The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is blazing fast, but the all-new Retina MacBook Pro is unsurpassed
Stories by Tom Yager
Over the course of two weeks in June, Apple will deliver more new phones than any mobile handset manufacturer in history. On June 8, paid members of Apple's iPhone Developer Program were given access to the GM (gold master) of iPhone 3.0 firmware, along with a matching version of the iPhone SDK. On June 17, owners of all models of iPhone and iPod Touch will be able to download the iPhone 3.0 update through iTunes. And on June 19, Apple will start selling the iPhone 3G S, a faster iPhone 3G with longer battery life, an autofocus camcorder, a compass, and other goodies. Meanwhile, the original 8GB iPhone 3G will continue to be sold for the giveaway price of $US99.
You can't tell from the outside that Apple's new two-socket, eight-core Mac Pro, based on Intel's new Nehalem Xeon CPU, is much changed from the two-socket, quad-core Mac Pro that preceded it. The only giveaway? One front panel FireWire port has been upped from 400Mbps to 800Mbps.
Apple iPhone, Android G1, AT&T Fuze, HTC Touch Diamond, and three flavors of BlackBerry compete for one pocket. Which should you choose?
RIM has developed a knack for pulling customers into new BlackBerry devices. That's no mean feat. BlackBerry is the most mature, most imitated, and most-targeted brand in the mobile industry. RIM keeps new handsets rolling out, and it keeps racking up new exclusives with wireless operators by finding gaps in its own product line and filling them better than its competitors can. By teaming up with T-Mobile, RIM's latest product helps to fill your budget gaps by providing flat-rate unlimited IP telephony from your home, office, airport, or any locale that hosts a T-Mobile Hotspot.
As someone who's been around the block a few times with mobile technology, I get a kick out of lengthy treatises on the practices one should follow to keep the information on your iPhone secure. They follow a commonsense pattern: Use a PIN, set the device to auto-lock after a minimal delay, set it to blank itself after a limited number of invalid unlock attempts, block access to the App Store, use Safari's security defaults, and use WPA2 security for Wi-Fi. This is helpful, but it isn't enough. Users of the iPhone, and mobile devices in general, deserve the big picture regarding the balance of security and convenience.
There's a good deal that's special about AMD's new Shanghai server CPU. It's fabulous science, fun for those of us who get dewy-eyed over the prospect of a 25 percent faster world switch time and immersion lithography. It makes the x86 battle interesting again because it carries AMD into territory that it must fight hard to win--the two-socket (2P) server space--and where innovation is sorely needed. AMD beat Intel's next-generation server architecture to market while closing performance, price, and power efficiency gaps between Core 2 and Shanghai. Just as it did in the old days, AMD now claims that its best outruns Intel's best despite having a lower clock speed.
Apple has done a complete and meaningful redesign of its top-selling commercial notebook, the MacBook Pro, for durability, serviceability, energy efficiency, and eco-consciousness. A one-piece, rigid, machined aluminum frame ("unibody") forms the MacBook Pro's internal structure, a design feature it shares with the new aluminum MacBook and MacBook Air. As with the MacBook Air, the clamshell laptop that upended the thin-and-light PC notebook market, Apple made some marvelously unorthodox design decisions for the MacBook Pro.
Step through the following slides for the highlights.
Now that we early reviewers are free to talk about the T-Mobile G1, you should expect to see G1 referred to as the "iPhone killer." G1 is a killer, all right, but imitating iPhone was the farthest thing from the minds of the Google and open source developers that pulled Android, G1's unique operating system and GUI, together. G1 was a consumer-oriented product from the word go.
You don't have to be a programmer to be a mobile innovator. All you need to do is open your eyes to the fact that a smart phone or QWERTY handset is a personal computer, sans legacy baggage. In the future, user-facing computers will have more in common with the high-end mobile devices of today than with the eight-core desktops and quad-core notebooks of 2009.
On October 22, T-Mobile will reap the benefits of its founding membership in the Open Handset Alliance. Through an exclusive partnership with Google and Asian handset manufacturer HTC, the T-Mobile G1 will become the first shipping mobile device based on the Android platform.
"Cloud" has a special place in my hit parade of despised neo-techno-vernacular. Unlike Web 2.0, my all-time favorite, at least "cloud" is somewhat self-descriptive: Formless, vaporous, and a semi-reliable indicator of climatic conditions. If you point at a round, puffy cloud and declare that it looks like a pitchfork, and someone with you nods and says, "Cool, I can see that," the forecast is mostly patronizing with zero vision and periodic sucking up. You're in trustworthy company if that person says, "Are you blind?" If someone in a meeting refers to a cloud, or worse still, the cloud, don't nod just to keep the conversation going. Consider it your duty to ask them to define the term.
Intel Developer Forum has wrapped up, and there's no question that Nehalem owned the show. Intel's engineering crew was practically beside itself; finally, it had something new to say to software and hardware developers. It was hard to tell whether the phrase "most significant update to Intel's x86 in ten years," uttered often by Intel staff, carried a tinge of frustration, but Nehalem's specs elevate that mantra from marketing to reality.
I haven't viewed an Intel Developer Forum with anticipation for some years. I am looking forward to this one, because unless there is some surprise afoot, this is where the Nehalem architecture should make its silicon debut. Intel tipped this by announcing the name of its first incarnation of Nehalem, a desktop chip dubbed "Core i7." Desktop CPUs tend to leave out features touted in literature describing the most potent implementation of a new architecture, so I don't expect Core i7 to embody Nehalem as IT will come to know it. I do expect to see Nehalem in production ahead of schedule, and that suits me. Nehalem could mark a return to a strategy that takes competition into account, and which includes entry-level RISC in the scope of competitors.