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Tune in, turn on: Apple announced this morning that the Apple TV is officially shipping, and available in stores. Pre-orderers received email notices yesterday that their units had shipped and, depending on the shipping option chosen and destination, would arrive Friday. Our attempts to purchase one yesterday at two San Francisco Apple Stores were met with defeat. One Apple Store clerk told us, with a clear note of frustration in his voice, "Apple's been telling us, 'It'll come this week' since the being of March." This week, it was no lie.
In his review of the Apple TV, the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg says the device's media streaming capabilities worked without a hitch. "Every single movie, TV show and song streamed without interruption from both Windows and Mac computers," he writes. Of course, as we already knew, he reiterated the fact that you can't stream media directly from the Internet - yet. "We fully expect Apple to add the capability to stream or download a variety of content directly from the Internet, and that this new capability will be available on current Apple TV boxes through software updates," Mossberg writes. Makes sense. And, as AppleInsider points out, Mossberg also confirms what some Mac OS geeks had been wondering, namely that the Apple TV runs a "modified version of the Mac operating system."
If you, like some of us, feel a bit left out because your home isn't endowed with a widescreen TV on which to stream iTunes media via the Apple TV, you can always head down to your local Apple Store to gawk at a live demo. If that doesn't perk you up, consider one TV analyst's prediction that the Apple TV will bomb. (Who's he calling cultish?)
Of course, if you're ready to buy an HDTV so you can also buy an Apple TV, here's some advice. (And our advice, from personal experience: Do your research before you head to Best Buy. Seriously.)
Where's the Mac malware? "Pretty much nonexistent" according to McAfee security researcher Marius van Oers, who estimates that out of 236,000 known pieces of malware (short for malicious software), only seven affect Mac OS X. (About 700 of the 236,000 were written for Linux/Unix.) MacDailyNews takes issue with the resulting assertion by vnunet.com's Shaun Nichols that "the Mac OS X system is not inherently more secure than other operating systems."
MacDailyNews points out that there is a nonexistent percentage of Mac OS X viruses, when, logically, OS X viruses should account for 10 to 16 percent (using install base as a guide). Why? "Superior security design." We tend to agree. But we don't think it means Mac users can afford to ignore security. Check the June issue of Mac|Life for a feature article on how you can secure your Mac (and your data).
Another iPhone killer (maybe): Chinese electronics manufacturer Meizu has a possible "iPhone killer" on the loose with its M8 MiniOne, a touchscreen-based wireless phone that shares a very similar form factor to the iPhone's. The M8 has the iPhone beat on price, screen resolution, and camera options, according to Apple Matters, but the M8 seems to be a "Windows clone" of the iPhone.
In other tech news: Apple has joined the W3C's HTML Working Group. There's a new Export to Apple TV feature in QuickTime. Sony now offers a 4GB capacity version of its teeny-weeny Micro Vault USB drive. The latest GPhone rumor: Google hired away the T-Mobile Sidekick team to develop Google's unconfirmed foray into the wireless phone space. Aside from wearing skirts, the Scots are doing other cool stuff, namely developing the world's most environmentally friendly supercomputer.