Thursday, September 5, 2013

Life was simpler when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits.

Last weekend I bought a set of Apple EarPods at Victoria Square to replace the one that I left in Malaysia. How could someone leave their earphones, I knoooww, silly me. It was Sunday, and the store was packed with people. What I was particularly impressed with was their payment system. The staff asked me to download Apple Store app and scan the barcode of the item I was purchasing. The payment was deducted from my debit card linked to my iTunes account (which was unfortunate because I wanted to use another card). Anyway, the whole process was sleek and not to mention, very high tech-ish! So if you already have the app on your phone, simply scan the barcode, they'll ask you to confirm your debit card, and voila, the item is yours! You don't even have to report to any cashier, or staff or whatever. It was my first time using such facility anyway so you can expect me to be a little too excited needless to say hahaha!

They even sent the electronic receipt to my phone, which can be viewed in the app.

I'm not sure if Apple Malaysia or rather, the Machines have done this. But if they do, I must say I am well impressed. (and please, pardon me for my jakun-ness lol)

Then quite recently I found a way to control my MacBook using my iPhone. At first I discovered an app from Apple that can control iTunes from other Apple devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad). It is called Remote. The setup is very easy and straightforward. Best of all, it's completely free! The 'remote' can also be connected to several iTunes library from other devices, even a PC I assume, though I am yet to try it. Well Adam's iTunes doesn't really suit my earbuds so I guess I'll never figure that one out.

The app brings up iTunes library on the device you're controlling it with. Except that when you play any music, it plays from the iTunes library that you control, and in my case, from my MacBook Pro. Both devices, however, have to be connected to WiFi - pretty much like how iCloud and Photo Stream work.

I guess this Remote app will be most useful on lazy days where I want to play music from my laptop without having to get up to the work desk. And of course, sleepy nights too!

Connecting to the iTunes library on my MacBook

You can add more iTunes library if you wish

It brings up the usual iTunes interface, so it's pretty straightforward to control

As if it's not impressive enough, I discover another app to control a MacBook as it is from the iPhone, complete with trackpad and keyboard. It's called Hippo Remote.

The Lite version is free, but there's a more advanced paid version, if you wish

Like I said, it's free! I hardly pay for apps anyway. Talk about having impressive gadgets but refuses to pay for apps, heh.

Unlike Remote app, you'll need to download the Hippo Remote on both phone and laptop, in order for them to be synchronised. I was initially put off by the fact that I have to download stuff on the laptop. But curiosity got the better of me, so I downloaded the app anyway. To my pleasant surprise, the setup was very simple!

You'll need to choose a mutual password to be used on both the laptop and the iPhone and connect them

This app serves exactly like a keyboard and a trackpad on the MacBook. Except that now you have them on your iPhone. 

It really is, literally, controlling the MacBook from your iPhone. Just one downside, a Macbook Pro 13" isn't really that big, and you can hardly see the cursor from far if you decide to use your iPhone to control it. So honestly it's a bit useless when it comes to serious browsing. I can only think of one occasion where this app might come handy - when watching movies from afar. You can pause, play, fast forward etc using your phone so you don't have to get up from the cosy couch to do it. And that if you watch it from your couch or bed, and given the screen size of 13'', I honestly doubt it. Probably those with a large screen or monitor will appreciate it better than I do.

I particularly like the function that they make available on the iPhone trackpad. Scrolling with two fingers works just the same, and right click with double tap too, although I think it would be more comfortable on iPad given the screen size.

I'm not exactly a gadget freak, but things like these often impress me. Just that one thing struck me. Earlier today the Speck case for my MacBook Pro arrived in the mail. Too bad I found it rather poorly fitted, so I decided to return it straightaway. Mind you, Speck cases aren't cheap. I've had one of those cases from eBay, and it didn't last as long as I wish. It left me with another question - should I buy another Speck and see if I'm lucky that it fits, or just play along with those from eBay and replace it when the time comes.

I haven't got the answer yet, but one thing for sure - if my laptop is not a MacBook Pro, I'm pretty sure I won't have to answer this question. I used to have a HP Pavillion, and it worked just as fine as it was, without any cases whatsoever.

Oh well, they say life was simpler when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits. Can't complain much!

1 comment:

caleb choo said...

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