verizon or AT&T data quota in about 17 seconds (Thanks, guys). Siri will be available on the iPad, she will make Facebook posts and start Apps for you, and via “Eyes Free”, she will be integrated into next year’s line of automobiles. That’s nice. Siri is fun to play with, after all. But I’m still waiting for the day she can wash the dishes, fold the laundry and cut the grass.
The Good Stuff – So, yea, fun, that’s WWDC this year. Now for the interesting stuff. For those unfamiliar, Ted.com is a non-profit forum dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. Leaders from all fields are invited to take 10-15 minutes and share their ideas. I highly recommend this site to anyone…the stuff here is just cool. (If you are looking for a place to start, try watching anything by Hans Rosling.) This week I ran across the coolest idea for a robot that I’ve seen in a while. It’s called a Ballbot, and it’s name is Rezero. The novel feature on this little guy is how it gets around. The robot sits on top of a single ball with a computer maintaining stability. Obviously to get the full impact, you have to see the robot in motion. Go to Ted.com and search on Rezero to see the video. (Or just click here)
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Until next time, I’m off the grid. @gregory_a_baker