Holiday Gift - Apple TV - Under $100

Thinkmac present noreflect

If you have been looking for an inexpensive gift for the Apple lover, check out the second gen Apple TV. Not only is it the size of a hockey puck, but it operates in total silence. With the Apple TV  it opens up a world of viewing right onto your big screen TV. Besides renting and buying movies and TV shows on the iTunes store, you can play all of your music & videos from your iTunes library, play whatever you have on iCloud - including your photo stream from your iOS devices, and the coolest of all is it supports AirPlay. With AirPlay you can push video and music content to your Apple TV from your iOS device. On the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, it can also MIRROR what you see on your iOS screen. Great for some big screen Angry Birds action.


Best of all -- it's under $99.

You will need an HDMI cable, and you can pick up a high quality one of those  at for under $5.


Product: Apple TV (second gen)

Price$95 on Amazon


iTunes Match - First Thoughts

Itunes match

Now that iTunes Match is available  (the $24.99/yr) digital locker offered to iTunes users, you may be wondering how it all works -- before you spend the cash. Ars has a great article, but here is my experience.

My 8,000 songs just finished matching and uploading, and so far so good. iTunes matched over 6,000 of these, and then uploaded the remainders that it couldn't match to it's iTunes catalog. I let it run overnight and by this evening it was complete. Now I have access via iCloud to all of the music that was on my iMac (my full library) on my Macbook Air, iPhone, Apple TV, and iPad.  Performance is fine on my Macbook Air with the music starting in under 3 seconds. On my iPhone, it typically takes between 5-10 seconds - which I think is much too long. If you start on a playlist, it's almost seamless, but the initial start of the first song is the one that takes the longest - frustratingly long. Petty, but when you get used to instantaneous playing (Spotify, RDIO, etc) you get spoiled.

Ars Technica has a great article worth checking out:

iTunes Match: your questions answered

iOS 4.2 Tips and Tricks

The good folks over at MacLife have a great article on some of the new features in iOS 4.2. In fact, it even includes screenshots. I'd write it up myself, but they beat me to it. So, why re-invent the wheel? Check out their article, "22 iOS 4.2 Tips, Tricks, and Features".

If you have an iPhone 4/3GS, iPad, iPod Touch that supports 4.2 or the new Apple TV you will want to update to iOS 4.2 now. Not only does it include security updates, but it also has new features, such as Airplay, which allows you to stream content from your iPhone/iPad to your new Apple TV.  iPad users will be glad to see Multi-Tasking and Folders have finally made their way as well. I've seen reports that it's not as smooth as it is on the iPhone 4, but that is probably due to the iPhone 4 having 512MB Ram and the iPad only has 256MB. Still, it's a set of features that should have been out months ago. 

The best feature I think is the newly FREE 'Where's my iPhone?". If you've ever been looking for your iPhone/iPad and hadn't shelled out the $99 a year for Mobile Me that included it, you will come to love this feature. 


New Apple TV 2 Unboxing

Adam Christianson over at The Maccast has posted his unboxing of the new $99 Apple TV. This device is a streaming only device, unlike the previous gen Apple TV that had hard drive storage and you could locally have your content on the device.  With the new Apple TV, it is targeted more at the person that wants an alternative to the Roku box and only wants content on demand. 

Maccast Flickr Page