New MacBook Pro Rolls In

MacBook Pro 15″ ModelThe Apple store is getting a bundle of new products and price cuts of late – the arrival of the 32gb iPod Touch, the price cuts to the iPod Shuffle (1 gig model now available for €45 online) and the arrival of the MacBook Air. Now it’s the turn of the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models.

I’ve been a MacBook Pro user since December 2006 (seems like a lifetime ago now) and of all the laptops I’ve owned and used over the years I have to say it’s the best piece of computing kit I ever put money into. That said, if I was in the market for a new laptop, then the new MacBook (or Pro) models would be my first port of call.

In the Irish Apple Store you’ll find the MacBook starting from €999 while the MacBook Pro starts from €1799. Though if you want my advice, buy foreign… it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.

The 15 inch MacBook Pro model (of which I’m using) now comes with 200gb HD space as standard, processor upped to 2.4GHz (I’m on 2.16) and NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 128MB SDRAM.

Move up to the next model (2.5GHz 15 inch) and you’ve got yourself an extra 50gb HD space and your graphics card gets bumped up to 256mb (extra 400 euro). The real sweetness is in the new 17 inch model, busting out a screen resolution of 1680 x 1050, 250gb HD, LED backlit screen option and graphics bumped up to 512mb on order.

The MacBooks too have some nice new additions, again with processor, HD and graphics all getting a boost.

Each model ships with 2GB RAM as standard and multi-touch (via MacBook Air) has also been added.

Check here for MacBooks
and here for MacBook Pros on the Irish Apple store.

iPod Video to iPod Touch (How To)

iPod Video to iPod Touch (How To)Back in October, I had published a post on how to hack your ipod video to make it look like an ipod classic.

Well, given that there’s been a new firmware release from the same group that published the Classic firmware I figured I may get to testing the new iPod Touch interface for the iPod video.

Don’t go getting excited – it’s not going to turn your iPod video into a touchscreen interface, but it will give you a rather impressive new interface for your iPod video.

Note that I had previously been using an early release of the iPod classic firmware, iTunes clearing that on me last night to install Apple’s 1.2.3 release for the 5G iPod, which I’ve overwritten with the new iPod Touch firmware release (built on 1.2.1).

Update: Almost 12 months on, I’ve stopped using my own video iPod and haven’t attempted this upgrade since I first made the post, I’m now happily using an actual iPod Touch. Note that as with any software or firmware upgrades or installs, you also accept responsibility for your actions and following the steps. I can’t and won’t guarantee that it will work for you as it’s been a while since I attempted it myself. I don’t accept iPods via mail to change firmware and I don’t accept responsibility for your own iPod when you’re making changes.

Remember, if you get stuck, you can do the iPod reset as outlined in the older post.

Prepping For The Install

As with the previous hack, you’ll need to get yourself a copy of of the latest version of iPodWizard. You’ll also need access to a windows machine (XP / Vista), the correct firmware version for your iPod (5G firmware | 5.5G firmware) and an iPod cable.

How To Update Your iPod Video Firmware

  • Before plugging in your iPod access the main menu settings by going to Settings > Main Menu when you turn your iPod on. Make sure the only menus switched on are ‘Music’, ‘Photos’, ‘Videos’ and ‘Extras’, everything else can be switched off. This will ensure there are no broken links or errors in navigating your iPod from the main screen.
  • Connect iPod to PC (iPod Wizard is windows based). If iTunes opens on connecting, you’ll need to close it and make sure that nothing else is accessing your iPod at the time. If connected properly, you will see the ‘Do Not Disconnect’ warning on your iPod screen.
  • Browse (via My Computer) to your downloaded firmware and if zipped, unzip it to a new folder. I named my folder 5G iPod Touch Hack.
  • In iPod Wizard, set your edit mode (top left corner) to ‘Firmware File’.
  • Click the ‘Open Firmware’ button and navigate to your ‘5G iPod Touch Hack’ folder and open the ‘TouchHack2.0’ file (Windows displays the default icon if no filetype associated, it has a .bin extension). Once loaded, the firmware’s version name will appear beside the ‘open firmware button’.
  • Click ‘Write To iPod’ to start copying the firmware onto your iPod. This doesn’t have any impact on your music collection, everything remains intact. The write process can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Once written, press ‘Eject’ in iPod Wizard. You should hear the Windows sound (if your speakers are on) for the removable drive disconnecting. DON’T unplug your iPod. Your iPod will restart and begin loading the new firmware for the first time.
  • When your iPod has fully restarted, press ‘Eject’ again in iPod Wizard. This will disconnect your iPod from your PC at which time you can remove the cable and start exploring your new interface.

Before & After Images

iPod Touch Hack - Click for more images

A full range of images can be found here on Flickr.

The firmware update was released by DrivenDesign.

iPhone Fever Set To Grip The UK?

It looks like the UK are going to get an iPhone announcement. At least that what you might believe upon the readings. The invitations extended for the press event on the 18th (next Tuesday) bear resemblance to those issued for the recent US event which saw the price drop of the iPhone, launch of iPod Touch, revamp of iPod Classic and a whole lot more.

Telefonica look set to be the iPhone carriers for the Spanish market with O2 (part of Telefonica) carrying the iPhone in the UK. Vodafone are giving the N95 8GB model a big Christmas push in the UK (along with with the Samsung SGH-F700V and Sony Ericsson W910i) and look to be gearing up for a nice battle with O2 – what oh what could they be battling against?

What I want to know is, what’s the story with Ireland? If, as anticipated, the UK gets an iPhone release date on Tuesday next, can we expect that this date and subsequently the mobile carrier, will be reflected in Ireland?

Either way you look at it, iPhone announcement or not, I reckon we’re set for some interesting Apple talk this coming Tuesday.