Steve Jobs Does It Again

Apple announced a new iPhone today: the 3G, due out July 11–which I’m sure will almost literally fly off shelves at $199–substantially lower in price that the previous incarnations of the much-discussed iPhone.

Now while I don’t consider myself an Apple fanatic, I do happen to appreciate most of their products–and I wish I could afford more; I own an iPod Classic and a Shuffle, and I also tinker around with an old 667MHz G4 PowerBook that I inherited from a friend of mine.  I also have a newer G4 PowerBook as my main laptop at work (again, another cast-off).  My home PowerBook was made in 2001, and it still runs like a champ–even running Tiger as an OS.  I think their hardware engineering borders on genius in most cases, and the quality is top-notch.  I have mixed feelings about the practicality of the MacBook Air, but I digress…

Steve Jobs managed to bully AT&T into conceding to many of his terms, just so they could be the exclusive carrier associated with iPhone, and I can’t really blame them for caving–I’ve had my hands on an iPhone, and they’re quite cool.  And Apple was able to flaunt their overconfidence and market hold even more when they lowered the iPhone prices the first time several months ago, shortly after many of the more zealous fans waited in line to snatch up the very first units, drawing the ire of those very same loyal fans–who were then pacified by $100 Apple Store credit as a peace offering.

This latest price reduction and improved device makes me wonder how many more Apple fans will feel betrayed.

Will I get a new iPhone?  Probably not. Not just because I just bought a new phone and extended my Verizon contract another two years, but because now I’m a little gun-shy about new product turnaround from them…

New HD1080i Camcorder

My colleague in the Computer Science Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign sent me a link to a new Sanyo HD camcorder on engadget.com (the site I visit to drool over technology that I will most likely never be able to afford).

I think what stunned me the most about this camcorder was its size–it looks like it literally fits in the palm of your hand. With my background in video production, I can still remember the days of lugging around an enormous Betacam SP deck, connected by an umbilicus cable to the camera, and what a pain it was to get a lot of shots–and that was standard definition video to tape. The Sanyo Xacti HD1010 not only shoots video at a much higher resolution, but it shoots slow-motion as well. Now I know this type of camera will never replace the workhorses in a professional video production environment, but what potential it still offers to independent film-makers–or even proud parents who want to start shooting home movies in HD.

Amazing.

Masters Program Orientation

Today was the on-campus orientation for my online masters degree program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It was the first time I got to meet faculty, staff, and fellow students enrolled in the CTER (Curriculum, Technology, and Education Reform) Program. It was nice to finally interact face-to-face with many people I got to know online last semester, and see the real faces in person–as opposed to little icon jpegs. Now I feel more like I am really a part of a masters degree program, and not just simply taking a few classes online. If for no other reason, I thought the on-campus orientation did a lot toward making this program seem more tangible–more real. Even though the CTER faculty and staff make great efforts toward building an online community, it’s still easy to lose sight of the fact that fellow students are real people, and not just voices heard through laptop speakers in Elluminate or Gizmo sessions. I’m really glad I was able to attend. Thanks to everyone who participated.