Apple Shuts Down Kickstarter Project

It’s a shame Apple killed this Kickstarter project to build a portable charger. These kinds of innovative projects can do wonders of the ecosystem of a product like the iPhone/iPad ecosystem.

That said, I’m not sure I totally get the project’s logic. Why not just make it USB and let a user provide their own Lighting cable. On top of being a legal workaround it actually can make the product more attractive by being compatible with anything that can charge over USB. In my opinion it’s actually a superior design. I prefer USB devices over Lighting or Apple 30 pin since it’s easier to share.

Google To Release iOS Maps

It sounds like it’s going to become a reality in a few hours: Google Maps for iOS 6.

My experience so far with Apple maps hasn’t been terrible. Data quality issues never actually affected me. I have missed the lack of public transit. That is the primary reason I plan to switch over. Public transit integration is critical in NYC.

I’m hoping it’s just a refreshed UI of what was in iOS 5 with as lean of a UI or leaner.

Apple Brings Some Manufacturing Back To USA

The big news today is Apple is making some Macs in the USA. This isn’t terribly shocking if you think about it.

iMacs really aren’t as complicated as they were just a few years ago, the parts have consolidated quite a bit. In addition most of the complexity of assembly is being given to increasingly advanced robotics. What years ago was a circuit board put together by humans is now a single chip stamped out by machine. I mentioned this back in June when Google started manufacturing in the US.

I wouldn’t expect something as labor intensive as the iPhone or iPad to be built in the US anytime soon. The limited media access to the factories that we’ve seen, it’s a very manual process.

Manufacturing large goods like an iMac in the US has advantages. First reduced freight costs, less time in Apple’s inventory (something Tim Cook is known to care extensively about), and quite likely tax breaks and subsidies.

I suspect the idea going forward is if it’s labor intensive, do it overseas. If you can do it with minimal human labor, bring it to the US. We’ll see more of these things come “back” to the US as manufacturing techniques are refined and improve extensively. But I don’t think we’ll see the huge number of factory jobs we once had.

Apple Dropping Intel?

Apple is said to be looking at moving away from Intel on the Mac towards ARM. This of course wouldn’t be unfounded giving the iOS platform is already using ARM. I’m certain Apple already has Mac OS X working on ARM chips for development purposes, just like I’m sure they had Intel versions all the years leading up to the x86 transition. Secret builds, and perhaps slightly buggy, but existing and working.

Will Apple switch? I could see them doing so for a lighter more power efficient laptop, however there’s a lot of x86 software out there I can’t see being ported over easily. I also can’t see them using ARM with some sort of Rosetta like layer of emulation. I think that would negate the pro’s.

I’m skeptical of Apple switching, at least right now, but I’m sure they are experimenting, and have been for a long time.

Micro USB To Lightning Adapter

Looks like Apple is now shipping the Lightning to Micro USB Adapter. Very cool since micro USB is pretty much the standard for mobile devices.

It seems like overseas manufactures are making good progress cloning the chip’s functionality. I give it a few more months before the flood of 3rd party cables that are of equal quality to what Apple is selling. That’s when you should stock up.

New Apple Products

2012 iMac

The Apple announcements to me were somewhat of a mixed bag.

iMac

I love the new iMac design, with the exception of the omitted optical media. A computer that slim with such a great display deserves to be usable as a media center. Otherwise it’s actually a great computer at a good price. If you think about it, not only do you get a pretty good computer, you get a great display in an amazing setup. It looks great.

13″ MacBook Pro

Retina displays on the 15″ MacBook Pro are awesome, however it seems many find the fonts especially to be too small and end up lowering the resolution to make things easier on the eyes and thus defeating the advantage of that great display. I’m not sure that a 13″ MacBook Pro is going to do much better in that regard. The other gripe I have with it over, aside for the lack of optical media which I still find useful is only having Intel HD Graphics 4000 and no discrete graphics. While the Intel graphics aren’t terrible, they aren’t amazing either. Given the number of pixels on that screen, and that price tag, I’d like something a little more powerful driving it.

iPad Mini / iPad 4

The iPad Mini is slightly more expensive than most people thought it would be. It’s however a rather good looking device with some great specs for the price. I think for the slightly higher premium you get a much better product and ecosystem than you do with the competition. Well worth spending just a little more. The only thing I’m not quite sure of is how it would actually feel. The iPad’s size is really part of it’s charm. It doesn’t feel like a phone, it feels like a substantial device. Yet another reason why I’ll need to take a trip to an Apple Store soon and play with one.

The iPad 4 is also quite impressive. Ars believes it’s based on the 32nm process. They also think it’s clocked at 1.5GHz and on the GPU side is still using the PowerVR SGX543 cores just clocked at 500 MHz up from 250 MHz. We don’t know for certain, but this sounds very plausible and I’m inclined to agree.