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March 14th, 2014

Microsoft Office for iOS was a rumor for much longer than it’s been a “fact,” but as with all things Microsoft, if Mary Jo Foley says it’s happening, it is. Fact is, Apple could never break into the enterprise world with its Macintosh computers, but has been making serious headway with the iPad as many other large firms have been outfitting employees with tablets.

Meanwhile, with uncharacteristic subtlety, Apple has gradually injected itself into the enterprise, and Microsoft (like other software developers) wouldn’t mind having its flagship product on all those new iPads heading for big companies. Of course, both Apple and Microsoft also win when companies like CRE Rentals add to their iPad rental inventories.

Sneak Peek at Office for iOS

It appears that you’ll need to purchase an annual subscription to Microsoft Office 365 to access Office for iOS when it debuts. (Fortune 500s will get better deals, of course.) Start by either opening an existing document or making a new one (the latter only in Word or Excel, not PowerPoint). There are some usable templates to get you going, but unfortunately this is where the going gets tough. Building a completely new document from scratch is a grueling process, as there are strange limitations throughout. Let’s take a quick look:

Word: This is not the beloved Office for Mac word processor you find when you rent iMac computers. On Office for iOS, Word’s default bullet list limits you to two lines; you cannot add new pictures, replace fonts, or apply new formatting to paragraphs; and the app uses non-standard taps and gestures. Essentially, you can use this version of Word to perform some light editing on documents you made in another, full-featured version of Word.

PowerPoint: Unlike Word and Excel, you cannot create new presentations, only edit the text on template slides. The insurmountable problem, of course, is that you can’t adjust text boxes, fonts, or font attributes. Use more than the provided space and confusion reigns. Again, it may suffice for minor edits but it is by no means an enterprise-level tool.

Excel: The venerable spreadsheet makes out best in this emasculated package. All the functionality missing from Word and PowerPoint are present in Excel. You can make a variety of original charts, shade text cells, auto-adjust number displays, and use standard Excel formulas. There’s a reason that Office is on almost every PC and Mac computer rental in the known world: Excel is the best spreadsheet ever, hands down. It even shines here.

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, as presently constituted, Office for iOS shines in very few other ways. The collaboration features are strong, allowing individual comments on cells, paragraphs, slides, even specific words. Not only can you grab files from OneDrive, but you can also access all of your different SharePoints. If you are heavy into collaborative working, the sharing/commenting features could be useful. Still, it would make sense to consider Google Docs before investing in this low-rent Office.

Is this Apple’s move into the Enterprise world? Only time will tell but in the meantime, CRE Rentals has been renting iPads, Mac equipment and the latest technology to companies large and small. With over 30 years of experience and now 21 locations nationwide, we can get you the rental equipment you need, where you need. Get a quote now or give us a call at 877.266-7725.

December 17th, 2013

Technology advances, sometimes gradually, sometimes spectacularly. We keep tabs as best we can on this never-ending parade of progress, especially progress on the tools that we provide tech, web, media, and entertainment firms—the Mac Pro rental, mass storage, servers, post-production tech. We also bring you information about all the overlapping technologies people use in both their business and personal lives (smartphones, TVs, media players) and keep you up on tech news. There are a number of ongoing technology battles that should resolve, one way or the other, in 2014. technology battlefield

Here are four technologies that will definitely make the headlines.

A Mobile OS Free-for-All

Joining iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry 10 in 2014 are three more mobile OS packages. Firefox OS, Tizen, and Ubuntu Phone will all debut with great fanfare to compete in a volatile international market. Even with “jailbroken” phones you cannot install the OS you want unless both the hardware and the carrier support it. Samsung is leaning toward Tizen, while carriers ZTE and Alcatel have previewed working Firefox phones. No encouraging news as yet for Ubuntu Phone, despite a clean interface and the ability to run desktop apps. Advantage: Android.

Mobile Processing Power vs. Battery Power

Many tech sites and magazines have withheld a buy recommendation from Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet. With a powerful Core i5 processor, it is a real Windows 8.1 tablet, not “fake Windows” (RT), and runs both desktop software and Windows Store apps. Still, it earned “don’t buy” ratings for dismal battery life: 4 hours, 37 minutes. An iPad rental, with its mobile (not desktop) OS, is not a direct competitor—but the battery lasts almost 12.5 hours. Competition will focus more on battery efficiency, with the entire world awaiting the long-promised battery breakthrough.

Google vs. High-End Laptops

As a category, Chromebooks are doing well. Samsung has Amazon’s best-selling laptop at under $250, offering the battery life and low price that define the niche. But a Chromebook’s operational limitations cannot be overcome by adding a thousand dollars of admittedly great cosmetic components. The Chromebook Pixel from Google impresses with a gorgeous touch screen, first-rate keyboard, and superb quality. Problem: It’s a Chromebook that runs apps, not business-grade software. And it’s overpriced by, oh, just about a thousand dollars. Google will pull Pixel’s plug by the end of the year.

Google vs. Low-End Laptops

At $300 or so, Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, and others look good to first-time buyers. Strengths: Chromebooks are generally safe from malware, get great battery life, are often lighter than Air, and won’t break the bank if lost or broken. Weaknesses: Chromebooks can’t handle real-world business. A Chrome browser with a desktop theme limits you to apps, but some apps will not run since you can’t install required plugins. You can rent laptops right now that are many times more cost-effective and powerful. If you need laptop for real work, there are scores of low-cost Windows laptops that are ready for prime time. Chrome is not. Windows will win by a KO.

No matter what battles are taking place in the technology world, CRE Rentals continues to offer the latest technology rental for entertainment production company starting up to organizations setting up in-house training. If you know what you need, complete the Express Quote form online. Not sure? Give us a call at (877) 266-7725 to speak to one of our experienced Account Executives.

October 29th, 2013

With so many recent product announcements, upgrades, and rollouts, there is a lot of ground to cover. We’ll be discussing some of these things for weeks (or longer), so today’s post will be a “grand overview” of what Apple, Nokia, and Microsoft brought to market on Tuesday, October 22 aka the “Big Tech Day.”

A bushel of Apple stuff

Apple iPad AirAt its October 22 event, Apple announced the iPad Air, a 9.7-inch device that’s 20% slimmer (at .3 inches) than previous iPads and weighs 1 pound. “The lightest tablet on the market,” according to Apple, it uses the same A7 chip in the new iPhone 5S. The iPad Mini finally got its Retina display, while the existing lower-res Mini becomes Apple’s entry point. The MacBook Pro line got a refresh rather than full upgrade, although weight and battery power are nicely optimized. Apple also announced pricing of its futuristic new Mac Pro which will be available “before the end of the year.”

Introducing a new software policy that makes the new version of Mac OS X Mavericks available free to anyone now using OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8. The productivity apps, iLife and iWork, will be bundled free on new iOS and OS X devices, with upgrades freely available, too.

Major takeaway: Free upgrades forever? Free software that’s actually good? Apple is right: This will throw the industry into a tizzy.

Nokia & Microsoft: Wedding bell blues?

Nokia, which Microsoft (MS) will finish absorbing in early 2014, showed two phablets  - Lumia 1320 and 1520 with 6-inch screens, which could draw business users. CRE’s long experience with mobile devices—from original tablet PC to current iPad rental—illustrates the growth of mobile computing, and Nokia wants in.  On the admin side, Nokia’s former chief, Stephen Elop, rejoins MS to lead the handsets division, which could be anchored by Nokia’s low-end Asha line for emerging markets and budget buyers. Since they use Nokia’s proprietary Series 40 OS, they could serve as stepping stones into higher-priced Windows Phone products.

Major takeaway: Nokia’s low-end lines may give budget buyers a path into the higher-cost MS models, but some analysts fear possible “sales cannibalization.”

Microsoft

Microsoft (MS) launched its new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets at midnight Tuesday, October 22. CNET reported that the event was “loud and colorful and full of enthusiasm” and that the “only thing … missing is people that want to buy its new device.”  The Surface 2 runs RT and has 32GB and 64GB storage options. The Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8 has two models: one with 4GB RAM offering 64GB or 128GB of storage, the other with 8GB RAM plus 256GB or 512GB. One leading tech site ran a long, positive review but concluded that “recommending the Surface becomes harder when there are other Windows tablets that cost less and run full Windows.” In fact, most reviewers ended up asking what no manufacturer wants to hear: Who will buy these products?

Major takeaway: MS seems to be flailing about. The Nokia buy could be a good thing, but could just as easily go sour. 

Whether you need the best trade show convention rentals for an upcoming conference, or the latest in high-powered post-production gear, we can help! Call us at (877) 266-7725 or visit the Quick Rental Quote page and tell us what you need.

October 1st, 2013

Once again, we take a day off from serious stuff—new flexible displays, Microsoft’s woes, the latest from Apple—and consider some of the fun, cool things that technology makes possible. Countless ideas for low-, mid-, and high-tech “fun ’n’ games” are percolating throughout the world. Many are quite innovative, others a bit odd, and some just plain silly. Be that as it may, here are some the latest ideas for digital diversion.

Straighten me out, man!

Posture-Alert_diagram2Those of us who spend much of our work and leisure time hunching in front of a screen are beginning to learn just how much havoc it can wreak on our bodies. Instead of having a physical therapist boss you around at a health facility after the damage is done, you can buy a desktop gadget to keep you attentive to your posture now. The Visomate USB Posture Alert Reminder plugs into your computer and clips to your MacBook Pro screen or desktop monitor. It then tracks your position with ultrasonic waves, alerting you when you lean up too close or bend back too far. Lean too far left or right and you get a flashing LED.

Were the 1980s really that great?

Nostalgia is a great marketing tool, and the 1980s are what a lot of folks these days seem to feel nostalgic about. Insert a CRE iPad rental, or your own device, into a scale model arcade game cabinet and you have all you need for an awesome iCadecelebration of 30 years of gaming. A free Atari’s Greatest Hits app is included, and the iCade works with over 500 games including 100 Atari classics such as Centipede, Asteroids, and Battlezone. You can avail yourself of the usual in-app purchases, but you are also able to update existing and future apps for use with the iCade. A full-size joystick, eight fat arcade-style buttons, and a period-perfect look and feel promise hours—eventually years—of exciting, nostalgic fun.

Entertainment for the throne room

The iPod has always been a mobile device, and you can get alarm clock docks, belt clips, car drink-holder inserts, and phony boom boxes to keep it close at hand or take it far afield. It even has a place among the event production rentals you acquire for that big conference, as we’ve discussed in previous blogs, since it’s a great way to carry media in a small form factor. Atech Flash iPod-TP-DockTechnology has now taken the iconic iPod to the final frontier—the bathroom.

The iCarta2 Stereo Dock for iPod with Bath Tissue Holder is not the slickest product name ever, but it offers a complete description. Mounted on the wall, the iCarta2 features four thankfully “moisture-free speakers.” Two fold out from each side, providing nubs on the inside surfaces to mount the toilet paper roll. It also charges your iPod while it’s docked, so you can keep the party going as long as you need.

• • •

It doesn’t cost a cent to brainstorm solutions to your post-production, conference, computing, and business rental needs with an experienced CRE Account Executive. Call 877-266-7725 or send a note here to get assistance now. If you already know what you need, you can submit a Quick Rental Quote request 24/7/365! We are always ready to help!

December 18th, 2012

Both Apple’s third-generation iPad and the new Microsoft (MS) Surface RT are in the same price range ($500-800), weigh about 1.5 pounds and run a touch-based OS. The Surface Pro model, on sale in early 2013, will run Windows 8 desktop software on x86 processors with full-fledged laptop power at the expense of battery life—it’s more like a hybrid between a tablet and an ultrabook.

Therefore, the only fair iPad comparison is against the RT—at least until the fourth-generation iPad, already on sale in India, appears in the U.S. next year.

iPad vs. Surface RT - who will it be?

OVERVIEW

RT: The RT includes a unique version of Office, but you need a business license to use it for work—and the keyboard/cover is an extra $100. For companies now using tablet PC rentals, the RT can integrate (somewhat) with enterprise-level users on Windows 7/8, giving it a slight edge with the IT crowd.

iPad: You can use third-party Bluetooth keyboards with our iPad rental, plus Office-compatible apps and honest-to-Office web services from MS licensees like CloudOn. All that’s a chore for IT folks to “harmonize.”

APPLICATIONS

RT: This is not your office’s Office—the RT version has Excel, PowerPoint, Word and OneNote, but no Outlook. For now you may need to rent laptops with Windows 7/8 to use some ”real PC” programs such as Outlook, as RT uses only specified Windows Store apps.

iPad: Apple’s App Store is heading toward a million apps (700,000+ as of October), while Windows apps are just getting going. For now the iPad has a huge advantage.

OPERATIONS

RT: MS’s cloud-based tool, Intune, will soon offer secure device management, while Exchange ActiveSync empowers synchronized messaging. Modern office computers, like our desktop PC computer rentals, will thereby maintain a degree of intra-office and -system interoperability with Surface devices.

iPad: Apple’s iOS supports Exchange ActiveSync, too, and third-party mobile device management platforms that even monitor corporate compliance. OS X Server on our Xserve units does all this, too, but properly licensing iPads for corporate use is complicated however you try it.

SECURITY

The RT owes its superior security to (1) a hardware-level “secure boot” that checks for tampering and (2) anti-malware that loads first. The RT’s hardware security module also does smartcard duty for authentication, and supports full disk encryption.

iPad: Although iOS provides disk encryption, as Mac OS X does for MacBook Pro rentals, the iPad’s boot routine uses read-only memory and offers no smartcard abilities.

BOTTOM LINE

Neither the iPad nor the RT are particularly strong candidates yet for an enterprise workforce. The Surface Pro may be, but depending on configuration a tricked-out Pro could top $1,350. The Apple comparison at that price is a MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook.

As iPads and the Surface Pro both support virtual desktops, using PC/Mac software will sooner or later be possible. But hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) are expensive, says Gartner Research, increasing retail cost “by more than $600″ per device. We’ll keep you posted as it all shakes out.

What’s shakin’ with your company? CRE keeps you moving forward with first-rate event production rentals and the post-production gear you need. One call or e-mail, or a short visit to our Quick Rental Quote form, gets it done—and right now’s a good time!

December 4th, 2012

With every new smartphone, tablet or multifunction-Wi-Fi-enabled personal doohickey comes at least one prediction that this latest device is really—really!—the long-awaited laptop killer. In the early 2000s, before mobile processors evolved to be as powerful as the ones found in the typical desktop computer rental, the notion of  a “desktop replacement” laptop was only a dream. But now that high-end units like our MacBook Pro rental are more potent than many desktops, the battle is on to see which phone, tablet, or geegaw will emerge as the laptop replacement. As the frontrunner in the tablet race, Apple’s mega-selling tablet is first up: So, can an iPad replace your laptop?

Can an iPad replace your PC?

Early Tablets

When the original iPad debuted in 2010, it was the “Year of the Netbooks,” those low-priced 9-to-11-inch mini-laptops that were generally far less expensive than the iPad. When CRE stocked its first iPad rental, it was something like a netbook without a keyboard—but it was also like a supersized iPod touch. Had it been built to run OS X, it may have qualified as a “little computer.” But it came with iOS, which limited your installation options, abandoned Flash, and came up far short of being a full-fledged computer OS. (The current version, iOS 6, still isn’t one.) At the same time, this brought improvements in its simple and ergonomical ease-of-use. The Windows-based tablet PCs had some of the right puzzle pieces—touch capability, handwriting recognition, convertible operation—but were, and arguably still are, works in progress. (Microsoft’s Surface Pro debuts in January 2013. Is it a laptop killer, or a new paradigm?)

Developments

Fast-forward now: The iPad 2 added cameras, the third generation debuted the Retina Display, and now the supply of iOS apps is in the zillions. Users are still quarantined behind the “walled garden” of apps, but web-based tools are proliferating – capitalizing on the user-friendly interface. There are any number of things that an iPad can do as well or better than a laptop (or desktop)—reading, managing e-mail, watching movies/TV, staying plugged in to social media, and gaming. These activities may also be work-related, though some people consider the iPad better for watching entertainment than producing it. Yet, with every new advanced app in every area of media expertise—content, production, PR, even event planning—this is changing.

For example, the newly updated iMovie and iPhoto apps are powerful enough for video and photo editing/management, capturing HD (stills, video), audio recording, and more. Media pros still use such advanced computer-based tools as our AJA IO HD, but can now integrate the iPad into their workflow, on-set and in the editing bay, for a variety of purposes.

The Conclusion?

Given its growing capabilities—running major office programs, leveraging cloud storage, doing lots of cross-platform tasks—the iPad can now probably be considered a replacement for that secondary laptop you use for traveling (or when the kids take over the PC). How long until it replaces your number one computer? Stay tuned…!

A single call or e-mail, or a simple visit to our Quick Rental Quote form, will get you exactly what you need to overcome every challenge and meet every deadline. We’re here for you, right now!

November 27th, 2012

REFERENCE

Sun Seeker (iOS $8.99; Android $5.99) maps Old Sol’s path via “augmented reality” and indicates hourly intervals, sunrise/sunset and winter/summer solstice paths so you can set up outdoor shots. A map view gives you the sun’s direction for every hour of the day.

Final Cut Pro field guideMoviola’s Final Cut Pro Field Guide (iOS $3.99) is a must-have for anyone working with FCP (for which you want Mac Pro rental power). Get help with troubleshooting, editorial workflows, emerging tech (RED, P2, etc.), keyboard shortcuts and more. With great resources – from software and hardware to reviews and online forums – shutterbugs, lensers, and cutters are never alone.

The Filmmakers Guide to Location Filming (Android, free) from the Location Managers Guild of America is the primo resource guide for auteurs in every niche: feature films, TV episodes and newfangled webisodes, music videos, commercials and more. Whatever you do, if you need render farms or a van full of servers, this guide will steer you to the right people, places, and things.

MANAGEMENT

Tcoder AppUsing TCoder (iOS, $3.99) results in “notes with a timeline” to keep notes from interviews, live presentations and press conferences in sync with, say, audio captured on one of our digital recorder rentals. You can e-mail your notes from within the app, a real time-saver.

Producer (iOS, $14.99) is finely tuned for managing film and video projects. From budgeting and personnel to shooting schedules and inventory, it’s right at hand on the set or in the field. Export PDFs to share with other crew that may be using tablet PC rentals running Windows.

PRODUCTION

ProPrompter (iOS, $9.99; Android, $9.99) does an effective job as a teleprompter on an iPad rental or Android tablet. You can import MS-Word files directly from Word and control scrolling speed, looping, countdown, cue points and more, via Bluetooth remote control if you like.

Softbox Lite (iOS, freeAndroid, free) is a portable lighting system with soft box or light table options, color temperature support for matching white balance and an efficient, minimalist interface. Don’t get caught in the dark again.

AUDIO/VIDEO

Reel Director (iOS, $1.99) offers HD output with little quality loss due to editing, and has a full range of effects, from totally customizable text to 28 unique transitions. With real multitasking, it’s like having iMovie on an iMac – except it’s on an iPad or iPhone.

FiRe 2 appFiRe 2 (iOS, $5.99) is a recent upgrade of the first iPhone recorder to display real-time waveforms accurately, support markers and offer native SoundCloud integration. New features: advanced editing, EQ and effects by Audiofile Engineering, iZotope input processing, Dropbox integration and region support.

CLOUD STORAGE

The last app is actually half app and half service, and comes with a lot of different labels for the same commodity: cloud storage. You can get from 2GB to 10GB free from Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, ASUS WebStorage and Drive from Google, among many others. Why do you need cloud storage? We tell you all about it here and here.

Besides having the post-production gear and trade show convention rentals you need, we can’t stop thinking of new ways to help. So watch for more blogs like this one to give you the top apps for meeting planners, conference organizers, trade show exhibitors, marketing managers, and other professionals. A single call or e-mail puts an experienced Account Executive to work developing solutions uniquely suited to your situation. If you already know what you need, hit the Quick Rental Quote page and get it handled ASAP!

November 8th, 2012

Wi-Fi at Events can be QuestionableGoogle once held a press conference to announce that the firm and its partner, EarthLink, would provide San Francisco with free Wi-Fi. It didn’t instill much confidence in the attendees that the conference Wi-Fi was down until the event’s last few minutes. This is not rare. Wi-Fi gridlock at conferences is embarrassingly commonplace.

“OUTGROWING THE SPEC”. When wireless devices first appeared and the iPad rental was a novelty, conferences offered free Wi-Fi to keep attendees surfing happily. All that personal, bandwidth-wasting activity continues to this day with many more users, even as conference Wi-Fi is also pressed into service for official activities and communications.

Conference WI-Fi can be hazardousThe problem? Wi-Fi was not designed for auditoriums with thousands of people milling about, backpacks and pockets stuffed with iPods, tablet PC rentals, laptops, and smart phones. (Truth be told, there’d be no Wi-Fi problem if people would leave everything in those backpacks and pockets.) What to do? Let’s review…

EVOLUTION OF WI-FI. Standard Wi-Fi covers relatively small areas, providing access to devices making only modest demands for bandwidth. Even now, conference organizers and Wi-Fi consultants still underestimate bandwidth requirements and other factors. It is not only a matter of attendance figures, or how many attendees will have a net-ready laptop computer and other gizmos. Many things come into play, from the size of the room(s) to the amount of reflectivity (hard walls) and absorption (bodies, carpets).

CONFERENCE SOLUTIONS. Simply adding access points won’t guarantee success. In fact, that is likely to make things worse by creating more interference and introducing additional security flaws. The following actions can help:

  • Choose wisely: Read our blogs, do some research, ask questions, and check references so that you can choose a venue that has already solved the problem. 
  • Down, boy: Attendees can be advised to turn off devices that aren’t mission-critical, and to avoid downloading large files.  It won’t be the most popular mandate, but it will help.
  • Wired ports in a storm: Our MacBook Pro rental has an Ethernet port, but Apple’s next generation won’t. As many wireless problems (interference, signal loss) have yet to be resolved, a wired Ethernet port comes in handy. Of course, this won’t help all of your attendees and it’s far from ideal.  But in a pinch, it can be helpful.
  • The simplest move? Talk to us. We have custom event Wi-Fi service solutions that can put signals in places that have none (it sounds like magic, but it really works!) and can distribute Wi-Fi access to hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous users without service drops.

EXHIBIT SPACE SOLUTIONS. If you will attend and/or exhibit at a conference that you know will have Wi-Fi problems, you can soften the impact with some planning:

  • Minimize Wi-Fi: Make phone calls and access online resources in advance, and locate wired access points to use when needed.
  • Try Mi-Fi instead: Personal hot spots through many carriers can support up to five devices, but there may still be interference issues.
  • Teamwork: One conference team member can be the communications hub, securing a wired access point, even if it’s in a hotel room, and keeping everyone connected and informed. If you rent laptops, you can share files without Wi-Fi via flash drives, AirDrop (with Macs) or cross-platform with the nearly ubiquitous Bluetooth.
  • Once again, you could call on us

…for everything from event production rentals to mountainous mounds of high-speed storage, one call or e-mail connects you to an experienced CRE Account Executive. Already know what you need? Just use the handy Quick Rental Quote form.

October 30th, 2012

It was yet another Apple media circus last Tuesday, Oct. 23rd, but with four rings this time:

  1. the new iPad mini,
  2. the fourth-generation iPad,
  3. a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and
  4. a wholly revamped iMac line.

Watch for detailed blogs coming up, but right now we will hit the highlights for you.

Star of the Show

iPad mini debutThe star of the day was the iPad mini, and “mini” it is at a bit over 10 ounces, a smidgen over a quarter-inch thick and sporting a 7.9-inch screen. Design chief Sir Jonathan Ive assured the assemblage that the mini was not a “shrunken replica” of the original, but “a concentration” of it. It ships Nov. 2nd to compete with such 7-inch heavyweights as the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 that are priced starting at $199, while the mini is $329 (16GB Wi-Fi base model). Opting for cellular (LTE) adds another $140 to the price.

iPad Turns “4″

If you like the CRE iPad rental then you will love the fourth generation model that made its surprise debut last week. It has the same price points, 9.7-inch Retina Display and dimensions as the current model, but along with the smaller, sturdier and reversible Lightning connector, the latest iPad has an A6X processor that Don Reisinger at CNET figures will “double the current CPU and graphics power.”

New 13-inch MacBook Pro

CRE’s popular MacBook Pro rental got a new sibling, too, as Apple Apple Introduces Latest iPadadded the Retina Display to the 13-inch model. Apple is dropping optical drives, but the laptop has two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, an SDXC card slot, HDMI port, headphones/line-out jack, and a MagSafe 2 charging port. MacBook Pros also use Solid State Drives (SSDs) now, instead of spinning-platter hard drives, so they boot up and launch programs a lot faster.

The Flagship Sails On

Apple veep Phil Schiller reaffirmed that the iMac was the company’s “flagship” at last Tuesday’s event. The computer whose 1998 debut saved the Cupertino company is now in its eighth generation, with two models carrying the last few editions’ 21.5-inch and 27-inch screens into the future in a body that tapers to just 5mm at the edges (it’s thicker in back). The new iMacs have Intel’s potent Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 chips, separate (discrete) graphics cards, and up to 3TB of disk space.

With the new iMac, Apple also introduced its “Fusion Drive.” This hybrid mates a 128GB SSD with a 1- or 3-TB hard drive, so the OS and applications go on the SSD for speed, the files on the hard disk for storage. Again, there is no optical drive, but you get four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, an Ethernet port, and a headphone/line-out jack. The new iMacs start shipping in November (21.5-inch model) and December (27-inch).

Need real tech support? A single call or e-mail, or a simple visit to our Quick Rental Quote form, will get you exactly what you need to overcome every challenge and meet every deadline. We’re here for you, right now!

September 13th, 2012

Tech giant Apple posted record-breaking numbers in Q1 2012, selling 15.4 million iPads, 15.4 million iPods, 37 million iPhones, and 5.2 million Macintosh computers for total sales of $46.33 billion. While scoring records for its other lines, the iPod number was down over 20% fromThe State of the Mac 2012 Q1 2011. Through the next two quarters the Mac and iPhone figures dipped, too. In Q3 2012, sales were at  17 million iPads, 6.8 million iPods, 26 million iPhones, and 4 million Macs .

Changing times

Apple now sells about four times as many iPads as Macs each quarter. In fact, with the proliferation of iPad rental units and booming sales worldwide, the Cupertino firm sold more iOS devices in 2011 than it has sold Macintosh models, ever. Clearly, iOS is now Apple’s “money” platform, and the company is working to adapt the Mac OS to the iOS look, feel, and “vision.”

This has prompted speculation that future Macs will operate on a “converged” OS. This is unlikely. Despite declining Mac sales, the computer will be with us for at least another decade, though some say not much longer. As long as there are iMacs, of course, CRE will have iMac rentals, as well as this blog to keep you in the know.

Mac to the future

If we imagine the kind of computer that people will be using 10 or 15 years from now, it would doubtless be more of an iPad than a Mac. A simple, low-cost, touch-based tablet seems a good guess, although it wouldn’t replace a notebook or desktop PC rental for everyone. Video pros, engineers, audio recordists, graphic artists, and others will always need as much power as possible, plus graphics accelerators, large monitors, special plug-in cards, and so forth.

The market for high-end, premium computers has always been a niche, and will remain one. Apple definitely wants to continue as the go-to brand for creatives and geeks, and it will. The Mac isn’t going anywhere. Will it last another 30 years? Who knows? All indications suggest that it should be around for at least another 10, and probably 20 years. Expect Apple to anchor both of its platforms with iCloud, so that people can use any Apple device, with either OS, in a more synchronized, unified, seamless manner.

We shall see…

And yet, as long as its notebook and desktop models rely on trackpads and mice, not touchscreens, with different considerations for battery life, processing power, and application support, Apple will maintain two significantly different operating systems. Going forward, the iOS calls for continued simplicity and ease, while the Mac OS, currently at version 10.8, Mountain Lion, calls for more sophistication and power.

For now, a formal combination of the two into a hybrid OS doesn’t appear to be Apple’s plan. Bridging them together? That’s the ticket. As always, we’ll keep you posted!

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