Friday, October 30, 2009

Internet News: Why No iPhone for Verizon and T-Mobile USA Should Get the iPhone in 2010

Verizon Wireless has said time and time again that the ball is in Apple court as to whether the iPhone will make it onto VW's network.  Well, if the Droid campaign is of any indication, the answer is that the VW customers will not see a CDMA or LTE iPhone for a long long time.

Well, Internet News has a very good down-the-middle post about why the iPhone will stay with ATT for a while and it's a must read. 

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg recently said that despite the Droid campaign (only some parts of it were good-natured fun against the iPhone), VW is ready to embrace Apple as a partner.  One thing everyone can agree on:  whether the Verizon gets the iPhone is entirely Apple's decision.

And IN mapped out clearly why that's not going to happen in the near future.  here are a few reasons why:
  • Not until LTE network is completed or near completion.  That won't happen until 2013.
  • Details on the deal between ATT and Apple remain obscured.  Some folks say 5 years.  Don't put any stock in that.  No one knows except Apple and ATT.  
  • Apple has trashed CDMA and until VW provides a viable alternative, no go.
  • Apple is looking at war and doesn't care about individual near-term battles or profits.  Recently analysis has it that Android will overtake the iPhone in the market.  While I don't dispute the conclusion, Apple would beg to differ.  It looks 5 or 10 years down the road.  Selling a few million CDMA iPhones doesn't fit into Apple's design and outlook philosophy.
  • LTE seems to be the "it" network in the US but WiMax isn't going away either.  There are more WiMax networks in the world than LTE at this time.  Still, Apple can afford to take a wait-and-see attitude with respect to the iPhone on VW's LTE network.
Looks pessimistic for Verizon customers, right?  Yeah, it does.  Still, VW is spending billions to beef up its 4G network.  If VW can cut down the time it takes to create a national LTE network, Apple might be convinced to let Verizon be its next US partner.  

Having said all that, I'm going to bring up something which I'm alone in indicating in the past.  We're likely to see the iPhone with T-Mobile before we ever see it on VW.  And it's not like I woke up one day and realized it.  Okay, maybe it was just after my third cup of coffee but I was coherent when I put together my reasonings.

It was always about 3G and GSM and how Apple can easily make it happen..  But there's another reason for it now.  Google and Android 2.0.  With Droid, Google and Motorola has made Android an even more viable alternative than Palm and Sprint did with the Pre.  

Already, Android devices have invaded all of the four major wireless providers in the US while the iPhone sits on just one.  By bring aboard T-Mobile in early 2010, Apple can combat any momentum Android has built.  

Plus, any deal with T-Mobile would have been negotiated at least a year ago.  That fits the type of deals Apple created with other carriers in Canada and Britain where the iPhone is available with more than one carrier.  

So, no iPhone for VW but don't be surprise if T-Mobile starts selling even just the 3G and maybe the 3GS models in early 2010.  No announcements is likely to be made to protect the Holiday sales if there is such a deal.  

More at Internet News.

Note:  Keep in mind that Jobs has a long memory.  Legend has it that VW spurned Apple when it approach them about the iPhone.  Given how Apple's doing now with ATT and sales relying on international growth, Apple isn't in a hurry to make VW competitive against ATT.

Another note:  The stuff about T-Mobile is just my prediction and analysis.  Nothing more.  Not rumors and stuff.  All me.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prediction: Apple Will Approve Google's GPS Navigation App

There you have it.  Apple will approve Google's new navigation app and everyone in the mobile world will be better for it.

Today, Google sank the hearts and minds of the GPS navigation industry with its own free navigation software for its Android device and said it will have the same offering for iPhone users if Apple approves.

Initially, I was going to tease this post with a title about Apple maybe striking out Google.  First with the Latitude app and then the Google Voice app.  But I couldn't go there because Apple will approve Google's navigation app.

As you probably know by now, Apple and Google have started taking shots at each other publicly but since Android's debut, Chrome OS, and Apple's app rejections (though some would take Apple's line that it continue to study Google Voice), things does not appear to be rosy between the two.  Now, there are no e-mails or anything definite to say that even a cold war between Apple and Google has started.  But folks can connect the dots.

In this instance, I am not sure how Apple can say no to a mobile experience that enrich iPhone users and even make the GPS app market more competitive.  Google's offering will be free which may force other navigation app developers to lower their prices.  Sure, Apple is likely to lose out on some revenue should app developers cut prices but that's the nature of the market.  And it'll certain force developers to be more innovative and add features to their apps.

Now, it isn't without precedent that Apple has rejected app for reasons no one can understand.  However, remember Podcaster?  It was rejected because Apple said it duplicated a function on the iPhone.  Months later, it came out with its own podcast function in the iTunes app.

I bring up this point because a map service company this summer leading many to speculate that Apple was thinking of replacing Google's map app with its own.  But like of Apple's moves, you don't know what they're going to do until they do it.  Perhaps, Apple do intend to replace Google's offering with its own in the future.  But that's months if not a year or so from now.  Until then, Apple can ill-afford to alienate its users by denying them free services and apps.

And speaking of alienating, Apple, Google, and the whole wireless industry are currently under the watchful eye of the FCC.  During the latter part of the summer, Apple, Google, and ATT were summoned by the FCC to explain why the Google Voice app was rejected.  That matter does seem to have been cleared up yet.

So, Apple isn't going to give the FCC to open up another front into its business by rejecting Google's navigation app when there are plenty of other apps like it in the app store.

So, folks.  We will get Google's free navigation app.  It's a matter of when.  Meanwhile, I look forward to experiencing it when T-Mobile updates my G1 with Android 2.0 which includes the navigation function.

Here is a video of what Google has to offer iPhone users.  And yes, iPhone users.  We want this!

More at Appleinsider, Engadget, Techcrunch (vid of Droid in action)

Note:  Okay, we'll see the nav app from Google in the app store.  I'm wondering if just maybe we'll even see Latitude slip in there somehow.  But I could care less about Latitude since I don't use it at all.

iTablet Series - Awesome But All Conjectures

We'll get into it each day or week, however it makes sense, on what everyone's guess about the iTablet is and what it will be able to do.  But once we start smelling rumors, we'll leave it out.

The reason I want to get into it now is because I ordered myself a Nook, Barnes and Noble's first reader, and I'm trying to convince myself that I ought to wait for the iTablet.  The Nook is certainly an interest concept and I wouldn't mind trying it out before the iTablet is available for sale.  However,  a dry run would cost me close to $400.  That could at least be half the cost of an iTablet.

Quite expensive for a test run.  And canceling and waiting to see if I'll like it when the Nooks are in the stores will likely put me at the back of the line.  I remember I did that with Playstation 2 and I had to wait until February the following year to get my hands on one.  And then there was Wii that out of stock for like...ever.

So, back to iTablet.  It's going to be awesome.  Today, let's get into the print media and how Apple will save their collective butts.

Alright, honestly, I've got my doubts.  Apple is in this to sell iTablets.  If others can make money like the music industry and app developers, I'm sure Cupertino is happy for them.  And if print media like magazines, books, newspapers, and comic books help sell iTablets and manages to make money, Steve Jobs is cool with that as well (so long as Apple gets its cut).

So I read Gizmodo's post about the iTablet "restoring comic books to former glory".  Quite honestly, I think comic books did it to themselves and Apple isn't going to be able to save them much.  First of all, as a comic book collector, I like the action but I also wanted to learn more about the characters, their personal conflicts and demons, and using their brain muscle rather than just muscles.  But things moved away from that.  It was about boobs and bigger badder guns.  Both of which I am for there ought to be a balance.

So, I doubt Apple can restore comic books to its golden age but it can at least help comic writers and developers expand beyond their core audience.  The leading guess right now is that Longbox Digital Inc will play a big role in Apple's plan to make the iTablet the premier platform for digital comics.

Even now, Apple offers comics but in different formats.  One look in the app store and there are dozens if not hundreds of individual apps that exists as comics.  It was inevitable that was the format things were going to take place.  But what made things more interesting is Apple now allows in app purchases.

For iPhone and Touch users, instead of remember to go back to the app store to make the purchase of subsequent comic apps, readers can now simply buy the next chapter in the one app they bought.

Also, Apple offers in the video part of the iTunes store videos dressed up as comic books.  It's hardly the ideal format for hard-core comic readers.

So, we don't know how Apple will save the comic book industry or any other parts of the print industry but from what NY Times' Bill Keller revealed, Apple's iTablet is something the industry has to be ready for and embrace.  There is a video of Keller's presentation and mentioning of "Apple slate" whatever that means.

More at Gizmodo, Gawker

Monday, October 26, 2009

Still No iTablet This Christmas

During the last financial call, Apple execs hinted at a new product that was the culprit of a higher than usual air freight cost as they try to bring enough of it into the US to satisfy demands.  

So what can be this product be?  Well, the iMac is already out as is the new Mac Minis and I don't see either of these products lighting it up this December.  They already indicated it's not the iPhone so there's that.  iPods?  Nah.

Perhaps I'm just trying to avoid the disappointment should the iTablet not be the product so I'll say again.  It's not the iTablet.  The window of opportunity for just this is closing.  Apple would have to make the intro in the next week or two to make sure they get this out in time for the Holiday shopping season.

I'm guessing this would be the Macbook Pros.  Making rounds today are reports of codes embedded in to the Mac OS that made references to the new MBPs.  According to MacDailyNews' reference to another post, the placeholders in the yet to be released update of 10.6.2 showed at least two models.  

So, there you have it. That's likely the new Apple product that will force Apple to shell out gobbles of dollars to the airlines to get them over in time for the shoppers.  And it makes sense that Apple would want the financial analysts to know this since portables are a bigger slice of the Mac pie than the desktops.

Sorry, folks.  No iTablet until 2010.  Likely end March or early April.  Still, I love to be wrong.  Already spoke to the bank about taking out a second mortgage for the iTablet.  

Source: MacDailyNews

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apple Tablet: Mac, iPhone, or iPod Sales Figure?

Great news for Apple fans.  The Mac has crawled back to 4th place in the US with 9.4% in sales over the summer.  It helped that Apple continues to innovate their Macbook lineup and Snow Leopard's release.  And given how Apple intends to innovate its way out of the recession, we should continue to see better products and features.

One of products we're anticipating, as well as everyone else, is the fabled tablet.  I believe it coming in the first half of 2010.  However much we'll love it, whether it'll do ebooks, sport a 10 inch screen, or spectacular battery life, I have to ask this question.  

Where do the future tablet sales figure in market?  As Macs?  iPhones?  iPods?  Or a whole new category?  Macs?  Well, that's easy.  If the tablet runs Snow Leopard, it'll be easier for analysts to lump the tablet sales in with the Macs.  

But what if it runs a variant of the iPhone OS?  Then what?  It's not an iPhone certainly.  It'll probably be closer to the iPod Touch.  And it does have to go somewhere.  I don't expect Apple to break out tablet numbers right away.  They'll probably merge it with one of the three current lines until there are enough in the market for Apple to maximize the effect of announcing the sales number to the world.

So, what do we care what Apple does with the tablet in terms of its financial reporting?  This is a blog about all things mobile about Apple.  Well, assuming we are able to ascertain where Apple plan to put tablet sales numbers, we can get a better perspective on what the tablet means and what it is meant to do.

Should Apple figure in the tablet with either the Mac, iPhone, or IPod numbers, it will be telling about features we might expect and how Apple plan on marketing it.  If it's with the Macs, then we can potentially think of the tablet as a keyboard-less Macbook.  Apple can potentially market it as a supplement Mac to what you already have or as a first cheaper Mac for newcomers.

Should Apple figure tablet sales number with the iPods, then we know the tablet will run iPhone OS and be hooked into the app store.  We'll treat it as an iPod Touch with a bigger screen.  

How about the iPhone category?  Ah, now it gets interesting.  Not only will the tablet run iPhone OS, it likely will have wireless access via a data plan.  It'll have a role with not just consumers but enterprise as well.  

Of course, we don't know how Apple will account for the tablet.  Well, I don't.  Took a couple of accounting classes in college to satisfy the Big Six but other than that, I don't remember anything beyond separating debit and credit items.  

So, if possible, perhaps there is an enterprising forensic expert who specializes financial reporting who just might find a way to figure this out.  Maybe Apple left a clue somewhere in their quarterly numbers.  Apple is due to report their earnings next week.  If there is a clue, it'll be in the first or second quarter of their fiscal year.  Because after that, the tablet will be out and we wouldn't need to wonder and pry any longer.

Hack-Proof iPhones

Word on Mac Blog Street is that Apple has released into the wild iPhones immune to the unlocking and jail-breaking tools of intrepid and brilliant individuals that have unleashed the power of the iPhone in ways, well, Apple currently doesn't not permit officially.

Untapped potentials of the iPhone is what is at stake here. We want more and Apple doesn't appear to be ready or willing to provide that to us. Talk about night and time when compared to the Android platform. But iPhone users want it and developers who provide unlocking/jailbreaking tools are giving it to us.

But it appears that Apple is changing the rules a bit with an updated bootROM for the iPhone 3GS. More at Appleinsider. With the new scheme, currently tools will have no effects on these new iPhones.

I'm not a betting man but at times when something appears to be favorable, I dabble a bit. And my bet is on the development community over Apple any day on this issue. And another bet: this is going to be a seesaw battle for years to come until Apple realize the futility of this exercise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Microsoft's Sidekick Mess: Valuable Less For iPhone Users

Alright, remember when Apple launched MobileMe services to replace .Mac but there were issues with?  Well, that was growing pain and things continued to get better with each passing day (actually, we had some issues with MobileMe for about 30 minutes or so this morning).

Over the weekend, T-Mobile's Sidekick users were cut off from their data in the cloud when their connections were severed.  By all accounts, data have been lost and some might never see them again.

Forget the blame for now.  Forget that Microsoft bought Danger and is now responsible for providing services to thousands of Sidekick users.  Now, it's about us MobileMe users and just about anyone who relies on the cloud for computing and data access.

MobileMe works very differently from Sidekick services.  We've got copies of our information in Macs or PCs as well as on our iPhones and iPod Touches.  Apple has servers with our data but unless something weird or deliberate happens, MobileMe users are not going to suffer the same effects as Sidekick users in terms of completely getting cut off from the data.

However, as Apple continue to innovate, introduce new products and services, and becomes increasingly more reliant on cloud computing, I can't help but be a bit worried.  The future of mobile computing is a certainty that we cannot deny.  But in the short-term, we should expect more hiccups along the way.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Macpromo Security Bundle - The Best Bundle So Far

First, I just want to say that I don't get a penny of this bring this Mac bundle promotion (just check the link).  It's just my daily Web surfing and I came across it.  In fact, I intend on buying this tonight and installing the ones that I need.

Macpromo has a Mac Security Bundle for $49.99 for us right now.  Twice or thrice a year, Macpromo has bundles that Mac users can get for dirt cheap.  And to be honest, for most bundles, half of them are pretty good while the other half, not so much.

However, this one looks very good.  Look, Mac folks, the Mac isn't immune from Internet attacks.  And if you're a regular user like myself, we have no idea how the inner workings of the OS X work and why we seem to not be suffering from the constant barrage of security holes, viruses, and other darker elements of the Internet.  Perhaps it's because the Mac install base is still small and not worth the efforts of the hackers and virus writers.

But the day will come when the Mac is going to need some protection.  Well, this bundle is a good start.  I've got like 4-5 applications running on my XP machine at work.  I just don't trust Microsoft or just any one specific application on the PC.  And since we don't know a lot about how Macs work, having these applications in the bundle is provides me with a piece of mind.

So, again, I am bringing this to your attention because it's a great bundle and having some distance between us and the bad elements of the Internet, whether we need it or not, just makes good sense.  And again, I'm don't get a penny of this.  I'm just a satisfied customer.  This will be my 2nd bundle that I've got from Macpromo and third Mac bundle over all.

Of these, I'm particular interested in TechTool, VirusBarrier, Personal Antispam, Spring Cleaning, and FileGuard.  As a matter of fact, Klix and Personal Backup, and ContentBarrier are the three applications I probably won't use much.  The Computrace LoJack is interesting though I almost never let my Macbook out of my sight (I don't even trust my family with it).

So head over and see if this is something you'll be into.  I highly recommend it.  A lot of times, they have a couple of hidden applications that will unlock when certain number of bundles sold are reached.  It doesn't appear to be the case this time around.

More at Macpromo.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Car Dealers With Complimentary Wi-Fi Access

Okay, as strange as it sounds, Starbucks, superbook stores, and malls aren't the only place that offers Wi-Fi access to patrons.

Car dealerships and oil change places like EZ-Lubes also provide Wi-Fi.  You're asking why anyone would want to go there just to access the Internet.  Ordinarily, you wouldn't.  I'm not a big car guy.  But once in a while you have to take it down to the dealership for some maintenance work.  Sometimes, it's 30 minutes.  Other times, it could take a few hours especially if you don't have an appointment.

Still, there are times when you're there with your spouse, family, or friend looking to buy a new car.  The dealing and haggling can take a few hours.  I was once there for more than half a day.  Could I have used Internet access then?  You betcha!

Plus, some dealerships also have fast food joints and coffee houses for patrons that had to spend hours there at a time.  It's actually quite brilliant for all involved.  And it certainly makes taking the car in for servicing less of a chore.  A few of them even gave games on during the weekends so folks aren't missing their favorite team in action.

Also, about a year ago, I was sitting in EZ-Lube waiting lounge and I opened up my then Powerbook to hack out some notes.  I turned on the Wi-Fi to see if I can access the hotspot at a nearby Starbucks.  To my surprise, I found an open network from EZ-Lube.

Anyway, I'm wait for supermarkets to follow these examples.  I believe Whole Foods offer Internet access but other supermarkets like Ralph and Vons have renovated their stores with seating areas for patrons.  As you know by now, I often go to supermarkets during hot summer months because of the air conditioning and easy access to food and drinks.  There are even Coffee Beans and Starbucks in some of the stores.

The only shortcoming is that none of the ones I go to offer Wi-Fi access.

English Choice: iPhone Carrier Choices

To our British readers, you are so frakking lucky!  You not only get one choice.  You not only get two choices.  You're going to be getting three choices of iPhone carriers!

The mobile world, specifically the Apple mobile fans, will be watching to see what this means for them. You're going to get competition for your hard-earned money.  Perhaps more features.  Perhaps just lower monthly rates.

But I reckon you'll get more features and lower rates.  For us on this side of the Pond, folks, it feels like we're looking into the window of a rich family whose kids are playing with new toys.  It's a bit of a downer.

A while back, there was news that some Canadian carriers are looking to bring the iPhone to their networks so Rogers don't get all the fun and continue to charge users the crazy rates.

Again, what about the mobile warriors in the States?  Conventional wisdom is that We're stuck with ATT until the LTE network from Verizon is built.  I'm not so sure about that.  I'm still hoping T-Mobile somehow is able to provide the iPhones since they're got a more robust 3G network from when they came online with it last year.

Otherwise, we'll have to wait until the middle of 2010 at the earliest when Verizon's LTE is tentatively scheduled to come online.  For now, we can see what competition among wireless providers will mean for the customers.  And I'm sure the FCC are also looking as well.

Plus, given how Apple was able to secretly negotiate with the Orange and Vodafone to sell the iPhones without spies and bloggers finding out about this.  The same thing can potentially be going on with American carriers.

For now, congrats to the Brits on finally getting choices.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Will There Be An Apple Event In October or November?

Appleinsider is report both Mac Minis from Apple now have a 2-3 weeks waiting period while iMacs are also experience longer than usual shipping period.  Why am I mentioning this and how does this relate to Apple mobile?

Events.  See, there's a lot of moving parts with Apple's mobile strategy.  Not just app stores and iPhones.  There's music, movies and televisions.  Also with Apple TV.  See, Apple is very good at making money by creating a viable self-sustaining ecosystem.  

Almost all of Apple news these days are about the iPhone.  For instance, take the news yesterday about Apple buying a mapping service company.  Immediately we think iPhone but it could be that they also want to provide additional geo-tagging or overlay services for the Mac.

So, events.  If there is an event this October or November, chances are it'll be more than just refreshing the Mac hardwares.  It may involve Apple TV which has been stagnant and just recently received a price cut.

An Apple event this late may mean a new digital entertainment strategy.  Then there is always a chance that perhaps the iPhones and iPods will also benefit from this as well.  

We should know by the middle of October what's going on if an invitation to the press is issued.  Just so you don't get too excited.  Even if there is an event this fall, it won't be about the tablets.

More at Appleinsider. More at Onxo about Apple's map company.

Apple Arms For Mobile War By Buying A Map Service Company

We didn't get Google Voice for our iPhone and iPod Touch.  See, things aren't too good between Apple and Google at the moment.

Regardless, that's not our problem, right?  So long as Apple, Google, and others continue to innovate, we're really the folks in the driver's seat.

So, Apple acquired a map service company called PlaceBase.  It is to replace Google Maps on the iPhone or to provide better services and features for the Mac?

Remember, there's a tablet on the way.  Maybe Apple is doing something special for it.  Regardless, so long as we get whatever Apple has up its sleeves sooner rather than later, that's all good to me.

More about Apple's strategic map buy and possibility of Apple unveiling its own search engine at Onxo.

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 ...