Thursday, April 30, 2009

Onxo: DS and PSP Didn't Worry About iPhone Then. How About Now?

That's the question Onxo examined today.  Inspired by a post I read over Gizmodo today (must read for all gaming fans), I started wondering about Apple's prospects of supplementing Nintendo and Sony as the mobile gaming leader.

While that issue may be up for debate for years to come, what isn't is the facts that surfaced in recent days about Apple's moves on the mobile front and data that point to Cupertino gearing up for a mobile gaming war.

  • 35K apps in the App Store.  Of those, more than 9,000 are games.  
  • 37 million iPhones and iPod Touches.  We might see 70-80 million by the end of 2009.  
  • 1 Billion downloads in about 9.5 months.  The next billion will not take that long.
  • New iPhones coming in June along with iPhone 3.0.  
  • Back-to-school iPod Touch giveaways with Mac purchases.  
  • Apple commercials with iPod Touch and gaming.
  • App Store seeing more games from tier one developers like EA and Sega.  
  • Apple's recent hiring of former graphic chip heavyweights.
  • Apple's chip takeovers in the last year.
These are just the facts and events that has taken place.  This is more than just about iPhone.  It's about creating a gaming ecosystem that is backed by powerful devices.  Furthermore, after years of watching Apple, I can say with confidence that pretty much is tied in with the Macs and maybe even Apple TV.  This is something that Sony and Nintendo cannot duplicate (though both Sony and Nintendo have their own gaming networks that Apple can't duplicate at this time).  

On top of that, we are certain that additional mobile devices, perhaps a tablet, is on tap in the next year or so (I love to be wrong about the timeline and see it sooner rather than later) that can add a whole new dimension to the gaming market.  

I don't know if Apple will be able to catapult itself ahead of Nintendo and Sony but it's certainly got the momentum, resources and deep pockets to do it.  I'm sure Nintendo and Sony aren't sitting idly by while Apple makes its run.  I can't wait to see DS2, PSP2, and whatever Apple's got on the market to fight it out for our hard-earned dollars.

Via Gizmodo and Onxo

Monday, April 27, 2009

Deal Not Likely Between Apple and Verizon - But Mobile Users Will Gain

USA Today, yesterday (not today), printed a report about information from folks high up in the echelon of Apple and Verizon that the two are in talks about deploying the iPhone in Verizon's network. This is dipping dangerously into rumors territory here but it's actually another point I wish to make. Whether this is true or not doesn't matter. Whether this is Apple playing ATT off Verizon doesn't matter. What matters is that this information is considered mainstream and it was leaked to the public specifically to influence the course of an deals between Apple and Verizon and Apple and ATT. So, let's take a look at how this affects the mobile market.

First, let's go through why an Apple-Verizon alliance won't happen. According to All Things Digital, Verizon didn't get into bed with Apple because of how Apple structured their deal. As recently as last week, Verizon said it was the technology. Apple said as much in last week's earnings call with analysts. CDMA doen't go global, according to statements by current Apple CEO Tim Cook. Well, apparently, even after Verizon launches LTE services in 2010, the voice portions will still be built on CDMA technology.

One likely scenario going on here between Apple and Verizon is to create a device that uses the LTE service san the voice plans. Otherwise, there won't be a deal. Here are a couple of other issues that truly matters about this article and the way information was leaked:

  • Innovation - other mobile device makers may get spooked by any Apple-Verizon alliance.  They'll need to double, no, triple their effort to come out with competitive devices.
  • ATT may want to extend their exclusive deal with Apple.  Apple is simply playing the "Verizon card" in any talk going on to cement future deals.  I'm not a financial guy but by all accounts, iPhone is help ATT stay competitive with Verizon.  
  • Another issue is the LTE technology.  VW has said their network will go live in 2010 and 2011 for ATT.  Apple can't be happy about being stuck with 3G when RIM, Sony, Microsoft, and the others get a year's head start with LTE.  Apple's talk with Verizon could be just the thing in getting ATT with the right motivation to hustle on their LTE deployment.  Don't be surprised in the next few months, ATT makes a statement about how they miraculously managed to give the green light on LTE in 2010 instead of 2011.
  • Verizon might truly be motivated to get iPhone on their CDMA network.  Worst case, VW doesn't get the iPhone and they'll go back to the media and say what they have been saying all along that Apple wanted too much control.  At the same time, it'll for ATT to spent time, effort, and resources to secure iPhone exclusivity.  By all accounts, VW is doing just fine without the iPhone.  
  • It's about control.  If VW does want iPhone on their network, they would have to agree to the original terms. And I'm guess Jobs and company have added a couple more things they want from Verizon.  Now, make no mistake.  Apple isn't trying to wrestle control of the wireless networks away from Verizon or ATT for the good of the consumers.  It's about money and control for Apple.  We, mobile warriors, may indirectly benefit from this.  
Like we've said at the top of the post, we don't see the iPhone on Verizon's network anytime soon.  Definitely not in 2010.  ATT has put too much into the iPhone to let it slip away.  But the reason for the leak about Apple and Verizon negotiating over the iPhone is obvious.  It's too put pressure on ATT.  It doesn't matter if the leak came from Apple or Verizon.  I'm putting my money on Apple.

Regardless, you can bet all the major players in the mobile market is watching any kind of develop closely.  But their jobs are clear.  Even though RIM owns the smartphone market, everyone is trying to produce an iPhone killer.  At the end of the day, if we see innovation speed up and device deployments advanced, we all win, iPhone users or not.

Related Links:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Apple's App Store: 1 Billion Served!

Source: MacdailyNews

Apple On Netbook: Crappy Tech With Cramp Keyboards

Apple has some not so nice things to say about the netbooks on the market today. On the point about keyboard (yesterday's earnings call), I'd have to agree. As for the rest, I'm not so sure. LED screens. The Atom chips aren't bad considering they run Leopard just fine.

But I do understand where Apple is coming from on this. The netbooks feel cheap. The keyboards are small, even for me. And from MSI Wind (MacWind) to HP, Sony, and EEE PC, the plastics are just flimsy and you truly do get what you paid for.

I never bought Apple's argument that if folks want a netbook equivalent from Apple, they should go with the iPhone or iPod Touch. Here, we know that it's merely smoke screen. I don't know if anyone really bought it.

But do buy what they say about Apple having ideas about the netbook market and they're watching it closely. And these ideas have been cooking at Apple for a while now and we should see the end results pretty soon.

The netbooks really aren't meant to be a substitute for a laptop or desktop nor was it meant to duplicate the computing and Internet experiences of a fully-equiped PC. And I think there is where philosophical differences come into play.

If Apple wanted to, they can start shipping out a netbook with OS X installed on there on technologies they consider to be subpar to satisfy a small segment of financial analysts and Web pundits who will never rest until they see an official Apple logo on a netbook. It's simply not in Apple's DNA. What will happen is anyone's guess.

Apple isn't ignoring the netbook segment of the market. When Apple finally release their finely tuned mobile device, I hope it will finally put to rest any more talk about netbooks.

Note: When Apple finally address the netbook issues, look for those who are never satisfied to go back and talk about the iPhone nano and why Apple will never survive without it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Must Read: Apple's Mistake on Baby Shaker

I knew this was going to be a big issue when I first saw it on CNet but I have a feeling that by this time tomorrow, we'll see Apple, iPhone, and Baby Shaker on Fox News by tomorrow morning or at least one of the morning shows.

What's this about? I've got it here at Onxo. Simply put, it's an app that allows the user who is moronic enough to buy it shake their iPhone until the virtual baby stops crying. Suffice to say, it's not in the app store any longer. But it really brings to attention Apple's app approval process.

More importantly, this brings to the attention of the shaken baby syndrome. 15% Of infant deaths are due to SDS. There are more facts that you should also know about. If you want to know more about why we're giving Apple hell, please visit National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and Sarah Jane Brain Project. And we're not the only ones outraged. Here are others:
Note: We're all Apple fans here but On Apple and Onxo aren't above sticking to Cupertino when they do wrong.

Another note: This really ruined an otherwise great day. Apple beat Wall Street earnings and revenue targets while cleaning up over 11 million iPods and more then 3.7 million iPhones. And the App Store inches ever closer to 1 billion downloads.

Oh, $#&%!!! Pre Is An iPhone Killer!

That's right. How do I know this? Well, I don't but apparently, ATT believes that to be the case. I'm rooting for Palm to stay alive but I won't judge until you mobile warriors have a go at it. I don't trust paid bloggers or media reviewers with agendas.

So, ATT has release a comparison document between the iPhone and the Pre. So, Apple folks, what do you think?

Personally, there are valid points but some are kind of weak like the Wi-Fi. Nothing about MobileMe, iPhone 3.0, or integration with OS X. You know where I'm going with this. But ATT's chart is pretty lame. Where do I start?
  • QWERTY keyboard. Why talk about something you don't have?
  • Limited WiFi. Dude, please, guys. Folks aren't going to stop buying Pre's because they can't have access to the Starbucks hotspots.
  • No roaming and stuff. It's a consumer phone. But it's apoint.
So you see, not a very good chart. Let's try this:
  • Access to millions of songs on iTunes. Thousands of TV shows and movies.
  • Battery life. Push notification.
  • iPhone 3.0 - announced and unannounced features.
  • MobileMe that keeps getting better.
  • Web clipping and other little known features that are useful.
  • iPhone's enterprise features.
  • LET'S NOT FORGET THIS: It's an iPod Touch as well!!!
  • Ease of use, intuitive.
I'm not a fan of this kind of tactic. Listen, ATT, you're the face of the iPhone. You've got the best device in the market. You're simply bringing attention to a challenger on life-support! It shows you're concerned. Maybe even scared. And it's obvious you're doing this without Apple's blessing or knowledge. Let the merits of your product do your talking. Tell people what the iPhone can do for them and why they need it.

Learn from Apple. Maybe do a "Hi, I'm iPhone. Hi, I'm Pre" commercial instead. Throw the Storm in there as well.

Note: I'm not included to believe Pre is an iPhone killer. Yet. And if it's not, it'll certainly come closer to being that than anything else on the market.

Another note: VW and T-Mobile doesn't seem to be concerned. Perhaps, no leaked docs from them yet. G2 versus Pre, anyone?

Apple Macbook Refreshes

We're winding down April of 2009. Boy, the year has gone by fast. 6 more months until Halloween (I missed last year's decorations), 7 till Thanksgiving, and 8 till Christmas (I also missed this year's decoration).

And if tradition holds, it'll be about 5-6 months until Apple give the Macbook and the iPod lines a major upgrade. So what's a mobile fan to do?

Buy iPods. Hold on the iPhones. Buy on all of the Apple laptops if you need one today or on the next couple of weeks. However, if you don't need one right away, and you're interested in either the Macbook, Macbook, 15" Macbook Pro, or Macbook Air, hold until May or June when Apple is likely to provide minor changes to those Macbooks to keep the interest high.

The 17" Macbook Pro isn't like to receive any profound changes. We might see a speed bump but that's about it. Sales appear to be strong. However, if there are changes, this is what we'll likely see:
  • minor speed bumps
  • changes to software in preparation for Snow Leopard
There are possible changes but I'm not so sure about. And this is why I recommend holding for about six weeks if you don't need a new laptop right away:
  • Macbook Air change to bring it into line with the look and feel of its siblings. Black frame around the screen and all. Maybe adopt the new battery technology from the 17" Macbook Pro.
  • Changes to the battery. The 15" Macbook Pro might join also get the new battery technology.
  • More memory for the video card.
  • Bigger hard drive.
  • Price drop for SSD upgrade.
  • Price drop for some upgrade options like memory. It is one of the worst recessions we're experiencing at the moment.
The Macbook is the most unlikely to receive any kind of hardware upgrade. For mobile warriors, timing is going to be the main issue for you. And whether you get it today or six weeks from now, the value is pretty much the same. Great notebook all around, unless you believe what Redmond says. And no matter when you get your Appleware, Microsoft thinks you're cool and awesome!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dear Game Developers

Over at Onxo, we wrote a letter to all top game developers on what they should do to bring games over to mobile devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Take a look and we love to hear how else we can entice Sega, EA, and others to ramp up rich and sophisticated games that are still the domain of the DS and PSP.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hulu's developing an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Hulu's developing an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This is according to Business Insider.

This is more concrete than rumors because of what we're seeing being approved by Apple for the app store. Granted, the Sling Player has seen the light of day (word in the street, ah, blog world is ATT is rejecting on Apple’s behalf), but this Hulu app should be even better than the Sling Player.

CBS’s app debuted a few weeks ago. Short review: better than nothing. It’s got a way to go but I’ll wager that Hulu app should be better. There are a few more apps like TVU and Joost but programming on Hulu is second to none.

This is a great end of the week. Now, my fellow mobile Apple users, keep in mind. Just because they build it doesn’t meant we’ll get it. To this day, no one understands Apple’s app approval process. Sling submitted their app around the same time Skype did theirs and Skype was approved within days. I’m betting Sling will get their app rejected and that really puts a dampener on any Hulu app.

We’ll know in a couple of months.

Via Business Insider

Note: Will we see a Boxee app soon?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Onxo: Zune Not Dead

Engadget has given us a late Friday excitement by way of a potential update to Zune.  We've always believed that Microsoft wouldn't just abandon Zune and relegate it to an app to simply sit on top of Windows Mobile 7.

Zune Touch?  Perhaps but we'll let you be the judge of that.

Well, it looks like it's time for some analysis and speculation as to what Redmond may be trying to pull here.  Please visit Onxo for updates.

Then come back to On Apple later this weekend and read up on how this may impact our believed mobile platform from Apple.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What's Next For Version 3 of the iPhone (Not the OS Iphone 3)

Well, it's been a couple of weeks and we've already received a second beta of the iPhone 3.0 OS.  There's a lot to be excited about once it's officially released this "summer".  We all know what that means.  There's been too many clues here and there about the release of the next version of iPhone.

We know about the push alert.  The changes in the gaming market.  From some of the rumor sites, we might be getting a few features that Apple did not discuss during their iPhone 3.0 preview presentation.  But what do you and I want to see in the next iPhone?

Personally, I'm not all that excited about MMS.  I don't see what's wrong with email attachments.  I suppose that easier said since most folks I deal with, family and friends, all have emails.

Now, with some of the features that aren't mentioned during the presentation will make me sound like a broken record but here they are:

  • Battery Life.  I hope Apple will bring over that new 17" Macbook Pro battery tech.  Others have talked about this and I haven't seen a rumor site even dared speculate this new battery scheme is making its way over to the iPhone or iPod Touches.  Proportionally, we can see the new iPhone sport a 60% increase in battery life (the 17" Macbook Pro went from 5 hours to 8 hours of operation on a single charge).
  • Video conferencing.  I don't mind if we are locked into Wi-Fi for the next couple of years until ATT builds out their G4 network.  But even on Wi-Fi, I love to see video iChat migrate over from the Mac OS.  It remains one of the mysteries as to why there is no Apple sanctioned chat app.  At first, I thought this was to give ATT a chance to rip mobile warriors with SMS revenues but as IM apps started appearing in the app store, that doesn't appear to be the case.  
  • Battery Life.  Oh, I already mentioned that.  Dude, I know you all agree with me.  What's a mobile platform that requires you to charge it by 3 or 4pm?  
  • iLife apps.  With multi-touch, Apple can really rock with their prosumer productive suite.  I'm sure they're working on this.  And I'm sure we'll see this eventually.  Perfection is Apple's middle name and with the online component of iWorks just introduced this year (and still in beta), we probably won't see this for a couple of years.  By then, Dataviz's app and perhaps MS Office should have been in the iTunes store.  Still, only Apple can implement productivity features in the unique way we all love.
  • I know we all love to see Apple answer the netbook market but again as I've said on Onxo and On Apple, Apple's netbook won't be a netbook.  We believe there's a good chance we'll see something year, a much better chance of than when an army of Wall Street analysts had said an introduction was due in late 2008.  
  • A more sophisticated implementation of multi-touch.  I can see a closer tie-in between Macs and the iPhone platform.  There are apps now that allow iPhone users to control the Mac.  Perhaps not with the iPhone OS but when Snow Leopard gets its moment in the spotlight, we might see something in this regard.  
  • Batter...oh, I said it already. Oops.
Again, these are things I love to see in the next version of the iPhone hardware and unannounced OS features.  I have no knowledge that anything else might be introduced nor are these rumors.  Just our speculation.  What would you like to see in the next version of the iPhone?

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