Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Laminar Research confirms Apple's ad placements in movies

We've always suspected that Apple actively pushes its hardware through strategic TV show and movie placements, but it's nice to finally get confirmation from an insider. (No, so many Macs are not in movies just because all the directors think they look good.) Laminar Research (the X-Plane guys) confirms that Apple keeps stashes of its hardware in storage specifically for this purpose:

When we need a bigger monitor to do the ARTWORK for the iPhone version of X-Plane (for example), all we would do is say the word and huge cases full of Quad-Core desktops and 30-inch monitors were rolled into our office. Why the huge cases to hold this stuff? As it turns out, we were given the SAME computers that are shipped off to Hollywood to appear in movies! Apple has a reserve of the latest and coolest hardware to appear in movies, and they lent THOSE computers to us to do the X-Plane for iPhone development.

By the way, their description of their time at Apple (including the above quote) has disappeared from their site. I guess Mr. Jobs didn't enjoy seeing his company's secrets all over the web.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

iPhone 2.1 kills 3rd party AV cable support for 3G

Recently I purchased a third party composite AV cable to use with my iPhone 3G, so I could watch my DVDs encoded with Handbrake while on the road, without having to take the DVDs with me. The cable worked perfectly, and the video quality was actually quite good on small to mid-sized TVs despite the fact that the source was composite video. The reasonable quality was likely because I use relatively high bitrate H.264, at over 2 Mbps for the video alone.

That all changed with iPhone 2.1. After the update, the cable no longer works. Apple has now locked out that cable. Well, not completely. The cable still does work at times, for about 10 seconds, before kicking us back out of the video. It's almost as if Apple is teasing us.

According to reports, iPhone 2.0 also removed compatibility of other 3rd party cables for owners of the original iPhone. Those cables worked perfectly with iPhone 1.1.4, but suddenly stopped working with 2.0.

Conveniently, Apple sells its own AV cables which are endowed with authentication chips . Sorry Apple, I'm not interested. $49 is simply horrendously overpriced, even if it does include an AC USB adapter (that I don't want). Maybe if I can find it cheaper I'll bite, but not at this outrageous price... especially when the $10 cable I had worked absolutely perfectly before.