Apple’s MacBook Line-Up And Where We Go from Here

Over the last two years, we have seen some great updates to the venerable MacBook Pro line-up. Notably with the introduction of a all-glass trackpad in the 2008 redesign. Since then, we have seen 4 finger swipe gestures added and now “inertial scrolling” in the latest 2010 models.

So where do we go from here? We now have iOS like gestures added to the trackpad in MacBook Pro, but what next? I would say since Apple now has a ton of experience building capacitive based devices (both the iPhone and now larger display iPad), that we could see a MacBook Pro with capacitive display in the future.

Speaking of capacitive displays, I’m curious as to how long it will be before the actual physical keyboard in MacBooks get replaced with a glass based capacitive version? Many cling to physical keyboards still, but since iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches are so ubiquitous now, it’s one more thing that should eventually happen. I don’t think it’s disingenuous to say that we will continue to see far more iOS device features trickle down into many parts of Apple’s product line-up. I’m sure many couldn’t even conceive the notion 2-3 years ago that we would see capacitive based mice from this company, let alone something even like the newly released Magic Trackpad, where it’s currently being marked as an addition to your current mouse. Where will Apple take this though? Will we see the eventual decline of mice with Magic Trackpads? I’m sure there will be a niche for a considerable time going forward for physical mice, however, it stands to reason that Apple is already thinking, “how can we replace mice?” This is just the kind of company Apple is. They think big and tend to execute huge ideas. Many times they get a lot of flack for things, however, eventually we see massive adoption and then everything seems totally normal. We may even wonder on a daily basis in the future, “how the hell did I do anything with a physical keyboard and mouse before? That was so archaic!

Segway to another important, but related topic. There has been a lot of buzz recently that Apple “doesn’t seem to care” about OSX as a desktop OS anymore, but I think that couldn’t be farther from the truth. What if Apple replaced Front Row with a layer of iOS in OSX? Think about this for a moment.

We could easily see Apple build 13”, 15”, and 17” capacitive displays for MacBook Pros in the near future. How fantastic would it be as an intermediary step towards a completely desktop based iOS? You could use an “old school” mouse and keyboard to get serious work done in OSX, but then switch to an iOS layer for media consumption like renting or watching movies (as you would normally with Front Row now). While in the iOS layer of OSX, you would simply touch the MacBook display and use all of the natural gestures you are so use to on your iOS devices. Now that would be really something.

Is it realistic to think this will happen? Absolutely. I think it’s just a matter of time. Maybe this won’t happen in the next year or two, but 3-5 years out? Why not?

WWDC in 2011 should be an interesting time to see what Apple has been cooking up for OSX 10.7. I’m super excited about where we’re headed.

Thoughts on Staying Motivated And Passionate about Writing

Being a good writer is hard. Finding the inspiration and patience to keep writing on a regular basis is also a constant battle.

For the longest time I found that starting a blog was difficult. The first question I asked myself was “who the hell wants to read what I write?” It’s highly likely that many other people think the exact same thing I did.

A major breakthrough for me that helped me completely get over many obstacles was to just STOP worrying about what specific topics to write about and if they would be any good.

Here is a short list of things that held me back from writing:

  • Who the hell wants to read what I write?
  • Who cares what I have to say?
  • Who is actually visiting my blog?
  • Can I make money from writing?

This may seem obvious, but I have now come to the point where I don’t really care all that much about any of these issues (if they were even issues to begin with). I know myself pretty well and what I’m good at. So that’s EXACTLY what I tend to write about. It’s extremely important that you really get your thoughts down on topics that you really are passionate about, and write like crazy. If you don’t do this, then why are you bothering? What are you trying to prove?

I recently read Gary Vaynerchuck’s book Crush It. It’s seriously a fantastic read and I recommend it. Gary makes one really solid point in this book. Whatever you are going to do, make sure it’s something that you are super passionate about. This has really helped me stay interested in continuing my writing efforts on this weblog. I tend to write about topics that I find interesting, and that other people may find interesting. What people might those be? The technology obsessed.

I also tend to write about non-tech related topics. And why not? I use to be constantly focused on just posting tech related topics, but then I decided that I wasn’t John Gruber and that I should just write about whatever I find interesting.

If there is anything that you can take away from this post, it’s that you shouldn’t let anything hold you back from writing. Throw out all of your pre conceived notions and worries. One other thing, don’t worry about making money on your blog at first. The last thing you want is to litter your blog with ugly text based ads and try to get pushy about selling stuff to your readers.

Focus on your content and add value and engage with your readers and speak from the heart. Be yourself and don’t worry about being the next Mashable, Techcrunch, or Daring Fireball.

Amazon Needs To do Better than $379 for The Kindle DX

So Amazon has started taking pre-orders for the new Kindle DX. If Amazon wants to compete with Apple, the Kindle DX needs to be dramatically cheaper than an iPad. Cheaper to the point where you won’t think twice about spending just a bit more.

At $379 USD for a DX, you can get into an entry level (I hate calling it “entry level” but you know what I mean) iPad for $499.

Don’t get me wrong, I think competition is great and the new features that the DX boasts are great improvements, it’s just that the price is a real sore point for what you get.

Adobe’s Flash Platform Will Live on, But Not on The Web

Okay, I’m going to make this short and sweet. The general consensus and buzz going on about Apple putting the kibosh on Adobe is warranted.

I think Flash usage/adoption will drastically decline over the next 12 months. In fact, I’d go as far to say that no one will use Flash on the web at some point in the future. I very well could be wrong here, but it’s not looking good right now for Adobe.

However, I think Adobe’s Flash platform will live on in just one place, and that is the animation industry.

My girlfriend is a professional animator and she is trained in various pro apps including Toonboom Harmony and Adobe Flash. Using Flash as a full blown animation tool for producing TV shows is extremely common in her industry. Somehow I doubt Flash would be dropped for another program that far less people are adept in.

Flash is going to be here for a long time. It’s so pervasive and is so widely adopted that it’s going to take considerable time for it to go away. Who knows, maybe it will, maybe it won’t.

On desktop platforms, Flash pretty usable on Windows, however, on OSX their plug-in is extremely unreliable (cough CPU cycles).

Adobe labs is currently beta testing Flash player 10.1, which will add GPU assisted acceleration for video in Windows. This is something that won’t happen for now on OSX, which is really unfortunate.

On OSX, I’d love to be able to avoid Flash content completely. For the most part, I manage pretty well. I’ve come across a gem though that I can’t live without. If you’re running Safari, go and get ClickToFlash.

ClickToFlash works great for blocking Flash content. Since the only site I visit on a consistent basis that contains Flash video is Youtube, I rarely need to bother with it. Recently Youtube has started testing HTML5 video playback that you can opt-in if you want to try it. When you go to you can enable the option. Not all videos are available in HTML5, but it’s definitely a work in progress.

All that said, I’m pretty optimistic about what’s in store and I tend to agree with Apple that HTML5 in conjunction with CSS3 and Javascript will be the answer to many annoyances that Flash bring.

Speaking of HTML5, what Apple is bringing to the table with iAd is extremely impressive. I know it seems hardly intriguing or exciting to to hear about a new way of delivering ads, but Apple has managed to accomplish something truly elegant here.

The Pains of Moving Blogging Services

It appears that Tumblr has had an export utility available in beta for OSX that supposedly works well for exporting your content. Now if only Posterous could offer something like this. I made the mistake of starting my blog using Posterous without thinking about an exit strategy and now I find myself at an impasse.

I was able to find a third party Python script on Github that exports your posts, but I don’t really know Python, nor do I have a webserver to test this on.

I suppose, even if I managed to get a data dump of my posts, Tumblr won’t allow me to import my posts unless it’s from a supported platform. There are two main reasons for the switch to Tumblr, A) Better themes and B) a proper API that allows me to use my writing tool of choice, Marsedit. Has anyone had any experience with moving from Posterous to Tumblr? My other concern is Google Analytics tracking which I suppose will also break during the move.

I’d love to hear anyones thoughts.