iThis and iThat fatigue

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)


Apple guru and single-handed supporter of the black turtleneck jersey industry Steve Jobs has announced the latest iDevelopment and it’s got the geek world abuzz.

It’s that mid-winter “feels like geek Christmas” time of the year again when Apple holds court at its Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference and everyone else trundles out their latest goodies at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3, to us cool kids) and those of us who dream of owning all manner of wondrous gadgetry and taking over the world “ooh and aah” over their offerings.

This time around, Apple’s new iThemed announcement centres on the iCloud, which will let users store music, calendar entries and other files on Apple’s servers and have this content accessible over the air on any Apple devices they might be lucky enough to own, including the iPhone and iPad.

Mr Jobs (or should that be iSteve?) was quite excited about the service but not everyone is feeling quite so iNpsired by the system.

Some music industry types reckon it might even encourage music piracy.

Alongside the iCloud service is a new tool with the catchy name of iTunes Match, and this is where the murkiness begins. For US$24.95 (NZ$31) a year, the service will scan your hard drive for music (including files you might not have obtained in an entirely legal manner) and will match them with the authorised tracks in Apple’s iTunes library, making a “quality iTunes version of the tracks automatically accessible in the iCloud”. And that, the experts say, is allowing pirated music collections to be legitimised.

I think I’m starting to suffer from iStyle overload with iThis and iThat bombarding us.

It used to be that Microsoft had pretty much sole charge of the “we’ll try to take over your life with our software” crown but these days I find Apple is every bit as sneaky and whiny as Microsoft when it comes to trying to convince me to download the stuff they think I should have (no Apple, I DO NOT want Safari sneaking in with the latest update of iTunes, which, by the way, seems to be updated every other week).

However, it’s worth noting that there are alternatives if you want to own an iPod but not be iNfected with iTunes.

While iSteve was giving his iPresentation in San Francisco, everyone else with a cool game, gadget or bit of kit (but not black turtleneck) was in Los Angeles.

E3 had many exciting gadgets, but the one that got my attention is the new Nintendo Wii U, a high-definition version of the Wii, with a touchscreen controller that has video-call capability.

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