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Summary:

With 2009 half way over, we’ve seen a lot of updates from Apple, from new portables to new iPhones and some hot new Pro Apps, but several sections of Apple’s product lineup have not been updated in quite a while. Products such as the Apple TV, […]

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With 2009 half way over, we’ve seen a lot of updates from Apple, from new portables to new iPhones and some hot new Pro Apps, but several sections of Apple’s product lineup have not been updated in quite a while.

Products such as the Apple TV, some software titles, and others are getting a bit long in the tooth. We know our mainstream products like iPods will see an update in the next few months, but what about some of the others? What’s the deal and what could be in store?

Apple TV

Apple TVApple TV, the little iPod for your television, has not seen a hardware update since 2007 when Apple introduced a larger 160GB model. Though there have been price cuts since then, and the introduction of the “Take 2” Apple TV software, the device itself really has not seen any updates since its introduction.

Originally referred to as the fourth leg on a four-leg stool (according to Jobs, referring to Apple’s product lineup), it has since been relegated to a “hobby” and now something that hasn’t seen much attention at all. The hacking community has provided a number of plugins and add ons to allow additional functionality, but Apple has only offered small software updates for compatibility with the Remote app or other products (new AirPort base stations, etc.). The device itself runs a variation of Mac OS 10.4! With the release of Snow Leopard, will we see any updates? Apple calls it a DVD player for the 21st century. I’m quite sure a DVD player for the 21st century involves Blu-ray, so where’s the love?

Aperture

ApertureThe last major version of Aperture (version 2.0) was released in February 2008. Though small updates have been released to provide support for newer camera models, Apple’s own consumer application iPhoto ’09 boosts features that make some Aperture users jealous. Face recognition and geo-tagging support are two such examples that blur the lines between those who might want to use Aperture versus iPhoto. (Aperture of course has a much different market, aiming to compete with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, but still, users do feel a bit left out.)

When Aperture was originally introduced, it was quite a performance hog. To be fair, however, at the time, most Macs were Power PC based. The switch to Intel processors as well as newer versions that included more optimized code allowed for a better experience. No doubt the introduction of Snow Leopard will also bring about further performance improvements to Aperture as well. The question remains though, after Snow Leopard launches will we see new software in October, or will we have to wait until a more appropriate time next year?

As an aside, I do recognize Apple just released new versions of Logic Studio and Final Cut Studio, but in all the fanfare, nothing has been mentioned about anything Snow Leopard specific. With all the “oohs” and “ahhs” of the performance features Snow Leopard is supposed to bring, one would think there could be several areas where these titles could take advantage.

Displays

Apple LED Display with MacBook ProWow. Where to start with this one? Of all the Apple products that seem to carry an “Apple tax,” the displays rank among the highest. Rightfully they should as they are really high quality products. That being said, Apple has silently discontinued both their 20” and 23” displays, opting to replace them both by a very expensive 24” LCD display. The cream of the crop 30” display is only briefly mentioned on Apple’s website with a link to its online store. Where does the future of its displays lie? The mini DisplayPort can handle the high resolution of the 30” Cinema Display, so providing Apple could actually create an LED equivalent, it should be compatible with all of its latest products.

On the entry level side, $899 is still a hefty price for the smallest display. Looking at the iMacs, these displays are still CCFL based (cold cathode fluorescent lighting). This could explain why the LED Display is pricey compared to an entry level iMac which features a slightly smaller display but also a whole computer inside.

Another consideration for displays is the resolution they support. The 17” MacBook Pro features a high resolution 1920×1200 display that is LED-backlit. That resolution is equivalent to the resolution of the 24” LED display and looks really good, considering it’s packed into a display that is seven inches smaller.

Apple desperately needs a smaller entry-level display to replace the now defunct 20” Cinema Display, and the entire lineup could benefit from supporting a higher resolution all around.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

These are just a few examples of products that haven’t really seen great updates lately, but history has taught us that Apple always comes through and woos its fans.

My question to you, the readers, is this: Do you think that Apple has been allocating all of its resources into completing Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3.0 launch? Or, do you think the neglect that some of these other projects have seen is because Apple has been focusing its development efforts on some as-of-yet unannounced new product, like the rumored tablet? We’ve seen some great new products this year, but even the latest versions of Logic Studio and Final Cut Studio aren’t entirely revolutionary. They didn’t even garner a media event.

My personal opinion is that this is the case and Apple has been working to complete Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3.0 OS, but has been focusing a major portion of its team on something we don’t know about yet. Remember what Steve always says: When the economy is rough, Apple’s solution is to innovate its way to success. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. I feel the “no longer supported” pain. I looked up Snow Leopard support for PPC today after having bought a used G5 Quad Core a couple months ago – bad news – Snow Leopard won’t run on it. Apparently a few Snow Leopard beta’s DID have PPC support but the GM won’t… That’s too bad for a such buff machine to be stuck with Leopard!

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    1. Too bad – but Snow Leopard being Intel-only has been rumored for a long time and actually known for months. You should have checked your facts before buying a machine with an old architecture. Still, don’t be too upset – a G5 Quad-Core with Leopard will rock and I hope it will last you for a few years. “Stuck with Leopard” is an interesting phrase, I have many clients still using 10.4 Tiger and doing their work really well. An upgrade to Leopard for them would be heaven.

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  2. iThink whatever Apple does they should take their time and not let them rush by the cycles of other manufacturers. A thought out, well crafted product is always better then a rushed half finished one. I dont feel the need to have some revolutionary updates every single month. Let Apple have the time it needs, then we get back the products that we love and what we can be proud of.

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  3. I’m hoping that (like the silent Final Cut and Logic Updates) Aperture will be getting a nice update soon. I really love that program, but I would love to see some better brush support, maybe masking, face recognition, etc… I can always export to Photoshop, but the more work I can do in Aperture the better.

    Mike, I feel your pain, but I’m happy they’re leaving PPC support behind. This is old tech, and allows them to be more agile in their coding. This is what hampers Windows, and I’m quite happy that Apple is quick to move on.

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  4. Time capsule was also just updated, from 500 GB to 1 TB and 1TB to 2 TB.

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  5. How about Apple Mail and it’s *NEVER-ENDING* Password Problems. Was there ever a software update or fix for Mail?

    For *years* I’ve been trying to solve this – and there is no known solution.

    Mail continuously fails to log into a POP server – then demands you to enter the password AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN & …

    When that fails – the ONLY solution is deleting the account – and creating a new account with the same settings. Then … it *ALWAYS* happens again. Could be a week or 10 minutes – and the hassle continues forever.

    At docs.info.apple.com … Apple offers 4 “suggestions” at fixing this. The only one that works is the 4th; deleting the account. The more accounts you have, the more you have to keep repeating this – over and over.

    I know from experience what the problem isn’t – it’s not the mail servers, it’s Apple Mail’s failure with the servers. Any hiccup (busy server) and Mail goes on tilt. I’m an affiliate marketer and have different email accounts with different domains – several accounts with my ISP and several other accounts. Apple Mail continuously fails with every single account – except ONE: machighway.com. “They use a Mac server.”

    With any POP account using UNIX, Windows or NT servers, Apple Mail’s password nightmare continues like clockwork.

    Look at the categories under Apple Discussion. See anything missing? You guessed it – not a whisper of Apple Mail. There is nothing for “Email password errors” at support.apple.com – and Apple Mail isn’t even listed under Products for Advanced Search at their support page.

    Apple has been aware of this problem for YEARS and nothing has been done so I’ve had it – and I’m done with this piece of junk and looking for a real email client.

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    1. @ David
      I’ve had this Mail issue as well, though after canceling the pop-up dialog ad infinitum (and sometimes quiting and restarting mail) it seems to right itself.

      And here I had thought it was just me….
      Misery loves company

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    2. I actually fixed this problem. I will check my settings on my MacBook when I get home and try to remember what I did.

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    3. Im not an apple user yet (i have an iphone at home waiting for me when i get back from holidays and my next laptop will be apple too)… would you not just use entourage? or is that a silly question?

      the same thing use to happen to me with outlook – but they fixed that bug about 5 years ago.

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    4. Have you tried other alternatives like Thunderbird, or Postbox? These are great mail clients. I’d give ‘em a shot. Either that, or switch to IMAP, if that’s an option. Or just continually call Apple Support. :)

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  6. In my opinion is that this is the case and Apple has been working to complete Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3.0 OS, but has been focusing a major portion of its team on something we don’t know about yet.

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  7. How about a 24” display for professionals. God forbid they make the 30” in the glare variety when they update it!

    Apple TV makes no sense. Should be really easy to make viable.

    Displays make no sense. These are supposed to be targeted toward professionals, not entertainment markets.

    I think the time has been spent on the iPhone hardware and software and moving into new markets around the world. That’s been a huge and entirely new business for the company.

    But with all their billions in the bank and intentionally limited product line, there is no excuse really.

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  8. As a professional photographer who depends on Aperture every day the lack of updates and innovation to the application is disappointing. I have been using Aperture since version 1 and it just seems Adobe is surpassing Aperture with Lightroom every day. Frankly, Apple should just use its stock pile of cash and buy Adobe.

    I am also an Apple TV owner and love it but hate the lack of updates! The 160 gb drive is useless in this world today.

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  9. You suggest that resources are being diverted to the iTablet in a general cross-company way, but here is my theory: they are being diverted to the iTablet in a product-specific way. The iTablet will run a full version of Snow Leopard and all the major Apple Apps will be tweaked and optimized for multi-touch finger control. Apple is in the midst of a total paradigm shift from traditional mousing and keyboard control to a world where much more is done through direct multi-touch interactions. All the apps have to have their GUIs totally re-thought, thus existing versions are not getting a lot of love while that is in process. Just sayin’.

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  10. Kelly – Thanks for chiming in. Yes I’ve tried canceling the pop-up dialog – restarting ect. Most of the time that doesn’t work so I go straight to canceling the account.

    Email is central to our online lives and used daily. With that in mind, I find this beyond belief:

    If you go to discussions.apple.com/index.jspa … all Apple products are listed for discussion except Mail. It’s as if they have abandoned the app. More likely – they don’t want a discussion thread. When you have an app that’s worse than a Wincrap app – they don’t want it talked about. Yet, this problem has prevailed for YEARS with no fix.

    Matt – Please let us know what you did. I’ve “fixed it” too – but it ALWAYS returns.

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    1. David,
      The Apple discussion boards do areas dedicated to Mail, they’re just sub-areas of the OS discussions. Here’s a link to the discussion area for Leopard Mail:
      http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=1223&start=0
      And here’s a thread that may address your issue (which does sound like it may be a Keychain problem):
      http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=9808635&#9808635
      Or maybe here:
      http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=9475004&#9475004

      Good luck!

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