Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A short little Apple rant.

Update (2/24/2009): Since writing this rant a little over a year ago, Apple has finally adopted a new technology, though not HDMI, which I was hoping for. Apple has implemented this new MiniDisplay port into it's new line of laptops (as well as their NEW Cinema Display which I ranted about in the original post) and says that they plan on implementing the new Mini DisplayPort into their entire line of Macs soon. It's nice to see that Apple finally adopted a new technology over the aging DVI spec. The new Mini DisplayPort supports higher bandwidth, than DVI and HDMI though it does lack the convenience of having both the audio and video in one connection like HDMI. Though the more I think about this "convenience" the more I think it might not have been so convenient. For example, yes for TVs and Home Theater applications, HDMI is incredibly convenient. Both audio and video over one cable is both elegant and easy for your average consumer to hook-up. However, I mostly use a set of 2.1 or 5.1 speakers combined with my computer setups and having the audio and video streamed to my monitor may just add another bit of confusion into the setup, and that is how to get the audio then from the monitor, to output to the speakers.

Lastly it's nice to know that Apple is continuing it's tradition with adopting industry (and often times open!) standards. According to this Ars Technica post, Apple is offering free licensing for the new Mini DisplayPort spec. This is exciting news and hopefully we'll start seeing some third party cables, adaptors, and monitors that will start integrating the spec!

Original Post (1/30/2008): (As mentioned in earlier posts, one of the greatest parts about Apple is the fact that they are constantly raising the bar when it comes to being the most up-to-date with the latest industry standards. Whether it be AAC, h.264, USB, Firewire, Flat Panels, Bluetooth 2.1, the list goes on. So WHY Apple, WHY have you not implemented HDMI into all of your products yet?! You'd think that, Apple, who's often been criticized for putting form before function, should be all about implementing HDMI. HDMI is a single interface that can carry both High Definition video, as well as 7.1 surround sound audio, all in one tiny package, that is remarkably smaller and sleeker than it's predecessor DVI.

So let's recap here, smaller connection, no screws making it look like an old legacy connection (see: Parallel Port), higher bandwidth, single cable rather than two, it just makes sense to me.

An argument that one could make about part of my last statement could be the move to Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI. If you take a look at Apple's line of computers, the iMac, Macbook (though not Pro) and Macbook Air all incorporate a physically smaller connection than your regular old DVI connection. These models incorporate Mini-DVI (iMac and Macbook) and the newly announced "Micro-DVI" (Macbook Air). While this is a nice attempt at making DVI small and pretty, (and thank god it loses those screws!) this is still a pretty crappy solution since this means shelling out an extra $20 bucks for an adaptor. Some might say that these interfaces are proprietary, I don't know if I'd go as far as to say that much, but they definitely do seem to only be found on Apple computers (which I guess you could say is essentially proprietary). So c'mon Apple, what happened to industry "standards."

Another argument that some people say is that this might cannibalize or discourage sales of apple's own AppleTV, since the new Front Row 2.0 resembles and functions very similar to that of the first generation AppleTV (generation that existed during the release of Leopard). But I think that now Apple has released AppleTV "take 2," which offers a lot of new functionality, such as "Computer-Free" downloads, rentals, etc.. This furthers the gap between Front Row 2.0 and AppleTV, and this almost completely destroys this argument.

Lastly, Apple's Cinema Displays are so out-dated it's pretty sickening. Back when I was shopping around for an LCD, back in March of 2006, I lusted for an Apple Cinema Display, but knew that I couldn't afford the hefty price tag. At the time the price for the introductory 20" Cinema Display was I believe $799 but I could be wrong on this. This compared to the Dell 2005fpw which I ultimately ended up with that could be picked up for as low as $500 at the time, the choice was pretty much obvious, considering both displays used the same LG panel inside. I could go on and on explaining why I chose the Dell over the Cinema Display, and I could even write an entire post about my beef with Apple's Displays, but that will have to wait for another time. Anyways, Apple's prices and specs of their displays are outdated. Where's the built in iSight? I'm hoping that sooner rather than later we see a revision to this Cinema Display line and then maybe, just MAYBE this will finally push Apple over the edge and adapt HDMI, if even only just as an option.

Wow that ended up being a little longer than I had expected.

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