Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not an Apple Fangirl, I’m actually a Windows Fangirl who uses Apple Products. Although, I’m seriously considering switching back to Windows because I’m tired of getting gear that doesn’t play nicely with my Macbook and I don’t particularly like running Parallels. I find it slow, sluggish and just a bit silly using Windows on a Mac. But today it’s the start of Apple’s annual dog and pony show WWDC where we’re expected to get an announcement of new iPhones. I just signed a contract with AT&T for my current iPhone, so I’m looking forward to upgrading to the new rumored 32-gig model (what I’d love is for Apple to surprise us and give us an 80 Gig iPhone). When I do, I’ll probably have a contest here to give away my old 32-Gig iPod Touch. So far I’m digging my iPhone, although when I was in Salem, VA last week there was no 3G to be found and my phone was basically “Useless,” as an Internet device.
The rumor and fanboy (re: Press) spooging hasn’t been that bad leading up to this event, maybe it’s because everyone has been focused on E3 and the Palm Pre launch that they didn’t have the energy to go into full hype overload, but it’ll happen this evening. The latest rumors says the iPhone will come in new sizes 4 and 32 Gigs, feature a FM Radio, and a built in Video Camera. Like I said, I’m going to be stuck with the iPhone eco-system for the next two years, so I’ll be getting the latest model as long as it’s at least 32-gigs. The Press Conference starts today at 1pm EST, I recommend checking out Engadget.com, if you must get up to the minute announcements. I’ll do a wrap up tonight.
A few months ago at CES I spent a few minutes with Ms. Julie Barkley, a part time dental hygienist-mom and the creator of something called the EarBud YoYo. She’s marketing the Earbud Yo-Yo as similar to a piece of costume jewelry, a wardrobe accessory for iPod users. After patenting the idea and trade marking the name, Barkley formed Covington Creations, appointed herself CEO, raised capital, bid out the manufacturing, developed a marketing plan, and launched the product for sale.
They sent me a sample a few months ago and I’ll admit it, I don’t get it. The product is shaped like, yes, a YoYo with a little rod in the middle. You can use it to wrap your headphones around it keeping your headphone cable clean and easy to manage. It’s weird that they aren’t marketing the YoYo this way. It’s available in a ton of different colors and designs for $10.99. Check out their website at https://www.covington-creations.com/products.php.
Earlier this Apple released the latest version of their AppleTV product. I found the improvements to the service intriguing, but I wasn’t about the pay more than $200 for the product. I already have an iPod and frankly I can’t stand Apple products. A few days after this announcement I received an email from a small company called Tekkeon. They have an interesting product called a NavDoc, for less than $140 you can turn your iPod into a nifty AppleTV clone. NavDock includes a 16-button dockable remote with a five-way navigation pad and quick keys that jump directly to the videos, photos, music or settings menus to lets users adjust or mute volume, shuffle, repeat or skip songs, and fast forward or rewind through music or videos. What sets this product apart from other TV Docs that I’ve tried is it includes an onscreen menu, so you don’t have to keep getting up to manually change your iPod. The onscreen navigation works fairly well, although it does take a few minutes to figure out how to get in and out of your Podcasts. The menu is pretty and the fonts are nice and big. I wish it would scale the picture so that video podcast would crisper and cleaner. For instance when I watch video Podcasts on my Tivo box, they generally look really good. That’s because they are made specifically for that format. The same with AppleTV, video is made specifically for the larger format.
The Navdoc also supports all iPod media. So you can use it to play video, music, and photos on your slide show. The remote is very straight forward and full featured, but fast forwarding and rewinding still leaves a lot to desired and doesn’t always work properly. Sometimes it’ll skip to the end or beginning of your media, but rarely lets you manually skip around. At times it’s a little frustrating. Connecting the doc to your television is simple, just plug the composite cables into your tv, doc your iPod and you are ready to go. The unit itself is a little big, but it is lightweight making it something that I would consider taking with me on my next trip. It could use some improvements and tweaks, but the system does achieve it’s limited goals well. I love watching video Podcasts, and this is a great way to do it on your TV.
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Final Grade B
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 4/6/08
Last year Microsoft launched the first version of its wannabe iPod killer, the Zune last year to a big fat yawn from the public and tech critics alike. The original device was pretty fugly from a hardware standpoint, its colors muted and drab, and the software itself pretty lame. There was just no compelling reason to get a Zune over an iPod. But the one thing I’ve always admired about Microsoft is once they make up their minds to get into something, they keep at it until they get it right – usually it takes about 3 or 4 iterations for this to happen, but it does happen. Yesterday they announced the Zune 2.0 and it’s shaping up nicely. Continue reading Zune could finally compete with the iPod. By Jenny Zwick