December is always a slow month for tech news. However, in January we go straight to warp 9 with a huge selection of news. Most notably this month were Mac World Expo and Windows Vista shipping after 5 years of development and waiting.
The month was kicked off with Mac World Expo. There was no question that what was going to be announced at Mac World Expo would be big. For most people it was either a tossup between the iPhone being announced or Apple coming out with Leopard before Windows Vista shiped. There was no Leopard at Mac World, instead they pressed ahead an announced the iPhone. The iPhone is an all in one internet device. It features everything a business person would need on the road or if they were doing day to day business. The main features are the widescreen iPod, the phone, and many internet communication features such as email, browsing, and searching. It comes in a 4GB version for $499 (USD) and an 8GB version for $599 (USD). The iPhone ships to the U.S. in June, to Canada and Europe in quarter 4 of 2007, and to Asia in 2008. Some people like the iPhone and some donâ€™t, personally I donâ€™t see myself spending this much on a device thatâ€™ll have a short battery life and only holds a small amount of data.
Also at Mac World we saw the Apple TV which is shipping this February. The Apple TV was unveiled at last yearâ€™s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). The Apple TV lets someone sync up with iTunes on their PC or Mac and access all of their movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, photos, and movie trailers on their big screen TV. The Apple TV is a wireless device. They do mandate that you have a widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) TV. This is a bit of a letdown for me seeing as Iâ€™ve not yet moved to a wide screen TV. The price on this product is $299 (USD), this is something Iâ€™d consider getting if I had the appropriate hardware.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was going on at the same time in Las Vegas as Mac World. Iâ€™m not going to go into much depth on CES, but there was one notable announcement from Microsoft. Microsoft announced the Windows Home Server. Windows Home Server is exactly what it sounds like, a network server for your home. Home Server is a centralized hub for file and print sharing; however, it goes beyond this. Home Server also functions as a centralized security management device. A person would be able to access the status of all the PCâ€™s in the home, theyâ€™d also be able to update antivirus and spyware definitions remotely, as well as modify firewall settings. You can see a picture here.
Heading off in the direction of pirate-y news, the encryption on both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray was cracked this month. This was a significant scare for the movie industry because this means people are able to â€œback-upâ€ their own movies. Now backing up your own movies is not really a problem in my view. The problem is that these could be leaked onto the internet. In any case these were cracked due to a problem in the player software, not the actual encryption. On the same topic of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, LG has said they will release the first dual format player. This was a first and could finally settle the on-going HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray battle.
The Pirate Bay was going to buy Sealand. Sealand is a small drilling platform off the coast of England. This however did not happen, plan B is to buy a small island and claim it as their own country. Prices for a small island would start at around $50,000 US. Their main point of trying to get their own country is so that they would not be to international copyright laws and infamous agencies such as the RIAA. For the good of those who love to download pirated software, movies, and TV shows, I hope this succeeds.
Nearing the end of January we ended with signed versions of Windows Vista Ultimate edition. These were reportedly signed by Bill Gates himself. There are only 20000 of these in existence. Upon discussing this on RSBANDBUpdate! with Brad, we came to the conclusion that Billy wouldnâ€™t sign all 20000 of them himself. Itâ€™s probably just some form of a print.
Finally and perhaps most amazing to me was the fact that Windows Vista finally shipped on January 30th. The Vista development project was started in late 2001, originally called Longhorn. With the many versions of Vista out there it can be confusing for consumers. If you are reading this and want to upgrade to Vista I advise Vista Home Premium. People should only get Vista Ultimate if they know they need or are going to use the features it provides. We will have to wait and see whether or not this version is plagued by spy-ware and viruses.