MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2011

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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FEA TURE REVIEW 2011 IWARDS –BEST PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR WORDS AND ANAL YSIS BY BILL TROOP Our top award goes to two compelling products that are having a huge impact on the way we use computers, the iPad, and again, as last year, Intel's Solid State Drives. The iPad 2011 was the year of the iPad, and this will probably turn out to be the decade of the iPad, unless, unthinkably, iPad mania fizzles out over the next couple of years. We doubt anybody will ever fully understand the iPad other than Steve Jobs, because nobody else could have thought it up, manufactured it, and persuaded half a gazillion people to buy one. As the tells it, a reporter asked Jobs what market research went into the iPad, and the great man replied, "None. It's not the consumers' job to know what they want." The iPad is a milestone in personal computer history, as significant as CP/M, the IBM PC, Windows, Lisa, the Mac. Success breeds success: the iPad is driving traditional computer sales to Apple, which is now the most valuable company in the world. This astonishing trajectory recently persuaded behemoth Hewlett-Packard to put its PC business up for sale. The only trouble is, nobody it. Today, you can't help looking at HP's vast PC business through Steve Jobs's eyes, and asking, 'Why?' Intel's Solid State Drives An SSD replaces the temperamental mechanics of the hard drive with electronic flash memory. Nothing on earth is as important as safe storage in the digital age. Nothing. Yet hard drives, especially laptop drives, seem to be getting less reliable as capacity goes up. Capacity is great — it gives us sheer space, and it also is key to the huge transfer speed increases we're seeing. But what's the answer to reliability concerns? RAID 1 (having two disks, one mirroring the other) and constant cloud backup and other offsite backup strategies. But what's the best strategy to avoid downtime in the first place? Intel's SSDs, which have so much less to go wrong in the first place. They are still expensive. But when you consider what they save us every day (faster loading of the OS and programs, faster opening of files, faster saving, less downtime from crashes and errors) they're worth it. No company has invested more than Intel in developing SSDs, and no company makes better ones. This year, we tested the 510 series, which we award enthusiastically. With the new 6Gb/s interface, they're dramatically faster and even more reliable even than Intel's X- 25 series we awarded as top product last year. If you order new computers with SSDs, and replace your old hard drives with SSDs, you'll find you have a lot fewer headaches and a lot more quality time. That's truly priceless. Best compact cameras of 2011 Olympus has done more than we could have hoped this year, with two exceptional products. The XZ-1 is the sharpest compact camera yet made. Its remarkable f1.8 Zuiko lens brings a quality level we haven't seen in this category before. It's also an incredibly stylish camera. If you are sure you will never want interchangeable lenses, this is the camera to get in 2012. Olympus's Pen series, with interchangeable lenses, is a true compact system. But it already won our 2009 and 2010 awards. How could the company possibly improve the family enough to make news? Yet it has done so. Over the summer, it released the third Pen generation, comprising the E-P3, E-PL3 (the 'Pen-lite'), and E-PM1 (the 'Pen-mini'). All three feature a new, rapid autofocus system. Olympus claims, and tests verify, that it's the fastest autofocusing system available on any compact camera, rivalling top SLRs that are 10 or 20 times more expensive. This year we award the Pen Mini (officially the Pen E-PM1). Amazingly, Olympus has dramatically shrunk the size MacDirectory 99 N e w Y o r k T i m e s w a n t s

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