Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Steve Jobs Is Not Down, Here's Why

No one knows if Steve will be back as CEO of the company. I don't know either and I frankly don't are so long as he's still around to make the big decisions.

And here's why I think Steve will be around for a long time to come. According to Information Week, a source familiar with Apple's government sales plan said Jobs and certain Apple executives were granted security clearance by the federal government.

Why provide Steve Jobs clearance if he isn't coming back to Apple? You don't just grant security clearance like it's some kind of knighthood.

And let's assuming for a sec that Apple is treating the NSA and the military like they treat the rest of us, basically, telling them Steve's health is a personal matter. I have to assume that for the folks fighting and trying to keep America safe, they would have some intel on the status of Steve's welfare before giving him security clearance.

Finding out about Jobs' medical situation isn't like trying to find Bin Laden or WMD. The CIA or whoever else can easily get Jobs' health record. I seriously doubt the intel community would grant Steve Jobs security clearance if they did not believe he'll be back at Apple in some capacity.

Note: Steve was recently voted back onto the Disney board. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, we can only conclude that we'll be hearing more "one more thing..." from Steve for a long time to come.

Free Applications From The Omni Group

If you have bought a Mac in recent years, you'll notice OmniOutliner that comes with the Mac. The Omni Group has gone a step further today and made a few applications free for Mac users.

This is a recession busting sort of thing but its greatly appreciated as far as I'm concerned.
  • OmniWeb - I like the session saving feature. But I'll go with what I've already got on my desktop.
  • OmniDictionary - not bad. I will be downloading this one.
  • OmniDiskSweeper - always need more memory and space.
  • OmniDazzle - I'll be passing on this one. I don't need more "dazzle" even though my Macbook can handle it.
  • OmniObjectMeter - it's a good application for developers who are looking to optimize their applications. Not for everyone.
I've downloaded OmniDictionary and OmniDiskSweeper. I've got Safari, Firefox, and, more recently, Flock. OmniWeb has come neat features but given the unqiue session saving is a good feature but it's not one that I need all the time.

Omni Group, thanks for these applications. I will be upgrading Outliner which I think is one of their better applications.

Source: Maccentral

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Apple And Mobile World Congress

No one really expected Apple to go all the way to Barcelona to introduce a new mobile device or update the iPhone. However, everything about smartphones at the MWC is about Apple. Over at Onxo, we discussed what Apple's competitors were doing to catch up the one-two punch of iPhone-iTunes.

Just about every touch device was compared to the iPhone. Just about every app store was given a shakedown (even though none except Android Marketplace is operational) relative to the iTunes app store.

It's was always Apple this. iPhone that.

Here's my question: where is Apple? Seriously, right? This time last year, we were given an updated 16GB iPhone. The major update was the unibody Macbooks in October and sprinkled with the 17" Macbook Pro at Macworld.

I'm tempted to say we're are going to get a slew of updates from Apple in March through October (usually the last month of updates from Apple) but in this economic condition, I don't know if that'll happen. And rumor after rumor, we continue to be disappointed week after week with no new announcements.

There are indications that Apple is prepping for new products - memory chips are drying up all over the world because Apple is taking them off the market. New iPhone models? Probably. Apple's answer to the netbook? Perhaps.

So what are we looking at from Apple?
  • Desktops - iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini. We all expected this in January but there is truth to what Apple said about not doing Macworld - they can now introduce products at a time of their choosing. Well, they sure are taking their time. However, I doubt the iMac are just getting any old updates. I'm guessing something's up. The same can be said for the Mac Mini. As for the Mac Pro, I honestly have speculation whatsoever. I'm gonna pass on that one.
  • Apple TV - hobby is what Apple will continue to call it until it takes off. If it takes off. Don't be surprised if it get folded into the Mac Mini or the iMac. Again, no clue anyway as to what the next update, hardware or software, is going to be like.
  • Macbooks - selling extremely well. If not for the Macbooks, Mac sales would be much worse in this environment. I don't see an update any time soon. However, expect the new battery technology in the 17" Macbook Pro to trickle down to the 15" and Air models later this year. Macbooks changes make take longer, possibly 2010. To Onxo, the new battery is one of the better mobile changes from Apple.
  • iPhone - I don't do rumors but I do read them eagerly, hoping they all come true. But we know that is almost never the case. Multi-core anyone? LED? iPhone HD? 32GB models? I'm looking for looking for longer battery life, hoping, wishing for longer battery life. My experience with the G1 has made me think twice about the next iPhone unless its battery life goes back up to the level of the original iPhone, at the very least.
  • iPhone OS - this is more important than any change in hardware. iPhone's hardware is like to change once a year. Why is the OS more important than the hardware? Because everyone will like use similar chips (unless the rumors of Apple design its own is true) and other market components. It has been innovations with iPhone's OS that put it head, shoulders, and body above everyone else. It'll be innovation that keep the iPhone on top.
  • iPods - We have the nano, touch, and classic. I don't know where the nano will go from here. It was thin, then fat, and now thin again. In that time, it gained the ability to play video. No idea. The iPod Touch is easier to figure. It's the iPhone without the phone functions. I wouldn't mind if it had the same body as the iPhone with longer battery life. The new updated iPod Touch has a faster chip and, to many, that has made a difference with some tasks. My iPhone and, now, my iPod Touch has always felt snappier than my G1 and Blackberries so I've got nothing to complain about speed. We might see a 64GB iPod Touch. That's almost a lock. And that brings me to the iPod Classic. I don't know if we'll see any change and Apple probably had a couple of meetings about what to do with it. There's a reason they called it the "classic". As soon as the iPod Touch has storage comparable to the Classic, that's when Apple will kill it off. However, it's not inconceivable that Apple will turn the Classic into a portable media hub of sort.
  • Gaming - this is the main reason why I don't think the hardware will change much this year. The iPhone is way more powerful than the DS or PSP. But I'm not in the camp that believes the iPhone is a threat to Nintendo or Sony. Someday, but not today. But Apple can and should do more to move iPhone gaming in new innovative directions. Then maybe the iPhone and iPod Touch can be mentioned in the same breath as the DSi or PSP.
  • Netbook or iTablet. the iPhone isn't Apple's answer to the netbook. But I'm sure Apple will not offer a $400 or even a $500 netbook. Why shoot yourself in the foot when Macbooks are selling so well. Why cut sacrifice revenue and market to maintain marketshare? I'm looking at a $700-$800 tablet with the same OS as the iPhone and iPod Touch. Perhaps two models. And there is a very important thing that it won't do that netbooks are doing now: serve as replacements for regular PCs and laptops.
There are things I wish Apple to produce but they're wishful thinking on my part. Dual-boot system and letting Macs run apps for the iPhone. I'll get into this at a later date.

My speculations and assumptions are based on past Apple actions. Still, I'm hopeful we'll see exciting innovations from Apple. After all, it's competitors are doing their best to catch up and Apple execs have said they'll innovate their way out of the recession.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To Apple Mobile Warriors: It's Okay To Not Get the iPhone

I totally get that people love their iPhone or want an iPhone if not for the fact that it exists only on ATT.

I was reading a post on Verizon's LTE deployment and wishful thinking by TUAW (hey, I do that all the time - thinking wishfully) about the possibility of the iPhone working on Verizon's LTE network in 2010 instead of waiting for ATT to take it live in 2011.

But here's the larger issue.  You go with the network you like or go with the iPhone and have to tolerate an arguably inferior network?  Well, that's the great thing about the iPod Touch.  You can get the iPod Touch with all the great features of the iPhone OS, iTunes, and the app store and then go with a Storm on Verizon or Pre with Sprint when it comes out.  

I understand with the iPhone, you carry one single device.  That works the ideal situation.  What about folks are locked into non-ATT contracts or live in areas where ATT just plainly have no signal?  Since I've been trying out the G1 for the last few months, I pretty much carry around an iPod Touch as well.  I've got access to my iPhone/iPod Touch apps as well as the ease of use of the OS.  At the same time, I've got a 3G phone provides me with mobile Internet and connectivity.

I've got issues with my G1 but it does get things done.  So for folks who, for whatever reasons, want an iPhone but can't, the iPod Touch is the way to go.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No LTE For iPhone Until 2011

Assuming that Apple keeps the iPhone exclusively on ATT through 2012 as some have predicted, we are not looking at the iPhone gaining LTE wireless service (next generation wireless) until 2011. 

Cult of Mac reports that ATT has said trials will begin in 2010 but no rollout until 2011.  So, what is an iPhone user to do?  Wait?  Upgrade now?  

Actually now is the best time since a two-year contract will take  you through 2011.  Sure, it's mid-Feb now so you'll want to wait until June for the next iPhone revision.  Although, I did get my 16GB iPhone last Feb and loved every bit about it.

Personally, 3G is quite good and I'm more interested in what new apps and features Apple is likely to impress us with than extra speed we get.  3G over Edge is already pretty good for now. 

It's always the UI, OS, features, and designs that has put the iPhone head, should, and body above everything else on the market.  

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dataviz Taking Sign-ins For Documents-To-Go For iPhone

MacNN is reporting that Dataviz is readying its flagship product, Documents-To-Go, for the iPhone.  For folks who don't know about Dataviz, DTG is an application that a lot of Palm users are familiar with.  It's compatible with Microsoft Office data formats and allows users to create and edit documents on the go.

Since the iPhone came out, there has been no office suite app for the iPhone.  We have different spreadsheet editors and word processors but nothing as unifying as DTG.  Perhaps one of the main reason is the lack of copy-and-paste function.  And yes, DTG for the iPhone will have copy-and-paste.

Just last week, Google enabled spreadsheet editing for Google Docs for Webkit browsers.  So, for iPhone mobile warriors who need (want) to work on the go, the time is near.

Please visit the following links for more details and pics.  Personally, I had hoped that iWork for iPhone would be available but from what I see, DTG is pretty cool and badly needed.
You can sign in for notification here.  There's no word if this is for the beta or when it's finally in the app store.

Note:  You can bet this app won't be $0.99.  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Apple Should Buy Game Studies

With almost $30 billion in the back, this is what I would recommend ot Apple:  buy Sega.  What do you think?

Yesterday, Cook was quoted as saying Apple has $16 billion more than they really need to run Apple effectively.  So, why not get into the gaming business with $3 billion cash?  It's about a quarter of work given the cash flow that Apple was able to put in the bank last quarter. 

With exclusives from Sega for Apple TV, the iPhone platforms, and Macs, it stands to reason that Apple has a much better chance to really rock with gamers.  Outside of Nintendo, Sega, a former gaming hardware powerhouse, has been know to a great innovator in games and hardware.  Before Nintendo came out with the Wii, a lot of folks thought Apple should go in take Nintendo off the market.  I think the same can be said of Sega.

Plus, Sega has a brand that is known throughout the world.  Sure, Sega can still develop for other platforms but with Sega games in its profolio, it stands to reason that this will give gamers a reason to think that Apple is serious about their needs. 

And with Apple, Sega truly has someone with deep pockets, established platforms, and the management to really grow and innovate.  Who wouldn't want to see a Sega-powered Apple TV?  And is anyone really naive to believe that Apple's hobby won't one day include gaming?  With Sega gaming out of the block, it'll really bring Macs and Apple TV up another level.

And have anyone noticed that Apple has only a couple of apps for the iPhone?  One is the remote and another is a Keynote app.  No games.  Sega can correctly that easily.

Here are a few properties that Sega will bring to the iPhone and Mac:
  • Sonic and buddies - obviously - with this, you've got the classic games.  And how about creating a reality world?  Parents, kids, and big kids (like myself) will love that!
  • Total War series
  • RPGs and MMOs -Phantasy Star series
  • Sega Rally
  • Sports games
  • Ecco - live to see the little guy back on the iPhone. 
And while Sega has a lot to offer Apple, don't think Apple doesn't have a thing or two to teach Sega.  I think this can work to be beneficial for both companies.  Plus, geographically, this will offer Apple an in with the Japanese market as far as marketing Apple consumer gears to Sega's home market.  Once you start putting Sega in Apple stores in Japan, you can potentially attract a lot of folks who normally have no need to visit Apple stores. 

There are other studioes that Apple can potential pick up without breaking a sweat.  EA, Take-Out, Konami just to name a few but Sega is the big one.  Maybe with the other studios, Apple can throw some money out there and get gaming development going for the Mac and iPhone.  From the look of things, they eventually will do that (and have) but it stands that Apple can nudge things along to speed up the process.

Note: Right now, it's looks pretty pathetic that Sega has only one game for the iPhone considering how heavily Apple promoted Sega's role and iPhone gaming.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lost iPhone

It hurts when  you read the title of this post, doesn't it?  Well, I had to hear it directly from an acquaitance.  To make the story short, it was really his fault for putting himself in that situation.  I won't get into that.

He called me up and asked what I know about lost iPhones.  Well, there were a few cases like this on the Web so we kind of have something to go on.  The guy lives in Taiwan so I'm not sure how the subscriber-provider-Apple relation is like.  To my knowledge, they don't even have an Apple store.

I'll keep you updated on developments.  I've asked him to make sure he did in fact register with Apple or his provider and give them a call and provide them with the IMEI number and serial number.  The hope is that someone will log on with it and they'll be able to track the thief down.

Any tip will be appreciate by the iPhone mobile warrior community at large.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

iPod Classic - Just How Classic?

Over the Holidays, I had a $100 coupon for signing up with and some leftover credits on Amazon from a while back. So I figure since I'm going to give my jailbroken iPhone away, I'm gonna need a new iDevice.

I was torn between the Classic and the iPod Touch. I ended up with an iPod Touch (8GB - it's a downgrade from the 16GB in my iPhone) because I felt the 2nd generation iPod Touch had a lot of offer expecially with the built-in features - Nike+ and voice recording. And let's not fool ourselves. Apple is prepping for the iPod Touch and the iPhone platform in general for much more than music and games.

Now, 8GB verus 120GB in the Classic. I only considered the Classic because I felt Apple may not continue making it beyond this year. iPod Touch stands at 32GB. We can potentially see a 64GB model in late 2009. Apple might just say "okay, it's got enough storage for 95% of the users and we want to move everyone to the new iPhone/Touch platform".

And it's definitely a possibility considering it's Apple we're talking about. It'll force a wholesale upgrade.

And by then, the Classics, what's left of it, may see its value increase on Amazon or Ebay as a result. Plus, for folks who lamented the fact that Apple didn't increase the storage for the late-2008 Classics, there are now 240GB microdrives that'll fit in these iPods perfectly. Gizmodo has more info for you if you're interested.

Lots an awful lot of music, pictures, and movies. Thirty-six hours of audio and 6 hours (7 hours by some reviewers), it's any audiphile's dreams.

The iPod Touch is awesome but with the Classic's storage and upgradability, it's a music player in its own class. I just hope Apple won't truly turn it into a classic.

Note: You can still get the Apple iPod touch 16 GB or Apple iPod classic 120 GB Black (6th Generation) (Amazon purchased Audible las year). All you need to do is to sign up for Audible for one year and they'll give you a coupon for $100 off an iPod (or other Audible compatible player).

Monday, February 2, 2009

iPhone Game Thoughts: Duck Hunt and Footbal

Macworld reports that Apple pulled Duck Hunt from the app store at Nintendo's request.  Frankly, I'm very surprised by how long it took for Nintendo to make this request.

However, the developer will provide an updated version without infringing on Nintendo's copyright - meaning removing the graphics and music.

Now, sports games.  Today, Macworld wrote an article about football games for the iPhone and iPod Touch.  I thought "wow, how could I have missed those games completely".  I have been complaining about the lack of sports games.

Well, it turned out it's not real football like what we see on the DS or PSP.  No Madden.  Still, it's a great post that I recommend readers head over to read.  Instead of real football, it's finger football or paper football.  Basically, you flick something between a graphical pair of hands set up to look like the goal post to see if you can make the "field goal".

There's a game called "X's And O's" but I hesitate to call it a real football game.

So far, Real Soccer 2009 is the only sports game that is true to being what the specific sport is about.  But for developers out there looking to get into the app store where there isn't a lot of competition, sports games like football, baseball, hockey, and basketball are nonexistent and will millions of iPhone users who are also sports fans, you can probably charge a pretty dollar to get us to purchase and download the games.

Think about it.  We're waiting.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekend Updates

Nothing major here but I just want to share my addiction to blogs and updates on all things Apple.

Typically, we get our regular updates.  I'm not going to mention sites I visit here and now because I'll inevitably leave some out and that's unfair.  Suffice to say, I go through a lot of them as I've got them in my Google Reader.

But come weekends, I start to sweat, shake, feeling something's not quite right.  I've provided some posts here but I ended up having a very busy weekend.

On Apple will start writing more weekend posts to carry everyone through until Monday.  Meanwhile, I've updated daily headlines on general mobile issues as well as Apple specific posts that I think you would also be interested in reading about. 

So, visit Mobile Digerati.  I've also started a section on mobile gaming that I know is going to be huge in 2009.

Macbooks (Pro) at UFC

I was at a friend's house last night watching the pay-per-view UFC.  It was my second UFC party.  I had a good time.  Pizza, chicken, drinks (soda, smoothies, Gatorade - I don't drink).  Bunch of guys getting together to have fun.  

It was when I was in the kitchen looking at everyone and I realized how mobile tech has permeated through a lot of our lives.  Laptops (a couple of Macbooks and Macwinds) dotted the living room while smartphones orbited them.  

Folks were connected to my friend's Wi-Fi network surfing the web - Facebook, news, UFC updates.  There were texting, twittering, and emails flying back and forth.  But of course there was the main event.

The UFC fight.  None of that distracted from what we were doing - watching some great fights.  I honestly don't care too much for it.  We could be hang out to watch a couple of DVDs and I would be fine with that.  It was about hanging out.

It was when I was paying attention to a few of the fights that Dave the Warrior (a Mac convert) pointed out to the laptops the UFC folks were using to keep track of God knows what for the sport.


Macs.  Specifically, Macbooks.  I saw a couple of the old Black Macbooks.  A white one.  The rest were Macbook Pros.  I'm guess they're the 15" models.  The fights were being ran with Apple's mobile platform!

I'm sitting here watch the Superbowl pregame show now.  Keith Olbermann is on the field, Costas is in the booth and they're making predictions.  Makes me wonder what platform is being used to run the Superbowl.
(Source:  UFC) You can see a lot of Macbooks being used.

Note:  Would it be awesome if Apple surprises us with another Superbowl commercial?  This time the Apple tablet or new MacHybrid!  "Mac:  Why 1984 didn't turn out like 1984".

MacBook Air M2 - I Love It And Any Laptop You Get Will Always Be Right For the Time

The 2016 MacBook sitting off to the side still has some value as I gleefully starting using my MacBook Air M2 that I got for a decent price ...