• Weekend News

    Apple's annual music event takes place this Thursday, and as the countdown approaches zero all your favourite tech pundits have been speculating. First up is John Gruber, who has a fairly reliable record when it comes to keynote predictions. Few specifics have been mentioned as yet, but he does expect Game Center to debut with iOS 4.1, which he predicts won't be available until later in the year for iPad (under a 4.2 version number), along with "a new iPhone 4-caliber iPod Touch (retina display, dual FaceTime-ready cameras), new iTunes TV show rentals, and a new iOS-based Apple TV" (Apple Event - Daring Fireball).

    Dave Caolo chimes in with most of the common rumours, adding some sourced information about 99c TV show rentals "with new episodes becoming available just 24 hours after their original air time". Don't hold your breath for that one here in Australia though, Apple usually launches iTunes Store additions in the US before anywhere else, and when they do come here expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $1.19 (In Brief: September 1 Apple event - TUAW).

    Looking at Apple's press invitation for the 2010 event, it's hard to believe this will focus on television and gaming - but that's not necessarily the case. A chronology of the last seventeen Apple events show that taglines and graphics often have very little effect on what is subsequently announced, except for a few well known exceptions (such as the "There's Something In The Air" tagline at Macworld 2008, where the MacBook Air was introduced). So keep your hopes up for Apple TV Take 3 on Thursday morning (Apple Events Chronology - AAPLinvestors)!

    While most of Apple's faithful have now made the switch from the older PowerPC processor to the new Intel architecture required by Snow Leopard and the bulk of new Mac apps, some are still going strong with Leopard on iBooks (not that kind!), PowerBooks, iMacs and Power Macs. One of the last bastions of PPC support was Mozilla, but it now looks as if they too will jump ship to Intel-only with the final release of Firefox 4 (Update: Mozilla mulls end of support for PowerPC Macs - Computerworld).

    Here's a very simple video converter for Mac OS X. It's called Evom and is worth looking into for anyone who doesn't need extensive options or a complex user interface to change video codecs (Evom - One Thing Well).

    iWatch is the rumour/concept/theory that refuses to go away. Now, for the first time ever, it might actually be feasible. Seth Weintraub: "Iím not saying Apple is or isnít going to release an iWatch. *Iím just saying that if Apple does release a 1.8-inch iPod nano touch screen device, all of the kids are going to be Ďharnessingí them on their wrists. *It is the natural way to use a device like this. *Think about it." (Are we going to see an iWatch next week? - 9 to 5 Mac).

    Valve's Steam gaming platform has been live for a few months now, and in their first round of Mac user statistics, they've let loose some interesting details about what machines we're using to game with. 46.78% of Steam users are on a MacBook Pro, with and additional 23.18% on iMacs and so on. The full range of stats for Mac and Windows-based platforms are available on their blog (Steam Hardware & Software Survey: July 2010 - Steam).

    Many are quick to defend the App Store's "walled garden" that (attempts to) filter out crapware, but there is the occasional casualty of Apple's super-control. Developer Rob Byrne has had an app called Briefs, described as "a toolkit for creating live wireframes on iPhone OS devices" in review limbo for more than three months now, despite being told that his app had reached 'executive level'. He's released the app's source code freely and now moves on to other projects, serving as a great example of the inefficiencies of Apple's review team (Update on Briefs - Delusions of Grandeur).

    When it comes to computers running OS X, you can't go better than the Mac Pro. Though they've been left largely neglected by Apple in the past few years as they focus on mobile market dominance, Apple did quietly announce an update for the workhorse in July. James Galibraith runs through the initial results of lab testing for the quad and eight-core models with impressive results, to say the least (Lab tests: New quad-core and eight-core Mac Pros - Macworld).

    Finally, Darren Murph gives iPhone 4 the "how would you change it" treatment, asking readers for their thoughts on the form factor, antenna, software and more in a discussion that's bound to end in caps lock (How would you change Apple's iPhone 4? - Engadget).

    This week's photo is from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where Apple will host its annual music event next Wednesday at 3AM (AEST). Photo from Wired via Twitpic.
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