About Me

This is the personal blog of Don McAllister, the host and producer of ScreenCastsOnline.

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No Cheap iPhone Then?

So no cheap iPhones then?

Of course not, just like there were no cheap iPads when the iPad mini came out. Remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth that Apple must produce a cheap iPad mini to compete with the other cheaper loss making tablets, despite the success of the original iPad.

Well they didn't, and it didn't hurt iPad sales.

Looks like they also decided not to create a "cheap" iPhone yesterday.

However, what Apple did do was to pull off a marketing masterstroke.


New iPhone 5 at premium price - $199/$299/$399 on contract

  • Some spec upgrades
  • New form factor
  • Still a premium brand at a premium price

iPhone 4S at reduced price - $99 on contract

  • Probably some cost savings on manufacturing after 12 months but presumably still relatively high due to high quality components/casing and specialised manufacturing processes = less margin.
  • Still a good buy but stigmatised by being last years model.
  • No real attraction to potential new buyers unless you really wanted an old iPhone at a more affordable price point.

iPhone 4 - Free with contract


New iPhone 5S at premium price - $199/$299/$399 on contract

  • Only model with all metal case including Gold
  • Premium features - 64Bit, Touch ID, Improved Camera
  • The ultimate iPhone and recognised as such

iPhone 5C - A brand new iPhone but just $99 on contract

  • Same internals as the iPhone 5 but probably significant cost savings on manufacturing and parts - higher margins on basically the same phone and same price point as last year.
  • It's a brand new iPhone!
  • It's in lots of colours!
  • If you couldn't afford a brand new iPhone before, you can now!

iPhone 4S - Free with contract

So no cheap iPhone, but they've just opened up a whole new market and created a less expensive premium iPhone brand.



Initial WWDC Keynote Thoughts

Some random and incomplete intial thoughts about the WWDC keynote. It always takes a while for the full impact of these announcements to sink in, so these are my initial knee jerk reactions.

OSX Mavericks - Looks like they have little low hanging fruit left to gather so have focused on many under the hood improvements. The power management seems to have been a priority. Of the new features they did announce, happy to see improvements in the Finder with tabs and the use of tags. The big one for me was the multiple monitor support - some great new changes. Pity I've just split my two 27" Thunderbolts across my sitting and walking desks! iCloud Keychain might hurt one of my favourite apps - 1Password - although the 1Password guys are very astute and are bound to keep one step ahead with additional functionality and cross platform support.

iBooks and Safari - meh!

New MacBook Airs - No Retina displays as expected but good spec bumps, especially in power management. I'm assuming the stats were based on OSX Mountain Lion, so performance may be even better with OSX Mavericks. The whole MacBook Air section seemed rushed, and no wonder with what was comimg next. A look at the spectacular new Mac Pro.

Mac Pro Sneak Peak - Easily my favourite keynote quote from Phil Schiller EVER!! - "Can't innovate anymore, my ass,"

As I anticipated, the new Mac Pro was much smaller, with a total reliance on Thunderbolt 2 for expansion. I could live with that. The tube form factor was a huge surprise, and it was good to see it arose out of a design principle and not fashion. Everything centered around a huge central core for heat management. Such a tiny thing too. Specs to die for and a masterstroke by Apple. Support for 3 x 4K displays - wow. Can't wait to see the 4K Thunderbolt Retina Displays. They even had Muse as the accompaniment.

I'll reserve my full judgement until the sticker price of this baby is revealed, but it ain't going to be cheap!

iOS7 - Well Apple didn't disappoint, and gave us what we've been asking for - a refresh of the iOS UI. Not sure if they've gone far enough in some aspects, and too far in others. Glad to see they've addressed some of the functional aspects of iOS that were sorely in need of update. Control Center is something thats been needed foreever, and the multitasking looks great, both in function and appearance.

The Photos app seems to have taken a few hints from EverPix and the Weather app a few design traits from the Yahoo Weather app.

But overall, I quite liked the aesthetic of the new iOS7, but it may take a bit of getting used to. The parallax effects and elegance of the new design was quite refreshing. The design community have gone banannas over the new icons for the major apps, with Safari taking the brunt of the critisism. Hate to say it, but I have to agree, the new icons look shocking!

I'll download iOS7 and install it on my iPod touch to try it out.


As far as the keynote overall is concerned, I felt Tim Cook was more natural and relaxed than in previous events, and Craig Federighi showed almost no signs of nerves - a very polished and competent performance. I doubt we'll ever see Jony Ive on stage, I think he needs the control and crafted delivery that can only be given in a video.

A solid two hours of information delivered at a good pace and with a few gems.

They could have done without the 3rd party devs and the slighly botched demo at the beginning, what where they thinking?

Notable ommission was anything to do with the Apple TV or an Apple TV SDK - obviously, now is still not the time to elevate Apple TV out of hobby status.


My New Walking Desk

Ok, So I've got a new desk. A walking treadmill desk!

This is basically a standing desk with a treadmill. It's not my permanent workplace, I still have my normal desk, but I'm hoping to build up to spending a few hours on the walking desk every day.

So why a walking desk?

I've read a lot about the effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time. It doesn't make for comfortable reading, especially for some one like me, who spends seven or eight hours every day in front of my monitor.

I've also read about the benefits of a standing desk. I've tried it and I didn't really like it. There's something very fatiguing about standing in the same spot for prolonged periods of time.

The alternative is a walking desk.

First thing to state up front is the walking desk is not an exercise machine. The treadmill is purpose built for walking at slow speeds. There's no incline setting and the usual speed is between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour. The idea is to just keep moving and not break into a sweat. At this speed, it's fairly easy to type, use a trackpad and I even can use my Wacom Tablet. It's early days (it only arrived today), but I was quite happy answering emails, doing some post production stuff and various admin stuff. To break myself in gently, after the effort of setting the thing up (it's a bit of a beast), I decided to limit myself to just 45 minutes. I'll gradually build up over the coming months.

I also don't intend to do podcasts or record my ScreenCastsOnline videos whilst walking. I have a normal desk kitted out for my recording activities.

I'll do a more detailed post over the next few weeks, but to answer a few specific questions and comments on Twitter.

Which model did I get?
I went for a commercially available model rather than build my own. I just don't have the time and I wanted to get one that was specifically designed for the job. I went with the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk. Horrendously expensive and almost twice the price in the UK than in the US. At least I can claim it as a business expense and reclaim the VAT. It's not even the top of the range. However, build quality is excellent and the desk area is huge.

What mount did I get for the Monitor?
I can't remember! I got a standard VESA mount for the 27" Thunderbolt Display but I can't remember where I got the stand from.

What is the Wallpaper?
I picked up the wooden wallpaper from here

Why don't you just go out and enjoy some fresh air and walk?
After a long day seated, I tend to go for a long walk outside each evening, to try and compensate for inactivity of the day. I'm not a runner but I do enjoy my long walk. So wouldn't it be good to walk whilst doing some work during the day. Hence the walking desk. I'll still go for my evening walks, but I'll supplement that with walking during the day to remain productive and gain all the health benefits. It's not to replace my other activities, but if I have to work seven or eight hours a day indoors. why not spend some of that time walking?

Just as a bit of fun, I did a time lapse of setting up the new beast - enjoy!


MacHeist nanoBundle

Hands up, who is getting just a bit jaded by software bundles?

I know I am. You occasionally get one of two gems in a bundle, but invariably, they are padded with fillers or apps you've never heard of.

However, the MacHeist people have come up with another software bundle...

...but not JUST another software bundle!

They have excelled themselves by releasing a "nanoBundle" of 8 top Mac apps for just $9.99 with 10% of the purchase going to charity.

But it's not just some old naff collection of apps you've never heard of, it contains 6 blockbuster titles (and 2 I'm not familiar with.)

Check out what's included...

1 - Clean My Mac 2

2 - Fantastical

3 - Clarify

4 - xScope

5 - iStopMotion

6 - Totals

and if they reach their target (which they undoubtably will, they have already sold 9,407 of their 10,000 target as I write this.)

7 - Path Finder

8 - Little Inferno

In all honesty, if I saw any of the first five apps on sale individually for $9.99, I'd recommend it to you.

All eight for $9.99 is a complete and utter no-brainer!

Anyway, enough gushing, get over to and check out the apps for yourself but there are only 5 days left (as of 18th April) so don't dally!

PS The link is not an affiliate link and I'm acting completely independently of MacHeist - it's just an amazing offer!


Adobe Creative Cloud

I'm not a huge fan (or user) of Adobe products, but I have to say, the new Adobe Creative Cloud approach to bundling all of their professional apps as a subscription service is intriguing. The high cost of purchasing the individual Apps has always put me off, especially when there are so many low cost alternatives. The Adobe suite of creative products are all industry standard apps and packed full of Pro features.

The Creative Cloud option basically gives you every Adobe Creative tool for a low cost monthly subscription, rather than buying the individual Apps for many thousands of pounds. You also get cloud storage thrown in and upgrades to all the apps when new versions come out.

Screenshot 15 04 2013 10 31The apps are the full pro apps and can be selectively downloaded to your Mac once you take out a subscription. You don't access them in the cloud, you download the full app. You also get access to the latest versions as they are released.

I've included a list of the included apps in the panel to the right.

The recent announcement of the hiring of Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch by Apple also intrigued me.

Kevin Lynch was instrumental in bringing the Adobe Creative Cloud to market, and as such, it's interesting to see how the Creative Cloud works and if it is any indication of what Lynch may bring to Apple.

However, even at the usual price of £46 per month, my curiosity for Adobe Creative Cloud wasn't piqued enough to put my hand in my pocket and fork out that amount of cash each month.

It would be good to have a play with the latest version of Photoshop and I've always heard good things about Adobe Audition and Lightroom. After Effects has a huge following in the video field, and there is always Premier Pro to take a look at.

But no, £46 per month was still a bit too high for me.

At the recent NAB in Las Vegas, Adobe suggested that the latest versions of their Pro video tools would be available soon. All these new versions will show up in the Creative Cloud Suite.


Even more interesting is that Adobe have launched a special promo on 12 months of the Adobe Creative Cloud for just $30USD or £23 per month. That's a saving of 40% on the first year. The best thing is you don't need to be an existing member or have an existing Adobe product if you use this link

Anyone can sign up for the deal, but it closes on April 19th so you need to act quick if you want to take advantage of the offer.

I've just signed up for 12 months.

I doubt I'll be covering any of the products on ScreenCastsOnline, or that it's likely that I'll be switching to Adobe Premiere Pro for my video editing needs, but it will be fascinating to explore so many new Pro apps.

And at £23 per month for 12 months, it seems like an absolute steal!

The only downside is that if I get hooked or dependant on any of the apps, the price goes up to the full cost after the 12 months, but you can always cancel if you want.