Who’s Making Hybrids?
Microsoft’s Windows 8 will serve as both a tablet and laptop operating system. This will allow PC makers the opportunity to produce laptop/ tablet hybrids.
Apple CEO Tim Cook likened it to merging a refrigerator and a toaster. Cook stated, “Anything can be forced to converge but the problem is the products are about tradeoffs,” and “You begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone.” He then claimed that Apple will not produce an iPad/ MacBook hybrid.
It’s worth noting that Steve Jobs claimed that Apple would not produce a video playing iPod, a year-and-a-half before video enabled iPods hit the market.
Are Hybrids Inherently Bad?
I don’t think that hybrids are an inherently bad idea. If Windows 8 doesn’t suck, and Microsoft and their manufacturing partners produce products that are both lightweight and comfortable to use, then it could work.
What does worry me is an iOS/ OS X convergence. Should Apple dumb OS X down to the lowest common denominator and force users to acquire all software via the Mac App Store, that would be catastrophic. Apple gets away with exercising a lot more control over their users than Microsoft does. That’s ok (I guess) for phones and tablets. However it’s horrible for general purpose computing.
Should Apple do this, they will lose me as a customer.
Apple’s Gestapo works hard to prevent information leaks, but every once in a while a real product shot circles around the interwebs. However more often the blurry distorted “leaked” images are fake.
Most of the time the fake images are obviously forgeries. Today’s iPod nano leaked image is one example.
This image looks nothing like the direction that Apple has moved in their product designs. The bold color and lack of a clip (a key feature for this product), make it extremely unlikely that this is real. Yet, the tech press published it all over the place. My RSS feed was full of “Leaked Nano” stories all day.
The traffic increase on Apple leaks must be huge for everyone to forgo logic and publish this garbage.
That being said, readers are smart enough to know BS when they see it.
If you’re going to post fake Apple products, they should at least look good:
Headphones are still a terrible gadget to shop for, but I did settle on the Woodees IESW100L BLUES Noise Isolating Earphones with 3 Button Microphone (Black).
Selecting a Pair
Bose & Skullcandy were out because they aren’t good, and they are overpriced. Beats by Dre are a good pair, but I wasn’t going to pay extra for his name on them, plus, the bass is too overpowering on them.
I narrowed the decision down to Sony, Shure & the Woodees.
I’m currently boycotting all things Sony due to their anti-consumer practices in their game division, so they didn’t make the cut.
It really was a coin toss between Shure & the Woodees. After reading a ton of reviews I decided to go with the boutique brand.
Onto the Woodees IESW100L BLUES.
They are by far the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. I generally hate sticking earbuds in my ears, and I’m happy to walk around with these suckers in. I’ve been wearing them for hours without the slightest hint of discomfort.
They are light-weight, and they come with four different size adjustments. It was easy to find the right size for my ears.
The bass is full without overpowering.
The mids are so rich.
The highs are clear but a little subdued which I generally prefer. I have a hard time listening to strong highs for extended periods of time; especially through headphones.
They come equipped with the three button controls for newer iPods. I don’t have a new iPod so it doesn’t impact me much, however it is nice to know that they are their should I choose to upgrade.
The headphones don’t identify which bud is left and which is right. I had to listen to an album where I knew the speaker orientation to figure it out (The bud with the bottons goes in the right ear).
There isn’t enough high-end to replicate screaming guitars when solos hit very high peaks. While not the end of the world I really noticed it during the heights of Kirk Hammett’s solo in Metallica’s Fade to Black.
I’ve got no serious complaints so long as they last me a few years. If they happen fall apart, I will update this.
I’ve put the Woodees IESW100L BLUES through their paces on rock, blues, grunge, rap, metal, folk, country, classical, and a lot of stuff that resides in-between the genres, and I’m thrilled with the purchase.
They especially shine on acoustic guitar tracks. Listening to Jeff Buckley’s Lilac Wine through these headphones blew me away because I could hear more of his acoustic guitar’s sound than I realized was captured by the recording.
Shopping for headphones is a real pain in the ass. If you care about sound quality, or have an ear for music finding headphones that meet your needs is difficult for a number of reasons.
I’m currently on the hunt for a pair of in-ear headphones to plug into my iPod when I go into NYC. I have a great pair of on-ear headphones, but they aren’t any good for travel, and those white fashion statement iPod headphones really sound like junk.
Here’s the dilemma:
No In-Store Testing
Want a TV? Just walk into Best Buy and look at the pictures. You may have to reset the image settings, but you can physically look at the device.
Want a computer? Look at the specs, read a few reviews, go into the store and make sure that the keyboard and trackpad are comfortable, and make your decision.
If you want headphones you can only read very subjective reviews, that are probably written by people who have no concept of sound quality, nor do they tell you the type of music they are listening to, and that matters a lot.
Headphones you use for rap are not the kind you want for blues rock or classical music.
There aren’t any in-store tests for most headphones, so your purchase is blind.
Too Many Options
There are so many models and variations of models out there that it’s hard to keep track of what’s available, let alone what’s good.
A search for headphones on Amazon results in a paralyzing array of options where the only significant differences seem to be price. Good luck sorting through that mess.
No Clear Standards
Most gadgets have specs that are pretty easy to decipher with minimal training. That’s not the case with headphones.
The Big Brands Suck
Bose blows. Their devices have poor mid ranges, and that’s where the soul lives in music. Listening to a guitar through Bose equipment is like ripping the heart out it.
The brands that are supposed to be “the best” only sound good to people because they’ve been told that they sound good.
Good marketing ≠ Good sound quality
My search has taken me to a number of headphone blogs, and the only method I’m finding even remotely useful is finding multiple reviews of the same products by many people who care about sound quality.
When I make a purchase, I’ll let you know how it goes.
There is a lot of potential to make money in revolutionizing headphone sales.
There’s too much going on today to just cover one topic…
- Happy birthday to TGW contributer Jason (TheLisnakFactor). He is now the official TGW tech question responder guy, so send him some questions!
- Happy 10th birthday Dreamcast; the defunct Sega gaming console. Oh Dreamcast… your graphics were so good, controller was freaking odd, and your games were unfathomably easy to pirate. Thems were the good ole days.
I am back from my adventures in Costa Rica. It was an incredible trip, but I will have more on that later.
I’m still catching up with my life which pressed forward in spite of my absence, so this will be a short one.
Here’s a video from Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy titled, “Things You Never Hear.” Pay close attention to “Things You Never Hear #3,” and keep in mind that I actually wrote yesterday’s post about two weeks ago.
In other geek news, a fan created this fake trailer for a Green Lantern movie staring Firefly and Dr. Horrible’s Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan. The trailer is cheesy yet cool.
I’m rooting for a Green Lantern movie staring Fillion… dare I say, Joss Whedon could direct it.
Microsoft is attacking Apple with another wasted commercial:
As of June 2008 (a year ago), Apple had sold about 163 million iPods:
Zune has been a lost cause since launch. Trying to outflank Apple by labeling Zune as the cheaper alternative will only damage Microsoft’s brand and reputation (as I pointed out before).
I do want to see Microsoft put up an intelligent fight (although I am not sure why I care).
Please Microsoft, pick better battles.