MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2010 (#43)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 137 of 147

136 MacDirectory COVER STORY 2009 IWARDS The most exciting products this year have been not computers but things that work with them: a camera, a recorder, a microphone, an inexpensive USB-to-hard drive adapter and many others. Before discussing Apple's performance in 2009, I'd like to highlight the products that really stood out for me. Olympus's best camera yet What Apple is to computers, Olympus is to cameras. Just as there is really only one microcomputer design superstar, Steve Jobs, there is really only one camera design superstar, Yoshihisa Maitani. Maitani has been retired for years and sadly died this past summer, but the way Olympus has successfully built on his legacy shows how Apple may one day do what seems inconceivable to many today: build on Jobs's legacy. The Olympus Pen E-P1, introduced this summer, indicates where digital camera design is headed. It's the first compact with DSLR quality. Its superb finish and manufacturing quality make similarly priced entry-level DSLRs look like plastic toys. It forms a new category: a small camera with interchangeable lenses that bridges the nimble compact and cumbersome DSLR categories. Like Maitani's iconic original Pen camera of 1959 (which giant Kodak never supported, but which nevertheless went on to sell 17 million units), it is destined to become one of the most popular digital cameras ever. Superb interchangeable lenses, substantially higher image quality even than the best of its compact competitors, Canon's PowerShot G10; and smaller than any of the SLR competition: what more could you want? More than any other camera company, Olympus understands the intangibles that make you want, and able, to take a great picture. Maitani's genius was to translate the user's desired intangibles into a tangible product that realized the user's dreams. That legacy is still guiding Olympus today. Pro Audio for everyone from Tascam and SE Electronics Tascam's DR-100 is an essentially perfect product. Its job is to record sounds at professional quality: cheaply, noiselessly, unobtrusively, easily, and affordably. There is nothing the DR-100 does that you can't do with a Mac and an additional high-end soundcard. What makes the DR- 100 stand out is that it does the job so much better that you would never want to use a computer to do the job. And it's inexpensive (about $420) and small enough so you don't have to make the choice. The DR-100 has four built-in microphones: two omnidirectionals (perfect for group meetings) and two unidirectionals (perfect for music). The kicker is two powered XLR connectors which let you connect any professional microphone in the world. The DR-100 is noiseless. There are no moving parts. Storage is via SD cards up to 32GB. There is no fan, no hard drive, and no electrical noise — factors that are so tough to eliminate when you use a Mac or other computer for digital recording. No problem, either, mousing around and losing time checking for a gazillion things on your computer screen. Press the record button. That's it! You're recording! Everyone from amateur to seasoned pro can make superb recordings with this beautiful device. WORDS BY BILL TROOP

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