Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seniors and Mobile- Make It Easy To Use And They Will Come

I was pretty elated when I saw her eyes lit up on how easy it was for her to send emails, initiate video chats, and, of course, advance through the early stages of Angry Birds.

All this was done on the iPhone. And yeah, the iPhone is legendary for its ease of use. The simplistic UI just works.

I think the folks, like my mom, aunts and uncles, are an unserved population in the mobile market. I would like to see Google and HP examine their OS and products and honestly see how they fit in for the boomers.

And despite the global economy in the pits, this group have quite a bit of money.

My mom had even using her iPhone for years and iPad for almost a year now. She used it for just about everything she previously needed a PC for. And she never goes anywhere without one or more of her iOS devices.

And more and more, I see folks with smart phones. No, let me correct that. I see more of them with iPhones and anyone else who want to get in on it, they need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their whole strategy.

Right now, Blackberry OS is not even close to being user friendly in general. Android is subject to carrier and developer changes and I don't see anything on the market that is good for seniors. Nor is Windows Phone 7 or Web OS. The iOS's icon based UI and sliding menus work.

Note: Once the new iPhone 5 is out on other networks, I will be moving my mom and her friends away from ATT. They are just not consumer friendly.

-- Post From My iPad

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pre-Game Analysis of Apple's March 2nd iPad Event

First, I know nothing about what Apple is going to say in advance for March 2nd unveiling of the "iPad 2".  Zero.  Nada.  I'm not even going to get into what others say Apple will unveil.  Frankly, they're just delicious rumors for blog readers.  I'm gonna get ahead and make my own predictions and analyze each point and how iPad 2 is going to specifically influence the tablet market and the mobile market in general.

March 2nd Event:  I'll have my venti mocha from Starbucks, wait for 10am PST.  I would have gotten the day's work done earlier in the morning just so I can spend the rest of the day pouring over the analyses, blogs, and, of course, even offering an opinion or two of my own on Apple's latest and greatest.  

What is different this year is that Steve Jobs won't be there.  It'll likely be Tim Cook, Apple's headmaster until Steve returns.  He'll run through the numbers on Apple's successes over the Holiday quarter, the reception Apple products and services are receiving, and the new Macbooks that were just released last week.  

Then he'll hand over the rein to the iOS teams - the people who build the software and updated the iPad hardware.  We'll learn about the new features that will be available on the next iPad.  It's possible that Apple will unveil the hardware first - new case and specs.  

After that we'll see demos.  Some people don't care for it.  But I totally get that Apple needs to fill an hour or so of the presentation.  After all, people will fly from all over the country just for this.  It's a shame to have them come for a thirty minute or so press event.  But with all due respect to people who rather not sit through that, those of us who will go home later that night to watch the event after the fact can put a face or picture to what we see at home or work.  Most of us are working and are likely following live blogs instead of the stream.

Oh, and if you're fortunately enough not to be working or have to pretend to be working on the 2nd, Apple might stream the event.  They did that last time.

Then after the demos, Apple will move onto the last but very important part.  How much the next iPad will cost, who the carriers are, and when the iPad will be available.

Hardware:  I don't expect a revolutionary change to the iPad.  When the change from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4 was made, it was a big deal.  Don't expect something like that this time around.  We will not see a glass back for the iPad until Apple has provided touch-input on the back of the iPhone first.

But there is a short list on what I expect to see from Apple:

  •  The case will change slightly.  We might see a thinner iPad.  Perhaps, the bezel might thinner as well giving us a smaller feel to the iPad.  There has been talk for years that area around the screen on the iPhone might disappear giving way to the 3.5" screen or a bigger screen.  Because of this, the iPad might be lighter still.  But I don't expect that to be the case.  
  • CPU:  Faster and more efficient brain for the iPad.  There is talk that we might see a dual-core chip and Apple will move from the designation of the chip to A5 from the current A5.  I'm not sold on the dual-core part just yet.  Apple's iOS implementation is very efficient and rely heavily on the graphics component of the chip.  I don't see a need for dual-core just yet.  However, if that doesn't happen, I fully expect a higher clock speed.  An increase from 1Ghz to 1.2Ghz is kind of "meh" but increasing from to 1.5Ghz by the CPU when needed would be enough to satisify upgraders and enough to keep the new iPad ahead in the tablet market.
  • More memory and storage.  It's possible we might see a 128GB model.  Apple will likely keep the 16GB model around on the low-end to keep prices low and maintain pressure on Google and its Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).  Heck, Apple doesn't even need to go all the up to 128GB on the high end from the current maximum 64GB.  Even 96GB will do just fine by my book.  And that might not even be necessary because I don't see any iPad competitor come out with a 64GB model.
  • Memory will increase to 512MB from the current 256GB.  A lot of people will complain that Xoom, Playbook, and even the Touchpad will have 1GB of RAM.  Well, just like the fact that I don't see Apple having to go dual-core just yet, Apple has no need to go up to 512GB for the iPad 2 because of how resource efficient the iOS is.  Even Apple doesn't do multi-tasking in the same manner as everyone else.
  • Cameras.  The iPad will have a frontal camera.  Apple is pushing Facetime.  Expect a big cheer for this when Apple brings it up.  It was an obvious omission on the current iPad.  I'm not sure about the iPad with a rear camera.  I don't see a lot of need for it but Apple will include it just because.  Even a low end 1MP will be more than enough.  1MP or 5MP, don't expect me to be holding up my new iPad taking family photos.  
  • Additional accessory support.  The memory and camera module for the iPad was kind of lame.  I fully expect Apple to do more on this front.  I don't know about an SD card slot but if there one, don't be surprised if Apple cripple it enough for users to upload pics and movies only and nothing more.  No doc sharing.  No offloading apps into a memory card.  But wait for jail-breakers to bring that feature to us.  And because of jail-breaking and security concerns, there won't be an SD card slot.  I like to see Thunderbolt support but that's probably not going to happen.  Any added accessory support will have to go through the usual channel:  Apple dock connector.
  • Home button:  there will be a home button.  I don't see Apple doing away with that just yet.  If it does happen, I expect Apple to move the home button rather than doing away with it entirely.  Hey, I'm all for Apple getting rid of it because it means Apple will implement some kind of a new touch scheme.  
  • It'll use the same chip in the current CDMA iPhone to access the cell networks.  It makes sense to do this regardless if there is one universal model for the iPad to support multiple networks or two, one with CDMA support and GSM support.
  • I think there will be only one model that will support both CDMA and GSM networks.
  • What it will not have is near field communication, NFC, support for mobile payment.  
  • Don't expect Retina support either.  Maybe in iPad 3 or iPad 4.  Some day but not on March 2nd.
  • Extended battery life.  The current models have anywhere between 10-12 hours (real world uses) for the WiFi-only model and 9-10 hours for the 3G model.  I like to see 12-15 hours but given the lack of competition, I don't see Apple too worried about this.  Any increase in efficiency from the screen or CPU is likely offset by the thinner and lighter profile.

iOS Features:  We'll see the Facetime app for the iPad 2.  Honestly, that's all I got.  At this point, I'm expect to be shown a feature that I didn't know that I need or want, you know, typical Apple innovation.  There are some features I like to have but it looks like Apple will have iOS 4.3 installed that will bring subscriptions.  That was the main feature of the next iOS update and that has been well documented.  

Will there be added iPad 2 support with new features that we are not aware of?  I hope so but I don't expect to see that until iOS 5 in June that will come out with the next iPhone.

Carrier Support:  This is going to be a big deal. And it'll reveal a lot about the next iPhone.  As I said above, I think Apple will release only one model to support both CDMA and GSM networks.  Users who buy the 3G+WiFi iPad 2 will get to chose which network they want to subscribe mobile data too.  To keep down design and manufacturing cost, it makes sense to go this route.  

If this does happen, I eagerly look forward to see if Apple adds additional carrier support.  Personally, I will be pulling for T-Mobile but Sprint, which uses CDMA like Verizon, is more of a front runner.  

And additional carriers for the iPad now will offer clue to who else might be in the running to carry the next iPhone when it is released this summer.  Again, I am pulling for T-Mobile.

Impact:  The impact of iPad 2 will be huge.  And this is where I've saved what I think the pricing for the iPad 2 is going to be.  First, expect Apple to follow through with offering a low end model based on the previous generation iPad.  

Apple offer users the iPhone 3GS as well as the iPhone 4 and last year's 2nd generation iPhone as well as this year's 3rd generation touch.  So I think Apple will offer this year's WiFi-only 16GB iPad as the base model along side the iPad 2 models.  

Apple will keep the same pricing structure for the new iPad 2 models and offer the base model below the $499 price.  I think going as low as $399 is possible but that could be wishful thinking on my part.  At $399, it is going to ereader territory.  Look for this to pressure the low-end tablets and ereaders big time.  

For the $499 price, the WiFi-only iPad 2 will occupy this spot.  Apple might shave a bit off the $130 premium for the 3G model and offer the lowest 3G+WiFi iPad for $599 (without the need for a data contract), the same price as the Xoom only if the user were to sign up for two-year data access.  It's possible these two models will have 32GB of storage.  

If true, this will really put the hurt on Android tablet makers, Playbook with its smaller 7" screen, and possibly knock HP's Web OS based Touchpad out of the market.  And even if Apple ends up keeping the $499 and $599 iPad 2 with only 16GB, this will still offer more affordable alternatives to competing products.  

And at $399, Apple is forcing users to pick between high-end iPod touch with 64GB and the low-end iPad.  Mobile will have to make a hard choice but Apple could hardly care so long as the user buys an Apple product. As for the rest of the iPad line-up, we'll continue to see an incremental increase of $100 for models with greater memory.  I'm still not sure if Apple will offer a 128GB iPad 2 because it will have zero competitors in that space.  However, one only hopes that happen.

Apple sees the tablet market in the same terms as they see the MP3 market.  Just as the iPod dominate the music player market, Apple is going to damn sure that it can own the tablet market.  iOS tablets have an advantage in that it is essentially the first major player in the market and has the support of a very successfully curated iTunes ecosystem.  And Apple has sucked up a large manufacturing capacity for screens and other parts essential to making enough devices to satisfy demand, not to mention the billions in investments and procurement that Apple has already made (this was unveiled in the last financial call).

So I think I've just covered everything.  All of this based on my own conjectures, movement in the marketplaces, mobile news, and past Apple behaviors.  Will this pan out?  Well, there are parts that I hope to be wrong and hope that Apple will wow us beyond evolutionary upgrades.  So on the 2nd, get to work early, finish what you need to do, and clear a hour or two of your time to watching tablet history unfold.

AT&T: You Suck And You're Gonna Get Hit So Hard When iPhone 5 Comes Out

For years, we suffered at the hands of ATT's draconian rule because they were the only one we can get the iPhone from.  But it was not just the bad signals, dropped calls, and lies but it was also the stupid charges here and there.

My credit card was compromised back in December.  It was also used for auto-pay for our iPhone accounts as well as our T-Mobile plans.  After reporting suspicious activities on there, all charges to the card were stopped.

Now, maybe it was my bad that I didn't update the information with all the companies I use that card to make payments with but all of them were understandable about one missed payment that was quickly rectified once I received e-mail notifications.  

Except one.  You got it.  Our iPhone overlord, ATT.  Not only that, they proceeded to charge me $40 for some kind of penalty.  Seriously, WTF?!

All I know is that we're moving away from ATT for all things.  I'm happy with my WiMax access and my security company can use other means to contact my home security system.  Adios, ATT for home use.  And certainly, ATT can say good bye to our business lines.  I am just itching to call them up and rid my life of this horrible company.

And I am sure a lot of my fellow mobile users are the same boat.  And you know what, we might just see some preview of the mass exodus when Apple releases the iPad 2 next week.  We'll see how many people sign up with Verizon instead of ATT.  It's too bad because I really like T-Mobile and I would certainly move our iPad plan over to T-Mobile and cancel my ATT access. 

Because ATT sought fit to screw me over $40 for a late charge that no one else is, they stand to lose over $55K in combined services over 12 months I've gotten rid of and and will soon be.  In the grand scheme of things, it's not much to a multi-billion dollar company but the thing is, I'm not the only one. 

No matter what Wall Street is saying about ATT's stock, I, for one, will not be buying into it in the coming months.  Not even their fake 4G (which is even more fake than T-Mobile's) will save them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

SSD Coming Along But Still Expensive

It's taken a while but solid state drives, SSD, are coming nicely. What I mean is that I see them more and more as an option from the major PC makers.

Everyone from Dell to HP to Apple, its MacBook Air being very popular over the Holidays and demand has not let up, are using them as a premium add-on.

Now we are seeing SSD sizes at more affordable prices. Not only that, the drives are bigger. Still, I am not quite ready to pluck down $1,500 to $2,000 for a 480GB drive.

For that kind of money, it would be more economical to get a whole new laptop. Say a MacBook Air with 256 GB or storage.

So what is in your laptop or MacBook? Have you moved onto a SSD or consider making the move in the near future?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

March 2nd: Day of Reckoning In The Tablet War, Or It'll Be A Dud

Okay, so we know that Apple will be unveiling the next version of the iPad on March 2nd.  And while I expect rumors about it to surface through the weekend, I fully expect them to be the "take it with a grain of salt" type.  

Already, Engadget is backtracking on some of their earlier "confirmations" about the iPad and there were more than a few "I told you so" from other blogs.  One source versus another.  One leak that seems to go contrary to another but just as juicy. However, after reading them, I find them a bit lacking.  

Sure, the Apple electrified the tablet market and we are on the verge of a bunch of competing tablets.  But a tablet is tablet.  Apple might add a camera or two to the next iPad.  Apple is likely to jazz things up a bit with faster processor and more memory but as far as hardware goes, I don't see much advances beyond what we can realistically expect.  

Take the Mac fans' collective reactions to the new Macbook Pro line-up unveiled yesterday.  Thunderbolt was nice as was the new and faster Sandy Bridge chips from Intel.  But the more extravagant predictions did not come to pass.  

And that is the feeling we are getting from around the Web on what new feature the next iPad will have.  No Retina display.  It's not possible for Apple to economically include them in this iPad or realistically have enough to satisfy demand.  Thinner sure but longer battery life to separate the iPad from the Xoom?  I would like that except remember this next iPad might be thinner and lighter.  

So you see, the expectation is that we will not be wowed.  If anything, Apple might have some cute iOS tricks here and there that might excite the audience will draw a collective applause but at the end of the day, bloggers will say that if not for these new iOS tricks, the expectations will just be par.

But make no mistake, Apple will improve the new iPad enough so that it will sell millions.  It's almost as if one of the best running rumors going around the iPad might be right.  Apple is poised to unleash another surprise this fall along side the iPod refresh.  

For me, I don't think this is just idle speculation or wishful thinking.  Apple has been to predictable.  I reckon that Apple will need to change things up a bit and catch people off guard.

So while I welcome the iPad event next week, I don't expect much more than what we already know - just enough for Apple to make the iPad a compelling buy until autumn.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why I Am Close To Getting The New MacBook Pro

I am not 100% there yet but I am very close to getting the new MacBook Pro that was introduced to us today. And I cannot settle on the 15" or the 17". And just yesterday, I was still waiting to see when the Air will move to Sandy Bridge.

Here is are a couple reasons and why if you're in the market for a new laptop, you want to consider Apple's new mobile lineup.

Thunderbolt, the new tech offered that will serve as the future port for all accessories. And this is leap and bounds what is available - USB 2, FireWire, and what is not even out yet, USB 3.

And the CPU upgrade aside, which believe me is a big deal, we are talking a whole new dynamic of way to work.

So far, the benchmarks are showing Mac Pro like power. That means we are talking about a mobile workstation that lets you go away and do anything.

Whether this is about video work, coding the next Angry Bird, and writing that next great American novel, the freedom this power we are getting is really something to marvel.

I am at the end of my Macbook's battery life. And it is about time I look at upgrading my hard drive. In all, we are talking about $450-500 in upgrades.

I might as well spend that on a new MacBook.

Nothing has been made about this decision yet. I really want to see which size screen will work better for me. The 17" MBP is awesome but I am gonna see if I can do with a 15".

Who knows, with the economy the way it is, I can totally see this as wishful thinking and maybe I'll just hold off a bit longer.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are We Hours Away From New MacBooks?

I am on the west coast and that means as of the start of the writing of this post, I am two hours away from Thursday and, if the speculations hold, hours away from new MacBooks using Intel's latest and greatest mobile CPUs.

I got the first unibody Macbook when it came out the first time in late-2008. It's still chugging along and I've got no real complaints about it though I would like it to have a longer battery life.

So I eager wait and see if the newest mobile Macs what I need - speed and longer battery life than the current line of MacBooks.

And if things don't pan out, I will probably look to getting a new battery and a faster hard drive. Of course, I'll be getting Lion this summer.

Hmmm...that sounds like a lot of money already. The new MacBooks are beginning to look even better.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Apple Verus Those Who Would Sell Our Information "To Serve" Us

Here is a good post on what the real issue, like I've been saying, is about with respect to Apple's subscription plan. Again, it's not about the 30% cut which Amazon and Google (the 10% cut is from Web subscribers, not in-app purchases - as far as I know, Apple doesn't plan to charge publishers for Web access) all fully plan on partaking.

At first, I was perplexed by the lack of defense from Apple and its defenders. I think as Apple stayed silent through much of the firestorm about nothing (which was absolutely brilliant), Apple gave folks nothing new to write about.

And many Apple supporters probably thought Apple's rates were harsh as well. That would explain the silence at the start. But as time passed, I started to see posts that genuinely examine the issue and many began to realized that Apple was not unfair. If anything, it was once again change how things were done.

No longer would publishers freely acquire user information and sell it to the highest bidders. And that is what all the angst is about.

And again, this post explains everything in plain English.

More at Counter Notions.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Hey, Apple, How's iWork Coming Along

Though there is no official word from Apple, but it does seem like everyone is assuming that the MacBook updates will happen tomorrow. Let's assume that to be the case. Hey, Apple, where's iWork?

I passed on the last update but I am so ready for this one. There are a couple of features that I can sure use that are available in the current version but I like to see if the next one makes it even better.

One I am interested in very much is publication to iBooks and/or other ebook stores through Pages or another app. I am talking more that just ePub.

Also, I am hoping for a simple app dev program that I hope Apple release. You know, a fun sort of App-making for dummies.

Regardless, I eagerly await the next update. Hopefully, this will happen soon. Oh, and some tie-in with MobileMe would be great too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Mobile Payment Is Coming In A Big Way

The mainstream media has not caught on to it yet and I've talked about it here from time to time. But be prepared to be bombarded with tons of media reports, blogs, tweets, and e-mails about it in the coming weeks or months.

At week at the Mobile World Congress, near field communication, NFC, was being talked about as if it is the next holy grail of mobile. And to a follower of mobile happenings like myself, this is a big thing. In as few words as possible, NFC allows payments be made through mobile devices.

Think of this as what you can already do at Starbucks. You can order and pay through the app. Well, this will happen in a much much better way. There are a couple of devices on the market with NFC capability, specifically, Google's Nexus S. But as with some technology, being first doesn't mean much.

However, it is largely expected that Apple's next iOS hardware updates, including the next iPhone, will support mobile payment. And I expect an explosion of next generation Android devices to support this as well.

I really recommend reading up on it because just about everyone from your bank, credit card, wireless providers, and hardware companies will be getting in on this lucrative new business. Oh, and retailers would love this as well.

Also, there are also security concerns you'll need to be aware of.

So get ready media and ad blitz coming our way. I'll be devoting much much more attention than I have in the past. I started talking about almost two years ago, pointing the ease that the Japanese users have been able to enjoy with paying through their cell phones for years.

It'll be our turn soon.

It's Official: iPad 2 Announcement Coming on March 2nd

Here it is folks. The moment you've been waiting for. Apple is due to officially unveil iPad 2 next week, March 2nd.

Here is one bit of speculation on my part. There has been talk that Apple has already shipped some crates of new merchandise to its stores and retailers. The speculation is that they are new updated MacBooks.

But what if they're not? Could they be iPad 2 units instead?

More at World of Apple.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bloggers Just Refuse To Face Facts About Apple's Subscription Plans - Trashing Apple Better For Business

This is my comment response to another uninformed post with a click-bait headline.  This time, it's from one of my favorite site about ebook and publishing, Teleread. Their headline is "Steve Jobs muddies Apple subscription waters further with 'clarification'". 

I've been reading a lot about the Apple subscription issue so I can gain a better understanding of what Apple is trying to do and where the grievances are.  After all, isn't that the best way to go about getting a handle on things?  

When I first read that Apple would take 30% of all subscriptions, I was flabbergasted.  30%!  Piracy!  As it turned out, this is way below Amazon's 70% cut on Kindle subscriptions.  Publishers are not concerned about that.  What they are not happy about is that Apple still will not share with them the vast and rich treasure trove that is the iTunes ecosystem that Apple spent the better part of the last decade creating.

Here goes:

How did Steve Jobs' e-mail muddying things up?  I thought it was exceptionally clear.  This is especially tru ewith respect to Readability.

Readability became a publisher of sort when it decided to become an aggregator of published media, posts, columns, articles and it sells them as a subscription.  If instapaper, Evernote, or anyone else tries to become active participants in distribution of content, their apps will be coming publishing apps.  Dropbox can eventually enter in their service as well and the Dropbox app will too become a publishing app.

And yes, if Twitter or Facebook starts to charge for tweets/posts/articles, they'll need to fork over 30% of their subscription revenues and it would be a pretty good biz for them and gladly give Apple its cut because they're not even doing it now.  As a matter of fact, all the above mentioned companies with apps should maybe think about getting into this business because it's a revenue stream they currently do not have.  

And there will not be any antitrust issues beyond preliminary probes - Readability needs to get a lawyer and he or she will tell them they've got no case.  Basically, Readability tried to game the system and failed

Bottomline: Publishers aren't complaining about the 30% cut (Amazon takes/took 70% cut from publishers - where's the outrage?).  Bloggers are (see note below for why that is).  What publishers are not happy about is the opt-in part about subscribers sharing personal information so they can sell that information and spam their subscribers. Readability came up with a biz plan that doesn't not work within the framework and going public in this manner is their last resort.

What's not clear is what this means for Netflix, Hulu, and other music subscriptions.  But I hope they are exempted.  I'm sure Best Buy, Amazon, and the few other smart service providers who aren't going around trying to trash Apple in public are trying to work things out with Apple.  

Here is the original Macrumors about the Steve Jobs e-mail.

Note:  Here's the thing, my fellow mobile warriors.  Trashing Apple is a good way for bloggers to get folks to click onto their sites.  It gets people fired up on both sides of the issue.  Writing about the facts doesn't bring in the clicks but it doesn't require leaving the moral compass at home.  So if and when Apple screws over Netflix or the music apps, I'll be back to vilify Steve and company.  Now, that would help me gain readers!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Apple Will Never Release a 7" iPad But Might Go With a 5-6" iPod touch

I've long suspected that Apple will do something to mess with the market when it comes to the 7" iPad. And Steve Jobs loves yo say one thing and do another. And with Steve dissing 7" tablets, I have in the past speculated that it is not impossible for Apple to release a 5" iPod touch.

And this post from 9-to-5 Mac, though based on a rumor (which I hate trafficking but love reading about) kinda say the same thing. I believe that a fall release would be a perfect time for Apple to do this. After all, it will be an iPod touch, not an iPad.

How will this fit into the whole whole iOS family? Perfectly. I think Apple is interested in tinkering with the whole iPod touch line in a big big way. I'm talking about wireless access beyond wifi here. Perhaps even with 3G-enabled iPod touches.

And this going with a 5" or 6" tablet but calling it an iPod touch will muzzle critics who would have accused Steve Jobs of going back on his words. Plus, it would allow Apple to cover the basis as far as screen sizes are concerned: from 3.5" all the way to 9.7". As for prices, I wager that Apple will really cover its basis.

You have no idea just how badly Apple wants to dominate this market. And releasing this bigger screened iPod touch will allow Apple an very potent arsenal to do just that.

How about UI and actual use of an iPod touch with a bigger screen? 9-to-5 Mac's sources say that it'll be about 6". I'll go with that for now but I think a 5.5" would be perfect. If you're using it for reading, it will for great. Think of it as a paperback that you would hold in your hands.

Watching a movie? I've watched a lot of stuff on the 3.5" iPod screen and 5.5" would be nicer.

And I also do a lot of work on my iPad. Though the 5.5" screen obviously cannot fit a full size screen, touch-typing or thumb-typing would work just fine. Go ahead and try it. Fold a piece of letter-sized paper in half and that is just about the size of what this bigger touch is going to be like.

Obviously, this will work for gamers very well. I'll be honestly, the 3.5" screen works okay but not as great as the iPad. and the 5.5" iPod screen would be a middle ground. Plus, it'll compete well with Sony's PSP successor, the NGP.

My only concern is the battery life. My iPod touch lasts me through a day of use well enough. But I have been spoiled by the 11+ hours that I get from my iPad. If somehow, Apple can give us comparable battery life as the iPad, oh man...

While nothing is set in stone about my dream 5.5" iPod touch, I am hopeful. And after months about hearing that Apple will not release a 7" iPad, it is feels good even if just reading about a rumor of a 6" iPod touch.

More at 9-to-5 Mac.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Steve Jobs: Well Enough To Sit Next To the President Of The United States

Though this photo from the White House Flickr page showed only Steve Jobs from the back, he certainly did not look like those horribly faked photos from the National Inquirer.

Good to see him in black. Kind of funny if you think about it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Steve Jobs Was Confirmed To Be At meeting With The President; Meeting About The Future (2012 To Be Precise)

Reuters has confirmed that Steve Jobs was indeed present at the dinner with the President of the United States in San Francisco tonight.

That is fantastic news. And I hope President Obama was able to have a serious conversation about America's technological lead and innovative energy. Earlier, I write that I hope some sort of discussion about green technology took place.

And it is interesting that Reuters dedicated a whole piece on Steve Jobs and nothing on the actual content of the night's discussion.

But as I read the post, I came to realized that this maybe nothing more than to provide the President political cover with those who believe he has lost the support of America's businesses. That this meeting is more about the President's future and 2012 than America's future.

I cannot understand what meaningful contribution the CEOs of Twitter and Netflix has to offer on maintaining America's technological edge and learning.

Nor can I fathom what Facebook's Zuckerberg can possibly offer the president on any number of issues that ail our economy, energy policies, or K-12 education. Seriously, what does violating privacy time after time have to do with innovation at all?

More likely, the presence of the heads of these social and media companies was merely to serve as a reminder to a segment of the electorate that the President Obama had dinner with the guys who designed a way to efficiently mail them their DVDs and offer a way for them to share their lives with anyone who will read about it.

But who knows. Maybe Zuckerberg was there for the political gravy and President Obama did get some serious advices from the likes of Jobs, Schmidt (Google), Chambers (Cisco), Ellison (Oracle), and Levinson (Genentech) that will help him to get America back to innovating and working over the next couple of years and beyond.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

President Obama's Meeting With Tech CEOs: We Need A Steve Jobs Or Henry Ford For Green Tech

At the moment, at the writing of this post, President Obama is meeting with a few of Silicon Valley's heavyweights, Apple's iconic leader Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt. And though there are many thoughts and conjectures about what the meeting could or should be about, there is one thing that I think many missed.

Green tech. And right now even with tens of billions invested by the federal and state governments in incentives and grants and private investments, we are still a long way from getting off foreign oil and those pesky climate warming (or changing) coal.

What we need is a Steve Jobs for green tech. What we need is for President Obama to ask one of those tech visionaries to leave his current position and take up post at a new company that would revolutionize energy conservation and renewable energy production.

Imagine a healthy Steve being talked into taking reign of this new company. And it would have to be a private enterprise, perhaps with some grants from the government. That is as far as governmental involvement should be.

As a matter of fact, the Obama Administration should clear a path for this Steve Jobs led endeavor to succeed.

And how would Steve Jobs be convinced by this challenge? Better question is why would he do this?

Because Steve is Steve. The man who revolutionized computers, brought us the iPod, unleashed on the mobile market a device unlike anything they have seen before, and has once change how we work and play with the iPad.

Because it not him, who? Zuckerberg? Exactly.

And most importantly, Because Steve Jobs' ego is big enough for the challenge.

And yes, I am optimistic that Steve Jobs will beat what ailment he is offering from and has a lot of milage left to change the world again. Maybe even twice over.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Left iPad at Work...Uuugh

I left my iPad at work. Stupid I know. And thought it was going to come in hand for me to get some work done around the house with it playing video on Netflix or a podcast.

I am on the iPod touch now and that is probably why I am not suffering from withdrawals or hoping into my car to go get it.

Still, I had planned on using it to do some diagrams.

So what does that say about the state of the tablet? Well, I don't think I have established a workflow that require it on a daily basis.

Plus, the iPad in large part is a device for media consumption. Tonight, I've enough media diversions until I can get back on track tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Apple's Steve Jobs And Google's Eric Schmidt To Meet With President Obama Tomorrow

Okay. This is huge. Like him or not, Steve Jobs was put on this death bed hours earlier by the National Inquirer. Now, ABC News is reporting that the heads of these two tech giants will meeting with President Obama in San Francisco tomorrow night.

This meeting is a part of the President's agenda to bring closer businesses to help America stay ahead of the pack in research and innovation.

Honestly, who better to throw ideas with than the two most storied companies in Silicon Valley. And if anyone knows about being a visionary and coming from behind, it's Steve Jobs, like him or not.

And obviously, Schmidt's management of Google and turning it into search and mobile powerhouse, is likely to have a couple of ideas on how to make the US stay on top. Schmidt, like him or not, is on top of his game.

And I just want to say that ABC News could be wrong about this and there is an ever so slight possibility that the National Inquirer is right about Steve Jobs. And Maybe I just don't want to believe it. But man, if anyone can advise the President on education, innovation, and research, it's Jobs.

More at ABC News, MacDailyNews.

Note: Zuckerberg will be there but I can't think of a reason why.

-- Post From My iPad

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Apple Subscription: Seems Fair

I am sure all the bitching, moaning, and crying to the adults helped but after reading the details of Apple's subscription policy, it seems to make a lot of sense.  And quite frankly, it's fair.

If you bring in your own readers/viewers, you get to keep all the money.  Your did all the work.  But if we helped you out, we get a cut of the pie.  For Apple, that's 30%. 

Oh, and with personal data, it's opt-in, not opt-out like Facebook or Google.  So, that means we have to actively say that publishers and whoever they sell our information to can have access to our personal data.  Good move, Apple.

My only issue is that the 30% seems a bit much and I'm sure with some content publishers like Rupert Murdoch, he is powerful enough to be able to call up Steve Jobs and ask for some kind of a special deal.  

So, I hope after this week, all this nonsense will stop.  And here's what so great about competition.  Google, Nokia, Microsoft, RIM, or HP can totally say to publishers can say we'll take nothing from you.  And that might further change things at Apple.  

So the more things change, the more things become the way they should be.

More at Apple.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wifi Chips Need To Be More Battery Friendly

Over the weekend, I took my MacBook out for some time at Borders. I had to do work on the laptop that I cannot do on the iPad at this time.

And this is an older MacBook. Late 2008 and the battery life has been put through it's paces in the last couple of years. According to a battery utility, it's got 80% left of the original charge left. When it gets to 70% or less, I'll probably have to decide if I should get a other battery or invest in a new MacBook.

I turned it on and it attached itself to the free wifi. And the battery indicator said there was 2.5 hours of work I could do. But I wanted to spend my afternoon there working so I turned off the wifi.

It has been quite some time since I've done that. The long battery on the iPod touch, and specifically, the iPad has really spoiled me. The battery life jumped to four hours!

I was there for about four hours and got about three hours of work done so there was some change left in the battery had I wanted to stay longer.

But my point is the wifi chip. What a power hog! I hope today's wifi chips are more battery friendly. But if they are not, someone need to invest some time and research on making wifi use more efficient and the chips draw less and less power.

We'll be using wifi for years if not decades more. Bring mobile isn't just about more efficient CPU, display, or bettery batteries. It's about other components of the mobile devices or laptops. And it's also about programming for power management.

For now, wifi chip and its ubiquity is one area that I see that can help mobile warriors work longer and worry-free.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sony Playstation Suite for Android Serves Only As A Reminder to Apple It Can't Stand Still, Not A Threat

In one of my tweets from the live Sony Play Event just now, and yes, the main focus was the Play and not the other Xperia devices, I mentioned that Verizon will be adding the Play to its arsenal this Spring. And with the iPhone and Droid, Verizon will have quite an all-star lineup. And dispite this addition, I only mentioned Droid as being screwed in all of this.

Why? First, Droid is Droid. Hefty device and specs-wise, it's at the top. However, it is not a particularly well built device. I know some folks will disagree. I think its appeal has been somewhat limiting because of its image. It's why Verizon desperately needed the iPhone.

With Playstation Suite coming to Android and now Sony's dedicated gaming mobile phone, Play, it will appeal to the same crowd that were attracted to Droid to begin with. It's unlike to have any impact on iPhone adoption on the Verizon network and certainly it is no threat to the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4G if Apple releases an LTE version) when it's available.

The iPhone is a mass appeal device that just works. And as gaming goes, it can hold its own with its A4 chip and whatever else that is certainly more powerful in the next generation of iPhone. And it'll have the same games that 3rd party developers will have for the Playstation Suite. So, users who want the best of both worlds, mobile experience with gaming, will not be missing out. Developers would be crazy to ignore the iOS platform.

Still, Apple does need to be reminded from time to time that it has to continue to innovate. And I know that Apple's vision quite different from other tech companies in that it is continuing to out-innovate its previous products, I am sure Steve Jobs and company are keeping an eye on what others are doing.

It's likely to use a few hardcore gamers to the Play. There is nothing that Apple can do about that on the basis that the Play has gaming buttons where the iPhone needs on-screen controls. Still, with more powerful chips and graphics in the iPhone, better display, and other changes to the iOS (such as improved Game Center, I hope), Apple will continue to draw the larger gaming crowd.

With the Play, Sony, who is losing in the mobile battle, is going all in by bringing its Playstation brand into the fight. It'll find some success but on a larger scale, Apple will continue to dominate the mobile experience if it continues to innovate at the pace it's been in the last couple of years. The Play is no threat to the iOS ecosystem so long as Apple keeps true to its vision.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Saturday, February 12, 2011

$200 iPhone or Just an iPod Touch With Data: How Apple Will Conquer The Low-End Of The Mobile Market

A Bloomberg article was provided with information, which I surmised to be an orchestrated leak from Apple, that Apple is or was working on a $200 iPhone.

Is that something that Apple can truly do?  Upon reading the article and knowing about how protective investors are about margins, I had my initial doubts.  

And as the day went along, things began turning in my head that made me think that perhaps, there is something to this after all.  

I'll give up a couple of clues:  payments, there's already a $200 iPhone of sort, and billions of cash in the bank.

I'll get back to you later in the day and see if we come up with the same conclusion.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sony May Pull Content From iTunes: Example Of What Is Wrong With Content Providers

Sony said that content providers were being held ransom by Apple and its iTunes. Sorry, I disagree. I think it’s the ineptitude of content providers due to their archaic thinking that makes them feel this way.

Here’s why. First, iTunes is very closed. Nothing on earth comes even close. Having said that, it should be easy for anyone offer a service to compete with iTunes. And we definitely have seen how easy that is can be done with all the plethora of services, brands, and devices over the year. And yet, they’ve all failed in their own unique way.

What isn’t not unique is that how they’ve failed. I think it’s because of DRM and music studios trying to bleed their users and restrictions they put in deals. Even as the content battle is currently unfolding and iTunes success in the future is hardly guaranteed, the future tech and media historians will see if any failure to stem piracy and promote competition will rest in the hands of the providers who hold the media rights.

And at times, instead of working together, you have studios working against one another or have varying motives. Take Sony for example. Music is a failing part of the empire but it continues to hold onto the rights because they hope it will help it sell its other products and services. As far as BMG, Universal, and others, they don’t care. They want to sell music. Not help Sony sell its phones or TV.

So when I read that Sony was contemplating pulling its content from iTunes, I say let them. That means more music for the other studios to sell on the largest music store in the world.

What content providers need is an open exchange where they make everything available to all the outlets and customers. Think of this as a stock market where the worth of contents is decided by a free market.

Providers can set the price and availability and the market will decide if they’re willing to pay for it.

But first, to do that, they need to get away from these stupid deals they make with different companies in an attempt to dethrone iTunes or try to get everyone to go with the subscription models.

Maybe Google should set up such an exchange, not only for Android but for iOS, Web OS, and Windows 7 devices as well. Not just for mobile or Google TV but for Windows, OS X, and the living room. If this is about being free of iTunes, Sony should join in such an effort instead of crying to the media about having its feelings hurt by Apple.

Let’s be honest, Sony. You tried for decades to create your own iTunes and failed miserably each and every single time. And now someone beat you to it and we will not be the shoulders for you to cry on.

More at The Age.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Before Apple’s Ping Failure, There Was the iBookstore

I read books through iBooks app and buy through the iBooks Store. I’ve bought four books so far for myself. And just today, I was going to gift a book to a friend, I find out that I cannot do that.

Why, Apple? We can easily do that with apps in the app store so I don’t understand why this isn’t possible yet for ebooks.

That then led me to the larger issue about the success of iBooks. Rather, the lack of success that I am sensing from Apple.

I don’t hear analysts talking about Apple’s share in the ebook market anymore. Okay, I also don’t hear about Kindle’s share either. I think it’s probably because the Kindle is totally dominating iBook in terms of number of readers and books sold. And I reckon things probably go uglier after the Holidays despite Apple’s iPad outselling Kindles because readers can simply download the Kindle app and turn their iPad into a Kindle.

Being partial to Apple and its mobile vision, I hope that we will see some changes and improvements come to iBooks in 2011. For instance, let’s start with being able to gift books to another iPad or iOS device user.

I’ll come back to this subject once I’ve got more time to think about other things that Apple can do to improve sales and the reading experience.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quick Thoughts on HP's Web OS Unveiling Today

Quick thoughts on today's HP Web OS announcments:

  • Palm injected much needed DNA into the boring old HP culture.
  • Web OS integration very much like Apple's iTunes-App Store-iOS than Google's loosy-goosy implementation.  You get a sense of what they hope to accomplish.
  • Synergy - get to know this technology.  It's important to HP's Web OS ecosystem.
  • Willing to working with 3rd parties and give them what they want than Apple is.  
  • Web OS is coming to PC - Desktops and laptops  Probably netbooks as well.
  • I don't get this summer announcement.  I fear it'll be too late with iOS 5 and Android 3 coming in weeks.  iPhone 5 is scheduled to be released in the "summer" too.  Remember how the original Pre go clobbered by the 3GS?
  • Web OS integration is what Google is unwilling to take Android 3, Honeycomb.  
  • Web OS likes somewhere between iOS and Android in implementation.
  • Palm with HP's deep pocket is now able to do what it could not with the original Web OS.  
  • Microsoft stands to lose a lot of HP starts selling Web OS PC/laptops than Windows.
  • With HP's product reschedule and Microsoft's Windows 8 on ARM chips, look for Web OS and Windows to go head-to-head.  iOS and Android will still be in the top two positions in terms of units sold.
  • RIM is fraked big time.  HP has deep enterprise ties.  Playbook dead.  Sorry, Blackberry fans.
  • iPad 2 will be king again in 2011.  Playbook dead.  Oh, I said that already.
  • Again, what's with the summer release?!  Xoom to be out in weeks.  iPad 2 soon after that, maybe April
  • Playbook dead.
  • No pricing on HP's mobile products.  No specs on battery life.  Lame on both accounts.
  • Hoping to see Pre on T-Mobile since it supports HSPA+.  HP can make it happen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interesting Things I Read Today: SciFi, Android,

(Economy) Just in.  Refinery explosion in Texas.  Gas up before prices go up this weekend (ABC)

(SciFi, Stargate) I like the idea of a small team.  Of comradery, honor, and sarcrifice.  Wrap all that into a science fiction series, you've got a great TV show.  That's what I think Stargate Atlantis is.   Rewatching it last night, I wondered how folks were on the expedition.  Apparently, there were 50 to 60 on the original trip and may have expanded to as many as 800 by the end of the series.  Good to know our guys in the Pegasus Galaxy were not without company.  (Stargate Handbook)

(iPhone, Verizon) For those of you lucky enough to get your CDMA iPhone already, here's a video on how to enable the personal hotpsot.  Personally, I wouldn't pay any of the carrier a dollar more than I have to, which is why if you're not totally digging for an iPhone or top of the line Android, Virgin Mobile has a great deal on some low-end Android devices.  For $25 a month, you get the unlimited data, text and 300 minutes of talk time. Dave the Mobile Sage already picked up two of them.

(Economy, Politics) The lovefest between the President and powerful Chamber of Commerce didn't last long.  While the President got a warm reception for his speech, the members want to see action.  Specifically, they want to do away with what they perceive as overreaching government regulations and less burden on small biz.  

(Politics, 2012) GOP polled showed that they are willing to back someone, anyone, who can beat President Obama.  Unfortunately, it's the Tea Party that ultimately will have the last say in all this (CNN).  I think we are getting close to GOP announcements challenging Obama for 2012.  But take a look at this post on the list of potential VP candidates that can make or break (like Palin) the ticket (Yahoo).

(Politics, White House) President Obama and GOP Congressional leaders will be getting together for lunch with the topic like about the economy and GOP agendas.  Maybe President Obama can tell them to stop it with the nonsense of healthcare repeal which will not happen so long as he's in office and the Dems control the Senate. Still, a good sign. (MSNBC)

(Science) Days of human dominance on Earth are numbered and not necessarily by our own doing.  Monkey shows more complicated behavior, like covering their eyes to show that they don't want to be bothered.  This is the second story I've come across that demonstrated very complex primate behaviors.  Learned social behaviors was once thought possible only in humans. (Live Science)

(Green) GOP lawmakers sided with the Obama administration just this once in saying that the Court wouldn't know what to do about gas emissions in EPA's attempt to regulate greenhouse gases. Brief filed by GOP said that they are actively working on it with the White House, in ways that I'm not sure is good for the environment I'm sure. Oh, yeah, they also took a shot at Obama too. (NYT)

(Green, Leaf, EV) Nissan dropped the ball with supplying enough Leafs.  Only 20 units were delivered in December 2010 and 89 in January 2011.  It has a backlog of 20K.  And they think they can get it all done by end of summer.  Whatev...Volt vastly outselling the 100 miles per change Leaf so far (CNET)

(Green, Economy) High speed train plan will cost $53 billion on paper, meaning we'll go over budget. Oh, and before we get there, we still have no way of paying for it. China plans to spend about half a trillion.  (MSNBC)

(Google, Android, iPhone)  Android and iPhone makes up 50% of all smartphones sold.  While Apple has more than 50% of mobile profit, one would think that Google stands to make in a large sum through search and ads. However, many of the Android activated were done without Google as the default search engine. (Cult of Mac)

(Apple, Macbook) Looks like Intel has resumed shipping the next generation CPU to manufacturers.  There are words on Blog Street that Macbook Pro supplies are running low.  I reckon Intel's chipset defect has put on hold product launches (there were already recalls). It's not known if Apple will be the beneficiary of these shipments though my Sandy Bridge Macbook Air isn't likely to be refreshed for a while anyway.  (Appleinsider)

(iPhone, Facetime) Dave the Mobile Warrior asked me if I think Facetime is a flop.  Yes, so far, big time. (On Apple)

(Apple, iPad)  EU newspapers are postering over Apple's decision to allow in-app subscriptions, something publishers have been asking for all along.  I, and probably Apple, am confused over the uproar.  Again, it's what they wanted since day one.  Personally, I think they should wait to hear from Apple when they unveiling the subscription feature in the next iOS update. (BBC)

(Android, G-Slate) When it comes to tablets, it's all about Motorola's Xoom and nothing else (hmmm...).  Well, check out LG's G-Slate for T-Mobile with 3D, Tegra 2, 9" screen, and support for T-Mobile's fast HSPA+ network.  Check out the video demoing what it can do.  Still, I recommend going into the store to play with it before order.  (TmoNews)

(HP, Palm, Web OS) Remember tomorrow.  HP's Palm event will either make or break Web OS.  I'm expecting HP to revolutionize mobile devices and tablets.  Anything short of that will be a bust.  

(Android) The whole Android ad market will be worth more than $1 billion by 2012.  A long way to go before reaching $10 billion that former Google CEO predicted.  At $10 a user, that's one billion Android devices.  Yeah, I think it's do able.  (Phandroid)

(Dell, Microsoft, Windows)  Dell has an Android tablet or two but it's also looking to bring some out with Windows.  The Windows version will target the enterprise market.  Not a bad idea.  Maybe with a docking station, it'll be a viable replacement to laptops and challenge Apple and Google. (Liliputing)

(Facebook, ID Theft, Privacy)  Facebook and Twitter users are twice as likely to have their ID stolen. All thanks to Zuckerberg... (MSNBC)

Facetime - Verdict: It's A Flop

Dave the Mobile Warrior posed this question to me regarding FaceTime:  Do you think it's a flop?

My response:

It's a good blog topic :)  

Right now, I think's supposed to be open-sourced too right?  No one has seen it so far outside of Apple.  Like you said, few folks from Apple even talked about it anymore.  Apple is known for taking the long view on stuff like this.  Look at how long it has taken Quicktime to get to where it is today.

But Facetime just has too many missing pieces.  It cannot do anything else other than video chat with other iOS devices unless it has a camera and with Macs installed with the beta Facetime app.

I think it put the fear of God into a lot of folks when Steve Jobs demoed it but since then, life has moved on for Skype, Fring, and everyone else.  Even Google has their own video chat coming for Honeycomb (Android 3.0).

Also, keep in mind that there is still no Facetime chat via 3G yet.  And yes, you can conduct video calls over 3G with Skype.

So yeah, it's a big flop so far.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Two Product Updates For Mobile I’m Anxiously Waiting For From Apple

Steve Jobs promised good things coming for MobleMe, competition to Google's suite of webapps and cloud services in an e-mail to a customer.

That is one thing that I am waiting for anxiously from Apple.  Currently, subscribers pay $99 a year to get services that we can already get for free from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

What makes MobileMe special is that it is highly integrated into the Mac and iOS devices.  Still, is that worth paying $99 more?  

More and more, I'm doubting it.  I'm running my own personal website and Greenjava using the MobileMe hosting but Apple has not upgraded the iWeb app in the last iLife update so I'm finding what is there a bit long in the tooth.  

Still, I want to wait and see if there is anything to MobileMe that Apple can bring to the service that is worth paying for.  

There is worth that many components like mail will be free.  And I think that is something that even non-Apple product users might be interested in even if you're running Android or WP7 devices (I don't know why but you can).

And besides, should Apple make a more compelling MobileMe or opening up some of the current services for free, it's a good thing as it'll increase competition with Google and Microsoft.

The second product I'm waiting to hear from Apple about is iWork.  This is Apple suite of productivity apps – Pages (work processor, page layout), Numbers (spreadsheet), Keynote (presentation).  The last update from Apple was more than a year ago, and while it was pretty sweet but it's time to do another one.

I'm hoping Apple will add features in Pages regarding ebooks and publishing to the iBooksstore.  Maybe even allow Website creation as well. And obviously, the needs to be updated as well.

Right now, it's already February and we have not see anything yet.  Come on, Apple.  What's the holdup?

Apple’s in-app purchase policy – Some Clarity, Please

I don't mind Apple jerking publishers around because that's what Apple does, for better or worse.  But in light of the recent follow-through on enforcing guidelines in the app store policy, there is still a lot of uncertainty.

I understand why Apple needs to do that.  One, they aren't ready to talk about it yet.  In fact, at the unveiling of "The Daily", Apple has said we'll hear from them rather quickly.  

Second, tipping its hands prematurely isn't good for business and it's never been Apple's policy to do that.  The few times I remember when Apple spoke before it was ready were disastrous.  

Having said that, I hope Apple will clear things up for publishers sooner rather than later.  As customers, it helps to know what we are buying into or know what to avoid.

Interesting Posts, Thoughts - politics, iPad, Android, Aliens

Interesting stuff I read today:

(Politics, Economy) President Obama spoke at the Chamber of Commerce today and is looking to reconnect with the biz community.  This LA Times post has a good summary on the challenges facing the Administration and the biz guys. It's looking like everyone is looking for the middle ground where it's easiest to do work.  Not a bad approach except there are still issues that need to be tackled where things could still get ugly (NYT)

(Green) EV owners in the Carolinas would be getting free charging stations for a study.  Not bad.  Still, Considering the drip-paced production for the Volt and Leaf, I think these owners will be waiting for a long while.  A very long while.  Meanwhile, CA is allowing electric companies to hike prices for EV owners because they would be considered customers who use more electricity than the average household.  Talk about an idiotic move.  I hope some kind of exception is in the works.

(Apple) Macbook Pro refresh is due.  However, given Intel's problem with the next gen Sandy Bridge defect, I wonder if Apple will need to fire up the old lineup and make the older Macbook Pro for a while longer.  Also, looks like Apple is moving big time to eliminate retail software in stores.  It could spark a revolutionary change in how developers, retailers, and customers get their apps.  I wonder if Frys, Best Buy, and others will start opening their own virtual app store to cash in on the coming change.

(Android) If you didn't see the Xoom commercial last night, well, it wasn't much of anything but the $800 price is.  On top of that, it's $30 less than Apple's 64GB 3G iPad (versus Xoom's 32GB) and requires a month of data access subscription in order to activate the WiFi. Maybe with enough outcry, we can get Motorola and Verizon Wireless to drop that stupid requirement. Also, check out Kyocera's dual screen device running on Android.  I like it a lot except I know it won't last more than a day in my clumsy hands (it's why I've passed on the G2).

(Health) Lifehacker's post suggests something I already know about and practice:  eat healthy and smaller frequent meals is both good for your body and wallet.  I remember times when I've starved and ended up getting whatever is easiest.  Most of that time, it's expensive and has a lot of calories, the bad kinds.  

(Green) Americans who could not stand the Bush Administration's policies (except for the Baldwins, I doubt anyone picked up and left), including it's seemingly pro-oil stance, had the option of moving to Canada during the 8-year term of President Bush.  But with Canada's economy relying more in oil production, they stance on green tech and EV is not what I had expected.  They're afraid of EVs and hybrids as it turns out, especially in the tar sands province of Alberta, which I'll liberally renamed the "Arctic Mordor".  (Gas 2)

(Android, PSP) Sony's Xperia Play will go on sale in the coming weeks.  Great and all but it's single core CPU is not what I expected.  The new NGP is going to be 4-core.  I was excited until I saw the specs.  I suggest serious gamers pass on it and wait for the NGP.

(Android) Finally a review of the LG Optimus 2X (Engadget).  Everything panned out as I expected.  But it's a no go for me.  the 2X's anemic battery life was expected, though this issue has consistently plagued high-end Android devices.  I think the Tegra 2 chip works better in a tablet where you can stick in a much bigger battery.

(Politics) The Groupon Tibet commercial for yesterday's Superbowl was idiotic and exploitative to say the least.  But with so many folks blogging and reporting about it, I reckon more Americans probably know more about the issue now than they did yesterday about the struggles of the Tibetans.

(Apple) I stumbled into this Wired post on some of Steve Jobs' quotes over the years.  It's something to tie fans over until he returns to Apple from his current medical leave.

(Privacy, Security)  Here's a great post on why I'm gonna go home and change all my secrets words are a lot more complex but it's a good reminder to change them again.

(Apple, iPad) iSuppli and others believe in iPad domination for a few more years.  The scary thing is that Apple stands a good chance to dominate in this market like they did with the iPod in the MP3 market. Unless its competitors wake up about the whole ecosystem thing, they don't stand a chance.

(Android) With ATT's feelings hurt by Apple over loss of iPhone exclusivity, it is now focusing more on Android.  And interestingly, its focus on tablets could be just what will save the wireless provider somewhat over the mass exodus in the coming months to Verizon as iPhone swtichers move on.

(Media) AOL buys Huffington Post for $315 million!  Congrats, Arianna!  

(Politics, Terrorism) Wedge between Taliban and Al Aaeda could be good for US policies - meaning our troops can come home earlier.  Interesting, I heard in the Daily Show that the average Afghan has a 62% favorable rating of the international presence in their country. However, any policy to further create a drift between the two allies is a very delicate balancing act War will rage on with 1 in 50 active participants there being robots.

(Privacy, Facebook) 10 Settings we ought to know about when trying to do what we can from Zucker and company from exploiting what we already share.  The most important ones for me are not allowing friends to be able to check you in and public search. Come to think of it, they're all important. (Mashable)

(Space) New recon satellite goes into space on a secret mission for the NRO.  Take that, Chinese and Russians!  Meanwhile, I think we are closer than ever to finding life in the universe other than our own with a bunch of planets discovered in the habitable zones in other star systems.  I still think we are inching towards the day when the government acknowledges the existence of alien life. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

iPhone Verus iPad Touch (With iSpot or a MiFi) Update - Mobile Platforms Need To Free Themselves of Traditional Phone Services

I had a full weekend.  Dinners, coffees, trips to visit friends.  And it was my iPod touch with my Clear iSpot versus everyone else who had regular cell phones, Android device or two, and a bunch of iPhones.  How did that go?

Before I get into that, I want to say that I am very tempted to pull the trigger on the Verizon iPhone in the coming week.  I have said that my wireless combo of iPod touch and iSpot was how I want to go from now on.  And while it works very well for me, it isn't working too well for some friends and families.

I had an okay day on Saturday when I met up with friends for lunch.  It was like the old days.  We set up a place and time a day before.  And we met on Saturday as it was supposed to be.  And it worked out.  There was no opportunities for anyone else to try to call just before we were supposed to meet up and change the venue or the meeting time.  Personally, I found that to be annoying. And since no one could call me because I was on the way had really had no way to reach me. Just imagine driving on the freeways across LA in all that traffic and having to change and turn around or something.

Of course, if there was a need, they could still text or call me Google number to leave a message and with the iSpot, I would still be able to receive e-mails.  But I think the risk of me not receiving it was just too big of a risk.  And going forward, I think that would be the case.  

Obviously, I was still connected.  I was at Starbucks just before lunch and I was connected to the wifi there.  And obviously, the iSpot provided WiMax connection.  

Dinner went okay.  There was just too many moving pieces and the schedule was set up a couple weeks ago.  

However, this morning, it was a lot more difficult.  I met up with some close family friends for dim sum.  When I got there, there was a couple of hundred people ahead of us.  And waiting in line was crazy.  I was the first one there so I signed in for a table.  And I texted my friends that I had already gotten a number and they could take their time.  Meanwhile, they called me and left a voicemail telling me that they were going to be late.  

Then I called them back via Skype but that went to their voicemail.  Then then they called back and it went to my Google voicemail once again.

Finally, when our table became available, they had arrived.  

I supposed in some circumstances, having a phone would have been more convenient.  

Right now, I am waiting for a comprehensive VOIP solution.  And not just any VOIP app but a service built exclusively with mobile features in mind. 

Whether it's Apple, Google, or Microsoft, I like to see more more robust VOIP features built into the OS.  For Google, I like to see them open up Google Voice for developers to build into their apps.  This goes the same for Skype as well.  As for mobile platforms, it's time to take the next step and unleash the users from traditional phone services and really take communications mobile.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

AT&T & Verizon Duels Over Who Has The Better IPhone, Apple Getting Lots Of Love

The seven-month old iPhone 4 just went on sale over at Verizon Wireless on Thursday, selling out the pre-order allotment in just 17 months and setting a record sales figure in just two hours, between 3am-5am. By any measure, that is an incredible feat I don't know can ever be duplicated. But every time someone says something is no longer possible for Apple, Steve Jobs and company always manages to outdo expectation.

Meanwhile, ATT and Verizon Wireless (VWZ) crossed swords on Twitter and in the press over who has the better iPhone. And this week, that skirmish spilled over into television and online as they released opposing commercials that highlight who's got the better iPhone and what features one has over the other.

The best thing about this is that mobile warriors like you and me win with this kind of competition.

More at Greenjava.

Siri: Will We See Voice/Speech Integration in iOS 5?

I use Apple's Siri app on occasion.  And it's a decent app for process that pulls information from various sources.  However, I wonder if Apple will finally do more with it in iOS 5. After all, spending $200 million to buy it out must really mean that there is value in the app and the talent behind its development that the top echelon at Apple saw.

It is a very useful app as it is if you have never used it.  It's a voice query app and I have spend some time here and there to see what I can do with it.  

First, you can tap and say what you want to ask.  If the question is within reason, like "where am I?", Siri thinks for a bit and offers you what it thinks is the best answer.  When I asked it where my current location was, it showed me a map of where I am.  

And for lunch, I was able to ask Siri where is the location to the restaurant I'm suppose to meet up with my friends.  It was a very easy process.  No typing required.  

That's great, right?  But I want to see voice input/command more tightly integrated into iOS 5.  After all, the ability to do this is developing quite nicely on Android.  I am certain Apple can offer similar services for its core OS.

The only thing I can think of why Apple has not do so is because it plans on doing voice in that unique Apple way that will amaze us.  But time is short.  Apple risk falling further behind Google which has invested much resources in this direction.  

One issue that I see Apple working on is just how the artificial intelligence, for a lack of a better term, can react to the user.  Sure, I am sure Apple can implement the ability for the user to speak into his or her iOS device and have a SMS or e-mail typed up and sent.  Or even search for answers as we can now on Siri in a more integrated manner.  

But for Apple, that is merely doing what Android can already do.  No one would be impressed with that.  It must go beyond that.  I believe Apple will attempt to create an "understanding" between the iOS and the user.  

  • Learn from the user's disposition.   
  • Learn the user's speech and accent.
  • Provide this service beyond just English or Spanish.  Chinese voice/speech integration is likely something Apple is working hard on as Mandarin is quickly become one of the most important language in education and commerce.
  • Ease of use will be an issue.  With Android, you will have to activate speech commands.  I wonder if Apple will find a way to make the process more seamless.  Using Siri requires the user to launch the app.  It isn't different from how we would use any other app but Apple will need to make much more natural.  I don't know how.  For instance, after speaking to Siri, the user has to tap the screen to let Siri know that the question has been completed.
  • Apple has to make speech/voice usage more natural and common. 
  • Apple has to make it so that people will want to use it.  

As you can see, Apple has a lot of work and perhaps, there isn't enough time between acquiring Siri, adding new features, and eventually integrating it into iOS.  

For general uses, Siri is adequate but beyond a certain level of understanding, Siri has difficulties understanding what I want.  And if anyone can truly build a digital companion that provide answers to queries of users in an effortless way, it'll be Apple.

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Verizon Commerical: Yes, I Can Hear You Now

This new Verizon commercial for the iPhone kinda says it all.

Seriously though, I don't think Apple has never allowed AT&T to use the iPhone in any commercial at all. If true, this is Apple's payback to AT&T for maintaining such a crappy network all these year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Thursday, February 3, 2011

CDMA iPhones Sold-Out!

Neither Apple or Verizon Wireless has any iPhones for pre-orders to be reserved by current VZW customers.  

The next time anyone can order one starts on February 9th and can be picked up on the 10th or wake up early to wait in line for one.

No one knows just how much Apple allocated for today's pre-order or whether taking 16 hours to run out of iPhones was a success or not.

We will not know just how well the CDMA iPhones are selling until a week or two after.  That is usually when Apple gloats to the public about their numbers.

From the survey conducted by uSamp, there is a lot of enthusiasm for the seven-month old iPhone 4  We will not know just what kind of change in the mobile market this will cause until we see the actual lines (if there are any) or the effects ripple effects this has on Apple's competitors.

Simultaneous Data and Voice Is Overrated For Most Mobile Warriors - For Now

There, I said it.  Being able to access data while fielding a phone call is a good feature to have but for a vast majority of mobile users, we don't really do that all the time.  As a matter of fact, I cannot remember a time when I've had to do that while using the G1 on T-Mobile.  I think you'd have to think hard to remember having to do that and I'm willing to wager that it isn't often.

Nor do I remember a time when I'm on the 2G iPhone telling someone I'll call them back so I can access something via the wireless Internet.  Once again, if this occurs, it's a rare instance.

Having said that, there are some heavy users that live on their mobile devices and they probably need to chat and access data at the same time.  

This issue is suddenly important once more because the iPhone is now on Verizon's CDMA network which does not allow this ability that the GSM iPhone is capable of on AT&T's network.  

The millions of Droid and other Android users on Verizon or Sprint's networks obviously does not see the inability to make calls and access data wirelessly at the same time as a hindrance to their mobile life.  Otherwise, they would have long left for AT&T or T-Mobile.  

Having said that, I do believe that as more of us refine our mobile uses and behaviors, this will become a must have ability, in social as well as in business settings.  But for now, it is not a major issue for folks who want the CDMA iPhone or the biggest Droid they can get their hands on.

So, while AT&T will make an issue out of this, I say this in response:

You're absolutely right.  Between the two versions of the iPhone, only yours can make calls and access the 3G network simultaneously.  Provided we can get a signal at all.  Only the GSM iPhone have this magical ability.  But what is the point when calls drop or when the user is not able to access the network?  

For users who are leaving AT&T or current Verizon users upgrading to the CDMA iPhone or Droid, it's like Steve Jobs said, "It's like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell!"

So until our social needs change further with regard to our mobile devices, simultaneous data and voice access is overrated.

Here Is How Apple Can Still Offer A Retina Display For the iPad 2

This is purely fun speculation on my part about Apple, iPad 2, and the possibility of Steve Jobs and friends offer a higher resolution display on the iPad 2. And here’s how.

Charge more for it. I am sure the cost will be a lot more than the standard display being used for the iPad. And it probably does not makes business sense to introduce such an expensive display while trying to keep the price of the forthcoming iPad 2 in the same range as the current line of iPads. So, make one model with a retina display or simply higher resolution display.

Seriously, there will be a market for this high-end iPad 2. For there rest of the lower end iPad 2 line, Apple can continue to use the same display as current model. I am sure there will still be improvements – like thickness and a more powerful efficient display.

And there is precedent for this. Keep in mind that the Macbook Pro displays come in two models. On the 15” model, the standard resolution is 1440 x 900 with an option for a higher resolution screen at 1680 x 1050.

The current rumored Retina display for the iPad 2, be it this year or, more likely, next year, is 2048 x 1536. I have to admit, that is insane. I doubt that even if Apple does offer a higher resolution display for the iPad 2 or 3, it will not be at such a high resolution.

And honestly, as a mobile warrior, anything beyond the current display of 1024 x 768 is a win. But don’t get me wrong. The iPad display is awesome but when you hold it up next to the Retina display on the iPhone or iPad touch, you can tell the difference.

So, at the low end, offer the current 16GB iPad with wifi for $399. iPad 2 will be the same through as the current line of iPad ranging from $499 to $699. The differentiator between the iPad and the iPad 2 will be more RAM, new processor, and camera.

The differentiator between the standard display iPad 2 and the high resolution iPad 2 will be the display. Apple can charge $100-$200 more. For a sweetener for charging $200, maybe Apple can offer additional storage up to 128GB.

Will folks be willing to fork out $899 or $999 for this special version of the iPad 2, higher resolution and more storage? Maybe. At this price, we move into the Macbook Air price range.

Having said that, the Mac is still a Mac while the iPad is, well, still an iPad.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Apple Enforces Guideline to Make Sure Contents Are Available For Purchases In-And-Out Of Apps

Apple likes to shake things up.  They've done that with Apple II, the Mac, iMac, iPod, iPhone, and the iPad.  They did it with iTunes and the app store.  And now, they're doing it again by enforcing an app store rule that said content that are available for purchase outside the app must also be made available for in-app purchases.

The most publicized victim of Apple enforcing this is Sony and it's Reader app.  It was rejected by Apple for not allowing in-app purchases of ebooks.

You ask how is this different from what the Kindle and Nook apps already do?  It's not.  And if I know Apple, look for future updates to these two apps and other apps that draw purchased contents into the iOS devices to be rejected wholeheartedly or be resubmitted into the app store with in-app purchases.

This shows Apple's growing confidence in its iOS platform.  Going forward, look for Apple to apply this rule to other media as well.  Music, books, video, and even comic books.

And content providers will need to decide just how badly they want to be on the iOS platform.  By my reckoning, Apple can move anywhere from 150 to 200 million iOS devices a year and no app developer can afford to exclude themselves from such a market or risk being outcasts.  

It's a brilliant business move if you ask me.  I get the feeling that while these companies like Barnes and Noble and Amazon, that do have their own ereading platform, might complain loudly in public, I doubt it'll go beyond that.

However, I believe government regulators, right or wrong (depending on where you stand with this issue), might want to take a crack this new development.  

At issue is not that Apple is enforcing its rule.  In and of itself, it makes sense.  Contents that are available for purchase should be made available for purchase within the app to make it easier for access to contents.  

The issue is that Apple also wants 30% of any in-app purchases.  

We'll see where this goes in the next couple of weeks.  Apple has already informed European newspapers that they can no longer offer subscription to iOS users that are purchased outside of the iOS ecosystem.  

Perhaps we will see Apple come up with a payment system in the coming months that will address this.  

More at ATD.

iPad and WWDC Prediction: Apple Will Upgrade Siri And Users Will Not Be Able to Choose Between ChatGPT or Gemini

At this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple is set to unveil major upgrades to its virtual assistant Siri. These enhanc...