Scott Guthrie shows off Silverlight 2 … on a Mac!

The beta of Silverlight 2 is likely to be released after its been shown off at MIX in a couple of weeks time. But to wet everyone’s appetite, Scott Guthrie – the boss of the team writing Silverlight 2 – has shown some early screenshots of it in action.

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Nothing too exciting except for the fact that they are Mac screenshots! What is the world coming to when a Microsoft General Manager within the Microsoft Developer Division shows off Mac screenshots? I used to think that Microsoft employees were instantly sacked even for saying the word, let alone using one!

At Mix:UK last year, Scott did tell me that he viewed Linux, OS X etc as “arch friends”. Looks like he was serious…

If you thought the MacBook Air was pointless eye candy; you ain’t seen nothing yet

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As I may have hinted at in the past, I feel the MacBook Air is a classic case of style over substance: all looks and no brains. However it is possible to part with even more cash, to make this product even more pointlessly-expensive eye-candy. Fancy a pink or blue one? Metallic green? How about a glowing orange logo? What about all of the above? Unbelievably this is possible if you buy one from ColorWare, and it can be yours for a mere $620 more than the already overpriced envelope-filler’s basic cost.

Thanks to Trevor Marshall for the link.

Mac Users are “self centred, arrogant and conceited”

A couple of people have recently suggested to me that I seem to have a thing against Apple. Whilst untrue, this post will do nothing to dispel that view 😉

TheStreet.com has a light-hearted video that summarises market research into the stereotypical Mac user. Aside from claiming they are self centred, arrogant and conceited, apparently the average (American) Mac user eats organic food, drives a tank (they are called “station wagons” in the USA apparently), buys five pairs of trainers (sneakers) a year and is worried about green issues. I can’t quite square the last one with driving some ridiculously big car, but that’s them “crazy Americans” for you…

MacBook Air’s Battery is User-Replacable After all (for a Given Value of User-Replacable)

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According to the tech site iFixit.com, users can replace their own MacBook Air battery. The user “simply” needs to remove 19 #00 Philips screws to do so. As iFixit.com puts it:

Replacing the battery is straightforward, but not something you’ll be doing when your battery dies mid-flight.

This of course shouldn’t be a problem. After all if you are rich enough, and stupid enough, to buy this piece of pointless eye candy and then try to use it as a real computer, you are likely to just employ a man simply to replace the battery mid-flight for you…

MacBook Air: Style Over Substance or Another Winner for Apple?

It is one of the worst kept secrets in recent years: Apple were due to unveil a slimline Mac laptop at this year’s Macworld expo. And Steve Jobs dutifully did reveal it. It costs a small fortune; has a low speed CPU; has no built in DVD drive. However it is claimed to be the slimmest laptop in the history of the universe and only weighs around 3lb (less than 1.5kg).

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So what does one get for $1799 (or around $2400 if you live in Britain, but it is OK, we are used to US companies ripping us off. Adobe charge double for their products here, so 33% more expensive than the USA ain’t that bad)? A 4200 RPM (ie sloooooow) 80Gb hard-disk, a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo (the substantially cheaper, but heavier MacBook offers a 2.0GHz CPU) and a super-thin, super-light case. The Macworld site has a good summary of its specs.

Obviously the Mac fanboys are already discussing buying it. But should the ordinary person buy one? In my view, this is a step too far down the style-over-substance path by Apple and it would be a bloody stupid idea to buy one. If you want a Mac laptop, buy a MacBook Pro ($100 more for so many more features). If you want a lightweight laptop, buy an Asus Eee PC and save yourself $1300 in the USA or £1000 (around $2000) here in Britain.

Apple loses its shine as Leopard brings it out in spots

osxleopard.pngApple have, in recent years, turned the Mac from a specialist machine used by those focused upon graphic design and video to a functional object of desire for developers, designers and general users of all types. Hardware prices are comparable with PCs, the OS both looks good and is rock solid and it seems to lack the problems that plague the Windows world…

… Then came Leopard. Many reports abound of it being a nightmare to install, of it eating battery power, of frozen keyboards and of glitch-ridden applications. In fact, previous public advocates of the Mac have taken to apologising to their audience in advance when doing presentations due to the high risk of a problem occurring during a presentation.

So has Apple’s bubble burst? Have they created a product so bad that people will flee from OS X to Vista? Probably not, but it shows the danger of trying to innovate too fast. I have recently being listening to a set of podcasts by the innovation guru Phil McKinney. One of his key messages is to do with the innovation funnel, whereby hundreds of ideas are whittled down to one or two innovations. It strikes me that Apple – normally the Kings of Innovation – simply bit off more than they could chew with trying to develop Leopard, the iPhone and the iPod touch at the same time. Perhaps it’s simply a case of too many killer innovations spoil the apple stew.