Tag Archives: iPod Touch

App Store for Macs

Wow!  Apple is clever…   they seem to have recognised and acknowledged the ease and success of the App Store on the iPhone, iPad, iPodTouch platform and expanded this to their personal computer market.

Yep, if you haven’t heard – the latest update of the OSX operating system introduces the App Store to Macs.

What a great idea!!  I can definitely see myself buying and downloading apps and games, especially if they’re competitively priced.  So consumers will now get more out of the Macs.  And this will also encourage developers to write more applications and games for Macs since the distribution model is all there – the App Store is just too easy to buy and install a new application or game!!   I wonder if this will convert users who have iPhones but Windows computers at home to a Mac too.

The first thing I looked up was the new iLife 2011 upgrade.   I was thinking – maybe I can upgrade the parts I want, like maybe just iPhoto.   So I did some price comparisons between the Australian Apple Store and the AppStore.

Retail Store Price – iLife ’11  (iPhoto 11, iMovie 11, GarageBand 11 + existing iDVD and iWeb) = AUD $69

Retail Store Price – iLife ’11 Family Pack (As above but install on up to 5 computers in the house) =  AUD $99

App Store Price –  iPhoto $17.99 + iMovie $17.99 + GarageBand $17.99 = AUD $53.97

So, it looks like if you only have 1 Mac at home to upgrade to iLife ’11, it’s cheaper to buy it through the App Store than off the shelf.  But if you have more than 1 Mac, it’s already cheaper to buy the Family Pack off the net.   But if you don’t need all the new iLife applications for the whole family – for example, if I only wanted to upgrade to iPhoto and no-one else, it’s definitely cheaper to buy it through the App Store.

But then I had an idea – one really valuable aspect of the iPhone App Store is that I can buy a game once, and then my family can also install this for free on their iDevices thanks to Home Sharing.  I’ve done a bit of Googling but can’t seem to find any mention of Home Sharing for the Mac App Store, which is disappointing.  Why should I be able to share Angry Birds between my iPhone, my wife’s iPhone and Little Miss 11’s iPod Touch, but not Angry Birds for the Mac to my wife’s Mac?   Apple – any Home Sharing planned?   I guess not being part of the iTunes framework might make it technically hard to do this?

So how does the purchasing and installation experience work?  Just the same as the iPhone platform.  After signing in with my App Store account, I clicked the “Free” button for a few of the free applications like EverNote and MindNode.   My dock showed them downloading and they just installed seamlessly to my Applications folder.  I did notice that downloaded applications seemed to be pinned to the dock by default.   Arghh!!   Does this have to be the default?   I guess it might help the newbie Mum and Dad who wondered where their purchase went, but this could cause a lot of clutter!!!!

Actually, on clutter – I think people’s Macs will now get cluttered with useless applications and games!

Anyways, I can see my whole weekend taken up by browsing all these apps I never knew existed for the Mac.  I expect that it will take a few weeks/months for the App Store rankings to settle down and be more meaningful too.   I can’t wait until more commercial and common software is available through the App Store for easy purchasing and/or installation – Adobe, Sibelius, Firefox, Chrome?


Sharing your media around the house

I have CDs in mp3 format and videos that I have now centralised onto a massive hard drive at home.   And I want to be able to listen and view these around my house at home.   Like on my TV, on my home stereo, on my portable iPod docking speakers.

Simple request?  I think so.

Simple answer?  Not really.

I’m started drawing up this list of solutions as it may help others out there in the same position as me.


Scenario 1: Video stored on Server, Controlled by iPhone, Viewed on iPhone

Use Air Video.  Best thing about this is that Air Video will transcode media on the fly so that it will “just work” on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Scenario 2:Video stored on Server, Controlled by PS3, Viewed on PS3

Use PS3 Media Server.  Best thing about this is that PS3 Media Server will transcode media on the fly so that it will “just work” on the PS3.  PS3 Media Server is what is referred to as a DLNA Server – which means devices that support the DLNA protocol (like the PS3 and XBOX360) will be able to talk to it.

Scenario 3: Video stored on Server, Controlled by family member’s PC, Viewed on family member’s PC

I’m not sure what’s best here at the moment.  Just use folder sharing?  This seems a bit “backward”!  I’m still looking for a really easy to use, nice looking DLNA client program for the Mac.  Might try XBMC (Xbox Media Center – a piece of software that was originally designed to turn an old XBOX into a Media Center, but now exists on many different platforms).

Scenario 4: Music stored on Server, Controlled by Server, Listen on Home Stereo

Use iTunes on Server, output to Airport Express speaker connected to Home Stereo

Scenario 5: Music stored on Server, Controlled by iPhone, Listen on Home Stereo (practically the same as above)

Use iTunes on Server, output to Airport Express speaker connected to Home Stereo, use Apple Remote on iPhone to control iTunes on server

Scenario 6: Music stored on Server, Controlled by PS3, Listen on PS3

Use PS3 Media Server running on Server, PS3 automatically recognises PS3 Media Server.

Scenario 7: Music stored on Server, Controlled by iPhone, Listen on iPhone (or speakers with iPhone dock)

Not sure.  Airfoil nearly gets there but due to no multi-tasking, you can’t run the Remote application and the Airfoil application at the same time on the iPhone.  Other third party solutions include Dot.tunes and Orb. 

Scenario 8: Music stored on Server, Controlled by family member’s PC, Listen on family member’s PC

Use iTunes on Server, use iTunes on other PC, setup with iTunes Home Sharing


So it seems you still need a few different bits of software to achieve what really should be simple. 

Running a half Apple setup at home, iTunes is a good fit.  However, additional things to make it all work include Air Video, Airfoil and PS3 Media Server.   However, I’m now running THREE different media server applications – iTunes, Air Video and PS3 Media Server.  This is ridiculous!  It would best if I only had to run one.  Why can’t iTunes do it all?  

There also seems to be much overlap between Air Video and PS3 Media Server too – they both do transcoding and make media libraries easily accessible via other devices – these guys should join forces or something. 

Also, it seems really restricted and limiting that I can access my iTunes libraries on other family member’s PCs, but I can’t on my own iPhone at home.   Apple – are you listening?  You really need to expand Home Sharing to iPhones and iPod Touches.  I would love to have the gigabytes of music on my server natively accessible to my iPhone at home.  It would make my iPod docking speakers a true media extension for my home.

The day when it all just works simply without the user having to figure out which application to use for what purpose – that’ll be the day when technology really starts helping us instead of users being slaves.

Related Links

PS3 Media Server: http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/

Air Video: http://www.inmethod.com/

Airfoil: http://www.rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/

XBMC: http://xbmc.org/