Apple’s September 2010 Event and Mobile Genealogy

Well, what did we learn today from Apple’s September Event, and what impact, if any, will it have on mobile genealogists? First off, there is a new iPod nano and iPod shuffle, but neither of those interest me since they can’t run genealogy apps. They are really awesome and very well designed, but I already have an iPhone and don’t need a second music player.

General news:
* iOS 4.1 is coming out next week, with some bug fixes and minor updates.
* iOS 4.2 will be out in November and it adds Multi-tasking and folders for iPads. It also brings wireless printing. That is big for some of us.

New 2010 iPod touch and notes about the iPod touch
* iPod touch is currently the most popular iPod
* 1.5 billion titles download to it
* 2010 design is thinner than pevious iPod touch
* Inherits the “Retina” display that the iPhone 4 has, which means a higher resolution and better-looking screen. Big deal for genealogists using iOS apps.
* A lot faster than previous model (good for big genealogy databases)
* Comes with a front-facing camera to work with Apple’s Facetime – two-way video chatting
* Rear-facing camera capable of HD-level video. It doesn’t do much in the way of still photos – very low resolution. Not surprising – Apple wants you to get into the iPhone 4.
* 8GB model – $229, 32GB – $299, 64GB – $399
* All three start shipping next week

iPad News
* iOS 4.2 updates really focus on the iPad, including wireless printing

2010 Apple TV (MC572LL/A)
* This is a small device, 25% the size of the previous Apple TV, that allows you to stream data either from the iTunes store (through rentals) or from a Mac or PC in the house, including music, photos, and video.
* Self-contained – no power bricks/A/C adapters
* 4 ports – Power, HDMI, audio out, ethernet, plus wireless (wifi)

iTunes 10
There are some new social networking features, including “Ping” which could be used between family members, but otherwise not very interesting to me from a genealogy point of view. I’ll have to play around with it further since I have a lot of genealogy-related podcasts.

For me, the two big things are the new iPod touch and the new Apple TV. With the iPod touch being nearly on par with the iPhone 4, it’s going to be a tough decision for some genealogists looking to get into Apple’s iOS platform. I think with the number of apps being sold across the iPod touch/iPhone/iPad line, we’ll only see more genealogy software developers jumping on board, especially Windows developers.

When genealogy apps on the iPhone first started to really take off , I was hoping that there would be good alternatives on other platforms – whether that platform turned out to be from Palm, Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. I wanted good alternatives because competition is always good and it will drive developers to come out with good updates. Genealogy apps on the Android have been a struggle, and who knows how Windows Phone 7 is going to play out. HP is trying to re-invent Palm. What we’re left with is either running older software on older hardware, or something on the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch. That’s turning out to be not so bad. There are enough solid iOS genealogy apps that they are driving each other to create and add better and better features. We are starting to see support for the beautiful higher-resolution displays of the iPhone 4 and iPad. We are seeing much easier (and more intuitive) ways to transfer and synchronize genealogy data between desktop apps (including Windows) and the mobile apps than what we had even 5 years ago.

With the new and improved Apple TV, it easily streams photo and video from a Mac, MacBook Pro, MacBook, etc. to an HDTV with an HDMI connection. It can even stream from iPhone/iPod touch/iPad. In the past, when some of us gave genealogy presentations or put on photo slideshows, we had to carry a projector, and a laptop, and quite a few cables and power bricks/adapters. That’s not the case anymore if you have a decent-sized HDTV available – say 32-inch or above. The Apple TV is tiny – fits in the palm of your hand literally, you plug it into your HDTV, make a simple wireless connection to your laptop, and you are off and streaming audio and video to the HDTV. If you are at a family reunion, you could have a computer in another room, and be streaming photos and video through the Apple TV to an HDTV setup somewhere else in a central location for everybody to see. A neat, simple, and painless way to display a lot of photos or videos.

These were good updates, better than I expected.

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