Tag: "apple"

Gaming on a Macintosh, like the PC only worse, much worse*

*Assuming you can find games that even work on a Mac.

The Macintosh gaming scene received a boost earlier this year when Valve announced they were bringing Steam, along with their Source games like Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal over to Mac OS X.

I was expecting to see Adam (the only person I know with a Macintosh) on Steam a lot more, and maybe even playing games with me. Before he'd have to boot into Windows and so it was quite rare we'd ever have a game together. I was thinking great, now I'll see Adam on all the time and we can play some TF2. I was wrong however, I haven't seen him logged in on Steam once. Maybe he just doesn't feel like playing games he played on the PC 5 or 6 years ago.

Or maybe there's another reason. Anandtech recently did some benchmarks. Let's just say, the results aren't good for the Macintosh.

On a 2010 MacBook Pro, Half-Life Episode 2 runs 54% faster under Windows than on OS X. Now that's a fairly low-end system. Let's be honest, it's a laptop. Laptop = weak graphics.

How about on a high-end system? Something like a computer with 2 x 2.93Ghz Quad-Core (eight cores in total) Nehalem Xeon processors, 6GB of RAM and a GeForce GTX 285.

Windows destroys Mac OS X in benchmarks

Windows gets, quite literally over twice the framerate at some resolutions. Ouch. Maybe this explains why I've not seen Adam joining the Gamercast weekly TF2 matches, maybe it just runs too slow.

That's not all that's bad with the Mac OS X versions. The graphics are foggy and have quite obvious texture banding in some locations. So not only is it drastically slower, but it also looks worse.

If you wanna play games don't get a Macintosh.

iPhone 4 can't keep up, looks dated compared to WP7

So Apple announced the iPhone 4 earlier this week. Jobs proclaimed it was the biggest upgrade since the iPhone came out. To which the Apple fanboys cheered. Perhaps somewhat exposing how disappointed they had been by the iPhone 3G, which added 3G support bringing the iPhone up to the same level as smartphones that had been shipping for years prior. And showing how lacklustre the iPhone 3GS was which was the same thing, only a bit faster.

Essentially the form factor is the same. The huge ugly bezel is still present, and with the design of the sides being a bit more chunky it is only going to feel more like a brick. They've finally added a front facing camera - again a feature that shipped on original 3G phones back 5 or so years.

Most importantly they have increased the screen resolution. Anyone who had used any Windows Mobile phone back when the iPhone first came out saw instantly how low resolution the screen on the iPhone was. They've finally caught up with the old Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 in having a display over 300 DPI. So that at least puts them up with 2008-era screens.

However the screen is the same size, 3.5 inches is pretty average nowadays. Most high-end smartphones today offer larger screens without making the handset larger by having a smaller bezel and having more of the phone taken up with screen. Also disappointingly it is the same old 4:3 aspect ratio, when other smartphones have been shipping with widescreen displays for a couple of years now as the standard.

Here's the iPhone next to the HD2. The HD2's screen is almost an inch bigger, yet the device is only slightly larger. You can really see how much space is wasted on the iPhone. Look at all that black empty nothingness top and bottom of the screen.

iPhone vs HD2

The HD2, or the Nexus One or the Desire etc show how a smartphone should be done. The front surface of the phone should be as much screen as possible.

The other much touted new feature is video calling. Yes, apparently the old iPhone didn't support that along with dozens of other features that other phones support. Worse yet it only does video calling with other iPhone 4s and you need a Wi-Fi connection. Apple blame this on mobile providers. Despite the fact the first generation of 3G phones supported video calling. Apple of course in their attempt to get mindshare give this feature a hip name FaceTime. Amazing. Once again Apple are attempting to re-write history, and too many people are letting it pass.

More importantly as Microsoft showed some newer builds of Windows Phone 7 at TechEd this week and announced that some developers (on a case by case basis) would be getting their hands on Windows Phone 7 devices next month for free. It is becoming painfully obvious just how out of date the iPhone is looking compared with WP7.

Here's the AP application running on an iPhone, and underneath an AP application running on WP7.

AP Mobile on iPhone
AP Mobile on Windows Phone 7

The screens really don't do it justice so here's the video:

In my opinion the iPhone definitely looks dated in comparison. Steve Jobs' little features here and there aren't going to make up for it. iPhone applications just look stale.

Adobe on Air and Flash running on HP's Slate

HP released a video showing more of their Slate computer. It's presented entirely by someone from the Adobe Flash platform team interestingly enough.

So the key bit of new information from this video seems to be the Air application HP are using for an application launcher. I don't think that's been mentioned before, but it isn't that big news really. Like their multi-touch desktops they always have a specific front-end on them. I just hope they give the Slate 2GB of RAM.

The main point of the video essentially seems to be a long stab at what the iPad can't do. It mentions statistics like 85% of the top 100 websites use Flash, 75% of all video uses Flash. In addition Adobe estimate more than 70% of all casual games on the web are written in Flash. And obviously to anybody following along, none of that will work on the iPad.

It's good they're trying to communicate these facts, back when the iPad was announced the only thing media could say was how amazing it is, while quoting Steve Jobs saying it'll provide the best browsing experience on the planet - something a bit difficult to argue considering it doesn't support Flash. Obviously nobody from Apple plays games on Facebook, or Portal Forums so it seems.

Hands on review with Apple's iPad

So I've managed to sit down and use Apple's attempted copy of a Tablet PC for half an hour or so. Dubbed the iPad, the model number on the back reads TC1100, with a manufacturing date in 2003. Hmmm weird. Moving along.

HP TC1100

So what have we got in this machine? It comes with a 1Ghz processor (ouch Catherine's HTC HD2 mobile phone has a 1Ghz processor) and sports a 4:3 (no widescreen in this day and age, not good for media watching) that has a resolution of 1024x768. Kind of lacking considering I'm used to Tablet PCs with 1440x1050, really the minimum in my opinion as that way browsing the web isn't annoying in portrait mode as you've got over 1024 pixels in width.

The machine in question runs Windows XP Tablet Edition, possibly a bit of a strange choice for Apple, again in this day and age one would really hope for Windows Vista or Windows 7. It does however sport a proper Wacom digitiser now, unlike HP *coughs* last model which required one of those weird battery powered pens.

All in all, in this day and age (again), this machine seems a bit lacking. Back in 2004 or 2005 it was pretty much cutting edge for a slate Tablet PC. Releasing something like this in 2010, with those sorts of specifications, with the an unknown amount of RAM, and no doubt less than HP's TC1100 shown above, essentially nothing more than a giant iPhone (without the telephone), a strange sort of Tablet PC that you can't use for note-taking, or handwriting on, or drawing in Photoshop (not that it can even run Photoshop of course) with an old 4:3 screen when its being marketed as something to watch TV or films on, with it being locked into a single store, not capable of running anything other than software approved by the manufacturer with a bezel that fat is frankly more of an iDud.

I prefer the look of HP's latest slate Tablet PC:

Not only does it actually look good. It's a proper computer, that runs a normal operating system, in this case Windows 7 so you can do everything you can on a normal computer. You can take your existing PC applications and put them on this little beauty.

Personally I'll be keeping my Motion LE1700 for a while, and then maybe I'll look at MSI's dual-screen netbook when its released.

Windows 7 surpasses Snow Leopard a month before release

I'm surprised I missed this before. But yes Windows 7, an operating system not even released has already surpassed the latest version of Mac OS.

During September Windows 7 usage accounted for 1.52% of traffic measured by Net Applications, and as of this last weekend it broke 2%.

During the same timeframe 10.6 (Snow Leopard) which was released the previous month, accounted for just 0.77% of traffic.

I'm willing to bet with a few weeks of launch Windows 7 will eclipse the entire Macintosh user base. I'll be very interested in October's figures too to see how close it gets.

Apple can't admit they're scared...

...So Cnet News decided to run an advert for them, written by known Apple fanboy Jim Dalrymple, who enjoys quoting Apple executives exclusively in his articles. This one details how Apple aren't scared of Windows 7, but are actually looking forward to it. Uh huh.

"Users are really growing tired of Windows and the headaches it brings," said Brian Croll, Apple's vice president of Mac OS X worldwide product marketing. "We've seen this with Vista, XP, and the other Windows operating systems going all the way back."

Oh really? There was me thinking an Apple vice president of marketing would say something nice about their own product. Oh wait of course not, this is Apple 90% of their marketing budget is spent bad mouthing the competition.

So has he got anything specific to say, or does he just like making vague subjective statements? No of course not.

Jim goes on to say:

The latest issue will be the amount of work that Windows XP users have to go through to upgrade to Windows 7. The need to erase the hard drive, install Windows 7, re-install applications, and update everything may be too much for some users to handle.

Factual error. You do not need to erase your hard drive to replace Windows XP with Windows 7. Seriously when was the last time you did an install of Windows? 1993? The Windows setup program moves the old Windows, Programs and user data into a folder called Windows.old. It doesn't erase them or even format the drive unless you tell it to. Oh and update everything? Yes because installing updates is so painful post-Vista, again when was the last time this guy used Windows?

If you wanna know about painful patching experience try telling your users about your $30 service packs, which are supposed to fix all the problems in the last release, but actually end up deleting all their data? Oh wait you're in marketing, sorry. Or what about the multi-hundred megabyte patches that are often pushed down, haven't you guys worked out how to just change the parts of a file instead of downloading all new ones yet? I really hope you don't plan on using 1GB mobile broadband with your Macintosh (assuming you can find one that'll work on a Macintosh) you'd use up your whole monthly allowance just keeping the thing patched.

Oh and as for installing applications, well at least if you get Windows 7 you can use your existing applications, if you move to Appleland you not only have to buy new applications, assuming there are equivalent applications for the Macintosh (there's only a tiny percentage of applications compared to Windows), but you still have to install them.

No matter how Apple try and spin it, moving to a Macintosh is more work, and way more expensive.

And at least in Windows land you have the option of using the latest operating system on your 5 year old machine, or even your 8 year old machine as long as its powerful enough. In Appleland if you have a machine that old, it doesn't even work with their new software at all, no matter how powerful it is. They force you to buy a machine because they drop support of old models so quickly. In fact some people who brought a Macintosh just three years ago can't use the latest version of Mac OS. Ouch. Another $2000 down the drain.

Apple is also betting that many XP users who will have to upgrade their computers in order to run Windows 7 will instead choose to check out a Mac. But the cost of the new computer isn't the only thing users have to look forward to; there's also the software price tag.

They're betting that most people don't upgrade and will buy a new computer? Wow talk about making a safe bet, normal computer users don't upgrade the operating system on their computer, they just buy a new one and get a new version with that. Nothing new here folks.

For many consumers, Apple feels it has that covered too, especially with iLife, its suite of applications that includes iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD. iLife is included for free with every Mac.

Amazing stuff there, how about Windows Live Essentials, its free, not free with every (insert specific machine here) just free. That means those people using Windows XP machines from 2001, well its free. You don't need to buy it like equivalent people in the Macintoshland need to do.

And before I get any Apple fanboys saying Windows doesn't have anything like Garageband. I suggest you check out Mixcraft, for those who want really advanced stuff there's always Sony Music Studio too, or for those who want something basic that pretty much does everything automatically there's always Songsmith too.

Yeah we know Apple shareholders and executives are nervous about the next few months, but you don't need to try and spin it so much. And at least Windows doesn't delete your data if you login to the guest account. :-) Ooops.

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