Friday, August 29, 2008


With no disrespect intended toward my simian brothers, have the Apple industrial designers all been replaced by monkeys?

I recently upgraded (though "upgrade" may be a generous term) my iPhone to an iPhone 3G and, at about the same time, inherited a MacBook Air from my lovely wife. After about four months of trying to learn to love the Mac Way, she had finally given up and gone back to her beloved ThinkPad laptop running Windows.

Strike One (iPhone 3G): The first thing I noticed with my new iPhone is that it's slightly wider than the previous version. Just wide enough, in fact, that it won't fit into my lovely iPhone / Apple Bluetooth headset charger. Thanks a lot, Apple.

Strike Two (iPhone 3G): This one's been talked about elsewhere, but why-oh-why did Apple decide it was a good idea to save the $0.14 per device by not supporting all those existing 3rd party chargers that use the FireWire lines (in other words, ALL of the 3rd party chargers I've seen that were produced before the 3G came out.) The Apple interface on my Alpine car deck? Useless. The speakers on my bedside table? Useless. Thanks again guys.

Strike Three (Air): So apparently there's the DVI standard as I and the rest of the computing industry understand it, and then there's Apple's creative interpretation of it. I have a number of monitors in my house, some new digital ones and some old analog ones. In addition, I regularly need to connect to a variety of video projectors to give presentations. I assume I am not alone here. The Air comes with a little adapter that converts from its ultra-slim version of DVI to the DVI that the rest of the industry understands. With. one. little. exception... For some reason that's not at all clear to me, they decided not to support the 4 analog signal pins (the ones on either side of the "blade" on the DVI connector). This means that no industry standard DVI-Analog adapter will fit their connector. Now, don't misunderstand -- the slim-DVI (or whatever it's called) port on the Air supports analog. I know this because they sell an addition proprietary adapter for the analog connection. Somebody at Apple just decided it would be a good idea to force me to buy their special adapter rather than use the one I already have. The end result here is that I got to be in a meeting this morning that started with "hey, that's a Mac Air, how cool" and ended with me giving my presentation on a borrowed Windows machine and "hey, that's a Mac Air, it makes a very pretty paper-weight."

Well, at least you're getting paid for that additional adapter -- congratulations guys, would you like that in dollars or bananas?

1 comment:

Eudamon said...

Ron glad to see you are still raving on about important stuff.
In this case, the of course the air is not a full featured laptop. I fair comparison is to the Lenovo x300 and which vista takes about 4 minutes to start up :)