Archive for the 'Apple' Category

Getting published just got a whole lot easier

January 19, 2012  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Apple has released quite a few products in the past couple of years. I am loving Final Cut Pro X. And some of the iPhone upgrades have been tremendous. But I don’t think I have been quite as excited about a new product since the iPad was first announced.

Today’s announcement of iBooks Author could be that big for lawyers. Historically, getting published has been a big deal. It’s typically a lot of work (and often luck) to make it happen. But the ability to reach more people with your message and raise your credibility has been worth it.

With the rise of e-publishing, the barrier to entry for publishing has never been lower. And iBooks Author may have just smashed that barrier down entirely. Creating a professional-looking iBook publication appears now to be as simple as making a Keynote presentation or Pages document.

If you’re a little technologically savvy and have the patience to sit and write, adding “author” after “J.D” to your C.V. just got a whole lot easier.

Steve’s Legacy Redux

October 9, 2011  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

I have learned a few things in the days since Steve Jobs passed.  First, I really wish I could write like John Gruber, Walter Isaccson, and others.

Second, I have learned just how many people had strong feelings for Steve’s contribution to society, myself and my wife included.  There was just something wholly magical and grand about Steve, but deeply human and flawed at the same time.

Third, I have come to realize just how generous Steve Jobs was of himself.  Some have tried to paint Steve as uncharitable.  His decision to end Apple’s charitable giving when he returned as CEO and failure to sign the Bill Gates Giving Pledge are often cited.

But consider this.  Steve Jobs had surgery to remove his pancreatic cancer in 2004.  He had to know then that the odds were stacked against him.  Only 4% of pancreatic cancer patients live even 5 years.  And half of pancreatic cancer patients don’t even live 5 months.

No one would have blamed Steve Jobs if he had just walked away after his diagnosis.  He was already fabulously wealthy.  Fortunate ranked him as the 74th richest American in 2004 with a net worth of $2.6 billion.  Far behind Bill Gates at $48 billion.  But more than enough for Steve to spend his remaining days in quiet solitude with his family.

Instead, Steve Jobs gave us seven more years of his brilliance and drive.  He set out to change the world:  iTunes, iPhone, iPad, Mac as a real option, and who knows what else in the pipeline.  We’ll probably never know how much Steve gave personally to charity.  And frankly, I don’t care.  Steve gave of himself, at a time when he truly didn’t need to and when many others would have stepped down.

Steve, your charity won’t be forgotten.  How can it?  You changed the world.

Steve’s Legacy

October 5, 2011  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

We finally received the news we were dreading.  Steve Jobs passed away today.

There are lots of ways to remember Steve.  Some will remember his as a visionary.  Others as a terrible person (yes, such comments are already appearing on message boards).

I admire Steve for all that he was.  For all the glory Steve gets as the “creator” of the iPhone and other neat gadgets, we shouldn’t forget that his first truly great achievement was Pixar.  Indeed, Steve’s most enduring legacy will probably be that he created the right environment for others to be visionary.

And sometimes being a visionary means cutting out that which holds you back.  When he announced his retirement, we heard the feel good stories such as the one about the color gradient in the Google logo.  But there are other stories too, some that you wouldn’t exactly call “feel good”.

And based on those stories, you might say that Steve was kind of a jerk at times.  But these stories were, in the end, about making products better.

I’ve learned a lot from watching Steve, Apple, and Pixar over the years.  And I will continue to learn from Steve long after he’s gone.

I just wish it hadn’t been so soon.

Thanks Steve, for everything.

Mac OS X Lion Sneak Peak

March 1, 2011  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Alongside the new (blazing fast) laptops this past week, Apple released the first developer preview of Mac OS X Lion.  In addition to the previously announced features, a few new things were revealed.  So what do we know?

  • Apple seems to be pulling many of the design and usability concepts that have made iOS successful over into desktop Mac OS X.  Included in Lion is better support for full screen applications and Aqua, popovers, overlay scrollbars, and multitouch support reminiscent of the iPad interface.  Not to mention Launchpad, a new “iPad style” application launcher.
  • When Apple discontinued the Xserve, speculation ran wild that Apple was also discontinuing Mac OS X Server.  That’s technically correct (the best kind of correct!) but also wrong.  Mac OS X Server will now simply be an installable feature of Lion.
  • Lion will include built-in support for auto-saving and storing complete version histories of documents.  Users will be able to enter a mode similar to Time Machine showing the entire history of a single document.
  • Applications will be able to support resuming, letting the software return to exactly the place it was when it was opened last time.  This is part of a broader move by Apple to make Mac OS X more iOS-like by eliminating the distinction between applications which are not currently being used and those which the user has Quit.  When applications have implemented Resume, it should allow Mac OS X to be more responsive in low-memory situations without asking users to remember to Quit applications they aren’t currently using.
  • Mail has a revamped interface, which is (you guessed it!) drawn from the iPad.  Ok, yes, there is already a plugin for that.  But it will be nice to have official support.  Plus, the new Mail will include a conversation view and better search tools.  iCal and Address Book have also received an iPad-style makeover.
  • By all accounts, Safari in Lion is faster and more stable.  If they’ve solved the memory issues, it might again become a viable contender to Chrome.  Apple needs to do something here, because Chrome has risen like a rocket while Safari usage has remained fairly low.
  • iChat AV is rumored to be including support for Yahoo Messenger video chat.

Lion sounds like great news for small businesses.  Buying a copy of OS X Server is a big deal for a small business.  At $500 a copy, it’s not cheap.  Lots of thought needs to go into the business case for shelling out that kind of money.  Lion will immediately change the conversation from “should I use Server?” to “how should I use Server?”  But the features I am most excited about are Auto Save and Versions.  Two features, but they work so well together that I think of them as one.  Time Machine is great, but using it is inefficient and often ineffective.  It’s inefficient because I have to leave the application and use the Finder to step through older versions.  And it’s often ineffective because Time Machine only runs once an hour.  I can do a lot of damage to a document in an hour.  A limitless history (via Versions) of every single change I made to a document (via Auto Save, regardless of whether I hit command-S) will be a godsend.

Apple also seems to be making great strides with Lion’s usability.  The mantra for iOS has consistently been that users shouldn’t have to concern themselves with the operating system.  This was apparent when Apple steadfastly refused to allow multitasking on iOS devices until it could be done right.  Users shouldn’t have to fiddle with a process list and kill applications to get good performance.  But the truth is, users of Mac OS X do have to pay attention to that today.  System running a little slow?  Search out some running applications on the dock that you don’t currently need.  Mac OS X Lion, with its Resume feature and reworked interface, should eliminate that step entirely.  Mac OS X should just work.

Likewise the Auto Save and Versions feature helps eliminate the file system.  A user only needs to work with the application and the document.  Thinking about “saving” and “backups” takes the user out of that suspension of disbelief and forces a focus on the OS.

Snow Leopard came across primarily as a maintenance release, so it’s nice to see Apple take some big steps with Lion.  And while Leopard was famous for its 300+ features, I get the sense that Lion includes more new features that will change how I work everyday.  But maybe that’s just because Leopard was released oh so long ago…

The Apple Event – Surprisingly little for business

October 26, 2010  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Last week’s Apple event was a little of a disappointment.  I had been hoping for some good news for Mac business software.  Perhaps a new version of iWork.  Or maybe some powerful new features in Mac OS X Lion.  So I found myself feeling rather empty after the event.  The new MacBook Airs look really cool.  But I don’t really need an ultraportable.  My vintage MacBook Pro is still humming along just fine.  The iLife upgrade is interesting, but not compelling for anything we do in our business.

But Mac OS X Lion was the big disappointment.  I expected to see more than an interface teaser.  I am not sure exactly what I was hoping for, but nothing excited me.  In fact, with the switch to an iOS apps-save-their-state paradigm, Lion raised more questions than anything.  Is every app going to need a major upgrade for Lion?  Memory is already at a premium (my tales of woe with Safari and 50+ open tabs could fill an entire blog).  Hopefully Lion will make better use of our limited resources, rather than requiring big memory upgrades (Vista anyone?).

Well, there’s always January.