This time it’s Apple TV… am I turning into an Apple fanatic??

Okay, so I’ve written a few posts on the iPad, iPod and the iPhone. I’ve ranted incessantly about the horrendous experience I had following the upgrade of my iPhone 3GS to iOS4, I still can’t believe how Apple got away with making so many peoples life a misery for so long. I’ve also written here about how my iPad wouldn’t replace my PC, not least due to printing and lack of Flash support. But again I’ve written here how both of these limitations can easily be resolved.

I didn’t realise how hooked I had become on Apple kit until recently… over the last few years my wife, two kids and I have amassed 2 x iPads, 2 x iPhones, 2 x iPod Touch, 1 x Classic iPod, 2 x iPod Nano and an iPod Shuffle… Steve Jobs has certainly done well out of this family.

A few months back I also invested in an Apple Airport so that we could stream music from our 6000 song collection on iTunes around the house, and at only £80 or so, we were delighted with this.

Now well and truly hooked, I then asked Santa for Apple TV for Christmas and he duly obliged.

Setting this up couldn’t be simpler, almost plug in a go (once you’ve connected it to a router). You have to set up home sharing in iTunes, which again is very simple and that’s it. Now, I can sit in the living room and stream movies, music and podcasts from iTunes to my TV in very respectable quality.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t he just put the DVD into the player connected to the TV?  Fair point I suppose, but I can also rent movies from AppleTV (iTunes) for a modest price of £2.99 … which is cheaper than my Virgin cable provider at £3.50 (a huge saving of 51p) … so if I rent 250 movies then the Apple TV has paid for itself right?

Erm no, that’s not what it’s about at all. I bought it because it’s a really cool gadget, for the same reason I bought my Sling Box and a whole host of other gadgets, and even if I only use it a half dozen times it still gives me enjoyment.

So just as I’m really happy with my Apple TV, things get even better when I discover that with Apple Airplay I can stream movies from my iPads, iPod Touches, and my iPhone as well. This means my PC iTunes library doesn’t have to be switched on and any movie installed on my device can very quickly be played on the TV, brilliant!!

What’s more Airplay also gets me round the limitations of only being able to stream the same song from iTunes to my Airport devices as I can use my iPhone etc as a separate play list and play different songs to different rooms.

So there you have it, an Apple fanatic? Well I’ve not got a Macbook yet, but it could just be a matter of time…

At long last #Flash support for the #iPad

A few weeks back I wrote this post on how my Ipad would never replace my laptop. One of my main gripes was the lack of Flash support, I wrote:

The lack of flash support is a massive drawback, 50% of the sites I try to visit use flash and I can’t use the iPad to get to them.

So you can imagine my joy this week when a friend of mine tweeted this:

So off I rushed to acquire the Skyfire browser for the iPad for the modest sum of £2.99…

It does indeed allow you to play flash movies on the iPad, but how it does it, whilst innovative, is not quite seamless, e.g.

  • When you load up a page that contains flash Skyfire doesn’t automatically detect this… you have to press the ‘video’ button at the bottom left of the browser.
  • Skyfire then analyses the page for a flash tag and if it finds one a small window pops up informing you that some background processing is going on.
  • Behind the scenes the flash movie is copied and converted to HTML5 on a Skyfire server and then streamed to the small popup window.
  • Thereafter the movie plays pretty well…

Now all of this takes time and even 30 seconds of background processing seems like an eternity and it somewhat spoils the experience.

All in all, whilst it may not be the most elegant experience, Skyfire does what it says on the tin and allows you to watch Flash videos. In the grand scale of things, it’s better than having no Flash support at all, but until such times that Apple bury the hatchet with Adobe, this is all we can expect.