Monday, February 11, 2008

32GB iPod launched but no 16GB iPhone

APPLE Australia has launched a 32GB version of its iPod Touch, the popular music player with its touch-controlled screen and WiFi connection to the internet. It holds up to 8000 songs.

32GB iPod launched but no 16GB iPhone

The 32GB version is double the size of the previous top iPod Touch

That's double the size of the previous top iPod Touch, although still much smaller than the 160GB iPod Classic, which holds 40,000 songs. Apple Australia is offering the 32GB iPod Touch at $629. It has cut the prices of the 8GB model from $419 to $399, and the 16GB model from $549 to $499.

Now here's the rub: in the US, the Touch's release has been accompanied by a new version of the Apple iPhone with 16GB of storage, double the capacity of the previous top model.

Alas, the 16GB iPhone won't be sold in Australia because the current iPhone doesn't have the 3G technology used by most Australian networks. Many of us had been hoping Apple would take this opportunity to introduce a 3G model, but it was not to be.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs says the problem is the limited battery life of 3G handsets. Until that can be increased there'll be no iPhone for Australia or Japan, where 3G is also very popular.

The battery life problem certainly doesn't seem to be troubling Palm Australia, which has just launched a 3G version of its Treo 500 smartphone here.

The charcoal grey Treo uses 3G to connect to the net. It runs on the Windows Mobile 6 platform and has a full keyboard, 2-megapixel camera, a good-sized screen and access to email, instant messaging and SMS.

Palm's Lesley McKnight says battery life is no problem and Treo 500 users can expect at least a full day's operation without recharging.

In Australia the new Treo will sell for a recommended $649 through retail stores including Harris Technology.

It is approved for the Optus network, Palm says, but Doubleclick understands it will work just fine on most other 3G networks - just pop in your SIM card.THE internet has been ablaze with gleeful reports that Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, on a recent visit to Australia, called Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system "utter crap".

Linus, in Melbourne for a Linux conference, actually said no such thing, but what he did say is quite interesting.

An interviewer from a Sydney newspaper had asked which of Microsoft's Windows Vista and Apple's Mac OS was his "favourite" (a pretty dumb question to ask the Linux inventor, Doubleclick reckons).

His answer, in part: "I think Leopard is a much better system. On the other hand, (I've found) OS X in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for. Their file system is complete and utter crap, which is scary. I think OS X is nicer than Windows in many ways, but neither can hold a candle to my own (Linux)."

So it's not Leopard per se that Linus thinks is crap: just the way its Unix-based file system works for programmers like himself.

He also opined - perhaps with justification - that operating systems should be invisible, but that Microsoft and Apple keep adding visual features to encourage people to spend money upgrading hardware as well as software.

Linus has a point, and there's no denying that many programmers, and a small but growing number of end users, really love the various versions of Linux.

Ubuntu, in particular, has a dedicated following. This is a user friendly version of Linux that includes OpenOffice, the Firefox open-source web browser and Gaim instant messaging. Unlike Leopard and Vista, it's free.

Ubuntu is used in some Dell notebooks and the tiny new Everex CloudBook, although none of these is so far sold in Australia. The equally tiny $499 Asus Eee handheld computer, which is sold in Australia, has its own version of Linux, which one reviewer described as even easier to use than a Mac.

The current version of Ubuntu, known as Gutsy Gibbon can be downloaded from for use on Intel-based Macs or PCs. It includes features aimed at everyday users, such as 3D graphics or eye candy like the graphic interfaces used with Windows Vista and Mac OSX.

Doesn't sound much like Linus's ideal "invisible" operating system, but the truth is that it's the graphical user interface - invented by Xerox, shamelessly pinched by Apple and eventually picked up by Bill Gates - that has made personal computing and web browsing easily accessible to hundreds of millions worldwide.

Eye candy it may be, but crap most of it ain't. Not even Vista.

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