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Here Comes 2011

Here we are at the beginning of 2011 as Apple users of both desktop and laptop Macs; iPods, iPads and iPhones. What does the year hold for us?What we are seeing with our commitment to Apple products is one overriding reason that we have this allegiance: Ease of Use. What this means in the real world that we live in, rather than the world of specification, possibility and hype, is that when we buy any of the products mentioned we know it will just work. Apart from obvious issues where a part fails and needs to be replaced, the machine will work without the end User, that’s us, requiring huge skill in setting it up or maintaining it. The reason that Apple is so successful is that they recognise how important that is for regular people: the thing has to work!Maybe there is a rival product with better on-paper specs for a slightly cheaper price — maybe. But when you plug it in what happens? The Apple product basically does what you want it to without too much hassle. And does it stylishly. It’s what we want in a device. Usability. The addition of the App Store for computers is part of that aim to simplify installing and functioning of applications in the same way that already exists for iPhone/iPod/iPad with the iTunes Store.So this year will bring an updated iPhone around June/July. An updated iPad which will most likely have a camera as the iPhone does and incremental updates to the iPod range. Computers will probably be updated slightly but of course Apple don’t let out any details until the release so who knows? We may be surprised. iMac to have an even bigger screen? Mine is due for updating at the end of June so I hope there is an improvement before I update.However, the point about all these devices is that as long as you have a reasonably recent model it will do most of what you want and need. A small percentage of people have particular requirements, maybe like high-end video editing for which they might need special specifications, but for 99.9% of us the off-the-shelf machine will easily do the trick. And of course as the technology users that we are we need to realise that a “reasonable recent model” means just that: something of less than 4 years old! For sure plenty of people are using older equipment but it’s my experience that staying roughly within a 3 year cycle means a better experience. Apple’s Extended Warranty lasts for 3 years and the tax office lets you claim computer equipment over 3 years. I think this all means something! Things move fast and older machines just can’t cut it. That said, if you are happy with your older machine then carry on. Just make sure that you backup everything regularly on new or old computers. Time Machine built-in backup software that comes on all Macs now, you just need a $100 external her drive to keep safe. Something we often forget is that running a computer, like running a car has ongoing maintenance costs. Not a lot, but there are some so we need to factor them into our budgets!So the future looks bright. Apple products mean having fun as well as doing work. Facebook has become the default way to keep in touch with friends near and distant and the computer, as predicted is the way the human race communicates. Be grateful you have virus free Apple equipment…See you during the year.

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